A Bullet with Your Name on it

If you live by the gun, you're likely to die by it

The Powers have marked you as a Gunslinger, and you have come back to this world to turn your guns to whatever good works you may. This is your last chance to change your mind! After this, you live by the gun, and you’re just as like to die by it.
— Gunslinger's Vigil Ritual
  Gunslingers are keenly aware of the risky nature of their Calling. For everyone who lives by the gun, there is a bullet with their name on it. As a result, it is traditional, upon a Gunslinger's Investiture, to gift the new Slinger with a bullet that literally has their name etched into the ammunition casing, or the bullet itself.

Summary

If a bullet exists with your name on it, it might as well be in your possession. Gunslingers believe in this protective charm almost like some people believe in a lucky rabbit's foot. They believe it bends odds in their favour when they engage in armed conflicts against Desperadoes or other gun-toting opponents. This bullet is given to the Slinger to wear on their person, usually as part of a watch chain, on a belt or belt loop, or dangling from a chain they wear around their neck.

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Historical Basis

Many of the tales of the Slinger Saints speak about a belief in this tale. Many times, a Slinger from the past who has spoken about a bullet with their name on it has indeed met death by the means that they anticipated. It's unknown whether this sense of fatalism contributed to their demise (as several of the more scientific sorts claim), or whether a certain "sixth sense" warned them of their fate. Most people believe the latter holds true.

Spread

This superstition is well-known in the Wyrd West, but no one takes it as seriously as the Gunslingers do. Presumably, the Desperadoes have a variation of this as well, but only they know what form that would take.

Variations & Mutation

On the rare occasion that a Gunslinger decides to go on a Manhunt against a particular enemy who just needs to die, it is also a tradition for the Slinger to etch the name of their target on a bullet or ammunition casing. They carry the bullet on their person until their foe has been slain -- ideally with the marked bullet. It seems likely that this variation is shared by the Desperadoes as well.

Cultural Reception

The belief in a bullet with your name on it is ubiquitous in the Wyrd West. It is widely accepted and acknowledged.

In Literature

There is a tale of The Soldier, one of The Founders of the Gunslinger Order. He spoke about a bullet with his name on it when the four Founders, and the first members of the nascent Gunslinger Order, went to confront the Outlaw band led by The Dark Rider, who was the post-Cataclysm founder of the Desperadoes. He did indeed meet his death in that confrontation. It is said that The Witch made the first "bullet with your name on it" charm after that, and all the other Founders purportedly died of old age.   This story is retold in everything from plays to dime novels, and there are many other such stories of famous Gunslingers meeting their ends. Of course, a lot of artistic license is taken, because the real details of who the Founders were has been so obscured.

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Ammunition by Kai Stachowiak

Thanks to TrueUndeadHero for the idea for this article!

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Books in the Wyrd West Chronicles

Serial:

Novel:

Once Upon a Time in the Wyrd West (Wyrd West Chronicles #1-6)

Anthology:

Gunsmoke & Dragonfire (featuring The Teeth of Winter (Wyrd West Chronicles #7)
 

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Date of First Recording
Before the Fall
Related Organizations
Related Items

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Once Upon a Time in the Wyrd West

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Cover image: Bullet with Your Name on it by Diane Morrison

Comments

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21 Jul, 2020 05:55

Interesting twist on an old saying. I like it. It's worldbuilding like this that really makes a world live.

Author of prize-winning RPG settings Dark Shadows and Cinders of the Cataclysm. Designer of the narratively focused Celenia D10 RPG System.
21 Jul, 2020 09:34

Thanks Toblin! That means a lot coming from you! :)

Author of the Wyrd West Chronicles and the Toy Soldier Saga Eater of pickles, Friend of nerds, First of her name
21 Jul, 2020 08:09

A nice read excellent :)

Grandmaster Serukis
Dr Emily Vair-Turnbull
21 Jul, 2020 09:40

I love this twist on the well-known adage. I love that they view a literal bullet with their name on it as a protective charm. :)

Emy x   Welcome to Etrea!
22 Jul, 2020 22:54

This is such a great read. I 1000% agree with Toblin. Sable, your world just seems so ALIVE and breathing because of these. I love it!

— The wolf of Tales of Justice, Creator of Legends of Elohey, Star Wars: Shards, Fiven Chronicles and more!
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