Desperado Profession in The Wyrd West | World Anvil


A blackhat gunfighter who turns their gifts to sinister or selfish purposes

As seen in
The dark figure was now recognizable. The silhouette of a man with the wide brim of a black hat. In the Spirit-Realm he was outlined with the flames of his damnation. His eyes were shadows of the primordial void. They shimmered with ecstasy and torment.
Showdown by Diane Morrison
  A Desperado is a gunfighter for hire, who possesses supernatural abilities that enhance already astounding natural skills with firearms. A Desperado travels about the countryside of the Wyrd West, offering their services to the highest bidder, usually with little to no regard for the moral or ethical consequences. They sometimes find relatively benign work in security or bounty-hunting, but many prefer robbery or murder for the greater potential payout (or even just the raw adrenaline.)   In many ways, Desperadoes are the polar opposites of the Gunslinger Order. While the Gunslingers channel holy powers, the Desperadoes profane those same gifts by turning them to sinister or selfish purposes. Dark powers are happy to lend their aid to a Desperado, knowing that the path of corruption is an easy lure. As result, Desperadoes frequently become more ethically and morally bent, less compassionate, and more prone to embracing the Seven Deadly Sins. More often than not, if they survive long enough, a Desperado will eventually degenerate into a savage monster under the influence of these dark patrons, prone to sadism, torture, and other horrors, and completely lacking in impulse control.  

Western Scene by Jean Beaufort (alterations in Photoshop by Diane Morrison)



To be selected to Apprentice as a Desperado, a candidate must already be quite skilled in gunplay. There is also a degree of natural talent required. Because many people in the Wyrd West realize what the Desperadoes stand for, it also requires a certain type of person to aspire to the Calling.

Career Progression

A Desperado is defined by what they can take and hold. For some, progression is lightning-quick, while for others, it is a slow process of planning and politicking (and maybe an assassination or two). However, a wise Desperado always knows to reward their allies and helpers, to earn their loyalty when the inevitable challenge comes.   By tradition, any Desperado may challenge any other for what they possess, at any time. The challenge is offered through a public insult that the challenged has no choice but to answers, such as an accusation of weakness or cowardice. Little attention is paid to the relative experience of the challenger, so if a young, ambitious Desperado feels they can increase their power and prestige by taking it from another highly-placed Desperado, they are welcome to try. More often, of course, the upstart is shot down like a dog. In a way this is fortunate for the rest of the Wyrd West, because it reduces their numbers.

Payment & Reimbursement

When a Desperado is employed by a patron, they are paid extremely well for their services. However, a Desperado might also make their own employment, more often than not through robbery or extortion.

Other Benefits

People rightfully fear Desperadoes and their capabilities. Often, they can achieve great heights of personal wealth and power through sheer intimidation value.




Desperadoes seek only to further their own advancement. They are parasites on the belly of society.

Social Status

Most law-abiding and decent folk, particularly within The Dominion, will have nothing to do with a Desperado. However, there is no shortage of unscrupulous people looking to benefit from a Desperado's unique skills, so they rarely have difficulty in finding gainful employment -- and if they do, horse rustling, bank or train robbery, or extorting a wealthy "patron" is always a good fallback.


Fortunately, the skillset and the Calling to be a Desperado are uncommon, and attrition helps to make them relatively rare.


In the years following The Cataclysm a shadowy figure known as The Dark Rider rose to power in the remains of the American West.



Firearms, Cursed Shot


Provided Services

Security, assassination-for-hire, bank robbery, intimidation, protection racketeering.

Dangers & Hazards

A gun-for-hire is naturally at risk of being killed or injured, especially by the Law, in their line of work.

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Published Books

The Wyrd West Chronicles
Generic article | Jun 7, 2021

Check out all the published books in the Wyrd West Chronicles so far!



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


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


Peacemaker by Jean Beaufort

Alternative Names
Outlaw, Blackhat
Usually, only the wealthiest folk have the necessary coin to employ a Desperado
Desperadoes are illegal in most of The Dominion. However, they are grudgingly tolerated in Cowtown and represent the ruling authority in a large part of the former Southern United States.
Related Locations
Related Technologies


Once Upon a Time in the Wyrd West


The Desperado turned in the deserted dusty street to regard them with a jaundiced eye. He gave them both a long, considering, dead-eyed gaze. Graeme glared back. A shutter still swung loose in the wind, creaking, creaking. The Desperado spat. “You ain’t goin’ to start something you can’t finish, are you, boy?” he sneered in a cold rasping baritone. His eyes were darker than coal-black. No apprentice then; this man had sold his soul to Hell and leased it back at compound interest. “You’re so wet behind the ears I don’t reckon you can sprout a beard yet.”
Showdown by Diane Morrison

Cover image: Wild Wild West by Kai Stacowiak


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5 May, 2021 21:04

This sounds like a rather terrifying profession. I like that it has a religious element (in a way), and that they have a poor reputation in society.

Emy x   Etrea | Vazdimet
6 May, 2021 02:41

These are usually the bad guys in the Wyrd West, but I wanted to show their side of the story, too. Not everyone finds their way here because they decide to be evil. People rarely do that. ;)

Author of the Wyrd West Chronicles and the Toy Soldier Saga. Mother of Bunnies, Eater of Pickles, Friend of Nerds, First of her Name.
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