Holy Ammunition

A Gunslinger's bullets are... unique.

Praise the Lord, and pass the ammunition!
— Gunslinger's Orison
 
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Pistol and Matchbook by Jean Beaufort
In the Wyrd West, firearms are everywhere. Almost everyone carries one, from "proper" slugthrowers to voltaic rifles. So it's not like bullets aren't also ubiquitous. However, a Gunslinger's bullets are... unique.   When viewed from a distance, holy ammunition looks like just about any other ammunition of similar calibre. Depending on the model of the firearm it is intended for, it may feature paper, copper, or brass casings (steel casings exist, but are rare.) But when studied closely, the ammunition that a Gunslinger uses is truly unique.   As a result, holy ammunition is often used to pass messages among Gunslingers, their allies, and the laity in the Gunslinger faith. Without the necessary understanding or training, most people will not understand the messages conveyed.

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Mechanics & Inner Workings

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Bullet by Hohum
Firearms ammunition contains a projectile (the bullet1), a propellant3, and primer5, all contained within a metallic case2 with a rim4 that is used to extract the case from the chamber of the firearm once fired. When a firearm's trigger is pulled, the hammer strikes the cap and primer. The sparks ignite the propellant, which explodes, expelling the projectile. Cartridge shells are ejected by a variety of methods, according to the make and model of the firearm.   For the Gunslingers, it is the construction of the ammunition that is important. Gunslingers exclusively cast their own bullets, and these bullets have several unique characteristics. Standard ammunition is made with lead bullets, but Gunslingers also use silver, gold, copper, steel, iron, and Cold Iron (meteoric iron), depending on what the Gunslinger intends to use the ammunition against, since different supernatural creatures have different vulnerabilities.   Gunslinger bullets also often have mystical marks that communicate simple messages or concepts. In some cases, they are invocations to assist the powers of the bullet. In others, they convey specific meanings.   Sometimes, Gunslingers bless their bullets with prayers and incantations. When they do, the bullets glow faintly in dim light.   Sometimes, bullets of softer metal like lead, silver, and gold, are jacketed; that is, covered in harder metal. Usually the harder metal is copper, but it can also be brass or steel. Jacketed bullets are not used to convey messages, as those messages may be misinterpreted.

Manufacturing process

Casting a bullet is a fairly simple process. The metal is heated to the melting point:

  • Lead 327.5 °C / 621.5 °F
  • Silver 962 °C / 1764 °F
  • Gold 1,064 °C / 1950 °F
  • Copper 1,085 °C / 1985 °F
  • Steel 1370 °C / 2500-2800 °F
  • Iron 1,538 °C / 2800 °F
  • Meteoric Iron 1538 °C / 2800 °F
And then poured into a mold and allowed to cool. Burrs, edges and imperfections are carefully filed off, and then the bullet is ready to be loaded into a cartridge.   Manufacturing Gunpowder is a far more complicated process, which will be dealt with in a separate article.

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Significance

Messages Conveyed with Holy Ammunition

When a Gunslinger wishes to convey a message to other Gunslingers, or to other members of the Order who are laity but loyal, there is a "bullet code" that conveys what they wish to say in a simple, straightforward way. It can be used to carry information quickly or in secret if needed, although it's very difficult to glean specifics.   A Gunslinger can either pass a bullet directly to someone, or they can leave a number of bullets at waymarkers, safehouses, and caches to convey specific information.  
Giving a Bullet to Someone
Lead You're marked; make your peace
Gold I am a Gunslinger; here's my bona fides
Silver All is well; please pass that on to whomever needs to know
Copper Please pass accompanying message to the Gunslinger Order
Steel Tough times ahead; here's a heads-up
Iron There's going to be shooting; back me up
Meteoric Iron Disaster on the horizon; get everyone out of here if you can
 
Leaving Bullets to Be Found
Metal 1 Bullet 2 Bullets 3 Bullets
Lead N/A
Gold Desperadoes Gunslinger in the area if you need a partner Gunslinger safehouse in the area
Silver Shapechangers or Undead Gunslinger ally in the area Organized Gunslinger allies in the area
Copper Witches / Dark Mages A Courtesan or Witch here is a Gunslinger friend The Courtesans here will look after you
Steel Gang of outlaws Gunslinger needs assistance Gunslingers in trouble, send help
Iron Trust no one around here Hard times for Gunslingers here Hard times for everyone here
Meteoric Iron Fey, Djinn & Elementals Recent disaster, recovering - use caution Disaster; get out of the area quickly!

Remember that you can click on the glowing gear icon on the left to access the menu at any time!

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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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Gunslinger Logo.jpg

Gunslinger Emblem by Diane Morrison

Item type
Ammunition
Subtype / Model
Holy Ammunition
Used by
Manufacturer
Gunslinger Order
Related Technologies
Owning Organization
Gunslinger Order
Rarity
Rare. Gunslingers are hardly common to begin with.
Weight
About 40g (1.4 oz.) to 113g (1/4 lbs.)
Dimensions
.22 calibre to 4 gauge 3 1/2 inch shotgun shell
Base Price
$12 to $80 per 1000 rounds, depending on calibre
Raw materials & Components
The actual shot in holy ammunition tends to be constructed of unusual materials: silver, gold, perhaps even steel or meteoric iron (cold iron). Some of these materials should technically defy the laws of physics when fired -- for instance, silver, being a soft metal, should warp and perhaps even splatter when the cartridge or powder is fired. But the alchemy of the Gunslingers somehow makes it work.
Tools
Molds, crucible, mortars and pestles, files, casings, caps, saltpeter, charcoal, sulphur, various metals, ammunition tools tools.
Related Materials

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Once Upon a Time in the Wyrd West

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Cover image: Ammunition by Kai Stachowiak

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