The Way of the Rim

Alternate Names: Westerly Marksmanship, Rim-Walking.

The Way of the Rim is a positively ancient style, perhaps the oldest of the blaster-based martial arts still practiced in the galaxy today. It descends from a tradition of marksmanship that came all the way from the deserts of now-lost Westerly, and its Rim-Walkers carried across the stars on their great generation-ships when they first began to colonize the galaxy.

The venerablity of this ancient style lends it a sense of the sacred. The practitioners learn to connect themselves to their blaster via long meditation and loving care of their weapons. Most can name every part of their preferred blaster (typically a Rook & Law weapon or a Redjack weapon, but the style can be found among more tribal Westerly too, despite their supposedly inferior equipment). They learn to aim not with the sights of their weapon, but with a nigh-mystical connection between the self and the target. Masters of the style will fix their opponents with a steely gaze while his weapon remains holstered; fools think he merely attempts to intimidate his opponents, but in reality, he quietly calculates distances and trajectories and builds that sense of connection between himself and his target. At the moment of the draw, he pulls his weapon while he breaths in, brings it to his navel, so that his entire body is oriented towards his target, and fires as he exhales. In the space of a heartbeat, his opponent lies dead.

The Westerly often have rhymes and phrases they use to describe the technique and the approach, one they rarely share with outsiders. These phrases feature in their myths and stories, suggesting that they’ve encoded lessons of the technique in their oral tradition. Despite this deep integration of the style with their culture, few still master it, but those that do are sometimes held in fear or awe by the Westerly they meet; the Westerly have a name for the masters of the style: a Rim-Walker.

The Way of the Rim is a variation of the Way of the Galaxy, from GURPS Gun-Fu page 35; while this style differs, it doesn’t differ enough to reproduce the style of the Way of the Galaxy here.

Way of the Rim Traits


Barricade Tactics: see Tactical Shootical Shooting page 37. A simpler way to handle this perk is to increase the cover penalty for attacking the character by an additional -1.

Cavalry Training: This replaces the Cavalry Training technique; when using the Death on Wheels rules (See GURPS Action 2 page 39) while mounted on a horse or similar alien beast, you may ignore the Move and Attack penalties, as though you had Gunslinger for those one purpose only.

Cinematic Option (Ranged Disarms): See GURPS Gun-Fu page 17.

Cool Under Fire: See GURPS Gun-Fu page 18; note that this is redundant if you have either Enhanced Time Sense or Gunslinger.

Dead Eye: Don’t worry about the Precision Aiming rules; every level of Dead Eye allows the character to gain an additional turn of aiming for an additional +1 to their maximum aim.

Dramatic Death: See GURPS Gun Fu page 18.

Fastest Blaster in the Galaxy: See Fastest Gun in the West, GURPS Gun Fu page 18.

Flimsy Cover: See GURPS Gun-Fu page 19.

Gun Schticks: See GURPS Gun-Fu page 19.

Gun Sense: GURPS Gun Fu page 19;

Gun Whisperer: GURPS Gun Fu page 19;

Just Winged Him: See GURPS Gun-Fu page 20.

Point-Shooting: The character has learned the art of “aiming” through instinct by “pointing” the gun at the target, rather than using sights. They may make Aim actions with their weapon holstered or when “Close-Hip Shooting” and may make an All-Out Attack (Determined) when “Close-Hip Shooting.” The character may not benefit from any sights, laser sights or other aiming aids associated with their weapon when Point-Shooting. While point-shooting is definitely a real thing, this is a cinematic version of point-shooting.

Quick-Sheathe: See GURPS Gun Fu p 21.

Tap-Rack-Bang: See GURPS Gun-Fu page 22.


Code of Honor (Code of the Rim) [-10]: Always avenge an insult; always respect the word and sanctity of spiritual advisers (Shepherds and Communion monks); always honor the old ways; A man’s word is his bond; protect the honor of women; never shoot a man in the back; never shoot an unarmed man;


Close-Hip Shooting
Default: Prerequisite Skill; cannot exceed prerequisite skill+3.
Prerequisite: any Shooting skill
See GURPS Gun Fu page 26. Characters who use Close-Hip Shooting may not make “Sighted” attacks: they may not Aim, benefit from Aim, or make All-Out Attack (Determined) with their weapon. However, they gain a +3 to Fast-Draw contests, in addition to all the other benefits of Close-Hip Shooting.

Combat Riding
Default: Riding; cannot exceed Riding+4.
Prerequisite: Riding

See GURPS Gun Fu page 26. This is useful in Action when using the Death on Wheels rules (See GURPS Action 2 page 39) while mounted on a horse or similar alien beast; this replaces your Riding skill for the purposes of the limit on your skill. Gunslingers and characters with 18+ Riding or Combat Riding may ignore this cap!

Immediate Action
Default: Prerequisite Skill-4; cannot exceed Prerequisite Skill.
Prerequisite: Armoury or Shooting Skill;
See GURPS Gun Fu page 28.

Quick Shot
Prerequisite: any shooting skill
Default: Skill-6; cannot exceed prerequisite skill.
See GURPS Gun-Fu page 29. Use this technique when choosing your Total Number of Targets (see Simplified Rapid Fire on GURPS Action 2 page 36). Note that this effect is cumulative: if you have Quick-Shot at -1, your penalty to attack two targets is -1, three targets is -2, and so on. If you have purchased off all the penalty, you can divide your RoF among as many targets as you like at no penalty!
The default is reduced to -3 for characters with Gunslinger.

Targeted Attack
Prerequisite: any shooting skill
Default: varies

See GURPS Gun-Fu page 29

Way of the Rim as Power-Ups

What Does Style Familiarity (Way of the Rim) Get You?

  • The practitioner may purchase any Way of the Rim traits, moves, exercises or upgrades, including Way of the Rim secrets.
  • The practitioner may reduce any Predictive Shooting or Ranged Feint penalties made by other Rim-Walkers by one.
  • The practitioner is familiar with all makes and models of modern “Westerly” pistols, including Rook & Law pistols, Redjack pistols, and any tribal Westerly weapons.
  • They are automatically familiar with the how to challenge another Rim-Walker to a shoot-out, with no cultural familiarity penalties.

The Way of the Rim is a classic martial art and uses the standard pricing scheme.

Rim-Walkers often learn Gunslinger; reduce the value of traits as appropriate. Gunslingers might learn Gunslinger (Arsenal, Beam Weapons only -20%) [20] instead of the normal Gunslinger..

Common Disadvantages and Quirks: Believer (Communion, Shepherdism or Tribal Ways) [-1]; Code of Honor (Code of the Rim); Disciplines of Faith (Meditation) [-10]; Hidebound [-5]; Loner [-5], Nostalgic [-1]; Pacifism (Cannot Harm Innocents or Self-Defense Only) [-10 or -15], Sense of Duty (Friends or the Westerly or fellow faithful) [-5 or -10]; Traditional [-1];

Way of the Rim – Student

20 points for Primary Style; 10 points for Secondary Style
Prerequisite: None

The Student of the Way of the Rim must go through the tedium of learning every part of his blaster, learning to tear it apart and put it back together. They learn this for all weapons (especially Westerly weapons), but with a great deal of focus on their own weapon. And when they’re not pulling their weapon apart or putting it together, they learn to rapidly draw their weapon to a “Close-Hip Shooting” position, learning a characteristic “naval-centered” attack position, and how to resheath it again.

Note that Close-Hip Shooting is redundant for Gunslingers; they can still use Close-Hip Shooting for the improved fast-draw roll, but they don't need to spend any points on the technique, as that only removes bulk penalties in close combat. Thus, the cost of Way of the Rim – Student is reduced to 18 (as primary; 8 as Secondary) for Gunslingers.

Perks: Quick Sheath (Pistol) [1]; Style Familiarity (Way of the Rim) [1];

Techniques: Close Hip Shooting (A) Skill+3 [2];

  • As Primary Style: Beam Weapons (Pistol) (A) DX+4 [12]; Fast-Draw (Pistol) (E) DX+1 [2]; Armoury (Small Arms) (A) IQ [2];
  • As Secondary Style: Improve Beam Weapons (Pistol) one level for 4 points; Fast-Draw (Pistol) (E) DX [1]; Armoury (Small Arms) (A) IQ-1 [1];

Way of the Rim – Adept

20 points for Primary Style; 10 points for a Secondary Style
Prerequisite: Way of the Rim – Student;

To many Westerly, one hasn’t really learned the Way of the Rim until they’ve advanced to the position of Adept. The Adept learns to meditate and clear their minds. They learn to focus on the connection between themselves and their targets, to “aim with their hearts” rather than to “aim with their hands.” This results in a blast-slinger that conforms to the stereotypes of the Westerly: a man who watches his opponents intently, and then draws and fires with extra-ordinary precision.

Perks: Point-Shooting [1]; Dead Eye [3]


  • As Primary Style: Improve Beam Weapons (Pistol) to (E) DX+6 [20] for 8 points; Improve Fast-Draw (Pistol) to (D) DX+2 [4] for 2 points; Observation (A) Per+1 [4]; Meditation (H) Will-1 [2];
  • As Secondary Style: Improve Beam Weapons (Pistol) one level for 4 points; Meditation (H) Will-2 [1]; Observation (A) Per-1 [1];

Way of the Rim – Master

20 points as primary style; 10 points as secondary style.
Prerequisite: Way of the Rim – Adept;

The master of the Way of the Rim earns for himself a special place in Westerly culture as a Rim-Walker. They have completed their connection between themselves and their blaster (while not included in the upgrade, the GM might allow the character to purchase Weapon Bond if he doesn’t already have it): he knows the charge and state of the weapon just by holding it, and can feel the state of a weapon pointed at him. Such characters are often spooky in their ability to predict a blaster-failure: the GM might allow Rim-Walkers to spend impulse buy points to declare a jam or insufficient ammunition of a weapon pointed at them. Finally, the Rim-Walker gains impossible speed with his weapon: in addition to the +3 for Fast-Draw contests, the Rim-Walker has another +5 to such contests. Stories often speak of a Rim-Walker that outdrew a Communion Templar, once.

Perks: Fastest Blaster in the Galaxy 2 [2]; Gun Whisperer (Pistol) [1]; Gun Sense (Pistol) [1]; Social Regard (Feared; Westerly Only) [1];


  • As Primary Style:
    • Skills: Improve Beam Weapons (Pistol) to (E) DX+8 [28] for 8 points; Improve Meditation to (H) Will [4] for 2 points; Improve Armoury (Small Arms) to (A) IQ+1 [4] for 2 points.
    • Perks: Improve Fastest Blaster I the Galaxy to 5 [5] for 3 points
  • As Secondary Style: Improve Beam Weapons (Pistol) one level for 4 points; improve Fast-Draw (Pistol) to (E) DX+1 [2] for 1 point.

Way of the Rim Moves

Cavalry Training

5 points
Prerequisite: Style Familiarity (Way of the Rim)

Unlike the Shinjurai or Maradonians, the Westerly often live on the edges of civilization, in blasted wastelands or in wide-open rural regions. Such settlements often lack the technology to mass-manufacture vehicles, and so local must rely on animal transportation. Rim-Walkers take a great deal of pride in their mounted marksmanship, giving it an almost religious devotion and often showcasing it at festivals.

Characters with this Move improve their Riding by 3 levels for the purposes of Death on Wheels and ignore Move and Attack penalties when attacking while mounted on a horse (or similar alien).

Perks: Cavalry Training [1];

Techniques: Combat Riding (H) Riding+3 [2];

Skills: Choose one of Riding (any) all (A) DX [2].

Mercy Shot

5 points
Prerequisite: Style Familiarity (Way of the Rim), Gunslinger

The Way of the Rim teaches its practitioner a connection between themselves and their target. As a result, many Rim-Walkers are loath to kill their targets, who may well be misguided youths, or someone who is merely being hot-tempered. The most elite of Rim-Walkers learn to shoot the blaster out of the hand of a target, often as a prelude to holstering their own weapon (after such a display of elite marksmanship) and offering to just talk.

This move teaches one of two variations of the Trademark Move, “Mercy Shot;” it also teaches the character how to make ranged disarms and how to attack a target’s weapon. It also allows the Rim-Walker to “pull their punches” with their attacks, reducing their minimum damage with a hit, if they want to “just knock him out a little” rather than kill their target.

Trademark Move (Mercy Shot): The characters makes an All-Out Attack (Determined) for the target’s weapon with their weapon: roll Shooting Skill+0, applying the normal range penalties and additional -1 to hit if the weapon is small (a pistol rather than a rifle) or -2 if the weapon is very small (a force sword hilt or a holdout pistol). The target may defend normally; If you hit, roll damage as normal; the target must roll ST (or ST-based Retain weapon) at a penalty of -1 for every 2 points of damage rolls. On a failure, they are disarmed. You may not defend.

Adepts upgrade the Trademark move to Shooting Skill-2 and the target Dodges at -1; Masters of either upgrade the Trademark move to Shooting Skill-4; the target Dodges at -2. Characters with the appropriate Style Familiarity may ignore up to -1 in these Dodge penalties.

Perks: Cinematic Option (Ranged Disarms) [1]; Just Winged Him [1]; Trademark Move (Mercy Shot) [1];

Technique: TA (Pistol/Weapon) (H) Skill-2 [2]

Percussive Maintenance

5 points
Prerequisite: Style Familiarity (Way of the Rim)

A Rim-Walker's weapon is their life. While most use Westerly weapons, which are famous for their reliability, weapons do break down. The Rim-Walker learns to repair their gun in an instant, if such a repair is possible, with a quick whack to the action of the weapon.

Perks: Tap-Rack-Bang [1]

Skills: Armoury (Small-Arms) (A) IQ [2];

Technique: Instant Action (A) Armoury (A) Skill+0 [2]

Pistol Whip

5 points
Prerequisite: Style Familiarity (Way of the Rim)

Rim-Walkers often find themselves in circumstances where shooting their opponent is undesirable, such as during a friendly bar-brawl after a game of Belter’s Brag, or when a Rim-Walker needs to capture a target alive. Rim-Walkers learn the essentials of fisticuffs, and to attack with the grip of their pistol at no penalty, inflincting thr+1 damage with their weapon.

Skills: Brawl (E) DX+2 [4]

Techniques: Hammer Fist (A) Brawl +0 [1]

Better Part of Valor

4 points
Prerequisite: Style Familiarity (Way of the Rim)

Despite the image of the lone Rim-Walker standing out in the open and taking down his opponents one by one, real Rim-Walkers leave that sort of foolhardy courage to practitioners of the Coda Resolute. They prefer to dive behind cover!

Characters with his move can treat cover as one level more robust than it is; they ignore the -2 for “pop-up” attacks; they can treat all cover as immune to overpenetration as long as it looks like decent cover, and the always move towards the next bit of cover, even if the player doesn’t mention it: they should only be caught out of cover when the GM declares that no cover can be found, or if the player explicitly states that they’re not going for cover.

Perks: Barricade Tactics [1]; Cool under Fire [1]; Flimsy Cover [1]; Standard Operating Procedure (Move under Cover) [1]

Warning Shot

5 points
Prerequisite: Style Familiarity (Way of the Rim)

Often, Rim-Walkers need to warn people away from combat with them, or build a reputation to prevent others from picking fights with them. Characters who take this move can learn one of two schticks. They can either learn to shoot off a piece of their opponent’s clothing, without harming them, to intimidate them specifically, or they can make their killshots so spectacular that those that witness them are intimidated.

Perks: Choose one of Gun Schtick (“Next time it’s your Head”) or (“Stone Cold Killer”) both [1]

Skills: Intimidation (A) Will+1 [4];

Way of the Rim Exercises

Greased Lightning

20 points
Prerequisite: Style Familiarity (Way of the Rim)

Rim-Walkers are famed for their reaction times, with speeds similar to the superhuman reflexes of a Templar or Akashic Space Knight. They often hone this reaction time with extensive training to learn to move swiftly and quickly, whether it’s their footwork or their draw speed. This improves their reaction time (and thus their turn order) while also increasing their Dodge by +1, and giving them +1 Basiс Move.

Secondary Characteristic Modifiers: +1.0 Basic Speed [20]

Nose for Trouble

20 points
Prerequisite: Style Familiarity (Way of the Rim)

How far you can see, and how well you can see, often determines whether or not you’ll win a blaster-fighter. Rim-Walkers learn to hone their senses, and often become inhumanely good at picking out potential danger. This tends to build from years of experience, but their meditative practices seems to help them learn it quicker than most.

Secondary Characteristic Modifiers: Perception +1 [5]

Advantages: Danger Sense [15]

True Grit

15 points
Prerequisite: Style Familiarity (Way of the Rim)

Rim-Walkers often face impossible odds, or battle horrid monstrosities in the deep wilderness of their alien worlds. They famously have an unflappable sense of courage, and accept their inevitable fate. Characters with this train gain +2 to fright checks (and they improve the Rule of 14 so that their Will/Fright rolls can be up to 14, rather than 13), +2 to all HT rolls to stay conscious and, once per session, can reduce a wound they take down to 1 point of injury. Finally, if they die, they always get 1d+1 seconds to continue acting.

Advantages: Fearless +2 [4]; Flesh Wound 1 [5]; Hard to Subdue +2 [4];

Perks: Brave[1]; Dramatic Death [1]

Way of the Rim Secrets

Legendary Sharp

18 points (17 for gunslingers)
Prerequisite: Beam Weapons (Pistol) 18+, Gunslinger or both Meditation and Point-Shooting, Style Familiarity (Way of the Rim).

Rim-Walkers are famous for their quiet meditation and their introspective means of aiming. Stories about of them blasting a tiny, remote target through the winds of a storm abound! If this is true, this secret allows the character to focus, using the Zen Marksmanship rules (see GURPS Gun-Fu page 24). On a success, they can divide the size, speed and range penalties by 3.

Gunslingers do not need the Special Exercise perk, may use this at any time, and gain a discount; those without Gunslinger can only use this while Point-Shooting (that is, when their weapon is holstered) and after making a successful Meditation roll to “clear their minds.”

Perks: Secret Training (Legendary Sharp) [1]; Special Exercise (Zen Marksmanship when Point-Shooting after making a Meditation roll only) [1]

Skills: Zen Marksmanship (one of Beam Weapons (Pistol or Rifle)) (VH) IQ+2 [16]

Deuces Wild

15 points (13 for Gunslingers)
Prerequisite: Point-Shooting, Style Familiarity (Way of the Rim).

Numerous legends abound of a Rim-Walker who, upon their draw, killed three targets at once in a move called “Deuces Wild.” If this move is true, Rim-Walkers who aim using Point-Shooting, that is, “with their eye rather than their weapon” may “aim” at up to 3 targets at once; they may aim as often as their Dead Eye perk allows! Once they draw and fire, they may divide their ROF among the three targets however they wish at no penalty.
This move also teaches them to split their RoF at no penalty under all circumstances!

Gunslingers get a discount on Quickshot, and don’t need the Special Exercise (and generally benefit less from this move) and thus get a discount.

Perks: Secret Training (Deuces Wild) [1]; Special Exercise (Enhanced Tracking when Point-Shooting only) [1]

Advantage: Enhanced Tracking 2 (Intuitive Aim only -20%; Multiple Lock-Ons +20%) [10]

Techniques: Quick Shot (A) Skill+0 [3] or [2] for Gunslingers

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