The Grizzled Veteran

Jeff Bridges as Rooster Cogburn in True Grit

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The grizzled veteran is somebody who’d been around, seen it all, and done most of it. Because few situations are all that new to him, the grizzled veteran tends to take things as they come, going about his work in a calm and in some cases methodical way. Although the grizzled veteran is very experienced at his job, that doesn’t necessarily mean he’s old. In some professions, a man in his 30s with several years experience is considered an old hand.
Likely Stories
Grizzled veterans appear in every type of story, but are most common in action-oriented genres, including war stories, police thrillers, and Westerns.

The Name Game
The given names of grizzled veterans are typical for the setting in which they exist, but may be old-fashioned in the case of older characters. Because they’ve plenty of time to make a name for themselves, nicknames are common. In the case of military characters, those who have worked their way through the system may be commonly addressed by their rank.

The Numbers
The grizzled veteran’s Numbers will depend on his profession, but many will have higher than average Brain scores to reflect their experience and good Nerve scores due to their confidence in their abilities. Because many grizzled veterans are getting on in years, they may have lower Body numbers than younger men in the same line of work.

Suggested Jobs:
Astronaut, Bagman, Bodyguard, Bouncer, Bounty Hunter, CIA Operative, Con Artist, Cop, Cowboy, Detective, Drill Sergeant, EMT, Fence, Freedom Fighter, Gambler, Gunslinger, Highwayman, Hit-Man, Mobster, Monster Hunter, Old Hippie, Outlaw, Pilot, Power Broker, Preacher, Sailor, Soldier, Space Marine, Smuggler, Warden, Whore

Suggested Gimmicks:
Age and Cunning, Citizen of the World, Friends in High Places, Friends in Low Places, Hard Boiled, I’ve Seen Worse, Lifetime of Experience, Not My First Rodeo, Prepared for Anything, Reputation, Tougher Than Leather, Wealthy

Suggested Weaknesses:
Alcoholic, Bad Reputation, Blind As A Bat, Death Wish, Getting Too Old For This Shit, Old Fogey, Overconfident, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Technophobe, Ugly As Sin, War Wound

Suggested Skills:
Area Knowledge, Bingo, Contacts, Drive RV, Fishing, Gambling, Gardening, Gossip, History, Hospital Navigation, Infomercial Trivia, Knitting, Outdated Pop Culture Trivia, Outdoorsman, Pack Rat, Prescription Drug Benefits, Religion, Self Defense, Sports Trivia, Survival, Teaching, The Good Old Days, Woodworking, Yard Ornament Lore

Dan Ackroyd, Patricia Belcher, James Caan, Bruce Campbell, David Carradine, James Coburn, Billy Connelly, Sean Connery, Johnny Depp, Robert Duvall, Clint Eastwood, Sam Elliot, Morgan Freeman, James Garner, Danny Glover, John Goodman, Linda Hamilton, Woody Harrelson, Lance Henriksen, Katherine Hepburn, Anthony Hopkins, Dennis Hopper, Tommy Lee Jones, Harvey Keitel, Delroy Lindo, Strother Martin, Ian McShane, Willie Nelson, Paul Newman, Jack Nicholson, Robert Redford, Mickey Roarke, Susan Sarandon, Donald Sutherland, Rip Torn, Lee Van Cleef, Robert Vaughn, Christopher Walken, John Wayne, Sigourney Weaver, Mae West, Bruce Willis

Tag Line: “
I’m thirty years older than you are. I had my back broke once, and my hip twice. And on my worst day I could beat the hell out of you.”–Wil Anderson (John Wayne), The Cowboys

Tools of the Trade
The grizzled veteran’s equipment depends on his profession, but they will probably be well-worn from years of use. Many grizzled veterans prefer old reliable tools to the latest technology.

Where You’ll Find Him
The grizzled veteran will most likely spend his free time either in a place he’s been frequenting for years (a neighborhood bar, for example) or somewhere where other people his age gather (bingo halls, churches, Cracker Barrels, etc).

Social Circle
While some grizzled veterans have families, they are just as likely to be loners, possibly because all of their friends are dead or in jail. Even if he doesn’t have many close friends, the grizzled veteran will inevitably have tons of casual acquaintances from his years on the job.

Sample Character
Gunnery Sergeant Thomas Highway
Brain: 12
Nerve: 17
Job: Marine (14)
Gimmick: Eats Concertina Wire and Pisses Napalm (13)
Weakness: Mean, Nasty, and Tired (13)
Skills: Can Put A Round Through A Flea’s Ass At 200 Meters +3; Intimidation +3; Brawling +3
WWPHITM? Clint Eastwood
Dumb Fact: Medal of Honor recipient.
Tag Line: “My name’s Gunnery Sergeant Highway and I’ve drunk more beer and banged more quiff and pissed more blood and stomped more ass that all of you numbnuts put together.”
HP: 15
YY: 4

Inspirational Materials

Books & Comics
Green Arrow (Eddie Fyers)
Johah Hex
Nick Fury: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Sin City (Hartigan)

Movies & TV

Boondock Saints (Il Duce)
Bram Stoker’s Dracula (Van Helsing)
Burn Notice (Sam Axe)
Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story (Patches O’Houlihan)
Grosse Pointe Blank (Grocer)
Lethal Weapon series (Murtaugh)
Near Dark (Jesse Hooker)
Road House (Wade Garrett)
Terminator 2: Judgement Day (Sarah Connor)

“Dirty Life and Times,” Warren Zevon
“The Gringo’s Tale,” Steve Earle


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