Totem Gun

Originally submitted as part of GameCareerGuide’s “Game Design Challange”.

Illustrations by Peter Kan.

Erlend Heggen and Peter Kan’s Tommy gun-inpired totemgun could only work if it were the focal point of the whole game. But it’s crazy enough to possibly be able to do just that. The gun itself is loaded with rules and requirements — it may just be its own enclosed game system.
~ Manveer Heir and/or GameCareerGuide.com staff

The Gametotemgun-coloured

The game is set in 1900s Russia outskirts. Storyline would mean little next to nothing in this game, as we’re going for epic in the sense of “kick-ass,” not “touching.” No demons, witches, dark portals, nor power-hungry super villains would be left out to dry; we’re bringing ’em all in for one major onslaught!

Our hero is an adept sorcerer, alchemist, weapons mechanic and weathered bad-ass. This guy only needs one weapon, his trustworthy Totemgun. Magic is a rare thing in this world, but known of. Special about our hero is that he has unveiled the secret of how to channel magic over larger distances, allowing for powerful offensive use of the dark arts.

The play-through of this game should take about five hours at most, taking in consideration that the player would want to seek out and hunt down every miserable crawling critter he can find so he can blow it to smithereens in whichever way he chooses.

The Weapon

totemgun-side

Greatly inspired by the classic Tommy gun, the Totemgun is based on an already tested design, with some subtle changes.

The single barrel has been replaced by four, shaping the cornerstone in our protagonist’s ingenious design. Inside each of these barrels is a unique magical carving shaping a range of symbols, much like a totem pole turned inside out. As a bullet soars through these symbols, it is sent through a magical ritual in blazing speed, making for a special incantation. With these enchanted bullets embedded in the enemies’ flesh, our hero is able to channel magic through these bullets over much larger distances than he would normally be able to.

The carvings are either filled with copper, silver, or gold, the latter allowing for the strongest spells to be cast. The fourth barrel is left untouched, as this allows for more precise shots with higher velocity should there ever be a demand for the capabilities of a normal firearm. As bullets fire through the barrel the carvings gradually loose their “filling”, creating a need for a refill every so often. This way the player will have to choose carefully when to shoot his “golden bullets,” seeing as gold would not be common enough to come by often.

Spell Casting Criteriatotemgun-angle


Seeing as you would be able to shoot repeatedly without big cool downs, you’d be dealing with several enemies at once with bullets stuck in them. The spells you’d cast would come with different sorts of criteria for what enemy you’ll hit when casting:

  • closest enemy
  • all enemies within X radius
  • all enemies in view
  • hit enemy with spell projectile
  • hit bullet-wound on enemy with spell projectile. (Bullet wounds would be marked on enemies with a not-so-subtle rune-like glow on every hit. This method, hitting bullet wounds, should definitely appeal to the more experienced FPS players, seeing as the more often and precisely they hit this bullet-wound repeatedly with their spells the greater the effect.)

Other spells could also rely on more specific bullet-wounds, or at least earn a bonus-effect from it:

Bullet-entry must be…

  • close (to the body).
  • on at least two enemies within X radius of one another
  • within X radius of yourself (could be with spells that affect the player somehow)
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