Originally published at: http://gomorragazette.com/2015/10/01/a-primer-on-hexin-in-gomorra/
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by Thomas Goodnow
Spells and their casters in Doomtown card games appear straightforward; hexes, miracles, and spirits all share a card pull mechanic. In the Deadlands RPG, though, there’s a greater variety of spellcasters, each with their own basis for their magical arts and unique activating mechanisms. Thematically, Deadlands: Doomtown (Classic) and Doomtown: Reloaded both feature hucksters that appear to fall within these other types of Deadlands magic practitioners.
Bobo LeVeux and Doctor Duvalier are both hucksters that represent this brand of casting in Classic. Voodooists petition powerful spirits called Loas to grant them favor. As far as flavor goes, Voodoo is like an intersection of the standard Deadlands spellcasters of hucksters, shamans, and blessed (in Reloaded, they even cast as miracles).
Jonah Essex, with his charm/amulet and a penchant for ‘cooking up trouble,’ appears a likely practitioner of Voodoo in Reloaded. But if he’s not, we could see it show up as Miracles this time around considering the change in Deadlands Reloaded.
Infernal bloodlines create strong magic. Just ask the Whateleys, who are right good at this stuff. Nothing in Reloaded indicates that Ol’ Nic ever relinquished any of his talents. Blood magic requires the huckster’s energy, and of course their own blood to cast. Oh, and when it backfires, it’s nasty: mess up badly enough and you lose your soul, becoming an empty shell controlled by the Reckoners.
SHOOTISTS / HEXSLINGERS
Shootists from Deadlands Classic featured spell casters doling out magic via shootin’ irons. Doomtown: Reloaded uses the term Hexslingers. Some of these dudes actually enchant their guns (e.g. with runes) to make ‘em extra nasty.
From Lone Stars: The Texas Rangers
“While hucksters usually visualize the battle of wits as a game of poker, shootists picture it as what they know best: a gunfight at High Noon."
“Another side effect of the shootist’s gunfight paradigm is that no playing cards materialize in their hands when they’re casting gun-hexes. The hexed guns do crackle with a barely visible, unmistakably weird-looking sort of ethereal lightning.”
Doomtown: Reloaded’s Maria Kingsford certainly typifies a hexslinger.
Are there any practitioners deriving their powers through faith or belief in a higher (evil/dark) power? These dark blessings are given only to the nastiest of folks. Classic perhaps had Jolinaxas. Nowadays, perhaps the Ringmaster himself, Ivor Hawley, could be a beneficiary.
…AND AUSTIN STOKER
Now this guy is, uh, something else. For a long time he actually shared his soul with the Manitou, Knicknevin, and he directly gained special powers from it. In Classic, his experienced version gained the Huckster skill as a result of this demonic fusion.
As you can see, the hucksters in Doomtown represent a far broader range of casters from the Deadlands RPG than your typical cardslinger. If you’d like to read more on any of these particular archetypes, definitely check out the following!
- Blood Magic
- Shootists / Hexslingers
- Black Magic
- Austin Stoker