[Classic] Huckster Guide: The Weird West Wizards

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[Classic] Huckster Guide: The Weird West Wizards

#1 Postby professor_q » Sat Apr 01, 2017 4:04 pm

Professor Q’s Guide to the Huckster (ver. 2.0)

Welcome to Deadlands, and all of its magnificent lore and mechanical flavor. In this guide I’ll be talking about the Weird West Wizard – a character Archetype that exemplifies the uniqueness of Deadlands Classic Mechanics.
In other table top RPGs, the Wizard tends to run on a resource system. They have a number of spells per day, a mana limit, or in some cases cooldowns. The Deadlands Huckster plays poker with the Devil, and while he can cast as much as he wants, he runs the risk of getting hurt every time he does.
In this guide I’ll be talking about the various options available to the arcane backgrounds that use Hexes, and giving my opinion on their overall effectiveness. Of course, you should always pick the options that you like the most – it’s all about the flavor after all. But this guide is intended to help narrow down the vast sea of choices and pick what’s right for you.

General Guide Format (For Rankings)
Name plus the [Sourcebook] plus the (Score).
I will be rating each option according to a 5 point scale:
* - This option is garbage and should never be taken except in very bizzare circumstances
** - This option has redeemable qualities, but is too circumstantial to consider most of the time
*** - This is a solid option, and is worth taking for most characters
**** - This is a great option, you’ll definitely want this eventually if not right away
***** - This is an awesome option. Prioritize this.

Here is a list of the sourcebook abbreviations:

[PG] – Player’s Guide (Revised)
[H&H] – Hucksters and Hexes
[H] – Hexarcana
[D] – Doomtown or Bust
[LS] – Lone Stars
[LD] – Law Dogs

Types of Weird West Wizards
There are three basic ways to access Hex spells in Deadlands.

The Huckster [PG] (*****): This is the basic option as shown in the basic Deadlands Player’s Guide. The default archetype is the gambler, and because of that you even get +2 to your Gambling aptitude just for picking the arcane background. Of course you can talk to your marshal about flavoring this however you like, but thematically this background walks the line of risk to reward, and it should only be selected by players that want to do the same.
Because of the wide array of spells available to the Huckster, they’re easily the most powerful arcane background in the game – but they’re also one of the least reliable. If you think you might get frustrated by a lot of wasted turns, then you should pick a different AB, but if you’re willing to learn how to play the odds this is a very rewarding class.

The Metal Mage [H] (*****): Technically this is just a Huckster plus another Arcane Background: The Mad Scientist. This is one of the only instances where the game explicitly allows two arcane backgrounds to be mixed with eachother. Should you do it? The main Pro of this choice is that you have a slightly more reliable fallback for options automatically. Gizmos are use risk-reward mechanics, but the odds of failure are much less on average. It’s still not as reliable as a good ol’ fashioned gun or some of the other Arcane Backgrounds, but they offer spell-like effects without the usual fizzle chance Huckster suffer from. There are a host of spells available along with the Metal Mage that come from the Smith’s and Robbards catalogue instead of the Hoyle’s book of games, but the rules specifically state that you don’t necessarily have to be a Mad Scientist to access them – but at least half of them are directly connected to things that help the Mad Scientist. The major Con of going this route? You only get so much BP, and being a Metal Mage makes it harder to be a decent Gunman, Stealthy Slueth, or Persuasive Orator. You can't do everything, and that's the primary thing preventing most players from being a Mad Scientist Wizard.

The Hexslinger/Shootist [LD/LS] (****): The Huckster who focuses on "The way of the Gun". If you don’t like the flavor of a gambler who summons ghost poker hands every time they cast a spell, then this is an option you might take a look at. You don’t get the +2 to gambling, but it is a little easier to explain away your casting tell in case anyone spots something weird is going on (Thus avoiding the witch trials and lynch mobs.) One of the sticking points of going this route is that while you have access to all Huckster spells anyway, your starting options are severely limited, and there might not be five Shootist specific hexes you want. If there are though, definitely pick them up since you otherwise have to find other Shootists to learn your magic. The Shootist is basically a reprint of the Hexslinger from Law Dogs, and because of that some of the spells are mechanically exactly the same (though there are a lot of new ones too.) Thus when I list them in the Hex portion of my guide I’ll be combining duplicate spells into one entry hopefully avoiding confusion (I’m probably doomed to bewilder some of you anyway.)
Last edited by professor_q on Sat Apr 01, 2017 4:42 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: [Classic] Huckster Guide: The Weird West Wizards

#2 Postby professor_q » Sat Apr 01, 2017 4:05 pm

Understanding the Heart of the Cards – improving your odds

The Huckster is a high risk high reward class, and his card casting mechanics reflect that in an ingenious way. Backlash really sucks, but that’s not the Huckster’s biggest issue. No, the biggest issue is not doing anything at all because you didn’t make that minimum hand, or not doing anything significant because your activated spell just wasn’t good enough.

The only real way the huckster is given to mitigate this is drawing extra cards. Rather than boring you with a bunch of card statistics (Wizard of Odds is a good place to look if you’re interested) I’ll provide the below chart as a guideline for the minimum number of cards you want to be drawing for each given hand.

These are the number of cards you’ll need to draw to get AT LEAST the hand listed MOST of the time (above 50% odds.) Unless you’re in a desperate situation I wouldn’t bother trying for any of these hands unless you’re drawing the listed number of cards.

Ace – 5 cards
Pair – 6 cards
Jacks – 7 cards
Two-Pair – 8 cards
Three-of-a-kind – 10 cards

(There’s actually a higher chance of drawing a straight or better than actually drawing 3 of a kind.)

You’re probably never going to draw more than 10 cards unless you get a REALLY wild string of aces on your Hexslingin’ roll. Keep in mind that the more cards you draw the higher chance you’ll get that black joker along the way. At 10 cards drawn, the Joker has about a 15% chance of appearing. This is why the Old Hand edge comes highly recommended.

At character creation, you’ll likely be drawing 5 or 6 cards – and it’s actually pretty difficult to get better than that without your Marshal bestowing you with some grace. This is part of why I’m pretty harsh on Hexes with a two-pair or higher draw required for activation.

So how do you draw more cards? The options are discussed below.

Put a d12 in your favorite casting stat(s) (****): Getting a raise on your hexslingin’ roll is the easiest way to consistently get 6 cards. If you have a d12 in your casting stat you’ll be getting a 10 or higher MOST of the time (around 76%) - with about 35% of the time getting a 15 or higher. This is really a beginning of the game decision – if you have any d12s from your card draw, think about how you want to build your Huckster and stick them where it matters most. You can still get away with having a d8 or d10 in your casting stat (Due to a quirk with the statistics, it’s actually easier to hit a TN 10 with a d8 than it is with a d10), but with 5 ranks in Hexslingin’ you’re only going to enjoy 6 cards about 40% of the time.

Raise your Hexslingin’ (***): You should always start with a 5 in your Hexslingin’ if for no other reason than you get 5 free spells that way (Starting with 5 ranks is worth 5 stars.) Each aptitude point you add to Hexslingin’ beyond 5 only adds a 3-5% statistical bonus to your success in getting two raises (TN 15) on your roll if you have a d12 in your casting stat. If you have a d8 or d10, you get a lot more out of it, but it’s still 12 points for rank 6 – that’s a lot of BP. But, a lot of hexes get more base power based on your Hexslingin’ aptitude, so raising your Hexslingin’ is good even if the card drawing benefit is marginal.

Obtain a Card-Adding Relic (*****): Easier said than done, but if your Marshal lets you use the Belongin’s edge to do this, then do it – it’s totally worth it. I’m not going to list off relics that let you draw more cards, just know they exist (It says so in the player’s section of Hucksters and Hexes so I’m not really spoiling anything there.) Seek them out and gather as many as you can, since this is the most reliable and guaranteed way to draw more.

Mad Science? (****): I don’t know of any gizmo that exists to help with Hexslingin’, but you may be able to get permission from your Marshal to invent one. I mention this specifically to help out Metal Mages.

Buff your Hexslingin’ with Spells (****): In a pinch, you can use spells to make it easier to cast more spells. This is risking all kinds of backlash, but you can use Raisin’ the Pot with an extra action card to get a few more cards on a spell where it matters more. Some of your friends might have spells that raise your dice results too – such as the Voodooist and his Good Mojo bag.

Become Harrowed (**): Being harrowed is dubious at best, but there’s a harrowed power that straight up lets you draw more cards. It’s expensive for the BP, but worth it – that is until the Manitou gains domination and gets the same benefit against your friends with no chance of backlash (this is why this is only a 2-star option.)

Beg your Marshal for more cards (*): While your odds are increased if tears are involved, this might only work once during a whole campaign, and you’ll garner a heck of a lot of bad karma going forward if you try it.

Huckster Specific Edges
In this section I’ll talk about some edges that are only really useful to Hucksters, or applications of universal edges that might be helpful to a Huckster.

Arcane Prodigy [H&H] (****): The time it takes to learn new hexes can actually be pretty restrictive. Knowing a lot of hexes is fantastic for the Huckster, but earning the BP just isn’t enough a lot of the time. Halving the 2d20 hours it takes and being able to adjust it further more easily is a tempting offer. The BP cost is maybe a little high, but I totally think if you often find it impossible to get your study time in you should take some of that BP you’ve saved up for spells and put it into this. (I wouldn’t necessarily start with it)

Belongin’s [PG] (*****): This gets five stars completely contingent on what your Marshal will let you pick up with it. As mentioned in the introduction on card odds, there are relics that let you draw more cards automatically. If you can start with one of those, that’s probably the highest priority and makes this pretty near a must have – even if the likely CP cost is 5. If you can’t get a relic, then the next thing on your radar should be an ancient edition of Hoyle’s book of Games. The best book costs 4 Character Points, and as long as you can defend it with your life, it might just be worth the expense. Much like Arcane Prodigy, there’s nothing more frustrating than earning the BP and not being able to spend it on what you want, but unlike Arcane Prodigy, if you roll a malfunction on that spell you want, you’ll NEVER find it in that edition again.

Familiar [H&H] (***): 5 character points is a lot, but familiars are pretty neat. Animals after all can get into a lot of places a person couldn’t, both for trespassing reasons and size reasons. Also, the +1 to hexslinging rolls, while marginal, is still notable, and will stack with other bonuses. The thing that keeps me from giving this a hearty recommendation is the liability involved if your pet dies, and also if that does happen it ends up being wasted BP. Still a solid option overall though.

Old Hand [H&H] (****): This is actually VERY good, and I highly recommend starting with this one if you can. It’s not an absolute must have, but it can really save your skin against backlash from time to time. If you don’t start with this one it’s got an added pain to obtain it later with the time sink.

What Traits do Hucksters want?

You could have a 5 man posse with everyone as a Huckster of some flavor, and yet you’d still have great diversity. This is because Hexslingin’ can use any of the 5 mental stats, and Hucksters can find ways to use all of the physical stats. But since no character (should) have a d12 dice type in every Trait, you’re forced to specialize in some way. In this section I’ll be talking about the advantages of each of the traits for the Huckster.

Cognition (***): Cognition is a good trait in general – it gives you more skill points, and being able to track or avoid being surprised is always useful. From a spell standpoint, Hucksters have a great toolkit for expanding that perception beyond human means. Some of the other Arcane Backgrounds have more potent specialized spells, but Hucksters enjoy variety – ranging from seeing through other people’s eyes to wiretapping telegraph lines. There aren’t quite as many “Must have” spells in Cognition, but when it comes to improving your odds, knowing what’s coming like knowing your opponent’s hand in an actual poker game. I personally think Smarts or Knowledge is slightly better than Cognition, but I wouldn’t fault anyone who decided to prioritize it.

Deftness (***): Slight of Hand is the main draw here, letting you cast in public places with a little more safety. But it’s not just concealing your cards – Shootin’ is one of the easiest ways to contribute to combat, and as a Huckster you’ve got a few buffs available to you that make an already reliable standby into a cakewalk (I’m talking especially about the spell Kentucky Windage.) This is three stars because it’s a lot easier to get away without it (You can often replace Sleight o’ Hand with Bluff) but it’s still a good stat for Hucksters.
Now you might think I might say at this point “This is five stars for Shootists”, but that’s really not the case. With a 5d8 in Shootin’, you’re going to be hitting a TN 5 96% of the time. That’s technically not as good as the 99.59% chance of hitting with a d12, but you can get away with it. And with the buff spells like Kentucky Windage, Longshot, or a few others you can often make that to-hit TN only TN5. The next level up, TN7, is much harder for a 5d8 to hit at 76% vs. the 92% for 5d10 and 97% for 5d12, so it doesn’t hurt to have a good deftness in case you can’t hit a good Card Hand and really need to make a trick shot, but I still think you can get away with putting Deftness as a lower priority, even for a Shootist.

Knowledge (****): You need this to learn new spells. The spells that use Knowledge are also nice. They cover the “Natural Phenomena” gamut of effects, which is useful because they’re all pretty easy to pass off as non-magical. Additionally a lot of the effects are permanent, adding a lot of flexibility to their application. I wouldn’t put less than a d8 in this stat for any huckster, and it’s a great candidate for your d10s or extra d12s.
Obviously if you're a Metal Mage this is 5 stars.

Mien (***): Has the Charm hexes, some of them being downright amazing. However, this has the least number of hexes available, and nothing else here is crucial to the Huckster, so in a lot of cases you can safely dump Mien. But I’m always tempted to take a High Mien anyway thanks to some key options here (And Persuasion, Leadership, and Overawe are all good aptitudes.)

Nimbleness (***): Not as important as Deftness, but it’s also hard to ignore. You get Pace for your Nimbleness, and it’s good for Dodge and Fightin’ which I recommend almost every character stick a few points in. But besides being universally a great stat for any character, for Huckster specific needs it actually doesn’t offer much. I personally like to keep a decent dice type in here, but if you dumped it you’ll be a slow slumpy Huckster, but you’ll still be an effective caster. (If you do dump Nimbleness, then go for the Obese Huckster for the size bonus! – and make sure you pick up the Bodyguard Hex.)

Quickness (****): A lot of Hexes require a 2 speed to cast. I generally rate such hexes lower because of that, but there are a few that are still worth considering, and by considering them you’ve made Quickness a must have stat. I almost always try to put a 3d10 or 4d10 in my Quickness stat. If I could spare it, I’d put d12s in it. More cards for any character is highly desired, but Hucksters are more hungry than even they. Definitely don’t put less than a d8 in this if you can.

Smarts (****): Bluff is generally helpful to a Huckster since it helps hide your dark arts from the gullible, but the best reason to take Smarts is the spells. Smarts has the buff spells, and buffing is almost overpowered in Deadlands. Not to mention that of all the things the Huckster does – besides damage spells – Support casting is something that this Arcane Background excels at like no other AB. The Tweak and Twist spells, for example, are effective even with low card hands, and can turn the tides faster than you can say “Winded”. Plus, Smarts is home to the best Hex in the game.

Spirit (*****): Spirit is good for every character because of Guts. It’s good for Hucksters because it contains some of the most powerful spells – though all of the Spirit spells are overtly magical. Spirit is the most important stat if you want to get away with not carrying a gun – instead relying on damage spells. But the reason I rate it 5 stars is because a high spirit helps mitigate some of the worst backlash results, including getting possessed and making things really suck for the party. You can technically get away with a d10 in this, you don’t have to put your d12 here if you only got one on the stat draw. But I definitely wouldn’t ignore this, and I would definitely put a stat that has a lot of dice in it.

Strength (**): Probably the least of the Huckster’s worries, regardless of how you build. It’s not the worst thing ever and there’s even one trick that specifically uses the Huckster’s strength stat. Having a 2d8 or better here let’s you take Brawny, and raising your size is always helpful. But overall if you dumped this you can still be effective in almost every way without it (Until someone casts Spirit Coils on you that is.)

Vigor (***): Vigor is important. A few Backlash effects might stun you and you like the Wind that it provides (Because a lot of great spells can be maintained by Wind per Round.) But, the Sand edge gives you +1 to your stun checks, and the Tough as Nails edge can pad out your Wind (Plus you get a pretty good helping from Spirit anyway.) So you can get away with a lower vigor, but I would never dump it with a d4.
Last edited by professor_q on Tue Apr 04, 2017 10:01 am, edited 6 times in total.

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Re: [Classic] Huckster Guide: The Weird West Wizards

#3 Postby professor_q » Sat Apr 01, 2017 4:06 pm

Tricks are fun, they’re safe, they’re flavorful. They’re also relatively cheap. Are they worth it? If you’re looking at power alone there are a few that are definitely worth it. But even the weaker ones are worth looking at even just to expand your character’s… you know… Character.

Cognition Tricks

Compass [H&H] (****): Very nice for a group of male cowpokes who don’t like to stop and ask for directions. I’m sure it will come up at a decent rate in any given campaign to justify the 2 BP.

Divinin’ Rod [H&H] (****): Finds water within 25 yards. Will save your life, and while good planning could avoid the situation, you’ll be glad you have this if you ever find yourself in it. This is especially good if you’re not traveling with a Blessed catering service, but you should remember to boil the water before you drink it – or take other precautions – because you might end up with a tummy twister if you don’t. (But a tummy twister is probably better than dying of thirst. Probably.)

Envision [H&H] (****): 2 BP for +5 to gamblin’ rolls? Yeah you can’t overdo it, but that’s still a swell deal. With some creativity you may find some oddball uses for this too.

Forecast [H&H] (***): Knowing the weather isn’t the most useful thing, but nothing wrong with knowing if a storm is coming. Could help you predict a natural way for the Shaman to use their lightning spell though.

Guesstimate [H&H] (***): Depending on how secretive your GM is about TNs, this could be invaluable. I guess in most of my games my Marshals only tell me the TN when I’ve actually made the decision to perform the act, so this might help you make the decision if you’re unsure.

Whisper [H&H] (***): This would be a heck of a lot better if it was a longer range than 5 yards, but sending secret messages to your buddies is important to avoid metagaming when planning in a situation where discrete communication is necessary.

Knowledge Tricks

Copy [H&H] (****): The speed at which it copies things (5 seconds) is great. Like Compass, you’ll definitely get the opportunity to use this enough to justify the 2 BP. Just make sure you carry enough printer paper on your person at all times, lest you get fired from your 1800s Kinkos.

Debug [H] (****) <Metal Mage>: Adding a flat bonus to the Gadget’s next Reliability Roll is excellent for someone using a ton of dangerous gadgets – which you should be if you are a Metal Mage. You’ll be wasting a ton of action cards if you start to get paranoid in combat, but since this lasts an hour you can ensure that at least for the first round each of your gadgets are 10% less likely to screw things up. Just be OCD enough to check everything you have on a regular basis.

Flare [H&H] (***): Makes a flame burn brighter, but not faster. That’s a good combo, and might help scope out a cave or something.

Flicker [H&H] (***): The opposite of Flare, which seems less useful, unless you’re trying to hide from someone or freak someone out.

Mirror [H] (***): Having a mirror you can summon at will can have a lot of clever applications. I’m not sure that using it to peak around corners is always the most stealthy thing, but looking at card hands and maybe even using it as a signal for your friends are both good ideas. A lot of applications for this could be accomplished by just carrying a mirror around though, so 2 bp might be a tad too much to consider this for most characters.

Tool [H] (****) <Metal Mage>: Go all Full-Metal Alchemist and make tools from nothing. In a lot of ways this is better than the Trinkets Hex – it lasts longer and can make a lot of the same things as two-pair Trinkets hand, but with a foolproof success rate. As long as you can find a rock or whatever you’ll always have a Lockpick, Hammer, or whatever. Definitely recommend this one.

Mien Tricks

Hesitate [H&H] (**): I can see this rarely being useful, but wasting your action to slightly delay another person’s action – and I do mean slightly, just isn’t worth your action card most of the time. If you know your friend is going pretty soon after you though, and he’s got the life saving grace available to perform, delaying your opponent might just be the best thing you can do.

Finish [H] (***): +2 persuasion when selling things. That by itself might not be worth the 2bp, but there are some clever ways you might be able to use this more often – like maybe covering up a tussle where you banged up some furniture in the process. Overall I like it more than Groom.

Preserve [H&H] (****): Turns your huckster into the party refrigerator, but with the day duration you can easily spend each morning increasing the longevity of your supplies.

Smarts Tricks

Bandage [H&H] (*****): This will come up. If you read my Helpin’ Hand analysis further below, I point out that the Huckster isn’t the most reliable healer. But this will save a person’s life until you can get a real healer to come along if things are bad enough.

Bar [H&H] (****): -5 to strength rolls can make your fortress impregnable. While you really shouldn’t often be shutting yourself into self made prisons often, if it does happen, this is powerful.

Beggar’s Banquet [H&H] (**): This trick is mostly just flavor (BAH HAHA), but you may be able to be one of those unscrupulous types that wants to hide the taste of poison sometime down the road – so keep this one in mind and put in the two nights of study before you administer the bleach to whoever you’re feeding it to.

Calling Card
[H&H] (***): Actually pretty useful, and not just for cheating. Start your own secret club with this, and in Deadlands, secret clubs can actually be pretty useful.

False Face [H&H] (****): +2 to disguise rolls, even for 5 minutes, is still well worth 2 bp.

Fooled You! [H] (***): The range makes this difficult to use, but illusions are flexible enough to make this generally recommended. It says that it “can’t convincingly duplicate an imprint” – I don’t know exactly what that means, but you may be able to use this like Dr. Who’s psychic paper in producing documents to flash people with in elaborate cons.

Groom [H&H] (**): The imperfect nature of this spell makes it a little less than desirable, but I guess if you like wrestling Mojave Rattlers before the town social, this can make up for the crunch time.

Palm [H&H] (***): Great little party trick that with some creativity could offer some clever solutions to random problems involving regular folk.

Reload [H&H] (****): Reloading is slow, this makes it faster. If you use guns, you should consider picking this up for when you don’t want to risk more on the equivalent Shootist hex.

Shout [H&H] (***): I guess if people don’t find it odd that the Huckster has such a strong voice, I can see this being helpful for more Mien based Hucksters.

Sound [H&H] (****): Making noises, even mumbles or moans, can work well as a distraction. Creativity will have you using this often.

Startle [H] (****): This can make an overawe check easier, or it can turn animals into distraction makers. It also has a pretty long range for a trick, so you might even get someone bucked off their horse using it. Overall I’d say it’s decently strong for a Trick.

Stabilize [H](**)<Metal Mage>: This is an interesting idea, but getting blown up by d12 dynamite is still going to be pretty painful, even if it’s not the full d20. If the range was longer, or if the effect scaled somehow, this would be worthwhile, but then maybe it wouldn’t be a Trick.

Tinhorn Shuffle [H] (***): The fact that you have to be the center of attention limits this trick’s usefulness, but it’s a guaranteed bonus as a distraction for your friends. Coordinate with your posse and you’ll find yourself using this often enough to make it worth the cost.

Spirit Tricks

Brace [H](**)<Metal Mage>: Neat trick flavor wise, but mechanically only useful if you already have a high strength. Combined with Corporeal Tweak, it might be useful, but then you might as well cast Spirit Coil for a similar result. I’m sure even with the limitations a clever player can come up with some good ideas for this.

Coffin Varnish [H&H] (**): Helps keep you awake, but the side effect isn’t worth it. You have some other “watchdog” spells that let you sleep and still stay safe. There may be an occasion where this is helpful, but that’s an oddball occasion.

Ignite [H&H] (****): There will always be good times to light things on fire, and being able to do it with your fingers is a great perk. You’re not going to be the Pyro in happy land with this, but it’s just a trick.

Likker Up [H&H] (****): Getting people drunk is a surprisingly good trick for distracting folks, and with an hour duration this works very much as advertised.

Pick Me Up [H] (*): Turns Whiskey in to a Wind Restoring beverage, while making it extremely intoxicating in the process. There are just too many rules surrounding this to make it really useful. You don’t want to get drunk from getting your wind back, so it’s not really a great wind restore ability. You have to have missing wind for it to have an intoxicating effect, so if you want to get them drunk as a distraction or something you’re going to have to beat them up first, or find some other way to drain their wind… and if you’re doing that you might as well knock them out the old fashioned way or use a Hex instead of a trick. You might get to use this once or twice, but I personally would spend my BP somewhere else.

Shatter [H&H] (**): Breaks small bottles – basically. Not seeing this one as being too often useful, unless you’re like a sponsor for Alcoholics Anonymous.

Will O’ The Wisp [H&H] (**): With such dim light, it’s not particularly useful except as a distraction. With a 10 yard range, it may still be too restrictive to use that way.
Last edited by professor_q on Sat Apr 01, 2017 5:09 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: [Classic] Huckster Guide: The Weird West Wizards

#4 Postby professor_q » Sat Apr 01, 2017 4:06 pm


For Hexes that are in both Hucksters and Hexes and the Revised Player’s Guide, I’m going to list two ratings and comment on both versions of the spell. In general, they got nerfed from their earlier counterparts – probably due to changing the method of obtaining hexes from a confusing potentially 15 point per-spell aptitude system to a shared Hexslingin’ aptitude. Hexarcana states “[Anything that flies in the face of what’s in the player’s guide should be ignored]”, meaning that many Marshals might consider rules as written to mean that you should always take the Player’s Guide version. I have a different point of view on that, and I’d argue that on a case by case basis some hexes are merely expanded by Hucksters and Hexes rather than “flying in the face” of the PG rules. But, in case your Marshal is strict about it, I’ll rate them both separately.

I’ll be mixing Shootist Hexes and Metal Mages hexes into the pile here since both of those Arcane Backgrounds can still access the whole gamut of regular Hexes. For those I’ll put [Shootist] and [Metal Mage] to distinguish them. Anything else you can assume is just regular Huckster fare.

Cognition Hexes

Achilles’ Heel [H&H] (***): If it weren’t for the two pair activation, this would be a must- have shake-and-bake answer for not being able to research an abomination you’re fighting ahead of time – thanks to the low speed of 1. The range aspect then keeps this from being a planning hex if you wanted to spam it outside of combat. Still, if you’re drawing more than 7 cards regularly, pick this hex up – it’s still pretty good. Just make sure if you plan on doing this in the beginning of combat that your friends are busy making sure the “Hit it with bullets until it stops moving” method isn’t viable.

A Glass Darkly [H] (****): Lets you see the past on the other side of glass. The hand requirements aren’t bad for recent murders or other events, I could see this being incredibly useful and often for a wide range of mysteries. Plus the fact that you can go back years with the right hand, you can learn quite a lot from this. The restriction of a window (or glass) being necessary for the spell is a slight bummer, but there’s also not much like this kind of divination in the spells listed in the Deadlands books. Windows are common enough that I think this is worth taking.

Analyze [H] (***) <Metal Mage>: Contingent on whether you’re finding other people’s potions or not, this does improve your odds immensely for expanding your recipe list. Not a bad use of 5bp, unless of course you’re never running into other Mad Science potions.

Bloodhound [H&H] (***): Great if you’re chasing someone – but since you have to tag them before you track them and it only lasts an hour per hex level, this is really only a “hot on the trail” hex. I’d skip this until you take up a bounty or something, then I’d definitely write it down if you can find it in one of your books.

The Demon’s Eye [H] (*): Tactically speaking, this is good information, but you’re going to need a high hand for this to be really useful. For wasting an action card and 1 wind per round, I just don’t think this is worth it. Grab Sleeve Card instead and improve your odds of going first.

Earshot - [PG & H&H] (***): Good eavesdropping spell that lets you hear through the ears of a target miles away. Will quickly aid in relevant investigations, but I don’t think it’s something you’ll be using a whole lot – especially since you have to set up the spell with an object the target has touched (Though you could just throw a baseball at his face and use that after he leaves.) Strangely, this spell uses Smarts in the H&H book – so I definitely think that flies in the face of the PG’s Cognition change.

Eye Spy [H&H] (****): A simple +5 to cognition that activates on an ace practically makes this a trick. With a decent Vigor you can keep this up a lot – the Nausea only ends the hex so there’s little consequence for trying. The only downside is the telling faintly visible eyes that float around you – kind of making it hard to hide your magic nature.

Fortune Teller [H&H] (***): I’m going to tell you a secret: The Marshal doesn’t know the future either. So basically this is a way to get hints on where you should go in your quest. The five minute casting time and two pair activation means you probably want to be drawing 8 cards at least when you attempt this.

Gambler’s Luck [H&H] (***): If you have Luck of the Irish or some similar method of obtaining fate chips that aren’t traded for BP and have expiration dates, this is a way to multiply them – or lose them entirely. Note that the Hexarcana clarifies that these fate chips also cannot be spent for Bounty Points. Great if you have a nice Knack to activate with the winnings.

Hex Sense [H&H] (****): Flat duration (no concentration), nice activation powers on an ace or a pair, and a decent range. Detecting magic is always useful and can even possibly be used to help identify relics.

Home Ground [H&H] (*****): If you’ve ever traveled at all, you know how crucial a map can be. A lot of the Huckster’s best tricks come from being able to plan ahead, and geography is some of the best information you can obtain. Jacks for a mile radius is pretty reasonable too.

Hunch [PG & H&H] (***): Good idea, but the two pair activation kind of kills it. If the party ever doesn’t know what to do though, this is an easy way to get hints from your Marshal – if it ever works. (H&H and PG are the same)

Interpret [H&H] (**): From a BP perspective, languages are super cheap – at least language 1 is. You can get 5 languages at that level for the cost of this Hex and not have to worry about backlash or getting worse than a pair. You may just want to grab Gift of Gab or let your Blessed use Parley. This isn’t awful, it’s just easily replaced. One advantage it does have is if your Marshal introduces Draconic or something that you can’t reasonably learn without magic. If he does that, then seek out a Hoyle book containing this hex at that time.

Knife through Butter [LD] (****) <Hexslinger>: Makes your bullets armor piercing. Necessary if you want to shoot things with armor. If you want to rely on your gun, pick this up eventually. If you would rather use Knowledge to cast this, the Lone Stars version “Ghost Bullets” is the same thing, but uses that Trait instead.

Loaded for a Bear [LD] (*****) <Hexslinger >: Two speed sucks, and Wind-per-round also sucks. Ace activation is great. This is the only way to increase the damage of your gun outside of making a headshot (And if you want to get technical, eliminating armor penalties if that applies.) This is the spell that’s probably going to get the Hexslinger winded faster than any other, but it’s worth it – especially against large sized creatures. You can also get away with only spending one-wind on this if all you’re doing is making a sniper shot. This helps ensure a “one shot one kill” strategy. Incidentally, if you don’t like using Knowledge for this hex, you can go with Magnum from Lone Stars instead, since that does the same thing but uses Knowledge instead.

Looking Glass [H&H] (****): It doesn’t sound like you need to have anything from your target to use this, you just have to be lucky enough to have a mirror in the location you want to spy on. The range is also five times better than Earshot or Private Eye. The two pair activation hurts this, but unlike Hunch, you’re probably NOT going to want to cast this a lot meaning it’s not as big a deal – especially if you can setup with extra cards through some other buff (like Rasin’ the Pot.) Anyway, the biggest restriction – the Mirror – can be arranged. It might be expensive, but leaving a valuable mirror sitting around might just get the bandits you’re after to foolishly pick it up – just as an example. The ability to teleport isn’t very likely unless you can get a 10 card draw, but if you can this also has longer range than Gateway.

Long-Winded [H&H] (**): Ehh…. “Long Distances” isn’t really only 5 miles. In spite of the Hex Text, you’re not going to replace a telegraph with this. With a 3 of a kind activation, this also can’t reliably work as a walkie talkie for complex plans that it would help. However it can let you signal a friend in such a plan, so it’s not useless.

Private Eye - [PG & H&H] (***): Same as H&H version except it doesn’t have the weird quirk with Smarts being the stat in the H&H version like with Earshot, which makes me think that Earshot was straight up a mistake. Anyway, this is earshot except through eyes, which could potentially be better than Earshot – it just depends on the kind of information you’re looking for.

Penetratin’ Gaze [H&H] (****): See in the darkness, through smoke, and if you’re lucky, through walls. This is all fine and dandy by itself, but where this really shines is being able to see through your own setups, like Graveyard Mists. If you get a lucky hand at this, you can also get line of sight for your Soul Blast spell – since that shoots through walls.

Reverse Engineer [H] (****) <Metal Mage>: Same thing as Analyze, except usable on Gadgets instead of Potions. This is a little more useful I think since you’re more likely to find gadgets as loot, while potions are more likely to be consumed before you get to them. Great way to expand your recipe list.

Truthsayer [H&H] (*****): Lets you scrutinize truth or lies. It activates on an ace and sort of just works. It’s like a powerful trick.

Warnin’ Bells [H&H] (***): If you have a high cognition, you can help your friends act during a surprise round. Normally this takes Mien and the Leadership skill, so you can save on that aptitude with this. You’ll also need a decent quickness and a lot of luck to go early in the round to really take advantage of this though.

Watchdog [H&H] (****): I rate this with the assumption that you don’t have to be inside the radius of the watchdog for it to work. At an hour per hex level, setting up beacons to alert you of

Wire Tap [H] (****) <Metal Mage>: Whoa! This is super effective. Low hand requirements for anything. Save yourself the cost of sending any Telegraph, and wiretap anyone you want (Even the local Real Estate Tycoon!) A very nice reliable way of spying, assuming the option is available.
Last edited by professor_q on Sat Apr 01, 2017 4:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: [Classic] Huckster Guide: The Weird West Wizards

#5 Postby professor_q » Sat Apr 01, 2017 4:07 pm

Knowledge Hexes

Ace in the Hole [H&H] (****): The two-pair activation means you might be spamming this until it works, but the day per hexslingin’ duration means that it doesn’t matter that much (as long as you have the 10 minutes to spare for each attempt.) Since this uses your Hexslingin’ skill, as long as your passing along cards that use stats your friend is also good at, they’re basically as good as you for casting the hex. This opens up a wide range of strategic possibilities, but it also allows your friend to cast “Self” spells on themselves. Since you can’t cast the hex that you put on the card until it’s used, I don’t recommend this one until you have a decent variety of spells in your pocket.

Argent Agony [LD] (****) <Hexslinger>: A big disadvantage to Shootin’ as a damage type is not being able to affect some abominations due to their immunity to the mundane. This pretty much fixes that, except for those oddball monsters. At 10 minutes per hex level, the two speed is kind of a minor issue, but only being able to affect a couple of bullets at a time is a pain keeping me from rating this 5 stars. You do have options to help get a good card hand on this though, since the Lone Stars “Silver Bullet” spell is exactly the same thing, except it uses Spirit instead of Knowledge.

Barricade [H] (***) <Metal Mage>: Basically a party-wide armor spell – this creates a good bit of cover for your friends. You need a very good hand for this to be really good, but -4 damage is still something. I think this is pretty well balanced, making it solid. If it had a lower speed, or if the card hands were a little easier to hit though it’d easily be a level 4 or 5 hex.

New Slugs for Old [LD] (**) <Hexslinger>: Change one type of ammo for another. It works. But why? If you meticulously loot your opponents this could save you money, but it’s not that much to buy bullets to justify spending 5 BP here. The suggestion to trade enemy bullets for the wrong bullets is a funny idea, but it’s subverted by the touch range. If you want to steal enemy ammo, there’s another Shootist hex for that called Liberated Ammo. This is the same as the Lone Stars Hex “Bullet Mold” except it uses Smarts instead of Knowledge for some reason.

Bullet With Your Name On It [LD] (*) <Hexslinger>: I’m not familiar with the Deadlands rules before the revised edition, but I think this is using an archaic penalty for cover that doesn’t exist anymore. It does say that it gives a benefit to called shots made against your named target, but that’s what Kentucky Windage does – with better scaling and no wind per round cost. This hex is pretty much Dead on Arrival even though it does have a cool name.

Call O’ The Wild [PG]-(*) [H&H]-(**): Using just the Player’s Guide version, a Two pair activation means you’re going to be trying a lot and risking a lot of backlash just to make it work at all – and when it does work, now what? I might just not be creative enough, but what are a bunch of “rates”, Snakes, and Bats going to do for you besides fly in someone’s hair? The snakes do have poison, so I guess you could assassinate someone without worrying about the Social consequences of casting as much – you violent person. The even more unlikely hands are usable but of course, you can’t really depend on that at all. The Hucksters and Hexes version is a little better, activating on a pair and starting with smaller creatures, but it’s not like these critters can convey information back to you. But with H&H, it’s easier to imagine having really bizzare uses for this kind of spell when it actually works a decent amount of the time.

Cardsharp [H] (***): Love the flavor, but the effect is outclassed by the other single target damage spells available to the Huckster. It does have one major advantage compared to the likes of Black Lightning and Soul Blast though – it’s not quite as overtly magical. You could theoretically just be amazing at throwing cards through people’s throats. Black Lightnin’ is a pretty good comparison though - a starting character is going to be able to throw around charges of Black Lightning dealing 5d4 damage when drawing a pair, while this spell might be able to offer 1d12 + strength damage. If you’ve got a high strength, Cardsharp may be the better damage spell in the short term, but Black Lightnin’ is more consistent and doesn’t require an investment in both Deftness and Strength to be good – just Deftness. It’s still a good damage spell, and making your character into Gambit is cool enough to build around it, if you happen to get a pretty good stat draw to be able to take a decent strength score.

Cold Snap [H] (**): Lowers some corporeal stats of creatures surrounding the Huckster. Also lowers the Huckster’s corporeal stats. I see this rarely being useful, especially since it lowers the Huckster’s ever important quickness stat. The only thing that saves this from being one star is the AOE effect being unique. Maybe you’ll find yourself in the middle of a Calvary that’s about to attack a town you’re trying to protect, and making the horses less nimble is the best thing you could possibly do.

Deadly Creepers [H&H] (**): Another good idea stifled by the stats of the spell. For an area of effect TN 5 snare, it would be good if it weren’t for the 2 speed. Also, you need the grass to exist in the first place. And even if you’re in the right environment the damage isn’t that great.

Decrypt [H] (***) <Metal Mage>: Like all the hexes that add +5 to X skill, this is good. It doesn’t require concentration or wind per round or anything, and it has a speed of 1, so if this was useful in combat, it’d be a great combat spell! This Hex is a bit of a self-fulfilling prophesy hex though. You MIGHT come across the occasional cypher, and in that case you should learn this hex. But if you learn it without the need, then your Marshal is going to give you cyphers to justify your taking it… So I think if you take this you’ll not regret it, but kind of for the wrong reasons. At least it works really well!

Disrupt [H&H] (**): Dispelling Spells is a great idea, but since the odds of you succeeding are based on the caster level of the target, you’re going to have to get really lucky against a lot of the stuff you really want to get rid of, which is the killing point for me. If there was a way to make it more reliable, I’d totally recommend it though. Add a star or two if your Marshal uses a lot of low level casters in your campaign.

Earthwrack [H&H] (*****): Lower level hands will let you impede your foes with a huge area of effect. Higher level hands create walls and chasms that will make pursuit impossible or mold the battlefield to your advantage. And finally hands with nearly impossible odds can level towns. The range of power packed into this spell is incredible, and it’s what the spell Pardners was made for if you ever feel the need to wipe some place off the map and can find some like-minded Huckster friends.

Gateway [H&H] (***): The Concentration duration kind of confuses me, but I assume it doesn’t begin at the moment you mark your exit doorway. The primary limiting factor here is the 2 miles per hex level range, meaning you should make your escape hatch any time you travel somewhere new by train and before you head to your intended destination. If you want to be tricky, the text does say that any constructed portal works, so if you carry a nice wooden frame on you that you can crawl through and write “Hatch” on it, you might be able to argue that it should work. Oh, and two pair activation means that you can’t rely on this as a fast escape method.

Geyser [H&H] (***): On the one hand the speed of 3 is a lot to expect of a huckster on a single round, unless they were able to put a nice dice type in their quickness. On the other hand, this does a substantial amount of damage for the card hand – so it’s a fair trade-off. This is pretty much a dynamite damage spell since it offers no other extra effects, but it’s decent. Probably not as good as Soul Burst, but you can also claim coincidence if someone tries to call out magical shenanigans, which you really can’t with your ghost bomb.

Ghost Bullets [LS] (****) <Shootist>: Makes your bullets armor piercing. Necessary if you want to shoot things with armor. If you want to rely on your gun, pick this up eventually. If you would rather use Cognition to cast this, the Law Dogs version “Knife through Butter” is the same thing, but uses that Trait instead.

Graveyard Mists [H&H] (*****): Mists are spooky, but also mundane enough to not cause too much panic. For you though, the’re great for hiding your spellcasting, as well as sneaking bodies or a host of other tricks you might try. 40 yards per hex level is also insane. Combine this with Penetratin’ Gaze to make it so you see them, but they don’t see you (It only takes a pair to penetrate a fog.)

Grenade [H] (***) <Metal Mage>: Looking at just the numbers, Soul Burst is a much better hex. It’s got better range, doesn’t have to be thrown with a throwing skill, it ignores armor, and it even does more damage on average. But grenade has two advantages that make it still worth considering; it’s mundane enough to avoid giving away that you’re a filthy witch, and it can blow up objects with a similar utility to using actual dynamite – without the risks of carrying dynamite. With that in mind, I place Soul Burst and Grenade in the same tier.

Ice Cap [D] (****): One of two super secret hexes hidden in the very very back of the Doomtown or Bust book, and not reprinted anywhere else. This is a fairly versatile hex, good for a lot of applications from creating an area that’s hard to move through to freezing doors shut. The area of effect doesn’t scale extremely well with the lower card hands, but the thickness is entirely determined by your Hexslingin’ skill, which is fantastic. Rank 5 means that strength checks start at TN 11 to break through the ice, regardless of what hand you get. So even if you can’t create a snowfield without a Full-House, you can lock up doors and freeze guns into holsters with just a pair.

Liberated Ammo [LS] (***) <Shootist>: Take bullets straight out of your enemy’s gun. There are properties to this spell I really like, such as how it takes the next bullet in the chamber forcing your enemy to lose an action. This hex would be 4 star or better if it wasn’t a required hand of “Jacks” and if you could put your bullets straight into your gun. As it is, it’s a decently reliable way to mess up your opponent while getting yourself a few bullets, but while they’re more overtly wizardly there are a quite a few far more powerful options to waste your enemy’s actions. (Like Razor coil or Spirit coil)

Magazine [H] (****) <Metal Mage>: The Metal Mage looked at all those shootist hexes that do things like convert ammo types, or reload the shootist’s gun, or steal ammo from other guns… And they said “@&*# it! Infinite ammo!” The big advantage here is not having to reload at all for the duration, so you can go hog wild with a Gatling Shotguns or fast fire pistols. The drawback of course is the wind-per-round cost, but if you’re ready to spray and pray, I think it’s worth it.

Magnum Force [LS] (*****) <Shootist >: Two speed sucks, and Wind-per-round also sucks. Ace activation is great. This is the only way to increase the damage of your gun outside of making a headshot (And if you want to get technical, eliminating armor penalties if that applies.) This is the spell that’s probably going to get the Shootist winded faster than any other, but it’s worth it – especially against large sized creatures. You can also get away with only spending one-wind on this if all you’re doing is making a sniper shot. This helps ensure a “one shot one kill” strategy. Incidentally, if you don’t like using Knowledge for this hex, you can go with Loaded for a Bear from Law Dogs instead, since that does the same thing but uses Cognition instead.

Pardners [H&H] (****): If there’s another Huckster or three you can get in on this often, great. If not, ignore this. Anyway, the speed is actually relatively fast, so comboing up for even something as simple as a more powerful Soul Blast might be worthwhile. Using this hex might be the only way you’ll ever see Royal Flush effects. The backlash thing is a pain, but getting otherwise impossible hands is a more than fair trade-off for the increased risk.

Quick Sand [H&H] (*****): I’m a big fan of this one. Its permanent duration makes it easy to set this up as a trap for devious schemes. 5 yard radius per hex level is pretty good too. Pair this up with Hard Water if you want to drown your victims (You monster.)

Rain Maker [H&H] (****): Altering weather could be to your advantage, for all the reasons listed in the text. A free card when using Texas Twister during a rainstorm is a pretty good reason by itself. Just a reminder that the ten minute casting time makes this a planner’s Hex.

Rapid Fire [H&H] (***): Extra attacks can really help pump out the damage, but Kentucky Windage improving your chances to hit in the same spot again and again definitely takes priority in Deadland’s mechanics. The added Malfunction chance and the fact that it doesn’t increase the size of the clip makes me think this is “Solid” but nothing better than that. Not a bad one to combo with the Metal Mage hex “Magazine” though.

Razor Coils [H] (*****) <Metal Mage>: Spirit Coils, but with a shorter duration and causes wind damage in addition to the crowd control. Also targets Nimbleness instead of Strength, which is basically just a trade-off for the types of enemies you can use this on. What makes this such a great crowd control is that it seems to just work, and that they have to waste at least one action card getting out of it. Best of all, it always deals at least 1d6 wind damage to the target. I wouldn’t say it completely replaces Spirit Coils, but it’s definitely one of the best single target lockouts in the game.

Rust [H&H] (****): Might not be the most powerful effect ever (It’s random) but it’s permanent, and it has great range. Use it on metal gizmos to make stack up the malfunction chance. And outside of combat the strength bonus for breaking metal objects is doubled, making it almost like a supernatural buff bonus.

Safecracker [H&H] (****): Opens locks – replacing the need for lockpickin’. Needing Jacks for most locks is pretty reasonable.

Sandstorm [H&H] (****): Texas Twister is much more versatile, but this has a ginormous area of effect (Like, two Texas Twisters per hex level), making it not completely redundant. Interestingly, the penalties to traits only affects the people inside the storm, and it doesn’t mention anything about it providing cover. I think the rating is the same whether your Marshal rules it does or not. If it provides obscured vision, this is a good battlefield control letting you wall up an area to take your enemies out in pieces. If it doesn’t, you can drop this on your foes and snipe them from outside the storm without any penalty. Oh, I should mention that unlike Texas Twister you can act by expending the 1 wind per round, so it has that advantage too.

Scrap Storm [H] (***) <Metal Mage>: Texas Twister with Damage. Sounds awesome right? The issue of course is the part where you take 1d4 wind per round. It also sucks that it’s always centered on you. So really this is nothing like Texas Twister – it’s more like a close range AOE spell. But, the TN 9 Vigor Test keeps this as a decent pick, putting it on par with other Area of Effect damage spells.

Sculptor [H&H] (****): A very good idea, but it’s pretty much a trick. It activates on an ace and doesn’t get any better with better hands, which is a shame because a cubic foot per round at 1 wind per round is a little weak. But this is safe, and there isn’t really anything quite like it. The four-star rating is there for some of the creative uses you might come up with for this. One of the simple ones they list in the text is making handholds for climbing – you might eliminate the need for Flypaper Fingers AND help your Posse make the same climb – if what you’re climbing is a rock anyway.

Silverspray [H] (****) <Metal Mage>: Close Range AOE “Shotgun” hex. What I like most about this is that it’s a multi target massive damage spell that doesn’t cost 2 action cards. It does substantially less damage than Soul Burst on a single cast, but you can cast it twice as often as Soul Burst. My only gripe is the range.

Sirocco [H&H] (***): This hex doesn’t get really powerful until the wind exceeds 30mph, which requires a three of a kind or better. For pushing enemies back, take a look at Clear Out! Instead. This spell’s main uses are for if you happen to be seafaring with a wind powered vehicle, or as an anti-air tool. The rating is based on those circumstances being available in your campaign – and even in those circumstances it’s still a bit weak for the hands required – but if you’re just blowing a ship around, you don’t want a big hand.

Steganogram [H] (****) <Metal Mage>: Flavorful and effective, and I think as useful as you make it. Sending secret messages about is a good idea especially as the forces of evil start to catch on to you.

Texas Twister [PG & H&H] (*****): With a duration of concentration, this is definitely a support spell, but a mighty support spell it is. A 10 yard radius is actually kind of huge, and this can create cover or tie up a bunch of enemies, giving it both combat and non-combat applicability. It moves extremely fast too, so on each of your actions you can harass your enemy again and again with ease even if they try to move out. If you can combo this with something that restricts movement, like the Quicksand spell, you can completely tie up an enemy (And maybe even drown them in that particular example.) Best of all, and the thing that gets this a 5 star rating, is that Texas Twisters are technically a mundane thing, making it pretty easy to explain it away if you managed to conceal your casting with deftness. The H&H version is basically the same as the PG.

Skinchange [H&H] (***): At an hour per hex level, there is bound to be a few times that this will be greatly useful. Not being able to keep your stuff is an issue though – but that’s part of the fun of table tops, getting into situations like your huckster hiding in some closet wearing only his birthday suit since his infiltration plan went awry. He’s probably in there trying to get that two-pair again… Oh the wiles of that minimum card hand… Anyway, let’s rate the options (rated with the assumption that the hex is successful):
Black Cat (****): The stealth form. If there was some way to take your stuff with you this would be the go-to hex for that purpose – especially since if you DO get caught – you’re a cat! Gives an automatic 5d12 in stealth – note that the d12 pace makes you pretty fast by itself as well. Includes a nice clmbing skill too – but if up is the way you need to go the Raven has that covered.
Raven (*****): The sentry form, and the flying form. Flying alone makes this worthwhile from time to time, but the bonus to Cognition is neat if you’d like to make a habit of sitting on a friend’s shoulder as if you were his familiar (Everyone wondered why he wears two dusters and carries a pair of what he calls “emergency pants”.)
Serpent (****): Squeezy form and poison form. If you want to assassinate someone using snakes, this is better than Call of the Wild assuming you can get away fast enough before they retaliate. Since you can squeeze through cracks you can pretty easily plan an escape route. The poison is REALLY powerful though so it does a good job if you do want someone dead. It doesn’t seem as overtly useful as the Raven or Cat forms, but it’s got its place. Overawe is interesting, but draws too much attention to you (Anyone with a pistol might use you as target practice.) The 4d12+2 quickness is amazing, so if you do get into a combat situation you might end up with a decent number of cards – and it says you can change back at will, not that it costs you any of those precious actions.
Wolf (***): Closest thing to a combat form, but the stats really aren’t that great for that purpose. The best things about it are the tracking skill boost (Saves spending the BP on that) and the incredible 18 pace. However, with a 5 minute casting time (aside from the 2 pair activation), you’re not going to be using this as an escape hex (and one of the other forms is faster and has the added ability to go as the crow flies – ignoring terrain.)

Swamp Gas [H&H] (****): Lovely AOE badzone that will hinder any foes that stay in it – controlling them to other areas that might be more strategically viable for you. And if you ignite it, it’s a damage spell – the damage isn’t as good as the Aptitude penalty unless you get a really nice hand though. Swamp Gas is just DYING to be explained away as something natural too (And now I have the X-files theme stuck in my head.)

Switch-Action [LS] (*) <Shootist>: This Hex: 5 bp and 1 wind per round to switch your pistol specifically from one type to another. Buying another gun: $25. Switching between two guns and casting this spell take the same number of actions. MAYBE you’ll find a super magic gun that is one or the other… But the ability to fan vs. shooting two bullets really isn’t good enough to take this hex when you could get the Rapid Fire Hex or Magic Bullet instead – both of which work without costing 1 wind per round.

Talisman [H&H] (*****): Three of a kind Activation?? 2 day cast time!? This should suck! (It’s actually a 3 day cast time as clarified by Hexarcana.) Well, the effect is.. well, the best thing ever. I wouldn’t learn this until you get an item that could be enchanted, but when you get that item you can tread on the Mad Scientist’s turf and make permanent buffs to you and your party. This is also a great way to get that “Draw Extra Cards” effect I talked about in the Heart of the Cards section of this guide.

Thunderclap [H&H] (****): I’ve always been a big fan of this hex. It has a huge radius of 5 yards per hex level, a respectable range, and a fantastic non-violent effect that will really dial down the crowd. The speed of 2 and the TN could be a little higher, but it’s an area of effect – those tend to be a little weaker to compensate. A thunderous sound is also something that can occur naturally, so you can explain that it had nothing to do with you, or you can bluff that a piece of garbage you threw into the midst of the crowd was actually a gizmo that you can claim made the sound instead – it’s pretty easy to get around this one (But it’s pretty hard to hide what happened.)

Trinkets [PG & H&H] (***): This is a good idea, but the duration keeps it from being really awesome. The nice thing about Trinkets is that the things it summons are all mundane, meaning that they’re non-magical solutions to problems. I’ve heard people call this the “batman hex” and it kind of is, but like I said, it only lasts half a minute at best. The lower cards are useless, though a match might be right what you need from time to time, so even getting a gun for your Gunslinging Huckster is highly unlikely. It’s a versatile hex, but extremely restricted compared to more specific hex options (And virtually everything this can do a more specialized hex can do much, much better.) Nothing in H&H makes this better – it’s basically the same.

Vittles [H&H] (****): Gives you food that will starve you if you try to live off of it. It works. It obviously won’t save you a ton of money if that’s all you want. Ace activation means that you’ll personally never starve for about a business week from the start of the game – which is a lot of time if you think about it.

Waste Product [H] (*) <Metal Mage>: An amped version of the Stabilize trick, except instead of lowering the damage dice, you have to make a hand level equal to the damage dice in order to do anything. Since the common Dynamite requires a whopping flush to destroy, it’s pretty safe to say that when you’re going to want to use this, it’s probably not going to work. Occasionally you might be able to burn up something that runs on coal, but the most dangerous things are powered by Ghost Rock, which this doesn’t affect. It does say you can use this on bullets, which is a great idea. Except it has a touch range – so anything I just said is moot.

Weird Science [H] (***) <Metal Mage>: Works on all Science Skills. Similar to all of the other Skill Bonus hexes, this is solid, and rerolling your skill roll may be better than the +5 that other skills offer.

Whirlpool [H&H] (****): Excellent for water areas, useless everywhere else. Get it if you’re anywhere near water for an extended period of time.
Last edited by professor_q on Sat Apr 01, 2017 4:26 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: [Classic] Huckster Guide: The Weird West Wizards

#6 Postby professor_q » Sat Apr 01, 2017 4:08 pm

Mien Hexes

Dementia [H] (**) <Metal Mage>: It’s a hilarious hex, but it just requires too much. 2 speed, and a base hand of two-pairs for any significant mechanical benefit. The higher hands have great effects, but you can’t really depend on them.

Filibuster [H&H] (***): A little ambivalent about this one. The nice thing is, is that it’s a distraction with an innocuous effect – you’re not giving away that you’re a witch. It’s that singular noun “Target” that I don’t particularly like. But, there are plenty of circumstances where you can use this and if paired with your accomplice using a sneak skill they may need to roll cognition twice, once against the spell and once against the aptitude, to notice anything.

Forget [H&H] (*****): My favorite Mien Hex. Nothing here says that the memory you erase has to be a recent one, so you can, theoretically, go back and remove whatever you want. Nothing covers your tracks more than a little amnesia. Being able to rewrite memories – now you’re just Leonardo DiCaprio diving down to the third level.

Silver-Tongued Devil [H&H] (****): If this activated on a hand better than Jacks, it’d be 5 stars, but then it might be a little too powerful. A +5 to the three social skills is great, especially since two of them can be used as tests o’ wills. The duration is nice and long with no concentration or wind required. Note that this is only castable on “Self” according to Hexarcana.

Siren Song [H&H] (****): There really isn’t any other hex like this, and this pied piper spell couldn’t be more perfect for what it does (without being grossly unbalanced that is.) It lures groups of people toward the sound – which you can move – against their spirit. There could be numerous occasions where thinning out a crowd will be helpful, and I imagine it’s going to come up more than a few times in the campaign you’re playing in. Just make sure you cast this out of sight and move it away from your person as quickly as possible. The one drawback that keeps me from giving this 5 stars is that while it has a huge radius, you’re at the center of it and you can’t affect anyone who wasn’t in the radius in the first place after casting the spell.

Tall Tales [H&H] (***): Really useful for when you’re trying to keep the fear levels down in an area and some squealing Tinhorn can’t keep his mouth shut about the abominations running everywhere. Personally, I like doing something about the abomination and telling the tale a lot more, but I get that in some campaigns you might be watched by organizations with different goals. That last sentence confuses me to this day – I think it’s saying the hex effects you if you fail the roll – but there aren’t any mechanics outlined there. Ask your Marshal for an interpretation – but if you have a 5 in your Hexslingin’, even with d6s failing your actual hex roll is rare (Though when this spell was written rules worked a little differently.)

Smarts Hexes

Acoustic Shadow [LS] (****) <Shootist>: Silences bullets, and only bullets mind you. This does eliminate any other uses than subterfuge assassination, but it also makes it that much easier to hide those assassinations since anyone who isn’t savvy to the magic of the weird would suspect a shot could be fired when a quiet conversation is going on at the same time. With a pair of Jacks, the Cognition check is reduced by 6, so you might not kill the sound entirely, but even if there was no chance they could miss the sounds of bullets it’s now at least a TN7. This also has a huge range – 100 yards for a rank 5 hexslinger. You could have a whole battle and have people not notice.

Bedazzle [H&H] (****): Blinding your enemies is a pretty good debuff, and a with an activation of an Ace, you’ll likely draw a decent TN for resisting it. The spell states that your targets have to be looking at your cards though, so you have to trick your enemy in doing that first before using this, limiting its applicability a bit. Compared to other similar options, the advantage that Bedazzle has that sets it apart is its ability to affect as many targets as are looking and are in range.

Beast Master [H&H] (****): Heads and Shoulders better than Call O’ the Wild for almost everything that spell might accomplish. Since the hand determines the number of animals you can control and not the type, if you can track down a Grizzly Bear, you get a Grizzly Bear. This basically completely replaces the need for Animal Wranglin’ for the contingent situations you’d need that aptitude for – it always just works assuming you draw the pair. Knock a star off if your Marshal thinks the range also limits the range of control instead of just the initial cast.

Black Cat [H] (*): Two Pair Activation and gives the target a +2 on the roll you make them reroll. It might save your skin if you weren’t proactive enough to try and prevent the action, but I think Confound or something else is just better. It’s nice that this is a vamoose action, but the bonus to the dice roll and activation cost kill it in my opinion.

Brimstone [H&H] (**): Eh… This could be good, but the requirement for already hot coals really limits when you can use it. Plus, you have to be in the middle of it when you cast it. It’s not completely irredeemable thanks to a nice long duration, but it’s probably too restrictive to consider when there are already a lot of great options that do similar things basically anywhere– like Texas Twister, or if you don’t want concentration duration, Bedazzle.

Bullet Proof [H] (***) <Metal Mage>: All defensive spells have to be compared to Body Guard. This is a decent contender, simply because Armor can stop the damage outright for the full duration rather than blocking specific wound levels. The movement speed drawback limits the application, but Two-Pair for 3 armor is pretty good. One major advantage this has over Bodyguard is that it does have range. I’m on the edge of giving this three or four stars, the thing that’s keeping me from the four star category is that I keep thinking about how much harder it’d be to dodge a more powerful attack your armor won’t protect you against.

Bullet Mold [LS] (**) <Shootist>: Change one type of ammo for another. It works. But why? If you meticulously loot your opponents this could save you money, but it’s not that much to buy bullets to justify spending 5 BP here. The suggestion to trade enemy bullets for the wrong bullets is a funny idea, but it’s subverted by the touch range. If you want to steal enemy ammo, there’s another Shootist hex for that called Liberated Ammo. This is the same as the Law Dogs Hex “New Slugs for Old” except it uses Knowledge instead of Smarts for some reason.

Caustic Glop [H] (**) <Metal Mage>: This spell invites you to make comparisons to Soul Blast, so let’s do that. They both use Hexslingin’ for the to-hit roll, which I like, this is an advantage over things like Cardsharp and Black Lightnin’. The initial damage is better on a pair, but quickly gets worse as you scale your hand. The off-set to this is that it does more damage the next round, so I might say that aspect of the spell is awash. It’s cool that this can melt armor, but needing a Three-of-a-Kind to do that is too high to depend on, especially when Soul Blast just ignores the armor entirely. It’s got less range than Soul Blast. But I think the thing that kills it in the comparison is the 2 speed. If this was a 1 speed spell, I’d give it 4 stars at least, especially since it has the “Not quite as magical seeming” aspect to it.

Confound [H&H] (*****): One of the two twist spells is probably better than this for longer combat situations, but if you pair this up with a combo – either performed by your friends or if you cheat to go twice in a row – the TN increase is VERY high, especially if attached to an instant death spell or something similar.

Corporeal Tweak [PG & H&H] (*****): PG and H&H are word for word the same on this one. This is a fantastic buff – raising your dice type by a great amount per level of hand you get. Being able to concentrate or use wind also gives this a wide range of applications both in and out of combat. Best of all, you can cast it on others, so you can roid out your bible thumping Blessed for a holy beating if you want.

Corporeal Twist [PG & H&H] (*****) The PG version is actually buffed in this case, since the removed wording disallows multiple hucksters from dropping multiple twists on a single target. I think the hex is worth 5 stars by itself though. Being the opposite of Tweak, you can really screw over a target – and best of all they can’t do anything but pray you backlash to resist it.

Deadshot/Bullseye [LS/LD] (**) <Shootist/Hexslinger>: Good idea, but completely overshadowed by Kentucky Windage – Particularly since that hex doesn’t cost wind per round. One advantage it does have is that since it’s a flat bonus to the roll, instead of just an elimination of penalties, it will help with raised TN situations like what’s imposed by long range. But then there’s another hex specifically for that purpose. Bullseye in Law Dogs doesn’t seem to scale with your card hand, so the existence of the Lone Stars version makes that Bullseye completely useless.

Deuces Wild! [H&H] (**): A fun little flavor hex. There’s nothing particularly wrong with it, but it’s also not very special either. Could make a good distraction, but you have like a million spells as options for that. If the double wasn’t so easy to spot, I’d probably give this a 3.

Devil’s Workshop [H] (**) <Metal Mage>: Good idea – reducing the time it takes you to construct things. Bad Idea – requiring a whole hour and two pairs to get better than a 20% reduction. I’m really not sure that this is worth 5 BP. In most cases you’ll just want to rush the job with a higher level hand aided by Raisin’ the Pot or Mad Insight. If, however, you want to build something that requires a four of a kind or better, MAYBE then it’s worth taking this Hex.

Diversion [H&H] (*****): Vamoose speed, +5 TN defense benefit for your allies. Highly recommended to keep around if you value your allies at all. Activates pretty reliably with a pair too.

Draw! [H&H] (*****): I love reading forum discussions about this one since everyone complains that you’re probably going to lose action cards by casting it on yourself. This is a support spell folks! It has a very long 10 yards per hex level range! Cast it on your beefed out Kung Fu friend or your Rapid Firin’ Lawman, particularly if you’ve given them other buff spells to boot. You want at least a pair to make up for your two lost cards for this to be worthwhile, but that’s easy enough to make this one highly recommended. Also note that if you do get an incredible 4 or 5 bonus card hand, the wording suggests you can decide who to give the cards to after casting the spell, so you can take two for yourself and give the rest to your neighbors. I think this is one of the most powerful hexes in the game.

Fifty-Two Pickup [H] (****): A very good defensive spell that doesn’t even require concentration. Has a huge area of effect and excellent scaling with hand type. Pretty much the only drawback to this spell is that it gives away that you’re a wizard. This keeps it from being five stars, but it’s still basically the ultimate distraction.

Fist-Full of Slugs/Ammo Whammy [LS/LD] (***) <Shootist/Hexslinger>: Creates some bullets out of nothing that last about an hour. The Metal Mage spell “Magazine” almost makes this not worth considering, but this doesn’t cost 1 wind per round. If you’re a complete cheapskate – or if you’re worried about being caught and stripped - this is a reliable way to make sure you always have a shot.

Foil [H&H] (*): Like disrupt, but specific to hexes only. The primary issue is that the card hand is based on the level of the caster, so only consider this if your GM is using a lot of low level Hucksters (add a couple of stars if he is.)

Fully Loaded/Load ‘Em Up [LS/LD] (***) <Shootist/Hexslinger>: Loads 6 bullets on a single action, as opposed to 3 bullets with the Reload trick. Can load possibly more bullets with a good card hand, but that probably doesn’t apply unless you’re using a gatling gun or something. This is a good benefit, though not necessarily mandatory.

Ghost Trail [H&H] (***): Probably not going to use this a lot, but when you need it, it’s potent. Eliminating your trail is cheap and easy – and probably all you need. The two pair activation for the false trail isn’t high enough that you couldn’t hope for that in addition though.

Hail o’ Lead [LS] (***) <Shootist>: The hex that removes the penalty that Kentucky Windage specifically says it excludes. Casting both and getting good hands basically let you do whatever you want with your gun and still have a TN5 to-hit (Maybe better for fanning if you get a good hand on this.) This doesn’t cost wind per round like a lot of the Shootist hexes, so I don’t think it’s fair for me to completely write it off. But it is a pretty specific purpose when most of your needs are pretty well covered by Kentucky Windage. There are situations where this is better than Magic Bullet for hitting multiple targets – namely since you can make called shots with this more easily if you have KW already cast. So I think overall it’s solid even with all the competition.

Hale ‘n’ Hardy [LD] (***) <Hexslinger>: It’s the same as Snake Oil – negates wound penalties. Lasts the same amount of time, but strangely requires 2 action cards instead of 1. This is balanced by the fact that its range scales with your Hexslingin’ skill instead of being locked to 1 yard. I’m giving the edge to Snake Oil, since actions are precious, but if you like the name of this hex more, or want to take it as one of your starting hexes, this is still good, and more “Supporty” than Snake Oil.

Haywire [H] (****) <Metal Mage>: Rust has more universal application, but this is more potent for hands above Jacks, and can potentially affect things Rust normally couldn’t. I’d still give the edge to Rust as a better hex, but being able to force a malfunction occasionally definitely makes this worth considering.

Helpin’ Hand [PG & H&H] (****) A healer you are not, but you’ll probably want this anyway. As long as you’re getting 6 or 7 cards, you can cover light wounds with fair reliability, but anything worse than that – you’re probably better off picking up Doctor Aptitude to stop the bleeding until you can get to a Voodooist, Shaman, a Blessed, or a “real” doctor (mad scientist). If you have a Blood Mage though, this is a great way to fix up the after effects of their healing, since you’re the only one who can really do that magically. The H&H version and the PG version are basically the same, but interestingly the PG version doesn’t include the bit about it not working on Harrowed characters. I’d definitely rule that it still doesn’t – but hey, if the PG supersedes the H&H version in all cases…

Hurry Up [H&H] (****): If you don’t have time to cast Ghost Rider, this is a good substitute. The effect is very good – twelve pace for five rounds on a pair of Jacks will put some good distance between you and just about anything. With an average Nimbleness Dice type (d8) you’ll be as fast as a horse for 25 seconds (with 5 Hexslingin’.)

Imposter [H&H] (***): It’s a little bothersome that a simple trick – false face – has a pretty big advantage over this for the flavor text reasons. The fact that this uses concentration or wind per round does mean that you can make it effectively permanent while you’re in town, but you’ll be tired quickly if you try to do a lot of things while sporting your new style. But, +5 is a lot for any aptitude, and this shines as it fills its namesake; when you pretend to be someone else. Depending on the campaign this could have a host of uses.

Infernal Machine [H] (*) <Metal Mage>: Don’t get me wrong, the flavor here is AWESOME. But the speed is 1 minute, you need some kind of material to work with, AND the duration is 1d4 wind per round. This is strictly for the Iron Man movie style breaking out of a bad situation. And in that situation… It’s two pair for some ammo maybe – or a Shotgun… when you could spend your 5 BP on a damage spell instead. Three of a kind might get you a vehicle, but you’re not going to get very far before you get winded. Add in the fact that an average huckster is going to have a reliability of only 15, and your device is just going to blow up in your face 25% of the time. I really wish this hex was better than it is, because I like the concept. It just isn’t good as written.

Incognito [H&H] (***): Shadow Man is better. Since every character has at least one point in the Sneak aptitude, assuming you don’t go bust on the roll, every hand that activates Shadow Man is going to create a better TN than this Hex. That said, it still has its uses. Incognito has a touch range, so you can hide other people. It also requires observers to use their spirit to spot you, which might be a better dice to hide from than their cognition. It is a little redundant though.

Iron Fist [LD] (****) <Hexslinger>: Adds a respectable +3 to your fist attacks. If you have any Fightin’ skill at all, this is a neat benefit, and if you also take Marshal Arts you can really do some damage with the extra wind in addition to the wounds you’ll deal. A flat +3 per hand is pretty nuts, since with Jacks you’ll be knocking off half the average person’s Player Character’s in a single hit.

Jerry-Rig [H] (***) <Metal Mage>: Temporary Healing for objects. This is a pretty unique power and should be considered if you’re employing a lot of heavy machinery (And if you are a metal mage you should be.) Takes kind of a decent hand to get a ton of benefit, but even with a pair it’s better than nothing if one of your things got damaged.

Kentucky Windage
[H&H] (*****): An Ace lets you make free called shots to the guts. A pair lets you hit their arms and legs for free. Two pair (albeit more rare) lets you shoot them in the head, over and over again. Even if you only get a pair, a good enough gunman can more than easily work with a -2 to headshots and the extra damage that comes with it. With a flat duration (no wind per round) and such great benefits, this is one of the best ways to turn your gunner into a precision killer. Oh, did I mention you don’t have to cast this on yourself.

Longshot/Longbarrel Special [LS/LD] (****) <Shootist/Hexslinger>: This is the other thing that Kentucky Windage doesn’t cover, since Kentucky Windage only reduces penalties and Range increases the TN. Range can be a bear for someone who doesn’t pick up the Soul Blast hex or just wants to rely entirely on his gun, and this alleviates some of the pain associated with it. Your longest range basic guns are going to get 20-25% longer range with just a pair. Wind-per-round sucks, but hopefully you won’t be spending more than one or two with the right sniper shot.

Magic Bullet [H] (****) <Metal Mage>: Here’s a fun hex. Turn your single target gun into a Chained attack. Your targets have to be within 5 yards of each other, but a pretty good distance. While you probably can’t benefit from other shootin’ buffs since for the chain shots since it uses your Hexslingin’, the 2 round per hex level duration makes this a good battle buff for some collateral damage you wouldn’t have gotten otherwise. Combo this with Rapid Fire and Magazine for maximum carnage.

Mind Tweak [PG & H&H] (*****): Same thing as Corporeal Tweak really, except you can use this to boost your mental stats for hexslingin’ (Raisin’ the pot is better, but hey.) Also can boost your Blessed’s Spirit to help them cast a divine intervention – Oh the irony!

Mind Twist [PG & H&H] (*****) Again, this is as good as Corporeal Twist, maybe even moreso since you have a few Hexes that rely on opposed spirit rolls. Shrink that spirit before laying on the curses.

Mirror Mirror [H] (*): Swap traits with a target. Might be a good idea if you have a complete dump stat, but if you’re trying to get a BETTER stat you’re just gambling. Furthermore this has a speed of two, needs a 2 pair activation, and costs you a wind per round while you have it up. Just grab the Twist or Tweak spells.

Penny Ante [H&H] (****): Lowering TNs is good, but they only go down so far. Still, a TN 13 task is unlikely even for a 5d12 chance at it, so bringing that down for something like a blessed healing a maimed wound is pretty priceless.

Phantasm [H&H] (***): The Scart table actually has quite a few nasty effects a person could suffer – even the least of which causes them to lose an action card which could be worth your while. Since only the target can see the visions, you can probably get away with this without arousing suspicion in most cases. Obviously this isn’t good against Abominations (except Harrowed) though, hence the slightly lower rating.

Playin’ Possum [H&H] (****): Playing dead is a great way to get out of something, or into something – there are a few ways you can apply this. Per crowd, you can only do this once unless you’re good at creating new personas for yourself on a regular basis– and if you do that I applaud taking up an awesome idea.

Power Leak [H] (***) <Metal Mage>: Starting with an Ace and including Jacks, this is actually a pretty decent effect for the hand size. What’s also nice is that this has a flat, no wind required, duration. If this didn’t affect just Gizmos, I think I’d give this 4 stars. Being a Gizmo specific hex though, I like Haywire a little more, since that could possibly cause the Gizmo to be completely unusable after a failed reliability roll. But this is a guaranteed effect albeit a bit muted by comparison.

Power Surge [H] (***) <Metal Mage>: Better than Power Leak I think, but balanced by the reliability penalty. This is best for things like making Steam Wagons faster since it doesn’t have that penalty. The effect here is unique for what it does.

Ride The Rails [H] (****) <Metal Mage>: The fastest way to travel in Deadlands. Sure, it’s not completely reliable, but 10 miles in 2 minutes? That’s like 300 miles per hour! (I’m counting the casting time here.) The spell description is a little confusing here. It says it activates with a three of a kind, but it gives distances for as low a hand as an Ace. My rating is assuming that the table takes precedent over the spell description, but if your Marshal thinks otherwise then take a star off. There are some issues with using this spell – you can’t take your friends, and you can only go where there are rails, but the immense speed here makes it totally worth having around.

Shadow Man [PG & H&H] (****): This is a MASSIVE boost to stealth. Again, I’m not sure why they removed the text about using this in Broad Daylight from the PG version, it only makes sense. But anyway, the obvious drawback here is that you can do nothing else but sneak. Still, activating on a pair for a +5 is great – it might not be invisibility, but it’s pretty darn close.

Shadow Walk [PG] (***) H&H (****): A short range teleport spell. The PG version is another straight up nerf that I can’t really argue against. Maybe they just thought teleporting was too overpowered? Anyway, 2 yards on jacks is only useful depending on whether you’re hopping some kind of obstacle along the way, in my opinion. The higher hands are a little better – even in combat - since this activates on a speed of 1, but the nerfed version is probably too restrictive to be useful most of the time.

Sheep’s Clothing [H&H] (***): You need a pretty good hand to turn this into a weapon concealer, but the smaller hands could be useful from time to time – like if you got caught while pickpocketing a key out of a Guard’s pocket – you can hide it as a piece of trash and make a good bluff to keep it. A clever hex, you just need to be drawing a lot of cards to get the most out of it.
Sleeve Card [H] (****): While this is kind of a waste on the first round, being able to swap drawn action cards cards on subsequent rounds is a very good benefit. Going first is potentially better for Hucksters than any other character build since you can pull a lot of shenanigans, so in any serious fight this is definitely worth casting.

Smart Gun/All For One [LS/LD] (**) <Shootist/Hexslinger>: The Hexslinger version technically offers less of a penalty removal looking at just the number, but I think that’s just because it was written before the revised Player’s Guide. Anyway, this spell isn’t a terrible idea – it’s only 5 BP to get a hex, but 6 BP to buy two new concentrations. But the only time you’ll need this is if you somehow lost your favorite gun, and in that scenario you could just pick up a Damage hex instead and not have to worry about picking up a gun you don’t know how to use. You can cast this on other people, but I don’t like the wind per round cost as a buff spell – at least for this effect. The Hexslinger version is longer ranged but since I don’t think it’s that huge a benefit I didn’t feel like making a separate entry for this.

Smokewagon Lightin’/Skinnin [LS/LD] (*) <Shootist/Hexslinger>: I like the idea here, wind per round kills it. Since casting it in advance could make you pass out, the primary time you’ll use this is in planned duels. It’s not a bad benefit to have in that situation, except this doesn’t offer a huge buff to quickdraw anyway. Get Corporeal Tweak instead and buff your quickness that way.

Snake Oil [H&H] (****): Lets you ignore wound penalties. Lasts a long time and is pretty useable in combat due to the speed of 1. Wound penalties are a pain in the neck so this is a premier benefit. The small 1 yard range does make it a little harder to use this as a support hex, but it’s better than touch range.

Raisin’ the Pot [H&H] (*****): I exaggerate a lot, I’m sure, but I say this with no hyperbole – this is the most useful and powerful hex in the game. For yourself, you can sneak in an extra card or three for a hex you really want a powerful effect for – and since it’s vamoose it doesn’t even slow you down that much. If you have members of another Arcane Background in your party though, since all of them use dice and LOVE raises, you can turn their power level up to 11. I’ll do a little more for this spell and give an example from each background just do demonstrate how powerful this really is:
Shaman: Your Shaman buddy decides to try a Pledge ritual during a combat situation to gather appeasement to heal another friend who has a serious wound. With a TN 9, he might succeed the ritual, but without Raisin’ the pot, there’s no way it’s going to provide enough appeasement to heal the wound.
Enlightened: In Salt Lake City, The Enlightened uses Wind Blows Over The Earth to try and punch an abomination into a nearby burning furnace 8-9 yards away. He rolls an 11, barely getting the 6 yards that roll allows. A simple pair on Raisin’ the Pot will increase that distance to 9 (And as a bonus, it adds +2 to the Stun TN from the attack.)
Voodooist: In the morning the Voodooist is making his Bad Juju bags. For the first bag, he gets a success on the craft, so he has a -1 bag he can use later in the day. You use Raisin’ the Pot and make it a -3 bag with a pair of Queens. You do this to all of his bags giving him a pocket full of bags with a ready -2 penalty or better each.
Blood Mage: The Blood Mage casts Sanguinary Ward to give himself some armor for a tough time your party has gotten into. You raise the pot and draw an amazing two pair, making it so his single success which would have offered a respectable 1 level of armor now grants him 4 levels of armor.
Mad Scientist: Like you, he just wants more cards from his science roll. You give them to him. He might have drew a black joker, and might be a little crazy now, but he also got an incredible hand for his invention blueprint.
Blessed: Facing off against a horde of zombies, the Blessed pulls out his Zombie Whacking Stick and casts Smite to give his swings a little more impact. He has a d8 in strength, and gets a 10 on his faith roll, making it a d12. You raise the pot and get an astonishing Three of a Kind. Now his strength is d12+8 – which forces more than an extra wound on every swing.
Lawman: Not an arcane background, but he doesn’t want to feel left out. He fans the hammer on his gun and shoots from the hip – you raise the pot on one of his shots and let him adjust the hit location just enough to make it hit squarely in the gizzards.

Reanimate [H&H] (****): If you have a harrowed friend and you still feel value in keeping him around instead of taking advantage of his wounded status, you’re one of the few arcane backgrounds that can speed up his healing process. So take this if you have the opportunity to use it, otherwise ignore it.

Timeslip [H&H] (**): Getting out of dodge completely can be good – not being able to control when you come out of the slip though makes this a gamble (But what else is new.) My primary issue with this is how short the duration is for the hands drawn – and that it effectively activates on Jacks for only 1 round. I’m not sure that the effect was so powerful that they couldn’t have taken it back a notch and had it activate on an ace. There is a good chance that even for 5 seconds your enemies won’t stick around to see if you reappear right where you disappeared though.

Two-of-a-Kind [H&H] (****): Only good if you have another huckster in your party, of course. Even then the two-pair activation makes it difficult to use. I’d still take it though, because that two pair will often be better odds than the amazing hand that your friend drew – and doubling up on 8d10 damage soul blasts is powerful. Plus this lets you cast spells you can’t cast yourself (like, for instance, if your buddy uses Bodyguard and you don’t know it – and YOU get to cast it at a 1 speed.)

Two-Gun Mojo [LS] (*) <Shootist>: Arguably since the -2 to hit is a penalty to shootin’, and it doesn’t specifically exclude this factor, Kentucky Windage should negate the dual-wielding penalty anyway. But maybe the existence of this hex makes your Marshal rule otherwise. To that I say raise your Deftness with Corporeal Tweak instead, which activates on a Pair and costs 1 less action card to cast. If you get the two pair required for this hex with Corporeal Tweak instead, then your dice type goes up by +2, and no matter what your dice type starts at this is better than negating a -2 to hit with two guns.

Upgrade [H] (***) <Metal Mage>: I like this a lot more than Infernal Machine. It has a flat (no wind cost) duration and offers a lot of the same kind of flexibility. I’d like it a whole lot more if the Hand requirements were easier, and if it didn’t cost 2 speed. But at least it’s not going to make you pass out after a minute of casting.

Vim ‘n’ Vigor [LD] (**) <Hexslinger>: This spell uses an old concept from pre-revised Deadlands called Coordination, which doesn’t exist in the new rules. So I’m going to rate this on the hypothetical ruling that “Coordination” means Die Type – otherwise you may consider just ignoring this spell entirely. With that said, this would raise Vigor for recovering from stun checks only. Good idea, except Corporeal Tweak does the same thing, has range, and can be used on any stat including Vigor for all Vigor rolls – not just stun. The reason I’m not dumping this into 1 star though is that this hypothetical ruling scales a heck of a lot better. Two-Pairs on Corporeal Tweak gives +2 to the Vigor Die type. Two-Pairs in for this spell would add +4, making it much more likely they’ll succeed their next stun roll. I still think the existence of Corporeal Tweak makes this worse than it would be, but it’d still have its uses.
Last edited by professor_q on Sat Apr 01, 2017 4:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: [Classic] Huckster Guide: The Weird West Wizards

#7 Postby professor_q » Sat Apr 01, 2017 4:08 pm

Spirit Hexes

Air Bubble [H&H] (****): A simple little spell that’s almost a Trick for how easy it is to pull off, since all it takes is jacks to get the best effect. The fact that this also helps with smoke and poison gas means you can smoke your enemies out and not have to wait until the smoke clears - and the range is long enough to cast this on your friends. The minute-per-hexslingin-level duration is great, but if you need longer than that I’m not sure Hexslingin’ is reliable enough to try recasting this while you’re under water. But, a handy little hex that you’ll probably want eventually.

Bash [H&H] (**): Since Soul Blast passes through objects, you may think that this would be useful to cover breaking objects. While breaking objects can be useful, you don’t really need bash for it. Any other damage hex besides should also damage objects, and there are other damage hexes that don’t have a 2 speed cost – Like Black Lighnin’. While not being able to damage other things affects its overall versatility, there might be occasions where damaging only the objects could be better, but in those cases hexes with added versatility besides just breaking things - Like Rust. If this spell actually did a substantial more amount of damage than its peers, or if it did something like Ignore Armor entirely, I think it’d be worthwhile. As-is though it’s pretty skippable. Your Marshal may however interpret the comparison to Soul Blast to mean that ignoring armor was intended, and if that’s the case, go ahead and add a star to this.

Black Lightnin’ [H&H] (*****): A fairly versatile damage spell which can affect objects unlike Soul Blast. Its primary drawback is that you need either throwin’ or fightin’ to apply it. I think most characters should take at least a few levels of fightin’ though – just for defensive purposes – so you could charge this up for a massive Falcon Punch since it uses all of the charges at once (A stylish way of bashing down a door.) If you do pick up Throwin’ though (and why not, you’ll likely have a little deftness for Slight of Hand anyway) this might be more appealing overall than Soul Blast since the damage is much more reliable – except for the part that it’s a heck of a lot harder to hide your evil black magic shenanigans when you’re going Emperor Palpatine on everyone.

Blast Furnace [H] (**) <Metal Mage>: This is a weird one. For 5 BP it’s a nice convenience if you happen to be a blacksmith, but how often do you need to melt metals that you’d need a portable furnace? The second application is better, though it does take some time to heat up. My reading of this hex is that on the first round, even if you get an Ace, whoever is holding the item you target takes 1d6 damage immediately. Even at that low level you might convince someone to drop their weapon, but it gets even better as time progresses and with higher level hands. You’re never going to melt anyone’s weapons (It takes several minutes if it’s a steel gun) but you’re going to make it really hard for them to use them. The problem with this Hex is that it’s got a concentration duration, and the 2 speed doesn’t help it either. There are a wide variety of hexes that you could be using during combat instead of concentrating on this, including Rust, which is permanent and potentially accomplishes the same thing.

Bodyguard [H&H] (*****): One of the most powerful protection spells in the game. The duration is flat, so you can cast and forget (No wind per round like Missed Me!) The draw hands are relatively low - just an ace provides an invaluable benefit. The speed of 2 is a nice balancing point, but that doesn’t stop it from being extremely desirable. Hexarcana clarifies that this was intended to be self range – which is great now you don’t have to argue about who gets the shield! (It just makes Ace in the Hole a better hex in my opinion.)

Bullet Stopper [H] (*) <Metal Mage>: If this wasn’t 1 wind per round it might have been worth considering. Even then, the effect is kind of garbage. If there’s a wild gunfight going on this is a way to make a certain person’s death look like an accident, but that’s about the only good thing about it. If you want them dead, a little Kentucky Windage or a Soul Blast is far more effective than this.

Clear Out! [H&H] (****):While Bodyguard is the definitive best defensive spell overall, with a speed of 1, this can keep melee creatures off of you entirely – and it can have some utility added on top of it. It does take a decent hand to be really effective, but with Jacks at least that TN7 is going to deter a lot of the mooks that might try to molest you. If you’re lucky enough to get two pairs, you might just send a human sized opponent flying, and at 5 YARDS per hex level, you can send them flying a fifth length of a football field. Add a cliff or a trap into that distance and you have a checkmate.

Critter Ward [H&H] (**): Only lasts 5 hours if you took a max hexslingin’ and would be a lot better if it was “Abomination Ward”. 5 hours of sleep is better than no sleep though, and I guess if you’re paranoid of a snake getting in your boot while an ally is on watch, this’ll stop that. Overall it’s just not that great though. It could have some shenanigans, but the 5 minute casting time stifles a lot of the creativity.

Flypaper Fingers [H&H] (****): Completely replace the need for a high Climbin’ aptitude with this hex. Also lets you climb the impossible. This alone would make it a great hex, but it has other clever – albeit really circumstantial – uses as well.

Fortitude [H&H] (****): It doesn’t heal wind, it gives you extra wind. With the duration you can use this to plan ahead and stack multiple wind-per-round buffs on yourself or your friends without making yourself as vulnerable to passing out. It’s ranged too, so if you have a Blood Mage in your party or anyone similarly limited by Wind per Round powers, it benefits them as well. This is particularly useful for Shootists.

Frostbite [D] (***): One of two super secret hexes hidden in the very very back of the Doomtown Or Bust book, and not reprinted anywhere else. While this doesn’t work on Abominations, which sucks, it’s devastating to everything else. It deals paltry damage, but when it does deal wound it hurts a ton. The selling point though is the fact that it doubles Wound penalties, which is enough to end your conflict with your target in a lot of cases. I’m torn on giving this 3 or 4 stars, mostly because it doesn’t hurt Abominations. Something like this would be incredible if it affected everything, even if it didn’t do any damage.

Ghost Rider [H&H] (****): This is the same as a $300 horse without the liability of stabling it up or it getting stolen. With the right hand you’ve got a rocket ship. I assume this horse doesn’t tucker out, meaning that you’re probably getting at least as good of miles per day with this as a Stage Coach as mentioned in the Player’s Guide – so 70 miles per day. Make it 20% faster than a regular horse for 84 miles per day. Then, make it 25% more fast if you get a Three of a Kind – 104 miles per day. You’re now moving at 41% of the speed of a train, except you aren’t tied to the rails. Obviously your marshal might have a different say about this math, but I only bring it up to demonstrate how good this is. Just park outside of town at least a mile or two and walk the rest of the distance (or pull your collar up and start screaming for Ichabod to hide your identity if you’re just passing through.)

Hard Water [H&H] (***): This spell seems pretty niche, but what keeps me from throwing it in the two star pile is comboing it the Quicksand Hex. By itself, unless you’re in the Maze or similar location, it’s not going to see much use. With Quicksand, you might be using it every day. It’s also pretty powerful overall.

Hell’s Bargain [H] (*): You’re better off spending spells on preventing death, but hey sometimes it happens right? Well the last thing you’re going to want to do is turn your friend into a Harrowed if it does. More importantly, the effect isn’t anywhere close to guaranteed. Your average hand is going to add 7 cards at best. So basically you spent 5 bp on a spell you never want to use, that’s probably not going to work anyway. Avoid this hex.

Hell’s Fury [H] (*): Between this and the last spell I guess the lesson is to just stay out of Hell. This is a little better, I guess, but besides making sure Ninjas can’t catch you, losing 2 wind per round might make you pass out as well. Most of the cases where you could use this you’re either not going to want to blow your cover as a Wizard, or you’re really not going to want to be near the thing that could be touching you (And consequently, you’re not going to want to be losing any wind.)

Howl [H&H] (*): AOE spell that damages only wind. A good idea, but this just doesn’t deal enough damage to justify painting a target on your back. It also has restrictions – like your enemies needing to be able to hear you. Plus the onerous roll to resist is just too low. There are better ways to deal wind damage in Deadlands, and even the flavor here is kind of stupid.

Hunger Pangs [H&H] (***): Not AOE like Howl, but a lot more subtle. Depending on your Huckster’s spirit compared to your enemy’s, this could do a lot of damage. What I like most about this hex and why I’m giving it a “Solid” is how when you reduce your enemy to a 1 wind, they become obsessive about food. There are a lot of ways you could use that. You could get a guard to leave his post, you could turn food into a valuable negotiable instrument to obtain an object or a favor, or of course you could end a combat. And, hunger is mundane, making it difficult to pin it on the Huckster unless the Marshal rules the test of spirit makes the target know you dunnit.

Lethergy [H&H] (****): AOE spell that makes your targets (and it could be a good lot of targets) just not care enough to pay attention. Depending on the spirit of your targets this could be the non-violent solution to your problems that you’re looking for. Also an excellent duration.

Mad Insight [H] (***) <Metal Mage>: Overall this is straight up outclassed by Raisin’ the Pot. It’s technically going to get you one more card per hand level than RtP will get you, but RtP also affects every roll that benefits from raises – this just (effectively) affects your Mad Science roll. However, nothing is stopping you from using BOTH Raisin’ the Pot and Mad Insight… except for the increased chance of backlash at least. If Raisin’ the Pot didn’t exist, this would probably be 5 stars, but it’s still solid.

Magnetize [H] (***) <Metal Mage>: Make things fly towards someone’s gun or something. I dunno, I came into this hex hoping to become Magneto, and I came out with the ability to make nails fly towards an anvil weighing less than 125 pounds. There’s enough metal in the world to make me think that the effect here isn’t bad, but you’re really going to have to pull out the creativity to be using this a lot. Which makes it a very fun hex IMO, even if it’s not a super powerful hex.

Martyr’s Mirror [H&H] (***): The damage returned cap is kind of sucky, but the duration is good, so this can be a good balancer in a dire situation. That said, you should probably be casting Bodyguard on yourself instead. This might be good hex to give to a friend with Ace in the Hole if you have an obese friend or someone who otherwise has a larger size than you.

Mirage [H&H] (*****): HUGE Area of effect, and the option to switch between concentration or wind per round – which is restrictive, but workable. You can’t make huge walls as a Huckster (You can make chest high ones for cover, but not big ones) – but if they believe the wall is there most people will veer to the side rather than running into it as a test. It is natural to touch an obstacle if it’s RIGHT in their way but the strength of this hex is the creativity you can apply to it. For instance, you don’t HAVE to use this just to create obstacles for your enemies. Bigger hands means more fun.

Missed Me [PG] (**) [H&H] (****): This spell was straight up nerfed in PG, and I can’t really even argue that there is any reason to use the H&H version. PG activates on two pair while H&H activates on the pair. The effect is great – especially since it affects any roll trying to hit you, not just ranged attacks or whatever. But with the nerf it’s just outclassed by the unerfed Bodyguard spell – which is probably overall better regardless of which Missed Me you use. Add in that Bodyguard doesn’t have the concentration or wind per round issue and Missed Me becomes niche to situations like taking longer than 5 minutes to walk through a battlefield. It does have a speed of one though so it can be applied earlier in combat than Bodyguard if you didn’t have time to prepare ahead of time.

Necromancer [H&H] (**): Eeeehhhh…. Buying this hex is dubious, because you want so hard to prevent the situation where you’d use it. When you CAN use it, it might save the surviving posse, but BP is limited man, and there are SO MANY good hexes to spend it on something you might never use. Also, you don’t want any harrowed in your party, so make sure you fire a few bullets into your friend’s head if you do use this.

Nightmare Realm [H&H] (**): Raising the fear level for an area seems little counterproductive. Not to mention it makes it harder for you to resist fear. It helps if you or someone you know has a good Overawe skill, but a regular buff might do better than making things worse for everyone.

Old Timer [H&H] (**): The only reason this is good at all is because some Scart effects will age your character, and this effectively cures that. Otherwise it’s not going to come up in most campaigns.

Parch [H&H] (**): Area of effect windloss spell that kills vegetation. The damage is weak, and I just don’t see why you need to become roundup weedkiller ever – but this isn’t bad enough to throw in the one star dumpster I think.

Phantom Fingers [PG & H&H] (*****): Maybe the most versatile hex in the game. There are so many things you can do with this that I’m not going to try and list them all. I recommend reading the H&H version, since it basically just adds more text and examples of how to apply the hex. I honestly don’t see any reason why anything in H&H could not be included based on what the PG says. You might not be able to Jostle your opponent, but surely you can fly with the right hand (pun intended.) Even with lower hands, disarming opponents is gold.

Poltergeist [H&H] (****): AOE damage on a speed of 1 (which is rare) but you need crap in the area for it to work. While it is limited somewhat by the environment, I like it more than Soul Burst for a few reasons – one of them being the speed. The second reason is that the area of effect (as clarified by Hexarcana) is five times larger than Soul Burst. Finally, you can blame the ghosts for the effect – there isn’t a fine line drawn to you as the caster when you use this (Though the spooky stuff will get townsfolk on edge – so don’t let too many crazy things happen near you or people will get suspicious.)

Power Struggle [H&H] (****): If you have a harrowed in your party, and you did NOT take the recommended course of action by shotgunning him in the face while he’s sleeping, this is invaluable. Any time he loses to the Manitou you can force another chance – and boy you want to do that. Granted, this will make you a particular target for the Manitou, but consider him your enemy anyway – it’s not like you NEED to develop a positive relationship with him. Ignore this if you don’t know any harroweds.

Reflect [H] (***) <Metal Mage>: Scales basically the same as Disrupt – it’s slightly better since it includes Three-of-a-Kind in the scaling, but it suffers from the same problem as Disrupt nevertheless. If you’re going against high level enemies, you’re just going to get hit by the spell as this fails to do anything. I like this a little more because of the vamoose action and the reflect property.

St Elmo’s Fire [H&H] (****): Long duration light spell that can’t be spotted from too far away – seems like a perfect benefit for traveling at night. While the radius is a little small a Pair isn’t too difficult to get so you can actually summon up a few of these to Minecraft torch some cave you’re exploring.

Sandman [H&H] (****): This puts a target to sleep for an amazing 15 minutes per hex level. While Hunger Pangs might have some similar applications with added combat versatility, Sandman could – one by one – affect a group of people, and in some ways complete sleep is more useful than Lethergy’s apathy. Speaking of Lethergy – that also might be compared to this since this is only one target at a time while Lethergy is AOE – but this lasts so much longer. What keeps all of these spells relevant even with the other’s existence is that this targets Vigor while the other two roll against the target’s spirit.

Shard [H] (***) <Metal Mage>: Lower Damage, Lower Range, non-magical, and non-Armor Piercing Soul Blast with the option to shoot multiple targets. Inherently hitting more targets means worse card hands, since you won’t be getting any raises on the Hexslingin’ roll. One advantage however is that it’s a multi-target damage spell with only a 1 speed, making it worth considering especially if you have a Hoyle Card or some other way to get better card hands. With that said, Silverspray and Magic Bullet already kind of fill that role.

Shocker [H] (****) <Metal Mage>: Makes a metal object shocking, dealing wind damage and having a TN 7 stun check along with it. On an Ace, a TN 7 Vigor Test is pretty potent, and this could disarm a gunman from a respectable range. Keep some darts or try to argue that you can cast this on a bullet after it’s entered a target’s flesh, and the “need a metal object” aspect isn’t that big of a drawback.

Silver Bullet [LS] (****) <Shootist>: A big disadvantage to Shootin’ as a damage type is not being able to affect some abominations due to their immunity to the mundane. This pretty much fixes that, except for those oddball monsters. At 10 minutes per hex level, the two speed is kind of a minor issue, but only being able to affect a couple of bullets at a time is a pain keeping me from rating this 5 stars. You do have options to help get a good card hand on this though, since the Law Dogs “Argent Agony” spell is exactly the same thing, except it uses Knowledge instead of Spirit.

Soul Blast [PG & H&H] (*****): Easily the most versatile single target damage spell available to the Huckster (and in the game, really.) This can replace the need for carrying around a gun, that is, if you make sure you follow the “Dead men tell no tales” principle. Even in public places though, this can shoot through walls (since it ignores cover) making it an excellent sniping hex – and it has an incredible range of 50 yards per hexslingin’ level (So 250 yards if you took 5 points in the aptitude – that’s like two football fields.) Thus with some creativity and planning, you can assassinate your targets (or wound them) with little chance of getting caught. To shoot through walls, make sure you pick up Penetratin’ Gaze so you can see through walls. Since you use the Hexslingin’ roll for your to-hit as well, this is a good point in an argument to put your best dice in Spirit. The PG version has a very minor damage nerf from the H&H version – and it’s a clear nerf; a Pair now deals only wind damage instead of real damage and you don’t deal wind damage on an ace. Higher level hands are exactly the same though, and you kind of need Jacks to really do much anyway, so I don’t think it affects the score here at all.

Soul Burst [H&H] (***): A reliable area of effect spell for massive damage. The major downsides of this hex are the 2 speed, and the fact that you’re not going to be hiding your Wizardly ways if anyone sees you doing this. Has half the range of Soul Blast, so you can’t mortor your enemies as easily, and the range on the burst isn’t so huge that you’re going to be taking out a lot of foes with this. I think when dealing with a number of enemies one of the crowd control spells might be a better choice.

Spirit Coils [H&H] (****): Lasts a good while (10 rounds if you have the 5 in Hexslingin’), and since it takes strength to break it you can target the weakling of the group. Great for the poindexter caster in a group of cultists. I especially like if they fail to break free, they lose ALL their action cards for that round. Not terribly subtle in terms of avoiding the lynch mob, but great for Abominations and - the aforementioned cultists - that want to lynch you anyway.

Spiritual Disfavor [H&H] (***): Increasing the Appeasement cost of a Shaman’s spell is a great way to ruin his day, since only 1 appeasement increase could throw the whole favor off. I’m not sure how this would work on stored appeasement – but that’s up to your Marshal how relevant that even is. Most rituals take a very long time to perform, but if you’re up against some evil shaman they’re likely to use the nastier fast ones like Maim. If you know you’re going to be heading into that sort of territory you’ll benefit from studying up on this one.

Stayin’ Put [H] (***): Gives a really nice bonus, but when would you actually need to stay in one place? The Huckster isn’t hardly a tank or anything. If the Marshal has some really windy place planned, maybe consider this? It does help against other Hucksters using the Clear Out! Spell. The +2 guts check is a nice bonus that’s a little more universal. This just seems weirdly circumstantial though.

Temptation [H&H] (**): There can be evil Shaman, but Blessed are always your friend (if you’re a good guy, which the game’s rules strongly encourage.) But nothing in this spell explicitly states it has to be used on a Blessed, and mechanically it just gives you a chance to permanently lower their faith aptitude. If you have some cultist nemesis you can give him visions of a virtuous life in a loving family without any murdering to tempt him with, but for short term purposes Confound or Mental Twist will do better than maybe lowering their specific aptitude by a single point.

Touch of Death [H&H] (***): If you can draw 8 cards reliably, this is a good hex. Even if they resist they still take a respectable amount of Wind damage, and of course you skip all the dealing damage and chance to fight back part of killing someone if it does work. So the big question here is – how easily can you get away with this? A heart attack is technically a mundane thing – but will you get blamed if it happened right after you touch them? If you can come up with a good enough story to use this without any repercussions, go ahead and add a star. Just remember, you still need to be drawing a lot of cards or get really lucky to pull it off.

Transcribe [H] (**) <Metal Mage>: Writes down everything said within range. Since it doesn’t identify the speaker, you’ll have to note that yourself. And since it’s not an actual recording you probably can’t use it as evidence of anything. So I think its main use is just to write ideas down as intended. I might be lacking in imagination here, but I think this is primarily a flavor hex.

Tweak [H] (****) <Metal Mage>: Improves Reliability. Don’t want to risk that 1 in 20 chance that everything falls apart? At the low cost of 1 wind per round, this can do that. Nice icing on the cake if you get a Three-of-a-Kind – which makes up for the otherwise lackluster scaling into higher level hands.

Wildfire [H&H] (****): I’m not sure why this isn’t a knowledge spell, since it seems like a natural phenomena. Anyway, sometimes you just need to start fires – and you have a Trick for that. But this does it at a long range. You need a big hand to light anything substantial on fire at first, but whatever you kindle can spread - if that’s what you’re after. This is especially good for Swamp Gas or Widow’s Web if you want to ignite those. This should work with an ace since those are considered “very flammable.”

Widow’s Web [H&H] (*****): Powerful if you can get two anchor points. While Quicksand is a great outdoorsy spell, this is what you’d want for any indoor, or cave situation. The way it starts with a TN 5 to break it – on an ace – makes it potent enough to ignore the circumstantiality. Being able to light it for damage is icing (or dubious, if you have any smokers getting caught in this – But that’s hilarious.)

Zilch [H] (**) <Metal Mage>: Makes Gizmos stop working, which is a good idea. The issue is that you need at least Jacks to knock out a Gatling Pistol, so for anything that you’d REALLY want this to work on you’d need at least a Two-Pair, which is rough. Picking up Haywire gives a chance of failure to everything, and is the better overall hex – especially since two-pair on that causes a Minor Malfunction no matter what the device is.

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Re: [Classic] Huckster Guide: The Weird West Wizards

#8 Postby GregAlso » Mon Apr 03, 2017 3:17 pm

Thank you for all the hard work on this guide and all the others you've done. They've helped my players have a lot more fun playing their characters. I've only finished reading half of this one but I can see the ton of hard work that went into it and I am very grateful you did it!

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Re: [Classic] Huckster Guide: The Weird West Wizards

#9 Postby professor_q » Tue Apr 04, 2017 9:50 am

Thank you.

I'm always happy to see people playing this great game, and I'm glad that someone is benefiting from these guides.

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