Marshal Law: RTJ, Setting & House Rules, Character Options.   Posted by The Stray.Group: 0
The Stray
 GM, 2002 posts
 The Marshal
 'round these parts
Wed 15 Feb 2017
at 07:20
Marshal Law: RTJ, Setting & House Rules, Character Options
Welcome to Sixguns & Spellslingers: The Last Sons, a western game using the Savage Worlds system and the Deadlands: Reloaded setting. This game follows the events of the Plot Point Campaign The Last Sons, which chronicles the war between the Sioux Nations and Custer's Forces in Deadwood, Dakota.

This game uses the Savage Worlds RPG game system and is run using the most current version (which is Savage Worlds Deluxe at the time of this writing). This game also uses the Deadlands: Reloaded setting info, with some specific changes as noted below. In addition, material from The Flood Player's Guide, The Last Sons Player's Guide, and Stone and a Hard Place Player's Guide will be used in game, so I encourage you to examine both documents while building and upgrading your characters. I also have a list of expanded character options, such as new Hindrances, Edges, Arcane Backgrounds, and Spells.

Some current errata:

The official errata document.
Some additional rules (and a change to shamans and The Old Ways Oath)
Deadlands Deluxe-ified, an update moving DL:R to the SWD rules.
The Stone and a Hard Place official errata and rules update

In your RTJ, I would like you to pitch a character concept and some ideas about what you might like to play.

To be considered a complete character, I will need the following:

1. A Novice-rank Savage Worlds character built using the Deadlands: Reloaded setting rules, with the addition of material from supplements. Players added after the initial game starts will have experience on par with the rest of the party. Characters who tie themselves to another PC somehow will gain a free Advance.

2. A character background. The next post in this thread has my preferred template for character backgrounds.

3. The name of a randomly-drawn poker card. Please use either a real deck (Jokers left in) or the dice roller set to 54 Card deck. I'll use this to determine a Mysterious Past for your character. [insert evil Gm laugh]

4. Your initial Fate Chip allotment and starting Adventure Cards (see House Rules thread for more info).

Special Notes:

This campaign will feature the struggle between the Sioux nations and the white men, so characters sympathetic to both worlds would be appreciated. I would like to have at least one Native American character among the posse, but one that also has reason to travel America (the game stats in Deadwood, but won't remain there).

Characters will receive 1 Free Advance during character creation if they come up with a background that develops a relationship between their own character and another player-character before the game starts.  The spirit of this rule is to encourage the party to have a good reason to link up together, so make it substantial.  "We got drunk once in a bar" ain't gonna cut it.

Setting Rules in effect!

Joker's Wild!
  • Whenever anyone draws a Joker for any reason in game, every player may draw a Fate Chip.

Pulp Combat!
  • If you succeed at a Shaken roll, you are no longer Shaken, and may take an action on your turn with a -2 Multi-Action Penalty. If you succeed with a Raise, you are no longer shaken and may act normally. This applies to all characters, Wild Card and Extra alike. This supersedes the normal Shaken rules.

  • There will be some NPCs that are a little tougher than Extras, but not as tough as Wild Cards. These characters are Henchmen. They get a Wild Die and 1 Fate Chip, but take damage like Extras. Extras that grow important to the game will likely become Henchmen, then Wild Cards.

Multiple Languages!
  • Characters may know a number of languages equal to half their Smarts die. Please list the languages your character is proficient in on the OOC thread and your individual character sheets. You can know less than the maximum, if you desire.

Adventure Deck!
  • Each player may draw 1 card plus 1 card per Rank (Novices get two cards, Seasoned get three, and so on). Players running more than one character draw 1 extra card per character they control. The player may only play one each game session (defined as a new Chapter) per character they control for free. Each card after the first played in a session costs 1 Fate Chip.
  • Players may also trade cards at any time, but this must be a trade — you can never just give them away.
  • The players can use these cards whenever they want during the game, or as spelled out on the individual cards. Some cards allow the Marshal a draw from the fate pot - these are listed in the card description.
  • Any unused cards are discarded at the end of the game session. That’s all there is to it!

  • If you saw something awesome you saw another character do, whether a bit of badassery or a cool story plot or some interesting interaction, you may nominate that player for a Fate Chip. Post your Nominations to me on the OOC thread or via PM and I'll use the notes there when posing Fate Chip awards.

No Guts!
  • I do not use the Guts skill setting rule, though I still use Grit. Whenever you would make a Guts check, use Spirit instead. Characters may not take the Brave edge--if they want to improve their Fear checks, they'll need to take True Grit.

Expanded Tricks!
    I'm expanding what is allowed when you attempt an Agility or Smarts trick. First, describe the action. If the Trick is successful, choose one of these effects:

  • Default option -- Setup: Your trick provides a distraction your allies can exploit. Allies get a +2 bonus against the victim until his next action. On a raise, the victim is also Shaken.

    Other Effects:
  • Delay: Your trick causes the victim to hesitate or flinch. The victim must trade his current Action card with the next character lower than him. If the victim has already acted, the trade happens on the following round unless the victim draws a Joker (which negates the effect). On a Raise, the target is Shaken as well.
  • Lower Defenses: Your trick weakens the opponent's ability to defend himself. The target's Parry is lowered by 2 until his next action. on a raise, the target is also Shaken.
  • Lower Trait: Your trick temporarily impairs the victim. One of the target's Attributes and all linked skills suffers a -2 penalty on his next action. On a raise, the penalty becomes -4 instead.

    Agility Trick only:
  • Fatigue: Your Agility trick causes the victim some minor Bumps and Bruises. The target must make a Vigor roll (at -2 on a Raise) or suffer a level of Fatigue for the rest of the encounter (can Exhaust, but not Incapacitate).
  • Slow: Your Agility Trick trips the victim up or causes them to stumble. The target's Pace is halved on his next action. On a Raise, the target can't move at all and suffers Knockback if you wish.

    Smarts Trick Only:
  • Goad: Your Smarts Trick baits the target into taking some sort of unwise action, such as moving to attack you without Withdrawing from combat first, blundering into some sort of hazard, and so on.
  • Reveal: Your Smarts Trick fools or coerces the target into giving you some information, such as a plan, a location, a weakness, and so on.

Blaze of Glory
  • In a world full of incredible heroes and mighty villains, overwhelming dangers and terrifying monsters, the choice to sacrifice for the greater good should be a powerful and meaningful one. In the same vein, it is rarely the dream or goal of any player to see his character die inconsequentially from a random lucky hit by an unnamed minion. At any time a Wild Card is Incapacitated by an attack, instead of rolling on the Incapacitation Table or drawing on the Defeat table he may declare he’s going out in a Blaze of Glory.

    Declaring Blaze of Glory means the hero chooses the moment he is ready to die, and he expends everything he has left in a stunning display of power and determination for one last great ride into the sunset. This must happen before the end of the current session.

    In game terms, this manifests in the following ways:

    • Any and all effects of the attack triggering Blaze of Glory are completely negated. This includes being Shaken.
    • Once declared, the player receives three Fate Chips. He should use these sparingly, as they are his insurance for lasting the rest of the session until his chosen moment comes.
    • The player continues to play, taking actions as normal. Once his Blaze of Glory scene and all of its circumstances are resolved, his character dies.

    At the moment Blaze of Glory is declared, a pause in the action is called for while the player and the Marshal negotiate about the end goal for the character. The player should give a clear vision of what he would like to see happen, and the Marshal should indicate what is and is not on the table. For example, if the main villain of the campaign is present, and the Marshal is not prepared to simply have her killed outright, the two can discuss alternate roads to a meaningful defeat while still leaving her in play.

    Alternately, some players may simply wish to say, "Make it good, please," and let the Marshal come up with an appropriate ending suiting the story arc of the sacrificing hero. The moment should be more about story and less about rolling dice; Marshals should not let a bad die roll ruin this last act for the player’s character.

    While a final soliloquy — in the aftermath of the battle with his dying breath — is completely called for, the hero's death is unavoidable, irrevocable, and final. Not even magic can bring him back. It was his choice, and he went out how he wanted to. For many, that’s an essential quality of being a hero.

Take 'Em Hostage!
  • Grappling can produce cover. Unless stated otherwise, a grappling target has Medium Cover from everything except point blank (Melee Range) ranged attacks, though Innocent Bystander rules apply. The shooter is assumed to be trying to avoid harming the other person, and as such is pulling their shots, aiming for legs or limbs, etc. Shots that miss due to the cover bonus are assumed to be just normal misses by default.

Human Shields Aren't Bulletproof!
  • Unless a hostage is wearing armor, a bullet from a gun larger than a derringer will go through two people just as easily as one. If someone makes a ranged attack at a hostage taker and specifically states they don't care about harming the hostage in the process, then the target gets Medium Cover as above for the obstruction, but a miss that happens only because of the cover penalty will hit the hostage for full damage, and the actual target for half damage.

Hold Him Down!
  • Grappled characters count as Unarmed Defenders, which means those with weapons (even Improvised Weapons) get a +2 bonus to hit a Grappled character. Futhermore, the grappler add to Gang-Up Bonus, so the more people grappling a guy, the easier it is for someone to hit the grabbed guy with a weapon.

Allied NPCs!
  • If a PC takes control of a group of Extras, he gains a pool of 3 Fate Chips that he can spend on their behalf. Henchmen and Wild Cards have their own Fate Points.

Other House Rules/Clarifications:

- I use the After The Cackler version of The Blessed and Voodooists. This means they have a limited number of powers and a limited pool of Power Points, but may also take advantage of Divine Interventions.

- Bonuses to Charisma are limited to +4. This is after all modifiers have been applied, so if a character has (or gains) a hindrance that lowers their charisma, they can make up for it with edges. The Snakeoil Salesman Edge grants a bonus to rolls covered by Charisma that isn't technically a Charisma bonus, thus it does not count toward this limit.

- The Gambler power only provides one chip at a time. Chips gained from the power must be spent before new chips can be gained.

- Characters are limited to 10 fate chips total. If you have 10 chips, you'll need to either spend some or trade them up.

- I will allow you to trade up to better colors of chips to gain space. You may trade 3 white chips for a red chip, and 3 red chips to get a blue chips. You can't trade up to Legend chips. Please PM me or post on the OOC thread if you want to trade some of your chips out.

- The Totem Spirit edge actually grants the power it modifies, acting as a New Power edge with benefits.

- When a Martial Artist takes the New Power edge, they gain a free d4 in that power's skill. Because Martial Artist powers are technically different skills, a Martial Artist can activate multiple powers in a single turn by accepting a Multiple Action Penalty.

- Being Shaken while on Hold causes the character to loses Hold status. Likewise, a Shaken character cannot make attacks if a character withdraws from melee with them and cannot make attacks with the First Strike edge. A Shaken character cannot maintain a grapple, allowing the grappled person to escape as a free action with no roll. Being Shaken has no effect on a character's rolls to resist an effect that affects them.

- The Healing skill can only be attempted on each individual's fresh wounds once per healer in the "Golden Hour" (Plus an attempt to revive if the target is Incapacitated). Multiple healers may each make a single attempt on the same wounded character, if applicable. Incapacitation is a different application of the Healing skill, and does not count against this limit. This applies only to the Healing skill, not magical healing.

- Non-Lethal Damage simply knocks out for 1d6 hours, with no Incap roll.

- Area effect attacks get an extra 1d6 damage for a raise (like most attacks)

- Full Defense now rolls Fighting +2 (instead of just Fighting)

- Ties on Opposed Checks maintain the status quo. In many cases, this defaults to the defender effectively "winning" ties.

More will be added as they become important.

This message was last edited by the GM at 19:59, Thu 09 Mar 2017.

The Stray
 GM, 2003 posts
 The Marshal
 'round these parts
Wed 15 Feb 2017
at 07:25
Rules References
To help keep track of Parry and toughness, as well as wounds, fatigue levels, and fate chips, all players will place the following information into the second line of their profile, where # is the number that is linked to the particular stat.

P# T# W# F# Cha +# W#R#B#L#

The first line is up to the user, but it is recommended that it be used to remind others of their specialty, or 'class'.

Once initiative cards are posted all responses must be within 24 hours or your character will be assumed to be On Hold that round.  This applies to all initiatives posted on Monday thru Thursday.  Any initiatives posted on a Friday, Saturday or Sunday will have a response no later than end of day Monday.  If all players are able to post sooner the game may progress faster than this rate.  This is intended to be a minimum.  All American Federal Holidays will be treated as a Friday Saturday or Sunday.  You do not need to post in order of initiative that is only to determine the order in which you character acts.  This will be worked out by the GM in the narrative.

In the Initiative section of the GMs post, the GM will place the Parry and Toughness of the adversaries the characters will face.  This will allow for faster resolution combat.


NPC1 Queen of Spades (P:5 T:7)
NPC2 Seven of Diamonds (P:4 T:4)

Fate Chips

White - Reroll a trait test, make a soak roll, remove Shaken (let's you act that turn)
Red - As white, or can add d6 to a trait test (Marshal gets a chip from the Pot)
Blue - As white, or can add d6 to a trait test
Legend - As blue but add +2 to the total, or reroll ANY roll, including damage, chart rolls, etc. If not spent at the end of a chapter, the hero gets 1 XP. (Not that you'll be seein' many of these, hombres)

To determine your initial Fate Chips, use the dice roller to roll a d35 3 times (remember to record each die separately).

1-20: White Chip
21-30: Red Chip
31-35: Blue Chip
36: Legend (if available)

Characters are limited to 10 fate chips total. If you have 10 chips, you'll need to either spend some or trade them up before you can get more.

I will allow you to trade up to better colors of chips to gain space. You may trade 3 white chips for a red chip, and 3 red chips to get a blue chips. Please PM me or post on the OOC thread if you want to trade some of your chips out.

Poker Hands
Here's a handy list of poker hands for you duelists and hucksters.
Hand                 Effect
Ace High             1 PP
Pair                 2 PP
Jacks or Better      3 PP
Two Pair             4 PP
Three of a Kind      5 PP
Straight             6 PP
Flush                Hex goes off with raise
Full House           As flush, with double duration
Four of a Kind       As flush, with 10 times duration
Five of a Kind       As flush, and can use hex at will for 24 hours
Straight Flush       As Five of a Kind, and get Fate Chip from pot

Incapacitation Rules


Incapacitated characters aren’t necessarily dead, but are generally too beaten, battered, or bruised to do anything useful. They may not perform actions and are not dealt Action Cards in combat. Incapacitated Extras are removed from play.

Wild Cards are Incapacitated if they suffer more than three wounds(cumulatively or all at once). When a Wild Card becomes Incapacitated, make an immediate Vigor roll:

Total of 1 or Less: The character dies.
Failure: Roll on the Injury Table. The Injury is permanent and the victim is Bleeding Out (see below).
Success: Roll on the Injury Table. The Injury goes away when all wounds are healed.
Raise: Roll on the Injury Table. The Injury goes away in 24 hours, or when all wounds are healed.

Injury Table
2d6        Wound
2          Unmentionables: If the injury is permanent, reproduction is out  of the question without miracle surgery or magic. There is no other effect from this result.
3-4        Arm: Roll left or right arm randomly; it’s unusable like the One Arm Hindrance (though if the primary arm is affected, off-hand penalties still apply to the other).
5-9       Guts: Your hero catches one somewhere between the crotch and the chin. Roll 1d6:
    1-2   Broken: Agility reduced a die type(minimum d4).
    3-4   Battered: Vigor reduced a die type(minimum d4).
    5-6   Busted: Strength reduced a die type(minimum d4).
10        Leg: Gain the Lame Hindrance (or the One Leg Hindrance if already Lame).
11-12     Head: A grievous injury to the head. Roll 1d6:
    1-2   Hideous Scar: Your hero now has the Ugly Hindrance.
    3-4   Blinded: An eye is damaged. Gain the One Eye Hindrance (or the Blind Hindrance if he only had one good eye).
    5-6   Brain Damage: Massive trauma to the head. Smarts reduced one die type (min d4).

►►Bleeding Out: The injured character must make a Vigor roll at the start of each round after the one in which he was injured and before Action Cards are dealt:
Success: The victim must roll again next round, or every minute thereafter if not in combat.
Raise: The victim stabilizes and no further rolls are required.
Failure: The character dies from blood loss. For nonlethal damage, he’s rendered unconscious for 1d6 hours.

Other characters may stop a victim’s bleeding by making a Healing roll. If successful, the victim stabilizes immediately and no further rolls are required. This use of the Healing skill just stops the bleeding. See Savage Worlds book (page 78) for the use of the Healing skill to recover actual wounds.

Fright Table (Roll d20)
1-4 - Adrenaline Surge - +2 to all trait rolls for next action.
5-8 - Shaken
9-12 - Move full pace plus running die from danger, Shaken
13-16 - Minor Phobia - gains a Minor Phobia from the experience. Make a Spirit roll. On a success, the Phobia lasts 3d6 days. On a failure, it lasts 3d6 weeks. On a critical failure, the Phobia is permanent.
17-18 - Major Phobia - as above, but Major Phobia
19-20 - Mark of Fear - Shaken, -1 Charisma permanently
21+ - Heart Attack - Incapacitated, roll Vigor -2. On success, character is Shaken, can't attempt to recover for d4 rounds. On failure, dies in 2d6 rounds. Healing roll at -4 saves life, but PC is still Incapacitated.

Called Shots
Limb (-2): An attack to a limb causes no additional damage but may ignore armor or have some other special effect (see the Disarm maneuver).

Head or Vitals (-4): The attacker gains +4 damage from a successful attack to these critical areas. The target must actually have vital areas, and the attacker must know where they are to gain this advantage.

Small Target (-4): Attacks against small targets such as the heart of a vampire or a missing scale on a large dragon’s chest are made at -4. The effect of success depends on the situation–the vampire might die instantly, the missing scale may mean the dragon gets no armor, etc. If the GM has no particular effect in mind, it adds +4 damage just like a shot to the head or vitals.

Tiny Target (-6): Particularly small or narrow targets, such as the eye-slit of a knight’s helmet, carry a -6 modifier. The effects of a hit depend on the target. In the case of the knight, the blow ignores armor and inflicts +4 damage because it’s a head shot (as above).

Every 5 points accumulated grants a hero an Advance. An Advance lets a hero do one of the following:

* Gain a new Edge.
* Increase one skill that is equal to or greater than its linked attribute by one die type (up to d12)
* Increase two skills that are lower than their linked attribute by one die type each (up to being equal to their linked attribute).
* Buy a new skill at d4.
* Increase an attribute by one die type (up to d12. You may select this option only once per rank)

Every 20 experience, characters gain a new rank, and may take more powerful edges.

Exp    Rank
00-19  Novice
20-39  Seasoned
40-59  Veteran
60-79  Heroic
80+    Legendary

The Art of the Duel

1. Face Off

Deal each duelist two face-down hole cards (adjusting for Edges).

Each duelist rolls Intimidation or Taunt and compares results. If they tie, give each duelist another face-down card and roll again. Otherwise, remember who wins for Swappin’ Lead.

2. Luck o’ the Draw

Deal three cards face-up. Either duelist can yell “Shoot!” to go to Reach for It!

Deal another card face-up. Either duelist can yell “Shoot!” to go to Reach for It!

Deal the final face-up card.

3. Reach for It!

Each duelist decides to go for speed or accuracy in Swappin’ Lead.

The duelists show the best five-card poker hand they can make from the face-up cards and at least two of their hole cards. Remember, Jokers are wild!

4. Swappin’ Lead

A duelist can only fire a single shot: no Double Taps or Fannin’. Whoever lost the Face Off suffers a –2 to his Shooting roll. The duelist with the better poker hand adds 1d6 to damage for each rank over his opponent (e.g., a Flush against Two Pairs adds +3d6 damage).

All shots for speed are resolved at –2 unless the duelist has the Quick Draw Edge (–0) or a quick-draw holster (–1).

All shots for accuracy are resolved if necessary.

If anyone’s still alive, go to combat!
The Stray
 GM, 2004 posts
 The Marshal
 'round these parts
Wed 15 Feb 2017
at 07:27
Character Background Template
Character Background Template:

Step 1: One Unique Thing

Each character should have one unique feature you invent for him or her when you create the character. Your one unique thing is an unusual trait that sets your character apart from every other hero. Choose something you think is interesting and will generate story hooks later. "She's from an offshoot clan of the Whateleys who turned to Mad Science instead of Black Magic," "He cut off his own finger to show how tough he is," "She's actually from the future, from the Hell on Earth setting, and is trying to change the past," "he's wanted in 14 states. Not for murder or assault (though he is a violent person), but because he just winds up getting blamed when supernatural events happen around him."

Example: Dr. Ambrose Evans

"Dr. Evans is a Mad Scientist with the ethics and style of a snake-oil salesman, who travels the west in a covered wagon shilling patent medicines which sometimes actually work."

Step 2: Your Backstory

List 5 important events from your character's past.

Dr. Ambrose Evans
1. Have you heard of the Amazing Evans, who travels the land in a colored wagon promising the cure for whatever ails you?
2. Once he was a promising scientist Back East, studying the effects of Electricity and Ether for Science!
3. Then he caught the eye of the wife of a Texas Ranger, and wooed her. Furious, the Ranger had him sued. Evans managed to win his suit, but lose the respect of his peers.
4. Unable to practice his Science in an academic setting (and being a bit too fond of gambling, drinking, and wooing married women to be comfortable there anymore) he decided to ride out west.
5. Now he funds his scientific breakthroughs with sales of his "patented cure-alls," bogus snakeoil remedies that get sold thanks to his charm and wit.

Step 3: Your Goals

Pick 2 goals for your character. Either these are goals the character has ("he wants to find the snake who killed his family," "She wants to be recognized for her brilliant Mad Science designs") or goals you have for the character ("I'd like to see him find peace for his outlaw past," "I'd like her to find true love.")


Dr. Ambrose Evans
1. Despite his lifestyle, Evans wants to settle down someday and be seen as somewhat respectable, not just some flim-flam salesman.
2. I'd like for Evans to find a source of legitimacy somewhere, perhaps becoming a hero somehow.

Step 4: Your Secrets

Choose two secrets that concern your character. One is a secret that your character knows ("He's a deserter from the Union army," "Her inventions are fakes and she's a con artist"). The other is a secret that concerns your character, but not one they are aware of ("A man he shot has returned from the grave Harrowed and is seeking revenge," "Her inventions are fueled from her devotion to Science and she's actually a Blessed")


Dr. Ambrose Evans
1. His father was a Huckster who went by the name of "The Great Harlequin," and some of his magical leanings rubbed off on his son. Dr. Evans is a Mad Scientist, who can hear the whispers of the Manitou urging him to build strange devices.
2. Caine Saunders, the Ranger he cuckolded, is not finished with Evans. Annoyed that Evans beat the suit against him, Caine has decided to make things personal and is currently looking for Evans, in order to settle the score.

Step 5: Your Relationships

Pick 3 people your character knows. Two of them are friendly or at least neutral to the character ("His sister, who will still talk to him after he became an outlaw," "Her mentor, a mad scientist who was like a father to her"). One is hostile, possibly to the point of the Enemy Hindrance ("He's being chased by the law," "She's trying to escapee the clutches of her ex-husband, who wants to profit from her science").


Dr. Evans
1. Dr. Evans has wandered into a love/hate rivalry with Phineas Jones, another snakeoil salesman who touts herbal remedies of a dubious nature. They travel the same routes, set up shop near another, and have even saved each others lives a couple of times. Evans is getting sick of him as competition, and is considering offing him a partnership so he has someone to watch his back on their frequent misadventures.
2. Evans is easy on the eyes and has a way with women. He can count on a few friendly girls in places he's stayed...usually.
3. Caine Saunders, a Texas Ranger with a mean-steak a mile wide, has it in for Evans. That's a bad place to be for someone who makes his living selling medicines of a dubious nature. Evans has managed to evade Caine's grasp thus far, but it's only a matter of time before the Ranger comes knocking.

Step 6: Your Worst Nightmare

What frightens your character at his core, and really motivates him? ("He hears the whispers of the men he's killed, promising to drag him to Hell with them," "She fears that one day her inspiration, which knocks around her head, will drive her insane.")


Dr. Evans
Dr. Evans is wondering if his life has been a waste. Sure, he can suavely catch a ladies eye while twirling his waxed mustache, but life on the road doesn't really suit him, and he's beginning to feel that everything is a bit hollow and cold. This sensation of emptiness and purposelessness is what he's really running from, and the despair that it might all be for nothing eats at him constantly.

The Stray
 GM, 2005 posts
 The Marshal
 'round these parts
Wed 15 Feb 2017
at 07:30
New Hindrances and Edges
New Hindrances

Cocky (Minor)

Sometimes it’s important for your enemies to know who they’re dealing with, and you always take time to let them know. Until the character spends an entire round lecturing, chastising, gloating, or otherwise demeaning her foe in combat, she suffers a −2 penalty to all actions. Once she’s satisfied the requirement, the penalty is lifted. She may perform a Test of Wills while delivering her speech, but doesn’t have to.

Dark Secret (Major)

Your hero harbors some dark secret that could endanger his very life, or at the very least how he’s perceived, should it ever come to light. Most often it is some terrible crime, but occasionally it may be something not altogether illegal, but equally awful. His Charisma suffers a –4 penalty to anyone aware of this secret. If it should ever become public knowledge through the course of play, he loses this Hindrance, replacing it with Wanted (Major) or Enemy (Major), depending on the nature of the secret, as well as retaining the –4 Charisma modifiers.

Impulsive (Minor)

You’re a firm believer in the old saw that goes “He who hesitates is lost.” When an idea takes you, like as not, you run with it. You’re not overconfident; you just don’t always think things through before taking action.

Obligation (Minor or Major)

Your hero has a responsibility he can’t ignore. It could be as simple as a job, a duty to an organization, or it could be a personal requirement to protect or care for an individual. Regardless of the specifics, your hombre is legally, ethically, or otherwise bound to comply. He can expect his responsibilities to occasionally be inconvenient or, in some cases, even dangerous.

As a Minor Hindrance, his Obligations are generally restraints on his time, such as a work schedule that he can’t alter. Failure to comply with his responsibilities converts to a Major Hindrance. As a Major Hindrance, your character’s Obligations are crucial and may put him in harm’s way. If he ignores his duties, the Obligation becomes another Major Hindrance (typically Wanted or even Enemy in the case of service to a powerful organization).

Short Temper (Minor)

Your owl hoot is more than a little touchy. He might not necessarily hold a grudge for long, but he’s got a short fuse and is likely to lose his composure at the slightest provocation. How he lashes out is up to you, of course, but he’s not one to suffer in silence! He’s also a sucker for any barbs thrown his way and gets a –2 to Persuasion and all attempts to resist Taunt in a Test of Wills.

Sluggish (Major)

Your hero is slow to act in stressful situations. He draws two initiative cards in combat and acts on the worst. If he draws a Joker, he uses it normally and ignores the Hindrance for that round. Sluggish characters may not take the Quick Edge, but they can improve their reaction time by taking the Level Headed Edge (but not during character creation). For this particular character, Level Headed allows him to draw one card in combat and act normally. Improved Level Headed grants two cards and you can act on the better of the two.

Rebellious (Minor)

You’ve got a problem with authority figures: marshals, outlaw bosses, bouncers, you name it. Whether you mouth off, actively disobey instructions, or just sit quietly and fume, your disrespect is blatantly obvious—and has the effect of getting you in hot water with the wrong people. Not surprisingly, this doesn’t do a lot to make you popular around the precinct house or courtroom. In addition to the obvious drawbacks, your hero has –2 Charisma with respect to any person in a position of authority.

Smart Mouth (Minor)

While your cowpoke is convinced she's a master of witty banter, not too many others share that opinion. She has a habit of cracking wise at the worst times or poking the wrong bear. In addition to the obvious downside, her sharp tongue gives her –2 Charisma.

Night Terrors (Major)

This cowpoke doesn’t sleep well. In fact, the Land of Nod is a constant nightmare for him. He tosses and turns like a demon doing the jitterbug and likely keeps everyone within a dozen yards of him awake with his nightly torment. When your hero sleeps for the night (or whenever, but no more than once a day), he must make a Spirit roll or suffer a level of Fatigue. Luckily for him, he recovers that Fatigue the next time he beds down. Unluckily for him, he has to battle his nightmares all over again!

If the Marshal skips over long periods of time, such as during a trip, roll once instead of for each night that would have passed.

This Hindrance replaces the Bad Dreams hindrance from Deadlands: Reloaded.

Allergy (Minor or Major)

Your cowpoke suffers an aversion to a relatively common condition or substance, such as pollen, sawdust, peanuts, horse dander, etc. Whenever he’s exposed to the substance (generally getting within 5” of it, but this depends on the allergen) he must make a Vigor roll or suffer a level of Fatigue. For the Minor version, your hero makes a Vigor roll at –1, and any Fatigue lasts 1d6 hours. For the Major version, the Vigor roll is made at –2 and if it’s failed the Fatigue lasts for a whole day.

Intolerant (Minor or Major)

With all the fighting that’s been tearing apart the Disputed Territories, you can be sure there are lots of folks who have developed a disliking for those who done them wrong. While racism is the province of villains in 1880, and most folks are willing to look past a person’s appearance to judge them by their actions, there are some who simply dislike those from another culture and believe their own culture to be far superior.

Specify the target of your hombre’s Intolerance. He can’t help belittling this culture—and members of it—at every opportunity. A character taking the Minor version has –2 Charisma among members of that culture. The penalty increases to –4 for the Major Hindrance.

In both cases, the character may not use Leadership Edges with members of the specified culture unless he has worked with them for at least one week.

Trouble Magnet (Minor or Major)

Things never go smoothly for this hero, no matter how hard he tries. At least once per session, the Marshal should have trouble wander across the hero’s path. This might be someone who recognizes him while he’s trying to infiltrate a Confederate fort, some enemy reinforcements joining a battle, or a terrible storm headed straight for his campfire.

The intensity of the trouble depends on whether a character has the Minor or Major version, but is otherwise left to the Marshal’s discretion. Be warned though—having multiple heroes in the posse with this Hindrance does result in multiple troublesome effects.

Focus (Minor/Major)
Only characters with the Arcane Background Edge can take this Hindrance. It represents a mental dependence on a physical item to use their powers.

It could be a deck of cards for a huckster, a holy item for a blessed, a specific weapon for a chi master, or even a lucky rabbit’s foot for a mad scientist.

Whatever the item, the character suffers a –1 penalty to all arcane skill rolls if he does not have it. As a Major Hindrance, he suffers a –2 without the item. Anyone who sees the item used to enact a power can tell it’s real important. If a Focus item is lost, the hero can replace it, but it takes two game weeks for the hero to acclimate to the replacement, during which time she suffers the appropriate penalties.

Note that hexslingers (described on page 23) and mad scientists already need a chosen weapon or gizmo to enact powers—an actual dependence rather than a mental one. Therefore, hexslingers and mad scientists aren’t eligible for this Hindrance...and it’s best not to saddle your hero with such an onerous disadvantage from the get-go, amigo.

New Edges


Requirements: Novice, Smarts d6+
The character has an ear for languages and a rare talent for recognizing similarities between them. A character with this Edge starts with a number of languages equal to his Smarts die (in addition to the languages he already gets--see House Rules thread), and can make a Smarts roll at –2 to make herself understood in any language or dialect she has heard spoken for at least a week.


Requirements: Novice, Str d8+
Frequent fights with his bare hands have given this thug a powerful punch. When he hits a foe with a successful bare-handed Fighting roll, he adds +2 to his damage.

Requirements: Seasoned, Brawler
When the bruiser gets a raise on his bare-handed Fighting attack, he rolls a d8 instead of a d6.

Requirements: Seasoned, Fighting d8+
Fighters with this Edge know how to respond instantly to an enemy’s mistakes. Once per round, the character receives one free Fighting attack against one adjacent foe who failed a Fighting attack against him. This attack is made at –2, and the Counterattack must be a normal attack (no Disarm, Wild Attack, or other maneuvers), and may not be combined with Frenzy or Sweep. It may be used with the Defend maneuver, but not Full Defense.

Improved Counterattack
Requirements: Veteran, Counterattack
As above but the character may ignore the –2 penalty.

Combat Sense
Requirements: Seasoned, Fighting d8+, Notice d8+
Either your hero learned how to scrap on the field of battle during the Civil War or she learned how to survive a saloon brawl. Opponents in melee halve any Gang Up bonuses against her (round down).

Improved Combat Sense
Requirements: Veteran, Combat Sense
Opponents in melee now gain no Gang Up bonus at all against this pugilist.

Dirty Fighter
Requirements: Novice, Smarts d6+, Agility d6+
There is no honor among thieves, and the Weird West has more than it's fair share of scoundrels. Those with this Edge will do anything to win a fight. The character adds +2 to all Trick maneuver rolls (both attempting and resisting).

Really Dirty Fighter
Requirements: Seasoned, Dirty Fighter
This rogue is extremely skilled in tactical deceit. Once per combat he may automatically get The Drop on any single opponent by describing a trick and spending a Fate Chip.

Don’t Get ’im Riled!
Requirements: Wild Card, Seasoned, Spirit d8+
The hero with this Edge can be a real curly wolf when he gets roughed up. Your hero adds his wound levels to both his Fighting rolls and the damage he causes from them. A hero with 3 wounds, for instance, adds +3 to his Fighting and Fighting damage rolls.

Requirements: Novice, Agility d8+
When a character normally withdraws from a melee, his attacker gets a free attack before he does so—a very dangerous proposition for most. Your hero is adept at retreating from an engagement. Make an Agility roll. If successful, one opponent doesn’t get a free attack anytime you disengage (see page 76).

Improved Extraction
Requirements: Novice, Extraction
As above but if you succeed with a raise all opponents currently in melee with the character lose their free attack as your warrior withdraws.

Requirements: Heroic, Shooting d10+
The shootist's sidearm is like an extension of his body. He can disarm a cultist or shoot the smile off a chupacabra at 20 paces. When using pistols gunslingers ignore –2 in total Shooting penalties regardless of the source (wounds, range, called shots etc.).

Improvisational Fighter
Requirements: Seasoned, Smarts d6+
Heroes often find themselves fighting with pieces of equipment or furnishings not designed for combat. A character with this Edge has a knack for using such improvised weapons, and does not suffer the usual –1 penalty to attack and Parry when wielding them. See page 73 for details.

Iron Jaw
Requirements: Novice, Vigor d8+
The hero can take a hit like he was made of cast iron. He gets +2 to Soak rolls.

Requirements: Veteran, Marksman, Two-Fisted, Shooting d10+
The gunslinger with this Edge can fire two weapons with accuracy or speed. He can use Marksman against two separate targets or he can fire double-action pistols as if they had RoF 2. All Automatic Fire rules are applied (–2 to Shooting and uses two bullets per attack).

Slam the Hammer
Requirements: Seasoned, Shooting d8+
Your hero has learned how to keep his aim while “fanning the hammer.” When using a single-action pistol with the Rapid Attack maneuver, he suffers a –2 penalty to his Shooting rolls instead of the usual –4 (see Savage Worlds). The –2 penalty to Parry still applies, however. Fanning the hammer of a pistol requires both hands. One hand is used to hold down the trigger while the other slams the hammer back repeatedly.

Fan the Hammer
Requirements: Heroic, Shooting d10+, Slam the Hammer
Your gunslinger is adept at fanning the hammer (see above). He suffers no penalty to his Shooting roll when using Rapid Attack with a single-action pistol, and the penalty to Parry drops to –1.

Speed Load
Requirements: Seasoned, Agility d8+, Shooting d6+
Your shooter has mastered the fine art of loading her six-gun in an all-fired hurry. She can fully reload one weapon on her action, ignoring the usual –2 penalty to Shooting rolls in the same round. If using a weapon that requires a full round or more to reload, the time required is reduced by 1 round.

Chi Focus
Requirements: Novice, Spirit d6+, Martial Artist

Chi is the inner force certain martial artists can tap into. The hero uses his Spirit for damage instead of Strength when using martial arts.

Feet of Fury
Requirements: Veteran, Agility d8+, Fighting d8+

Your hero has mastered a variety of kicks designed to engage foes quickly, knock them off-balance, or simply deal gratuitous damage. This Edge may be taken multiple times; choose a different kick each time.
  • Foot Sweep: Your martial artist has learned to drop into a crouch and deliver a spin kick with blinding speed. This attack does no damage, but if it hits the target is knocked off his feet and has to make a Vigor roll or be Shaken. With a raise on the Fighting roll, the Vigor roll is made at –2. A character may not move during the round a foot sweep is attempted.
  • Flying Kick: A flying kick is a running attack that begins with a leap, followed by the attack, and ends with the attacker running past his opponent, all in a single movement. If the hero moves at least 2” before making an attack against an adjacent opponent, he may kick and then Withdraw from Combat without his foe, or other adjacent opponents, receiving a free attack.
    All movement after the attack must be in the same direction as the original movement (the character must move in a straight line). Note that the attacker is still subject to First Strike attacks from foes he moves adjacent to during a flying kick.
  • Spin Kick: The spin kick is feared for its quickness and the power it packs. The martial artist suffers a –2 to the attack roll but gains +4 to damage. A hero may not move in the round he spin kicks, nor can it be combined with a Wild Attack.

Lightning Strike
Requirements: Seasoned, Strength d8+, Fighting d8+

Just as lightning splits the mighty oak down its center, so this martial artist can sunder objects with his bare hands. When rolling to Break Things, make a Fighting roll at –4. If the attack succeeds, the fu fighter does double damage to whatever object he’s trying to bust.

Mongoose Leap
Requirements: Novice, Fighting d8+

The Mongoose Leap allows a martial artist to strike enemies who aren’t adjacent by hopping and lunging toward them. The character gains +1 Reach when attacking with hands or feet. He may not combine this Edge with First Strike, Frenzy, or Sweep.

Iron Parry
Requirements: Heroic, Improved Block, Martial Artist

Some pugilists can bust up an opponent pretty bad just by blocking an attack. If an adjacent opponent using an unarmed attack fails a Fighting roll against the character, the opponent suffers damage equal to the hero’s Strength. If he is using a melee weapon, he suffers the weapon’s damage instead.

Movement of the Serpent
Requirements: Veteran, Martial Artist, Agility d8+

Your hero’s about as slippery as a greased pig. A character with this Edge can Withdraw from Combat without giving any adjacent opponents a free attack.

Ten-Tiger Punch
Requirements: Novice, First Strike, Agility d6+, Fighting d8+, Intimidation or Taunt d6+

Your hero is as threatening as a lion or as tricky as a panther—either way, he can put his catlike qualities to good use in a fight. If he succeeds in a Test of Will against an adjacent opponent, the character receives an immediate free Fighting attack against that opponent. This attack does not incur a multi-action penalty.


Requirements: Novice, Arcane Background (Miracles), Faith d8+, Fighting d8+
Adepts are holy warriors who have trained themselves to be living weapons. Some do so to be ultimate warriors; others do it in the service of a cause or deity. Their unarmed attacks do Str+d4 damage, and they are always considered armed for purposes of the Unarmed Defender rule.
In addition, upon taking this Edge and at each new Rank, they may choose to change the trappings of one of the following powers to work only on themselves but be activated as a free action: boost/lower trait, deflection, healing, smite, or speed. The Adept must have the power to begin with, and this does not allow him to activate more than one power in a round.

Requirements: Novice, Agility d8+, Climbing d6+, Fighting d6+, Stealth d8+
Assassins are trained killers who know how to kill with deadly precision — if they can properly approach their prey. Assassins add +2 to any damage roll where they strike a foe unawares (even with ranged attacks).

Professional Edges

Born in the Saddle
Requirements: Novice, Agility d8+, Riding d6+

Some folks have spent so much time on horseback it’s become second nature to them. In fact, there’s no place else they’d rather be. Heroes who were Born in the Saddle add +2 to Riding rolls. This bonus also applies to long-distance travel; see Saddle Sore in the Deadlands Player’s Guide.

The caballero may also spend Bennies to make Soak rolls for any horse he happens to be riding, but only when he’s in the saddle. This is a Riding roll at –2 (cancelling the usual +2). Each success and raise negates a wound to the mount.

Ghost Dancer
Requirements: Novice, Arcane Background (Shamanism), Spirit d8+, Tribal Medicine d6+, receive instruction for 1d6+1 days from a shaman with this Edge.

Followers of the Ghost Dance are told they must perform the ritual until the dead rise again. The ceremony must be performed until the dancers collapse from exhaustion, but the stories are true—the ritual can banish fear, raise the dead, and tear the Harrowed asunder. The Ghost Dance can be performed by anyone (as a show of solidarity, for example) but it only has supernatural effects if it is led by a shaman who knows the secret, precise ritual actions.

There are two forms of the Ghost Dance. One is for contacting the spirits for advice about the future, gaining wisdom in exchange for putting their physical well-being at risk. The shaman gains the vision quest power, but in addition to the time it takes to call on the vision the shaman also suffers a level of fatigue commensurate to the cost in Power Points (Fatigued for 3pp, Exhausted for 5 pp, Incapacitated for 10 pp). This fatigue is potentially fatal, though the shaman has an opportunity to pass on the vision he gained before he expires. Otherwise, the fatigue heals at a rate of 1 level per day.

The second form has greater effects. The dance takes five days. Everyone in the village must participate, even those traveling in war parties or hunting bands. At the end of each day’s performance every participant makes a Vigor roll. Those who succeed are Exhausted (Fatigue –2, removed by a good night’s sleep) and collapse until the next morning, when they start dancing again. Those who fail are Incapacitated by Fatigue for 1d4 days and cannot rejoin the dance.

Anyone can aid the Ghost Dance by performing the ritual dance and making a Vigor roll at the end of each day. Characters with the Arcane Background (Shamanism) Edge who participate for the whole ceremony (but don’t know the Ghost Dance's secrets) can make a single Tribal Medicine roll at the end of the dance. Each success and raise adds +1 to the leader’s Tribal Medicine roll. Character with this edge add their successes and raises to the leader's roll directly.

At the end of five days, the leader makes a single Tribal Medicine roll to gauge the ritual’s effectiveness, modified by the rolls of any shamans still aiding the ritual. For each success and raise on the roll, the leading shaman may do one of the following things:

  • Lower the Fear Level by 1.
  • Add +1 Grit to a dead hero for the purposes of the character coming back Harrowed. (If Grit is 10 or more, the character is fully resurrected).
  • Make an opposed Spirit roll against a Harrowed’s manitou to drive it out and lay the Harrowed to rest for good.
  • Open a portal to the Hunting Grounds, which lasts for one day per success and raise invested in this option.
  • Give everyone involved a vision as per the vision quest power, with the power of the vision dependent on the number of successes and raises used on this option.
  • Call forth a Divine Intervention (see Good Intentions Player's Guide for more on these).


Liquid Courage
Requirements: Novice, Vigor d8+
Your hero processes alcohol far differently than most. The round after consuming a stiff drink (at least 8 ounces of hard liquor or equivalent), the character’s Vigor increases by one die type (increasing Toughness as well). The hard drinker can also ignore one level of wound modifiers (which stacks with other abilities that do the same). The effect lasts for one hour after it begins. If the drunkard seeks inebriation he suffers –2 to Smarts and Agility-based rolls for as long as he continues to drink and the next 1d6 hours thereafter.

Requirements: Novice, Luck
Once per session the hero may “suddenly remember” that he has a much-needed piece of equipment on his person. The item must be capable of being stored in the hero’s pocket or bag (assuming he has one), and the Game Master has the final word on what can be found.

Requirements: Wild Card, Novice, Spirit d6+
Some shootists are just too tough to lie down and stay dead when they get beefed. The price they pay is an eternal battle for their own soul with the demonic “manitous” that provide their unnatural vitality.

The Harrowed Edge may only be selected at character creation. To get it later requires shedding the mortal coil and a whole lot of luck (the Marshal has information on how this occurs in the Deadlands Marshal’s Handbook). If you take this Edge, your character has been reborn into unlife and you can read up on the grisly details on the next page. Otherwise, vamoose and show some respect for the dead.

This message was last edited by the GM at 01:22, Tue 21 Feb 2017.

The Stray
 GM, 2006 posts
 The Marshal
 'round these parts
Wed 15 Feb 2017
at 07:31
New Spells
Here's a list of new spells available in Savage Worlds Deluxe, and how they apply to various Arcane Backgrounds.

The following powers from SWD are not allowed in Deadlands: banish, divination, intangibility, and mind reading. As the marshal, I reserve the right to waive this prohibition if I like.

The power descriptions in the Deadlands Player’s Guide are superseded by the Savage Worlds Deluxe versions (but Trappings are unchanged). If you want to mess with Trappings for your powers, I'm willing to work with you.

Rank: Novice
Power Points: 2–6
Range: 12/24/48
Duration: Instant

This power temporarily blinds a target or targets. Those affected must make an Agility roll at –2 to avert their gaze and avoid the effect (at –4 if the caster got a raise on the attack roll). On a failure, victims are Shaken and –2 to Parry until their next action. If the target rolls a 1 on his Agility die (regardless of the Wild Die), he’s Shaken and fully blind until he recovers from being Shaken. Blinded victims suffer a –6 penalty to all Trait rolls that require vision and have their Parry reduced to 2.

►►Additional Effects: For 2 Power Points, the power affects a single target. For 4 Power Points, the power affects everyone in a Medium Burst Template. For 6 points, it affects everyone in a Large Burst Template.

Blessed: Holy light springs forth.
Huckster: The huckster’s fan of cards burst into brilliant light. Called bedazzle.
Mad Scientist: Ocular Paralysis Spray, Flash Grenade.
Martial Artist: Not available.
Shaman: Call upon the spirits to steal sight.

Rank: Novice
Power Points: 1
Range: Smarts x 2
Duration: Instant

Instilling confusion in enemies is a powerful aid in combat, and this power provides that ability. On a success, a target must make a Smarts roll at –2 or be Shaken, and on a raise, the roll is made at –4.

►►Additional Targets: The character may affect up to five targets by spending a like amount of additional Power Points.

Blessed: The blessed poses a philosophical conundrum. Called enigma.
Huckster: Illusory shapes swirl all around. Called confound.
Mad Scientist: Befuddlement Serum, Mind Eraser Ray.
Martial Artist: Not available.
Shaman: A chaotic, disorienting chant.

Contact Spirit World
Rank: Special
Power Points: Special
Range: Special
Duration: 1 hour (1/hour)

This power is used to contact the Hunting Grounds in various ways. As the arcane character goes up in Rank he grows more skilled at manipulating spirits and their realm. The Marshal has more information on all the following uses. A character may learn this spell while of Novice Rank, but cannot make use of the more powerful functions until he attains the appropriate Rank.

A shaman who possesses the crystal from an uktena’s skull (see the Deadlands Marshal’s Handbook) receives a +1 on Tribal Medicine rolls to use the contact spirit world power, due to the gemstone’s intrinsic connection to the Hunting Grounds. Similar tokens may be available for other Arcane Backgrounds at the Marshal’s whim.

Cost Rank       Power
3    Novice     Summon Lesser Spirit
4    Seasoned   Summon Normal Spirit
5    Veteran    Spirit Travel
6    Heroic     Group Spirit Travel
7    Legendary  Open Portal

Summon Lesser Spirit: The caster calls forth a lesser spirit. He cannot summon manitous, and the caster can’t specify the type of spirit he wants to call up unless he knows an individual spirit’s true name. The Marshal has a handy table on page 66 to determine which spirit answers the call.

Once the spirit arrives the caster engages it in an opposed Spirit test. If the caster fails the spirit vanishes. On a roll of snake eyes the spirit attacks the caster in a rage, but vanishes as soon as it or the caster takes one wound. On a success the spirit reveals its abilities and the caster can demand one service from it.

This must be a single, simple, and specific act on behalf of the summoning character (e.g., “Guide me to the village of my ancestors,” or “Guard me from harm until I leave the Hunting Grounds.”). With a raise the caster also learns the spirit’s true name, and the act can be more complicated and include a few contingency plans along the way.

Summon Normal Spirit: The caster calls forth a normal spirit. This is just like summoning a lesser spirit, except for the higher Power Point cost and Rank requirement. Oh, and the spirit is likely to be more powerful. Never call up anything you can’t put down. (Greater spirits cannot be summoned with this power—they are unique beings and can only be called through specific rituals known only to the very old and very wise.)

Spirit Travel: This power allows the caster to project his soul into the Hunting Grounds for the purpose of contacting spirits, gaining insight into a thorny problem, or perhaps viewing the impressions left by past events. Once the power is activated it takes 1d6 rounds for the transfer to take place. The caster simply “wakes up” in the spirit world.

For the most part, physical objects don’t go along for the ride. Relics and other enchanted items always accompany an owner for free. If the caster wishes to bring other items to the Hunting Grounds, it costs 1 additional Power Point per natural item (bow and arrows, stone tomahawk, clay pot), and 2 additional Power Points for each manufactured item (steel blade, gun, jet pack).

While the caster’s soul travels the Hunting Grounds, his body remains in the physical world in a comatose state. Typically the astral traveler appoints some guardian to look after his body while he’s gone. If it’s not cared for, the caster’s body will eventually die of Hunger or Thirst (see Savage Worlds).

The power lasts until the journey is complete. It is wise to have some goal in mind when traveling to the Hunting Grounds. The spirit world is dodgy, even for those who only travel there astrally! The Marshal has more information about what sorts of things might happen along the way.

Group Spirit Travel: This power is just like spirit travel except the caster can take along a maximum number of companions equal to his Spirit die. All the companions’ souls leave their bodies with the caster as described above.

Open Portal: The caster tears open a doorway into the Hunting Grounds, through which she and a number of companions equal to her Spirit die can physically travel. It takes each character 1 round to pass through the portal, after which the caster and any companions arrive in the Hunting Grounds. All the characters’ personal gear travels with them to the Hunting Grounds.

Reasons for physically traveling to the spirit world include rescuing a lost soul, or retrieving a relic or medicine object that has been hidden there.

This power can also be used to open a portal from the Hunting Grounds to the physical world, but it’s more difficult to do so. Apply a –2 penalty to the roll in this case. For this reason some travelers prefer to keep their portals open while they mosey about in the Hunting Grounds. This practice isn’t without risks, though. You never know what’s liable to step through an open portal when nobody’s looking…and it usually ain’t good news.

Blessed: Voodooists only. Houngans and mambos experience the Hunting Grounds as the dark and shadowy world of the loas.
Huckster: Not available without GM permission.
Mad Scientist: Pan-dimensional lure, ectoplasmic net, astral helmet, dreamlands elixir, worldgate, ghost looking-glass.
Martial Artist: Not available.
Shaman: Chanting, dancing, incense, fire, sacrifices, peyote, sweat lodge, grueling physical exertion.

Damage Field
Rank: Seasoned
Power Points: 4
Range: Touch
Duration: 3 (2/round)

Damage field creates an effect around a character that deals damage to anyone who contacts them in close combat. The damage affects any adjacent character who makes a successful attack roll against the subject. It has no effect on non-adjacent attackers (for example, Reach or ranged attacks).

If a character with a damage field strikes someone in unarmed combat, the target takes the field’s damage plus the character’s Strength die (Str+2d6). The character may also simply touch the opponent (+2 to Fighting) and do the field’s damage only. A target who is grappled suffers the field’s damage each round on the attacker’s action; if the attacker chooses on following rounds to actively damage the target, he adds his Strength die to the damage roll as above and may get a bonus die for a raise.

With a success, the power does 2d6 damage. With a raise, damage field causes 2d8 damage.

Blessed: Not available.
Huckster: Dehydrates everything in range. Called parch.
Mad Scientist: Entropy Generator.
Martial Artist: No visible effect.
Shaman: Not available.

Rank: Novice
Power Points: 1
Range: Touch
Duration: 1 hour (1/hour)

Whereas light creates a source of illumination usable by others, darksight affects only a single person and can be much more clandestine.

On a success, this spell halves any darkness penalty for the subject (round down). For example, a character in Dim (–1) lighting would suffer no penalty, and one in Pitch Darkness (–4) would only suffer a –2. On a raise, the spell negates all darkness penalties up to the maximum of –6.

►►Additional Targets: The character may affect up to five targets by spending a like amount of additional Power Points.

Blessed: Voodooists only. Called eyes of the loa.
Huckster: Not available.
Mad Scientist: Ghost-Rock Goggles.
Martial Artist: No visible effect.
Shaman: Dancing, purification rituals.

Rank: Seasoned
Power Points: 3 – 5
Range: Touch
Duration: 10 minutes (1/10 minutes)

Disguise allows the character to assume the appearance (but none of the abilities) of another person. The base cost is 3 Power Points, plus 1 point per level of Size difference between the character and the person she is impersonating. The character cannot emulate someone more than 2 Size levels different from themselves. It requires a Notice roll at –2 to see through disguise if someone is familiar with the specific person mimicked; the penalty increases to –4 with a raise. If unfamiliar, the penalties are –4 and –6 respectively.

Blessed: Not available.
Huckster: The huckster’s features morph and change. Called impostor.
Mad Scientist: Self-Altering Mask, Automated Wax Impressionizer.
Martial Artist: Not available.
Shaman: Fetish mask.

Drain Power Points
Rank: Heroic
Power Points: 3
Range: Smarts
Duration: Instant

This spell removes a spellcaster’s source of power, limiting his ability to cast magic. The caster picks a single target within range and makes an opposed arcane skill roll. The caster suffers a –2 modifier if the target power is of another type (magic vs. miracles, superpowers vs. mad science, for example).

With a success, he drains 1d6+1 Power Points from the victim. On a raise, the victim loses 1d8+2 Power Points. These rolls don’t Ace. Targets with Arcane Background: Weird Science lose the Power Points from all “gizmos” on their person equally.

The victim cannot be reduced below zero Power Points. Drained Power Points are not taken by the caster — they are simply lost to the victim. Drained Power Points recharge as normal. The spell works only on creatures with an Arcane Background — it has no effect on magic items except those created through Arcane Background: Weird Science as noted above.

Blessed: Not available.
Huckster: Not available.
Mad Scientist: Ectoplasmic Reversal Field, Soul Trap.
Martial Artist: No apparent effect. Called fangs of the serpent.
Shaman: Dreamcatcher, medicine bag.

Rank: Seasoned
Power Points: 3
Range: Touch
Duration: 3 (1/round)

This spell endows the recipient to see over great distances. With a success, ranged penalties are halved for the subject (–1 at Medium and –2 at Long). If a raise is achieved, all range increments for the subject are doubled in addition (12/24/48 becomes 24/48/96).

Blessed: Not available.
Huckster: Uses an ordinary mirror like a crystal ball. Called looking glass.
Mad Scientist: Etheric Transmission Accelerator, Mega-telescope.
Martial Artist: Not available.
Shaman: Dancing, purification rituals.

Grave Speak
Rank: Seasoned
Power Points: 4
Range: Touch
Duration: 3 (1/round)

In this twisted world of uncertain realities it is said the dead know many secrets, and those with the power can reach beyond death’s door to converse with the departed. For this spell to work it must be directed toward a particular soul. The caster must either know the name of the target or possess a treasured or personal item (which includes their remains).

If the spell succeeds, a disembodied voice speaks from the other side and may be questioned. One question may be asked for each round the spell is active. On a success, the spirit contacted must tell the truth but may be deceptive in its answers if hostile to the summoner. On a raise, the spirit must answer both truthfully and clearly. The Marshal must decide what information the entity knows—the spirit is not omnipotent and typically knows only what it knew in life up to the moment of its death.

A roll of 1 on the caster’s arcane skill die, regardless of the result of the Wild Die, allows the spirit to refuse to answer or outright lie in reply to one question. A critical failure accidentally summons a manitou. Typically these malevolent intruders attempt to deceive the caster by pretending to be the person originally sought and then provide inaccurate or even dangerous information.

Blessed: Voodooists only. The voodooist burns black tallow candles as they perform the spell and must know both the name of the deceased and posses personal items. The ritual takes an hour to perform.
Huckster: Must have the coprse's remains, and the corpse cannot have been dead longer than the Huckster's Smarts in months and requires intense concentration--the Huckster can't take any actions (including Free ones) while using this spell.
Mad Scientist: Spirit phone, seance apparatus, spirit photography, EVP. Mad Scientists are particularly prone to calling up manitou masquerading as the deceased -- a 1 or 2 on the Weird Science roll (regardless of Wild Die) calls up a manitou instead.
Martial Artist: Not available.
Shaman: An exhausting ritual dance that takes an hour. At the end, the shaman is Exhausted (the fatigue is removed after a good night's sleep). called ghost dance

Rank: Seasoned
Power Points: 2+
Range: Smarts
Duration: 3 (2/round)

Growth doubles the overall size of the target. The subject gains +1 Size for each 2 Power Points invested when the spell is cast. Each step of Size grants the target a one-step increase to Strength and a point of Toughness. This spell may be cast multiple times on the same target, though the caster must track each casting separately.

Shrink reduces the Size of the subject by one step for each 2 Power Points, down to a minimum of Size –2 (approximately the size of a rat). Each level of Size reduction reduces the target’s Strength by one die type (minimum of d4) and his Toughness by 1 (minimum of 2).

Subjects from Size +4 to +7 have the Large ability and fill a 2” square on the table-top. From Size +8 to +10, they are Huge and occupy an area 3” square. If the target is +11 or more, he is considered Gargantuan and occupies a 4” square area. Creatures of Size –2 have the Small ability.

For unwilling targets, the caster’s arcane skill roll is opposed by their Spirit.

Blessed: Not available.
Huckster: Not available.
Mad Scientist: Shrink only. Shrink Ray.
Martial Artist: The chi fighter modulates his breathing and heart rate.
Shaman: Growth only. The shaman asks the spirits of the trees to grant her size and resilience.

Rank: Seasoned
Power Points: 2 – 4
Range: Smarts x 2
Duration: Instant

While unpredictable, this spell allows a wizard to change the field of battle in an instant as targets are thrown in every direction.

With a success, the caster places a Medium Burst Template anywhere within range. Any character touched by the template must make a Strength roll (at –2 if the caster gets a raise). Any target that fails is knocked 2d6” in a random direction (roll a d12 and read the result as a clock facing) and becomes prone. If the target strikes an inanimate object, he is Shaken as well. Targets with cover may subtract the cover modifier from the total distance moved (to a minimum of 0), and flying targets suffer an additional –2 to their Strength roll. Additionally, roll a d6 to see if the flyer is moved toward the ground (1 – 2), stays level (3 – 4), or is moved away from the ground (5 – 6).

►►Additional Effects: For double the Power Points, havoc affects a Large Burst Template.

Blessed: Not available.
Huckster: An invisible field of force directed by the huckster. Called clear out!.
Mad Scientist: Kinetic Dispersal Field, Automatic Billiardizer.
Martial Artist: The martial artist throws a punch into mid-air.
Shaman: Not available.

Rank: Seasoned
Power Points: 2
Range: Cone Template
Duration: Instant

Pummel allows a character to knock down multiple foes. The caster makes an arcane skill roll and then places a Cone Template in front of him. Any friend or foe touched by the template must make a Strength roll (at –2 if the caster gets a raise). Any target that fails is knocked back 2d6” and becomes prone. If the target strikes an inanimate object, he is Shaken as well. Targets with cover may subtract the cover modifier from the total distance moved (to a minimum of 0), and flying targets suffer an additional –2 to their Strength roll.

Blessed: The blessed prays, and the earth rumbles and shakes.
Huckster: A loud peal of thunder erupts. Called thunderclap!.
Mad Scientist: Ghost Steel Magneto-repulsifier, Personal Pressurized Water Cannon.
Martial Artist: The fu-fighter leaps into the air and punches the earth so it buckles.
Shaman: Dancing, purification rituals.
I, Garland, shall knock you all down!

Rank: Seasoned
Power Points: 1
Range: Smarts x 2
Duration: 3 (2/round)

Skilled fighters and monsters with fast reflexes can strike before lesser beings have time to blink. Slowing their reflexes reduces their advantage.

The caster makes an arcane skill roll opposed by the target’s Spirit. With a success, movement becomes an action, giving the target a multi-action penalty if he wants to move and act in the same round. With a raise, the target must redraw initiative cards above 10, except Jokers.

A victim who usually draws multiple initiative cards discards only those with a value higher than the spell allows.

►►Additional Targets: The character may affect up to five targets by spending a like amount of additional Power Points.
Blessed: Not available.
Huckster: Targets grow extremely lazy. Called lethargy.
Mad Scientist: Time-Contraction Sphere, Molasses Spray.
Martial Artist: The martial artist seems to move much faster than his foes.
Shaman: Not available.

Rank: Seasoned
Power Points: 2
Range: Smarts x 2
Duration: 1 minute (1/minute)

Blasting a hoard of enemies into tiny pieces may be popular with some mages, but those who favor stealth or have a pacifistic bent are drawn to this spell.

The caster picks where he wants to center the spell and places a Medium Burst Template. He then makes an arcane skill roll. Any living creature (not undead or constructs) within the area must make a Spirit roll, at –2 if the caster scored a raise. Those who fail fall asleep.

Loud noises awaken the sleepers as if they were a normal sleeper (Notice roll). When the duration expires, the sleepers naturally wake up.

Blessed: Not available.
Huckster: The huckster shuffles cards hypnotically. Called nighty-night.
Mad Scientist: Delta Wave Enhancement Modulator, Ghost-Rock-Infused Warm Milk Grenade, Lulla-beam.
Martial Artist: Not available.
Shaman: The shaman blows strange dust at the target and petitions the dream-spirits.

Summon Ally
Rank: Novice
Power Points: 3+
Range: Smarts
Duration: 3 (1/round)

This power allows the character to summon a loyal and obedient servant. On a success, the ally is placed at any point within the range of the power. On a raise, the ally is more durable and gains the Hardy ability. A summoned ally acts on the initiative card of the caster and gets an immediate action as soon as it is summoned.

All Allies are Extras, even Mirror Selves (see below). A character may learn this spell while of Novice Rank, but he cannot summon more powerful allies until he attains the appropriate Rank. The cost in Power Points depends on the type of ally the character wishes to summon. Use the Summon Ally table as a guideline for unlisted creatures.

A caster of sufficient Rank to summon more powerful allies may instead choose to summon additional lower Rank allies instead at the same cost. For each decrease in Rank, he gains one additional ally. For example, a Veteran caster could spend 5 Power Points to summon one Veteran-Rank-allowed ally, two Seasoned-Rank-allowed allies, or three Novice-Rank-allowed allies. Allies summoned by a single casting must all be of the same type.

Blessed: Not available.
Huckster: Can only be used to summon animals—see below. Named call o’ the wild.
Mad Scientist: Not available.
Martial Artist: Not available.
Shaman: Can only be used to summon animals—see below. The medicine man calls out to the spirit of the animal he wishes to summon.

Cost   Rank       Animal Types
3      Novice     Hawk, rabbit, cat
4      Seasoned   Dog, wolf, deer
5      Veteran    Lion, tiger
6      Heroic     Bear, shark
7      Legendary  Great white shark

Wall Walker
Rank: Novice
Power Points: 2
Range: Touch
Duration: 3 (1/round)

Spellcasters are frequently targeted in combat because of their arcane prowess and high-utility spells such as this are great for getting the caster safely out of harm’s way. Of course, it has countless other uses too.

Wall walker allows the recipient to function much like a human spider. He can stick to any surface, allowing him to climb walls and even hang from the ceiling. With a success, the character can move along such surfaces at half his normal Pace. With a raise, he may move at full Pace and even run.

►►Additional Targets: The character may affect up to five targets by spending a like amount of additional Power Points.
Blessed: Not available.
Huckster: The card sharp’s palms and soles get sticky. Called flypaper fingers.
Mad Scientist: Suction Gloves and Boots, Gravity Nullifier.
Martial Artist: The martial artist runs with blinding speed—right up walls and across ceilings.
Shaman: The shaman petitions a spider spirit to borrow its skills.

Warrior’s Gift
Rank: Seasoned
Power Points: 4
Range: Touch
Duration: 3 (1/round)

Even combat mages cannot afford to spend all their time learning new combat maneuvers and martial skills. For those who enjoy the thrill of melee or want to improve their companions’ skills, this spell provides a quick solution to a lack of training.

With a successful arcane skill roll, the recipient gains the benefits of a single Combat Edge chosen by the caster. The caster (not the recipient) must be one Rank higher than the Rank requirement of the Edge but ignores other requirements, even those requiring other Edges. For the duration of the spell, the recipient gains all the benefits of the Edge. Edges gained through this power provide no additional benefit if the character already has the Edge.
Blessed: The blessed sings a battle hymn.
Huckster: Not available.
Mad Scientist: Ghost-Rock Pep Pill, Combat Enhancement Helmet.
Martial Artist: No apparent effect.
Shaman: Self-lacerations, frenzied dancing. Called spirit warrior

The Stray
 GM, 2009 posts
 The Marshal
 'round these parts
Wed 15 Feb 2017
at 16:43
Arcane Backgrounds, Part 1

Blessed are individuals who have been granted supernatural abilities by mysterious and distant powers of good. Some are priests or actual clergy while others are simply chosen for the nobility of their struggle or their soul. Though most are enlightened and good by nature they don’t have to be—sometimes the light chooses even troubled souls to carry out its will.

Edge: Arcane Background (Blessed)
Requirements: Wild Card, Novice, Faith d4+, Spirit d8+
Arcane Skill: Faith (Spirit)
Power Points: 15
Starting Powers: 3 (protection, plus two of player’s choice)
Available Powers: Aim, armor, barrier, beast friend, blind, boost/lower Trait, confusion, deflection, dispel, elemental manipulation, environmental protection, exorcism, gambler, greater healing, healing, inspiration, light (not obscure), protection, pummel, quickness, sanctify, smite, speak language, stun, succor, warrior’s gift, windstorm.
Special Rules
  • Crisis o’ Faith: When a blessed rolls a 1 on her Faith die (regardless of the Wild Die), her Faith is reduced by a die type until she spends an hour in restful meditation, contemplation, or prayer. A blessed’s Faith can never be reduced below d4 by a Crisis of Faith.
  • Miracles: The blessed may use Edges that require Arcane Background (Miracles).
  • Sinnin': Blessed who violate their core beliefs are temporarily or permanently forsaken by whatever forces of good grant them their powers. Minor sins give the character –2 to his Faith rolls for a week. Major sins rob him of all arcane powers for a week. Mortal sins cause the character to be forsaken until the penitent hero completes some great quest or task of atonement to regain his lost powers (Marshal’s call).


Blessed powers are always subtle if not outright imperceptible—usually so much so that only the effects are visible.

New Edges

Arcane Background (Blessed)
Requirements: Wild Card, Novice, Faith d4+, Spirit d8+

The righteous hero with this Edge has the favor of the powers of good and light, no matter what god or gods that cowpoke’s religion prescribes, and they grant her arcane powers. However, keeping those powers requires no small amount of piety: See the details under No Man’s Land below. This Edge replaces Arcane Background (Miracles) in the Deadlands Player’s Guide.

Requirements: Novice, Arcane Background (Miracles), Spirit d6+, Faith d6+

Some holy rollers seem to have the ear of the Almighty, and this lucky cuss is one such individual. This hero reduces the cost to activate any power by 1 Power Point, to a minimum of 0.

Patron Spirit
Requirements: Novice, Arcane Background (Miracles), Spirit d8+

A Patron Spirit might be a guardian angel, a patron saint, a helpful loa, or some other entity that fits the blessed's beliefs. By spending a Fate chip, the blessed with a Patron Spirit may call upon it at any time to aid her in maintaining miracles. A white chip extends the duration by the base amount (i.e., a power normally active for 3 rounds lasts 3 more rounds). A red chip extends the duration by twice the base amount, and a blue chip extends the duration by three times the base amount. A Legend chip extends the duration of a power by five times the base amount. A character may never have more than one patron spirit at a time; if a hero has both Knack (Spirit Touched) and Patron Spirit, both Edges apply to the same spirit.


When the Cackler came to North America a pall fell over the Weird West. As the twilight closes in, the powers of light grant their most loyal blessed a gift most thought lost: the ability to pray for direct Divine Intervention. Divine Intervention is similar to a blessed’s other powers, but the effects are far more world-shaking.

Smitin’ Sinners

A blessed (and only a blessed) with a Legend Chip can attempt to petition the powers of light to intervene directly in worldly events. After fulfilling any special requirements noted in the power’s description, the blessed spends a Legend Chip and makes a Faith roll modified by the penalty for the power being attempted. Successful interventions cost no Power Points.

With the powers of light, it’s easier to invoke acts of mercy than to call down a god’s wrath. If a given intervention can be used in either fashion, the Marshal may opt to grant a +1 bonus to Faith rolls made with mercy in mind. As with any miracle, the Marshal should apply any additional bonuses (for a truly justified plea) or penalties (for frivolous or selfish pleas) as she sees fit.

Faith Results Table
  • Success/Raise: The player spends a Legend Chip and the power takes effect as described.
  • Failure: The player keeps the Legend Chip but the character suffers a Crisis of Faith: her Faith is reduced by a die type (min. d4) until she spends a number of hours equal to the power’s Faith Modifier in restful meditation, contemplation, or prayer. If the result on the Faith die is a 1 (regardless of the Wild Die), the blessed keeps the Legend Chip but loses access to all powers for one week, and her Power Point total drops to 0.
  • Snake Eyes: If both the Faith die and Wild Die result in a 1, the blessed loses the Legend Chip, Power Points drop to 0, and he or she is forsaken, losing access to all powers until the character performs a major act of atonement.

The Interventions

Faith Modifier: –2
Range: Touch
Duration: Permanent
Trappings: Chanting, incense, prayer, ritual purification

This intervention allows a blessed to help a Harrowed drive the manitou into submission. It takes an hour to invoke the miracle, after which the blessed rolls Faith. With a success on the Faith roll, the affected Harrowed makes an immediate Dominion roll. For every success and raise on the Faith roll the Harrowed adds +1 to his Spirit roll (maximum +4). If the Harrowed wins, she gains total Dominion (+4). Unlike in a typical Dominion test, the manitou gains no Dominion if it wins. A blessed Harrowed may perform this intervention on himself.

Faith Modifier: –2
Range: Spirit
Duration: 1 day/success and raise
Trappings: Chanting, prayer revival, singing

It's been said that God helps those who help themselves. With this intervention a blessed makes that prospect a little more manageable, but only when there is a clear goal to pursue. First the blessed leads a day-long ritual or prayer meeting appropriate to the congregation’s denomination, and rolls Faith.

For each success and raise, five Extras who share the caster’s faith are granted +2 on all Trait rolls made to achieve the crusade’s goal (at the Marshal’s discretion) for the duration. Goals include but aren’t limited to: protecting a town from a supernatural or mundane threat, finding someone who’s lost, or planting the crops in record time.

Faith Modifier: –1
Range: Self
Duration: 1 minute
Trappings: Contact spirits of dead, commune with deity

This intervention allows a blessed to contact the powers of light to gain information. Due to the extraplanar nature of this power, it is very draining. On a success, the petitioner may ask one question that can be answered by “Yes,” “No,” or “Possibly”(if there is no absolute answer). On a raise, the question may be answered in five words or less (the Marshal may allow a longer, more detailed answer in cryptic form).

The duration is one minute, during which the caster may take no other actions or movement. If the caster is Shaken during that time, he must make a Smarts roll or the power is disrupted. If the question relates to a living being (including beings who may “live” by mystical means such as undead, constructs, elementals, etc.), then the Faith roll is opposed by their Spirit. Divination is also opposed by conceal arcana. In the case of conceal arcana on a being, the divination must first beat the conceal arcana, and then if successful, the subject may roll Spirit against the divination result.

Faith Modifier: –3
Range: Spirit × 1 mile
Duration: 1 hour/success and raise
Trappings: Flood, hurricane, thunderstorm

With this power the blessed calls down a storm of biblical proportions to scour the land of that which is unclean. Unfortunately, it tends to scour the land of everything else as well! The deluge is centered on the caster. Within the range, visibility is reduced to 12” (and subject to Dark Lighting penalties). Just being exposed to the driving wind and swirling debris causes damage of 1d6+1 per success and raise on the Faith roll (maximum +4). The ground turns into a quagmire: Any character running must make an Agility roll or fall prone and Shaken. Most physical actions in this weather suffer a –2 penalty, including Driving, Piloting, and Riding rolls (due to slippery roads, poor visibility, and high winds).

A deluge that persists for more than one hour includes flash floods, lightning strikes, and mudslides, possibly damaging nearby buildings, drowning creatures, and preventing flying machines from taking off or landing. Any being who’s hostile to the caster and draws a Joker during a deluge is struck by lightning for 2d10 damage (AP 10).

Faith Modifier: –2
Range: Spirit ×2
Duration: 1 hour
Trappings: Holy word

When a blessed is hopelessly outgunned—so to speak—this intervention lets her knock a foe down a few pegs. The caster rolls Faith opposed by the target’s Spirit (at –4). If the blessed wins, she denies the target use of a single skill. The subject cannot use the skill for one hour. Any attempts to do so are considered unskilled (d4 with a –2 penalty). At the Marshal’s discretion some tasks are impossible to perform unskilled; in this case the target simply can’t do them.

Divine Wrath
Faith Modifier: See below
Range: See below
Duration: See below
Trappings: See below

Blessed can call down the wrath o’ God in all sorts of ways, from fire to vermin to a plain old divine wallop. Each flavor of divine wrath has its own details:

  • Hellfire (Faith Mod –2, Range Spirit ×8, Dur Instant): The blessed calls up a cleansing fire to roast anything in its area of effect (a circle equal to twice the blessed’s Spirit die type in yards). Cover affords no protection. Creatures in the area suffer 1d10 damage per success and raise on the Faith roll. Flammable objects may catch Fire (see Savage Worlds).
  • Plague (Faith Mod –3, Range Special, Dur 1 day/success and raise): This variety of wrath comes in a few pointedly physical forms, and is often used by the most righteous to punish wrongdoers and the iniquitous. The blessed prays and rails against the sinners’ ways for a day, after which the plague of her choice descends.
    • Darkness causes the sun to dim and go out, leaving the region in Dark Illumination for the intervention’s duration.
    • Pestilence afflicts the region’s livestock with a virulent disease that destroys 10% of them each day it lasts, and likely prevents anyone else from buying the afflicted animals.
    • Vermin causes flocks of crows or swarms of rats, locusts, crows, mice, or other mundane creatures to descend on the region, destroying 10% of a town’s food per day.
    • Water to Blood causes all water in the region to turn into thick, crimson blood, making it non-potable to most normal folks for the duration. Water brought from elsewhere remains clear for a single day, then succumbs to the plague’s effect.
  • Righteous Fury (Faith Mod –2, Range Sight, Dur Instant): When called upon, the powers of light sometimes reach down and deal out a severe licking. The blessed rolls Faith to call down righteous fury on a single target within sight, who suffers 2d12 Nonlethal Damage (see Savage Worlds) plus 1d12 per raise. This damage ignores Armor and cannot be Soaked.

Faith Modifier: –1
Range: Touch
Duration: Permanent
Trappings: Ceremony, rebukes, turning one’s back

Some evildoers are so unrepentant they’ll not allow their souls to be saved, nor do they seek forgiveness. A blessed who excommunicates these mad dogs makes it so others can always see evil’s taint on them; it leaves a mark that cannot be seen but can always be sensed. Anyone who meets an excommunicated hombre is uneasy and knows to beware; neither children nor animals will have anything to do with the poor sod. The subject suffers –2 to all Persuasion, Streetwise, and other social rolls, plus an additional –1 per raise on the blessed’s Faith roll. The only way to lift the mark is for its subject to convince the caster (or another blessed of the same faith) that she is truly repentant. The blessed who cast it can lift the excommunicate at will.

Healing Touch
Faith Modifier: –2
Range: Touch
Duration: 1 round/success and raise
Trappings: Holy water, laying on hands, prayer

This intervention functions like greater healing, but it allows the caster to heal all of a subject’s afflictions (Fatigue, wounds more than an hour old, poison, disease, and Permanent Crippling Injuries) in a single round. The subject is simply made whole. This intervention lasts for a round per success and raise on the Faith roll, allowing the blessed to heal multiple allies.

Faith Modifier: –1
Range: Touch
Duration: 3 rounds
Trappings: Aura of holy flame, coincidences, supplications

With intervene a blessed can protect a single character (himself included) from bodily harm. The subject cannot suffer Fatigue or wounds from any source for three rounds. The character could be shot point-blank with a Gatling gun, blown up with dynamite, fall off a cliff, and walk through fire without suffering a scratch. Even harmful magical effects are repelled (at the Marshal’s discretion, but anything that immobilizes, weakens, or warps the hero’s body or mind is generally considered harmful).

Faith Modifier: –2
Range: Self
Duration: Concentration
Trappings: Prayer, silent vigil

When a blessed invokes this intervention hostility is all but impossible. Everyone within a diameter equal to the caster’s Spirit die × 10 yards (including the blessed) gains Armor +5. Additionally, in order to take any hostile action within or directed into the area of effect, a sodbuster must first succeed on an opposed Spirit roll against the Faith of the blessed who invoked peacemaker. On a success the ornery so-and-so can act; otherwise he becomes Shaken and stands there slack-jawed. The effect lasts as long as the blessed maintains her concentration.

Faith Modifier: –4
Range: Touch
Duration: Permanent
Trappings: Prayer, singing

Resurrection brings a dead character back to life with a three-hour ritual. The subject returns healed of all wounds and other afflictions, although he always bears the scar of the wound that killed him as a reminder of his mortality. But bringing back the soul of the departed isn’t easy, and the blessed can only raise someone who’s been dead for less than half his Faith die in days. The power has no effect on the undead. If it’s used on a Harrowed the Faith roll suffers a –6 modifier, but if successful it banishes the manitou and restores the sodbuster to real, breath-drawing life.

Walls o' Jericho
Faith Modifier: –3
Range: 100 yards
Duration: Instant
Trappings: Earthquake, trumpet, wind

Long ago the walls of Jericho collapsed from the blast of a trumpet. This intervention similarly directs the deity’s wrath at a structure or object (although it’s less effective against the latter). The power can affect a single building no larger than 10 square feet times the caster’s Spirit die. Against such a structure it inflicts 4d12 damage, plus 1d12 per raise, which ignores any Armor. Against ships, trains, steam wagons, flying gizmos, and similar targets, walls o’ Jericho inflicts 2d12 damage, plus 1d10 per raise.

Wither Limb
Faith Modifier: Special
Range: Spirit
Duration: 1 month/success and raise
Trappings: Curse, holy word

Some people have souls so rotten they deserve to wear their sin like a badge of honor. Although wither limb can be used to deal a crippling injury in combat, it’s more often used to teach folks who choose evil a lesson about its consequences. The caster chooses one of the target’s limbs (or torso, head, etc.) and makes a Faith roll with the same modifier as for a Called Shot to the location. The target gets an opposed Spirit roll at –6 to resist. With success on the Faith roll, the location gains an Injury (see the Injury Table in Savage Worlds and apply the appropriate effect), which lasts a month for each success and raise on the Faith roll. If the subject kills the caster before that time elapses, the effect becomes permanent.


Edge: Arcane Background (Huckster)
Requirements: Wild Card, Novice, Smarts d6+, Spellcasting d6+, Spirit d6+
Arcane Skill: Spellcasting (Smarts)
Power Points: 10
Starting Powers: 3
Backlash: A Huckster who rolls a 1 on his Spellcasting die (regardless of his Wild Die), is automatically Shaken (but see Deal With The Devil, below).
Available Powers: Aim, Armor, Barrier, Beast Friend, Blast, Blind, Bolt, Boost/Lower Trait, Burst, Confusion, Damage Field, Deflection, Detect/Conceal Arcana, Disguise, Dispel, Elemental Manipulation, Entangle, Environmental Protection, Farsight, Fear, Gambler, Grave Speak, Havoc, Hunch, Invisibility, Light, Mind Rider, Obscure, Pummel, Puppet, Quickness, Slow, Slumber, Speak Language, Speed, Stun, Summon Ally, Telekinesis, Teleport, Trinkets, Wall Walker, Wilderness Walk, Windstorm
Special Rules:
  • Deal With The Devil: Instead of spending Power Points normally, a huckster can choose to engage manitous in a game of chance. The huckster announces which of his spells he's casting (including any variables, such as extra targets and total duration) and how man Power Points he needs, then draws five cards plus one per point of Grit. He then makes the best poker hand he can using any 5 of the cards he's drawn. Jokers are wild cards and can be used in place of any card in the deck (even duplicating cards already in hand). Unused cards are discarded and the huckster compares his hand to the Poker Hand chart.

    If the huckster’s hand matches or beats the number of Power Points needed to cast the hex, he’s won his bargain with the manitou. He still needs to make a Spellcasting roll to determine success, but the Power Points are paid by the manitou. With a Flush or better, success is automatic, but a Spellcasting roll may still be needed to hit or in the case of an opposed roll (the huckster gains a +4 bonus for the Flush). If he doesn't generate enough power, fails the Spellcasting roll, or uses a Joker in his final hand, the manitou wins the battle of wills and gets the opportunity to flex its muscles a little. After the hex takes effect (or fails), the Marshal rolls on the Backfire Table (see the Deadlands Marshal’s Handbook) and breaks the bad news to the huckster. If the Huckster gets a Snake Eyes on a Spellcasting roll while Dealing With The Devil, he can't spend any Fate Chips to re-roll the result.
  • Slow Recovery: Hucksters regain power points at a rate of 1 point every 3 hours. Rapid Recharge Edge reduces this to 1 point every two hours, and the improved version to 1 point an hour.

New Edges

A canny spellslinger always keeps a few extra tricks up his sleeve (along with a couple of “spare” Aces). Here are a few new Edges that fit the bill.

Arcane Background (Huckster)
Requirements: Wild Card, Novice, Smarts d6+, Spellcasting d6+, Spirit d6+

Magic in the Weird West is not to be taken lightly. Those who practice sorcery must often wrestle their powers from the dark spirits of the Weird West, who are rarely willing to give up easily. Hucksters envision these duels of will as card games, and the best are capable of amazing powers. It is rumored that others tread even darker paths, and harness the power of blood magic.

Dealer's Choice
Requirements: Novice, Arcane Background (Huckster), Spellcasting d6+

Your hero’s never happier than when he has a deck of cards in his hands. Poker, faro, even patience, this huckster has card games in his blood. Any time you are dealt a card for any reason, after you have looked at it you can choose to spend a Fate Chip to discard and draw another card.

High Roller
Requirements: Seasoned, Arcane Background (Huckster), Spellcasting d6+, Spirit d8+

Go high or go home is your motto. You don’t bother with lesser manitous. When dealing with the devil, your hombre draws an extra card. He may still only use five cards to form the hand, but now he has more choices. Unfortunately, if he draws a Joker, he must use it in his final hand.

Improved High Roller
Requirements: Veteran, High Roller.

This Edge functions like High Roller, only the spellslinger draws two extra cards instead of one, and he isn't forced to use Jokers.

Old Hand
Requirements: Heroic, Arcane Background (Huckster), Spellcasting d10+

With knowledge comes power, and you know when to say when. When dealing with the devil, red Jokers are wild cards but don’t cause Backfire. Black Jokers still bring the pain as usual. (Make sure you can tell the difference before drawing cards.)

Whateley Blood
Requirements: Novice, Arcane Background (Huckster, Hexslinger, or Black Magic) or Knack (Spirit Touched, Tempest)

Somewhere in your family tree is a crooked branch called the “Whateleys.” This twisted family of inbred witches and warlocks are well-known by arcane types as being both extremely powerful, and extremely crazy. It’s a dangerous combination.

Many of the Whateleys are deformed, though your hero doesn’t have to be (take the appropriate Hindrance if he is). All have some tell-tale mark—pale skin, jet black hair, long fingernails, sallow complexion, and so on, and all have green eyes. Whatever mark you choose, there’s something about their tainted blood that just puts folks off, and gives your descendant –2 Charisma.

It’s entirely unfair, and we know it, but a female with Whateley blood can choose if her tell is unsettling (–2 Charisma) or exotic (+2 Charisma). We’ll repeat it one more time. We know it ain’t fair, so don’t write to us whining about the “free Edge” sister Whateley got that her little brother didn’t. (She’ll have her hands full fending off suitors foolish enough to think about joining the family anyway.)

Now for the meat of what this Edge is all about. Hucksters with Whateley spirit running through their veins have learned “blood magic.” They can voluntarily suffer a Fatigue level for 2 Power Points. They can suffer a wound for 1d6+1 Power Points. This is done exactly as you’d think it’d be—by cutting, carving, or otherwise maiming themselves. This is a free action—they’re quick, those Whateleys—and so can be done in the same action as the spell they so desperately need to cast, with no multi-action penalty.

Since this is a free and instant action, the Whateley can actually render himself incapacitated and still get his spell off, if he should choose to do so. Good luck waking with your gear still in your pack, however.


Edge: Arcane Background (Chi Mastery)
Requirements: Wild Card, Novice, Martial Artist
Arcane Skill: Special (Spirit)
Power Points: 20
Starting Powers: 2
Backlash: None
Available Powers: Aim, Armor, Beast Friend, Blast, Bolt, Boost/Lower Trait, Burrow, Burst, Curse, Damage Field, Darksight, Deflection, Drain Power Points, Elemental Manipulation, Entangle, Environmental Protection, Fly, Gambler, Growth/Shrink, Havoc, Healing, Quickness, Pummel, Slow, Smite, Speed, Wall, Walker, Warrior's Gift, Wilderness Walk
Special Rules:
  • Enlightened Magic: Chi Mastery works much as Arcane Background (Super Powers) is described in Savage Worlds. Each power available to these characters has a skill of the same name, which is used to activate that power and that power alone. In Deadlands, all such skills are linked to Spirit. Whenever the character takes the New Power Edge, he gets the linked skill at d4.

Enlightened Hindrance

The Cup Overflows (Major)

Your chi energy is potent enough to wreak havoc on your character’s surroundings. Whenever your hero makes a Fighting roll to attack with bare hands or feet or uses a chi power, her internal energy manifests as external displays of chaotic energy.

If your kung fu character uses a power to land a blow, it’s accompanied by the sound of a spectral gong. Spin kicks throw up dust devils, showers of sand and pebbles, or flurries of leaves. Punches sound like thunderclaps. Got a chi power listed as having “No visible effect”? You can forget about that, amiga—even an innocent boost trait or aim causes your hero’s aura to glow and pulsate with arcane energies.

Normal folk flee your hero’s chaotic displays like you’re the abomination that devoured their Uncle Merl, and when they come back they’re typically armed with pitchforks, torches, and a hangman’s noose. More knowledgeable folk might target your character first in a fight, guessing that she’s the most powerful of the bunch. Anywhere your hero goes, she’s challenged by all manner of martial artists eager to prove their salt.

New Edges

The following Edge represents the myriad Eastern fighting styles and lets your hero specify his own brand of mayhem.

Arcane Background (Chi Mastery)
Requirements: Novice, Martial Artist

A few folks in the Weird West have studied the ancient oriental fighting arts. A very few of these supremely skilled fighters have achieved spiritual discipline necessary to channel supernatural force through their own bodies, called chi. These enlightened fighters use the Arcane Background (Chi Mastery) Edge to reflect their astonishing abilities.

Superior Kung Fu
Requirements: Novice, Arcane Background (Chi Mastery), Martial Artist, Spirit d6+, Fighting d8+

Through years of concentrated study under his wizened teacher, your character has mastered at least one of the mysterious martial arts of the Orient. His master (called a sifu) also fed him enough spiritual philosophy to choke a horse, all so he can spout Eastern wisdom before proceeding to crack heads.

When you take this Edge, pick one of the martial art styles below and take the listed bonus. This Edge can be taken more than once, but you must pick a different style each time. A character can only benefit from one style during his action, but can change styles as a free action at the start of each turn.

  • Drunken Style: You weave around like you’re out of your tree on firewater, making your moves hard to follow or predict. Your hombre has +1 Parry but has his Pace reduced by 2 when using this style due to his staggering gait.
  • Eagle Claw: This is a fast, vicious style where you hold your hands like claws and tear away at some poor sodbuster’s pressure points. This counts as +2 AP to all Fighting attacks. With a raise on a Fighting attack, the martial artist does +1d8 damage instead of +1d6.
  • Mantis: A mantis student holds his hands like hooks, and moves from mesmerizing calm to sudden strikes in a terrifying instant. Discard and redraw cards of 5 or lower dealt to your character in combat. If he has the Quick Edge, discard and redraw cards of 8 or lower.
  • Monkey: In this style, you hunker down, screw up your face, and then move with sneakiness and speed. This surprises opponents, who often underestimate you because you look so dang funny. Your sneaky hombre gets +2 when making Taunt rolls or performing Agility Tricks.
  • Shaolin Temple: Moves are based on five animal styles. In the Crane, you jab at people with your fingers pressed tightly together like a beak and stand on one leg a lot. The Snake is sneaky and fluid. The Dragon relies on good old-fashioned punches to inflict crushing damage. The Leopard style is all knuckles. Finally, Tiger style is all about ripping away at your opponent’s muscles. Regardless of which form of Shaolin you choose, consider your Strength to be two die types higher for Fighting attacks, whether attacking bare-handed or with melee weapons. This increases damage and counts toward the minimum Strength for using a weapon.
  • Shuai Chao: The practitioner grabs or throws his opponent, all the while sneaking in all sorts of jabs and rabbit punches. Watching this style in action is usually pretty confusing for your average cowpoke. If your cowpoke Grapples an opponent and elects to inflict damage, he causes Str+d6 damage from a combination of the hold and sneaky punches.
  • Tai Chi: You focus your chi to such an exceptional degree that your attacks can knock your opponent halfway to Philadelphia, despite appearing as gentle as the breeze. Opponents are knocked back 1d4” per success and raise on your character’s Fighting roll. If they strike a solid object, such as a wall, they are automatically Shaken.
  • Tan Tui: This style relies predominantly on kicks, and we don’t mean can-can style. Up in Shan Fan, this one’s very popular with spectators at various martial arts tournaments. Your hombre’s kicks cause Str+d8 damage. He can use his powerful legs to rise from Prone at no movement cost.
  • Wing Chun: This style emphasizes flurries of powerful blows, usually both offensive and defensive at the same time. As long as your hero is attacking unarmed, he may make one additional Fighting attack at no penalty.
  • Focus: The martial artist focuses his mind to rule out all other distractions, increasing his accuracy over long distances. He halves range penalties for all Shooting or Throwing attacks (–1 at Medium and –2 at Long).
  • Defensive: The martial artist moves in strange ways or perhaps senses where his opponent is about to strike. She gains an additional +2 to Parry when using the Full Defense maneuver (+4 total), and ranged attacks suffer a –2 to hit her when using the maneuver as well.
  • Resilient: This fighter has mastered mind over matter. He gains the Hardy monstrous ability (see Savage Worlds).
  • Toughness: Those who practice this style have learned to train their bodies and minds to ignore their body’s pain. This grants them +1 to Toughness and Vigor rolls made to soak damage.

Celestial Kung Fu
Requirements: Veteran, Superior Kung Fu, Spirit d8+, Fighting d10+

Some fighters of the Maze have the skills to knock just about anyone out of their way. Then there are the grand masters, whose blows shake the very pillars of heaven. That’s what we mean by celestial—even the spirits sit up and take notice when the hombre with this Edge adopts a fightin’ stance.

When you take this Edge, the martial arts style you picked for Superior Kung Fu is improved as listed below. The benefit for Celestial Kung Fu replaces Superior—it doesn’t stack on top of it!

If your character has mastered multiple styles of Superior Kung Fu, you may take this Edge multiple times to improve them.

  • Drunken Style: Your hombre now has +2 Parry, and his Pace is only reduced by 1.
  • Eagle Claw: Your Fighting attacks count as +4 AP, and are Heavy Weapons.
  • Mantis: Draw an extra Action Card for initiative. This stacks with Level Headed and Improved Level Headed.
  • Monkey: You now can make an Agility trick or Taunt Test of Wills and a Fighting attack with no multi-action penalty.
  • Shaolin Temple: Your hero’s devastating strength counts as 3 steps higher.
  • Shuai Chao: When your cowpoke elects to inflict damage to a Grappled foe, he now causes Str+d8 damage.
  • Tai Chi: Opponents are knocked back 1d6” per success and raise on your character’s Fighting roll.
  • Tan Tui: Your hombre’s kicks now cause Str+d10 damage.
  • Wing Chun: Your hero ignores the off-hand penalty of –2 (as though he were Ambidextrous), and gains a +1 Parry when using bare hands and feet.


Edge: Arcane Background (Weird Science)
Requirements: Wild Card, Novice
Arcane Skill: Weird Science (Smarts)
Power Points: 20
Starting Powers: 1
Backlash: Mad Science is never perfect technology. They often suffer from spectacular and deadly malfunctions. If someone uses a Gizmo and rolls a 1 on the skill die used to activate it, the device has malfunctioned in some way and does not work. Draw a card and compare it to the Malfunction Table in Savage Worlds. If the roll was snake eyes, draw twice, and Fate Chips cannot be spent to avoid the malfunction.
Available Powers: Aim, Armor, Barrier, Beast Friend, Blast, Blind, Bolt, Boost/Lower Trait, Burrow, Burst, Confusion, Contact Spirit World, Damage Field, Darksight, Deflection, Detect/Conceal Arcana, Disguise, Dispel, Drain Power Points, Elemental Manipulation, Entangle, Environmental Protection, Farsight, Fear, Fly, Grave Speak, Greater Healing, Growth/Shrink (Shrink only), Havoc, Healing, Invisibility, Light, Mind Rider, Obscure, Pummel, Puppet, Quickness, Slumber, Smite, Speak Language, Slow, Speed, Stun, Succor, Telekinesis, Teleport, Wall Walker, Warrior's Gift, Wilderness Walk, Windstorm, Zombie
Special Rules:
  • Madness: Every time the inventor takes the New Power Edge, he gains a random dementia. All the crazy details about this are found in the Marshal’s Handbook, amigo. We wish you good luck, and a comfortable straitjacket.
  • Weird Science: Mad Scientists use all the rules for Weird Scientists in Savage Worlds, including the Malfunction Table. Mad Scientists can use any edge that requires Weird Science as a prerequisite.

New Edges

Arcane Background (Weird Science)
Requirements: Wild Card, Novice

Adherents to the principles of New Science (called Mad Scientists by most) build weird and wonderful devices, machines which often seem to defy the very laws of reality. Most every such inventor (or at least the successful ones) rely on ghost rock to power their inventions in some fashion.

Requirements: Novice, Arcane Background (Weird Science), Knowledge (Chemistry) d8+

This character can make potions from his powers as well as devices. The downside to potions is they must be prepared ahead of time. An alchemist character has half his normal Power Points per known power to divide among as many potions as he wishes. Extra points may be put into a potion to maintain the duration up to a predetermined limit. The alchemist can brew potions for each power he knows. Power Points are "tied up" in a potion until it is used.

Brewing a potion requires a chemistry set and 30 minutes per power. At the end of the brewing process, the alchemist must make a Weird Science roll. Failure means the potion is ruined. Success indicates it will work when used, and raises work as usual. Attack powers require a Throwing roll to hit (range of 3/6/12), and opposed powers require a normal success to resist (or –2 with a raise). Otherwise, no roll is needed to use a potion.

Requirements: Legendary, Arcane Background (Weird Science), Weird Science d12+

After tinkering and working, you may create a true Infernal Device out of one of your powers. When this Edge is taken, pick one power you currently have. The gizmo no longer uses Power Points, and thereafter functions solely on ghost rock. One pound of ghost rock allows a maintainable power to be used for two hours of total use (regardless of its normal duration) and allows an Instant power to be used 20 times. For purposes of such powers, it’s best to track each pound of ghost rock as 20 “charges.” When the device runs out of fuel it’s time to buy some more California coffee, hombre.

Your prototype is more stable than most other Infernal Devices; it only suffers a Malfunction on a critical failure. On top of that, your blueprints and patent earn you prestige and money from a corporation capable of reproducing your device on a mass market scale (most likely Smith & Robards or Hellstromme Industries, but a Rail Baron or national government might also express interest). Thereafter, you have +2 Charisma when dealing with other mad scientists and receive 1d6 x $50 in royalties every month (which you’ll probably need to pay the ghost rock bill).

Master Crafter
Requirements: Veteran, Arcane Background (Weird Science), McGyver, Repair d10+, Weird Science d10+

Most Infernal Devices take months to create and require elaborate manufacturing facilities. This mad scientist can make a device in weeks or even days with a tool kit and the necessary parts. To create an Infernal Device, the scientist first needs a blueprint for it. If he doesn’t have one, he can make one from an existing (working) Infernal Device with 1d6 days of study. Then the character must purchase parts costing half the item’s normal price. Ghost rock is a necessary element, so it must represent at least part of the cost (Marshal’s call).

Building the device takes 2d6 days plus one day per $500 of the cost of the item (round up). The character makes a Weird Science roll and on a failure, the time is wasted but not the parts. With success, the device is built and on a raise, it’s built in half the time. On a critical failure, the device explodes doing 3d6 damage in a Large Burst Template, destroying the parts.

A character with the Alchemy Edge can make elixirs, tonics, and other alchemical items as well. Formulas replace blueprints but otherwise use the same rules, except the time to create is 2d6 hours plus one hour per $50 of the cost of the item (round up).


Edge: Arcane Background (Shamanism)
Requirements: Wild Card, Novice, Tribal Medicine d4+, Spirit d8+
Arcane Skill: Tribal Medicine (Spirit)
Power Points: 15
Starting Powers: 2
Backlash: If a Shaman ever rolls a 1 on his Tribal Medicine die (regardless of the result of his Wild Die), the power he was trying to summon fails and he gains a Fatigue level that can only be regained by several hours’ meditation, communing with the spirits in a sweat lodge, or suchlike.
Available Powers: Aim, Armor, Beast Friend, Blind, Boost/Lower Trait, Burrow, Confusion, Contact Spirit World, Curse, Darksight, Deflection, Detect/Conceal Arcana, Disguise, Dispel, Drain Power Points, Elemental Manipulation, Entangle, Environmental Protection, Exorcism, Farsight, Fear, Greater Healing, Growth/Shrink (Growth only), Healing, Mind Rider, Protection, Pummel, Quickness, Sanctify, Shape Change, Slumber, Smite, Speak Language, Speed, Succor, Summon Ally (Animals only), Teleport, Vision Quest, Warrior's Gift, Wall Walker, Wilderness Walk, Windstorm
Special Rules:
  • Appeasing the Spirits: Shamanic “sins” work differently from other miraculous Arcane Backgrounds. The spirits require rituals, performed daily, to appease them so they grant favors. A shamanic ritual takes four hours with a Tribal Medicine of d4. For each die type above d4, the time required is reduced by 30 minutes. Therefore, a shaman with Tribal Medicine d8 must perform rituals for three hours each day. Instead of the usual effects of a “sin,” shamans who do not regularly perform rituals suffer the penalty listed to their Tribal Medicine roll and may regain Power Points slower
  • Old Ways: The spirits are more forgiving to those shamans who follow the Old Ways; a character with the Minor version of the Hindrance can ignore 1 point of penalties while the Major version ignores 2 points. Power Point recharging is unaffected by the Hindrance, as the spirits only forgive so much. To gain the benefit, the character has to actually follow the Old Ways—paying lip service to the spirits is not enough.
  • Under The Sky: As long as the shaman is in the wilds, sleeps under the stars, is warmed by an open fire, or otherwise away from “civilization,” he regains Power Points at twice his usual rate (subject to the limitations imposed by his “sins,” of course).

Ritual Requirements
  • Minor: Has not performed a ritual within the prior day. Tribal Medicine –1.
  • Major: Has not performed a ritual within the prior week. Tribal Medicine –2; Power Points recharge at rate of 1/two hours.
  • Mortal: Has not performed a ritual within the prior month. Tribal Medicine –4; Power Points recharge at rate of 1/four hours.

New Edges

Arcane Background (Shamanism)
Requirements: Wild Card, Novice, Tribal Medicine d4+, Spirit d8+

Shamans are Indian holy men and women, and keepers of tribal medicine. Their power comes from bargains with the demanding spirits of the natural world. When these medicine men honor the nature spirits, they can accomplish amazing feats that make even the most doubting Thomas tremble.

Fetish Creator
Requirements: Novice, Arcane Background (Shamanism), Smarts d8+, Spirit d8+, Tribal Medicine d8+

This is a shamanic version of the Gadgeteer Edge.

Once per game session, the shaman can create a magic talisman and imbue it with arcane energy. The device uses any power available to the shaman (though this is still subject to Rank restrictions). It has half the creator’s Power points and once these are used up they do not recharge. The ritual to imbue the object takes 1d20 minutes. Activating the device requires a Spirit roll.

Spirits' Favor
Requirements: Seasoned, Arcane Background (Shamanism), Tribal Medicine d8+

Normally a shaman who follows the Old Ways is proscribed from using technology under any circumstances. The shaman with this Edge may petition the spirits to allow him to use one normal technological device (no Mad Science gizmos or Infernal Devices) without offending them, in return for a surrender of personal power. Petitioning the spirits involves a ritual offering, which takes 1d10+10 minutes. This Edge may only be applied to one device at a time.

For as long as the shaman makes use of the device, he has 5 less Power Points than usual. When he stops using the device these points return at the usual rate. The shaman may abandon one item and switch to another, which requires another 1d10+10 minutes. During this time the favor does not apply to either device.

Totem Spirit
Requirements: Novice, Arcane Background (Shamanism), Spirit d8+

The shaman with this Edge may choose one favored power linked to his totem (see sidebar for ideas). The favored power must be one that is available to shamans. If the shaman gets a raise when activating that power, the totem provides the energy and the base power point cost is halved (round down). The shaman must have the points to use the power in the first place. Should the shaman ever suffer a penalty to Tribal Medicine skill for failure to perform ritual offerings (as described in the Deadlands Player’s Guide), he loses access to his totem spirit for 1d6 days.

A character may never have more than one totem spirit at a time; if a hero has both Knack (Spirit Touched) and Totem Spirit, both Edges apply to the same spirit.

Totem Spirits

Here’s a list of common nature spirits for Indian characters who have the Totem Spirit or Knack (Spirit Touched) Edge. Others are possible—just be sure to talk it over with your Marshal first.

  • Bear: The bear is a healer and nurturer, the maternal beast that walks upright like a man and raises its young. Medicine men hope to see bears in their visions, for their appearance foretells powerful healing medicine. Bear’s favored power is healing.
  • Beetle: Beetle is a spirit of survival, adaption, and change. Beetle finds the path, outgrows itself, renews its skin. Beetle favors environmental protection.
  • Buffalo: The buffalo is a central symbol of the Ghost Dance movement. The buffalo is the animal of the Creator himself, and is associated with vision seeking and blessings. Buffalo’s favored power is vision quest.
  • Butterfly: The Butterfly embodies elusiveness and agility. Warriors seek to gain its favor to help them dodge their enemies’ attacks. Some Southwestern tribes even teach that man and all the other animals were made by the Great Butterfly. Butterfly's favored power is confusion.
  • Cougar: Cougar is powerful, a natural leader, who leads by example. His roar is feared by many, but he balances power with gentleness. The warrior's gift power is favored by Cougar.
  • Coyote: Coyote is the trickster and teacher, making fun of fools and educating those who need it. Sometimes his lessons are harsh, but Coyote never fails to make his point. Shape change is Coyote’s favored power.
  • Crow: Crow is the mean-spirited counterpart to the better-natured Coyote. While Coyote uses trickery to teach, Crow uses it to punish the wicked. Crow’s favored power is curse.
  • Eagle: The Eagle is spirit medicine incarnate, the father of all other spirits save the white buffalo. The Eagle soars high above the Hunting Grounds as it soars over our world, seeing everything. Indians guarded by the Eagle spirit see deep into the future and past, as the Eagle itself sees deep into the worlds. Eagle’s favored power is mind rider.
  • Elk: The Elk foretells prosperity and peace for the tribe. It is rare to find this totem in desert lands, for life is hard where there is no water. The protection power is favored by Elk.
  • Frog: Frog is a totem of transformation and cleansing. It walks between two worlds – water and earth. When Frog appears, changes come. The favored power of Frog is sanctify.
  • Horse: Horses are symbols of freedom. This totem brings new journeys. It will teach you to ride in new directions and discover your own freedom and power. Horse favors the speed power.
  • Owl: The Owl foretells death. It is a mighty hunter, but its favorite prey is much smaller and weaker than itself. Some brave Owls take on rattlesnakes or Gila monsters. Ironically, white men mistakenly associate this portent of death with wisdom. Owl’s favored power is fear.
  • Rabbit: Rabbit is a guide between heaven, earth, and the underworld. Rabbit often appears to those who are being hunted, and encourage them to use their wits and move in an unpredictable manner to aid escape. Rabbit's favored power is boost/lower trait.
  • Ram: Ram is surefooted, stubborn, and determined. Ram will blow through obstacles and confront problems head on. Ram's favored power is pummel.
  • Rat: Rat is resourceful, stealthy, and intelligent, if perhaps a bit greedy and cowardly. Rat can get places it has no business being, and thus its favored power is teleport.
  • Raven: The Raven was once associated with knowledge and wisdom, but now it foretells war and the end days. Yet to say that Raven is evil is not entirely accurate. Wise people know war is inevitable, sometimes even necessary. Due to the activities of groups like the Order of the Raven, these days the totem is considered “bad medicine” in most parts of the Weird West. The favored power of Raven is smite.
  • Snake: Snakes are bearers of wisdom and speakers to the spirit world. It is said that a snake of stars stretches across the heavens, and that another snake wraps itself around the rim of the world. Snake’s favored power is contact spirit world.
  • Spider: The Spider is the poisonous spinner of webs. It is both creator and destroyer—consuming its mate and spawning children by the millions. Its webs are beautiful, but they exist only to snare the weak and foolhardy. The favored power of Spider is entangle.
  • Turtle: The Turtle is associated with luck and prosperity like its brother the Elk, but is much more common throughout the Plains and Southwest. Turtle favors the deflection power.
  • Wolf: The Wolf spirit carries powerful hunting medicine with it. Packs of wolves teach young Indians to travel in numbers and select only prey offered by the nature spirits. Since Wolf is the guardian spirit of powerful leaders, a character must have either the Heroic or Loyal Hindrance to claim Wolf as her totem. Wolf’s favored power is quickness.

This message was last edited by the GM at 16:15, Mon 10 Apr 2017.

The Stray
 GM, 2010 posts
 The Marshal
 'round these parts
Wed 15 Feb 2017
at 16:43
Arcane Backgrounds, Part 2

Edge: Arcane Background (Hexslinger)
Requirements: Wild Card, Novice, Shooting d8+
Arcane Skill: Hexslinging (Smarts)
Power Points: 10
Starting Powers: 3
Backlash: When a hexslinger rolls a 1 on his Hexslinging die (regardless of his Wild Die), he is automatically Shaken.
Available Powers: Aim, armor, barrier, beast friend, blast, blind, boost/lower Trait, burst, confusion, deflection, detect/conceal arcana, dispel, elemental manipulation, entangle, environmental protection, fear, havoc, hunch, invisibility, light, mind rider, numb, obscure, pummel, puppet, quickness, shootist, slow, slumber, smite, speak language, speed, stun, telekinesis, teleport, trinkets, wilderness walk, windstorm.
Special Rules:
  • Deadeye: Whenever the hexslinger rolls a raise to activate a power, the cost is reduced by one Power Point. Additional raises have no effect; the cost can only be reduced by 1.
  • Fancy Irons: Hexslingers gussy up their chosen weapon with silver inlays, intricate designs, pearl handles, and other such accouterments—and they crackle with weird energies when used to activate powers. This is bound to garner unwanted attention. For onlookers, a Notice roll at –2 reveals something “odd” about the gun, though a Persuasion roll may explain it away as New Science or some other mundane effect. With a raise on the Notice roll, an observer becomes convinced that the hexslinger’s guns run on black magic.
  • Hexslinging: A hexslinger can cast certain powers as a free action if they directly affect the chosen item and its normal use. Those powers are aim, boost Shooting, and smite.
  • Magic: Hexslingers may use Edges that require Arcane Background (Magic), except Wizard (see Savage Worlds).
  • Mystical Bond: Every hexslinger has a single mystical item to which she’s tied, and depends on it to help channel the manitous’ mojo in an orderly fashion. The character must have the mystically engraved item—typically a pistol—in hand to activate powers. If the item is ever lost, it takes 2d6 days to engrave and bond to a new item. In a pinch, a hexslinger can enact powers with a substitute item, but this is extremely risky; see below.


Hexslinging’s enigmatic origins lie in the runecasting traditions of Northern Europe, whose practitioners used intricate, carved symbols to channel magical energy from the Hunting Grounds into rituals and spells more than 2,000 years ago.

The most ferocious warriors of one tribe—its name lost in the icy mists of time—enchanted their weapons permanently by carving runes of power into the hilts and blades. They wielded these weapons according to the shaman Vigmund’s instructions, in a complex dance that mimicked a sorcerer’s hand movements. Thus was a rune’s war-magic unleashed upon unsuspecting foes.

After the Old Ones sealed the Hunting Grounds—and cut off magic’s flow into the world—runecasting tribes lost influence and favor. Their enemies, formerly cowed by the runecasters’ arcane might, now hunted and exterminated their rivals with impunity. Long, bloody years passed.

By the time the Reckoning began, the last runecaster was hiding out in a flyspeck New Mexico burg called Hangman’s Flats. He was a Swedish gent in his late 60s, tall and broad-shouldered, with a head of wispy blond hair that long ago went white. He made a decent living as the town blacksmith, and everyone in town called him “Swede”—although his real name, shared with a certain ancestor, was Vigmund.

One day in 1878, John Henry "Doc" Holliday rode in to get his mount re-shod. Doc was well along the lonely, winding trail to his destination of Tombstone, Arizona Territory, and keen to begin the journey's final leg. But sitting by as the Swede worked, Holliday — who for several years had delved into rumors of hucksterism and black magic’s various applications — happened to notice a battered copy of Hoyle's Book of Games on the smithy's shelf.

"Interesting volume, that Hoyle's," said Holliday, staring blandly at his fingernails. "More to it than meets the eye. Or so I heard."

The Swede paused in his work for a long beat.

"Hokum," he grunted. "Worse — evil hokum. Rot a man's mind, sure, he ain't careful." He started in to hammering again, the clangs drowning out Holliday’s pointed, then heated, questions.

Doc lingered for several days after his horse was shod, splitting his time between gambling at the town’s only saloon and making a royal pain in the ass of himself pestering the old Swede to explain his comments. Through it all the blacksmith refused to spill the beans.

Thoroughly frustrated and disgusted, at last Doc readied his mount for the ride to Tombstone. First he trotted over to the Swede’s shack to tell him off one last time, only to find the situation considerably altered before he could raise his fist to knock. In the sun’s rising rays, the silhouettes of gunmen lurked on the rise overlooking Hangman’s Flats.

Before Doc could hail them, a bullet whizzed past and smacked into the doorjamb. Lead vipped on earth and spanged from an iron skillet, as Doc did a jig and kicked in the Swede’s front door. The erstwhile dentist landed in a heap; Vigmund slammed the door behind him.

The old Swede’s enemies had found him at last. Trapped together, Vigmund and Doc Holliday were pinned down by more than 20 professional killers—but willing to make a last stand, if need be. Pretty soon the assassins sent in a half-dozen men to raid the place and put an end to the standoff. “Let them come,” whispered the Swede.

As they burst in guns blazing, Vigmund pulled a six-shooter and from its muzzle loosed a gout of hellfire 20 yards long. Three of the gunmen, shrieking and wreathed in flames, staggered off the porch to die.

Awed, Doc beat out the flames rising along the doorway’s sides. The Swede leaned out the window, firing another round that passed clear through a pair of fleeing assassins—killing both as sure as it knocked them flat. The sixth killer high-tailed it up and over the rise. All through the display, the Swede’s gun crackled with eldritch energies.

Doc started crowing about he just knew something was old Vigmund fell back against the wall, slid to the floor, and left a dark blood smear on the wooden boards. The killers had been deadly accurate too.

"There's only one way we're gettin' out o’ this alive," Doc hissed. "And that’s for you to show me the trick of that...hexslingin' I just saw you do, old timer."

So it was that Doc Holliday got a crash course in runecasting—customized for modern firearms—and he and the old Swede shot their way out of Hangman's Flats, New Mexico. But Vigmund's wounds had put him within Death's reach, and that most morbid Reckoner had no intention of letting go.

In his dying days in New Mexico’s remote hills, the Swede taught Holliday everything he knew—the runes of power, how to choose a weapon suitable for slingin’ hexes, and other tricks, like how to get along without the tools o’ the trade. It was almost like the old Swede had kept on living only to pass on his secrets...and when he’d revealed the last, he smiled and let go of the ghost.

For his part, Doc Holliday continued on to Tombstone and took up residence. Hucksters tend to think him a part of their "club," due to his gambling proclivities, and Holliday does nothing to disabuse them of the notion. Secretly, Doc has taught several young hexslingers the trade, but by 1881 it yet remains largely a Southwestern phenomenon.

During 1879 and 1880, Doc Holliday wrote several dime novels about his exploits—and dictated dozens more to various authors and muckrakers—ostensibly to lampoon the Cowboy Gang and their Bayou Vermilion masters. In truth, these dime novels are encoded with the various runes of power and instructions for their use—if one knows precisely how to read between the lines.

Playing a Hexslinger

Although it's understandable some people would use the terms “huckster” and “hexslinger” interchangeably, in truth these arcane styles are diametric opposites. For as much as the huckster depends on bluff, bravado, and sheer luck...the hexslinger instead relies on pragmatism and sheer preparedness to carry the day. (Hexslingers can’t Deal With the Devil, for instance.)

As a practitioner of "triggernometry," if you will, the hexslinger must designate one shootin’ iron (or other weapon) as her chosen weapon by inscribing it with a rune for every power she knows. These runes help the shooter to focus her spells and avoid manitou-spawned mishaps. The hero could conceivably use a rifle, shotgun, or other magazine-fed weapon.

Typically, the hexslinger has to have her mystical pistol or other item in hand to enact powers (although a caster who knows the shootist power could prepare bullets to skirt this restriction). But let’s face it, hombre—sooner or later a gunman’s going to lose his chosen item, temporarily or permanently. She can use a substitute, but this gives the manitous a greater chance to cause havoc. If she is forced to use a substitute weapon, she suffers a –2 Hexslinging penalty per Rank of the power, and a roll of 1 or less indicates Backfire (see the Deadlands Marshal’s Handbook). The devil always gets his due, amigo.

You might consider hexslingers as gunmen who beef up their trade with a splash of arcane flair. In line with that thinking, they tend toward firearm-friendly Edges, such as Duelist, Hip Shootin’, Quick Draw, Marksman, Steady Hands, and the like. And a wise hexslinger might carry a weapon in each holster: one smokewagon for typical shooting, and another for firing hexed bullets.

Finally, remember that even though hexslinging stems from the very old, established and reliable magic tradition of runecasting...the effects are still provided by manitous and the dark magic of the Reckoning. Townsfolk who clue in to a hexslinger’s unnatural tendencies usually do their best to lynch the poor devil.

New Powers

Rank: Novice
Power Points: 1
Range: Touch
Duration: 10 minutes

Numb alleviates pain caused by injury. With a success on the Hexslinging roll, the power removes one point of wound penalties. With a raise, numb removes two points of penalties. The effect lasts for the duration, so it may shield a character from wound penalties acquired after the initial casting as well as those already suffered.

Numb also nullifies any temporary Injury Table results for its duration. A character made Lame by a hit to the leg, for example, can move normally while numbed. It has no effect on permanent Injuries.

Rank: Special
Power Points: Special
Range: By weapon
Duration: Special

When a hexslinger takes the shootist power, he learns 13 secret runes. With this knowledge, he can prepare bullets that deliver effects few powers can duplicate. Moreover, these rounds can be fired by anyone, not just the creator! The downside to using these effects is they must be prepared ahead of time.

The caster can divide a maximum of half her normal Power Points among as many bullets as she wishes—see the costs below. But these Power Points are “tied up” in the bullets until they’re fired. A single bullet can hold only one rune. Accurately carving the proper rune into a bullet typically requires 1 minute. A rushed hexslinger can carve one as an action for double the Power Point cost—the bullet still has to be loaded into a weapon. When the bullet’s carved, the gunman must make a Hexslinging roll (at –2 if the hexslinger is carving on the fly). Failure means the bullet is ruined, and will misfire if used, and the Power Points expended.

Success means the bullet works as described when fired, in addition to inflicting the weapon’s usual damage. Attack powers require a Shooting roll to hit, as usual. Because only a Shooting roll is needed to activate these bullets, the hero can hand them off to others for use without penalty (except for those “tied up” Power Points).

The shootist power can be used to engrave any of the 13 effects listed below, as long as the hero meets the Rank requirement.

  • Ammo Whammy (Veteran, 3 Power Points): The bullet bearing this rune is considered a Heavy Weapon.
  • Argent Agony (Veteran, 3 Power Points): The bullet etched with this rune affects a being as though it were composed of its Weakness. The hexslinger must know the specific Weakness he wants to mimic when she etches the rune. If a creature can only be harmed by magic, the bullet also counts as magical. But this power doesn’t work against Servitors’ Weaknesses—no rune can match the Reckoners’ power.
  • Bullet With Your Name on It (Seasoned, 2 Power Points): This rune allows the shootist to ignore 2 points of Cover. The bullet ricochets or simply travels “around” the obstacle.
  • Ghost Bullet (Novice, 1 Power Point): The bullet with this rune carved into it inflicts nonlethal damage.
  • Guidin’ Light (Seasoned, 2 Power Points): Firing this “flare” bullet into the night sky removes Illumination penalties in the immediate area for 1 minute. If fired indoors, roll a d6: On a 4–6, the bullet ignites any flammable materials it strikes.
  • Kentucky Windage (Heroic, 4 Power Points): This rune doubles the Range of a bullet and allows the shooter to ignore 2 points of penalties from any source.
  • Knife Through Butter (Novice, 1 Power Point): This rune grants a bullet +4 AP.
  • Loaded for Bear (Novice, 1 Power Point): This rune adds +1 die type to the weapon’s damage.
  • Longbarrel Special (Seasoned, 2 Power Points): The bullet carved with this rune ignores 2 points of Range penalties.
  • Sacramento Surprise (Seasoned, 2 Power Points): This rune adds +1 die of energy damage—acid, cold, electricity, fire, or sound—to a bullet. The hexslinger determines the effect when the rune is carved.
  • Segmented Shell (Veteran, 3 Power Points): This rune causes the bullet to explode when it strikes a target, inflicting its damage in a Medium Burst Template.
  • Shrapnel Storm (Heroic, 4 Power Points): This rune causes the bullet to spray shrapnel in all directions when it strikes a target, inflicting its damage in a Large Burst Template. It is a Heavy Weapon.
  • Spherical Shell (Seasoned, 2 Power Points): This rune causes the bullet to fragment when it strikes a target, inflicting its damage in a Small Burst Template.

New Edge

This Edge is available only to hexslingers.

Born to Kill
Requirements: Novice, Arcane Background (Hexslinger), Hexslinging d6+

When a hexslinger takes the Born to Kill Edge, it allows her to maintain the aim, boost Shooting, and smite powers on her chosen item with no penalty to other Spellcasting rolls, although she still must pay Power Point costs.

Hexslinger Trappings

Following are some suggested pistol-based Trappings for a selection of hexslingers’ available powers. Others are possible with the Marshal’s consent, but note that they must derive in some way from the hexslinger’s chosen item.

  • Aim: The shootist performs a complex pistol spin to activate the hex. Known as bullseye.
  • Blast: The hexslinger fires an exploding bullet. Called hand cannon.
  • Blind: After performing some complex pistol work, the shootist’s weapon reflects available light in a blinding prism. Called blinded by the glare.
  • Boost/Lower Trait: No visible effect, beyond the shootist’s awe-inspiring pistol spins. Called gun wise.
  • Burst: The hexslinger’s muzzle flash looses a cone of flame. Called hellfire.
  • Confusion: The shootist performs rapid and dazzling pistol spins, leaving observers dumbfounded. Called Albuquerque circus.
  • Deflection: The shootist spins her pistol to activate the hex, which causes attacks to simply miss. Called skin o’ the teeth.
  • Dispel: The shootist performs an intricate, multipart pistol spin, but the power has no other visible effect. Called hex repellent.
  • Fear: The shootist’s pistol spins seem so reckless as to result in wild shots any second. Called hit the deck!.
  • Havoc: The hexslinger fires a bullet that unleashes a shockwave when it strikes the target. Called eatin’ gravel.
  • Numb: The shootist performs a few elaborate pistol spins to loosen up stiff and sore joints. Called hale n’ hearty.
  • Obscure: Before the advent of smokeless powder, gunfights soon rendered their participants nearly blind. With this power, the hexslinger can create a blinding cloud with a single shot. Called gunsmoke.
  • Pummel: The hexslinger fires a cone-shaped surge of magical force from his gun. Called back off!.
  • Quickness: The shootist cuts loose with a few pistol spins, and seems to move as fast as those twirling six-shooters. Called fast as lightning.
  • Shootist: Trappings vary by effect; see shootist.
  • Slow: The hexslinger fires a shot in the air, distracting targets. Called molasses in January.
  • Slumber: The hexslinger seems to gun down one or more targets with a single shot—in reality, they’ve fallen asleep. Called sandman’s gunpowder.
  • Smite: This power can only affect a hexslinger’s gun. It’s activated by cocking the hammer. Called bushwhacker.
  • Speed: The shootist’s pistol spins blur faster and faster, until the hexslinger’s legs seem to match. Called jackrabbit.
  • Stun: The hexslinger fires a shockingly loud, resounding shot from her weapon. Called rollin’ thunder.
  • Trinkets: A shootist can only summon ammunition with this power, but the rounds appear loaded in the character’s weapon rather than in her hand. Called load ‘em up.
    • 1 Power Point: 1 pistol round.
    • 2 Power Points: 1 rifle/shotgun round or 3 pistol rounds.
    • 3 Power Points: 3 rifle/shotgun rounds or 6 pistol rounds.
    • 4 Power Points: 15 rifle/shotgun rounds or 30 pistol rounds.


Edge: Arcane Background (Metal Mage)
Requirements: Wild Card, Novice, Repair d4+, Thaumaturgical Diffusion d4+
Arcane Skill: Thaumaturgical Diffusion (Smarts)
Power Points: 10
Starting Powers: 2
Backlash: None.
Available Powers: Aim, armor, barrier, beast friend, blast, blind, bolt, boost/lower Trait, burrow, burst, confusion, damage field, darksight, deflection, detect/conceal arcana, disguise, dispel, drain Power Points, elemental manipulation, entangle, environmental protection, farsight, fear, fly, gambler, greater healing, havoc, healing, hunch, invisibility, jury rig, light/obscure, mind rider, pummel, puppet, quickness, slow, slumber, smite, speak language, speed, stun, succor, telekinesis, teleport, trinkets, wall walker, warrior’s gift, wilderness walk, windstorm, zombie.
Special Rules:
  • Daemon: Metal mages have come to terms with the fact that manitous provide inspiration to mad scientists as well as raw energy to hucksters, and have learned the science of extracting that energy for "free" —that is, without the risk of Backlash. However, metal mages are stalked by their daemons, which appear as mythic beasts or totem animals terrifying in aspect. When a metal mage rolls snake eyes on a Thaumaturgical Diffusion check, the daemon gets its revenge as the Marshal rolls on the Backfire Table (in the Deadlands Marshal’s Handbook). Bennies can’t be used to avoid this outcome!
  • Gadgeteer: A metal mage gets the Gadgeteer Edge for free, but it functions differently and she cannot take the normal Edge. With success on a Thaumaturgical Diffusion roll at –2, she summons a device that replicates any power available to metal mages a number of times per session equal to half her Spirit. This takes one action instead of the usual 1d20 minutes required by the Gadgeteer Edge. Each device has Power Points equal to half the metal mage’s total (round down); when the Power Points are expended (or the session ends) the device stops functioning. The metal mage can use these devices or share them with others per Mad Scientists in Savage Worlds, but they are subject to those rules, including Malfunctions.
  • Refine Cores: Metal mages can refine shaped fuel cores from raw ghost rock. A successful Thaumaturgical Diffusion roll and one hour’s time turns 1 lb of unrefined ghost rock into a 1-lb fuel core. On a raise, the process produces two fuel cores if the metal mage has another pound of ghost rock handy. Critical failure results in a spectacular explosion, causing 3d6 damage in a Medium Burst Template.
  • Weird Science Origins: Metal mages may take the Mr. Fix It Edge, ignoring the Arcane Background (Weird Science) requirement and substituting Thaumaturgical Diffusion d8+ for Weird Science.


R. Percy Sitgreaves started out as a huckster, and later in life became interested in the New Science. He got a job as an inventor—a mediocre one at best—at Smith & Robards, but they soon fired him. No matter, for Sitgreaves had a startling epiphany: The “inspirations” of mad scientists clearly came from manitous, just as hucksters’ power did. The truth shook him. Sitgreaves founded Infinity Press and became the sole printer of his former employers’ annual catalog. He made a far better printer than an inventor, and for all his flaws his former employers still trusted him. Soon he developed “thaumaturgical diffusion,” a melding of magic and mad science to the enhancement of both. Sitgreaves has trained nearly a dozen so-called “metal mages” in the past five years. Sitgreaves encodes his newfangled hexes into the text of each Smith & Robards Catalog.


Metal mages’ Trappings mix the practical and fantastical. Mages use their powers to create functional devices, but they form out of thin air, puffs of purplish smoke, or assemble themselves from whirling funnels of parts. A blast power might manifest as a grenade, teleport could involve rail lines, and mind rider may create a telegraph wiretap.

New Power

Jury Rig
Rank: Novice
Power Points: 2
Range: Touch
Duration: 3 (1/round)

In a world filled with Infernal Devices and steam-powered augmentations, malfunctions are a way of life. But given that such mishaps can be fatal, at times these things can’t be left to chance. Sitgreaves devised this hex so his shoddy creations could pass muster long enough to get the lazy inventor off the hook with his bosses.

See the Malfunctions Reloaded sidebar on page 47. With success on the Thaumaturgical Diffusion roll, a single Infernal Device with a listed Malfunction may only suffer Major and Minor Malfunctions for the duration. With a raise, the device only suffers Minor Malfunctions; ignore other Wild Die results.

New Edge

Arcane Background (Metal Mage)
Requirements: Wild Card, Novice, Spirit d6+

A host of would-be hucksters and mad scientists have learned R. Percy Sitgreaves’ system of Thaumaturgical Diffusion by decoding formulae in the Smith & Robards Catalog or because Sitgreaves himself taught them. Almost all these practitioners are located in Deseret. If you take this Edge, see the details on page 13.


As faith begins to wane After the Cackler, those voodooists who rely on the traditional, ritualistic practices find their magic still works. Traditional voodoo rituals, like those of Indian shamans, appease the spirits, allowing houngans and mambos to draw power from the Hunting Grounds. Other voodoo practitioners aren’t so lucky...

Edge: Arcane Background (Voodoo)
Requirements: Wild Card, Novice, Voodoo d4+, Spirit d8+
Arcane Skill: Voodoo (Spirit)
Power Points: 15
Starting Powers: 2
Backlash: A voodooist who rolls a 1 on her Voodoo die (regardless of her Wild Die) is Shaken. On snake eyes, she gains a level of Fatigue that is recovered after four hours of rest.
Available Powers: Aim, armor, barrier, beast friend, blind, boost/lower Trait, confusion, contact spirit world, curse, darksight, deflection, dispel, elemental manipulation, environmental protection, exorcism, fear, gambler, grave speak, greater healing, healing, inspiration, light (not obscure), mind rider, protection, pummel, puppet, quickness, sanctify, smite, speak language, stun, succor, warrior’s gift, vision quest, windstorm, zombie.
Special Rules
  • Conjure Bags: A voodooist must have her talismans, amulets, and the like with her or suffer a –2 to her Voodoo rolls when casting spells.
  • Miracles: Voodooists may use Edges that require Arcane Background (Miracles).
  • Shrine: A voodooist must spend an hour each evening at a shrine to the loas preparing her talismans and offering gifts to the spirits. If she does not, she can’t cast spells during the next day.

New Edge

Gris-Gris Crafter
Requirements: Novice, Arcane Background (Voodoo), Smarts d8+, Spirit d8+, Voodoo d8+

Once per game session, the houngan can create a magic charm and imbue it with mystical energy. This talisman uses any power available to the houngan, though anyone using it must meet the power’s Rank restrictions. It has half the creator’s Power Points and once these are used up they do not recharge. The ritual to craft one of these charms takes 1d20 minutes and must be performed at the creator’s shrine. Activating the device requires the user to make a Spirit roll instead of a Voodoo roll. All effects of the power are based on the result of the Spirit roll.


Most voodoo powers are cast through brief chants or rituals. Depending on the spell, the caster may rub a talisman, toss a small packet of dust, or simply touch a necklace. Voodoo spells seldom produce a visible effect, although the results may be evident, such as from a successful use of the healing power.

This message was last edited by the GM at 14:46, Fri 24 Mar 2017.

The Stray
 GM, 2011 posts
 The Marshal
 'round these parts
Wed 15 Feb 2017
at 16:45
Arcane Backgrounds, The Harrowed

Edge: Harrowed
Requirements: Wild Card, Novice, Spirit d6+
Arcane Skill: None
Power Points: None
Starting Powers: None
Backlash: None
Special Rules:
  • Coup: When the deader defeats an abomination with the Coup Special Ability, he can “count coup” on it and absorb its essence. Harrowed can gain bizarre powers by this means—see each abomination’s description—but some powers come with a curse as well. If more than one Harrowed is present when a beast expires in their sight, whoever’s closer has the first option to count coup.
  • Cursed: No beneficial miracles or tribal medicine powers can affect Harrowed, only the detrimental ones. It doesn't matter whether the hero's currently in the saddle or not; neither the powers of good nor nature spirits are willing to ignore the Harrowed's demonic house guest. Chi masters, hucksters, hexslingers, and mad scientists affect Harrowed with their powers as usual. Regardless of the host’s nature or Dominion score, Harrowed always count as supernaturally evil due to the manitou inside them.
  • Dominion: A Harrowed’s starting Dominion score is 0. When circumstances dictate a Dominion roll (the Marshal has more information on when this occurs), roll Spirit—opposed by the manitou—in order to keep your hero in control of his mind and actions. See below for details.
  • Undeath: Being undead grants the wily Harrowed several benefits: Toughness +2; Grit +1; +2 on Fear checks; needs only 1d6 hours of sleep per night; immune to nonlethal damage; "death" only puts the Harrowed out of commission for 1d6 days, only an Incapacitating head-shot can kill the hero for good; and immune to poison and disease.

The Unlife of a Harrowed

As we know, amigo, the dead don’t always stay dearly departed in Deadlands. They’re even more restless in the Wild Southwest! And some of the toughest, most fearsome, and strong-willed individuals actually return from the grave. These cowpokes are possessed by a manitou, an evil spirit who uses the host’s mind and body to affect the physical world.

The poor stiffs are called Harrowed, which means, “dragged forth from the earth.” Most of the rules for Harrowed haven’t changed (consult the Deadlands Player’s Guide to read up on those). But we’re replacing two important sections—Dominion and Undeath—with the versions presented below. Read on, amigos, and see what lies beyond the pale...


When your hero first returns from the grave, she probably remembers suffering through her Worst Nightmare. Well, guess what, hombre: The manitou puts its host through her own little corner of Hell every night, hoping to weaken her resolve. We represent this struggle for control as Dominion.

Recently deceased characters who return as Harrowed, as well as those who begin the game with the Harrowed Edge, start with a Dominion of 0. This means the host and the manitou are roughly on equal footing.

When the Marshal calls for a Dominion roll, make a Spirit roll—opposed by the manitou—to keep the demonic worm out of your hero’s head. This Spirit roll is modified by current Dominion score. Dominion can never go below –4 or above +4.

Dominion Table
Success: The Harrowed retains control and gains 1 point of Dominion, or 2 points with a raise.
Failure: The manitou takes over, and no doubt gets up to some evil shenanigans. Your hero loses 1 Dominion point, or 2 if the manitou scored a raise.
Tie: The manitou doesn’t get control, but the fight leaves your Harrowed Shaken.


Harrowed are a pretty sturdy bunch. They don’t suffer Fatigue from mundane sources, and nonlethal damage has about as much effect on them as a mosquito does on a steer—they just shrug it off.

Harrowed suffer wounds normally—if an attack penetrates their +2 Toughness—but they can’t be killed except by destroying the brain. The only way a result on the Incapacitation Table (see Savage Worlds) can snuff a Harrowed is if a Called Shot to the noggin sent him there, or if a roll on the Injury Table indicates a head shot. If the brain is mush, the manitou can’t control the corpse’s functions and is ejected. The Harrowed is now actually dead, as in, “not getting back up again.”

A Harrowed can still take a beating fierce enough to take him out of action even without a hit to the noggin. If he’s Incapacitated, he rolls Vigor and consults the Incapacitation Table as normal. However, if he “dies” due to anything other than a head shot, he’s only put down for 1d6 days, after which he wakes up with three wounds.

In either of the above cases, Harrowed don’t really bleed out. If the hero fails (or even critically fails) his Vigor roll, just assume he’s suffered enough physical punishment to put him out of action as discussed above, with no Spirit roll required.

Although Harrowed don’t feel pain—nor do they really bleed either—they still suffer wound penalties as normal. These penalties reflect damage to the Harrowed’s muscles and bones, making movement and action more difficult. It’s also distracting having one’s stinking, rotted guts spilling all over one’s boots.

But undeath isn’t all posies and ice cream, hombre. First, and most important, by their very existence Harrowed are abominations and affronts to life. Any Harrowed that wants to persist in its undead state is forced to hide that status from most of the people they encounter. Ordinary folk who discover your hero’s true nature aren’t likely to settle in for a drawn-out explanation of how all this strangeness came to pass. Odds are they shoot first, hang second, dismember third, burn fourth—and forget to ask questions! Moreover, powerful organizations—the Agency, Texas Rangers, and the Order of St. George among them—habitually hunt down and destroy any Harrowed they learn about.

Second, although undeath makes a body resistant to damage, it also renders it fairly resistant to outside sources of healing. Provided he eats a pound of meat—cooked or otherwise—the Harrowed can make a Natural Healing roll (see Savage Worlds) every five days. The Stitchin’ and Improved Stitchin’ Edges (in the Deadlands Player’s Guide) improve this rate to every day and every hour, respectively. But most healing magics have no effect on a Harrowed (although a mad scientist’s healing gizmo might work, at the Marshal’s discretion, if the Trappings are specific and appropriate).

Harrowed Hindrances

With the Harrowed Edge an option at character creation, there’s also the potential to saddle your revenant hero with a deader-specific Hindrance. Here are a few to help chill the bones of passers-by.

Aura o' Death (Minor)

Some Harrowed characters wear their undeath like a shroud. People around them instinctively know there’s something disturbing about these folks, though they can’t quite put their finger on exactly what it is. It’s much harder for them to form relationships, get information, and ask for help. Harrowed with an Aura o’ Death suffer a Charisma penalty of –2. Worse, their presence causes living plants and flowers to wilt. Given 10 minutes or so, fruits and vegetables spoil in the deader’s presence. Animals recoil at the macabre dude. The Harrowed suffers an additional –2 to Riding rolls, and must make a Riding roll to get on a horse or other mount.

Degeneration (Minor/Major)

Typically, a Harrowed’s manitou provides supernatural energy to make the body resistant to damage, and to quickly regenerate any wounds. Still, undead meat can’t help but stink, and every Harrowed has pale, sallow skin. In some cases, the manitou either can’t or doesn’t bother to keep the body from wasting away—those poor devils get the Degeneration Hindrance.

For the Minor version, the deader’s flesh exudes a slimy film and his eyes are slightly milky. He also stinks to high heaven. Folks nearby receive a +2 bonus on Notice rolls to catch his stench, and even if he pickles himself with alcohol they may smell him with a Notice check (no bonus). The hero suffers a –4 on Riding rolls, or any other rolls that require an animal’s cooperation, rather than the usual –2.

With the Major version, concealing the deader’s true nature is near impossible. The poor sod’s either bloated and distended with gas and pestilent fluids, or tattered and losing strips of ragged flesh right off the bones. Nearby people receive a +4 bonus on Notice rolls to detect the hero’s atrocious reek (+2 if pickled with alcohol), and no animal will have anything to do with him. Folks who see the deader revealed in all his undead glory must make a Fear check.

Whether Minor or Major, Degeneration’s worst effect is the crushing sense of alienation the Harrowed experiences. No matter how noble or infamous they were in life, no buckaroo wants to feel his body rot away, and few can endure the horror and revulsion their appearance causes in the living. In fact, being near living people causes them physical pain. For every hour a Harrowed with this Hindrance spends among typical folks, roll his Spirit at –2; on a failure, the deader is Fatigued, and on snake eyes the hero is Exhausted.

The presence of characters with Arcane Backgrounds doesn’t cause Fatigue, nor do other Wild Cards and allied Extras who spend enough time with the deader to become accustomed to his appearance—a process that takes about two in-game weeks. This means the hero can at least get along with his posse, even if he’s not welcome anywhere else.

Haunted (Minor/Major)

Every Harrowed lives through her Worst Nightmare before she drags herself from the grave. Some manitous consider the pastime too amusing to give up. The soul of a Haunted hero is dragged kicking and screaming into the Hunting Grounds every time she shuts down for the night. There the cruel parasite subjects her to horrible nightmares. Over time, this erodes the hero’s will and gives the demon a better chance to gain control of its host.

For the Minor version of this Hindrance, the hero suffers a –1 penalty when rolling Spirit to check for Dominion. The Major version inflicts a –2 penalty.

Mark o’ the Devil (Minor)

Some Harrowed wear their damnation like a shiny tin star—at least to people who know what they’re looking for. When a Harrowed has the Mark o’ the Devil, any character with the Arcane Background Edge—or d10+ in Knowledge (Occult)—has a chance to see the evil demon wriggling around inside your hero, in spite of appearances or a disguise.

Whenever a character with one of the above qualifications gets within a few feet of your hero, she can make a Notice roll opposed by the manitou’s Spirit (which is always one die type higher than the hero). With a success, the viewer sees some sign of the manitou in your hero—perhaps the Harrowed’s eyes glow red or the watcher can see the manitou’s hideous face peeking out at her.

Eggheads with Arcane Background (Weird Science) are the exception. To be able to see the manitou, they have to have the Arcane Background and Knowledge (Occult) d10+. Scientific types just don’t tend to see these things unless they’ve researched them on their own.

Unnatural Appetite (Minor/Major)

For some inexplicable reason, a rare few Harrowed develop a craving for one thing or another that—while technically edible—thoroughly disgusts most people. Your character must eat the item he craves at least once a day. Here are a few examples: rotten food, mold, grave dirt, bugs, horse manure, living flesh, animal or human blood, or a specific internal organ.

For the Minor version, a Harrowed who doesn’t slake his hunger must make a Vigor check every 24 hours thereafter or suffer a level of Fatigue persisting until the deader eats what he’s craving. The first failed roll makes the character Fatigued, the next Exhausted. It won’t Incapacitate or kill the hero, but he’ll have the –2 Fatigue penalty until he chows down. For the Major version, the Vigor roll is at –2.

Harrowed Edges

A hero gets the Harrowed Edge the moment he comes back from the grave, as well as one other Harrowed Edge. When leveling, the deader can choose to gain a new Harrowed Edge instead of a regular Edge.

Sometimes your hero might come back not quite knowing he’s already dead. In this case the Marshal is within his rights to make you wait until you’ve figured out the truth before you take your first Harrowed Edge.

Harrowed Edges

All Harrowed characters get one Harrowed Edge for free. Unless otherwise noted in the description, any Fatigue a Harrowed suffers using one of these abilities is recovered after an hour of rest.

This list updates and supersedes the information about Harrowed Edges from the Deadlands Player's Handbook. Please refer to this list instead of that one.

Requirements: Wild Card, Novice, Spirit d6+

Some shootists are just too tough to lie down and stay dead when they get beefed. The price they pay is an eternal battle for their own soul with the demonic “manitous” that provide their unnatural vitality.

The Harrowed Edge may only be selected at character creation. To get it later requires shedding the mortal coil and a whole lot of luck (the Marshal has information on how this occurs in the Deadlands Marshal’s Handbook). If you take this Edge, your character has been reborn into unlife and you can read up on the grisly details on the next page. Otherwise, vamoose and show some respect for the dead.

Requirements: Novice, Harrowed

With this Edge, a Harrowed gains the ability to burrow through raw earth, per the power (see Savage Worlds). Although this makes him a very efficient traveler underground—the earth seems almost eager to get out of his way—he always finishes such a trip covered with soil, slime, millipedes, centipedes, and such subterranean accoutrements.

The Harrowed uses a Spirit roll to activate the burrow power, which cannot be maintained beyond its base duration and costs no Power Points. But it isn’t easy. Immediately following each use of the Burrow Edge, the deader must succeed on a Vigor roll (–2) or suffer a level of Fatigue that fades after an hour’s rest. Plus, the dirt, writhing worms, and general filth covering the Harrowed gives onlookers a +2 on Notice rolls to mark him as one of the dearly departed for an hour after he uses this Edge, or at least until he washes up.

Cat Eyes
Requirements: Novice, Harrowed

The hero gets +2 to all Notice rolls to spot visual clues. He also ignores penalties for Dim and Dark lighting conditions.

Improved Cat Eyes
Requirements: Seasoned, Harrowed, Cat Eyes

The character can see in the dark and ignores all penalties for lighting. The Harrowed can also see the auras of sentient beings. With a successful Spirit roll, he can determine an Extra’s attitude on the Reaction Table from Savage Worlds. A raise identifies if the target is a supernatural creature of some sort—although not the specific kind.

Charnel Breath
Requirements: Seasoned, Harrowed

Charnel Breath is the ability to dredge up all the worst stench of decay in a Harrowed’s body, supernaturally fester it even further, and blow it out all over an unsuspecting target within arm’s reach. The corrosive gas produces watery eyes and violent retching.

The Harrowed rolls Spirit opposed by an adjacent target’s Vigor. On a success the victim suffers a level of Fatigue, or two levels with a raise. Each level recovers after 1d6 rounds of breathing fresh air. This effect can’t kill, but it can Incapacitate due to extreme nausea.

Beyond arm’s reach, charnel breath does little more than offend. But everyone in the room likely wrinkles their noses and holds their breath until a breeze clears the noxious fumes. Nonliving beings are immune to this particular power...although even they don’t appreciate a ghastly belch in the face.

Chill o’ the Grave
Requirements: Heroic, Harrowed

Word has it the grave is damp and cold, and this Harrowed has the ability to share that experience by pulling it from the Hunting Grounds. The chill radiates from her body, rapidly lowering the nearby ambient temperature.

The deader makes a Spirit roll to use this power, dropping the temperature 10° F in a Large Burst Template centered on herself. Anyone except the Harrowed inside the template must make a Spirit check or become unnerved, essentially suffering a level of Fatigue. Any sap who gets a 1 on his Spirit roll is Panicked, as per the Fright Table (see Savage Worlds).

The chill lasts a number of rounds equal to half the Harrowed’s Spirit die type. She cannot use this ability if Exhausted. Fatigue suffered by her victims recovers after an hour in a warm environment.

Requirements: Novice, Harrowed

The hero gains sharp claws that cause Str+d6 damage in combat. The Harrowed can extend or retract the claws at will.

Improved Claws
Requirements: Veteran, Harrowed, Claws

The claws now inflict Str+d10 damage.

Dead Man’s Hand
Requirements: Legendary, Harrowed

Harrowed with this power can continue to control their own severed body parts—usually a hand or an eye—for short periods of time, even if they’re out of sight. To use the Edge, the deader rolls Spirit and either slices off his own hand—with a Bowie knife or similar implement—or plucks out an eyeball.

With a success, the body part remains active and under its owner’s mental control up to a Range of the dead man’s Smarts x5, or Smarts x10 on a raise. On a failure, the deader suffers an automatic wound and an Injury (either Arm or Head, Blinded, as appropriate), which persists until the deader reattaches the body part and passes a Spirit test at –2, or until he succeeds on his next Natural Healing roll and grows it back.

The deader can maintain the Dead Man’s Hand as long as he wishes, but while it’s active it commands a portion of his attention, inflicting a –2 penalty on other Trait rolls. Additionally, the hero is assumed to have the One Arm or One Eye Hindrance until the body part is reattached.

Severed hands use the Animate Hand profile (see the Deadlands Marshal’s Handbook). Although they’re pretty tough, severed hands are much better at opening jail cells and causing distractions than beating the Hell out of someone. Or the deader could pluck out an eyeball and give it to a compadre—so the Harrowed can spy on the scene when he’s not around.

Dead Reckoning
Requirements: Novice, Harrowed

Dead Reckoning is the ability to sense the direction to the nearest human corpse. It may lead a cowpoke to the undertaker’s shop, a cemetery, or the site of a recent bushwhacking—or it might lead to a walking corpse. It depends on whatever the Marshal decides is closest! It doesn't matter how far away that nearest corpse is, as long as it still has at least some flesh on its bones; Dead Reckoning can’t lock onto a bare skeleton.

To use the Edge, the Harrowed spends a full round concentrating, and makes a Spirit roll at –2. With a success, the Edge points her toward the nearest cadaver. On a raise, the Harrowed also gains a vague sense of distance to the corpse (just around the bend, not very close, or miles away), and its general condition (buried, ambulatory).

Dead Reckoning can also recognize Harrowed posing as living, breathing folks—assuming the Harrowed is the only corpse nearby. All it takes is success on a Spirit roll (–2), as above. Picking a Harrowed out of a graveyard or similar collection of corpses, however, is very hard—apply an additional –4 penalty to the Spirit check (–6 total).

Death Mask
Requirements: Novice, Harrowed, Persuasion d6+

Use of this Edge allows a Harrowed to appear as they did while drawing breath. Folks suffer a –4 penalty to Notice to determine the deader isn't, well, dead. Keeping this power active requires concentration, so the Harrowed suffers a –2 penalty to all other Trait rolls while maintaining a death mask. Additionally, if the Harrowed is Shaken or suffers one or more wounds, he must make a Spirit roll (at –2) to keep the disguise active.

Detect arcana automatically sees through this effect.

Improved Death Mask
Requirements: Veteran, Death Mask, Persuasion d8+

The Harrowed can now maintain Death Mask with minor concentration. He no longer suffers a –2 penalty while maintaining a death mask or to Spirit rolls if Shaken or wounded to keep the disguise active.

Additionally, he may temporarily alter his features, assuming the appearance (but not abilities) of another living person. The deader can't emulate someone more than 2 Size levels different than himself, and if they mimic a specific individual viewers familiar with with that person roll Notice at -2 to see through the mask. Otherwise, the typical -4 penalty applies.

Devil’s Touch
Requirements: Seasoned, Harrowed

The Harrowed with this Edge can disrupt the workings of any mad scientist’s gizmo or Infernal Device that runs on ghost rock with a simple touch, making the device more likely to Malfunction for a short time.

First, the Harrowed has to touch the gizmo or Infernal Device in question—a Fighting roll (+2) against opponents in melee—and make a Spirit roll as a free action. With a success, for the next 1d6 rounds the device Malfunctions on a roll of 1 or 2 on the Trait die (regardless of the Wild Die). On a raise, the device Malfunctions on a 1, 2, or 3. If the Harrowed rolls a 1 on the Spirit die, the device Malfunctions as soon as he touches it (use his Wild Die to determine severity if using the Malfunction rules from The 1880 Smith & Robards Catalog)—catching him in any resulting effect or explosion!

Fast as Death
Requirements: Novice, Harrowed

Normally, dead bodies don’t move very fast. But the Harrowed with this Edge can move with supernatural speed, per the power (see the Deadlands Player’s Guide), when the need arises.

The Harrowed makes a Spirit roll to activate the speed power, which cannot be maintained beyond its base duration, costs no Power Points, and has a range of Self. This sort of treatment takes its toll on a corpse, though: Immediately following each use of the Fast as Death Edge, the deader must succeed on a Vigor roll (–2) or suffer a level of Fatigue that fades after an hour’s rest.

Ghost (official errata)
Requirements: Heroic, Harrowed

As his first action during his turn, the Harrowed can become incorporeal with a successful Spirit roll (he can perform no actions, including free actions, before using Ghost). Once incorporeal, he must remain in that state until the beginning of his action on the next round (unless he suffers damage, see below). While ghosted, the Harrowed is intangible as per the power—unaffected by the physical world and unable to affect it—though he is still visible and magical attacks affect him normally.

The deader may remain ghosted as long as he wishes, but it requires concentration and inflicts a –2 penalty to all other Trait rolls while it is maintained. With a free action, the Harrowed can become tangible again at the beginning of his turn. If he somehow suffers damage (Shaken, or one or more wounds)—say, from a magical or supernatural attack—while in this state, he must make a Spirit roll at –2 or immediately become tangible.

Requirements: Heroic, Harrowed

There’s a reason why flames figure prominently in the Hells of pretty much every religion. Many supernatural beings have a love affair with the destructive power of fire.

A Harrowed with this power suffers one die less damage than usual from fire, though he will still catch fire if exposed to flames.

The Harrowed can also blast raw fire drawn from the depths of hell from his fingertips. This acts just like a flamethrower (see Savage Worlds) and causes 2d10 damage. This uses the Shooting skill to hit the targets, and a 1 on the Shooting die type causes a Shaken result on the Harrowed.

Requirements: Veteran, Harrowed

Most deaders take a while to get used to the fact that they don’t suffer physical pain anymore. They still grunt when they take a slug or limp when their ankle gets gnawed on by some hellish critter, but really, it’s nearly all in their mind.

This character, on the other hand, has a handle on his unholy toughness. He ignores 2 points of wound penalties—and this is cumulative with the Nerves of Steel Edge.

Requirements: Novice, Harrowed

Insects have their counterparts in the Hunting Grounds and the manitous have learned a thing or two about how to control them. A hero with this power can control swarms of biting or stinging insects. This power doesn't give the deader the ability to actually create the bugs. They must already be present in the immediate vicinity.

Summoning the swarm causes the Harrowed a level of Fatigue. However, this gives rise to a swarm of insects (see Savage Worlds) under her control. She can’t use this ability if she’s already Exhausted. The swarm dissipates when destroyed or after about five minutes.

Requirements: Legendary, Harrowed

Much supernatural power springs from the Hunting Grounds in one form or another. With the Mimic Edge, a Harrowed can force his manitou to duplicate a power he has just witnessed and recast it himself, as long as it’s powered by another manitou. This includes hucksters’ and hexslingers’ hexes, other Harrowed Edges, coup powers, black magic, and even weird science gizmos—but not chi mastery, miracles, or tribal medicine.

To Mimic a supernatural ability, the Harrowed must beat the original caster—whom he has just seen employ the power—in an opposed Spirit roll. With a success, the Harrowed can immediately cast the same power once, exactly as the original caster did. On a raise, the deader can cast the power once during the current battle or scene. But only once, pardner.

The Harrowed uses his new ability exactly as the being he stole it from. Even the Trait die used to activate the power—if there is one—is considered the same as that of the character with the original power. For example, if a cultist cast a black magic bolt with Spellcasting d6 and spent 3 Power Points, the Harrowed uses the same. Of course, if the ability has a chance of Backlash, such as a huckster’s hex, the Harrowed may suffer Backlash as well.

Additionally, stealing someone else’s thunder isn’t without danger. If the deader fails the roll, the manitou channels the recoil from the Hunting Grounds directly into the Harrowed—a spiritual blast of 2d6 damage straight to the guts, ignoring armor.

One caveat: Certain powers come directly from the Reckoners—usually only granted to particular kinds of abominations—and cannot be Mimicked. The Marshal can outlaw stealing certain powers she doesn’t want stolen at her discretion. Sorry, pardner!

Requirements: Veteran, Harrowed

One of the manitous’ duties in the spirit world is to torment dreamers. A Harrowed whose brain-worm gives him this power can trouble living minds with dark dreams.

To use the Edge, the undead locks eyes with the intended victim for a bare instant, and they roll an opposed Spirit test. With a success, the nightmare works and the target gains the Bad Dreams Hindrance (see the Deadlands Player’s Guide) for 1d6 nights or 2d6 nights on a raise. If the deader fails to beat the target’s roll, the Harrowed cannot attempt to use his power on that individual again until the victim has slept. The Edge can only be used once a day.

When the Edge works, the victim doesn't realize what has happened. There is just a moment of meeting a stranger’s stare, an instant of strange uneasiness, and then things return to normal—until the night terrors start, that is.

Improved Nightmare
Requirements: Heroic, Harrowed, Nightmare

As above, but the target loses a Benny immediately and gains the Bad Dreams Hindrance for 2d6+1 days on a success or 1d6+1 weeks on a raise.

Additionally, the Harrowed can deliver specific images to the victim, or appear in the sent nightmare or vision to deliver a message. The undead doesn't really join in the nightmare, though. The Marshal decides exactly how the Harrowed’s message manifests in the dream and how the victim reacts, based upon the individual’s personality and the image and message described.

In game terms, the Harrowed player describes to the Marshal how the undead’s image appears in the dream, and explains the intended message. The message can include all sorts of special effects—certainly more than just a floating head spitting out some words. But an undead cowpoke should be discreet with this Edge. If the locals start comparing notes and find that the same hombre is appearing in all their dreams, that Harrowed is liable to find a lynch mob looking for him.

Requirements: Veteran, Harrowed

If a manitou’s good at anything, it’s taking control of someone else’s body. This Edge grants a Harrowed the eerie ability to twist other people’s minds per the puppet power (see the Deadlands Player’s Guide). This costs no Power Points, and the Harrowed makes a Spirit roll opposed by the victim to enact it.

Maintaining Possession requires the Harrowed’s concentration, so he suffers a –2 penalty to all other Trait rolls for the duration. Otherwise, the Edge functions just like puppet.

Improved Possession
Requirements: Legendary, Harrowed, Possession

As above, but the Harrowed may use the mind reading power (see Savage Worlds) on a target under their control. The deader rolls Spirit +2 (negating the –2 from Possession) opposed by the target’s Spirit as an action costing no Power Points, but otherwise working just like the power.

Rigor Mortis
Requirements: Heroic, Harrowed

With this power, a deader can inflict terrible pain on a living victim, possibly resulting in death. The Harrowed has to grasp bare skin for the power to take effect, which requires a successful Fighting roll (Touch attack at +2) and a partially exposed target. With a successful touch, the Harrowed rolls Spirit opposed by the victim. If the Harrowed succeeds, the target suffers a level of Fatigue, or two levels on a raise.

If the Harrowed succeeds or scores a raise and the victim’s Spirit die is a 1 (regardless of the Wild Die), not only is the yellow-bellied hombre Incapacitated, but his ticker is also about to give out—he suffers a heart attack, per the Fright Table (see Savage Worlds).

Silent as a Corpse
Requirements: Seasoned, Harrowed, Stealth d8+

Moving silently is easy for a Harrowed with this Edge and as long as his feet are in contact with dirt, he can move without making a sound. This even works while he’s wearing normal footwear such as boots. The Harrowed gains a +2 bonus to Stealth rolls in all situations, but if walking on bare earth the sneaky so-and-so gains a +4 Stealth bonus.

The bonus from Silent as a Corpse won’t work on floors, wood, or even stone—only about an inch or more of dirt. Fortunately, in the Weird West, most everything that’s not actually inside a building is covered in the stuff and even the interiors to some buildings have dirt floors, such as barns, stables, poor farmsteads, and the like.

Soul Eater
Requirements: Veteran, Harrowed

A Harrowed with this ability who makes a successful barehanded attack with a raise can drain the life force of his victim. This automatically inflicts a wound on any living being.

Whenever a deader causes a wound this way, he can make a Spirit roll opposed by his victim. If he wins, he repairs one wound to himself, or alternately, he recovers one Fatigue level. Even if the Harrowed causes multiple wounds with the attack, he still only recovers one wound (or one Fatigue level).

Sleep o’ the Dead
Requirements: Seasoned, Harrowed

Manitous have something of a talent for getting mortals to sleep. Harrowed with this Edge can tap into the manitous’ abilities to send a victim straight to the Land o’ Nod with a single touch. Even Harrowed are affected.

This works much like the slumber power (see Savage Worlds), except it costs no Power Points, has a Range of Touch, and is enacted with an opposed Spirit roll against the target as an action. If the target resists being touched, the Harrowed must first make a successful Touch attack, Fighting with a +2 bonus but a separate action for a –2 multiaction penalty to both rolls.

If the Harrowed succeeds on the opposed Spirit roll, the target falls asleep for one minute, or 1d6 hours with a raise.

Speakin’ With the Dead
Requirements: Seasoned, Harrowed

They say that after death a person’s memories linger inside his carcass, slowly decaying along with the flesh. Harrowed with this Edge can speak with the truly dead by tapping into those residual recollections.

But questioning the dead is more like browsing through a book than actually talking with the person. The desired information may be in there somewhere, but who knows what page it’s on? And considering the book is rotting away, who knows how much longer that page is going to be legible? When a Harrowed questions the dead, only another undead can hear the whispery, unimaginably melancholy replies.

Using this Edge takes considerable concentration. While questioning a corpse, a Harrowed can’t take any other actions—including free actions. And in order to hear the corpse’s answers, he needs silence in the area. (This means the Edge can’t be used in a cemetery, because the rustling voices of the other dead make concentration impossible! The inquisitor has to dig up the body and cart it elsewhere.)

The first requirement to use this Edge is a corpse that’s been dead for less than the Harrowed’s Smarts die in months. The Harrowed makes an opposed Spirit roll against the Spirit the corpse had in life (if unknown, the Marshal decides). Success means the questioner learns one piece of information or the answer to one specific question. Each raise on the Spirit roll garners one more piece of information. The Harrowed can try again but the maximum number of answers from any one corpse equals the deader’s Spirit die type. Any failure costs the Harrowed 1d6 answers as part of the brain has rotted away.

On snake eyes, a manitou enters the body and pretends to be the person’s memories. It likely lies, but then again it may tell the truth. It takes a Notice roll at –6 to avoid being fooled unless someone has a way to sense the evil worm’s presence. Either way, all further answers are lost!

Improved Speakin’ With the Dead
Requirements: Heroic, Harrowed, Speakin’ With the Dead

As above, except the Harrowed can speak with a corpse that’s been dead for less than her Smarts x5 in years. A raise on the Spirit roll increases the time limit to the Harrowed’s Smarts x100 in years—useful for interrogating mummies and such, should the Harrowed encounter some.

Requirements: Seasoned, Harrowed

With this Edge, a Harrowed clings to surfaces like its namesake. This works like the wall walker power (see Savage Worlds), except the Harrowed activates the Edge with a Spirit roll, it costs no Power Points, and it cannot be used to affect additional targets. It requires concentration to keep this Edge active, so the hero suffers a –2 penalty to all other Trait rolls while maintaining the Spider Edge.

Spirit Sight
Requirements: Seasoned, Harrowed

To use this Edge, the Harrowed sits quietly and enters a deep trance. With a success on a Spirit roll, he peeks through his manitou’s eyes at the surrounding spirit world. The deader maintains Spirit Sight as long as he concentrates, so it counts as an action for each round maintained. If he somehow suffers damage—Shaken, or one or more wounds—while in the trance, the vision ends immediately.

The Harrowed can view such things as manitous swirling around a powerful huckster, how dark a general location is (representing its Fear Level), magical effects on people or objects, or even whether or not a manitou is wriggling around inside of someone. In the latter case, the manitou’s demeanor might even indicate whether it currently controls its Harrowed host.

Objects in the real world are somewhat visible in the Hunting Grounds—walls block one’s view, for example—so the deader isn’t completely blind to real-world events while in the trance. Additionally, any creature with the Fear Special Ability leaves a dark trail through the spirit world. Up to one hour after an abomination has moved through an area, it leaves a faintly glowing spoor of pure evil. A Harrowed with Dark Vision can use Tracking to follow such trails as long as he maintains his ability.

Staring into the maddening Hunting Grounds causes the Harrowed incredible mental strain. When the vision ends, the Harrowed must roll Vigor or suffer a level of Fatigue that persists for exactly as long as the deader spent viewing the spirit world.

Spiritual Barbwire
Requirements: Veteran, Harrowed

This Edge allows a deader to create a barrier that keeps out ghosts, poltergeists, and other ethereal entities—it has no affect on physical entities. The Harrowed makes a Spirit roll and then places a Medium Burst Template centered on himself. The Spiritual Barbwire persists as long as the cowpoke concentrates on it, which inflicts a –2 penalty on other Trait rolls.

Entities wishing to enter the Template must make an opposed Spirit check against the deader’s total. If they fail, they cannot pass the barrier while the Edge remains active. Spiritual Barbwire stops the entity from passing through, but does not prevent it from “normal” actions such as Intimidation or throwing physical objects. If any living creature of rat-size or larger that started inside the circle crosses to the outside, the Edge is negated and must be reactivated with another Spirit roll.

Requirements: Novice, Harrowed

The hero draws on the power of the manitou within her to lend a little supernatural oomph to her intimidating gaze or grating voice, granting +2 to her Intimidation rolls. Furthermore, Wild Cards who fail must roll on the Fright Table (see Savage Worlds) and Extras who fail are Panicked. This ability can’t be used on the same target more than once in the same general encounter.

Requirements: Novice, Harrowed

A deader with Stitchin’ heals damage much faster than normal folks. He may make natural Healing rolls every day, provided he consumes a pound of meat for each attempt.

Improved Stitchin'
Requirements: Veteran, Harrowed, Stitchin’

The Harrowed may make Healing rolls once an hour. As before, he must consume a pound of meat for each attempt.

Supernatural Trait
Requirements: Novice, Harrowed

This power permanently improves any one of the hero’s attributes by two die types (a d6 becomes a d10, a d12 becomes a d12+2, and so on). This Edge may be taken up to five times, but only once for each attribute.

Trackin’ Teeth
Requirements: Seasoned, Harrowed

When you’re dead, you tend to lose body parts here and there. A character with this Edge can keep track of those parts, whether they’re attached to the rest of his cadaver or not.

This Edge allows a Harrowed to plant a single, substantial piece of himself in or on a thing or person and use this ability as a crude tracking device. By “substantial,” we mean a portion of the body that includes a chunk of bone, not something comparatively insubstantial like hair or a scrap of rotten flesh. The most accessible pieces of bone available to any Harrowed are teeth—hence the Edge’s name.

As long as the Harrowed’s piece—tooth or otherwise—is within 10 miles, as a free action she can automatically sense the direction and approximate distance. If the piece moves out of range, the Harrowed loses track of it, but she picks it up if the piece comes within range again.

Improved Trackin’ Teeth
Requirements: Heroic, Harrowed, Trackin’ Teeth

As above, except the piece can be tracked as a free action as long as it remains within 1,000 miles. Additionally, the Harrowed can track a number of teeth—or other pieces—equal to his Spirit die.

Undead Contortion
Requirements: Heroic, Harrowed

Sometimes heroes get caught in tight spots. At those times, flexibility is crucial to engineer an escape. The Undead Contortion Edge allows a Harrowed to dislocate pretty much any and every bone in her body—including shoulder blades, ribs, and pelvis. In a really tight spot, a Harrowed with this power can even break and crush her own skull.

To squeeze through a gap up to about the width of the Harrowed’s skull, the deader rolls Spirit. With a successful roll, as an action the undead simply pops some bones out of their sockets and slips through the gap. This causes the cowpoke two automatic wounds, or one wound with a raise on the Spirit die, which cannot be Soaked.

If the Harrowed needs to get through a tighter spot, he has to crack his own noggin. When this situation arises, the contortionist can fit through incredibly tight spaces, down to about 3 inches in diameter (small enough to ooze down a drainpipe, by the way). But this is fairly dangerous, as the Harrowed suffers two automatic wounds—or one with a raise—plus an additional 2d6 damage applied directly to the head. Again, Bennies cannot negate this damage.

One last note: Anyone who happens to stumble upon a Harrowed in his contorted, busted-up state must make a Fear check as soon as they realize he’s actually “alive.”

Unholy Host
Requirements: Legendary, Harrowed

This Edge is the Harrowed’s equivalent of the blessed’s Flock—a group of five allied Extras that travel with the hero and aid him when he needs it. But in this case, the allies are all dead...well, undead to be exact.

To use the Edge, the Harrowed must have five or more corpses in the immediate vicinity, in reasonably complete shape. With a successful Spirit test (–2) the deader raises five Walkin’ Dead (see the Deadlands Marshal’s Handbook) to act as servants, bodyguards, or what-have-you. It takes about five minutes to get the corpses up and moving.

These walkin’ dead are ruthless and unwavering allies. The hero doesn’t have a mental link with his Unholy Host, but when he gives them orders, they are bound to follow them. But they’re also evil incarnate, and clever in their interpretations. Give them an inch, and they’ll leave a slew of bloody corpses for a mile. Think of them as devious children interpreting their orders in the most literal and harmful way possible.

Other than that, they’re completely loyal, and they won’t let their champion die if they can help it. They might let him suffer and may get a good laugh out of it, but if the hero ever dies, they die too—again. Only when all five members of an Unholy Host are destroyed can the Harrowed use this Edge to raise five more allies.

Requirements: Novice, Harrowed

The taint of death hangs heavy around this deader and this ability allows him to pass some of that unwholesome energy to others.

This power allows a Harrowed to cause something he touches to age prematurely. Against nonliving targets, on a successful Spirit roll he ages the thing by a month. On a raise, it ages by a year. This causes food to putrefy, wood to rot, and metal to rust.

Against the living, this terrible ability allows a deader to drain the life and years of some poor sod. With a touch, the Harrowed and the target make opposed Spirit rolls. If the Harrowed wins, the target’s Strength is reduced one die type to a minimum of d4. With a raise, his Strength and Vigor are both reduced. This is a permanent loss but may be recovered by advancement as usual.

This message was last edited by the GM at 16:01, Sun 19 Feb 2017.

The Stray
 GM, 2026 posts
 The Marshal
 'round these parts
Sun 19 Feb 2017
at 16:44
So, I've finished combining all the House Rule and Character option threads into this one. You may have noticed the post count dip--that's because I deleted the other threads.

Major alterations:

- I've removed the Heroes Never Die setting rule and replaced it with the Blaze of Glory rules from Savage Rifts.

- I've expanded the Edges list with some things from The Flood.

- All the Arcane Backgrounds have incorporated the Deadlands Deluxe powers into their power lists.

- Blessed & Voodooists now function as per the Stone & A Hard Place errata. Moses has a special exception that we've discussed in PM.

- Hucksters have some minor tweaks. Most notably, the High Roller edge allows an extra card but forces the character to use any Jokers drawn. The Improved High Roller edge removes that restriction.

- Chi Masters use the Martial Artist edge as presented in Savage Worlds Deluxe, rather than the Martial Arts Edge presented in Deadlands (which has been split into Combat Sense and Improved Combat Sense). I've altered the list of Superior Kung Fu styles to adjust for this, as well as incorporating a few things from the Kung Fu edge from Hell On Earth.

- I've included the list of Totem Spirits for Shamans.

- I've altered a couple of the Harrowed edges. Improved Death Mask now grants the ability to disguise yourself (making Death Mask actually worthwhile to take), Hellfire has incorporated some of the abilities from both the original version and the Hell On Earth version, And Wither also combines elements from the original version and the Hell on Earth version.

New House Rules and expanded character options will be posted past here as they become relevant.