By B.D. Flory.
"Now you play a pretty good fiddle, boy" But give the devil his due "I'll bet a fiddle of gold
Fiddling With The Devil. Top
Every cowpoke knows that when he runs across a fella with a deck of cards, to watch his step. There's some folks out there that can do some right strange things with a pair of aces and a pair of eights, and I'm not talking about getting shot by Jack McCall.
Not all hexslingers use cards to ply their trade, however. A few years back, someone down in Georgia decided to dance to a different tune. He taught a few folks how he did it, then they taught a few, and so on. We call 'em Fiddlers now.
Now we're gonna teach you.
God help you.
Like hucksters, fiddlers engage a manitou in a contest of wills; if they win, the manitou powers a hex for them, but if they lose, they suffer the consequences, and the devil doesn't play penny ante, friends. Unlike hucksters, fiddlers visualize their little duels as fiddlin' contests (go figure).
Unfortunately, the first fiddler was fond of high stakes. His first contest involved betting his very soul against a fiddle of gold.
Guess he figured if you're gonna make a bet with the devil you might as well bet it all, because you're probably going to hell regardless of the outcome. Unfortunately, the first fiddler was fond of high stakes. His first contest involved betting his very soul against a fiddle of gold. Guess he figured if you're gonna make a bet with the devil you might as well bet it all, because you're probably going to hell regardless of the outcome.
At any rate, after that first contest, ol' Johnny (the first fiddler) became a bit set in his ways. He routinely bet nothing less than his Immortal soul, much to the chagrin of his students- after all, if the devil beat Johnny, who'd teach them? Finally, they convinced him to try a new wager. Just in time, too, 'cause within the week Johnny finally lost.
Johnny's new system was to bet a fraction of his soul. One part for each string on his violin. After that first loss, the first string on his violin snapped, and he hasn't picked it up since. Luckily, he'd already taught his students enough that they could figure the rest out on their own.
Making A Fiddler. Top
First things first. We gotta tell you how to bet your soul, before you can lose it. Fiddlers must take the Arcane Background: Fiddler Edge. This costs 3 points, and is very similar to Arcane Background: Huckster. There are two major differences, the first being that fiddlers have access to certain hexes that hucksters do not. Fiddlers have, over the years, learned that the devil has a penchant for contests. More importantly, they've learned what he's willing to offer as stakes. Details on these new hexes follow below.
The second difference is that backlash -Well, you know what they say: let's save the best for last, shall we?
New Edges. Top
Arcane Background: Fiddler.
Fiddlers can be the devil's own orchestra, or they can play backup to the heavenly choir. It all depends on what key they're playin' in. You've learned how to gamble with the devil, and win. You can purchase any hexes, and you cast them in the same manner as any normal huckster; the catch is, someone has to teach them to you.
Unfortunately for you, most hucksters just don't operate the same way you do. Folks with the Arcane Background: Huckster can't help you here, and folks with Arcane Background: Fiddler are few and far between. Incidentally, before anyone gets any bright ideas, the book of Hoyle won't help you here either. To make up for the difficulty most fiddlers have in learning traditional hexes, here are a few that a fiddler can pick up on his own. Sometimes, the devil just can't resist an easy mark.
Fiddlers suffer backlash a little bit differently than your average huckster. Some say it's because they're braver, or crazier. Maybe they're just plain stupid.
At any rate, since a fiddler bets a piece of his soul against the manitou, he can only afford to lose so many times. As such, a fiddler's a lot more careful about picking his battles. To reflect this, fiddlers only suffer backlash when they bust on the hex roll. Jokers are strictly bonus for fiddlers, as they do not suffer any ill effect from them.
Now here's the downside (you didn't think we'd let you get off that easy, did you?): Fiddlers only get four chances, one for each string on the violin. Each time a fiddler goes bust, a string on his violin snaps. It doesn't impair his ability at all- it simply serves as a visual reminder of just how close to damnation the fiddler is.
Once all four strings have snapped, the fiddler joins the ranks of the manitou. And there's no coming back harrowed from this, partner. You're dead, and staying that way. There is hope, however. The strings may be repaired, assuming all four haven't snapped already. The only way to do this is to spend a legend chip, which will repair one string. That's the high cost of fiddling, friend.
A lot of fiddlers think Johnny's original fiddle is still out there somewhere. Whether that's true or not, you'll have to find out for yourself. If it is, it is undoubtedly a powerful relic, useful only to Johnny's protégés. Good luck survivin' long enough to find it.