Josh and Will turned the corner in the darkened hallway and froze dead in their tracks. There, in the living room, outlined by the thin light of the waxing moon, was the old hag.
“It wasn’t possible,” they both thought. When they’d egged her house she was inside. That was clear. And they’d driven back from the outskirts of town at breakneck speed. She couldn’t have beaten them to the house. It just wasn’t possible.
But possible or not, here she was, glaring at them and grinning her crooked, toothless grin.
Without taking her eyes from the boys, she began to whisper something low and quiet under her breath.
Each boy say something growing in the corner of his vision… something dark and terrible.
The old hag stopped whispering and began to cackle as the boys started to scream…
Magic in a d6-lite horror setting…
We come to the next Trilogy of Terror offering for this Halloween month and find ourselves face to face with what, at first blush appears to be a need to expand the d6-lite framework with more rules.
We want to keep the strange and unknown elements in our basket of tools, and don’t want players to feel they’re comfortable and know all the rules because it adds to the suspense and wonder and helps to foster the magic and horror of the setting. But how do we handle magical use and magic powers in a seemingly non-magical setting if it helps add to the flavor of the story?
Now rather than bloat the d6-lite framework with additional, unnecessary rules, let’s examine a few types of magic we might want to present in a d6-lite horror setting and see if their implementation can be managed without adding more rules to the framework.
Stage magic is magic for entertainment. Stage magicians are skilled in misdirection and sleight of hand to perform illusions and trickery for the enjoyment and surprise of entertained crowds.
As previously discussed, since Speed handles dexterous and agile actions, we can easily align Stage Magic as a Feat of Speed.
Voodoo is a religious practice involving folk magic and ritualistic communication with animistic spirits and the dead. Voodoo is sometimes confused with Witchcraft and sometimes confused with, but related to Haitian Voodu and Southern Hoodo.
Voodoo is best described in a d6-lite framework as a Feat of Stamina.
Alchemy is the pseudo-scientific magic of substances. Alchemy uses elements and ritualistic procedures to transmute substances from something to something else.
As Alchemy requires deep understanding of ritualistic formulae and processes, it is best represented as a Feat of Smarts
Witchcraft (or Black Magic) is the magic of cursing, creating affliction, or altering the natural course of events by means of employing supernatural means such as bartering with the spirits of the dead, demons or the very devil himself.
Because Witchcraft requires bargaining or imploring the supernatural to perform actions, this type of magic is best represented as a Feat of Smarts.
Magic in the (presumed) non-magical setting:
There you have it, a simple breakdown and reference (as well as a rule of thumb) for how to handle magic in a non-magical d6-lite horror setting.
For those types of magic not listed, simply take the most logical Feat of X and use it as a check against the result of the magical action.
Now beware, for just as Josh and Will discovered, egging the old woman’s shack never ends well…
Well, perhaps it ends well for the dark things that are called to feast on the transgressors…