a blog of short and medium length ttrpg thinking posts

Friday, September 24, 2021


(Being a magic system for the marginal and desparate, to be used with these 3e-like rules.)

a witch, writing at a table and holding a demon in her left hand, while another woman carries a basket of fish and looks on nervously

The world is a cruel and capricious place, over which we have very little power. The power we do have hurts us, it seems, almost as often as it helps. Witchcraft is an attempt to seize control of your own fate by whatever means necessary.

You can use witchcraft to try to make something happen even if it is totally outside of your control. To do so, you need to be able to see, hear, smell, touch or name whatever you want to bewitch, at least in part. You also need one or more of the following:

  • Will. You are willing to burn for this. This is automatic if you're using witchcraft to save your own life or that of someone you love, but otherwise this calls for a Will roll. This is what the Witching skill is; it is the skill of making yourself want something badly enough.
  • Words. You know powerful words to say, specifically for this purpose. Words are usually fairly specific, but it's simply a matter of learning them, either from a teacher or from magical writings.
  • Ways. You have an efficacious ingredient (usually some animal part, herb or mineral, but sometimes a more complex preparation) and know that is suited to the task at hand.

Roll 1d6 for each of these that you have. If the highest die is a 6, the witching works immediately and completely. If it is a 4 or 5, choose one of those. Otherwise, it accomplishes nothing.

When bewitching beings sensible to speech, witchcraft can accomplish one of two things. It can either curse their body and mind with some sort of disease, or it can mesmerize them for as long as the witch is able to continue muttering the witching under their breath. One mesmerized will take no action other than those commanded by the witch, but each command requires the witch to succeed in a Will attack against their mental resistence.

There are prices to be paid for witchcraft. If doubles were rolled, the Referee interprets the stated intent of a witching in bad faith, if possible. For every 1 rolled, the witch loses nerve or takes damage equal to the number of dice rolled. If triples were rolled, the witching lets something demonic into the world:

1s1d6 wisps. If the damage from the witching critically injures you, one of them seizes your body as a ketev.
2s2d6 mournful shades of the dead.
3sAn unbound imp, cruel and evil-tempered.
4sA wraith that knows your name and can wear your likeness as it rides away, intent on mischief.
5sA wraith whose name you hear as it slips into the world, to bind them with if you catch them again.
6sA bound familiar, unquestioningly loyal to you til death.

No comments:

Post a Comment