Thursday, October 25, 2018

Witch Tradition: Orthodox Witch

Putting my new witch tradition template to use and providing an example of what a tradition ought to look like, I present to you the most basic of witches: like the Orthodox wizard, the Orthodox witch!

The Orthodox witch embodies all the classic tales and tropes of the witch. She appears as a Maiden, Mother or Crone, brews potions in a cauldron, flies on a broom and does all those kinds of things. She's the one in the black robe and the pointy wide-brimmed hat that helps the villagers with herbs, salves, the occasional manual resetting of a joint. You find Orthodox witches in huts at the edge of the forest, typically, and it'd be rather strange if they didn't have a pumpkin patch outside. A lot of what an Orthodox witch does isn't so much outrightly magical, but rather a combination of white lies, cleverness, charisma, and if it really comes to it, a little tweak in the fabric of reality. Magic, really, gets more impressive the less you use it, and Orthodox witches understand this to great effect.

Mind though, that an Orthodox witch is in no sense typically evil, despite what wizards like to say to defame the competition. She might blight a crop here and there, but only when someone's been particularly rude, and she certainly wouldn't have an interest in confectionary architecture. That's a Hag's cup of mandrake tea. A Hag, a witch who has gotten so particularly bitter and estranged about the fact that people are inherently help- and truth-averse, that she's gone off the deep end. A gingerbread cottage, an approximately child-sized oven, and a cackle of a laugh.

Elphaba, or if you're one to believe Wizard propaganda, the Wicked Witch of the West (The Wizard of Oz, 1939)

Maiden Orthodox witches tend to not wear black like their more mature Mother and Crone peers. Green and white are much more common colours for a Maiden witch, but as they age they realise that white robes stain horribly when travelling. A Maiden witch typically prefers a more soft-spoken approach, and uses the words 'organic' and 'all-natural.' Of course, being a witch, she is aware that things like deadly nightshade and bears are also 'all-natural,' but they're words people like to hear. What harm is there in putting a shiny rock on someone's head and reading them their horoscope if that gets them to then take actual medicine, after all?

Perk: A Maiden weighs as much as a duck, as she is not yet grounded by her knowledge and wisdom. This means she floats on water, and can be lifted very easily.


1. You ask small creatures like birds, bats, beetles and mice simple questions. Sometimes they might have a useful answer, often they will just ask for breadcrumbs.
2. You make a square foot of plants flourish.


Despite the name, an orthodox witch of the Mother type need not actually have any children, though she often does, as they are useful for everything that she cannot be bothered to do herself. The main idea of this type is that unlike the Maiden she possesses the wisdom and strength of her age, but unlike the Crone she isn't yet mind-numbingly stubborn and proud. A Mother is sure of herself, often so much so that she has let go of any notion of shame about who she is or what terribly inappropriate things she might do. This is generally why people dread her as they would their own mother.

Perk: You simply do not take most things seriously enough to be intimidated by them. Gain a bonus of 2 to save against fear.

Drawback: Your legs aren't what they used to be, unfortunately, and the days you could eat anything without a worry in the world have been over for a while. Suffer a penalty of 2 to Movement.

1. You make an item of food taste slightly better, or at least bearable. This sign can mask the taste of minor poisons.
2. You can cure a very minor disease, like a cough or a cold, with a touch.

An Orthodox Crone is perhaps the most iconic witch there is: she is strongly drawn to dignified black-robe-and-hat fashion choices, tends to have a nose with a wart on it, and has a terribly intimidating stare. She is well-known amongst the people as someone not to cross, though they may have their doubts about how much good she actually does. Of course, she does plenty of good, but it's just that when it's not prettied up, having good done to you doesn't tend to feel good. A Crone couldn't be less bothered by this. She knows what's good, and by the flint in the chalk she'll have it done, whether people want it or not.

Drawback: People are very fearful of your presence. They will be extremely hesitant to say anything they think you don't want to hear, and lie to divert your attention away from themselves.

1. You can light or extinguish any existing light source that is no brighter than a torch within 30'
2. You can open or close any window, door, or other hinged portal that isn't locked within 30'. They open/close slowly with an ominous creak.
The Witches of Discworld. Orthodox Witches are very Pratchettian. (art by Paul Kirkby)

1. Divining
R: 0 T: see description D: [sum] days in advanceUsing either an animal that has been dead for no less than 4 hours, the birds and clouds in the sky, the way a set of fingerbones fall, tea leaves, or other chance-influenced information, you may read the subtle notes the universe passes itself underneath the table. Predict something within the allowed span of days. For things not influenced by humans, like the weather, you get a certainty. For things in which humans at least partially decide the outcome, like the result of a battle, you get a likelihood. Major calamities always force themselves into your prediction if they are somewhat related to the object of your divination.

2. Calm
R: 30' T: [sum] animals D: [sum] minutes
You soothe the emotions of nearby animals, preventing them from panicking, fleeing, or aggression. They will obey commands that they would if they were not panicked (such as from their owner). This has a minor effect on crowds of higher creatures, but cannot target specific ones.

3. Cure
R: touch T: 1 creature or [dice] acres of land D: -
By applying your age-old remedies to a creature or an area of land, you cure it of natural diseases, infections and ails. For incurable afflictions such as age or permanent damage, it will alleviate pains for a [sum]. Parasites on the target's body must save or be driven out, any curses inflicted with equal or less dice than you spend are lifted. Applying your remedy takes [dice] hours

4. Scrying
R: [sum]/2 miles T: reflective surface D: [sum] minutes
By using a reflective surface at hand, like a mirror, water surface, or even a shiny spoon, you may link it to another reflective surface that you are at least vaguely aware of within the range of the spell. Instead of reflective, the two images become windows to each other. For each die invested past one, another sense may travel through the mirror. Prospecting for potential surfaces may be done by reasoning: if you know that a tavern is within your range, it is reasonable to assume that there are glasses and spoons there to which you may project. You may switch between target surfaces within your range, but it will take [dice] minutes off the duration of your spell. Keep in mind that any senses that you allow to transmit, do so in both ways.

5. Blight
R: touch T: [sum] acres of land D: -
Either inflict or lift a blighting curse upon the land, which significantly diminishes crop growth, befouls wells, turns milk sour, weakens animals and children, lowers fertility of both soil and people. Any creature born under a Blight must save or roll a permanent mutation.

6. Borrow
R: [dice] miles T: animal D: [sum] minutes
You release your own spirit from your body and inhabit an animal. You can steer it to a degree, but cannot lead it into mortal danger or otherwise cause it to act against its survival instinct. The larger or more intelligent the animal, the harder it is to control. Humans, apes, and oddly enough camels, inherently resist this effect. While borrowing your own body appears as dead.

7. Witch's Egg
R: 0 T: self D: [dice] minutes
You produce a chicken egg which, when broken, bursts in a cloud of sulphurous smoke, with a [sum]' radius. Any creature caught in the cloud must save or be affected by a d([dice]*2) poison. The cloud blocks vision and hangs around for the duration of the spell. If the egg is not broken when the spell duration ends it hatches into a normal, full-grown chicken.

8. Sleeping Hex
R: touch T: 1 creature D: see description
You touch a creature, and it must save with a [dice] penalty. If it fails, it falls alseep for [sum]*10 minutes. After that, it can save without penalty. If it fails again, it continues sleeping for the same amount of time, and then wakes. A kiss always immediately breaks a sleeping hex.

Black Cat
R: 0 T: self D: [sum] minutes
Turn into a black cat without a shadow. You can shift at will between it, and the cat's disembodied would-be shadow. While in shadow form, you gain a bonus of [dice]*2 to stealth, but you can only manifest where there is light to cast shadows. The shadow is as vulnerable to attacks as an actual cat. Casters trying to cast a spell on you in this form always get a Mishap or its equivalent.
Witch's Cauldron
R:0 T: 0 D: [sum] minutes
This spell summons a witch's cauldron over a fire, filled with a bubbling potion: any caster that fires a spell or magic within 50' of the cauldron must save or have their spell sucked into the pot. The pot can hold [dice]*2 magic dice and [dice] spells. Once it has either hit its dice limit or the duration is over, the cauldron boils over, firing 1 MD versions of random spells it contains as close to itself as possible, until its MD run out.

R: 30' T: 1 creature D: -
Turn a creature of into a harmless, tiny animal, like a newt or a frog. if it has more HD than [dice]*2, it can save to get better after [sum] hours. If it fails, it can only be turned back by a true love's kiss. Alternatively, turn yourself into any creature with [dice]*2 HD or less for [sum] minutes.
Sometimes a Witch's cottage, like her wart, can be a bit on the nose (Disney's Sword in the Stone)

1. Local fairies have noticed your presence. They won't pass up on the opportunity to mess with you. Your saves for the remainder of the day suffer a penalty of 2. If you put out a cup of milk for the fairies, you may save to prevent this.
2. Local spirits are upset at you disturbing their rest, so they are going to disturb yours. Replenish no health or WD next time you rest. A sacrifice of food and flowers allows you to save to prevent this.
3. Some local peasants have seen or heard about your magic and it frightens/upsets them. Within the next day they will find a moment to throw stones at you and shout profanities, dealing 1d6 damage. Saving a peasant's life or livelihood prevents this.
4. A minor devil or demon tries to steal a bit of your magical power: this spell uses up an extra WD (1d4 damage if no WD left). No save.
5. A local wizard fears your competition and messes with your magic. For the next spell you cast, reroll the WD and take the worse [sum] result. Putting a wizard in his place prevents this.
6. A minor god is insulted by your general being (gods are envious and petty creatures), and smites you. Roll a random mutation, and after 4 hours, save or it is permanent. Making a significant offering to said god before the save for permanence ends the mutation prematurely.

Loss of Grip:

1. You become hateful of the simple-minded, and easily fall into the habit of spiting them out if bitterness. When dealing with people less intelligent than you, reroll any rolls for social situations and take the worse result (intimidation is exempt from this).
2. Your bubbling vitriol for others in general turns you physically ugly and gives you a most bizarre appearance. Roll two mutations, and take the most weird-looking result. Do this twice.
3. You simply don't see the point in even trying to be nice anymore. Remove Charisma from your character sheet entirely. You dementedly try to compensate for this with garish expressions of niceness, such as a house made of candy, laughing (or rather cackling) at inappropriate moments, and giving yourself a overly sweet nickname like Auntie or Missy.
4. You've went and done it. You've put little Timmy into the soup. And it's only downhill from here. You've gone full hag. You lose your humanity and become a child-eating monster. [roll a new character]


  1. Voodoo Witch tradition will be coming soon! Good work Mon!

  2. Yeah! It's everything I both wanted and needed!