Sunday, October 21, 2018

Witches like Wizards: A customisable Witch class

Unlike Skreples' Wizard and its many schools, most classes in GLOG do not benefit from a central template which can be adapted into many forms, making that particular class both very diverse and very well-liked. I hope to change this somewhat by bringing you a Witch class that can be fitted with Traditions, just as a Wizard may be fitted with Schools.

Are you ready? If so, put on your pointy hat. No, not the one with the stars. The other one.

Instead of harnessing Spells, which are the bizarre and fickle beings that inhabit wizard brains, a witch has Works. Witches don’t believe in something as gaudy as firing rabid arcane energy ferrets out of your skull. Instead of forcing reality’s hand, like wizards do, they simply give it a suggestion and make it think it was its idea in the first place. Granted, it might have some questions afterwards, but by then a witch has already got what she wanted. Witches have familiars far more often than wizards, as they make for an interesting second opinion that usually a wizard would prefer not to hear, and they're an extra brain to keep track of which alignments of which stars do what to growing crops, the sheep liver colour wheel, and other such knowledge. 

(art by Pat Shewchuk and Marek Colek, aka Tin Can Forest)

A witch can come as three forms, which are typically defined as a progressive dedication to the craft, or if you will, submersion into it. In orthodox witchery these are the Maiden, the Mother and the Crone. The Maiden has Work Dice of 1d4, the Mother 1d6, and the Crone 1d8. The Maiden has a significant perk, the Mother a minor perk and minor drawback, and the Crone has a significant drawback. 

Each level a witch can move one step: Maiden <-> Mother <-> Crone. She can also stay the same, and always start at Maiden. Each of the three has a separate set of 2 Signs, which are minor magics that a witch can cast at will without the use of WD. Rules for WD returning are identical to those of a Wizard. At Level 4, the Emblem Work a witch gets depends on which of the three she is. The three Emblem Works are not supposed to be equal in power: despite all being significantly strong Works, a Maiden's is the weakest Emblem work, a Mother's is quite powerful, and a Crone's is very powerful.

Instead of Mishaps, Witches gain Attentions. Instead of Dooms they Lose Their Grip.

While a wizard's Mishaps are a result of the Wizard himself, a witch's Attentions are not like this: think of an attention as having gotten on some local spirit, demon or god's radar. A Wizard rams his face headlong into reality, which is usually tolerated because it's easy to keep track of. A witch tricks reality when it isn't looking, so supernatural forces consider her far more dangerous on account of being unable to keep tabs on her. Attentions can often be solved, not with a save, but with a sacrifice. An example: "Local spirits have noticed your Working and will come to drain your power tonight. Make a sacrifice of blood (2 HP) or do not replenish any WD when next you rest."

Losing Grip implies that a witch's hold on her humanity is slipping. After all, high strangeness is involved with all kinds of witchcraft. There are four levels of Losing Grip, with the last being a final and irrevokable descent into inhumanity, at which point the character is lost. A Maiden can Lose her Grip four times before this final stage (going through 1 to 4), a Mother three times (2, 3 and 4) and a Crone only twice (3 and 4).

(art by Mike Mignola, Baba Yaga, Hellboy comics)


A: +WD*, +2 Works, Covens
+WD*, +2 Works, Crafts
+WD*, +2 Works, Wyrd Transport
+WD*, +2 Works, +1 Emblem Work.

* = The Maiden has one more Work Die than her Level, the Mother has an equal amount to her level, and the Crone has one less.

Covens: Witches benefit from being part of a coven- that is, going about their business as a group rather than on their own. Starting from three, Witches can pool their WD into a Work that they all know, to cast it as one Work, using all invested WD. However, any resulting Mishap or Doom affects all witches casting.

Crafts: Witches can, instead of immediately having their Work take effect, 'store' their Work in a potion, a wicker doll, or in an element of the area, like runes painted on a stone or a circle of stones arranged in a certain order. Creating and imbuing such an item with a Work requires an amount of hours equal to the WD invested, and the item must also be larger per WD that is invested. For example, a 1 WD potion fits in a bottle than can be held between your fingers, while a 3 WD potion fills up a whole milk can. 

A Craft activates its Work when a certain thing happens to the Craft: the condition for the Work's activation can be chosen by the witch, but it must involve a direct interaction with the Craft. The Work in a potion cannot activate because it rains two miles south, but it can activate because someone drinks the potion, for instance. If the work has a creature as target, it will target the creature(s) most related to the activation condition (the creature that drinks the potion, touches the wicker doll, etc). If it has other specific target requirements, the witch must decide these when she makes the Craft. 

Work Dice the witch spends making a Craft cannot return to her until the Craft has activated or has been destroyed/exorcised. When the Craft is destroyed or exorcised, the WD it contained are depleted as though it had activated.

Wyrd Transport: Witches are notorious for their bizarre ways of getting around the place. A witch may bewitch one mundane item to become mobile in some way. If the item is person-sized or smaller, it may fly. If it is larger, it must be earthbound. The size limit of these transports is the size of a hut. The smaller the transport, the faster it can move. For example, a flying broom may be as quick as a galloping horse, but a hut on chicken legs is clearly a slow transport.

(art by Phobs)
Name Witch Tradition
[Tradition Description]

[2 Signs]

[Perk and Drawback]
[2 Signs]

[2 Signs]


[d6 Attentions]
[4 Losses of Grip]

* = These names apply to the Orthodox Witch, which is coming soon as a standard example of this template. For other traditions, they will also be different.


  1. So a Witch can no longer change forms when she hits level four? Interesting. I'm not sure how the three from structure applies to witches that aren't a part of the Maiden-Mother-Crone aesthetic.

    1. I can see that aesthetic concern, but the three forms are in no way necessarily Maiden, Mother and Crone! As long as they fit the mechanical bill of 4/6/8 and perk, perk/problem, problem, they can be anything!

    2. To be more specific I'm not sure how having three forms of different magical strengths and characteristics applies to everyone under the umbrella of "witch". Don't get me wrong it's a great concept, but it might have a limited amount of things that can be templated into it.
      That said I'm already imagining a tradition with the three forms of person,drider and spider so maybe I'm concerned about nothing.

    3. I had the same thought when I was making the class, but, I needed something to make this template significantly different in nature than the Wizard, and this felt like a good one. Besides, I'm really confident in people's ability to get creative with that mechanic, and you've already proven that point: a drider witch sounds awesome!

  2. I'm already working on my own Tradition! Voodoo with the Practitioner, Priestess, and Queen!

  3. I may entirely replace wizards with these witches in my low magic game. I'll have to try making one first though.

  4. I think it would be cool if you automatically moved forward a step every level. And than had to switch back by eating an elves heart or something.