This is a game about witches. The setting is up to you; perhaps it is the 16th-century European countryside, 1980s’ New York City, or a biodome in the year 3005. No matter what you choose, two things are constant: you are a witch, and people hate witches.
Download the character sheet (PDF)
Note: this game is based on witches as portrayed in films (particularly Nietzchka Keene’s The Juniper Tree and Anna Biller’s The Love Witch). The rules and mechanics of the game bear little resemblance to Wiccan and Pagan culture, nor do they intend to.
🕯 Standard Rules 🕯
After agreeing on a setting and creating your characters, the GM will turn over three tarot cards to begin the game. The GM will interpret their meaning and use them as a guide to setting the opening scenario. If you do not own tarot cards, then the GM can simply begin the game like any other table-top RPG. The game works like most: the GM describes the situations, surroundings, and people you encounter, and you describe what you wish to do. There is no special “combat mode,” all actions can be taken at any time.
When you take an action, roll a d20 and add the modifier that applies to the situation.
Mindfor intelligence, persuasion, concentration, et cetera.
Bodyfor physicality, dexterity, strength, et cetera.
Soulfor grit, wisdom, spirituality, et cetera.
Additionally, if the situation fits your character-defining skill, add your
Proficiency modifier. If the action is one
you are particularly situated for, the GM may tell you to “roll with advantage,” meaning roll two d20s and take the
higher value (adding the relevant modifiers after). “Rolling with disadvantage” occurs when the opposite is true, and
requires that you take the lower value of the two.
The GM will weigh the result of your roll with the difficulty of the situation and determine how successful you are.
Sometimes this means you will succeed, succeed with complications, partially succeed, or fail altogether. When you fail
a roll, mark a tick next to your
Proficiency stat, and increase the stat by one every time it tallies up to the
current value (it takes 1 tick mark to increase
Proficiency from 1 to 2, but it takes 8 tick marks to increase it from
8 to 9).
Don’t worry too much about health, it isn’t really a part of the game. On occasion, your character may injure themselves, and the GM will instruct you to roll with disadvantage for actions that the injury interferes with. In the case of a severe injury, your character will need to seek immediate care to avoid death.
🔮 Magic 🔮
As a witch, you are able to cast charms on other people (but not yourself). You can cast any charm at any time by rolling
a d8 and adding your
Influence modifier. Similarly to non-magic actions, add a tick mark to your
when you fail. When you succeed, increase your
Influence stat by one. However, successfully casting a charm does not
ensure that its spell will take effect—you will not know whether or not the charm has had an impact. A list of charms can
be found in the Table of Charms section.
Like any tool, magic is not good or bad. It is the intentions under which magic is used that can be positive or negative. When you cast a charm, you cast light into the world, or you cast a shadow. When you reach an Influence of 13, the GM will present you with a selection of optional paths to take (explained further below). The options offered will be based on your tendency toward light or shadow magic. The alignment of each charm is listed next to it in the Table of Charms; however, extenuating circumstances may change its pull (i.e. using a calmness charm to make someone docile for personal gain). Magic you put out into the world always returns to you three-fold, so be wary of the consequences of using such charms.
You will be presented with a series of paths once you reach an influence of 13. These paths are listed in the
Table of Paths and offer more powerful spells. You may only select one path, however, this does not
affect what charms you are allowed to cast. Cast a spell at any time by rolling a d12 and adding your
modifier. Unlike charms, you will immediately know whether or not the spell was successful. Add one to
successes) or add a tick to
Proficiency (on failures).
Listed next to each path is a “higher level” spell. These spells are also available to you, and operate almost identically
to regular spells (aside from having a much larger effect). However, each time you use a higher-level spell, your
Influence is reduced by 7, regardless of if it is successful or not. If your Influence dips below 13, you will not
be able to use any spells form your path (higher level or regular) until you reach 13 again.
At an Influence of 21, you are able to select a secondary path. These abilities work the same as your primary path, except that you must maintain an Influence of 21 or greater (rather than 13) to use them.
🧙♀️ Creating a Character 🧙♀️
downloading the character sheet
and developing a concept for your character. Fill in their name and a description of what makes them unique. Under “Skill,”
write a character-defining skill that they possess (which you will include your
Proficiency modifier when doing). Make
sure the skill is quite broad, such as “talking,” “fighting,” or “crafting tools.” Leave “Path” blank for now, you will
fill it in later.
To determine your starting stats, roll a d6 three times. Assign each roll to either
subtract 3 to determine the modifier (for example, if you rolled 5, 2, and 3, the modifiers you would assign are 2,
-1, and 0). Assign the higher modifiers to the stats your character is better at. Assign
value of one to start. Make sure you write these in pencil as they will change throughout the game.
An example of a filled-out character sheet (PNG).
✨ For the GM ✨
Many other manuals have done a much better job of describing how to be a successful Game Master, and I will not try to out-do them. In this game, story and character are more important than strictly following the ruleset, so treat them at your discretion so long as the players are having fun.
When it comes to keeping track of a player’s light/shadow alignment, feel free to either precisely count each instance of magic or instead just keep a general “feel” for what they’ve leaned towards. Players who cast roughly the same amount of light and shadow magic, or who have a more ambiguous moral compass, should be presented with the “neutral” path options.
Similar to the tracking of player-alignment, when deciding how the magic they put out into the world manifests and comes back at them, both vaguely (remembering and applying) and precisely (tracking and rolling) are fine. At every point, choose what works best for your GM-ing style, and what best serves the story.
One of the main stories this game seeks to tell is that of being from a misunderstood and subsequently prosecuted community. Regardless of the era or specifics of the mythology, women have been stoned, burned, and drowned for engaging in witchcraft. In this game, it is important that a majority of the world fears witches, and would take similar action against the players if they were to find out. Every spell and charm cast should be at the risk of exposure, and present real danger. This is not the belief of everyone, however, as there will be those who understand, accept, or even are in need of witches.
📖 Table of Charms 📖
|shadow||anger||ignites a feeling of anger|
|shadow||banish||causes the person to never return to an area|
|light||calmness||induces a sense of calm|
|shadow||cloak||reduces their chance of being noticed|
|shadow||confusion||casts a state of confusion|
|light||connection||alerts you when an important event occurs in their life|
|light||dream||causes a specific dream of your design|
|shadow||nightmare||causes a specific (and horrific) nightmare of your design|
|shadow||fear||produces fear and paranoia|
|light||growth||speeds growth in plants and small animals|
|light||health||encourage good health (does not cure or heal)|
|shadow||love||causes a deep and lustful love towards you|
|light||luck||encourages good luck|
|light||protection||protects from danger, magic in particular|
|light||remove trace||fades footprints, mends snapped twigs|
|shadow||sadness||produces a deep sadness|
|none||scrying||search for the location of an object or person through a crystal ball|
|light||summon||causes the person to appear in your life (seemingly of their own will)|
|light||understanding||gives a sense of understanding on a topic or situation|
|shadow||whisper||places a thought into their head (like a voice speaking to them)|
|shadow||yearning||creates a sense of yearning for something or someone|
|light/shadow||custom||create your own charm, its power up to the descretion of the GM|
📖 Table of Paths 📖
|1||Heal wounds and illness, repair brances of trees||Heal more serious things (broken arm, cancer)|
|2||Speak with animals||Turn into an animal for a period of time (you can only turn into the same one each time)|
|3||Read the feelings of others and gain slight insight into their memories||Breifly gain their skills, abilities, spells, et cetera|
|4||Bind the attributes of one object onto another for a short duration (destroying the attribute-giving object in the process)||Permanently entwine two objects or artifacts|
|5||Channel the energy of the sun to give advantage to other player’s rolls||Increase another player’s |
|6||Walk with spirits, hearing their guidence||Shift between the physical and spiritual planes|
|7||Cast someone into a deep and restful sleep||Enter dreams, interacting with the dreamer and dream world|
|1||Move objects with your mind—however, you can only exert up to your own strength||Levetation/flight|
|2||See auras and visions (of the future and from the dead)||Read minds ( enough to get a slight impression of what one is thinking or feeling)|
|3||Cause people to forget memories||Completely wipe them of all memory or identity|
|4||Predict and control the weather||Control and create intese weather (tornadoes, hurricanes, lightning)|
|5||Transport between bodies of water||Heal people (including serious injury) by baptizing them in a lake|
|6||Call items that you have encountered to return to you||Conjure objects out of thin-air|
|7||Absorb the knowledge of a book or the history of an artifact instantly through touch||Absorb the knowledge of a person instantly through touch (does not include thoughts, memories, or personal details)|
|1||Animate corpses, animals, and in a small amount for brief instances, living humans||Bring people back from the dead|
|2||Cause illness in people||Cast disease over an entire group of people (village, family, et cetera)|
|3||Freeze people in place (for a few minutes)||Entrap people in a (portable) prism|
|4||Create a small fire in the hand||Ignite people, structures, and objects from afar|
|5||Channel the energy of a (recent and nearby) death to give advantage to other player’s rolls||Increase another player’s |
|6||Curse another to bad luck for 7 years||Induce tragedy into another’s life|
|7||Cast small illusions that appear real out of the corner of an eye, or in the distance||Cast larger and life-like illusions that are convincing to non-witches|
Also available to all players—regardless of alignment—is the option to reject magic completely. In this case, you can no longer cast charms of any kind. You develop the ability to detect magic, and at a higher level, dispel magic.