Friday, April 8, 2011

G is for Guardians

New Quality: Guardians of the Watchtowers for Classic and Cinematic Unisystem

Hail! Guardians of the Watchtower of the East, Powers of Air! from Calling the Guardians rite.
Guardians! Unite! - Wil Vandom, W.I.T.C.H.

I have used the idea of witch guardians before, both here and in my various games.

Guardian of the Watchtower
5 point Quality
Prerequisite: The Gift (Classic) or Sorcery (Cinematic).
Optional: Three other Witches to complete the circle.

The Guardians of the Watchtowers are special spiritual guardians that guard the four cardinal directions (North, East, South and West) and the four classical elements (Water, Air, Fire, Earth). To a human Guardian they grant certain boons when dealing with their preferred element or direction.

When facing their chosen direction, or casting spell (invocation) that deals with their chosen element the witch is at a +2 for all spell casting roles. If it is the opposing element or direction then the roll is -1 and if they surrounded on all sides by their opposing element the they cannot cast at all. Directors/Chroniclers with a sense for more exclusion can up this to -2 for the opposing element/direction and -1 for the other two, but then no surrounding element restriction.

For example, Bonnie from The Craft is the Guardian of the Watchtower of the South, her element is Fire. She gains +2 when facing south or when casting a fire based spell (but not both at the same time). She is at a -1 when facing north or using a Water based spell. If she were surrounded by water she couldnt cast at all.

If we were to extend this example to W.I.T.C.H., then when Cornelia casts a Earth based spell she gains a +2, but since that shows mythology/cosmology is more elemental based she would be at a -1 when using Water or Fire based magic and -2 when using Air based magic. She would not however be at a loss of magic when she is flying (surrounded by air).
This can be used as source of rumor for your games as well. An old superstition says that submerging a witch in water will rob her of her magic, which is true, for a fire-based Guardian of the Watchtower, but completely ineffective on the Water Guardian like Irma Lair from W.I.T.C.H.

Classic:
Essence Channeling: +2
Invocation: Willpower + invocation level + 2

Cinematic:
Willpower + occultism + sorcery + 2

Often to use this added power the witches need to engage in a minor ritual. For the Craft girls it was a night long ritual that gave them their power permanently. For the girls of W.I.T.C.H. it is minor one that must be repeated (at least once per episode).

The advantage comes when all four (five for the W.I.T.C.H. example, with Wills element as pure magical essence) use their magic together. All minuses are dropped, regardless of the direction facing or element used, and all may contribute their +2 to the group spell casting. In W.I.T.C.H. they augment this by each girl facing their cardinal direction with Will in the center. The Craft witches join in a circle.

This could be extended to other numbers of witches as well. The girls from Scholastics T*Witches could be seen as day and night for example; Camryn getting the benefit under the light of the sun and Alexandra during the moonlit hours. Great dramatic potential comes when they are able to cast together under a total solar eclipse.

Examples
Witch group Number   Notes
W.I.T.C.H. 5 As listed, elements plus raw magic.
The Craft Girls 4 Elements and Directions
Charmed  3 Special case, Charmed One Quality supercedes
T*Witches 2 Day and Night or Sun and Moon
Ghosts of Albion, William and Tamara    2 Special case, Protector Quality supercedes
Willow and Tara  2 Special case, Anamchara Quality supercedes

Why 5 points?
For your 5 Quality or Metaphysics points you get the equivalent of raising your Will 2 points, or your Sorcery 2 points, or an invocation and Essence channeling increase of 2 points each. The drawbacks of course are this power increase is limited to only a quarter of the total spells/invocations out there and there is an associated power loss. Plus it is dramatically pleasing to have other witches to complete the circle.
Like most qualities there is a significant roleplaying element that goes beyond the stats. Sure, W.I.T.C.H. might be interesting with just Will, we have seen many shows like that, but then it would be just W. I guess. The drama comes from the interaction of all the different elements. No pun intended.

Using Guardians in Your Game
This obviously works best, both game level and dramatically, when you have a few witches to compliment the powers. In most game this would work great with a small coven of guest stars with great powers despite their young age or naivety in other occult matters. Personally, Id refrain from using them as villains, they could become quite powerful together and you would miss your chance to have them explain to the Cast who and what they are.
It is also possible that they are short one member and a Cast member has the complimentary outlook/power.

In Classic Unisystem games, this quality is most common among the Wicce, although some small groups of Solitaries can sometimes band together and form an ersatz covenant based on their own personal outlooks.

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