Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Class Struggles/Plays Well With Others: The Vile Witch

Mazes & Perils is the newest game on the OSR scene.   I covered the game in a "Class Struggles" back in May.  Then I focused on the new(er) magic using classes in the game.  There was a promise then that there would be more classes.
Given the Holmesian origins of this game the newest class is, appropriately, a witch.

The Vile Witch is the newest class for Mazes & Perils from +Vincent Florio, +Brian Fitzpatrick and +Sal Valente 
Before I talk about the class I want to give a shout out to cover artist +Jacob Blackmon. He is the one responsible for my new header above.

The Vile Witch is a 14 page book (cover, 2 pages of OGL, 1 page of ads, 1 title page for 9 pages of content) dedicated to the new vile witch spell caster. This is a character that revels in what others throw away.  It immediately reminded me of the Junk Lady in the movie Labyrinth AND Maja the witch from Adventure Time; she is the witch that buys Marceline's teddy bear Hambo for its memories.  The idea is that there is power in memories and power in items that have been associated with others.  It's a powerful archetype really and one with a LOT of potential.
But because the witch is so often mired in the refuse of others her appearance and form suffers.

The class has a lot of interesting features and powers in addition to some new spells and familiars.  Vile Witches are limited to 9th level. I think I see why, but I would try them to 10th or 12th like the other spell casting classes. Though she does have more powers (familiars and "vile blood") as well as a quicker spell advancement.
The book has both "vile familiars" and "common familiars". Common familiars can be used by any spell casting class, the vile ones are for the vile witch.  The rules are simple, as befitting the M&P game, and easy to use.  If you want familiar rules then this is a good choice to be honest even if you never use the class itself.
The book also contains 19 new vile witch spells.  While these spells could be used with any other magic using class, they are very specific to the vile witch and really give her a lot of flavor and color.

For just under $2 there is a lot of material here. It is a very different sort of witch and I like that. I am certain that this class will make for some great NPCs and hopefully some really great PCs as well.

Class Struggles
What I kept thinking while reading it was that a Vile Witch dedicated to the Goddess, Tlazolteotl would be a good idea. She could even be "good" or Lawfully aligned. Something like a "Sin Eater".
Her job is to make good things happen by "eating" the bad things.
Only a thought, but it would be how I'd play the class.
Unlike other classes I have talked about under the Class Struggles banner I can't really think of a similar class.  Maybe

Plays Well with Others
Mazes & Perils is firmly rooted in the "Basic" era style gaming and Holmes in particular.  That being true it works really, really well with my own Basic Era Witch class and many others.

If I were to convert this to my own book I might call them a "Sin Eater Tradition" for Lawful witches or "Vile Witch Tradition" for Neutral and Chaotic ones.

For Occult Powers I might try this;

Lesser: Vile Familiar
Minor: Toxic Blood
Medial: Greater Glamour
Greater: Curse
Major: Shape Change
Superior: Vile Apotheosis

Have to work out all the details of these, but the idea is that exposure to all this...stuff...changes the vile witch is both physical and supernatural ways.

Here are some spells from my book that you can use with the Vile Witch.

Sickly
Level: Witch 1
Range: Touch
Duration: 1 minute per level
This spell causes the target creature to suffer from poor health.
Witches must succeed at a touch attack to strike the target. Subjects who fail their saving throw suffer a –1d6 penalty to Constitution, with an additional –1 per two caster levels (maximum additional penalty of –5). The subject’s Constitution score cannot be reduced below 1.
Material Components: A dried up dandelion.

Sour Stomach
Level: Witch 1
Range: One Target (within 25’ + 5’ per 2 levels)
Duration: 2 hours per level
This spell causes the target to have a nervous stomach, thus experiencing severe digestion, discomfort and cramping upon the engagement of any event that’s moderately stressful or exciting.
So terrible is this form of indigestion that the target must succeed a Poison saving throw, find a means to relieve their situation within 4 to 7 rounds (1d4+3) or have an “accident” that results in potential embarrassment and potential discomfort. The triggering event of such inconvenience could be most anything, from running into an encounter to finding treasure of mysterious properties to even meeting some stranger along the road. Each worthy event during the full duration of the compulsive enchantment can cause another potential outbreak of discomfort, thus requiring another save.
Material Components: A bit of soured milk.

Vertigo
Level: Witch 1
Range: 1 subject
Duration: 1 round per level
This minor hex causes the target creature to have a feeling of vertigo. The subject will feel that they are falling and their footing is unsure. Dizzied creatures suffer a -4 to their dexterity score and any to hit rolls.
Material Components: The witch makes a spinning motion with her finger.

Defoliate
Level: Witch 2
Range: 25’ + 5’ per 2 levels
Duration: Instantaneous
With this spell, the witch instantly slays all minor vegetation (weeds, flowers, small bushes, etc.) in a 20-ft.-radius. If a creature with the plant type is targeted, it takes 1d8 points of damage per caster level (max. 5d8). Creatures that are not plants are unaffected by this spell.
Material components: The witch picks a flower and pulls off the petals while chanting the words to this spell.

Nausea
Level: Witch 2
Range: 25’ + 5’ per 2 levels
Duration: 1 round per level
Subjects of this spell become sick and queasy, feeling as though they are about to vomit. This condition renders subjects unable to attack, cast spells, concentrate on spells or do anything else requiring attention. They may only make a single move or move equivalent action each round.
Material Components: A drop of animal fat that has gone rancid.

Contagion
Level: Witch 3
Range: Touch
Duration: Instantaneous
The subject contracts a disease selected from the table below, which strikes immediately (no incubation period). The subject can save vs. Spells normally, but after that only a remove disease or remove curse (or greater magics) can cure them.
Each disease affects a different ability. Infected creatures cannot attack and move at ¼ their normal movement rate.
Roll d8 Disease Damage
1 Blinding Sickness 1d4 STR
2 Cackle Fever 1d6 WIS
3 Filth fever 1d3 DEX and CON
4 Mindfire 1d4 INT
5 Red Ache 1d6 STR
6 Shakes 1d8 DEX
7 Slimy Doom 1d4 CON
8 Hags curse 1d3 WIS and CON

Blinding Sickness: For every 2 points of STR lost, a new save vs. Paralysis must be made or the target will go permanently blind. Not contagious.
Cackle Fever: Symptoms include high fever, disorientation and frequent bouts of hideous laughter. It’s commonly also known as “the shrieks.” Not contagious.
Filth Fever: An infection commonly gained while around dire rats, were-rats and otyughs. Not contagious.
Mindfire: Victims feel like their mind is on fire. It is as common as a curse in spell books. Not contagious.
Red Ache: Skin turns red, bloated, and warm to the touch. Not contagious.
Shakes: Causes involuntary twitches, tremors and fits. It is contagious to others by touch. Save vs. Paralysis prevents spread.
Slimy Doom: Victim turns into infectious goo from the inside out. It must be cured in a number of days equal to new CON score or victim will permanently loose CON points. It’s highly contagious by touch. Save vs. Paralysis at -2 prevents spread.
Hags Curse: Takes ability damage as listed and the victim becomes infertile or impotent (female or male respectively). Must be cured in a number of days equal to new CON score or become permanent.
Material Components: The witch needs crushed verbena in the blood of a viper and vinegar.

Mind Rash
Level: Witch 3
Range: 25’ + 5’ per 2 levels
Duration: 1 round per level
This spell causes the target to experience horrible itching sensations all over their body. Though not actually inflicted with any real physical ailment, the delusion of itching is so great that the target is unable to perform any action not related to attempting to relieve the persistent suffering. Likewise, the irritation actually causes the target to wound their bodies in the process of trying to relieve the itch. Any sort of thing to scratch and scrape away at the sensations, including stones, weapons, and bits of metal are used. Each round during the duration of the mind rash the target wounds their body for 1 point of damage.
Material Components: A bit of dried poison oak.

Vomit
Level: Witch 4
Range: 25’ + 5’ per 2 levels
Target: 1 Creature
Duration: See below
This spell seizes subjects with sudden spasms of violent regurgitation. Those who fail their saving throw regurgitate helplessly for 1d4 rounds. While vomiting, subjects cannot move more than 5 feet per round and cannot fight or cast spells. For all purposes they are considered staggered. When the spasms end, subjects are overcome with a magical weakness which reduces their Strength by 1d4+1 points. This weakness persists for 1 round per level of the witch.
Material Components: The witch sticks a finger down her own throat.

Gnawing Pain
Level: Witch 5
Range: 25’ + 5’ per levels
Duration: 3 rounds + 1 round per level
Upon casting this spell, any creatures within the spell area must make a saving throw or suffer a gnawing pain that slowly spreads throughout their body.
During the first round the victims will feel a dull pain that causes a cold sweat. Casting any spells during this round requires a concentration skill roll. On the second round this pain becomes a sharp agony and the target is effectively shaken. By the third round the searing pain has reached its maximum intensity and the victim is nauseated. Each round thereafter the victims must make a saving throw or become wracked with convulsions. They are now completely incapacitated and helpless to defend themselves.
The effects of this spell linger in the mind of the victims even after the duration has expired. The targets will feel unnerved for 1d6+1 hours, resulting in a -1 penalty to any Wisdom-based rolls (including magic saves). They will suffer disturbing nightmares during the following 1d4 weeks, making sleeping difficult and reducing the rate of natural healing by one half.
Material Components: A branch of nettles with which the witch swats her bared arms or legs.

Magic Item
Sack of Rats
A cursed item in the general sense, many vile witches have found some use for this. This normal sack appears to all magical detection (except for detect curse) to be a Bag of Holding. Once  a food item though is stored in this bag, its true magic is discovered. Out from the bag will pour thousands of rats that will run in every direction away from the holder of the bag. The bag contains 1,001 rats. A save vs. Paralysis must be made or anyone in 10’ feet of the bag will be unable to move due to all the rats. The rats will bite and all within 10’ of the bag will take 1d6 hit points of damage.

All items are Copyright 2012, 2016 Timothy S. Brannan.  All spells and items are released as Open under the OGL.
The Witch: A New Class for Basic-ear Games, Copyright ©2012, Timothy S. Brannan. Elf Lair Games. 

2 comments:

Justin Isaac said...

This sounds like a nice little product. I might have to pick it up. And kudos for showing how your material could expand upon it.

Timothy Brannan said...

Not just how my material expands it, but how this witch is a great idea to use regardless of the rule-set. It is a great concept and I am very jealous I didn't come up with it on my own! ;)

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