Monday, July 25, 2022

100 Days of Halloween: Build A Witch

If you are starting to think I went on to and bought everything witch-related...well you would be mostly right.  I didn't buy everything...just a lot.  Today's item was from that.

Build a Witch

This product says exactly what I am planning to use it for; not as a game in and of itself, but as an aid for building witch characters for any RPG.  

As always I will be following my rules for these reviews.

Build a Witch

The PDF is 21 pages, comes with a color (ish) and a printable version.  There is also a file on just the character section.  All for $3.00.  That's about 14 cents a page, but there is a bit of blank space due to layout. One title page, one table of contents page and one font attribution page leave 18 pages of content, 8 of which are pregenerated characters.  There is no art other than the cauldron pictured above.

The file is landscape, so shows up better on your screen, but if you want to use in on an iPad you'll need to turn of rotation.  

The pdf covers various questions that can be asked or random answers used (1d8, 1d12 and 1d30 are most common). 

You start out by choosing a name and gender for the witch.  Couple of things. I often like to choose their name last, once I get a feel for who they are.  Sometime the names jump out other times they don't.  This list is nice, but hardly long enough.

Gender is next.  I like the idea that Gender could be something like "The sound of waves crashing on the beach" yeah great! I can work with that. But I am unsure how to play that. Also, there are genders listed here and there genders mentioned in the sample characters. None of these lists match.  The sample characters are the pretty traditional "male", "female", and "non-binary."  Don't dangle "Wrath and revenge" and "The void" and not follow up with it.

There are some tables. Great. Everyone loves a random table. There are Traits (1-8) *Note: at no point does the author say "roll a 1d8" that is my interpretation of the rules.  Backgrounds (1-12), Quirks and Knacks (1-12), Special Items and Trinkets (1-12), and some question prompts (30 of these).

Ok. I like all of that.  Every bit. I would scribble all of these on a character sheet whether I am playing D&D or Buffy or Mage.  A few little nitpicks though.

Layout.  I understand the desire to use landscape, but the layout used does not favor it.  Also, tables are broken by pages, which often can't be helped, but start the next table on the next page, not in the middle of the page.  I had flashbacks of trying to print papers on a dot-matrix printer and seeing a sentence print right on the tear line. 

Reading over the sample characters though is a bit confusing. Not that they confuse me, but I am not sure what they were made with.  Not following? Ok. Let's take an example.

Let's look at Hemlock.  Hemlock (he/his) is a genderfluid witch with Satyr ancestry.  Ok I already mentioned gender, so let's move past that now. Ancestry? No tables for that.  Ok. No big deal I am sure that ancestry is and has to be 100% dependent on the game you are playing. A Satyr witch would work fine in D&D, not as well in say C.J. Carella's WitchCraft or the American Witch.  But, oddly enough would be right at home in Mage.  (Someone will get that.) Moving on.

Appearance. Ok, fine no need for a table for that. Expertise.  Ah. wait. When was this discussed? Lifestyle. Again, this is brand new.  Favorite Things. I like it but not detailed above.  What isn't there are all those tables mentioned above. What are his Traits? What about his Background? His Quirks & Knacks?

I get the feeling that the author loves to make witch characters and I get that. I really, really do.  I love their obvious enthusiasm here too. It's just the product doesn't feel finished to me. 

How about this. I try this out on one of my own witches.  I'll choose a D&D 5th edition one since that has the most familiarity with readers.  So Taryn my fey-pack warlock. Look, I have the name and gender already. Taryn, she/her.  Since this is an established character I won't roll, but choose.

Traits: Calculating.  Taryn never does anything she doesn't think out a 100 different ways.
Background: You made a bargain with a fae being... Sort of. It was her mother, Larina, and Taryn was raised by her, no joking, fairy godmother, her first 13 years of life.   
Quirks and Knacks: You will only make potions that need to be stirred clockwise. Actually, this IS a habit I have for her. Her mother has the same one and it was something they noticed about each other when getting reacquainted. Though the once about crows is also cool. 
Special Items and Trinkets:  A spell bag to comfort and ease anxiety. She keeps a small black velvet bag. Among other things is a ring from her mother and a tooth of a small dragon.

The Prompts are also fun but with 30 of them no need to go into them all. A couple though.

2. She loves her witch hat. She wears it all the time to "embrace the stereotype."
5. Yes she uses a broom and loves to go fast on it. If she were a modern witch she would own a motorcycle. 
7. Her favorite season is Fall of course.
9. Her familiar is a black cat named Mojo.
22. She always has her deck of Tarot cards on her.
28. Uses tea in her craft? No self-respecting witch EVER goes without tea. 

So yeah.  The prompts are fun and should really help you get in the mindset for your witch character.  

Will I use this product? Yes. I will. In fact, I might use it to help define the more important NPCs in my War of the Witch Queens campaign.

The Other Side - 100 Days of Halloween

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