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Wulfwald RPG Magic Systems: 1 Wicce Cræft
Here is One of Wulfwald's four magic systems . . .
Traditionally wildling witch women learn their craft slowly and carefully under the tutelage of their tribe's wise crone, but having fled their tribe the young Wulfwald Wicce must take a dangerous shortcut and learn her craft from a foul-spawn familiar.
Familiars always take the form of a small animal, normally animals associated with death, the night, or carrion such as crows, ravens, rats, black cats, owls, lizards, and snakes.
Familiar's are not of our world and no one knows where they hail from, or what they want. What is known is that they come and go as they please often appearing as if from out of thin air. Their animal form can be destroyed, but they always reappear the very next nightfall. Those that are foolish enough to destroy a Wicce's familiar tend to die soon afterwards, the victims of grisly and horrific accidents.
Familiars communicate with their Wicce using imagery projected directly into Wicce's mind’s eye, but only seem interested in doing so when teaching the Wicce elements of the craft.
Learning the Craft
A Wicce character may learn as many or as few elements of the craft as their player wishes, and may learn them whenever the player wishes, including at character generation. Learning new elements of craft after character generation requires the character to have a free day of 'in game' time to be taught the new element of craft.
There is always a price to be paid for knowledge of the craft. For each element of craft a Wicce is taught by their familiar they sacrifice a part of their spirit. This is represented by a permanent loss of Attributes or HP's given to the familiar who takes it by feeding from the Wicce in many weird and repugnant ways. The price also causes the Wicce to age by a year.
Each time a Wicce chooses to learn an Element of craft (including at chargen) the Referee rolls 1d6 . . .
6: Hit Points
. . . and permanently deducts 1 point from the indicated attribute as well as aging the character a year. If the indicated Attribute is already at 1 the Referee should roll again, or choose an attribute above 1. If all the attributes are reduced to 1 the Wicce must start sacrificing her Intelligence to gain new craft. When that drops below 9 the character is no longer viable and becomes an NPC, a mad old hag.
Elements of the Craft
1: Nine Herb Charm
The Nine Herb Charm can heal any and all ills. It can heal wounds, cure disease, break charms, or spells placed upon the victim, and negate the effects of poison. It can cure any illness natural or unnatural, but each Wicce can only use its power nine times. To learn this craft the Wicce must pay the price, and lose one attribute point and age a year. She must also pay this price each of the nine times she uses its power.
2: The Green Candle
The familiar teaches the Wicce to heal mundane wounds with the use of a green candle and an incantation. The Wicce must light a green candle and chant the charm over whoever is wounded.
At 1st level 1d6+Int bonus worth of HPs can be healed.
At 2nd level 2d6+Int bonus worth of HPs can be healed.
At 3rd level 3d6+Int bonus worth of HPs can be healed.
The number of HPs healed is also the number of hours the Wicce must chant and the candle must burn.
By air, by stone, by water, by fire the Wicce calls a curse down upon her foe. There are three types of curse and each must be learnt in order, from weakest to strongest, and the price paid each time. The victim of a curse is allowed a Saving Throw to resist its effects; if that fails they will have to find another Wicce to break the curse.
The Wearisome Curse
This is the mildest form of curse and is designed to confound, humiliate and frustrate your enemy. For example someone could be cursed to ‘always speak his mind, and never mind what he speaks’ as a way to get that enemy in trouble or perhaps curse an arrogant warrior to ‘bleat like a lamb’ every time he tries to boast of his prowess, or curse a vain queen to grow a beard.
The Destructive Curse
This is a much more direct and dangerous curse designed to destroy the victim’s status, power, and wealth. For example curses that cause cattle to die, or crops to fail will have dire consequences causing material loss for their owners and possibly famine for the communities that rely on them. Cursing a Thegn’s or a Lord’s luck may mean he loses battles until his men abandon him. A poet could be cursed to become tongue tied and thus his reputation and livelihood would be destroyed. A noble woman could be cursed to wantonness and thus her status would suffer.
The Malign Curse
The most potent and evil of the curses these curses cause enemies to suffer slow and wasting deaths, cause victims, even entire households, or communities to suffer infertility, or warriors to slay loved ones in a murderous rage.
Curses are not instant, but run their course over a period of time. How long a curse lasts or takes to work depends on the Wicce’s level and the type of curse. Wearisome curses last one day plus the Wicce’s level + Int bonus. Destructive curses last for, or take affect after, 1d3 days. The Wicce’s level Int bonus in days may be added or deducted depending on whether they want their victim to suffer, or the curse to take effect quickly. Malign Curses work the same way, but in weeks.
The nature and wording of the curse is entirely up to the Wicce’s player to determine, and for the Referee to interpret, and implement in game.
The Wicce fills her bowl with water, preferably water from a sacred source such as a lake, and uses it to see visions. There are two types of scrying both are separate skills and require the price be paid to learn them.
This is a type of divination and allows the Wicce to see visions of what may be, and what may come to pass. This may only be attempted once per week of game time, or once per adventure.
The Wicce’s player informs the Referee what they’re trying to find out. This should be in relation to a particular task or problem within the current adventure and any action they were planning to take. The Referee then describes three possible futures: one good, one neutral, one bad. These visions should contain enough clues to allow the players to pursue the positive outcome, try and avoid the negative one, and take the chance to settle for the neutral outcome when they see it.
For example . . .
The players’ characters have been ordered to slay their Thegn’s wife, who is cuckolding him with a rival Thegn. The players send her a false message inviting her to what she thinks will be a romantic tryst, but will really be the scene of her murder. The Wolfpack’s Wicce looks into her scrying bowl to get a sense of what might happen and the Referee describes three possible outcomes.
In the worst outcome he describes them slaying the Thegn’s wife but being seen by her serving maid, who they didn’t know was there. The maid escapes and reports them to their Thegn who then will have to turn against them. After all he wouldn’t want anyone to know he ordered his wife’s killing when he could blame it on outlaw scum.
In the neutral outcome they find the maid’s hiding place and slay her as well as the Thegn’s adulterous wife. The mission is successful.
In the final, and best, outcome they slay the Thegn’s wanton wife and somehow arrange for the maid who witnesses it to believe it was the rival Thegn who committed the atrocity, thus earning them even more favour from their own Thegn.
Of course these are just three possible outcomes and nothing is guaranteed to play out exactly as the Referee described the visions. It is now down to how the players handle things and the action, but it has given them information they didn’t have before (that the maid will be hiding nearby) and a hint from the Referee for a way to make things go even smoother (frame the other Thegn). However there should still always be chance for things to go wrong somewhere along the way.
This allows the Wicce to spy on someone from afar. She stares into the scrying bowl and sends her fetch, her spirit double, into the otherworld reflected in the waters of the bowl. The fetch is then free to travel the mirror world and see what is happening somewhere else and the Wicce sees and hears everything her fetch does. There is no limit on distance, but the Wicce must have been to the place or know the person she wishes to spy on.
The familiar teaches the Wicce to brew potions in her cauldron. Each application of a potion takes one full day of preparation. Potion craft is similar to poison and venom craft, but not quite as potent. Each potion is a separate skill for which the price must be paid. There is no order in which they must be learned but some of the potions require the price be paid for each level of potency. Potions must be imbibed, but they can also be applied to arrows and one application will coat three arrows. However, there is a very strong Hex on that practice and the arrows must only be used by a wildling warrior, lest the Wicce be cursed and abandoned by her Familiar.
This potion will put anyone who drinks it into a deathlike, dreamless slumber from which only an application of the nine herb charm can wake the victim before it runs its natural course. While they sleep the victim is magically sustained and requires no sustenance and does not age.
There are different strengths of sleeping draft and the Wicce must pay the price to learn each of them, and like poisons and venoms, they must be learnt in order of potency. The order of potency is: turns, hours, days, weeks, months, years, decades, and centuries. The Wicce’s player may choose from any potency she knows for each application brewed and then rolls 1d3+ level+ int bonuses to determine the actual number of days, weeks, etc. the potion will put someone to sleep for.
The Mead of Beli-Mawr
Beli-Mawr is the Wildling god of war and his mead sends anyone who drinks it into a fighting rage that lasts 1d3+the Wicce’s level+Int bonus in combat rounds. During this time they attack at +2 to hit and Damage and ignore all wounds, allowing them to fight on even if they are reduced to 0 hit points or lower. Whilst in the fighting rage the victim will attack anyone and everyone indiscriminately and will not even recognise his loved ones and friends.
The Coward’s Cup
Anyone who drinks this potion will be overcome with debilitating fear and will run from battle, or cower in a corner, unable to fight unable to face anyone, or anything. They will be literally scared of everything. The effects last until either the combat is over, or if taken in a non-combat situation for 1d3+level+int bonus turns. This potion can destroy a warrior’s reputation and status.
This potion causes blindness for 1d3+lvl+Int bonus turns. Anyone affected is at -4 to any roll they might make.
This concoction causes the victim to suffer wild and confusing hallucinations that renders them all but incapable of performing any action other than raving incoherently and trying to catch hold of the strange things they are seeing. The effects last for 1d3+lvl+Int bonus turns hours.
Branwen is the Wildling goddess of love and anyone who drinks one of these potions will fall madly, passionately, and very often tragically in love with the next person they see.
Rhiannon’s Blessing, Rhiannon’s Curse
So called because whoever drinks this potion forgets everything they know which is a magic associated with the Wildling goddess Rhiannon and forgetfulness can be a blessing or a curse. This potion can be made in three potencies, each of which must be learned in order and the price paid. The three potencies are 1d3+lvl+Int bonus of forgetfulness that lasts; hours, days, or years.
The creation of poison is the simplest of the Wicce’s craft, but no less deadly. There are three types of poison a Wicce can brew. These must be learnt in order and a price paid for each. They must be ingested to take affect and the victim is allowed a ST but this is modified by the Wicce’s level and Int bonus.
A non-lethal poison that paralyses the victim for 1d3 hours, but otherwise causes no harm.
A noxious brew that lays the victim low with a violent flux for 1d3 days and causes 1d6+ the Wicce’s lvl and Int bonus in damage. If this reduces the victim to 0 HPs or less, they don’t die. Instead they are merely permanently weakened and lose 1 point of Str and Con.
A lethal poison. If the Victim fails their ST they die a slow and agonising death.
Venoms use the same principles as poisons, but they are brewed in a concoction that takes effect when the toxins enter the bloodstream via a blade, arrowhead, spear point, etc. Once applied to the weapon the venom is stable for 1d3 hours plus the Wicce’s level and Int bonus. Once combat begins they will be stable for 1d3 rounds plus the Wicce’s level and int. These venoms can only affect each victim once. Whoever is using the envenomed weapon must score a hit on their enemy. As well as the weapon’s damage each venom has its own effect. Like the poisons these crafts must be learnt in order and the price paid for each.
Causes paralysis if the victim fails their ST they are paralysed for 1d3 combat rounds.
Doubles the amount of damage caused by a weapon.
Kills the victim in 1d3 combat rounds if they fail their ST.
8: The Mommet and the Thorn
This craft involves using a Mommet, a wax effigy, and a thorn so the Wicce can torment and harm her enemies from a safe distance. To use this magic the Wicce must have a personal item or keepsake of the intended victim attached to her Mommet. There are four levels of Thorn harm and each is a separate craft. They must be learnt in order and the price paid for each.
Sting of Thorn
The Wicce pricks the Mommet with the thorn using light shallow jabs. These normally make the victim scream out loud, jump, drop things, spasm and the like. The effect is instant and the Wicce can toy with her victim for as long as she wishes without causing any real harm.
Pinned by Thorn
The Wicce drives the Thorn into a particular body part and leaves it there. The body part pierced is wracked with pain and the area affected is useless. For example a Thorn in the mouth stops them talking, in the spine will pin them to the ground, put a thorn in the Mommet’s hand and the victim loses the use of that hand. At 1st level the duration is in combat rounds, at 2nd level, turns, at 3rd hours all determined with a roll of 1d3+lvl+Int bonus.
Wound of Thorn
The Wicce drives the thorn into the Mommet's stomach and wounds the victim. The damage is 1 plus the Wicce’s level+Int bonus per stab. One stab may be made each round, but after the first attack the victim is allowed a ST against each attack.
The Wicce drives the Thorn into the Mommet's heart; if the victim fails their ST they die.
The Wicce can make amulets to protect herself, her allies, or her patrons from the harmful aspects of Wicce craft. Amulets can be made that protect against the three types of Curse, Fetch Scrying, the seven potions, the three poisons and three venoms, and the four types of Thorn Magic. Amulets may also be made that protect against an Ælfcynn’s Glamour, and a Scinnlæca’s Call of Fear, or Call of Kinship.
Instead of paying the price for each skill the Wicce pay the price once to learn Amulet Craft and may make any of the above amulets, but also pays the price for each individual Amulet made.