Custom class: the Witch

  • 6 Replies
Custom class: the Witch
« on: August 09, 2012, 11:01:33 AM »
Here's my attempt at a custom class: The Witch

My main concerns here are:

1. the amount of versatility it has over the wizard and cleric. I've tried to temper that by imposing a serious resource penalty (the witch has, at best, either four uses of magic or the option to have her magic seriously backfire).

2. a couple of moves are lifted directly from the wizard playbook and re-flavored for the witch. Not sure what to do about this, other than providing what are imo a lot of strong moves the witch can choose from when advancing (only a few of which are re-flavored wizard moves).

So, let me know what ya'll think.
(Also, I just realized I misspelled 'pestle' -- doh!).

Re: Custom class: the Witch
« Reply #1 on: August 09, 2012, 11:45:36 AM »
Alright, first of all, I like it! Here's what I would suggest:

- The alignment moves feel a little too ambiguous or extreme. I'd reword them a little to be a little less arcane. For example, Good could be "When an ally follows you advice to act selflessly".

- For the human racial move, is it ongoing or forward?

- I'd copy the Familiar mind link skill after the druid's shapechange. Make a roll+wis, partial hit keep 1, full hit keep 3. Spend 1 to make one of the animal moves.

- I'd reword the bewitchment to include the phrase "When you lay a curse on someone, roll+Wis". I think the effect of a curse are better implied than those of "bewitchments", and thus necessitate less GM advocacy.

- For Sage Altar, I'd make it "10+ you gain 3 charms, 7-9, you gain 2, 6-, you gain 1 charm and attract the attention of something nasty". I would also switch counter spell for "Charm Weaver" or something like that, which would boost any number of charms gained by one. Wouldn't be too worried about how powerful or how penalized they are, given that it's pretty easy to recover them.

- Finally, for Scry, I'd suggest modeling it after the Apocalypse World's Savvyhead's repair move. It works, but the GM sets 1-4 conditions from a list (It takes X amount of time, will require a piece of the target, additional ingredients and so on)

Re: Custom class: the Witch
« Reply #2 on: August 09, 2012, 11:50:23 AM »
I like it. My only thing is it looks like bewitchment is a pretty core thing and there isn't a lot of guidance for how to use it in play. Given spindle and thread it can be used for damage, but should it just do the class damage?

Also I think the class could use choices in the equipment part.

Re: Custom class: the Witch
« Reply #3 on: August 09, 2012, 01:35:00 PM »
Thanks for the feedback!

@ technai:
I had thought the human racial move would be ongoing. If a witch has a piece of your hair or clothing or something, that's powerful mojo. What is your opinion?

Re: the familiar, I might just eliminate the line about it having moves at all. I had envisioned that it just carries out very simple tasks, like searching someone out or spying, and the action gets adjudicated by the constraints of the fiction.

Re: Bewitchment, I think each effect is going to be a conversation and agreement between the player and GM. I really wanted the witch to have a lot of versatility, as opposed to having a canned set of effects she can create. Magical folks in myths and stories have all sorts of cool stuff they do, some of which they just improv on the spot (or during prep). Gandalf and Sauron have a shouting match to create/prevent an avalanche. Maleficent and Ursula appear to manufacture on-the-spot effects to debilitate people. Schmendrick is probably a level 1 or 2 wizard capable of a host of (mostly useless) effects. So the witch gets that kind of versatility (ala SORCERER). She’s creating effects, imo, not just cursing folks. But the GM has the power to step in and say ‘No, you can’t bring down the stars from the sky. What you can probably do is [something similar but smaller and more reasonable].’

For the Sage Altar, you might be right in regards to how much Charm to give out, but let me explain my thinking. This class' magical resources don't work the way the other spell casters' do. The cleric and wizard don't have as strong an incentive to use up a resource like the witch. Highlighting yourself to the enemy is dangerous, but having your spell backfire or get wildly out of control is really bad (it threatens the whole party for the rest of the fight, probably). So the witch is probably expending her magical resources a lot faster than the cleric and wizard. I think having 4 uses of magic for the witch is pretty good, considering the cleric and wizard has more than that at level 4 (or sooner, if either of them take the numerous moves that allow them to prepare spells for free or for one level lower, such as Prodigy and First Aid). What do you think?

Charmed Weaver: I have an expert move on there that boosts maximum Charm to 5, but given what I just said about the serious resource consumption inherent to the class you might be right to move this down to the advanced list.

This is also a concern of mine. I think it’s a conversation between the GM and the player, but I don’t have ideas for guidance on the damage dice of damaging effects. A witch can apparently do anything within her imagination that she and the GM can agree on. I personally intend to allow extra d6s for bigger effects (given that the wizard’s fireball is 2d6). One consequence of allowing bigger damage dice for bigger effects is the juicy prospect of the effect backfiring or getting out of control and becoming a huge threat to the rest of the party. What do you suggest as far as explicitly codifying its use?

Re: Custom class: the Witch
« Reply #4 on: August 10, 2012, 01:33:11 PM »
Racial moves: Ongoing is fine. I just figured there was a word missing.

Familiar: Another solution would be to treat it like a free hireling of a type of one's choice at creation.

Bewitchment: I'd be mostly worried of it of slowing down the game. There should be some way to define scale at character creation. Maybe by setting a sphere of influence of sorts? Plus, I'm not a fan of giving any power to the GM in Apocalypse World hacks, it just feels wrong :p

Sage Altar: For the quantity, I'd put it at 1/1/3, with all associated moves, but wouldn't define the amount of time it takes to recharge them more than "it takes a period uninterrupted time".

Charm Weaver: I'd use both. Landing 12+ on 2d6 is real hard and should be considered extraordinary. If anything, I find the move a little boring. I'd also give a +1 forward to using that charm.

And now that I'm reading it, Needle and Thorn feels a little nuts. I mean, at high level, you can essentially spend two charms to kill anything in the game.

I'm also kind of feeling a move for using Wisdom to help instead of history. Something along the lines of "When you help someone by sharing wisdom and knowledge, roll+Wis instead of +Bond. If the target's roll succeeds, mark experience"

Re: Custom class: the Witch
« Reply #5 on: August 10, 2012, 01:34:42 PM »
Personally I think I'd keep the damage rather low and focus on the effects. Ever seen Stardust? That movie has cool examples of witches. Mirrors shattering with shards flying everywhere, pulling out a small voodoo doll and breaking limbs/drowning the person.

Perhaps the mechanical advantage over just swinging with a staff for d6 is that these effects ignore armor and are obviously at range. Maybe have moves that allow you to bewitch more targets at once?

I guess I'm sort of a "niche" person and to me it feels like the wizard is the damage numbers niche class. 2d4 or 2d6 with the ability to maximize the spell and pump enchantments into them as damage adds.

As for what the bewitching can do, I don't know how to define that. I almost feel like there should be a list of effects you can pick and choose. Like maybe one of the effects is "can do damage", other is "can force a shape change", "can cause 1d4 buff", "can cause 1d4 debuff", etc. Where the -1d4 might be the guy puking up frogs and the +1d4 might be a love hex which inspires. The player would handle describing what he's doing.

Maybe at start you can pick 1 or 2 effects and add more as moves later on? This will build up to really big things at level 6+ when you can start to yell down a mountain.

But I don't know if that's the way to do it. My worry as a DM is it can be really hard to sort of understand what the "power level" of something is supposed to be. Vague is nice because it creates a lot of potential for flavor and creativity, but it also makes me feel like I have to balance every idea the player came up with. And as a player I'd worry that one DM would let me do everything while another one wouldn't let me do anything. Meanwhile the wizard's fireball is always 2d6 ignore armor no matter what table he plays at.

Re: Custom class: the Witch
« Reply #6 on: November 21, 2012, 08:45:13 PM »
@ColdLogic - have you by any chance updated The Witch for the latest rules iteration?  I would love to see how this has evolved!