I'm running a one-shot of Witch in about two and half hours, and so I figure I should make a character since I'm gonna be running a group of bright-eyed gamers through this process soon (I don't have pre-gens, see). With that in mind:
The Game: Witch: Fated Souls
The Publisher: Angry Hamster Publishing
Degree of Familiarity: Not a heck of a lot. I've read the book.
Books Required: Just the one.
I backed this game on Kickstarter, and the author, +Elizabeth Chaipraditkul, is a friend a fellow member of the IGDN (as such, yes, I'll be reviewing this game for RPG.net). I really like the premise - you're playing one of the Fated, someone who has sold their soul to a demon of one kind or another for the power of magic. The tone of the game floats between World of Darkness (secret magical society next door to ours) and Sorcerer (you do magic by means of a demonic pact which could wind up fucking you long term). However, Witch also has a notion I enjoy - you can, in theory, given magical mastery, get your soul back.
With all of that in mind, what sort of witch do I want to make? The game provides seven Fates, divided up by what kind of demon owns your soul and therefore what kind of magic you do. Character creation starts with a section called Building a Backstory, which I think is pretty cool. Let's try it.
Before my Fating... Life was idyllic. My character grew up comfortable, not rich. He put forth effort in school, but didn't struggle. He interviewed for jobs, but he always got hired.
I was Fated because... The seventh sons of seventh sons in his family are generally sacrificed to a demon, but when it came time for Brian (for 'tis his name), the sacrifice went weird. Turns out Brian's father sired a son before he was married, making Brian the eighth son of a seventh son, and making the whole ritual go whack-a-ding-hoy.
My relationship with my demon is... tense, but cordial. My demon is cooly polite, because it knows that this cluster-fuck isn't really Brian's fault. Brian, for his part, wants out of the deal, but magic is pretty cool, so he wavers sometimes. His demon has suggested, but not outright agreed, that if Brian finds the actual sacrificial target (his older brother) and completes the ritual, he can have his soul back. Said brother, Timothy, ran for the goddamn hills right after the ritual, and Brian isn't sure where he is.
Today I am... half-heartedly searching. Brian isn't sure he can actually kill his older brother, both from a "that's an evil thing to do" standpoint and from a "he has mystical power of his own" standpoint (I'd leave it to my GM what sort of power Timothy has). As such, Brian is working to build up his own magic in hopes of completing the ritual. His demon, meanwhile, bides its time, fully aware that at no point did it agree on these terms.
There, good start. What's next? Choosing a Fate, of course. Heks sounds good, as does Lich - I can see the ritual involving pulling out Brian's heart and putting it in a jar, which would start. But Seer works just as well, and for a character like Brian who's going to be doing the "wander around getting in adventures" thing as he searches for his brother, having visions works nicely. So I'll go with Seer. That gives me an Underworld taint; I have little spikes coming from my spine. Not sharp enough to hurt anyone or poke through clothing, though they do make getting massages difficult. I also get visions of the future and memories of past lives (in the family, no doubt).
I have two Spells, Oculus and Brutalis, but I have to look up what they do. Just a moment. God I wish I had a physical book.
Hmm. OK, Oculus is straightforward enough; it lets me grant my visions to other people and slow the visions down to interact with them, which is actually pretty cool, though it does require a GM who'll remember I have visions and let me use them (note that Seers can't force themselves to have visions). Brutalis, though, is weird. I have an affinity for some kind of animal, and I'll pick spiders, because a) they're everywhere and b) they're awesome. They follow me around, and the cantos (kind of the specific things you can do within a given Spell) allow me to GAAAAAAAAH either heal people, possess them, or torture them JESUS GOD WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU LIZ.
Ahem. I'll pick Mens, because possessing people with spider-drones is pretty badass. I actually don't think I'll bother putting any points into Oculus; it's cool and all, but I think I'll get by with just the cantrip (which lets me say something true about a person the first time I meet them). I'll take canto I of Mens in Brutalis and Canto I in Animus, which lets me remove a sense from a victim by using spiders. Good lord, that's horrible.
Now I get 18 points to spend in Attributes. A rating of 2 is supposedly average, and we've got 8 attributes, so I could put 2 in each one and have two points left over. But hrm. Do I want to do that? I think I do, actually, because Brian was raised to be pretty much average across the board. So I'll put the other two points into Dexterity and Perception, making him a little better than average there.
OK, then. 20 points in Skills, plus I pick two Skills that I get a +2 bonus in once per session. I'll put those in Streetwise and Deception, I think. Otherwise, we'll do it like this:
Athletics 2 (always take Athletics)
Dodge 2 (booooo)
And that's Skills, then. Talents are my magical abilities. I get only 4 points. I know Casting is important because you roll it to, duh, cast spells, so I'll put 2 there. And I read the potions system and I think it's pretty slick. so I'll put 2 there, too. Oh, hang on, I get to pick a Talent Focus, and then I get a free point there. Hmm. Well, if I take Casting, I can deal more efficiently with demons. If I take Potions, I can identify plants better. But hang on again. I also get a bonus based on my Fate. For Casting, that's "summon a massive swarm of spiders and shape it into stuff," while for Potions it's "put my spiders into potions and I pick the aspects." Oh, decisions, decisions. I think I'll go with Casting, but it's a tough call.
Now, Pursuits, which are like Backgrounds in OWoD. I'm not crazy with how this is split up; Funds and Property are two different things. But I'll take Prestige (I like the idea that Brian is known in Fated circles) at 2 points, Funds at 1 (walking around money) and 2 in Contacts (you meet people, y'know?).
Now I get 10 freebies. I could buy another canto, if I wanted, but that would eat them all. Hmm. I'll spend 4 and buy 2 points of the Thievery skill. And because I thought it was an Attribute and missed it before, I'll spend 4 more and buy 2 points of the Wits Skill. That leaves me 2, which is either a Pursuit or a Skill. I'll buy a point of Status, meaning I'm known in my social circle (which is to say, weirdos in the occult underground).
And then we've got some derived traits. Hit points are...based on a static number and Stamina, sure. Initiative is the higher of Dexterity and Perception, so it was actually dumb of me to make them equal, ah well. CD (Combat Difficulty) is 11 + my Dodge, which really should be Athletics because splitting "Dodge" off from Athletics is silly, but whatever. And soak is equal to some weird foreign word called "armour", which I think means love? But I haven't got any, so I guess it's zero.
OK, then! Brian Arcott is tall, thin, white, light brown hair, scruff but never anything you could legitimately call a "beard." He wears jeans and a button-down shirt, and an old pea-coat when it's cold. He lives out of his car and couch surfs occasionally, but he moves around, chasing leads on his brother. He's got a spider-web tattoo on his back, and gets it expanded every new city he's in. There aren't any tattooed spiders on it, but real spiders like to hang out there, which can be freaky. Oh, and of course he's got those spines on his back, which I'm sure is fun to explain to tattoo artists.