Witches worship and tap earth-nature forces, similar in basic nature to Druidic forces, but of greater antiquity. They worship a pair of gods in the pantheon of Ancient Ones, a circle of gods supposedly predating the gods of Law, Chaos, and Neutrality and absent in the conflict of the Bellum Deorum (Gods' War). Some scholars place the Ancient Ones in the courts of Chaos.
There are two groups of witches of opposing aims and aspect, both worshipping one of the Twin Gods collectively known as the Horned One. The Domini, or "Dark Witches" as they are colloquially referred, worship the more malignant or cruel aspect, Bashtet. These witches tend towards more bestial habits and behaviors; they partake of Blood, an enormously addictive, ultimately toxic hallucinogen (the only drug banned universally in the Crescent Lands), and sacrifice humans and demi-humans in their rituals and summonings (often innocents whom they have addicted to Blood).
In opposition are the Magistri, white witches, who worship the aspect Paces (Pah'Kees). Paces is a more benign, favorable aspect. Fluency in reading, writing and the mathematical sciences are important to the Magistri; for this reason, witches are often hired as tutors or teach in universities (they keep their religious preference secret). White witches use "sexual magic" in many of their rituals; sexual magic taps spiritual vitality which is available during the sex act. Magistri do require living sacrifices for many of their summonings and rituals, but, unlike the Domini, they use animal sacrifices.
Recently, a convocation of sages and mages meeting at Tellura, in Ar'Ethmet, formulated a theory about the nature of the Twin Gods. They postulated that the Twin Gods were actually aspects of the Horned One not individuals so related as to be termed one: dichotomic halves of the spirit of the god. This view caused a stir among the witch community, and the splintering-off of a small group of witches from both the Magistri and Domini, who formed a non-aligned, neutral, group attempting to form an unified theology. Little is known about the neutral witches.
The Domini and Magistri are in conflict with one another and the Neutral witches.
Witches are universally feared and hated throughout the Crescent Lands and, in many areas, they are attacked, banished, stoned, and even burnt at the stake. People do not differentiate between black witches and white witches.
Organization of Witches
All witches are members of a coven. A coven is a group of thirteen female and male witches with an elected leader (usually female). If a coven's membership expands to twenty, the coven splits into two separate, sister covens, and the coven with the group leader before the division is the Mother coven. The Mother coven has authority over sister covens. Once a Mother coven has three sister covens (a Family), if the Mother coven splits again, the eldest sister coven leaves to form an autonomous coven. Sister covens can grow and split, but they will be under the auspices of the Mother coven till they become a Mother coven. It is a matter of great pride to trace one's coven lineage to a great, mythical, Mother coven of the past.
Mother covens are autonomous from each other, but for the purpose of solidarity, coordination, transfer of information and knowledge, and cohesiveness during times of danger, there is a council of witches. The Magnum Concilium (Great Council) is held the first thirteen days of the year somewhere in the Widdershins Woods area of the GloomRim Mountains. Each Mother coven or four non-Mother covens (covens having no Mother coven) sends one representative to the council. The average size of the council ranges between thirty to forty representatives. In case of a grave emergency, the council will call a special council. The Magistri and Domini have separate councils.
Attributes and Characteristics
Witches should have these minimum characteristic scores:
Witches are not the ugly, wart ridden hags of legend.
Witches gain hit and evasion points and fight as clerics.
They can not wear armor other than leather. They use weapons of copper, bronze, wood, bone, or stone. Iron (the metal of the New God—the gods of Law, Chaos, and Neutrality) is forbidden in any rituals, rites, summonings or possession. Copper and silver are the holy metal of witches. Witches are very partial to bows. Witches can use shields.
Witches get 2d6+2 silver pieces to start the game.
|Experience and Level Chart|
|Initiate (1st circle)||1|
|Rhymer-Student of Runes (2nd circle)|
|Ogham-Student of Taboo (3rd circle)|
|Bergh'an-Student of Rites (4th circle)|
|Donjon-Student of Witchcraft (5th circle)|
|Witch Mother (6th circle)||19|
|Experience Level||Summoning Level and # of Summonings per level cast|