Have you ever wanted to use magic?
To transform into someone else…
To get on a broom and fly through the air…
To talk to animals and plants…
To make people happy…
This is a “magical book” just for you.
… starts the introduction of Witch Quest – Book II: Playing the Game by Tsugimi Wakiaka, translated by Ewen Cluney. Witch Quest is a game about witches and cats, in the style of the movie Kiki’s delivery service.
The book is a 40 page PDF, that can be downloaded for free from the translator’s blog. The original was released as “share text”, and the PDF is rather plain and sparsely illustrated by clip art witches and cats. The text is very welcoming, the author speaks to the reader as a friend.
The setting is magical present day. On the Land Isles time flows differently for each area, hours can pass in one place, when months pass in another. This causes little trouble since people just adapt to the life style of the area they’re in. However, the witches do not adapt, instead they order their lives around a 28 day lunar calendar.
In the setting the witches act as some sort of friendly problem solvers that are sent on missions by the oldest witch in their area. Missions that can not be solved by violence. This is a very friendly game.
The players play either a 13 year old witch, or a one year old cat. This must be done in pairs, one player and one cat in each pair. The two are a team, and follow different but interlocking rules. If there is an odd number of players the GM also generates a character to make up the last pair.
Character generation is highly random. The witches three stats: Norma, Witch and Broom are each rolled by a D6. The player can choose which skills to have, but their levels are also rolled by D6s.
There are a few different mechanisms in the rules, depending on what the PCs want to do. Ordinary skill checks are done by rolling 2D6 once for every level of the skill, every pair yields a success. Combat is completely random, the player rolls 2D6, each 1 indicates a hit on the enemy, but each 6 indicates that the witch herself was hit. This game is not about combat, at all. And then there is the magic system where the 2D6 are rolled, and the dice are multiplied to get a value from 1 to 36, roll under the spell’s difficulty to succeed.
Difficulty for magic varies immensely and includes things as how much the target believes in magic, even if the target is inanimate.
The cat PC mostly helps by giving extra rolls on skill checks, but can perform some magic on its own. The experience mechanism in the game is rather neat, the more the cat has helped the witch, the less experience she gains, but the cat gains more experience the more it helps.
Also the game uses a custom tarot deck for various things, and there are even a few different methods for doing fortune telling with the cards in the GM section of the book.
The game is played as a traditional game with a GM and players. The players pair up in witch/cat pairs, playing if a player is missing from a session could be tricky, since that means that someone else has to play that PC, no zombie or out of camera-PCs here!
Even if Book II of Witch Quest focuses on the rules of the game it comes with a short scenario, and a method for generating adventure seeds with the tarot deck is also provided.
The setting of the game is OK. It is rather briefly described, but if the players have seen Kiki’s delivery service, or possibly some other similar anime, manga or movie they should be able to fill in the gaps themselves. The stuff that is there is very nice though.
The rules are OK. The rules cover the needed areas. The non-violence aspect in the setting material is strongly propagated by the rules themselves.
The form is good. They really focus the play on the witch/cat pair, and having different but interlocking rules for the two is interesting.
Will I play it?
I might. Building the custom tarot deck will be a lot of work, and it really is necessary for playing the game. But the friendly theme should appeal to players who are not fond of the violent and/or grim-dark themes in games I usually play. Perhaps I can get my GF to the gaming table with this game.
yarukizero.wordpress.com/2010/02/11/witch-quest-book-ii-release – The release note for Witch Quest, where the game can be downloaded.
www.imdb.com/title/tt0097814/ – IMDB link to the movie Kiki’s delivery service.
yarukizero.wordpress.com/2009/08/12/announcing-witch-quest – Announcing Witch Quest entry on Ewen’s blog, that gives the background for the game.