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Witchcraft is an urban fantasy game set in a world like our own, but with an extensive Masquerade to mask the fact that just about every supernatural being and mythological figure exists (or has existed). The players take the part of the Gifted - humans who secretly wield the power of magic, psychic abilities, divine miracles, or other supernatural traits. For all of recorded history, the Gifted have kept their existence a secret, but now the world is threatened by an approaching Reckoning, and new Gifted are being born in record numbers. The time for hiding in the shadows is coming to an end...

The setting has a dark undertone, but it is far from hopeless. On the one hand, there are many conspiracies and supernatural entities that are trying to exploit or outright prey upon humanity, and most of the ones that don't won't bother getting involved unless it suits them. On the other hand, not only are there beings that genuinely want to help and protect humanity, but human potential is virtually infinite, and there are Gifted who can curbstomp uppity vampires, ghouls, ghosts, demons, angels, gods, freaky things from beyond, etc.

Witchcraft uses Eden Studio's Unisystem.

Tropes used in Witchcraft include:

  • Always Chaotic Evil - Fiends are physical embodiments of malice, and therefore cannot be anything but evil. Inverted with the Angelic Ethereals, who are physical embodiments of good.
    • The Mad Gods aren't exactly a positive influence on anyone, either - to the point where the demons actually team up with humanity to fight them in the sequel.
  • Ancient Conspiracy - The Combine, the Knights Templar, and the Fellowship of Judas. The latter two, however, are mostly good guys, if sometimes amoral.
  • The Atoner - The Fellowship of Judas are an entire Covenant of people like this, most of them undead.
  • Ax Crazy - Relentless Dead of the "Dark Wrath" variety are little more than berserk killers.
  • Badass Bookworm - The Rosicrucian Marchers.
  • Black Magic - The Sadicas invocations practiced by the Cult of Pain (and possibly other evil magicians). The Essence used to power them can only be recharged by torturing innocents.
  • Brought Down to Normal - The penalty for any Divinely Inspired person who errs in their faith.
  • Cats Are Magic - The Bast, especially High Bast.
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder - While groups centered around black magic exist, the point is made that they rarely survive in the long term, since most black magicians are ambitious, psychopathic, and all too eager to advance their power at the expense of others...
  • Clap Your Hands If You Believe - Reversed, as disbelieving Mundanes make it harder for magic and certain supernatural abilities to function, especially when the Mundanes are gathered in huge crowds.
  • Cosmic Horror - The Mad Gods and their minions.
  • Combat Clairvoyance - One application of the Mindtime or Mindview abilities.
  • Combined Energy Attack - Group magic and psychic gestalts, although they don't have to be used for offensive powers.
  • The Corruption - The Mad Gods and their minions, on just about every level. Humans who have contact with them can get infected by their Taint, and most of these unfortunates very quickly die, go irrevocably insane, or become pawns of the Mad Gods. The few who don't - the Mockers - dedicate themselves to fighting the Mad Gods, but even they face an ever-growing struggle with madness and dissolution.
  • Corrupt Church - Some Covenants see the Sentinels as this. On a more personal level, some Gifted with Divine Inspiration end up leaving their churches, as their divine insight causes them to see the corruption marring those institutions.
  • Crossover Cosmology/Fantasy Kitchen Sink - As with the World of Darkness setting, Witchcraft sourcebooks eventually introduced so many different supernatural beings, races, and conspiracies that it becomes difficult to imagine how the Masquerade survives at all.
  • Cult - The setting has no shortage of these. They can be your garden variety mundane nutjobs, or they might be dedicated to black magic, demons, or the Mad Gods. Even better, the more fanatical Covenants view more than one of their fellow Covenants as dangerous cults.
  • Cursed with Awesome - One way to view Taint powers... at least until you lose your battle with madness.
  • Dark Is Not Evil - Not only are there playable monster-heavy Covenants, they're actually nicer on average than many human ones. The House of Thanatos, for example, are an organization of Necromancers and undead who want to be truly Immortal...and go about this by preserving the sanctity of the Death Realms and the living world from each other, busting up Mad God cults, and generally being a social clubhouse.
  • Deal with the Devil - Oddly enough, demons rarely offer these kinds of deals, because anyone who would sell their soul is likely damned anyways. On the occasions when they do, it's only for mortals who stand to corrupt a lot of other mortals.
  • Determinator - Plenty of things are difficult to kill in this setting, but the grand prize probably goes to the Relentless Dead. Permanently offing one of them requires not only massive physical and spiritual damage, but specialized invocations or Necromancy powers on top of that.
  • Eldritch Abomination - There are a bunch of them running around, most notably the Mad Gods and those infected by their Taint.
  • Elemental Powers - Each of the classical four elements has an invocation, as well as a Key of Solomon.
  • Evil Makes You Ugly - Practitioners of black magic are exempt from this trope (even if their poisoned Essence stands out as vile to other Gifted), but Taint is another matter. Humans who gain (and keep gaining) Taint become increasingly deformed.
  • Fantastic Fighting Style - The "Storm Fist" style of the Storm Dragons.
  • Friendly Neighborhood Vampyres - Vampyres survive on intense experience and therefore do not need to kill or even harm people. Many do (especially since overpowering someone and biting them to drink their blood is a great way to terrify someone) and there is a Vampyre flaw that does require blood, but not all (or even most) Vampyres are irredeemable monsters and there are even several Vampyre organizations that are dedicated to redeeming themselves (or who at least play nice withMuggles).
  • From Nobody to Nightmare - The MO of the Disciples of the Flesh, who usually first manifest their grotesque powers right when the abuse which defines them reaches its boiling point. Whether they're actually evil after that depends on the individual involved.
  • Functional Magic - Lots.
  • The Fundamentalist - A common type among the Society of Sentinels.
  • Good Is Not Nice - The Fellowship of Judas embodies this, as its members are culled from the most self-destructive and wankery people that they can find (and reform). After being reborn, most Iscariots still aren't very nice people (even though they're now fighting for good).
  • Gods Need Prayer Badly - While Incarnates (read: gods) are not utterly dependent on human belief, they derive a lot of power from it. Most lost their power base when the Seraphim had their mortal minions slaughter and forcibly convert the Incarnates' mortal minions.
  • Healing Factor - Like the Functional Magic, almost too many examples to count.
  • Heel Realization - One step of a typical initiation into the Fellowship of Judas: when the prospective member is confronted at the threshold between life and death, and then forced to realize how selfish and vile they were when they were alive.
  • Hollywood Voodoo - Averted, as the Legban Covenant featured a detailed description of the Voodoun religion and Voodoo deities other than Baron Samedi.
  • Humans Are Bastards - One theme in the setting, as demons prefer to seduce humans into committing evil rather than get their own hands dirty, the Mad Gods can't breach our reality without the help of human cultists, the Combine (with all its megalomaniacal oppressiveness) may be a purely human organization, and - last but not least - the Disciples of the Flesh are created by all-too-human abusers.
  • Humans Are Special - An alternate theme of the game setting. Humanity is the only known species that possesses the Divine Spark. This essentially means that human potential is virtually infinite, and upon realization of this potential, humanity may well be like God. Seraphim (both the angelic one and the demonic ones) tend to be... unhappy about this.
  • Instant Expert - One application of the Old Soul quality, especially at higher levels.
  • Ki Attacks - One form of Tao-Chi attack.
  • Knight Templar - Tends to be the MO of the Sentinels, who have a long history of hunting monsters - including, at times, other Gifted (whether they were actually using their powers for evil purposes or not). Subverted with the actual Knights Templar, who are much less rabid in their efforts to protect humanity.
  • Hit Points - Life Points or (for spirits) Vital Essence.
  • Immortal Life Is Cheap - More than one player of a True Immortal or Relentless Dead has been nonchalant about getting mangled, since most enemies lack the means to (permanently) kill them.
  • Jerkass Angels - Of the three Seraphim factions, only the smallest, the Watchers, truly have humanity's best interests at heart; the Heavenly Host are at best paternalistic Control Freaks and at worst "Let God sort 'em out"-style Knight Templars, and as for the Infernal Legion ...well, guess. The Old Gods, too, are often selfish and manipulative to their followers.
  • Limit Break - Magic functions like this in combat situations, as invocations can't be used until the magician has channeled enough Essence for the effect they want.
  • Lovecraftian Superpower - The Disciples of the Flesh are Gifted who had such a mangled childhood that it awoke their Gift in a way that allows them to reshape their bodies into grotesque living weapons. The expected morality of the Pariahs is subverted, however-for the most part, they just want to stop the real monsters of the world from causing further suffering.
    • An even more blatant example comes from humans who get infected by Taint from contact with the Mad Gods. One Covenant, the Mockers, is centered around humans who survive the experience and choose to fight the Mad Gods with their horrible new powers. These powers are fueled by Taint, and the more Taint you gain, the more deformed and/or insane you become.
  • Magitek - Atlantean Arcana, which runs on Essence and can't be built by mundanes.
  • Mana - Essence. (Or, more darkly, Taint.)
  • Masquerade - Albeit one that's getting harder to maintain everyday; by the time Armageddon begins, the cat's been out of the bag for years (though of course there were still people denying it right up until they saw genuine angels on live TV).
  • The Men in Black - One category of the Combine's servants. A lesser extent: The Knights Templar.
  • Mercy Kill - A frequently-encountered trope for the Mockers. The Mockers search for other Mad God survivors to bolster their ranks, but for every victim who remains intact enough to join them, they have to kill several others who are beyond help.
  • Mind Over Matter - The Seer Mindhands power.
  • Muggles - Mundanes.
  • Muggles Do It Better - While lacking any form of supernatural traits, Mundane players get so many points for other stats that they can start with excellent attributes and near-superhuman levels in combat (or any other) skills. A sidebar in the main rulebook also warns that the Gifted have their limits, using the example that a trained gunman can fire several shots before most wizards can finish a sentence (let alone a powerful invocation).
  • Necromancer - Yet another type of Gifted, and distinct from invocation-wielding magicians. They usually fall under the category of Dark Is Not Evil.
  • Offscreen Teleportation - Relentless Dead can actually take this as a power.
  • One-Winged Angel - Nearly all the Disciplines of the Flesh lend themselves to this, and indeed the standard tactic with those powers is to morph into an inhumanly strong/fast/pointy/hideous monster and rend your foes limb from limb. With a bit of effort on the Reshape power, these forms can also be scary enough to trigger some pretty harsh fear tests while you're at it.
  • Our Angels Are Different: Angels are closer to their original biblical counterparts, as powerful soldiers of God who smite people. Some are nicer, especially the Kerubim who are ascended humans. The rest often have (from a human POV) a serious attitude problem.
  • Our Vampires Are Different - Most Vampyres don't actually need to drink blood, as they can siphon the Essence they need merely by causing enough fear, pain, or pleasure in their victims.
  • Path of Inspiration - Many examples. The Old Gods took worshipers for their own power and to keep humanity in line. The Abrahamic Religions were often used by the Seraphim to take out the worshipers of the polytheistic religions so they could defeat the Old Gods in their home domains. The Catholic Church in particular had been used for centuries by the Combine to root out supernaturals and Gifted, and keep humanity largely ignorant. At least the Church no longer operates like this since the Black Death crippled the Combine.
  • Phantasy Spelling ("Vampyres"...)
  • Point Build System
  • Power Crystal - One category of Atlantean super-tech.
  • Powered by a Forsaken Child
    • Ghosts with the Ghostsmith ability can forge permanent items that work in the Death Realms, at the cost of some permanent Essence. The most unfortunate Ghostsmiths get enslaved by more powerful ghosts, who force them to forge items constantly - and keep them in existence by feeding them the Essence of yet other ghost slaves.
    • The Sadicas brand of black magic allows its users to hold much higher Essence pools than normal, but it can only be replenished by torturing other humans and stealing their Essence.
  • Power Glows - Beings and places with huge amounts of Essence are very obvious - if you're Gifted.
  • Psychic Powers - Seer abilities.
  • Really Seven Hundred Years Old - When a True Immortal is awakened, they become permanently stuck at the age they were awakened at. While most do so in the prime of their lives, there is a flaw that allows you to be permanently stuck in an underage body. This trope also applies to the Gifted, who age more slowly once they build up a huge store of Essence, to the point where the leaders of most Covenants are centuries old.
  • Reincarnation - Human souls reincarnate on a fairly regular basis. The Old Soul quality (which allows you to access your past lives) is one of the few supernatural qualities a mundane can take.
  • Religion of Evil - Numerous cults exist that involve human torture and/or sacrifice. The Cult of Pain stands out as it featured prominently on the Witchcraft website as part of several entertaining examples.
  • Rich Bastard - One stereotype among the Rosicrucians.
  • Ritual Magic - The slow, tedious, and only way of using invocations if you don't have Essence Channeling.
  • Serial Killer - A common bad guy in this setting. They might be a mundane murderer... or they might be a malevolent Vampyre, Feral, Relentless Dead, black magician, a cultist beholden to demons or Mad Gods, a corrupted nature spirit, or some other supernatural being...
  • Spider Sense - A bonus effect of certain Seer powers and Chi Mastery.
  • Spin-Off - Armageddon.
  • Squishy Wizard - The Gifted character type has the fewest points for attributes and qualities, leaving them looking a little like this compared to Lesser Gifted and (particularly) Mundane players.
  • Summon Magic - The Spirit Mastery family of invocations.
  • Summoning Ritual - The most popular way of bringing the Mad Gods into our reality. More benign summoning invocations can also resemble this trope, if the magician is being especially careful.
  • Supernaturally Delicious and Nutritious - Any high-essence character not concealing their power with an essence shield looks like a delicious meal to many creatures.
  • Supernatural Martial Arts - The Tao-Chi powers, although they fall more towards the Charles Atlas Superpower end of the scale than the Dragonball Z end. Alternately, you can just use the mundane Martial Arts skill you already have, augmented by bonuses from Seer Powers, Divine Inspiration, Necromancy possession, and/or the Key of War. (No one ever accused this game of having a lack of options...)
  • Touched by Vorlons - Or, in this setting, Touched By Mad Gods.
  • The Undead - Vampyres, Ghosts, Phantasms, the Relentless Dead... all of which are playable character types.
  • Voluntary Shapeshifting - Ferals (who aren't accursed) and the Disciples of the Flesh.
  • Weirdness Magnet - Comes with the Gift, especially for the more powerful. True Immortals can also take the "Destiny Rider" flaw, which makes the Weirdness Magnet effect even more overt.

Its Spin-Off, Armageddon, takes place in 2017, where the Reckoning is in full swing, and Germany is spearheading the takeover of the Earth on behalf of the extra-dimensional Cosmic Horror: Leviathan.

  • The Alliance - The Alliance, natch.
  • Always Chaotic Evil - Justified: Developing a Mark Of Leviathan requires genuine loyalty to him, which pretty much means that the Marked are utterly evil, existing solely for the destruction of reality and the subjugation of mankind.
  • America Saves the Day - America is the only country that has enough of its shit together to mount an effective counter to the Church of Revelations, with everyone either being conquered, collapsing internally due to ill-defined reasons, supporting the United States, or stuck in an extremely bloody stalemate.
  • Atlantis - The Armageddon book gives us a brief history of the Elder Kingdoms, which included Atlantis, Mu, Lemuria, and Ultima Thule. Not brought down by hubris, but because Ultima Thule contacted Leviathan to win their war with Atlantis. To prevent the world from becoming corrupted, Satan sent the Flood and destroyed civilization. Immortals are the reincarnations of the ancient Atlanteans.
  • Eldritch Abomination - Leviathan, of course.
  • Council of Angels - It's revealed that the Seraphim of the Heavenly Host tend to fall on the Knight Templar spectrum, having done all sorts of things of questionable morality over the ages (though they are not all like this). When the Archangel Michelle finds out just how bad things are (namely: that the Combine was originally the work of Gabriel), she quits in disgust to found the Alliance and takes a non-insignificant number of Seraphim and Kerubim with her.
  • Deal with the Devil - Praying to Leviathan will bring you luck, if you don't mind someone around you paying for it.
  • Deus Ex Machina - Considering the setting, a lot. Leviathan gives his worshippers what they want, but in a disturbing manner. Odin scatters the Church of Revelations' fleet to prevent the conquest of England and the Scandinavian Peninsula. And Divine Intervention is implied to be why nuclear weapons don't work
  • Divine Parentage - An Inheritor is the offspring of a mortal and one of the many deities out there.
  • Gender Flip - The Archangel Michael, upon taking mortal form, finds out that he's actually a woman.
  • Half-Human Hybrid - The Inheritors are half-gods, the Nephilim are half-angels or demons.
  • Have You Seen My God? - The Creator left about 20000 years ago. The Heavenly Host have been searching for (Him? Her? It?) for most of that time, when not busy "keeping those upstart humans in line" (which probably is very far from the Creator's original plans).
  • Legions of Hell - They're actually on mankind's side for this conflict. It's kinda hard to damn all mortals to prove they're unworthy of The Creator if a Cosmic Horror devours all of reality, you included.
  • Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot - An apocalyptic setting where angels, demons, pagan gods, witches, psychics, the undead, and immortals have all teamed up to fight Lovecraftian Mad Gods!
  • Out-Gambitted - Although not stated outright in the book, Archangel Gabriel has this happen to him in a BIG way. Not only did his Combine patsies completely fail to stem the rise of supernatural awareness among humans, but they were completely blindsided by Leviathan's minions. There are in fact several hints that the Combine was in large part subverted by the Church of Revelations to their ends.
  • Path of Inspiration - The Church of Revelations does not claim it's trying to end the world and corrupt everyone into mindless servants of an extra-dimensional Mad God, or at least it's being done for the benefit of mankind.
  • The End of the World as We Know It - That's the price of failure.
  • The Unmasqued World