Jason had played this game once before and liked it. A few other people had heard of it. I was just thrilled to get a chance to play a game at Big Bad Con, and with other such cool people!
We talked about the game quite a bit on Daniel Hodges podcast Penny Red, episode 34 but there are still some highlights I’d like to hit.
The Play is the Thing
Witch, for those not familiar, is a situation based game where each player frames a scene during a particular event (in this case during a particular part of their travels) and then the story-line progresses. It is very similar to Montsegur 1244 in format.
The content is that five men have been sent to escort a confessed witch named Eloise to Lindisfarne where she will be burned to absove her of her sins and cure England of the plague people believe she has caused. As we play, the characters have to stare deep into this choice as well as answer their own person questions.
The scenes progress as the party travels from London to Lindesfarne. In each new location, one character is directed to read a passage, denote the mood of the scenes (hopeful, threatening, tumultuous, and finally decisive). The players, besides acting out an special instructions (like revealing secrets, etc) are then instructed to frame scenes with their characters. As you play, each character has three one word traits to describe them and three questions they should try to answer during play.
One thing I love about the questions is that they didn’t need to be answered overtly. For instance, I was playing Berrick, the young squire and one of my questions was “how did your younger sister die?”. I telegraphed pretty hard in my first interactions with the witch that I blamed her for taking my sister’s life. The players, all being smart people that were paying attention to the scenes quickly picked up that she died of the plague… but they didn’t leave it there. Later in the game when we were revealing secrets, the priest (and this was all on Daniel to invent) revealed that the told Berrick his sister had died of the plague, when really the priest had killed her to hid his illicit affair with her. It wasn’t until the epilogue that Berrick, sorting through an old musty chest found his sister’s locket that he had given her amid Brother Armond’s things. I love how I thought I knew the answer as a player, and as a character, but it kept changing throughout the game.
The players were wonderful. Hamish played a very noble Thorne, which made it that much more difficult for me to stay loyal to Sir Hayden. Jason was perfect as Ham. Greedy, thinking of himself, and not buying at all that Eloise was really a witch. Eric was so awful to me, all game long I loved it. Daniel played this very soft tempered priest who seemed so kind and wanting to forgive, except he was a terrible, terrible person. Finally Jeremy was just eviiiiilllll as Eloise. Evil!
We ended up betrayed and broken. It was fantastic.
Thoughts on the game
I really want to turn this into a LARP next year at Big Bad Con. I wonder if The Armory or Kink.com will rent me a cage.
I got to play all the way through an RPG at Big Bad Con. YAY!