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WITCH DOCTORS: Ashcan Edition

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WITCH DOCTORS is a tabletop roleplaying game about the supernatural forces that vie for control of our minds, lives, and modern world, and the unique few capable of defying them for the sake of those who can’t.

This small subset of people are called Witch Doctors. Born different. Uniquely aware of those forces – some routine, some not – that fight for dominion and obedience. That prey upon the unsuspecting in unpredictable, often horrifying ways, using magick as a lever to twist human perception and physical laws to benefit someone with both the knowledge and ambition to do so.

In such cases, some Witch Doctors seek out a way to fracture the spell or spells victimizing innocent lives.

The process of uncovering the truth and bringing harmful magicks and those behind them to an end is called a Mystery. But the more Players dive into a Mystery, poking and prodding at its secrets, the more likely their characters will enter the line of fire of the twisted and depraved souls that unleashed the pain in the first place.

Welcome to our world. From bustling metropolis, to mountain village.
Only now, open your eyes.

"Witch Doctors feels like the next step in the evolution of tabletop roleplaying."  - Rhaz (@HappyCowFarms), The Zee Team

"Witch Doctors has about the easiest and most well thought-out guide to run a game that I've seen." - Brendyn Visser (@SkylordCarter), The Zee Team

WITCH DOCTORS was built with several key design premises:

  1. Play the Character, not the Character Sheet. If you know your Character and play them genuinely, not only will this be more immersive for you as a Player - but it's actually intended to mecahnically benefit you when the Guide makes a decision of what requires a roll of the dice and what doesn't. Most decisions you make should be able to be made without even looking at your Character Sheet. 
  2. Don't turn mechanical what should be sensible. An 'Underlying Principle' of the resolution system is that it's going to manage things up until the point at which the Characters' powers - or edge-case situations - simply overwhelm it; that veer into the supernatural in such a way that the natural proves incapable of modeling the results mechanically. This is by design. At these times, the result should operate sensibly to what has happened. This keeps things moving and gives Players the flexibility that magick within the game can offer.
  3. Every roll has an Outcome. When you roll dice, it's not about whether the specific action you took was a success or failure; it's about whether the belief or idea behind that action made sense for the given situation. As such, it's possible to attack a Character controlled by the Guide and roll poorly - yet land a killing blow because killing that person is actually worse than if you'd missed them. It's about the tone and direction the story takes based on your underlying belief and how it jives with reality.
  4. Magick is a double-edged sword. Each Character has a specific power that they can leverage the grimoire of magick to shape in literally hundreds of ways from the moment the Character is made. Players decide what that power is freely, but must be willing to accept the consequences along with the benefits of being able to do godly things. If they fail in the roll, the consequences - as with any Outcome in the game - can prove truly life-altering for themselves or those they care about.
  5. Running the game should not be time-consuming. Acting as the Guide should not be a part-time job, nor require days of prep. Though the Guide may introduce an inciting event to get Characters out of their comfort zones, what happens beyond that stems from the Characters' choices and the Outcomes of rolls. Guided Characters are not about numbers. They are a reflection of the world and should be human first, aggressors or allies second. Thus, they are easy mechanically to define but require that the Guide be thoughful about their actual persona and role in the story.    
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Discussions (2)
Customer avatar
Aaron S May 02, 2021 4:36 am UTC
I have been lucky enough to be able to a play tester on this game and must say it has quickly become my absolute favorite game and system to date, and I have been playing TTRPGs since the late 1990's. Give it chance and I believe you will find it as fun and as enthralling as I do myself.
Customer avatar
dars N April 20, 2021 12:40 am UTC
A few pages of preview would be nice.
Customer avatar
Marin O April 20, 2021 12:44 am UTC
Apologies for that, Dars. When I first set it up, I absolutely intended to have previews. Not sure how that got de-checked or unsaved. Nonetheless, I appreciate you pointing it out. It's now fixed. =)
Customer avatar
dars N April 20, 2021 12:49 am UTC
Great! Thanks. Interesting sounding concept.
Customer avatar
Marin O April 20, 2021 12:52 am UTC
No worries. If you find anything else, please let me know as soon as possible. :)
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File Last Updated:
April 24, 2021
This title was added to our catalog on April 19, 2021.