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Witches of the West

Witches of the West

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In a world reminiscent of the old American West, Law is upheld by travelling witches, women of power who are marked only by the silver pentagram they wear upon their breast.

1,582 readers have visited Witches of the West since madscirat created it.

Introduction

In the 1500s the Wyck, those people who carried in their blood the heritage of Pagan Magic, fled across the sea to escape the fires of the Inquisition. As colonists from the Christian kingdoms followed them they were forced to retreat farther and farther into the wilderness of the West. There on the frontier they make their last stand against the endless march of 'civilization' and religion.

Witches see the conflict as a battle between two laws, a battle which their prophets tell them they are destined to loose. Their law, the law that every witch enforces to her dying day, is the Law of the Heart. This Law can Never be written and lives in the beating heart of every human being, even those who have tried to close themselves off from its whispers. The other law, the Law of the Word, represents the codified edicts of states and faiths. According to the witches it is written so that it can be twisted and manipulated, used to enslave rather than protect and to create inequality rather than equality. The two Laws can not coexist and this is becoming apparent as a fledgling America expands her borders further and further West. The Law of the Witches, which for so long kept justice upon the open prairie, is now being contested by Eastern Lawyers and Federal Marshals both of whom consider witches vigilantes.

In their fight the Witches have few allies, though, one might be the native peoples of the West. Like the witches they carry a magic in their blood, a much older more primal magic. Those who inherit this gift are called Shifters and can blend their forms with that of a specific animal, usually a carnivore, native to their land. Although the witches hold many beliefs in common with these Shifters there has long been mistrust between the two. Part of this is because the witches have invariably needed to protect settlers from Indian attack, sometimes with deadly force, but mainly it is due to the weapons of the witches. As an aid in their magic women of the Wyck use silver bullets exclusively as ammunition, silver being a metal which due to its magical properties is anathema to nearly all supernaturals, Shifters included.

The newly freed Negros also hold the Wyck in high regard. Before and during the war witches rescued many from bondage. However, as a result of the violence of the war Witches wound up fighting Northern soldiers more than Southern as they protected innocent people from rampaging troops. In the Post war period the Witches have been characterized as rebels who supported slavery even though they were smuggling slaves across the border decades before the war began. Using their fabricated ties to the Confederacy as reason, the victorious Union, backed by religious authority, does its best to hunt down the remaining witches.

Witchcraft

Strictly speaking witchcraft is the channeling of energy through a media. In the past wands and daggers (athame) were used for this purpose and were always constructed of silver, a metal uniquely conductive to magic in its pure form. Modern witches still occasionally use knives but most prefer silver bullets to channel their spells. When their bullets strike their target they unleash the magic imbued within them causing a variety of effects. Not all such spells are lethal, in fact, the one spell known by almost all witches is the wax bullet spell which stuns but does not kill the target of the shot. Spells are notoriously hard to master and the average witch usually knows no more than a handful.

One vital aspect to magic and a fact which has long influenced the culture of witchcraft is its passage through the blood. This means that it is inherited through the placental connection and that women alone can pass on the gift. Although men, called warlocks, can inherit it, their inability to pass it on has long lead to an inferior status within the Wyck. Due to the often violent actions of Warlocks in recent history most witches refuse to teach the gift to males who carry the blood. As a result there are very few male witches.

Magic in its pure form is called electricity by the Easterners. It can be seen as flashes in the sky and felt by the hairs on the back of your neck when it is being worked near by. For this reason most witches consider eastern technology's gradual use and control of electricity to be near to blasphemy. Many destroy such technomagical devices when they find them.

Spells

Most trained witches know between seven and thirteen spells. Cast by extreme concentration and visualization methods, spells are patterns of magical energy. Since such patterns easily disintegrate in the world at large silver must be used to shelter them until their full effects bloom into being. Largely speaking there are two classes of spells, channels and enchantments. Enchantments are the more common and constitute all bullet-based witch craft. In these spells the pattern of magic is static until the media is disturbed, this usually being the point at which the bullet strikes its target (spells can be triggered before this by hard impacts of the metallic slug so witches must be careful when storing their enchanted rounds). Most such enchantments have a 'shelf life' of little more than a month. At this point the magic begins to fade until the spell is rendered useless. Channeled spells are a much more ancient magic in which the pattern of energy of the spell is not static but flowing. Such spells use older conduits like daggers and wands. Although magic cast in this way can be very powerful, it has four major disadvantages. One, the magic can not extend beyond the implement so it is limited by its range. Two, the witch must maintain contact with the implement or the channel is broken. Three, the steady flow of magic is draining to the witch and she soon tires when casting it and four since channels are cast without preparation they are necessarily simpler than enchantments. Needless to say modern witches tend to focus on enchantment and use channeling mainly when involved in close up fighting.

Marksmanship

All witches are trained in firearms and accuracy from the time they are old enough to walk. As a result they wield their revolvers and rifles with a skill that most frontiersmen see as magic in and of itself. In fact most of their powers of accuracy are derived from a secret method much akin to Zen Archery. In meditation witches learn to collapse the illusion of an expansive and separate world into a single unity. In this trance, witches find they can hit any target they can see as easily as reaching up and touching their own nose. Of course this is seen as much more than a way to shoot better by the witches who consider the unity of all being to be the ultimate reality and the one which awaits us all after death.

Handguns used by witches are usually of smaller caliber than standard pistols, lighter to draw and quicker to load. They also tend to have longer barrels than eastern revolvers giving the weapons a farther range of accuracy. Rifles used by witches differ little from those used by Indians or frontiersmen. Scatter guns are universally reviled by witches and no practitioner would carry such a crude weapon.

Supernaturals

More terrifying things than Witches walk the lonely prairies after dark. Of course, as already mentioned the most abundant 'monster' in the west are the shifters all of whom come from native or african stock. Although witches see shifters as posessing a blood magic like their own, the shifting gift is actually genetic in its inheritance. A recessive allele, it can be passed by either mother or father. Africans taken as slaves brought their own native gift across the ocean. Shifters are notoriously hard to kill, their body regenerating from any injury in a matter of minutes, however, silver due to its magical properties disrupts the shifter's biological magic. Lodging the metal in their bodies is tantamount to jamming a needle in an electronic device. Most quickly revert to their human form and all their powers of regeneration cease. Like Witches Shifters are seen by White preachers as demonic servants put on earth to slaughter the lambs of Christ. In most western territories it is legal to hunt and kill them as ranchers do wolves.

Probably the most common supernatural foe witches face is of their own creation, warlocks. Warlocks are men who carry the blood of the Wyck in their veins. For most power has driven them mad and made them into egomaniacs. Although, capable of all the feats of witches warlocks harbor none of their self imposed limitations. Rather than relying on just their own power they have been known to draw from others through ritual sacrifice thus expanding the potency of their magic many fold. Warlocks also have no compunction against seeking the aid of demons and wraiths. Many of their allies are such creatures given flesh either living or dead to inhabit and set upon the earth. Although there are a few good warlocks who resist temptation, these tend to hide their magic for fear of being mistaken for their maniacal brethren and gunned down by the women of the Wyck.

In the cities of the east another supernatural holds sway, one which has long plotted the downfall of witches. Wyck tradition states that the first of them were male witches, warlocks, who, desiring to pass on their blood magic as women do, created a ritual of blood drinking and in the process created a monster. Vampires are considered little more than fairy tales by most witches, stories told to apprentices to frighten them. Only those who travel in the industrialized north and the old crones know the truth. Vampires not only exist, they control much of America from its business to its government; some believe they are even the hidden rulers of the Christian church. Fortunately the blood-suckers, like all supernatural creatures, can not abide the touch of silver and silver bullets disrupt their many dark powers so long as the metal is in contact with their flesh. In the West where human populations are less dense, vampires are harder to find though they are still to be found, in the shadows of gambling halls, the lower decks of river boats, and the slums of immigrant shanty towns. Wherever there is blood to be had and money to be made, you will find them.

Spirits, according to witches, are beings who have magical form but no material body to go along with it. They are, in a sense, living spells. In our terms they might be called self organizing electric fields. Witches say you can sense them pass when you have an unexpected shiver or see the hairs of your arm stand up. Some of these spirits are wraiths, human souls which seek but have not found rest, others are native spirit-guides and ancestors, still others are the very daemons the Christian Church fears brought with them over the ocean like stow-away rats. In general the Wyck believes spirits to be a nuisance at best. Though, they might offer help, they will always ask for something in return. 'No gift from the spirit world comes without a price,' an old crone once said. Witches who always prefer to rise or fall by their own power spurn all such advances and for this reason their spiritual magic focuses almost entirely on deterance. Shamans of the native people and some shifters, however, readily accept help from spirits and often follow many superstitious proscriptions as a result of their alliegances. Some Christian priests also interact with the spirit world. Many claim to drive out demons, though witches realize its the self diminishing nature of their teachings which leave people easy prey for parasitic spirits in the first place. Of course, as mentioned above, warlocks are the most notorious spiritualists. Their diabolism knows no end in its cruelty or its wickedness and even the echoes of its rituals often walk the prairies for years spreading fear and murder across western towns. Finally there are a few inventors who dabble in things spiritual attempting to harm and even catch such creatures with bizarre new electrical equipment.

Technology

The technology of the period can be considered roughly equal with that available during and after the Civil War. However, on occasion more advanced technology will be introduced. Among such advanced technology may be derigibles, automatic rifles, and strange technomagic devices powered, in some cases, by bound spirits.

Religion

Witches practice a form of paganism which teaches that the divine is imminent in all things, animals, plants and people. Although they do recognize a Goddess who is one and the same with the earth itself, they do not worship her or expect special favors from her. Chief among the beliefs of witches is the sanctity of the human. They view sex as natural and beautiful if consensual and they see every emotion even hate, lust and envy as having their place. Only repression has no place in witchcraft.

The religion of the mainstream culture is nearly identical to the period. Protestant evangelism is sweeping the nation and preachers warn their congregations of the fires of hell and the temptations of things like alcohol, sex and of course witchcraft. Although witch trials and burnings are no longer technically legal, lynchings of witches and burnings conducted by the faithful are still common throughout the West.

Minorities

Apart from Natives and Blacks, the other nonwhite race most commonly encountered in the West will be the Chinese, or Dragon-folk as they are sometimes called. This name is derived from the commonly known legend that they come from an empire ruled by dragons. Few can confirm or deny such stories because the Chinese are an extremely closed off group. They view Americans as unclean barbarians and Americans view them as strange and effeminate. As a result the two cultures rarely mix even when they work side by side. Due to the work ethic and skills of the Dragon-Folk, they have become the nearly universal employees of the railroad, replacing, much to their shame, the Irish workmen.

Among the whites there also exists a minority, set apart not by skin color but religion. The Mormons moved west to escape the prejudice they encountered in the east. Unfortunately it seems to follow them wherever they go. Mormons set themselves apart from other Christians by the embracing of an additional book of the Bible which tells of a strange history predating European colonization. They also (during this time period) follow a polygamous lifestyle with prominent men of the community often taking several wives. Whether you ascribe to their teachings or not, one thing is undeniable. The Mormons unlike other whites are far more tolerant and open in their treatment of native peoples, due, perhaps in part, to these peoples' role in their scriptures.

Story

Most of the players will start as witches who travel together for protection, a common arrangement on the modern frontier. Players who do not want to play witches can create other characters who will wind up travelling with the witches and accompanying them on their adventures. Shifters are allowed but must either be native or black characters. Also be well researched in your tribe or in Black American roots if you wish to play one of these people.

Toggle Rules

1) Don't tell the GM how he should run his game.
2) Know at least a little American History
3) Don't create a character who's an exception to the themes laid out in the introduction and think this makes you original (Christian witch, white shape shifter, etc.) You aren't original at all you're just not creative enough to draw a detailed character within the space given.
4) Don't pollute my story with stupid anime/fantasy tropes
5) Don't copy my story or any of my ideas
6) Don't be a douche, a rule to live by

Browse All » 9 Settings to roleplay in

The Frontier

The Frontier by madscirat

The Witches call it the Last Stand, the place where, according to prophecy, the final battle between freedom and dominion will be fought...and lost.

North Central Indian Territory

North Central Indian Territory by RolePlayGateway

'These lands are not yours, where you take you steal, where you breathe you foul the air, where you walk you trample the spirits of my ancestors.' -Chief Burning Sky

Stillriver

Stillriver by RolePlayGateway

Stillriver: You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy. You must be cautious

Haartvelt House

Haartvelt House by RolePlayGateway

Make yourself comfortable, there now, would you like to see some of my girls.

Number Eight Saloon

Number Eight Saloon by RolePlayGateway

Is eight your lucky number? Why don't you try your hand at the dice and find out.

Starlight Stage and Tavern

Starlight Stage and Tavern by RolePlayGateway

You sir in the front row. You say your from Texas? Well cowboy, even you haven't seen stars like we got.

Main Street

Main Street by RolePlayGateway

They say mainstreet Stillriver is paved with blood, but anyone who's been round at night when the chamber pots are thrown out knows this ain't the case.

Suskwahanah Boarding House

Suskwahanah Boarding House by RolePlayGateway

So long as your're staying under this roof there'll be no whoring, no dope, and no swearing. No I ain't joking and yes I know this is Stillriver.

Chinese District

Chinese District by RolePlayGateway

Hou hoisam yihngsik neih

The Story So Far... Write a Post » as written by 6 authors

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Mariana dropped her gun as a gun shot hit her arm. She bent low on one knee grabbing the arm. A fire burst to life inside her and she was at the first stage of seeing red. She picked up her gun and, wanting to kill but seeing the other guy and feeling his was very authoritative, placed it in its halter. The man who shot her, the smaller one, lay unconscious on the ground. She gave him a good kick the head, which gave her good satisfaction.

"Yur a stupid idiot," she seethed at him. She turned to the guy that she had originally been helping, he had a restrained anger on his face. "Best not to keep that anger bottled up like that sir, soon you'll find yourself unable to stop killin'. If you want to, shoot his legs, that way it'll make ya feel better and then he can't run," she wasn't one to usually give friendly advice, but she knew his anger would eventually blow and she was nervous she would be around and get the blast of it. She looked at her hand that was holding her wound and saw that it was bleeding profusely. She bent down and ripped of long piece of fabric from her skirt trying, and struggling, to tie it around the wound.

View All »Arcs

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The Frontier

The Frontier by madscirat

The Witches call it the Last Stand, the place where, according to prophecy, the final battle between freedom and dominion will be fought...and lost.

North Central Indian Territory

North Central Indian Territory by RolePlayGateway

'These lands are not yours, where you take you steal, where you breathe you foul the air, where you walk you trample the spirits of my ancestors.' -Chief Burning Sky

Stillriver

Stillriver by RolePlayGateway

Stillriver: You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy. You must be cautious

Haartvelt House

Haartvelt House by RolePlayGateway

Make yourself comfortable, there now, would you like to see some of my girls.

Number Eight Saloon

Number Eight Saloon by RolePlayGateway

Is eight your lucky number? Why don't you try your hand at the dice and find out.

Starlight Stage and Tavern

Starlight Stage and Tavern by RolePlayGateway

You sir in the front row. You say your from Texas? Well cowboy, even you haven't seen stars like we got.

Main Street

Main Street by RolePlayGateway

They say mainstreet Stillriver is paved with blood, but anyone who's been round at night when the chamber pots are thrown out knows this ain't the case.

Suskwahanah Boarding House

Suskwahanah Boarding House by RolePlayGateway

So long as your're staying under this roof there'll be no whoring, no dope, and no swearing. No I ain't joking and yes I know this is Stillriver.

Chinese District

Chinese District by RolePlayGateway

Hou hoisam yihngsik neih

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Character Portrait: Jonathan Darkholme
0 sightings Jonathan Darkholme played by ViviOrunitiaFF9
just because I am a man, doesn't mean I will fall prey to the temptations of power.
Character Portrait: Robyn Delainey
0 sightings Robyn Delainey played by Angelika Petrova
Touch my brother, and I assure you, you will die....
Character Portrait: Damian Wilson
0 sightings Damian Wilson played by Firewind
Just a stranger passing through

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View All » Add Character » 10 Characters to follow in this universe

Character Portrait: Claire Crawley "White Crow"
Character Portrait: Wuyi

Newest

Character Portrait: Wuyi
Wuyi

Abandoned beliefs, newfound curse, generations of repent.

Character Portrait: Claire Crawley "White Crow"
Claire Crawley "White Crow"

Don't let that shootin' thar bother'ya. Here hav'a swig.

Trending

Character Portrait: Wuyi
Wuyi

Abandoned beliefs, newfound curse, generations of repent.

Character Portrait: Claire Crawley "White Crow"
Claire Crawley "White Crow"

Don't let that shootin' thar bother'ya. Here hav'a swig.

Most Followed

Character Portrait: Claire Crawley "White Crow"
Claire Crawley "White Crow"

Don't let that shootin' thar bother'ya. Here hav'a swig.

Character Portrait: Wuyi
Wuyi

Abandoned beliefs, newfound curse, generations of repent.


View All » Places

The Frontier

The Frontier by madscirat

The Witches call it the Last Stand, the place where, according to prophecy, the final battle between freedom and dominion will be fought...and lost.

North Central Indian Territory

North Central Indian Territory by RolePlayGateway

'These lands are not yours, where you take you steal, where you breathe you foul the air, where you walk you trample the spirits of my ancestors.' -Chief Burning Sky

Stillriver

Stillriver by RolePlayGateway

Stillriver: You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy. You must be cautious

Haartvelt House

Haartvelt House by RolePlayGateway

Make yourself comfortable, there now, would you like to see some of my girls.

Number Eight Saloon

Number Eight Saloon by RolePlayGateway

Is eight your lucky number? Why don't you try your hand at the dice and find out.

Starlight Stage and Tavern

Starlight Stage and Tavern by RolePlayGateway

You sir in the front row. You say your from Texas? Well cowboy, even you haven't seen stars like we got.

Main Street

Main Street by RolePlayGateway

They say mainstreet Stillriver is paved with blood, but anyone who's been round at night when the chamber pots are thrown out knows this ain't the case.

Suskwahanah Boarding House

Suskwahanah Boarding House by RolePlayGateway

So long as your're staying under this roof there'll be no whoring, no dope, and no swearing. No I ain't joking and yes I know this is Stillriver.

Chinese District

Chinese District by RolePlayGateway

Hou hoisam yihngsik neih

The Frontier

The Witches call it the Last Stand, the place where, according to prophecy, the final battle between freedom and dominion will be fought...and lost.

Number Eight Saloon

Stillriver Number Eight Saloon Owner: RolePlayGateway

Is eight your lucky number? Why don't you try your hand at the dice and find out.

Starlight Stage and Tavern

You sir in the front row. You say your from Texas? Well cowboy, even you haven't seen stars like we got.

Main Street

Stillriver Main Street Owner: RolePlayGateway

They say mainstreet Stillriver is paved with blood, but anyone who's been round at night when the chamber pots are thrown out knows this ain't the case.

Stillriver

Stillriver: You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy. You must be cautious

Chinese District

Stillriver Chinese District Owner: RolePlayGateway

Hou hoisam yihngsik neih

Suskwahanah Boarding House

So long as your're staying under this roof there'll be no whoring, no dope, and no swearing. No I ain't joking and yes I know this is Stillriver.

North Central Indian Territory

'These lands are not yours, where you take you steal, where you breathe you foul the air, where you walk you trample the spirits of my ancestors.' -Chief Burning Sky

Haartvelt House

Stillriver Haartvelt House Owner: RolePlayGateway

Make yourself comfortable, there now, would you like to see some of my girls.

Fullscreen Chat » Create Topic » Witches of the West: Out of Character

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Most recent OOC posts in Witches of the West

Re: [OOC] Witches of the West

Okay now, Hopefully I will get to join you guys pretty soon.

Oh and zolzol, Sweet ID pic.. Do the evolution.

Re: [OOC] Witches of the West

@vivi I am waiting on your post. The gunmen are your NPCs and we need to know what they are doing before continuing. As a rule I do not write NPCs introduced by another person and it would be a particular nono in this case since they are involved with your character's back story.

Re: [OOC] Witches of the West

@ Madscirat Can I join you on when you do chop it down? :D

Re: [OOC] Witches of the West

LOL now there are four. If I find what tree these gunmen are falling off of, I'm chopping it down.

Re: [OOC] Witches of the West

Sorry I got sorta confused when the taller gunman went to the alley. To me that says there's about three of four. (starts listing off on fingers) The taller one, the little one, and one or two? in the alley helping the taller and shorter one.

@Vivi how many did you intend there to be?

Re: [OOC] Witches of the West

After careful deciphering of the last few posts in order to find out WTH is going on, I found that the number of gunmen introduced initially somehow jumped from two in vivi's first post to three in the latest one. If I am not mistaken somehow, go ahead and correct that error.

I hope those who started this chaos intend to finish it because having absolutely zero information about these gunmen prevents me from NPCing them.

.

Re: [OOC] Witches of the West

No problema then. >.> I'll be careful no worries. Once I learn one mistake, I make certain it doesn't happen again.

Re: [OOC] Witches of the West

Firewind wrote:Okay I'll edit it a tiny bit.


No need to edit, it's not that important. Just try to be more mindful in the future.

@Vivi I really appreciate the detail you've given to your treatment of your character's magic, but another gunfight, really? At this point that's like seeing a pile of cherries and putting a cherry on top.

@all Lets try to ease up on the gun-fights and actually have some character interactions that don't involve lead, or silver as the case may be. Finish the ongoing fight by all means but DO NOT make our western into some arena game where everyone is trying to out-bad-ass everyone else, please.

Re: [OOC] Witches of the West

Okay I'll edit it a tiny bit.

Re: [OOC] Witches of the West

@Firewind When posting in a scene with other players or central NPCs please give them a chance to react to anything you think they might react to.........such as a gunfight. By having them do nothing, you are effectively writing their character. In this case it is particularly grating because as you may recall witches are the peace keepers throughout all the west which could still be called 'wild'. As a result the fact that one would simply sit and drink her whiskey while a gun fight goes on behind her, is entirely out of character.

Re: [OOC] Witches of the West

I'll delete the tumble weed then. Yes, this is all going to be explained as we progress with the roleplay.

Re: [OOC] Witches of the West

@vivi For future reference we are starting in the Northern plains, a region analagous to present day North Dakota. Tumbleweeds are native to the southern deserts and dry steppes. If this is a flashback to when you were somewhere else then cool but always title flashbacks with something like 'Two days Ago' 'In the Distant Past' 'Four Score and Seven years Ago', etc..

Also I hope you are not forgetting that seeker bullets require a hair from the target and can't work on just anybody. If this is part of what you intend to explain later then all good.

@Angelika As far as I can tell there was actually no magic used in the scene. Only regular bullets were fired and witches need no magic to be crack shots. The closest thing to magic would be the spirit flitting about who is made of magic.

Re: [OOC] Witches of the West

Huh? *Opens link , falls over laughing*

Oh god XD Thats the themesong now? All I can see is our characters staring someone down tell a tumble weed rolls by...actually I think i'm going to have Jeckteth carry a tumbleweed around for just such occasions.

Re: [OOC] Witches of the West

Ah , my bad. Fixy uppy power GOOOOOOO~ *themesong*

....No I have no idea what my theme song is. *shrug*

Re: [OOC] Witches of the West

@zolzol His name is Lukas not Luka. Otherwise nice post.

Re: [OOC] Witches of the West

@all Good posts so far, everyone. Be mindful of what place your post is in though. Its easy to forget and I found in my last post that you can not edit it if you make a mistake. If you do forget like me then just make a note of it at the top of the post.

Also be mindful that NPCs do not speak for the GM. Just because Claire tells you not to cause trouble in her town does not mean I, as the GM, am saying this. Claire is just a character and players should always try to play as their character would act regardless. The only plot constriction I want to place on the players is to try not to leave Stillriver until the group is more or less formed. Writing separate posts for every player in a game is just too much for this mortal GM.

Re: [OOC] Witches of the West

@zolzol Looks good except spirit abilities should be called powers or charms, to delineate them from the learned spells of humans.

@All Settings are up and I will start to post some scene openers. If you don't see an opening to insert your character then either be patient or make an opening (make the first post in a scene yourself).

Re: [OOC] Witches of the West

Added a spells , rituals and contract section too Jeckteths profile.

I only gave him three spells and three rituals as to leave room for one or two more additions as the game progresses.

The contract section is incase any of you want to buy Jeckteths services so you understand exacly how it is done and what the consequences are.

Re: [OOC] Witches of the West

So when are we going to start?