Adventures In Random Roleplay: The Witch Is Dead Edition – The Eyes Of Forest Are Upon You

Welcome back, dice fondlers! This week, we’re taking a look at one of the shortest RPGs I’ve ever had the pleasure of playing — The Witch is Dead.

The Witch is Dead is the creation of Grant Showitt, who has become well-known for writing streamlined RPGs. If you’re a big Critical Role fan, you’ve seen his other games played on their one-off episodes (Honey Heist and Crash Pandas). The Witch is Dead itself is a significantly darker game than either of those, even though it continues the theme of having players take on the role of woodland creatures. How dark? Well, we’ll get into that in a moment. For now, feel free to grab the official PDF of the game below and get ready to follow along.

*NSFW warning. The game PDF contains colorful language & artistic violence.

How did she die, you ask?

You play the “adorable” animal companion of the deceased. Awwwwww.

In The Witch is Dead, you are the adorable companion of a Witch who lives happily in the remote forest. Happily, that is, until a Witch-Hunter shows up, drags her out of her home, and straight up murders her.

This may be a one page RPG, but there is plenty of foul language to go around. The sense of outrage is meant to be palpable here. Your mistress is DEAD!

Roll a d10 to determine what kind of companion animal you are. This also determines the ratings on your 4 Attributes: Clever, Fierce, Sly, and Quick. Roll again to find out what kind of simple hedge magic your witch taught you before her unfortunate demise.

The witch’s dear familiars believe that if they can retrieve the eyes of the horrible Witch-Hunter and bring them to the Witch’s body, she can be revived. While it sounds grim, just remember that while these incredibly clever animals that know some very simple magic are motivated and well-meaning… they don’t actually KNOW that this will bring back their Witch. Whether or not it works is actually up to the GM.

Plot twists with RANDOM TABLES!

If this is all there were to The Witch is Dead, the scenario would seem almost too plain, am I right? Well, to spice things up, they’ve included RANDOM TABLES (two of my favorite words in the English language, right behind “BOOK DEAL”).

The first table is a list of ten possible facts about the village. We roll a d10 twice and find out how this village is different from any others we’ve played through previously. We then roll a d10 on the Witch-Hunter table to learn a bit about our antagonist. Finally, the GM rolls a d10 in secret and finds out what the story’s twist is.

So, for example, we could have a village that is FILLED WITH CHEERY GNOMES and is OPPRESSIVELY PERFECT, with a Witch-Hunter who is GUARDED AND COWARDLY, with the real twist being that THE WITCH-HUNTER DIDN’T ACTUALLY DO IT. Likewise, we could have a village that is CONTROLLED BY A CREEPY CULT and is UNDER THE THUMB OF THE LOCAL BARON, with a Witch-Hunter who is JOLLY AND WELL-MEANING, with the real twist being that THE ENTIRE VILLAGE IS IN ON IT. The possibilities are pretty spectacular, especially once you start talking about random animals with random spells.

Danger Points

Conflict resolution is handled by simply adding the correct Attribute to a d10 roll. Simple tasks require a 6, with higher difficulty requiring higher numbers, maxing out at nearly impossible at 10. GM characters never roll, but force player characters to roll instead.

Each time a character does something dangerous, they gain a point of DANGER if they fail. DANGER can be reduced by solving problems or running away from the current situation at the GM’s discretion. If a character’s dice roll is ever BELOW their DANGER rating, they are in serious trouble— dead, lost, captured, or otherwise incapacitated. How does the story end? Well, that’s for all of you to decide, isn’t it?


I hope you enjoyed this week’s bit of random roleplay, my friends. One sheet games are near to my heart as they are simple enough for new friends to grasp without needing to be taught an entirely new system and a refresher math course. Now don’t worry, I’ll be back next week with another round of RPG delights for you, but until then, remember to…

STAY RANDOM!!!

mm

Written by: Jason A. Clark

Writer, Salesman, Cartographer of The Weird Realms In My Head

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