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WITCH: Fated Souls 2e Quickstart, A Halloween Season Review

This autumn, Elizabeth Chaipraditkul brings her urban fantasy RPG back to tabletop with WITCH: Fated Souls 2e. In WITCH, your character is a Fated, an individual that sold their soul to a demon in exchange for power. Despite the price, there’s hope that they might beat their demon and reclaim their soul. Focused on power and outsmarting a demon, each Fated feels they might get their soul back...

This autumn, Elizabeth Chaipraditkul brings her urban fantasy RPG back to tabletop with WITCH: Fated Souls 2e. In WITCH, your character is a Fated, an individual that sold their soul to a demon in exchange for power. Despite the price, there’s hope that they might beat their demon and reclaim their soul. Focused on power and outsmarting a demon, each Fated feels they might get their soul back, they just have to be clever enough to outsmart their demonic warden. Can they do it? In advance of the upcoming Kickstarter, I’m looking at the newly published 2e Quickstart analyzing the concepts, mechanics, and how this booklet plays.

Witch- Fated Souls 2e Quickstart.jpg

The WITCH: Fated Souls 2e Quickstart is designed and developed by Elizabeth Chaipraditkul and Steffie de Vaan with additional writing, art, layouts, and edits by a host of other worthy souls. Published by Angry Hamster Publishing, this project is set in today’s world incorporating inspiration from Supernatural, The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, and American Horror Story: Coven. To be crystal clear, this RPG deals with mature themes and asks difficult questions, as would be expected from talents like Elizabeth Chaipraditkul and Steffie de Vaan. The quickstart prepares the ground for the full-sized new version of this RPG, which launches on Halloween. Granted magic, your character explores and fights against the supernatural. This is not a limited concept, these powers aren’t modest, they’re powerful enough to move between planes of existence.

With a title that includes the term “Witch” and a concept that trucks in demons and souls sold, there is the possibility of stumbling into difficult concepts that might make gameplay less fun. To counteract this, the quickstart offers a full original ruleset on how to ensure player comfort. Going deeper into responsible play, I asked co-author Steffie de Vaan this: Wicca and witches are integrated concepts. While many games treat witches as no different than fantasy wizards, there is a real world equivalent to be considered. Will there be guidance on the difference between in-games witches (Fated) and real world Wicca? In answer, I learned more about the connections and differences between Wicca and witches as she shared a summary of the way this is addressed in the introduction to the corebook:

“Wicca and witchcraft are adjacent, but not completely the same. Wicca is a religion and many Wiccans, but not all, practice witchcraft. Witchcraft is a craft and many witches, but not all, are Wiccan. For example there’s also Chaos Magic, Thelema, Brujeria, etc. The corebook does address that witches exist in real life, and GMs are welcome to include them in their game. Witch: Fated Souls also explicitly assumes that all religions are ‘right.’ Fated, however, are not tied to any real world religion or craft. They are people who sold their soul to a demon and gained magic as part of the bargain, which is not the same as Wiccans (or any other religion) for obvious reasons.”

Afterlife- Wandering Souls.jpg

That clarified, let’s talk about the quickstart, and what it offers from the wider game. Keeping the first editions themes, the new version uses the same engine as Afterlife: Wandering Souls. Your character sold their soul and now they’re trapped. They have magic, they can see the infinite, but they pay a price. Their demon keeps them isolated; alone so they can’t resist as easily. These horrors have poisoned their friends against them, and kept them away from mundane avenues of assistance. Despite that, there’s hope. The Fated bide their time waiting to turn on their demon, reclaim their soul, and extricate themselves from this situation.

There are seven types of Fates and Fated, each coming from a different type of demon that took their soul. The type of demon – Cadavres, Draoithe, Heksen, Jinn, Seers, Sorcier, and Yokai – determines the magic your Fated has access to. More than just your character’s magic, their type and demon determine the kinds of stories that your Fated is likely to engage in. Different Fated have different types of demons and magic which makes them better suited to deal with specific problems.

The Fated’s magic comes from what the demon gave in the bargain, a shard of their essence. They gave their soul but it wasn’t a one-sided affair. Demons give power. The Fated have to learn how to connect with that power via rituals and the like, but the magic is theirs. In addition, the demon is also a last ditch lifeline if your Fated needs help desperately enough, they can call on their demon. But there’s a price and they’ve already sold their soul, so this option is best used judiciously. In addition, depending on how powerful your character is impacts how much your demon is willing to assist. The more powerful your Fated, the less help their demon is willing to give because they need to maintain their advantage. All of these factors impact the relationship between a demon and their Fated.

Despite the focus on the Fated and their demons, this RPG is more than a single concept RPG. The full RPG is a deep dive into the supernatural and traveling to other realms. Magic, menace, and moving from one dimension to another. The setting is the modern world and, as you might expect, it’s an environment that’s hidden, cloaked away from humanity’s gaze. Like many narratives, there’s a political element similar to Vampire: The Masquerade and other RPGs and stories where the Fated have developed their own laws and social norms to keep their existence hidden. Their reasoning is on solid ground. Not only would magic be off-putting, but revealing how that magic was paid for would certainly lead to conflicts that the Fated are not favored to win.

In terms of your character, they have their reasons for selling their soul. Beyond that, they have their magic, and three Stats: Body, Mind, and Spirit, which each have three related Attributes (Manoeuvre, Overcome, Withstand, Apply, Percept, Reason, Charm, Create, and Understand). Mechanically, this system involves checks for any situation that is in doubt. Using a dice pool of d6s, you combine a Stat and one of its Attributes to find the number of d6s you’ll roll. Each 4 or greater is a success. You’ll need to get 1 and 6 successes, based on the situations Stakes and Opposition, to overcome any challenge. You have what you roll plus a limited reserve of power to add successes to your total. If your character fails to reach the target, then they gain an experience point, but the situation gets worse from there.

Your character can do magic. Where that power gets interesting is one of your stats, Spirit, which gets translated into Power. Power is the internal source of your magical abilities. That’s critical, obviously. If your character’s Health reaches zero – a point where they would die – they can give up a point of Power to go on. However, without Power, they can’t cast magic, which is quite a blow to a character whose whole thing is magic.

While there are more rules including an overview of magic in the quickstart, this book is not a full rulebook. It does not have some critical details such as character creation and leveling, instead offering pre-gen characters for a one-shot adventure so you can sample the system and world. From that point of view, this quickstart has everything you’d need to play the game. There are core rules, a slick adventure, the aptly named “The Devil Made Me Do It,” that I will not spoil here, and seven pre-generated characters. The pre-gens are important as they give you a look into the magical options you can expect. If you want to get a sense of this RPG before it crowdfunds, this quickstart does a fantastic job of introducing the concepts behind the universe and teasing how a campaign might look.

Should you download WITCH: Fated Souls 2e Quickstart? If you’re looking for a dark urban fantasy with a specific gimmick (in this case, where your powers are owed to a demon, yet the possibilities are endless), WITCH: Fated Souls 2e promises to be exactly what you’re looking for. This quickstart gives a great sample of the world, letting you see what you’re getting into before backing the upcoming Kickstarter for the full RPG. Plus, with Halloween coming soon, this supernatural RPG drops in time to haunt your gaming table.

WITCH: Fated Souls 2e Quickstart from Angry Hamster Publishing is PWYW at DriveThruRPG. If you enjoy this quickstart, look for the full version of WITCH: Fated Souls 2e from Angry Hamster Publishing at Kickstarter on Halloween day and running through November 20, 2022.

Egg Embry participates in the OneBookShelf Affiliate Program, Noble Knight Games’ Affiliate Program, and is an Amazon Associate. These programs provide advertising fees by linking to DriveThruRPG, Noble Knight Games, and Amazon.
 

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