Witchburner is a novella-length tabletop rpg adventure. It’s an intimate, tragic adventure of witch hunting in a town huddled between rivers and mountains and forests one wet and cold October.
Over 64 pages it delivers a mostly system-neutral adventure with:
- A brief description of the town with an ill-labelled map. Scrawl on it.
- A detailed breakdown of how to run the social investigation adventure.
- Simple rules for time, alcohol, love, fear, the mob, and, yes, torture (I mean, it’s witchburner, after all).
- A breakdown on how to adapt OSR stats for play on the fly.
- A few random encounters.
- Some “inexplicable witchcraft related phenoma”.
- A tracker for 30 key NPCs.
- A massive, watch-by-watch breakdown of a whole 30-day month (October, if you’re asking. The 31st is not included).
- An even more massive breakdown of the aforementioned 30 townspeople (NPCs), their houses, treasures, secret lore and household, giving you about 100 different NPCs.
- An appendix with suggested music.
- And a little art.
What people have said:
“Everything has this sense of horror … these are people who survived [war] and can easily wind up burned to death by the party.” —an editor.
“This is amazing. I started to read it over my morning coffee and couldn’t put it down. I’ve never been so immersed by an RPG module before. The detail of the villagers, the town, the history, the weird, all awesome … I would totally read a novel in this setting.” —a patron.
“I love this. It’s rad. It has witchy things. How could I NOT like it?” —another patron.
“… the standout in Witchburner for me is the writing. Each of the town’s 30 NPCs comes with a short piece of prose, as an introduction. Players won’t really get to see these anecdotes in play, I don’t think—but they are great as mood- and character-setting for GMs. And they are legit great pieces of prose writing, generally.” —Zedeck S (hey, if you print them out and hand them out as “investigation candy” if they dig into character backgrounds, they will see them. In fact, that would be a great idea and if I had remembered it, I would have done it. Heck, you know what? I’m going to make a prose handout for players -L).
“… Witchburner is a joy to just flip through, with several beautiful ink-style illustrations to feast your eyes on. The content itself is very usable and helps the GM set the scene for a village that is about to undergo a lot of trouble, some involving witches.” —a wise reader
“The scenario is a definite twist on gaming conventions. It is a great example of putting players in a painful moral quandary without railroading them in the slightest.” —Somebody Who Gets It
“I knew it would be too dark from my regular gaming group, but I wanted to see a good Halloween adventure. Witchburner didn’t disappoint.” —Even If You Won’t Run It
“In German it would be called Hexenbrenner.” —Wishful Thinking
Dungeons and Possums has a new, wonderfully kind, review of Witchburner. I’m not spoiling anything by giving you the conclusion: “It sets out to be a tense, atmospheric social adventure with a structured, open-ended investigation in the fantasy equivalent of a small, superstitious central European town. Very importantly, it achieves exactly that, and it does so with excellent artistic accompaniment in that immediately identifiable Luka Rejec style.”
Jeremy Friesen of Take On Rules has written a longer review of Witchburner. I’m not going to spoil it for you, but will include the last paragraph: “In reading Witchburner, I thought of the Bamberg witch trials and how Witchburner would fit in a game set during the Thirty Years War—The 17th century is the now default timeframe for “Lamentations of the Flame Princess” or “Warhammer Fantasy RPG”. I also think “Burning Wheel” would be an excellent ruleset for this adventure.”
Bryce Lynch of Ten Foot Pole reviewed it and concluded it was probably one of the best, but also one that makes him very uncomfortable: “And yet we continue to live our lives and have an adventure, placing meaning. [Life is, of course, without meaning. You can’t give it meaning. You must live it anyway, recognizing the absurdity.] This adventure gets up close to a line I’m uncomfortable with in adventures.”
This work was made possible with the gracious support of the heroes of the stratometaship. If you enjoy Witchburner, consider joining the stratometaship for more content and more sticks.