Guest Blog: Using The Witch and Eldritch Witchery as a NIGHT SHIFT Resource

Believe it or not this year marks the 10th Anniversary of the publication of The Witch and Eldritch Witchery will be 9 years old.  While The Witch is firmly planted in the garden of "Basic-era" games, Eldritch Witchery uses O.R.C.S., the same system found in Spellcraft & Swordplay and something of a "little brother" to O.G.R.E.S. the system found in all of our NIGHT SHIFT games.  

What does that mean to you?  Adding material from these two books to your NIGHT SHIFT game is not only easy, but it can also make for a great game.

The Elf-Lair Coven

System Concerns

Let's address the first issue. One of system compatibility.  This thankfully is not a difficult one.  All three books, regardless of their native systems are all derived from the same OGC sources and the same Old-School gameplay.  So many of the underlying assumptions are all the same, or at least close enough. 

The NIGHT SHIFT Core has O.R.C.S. to O.G.R.E.S. conversion notes to make gameplay fluid between the two.  Also, these notes can also be used for the more, well, basic Witch book.

There is one factor here that makes the use of all three of these books easier.  All three have a witch class based on my writings and decades of playtests.  There is no reason why you should not be able to use any "witch" from one to the other.  I often mix my Basic-era Witch with Eldritch Witchery witches.  I even tried to keep the fluff unique between the books but kept similar mechanics where I could.

Gameplay conversion is a trivial matter. But that is not why you would want to do this. No, you want to do this to get the rich witch material from the first two books into your modern NIGHT SHIFT games.


The NIGHT SHIFT Core rule book has a lot of spells.  The Witch and Eldritch Witchery have some more.  One of the big reasons to grab these books for your NIGHT SHIFT game is to expand on the spell selection.

Now I caution against just adding any old spell to your NIGHT SHIFT game.  The spells in The Witch and Eldritch Witchery have a solid fantasy foundation to them and assume a fantasy game with elves, dragons, and dungeons.  As a Game Master do not just place a spellbook at random.  Books with real working spells in them should be very, very rare and very valuable.  

Young witch with a spell book.

The Traditions

The witch (and warlock) in the NIGHT SHIFT Core Rules is presented with only a little bit of background.  The goal was to have a witch class I could use anywhere for nearly anything.  Its flexibility is seen best in my GenerationHEX Night World where every character is assumed to be a witch of some sort. It is fun, but the class can go WAY beyond that.

The Witch and Eldritch Witchery include a concept I have used in all my witch books, Witchcraft Traditions.  These Traditions help define the differences between the various witches out there. Whether they are a cackling hag in league with "the Devil" or the wise healer and potions master or a powerful enchantress.  

In The Witch the traditions determine what "Occult Powers" the witch can get.  In Eldritch Witchery this goes a step more and helps determine what spells they have access to.  The Occult Powers from these books have their analog in the Arcane Powers in NIGHT SHIFT.  So when taking a witchcraft tradition you get an expanded selection of spells and your Arcane Powers at 4th, 7th, and 10th levels (and I would say 13th level as well) are the occult powers.  For NIGHT SHIFT I do not count the Familiar all witches get as an Arcane Power, but you can still include it if that works for your game. 

Here are the traditions and how they could be reworked for NIGHT SHIFT.  Note. The witches and warlocks of Eldritch Witchery only have three occult powers, four if you count the familiar.  Allow members of these Traditions to choose their 4th level Arcane Power and then follow with the rest. 

Young witch in front of a Zodiac
Aquarian (The Witch)

The Aquarian Order from the Witch has also been expanded already to cover the Sisters of the Aquarian Order for my Sci-fi games.  In NIGHT SHIFT they are the new age witches with horoscopes, tarot cards, and crystals.  Their powers are Astromancy, Moon Blessing, Planetary Blessing, and Zodiac Blessings.

Classical (The Witch) / Craft of the Wise (EW)

These are the witches of myth and legend.  If the writings of Margaret Murray had been true then these are those witches. Their powers are Temporary Magic (potions), Permanent Magic (items), Witch's Blessing, and Ability Bonus.

Dark School of the Scholomance (EW)

These witches are similar to the Malefic below but they get their instruction directly from "The Devil" himself.  Whether this is one of his Earthly guises or the actual devil is never mentioned by the 12 graduates. Their powers are, Curse, Summon Demon, and Demonic Apotheosis.

Faerie (The Witch & EW)

The faerie tradition is popular among many witches.  It even appears in both The Witch and Eldritch Witchery.  It is loosely based on Faery Wicca and Seax Wicca of our times.  Their powers are Speak to Plants and Animals, Fey Shape, Witch's Curse, and Shape Change.

Fraternity of the Bones (EW)

The Necromancers of NIGHT SHIFT in the original sense.  They talk to dead spirits to learn their magic.  Their powers are, Necromantic Spell use (use Necromancer Spells), Summon Spirit, Summon Greater Spirit.  I would say their 4th level power should be something like Summon Lesser Spirit which summons a 3 HD spirit.

Family Traditions (The Witch & EW)

These are traditions of one witch handing down their learning to the next generation.  We see these in fiction for witches like Angelique Bouchard Collins in Dark Shadows and the Mayfairs of Anne Rice's the Witching Hour.  Their powers are Favored Enemy (an Enemy of the family), Detect Bloodline, Family Curse, and Lore. 

Goetic (EW)

These are the witches you are most likely to find in one of Jason's Night Worlds.  They are the followers of the wisdom of King Solomon. Goetics also summon spirits but their pacts are with elemental forces as well.  Their powers are, Summon Elemental Spirit,  Summon Demon (Type I or II), Summon Demon (type III or IV), and Summon Demon (V or VI).  The demons they summon are more inline with the demons of the NIGHT SHIFT rules and can even be of neutral alignment.  The Goetics know many things.

Hermetic Lodge (EW)

The OTO, the Golden Dawn, the Rosicrucians, and others are represented here. Their powers deal with more and more difficult Arcana. Each power gives them "free" spells.  First Circle Arcana (1st and 2nd level spells), Second Circle Arcana (3rd and 4th level), Third Circle (5th and 6th level), Fourth Circle (7th and 8th).  The near-mythical Fifth Circle gives them mastery over reality-warping magics. 

Magna Matter (EW)

These are Goddess worshipping witches who follow the Great Earth Mother.  Are they the modern inheritors of the Eleusinian Mysteries? They will never tell. Their powers are Gift of Prophecy, Drawing Down the Moon, and Charge of the Goddess.

Maleficia (The Witch) / Demonic (EW)

These are your devil-worshipping witches of medieval tapestries and woodcuts or strange witches from Hammer Horror films and 70s/80s Satanic scares.  Their powers are Evil's Touch, Devil's Tongue, Curse, and Polymorph Other. 

The Secret Masters of the Invisible College (EW)

This Esoteric Lodge believes they are the foundation of all arcane knowledge. They have many similarities to the Hermetic Lodges, but most Hermetic Lodge can trace their history back only a few hundred years.  The Invisible College believes they have been here forever.   Their powers are First Circle Mysteries (1st and 2nd level spells can be swapped on the fly), Second Circle Mysteries (3rd and 4th level), Third Circle Mysteries (5th and 6th level), Fourth Circle Mysteries (7th and 8th).  The near-mythical Fifth Circle Mystery allows them to use magics wielded by only a handful of ancient masters.

Tradition Wars

Not to delve too deep into the waters of Mage or the WitchCraft RPGs but you can use these as a basis for a war (cold or hot) between the various traditions. 

I would use them in a cold war way in my "Ordinary World" NIGHT WORLD.  Neighbors Tom and Jerry (sure, why not) act all normal during the day, but at night Tom (a Rosicrucian) and Jerry (Master of the Invisible College) do battle on the Astral plane with their summon spirits.  Rival book stores are fronts for two different Malefic traditions who can't stand each other.  Avoid making the local Occult Bookstore run by Aquarians.  That trope has been done to death. 

I will have to expand on this some more.

Right now is a great time to give this a try.  The GM's Day sales are going on at DriveThruRPG. You can get The Witch, Eldritch Witchery, and NIGHT SHIFT all on sale!