Witch Hunter 101

Witch Hunter Dark Project LogoThis weekend I played in my first Witch Hunter game. This was another living campaign setting. It is produced by Paradigm Concepts who also make Living Arcanis.

Witch Hunter is very different from any role playing game I’ve played so far. Not only does it take place in a setting that is based on reality but it is heavy on the role play and uses dice pools instead of the more familiar d20 system.

Witch Hunter takes place in the seventeenth century. America is still young and colonial, the ocean is full of pirates, and it has been recently discovered that the things that go bump in the night are real. The Witch Hunters come from various organizations with a common goal. Their task is to deal with the abominations that threaten civilized society. Think Van Helsing meets Pirates of the Caribbean.

Each Witch Hunter got to where they are through some defining event in their past. It is the one key moment when their path became clear that they become a Witch Hunter. At our table that ranged from spiritual quests to personal tragedies. This aspect of character definition is important in Witch Hunter and even more so in the module we ran.

I was a bit skeptical at first about the dice pool system. I really need more practice role playing though as it isn’t an aspect I’ve delved into much in previous games. At the same time though I wanted to combat to still feel crunchy enough that I could enjoy the dice rolling too. I was surprised to see how well it all fit together. It really exceeded my expectations.

The nature of the dice pool flattened things out a bit so my newcomer to the table didn’t feel as out of place among the more established characters. Even though there were plenty of opportunities to roll dice, I also found it didn’t get in the way of good role playing either. There was even one conflict where role play resolved a combat scene where the players weren’t intended to survive otherwise. It was perhaps my favorite moment of our game session.

I’ve got to say I loved the system. I’m now looking forward to playing more.

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