A downloadable tabletop magic system

Available in print from Drivethru RPG!

This is a unified magic system, designed to be adaptable to most traditional tabletop roleplaying systems. 

As a system, it includes a significant number of hooks onto which you can attach mechanical effects from your rules engine, or which you can leave open for Guide narration instead, as desired.

This magic system is focused, like most RPG magic systems, on a list of magical effects that are in practice organized into spells, and notes on their creation. It has been structured to feel more akin to witchcraft or folk magic than to the Vancian wizardry most traditional in RPGs; not a great rarity, but worth noting.  Well-read gamers who have encountered Ars Magica or the Verb/Noun casting system of GURPS Magic will find this system very familiar; it is one of their descendants (and proudly so), though far lighter in structure than either.

 Each spell in this system is built by combining an element (like fire), an art (like conjuring), and a conduit (like brew). However, these components don't dictate the spell exactly; a fire-conjuring brew might be a blackened lump that explodes on any hard impact, or a glass bottle that sheds light for a few hours when shaken up.

 To cast a spell, your character must be an adept with all of the three components involved (the element, art and conduit), and make a roll or otherwise engage in mechanics to do so properly. The Guide invents dangers and added benefits for this spellcasting, possibly in advance, possibly after the fact.


Witchery is released under both an informal "Unlicense" for re-use as well as under the Creative Commons Attribution License [CC-BY International, 4.0].

CategoryPhysical game
Rated 4.9 out of 5 stars
(17 total ratings)
AuthorLevi Kornelsen
TagsMagic, Tabletop role-playing game, witchcraft


Witchery - 2023a [CC-BY].pdf 2 MB

Development log


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Hi, just wanted to let you know that I'm working on adapting this for the Ironsworn: Starforged system:



OooooooOoooh!  Sweet!


This is a simple effective vancian-magic-killer. Completely changed my take on fantasy spell systems, opened a lot of doors, give it a read!


Hi Levi,

This product is simply magnificent! As the previous editions and incarnations of this product it just drips with the theme you have chosen. Magic is the best part of rpgs to me and this is at least in the top three magic related products I have ever seen, including the biggest productions.

I have only quickly skimmed it through, but wanted to offer one mistake and one suggestion. The page talking about hearth magic has an error were it says heath. The other thing is about Wyrd element. You have put it up as purely negative effects, but in my meager understanding all kinds of positive effects and protective enchantments are a classic genre too. A witch casting a good luck charm over the departing fellowship etc. I think it would make the product even better.

Wyrds giving good luck was on my mind when I was puzzling out the project, but got set aside because a *lot* of the systems Witchery might be applied to are very light, low-numbers stuff, which break very very easily under heavy bonus stacking - and being able to bless and curse, both, means that such stacking would get *really* accessible.

I figured I'd come back to it and try and solve that, but never came up with anything satisfying.

I am not surprised that you had already thought about that. I do not disagree with you about the concept of bonus stacking can break things. However I feel that it is all about scale. It could be that s good luck charm or such works for a month, but only negates one danger after rolling once, unless it is very very specific. Trading power of the blessing to wider applicability and vice versa. 

It was great to hear your thoughts however, I see your point of view. 


This is excellent work! I realize it's aimed more at folk magic, but if it were to be used for a more traditional fantasy setting, how would you go about handling offensive spells like fireball and lightning bolt? Would it be a case of using Brew to create the spell components? Or would the GM add a new Conduit? I notice the section on Elements mentions you can add your own, but Arts and Conduits don't, so I'm not sure if they're intended to be exhaustive lists.


I mean, you can add as you like, but the pieces are already right there. Here:

The Bonfire Reborn

(Fire-Conjuring Taglock)

The Taglock for this spell is the ashes left behind from a bonfire.  A pinch of these are drawn from whatever pouch, and exhorted to remember. They are then flung away as quickly as possible towards a target, as the ashes transform back into the flames of that fire for a few moments.

Ah, that makes sense, thanks for the example!


Anytime!  And, yeah, it takes a little extra thinking, like, I want this effect, that's Element-Art, but which Conduit?  But *most* of the usual fantasy magic effects are doable with a bit of messing around.


Amazing stuff, gonna go through it more thoroughly but after a quick skim, it seems promising!



It does pretty much everything *I* want out of a magic system, so it's nice to hear I'm not entirely alone in that!


I was thinking for a long time about how one can do a formula, where you can combine different keywords in a specific order to make new spells, and this certainly hits the spot!

I'll be doing a hack/whateveryouwouldwanttocallit system where I'll definitely try to integrate this to see how it feels.