I saw this challenge at Throne of Salt, originating here, and I decided to give it a spin.
What’s her name?
What kind of witch she is?
She is a bridge witch, dividing her time between the three bridges of her area, dwelling in river caves below or near them. She exacts tolls, enchants the river flow, makes the bridges impassable or confuses those who try to traverse them, takes care of the trolls that live underneath.
What kind of wand does she use?
A crooked staff with a piece of (always wet) string joining the two horns.
What’s in her cauldron?
Fish, coins, troll teeth, wayfarers’ offerings, stone powder, the words of power for each bridge.
What kind of familiar she has?
Big black toad whose croaks make the moon shiver (it hides behind clouds).
Where does she live?
In caves near or below each of the three bridges.
What does she look like?
She wears a hooded dress seemingly made of road stone tiles. Her hair are rope, her face is like the darkness beneath a bridge. Her boots are always wet and her sleeves are dripping.
After that, use those answers as inspiration to build this random tables:
1d8 things the witch is doing when the PCs meet her:
- She inspects the side of a bridge for any spots needing repair.
- She calls a troll for midnight dinner.
- She carves a name on the bridge mantel with a fishbone.
- She strikes the bridge water in anger with a hempen whip.
- She asks some travellers to pay the toll.
- She feeds mooncakes to her toad familiar.
- She bathes in the river, near the bridge base.
- She replaces a damaged stone tile with a bone one.
1d6 potions the witch can sell to the PCs or 1d6 adventure hooks about the witch:
- Water breathing [made of boiled fish gills and frog breath, it is cloudy and vaporous inside a strong bubble which the user must chew and swallow. Upon devouring a check is needed due to the nauseating stench of the burst bubble. If failed, the user faints for the duration of the potion (a quarter of a day), though the water breathing works.]
- Commune with stone [a paste that you spread on your finger or other body part before touching a stone. The stone reveals things it has come into contact with during a period of time]
- Reveal the way [made of hearth ashes and shoe mud, this paste, if spread on eyelids reveals the safest crossroads option to reach one’s destination. Each dose works once]
- Calm troll [extracted from troll sweat, this foul-smelling lotion makes trolls sympathetic to the one who uses it (as a cologne) until it is washed away or it dissipates (one day)]
- Confuse traveller: [when poured on a path there is a chance that anyone passing this particular spot will lose her way during the next day. If poured on crossroads the paths are randomly messed up - so a person thinking that she goes north may taking the eastern path, etc]
- Dinner of Vigilance: [whoever partakes of this (delicious) food under a bridge will need no rest for the following 2 days and will be extra alert, as long as he does not leave the general area of the bridge]
1d6 rumors on the witch
- She has hidden her soul in a fish swimming in a pool beneath the bridges’ foundations.
- She mated with the river and the trolls are their children - they take their strength from their river-father.
- She uses the gold from the toll money to craft chains for the moon.
- Her bones are made of stone and will make legendary weapons.
- The words she carves on the bridge are cryptic versions of travellers’ secrets.
- Her familiar toad is her father (or creator, depending on the teller) whom she has bound to this form because he was maltreating her.
1d4 spells known only to the witch
- Comb the trees: Throwing her comb towards an open area, the witch creates a small grove of trees, maximum 50metres in diameter. The thicket disappears on the next sunrise.
- Arouse river: Drop blood in the river, making its water rise and foam for one hour. It becomes very difficult to cross, as it actively tries to drown intruders.
- Scare the moon: The familiar intimidates the moon, making it hide behind clouds (if they exist) or just fade away (on clear nights)
- Seal the bridge: A bridge becomes impassable by anyone for a duration depending on the witch’s power (at least 1 day). Requires a bone tile which goes underneath a bridge stone, as well as the bridge’s word of power.