1542: Rise of the Witchhunter

That’s a very sharp observation!

Actually that’s what I think is the great appeal of this game - I get to take 21st century perceptions of witchhunting and colonialism - and flip those perceptions on their head, because if demons actually existed, then the atrocities are somewhat justified for the greater good.

Seems nice enough for now.

There was just a tiny thing, in the first choice I decided to play as a woman in disguise and then…

"You do recall. Having been in training since you were a young man, first as a page, later as a squire, and finally as a Papal Knight - so to speak - you have touched on the seven dominions in one way or another. "

as far as I understand it’s the storyteller speaking, as such he should know that you’re a woman shouldn’t he ?

Anyway if I find anything else that seems weird I’ll let you know :wink:

Well, fantasy is all well and good. But fantasy versions of the real world where you justify real world mass killings with your fantasy elements are in really questionable taste. I mean, besides it being a part of living memory, what really is the difference between this game, and one where you play as a Jihadist orchestrating the 9/11/01 attacks against the evil demon worshiping westerners? At least in the later example you’ve got that underdog status.

I’m not interested in judging the past by presentist standards. If I wanted to judge stuff I’d work in the media. I’m more interested in creating something unexpected and exploring it for what it is non-judgmentally.

That would actually be a much more logical answer if you were making a game where you play modern day Jihadists. It’d be much more unexepected. People constantly gloss over the past to lionise the winners at the expense of the victims. A story about the catholic church having an elite demon hunting organization has been done a few times before fairly recently. The Van Helsing movie. Trinity Blood (Though that was sort of a post apocalyptic sci fi thing) to name a couple.) Look. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t make this game. I’m just saying that you should realize what you’re doing.

I actually think your Jihadist idea would also make for a pretty interesting game! Also thanks for mentioning “Trinity Blood”, it seems like an interesting series and introduced me to the “Krsnik” concept, which in turn brought me to the Italian “Benandanti” which I might use in the game as it fits the time period.

I know the trope has been done before, but to date I’ve never been able to find one that exactly matches my preferences. Dragon Age has a sort of inquisitiony theme and demons, but I didn’t like the darkspawn concept. Warhammer has the iconic Witchhunter image, but I’m not partial to that fantasy universe either. The Hellsing anime gets close to what I’d like, but it focuses too much on vampires, which are interesting sure, but should be a subset of the main opponent, demons. The Witcher games are also close, but they lack the religious component that I want. The tv show Supernatural deals with demons, but it’s too contemporary for my tastes. The Mortal Instruments book series gets close as well, but also lacks the religious component.

My main inspiration for this entire game is the song “Vater Unser” by E Nomine. When I listen to that song, the image I get is what I want this game to be about. No other existing conworlds that use the paranormal/demons trope fit the exact mold I want. So basically I’m trying to make a game that I myself would want to have played if it existed before.

What I want to combine are:

I) A religious component (for which I find the Roman Catholic Church to be the best candidate)
II) A renaissance/early modern setting (as I want to include gunpowder while maintaining melee weapons as well) and
III) Demons as the main opponent (as opposed to vampires/werewolves/zombies), because they seem to me to be a more interesting and higher form of “evil” than the other options.

Perhaps the games tentative title suggests that it will be mainly about burning women at the stake. That idea does not really appeal to me, and would get boring after too much repetition. I am choosing for the term “Witchhunter” because “Demon Hunter” for some reason feels like a more lame title to me. And in the context of the time, it’s more likely one would be called a witchhunter. In any case, by “Witchhunter” I mean something along the lines of: one who fights anything related to demons, not necessarily old women with black hats and warty noses.

I have a short question for anyone interested:

So right now I’m working with seven stats that will increase by a numerical value. Comparable to the stats found in Choice of the Vampire. I am wondering if I necessarily need to use 1,2,3,4,5,6,7 or if I can use I, II, III, IV, V, VI, VII instead.

Is there something intrinsic to the mechanics of ChoiceScript that it would be wiser to use 1,2,3,4,5,6,7’s or can I use roman numerals instead?

Well Inquisitor has basically this exact same premise but less potentially offensive. The combat difficulty is a bit ridiculous. Never really got too far in it. But you play as what amounts to a Vatican inquisitor in a grimdark medieval fantasy world. You investigate mysteries. Root out heathens and witches with investigation and torture, and are generally a horrible person in an even worse world.

http://www.gog.com/game/inquisitor

It’s like 3 bucks on Steam ATM.

Also a good reason not to name the game Demon Hunter is that someone is already using that title for their series on this site.

I think maybe so as not to…insult? the memory of innocent people who were tortured and killed like Shoelip is saying, maybe you can have the character not completely aware or the option to not be supportive of such brutal acts? Like maybe a “I hate the Church, but it is the most effective way to find and defeat demons.” Like play someone who only does this to help innocents all while either unknowingly or guiltily contributing to the risk of innocent people getting hurt in the crossfire. And maybe we can have an option to try working against it, at the risk of harm to yourself?

Also, if you’re playing a woman disguised as a man, I think it’d be smart to specify that the name we’re entering is an alias or something.

"Yet setting aside all this historic trivia, the salient issue of the
times is the War on Satan. For witches see the weakness of the Church
and convene in covens to summon demonic powers, while false prophets
announce the End of Times! "

Maybe it’s just me, but in a world with actual literal demons, you’d want people more like the Knights of St. John than Torquemada as the ones responding to that.

So why not have a specific order formed when we’re “A Papal Knight - so to speak” anyway?

I’m not proposing changing the setting, but I think it would make it more realistic and less . . . disconcerting, to have that element handled a bit differently .

I’m still mostly making this up as I go along. But down the line I want to get a good plot twist that will allow some revisionist explanation of history where things like the plague and other historic events have demonic origins.

For example the Protestant Reformation. History tells it was partially a reaction against corruption of the Church (the sale of indulgences for example) as well as a political tool within the Holy Roman Empire to lessen the influence of Bishops. But what if the actual reason for the split with the Catholic Church had some demonic origins? Perhaps Martin Luther was diabolically influenced, or perhaps he was reacting against demonically corrupted Bishops, or maybe it was some policy dispute on how to deal with the threat of an Archdemon… I don’t know what I’ll go for yet, but I want that kind of revisionism to be a part of the game.

How that relates to your remark (by the way thanks for introducing me to Torquemada!), is that “boring old man” inquisitioners will actually be bad asses, once I figure out a good plot twist to explain it.

What I’m not going to do is make up a random order. I’d rather pick an existing historic order and then revisionize it into secretly being about demon hunting. Sadly the Teutons were kind of gone by 1542, I think the Templars were gone as well and the Hospitallars I want to reserve for something else. So I settled for a historic Papal organization, the “Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith” (C.D.F.). In 1542 I believe the organization was still called the “Supreme Sacred Congregation of the Roman and Universal Inquisition”, a.k.a. the “Roman Inquisition”. So I’m going to use those three titles interchangeably.

Thanks for your comment, you reminded me that I wanted to include some opinion choices for fleshing out your character!

I might add one page related to “belief”, i.e. are you a secret atheïst, or an agnostic, or devout Christian, or Reformed Lutheran, maybe a Crypto-Jew, et cetera… The only problem is that I might have to rewrite the plot a bit. At first my idea was that you could only be a Roman Catholic, but that might be a bit constricting. It might be interesting to allow your character to be a Sunni Muslim, except the problem is that I want to have most of the game take place in Europe and I can’t think of a good way to allow a muslim (or a Protestant, or a Jew, or even an atheïst) to be a member of a Papal witchhunting organization.

What I’ll probably end up with is something along the lines of “demons exist” and “all major religions are actually good guys because they have orders devoted to combating these demons”, I just need to work out the details in a better way.

Now I’m trying to figure out how you can be an atheist in a world where demons are an actual detectable phenomenon… Are the demons detectable but God still isn’t?

So are the non-major religions (What actually constitutes a major religion versus a non-major religion in this case) demon worshippers then?

Good question…

At first my idea was that the Roman Catholics were the only “good religion”, but that seemed boring. Then I figured all the monotheïstic religions would be the “good demon fighting religions”, but that left out biggies like Budhism and Hinduism. So now what I want to go for is that ALL religions are the “good guys”, but only the major religions are large enough to have actual organizations devoted to combating demons.

This means you might meet a Sunni mystic on your travels or a Vedic ghost-trapper or a Shinto samurai who hunts demons for bounty, all variations of the same thing: religion inspired warriors versus demons. This way, I can tap into the mythologies of all the worlds religions for a wide array of possible demons. I already had the idea that you will be fighting a Gorgon (Medusa was a Gorgon) in one chapter, and maybe chasing a “The Grudge”-like female ghost in Japan in another chapter. The Abrahamic demons will be the greatest and most dangerous demons, while mythological creatures such as manticores/basilisks/werewolves/vampires will be more of a “neutral lesser evil”, lower in the demonic hierarchy.

If I included atheïsm it would be for the same reason I included the option to be a woman, just to give people more options and freedom in character composition.

Hm… now it’d be interesting if these demons were fueled by fear…

I can’t speak for anyone else, and wouldn’t want to if I could, but whether you use a real organization (and yes, historically the Templars are gone - technically the TEutonic Knights still exist today, just not as they were pre-1542) or not I think having things like the Reformation tied into this directly is considerably less appealing.

I’d love to play a game of Catholic demon hunters who may or may not at times have to deal with issues of doctrine, but I think associating Protestantism with demons - one way or another - is a step in the wrong direction.

If that’s the kind of game you want to write, well, I hope you have fun, but I don’t think it would be as fun.

And I’m not bothered by boring old men so much as that demon hunting seems more like it would be people of skills tailored to that - which may come in obviously militant forms or not. But its not something that seems like all you need is the willingness to go to any level of cruelty as long as you say “in God’s name” about it.

I love the idea that a demon can’t say the Lord’s Prayer, say, and/or being able to use that to hurt demons - but I think “handpicked demon hunters” makes more sense than “any sufficiently energetic jerk”.

I agree and came to the same conclusion that having the “Reformation” be demonically inspired would be boring. I also understand your point on “handpicked demon hunters”.

I’m still making the lore of this game up as I go, but I was thinking perhaps Spanish Conquistadores discovered an actual fountain of youth in Mexico, which will allow extended life. Both Heinrich Kramer and Torquemada would still be alive, because their importance warrants them access to water from the fountain of youth… I want my witcchunters to basically be a kind of superhero’s, but not necessarily purely good. One of the themes of the game will be demonic temptation. The witchhunters fights demons, but they also learn to understand them, and the more they deal with demons the more they can become corrupted. I want these witchhunters to be a kind of grizzled bunch, damaged and tainted from demonic exposure, but still fighting for a higher cause in the end.

What I still need is some special excuse which explains why the player character, Heinrich Kramer or Torquemada DO get to be witchhunters/inquisitioners, while some random mercenary cannot. It might end up being quite similar to Dragon Age’s “Grey Wardens” (who for some genetic reason are capable of fighting the darkspawn while most cannot). Maybe they are the only ones with the gift to actually see demons, or in some way be more aware of their presence. I’m toying with ideas that witchhunters can actually smell sin, or that they can sense what a persons main cardinal sin is. Because they can more accurately see demons they can more accurately combat them, but they are also more susceptible to temptation.

In terms of demonic combat, it’s not going to be purely physical probably. I’m thinking more along the lines of a pocket bible in your left hand, and a rosary in your right, reciting Biblical verses. It’s going to be more of a psychological combat, where a demon might tempt the player with words and promises.

Also for the weapons I start out with just bland renaissance style weapons, but I want to move towards something like “a crossbow that fires garlic soaked stakes”, a stiletto built from a splinter from the “spear of destiny” or a “baptized bayonet”.

This I like.

As for how - well, why not have them be the ones who have the training and tools to do so, which a random mercenary wouldn’t?

The Church isn’t going to be giving out holy relics to the kind of people who would just hock them for the cash.

@Elfwine Well, if pagans can be demon worshippers why not Protestants?

@Shoelip

A Mesoamerican priest like Tzekel-Kan in The Road to El Dorado as actually - knowingly or not - a demon worshiper? Entirely believable.

But “Martin Luther was inspired by demons to reject the Holy Catholic Church”?

That hurts my suspension of disbelief - among other things. It makes more sense if we’re talking demons leading Christians astray that we’d have someone like Alexander VI (Yes, the Borgia) than Luther.

Plenty of Protestants, or at least nominal Protestants (Not a real Christian of any stripe if you worship demons), who would be the same as Alexander VI, of course.

So yeah, I just don’t want real world religion = demon worshipers. If we’re playing in this era, there’s plenty of people who would make those choices without nonCatholic and demonic being tied together…