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CJ Carella's WitchCraft is an Urban Fantasy tabletop RPG based on the Unisystem rules. The setting is a world like our own, but with an extensive Masquerade to mask the fact that just about every supernatural being and mythological figure exists (or has existed).

The players take the part of the Gifted, humans who secretly wield the power of magic, psychic abilities, divine miracles, or other supernatural talents. Set against the Gifted are a wide array of inhuman threats, Dark Covenants (Gifted who abuse their powers), the shadowy Combine (an ancient conspiracy that manipulates world events to oppress humanity), and the cults of the Mad Gods (who seek nothing less than the dissolution of Reality itself). For all of recorded history, the Gifted have kept their existence hidden, but now the world is threatened by an approaching Reckoning, and new Gifted are being born in record numbers. The time for hiding in the shadows is coming to an end.

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While similar in many ways to the World of Darkness games, Witchcraft differs in having less emphasis on personal horror, a more integrated setting between the various supernatural factions, more of a Lovecraftian flavor (albeit with heroes who can often fight back against the sanity-blasting horrors), and more focus on human protagonists rather than monstrous ones.

A Spin-Off, Armageddon, takes place in 2017, where the Reckoning is in full swing, and the Church of Revelations is spearheading the takeover of the Earth on behalf of a near-omnipotent Mad God: Leviathan.


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This tabletop RPG provides examples of:

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    Witchcraft 
  • All Myths Are True: Almost to the point of All Pop Culture Is True. Not just every myth, but almost every Urban Fantasy or Horror trope has some analog somewhere in this setting. Want a party with a fledgling witch whose cat familiar is more magical than she is, a Crow-esque unkillable revenant, a psychic who can make people's heads explode Scanners style, and a Frighteners-inspired "freelance exorcist" who uses their legit power to communicate with ghosts to swindle the wealthy? Sounds like a Lesser Gifted Wicce, a Bast, a Relentless Dead with a high level of regeneration, a Seer with a lot of levels in Mindkill, and a Necromancer with some Ghost Contacts.
  • Alternate Identity Amnesia: This is one burden of Accursed Ferals, who have little or no memory of the rampages that happen when they transform.
  • Always Chaotic Evil:
    • Fiends are physical embodiments of malice, and therefore cannot be anything but evil.
    • Demons are portrayed with more nuance in Armageddon, but in the Witchcraft era, they are always 100% evil. Even on the rare occasions when they become allies to the Gifted, they'll usually betray the Gifted the minute they've outlived their usefulness.
    • Relentless Dead with Noble Wrath can be either good or evil, but ones with Dark Wrath are never anything but near-mindless killers.
    • The Mad Gods and their cultists are nothing but a cancer on all of Reality - to the point where the demons actually team up with humanity to fight them in Armageddon.
  • Ancient Conspiracy: The Combine, which is ancient, unfathomably vast, wields widespread influence through governments and industry, and has hordes of Men In Black and other operatives to dispose of its enemies.
  • And I Must Scream: True Immortals have no fear of being destroyed by any force the Mundane world can bring against them... but that doesn't mean Mundanes can't get rid of them. There is one example of a True Immortal who got on the wrong side of The Mafia, and the gangsters ended up burying the immortal in the concrete foundation of a new building, where he will never again move, never be found, and never die.
  • Angels, Devils and Squid: Seraphim, Demons, and Mad Gods, respectively. In Armageddon, we get Angels and Devils teaming up with humanity against Squid. Ironically, the Mad God Leviathan acts a lot more like a devil in terms of the whole temptation and Mark of Leviathan deal.
  • Another Dimension: Earth (Malkuth) is only one of the planes of existence. Others are accessible with the right Gifted powers, and include The Underworld, the Land of Faerie, Dream Land, the home of The Old Gods, and Hell itself.
  • An Offer You Can't Refuse: The Fellowship of Judas takes this approach to recruitment, as they confront terrible human beings who are at the Threshold between life and death, offering them the chance to live again if they will atone for the wretched life they lived. The alternative to this Last-Second Chance is to stay dead and literally go to Hell, so...
  • Antimagical Faction: The Combine, which secretly controls most of civilization and ruthlessly suppresses any hint of Gifted or supernatural activity. They're powerful enough that even the strongest (and most Gifted) Covenants are but thorns in the Combine's side, and if you flaunt your powers in public, the odds are pretty good that their Men In Black will find you before the local Mundanes can enter Burn the Witch! mode.
  • Apocalypse Cult: The Mad God cults, who care about nothing more than bringing their masters to Earth.
  • The Atoner: The Fellowship of Judas are an entire Covenant of people like this, most of them undead.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking:
    • A common trope among the Covenants. Gifted individuals with high amounts of Essence age more slowly, to the point that the leaders of most Covenants are Really 700 Years Old, and have had all that time to (further) develop their powers.
    • Celestials (both angelic and demonic) only become more fearsome as you go up their hierarchy, as well.
  • Ax-Crazy: Relentless Dead of the "Dark Wrath" variety are little more than berserk killers. The most wretched of Damned humans and Mad God cultists are not far from this trope, either.
  • Badass Bookworm:
    • The Rosicrucian Marchers.
    • Mundane player characters get enough points to start with high levels of both combat and knowledge/science skills, if they wish.
  • Badass Normal: A Mundane at the default (Heroic) level of play is among the most hardcore normal humans in the world, making up for their lack of Gift with skill, talent, and bullets. At the Legendary level and higher, however, this trope is simply averted - you can't make a Mundane character who can expect to match a Seraphim or a Greater Gifted in ability.
  • Banishing Ritual: One power of Divine Inspiration allows the user to exorcise evil or demonic spirits in exactly this way.
  • Bargain with Heaven: Old Gods and Seraphim can make these with humans, serving as Spirit Patrons. This gives power, albeit limited by Bonds representing the mortal's side of the deal.
  • Benevolent Conspiracy: All of the playable Covenants are secret organizations, and they generally have "protect humanity" as a policy - or, at the very least, policing whatever kind of Gifted they are.
  • Beware the Nice Ones:
    • The Wicce, as a Covenant, embrace harmony with nature and don't like throwing their Gifted weight around. That still doesn't make it a particularly good idea to mess with them.
    • "Scarred abuse survivor who just wants to be left in peace to lick their wounds" is one stereotype among the Pariahs... a Covenant whose signature power is being able to transform into a horrific monster in a matter of seconds.
  • Black Magic:
    • The Sadicas Invocations practiced by the Cult of Pain, the Nahualli, and possibly other evil magicians. The Essence used to power them can only be recharged by torturing innocents.
    • In general, Black Magic is magic that doesn't require care and consideration when used. It can freely be used for evil without rebounding on the caster, but someone will always suffer when it's used - and if it's used selflessly, the caster's the one who'll be stuck with the bill.
  • Blessed with Suck:
    • Sometimes having the Gift begins in this way, as a formerly normal individual (sometimes even a child) spontaneously manifests their Gift while having never believed that supernatural phenomena is real. If they're lucky, they come to the attention of other Gifted who can teach them about their new powers (and protect them from the Mundane world), but the less fortunate end up going insane, living as fugitives, or in the hands of the Combine (who might kill them outright or just put them in a laboratory).
    • Think it sucks having to spend years learning how to properly cast Invocations? Resent how your Necromancy allows you to see ghosts and death everywhere, or that your Second Sight reveals to you all the corruption that lurks in Mundane minds? Is serving the Creator with your Divine Inspiration a burden that you never asked for? The Disciples of the Flesh and the Mockers would both like a word with you.
  • Break the Cutie: This is one pasttime for demons. Their kind are forbidden to directly attack humans, so they scheme to turn humanity against itself - and they particularly enjoy luring noble and innocent people down paths that will leave their good qualities in ashes.
  • Brotherhood of Funny Hats:
    • Freemason-style organizations are sometimes used by Covenants (particularly the Rosicrucians and the Knights Templar) to recruit new members. The overwhelming majority of fraternal orders, however, are Mundanes who have no idea that supernatural powers or ancient conspiracies are real.
    • The Rosicrucians themselves go full Brotherhood of Funny Hats during their secret Initiation Ceremonies, complete with funny robes, Gratuitous Latin, and Heroic Vows. Luckily, as the Rosicrucians are (overall) good guys, the ceremony is of the "dignified" sort.
  • Brought Down to Normal: The penalty for any Divinely Inspired person who errs in their faith, as well as those who fail to uphold the obligations of their Spirit Patron.
  • Brown Note Being: The Mad Gods and their (non-human) servants. Even a brief encounter with them can cause Taint (and insanity) in Mundanes.
  • Cats Are Magic: The Bast, especially High Bast. Any of these supernatural felines will have enough powers to rival a Gifted human.
  • Cats Are Mean: Most Bast would never harm a friend or ally, but they often have a real cruel streak when dealing with enemies.
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: While Dark Covenants centered around black magic exist, the point is made that they rarely survive in the long term, since most black magicians are arrogant, psychopathic, all too eager to advance their power at the expense of others, and/or all too eager to meddle with forces too malevolent to control. (The Dark Covenants that do survive are extremely dangerous for this, as they have learned to be both power-hungry and careful.)
  • Church Militant: The Society of Sentinels. They're all followers of the Creator (by whatever name the Sentinel in question knows Him), and even Sentinels lacking the power of Divine Inspiration are expected to be able to take the fight to supernatural predators.
  • Clap Your Hands If You Believe:
    • Reversed, as disbelieving Mundanes make it harder for magic and certain supernatural abilities to function, especially when the Mundanes are gathered in huge crowds. If you're playing in a setting where the cat's out of the bag, anger makes a decent substitute.
    • The jury's out on whether this applies to the Divinely Inspired. Are they actually calling on the Creator's power, or does the power come solely from their faith?
  • Combat Clairvoyance: One application of the Mindtime or Mindview abilities.
  • Combat Tentacles: The Mad Gods and their minions have a certain fondness for these. Even if you reanimate a human corpse by summoning a spirit of Taint into it, the resultant monster will likely grow a tentacle just to whap you with.
  • Combined Energy Attack: Group magic and psychic gestalts, although they don't have to be used for offensive powers.
  • Conspiracy Theorist: This character type is common among the Fellowship of Judas and the Knights Templar - unsurprisingly, given both Covenants' long-standing struggle with the Combine, who are The Illuminati in all but name.
  • Consummate Professional: The Society of Assassins prefers this attitude in their members. The stereotypical Assassin executes their targets as cleanly as possible, remembers that the job is Nothing Personal, does not dwell upon the morality of their actions, and probably lacks a sense of humor.
  • The Corruption: The Mad Gods and their minions, on just about every level. Humans who have contact with them can get infected by their Taint, and most of these unfortunates very quickly die, go irrevocably insane, or become pawns of the Mad Gods. The few who don't - the Mockers - dedicate themselves to fighting the Mad Gods, but even they face an ever-growing struggle with madness and dissolution.
  • The Corruptor: Demons, on every possible level. Their goal on Earth is to wreck humanity and prove that we're unworthy of the Creator, but they are forbidden from attacking humans directly, so their MO is to act as tempters and seducers, feeding humanity's worst impulses.
  • Corrupt Church: Some Covenants see the Sentinels as this, as the Sentinels in the past have been very blase about hunting magicians, whether the magician (or necromancer) was "evil" or not. On the other side of the coin, some Gifted with Divine Inspiration end up leaving their churches, as their divine insight reveals to them the corruption and hypocrisy marring those institutions.
  • Covert Group with Mundane Front: A few Covenants run muggle organizations, either to gather funding or hide their activities, but none more so than the Twilight Order, who have numerous "ghost hunter" and psychic medium businesses throughout the western world.
  • Crossover Cosmology/Fantasy Kitchen Sink: As with the World of Darkness setting, Witchcraft sourcebooks eventually introduced so many different supernatural beings, races, powers, and conspiracies that it becomes difficult to imagine how the Masquerade survives at all. By the time of Armageddon, the Masquerade is dead and buried, and no one - angel, demon, or Mad God - is hiding anymore.
  • Creature-Hunter Organization: The Society of Sentinels, the Storm Dragons, and the Nomads all dedicate themselves to hunting down supernatural predators.
  • Cult: The setting has no shortage of these. They can be your garden variety Mundane nutjobs, or they might be dedicated to black magic, demons, or the Mad Gods. Even better, the more fanatical Covenants view some of their fellow Covenants as dangerous cults.
  • Cursed with Awesome:
    • One way to view Taint powers... at least until you lose your battle with madness.
    • Also the Disciples of the Flesh. No one willingly chooses to become a Disciple, because they awakened their powers by enduring some of the most traumatic abuse a human can survive, and they have to relive this abuse in their heads every time they use that power. Yet when it comes to rending opponents limb from limb while terrifying the hell out of any witnesses, few can do it better than a Disciple.
  • Dark Is Not Evil:
    • Not only are there playable monster-heavy Covenants, they're actually nicer on average than many human ones. The House of Thanatos, for example, are an organization of Necromancers and undead who want to be truly immortal... and go about this by preserving the sanctity of the Death Realms and the living world from each other, busting up Mad God cults, and generally being a social clubhouse.
    • The Pariahs, being mostly Disciples of the Flesh, have grotesque and nightmarish powers. But as a whole, their faction is dedicated to sheltering (and avenging) abuse victims.
    • The Mockers, a faction of humans who survived contact with the Mad Gods without succumbing to The Corruption, must struggle to protect their sanity from the Taint they now carry. But this doesn't stop them from fighting the Mad Gods by any means necessary.
    • Necromancy magic in this setting is just a tool for dealing with the spirit world, and it is the practitioner's intentions that make it good or evil.
  • Deader Than Dead: "Unravelling", the process of tearing a spirit (including a human soul) apart and scattering the bits throughout the spirit worlds. It's theoretically possible to come back from it, but it's neither easy nor likely, and takes thousands of years at least.
  • Deal with the Devil:
    • Oddly enough, demons rarely offer these kinds of deals, because anyone who would actually sell their soul is most certainly on the path of damnation anyways. On the occasions when they do, it's only for mortals who stand to corrupt a lot of other mortals.
    • The Mad Gods aren't so discriminating. They'll grant power to any human who is twisted and wretched enough to reach out to them — and accept their corruption.
  • Determinator: Disciples of the Flesh and the Mockers almost have to be this by default, as their Gift was born of trauma (either Humans Are Bastards-flavored or Eldritch Abomination-flavored), and their powers either force them to relive that trauma (Disciples) or cause increasing psychosis as they grow (Mockers). In both cases, most of their basic powers are Willpower-based, and it's not hard to see why - it takes a lot to keep going when you're one of them.
  • Dreaming of Times Gone By: Throughout their existences, True Immortals experience vague dreams of long-lost Atlantis. Unlike the usual trope, the immortals did actually experience these memories, as their original incarnations were inhabitants of Atlantis before it was destroyed.
  • Eldritch Abomination: The Mad Gods and their minions. Humans who become infected by their Taint eventually become a type of Eldritch Abomination themselves.
  • Elemental Powers: Each of the classical four elements has an invocation, as well as a Key of Solomon.
  • Enemy Mine:
    • The various Gifted factions rarely see eye-to-eye, and the Sentinels in particular take a dim (if not downright hostile) view of all the others. Yet if it means putting down Mad God cultists or a Dark Covenant, even the Sentinels will often (reluctantly) collaborate with their fellow Gifted - either that, or the other Gifted will manipulate the Sentinels into getting involved.
    • The Sentinels themselves recruit Divinely Inspired operatives from all monotheistic faiths, with surprisingly few problems. Mundane Christians and Muslims may have a long history of enmity towards each other, but their counterparts among the Sentinels readily work together, with many feeling that the differences between their religions are a trick by the Adversary to keep the Creator's forces divided.
  • Enforced Cold War: The Ruya'ha and Alamut sects of Society of Assassins both have Madrassas (headquarters) in the Garden of Earthly Delights, but they never fight there despite being mortal enemies. First, the Garden's nature weakens malevolent urges and makes it hard to permanently kill anyone, and second, the Assassins have no wish to defile the holy Garden with violence. They vastly prefer to kill each other on Earth instead.
  • Enlightenment Superpowers: The Abhijna powers of the Order of Shambala, which can do a number of unique things like traveling the planes at will or controlling how and when you reincarnate. However, Abhijna powers are available only to Gifted with the Enlightened quality, which is generally out of reach for Heroic-level PCs.
  • Extraordinarily Empowered Girl: While not necessarily female, the Lesser Gifted archetype lets you play this: a talented but relatively ordinary person with a little magical extra.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Demons are thoroughly evil, but even they want nothing to do with the Mad Gods, even as a tool to hurt humanity.
  • Evil Makes You Ugly: Practitioners of black magic are exempt from this trope (even if their poisoned Essence stands out as vile to other Gifted), but Taint is another matter. Humans who gain (and keep gaining) Taint become increasingly deformed.
  • Fantastic Fighting Style: The "Storm Fist" style of the Storm Dragons and the R'ad Quwwat ("Strength of Thunder") style of the Society of Assassins.
  • Fantastic Rank System: A few Covenants, such as the Storm Dragons and the Knights Templar, are organized into hierarchical ranks, and generally the most important factor for higher ranks is how many Gifted powers you have.
  • Fantastic Sapient Species: The Bast, who are intelligent, reincarnating cats with supernatural powers. They are allowed as player characters, but only a minority of them (the High Bast) have the ability to assume a human form.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Demons in general. When they're on Earth, demons prefer to take a (usually attractive) human form, all the better to lead humanity astray. But however pleasant they may seem in their human guise, a demon has nothing but contempt for humanity, and their goal is always to cause (or enable) as much tragedy and misery as possible.
  • Fighting a Shadow: For all their powers, angels and demons are not invulnerable... but killing them only sends them back to their home realm until they can reform their bodies and return to Earth.
  • Foil: The Wicce and Rosicrucians are a fairly classic example. They're both primarily human and primarily magical covenants, but the Wicce are Closer to Earth, are normally led by women and embrace minorities, primarily use magic as a defense against evil, use all manifestations of the Gift and embrace Gifted and un-Gifted alike. The Rosicrucians usually come from the Ivy League and similar institutions, are primarily male (though this is changing), use magic to build power and wealth and to dominate spirits, have little use for psi or necromancy and consider un-Gifted as pawns or servants. Despite this, both Covenants are actually on the side of good, and fight (reluctantly, in the Rosicrucians' case) against evil things that prey on mortals.
  • Friendly Neighborhood Vampyres: Vampyres survive on intense experience and therefore do not need to kill or even harm people. Many do (especially since overpowering someone and biting them to drink their blood is a great way to terrify someone) and there is a Vampyre flaw that does require blood, but not all (or even most) Vampyres are irredeemable monsters. There are even several Vampyre organizations that are dedicated to playing nice with Muggles.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: The MO of the Disciples of the Flesh, who usually first manifest their grotesque powers right when the abuse which defines them reaches its boiling point. Whether they're actually evil after that depends on the individual involved, but evil or not, you very definitely don't want to piss them off.
  • Functional Magic: Most of the Gifted powers are fantastic, but follow consistent sets of rules.
  • The Fundamentalist:
    • A common type among the Society of Sentinels. They're also prized by Seraphim (angel) Spirit Patrons.
    • Zig-zagged with the Society of Assassins. On one hand, the Zealot drawback is more common among their Covenant than even the Sentinels, and the Assassins obey their One True Imam without question or compromise. Then again, the Assassins have no interest in spreading or preaching their "faith" to outsiders, and in fact prefer to keep their association with the Society a secret even from other Gifted.
  • Go Mad from the Revelation: The Mad Gods and the worst of their minions are horrible enough that any encounter with them threatens this, especially for Mundanes. Even those few who manage to survive with their humanity intact (like the Mockers) are generally unable to go back to anything resembling a normal life.
  • Good Is Not Nice:
    • The Fellowship of Judas embodies this, culling its members from the most self-destructive and wankery humans that they can find (and reform). After being reborn, most Iscariots still aren't very nice people, though they're now fighting to free humanity from the Combine.
    • The Pariahs and the Mockers, having horrific powers and Dark And Troubled Pasts across the board, are not a particularly reassuring presence for their allies, to the point that other Gifted occasionally mistake them for monsters themselves. Yet both factions fight to protect humanity.
    • Demons are evil through and through, but angels aren't exactly a prize, either. Even as they fight against the forces of Hell, many Gifted who encounter the angels perceive them as having an "attitude problem".
  • Going Cosmic: The corebook is very street-level, focusing on the various Covenants' Who You Gonna Call? teams protecting humanity from local supernatural threats. Later books delve into issues like the mechanics of reincarnation and Enlightenment, the existence and objectives of the Angels, Devils and Squid, and Covenants who focus more on the higher Sephiroth (dimensions) outside of Earth, as well as introducing more supernatural beings (associated with the Sephiroth) as playable characters. This is then inverted by Armageddon, which introduces Leviathan and the apocalyptic war to determine the fate of Reality itself - yet the main action occurs right here on Earth.
  • Government Conspiracy: A calling card of both the Knights Templar and the Combine, particularly the latter.
  • Grim Reaper: The Grim Reaper is actually a type of spirit, and they prey upon Gifted who abuse death-related powers too flagrantly.
  • Harmony Vs Discipline: The conflict between Wicce and Rosicrucian in a nutshell. The Wicce strive to live in harmony with nature and maintain her balance, while the Rosicrucians believe that nature and the world should be shaped by the will of humans. While the core is written from a largely pro-Wicce viewpoint, the Rosicrucians aren't seen as bad; like the Wicce, they understand that actions have consequences, and they believe that With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility.
  • The Hashshashin: Present and accounted for among the Covenants, where they are known as the Society of Assassins (to the few who are aware of them). Contrary to the usual trope, the Assassins are allies rather than rivals of The Knights Templar - at least, the Assassins who didn't do a Face–Heel Turn and join the Alamut sect.
  • Healing Factor: Like the Functional Magic, almost too many examples to count.
  • Healing Magic Is the Hardest:
    • Normally, most Gifted healing powers (Healing Invocation, Mindheal, Salvage Discipline) cause the healer to feel whatever pain that they're curing, which makes the power all the more draining for the healer.
    • Divinely Inspired healing has no such drawback, but like all Inspired powers, the Touch of Healing can never be used frivolously or selfishly. Depending on the Chronicler's point of view, even using it to heal a non-lethal wound may be too "arrogant" to pass muster.
    • Tao-Chi has the Chi Healing power, which has the drawback of being draining to the victim, as every Life Point regained costs them an Essence point. While Essence does regenerate, if you're a Mundane with little Essence in the first place (or even a Gifted who's currently running on fumes), there's only so much Chi Healing will be able to do for you.
  • Heel Realization: One step of a typical initiation into the Fellowship of Judas: confronting the prospective member at the threshold between life and death, and then forcing them to realize how selfish and vile they were when they were alive.
  • Hell Gate: There are more than a few gateways that lead from Earth (or a related realm) to somewhere deeply unpleasant, but none more so than the Sammael Gate, the one breach between Earth's Essence-based universe and the horrific Taint-based universe where the Mad Gods come from. The gate is such a blight on our Reality that the region around it is warped enough to require Fear rolls, and that's nothing compared to what awaits any explorer foolish enough to actually enter the gate.
  • Heroic Neutral: This is the stance of most Covenants. Groups like the Wicce, the Rosicrucians, the Twilight Order, the Storm Dragons, and the Pariahs are ever mindful of the risks of revealing their powers to the world, from both the Combine and fearful Mundanes. That said, they don't hold back when the consequences of ignoring a supernatural threat would be even worse - and the coming Reckoning is forcing the Covenants' hands more and more.
  • Hollywood Satanism: The Cult of Pain and certain other black magicians borrow heavily from this trope's playbook, as they torture/sacrifice innocents to gain power, traffic with demonic Spirit Patrons, or both.
  • Hollywood Voodoo: Averted, as the Legban Covenant featured a detailed description of the Voodoun religion and Voodoo deities other than Baron Samedi.
  • Horrifying Hero:
    • Non-evil Disciples of the Flesh are this, whether they want to be or not. Their One-Winged Angel forms cause Fear checks in opponents, on top of whatever lethal enhancements the Disciple shapes themselves with.
    • Most Relentless Dead are indistinguishable from Mundane humans (until they get injured), but some exist with the Stigmata drawback, causing them to look more like living corpses. While this makes getting around in public more difficult, it does cause Fear checks when they show themselves, and even heroic Relentless Dead aren't above exploiting this.
  • Humans Are Special: A subtle theme of the game setting. Humanity is the only known species that possesses the Divine Spark. This essentially means that human potential is virtually infinite, and as near-infinitely far away from fulfilling that potential as we may be today, in due time humans might become like the Creator. Seraphim (both the angelic one and the demonic ones) tend to be... unhappy about this.
  • Humans Are the Real Monsters: One theme in the setting, as demons prefer to seduce humans into committing evil rather than get their own hands dirty, the Mad Gods can't breach our reality without the help of human cultists, the Combine (with all its megalomaniacal oppressiveness) may be a purely Muggle organization, and - last but not least - the Disciples of the Flesh are created by all-too-human abusers.
  • Hit Points: Life Points or (for spirits) Vital Essence.
  • The Illuminati: The Combine is the Witchcraft-flavored version of this trope, and they're as malevolent and oppressive as any other New World Order-style conspirators have ever been. Interestingly, despite all the supernatural elements of all the other secret organizations, the Combine's agents never have any Gifted abilities themselves.
  • Immortal Life Is Cheap: More than one player of a True Immortal or Relentless Dead has been nonchalant about getting mangled, since most enemies lack the means to (permanently) kill them.
  • Implacable Man: Plenty of things are difficult to kill in this setting, but the grand prize goes to the Relentless Dead. Permanently offing one of them requires not only massive physical and spiritual damage, but specialized Invocations or Necromancy powers on top of that. Even the Gifted aren't always up to the task, and several Covenants have groups guarding sites where a particularly dangerous Relentless Dead has been imprisoned, essentially reducing the creature to Sealed Evil in a Can.
  • Instant Expert: One application of the Old Soul quality, especially at higher levels.
  • Interdimensional Travel Device: There are Gateways to the Otherworlds on Earth, but they generally are rare, ancient, and closely guarded by one Covenant or another. They also require a special Invocation to activate.
  • Just Following Orders:
    • Under Rosicrucian law, this is a defense. If you commit an atrocity under the orders of a higher Rosicrucian, the one who gave the order gets the heat for it, not you. As for why a "good" faction would have this as a law, and just how much "heat" is involved for someone who abuses it, two case examples are given of senior Rosicrucians ordering their subordinates to commit massacres. In one instance, no one was punished because the victims were a cult who were allowing the viral Eldritch Abomination they worshiped to inhabit their bodies, and the only way to banish it was to kill them all. In the other instance, there was no such reason. The subordinates were not punished, but the senior Rosicrucian was not only executed but had his soul "unraveled".
    • The Ruya'ha sect, another "good" faction, accepts assignments (for assassination) from their One True Imam without question or hesitation. However, it is heavily implied that the One True Imam has something of an Omniscient Morality License, and thus the targets he doles out are genuinely hurting humanity.
  • Ki Manipulation: One form of Tao-Chi attack.
  • Knight Templar: Tends to be the MO of the Sentinels, who have a long history of hunting monsters - including, in the past, other Gifted (whether they were actually using their powers for evil purposes or not). Subverted with the actual Knights Templar, who are less rabid in their efforts to protect humanity.
  • The Knights Templar: They're still around in the present of this setting, and they're actually one of the most powerful (and secretive) Covenants, albeit locked in a hidden war with the far stronger Combine. Predictably, there's a lot more to the Knight Templar order than Mundane history records.
  • The Legions of Hell: Fallen Seraphim despise humanity, and seek to lead us astray to spite the Creator. They are not to be confused with Fiends, which are a form of spirit from a different Sephiroth that are defined by hate, hunger, and power relations.
  • Lightning Bruiser:
    • Even the wussiest of Vampyres and Relentless Dead will have Strength and Dexterity that are at/near the max for Mundane human attributes, and most are even better than that.
    • Ferals in their non-human form are also generally fast and monstrously strong.
    • Tao-Chi includes powers to increase the user's speed or boost the force of their strikes. The average Gifted martial artist could easily have (and use) both powers at once.
  • Limit Break: Magic functions like this in combat situations, as Invocations can't be used until the magician has channeled enough Essence for the effect they want.
  • Linear Warriors, Quadratic Wizards: Mundane PCs start out with significantly better attributes and skills than a full Gifted PC. But as noted under Power Levels below, there are only so many ways a Mundane character can improve, while a Gifted character can keep getting more and more powerful until they're a Person of Mass Destruction. Luckily, humans carry the Divine Spark (meaning every human has the potential to develop powers), and so there are rules allowing Mundanes to become Gifted over the course of play.
  • Look on My Works, Ye Mighty, and Despair!: The backstory of the True Immortals, who are the reincarnated inhabitants of Atlantis, a powerful Elder Kingdom which was extant epochs before recorded history and wielded not only the secrets of immortality, but Arcana - fantastic technologies beyond the understanding of even the most Gifted humans today. However, Atlantis was destroyed in a cataclysm, and all that remains of it now are the rare True Immortals and their fragmented memories. Only a minority of them are Makers who can remember how to create any items of Arcana.
  • Lovecraftian Superpower:
    • The Disciples of the Flesh are Gifted who had such a mangled childhood that it awoke their Gift in a way which allows them to reshape their bodies into grotesque living weapons. The expected morality of the Pariahs is subverted, however - for the most part, they just want to stop the real monsters of the world from causing further suffering.
    • An even more blatant example comes from humans who get infected by Taint from contact with the Mad Gods. One Covenant, the Mockers, is centered around humans who survive the experience and choose to fight the Mad Gods with their horrible new powers. These powers are fueled by Taint, and the more Taint you gain, the more deformed and insane you become.
  • Lovecraft Lite: The Mad Gods and their minions are very real, they do cause madness and corruption in mortals, and they do pose an increasingly apocalyptic threat to the world as we know it. That said, the Gifted aren't quite as helpless against them as the average Call of Cthulhu PC, and the Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu? trope is definitely on the table.
  • Lord British Postulate: Defied. The game will give even a Mad God stats and allow the PCs to try to kill it - they, alone or in conjunction with allies, might just be able to pull it off.
  • Mad God: The Mad Gods, of course. Their goal is to manifest on Earth, and even brief contact with them (or their minions) tends to drive Mundanes insane very quickly.
  • Magic A Is Magic A: Magic, Necromancy, Seer abilities, Divine Inspiration, and the variety of other abilities around each function under a particular set of rules.
  • Magical Clown: The Mockers have a grim sense of (mad) humor, and some of them actually do dress up as clowns or jesters when they're hunting the minions of the Mad Gods. Given their madness and their Taint-based powers, the Mockers are sometimes mistaken for Monster Clowns themselves.
  • Magical Native American: The Ghost Dancers ride this trope for everything it's worth, to the point that non-natives aren't even allowed to join the Covenant.
  • Magical Society: Each and every Covenant, although not all of them strictly deal in "magic".
  • Magicians Are Wizards: One of the example characters in the core rulebook is a stage magician who secretly has actual magical talents. Reversed in a story from the Rosicrucian sourcebook, where another sorcerer uses his (real) magic to pretend he's a stage magician.
  • Magitek: Atlantean Arcana, which runs on Essence and can't be built by Mundanes or even regular Gifted.
  • Mana: Essence. (Or, more darkly, Taint.)
  • The Man Behind the Man: How the Combine operates, although in their case it's more like The Man Behind The Man Behind The Man Behind The Man Behind The Man. Very few Combine operatives (at least that the average PC will ever meet) actually have any idea who they're really working for, and the ones who do - well, the next guys up the chain will have no idea who they work for, either. And so forth.
  • Mark of the Beast: In addition to general deformity, gaining excessive amounts of Taint can cause your flesh to manifest "Taint marks" - tattoo-like sigils that make your nature obvious to observers who know what to look for. In Armageddon, the Mark of Leviathan becomes the most widely-recognized Taint mark in the world.
  • Masquerade: Albeit one that's getting harder to maintain with every passing year. By the time Armageddon begins, the cat's been out of the bag for years (though of course there were still people denying it right up until they saw genuine angels on live TV).
  • The Men in Black: One category of the Combine's servants, although a few of them are Knights Templar undermining the Combine.
  • Mercy Kill: A frequently-encountered trope for the Mockers. The Mockers search for other Mad God survivors to bolster their ranks, but for every victim who remains intact enough to join them, they have to kill several others who are beyond help.
  • Mind over Matter: The Seer Mindhands power.
  • Muggles: Mundanes.
  • Muggles Do It Better:
    • While lacking any form of supernatural traits, Mundane players get so many points for other stats that they can start with excellent attributes and near-superhuman levels in combat (or any other) skills. A sidebar in the main rulebook also warns that the Gifted have their limits, using the example that a trained gunman can fire several shots before most wizards can finish a sentence (let alone a powerful invocation).
    • Defied at Legendary and higher levels. Once you get into the realm of the Enlightened, Seraphim, and Incarnates, there's no rules for Mundane heroes, as even the most talented (and well-armed) Mundanes are no match for such powerful beings.
  • Murder, Inc.: The Society of Assassins are the Covenant for this trope. Every single rank-and-file member of the Society is either an Assassin, someone who infiltrates target groups to set up hits for the Assassins, or both. And yes, you can hire the Assassins to do some dirty work of your own (although the "good" sect - the Raya'ha - will only accept hits that are in accordance with their One True Imam's Will).
  • Mystery Cult: The Cabal of Psyche began as a benevolent mystery cult in ancient Greece. After their attempts to use their Seer powers to rule the Mundanes backfired, they took to hiding their kind, and have remained in the shadows ever since.
  • Necromancer: Yet another type of Gifted, and distinct from invocation-wielding magicians. They usually fall under the category of Dark Is Not Evil.
  • Nigh-Invulnerability: The main feature of the Relentless Dead. If you don't have the Gifted powers to put them down for good, the absolute best you can hope for is to seal them away to buy yourself some time. But even if you throw them in a volcano or sink them into the ocean or bury them under megatons of earth, their Wrath will inevitably break them free and put them on your trail once more.
  • Not So Different: The Knights Templar have much nobler goals than their sworn enemy, the Combine, but use the same shadowy conspiracy tactics, from media manipulation to assassination. To their credit, the Knights try to avoid "collateral damage" as much as possible, but they will do what they must to defeat the Combine.
  • Not Me This Time: The Society of Assassins (Ruya'ha sect) is almost a whole faction of this trope. The Society as a whole commits political murders for reasons only they know, but the Ruya'ha sect targets evil leaders who are impeding humanity's progress, while their Alamut sect arch-rivals are just another arm of the oppressive Combine. Few outsiders are aware that the Society of Assassins even has different sects at all, and so the Ruya'ha get blamed for a lot of the (unjust) killings that in fact were perpetrated by the Alamut - and being a secret society of Professional Killers, the Ruya'ha can't exactly set the record straight with a big PR campaign.
  • Obstructive Code of Conduct:
    • The Inspired have fairly defined limits on when they can unleash their miracles; this means either when lives are at stake or other supernatural powers have manifested. In addition, the Touch of Healing is expected to be limited to co-religionists, though some Inspired will heal their allies against evil regardless of their professed beliefs.
    • For all their power and malevolence, demons are unable to harm humans directly. But they can encourage humans to give in to all our worst impulses - and they can sell us all the drugs, weapons, and slaves we'll willing to buy to make it even worse. Oh, and if a pack of Gifted avengers draws first blood on the demon, then all bets are off!
  • Offscreen Teleportation: Relentless Dead can actually take this as a power. Once they're on your trail, You Can Run, but You Can't Hide.
  • Omniscient Morality License: The Ruya'ha sect of the Society of Assassins does not kill wantonly, but only targets individuals whom their One True Imam directs them to kill. The Will of the One True Imam (and his choice of targets) is never questioned by the Assassins. While there is a degree of Blind Obedience to this, it is also implied that the One True Imam has a unique connection to the Creator that allows him to perceive who actually does stand in the way of the Society's goal of a paradise on Earth.
  • One-Winged Angel: The Disciplines of the Flesh lend themselves to this, and indeed the standard tactic with those powers is to morph into an inhumanly powerful/hideous monster and rend your foes limb from limb. With a bit of effort on the Reshape power, these forms can also be scary enough to trigger some pretty harsh Fear tests while you're at it.
  • Only Mostly Dead: Like in real life, it's possible to bring someone Back from the Dead with prompt medical attention in the ER. A quirk of this is that, under certain circumstances, your soul can be taken from you when you would otherwise be savable (preventing this); the Fallen are in no hurry to update their definition of "dead."
  • Our Angels Are Different: Angels are closer to their original biblical counterparts, as powerful soldiers of God who smite people. Some are nicer, especially the Kerubim who are ascended humans. The rest often have (from a human POV) a serious "attitude problem".
    • Archangel Gabriel: One of the biggest assholes of the setting, being the original architect of the oppressive Combine (among other jerkassness).
    • Archangel Michael: Nicer, and apparently a woman. Which surprised everyone, including her.
    • Bodhisattvas, humans who Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence and then decide to remain in Creation instead of entering Nirvana, are a form of Kerubim who can reincarnate into Enlightened Humans, such as the Tulkus of the Shambala Order. They are neutral in the war between Heaven and Hell, but have similar powers to Kerubim.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: Most Vampyres don't actually need to drink blood, as they can siphon the Essence they need merely by causing enough fear, pain, or pleasure in their "donors". Also, they are not always created by other Vampyres. Any soul who dies yet refuses to Move On (and has the sheer desperation to make that refusal stick) may find themselves returning to life as a Vampyre.
  • Our Werebeasts Are Different: Werewolves are the most common type of Ferals (at least in the western world), but every mammalian predator has a Feral equivalent. Ferals can either be born that way, or acquire the Feral curse by being sufficiently injured by a Feral or even killing a Feral.
  • Painful Transformation: The Disciples of the Flesh can transform into horrific monsters, but to activate the power, they must relive the abuse that created them in their heads.
  • Past-Life Memories: True Immortals have vague memories of their original lives in Atlantis, the Bast can remember all their cat incarnations, and humans with any levels of Old Soul quality (even Mundanes) can recall memories and even skills from their soul's past incarnations on Earth.
  • Path of Inspiration: Many examples. The Old Gods took worshipers for their own power and to keep humanity in line. The Abrahamic Religions were often used by the Seraphim to take out the worshipers of the polytheistic religions so they could defeat the Old Gods in their home domains. The Catholic Church in particular had been used for centuries by the Combine to root out supernaturals and Gifted, and keep humanity largely ignorant. At least the Church no longer operates like this since the Black Death crippled the Combine.
  • Phantasy Spelling ("Vampyres"...)
  • Point Build System: A central feature of the rules system. Depending your character type (Mundane, Lesser Gifted, Gifted, etc) and Power Level, you get X points for attributes, Y points for skills, Z points for metaphysics (powers), and so forth.
  • Power Crystal: One category of Atlantean super-tech.
  • Powered by a Forsaken Child:
    • Ghosts with the Ghostsmith ability can forge permanent items that work in the Death Realms, at the cost of some permanent Essence. The most unfortunate Ghostsmiths get enslaved by more powerful ghosts, who force them to forge items constantly - and keep them in existence by feeding them the Essence of yet other ghost slaves.
    • The Sadicas brand of black magic allows its users to hold much higher Essence pools than normal, but it can only be replenished by torturing other humans and stealing their Essence.
  • Power Glows: Beings and places with huge amounts of Essence are very obvious - if you're Gifted.
  • Power Levels: The game defines five levels of starting power for PCs:
    • Pre-Heroic: This tier is occupied by slightly-better-than-average normal people, with a sprinkling of weak and inexperienced Gifted. Generally, expect a horror-movie feel at this level, as the PCs are going to be heavily outgunned by any supernatural adversaries they face.
    • Heroic: This is the default power level. Though they are far from helpless, Gifted at this level are generally journeyman-ish in strength, while supernaturals will be relatively new or inexperienced members of their kind. The absolute best Mundanes top out at this level. PCs at this level can be useful operatives of their faction and proactive in dealing with supernatural threats.
    • Legendary: These PCs are outright superheroes, beyond the capabilities of any (Mundane) human. Gifted are powerful psychics and sorcerers, while supernatural beings will be highly experienced, belong to a powerful race, or both. Many of these characters will be Really 700 Years Old. Legendary level characters are major agents in their factions, the SEAL Team 6 to the Heroic level's regular enlisted.
    • Mythical: Most of these are supernatural beings of great age and power, ranging from Greater Seraphim to Incarnate gods. Gifted at this level are The Archmage, with centuries worth of experience and knowledge in their respective field (though there's a few "young" prodigies with really awe-inspiring inborn talent). These beings are armies unto themselves, and reshape the world wherever they act.
    • Transcendent: This one's mentioned in passing to represent cosmic-level movers and shakers, as usually these types don't make good PC material. This tier is pretty much limited to named characters who won't appear on Earth before Armageddon, such as the High Archangels and leading deities of Old God pantheons, as well as Dark Apostle Johann Goering. To give you an idea of just how powerful one of these can be, Odin single-handedly defeats the Army of Revelations' invasion of Britain and Scandinavia.
  • Pragmatic Hero: The Society of Assassins will contract their Assassins to outsiders, but the Ruha'ya sect only accepts hits that their leader approves of. That said, if your target is enough of a villain that the Ruya'ha will actually take the job, there's a non-zero chance that their One True Imam already decided to put out a hit on the villain before you came along. But they will accept your payment anyway!
  • Psychic Powers: Seer abilities.
  • Really 700 Years Old: When a True Immortal is awakened, they become permanently stuck at the age they were awakened at. While most do so in the prime of their lives, there is a flaw that allows you to be permanently stuck in an underage body. This trope also applies to the Gifted, who age more slowly once they build up a huge store of Essence, to the point where the leaders of most Covenants are centuries old.
  • The Red Mage:
    • Taking multiple Gifted arts (except for combining Divine Inspiration with Invocations or Necromancy) is entirely possible, though human characters generally require a teacher to learn new powers, and teachers for a Gifted art may or may not be available in your Covenant (you don't see a lot of Rosicrucian psychics, for example). The rules themselves advise that it's best to focus on one or two Gifted arts rather than try to be a Psychic Kung-Fu Wizard Necromancer whose skills are so thinly spread that you're a Master of None.
    • In the earlier Witchcraft sourcebooks, most Covenants focused primarily on one Gifted art, with other arts being a small minority (if tolerated at all). Later sourcebooks switched this up, with new Covenants whose rank-and-file members typically wield two different Gifted arts. Examples include the Covenant of Legban (Invocations/Necromancy), the Ghost Dancers (Invocations/Second Sight), the Society of Assassins (Invocations/Tao-Chi), and the Order of Shambala (Tao-Chi/Second Sight).
  • Reincarnation:
  • Religion Is Magic: The Wicce, the Covenant of Legban, the Ghost Dancers, the Shambala Order, the Society of Assassins, and the Society of Sentinels all combine supernatural powers with a decidedly religious bent.
  • Religion of Evil: Numerous cults exist that involve human torture and/or sacrifice, either for laughs or because they actually gain power from it. The Cult of Pain stands out as an example of the latter, as it featured prominently on the Witchcraft website as part of several entertaining examples.
  • Renegade Splinter Faction: Many Covenants have at least one of these.
    • The Storm Dragons have a lot of splinter factions, as their martial art has, over the ages, had a massive number of defectors who set up their own schools of Tao-Chi Supernatural Martial Arts. To hear the Storm Dragons tell it, everything from the Shaolin Temple to the legendary Ninja themselves owes their origin to Storm Dragon renegades. The largest group of renegades (with actual ties to the Storm Dragons) are the Red Lotus Society, a Dark Covenant whom the Storm Dragons have fought for generations.
    • The Cabal of Psyche (the "psychic" Covenant) has a growing number of members who oppose the Cabal's traditional neutrality, feeling that they should get involved in the threats facing humanity. While the malcontents haven't yet splintered into a new Covenant of their own, that day is not far away.
    • Also with the Cabal of Psyche, it is rumored that when the Cabal began in ancient Greece, one of the founding Seers rebelled against the others to set up their own order, which even now plots against the Cabal of Psyche (and humanity in general). The Cabal's leadership deny such an organization exists, however.
    • The Cult of Pain was formed by a group of depraved French noblemen... and a renegade Rosicrucian sorcerer.
    • The Society of Assassins has the Alamut Sect, who have betrayed their brethren to serve the Combine.
  • Rich Bastard: One stereotype among the Rosicrucians. While their Covenant does have a handful of uber-talented sorcerers who were Recruited from the Gutter, the bulk of their membership are indeed upper-class (and usually Ivy League-educated) elites.
  • Ritual Magic: The slow, tedious way of using magic. If you don't have Essence Channeling (a category which includes all True Immortals), it's also the only way.
  • Romanticism Versus Enlightenment: The conflict between the Combine and the Knights Templar can be summed up as this. The Templars believe that humanity is best liberated by democracy, technological advancement, universal education and secularism (they don't see religion as bad, per se, but they're wary of it as a tool of Mundane control). The Combine's objective is to keep humanity under control, which usually means a unified and authoritarian church and state, failed revolutions, technology suppressed or turned to serve those in authority, and the deaths of reformers and free-thinkers.
  • Safety in Muggles: Few supernatural beings (evil or not) are willing to flaunt their powers in public.
  • Seers: A fairly common character type among Gifted who are, well, Seers.
  • Serial Killer: A common bad guy in this setting. They might be a Mundane murderer... or they might be a malevolent Vampyre, an Accursed Feral, a Relentless Dead, a psychopathic Phantasm, a black magician, a cultist beholden to demons or Mad Gods, a corrupt nature spirit, or some other supernatural being.
    • Serial-Killer Killer: Given the above prevalence of serial killers and the "protect humanity" ethos of most Covenants, this character type is not uncommon among the setting's heroes, particularly if they're Relentless Dead themselves.
  • Skin Walker: The Skin-Changer Invocation allows magicians to do this. Not all are evil, though the magic is pretty creepy. Though if you see a jaguar skinchanger, you might want to run very far, very fast.
  • Slobs vs. Snobs: The Wicce and Rosicrucians don't really get along because of this. Wicce are Closer to Earth pagans who live relatively simple lives and use magic carefully for defense, a little personal benefit, and fighting evil. Rosicrucians are a fraternity of wizards in business suits who focus on getting rich and developing their magical ability.
  • Spider-Sense: A bonus effect of certain Seer powers and Chi Mastery.
  • Spirit World: The various Sephiroth provide almost every variety you can think of. Hod and Geburah got write-ups, while Yesod, Netzach (the realms of The Old Gods) and Binah (home of the Elemental Planes and the Seraphim, but not Fluffy Cloud Heaven) haven't, and some of the Sephiroth have names but little else. Then there's Kether, which is the highest of the Sephiroth, and the only certainty is that those who go there don't come back. The conventional theory is that it's the home of the Creator and/or the Nirvana of Buddhism, but it could just as easily be a Cessation of Existence where people are reabsorbed into pure potential.
  • Spin-Off: Armageddon, which advances the setting to a time when the Reckoning is in full swing.
  • Squishy Wizard: The Gifted character type has the fewest points for attributes and qualities, leaving them looking a little like this compared to Lesser Gifted and (particularly) Mundane players.
  • Summon Magic: The Spirit Mastery family of Invocations and the Necromancy powers of Death Speech and Death Vessel.
  • Summoning Ritual: The most popular way of bringing the Mad Gods into our reality. More benign summoning Invocations can also resemble this trope, if the magician is being especially careful.
  • Supernaturally Delicious and Nutritious: Any high-essence character not concealing their power with an essence shield looks like a delicious meal to many creatures.
  • Supernatural Martial Arts: The Tao-Chi powers, although they fall more towards the Charles Atlas Superpower end of the scale than the Dragon Ball Z end. Alternately, you can just use the normal Martial Arts skill you already have, augmented by bonuses from Seer Powers, Divine Inspiration, Necromancy possession, and/or the Key of War. (No one ever accused this game of having a lack of options...)
  • Too Dumb to Live: The Sammael Gate in the Sephiroth of Hod is the only permanent breach between our world and the horrible Taint-based universe of the Mad Gods. Predictably, few dare to enter it, and fewer still return alive and sane. However, one Covenant - the Eye of Horus - made it their initiation ritual for new members to dart into the Sammael Gate and return, figuring that anyone who can survive THAT is badass enough to join their ranks. "Of course, the Eye of Horus was a short-lived group."
  • Torture Cellar: Members of the Cult of Pain often have their own torture basements, as their Sadicas magic can only be powered by Essence gathered from torturing the innocent.
  • Touched by Vorlons:
  • Toxic Phlebotinum: Taint-producing artifacts and even meteorites are a thing, and generally a dire threat to whatever area they end up in.
  • Training the Gift of Magic: Some of the Gifted arts, like the Second Sight or Disciplines of the Flesh, can be "inborn" for a Gifted individual and used without the need for training (although training can certainly help). However, others - like Invocations or Tao-Chi - often require not only the Gift, but a level of training and focus almost unheard-of in the modern world.
  • Transformation Horror: What you can look forward to if you have enough contact with the Mad Gods to become infected with their Taint. The more Taint you manage to acquire, the more deformed you will become. The most powerful servants of the Mad Gods no longer look even remotely human.
  • The Undead: Vampyres, Ghosts, Phantasms, the Relentless Dead... all of which are playable character types.
  • Unequal Rites:
    • Usually, the Divinely Inspired and magicians don't get along. Not only are the powers incompatible (no character can have both), but most monotheistic religions that believe in magic take a dim view of it, to the point that the Sentinels (the main Covenant for the Inspired) are almost an Antimagical Faction.
    • The Knights Templar are an exception to the above, as they are one of the few organizations where magicians and the Divinely Inspired work side-by-side.
    • Rosicrucians look down on psychics as "useless wild magic," while the Cabal of Psyche dislikes "magical" traditions and any power that they can't fit into a "scientific" psychic paradigm. Similarly, the Sentinels consider Psychic Powers another form of Creator-given gift alongside Divine Inspiration, but don't tolerate magic or necromancy. And the Wicce say that all of the above are being stupid, because it's all just different ways of channeling Essence.
  • The Unfettered:
    • The Mockers explicitly take this stance with regards to fighting the Mad Gods. In their eyes, if preventing a Mad God from manifesting means detonating a thermonuclear weapon in downtown Los Angeles, then so be it.
    • Relentless Dead with Dark Wrath also embody this trope when it comes to wanton slaughter. Even their own survival is a meaningless concern when their next victim is in sight.
  • Utopia Justifies the Means:
    • The Knights Templar want to build a utopian world government without poverty or war, because they believe this is the best path to enlightening humanity. However, to get there, they work as a black-ops conspiracy using methods not unlike those of the Combine.
    • The Ruya'ha sect of the Society of Assassins also work towards a utopian world for humanity, and they're willing to assassinate as many evildoers as it takes to get there.
  • Viral Transformation: Ferals can spread their curse in a viral way, either by injuring a human almost to the point of death or being killed themselves. The victim gets a roll to resist taking on the curse, however, so it doesn't always work.
  • Vision Quest: This is a common experience for Gifted who follow a shamanic tradition of any sort, particular the Ghost Dancers. And yes, there's every chance of picking up a Spirit Advisor or even an outright Spirit Patron while you're at it.
  • Voluntary Shapeshifting: Ferals (who aren't accursed) and the Disciples of the Flesh.
  • Wainscot Society: Excepting possibly the Nomads, all Covenants have (at a minimum) secret hideouts where they can be with their own kind without worrying about Mundane attention.
  • Walking Wasteland: This is one possible side effect of Taint corruption - killing all plant and small animal life that comes within a small radius of your character.
  • Weirdness Censor: Certain angels have the power to cloud minds, making Mundanes try to rationalize (or simply forget) whatever supernatural phenomena they witnessed. This power can even blur photographs and recorded footage.
  • Weirdness Magnet: Comes with the Gift, especially for the more powerful. True Immortals can also take the "Destiny Rider" flaw, which makes the Weirdness Magnet effect even more overt.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: The Sentinels, the Society of Assassins, the Mockers, and the Knights Templar all fall under this trope to varying degrees. The Sentinels protect humanity from dark forces but are too often blase about whether a supernatural being is really "evil", the Assassins exist to exterminate the people who are holding humanity back, the Mockers will do absolutely anything to hurt the Mad Gods, and the Knights Templar fight to free the world from the Combine even if it means using the Combine's own black-ops methods. Not surprisingly, all of these groups are generally loathed, feared, misunderstood, or just outright blacklisted by the other Covenants.
  • With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: The burden that the Mockers carry. Their Taint gives them (horrible) powers unavailable to other Gifted, but it's also a cancer eating away at their minds. The more their powers (and Taint) grow, the harder it is for them to maintain their sanity.
  • Wizards Live Longer: Gifted with large Essence pools, or with mastery of Mindheal, are able to slow their aging or even attain immortality.
  • The World Is Not Ready: This is the attitude of the Gifted (and supernatural beings) in general. They have existed throughout history, but revealing their powers to the Mundane world (deliberately or otherwise) has invariably resulted in tragedy.
  • Your Soul Is Mine: If you pledge a Gift of the Soul to your Spirit Patron (usually one of the Fallen), then your soul is theirs at the moment of death. One corollary of this is that they can arrange for this to happen sooner rather than later. A second corollary is that your soul is theirs at the moment of clinical death, preventing resuscitation by magic or modern medicine.

    Armageddon 
  • The Alliance: The Alliance, natch.
  • All Myths Are True: With both Seraphim and The Old Gods (of basically every pantheon ever) walking the Earth, this trope is even more overt than it was in Witchcraft.
  • Always Chaotic Evil:
    • Justified: Developing a Mark Of Leviathan requires genuine loyalty to him, which pretty much means that the Marked are utterly evil, existing solely for the destruction of Reality and the subjugation of mankind.
    • Subverted - occasionally - with the Fallen Seraphim. It turns out that living in Hell is not much more pleasant for demons than it is for damned humans, and a few demons actually wish for redemption (even if absolutely no one is willing to help them redeem themselves). For their part, the Qliphonim (humans who have been uplifted into demons) retain their free will, though in practice you can only become a Qliphonim by being so incredibly evil that the Legion of Hell feels that you would be a useful tool to corrupt Earth further... even so, a sizable number of Qliphonim are starting to organize a resistance to their infernal masters (or at least a move towards a less Hell-bound existence).
  • America Saves the Day: America is the only country that has enough of its shit together to mount an effective counter to the Church of Revelations, with everyone either being conquered, collapsing internally due to Believer interference (and general chaos), supporting the United States, or stuck in an extremely bloody stalemate.
  • Atlantis: The Armageddon book gives us a brief history of the Elder Kingdoms, which included Atlantis, Mu, Lemuria, and Ultima Thule. Not brought down by hubris, but because Ultima Thule treated with Leviathan to win their war with Atlantis. To prevent the world from becoming corrupted, Satan sent the Flood and destroyed civilization. Immortals are the reincarnations of the ancient Atlanteans.
  • The Antichrist: Joseph Goering, the Dark Apostle of Leviathan and commander of both the Army and Church of Revelations. Unlike the human Adepts who serve Leviathan, the Dark Apostle always has a completely normal (human) appearance, and exactly what kind of being he is remains a mystery.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: On top of the Celestials and Primals all becoming more powerful as you go up their respective hierarchies, the Church of Leviathan has their Adepts, with each Order being more powerful and having more authority than the last.
  • Bastard Understudy: The Dark Apostle has survived numerous assassination attempts. Not all of them were from outside the Church of Revelations.
  • Big Good: The Heavenly Host sees themselves as this, and individual Seraphim often assume they're in charge of whatever groups of non-Seraphim they end up working with. This has not helped them make allies.
  • Body of Bodies: Once the Church of Revelations gets to the "Assimilation" phase of its conquest in a region, the resident humans (and all other life) start turning into abominations themselves. One example is given of a town deep within the Conquered Territories where all the humans have fused into one horrifying gestalt organism.
  • Council of Angels: It's revealed that the Seraphim of the Heavenly Host tend to fall on the Knight Templar spectrum, having done all sorts of things of questionable morality over the ages. When the Archangel Michelle finds out just how bad things are (namely: that the Combine was originally the work of Gabriel), she quits in disgust to found the Alliance and takes a non-insignificant number of (less extremist) Seraphim and Kerubim with her.
  • Day of the Jackboot: What happens when the Church of Revelations conquers an area. Generally, they start with a state of emergency, then set up a Fantastic Caste System based on whether you've taken the Mark of Leviathan and start making things harder on anyone who doesn't take it.
  • Deal with the Devil: Praying to Leviathan will bring you luck, if you don't mind someone around you suffering for it.
  • Defector from Decadence: While the Legions of Hell are evil and self-serving, it's obvious that at least a few of the Fallen Seraphim and Qliphonim are tired of their lot and wish for redemption... enough to make them interesting choices for player characters.
  • Deus ex Machina: Considering the setting, a lot. Leviathan gives his worshipers what they want, but in a disturbing manner. Odin scatters the Church of Revelations' fleet to prevent the conquest of England and the Scandinavian Peninsula.
  • Deus ex Nukina: Notably reversed, as nuclear weapons have stopped working, and divine intervention is implied to be the reason why.
  • Divine Parentage: An Inheritor is the offspring of a mortal and one of the many deities out there. The Nephilim are similar, but their non-human parent was an angel.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Primal characters with the Vengeance Aspect tend to deal in this trope, predictably.
  • Eldritch Abomination: Leviathan is a Mad God powerful enough to threaten all of Reality. The Shaitan hordes are Leviathan's cannon fodder Eldritch Abominations, and humans under his control inevitably evolve into other types of Eldritch Abominations themselves.
  • Elemental Powers: The elemental Invocations from Witchcraft are back, and Armageddon ups the ante by adding the four elements as possible Aspects for Primal characters.
  • Embarrassing Tattoo: Played for drama, as when the Mark of Leviathan first started appearing, it was (briefly) trendy enough that many people got matching tattoos. But then the Church of Revelation plunged the world into war, and these same people had to get the tattoos removed or risk being killed outright as agents of the Adversary.
  • The End of the World as We Know It: In progress.
  • Enemy Mine: Everyone who is not in the Church of Revelations has allied together against Leviathan; angels and demons are fighting on the same side, and ordinarily-nasty sorts and antiheroes are finding themselves forced to either join Leviathan's evil or stand against it.
  • Evil Army: The Army of Revelations, which fields not only corrupt humans, but hordes of Eldritch Abominations, undead monsters, and turncoat supernatural beings.
  • Evil Versus Oblivion: The Legion of Hell has no love for humanity, the Pantheons, or the Heavenly Host, but they hate Leviathan (and its threat to Reality) even more.
  • Fantastic Caste System: The Church of Revelations introduces this in conquered areas. You can go up in caste freely in this case - all you have to do is go to church.
  • Fantasy Kitchen Sink: An apocalyptic setting where angels, demons, pagan gods, witches, psychics, the undead, and immortals have all teamed up to fight Lovecraftian Mad Gods!
  • Fallen States of America: America's kind of in a bad way. Slum areas of major cities were walled off, and the Supreme Court was laughed at when they declared this unconstitutional (said slum areas have become hives of supernatural danger). Parts of the country have gone Mad Max, with motorcycle gangs of army deserters and Believers roaming the roads, while other areas have rebelled and declared their own petty nations. The U.S. government simply doesn't have the time or resources to deal with any of this - they're too busy fighting a war for humanity's survival.
  • Gender Flip: The Archangel Michael, upon taking mortal form, finds out that he's actually a woman.
  • Gods Need Prayer Badly: While Incarnates (read: gods) are not utterly dependent on human belief, they derive a lot of power from it. Before the modern era, most lost their power base when the Seraphim had their mortal minions slaughter the Incarnates' mortal minions.
  • Going Cosmic: Inverted. There's plenty of the stuff from the higher Sephiroth involved (such as angels taking a direct role in the fighting) but the Earth - plain old Earth - is the main battlefield.
  • Half-Human Hybrid: The Inheritors are half-gods, while the Nephilim are half-angels.
  • Have You Seen My God?: The Creator left about 20,000 years ago. The Heavenly Host have been searching for (Him? Her? It?) for most of that time, when not busy with their "Keep the upstart humans ignorant" agenda (which probably wasn't entirely in line with the Creator's own plan).
  • Humans Are Special:
    • This trope is more overt than it is in Witchcraft. As individually feeble as humans may be compared to Celestials or the Old Gods, it's acknowledged that collectively, humanity will be the deciding factor in the war — and Leviathan knows it.
    • Game rules-wise, humans are the only characters with the potential to learn any of the Gifted arts. Celestials, Primals, Nephilim, and True Immortals may be individually more powerful, but they're much more restricted in their options.
  • Implacable Man: None of the Celestial or Primal character types are easy to kill, but the Nephilim — with their sheer toughness and general immunity to supernatural powers — really take the cake.
  • Jerkass Angels: Of the three Seraphim factions, only the smallest, the Watchers, truly have humanity's best interests at heart; the Heavenly Host are at best paternalistic Control Freaks and at worst "Let God sort 'em out"-style Knight Templars, and as for the Infernal Legion... well, guess. The Old Gods, too, are often selfish and manipulative to their followers.
  • Legions of Hell: They're actually on mankind's side for this conflict, because damning all of humanity to spite the Creator is a pretty hollow victory if Leviathan devours all of reality, you included. The irony that the demons are now forced to protect the very beings that they have spent millennia trying to damn is not lost on them, either.
  • Leonine Contract: Eventually, the Church of Revelations gets to this point: accept the Deal with the Devil or be shipped off to a slave camp. It's only gotten this far in a few places, though.
  • Light Is Not Good: For most of history, the Heavenly Host cared more about controlling humanity than guiding or protecting us. The Old Gods, who were once their rivals, were not much better.
  • Magic Versus Science: Played with. Over history, most human organizations chose either Science or Magic, forsaking the other path entirely. But the setting points out that clinging to either extreme is blind, and now that the world is confronted with a threat (the Church of Revelations) that can use both technological and spiritual weapons, humanity must rethink its approach to survive.
  • Mark of the Beast: The Mark of Leviathan. Anyone wearing it is irrevocably lost to the Mad God.
  • Middle Eastern Coalition: Israel, Iran and Saudi Arabia are working together to fight the Church of Revelations, supported by the largest contingent of the Heavenly Host in the world (the remnants of Gabriel's faction).
  • The Old Gods: They're back, and just in time for Ragnarok. Their Inheritors, Avatars, and Incarnates are all playable characters.
  • Old Save Bonus: While Invocations, Seer powers, Necromancy, and Divine Inspiration are the Gifted arts listed in the Armageddon core book, you can use the rules from your Witchcraft sourcebooks to make characters with Disciplines of the Flesh, Keys of Solomon, or Tao-Chi, too. Conceivably, you could also play a Witchcraft campaign for long enough that the timeline advances into the era of Armageddon (with all the XP your character earned in the meantime).
  • Out-Gambitted: Although not stated outright in the book, Archangel Gabriel has this happen to him in a BIG way. Not only did his Combine patsies completely fail to stem the rise of supernatural awareness among humans, but they were completely blindsided by Leviathan's minions. There are in fact several hints that the Combine was in large part subverted by the Church of Revelations to their ends.
  • Path of Inspiration: The Church of Revelations does not claim that it seeks to end the world and corrupt everyone into mindless servants of an extra-dimensional Mad God. Rather, they claim that Leviathan is the rightful ruler of Reality and thus serving it is in humanity's best interests.
  • Physical God: The Pantheons, to a T. Primal characters who take after them inherit much from this trope, particularly superhuman attributes and attunement to a specific concept.
  • Punch-Clock Villain: As many as 70% of the human soldiers in the Army of Revelations are not Believers; they just joined up to get a better job, to get out from under the boot, or because they were part of national militaries that got absorbed into the Army. Eventually, though, most of them are going to either die in action or take the Mark.
  • Puny Earthlings: Downplayed. While it's true that any Mundane human would get curb-stomped by any Seraphim, Primal, or Eldritch Abomination in a straight fight, a human pilot in a modern jet fighter is a threat for most angels, and Leviathan's undead and Shaitan minions - frightening though they may be - are little more than cannon fodder in the face of machine guns, artillery, and anti-tank weapons.
  • Token Evil Teammate: The Legion of Hell as a whole is this for the forces resisting the Church of Revelations. The Heavenly Host (and for that matter everyone else) would prefer to see the demons wiped from existence, but Leviathan is an even worse threat, and right now the resistance needs all the help they can get.
  • 20 Minutes into the Future: When the game was first released in the late 90's, a 2017 apocalypse (in motion) was definitely futuristic. Now it's Alternate History!
  • The Unmasqued World: Now that Eldritch Abominations are openly conquering the world and most people have seen angels on live TV, Earth is somewhere between this trope and Cosmic Horror Reveal.
  • Villain Has a Point: Retroactively. For all that he's a Knight Templar Smug Snake who was giving the runaround at every turn, Gabriel really did have a good reason for wanting to keep the supernatural under control. Problem is, the very mechanisms he set up to keep things under control became tools for releasing Leviathan when the Church of Revelations co-opted them.
  • You Are Not Ready: According to both Gabriel and the Old Gods, humans shouldn't be meddling with science or magic, because the last time they reached an era of such power, they awakened Leviathan and Lord Archangel Lucifer had to wipe out the Elder Kingdoms to save reality. Unfortunately, the angels mostly kicked out the Old Gods, allowing the angels to meddle with humanity unfettered, and Gabriel's attempt to keep the worms canned was a dismal failure.


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