Inspirations: It can't have escaped your notice that much of the UK is currently, not to put too fine a point on it, soggy as hell. Combine that with my known love for gothy dirges and here we are. Yes, it is another scenario about rain. What did you expect? I'm British!
Systems/Genre: Let's keep the fantasy focus for a while; this is good for any game where killing everything you can reach isn't necessarily the wise option. Blue Rose or Novarium immediately spring to mind, or - if you ratchet up the darkness and situation-as-puzzle quotient - Lamentations of the Flame Princess. And, of course, any situation which starts with "so it's a fantasy world and everything's gone to crap" is perfect for Warhammer Fantasy Role Play. For your conventional 'murderhobos' game (this would really work for Iron Kingdoms or Pathfinder in that respect), I suggest statting out the Witch in more detail and going for a straight up 'wizard's tower with a twist' approach.
|I swear I'm not just looking for excuses to post pictures of Chelsea Wolfe.|
The Witch moves seemingly at random through flooded forest and foetid fen, flitting from field to field in a semi-submerged sandbox environment. Low buildings are uninhabitable; taller ones are slums and shanties dwelt in by the desperate and despairing; life is a matter of fish-snatching mushroom-gobbling subsistence, treading carefully over wet rot and carnivorous oozes, fighting off swamp goblins and existing in uneasy co-existence with the local ghouls. What? Those corpses have to go somewhere and it's not like we've been able to bury them for six months.
Six months? Yep. Long enough for people to adapt to this way of life, even if it's not quite normal; long enough for things to have settled down into drudgery after the first sudden manifestation. Or maybe it's always been like this; maybe your campaign world has room for undiscovered pockets, isolated sub-communities - if it's Iron Kingdoms, dump it in the Thornwood, if it's WFRP, head for the Wasteland or the deep Drakwald.
Anyway. Back to that Witch. She's flooded and isolated the lands for miles around as a punishment. Maybe she's a druid who wants to reclaim the land for the sake of the Balance; maybe she's a new twist on the Dark Emissary, a figure of beauty as well as horror; maybe she's just powerful and lonely and scorned; maybe she's feuding with your Novaria. The floods won't go down until she sends them down, but of course, you have to find her first.
The Floodland is not easy to move through. Progress will be slow, and hazards plentiful. Oozes, goblins, ghouls, Gatormen, Fimir, carnivorous plants, shambling bog-horrors, myconids allied with the Witch who like everything all dingy and wet thank you very much - she doesn't have 'minions' as such, but she stirs up hazards wherever she goes.
And how does she go there? Maybe she's on a simple, spartan raft, unknowing and uncaring of the havoc that's wrought in her wake as the monsters are riled up and unleashed. Maybe she's on a steamboat - a ramshackle, unsteady environment that collapses under the PCs' feet as hostilities begin. Maybe she has a floating house pulled by a dozen 'tame' alligators, or lashed to the back of an immense and hungry water-worm. Maybe she's gone all Baba Yaga and her home moves on stilts.
'Stopping' the Witch could - and in my opinion should - be more about finding out why she's done this and what she wants than about simply smacking her over the head with a guisarme and checking out her loot table. I really think of this as a Blue Rose scenario; someone's done wrong by her, she's over-reacted, and if you can just persuade her that there's another way, she'll settle down and dismiss the waters before moving on or coming quietly. In something like Novarium, it's more about eliminating her rivals; once she feels safe, no longer pursued and hounded by her former peers, whether because they're dead or because they've been persuaded to reconcile, the waters will be suffered to fall. Of course, you could just peg her as 'overzealous minion of the Devourer Wurm' and shoot her, but I happen to find that sort of thing a little dull.
Besides, who'd shoot someone who looks like Chelsea Wolfe?