Witch Bottle
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Basic Information

A witch bottle is a type of low-end ward magic charm, usually prepared by a Cunning man or rival witch that protects the user from the effects of hostile magic.

The composition of the witch bottle varies a lot depening on the tradition of the worker that composes it - blood (sometimes menstrual blood) is common, as are hair and nail clippings, pins and nails, various plants (notably blackthorn, rosemary and rowan), thread, feathers and coins. Salt is also a common addition, as is graveyard soil (or other consecrated earth) and modern workers may try to substitute red wine for blood. If hair or nail clippings from a particular witch can be obtained then the bottle is likely to be particularly potent against them (via the Law of Contagion) but less effective against others, otherwise the hair and nail clippings may attune the bottle to the user instead - as with all low magic, considerable variation is to be expected.

Once filled, sealed and enchanted the bottle is then either built into a house (to protect the building) or carried by an individual. The installed type is said to be effective as long as it is not disturbed - portable types are likely to be less long lived. It is traditionally important not to let a witch lay hands on a witch bottle as they are likely to use the magical connection to cause all kinds of trouble. Some traditions suggest that, when a bottle has adsorbed a great deal of hostile magic, it will stop working, but can still be used against a witch since, if destroyed in a fire it will release the stored power back at the sender in a painful and possibly deadly backlash.


1. full source reference

Game and Story Use

  • PCs may find a "witch bottle" useful protection against hostile magic generally.
  • A house with a witch bottle installed may prove unexpectedly resistant to scrying - or even other defensive magics.
  • Be prepared with rules for backlash if using this option, also for the witch's ability to misuse a captured bottle.
  • What happens if a witch dies and then a witch bottle she had affected gets burned? Does it simply stop working, or does it attack some other magic user at random?
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