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An action RPG set in 1920s Massachusetts. Create and manage a team of investigators in a story-driven supernatural mystery.
An action RPG set in 1920s Massachusetts. Create and manage a team of investigators in a story-driven supernatural mystery.
5,420 backers pledged £102,430 to help bring this project to life.

AI, Party Control and Abilities

Posted by Inglenook (Creator)

Ready for an update? :D

This time we'll be taking a look at team control as well as the game's ability system. At the end there'll be a link to vote on what we should cover next, so don't forget to click it!

Controlling your agents

In Witchmarsh the recommended party size is four, and characters not under the player's control are handled by intelligent friendly AI. Jump between your team by using the number keys, and move them around with A, S and D.

Note: We're still looking into the possibility of controller support, console ports and local co-op. We'll let you know if we reach any conclusions.

In combat, the friendly AI attacks nearby and hostile enemies automatically. Allies can be told to focus on specific targets with a few clicks of the radial command menu. Please note that we're still tinkering with the menu's design, so it has been hidden in the above demonstration.

Group commands are also in the pipeline, with orders such as all-out defense, and retreat to safety.


As investigators level up they acquire a number of Ability and Attribute Points. These can be spent in five different categories, and your choice will directly influence how each character plays.

Frozen Ground (above) requires 12 Ability Points in Water, and 15 Attribute Points in Craft before it can be unlocked. As its governed by Spirit and Craft, investigators of these attributes will learn the ability earlier than others.

Spend Ability Points in...
- Water
- Fire
- Shadow
- Light
- Force (Combat/Earth/Telekinesis)

Spend Attribute Points in...
- Might
- Craft
- Spirit
- Agility
- Senses

Exception: The Technician does not learn abilities: instead she creates a variety of useful and potentially eye-removing gadgets using science.

Here's another one. It requires points in Might and Fire, so it's perfect for a Brawler or Spellcaster hybrid build.

We're aiming for a total of 50 abilities, with more being added at the following stretch goal amounts: £90k - 60. £130k - 70. 175k - 80. It's important to note that this isn't a case of us cramming in content for the sake of the stretch goals. The Witchmarsh Spellbook was designed with 70-80 abilities in mind, but they take a great deal of time to design, code and balance.

We hope you've enjoyed the update. You can decide what we'll cover next via this poll - take a moment and vote, won't you?

Best wishes,

The Witchmarsh Team

Dean komis, Heldelance, and 35 more people like this update.


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    1. Sascha Konietzko on

      proud to be a backer too, this kind of game is right up my alley

    2. Michael Chen on

      Frozen ground with 100% stumble chance may be game breaking, but it's definitely funny to look at, I wish there is like a lighthearted mess around mode in the game that crank all the setting to the max just for laughs in exchange for rock bottom xp/item reward.

      @ Inglenook Thanks for clearing that up. I'm definitely more interested in soundtrack than map and instruction booklet; pity I won't be able to join bronze beta though, guess I'll have to wait for full release.

    3. Inglenook Creator on

      Somebody asked on twitter if the above ability GIFs are all in-game or mocked up.

      They're in-game, with some tweaks for demonstration purposes. i.e: The frozen ground stumble chance was cranked up to 100% for the GIF. The Flame Axe was changed to instantly kill the skeletons rather than damage them.

      Other than that, all in-game!

    4. Inglenook Creator on

      On the subject of pause and command queueing, it's definitely something we'll look into for singleplayer. Without it players in 4-player co-op would be at an advantage when it comes to the trickier encounters.

      If we did add it, we'd be polling people in beta as to their thoughts of it. And of course, it would be completely optional.

      @Michael: Sorry about that! The Map is going to be a PDF image of the world' travel map with a few non-spoiler areas pointed out on it, and facts about the town. The instruction booklet will be a bit like the old instruction booklets you got with old PC games. Reading it won't be mandatory thoughh, there will be plenty of instruction within the game.

    5. Kevin Kleebusch on

      I love this gif's. They are great! I hope it will be without the pause option. Action combat would be better in my opinion. I hope you reach all of the stretch goals. The abilitys are just great!

    6. Qaantar

      Hahahaha, the slipping on the frozen ground is *hysterical*....!!

    7. Missing avatar

      Federico Botti on

      so proud to be a baker!

    8. Michael Chen on

      Looks like my question have been thoroughly ignored in the previous post, so I'll repost the important one here:

      I would like to know more about the PDF Map and instruction book, what kind of map? and what sort of instruction is in your booklet?

    9. Missing avatar

      Peter Hamilton on

      It's pretty much a given that I will now be using the Fire Axe on my first playthrough. Thanks for the update!

    10. Zombra on

      An alternate perspective to Ms. Prevost - I hope that there is NOT a pause, issue commands type of structure. I would rather Witchmarsh be more "actiony", with a development focus on making the interface usable in real-time. If we go with a "pause, issue commands, then resume" type of thing, well, that would be a different thing. Baldur's Gate was a good game, but not really because the combat was fun.

    11. Katherine Prevost on

      You've mentioned Baldur's Gate as an inspiration. Are you planning to allow pause during combat, issuing commands while paused, and maybe auto-pause? The 2D nature of the game means combat should be easier to manage than it was in the Infinity engine, but managing multiple combatants at once in real time can still be quite challenging, especially while learning systems.

      (Which, I guess, boils down to: "Will we be able to set targets and use abilities while paused in fights? Because I would love that!")