Dec 06

2021

Author Interview: Jei D. Marcade, Witchcraft U

Posted by: Mary Duffy | Comments (0)

Rush the university’s secret societies as a first-year Magical Studies major! Will you keep your magic a secret from the mundanes or expose the truth? Witchcraft U is a 200,000-word interactive fantasy novel by Jei D. Marcade. I sat down with Jei to talk about the game and its world.

Witchcraft U releases this Thursday, December 9th. You can play the first three chapters for free today.

The world of Witchcraft U is so delightful. Tell me about its origins.

My first entry to this world was in the form of an occult crime family drama set about ten years after the events of Witchcraft U: the protagonist, who’d gone to college in an effort to leave the underworld behind, winds up being drawn back in on account of her academic specialization (anthropodermic bibliopegy), and a couple incidents from the protagonist’s undergraduate years come into play. I thought it would be interesting to explore some of those incidents, and so the basic premise behind this game was born.

In terms of the magic system, I’m afraid that I can claim very little credit there; high magic, spirit contact, and wildcraft are all based on historical and extant occult practices.

Why are schools such an intriguing literary trope/setting?

An unfamiliar setting that A. comes with externally imposed (and arbitrarily decided) expectations and metrics of success, B. forces the participant to navigate new social dynamics, and C. presents every decision as being fundamental to one’s future prosperity? Truly, the stuff of nightmares. What’s not to love?

What was the most difficult part of the writing process for you?

Roughly twelve hours after I wrote a scene in which the PC is hospitalized for days with a mysterious ailment, I was hospitalized for days with a mysterious ailment. Grant Morrison told a story about a similarly synchronistic experience he had while writing The Invisibles, from which point Morrison wisely chose to make good things happen to his lead character. I have elected to do otherwise, and can only wait and see if I’ll have cause to regret my folly.

What did you enjoy most about writing the game?

This was my first up-close-and-personal encounter with ChoiceScript, and I loved stretching my brain into exciting new shapes to figure out what was and wasn’t possible to achieve, or what could be done more efficiently.

Do you have a favorite NPC?

Oof, this is a tough one; I love all my dysfunctional babies. I’d say that it’s a draw between Enzo and Risoria, though I always have fun writing interactions with Maks.

What else are you working on?

A secondary-world fantasy novel inspired by Korean history and mythology; the story is centered around a living severed head and the hapless wretches who have come to possess it.

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