I finally got a chance to NOT listen to this episode which is very near and dear to my heart. I ran an epic, 18-month campaign set during the Dark Times and one of the PCs was a Dathomiri Witch. Her sister was a Nightsister and their father was an Imperial Inquisitor that had studied the force tradition let's just say quite *intimately*. So I have a lot of experience in GMing this force tradition and I want to add to the very many good pointers raised by our gracious hosts with mosts.
First of all, say it yourself: "The female of the species is more deadly than the male
." That should guide your various roleplaying and game mechanic decisions. ROLEPLAYING
I agree with GM Chris that these witches are the militant feminists of the world with one important caveat: These are not women who, perhaps with a tiny bit of insecurity, believe that the world should be a certain way. For Witches of Dathomir, their world IS that way. They are the dominant force, taming rancors, men and the force. And so from a roleplaying perspective, these characters aren't trying to convince you of their worldview, they walk around like their worldview is the only way to view the world. The Witches of Dathomir are brusque, dangerous, feminine and wise. And they own their shiz.
So, yes, that can lead to a little bit of party tension. But if managed properly by the GM and played properly by the players, a little bit of party tension goes a long way to sparking new story avenues and, screw it, just keeping the game interesting and exciting. It took the Dathomiri PC a long time to trust the male PCs and she was always quick to judge and order them around. The love interests of the game, which also involved her sister, were touching, awkward and at times hilarious. In running this kind of NPC or playing a Dathomiri witch, celebrate this difference but don't beat the drum till everyone's deaf.
In recent Star Wars The Clone Wars episodes about the Nightsisters, we see their cunning and grace. Yes, they are powerful warriors. Yes, they command the force to conjure both drink and glass from which to drink it, but their exploits have subtlety and patience. They may be quick to anger but their vengance is a dish that is relished in the long and slow cooking of it. That's the Nightsisters for you, but you can bet the Dathomiri Witches to be powerful, patient and wise by equal measure.GAME MECHANICS
The recent Star Wars The Clone Wars episodes -- three of them -- gave a great cultural insight into Dathomir and it's level of technology. It's primitive but they know how to use technology. But I agree with GMs Chris and Dave that, played correctly, a Dathomiri Witch or Nightsister will not be firing a blaster. In my game, the PC carried a blaster as a cover because the game was set in the Dark Times. Her sister, an NPC, used a HUGE Nightsister Lance which I happily copied from Star Wars Galaxies:http://media.photobucket.com/image/nigh ... ot0026.jpg
Both of these characters emphasised the extensive use of Force Powers, particularly with the option of using Adept Spellcaster for re-rolls. The Nightsister had a high strength and used Dark Side Rage, Force Power Mastery, and related talents and feats to pack a massive wallop with her lance. At the time of our campaign, the Combat Trickery feat had not been released so she had to dip into a prestige class to get what that feat affords: the ability to go toe-to-toe with Jedi by making them flatfooted to get past the Block talent with a Deception check (and isn't Deception a perfect skill for a Nightsister too?). The whirlwind force power is a good one to use with such characters, as is force lightning for Nightsisters. If a Dathomiri Witch cast a force power each round for an entire encounter, she'd probably be doing something right. These are *witches*. Most of them don't need or want a lightsaber.
As for using Rancors as a mount, that has all the problems Chris and Dave discussed. If it was a Dathomir only campaign, maybe, but otherwise it makes no sense to have Toby the Rancor tearing through the ships provisions and crapping all over the cargo hold. Players should be mature enough to recognize that. But it depends upon your game and your era and what planet you're on. Good luck getting past customs on Coruscant but a few credits in Mos Eisely would probably be just fine for "Jabba's new pet." I'd stay away from this aspect of the tradition in favor of the others mentioned here.
Older Dathomori witch NPCs -- Like Mother Rell http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Rell
-- emphased wisdom, a connection with nature, secrets of the force, the use of farseeing and other similar powers and talents. I even came up with Force Powers specific to the tradition like The Dreaming which allowed communication across great distances, even hyperspace, if the roll was high enough, using sleep and dreams... and the Nightsister bastardization of it which could, by the use of sleep deprivation and nightmares, literally kill someone in their sleep. But the RAR is there to put together a witch character with force powers or muscle. SOURCES
Wookiepedia, Wookiepedia, Wookiepedia! There are so many details there, including individual Nightsisters and Dathomiri witches, the history of Dathomir, etc. The recent Star Wars The Clone Wars episodes give an excellent window into the culture and ideas for new force power and roleplaying. We even see some great possibility for the men of Dathomir, strong force warriors trained by and loyal to the Witches of Dathomir. How's THAT for an interesting roleplaying challenge?
And, yes, Star Wars Galaxies is a lousy game but a GREAT resource for GMs and players. Download the free trail and actually GO TO DATHOMIR. You can visit the singing mountain clan and even pick up faction among the clans so you are not attacked on sight. As of Dec. 2010, there is even an entire themepark devoted to the Nightsisters:http://swg.wikia.com/wiki/Witches_of_Da ... Theme_Park
I used to play SWG and found the experience invaluable in GMing Dathamor, a Dathmori Witch PC and many, many NPCs.
Anyway, that's my two cents. Thanks for the great podcast guys.
May The Force Be With You.