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Matthew Hopkins, ‘The Witchfinder General’

Matthew Hopkins
Witch Finder Matthew Hopkins – illustration by Eric Fraser from Folklore
Myths and Legends of Britain (1973).
  • Alias: The Witchfinder General
  • Gender: Male
  • Race: Human
  • Occupation: Witchfinder, Witch Hunter
  • Religion: Puritanism (a form of Protestantism)
  • Allies: A cadre of assistants and like-minded individuals who supported his witch-hunting activities.
  • Enemies: Those who questioned his methods and challenged the validity of his witch trials, as well as individuals accused of witchcraft and their sympathizers.
  • Abode/Base of Operations: Matthew Hopkins operated mainly in the counties of Essex, Suffolk, and surrounding areas in England, moving from village to village to carry out his witch-hunting activities.
  • Nationality: English
  • Languages: English
  • Alignment: While some accounts portray him as Lawful Neutral, others view him as Lawful Evil due to the perceived cruelty and injustices of his actions.
  • Affiliation(s): While not officially affiliated with any specific organization, Matthew Hopkins positioned himself as an authority figure, garnering support from local authorities and Puritan communities who shared his fear and aversion to witchcraft.
  • Significant others: Historical records do not provide significant information about Matthew Hopkins’ personal relationships or family life.

In the grim and turbulent England, a figure emerges, shrouded in controversy and fear. Meet Matthew Hopkins, the Witchfinder General, whose relentless pursuit of perceived evil shapes a dark chapter in history. With piercing eyes and a commanding presence, he embarks on a crusade to root out witches, driven by a conviction that he is cleansing society from the grasp of Satan.

Matthew Hopkins, a man of average stature but extraordinary charisma, possesses an unyielding determination and fervent belief in his mission. With the English Civil War raging, and fear gripping the populace, he seizes the opportunity to capitalize on the paranoia surrounding witchcraft. Declaring himself the Witchfinder General, he assumes the self-appointed role of an authority on identifying witches and practitioners of black magic.

Fueling his actions is a haunting personal experience – the untimely death of his first wife, whom he believed fell victim to a witch’s curse. Blinded by grief and a thirst for vengeance, Hopkins dedicates himself to eradicating witches from every corner of England. Armed with dubious methods, he employs “witch tests” such as pricking and dunking to extract confessions, casting aside the principles of justice in his zealous pursuit.

As he travels from village to village, accompanied by a cadre of assistants eager to curry favor, Hopkins unleashes a reign of terror. Communities tremble under the weight of his accusations, and countless lives are shattered as he consigns those accused of witchcraft to the gallows.

Driven by the pursuit of righteousness and his distorted sense of justice, Hopkins envisions himself as a savior, a beacon of light in a world overshadowed by darkness. His desire to purify society becomes an all-consuming obsession, one that leaves a trail of destruction and tragedy in its wake.

Yet, history will not forget the legacy of Matthew Hopkins, nor the trail of fear and devastation he leaves behind. As his notoriety spreads, so does the dissent against his methods, and whispers of injustice begin to echo in the shadows. It remains to be seen whether the Witchfinder General’s zeal will be his ultimate downfall or if he will persist in his relentless quest to eradicate the perceived taint of witchcraft from the land.

Medium humanoid (human), Lawful Evil

Armor Class 16 (Chain Shirt) Hit Points 180 (20d8 + 80) Speed 30 ft.


Saving Throws Wis +8, Cha +9 Skills Investigation +7, Intimidation +9, Persuasion +9, Insight +8 Senses Passive Perception 14 Languages Common, Ancient Languages Challenge 17 (18,000 XP)

Special Traits

Witch Hunter’s Resolve. Matthew Hopkins has advantage on saving throws against spells and magical effects cast by creatures he suspects to be witches.

Aura of Fear. While within 30 feet of Matthew Hopkins, creatures have disadvantage on saving throws against being frightened.


Multiattack. Matthew Hopkins makes three attacks: two with his rapier and one with his witch hunter’s pistol.

NameWeapon AttackDamageRange
Rapier.+7 to hit1d8+3 piercingMelee
Rapier (2nd attack).+7 to hit1d8+3 piercingMelee
Witch Hunter’s Pistol.+7 to hit2d6+3 piercing30/90 ft.

Witch’s Bane Shot (Recharge 5-6). Matthew Hopkins loads a silver bullet infused with witch-bane herbs into his witch hunter’s pistol. The next attack with the pistol deals an additional 3d6 radiant damage to a creature he suspects to be a witch.

Intimidating Presence. As a bonus action, Matthew Hopkins can attempt to frighten one creature he can see within 30 feet. The target must succeed on a DC 17 Wisdom saving throw or become frightened for 1 minute. The frightened creature can repeat the saving throw at the end of each of its turns, ending the effect on a success.


Witch Hunt Tactics. When a creature within 30 feet of Matthew Hopkins casts a spell, he can use his reaction to impose disadvantage on the spell’s saving throw or spell attack roll if he suspects the creature to be a witch.

Lair Actions

On initiative count 20 (losing initiative ties), Matthew Hopkins takes a lair action to cause one of the following effects:

  1. Summon Accuser. Matthew Hopkins summons an Accuser to aid him in the witch hunt. The Accuser acts immediately after Matthew and obeys his commands.
  2. Dark Interrogation. All creatures within 30 feet of Matthew must make a DC 17 Wisdom saving throw or become frightened for 1 minute as they feel the weight of his accusatory gaze.
  3. Burning Judgement. Matthew Hopkins designates a creature he suspects to be a witch. The creature must make a DC 17 Dexterity saving throw or take 6d6 fire damage as if standing in the flames of a witch’s pyre.


  • Rapier: A finely crafted weapon, used by Matthew Hopkins in his witch hunting endeavors.
  • Witch Hunter’s Pistol: A specialized firearm designed to fire silver bullets infused with witch-bane herbs.
  • Chain Shirt: Armor providing moderate protection, allowing mobility for Matthew’s investigations and pursuits.

Magic Items

  • Witchfinder’s Hat: A dark hat adorned with arcane symbols, granting advantage on Wisdom (Perception) checks related to spotting magical effects or hidden witches.

Character Description

Matthew Hopkins, The Witchfinder General, is a menacing figure, adorned in dark attire and armed with weapons of silver, ready to hunt those he suspects to be witches. With an unwavering determination, he leads witch trials, instilling fear in the hearts of the accused and onlookers alike. His aura of authority and his fanatical pursuit of perceived evil make him a force to be reckoned with, leaving behind a legacy of fear and controversy.

Pathfinder Version

Matthew Hopkins Witchfinder General
fighter 2, Cleric 7, Dominator of Belial 5
Medium humanoid (Sapien)
Hit Dice2d10+7d8+5d6+28 (92 hp)
Initiative+1 (+1 Dexterity)
Speed30 ft. (6 squares)
Armor Class18 (+1 Dexterity, +4 armor, +3 deflection), touch 14, flat-footed 17
Base Attack/Grapple+10/+16
AttackUnarmed strike +14 melee (1d3+4); or +1 vicious wounding Whip +13 melee (1d3+3 plus 2d6 plus 1 Constitution plus 1 vile plus 1d6 to Hopkins)
Full AttackUnarmed strike +14/+9 melee (1d3+4); or +1 vicious wounding Whip +13/+8 melee (1d3+3 plus 2d6 plus 1 Constitution plus 1 vile plus 1d6 to Hopkins)
Space/Reach5 ft./5 ft.
Special AttacksPresence of pain, presence of passion, punishment +1d6, rebuke undead 5/day, spells, touch of fire
Special QualitiesEmbracement of pain, fire resistance 10, true torturer
SavesFort +16, Ref +7, Will +15
AbilitiesStrength 14, Dexterity 13, Constitution 14, Intelligence 11, Wisdom 16, Charisma 15
SkillsBluff +9, Climb +2 (+4 to a rope), Diplomacy +4, Disguise +2 (+4 when acting in character), Gather Information +9, Intimidate +22, Knowledge (religion) +10, Knowledge (the planes) +5, Sense Motive +8, Speak Language (Infernal)
FeatsDevotee of Darkness (Belial), Endurance, Improved Grapple, Improved Unarmed Strike, Persuasive, Power Attack, Skill Focus (Intimidate), Spell Focus (Enchantment), Vile Martial Strike (Whip)
EnvironmentAny land or underground
OrganisationSolitary (unique)
Challenge Rating14
Treasure3804 gp, +1 vicious wounding Whip, amulet of mighty fists +2, belt pouch (with 100 sp), bracers of armor +4, cleric’s vestments, cloak
of resistance
+3, masterwork dagger, masterwork manacles, ring of mind shielding, ring of protection +3, silk rope (50 ft.), silver Unholy Symbol (Belial), waterskin
AlignmentLawful evil

Devotee of Darkness: Once per day, Hopkins can call upon the aid of Belial, granting him a +3 profane bonus to any one roll. Against chaotic or good foes, Hopkins gains a +1 profane bonus to Armor Class, and once per day can gain a +2 profane bonus on saving throws against a spell with the chaotic or good descriptor.

Whenever dealing with a higher-ranking servant of Belial (or the Lord of Pain and Suffering himself), Hopkins takes a -2 penalty on attacks, checks, and other rolls, a -3 penalty to Armor Class, and a -6 penalty to saving throws.

Embracement of Pain (Ex): Hopkins receives a boon against effects that should harm or incapacitate him, as he is filled with passion rather than pain. This translates into a +2
bonus to all saves against fear and pain effects; furthermore, such spells are only half as effective and last only half as long even if he fails his save against them.

Presence of Pain (Su): Hopkins can cause all within five feet of him to suffer from intense pain. They must succeed on a Will save (DC 17) or fall under the effects of fear (caster level 14th).

Presence of Passion (Su): Hopkins can cause those he’s harmed to seek to please him in order to avoid further torture. 2/day, he may cast charm person (caster level 14th) on any being that has sustained more than 10 points of damage from one of his melee attacks. The Will save DC is 17 + 1 for every 5 points of damage beyond 10; all forms of damage stack for the purposes of determining the modifier. Due to the nature of the presence of passion, the victim affected by this power does not receive a bonus to the initial saving throw.

They will do almost anything to avoid more pain, and suffer a -2 penalty to all Charisma checks when asked by Hopkins to perform a deed against their nature. The victim will even obey suicidal orders, in order to avoid future reprisals, but such a victim receives another Will save to overcome the effects. Once the presence of passion wears off, the victim will perceive Hopkins in a very hostile light. Hopkins may not charm more than 5 people at any one time.

Punishment (Ex): Hopkins excels in further harming those already writhing in pain. Any creature he has strike in melee or with a Whip within the last four rounds, or any creature under the influence of his presence of pain ability, suffers an additional +1d6 points of damage from Hopkins’ subsequent melee attacks. Hopkins can select whether this extra damage is lethal or nonlethal in nature. Creatures immune to critical hits are immune to punishment.

Touch of Fire (Su): 2/day, Hopkins may transmit scalding heat through any successful melee or Whip attack, dealing 1d6 points of fire damage. Touch of fire damage does not stack with fire damage from other sources.

True Torturer (Ex): Hopkins receives a +4 bonus to all checks related to torturing victims as described in the Book of Vile Darkness.

Typical Cleric Spells Prepared: (6/5+1/4+1/3+1/1+1; save DC 13 + spell level):

*Domain spell. Domains: Domination (gain Spell Focus [enchantment] as a bonus feat) and Pain (1/day, Hopkins may convert up to 14 points of damage from one blow into healing for himself).

Currently in the World

Matthew Hopkins, the Witchfinder General, is a tall and lean figure, with a sharp and imposing presence that demands attention. His piercing eyes seem to hold an unwavering intensity, fueled by a fervent belief in his cause. His dark hair, now starting to show hints of gray, is neatly combed, accentuating the severity of his expression. Clad in somber Puritan attire, his black cloak billows around him as he moves, adding an air of mystery to his presence.

Currently, he stands in the heart of a dimly lit, rustic room, surrounded by flickering candlelight that casts eerie shadows on the wooden walls. The air is thick with tension and fear, as the room is filled with villagers who have been summoned to witness the witch trial. Matthew Hopkins, flanked by his assistants, holds a stern countenance as he listens to the accusations being hurled at the trembling figure before him.

His mood is one of unwavering conviction, driven by a misguided sense of righteousness. With every word spoken by the accusers, he nods, reinforcing their beliefs and heightening the atmosphere of dread in the room. His cold and calculating demeanor seems impervious to the pleas of the accused, as he remains resolute in his mission to unearth what he perceives as the source of evil within their midst.

As the trial progresses, his reputation as a feared and ruthless Witchfinder only grows, and the weight of his power becomes evident in the fearful glances exchanged among the onlookers. Matthew Hopkins seems to revel in this aura of fear, knowing that it strengthens his position as the arbiter of justice in the eyes of those who seek to root out witches from their midst.

In this moment, as he presides over the trial, his mind is consumed by a fervent desire to prove the presence of witchcraft, justifying his actions and cementing his place in history. His unwavering belief in his cause and his own righteousness drives him forward, unwavering in his pursuit of those he deems guilty.

Little does he know that as time passes, the legacy of his actions will be marred by controversy and condemnation, forever etching his name in history as one of the most infamous figures of the witch trials.

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