Thursday, July 12, 2018

Survive This! Dark Places and Demogorgons - Supernatural / Buffy Crossover

Came home last night to a nice treat.  My hardcover version of Dark Places and Demogorgons came in.   This one I ordered from Bloat Game's own website.  After all the fun I had, I wanted to have this hardcover version too.



I even got it signed!


It got me thinking what would be a great one-shot Crossover for my Sunny Valley, OH game.  Then it dawned on me! The only thing that makes sense is Supernatural
In the in-show continuities, they were all born between 1978 and 1984 so why not extend that to my Sunny Valley game.

Supernatural even has baked in reasons for Dean and Sam to show up.  John Winchester has heard the rumors of Sunny Valley and has come to town to help clean it up.  He decides to enroll the boys in the local High School for a bit and this is where they meet the cast. 

If Tumblr is to be any source on this the meeting goes a little like this: Buffy and Dean meet, Dean hits on her, she rebuffs...(ouch), monsters come, Dean tries to save her, she instead kicks the monsters asses and saves Dean.  Dean falls more in love with her than before.


Sam and Dawn, as the youngest are stuck together.  They each discover the other's secrets; That Sam has some demon powers in him and Dawn is a powerful psychic.

Dean Winchester
Class: Monster Hunter (demons)  Level: 5
Alignment: Good
Languages: English
Age: 16

Attributes
STR: 15 +1
INT: 10 +0
WIS: 12 +0
DEX: 16 +2
CON: 14 +1
CHA: 16 +2
SUR: 18 +3

AC: 12     HP: 26    Attack Bonus +3 / +3 (vs. monsters)

Courage: 6 (additional +3 vs. monsters)
Critical: 4
Death: 5
Mental: 4
Poison: 5

Background
Mother is dead, Father is always on the road.
Annoying little brother.

Class Abilities
+3 to hit, track, dmg to monsters
+1 Toughness

Skills
Outdoorsmanship +4, Paranormal +5, Brawling +3, Persuasion +1, Basic Athletics +3, Stealth +2

Possessions
Leather jacket, knives, access to guns

Money: $25 (in stolen credit cards)


Sam Winchester
Class: Telekinietic/Monster Hunter  Level: 1/1
Alignment: Good
Languages: English
Age: 12

Attributes
STR: 15 +1
INT: 16 +2
WIS: 12+0
DEX: 16 +2
CON: 14 +1
CHA: 15 +1
SUR: 16 +2

AC: 10     HP: 10   Attack Bonus +3 / +3 (vs. demons)

Courage: 3 (additional +3 vs. demons)
Critical: 3
Death: 3
Mental: 4
Poison: 3

Background
Mother is dead, Father is always on the road.
Annoying older brother.

Class Abilities
+1 to Psionic attacks
Move 11 lbs of items, Push, Psionic Attack.
+1 to hit, track, dmg to demons
+1 Toughness

Skills
Outdoorsmanship +2, Paranormal +2, Knowledge (Demons) +1,  Knowledge (History)
Possessions
Members Only Jacket

Money: $5

The arrival of Sam and Dean also mean the arrival of demons to the show.
We end their streak on the "show" with Alex showing the Winchester boys how to play AD&D.

This could be a lot of fun to play at a Con sometime.  Now I just need to work Charmed in there somehow.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Inactivity Update

Things have been kinda quiet over here at the Other Side.

Sorry about that.

My day job has hit a busy period and I have been given a promotion.  This time the promotion came with the increased pay AND responsibility...not just the increased responsibility.  So I have been working an extra ten hours each week.

Lite reading for work

Gaming-wise I am really busy.

I am still running my three independent-but-connected D&D 5 games.  My oldest is also running three different D&D 5 games covering 15-16 different players.  In fact this week the only day that a game hasn't played in my house was yesterday.

I am also in serious prep-phase of my Gen Con game of D2 Shrine of the Kuo-Toa and D3 Vault of the Drow.  It is going to huge and I want to make it as Epic as I can.





Hope to have some more soon.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

OMG: Celtic Mythos, Part 1

Brigid. Imbolc by TerraIncantata
Welcome back to another edition of "One Man's God".  Today I want to cover something very near and dear to my heart; the Celtic Myths.

The Celtic Mythos from the Deities & Demigods is an interesting combination Irish and Welsh gods.  Truthfully, this is no big deal. There was a lot cross-pollination between Irish, Scots, Welsh and Manx cultures.  Even the first page of this section features an Irish god, The Dagda, and a Welsh one, Arawn.

While I could go on (and on) about the Celtic gods, the point of this series is talk about demonized gods.

We do know that when the Christian monks settled in Ireland and Wales they did a fantastic job of saving these old oral traditions.  Not only did they take them down, but they were immortalized in such remarkable in their own right texts such as The Book of Kells.  Maybe because of the literacy of these monks and their obvious love for their country and these stories we do not see the demonization of these gods the same way as we do in other cultures.
Instead of becoming demons these gods often became faeries or other creatures of fey.

Not to say there are not monsters!  I am beginning to think that Ireland is the home to more types of Undead than anyplace I have ever seen.  I might follow up with that.   But let's talk about the gods and heroes in the book now.

Irish Ways and Irish Laws

The section on the Celtic Gods is smaller than some of the other gods here.  This is not a big surprise.  There have been some fairly major changes to how scholars see the Gaelic world since 1988 and on to today.

In Irish myth, we learn that Ireland was invaded many times.   Some of these invaders are viewed as gods, or at least some of their offspring are.  We can read this in the Lebor Gabála Érenn, or "the book of the taking of Ireland". There are four major groups (there are others, but these groups also connect to the Mythological Cycle of Ireland), the Fomorians, the Fir-Bolg, the Tuatha Dé Danann and the Milesians.
Of these, the Formor and Fir-Bolg are at least quasi-divine.  The Tuatha Dé Danann are seen as gods, but mortal gods and the Milesians are human.

Most gods, namely the ones associated the most with the Tuatha Dé Danann,  diminished in power with the coming of the Milesians.  They become the sídhe or the fairy folk living under the mounds.
We have to assume that the Milesians are there since Cú Chulainn is listed as a hero and that puts us in the Ulster Cycle of Myths (the one after the Mythological Cycle).

Of course, some gods are still gods.  The Morrigan, for example, is a goddess and features prominently in the Ulster cycle.

Other gods went in the opposite direction.  The goddess Brigit (Brigid, Bri, Bride, among others) was not later demonized. Quite the opposite. She would later become Saint Brigid.

What About the Fomorians?

If there was a case for a demon in Irish myth it belongs to the Fomorians.  Giant, supernatural, ugly and representing the destructive side of nature, their king is even named Balor.
To me though the Fomor were always closer in nature to the Greek Titans.  Yes they are evil, but Brigit is the daughter of a Fomorian king.  There are many blood ties between the Fomor and the Tuatha as well.  This makes their relationship more like Tolkien's Orcs and Elves.




Next time, no demons?  No problem! The celts have enough troubles with the undead!

Saturday, June 30, 2018

Reuniting Families Charity Bundle

I am pleased to announce that that three Other Side Publication books have been added to the Reuniting Families Charity bundle to raise money for RAICES to help to get families reunited that were separated at the border.


You read more of the details here.

Over 100 products, valued at $680.82 you can have it all for $29.99.

Included in this bundle are my Green Witch, the Warlock, and The Witch: Aiséiligh Tradition.


Please check out this bundle and buy it if you can.  The cause is a worthy one.

Friday, June 29, 2018

Kickstart Your Weekend: Lots of Updates

Lot's of cool looking Kickstarters in various stages of funding.  Let's check them out!

First up is the Blackwind Project: A new plot-driven tabletop RPG



https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1047148810/blackwind-project-a-new-plot-driven-tabletop-rpg?ref=theotherside

It looks really cool and is an ambitious project.  I am intrigued by their "plot driven" mechanics and want to see more.  It is multi-genre so you know that it has my attention.

Advanced Labyrinth Lord



https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1895361773/advanced-labyrinth-lord?ref=theotherside

Not a new game, but LL and LL-AEC re-written to give us Labyrinth Lord through the lens of AD&D.  This could be the AD&D game I actually played back in the day!

Frog God gives us something epic.


City of Brass: Epic Adventure for 5e and Swords and Wizardry


https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/froggodgames/city-of-brass-epic-adventure-for-5e-and-swords-and?ref=theotherside

Ever since the 1st Ed AD&D DMG has the City of Brass called us to adventure.  This looks pretty damn epic.

And one from this week's spotlight, Bloat Games.

SURVIVE THIS!! Vigilante City Tabletop Roleplaying Game


https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/ericfrombloatgames/survive-this-vigilante-city-tabletop-roleplaying-g?ref=theotherside

Looks like a pretty awesome supers game.  If it is half as fun as Dark Places & Demogorgons then it is worth the price!


Thursday, June 28, 2018

Willow & Tara: Survive This! Dark Places & Demogorgons

Yesterday I took the entire Buffyverse and dropped them into 1984 Ohio and found it works rather well.  Today I want to continue that thought but also do a deep dive into the three witch classes that DP&D has to offer.  And I know of no better way to do this.


So for reasons that work for the game, I am going with Dark Places & Demogorgons: Player Options & GM Guide for the witch classes. A White Witch for Willow and a Nature Witch for Tara.  So far I have no reason to assume that Willow will need a Black Witch.  The two realities are connected, but also different.

Willow D. Rosenberg
In 1984's Sunny Valley Willow is a mathematical genius who is the only person, quite likely in the whole town, that knows how to use a computer for more than just video games.  She has been best friends with Alex Harris since kindergarten and has been friends with Daniel "Oz" Osbourne since Junior High.  Oz is obviously rather fond of Willow, but he suspects there is something holding her back.


During her summer job at the local library, Willow discovered a locked room.  Normally one to follow every rule, this room called to her.  One day she found a key (after several weeks of searching she would later admit) and opened the door.  Inside books on the occult, summoning demons and more importantly magic.  She has been reading them and trying to master them.  Though she has help from a fellow witch and honest to the goddess wiccan in Tara.

Willow Rosenberg
Class: White Witch  Level: 5
Alignment: Good
Languages: English, Hebrew, Latin, Greek
Age: 14

Attributes
STR: 9 +0
INT: 18 +3
WIS: 16 +2
DEX: 11 +0
CON: 11 +0
CHA: 17 +2
SUR: 16 +2

AC: 10     HP: 19    Attack Bonus +0

Courage: 6 +3
Critical: 5
Death: 5
Mental: 4
Poison: 3

Background
Parents are rarely at home.

Class Abilities
+1 to saves involving magic, +3 to courage saves, healing touch 8/day, heal at double rate, summon light, seen in darkness, advantage on saves, immune to fear, talk to animals and plants, create potions

Skills
Computers +5, Art +1, Math +5, Science +5, Knowledge (Magic) +5, Paranormal +4, Botany +3, Electronics +4

Possessions
Bike, Home Computer,

Money: $40

Spells
Minor (4), Major (1)
Charm, Glammerd Appearance, Magical Insight, Burning Ash hands,
Firebolt

Tara A. Maclay
Tara attends Sunny Valley Community High School on the southside of town.  She lives in a trailer with her father and brother.  Her mother Megan died from cancer just last year.  Having a rough time with that and struggling with being the "known gay" in school she was picked on quite a bit.  It was not till the arrival of Faith did things change.  Faith protected Tara because she felt something of a connection to her.  When Elizabeth Summers died north of town Faith became the new Slayer. Elizabeth came back (thanks to Alex) and soon Tara and Faith joined the Northsiders on their nightly fight against vampires, zombies and other undead menaces.  While Faith has been drawn more and more to Elizabeth and their shared mystery. Tara has been getting much closer to Willow.


Tara and her best friend Faith

Tara Maclay
Class: White Witch  Level: 4
Alignment: Good
Languages: English, French, Latin
Age: 15

Attributes
STR: 12 +0
INT: 16 +2
WIS: 18 +3
DEX: 9 +0
CON: 12 +0
CHA: 16 +2
SUR: 12 +0

AC: 10     HP: 16    Attack Bonus +0

Courage: 5
Critical: 4
Death: 3
Mental: 5
Poison: 3 +4

Background
Mother is dead, Father is super-strict

Class Abilities
Toughness: Nature/Weather +4, Empathic w/ Animals, Create Potions, Control Animals.

Skills
Botany +4, First Aid, Knowledge (magic) +4, Outdoorsmanship +2, Paranormal +4, DAnce +3, Horsemanship +4,

Possessions
Bike,

Money: $40

Spells
Minor (3)
Blind, Charm, Magical Insight

If this were an 80s show then Willow and Tara would have had (implied) sex but then Tara would have been killed and Willow sent on an "evil lesbian" rampage only end the show crying in the arms of some man.  Really, who wants to see some shitty after-school special cliché like that?

I think these classes work great, to be honest.  I would like to reorganize their powers a bit to fit my concepts of these characters. Normally I would let Willow have access to some Dark spells and Tara should be the one to heal by touch.

This also brings up an interesting dilemma. Should Willow be a multiclassed Kid Scientist 1/Witch 4?  DP&D, like a lot of OSR games, has no Multiclassing rules.  To me though I like the idea of a multiclassed Willow.  She starts off as a Kid scientist and then moves to White Witch and maybe Black Witch IF we follow the original series.  Tara can start as a Nature Witch then move to White after a bit.

These are great.  This really captures what I wanted from this game quite well.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Plays Wells With Others: Dark Places & Demogorgons and Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Reading over Dark Places & Demogorgons I could not help but make comparisons to another game of strange things going on with high school kids fighting monsters.   Of course, I am talking about the Buffy the Vampire Slayer RPG.


Both games deal with fighting the unknown, both games deal high school students and both games are steeped in 80s clichés and pop-culture.  Where Buffy attempted to subvert those clichés, Dark Places & Demogorgons embraces them.

I am just throwing this out here, I have a lot of issues with Joss Whedon.  I think he is an asshole.
But I am damn proud of the work I did on the Buffy the Vampire Slayer RPG.

Reading through the core of DP&D and all the supplements it became very, very obvious what game I need to run.

Welcome to Sunny Valley, OH
"I am certain that whoever named this place Sunny Valley was having a joke on us. The winters are long, cold and dark. It rains in the spring and fall. I think they named the place in the three days of the summer we do get sun.  Not to mention the werewolves, the vampires and oh yeah the Hellmouth just outside of town.  Welcome to Sunny Valley Ohio California girl. Bet you can't wait to leave."
- Alexander "Alex" Harris to Elizabeth "Buffy" Summers.

I decided to take the entire "Buffy Package" and drop it wholesale to the Midwest and set it all in 1984.  There are some changes that need to be made.

In this new setting Elizabeth Anne "Buffy" Summers moved from sunny California to the ironically named Sunny Valley, Ohio.  As a nod to my friend and co-author on many of the Buffy books, Thom Marrion, who was going to do a series of Buffy books set in Cleveland, I wanted to do this in Ohio.  Cleveland is the "big city", but I never detail how far it is.

There is a Hellmouth, but is more indistinct.  No one is sure where it is, but they all know it's there.  There are two high schools, Sunny Valley Prep (the "good" school, where we start) and Sunny Valley Community High (the "bad" school).

Elizabeth Anne "Buffy" Summers
Class: Monster Hunter (vampires)  Level: 5
Alignment: Good
Languages: English, French
Age: 15

Attributes
STR: 18 +3
INT: 12 +0
WIS: 12 +0
DEX: 18 +3
CON: 18 +3
CHA: 16 +2
SUR: 18 +3

AC: 15     HP: 35    Attack Bonus +4 / +7 (vs. vampires)

Courage: 6 (additional +3 vs. vampires)
Critical: 5
Death: 6
Mental: 4
Poison: 5

Background
Mother is rarely at home.
Annoying little sister.

Class Abilities
+3 to hit, track, dmg to Vampires
+1 Toughness

Skills
Outdoorsmanship +4, Paranormal +5, Knowledge (Historical) +2, Brawling, Persuasion +2, Basic Athletics +3, Stealth +2

Possessions
Leather jacket, pants, stakes

Money: $30

This version of Buffy is actually named Elizabeth. She is a former California girl and now lives here with her mom and weird little sister. She is a Slayer, but she has no idea how or why.  There are no Watchers here in Sunny Valley, no Giles.  Elizabeth just knows she is strong, fast and she can sense vampires.
At the end of Series 1 she dies, but only for a little bit.  This gives us Faith Lehanne, a wild girl from Sunny Valley Community High.

Faith Lehanne
Class: Monster Hunter (vampires)  Level: 5
Alignment: Neutral
Languages: English
Age: 14

Attributes
STR: 17 +2
INT: 12 +0
WIS: 10 +0
DEX: 18 +3
CON: 18 +3
CHA: 17 +2
SUR: 18 +3

AC: 15     HP: 32    Attack Bonus +3 / +6 (vs. vampires)

Courage: 5 (additional +2 vs. Vampires)
Critical: 5
Death: 4
Mental: 3
Poison: 4

Background
Parents are dead, lives with Aunt
Dirt poor

Class Abilities
+2 to hit, track, dmg to Vampires
+1 Toughness

Skills
Outdoorsmanship +4, Paranormal +4, Knowledge (local ) +1, Brawling, Intimidation +4, Street Smarts +4, Stealth +2

Possessions
Leather jacket, pants, stakes

Money: $0

Faith shows up in Series 2 from SVCHS where she makes an impression by killing two vamps right away.  She introduces us to her friend Tara, and she and Willow start to spend a lot of time together.



Both Buffy and Faith are built using the Monster Hunter class from DP&D: Player Options & GM Guide.  In truth I could build a "Slayer" class, but I didn't really want to do that.  I wanted to try them out Rules As Written.

In general the cast would be much younger than the TV show.  Anywhere from 2 to 3 years younger. This fits perfectly with DP&D but changes the dynamic a little.   For starters, I would downplay the sexual tension to almost nothing, or at least a slow burn.  A 200+-year-old vampire prey on a 17-year-old sounds bad.  Preying on a 14-15-year-old sounds worse for some reason.  I am also going to give Faith the benefit of the doubt here.   During my Buffy game Season of the Witch, I pointed out that what the show writers had done to her essentially was so contradictory that the character was broken beyond repair.  So what if I took a potential "Bad Girl" and instead gave her a friend.  Maybe someone she saved from some bullies.  Enter Tara.  In this world Faith saved Tara from being picked on because of her poor family and the open secret that she is gay; something that was still very hard to deal with in the 80s.  Both girls help each other out till they meet the cast.

Dawn Summers
Class: Telekinetic  Level: 1
Alignment: Good
Languages: English
Age: 11

Attributes
STR: 10 +0
INT: 12 +0
WIS: 16 +2
DEX: 12 +0
CON: 14 +1
CHA: 12 +0
SUR: 16 +2

AC: 10     HP: 4    Attack Bonus +0

Courage: 3
Critical: 2
Death: 3
Mental: 4
Poison: 2

Background
Mother is rarely at home.

Class Abilities
Telekinesis, Psionic Attack, Psionic Push

Skills
Paranormal +1, Investigation +1, Knowledge (local) +1, Stealth +1, Video Games +1
Psionic Attack +1

Possessions
Bike, Backpack, Journal describing how she used her powers in secret.

Money: $10

In my games, Dawn developed psychic powers.  Maybe not Jean Grey levels, but certainly Carrie ones.  I thought it would be fun if the "Annoying Kid Sister" trope was subverted by making her Powered.  She was built with the optional Psionic classes in the Core Rule book.

I also did Cordelia Chase (basically an archetype "Princess"), Alexander "Alex" Harris (a "Geek" due to his Star Trek obsession), Oz (Metalhead turned Werewolf) and Angel (Teen Heartthrob turned Vampire).

What can DP&D Players get from Buffy?
The Buffy RPG is a great game that focuses a lot on the high school experience and how fighting monsters can be a metaphor for life in High School. Personally, I think EVERY player and GM of DP&D needs to read Chapter 7: Episodes, Seasons and Drama. It is hands down the best chapter written about running anytime of modern supernatural game or a game set around High School age kids.  The mechanics on Drama Points and their use would also be useful.
And of course all the monsters, vampires and demons the book has would be helpful to any DP&D GM.

What can Buffy Players get from DP&D?
The Buffy RPG is a mature game.  Not just in content, but shelf-life.  I know people that are still playing the game 15+ years later.   For me, DP&D has given me a breath of fresh air and has re-energized my Buffy-related experiences.  Hell, this is the first honest to goodness Buffy campaign idea since Season of the Witch and that was more than 12 years ago.
The "Back to Basics" feel of DP&D cannot be ignored or understated.  It really helped me think of this game in a different way.


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