Monday, November 19, 2018

Monstrous Mondays: Wind Wraith

Interestingly enough this monster came up while playing Pokémon GO with my wife and kids at Gen Con this past summer.  Also based on some other ideas I have had over the years.

Wind Wraith
Hit Die: 5
AC: 1 [18]
Attack: 1 touch (1d6 + con drain)
Movement: - (Fly 24)
Save: 12
Alignment: Chaotic
Challenge Level/XP 9/1,100
Special: drain 1 point of Constitution with hit, magic or silver weapon to hit, ignores non-magical AC.

Wind wraiths are the spirits of mortals that die in one of the elemental planes and become hopelessly lost and can't move over to the other side.  They return to the Mortal Plane to haunt others and steal their lifeforce (as represented by constitution points).
The successful touch of a wind wraith will cause 1d6 points of damage and drain 1 point of Constitution.  A saving throw is allowed to prevent this drain, but the damage is always taken.
More horribly the wind wraith ignores all but magical armor.  The foul creature's clawed hand will pass through the hardiest plate mail as it does through leather or cloth.  All are treated as having an AC of 9.
If the armor is magical then the magical enchantment can be added to the character's AC, but not the armor itself.  So +1 Plate mail would confer an AC of 8 while +3 leather armor would be treated as an AC of 6.
Wind Wraiths appear as they did in life from the torso up. Their lower halves fade into mist and vapor.  They typically haunt areas of strong magic in hopes to find a way to a permanent death.  They are also found in the elemental planes.
They can be turned as Spectres.

Friday, November 16, 2018

Kickstart Your Weekend: Willowbrook #1

One of my absolute favorite things about today's connected world is the ability to find new and great things and people.  Emma Kubert and Willowbrook are both of those.



https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/emmakubert/willowbrook-1

According to Emma herself:
Willowbrook is a fictional town that is set in the woodsy areas of upstate New York. Eliza Anderson (our protagonist) and her black cat Willow arrive in Willowbrook to find her grandmother, Minerva Proctor. Eliza finds out soon that the entire town is riddled with creatures from different worlds, so she stays to help her grandmother, while unraveling the mystery behind her purpose there.
What grabbed me though was her reasons for creating it.
I watched all my favorite tv shows and movies, including Harry Potter, Sabrina the Teenage Witch, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Gravity Falls, Stranger Things, etc. I love young adult fantasy genres (especially the good ones) because throughout all the adventure and excitement, there are characters that resemble ourselves and the changes that we go through too. So, every time I finished one of these shows or movies, I had that lost feeling of “WHAT AM I GOING TO DO NOW THAT HARRY HAS FINISHED VOLDEMORT?!?!”
I can totally relate.

What grabbed was the idea of Willowbrook but what kept me reading more was her art. Check out the Kickstarted page to see what I mean.  Emma Kubert has a solid pedigree when it comes to art, but ignoring that for a bit just look at what she can do.  The emotions of her characters can be felt through the screen.   Plus there is something here that reminds me of reading "A Wrinkle In Time" for the first time again.  Magical and weird among the ordinary and mundane.

It's great stuff really.

So check it out and toss her some money. I like to see new up and coming comic artists succeed when they have talent and Emma certainly has that.  Plus the story sounds fantastic and I could easily grow to like these characters.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Featured Artist: Eugene Jaworski

Welcome back to my Featured Artist series.  Today I want to share with you someone I have been following a while, Eugene Jaworski.

I have seen his art in a lot of D&D related groups and in particular in D&D Fantasy Art on Facebook.  He has a style that recalls the old days of the D&D game and he is certainly a fan of that era.  In fact, it was his version of the classic D&D character Skylla that first got my attention.


I loved it so much I bought a print of it for my game room.


He has also done Kelek the evil Wizard.


Love the giant wolf he is on.

And Red Sonja,



But the ones I really love are his series of painting of his original goddess Numora.





According to Eugene,
She was a goddess from a home brew campaign that I ran a couple years ago. Numora the Whisperer of Secrets. Very enigmatic.
She reminds me a little of my own Nox, Goddess of the Near Dark. Even down to the shadow cats (Gloamings in my world) and walking around barefoot.  100% coincidence, of course, we have read a lot of the same books.

You can find him here:

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

At the Planets of Madness

Throughout October and November, I have been rereading everything from H.P. Lovecraft and Clark Ashton Smith.  In particular, I have been focusing my attention on their "Cosmotism" and sci-fi stories.  All the while thinking about how I want to approach my own "Star Trek meets Cthulhu horror is Space" game, something I have been working on under the title of "Black Star".

Of course looking at Lovecraft through the lens of Sci-fi rather than horror gives the stories an extra dimension.  Once I got back to the "Dream of the Witch House" and the equations of Walter Gilman I knew there was something there.  I figured what if we took the Gilman equations and used those to power Warp drive?  It seemed like a great fit! Really, really great.  Too great. I had to go back to my shelves and sure enough, the idea is not my original one.

Eldritch Skies was published by Battlefield Press a few years back does exactly this.  I was a consultant on the original Cinematic Unisystem version, but now you can only get the Savage Worlds version.

Still, I am pressing on to use the Gilman drive in my own games.  The Gilman equations are added to normal warp drive to produce the Gilman-Cochrane drives.  I'll adapt Eldritch Skies as needed with plenty of Lovecraftian beasties to fill my CAS-style planets.  Hey, it makes as much sense as the Spore Drive.

Converting the stories to Sci-Fi/Horror adventures is easy.

After the first adventure which is Star Tre + Galaxy Quest + Alien + Lovecraft + Event Horizon I figure I can do these:

At the Planets of Madness.  The PCs find a planet that is older than the known Universe! To make matters worse there is evidence of an ancient civilization.  (At the Mountains of Madness + the Image of Fendahl)

Ghost Ship.  The PCs find a derelict adrift in space and it is full of the ghosts of the dead crew.  Originally this was going to be the Enterprise B when I ran it as a pure Trek game. (The Haunting of Hill House, Dreams of the Witch House, the Flying Dutchman)

The Color out of Hyperspace.  A slow moving wave is "eating" up parts of space and everything in its wake.  (Color out of Space)

Starcrash on Hyperborea.  A shuttlecraft with the PCs crashes on a primitive frozen planet.   (Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea + The Galileo Seven +  All Our Yesterdays)

At least that is what I have so far.  I want to use more of Clark Ashton Smith's planets, in particular, his planets around Polaris.  It is also giving me a chance to adapt some Tékumel material to White Star.  This page on Wikipedia, Stars and planetary systems in fiction,  has been invaluable for finding planets and star systems I can use.

Much like Lovecraft, I started out in life as an astronomer.  Also, like Lovecraft, I discovered I lack the skills in math to ever get very far.  Though in my defense my wall comes up around Calculus 2.  I did go on to get a degree in Statistics and Measurement.   But the idea of using some long unused parts of my brain are appealing to me.

I have posted a lot in the past about various worlds.  All of these can be used too.


Time to boldly go where no one can hear you scream!

This post is part of my contribution to the RPG Blog Carnival for November 2018.
This month's topic is "All these Worlds..."
Looking forward to what my fellow RPG bloggers are doing this month and how many ideas I can use from them!



Tuesday, November 13, 2018

In Remembrance: Stan Lee

Stanley Martin Lieber, known to us mere mortals as Stan Lee died yesterday at the age of 95.
I have often said that my own "Appendix N" would consist of 70s rock, Hammer Horror films, and comics.  Marvel Comics was a huge part of how my D&D world was shaping up.

I grew up being a DC fan, and I still consider myself to this very day a true DC fan.  But in the 70s and the 80s in what was coexistent with my formative D&D years. I dropped DC in favor of Marvel's Spider-Man, X-Men and of course their Horror and Mystic-themed comics like "Tomb of Dracula", Dr. Strange, Blade, and Ghost Rider.  Much of what went on in my D&D worlds was very Marvel influenced.

I had a character named "Rogue" after my favorite bad-girl (at the time she was not in the X-Men yet), and nearly all my character had an illustration that I cut or copied from the pages of Marvel.  While over in DC my first magical-love was still for Zatanna, I also loved reading about the exploits of Dr. Strange and Clea.   I read with a voracious appetite every Tomb of Dracula I could my hands on to.  I read Red Sonja, X-Men, hell...every X-everything in the Mutant 80s.  This leads me to read other comics. 

Stan gave us great characters and stories.  I LOVED Black Panther. Here was a guy who was brilliant, a physicist, a king, he all sorts of superpowers, and yet he still fretted over his people, his lands and doing the right thing.  Peter Parker was so neurotic he could have been a Woody Allen character. Stephen Strange was an arrogant prick, Stark was an alcoholic arrogant prick.  The X-Men had so much pathos it was almost Shakespearian.  These were relatable characters or at least approachable ones.  Jim Croce once sang "You don't tug on Superman's cape" and it is true. Superman, for everything he stands for, is still a god, unapproachable. Even Batman for that matter.  But Stan's characters and the ones he influenced were still more like us.

My introduction to Stan Lee, the man or rather his persona, was via the "Spider-man and his Amazing Friends" cartoons where Stan would narrate the intros. I first heard his "True Believers" here as I suspect most of us did. (Though the FIRST time I heard "True Believers" was on the Electric Company's "Spidey" on PBS in the 70s.) A generation later he would be known to a new audience via his Marvel Cinematic Universe cameos.  But I always felt it was us, the old fans, the ones that remember them smell of comics back in the 70s and 80s (and for others the 60s), that he was there for.

Stan Lee was a flawed, imperfect man.  Just like his characters.  He didn't always say the right thing or maybe he took credit for some ideas that were not his.  At some future date, we can go back and debate the issues of the Stan Lee/Jack Kirby split.  But not today.

Today I want to remember the man that gave us all so much. A man that took his own words "with great power comes great responsibility" to heart.  Stan knew the power he wielded and he used it to create worlds for us to enjoy.

Several years ago, when Stan Lee was in his late 80s I asked a question on Facebook, "Who has had a larger impact on our culture, (Playboy founder) Hugh Hefner or Stan Lee?"  The results were fairly predictable, with Stan beating Hugh by nearly a 2 to 1 margin.

We will miss Stanley Lieber, the man.  But Stan Lee, the icon and the personality will live on forever.  Excelsior!


Monday, November 12, 2018

Monstrous Mondays: Snow Golem

I want to do this on Friday but the day job had me really busy.

Last week we had our first real snow in Chicagoland this season.  I thought it might nice to share another new monster from my upcoming Winter Witch book. 

Snow Golem
Hit Dice: 5 (22 hp)
AC: 7 [12]
Attack: 1 body slam (1d8 plus 1d6 cold)
Move: 12 / 24 over ice
Save: 11
Alignment: Neutral
CL/XP: 8/800
Special: Breath weapon, cold, immunity to cold, immunity to magic, double damage from fire

Snow Golems are amongst the simplest of golems that can be made by a witch.  The material to make them, snow, is easily available to them and easily molded into a humanoid shape.  All that is required in the casting of the spell is some magical fetish to focus the energy.  This can be nearly anything, but it is often a hat or a scarf.
Once animated the golem can perform routine duties can be ordered in a dozen words or less. Such orders would include "let no one pass but me." or "guard this treasure and let no one take it."
Snow golems are susceptible to weather conditions.  If the temperature rises above 32 degrees their movement is halved and their attacks are at half damage.

Snow Golem, Awakened
Among the awakened golems (Flesh, Clay, and Druthers) snow golems seem the least likely to have an awakened form, but because they are so easy to make young witches will often put more of their own energy or their own life force into their golems and they will spontaneously awaken.
The golems are often Lawful in alignment and have a child-like nature to them.  This is particularly true for snow golems brought to life by young, but very powerful Winter Witches.

These golems are also created at special times of the year.  If snow falls on Samhain then those snows can be used.  These awakened snow golems often have the spirit of the recently departed, but they usually can't recall their previous life.  These golems are typically Chaotic in nature.
Awakened snow golems constructed on or near Yule or the Winter Solstice are among the most powerful (HD 10, hp 40, move 18/36).

Regardless of type snow golems rarely live out a season and the magics holding them together will give out on the Spring Equinox.  There are some protections against this, and even an awakened snow golem can come back again someday.

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Featured Artist: Teresa Guido

Welcome back to another Featured Artist post.
I discovered my next artist, as I have discovered many others that will be future FAs, in the Facebook group D&D Fantasy Art.

Teresa Guido has a great style and has some really fantastic character art.  I believe it was her art of a drow that got my attention. She has done work for both Paizo Inc. and Purple Duck Games.

Here are some that I really liked. As usual, posted with permission.





She is available for commissions.
You can find her at:
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