Thursday, October 18, 2018

The Witch for Swords & Wizardry White Box

It's 13 days till Halloween.
What better way to celebrate than with



A complete set of rules for the witch class for the Swords & Wizardry White Box RPG.

Inside you will find:
  • The Witch Class (levels 1-10)
  • The White Witchcraft tradition
  • 183 witch spells
  • 76 brand new spells
  • 18 monsters 
  • New treasure and magic items

All for your Swords & Wizardry White Box old-school games!

And 100% compatible with all my Swords & Wizardry witch books/traditions.

Cover art by A.E. Short.
Some interior art by Anna Marine:



Available NOW in both PDF and Print on Demand formats.


Joyous Samhain and Happy Halloween!!

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

October Horror Movie Challenge: Don't Go to Sleep (1982)

Rhoda and McCloud have a murderous daughter in this 1982 made for TV Aaron Spelling movie that surprisingly holds up well.

The late 70s and early 80s were a great time for some really spooky made for TV movies. At least that is my memory of things.  Well if you grew up in the 80s and had brothers or sisters then this movie most certainly freaked you out.

Phillip and Laura just lost their daughter Jennifer and have moved to LA (because that is where Spelling is) with their remaining children Mary and Kevin.  Mary keeps hearing her dead sister but no one believes her.  That is till the killings start.

Now I watched this back in the day and at the time I loved the fact that the mystery could go one of two ways.  Either really a ghost or everything was a product of Mary's psychosis.  As a teen just discovering psychology I thought that was great.

Of course, now, the punch is a little less. Not just due to seeing it before but also time.  Though I was surprised by how well the movie holds up to now.  Re-film this in modern LA and not change a bit of dialog...ok there are some changes that would have to be done...but otherwise it would still work.


Watched: 10
New: 5


Monday, October 15, 2018

Basic Instincts

There has been some discussion online and in the B/X groups in particular about getting Print on Demand versions of the Moldvay Basic book and the Cook/Marsh Expert book.

Part of that discussion was how viable are the current PDFs for POD printing. You can see some of that discussion on the Basic D&D DriveThruRPG page (linked above).  Others began to wonder how difficult would it be to do?

Well everyone knows what a huge fan I am of B/X D&D so I thought I would give it a go.
I grabbed my PDF of Basic D&D and set a 10-minute time limit.  If I didn't have a book ready to go by then I would pack it up and go home from work.  It took me 15 minutes.

I fired up Adobe Suite and took apart the PDF to put back together on the Printer's website.

Today I got the results in the mail.




As you can see no one will mistake these for the real deal.  For starters there are no table of contents nor index.






While the newer one has whiter pages and clear text, the cover is not really the best.

Could I make a better one? Sure.  Given time and effort in Photoshop and Acrobat.  But I won't.  For starters the book, while not really expensive, was costlier than say buying a print copy of Basic Fantasy and I get more in that.  There are  other, cheaper options as well.

No this served the purpose I wanted well; could the current PDF make a passible POD.  The answer is Yes, with some work.  Now I have another table copy of D&D Basic and that is never a bad thing.


Charmed Season 1, Episode 1 "Pilot"

Last night the new Charmed appeared on our screens here in America (not sure when you are getting it overseas) and I thought it might be nice to talk about it.  So let's get to it!

Fair Warning 1:  This review/overview will contain some spoilers.  If you don't want to be spoiled, avoid this post.
Fair Warning 2:  If you thought Supergirl wore their politics on their sleeve...buckle up buttercup because Charmed wears their politics like a battle armor.
Fair Warning 3: I loved Charmed (1998). It is one of my favorite all-time shows and I will fight anyone in my claim it was better than Buffy.  So that is the point of view I come from.  So any show named Charmed has to fight that uphill battle for me.

The new Charmed takes place in Hilltowne (aka "Helltown") a college town in Michigan.  Ok, I like the move to the Mid-west already.  Also setting it in a college town gives them access to a wide variety of plots.  Already all the women of the new Charmed are associated with the College.

The show begins with sisters Mel (Melonie Diaz) and Maggie Vera (Sarah Jeffery) living with their mother Marisol (Valerie Cruz).  Now Mel and Maggie look and act every bit like sisters, so kudos on the casting there.  Marisol is a professor of Women's Studies at Hilltowne College and currently leading the charge in a sexual harassment case against another professor.

With the girls out, Marisol begins to feel a strange presence and goes to her attic.  Here she begins casting a spell, but is attacked by crows/ravens.   Both girls get texts to come home right away.  When they get there they discover their mother has fallen from their attic to them patio beneath and is dead.

Three months later the girls are still no-where closer to learning about their mother's death.  Mel is angry all the time and Maggie just wants to be a college freshman and join the local sorority.

We are introduced next to Macy Vaughan, Ph.D. She is new to Hilltowne having received a grant and a job offer to work in Hilltowne College's lab.  She walks by the Vera Manor and gets a weird feeling.  Back in her lab she looks up the house and reads about Marisol's recent death.  She visits the sisters that night and shows them an old photograph of Marisol in front of the manor hold a baby. The baby is Macy.   Once the girls are in the same house their powers begin to awaken.

What we get next is almost a Cliffe Notes version of the Charmed universe.  We meet Harry their Whitelighter who is more Giles than Leo.  We encounter a demon dog (like it) and a possessed human with a Supernatural like demon (also a nice touch).  The big demon, who I supposed should be obvious, but I'll still keep quiet on, was very cool looking in a White-Walker sort of way.
Loved the Power of Three spell in the end to defeat him (need to go back a try to translate more of their pseudo-Latin later).

The episode ends with the girls all living under the same roof and getting along (I do hope there is a little more tension in the future) and a warning on their Ouija board not to trust Harry.

OK a lot to go over here.

The Vera Book of Shadows looks similar to the Halliwell book for the few seconds we see it.  What we do see is a picture of Melinda Warren in the first few pages.


The picture is of the same Melinda Warren of the Original Series.


So are the Vera witches of the same Warren bloodline as the Halliwell witches?  Could be.  I think it is likely.  There are anywhere from 11 to 15 generations of witches since Melinda (oh please let it be 13!).

There are a couple of other lines talking about why these witches are now the Charmed Ones.
The first had me dying, basically, Trump being president is a sign of the Apocalypse! Another sign though has me both concerned and intrigued.

The other sign is the death of many powerful witches.  Could the Halliwells all be dead?  I would hate to think so and the fans will revolt. BUT...think of the storytelling opportunities here. Think about it. What can be killing the most powerful witches in the world? (The Winchesters?) I have been considering something similar in my War of the Witch Queens.

The prophecy ends with the return of The Source of All Evil.  Now Charmed fans know, the Source isn't just a Big Bad. He is the Biggest Big Bad there is or has ever been. He killed Prue! He was only stopped by the Charmed ones, one of his chief lieutenants and his own demonic oracle.  Yeah, he is bad news.

So what if this is what is going on here?  The Halliwells, or at least most of the most powerful good witches are all dead and now the Vera line must take up the battle?  Maybe the Warren line of witches split into what would become the Halliwell lines and the Vera lines of witches?  They are cousins in a matter of speaking but have forgotten about each other.  Maybe twin witches born to Prudence Warren.  One set up the Halliwell line and the other the Vera line.  I can see this.

I also would like to point out that the fictional witches of the new Charmed would feel like good allies to the real actors of the old Charmed.  I think Mel has quoted Allysa Milano verbatim!  Well maybe not, but the feeling is there.

The Verdict?

How do I feel about the new Charmed?

Well for starters I like it.  I want to know more about what is going on in this world. Is this the same as the Halliwell's world? If so are they still in it?  What is the new Source going to be like? What other NEW things will we see?

For the sisters.  Right now Macy is my favorite.  I am not just saying that because she has a Ph.D. but because I think she a lot of potential.  I could see an episode (and maybe this is because I am a geek) of Macy working on something in her lab and "accidentally" using her powers to move an experiment along and suddenly she is in the spotlight and can't replicate the effects.  Now this one would have to be done with a humorous side to it.

All three lead actors are very good.  I need to see more of them to form a better opinion, but so far I like all three and think they will grow into their roles nicely.

Harry is interesting, but I am not 100% sold on him yet.  Leo I liked right away. Maybe that is the point. Harry is not Leo.  Also.  He is a Whitelighter, but where are his Orbs?  Ah well.  Minor thing really.

I am also not blind to the problems.  Look I LOVE the politics they have shown so far and if the snark like this keeps up then I am here every week!  But I see that it can also be a turn-off for some.

Also, this show hits on all the strengths that made the first Charmed so great.  All that is except for one.  The Original Charmed knew when to take themselves serious and more important they new when not too.   This show needs to make sure it does the same.

Looking back over the "Pilot" and comparing it to "Something Wicca This Way Comes" I see good and bad in both.  SWTWC was so raw and the actors were still grabbing on to their parts.  But all three were also very seasoned actors (hell, even in her early 20s Allyssa Milano has seen more work than most of her peers combined) so they had an edge.  The script to SWTWC was weaker but had elements that pulled you right in.  The Pilot for Charmed (2018)  knows more about their world, in large part due to the groundwork laid by SWTWC and the next 177 episodes, but also has the advantage of a more stable future than Charmed (1998) did its first season.

The bottom line for me is this: Encounter at Far Point.  You can't judge a show by its first episode.  Encounter at Far Point for Star Trek the Next Generation was not a good episode.  In fact, much of the first season was not good.  BUT the groundwork for later, much much better episodes was established here.  You can't get a "Best of Both Worlds", "Darmok" unless you wade through "Encounter at Far Point".

I want to see the girls struggle as sisters, as witches, and as college people. But I also want to see them come together.  Just like Marisol says "You're better together. Your differences are your strengths and nothing is stronger than your sisterhood."  Well said mom.

Also. For the love of broomsticks and pointy hats can we please get more Valerie Cruz on the show? Even as a ghost?

Next week does look fun.


Did you watch? What do you think?

Sunday, October 14, 2018

October Horror Movie Challenge: Burned at the Stake (1982)

If there were as many witches in "real" Salem as the Salem in movies and TV, the trials would STILL be going on.

Salem really was an important moment in American History Not the trial itself but as a test of this new country.  Personally, I think we would have ended up exactly where we are today, but we would lack some great stories.

Burned at the Stake, also known as "The Comming", covers the Salem trials in the same way a lot of movies do; as background with a lot of mistakes.  First off, no one was burned at the stake in Salem. They were either hung or in one case pressed to death and another died in prison.

Ok. That all aside. People died and we can get ghosts that way. Ghosts are what gives us this flick.

The plot is simple. Witch dies in the Salem trials then comes back in the 1980s to take revenge of the descendants of the ones that accused her.

I gotta admit despite the subject matter, I found the movie a bit dull.

Watched: 9
New: 5


Friday, October 12, 2018

Kickstart Your Weekend: Bunnies & Burrows 3rd Ed.

It's been some time in the making, but Bunnies & Burrows 3rd Edition is coming from Frog God Games.

Bunnies and Burrows 3rd Edition


https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/froggodgames/bunnies-and-burrows

I will admit I was and am a fan of the original 1976 Edition.  I never really got to play it, save for one time, but that was it.

I did, however, spend a lot of time back in 2007 rewriting the Bunnies & Burrows article on Wikipedia.  Not only was I and others able to get the article to Good Article status, I had a Furry Advocacy group offer to send me money because of it.   I just asked them to donate the money to the Humane Society.  I didn't want my edits called into question if I Was doing them for pay.  I was doing it to further my own RPG knowledge.

I have not seen this new game yet, but it feels like it stays true to the spirit of the original version.   Though in 2018 it is hard to capture the real feel of 1976.

Of course, I backed this.  I have kids (although a younger set than what I have is better for this game) and I have bunnies.    So this could be fun.  I am already planning a "you have been changed into animals" adventure to use this with.

What do you say, Nigel? Is this a good game?



Nigel says yes. And he is a bunny, so he knows this stuff.


Thursday, October 11, 2018

October Horror Movie Challenge: The Incubus (1982)

Rapey demon goes on a rampage in TorontoGalen, MA.  This movie has ties to both Deadly Blessing (incubus as our monster) and Watcher in the Woods (directed by John Hough).  This movie was on my list a couple of years ago when I did "Movies I thought I had watched, but never did" for the challenge.

The acting is not bad. Not great mind you, but better than expected in many cases.

There is a twist in the end, and one that should have been expected to be honest, but still fun.  Though that is about all that is fun about the movie.  Though the movie is true the nature of the Incubus, so I can't fault them there.

Keep your eyes open, near the end Bruce Dickinson shows up (on film) with his then band Samson.  So that is fun.

Interestingly enough, both Incubi are depicted here as mostly incorporeal begins that can possess people. Typically succubi have a more physical manifestation.  I wonder why? (of course, we all know).


Watched: 8
New: 4


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