Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Witch Books, Part 2. d20 years

Continuing on my previous post on the witch classes for the D&D game.  In this post I'll focus on the the early batch of d20 and later books.

DMG Witch
Let's not forget that the witch was a "sample" character in the 3.0 edition DMG.  She was basically a Sorcerer that had a different spell list.  Dropped some of the iconic damage spells of the Wizard in favor of some minor Cleric spells.   I always considered this the baseline witch. Though since it was not in the SRD I avoided reading about it.  When working on Liber Mysterium back in the day I was very, very strict about what I would read.  In fact I have a spread sheet full of spells and I would have discussions on what was and was not a witch spell.  In the end I ended up with a list that was not too unlike the witch spell list in the DMG, but I have tons of documentation of how I got it.  We were more concerned back then that WotC was going to stomp out any d20 infraction they found.  Still glad I did all the work though.  I was able to go back to it for all my other witch books.

Relics & Rituals
While not a book about witches per se, there is a lot in this book to like.
This was one of the very first additional magic books available for the d20 game.  It has a number of things that would be expected.  There are a good number of Prestige Classes for starters and I particularly liked the Blood Witch and the Sea Witch.  There are new feats and hundreds of new spells.  But the real gem of this book and the reason why it is still good to have today are the ritual casting rules.  There was a time that including a copy of these was mandatory in any new d20 book magic it seemed. They were frankly some of the best mutli-caster rules I had seen to that date and I have not seen anything else in the d20 world that has since come close.  Throw in scads of magic items and the book is a steal at twice this price really.

The Quintessential Witch - Mongoose (Print) (PDF)
I am not a huge fan of the older Mongoose books.  There are number of issues with the classes all over over the place, odd editing and art that runs the gambit.  This book is not any different.  The witch class is pretty typical of the time (early days of the d20 boom).  There is a wide variety of Prestige classes, which is nice, but not all of them are usable.  The book tends to be full of a lot cliches.   Though the ones that are good (Occultist, Puppet Mistress) are very good.  There is a good section on new uses for skills including telling fortunes and a good section of feats. There are new spells and new magic items, as expected, but the coolest thing might be the Places of Power.  Some Times of Power ends the book (also a good section).

The Witch's Handbook - Green Ronin
Certainly a great effort.  There is a lot I really like about this book.  The gems of this book are the ideas for skills and of course the fantastic cover art by Stephanie Pui-Mun Law.  Like my own d20 book this witch uses Wisdom to cast Arcane spells.  I still kinda like that to be honest.   There are a lot of nice Prestige Classes here.  There are new spells and like Way of the Witch below it uses the Ritual Casting rules from Relics & Rituals which were very much in vogue at the time.
There is no PDF of this I can buy which is disappointing really.

Way of the Witch -  Citizen Games
Style-wise this is the best of the lot of the early witch books for d20.  Hard cover, with some of the most beautiful art I have seen in a book.  I mean look at that Thomas Denmark cover.
The witch is basic and has a lot a really nice features.  The prestige classes are simple, but functional, dividing the witch into White, Black, Grey and Brown witches.  There are some other nice ideas as well.  The authors really took their time and care with this one and it really shows.
Alas, Citizen games did not make it out of the d20 boon alive.  They were going to come out with a second witch book, Seasons of the Witch, and I had heard a little about it.  I had high expectations really.
I am also disappointed that there is no pdf of this I can buy anywhere.  It would be great to have all my witch books in one place on my hard drive(s).

Lions' Den Press: Classes of Legend: The Witch
This one is different enough from the Pathfinder or DMG versions of the witch class to merit it's own product.  There are some new feats and spells.  All 20 levels are presented as well as some "High Witchcraft" alternate levels. Some good ideas here and not bad for the price.

The Enduring: Witches and Shamans
This book gives us a Faery Witch and Shaman class.  There is some natural overlap between the two.   In addition there are also 3 new prestige classes and 22 new feats.  There are a fair number of new magic items and a lot of new spells. There are also quite a few new monsters that are likely to exist in the same worlds as witches and shamans.   The classes seem a bit overpowered for straight d20 ones, but might make good Pathfinder classes.  The feats and spells are mixed bag. I have seen similar sorts of feats and spells in other books, some better, some worse.  But for the price, this is a good deal.  I am not a huge fan of the art, but it is not bad.

Unorthodox Witches
A lot of different types of witches built from the d20 rules. A few new ideas and a lot recycled art.
If you are looking for new ideas for witches, wizards or other types of spellcasters.
After going over this book again all these years later there is actually quite a bit more for your money.  55+ pages, and plenty of classes, there is a lot here that can use right out of the box or combine for something new.  The key word that I was forgetting here was "Unorthodox" and these certainly fit.  While I see this primarily as a GMs tool, there is likely to be a class in here that you will want to try if you are into witches.  Just because it is called a Beguiler or Crescent flyer, doesn't matter, that is just to separate them all out from each other.
There is something good here if you like arcane classes. Or any class with a bit of mystery to it.
Actually I would not use them as classes, but edit them a bit for Prestige classes for the Witch.

Lost Classes: Chaos Witch
Some products you buy for the content, some for the art. This was both.  I was working on the Chaos Witch for WitchCraft a while back and I wanted to see what is was all about.  Plus the witch on the front looks like Raven from the Teen Titans.  I didn't actually use anything here for the WitchCraft Chaos Magick, but I did enjoy this.

It is an interesting Prestige Class that adds a bit of randomness to her spell casting effects. She gains a few extra spell-like abilities and a random "hex" to curse people with.
A lot of fluff is given for the class, but the crunch does not quite match up. Still an interesting class for an NPC or a witch-themed game.  Only 3 pages, but the price is low.

Dept. 7 Adv. Class Update: NeoWitch Guardian
An advanced class for d20 Modern.  Has some nice features and powers.  I particularly like the broom (Besom) attacks. Great for d20 modern with magic.

1 comment:

ckp said...

I love your Liber Mysterium book, and thank you for highlighting all these resources too.