Friday, November 22, 2013

Skylla: Dragon Magazine #20 (and #5)

The first witch class that many people remember the best is the very good Dragon Mag #114 version.
It was the first one I remember seeing and using.

It was not long though before I discovered that there were other versions. In fact the 114 article mentions this.  I tracked down issue #43 (and 42, it had demons) and spent...well a lot on it.  That's how bad I wanted that issue.  It was worth it in my mind but I know I over paid.

The Witch in Dragon magazine has a nice long history.  The first version appeared as early as issue #5 (March '77).  It was basically an expanded NPC/Monster entry, but it introduced ideas adopted by every other witch class to appear afterwards; differences between good and evil witches, a mixing of clerical and magic-user powers and spells, and the High Secret Order.   I will go into these all in the detail they deserve in this and future posts.

The witch in Dragon #5 is an odd one for another reason. The editors claim that it was sent to them 18 months prior to publication.  So October 75.  There was no Dragon magazine then, just the Strategic Review which began in Spring of 75.  There is also no name on it. The claim is that it was sent to them anonymously.  It is possible I guess, though I also think it is likely that the authorship is known.   It had a number of new spells and magic items, but no advancement tables. This class/npc later appeared in the Best of The Dragon Vol 1.

Right now though I want to concentrate on the witch from Dragon #20 from November 1978.
For starters it is a complete class so that makes it ideal for comparing to my other classes.  It also marks one of the first of the Halloween themed issues.
This class was expanded by Ronald Pehr and based on the witch that appeared in issue #5.  This could also be one of the first examples of power creep in the game.  The witch gets a lot of powers (more so that other versions) and more XP per level than the Magic-user.
This witch gets spells up to 8th level. A split between the cleric's 7th level max and the magic-user's 9th level max.  The same thing I did for the Basic Witch.
The author says that the Witch has the same relationship to Druids as the Magic-User has to Clerics.
Witches in this variant are Neutral, but individuals can be good or evil.  Witches need a 13 in both Intelligence and Wisdom (I adjusted Skylla stats accordingly), they also need to have a minimum Charisma of 9.

Skylla from Dragon #20
Again I am making her 7th level, though 6th would have been just fine really.  If I had to name a Tradition for her it might the High Secret Order or even the Dragon Witch Tradition.

Not exactly Skylla, but really close
Skylla, 7th Level Witch "Enchantress" (Dragon #20)
Strength: 9
Dexterity: 11
Constitution: 10
Intelligence: 14*
Wisdom: 13*
Charisma: 12

Hit Points:  20
Alignment: Neutral Evil
AC: 4 (Ring of Protection +1)

Powers
1st level: Brew poisons, narcotics, hallucinogens
2nd level: Make a Bag of Holding
3rd level: Brew Love Potions
4th level: Dance of Seduction
5th level: Add Plus 1 to Charisma
6th level: Brew Truth Drug
7th level: Read Magic, Druid, Illusionist scrolls

Spells 
First: Give Wounds, Cure Wounds, Detect Magic
Second: Detect Invisible, Locate Object, ESP
Third: Charm, Phantasmal Forces

Magic Items
Ring of Protection +1, Dagger +1, Staff of Enchantment, Skull of Death**

Skull of Death (from Dragon #5): A huge charred bejewelled dragon skull to be worn like a helmet.
The wearer may mentally command any undead characters (up to three dice in number) at any range. Other powers imbued in the wearer are “The Finger of Death” and “Animate Dead”, and these two powers may be used repeatedly. The wearer will regenerate from combat damage at the rate of 5 points/turn, even if killed (unless beheaded).

A LOT more powers, but a smaller and very different selection of spells.
I also gave her the Skull of Death from Dragon #5 since that is what it looks like she is wearing anyway.

Other Skylla writeups

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