Friday, September 30, 2016

Kickstart Your SCARY Weekend!

Here we are folks.  Another Kickstart Your weekend, start of Halloween edition.

First up is a beautiful Swedish RPG, Trudvang Chronicles, in it's last few hours.
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1256540796/trudvang-chronicles


It looks fantastic really.

Also tonight at Midnight the October Horror Movie Challenge is set to begin.




+Justin Isaac over at Halls of the Nephilim will be joining me in this.

+Mark Craddock of Crossplanes.  He will be doing his "31 Nights of Halloween" again.
Go to his blog every day next month (starting tomorrow!) for 31 Horrific Adversaries for your games.
Last year was a blast and I expect the same this year.

You all ready to start?

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Review: The Haunted Highlands for Castles & Crusades

There is a chill in the air, leaves are turning colors and my thoughts turn to a land that is older and colder.  Thankfully for me, Troll Lords has just the thing for me.  Continuing my dive into Castles & Crusades I want to spend some time with The Haunted Highlands campaign setting.

 The Haunted Highlands goes way back in Castles & Crusades publication lore. It is a "mini" campaign setting really since it now sits inside the larger World of Aihrde.  This is not a weakness as far as I am concerned since I already have a nicely established world and I can drop this in my world (or any world) with no issues really.

The Haunted Highlands consist of two main products; The Players Guide to the Haunted Highlands and Castle Keepers Guide to the Haunted Highlands.

Review disclaimer: I paid for these on my own and was not asked to do a review.  Links are affiliate links to allow me to buy more games for more reviews.

The Players Guide to the Haunted Highlands
This book is everything the player needs to play in the HH. It is 114 pages and includes some very basic C&C rules, but you are going to want to have the full C&C Players book to really play.
The book begins with a bit of an introduction to the HH; both real world and in-world.   The in-world material is compelling and well thought out.  I certainly feel that this is a world with some history (again real world and in-world).  In the overview a number of locales and some groups are covered, all from the point of view of what the characters would know.  This covers the first couple dozen pages or so.  This flows right into the gods, demi-gods and fiends of the lands; about 10 pages.
Chapter 1 covers Character creation. This is largely a condensed version of the C&C rules.
Chapter 2 covers the Races of Karbosk. This chapter discusses the variations from the fantasy norm for the various races.   Your C&C "Value Add" here are rules to play Orcs, Goblins, and Hobgoblins.  New races, the Zvarguth (Dark Dwarves) and Meshkuri (pale humans), are also covered.
Chapter 3 details Character Classes. The traditional classes are mentioned and detailed.  More value adds are new and revised classes.  The assassin gets a remake as a cult to the goddess Shambere.  The Conjurer is a new spell casting class that has access to both cleric and wizard spells, but at a cost.  The Necromancer with spells from the Black Libram of Naratus.  There is also a witch that is very much of the "old hag" archetype and followers of the Hag Queen.  There is a monk class known as the Pammakoni, which is an interesting addition.
Chapter 4 continues the class idea with Dual Classing.   Some of this is detailed elsewhere in other C&C books. Also covered here is magic and new spells.  Witches gain the new arcane spells and select divine spells.
I will say this book is worth it for the classes and spells alone, but obviously it shines more with the Castle Keeper's Guide.

Castle Keepers Guide to the Haunted Highlands
Now this is a huge book. 400 pages and priced accordingly.
Like the Players Guide, we get an overview, real-world and in-world, of the Haunted Highlands.  This section contains a number of additions above and beyond the Players Guide.  This includes a calendar of months and days.  Along with that are some details on various astronomical features.  Now the big issue that *might* cause some concerns for adding to other worlds are this calendar and the two moons.  This can be adapted easy enough.  For my games I have three moons in my world, so one of the moons is just not detailed here.  A recap on the gods from the PG and we have the first two dozen or so pages covered.
For the next 90 or so pages we get a reprint of the modules DB1: Haunted Highland, DB2: Crater of Umeshti, and DB3: Deeper Darkness.  Now if you don't have these modules this is a nice value add, but I have them is dead-tree (and for DB1, PDF).  I didn't notice too many changes but I did not compare them side by side.  Having them in one place is nice, but I didn't really need them.  Though there is good reason for them to be there.  There are new modules/source guides, DB4: Dro Mandras, DB5: The Conquered East, DB6: Dwellers in the Darkness, DB7: The Duchy of Karbosk, DB8: Mists of Mantua, and DB9: Fanderburg.  The adventures are not "leveled" so the CK can adjust them to fit their players.
At this point, we are now 330 pages deep into this book.
This takes us to the Monsters sections.  There is a lot culled from the first three modules, but there are a lot more new ones.  40+ pages to be exact, so enough to keep me happy for a while. This is followed by 25 some odd pages of new fiends, demons and devils.
The last three or so pages are dedicated to new magic items.
This is a campaign world in the very sense of the term.  It is much more akin to Greyhawk than it is to the Forgotten Realms.  You are given some locales and locals, some gods and demons, some monsters, some factions and some background.  You are told how they all interact and then what you make of it all is what YOU make of it.  No NPC is going to overshadow the players here unless of course the CK allows that.  Which they won't.
The books are of course gorgeous in the way that all C&C books are. They really feel like something from the 1980s, only better.

In truth what would be better is a nice boxed set with both the Players book and Castle Keeper's book in softcover. Put the modules in there, all nine. Include a big fold out map and some green dice with bronze/gold color lettering.

Troll Lords is running a bundle sale on these now. Get both books for a reduced price.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Class Struggles: What IS a Class Anyway?

For this week's Class Struggles I wanted to look into the idea of what a class is.

One of the things I remember the most about the gaming scene back in the mid 80s was the rallying against class/level based systems.  I can remember a fairly notorious article/editorial complaining about how classes don't represent real life.  The author as I recall lambasted the class system by asking people to describe what his "class" was.  He blaked at the idea of being called a "Bard".  Though to me it was obvious, he was only a 0-level human.  His "class" was human.

Dragon magazine would go on to produce 100s of classes. The OSR has followed in this same glorious tradition.  Even here I have dissected classes to point out that some with the same name are different (various Warlocks) and others with different names are largely the same.  If that is the case then it begs the question, "What is a Class?"

Broadly defined a class is a set of skills, powers and behaviors that a character will engage in or with.  I say "behaviors" since we expect a cleric to be different than a wizard or a fighter even though the cleric can have similar skills and powers.  But for the most part, we are talking skills.

In AD&D we later got a Proficiency system that was great and new for D&D but still behind games like Call of Cthulhu, Chill and GURPS. The evolution of this system appeared in AD&D2 and then later more robust skill system in D&D3.  In 3e, more so than any other edition before or since, the amount of skills and what skills you can or should take were central.  In fact one could say that "class" was only shorthand for the skill "Recipe".
This is the case with many point buy systems.  If in let's say Ghosts of Albion I want to play a "Wizard" I take levels in "Magic" and "Occult Library".   If I want to be a "witch" or a "runic caster" then I add the appropriate "Magical Tradition".

With the advent of 3e some games took this to the extreme.  True20 reduced the classes to three basic classes, Warrior, Expert and Adept, and gave them the ability to take different skills and powers each level.  Mutants & Masterminds took this one step further to have no-classes, only point-buy powers and skills per level.   At another extreme BESM d20 (Big Eyes, Small Mouth) reduced all the SRD classes down to their point-buy totals.  By the way, if you can get your hands on BESM d20 and are interested in how classes are made it is a good buy.   Course 3e also gave us some of the most flexible multiclassing rules ever in D&D; one of the places that 4e really took many steps backwards on.

Are classes a collection of skills or a collection of means to get the skills?  With skills, I am including things like "Turning Undead" or "Spells" or "Move Silently".

Going back to my Ghosts of Albion example.  I love Victorian Era games. I have played most of them and read the ones I have not played.  Give me a character from the Victorian era and I can replicate him or her in Ghosts fairly easily.  Isambard Kingdom Brunel, lots of Engineering and science, not a lot of social interaction. What is he in d20 Masque of the Red Death? Intellectual likely.  What about the 2nd Edition AD&D version?  Well, the only thing that really works is Tradesman.  A little unsatisfactory really.  Do we create an "Engineer" class?  Bring over the Gadgeteer from Amazing Adventures?  I think we begin to see the origins of the multitude of classes now.

Purists, and the central philosophy of games like S&W White Box and Lamentations of the Flame Princess, keep the classes limited.  I have discussed that here at length really; no need for a Witch, Warlock, Necromancer or whatever since those are all Magic-Users with different hats.

In general, the choice of classes needs to reflect the world the game is trying to emulate. Do I need to give Brunel a class? No, not if he is not going to be a PC.  If he is then I need to find a place for him in the game. That is to say what is it he will do.

So does a game need 3 or 4 classes or 100?
Yes.

I think I am going to give this a try in my Second Campaign and open everything up. If there is a class in a book somewhere then it can be used in the game.  Knowing my group though I'll end up with a Slayer, a Bounty Hunter, a Thief and an Assassin.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

October Horror Movie Challenge 2016

Once again I am going to participate in the October Horror Movie Challenge.
31 days, 31 movies.  20 have to be new to me.


I am going to try to relate this to gaming as much as possible. Even if it is a weak, "yeah I am going to do this".  I see a lot of this happening for my War of the Witch Queens campaign idea.

The challenge was started (near as I know) by Krell Labs.  It has moved over to Facebook now.

Go there. Sign-up and watch some scary movies. Or not so scary ones as the case might be.

This year my youngest son will join me for some of these movies. I'll post what he thinks along with my own opinions.

+Justin Isaac over at Halls of the Nephilim will be joinig me in this.  It should be a blast!

Monday, September 26, 2016

Monstrous Mondays: Giants in the Mist

or fog as the case may be...

Since I am going to combine some Cloud Giant adventures and have a floating castle, I figure I should have at least one encounter with their land-dwelling cousins.  Fog giants first appeared (well for me anyway) in the 1st Edition Fiend Folio.

These creatures can be added to any giant-themed adventure.


D&D 5th Edition


Castles & Crusades

NO. ENCOUNTERED: 1-6, 1-10*
SIZE: Large (16'-18')
HD: 14 (d12)
MOVE: 40 ft.,
AC: 24
ATTACKS: Weapons; Greatclub (5d6) or rock (3d8)
SPECIAL: Spell–Like Abilities,  Mist (Twilight) Vision, Scent
SAVES: P
INT: Average
ALIGNMENT: Neutral Good (50%) or Neutral Evil (50%)
TYPE: Giant
TREASURE: Horde
XP: 4750 + 12

*Any group of 10 Fog Giants will include a Cloud Giant noble.

From the 2nd Edition Monstrous Compendium.

Description
Cousins to the cloud giants, these large rock-hurlers are more intelligent and stealthy than portrayed in story or song. Fog giants are huge and husky, with tree-trunk sized legs, and over-developed arms muscled by constant throwing games and exercises. They have milk-white skin which aids their natural ability to blend into fog (80% chance). Their hair is silvery white and flowing, with ample hair on the arms, legs, and chest. They grow no facial hair whatsoever. They prefer to wear no armor, counting on their high natural Armor Class.  They love massive, ornate clubs made from bleached and polished wood or bone.

Habitat/Society
Fog giants are proud of their strength and fighting skills, often playing games when on hunting forays in an attempt to best one another. Their favorite such game is called “copsi” and consists of the giants pairing off to toss larger and larger boulders to their partners until one of the pairs misses its throw.

The fog giant families live in caves, canyons, or thickets, in the most inaccessible areas of marsh, swamp, forest, or coast. The men usually hunt in groups, ranging up to a dozen miles from their homes. The groups generally are formed of giants of similar alignment.

By tradition, a young giant may not mate until he has obtained at least one large ornament of silver. Usually, the young giant joins with several others in a quest to find one (or acquire enough treasure to buy one).

Fog giants do not often mix well with other creatures or races, although they can often be persuaded to perform services for a fee, or barter goods with groups of similar alignment. Fog giants will happily barter goods and services for refined silver.

Territorial disputes sometimes flare up between groups, especially in times of bad hunting. Friendly disputes can sometimes be resolved by a game of copsi or an arm-wrestling match. Fog giants fighting amongst themselves will generally throw rocks and fist-fight, rather than use swords.

Fog giants are fond of all sorts of cooked meats, particularly hoofed creatures such as horses, cows, deer, elk, and centaur. They often cook meat by building a large fire, then impaling chunks of meat on their swords and holding them over the open flame. Fog giants prefer fruits and sweets for dessert, and will also down large quantities of spirits if available to them. They do not distill their own spirits or liquors.

They also sometimes smoke fresh milkweed pods in wooden pipes, though the taste is too bitter for humans and demihumans to enjoy.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Castle of the Cloud Giant Queen

I just need to give her a name.
Procella sounds good.
Lots of things conspired against gaming this weekend including lots of homework, getting bags of clothes ready for charity, more homework...

In any case, I Was able to read through some of Storm King's Thunder, Saga of the Giants, and Curse of the Cloud Giant Queen. I noticed a lot of similarities. Not that this is a big deal really; all the adventures are drawing on the same source materials. Namely the classic G series and the mythology in D&D about Cloud Giants.

So as my wont, I decided to start merging these adventures.  The adventure in the SKT is nice and tight and I loved the masks.  The Curse of the Cloud Giant Queen has a great dungeon and some ideas as well. Saga of the Giant's Cloud Giant Castle is also a nice adventure.

Reading them all over I got the idea of a floating castle in the clouds, ruled by a Cloud Giant Queen. I have always, always wanted to do a floating castle! She is supplying materials to the Frost and Fire Giants below.  But why?  Well obviously she wants control.  But how does she fit into the GDQ series?

Well I had originally misread Storm King's Thunder as Storm King's Daughter.  What if this Cloud Giant Queen was really a half-Cloud, half-Storm giant?  She marries the current Cloud Giant king and usurps the throne from the rightful heir (a daughter or a son, I am thinking daughter).  To extend her power base she is dealing with the drow (and thus Lolth) to control the Cloud, Fog, and Storm giants.



Castle of the Cloud Giants vs. The Cloud Giant Castle?  Why not both?!



It will extend the Giants part of the campaign. But that is fine really.

+Justin Isaac mentioned that there has been a creeping of the sizes of Giants over the years.
He is not kidding.  While working on my adventure this weekend I pulled out my Fire Giant Kings.

Here they are in reverse chronological order.


King Snurre Ironbelly is the puniest one of the bunch!

Friday, September 23, 2016

Or...I can do some giants...

Well. My son's game fell through due to illness of half the players (schools are Petri dishes...).  So it looks like we might be doing our Come Endless Darkness game this weekend.  Which means going after some Frost Giants.

I wanted to finish up the G series at Gen Con, but we only got through G1(hill giants) and the unofficial G4 (stone giants).    On the plus side it has allowed me some time to consult some other references.


Storm Giants really didn't fit into my original idea, but I am going to give these a read and see what they have to offer.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Witch Wars and Second Campaigns

Again, no gaming for me this weekend. So when I am not working on my current 5e game my mind tends to wander a bit. Lately, I have been thinking a lot about what needs to be done next.

A brief recap though.

I started playing with my kids when my son turned 5, so about 2005 or so.
That adventure was the start of what would become the Dragonslayers campaign. There was no over arching plot and we made a lot up as we went along. The rule system was a modified version of D&D 3.0 with bits of Mutants & Masterminds, BESM d20 and Star Wars thrown in for good measure. Soon my youngest son joined and there was a rotating cast of characters (sometimes joined by their friends) under the vague notion of stopping the threat of evil dragons. Eventually the party decided that they had to stop Tiamat herself. We went through many of the classic adventures and a lot that were completely made up on the day of gaming.

When D&D 4 came out we tried a couple of times to get a game going under that but to no real success. Though those failures lead to what we called the Order of the Platinum Dragon games, or what I have been calling here the Come Endless Darkness game. Like every time I have changed rule systems I usually use the children of the characters I was playing before. This time, we started using AD&D 1st Edition. We played that for a couple of levels, notably for adventures B1 and B2. When D&D 5th Ed came out we switch wholesale over to that with flashbacks using AD&D1 and D&D Basic.

Now I want to try something a little different.

The Second Campaign is (in theory) supposed to run in parallel to the Come Endless Darkness game. Different characters, but the same world and time. One of the elements of this game is that one of the characters that went missing from the CED game will show up here. That game is limited to only 12-14 levels, then for the big finale all the characters would come together in the end. BUT...that might not work so well since I didn't get the Second Campaign started when I should have. Or rather, the CED game had too much momentum and we kept going. In the CED game they are going to deal with the Lolth-Orcus threat, in TSC it will be Dagon and Demongorgon.
Since it is a "Second Campaign" I want to follow the model of the "First Campaign" or Come Endless Darkness and use classic modules. These are the ones I am considering.

N1 Against the Cult of the Reptile God, levels 1-3 (novice)
U1 The Sinister Secret of Saltmarsh, levels 1-3
U2 Danger at Dunwater, levels 1-4
U3 The Final Enemy, levels 3-5
I1 Dwellers of the Forbidden City, levels 4-7
I3 Pharaoh, levels 5-7
I4 Oasis of the White Palm, levels 6-8
I5 Lost Tomb of Martek, levels 7-9
X4 Master of the Desert Nomads, levels 6-9
X5 Temple of Death, levels 6-10
I9 Day of Al'Akbar, level 8-10
Gary Gygax's Necropolis, levels 10+

The only one that I am 100% sold on is Necropolis.

Since these are all AD&D modules (save Necropolis) I might stick to AD&D, but it is far more likely that this will be a combination of Basic/Expert D&D, Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea, Adventurer Conqueror King, Basic Fantasy RPG, Labyrinth Lord and any other OSR book I have laying around. It is a mix-mash that I often refer to as "Black Box Basic".

The trouble it that it make much more sense for this game to use Castles & Crusades. Converting between C&C and D&D5 is a no brainer really. Super easy. I want to play C&C. I also want to play Black Box.

The only ones I don't have PDFs for.
The campaign after this will be my War of the Witch Queens.
That one will be run under Castles & Crusades and also use a variety of adventures.

The Stealer of Children (LL), level 1
B7 Rahasia (Basic D&D), levels 1-3
The Ruins of Ramat (S&W), levels 1-3
Return of the Warlock (S&W), levels 2-4
The Manor Issue 6 (OSR), low level (roughly 3rd)
Witch of the Tarriswoods (OSR), 3rd level
Saga of the Witch Queen (DCC), 4th level
A3 Wicked Cauldron (C&C), levels 3-5
Night of the Spirits (C&C), levels 4-6
No Salvation for Witches (LotFP), not mentioned, likely levels 5-7
Witches Court Marshes (AD&D_ish), around 7
Fane of the Witch King (3.0/d20), levels 10+
Dark Druids, AD&D1/OSRIC, levels 8-12
The Dancing Hut of Baba Yaga (AD&D_2e), levels 7-20
The Witch Queen's Revenge (Pathfinder), levels 15+
The Witchwar Legacy (Pathfinder), levels 17+
Winter of the Witch (D&D4), Epic levels

One campaign has a variety of rules, but adventures that are for the same system. The other uses one set of rules, but each adventure is for a different system.

One day I'll do something easy.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Class Struggles: Castles & Crusades Classes

It has been a while since I have done a Class Struggles post.  Normally with these I like to take a deep dive into a single expression of a class and talk about it in it's various forms in the various editions and offshoots of D&D.

Today though I want to instead look at the unique, or mostly unique, classes offerings from Castles & Crusades and other SIEGE Engine games.  My point of view though will remain the same; how to use these classes in your Fantasy RPG/D&D.

First up is the Knight.  The knight comes to us from the Castles & Crusades Player's Handbook. So in this respect, it is a "core" class.  It is best to compare the Knight to the Cavalier. In fact if one were to look at the list of classes in the C&C PHB and compare that to AD&D1 PHB/UA or OSRIC the Knight stands out as being something of a unique class.  Like the UA cavalier the knight is a mounted, armored fighter type. They both follow codes of conduct and belong to various orders.  In most ways the knight appears exactly like the romance knights of King Arthur's Round Table with their code of chivalry and courtly romance.  Thankfully though the knight is a little bit more than that.
In Castles & Crusades there is the concept of Prime Abilities. Each class has one and they do about what you would imagine if you never read the rules.  For the Knight the prime ability is Charisma.  Not physical prowess, but charisma. This is the same for Paladins who are now taking more of the role of Holy Warrior.  The 5th Edition D&D Paladin is still closer to the C&C Paladin, but the C&C Knight is in many ways closest to the D&D4 Warlord. Both have leadership abilities and both appear to be more militarily trained fighters.

At this point, I must apologize for my selections of classes.  They are going to be based on the ones I know and the books I have.   I also mightnot focus on every class in the books I do have.

The Codex Celtarum is one of my favorite C&C books. I love the idea of playing in a Celtic universe and there is just so much fun stuff in this.  This book comes with a new class, The Woodwose, and a variation of a class, The Wolf Charmer. Both of these classes have a distinct Celtic flair to them.  The woodwose is a wildman of the woods and somewhere between a ranger and a barbarian in terms of role. Looking at their prime abilities, the Barbarian is Constitution, the Ranger is Strength and the Woodwose is Dexterity.  The wolf charmer is described as a pied piper of sorts for wolves.  They can be rogues or rangers and they gain some wolf charming abilities in favor of some the abilities they would have gotten for their own class.  A ranger-wolf charmer, in fact, resembles the concept of the Beastmaster I discussed in a Class Struggles a few months back.  In 3rd edition, we might have done this a Prestige Class.

It's sister product or cousin product, is the Codex Nordica.  Personally, I think both books should be used together for a greater effect to both. Yes their "worlds" are very different, but their interaction in our world is very linked.   This book offers us the Seiðkona, or sorceress.  Other books might call her a witch.  Indeed I used a lot of the same myths about the  Seiðkona, Vísendakona and Volur in my own witch books right down to using a distaff in place of a staff.  The Seiðkona uses Intelligence as her primeary ability and casts the same spells and magic as the Wizard does.  If she had used Charisma, I would naturally compare her to the Sorcerer of D&D3.   Though given her role, Intelligence (or maybe even Wisdom) is the proper choice here.  This is a class that is very much part of the mythology of the world she is in. She loses some of the things that make her special if she you dropped her into Greyhawk or the Realms.  There is also the Völva, which the clerical counterpart to the Seiðkona.  This class also serves the role of a priestess and uses a distaff.  As expected her primary ability is Wisdom.  Her gift is divination and prophecy.  So by means of a rough comparison, she is more similar to the Oracle class in Pathfinder.

Moving on to more C&C specific "worlds" we can first turn to the Tainted Lands. Now to be fair, I was pretty hard on this product when it came out.  I still find faults with it, but I am softening my approach some more.  I just ignore the "Psychic" and "Supernatural" attributes. The nice thing about this setting is it is easily back-adaptable to ad some darkness to your games.  The Tainted Lands also gives us four new classes.  The Witch Hunter (which I have converted to Wisdom), The Metals Master (which I honestly don't use), The Portal Keeper (I use Intelligence instead) and the Vampire (Strength).  Of these, I use the Witch Hunter the most.

The Haunted Highlands are next and have some classes that fit into the same horror or darkness tinged mode.  This includes the Players Guide, the Castle Keeper's Guide and the Black Libram of Naratus.  Now these books hit me right in my home.  Dark, scary, Celtic themed play?  Sign me up!  I will work on getting a full review out for the Haunted Highlands soon.  Case on point, the classes are a revised Assassin, a revised Monk, the Conjurer (Charisma based), the Necromancer (an Inteligence sub-class of the Wizard and which is also detailed at length in the Black Libram of Naratus), and the Witch (Wisdom based)! I could go on and on about the witch here, but it is a very approapriate adaptation of the concept for this setting.  Again. There is so much here to go through that I will have to devote a blog post or two about it.  But I would easily play one of these witches or necromancers.

To wrap-up my collection of Castles & Crusades specific books (and I know there are more out there) I want to look into the Castles & Crusades Players Guide to Aihrde.   What I really like about this book are some "race" specific classes. There is the Heisen Fodt (Dwarves), the Oraalau (High Elves), Ieragon (Eldritch Goblin), Hugrin dun (Gnome), and Felon Noch (Halfling). Essentially these are the racial classes closest to the Basic/Exper D&D expressions of the Race as Class classes.  Here though they have a strong cultural context and they really work.   I would add these to not only my Castles & Crusades game, but any OSR game or even D&D5.

Stretching now just a bit I want to talk about a few of the classes found in Amazing Adventures.  While AA is a Pulp or even modern RPG, there are some classes that would work well with just the tiniest of modifications.  Some of this is detailed in the books, but I want to share my opinions on the matter.  The Arcanist is basically a Wizard or Cleric.  The Gadgeteer though would make for an excellent Magical Artificer.  Use the rules here and in the Book of Powers to create your own artificer.  The Mentalist would add a psionic or psychic character to your game.  The  Socialite can be dropped in almost as-is for a Royal Courtier.   Now if we add in the Amazing Adventures Companion we get a whole new slate of character class options.   The Acrobat, the Archer, the Duelist, the Feral, the Pirate and the Soldier can all be used with only modifications to anything that involves firearms.  Depending on your game you could even add in the Gunslinger.
If you check out the Troll Lord's online shop you can also find the Demon Hunter class for AA, but easily compatible with C&C.

There are similar choices in Victorious, but I am not done reading that one yet.

All in all, nearly 30 classes you can add to your Castles & Crusades games.

I think the Troll Lords need to come out with a "Class Codex" now!

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Review: Amazing Adventures Book of Powers

The Amazing Adventures Book of Powers for the Amazing Adventures RPG is really, really interesting book.  Interesting in that it opens up the Amazing Adventures game, and thus Castles & Crusades and Victorious RPGs into new and interesting realms of play.   It does in a sense to Castles and Crusades what the BESM d20 rules did (or could have done) to d20 rules.

Let's start with the basics and then move into specifics.

The Book of Powers (BoP) is a slim book, 48 pages. The covers are full color, the interior is black & white.  The list price is $14.99 but as of this writing, the PDF is on sale for $10.99.
We get right away to my first gripe about the book.  The cover.  I love Peter Bradley's work and this cover is gorgeous.  However, it is not really "pulp" to me at all.  Sure if this were a modern supers game (which in fact you can use this book to turn AA into) this would be a great cover, but acrobatic girl with green hair, in skin tight lycra/spandex outfit with plunging cleavage isn't my idea of the 1930s.  Sorry.  I mention only because I fear that people might not grab it.
Moving on.
The premise of this book is pretty cool.  Take AA's Gadgeteer class and turn gadgets into powers.  These powers can be used along side gadgets and other powers to make some truly heroic characters.  I did a few quick and dirty character creations this morning and I am pleased so far with what I was able to do.

Expanding on this idea Vey also presents a "Sorcerer" class, a magical power wielder that could fit in right next to the Arcanist class in AA OR even the Wizard in C&C.   For my next character I want to create an AA style sorcerer for a Castles & Crusades game to see how well it works.

Expanding on these powers even further we are given rules on how to make Vampire, Demon and Angel characters.  Now this is a REALLY cool option.  I don't often pull this card, but today I will.
Jason knows his shit here.  We worked together on WitchCraft, All Flesh Must Be Eaten and of course the Buffy the Vampire Slayer RPG.  Jason is above and beyond qualified to give us these rules. And these rules are really fun.  So much so that one idea I had for a supers game I want to now convert over to an AA game with powers, sorcerers, vampires, angels and demons.  It's actually quite silly how well it work for me.

The book also has a host of new character options including a modified skill check system.  I *believe* is the same as the one in Victorious.  Though I am not 100% sure.  It's a nice simple system.  Though reading it I realize I almost never do skill checks in C&C/AA; just ability checks.
There is also a new advantage system or perks for each class.  Totally optional, but allows for greater customization.  Not enough here? They are similar enough to feats to allow importing from other d20 games.  Add these to Castles & Crusades and you basically have D&D5.

Speaking of which there is also a section on "Amazing Crusades!" with guidelines on how to get Amazing Adventures Peanut Butter into your Castles & Crusades Chocolate.  I would also add that you can add the sweet, sweet creamy caramel of Victorious to this.

I was going to like this book anyway since it does a lot of the things I tend to do in my games anyway.  It also has a lot of things I love adding to my games.  So how do I give an unbiased opinion?

Well, I will say this.  If you love Amazing Adventures, then you should check this out.
If you want some more flexibility with powers and even races in Castles & Crusades, you check this out.
If you want more Steam Punk gadgety goodness of Victorious then definitely buy this.

I highly recommend this.

Disclaimer 1:  I received of a copy of this book in the mail as thanks for being a playtester.  No review was ever mentioned, promised or implied.
Disclaimer 2: I was a playtester for this book.
Disclaimer 3: I am good friends with the author, Jason Vey, and we have worked on many RPG projects together over the last 16-17 years. 
Disclaimer 4: All links are affiliate links.  Your clicks support my book habit.


Monday, September 19, 2016

Monstrous Mondays: Woodwose for Castles & Crusades

A couple of things came together for me this week.  First off I have been going through all my Castles & Crusades material.  My son is getting ready for the game he runs with his group so I have been cleaning my game room, reorganizing my shelves and reading a lot of C&C.

I have been wanting to do something cool with C&C for a very long time.  So I am torn as to whether I am going to use it for my "Second Campaign" or "War of the Witch Queens".  I have a lot of good in-universe reasons to use this for the Second Campaign, but there is SO much of what is native to C&C that make me really want to use it for War of the Witch Queens.
In particular, books like the Haunted Highlands and Codex Celtarum are just full of ideas.

Today I wanted to update a monster I did a while back that was also recently updated on the newbiedm.com blog; the Woodwose.

You can see my version for Basic Era games here:
http://theotherside.timsbrannan.com/2015/03/woodwose-for-basic-era-games.html

Newbie DM's version, based on a 2nd Edition version I knew nothing about here:
https://newbiedm.com/2016/09/12/monster-conversion-woodwose/

Here is a new version for Castles & Crusades.

Note: this is different that the Woodwose class found in the Codex Celtarum.

Woodwose
NO. ENCOUNTERED: 5–30
SIZE: Small
HD: 2 (d4)
MOVE: 20 ft.,
AC: 13
ATTACKS: Weapon
SPECIAL: Spell–Like Abilities,  Twilight Vision,  takes 2x damage from cold iron
SAVES: M
INT: Average
ALIGNMENT: Neutral
TYPE: Fey
TREASURE: 1
XP: 45+1

The Woodwose, or "the Wild-Man of the Wood" is faerie creature related to the brownie and buckwan. These creatures typically look like small, old men completely covered in hair. Their hair can vary from brown, to light yellow to even green.  These creatures stand about 4' to 4 1/2' tall though some have been reported as small at 2' and others as tall 7' tall.   They have a language, a very early form of Sylvan, that they use among themselves but they can speak elven when talking to others.

As their name would suggest the woodwose are a wild, barely civilized race. Much of their time is spent in raiding the homes of other faerie creatures stealing food, treasures, and their women.  Woodwose that live close to human settlements have also been known to attack an outlying farm or prey on a lone traveler.   They are only brave in packs and rarely venture out of their burrows alone.  Despite their size a woodwose will attack any creature up to and including, ogre-sized, if they have the numbers.  Woodwose fear and avoid elves.

For every 6 woodwose encountered 1 will be a shaman capable of casting spells as a 2nd level druid.  For every 12 one of those 2 shamans will be 3rd level.  At 24 woodwose, a small community, there will be a shaman with the powers and spells as a 4th level druid.
In any case all woodwose are capable of casting the druid spell Shillelagh on their club once per day.  They are also capable of casting Pass Without a Trace at will as many times as they need.
Woodwose will be wary of adventurers unless they can outnumber them 2-3 to 1.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Review: Beneath the Dome

Beneath the Dome is an adventure for the Castles & Crusades game by none other than James M. Ward.  The current versions out in game stores and OneBookShelf are a combination of four smaller adventures.  It is really like a small campaign or a longer adventure in four parts.

Each section challenges characters of progressively higher levels (1-5, 4-7, 10th and above) and deals with the invasion of a race of giant humanoids, the Amdromodon.   Aside: While the new monsters here are interesting enough, I couldn't help but think it might be cooler if instead, I replaced them with Slaadi from the old Fiend Folio.  But that was only a thought.

The adventures are interesting and I love the whole "invasion" and corruption vibe.  It made it feel a little different than your typical adventure dealing with outer planar creatures.   A little fleshing out with some other adventures the Castle Keeper could really make a nice campaign with this.  The only thing really missing is a very high level adventure where the PCs go to the plane of the Amdromodons.

There is a lot going on in this adventure(s) and it is a lot of fun really. In addition to the new monsters there are also some new spells.

The book itself is 36 pages.

Now.  I hate to be "that guy" but today I am going to be.
If your book needs so much editing that *I* notice it then you have some issues.  There is more going on here than the odd typo or comma splice. Some sections are so awkward in their phrasing and the way they were written it really made it difficult to read.  I know these complaints have been leveled against Troll Lords before and I have for the most part ignored them.  But this book for whatever reason seemed to be really bad.  Now the PDF might be updated, I don't know.  But the physical copy I have needs a lot of help.


Disclaimer: Links are affiliate links, this module was purchased as part of a Kickstarter add-on package.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Hugo & Jake watch Dark Dungeons!

Hugo and Jake of "Bible Reloaded" take on "Dark Dungeons!"



"That senior warned us about playing RPGs!"

I could not help but think of this, https://www.fecundity.com/darkdung/

"Oh my god. They killed Blackleaf!"
"You Bastards!"

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Reviews: Castles & Crusades Adventures

My son is doing some gaming with his own group, so he has been spending a lot of time working on his own stuff.  So I have been reading a lot of Castles & Crusades.

I have to admit, and this is not really an admission since you all know this, but I love this game.
For me, it really hits a nice blend of 1st, 3rd and yes even 5th Edition.  Plus there is lot of material that I have not even been through yet.  The more I read it the more I REALLY want to use this for my War of the Witch Queens  adventures.

But before I do that I want to look at some of these adventures on their own merits.
Review Disclaimer:  I purchased these adventures as part of a Kickstarter add-on some time ago.



The Fantastic Adventure
This is a short adventure, 16 pages, for 4 to 8 characters of 1st to 3rd level. Actually, it is three very short adventures in a general area.  One flows to the next easily and can be run in a couple of sessions. The starting adventure revolves around finding a missing gem and this leads to the PCs saving a deranged golem.  There is also a host of really weird and interesting NPCs that could, if needed, be used as characters.  I know that C&C typically takes its cues from AD&D1, but this adventure felt like something right out of D&D Basic to me.  I mean that in the best way possible; I love D&D Basic.  This would make for a good first adventure to anyone new to C&C, but familiar with other FRPGs.
I often gush at the nostalgia fuel that Castles & Crusades often is for me, but this adventure really does capture a lot of the fun of playing in the late 70s and early 80s. Particularly the early 80s.  It is set in their larger, and somewhat more dangerous, World of Aihrde and can lead up to their other adventures.  Or it can stand alone for a couple nights of rolling dice and having fun.

I1 Into the Unknown: Vakhund
26 pages, for 4-6 characters levels 1 to 2.
Vakhund, Into the Unkown is a short adventure that builds up to some epic events in the later I series from Troll Lords for Castles & Crusades.  It starts out simple enough really. The party has been hired as guards for a caravan. Soon the wealthy merchant is dead and his daughter kidnapped.
Vakhund is interesting since for an adventure that has it's DNA in a game known as "Dungeons & Dragons" there are neither dragons nor dungeons (for the most part) in this adventure.  Typically for low level adventures there is a dungeon to explore. In this one the PCs are thrown right to a plot and it is rather interesting to be honest.

I2 Under Dark & Mistry Ground: Dzeebagd
34 pages, for 4-8 characters levels 2 to 4.
Following up on the events of I1 Vakhund the party finds the missing girl but uncovers a larger plot involving many local factions.  The conceit of the adventure is the party will be drawn in, but as far things go this is not a bad one.
This one is a bit longer than the last adventure and a bit more involved with all the factions.  This adventure can stand alone, but it works best as part of the I trilogy.  Interaction with the NPCs is really what makes this adventure so the game master should read up on all of them and their motivations ahead of time.

I3 Dogs of War: Felsentheim
22 pages, for 4-8 characters levels 3 to 5.
Felsentheim is the epic conclusion to the I series of adventures.   As with the last adventure the GM should be knowledgeable on all the NPCs and factions in this adventure.  Again it can be played on it's own, but works best as the conclusion to the I series.  While the adventure is shorter there is quite a lot of combat in this one.

All together these three books are greater than their parts and make for an interesting set of adventures.

Interestingly enough the entire time I was reading these I kept thinking how well they would work with Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea.  Not that there is anything here that screams AS&SH to me, but just a feeling that it would work well.  I'll have to try it someday.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Reviews: Back into the Blue

Today I want to look at two products for the Alpha Blue line by Kort'thalis Publishing and +Venger Satanis; Girls Gone Rogue and Universal Exploits.

Full Disclosure: I received both of these PDFs in trade for a fair review.
Fuller Disclosure: I had already bought Girls Gone Rogue and had it in my review queue anyway.

Full Frontal Disclaimer: These products sit behind an Adult verification wall on OneBookShelf. By clicking, you are giving tacit, if not implicit, consent to see such things.  Don't whine if you see something you don't like.  These are not for the easily offended. 

Ok. So Alpha Blue is Venger's infamous "brothel in Space" source book that also includes a brief system for play.  I reviewed Alpha Blue a while back and I really enjoyed it.  I opted at the time to use this book along with some other Old-School inspired Sci-Fi books including White Star. Keep in mind that Alpha Blue nor these books are overtly compatible with any of those other games, but Venger's system is simple enough and these books are written in such a way that they are easily adapted for use.

Girls Gone Rogue 
Girls Gone Rogue (GGR hereafter) is an 80-page supplement for Alpha Blue.  The book expands on the options and tables found in Alpha Blue. There are additional character options and lots of tables but really sets this book apart, and makes it a must have for AB fans, are the adventures.
If you are a fan of Venger's style of mixing and matching various pop cultural references then these adventures are a real treat. In particular, the mixing of Galaxina and Ilsa She Devil of the S.S. is quite fun really.  Venger obviously grew up on a steady late night Cinemax. Actually, that explains a lot of GGR to be honest.
This one is a bit harder to judge in terms of a game book.  I will say that if you enjoy Alpha Blue, then this is a good buy and will be very useful.  If you don't like Alpha Blue then GGR will be more of the same really.  Though there are a some that would enjoy the adventure seeds for use with other games.

Universal Exploits
Universal Exploits is a 110 page book for Alpha Blue. UE tackles the universe beyond the space station Alpha Blue.  Like Girls Gone Rogue it is an expansion, but it also setting material.  The universe is a big and dangerous place.  Well, dangerous in the same universe that has a space brothel/space station orgy happening.  Or maybe that is just a result of some the horrors going on around them.  There are also some short adventures/scenarios you can use. Again, these are presented system-neutral/system-lite so they can be used for just about anything.
In truth this reads a bit like a collection of Traveller articles, that is if Traveller went really gonzo.  Or, chances are, like many used to run Traveller anyway.
The real treat comes in the form of the special Alpha Blue Character sheets.  Honestly every game should have great looking Character sheets and these are among my favorites.

So. Who should buy these books?
Well it's pretty simple. If you have Alpha Blue or like playing it then these are "must buys".
If you play some other Sci-Fi game and want to add a little "Sleaze" to your "Scum and Villainy" then these are must buys only behind Alpha Blue itself.
If you like lots of pop-culture references, especially ones that are more R or even NC rated, then this is also for you.  But if that is the case you already know this.

Who should avoid this?
Well normally when reviewing a product I stay away from these sorts of discussions.  But in this case, I will say those who are easily offended should not bother.
More to the point with me though is don't go into these books expecting to find a lot of material you can use for other, non-sci-fi, games.  Can I use it with say a Modern game? Sure, but there are a lot of conversions I'd have to do.  Not game mechanics, but style.

Both books are a lot of fun and I am certain I can still find a lot to use here even in my PG and PG-13 rated games.

I do want to mention the cover art.  Both are fantastic and really, really shows what you can do when you put your heart and soul into your games.



Now. If you are like me reading through all of this and referencing back to Alpha Blue and some of Venger's other products you might be wondering "when is Venger going to focus his eldritch eye on 'Heavy Metal'?".

Well while reviewing this Venger sent me a link to his newest Kickstarter.

Trinity of Awesome!


https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1575519826/trinity-of-awesome

Looks like a lot of fun.  If it goes the way that Universal Exploits did it will grow into 5-6 adventures.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Monstrous Mondays: 5E Monster Books

I LOVE Monster books. Always have.  One of the first, if not THE first, book I ever saw for an RPG was the AD&D Monster Manual.  My love for these books has never waned.

So of course, I am going to grab the new Monster books for 5e!


I am rather pleased with both of these, but Tome of Beasts from Kobold Press edges out in terms of things I want to use.  There are just a lot of really great monsters in this book.
Including some I will use in my current Come Endless Darkness game and some for the War of the Witch Queens.

They have their own version of Camazotz which I am dying to use.


I have not compared these stats to the ones I worked up a while back,  But I think I will use these new ones since the players did not kill Camazotz the first time.

There is also a new Witch Queen featured in the book.


She is based, somewhat, and named after the Scottish witch Nicnevin.   I will have to do a conversion of her sometime soon.  Having someone that is the "Daughter of Scáthach" is just too cool to ignore really.

I am not ready for a review of these just yet. But stay tuned.

Don't forget to include the hashtag #MonsterMonday on Twitter or #MonsterMonday on Google+ when you post your own monsters!

Special thanks go out to +Justin Isaac for letting me know about this book and that it featured Camazotz.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Book Sizes

Kind of a late post today.

I was Lulu looking to fill some of the gaps in my OSR/Old-School collection and noticed  a pretty even split between the 6"x9" (or OD&D) and 8.5"x11" (Basic & Advanced) form factors.

In general which size of books do you all prefer?


Thursday, September 8, 2016

Endless Darkness: The Road So Far

This song seems appropriate here...
I have been talking online with a lot of people who are doing the same thing I am; running the Classic Modules from 1st Edition using the new D&D 5 rules.  So I thought I would post a summary and talk about where I am going next.

The Background
The characters all belong to a group known as the Order of the Platinum Dragon.  They are mostly made up of the children of the DragonSlayers (my 3.x game).  They began their adventure like so many others....or so they thought.

Here are the adventures in chronological order (links take you to the blog post where I talk about their game).

T1 Village of Hommlet (forgotten by the characters, played as a flashback)
B1 Into the Unknown
B2 Keep on the Borderlands
L1 The Secret of Bone Hill
X2 Castle Amber
I6 Ravenloft
C2 Ghost Tower of Inverness
A1-5 Slave Lords
C1 The Hidden Shrine of Tamoachan
G123, G4 Against the Giants  (where we are now)

Then we do:
D12, 3 Descent into the Depths of the Earth, Vault of the Drow
Q1 Queen of the Demonweb Pits
(Q2) Queen of Lies
CM2 Death's Ride
H4 Throne of Bloodstone

The adventure began in The Inn of the Welcome Wench (T1). Here they discover the main plot of the "Cult of Chaos", but a battle with Lareth the Beautiful and Bargel left their memories wiped and two of their party missing (the Warlock Croulie and the Pyromancer Cynder).  The remaining party delved into the Castle Quasqueton (B1) and it's dungeons where they discover one of the Chaos Stones.  This leads to a vision/memory of a long ago battle.  They travel to the nearby Keep (B2) where they take on some hirelings, Uno, Duo, Tres, Quatro and their leader Cinco ("played" by Danny Treo) to investigate the Caves of Chaos.  Here they discover a temple dedicated to ancient demon god and more on the Cult of Chaos.

They then traveled to the monastery on Bone Hill (L1) and a group of missing wizards. Again there is a rumor of the Cult of Chaos, but also the involvement of several "Hyena Men".
Following the trail of the Hyena Men, the party is sucked up in a mysterious fog, here they find themselves in a strange land (actually the past) and a strange Castle (X2). More knowledge is gained about the Dawn War and for the first time they hear the phrase "Beware the Endless Darkness".  Here they meet up with the "wizard" (actually a warlock) Skylla.  They travel the mists for a while till they come upon the Villiage of Barovia and the terrifying Castle Ravenloft (I6).   They stop Strahd and his plans to blot out the sun, but not before Skylla is taken away by an army of ghosts.

They meet up with another party and tackle the famed Ghost Tower of Inverness (C2).  They recover the Soul Gem and hear the phrase "Beware the Endless Darkness" again.

Leaving the Ghost Tower they hear rumors once again of the Hyena-Men (Gnolls and Gnoles) and a slaving operation. They have long suspected, but now get confirmation that Gnolls are servants of a Demon Lord (keep in mind my players don't have the wealth of history of D&D we all do). They also find out that the slaves are all being transported elsewhere by human agents.  They discover the Cult of Chaos is also behind this operation and the Drow, long forgotten, are also involved.  
The Order manages to destroy the slaver operation and even convince an Earth Dragon and Red Dragon to reawaken the dormant volcano to destroy the island.  Before leaving the island with rescued slaves the Earth Dragon (an actual dragon) tells them to "beware the coming darkness".

Returning the slaves to the Duchy of Urnst they see the Sun go completely black.

Or maybe this is a better choice
The sun is out and there is a council of the greatest mages (ie their characters from the 3.x game) in Greyhawk.  The plan is worked out to relight Moradin's Forge.  It's light and life giving heat will keep everyone alive till the sun can be put right.  In the meantime the world is besieged by monsters and undead.   The Council of Greyhawk scrys for any remaining sun-related magic items.  Even the Sunsword from Ravenloft is out. The party is sent to a jungle (C1) because an artifact is found there that is related to the sun.    The "artifact" is the dying Mystarian Sun God (Immortal) Ixion, whom the characters knew better as "Cinco".  He and his four brothers were all gods of the sun, they were killed by vampire god Camazotz.   Cinco/Ixion gives the character his heart, Camazotz was not able to get it in time, to use to relight Moradin's Forge.

With the world now on life-support, the Council sends groups of adventures all over the world to find out what is going on.  The Order of the Platinum Dragon is sent to investigate raids made by some giants...

They know they are fighting against the clock.  Moradin's Forge is a powerful artifact that the gods used to create life, but once it is lit any one can use it. Undead are swarming all over. New monsters and monstrosities are everywhere and the Priests of the Sun gods are powerless.

Chaos, it seems, is winning.

What happens next is now up to my players and their characters.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

In Search of... the Holmes Witch

Very recently this image popped up again. This time on Tumblr.



Which started a conversation on the existence, or lack thereof, of the Holmes Witch.
The witch, as speculated then, would have been a sub-class of the Magic-User.
But where did this come from?

Well research into the original Holmes manuscript over at Zenopus Archives, gives some backing to long-held idea that the witch was something added later on in editing.


Gygax himself weighs in on this here, again thanks to Zenopus Archives.
"That mention slipped by me, and all I can assume was that either Eric was planning to force such a class upon me, or else someone editing the work thought it a good joke to play. I never had a PC class of that sort in mind for the game." (Enworld forum post archived at greyhawkonline)

In truth there never really was a "Holmes Witch".  There are "Holmesian-like Witches" to be sure (I classify my own witch class as more "Moldvay"), but nothing he ever wrote himself.

Other discussions
- Recent Google+ discussion that prompted this post
- An older OD&D Boards Discussion
Um, I was promised Witches?
- Holmes Rules: The Witch

Semi-Related
- Tom Moldvay on Witches

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Review: The Wicked Cauldron

Troll Lords has been putting out some quality products since the 3.x/d20 boom days.  This includes not only their own "house" system, Castles and Crusades but also some 3.x material back in the day.
Well now they are dipping their toes into 5th edition and I could not more pleased.

This past Gen Con I picked up their 5th edition version of their adventure A3 The Wicked Cauldron. I already had the C&C version and I wanted to see how they compared.  Especially since D&D 5 really has a lot of ideas that C&C started with.


The Castles & Crusades version is 24 pages and designed for 3-5 characters of 3rd to 4th level.
The Dungeons & Dragons 5e version is 40 pages (larger font) and for 3-5 characters of 3rd to 5th level.

I am reviewing the print and pdf versions.

The premise is a fairly simple one.  There is a ruined ziggurat in the Barren Woods that is the home to many foul things. It also has a long and evil history and currently is home to one of the fabled Witch Queens.  The PCs must investigate and stop her.

The adventure itself is particularly original, but that doesn't make it less fun.  There is a good balance of overland and dungeon exploring, plenty of new monsters to fight, a threat of an ancient evil.  Given that this module is coded "A3" should give you an indication it is part of a larger series, and it is.  It can be played as part of Troll Lords "A" series that began with "Assault on Blacktooth Ridge" and "Slag Heap" and continues in other Airhde products and adventures.  But it can also be played as a stand-alone adventure.
The adventure is very reminiscent of the old Basic adventures of the early 80s, especially B2 and B4.  In fact, it is almost a perfect mix of these two classic adventures.  So in the nostalgia department, it gets a perfect score from me.

My biggest issue with the PDFs and the Print versions are the maps are fairly small.  I can redo them on my own and larger, but having something I can print out or read easier would be nice.

The 5th edition conversion is good and really, C&C is so close to D&D5 as to almost make the conversion unnecessary, but still I did enjoy looking through both to find the subtle differences.  The most interesting changes were to the Witch Queen herself.

The Witch Queen, Neb–Eprethat, is the central figure in this adventure and stopping her is the main goal.  In the C&C version, she is a Lawful Evil 5th level human cleric/wizard.  In the D&D 5 version, she is a Chaotic Evil 6th level human cleric.   In both cases, she could be better served as a witch.

There is no D&D5 witch class (yet) and I am not ready to publically reveal my C&C witch class.  But I can give her a try in my Basic-era Witch.  Though given that she supposedly worships and honors the "Horned One" she could be a D&D5 Warlock too.  In fact a warlock (as per D&D5) makes a lot of sense.


Neb–Eprethat - Witch Queen 
Chaotic Human Witch (Malefic Tradition), 6th level
The Witch stats

Strength: 11 Death Ray, Poison 11
Dexterity: 14 Magic Wands 12
Constitution: 12 Paralysis, Polymorph or Turn to Stone 11
Intelligence: 16 Dragon Breath 14
Wisdom: 14 Rods, Staffs, Spells 13
Charisma: 18

Hit Points: 20
Alignment: Chaotic
AC: 1
Dagger +4, Multiattack (allows 2 attacks per round)
To hit AC0: 18

Occult Powers
Familiar: Toad (multiple familiars)

Spells
Cantrips (7): Alarm Ward, Daze, Detect Curse, Object Reading, Open, Spark, Warm
First (3+2): Bewitch I, Cause Fear, Command, Minor Fighting Prowess, Sleep
Second (2+2): Biting Blade, Enthrall, Evil Eye, Hold Person,
Third (2+2): Bestow Curse, Continual Fire, Fly, Ghost Ward


She joins the ranks of the other Witch Queens that I have been gathering.

Can't wait to run this under my War of the Witch Queens campaign.

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