Wednesday, October 31, 2018

The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina: Swords & Wizardry

It has been a GREAT time on TV for witches!  We have Charmed, another Vampire Diaries spin-off, Constantine has joined the Legends of Tomorrow and we got a Salem episode Monday night.

The big star of this Halloween season is The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina


Anyone expecting the old ABC Sabrina the Teenage Witch is going to be in for a surprise. This is an honest-to-Satan hit and sometimes creepy as hell.  The cast is amazing with stand out performances by Kiernan Brenna Shipka as Sabrina Spellman, Lucy Davis ("Etta Candy" from WW) as Hilda Spellman, Miranda Otto (Éowyn) as Zelda Spellman and the true, true treat Michelle Gomez as Mary Wardwell / Madam Satan.  We also get Richard Coyle as Father Faustus Blackwood who is better known (by me anyway) as Jeff from Coupling and the originator of the Giggle Loop.

You can read more about the show over at Tim Knight's fantastic blog, Hero Press.

Going into this show with the Melissa Joan Hart series and the classic comic in mind I thought she would make a perfect Swords & Wizardry White Witch.  But...well I won't spoil the show for you, but Sabrina as a White Witch...well it doesn't really fit. 

This is, however, a great chance for me to bring up a topic.  How can I use a Basic Witch with a Swords & Wizardry Witch?

Say my player, let's call her Kiernan (she's a cousin on her mother's side)  REALLY wants to play a  Diabolic Witch from my Witch book, but I am running a Swords & Wizardry White Box game.

The answer is simple, use all the rules and tables from the White Box and the Witch for Swords & Wizardry White Box, but grab the Diabolic tradition from the Basic book.  I have made all the of Experience tables the same and the witches all get Occult Powers at the same levels.  I will also grab some spells from both books to flesh her out more.  Now Kiernan is happy playing the character she wants and I am running the same I want.

Halloween is Sabrina's 16th birthday.  She has not had formal witch training but has had extensive training by her aunts at home.  We see cast glamour, remove curse (or dispel magic) and maybe Vanquish.  But I am going to say she is still pretty low level.  1 or 2 tops.

Sabrina Spellman

2nd level Human Female Witch,
Malefic Witch Tradition (using White Witch rules)

Strength: 10
Dexterity: 15 (+1)
Constitution: 13
Intelligence: 12
Wisdom: 12
Charisma: 17 (+2)

HP: 8
Alignment: Neutral (Good Tendencies)
AC: 9 [10]
Saves Base: 14

Occult Powers
Familiar: Salem (Cat)

Spells 
Cantrips: (5) Arcane Mark, Black Flame, Call Bats, Toads, or Spiders, Ghost Sounds, Summon a Witch (Ritual)
First: (2) Glamour (from Basic Witch), Mind Obscure (as a Ritual)

So mixing these works well.  I had to fudge a bit to get the Mind Obscure spell.  But I figure that was a ritual she learned from her aunts to protect herself.

Happy Halloween!
You can also check out Justin Isaac's version of Sabrina for Dark Places and Demogorgons on his site, https://punverse.blogspot.com/2018/10/chilling-adventures-of-sabrina.html
And my Unisystem version for modern times and an older Sabrina at Sabrina, the Middle-Aged Witch.
Thanks again to Tim Knight at Hero Press for sharing the word.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

A Wicked Time. Glinda the Good Witch for Swords & Wizardry White Box

Today, October 30, 2018, marks the 15th Anniversary of the premiere of Wicked on Broadway.
It has gone on to be not just the longest-running Broadway musical, but also the most profitable.

But I am not going to talk about Wicked.  Instead, I want to focus on the stars, the Witches of Wicked. In particular Glinda the Good Witch.

Glinda is considered to be the most powerful witch in Oz, though we see more magic from the Wicked Witch of the West.
Here she is for Swords & Wizardry White Box for the White Witch Tradition.

Glinda, The Good Witch 
aka Glinda Arduenna Upland
10th level Human Female Witch,
White Witch Tradition

Strength: 11
Dexterity: 15
Constitution: 12
Intelligence: 17
Wisdom: 15
Charisma: 18

HP: 36
Alignment: Lawful
AC: 9 [10]
Saves Base: 6

Occult Powers
Familiar: Invisible Stalker (Spirit of the Air)
4th level: Herbal Healing
7th level: Create Magic Items
10th level: Coven* (I will argue that all the Cardinal witches are part of the same coven)

Spells 
Cantrips: (6) Alarm Ward, Animate Tool, Arcane Mark, Dancing Lights, Object Reading, Warm
First: (4) Animal Friend, Bright Blessings, Detect Danger, Speak with Animals
Second: (3) Augury, Barrier, Calm Emotions
Third: (3) Animal Summoning I (Ritual), Calm Animals, Fly
Fourth: (2) Cleanse, Plant Growth
Fifth: (2) Enchant Item (Ritual), Find the Path

Equipment
Wand

In other games, Glinda very well could be a dual-classed Witch/Magic-User since she was described as studying Wizardry as well as being a Witch.

--

Don't forget the Witch for Swords & Wizardry White Box is now out! Featuring the White Witch Tradition.  It is 100% compatible with my other Swords & Wizardry witch books.  Each one with a new tradition, occult powers, magic items, spells, and rituals.  Many even include new monsters.

Monday, October 29, 2018

Charmed Season 1, Episode 3 "Sweet Tooth" (and Battle of the Network Witches)

It's a Charmed Halloween and we get a few more bits of Charmed lore.  First Maggie needs to win big with her sorority so she throws a party in the Vera Manor (which looks really big on the inside) and uses a Glamour spell to make the Halloween decorations extra special.  We learn from Harry that such uses of magic have consequences.   In the original series, the Charmed Ones could not use magic for personal gain as well, but the consequences were usually more immediate and pronounced.  in the new series Maggie has her magic spaz out on her.

Mel really wants to tell her girlfriend she is a witch.  We learn that Mel was always accepted as gay by her mother so she was never "in the closet" now having to hide that she is a witch is killing her.  She has also mastered some sort of spell akin to Eldritch Blast or Fireball that is dangerous to everyone around her when she casts.

Macy has to reveal a secret of her own. The demon of the week, the Harbinger, feeds on virgin blood.  So far she has eaten a Nun, a girl in charge of the "Purity Patrol", and a right-wing podcasting incel (ok, so two human and a community service kill).   While trying to cast a protection circle around the house they discover the demon is inside.  So to lure it out they need virgin blood.  Macy steps up as a potential source (we have seen Maggie and Mel already have sex). Macy claims she never got around to it.

The Elders still seem to be about as useless as always, but we learn that Harry had another witch he was protecting but she told someone she was a witch and ended up in a mental asylum.  He feels it is an honor to be able to serve the Charmed Ones.

The title comes from the notion that this demon can't digest sugar.  More of Macy's "there is science in this magic stuff."

I love how both Maggie and Macy commented on their mother's collection of hebs and candles and say how could the girls not known she was a witch?

--
Over on Netflix (though it has a solid CW feel thanks to having  Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and Greg Berlanti as producers) we are getting The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina which is soooo good.  I am not going to get into it that much right now (have a post for later in the week) but I do want to comment on the Charmed connection.


In Episode 6 Sabrina wants to hold an exorcism of another's character's uncle (yes I am trying to avoid spoilers).  The episode is very, very reminiscent of The Exorcist, what was completely intentional.  We learn through that witches (at least these witches) can't and are not allowed to perform exorcisms.   Indeed even going through my own database of spells I don't have exorcism on the list.  As it turns out Sabrina's father had worked one out that does not rely on the power of the Catholic Church or the Christian God.
And it sounds really, really, really similar in tone to the Vanquishing ritual the Charmed Ones used to destroy the Source of All Evil and later Cole.






In every instance (I could not find a video for Sabrina) the witches gather and call upon the power of other witches to aid to defeat an evil.  In Charmed it is the witches of their family starting with Pru, their mother, grams and working backward.  In Sabrina, they invoke the names of Lilith, Aradia, Diana, Marie Laveau among many others.  I'll go back and rewatch it for all the names, it's like a witch's who's who.



How would this work in your games?
The spell has similar features to the Clerical/Divine Exoricsm and the Arcane Banish.

Banishment
Level: Cleric 6
Range: Creatures within visual range
Duration: Instantaneous
A banishment spell is a more powerful version of the dismissal spell. It enables the cleric to force extraplanar creatures out of their home plane. As many as 2 Hit Dice of creatures per caster level can be banished. The cleric can improve the spell's chance of success by presenting at least one object or substance that the target hates, fears, or otherwise opposes. For each such object or substance, the cleric gains a +2 bonus vs the creature’s saving throws. Note: a holy symbol is always assumed and does not add to the saving throw adjustment. For example, if the creature’s save is 13 and the cleric presents the appropriate symbols, say such a bell or candle then the creature’s save is now 15. Spell resistance (if applicable) is reduced by 5% per item.
Certain rare items might work twice as well as a normal item for the purpose of the bonuses each providing a +10% bonus against Spell Resistance and increasing the save by 3 or 4 depending on the Game Master.  Such rare items could be the relic of a Saint that opposed these creatures, an ancient weapon forged to destroy them or even a special time of day.
Any creature failing to save is sent back to the realms from which they came.
Material Components: At minimum a holy symbol and prayer book. Other items can be added.

Vanquish
Level: Witch Ritual 8
Range: One Creature within visual range
Duration: Instantaneous
This ritual doesn’t just banish an extra-planar creature, it destroys it. However, to use this spell requires three or more witches to cast and even more witches to power.   Three or more witches will cast the spell focusing all their attention on the creature to be vanquished. The gathered witches now must call upon their ancestors, past witches of their coven or the names of powerful patrons to lend support to vanquishing of this creature.
Each witch beyond three adds a +2 bonus to the spell vs. a Saving throw (and +5% against any roll to overcome magic resistance, if used).
Certain rare items might work twice as well as a normal item for the purpose of the bonuses each providing a +10% bonus against Spell Resistance and increasing the save by 3 or 4 depending on the Game Master.  Such rare items could be the relic of a witch that opposed these creatures, an ancient weapon forged to destroy them or even a special time of day or place.
If the creature fails the save they are dead and no resurrection can bring them back.
Any creature failing to save is sent back to the realms from which they came.
Material Components: At the minimum the witch’s ritual tool and the names of the witches they are calling upon for power. Other items can be added.

Tonight we also get NBC's "A Very Wicked Halloween" for more Witchy Goodness.



--

Don't forget the Witch for Swords & Wizardry White Box is now out! Featuring the White Witch Tradition.  It is 100% compatible with my other Swords & Wizardry witch books.  Each one with a new tradition, occult powers, magic items, spells, and rituals.  Many even include new monsters.

Friday, October 26, 2018

Kickstart Your Weekend: Venger Satanis Style!

Venger has got another Alpha Blue Kickstarter in the works and it claims to be the last.

The Last Alpha Blue Supplement


https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1575519826/the-last-alpha-blue-supplement

This kickstarter includes not one, but two books: Kobayashi Maroon & Sexual Predators.

Sexual Predators is the new title.  Kobayashi Maroon is already out.
I will admit I enjoy Alpha Blue.  It is that nice mix of 70s and 80s sci-fi sleaze that was a steady diet of my youth.  It's not for everyone, but I love it.

So this Kickstarter is wrapping up, but Venger has been excellent with all his Kickstarters so far and this should be no different.

Kobayashi Maroon
How am I supposed to say no to an Alpha Blue product that invokes the memory of one of my favorite things in one of my favorite movies ever?
That answer is "No. I am not going to ignore it."

Now sometimes I like to read books to review on my lunch break at work.  Yeah. That wasn't going to happen with this one.  Look, there is nothing X-Rated in this book.  Maybe R, maybe a racy PG-13.  Nothing more.  But it is certainly Not Safe For Work, so keep that in mind.

This is a collection of three short adventures.
Episode one is a riff on the Kobayashi Maru, you need to rescue The Vanessa before Yog-Soggoth comes..er, wait that sounds bad. Before Yog-Soggoth arrives.  I dig this one since I have been all about mixing Trek and Cthulhu.  I am not sure I can play this one straight though.  Still, I love the idea and it really made me laugh.

Episode two is an Amok Time riff and I must say kudos to author Zoltar Khan Delgado (no shit, that's his name. I really, really want it to be his real name too.) for coming up with Pr0n Fa'ar.  I am disapointed in myself for not coming up with it myself.  But then again I was not blessed with a name like Zoltar.  With a name like that there are certain expectations.

The third and last epsiode features a wine mixing event in which the PCs are security.  It's a pretty clever set up and could be run complete straight to be honest.  The NPCs are all rich, powerful, extremely good looking or all the above. This where the power of the three galaxies come to play.  Of course there is going to be trouble!
We end with an Appendix of random tables that will only ever find use in an Alpha Blue game.

My only gripe about this book is where was it when I REALLY needed it? You know back in 1985.

But in all seriousness, this is just good old pervy fun.  I won't run it for my kids, but I will mine it for ideas. Plus my kids are old enough now that if they find it and want to run it for their groups that is fine.  Serious. Why is being a "murder hobo" ok but a pervert is not?  Give me a pervert any day.

Anyway check this out.

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Happy Birthday Larina!

Sort of.  I actually rolled the character up in July of 86 but I put her birthday down as October 25. It was one of those character quirks I gave her. She was born on the 25th but told everyone that her birthday was the 31st.  Yeah, a weird thing. We used real-world dates since we could never really liked the World of Greyhawk ones.

So for 32 years, she has been one of my favorite characters and my iconic witch for my books. She is also one of my favorite characters to get art of.   The most recent one comes from artist Hassly.

I discovered Hassly from his Patreon site with his Alice Kyteler, the "First" Irish Witch post.
My post was here and his is here.  I loved it.  She looked like, to me, that she could have been one of Larina's ancestors. I had to get a commission from him for my witch.

He posted his version of my witch today.
https://www.patreon.com/posts/larina-22225140


I love it. I wanted something that showed off her back tattoo and I am not disappointed.

So check out his Patreon, he has a bunch of other great pin-up style art.

I absolutely love getting art of my characters and love how every artist gives me something new. I have something REALLY special coming up next month.  Can't wait to share it with you all.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Which Witch is Which? Swords & Wizardry Edition

This month see the release of my version of the Witch for the Swords & Wizardry White Box.  If things go as planned I'll have the Winter Witch out this Yule and some others after that.

It has gotten some people asking if the books are all compatible (they are) and what features each book has to make it "Special".  I hope this help clears some of that up.

For starters, yes, there is some overlap.  The table of experience points and spells per level are all 100% the same.   There some spells in common.  For example, the 3rd level spell Bestow Curse appears in multiple books since a curse is so central to the archetype of the witch.  There is also a lot new material in each one.


The Witch for Swords & Wizardry White Box
  • The Witch class, levels 1-10
  • The White Witch Tradition
  • 76 unique spell (out of 183 total spells)
  • Monsters, treasures, and magic items

The Witch: Hedgewitch for the Hero's Journey RPG
  • New Race: The Gnome
  • New Professions
  • The Witch class, levels 1-10 
  • Hedge Witch Tradition
  • 80 spells new to The Hero's Journey
  • 15 new monsters
The Green Witch for Swords & Wizardry
  • The Green Witch tradition 
  • The Green Knight and Huntsman classes
  • New race for S&W Complete: Forest Gnomes
  • 200+ witch spells
    • 91 Druid Spells
    • 61 Magic-User spells
    • 43 Cleric spells
  • Places of Power for Witches and other Spellcasters 
  • Monsters
  • Magic Items
  • The Grand Coven of the Earth Mother for Witches and Druids
The Warlock for Swords & Wizardry

  • The Warlock class and Traditions
  • New race: The Tieflings
  • Rules for goblin, hobgoblin and bugbear warlocks
  • 160+ spells
  • 50+ Warlock invocations
  • New monsters including the Baalseraph, Calabim, Lilim and Shedim demon groups.
  • Animal Lords and Faerie Lords
  • New magic items

The Witch: Aiséiligh Tradition for Swords & Wizardry

  • The Aiséiligh witch Tradition
  • The Daughters of the Flame Coven
  • 70+, new to Swords & Wizardry spells including never before published spells.

The Witch for Swords & Wizardry Continual Light

  • The Witch for S&WCL
  • Three new Traditions, The Light, The Dark, and Twilight Witches
  • New Spells
  • Seven New Monsters

The Witch for Swords & Wizardry Light

  • The Witch for S&WL

Additionally, I have my other two OSR Witch books.

The Witch: A sourcebook for Basic Edition fantasy games
This book is designed with the "Basic" rules in mind.  So Holmes, Moldvay, or Mentzer or them modern clones like Basic Fantasy or Labyrinth Lord.  Largely compatible with my Swords & Wizardry line.  In includes:

  • The Witch Class
  • Six Traditions (Aquarian, Classical, Faerie, Family, Maleficia and Eclectic)
  • 381 New Spells
  • Monsters
  • Magic items

Eldritch Witchery for Spellcraft & Swordplay
Again this book is largely compatible with the S&W line, though in different ways than the Basic Witch is.  It includes.

  • The Witch and Warlock classes (slightly different than the ones above)
  • New Witch traditions, Craft of the Wise, Tradition of the Magna Mater,  Demonic, Faerie and Gypsy.
  • New Warlock Lodges, The Dark School of the Scholomance, Fraternity of the Bones, Goetic, The Hermetic Lodge and The Secret Masters of the Invisible College.
  • New Demons, the Calabim, the Shedim, the Lilim, and the Baalseraph.
  • 248 spells


So 17 Witch traditions and 761 total spells!



Currently in the works:

The Winter Witch. the Winter Witch tradition, the Pact of Winter for the Warlock. New monsters and magic items. Lots of new spells.  New races

The Black Witch.  A B/X dedicated witch, levels 1 to 13.  The Black Witch Tradition (no, it's not what you think it is), lots of new spells, new magic items and maybe some monsters. Hags as a playable race.

and finally The Complete Witch a book that combines all these books into one.  Maybe...have not decided yet.


Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Mary Poppins: The White Witch (Swords & Wizardry)

It is no shock or surprise, but the White Witch has it's roots in Disney as much as it does in D&D.

There is no one character I can point to and say "that is it, that's her!" but a lot that I can take aspects of.  It all gets jumbled up a bit to be honest as the same character can also inspire different interpretations. 

No one is a better example of that than Mary Poppins.
In grade school, I forget what grade, I remember my teacher taking us all out of the classroom and we went out to this atrium area that was large and domed outside of the library and she read Mary Poppins to us.  I remember being very interested in it once she mentioned Mary knew a girl from the Pleiades. 

I have talked about Mary before.  I have even given stats for her as a witch and as a Time Lord.
My good friend and blogger Tim Knight over at Hero Press has a trailer up for the new Mary Poppins Returns and of course, he says she is a Time Lord.  I will admit I am very fond of that idea myself.

The new movie is coming out and I adore Emily Blunt. I can't think of a single thing I have seen her in that I didn't like and think she was the reason it was as good as it was.

So in the case of going back to my roots, here is Mary, as a White Witch.

Mary Poppins
10th Level White Witch Tradition
From Witch for Swords & Wizardry White Box

Strength: 10
Dexterity: 15
Constitution: 14
Intelligence: 16
Wisdom: 17
Charisma: 18

HP: 42
Alignment: Lawful
AC: 7 [12] (coat equal to leather)
Saves Base: 6

Occult Powers
Familiar: Jackdaw (Raven)
4th level: Herbal Healing (with a little drop of sugar)
7th level: Create Magic Items
10th level: Coven* (Mary gets the benefits of a coven when she is with a family)

Spells 
Cantrips: (6) Alarm Ward, Animate Tool, Dancing Lights, Ghost Sound, Object Reading, Warm
First: (4) Analgesia, Animal Friend, Detect Danger, Speak with Animals
Second: (3) Augury, Healing Broth, Raven Spy
Third: (3) Animal Summoning I (Ritual), Calm Animals, Fly
Fourth: (2) Cleanse, Joyous Tidings
Fifth: (2) Animal Summoning III (Ritual), Enchant Item (Ritual)

Equipment
Bag of Holding, Umbrella (serves as staff and witch's broom), Bowtie, Jaunty hat (witch's hat), tea-set.

Using Mary in Your Games
Mary, of course, works best when there are children about. If your game has younger children as the Player Characters then Mary practically, as she often does, invites herself in.
For me, I am planning on using her in various "flashback" episodes with the current characters.

Monday, October 22, 2018

Charmed Season 1, Episode 2 "Let This Mother Out"

Last night's Charmed episode felt like a "proper" Charmed episode in tone, but not one we would have ever seen on the Original Series. 


The girls, still grieving for their lost mother are also dealing with new sister issues.  While in the original series it took Piper a while to really accept Paige as her sister, since her and Prue were so close, here we see Mel as the one more reluctant to "replace" her mother with Macy.  Maggie, the empath, is the one that acts as the bridge much the same way Phoebe did.

Of course Original Charmed would not have used Grams or Patty in the same way they used Marisol here.  And in the case of Prue they really couldn't have done it nor I think would they have tried.  In this way, the New Charmed ups their horror game a little.  These are demons and they will play dirty; no one is off limits.

We also get some very-Charmed like shenanigans of the truth potion getting mixed up and Maggie hearing every thought whether she wants too or not.

Also, the plot here of not trusting the Whitelighter is something you not have seen in Charmed before.  Leo was immediately trustable. Plus I don't see Harry falling in love with any of the Charmed ones anytime soon.

I would call this one a step up from last week, though last week was still a good showing.  Last week's was Macy's spotlight (though all the girls shined) and this week was Maggie. 

Next week look downright scary!

RPG Applications
I figure if I am going to do Charmed reviews each week I might find something in every episode to use in my games. Here are a few things I was working on.

Veritas (Truth Spell)
Level: Witch 1
Range: Touch*
Duration: 1 hour per level
By means of this spell anyone touched by the witch will be forced to speak nothing but the truth for the duration of the spell.
Material Components: The south facing bark of a willow tree, the pin feathers of a migratory bird, and the moss from the north side of a stone.

Spirit Boards
These boards, sometimes known as spirit boards, witch borads, or even Yes/No or Yes/Yes boards, are used to contact the spirits of those departed. Using one a witch or other spellcaster gains a 5% or +1 to any roll that may be required or -1 or -5% on any roll used to oppose the contact.
There is always a chance that a trickster demon known as an Imposter will answer the call instead.

Trickster Demon, Imposter
Hit Dice: 3
Armor Class: 8 [11]
Attacks: 2 claw (2x1d4)
Saving Throw: 15
Special: unique kill, +1 better to hit.
Move: 12
Alignment: Chaos
Number Encountered: 1
Challenge Level/XP: 5/240
Trickster demons are notoriously chaotic and never appear the same way twice.  Imposters though are Tricksters that appear as a recently passed loved one.  Despite how they may look they are not undead. These demons usually find ways into our world via spirit boards.  (Trickster Demons that attach themselves to spirits coming through are known as Travellers.)
These demons are immune to all non-magical weapons.  The only way to permanently destroy these demons is to reduce them to 0 hp and then show them their own reflection.

--

Don't forget the Witch for Swords & Wizardry White Box is now out! Featuring the White Witch Tradition.  It is 100% compatible with my other Swords & Wizardry witch books.  Each one with a new tradition, occult powers, magic items, spells, and rituals.  Many even include new monsters.

Basic Instincts, Part 2

Last week I posted a Lulu version of a possible POD for the D&D Basic book; B/X flavor.
I think it went a long way in showing that a Basic book POD is a viable solution.

To further that end, here is a book from roughly the same time period and with a similar scan. 
The Gamma World boxed set is more of a contemporary with the Holmes D&D boxed set but it is also currently in POD on RPGNow/Drivethru RPG and I got my book in the mail last week.



The cover is the same as the box art. As opposed to the cover of the book inside the box.






All of the box contents are reproduced in the book. Except for adventure and dice.


The text is rather clear and very easy to read.  In fact reading through this again today I found things in the rules that I either forgotten about or never knew!


It is in much better shape than my old GW book.

The PODs from WotC/DriveThru keep getting better and better.  So there is a reasonable expectation that a Basic set POD will look much better than my 15-minute effort.

Looking forward to seeing more PODs from Wizards/DriveThru and hopefully, Basic/Expert D&D will be part of that!

--

Don't forget the Witch for Swords & Wizardry White Box is now out! Featuring the White Witch Tradition.  It is 100% compatible with my other Swords & Wizardry witch books.  Each one with a new tradition, occult powers, magic items, spells, and rituals.  Many even include new monsters.


Friday, October 19, 2018

Kickstart Your Weekend: Heart & Souls 2nd Ed

So sorry this is late.

Today's Kickstarter is one I just found out about and it looks like it could be a lot of fun.

Hearts & Souls 2e



https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1041295240/hearts-and-souls-2nd-edition-tabletop-role-playing?ref=theotherside

I have the first edition of the game and it is fun.  It's a different system from other Supers games, but still one that I enjoy.

According to author Tim Kirk this game will be cleaned up and some example made more clear.  Also new art.

Please give this one a check! It should be a lot of fun.

If I get the chance maybe I'll stat up some characters using the 1st Ed version.

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. Man from 1692 comes back in the 1980s to take revenge on the descendant of the one that accused his wife and daughter. 

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


Wednesday, October 10, 2018

October Horror Movie Challenge: Forbidden World (1982)

Ah...not Forbidden Planet...but well you get the idea.
I was not going to do an 80's themed October Challenge without getting in a Roger Corman film.
Corman is up to his usual tricks here too, cheap sets, recycled footage, and beautiful women in various stages of undress.

The plot is one so old that even in 82 it felt old. Alien monster created by science gets loose in a lab and kills everyone.  But to Corman's credit, he still manages to make this old chestnut entertaining.
Our hero, Mike Colby, is a Federation Marshall sent to deal with the problem.  He manages to have sex with every woman on the base and still finds a way to allow everyone to get killed on the base.
Priorities I guess.

Still, if I ever get my Star Trek/White Star/Black Star game going again there will be a shape-shifting alien in the Jefferies Tubes killing people.

Forbidden World also features a Pre-V June Chadwick as Dr. Barbara Glaser, but she might be remembered best as David St. Hubbins' girlfriend Jeanine in "This is Spın̈al Tap".  Of course given that this a Corman flick the only way the two women on board can figure out how to communicate with the creature is during a scene where they shower together.

This movie has also been known as "Mutant".  The actual creature, as to be expected, looks nothing like the cover art.

Watched: 7
New: 3


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