Friday, November 30, 2018

Kickstart Your Weekend: Final Call!

I have a bunch of Kickstarters making their ways in the RPG/Geeky world and a lot of them are ending soon.  So here's your chance to get a last look in.

HYPERBOREA: Players' Manual, Referee's Screen, and more!


I love AS&SH. It's a great game.  But look at this beast:


That is a lot of book.  And not all of it is good for the players to have (or need).  This Kickstarter gets you a slimmer version of just information for the player.  You can also get a GM's screen and Players folder.

Never Going Home: World War Occult Role Playing



Described as "Eldritch Horror Role Playing in the Trenches of World War One" it looks like a great game.

I also have a couple from the comics world.

Legend of the Shaders - Harp Twins Comic!


Nordic harp-bard twins and their enigmatic cat discover that the Shader creatures of legend might not be myth after all.

Created by local girls Camille and Kennerly Kitt, aka the Harp Twins.  Normally known for their harp versions of Heavy Metal songs the girls are in their own comic adventure.  I have to admit, I am curious to see what this is all about.

And of course my most recent Featured Artist,

WILLOWBROOK #1



I think this one will be great too!

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Featured Artist: Emma Kubert

Something a little different today.  I have been talking with Emma Kubert about her Kickstarter for Willowbrook and in the process found some really fun and wonderful art!

So for today's Featured Artist, I will give you some art and an interview with Emma about her Kickstarter and art.



The Other Side: Tell everyone who you are and a bit about your art.
Emma Kubert: I am Emma Kubert, I recently graduated from the Kubert School! I have been drawing ever since I could hold a pencil, but I didn’t seriously get into comic art until I started at the Kubert School. From this educational experience, I found that I don’t just have a love for traditional superhero comics. I can create any kind of story I want with any kind of medium, which is really quite exciting!

TOS: Kubert School of Art.  That can't be a coincidence, right? ;)
EK: It is no coincidence! :) I am the daughter of Andy Kubert, niece of Adam Kubert and granddaughter of Joe Kubert.

TOS: So this gives you a bit of solid art history.  Is everyone in your family artistic?
EK: Not everyone in my family is artistic. I think what sets us Kubert’s apart from other families isn’t being artistic, but having a relentless determination, pursuing what we want to do with our lives and doing it well. Some of us just happened to fall in love with art and others are successful in other ways.

TOS: Now tell us about Willowbrook.  I love the idea and the art grabbed me right away.
EK: Willowbrook is about a small fictional town in upstate New York, where magical creatures run amuck, and the main character is now on a track to go and find them to protect the people of the town. It is a young adult fantasy comic, but fun for all ages!



TOS: Tell me more about Eliza Anderson.  What little I have read and seen of here she sounds like a great character.
EK: Eliza Anderson is a teenager who grew up away from regular social norms and studied magic. She is very positive, goofy, wacky, and incredibly curious about normal teen stuff, but doesn’t quite understand it, so this is where her ignorance for regular human interaction can be humorous!


TOS: And Willbrook, the town itself?  Looks like a fun place if you like weirdness (and I do!)
EK: Willowbrook has that backwoods, small town, you only stumble upon it if you are lost, kind of feel to it. The place is scattered with magical creatures that have escaped from an unfound portal that leads to other worlds. Eliza’s job is to rid this town of said creatures :)

TOS: What is the future for Willowbrook?
EK: Right now, we are about to end our Kickstarter for the first issue. My hope is to send it to publishers and hopefully make it into a long ongoing series, but for now, we focus on the first introduction issue, so people get a good feel for the project.

TOS: Finally, a question I always ask here at the Other Side.  Who is your favorite witch/wizard and why?
EK: Oh wow that is a tough question! There are so many to choose from! I obviously love Willow from Buffy the Vampire Slayer (if you couldn’t tell) but I am a huge fan of Melissa Joan Hart’s Sabrina in Sabrina the Teenage Witch. I also love Ginny Weasley and Lily Potter from the Harry Potter books. Sorry, couldn’t just choose one! :)



You can find Emma's Willowbrook #1 Kickstarter here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/emmakubert/willowbrook-1

It looks like a lot of fun and I can't wait to see it out.

And elsewhere on the net:







Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Black Star: The Conqueror Worm

"There is no evidence of avifaunal or crawling vermicular lifeforms on Jouret Four."
- Data, Star Trek the Next Generation, Best of Both Worlds, Part 1

I had a Black Star post ready to go today, but this one grabbed my imagination a lot more.  I am currently reading "The Door to Saturn: Collected Fantasies of Clark Ashton Smith, Book 2" in it is a story, “The Kingdom of the Worm”, about an ancient evil kingdom of the dead and the giant charnel worm that rules there.  This reminded me of another one of my favorite Clark Ashton Smith tales, "The Coming of the White Worm", which I need to re-read soon.

While reading I could not help but think of all sorts of worms and how they have been used to terrify us. Edgar Allen Poe's "The Conqueror Worm" comes to mind, which also leads me to the Stephen R. Donaldson short story (from "Daughter of Regals and Other Tales") of the same name, though that one is about a centipede. Which of course made me think of the Sand Worms of Dune and then the Sand Worms of Saturn from Beetlejuice and of course the Sathar of Star Frontiers.

It is that last one that gave me the idea explosion that this post is.

Black Star is if nothing else, about exploring the horror that is space. Space is dark, I am just adding Eldritch Dark to it.

It got me thinking that a great adventure would be to have our crew check in on a planet, much like TNGs Jouret 4, that the entire population is gone.  They discover that they have all been eaten by worm-like creatures, maybe even the Sathar.  Of course they are nothing compared to the towering monstrosity that is Mordiggian, the Charnel God.  I had used Mordiggian and his ghouls once before in a Buffy/WitchCraft/Willow & Tara game which also gave me the spell "Lend Me Your Fire" (to appear in a witch book someday!)

In this adventure, the colony (shades of  LV-426 to be sure) is wiped out by the millions and Starfleet is sent to investigate.  There is evidence that everyone died pretty close to each other in time and there is a lack of bodies.  The Sathar have been consuming the dead, which is not typical behavior, and they are worshipping Mordiggian as their God of Death.  The real big bad here is Mordiggian.

The horror aspects here are of course the death of millions and the natural squeamishness many people seem to have about worms, maggots, and other eaters of the dead.  "Wormfood" is an evocative image for a reason. Also, there is the notion that Mordiggian is here and maybe he is a god maybe he is not, but did he come to our notice now because of the use of the new Triberyllium Warp-13 drive has opened our dimension to that of the Cthulhoid mythos creatures.

For sci-fi this is my chance to square the circle of merging Star Frontiers' United Planetary Federation and Star Trek's United Federation of Planets.

SATHAR (for WhiteStar)
ARMOR CLASS: 6 [13]
HIT DICE: 2
HDE/XP: 3/75
SAVING THROW: 16
TOTAL HIT BONUS: +1
MOVEMENT: 12
SPECIAL: Keen Senses (vision, smell)
ATTACK: by weapon

Sathars are long, worm-like creatures. Their bodies are divided into segments, like an earthworm's. They do not have a skeleton. Instead, they support their bodies hydrostatically, by pumping liquid into the segments so they become hard. A shiny, clear slime coats their skin. Federation scientists believe they are warm-blooded, but no live specimen has ever been studied. Their eyes are placed near the sides of their heads and contain double pupils giving them extraordinary vision.  They smell through two pits in front of their eyes.

A Sathar moves by slithering across the ground with the first meter of its body raised. They also can coil like a snake, raising 1.5 meters of their bodies from the ground.
The color of Sathar skin varies from yellow to brown. The tentacles are the same as the body, but with a slight greenish tint. The underbelly is pale pink. A pattern of dots, speckles, and stripes decorates the back of the head. These patterns are natural on some Sathar, but are tattooed on others.

Some survivors of Sathar attacks have reported that Sathars are not effected by electrical shocks, phasers set to stun or stun grenades, but these reports have never been confirmed.

Sathars are highly intelligent and have a space-faring culture found on the Frontiers of Federation Space.  They are considered dangerous even if very little else is known about them

Source: http://starfrontiers.wikia.com/wiki/Sathar

So, Black Star: The Conqueror Worm (Star Trek + Star Frontiers + The Kingdom of the Worm + Aliens + Tremors + The Charnel God).

Monday, November 26, 2018

Monstrous Mondays: The Almas

I am back from Thanksgiving break only to have the worst blizzard in two-three years hit the Mid-West.  My kids schools are closed and my office is even closed!  With all that snow outside it is a PERFECT day to do some more work on my Winter Witch book.

Today I want to feature a monster that has some significance to me.  The Almas is a cryptid that dates back at least to the 15th century.  I featured the almas as suspected antagonists, but later turned allies in the Ghosts of Albion adventure "Almasti". Here a tribe of Almas has come to London to stop the plans of the evil god Chernbog. 

For the Winter Witch I wanted something a little different, but close enough that it was obviously the same creature.

Almas
Hit Dice: 3 (4 for Shaman)
Armor Class: 7 [12]
Attacks: 2 fists (1d6) or by weapon type
Saving Throw: 13
Special: Fly, immune to cold, spells
Move: 12 / 24 fly
Alignment: Neutral
Number Encountered: 1d8
Challenge Level/XP: 6/400

Almas are the smaller, more intelligent cousins of the Yeti. Due to their smaller size, they do not have the yeti’s hug attack.  For every group of six almas, one will be a shaman who has the spellcasting ability of a 2nd level winter witch.  With the aid of the shaman, an Almas can fly on the boreal winds, but only after the sun has gone down.

They are immune to normal and magical cold.  Almas speak their own language and that of giants.

--

Working hard to get the Winter Witch to you in time for the holidays. 
Until then check out the Cyber Monday sales at DriveThruRPG. All my Swords & Wizardry witch books are on sale.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Monday, November 19, 2018

Monstrous Mondays: Wind Wraith

Interestingly enough this monster came up while playing Pokémon GO with my wife and kids at Gen Con this past summer.  Also based on some other ideas I have had over the years.

Wind Wraith
Hit Die: 5
AC: 1 [18]
Attack: 1 touch (1d6 + con drain)
Movement: - (Fly 24)
Save: 12
Alignment: Chaotic
Challenge Level/XP 9/1,100
Special: drain 1 point of Constitution with hit, magic or silver weapon to hit, ignores non-magical AC.

Wind wraiths are the spirits of mortals that die in one of the elemental planes and become hopelessly lost and can't move over to the other side.  They return to the Mortal Plane to haunt others and steal their lifeforce (as represented by constitution points).
The successful touch of a wind wraith will cause 1d6 points of damage and drain 1 point of Constitution.  A saving throw is allowed to prevent this drain, but the damage is always taken.
More horribly the wind wraith ignores all but magical armor.  The foul creature's clawed hand will pass through the hardiest plate mail as it does through leather or cloth.  All are treated as having an AC of 9.
If the armor is magical then the magical enchantment can be added to the character's AC, but not the armor itself.  So +1 Plate mail would confer an AC of 8 while +3 leather armor would be treated as an AC of 6.
Wind Wraiths appear as they did in life from the torso up. Their lower halves fade into mist and vapor.  They typically haunt areas of strong magic in hopes to find a way to a permanent death.  They are also found in the elemental planes.
They can be turned as Spectres.

Friday, November 16, 2018

Kickstart Your Weekend: Willowbrook #1

One of my absolute favorite things about today's connected world is the ability to find new and great things and people.  Emma Kubert and Willowbrook are both of those.



https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/emmakubert/willowbrook-1

According to Emma herself:
Willowbrook is a fictional town that is set in the woodsy areas of upstate New York. Eliza Anderson (our protagonist) and her black cat Willow arrive in Willowbrook to find her grandmother, Minerva Proctor. Eliza finds out soon that the entire town is riddled with creatures from different worlds, so she stays to help her grandmother, while unraveling the mystery behind her purpose there.
What grabbed me though was her reasons for creating it.
I watched all my favorite tv shows and movies, including Harry Potter, Sabrina the Teenage Witch, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Gravity Falls, Stranger Things, etc. I love young adult fantasy genres (especially the good ones) because throughout all the adventure and excitement, there are characters that resemble ourselves and the changes that we go through too. So, every time I finished one of these shows or movies, I had that lost feeling of “WHAT AM I GOING TO DO NOW THAT HARRY HAS FINISHED VOLDEMORT?!?!”
I can totally relate.

What grabbed was the idea of Willowbrook but what kept me reading more was her art. Check out the Kickstarted page to see what I mean.  Emma Kubert has a solid pedigree when it comes to art, but ignoring that for a bit just look at what she can do.  The emotions of her characters can be felt through the screen.   Plus there is something here that reminds me of reading "A Wrinkle In Time" for the first time again.  Magical and weird among the ordinary and mundane.

It's great stuff really.

So check it out and toss her some money. I like to see new up and coming comic artists succeed when they have talent and Emma certainly has that.  Plus the story sounds fantastic and I could easily grow to like these characters.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Featured Artist: Eugene Jaworski

Welcome back to my Featured Artist series.  Today I want to share with you someone I have been following a while, Eugene Jaworski.

I have seen his art in a lot of D&D related groups and in particular in D&D Fantasy Art on Facebook.  He has a style that recalls the old days of the D&D game and he is certainly a fan of that era.  In fact, it was his version of the classic D&D character Skylla that first got my attention.


I loved it so much I bought a print of it for my game room.


He has also done Kelek the evil Wizard.


Love the giant wolf he is on.

And Red Sonja,



But the ones I really love are his series of painting of his original goddess Numora.





According to Eugene,
She was a goddess from a home brew campaign that I ran a couple years ago. Numora the Whisperer of Secrets. Very enigmatic.
She reminds me a little of my own Nox, Goddess of the Near Dark. Even down to the shadow cats (Gloamings in my world) and walking around barefoot.  100% coincidence, of course, we have read a lot of the same books.

You can find him here:

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

At the Planets of Madness

Throughout October and November, I have been rereading everything from H.P. Lovecraft and Clark Ashton Smith.  In particular, I have been focusing my attention on their "Cosmotism" and sci-fi stories.  All the while thinking about how I want to approach my own "Star Trek meets Cthulhu horror is Space" game, something I have been working on under the title of "Black Star".

Of course looking at Lovecraft through the lens of Sci-fi rather than horror gives the stories an extra dimension.  Once I got back to the "Dream of the Witch House" and the equations of Walter Gilman I knew there was something there.  I figured what if we took the Gilman equations and used those to power Warp drive?  It seemed like a great fit! Really, really great.  Too great. I had to go back to my shelves and sure enough, the idea is not my original one.

Eldritch Skies was published by Battlefield Press a few years back does exactly this.  I was a consultant on the original Cinematic Unisystem version, but now you can only get the Savage Worlds version.

Still, I am pressing on to use the Gilman drive in my own games.  The Gilman equations are added to normal warp drive to produce the Gilman-Cochrane drives.  I'll adapt Eldritch Skies as needed with plenty of Lovecraftian beasties to fill my CAS-style planets.  Hey, it makes as much sense as the Spore Drive.

Converting the stories to Sci-Fi/Horror adventures is easy.

After the first adventure which is Star Tre + Galaxy Quest + Alien + Lovecraft + Event Horizon I figure I can do these:

At the Planets of Madness.  The PCs find a planet that is older than the known Universe! To make matters worse there is evidence of an ancient civilization.  (At the Mountains of Madness + the Image of Fendahl)

Ghost Ship.  The PCs find a derelict adrift in space and it is full of the ghosts of the dead crew.  Originally this was going to be the Enterprise B when I ran it as a pure Trek game. (The Haunting of Hill House, Dreams of the Witch House, the Flying Dutchman)

The Color out of Hyperspace.  A slow moving wave is "eating" up parts of space and everything in its wake.  (Color out of Space)

Starcrash on Hyperborea.  A shuttlecraft with the PCs crashes on a primitive frozen planet.   (Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea + The Galileo Seven +  All Our Yesterdays)

At least that is what I have so far.  I want to use more of Clark Ashton Smith's planets, in particular, his planets around Polaris.  It is also giving me a chance to adapt some Tékumel material to White Star.  This page on Wikipedia, Stars and planetary systems in fiction,  has been invaluable for finding planets and star systems I can use.

Much like Lovecraft, I started out in life as an astronomer.  Also, like Lovecraft, I discovered I lack the skills in math to ever get very far.  Though in my defense my wall comes up around Calculus 2.  I did go on to get a degree in Statistics and Measurement.   But the idea of using some long unused parts of my brain are appealing to me.

I have posted a lot in the past about various worlds.  All of these can be used too.


Time to boldly go where no one can hear you scream!

This post is part of my contribution to the RPG Blog Carnival for November 2018.
This month's topic is "All these Worlds..."
Looking forward to what my fellow RPG bloggers are doing this month and how many ideas I can use from them!



Tuesday, November 13, 2018

In Remembrance: Stan Lee

Stanley Martin Lieber, known to us mere mortals as Stan Lee died yesterday at the age of 95.
I have often said that my own "Appendix N" would consist of 70s rock, Hammer Horror films, and comics.  Marvel Comics was a huge part of how my D&D world was shaping up.

I grew up being a DC fan, and I still consider myself to this very day a true DC fan.  But in the 70s and the 80s in what was coexistent with my formative D&D years. I dropped DC in favor of Marvel's Spider-Man, X-Men and of course their Horror and Mystic-themed comics like "Tomb of Dracula", Dr. Strange, Blade, and Ghost Rider.  Much of what went on in my D&D worlds was very Marvel influenced.

I had a character named "Rogue" after my favorite bad-girl (at the time she was not in the X-Men yet), and nearly all my character had an illustration that I cut or copied from the pages of Marvel.  While over in DC my first magical-love was still for Zatanna, I also loved reading about the exploits of Dr. Strange and Clea.   I read with a voracious appetite every Tomb of Dracula I could my hands on to.  I read Red Sonja, X-Men, hell...every X-everything in the Mutant 80s.  This leads me to read other comics. 

Stan gave us great characters and stories.  I LOVED Black Panther. Here was a guy who was brilliant, a physicist, a king, he all sorts of superpowers, and yet he still fretted over his people, his lands and doing the right thing.  Peter Parker was so neurotic he could have been a Woody Allen character. Stephen Strange was an arrogant prick, Stark was an alcoholic arrogant prick.  The X-Men had so much pathos it was almost Shakespearian.  These were relatable characters or at least approachable ones.  Jim Croce once sang "You don't tug on Superman's cape" and it is true. Superman, for everything he stands for, is still a god, unapproachable. Even Batman for that matter.  But Stan's characters and the ones he influenced were still more like us.

My introduction to Stan Lee, the man or rather his persona, was via the "Spider-man and his Amazing Friends" cartoons where Stan would narrate the intros. I first heard his "True Believers" here as I suspect most of us did. (Though the FIRST time I heard "True Believers" was on the Electric Company's "Spidey" on PBS in the 70s.) A generation later he would be known to a new audience via his Marvel Cinematic Universe cameos.  But I always felt it was us, the old fans, the ones that remember them smell of comics back in the 70s and 80s (and for others the 60s), that he was there for.

Stan Lee was a flawed, imperfect man.  Just like his characters.  He didn't always say the right thing or maybe he took credit for some ideas that were not his.  At some future date, we can go back and debate the issues of the Stan Lee/Jack Kirby split.  But not today.

Today I want to remember the man that gave us all so much. A man that took his own words "with great power comes great responsibility" to heart.  Stan knew the power he wielded and he used it to create worlds for us to enjoy.

Several years ago, when Stan Lee was in his late 80s I asked a question on Facebook, "Who has had a larger impact on our culture, (Playboy founder) Hugh Hefner or Stan Lee?"  The results were fairly predictable, with Stan beating Hugh by nearly a 2 to 1 margin.

We will miss Stanley Lieber, the man.  But Stan Lee, the icon and the personality will live on forever.  Excelsior!


Monday, November 12, 2018

Monstrous Mondays: Snow Golem

I want to do this on Friday but the day job had me really busy.

Last week we had our first real snow in Chicagoland this season.  I thought it might nice to share another new monster from my upcoming Winter Witch book. 

Snow Golem
Hit Dice: 5 (22 hp)
AC: 7 [12]
Attack: 1 body slam (1d8 plus 1d6 cold)
Move: 12 / 24 over ice
Save: 11
Alignment: Neutral
CL/XP: 8/800
Special: Breath weapon, cold, immunity to cold, immunity to magic, double damage from fire

Snow Golems are amongst the simplest of golems that can be made by a witch.  The material to make them, snow, is easily available to them and easily molded into a humanoid shape.  All that is required in the casting of the spell is some magical fetish to focus the energy.  This can be nearly anything, but it is often a hat or a scarf.
Once animated the golem can perform routine duties can be ordered in a dozen words or less. Such orders would include "let no one pass but me." or "guard this treasure and let no one take it."
Snow golems are susceptible to weather conditions.  If the temperature rises above 32 degrees their movement is halved and their attacks are at half damage.

Snow Golem, Awakened
Among the awakened golems (Flesh, Clay, and Druthers) snow golems seem the least likely to have an awakened form, but because they are so easy to make young witches will often put more of their own energy or their own life force into their golems and they will spontaneously awaken.
The golems are often Lawful in alignment and have a child-like nature to them.  This is particularly true for snow golems brought to life by young, but very powerful Winter Witches.

These golems are also created at special times of the year.  If snow falls on Samhain then those snows can be used.  These awakened snow golems often have the spirit of the recently departed, but they usually can't recall their previous life.  These golems are typically Chaotic in nature.
Awakened snow golems constructed on or near Yule or the Winter Solstice are among the most powerful (HD 10, hp 40, move 18/36).

Regardless of type snow golems rarely live out a season and the magics holding them together will give out on the Spring Equinox.  There are some protections against this, and even an awakened snow golem can come back again someday.

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Featured Artist: Teresa Guido

Welcome back to another Featured Artist post.
I discovered my next artist, as I have discovered many others that will be future FAs, in the Facebook group D&D Fantasy Art.

Teresa Guido has a great style and has some really fantastic character art.  I believe it was her art of a drow that got my attention. She has done work for both Paizo Inc. and Purple Duck Games.

Here are some that I really liked. As usual, posted with permission.





She is available for commissions.
You can find her at:

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Askafroa, The Ash Dryads

Halloween is over. The elections are done.  I have cleaned up all the garden plants and set the clocks back. When I drive home from work and the weatherman is saying the "s-word" on TV.

Time to get back to my oft-neglected Winter Witch book.
Thought I would start the ball rolling here (though I have been working on it for a while) with a creature that almost went into the Witch for Swords & Wizardry White Box.

"The Dryad" by Henry John Stock
Askafroa (Ash Dryad)
Hit Die: 4
AC: 5 [14] (natural armor)
Attack: 1 claw (long nails) (1d6)
Move: 12
Save: 13
Alignment: Neutral
CL/XP: 5/240
Special: Charm person (-2 save), use witch spells*

The Askafroa, also know as an Ash Wife, is the spirit of an ash tree much in the same way a Dryad is the spirit of an oak.  There is a rumor that these creatures were made by the gods themselves to protect the sacred ash trees.
Askafroa appear to be slightly smaller elvish humanoids.  Their dark hair is intertwined with ash leaves and twigs but otherwise, they seem to be mortal.   They are faerie and thus beautiful to behold, with long brown or black hair and piercing green eyes. Some though have been reported to grow hideous in countenance when their ash trees are threatened. This gives them their other name, Ash Hags.
Askafroa do not attack unless their ash trees are threatened, then they can attack with their wooden nails which act like claws.  They can also cast spells as a 4th level Winter Witch.  Askafroa are very liberal in what they determine is a threat.  Walking into their forest with an axe or even a torch might be considered a threat.
If a human or elf makes an appeasement and the proper sacrifices in front of an ash tree then the Askafroa can be made more friendly and even talkative to the human or elf.  Other races they do not trust or are unaware of.
Like her dryad cousins, the Askafroa is bound to an ash tree. If she strays too far from the tree (more than a day's walk) she will begin to weaken losing 1d6 hp per day.  If her tree is cut down or burned she will die.


Monday, November 5, 2018

Charmed Season 1, Episode 4 "Exorcise Your Demons"

Exorcisms seem to be a popular topic on witch shows of late. We start the fourth episode of the season with the Charmed One still harboring the Harbinger demon stuck in the body of their friend Angela.  We learn that six month back that Marisol (their now dead mother) was working with Angela to press sexual harassment charges against a male professor (the same from episode 1).
She gets depressed and tries to OD and ends up in a coma.   Here she is easy pickings for the Harbinger demon.


This is also when the Charmed Ones meet their first Elder.  Now Elders in the Original Series were powerful Whitelighters.  In this series, we meet Charity who seems to be a living witch.  She is the CEO of a non-profit organization to help women in developing countries.  Yes, Charmed is still wearing their politics on their sleeve.   But saying this is far more than just "fan service" it established two essential plot points. 1. Elders are living witches, not powerful Whitelighters and 2. that this is someone the girls would trust.  We also learn through Charity that Marisol was an Elder or Senior Witch; "the same thing" according to Harry.
Charity's plan is to kill the demon and thus Angela.  This doesn't sit well with Mel, who pushed Angela to press the charges; she feels responsible.   Eventually, Mel discovers that Angela is alive and trapped in her own body.
Mel convinces Maggie, Macy and eventually even Harry that Angela can be saved.  They discover a new spell, one that had been hidden but only revealed till all three girls agreed to try, in the Book of Shadows.   It is a witch exorcism spell based, according to Harry, on Santariea. All I know is that Mel sounds great speaking Spanish.
Again, I won't be spoilery with the ending, but not everyone makes it out alive.

What is New for this Series?
The Book of Shadows has a "search feature" not sure if I like this or not.
Elders are living, senior witches, and someone/thing is killing them
Demons look cooler.
Marisol was an Elder.

Elders in Your Game
Last week I gave you all Exorcism and Vanquishing spells so no need to go over that again.
But I do want to investigate this idea of Elders in the game.  Now if this were 3rd Edition/Pathfinder we were talking about then an Elder would be a Prestige Class for a witch. Much like my Imbolc Mage Prestige Class.

For OSR style games I would just make some sort of social structure.  Something like the Witenagemot of 7th century England.  This "Council of the Wise" in many ways typifies what I think the Elders should be about.  J.K. Rowling used this idea for her "Wizengamot" of her world.
In my world, I supposed I could call it a "Wiccegemot" or "Council of Witches (Wicce)".
What would they do? What powers would they have?  I would like to think that representatives of the major covens and traditions would be here.  Maybe this is the council that my Witch Queens are on that meet once every seven years. Or thirteen years, can't remember right now.  Looked it up, it's 13 years.

I would say there are special ritual spells that only can be cast by the Wiccegemot.  Powerful spells. Earth, or even Plane, altering spells.
I am also likely to give them access to secret spells of lower levels, just ones they don't widely share.

Right though, I'll just keep them mysterious and unknown.

Friday, November 2, 2018

Seoni, Pathfinder Iconic Sorceress, B/X style

Seoni might arguably be the most popular of the Pathfinder iconic characters. She is certainly one of my favorites.  She might not exactly be a witch, but she is close enough.


A few things have come together over the last couple of weeks to make me want to do this post.
First,  there is the new Seoni statue Kickstarter that I posted about this morning.
Secondly, I have really been getting interested in B/X again (as if my interest ever waned) thanks in large part to Gavin Norman's B/X Essentials line which looks like so much fun.

With the Art & Arcana book out I went back to the cover of D&D Basic which was the inspiration for the Pathfinder Core Rules book cover that introduced us to Seoni in the first place.



I also did stats for Feiya so long ago, so it seems right to me to also convert Seoni as my "second favorite" Pathfinder Iconic.

The witches three. Larina, Feiya, and Seoni
So I thought it might be fun to see how Seoni converts to B/X era D&D.  Of course in Pathfinder she is a Sorceress a class that B/X doesn't have.  But they do have the Magic-User which the ancestor of the Sorcerer class.  But I am contractually obligated to provide Witch stats too! ;)

For fun, I will do the Magic-User stats using only Gavin Norman's B/X Essentials: Core RulesB/X Essentials: Classes and Equipment, and B/X Essentials: Cleric and Magic-User Spells.

For her witch stats, I will use D&D Basic and Expert with my Basic-era Witch book.

I took her ability scores from her 1st Level iconic version to represent her stats as "rolled" but will base these off of here 12th level iconic version.  In the case of her Magic-user stats I rearranged her Int, Wis, and Cha to better fit the magic-user rules.  For her Witch stats I left them as-is.
For her other items like equipment and feats I tried to convert or perserve those the best I can within the rules of B/X D&D.

Seoni
12th level Magic-User

Abilities
Strength: 10
Intelligence: 18
Wisdom: 10
Dexterity: 14
Constitution: 12
Charisma: 13

Saves
Death Ray or Poison:  9
Magic wand or devices: 10
Paralysis, Polymorph or Turn to Stone: 9
Dragon Breath: 12
Rods, Staffs and Spells: 11

Hit Points:  26
Alignment: Lawful (Lawful Neutral)
AC: 3 (unless using spells to protect herself more)
To Hit AC 0: 14

Familiar:  Blue Skink ("Dragon") (Basic Magic-users did not have a way of gaining a familiar. So this is a DM-fiat).

Spells
First (4): darkness (light, reversed) magic missile, read magic, shield
Second (4): continual darkness, detect invisible, invisibility, web
Third (3): fire ball, haste, lightning bolt
Fourth (3): charm monster, dimension door, wall of fire
Fifth (3): cloudkill, pass-wall, wall of stone
Sixth (2): control weather, death spell

Equipment: Amulet of Natural Armor +3, Ring of Protection +3, backpack, potions of cure wounds, scroll of fly, wand of magic missiles (32 charges, 7th level), staff of wizardry, dagger

So not exact copies of all the spells are found in the B/X era, but enough that I am fairly happy with this magic-user build.

Now. What if Seoni were a witch?  Valeros certainly thinks she is...

"I wonder about that witch and her schemes."
- Valeros, companion, friend and erstwhile lover of Seoni.

Seoni
12th level Witch, Dragon-blood Tradition* (Blue)

Abilities
Strength: 10
Intelligence: 10
Wisdom: 13
Dexterity: 14
Constitution: 12
Charisma: 18

Saves
Death Ray or Poison:  8
Magic wand or devices: 9
Paralysis, Polymorph or Turn to Stone: 8
Dragon Breath: 11
Rods, Staffs and Spells: 18

Hit Points: 26
Alignment: Lawful (Lawful Neutral)
AC: 3
To Hit AC 0: 14

Occult Powers (*the Dragon-blood tradition is something I have been playing around with for a couple of years now. Not ready for prime-time yet.)
Familiar:  Blue Skink ("Dragon")
Minor: Draconic Magic: Lightning Bolt (once per day Seoni can call on her draconic patron to cast Lightning Bolt).

Spells
Cantrips (6): dancing lights, detect curse, false glamor, flare, mend, spark,
First (4): burning hands, darkness, minor fighting prowess, spirit dart
Second (4): burning gaze, invisibility, produce flame, spell missile
Third (3): continual fire, dispel magic, fly,
Fourth (3): charm monster, intangible cloak of shadows, magic circle against evil 10'
Fifth (2): hold monster, primal scream, waves of fatigue
Sixth (2!): mass agony, wall of roses

Equipment: Amulet of Natural Armor +3, Ring of Protection +3, backpack, potions of cure wounds, scroll of fly, wand of magic missiles (32 charges, 7th level), dagger,  Staff of Enchantment

Witch-Seoni has a totally different feel to her than Magic-user-Seoni.  I would say that as a Dragon Witch her spells manifest in ways that remind one of a dragon.  Primal Scream, for example, would be the roar of a dragon. Produce Flame would be a spark of electricity that creates fire,  Mass Agony would come out as electricity like a blue dragon's breath, and so on.

I am pretty happy though with both builds.

Don't forget to check out the Seoni statue Kickstarter ending really soon.

Kickstart Your Weekend: Pathfinder Seoni Statue

This is a different one, but still pretty cool.  Seoni is the famous (or infamous) cover-girl of the Pathfinder core book.  Well, now you can have your own Seoni, at least a 12-inch version of her.

Pathfinder Limited Edition Statue


https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/dynamiteent/pathfinder-limited-edition-statue

I have to admit, I like iconic characters and Paizo did it right for their characters.  They made them interesting and while they are not the subject of novels like Eminster or Driz'zt they still were/are characters that people get invested in.

Of course, my particular fascination with Seoni is because this cover:


Is Wayne Reynolds' homage to this cover:



Are they the same people? Are they their descendants? Who knows.

The cover is popular enough to give us a statue and a 3D render.


Now you can get a Seoni of your own.  I have a Merlin, a Morgan LeFey and a Tarot Witch of the Black Rose as statues.  Maybe getting a Seoni would be nice.

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Featured Artist: Jacob Blackmon

Welcome to a new feature here at the Other Side!
I love art. I am terrible at it, I mean just god awful really, but my curse is to love things I am not very good at like art and music.   But I have a good paying job and a huge list of contacts so one of my pleasures is to get art made of my characters.

What I thought I could do is start to share some of these artists I have found and maybe you will want to commission them as well.

While my peers are moving more and more to podcasts, art is truly a visual medium and needs to be shared in a place like this.  So without further ado here is the inaugural post of the newest Other Side feature: Featured Artist.

I could not really do this without having Jacob Blackmon as my first artist.
Jacob and I have been working together for years on various game books, but primarily on the Strange Brew line for Pathfinder.

Jacob has an absolute ton of art out there.  You can see work from a dozen or so publishers, but primarily from Misfit Studios and Purple Duck Games.  He has an RPG art line out for authors/publishers on a budget. He does commission work and has a Patreon site.

Readers here know him best as the artist that first brought my Pathfinder version of Larina to life.




He also brought my D&D 5 character, and Larina's daughter, Taryn to life.


From his bio:
Jacob E. Blackmon was born in California, where he studied art – which is to say, he read a lot of comics and RPG game books and created art based on the things he loved. He now lives in Oklahoma (for some reason) and spends even more time drawing, playing games, and watching movies to fuel his addled imagination.

Jacob has worked as a freelance artist for over ten years, working with companies such as Fainting Goat Games, Misfit Studios, Rite Publishing, and Rogue Genius Games. He had dipped his toes in writing with the sourcebooks ‘Lunar Knights’ and ‘Super Powered Bestiary.’ Jacob's current project is the 'Super Powered Legends' series for the Mutants and Masterminds RPG.

A collection of Jacob’s work can be found at https://www.deviantart.com/prodigyduck

Support Jacob here: https://www.patreon.com/jacobblackmon

For those who are 18+, you may find a selection of Jacob's erotica here: http://www.hentai-foundry.com/pictures/user/prodigyduck

Jacob can be hired for art commissions at this email: commissionprodigyduck@gmail.com
You can find Jacob here:
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