Thursday, September 19, 2019

Introducing Night Shift

I had something planned for today, but it will have to wait till later.  Busy day at work.  So here is something I have been working on.


So folks, to coincide with Halloween, I will be Kickstarting the newest core RPG from Elf Lair Games this October! I'm still working out the exact details (getting quotes for printing costs in particular) so I know what to set my goal, but it's planned as a hardcover B&W release. Please spread the word and keep your eyes out! Here's some more about the game:

NIGHT SHIFT: VETERANS OF THE SUPERNATURAL WARS Debuting the new Elf Lair Games house system, O.G.R.E.S., Night Shift is an urban fantasy, horror, and dark modern supernatural game that uses a brand new system of old-school mechanics inspired by and derived from the original, basic, expert, and advanced versions of the World's Most Famous Role Playing Game. It allows you to mimic all the tropes of just about any film, TV series, or novels you like.

All of the following are possible with Night Shift:

  • Cheerleaders that are chosen to slay vampires
  • Sisters imbued with the power of chosen witches
  • Worlds where Fae of all manner battle in the politics of light and dark
  • The great-grandniece of a famous gunslinger inherits the legacy of the demon hunter.
  • A world where two brothers armed with knowledge and weapons hunt the supernatural in their father's name

And more!
Jason and I have been working together for years.  We worked on Buffy the Vampire Slayer RPG together.  I playtested Jason's AFMBE games and his Amazing Adventures books, he playtested my Ghosts of Albion.  He published my first OSR Witch book.  We have over 80 years of game playing and nearly 50 years of professional game design combined.

This game is going to be so much fun.  And perfectly suited to the cinematic style games I love.

Hoping to get you all some previews and character write-ups throughout October.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

What Everyone* Is Getting Wrong about "Consent in Gaming"

This past week Monte Cook Games released their Consent in Gaming free PDF.
And...as expected there is a lot of whining and complaining from the expected crowd.  Lots. Like somehow this is a personal affront to them.

Now I say Everyone* up there, but really most comments I have read get what this guide is trying to do and be.  So the vast majority get it.  I have tried to spend the last week or so reading everything I can that has been posted online.  I certainly have not read everything, but I am pretty happy with the sampling I have read.

AND nothing in this is new. I talked about social contracts back in 2015. They have been going on for longer than that.  This is just one type of codified social contract / social agreement.

On Wikipedia, we have something called "Assume Good Faith."   The same needs to be used when using this.  Assume the player on the other side of the table is presenting their concerns in good faith.  If something bothers them then it bothers them. 

At the risk of these being straw-man arguments, I do want to address the most common types of comments I have seen online (FB, Twitter, YouTube).  By lumping them together I do make my own error of over-generalization, but I have already spent a lot of time on this post (I started it last week) and more time and text will not make my points any clearer.

But I am Only Gaming With People I Really know.
Great!.  Guess what, you probably don't need this. You likely don't.  You have self-selected yourself out.   Don't worry about downloading it.

But what about...
Whataboutism is a weak argument all the time. 
Sure ANY rule in ANY book from ANY game can have a "What about..." This is not a reasonable argument.  Sure though maybe some hypothetical reasons could come up, but isn't that what this document is supposed to help with? 

But...
I have SO many reasons why people will use this to "fuck with a game" but guess what? That can happen with ANYTHING.  Your ability to pull a hypothetical situation out of your ass is not an argument against this.

Ok. But What About *MY* Fun?
Again, if you can't give an example without starting it with "What About" don't even try.
Also, why is YOUR fun greater than everyone's total fun? OR what is your fun greater than someone else's personal pain?

This is SJW Virtue Signalling!
Since when does not being an asshole mean you are an SJW? Besides calling someone an SJW and expecting it somehow mean an insult is signaling to your own in-crowd and like-minded people.

This is some sort of Millenial Bullshit!
The authors, Sean K. Reynolds and Shanna Germaine, are in their mid to late 40s.  Monte Cook, of Monte Cook games who publishes this, is also in his mid to late 40s.   All have several decades of game design and development with some of the biggest publishers in the world and the awards to match.  They are all solidly Generation-X.

This is Censorship!
Far from it. This actually frees you to do the things you and your players agree with.

But What About Horror movies/TV Shows?
Yeah, and those things have warnings and people self-select themselves out of them.  I love horror movies, my wife hates them. I don't take her to see them no matter how much we love each other. Nor do I expose her to them without warning her. She doesn't "stop the movie" because she scared, she just doesn't go. 
This document helps people make those choices.

What the %@&! are "Sensitivity Readers"?
I took that as basically "Educational Consultants." Both seem qualified to that. Darcy Ross is getting her (or has) Ph.D. from the University of Chicago (something I don't see on the CVs of the critics) and I don't know much about Jessica Meier save that she works in RPGS and has a black belt in taekwondo. 

It's *My* Game.
No. It isn't. It stopped being *your* game the second other people sat at the table.  If you want a situation where characters go through your made-up world with no agency consider becoming a novelist instead.

This is Maoist/Communist/Socialist!
Hmm. So I guess these people never actually studied those things in school.

We have always handled this on our own.
Great. If your track record is objectively, rather than subjectively, good.  If not then this is just another tool to help.

But Psychological Studies Say...
Ah, more whataboutism.   Ok I have read those studies. I have WRITTEN those studies. They are good, BUT please keep in mind WHO were the subjects back then.  Those subjects would not be the ones this document is aimed at. 

That Form
So the fuck what?  I recall starting a game back in college in the late 80s where I went over the potential issues in the game (AD&D Ravenloft) that included murder, the threat of sexual violence and implied child murder (I mean where do you think I used my Utburds?).  You know what people had the most issue with? The child murders of course.


I am reminded of one of my more intense and adult WitchCraft RPG games, my Vacation in Vancouver game. This game dealt with themes of sex, bdsm, sexual slavery, actual fucking evil (demons) and death.  Would this document have helped this game?  Maybe.  I can say this with 100% certainty; this Consent in Gaming document would not have had much change to my game.  We all had talked beforehand about what was and what was not allowed in the game.  I was pretty upfront about the content and the people signing on agreed to this.  There were some intense moments AND at the time I was coming off a long bout of very deep depression, so lots of things bothered me then.
There were things the players did not want.  For example one wanted more BDSM, another player though had issues with this due to her personal history.  Oh she was fine with other violence, but not this.  What did I do?  Did  I kick the player out?

No. Because I am a fucking adult. I worked around it.

I had to get MORE creative, not less creative.
There were a couple times when the game was paused when things got fairly intense.  We then went back to figure out where to take it next.  Well, that was EASY REALLY.  We moved the timeline a few hours ahead past the situation.  That worked FOR US. The same thing may or may or not have worked for other groups.  That is where this document would have worked in those groups. 

Don't tell me it will damage games.  Maybe it will damage YOUR game.  Maybe YOU need to become more creative.


When my kids run games in my house my wife and I cook for them. (yeah full diners each session)
We DON'T make anything with peanuts in it.  Why?  One of the players has a peanut allergy, a pretty bad one.  Do we tell them (that is their pronoun, go suck it if you don't like it) "sorry, you will have nothing to eat for the next four hours!" or "you self-selected into this game now eat the peanut chicken or you can leave!"

No. Because we are not dicks.  We make something else. We do something else.

This is the same thing. Why is that so hard to get?


So here is a bit of advice to the crowd that is so quick to dish out the exact same advice.
If you don't like it or don't want to use it, then don't.
It's really that damn simple.  I have never seen sadly I have seen way too much immature overreacting about this.

It's not going to retroactively change your games. It won't do a damn thing to the 40+-year-old game you run with your buddies.  Nothing.

So be the intelligent player/gamer you say you are.  If you don't want this, then don't use it.

But those that want to use should have access to it. 

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Update on The Classical Witch

Yesterday I got my 2nd round of proofs back from DriveThruRPG on the Classical Witch POD.

So far the cover looks fantastic!


But some of the interior art doesn't.



I have an idea about what is going on.  I fixed it, but now I still need to wait for another proof to arrive.

Such is the glamorous life of an independent game publisher.

I hope that third time is the charm on this one and the next proof will be fine.


Monday, September 16, 2019

Monstrous Monday: Pumpkin Golem

Often times the witch needs someone or something other than their coven for aid.  In addition to summoning a familiar or an Unseen Servant, the witch will often create a servant or helper from the material she has at hand.  The druther and scarecrow are two such examples. The Pumpkin Golem, or Gourd Golem, is another.


The Pumpkin Golem is usually a bit more powerful than a scarecrow but not as powerful as the golems created by priests or mages.  Typically, like a scarecrow, these creatures are used to guard the witch's home or garden.  If a scarecrow is left in a field to guard there, the pumpkin golem will be closer to the witch's home.  Likewise, the druther will be guarding inside the home.

Pumpkin golems are immune to any spell that affects the weather. Any spell that has water as an attack (ie. "Flood of Tears") will heal the golem of all damage.  Pumpkin golems only take half damage from fire or fire-based attacks.  They take double damage from cold-based attacks.

The ritual to create a pumpkin golem follows.

Golem, Pumpkin
(Blueholme Journeymanne Rules)
AC: 6
HD: 5d8
Move: 30
Attacks: 2 vine whips (1d6x2),  1 fireball (once per day) 3d6
Alignment: N
Treasure: None
XP: 300

Golem, Pumpkin
(Old-School Essentials)
A collection of pumpkins and vines in a vaguely humanoid shape. The pumpkin used for it's head is carved like a Jack-o-lantern and glows with an inner fire.
AC 6 [17], HD 5 (24hp), Att 2 and 1, vine whip and fireball, THAC0 16 [+4], MV 60’ (20’), SV D11 W11 P12 B13 S15, ML 12, AL Neutral, XP 300, NA 1 (1), TT none
 Attacks twice per round with vine whips, 1d6 per attack.
Can cast a fireball once per day for 3d6 hp of damage; save for half
Construct: Not affected by sleep, charm or hold spells.  Silvered or magical weapons required to hit.

Create Pumpkin Golem
Level: Witch 5
Range: One pumpkin patch with at least five ripe pumpkins
Duration: 1 week per witch level or until the Winter Solstice
With this spell, the witch can animate a pumpkin golem.  The raw components of the spell must include a pumpkin patch of no less than five ripe pumpkins, a specially blessed candle, and one pumpkin carved into a face.  The witch casts this spell and over the pumpkin patch. She then selects one of the pumpkins and carves it into a Jack-o-lantern.  The witch burns herbs gathered from her own garden (50gp value) and then she lights the candle. 
Once lit the golem is animated and will obey the witch's commands.
Material Components: The pumpkin patch, jack-o-lantern, blessed candle, herbs.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Announcement: The Pagan Witch Tradition

And now the project I was working on all summer.  For Old-School Essentials.

The Craft of the Wise: The Pagan Witch Tradition



From the Foreword:
It was 40 years ago.  1979.

The 70s were ending and I was excited for the coming of the new decade of the 80s.  It promised to be a great decade of home computers, new music and for me, looking forward to Junior High and High School.

It was also a watershed year for my involvement in D&D and witches.

1979 was the year I was introduced to D&D. I have told the story before; I learned from a poorly Xeroxed copy of Holmes Basic and an AD&D Monster Manual.  That formed what became my D&D incubator. I would later move on to the Moldvay Basic rules.   What *IS* D&D to me was formulated at this time.

1979 was also the year that two books that would become central to what people considered witches to be were released.  Drawing Down the Moon by Margot Adler and The Spiral Dance by Starhawk.  Both books were released on October 31, 1979, and became best sellers.  Both authors were very influenced by the works of Margaret Murray (The Witch-Cult in Western Europe) and Gerald Gardner (Witchcraft Today).  While the archeological and historical scholarship of Murray and Gardner has been rightfully dismissed, the mythology of all these works is captivating.

The witches I started playing back then, Luna, Cara, Marissa and soon Larina, were based on these and other sources. I gathered notes, began my own classes; The Witch became the front runner and my favorite.

October 31, 1999. 20 years after my start and the publication of Adler’s and Starhawk’s books I released the Complete Netbook of Witches & Warlocks. My very first book on witches for the D&D (then AD&D 2nd ed) game. In the grand occult publishing tradition, I went under the pseudonym “Web Warlock”.  I clicked “OK” on the upload while sitting in the hospital three days after my first son was born.

October 31, 2019. Twenty years later again I present you this book.  It is something of a milestone for me.  It is the penultimate release of my “Back to Basics” series of Old-School Witch books. It is also the one that cleaves the closest to how I was playing in those long lost days.  And as a special treat; my son who was only three days old when I released my first book is now 20 and contributed some spells to this book.

I am looking forward to seeing where I go in the next 20 years.
I am really happy this is the book that will celebrate the anniversary of my Complete Netbook of Witches & Warlocks.

Out on October 31st 2019, Halloween.

Here are the Back to Basics series books so far.


Tuesday, September 10, 2019

File Under: You should have seen this one coming...

This started as a joke, but I am actually beginning to love this project.   It is Fall after all.


The next, and totally unplanned, book in my Back to Basics series of witches.

The Pumpkin Spice Tradition gives us the Basic White Witch.

Join Becky and Karen and learn such spells as:

  • Blessed
  • Create Wine
  • Live, Laugh, Love
  • Does This Bring Joy?
  • Oh my God, Becky!
  • You Can’t Sit With Us
  • Summon Higher Power

Gain Occult Powers such as:

  • Resting Witch Face
  • I Want to See your Boss

No idea how many pages this one will be, but all I can say is I am having a great time writing it!

Monday, September 9, 2019

Monstrous Monday: Schreckengeist

I was doing some research yesterday morning for a couple of different projects I can't wait to share with you all and I came across a couple of really fun things.  First, and I'll talk about her later, might be the first witch NPC I EVER created. The second is today's monster.

I was going through my copy of B1 In Search of the Unknown and found a monster I had forgotten.  The  Schreckengeist, or "fear ghost" is a low-level ghost I used to fill a couple of needs.  I wanted a ghost-like creature to send against low-level aka Basic parties and I wanted an undead creature that "turned" the living.

Here is the Schreckengeist for my two current favorite Basic clones.


Schreckengeist
(Blueholme Journeymanne Rules)
AC: 3
HD: 3d8
Move: 30
Attacks: 1 special, scream of fear.
Alignment: CE
Treasure: None
XP: 175

Schreckengeist
(Old-School Essentials)
The ghost of a former adventurer. Its face is distorted in fear and rage.
AC 3 [17], HD 3 (13hp), Att 1, scream of fear, THAC0 20 [0], MV 60’ (20’), SV D13 W13 P14 B15 S17, ML 10, AL Chaotic, XP 175, NA 1 (1d4), TT none
 Scream causes fear as per the spell.
Infravision: 60’.
Undead: Not effected by sleep, charm or hold spells.  Silvered weapons to hit. Turned as a Ghoul.

The Schreckengeist is the ghost of an adventurer who died mid-adventure and was never raised or their body returned home.   The rumor is that a schreckengeist can only happen to adventurers who die on their first adventure, but they can happen to any adventurer who dies before they reach 4th level.  Not all adventurers who die though become schreckengeists.  The circumstances have to be just right.  The victim needs to have died in fear and/or great pain and their body never recovered. 

Now they are cursed to roam the dungeons they sought to explore.

The schreckengeist is incorporeal and can not be struck by normal weapons, only silvered ones.  Likewise, it can not attack with physical attacks, although in it's rage it will try too.  It's only attack is a scream of fear.  Characters of 3rd level or below must Save vs. Petrification or flee in terror as per the Fear spell.  Normal Humans and creatures below 1 level/HD get no save, characters above 4th level/HD are immune.

Schreckengeist are turned as ghouls.

Saturday, September 7, 2019

Zatannurday: Emilia Clarke to play Zatanna?

Is the Mother of Dragons set to play the Mistress of Magic?

That could be the rumor coming from We Got This Covered.



Right now this is only a rumor, but I put the odds at 50/50.

In any case I am going to be happy.

Friday, September 6, 2019

Kickstart Your Weekend: Demons in the Darkness

A new comic that deals with some subjects close to home.  School bullying, horror, and D&D.

Demons in the Darkness


https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/demonsinthedarkness/demons-in-the-darkness?ref=theotherside

It covers something I think many of my readers can relate to; high school bullying and using D&D as an escape.

From the Author:
Demons in the Darkness is a story long in the making.  I’ve had the idea for a while but I’ve struggled to tell it properly.

At its core, Demons in the Darkness, is about Bullying and the collateral damage bullying causes.  It’s about children as they awkwardly grow into adults, as they try to understand their differences from the “norm”.  It’s about the frustration of being different and accepting who you truly are.  All wrapped up in the trappings of a horror story so it's easier to digest and explore.
I have seen the comic already and it is good. It would be a good story to get out there.

The basic pledges levels are very easy. $5 for a digital and $10 for a print.  Not too bad.

There are also several bonus tiers of signed copies.  There are also tiers for digital RPG books from:


And comics:


And artists.

All in all some really fun stuff.
Definantly worth checking out!

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Favorite Basic Clone? You Tell Me!

I ran this poll over on Facebook, but I wanted to collect some more responses.  Since this is my year of "Back to Basic" I wanted to hear about what you are all playing and enjoying.


So please, answer the survey below and let me know.  This is 100% anonymous and I am not tracking anything but the choices you make.


I believe I have the top choices here, but there is also an "Other".
Note: I am considering Swords & Wizardry its own thing for the purposes of this survey.

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

The Children of the Gods: The Classical Witch for Basic Era Games

The next book in my Back to Basics series is now out!

The Children of the Gods: The Classical Witch for Basic Era Games



Old Gods Rise! 
“Who knows not Circe, The daughter of the Sun, whose charmed cup Whoever tasted, lost his upright shape, And downward fell into a groveling swine?”  - John Milton

Sumer. Egypt. Greece. Rome.
These are the foundations of civilization. Where mythology, religion, and magic collide in a fertile land.

It is a time of Gods and Witches!

This book introduces the Classical Witch Tradition. Witches from the ancient time of myths and legends.
  • The witch class and four new combination classes
  • Guidelines for playing any species of witch
  • Six witch covens of the Classical Tradition
  • 120 Spells and Rituals for witch characters
  • 24 Monsters to challenge or be allies
  • 29 magic items and six artifacts
  • Three Non-player character witches from pages of mythology
Fully compatible with BLUEHOLMETM and other Basic-Era games.

Fully compatible with other witch books from The Other Side.

Print on Demand copy available soon! 
Just waiting on my proofs.

Also, check out my other Back to Basics witch books, The Daughters of Darkness for Basic Era Games and The Cult of Diana: The Amazon Witch for Basic Era Games.




Monday, September 2, 2019

Monstrous Monday: Organizing my Monsters

It's Labor Day Weekend on a Monday.


So no Monstrous Monday post today, but in monster related news, I am trying to organize my 3-ring binders for Castles & Crusades and for AD&D 2nd Ed.  I am going to end up with extras and duplicates.  Not sure what to do with those yet.

See you tomorrow!

Saturday, August 31, 2019

#RPGaDAY2019: Last

Today's topic is Last.

Here we are at the Last.  The last post of the 2019 #RPGaDay.  What have we all shared and learned?


It has been a real treat to interact with so many people here on my blog and online.

I found a lot of great new people on Instagram and Twitter and that has been great.
I discovered a couple of new games that I hope to get to try out someday.

My personal goal was do all of these.  Last year I was going through some health issues that prevented me from getting last year's done (nothing major and it is taken care of now), same with the October Horror Movie Challenge.

I am of the frame of mind that the ending of one thing is the start of something new.  I am a big believer of “Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened.”

So with that I close the door on #RPGaDAY2019 and look forward to the October Horror Movie Challenge and #RPGaDAY for 2020.

Friday, August 30, 2019

#RPGaDAY2019: Connection

Today's topic is Connection.

While in games this is an easy thing to do, in the online-related world of selling games it is a bit harder.



One of the big reasons I wanted to do this #RPGaDay was the potential of connecting with others.  To see what sort of cool things we are all doing and share it that.  Like my post yesterday I mentioned I enjoy a lot of games. I also enjoy talking to people that make games.  All sorts of games really.

Ultimately I want more people to see my games and me to see other people's games too.

Drop me a note if you discovered me through the #RPGaDAY2019.  I am very curious.

Thursday, August 29, 2019

#RPGaDAY2019: Evolve

Today's topic is Evolve.

I think most gamers would agree that their play style will evolve over the years.  How have their games evolved?


I have had the pleasure and the privilege to have run many games over many years. Decades really.

The way I played in the late 70s and early 80s is very different than what I was doing in the late 90s and early 2000s and those are both very different than today.

I think if I had to describe my growth or change (who knows if a change is better until you test it) it is not Evolution but rather Assimilation

Even in the very beginning, I was taking ideas from other games and making them part of my own game.

I have talked at length about my love of the RPG Chill.  I have also talked at great length of my love for story and character of Dracula.   I always wanted a vampire like Dracula in my games. But more than just the stats in the Monster Manual or the D&D Expert book.  A real, un-breathing, un-living character to go after the characters. Or, more to the point, the character to go after.

Enter Chill Vampires.



This book and the Vampyre mini-game from TSR gave me something D&D was not. A playable Dracula (and Elizabeth Bathory and Jackson Dela Croix and more) with Dracula's castle.  I worked it in and came up with a 13 HD version of Dracula and a brief adventure stolen from the pages of Marvel Comics version of Dracula.
Then in 1983 the Hickmans did it all several orders of magnitude better with Ravenloft.  So yeah I grabbed that and all vampires in my games became named NPCs.  There was no such thing as a random vampire, lich or spectre in my games after that.

I suppose then it is no surprise I ended up working on the Buffy the Vampire Slayer RPG.

In a way, Ghosts of Albion is that assimilation in reverse. Starting with my then pinnacle of achievements (the Buffy line) and adding in elements from my past (Chill, D&D, and WitchCraft).

Even today I grab what I want from other games and mix as I need.  It is one of the reasons I have a Plays Well With Others feature here.  I have a new one coming up too that is a subset of that.  Can't wait to debut it.

This is also the reason I don't understand the attitude of "One True Wayism"  even if I didn't take material from other games in my playing I would still change over the years, so I know there is no one true way.  I have also worked on too many different games to believe that.

When I hear someone say "I only play D&D." or "I will never try game X." my first thought is "wow, how sad for you."  There are so many great games out there and even if I never play them all (and I couldn't possibly) that does not diminish their worth. Who knows, maybe the next love of my life is out there now sitting on someone's computer waiting to be published.  I might get to play it, but I will certainly adapt it for games.

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

#RPGaDAY2019: Love

Today's topic is Love.

There are a lot of things I love about RPGs.  I could go on about the games I love, or the social aspects, or the friends I have made over the years.  But today I think I want to talk about one love I have not talked about before.

Gen Con.



I love Gen Con.  I do.  The larger it gets the more I love it.  I started going only recently, the last 12 years, but I love everything about it.

I love the spectacle, I love the dealer's hall, the food trucks, staying in the hotel with my family, playing games all day and all night.

Every year for the last few years we have been staying at the same hotel, the JW Marriot Indy, so showing up there feels like, well, coming home.  My kids love the hotel and we are within walking distance of everything we want.  The Marriot has open gaming till 3:00am in their ballrooms, so it has been our tradition to play a game of D&D 5 for the last 5-6 years every night.




Every year we also try out new places to eat and we LOVE the food trucks. We love the cosplay parade and all the cosplay there.



Of course, there are the games.  I try to get a nice variety in with the kids. We try out new games, play some old ones.  One year I did "The History of D&D" for my family where we played every edition we could get into. Where else can you do that?

This is no slight to other cons, I have had great times there too.  But Gen Con is our love.
I also know that people complain it is "too big", not me.  I love the fact that 70,000 people are there.


It is a great feeling to be in a place where 70k+ people are there all for the same reasons.  It is a wonderful time. 

I know there will be a time when we don't go. My kids are getting older, it is getting more expensive and that drive from Chicago to Indy is the WORST.  But for now, I am going to enjoy Gen Con with my family. 


Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Cult of Diana: The Amazon Witch for Basic Era Games

The first of TWO related releases for Lughnasadh and Mabon and continuing my Back to Basics series.

Cult of Diana: The Amazon Witch for Basic Era Games


https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/286580/Cult-of-Diana-The-Amazon-Witch-for-Basic-Era-Games?affiliate_id=10748

Diana, Queen of the Hunt!
“Let us be Diana's foresters, minions of the moon”  - William Shakespeare

Artemis and Diana, Forever Young. Forever Wild.
Time out of mind the symbol of Diana meant freedom. And in freedom there is Power.

This book introduces the Amazon Witch Tradition. Witches from the ancient time of myths and legends.

 - The witch class and two new witch covens

 - 40 Spells and 8 Rituals for witch characters

Fully compatible with BLUEHOLMETM and other Basic-Era games.

Fully compatible with other witch books from The Other Side.

All for the low, low price of FREE.

Overtly this is designed to go with the Blueholme Prentice Rules. This gets you going using my Holmes inspired witch class for the price of a couple of clicks.

Also, check out the first of my Back to Basics witch books, The Daughters of Darkness for Basic Era Games.



AND Coming soon...

Children of the Gods: The Classical Witch Tradition also for BLUEHOLME!


#RPGaDAY2019: Suspense

Today's topic is Suspense.

Want Suspense?

How's this.  Tune in later today for a big announcement! ;)


Monday, August 26, 2019

Monstrous Monday: Spider, Unlight

"It was a creature from the Outer Darkness.  Clothed in the shape of a gargantuan spider, but far more fell.  It's exact shape was difficult to make out, save from where darkness gave way to a deeper unlight.  All we could see were it's monstrous eyes. Each one glowed and betrayed great and evil greed or thirst for light and life."
- From the Journals of Larina Nix


The foul and fell creatures known as the Unlight Spiders are not true spiders, but take that form from the deepest fears of mortal kind.  They are in truth shapeless spirits of the voids beyond the blackness of the darkest realms.  Such is their hunger they feed not just on life, but on the light itself.
They crave light as much as they loathe it.

Here they are for Old School Essentials.

Spider, Unlight
10' long spiders of complete pitch-black color.  Hide in dark webs in the deepest, darkest pits they can find. 
AC 4, HD 7** (32hp), Att 1 × bite (3d6 + poison), THAC0 17, MV 90’ (30’) / 180’ (60’) in webs, SV D8 W9 P10 B11 S12 (F8), ML 10, AL Chaos, XP 1210, NA 1 (1d3), TT Ux2
• Growth: Every time the Unlight Spider drains life levels equal to twice their own HD they grow one size category larger. 


HDhpXP
7321,210
14636,600
2812626,600
• Energy drain: A successfully hit target permanently loses one experience levels (or Hit Dice). This incurs a loss of one Hit Dice of hit points, as well as all other benefits due to the drained levels (e.g. spells, saving throws, etc.). A character’s XP is reduced to the lowest amount for the new level. A person drained of all levels dies and cannot be raised.
• Infravision: 180’
• Loathe the Light: -1 to-hit in lighted conditions (Light spell) and -2 full daylight (Continual Light spell) conditions.
• Mundane damage immunity: Can only be harmed by magical attacks.
• Poison: Causes death in 1 turn (save vs poison).
• Webs: Creatures caught in webs become entangled and unable to move. Breaking free depends on Strength.
<10: Impossible to break free
10-13: 6 rounds
14-17: 5 rounds
18-19: 4 rounds
19-22: 3 rounds
23+ : 2 rounds
The webs can be destroyed by fire in three rounds. All creatures in a flaming web suffer 1d6 points of damage.

#RPGaDAY2019: Idea

Today's topic is Idea.

Ideas come from a lot of different places.  For example, this weekend's big idea came from my desire to do something big.


I am wrapping up my first big D&D 5 campaign, The Order of the Platinum Dragon, which will end in the Q1 Queen of the Demonweb Pits, but instead of using the "Steampunk" spider ship, I am going with the fan-created adventure Skein Of The Death Mother by John A. Turcotte.

My idea is to do something really special.

I have 5 2ft x 2ft pieces of a shitty particle-board.  I have tubing, I have some LED lights. I have a ton of plastic spiders and a few broken mini-figures. I will get some spider-webs from the Halloween store, some gaming paper, some paint.  I bet there are some maps I can print too.

I am going to build some giant "geomorphs".

The plan is not really to replicate the map above but to get the feel of it.  I am likely to make rooms close to 13, 21 and 26 above, but also do some of the clusters of smaller rooms too.

I have 5  boards, so I figure I can "geomorph" them enough to build something really cool and flexible.

It should not take me too long, unless I get loss in the details, but it should still be fun.

Sunday, August 25, 2019

#RPGaDAY2019: Calamity

Today's topic is Calamity.

In many ways, this post is a continuation of my post on Lost.


One of the things all my Lost Lands have in common is they are lost due to some calamity.

Atlantis, Doggerland and East Beleriand were taken back by the sea.  Their secrets hidden by the waves.

For the Suel Empire, it was the Rain of Colorless Fire.  And that makes it interesting.

I think flooding is something we can get.  We see it. Some have experienced it.  I  grew up near the Illinois River Valley.  My wife grew up near the Fox River Valley (it was her backyard).  We have both seen several "once in a lifetime" floods.   Flooding I get. I know what happens, even when it is terrible.

Fire from the sky?  That is some apocalypse level shit.

Ithink that is also one of the reasons that attracted me so much to the whole Suel Empire.  Their world was just under a sea, in this case the Sea of Dust, but they were wiped out by fire.  Like Pompei.

A good calamity can add some gravitas to your world.  Plus it helps explain all those lost treasure hordes dragons seem to have.


Rain of Fire 
Level: Witch Ritual 6
Ritual Requirements: Minimum 3 witches, see text
Range: See text
Duration: See text
"It is said that only those that give life know the price of taking a life.  This is why only witches were given the power to destroy." - from the Journal of Larina Nix

The witches of old had powerful rituals both of creating life and creating death. This ritual is very much the latter.
Three or more witches are needed for the most basic version of this horrible ritual, more witches added the more devastating the effects.  Each witch must know this ritual.
The witches take a prepared focus item, an effigy made from the same materials of their target.  Usually a town or a locale. Each witch contributes a bit of blood (1hp worth) to item's creation since life must be given to take life
Once the ritual has begun the witches make a plea and summons to dark gods of vengeance, destruction, and fire.   The pleas, once heard, will be answered in kind, with vengeance, destruction, and fire.   

The witches then burn the effigy, each providing the flame via magic.  Once that is done the fire rains down on the actual location destroying it and anyone in it.  Victims can run from the location if they make it out of the area, they will be safe, but a save vs. Spells must be made or take 1d6 hp of damage per all the level of the witches involved, or half on a save.

Witches Participating
Minimum Damage
Area Sq. Miles
3
36d6
5
4
48d6
10
5
60d6
25
6
72d6
50
7
84d6
100
8
96d6
250
9
108d6
500
10
120d6
1,000
12
144d6
2,500
13
156d6
5,000

Material Components: The effigy of the place targeted, made with materials from the target. Each witch also uses a rod of ash that she uses to focus her energy on the effigy then they raise their rods to sky to direct the energy out to the target.  Each witch also contributes 1hp worth of blood in the casting.

This ritual is rare and all witches must know ritual in order to cast it.

I wonder what lies in the Suel Cities of Dust?  Treasures? The Suel people preserved only as ashen shells?  One day I should find out.

Water was running; children were running 
You were running out of time 
Under the mountain, a golden fountain 
Were you praying at the Lares shrine? 

But oh your city lies in dust, my friend 

We found you hiding we found you lying
Choking on the dirt and sand
Your former glories and all the stories
Dragged and washed with eager hands 

But oh your city lies in dust, my friend 

Water was running; children were running
We found you hiding we found you lying 

But oh your city lies in dust, my friend 
Hot and burning in your nostrils
Pouring down your gaping mouth
Your molten bodies blanket of cinders
Caught in the throes 

And your city lies in dust

Saturday, August 24, 2019

#RPGaDAY2019: Triumph

Today's topic is Triumph.

Let's all cast our minds back to the early and mid-80s when D&D was getting REALLY popular.



There are more, if you want to find them.  Lots more really.

The biggest Triumph we have had as RPG players and geeks, in general, is that society has come to embrace us.

The biggest movies in the world now are all nerdy topics that never would have worked in the 80s.  Comic-books, stories about wizards, Lord of the Rings, movies about Aliens.

Let's have a look at the at the top box office earners according to Box Office Mojo.

1Star Wars: The Force AwakensBV$936,662,2252015
2Avengers: EndgameBV$858,188,4152019
3AvatarFox$760,507,6252009^
4Black PantherBV$700,059,5662018
5Avengers: Infinity WarBV$678,815,4822018
6TitanicPar.$659,363,9441997^
7Jurassic WorldUni.$652,270,6252015
8Marvel's The AvengersBV$623,357,9102012
9Star Wars: The Last JediBV$620,181,3822017
10Incredibles 2BV$608,581,7442018

The only "non-geek" movie in the bunch is Titanic.

Now celebrities tout their geek and D&D cred like it is a badge of honor and respect.
Vin Disel,  Stephen Colbert, Felicia Day, Dwayne Johnson, Joe Manganiello among many others routinely talk about D&D.  Will Wheaton walks around Gen Con like he BELONGS there (spoiler, he does!).

And then you have something like this.
Actress Dominique Tipper from "The Expanse", a British/Dominican actress of color so no where near the stereotype of a D&D player.



Her Twitter posts after this have been a delight.  She is falling in love with the game so many of us love and it is a wonderful thing.

The Triumph of D&D is how we went from being persecuted in the 80s to being in the limelight today.

They say the best revenge is living well and D&D is living well indeed.
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