Thursday, April 20, 2023

The Rose Sisters, Witches of the Hill (B5 Horror on the Hill)

B5 Horror on the Hill, Rosabella and Rosalinda

I was going through all my notes for my 1979 Campaign centered around the Keep on the Borderlands as a Pathfinder-like adventure path.

I have found that there are a lot of people out there who are equally fascinated with the B1 and B2 adventures, that this is something I spend a long time doing. I would not even have to add anything else to it all.

So, of course, what am I doing?  Adding something else to it.  

I noticed I did not have a copy of B5 Horror on the Hill. I always kind of wanted it since I knew a little bit about it and it was from the "Golden Age" of D&D. I had never bought a copy because by 1983 (when it was published) I had moved on to AD&D instead.  More folly for me I guess.  The recent GM's Day Sale at DriveThru had it on sale, so I grabbed the PDF and Print on Demand versions.  While waiting for the print I read through it a bit and found it would make a great addition to the surrounding of Keep. In fact, I think I would merge Guido's Fort and the Keep into one place. I am certainly not the first to think this or try this.

I was reading through the rumor table and saw this:

rumors of witches

I don't think you quite get the thrill I get when I am reading an older D&D product and there are witches in it! It is not something I am going to get to experience much more of, but it is always special.

So B5, Horror on the Hill has a rumor about an evil witch, and it is marked as TRUE?  Hell yeah!

Well, not so fast. There are two spellcasting women living on the Hill. But they are not really witches and they are a far cry from evil.

At least it is encounter #13.  

I am fine with them not being evil, but a cleric and a magic user? Must be something in the water around here that they all decide to live together. But I also know an opportunity when I see it.

We have two elderly women, Rosabella, 5th level and Rosalinda, 6th level, living near an area where there are ghouls, hobgoblins, rumors of a dragon, and more? In a cabin that is bigger on the inside?

Yeah, they are certainly witches.  But what kind?

Since this is overtly a BECMI product and from 1983 no less, I think my earliest OSR Witch book would be best suited for these two.  I also could not help but think of the sisters Ada Brook and Agnes van Rhijn in The Gilded Age on HBO played by Cynthia Nixon and Christine Baranski, as Rosabella and Rosalinda, respectively.

Rosabella & Rosalinda, The Rose Sisters

How these two witches came to live on the Hill is something lost to time out of mind. It is known that they are the last of the Rose Witch Coven that had operated in the area for many years and they inherited their magic home from their mother.  

Both sisters are Family Tradition witches, with their knowledge of witchcraft handed down throughout the ages. Rosalinda had a son, but he seems to have had no intention of marrying and has so far not produced any female heirs to their family's tradition.

They now live in this cabin/mansion and barter and trade with the local Keep when possible and with the various demi-humans who fear them.

B5 Horror on the Hill, Rosabella and Rosalinda

5th level Witch, Family Tradition

S: 12 I: 13 W: 14 D: 12 C: 13 Ch: 17

AC: 6 (Ring of Protection +3)
HP: 20

Attack: 1, by spell

Occult Powers: Familar (Spirit of a long-dead ancestor)

Cantrips: (5) Alarm Ward, Clean, Detect Curse, Mend Minor Wounds, Quick Sleeping
First Level: (2) Detect Invisible, Magic Circle vs. Evil
Second Level: (2) Hold Person, Scare
Third Level: (1) Stop Thief

6th level Witch, Family Tradition

S: 10 I: 13 W: 12 D: 10 C: 10 Ch: 15

AC: 9
HP: 17

Attack: 1, by spell

Occult Powers: Familar (Spirit of a long-dead ancestor)

Cantrips: (4) Arcane Mark, Daze, Mend, Spark
First Level: (3) Cause Fear, Sleep, Spirit Dart
Second Level: (2) Minor Image, Phantasmal Spirit
Third Level: (2) Fly, Mirror Image

Pretty good if you ask me. They are high-level to characters of the 1st to 3rd level to be sure.  Though I think they should be higher to keep the various monsters at bay.  Mind you they have desire to fight them, just scare them a little. 

And like all proper witches, they have a Tea Ritual. They are not above adding a sleeping draught to the tea of rude guests and sending them on their way. 

Looking forward to seeing what else I can do with this adventure!

Basic Witches

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