Wednesday, January 31, 2024

Character Creation Challenge: Aradia for Wasted Lands

 All month long, I have been giving you D&D characters of various editions I have converted over to the O.G.R.E.S.-powered Wasted Lands. Today, I am really putting my money where my mouth is and creating a new Witch Queen character native to the Wasted Lands' Dreaming Age. 

So I have presented several Witch Queens for my War of the Witch Queens campaign. The conceit is that every D&D-like world has a Witch Queen. I have presented several here and even converted a couple to Wasted Lands. But today's Queen began in the Wasted Lands and rose to power here. Will she be remembered later on? Obtain some level of divinity? Likely. The Witch Queen I am giving you today is Aradia, Queen of the Witches.

Aradia, Queen of Witches

Aradia is an interesting figure. "Aradia, or the Gospel of the Witches," was a book by American folklorist Charles Godfrey Leland. It makes the claim that Aradia was a historical figure from pagan Tuscany.  It is a similar idea that Margaret Murray's "The Witch-cult in Western Europe" would later adapt and adopt.

As fun as these ideas are, they don't hold up to the most basic academic scrutiny. Still, I like using them in my games, especially NIGHT SHIFT.  

Aradia is also great for Wasted Lands. 

Aradia, Queen of Witches

Aradia is described as the Daughter of the Roman Diana, who has many differences from her Greek counterpart, Artemis. Her father is Lucifer, who is described as a "Sun God" and is either Diana's son or brother. She seduces him and gives birth to their daughter, Aradia. In Leland's book, it is Diana, who is the Queen of Witches, and Aradia, who is akin to a witch Messiah. 

If we return to the Wasted Lands, Diana can be a Warrior/Sorceress from Minoa, and Lucifer would be a Warrior from Ashurii. Aradia learned her magic from mystics in Athenea and learned masters from Atlantis and Mu. She learned folk magic and the secret languages of plants and trees. She has traveled the world, learning magical practices. Her purpose is/was to spread beneficial magic, un-tainted by the Old Ones, to humanity. 

Aradia, then in the Wasted Lands, is the source of Witchcraft. 

Aradia, Queen of Witches
Aradia, Queen of Witches

Class: Sorceress (Witch)
Level: 20
Species: Human
Alignment: Twilight Good
Background: Sorcerous

Abilities
Strength: 10 (+0) 
Agility: 13 (+1) 
Toughness: 14 (+1) 
Intelligence: 17 (+2) N
Wits: 18 (+3) N 
Persona: 20 (+4) A

Fate Points: 1d12
Defense Value: 4
Vitality: 114
Degeneracy: 0
Corruption: 0

Check Bonus (A/N/D): +8/+3/+2
Melee Bonus: +2 (base) 
Ranged Bonus: +2 (base)
Spell Attack: +5
Saves: +7 to Spells and Magical effects (Sorcerer), +2 to Wits saves (Sorcerous Background)

Sorcerous Background
Enhanced Sorcery +10%, Mystical Senses, Bonus Arcane Power: Precognition

Sorceress Abilities
Arcana, Arcane Powers (7): Empathy, Enhanced Senses, Beguile, Detect Thoughts, Teleknesis, Telepathic Transmission, Astral Projection

Sorceress Spells
First Level: Armor of Earth, Bless, Command, Glamour, Predict Weather, Sleep
Second Level: Animal Summoning, Conjure Flame, Invisibility, Lesser Renewal, Subtle Influence
Third Level: Clairvoyance, Cure Disease, Curse, Fly, Speaking Corpse
Fourth Level: Befuddlement, Conjure Fire, Plant Speech, Metamorphosis, Plant Speech
Fifth Level: Banishment, Cornucopia, Restore Life, Shadow Armor
Sixth Level: Dispel Evil, Evoke Weather, Invisible Servant, Reincarnation
Seventh Level: Ball of Sunshine, Call the Restless Soul, Wave of Mutilation, Widdershins Dance
Eighth Level: Mind Shield, Prophesy, Wail of the Banshee
Ninth Level: Breath of the Goddess, Feedback Barrier, Sleeping Village

Heroic/Divine Touchstones 
1st Level: Plus 10% to Spell Casting
2nd Level: Additional Spell: Damage Undead
3rd Level: Familiar: Raven
4th Level: Magical Recovery
5th Level: Grant Spellcasting
6th Level: Immunity to Spells/Magic
7th Level: Cult
*7th Level: Cease to Age
8th Level: Bestow Blessing
9th Level: Heal Corruption

Heroic (Divine) Archetype: Magic

Gear
Staff, Dagger

Aradia in the Wasted Lands

This is the start of Aradia she was the first mortal witch, and her actions are the beginnings of witchcraft in the world. She will be remembered after the Dreaming Age end, and the Age of Humans begin. Later, scholars will claim to know of her, but those memories are something deeper and much older.

Aradia in NIGHT SHIFT

This is the Aradia that Leland wrote about and the one Murry wished was true. She is still a force in the modern world, especially when it comes to witches, whom she sees as her progeny. 

Aradia in Thirteen Parsecs

Will Aradia make it beyond the Earth and out into the Solar Frontier? Who is to say, but the Sisters of the Aquarian Order would argue that she is still a force to be reckoned with in their lives.

Aradia in Dungeons & Dragons

In my OSR/BX/D&D games she would be a Classical Witch, but she would also be a Witch Queen Patron to various Warlocks. 

You can get the Wasted Lands RPG and the NIGHT SHIFT RPG at Elf Lair Games. Thirteen Parsecs is coming soon.

Character Creation Challenge

Tuesday, January 30, 2024

Character Creation Challenge: Magnus Ulslime for Wasted Lands

 Heroes are often measured by the bad guys they have to face. If that is the case then Johan Werper and his line are true heroes indeed because their long time foe is a semi-immortal necromancer of the darkest dye. And you have seen him before.

Magnus Ulslime character sheets

Magnus Ulslime had several origin points for me that all seemed to collide at once. First there was Len Lakofka's Death Master class I saw in Best of Dragon Vol. III, a reprint of his class from Dragon #76. There was Ulslime the Chaosar (terrible name) from Module CM2 Death's Ride. And finally what I *thought* Module X6 Quagmire was about. All of these mixed in the same vat I was building classes in; my Healer, Sun-Priest, Witch, and Necromancer.  I saw my Necromancer as the moral opposite of the Healer and the Sun Priest.  Eventually, I would go to get my Profane Necromancer and Death Pact Warlocks out into the world along with my Witch.

Much like Larina is my test character for anything witchy, Magnus is my test for any sort of necromancer. Though I do not have as many versions of him as I do her.  I have featured him, though, as Necromancer for Spellcraft & Swordplay and as a Death Pact Warlock. I have also done his adopted children Runu and Urnu for both Spellcraft and Swordplay and Wasted Lands in the past. 

Magnus Ulslime
Magnus Ulslime

Class: Necromancer
Level: 13
Species: Human
Alignment: Dark Evil
Background: Cult

Abilities
Strength: 10 (+0) 
Agility: 13 (+1) 
Toughness: 14 (+1) 
Intelligence: 19 (+3) N
Wits: 16 (+2) N
Persona: 19 (+3) Z

Fate Points: 1d10
Defense Value: 5
Vitality: 87
Degeneracy: 33
Corruption: 7

Check Bonus (A/N/D): +7/+4/+3
Melee Bonus: +2 (base)
Ranged Bonus: +2 (base)
Magical Attack: +2
Saves: +8 to Persona saves, -2 vs Corruption

Cult Powers
Commune with Deeper Dark (1/week), Familiar (small demon), Forbidden Knowledge 38%, Mystical Senses

Necromancer Abilities
Channel the Dead, See Dead people, Turn Undead, Protection from Dead x5, Summon the Dead, Vampiric Augmentation, Suggestion x2, Command, Vampiric Touch, Beguile Spirit

Arcane Powers
Detect Thoughts, Polymath (Sage Abilities: Level 1), Incubus (touchstone), Shadow Walk (touchstone)

Spells
First level: Black Flames, Night Vision, Glamour
Second level: Invoke Fear, Paralyze Poison

Heroic/Divine Touchstones 
1st Level: Arcane Power: Incubus (1d6)
2nd Level: Arcane Power: Shadow Walk
3rd Level: Class Level, Sorcerer 1
4th Level: Class Level, Sorcerer 2
5th Level: Class Level, Sorcerer 3
6th Level: Class Level, Sorcerer 4
7th Level: Character ceases to age

Heroic (Divine) Archetype: Death

Gear
Death staff

Magnus in the Wasted Lands

These are great stats and I am amazed with how flexible and customizable this game actually is. There is just so much going on here. It is also the first time in a character write-up I was able to really capture his childhood in a Death Cult. The only thing I did not do here is capture his early adulthood as a druid. Maybe a couple of levels of Theosophist would cover that.

Magnus in NIGHT SHIFT

If the Dark Druid can make it to the modern age, then Magnus could as well. I can see a cult trying to bring him back. I see it as sort of like a cheesy 80s movie where a bunch of teens play some record backward and summons Magnus, though I think to be true to his roots AND the 80s, he would have to be called "The Death Master."  Hmm. Maybe this is the missing piece of this 80s adventure I have been wanting to do.

Magnus in Thirteen Parsecs

I honestly have no idea if he will live this long. But maybe I will come up with something. The universe is a big and really weird place.  Though I will admit the name "Magnus" came to me while watching the Doctor Who serial "Talons of Weng-Chiang."  The bad guy in this one, Magnus Greel, was from the 51st Century. He even had a familiar of sorts, Mr. Sin.  I might have to name his quasit familiar Mr. Sin.

You can get the Wasted Lands RPG and the NIGHT SHIFT RPG at Elf Lair Games. Thirteen Parsecs is coming soon.

Character Creation Challenge

Monday, January 29, 2024

Character Creation Challenge: Brigid for Wasted Lands

"A Bhrigid, scar os mo chionn, do bhrat fionn dom anacal."

 Something a little different today, a little bit of Wasted Lands myth-making applied to D&D rather than just using Wasted Lands as a D&D substitute.

One "character" that has been a feature of many of my games (fantasy, horror, sci-fi) is that of Brigid. My version is based on the famous saint, St. Brigid of Kildare AND the goddess Brigid of Celtic myth. I figured with Imbolc (Feb 1) coming up, it is a good time to talk about her.

Brigit (of Kildare / "Cil Dara")

Who Is Brigit?

A simple question with a very complicated answer. In the mytho-historical tales of Ireland there are two Brigits. The Goddess and the Saint. Was the saint named for the goddess? Was the goddess named for the Saint thanks to a 2000+ plus oral tradition that mostly predates writing? In the years I have paid (casual) attention to the academic debates, I have seen them shift back and forth a little (or a lot, depending on the journal).  She is also related to the ancient British Goddess/figure Brigantia, who the Romans saw as aspects of the goddesses Minerva (Athena), Tyche/Fortuna, and Victoria (Nike). She is a complicated Goddess. 

This is fascinating but only tangentially related to my games, save for how my readings add to them. 

She is a Goddess, a Saint, and a figure in Celtic Pagan Witchcraft. So yeah, I am going to find a place for her in my games. Given her influence on me, I don't think it is a surprise that I have so many redheaded witches.

In my games, Brigit is more of a force than a character. I have talked about her in terms of Celtic Myth. The Witch Guardians for D&D 3.x and 4e. As a historical figure in my modern horror games. And as Protectors of Éire for my Ghosts of Albion games.

In my games where I like to play on the themes of the Rise and Fall of Paganism vs. the Coming of the Christian Faith, Brigit is my chance to "cheat a win."  In these games, Brigit is a pagan Goddess. She has a following of women pagan worshipers who are no longer druids but not yet witches. My version of Bodhmal is a great if not prime, example of this.  In these games/set-up Brigit tucks her fire-red hair under a nun's habit and continues on.  Her witches now hiding in plain sight.

I never worked out how that works for her, but with Wasted Lands I can give it a try!  Before there was the St. Brigit of Kildare, or there was Goddess Brigit, there was the woman Brigit. She was many things: warrior, philosopher, healer, and the spirit of her land. Because of her connection to Ireland, she is remembered by many in many different forms.

Brigit (of Kildare / "Cil Dara")
Brigit (of Kildare / "Cil Dara")

Class: Warrior / Theosophist / Spirit Rider
Level: 15 (5/5/5)
Species: Human
Alignment: Light Good
Background: Animistic

Abilities
Strength: 15 (+1) A
Agility: 12 (+1) 
Toughness: 17 (+2) 
Intelligence: 11 (+1) 
Wits: 16 (+2) N
Persona: 17 (+2) N

Fate Points: 1d12
Defense Value: 5
Vitality: 114
Degeneracy: 0
Corruption: 0

Check Bonus (A/N/D): +7/+4/+3
Melee Bonus: +5 (base) +1 (str) +2 (touchstones)
Ranged Bonus: +5 (base) +1 (touchstone)
Magical Attack: +2
Saves: +2 to all saves (warrior), +2 to Persona saves, but -2 on Magic away from Ireland (Animistic).

Animistic Powers
Mystical senses, Speak with Plants and Animals,  Animal Summoning 1 (spell)

Warrior Abilities
Combat Expertise, Improved Defence, Melee Combat, Master of Battle, Supernatural Attacks (melee and ranged), Spell Resistance, Tracking, Masters of Weapons, Extra Attacks (x2), Extra Damage

Theosophist Abilities
See Dead People, Turn Undead, Summon the Dead, Channel the Dead, Protection from Undead (2/day), Command, Death Knell (Banshee Wail), Suggestion (1/day)

Spirit Rider Abilities
Innate Magic (5), Arcane Power (2), Commune with Spirit, Limited Power (outside of Ireland), Magcial Battery, Add Wits bonus to Supernatural attacks

Arcane Powers
Empathy, Precognition

Spells
First level: Gout of Flame, Restore Vitality
Second level: Eternal Flame, Lesser Renewal
Third level: Concusive Blast (Fire)

Heroic/Divine Touchstones 
1st Level: First Level Spell: Black Flame
2nd Level: +1 to melee combat
3rd Level: Charm Power
4th Level: Favored Enemy: Undead
5th Level: +1 to all checks, attacks, and saves
6th Level: Immunity to Undead Attacks
7th Level: Character ceases to age

Heroic (Divine) Archetype: Craft, Fire, Warrior

Gear
Sword, Leather Armor

Brigit in the Wasted Lands

For these stats, I played up the aspects of her character that will become important in my games: her connection to fire and her hatred of the undead. This is the warrior aspect of her personality.  Her Animitic background (from Wasted Lands) and her levels in Spirit Rider (NIGHT SHIFT) play very well with each other. As long as she is in Ireland (however I choose to define that) she is powerful and can avoid corruption, outside she is less protected.

Brigit in NIGHT SHIFT

From NIGHT SHIFT I get her Theosophist class (Core Rules) and her Spirit Rider class (Night Companion). This works well for me since it also gives me more mechanics to represent her aspects.  Brigit is still active in the world of NIGHT SHIFT since she is the head of the Daughters of the Flame coven. A world-wide organization of witches dedicated to Brigit. 

Brigit in Thirteen Parsecs

Ah...now this one is fun. How does a Celtic Goddess find her way out into the Solar Frontier? I guess this is my answer to the infamous question, "Why does God need a Starship?"  In my Black Star games (soon to be converted wholesale over to Thirteen Parsecs), there is a ship in the Mystic line, the Imbolc Mage NX-3119. This ship is the sister to the Protector NX-3120. I have not talked much about that ship because I have been using it as an NPC ship. I have also been using it as my test-run ship for ship-to-ship combat rules. Brigit herself is not on this ship, but she has a vested interest in it. 

You can get the Wasted Lands RPG and the NIGHT SHIFT RPG at Elf Lair Games. Thirteen Parsecs is coming soon.

Character Creation Challenge

Sunday, January 28, 2024

True Detective: Night Country and Valhalla, AK

True Detective: Night Country
I am a fan of the HBO series True Detective. I had a bit to say about the first season here and here, so I am a fan. The new season, Season 4, is out now, and so far, it is excellent, too.  I am not going to get into any spoilers here, but Jodie Foster is fantastic in this. Maybe some of the best acting of her career, and I have been a fan of hers forever. And Kali Reis is amazing so far.

This season, subtitled "Night Country," is a fantastic idea. It takes place in the fictional town of Ennis, Alaska just north of the Arctic Circle. It is a detective drama, but there appear to be elements of the supernatural in it as well. Plus, it ties directly back to the first season of True Detective.

It also sounds a lot like what I wanted to do with my Valhalla, AK

Now, let's be honest here. The idea is a good one. Plus, I know there is really no way Issa López (showrunner, writer, and director) has read anything I have ever written here. It is just a great idea. Mine might have been a little closer to "Northern Exposure," though my Valhalla would be somewhere south of Ennis and a bit north of Cicely. 

While it is a great idea and one I have some fun with, I am not sure I could get away with building anything for it now for publication. Sure, I have the benefit of having my Valhalla predate Night Country and the first season of True Detective, but I am not sure I could really do it justice.

So, I am thinking of going back to my original idea and doing it as something for free here online. Something people can use in their NIGHT SHIFT games. Hell, if I throw in more alien abductions, then I can add in bits of Thirteen Parsecs, or other games from Elf Lair Games.  

Something I have been working on for Thirteen Parsecs is the fact that the barriers between the multi-verses are very thin here. People wander and get lost and end up in a different universe. One of those Earths is a planet called Gaia where history is like our own, but due to disease and runaway climate change, the population is only a 10th of Earth's, and the global temperatures have risen an average of 7-10 degrees Celius. Valhalla, AK, on Gaia, is much warmer and wetter than it is here. I mentioned some of this in the Night Companion book for NIGHT SHIFT.

I hope to develop more ideas and ways to use this weird little town in NIGHT SHIFT. 

Starting Adventure Seeds

The Last of 97s

In this seed there is a local gold mine. The mine has been shut down since the turn of the last century. Then, one night, a stranger comes to town with handfuls of gold he claims he has taken from the mine. His paperwork is all in order and legal for his purchase of the mine. He begins paying the locals in this gold. Soon he, his miners, and anyone he gave gold too end up dead by mysterious and brutal ways.

The Culprit: The ghosts of the dead miners from the failed rescue of the 1897 Mine Collapse do not want their gold taken away. Getting to bodies is difficult. The only way to quiet the dead miners is to return all the gold taken out.

Prophecy in the Petroglyphs

A cave with petroglyphs from the last Ice Age seems to be depicting scenes in the nearby town. Are these a warning from the past about the future or is history repeating itself?

The Culprit: Unknown as of yet. But it's likely something I can add to another adventure.

Petroglyphs

The Fur Trapper's Curse

An old abandoned fur trapper's hut is discovered along with the frozen remains of two Russian Fur trappers from the late 1700s. They walked over the frozen sea during one of the coldest winters of the last 400 years. They froze, and their faces were frozen in terror. But what else is there? A nearby cave, now uncovered due to warming temperatures, has the answer. 

The Culprit: A giant frozen bear that is a throwback to prehistoric times. It is bigger than any grizzly or polar bear recorded. Maybe it is an Amphicyon

The Wrath of the Wendigo

This one is obvious.

The Culprit: The wendigo!

The Strange Auroras

The Aurora Borealis are a common sight this far north. But not these. These auroras have strange colors and patterns; if you listen closely enough, you can hear them whisper to you. It is a strange language that worms into your mind, and you can't get it out of your head, no matter how hard you try.

The Culprit: Unknown as of yet!

Aurora Borealis

Utopia

A reclusive tech billionaire builds a self-sufficient town in the Alaskan wilderness, promising a new age of peace and progress. But beneath the sleek surface lurks a sinister secret, fueled by technology and dark bargains.

The Culprit: You think it is the billionaire, and yeah, he is to blame, but it has more to do with the creature he has made a pact with.

These are just a few of the ideas I have. There are more where this came from.

Character Creation Challenge: "Retsam Elddir" for Wasted Lands

 This one is important to me.  

Yesterday, I briefly introduced you to a character I mentioned around here but finally gave him a proper introduction: Nigel "Death Blade" Delamort. If he sounded like the sort of character a 13-year-old makes while trying to sound edgy, then yes, you are 100% correct. But he is part of a quintet, five aspects of my personality on paper as it were (remember I was just introduced to psychology and I was eating it all up). Today's character is the last of that quintet.

Briefly, when looking at psychoanalytic theory (and please keep in mind I am reducing a hundred+ years worth of thought into the size of a bubble gum wrapper), a person's personality can broken up into two aspects according to Jung (Anima/Animus) or three according to Freud (Id/Ego/Super-ego). I have already introduced you all to my Animus (Phygora), Anima (Larina), Id (Nigel), and Super-Ego (Johan), so all I need now is my Ego-self.  

My ego is Johan Werper, aka Retsam Elddir.

Retsam Elddir / Scott Elders character sheets

Wait. That doesn't make any sense. Here is what I am talking about. 

Again, I ask you to come back with me to the years between 1983 and 1986. I was in High School and playing a ton of D&D...or, more to the point, AD&D. We really tried to draw a very solid line between the two. When I was the DM, it was B/X D&D, and our world was "The Known World," later to be called Mystara. When my friend Michael was DMing, it was AD&D, and the world was Greyhawk. We would merge them, and that world became something like the Mystoerth that I use today.

Around 85-86 we were both working making new character classes and trying them out. Mine were the Healer, the Sun-Priest, a variant on the Necromancer/Death Mage, and my most successful one, The Witch. Grenda was not sitting by. He had created, sort of as a joke, a super-powered class of psychic adepts that had to hide their powers since at that time we said psionics were considered unnatural in a world of magic. That class was the Riddle Master, named after the Patricia A. McKillip book, The Riddle-Master of Hed. As it happened, he really loved the class. So much so that he wanted me to try it out.  So I said fine, roll up my stats and I'll come over.  He did and the stats for my new Riddle Master were the exact same as the ones Johan I had. So we thought this was the Johan of Oerth and not the same as the Mystara one I was playing. We were both high from the Crisis on Infinite Earths, I had also been reading Job: A Comedy of Justice by Heinlein and The Coming of the Quantum Cats by Pohl. So we decided that this new Johan was a "Quantum Cat" or multiverse counterpart (the current en vogue term is Variant) of my first Johan. Much like Superman of Earth 1 vs. Superman of Earth 2 there was a generational age difference.

We decided that this new Riddle Master character had to use a different name to avoid confusion in our inevitable cross-overs.  I did the only logical thing. I spelled his name backwards, much to the chagrin of Grenda. Of course I stole the idea from him. He had characters named Adnerg and Htaed.

Thus began the adventuring life of Retsam Elddir. He crazy powerful psionic powers and still made dumb mistakes. Like when he stuck his hands into a Gelatinous Cube (he wore gloves after that forever to hide the scars), he was best friends with Larina, married Heather, and killed the ancient vampire Mal Havoc

Later on, Retsam, using the name Scott Elders, would show up in Ghosts of Albion, WitchCraft, and even feature in a Star Trek game as a guest, then as the main PC. The AD&D version was a blast to play with but I also enjoyed the WitchCraft version a lot. It was the WitchCraft version that I used in my Vacation in Vancouver campaign.

Retsam has a lot of things in common with both Johan (Super-Ego) and Phygora (Animus). Like both of those characters, he is an occult/arcane scholar. Like them both he is an expert in magic. In Larina's library, there are books with blue covers from Johan, black covers from Pygora, and red covers from Retsam.

Retsam Elddir / Scott Elders
Retsam Elddir / Scott Elders / Johan Werper

Class: Psychic / Scholar
Level: 20
Species: Human
Alignment: Light Neutral
Background: Scholar

Abilities
Strength: 15 (+2) 
Agility: 10 (+0) 
Toughness: 12 (+0) 
Intelligence: 15 (+1) N
Wits: 15 (+1) N
Persona: 19 (+3) A

Fate Points: 1d12
Defense Value: 5
Vitality: 120
Degeneracy: 0
Corruption: 0

Check Bonus (A/N/D): +8/+6/+2
Melee Bonus: +4 (base) +1 (touchstone) 
Ranged Bonus: +4 (base)
Psychic Attack: +7
Saves: +7 vs Persona (Psychic), +1 to all (touchstone)

Psychic Abilities
Psychic powers: 5, Supernatural attacks, Supernatural power: Astral Projection

Psychic Powers
Bio-feedback
Psychokinesis
ESP
Telepathy
Temporal Sense

Sage Abilities
Languages: 15, Lore 95%, Mesmerize others, suggestion, Renegade Skills: 3rd level, Spells 3/2/1

Stealth Skills
Open Locks: 30%
Bypass Traps: 25%
Sleight of Hand: 35%
Sneak: 30%

Spells
First level: Arcane Dart, Damage Undead, Mystical Senses
Second level: Lesser Renewal, Unlock
Third level: Concussive Blast

Heroic/Divine Touchstones 
1st Level: First Level Spell: Black Flame
2nd Level: +1 to melee combat
3rd Level: Charm Power
4th Level: Favored Enemy: Vampire
5th Level: +1 to all checks, attacks, and saves
6th Level: Immunity to Undead Attacks
7th Level: Character ceases to age
8th Level: Persistent Luck
9th Level: Down but not out
10th Level: Time Slip

Heroic (Divine) Archetype: Knowledge

Gear
Sword, Leather Armor

Retsam in the Wasted Lands

Much like Nigel this is where Retsam starts. In the Wasted Lands I would focus on his psychic abilities and his desire to hunt the undead, vampires in particular.

Retsam in NIGHT SHIFT

In modern times Retsam is using the name Scott Elders. NIGHT SHIFT works great (naturally) with the type of supernatural games I like to play/run. In this sort of game I can use Retsam/Scott as Prof. Scott Elders, an occult scholar and faculty at St. Andrews University. 

Retsam in Thirteen Parsecs

This Scott Elders was the Chief Medical Officer and then Captain of the medical starship Mercy. To have one system to be able to do all three of these different versions is fantastic. Especially one system that allows me to do this character so well.

ALL allow me to use the same character across different times, different places, and right up to the Solar Frontier.

You can get the Wasted Lands RPG and the NIGHT SHIFT RPG at Elf Lair Games. Thirteen Parsecs is coming soon.

Character Creation Challenge

Saturday, January 27, 2024

Character Creation Challenge: Nigel Blade for Wasted Lands

 Back in the mid-80s, I discovered psychology. I thought it was a great topic and it really fascinated me. I started, of course, with the classics where most people start, Freud and Jung. Well, really, Jung and then Freud , I wanted to read Jung and, in particular, Synchronicity in the original German. It was not easy let me tell you. While both Freud and Jung are psychoanalysts, but Jung always more like philosophy to me.  One of his concepts was that of the Anima and the Animus side of your personality. Like a Ying and Yang. Similarly, Freud had his view of the Id, Ego, and Super-ego (das Es, Ich, and Über-Ich), which I think a lot of people at least have a passing knowledge of. 

You might be asking, great, but what does this arm-chair psychology have to do with characters? Well for this weekend, a lot. 

Psychology Character Sheets

My exploration of psychology (which also led to my eventual career as a Psychologist) was going on at the same time as some of my most prolific character creations.  It is no shock, then, that I have characters that represent these psychoanalytic concepts. 

On the Jungian side (because I am still Jung at heart! Yes, I use that joke often) we have my obvious Anima in Larina. In fact, I may have identified her as an anima before she was a character. My Animus is Phygora. I have not explored him much because what is there to say? He is an academic, he has magic. Swap magic for science, and you have me.     

On the Freudian side, Johan I is very much my Super-ego. So, who are my Id and Ego characters?  

Ego represents you, who you are to the outside world. My Ego character is "Retsam Elddir" (yeah, I will explain that later).

Id represents all your unchecked desires and dark impulses. My Id is Nigel "Death Blade" Delamort.

Nigel "Death Blade" Delamort sheets

Who is Nigel "Death Blade" Delamort?

Nigel was a 1st Ed AD&D character and I had a lot of fun with him. He is/was a Neutral Evil assassin that used to adventure in the same party as Johan II. I fudged it and said that both heard a prophecy that they would both be needed in a great war and they could not harm each other.  All BS of course, I wanted to have a LG Paladin and a NE Assassin at the same time. 

Nigel began life through a dirt-poor second son in Specularum, he tried to steal a dagger from a local blacksmith. Instead of turning the boy in the blacksmith trained him, until the blacksmith was killed by assassins.  I won't get into the details here, but suffice to say that he was a fun character who allowed me to live out a lot of violence (it is what my Id would do).  

He mellowed out over the years. Which is good because he was a bit of an asshole.

Through a series of events that are too long and complicated to get into here, Nigel was transported to the future so I could use him Star Frontiers. He would come back to help Johan in my big war at the end of High School with his spaceship, the Lucifer.  Along the way, he became immortal, or at least very long-lived, and he has been a galactic bounty hunter for hire. 

Nigel "Death Blade" Delamort
Nigel "Death Blade" Delamort

Class: Renegade
Level: 20
Species: Human
Alignment: Twilight Evil
Background: Craft (Blacksmith)

Abilities
Strength: 18 (+3) N
Agility: 20 (+4) A
Toughness: 17 (+2) N
Intelligence: 13 (+1) 
Wits: 12 (+1) 
Persona: 8 (-1) 

Fate Points: 1d12
Defense Value: 2
Vitality: 119
Degeneracy: 1
Corruption: 0

Check Bonus (A/N/D): +8/+6/+4
Melee Bonus: +6 (base) +3 +2 (touchstones) 
Ranged Bonus: +6 (base) +4 +1 (touchstone)
Spell Attack: NA
Saves: +7 vs Death effects (Renegade), +2 to Toughness-based saves related to stamina and endurance (Craft). +1 to all (touchstone)

Renegade Abilities
Improved Defence, Ranged Combat, Stealth Skills, Climbing, Danger Sense (1-7 d8), Perception, Vital Strike x7, Read Languages, Stealth Skills

Warrior Abilities
Combat Expertise, Improved Defence, Melee Combat, Master of Battle, Supernatural Attacks, Spell Resistance, Tracking, Masters of Weapons, Extra Attacks (x2), Extra Damage

Stealth Skills
Open Locks: 95%
Bypass Traps: 95%
Sleight of Hand: 95%
Sneak: 95%
Climbing: 95%
Perception: 95%

Heroic/Divine Touchstones 
1st Level:  +1 to melee attacks
2nd Level: Favored Weapon: Sword (+1 to hit, +2 Damage)
3rd Level: Level 1 of Warrior
4th Level: Level 2 of Warrior
5th Level: +1 to all checks, attacks, and saves
6th Level: Level 3 of Warrior
7th Level: Character ceases to age
8th Level: Level 4 of Warrior
9th Level: Down but not Out
10th Level: Level 5 of Warrior

Heroic (Divine) Archetype: War

Gear
Sword, Leather Armor, thieves tools, (later plasma rifle).

Nigel in the Wasted Lands

This is the starting point for Nigel, my D&D stand-in. When I had him move between systems I always had to restat him. Here he can move between the epochs with ease.

Nigel in NIGHT SHIFT

In modern times Nigel is something of a supernatural hunter. From his personal timeline this occurred after he spent his time in literal Hell. After coming back from the future he went back to Glantri. Here he followed his daughter's (Raven) killer into hell. Again like said above it is long and complicated. But after Hell, Nigel was a WitchCraft/Armageddon character.

Nigel in Thirteen Parsecs

This was right after "D&D" and here I used Star Frontiers for his stats. It was an interesting translation.  Then we tried a little Gamma World, then a little (tiny little) bit of Traveller. Each translation I felt something in the character was lost even if my knowledge of the games increased. Thirteen Parsecs hopefully will fix that for me. Nigel will be one of my first 13P characters.

ALL allow me to use the same character across different times, different places and right on up to the Solar Frontier.

You can get the Wasted Lands RPG and the NIGHT SHIFT RPG at Elf Lair Games. Thirteen Parsecs is coming soon.

Character Creation Challenge

Friday, January 26, 2024

Kickstart Your Weekend: The Week of Valiant Heroes!

 Ok I have three semi-related Kickstarters for you this week. None of them need my encouragement as they were all funded pretty quickly, but they are still fun.

Tarot, Witch of the Black Rose: LAST STAND

Tarot, Witch of the Black Rose: LAST STAND

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/jimbalent/tarot-witch-of-the-black-rose-last-stand?ref=theotherside

Jim Balent and Holly Golightly are back with another huge issue of Tarot Witch of the Black Rose. I am a massive fan of Jim and Holly. They are great people and put a lot of love into everything they do. Tarot is no different. I am woefully behind on my reading of these, but that's fine, I'll get caught up. 

Tarot and her allies (from the pic above, her sister Raven, her lover Jon "Skeleton Man" Webb, and more) are fighting a massive battle against the undead.  Sounds fantastic really.

I have supported many of their Kickstarters in the past, and they are always really fast in getting their material out. My general advice for these? Come to see what Jim is doing with Tarot, but also check out all the fun stuff Holly does in the stretch goals, add ons!

Moving on to other Supers.

Valiant Adventures Roleplaying Game

Valiant Adventures Roleplaying Game

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/greenroninpub/valiant-adventures-roleplaying-game?ref=theotherside

Green Ronin, a company I adore, is up with a new set of Supers using their iconic Mutants & Masterminds system. 

I have been dying for some new superhero RPG rules, which should be fantastic. I know very, very little about the Valiant Universe, but I know it will be great. 

There are many options here, and there should be some level for everyone. They even have a free Quickstart that looks great, by the way. If this is how the full books look, then this will be a great-looking game. I also can't help but think I could use this with their own M&M 3 universe and the DC Adventures game they had out years ago. 

Tales of the Valiant Game Master's Guide 5E

Tales of the Valiant Game Master's Guide 5E

Another Valiant, this time Kobold Press' 5e alternative. The look is something of a cross between 5e and Pathfinder 2r. Still compatible with 5th edition.

There looks like there is a lot of good stuff in this book and more coming. I am just not sure if it is for me. I bet my oldest would love it though.


Character Creation Challenge: Morelia the Wood Witch for Wasted Lands

 It is pretty late, and I thought I had a character lined up to go, but I guess I didn't. So, going through this big old folder of characters I have worked up over the years, I ran into an "oldish" friend.  

Content creator GinnyDi released three elf characters that anyone could adopt a couple of years back. I took an immediate liking to one, Morelia the Wood Witch. So much so that she makes a guest appearance in my War of the Witch Queen campaign. 

Morelia the Wood Witch sheets

Morelia is such a fun character she was so much fun when I ran A Witch's Desire. She and her familiar Crimini showed up in place of the Witch of the Wild. Since then I have been dying to use her somewhere else again. I just wish I could pull off her adorable high-pitched voice!

So once again, with her (implied) permission, here is Morelia the Wood Witch. 


Ginny Di as Morelia the Wood Witch
Morelia the Wood Witch

Class: Witch (Wits)
Level: 8
Species: Wood Elf
Alignment: Light Good
Background: Craft

Abilities
Strength: 18 (+3)
Agility: 18 (+3)
Toughness: 18 (+3) 
Intelligence: 15 (+1) N
Wits: 14 (+1) N
Persona: 22 (+5) A

Fate Points: 1d8
Defense Value: 8
Vitality: 45
Degeneracy: 0
Corruption: 0

Check Bonus (A/N/D): +4/+3/+1
Melee Bonus: +1 (base) 
Ranged Bonus: +1 (base) 
Spell Attack: +4 (witch) 
Saves: +4 to Spells and Magical effects (Sorcerer), +1 to Persona, Agility, and mind-affecting spells  (Wood Elf), +1 to Toughness (touchstone)

Elf Abilities
Nightsighted, surprised, saves, bonus spell*

Witch Abilities
Arcana, Arcane Powers (3): Polymath (Alchemy), Beguile, Subtle Influence

Sorceress Spells
First Level: Beast Speech*, Armor of Earth, Glamour, Read Languages, Mystical Senses
Second Level: Create Water, Invisibility, Locator Spell: Plants
Third Level: Cure Disease, Remove Curse, Slow
Fourth Level: Metamorph Other, Plant Speech

Heroic/Divine Touchstones 
1st Level: +1 bonus to Toughness saves
2nd Level: Luck Benefit
3rd Level: Spirit Guide: Cat "Crimini"
4th Level: Magical Recovery

Heroic (Divine) Archetype: Crafting, Alchemy

Gear
Dagger, cauldron, very spoiled cat

Wasted Lands and Morelia

The spell selection here is bit less than what I would want with Morelia. I think this is largely due to the fact that I really liked her Basic-era/BX/OSE version a lot. But in truth there is nothing stopping me from gabbing a spell or two from one of my witch books and use them here. This is even more true if I am using Wasted Lands as D&D.

For the Divine/Heroic archetypes, I might swap out that 2nd level Luck benefit for an herbal healing one. Makes much more sense for her, really, but like the spells, I want to do it by the book first. 

Still, though, this character is a delight. I have decided that the next time my players encounter her she is going to be having a long and animated conversation with her herb garden. 

Morelia Links

--

Don't forget to stop by the Tardi Captian's Blog to see all his character posts, and all the other participants.

You can get the Wasted Lands RPG and the NIGHT SHIFT RPG at Elf Lair Games.

Character Creation Challenge


Thursday, January 25, 2024

Review: FR2 Moonshae

FR2 Moonshae
 Today, I begin my journey into the Forgotten Realm properly. But even a journey as epic as the Realms needs to start out small and, for me, local. I have my guide. Now, grab some guidebooks. But which ones?  Well that part is easy. I will review the Forgotten Realms books I have on hand, literally and figuratively. I will just review the physical books and boxed sets I have here. I might buy more in the future, or I might not. I might seek out some books on purpose, others, well, maybe I found a reasonable price on them.

Up first will be a book I bought years ago (from Castle Perilous!) because I knew if I ever "did the Realms," this is where I would start.

FR2 Moonshae

by Douglas Niles, Print and PDF. 64 pages, full color, dual-sided map. 1987.

For this review, I considering both my original version and the PDF from DriveThruRPG.

Ok, why am I starting with a supplement and one not even from Ed Greenwood himself? Simple, the Moonshae islands were always that one bit of the Forgotten Realms I was really fascinated by. It was also where I knew I would set my native Realms in. It felt close enough to the Irish and Celtic myths I loved while still being "D&D" enough.  I knew enough of the history of this and the Moonshae novels by Douglas Niles to make this worthwhile to get. But I am getting ahead of myself here.

In the AD&D 1st Edition Players Handbook, Gary Gygax had this to say about Druids:

"Druids can be visualized as medieval cousins of what the ancient Celtic sect of Druids would have become had it survived the Roman conquest." - PHB, p. 21

The Moonshae Isles can be viewed as the British Isles if the Celts, the Britons, and all the rest had thrown Rome out in 55 AD.  We know that Douglas Niles was working on a Celtic-themed set of books and a new campaign setting in the mid-80s. He brought over his collection of islands, and Ed Greenwood tossed out what had been his Moonshae (or whatever was there) and used Niles' for the publication version of the Forgotten Realms. This book acts as an overview and a Gazetteer. 

The book is divided into three major sections, plus an Introduction and Appendices. 

Moonshae book and map

Introduction

This covers a bit of fiction that connects it to the Moonshae novels, particularly Darkwalker on Moonshae. I started the novel a couple of times but never got through it.  You don't need to know anything about it, though, to use this book.

Moonshae Overview

This covers the Moonshae Isles and the sorts of characters and Characters, as well as the folk and Fflok, you will meet there. It makes a very good case for this to be the starting point of the adventures. Since, to my very limited knowledge, this is the western most point on the Forgotten Realms maps at this time. You can travel east and see the entire world. 

The races are AD&D standard, but I already feel some differences here from, say, Greyhawk.  There is a good section on common conflicts. This appeals to me since one on my favorite themes to deal with in games is the waning of Paganism and the rise of Monotheism in Western Europe. The Moonshae has this theme baked in with its Druids vs. Clerics and Ffolk vs. the Northmen.

Humans are divided up into the previously mentioned Fflok (think British pagans) and the Northmen (think Norse/Viking raider pagans). There is an uneasy truce here now. I can't wait to see if this boils over or if they take a page from our world and just settle down. One of the reasons you are reading this in English now. This is illustrated with a map of the political borders, which Elminster tells us are constantly in flux in the book. 

We get another map of trade routes within the islands and to the Sword Coast mainland. Some tables on weather (it's a lot like Chicago to be honest) and lots of great random encounter tables.

The Moonshae book effectively makes the "low level" adventuring interesting where a Giant Stag is big opponent, but you could also see goblins or a faerie dragon. The Celts book for AD&D 2nd Edition would do the same thing very well. Honestly that book could be used with the Moonshae with no problem whatsoever. 

Deities of the Moonshaes

I will give Niles and TSR credit, they didn't stick a narrowly defined idea of what a god might be. The main Goddess of the Moonshaes is The Earthmother. We are told she is an aspect of the Goddess Chauntea who the rest of the Realms sees as an agricultural goddess. The Ffolk, though, do not see her like that. To them she is The Goddess. Embracing a bit of the revisionist views of British Paganism but I like it, and more to the point it works well here. If Gygax can say what he did about Druids above, then this logically follows. The Goddess has three children. The Leviathan, a gargantuan whale, Kamerynn, a large unicorn, and the Pack, a pack of wolves. All have been endowed with special qualities by the Earthmother and are her eyes and ears in these lands. There is also evil here in the form of Kazgoroth, the Beast. Who looks a bit like a wingless dragon. 

Specific Locales of the Moonshaes

This covers a dozen or so locations. Parallels can be drawn from many of these to locales in British and Irish myth and legend. And honestly, that is fine. It made figuring out where to start my grand adventure even easier. I mean I could be wrong but Callidyrr is our stand-in for Camelot, Corwell is Cornwall, Moray is like a smaller Ireland or a larger Ilse of Man, and so on. Now there are some interesting additions. What if the Vikings, when raiding, decided to set up in Scotland or Ulster and kicked everyone else out? Well, you might have had something like Norland.  I imagine the AD&D 2nd Ed Vikings Campaign book would be useful here as the Celts one was for the southern islands. 

Other areas are detailed like Myrloch, the large inland lake/sea in Gwynneth in the south and Synnoria, the land of the Llewyrr Elves. There is even Flamsterd, an island of Magic-users. You know I am heading back there sometime. 

Moonshae book

The Appendices

Appendix A covers some campaign themes for the Moonshaes, not that I need any more at this point! But it does include a note on how to bring in the module N4 Treasure Hunt into the Moonshaes, which is great really. 

Appendix B gives us some unique items of the Moonshaes. 

Elminster's Notes

There are a lot of those here. If you were to take them out, there only be about 32 pages. But they set the tone of the book and the land well. We are new here but not new to D&D so Elminster's eyes are a perfect substitute for our own. 

The maps look great and should be compatible with the clear hex grid from the Forgotten Realms set. 

A much more pleasurable work than when I first read it way back in the early 1990s. The whole "Ffolk" thing with the two "f"s bugged me, but I got over it. You could build an entire campaign and never leave these islands. Which is not what I am going to do since there is so much more out there.

Sinéad's Perspective

So, I am going to look at the people and places of this product through the eyes of my bard Sinéad. Much like Greenwood does with Elminster, she will be the eyes and ears in which I see the Realms. But I am not going to give you long-winded journal entries. That's Ed's and Elminster's thing. 

Choosing the Moonshaes as my first product and choosing the Moonshaes as the home of Sinéad makes a lot of sense together. These lands feel familiar to me. I have read hundreds of tales of Celts and Celtic heroes and monsters. Nearly as many tales of the Norse and Vikings. Tons on the Rise, Fall, and Rise again of the very particular British form of British Paganism.  I have never been here, but I know it well. Much like Sinéad, I am leaving this place. Maybe it is too early, but certainly, I will have to come back here. 

Final Thoughts

I am not sure if it was planned or not, but this does feel like a perfect place to start your adventures in the Forgotten Realms. By today's standards, the book is a bit light on the crunchy game stuff. No new spells really or specialized sub-classes. But that is fine; the fluff more than makes up for it all. 

Character Creation Challenge: Sinéad for the Forgotten Realms (1st Edition AD&D)

Sinéad sheet
 I am switching gears today since I will get some of my reviews on the Forgotten Realms up. I want to start with the character first, though. When reading or playing games, we often view their world as they see, hear, and experience it. For me, that will be Sinéad. Not Sinéad Moonshadow just yet; that is much later down her road. No. This is 1st Edition AD&D Sinéad as I might have rolled her up back in 1987 when the Forgotten Realms were still new. 

Sinéad in 1357 DR

Sinéad in 1357 DR (the year before the Forgotten Realms Boxed set) is a girl living in the Moonshae Isles. I have always known this, but I never really had the details until now.

She grew up on the Island of Gwynneth in the country of Corwell. Her father was a reputable human blacksmith of modest means, and her mother was a Llewyrr (though now mostly moon elf) seer. Growing up Sinéad heard tales of other lands and places and wanted to visit them, but her parents told her the world beyond was full of evil terrors and the only place safe was here, closest to the Earth Mother's heart.  She grew up loving and fearing the Earth Mother and wondering about other places, other peoples, and other gods. It was around the time of 16th birthday when her latent magic began to flare up. She would spontaneously and randomly set things on fire (Rules: Burning Hands spell). This was kept under control until she had turned 19. The local Lord wanted her to marry his son for the prestige of a marriage with a Llewyrr and as compensation for all the damage she had been causing. One night during the early harvest festival, Sinéad accidentally burns down a barn and grain stores, threatening to leave her small village hungry for the winter. Her mother distracts the crowds who have come after "the witch" while her father gives her enough gold to get to a port and out of the Moonshaes to the Sword Coast.

And that is about all I have for at this point. She will meet up with Nida and others when she gets to the Sword Coast, but that is a bit off. She first has to cross her homeland to get to the port. She will encounter fae, a prophetic witch, and more.

For Sinéad, I am starting out with AD&D 1st Ed, the same as the Forgotten Realms boxed set. To make a stronger line between her starting adventure and her later ones, I used just the Player's Handbook, DMG, and Unearthed Arcana for her. I tweaked her abilities a bit to fit better. Also, since I am seeing her as a bard from the word go, I am using the alternate Bard from Dragon #56. I thought it would be a good fit given how Bards are in the Forgotten Realms and Moonshaes in particular.  Plus, I wanted her to be a bard from 1st level. 

Sinéad of the Moonshaes
Sinéad of the Moonshae

Level: 1/1
Class: Magic-user/Bard
Female Half-elf

Abilities
Strength: 13
Intelligence: 17
Wisdom: 13
Dexterity: 16
Constitution: 16
Charisma: 17

Saving Throws
Paralysis Poison: 14
Petrification/Polymorph: 13
Rod, Staff, or Wand: 11
Breath Weapon: 15
Spells: 12

Resistances: 30% to Sleep and Charm
Infravision 60'
Languages: Common, Elvish, Gnome, Goblin, Hobgoblin, Sylvan, and Ffolk (there is no reason why she would know orc or gnoll. Halflings don't or should have their own language, and Goblin and Hobgoblin should really be the same one).

AC: 8
HP: 7
Move: 12"

Charm: 10%
Lore: 0%
Read Language: 0%

Dagger

Magic-user Spells Known (* memorized)
Burning Hands*
Magic Missle

Bard Spells
Speak with Animals

Notes on Sinéad

Originally I saw her more along the lines of a witch, but after playing the character in Baldur's Gate I have come around to thinking that she is actually some sort of Sorcerer with Wild Magic.  No way to really represent that in AD&D 1st, so I have to fudge it a bit. The only spells she has had access to are Burning Hands and Magic Missle, and I am saying she learned them innately. To get more she will need to adventure more. She has Sehanine Moonbow whispering in her ear (a holdover when I briefly wanted to try her as a warlock). 

I wanted the witch she goes and sees to be Larina, just because I can. Larina would have been 34 at the time, so not bad, really; it also corresponds to the time when Larina disappears into the Feywild. 

I did roll to see if she had psionics. She had a 4% chance, I rolled an 8. 

I like the Dragon magazine bard, and it helps make her feel different from my other bards. Looking forward to seeing how it stacks up.

--

Don't forget to stop by the Tardi Captian's Blog to see all his character posts, and all the other participants.

Character Creation Challenge

Wednesday, January 24, 2024

Character Creation Challenge: Darlessa for Wasted Lands

I meant to do this character earlier and kinda forgot. Well, today is the day I fix that. When it comes right down to it, no character really represents my shift from D&D to Wasted Lands quite as well as Darlessa the Vampire Queen.

Of course, everyone here knows Darlessa. She has been featured here many times and I already did her witch stats for Swords & Wizardry and her vampire stats for Basic-era D&D. She is also the central antagonist of my Dungeon23 Tomb of the Vampire Queen. She is responsible for the death of my first character, Johan, and ultimately, the cause for him to be elevated to a Saint. She even has (or had) her own Dark Domain, Arevenir.

Darlessa the Vampire Queen character sheets

I am using the Night Companion again for her so I can get the rules for making her a vampire. She has always been a witch, but a good case could be made for her to be a Spirit Rider, too. Maybe I'll give her a level in that later on, but today, I wanted to compare apples to apples: my OSR witches vs a NIGHT SHIFT witch.

Darlessa the Vampire Queen
Darlessa, the Vampire Queen

Class: Witch (Persona)
Level: 13
Species: Human Vampire
Alignment: Dark Evil
Background: Sorcerous

Abilities
Strength: 18 (+3) (+2 from Vampire)
Agility: 18 (+3) (+2 from Vampire)
Toughness: 18 (+3) 
Intelligence: 15 (+1) N
Wits: 14 (+1) N
Persona: 22 (+5) A

Fate Points: 1d10
Defense Value: -5
Vitality: 75
Degeneracy: 0
Corruption: 0

Check Bonus (A/N/D): +6/+4/+2
Melee Bonus: +2 (base) +2 (touchstones) 
Ranged Bonus: +2 (base) +1 (touchstones)
Spell Attack: +7 (witch) +1 (touchstones)
Saves: +7 to Spells and Magical effects (Sorcerer & Scholar), +3 to Wits (vampire) +1 to All (touchstones)

Witch Abilities
Arcana, Arcane Powers (5): Succubus (6d6), Shadow Walking, Telekinesis, Beguile, Subtle Influence

Sorceress Spells
First Level: Arcane Darts, Black Flames, Chill Ray, Glamour, Object Reading, Armor of Earth
Second Level: Conjure Flame, ESP, Invoke Fear, See Invisible
Third Level: Clairvoyance, Create Zombies & Skeletons, Curse, Fly
Fourth Level: All-Seeing Invisible Eye, Black Tentacles, Improved Invisibility, Kiss of the Succubus
Fifth Level: Commune with Deeper Dark, Create Undead, Shadow Armor
Sixth Level: Instant Death, Zone of Death
Seventh Level: Wave of Mutilation

Heroic/Divine Touchstones 
1st Level: Additional Spell: Armor of Earth
2nd Level: +1 to Melee attacks
3rd Level: Spirit Guide: Undead Raven, "Lucifer"
4th Level: Favored Enemy: Lawful (Light) Good Clerics
5th Level: +1 to all attack rolls, defense rolls, spells, and saves
6th Level: Glamour at Will

Heroic (Divine) Archetype: Power

Gear
Dagger

Wasted Lands Vampires

Ok! This Darlessa is much more powerful than previous versions. This is due largely to proper rules on how to make a character a vampire and how that adds to the character's power. But also Witches in NIGHT SHIFT and the Wasted Lands are a bit more powerful. Lets not forget those divine/heroic touchstones. Those add a LOT of power to the character. This is a version of Darlessa that should properly terrify a group of characters. 

Vampires in the Wasted Lands are also more akin to Akivasha of Robert E. Howard's tale The Hour of the Dragon than they are of Stoker's Dracula. Indeed, Darlessa is cut from the same cloth as Akivasha. Well same cloth, but dyed in the same dyes as various Hammer Horror vampires. 

But in native Wasted Lands, the world envisioned by Elf Lair Games' Jason Vey, vampires are more dangerous and closely tied to the powers of the Deeper Dark. This works fine for me since I have always seen Darlessa as shedding bits of her soul for power to whatever demon would grant it to her. Now, for a pure Wasted Lands game and for the publication of the Tomb of the Vampire Queen, I might go with a different name and slightly changed background. But it will be Darlessa all the same really. 

You can get the Wasted Lands RPG and the NIGHT SHIFT RPG at Elf Lair Games.

Character Creation Challenge

Tuesday, January 23, 2024

Mail Call: ¡Anuncio por correo! Spanish BECMI and Pacesetter Adventures

Or at least the BE part of BECMI.  So many of you know I have been learning Spanish. I mainly use Duolingo, but I also print books and audiobooks from Audible. My progress is quite slow I will admit, but the journey is half the fun really. 

Back in 2023, I got copies of the Spanish Language D&D 5th edition books for my birthday and Father's Day.  But something I have wanted since 2020 are copies of BECMI in another language. I thought I might grab one in German (a language I can still -somewhat- speak) but they are always quite expensive.

So imagine my surprise when, after posting my search for Spanish language ones, actually came through!

Spanish Language Basic and Expert

They look great, even if I can only sort of read them at the moment. But I know what is in these quite well, so that helps.

Spanish Language Basic and Expert

Versions of BECMI Basic

It is also fun to compare them to the Spanish D&D 5e books I got last year.

Spanish Language D&D

I am NO WHERE near ready to run a game in Spanish D&D. But maybe I could play one later this year.

I might just stick with Basic and Expert. I have not seen a Companion edition out for a very long time. If the price of the German one I was looking at is any indication then it is way outside of my price range.

I also got copies of some adventures (in English) from Pacesetter Games.

Adventures from Pacesetter Games

I gave Venger's Final Wish to my oldest. He is working on taking his group through all the editions of D&D.  More on that later.

Of course, I am a sucker for anything about the Vampire Queen. So this is a nice addition to my collection.  Since the Vampire Queen adventure is for B/X then maybe a "Castillo de la Reina Vampiro" is in order.