Monday, January 20, 2020

Weekend Gaming: Dungeons & Dragons & Dinners & Dramaturges

I have not done a weekend gaming post in forever, despite having a game or two going every weekend.  If you follow me on Facebook or my personal Instagram page then one thing is pretty obvious.  My family and I LOVE food.  My wife has won baking awards, my oldest son is in culinary school, my youngest loves to experiment in the kitchen and even I have won 1st place in my local chili cook-off for my "Mississippi Queen" Chili.

It should be no surprise then we LOVE to cook for our D&D sessions.  My oldest son runs three D&D 5e campaigns, one Call of Cthulhu game (3 of which my youngest son is a part of), and I have my three D&D games that meet more rarely, but the bottom line is we have anywhere from two to three groups here every week and we cook for all of them.

These are all high school and college-age kids, so other than one or two other than my kids, their palettes are still forming.  I mean in our groups we have people from South Korea, Equador, Mexico, Spain, and even a 2nd generation Greek (the Greek Orthodox Church is just down the road), so we have ethnicities all covered. So we still like to branch out a bit from just plain old "gamer faire" of burgers, hot dogs and chips, though we still do those a lot.  We have made chili for them (of course), homemade mac-n-cheese (they are still kids), but homemade enchiladas, pulled smoked pork, bbq chicken, homemade ramen (complete with soy marinaded eggs), eclair cakes, banana bread, tacos, homemade chicken sandwiches (because fuck Chik-fil-a), homemade pizza, mini pies,  and homemade wings of various spiciness from mild to "oh dear god make it stop mommy!"





Fortunately for us, we love to cook all this.  My wife has a huge garden (over 2,200 square feet) where we can grow an absolute ton of veggies, so that helps.  In fact, there are many times throughout the year where we don't even need to buy vegetables (and we eat a lot of veggies).

You can see my wife's garden from space!
We only have a couple of food allergies to deal with, but that fine with us. 
The great thing is that everyone wants to come here now for the games!  Yeah it means we have a lot of cooking to do, but we enjoy it and we know some of these guys in college with my oldest don't get a homecooked meal very often.

Today's game is Liam's college group and on the menu is the Curse of Strahd and Taco Pie.  Yeah, not haute cuisine, but it is still homemade AND we used enchilada sauce made from our own dried peppers, garden onions, and tomato sauce (yes, we make our own tomato sauce). 





Much better than a bag of chips and a Mountain Dew.

Monstrous Monday will return next week.

Friday, January 17, 2020

Marvel Movie Maddness

It is pretty well documented that I am a hardcore DC guy.
But there are few Marvel comice I really enjoy, and all of them are getting new movies!  Where to start?



Ok, let's go with what might be some of the best castings ever, Jared Leto as Dr. Michael Morbius in Morbius.



This comes from the comic Morbius the Living Vampire about a scientist who tries to cure himself with vampire blood.  Some changes will be made to this for the movie to be sure, but it looks fantastic. The cameo by Michael Keaton is also a shocker and what role is Matt Smith playing?  (Loxias Crown according to the Wikipedia).

My second favorite casting (and this is so weird to say since up till Morbius this one was my favorite) in Marvel movie gives us Anna Taylor-Joy as freaking Magick in the New Mutants.



"I killed 18 men. One. by. one." Oh Magick, you keep doing you.

I mean really, ATJ as Magick the only thing that would keep me from geeking out over the casting of Maisie Williams as Wolfsbane.  I read a lot of New Mutants back in college and was the last X-men/Marvel comic I kept up with.  Plus it has a solid horror vibe.

Those are the ones we have trailers for.

We are also getting Doctor Strange 2: The Multiverse of Madness.  That is like, three of my favorite things in the title alone.  Now the rumor is Scarlet Witch will be in the movie too. I like the movie Wanda much more than the comic one so this is great.

AND the hits keep coming with the Blade reboot with the amazing Mahershala Ali as the day-walking half-vampire Blade.

It's going to be great really.  And this is not even looking into the DC movies coming up.

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Old School Essentials: New Witch Spells

The hottest new property in OSR gaming is Old-School Essentials.  Justifiably so too.   It is a great reinterpretation of the Basic/Expert rules and it is a lot of fun.  It is also on sale today as the DriveThruRPG Deal of the Day.

I am still a little bit away, further than I want to admit, from finishing up The Craft of the Wise: The Pagan Witchcraft Tradition.  But in celebration of OSE's sale here are some new witch spells.

First Level Witch Spells

Call Spirits of the Land
Duration: 1d4 hours
Range: The Caster
Call Spirits enables the witch to gather local spirits of the dead and elements, which appear to the caster as small ghostly disembodied heads, and listen to their tales about the surrounding
land and people.
▶ Characters listening can make an Intelligence Ability check to learn something about the local area.
▶ Characters who fail the check by five or less hear nothing but endless ramblings and chattering, possibly in an unknown or ancient language, that have nothing to do with the subject at hand.
▶ Those who fail by more than five hear nothing.
▶ A roll of a natural 20 provides completely false and maliciously misleading information.

Material Components: The caster must pay for the information with offerings of food, alcoholic beverages, incense, song, and pleasant conversation. The offering should total at least 1 gp.

Salving Rest 
Duration: Special
Range: The caster or a creature touched
This spell allows its subject to enjoy soothing, peaceful sleep, free of pain and sorrow, whenever she slumbers. As a result of this salving rest,
▶ The subject of the spell will heal an extra 1d3 hit points during each day of complete rest.
▶ The spell ends when the subject stops completely resting or if she takes any damage.

Material Components: A tea made from valerian root and lavender.

Second Level Witch Spells

Chameleon
Duration: 1 turn per level
Range: Touch
This spell allows any character touched to blend into her surroundings to the point of becoming nearly invisible. The character gains a +4/+20% to hide in shadows. Characters affected by a chameleon spell can always hide in shadows with a skill of at least 25% chance. This spell is used to create elven cloaks.

Material Components: The scale of a chameleon or a bit of skin from a cuttlefish. Alternately a bit of multi-colored cloth will also work.

Inscribe Tattoo I
Duration: Permanent
Range: One willing target
With this spell the caster inscribes a tattoo onto a willing subject. Only three such tattoos can ever be placed on one subject.
Tattoos have different abilities
Become animal: Allows the subject to shift into a normal animal, chosen at the time of inscribing. The animal’s HD must be equal to or less than the subject’s level. The subject can only shapeshift once per month.
Strike true: The subject gains a +1 to hit/damage. Magical creatures can be hit with this magic.
Magical protection: +1 to saves vs. magic. This can be from spells, wands, rods or magic-like effects.
Battle protection: +1 bonus to AC. Tattoo must be visible to have effect.
Magical Affinity: Used by spell casters this gives as -1 penalty to target’s saves.

Similar tattoos do not add their effects. Two Magical Protection tattoos do not prove +2 protection.  Only higher-level tattoos can.
The caster cannot tattoo herself.

Material Components: Special tattoo pens, needles, and inks are required.

Third Level Witch Spells

Hopping Doom 
Duration: 1 turn/level 
Range: 60 feet
The witch can summon 1d10 x 1,000 slimy wet bullfrogs to a spot designated (crawling out from rocks, nooks and crannies, or otherwise dropping from the ceiling or sky). They jump madly about, getting underfoot, and croak at a deafening volume that prevents conversation within the area of effect. The distraction is such that spellcasters must save (spells) before they can cast, and missile users roll to hit at -2. Movement within the area is halved.
▶There is a base 10% chance (+5% per level) that 1d10 poisonous frogs will be in the group. ▶They will attack non-frog targets within the area of effect, forcing them to save (poison) at +2 or die. The poisonous frogs are colorful but otherwise identical to the rest.
▶The caster can move the mass of frogs by telepathic command, at a maximum speed of up to 60 ft per round.
▶The area of effect is determined by the number of frogs summoned (10 ft² per 1,000 frogs).

Material Components: A small fly.

Malice
Duration: 6 turns
Range: Touch 
Malice weakens the target creature's attacks: each time the target creature inflicts hit point damage on an enemy (by any means), damage dice must be rolled twice, and the lesser result used.

Material Components: The witch must be able to touch the target while giving a word of power.

Fourth Level Witch Spells

Venus Glass
Duration: Instantaneous
Range: One glass of water
The witch sends a prayer out to the spirits of her ancestors and to the spirits of those not yet reborn into her life for a vision. A question is asked to give her a vision of a face. Typically the witch casts a venus glass for a maiden hoping to see the face of her future husband.
She then cracks an egg and suspends the egg white in a glass of water
She can then see the future, usually, the face of someone important to the witch or whomever the witch is asking about.
▶ Face: the face of someone will appear. It may be indistinct or quite clear.
▶ Portents: If the egg has blood in it means that the person they seek with bring them death.
▶ Visage of Death: If the face switches from normal to a skull face then the person they seek will die.
▶ Unclear: No face is revealed. The witch may try again the next night.

Material Components: An egg from a hen taken at or just before the dawn and a clear glass of pure water.

Fifth Level Witch Spells

Flood of Tears
Duration: Instantaneous and one round per level
Range: Cone 60’ 
The witch begins to cry and creates a flood to wash away her foes. 
▶ In the first round, the tears flow creatures caught in the flood must make a save vs. paralysis or take 1d6 hp of damage for every two levels of the witch (max 7d6). Save for half. 
▶ For the rounds that follow the area remains inundated with water and the flotsam and jetsam of debris. Movement is reduced to half in this area. 

Material Components: The witch must cry.

Sixth Level Witch Spells

Eye Bite
Duration: 1 round per 3 levels
Range: 25’ + 5’ per 2 levels
The witch glares at a target. 
Each round, the witch may target a single living creature, striking it with waves of arcane power.  Depending on the target’s HD, this attack has as many as three effects.


HD
Effect
10 or more
Sickened
5-9
Panicked, sickened
4 or less
Comatose, panicked, sickened

▶ Sickened: Sudden pain and fever sweeps over the target’s body. A sickened creature takes a -2 penalty on attack rolls, weapon damage rolls, saving throws and ability checks.  A creature affected by this spell remains sickened for 10 minutes per caster level.  The effects cannot be negated by a remove disease or heal spell, but a remove curse is effective.
▶ Panicked: The target becomes panicked for 1d4 rounds as if under the influence of a fear spell.  After the initial effect is over, the target can become panicked again if he sees the witch and fails a saving throw.
▶ Comatose: The target falls into a catatonic coma for 10 minutes per caster level.  During this time, it cannot be awakened by any means short of dispelling the effect.  This is not a sleep effect, and thus elves are not immune to it.

The witch can affect victims for 1 round per three caster levels.  Spell effects can last longer than this depending on the effect. 

Material Components: The witch needs to be able to see the victim.  She needs to touch her eye and point to the victim.


The Craft of the Wise: The Pagan Witch Traditions


Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Updating Layout and War of the Witch Queens

I updated my layout a bit over the last few day here at the old Other Side.


I updated my Books page, which I have not done since 2016 or so.  Witch Links is getting updated more frequently now. I am still unsure if I'll update Downloads or OGL anymore, so they might go.

The biggest update is a new link above to my War of the Witch Queens old-school Campaign.

Here is some of the information I have on that page.

The War of the Witch Queens

The basis of this campaign was something I scrawled on my notes one day while working on one of my books.

"The Witch Queens gather every 13 years to discuss politic, issues of their realms, to share magical discoveries and socialize. But mostly they meet to make sure they stay out of each other's way.  Each Conclave a new High Queen is chosen to make sure that all witches abide by the rules.  This year however one the first day of the Conclave the current High Queen was murdered.
With the High Queen dead and her successor unchosen, the Witches are threatening to go to war with each other and worlds are caught in between."

The idea is these war of these powerful witches will happen.  The PCs get pulled in to this drama and must discover who killed the High Queen and how to stop it.

The Witch Queens 

A big old-school campaign I am working on is War of the Witch Queens.  I have been collecting these NPCs for years.  Not all are Witch Queens, but all have something to do in the campaign and all were at the Conclave of Witches, so each one is a suspect.

I will admit I have some ideas on who the murderer is.  I am also split on which of these will be the victim, though I have two in mind.  Part of the fun here is to build the mystery.
Check the link above for a list of all the Queens and adventures.

In addition to figuring out the mystery, it is also an excuse to try to use as many different D&D-like systems I can.  So DCC, S&S, Labyrinth Lord, OSRIC and D&D proper all live in harmony on my shelves.



Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Going Wild for Wildemount

Wizards of the Coast just announced their next book for Dungeons & Dragons 5e and it has some sections of the fandom wailing in lamentations, but the vast majority excited about it.

Explorer's Guide to Wildemount will be out in Spring 2020 and it covers the part of the world from the highly successful Critical Role webseries.  Now I can already hear the older crowd bitching and moaning about it and all I can say is "typical".

There are people out there complaining that "Wizards has pissed off half their fans".  I would argue that "half" is really exaggerating it by quite a bit, but even so then they are at least pleasing the other half.

There are others that are also talking about how they won't be buying this. Ok. That's fine you don't need to buy every D&D book.  I enjoy 5e and I don't even have every book.  I have most, but I don't have them all.

But even then, these people are often the same ones that will claim never to have bought a WotC D&D book ever anyway, so they were never the audience.

Personally, I think this is a really intelligent move on Wizard's part.

Critical Role is hugely successful.

The Kickstarter for just the animated series brought in $11,385,449.   And this book, announced just 48 hours or so ago, has all the relevant #1 spots on Amazon.


Note that's not just #1 in the D&D categories, that is #1 in Books.  All of them.

Would I, as an old-school gamer, love to have seen Greyhawk or Mystara?  Of course!  Do I *need* them? No, not really.  I have everything I need for those worlds now.  I have MORE than what I need for my home-brew world now.  New worlds are always fun to read and maybe I can use some things from that book in my world. Or maybe not.  Who knows yet.

I do know that some sections of our hobby need to lighten the hell up and let people enjoy things.



Monday, January 13, 2020

Monstrous Monday: Horned Women

The Horned Women of Celtic Myth

The horned women, or horned witches, are magical hags of Irish myth and legend.  They pester newly married young women or new mothers.  They are also known to plague any sort of homeowner.


Horned Women are a particularly nasty creature that is related to both faeries and hags.
They will appear as ugly old women with a horn protruding from their forehead. How many horns will tell you how powerful they are. A woman with one horn has 1 HD and so on.  It is unknown if this is related to age, all appear to ancient hags.

They will rush into a home, especially that of a new young mother or wife, and begin performing chores at a breakneck speed. While they perform the chores each one will demand a task of the overwhelmed bride. Saying that if she does not complete the tasks, they will fly off and eat her baby. The tasks are designed to be seemingly impossible; chop wood with an ax handle with no blade, or collect water in a bucket full of holes, or make a cake with no flour. The tasks can be completed by the bride, but she has to be clever about it.

Their voice is compelling, as per the suggestion spell, to get the wife to do these tasks.  A save vs spells will keep this from happening, but the threat of eating her baby is still real.

If she can do all the tasks the Horned Women want they will scream and fly away never to return. If she doesn’t they will take the baby.

Horned Women cast witch spells at the same level as their HD. They do not have access to ritual magic or occult powers.

Witches are often employed to fight these creatures.
Using a simple spell (typically dispel evil or remove curse) and adding "Witch! Witch! Fly away from here!"
The horned women will fly away and never return to that house.

Horned Women
(Labyrinth Lord)
No. Enc.: 1-8 (1-12)
Alignment: Chaotic (evil)
Movement: 80' (240')
Armor Class: 3 [16]
Hit Dice: 1** (5 hp) to 8** (36 hp)
Attacks: 1 (claw)
Damage: 1d6
Special: Witch spells, compelling voice
Save: Witch 1 to Witch 8
Morale: 10
Hoard Class: None
XP: HD 1: 13, HD 2: 29,  HD 3: 68, HD 4:  135, HD 5: 350, HD 6: 570,  HD 7: 790, HD 8: 1,060

Horned Women
(Blueholme Journeymanne Rules)
AC: 3 [16]
HD: 1d8 to 8d8
Move: 80
Attacks: : 1 (claw, 1d6), Witch spells, compelling voice
Alignment: Chaotic
Treasure: None
XP: HD 1: 45, HD 2: 70,  HD 3: 95, HD 4:  145, HD 5: 255, HD 6: 395,  HD 7: 650, HD 8: 950

Horned Women
(Old-School Essentials)
AC 3 [16], HD 1 (5 hp) 8 (36 hp), Att 1 claw (1d6), THAC0 19 [+1], MV 240’ (80’), SV as W 1-8, ML 10, AL Chaotic, XP HD 1: 45, HD 2: 70,  HD 3: 95, HD 4:  145, HD 5: 255, HD 6: 395,  HD 7: 650, HD 8: 950, NA 1-8 (1-12), TT None
 Witch spells: The horned woman can cast spells as a witch at the same level as her HD.
 Compelling Voice: The horned woman's voice acts as a suggestion spell.  She may use this once per day.

Friday, January 10, 2020

Kickstart Your Weekend: We Could Be Heroes

I was considering retiring "Kickstart Your Weekend" since there are so many Kickstarters now and plenty of places to get information on them.  But these two are nearer and dearer to me so I thought it would be fine.

Plus it was Bowie's birthday a couple of days ago (Jan 8) and today is the anniversary of his death (Jan 10, 2016), so for Bowie's sake let's be Heroes.

The Hero's Journey 2e


https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/gallantknightgames/the-heros-journey-2e?ref=theotherside

The Hero's Journey 1st edition was a delightful game. It was the perfect antidote for grim-dark murder hobo games that seem to be so popular.  A nice cup of tea vs whatever they sell in the local run-down dive where characters are supposed to meet.

This new 2nd edition gets further away from it's S&W roots and that might be a good thing.
James Spahn has delivered when it comes to games, so I have expectations for this one.

What I loved about THJ1 was that the characters were the heroes, people doing good in the world.  I think we need more of that.

Really looking forward to this one and I hope to see it in my local game store sometime.


Full-Color Custom Miniatures with Hero Forge 2.0


https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/heroforge/full-color-custom-miniatures-with-hero-forge-20?ref=theotherside

This one does not go live till next week, but you can bet it is going to break all sorts of records.
I was a proud backer of Hero Forge and I have enjoyed watching it grow over the years to be the standard by which I judge 3D printed minis.  If they can do the color they are displaying above then this is the reason why Kickstarter exists.

I can't wait to see this.  Will the minis be costly? Maybe, but I have been pleased with the prices on Hero Forge so far so I am expecting this will be similar.

If the timing is right I'll come back with a follow-up to this post with a color 3D Hero Forge mini of my Hero's Journey character!
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