Monday, November 12, 2018

Monstrous Mondays: Snow Golem

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Featured Artist: Teresa Guido

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

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

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





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

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Askafroa, The Ash Dryads

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

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

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

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


Monday, November 5, 2018

Charmed Season 1, Episode 4 "Exorcise Your Demons"

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, November 2, 2018

Seoni, Pathfinder Iconic Sorceress, B/X style

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


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

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



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

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

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

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

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

Seoni
12th level Magic-User

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I am pretty happy though with both builds.

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

Kickstart Your Weekend: Pathfinder Seoni Statue

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

Pathfinder Limited Edition Statue


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

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

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


Is Wayne Reynolds' homage to this cover:



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

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


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

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Featured Artist: Jacob Blackmon

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

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

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

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

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

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




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


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

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

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

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

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

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