Showing posts with label DnD. Show all posts
Showing posts with label DnD. Show all posts

Monday, September 27, 2021

D&D 5.5 Announcement

Over the weekend WotC/Hasbro and D&D team had their D&D Celebration.  Lots of things were discussed including the new gift box I talked about yesterday.  

Of course, the big announcement was D&D 5.5 or D&D 5 Revised coming out in 2024.

Personally, I think this is a good idea.

D&D 5e Collection

Right now D&D 5 is 7 years old. The "Basic Rules" PDF and the Starter Set were released in July 2014. In 2024, the proposed release date, D&D 5 will be close to 10 years old.  That is about the same amount of time AD&D 1st and 2nd Ed were around each.  That is counting the unofficial ".5" versions of post Unearthed Arcana (AD&D 1) and the Revised AD&D 2nd ed books.  This puts D&D 5e and 5.5 combined to be the longest-lasting version of D&D.

There are a ton of reasons why 2024 is a good date for this.

D&D Celebration

The Hype

I have been saying EVERYWHERE that WotC will not do anything until the 50th anniversary of D&D in 2024.  They can spend the first two-quarters of 2024 hyping D&D from its roots and evolution.  Expect a huge deep dive into nostalgia.  Then third quarter (or even fourth to get that Christmas dollar) D&D 5.5 will hit the shelves.  The message from WotC will be clear, you have enjoyed D&D for 50 years now and THIS is the ultimate edition.  It's not just good marketing, they would be negligent if they didn't do it.

The Rules

When I heard about this I mentioned it to my son last night when he got home from work.  His response was, "oh cool!"  I have seen similar responses from others in the D&D 5 community.  With the publication of Tasha's and other books, there have been enough rule additions and alternates to make a Revised Core Rule Set a welcome publication. 

Right now we are being told these are just going to be rule clarifications and reorganizations.  Everything will be 100% backward compatible.  This is smart given the number of people that play D&D 5 now.  It also makes sense given how poorly Pathfinder 2 was received by the fans of Pathfinder 1.  

Plus D&D 5 was designed to be more modular, so adding in rules should be easy.  Maybe not as modular as D&D 4e was nor as modular as D&D 5 was originally advertised as, but still better than D&D 3 and anything that came before it.

Of there are critics.  I note that most of the complaining is coming from people that have self-admitted that they actually don't play D&D 5.  So I guess their opinions really don't matter.

Expectations

What am I expecting with these new rules?

Well, "race" will be gone and we will get something closer to the Ancestry and Culture mods other games have been doing.  Mechanically speaking it will largely be the same at the end.  Instead of choosing a race and getting a baked-in mod and language; you will choose ancestry, culture and there will be guidelines for mods, languages, and other features.   So what if you were a human raised by elves? Or an orc raised by dwarves?  These things can now happen.  Well, in truth you could always do these you just needed a DM that would work out the details with you and not be dogmatic. 

There will still be a Basic Rules style game with the four basic classes (Cleric, Fighter, Rogue, Wizard) and the four basic "races" (Human, Elf, Dwarf, Halfling) they will just be worked up in terms of the new ancestry rules.  But mechanically a 5.0 elf will work as a 5.5 elf. 

Rangers will get tweaked. Again. Cause no one is ever happy with them.  This goes all the way back to the beginning really.

Warlock might get some changes, as will the monks.  We MIGHT get a Core Rule psionic class, but the chances are very low.

I am expecting some new Session 0 verbiage.

Monsters will have a "typical" alignment with sentient races not having one required.  The new Wild Beyond the Witchlight monsters all have alignments listed.  The idea will be that Ancestry plays a role in alignment, but individuals have a choice. I DO expect to see a group of good or at least neutrally aligned Drow.

There are spellcasting changes coming to monsters that we will get a preview of in 2023 with the Multiverse of Monsters book.

I am also expecting more on non-combat play like we have in the Wild Beyond the Witchlight.

I am sure there will be more and many of the changes will be minor, less than the changes between 3.0 and 3.5 for example. OR even the differences between 2nd Ed and Revised 2nd Ed.

Looking forward to seeing what happens.

Friday, July 2, 2021

Kickstart Your Weekend: D&D Monsters and More

I have some great ones for you all today! Hang on, there is a lot here!

Asian Monsters: 90+ magnificent monsters for DnD 5E!

Asian Monsters

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/legendarygames/asian-monsters-90-magnificent-monsters-for-dnd-5e?ref=theotherside 

This one looks like a lot of fun. And I was just lamenting that people had not taken advantage of an obvious market and to do it the right way.  Legendary Games looks like they are taking the right approach here.  Good job.  This one ends today!

Now heading to the old-school side of things.

Chromatic Dungeons

Chromatic Dungeons

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1693797308/chromatic-dungeons?theotherside

I have been following the development of this one for some time now.  Glad to see it hit Kickstarter. Quote from the Kickstarter page:

The driving goal behind Chromatic Dungeons is to act as a clone of the early TSR era games, incorporating elements from each of those editions to allow you to play in a style that emulates the experience of playing tabletop RPGs in the 80s, while also being welcoming to all gamers of every demographic to better represent just how diverse our industry has become since the 80s.

Sounds great to me! They just got started and it really looks like a lot of fun.

and one I must have.

Book of Lost Lore & Book of Lost Beasts

Book of Lost Lore & Book of Lost Beasts

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/brwgames/book-of-lost-lore-and-book-of-lost-beasts?ref=theotherside

Greyhawk Gognard runs a tight Kickstarter.  The only times he doesn't hit his target date is when he is early.  These books scratch that old-school itch better than what most companies are coming out with.

And you really can't beat the prices.

AND Finally, and this one is brand new.

HYPERBOREA 3E

Hyperborea 3e

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/jeffreytalanian/hyperborea-3e?ref=theotherside

Honestly, what can I say about this one?  I LOVED my 1st and 2nd editions of Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea and this one looks crazy!  

I was all set NOT to get this one, my other editions are still perfect in my mind, but it just looks so good.  Jeffrey Talanian also runs a great Kickstarter, so this will be great.

Sunday, April 11, 2021

Happy Anniversary WotC D&D

Yesterday, April 10, was the 24th Anniversary of Wizards of the Coast purchasing TSR and of course, D&D.

Wizards of the Coast D&D

Wizards of the Coast bought the failing TSR for $25 Million.  Today Wizards of the Coast is worth nearly $1 Billion

This means that Wizards of the Coast has been publishing D&D longer than TSR.

TSR D&D 1974 to 1997, 23 years 
WotC D&D 1997 to 2021 (so far), 24 years.

2024, just 3 more years, D&D will celebrate its 50th Anniversary.   IF I was WotC and looking to a new Edition that would either be when I announce it or release it. 

I am not about to speculate what will be in D&D 6 any more than I am willing to speculate when there will be a D&D 6.  I am sure we will see something more akin to D&D 5 though than the radical departures that 3 was from 2, 4 from 3, and 5 from 4. 

No idea if I will upgrade or not.  I have plenty of books and games to keep me happy till I die, to be honest.  But in any case, happy 24th birthday WotC D&D.

Thursday, February 25, 2021

One Man's God: Nehwon Mythos

Closing on one of the last of the named mythos for One Man's God.  I go to one that has a lot of importance for the creation of the D&D, the Nehwon Mythos of Fritz Leiber's Lankhmar series.

Nehwon Myths

You can now get Lankhmar RPG products for both 1st and 2nd AD&D as well as for Savage Worlds and Dungeon Crawl Classics.  To say it has left its mark on our hobby is a bit of an understatement.  Yet I find I really know very little about the stories.  I remember reading one of the books. It was either in late high school or my early college days, in either case, it was the mid-late 80s.  I recall reading the book and not really caring for the characters all that much.  I have been planning to reread them someday, but they keep getting pushed lower and lower on my to-be-read pile.

For this reason I had considered not doing these for One Man's God.  But the more I thought about it the more I realized it was a perfect chance to "level-set" what I am doing here.  Seeing if another culture's god can be redefined as AD&D Monster Manual Demon. 

Now I am certain that others with far more knowledge than me will have opinions one way or the other and that is fine.  They are welcome to share them.  A key factor of "One Man's God" is just that, one man's opinion on the gods. And that one man is me.  

So strap on a long sword and dirk and let's head to the City of Lankhmar.

Nehwon and Lankhmar in particular seems to have a lot of Gods.  I kind of lank this to be honest.  But how many of them are "Demons?"

We know there are demons here.  Demons and witches are described as living in the wastes. The wizard Sheelba of the Eyeless Face is said to be so horrible that even demons run from it.

Astral Wolves

These guys are great! Love the idea, but they feel more like undead to me.

Gods of Trouble

Ok, these guys start to fit the bill.  They are semi-unique, chaotic-evil, and have 366 hp. But they also have a lot of powers that demons just don't have.  They have worshipers, but no indication that any spells (for clerics) or powers (for warlocks) are granted.   They just seem to be powerful assholes.

Leviathan

There is a demon Leviathan and this guy looks a lot like him.  But this one is neutral and does not have any other powers except for being huge.

Nehwon Earth God

This guy appears to be an actual god, even if evil and non-human. 

Rat God

AH! Now we are getting someplace. Non-human, cult-like worshipers, described as the manifestation of men's fears, and chaotic evil.  I see no reason why the Rat God here could not be a type of demon with a larger power base.  At 222 hp he is actually pretty close to Demongorgon's hp.

The Rat God has some personal relevance for me.  I was riding the bus home in high school one day and there was a group of kids that were playing D&D. I listened in and guess in their game if you wanted to make boots that aided in your ability to move silently they had to be made from the pelt of the Rat God!  I always wondered what their other games must be like.

rat demon
Rat Demon (Prince of Rats)

FREQUENCY: Very Rare
NO. APPEARING: 1
ARMOR CLASS: 2
MOVE: 18'
HIT DICE: 222 hit points
% IN LAIR: 50%
TREASURE TYPE: P, S, T
NO. OF ATTACKS: 2
DAMAGE/ATTACK: 4-40
SPECIAL ATTACKS: Nil
SPECIAL DEFENSES: See below
MAGIC RESISTANCE: 20%
INTELLIGENCE: Supra genius (18)
ALIGNMENT: Chaotic Evil
SIZE: L (10' tall)
PSIONIC ABILITY: I

The Demon Prince of Rats is nearly powerful as other demon princes but he saves his interests and attention only for his rat and wererat followers.  He desires to overrun the Prime Material Plane with his children and feed on the bodies of all the living.

Spider God 

Same is true for this one.  I mean if rats are a manifestation of human fears then spiders are as well. This creature is also CE and at 249 hp that makes it more powerful than Lolth at 66!

Tyaa

Could be a demon, but had more goddess about her.  Again though, Lolth is both Goddess and Demon.  We will later get a demoness of birds in D&D during the 3e days in the form of Decarabia.  Tyaa requires her cult to sacrifice a body part, Decarabia cut off her own legs so she would never touch the ground again.

Bird Goddesses and Demons
Bird Goddesses and Demoness, separated at birth?

Obviously there a lot more here that could be done with these and the monsters/gods/demons that were not featured in the D&DG.

Saturday, February 6, 2021

It's D&D, Not Pie

It's D&D, not pie. You can have as much as you want and there is still more.


Saturday, January 23, 2021

Character Creation Challenge: Fantasy Wargaming

We have all had this one on our shelves at one point or saw it in the book stores and thought to ourselves, "wow I should REALLY do something with that one day."

Today is that day.  I am going to make a character for Bruce Galloway's Fantasy Wargaming

The Game: Fantasy Wargaming

There is a lot to unpack here. Not just in terms of the game itself, but the history of the game.  There is no way I could provide a good review of it for this particular post.  I am not even sure I want to try.  For starters, there is such a disdain for RPGs in this book and for D&D in particular.  I would call it a Fantasy Heartbreaker, but it never lets you get close enough to it to break your heart.  

So instead I am going to defer to the experts here.  They have spent more time on this that I will or ever will.  Plus my copy is so musty it is giving me a headache and it is still four feet away from me as I type this.

Again, given the musty state of my book, I am going to refer to these sites often in my character creation. G.L. Dearman's site in particular has some good character sheets.

The game does cover witches and witchcraft, all be it in a roundabout manner.

Few questions in anthropology have raised as much controversy as the nature of witchcraft. There are three quite separate views of the witch-the peasant magician, the pagan, and the devil worshipper. Fantasy Wargaming accepts all three as valid. Witches clearly exercised magic. and not just Supernatural powers by appeal Equally, the theory of a surviving pre-Christian Celtic fertility cult bas some force. Some ritual elements, notably the sacred dance and orgy, appear at the very beginning of the period, before diabolism bad really taken root. There are echoes of Bacchic revels, and of Diana's Wild Hunt.
Some medieval witches strenuously asserted their worship of a "different" god. Yet equally, the evidence for devil worship among medieval covens is overwhelming. (FW p. 24)

Well, that works for me. I can use this. 

For the character, I was hoping to make a Satanic witch.  Would have been great for the Satanic Panic call-back to when was made.  But I opted for today's date as her birthday and that made her Aquarius.  And I have a perfect Aquarian Witch. 

Fantasy Wargaming RPG

The Character: Marie Capet

Marie is another quasi-mythical character from my games.  I know that she was most active in the year 1012 AD.  Marie is also an Aquarian Tradition witch from my first Basic-era book of witches which, in a few thousand years, will become the Sisterhood of the Aquarian Order.   In later years she would have been called a neo-pagan. Margaret Murry would have embraced her.  As my prototype Aquarian, Marie sees no problem with grabbing what ever bits of esoteric knowledge comes her way.   To the Church, this makes her little better than a heretic and at worst, a follower of Lucifer.  She actually feels that Lucifer has been mischaracterized by the Church and that as "The Light Bringer" he is more of a Promethean-like figure.  She is doing what she can to bring on the next Age of Mankind.  This would not be known as the Aquarian Age, or the New Age, until much later on.

Given the rolls, I figure she was the 2nd daughter of a poor noble. She was going to go into the nunery but instead ended up marrying the Baron that her sister was supposed to marry.  She was married at age 14, so she has a couple of children (that survived) now by age 21. She has a level in Religious and a level in Magic as a Witch.  I assume she is discovering witchcraft from an Italian ladies' maid who knows of the "old ways."

11th Century Frankish Noblewoman
Marie Capet
Female Frankish Witch

Star Sign: Aquarius

Ability Scores (adjusted for Star Sign)
Physique: 1110
Agility: 12
Endurance: 10

Intelligence: 18
Faith: 1416

Charisma: 1213
Greed: 89
Selfishness: 13
Lust: 12
Bravery: 12

Social Class: 17

Height: 5'3"  Weight: 110lbs
Current Agility: 12

Literate: Yes
Speaks: Frankish, Latin, German
Chance to Speak Language: 60%

Leadership: 15

Birthrank: Second Daughter
Father's Social Position: Poor Baron (16)
Husband's Social Position: Rich Baron (17)

Misc. Traits: Paranoia

It is the Paranoia that helped me figure out she was learning her witchcraft on the sly.  Given the time and the culture, I thought an Italian Strega might be the best bet.  Maybe someone with a direct connection to Aradia. 

I did not pick and spells or rituals.  This game is crazy.  But there are a few ideas I want to use from it. 

Saturday, January 9, 2021

Character Creation Challenge: Dungeons & Dragons, 5th Edition

We now come to what be the most popular version of D&D ever published in terms of units sold and public discussion.  While the debate can be held on the relative popularity of 1st ed vs. 5th ed one thing is certain that 5e has outsold all other versions of D&D and has introduced a new generation to the game that has been unprecedented. 

The Game: Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition

I have described D&D5 as being something akin to the "Greatest Hits" of D&D.  I see bits of 1st ed here, 2nd Ed there, lots of 3e, and even bits of 4e.

Released in August of 2014 we (my family and I) were not originally going to pick it up.  I still had a ton of 4e material and my sons were looking seriously at 1st Ed to give it a try, but we starting hearing more so I grabbed the "D&D Next" playtest materials and thought, ok, let's give it a try.  When August 8, 2014, rolled around the boys and I went out at midnight to get our copies (and tacos).

5e quickly became the home system here.  My oldest ran games for his friends from high school and then college, he even ran games with his gaming group that has been together since they all met in pre-school.  My oldest played and eventually started the Table Top Club at the local high school. Between the two of them, they must have gotten somewhere around 40-50 new players to the game.  Of course many had heard about it via Critical Role first but remained players to this day. 

The Characters: The Coven

right away I was asked if I was going to do a witch for D&D 5.  Certainly, there are a lot of good reasons for me to do one, but in truth I was pretty happy with a lot of the options that D&D 5 already gives me. Plus I wrote my Old-School witch only after years of playing, writing and playtesting. Even when I published my first OSR witch book in 2012 I had over 30 years' worth of playing under my belt and a few published books.  I didn't want to just knock together something and slap a 5e label on it.

Plus with the advent of the DMsGuild (and 5e adopting the OGL) there were and are plenty of witch options from others for 5e. I spent all of October detailing them

So instead of making a witch class, I worked on characters that were RAW but I could make witchier.

I worked out some ideas and called them "The Coven."  The idea here was to take a very basic old-school idea.  Take a class and play it how I like.  In each case, I took a by-the-book spellcasting class and took the options to make them feel more like a witch.  The idea behind this group of witches is they all met in The Library, each searching for a particular tome.  All six managed to end up at the same place at the same time and each one wanted the same book, the infamous Liber Mysterium.  As it turned out the author of the Liber Mysterium, my iconic witch Larina, was present. She took all six under her tutelage.  Each class is a magic-using, spell-casting class, and each one has some connection to learning or deeper mysteries.  They all adventure and make appearances in my games as information brokers. 

Since I am doing six characters today I am going to link out to their sheets on D&DBeyond.

Tayrn Nix
Half-elf Warlock (Fey Pact)

Taryn was the first "witch-like" character I tried.  She is Larina's half-elf daughter.  She is a warlock, fey pact, and is my "embrace the stereotype" witch character.

Celeste Holmes
Human Wizard (Sage)

Celeste was a character I was planning on creating when I was going to go back to 1st ed before 5th ed came out.  She would have been a Magic-user but playing as a witch.  She was the first character I imagined going to The Library.  Felica Day is my model for this character.

Cassandra Killian
Human Sorcerer (Divne Soul)

With a backdrop of The Library, Cassandra became a no-brainer.  She is very obviously modeled after Cassandra Cillian from the Librarians played by the lovely Lindy Booth. She is also a nod to another character in my shared world. When my High School DM went off to college he created more of his world and a character named Killian.  Killian was major figure in his world and he created many adventures to go with it; Killian's Tower, Killian's Maze, Killians Dungeon, and so on. True old-school Gonzo affairs. 

For my Cassandra, I wanted someone whose magic felt like second nature to her. She didn't learn it so much as live it. So the Sorcerer seemed like the best route. Know of the great wizard Killian she took his name as her own.  She was the second character to enter the Library.

Jasic Winterhaven 
Gnome Bard (College of Lore)

Jasic is a character I have used off and on since my 3e days. I will admit he was created as a response to so many people I have gamed with saying how much they hate gnomes.  Jasic is a great guy.  He is a bard but I play him like a Benandanti witch.  He is also best friends with Taryn.

Sasha
Cleric (Knowledge Domain)

Sasha is an interesting one. She is a tiefling and claims to be the daughter of Glasya and is Taryn's Half-sister (same father, different mothers). She is a cleric, but again I play her like a witch priestess. I would suppose that the closest analogy would be if Sabrina (from Chilling Adventures of Sabrina) was Rowena's (from Supernatural) daughter instead of Lucifer's.  She is wanted by all the key players in Hell's Hierarchy but she herself has no power or pull beyond what she gets from her Goddess Cardea/Hecate (clerical).  Cardea led her to the Library.

Áedán Aamadu
Human Druid (Circle of the Land)

Áedán is a druid pagan who is the son of my two druids from OSE, Asabalom and Maryah. They were great friends with Larina (that is they were all part of my OSE playtests and games in summer of 2019).  Áedán is a circle of the land druid that I play as a pagan. Yes his name is Irish, but he looks like Will Smith.  I am pretty sure that he and Taryn are going to have a thing. 


Each one brings something different to the table for me.  I can't wait to convert them back to Basic/OSE for my War of the Witch Queens!

Character Creation Challenge

Tardis Captain is the originator of this idea and he is keeping a list of places participating.  When posting to Social Media don't forget the #CharacterCreationChallenge hashtag. 

RPG Blog Carnival

This month's RPG Blog Carnival is being hosted by Plastic Polyhedra. They are doing Characters, Stories, and Worlds, so that fits right in with everything we are posting this month.

Check out all the posts going on this month at both of these sources.

Friday, January 8, 2021

Character Creation Challenge: Dungeons & Dragons, 4th Edition

Dungeons & Dragons Player's Handbook 4th Ed.
Like the editions before 3rd Edition had a long run, though maybe not as long.  Soon it began to get overwhelming to run a game what with the glut of d20 sourcebook, books from WotC and just an unprecedented amount of material available.  3e's greatest strength soon became it's greatest problem.  What is a publisher to do?  Simple. Reboot and start over with a new edition.

Thus in June 2008 Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition was released to much hoopla. While many people gave it a try, only a few would stick with it. Many went back to 3e or older games, a significant chunk went to Pathfinder, what many were calling 3.75 or "the real 4e" and some stuck with it.

The Game: Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition

This might be the most hated version of D&D ever made according to some or a misunderstood game by others.  I will say this, the vast majority of people complaining about or taking potshots at it have never actually played it. 

I have had friends comment that if the game had been called "D&D Miniatures Battles" then they might have liked it better. To be fair D&D 4 does require a lot of minis and battle maps.  But I am not here today to figure out the whys and wherefores of this game's successes or failures. Today I am here for a character and what is D&D first official witch subclass.

Player's Option: Heroes of the Feywild gave us more detail on the Feywild, the D&D land of the Fey.  Among those details are a proper witch class. While I thought it could use a little flavor it was a very good witch class and one I would have loved seen ported over to D&D 5.  But that is tomorrow's post.

Dungeons & Dragons 4e

The Character: Eireann

 My plans for 4e back then were to play in the Forgotten Realms (no kidding, I became a convert in the 4e days) and have a heavy influence from both the Shadowfell and the Feywild.  Well...that never quite happened, but a lot of those ideas came over to my Second Campaign for D&D 5e.

Eireann was going to make a show sooner or later.  My concept of her was going to be she was higher level and act as a literal "Faerie Godmother" to the party.  This is Eireann when she was first starting out.  She is Sidhe Lady (well, not yet, but getting there), Moon Elf Witch of the Full Moon Coven.  She lives in the Feywild and only comes out to the mortal realms when she has to.

D&D 4 gives you the options of rolling abilities, point-buy, or a standard array.  This is a 25-point, point-buy build.

Photo by Juliana Stein from Pexels
Photo by Juliana Stein from Pexels
Eireann
1st level Female Moon Elf Witch (Wizard)
Unaligned

Abilities
Strength: 10 +0
Constitution: 15 +2
Dexterity: 10 +0
Intelligence: 18 +4
Wisdom: 15 +2
Charisma: 12 +1

Combat
Initiative: +0
Speed: 6 (30ft)
Hit Points: 25, Bloodied 12
Healing surges: 8, 6hp

Defenses
AC: 14
Fortitude: 12
Reflex: 14
Will: 15

Skils
Arcana +9, Bluff +1, Diplomacy +1, Dungeoneering +2, Endurance +2, Heal +2, History +9, Insight +2, Intimidate +1, Nature +2, Perception +2, Religion +9, Streetwise +1

Feats
Moon Elf Resilience

Powers (Spells)
At-will
Breath of Night, +4 vs Fortitude, 1d10+4 damage
Witch Bolt, +4 vs Reflex, 1d10+4 damage

Encounter
Burning Hands, +4 vs Reflex, 2d6+4 damage
Glorious Presence, +4 vs Will, 2d6+4 damage

Daily
Bewitching Charm, +4 vs Will (Charmed)
Sleep, +4 vs Will (Sleep)

Rituals
Gentle Repose

I had forgotten about the sheer amount of choice you have with characters in D&D4.  I could have made another 1st level witch that was identical, picked different powers/spells and had it come out very different. The books are also gorgeous to look at. 

Dungeons & Dragons 4e

Yeah D&D 4 gets a bad rap that it doesn't really deserve.  As the character levels up I could even take a feat to gain some Warlock or Druid powers, which would fit the concept of the character well.

There are also plenty of Paragon Paths I could take this character into such as the Legendary Witch or taking some ideas from the Forgotten Realms Player's Guide a Silver Star would also work.

Dungeons & Dragons 4e

And of course, what I can only describe as "flirting" with me, the Epic Destiny for the witch is the Witch Queen. 

Dungeons & Dragons 4e

Combat in 4e is a slog though.  But still I'd like to give it another go sometime.

Character Creation Challenge

Tardis Captain is the originator of this idea and he is keeping a list of places participating.  When posting to Social Media don't forget the #CharacterCreationChallenge hashtag. 

RPG Blog Carnival

This month's RPG Blog Carnival is being hosted by Plastic Polyhedra. They are doing Characters, Stories, and Worlds, so that fits right in with everything we are posting this month.

Check out all the posts going on this month at both of these sources.

Thursday, January 7, 2021

Character Creation Challenge: Dungeons & Dragons, 3rd Edition

D&D Player's Handbook 3rd Edition
The year is 2000. We don't have flying cars or stations on the moon, but we do get a new edition of the Dungeons & Dragons game.  Wizards of the Coast, known for Pokemon and Magic the Gathering, buy the cash strapped and deeply in debt TSR.  Soon TSR is folded into WotC and when D&D 3rd edition is announced, TSR is merely a memory.  Though WotC would go on to produce a hot new game that will still be played 20 years later AND set off a revolution in small press and fan publishing.

The Game: Dungeons & Dragons 3rd Edition

D&D 3rd Edition was by all accounts a revolutionary game.  It produced two (or three) direct descendants; D&D 3.5, Pathfinder, and Pathfinder 2nd Edition. It was the foundation for d20 Modern and the Star Wars RPGs from Wizards of the Coast. There was a Call of Cthulhu edition, a World of Darkness edition and not to mention thousands of games that used the d20 license and the Open Gaming License, and SRD.  The OGL and the SRD made so many other games possible including 90% of all the OSR releases on the market today.  D&D 3.x is also still widely played some 20 years later.

D&D retook the "Dungeons & Dragons" name, dropping the Advanced, to give D&D a single variant moving forward.  Basic and Advanced were no more. 

Of course, we also got the crowd of "never WotC D&D" forgetting that WotC gave out the SRD and OGL for free. Filled their website with free downloads and also created a very robust fan creation guideline that became the heart of the DMsGuild today, while TSR spent a lot of its early days on the Internet harassing BBSes, website owners, and AOL file areas as well sending C&D letters for anyone hosting Netbooks or fan-made D&D materials. 

The Character: Rowan McGowan

For this witch for D&D 3.5, I am going to use the sample custom witch class from the Dungeon Master's Guide.

The DMG witch class is a bit anemic really, it is just a reskinned Sorcerer with a new spell list.  But the goal for it was not to develop a full-blown witch class as I have done, but rather show how the classes can be altered for your own needs.   

Rowan continues my Celtic-themed named witches.  In 2000 I would have likely gone with Rowena, but I have a witch here already with that name.  She is "McGowan" instead of "nic Goibniu" because I want to represent her as being a little more "modern" than the previous witches.  Modern in the sense of rules updates.

Witches of the Coast
Liliana Vess by Dopaprime, CC License

Rowan McGowan

Female Human Witch, Level 1 (DMG Witch)
Lawful Neutral

Abilities
Strength: 10 (0)
Dexterity: 11 (0) 
Constitution: 12 (+1)
Intelligence: 11 (0)
Wisdom: 12 (+1)
Charisma: 16 (+3)

Saving Throws
Fortitude: +1
Reflex: +0
Will: +3

AC: 13
HP: 8
BAB: +0
Initiative: +0
Speed: 30

Skills
Bluff +3, Climb 0, Concentration +5, Diplomacy +4, Disguise +3, Gather Information +3, Heal +1, Intimidate +3, Jump 0, Listen +1, Move silently +0, Ride +0, Search +1, Sense Motive +1, Spellcraft +5, Spot +1, Survival +1, Swim +0, Use rope +0

Feats
Scribe Scroll, Toughness

Special Abilities - Familiar
Familiar - Cat (level 1, 11 HP, 15 AC Attack +5)
Deliver Touch spells through familiar
Empathic Link (Su)
Share spells

Spells
Spell DC 13 + Spell level
Cantrips: Arcane Mark, Daze, Detect Magic, Mending
1st level: Burning Hands, Disguise Self

Not too bad, if a little light on options. 

Character Creation Challenge

Tardis Captain is the originator of this idea and he is keeping a list of places participating.  When posting to Social Media don't forget the #CharacterCreationChallenge hashtag. 

RPG Blog Carnival

This month's RPG Blog Carnival is being hosted by Plastic Polyhedra. They are doing Characters, Stories, and Worlds, so that fits right in with everything we are posting this month.

Check out all the posts going on this month at both of these sources.

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Character Creation Challenge: Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, 2nd Edition

Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, 2nd Edition came on the scene to much anticipation back in the Spring of 1989.  I was in college at the time but I still managed to get the books very close on release day.  The game was largely an update and cleanup of the AD&D 1st Ed rules.  Gygax had been gone from TSR for a while at this point and the rules lacked his "voice" but they were a significant improvement in many ways.  

But today no one talks about the 2nd ed rules as much as they talk about the settings.

The Game: Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, 2nd Edition

There is no doubt that the 2nd edition made many improvements to the AD&D ruleset. While Basic-era D&D moved on with the BECMI series, AD&D came here.  With the streamlined, but not simplified, rules in place TSR focused on what they believed to be their cash-cow, settings.  And to be fair the settings are what we all recall today.  There were also tons of splat books and eventually an update that was called AD&D 2.5 by some, but never by the company.  

This was also the edition that caved under the pressure of the religious right and bowdlerized demons and devils right out of the system.  It would not be till later with Planescape that we got them back in the forms of Tanarri and Batatezu. 

Since the Splats and Settings are so important to the identity of 2nd Edition it behooves me to mention a couple and my relationship with them. Not to mention the witch options they gave me.

The Complete Wizard's Handbook

Among 2nd Eds features were the "Kits" or archetypes you could apply to various classes to customize them.  Sadly like many splat books you see power creep in these. The Complete Bard's Handbook was one of the worst offenders along with the Elves book. But today is not the day to discuss those. Today I want to talk about the Witch Kit.

The Witch-kit appeared in the Complete Wizard's Handbook and was a mere 3 or so pages, but it was the first official witch class in AD&D.  She got powers every odd level and had a lot of role-playing potential.  This might seem more powerful than your average wizard, but at the time everyone was assumed to have a kit of some sort.

Ravenloft

My world of choice in the 2nd Ed era was Ravenloft.  The gothic horror tropes were too much of a lure to avoid. Interestingly enough it would not be until Spring of 2000 when Ravenloft would get their first witch class/kit and by this time they were owned by Wizards of the Coast.

This class/kit gave us the Witches of Hala, which is a kit that any non-magic using class could use, so only Fighter and Theif. But the witches did gain some spell abilities.  To differentiate between the two witches Van Richten's Monster Hunter's Compendium, Vol 3 calls the Complete Wizard Witch Kit the "Sorcerous Witch." To further distinguish them I took to calling the Witches of Hala "Hedge Witches."

Forgotten Realms

During the 2nd Edition years, Forgotten Realms was the undisputed King of the Campaign Worlds.  I largely ignored it.  I have made up for lost time since then and been spending more time in the Realms, but that is another post.  I did however know all about the Witches of Rashemen and Spellbound was one of the first Realms products I ever bought. This setting also uses the wizard kit and the Witches of Rasemaar kit.


Due to the amount of material I have here I am also going to do two characters.

The Character: Sinéad

Following my Celtic-influenced witches, I give you Sinéad.  Of course, she is named for Sinéad O'Connor whose album "The Lion and the Cobra" pretty much changed everything for me in 1988/1989.  

Sinéad is built using the Witch Kit from the Complete Wizard's Handbook. Now the witch kit says they can't be multi-classed, but the concept I want to try is. So I am going to do it anyway, but not choose a kit for the Bard class.  Some of the restrictions on this kit feel the same as the removal of the demons and devils; giving the players in-game reasons not to use it.

Sinéad is not a character I played back then, but this build is pretty close to what I would have created back in 1989 while living in Room 109 of the Wright I Hall Dorms.

Goodwife Sinéad
(Goodwife is how you address a witch whose marital status is unknown)
Half-elf 7th level Wizard (Witch Kit)/7th level Bard
Chaotic Good

STR: 12
DEX: 16
CON: 15
INT: 17
WIS: 14
CHA: 16

AC: 1 (Bracers of Defence)
HP: 50
THAC0 (Base): 17

Saving Throws
Paralyzation, Poison, Death: 12
Rod, Staff, Wand: 9
Petrification, Polymorph: 11
Breath Weapon: 13
Spells: 10

Weapons
Dagger

Proficiencies/Skills/Languages
Herbalism, Spellcasting, Artistic Abilities (Singing)
Climb Walls (30%), Detect Noise (40%), Pick Pockets (25%), Read Languages (90%)

Special Abilities
Half-elf: Resist Sleep (30%)
Bard: Spells, knowledge
Witch: Read Magic, Detect Magic, Secure Familiar (3rd), Brew Calmative (5th), Brew Poison (7th)

Spells
Bard: (1st) Light, Faerie Fire, Protection from Evil (2nd) Charm Person, Hold Person (3rd) Dispel Magic
Wizard (Witch): (1st) Audible Glammer, Magic Missile, Shocking Grasp, Identity (2nd) Continual Light, Spectral Hand, Ray of Enfeeblement (3rd) Lightning bolt, Fly (4th) Dimension Door

The Character: Nida

Nida is a character I have been playing around with for my War of the Witch Queens.  She is supposed to represent the "other" witches of 2nd Ed, the ones I didn't use but the ones everyone else did. That is the Witches of Hala and the Witches of Rashemen.  She is not a starting character because I need her to have some history.

Nida was a Rashmi girl born to poor parents.  She was playing when she was taken into the Mists and found herself in the lands of Ravenloft.  She became a thief to survive the world on her own until she tried to pick the pockets of a Witch of Hala. For the next ten years she trained with this witch and learned the secrets of Hala and her magic. One night she was hunting a particularly nasty Annis Hag when she found herself back in her homeland of Rashemen.  Unable to return, she tried to pick up her life before she left only to discover her family had long since died.  She began training as a Wychlaran, or a Witch of Rashemen.  Like the witches of her homeland she adopted a mask and changed her name to "Nida" which means "voice."

Note: Since Nida is a dual classed character, a Thief/Mage, there is no reason to assume she can't be a Thief (Witch of Hala) / Mage (Witch of Rashemen) even though the Witch of Hala can't be taken by a spellcaster (she is a thief at the time) and the Witch of Rashemen has to be a spellcaster (she is a mage at the time).


Lady Nida
Human 4th level Thief (Witch of Hala Kit) / 9th level Wizard (Witch of Rashemen kit)
Chaotic Neutral*
(Witches in Ravenloft can't be chaotic, but this is the character concept I have.)

STR: 11
DEX: 16
CON: 16
INT: 17
WIS: 13
CHA: 18

AC: 1 (Bracers of Defence)
HP: 48
THAC0 (Base): 18

Saving Throws
Paralyzation, Poison, Death: 13
Rod, Staff, Wand: 9
Petrification, Polymorph: 11
Breath Weapon: 13
Spells: 10

Weapons
Dagger

Proficiencies/Skills/Languages
Herbalism, Spellcasting, Artistic Abilities, Ancient History
Pick Pockets (35%) Open Locks (35%), Climb Walls (30%), Detect Noise (40%), Pick Pockets (25%), Read Languages (90%)

Special Abilities
Half-elf: Resist Sleep (30%)
Bard: Spells, knowledge
Witch: Read Magic, Detect Magic, Secure Familiar (3rd), Brew Calmative (5th), Brew Poison (7th)

Spells
Witch of Hala: (1st) Combine, Reveal the Weave, Luck (2nd) Arcane Insights, Master Coven Magic (3rd) Water Walk
Wizard (Witch of Rahemen): (1st) Circle, Alarm, Magic Missile, Shocking Grasp (2nd) Dazzle, Protection from Poison, Blindness, Tasha's Uncontrollable Hideous Laughter (3rd) Firelance, Lightning bolt, Suggestion (4th) Negate Magic Weapon, Magic Mirror (5th) Teleport

I like these builds. I certainly want to use Nida somewhere.  Maybe see what she is like with another system. Both are 14th level and have a similar range of abilities.

Character Creation Challenge

Tardis Captain is the originator of this idea and he is keeping a list of places participating.  When posting to Social Media don't forget the #CharacterCreationChallenge hashtag. 

RPG Blog Carnival

This month's RPG Blog Carnival is being hosted by Plastic Polyhedra. They are doing Characters, Stories, and Worlds, so that fits right in with everything we are posting this month.

Check out all the posts going on this month at both of these sources.


Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Character Creation Challenge: Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, 1st Edition

AD&D Players Manual
Up until 2000 if you said "D&D" most people thought of Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 1st Edition.   Indeed it was AD&D that dominated the later part of the 1970s, 1980s, and with 2nd Edition the 90s. Though that is for tomorrow's post.

Today I take on the game that I played the most and the one that dominates the imagination of so many still today.

The Game: Advanced Dungeons & Dragons

A lot of ink, both real and virtual, has been spilled on the whats, whys, and hows of the differences between Basic D&D and Advanced D&D, so I see no need to spill more here.  Suffice to say that they are different games, though we freely mixed them back in the day. 

The evolution of D&D from Original to 5th edition sees it's first divergence here. 

In the AD&D 1st Ed years there was no official witch class.  There were however many unofficial and semi-official witch classes.  I talked about the Dragon Magazine #43 witch yesterday but I used it for Basic D&D.  The class was famously, or maybe infamously, updated in 1986 for AD&D in the pages of Dragon #114.  It was, and maybe still is, one of the most popular versions of the witch ever made for D&D.

AD&D Players Manual, 4 versions

The Character: Rhiannon

Ah. If I had a dime for every Rhiannon I have run into over the years. 

Not that I can blame anyone. The Golden Age of AD&D was the early 80s and the Queen of the music charts was Stevie Nicks. "Rhiannon" by Fleetwood Mac was released in 1975 on the album Fleetwood Mac. The second Fleetwood Mac album to feature this title, and their tenth overall, but the first with new couple Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham.  But in the 1980s it wasn't this album or even the insanely good and popular Rumours or Tusk that grabbed me and my imagination. No it was Stevie's solo efforts Belladonna and (especially) The Wild Heart that began my deep, deep love affair with witches.

Rhiannon would be an old witch in my games today. Likely a relative or even a spiritual Goddess-mother to Larina.  But today she is the young Maiden who "rings like a bell through the night" and looks for a lover.  I can't help think of her as anything but the famous art Elmore drew in the Dragon #114 piece.  If she looks a little like Stevie, well, maybe Stevie looks like her.

Rhiannon
1st level Witch, Sisters of the Moon coven, High Secret Order
Chaotic Good

STR: 11
INT: 16
WIS: 13
DEX: 13
CON: 11
CHA: 15

AC: 9
HP: 3

Saving Throws
Witches use the best of Cleric & Magic-user Saves.

Poison or Death: 10
Petrification or Polymorph: 13
Rod, Staff, or Wands: 11
Breath Weapon: 15
Spell: 12

Saves +2 against other witch magic

Spells
1st (1+3):  Darkness, Mending, Seduction, Sleep

Equipment
Dagger, backpack, iron rations, water, 50' rope, staff.

AD&D Players Manuals and Dragon #114
Everything you need for a witch character in 1986

I think an updated, and more mature, Rhiannon will need to grace my War of the Witch Queens games sometime.

Rhiannon rings like a bell through the night
And wouldn't you love to love her?
Takes to the sky like a bird in flight
And who will be her lover?

Character Creation Challenge

Tardis Captain is the originator of this idea and he is keeping a list of places participating.  When posting to Social Media don't forget the #CharacterCreationChallenge hashtag. 

RPG Blog Carnival

This month's RPG Blog Carnival is being hosted by Plastic Polyhedra. They are doing Characters, Stories, and Worlds, so that fits right in with everything we are posting this month.

Check out all the posts going on this month at both of these sources.

Monday, January 4, 2021

Character Creation Challenge: Dungeons & Dragons, Basic Edition

Monday of the first week of the year and it is back to the day job for me.  Thankfully I planned an easy (for me) one today.  To continue with the editions of Dungeons & Dragons we are now up to Basic D&D. 

Basic D&D Boxed set

The Game: Basic Dungeons & Dragons 

I have told the tale here many times on how I began with Holmes Basic, but the first D&D I ever owned was the Moldvay Basic Set.  I played Basic D&D, just "D&D" to me then,  but soon I and everyone else, were mixing it liberally with bits of AD&D.  Sometimes I think of the days when a Blue or Red D&D Basic book was used side by side with the AD&D Monster Manual and modules.

Spend any time here and you will know of my love for Basic D&D. So there is little more I can say here.

The Character: Áine nic Elatha

The witch class I am pairing with this is the one from Dragon Magazine #43 and using the guidelines set out by Tom Moldvay on what a witch should be. 

Dragon Magazine #43 was published in November 1980; the high point of Holmes Basic, the start of AD&D popularity, and one year before Moldvay Basic was released.  The class is overtly designed for AD&D, but as I mentioned we used Basic and Advanced interchangeably.  I suppose if I am being true to Basic I should drop the bonus spells per Intelligence the witch gains.

Given the time and this tantalizing promise, I can justify making it for a bastardized Basic/Advanced D&D.

The witch from Holmes

Áine daughter of Elatha is a human magic-user (Basic after all).  She is "the path not taken" for me.  My first "witch-like" character was Luna, a cleric that worshipped an unnamed moon goddess. While she would later morph into something else, I soon created other witch type characters, Áine is what that character could have been if I had chosen Magic-user rather than Cleric.

Áine nic Elatha
1st level Human Witch

STR: 10
INT: 17
WIS: 12
DEX: 11
CON: 12
CHA: 11

AC: 9
HP: 3

Spells
1st (1+3):  Change Self, Cure Wounds, Light, Sleep

Equipment
Dagger, backpack, iron rations, water, holy water, darts (3), 50' rope, staff.


Holmes & Moldvay Basic sets

If you are doing this challenge as well please feel free to post on the Facebook group, I'd Rather Be Killing Monsters.

Also, this month's RPG Blog Carnival is being hosted by Plastic Polyhedra. They are doing Characters, Stories, and Worlds, so that fits right in with everything we are posting this month!

Do check them out!


Sunday, January 3, 2021

Character Creation Challenge: Dungeons & Dragons, Original Edition

Today is the start of the first full week of January and thus 2021.  So let's spend some time this week with the Grand-daddy of all RPGs, Dungeons & Dragons.  Every day this week I am going to do an edition of D&D.  Today I am going to start with Original Dungeons & Dragons. 

The Game: Dungeons & Dragons

D&D is arguably the first RPG ever created and certainly to first-ever mass-marketed.  Original D&D is a great game that is a lot of fun, if you can find a group that plays it correctly.  One summer back in 1987 I played in a summer-long campaign of OD&D using the Eldritch Wizardry rules.  I was already a HUGE fan of the Eldritch Wizardry supplement, having picked up a copy back in 1985.  I loved the demons, the druids, and the psionic rules.

To do my witch I thought I might do a druid, Rules as Written, but I think instead I want to use the witch class from The Dragon Magazine #5 (1977). Though that witch is more of a "monster" type than an NPC or class.  So I will also look at The Dragon Magazine #20 (1978).  This works for me since I like to consider 1977/78 the "end" of OD&D's run and the start of "Basic" D&D and AD&D's prominence. 

I will do the 3d6 in order, but I am also going to reorder as needed to get the numbers I need. 

In true OD&D form I am going to start her as a Magic-User and choose spells from The Dragon #5 & #20 witch lists.

witches in OD&D

The Character: Deirdre

Deirdre is a witch idea I had while reading Celtic Myths.  I know very little about her yet except she seems to be sad.  

Deirdre
1st level Magic-User (Medium) [Witch]

STR: 8
INT: 14
WIS: 13
DEX: 14
CON: 13
CHA: 11

Equipment: Dagger, 50' rope, staff, iron rations, 3 pouches (2 empty, 1 with spell components), spellbook, iron spikes, water skin w/ water, 4 darts.

Spells: Sleep

witch from The Dragon #5

I used the dice roller on Google for this. Not too bad really. If the rolls had favored it I would have made her a druid since that also works out nice.  I am sure there will be some druids in my characters this month.

Original D&D rules

Tardis Captain, who started this challenge, is keeping a running list of participating blogs on his site and people are posting over at RPG.net as well.