Showing posts with label Iggwilv. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Iggwilv. Show all posts

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Areelu Vorlesh, Witch Queen of the Worldwound

I picked up some Pathfinder minis a while back and this succubus in the mix that I did not recognize.  She also had a proper name, Areelu Vorlesh.  Imagine my joy when I discovered she was not only a succubus (well half succubus) but also a witch!

A trio of wicked witches, Iggwilv, Areelu, and Skylla
Turns out she is also a major NPC baddie in Pathfinder, the primary architect of the Worldwound in Golarion.  I am not sure what happens to her there, but she would really be a perfect addition to my War of the Witch Queens.  Plus I already have her mini!  Now I just need a Wayne Reynolds print on my wall.

Her Pathfinder stats are crazy. She is a 10th level witch, 10th level demoniac and an 8th level archmage.  Plus she has a lot of her half-succubus powers.  She has some truly outrageous stats too.

Areelu Vorlesh
The human that would become the witch Areelu Vorlesh has been lost to time. It was known that she was a witch in Deskari’s cult.  She was researching the nature of the separation of the worlds and planes (Plot hook!).  It was her success at opening the Worldwound that caused her Patron to transform her into a half-fiend.

Areelu Vorlesh (28th level witch)
The Witch

Strength: 14 Death Ray, Poison 3
Dexterity: 18 Magic Wands 4
Constitution: 18 Paralysis, Polymorph or Turn to Stone 3
Intelligence: 18 Dragon Breath 6
Wisdom: 18 Rods, Staffs, Spells 5
Charisma: 19

Hit Points: 73
Alignment: Chaotic (Evil)
AC: -2 (Bracers of Defense, +3 Amulet of Protection)

Occult Powers (Malefic Tradition)
Familiar: "Gimcrak" (Quasit, Enhanced)
7th level: Evil's Touch
13th level: Devil's Tongue
19th level: Curse
25th level: Polymorph Other

Succubus Powers
Fly (at normal movement rate).
Drain Constitution (1 point).
Immune to fire damage and poison.
Half damage from cold and electricity.
Takes double damage from "holy" items.

Spells
Cantrips (7): Arcane Mark, Detect Curse, Ghost Sound, Mend Minor Wounds, Message, Spark, Summon Vermin

First (8+3): Bewitch I, Cause Fear, Charm Person, Command, Increase Sex Appeal, Mend Light Wounds, Protect Familiar, Quicken Healing, Shattering the Hourglass, Silver Tongue, Spirit Dart

Second (8+2): Ecstasy, Enhanced Familiar, Enthrall, Evil Eye, Hold Person, Invisibility, Phantasmal Spirit, Rite of Remote Seeing, Scare, Twisting the Heartstrings II

Third (7+2): Bestow Curse, Clairaudience/Clairvoyance, Dispel Magic, Enlarge Familiar, Feral Spirit, Fly, Ghost Ward, Tongues, Witch Wail

Fourth (7+2): Abomination, Charm Monster, Confusion, Divine Power, Intangible Cloak of Shadows, Moonlit Way, Phantom Lacerations, Spiritual Dagger, Withering Touch

Fifth (6): Baleful Polymorph, Feeblemind, Greater Command, Nightmare, Teleport, Waves of Fatigue

Sixth (6): Bewitch VI, Break the Spirit, Geas, Mass Suggestion, Repulsion, True Seeing

Seventh (5): Draw Forth the Soul, Eternal Charm Monster, Maze, Binding Ritual (Ritual), Gate (Ritual)

Eighth (5): Bewitch VIII, Damming Stare, Destroy Life, Wail of the Banshee, Imprisonment (Ritual)

So this version of Areelu Vorlesh is pretty powerful, though still not as powerful as the Pathfinder version (551 hp!) but still a very formidable foe and a worthy Witch Queen.



Sunday, March 25, 2018

Arts and Crafts Weekend, Part 1

I am on Spring Break!  So we spent the first part of my vacation working on various arts and crafts.  My wife painted a bunch of minis. I'll share what I did in the next post.


First up is a little Piasa Bird.



She did a Tiefling Necromancer and a gold skinned demoness.


She also worked on my witch Larina!




She looks great with other versions of her!




Larina and her daughter Taryn.






She also did Iggwilv for me!



Art imitates art!

Been a great time.  Love these little witches!

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Iggwilv, Witch-Queen of Perrenland: Pathfinder Stats

It might feel like I am phoning this one in...and I am!  But seriously, work is crazy busy right now and to be honest these stats are top notch.

Over on the Sages of Oerth-Greyhawk page on Facebook, Randy Davis is doing a hell of a job of stating up some of the "big names" in Greyhawk.  I noticed his Zuggtmoy write-up a couple of days ago and thought it was great.  I did some digging and found his takes on GwynharwyfJuiblexFraz-Urb’luuYeenoghuGraz’ztOrcus, and Demogorgon.  I then found his take on Iggwilv and saw he used a lot of the same pictures I did.  So I immediately liked it (and "Liked" it).

Here is his take on Iggwilv. You can see it on Facebook and it is reposted with his permission below.
If you like his work, pop on over the Facebook page(s) to let him know.  He put a lot of work into these.

Iggwilv, the Witch-Queen of Perrenland
CR 31 / XP 13,107,200
Medium human CE female archwizard 10 / wizard (arcane crafter) 20
Init +8; Senses arcane sight, darkvision 60’, see invisibility; Perception +31

DEFENSE 
AC 33, touch 24, flat-footed 27 (armor +4, deflection +5, dex +6, insight +1, luck +2, natural +5)
hp 346 (30d6+210+31)
Fort +23, Ref +22, Will +25; evasion
DR 15/cold iron and good, Immune all devices and spells that gather information (detect, scry, etc.), electricity, movement-impeding effects, poison, Resist acid 10, cold 10, fire 10, SR 36

OFFENSE 
Speed 60 ft., fly 80 ft.
Melee staff of power +22/+17/+12 (1d6+8)
Ranged touch +21
Special Attacks: Archwizardry 5/day, Bypass Spell Resistance, Spell Echo 5/day

Wizard Spells Prepared (CL 30, Concentration +44)
9th gate, imprisonment (DC 33), quickened maze, extended shapechange, extended time stop, wish
8th extended greater planer binding (DC 32), extended dimensional lock, quickened forcecage (DC 32), maximized horrid wilting (DC 34), extended mind blank, trap the soul (DC 34)
7th banishment (DC 31), quickened flesh to stone (DC 31), quickened greater dispel magic (2), extended project image, soul transfer
6th maximized chain lightning (DC 30), maximized disintegrate (DC 30), extended mislead, extended planer binding (2), extended repulsion (DC 30), maximized and quickened scorching ray, extended true seeing, maximized undeath to death, quickened wall of force (2)
5th maximized acidic spray (DC 31), maximized cone of cold (DC 29), dismissal (DC 29), maximized and quickened magic missile, extended overland flight, sending, extended telekinesis (DC 29)
4th extended charm monster (DC 28), extended dimensional anchor (DC 28), quickened final sacrifice, extended greater false life, extended greater invisibility, quickened magic circle against chaos, extended sacrifice
3rd extended create soul gem (DC 29), extended displacement, extended fly, extended greater magic weapon, extended protection from energy, quickened resist energy (2)
2nd blindness/deafness (DC 28), extended glitterdust (DC 28, 2), extended hideous laughter (DC 26), extended invisibility, extended mirror image (2), quickened true strike, extended web
1st maximized chill touch, extended grease (DC 27), extended mage armor, maximized magic missile (2), extended protection from evil, extended protection from good, extended shield
0 light, mage hand, open/close, prestidigitation

STATISTICS 
Str 15, Dex 23, Con 24, Int 38, Wis 13, Cha 29
Base Attack +15; CMB +17; CMD 61

Feats: Augment Summoning, Craft Construct, Craft Magic Arms and Armor, Craft Wondrous Item, Demon Mastery, Extend Spell, Ironclad Logic, Greater Spell Focus (Conjuration, Necromancy), Greater Spell Penetration, Maximize Spell, Quicken Spell, Scribe Scroll, Skill Focus (Knowledge – Arcana), Skill Focus (Spellcraft), Soul-Powered Magic, Spell Focus (Conjuration, Necromancy), Spell Penetration, Superior Summoning

Skills: Acrobatics +56, Diplomacy +47, Escape Artist +36, Intimidate +39, Knowledge (arcana) +55, Knowledge (dungeoneering) +44, Knowledge (engineering) +44, Knowledge (geography) +44, Knowledge (history) +44, Knowledge (local) +44, Knowledge (nature) +44, Knowledge (nobility) +44, Knowledge (religion) +44, Knowledge (the planes) +44, Perception +31, Sense Motive +31, Spellcraft +55, Use Magic Device +44

Languages: Abyssal, Common, Celestial, Draconic, and Infernal
SQ Arcane Servant, Metamagic Enhancement, Selective Targets, Shaped Area
Each day Iggwilv casts extended greater false life, extended mage armor, extended greater magic weapon, extended mind blank and extended overland flight.

Contingency: If Iggwilv is ever petrified, a stone to flesh spell affects her.
Demon Mastery (feat): When summoning demons Iggwilv gains a +2 on Charisma checks made to resolve the effects of planer binding and similar spells. Additionally, whenever she uses a spell to call or summon a demon her effective caster level is +1 for resolving its effects.

Permanent Spells: Iggwilv has used permanency to make the following spells permanent upon her: arcane sight, darkvision, read magic, see invisibility, and tongues.
Inherent Bonuses: Through a combination of books from Xagyg’s library, her own levels and wish spells, Iggwilv has a +5 inherent bonus to all six of her abilities.

Lilitu’s Kiss: Iggwilv has secured the cooperation of a lilitu demon named Tsatchti, and bears her name as a tattoo-like mark on her right shoulder. This gift grants Iggwilv a +2 profane bonus to her Charisma and saving throws. Iggwilv’s weapons are also treated as being chaotic for the purpose of bypassing damage reduction. The mark can be removed by a dispel chaos spell.

Combat Gear: scroll of limited wish (2), scrolls of monster summoning VII (4), VIII (3), IX (2), amulet of natural armor +5, belt of battle, Boots of Swiftness, bracers of mighty constitution +6, Cloak of the Witch Queen, dusty rose ioun stone, gloves of storing, headband of protection +5, ring of free action, Ring of Epic Wizardry VI, staff of power (16), Robe of the Abyss, rod of greater quicken metamagic, 25,000gp in diamond dust for wish, true seeing ointment (4), 10,000 gp in rare incense and offerings for gate, 3000 gp in ruby dust for forcecage, star sapphire worth 22,000gp for trap the soul

Belt of Battle: This belt grants a +2 competence bonus on initiative checks. This is a continuous effect and requires no activation. In addition, a belt of battle has 3 charges, which are renewed each day at dawn. Each time you activate the belt, one of the black pearls set into its buckle turns white. The pearls return to normal when the belt’s charges renew. Spending 1 or more charges grants you an extra action, which must be taken immediately (before you take any other action). 1 charge: 1 move action. 2 charges: 1 standard action. 3 charges: 1 full-round action. Caster Level 13

Boots of Swiftness (minor artifact): These soft-soled leather shoes grant their wearer a +6 enhancement bonus to Dexterity. The wearer’s speed doubles (this does not stack with any magical or supernatural enhancement to speed), she gains the evasion ability (as the rogue class feature), and the wearer’s jumping distance is not limited by her height. The wearer gains a +20 competence bonus to her CMD, and on her Acrobatics and Climb checks. Three times per day, the wearer can utter a command word to activate haste as a swift action. Caster Level 25

Cloak of the Witch Queen (major artifact): Wearing this cloak grants the wearer a +8 enhancement to Intelligence, a +6 enhancement to Charisma, SR 36 and +5 resistance on all saving throws. The wearer can plane shift at will (as per amulet of the planes). Caster Level 30

Robe of the Abyss (minor artifact): The wearer of this robe enjoys DR 15/cold iron and good, immunity to electricity and poison, and resistance to acid 10, cold 10, and fire 10. Caster Level 25
(converted from Savage Tide epic 3.5 to Pathfinder)

Thursday, August 17, 2017

This Old Dragon: Issue #83

Have a look at that cover.  1984 was a good year for Chess themed things.  In October we would get the #1 hit, "One Night In Bangkok" from the Album Chess and sung by Murry Head.  In March we got this famous cover of Dragon #83 by  Denis Beauvais.  It is part of the oft mentioned Chess series that stretch to the modern day.  On the radio "Jump" by Van Halen dominates the airwaves. In the theatres we get "Against All Odds", "Police Academy" and "Romancing the Stone" as the big box office hits.  On the shelves "Dragonlance" is starting to appear and we get Issue #83 of This Old Dragon!

Letters cover the usual questions about psionics and where someone can get an article reprint.  Hang tight, you will be able to buy everything on CD-ROM in about 15 years.   There is also a letter on the longest continuous game of D&D at 100 hours.  I think the longest game I ever played was a combo Ravenloft I6/I10 game at 48 hours.

Ads for James Bond and Cities of Hârn.

Michael Lowrey is up first with The many facets of gems. Since a lot of my D&D game play is 70s and 80s fueled I always wanted to use gems as a means of storing magical energy in my games.  I never quite got it the way I wanted it to be honest (still working on it) but this article was a huge help back in the day.  It is also a pretty long article.

Ed Greenwood is back with the Ecology of the Stirge. Is it a bug? Is it a bird?  Going back and rereading these now I admire how well Ed could take even the most banal monster and turn it into something interesting.  While I used to find his "in universe" writing a little twee now I am genuinely amused by it.  I can imagine some Academy in the Forgotten Realms where monster experts debate the finer points of monster biology and killing methods, all safe in their academic halls and ivory towers.

Sign of the times.  The fiction section is not only by Margaret Weis, it is the first Dragonlance story in the pages of Dragon magazine.  Test of the Twins features the twins Caramon and Raistlin.  A lot of ink and pixels have been spilled over the effect on D&D by Dragonlance.  Whatever your point of view on this the Dragonlance era starts here and now with this issue.   The story is a pivotable one in the Dragonlance saga. So much so that I have read it, or versions of it, in other books before I saw it here.

The centerfold is the massive adventure from Roger Moore, the Dancing Hut. This was such a great adventure then that I had to rerun for my kids.  Though I combined it with bits of the 2nd Edition version that came out much later.  This one is a keeper.
Baba Yaga is such a historic figure in D&D it is no surprise there are so many adventures built around her.

Roger Moore follows this up with a simplified unarmed fighting system in How to Finish Fights Faster.  Frankly, I never used it.

There is an ad for my FLGS here, +Games Plus.  This might have been the first time I discovered them to be honest.  I used to order the hard to find stuff from Games Plus because they were the only Illinois game store that knew of that did mail orders. They were about 210 miles away from me at the time, but now they are only 8 miles. So I am very, very pleased to still be going there.

There is a Top Secret article here, but mine was cut out.

There is another ad and a long review of the James Bond 007 game.
I am a HUGE Bond fan.  My first Bond movie was Live and Let Die. It gave me a life long obsession with Bond, Voodoo and Jane Seymour.
Despite this, I have never played a James Bond game.  My loss to be sure.  I'll need to fix that someday.
My first Bond may have been the late great Roger Moore (no relation of course to the above-mentioned RM), the BEST Bond is Daniel Craig.

Ads...an order form for the Mail Order Hobby Shop to get back issues of Dragons.

In the comics section we get a rare celestial conjunction; Wormy, What's New with Phili and Dixie AND Snarf Quest all in one issue.  There is even an entry of Talanalan here.

A great issue really, if for nothing else than for the Baba Yaga adventure.

March 1984 was also a good issue of White Dwarf. Check that out on my White Dwarf Wednesday Issue #51.

Using Baba Yaga in your games
This adventure features Baba Yaga and gives her stats ala Deities and Demigods.  She is a tough one to beat too.   She has 3 attacks, 135 hp, a -1 Charisma which gives her horror like effects.  She fights like a 16HD and has the spell casting ability of a 25th level Magic-User, a 15th level Illusionist and a 14th level Druid.  Crazy.  Oh, and she has some abilities of an assassin too.

There is no doubt that she is one of, if not THE, most powerful witch in the D&D multiverse.  When she is not working with her daughter Iggwilv on Oerth she is off on Golarion dealing with the Winter Witches of Irrisen.  I would not be surprised to discover she has also been to Aglarond and Rashemen. And if she hasn't been there then her Hut has.

No one is better suited for a Basic Witch write-up to be honest.
I will use Roger Moore's stats as a guideline and use the witch rule from my The Witch: A sourcebook for Basic Edition fantasy games.

Baba Yaga, Witch Queen
36th level Queen of Witches, Daughter of Baba Yaga Tradition (She is the Tradition founder.)
Female, Chaotic (Nuetral Evil)

Strength 20 (+3 / +8)
Intelligence 25
Wisdom 23
Dexterity 18 (+3)
Constitution 21 (+6_
Charisma -1* (Baba Yaga uses her negative CHA the way other witches use positive. So +5)

Saving Throws
Death Ray/Poison 3
Magic Wands 3
Paralysis, Polymorph 3
Dragon Breath 3
Rods, Staffs, Spells 3
+5 to all saves via Ring of Protection
+ for Wisdom

Hit Points:
AC: -10
(Grandmother's Shawl +5, Bracers of Defense +3, Ring of Protection +5, Dex 18 -3)

THAC0: 4
(I know, THAC0 was not used in Basic D&D. You know what this means)

Occult Powers
Lesser: Familiar (crow)
Minor: Kitchen Witchery
Medial: Detect Bloodline
Greater: Curse
Major: Shape Change
Superior: Longevity

Spell Immunities
Baba Yaga is immune to the following spells:
Cause fear, charm person, command, friends, hypnotism, forget, hold person, ray of enfeeblement, scare, beguiling, bewitch, domination, fear, charm monster, confusion, emotion, fumble, suggestion, telempathic projection, chaos, feeblemind, hold monster, magic jar, mass domination, quest, geas, mass suggestion, rulership, antipathy/sympathy, finger of death, mass charm, Otto's irresistable dance and any spell created by one of her "Daughters" (for example Tasha's Hideous Uncontrollable Laughter).

Other Powers
Arcane Diversity: Baba Yaga may learn other arcane spells (Wizard, Necromancer, Illusionist). She can replace 1 Ritual spell per spell level with an arcane spell she has learned.  These spells must be learned like other magic-users and recorded in her Book of Shadows.

Spells
Cantrips (8): Alarm Ward, Arcane Mark, Chill, Daze, Ghost Sound, Inflict Minor Wounds, Object Reading, Summon Vermin
1st (9+4): Bad Luck, Black Fire, Cause Fear, Charm Person, Chill Touch, Darkness, Endure Elements, Fey Sight, Ghostly Slashing, Glamour, Minor Fighting Prowess, Protection from Spirits, Silver Tongue
2nd (9+3): Agony, Biting Blade, Discord, Enthrall, ESP, Evil Eye, Ghost Touch, Hold Person, Invisibility, Mind Obscure, Phantasmal Spirit, Spell Missile
3rd (9+3): Astral Sense, Bestow Curse, Circle of Respite, Dispel Magic, Feral Spirit, Ghost Ward, Lethe's Curse, Lifeblood, Magic Circle Against Undead, Toad Mind, Witch Wail, Witch Writing
4th (9+3): Abomination, Analyze Magic, Arcane Eye, Charm Monster, Divination, Ethereal Projection, Intangible Cloak of Shadows, Phantom Lacerations, Speak with Dead, Spiritual Dagger, Tears of the Banshee, Withering Touch
5th (9+2): Baleful Polymorph, Blade Dance, Death Curse, Dreadful Bloodletting, Endless Sleep, Greater Command, Hold Monster, Magic Jar, Nightmare, Teleport, Waves of Fatigue
6th (9+1): Anchoring Rite, Anti-magic Shell, Break the Spirit, Death Blade, Eye Bite, Ethereal Banishment, Mass Agony, Mislead, True Seeing, Dismissal (Ritual)
7th (9): Call the Restless Soul, Death Aura, Draw Forth the Soul, Greater Arcane Eye, Greater Blindness, Foresight, Insanity, Wave of Mutilation, Gate (Ritual)
8th (9): Antipathy/Sympathy, Astral Projection, Destroy Life, Greater Mislead, Mystic Barrier, Pit, Trap the Soul, Ensnarement (Ritual), Imprisonment (Ritual)

Magic Items
Grandmother's Shawl (Greatest), Broom of Animated Attack, Baba Yaga's Hut, Baba Yaga's mortar and pestle.

To make her closer to the version presented here in Dragon #83 I could give her the Mind Bar from +Richard LeBlanc's Basic Psionics Handbook.

Enjoy!

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Iggwilv, The Witch Queen of Perrenland

I have been doing some research on Iggwilv for my War of the Witch Queens adventure and as part of my prep for my kids finishing up "The Dancing Hut of Baba Yaga" (more on that tomorrow).

While working on these it occurred to me that what I really wanted was a "Power Score -like" treatise on Iggwilv as she has appeared in all editions of *D&D.  So I went to the source and to see what +Sean McG  had written on the subject.  The more I read and the more I thought about it the more it seemed like a good idea to collaborate with Sean and see what his touch would bring.  Sure enough, he did a bang up job.  You can read his post on Iggwilv today.

For my efforts, I want to do something I have wanted to do forever.  Convert Iggwilv to a Basic-Era style witch.   We know a lot about her and I am basing these stats mostly on her 3.x edition version from Dungeon Magazine #149.   In that she is a Chaotic Evil human Wizard 26 / Arch-mage 4 (30 total levels).  That grants her a lot of spells and powers.
For my version, I toning down her abilities (Int 38, Cha 28...fine for D&D 3.x, not Basic) but granting her the top level of witches I have, 36th level.  Truthfully I would have been happy with anything from 30 to 36, but I have not done a witch this high of level before here.

Iggwilv also has a number of unique spells.  These can be handled by adding them as Witch Rituals.  Which is really appropriate since is was the descriptions of the magic circles in the Demonomicon of Iggwilv from S4 The Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth that got me really thinking about doing a witch class.

Iggwilv, Witch Queen of Perrenland
36th level Witch, Daughter of Baba Yaga Tradition*
Female, Chaotic (Evil)

Strength 10
Intelligence 20
Wisdom 17
Dexterity 21
Constitution 19
Charisma 22

Saving Throws
Death Ray/Poison 2
Magic Wands 2
Paralysis, Polymorph 2
Dragon Breath 2
Rods, Staffs, Spells 2
+2 to all saves via Tastchti's Mark
+5 to all saves via Ring of Protection
+2 for Wisdom

Hit Points: 66
AC: -10
(leather armor +5, Bracers of Defense +3, Ring of Protection +5, Dex 21 -4, Tastchti's Mark -2)

THAC0: 6
(I know, THAC0 was not used in Basic D&D. You know what this means)

Occult Powers

Lesser: Familiar (Quasit, "Black Comet")
Minor: Kitchen Witchery
Medial: Detect Bloodline
Greater: Curse
Major: Shape Change
Superior: Longevity

Other Powers
Arcane Diversity: As a Daughter of Baba Yaga, Iggwilv may learn other arcane spells (Wizard, Necromancer, Illusionist). She can replace 1 Ritual spell per spell level with an arcane spell she has learned.  These spells must be learned like other magic-users and recorded in her Book of Shadows ("Iggwilv's Nethertome").
This also help's explain why she was hanging out with the Circle of Eight.  She wanted to steal their spells.

Tastchti's Mark:  This magical tattoo on Iggwilv's was inscribed by the Lilitu Tastchti.  Provides a continuous +2 bonus to her saves and armor class as per the Bless spell.

Spells
Cantrips (7): Alarm Ward, Arcane Mark, Chill, Daze, Ghost Sound, Inflict Minor Wounds, Summon Vermin
1st (9+3): Bad Luck, Black Fire, Cause Fear, Charm Person, Darkness, Endure Elements, Fey Sight, Ghostly Slashing, Glamour, Minor Fighting Prowess, Protection from Spirits, Silver Tongue
2nd (9+3): Agony, Biting Blade, Discord, Enthrall, Evil Eye, Ghost Touch, Hold Person, Invisibility, Mind Obscure, Phantasmal Spirit, Spell Missile, Tasha's Hideous Laughter (Ritual)
3rd (9+3): Astral Sense, Bestow Curse, Circle of Respite, Dispel Magic, Feral Spirit, Ghost Ward, Lethe's Curse, Lifeblood, Magic Circle Against Undead, Toad Mind, Witch Wail, Witch Writing
4th (9+3): Abomination, Analyze Magic, Arcane Eye, Charm Monster, Divination, Ethereal Projection, Intangible Cloak of Shadows, Phantom Lacerations, Spiritual Dagger, Tears of the Banshee, Undead Enslavement, Withering Touch
5th (9+2): Baleful Polymorph, Blade Dance, Death Curse, Dreadful Bloodletting, Endless Sleep, Greater Command, Hold Monster, Magic Jar, Nightmare, Teleport, Waves of Fatigue
6th (9+1): Anchoring Rite, Anti-magic Shell, Break the Spirit, Death Blade, Eye Bite, Ethereal Banishment, Mass Agony, Mislead, True Seeing, Dismissal (Ritual)
7th (9): Death Aura, Draw Forth the Soul, Greater Arcane Eye, Greater Blindness, Insanity, Wave of Mutilation, Binding (Ritual), Exaction (Ritual), Gate (Ritual)
8th (9): Astral Projection, Destroy Life, Greater Mislead, Mystic Barrier, Pit, Trap the Soul, Ensnarement (Ritual), Iggwilv's Lightning Cage (Ritual), Imprisonment (Ritual)

New Ritual Spells
These ritual spells often require the use of the appropriate magical circle and often the witch's familiar, which acts as a conduit to the magical energies summoned.

Some of these spells appear in the "Demonomicon of Iggwilv". Others in her Book of Shadows "Iggwilv's Nethertome".

Dismissal
Level: Witch Ritual 6
Ritual Requirement: see below
Range: One creature
Duration: Special
This spell forces an extraplanar creature back to its proper plane if it fails a Spells save. If the spell is successful, the creature is instantly whisked away, but there is a 20% chance of actually sending the subject to a plane other than its own.
The witch needs her ritual items and a proper magical circle drawn around herself.  She much also cut herself since blood powers the ritual.

Ensnarement
Level: Witch Ritual 8
Ritual Requirement: see below
Range: One creature
Duration: Special
This ritual works much like a Gate spell, save the creature gated in is trapped in a magical circle.  The creature gets a saving throw vs. Spells to avoid the ensnarement.
The witch can then demand a service from the creature for it's release.  When the service is somplete the creature will return to their own plane.
The spell ends when the witch has struck a bargin with the creature or if sunlight touches the magical circle. In both cases the creature will return to their home plane.  If the creature is held indefinitely they will get a new save vs. spells at Midnight.

Exaction
Level: Witch Ritual 7
Ritual Requirement: see below
Range: One creature
Duration: Special
A witch using this spell confronts a creature from another plane and requires of it some duty or quest.
The spell will not affect creatures with alignments greatly opposed to the witch's i.e. good vs. evil, law vs. chaos. Note that a true (absolute) neutral witch is greatly opposed to all other alignments, for the purposes of this spell. A creature which can be affected receives no saving throw, nor will magic resistance protect it. However, this spell does not affect deities or divine beings.
If the creature has received a great favor in the past from a person of the witch's alignment, the witch can name this as a reason for service. This requires that the witch know the personal history of the creature. If no past service is known to the witch, he or she must pledge a valuable gift or favor to the creature in return for its service.
In all cases, the reward promised by the witch must be equivalent to the service required from the creature. The spell then forces the creature to perform the service agreed upon. If the creature fails to perform the mission, it will suffer the penalties of the spells geas and quest simultaneously, until the mission is completed. Creatures cannot be compelled to obey self-destructive or suicidal commands.
When the service demanded from the creature is performed, it is instantly teleported to the witch's location. The witch must then perform the service or grant the reward agreed upon. When the creature's reward is granted, it is immediately sent back to its own plane.
If the witch reneges on the agreement, the creature has two options to choose from. Each is a part of the original spell and does not require magical ability or spell casting from the creature. Should the agreement be broken, the creature can place the witch under exaction. The witch receives no saving throw against this effect.  Otherwise, the creature can attack the witch. Should it choose to do  this, it will be totally unaffected by any spells cast by the witch.
The material components of this spell are, the witch's ritual tools, matter from the home plane of the creature from whom an exaction is required, and knowledge of the creature's nature or past actions; written on a page of parchment which is burned to seal the bargain.

Iggwilv's Lightning Cage
Level: Witch Ritual 8
Ritual Requirement: see below
Range: 25 ft. + 5 ft./2 levels
Duration: 1 Hour + 1 turn per level
This spell is a variant of the 7th-level wizard spell forcecage, and it is identical to that spell except as follows:
First, the “bars” of force energy which form the cage are electrified. Any creature, whether inside or outside, who makes contact with the electrified bars or touches them with an object composed of metal or other conductive material, must save vs. spells or suffer 10d6+10 hp damage. A successful save reduces this damage by half, but the lightning cage is not dispelled, nor are its electrical effects.
Second, the floor of the lightning cage is composed of a solid “sheet” of force energy equal to a wall of force, but it is charged only on its outside surface.
Third, unlike a forcecage, Iggwilv’s lightning cage cannot be altered to form a solid cube of electrified walls of force.
Finally, the lightning cage does not require the ritual drawing of a square with powdered diamond as is necessary with a forcecage, but it does require a material component. This material component consists of a “wand” of amber (worth 100 gp), tipped with a transparent  gemstone worth at least 1,000 gp.

Baba Yaga and the young Natasha/Iggwilv by Vania Zouravliov
Tasha's Hideous Laughter
Level: Witch Ritual 2
Ritual Requirement: see below
Range: 25 ft. + 5 ft./2 levels
Duration: 1 round per level
This spell afflicts the subject with uncontrollable laughter. It collapses into gales of manic laughter, falling prone. The subject can take no actions while laughing, but is not considered helpless. After the spell ends, it can act normally.
A creature with an Intelligence score of 2 or lower is not affected. A creature whose type is different from the caster’s receives a +4 bonus on its saving throw, because humor doesn’t “translate” well.
Ritual Component: Tiny tarts that are thrown at the target and a feather that is waved in the air.

I am pretty pleased with this to be honest. Certainly not someone I would mess with.

* I considered making her a part of the Malefic Tradition, but wanted her to have the Arcane Diversity.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

The Witch Queens Gather...

They are getting along now, but is War in their future?

Larina, Feyia & Iggwilv

This fantastic art was created by +Jacob Blackmon who has done tons of great RPG art including a lot of the art in the upcoming Strange Brew, which features Larina quite a bit.

If you like his work then pop over to his DeviantArt page, his Patreon page, Facebook or Tsū pages.

I am thinking of making this the "unofficial" cover of my War of the Witch Queens campaign. Which is fine given it is something I am just planning on doing in my home game and not publish.

I just need to do something cool enough to live up to the awesome in that picture.

Friday, April 22, 2016

A to Z of Adventure! S is for Special Series.

S is for Special Series.

Ah! The "S" modules.  No series of modules have been as divisive, controversial or as fun (to me) as these.  Originally just four adventures, it has one "honorary" member in my mind and two more unnumbered members.  I have played in these and run them; some (like S4) many times over. These are some of my favorite adventures of all time.

Where to begin?

Well here are the modules/adventures I want to discuss.
These adventures have all been featured here many, many times.
Also, the first four have been collected into a single volume not once, but twice.  Many of the adventures have also been updated for other versions of D&D.


S1: Tomb of Horrors
Depending on who you ask, this is either one of the best adventures for D&D or the worst.  I enjoy this module, but it is not one I plan on running again. I ran it for my kids and they survived, but I think there are better adventures out there.  It is one of those adventures that everyone talks about; often about how horribly they or someone else died in it.   In the picture above, the book on the right with devil with his mouth open?  Yeah. More than one idiotcharacter put their hand in there only to loose said hand.  The big bad is that jeweled skull on the cover of the middle book.
Tomb of Horrors is often described as a meat grinder.  This is true, but it is also a fun challenge and if I can be so bold, a rite of passage of the D&D gamer.  You can't really call yourself a D&D gamer until you go through this.
Love it or hate it, it's place in history is solid and unmoving.

S2: White Plume Mountain
In many ways White Plume Mountain is one of my favorite adventures.  It's a crazy dungeon filled with traps, monsters a few legendary weapons of vast power, all dropped into a semi-active volcano.   I ran it for my kids a while back.  Back then I ran it under 3rd Edition, using a 1st Edition rule base, Basic Edition characters, and some 4th edition add-ons.  It was such a classic though that it all worked.  My kids loved it.

S3: Expedition to the Barrier Peaks
This was one of the first adventures I ever bought for myself.  The characters (in a quasi-medieval Europe) find an ancient crashed star-ship and all the crazy alien life forms still trapped inside.  Based a bit on the game Metamorphosis Alpha.   I ran this for my kids a while back.  My youngest LOVED it, but my oldest didn't. Which is a bit odd I thought, because he began playing with the Star Wars d20 RPG.
Still though, I personally think this is a great module.

S4: The Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth 
The Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth and it's near sequel WG4 The Forgotten Temple of Tharizdun are two of my favorite modules ever.  I bought S4 my freshman year in high school and read it cover to cover.  One of my favorite bits was the "sneak peak" at some of the monsters that would later appear in the Monster Manual II hardcover.  It was also a rather deadly adventure. The nearby Forgotten Temple of Tharizidun then opens up a new threat of the ancient imprisoned god Tharizdun.  This ties it in to the T1-4 Supermodule The Temple of Elemental Evil.  But I think what I liked about it was the information on Greyhawk.  We are introduced to the witch Iggwilv here. She would later become an important figure in the history of Greyhawk and D&D.
The boys loved this adventure.  Combining it with WG4 and some additional material from the web it took us about 6 months to complete.  Still, it was a great time.

Two other modules were later added to the "Special" Series but never had, to my knowledge, an "S" designation.

S5: The Dancing Hut of Baba Yaga
Baba Yaga is one of those characters that we keep coming back to in D&D.  There are at least 3 or 4 versions of The Dancing Hut adventure out there now and even for the Pathfinder game (a game very much like D&D) has her as the main bad guy for a whole series of adventures.
I am going to feature her and this adventure in my own "War of the Witch Queens" campaign that I run next.

S6: Labyrinth of Madness
Of all the "S" modules, this is the only one I know nothing about.
From what I can tell it is sort of a tribute to the kinds of dungeons we saw in the S-series.  It looks like a lot of fun though.

Monday, March 14, 2016

The Iconic Witches of D&D

No game this past weekend. I wasn't feeling great and my son was at a birthday party.

I was thinking about Friday's post on the witches of Rahasia and of Ravenloft and it occurs to me that D&D lacks in iconic witches.  There are great examples of Vampires, Liches, Wizards, Priests, Paladins, Rangers, enough Thieves to fill a guild, even Bards.

The witches in Rahasia are one thing, but the ones in Ravenloft don't even have proper names really.

Pathfinder does a good job with their iconics.  Feiya is a proper witch, but even the sorceress Seoni is often referred to as a witch.  Not to mention all the witches to be found in Irrisen like Queen Elvanna.

The witches three. Larina, Feiya and Seoni
I have my iconic, Larina.  But she appears mostly in my Pathfinder books.

Who do we have for D&D?

Well for starters and maybe the most iconic is Iggwilv, the Witch-Queen. We also have Elena the Fair, Witch Queen of Summer. Also, while not as a well know or even explicitly a witch is Skyla.

There is also one witch that both D&D and Pathfinder share, Baba Yaga.


There was also Koliada, the Winter Witch. a Level 26 Solo Skirmisher from the 4th ed era adventure "Winter of the Witch". But there is not a lot out there about her.  Interestingly Pathfinder also has a lot Winter and Cold related witches.

Dungeon Crawl Classics gives us Lady Kyleth, The Witch Queen.

Personally I'd love to see more.  There might be more, I just haven't found them all yet.

Friday, June 19, 2015

The Witch Queen of Summer

Note: I am also submitting this as my entry to the RPG Blog Carnival.  Since the topic of June is Summer, this is a perfect post for me.

I have been reading a lot of adventures of late.  Having a lot of fun even if I don't get a chance to play these (but it is looking more and more like I will!).  So here is what I have so far.

A3 Wicked Cauldron (C&C)
B7 - Rahasia (Basic D&D)
Drmg083 (AD&D_1e)
Fane of the Witch King (3.0/d20)
Irrisen - Land of Eternal Winter (Pathfinder)
Night of the Spirits (C&C)
No Salvation for Witches (LotFP)
Reign of Winter Players Guide (Pathfinder)
Saga of the Witch Queen (DCC)
The Baleful Coven (Pathfinder)
The Dancing Hut of Baba Yaga (AD&D_2e)
The Ruins of Ramat (S&W)
The Stealer of Children (LL)
The Witch Queen's Revenge (Pathfinder)
The Witchwar Legacy (Pathfinder)
The_Manor_Issue_6 (OSR)
Witch of the Tarriswoods (OSR)
Witches Court Marshes (AD&D_ish)

So a lot really to work with.

One of the things I noticed right away that there are LOT of Witch Queens associated with winter.   I have talked about Witch Queens many times before.  I even have a Pathfinder/d20/3.x Prestige Class and converted one over from another game.
But the one thing I don't have and what no one seems to have is a Witch Queen of Summer.

Well with Summer coming up this weekend I thought why not cover the Witch Queen of Summer.
Given the adventures above I wanted someone with a bit history, a bit of gravitas and if I can manage it, someone that is a "daughter" of Baba Yaga.

Thankfully everything I need is in Dragon Magazine #83.
This issue featured one of the early versions of Baba Yaga's Dancing Hut as an adventure.   Among other things it also featured two daughters.  Natasha, the evil one, who was also "Tasha" of "Tasha's Hideous Uncontrollable Laughter" fame and "Elena the Fair" a Lawful Good wizard.
If Natasha can become Iggwilv, the Witch Queen of Perrenland then Elena the Fair can become Elena the Witch Queen of Summer.

Of course there are tales of Elena the Fair from Russian folk tales.  I see no reason why those tales can't be true and she still became the Witch Queen of Summer.

Elena the Fair
Witch Queen of Summer
Witch (Daughter of Baba Yaga Tradition) 24th level

Strength: 11 Death Ray, Poison 5
Dexterity: 16 Magic Wands 6
Constitution: 10 Paralysis, Polymorph or Turn to Stone 5
Intelligence: 17 Dragon Breath 8
Wisdom: 17 Rods, Staffs, Spells 7
Charisma: 18

Hit Points: 50
Alignment: Lawful (good)
AC: 1 (Ring of Protection, Garter of Defence)

Occult Powers (Daughter of Baba Yaga Tradition)
Familiar: Mouse
7th level: Kitchen Witchery
13th level: Detect Bloodline
19th level: Boon (instead of Curse)

Spells
Cantrips (7): Alarm Ward, Daze, Detect Curse, Object Reading, Open, Spark, Warm
First (7+2): Bewitch I, Burning Hands, Command, Drowsy, Faerie Fire, Far Sight, Minor Fighting Prowess, Sleep, Handfasting (Ritual)
Second (7+2): Alter Self, Biting Blade, Blast Shield, Ecstasy, Enthrall, Fever, Hold Person, Phantasmal Spirit, Rose Garden
Third (6+2): Astral Sense, Bestow Curse, Cleanse Air, Continual Fire, Feral Spirit, Fly, Mind Rash, Imbue Witch Ball (Ritual)
Fourth (6+1): Air Walk, Betwitch IV, Elemental Armor, Grandmother's Shawl, Moonlit Way, Neutralize Poison, Spiritual Dagger
Fifth (5): Anti-Magic Candle, Bull of Heaven, Dream, Primal Scream, Song of Discord
Sixth (5): Control Weather, Find the Path, Heroes' Feast, Moonbow, True Seeing
Seventh (4):  Ball of Sunshine, Breath of the Goddess, Etherealness, Serpent Garden
Eighth (4): Astral Projection, Creeping Doom, Greater Mislead, Mystic Barrier

As the Queen of Summer one of Elena's duties is to guard the gates of the Summerlands.  This is the afterlife of the Witches and where their spirits go for rest prior to being reincarnated to their next life.

She is also the Protector of Midsummer and sees to it that all witches are protected on the night of Mid-Summers' Eve.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

I Hate Myself for Loving You

Interesting article up on the whole Graz'zt/Iggwilv love affair.

http://www.wizards.com/DnD/Article.aspx?x=dnd/dra/201208history#82019


Rule specific material is minor and can be adapted to any version of the game.  I am going to use this with my 1st ed game in fact.

As can be expected I like Iggwilv.  To my knowledge no one has ever penned her "biography" in full, but it would make for a good read I think.  Raised by Baba Yaga, infiltrating the Circle of Eight, her years with Graz'zt as master, lover, prisoner and bitter rival.  The authoring of the Demonomicon.  The Rise and Fall of the Witch Queen.

Iggwilv is a great villain not because she is evil (though she is that) it is because she lack any moral compass whatsoever.  If she needs a tome of magic and entire village stands between her then she had no issues burning it down to the ground.  It isn't because she doesn't care, it because she has no concept that anyone other than herself matters.

I am sure she is going to play some role in my 3.x and 1st ed games.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

The Dragonslayers vs. The Lost Caverns of the Tsojcanth, Finale

Last night the Dragonslayers (aka my kids) finished up the Greater Caverns to discover Iggwilv's greatest treasure and fight Drelnza.  I was considering to bring her back, but she was so completely destroyed that I just can't imagine how she would do it.


The boys did great really, I am very pleased how they played.  I was amazed how well my youngest did.  He figured out the secret of the central doors really fast and had a really good sense of direction.  We used minis of course, but not for the entire dungeon, just the battles.  They got the Lanthorn, the Prison, and all her books of magic.  Everyone leveled up one level.

Of course the boys had a  great time and we even got to play past bedtime. They woke up today and wanted to get right back into it.  That is the sign of a good adventure.

Now I need to figure out what the guys are going to do next.  I'd love to move on to the Forgotten Temple of Tharizdun, but I am anxious to get them to the big battle against Tiamat.

For that I am considering using the old H4 Throne of Bloodstone, but not sure yet.

Here are the previous posts in this series.



Tomorrow. Something special!


Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The Dragonslayers and the Books of Vile Darkness

The Dragonslayers are currently wandering around the Greater Caverns of Iggwilv's lair (The Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth).

They have been sent to recover the rumored "Golden Treasure of Iggwilv" which of course is Drelzna.  I am of course keeping all the treasure (Demonomicon, the 6 books, Prison and Lanthorn) but I am also throwing in a copy of the Book of Vile Drakness.

I have been using the 3.0 version to expand the monster choices in the dungeon, figuring Iggwilv would have bound some demonic creatures to her lair.  Plus, the original S4 introduced a lot of new demons to the 1st Ed Game and the BoVD added more to the 3rd ed game.

So I picked up the 4th Ed Book of Vile Darkness over the weekend to help buff up what would be in the game world version.

I have to admit, the 4e one does not compare to either the 3.0 version OR the 4e Demonomicon.
The 4e version is fine, don't get me wrong, but it lacks the gravitas the 3.0 version had.

It's not that the 3.0 is more graphic (graphic is not the same thing as useful or good) but it suffers from the basic fact that all the ideas that should be in have already appeared somewhere else.

I'll use the props that came with the 4e version, and I'll expand the 3.0 version to include the 4e (And really converting between the two systems is not that hard).  I'll use the monsters in the lower levels, espcially if I plan to add on the Thaizdun bits.

Plus the Dragonslayers need the book because it has a ritual to summon Tiamat.  They are all god characters, and the ritual requires the sacrifice of a "Rainbow Dragon" which at the moment they think is a Chaotic good faerie dragon.  Have not decided about that one yet.  They are just kids afterall.

Did I get my money's worth for the 4e book?  Yeah, I feel that I did. There are some very neat ideas and some cool things for a 4e game.  Not as much as I would have hoped for though.

Of course if I use the book in 3e, should I turn around and have it reappear in 4e or 5e?  No idea yet.  Let me get done with 3e first.

Oh. And my oldest son wants to go back to Mentzer Basic.  It figures really, I have tried to push Moldvay/Cook Basic D&D on him for so long that naturally he would only be interested in the one box I never really pull out.


Sunday, June 19, 2011

The Dragonslayers vs. The Lost Caverns of the Tsojcanth

Today the boys wanted to play some D&D for Father's Day.  Really, how could I say no?

So we wrapped up the last bits of the return from White Plume mountain.  The boys went and visited Crazy Omar to collect their reward.  Omar got Whelm, as he wanted.  They traded Blackrazor for an equally notorious weapon from my world, the crossbow "Bessie Mauler" (yes, yes stolen from the Riftwar Cycle, but to be fair I stole it from my old DM and I had no idea he had stolen from somewhere else).

I also wanted to point out that they now had a crowd following them wherever they went.  After all they were the heroes that freed the Silver Princes and defeated Dragotha.  They are a long way from The Caves of the Stinky Goblin (the first adventure of the Dragonslayers).  I wanted them to feel like heroes.

Of course now they are a day's ride to the Horn of Iggwilv.  Omar has told them that great treasure awaits them in Iggwilv's lair.  They are free to keep the spell books, but Omar has his sight on "Iggwilv's Greatest Treasure" something so precious that she "wrapped in in gold".   Well Omar, or the boys yet, don't know that the rumors of the greatest treasure are referring to Drelzna and she is wrapped in gold.  Gold armor to be exact.

The made it up into the mountains.  They know there is a Gnome kingdom located in the mountains and they have just been abused by a group of Stone Giants tossing boulders at them.

I have had S4 forever and it is great to finally get a chance to run it.  I am using the original AD&D 1st ed version of this, along with the Iggwilv's Legacy update from WotC from 2007 (no longer online) and will include the Lost Temple of Tharizdun IF it seems like a good idea.  This adventure should take us well into Gen Con.

There is a blue dragon in this adventure and one in the next one I am planning, Death's Ride.  I am going to make them the same blue dragon.  It would be good to give them a reoccurring enemy.  And who better for the Dragonslayers than the Huge Blue Dragon Korbundar?

I am not planning on having them run into Iggwilv just yet.  Mostly I am torn on whether or not to make into a witch (one of my versions) or make her into a wizard.  She did study with the Circle of Eight and she does seem to be in every respect a wizard.  The easiest thing to do is cheat and wait till I am running 4e and just make her into a Warlock/Wizard multiclass.  A person of such history would be great to have in my games.  Wilva though is not a do-er, she is a manipulator. She has pawns.  I think this pic sums her up best.


I still have my Big PlanTM in motion for 4e and Iggwilv is a part of that.  So she is manipulating the Dragonslayers now to get them in place for her take over of the Abyss.  Turns out it will be their kids, but she can wait.

I just don't know if I can!  I want to play this all now!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Orcus as the Boss? Immortal level D&D? What's my End Game?

I have been thinking about the whole Orcus as the big bad in 4e.  It's cool and it has a lot of fun about it. But there is a big issue I have with it.  Orcus is a brute.  He his not a planner or plotter.  He smashes and destroys.

In my game multiverse Orcus used to be a Primal God.  In 4e I am fine with this being called a Primordial, but now he is a demon.  He is a demon prince and a very, very powerful one, but an over arching plot seems a bit cerebral for him.  I am thinking that maybe Orcus is nothing more than the weapon being used by someone more powerful, but behind the scenes.  But who and for what ends?
I mean Orcus is no dummy, but as a demon he is more concerned with destruction than labyrinthine plots.

Here are some thoughts on some potential players.

Vecna - God of evil knowledge and a lich, but what does Orcus have that Vecna wants?  What could Vecna be using Orcus for?

Asmodeus - The Blood War may be in cold war mode now, but maybe the Arch duke of Hell needs Orcus to get the seed of evil.

Tharizdûn - This one is easiest.  Tharizdûn wants out of his prison.  While everyone thinks Tharizdun is imprisoned either in the Abyss or the Astral, he is in reality imprisoned in the lowest point in Hell.  Asmodeus is still his jailer.  I would make him a bit like Lucifer in Dante's Inferno, chained to very bottom of hell. Asmodeus thinks he is draining power off of Tharizdûn, which is why he is a god-like power now.  Tharizdun is allowing this knowing that he gains a little more control over Asmodeus.  Who is using who?  Well I guess that depends on who wins in the end.



Iggwilv - The Witch Queen wants the Abyss, and Orcus is one of the big things in her way.  I have been dying to use her is some way.

So here is my plan.

Iggwilv and Asmodeus are working together to manipulate Orcus.  He is being propped up as this huge threat so the PCs take him out.  Iggwilv is directing the PCs to do this while also working on Orcus telling him that doing this will make him a god.  The plan is to have the PCs kill Orcus and deliver his wand somewhere it can be destroyed.  The PCs end up in Hell and hand over the Wand to Asmodeus. Asmodeus has told Iggwilv that he wants the extra shard and she can keep the Abyss.  In truth Asmodeus is being manipulated by Thaizdun.  Orcus' Wand and Asmodeus' Rod together will free him.

Yes, this is bit much for a D&D plot, especially a D&D4 one, but I like the idea.   If the PCs play this right they could defeat Orcus, Iggwilv and Asmodeus all in one fell swoop.

The old AD&D adventure H4 Throne of Bloodstone is an influence here since the goal there is to destroy the Wand.  The E1-3 series for D&D4 focuses on Orcus wanting to become a god.  So I will merge them a bit.  The whole Tharizdun bit is a bit recycled from the Gygax "Dance of Demons" book, but that is fine really.

Part of this though also depends on something else.
To defeat Orcus in the E series takes the characters right to 30th level. To then take on Iggwilv, Asmodeus AND Tharizdun then is something else altogether.

So I had yet another idea. What about Immortal Level D&D.  Reading over the Mentzer D&D BECMI set I do see how well Immortal level play can work and that is something Immortals would do, stop the imbalance of Tharizdun coming back into play.   I am just not quite sure how to do that in D&D4 just yet.  I am sure I'll figure it out.  Though I did ask about it on RPG.Net.

Presently I am working on finishing my 3.x campaign.  Since the 4e characters are the kids of the 3.x ones I can start planting some seeds now.  Drop the name Tharizdun and Iggwilv.  Mention Orcus' and Asmodeus' rise to power.  Might need to figure out how Vecna and Raven Queen fit into all of this.  Maybe once Orcus is dead Vecna becomes the new patron of the Undead.  Am I ready to get rid of Orcus once and for all?

Hmm.  Interesting thought.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

4e Purchases

I picked up some new 4e books this weekend that are not due out till July 20th.
Benefits of living near a huge game store.

First Up, Demonicon
An interesting book and I have always liked demons as the ultimate foes in D&D.  Of course I dislike the name, but it has been with us since Module S4 so it's a little late to part with now.  At least it is better than the 2nd Ed era wimp out "Fiendonomicon".  Gah.
The cover, to me anyway, brings up images of Eldritch Wizardry, the first D&D book to feature demons.  The blonde on her back in obvious sacrifice.  These are not misunderstood monsters, these are demons and they are evil.
Lots of demons. Lots of history on the Abyss.
I like the way they have tied in Tharizdun to whole mythos now.  So this will be great when I run S4-WG4 for my kids and they actually find a copy of the Demonomicon of Iggwilv.  I like that Demogorgon, Orcus and Baphomet were once Primordials.  Something I was doing anyway.  I like that there is more for Tharizdun, even though I can see he will also soon get on my nerves if he keeps popping up.    But I always liked him since reading about him the "Gord the Rogue" books by Gary.
There are some cool demonic lairs that can be used on their own or as part of a larger campaign in the Abyss.
Now see this is where not having the PDFs of the books is a real pain.  I would have loved to have had a PDF of this to print out and put in a binder with all the information on the Abyss from The Plane Below and Manual of the Planes, all the information from various Dragon and Dungeon articles, and all the demons from the Monster Manuals all in one place.  Made a complete Demonomicon if you like.  I had started this exact idea for 3.x, though rather late in the game and never got everything printed out.
I dislike the whole "Asmodeus is at the center of all evil plots" idea that has pervaded the last two editions of D&D, but with some of the new information in this book, I have some ideas.  All in all, I like this book, but I expected that I would.  I do have one quibble.  They do list Malcanthet as a demon lord.  Well, she was demon lord of the Succubi in the last edition.  Succubi are no longer demons...

Tomb of Horrors
There are very, very few adventures as notorious as the Tomb of Horrors.  It is also held up to some unrealistic standard for modules that it must be a "good thing" to kill off characters.
Well I am reasonably certain that Tomb of Horrors for 4e will get cries of "blasphemy" and "sacrilege" from certain quarters; but I am also reasonably certain that those quarters were never going to buy this book anyway.
The new adventure is not just one, but 4 Tombs scattered all over the new D&D4 cosmology.  Clever really if you are wanting to introduce what is cool in this new world to players that pick this up remembering the original ToH.
Speaking of the Original Tomb, it is here, in it's abandoned form.  Note: WOTC Guys,  you copied the original Tomb map perfectly, too perfectly in fact.  The scale of the original map was one square = 10 feet.  Scale on the new map is the more common for 4e 1 square = 5 feet.  So our entry hallway is now 10 feet wide instead of 20 feet wide.  Minor quibble, I can explain it away in any number of ways, but still.
There are rules and notes in here about how to play the Tomb just like the old days, but they explain why they didn't design the module like that to start.  All in all it is a neat module and adventure.  It is still a killer module, as in it will kill characters if they are stupid.
I am not going to try to blow any sunshine up your ass, if you love "Tomb of Horrors" and hate D&D 4 you will hate this. If you liked ToH and like D&D 4 then this is nice little "Return to the Return of the Tomb of Horrors".
What I like about it is it assumes that the characters do not live in a vacuum.  The Tomb of Horrors is legendary to players and characters. This module assumes it was cleared out in the 70's and 80's and now the next gen is here to see what is new.  It's the exact same thing I doing with "B3 Palace of the Silver Princess" and the same thing I did with the whole "Road Stories" arc of "Season of the Witch" for my Willow & Tara game.

While reading through them both I can see elements that I will use in my big D&D 4e campaign against Orcus.    Acererak could be allied with Orcus, or more likely Tharizdun.  Though I had not considered Tharizdun to be a huge player in this game.  He is chained up after all.  In fact it has helped me solidify a few ideas.
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