Showing posts with label Night Shift. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Night Shift. Show all posts

Monday, September 14, 2020

Monstrous Monday: Moon Nymphs

Here is one that was supposed to go into my Daughters of Darkness: The Mara Witch for Basic Era Games and The Children of the Gods: The Classical Witch for Basic Era Games. But for various reasons she kept getting cut.  I figure now is a good time to bring her back.


Luis Ricardo Falero
Melinoë (Moon Nymph)

Medium Faerie
Frequency: Very Rare
Number Appearing: 0 (1-3)
Alignment: Neutral (Chaotic Neutral)
Movement: 120' (40') [12"]
Armor Class: 7 [12]
Hit Dice: 4d8+4** (22 hp)
Attacks: None
Damage: None 
Special: Madness, Nightmare, only harmed by cold iron, witch magic
Size: Medium
Save: Witch 4
Morale: 6
Treasure Hoard Class: None
XP: 225

Melinoë, or Moon Nymphs, are only found in the wilderness under the light of the moon. They are found "clothed in saffron (yellow)" which is actually just moonlight.  

Like all nymphs, they are unearthly beautiful. Any mortals that gaze upon them must save vs. Paralysis or be struck by moon madness for 1d4+2 turns.  A character with moon madness can't take actions save for muttering to themselves. The only intelligible things they can say are about the moon and how beautiful it is.

If three melinoë are present and they are observed they can cast the Nightmare spell (q.v). The subject has a +2 to their saves vs. Spells since the moon is known to all. 

Otherwise, a can cast spells as a 4th level witch (2 1st level, 2 2nd level spells).  They have no physical attacks. They also have no treasure.

For NIGHT SHIFT

Moon Nymph
No. Appearing: 1-3
AC: 7
Move: 40ft (under Moonlight only)
Hit Dice: 4
Special: Madness, Nightmare, only harmed by cold iron, witch magic
XP VALUE: 125

Moon Nymphs are very rare in the worlds of NIGHT SHIFT.  They are often mistaken for some type of vampire.

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

What's So Innovative about Night Shift: VSW?

My NIGHT SHIFT co-author Jason Vey has a bit to say on the design and innovation of our Modern Supernatural RPG. 


You can read it about it all here: https://wastedlandsfantasy.blogspot.com/2020/09/whats-so-innovative-about-night-shift.html

Jason makes a lot of fantastic points. So many in fact that I do not feel the need to reiterate them here and now.  Save where I want to talk about why I wanted to make this game.  And even here I am going restate something Jason already said.

NIGHT SHIFT: Veterans of the Supernatural Wars was designed to be familiar. 

For me though not just in terms of game design, in terms of the types of games I have been playing over the last 20 some odd years.

In 1999 I was facing something of a crisis of my RPG playing. I had been playing D&D for 20 years solid by that point, with minor breaks due to college, grad school, and getting married.  I had bought a house and had a kid on the way. Plus in 1999 D&D was feeling tired and old.  I had played some other games, namely World of Darkness and other horror games. I had recently picked back up Chill, but none of these had lit the spark the way D&D had.

That is until I found CJ Carella's WitchCraft RPG.  Now here was a game I loved and it relit the long dormant fires of RPG creativity.  From here I picked up Kult, found more and more games. Soon I was freelancing at Eden. Then Jason and I were working together on Buffy, Angel, Army of Darkness, and more. But D&D was still that first love.   At the same time the d20 boon was happening and there were a lot of new great games coming out based on the d20 OGL and more still based on the principles of the OGL.  I went from a "dark time" to a new Golden Age in just a couple of years.

NIGHT SHIFT hooks into that familiarity. 

The rules are a streamlined version of the d20/OGC with an "old-school" bend. 
The situations are modern supernatural, so there feels like there is a "world continuity" with games I was playing using Chill, Kult, CoC, Mage, WitchCraft, and Buffy.

I want a game that can take me to the next 20 years of gaming and I truly think this one is it.

You can get hardcovers of NIGHT SHIFT from my publisher's webpage or PDFs via DriveThruRPG.

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Review: Path of Horror Cards

I am a sucker for anything to add to my games. Cards. Stange dice to use only special occasions (not required to use like a d7), board games, props.  I know I don't *need* any of those things, but I like them and they are fun.  I'm going to spend some time talking about some of these items and how I am using them in the next couple of months.  

Up first is something I grabbed at the recent Free RPG Day.  

Path of Horror is a Story Path Card collection From Nocturnal Media.  

They retail for $11.99. DriveThruRPG also has them as PDFs you can print or POD for $3.99 and $11.99 respectively.

These cards in particular have a horror theme. 

The Game Master keeps the "Theme" cards and then deals out 2-3 cards to each player. The play can then play their cards at appropriate times.   In the end the Game Master can play the Climax cards.

The theme cards include things like "Lost Cause" or "Hint of Madness."  Other cards are "Remembered Dream" or "Found Item" or "Lurker."  The cards are all numbered, so lower number cards are played before higher ones.   They add a bit of color to your game and a bit more roleplaying and input from the players.  They also require the Game Master to think a little more on their feet than usual since not everything can be planned out.


Currently, my son is using them in his "Curse of Strahd" D&D 5 game and I am planning on using them in my "Ordinary World" for Night Shift and "War of the Witch Queens" for Basic-era D&D. 

There is quite a lot that can be done with these cards and since they rely on player input they can also be reused a lot. 

What attracted me to them originally was the cover of course.  The art reminded me of this card deck I had as a kid.  

Certainly worth giving them a try in your games.

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Welcome September! Night Shift and Mages

It's September.  The start of Meteorological Fall; the actual Autumnal Equinox is still three weeks away. But change is in the air and there is a change at the Other Side as well.

I have a new banner up. I am planning to do a lot more with Night Shift in the coming months.  

Night Shift was designed to replace many games in my library, but that doesn't mean I am ready to stop playing or talking about those games yet. 

In fact last night I was reminded about a game I really love and I really should do more with.  

Satyros Phil Brucato had posted about a book he had done and it really reminded me how much I love Mage.  Both Mage: The Ascension and Mage: The Awakening.  Though I lean more towards Mage: The Ascension.   But the post was about his book, Mage Made Easy: Advice from That Damn Mage Guy.

Part of the Storytellers Vault (a bit like DMSGuild, but for White Wolf/Onyx Path games) this book is about...well...Mage, made easy.

Now. Anyone who has ever played any version of Mage is likely to be incredulous about now.  I mean, Mage is many, many, many things. Sometimes too many.  But easy?  No. Easy is never a word used with Mage.  But Phil is the Mage expert.  Mage: The Ascension 20th is close to 700 pages and he wrote the bulk of that.  So if he is telling me that MME is something I can read in 60 pages, well I am going to pay attention.

And I am glad I did.  

While I am conversant in most Mage matters, I do not by any stretch consider myself an expert, or even an advanced player.  I am quite enthusiastic though.  I found Mage Made Easy to be a nice breeze guide of solid advice that did two things right away for me.  First, it made me want to play Mage: The Ascension again and secondly it gave me solid advice that is good for many modern supernatural games. 

The book is very heavily focused on Mage and Mage: The Ascension 20th Anniversary in particular.  

It shows you how to use the vast Mage meta-plot OR discard it altogether (that's me!).  It gives you some fantastic archetypes to try out and even solid advice on Mage's biggest issue, Paradox.

Plus the art, as expected, is fantastic.

While I do say there is good advice for any modern supernatural game, the advice is also very Mage specific.  This means to use this book it helps to have a basic working knowledge of the Mage RPG.  Once you have that then translating this advice to your own game, be it Mage or something else, is pretty easy.  BUT that is going beyond the scope of the book and not the fault of this book if it doesn't work out.  But advice like "start small" or "start with the characters" is ALWAYS good advice.

While the focus is on Mage: The Ascension 20th Anniversary Ed. (Mage20), I found there was good advice here to apply to my particular favorite flavor of the game in Mage The Sorcerers Crusade

Makes me wish I had a Mage game going, to be honest!

Thursday, August 20, 2020

Wynnona Earp for NIGHT SHIFT

Wynonna Earp is back for Season 4! Largely due to the efforts of the fans, "Earpers",  and so far it has been great.  

So I think giving them the NIGHT SHIFT treatment is in order.

Spoilers up to Season 3.  Images of the characters by HeroForge.

Wynonna Earp
AKA "Nona"
5th Level Chosen One, Human
"I am the girl. With the big-ass gun."

Strength: 15 (+1)
Dexterity: 20 (+4)
Constitution: 18 (+3)
Intelligence: 12 (0)
Wisdom: 13 (+1)
Charisma: 15 (+1)

HP: 40 (4d8)
AC: 6
Fate Points: 10

Check Bonus (P/S/T): +3/+2/+1
Melee bonus: +2   Ranged bonus: +6
Saves: +2 to all saves

Special Abilities/Skills
Brutal Warrior, Killing Blow, Supernatural Attack, Difficult to Surprise, Improved Defense, Ranged Combat, Survivor Skills, Stunning Blow, Melee Combat, Regeneration of HP, 2 bonus Damage Dice, the Earp Heir. 

Equipment
Peacemaker (gun form), whiskey flask.

Wynonna Earp is the great-great-granddaughter of Wyatt Earp and heir to the Earp curse.  She is the one that must rid the Ghost River Triangle of all the revenants, or "demon-adjacent" dead that return to battle with the Earp heir.

Waverly Earp
AKA "Waves", "Baby Girl", "Angel"
3rd Level Survivor / 1st Level Sage, Half-Angel
"Heroes always win."

Strength: 12 (0)
Dexterity: 14 (+1)
Constitution: 17 (+2)
Intelligence: 17 (+2)
Wisdom: 15 (+1)
Charisma: 17 (+1)

HP: 20 (3d4 + 1d6)
AC: 8
Fate Points: 15

Check Bonus (P/S/T): +3/+2/+0
Melee bonus: +2    Ranged bonus: +3
Saves: +3 to Death saves

Special Abilities/Skills
Stealth skills, Danger Sense, Perceptive, Sneak Attack, Read Languages, Suggestion, Lore, Half-angel abilities

Equipment
Shotgun, Earp lore.

Waverly Earp is Wynonna's younger half-sister. She only recently discovered that she is not in fact and Earp, but instead the offspring of Michelle Earp, nee Gibson, and the Angel Julian.  She knows the most about the Earp family and curse.  She is currently engaged to former Sheriff Nicole Haught.

Nicole Haught
AKA "Red", "Sheriff Hot", "Hot Sheriff" 
4th level Veteran, Human
"Did I just hit my head and wake up in patriarchal bullshit land?"

Strength: 16 (+2)
Dexterity: 17 (+2)
Constitution: 16 (+2)
Intelligence: 16 (+2)
Wisdom: 17 (+2)
Charisma: 18 (+3)

HP: 37 (4d8)
AC: 6
Fate Points: 10

Check Bonus (P/S/T): +3/+2/+0
Melee bonus: +2  Ranged Bonus: +2
Saves: +2 to all saves

Special Abilities/Skills
Combat Expertise, Increased damage, Supernatural attack, Tracking

Equipment
Shotguns, handguns

Sheriff (formerly) Nicole Haught is the only survivor of an attack of demons lead by Bulshar, the demon responsible for all the demonic activity in the Ghost River Triangle and the town of Purgatory. She is smart and resourceful. She is in love with Waverly Earp and just said yes to Waverly's proposal.

John Henry "Doc" Holiday
AKA "Doc", "Holiday"
5th level Veteran, Vampire
"Careful, Earp. Doing what’s right, even in the face of ridiculous odds … you are beginning to sound like a hero."

Strength: 20 (+4)
Dexterity: 20 (+4)
Constitution: 18 (+3)
Intelligence: 13 (+1)
Wisdom: 15 (+1)
Charisma: 16 (+2)

HP: 42 (5d8)
AC: 6
Fate Points: 10

Check Bonus (P/S/T): +3/+2/+1
Melee bonus: +2   Ranged bonus: +6
Saves: +2 to all saves

Special Abilities/Skills
Combat Expertise, Increased damage, Supernatural attack, Tracking, Vampire abilities

Equipment
Handguns

John Henry "Doc" Holiday was cursed after his friend Wyatt Earp died and had been trapped in a well for 130 years. He was released by Wynonna and they went from being colleagues to friends to lovers. Though with his aging catching up to him Doc went to his ex-wife Kate and became a vampire.

This could be a lot of fun really!

How about a sneak peek at Season 4?

Let's hear that theme song again.


Friday, August 7, 2020

Friday Night Videos: Sounds of the NIGHT SHIFT

Copies of NIGHT SHIFT: VETERANS OF THE SUPERNATURAL WARS have ALL been delivered to the Kickstarter backers and people are also getting the Kickstarter special Player's Guide.

You can order your own hardcover version at the publisher's website, at https://www.elflair.com/nightshift.html.

You can also buy the PDF at DriveThruRPG.

One of the things that really motivated Jason and me while working on this is music.  Spend any time here and you know I am a big music fan.  


So I thought it might be great to share some of the music that reminded us of the stories we were telling with NIGHT SHIFT and the games we have run.

Up this Friday Night Videoes are songs from my playlist.  
Tonight, songs from The NIGHT SHIFT!




Thursday, August 6, 2020

#RPGaDAY 2020: Day 6 Forest

“A witch ought never to be frightened in the darkest forest, Granny Weatherwax had once told her, because she should be sure in her soul that the most terrifying thing in the forest was her.”

― Terry Pratchett, Wintersmith

From the primeval forests of our genetic race-memories to Sherwood to Mirkwood, to forest-covered moons in a galaxy far, far away.  The Forest has long been the boundary between what is civilized and safe to what is uncivilized, untamed, wild, and most definitely, not safe. 



The "Goblin" Forrest of Haven
The forested area outside of West Haven in the Haven Valley is an old-growth forest of ancient date.  The expanse westward left this forested area surprising untouched.  Located north-west of West Haven the forest has always had a reputation of being haunted by all sorts of unsavory creatures. 
In the mid to late 1600s when the Haven Valley was first settled, the local parish in what would become East Haven decried the forest, claiming it was the abode of Satan himself and set to burn it down.  A tree, that was by all claims to be healthy and sturdy, fell and killed three of the parishioners include the town's Calvinist priest.  Several other "bizarre" accidents and people began to claim that the forest was inhabited by goblins and other foul creatures.  It was here it earned the name "The Goblin Wood" or "The Goblin Forest."

Even when the Industrial Revolution hit in the 1800s and trees for miles around were fed to the Gods of the Furnace and Industry, the Goblin Wood remained untouched.  

Now in the 21st Century, the Goblin Wood remains but there is still an air of mystery and danger about it.  While the general population doesn't believe in goblins, ghosts or even witches anymore there are still plenty of strange occurrences.  

The local USGS office claims the area is rich in naturally occurring magnetic ore.  They claim that the particular features of both the forest and the Haven Valley, in general, disrupt cell phone coverage and GPS signals.  One surveyor even claimed he could see the laser he was using for measuring "bend," though no amount of ore outside one as massive as a black hole could do that.  People walking into the wood with cell phones or GPS devices will find themselves going in circles rather than a straight line.

While scientists, meteorologists, and geologists have all come up with interesting theories about why the Haven Forest is the way it is, the people of West and East Haven know the truth.  And staying out of the forest at night is the one thing both communities can agree on.



If you don't think I have witches guarding all my forests and wild areas in my games you have not been paying attention.

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

#RPGaDAY 2020: Day 5 Tribute

This is not the Greatest RPG in the World.  This is just a Tribute.


I have gone on record many, many times on how I feel that CJ Carella's WitchCraft is one of the, if not the, greatest RPGs I have ever played.  Yes. Even better than D&D.

I have also gone on record stating that my Ghosts of Albion game is really nothing more than an extended love letter to WitchCraft in Victorian prose.

Really, I would love to see an update to WitchCraft from Eden, but I am not holding my breath for it.

Another tribute is NIGHT SHIFT.

Night Shift is a tribute to the types of games Jason and I have been fond of playing over the years we have known each other.  So there are tributes here to Old-school D&D, to Buffy the Vampire Slayer, to Chill, to Call of Cthulhu and of course to WitchCraft. 


As much as I love Ghosts of Albion and Night Shift they can't take the place that WitchCraft has in my heart.  There are some things that both games can do better than WitchCraft, I did have the advantage of playing many games to add to my experiences, but still, WitchCraft remains.

Maybe one day some designer will write their tribute to Ghosts of Albion or to Night Shift!

And since we are talking tributes.



Which is, of course, a tribute to this, 



Monday, August 3, 2020

Monstrous Monday: Astral Spiders

If you are feeling tired, lethargic, or otherwise drained then you could have been attacked by an Astral Spider.  


As their name suggests these demonic creatures are native to the astral plane, but they are attracted to people with psychic or empathic abilities.  The spider, which is normally invisible, attaches itself to a victim and drains Wisdom at the rate of 1 point per day. The Astral Spider stays attached and draining until it's victim reaches 0 Wisdom. 
Magic that can detect a curse or detect evil creatures can let you know that an Astral Spider is attached to someone or attacking. 

The Astral Spider is immune to physical attacks, including magical and blessed weapons.  They can only be affected by magic.  A specially worded Remove Curse spell will remove an Astral Spider.  A banishment or exorcism will also remove the spider and force it back into the Astral.

Astral Spiders only move in the Astral plane. The only time they are manifest in the real world when attached to a victim and then they do not move. 

Astral Spider
Vermin (Demonic)
Frequency: Very Rare
Number Appearing: 1 (1)
Alignment: Chaotic (Chaotic Evil)
Movement:  Special
Armor Class: 9 [10]
Hit Dice: 3d6+3* (10)
Attacks: 1 special 
Damage: 1 point Widom per day
Special: Immune to physical attacks, affected only by magic
Size: Small
Save: Fighter 3
Morale: 12
Treasure Hoard Class: None
XP: 125

Astral Spider
No. Appearing: 1
AC: 9
Move: Special (Astral only)
Hit Dice: 3
Special: Wisdom drain. 1 point/day
XP VALUE: 120

Friday, July 31, 2020

Friday Night Videos: Sounds of the NIGHT SHIFT, Ordinary World

Copies of NIGHT SHIFT: VETERANS OF THE SUPERNATURAL WARS have ALL been delivered to the Kickstarter backers and people are also getting the Kickstarter special Player's Guide.

You can order your own hardcover version at the publisher's website, at https://www.elflair.com/nightshift.html.

You can also buy the PDF at DriveThruRPG.

One of the things that really motivated Jason and me while working on this is music.  Spend any time here and you know I am a big music fan.  


So I thought it might be great to share some of the music that reminded us of the stories we were telling with NIGHT SHIFT and the games we have run.

Up this Friday Night Videoes are songs from my playlist.  
Tonight, songs from The Ordinary World!




Friday, July 24, 2020

Friday Night Videos: Sounds of the NIGHT SHIFT, Welcome to the Academy of Magical and Paranormal Arts

Copies of NIGHT SHIFT: VETERANS OF THE SUPERNATURAL WARS are going out to the Kickstarter backers AND people that pre-ordered on the website.

You can order your own hardcover version at the publisher's website, at https://www.elflair.com/nightshift.html.

You can also buy the PDF at DriveThruRPG.

One of the things that really motivated Jason and me while working on this is music.  Spend any time here and you know I am a big music fan.  



So I thought it might be great to share some of the music that reminded us of the stories we were telling with NIGHT SHIFT and the games we have ran.

Up this Friday Night Videoes are songs from my playlist.  Tonight, songs from "Welcome to the Academy of Magical and Paranormal Arts" for the Generation HEX Night World!




Monday, July 20, 2020

Monstrous Mondays: The Wendigo for NIGHT SHIFT, BX RPG and AS&SH

Modern Wendigo by skeletoninadress
The Wendigo has always been a favorite monster of mine.  

The Algonquin (and Illiniwek) people had great mythology and SO underutilized in games or novels.  One creature that I always was fascinated with was the Wendigo. The Wendigo has been seen a lot in horror fiction, especially with the rise in popularity of werewolves and zombies.  But they are still very interesting.  The most famous one of course is The Wendigo by Algernon Blackwood, followed by August Derleth's Ithaqua.

This is a creature that possesses humans under conditions of extreme cold and hunger and gets them to become cannibals.  Also, people that engaged in cannibalism were also at greater risk of possession.

The Wendigo is a spirit most times, unable to physically manifest in the world or interact with it.  That is until someone in a cold part of the world begins to despair and go hungry.  There are plenty of places in the world that are cold and these have hungry people, the Wendigo though chooses someone though that has or will resort to cannibalism to stay alive. Once this is done the Wendigo has access to the victim's heart. 

With their heart frozen the victim becomes the physical Wendigo.  They appear lean and gaunt, but taller; as if stretched out.  Their hands become claws with vile blue talons.  Their entire appearance becomes more feral.  They appear to be something akin to a ghoul or even a starving were-wolf mid-transformation.  They are constantly hungry, eating all the flesh they can, though they never eat their fill.  Eventually, the wendigo strains the host body too much and they die completely in a number of weeks.  Though there are rumors of giant wendigo, whose heads reach the clouds that are thousands of years old.

I included the Wendigo and the more powerful Wendigo Matron in my The Winter Witch for Swords & Wizardry.  Here it is for other games. 

Wendigo
No. Appearing: 1-2
AC: 3
Move: 45ft.
Hit Dice: 8
Special: 3 attacks (2 claws, bite) + Breath weapon, Enhanced Senses, Immunity to Cold, Immunity to Normal Weapons, Requires Blessed weapon to hit.
XP VALUE: 1,280

This creature shares a number of characteristics with were-creatures and undead. Ancient people believed that only a tribal shaman could bless a weapon that would kill both the host body and the wendigo spirit. 

The wendigo is completely immune to all cold-based attacks.  It attacks with its claws and bite and can emit a blast of freezing cold air up 3 times per day for 1d6+5 hp of damage (save for half).

Ordinary World: Wendigos are known to exist in the Ordinary World, but few even among the supernatural community have encountered them.  They are generally feared to be unpredictable and very, very dangerous.

Valhalla, AK:  Everyone in Valhalla "knows" that there are "wendigos" north of the town.  The locals though will point out that the creature everyone thinks is a wendigo is actually the wechuge ("way-chu-gay"). Someone can become a wechuge by breaking a tribal taboo or becoming too prideful. 
Some of the indigenous locals still remember tales from their grandparents and great-grandparents of the horrible winters of long ago where you could hear the howls of the wechuge/wendigo. 

Wendigo

Armor Class: 2     
No. Appearing: 0 / 1d3
Hit Dice: 8
Save As: F8
Movement: 150/50 
Attacks: 3 claw/claw/bite 
Damage: 1d6/1d6/1d8
Special Attacks: Breath weapon (cold) 1d8+5
Special Defense: Immune to cold-based attacks, immune to normal weapons, requires a blessed weapon to hit
Intelligence: 4 (devious cunning)
Morale: 11
Treasure Type: None
Alignment: Chaos
THACO: 12
Experience: 1,750

This creature shares a number of characteristics with were-creatures and undead. Ancient people believed that only a tribal shaman/cleric could bless a weapon that would kill both the host body and the wendigo spirit. A cleric can turn one as a Special Undead. Once a person is infected with a wendigo they can not be cured.

The wendigo is completely immune to all cold-based attacks.  It attacks with its claws and bite and can emit a blast of freezing cold air up 3 times per day for 1d6+5 hp of damage (save for half).


Wendigo

No. Encountered: 0 (1d4)
Alignment: Chaotic Evil
Size: L
Movement: 50 
Dexterity: 12
Armour Class: 2
Hit Dice: 8
Attack Rate: 3/1 (claw / claw / bite) + breath weapon (cold) x3
Damage: 1d6 / 1d6 / 1d8 + 1d8+5
Special: Immune to cold-based attacks, immune to normal weapons, requires a blessed weapon to hit
Saving Throw: 12
Morale: 11
Experience Points: 1,000
Treasure Class: None

The wendigo are believed to have been first created by Ythaqqa.
They can be turned as undead type 13.

Friday, July 17, 2020

Friday Night Videos: Sounds of the NIGHT SHIFT

Copies of NIGHT SHIFT: VETERANS OF THE SUPERNATURAL WARS are going out to the Kickstarter backers.

You can order your own hardcover version at the publisher's website, at https://www.elflair.com/nightshift.html.

You can also buy the PDF at DriveThruRPG

One of the things that really motivated Jason and me while working on this is music.  Spend any time here and you know I am a big music fan.  



So I thought it might be great to share some of the music that reminded us of the stories we were telling with NIGHT SHIFT and the games we have ran.

Up first this Friday Night Videoes are songs from Jason's playlists.  Enjoy!






Monday, July 13, 2020

Monstrous Mondays: Knockers, the Good* Kobolds for Basic-era and Night Shift

There has been some debate on the nature of good and evil when it comes to some monsters.  I plan on saying more about it later (spoiler: dropping alignment restrictions is a good thing!) but allow me to welcome D&D to 2,500+ years of organized philosophical debate and over 6,000 years of religious ones.  They have not worked out all the details yet so I don't expect D&D to do it yet either.

But that is not today's discussion.  Today I want to discuss Knockers.

Knockers are a subterranean species that frequent old mines.  They are common to Cornwall so they could be related to any number of Cornish faeries (and they have a lot of the Fey there) but in reality, they seem closer to the Kobold.  Or at least how the kobold has been depicted in German folklore.

Around the time of 2nd Ed Kobolds went from evil little dog men to evil little lizard men. Personally, I rather liked the change.  I love the idea of these scrappy little lizards running around. I am also fine with them being evil, or at least very, very self-centered as a species.  Their lizard brains only allow for survival in the most brutal ways possible. As such, they worship the things that look like them, only bigger, evil dragons.  If your god is evil then you probably are as well.  Do I leave room for a potentially "good" kobold? Of course, the world is vast, strange and wonderful, anything is possible.


But as it turns out I have good kobolds covered. 

Knockers are good* kobolds.  

I say good* because good ≠ nice.  

They are happy to work with each other, they get along fine with gnomes and the local pixies. They will even help lost miners find their way out of mines when they are lost.  But their reasons are hardly altruistic.  They feel that humans are big lumbering idiots and think they belong to the same species as ogres or trolls. They will lead miners out via a series of knocking or raps on stone not because they feel bad for the human but because one lost human brings in many more humans to look for them.

Knockers and kobolds share a history. Once they were the same people. Living in deep subterranean mines looking for veins of precious metals.  Their diggings brought them into contact with goblins, dwarves, gnomes, and even orcs.  All these encounters ended poorly for the kobolds as they were smaller in size. They grew to despise most other species.  As time went on the waters began to return as the last Ice Age began to thaw. When their homelands were taken by the sea, some moved west while others moved east and south.  The two peoples became distinct.  The kobolds of the south took on the worship of evil gods and dragons. Their lust for gold and power corrupted them into smaller forms and they took on more draconic features.  The kobolds of the west became more and more introverted and xenophobic.  Their distrust of others never abating but deciding that their best course of action was not to fight but to hide deeper and deeper in the Earth. 
The two sub-species of kobold barely resembles the other today, but there are still similarities if one knows how to look.

Knocker (Kobold)
Basic-era Games
Humanoid (Subterranean) 
Frequency: Rare
Number Appearing: 2-20 (2-4)
Alignment: Neutral (Neutral Any)
Movement: Basic 90' (30') [9"]
Armor Class: 6 [13]
Hit Dice: 1d6 (3 hp)
Attacks: 1 
Damage: 1d4 (weapon)
Special: Hide in shadows 95%
Size: Small
Save: Normal Human
Morale: 7
Treasure Hoard Class: I (XIII)
XP: 7

Knockers are a relative of the kobold. They resemble them in most respects save that these creatures appear to be more "humanoid" than their lizard-like counterparts.  Often described as "dog-faced" it is unclear whether that is a reference to their actual canine-like appearance or to their general ugliness.
Knockers speak their own variation of the kobold language, but either sub-species can understand the other given a little time.

Knockers are believed to have interbred with gnomes and goblins in their travels west, and this is used to explain their changed temperaments.  Knockers generally get along well enough the gnomes and local fae and even tolerate goblins. Consequently, their greatest enmity is with kobolds and humans. 

For the most part, knockers look to be left alone to continue to mine their mines.  They will defend their communities if attacked using group tactics. If left alone, they will often leave others alone as well.

One Man's God
Kurtulmak is the god of Kobolds, though in truth he should also be a Demon Lord like Yeenoghu.  He is described as being a bit reptilian as well.  In keeping with a theme the demon lord (lady) that evil knockers follow is Zsusr

Knocker
No. Appearing: 2-20
AC: 6
Move: 30ft.
Hit Dice: 1
Special: Hide in Shadow 95%, Pack tactics
XP VALUE: 7

Knockers are a subterranean humanoid people related to the fae.  They typically live in old mines and in the dungeons under old castles. 

Generation HEX: Some magical schools, particularly AMPA Cornwall in Great Britain, has a group of knockers living below the school. AMPA faculty have yet to decide what needs to be done with them if anything at all.

Ordinary World: Knockers have been known to live in the White and Adirondack Mountain ranges. They are believed to have migrated with English, Welsh, and Cornish immigrants. Here they have interacted with the local populations of Pukwudgie peoples.


Note: Want more information? Dump Stat goes into a Deep Dive of the Kobold across many editions.

Friday, July 10, 2020

Working the NIGHT SHIFT!

Early mail-call this week and I can't be more pleased.



Hard copies my Jason Vey's and my new game are appearing in the wild and I am so happy.  Here are my leather and standard copies.

The insides also look fantastic.  Better than I had hoped for really.




And of course, it has my favorite of my Night Worlds, Generation HEX.


You can get PDFs from DriveThruRPG and Print copies (not PODs!) directly from Elf Lair Games.

Can't wait to share more with you all including an Other Side exclusive Night Spot. 
Come back for adventures in Valhalla, Alaska.  A Night Spot that can be used in the Ordinary World setting or added to any game.

Been looking forward to this for some time now!

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Eldritch Witchery on Sale! Mara Review! Night Shift PDF!

Pretty busy and exciting times around here.  Let's get started.

Up first I have a Pomo Code for you to get my Eldritch Witchery at 50% off from Elf Lair Games to celebrate the PDF release of NIGHT SHIFT: VETERANS OF THE SUPERNATURAL WARS.
(until July 31, 2020).


You can use Eldritch Witchery with any of my other Witch books AND it can be used with NIGHT SHIFT as well.

In Eldritch Witchery I introduce the demonic families of the Lilim (a race I used back in the 2nd Ed AD&D days), the Calabim, the Shedim, and the powerful Baalseraph

Eldritch Witchery uses Elf Lair Games O.R.C.S. while NIGHT SHIFT uses the more advanced O.G.R.E.S. but translation between the two is easy.   In fact, the demons, devils, and fiends of my "Night Worlds", in particular, my Ordinary World, uses the same demonic classifications.  So grab a demon from here to use in NIGHT SHIFT!
PLUS you can use all the spells from EW in NIGHT SHIFT to really increase the number of spells you have for your magic characters.

If Demons and Witches are your thing then also check out this review of my Daughters of Darkness: the Mara Witch Tradition, from the Reviews from R'lyeh.


This book also goes into more detail about the Lilim Demons. 
Both books feature Lilith on the cover too. 

I might need to spend more time with the demons.

Monday, July 6, 2020

Monstrous Mondays: Ethyl Critchlow, Urban Hag

Backers are now getting their copies of NIGHT SHIFT: VETERANS OF THE SUPERNATURAL WARS so the PDF was opened up on DriveThruRPG.  If you were not a backer you can get a copy for yourself now.


I am going to be posting more content and support for Night Shift here but thought I'd start off with a monster/NPC from my West Haven setting.

Ethyl Critchlow, Urban Hag

Every child, whether human or witch-born, knows to stay away from the house on the corner of Taylor and Bell.  Here sits an old run-down house that everyone thought would either fall in on itself or the city would have condemned.  But it is not the house that frightens the children, though it is frightening.  Nor is it the small angry dog that everyone remembers from their own childhoods, making it at least 25 years old or older.  Rumor in the neighborhood is that once the dog got out and bit the fingers off of a boy who could not run fast enough. 
It is not the dog or the house. It is the owner of both that keeps people away.

Ethyl Critchlow looks like a stereotypical old witch, but this is just a glamour, her true form is that of an ancient and hideous old hag.  She is an Urban Hag and has been living in West Haven for nearly as long as there has been a West Haven.  She hates all children and takes glee in terrorizing them, but pact made with the City Council keeps her from doing any actual harm to them.  Though if their toys land in her yard she will keep them and if any child climbs her fence to get these toys then she will send her "dog" (in actuality a glamoured Hell Hound) Maximillian after them.  

Ethyl would also admit that at her age (almost 400) that eating children, especially modern ones, given her terrible heartburn.  Though she did eat a couple of missionaries from East Haven back in the 1960s, but no one came looking for them.  

She stays in West Haven because frankly, she has nowhere else to go. The city tolerates her and is just waiting for her to finally die of old age or a magical mishap.   She is also a great source of magical knowledge and history. She can be bribed with 18-year-old single malt scotch. Ethyl is a heavy drinker, so bring more than one bottle if you plan to use this for information.  Also fair warning, as Ethyl drinks her glamour begins to fade. By the time she has worked through two bottles, her glamour will be gone.

Ethyl Critchlow (Urban Hag)
No. Appearing: 1 (Unique)
AC: 2
Move: 30ft.
Hit Dice: 10
Special: Adapt to locale, Cackle, Horde, Spellcasting, Strength, Vulnerability (iron)
XP VALUE: 10,240

Ethyl casts spells as a 9th-level witch.

Urban Hags are hoarders. Her home is a falling apart pit of junk she has collected over her nearly four centuries of life.  Amongst the filth, garbage and debris of decades, there are also some magical treasures.  In particular, Ethyl has several magical scrolls with spells that can be used by any witch or scholar. There is also a magical pipe that can lure the undead to sleep. Though one is advised not to go looking for such treasures.

find Ethyl and the other citizens of West Haven in Night Shift: Veterans of the Supernatural Wars.

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Night Shift Pre-Orders are Open

Well. The books are off to the printers and we will start sending out copies to our Kickstarter backers.

But if you missed our big Kickstarter last fall I have some good news. We are now taking preorders of Night Shift: Veterans of the Supernatural Wars.

The shipping date for the hardcovers from the Printer is June 10, and we will then be sending copies out to the Kickstarter backers. After that, we will fulfill all pre-orders.

Night Shift: Veterans of the Supernatural Wars

Pre-orders of the Night Shift: Veterans of the Supernatural Wars rpg are OPEN! Grab a hardcover/PDF bundle and get your PDF right away! https://elflair.com/nightshift.html 


Get your pre-order in here: https://www.elflair.com/nightshift.html

If you want to "try before you buy" there are the Quick Start rules here.

I plan on having a lot of fun with this over the Summer.

Monday, April 27, 2020

Monstrous Mondays: Horror of the Hodag for NightShift and more!

Been wanting to do this beastie for a while!



The Hodag

In the wilds of Wisconsin there lives, or rather lived, the fiercest to ever run on stubby little legs.  The Hodag.  This monster has a wide face full of razor-sharp fangs. Its head is topped with a pair of horns and spikes running down it's back.  It's four legs are short (and it has no knees) and also end in razor-tipped claws.  It is fierce, vicious, and mean-spirited.

The hodag is seven feet long and about two-and-half feet tall. It is almost supernaturally strong, but are not fast runners.  They have to sleep leaning against a tree since it has no knees and their own spikes would impale them if they were to lie down. Because of this, they can't be surprised. This also might explain why they are so cranky.

Hodags are believed to have died out due to a lack of their primary food source, pure white bulldogs.

Hodag (NightShift)
No. Appearing: 1
AC: 4
Move: 30ft.
Hit Dice: 6
Special: 4 attacks (2 claws, bite, 1 tail spike), can't be surprised
XP VALUE: 150


Hodag (Old-School Essentials)
Armor Class 4 [16]
Hit Dice 6 (27 hp)
Attacks [2 × claw (1d6), 1 × bite (2d6)] or 1 × tail spike (1d6) or 2 x horn gore (1d4+1)
THAC0 14 [+5]
Movement Rate 90' (30')
Saves D10 W11 P12 B13 S14 (6)
Morale 11
Alignment Chaotic
XP for Defeating 500
Number Appearing 1 (1)
Treasure Type None

  • Horns. The hodag can rush an opponent to attack.  The horns are sharp and cause piercing damage.
  • Nasty Mood. Hodags are always in a foul mood. They can't be charmed nor subdued. They always attack.
  • Tooth and nail. The preferred attack of a hodag. Razor-sharp claws and fangs.


Hodag (shadow creature) (Blue Rose)

Abilities (Focuses)
3 Accuracy (Claws)
1 Communication
3 Constitution
2 Dexterity (Stealth)
1 Fighting (Fangs)
-1 Intelligence
2 Perception (Smell)
3 Strength
2 Willpower

Speed 16
Health 40
Defense 14
Armor Rating 0

Weapon Attack Roll Damage
Claws +3 1d6+1
Fangs +2 1d6+2
Horns +1 1d6

Special Qualities
Favored Stunts: Defensive Stance, Lightning Attack

Threat: Moderate


Night Shift: Veterans of the Supernatural Wars

Pre-sales of the Night Shift: Veterans of the Supernatural Wars rpg are OPEN! Grab a hardcover/PDF bundle and get your PDF right away! https://elflair.com/nightshift.html 



Thursday, October 31, 2019

It was 20 Years Ago Today...

All apologies to the Beatles, but it was 20 years ago today that I released my very first witch book on the internet.


It was a "netbook" back in the days before the OGL and when TSR would go after everyone for even talking about D&D online.  This really put me "on the web" as it were.  Of course, I also published it under my pseudonym of "Web Warlock" at the time since I want to keep my "game" writing separate from my (then) Academic writing.

Today I am celebrating the release of The Basic Witch: The Pumpkin Spice Witch Tradition and the last couple of hours of the Kickstarter for NIGHT SHIFT.

It has been a really fun game design carrer. That little witch book I published while sitting in the hospital after my son was born got me into working with Eden, doing some of the D&D 3e playtests, and then a lot more.  But 20 years ago was when it all really started. Also kind of fitting it was 40 years ago that started playing this game to start with!





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