Showing posts with label Oz. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Oz. Show all posts

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

A Wicked Time. Glinda the Good Witch for Swords & Wizardry White Box

Today, October 30, 2018, marks the 15th Anniversary of the premiere of Wicked on Broadway.
It has gone on to be not just the longest-running Broadway musical, but also the most profitable.

But I am not going to talk about Wicked.  Instead, I want to focus on the stars, the Witches of Wicked. In particular Glinda the Good Witch.

Glinda is considered to be the most powerful witch in Oz, though we see more magic from the Wicked Witch of the West.
Here she is for Swords & Wizardry White Box for the White Witch Tradition.

Glinda, The Good Witch 
aka Glinda Arduenna Upland
10th level Human Female Witch,
White Witch Tradition

Strength: 11
Dexterity: 15
Constitution: 12
Intelligence: 17
Wisdom: 15
Charisma: 18

HP: 36
Alignment: Lawful
AC: 9 [10]
Saves Base: 6

Occult Powers
Familiar: Invisible Stalker (Spirit of the Air)
4th level: Herbal Healing
7th level: Create Magic Items
10th level: Coven* (I will argue that all the Cardinal witches are part of the same coven)

Spells 
Cantrips: (6) Alarm Ward, Animate Tool, Arcane Mark, Dancing Lights, Object Reading, Warm
First: (4) Animal Friend, Bright Blessings, Detect Danger, Speak with Animals
Second: (3) Augury, Barrier, Calm Emotions
Third: (3) Animal Summoning I (Ritual), Calm Animals, Fly
Fourth: (2) Cleanse, Plant Growth
Fifth: (2) Enchant Item (Ritual), Find the Path

Equipment
Wand

In other games, Glinda very well could be a dual-classed Witch/Magic-User since she was described as studying Wizardry as well as being a Witch.

--

Don't forget the Witch for Swords & Wizardry White Box is now out! Featuring the White Witch Tradition.  It is 100% compatible with my other Swords & Wizardry witch books.  Each one with a new tradition, occult powers, magic items, spells, and rituals.  Many even include new monsters.

Thursday, April 5, 2018

This Old Dragon: Issue #167

Moving ahead to one of the "newer" issues in my collection.  This comes to us from the distant past of March 1991.  I was a senior in college, but would take another year to finish up my honors courses, my minor and to take a few grad school classes before getting into grad school.  I was not really playing much at this point, but still buying and reading a bunch of Ravenloft games and books.
I believe by this time I had printed out the first solid draft of my witch class for 2nd Ed and was revising it more.  So without further ado here is March 1991 and this is issue #167 of This Old Dragon.

To the cover.  Ok. Have I ever mentioned how much I hate faces on inanimate objects? Cars, trains, especially airplanes. But more than anything TREES!  I think it some deep-seated childhood trauma related to both "Wizard of Oz" and "From Hell it Came".   My family will taunt me with it by giving trees with faces on them for Halloween.  Anyway.  The girl on here looks she wandered off from a Clyde Caldwell cover and is slumming here.  The artist is Fred Fields.

You can tell this is the 90s Dragon because of all the ads.  Mind you I am not complaining; I like the ads.  But there are more. More pages in general too.

Given this is the era near 2nd Edition the Dragons all have themes.  This one is the Wilderness.  I liked the themed issues, gave me something to look forward too.

The Editorial is an interesting one with addresses for you to send something to anyone serving in the US or British military.  I guess this is the time of Operation Desert Storm.

Up first is ...holy shit! it's the OSR's very own +Joseph Bloch! (hmm auto-tagging is not working on this). He is up with an article right in his wheel-house, See the Pomarj - and Die!  The three page article (four with cover image) is a bit of history on the Pomarj. It even has some details about the Slave Lords and plenty of old-school tables.   This is some good stuff that I wish I had known about when running the A-series recently. Ah well.

David Howery is next with Back to the Age of Mammals, taking us back to when the dinosaurs did their disappearing act and the mammals took over. There are a ton of great, untapped and underused creatures.  One of my favorites is even here, the Amphicyon.  I used my own version for a primitive were-wolf/were-bear hybrid back when I ran Palace of the Silver Princess.  This really makes this issue a stand out in my mind.

The Ecology of the Su-Monster would have been something I would have eaten up back in the day. Matthew Schutt gives us an updated version of these monsters and they work.  I always liked these little monsters. I ran an adventure where the locals worshiped as a god.

Gregg Chamberlain is next with the Dragon's Bestiary with various plant-based monsters.

Curses are Divine* But their effects on your fantasy hero are horrible! by Mark Keavney which details major and minor divine curses.  This is not the curses of the 3rd level spell, these are special and really powerful.  Also detailed are the situation where someone can find themselves so cursed.

TSR Previews tells us what is hot for March 1991 and beyond. On the list is RA2 Ravenloft Ship of Horror, a favorite of mine. Though I would always call it "Ship of Fools" after the Robert Plant song.

Arcane Lore by Jeffrey Pettengill has some expansions to the 2nd Ed Necromancer specialty wizard and necromancy spells.

Bruce Heard is back with more Princess Ark.  I am planning on collecting these and using some of it for my BECMI Magic School game.

Role of Computers covers the best of 1990.  Again, it's hard to review a review of the "State of the Art" of 27 years ago.

Sage Advice covers some Monstrous Compendium Vol II questions and the perennial question of how do I find a gaming group.

Peter Trueman as what he calls "a more realistic approach to fantasy" in Just Give me Money!  It's a long article that details maybe than you would want to know about coins.  Or maybe it is sort of the detail you like.  For me, it is more log-work than I like in my games.  Once I ate this stuff up.

Marvel-Phile deals with some of Spider-man's foes from across the pond in England in The Lads from Liverpool.  Spiders and Beatles. cute.

Nice big and water-damaged ad for Chill (2nd Edition).

(gotta be honest here. This issue is testing the mettle of my allergy drugs!)

Thomas Kane gives us some NPCs from historical references for an Oriental Adventures game in Lords of the Warring States. We are still in that odd overlap time of 1st and 2nd Editions.

Con Calendar is huge this month.

Ed is back. Am I at a point yet where I can say "Ed" and you all know I mean Ed Greenwood?  Instead of his normal conversation with Elminster, he ends up talking to Laeral of Waterdeep.  I do not begrudge Ed this, it is always entertaining and even when I didn't like the Realms I liked these articles.  This time he is covering the Undermoutain - the King of All Dungeons.  Ok. So. It's an ad for the new Undermountain boxed set.  Yeah, I can't even be irritated by that.

Role of Books from John C. Bunnell has the best of late winter/early spring 1991 including one that is STILL on my TBR pile, Deryni Magic by Katherine Kurtz.  Yeah, Grad School was not conducive to pleasure reading.

And just like that, we are at Dragonmirth.   The big feature is The Twilight Realm, which is on part 11.  I really know nothing about that strip, I should look into it more.

Ah, here are the small ads and classifieds.

Ok. Not a packed issue, but a lot of great bright spots like Joe's and Bruce's contributions.
I wonder what else I have from this time? Will be fun to see!

Thursday, October 19, 2017

This Old Dragon: Issue #54

Again today is a bit of cheat. I had been going through all my October issues and this is the next one on the pile.  It's October 1981.  I am in the earliest days of my gaming life, having played Basic D&D pretty much exclusively but adding the bits from AD&D where we wanted. This would place me in 7th grade and my life was full of D&D and learning to program on a TRS-80 Model III.
Radio and the movies have been dominated by "Endless Love" and "Arthur" since August and on the shelves is Issue #54 of This Old Dragon!

Ok let's get to that cover.  I HATED it!  Not because it is bad or anything, but when I was little I had gotten really scared of the trees in the Wizard of Oz movie.  I also was scared of the Tree Monster from the terrible movie "From Hell it Came".  Poltergeist didn't help either. Ever since then Tree Monsters freak me out. Not today of course...that would be silly...(looks behind).
But all kidding aside it is actually a really fun cover.

We start of the issue with a letter from J.D. Webster concerning the fate of the comic Fineous Fingers.  FF was also that bit of D&D history that "predated" me. While I was playing and had been now for two years (little less) I was not reading Dragon yet and I had not even heard of White Dwarf.  I used things like FF to judge how long people had been playing.  If they talked about it I knew they had been more involved than me.  Plus one of the groups in town had a player (I forgot who) whose character was Fineous Fingers.   Oh, the letter.  Yeah, this is the last issue for FF.

There are some letters, mostly about a recent adventure competition.

Up first in real articles we have something from Ed Greenwood.  So this year (2017) I have been spending some time expanding my knowledge of the Forgotten Realms.   This article is one of the earliest articles on the Realms I know of.  Down-to-earth Divinity discusses how Ed has put together his Pantheon of Gods.   You can easily see how this evolved into the gods of the Realms.  I found it interesting that he includes the elemental gods from the Melnibonéan mythos. There are a lot of "reskinned" Deities and Demigods gods here too (which is the point of the article).  I liked that Ed specifically mentions that witches worship Selûne.  The article is long and seriously good.

A feature I loved in the past is present in this issue, The Dragon's Bestiary. We get a different version of the Boggart here, closer to it's Brownie origins. The Stroan, which looks like a giant water bug, and the Incubus.

Beware the Jabberwock is next by Mark Nuiver.  Background and stats for the creature and the poem that gave us the vorpal sword.

The centerpiece of this issue is the competition adventure for AD&D, Cavern Quest by Bill Fawcett.  It's a long one and has one of the most complex scoring systems I have seen. It might be fun to try with the right group.

Abomination is the fiction bit. Seems related to the cover.

Cash & Carry for Cowboys by Glenn Rahman is one of the very few Boot Hill articles I can recall reading in the pages of Dragon.  Odd that Boot Hill has not been remade in the wave of nostalgia hitting both WotC and the OSR.   It is a very useful price list of items for sale in the Old West.

Simulation Corner by John Prados looks like it was a semi-regular feature on Game Design.  This one, Practicing Game Design III Rules of Realism covers how to get realism into your game.  It might be interesting, in a purely academic sense, to compare this five-part series to what later would be said about GMS game theory or the work at The Forge.  My philosophy of game design is a simple one.  Do what is fun and serves the game the best.  Derive everything else from that.

Another favorite feature from the past, Bazaar of the Bizarre is next. This time we get More feather tokens by Edward J. Greenwood.   To go with a loose Halloween theme there is the Skull Mace, Mace of Pain and Jug of Undead.

Hmm...there is a continuation of an article on Ruins that I don't seem to have the first part of.

There is a silly little technology quiz on page 74.  At 11 I would have loved it. Today...it's like seeing an ad for polyester kung-fu pants.

We get a What's New. A Dragonmirth.  Both Wormy and Fineos Fingers in color.

Ads for both the D&D Basic set (A Dungeons & Dragons Adventure!)


Loved these ads. But you never got to fight a Purple Worm in Basic!

And and ad for the D&D Folders.


Always wanted one of these!

Great issue. Not very Halloween-filled, but still a lot of fun.

Here is what I said about White Dwarf #27 from the same month.

Friday, March 3, 2017

"Excuse me, can you repeat that in Olde Arcane?"

On Friday's I have been watching and enjoying more, more the new series on NBC "Emerald City".  It is yet another re-telling of the Wizard of Oz story.  As you can imagine I am a HUGE fan of Mistress West aka The Wicked Witch of the West played by Ana Ularu.

Mistress of the Western Fields, Vessel of Truth and Solace, Wicked Witch of the West
(though one wonders if Fairuza Balk was unavailable)
What I have been really enjoying is the conlang, Inha, the language spoken by all the witches in Oz.
You can read more about that here and check out the website of the creator David J. Peterson who also created Dothraki.

All witches in Oz are born knowing this language. There are for variants (fire-south, wind-east, stone-north, water-west)  but all witches understand it naturally.


I love this idea.  In my own games I never quite took it this far, but I have always played it that all witches can recognize another witch instantly.

This got me thinking about magical languages in RPGs.
In the real world the written word of magic was always held by the scholars and the clergy. So predominantly in Latin.  Most of the books in the Western tradition of magic were in Latin with some other in Arabic and Hebrew.    In D&D the obvious choices for magical languages are Draconic and Elvish.    In my own games, I have used Irish Gaelic as the language of "faerie magic".

Witches though would not have a learned language like these. All their writings, when written at all, would be in their own native languages.  But the idea of a language they are all born knowing is a very, very compelling on to me.
Personally, I like to think that witches have more in common with each other regardless of alignment than say a witch and a wizard of the same alignment.  This could be my biases showing. Very likely it is.  What really unites a people is language.

While in game design terms I could justify a "Witch language", after all Druids and Theives have their own languages, I don't think I will.  If I did I would also give all wizards the draconic language for free.  In fact there is MORE reason to do that. Hmm.  Ok. From now on all Wizards get "Auld High Wyrmish" (can you tell I have been reading a lot of old Dragons lately) for free.  This gives them a chance to speak Draconic.

Now one thing I can justify is giving the Sisters of the Aquarian Order their own language.
They start to train girls at a very young age, they have their own planet and history. A history that goes back thousands of years or more.

Speaking of which.

The Sisters of the Aquarian Order is on sale again for GM's Day.  Pick up a copy and let me know.



Thursday, August 23, 2012

Witches of Oz

F. Douglas Wall over at "There's more to Oz than the Yellow Brick Road" has a post up on Witches in Oz.

He mentions me in it and it is, obviously, something right up my alley.

I have mentioned before in a few places that the Wicked Witch of the West was one of my first witches.  She was the one that started this whole mess to be exact.

http://timbrannan.blogspot.com/2011/11/having-wicked-time-in-oz.html
http://timbrannan.blogspot.com/2012/07/adventures-in-oz.html
http://timbrannan.blogspot.com/2012/08/what-was-your-childhood-monster.html

Pop by his blog and have a discussion with us on witches.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Adventures in Oz

With the Christmas in July sale going on I thought I would point out that one of my favorites games is on sale.

Adventures in Oz

Ever since I was little, I mean really little, I have enjoyed "The Wizard of Oz".  I can recall being about 4 or so and being frightened of the flying monkeys, the Winkies and of course the Wicked Witch.  I also remember we had this old copy of the Wizard of Oz book in the house and I remembered how different it was than the movie.

Oz is a fascinating place really, and I was amazed the first time I learned how much of it was there beyond Dorothy and her friends. I learned about names like Mombi and Ozma.  I will admit I have always wanted to put a "pumpkin head" in my games largely in part due to "Journey Back to Oz".  In my WitchCraft games we also used to call witch hunters "Dorothies".

I think Oz is a bit under rated to be honest.  It's not the drug referenced lands of Alice or even the purely fantasy of Peter Pan, it is, in a way, pragmatically American.  But it is fertile land as well. It gave us "The Wiz" and "Tin Man" and of course, "Wicked".

So I was thrilled when I heard of F. Douglas Wall's Adventures in Oz RPG.
It is, like the literary Oz, a great game for the younger set. The rules are fast, simple to learn and you can be up and playing in no time at all.  They game is also really, really fun. If you never play it, the book offers a good resource to using Oz in your own games.

The game is simple, fast and fun.

If you have kids and want to introduce them to the world of Role-playing then this is a great bet.  Just like Oz you get a fantastic land that is kid friendly with characters we all know (or at least, mostly know) and like Oz there is a lot more to this game than seen at first glance.

This is also a great game for adults.  I would recomend a game of Oz as a palette cleanser.  There are no Tolkien dwarves or elves in this game, but plent of Muchkins, Winkies and Gilikins.  There is magic, but it's not the same as all the other games you have played.  Plus it is rules lite so Narators and players can get up to speed fast.

All in all this is a great game and worth picking up.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Random Stuff Friday

I had a cool post for today, but on re-reading it this morning I realized it might need some edits first.  Game stats and trying to get day-job work in at the same time is not good for either.

So instead here are some random things I'd like to share with you.

My friend Kim Pauley has a new book coming out, "Cat Girl's Day Off" about a girl whose super power is the ability to talk to cats.  If it is like her last books, the "Sucks to Be Me" series, then is should be fun.  Expect to see some stats for Natalie Ng here in the future!
http://www.kimberlypauley.com/2011/12/09/the-cover/
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/books/1037171487?ean=9781600608834&itm=8&usri=kimberly+pauley

Douglas Wall would like you all to check out his fun game "Adventures in Oz".
It is a fun game in and off itself, but I also think it is a good supplement, like an Oz source book for whatever game you are also playing now.  I already did a "Wicked" version of the main good guy, er, wait, sorry main witch (I can't help it, the Wicked Witch of the West IS the hero for me, has been since I was little).
I think you should check it out.
http://fdouglaswall.blogspot.com/2011/12/why-you-should-be-playing-adventures-in.html

IO9, the website obsessed with all things in geek culture has a cool "Rules of Magic" chart up and it is huge.
I did notice some errors, but they expected there would be some.
http://io9.com/5866306/the-rules-of-magic-according-to-the-greatest-fantasy-sagas-of-all-time

Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Having a Wicked time in Oz

File under: You Knew This Was Coming Sooner or Later

Ever since I was little, I mean really little, I have enjoyed "The Wizard of Oz".  I can recall being about 4 or so and being frightened of the flying monkeys, the Winkies and of course the Wicked Witch.  I also remember we had this old copy of the Wizard of Oz book in the house and I remembered how different it was than the movie.

Oz is a fascinating place really, and I was amazed the first time I learned how much of it was there beyond Dorothy and her friends. I learned about names like Mombi and Ozma.
I will admit I have always wanted to put a "pumpkin head" in my games largely in part due to "Journey Back to Oz".  In my WitchCraft games we also used to call witch hunters "Dorothies".

So I was thrilled when I heard of Douglas Wall's Adventures in Oz RPG.
http://fdouglaswall.blogspot.com/  and
http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/575175333/adventures-in-oz-beyond-the-deadly-desert
It is, like the literary Oz, a great game for the younger set. The rules are fast, simple to learn and you can be up and playing in no time at all.
They game is also really, really fun. If you never play it, the book offers a good resource to using Oz in your own games.

I think Oz is a bit under rated to be honest.  It's not the drug referenced lands of Alice or even the purely fantasy of Peter Pan, it is, in a way, pragmatically American.  But it is fertile land as well. It gave us "The Wiz" and "Tin Man" and of course, "Wicked".

I never saw Wicked on stage, despite living in Chicago.  I did read the book and enjoyed it.  The world of Wicked is not exactly the same as that of Oz.  The names and places are familiar, but there is some differences.  Most notable is the character of Elphaba.

Elphaba is the Wicked Witch of West.  Though here she is a smart, green skinned young woman with a talent for sorcery and getting into trouble.  In the musical (and in the book) she is friends with Glinda (the good Witch) and learns that the Wizard is nothing more than a fake.

She fights against the Wizard, and for animal rights. Falls in love. Creates the Scarecrow and Tin Woodsman. Plus she is the protector of her younger sister Nessarose, aka the Wicked Witch of the East.

The main feature of the musical (and the book to a lesser extent) is the close friendship that Glinda and Elphaba have.  After all, check out those posters for the musical.

Running a game in a "Wicked" version of Oz is not that difficult. It just takes a bit creativity on the Narrator's part.

Elphaba
Template: Sorcerer

Basic Skills
Athletics: 1
Awareness: 4
Brains: 5
Presence: 3
Sneaking: 2
Wits: 4

Traits: Sorcery, Magical Toolkit, Yookoohoo Magic

Elphaba also possesses the Grimmerie, the most powerful book of magic in all of Oz.  She can cast any known spells and only Glinda is her equal in magic.  She also made a pair of Ruby Slippers for her sister to help her walk (takes the place of the Silver Slippers of the game and novels).

In musical Elphaba is the daughter of the Wizard, so she is both of Oz and Earth. Despite rumor to the contrary she has no particular dislike of water.

Playing in this world the characters could encounter Elphaba since after her supposed murder she found a life outside of Oz.  Maybe even in the desert.

If you want more Oz goodness then check out Doug's Kickstarter for his next Oz book, http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/575175333/adventures-in-oz-beyond-the-deadly-desert

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