Showing posts with label RPG Blog Carnival. Show all posts
Showing posts with label RPG Blog Carnival. Show all posts

Monday, April 30, 2018

So Many Spells

I didn't get a chance to do any gaming this weekend.  Not likely get in any in the next few weekends since I am going to spending my time helping my wife in her garden.

So while I was outside rototilling (before and after) I was working out some spells and some spell books.  I snuck inside to check some of my databases, files, folders and materials on my cloud drive and I figure a conservative estimate is I have about 12,000 different spells spread out over all the editions of D&D.  A good 800 or so are ones I wrote myself (I know I wrote close to 400 for Buffy and Ghosts of Albion and another 380 for the various witch books).


In CineUnisystem rules (Buffy, Ghosts of Albion, Angel) there is a quality called "Occult Library" which relates how many tomes of magic you can start with and thus how many spells.  This works because there is no real formal training for would be spell casters for the most part and often spells are found in old libraries and collections.  Much like Call of Cthulhu.

Occult Library is a variable quality.  Without giving away too much here is a breakdown.

Name Points # of Spells Notes
Poor 1 4-13 A spotty collection of Time-Life books
Fine 2 7-16 Access to the internet
Outstanding 3 11-20 Some really rare books
Amazing 5 21-30 Some unique tomes that no one else has

How would this translate into terms a D&D player could use?  Well, there is no economy to "buy" features in older versions of *D&D, but there is in newer versions.  D&D 3rd, 4th, and 5th all have feats.  Now keep in mind one of the reasons that wizards (and witch and warlocks and other spellcasters) go on adventures is to find new (or more likely "old") spells.  I do not want to lose that.  So given the feat economy in 4th and 5th edition, I would use this only for "starting" spells.  The character spends a feat to gain access to a number of spells.  I would also say that this feat is a Character Creation feat only.  So you can only take it at 1st level.

New Feat
Arcane Library
You have access to a large library of arcane tomes where you can study at your leisure.
Prerequisites:  Level 1 only;  Ability to cast Arcane spells.
Benefit:  You have access to a library of arcane and occult tomes.  This library will give 3-18 (3d6) spells of up to 9th level (2d4 +1) (GM's can work with the player to determine what spells are found).
These spells must still be learned, but they are here for when you can learn them.

For older editions of the game, I would suggest adding an extra 100xp to spellcaster's Experience to the 2nd level to cover this boon.  I would allow this for Witches, Magic-Users  (Elf as a class), Illusionists and Bards, but not Clerics or Druids.

I am sneaking this one in under the wire, but this is my contribution to the RPG Blog Carnival, hosted this month by Hereticwerks.  The topic this month was Journals, Grimoires and Spell-Books. 


Friday, November 17, 2017

Skylla: Quest of the Ancients

I am posting this as part of the RPG Blog Carnival for November: The Past Revisited hosted by Campaign Mastery. This is a sequel to all my Skylla posts and my Quest of the Ancients posts.

Quest of the Ancients is one of those games I keep coming back to.
Not for the game itself mind you, but for the witch class.  Author Vince Garcia's love and devotion to the witch is equal only to my own and it shows in his game.

I reviewed the game a while back.  I figure it is close enough to *D&D that I should give my Skylla a try.

Skylla
Level 7, human Witch

Armour rating: 1
Tactical move: 10'
Stamina points: 18 (Die: d4)
Body points: 10
Stots: St 9; Ag 11; Cn 10; IQ 15; Ch 12; Ap 12: Lk 7
Attack 1
Dmg: 1D4+1 (dagger) or by spell
Ethics: E
Size: 5'4", 130#

Witch Abilities
A: Create Focus (Demon skull helm)
B: Additional Combat Skill Slot (4 total)

Skills (150 points)
Animal Handling: 25%
Herbalism: 40%
Nature Lore: 40%
Read & Write (Elvish): 45%

Spells
Rank 1: Beguile, Helping Hands, Light Ball, Magic Dart, Read Magic Script, Unlock
Rank 2: Discern Magic, Fire Darts, Fire Tounge, Net, Night Sight, Witch Wand
Rank 3: Charm, Electric Arc, Sheet Lightning, Witch Knock
Rank 4: Lirazel's Globe of Invulnerability, Staff of Absorption

Very interesting.  Her combat is not quite as good and it's harder to learn new languages.  But she gets a lot more spells.




Friday, October 13, 2017

Witch Superstitions

It's Friday the 13th! Always a special day here at The Other Side, but a Friday the 13th in October? That's practically a national holiday here!

I am participating in the RPG Blog Carnival for October on Superstitions. Hosted by Of Dice and Dragons.

Witch Superstitions

In my games, witches have a lot of superstitions.  Actually many believe they HAVE to do these things or their magic will be in jeopardy.  It is one of the defining features of the witch as opposed to wizards, clerics, druids or other types of spellcasters.

Most of these are designed with roleplaying flavor in mind, if anything I would say that if they don't follow them they get an immediate -1 on their next roll or where appropriate.

Brooms
- A witch never buys a new broom in May.  "New broom in May, sweep your family away."
- A witch never takes an old broom to a new house.  When the new house has a broom an old broom may be brought in.
- If a broom falls it means a stranger is coming. Or that someone is under a curse.
- Newlyweds should jump over a broom after a handfasting to ensure a good marriage.
- Floors are never swept widdershins, west to east or left to right.
- Knocking a broom handle on the floor (bristles up) three times will remove mischievous fairies.
- If a broom breaks while being used it will bring bad fortune on the whole house.

Cauldrons and Pots
- A witch never stirs a cauldron, pot, or even her teacup widdershins (counter clockwise). Stirring widdershins is allowed when brewing a curse or when you want bad things to happen.
- Cauldrons must be seasoned prior to proper use.  A cauldron not seasoned will never produce acceptable results, whether this is a potion or soup.  Use the most common type of animal fat available.  Typically an old mother hog who is past her own season is the best.
- The ember to light the cauldron fires after Samhain must come from a fire that was started before Samhain.

Food and home
- A witch never uses salt at the table.  If you do, throw some over your left shoulder first.
- Breaking a cobweb is good luck.
- Finding a spider is a good omen.
- A portrait falling from a wall is a omen of death.
- A cracked mirror is ill-fortune for the one that cracked it and the one that sees it first.
- Cat on your threshold means you will have a visitor soon.
- A Cardinal (or a red bird common to your area) singing in your garden means an old friend will contact you.
- if your cat hisses at a stranger do not let them into your home.
- Plant roses and lavender in your garden for luck.
- Crooked windows will keep rival witches from flying into your home.
- Bury a horseshoe under your front step to kept evil spirits from your home.
- Burn sage in a home to remove evil spirits.
- If you believe your house is haunted, move the furniture to new positions to confuse the spirits.  If the furniture is moved to same places they were before you could have a boggart.
- Ring bells to remove evil spirits
- If someone knocks their chair over when getting up from a meal it is a sign they lied.
- Never lay money on the table before eating.
- Never shake hands or kiss in a threshold.
- If three or more witches gather in a home the youngest (or lowest level) must make the tea and serve it to the oldest (or highest level) first.

Personal
- Wear black on Wednesdays, wear purple on Sundays.
- Do not sleep with wet hair, your dreams will portend madness.
- If a witch must go to a church or temple of another god she should sit in the back row.
- Always start new endeavours facing East. Never start something new on a Friday.
- when making a camp, sleep with your feet pointed in the direction you will be headed in the morning for quick and speedy travel.
- properly dispose of all nail clippings and fallen hairs to prevent another witch from casting a spell on you.
- if you have to speak the name of an enemy, spit on the ground after you speak it.




Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Spell Research

It's August and the theme of this month's RPG Blog Carnival hosted by Kobold Press is all about Magic!

Today I want to talk about something I am very much involved in right now. Spell Research.

One of the more nebulous rulings in *D&D covers research new spells.  Across all versions of the game there are spells named after various wizards and magic-users.  Some have real world significance such as Otiluke, Rary, Mordenkainen, and Melf.   Others represent historical or mythical figures.  But all have the implication that this spell was created by or named for these spell-casters.  So someone had to write them.

There are thousands of D&D spells. I think my 2nd Ed database (in Microsoft Access 97) has 3000+ spells.  I know the 3rd edition has to be more; there are about 2000 attributed to Pathfinder alone.  A project I am working on now tells me that my own OSR witch books have 700+ unique spells.

Someone had to write all of these.
Someone that is other the authors of these games and books.  Someone in the game itself. (But both are true).

So what are the hows and whys of Spell Research?

Why Should a PC Spell Caster Research a Spell?
This one is the easier of our two questions.  Why? Lots of reasons. The PC might want some new effect or magic not listed in PHB.  Say they want to cast "Frost Ball" instead of "Fire Ball" because they are more fond of cold based attacks and not fire ones.  Maybe the new spell comes about as part of other magical research. Maybe it was a total accident while casting a spell and not having the material components on hand or even a poorly memorized spell.
There are a number of in-game reasons.  In Ghosts of Albion, spells are cast based on Success Levels.  If a character casts a spell and gets really high successes on it then sometimes something new can happen.  I would give the same sort of ruling to D&D sorcerers and bards, they do something strange and a crazy new spell effect happens.  But that is an accident, what about doing that on purpose.

The most compelling reason, of course, is need.

Take a look at my witch (not important that it is a witch just yet) spell "Moonstone".  This spell stores moonlight.
Moonstone
Level: Witch 1
Range: Touch
Duration: 1 day per witch level
The witch can store moonlight in a small stone. The stones must be enchanted and then exposed to moonlight. Each stone will last 1 day per caster level unless discharged. Once invoked, the moonstone will shed soft light, equal to torchlight, and give off no heat. The moonstone does not affect low-light vision and does not cause damage to creatures that would normally be affected by light.
Note: Despite the wich's level, no Moonstone can last past the full cycleof the moon. So if moonlight is stored during a full moon then it will only last till the first night of the next full moon. If the witch's level is less than the number of days to the next full phase then the spell ends then.
Material Components: A bit of moonstone and the light of the moon.
(Special thanks to +Paolo Greco for pointing out some errors on this spell.)
Why do I need this spell?  I mean it's only first level, but a torch is cheaper.  Also, it is actually LESS effective than the first level spell Light.  You can't cast it into someone's eyes to blind them.
The reason here is need.  Moonstone is a fine spell all on it's own. But it's true value comes when paired with other spells.
Spells like Moon’s Heart (finding the time and direction, 1st level), Witch Writing (writing that can only be read by moonlight, 3rd level) Moonlit Way (finding the safe path, 4th level), and Moonbow (create a weapon out of moonlight, 6th level) all need moonlight to work.  Not something that can happen easily underground OR during the daylight hours.  Unless, of course, you have a fully charged Moonstone.

Another need is maybe less defined.  Back in the 3e days, I created a Prestige Class that had as a part of their requirements the applicant had to submit a new spell for the use of the other members of the Class.

Plus there is always the challenge and joy of discovery. Spells like Wave of Mutilation and Brigit's Flame Sheet were created just for the sheer joy of it.

I think this holds true for any sort of Arcane spellcaster.  What about clerics? druids? Heck, even witches!

Clerics & Druids
In the 3.5 SRD is says that Divine Casters can research a spell much like Arcane Spellcasters can.   But that section only says "A wizard also can research a spell independently, duplicating an existing spell or creating an entirely new one."
That's not really a lot to go on.
More to the point why would they do it?  I mean aren't clerics supposed to be given their spells by their gods?  Does it make sense that a cleric would tell his god "hey, look I know you are busy, but instead of light can you give me a spell that casts moonlight instead?"

It does if you think of clerical spells like a liturgy or even a sermon.  Think of modern day priests, preachers and other people of the cloth.  They have their holy books. They have some sermons and prayers they have always done (common book of prayer for example), some hymns that have been used since the middle ages and so on.  But they also write a sermon, sometimes a new one, each week.  The purpose is to take divine inspiration, common language, and new ideas to make something new.
Now. Truth be told Clerics (and Druids) should get a set amount of "spell levels" of power to work with an then they can perform their miracles as needed.  That might be a little too much like Mage for most D&D players' taste (but it would be fun to try it!).  From this perspective, even a tradition bound "old" class like the druid could invent new spells.   In theory, an all knowing god should know which spells to give when.  For this reason, I do allow clerics and druids to swap out spells on the fly.  Much like how D&D 3 introduced the idea of spontaneous healing magic.

But what about witches?

Witches
This is an 8th level Ritual Spell for witches.
Depending on my mood and the book in question witches can either be Divine or Arcane spellcasters. Typically I think of them as Witches.  The magic they use is Witchcraft. It has both Divine and Arcane aspects.  They learn their magic from their Patron, via a familiar, but record the spell formula in a spell book.   The underlined terms can have various meanings.  Take the girls from Charmed (why, you will see later).  Their Patrons are the past witches in their family line.  Each one learning more and more than and from the witches that came before. Their familiar in this case is their Book of Shadows.  Their spellbook is also their book of shadows.   In my Pathfinder Warlock book I have rules for a Book of Shadows that is spellbook AND familiar.

At one point in the show Charmed, the witches learn that they can also create new spells rather than just relie on the ones in their Book of Shadows.  It actually becomes a feature of the show where Phoebe (Alyssa Milano) is the sister with the best ability to come up with new spells. It is this ability they have that allows them to tap into greater and greater sources of their power.  One such spell summons the power of all their family witches to destroy what is essentially the Devil (Source of All Evil. But not without cost.)

Given this would I allow "10th level" spells?  That's a good question.  Most spells of significantly high level do a lot. A spell that powerful would need to be limited in other ways.

So that's the why, what about the how?

That depends on the edition.

1st Edition starts with some advice on page 115 of the DMG.  The hardest part of this is determining the level of the spell in question.  This is done only by comparing the spell to be created to others in the Player's Handbook.  +Bruce Heard expands on this in Dragon magazine #82 (more on that tomorrow!), but it does cover somethings not in the DMG that are important. Namely to properly stock your occult/arcane library.

An occult library.
For the moment let's assume that your character has the tools and books needed.  The time needed for research and materials is 200 gp per level per week.

2nd Edition covers much of the same ground, but with less information to be honest.  Even the amount spent is now only given as a range of gp.

3rd Edition and 5th Edition have similar advice on pages 95 and 283 (respectively). So similar in fact that it felt like I was reading the same text. Though they both give good advice on setting levels based on the amount of damage caused.  The numbers differ, but the logic is the same.

I could not find any Spell Creation or Spell Research rules in BECMI or 4th Edition.

So really. The level of the spell is largely a matter of guesswork and tradition.  I spend a lot of time, maybe too much time, trying to figure these things out.

Yeah. A lot.

Creating a Spell

I wonder if we can use what we know already to create a new spell.  This is one I am actually working on right now.  As I type these words the spell is not written, but it will be by the end of this post.

The spell is one I have thought about for a while. It allows a caster to make a perfect copy of another spell into a specially prepared spellbook.  I have decided that the spell needs the following.
A specially prepared but blank spell book. This will be 200 gp per the level of the spell copied. Following the rules above.  The quill used to scribe the spell has to come from the rare Giant Mimid Bird (or Dire Mockingbird if you prefer) and the ink is a rarer distillation of the ink of an octopus (not a squid).

The spell makes a duplicate so it is beyond Mirror Image or even Minor Creation since the creation is magical (in a sense).  It is less than Wish.  It is permanent, but more so than Permanent Image.
It can reduce the time needed to copy a spell down to hours from weeks, that is pretty powerful.
8th Level feels right, but I could go as low as 6th and maybe, just maybe up to 9th.

It's a new spell, so let's give it a name. My iconic witch is named Larina. I always imagined this was her spell.  Since it deals with the copying of spellbooks some form of Liber should be used. After all, aren't all spell books written in Latin?   Liberum works and that is a call back to my d20 Witch book.  Since the words are being set free then Libre is also good.  Alliterations are always fun.
So let's go with Larina's Liberum Libre.

Larina is a witch, but this would be good for wizards too.
Let's try it in Basic-Era/S&W/OSR format.

Larina's Liberum Libre
Level: Witch 8, Wizard 8
Range: 1 Spellbook
Duration: Permanent; see below
This spell was named for the first witch to successfully use it to make a copy of another spellbook.  The spell requires a book of the same size, shape and page numbers of the spell book to be copied. The base cost for this book is 200gp per spell level copied.  Also needed are a special quill of a Giant Mimid Bird and distilled ink of an octopus. Both may be purchased, base cost of 100 gp, or prepared by the caster ahead of time.  The ink is used up in the spell casting, the quill can be used for 1d6+6 uses.
The blank book, quill, ink and the spell book to be copied are placed on a specially prepared cloth (not rare, just clean and white). The spell is cast and the cloth covers both books.  The spell will take 1 hour per spell level to copy.  Once complete the spell will create a perfect copy of the book in question.  If the spell is interrupted during this time; the cloth removed or either book opened, then the spell is canceled and the new book, ink, and quill are destroyed.
Note: Normal non-magical books may be copied as well, but only require normal ink and a regular book with the same number of pages.

Ok. So I like the spell, might tweak it a bit before publication. Still not happy with the guesswork involved with the levels.
I would love to develop a system like I did for Ghosts of Albion but that would take a time and the return might not really be worth it.

How do you go about researching spells? Both in game and in real life?



Wednesday, May 24, 2017

The Judges Guild Psychic Witch

A few weeks ago I was made aware of the Judges Guild Journal. A newsprint 'zine made by JG back in the 70s "dedicated to Swords and Sorcery fantasy gaming".  In particular, I was made aware of issue 7 (p) and their witch class.

Issue 7 was published in December 1977.   For some perspective, the first Dragon Magazine witch was published in March 1977, though they claim to have received the manuscript for it 15 months prior.  OD&D Supplement III, Eldritch Wizardry was published in 1976.

I mention Eldritch Wizardry because the Judges Guild witch, like my own, was very much inspired by it.

The article is on one broadsheet or about two typed pages.  Titled "Witchcraft in Dungeons and Dragons" and Phil Benz as it's byline.

I have to give this article a lot of credit.  It really went outside the box with this class.  Seventeen levels are presented with roughly the same XP values as the Magic-User and has a d4 for hit point determination.  The 17th level is something called "Emelkartha".  I can only guess this has to do with the Demon Goddess from Gardner Fox's short stories about Niall of the Far Travels.  Which curiously enough appear for the first time in Dragon #5.  Should we call Shenanigans?

What makes this witch different is that she gains psionic powers instead of spells.
Her progression is very much like that found in later 2nd edition supplements on Psioincs and similar to the Basic Psionics book released by +Richard LeBlanc.
Indeed the author claims right away that a better name for the class is "Psionic Woman".   He also makes a good point about the Magic-User being unsatisfactory for a witch class.


The class then goes off into non-psionic and more spell-like areas, with the creation of potions and drugs.   I am also pleased to see the inclusion of talismans, something I also added to my witch class.  There are a lot of witchcraft trapping with this class, but I am not sure how well they mix with the D&D Psionics.

It certainly looks like a fun playable class.
There is a bit here about how males can only become witches under a special contract from Satan!

This article is much smaller than the one found in The Dragon issue #5, but is some ways is a lot more interesting.  I think that the Judges Guild article has the benefit of reading the Dragon magazine one first.  While I have no proof that the Dragon magazine article influenced this one I do find it difficult to believe that someone writing for a 'zine at this time had not read Dragon. Plus the inclusion of Emelkartha, which had only shown up in this one spot prior to this, is kind of a give-away.

Class Struggles: The Problem of the Psychic-Witch
While this might be the first Psychic Witch class published it is not the first one I have seen.  The first one I remember reading was the one from the Mayfair Role-Aids book Witches.  That witch was a "Deyrini" witch and while I was familiar with the stories I thought it was an odd inclusion.  First, the powers were less psychic and still more spell-like.  Also, I never got a witch or a psychic feel from that particular class.
I later made my own "Natural Witch" that was also a Psychic Witch, but again, something about it never quite jelled with me. This is one of the reasons you don't see a psychic witch in my books now. I could never get it to work right for me.

The closest thing I have been able to get to a psychic witch I really like are my Sisters of the Aquarian Order.

I think the issue is that like D&D, I grew up in the 70s and 80s.  The 70s saw the Occult Revival and the 80s saw the Satanic Panic.  This has forever locked witches, occultism, and psychic abilities together in my mind. If you read anything published in the 70s about witches they often talk about enhancing their psychic powers.  I could see a witch, instead of mixing potions or collecting herbs, empowering crystals or infusing talismans' with her own psychic power.

Maybe her familiar is not a spirit but a psychic construct of her own "Shadow Self" from Jung.  Her Patron then is a manifestation of her Mana or Higher Self as part of the Collective Unconsciousness (again, Jung).  So the Jungian archetypes of Self-Anima-Mana could map on to Maiden-Mother-Crone representations.
Jung is, and always has been, a huge influence on how I detail the witch archetype for myself. I spent a lot of time in the 80s reading Jung and it is one of the reasons I worked on a Ph.D. in psychology.

Maybe there is something here after all. Maybe it just takes 40 years to get it right!

I'll have to think about this much more.



I am also presenting this as another addition to the RPG Blog Carnival on Occult Mysteries and Magic.


Monday, May 22, 2017

Witch & Witchcraft Reading Challenge: The History of Witchcraft

For this Witch & Witchcraft Reading Challenge I "read" (listened to) two shorter books that covered roughly the same topic.  The first was "The History of Witchcraft", written by Lois Martin and narrated by Brogan West.  The second was "Witch Mania: The History of Witchcraft", written by Charles Mackay and narrated by Greg Wagland. Witch Mania is actually part of the Charles Mackay's 1841 book Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds, which I covered another version of back in January as "Witch: A Tale of Terror".
So for these reasons I am going to classify this as one reading, not two.

The differences in the books are largely one of the historical perspectives.  The older 1841 "Witch Mania" book takes an interestingly pro-science approach that is congruent to the time's own growing industrialism and embrace of science.  "The History of Witchcraft" includes the findings of, subsequent dismissal of those findings of, Margret Murray's Witch Cult thesis.  History also covers the then new "The Triumph of the Moon" by Ronald Hutton.  But nothing is given in detail.

Mackay's 1841 book reads and feels like something written today to be honest.  There are only tidbits of information that would let on that it is not.  Though the perspective is still one of "those poor superstitious peasants".  Martin's 2007 book is a bit newer in it's topics, but the perspective has not shifted very much.

Both books come down on the side of this all being delusion by the participants with some mention of how to properly view historical events through the lens of the times they were in.
Both books cover many of the same horror stories that are familiar to anyone that spends time reading these tales.  A couple of interesting bits for me was the idea of how localized many of these accounts are.  These were common fears that involved local people on a global stage.  The newer "History" (2007) spent some time talking about how this was part and parcel the change over from superstition to rationalism.  Also, it seems there is a new push to see the witch trials as largely a secular issue rather than a purely ecclesiastical one. More on this when I cover the next history book on my list.



Both of these books came from Audible.
http://www.audible.com/

2017 Witches & Witchcraft Reading Challenge
2017 Witch & Witchcraft Reading Challenge
Books Read so far: 13
Level: Mother
Witches in this book: Again, millions or none.
Are they Good Witches or Bad Witches: All were innocent in my mind. At least innocent enough to not warrant a capital offense.
Best RPG to Emulate it: Again, not the best question, but I would love to play a "Burning Times" RPG using WitchCraft.
Use in WotWQ: I will bring some of these ideas to the campaign, certainly the witch hunters and the paranoia.


RPG Carnival Post
Using witches, magic and occult practices in your games.
Both of these books got me thinking about how witches and the occult could be viewed in a game that is already full of magic.

The main feature of both of these books is fear. Fear of the unknown and fear of the very real and very known Devil.  Witches, no matter the stripe, are something to be hated and feared.
This also begs another question. Are Witches really Witches without the persecution?

In most fantasy role-playing games there are wizards, clerics and a host of spellcasters. Even "grimdark" games like Dungeon Crawl Classics and Lamentations of the Flame Princess have their spellcasters and they are, despite their "otherness" still part of a social unit of adventurers.  The witch, when she is included, often becomes another type of spellcaster. In the cases of AD&D 2, D&D 3 and D&D 4 she was merely a type of wizard.  Third party books have made strides to cleave the witch class to the historical witch, or at lease the fairy tale witch.  The RPG Quest of the Ancients, despite it's "Heartbreaker" status has done some rather interesting things with witches.

One thing I have done in my own games is to set up a dichotomy of magic. There is the "state" sanctioned magic used by wizards and the "church" sanctioned magic used by clerics.  Casters will fall, mostly, into one of these two realms. It is assumed that the powers in charge of these realms will police their own.  "Witches" are those that fall outside of these realms and their magic is somehow "outlaw" or "other".

Both history books mentioned above make a point of detailing both the religious and secular nature of the witch trials. This can be emulated in many RPGs with the method I also mention, with a secular or state wizard working with the church or spiritual clerics working to stop the "Evil" witches.  I say evil in quotes since an evil cleric, in this case, would still see they have more in common with a good cleric (both worship gods) than a witch.

I have done this to great effect with witches and psychic characters in my games over the years. In fact, witches had become so numerous in my games that I had to redo how psionic characters were dealt with my games just to set up this "other".

For all of it's outward appearances, D&D and games like it are not medieval Europe. The polytheism of most worlds is really at odds with the notion of Feudalism.  This lack of a monotheist faith, and interrelated government, really makes for a lack of a designated "evil enemy" for this church/state to fight against.   If there is no enemy there is no enemy secrets, cults or conspiracies.   In my mind the best enemies of society are the ones that seek to destroy it.
Maybe there is a cabal of evil (unsanctioned) wizards or a cult of warlocks.

For me, witches are the most interesting when they are slightly outside of the norm.  In modern parlance, they can be the terrorists OR (maybe AND) the Social Justice Warriors.

But I have always been fans of the outsiders, the strange and the different.


Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Warlock Lodge: Masters of the Invisible College

Today I want to share one of the Warlock Lodges from my new book The Warlock for Swords & Wizardry.  Also, this is a good topic for this month's RPG Blog Carnival topic Magic and The Occult, hosted by Sea of Stars RPG.

Warlock Lodges
The Lodge is a secret order that often only admits a few Warlocks at a time. Each Lodge has their methods of instruction for their potential Warlock, and these are a closely guarded secret. While a Witch may leave the lands where she learned her tradition from her sisters, Warlocks join a Lodge for life. The Lodge is also the physical meeting place, sanctuary, and library of the Warlock.

Masters of the Invisible College
This esoteric lodge believes they are the foundation for all arcane study, not just Warlocks, but Wizards and Witches as well. Their vaulted halls contain the wisdom of the ages and spells never before seen. Only those of the highest intelligence may be admitted and then a rigorous training program must begin. Only when the Warlock has proven himself (10th level) will he be allowed access to the Deeper Mysteries and Hidden Knowledge of the Akashic Records. The location of this great store of knowledge is one of the best-kept secrets in the world.
Warlocks of this Lodge believe that nothing is more important than the arcane pursuits. This lodge is unique among lodges in that it actively recruits warlocks, witches, magic-users and clerics of gods of magic and knowledge to join their ranks for the pursuit of arcane knowledge.   Members of this lodge agree to put aside personal differences in terms of patrons, alignments, and racial differences so that they gain greater insight to magic. Masters of the Invisible College are the foremost expert on identifying magic items and researching spells. Prospective members must bring a new magic item to the lodge for study. The item need not be powerful, indeed, low power but unique items are more sought after. Items with history or created by famous spellcasters are also sought after.
The Lodge does not reveal what they do with these items outside of study.

While the Masters of the Invisible College has the overt makings of a Grand Lodge or a Grand Coven (a grouping of both Witches and Warlocks), it is actually neither.
Witches most likely to join the Secret Masters will belong to the Aquarian Tradition (from the Witch).  Wizards and Alchemists are also likely to join.

Witches in this Lodge will treat it as their Coven.  They can learn Magic-User spells of the appropriate level to replace their Ritual Spells much like a Hedge Witch or Witches of the Aiséiligh Tradition.   Such spells could also be unique or rare to the game world.  (I suggest something like +Dyson LogosMagical Theorems & Dark Pacts to add more spells.)

Joining the College
Potential entrants are brought in at 1st level.  They must have Intelligence scores of 16 or better and bring in one new magic item.  Entry must be done before 2nd level.  Often the College seeks out gifted individuals and waives the normal entry fees (1000 gp).  All Probationers are required to have a Sponsor who will eventually become their Mentor.  Entry is decided by the Deans of the College.

GM's are encouraged to make Lodges that fit their own game world.

Pick up a copy of the Warlock for Swords & Wizardry.


Monday, January 30, 2017

Witch & Witchcraft Reading Challenge: Promises, Promises & RPG Blog Carnival

"You know, going on adventures sound great. Until you actually do it." Drusilla, dispossessed princess of an oppressed people.

Promises, Promises is one of those books that people have been telling me I need to read for years. It features witches, oracles, a Red Sonja-like warrior woman, and, as the cover proclaims, plenty of dykes.

But more importantly, it is a fun story with some great and memorial characters.  This is L-J Baker's first foray into comedy and it's a ton of fun.
In the pages of this book she lampoons and satirizes: Star Wars, Dune, Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever, Princess Bride, Shrek, the Valdemar Books, Lord of the Rings, the Hobbit, Eragon, Narnia, every fairy tale, Buffy, Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy (many times), Harry Potter, Monte Python and the Holy Grail, Conan, and of course lots, and lots of D&D.

Not all her jokes hit the mark, but there are so many you don't really care.  This is not, as others have claimed. a Xanth-like novel, but the comparison is a fair one.

I honestly believe that L-J Baker had to have been (or still is) a gamer.  The references are too well done and actually too lovingly well done to be anything else other than admiration.    Yes she is poking fun at some long-held tropes but in such a way as only someone who has loved these tropes can.

If you love stories of adventures or games of them, then I would suggest getting this for those reasons alone. It points out some of the most ridiculous situations adventurers often find themselves in, but again does it in such a way as never to ridicule, but have light fun.  The lack of proper hair care products, insect repellant, steady wages and sleeping accommodations are only the tip of the iceberg. You quickly learn that every adventuring company needs a "Ruth".

A couple of nitpicks. Sometimes the book tries to be too clever. Especially when talking about anachronistic details like flushable toilets and advanced cartography. BUT even these are meant to poke fun at modern biases you see in many fantasy books, especially ones based on game worlds.
Also, I picked up the audio-book for this and the narrator really has an odd way of pronouncing some of the words. Not sure what was going on here, but I cringed every time she would say "talons". Other words she just didn't know how to pronounce. I picked up the Kindle version too just to make sure I was not mishearing something.

All in all, though the book was extremely fun and enjoyable. There is a good story here and even a message about not having to go out to seek something that you already have.
It's no spoiler that there is a Happily-Ever-After (it's on the cover) but like all adventures, most of the fun is getting there anyway.

Thank you my internet minions for suggesting this book to me! Now go forth and find me more!
(Or...if I take the lesson from this tale, I should just go over to my tower of "To Be Read" and tackle that.)

2017 Witches & Witchcraft Reading Challenge
2017 Witch & Witchcraft Reading Challenge
Books Read so far: 4
Level: Initiate
Witches in this book: Miss Sandra Sybil Blunt, first rate wooer of women, but only a third rate witch.
Are they Good Witches or Bad Witches: Sandy is good. She doesn't always know that.
Best RPG to Emulate it: So easy. This book SCREAMS "Play me in Pathfinder!"
Use in WotWQ: Given all the cameos of so many fantasy characters in this book Sandy, Ruth, Dru, Mavis and Bob will have to make a guest appearance in my adventures someday.  Dru will have to say something appropriately anachronistic.


The Problem With Oracles
Consequently, this book also ties in nicely with this month's RPG Blog Carnival, Prophecies & Omens.  It really illustrates how and why Oracles, Omens, and Prophecies are such a pain in the ass (and often very fun to use).
In "Promises, Promises" we get two oracles of a sort.  The first is "The Infallible Oracle of Ring" that has stated that Drusilla, dispossessed princess of an oppressed people, will go on many adventures with the Great Obtuse Mage, and survive to get her kingdom back.  This is great since it gives Dru plenty of motivation to go on this otherwise ridiculous adventure, sadly everyone else thinks she is insane.

The second oracle is the previously mentioned Obtuse Mage, also known as Sandy Blunt herself.
She is the one that gets everyone in trouble.  She tries to hit on a princess in disguise (another princess) and commits the capital offense of Prophesizing to one of Royal Blood.  She has a year and day to make all her alcohol and lust-fueled boasts come true.

"Promises, Promises" plays on the setup of prophecies in fantasy fiction quite well.  Several others are mentioned such as various farm-boy turned chosen ones (read Star Wars, Dune, Eragon and Harry Potter).  Dru will often throw herself right into danger because of the Infallible Oracle of Ring.

While fun for a book, even a book based more or less on RPGs, it is a bit harder to pull this off for RPGs in play.  So if I was the DM and I had a party that included a witch, a princess, a warrior woman, a clueless paladin, an ogre druid and a highly resourceful shop girl (first I guess I'd question what the hell was I playing) I would not let my princess jump feet first into the deepest part of the ocean because the Oracle said she would get her crown back.

Prophecies have to be vague, Omens have to be hard to read.  The Prophecy in Harry Potter, for example, was vague enough to mean Harry or Neville.  Or in the case of Anakin his "bringing balance back to the force" meant killing every Jedi until there were only two Jedi and two Sith left.

In my own games, I had set up a situation where a child was going to be born who would essentially become the "Messiah of Witches".  This was during my "Willow & Tara" game in Season 2, "Season of the Witch".  Season 3, "Generation Hex", would fast forward a bit (the child was born in 2005) to deal with the children born then in high school now.  One of those characters was going to be this new power in the world.  I didn't know who yet, I wanted to keep that much vague even from me, but I knew it was going to be one of them.
What I could not foresee (though it should have been obvious) was my Season 2 taking forever, so much that the game's future became the real-world's past and Season 3 never getting started.

Who was going to be the new Witch Messiah? No one knows now.

So here is my advice for Prophecies and Omens in your games:

1. Keep them Vague
Just like the prophecies of Nostradamus are ret-conned to mean or justify anything today, keep your's vague so they might mean anything at all.

2. Have the Players Give them Meaning
Let your player decide what the prophecies mean for their characters.  Along with being vauge, this gives you an "out". Plus they might come up with something much more interesting than you did and they will find ways to make it come true.

3. Use them Sparingly
Omens, Prophecies and the like have more punch when they are a rare thing. No considers the weather app on your smart-phone to be magical, but it has a far better success rate than what Nostradamus has said.   Part of that reason is well, science, but also I can get a weather report anytime I want one. Back in the early days of the internet (the 80s) I was dumbfounded when I logged in and could get a real-time weather map. Why? Because it was rare and new.

Prophecies can be a lot of fun. Or like for the poor Obtuse Mage and 3rd rate witch Sany Blunt, they can be a real pain in the ass!



Thursday, June 23, 2016

Teela Silvermoon, Faerie Witch

While working on my Faerie Witch post (and truthfully working on some ideas for "War of the Witch Queens") I went back to my archives.

One of my favorite witch books is from the Mayfair Games "Role Aids" book Witches.

I thought it might be fun to try to "update" one of the sample NPC to my Basic Witch book.  For this I want to choose "Teela Silvermoon" since she is also a Faerie Tradition witch.

The first issue off the bat is that my Witch book is for Basic-era games and it assumes that all witches are human.  There is an "Advanced" appendix to allow demi-human races so I am going to have to go with that.

Now I have used Teela before in my games. Not often, but enough to have at least some more backstory.  In my games she is mostly the same save that she is also in love with a human ranger that patrols her woods.  She loves him, but is sad because she knows that she will out-live him.
I also have a druid circle nearby that she interacts with.

Like all elven witches Teela believes that witchcraft was created by the elves. She has no tolerance for those who despoil her woods and less so for the ones that use magic to do it.

As with other builds I swapped her Intelligence and Charisma.

Teela Silvermoon
Elf Female, Chaotic Neutral
13th level Witch, Faerie Tradition

Strength: 11
Dexterity: 13
Constitution: 13
Intelligence: 14
Wisdom: 10
Charisma: 15

BG:Vidaniel by Smilika
Saves
Death Ray or Poison:  9/7
Magic wand or devices: 10
Paralysis, Polymorph or Turn to Stone: 9
Dragon Breath: 12
Rods, Staffs and Spells: 11

To hit AC 0: 16 (15 with dagger)
Hit Points: 30
AC: 10

Occult Powers
Familiar:  Hawk ("Farseer") (Improved vision)
7th level:  Speak to Plants and Animals
13th level: Fey Shape

Spells 
Cantrips: Alarm Ward, Chill, Daze, Detect Curse, Object Reading
First: Analgesia, Cause Fear, Sleep, Silver Tongue
Second: Broca's Curse of Babel, Enthrall, Invisibility, Phantasmal Spirit, Mind Obscure
Third: Aphasia, Locate Thief, Lethe's Curse
Fourth: Charm Monster, Polymorph, Spiritual Dagger
Fifth: Dream, Greater Command
Sixth: Mislead, Moonbow
Seventh:  Widdershins Dance

Items
Cloak and Boots of Elvenkind, Dagger +1,

Looks good to me! Can't wait to bring her back into my games.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Class Struggles: The Faerie Witch

Still celebrating Mid-summer and all things faerie this week.  What better than to talk about the faerie witch for this weeks' Class Struggles.

The faerie witch is one of the easiest witches to use in a game because they most often fit the stereotype of the lone witch living in the woods.  It is a pervasive and well-established archetype of the witch.

The earliest witch classes did not split the class into traditions or covens, that is something that came later on, so it is hard to judge the merits of those classes as a faerie witch.  Certainly the Compleat Spellcaster Witch and the Dragon magazine witches had spells that would have made it possible to make a faerie witch, they were not overtly so.

I suppose I should really define what I mean by a faerie witch before I move on.  These are witches that are typically solitary, typically live in the woods alone, converse with various natural and supernatural animals.  They have practices that are similar to the druid, but certainly a reverence for nature. Often above and beyond their reverence for mortal lives.  They don't all have to be faerie-blooded or even elven, but sometimes they are.   The faerie witch also covers various hags and other witch-like creatures found living in natural environments.  To give you an idea of what I consider to be faeries witches here is a list of the characters I have built using the faerie witch tradition for various games:
The faerie witch was one of the first "Traditions" I ever wrote for the witch class along with the "Craft of the Wise", "Malefic" and "Tempenstarii" witches.  If you want a rough idea of what I was doing have a look at my Castles & Crusades version of the witch that included the faerie tradition.

So where did this come from?
There is a real-life witchcraft tradition known as "Fairy Wicca", but it would be a lie to say that is where this all came from for me.  Sure I read up on it a lot later on, but it wasn't what I was looking for.   This also me to the "Feri Tradition" as well. Looking back over my own notes over the last few days I can't tell where it came from originally except that I have a note on the back of a print out from my school's mainframe and the date on it is 1989.  The note just lists the Craft of the Wise, Faerie, Malefic and Tempenstarii traditions. Later, in a different color ink, I added Amazon, Veneficia and Voodoo.  But I know where those came from and that puts it closer to 1992.  On a side note it was interesting to delve into these paper archives. I could see the progression of technology as I flipped the pages. Mainframe printouts on white and green paper, my Tandy printer, moving on to a color Panasonic dot-matrix printer and then to the first HP Ink-jet that was the version complete version of my witch class.

Mayfair Witches
Around the same time, Mayfair rolled out it's Witches book by Nigel D. Findley for the Role-Aids line. This book was great and because of that I avoided it for years! It was published in 1990 and I saw it was doing something similar to me so I put it down.  I was deep into writing then and did not want to have my own class influenced.  I really didn't need to worry.  The "traditions" (which is a common word used to describe different kinds of witches) in this book were set up very differently than what I did.  In fact the relationship they had was more like Class and Sub-classes of the D&D 2nd edition type.  Mine had different powers, this one had different spells.  The spells really make it though and something I would like to try doing sometime.
The Mayfiar Faerie Witches (not to be confused with these witches) were more of a guardian of the forrests and friend to animals type.  Strong and fierce.  They were more Angelina Jolie "Maleficent" than the original Disney one.

The Witch & Eldritch Witchery
My faerie witch appeared in my 2nd edition and 3rd edition netbooks.  Their newest incarnations can be found in my "old school" books The Witch and Eldritch Witchery.  It is notable here because it is one of the very few traditions to appear in both books.  These witches have what I consider to be typical powers; summon familiars, talk to animals, lay devastating curses...you know the normal.  But also something that I have added to other versions in the past, assume a fey shape.  For evil faerie witches this would be a hag shape.  I have even toyed with the idea that hags might not be a separate race at all, but rather transformed witches.

ACKS
The witches in Adventurer Conqueror King System's Player's Companion also are divided by tradition and features a "Fairy Tradition" known as a "Sylvan Witch". This tradition (and all the ACKS Witch traditions) have a collection of bonus spells and powers.  I rather like these to be honest. It makes for an interesting middle point between my witches and the Mayfair witches.

D&D 4
Dungeons & Dragons 4th edition actually had two pretty good "faerie" witches; the fey-pact Warlock introduced in the Player's Handbook and the witch sub-class in Heroes of the Feywild.  The fey-pact warlock certainly represents the dealing with the powers of the fae in a darker, more sinister way.  The witch of Heroes of the Feywild is really more of "Sub-class" of the wizard (something similar to 2nd ed with the witch kit) with a lot of powers and spells that give the witch flavor.

On one level I didn't like this since the witch isn't really a type of wizard.  But in reading it I can get past it since the witch is only a type of wizard "mechanically", she uses the same rules as a wizard and thus all the same powers, feats, magic items, Paragon Paths and Epic Destinies the wizard can use.  In this respect it makes her more like what I have done in the past where wizards and witches are both a type of "magic-user".   It gives the witch a lot of power to choose from.

The witch has two builds or covens she can choose from, a Full Moon Coven and a Dark Moon Coven, or if you prefer a good witch and a bad witch.  The covens have some powers associated with them, but the witch is still free to choose powers as she sees fit.
Only Paragon Path is given, the Legendary Witch, and it focuses on the two covens.  It lacks any strong thematic element, but this is a complaint I have had of the Paragon Paths of the post-Essentials line.
The Epic Destiny, the Witch Queen, though is quite good.  I had done something similar as a Prestige Class for 3.5.  This one is different but there are some interesting powers and effects.

What sets this witch apart from another Wizard or a Warlock are her spells and powers.  The witch relies on her familiar to learn magic.  Something I have seen more and more of late in FRPG versions of the witch. Her magic has a distinct feel to it different than that of the warlock, even if there seems to be some overlap.  Witches do get a minor healing power from the Full Moon Coven, and her magics in general are more subtle. She does not for example have a fireball like spell, but she can change monsters into other animals and they take damage for it.  Heavy on the charms and transformations.  Lots of powers with the Psychic key-word.  Some are similar in theme to the Warlock; Horde of Puckish Sprites is not too different, save in level than Pixie War Band.

There is something of an iconic character here in the witch Rowena (pictured above).  I'd like to find out more about her and maybe stat her up.

D&D 5
D&D 5 does not have a Faerie Witch or even a witch per se.  It does have a Warlock that takes the best properties of the 3.5 and 4e warlocks and makes something that I can use.  The warlock does have a Fae patron which has a lot of flavor to it.  A Fae-Warlock taking the Pact of the Tome makes for a pretty good witch-like character for me to be honest.  In fact, that is the character I am playing now in my D&D5 game and it is very witch-like in play.

I am sure there are others out there.  The archetype is just too pervasive not to be.

Hope you are enjoying this Mid-Summer and Full Moon.  Very witchy that.


Monday, June 20, 2016

Midsummer Monstrous Monday: Fire Nymph

Today is the first day of summer, also known as Midsummer.

I know I was planning to do a review today, but a few things conspired against me. Work is really busy, plus today is midsummer and the RPG Blog Carnival this month is about faeries and the faerie realm. Also, my game over the weekend dealt with the disappearance of a character. This character's backstory is tied to today's monster.

Back in the early d20 days the Tome of Horrors hit the shelves and it had a number of old monsters updated for the then 3.0 d20 system and a few new ones as well.  The Fire Nymph was one of those new ones, but also struck me as something that should have been created earlier. Nymphs are fae creatures that also have elemental properties. Plus we have water nymphs, tree nymphs, air nymphs, earth nymphs, fire seemed to be the only one missing.

Since then the Tome of Horrors has been updated, converted to Pathfinder (and here) and to Swords & Wizardry.

What we don't have yet is a 5th edition version.

Fire Nymph

This creature appears as a very attractive and beautiful female with long, flowing fiery-red hair. Her eyes are pale blue and her skin is lightly colored with a cinnamon hint to it.

A fire nymph is a very beautiful creature that dwells on the Plane of Fire. It is akin to the nymph and dryad, though its origins obviously lie elsewhere. Fire nymphs rarely visit the Material Plane, though mages are known to request their company on occasion. A fire nymph is most easily summoned on Midsummers' Eve where they can walk about and interact with mortals and other fey. A fire nymph usually wears translucent robes of white or ash.

Summoning a fire nymph is relatively easy, but not without dangers.  The nymphs' passionate nature causes her to move from one emotional extreme to the next very quickly. When a fire nymph is angry her hair will burst into flames.

Also due to their passionate nature there are many gifted pyromancers that claim to be the offspring of a wizard and a fire nymph.

Fire Nyphs are also known as Pyroeads in some arcane circles.
--
Still working on creating 5e monsters.

Happy Midsummer!

Don't forget to include the hashtag #MonsterMonday on Twitter or #MonsterMonday on Google+ when you post your own monsters!

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, May 16, 2013

Campaigns I'd Like to Run: RPG Blog Carnival for May

I am participating in my very first RPG Blog Carnival.  The topic this month is Campaigns I'd Like to Run, and is being hosted by Lowell Francis over at Age of Ravens.

In truth there is a lot I'd love to run.  But there are some that stick out.

Black Rose
Black Rose is my Ravenloft/Blue Rose mash-up.  I detailed it in a series of posts back in the early days of this blog.  Black Rose takes place in the same world as Blue Rose, but only after it had been pulled into Ravenloft.  I am using more of the 2nd Ed and 3.x versions of Ravenloft, not the 4e revisions. I played the hell out of Ravenloft during the 2nd Ed era.  I loved it, but there were things about it that I wanted to do that didn't quite mesh with the "kill things and take their stuff" mentality of AD&D.  The True20 system, while it still has the same roots, can go a little bit beyond that.  True20 is also quite good for doing horror as I discovered.

Generation HEX/Ordinary World
Both of these campaigns would be in the same world and preferably use the same system(s).  Both come out of my enjoyment of modern supernatural books and TV shows.
GenerationHEX is a game focused on kids in a magical school.  Somewhat like Smallville meets Harry Potter.
Ordinary World is a game about supernatural types trying to live in a world full of humans.  sort like Being Human, but also a bit like Charmed.
Unisystem seems like the logical choice here, but I also considered using a different system each time to get a real feel for the characters.  This would be character focused, not plot focus.
Given the character focus of these games I also wanted to try something different.  I wanted to use a different system for the different eras in the character's life.  So Little Fears for when they are all children, Witch Girls Adventures or Monsterhearts for high school, and then Unisystem or World of Darkness for adulthood.  I would sprinkle in other systems for one shots as needed, like ChillCall of Cthulhu or Mutants and Masterminds.
This is something I tried with Season of the Witch and I liked it.

Greyhawk 3000
This one is D&D in SPAAAAAACE!  I'd mix up D&D 3.x and Star Wars with ideas from Gamma world, Star Frontiers, Planescape and Spelljamer.  Have all the D&D worlds as planets and the planes as something like solar systems.  I'd also use some ideas from Starships & Spacemen and some other games.  A bit of Traveler too cause I like that.
I do want to use the D&D mythology, just advance it to something like Star Trek Next Gen level tech.  I think it would be a blast to be honest.

Those are the ones I'd love to do that I don't see me doing anytime soon.  Have too many games going now.

One though I am very likely to run is my Celtic-theme Fantasy Game.

Éire
This game has gone through a lot of changes over the years. Unisystem, True20, Spellcraft & Swordplay.  I think with the release of the Codex Celtarum I might start adapting it to Castles & Crusades.  This is one I would really like to play and am working on getting it done sometime soon.  While I'd love to play this one with my kids, I would also enjoy a more mature approach.  Not "Adult" per se, but a group that appreciates Irish myth and willing to play in a world like that.

These are the campaigns I'd like to run.
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