Showing posts with label Skylla. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Skylla. Show all posts

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Skylla: The Arcanum

The Arcanum was always one of "those books".  You know what I mean. The ones where you tried to convince your non-D&D playing friends that D&D was not evil and then they point to the black book with the red pentagram on it.  Ah well.

The Arcanum is the follow up to one of my favorite series of books, The Compleat Spellcaster, Compleat Alchemist and Compleat Adventurer.  I have discussed my love of the Compleat Spellcaster many times in the past.

Of course the class I enjoyed the most was the Witch.

All the spellcasting classes were interesting since they could choose from different lists of spells.  So there was Elementalism, Black Magic, Mysticism, and Sorcery for example.    Witches could choose Elemental and Enchantment is they are good or Elemental and Black Magic if evil.
I liked that it made for some really unique spellcasters.

Great to try on Skylla.
Since the Arcanum was a supplement, what better core rules than some D&D Rules Cyclopedia.

Skylla, 7th Level Witch
Chaotic Evil

Skylla by Neothera
Strength: 9
Dexterity: 11
Constitution: 10
Intelligence: 14
Wisdom: 13
Charisma: 12

Breath Weapon: 14
Poison & Deathray 11
Paralysis & Turn to Stone: 11
Magic Wands: 12
Rod, Staff, Spells: 12

Hit Points:  25
AC: 4 (Ring of Protection AC 4)

1st level: Weapon (Dagger), Herb Lore, Herbal Remedies
3rd level: Herbal Elixers
5th level: Venoms and Poisons, Philtres
7th level: Potions

1st level: Arcane Bolt, Curse, Detect Magic,
2nd level: Control, Pain
3rd level: Malediction, Summon Lesser Semon
4th level: Ring of Fire

So a very different selection of spells.  A bit different than the ones from the Compleat Spellcaster.
I would want to play with some different witch types in this to get a feel for all the black magic spells.
This Skylla, while she has some skills, is overall less powerful than others.

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.

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%

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.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

More Hero Forge Minis, Part 2

About a month ago I posted pictures of my new +Hero Forge Minis.   Since then I got in contact with +Epic Die Studio and they were looking forward to painting some Hero Forge minis. Plus they were nearby, so it looked like it was going to be good match.

I was wrong.

It was a GREAT match!

Here are the unpainted minis:

And here they are again after Epic Die Studio did his magic.

Love the design on the shield.  Great for a warrior of Bahamut


Taryn and Mojo

If you live in the Chicago area they are totally worth checking out.
I am beyond pleased with these.  Can't wait to do some more.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Retro Revival Blog Challenge Week 3: Toys

Today I am joining the Retro Revival Blog Challenge.  Seem like a good fit, they talk about a lot of 80s and so do I.  This is Week 3 and the first one I wanted to chat about.

This week's topic is on Toys.  Now the original post was about favorite toys. But instead, I want to talk about the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons toy line from LJN.

I was never a big collector of these, to be honest.  I had a few figures that I thought were cool, Kalek for example, but that was about it.  My brother had collected some and I bought some myself, but always said they were part of his collection.  I was 13-15 at the time and was not into buying toys anymore.

So a few years back I got the whole collection given back to me by my brother with bits my youngest brother added to it.  I remember buying the Ogre and the Umber Hulk.  The others were new to me.

You can see all I have left of Kalek is his spellbook.  Maybe I'll put that in my witch figure display in my game room.  I really like the ogre and the hook horror.  That hook horror looks like he walked out of my Fiend Folio and I still prefer this look to the "revised" one we get today.

Of course what my son was most psyched about is the Tiamat figure.  She does not have her wings anymore, but he quickly said "she is the god of dragons, she can fly without wings if she wanted to".  Plus he has been coveting my aspect of Tiamat D&D mini for a very long time.  So this is a nice little prize for him.

When I first got these from my brother I thought I would not use them in my games, but recently I have used the Ogre as a proto-Orcus demon and the Troll as Vaprak the Destroyer.

In the adventure, the boys were transported back to the Dawn War where He Who Was was killed by The Destroyer (who will become Demogorgon) and Dis, the god that dies and then becomes the demon Orcus.

I am not sure if finding the other toys in this line is something I want to pursue.  It would not be easy and it would not be cheap.  I hit plenty of swap meets, flea markets, and second-hand-stores though that when I find one, I pick one up.

Of course, no discussion of these toys is complete without mentioning Skylla.
I have taken my obsession with this character to, well, my typical levels of obsession.

She is the evil magic-user/with from the LJN Advanced Dungeons & Dragons toyline and Basic/Expert modules. So there is a lot of reason for me to like her.  So I made witch stats for her for every game I currently play.

I even made a Hero Forge mini of her to use in my games now (more on that tomorrow).

There you have it!  There is a great listing and discussion of all these toys at The Toy Archive.

Check out the other posting this week at Retro Revival.

Friday, January 1, 2016

Skylla: Compleat Spell Caster

The Compleat Spellcaster

Recently +Eric Fabiaschi over at Swords & Stitchery did a retro-review of the old Bard Games "The Compleat Spellcaster".   A book I have enjoyed for a number of years. A book that I will freely admit got me interested in doing my own witch class back in the day.  I played a witch using these rules rather briefly, but soon switched over to my own version.   Eric points out that the book is rich in ideas and magic.  What I personally liked were the spells and the variety of demons.  I still use Astorath, Shax and empusa demons.  

Eric did a fine review, so no need for me to go over the same ground.  Instead I want to see what sort of witch I can make with it.

In this book witches are a sub-class of the druid. Likewise necromancers and mystics are subclasses of the cleric.  I rather like this to be honest, I like that wisdom is the primary stat for the witch.

Skylla, 7th Level Witch
Chaotic Evil

Strength: 9
Dexterity: 11
Constitution: 10
Intelligence: 12
Wisdom: 14
Charisma: 13

Breath Weapon: 13
Poison & Death: 7
Petrify: 10
Wands: 11
Spells: 12

Hit Points:  25
AC: 4 (Ring of Protection AC 4)
Familiar: Imp (looks like a small dragon)

1st level: Detect Magic, Disguise, Eldritch Fire, Hex, Object Reading, Summon Familiar
2nd level: Circle of Darkness, Frost, Levitate, Youth
3rd level: Dispell Magic, E.S.P., Locate Object
4th level: Invisibility, Thunderbolt

There are a lot of great spells for the witch.  There some powers that the witch gains including some alchemy and gathering followers.  I think this is good version of Skylla, though the lack of 8th and 9th level spells reduces the overall power of the class.

In the end I will repeat what Eric said, "...the Complete Spell Caster has a lot to offer if a DM thinks outside the usual boxes."

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Class Struggles: The Occultist & Skylla

Fantastic Heroes & Witchery has crazy number of classes. There were  so many to choose from and this is even given the fact that there is no "cleric" class to speak of.    I wanted to address this and talk about the Wiseman/Wisewoman and maybe I still will, later down the road.  But today I want to focus on the Occultist.

The Occultist is a magic-using character that ends up having a lot of dealings with various fiendish creatures.  The class is one of the "Weird Tales" era classes presented in the book, but there is no reason it could not be used with other dungeon crawling types of classes.  It is not the strongest character on the block and it's spell selection and use is a little limited, but it has some nice features.

To begin with the Occultist will be the undeniable expert on anything fiendish.  Demons, Devils, whatever your world has, they will know about it.  They can add their level to any skill check involving demonic/fiendish lore.  This applies to any skill. The example given are survival checks when crossing a hellish-plane or a charisma check when dealing with demons.  Not too shabby really.
At third level then even get secret knowledge of the demon slayers to aid them.
As the occultist gets higher levels they can even banish a demonic creature al together. Much like a cleric turning undead.

But all of this comes at a price.  The occultist is tainted by corruption.   The abyss staring back at you.
As they earn higher levels they have to make a Wisdom save vs. corruption or move closer and closer to chaos.  A nice idea really.

Occultists learn spells from books or other occultists.  But unlike wizards they do not have a number of spells per level they know, but rather a total number of spells and the highest level they can learn.  So a 7th level Occultist knows 7 spells and the maximum spell level of 4th.  Of those seven spells all can be 1st level or some other mix. It depends what the occultist can find in their travels.
Personally I would modify that up based on Intelligence, but that is me. The Occultist uses "Black Magic" spells, but I wonder if starting occultists could get away with using Grey magic too.  At least until they fail more saves and become chaotic.

In many ways this spell casting system is the same as what you see in the Witch from The Complete B/X Adventurer.  There are in fact many similarities in tone and the manner in which they get spells.  I can see some overlap in these classes.

Which gives me an idea.

Skylla, 7th Level Occultist

Strength: 9
Dexterity: 11
Constitution: 10
Intelligence: 12
Wisdom: 14
Charisma: 13

Hit Points:  20 (d4)
Alignment: Chaotic
AC: 4 (Ring of Protection +1)

Special Abilities
1st: Dark Lore (+7 to fiend-based/related skill checks)
3rd: Secret knowledge of demonslayers
6th: banish fiend 1/day

Maximum Spell Level: 3rd
Number of Spells known: 6
1st Level: Read Magic, Cause Fear, Chill Touch, Find Familar
2nd Level: Black Lightning
3rd Level:  Bestow Curse

Not bad, I only gave her the minimum spells, but she would likely have more secreted away in a tome for later learning.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Skylla: Adventurer Conqueror King & Players Companion

Trying to tie a few loose threads together and I noticed this was missing from my mix.
So here are some purposes this post serves for me.
- I wanted to go back and have another look at Skylla. In particular how this version compares to Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea.
- I wanted to go and have a look at the witch from the Adventurer Conqueror King System and the ACKs Player's Companion.
- I am gathering together some threads for my "Adventure Path" War of the Witch Queens.

When it comes to "Old School" Witch classes.  Adventurer Conqueror King System and Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea tie for second place in my mind.  Both are so close to what I like doing with witches.  There are plenty of great ones out there, but these are closest to how I like to play.

Adventurer Conqueror King System also limits characters in terms of levels.  While AS&SH goes to 12, ACKs tops off at 14.  ACKs is also closer to my favorite version of D&D, Moldvay Basic/Cook-Marsh Expert.  In fact all three systems do work pretty well together.  In fact I tend to think of the world used in ACKs as being just a little "south" of the world in AS&SH.  I have not spent as much time with ACKs as the other games, but what I have played I do like.

Like my witch the ACKs witch can belong to a Tradition.  In truth you could move traditions back and forth between the two with relative ease.  The problem here though is that none of the traditions really seem to fit the "knowledge at all costs" mentality I see Skylla as having.  Chthonic is the closest with Voudon coming in a close second.  In the end the powers and spells the Chthonic witch gets tips it into favor.

ACKs though also has a Warlock class. The warlock as described is a much better fit for Skylla than the witch is.  Since the warlock is an arcane spellcaster and the witch is more divine it also makes more sense to go with the warlock.  The Corrupted Scholar template from the Warlock is also a perfect fit.

Skylla, 7th Level Warlock (ACKS)
Template: Corrupted Scholar

Strength: 9
Dexterity: 11
Constitution: 10
Intelligence: 15
Wisdom: 11
Charisma: 12

Hit Points:  20
Alignment: Chaotic
AC: 4 (Ring of Protection AC 4)

Proficiencies: Alchemy, Loremastery, Knowledge (Occult)

1st level: Familiar (owl)
2nd level: Secrets of the Dark Arts (control Undead as a Chaotic Cleric 3)
4th level: Hex
6th level: Contact Dark Powers
7th level: Scribe Scrolls, Magic Reserach (minor)

First: (2+1) Charm Person, Light, Magic Missile
Second: (2) Detect Invisible, Levitate
Third: (1): Lightning Bolt

Magic Items
Ring of Protection AC 4, Dagger +1

This Skylla has less spells, but what makes her shine here is the same thing that makes ACKS shine and that is the proficiency system.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Castle Amber, Butterbeer and the Order of the Platinum Dragon

Sunday was a humid, rainy day in Chicagoland.  So what better to do than stay inside and play some D&D!

We decided to finish up Castle Amber taking them straight through all the wilderness encounters.  The boys meet Skylla, though true to her rumored appearance in the D&D cartoon she appears as an old woman. They also have no idea that she is evil.

She did help them a bit on where various towns were.  She wanted out of the Averoigne to get back to Glantri.  There is a small problem now, but I will get to that.

The boys decided that the name of their group is The Order of the Platinum Dragon. We celebrated with some homemade butterbeer.

It was quite good, but we could saved time and had the same amount of calories and fat with we had just drank some melted butter with a couple tablespoons of sugar.

The Order managed to dispatch the Beast of Averoigne and The Colossus of Ylourgne. They were able to con and bribe the Ring of Eibon from the Archbishop.  All in all, a really good session.

The Order summoned the Tomb of Stephen Amber and the mists closed in on them.  Normally that is where the adventure ends and they are back in their own world.  Instead when the mists cleared they discovered they are in Barovia.  Well, they don't know that yet, all they know is they are not home yet.

The Sword of Sylarie was not destroyed as per the module. It is half of what will become the Sun Sword.

So up next it is the Order vs. Castle Ravenloft.
Time to grab my copy of Ravenloft and start reading again.  Should not be to bad, I have run this many, many times.

It's going to be a lot of fun!

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Skylla: D&D 4th Edition

For a while now I have wanted to see how the various spellcasters of D&D4th edition would stack up.  In particular the Witch (Wizard) vs. the Warlock.  Also I having just done this with Skylla for D&D 5 I thought it would be good to see how the 4th Ed Witch would work out.

For this conversion I am doing it completely by hand. No character builder what so ever.
My sources are:

I have to admit that these (Feywild and Arcane Power) are two of my most favorite D&D books.  One day I want to run an adventure series, maybe small, set completely in the Feywild or Faerie Lands and use D&D4 for it.  I think it would be fantastic.

In this case however I think I am going to find that the Witch build (based on the Wizard) is going to be closer to what I want.  Though I am willing to be surprised.

In this case since so many of the ability scores are expected to rise I started her slightly lower than her Basic D&D counterpart and raised score by the rules.  She did end up with a greater score in Intelligence.  While getting high for a Basic D&D character this actually puts her on the "low average" side of a D&D4 character.

Skylla, level 7
Human, Wizard (Witch)
Moon Coven Option: Dark Moon Coven
Dark Apprenticeship (+2 to Intimidate)

STR 9 (+2)
CON 10 (+3)
DEX 11 (+3)
INT 17 (+6)
WIS 12 (+4)
CHA 11 (+3)

AC: 16 Fort: 14 Ref: 17 Will: 17
HP: 49 Bloodied: 24 Surges: 6 Surge Value: 12

Arcana +14, Dungeoneering +9, History +11, Insight +9, Intimidate +10, Nature +9

Acrobatics +3, Athletics +2, Bluff +5, Diplomacy +3, Endurance +3, Heal +4, Perception +4, Religion +6, Stealth +5, Streetwise +3, Thievery +3

Basic Attack: Melee Basic Attack, Staff  +2
Basic Attack: Ranged Basic Attack, Dagger (thrown) +3

Chameleon's Mask

Magic Missile
Ray of Frost
Witch Bolt

Dread Presence
Color Spray
Lightning Bolt

Acid Arrow
Bigby's Icy Grasp

Feather Fall
Dimension Door

Arcane Familiar (Dragonling), Action Surge, Toughness, Skill Focus (Arcana), Ritual Caster, Arcane Reserves

Battle Staff +1 x1
Delver's Cloth Armor (Basic Clothing) +1 x1
Cloak of Resistance +1 x1
Cloth Armor (Basic Clothing)
Adventurer's Kit
Staff Implement x1

While going through this I am very sure what the Warlock class would give me.  Skylla is a seeker of knowledge so a pact with a demon or vestige might work, but the spells are rather different.
Still. I could see it working.

This build shows again how powerful the 4e characters are vs other editions.  Skylla here has 14 spells she can use at least once per day, often more.  I have always said that D&D4 characters are about 2-3 levels in power compared to a same "name" level character of other editions.
5e really scales this back.

Compare the stats above to her BECMI, Pathfinder and 5th Edition D&D versions.

I like this witch class, just not sure if it works as well as I want here.

In case I forgot them, here are some more links about Skylla and her proposed appearance in the classic Dungeons & Dragons Cartoon.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Skylla: D&D 5th Edition

Time to revist one of D&D's iconic witches, Skylla.  Since I began this series I have had a few people email with interesting little tidbits of information. Such as how she was supposed to have a larger figure produced (like the likes of Warduke and Kelek).  Most interesting though was how she was supposed to appear in the D&D cartoon.

She appears as an old hag but that is only an illusion to cover her true features; that of a beautiful woman.  Interesting switch there, but she certainly sounds like a witch to me.
It seems even more fitting that I try her out under the latest version of the D&D rules.

I always knew I wanted to try her out under the 5th edition rules and I wanted to wait till I had a better grasp of those rules.

Well now I do; give or take, and I wanted to see how she stacks up.  But 5th edition gives me an interesting choice.  Do I stat her up as a Wizard or as a Warlock?  Both have their advantages.

The Wizard of course is closer to the source stats of Skylla.  The Warlock is really closer to the concept.  I suppose in truth she would have started out as a wizard and her desire for more power lead her on a path towards becoming a warlock.   I investigated both and it was educational.

In both cases I started with her same base stats and made her level 7.  In each case her primary stat was 16 (Int vs. Cha) and reversed for the 11 (Cha vs. Int). Though I mix up Wisdom a bit in there as well.

Skylla's Background

For her Background I chose "Sage" since that deals with finding knowledge. For Skylla knowledge is power.  She was a former Wizard's Apprentice (Ringlerun) now turned to chaos and evil.
Personality Traits: "I am convinced that people are trying to steal my secrets."
Ideals: "Power. Knowledge is the path to power and domination."
Bounds: "I sold my soul for Knowledge."   (seems perfect)
Flaws: "Unlocking an ancient mystery is worth the price of a civilization."

7th Level Wizard, Female, Chaotic Evil

Strength: 9 (-1) [-1]
Dexterity: 11 (0) [0]
Constitution: 10 (0) [0]
Intelligence: 16 (+3) [+6]
Wisdom: 12 (+1) [+4]
Charisma: 11 (0) [0]

Proficiency Bonus: 3
AC: 12 (Cloak of Protection, +2)
Hit Points: 34 (d6)

Acrobatics 0, Animal Handling +1, *Arcana +6, Athletics -1, Deception 0, *History +6, *Insight +4, Intimidation 0, *Investigation +6, Medicine +1, Nature +3, Perception +1, Performance 0, Persuasion 0, Religion +3, Slight of Hand 0, Stealth 0, Survival +1
Common, Elven, Draconic, Abyssal

School of Enchantment

Cantrips: Light, Mage Hand, Poison Spray, Ray of Frost
1st: Charm Person, Detect Magic, Magic Missile, Tenser's Floating Disk
2nd: Knock, Invisible, Levitate
3rd: Hold Person (2nd level spell), Fear, Lightning Bolt
4th: Dimension Door

7th Level Warlock, Female, Chaotic Evil

Strength: 9 (-1) [-1]
Dexterity: 11 (0) [0]
Constitution: 10 (0) [0]
Intelligence: 12 (+1) [+1]
Wisdom: 11 (0) [+3]
Charisma: 16 (+3) [+6]

Proficiency Bonus: 3
AC: 12 (Cloak of Protection, +2)
Hit Points: 38 (d8)

Acrobatics 0, Animal Handling 0, *Arcana +4, Athletics -1, Deception +3, *History +4, Insight 0, *Intimidation +6, *Investigation +4, Medicine 0, Nature +1, Perception 0, Performance +3, Persuasion +3, Religion +1, Slight of Hand 0, Stealth 0, Survival 0
Common, Elven, Draconic, Abyssal

Pact of the Tome
Patron: The Fiend

Book of Ancient Secrets
Armor of Shadows
Agonizing Blast
Mask of Many Faces

Pact Powers
Dark One's Own Blessing
Dark One's Own Luck

Cantrips: Chill Touch, Mage Hand, Eldritch Blast, +Light, +Poison Spray, +Ray of Frost
1st: Burning Hands, Command, Comprehend Languages (Ritual), Detect Magic (Ritual)
2nd: Blindness/Deafness, Scorching Ray
3rd: Fireball, Stinking Cloud
4th: Fire Shield, Wall of Fire

So, I like how the Warlock version plays out in terms various powers and role-playing elements.  In particular I really like her pact.  The wizard though has spells closer to the base version of Skylla.  Also since the wizard's primary stat is Int, her skills are better overall as a wizard.
The Pact of the Tome sorta fixes some of this, she can take some wizard spells as a ritual.

I want to try out a few more warlocks with different pacts to see how they play.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Skylla: The Complete B/X Adventurer

Been a while since my last Skylla post.  Longer than I care to admit really.
But something popped up in my feed in my feed today to make me want to get this particular post done.  Plus it is great for a Halloween post.

+Jonathan Becker over at B/X Blackrazor has been talking about witches, and his The Complete B/X Adventurer witch in particular.  What I like about his witch class is that while it is compatible with Basic Era D&D, it is also very different than my own witch from The Witch.  I have always wondered how well they interacted with each other and how his played.

If you like you can compare this version with my Eldritch Witchery version and +Joseph Bloch's Adventures Dark & Deep version.

Skylla, 7th Level Witch, "Initiate"

Strength: 9
Dexterity: 11
Constitution: 10
Intelligence: 14*
Wisdom: 13*
Charisma: 12

Hit Points:  20 (d4)
Alignment: Chaotic
AC: 4 (Ring of Protection +1)

Special Abilities
1st: Book of Shadows, bind wounds (heal 1d4)
6th: Brew Potions

Maximum Spell Level: 3rd
Number of Spells know: 14
1st Level (4): Charm Person, Detect Magic, Hex, Ugliness,
2nd Level (6): Cause Fear, Disguise, Eldritch Flame, Familiar Spirit, Hold Person, Levitate
3rd Level (4):  Bestow Curse, Hoodoo, Object Read, Wizard Lock

Additional Scribed
4th Level (2): Dispel Magic, Scrying

This witch has a lot of interesting features and a lot of spell potential.  Not only will she end up with a lot of spells, her spells go up to 10th level!

I think I would have liked to see some more special abilities/powers to seperate her more from the Wizard, but this is a really cool class.

Playing with this Witch and my Witch
There is no reason why both witches can't exist in the same game.  After all Jonathan and I both used B/X-style D&D as our starting points.  So these two witches have a lot in common from the word go. While their styles of magic differ I think their overall power remains the same over the 36 levels.
I think a good test will be to take my current iconic Queen of Witches (level 36) and see how she looks under both classes.

I say take both classes, pick one you like the best. Call that one "witch" and the other one "warlock" and you are good to go.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Skylla: Dragon Magazine #114

The first witch class that many people remember the best is the very good Dragon Mag #114 version.
It was the first one I remember seeing and using.  Chances are if you ran into someone playing a witch anytime after 1986 then they were using this class.  Interesting that it was designed as an NPC class.
It was another update to the venerable witch from Dragon Mags #5, #20 and #43.  While issue #43 had a great deal of information, Dragon #114 is known for the art. There was controversial cover and the use of Larry Elmore art as one of the witches.   It was this issue that set the desire in my mind to have Elmore art in one of my books one day.

Like issues #5 and #20, Skylla seems to be a good fit for this witch.  Like those witches the prime abilities for this witch are Intelligence and Wisdom.   Charisma is still important since it determines the witch's starting gold.
The amount of magical powers this witch gets is much less though.  Some the power don't really make a lot of sense, like a find familiar ability at 10th level.
Spells are more inline with the other spell casters.
Like most AD&D spell casters the witch starts out weak, but soon grows to be very powerful.  Maybe too powerful for some games to be honest.

Skylla from Dragon #114
Again I am making her 7th level.  If I had to name a Tradition for her it would absolutely be the High Secret Order Tradition.

Not exactly Skylla, but really close
Skylla, 7th Level Witch "Mystic" (Dragon #114)
Strength: 9
Dexterity: 11
Constitution: 10
Intelligence: 14* (bonus 2 1st level spells)
Wisdom: 13*
Charisma: 12

Hit Points:  20
Alignment: Neutral Evil
AC: 4 (Ring of Protection +1)

1st level: none
2nd level: none
3rd level: Brew poisons & narcotics
4th level: Brew truth drug
5th level: Brew love potion
6th level: Manufacture potions & scrolls
7th level: Candle magic

First: Charm Man I, Darkness, Detect Poison, Give Wounds, Light, Magic Disk, Sleep
Second: Detect Invisiblity, Locate Object, ESP
Third: Calm, Lightning bolt
Fourth: Levitate

Magic Items
Ring of Protection +1, Dagger +1, Staff of Enchantment, Skull of Death**

Of course I am pleased with this build but that is no surprise.   I played a "Dragon 114" witch till she was about 10th level and then rolled up a "Mayfair Witch", but that is a post for another day.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Skylla: Adventures Dark & Deep witch

I had planned on doing a Skylla write-up today, but for a different system.  But given that +Joseph Bloch is running a sale this weekend, I think it would be better to use his witch.

I reviewed his witch a while back and I enjoyed it even if there are couple things I didn't like about it. But it is still a fun class and I have enjoyed it.

So here is Skylla using The Darker Paths 2: The Witch and the Adventures Dark and Deep RPG.

CE Female Human
Witch 7

STR: 9
INT: 11
WIS: 15
DEX: 11
CON: 10
CHA: 12* (initial)/5 current

Saving Throws
Paralyzation, Poison, Death: 7
Petrification, Polymorph: 10
Rod, Staff, Wand: 11
Breath Weapon: 13
Spells: 12
+1 to Magical attack saves

Special Abilities (class)
Spell casting
Create Magic Items
Bell, Book & Candle
Brew Poison
Call Familiar (Quasit)
Charisma degradation
Limited to 13th level
Wisdom Bonus Spells (2 1st, 1 2nd)

Secondary Skills

HP: 13
AC: 6 (Bracers)

1st: Charm Person or Mammal, Detect Magic, Infravision, Protection from Good, Witch Shot, Wither
2nd: Blight Field, Command, Magic Broom, Misfortune, Wizard Lock
3rd: Bestow Curse,  Hand of Glory, Magic Missile
4th: Polymorph Self, Sleep
5th: Season of the Witch

Skylla is a good fit for his style of witch i think. I would have to play more to be sure.  Limiting her to 13th level might the fit the narrative I have for her. She would later go on to take more mage classes.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Skylla: Castles & Crusades Witch

I was looking back at some posts and I realized I have not done a Skylla post since the start of the year.

It also seems like a good idea to do a Castles & Crusades version of her since +Stephen Chenault has the new edition/printing of Castles & Crusades is up on Kickstarter (only 4 more days to go) and so is my new Witch book for Castles & Crusades (less than 2 weeks).

Now unlike the other posts of Skylla, where I take a published witch class and see how close they come to each other, this is a new class. So new in fact that some of the details are likely to change.  Well...not all the details and certainly not the broad ideas.  I might change the Occult Powers a little bit. I put up a prototype version a while back, so I am going to use that one today.

Castles & Crusades gives me a ton of options when making a witch class.  In fact if you look over the classes in the Players Handbook there is certainly a hole in terms of a Charisma based spell caster.  Plus all the classical fantasy archetypes are covered and then some, save for the witch.

Castles & Crusades is too fun of a game not to have a witch.

Not exactly Skylla, but really close
Skylla, 7th Level Witch (C&C)
Race: Human
Malefic Tradition

Strength: 9 (0)
Dexterity: 11 (0)
Constitution: 10 (0)
Intelligence: 12 (0) P
Wisdom: 11 (0) P
Charisma: 15 (+1) P

Hit Points:  20
Alignment: Chaotic Evil
AC:  (Ring of Protection +1)
BtH: +2

Familiar: Pseudo Dragon
Herb Use
Ritual Magic
Occult Power (7th level): Evil’s Touch

Cantrips: (5) Alarm Ward, Chill, Daze, Ghost Sound,
First: (3+1) Charm Person, Detect Invisible, Light, Sleep
Second: (2) Evil Eye, Locate Object,
Third: (2) Bestow Curse, Witch Wail
Fourth: (1) Phantom Lacerations

Magic Items
Ring of Protection +1, Dagger +1, Broom

Makes me want to drop everything and finish up my Castles & Crusades version of the Witch!

Monday, January 27, 2014

Hex and Skylla's Magic School Reunion

I am still enjoying the release of the Glantri Gazeteer on  One of the really fun things for me was of course the Magic School.  Loved the idea of a huge magical university, esp since I had gone off to University at that point myself.

The Seven Secret Crafts of the magic school also grabbed my attention.  They were Alchemy, Dracology, Elementalism, Illusion, Necromancy, Cyrptomancy and Witchcraft.  No surprise it got my notice.

I always wanted to try these out in a game, but by the time I had purchased this book I was moving on 2nd ed and gaming and grad school didn't mix so well.

With this new release I thought I would come back to it!  And I have two perfect characters to try out, Skylla and Hex.  

So former BFFs and now Frenemies have come back to Glantri's Magic School on their 10th year reunion. Wacky hijinks ensue. Yes. You D&D game is not complete if you can't have at least one Wacky Hijinks adventure.  To get even crazier why not have Aleena and Morgan Ironwolf there as well. All four could have been living in the apartment when going to their various schools. Sure and Skylla dated Bargle. 
Honestly, the more I think about it the more I like the idea of a "Class Reunion" style adventure.  The PCs come back to celebrate 10 years since they graduated/left home and some local guy gets the idea of disrupting the scene.   That might become my next Gen Con adventure.

This isn't too far out of an idea. The Glantri book itself suggests a "Magic School" game where all the PCs are 12 year old 1st level magic users.

Anyway. I am thinking 10 year since I am keeping Skylla at level 7. I'll use Hex at 7 as well since that would give me a good bit of comparison.  These builds will use the BECMI rules (not my more familiar B/X or Witch rules).

Both characters are basically 7th level Magic-users as per the BECMI Expert Set.

Skylla, 7th Level Magic-User (Witchcraft)
Strength: 9
Dexterity: 11
Constitution: 10
Intelligence: 15*
Wisdom: 12
Charisma: 8 (down from 11)

Hit Points:  25
Alignment: Chaotic
AC: 3 (Ring of Protection +1)

Witchcraft Circle Powers
First Circle: Brews and Philters, Silver Tongue
Second Circle: Doll Curse, Witch's Charm

First: Charm Person, Light, Read Magic
Second: Knock, Levitate
Third: Hold Person,  Lightning Bolt
Fourth: Dimension Door

Magic Items
Ring of Protection +1, Dagger +1, Staff of Enchantment, demon helm (+1 saves vs. demons and charming magic, +1 AC)

Hex, 7th Level Magic-User (Necromancy)
Strength: 10
Dexterity: 9
Constitution: 10
Intelligence: 18
Wisdom: 13
Charisma: 15

Hit Points: 30
Alignment: Neutral (maybe a little Chaotic)
AC: 6 (talisman of protection)

Necromancy Circle Powers
1st Circle: Protection from Undead
2nd Circle:

First: Dark, Shield, Sleep
Second: Levitate, Phantasmal Force
Third: Fly, Hold Person
Fourth: Ice Wall

Magic Items
Talisman of Protection (AC 6)

Not bad builds. There must be something to this CHA reduction; I have seen it too many times now.  I am not a fan of it, especially in older D&D, but I guess people like how it works.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Skylla: Pathfinder Witch

I have been playing around more with Pathfinder and the witch class from the Advanced Player's Guide.
So the Pathfinder witch has come up here before,
Now I have some more hours playing a Pathfinder witch logged I feel like I am getting a better feel for her. So far I do like the class more than I initially did. But there still some things about it that are not particularly "witch-like" to me.  For starters I don't like how covens are handled at all.  And there is no ritual magic to speak of.

There is a lot of things I want to do with the Pathfinder witch. I think there is a lot of potential here. Some things I can live with, others I might need to re-write. Many things I can fix with a suitable skill choice, a feat here or there and some old-fashioned roleplaying.  Case in point here is Skylla as a Pathfinder witch.

Skylla in Pathfinder
The Pathfinder Witch gives Skylla the chance to try out a different repertoire of spells.  Since care was given to make sure there was not a lot of overlap in the Witch and Wizard spells in Pathfinder.  Her Patron gives her access to some "divine" like spells which is a nice touch.  Given her background I thought Deception would be nice, but I could have picked Wisdom as well.
I went with the Hero Lab version to focus on the materials that are just from the Pathfinder books.
Pathfinder also allows me to detail her skills a bit better and give her some background traits.

She stacks up nicely to her other counterparts, though more spells and powers.

Female Human Witch 7
CE Medium humanoid (human)
Init +0; Senses Perception +3


AC 11, touch 11, flat-footed 11 (+1 deflection)
hp 30 (7d6+1)
Fort +2, Ref +2, Will +6


Speed 30 ft.
Melee dagger -6 (1d4-1/19-20/×2) and
   quarterstaff +2 (1d6-1/×2)
Special Attacks hexes (cackle, disguise [7 hours/day], misfortune [dc 15], slumber [dc 15])
Witch Spells Prepared (CL 7th; concentration +9):
4th (1/day)—scrying (DC 16)
3rd (2/day)—tongues, arcane sight
2nd (4/day)—invisibility, detect thoughts (DC 14), levitate, burning gaze
1st (5/day)—inflict light wounds (DC 13), hypnotism (DC 13), chill touch (DC 13), sleep (DC 13), charm person (DC 13)
0 (at will)—daze (DC 12), detect magic, light, read magic


Str 9, Dex 11, Con 10, Int 15, Wis 12, Cha 11
Base Atk +3; CMB +2; CMD 13
Feats Arcane Strike, Brew Potion, Craft Wondrous Item, Deceitful, Spell Penetration
Traits magical talent, scholar of the great beyond
Skills Bluff +3, Diplomacy +1, Disguise +8, Fly +4, Heal +5, Intimidate +8, Knowledge (arcana) +12, Knowledge (nature) +7, Knowledge (planes) +8, Knowledge (religion) +4, Perception +3, Spellcraft +12, Stealth +2, Swim +0, Use Magic Device +4
Languages Abyssal, Common, Elven
SQ patron spells (deception)
Combat Gear Staff of charming; Other Gear Dagger, Quarterstaff, Ring of protection +1, 148 GP

Special Abilities

Arcane Strike As a swift action, add +1 damage, +1 per 5 caster levels and your weapons are treated as magic for the purpose of overcoming damage reduction.
Cackle (Su) As a move action, extend the duration of other hexes by 1 rd.
Deliver Touch Spells Through Familiar (Su) Your familiar can deliver touch spells for you.
Disguise (7 hours/day) (Su) Can change own appearance, as disguise self but with longer duration.
Empathic Link with Familiar (Su) You have an empathic link with your Arcane Familiar.
Familiar Bonus: +3 to Appraise checks You gain the Alertness feat while your familiar is within arm's reach.
Magical Talent (Mage Hand) (1/day) (Sp) Choose one 0-level spell - it becomes a 1/day spell-like ability for you.
Misfortune (1 rd) (DC 15) (Su) Foe in 30 ft must take the lower of 2d20 for rolls (Will neg).
Share Spells with Familiar Can cast spells with a target of "You" on the familiar with a range of touch.
Slumber (7 rds) (DC 15) (Su) Foe in 30 ft falls asleep for duration, or until damaged or roused by ally (Will neg).
Speak with Animals (Ex) Your familiar can communicate with animals similar to itself.
Speak With Familiar (Ex) You can communicate verbally with your familiar.

Female Raven
CE Tiny magical beast (animal)
Init +2; Senses low-light vision; Perception +10


AC 18, touch 14, flat-footed 16 (+2 Dex, +2 size, +4 natural)
hp 15 (1d8-1)
Fort +1, Ref +4, Will +7


Speed 10 ft., fly 40 ft. (average)
Melee bite +7 (1d3-4/×2)
Space 2 ft.; Reach 0 ft.


Str 2, Dex 15, Con 8, Int 9, Wis 15, Cha 7
Base Atk +3; CMB +3; CMD 9
Feats Skill Focus (Perception), Weapon Finesse
Skills Bluff -1, Diplomacy -1, Disguise +4, Fly +10, Heal +3, Intimidate +3, Perception +10, Spellcraft +6, Stealth +15, Swim +6, Use Magic Device -1
Languages Abyssal
SQ improved evasion

Special Abilities

Flight (40 feet, Average) You can fly!
Improved Evasion (Ex) No damage on successful reflex save; half on failed save.
Low-Light Vision See twice as far as a human in low light, distinguishing color and detail.

Hero Lab and the Hero Lab logo are Registered Trademarks of LWD Technology, Inc. Free download at Pathfinder® and associated marks and logos are trademarks of Paizo Publishing, LLC®, and are used under license.

The Hexes are nice, I like how they work not just on paper but in game play too.
This version also forced me to think more about her skills than previous versions.

One thing for sure I am going to need to try out some more Pathfinder witches to get a proper feel of them.

Other Skylla writeups

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Skylla: Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea

My love affair with Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea continues. Please don't tell my other games.

Given that I was thinking about an AS&SH witch yesterday and in light of their sale that it might be a good idea to give Skylla a try.  Also I would like to compare this Skylla to the Dragon Magazine and Eldritch Witchery versions since I think thematically they will be the closest.

In many ways the Witch from AS&SH really captures the concept I have of Skyll very, very well.  Not just in terms of being a witch, but as something half forgotten out of a misty past.  AS&SH Skylla might be the most dangerous one yet.

Skylla in Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea 
As with the other write-ups I am going with 7th level.  I will try to find similar spells, but when the option arises to take a "witchier" spell, I'll take that.

If I had to name a Tradition for her it might be something like a Cthonic or even a Hyperborean one.
Abilities with an asterisk are her prime abilities. In this case, Intelligence and Charisma.

Skylla, 7th Level Witch (AS&SH)
Race: Common (but could be Atlantean or Hyperborean)
Secondary Skill: Scribe

Strength: 9
Dexterity: 11
Constitution: 10
Intelligence: 15*
Wisdom: 11
Charisma: 12*

Casting Ability: 7
Fighting Ability: 3

Hit Points:  20
Alignment: Chaotic Evil
AC: 4 (Ring of Protection +1)

1st level: Brew Potions (x3), Read Magic, Scribe Scroll, Familiar (small demon - raven)
3rd level: Brew Love Philtre
5th level: Dance of Beguilement, Effigy
7th level: Animate Broom

First: Charm Person, Detect Magic, Light, Sleep, Shocking Grasp
Second: Detect Invisibility, Levitate, Locate Object, Ray of Enfeeblement
Third: Phantasm, Witch Fire
Fourth: Shock Wave

Magic Items
Ring of Protection +1, Dagger +1, Broom

More powers and a wider variety of spells. Plus in these rules she gains bonus 1st and 2nd level spells due to her high intelligence.  The powers are most similar to the Dragon #20 witch which is no surprise; we are all pulling from the same sources.  I honestly was not expecting huge differences here.

Looking over the spells and some of the magic items I can see how you can get a whole lot of play out of just 12 levels in this game.

Other Skylla writeups

Friday, November 22, 2013

Skylla: Dragon Magazine #20 (and #5)

The first witch class that many people remember the best is the very good Dragon Mag #114 version.
It was the first one I remember seeing and using.

It was not long though before I discovered that there were other versions. In fact the 114 article mentions this.  I tracked down issue #43 (and 42, it had demons) and spent...well a lot on it.  That's how bad I wanted that issue.  It was worth it in my mind but I know I over paid.

The Witch in Dragon magazine has a nice long history.  The first version appeared as early as issue #5 (March '77).  It was basically an expanded NPC/Monster entry, but it introduced ideas adopted by every other witch class to appear afterwards; differences between good and evil witches, a mixing of clerical and magic-user powers and spells, and the High Secret Order.   I will go into these all in the detail they deserve in this and future posts.

The witch in Dragon #5 is an odd one for another reason. The editors claim that it was sent to them 18 months prior to publication.  So October 75.  There was no Dragon magazine then, just the Strategic Review which began in Spring of 75.  There is also no name on it. The claim is that it was sent to them anonymously.  It is possible I guess, though I also think it is likely that the authorship is known.   It had a number of new spells and magic items, but no advancement tables. This class/npc later appeared in the Best of The Dragon Vol 1.

Right now though I want to concentrate on the witch from Dragon #20 from November 1978.
For starters it is a complete class so that makes it ideal for comparing to my other classes.  It also marks one of the first of the Halloween themed issues.
This class was expanded by Ronald Pehr and based on the witch that appeared in issue #5.  This could also be one of the first examples of power creep in the game.  The witch gets a lot of powers (more so that other versions) and more XP per level than the Magic-user.
This witch gets spells up to 8th level. A split between the cleric's 7th level max and the magic-user's 9th level max.  The same thing I did for the Basic Witch.
The author says that the Witch has the same relationship to Druids as the Magic-User has to Clerics.
Witches in this variant are Neutral, but individuals can be good or evil.  Witches need a 13 in both Intelligence and Wisdom (I adjusted Skylla stats accordingly), they also need to have a minimum Charisma of 9.

Skylla from Dragon #20
Again I am making her 7th level, though 6th would have been just fine really.  If I had to name a Tradition for her it might the High Secret Order or even the Dragon Witch Tradition.

Not exactly Skylla, but really close
Skylla, 7th Level Witch "Enchantress" (Dragon #20)
Strength: 9
Dexterity: 11
Constitution: 10
Intelligence: 14*
Wisdom: 13*
Charisma: 12

Hit Points:  20
Alignment: Neutral Evil
AC: 4 (Ring of Protection +1)

1st level: Brew poisons, narcotics, hallucinogens
2nd level: Make a Bag of Holding
3rd level: Brew Love Potions
4th level: Dance of Seduction
5th level: Add Plus 1 to Charisma
6th level: Brew Truth Drug
7th level: Read Magic, Druid, Illusionist scrolls

First: Give Wounds, Cure Wounds, Detect Magic
Second: Detect Invisible, Locate Object, ESP
Third: Charm, Phantasmal Forces

Magic Items
Ring of Protection +1, Dagger +1, Staff of Enchantment, Skull of Death**

Skull of Death (from Dragon #5): A huge charred bejewelled dragon skull to be worn like a helmet.
The wearer may mentally command any undead characters (up to three dice in number) at any range. Other powers imbued in the wearer are “The Finger of Death” and “Animate Dead”, and these two powers may be used repeatedly. The wearer will regenerate from combat damage at the rate of 5 points/turn, even if killed (unless beheaded).

A LOT more powers, but a smaller and very different selection of spells.
I also gave her the Skull of Death from Dragon #5 since that is what it looks like she is wearing anyway.

Other Skylla writeups

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