Showing posts with label West Haven. Show all posts
Showing posts with label West Haven. Show all posts

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

The Joy of Basic D&D & Magic School

It is no secret that I am a huge fan of ALL editions of D&D.  I have played them all, and all to a significant degree.  But my start, and in many ways, my true love is Basic D&D.  B/X flavor in particular.  With the D&D Rules Cyclopedia now out in POD I am going to take some time to go back and play some of the D&D that I played the least; BECMI.

I have had some ideas for various "Basic" games over the years.  I want to take my 4e Campaign and reboot that as a BECMI one, but instead, I morphed it into a 5e one.  I still want my War of the Witch Queens to be a B/X adventure, but it really could become a BECMI one since I really would love to take advantage of all 36 levels that BECMI offers me.   But in truth, I had no idea what I wanted to do until this morning.

A couple of posts on Facebook in various "old school" groups has new players, maybe ones more familiar with Post-TSR D&D, lamenting that Magic-Users/Wizards only get one spell at 1st level.
While this is familiar ground for old-school gamers, I do sympathize with these players.
Some of this for me goes back to the 4th Edition games. In 4e a 1st level wizard is quite competent with a number of spells they can use right off the bat.  In a way, it is what you would expect from a graduate from a magic school.  But in other ways, it also makes a less compelling "story".  4e Wizards might be closer to Harry Potter, or Harry Dresden, but they are not close to the Luke Skywalker model of the new adventurer with plenty talent but no training.
This train of thought got me thinking about Basic and BECMI in particular as a means to "grow into" 4e.  A lot of my analysis was on how much magic and "Combat power" a single wizard has from levels 1 to 6 in BECMI and compare that to 4e.  The goal was to have levels 1 through 6 to be training and then levels 7 to 36 map roughly onto 4e's levels 1 to 30.  The math is not perfect, as to be expected, but there is enough wiggle room that I liked it.

Well. I am not doing 4e now.  But the idea of levels 1 to 6 as "training levels" still appeals to me.


So my plan now is this.  I am going to create a magic school (long overdue really) and the characters are all magic users.  They enter the school at age 13 at level 1 and spend the next six years working towards graduation witch each year being the next level. They will graduate at age 19 at level 7 to start adventuring.

I have a lot of ideas of what needs to happen, but I also need to figure out how to fill up 80,000 xp worth of experiences that fit with a school environment.   Along the way, they can pick up specialties (Necromancy, Enchantment and so on).  Students will take classes in languages, finger position, and diction in addition to ones on Magical Theory and Thought.  I also see students working on magic items and potions.  This is where all those magic items and cursed items come from.

I am also going to borrow heavily from The Complete Wizard's Handbook for 2nd Ed. I am also going to borrow some ideas from theGlantri books, GAZ3 The Principalities of Glantri (Basic) and Glantri: Kingdom of Magic (2e).


I *might* even set it all in Glantri, but I am also kind of wanting to set in my new campaign setting of West Haven.  Setting it in Glantri though has a lot of appeal to me.

Obvious sources for this are the Harry Potter books and movies, but also the Magicians books and TV series, the Magic schools from Charmed and Wizards of Waverly Place, various comics like the X-Men and Teen Titans and Miskatonic University.

I am going to give this one some serious thought, there is also so much material for this out there.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Witch & Witchcraft Reading Challenge: A Storm of Witchcraft

"All ministers and learned people knew that witches were real and that they had the power to harm."

A Storm of Witchcraft: The Salem Trials and the American Experience by Emerson W. Baker

This book has been sitting on my must read shelf since the year began. I have read the history of Salem and the Witch trails many times over the years and I still learn something new.  This book is filled to brim with new information.
Many books like to focus on victims, and some even focus on "the afflicted"; those that accused their neighbors of witchcraft.  Professor Baker though goes much farther than that and talks about the judges, the people in power and in particular the two Mathers, Cotton and Increase, the learned ministers at the center of this storm.

The term "A Perfect Storm" gets thrown around a lot, but here it is appropriate.  There was so much going on here that made the witch craze happen here when it was dying out everywhere else.  It really was the last gasp of a dying movement of the Old World in the New World.
It was the start of the end of Pre-American Puritanism.
In this book Salem and 1692 take on a level of cultural impact that the Gunpowder Plot of 1605 did in the United Kingdom.

The book is long, 400+ pages, and full of names. But those names belonged to people and those people left others behind.  So Prof. Baker also delves into the impact these witch trials had on the new experiment that would become America.
This is easily one of those books you can read, do a little more research or reading on the subject elsewhere, and then come back to and learn something new still.
If I have one complaint, and that is way too strong of a word, it is that the last chapter was not long enough.  I would have loved to have learned more about the cultural impact of 1692 on modern culture and how it shaped America.  But that would be a complete other book.

Prof. Baker gives us not only a well researched and well-detailed book, he gives us a book that is easy to read and relate to.  There was so much going on back in 1692 that we can relate to today.

The history of Salem is the history of America. The witch trials of 1692 are also part of America; our darker past that some (like the town of Danvers to a degree) would like to forget.

I also listened to the audio book. After listening to interviews with Prof. Baker I kinda wish he had narrated it himself.

You can find Prof. Emerson W. Baker on the web at his faculty page: http://w3.salemstate.edu/~ebaker/ and on Twitter: https://twitter.com/emersonwbaker

You can also read what he says about last year's "The Witch".
He also did an interview at Ben Franklin's World.

2017 Witches & Witchcraft Reading Challenge
2017 Witch & Witchcraft Reading Challenge
Books Read so far: 17
Level: Crone
Witches in this book: None or dozens.
Are they Good Witches or Bad Witches: 25 innocent people lost their lives in the errors of 1692.
Best RPG to Emulate it: This is the sort of setting one can easily use in Colonial Gothic.  In fact, I would call this book must reading for any CG player.
Use in WotWQ: Salem Villiage, or at least the popular notions of it, is the model I am basing the town of West Haven on.  The relationship between Salem Villiage and Salem Town will be used as a basis for West Haven and East Haven.  Though where Salem Town embraces their past today (and Salem Villiage is now Danvers, MA), it is West Haven that embraces their past.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

S&W Warlock: Meet Nik Nak, Goblin Warlock

Nik Nak is one of the first warlocks I worked up for my new Warlock for Swords & Wizardry.
He is a sneaky little goblin, but smarter than most.

Nik Nak by Jacob Blackmon
Nik Nak
3rd Level Goblin Warlock (Bogelbo)
hp 11

S: 9
I:  13
W: 10
D: 12
Cn: 10
Ch: 14

Saves: +2 to saves against charm, hold, paralysis and sleep spells.
BtH: +0
AC: 7* (lesser if Armor of Shadows is invoked)
Alignment: Chaotic

Invocations
Arcane Blast, Agonizing Blast, Armor of Shadows

Spells
1st: Häxen Talons, Obedient Beast
2nd: Poisonous Stare

Nik Nak is a respected, and feared, member of his goblin clan.  He is an impressive and smarter than average goblin. So smart in fact he found his way to the center of the Goblin City and presented himself to the King of Goblins beseeching him for power.  The great King admired the young Nik Nak's verve and granted him a token; a feather from his own cape.  The feather became Nik Nak's warlock familiar and now Nik Nak serves as a warlock with the Faerie Pact to the Goblin King.
In battle, Nik Nak carries a bone rod and wears leather armor. He rides on a giant frog (named "Mrs. Black") he has made obedient. He wears the skull of a giant rat as a helmet. Though this is more to protect the feather he has braided into his long dreadlocks than his own skull.
Nik Nak is a goblin, but he is not a particularly evil one.  He has learned that the threat of violence and terror of his power is usually more effective than actual violence.
Also, Nik Nak is perfectly happy to deal with adventurers in amicable terms as long as there is something in it for him or his Lord the Goblin King.

Usually found in the Goblin Wood outside the Haven Valley, Nik Nak can also be found wandering the Goblin Market where he trades wares, and insults, with other Bogelbos or in the town of West Haven where he deals with darker beings.

Despite racial enmity, Nik Nak has friendly if strained, relations with the Winterhaven gnome clan. This is mostly due to the legendary friendliness of the Winterhaven gnomes.

The Warlock for Swords & Wizardry will be out April 30, Walpurgis Night.


Thursday, June 9, 2016

The Witch Queens Gather...In my Game Room!

Last week it was my pleasure to share some new art I had commissioned.


Well, today my (slightly) early birthday present has arrived.


It's huge, 20" x 30"!  And it is going to look great on my wall.


+Jacob Blackmon did a FANTASTIC job.

It will join some of the other witches I have collected over the years.





I know I should take better pics, but I was in a rush this morning before work.

They say art inspires, well looking at this art this is what popped into my head.

"Outside of the Goblinwood, in the shadows of the Broken Mountains lies the village of West Haven.  Every 13 years on the Summer Solstice the witches of the world gather here to discuss plans, share secrets and keep informed of matters in the world.  Ancient pacts and rituals prevent the witches from harming or to cause to harm each other.

On the night before Midsummer's Eve someone killed Elena the Fair, Witch Queen of Summer.

Now chaos reigns as the witches prepare to go to war with each other.  Old alliances are destroyed and new pacts are formed.  Winter has come early and if a new Witch Queen of Summer is not found and the old one avenged the world will plunge into everlasting winter."

Yeah. I'd play the hell out of that game.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

A to Z of Adventure! X is for Expert.

X is for Expert.

This is not some attempt to grift the Challenge.  The Expert Set adventures were given the code X.
Of course, the most famous of these is X1, The Isle of Dread.

I got this adventure along with my Expert set back in the early 80s.  It is an obvious King Kong homage, but it is a great one.  It is another one of those adventures that people keep coming back to time and time again.
Maybe second only to B2 and B1 in terms of numbers of players, but The Isle of Dread is one of the best Basic-era adventures out there.  In today's frame of mind the adventure is equal parts Pirates of the Caribean, King Kong, and Jurassic Park.  It is a heady cauldron of tropes, ideas and just plain crazy fun.  It was included in the original Expert set and it still had expanded maps and more creatures.  I never understood why the creatures where not just in the main book, but it did make the module special.
What was so nice about X1 over B2 is you had the feel it was more integrated into the Expert rules; it felt like a logical extension.

This is also the first published adventure I ever ran for my son.  Up to this point I had ran ones I had made up for him.  He was young (6 or 7) and adventures like "Cave of the Stinky Goblin" or "Trouble in West Haven" were more appropriate for him.  But X1 had the great big dinosaur on it and he loved dinosaurs.

We had a blast. To me, 20 some odd years later, it felt like a very different adventure.  There is a lot of untapped potential here. Enough for several adventures really.
Later on I bought my son his own copy to run sometime.  It was also the first time that my kids began to recognize Tom Moldvay's name on the covers of adventures.

X2: Castle Amber
Another one of my "holy grail" items. I managed to score a copy when I moved to Chicago.
There is so much to love about this adventure, but I have detailed it all before in these pages.
Again, this is another Tom Moldvay adventure and we all loved it.

The other X modules came out a bit later and were more tied to the newer Frank Mentzer-edited Expert Set, as opposed to the Cook-Marsh-edited set I had owned. (I guess these modules should have really been called "E" for expert then). Of these I only later owned Quagmire.  I got it cheap at a used book store in Carbondale, IL.  I completely gutted the module and only kept the tower and swamp.

X3 Curse of Xanathon
X4 Master of the Desert Nomads
X5 Temple of Death
X6 Quagmire!
X7 The War Rafts of Kron
X8: Drums on Fire Mountain
X9: The Savage Coast
X10 Red Arrow, Black Shield
X11 Saga of the Shadow Lord
X12 Skarda's Mirror

In particular, I would like to get print copies of X4 and X5 for my Second Campaign game.  Saga of the Shadow Lord also sounds like a lot of fun!

This is my problem...too many great games/adventures and so little time.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Déjà vu blogfest: Class Struggles & PWWO: The Blood Witch

Here is my post the Déjà vu blogfest for 2015.

http://www.dlhammons.com/2015/12/the-deja-vu-blogfest-2015.html


I am picking something, not from early this year, but this summer.  I am choosing Class Struggles & PWWO: The Blood Witch.  I liked this post because it was one of the first of the Class Struggles post I made which has become one of my favorite features of late and I have always loved Plays Well With Others.

Hope you all enjoy this repeat!
--
Class Struggles & PWWO: The Blood Witch

Yesterday I reviewed the newest book from +Johua De Santo New Class Options.  One of the classes in the book, the Blood Witch, struck me as familiar.  I remembered I had seen an earlier version of it in Dungeon Crawl #3.  Today I want to go into a bit more detail about this class.

Class Struggles

The class is an old archetype of a blood mage or a blood witch going all the way back to ... well forever really.  Right up into the Enlightenment people believed that there were magical properties to blood.   This is why "witches" signed contracts with the devil in their own blood.

There have been other blood witches in the past. Notablly the Blood Witch Prestige class from Relics & Rituals and from Mongoose's Ultimate Prestige Classes vol. 1. Both books have the same class.  Blood Witches used whatever spells they gained from their previous spell casting class.

The Blood Witch in New Class Options is a bit similar. It uses magic-user spells.  This is perfectly fine really, but some new spells would add some more flavor.

I was looking forward to this class the most and I still think it works well, but I have some issues with it.  Let's start at the top.

The Blood Witch uses Constitution as her main stat.  Very, very appropriate.
She needs a Con of 13 or higher. Again appropriate.  Constitution scores above 16 also grant an additional +1 to hit points.  Nice. She is going to need that.

Then we get to the next bit, quoting from the text.
Shattered Soul: Every day the Blood Witch has a 60% chance of losing herself in the song of magic. If this occurs the Witch  will be able to cast 1 level above her level, however, she cannot know what is real or delusion.
Ok. A neat bit a of flavor.  But 60% every day? That seems a bit high and then she can cast as a level higher?  Well sometimes that helps.  But who makes this roll the GM or the player?  Personally I would have it at 25% myself.  Or tie it to the phases of the moon or time of day.   THEN also a 25% where she can cast as a level lower.  I GET what is trying to be done here, but I would need to play it over a few sessions to see.

Here is the part I am not crazy about.  The Blood Witch needs to roll against her Constitution in order to cast spells.  So the high her Con score, the less of chance she has of success.  Again, from the text.
The first is that the Blood Witch must roll her constitution score + the spell level or higher in order to cast her spells. If the Blood Witch fails her spell roll the spell is swept away in the song of the magic and will not return to her for a day. The second is that for every spell cast the Blood Witch must sacrifice 1 + spell level of her health in order for the spell to be effective. If the Blood Witch refuses to make the sacrifice the spell and 1d4 other spells will be swept away in the song of magic for a two day period.
Ok. So mechanically I get what Johua is trying to do here. I also spoke with him. It is to limit the amount of spells a witch can use. Since a witch can use theoretically ANY spell once she gets to the right level.   In some ways her spell casting is more similar to the witch in +Jonathan Becker's The Complete B/X Adventurer than it is to anything else.
So a witch with a 16 Constitution could only cast spells up to 4th level, unless of course a 20 allways means a success.

I think what might work better here is limit the number of spells known.  The blood witch might be able to cast this she completely out of blood (not advised) but maybe she only knows X per level.  Like the 3rd Edition Sorcerer.  This would impose a limiting factor.
Then give her a bonus to her roll equal to her level.

So our Blood Witch with 16 Con and 5th level would need a 15 or better to cast a 4th level spell (16 + 4 -5 =15).   That seems to work well.

The experience levels for Blood Witch seem a bit high, granted this class has the potential for a lot of power.  I'd still like to play one sometime just to be sure.

Somethings you see in the the myths and stories of blood magic is sacrifice (which is covered here as personal sacrifice) and proxies.  So could this blood witch use an animal sacrifice for some spells?  I think where appropriate yes.  Proxies could be things like the animal but also proxies for blood itself, like purified water (possibly for healing spells if you use one of the witch spell lists) or even wine (blood of the vine).  Personally I would allow such proxies for some of the more benign or even mundane spells.

The Blood Witch is any interesting type of character and something that could add a air of different to a game. A Blood Witch doesn't have to be an evil character, but it not likely she is going to be trusted by a party and certainly looked down on by other casters especially proper wizards.

Plays Well With Others

The best thing about the Blood Witch is that fits a great niche in any gaming group or campaign. It also works with a number of great OSR books.  Obviously the blood witch will work mechanically with 99% of all the OSR and old-school books out there, the real question is will it work thematically.  For example, the blood witch would work fantastic with Lamentations of the Flame Princess, but thematically it might be a bit redundant since all magic-users are assumed to have some sort of dark(-ish) pact.

I already mentioned The Complete B/X Adventurer. The witch class as presented in that book works as a great base for the Blood Witch.  Combine the two classes into one works rather nicely.  The B/X Witch has spells up to 10th level which is nice, but the New Class Options Witch only goes to 7.

I mentioned that the Blood Witch is really missing some really cool spells. The Vivimancer from +Gavin Norman's Theorems & Thaumaturgy and Complete Vivimancer offer some really nice choices.   I created  a few for both my witch and the vivimancer here.  In particular I would suggest Blood Augury, Feel My Pain, Share My Pain, Stay Death's Hand, and of course Hell Hath No Fury because every witch needs that spell.

A while back I made some suggestions about witch spells for the vivimancer and vivimancer spells for the with.  The nice thing is the blood witch is perfect cross section of both classes and can use all these spells.

The blood witch also works great with +Jeff Talanian's Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea.  The style and type of magic used by the blood witch would be very much in tune with AS&SH.  Sacrificing blood for magical effects...yeah very much in tune.  There are also plenty of great witch spells in that book as well.

I would be remiss if I didn't mention my own book, The Witch: A sourcebook for Basic Edition fantasy games.  I am going to have to play a Blood Witch sometime, but I also think I want to try her out as Blood Witch "Tradition" using my own rules and see how well they work together.  Maybe twins...same level but one is a DeSanto Blood Witch while the other is a Brannan one.  Interesting idea really.

If you are in the mind to some conversions, there is a great set of blood magic rules and spells in +Owen Stephensmagnum opus Deep Magic for Pathfinder.  The blood magic system in that book could work nicely for a blood witch as well as a blood mage.

Again this passes the most basic test for a class for me.  Can I think of a character for it and would I play it.

Kimbra & Kelleigh

Kimbra and Kelleigh are twin sisters with magic deep in their blood.  They often have said to each other that it is because they have shared blood that their ties to each other and magic was so strong.
Though in their darker moments they felt their connection to magic and to blood came from the moment they were born. Kelleigh was first.  Right after her birth their mother died. Kimbra was born when the midwife noticed that there was still something in the lifeless body.  To this day Kelleigh has had a great connection to blood and Kimbra to death.  Kelleigh acts as the older sister.  The sisters only trust each other.

Luis-Salas
These are two characters I have had for a while now.  They began as modern characters for a WitchCraft RPG game and then morphed in a life-span development project I never quite finished.
Yes, the names are based on Kim and Kelley Deal. But also an homage to Kim Harrison and Kelley Armstrong, two of my favorite authors in the modern supernatural genre.

Kelleigh 
5th level Blood Witch, Female
Neutral

Strength: 11
Dexterity: 12
Constitution: 16
Intelligence: 15
Wisdom: 12
Charisma: 16

Hit Points:  24
AC: 9
Saves: 12,  +2 vs. Magic
To Hit: +1  / THAC0: 19

Spells:
Kimbra can cast the follow spell levels.  Will choose spells based on the official list.
First: all
Second: 4
Third: 6
Fourth: 3
Fifth: 6
Sixth*: 1


Kimbra
5th level Witch, Blood Witch Tradition, Female
Neutral

Strength: 11
Dexterity: 12
Constitution: 16
Intelligence: 15
Wisdom: 12
Charisma: 16

Hit Points:  16
AC: 7

Occult Powers
Familiar: Blood Spirit of her dead mother (treat as a ghost, neutrally aligned)

Spells 
Cantrips: (5) Analyze Fertility, Detect Poison, Inflict Minor Wounds, Object Reading, Warm
First: (2+2) Bad Luck, Bewitch I, Cause Fear, Tattoo
Second: (2+2) Agony, ESP, Fever, Hold Person
Third: (1+1)  Bestow Curse, Lifeblood

I like these two. I like that they are twins and really mostly the same but have classes that are different takes on the same thing.

I would not make these two part of the Witches' Nest.  I feel their back story is too tragic and their personalities are not one to take advantage of others.   Though they will have a place in my new WIP "West Haven", mentioned briefly here.

When I try this class out more I will let you all know.

--

ADDENDUM.  I have tried it out more and really enjoy it. I am pleased with how this witch works and I still really love Kimbra and Kelleigh. I really want to do more with these characters.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Class Struggles & PWWO: The Blood Witch

Yesterday I reviewed the newest book from +Johua De Santo New Class Options.  One of the classes in the book, the Blood Witch, struck me as familiar.  I remembered I had seen an earlier version of it in Dungeon Crawl #3.  Today I want to go into a bit more detail about this class.

Class Struggles

The class is an old archetype of a blood mage or a blood witch going all the way back to ... well forever really.  Right up into the Enlightenment people believed that there were magical properties to blood.   This is why "witches" signed contracts with the devil in their own blood.

There have been other blood witches in the past. Notablly the Blood Witch Prestige class from Relics & Rituals and from Mongoose's Ultimate Prestige Classes vol. 1. Both books have the same class.  Blood Witches used whatever spells they gained from their previous spell casting class.

The Blood Witch in New Class Options is a bit similar. It uses magic-user spells.  This is perfectly fine really, but some new spells would add some more flavor.

I was looking forward to this class the most and I still think it works well, but I have some issues with it.  Let's start at the top.

The Blood Witch uses Constitution as her main stat.  Very, very appropriate.
She needs a Con of 13 or higher. Again appropriate.  Constitution scores above 16 also grant an additional +1 to hit points.  Nice. She is going to need that.

Then we get to the next bit, quoting from the text.
Shattered Soul: Every day the Blood Witch has a 60% chance of losing herself in the song of magic. If this occurs the Witch  will be able to cast 1 level above her level, however, she cannot know what is real or delusion.
Ok. A neat bit a of flavor.  But 60% every day? That seems a bit high and then she can cast as a level higher?  Well sometimes that helps.  But who makes this roll the GM or the player?  Personally I would have it at 25% myself.  Or tie it to the phases of the moon or time of day.   THEN also a 25% where she can cast as a level lower.  I GET what is trying to be done here, but I would need to play it over a few sessions to see.

Here is the part I am not crazy about.  The Blood Witch needs to roll against her Constitution in order to cast spells.  So the high her Con score, the less of chance she has of success.  Again, from the text.
The first is that the Blood Witch must roll her constitution score + the spell level or higher in order to cast her spells. If the Blood Witch fails her spell roll the spell is swept away in the song of the magic and will not return to her for a day. The second is that for every spell cast the Blood Witch must sacrifice 1 + spell level of her health in order for the spell to be effective. If the Blood Witch refuses to make the sacrifice the spell and 1d4 other spells will be swept away in the song of magic for a two day period.
Ok. So mechanically I get what Johua is trying to do here. I also spoke with him. It is to limit the amount of spells a witch can use. Since a witch can use theoretically ANY spell once she gets to the right level.   In some ways her spell casting is more similar to the witch in +Jonathan Becker's The Complete B/X Adventurer than it is to anything else.
So a witch with a 16 Constitution could only cast spells up to 4th level, unless of course a 20 allways means a success.

I think what might work better here is limit the number of spells known.  The blood witch might be able to cast this she completely out of blood (not advised) but maybe she only knows X per level.  Like the 3rd Edition Sorcerer.  This would impose a limiting factor.
Then give her a bonus to her roll equal to her level.

So our Blood Witch with 16 Con and 5th level would need a 15 or better to cast a 4th level spell (16 + 4 -5 =15).   That seems to work well.

The experience levels for Blood Witch seem a bit high, granted this class has the potential for a lot of power.  I'd still like to play one sometime just to be sure.

Somethings you see in the the myths and stories of blood magic is sacrifice (which is covered here as personal sacrifice) and proxies.  So could this blood witch use an animal sacrifice for some spells?  I think where appropriate yes.  Proxies could be things like the animal but also proxies for blood itself, like purified water (possibly for healing spells if you use one of the witch spell lists) or even wine (blood of the vine).  Personally I would allow such proxies for some of the more benign or even mundane spells.

The Blood Witch is any interesting type of character and something that could add a air of different to a game. A Blood Witch doesn't have to be an evil character, but it not likely she is going to be trusted by a party and certainly looked down on by other casters especially proper wizards.

Plays Well With Others

The best thing about the Blood Witch is that fits a great niche in any gaming group or campaign. It also works with a number of great OSR books.  Obviously the blood witch will work mechanically with 99% of all the OSR and old-school books out there, the real question is will it work thematically.  For example, the blood witch would work fantastic with Lamentations of the Flame Princess, but thematically it might be a bit redundant since all magic-users are assumed to have some sort of dark(-ish) pact.

I already mentioned The Complete B/X Adventurer. The witch class as presented in that book works as a great base for the Blood Witch.  Combine the two classes into one works rather nicely.  The B/X Witch has spells up to 10th level which is nice, but the New Class Options Witch only goes to 7.

I mentioned that the Blood Witch is really missing some really cool spells. The Vivimancer from +Gavin Norman's Theorems & Thaumaturgy and Complete Vivimancer offer some really nice choices.   I created  a few for both my witch and the vivimancer here.  In particular I would suggest Blood Augury, Feel My Pain, Share My Pain, Stay Death's Hand, and of course Hell Hath No Fury because every witch needs that spell.

A while back I made some suggestions about witch spells for the vivimancer and vivimancer spells for the with.  The nice thing is the blood witch is perfect cross section of both classes and can use all these spells.

The blood witch also works great with +Jeff Talanian's Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea.  The style and type of magic used by the blood witch would be very much in tune with AS&SH.  Sacrificing blood for magical effects...yeah very much in tune.  There are also plenty of great witch spells in that book as well.

I would be remiss if I didn't mention my own book, The Witch: A sourcebook for Basic Edition fantasy games.  I am going to have to play a Blood Witch sometime, but I also think I want to try her out as Blood Witch "Tradition" using my own rules and see how well they work together.  Maybe twins...same level but one is a DeSanto Blood Witch while the other is a Brannan one.  Interesting idea really.

If you are in the mind to some conversions, there is a great set of blood magic rules and spells in +Owen Stephensmagnum opus Deep Magic for Pathfinder.  The blood magic system in that book could work nicely for a blood witch as well as a blood mage.

Again this passes the most basic test for a class for me.  Can I think of a character for it and would I play it.

Kimbra & Kelleigh

Kimbra and Kelleigh are twin sisters with magic deep in their blood.  They often have said to each other that it is because they have shared blood that their ties to each other and magic was so strong.
Though in their darker moments they felt their connection to magic and to blood came from the moment they were born. Kelleigh was first.  Right after her birth their mother died. Kimbra was born when the midwife noticed that there was still someone in the lifeless body.  To this day Kelleigh has had a great connection to blood and Kimbra to death.  Kelleigh acts as the older sister.  The sisters only trust each other.

Luis-Salas
These are two characters I have had for a while now.  They began as modern characters for a WitchCraft RPG game and then morphed in a life-span development project I never quite finished.
Yes, the names are based on Kim and Kelley Deal. But also an homage to Kim Harrison and Kelley Armstrong, two of my favorite authors in the modern supernatural genre.

Kelleigh 
5th level Blood Witch, Female
Neutral

Strength: 11
Dexterity: 12
Constitution: 16
Intelligence: 15
Wisdom: 12
Charisma: 16

Hit Points:  24
AC: 9
Saves: 12,  +2 vs. Magic
To Hit: +1  / THAC0: 19

Spells:
Kimbra can cast the follow spell levels.  Will choose spells based on the official list.
First: all
Second: 4
Third: 6
Fourth: 3
Fifth: 6
Sixth*: 1


Kimbra
5th level Witch, Blood Witch Tradition, Female
Neutral

Strength: 11
Dexterity: 12
Constitution: 16
Intelligence: 15
Wisdom: 12
Charisma: 16

Hit Points:  16
AC: 7

Occult Powers
Familiar: Blood Spirit of her dead mother (treat as a ghost, neutrally aligned)

Spells 
Cantrips: (5) Analyze Fertility, Detect Poison, Inflict Minor Wounds, Object Reading, Warm
First: (2+2) Bad Luck, Bewitch I, Cause Fear, Tattoo
Second: (2+2) Agony, ESP, Fever, Hold Person
Third: (1+1)  Bestow Curse, Lifeblood

I like these two. I like that they are twins and really mostly the same but have classes that are different takes on the same thing.

I would not make these two part of the Witches' Nest.  I feel their back story is too tragic and their personalities are not one to take advantage of others.   Though they will have a place in my new WIP "West Haven", mentioned briefly here.

When I try this class out more I will let you all know.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Teach Your Kids to Game Week

It is Teach Your Kids to Game week over at DriveThruRPG.

I love these sorts of games.  Sure I way beyond "learning to game" myself and so are my kids.  But back about 10 years ago my son wanted to play with my funny sided dice.
Back then I used D&D 3.0 to teach gaming to my boys and it worked nice.  In retrospect I might of done something a little different.  Maybe something like Basic D&D (a current fave) or even a streamlined version of AD&D.

So I really love seeing games like these and there are lot to choose from.
Here are a few of my favorites.

Little Wizards
If you have a kid that loves Harry Potter or Kiki's Delivery Service then this is the game to get. Quick, Easy and Fun could be the tag line for this game.  The stats are simple really. Three traits, some powers and of course a description of your wand and familiar.   I am disappointed I have not used this game more myself. It might be a "kids" game but it packs a lot of punch and frankly is one of the most clever little games I have seen in a long time.  The Character sheet is a treat too.

Hero Kids - Fantasy RPG
I have a lot of love for this game. I was supposed to submit an adventure for it, the Cave of the Stinky Goblin, which is the very first adventure I ever ran for my own son.  A Goblin is washing his stinky clothes and garbage in the river and smelling up the town of West Haven.  This game, like many others here, use a simple d6 based mechanic. This is good since that is what most people have in their homes.  My kids were attracted to my multi-sided dice, butI see no reason why you could not just replace all the d6s in HK with d8s for example.
The rules are light and fast. There are plenty of character sheets for all four classes and blanks along with cutout minis. There are a lot of monsters too.
Calling "D&D lite" does not really do the game justice, but it is rather close.

Mermaid Adventures RPG
I don't know much about this one but I have heard nothing but very high praise for it.

Monsters and Other Childish Things: Completely Monstrous Edition
This is a game that works well as a "kids" game, but there is enough here for adults to have fun with it.  I have always wanted to use this as a "dark Pokemon" (and that is saying something) or even a very dark version of Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends.

Kids & Critters RPG Trilogy
An absolute steal at this price.
For under 3 bucks you get 3 complete games for kids.
Tales from the Wood where you play creatures from The Wood.  Think Watership Down.
Lashings of Ginger Beer is about playing a kid in Idyllic England, so it might actually work best for adults.  Most similar to kids adventure tales.
It's a Dog's LIfe is the best of the three where you play a Prairie Dog out on the American Plains with heavy American Indian/Native American influences.
All three games are simple to learn and easy to play.
These games require a bit more abstraction to play than some other kid games, but nothing a little kid with a great imagination couldn't handle.

Faery's Tale Deluxe
I reviewed this one a while back.

Toy War
Toy War takes very simple rules (and also teaches kids how to use a ruler) to bring their favorite toys to life. Each toy has a purpose and something it does well. In one session we brought in a baby harp seal (was cute), a toy Dalek (can shoot), a space ship and some D&D dragons. We came up with this idea to rescue some fish and we were off. The adventure is fast and fun. In the end we saved the fish, only to have them eaten by the baby seal.  The baby seal got away with it because he was cute.
Depending on your kids this could be a game of structured make believe or even an on-going saga. Or it can be a great diversion for a rain or snowy afternoon.
Worth every penny and then some.

DC ADVENTURES Hero's Handbook
For older kids to be sure.  I have reviewed this one and it's Mutant & Masterminds parents a number of times here/

Adventures in Oz: Fantasy Roleplaying Beyond the Yellow Brick Road
Reviewed here and here.

Cavemaster RPG
Cavemaster might one of the biggest games here on my list (outside of DCA).   This is a "stonepunk" game where you play cavemen.  Some kids might love this idea, others might be turned off on it. For me I think it is an excellent concept and would work with a group generally smarter kids.  Kids that for example would understand our pre-history origins.
What makes this good for kids is that the system itself is so easy to use. In fact one of the conceits of the game is it is molded after the first RPGs played by cave men.  Well...not really...and Game Designer Jeff Dee knows this, but it is still fun.
The game is rich and detailed and really deserves a deeper look on my part.

Witch Girls Adventures: Director's Cut
Reviewed throughout my blog.
http://timbrannan.blogspot.com/search/label/wga
I do wish that The Second Edition would come out.

Monster Slayers: The Heroes of Hesiod
This one IS actually D&D lite.  I reviewed it here, http://timbrannan.blogspot.com/2010/04/d-4-kids-monster-slayers-heroes-of.html

Mutants & Marvels
From the OSR's own Tom Doolan this game is a mix of D&D & Marvel Super Heroes (FASERIP), or rather OSR games and 4C.  Streamed down into just under 45 pages it makes it a great 1st supers game for kids or an on going game for the right group of adults.

Grab one of these.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...