Showing posts with label as&sh. Show all posts
Showing posts with label as&sh. Show all posts

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea 2nd Ed Unboxing

I am interrupting today's normal posting for something I have been waiting for for a long time.

Working from home today and my doorbell rang.  Sitting on my porch was a big box!


I immediately knew what this was and got out my phone.

a few cuts and what do we have inside?



A HUGE copy of Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea 2nd Ed!

When I say huge, I mean it.


I cleared out space on my "OSR" shelf, but now I think I need to clear out a lot more.


The book is gorgeous really.




And that is only the tip of the iceberg really.

There is a new map that is huge improvement over the old map.



It is in color and much larger.  But it is not as thick.


The new book is great and it will sit next my 1st Ed box rather nicely.


+Jeff Talanian and David Prata did a hell of a job on this.  Can't wait to game with this one.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

The Witches of the Last Apprentice: AS&SH 2nd Ed.

When I was reading the Last Apprentice books a couple years back I thought that they would work well with Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea.  The vaguely weird fantasy and human-centric worlds I felt worked well with each other.  Plus it seems to me that both works drew on the same original works.  At least that is the feeling I got.

I finished the recent book, I am Grimalkin, just about the same time my copy of  Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea, 2nd Edition came in the email. It seemed to me that these two works are destined to remain together in my world.

Flipping through the new book get me into the mood to try out a few of the new classes and see what I could create.   Plus I have to admit that if you took the picture of the man on page vi with the sharpened teeth and fingers on his necklace and made it into a woman she very well could have been Grimalkin herself.

The races of AS&SH are very compelling as well and work with this world.

Alice Deane
Alice is one of the first witches we encounter in Delaney's Spook series. Though we don't know she is a witch at first (but we suspect it) nor do we know how really powerful she is and will become.  I am starting with her because she is the easiest to categorize. She is a witch.   The biggest issue with Alice is for someone so young she is already REALLY powerful. I made some compromises but am happy with this.

Alice Deane
Witch of the Dean and Malkin clans
Female Witch 5th level
Neutral

Race: Kelt
Secondary Skill: Scribe

Abilities
Strength: 10
Dexterity: 10
Constitution: 16
Intelligence: 17
Wisdom: 15
Charisma: 14

Casting Ability: 5
Fighting Ability: 2

Hit Points:  13
AC: 9
Saving Throw: 14 (+2 Transformation, +2 Sorcery)

Powers
1st level: Brew Potions, Read Magic, Read Scrolls, Scribe Scrolls, Witch Spells, Familiar
3rd level: Brew Philtre
5th level: Dance of Beguilement, Effigy

Spells
First: (4) Alter Self, Decipher Language, Light, Scare
Second: (3) Darkness, Hold Person, Perceive Heartbeat
Third: (2) Black Cloud, Wind Wall

Grimalkin
One of the first I did when working on my Pathfinder and D&D 5 stats for Grimalkin was to think about what might be the best multiclass or dual class option to make a "Witch Assassin".  Well AS&SH doesn't do multiclass or dual-class.  Instead they rules have several subclasses that serve the same purpose. I opted to use a Warlock class for her in this case.  I also opted to cheat a little and limit her Warlock spells just to the Witch spell list.  There is a precedent for this with the Warlock taking spells from the Magician, Cryomancer, Necromancer or Pyromancer lists.

Grimalkin
Witch Assassin of the Malkin clan
Female Warlock 10th level
Chaotic Evil

Race: Kimmeri-Kelt (with some Amazon somewhere in there)
Secondary Skill: Weaponsmith

Abilities
Strength: 17
Dexterity: 18
Constitution: 14
Intelligence: 17
Wisdom: 15
Charisma: 14

Casting Ability: 10
Fighting Ability: 10

Hit Points:  54
AC: 5 (Leather)
Saving Throw: 12 (+2 Transformation, +2 Sorcery)

Powers
Magic Item use, Read magic, Read scrolls, Scribe Scrolls, Sorcerery (Witch spells), Weapon Mastery, Stronghold

Spells
First: (4) Charm, Detect Magic, Scare, Sleep
Second: (4) Darkness, Find Traps, Obscure, Detect Invisible
Third: (3) Black Cloud, Delay Poison, Slow

Sword (3/2 attacks) +3 to hit, 1d8 +3 damage
Dagger (3/2 attacks) +3 to hit, 1d4 +3 damage

Thorne Malkin
Thorne is the apprentice of Grimalkin. She got the job at age 10 when she snuck up to the witch and kicked her in the shins.  Grimalkin normally would have killed the girl for her impertinence, but instead saw something in her that reminded her of herself. Thorne has been the apprentice of Grimalkin for the last five years.
For Thorne I am opting for the Legerdemainist class. This class is a subclass of the Thief with magical ability.  I figure anyone that can sneak up on the legendary Witch Assassin it would have to be a thief of some sort.

Thorne Malkin
Apprentice Witch Assassin
Female Legerdemainist 4th level
Chaotic Evil

Race: Kelt
Secondary Skill: Weaponsmith

Abilities
Strength: 15
Dexterity: 16
Constitution: 14
Intelligence: 15
Wisdom: 13
Charisma: 15

Casting Ability: 4
Fighting Ability: 3

Hit Points:  54
AC: 5 (Leather)
Saving Throw: 14 (+2 Avoidance, +2 Sorcery)

Powers
Backstab, Agile +1 AC, Discern Noise, Hide, Manipulate Traps, Move Silently, Open Locks, Pick Pockets

Spells
First: (2) Charm, Scare
Second: (1) Darkness

Sword +1 to hit, 1d8 +1 damage
Dagger +1 to hit, 1d4 +1 damage


I think I like the Warlock better for a Witch Assassin over the Ledgerdemaist.   But in the case for Thorne I think it still works great.

Can't wait to try this system some more.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Kickstart Your Weekend: Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea 2E

We are coming into the last few hours of the Kickstarter for Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea 2E.

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1806106772/astonishing-swordsmen-and-sorcerers-of-hyperborea-0


I am very, very fond of this game. There is just so much potential here that I become overwhelmed with ideas.  Do I want to do do the dawn-time of humanity when the Old One have left the Earth?  Do I want to do an older, colder Earth of the far future under a dying sun?  Or just smoosh it into my current games? I want to do it all, to be honest!!

There is a lot love about this game really and I can't wait to try out this new addition.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Kickstart Your Weekend: Old-School Style!

Have some great Old-School influenced Kickstarters today so get to it!

First up is +Stacy Dellorfano's Swords & Wizardry 3rd Printing


https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/froggodgames/swords-and-wizardry-complete-rulebook-3rd-printing

Now. I have been on record before about not liking this cover.  I have over the last two weeks had a change of heart.  But the bottom line is I am NOT the target audience for this.
Besides I love the idea of this book, I really want it to succeed.  The team that Stacy is rock solid and I am just dying to see what +Elizabeth Chaipraditkul will be doing for this. She is great.
So yeah, they might not need my support at this point, but they have it.

In more old-new-Old School news we are also are getting a new edition of Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea.


https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1806106772/astonishing-swordsmen-and-sorcerers-of-hyperborea-0

I really, really love this game.  Just such an awesome vibe about it.  +Jeff Talanian did a fantastic job with the first edition boxed set and this new 2nd Ed hardcover is something I have been wanting for years.

I mentioned this one earlier in the week, but it can be repeated.


https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/playattentiongames/monsters-a-sourcebook-for-chill-third-edition-horr

Chill 3rd Edition Monsters.  This should also be a great book.

Friday, April 29, 2016

A to Z of Adventure! Y is for YS

Y is for YS1 The Outpost of the Outer Ones.

There are no classic adventures that have a Y or a Y-related code.
Thankfully there is an adventure that does have a Y code, YS1, and it is set up very much like the classic adventures.  Created for OSRIC it can be played using AD&D 1st Edition.

YS1 The Outpost of the Outer Ones was written by Jeremy Reaban. I have featured some of his products here in the past.

Y in this case might stand for Yuggoth, which is the home-world of the Mi-Go, or at least one of their outposts.  This adventure, designed for characters 6th to 10th level for any old-school game, heavily features the Mi-Go.  While he describes it as a "Science fiction" "dungeon crawl" only a tiny bit of work is needed to make this one horror or a mystery.  Afterall, people are going missing, strangers are showing up in town and there is that whole eerie cave system.

Like most of the old-school adventures, this one is light on plot and heavy on the dungeon crawl atmosphere, and that is by design really.  The adventure is simple enough but there is so much more that can be done with it if you want.  Note: I should point out this is NOT a criticism of  the adventure, quite the opposite really.
So basically the Mi-Go are in town and they are doing what the Mi-Go do, removing brains from bodies and putting them into other bodies or their special cylinders.  The brains stay alive and are even immortal after a fashion.  They are also experimenting on the local fauna.  A couple of things in this adventure jumped out as me as hitting that 70's/80's nostalgia sweet spot. There is a Flumph the Mi-go can't figure out. A bionic Sasquatch! (I mean really, was this written just for me?) I biologic towel, a Valley Girl brain, and this whole "Escape to Witch Moutain" vibe about it.  There is a witch and Swanmay in it as well.

Personally I would take Jeremy's advice and expand the module a bit.  Have the party meet the old witch Gwen in her "old" form, but then encounter her again when she is in one of the brain jars and then again when she is in her new body.  Also, I'd make all the Mi-Go's human form all look roughly the same; perfect, blonde, blue eyes, devoid of any real personality.  Like something out of Village of the Damned.  Liked they learned how to be human by reading it in a book.
I'd also make their plans a little more nefarious. This is a scout group looking to colonize this planet.  Makes that bionic Bigfoot look a little more scary if you ask me!

Obviously, a good companion to this adventure would be Jeremy's own OSR Warlock. Make Gwen a warlock AND the one responsible for bringing the Mi-Go here.  I'd also play it under Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea.  Give it that "colder and darker" feel that AS&SH can provide.  Plus there are already a number of good Lovecraft Mythos beasties in that game.

My biggest issue with this adventure is where do I use it?  I have so many choices to be honest.  I could easily slot it in as a "Monster of the Week" story, but that would sell it's potential short. I could make it part of a larger campaign, but I would also want the Mi-Go to be more that just a one shot.

In any case I know this will be a fun one.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Playing In Hyperborea

I have been wanting to run a campaign using Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea for some time now.

+Eric Fabiaschi over at "Swords & Stitchery - Old Time Sewing & Table Top Rpg Blog" has been doing a great set of Retro-Reviews of what I have been dubbing my "Second Campaign"

N1 Against the Cult of the Reptile God
U1 Sinister Secret of Saltmarsh
U2 Danger At Dunwater
U3 The Final Enemy
C1 The Hidden Shrine of Tamoachan

Now I just need some adventures for levels 7-12/13 (I like the idea of going to 13).

Originally I had a bunch of desert themed adventures, but they really never felt right to me to be honest.  Maybe I should be looking towards some of the newer OSR adventures like The Islands of Purple-Haunted Putrescence to fill out the other levels.

I like the idea of some stygian cult. Something that was a cross between Lovecraft, Howard and Clark Ashton Smith.  I think it might be fun if this cult was a Demogorgon cult too, just because.

He also reviewed some adventures I have already run or used under different systems.

B1 In Search of the Unknown
B3 Palace of the Silver Princess
B4 The Lost City
X1 Ilse of Dread
X2 Castle Amber
S4 The Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth

If you get a chance, stop by his blog and read the reviews.

Edited to Add: U3

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Class Struggles: Mara Witch Tradition

Witch by ivangod
Today's Class Struggles is going to be a total cheat.  After two weeks of psychic classes, I have read a bunch of psychic and occult material which, of course, gets me thinking about witches.  Since I spent a lot of time yesterday with Wee Jas and to a much smaller degree Hecate, I wanted to talk about the witches of Wee Jas as influenced by the witches of Hecate I have used in the past.

The Mara Witch Tradition

The Mara is a witch tradition that is very, very old.  They share more than just a little relationship with Night Hags, which some scholars believe may have been some of the first Mara Witches.
The Mara understand, maybe more so than most, the life is a constant struggle not against death, but towards it.  This struggle of competing forces is what the Mara seek out. Life and Death in a constant struggle to the inevitable end.

Role: These witches most often serve gods or goddesses of Death, Transition, Change or even Destruction.  There tend to be two basic archetypes of Mara detailed below, the chaotic Mara and the lawful Mara.

Joining this Tradition: To join this tradition the witch must realize that life if nothing but a transitory period between oblivions.  Even if there is life after death in the form of reincarnation the witch is not aware of it on this plane now.So the witch chooses not to be apart of this charade anymore and embrace the death in all of us.

Leaving this Tradition: Typically the witch has such conviction that the only way out is her death.

Occult Powers: The occult powers of the Mara are derived by the struggle of life and death.  There is magic in both life and in death.  There is magic and power in the transition.  While evil Mara are often accused (and rightly so) of killing newborn babies, good Mara also are there to wish children pleasant dreams and act as guardians.

Least, 1st Level: Familiar. The Mara witch gains a familiar.  The familiar is often a floating skull, a ghost or some other omen of death made real (a banshee, a barghest, a black dog). The witch can communicate with this familiar regardless of the form it takes.

Lesser, 7th Level: Dream Invasion. Once per day, the Mara Witch can invade the dreams, the so-called deaths of every day, of others.  She can use this invasion to gather information, learn about various targets or even drain the victim's on life force for herself.  She can drain a total of 1 point of Constitution per night for three nights (3 points total).  This draining she can add to her own pool of hitpoints. Each point of Constitution grants her 3 hp over and above what she normally has.  After the third day, she forfeits her ill-gained health and her victim will recover at the rate of 1 con point per week.

Minor, 13th Level: Nightmare Shape. Once per day, the Mara witch can polymorph herself into any type of undead creature and back. The creature in question must be of comparable size. The witch gains the powers of the creature and retains her ability to cast spells, but she also suffers from that creature’s associated weaknesses. She retains her own hit points and level.  If she is "turned" by a cleric then she is forced back into her "human" form and can not switch back till the next new moon.

Once the mara witch reaches this level, she gains the undead's intolerance of silver. Any silvered weapon will do an additional 1d6 points of damage to the witch if touched, similar in the way Holy Water damages undead. Unless a weapon is specifically listed as being silvered iron, then assume it is not.  The witch is vulnerable to silver in any form she takes.

Greater, 19th Level: Witch’s Curse. The witch can place a powerful Curse on one creature once per day. The curse can be of any sort, but will usually bestow a -4 to all to hit rolls and -2 to any saving throw rolls. Witch curses are quite powerful and require the use of two (2) remove curse spells to be fully removed.

Major, 25th Level: Dead Zone Mind. The mara witch has become so accustomed to turning into a nearly undead creature and moving closer and closer to death herself that her mind is no longer that of a living breathing person.  She becomes immune to charm and hold spells. Her mind can't not be probed or read via telepathy, ESP or similar powers.

Superior, 31th Level: Kiss of Death. The witch gains a Kiss of Death. When the witch wishes, she
can give a target a Kiss of Death. If the person has 9 or fewer hit die he dies, if he is over 9 hit die he must save vs. death or die. This may not be used in battle, only in a non-combat situations.

Special Benefits and Restrictions: Mara witches can use spells normally reserved for necromancers.  They are though barred from using any spell that could return a person back to life such as Raise Dead, Resurrection or Reincarnate.

Equipment:  Nothing special.

Preferred/Barred Covens: Typically evil covens.  There are usually a Night Hag or two present in their covens as well.

Relationship to the Patron: For chaotic Mara the Patron is usually the Bringer of Death. This is usually a bloodthirsty god or goddess that revels in death and destruction.  Lawful Mara have a Patron that is the Protector or Steward of the Dead.
The greatest Patron of the Mara is an ancient Hag named  Marzanna (in Polish), Morė (in Lithuanian), Morana (in Czech and Slovene), or Morena (in Slovak and Russian). She is an ancient creature associated with Winter and Death, but also the rebirth of the seasons.  Other Mara patrons include Hecate, Lilith, and Wee Jas.  The Aztec Goddess of vice, Tlazolteol, also has many Mara followers.

Source/Views of Magic: Magic comes from the struggle of Life against Death. People live and they die and this creates powerful magic in the world.  While the chaotic Mara might focus on just the death magic, the lawful Mara also know there is magic in life and in the celebration of life.  Especially the celebration of life in the face of certain death.

Archetypes: There are two basic archetypes of Mara.  The "evil" Chaotic Mara. These witches revel in death and destruction.  The more death they are around, whether they cause it or not, grants them power.  The Lawful Mara could be considered "good", but in truth they also see the need for death.  Everything must die to allow new things to live and grow which in turn must die. Neutral Mara, generally speaking, do not exist as there is no middle ground between life and death.

Thanatos and Eros, The Shadow by Stephanie van Rijn

The Mara for Other Witches

For Adventurer Conquer King's Player Companion from +Alexander Macris and +Tavis Allison the witch is limited to 14th level.  The 6 occult powers can be spread out over these levels.  I would remove the Witch's Curse and then evenly spread out the remaining five.

Similar plan for +Jeff Talanian's Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea's witch.  Though in this case I would also remove the option for "Lawful" Mara.  Mara in this world setting are nothing but evil.

For +Joseph Bloch's Adventures Dark & Deep, The Witch the BEST thing is adding spells from his Necromancer class.  Spread out the powers, replacing the ones listed for the Witch.

+Jonathan Becker's Complete B/X Adventurer also has a witch class. His witch lacks outright powers, but has plenty of spells.   So if you want to convert ANY of my witches to one of his make the Occult Powers into Witch Spells only that kind of witch can use.  Here is a quick anf dirty guide.

Basic Witch Occult Power B/X Witch Spell Level
Least, 1st Level 1st level Witch Spell, 1st level witch
Lesser, 7th Level 3rd level Witch Spell, 6th level witch
Minor, 13th Level 5th level Witch Spell, 12th level witch
Greater, 19th Level 7th level Witch Spell, 21st level witch
Major, 25th Level 8th level Witch Spell, 25th level witch
Superior, 31th Level 9th level Witch Spell, 30th level witch

For his 10th level spells you would have to come up with something appropriately cool.
Heck I might grab his 10th level spells for my own witch games!

Becker also spends some time with a Holmes-style witch, but I am not sure these sorts of powers would work for that.

So now regardless of what OSR Witch you use noe you can unleash the Mara on your players!

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Assembling the troops...

I'll get back to gods in a bit, but I am assembling all the pieces I need for the War of the Witch Queens.


Some OSR monster books, some rules, a bunch of different adventures. Yes that is a 4e book in the mix too.

Still working out details and having a lot of fun.  If I decide to go to a maximum of 13th level then I am sticking with Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea.  If I think it will go higher than that, all the way to 20th level then I want to use Castles & Crusades.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Dark Albion meets Mythic Éire

The talk around the ole' Other Side water cooler is still Dark Albion.  No surprises really.

I love the idea of playing in England/Albion. Especially with some dark magic thrown in for good measure.  If I can tie it in with my War of the Witch Queens idea so much the better.


So I was looking over all my Castles & Crusades stuff over the weekend.  Lamenting that I don't get to play it as often as I would like.  I dearly love Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea, it has such a cool vibe to it. But I also enjoy Castles & Crusades.   Rumor has it that C&C began as a campaign on Earth. Aihrde is phonetically the same as Erde which is German for Earth.  That being said I also have a couple of adventures I consider to be "must haves" for my next games, Night of the Spirits and A Druid's Lament.
Another strong selling point for C&C is the Codex Celtarum.
I reviewed it a while back and it is still one of my favorite gaming books ever.  There is so much I could use here. Plus the ties with the Faerie world is a must-have in my mind.

Which brings me in a round about way to what are these Witch Queens warring about anyway?  At first I thought maybe it was for control.  But could it be more?  I am hesitant to detail it too much.  I still have a current D&D5 game I need to finish.  Plus I want to keep it a little loose for now. Maybe even a bit "story gamey".  Yes I am that much of jerk to take one of Pundits products and make it into a story game centerpiece.   Well...not really. It's still OSR.

Éire is a idea I have been playing around with since forever I feel. A mythic Ireland, a land of adventure.  The Celtic themed games I usually enjoy tend to skew a bit to the older and colder themes found in AS&SH.

Regardless of which way it goes I do know that there will be an Éire to go with Albion and I am going to have a great time doing it.


Thursday, August 27, 2015

PWWO: Dark Albion and War of the Witch Queens

I mentioned previously Dark Albion and Fantastic Heroes & Witchery by their very natures are compatible with a wide variety of games and game supplements.  So doing a "Plays Well With Others" sort of post seems a bit redundant.  But that doesn't mean I can't try something a little more different.

 

One thing I always wanted to do was run a dark age WitchCraft RPG game.  Set in the 1600s it would deal with rival factions of the Gifted fighting each other while Europe descends into the Burning Times.  It struck me how close that idea was some things I was also planning in my War of the Witch Queens adventures.

Reading over Dark Albion I kept thinking that while the Rose War is cool and all but later periods are much more fun.  Setting it in the later later ages, say the Elizabethan or even during the time of King James I, gives another backdrop. During Elizabeth England was very stable, but during James that is gone. 

Take some of the ideas from Dark Albion but advance them to 1580 or so during the reign of King James.  This is also the height of the witch craze in Europe.  This allows me to use William Shakespeare and John Dee.  I might make Dee an Occultist.  Seems right.  Plus I can take the occultist class and make it into a passable Occult Poet.

Another point of commonality is Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea. I wanted to use it as a game system for both Dark Albion and my witch adventures.  I think it would work out well.  I need to find locales in "Dark" Europe for all of these adventures.

It would be one of the ultimate tests of the whole OSR ideal. Can products written for different games and different times all work together?

System: Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea and Fantastic Heroes & Witchery (to smooth out the rough edges)
Setting: Dark Albion
Adventures:
A3 Wicked Cauldron (C&C)
B7 - Rahasia (Basic D&D)
Fane of the Witch King (3.0/d20)
Night of the Spirits (C&C)
No Salvation for Witches (LotFP)
Saga of the Witch Queen (DCC)
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)

I might thin this list a bit since I am only dealing with levels 1-13 or so.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Review and PWWO: Dark Albion: The Rose War

War is always a good backdrop to a fantasy campaign.  There is so much chaos and change and opportunity that a group of adventurers could make their way from nobodies to national heroes..or villains.  That is one of the basic conceits of +Kasimir Urbanski's aka RPGPundit's latest book Dark Albion: The Rose War. Published by DOM Publishing, the same that gave us Fantastic Heroes & Witchery. Overtly the book is for FH&W, but it can be played with any Retro-Clone or original D&D game you wish.  In fact I am going to jump ahead and say that it would work with any version of D&D you choose, including 5th Edition. But for me the game seems like it would shine under Original Edition.  But more on that later.

I am reviewing the PDF only at this point. I don't have a copy of the printed book yet.  The PDF is 277 pages; 275 of content plus cover and a hyperlink page that we also saw in FH&W. It's a nice touch.

Before I get into the meat I want to about the art and layout.  The art is predominantly woodcuts and public domain images from the period or about the period.  I want to say that for the record I LOVE this sort of art.  I really do. It captures the feel of time I think far better than most RPG art.  I love the art in the D&D/OSR books, but that is art for a game world.  For a historical one I want this.
Also the graphic design and layout is much improved in terms of technique from FH&W.  This is obvious when in the FH&W appendix it switches back to the other style. It is the same as the previous book, but still better executed.

The book is nicely organized and I am first grabbed by a sense of nostalgia. This feels like an old-school Gazetteer.  In particular the Greyhawk ones of old.  We have a two page Table of Contents and a two page index.  Both are hyperlinked.

The center of the campaign is the War of Roses. This war, between rival claimants to the throne of England, the House of York (the White Rose) and the House of Lancaster (the Red Rose). This lead, among other things, to the creation of the Tudor Dynasty (White on Red Rose) when the House of Lancaster defeated the House the York and Henry Tudor married Elizabeth York to become Henry VII of England.  This is also the milestone between what was "Dark Ages" England and the English Renaissance.  Though I personally think of the date as being later when England broke with the Church or even later still when Elizabeth I came into power.  But that is my personal bias.
(Side Note: See if RPGPundit is working on "Dark Albion: The Tudors", now there is some intrigue!)

The Introduction is a brief overview of the book, the War of Roses, and what to expect in this campaign book.  Most of what is here is detailed more in the book, but a couple of things draw our attention.  First this a "gritty" campaign.  So magic is low, character classes will be low and it is human centric.   Other differences between this and other "D&D" are given, such as very, very few demi-humans and few "monsters".  Also the differences between this world and our world are given.  The one that stands out here is the Church of the Unconquered Sun, something that readers of my blog should already be familiar with, http://theotherside.timsbrannan.com/2015/02/sol-invictus-unconquered-sun.html. In fact this Church is like one where Rome (Arcadia) adopted Mithra instead of Jesus.  It is an interesting idea and one I would love to see more of.

Next up, and what takes up a good chunk of the book is the Gazetteer of Albion.  For his alt-history version of England, Pundit sticks with the very archaic Albion as opposed to England or even "Angle-land".  I do not object. I used the name myself in Ghosts of Albion, though for different reasons.  This is part socio-political overview, part maps and part campaign information.   Having gone over the same territory, though 360 years later, I appreciate the attention to detail here.  The bulk of this is of course on Albion and Wales (not "Cymru"?), lands up into Scots-land ("Alba"?) only go to Hadrian's Wall, which is still intact in this world.  Lands into Ireland ("Erie"! thank you!) only go to the Pale, as appropriate.  Beyond the Pale?  Well that is where the ancient Brannans live, you don't want to go there.
Honestly, this could have been the entire book and I would have loved it.  Give me old maps and names of people and I will fill it up with ideas.  I already want to create characters and give them histories.

Next up is Kingdoms of the Continent. As you can imagine, an overview of Europe. Not as in-depth as the Albion chapter, nor should it be. There are a couple things though I want to point out.
1. Frogland. Really?  ugh. Ok, ok. I get the desire to have a non-human, chaos-based kingdom. But I really have to admit this sticks out like a sore thumb. It's really just not good. Sorry. I just don't like it, it seems to go against everything we just read about human-centric, low magic, gritty-realism.  If I were to use this in a game (and I really would want to) Frogland is going away.  I'll replace it with a Clark Ashton Smith-style Averoigne.  It really kind of mars the entire work in a way.
2. Arcadia. There is something REALLY interesting here.  I would love to see RPGPundit talk about how The Unconquered Sun grew up out Mithraism to replace Christianity in his world.  Plus this is the Renaissance.  I would imagine that Arcadia at this time in this world looks a bit more like Mage the Sorcerers Crusade than it does D&D.
3. Wallachia.  Ok, including a bad ass Dracula almost (almost but not quite) makes up for Frogland.  Having him live in a castle named "Crows Loft" is very cheeky ("Crow's Nest" might be closer, but hey, not my book).

Law & Justice in Albion is a fairly important chapter. Characters will not be able to act like the "murder-hobos" of other games. Albion, at this point, has been around as country of laws for some time.  The Magna Carta has been around for 200+ years at this point so this is not a lawless land, far from it in fact.   Frankly more campaign guides should have this as much as they do maps and people of interest.

History of Albion is just as fascinating as the Gazetteer. While I personally believe that games are about the characters, having a detailed backdrop is always nice.  Plus if your game is going to more about court intrigue and combats of words and lies rather than adventuring, then this is a must read.

Characters in Albion discuss what has been mentioned briefly already.  What characters you are likely to use in this game.  It is human centric and low magic.  Now there is an interesting twist here in that the Church of the Unconquered Sun has Priests, which are like real-world priests in the Catholic church, and Clerics which are more like D&D clerics.  In fact you can have a female cleric.  This is a handy way to have your cake and eat it too.  The reading of this chapter makes me think that Lamentation of the Flame Princes might be a good rule fit for this, but as I read more I think that Original D&D is the best choice.  Though given the changes to the world in general I would also add druids and witches to my games.

Currency & Equipment is actually quite an important chapter.  Money didn't just seperate the wealthy from everyone else, it also separates the classes, as in the upper and lower class.  In many D&D games characters tend to throw around gold like it was water.  You see that even in some of the pulp influences of D&D.  Historically though and even until past the Victorian age you would not find people throwing around a gold coin.  Copper pence/pennies were the coinage of the common man.  Maybe a silver shilling. Ok, technically the silver shilling wasn't minted until the 1500s and it was worth 12 pence (not the 10p listed). BUT this is just a change to make things easier for the game and that is fine with me.  I would still introduce a gold guinea at 21s/0p though it's introduction is still not for another 200 years or so.  I just like the idea.

The next two chapters, Noble Houses of Albion and People of Interest, deal with the people that populate this world.  I would say that if you are playing a court intrigue game then these are your important chapters.  Knowing who is controlling what and what their moves might be is a great aid for the right-minded GM.  I would say that if you are or were a fan of Pendragon or even Birthright then study these two chapters.  Heck given how Pendragon works this could be part of the same set of PCs, only their dynasties 35-40+ generations later.
Ok, so I am not taking any stars away from the overall product for this, but I will state my disappointment in the whole "Frogmen" one more time here. Craaak VII? Lraaap XI?  Come on Pundit, you can do better than this.

Sorcery and Secrets is the chapter I have been waiting for.  I will point out one discrepancy between what is said here and what is assumed.  Magic-user spells are listed to 9th level, ok that will take a pretty high level magic-user, beyond the "7th level will be really high" mentioned. Plus 9th level spells are pretty big magics.  Personally I would limit all spell casters to 6th level spells.  There are some rules in FH&W to help get around this restriction.
There are some really good demon summoning rules. I would combine these with the magic circle rules given in FH&W as well as the Ley Line rules.  In fact in might be interesting to take this chapter and Chapter 9 from FH&W and look at them as a unified whole.

Adventuring in Albion. Ok this is more like it!  Give me reasons for my characters to do things!  For me I am content with "there is a war of succession to English throne going on. You all are peasants. Figure out how make the most of it."  Thankfully there is more here than just that. Several sample adventure locations are given, including one at court.  Travel across Albion is discussed though characters are more likely to run into tolls rather than trolls, but both are still possible.
While monsters are rare in this setting a guideline for what might be possible would be good.

Three Appendices follow.
Appendix 1 detail the Knights of the Star and Secrets of the Clerical Order. Knight of the Star are an order of Knights loyal to the crown and king of Albion. These Knights could be seen as the Paladins of Albion and are given similar in-game status.
Appendix 2 is a set of house rules for rules-lite OSR clones like Lamentations of the Flame Princess, Swords & Wizardry, and Basic Fantasy RPG.
Appendix 3 is a set of rules when playing Fantastic Heroes & Witchery.  Like I mentioned before this appendix drops the Dark Albion style for the FH&W one.  Various new classes for FH&W are added including the Cleric of the Unconquered Sun, the Magister, Hedge-Witch and Cymric Bard among others.  Also classes from FH&W are discussed including which ones NOT to use in Dark Albion.  Some details about how Dark Albion's cosmology fits into the FH&W assumed cosmology.

The book ends with the OGL statement.

There is a lot crammed into 275 or so pages. While the guide is complete and there is plenty to do with it, it also opens up a lot of possibility for the world as a whole.  Dom and RPGPundit could make a career out filling up the other countries.  The time period is an interesting choice too.  Having played a ton of historical games I tend to draw a fuzzy line right around the time of the Tudors. Prior to this time I can emulate with D&D-like games, after that I use other games.  Dark Albion adheres to my own internal logic in this respect.  Though I do admit I can see myself pushing that line a bit when it comes to Elizabethan times.  I have done that time period both as a D&D-like game and as a setting for Ghosts of Albion.

I would say pick this up if you have any enjoyment for English history or if you are looking to play something different than the same old dungeon crawls.

Plays Well With Others
By virtue of it's compatibility with Fantastic Heroes & Witchery, Dark Albion has an easier time than most supplements.  Added to fact that it is presented largely rule free is a bonus.

Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea has been one of my favorite systems/campaign worlds since it came out. It shares a number of elements in common with Dark Albion.  First, both worlds assume a low magic, human centric world.  There are a LOT of character classes in AS&SH and not all are appropriate for Dark Albion, but there are plenty that are even above and beyond the multitude of class options that FH&W offers.    The worlds of both games are by and large the same, just separated by vast quantities (and maybe qualities) of time.  While Dark Albion focuses on Albion and parts south, AS&SH tends to focus more to the north.  Who is to say that there are not some areas of Norway that are not still like the Hyperborea of AS&SH?
Plus the power levels of both games is the same.  All characters in AS&SH and FH&W top off at that 12-14 level limit.  This naturally keeps the magic down.
AS&SH also has a number of monsters in it that would be appropriate for the Dark Albion world.  Now, AS&SH does have "Cthulhoid" monsters which would take the implied chaos of Dark Albion to a totally different level. But I can see that working.

As mentioned before another game that would mesh well with this is Lamentation of the Flame Princes.  There is a congruity to both worlds that makes the translation not only possible, but anticipated as seen in Appendix 2.

I have to admit I picked this game up not on the reputation of it's author or even publisher, but because I really wanted to see if there is anything in this book I could use with my own Ghosts of Albion.  While the two games share a number of parallels due to subject matter and connections to the real world, the underlying assumptions of both games are very different. Back when I was working on Ghosts of Albion one of my characters was a ghost of a fighter in the War of the Roses.  I guess I could now play him as a living breathing human if I wanted too.  I just have to make sure he dies while defending the King from that dastard the Duke of York!   Dark Albion actually has more in common with Cubicle 7's Victoriana. At least in terms of setting and underlying assumptions. Heck maybe when Albion splits from the Church of the Unconquered Sun (Dark Albion) it becomes the Aluminat Church (Victoriana).   In any case Dark Albion provides an interesting historical backdrop to either of those games.

I would be remiss if I didn't mention The Witch.  Dark Albion makes many references to witches and dark magic but the only game mentioned that has a proper witch is FH&W and even then that game mentions conversions for my witch.  Just follow the guidelines already in FH&W.

One thing is certain, I am going to have to play some more with this world.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Witch Adventures

I have been looking for some published adventures to use with my Witch class book.  Surprisingly most of the adventures I have been working on don't really feature my witch class.  So here are some I have bought over the years.
Note: I wrote these reviews while watching "Blood Sabbath" from 1972, featuring a really young Anthony Geary prior to his "Luke and Laura" days.  Maybe I can use Alotta, Queen of Witches, from this.



No Salvation for Witches
I picked up this Lamentations of the Flame Princess adventure based partly on the name, how could I refuse? I also bought it because I am a fan of +Rafael Chandler and his Teratic Tome.  While this adventure uses the LotFP rules, it can be easily adapted to just about any OSR/Old School game. It is also set in +James Raggi's pseudo European setting which also makes it easy to convert to just about anything if you don't mind ignoring some of the history presented.
As the title implies, NSFW is not for everyone.  It is no worse or no better in terms of art than anything else in the Lamentations catalog or TT.  I will give Raggi credit, he springs for some quality art.
The adventure itself is weird, bloody and full of body horror.  It is also a race against the clock.  IF you go with the idea that Woolcott is a witch (and not a LotFP magic-user) and evil then the PCs have something to work for.  Otherwise I can't see how the world they create in the end is all that bad?  I am kidding, a little.  For me I think it would be interesting that if in their goodwill to recreate a better world they made it more horrible.
The adventure is a combination of Eurotrash occult horror, Lovecraftian style outsiders and creepy history.  There is also a splash of 80s slasher flick in this.  It is a heady brew of horror tropes in the guise of an adventure. The Tract of Teratology featured in this adventure is almost worth the cover price.   The listed monsters are also really cool and unique.  There is just so much I could do with this.
It can be hard to judge power level of this adventure.  But I am going to say high level at least.
The book is 68 pages with covers, maps and OGL.  It is also full color.
Does it work with The Witch? Yes, but some changes have to be made.  Woolcott is obviously a witch, but is she a Witch?  I think I would have to think about it in terms of how I want to run it and who or what the Primogenitor really is.

Dungeon Crawl Classics: Saga of the Witch Queen
This is a meaty module.  84 pages, covers, maps and OGL still leave a lot of pages for material.
First off, if you are not familiar with Dungeon Crawl Classics modules they are meant to emulate a certain feel of early 80s play.  They went on to create the game Dungeon Crawl Classics, but the adventures are still largely OSR compatible. Actually I didn't see a single thing in this adventure screamed is should be used for one system or the other.
This adventure is actually 3 adventures in one.  Legacy of the Savage Kings, The Lost Passage of the Drow, and War of the Witch Queen.  Each one is a different part of the Witch Queen's plan.
Reading through this adventure is one part excitement for the new and one part excitement for the nostalgia.  For the new, I wanted to learn more about Kyleth (the eponymous Witch Queen) and the tome Ars Maleficus.  The nostalgia comes from many little easter eggs through out the pages that call back to adventures of the TSR-days.  I am convinced the Mad Hermit here is the same as the one in the Keep on the Borderland for example.  There are also hints of influences from Vault of the Drow, Ravenloft, and even the rest of the GDQ series.  In fact the second adventure, "The Lost Passage of the Drow" could be slotted into the D series and no one would be the wiser.   Replace Baba Yazoth with the proper Baba Yaga and have one of the many adventures she features in as a side trek.
There are a number of named characters that would work well as witches, Maeve, Baba Yazoth and of course Kyleth herself.   While using the title of "Witch Queen" Kyleth is only an 8th level Magic-user.  Make her a 9th or 10th level witch and then you have something really scary.
Does it work with The WitchYes, absolutely.  There are number of great items and story points in this adventure for any witch character.  In fact I would say that any good witch would want to see Kyleth taken out on general principle.  Plus there are a number of encounters and NPCs that would benefit from the rules in the Witch.  Night Hags get more spell casting powers for example and the medusa can also have some levels of witch.
Of course there is the one issue of Kyleth being one of The Thirteen. The Thirteen most evil wizards, witches and necromancers in the world.  She was the newest member, who are the other 12 and what are their plans?  Anyone up for an adventure against the Legion of Doom?  I might have to come back to this idea. I can see witches, vivamancers, blood mages, evil wizards, and necromancers part of this evil cabal. Each providing something different.
Seriously, there is so much fun stuff here I can't wait to try it out.

The Evil of Witches Fen
This adventure is really more of hex-sandbox.  It is two pages and the central conceit is the characters are stranded here till the next boat arrives so they might as well figure out why the place is dying.  There are some suggested quests and some points of interest.  There are a couple of witches mentioned.  The Gray Lady is the spectre of an old witch. She is also a quest. Dispatch her to help bring the area back from extinction.   There is also the remains of a witch cult.  They are not described in any detail.
This is a pay what you want product, then by all mean plop down a buck for it.  At two pages (no title page or ogl) there is a still a lot here.  You can find out more at the author's website: http://games.taskboy.com/#tbg-b
Does it work with The WitchYes. Only in teh respect that the adventure has so little detail that it works with anything.  Now for some people this is perfect. Indeed I can see a number of sessions based on these two pages alone.  You can drop it into any game as a break from the regular campaign.  But if you want more meat to your module then this might not be for you.

The Witch of the Tarriswoods
A 24 page OSR adventure (2 covers, toc, ogl, 3 maps).  It's a good adventure of the "there is something strange going on in the woods, let's investigate!" type.  The hazards make this more of a challenge for 3-7 level characters instead of say 1-3.  That is fine really. I would use this to lull seasoned players into a false sense of security and then show them there are still dangers to be had in simple settings.  This is the perfect adventure for say a lazy afternoon. You can drop it nearly anywhere in your world.  Our main bad guygal is Llorona, Witch of the Tarriswoods.  She is a 5th level magic-user.
There are also some new monsters in this that are a lot of fun.
Does it work with The WitchYes. I say change Llorona to a 5th or 6th level witch and give her some more spells. Given her name, dress her in blue and white gowns and focus on water-based spells.  change the "wizard staff" to a trident or tined fork.  This would make her much more of a threat.

The Ruins of Ramat (S&W)
This one is for Swords & Wizardry, but can be played in any OSR game really.
14 pages, 2 mapes, cover, ogl.  This is the S&W conversion of the Castles & Crusades adventure.
The adventure is a good introductory adventure for players and low level characters.  It is a simple two level dungeon that used to be the home of an evil cult. So there are a lot of undead and some demonic powers here.  The catacombs are supposed to be filled with treasure according to legends.
Given that this all takes place on "Witch Hill" I would want to expand its history a bit to say more about the cults that were there.  I would make the cult a coven of witches.
What I think works best about this module is not only can it be located anywhere, but it can even be located under anything in another adventure.  A little tinkering and suddenly I have "The Ruins on Witch Hill".
Does it work with The Witch? Well. There are no witches in this.  So unless I want to make an active cult there (and that is really a good idea) then there is not much to add from my book.  Save for some magic items and scrolls with ancient spells.

Witches Court Marshes (1982)
When I first got this years ago, but long after I had moved away from AD&D 2nd ed, I was not that impressed. Now looking back at it, it has a certain charm and it does better than my memory of it. The Witch class is a sub-class of Magic-User, but the experience for each level is much lower that I have seen for other witches. There are plenty of new spells and in true old-school fashion some classes and monsters are completely immune to the witch's power/spells.
In addition to all of this there is a marsh that is the home to many evil witches. Given how JG used to write the adventures it can be converted to a lot of systems with ease.
Does it work with The Witch? For the most part yes. While this book was not an influence on my writing of the witch class it does have similar DNA.  That is to say the feel of this book and the time it was published was something I sought to emulate in my own witch.  The classes themselves are not really compatible save that the witch in most cases is compatible with a wizard.
The adventure is certainly usable by today's OSR games.

The Manor, Issue #6
Ah.  Now this one is an interesting case. It does have an adventure and specifically designed to use my witch.  "Witches of the Dark Moon" is a great little one-shot written by +Tim Shorts himself using a lot of elements he had at his disposal. This includes using my own Witch Class for the witches. You don't need my book to play this, but it does add a little extra to the mix.
Does it work with The WitchCompletely.

Adventure Path/Campaign: War of the Witch Queens?
I wonder if I have enough here to make an adventure path/campaign to go after the evil witches in the world, while at the same time protecting the good witches? (hey, I have my biases).  Plus there are an inordinate number of marsh and swamp related locales here.
  • Witches of the Dark Moon (The Manor #6): Low level
  • Ruins of Remat: Low level
  • The Evil in Witches Fen: 4th to 7th
  • Dungeon Crawl Classics: Saga of the Witch Queen
    • Legacy of the Savage Kings: 4th to 6th
    • The Lost Passage of the Drow: 6th to 8th
    • War of the Witch Queen: 7th to 9th
  • Witches Court Marshes: High Level
  • No Salvation for Witches: Finale
I am thinking that running these under B/X D&DAdventurer Conqueror King or Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea and capping the levels at 13.


Could be a lot of fun.

Friday, March 13, 2015

The "Second Campaign"

So yesterday I started talking about something I am calling the "Second Campaign".  It's not really a second one (more like a 20th one).  The idea is a set of adventures, maybe set in the same world, using classical adventures but with a new set of characters.

Now I am not yet sure I'll have the time for this but if I am setting it in the same world then I might want to lay a bit of a foundation.

So a theme that has come up a few times in my games, either D&D-like, CineUnisystem or other modern supernatural, is human(oid)s vs reptile invaders.  I first got the idea when I was going through the Fiend Folio and I noticed there were a lot of different reptile and amphibian races.

I later (likely through Chill) thought of a snake like race (maybe similar to the "Deceiver" creature) but I could have also been influenced by Doctor Who.  In any case they are there, squirming around in my brain.

I would love to take this do something with all these other cool adventures that share a theme, add a bit of backstory (not much) and maybe....just maybe run it all under Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea.

So here is my thought:

N1 Against the Cult of the Reptile God, levels 1-3 (novice)
U1 The Sinister Secret of Saltmarsh, levels 1-3
U2 Danger at Dunwater, levels 1-4
U3 The Final Enemy, levels 3-5
I1 Dwellers of the Forbidden City, levels 4-7
C1 The Hidden Shrine of Tamoachan, levels 5-7

And that is about as far as I got.

I also have a series of "desert adventures" I want to try.

I3 Pharaoh, levels 5-7
I4 Oasis of the White Palm, levels 6-8
I5 Lost Tomb of Martek, levels 7-9
X4 Master of the Desert Nomads, levels 6-9
X5 Temple of Death, levels 6-10
I9 Day of Al'Akbar, level 8-10.
Gary Gygax's Necropolis, levels 10+

I could fold them into each other.  There are 13 here, so I like that number.  But they all don't fit in together thematically, unless I am saying that Set is somehow involved.  Which could be cool really.

I don't have a copy of Day of Al'Akbar anymore and it has not shown up yet on DriveThruRPG.  So I could make it 12 adventures.

Also I could take a page out of True20 and just have everyone go up a level at the end of each adventure.  It would make things easy.  If so then AS&SH might just be the right choice.  I would want to ratchet up the pulp feel.  But not really use any Lovecraftian beasties.  I am kinda burned out on them really.

Something to consider anyway.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Warlocks, part 2

Over the past week I had the chance to run an AS&SH game and loved it.  My only request to my players was for someone to play a Warlock character.  That was also really fun.

I have never really considered the warlock much. But I have been thinking a lot about the warlock as a class in D&D of late.  There is a Warlock in Eldritch Witchery. It is a type of Wizard basically. I liken it to "Wizard Grad School" to be honest.  They use the same spells as the witch and gain a few extra powers.

The AS&SH warlock is something more akin to a swordmage.  We see something similar in D&D4 Essentials Hexblade.  In general I liked the D&D4 Warlock.  They were a class that wanted quick access to power and none of the work that Wizards had to do.  That was a fine role-playing excuse, but not something that played out in the rules.  Warlocks gained powers just like the Wizards did and had no more or no less requirements.

The Warlocks in Fantastic Heroes & Witchery are another sort.  It is a chaos aligned wizard and has a lot of the same features really.  It uses the same xp per level tables, same HD and same spell progressions.  The FHW Warlock does gain some power, similar in many ways to my own witch, but at a cost.  On the surface this doesn't make it much different than a wizard, with a different selection of spells.  What makes this class, and really this book, different are the selection of spells (the book has 666) and the additional rules for acquiring magic and casting spells.  Adding this material makes the Warlock a much more interesting character.

The Pact-Bound in Magical Theorems & Dark Pacts is another warlock-like class.  Again the idea here is a class that takes a quick path to power for a price, usually to an other worldly power.

There is a similar one in the pages of the ACKS Player's Companion.

In the 3e era we have a couple of "warlocks".  There is a warlock in the Complete Arcane and the witch in Pathfinder, which always felt more like a warlock to me.

Somewhere at the intersection of all these warlocks is the one I want to play.

These are the features I am looking for:
- spontaneous spellcasting
- same spells as the witch or at least some sort of connection
- pacts with other worldly powers that grant the warlock power
- shortcuts to power, so they should get more spells faster, but maybe fewer as time goes on.
- some idea of corruption. Warlocks should be unnatural and not part of this world anymore.

Going to be playing around with this a lot more in the new year.

Friday, December 27, 2013

2013 Game of the Year

2013 was a great year for gaming personally.  I got to try out a lot of old things, which is fun, and had a chance to try out some new games as well.  I got to play a lot of Basic and 1st Ed AD&D with my kids, do a little more with 3e, started both a Pathfinder and 4e game.  The Pathfinder game kicks up again next year and I just got a notification about my 4e game just two days ago (on Tuesday, so I guess this post was premature).

But of all the games I tried out only one really grabbed me this year.
Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea.


Today we played a very Howard inspired "rescue the princess before the Old God is awakened" sort of deal.  It was fun and I borrowed a lot from Spellcraft & Swordplay and Call of Cthulhu for this one.
We had an Atlantean warlock, a Keltic Bard, Kimmerian fighter and a "Norse" Cleric.  It was a lot of fun.

For my money it is the best of the "Dark Fantasy" games on the market right now.
I hope I get to play it more in 2014.

If you don't yet have this game then you are really, really missing out on some fun.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

AS&SH and Magical Theorems & Dark Pacts: Plays Well With Others

I often buy games together. Recently my two purchases were Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea and Magical Theorems & Dark Pacts. While not explicitly designed for each other, they share a common DNA in terms of Basic D&D via the d20 SRD.


AS&SH has a number of new classes, in particular magic-using  ones.  MT&DP is nothing but new classes and spells. AS&SH is a grittier, almost primitive, experience. MT&DP is straight up Basic/Expert/LL with spells that go up to level 10.   So where does the commonalty lie?

Ok take the MT&DP classes and limit them to 12 levels only.  Typically not an issue. And in some cases also reduce the spells to just 6th level.  Use the Magician as the base class. As far as the powers each class gets, well I would deal with them on a class by class basis.  Maybe give them some of the spells as powers.

Let's take the classes in detail.

Cleric and Wizard 
These classes are pretty much the standard archetypes, use the classes in AS&SH instead and swap out spells as desired.

Elven Swordmage and Elven Warder
These classes can't be used, no elves, but you could make a Swordmage or Warder and split their Casting Ability and Fighting Ability evenly.

Enchanter
Similar to the other Sub-classes"

Fleshcrafter 
This class has so much potential in AS&SH.  Given the horror elements in the game (and even the mythos elements) this classes takes on a more malevolent tone.

Healer
A subclass of the cleric. I would reduce the fighting ability, so "0" for levels 1, 2, 3; "1" for 4, 5, 6 and so on for a maximum of of 4.

Inquisitor, Merchant Prince, Unseen
I think these guys would work a little like the warlocks.  The warlock is a bit of a fighter and mage, so these classes are all a bit like thieves and mages.

Necromancer
AS&SH has a necromancer. Just use these spells.

Pact-Bound
This is closer to the concept of the Warlock

Theurge
These guys are neat ideas.  They are close to what would be a cultist in AS&SH. Spellcasters learning from long lost liturgical texts.

So a lot of really good choices.   Honestly there plenty of class choices in AS&SH already, but these can give your game an interesting twist.  Plus they feel right together.

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