Showing posts with label basic. Show all posts
Showing posts with label basic. Show all posts

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Plays Well With Others: B/X Gangbusters

Yesterday I reviewed the new B/X Gangbusters game and talked about its potential due to its Basic-era roots.  I stand behind that and a recent dive into some of my favorite Basic-era games supports this.  So let's see how well Gangbusters, B/X edition Plays Well With Others.



Realms of Crawling Chaos
Both are built on similar B/X designs.  Realms of Crawling Chaos adds Lovecraftian Horrors to your B/X Gangbusters games.  Both also support the same era of play, more or less, and have similar offerings in terms of playing normal humans. In fact, adding Realms of Crawling Chaos can add an edge to your "Educated" characters they might not normally have. 

Of course, at this point, you might ask why not just play Call of Cthulhu or d20 Call of  Cthulhu.  The answer, of course, is to be able to play this as a B/X game.

Amazing Adventures
AA is a Pulp-era game based in and on the 1930s; so about a decade later.  But there is still a lot in this game that would be helpful to the Gangbusters player or Judge. Not to belabor it, but the are equipment lists here that have different items that the GB Basic book.  The Amazing Adventures classes also give the GB Judge some go ideas for playing Powered Characters.

Basic Psionics Handbook
Moving further afield we have Richard LeBlanc's Basic Psionics Handbook.   While psionics have a "complicated" relationship to Fantasy games, they seem to work just fine in semi-modern ones.  In particular, a psionic wild talent would fit well into a GB game.  Let's not forget that the 1920s was also the time of Harry Houdini and his magic shows.  In real life he was a debunker of claims of the supernatural, but who knows what he was doing in YOUR world.

This along with Realms of the Crawling Chaos gives you a Lovecraftian style game that is less "Call of Cthulhu" and more "Cast a Deadly Spell".
I want to try this with a hard-boiled private eye that used to be a boxer and has seen a little too much magic.  I'll have to name him Robert Howard Lovecraft.

Starships & Spacemen 2e
Moving even further out from Psionics we have another one from Goblinnoid Games, Starships & Spacemen.  How does this one work?  Glad you asked!  One of my favorite Star Trek Episodes is "A Piece of the Action" where the crew of the Enterprise beam down to Sigma Iota II to investigate the crash of the Horizon from 100 years earlier.  They discover that the Iotians, a very creative and intelligent humanoid race, have recreated Chicago from the 1920s based on the book "Chicago Mobs of the Twenties", which had been published in (their version of) 1992.  The Iotians recreated their entire civilization based on this book.  At the end of the episode, it is revealed that Dr. McCoy misplaced his communicator.  Kirk and Spock state they will analyze the technology and that by the time they come back they could be the Federation.



There was an attempt to do a sequel to this by Michael Piller for TNG and some comics.  For me though, it was a throw-away section in the FASA TNG Officer's Manual that when the Federation came back to Sigma Iota II that they found a fully functional Federation style Space Station waiting for them.  Frankly, I would use that in a heartbeat for my own BlackStar games.  Maybe even adopt Piller's idea that this was a Federation, with the morality of the Chicago gangs.
It sounds like a lot of fun really.  I'd steal more ideas from FASA Trek for this too, including the interim uniforms they were using for the Enterprise-C era.   I will have to come back to this.

There is a lot more you could do with Gangbusters and the vast library of Basic-era B/X compatible material out there.


Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Review: B/X Gangbusters

The latest game to take over the Old-School gaming scene like, well, gangbusters is the new B/X Gangbusters; an update to the old TSR Gangbusters.

Gangbusters is a new game from Mark Hunt based on both the original Gangbusters and Basic/Expert D&D.  At first, I was a little wary of this.  It seemed a little too close to trademarks and I have seen some shady stuff.  But it turns out that Mark legally owns the Gangbusters trademark and this has been a dream of his for some time.  Reading his posts about it online you get his enthusiasm and it is contagious.  So does it live up to the hype? Let's check it out.

Gangbusters is an old school game built on the Basic version of D&D; or at least a suitable clone of it.  So if you know that game you how this one works. 
Characters have a choice of class; Brutish, Connected, Educated, and Street Smart. And each class has six levels, complete with level titles no less!

Each class gets a good write-up and running them through my memory of Good Fellas, The Untouchables and the Godfather I think they cover just about everything.  My tastes would run more towards Private Eyes so Connected and Street Smart would be great for me.

The alignment system here is Law vs. Neutrality vs. Dishonesty.  It works. It works rather well, to be honest.   

There are a lot of lists of equipment with 1920s costs.  For historical games, I love this stuff. 
There are guides for playing characters and playing in the time period.  

Part 3 is the newest material, Piece Of the Action, covers playing the Gangbusters game. A lot of great information here. 

Part 4 covers Game Mastering or Judging. This covers running a city.  Now, this is where I commit heresy, but there some great stuff here I might steal for other B/X style games.  This also covers awarding experience points.

For Part 5 we get Investigations.  Part 6 deals with Law Enforcement and Part 7 handles The Encounter.  The big gem of Part 7 is the table of vehicles. 



Part 8 is Wandering Adversaries and that is our "Monster" section.  It is 100% or at least 99% compatible with every other OSR game.  Though these are city adversaries of the 1920s.  You get adversaries like Angry Mob, Cat Burglars, Gangsters, Klansmen,  Moonshiners and more.  I have to admit, I now want to send a coven of my witches after a group of klansmen. 

Part 9 covers Combat.  This is expected stuff, but the really cool thing are the Saving Throws.  Gangbusters gives us, Moxie. Quickness. Toughness. Driving. and Observation. Really, how awesome is that?  

There is an optional section here that grabbed my attention. Mysterious Powers allows you to play as Golden Age heroes.  That is a very, very interesting development.



The game comes as a PDF and a Print on Demand book. Color covers and Black & White interior art.   It comes in at 63 pages.  The game is also released under the OGL.

How Does it Compare to Original Gangbusters?
By using the "Basic" system there are a lot details in the original game that are not needed in the newer game.  For example, skills are less of a game mechanic in the newer game.  The original Gangbusters has more detail on various weapon effects but the newer game is far better organized. 
OG Gangbusters weighs in at 64 pages, as was common for TSR at the time and a smaller font.  So it, in general, has more text, but that doesn't mean more game in this case. 

All in all. Gangbusters is a great game.  Part of that greatest comes from Mark Hunt's enthusiasm and his obvious love for this game.  Personally, I would get it for that alone, but thankfully the game here is also great all on it's own.   

If you enjoy the 1920s, Gangster films or even, like me, B/X D&D and related games, then this is a must buy.

Monday, November 4, 2019

Monstrous Monday Review: D&D Creature Catalogs

Something a little different today as I wind down from that crazy October.
One of the things I wanted to do with my "Back to Basic" year was also to get some more reviews in for some the basic era products I enjoyed the most and for the products that also contributed to my love of the game.  These would both be products by TSR and third party products of the time and of more recent years.

Since today is my day to post about monsters I wanted to hit two products that really enjoyed back in the day.

Now I have gone on and on (and on and on) about how pivotable the AD&D 1st Ed Monster Manual was to my life in RPGs.  So much so that I would later pick up any monster book that came out.   I loved AD&D and played it all throughout my High School days and beyond.   But it was Basic D&D, in particular, the B/X flavor of D&D that was my favorite.  I wanted a Monster Manual for that game.  Eventually, TSR granted my wish.

AC9 The Creature Catalog (1986)
The Creature Catalog (AC9), came out in 1986 and was produced in conjunction with TSR UK and it would be one of the last books to do so.  It shared a name with a series in Dragon Magazine (Issues #89 and #94), which led to some confusion on my part, but that was soon displaced.  A bit of a background story.  My then AD&D DM had grabbed this and let me borrow it. He knew I was a fan of D&D (Basic) and a fan of undead monsters, of which this had a lot of.  I immediately started pouring over the book and loved all the new creatures in it and new versions of some that I considered "classic" by then.   For example, the Umber Hulk (MM1) and the Hook Horror (FF) now shared an entry under "Hook Beast" and the Umber Hulk was now called a "Hulker".  Given the time I just decided it was obviously the same beast and just called that in my version of Mystara and my DM kept Umber Hulk for his version of Greyhawk.  Simple.
Grabbing the PDF a while back I was hit by all these memories of flipping through the book and that sense of wonder came back.  Monsters that I had used in games and have since forgotten about came rushing back to me.
The PDF is a scan of the original book, so the quality is not 100%, more like 80% really.  BUT that is not a reason not to get it. The text is still clear and the pictures, while not high-res are still legible.  If nothing else the "imperfections" of the scan match my imperfect memory of the book.  So point 1 for nostalgia purchase.  The book itself is 96 black & white pages with color covers.
There are about 150 monsters here (151 by my quick count). Some should be familiar to anyone that has been playing for a while, but there are also plenty of new ones that reflect the differences in design tone between D&D and AD&D.
This book is separated by (and bookmarked by in the pdf) sections.  The sections are Animals, Conjurations (magically created creatures), Humanoids, Lowlife, Monsters, and Undead.
There are a lot of fun monsters here, many have made it into later editions of D&D, in particular, the Mystara Monstrous Compendium.
The index is very nice since it also covers all the monsters in the various BEMCI books for a complete picture of the monsterography of the mid-80s D&D.
If you are playing old-school D&D or a retro-clone of the same then this is a great little treat really. The book also has guidelines on where to put monsters and how to make alterations to the monster listing for a different creature.  In fact a lot of what I have seen on some blogs and forums over the last couple years about how to "play monsters" has been better stated here. Yet more evidence that there is really nothing new out there. That and people don't read the classics anymore!

DMR2 Creature Catalog (1993)
The next Creature Catalog (DMR2) came out in 1993 for the D&D Rules Cyclopedia. Most of the same monsters that appear in the Creature Catalog AC9 are here. In fact, a lot of the exact same art is used.  The net difference is this book has 158 monsters.
This book is the more customary 128 black & white pages with two, color covers.  The monsters in this version are all listed alphabetically.  This is also a much better scan and a print option is also available.
This book was designed for the Rules Cyclopedia and not BECMI the rules are 99% the same and thus both this and AC9 can be used interchangeably.  DRM2 Creature Catalog came out at the same time as the AD&D 2nd edition Monstrous Compendiums so the layout and style reflects that.  The color trim here is red instead of blue.
This PDF does bookmark every monster entry and since all monsters are listed together it is easier to find what you want here.  Missing though is some of the advice in the earlier AC9 version.
But like the AC9 version, this is a fantastic book to use with your classic games or retro-clones of them.
In both books you won't find demons or devils since they were not part of the D&D world of Mystara, but that is not a big deal.   For me, the loss is nothing compared the amount of undead both books have.  Some of my favorite undead monsters to use to this very day made their appearances in these books.  Elder Ghouls, Death Leaches, Dark Hoods, Grey Philosophers and Velyas still rank among my favorites.

If you are only able to get one then opt for the DMR2 version for the better scan quality.

Thursday, October 31, 2019

Tis the Season

Well, Trick or Treating is nearly done here and there is only four hours left of Halloween.

If you want to grab the 2019 Pumpkin Spice Edition of Advanced Labyrinth Lord you had best do it now.  It also looks really nice with my Pumpkin Spice Witch.


Hey, they look so good you should grab them both!

It was 20 Years Ago Today...

All apologies to the Beatles, but it was 20 years ago today that I released my very first witch book on the internet.


It was a "netbook" back in the days before the OGL and when TSR would go after everyone for even talking about D&D online.  This really put me "on the web" as it were.  Of course, I also published it under my pseudonym of "Web Warlock" at the time since I want to keep my "game" writing separate from my (then) Academic writing.

Today I am celebrating the release of The Basic Witch: The Pumpkin Spice Witch Tradition and the last couple of hours of the Kickstarter for NIGHT SHIFT.

It has been a really fun game design carrer. That little witch book I published while sitting in the hospital after my son was born got me into working with Eden, doing some of the D&D 3e playtests, and then a lot more.  But 20 years ago was when it all really started. Also kind of fitting it was 40 years ago that started playing this game to start with!





New Release: The Pumpkin Spice Witch Tradition

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

The Basic Witch: The Pumpkin Spice Witch Tradition



Samhain Blessings!
Autumn.

A time of change, a liminal time between times. A time for warm sweaters, pumpkin spice, and witchcraft!

Introducing the Pumpkin Spice Tradition, witches dedicated to this time.

- The Sisterhood coven
- 122 Spells and Rituals for witch characters
- New magic items including magic cauldrons, masks, and tea. Plus the magic item black market
- 3 Non-player characters to challenge or aid the mightiest characters

Fully compatible with Labyrinth LordTM and other Basic-Era games.
(But pairs nicely with Advanced Labyrinth Lord Pumpkin Spice 2019 Edition)

Fully compatible with other witch books from The Other Side.

Available Now!

Monday, October 14, 2019

Monstrous Mondays: Zugarramurdi Brujas for Basic era Games AND Night Shift

A while back I featured a monster I was quite happy with, the Zugarramurdi Bruja, a mix of hag, vampire, and undead witch.  Since then I have read more about these witches and want to use them more.

So here they are, again for Labyrinth Lord, other Basic-era games, and for Night Shift.



Zugarramurdi Brujas

The Zugarramurdi Brujas are undead witches that are believed to have come from the village of Zugarramurdi, Spain.  Zugarramurdi was the scene of a huge witch trail in the 17th century.  It was believed that these witches sold their souls to a devil named Akerbeltz, he gave them magical powers, silver and a toad familiar.  When alive they had power of animals and members of the opposite sex.  It was believed that these witches could also spit poison.  To maintain their power they had to sacrifice children on the night of the Summer Solstice.
Some of the accused died before they saw trail, but many of the witches were tried and executed.  Their remains, which could not be buried in hallowed ground, were tossed into a cave where the witches used to meet; Cuevas de las Brujas ("Cave of the Witches").
It is said they returned from the dead on the next Summer Solstice.

The term now is used to refer to any witch that comes back from the dead due to improper burial.  As an undead creature, they are more powerful than they were in life, though most of their spellcasting ability is diminished.
They attack with a claw/claw/bite routine as their primary form of attack.  On a successful critical hit (natural 20) on any attack, they also drain 1 point of Wisdom and 1 point of Charisma from their victims.  Any victim reduced to 0 in either ability will become a zombie under control of the Zugarramurdi Bruja who killed it.

They also are surprised only on a 1 in 6.
They also cast the following spells as a 10th level witch: Bewitch III, Charm, ESP, Eyebite, Greater Command, Shriek, Withering Touch, and Undead Enslavement.

Zugarramurdi Brujas are vulnerable to silver, magic weapons and holy items.  Holy water does 1d8 hp of damage to them. They can be turned by a good cleric as if they were vampires.  A lawful witch can also turn these creatures as if she were a cleric of the same level, such is their abomination of all things the lawful witch holds sacred.   Like a vampire, these creatures cannot enter into a personal dwelling unless they are granted permission nor can they ever enter hallowed ground, such as a place of lawful worship or a graveyard.  Doing so causes them 1d8 hp damage per round.

Zugarramurdi Brujas
(Labyrinth Lord, Pumpkin Spice Editon)
No. Enc.: 1 (3)
Alignment: Chaotic (evil)
Movement: 30' (90')
Armor Class: 2
Hit Dice: 10+5*** (50 hp)
Attacks: 3 (claw/claw/bite)
Damage: 1d4/1d4/1d6
Special: Wisdom & Charisma drain
Save: Witch 10
Morale: 10
Hoard Class: XVII
XP: 2,600

Zugarramurdi Brujas
(Blueholme Journeymanne Rules)
AC: 2
HD: 10d8+5
Move: 30
Attacks: 2 claw (1d6-1 x2), 1 bite (1d6) + Wisdom & Charisma drain
Alignment: Chaotic
Treasure:
XP: 2,600

Zugarramurdi Brujas
(Old-School Essentials)
AC 2 [17], HD 10 (50hp), Att 2 claw (1d6-1 x2), 1 bite (1d6) + Wisdom & Charisma drain, THAC0 17 [+2], MV 90’ (30’), SV D11 W12 P11 B14 S12 (10), ML 10, AL Chaotic, XP 2,600, NA 1 (1-3), TT None
 Wisdom & Charisma drain: Natural 20 hit drains one-point of each.
 Vulnerability: Vulnerable to silver, magic weapons and holy items.  Holy water does 1d8 hp of damage to them. Cannot enter hallowed ground.
 Undead: Immune to mind-influencing effects, poison, disease, and similar effects. Not subject to critical hits, subdual damage, ability damage, energy drain, or death from massive damage.

Zugarramurdi Brujas
(Night Shift)
No. Appearing: 1-3
AC: 2
Move: 40ft.
Hit Dice: 10
Special: 3 attacks (2 claw, bite), wisdom drain, witch spells.
Weakness: Vulnerable to silver, magic weapons and holy items.  Holy water does 1d6+1 hp of damage to them. Cannot enter hallowed ground.

Zugarramurdi Brujas exist to the modern-day, their last known encounter was in 2013.



This is my 1st Entry for the RPG Blog Carnival for this month.   Hosted by of Dice and Dragons.
This month features From beyond the grave.  Perfect my blog and October!


Wednesday, October 9, 2019

TBBYANR: Reviews from R'lyeh

I have not done one of these in a long time.  One of the reasons is of course is it much harder to know what people are reading or not.  So I really have no idea if you are reading the blogs I read or not.  But here is one that has been doing some good work of late and you should all know about it.


Mathew "Pookie" Pook runs Reviews from R'lyeh and he has been doing some cool things lately.
Now this is not a new blog by any stretch, Matthew has been doing his thing as long a many other blogs have, since 2009.  What has set his blog apart lately are his reviews of the B series adventures and all of the homages, clones, official and unofficial sequels.

He has done, to date, 1000 reviews, but it is his focus has largely been on B1 In Search of the Unknown and B2 Keep on the Borderlands.  I mean by all mean read the reviews, but it is the B-series that has me coming back for more.

In addition to being a great overview/review of the classic B1 and B2 modules, the series also covers a lot of the "homage modules" as well, many I have never seen before.

I would have loved to have done this series myself, it is the sort of crazy, obsessive-compulsive type of in-depth review I love.  So just go over his site and read them all.  Then use his links to download all the related adventures.  There is enough here to make an entire campaign from these two adventures.  In fact, I think that is a great idea.

Then go back and read all his other reviews and posts.




Tuesday, October 1, 2019

What IS the Pumpkin Spice Witch really?

So in between getting my courses done for the second half of Fall term and the start of Spring Term I am working like crazy to get my "silly little project" done.

What is that?  Well, that would be my Pumpkin Spice Witch book.



Like I mentioned before, it started out as a bit of a joke, but it has quickly grown into something more.  Yes, I am going to have some good-natured jabs at "pumpkin spice culture" and fall. 
But you know what?

I love fall! I love pumpkin spice. I love cool weather, Halloween, picking apples, and getting pumpkins and everything that goes with it.  I am also still enough of an academic to always feel that my year starts in the Fall.

So this book is also a celebration of all things Fall, Halloween and witchy.  I am going to embrace the stereotypes and show why I love them.

Plus there are some wicked cool spells in here.  So yeah, spells like Oh my God, Becky!, You Can’t Sit With Us, and Live, Laugh, Love may sound a little silly, but they are spells that no witch is going to want to be without.

I am so enjoying this book in fact that I have some Jeff Dee art that I commissioned that I think I want to use for this.  That's how highly I think of it.

It will work perfectly with my other Basic Era Witch class books and the new Pumpkin Spice Edition Labyrinth Lord.


Monday, September 30, 2019

Monstrous Mondays: Piasa Bird for Basic era games

Well.  It is 85 degrees and humid here in Chicago today.  But I don't care. The calendar says October-eve and it's fall.  Time to get to some of my favorite monsters.

Top of that list is Illinois' favorite, The Piasa Bird. My dad introduced this monster to me.


The Piasa Bird
AKA: The Piasa, "The Bird That Devours Men", "The Destroyer"

According to the diary of Louis Joliet, the Piasa Bird "was as large as a calf with horns like a deer, red eyes, a beard like a tiger's, a face like a man, the body covered with green, red and black scales and a tail so long it passed around the body, over the head and between the legs."

Piasa Birds in the game are larger and resemble a manticore or a dragon.
They do not keep treasure. They are only interested in killing for meat and sport.

Story of the Piasa Bird 
The following story appeared in the Alton Telegraph (1836) by John Russel. It is claimed that this is story told to Father Jacques Marquette and Louis Joliet by the native tribes of the valley.

When Marquette and Joliet came down the Mississippi river in 1673 they encountered a bluff on the east side of the river with the painting of a giant monster. When they asked the natives what this monster was, they retold for them the story that had been handed down to them for generations. Marquette named the monster "Piasa," pronounced Pie-a-saw, which means "the Destroyer."

The Legend of the Piasa bird that was related to Marquette and Joliet went something like this. Many years ago a great bird roamed the land. Every morning the people would wake in fear to the shrill screams of the great Bird. The bird awoke hungry and would carry off dozens of boys and girls to its cave to be eaten. Chief Ouatoga [OO-wa-toe-ga] was getting old. He wanted to destroy this terrible monster before he died. He called his braves to a meeting and told them he was going to ask the Great Spirit what to do.

He went up on the highest bluff. He spoke with the Great Spirit. The Great Spirit told the Chief, "Dip your arrows deep into the poison of a copperhead snake and shoot them into the body of the Bird. It  will cause its death." He returned to the camp and told his people what the Great Spirit had told him. He gathered up a small army of the strongest braves and set out to hunt the Bird. Chief Ouatoga told his braves that the plan was for someone to stand on the cliff to lure the Bird down. When the great monster swoops down they were to shoot it with their poison arrows.

The braves all begged their chief to be the one to sacrifice themselves. But the chief told them no, he would be the one since he was older. While the braves practiced with their bows, Chief Ouatoga spoke with the Great Spirit. "Think not of my life," he said, "but the lives of the children."

The next morning the chief stood tall waiting for the great bird to come. Its screams could be heard as flew down the river looking for victims. The bird saw the old chief and swooped down on him with a terrible scream.

Just as the monster was ready to attack the braves shot their arrows and all 100 met their mark. The monster fell into the Mississippi River and died. The braves carried the broken and bruised body of their chief back to the tribe. The medicine man healed him and he awoke the next day surrounded by his grateful people. In remembrance of the act, the returned to the site and painted a life-size picture of the monster. Every time a member of the tribe went down the river after that, he fired an arrow at the bluff.
In alternate versions of the story, the youngest brave stands on the cliff instead of the Chief. When he is healed the next day he becomes the new Chief.

Piasa Bird
(Labyrinth Lord, Pumpkin Spice Editon)
No. Enc.: 1 (1)
Alignment: Chaotic Evil
Movement: 90’ (30’)
    Fly:  240' (80')
Armor Class: -2 (scales and hide)
Hit Dice: 11d8+6 (55 hp)
Attacks: 4 (claw/claw/bite/tail swipe) + fear
Damage: 1d6+2/1d6+2/2d8/1d6
Save: F11
Morale: 9
Hoard Class: None (The Piasa eats all meat and discards everything else.)
XP: 2,800

The Piasa can cause fear as per the spell once per day.

Piasa Bird
(Blueholme Journeymanne Rules)
AC: -2
HD: 11d8
Move: 90
   Fly: 240
Attacks: 4 (claw/claw/bite/tail swipe) + fear  (1d6+2 x2 2d6+2/1d6)
Alignment: CE
Treasure: None
XP: 2,214

Piasa Bird
(Old-School Essentials)
A large creature with the body of a fish, the wings and claws of a dragon, the antlers of a stag and the face of an evil man.
AC -2 [22], HD 11* (55hp), Att 4 claw  (1d6+2) /claw  (1d6+2) /bite (2d8) /tail swipe (1d6), THAC0 10 [+10], MV 90’ (30’) flying 240' (90'), D6 W7 P8 B8 S10 (11), ML 9, AL Chaotic Evil, XP 2,214, NA 1 (1), TT None
 Attacks with claws, bite and tail sipe
 The Piasa can cause fear as per the spell once per day.

STR: 22 INT: 8 WIS: 8 DEX: 14 CON: 15  CHA: 4

Thursday, September 26, 2019

Children of the Gods The Classical Witch Tradition POD is Live!

This one took WAY longer than it should have, but now I finally worked out all the issues and can announce that the Print on Demand version of  The Children of the Gods The Classical Witch Tradition book for Basic Era Games is now live!


Designed for the BLUEHOLME™ Journeymanne Rules this new book explores:

  • The witch class and four new combination classes
  • Guidelines for playing any species of witch
  • Six witch covens of the Classical Tradition
  • 120 Spells and Rituals for witch characters
  • 24 Monsters to challenge or be allies
  • 29 magic items and six artifacts
  •  Three Non-player character witches from pages of mythology


It is a companion to my Cult of Diana: The Amazon Witch for Basic Era Games.  Designed to be used with the BLUEHOLME™ Prentice Rules.


I don't have a Print on Demand version of The Cult of Diana yet.  Similar issues.  If you want one those, let me know!

All of these books are part of my "Back to Basic" series I have been doing all year.


Each one is designed to cover a particular Witchcraft Tradition and to also take advantage of the rules presented in each of the respective Basic Era retro-clone.

Here are the books so far.



and coming soon



Monday, September 23, 2019

Monstrous Mondays: Corn Goblins for Basic era games

It's that time of year again.  The nights are getting longer and the days are shorter.  The corn and pumpkins are getting ready to harvest in the midwest.

I was walking through my in-law's cornfields back when I was working on Ghosts of Albion and I was thinking there are not really enough local Fae in Illinois.  Ok, there are none really.   But I thought this one would be fun.

Corn Goblins

Corn Goblins are not really goblins at all. They are in fact faeries, but they are so ugly that they are mistaken for goblins.  They have some similar features to the Bendith Ý Mamau of the Welsh but have not (so far) displayed any type of magic. Nor are they unpleasant like their Welsh cousins.

Corn Goblins appear as small ugly faeries with dark yellowish-brown skin, yellow hair and bright blue eyes. They are fond of wearing pale green clothes. 

Corn Goblins though are named for their preferred habitat, the endless fields of corn and other grains. They rarely, if ever interact with humans but have been known to befriend crows and even use them as transports.

Very little is known about them but to date, they have shown to be benign. The earliest recorded mention of a corn goblin-like creature is from the records of a witch trial. One girl described consulting with a “foule imp” that matched the corn goblin description given by occultists.


Corn Goblins
(Labyrinth Lord, Pumpkin Spice Editon)
No. Enc.: 1d6 (3d6)
Alignment: Neutral
Movement: 90’ (30’)
Armor Class: 4
Hit Dice: 1
Attacks: 1 (dagger)
Damage: 1d4
Save: E1
Morale: 6
Hoard Class: None
XP: 13

Corn Goblins
(Blueholme Journeymanne Rules)
AC: 4
HD: 1d8
Move: 30
Attacks: 1 dagger (1d6)
Alignment: N
Treasure: None
XP: 13

Corn Goblins
(Old-School Essentials)
A small ugly faerie with dark yellowish-brown skin, yellow hair and bright blue eyes. Often encountered with a large crow.
AC 4 [15], HD 1* (4hp), Att 1 × dagger (1d4), THAC0 19 [0], MV 90’ (30’) flying, SV D12 W13 P13 B15 S15 (E1), ML 6, AL Neutral, XP 13, NA 1d6 (3d6), TT None
 Attacks with small daggers.
 Often works with large crows as mounts.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Announcement: The Pagan Witch Tradition

And now the project I was working on all summer.  For Old-School Essentials.

The Craft of the Wise: The Pagan Witch Tradition



From the Foreword:
It was 40 years ago.  1979.

The 70s were ending and I was excited for the coming of the new decade of the 80s.  It promised to be a great decade of home computers, new music and for me, looking forward to Junior High and High School.

It was also a watershed year for my involvement in D&D and witches.

1979 was the year I was introduced to D&D. I have told the story before; I learned from a poorly Xeroxed copy of Holmes Basic and an AD&D Monster Manual.  That formed what became my D&D incubator. I would later move on to the Moldvay Basic rules.   What *IS* D&D to me was formulated at this time.

1979 was also the year that two books that would become central to what people considered witches to be were released.  Drawing Down the Moon by Margot Adler and The Spiral Dance by Starhawk.  Both books were released on October 31, 1979, and became best sellers.  Both authors were very influenced by the works of Margaret Murray (The Witch-Cult in Western Europe) and Gerald Gardner (Witchcraft Today).  While the archeological and historical scholarship of Murray and Gardner has been rightfully dismissed, the mythology of all these works is captivating.

The witches I started playing back then, Luna, Cara, Marissa and soon Larina, were based on these and other sources. I gathered notes, began my own classes; The Witch became the front runner and my favorite.

October 31, 1999. 20 years after my start and the publication of Adler’s and Starhawk’s books I released the Complete Netbook of Witches & Warlocks. My very first book on witches for the D&D (then AD&D 2nd ed) game. In the grand occult publishing tradition, I went under the pseudonym “Web Warlock”.  I clicked “OK” on the upload while sitting in the hospital three days after my first son was born.

October 31, 2019. Twenty years later again I present you this book.  It is something of a milestone for me.  It is the penultimate release of my “Back to Basics” series of Old-School Witch books. It is also the one that cleaves the closest to how I was playing in those long lost days.  And as a special treat; my son who was only three days old when I released my first book is now 20 and contributed some spells to this book.

I am looking forward to seeing where I go in the next 20 years.
I am really happy this is the book that will celebrate the anniversary of my Complete Netbook of Witches & Warlocks.

Out on October 31st 2019, Halloween.

Here are the Back to Basics series books so far.


Tuesday, September 10, 2019

File Under: You should have seen this one coming...

This started as a joke, but I am actually beginning to love this project.   It is Fall after all.


The next, and totally unplanned, book in my Back to Basics series of witches.

The Pumpkin Spice Tradition gives us the Basic White Witch.

Join Becky and Karen and learn such spells as:

  • Blessed
  • Create Wine
  • Live, Laugh, Love
  • Does This Bring Joy?
  • Oh my God, Becky!
  • You Can’t Sit With Us
  • Summon Higher Power

Gain Occult Powers such as:

  • Resting Witch Face
  • I Want to See your Boss

No idea how many pages this one will be, but all I can say is I am having a great time writing it!

Monday, September 9, 2019

Monstrous Monday: Schreckengeist

I was doing some research yesterday morning for a couple of different projects I can't wait to share with you all and I came across a couple of really fun things.  First, and I'll talk about her later, might be the first witch NPC I EVER created. The second is today's monster.

I was going through my copy of B1 In Search of the Unknown and found a monster I had forgotten.  The  Schreckengeist, or "fear ghost" is a low-level ghost I used to fill a couple of needs.  I wanted a ghost-like creature to send against low-level aka Basic parties and I wanted an undead creature that "turned" the living.

Here is the Schreckengeist for my two current favorite Basic clones.


Schreckengeist
(Blueholme Journeymanne Rules)
AC: 3
HD: 3d8
Move: 30
Attacks: 1 special, scream of fear.
Alignment: CE
Treasure: None
XP: 175

Schreckengeist
(Old-School Essentials)
The ghost of a former adventurer. Its face is distorted in fear and rage.
AC 3 [17], HD 3 (13hp), Att 1, scream of fear, THAC0 20 [0], MV 60’ (20’), SV D13 W13 P14 B15 S17, ML 10, AL Chaotic, XP 175, NA 1 (1d4), TT none
 Scream causes fear as per the spell.
Infravision: 60’.
Undead: Not effected by sleep, charm or hold spells.  Silvered weapons to hit. Turned as a Ghoul.

The Schreckengeist is the ghost of an adventurer who died mid-adventure and was never raised or their body returned home.   The rumor is that a schreckengeist can only happen to adventurers who die on their first adventure, but they can happen to any adventurer who dies before they reach 4th level.  Not all adventurers who die though become schreckengeists.  The circumstances have to be just right.  The victim needs to have died in fear and/or great pain and their body never recovered. 

Now they are cursed to roam the dungeons they sought to explore.

The schreckengeist is incorporeal and can not be struck by normal weapons, only silvered ones.  Likewise, it can not attack with physical attacks, although in it's rage it will try too.  It's only attack is a scream of fear.  Characters of 3rd level or below must Save vs. Petrification or flee in terror as per the Fear spell.  Normal Humans and creatures below 1 level/HD get no save, characters above 4th level/HD are immune.

Schreckengeist are turned as ghouls.

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Favorite Basic Clone? You Tell Me!

I ran this poll over on Facebook, but I wanted to collect some more responses.  Since this is my year of "Back to Basic" I wanted to hear about what you are all playing and enjoying.


So please, answer the survey below and let me know.  This is 100% anonymous and I am not tracking anything but the choices you make.


I believe I have the top choices here, but there is also an "Other".
Note: I am considering Swords & Wizardry its own thing for the purposes of this survey.

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

The Children of the Gods: The Classical Witch for Basic Era Games

The next book in my Back to Basics series is now out!

The Children of the Gods: The Classical Witch for Basic Era Games



Old Gods Rise! 
“Who knows not Circe, The daughter of the Sun, whose charmed cup Whoever tasted, lost his upright shape, And downward fell into a groveling swine?”  - John Milton

Sumer. Egypt. Greece. Rome.
These are the foundations of civilization. Where mythology, religion, and magic collide in a fertile land.

It is a time of Gods and Witches!

This book introduces the Classical Witch Tradition. Witches from the ancient time of myths and legends.
  • The witch class and four new combination classes
  • Guidelines for playing any species of witch
  • Six witch covens of the Classical Tradition
  • 120 Spells and Rituals for witch characters
  • 24 Monsters to challenge or be allies
  • 29 magic items and six artifacts
  • Three Non-player character witches from pages of mythology
Fully compatible with BLUEHOLMETM and other Basic-Era games.

Fully compatible with other witch books from The Other Side.

Print on Demand copy available soon! 
Just waiting on my proofs.

Also, check out my other Back to Basics witch books, The Daughters of Darkness for Basic Era Games and The Cult of Diana: The Amazon Witch for Basic Era Games.




Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Cult of Diana: The Amazon Witch for Basic Era Games

The first of TWO related releases for Lughnasadh and Mabon and continuing my Back to Basics series.

Cult of Diana: The Amazon Witch for Basic Era Games


https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/286580/Cult-of-Diana-The-Amazon-Witch-for-Basic-Era-Games?affiliate_id=10748

Diana, Queen of the Hunt!
“Let us be Diana's foresters, minions of the moon”  - William Shakespeare

Artemis and Diana, Forever Young. Forever Wild.
Time out of mind the symbol of Diana meant freedom. And in freedom there is Power.

This book introduces the Amazon Witch Tradition. Witches from the ancient time of myths and legends.

 - The witch class and two new witch covens

 - 40 Spells and 8 Rituals for witch characters

Fully compatible with BLUEHOLMETM and other Basic-Era games.

Fully compatible with other witch books from The Other Side.

All for the low, low price of FREE.

Overtly this is designed to go with the Blueholme Prentice Rules. This gets you going using my Holmes inspired witch class for the price of a couple of clicks.

Also, check out the first of my Back to Basics witch books, The Daughters of Darkness for Basic Era Games.



AND Coming soon...

Children of the Gods: The Classical Witch Tradition also for BLUEHOLME!


Monday, August 26, 2019

Monstrous Monday: Spider, Unlight

"It was a creature from the Outer Darkness.  Clothed in the shape of a gargantuan spider, but far more fell.  It's exact shape was difficult to make out, save from where darkness gave way to a deeper unlight.  All we could see were it's monstrous eyes. Each one glowed and betrayed great and evil greed or thirst for light and life."
- From the Journals of Larina Nix


The foul and fell creatures known as the Unlight Spiders are not true spiders, but take that form from the deepest fears of mortal kind.  They are in truth shapeless spirits of the voids beyond the blackness of the darkest realms.  Such is their hunger they feed not just on life, but on the light itself.
They crave light as much as they loathe it.

Here they are for Old School Essentials.

Spider, Unlight
10' long spiders of complete pitch-black color.  Hide in dark webs in the deepest, darkest pits they can find. 
AC 4, HD 7** (32hp), Att 1 × bite (3d6 + poison), THAC0 17, MV 90’ (30’) / 180’ (60’) in webs, SV D8 W9 P10 B11 S12 (F8), ML 10, AL Chaos, XP 1210, NA 1 (1d3), TT Ux2
• Growth: Every time the Unlight Spider drains life levels equal to twice their own HD they grow one size category larger. 


HDhpXP
7321,210
14636,600
2812626,600
• Energy drain: A successfully hit target permanently loses one experience levels (or Hit Dice). This incurs a loss of one Hit Dice of hit points, as well as all other benefits due to the drained levels (e.g. spells, saving throws, etc.). A character’s XP is reduced to the lowest amount for the new level. A person drained of all levels dies and cannot be raised.
• Infravision: 180’
• Loathe the Light: -1 to-hit in lighted conditions (Light spell) and -2 full daylight (Continual Light spell) conditions.
• Mundane damage immunity: Can only be harmed by magical attacks.
• Poison: Causes death in 1 turn (save vs poison).
• Webs: Creatures caught in webs become entangled and unable to move. Breaking free depends on Strength.
<10: Impossible to break free
10-13: 6 rounds
14-17: 5 rounds
18-19: 4 rounds
19-22: 3 rounds
23+ : 2 rounds
The webs can be destroyed by fire in three rounds. All creatures in a flaming web suffer 1d6 points of damage.

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

In a time of Ancient Gods...

There were the ones that beseeched these gods for power and it was granted!

These are the witches of the Classical Traditions and their closely allied sisters the Amazon Tradition.



Coming soon for the BLUEHOLME Journeymanne and Prentice Rules.


Sumer. Egypt. Greece. Rome.
These are the foundations of civilization. Where mythology, religion and magic collide in a fertile land.
It is a time of Gods and Witches!

This book introduces the Classical Witch Tradition. Witches from the ancient time of myths and legends.
  •         The witch class and four new combination classes
  •         Guidelines for playing any species of witch
  •         Six witch covens of the Classical Tradition
  •         120 Spells and Rituals for witch characters
  •         24 Monsters to challenge or be allies
  •         29 magic items and six artifacts
  •         Three Non-player character witches from pages of mythology

Also fully compatible with Daughters of Darkness: Lilith and the Mara Tradition.



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