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

Friday, November 2, 2018

Seoni, Pathfinder Iconic Sorceress, B/X style

Seoni might arguably be the most popular of the Pathfinder iconic characters. She is certainly one of my favorites.  She might not exactly be a witch, but she is close enough.


A few things have come together over the last couple of weeks to make me want to do this post.
First,  there is the new Seoni statue Kickstarter that I posted about this morning.
Secondly, I have really been getting interested in B/X again (as if my interest ever waned) thanks in large part to Gavin Norman's B/X Essentials line which looks like so much fun.

With the Art & Arcana book out I went back to the cover of D&D Basic which was the inspiration for the Pathfinder Core Rules book cover that introduced us to Seoni in the first place.



I also did stats for Feiya so long ago, so it seems right to me to also convert Seoni as my "second favorite" Pathfinder Iconic.

The witches three. Larina, Feiya, and Seoni
So I thought it might be fun to see how Seoni converts to B/X era D&D.  Of course in Pathfinder she is a Sorceress a class that B/X doesn't have.  But they do have the Magic-User which the ancestor of the Sorcerer class.  But I am contractually obligated to provide Witch stats too! ;)

For fun, I will do the Magic-User stats using only Gavin Norman's B/X Essentials: Core RulesB/X Essentials: Classes and Equipment, and B/X Essentials: Cleric and Magic-User Spells.

For her witch stats, I will use D&D Basic and Expert with my Basic-era Witch book.

I took her ability scores from her 1st Level iconic version to represent her stats as "rolled" but will base these off of here 12th level iconic version.  In the case of her Magic-user stats I rearranged her Int, Wis, and Cha to better fit the magic-user rules.  For her Witch stats I left them as-is.
For her other items like equipment and feats I tried to convert or perserve those the best I can within the rules of B/X D&D.

Seoni
12th level Magic-User

Abilities
Strength: 10
Intelligence: 18
Wisdom: 10
Dexterity: 14
Constitution: 12
Charisma: 13

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

Hit Points:  26
Alignment: Lawful (Lawful Neutral)
AC: 3 (unless using spells to protect herself more)
To Hit AC 0: 14

Familiar:  Blue Skink ("Dragon") (Basic Magic-users did not have a way of gaining a familiar. So this is a DM-fiat).

Spells
First (4): darkness (light, reversed) magic missile, read magic, shield
Second (4): continual darkness, detect invisible, invisibility, web
Third (3): fire ball, haste, lightning bolt
Fourth (3): charm monster, dimension door, wall of fire
Fifth (3): cloudkill, pass-wall, wall of stone
Sixth (2): control weather, death spell

Equipment: Amulet of Natural Armor +3, Ring of Protection +3, backpack, potions of cure wounds, scroll of fly, wand of magic missiles (32 charges, 7th level), staff of wizardry, dagger

So not exact copies of all the spells are found in the B/X era, but enough that I am fairly happy with this magic-user build.

Now. What if Seoni were a witch?  Valeros certainly thinks she is...

"I wonder about that witch and her schemes."
- Valeros, companion, friend and erstwhile lover of Seoni.

Seoni
12th level Witch, Dragon-blood Tradition* (Blue)

Abilities
Strength: 10
Intelligence: 10
Wisdom: 13
Dexterity: 14
Constitution: 12
Charisma: 18

Saves
Death Ray or Poison:  8
Magic wand or devices: 9
Paralysis, Polymorph or Turn to Stone: 8
Dragon Breath: 11
Rods, Staffs and Spells: 18

Hit Points: 26
Alignment: Lawful (Lawful Neutral)
AC: 3
To Hit AC 0: 14

Occult Powers (*the Dragon-blood tradition is something I have been playing around with for a couple of years now. Not ready for prime-time yet.)
Familiar:  Blue Skink ("Dragon")
Minor: Draconic Magic: Lightning Bolt (once per day Seoni can call on her draconic patron to cast Lightning Bolt).

Spells
Cantrips (6): dancing lights, detect curse, false glamor, flare, mend, spark,
First (4): burning hands, darkness, minor fighting prowess, spirit dart
Second (4): burning gaze, invisibility, produce flame, spell missile
Third (3): continual fire, dispel magic, fly,
Fourth (3): charm monster, intangible cloak of shadows, magic circle against evil 10'
Fifth (2): hold monster, primal scream, waves of fatigue
Sixth (2!): mass agony, wall of roses

Equipment: Amulet of Natural Armor +3, Ring of Protection +3, backpack, potions of cure wounds, scroll of fly, wand of magic missiles (32 charges, 7th level), dagger,  Staff of Enchantment

Witch-Seoni has a totally different feel to her than Magic-user-Seoni.  I would say that as a Dragon Witch her spells manifest in ways that remind one of a dragon.  Primal Scream, for example, would be the roar of a dragon. Produce Flame would be a spark of electricity that creates fire,  Mass Agony would come out as electricity like a blue dragon's breath, and so on.

I am pretty happy though with both builds.

Don't forget to check out the Seoni statue Kickstarter ending really soon.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Which Witch is Which? Swords & Wizardry Edition

This month see the release of my version of the Witch for the Swords & Wizardry White Box.  If things go as planned I'll have the Winter Witch out this Yule and some others after that.

It has gotten some people asking if the books are all compatible (they are) and what features each book has to make it "Special".  I hope this help clears some of that up.

For starters, yes, there is some overlap.  The table of experience points and spells per level are all 100% the same.   There some spells in common.  For example, the 3rd level spell Bestow Curse appears in multiple books since a curse is so central to the archetype of the witch.  There is also a lot new material in each one.


The Witch for Swords & Wizardry White Box
  • The Witch class, levels 1-10
  • The White Witch Tradition
  • 76 unique spell (out of 183 total spells)
  • Monsters, treasures, and magic items

The Witch: Hedgewitch for the Hero's Journey RPG
  • New Race: The Gnome
  • New Professions
  • The Witch class, levels 1-10 
  • Hedge Witch Tradition
  • 80 spells new to The Hero's Journey
  • 15 new monsters
The Green Witch for Swords & Wizardry
  • The Green Witch tradition 
  • The Green Knight and Huntsman classes
  • New race for S&W Complete: Forest Gnomes
  • 200+ witch spells
    • 91 Druid Spells
    • 61 Magic-User spells
    • 43 Cleric spells
  • Places of Power for Witches and other Spellcasters 
  • Monsters
  • Magic Items
  • The Grand Coven of the Earth Mother for Witches and Druids
The Warlock for Swords & Wizardry

  • The Warlock class and Traditions
  • New race: The Tieflings
  • Rules for goblin, hobgoblin and bugbear warlocks
  • 160+ spells
  • 50+ Warlock invocations
  • New monsters including the Baalseraph, Calabim, Lilim and Shedim demon groups.
  • Animal Lords and Faerie Lords
  • New magic items

The Witch: Aiséiligh Tradition for Swords & Wizardry

  • The Aiséiligh witch Tradition
  • The Daughters of the Flame Coven
  • 70+, new to Swords & Wizardry spells including never before published spells.

The Witch for Swords & Wizardry Continual Light

  • The Witch for S&WCL
  • Three new Traditions, The Light, The Dark, and Twilight Witches
  • New Spells
  • Seven New Monsters

The Witch for Swords & Wizardry Light

  • The Witch for S&WL

Additionally, I have my other two OSR Witch books.

The Witch: A sourcebook for Basic Edition fantasy games
This book is designed with the "Basic" rules in mind.  So Holmes, Moldvay, or Mentzer or them modern clones like Basic Fantasy or Labyrinth Lord.  Largely compatible with my Swords & Wizardry line.  In includes:

  • The Witch Class
  • Six Traditions (Aquarian, Classical, Faerie, Family, Maleficia and Eclectic)
  • 381 New Spells
  • Monsters
  • Magic items

Eldritch Witchery for Spellcraft & Swordplay
Again this book is largely compatible with the S&W line, though in different ways than the Basic Witch is.  It includes.

  • The Witch and Warlock classes (slightly different than the ones above)
  • New Witch traditions, Craft of the Wise, Tradition of the Magna Mater,  Demonic, Faerie and Gypsy.
  • New Warlock Lodges, The Dark School of the Scholomance, Fraternity of the Bones, Goetic, The Hermetic Lodge and The Secret Masters of the Invisible College.
  • New Demons, the Calabim, the Shedim, the Lilim, and the Baalseraph.
  • 248 spells


So 17 Witch traditions and 761 total spells!



Currently in the works:

The Winter Witch. the Winter Witch tradition, the Pact of Winter for the Warlock. New monsters and magic items. Lots of new spells.  New races

The Black Witch.  A B/X dedicated witch, levels 1 to 13.  The Black Witch Tradition (no, it's not what you think it is), lots of new spells, new magic items and maybe some monsters. Hags as a playable race.

and finally The Complete Witch a book that combines all these books into one.  Maybe...have not decided yet.


Monday, October 22, 2018

Basic Instincts, Part 2

Last week I posted a Lulu version of a possible POD for the D&D Basic book; B/X flavor.
I think it went a long way in showing that a Basic book POD is a viable solution.

To further that end, here is a book from roughly the same time period and with a similar scan. 
The Gamma World boxed set is more of a contemporary with the Holmes D&D boxed set but it is also currently in POD on RPGNow/Drivethru RPG and I got my book in the mail last week.



The cover is the same as the box art. As opposed to the cover of the book inside the box.






All of the box contents are reproduced in the book. Except for adventure and dice.


The text is rather clear and very easy to read.  In fact reading through this again today I found things in the rules that I either forgotten about or never knew!


It is in much better shape than my old GW book.

The PODs from WotC/DriveThru keep getting better and better.  So there is a reasonable expectation that a Basic set POD will look much better than my 15-minute effort.

Looking forward to seeing more PODs from Wizards/DriveThru and hopefully, Basic/Expert D&D will be part of that!

--

Don't forget the Witch for Swords & Wizardry White Box is now out! Featuring the White Witch Tradition.  It is 100% compatible with my other Swords & Wizardry witch books.  Each one with a new tradition, occult powers, magic items, spells, and rituals.  Many even include new monsters.


Monday, October 15, 2018

Basic Instincts

There has been some discussion online and in the B/X groups in particular about getting Print on Demand versions of the Moldvay Basic book and the Cook/Marsh Expert book.

Part of that discussion was how viable are the current PDFs for POD printing. You can see some of that discussion on the Basic D&D DriveThruRPG page (linked above).  Others began to wonder how difficult would it be to do?

Well everyone knows what a huge fan I am of B/X D&D so I thought I would give it a go.
I grabbed my PDF of Basic D&D and set a 10-minute time limit.  If I didn't have a book ready to go by then I would pack it up and go home from work.  It took me 15 minutes.

I fired up Adobe Suite and took apart the PDF to put back together on the Printer's website.

Today I got the results in the mail.




As you can see no one will mistake these for the real deal.  For starters there are no table of contents nor index.






While the newer one has whiter pages and clear text, the cover is not really the best.

Could I make a better one? Sure.  Given time and effort in Photoshop and Acrobat.  But I won't.  For starters the book, while not really expensive, was costlier than say buying a print copy of Basic Fantasy and I get more in that.  There are  other, cheaper options as well.

No this served the purpose I wanted well; could the current PDF make a passible POD.  The answer is Yes, with some work.  Now I have another table copy of D&D Basic and that is never a bad thing.


Wednesday, August 15, 2018

The Witch of Loch-Durnan

One of the things I love about GenCon are the booths selling cheap games.  There are lots books from the dismal 90s and a ton from the dawn of the d20 boom.

The Witch of Loch-Durnan was from the d20 dawn published by Mystic Eye Games who had a lot of cool books back then, some I still use.

This book though has vexed me.
First look at that Jhoneil Centeno art.  I can't recall seeing his work before or since.

Then I could never find it online at a decent price and there is no PDF to be had for money or love.

The 72-page adventure was written by Andrew Thomson. It is for four characters 5th to 7th level for the 3.0 flavor of the d20 system. There are some new monsters or more to the point a system of generating new mutations of monsters like scorpion dogs and goat men.

Then there is the eponymous witch herself.


Mellie, is the witch of Loch-Durnan.  She is also the central figure of this adventure.   Reading this makes me realize that this might in fact be the missing piece of my War of the Witch Queens adventures.  She certainly is worthy to join their ranks.

Mellie - The Witch of Loch-Durnan
for The Witch: A sourcebook for Basic Edition fantasy games

Female Half-elf
Witch 4th-level, Chaotic Neutral
White Witch* Tradition
Flock of the Moon Sisters Coven

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

Saving Throws
Death Ray: 13
Magic Wands: 14
Paralysis or Turn to Stone: 13
Dragon Breath: 16
Spells: 15

+2 to magic based saves

Hit Points: 12
AC: 8
To hit AC 0: 19

Occult Powers
Familiar:

Spells 
Cantrips (5): Dancing Lights, Detect Magic, Ghost Sounds, Mend Minor Wounds, Message
First (2+2): Charm Person, Mend Light Wounds, Protection from Spirits, Speak with Animals
Second (2+2): Augury, Evil Eye, Knock, Mind Obscure

*The White Witch is a type of witch featured int he Hunt the Rise of Evil campaign from Mystic Eye Games.  It is pretty much what you think a white witch is. Non-evil, focused on healing, protection, and divination magic.

Pretty close to her d20 counterpart.  I like it! Can't wait to use her as a Witch Queen!




Monday, June 25, 2018

Review: Survive This! Dark Places & Demogorgons

I'll start off my week-long look at Survive This! Dark Places & Demogorgons with the core rulebook.   A little bit of background thought first.  I love the 80s in the way a true child of the 80s only can.  Everything about the decade still fascinates me, fills me nostalgia and is a creative well I keep going back to.  In truth, I had better decades.  The 90s were particularly good to me and the 2010s are also really nice, but the 80s hold my interest more, especially when it comes to gaming.

Dark Places & Demogorgons (DP&D) taps into all of this in such a deep and profound way that it pisses me off me to no end.  Pisses me off, because I wish I had come up it myself!

A few things upfront.  DP&D owes a great deal to Stranger Things (which in turns owes a lot to D&D), but as fantastic as that is, that is not enough to sustain a game.  DP&D draws on deep 80s culture as well.  And deep I do mean shallow!  Nothing here about the Cold War, or USA for Africa, or the 84 Olympics, or the home computer revolution.  This is about what was going on in YOUR small town USA and how it felt like it was the strangest place on the planet.  All that "important stuff" is just background noise to what is really important; what are we doing Friday night and who's going to drive around cruising?  That of course until your friends start to disappear.

Dark Places & Demogorgons (DP&D) is a 200 page 5"x9" book with color covers and black & white interiors.  The art is a mix of new art, some art purchased from collections and (my personal favorite) some photos of the authors and friends from some 80's high school yearbooks.  I am reviewing both the physical book and PDF.  Both of which were purchased by me so no books were contributed for review.

The book is divided into an 80 page Player's Section which includes the Classes and Basic rules, and a 120 Page Game Master Section.

The Players section introduces the concept of a Role-playing game and what you can do.  We also get a little background on the town this all takes place in, Jeffersontown KY.
We go right into building a character. Now while the book tells us that this is a version of the same game played in 1974, there are more 21st Century rules here.  The rules feel like a Swords & Wizardry variant with some Basic (Holmes in particular) thrown in.  There are multiple types of saving throws (ala OD&D, Basic, an on up) and ascending AC (S&W, 3e).   In short though if you have played any sort of OSR game in the last few years you will pick this up fast.  If you have never played before, well you will still pick this up fast.

Unlike its progenitors, this game has Seven Abilities.  The new one is Survival.  At first, I was not a fan of it, but now I see how it works in the game it makes more sense to me.  Much like how another seventh ability, "Luck", works in The Heroes' Journey.
I mentioned there are new saving throws too, Courage, Critical, Death, Mental, and Poison.  Courage works a lot like a Fear/San test and there is even a terror table.

Where DP&D takes off though are ways you use to describe your characters.  We start off with Backgrounds.  You can roll randomly here in true 80s style, or choose.  Rolling seems better.  These include things like "Parents are never home" or "Bratty Kid Sister" and they have in-game effects.  Not having your parents home makes for your house to become the natural HQ of your monster surviving endeavors, but having to watch your "Strawberry Shortcake" obsessed little sister is going to slow you down.

After that, you can decide on what your Class is going to be. Classes work here like everywhere else really.  They decide your skills, they let you know where you fit in the world and they provide a role-playing guide.  The classes in this book are largely based on 80s High School stereotypes.  There are five main classes with three subclasses each (similar to how 5e does it) You have The Brain (Kid Scientist, The Nerd, The Geek), The Athlete (The Jock, Extreme Athlete, The Karate Kid), The Outsider (Break Dancer, Goth, Metal Head), The Popular Kid (Preppy, The Princess, Teen Heart Throb), and The Rebel (Bully, The Hood, the Punk Rocker). That pretty much covers everyone in a small high school.
Each class gets 5 levels and new abilities and/or skills each level.  So the Karate kid gets new moves and martial arts, the Princess can affect others and so on.

Skills cover the things you can do.  You can get some via your class or be improved by your class.  Others you can pick.  Combat is a skill and if you want to be better at it then you need to take the skill otherwise you are just a kid with a +0 to hit.

Character creation then is largely rolling up Abilities, picking a Background, a Class, some skills, determining your saving throws and finding out how much cash you have in your pocket.  Then you are set!

I recommend a Session 0 for character creation and concept.  Sure it is not in the rules and certainly not old school, but it better than everyone showing up for the game playing all playing "The Bully" or "The Nerd".

Lastly, you come up with your age, Alignment and various combat-related stats (AC, attack bonus).  DP&D is not a combat focused game.  You are kids and the monsters are, well, monsters.  You might score a hit or two, but that is it.  Otherwise, run!
XP and Leveling are a little "easier" then and there are other ways to gain levels.

We end this section with some sample characters, examples of play and a quick breakdown of the 1980s vs. Today.

The Game Master Section is next and this is where the fun is!
Here the advice of not making this a combat heavy game is repeated.  This is a game of mystery, investigation, and deduction.   From the book:

This game draws inspiration from movies like The Goonies, ET and The Lost Boys and T.V. shows like Stranger Things, Eerie Indiana and Scooby Doo.
Talk about hitting me where I live!

The rules might say 1974 on the tin, but they are much easier than that.  Nearly every rule is simplified and straightforward in a way we never would have tried in the 80s.  Among the "new" rules are Difficulty Classes (circa 3e) and Advantage/Disadvantage rules (circa 5e).  It makes for a very fast-paced game and the rules will fall into the background.

We get some weapons and explosives, but not a lot.

There is a nice section on magic and the occult which include some really nice Psychic classes.  In case you want to dial your game up to 11 (see what I did there!).

The fun part of the book are the Adventure Seeds.  Some are familiar to anyone that watched movies or TV in the 80s.  But others...well I can only conclude that these must be local legends and myths from the author's own home.  Which reminds me how much all these little towns are really the same, just the details differ.


Replace the Pope Lick Monster with the Mobil Monster and they could have been talking about my old hometown of Jacksonville, IL.  We even had giant cats, giant birds and bigfoot.  But if you know what is good for you stay away from Magical Mystery Lane (if you could find it) or the glowing "things" out by Lake Jacksonville.

The book also has a bunch of monsters in Swords & Wizardry format (more or less).  You could add more, but be careful.   Just because I have the stats for a Manticore in a S&W book that would work with this there had better be a good reason to include it.

There are stats for animals and various types of NPCs.  There is even a table of random monster generation.  Delving into more game specific tables there is a table (1d100) of basic adventure hooks.

We also get a small guide to the setting, Jeffersontown, or J'Town (I grew up in J'ville. AND we used to call it a "Sinkhole of Evil" YEARS before anyone ever said the words "hell mouth").
The guide is great, not just for use in the game but for the sheer nostalgia.  It read like someone had taken a fictionalized version of my old hometown.  I think that it is also flexible enough that an lot of people reading it will feel the same way.

We end with a nice solid appendix (the PDF is not hyper-linked here) and their own "Appendix N" of movies, television, and music.  Music was too important in the 80s for there not to be a list like this.

We end with a copy of the character sheet.

Wow.  Where to begin.

Ok first of this game is very nearly perfect and I hate it so much.  That's not true. I hate that I didn't come up with it and publish it sooner.  But in truth, I am not sure if I would have done the same quality job as Eric Bloat and Josh Palmer.  Plus the inclusion of their yearbook pictures and own background made this book for me.  I LOVED reading J'Town because I could see and feel my own J'Ville in it.  I would not have been able to do that if I had written it myself, so much kudos to them.
This is a work of art and I love it.

Everything feels right about this game, to be honest.  I even have a potential "Series" in mind for it.

Can't wait to do more with it!  I would love to get some of my old gamer friends from the 80s and have them play versions of themeselves in a "Stranger Jacksonville" or more to the point the Jacksonville we all WISHED it was.

Next time I look at the supplements.

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Survive This! Dark Places & Demogorgons Week

I am going to spend some quality time this week with Bloat GamesDark Places & Demogorgons.


The game is set in the 1980s and uses the same basic rules as 1970's era D&D. The game owes more than just a little to Stranger Things, but also to just the glorious weird times that was the 1980s.
The same cauldron that gave us the Satanic Panic would later set the groundwork for shows like The X Files and Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  This alchemical brew would also fuel so many of my games from then til now.

This game hits all my nostalgia buttons in one nice tight little package. Spending the week with it is going to be a real treat. Weird little towns, vampires, werewolves, ghosts and maybe the best soundtrack ever.



So load up your favorite 80s mixtape, put on your Member's Only jacket and pull out your Trapper Keepers full of graph paper dungeons and let's explore some Dark Places!

Friday, May 11, 2018

Kickstart Your Weekend: Maximum Mayhem #5: Palace of the Dragon's Princess

Maximum Mayhem #5: Palace of the Dragon's Princess

Mark Taormino is at it again and this time he has turned his offerings up.


https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/marktaormino/maximum-mayhem-5-palace-of-the-dragons-princess-bo

His fifth module, Palace of the Dragon's Princess, on the way and it has already seen all it's funding met.

I have talked a lot about Mark's adventures and books.

I expect this one to be just as good. It's an obvious nod to Palace of the Silver Princess.



But the best thing about this?  We are getting a BOX!


I am in for a box, module and dice.

I am so stoked for this.

While overtly for OSRIC/AD&D 1st Ed, I want to play an epic B/X game with all of these.  The Hanging Coffins of the Vampire Queen goes to level 14 and that is perfect.  Sure they are all deadly as hell, but that is part of the fun, right?

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Magic School: So you Want to Go to Magic School?

No gaming this past weekend.  Thought about some of the entry requirements for my B/X|BECMI Magic School campaign.

Entry Requirements
Age: 13 (0-level, 2 hp+con bonus, see below)
Minimum Intelligence: 16 (15 in conditional admit)
Demonstrate the ability to cast one spell (cantrip).
Interview with the School.  (Role=play/first adventure)

Ability Scores
Ability Scores are rolled per normal; 3d6 in order*. (Considering 2d6+3 for Strength, Dexterity, and Constitution).
I will allow the highest ability to be placed in Intelligence without penalty.
Each year the student will get 1 point to place in an ability of their choice. Max is 18.

According to the D&D Rules Cyclopedia, humans with an Intelligence ability of 16 or more knows at least 4 languages.  Common, Alignment and two others.  These two (or more) additional languages will be learned in the school.  Typically students learn Elven and Draconic.  Other, more exotic languages can be learned by 3rd and 4th-year students.

Cantrips
I will have a universal system for learning cantrips.  If so, then the first spell the students know might be a Cantrip.

Students can take seven courses per year and one over the summer.

First Year Classes
Physical Conditioning I:  Each morning will begin with exercise and other physical conditioning training.  Often a wizard will be required to stand in a magic circle for hours on end chanting. Weak in the body is as dangerous as weak in the will here.  Students enrolled (mandatory for First Years) will have the full amount of hp for their Hit Die per Level (typically 4 + con bonus).

Herbs and their Properties: Necessary for material component understanding and a prerequisite for Alchemy and Magical Theory and Thought II.

Magical Theory and Thought I: Double course. Topics cover why and how magic works.

Ecclesiastic Studies I: The nature of gods and the planes.  Required for First years, optional after that.

Elvish I: Learning to speak, read and understand the major dialects of Elvish.

Mathematics:  Necessary for advanced Magic Theory and Alchemy.

End of the first year they are 1st level and know 1 1st level spell.

Summer Apprenticeships
Here students can get practical application knowledge.  Internships are on a first come, first served basis though faculty can also make placements.

Second Year Classes
PCII: Students continue their physical conditioning classes.

Intermediate Herbology: Plants helpful and harmful.

Ecclesiastics II: Advanced topics including the nature of Immortality, transmigration of the soul and the nature of undead. Required for Ecclesiastic and Necromancy students.

Magical Theory and Thought II: The nature of arcane magic, the use of material components. Discussion and case studies of the works of famous, but esoteric wizards.

Creatures I: The three textbooks affectionately called Monster Manual, Fiend Folio and Creature Catalog.

Draconic I: Learning to speak, write and understand the major dialects of Draconic.
Elvish II: Elvish and it's relationship to magic are covered.

Survey and Seminar: (half term) Covers the Colleges of the school and their disciplines.
Elective: (half term) First Elective choice.

End of the second year they are 2nd level and know 2 1st level spells.

Third Year Classes
Third Year is the year they take their specialization. These will depend on which "Colleges" I create.

Ecclesiastics III & Magical Theory and Thought III: This combine double class covers the natures of gods, deities, and spell granting powers including demon lords, Dukes of Hell and the Fey Lords.

PCIII: Advanced finger conditioning.  Known by fourth years as "the days of pain".

Draconic II: Learning to recognize and speak the "vulgar" dialects of Draconic.
Elvish III: Conversational High Elvish and Sylvan Elvish are covered in depth.

Creatures II: Exploration of the major works including the Ecologies.

End of the third year they are 3rd level and know 2 1st level spells and 1 2nd level spell.

Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Year Classes

These will be in the student's major area of study.

Courses that continue but are not required at this point are Ecclesiastics, Magical Theory & Thought, Draconic, and Elvish.

End of the fourth year they are 4th level and know 2 1st level spells and 2 2nd level spells.
End of the fifth year they are 5th level and know 2 1st level spells, 2 2nd level spells, and 1 3rd level spell.
End of the sixth year they are 6th level and know 2 1st level spells, 2 2nd level spells, and 2 3rd level spells.

Fields of Study (so far)
Alchemy
Bardic Magic
Dragonolgy/Dragonmancy
Necromancy
High Witchcraft

I might add more.  I think I am going to need a good "Basic Era" Alchemist class and a better Bard.  So far I am not 100% on any of the Bards I have seen so far.

Part of the plan is to use any and all the magic books I have in my collection, I have a lot of fun stuff and this would be a good chance to use them. 
With all the games I worked on over the years I figure I have written somewhere near 800 new spells. Might be fun to use all of that in one game.


Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Skylla: The Arcanum

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

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

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

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

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

Skylla, 7th Level Witch
Chaotic Evil

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Magic School: I have Hogwarts on my Miskatonic U!

Mulling some ideas over lunch today.

My kids have both over the years expressed an interest in more Lovecraft and Cthulhu themed games but not really wanting to go full on Call of Cthulhu.

So a few things came to mind right away.

- San Scores and Sanity rules.  As a former QMHP and someone with degrees in psychology, I have been largely critical of most of the "sanity" rules I see in games.  In fact, most of them suck.  My son is using an elegant option for sanity. Your wisdom modifier plus your constitution modifier plus 10.   I will still use San points as Sanity x 5.

- The College of Dreamers is gone.  If I am using the 2nd Ed Glantri school of magic as my base, then I am going to say that the School of Dream was destroyed last year.  No one knows why and because of that attendance and new admits are way down.  What happened of course is they connected to the Dream Lands and the Far Realm (mixing my CoC and D&D 3 terms) and it killed them all.  This is the first phase of the return of the Old Ones.  Totally stealing this idea from the Wizards 101 MMORPG.  This is the big mystery of the 1st Years, what happened to the Dream College (not to be confused with the Dream Academy).  They won't learn till later in the term or even next year.

- With the Dream College gone, the School lessens admit standards.  What this means is Bards are now allowed. I am even considering a type of healer.

- All characters will have a Psionic wild power.   This is another side effect of the return of the Old Ones.  I just have not figured out if I am going to use the wild psionic powers of Basic Psionics Handbook or Realms of Crawling Chaos.  I am going to use both books in other ways.

So this game will have much more horror influences even though I am planning on avoiding using demons and devils for the most part.  Undead will be fine. It is Glantri afterall.  I will add some of elements from Ravenloft, though "Gothic Horror" and "Cosmic Horror" are not always a good mix.

Not 100% sure how this will all fit into the "War of the Witch Queens", but I have lots of time to figure that one out.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Magic School: Going Back to Glantri

Curse my gamemastering ADHD!

So despite the fact that I have not one, not two, but THREE D&D 5th Edition games going, I was working out some details of my Magic School game using the D&D Rules Cyclopedia.

So last night I pulled out my GAZ3 The Principalities of Glantri by +Bruce Heard and my Glantri: Kingdom of Magic.

I thought I might run it set in Glantri's past, 800 or so AC.  OR even 1000 AC which is close to the present day for the Gazetteer.  My current year is 1414-something AC.

But there is so much great stuff here.

This is going to focus 100% on the magic school so the political goings-on will be part of the background noise.

Though I DO want to expand on my whole Ravenloft is from Mystara/Glantri idea some more too and introduce a young professor of Alchemy from Boldavia, Strahd von Zarovich. Gives me an excuse/hook to drop in Ravenloft II.

But back to the school.

There are the Seven Secret Crafts of Magic in the Glantri School of Magic; Alchemy, Dracology, Elementalism, Illusionism, Necromancy, Cryptomancy (rune magic), and Witchcraft.

These were restructured in the 2nd Ed book, notably Witchcraft becoming Wokanism and Illusion dropped in favor of Dream Magic.  I am keeping Dream Magic from one and Witchcraft from the other.

I am thinking of adding others.  I would love to add a School of Healing; an exception to the normal rule of priests/clerics.  And MAYBE Druids.   I know they don't fit, but I like them.

Couple things I am considering.  Back in the Day I had a wizard character, Phygora, who was a
Glantri trained mage, but he "disappeared".  In reality, the mini I used belonged to my old DM.  He recently sold them all to me so now I have all these REALLY old lead minis including a recently repainted Phygora.  So guess who is now the new Headmaster!  Dosen't matter if I set this in the present or the past since in my game Phygora became something of a time-traveler.

I know that this campaign will go from level 1 to 7 (or 0 to 6), after that I want to move it over to my War of the Witch Queens.   I was talking with +Brian Isikoff this morning and he is considering doing something with Magic School grads and Bruce Heard's Calidar.  I think that is a fantastic idea!
Flying magic ships, flying circuses, I am SO there.

I just need more time to play!
But in the meantime, I can work out all these details.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

D&D Rules Cyclopedia Unboxing and Pre-review

I wasn't going to post today. Really busy at work. But this really could not wait.



I got my Dungeons & Dragons Rules Cyclopedia in the mail today and wanted to check it out.



I could not decide if I wanted the hardcover or softcover.  So I got both.





As you can see the cover is more cream colored than the original white. I kinda like it to be honest.
There is a huge border of it on the front cover.  Less noticeable in the soft-cover edition.




The color is good, not as strong as the original but still extremely readable.

These books compare very favorably to the original.





You can see the colors are stronger in the original, but the paper is much thicker in the POD versions.


The pages of my original print are a little yellowed with age. The new ones are still bright white.

Compare this to one I made a while back on Lulu. I call it my "Wizards & Demons" Cover.




I also still have a really beat up version.


All in all I am really happy with these.  Looking forward to playing a game with them!
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