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

Monday, March 25, 2019

Monstrous Mondays: Lady Midday

One of my favorite games is Leagues of Adventure along with the Leagues of Gothic Horror setting.   It is a Ubiquity power game and it gives me the same feeling I get from Cinematic Unisystem.  So I was quite pleased to see three more books are coming out for it;  Guides to Faeries, Hags, and Walking Dead.

I'll post more about this later in the week, but today I wanted to update a monster I have used in the past, but have not featured here before.  Since I am on a Basic-era kick, let's do stats for Basic D&D (esp. as presented by Blumeholme and B/X Essentials) and Ubiquity.

Poludnitsa, Lady Midday


The Poludnitsa or Poludnica, also known as Lady Miday, is a relative of the more common Hag races. She is a creature of faerie (like all hags).  Unlike the more common hags, Lady Midday is very beautiful, unearthly so, and is only encountered on midday on hot summer days (thus her name). She appears as a very tall, beautiful pale woman with long white hair wearing a long white dress. Though it is said her true form is that a sundried corpse.

She will often appear in the middle of fields of wheat, barley or rye carrying a large set of antique looking shears or a scythe.  She will stop to ask anyone working in the field a question. If they fail to answer to it or answer incorrectly she will cut off their heads with the shears.
She is also known to kidnap girls under the age of 12 to take them back to her lair where she teaches them witchcraft if she doesn't eat them first.
Those she doesn't kill she can curse with madness or the "Heat Sickness".  Those that are not treated will die.

Poludnitsa lives in vast underground complexes, filled with ovens and roaring fires. Her captured slaves fulfill her wishes, roasting sheep and baking bread for her, all day long. Poludnitsa exits her underground lair only during sunlight hours. She usually perches in the immediate vicinity of her lair, waiting for unwary travelers to pass.

She is not commonly encountered, but parents of children commonly warn about her. Any child that wanders off, especially into fields of rye, run the risk of being captured by Poludnitsa. Parents will often warn “Don’t go to the rye, Poludnitsa will eat you!” or “Poludnitsa will burn you up!”

It is unknown if she is a unique creature or if there are many such creatures, but very, very rare.

Poludnica’s Sheep
The sheep Poludnitsa keeps are anything but ordinary. Each is a Large sized monstrosity, with wool the color of fresh blood.

Poludnitsa Basic-era stats
AC: 5
HD: 6d8 + 12hp
Move: 30'
Attacks: 1 weapon + Heat Madness
Damage: 1d8* (beheading on a natural 20) + Special
Alignment: CE
Treasure: none
XP:  1,280
Abilities: Strength +1, Intelligence +1, Charisma +2

Poludnitsa can only appear during the hour before and the hour after midday.  During the Sumer Solstice though she can appear during all hours of daylight. 
She may only attack those that refuse her questions or answer them incorrectly.  Once that has happened she will attack with her shears or scythe.  They are treated as "vorpal" weapons in her hands (treated as normal weapons in anyone else's).

Once per day, usually at the height of noon or moment of greatest temperature, she can curse one humanoid creature with heat madness.  They must make a saving throw vs. Death or be strickened.  A successful save means the creature is dazed and cannot attack for two round.  If the save is failed then the victim suffers the full effect of the heat madness. They are treated as if they had a combination of Slow and Feeblemind spells cast on them. Failing the first save means they will need to make another Death save in one full day or die.  Failing the first save and making the second means the victim is bedridden for four (4) days, minus their Con adjustment.  A Bless, Heal or Remove Curse spell will remove the heat madness.

Poludnitsa is immune to all heat and fire based attacks. She takes double damage from any cold-based attack.

A witch or cleric can "turn" (but not destroy) Poludnitsa as a Vampire if they present a Moonstone.

Poludnitsa Ubiquity Stats
Patron 1
Archetype: Hag
Motivation: Survival
Style: 1
Primary Attributes:
Body 3, Dexterity 3, Strength 3, Charisma 2, Intelligence 2, Willpower 3

Secondary Attributes:
Size 0, Move 6, Perception 4 (8), Initiative 4, Defense 6, Stun 3, Health 8, Horror n/a (human form) or 4 (corpse visage form)

Skills: Athletics 5, Brawl 5 (Grapple 6), Intimidation 8, Stealth 5 (Hiding 6)
Talents: Fearsome 2 (Can temporarily frighten foes)
Resources: None
Powers: Madness, Immune to Fire and Heat based attacks.
Weaknesses: Cold vulnerability (She takes x2 damage from any cold-based attack.)
Flaws: Thirst for Flesh (+1 Style point when its unholy appetite reveals its true nature)
Weapons: Shears 7L


Friday, March 8, 2019

Kickstart Your Weekend Mega Post!

A bunch of new and really awesome looking RPG Kickstarters are out.  So here is a bunch of them. There has to be at least one her you will like.



DCC RPG Module: Reckoning of the Gods-Into the Shadow Realm

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/studio9games/dcc-rpg-module-reckoning-of-the-gods-into-the-shad?ref=theotherside

While I don't play Dungeon Crawl Classics the RPG, I do LOVE their adventures.  This is a 32-page adventure for 3rd level characters for DCC or any old-school game.  You know the production values will be high and the adventure will be deadly.

Rise of the Drow: Collector's Edition for D&D 5E and PFRPG



https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/adventureaweek/rise-of-the-drow-collectors-edition-for-dandd-5e-a?ref=theotherside

This is a big book!  In 2014 the original Rise of the Drow came out for Pathfinder.  While I didn't run it as written I used huge chunks of it when I ran Vault of the Drow last year and it was fantastic.  This book would have been welcome then since it is now going to be for 5e and Pathfinder.

Adventures Great and Glorious


 https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/brwgames/adventures-great-and-glorious?ref=theotherside

Joseph Bloch is back with another great sounding book for old-school games.  This one is for high-level campaigns, running kingdoms and intrigue. It sounds a little like "Companion Set for AD&D + Birthright", but I am sure it is more than that.
Joe runs a tight Kickstarter. He does what he says and gets things done.  To date he also the only Kickstarter creator to get me books BEFORE his stated deadlines.  This book should also be a great as his others.

Basic and Expert RPG Sets Remastered!


https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/640360422/basic-and-expert-rpg-sets-remastered?ref=theotherside

Bill Barsh of Pacesetter Games has been out there producing some high-quality material and books for a long time.  This one is so far up my alley that it is practically in my living room.  I have gone on forever about my love of Basic-era D&D and B/X in particular.   Well, this looks like so much fun!

Witch+Craft, a 5e Supplemental


https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/astrolago/witch-craft-a-5e-supplemental?ref=theotherside

Now this one looks like a lot of fun.  Tradecraft, magic and crafting for your D&D5 characters.  Exactly the sort of commonplace magic one would expect to see in a world filled with magic.  This one is on the opposite end of the spectrum than DCC and that is what makes it look fun.
Love the art.

Lost Classes and Cannibal Corpses - Two Original RPG Zines




https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/gamersandgrognards/lost-classes-and-cannibal-corpses-two-original-rpg?ref=theotherside

Back on to the old-school side of things, long time blogger Ryan Thompson has his first Kickstarter out.   Appendix N Entertainment gives not one but two zines; Lost Classes and Canibal Corpse. "Lost Classes: The Arnesonian Classes" features two classes played in Dave Arneson's games, the Merchant and the Sage.  It is worth it because of that really.
"Solar Sanctuary of the Cannibal Corpse" is an adventure module for 1st-3rd level characters.

And finally. Let's not forget the 8,000 lb (800 lb is not enough) gorilla out there.

Critical Role: The Legend of Vox Machina Animated Special


https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/criticalrole/critical-role-the-legend-of-vox-machina-animated-s?ref=theotherside

Honestly, what do I need to say about this one? Hit 4 million in it's first few hours of opening.  At just under 6.5 million now and there are still 41 days of funding to go.  I am pretty sure this is the largest RPG-related Kickstarter ever. It is even more money that the recent https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/mst3k/bringbackmst3k/descriptionMST3k Kickstarter.
So yeah, Critical Role is a big deal. 

So get out your wallet or purse and get ready to slap some cash down.

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Darlessa the Vampire Queen

I have had a long and sorted history with the "Vampire Queen" in my games.

One of the first adventures I worked on for OSR publication was called "The Tomb of the Vampire Princess" or "Vampire Queen" or "Palace" depending on my mood at the time.

I essentially saw it as a sequel of sorts to the original Wee Warriors / Pacesetter Games "Palace of the Vampire Queen".  But a few things happened. First Mark Taormino published his own "Hanging Coffins of the Vampire Queen" which was AWESOME.  Then Bill Barsh of Pacesetter Games produced some sequels of his own with Castle Blood and Crypts of the Living.
So the need for my own sequel dwindled.

A couple years back Small Niche Games produced Guidebook to the Duchy of Valnwall. I had the pleasure of working on that product.  I submitted a character to be "Saint" in the game, Father Johan Werper, my very first D&D character ever.  When I got my copy I was so thrilled. Something I had wanted to happen for ages was going to happen, Johan was going to be a real saint in a "D&D" book! I opened it up and I was not disappointed at all!  Moreover the book's main author and designer Pete Spahn had added this section:
He died in a tragic tale that is recounted in the Hunt for the Dark Mistress, where he tracked down and slew Darlessa the Vampire Queen who had abducted his granddaughter.
Unfortunately, Johan was himself cursed by the taint of the vampire's blood. Rather than remain an undead abomination, he bid goodbye to his granddaughter and used the last of his strength to douse his body with oil and set himself alight.
Pete never contacted me about this and I could not have been happier!  Without knowing it he included things that happened in my game; Johan dying and leaving his granddaughter, Celene, behind (Celene was my first 2nd Ed character, and afraid of the dark.  Now I know why).  The use of holy oil in my games (does 1d8 damage to undead; more when lit) and of course giving a name to an enemy that had been lurking in the back of my mind ever since I first read about Elizabeth Bathory.

It was like throwing a deck of cards into the air and having them land in a perfect house of cards.

So modules V5 and V6 combined will cover a lot of similar territory to what I was going to do in my adventure. So I'll just drop that and keep the elements that are new.  The opening of the crypts.

I have a stack of various notes, maps, ideas and going through them all I think I have something pretty cool here.  I'll have to get it all together in time for my annual Halloween horror game.

Right now the working title is Descent into the Crypts of the Vampire Queen. It will be my homage to the great adventures of the Golden Era but also a nod to the two Vampire Queen adventures that brought me so much joy.

Here she is for Advanced Labyrinth Lord.

Darlessa, The Queen of Vampires
Female Vampire Witch, Demonic Tradition
No. Enc.: 1 (Unique)
Alignment: Chaotic (evil)
Movement: 120’ (40’)
   Fly: 180’ (60’)
Armor Class: -5 (bracers of defense, amulet of protection, ring of protection)
Hit Dice: 13
Attacks: 1 (touch, see below) or spell
Damage: 1d10, drain 2 points of Constitution, witch Spells
Save: W13
Morale: 12
Hoard Class: XXII
XP: 11,400

Str: 18 Int: 15 Wis: 14 Dex: 18 Con: (18) Cha: 22

In addition to the powers of a vampire, Darlessa has the following witch spells and Occult Powers.  She casts as a 13th level witch.

Spells by Level
Cantrip (3+5): Alarm Ward, Black Flame, Daze, Knot, Mend, Mote of Light, Object Reading, Spark
1st (4+3): Burning Hands, Cause Fear, Everlasting Candle, Hecate's Spiritual Dog, Minor Curse, Read Languages
2nd (4+3): Agony, Bewitch II, Burning Gaze, Enthrall, Ghost Touch, Produce Flame, Rite of Remote Seeing
3rd (3+2): Astral Sense, Clairaudience/Clairvoyance, Danse Macabre, Toad Mind, Tongues
4th (3+2): Arcane Eye, Bewitch IV, Elemental Armor, Moonlit Way, Phantom Lacerations
5th (2): Death Curse, Greater Command
6th (2): Death Blade
7th (1): Wave of Mutilation

Occult Powers
Familiar (Undead Raven)
Evil’s Touch
Devil’s Tongue

Magic Items
Intangible Cloak of Shadows, Amulet of Protection* (also prevents cleric turning), bracers of defense, ring of protection, ring spell storing.

Links to Adventures



Links to my 'Vampire Queen' posts



Wednesday, February 27, 2019

PWWO: Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea

I got my Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea 2nd Edition book as part of the Kickstarter, so I have had it for a while now.  In the time I have been reading through it I came up with at least three (or four depending on my mood) completely separate games/campaigns I want to do with it and only one is the Default setting.

So let's talk a little about those while I see what I also have on my shelves to use.

Since it is an "Retro Clone" of sorts and an OSR game it naturally lends itself well to mixing an matching.  I mentioned in my review yesterday that I feel it is a good blend of both B/X D&D and AD&D.  Maybe leaning towards more to the AD&D side of the equation.


B/X D&D goes to 14th level, AS&SH goes to 12th.  So any adventure written for Basic or Expert D&D is in theory (and very much in practice) going to work for AS&SH.  I mean you will need to do something about the elves, dwarves, and halflings about.  But for the most part I make them Kelts and Picts respectively.  Sometimes I even throw in the odd elf or dwarf to keep things weird.  The feel of the two games is also very, very similar.  The four Basic human classes map exactly to the four main classes of AS&SH, with sub-classes essential being role-playing notes.

But you don't need to take my word for it alone.  Eric Fabiaschi over at Swords & Stitchery has been blogging about AS&SH for years.  In fact, he has been working through many of the classic TRS-era modules for use with AS&SH, both 1st and 2nd editions.
I read a lot about other's games online most times I think "wow, that looks fun!", sometimes I think "Er. OK, you do you, but I am happy WAY over here." But with Eric's I am most often going "Damn! Why didn't I think of that first!"

Speaking of which.


I recently ran Isle of Dread for my kids under 5e. It was fantastic, really. We had a great time and I got to relive some great moments of the adventure that I had back in the early 80s.  I could not help but think how awesome X1 would be with the AS&SH rules.  Go all pulp with dinosaurs, King Kong and creepy ass cults.
As you can imagine, Eric has covered this topic well on his blog too.  So instead of me trying to tell what you can do in a paragraph, check out his pages of ideas!

So I mentioned that I see AS&SH as good combination of B/X and AD&D rules.  Essentially it is what we were playing back in the early 80s.  Where I grew up it was not uncommon to come to a game where people would have an AD&D Monster Manual, a Holmes Basic book and a Cook/Marsh Expert Book.  The rules we played by were also an equally eclectic mix.
AS&SH is like that. It favors the AD&D side more, but there are enough B/X influences that I smile to myself when I see them.




Labyrinth Lord and Basic Fantasy are both implementations of the Basic D&D rules, but expanded out.  Lots of great stuff in both systems.  Basic Fantasy, in particular, has an absolute trove of materials usuable with the core rules and easily for use in AS&SH. 
The same is true for Blueholme, the Holmes-inspired clone. 
While all three have significant overlap in monsters, there are some unique ones in each that make for a fuller picture.  In particular Blueholme has a few good choices.


I mentioned Realms of Crawling Chaos before. Both of these books cover some of the same Lovecraftian beasties, RoCC gives a little more detail on how to run a Lovecraftian-style "D&D" game.   Hyperborea is not so much about horror, it's more Howardian, but there is no reason why it can't be.  This is a good place to start.



If Crawling Chaos is good, then Call of Cthulhu is even better.  Again all these books cover the same ground and feature similar themes.  The d20 CoC book does have a section on how heroic characters (aka D&D characters) would respond to these monsters, as opposed to the normal people of the CoC proper rules.  Grabbing a copy of CoC is good for ANY gamer in my mind but for the AS&SH gamer/gamer master there are some great ideas on how to play the Lovecraftian, and Smith, side of the game more. In truth, all monsters get a boost thematically speaking with a read through of CoC.

That is great and fun, but what if I want to up the Howardian or Pulpy aspects of the game? Well for me I wanted to run a Pellucidar-like game.



Hollow Earth adventures is a pulp-style game using the Ubiquity system, so system conversion is different, but the themes are 100% compatible with AS&SH.  What about the lands UNDER Hyperborea, are their Lizard People? Snake Cults?  Dinosaurs? OF COURSE there is! 

Amazing Adventures and many of the works of Jason Vey to be honest (including his Wasted Lands house setting) work great with AS&SH.  Again, not a direct translation, though the SIEGE system is easier to convert to AS&SH, but thematic.  I actually ran a playtest of the "Red God" adventure under the AS&SH (1st Ed) rules.

Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea is an amazingly flexible system and strikes all the notes that many games attempt.  I guess that's why the core book is 608 pages.

Mixing these I have decided that what really want to do is a Zothique game.  Based on all the Zothique tales from Clark Ashton Smith. 
There is an unofficial d20 supplement for Zothique that is good and can be easily converted to AS&SH.   Even James at Grognardia wanted to do a CAS game.

As I work on my game more with all the materials above I'll keep you all posted.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Review: Realms of the Crawling Chaos

One of my favorite Old School books has been Realms of the Crawling Chaos by Goblinoid Games.  It's a nice blend of both D&D Basic-era (via Labyrinth Lord) and the mythos of H.P. Lovecraft.  We get a little bit of Call of Cthulhu and the Cthulhu Mythos from Deities & Demigods.

Available as a PDF and softcover for years it is now out in hardcover for backers of the Advanced Labyrinth Lord Kickstarter.


The book looks fantastic, as to be expected.









The hardcover book is 60 pages worth of material and deals with running a Lovecraftian-inspired game of horror fantasy.
A few new races are introduced for a Race-as-Class style game with notes on other classes to use in an advanced game; Sea-Blooded, Subhuman, White Ape and White Ape Hybrid.

Next, are some new magical formulae and some new spells all based on various Lovecraft sources. Enough to sprinkle into various dammable texts for the players to find AND then really get into trouble with.

We come to the monsters and all the old favorites are here. Comparing them to other sources of similar monster will give you plenty of differences in stats, which is a good thing really. Players who are familiar with other books should not have knowledge their characters do not.

A small section on Eldritch Artifacts, a staple of many of Lovecraft's mythos stories.

And finally a section on Psionics which differs from other books/games.

We get some appendices on Eldritch tomes and an artifact generator.  Appendix 3 covers the use of these psionic rules in Mutant Future. And Appendix 4 covers the stories and books used.

We end with the OGL section.

If I have one complaint there are no rules for sanity or madness. A fair staple of many Lovecraftian games.

The book is awfully fun and is full of great ideas.  If you are a fan of Labyrinth Lord and Lovecraftian tales then I would most certainly grab this.

For me, this is has been the "missing" part of both my BlackStar game and War of the Witch Queens.  I say "missing" but I have had the PDF forever.

This is actually a HUGE part of my BlackStar game.  This plus Starships & Spacemen So I am going to talk a little about in the frame of reference of that game soon.

Monday, February 4, 2019

Monstrous Monday: The Shattered Knights

I got a 3D printer for Christmas, but there is something seriously wrong with it.  I have not figured it out yet and might be calling their customer support today.  But until then here are some of the test paladins I have printed and what I am planning to do with them.


The Shattered Knights*

Armor Class: 2
Hit Dice: 9**
Move: 120' (40')
   Phasing: 240' (80')
Attacks: 2 weapon or special
Damage: 1d10 / 1d10  or Wisdom Drain

No. Appearing: 1d4 (1d6)
Save As: Fighter 9
Morale: 11 (12)
Treasure Type: None
Alignment: Chaotic

The Shattered Knights are fearsome undead of unknown origin.  Legends say that they had been a group of virtuous knights who had been sent to apprehend an evil wizard.  But, as legend tells it, the wizard's lair was a trap and the king who sent them knew they would die.  The wizard's tower was destroyed in a huge magical explosion just as the knights learned of their betrayal.
Now they are undead creatures caught between life and death forever.

They are semi-intangible and can only be hit by magic weapons.  Like all undead, the knights are immune to sleep, charm, and hold spells.  They can attack with the weapons they had in life and also a powerful touch attack that drains 1 point of Wisdom per touch (no save).  This must be done with their hand, not a weapon and it is the only attack they can make that round.

The knights are never fully in or out of normal reality so they may opt to make a phase movement instead of an attack.  They move at twice their normal speed and can move through solid objects. When in phase they cannot attack or be attacked by physical means.

The Knights are Turned by Cleric as if they were Spectres.  The knights are always accompanied by 1d4 wights.

If four or more knights are encountered then one will be the Knight Commander.



Knight Commander*

Armor Class: 1
Hit Dice: 10**
Move: 120' (40')
   Phasing: 240' (80')
Attacks: 2 weapon or special
Damage: 1d10+1 / 1d10+!  or Wisdom Drain

No. Appearing: 1 (1)
Save As: Fighter 10
Morale: 12
Treasure Type: None
Alignment: Chaotic

The Knight Commander is the leader of the Shattered Knights.  He has all the same attacks and powers as his knights.  When he is present with a group of knights their Moral increases to 12.

The Knight Commander is Turned by Cleric as if he were a Vampire.

Characters slain by a Shattered Knight or the Knight Commander will become wights under their command.


Sadly I fear more shattered knights may join their ranks before I figure this out.

Monday, January 21, 2019

Monstrous Mondays: From Hell it Came! Tabonga the Tree Monster

Spent the weekend doing a combination of X1 Isle of Dread and I1 Dwellers of the Forbidden City.  They finished up the city and then continued down the east coast of the island.


They got to the village Tanaroa where I essentially had them in my version of King Kong.  Save instead of a gargantuan ape I had them fight a gargantuan troll-like monster I alluded was Vaprak the Destroyer (which is just an aspect of Demogorgon in my games, and I have an LJN AD&D Troll toy to use for him) and the Blood Apes.


But the monster that I was most excited for was FINALLY getting to use something I have wanted to use for years; pretty much ever since I had a copy of Isle of Dread.  Tobonga the Tree Monster.

If have talked about Tabonga before. This stupid thing scared me so much as a little kid that to this very day I get gifts of tree monsters from my brothers and sisters on Halloween as gag gifts.

Well, this past weekend my sons' group the Treasure Hunters killed his demonic wooden ass.

Tabonga
The demonic monster known as a Tabonga is the cursed soul of a murder returned from the dead.  The first tabonga was buried within the trunk of a tree, believing that the spirit of the tree would prevent the murderer from coming back. However, the demonic influences on the tree caused it to return as a twisted mockery of both human and tree.  No longer fully human, plant or undead the monster is now demonically driven to commit more murders starting with the ones that condemned it to death.

Tabonga attack with two slam attacks.  It will attack until it's chosen victims are dead.  Usually, nothing but fire will prevent it from pursuing or attacking its victims.

Some tabonga have a unique kill. Some can only be killed by using the same knife, sword or axe that originally condemned them to death. Others may be killed normally via fire or radiant damage.



Tabonga
Basic/Expert Stats
Armor Class: 3
Hit Dice: 11
Move: 45' (15')
Attacks: 2 blows
Damage: 2-12/2-12
No. Appearing: 0 (1)
Save As:  Fighter 11
Morale: 12
Treasure Type: Nil
Alignment: Chaotic

Special: Save vs. Paralysis or be affected as per a Cause Fear spell.
When not moving the tabonga is 90% indistinguishable from a tree.

Tabonga

D&D 5e Stats
Huge plant (demon), chaotic evil
  • Armor Class 16 (Natural Armor)
  • Hit Points 142 (13d12+60)
  • Speed 25 ft.
 STR         DEX       CON       INT         WIS         CHA     
23 (+6)     8 (-1)     21 (+5)     12 (+1)    16 (+3)     10 (+0) 
  • Vulnerabilities Fire, Radiant
  • Damage Resistance Bludgeoning, Piercing
  • Senses passive Perception 13
  • Languages Abyssal, Common
  • Challenge 10 (5,900 XP)
  • False Appearance. While the tabonga remains motionless, it is indistinguishable from a normal tree.
  • Fear. The tabonga can cause fear as per the spell. The Wisdom save DC is 14.

Actions


  • Multiattack. The tabonga makes two slam attacks.
  • Slam. Melee Weapon Attack: +10 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: (3d6 + 6) bludgeoning damage.

Friday, January 4, 2019

2019: Back to Basics

Here we are. 2019.

Towards the end of 2018 I was thinking how much I miss Basic D&D. In particular B/X flavor of Basic D&D.  So with some of my left-over Christmas money, I went out and got some new Basic-era games.


Up first is Michael Thomas' own BLUEHOLM, both the Prentice and Journeymanne Rules.
Designed to emulate and then extend the Holmes edition of D&D Basic.  The version I cut my teeth on now 40 years ago.

That would be enough to keep me happy for a long time really, but it is not the only thing on my table.


Gavin Norman's B/X Essentials is a recreation and reorganization of the Basic and Expert rules.  Like those famous boxed sets (and my favorite version of Basic D&D) this version only goes to level 14.  There is a lot to be said for this.  Some really, really fun adventuring can be done at this level.   I promise a full review soon, but let me just say these books look fantastic.

Of course, you can use Jonathan Becker's B/X Companion and The Complete B/X Adventurer with these, but that is defeating the B/XE design philosophy (but still would work and be fun).


If extending your B/X experience is your bag, then pick up Mark Craddock's B/X Ascending gives you more classes and plenty of new options. 

I have to say, Mark has really stepped up his game.  This is a great looking book.

Not everything I want to do this year is 100% B/X basic, but they are still B/X related.


What is B/X without it's two most iconic adventures?  I already had Into the Borderlands, but now I got Isle of Dread updated versions from Goodman Games.  The originals work fantastically with all the books listed above and 5th edition as well.


Also on my table is an update to one of my favorite clones.

 
Dan Protector's Labyrinth Lord in it's new Advanced incarnation is really more like the D&D we played back in the day; freely mixing Basic and Advanced D&D.

Whats my plan for all of this?

Well I hope to do some more Basic-era type posts and products.  Swords & Wizardry was a lot of fun, don't get me wrong, but Basic is my true love.

So let's see what 2019 can bring us!

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.


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