Showing posts with label blogfest. Show all posts
Showing posts with label blogfest. Show all posts

Saturday, May 5, 2018

OERAD: Spellcraft & Swordplay

Wellcome once again to the annual Original Edition RPG Appreciation Day!

Uh wait... isn't that supposed to be Swords & Wizardry Appreciation Day?  Well, yes, but this year Gamers & Grognards, our host, has decided to expand the day to any old-school game that emulates the Original Edition, or (of course) the Original Edition itself.

This year I want to talk about one of my favorite Old-School games, Spellcraft & Swordplay.

Now, just I get this out of the way first.  Jason is a friend of mine and we worked on a lot of Unisystem games together.   Also, I worked on a supplement for S&S called Eldritch Witchery.  That all being said I developed my opinion of this game long before EW ever was thought of.

Spellcraft & Swordplay is not a retro-clone exactly.  It is more of a "near-clone" or as I often think of it as an alternate reality version of OD&D. This game was released in 2011 and it is much closer to the Original Edition feel than S&W.  How?  Well, it uses the original 2d6 means of combat resolution rather than the "alternate" method of the d20.

When D&D was starting out it grew out of the rules in Chainmail.  Using a d20 (twenty-sided die) was the "alternate" combat method that became the norm.  But the original combat method involved 2d6 (two six-sided dice), S&S (among other changes) explores that further.

There are other changes such as saving throws are made against the appropriate ability (which is not too far off to how 5th edition or Castles & Crusades does it). So you can make a Dexterity save to avoid getting hit with something, or a Constitution save to avoid the effects of a poison.

There are no skills, but ability rolls and some characters get bonuses due their classes.

S&S “feels” a lot like the old rules.

The first third of the book is dedicated to character creation. It is roughly analogous to “Men & Magic” and about the same size. We have our introduction that tells why this book is here. There is a section on ability scores and what they can do. There are entries for the four core races (humans, elves, dwarfs, and Halflings), Warriors (not Fighters or Fighting Men), Priests, Wizards, Thieves and Assassins, all the things we remember as kids or have been told about. Some things have been renamed (my OD&D had Clerics and Magic Users and it was not till 2nd Ed that I had Priests and Wizards) some oddly so (Crypto-Linguistics? I am going to need some more levels in Read Languages to figure that out!) but the spirit is there and that was the point.
Classes each have their own advancement tables as in days of old, though the hit point calculations are weird, they are in line with OD&D rules (I just had forgotten how it was done). Though I missed the level names. Spells are a simpler deal. Levels and description, that’s it.

Part 2, Combat and Confrontation is a little more modern than it’s old school counterpart, showing it’s modern sensibilities. It is, in fact, truer to a more modern concept, the Dungeon Master’s Guide. Ability checks, for the most part, replace all skills. Armor Classes though go up instead of down (so 7 is better than 3) and start at 1, not 10.

Part 3, Monsters and Magic is the “Monsters & Treasure” or “Monster Manual” portion. All stats are in a table at the beginning of the chapter, with descriptive text and some pictures following. It does make it awkward to read, but again this is the same as the OD&D books. Monsters are followed by a listing of magic items.

While there some differences from baseline D&D,  S&S is one of those systems that becomes systemless after a while.  The focus is less on rolling dice and more on adventure and role-playing.  For that reason, I find anything written for OD&D, Swords & Wizardry or Basic D&D can be translated and used in a snap.

In fact, as much as I enjoy Swords & Wizardry I find Spellcraft & Swordplay closer to OD&D in terms of gameplay and feel.

Spellcraft & Swordplay Books

Spellcraft & Swordplay Characters

Friday, October 13, 2017

Witch Superstitions

It's Friday the 13th! Always a special day here at The Other Side, but a Friday the 13th in October? That's practically a national holiday here!

I am participating in the RPG Blog Carnival for October on Superstitions. Hosted by Of Dice and Dragons.

Witch Superstitions

In my games, witches have a lot of superstitions.  Actually many believe they HAVE to do these things or their magic will be in jeopardy.  It is one of the defining features of the witch as opposed to wizards, clerics, druids or other types of spellcasters.

Most of these are designed with roleplaying flavor in mind, if anything I would say that if they don't follow them they get an immediate -1 on their next roll or where appropriate.

- A witch never buys a new broom in May.  "New broom in May, sweep your family away."
- A witch never takes an old broom to a new house.  When the new house has a broom an old broom may be brought in.
- If a broom falls it means a stranger is coming. Or that someone is under a curse.
- Newlyweds should jump over a broom after a handfasting to ensure a good marriage.
- Floors are never swept widdershins, west to east or left to right.
- Knocking a broom handle on the floor (bristles up) three times will remove mischievous fairies.
- If a broom breaks while being used it will bring bad fortune on the whole house.

Cauldrons and Pots
- A witch never stirs a cauldron, pot, or even her teacup widdershins (counter clockwise). Stirring widdershins is allowed when brewing a curse or when you want bad things to happen.
- Cauldrons must be seasoned prior to proper use.  A cauldron not seasoned will never produce acceptable results, whether this is a potion or soup.  Use the most common type of animal fat available.  Typically an old mother hog who is past her own season is the best.
- The ember to light the cauldron fires after Samhain must come from a fire that was started before Samhain.

Food and home
- A witch never uses salt at the table.  If you do, throw some over your left shoulder first.
- Breaking a cobweb is good luck.
- Finding a spider is a good omen.
- A portrait falling from a wall is a omen of death.
- A cracked mirror is ill-fortune for the one that cracked it and the one that sees it first.
- Cat on your threshold means you will have a visitor soon.
- A Cardinal (or a red bird common to your area) singing in your garden means an old friend will contact you.
- if your cat hisses at a stranger do not let them into your home.
- Plant roses and lavender in your garden for luck.
- Crooked windows will keep rival witches from flying into your home.
- Bury a horseshoe under your front step to kept evil spirits from your home.
- Burn sage in a home to remove evil spirits.
- If you believe your house is haunted, move the furniture to new positions to confuse the spirits.  If the furniture is moved to same places they were before you could have a boggart.
- Ring bells to remove evil spirits
- If someone knocks their chair over when getting up from a meal it is a sign they lied.
- Never lay money on the table before eating.
- Never shake hands or kiss in a threshold.
- If three or more witches gather in a home the youngest (or lowest level) must make the tea and serve it to the oldest (or highest level) first.

- Wear black on Wednesdays, wear purple on Sundays.
- Do not sleep with wet hair, your dreams will portend madness.
- If a witch must go to a church or temple of another god she should sit in the back row.
- Always start new endeavours facing East. Never start something new on a Friday.
- when making a camp, sleep with your feet pointed in the direction you will be headed in the morning for quick and speedy travel.
- properly dispose of all nail clippings and fallen hairs to prevent another witch from casting a spell on you.
- if you have to speak the name of an enemy, spit on the ground after you speak it.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Witch & Witchcraft Reading Challenge: Gretel: A Fairytale Retold

"It takes more that a little fire to kill a witch," Maeve whispered to Gretel.

I love retellings of classic fairy tales. I do.  I ESPECIALLY love ones where the witch is not the monster, but the hero of the tale.

I get such a tale from Niamh Murphy in her retelling of "Gretel: A Fairytale Retold".  In this, we have an older version of Hansel and Gretel. Here they are in the woods, hungry and chased by wolves.
That is till the Witch shows up to scare way the wolves and take Hans and Gretel back to her home.
The tropes are all here. She fattens them up, she lives alone. But that is where the similarities end.
The "witch", Maeve, lives alone because she dared to love someone her village did not approve of.
While Hans does not trust her, Gretel is taken with her charm, her intellect, and her independent nature.  Maeve knows the secrets of the forest and in her own words she was not exiled but set free.
Maeve is easy to like.
I thought the relationship between Maeve and Gretel felt natural. Afterall, Gretel knew she was missing something, she just didn't know it was this.
I was disappointed, but not surprised, in Hans' reaction. I had hoped for more, but it does set up the final act.

The story is a quick read, but a lot of fun and you can grab it for free from her website.  I lament that the story was too short, to be honest, but it is a fairy tale retold, so it can't be too long.
Of course there is a happily ever after, it's a fairytale still.  OR as we used to say to my kids when reading fairytales to them "they all went home and had tea."

She has other stories too, I just grabbed one that is longer.

Niamh Murphy can be found on the web at her website, and on Facebook at

2017 Witches & Witchcraft Reading Challenge
2017 Witch & Witchcraft Reading Challenge
Books Read so far: 15
Level: Mother
Witches in this book: Maeve. She might not be a "real" spell-casting witch, but I choose to think she is.
Are they Good Witches or Bad Witches: Good!
Best RPG to Emulate it: Blue Rose is a good choice.  Maeve lives inside the  Pavin Weald.  She very much fits with my idea of a Green Witch.  I would use my new Witchcraft Specialization for her.  I'd make about a 4th level witch.
Use in WotWQ: I plan on using all sort of fairy tales in my War of the Witch Queens.  A Fairytale re-told is also good material if that re-telling is good.  This is a good retelling.

Something like this would also make for a good Blue Rose adventure.
Much like the Frog Princess is a retelling, this would make a great adventure.  Hans and Gretl can be part of an adventuring party sent to investigate the so-called Witch of the Woods and determine her true intent.   But it turns out she is not evil, but the nearby village is making it look like she is.  She does control the wolves, but not magically, they just treat her as their Alpha.
Gretel, or some other female character, ends up falling in love with Maeve.

And they all go home and have tea.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Witch & Witchcraft Reading Challenge: The Hero and the Crown

"They call you Witch's Daughter - and so you are, and more."
- Agsded addressing Aerin, "The Hero and the Crown"

The Hero and the Crown by Robin McKinley is a bit of an older book (1984) and one I recall from back then.  I had read the "Blue Sword" ages ago and this was it's prequel.  I actually liked this one better, though I am re-reading Blue Sword now.
The story centers on Aerin Sol, the princess and only daughter of the King of Damar.  Aerin, also known as Aerin Fire Hair and Aerin, Lady Dragon Killer (more on that) is shy, awkward and generally clumsy.  Pretty much the archetype of what would later become a trope of female characters in "Romantic Fantasy".  This story gets a huge pass because it helped establish this trope.
In Damar all those of royal blood have a "gift" or some magical power, Aerin's doesn't appear to have manifested cause some (but not her father or her cousin Tor) to suspect she is not really of royal blood. They called Witch Woman's Daughter since the suspect the queen's second wife of being a witch.
Aerin learns to move through life trying to be unnoticed, which is hard because of her fire-red hair (she claims it is orange) and the fact she is as tall as most men.  She hides away in books, where she happens on an ointment to protect one from the fire breath of dragons.  Dragons in this book are small things and are more annoyance than a threat.  So she imparts on a career of killing dragons.  A useful task but one with no honor. It also earns her no friends in court.

In her travels and quests she learns of a "Great Dragon" whom she later kills and is nearly killed in return. Hears the summons of a "not quite mortal" mage. Recovers two lost artifacts, the aforementioned Blue Sword and the Crown of Heroes.

The book, like the Blue Sword, starts out slow. But this one builds quickly.  Of course you know that Aerin will succeed since she is legendary in Blue Sword,  but that doesn't mean things will be easy for her.  I have to admit I forgot this when I was on the part where she was laying in a river with burns covering half her body.

The book is older and for a younger audience than me. But I am reminded that we still need more Aeirn Sols (and Hermoine Grangers) and fewer Bella Swans and Anastasia Steeles.

Robin McKinley can be found on the web at

2017 Witches & Witchcraft Reading Challenge
2017 Witch & Witchcraft Reading Challenge
Books Read so far: 14
Level: Mother
Witches in this book: Aerin's mother. Her uncle, Agsded and maybe Aerin is a witch too. Witches seem to have red-hair in this world.
Are they Good Witches or Bad Witches: Half and half.
Best RPG to Emulate it: This one is easy. Blue Rose is the best. In fact this is one of the books most often mentioned as an inspiration for Blue Rose.
Use in WotWQ: I love the idea of historical legends being brought to life.  I might want to have the players start out by playing the Witch Queens first.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Retro Revival Blog Challenge Week 3: Toys

Today I am joining the Retro Revival Blog Challenge.  Seem like a good fit, they talk about a lot of 80s and so do I.  This is Week 3 and the first one I wanted to chat about.

This week's topic is on Toys.  Now the original post was about favorite toys. But instead, I want to talk about the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons toy line from LJN.

I was never a big collector of these, to be honest.  I had a few figures that I thought were cool, Kalek for example, but that was about it.  My brother had collected some and I bought some myself, but always said they were part of his collection.  I was 13-15 at the time and was not into buying toys anymore.

So a few years back I got the whole collection given back to me by my brother with bits my youngest brother added to it.  I remember buying the Ogre and the Umber Hulk.  The others were new to me.

You can see all I have left of Kalek is his spellbook.  Maybe I'll put that in my witch figure display in my game room.  I really like the ogre and the hook horror.  That hook horror looks like he walked out of my Fiend Folio and I still prefer this look to the "revised" one we get today.

Of course what my son was most psyched about is the Tiamat figure.  She does not have her wings anymore, but he quickly said "she is the god of dragons, she can fly without wings if she wanted to".  Plus he has been coveting my aspect of Tiamat D&D mini for a very long time.  So this is a nice little prize for him.

When I first got these from my brother I thought I would not use them in my games, but recently I have used the Ogre as a proto-Orcus demon and the Troll as Vaprak the Destroyer.

In the adventure, the boys were transported back to the Dawn War where He Who Was was killed by The Destroyer (who will become Demogorgon) and Dis, the god that dies and then becomes the demon Orcus.

I am not sure if finding the other toys in this line is something I want to pursue.  It would not be easy and it would not be cheap.  I hit plenty of swap meets, flea markets, and second-hand-stores though that when I find one, I pick one up.

Of course, no discussion of these toys is complete without mentioning Skylla.
I have taken my obsession with this character to, well, my typical levels of obsession.

She is the evil magic-user/with from the LJN Advanced Dungeons & Dragons toyline and Basic/Expert modules. So there is a lot of reason for me to like her.  So I made witch stats for her for every game I currently play.

I even made a Hero Forge mini of her to use in my games now (more on that tomorrow).

There you have it!  There is a great listing and discussion of all these toys at The Toy Archive.

Check out the other posting this week at Retro Revival.

Monday, January 9, 2017

2017 Witches & Witchcraft Reading Challenge

It's 2017 and time for some new challenges. Or maybe an old challenge with new choices.
I am planning on participating in the 2017 Witches & Witchcraft Reading Challenge over at Melissa's Eclectic Bookshelf.

I participated in 2015 and 2016. I did well in 2015 getting 25 witch books read.  Last year I didn't get any since I spent most of my reading time with the history of England.

This year I already had a couple of books lined up so I figured it was a good thing to do. I had a lot of fun in 2015 with this.

This year I think I want to post reviews as soon as I am done reading them rather than waiting till the end of the month.  I also want to post more RPG-related material based on the books I am reading.  Plus anything I can add to my War of the Witch Queens adventures.  I think I will also expand a little what I consider a witch too.

In any case I think this is going to be a lot of fun.

Monday, January 25, 2016

A to Z sign up is Live

The sign up for the 7th annual April A to Z blog challenge is now live.

I am participating again this year.  Last year was a challenge for me to be honest.  But I hope I am better organized this year.  I already have an idea for my posts, I just need to check my Y and Z posts.

I do encourage others in our little corner of the internet to participate.  It not only helps grow your readership and blog, it also helps grow our hobby.  I won't lie, sales of my books go up in April.  People read what I have and they get curious.  My book plus Labyrinth Lord or my book plus Basic Fantasy is enough to get a newbie going for under the price of going to the movies.

Think about and join me if you can.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Reading Challenges

I am going to participate in a few reading challenges again this year.

Once again I am participating in The Witches & Witchcraft Reading Challenge at Melissa's Eclectic Bookshelf.

2016 Witches &a Witchcraft Reading Challenge

I doubt I will do as well as I did last year, but I am going to give it a try.

Also I "read" a lot of audio-books.  So this year I am also going to participate in the Book Nympho's 2016 Audiobook Challenge.  This one I expect I will do well on.  I have to commute everyday to work so I have lots of time in the car.

I have already started on both.

Another one I would like to do is the 2016 Victorian Reading Challenge.  But I don't currently have anything in my TBR piles that qualifies.  Except for games really.

Belle's Library

Still.  I enjoy these and it is a fun way to talk about something I was going to do anyway.

ETA: A few more.

2016 Prequel & Sequel Challenge

Retellings Reading Challenge 2016

2016 EBook Reading Challenge

Flights of Fantasy Reading Challenge

2016 Horror Reading Challenge

New to You 2016

New To You Square

Saturday, December 19, 2015

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

Here is my post the Déjà vu blogfest for 2015.

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

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

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

Class Struggles

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Plays Well With Others

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kimbra & Kelleigh

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

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

5th level Blood Witch, Female

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

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

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

5th level Witch, Blood Witch Tradition, Female

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

Hit Points:  16
AC: 7

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

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

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

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

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


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

Monday, March 2, 2015

The Mist-Torn Witches

First up for March is Barb Hendee's "The Mist-Torn Witches".

This has been sitting in my "To Be Read" pile forever it seems.

Here is the Amazon blurb.  Sounds like a good mystery is involved.

In a small village in the nation of Droevinka, orphaned sisters Céline and Amelie Fawe scrape out a living selling herbal medicines in their apothecary shop. Céline earns additional money by posing as a seer and pretending to read people’s futures.

But they exist in a land of great noble houses, all vying for power, and when the sisters refuse the orders of a warlord prince, they must flee and are forced to depend on the warlord prince’s brother, Anton, for a temporary haven.

A series of bizarre deaths of pretty young girls is plaguing the village surrounding Prince Anton’s castle. He offers Céline and Amelie permanent protection if they can use their “skills” to find the killer.

With little choice, the sisters enter a world unknown to them—of fine gowns and banquets and advances from powerful men. Their survival depends on catching a murderer who appears to walk through walls and vanish without a trace—and the danger grows with each passing night.

I am a fan of her other work and she is also writing the Introduction to Strange Brew.

I am REALLY looking forward to this one.  What I have read so far there are a lot of cool ideas I can add to my games.

More on the finale of "Tomb of Horrors" later today.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Witchy Read A-Thon

New month. New books to read.

This month I am going to take part in the Witchy Read A-Thon hosted by The Domestic Witch.

I know I have the next Harry Potter book on tap, but this is also a way for me to get at some of my "To Be Read" pile that is stacking up on my tablet.

Updates throughout the week!

Friday, February 27, 2015

Witches & Witchcraft Reading Challenge: February Reviews

Here are the reviews for February for the Witches & Witchcraft Reading Challenge.

First up this month is a continuation of last month.

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
I am REALLY enjoying rereading all of these.  I read this book soon after it first came out and I have seen the movie dozens of times. What I am enjoying are the differences between the book and the movie that I had forgotten. I don't fault the movies for the changes they made, but the books are obviously much more enjoyable.
Honestly I could not help but smile like an idiot the entire time I was listening to this.
Witch Count: Hundreds if not thousands.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
"Expecto Patronum!"

I followed Chamber of Secrets directly with Prisoner of Azkaban.  One of the things I love about these books is how well JKR shows how much the characters grow and change through out the books.  What I also enjoyed was that this book was not overtly about Lord Voldemort.  Oh, his presence is felt, but he doesn't need to be there in person to make his evil known.
Reading this book again I am struck by how great it was to get Alfonso Cuarón to direct the movie.  The first two are very much "boys adventures" and thus perfect for Spielberg protégé, Chris Columbus who wrote such movies like The Goonies and directed Home Alone. These are now young adults, teens, and much closer to Y Tu Mamá También than The Goonies.
Witch Count: Hundreds if not thousands.

While reading I figured out there has to be about 1000 students at Hogwarts. So about 250 per house (with Slytherin and Gryffindor having the fewest) and the class sizes tapering off.  I bet there are some drop outs after 1st year, some more after the OWLs, and some more when students turn 17.

I am of course going to read all the books.

Harry Potter and the Adventures in Role-Playing
In many of my other gaming circles a constant topic of discussion is who would we get to write a Harry Potter RPG and what system would we use.

I think the biggest issue with a Harry Potter RPG is you have 11 year-olds that know more spells than most 2nd level Wizards.   Here is a quick list of some Harry Potter spells and their D&D equivalents.

Harry Potter Spell D&D Spell*
Accio (Summoning) Summon Object
Aguamenti Create Water
Alohomora Knock 
Anapneo Telekinesis 
Avada Kedavra Power Word, Kill / Death Spell
Avis Summon Nature's Ally (Birds)
Colloportus Wizard Lock
Confringo Summon Flame
Confundo Feeblemind /False Memory
Densaugeo Growth
Diffindo Ghostly Slashing 
Engorgio Growth
Episkey Cure Light Wounds
Evanesco Disintegrate 
Expecto Patronum Shield, Dispel Evil
Expelliarmus Disarm
Expulso Move Object
Ferula Mend Light Wounds
Flagrate Witch Writing
Furnunculus Curse
Geminio Duplicate
Glisseo Trap
Imperio Charm Person
Incarcerous Bind / Web
Incendio Produce Flame
Legilimens ESP
Locomotor Tenser's Floating Disk
Locomotor Mortis Power Word, Stun
Lumos Light
Meteolojinx Recanto Control Weather
Mobiliarbus Levitate
Muffliato Silence 15' Radius
Nox Darkness
Obliviate Feeblemind / Erase Memory
Obscuro Blindness
Petrificus Totalus Petrify
Piertotum Locomotor Animate Object
Protego Shield / Protection from Magic
Protego Totalum Circle of Protection
Reducto Explode
Rennervate Quick Waking
Reparo Mend Objects
Repello Muggletum Protection (from Muggles)
Riddikulus Protection from Evil (Boggarts)
Salvio Hexia Protection from Magic
Sectumsempra Ghostly Slashing / Bloodletting
Serpensortia Summon Snakes / Snake Staff
Silencio Silence
Specialis Revelio Identify
Stupefy Daze
Tarantallegra Otto's Irresistible Dance
Wingardium Leviosa Levitation

They very on level by edition, but the thing to remember is that some wizards can cast most of these spells by the time they leave Hogwarts at 18.

D&D is the worlds biggest RPG, but it might not be the best fit for Harry Potter.  I am going to spend some time looking at other games as well.

Books read: 5
Current Level: Initiate (Read 1 – 5 Witchy Books)

Thursday, February 19, 2015

The A to Z Blogging Challenge Theme Reveal

I am participating in this year A to Z Blogging challenge again.

While the challenge for me is not to post every day, I already do that, but to post with the proper subject letter AND to stick to my theme.

The theme reveal this year will be on March 23.   Come back and see what I choose...although I have not been very secretive about it.

You can see what others are doing as well. If you are interested in doing the challenge (and I would suggest you try it at least once) and thinking of a theme the head on over to the sign up list.

Even if you don't sign up for the Theme Reveal, you can see what others are doing in time to sign up for the A to Z yourself.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Witch Crafting ... Celebrating Halloween AND Christmas. RPG Care Packages

I am participating in Magaly Guerrero’s Pagan Culture Crafting Blooming Howls today and the challenge is to come up with something witch fiction related that you have been meaning to finish.

Really, I didn't just want to upload yet another witch character stat block (though I am sure I still will later today).  I wanted to do something special and something different.

Well this year I am finally completing something I have wanted to do for a while.
I am putting together care packages of OSR and Witch fun for our troops serving overseas.

A bit back I posted my thoughts here:
I have tried to do this in past and didn't get my act together in time so I just sent money to my local VFW and American Legions.

Here is what I have so far:

Copies of Basic Fantasy as the core rules.  I think it one of the better interpretations of the OSR rules and a nice sweet spot between Basic and Advanced D&D.  Plus it is also the one that is most compatible with my own Witch book.   I know there are a lot of great rule sets; OSRIC, S&W, LL...but enough people have also asked to participate or do something similar I figured those rules would be represented.

I am also including copies of The Witch by yours truly.  This is a Witches in Fiction crafting blog challenge so this is what makes it "Witch".

At the moment I still need to get some bags to put both books in and get some dice.  I want to include some character sheets, a pre-gen witch character (because I can). I will include a letter thanking them for their service and some links to my blog and some others, likely +Erik Tenkar's since that is a good place to start anyway.

I would also like to include an adventure and maybe a dice bag.  Make it a complete package.

If this goes well I might do a couple of sets of Spellcraft & Swordplay plus Eldritch Witchery.  The nice thing with this is the dice sets will be cheaper and the bags can be smaller.

I am also open to more ideas.

The Blooming Sponsors

- Alchemy & Ashes
- Diandra Linnemann
- Eliora
- Gothic Miniatures
- Judy's Photos
- Rue and Hyssop
- Sarah H. Original Art & Gifts
- Touch of the Goddess
- Ye Olde Crones Gazette
- and Magaly Guerrero’s Pagan Culture

Monday, September 15, 2014

October is coming

Well it is getting down in temperature here and my thoughts are turning to October.

October is usually a busy time around here. both here at home and at The Other Side.

This October I am planning to participate in two blogfests.

Horror Movie Challenge
As normal I am going to participate in the October Horror Movie Challenge hosted by Krell Laboratories.
To add a little extra challenge to my challenge I am only watching vampire themed movies this year.

Witches in Fiction
I am also participating in Magaly Guerrero's Witches in Fiction blogfest.

This is an opportunity to complete some bit of witch related fiction that has been languishing on my hard drive or brain.   The challenge here is what NOT to do!  I have so much to choose from.

I am looking forward to both of these.

Monday, August 11, 2014

#RPGaDAY Day 11, Weirdest RPG owned

#RPGaDAY Day 11, Weirdest RPG owned

Define "Weird".

If by weird landscape, or play or just obscure then I would have to say Sky Realms of Jorune.

But if by weird as in "what the hell were they on?" then that has to go to Alma Mater.

Written and illustrated by Erol Otus this game has gone into RPG infamy.  So yeah I had to pick up a copy.

The premise is simple, it is a high school role-playing game for people still in high school.  But any relationship it has with reality ends there.
It is sub-par even by the standards of the 80s. The system is clunky and combat takes a long time.

If you love Erol Otus' art then there is something to love here.  The game itself is like someone took the Ramones Rock & Roll High School and mixed it with The Warriors movie and every other violent high school stereotype from before the Great John Hughes High School revival.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

#RPGaDAY Day 9, Favourite Die / Dice Set

#RPGaDAY Day 9, Favourite Die / Dice Set

I don't really have one.  I am not a dice-fetishist.

Typically when I buy a new game I buy a set of dice that goes with that game.

I have a set of black dice for Ravenloft, some sets for versions of D&D, a green celtic set for Castles & Crusades. Some semi-clear ones for Ghosts of Albion, a clock faced d12 I use in place of of 2d6 for Doctor Who.

I am rather proud that I have held on to my original dice from my Moldvay Basic set and the chits from my Holmes Basic.

My Unisystem Dice bag

Monday, August 4, 2014

#RPGaDAY Day 4, Most recent RPG purchase

#RPGaDAY Day 4, Most recent RPG purchase

To keep a trend going...

My newest purchase has been the D&D5 starter set. Like the Holmes, Moldvay, Cook & Marsh sets that came before it, this one has fueled new fires in me.  Really looking forward to play this one.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

#RPGaDAY Day 3, First RPG Purchased

#RPGaDAY Day 3, First RPG Purchased

I am pretty sure it had to have been the Cook/Marsh version of the D&D Expert set.  I had gotten the Basic Set as a gift, but this I think I went and got myself.
I felt it was some great tome of hidden knowledge.  I was stunned by such powerful spells as Disintegrate and such power monsters like the vampire.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

#RPGaDAY Day 2, First RPG Gamemastered

#RPGaDAY Day 2 First RPG Gamemastered

Also pretty easy.  It would have been the Moldvay Basic D&D.  I wrote all my own adventures back then and my first dungeon had two dragons in it.  It was not till later that I realized that with 10'x10' rooms and 10' wide halls there was no way for these dragons to get out.  I hope there was a steady supply of adventurers for them to feed on!
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