Showing posts with label challenge. Show all posts
Showing posts with label challenge. Show all posts

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Character Creation Challenge: The Dark Eye

The Dark Eye
This is my week to tackle games I have always wanted to play, or play more of.  Today is the day I take on one I have had sitting on my shelf since 2017 or so, The Dark Eye.  

The Game: The Dark Eye

I have known about this game for a while, both The Dark Eye and the original German Das Schwarze Auge. I always wanted to own the original German, having taken German in both high school and college, but not using a language for, well longer than I care to admit, you lose it. Das tut mir leid.

The Dark Eye always attracted me as a sort of a darker fantasy RPG.  A game where Mirkwood is replaced by the Black Forest.  

I picked the 2nd Printing of the English edition at my local game auction.  I grabbed the core rules and a bunch of add ons that I suspect came from the Kickstarter. There is a lot and it all looks so good. There is even a basic QuickStart.

The game is very moody, but also surprisingly, well, bright.  The art is fantastic and the design and layout are great. A really gorgeous game.  Can't wait to do something more with it.  And there is just so much material to be had, both to buy and for free

I went through the character creation and poured over the book.  I am overjoyed AND overwhelmed with all the options.  I can easily see why this game is so popular here and in Germany.  It is a game I would love to do more with and there is even a Community Content section for fan-produced works.

This could become a new obsession if I allowed it.

The Dark Eye RPG

The Character: Katherina

Katherina is a character I would have likely created in German class.  I will say this, the Dark Eye character sheets are among the nicest I have ever used.  Though now I also want to make a Dwarven Witch and maybe a version of my Larina.  I might do them as part of a larger review.

I might be missing some of the details here, but I think I have her set. 

Art by Ramona von Brasch
Character art by Ramona von Brasch
Katherina
Female Human Middenrealmer Raven Witch

COU 12
SGC 13
INT 14
CHA 15
DEX 12
AGI 12
CON 13
STR 9

Life Points 32
Arcane Energy 40
Spirit 2
Toughness 1
Dodge 6

Experience Level: Experienced (1,100 AP)

Advantages
Spellcaster, Hidden Aura, Increased Arcane Energy (V), Increased Life Points (I), Difficult to Enchant

Disadvantages
Negative Trait (Obessesed with Magic)

Special Abilities
Tradition (Witch), Languages (4 when I know more of the languages), Curses (4), Flying Balm, Connection to Familiar, Mimicry

Skills
Physical: Flying 6, Gaukelei 4, Stealth 2
Social: Empathy 6, Fast-Talk 4, Persuasion 4
Nature: Animal Lore 4, Plant Lore 4, Survival 3
Knowledge: Astronomy 4, Geography 4, Magical Lore 3, Myths & Legends 5, Religions 4
Craft: Alchemy 4, Treat Disease 2, Treat Soul 4

Combat Techniques
Brawling 8, Pole Weapons 8

Familiar
Krähe (Raven)
SA: First Among Equals

Spells
Fighting Stick 5
Witch's Bile 4

Age: 18
Birthday: Nameless 5
Social Status: Free
Hair: Black
Eyes: Blue
Height: 5'5"

I am sure I need to pick out more spells and more rituals. Again, there is just SO MUCH here.

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Character Creation Challenge: DragonQuest 1st Edition

DragonQuest, 1st Edition
I am actually quite thankful for this challenge right now.  I feel my creative batteries are in need of a recharge and this has been a help.  

The Game: Dragonquest

Everyone has that "one game" the game they admire from afar, want to learn it or more about it, and maybe, just maybe get to play it one day.  For the early 1980s that game for me was DragonQuest.  I can recall looking over the 2nd Edition book sitting prominently out front of Belobrajdic's Bookstore in my hometown.  I'd flip through it and marvel how "Not D&D" it was.  I always wanted to buy it but since my gaming budget was limited to what I could make on my paper route it was a fascinating game that no one I knew played OR the next AD&D hardcover.  Not a question of who was going to win really. 

Thankfully I am at a point in my life now where my RPG budget is several orders of magnitude greater and even expensive aftermarket books are within my grasp.  So I was quite pleased to have picked up DragonQuest 1st Edition boxed set a while back.  It confirmed everything I had thought at the time.
The game is wonderful in it's "Not D&D"-ness, it is wonderful to read and a joyful look back into the past of our hobby.  And I also know that no one I gamed with at the time would have played beyond one session.  Ah well.  I have today.

I do recall reading more about DragonQuest in the page of Dragon Magazine and I remember when TSR bought SPI (DragonQuest's publisher) that a new 3rd Edition was going to come out. I even held out hopes that the dual systemed D&D/DragonQuest adventures would lead to more crossovers.  But sadly that never occurred.   


At some point, I will need to do a deep dive into this game. But for now, let's make a character.

The Character: Phygor

In my games Phygor was one of the greatest wizards to have ever lived.  He was a well to do student in Glantri's Magic School. He was smart, well-liked, and had a very rich family. He was sitting in the courtyard of the school one day when just decided that he could not learn anything else here. So he got up left his books, belonging, and half-eaten lunch and he walked.  He kept walking until he had gone all over the world learning esoteric magics from hundreds of different spell casters.  He was something of a magic "Batman" in my games, only with no tragic backstory.  When he returned to Glantri he was able to quickly and decisively put down a rebellion of other wizards; having no defense against his new and strange magics.  While he was in the D&D sense a Lawful Good Wizard, he has the respect of almost all the magic-users, wizards, witches, and warlocks of my world. Even the evil ones since Phygor believed in the crazy notion that magic should be for all so he made all of his discoveries public.   

He was never really a character.  Just a name and a myth. I would then claim that my wizard character Phygora was named for him and of course he would also go on to learn a lot of strange magics.  Sort of like how Harry Houdini named himself after his idol Jean-Eugène Robert-Houdin. 

So let's go back in time. To a point before Phygor at age 25 got up and left his life to learn different magics.  This is 18-year-old Phygor just getting started at his school. Not discontent, but bright-eyed and eager to learn.

Phygor
Phygor
Human Male, 18 years

Primary Characteristics
Physical Strength 12
Agility 10
Magical Aptitude 21
Manual Dexterity 16
Endurance 16
Willpower 18
Appearance 13

Secondary Characteristics
Fatigue 20
Perception 5
Action Points 9

Starting XP 140

Adept, College of Ensorcerlments and Enchantments
Talents: Witchsight
Spells: Spell of Telekinesis
Rituals: Ritual of Enchantment

Skills
None yet

He looks like a likable chap. He would have to be, he is going to travel the world and seek out all the masters of esoteric and occult knowledge.  

There is an absolute ton to like about this game.  Frankly, I'd love to get some more XP and see what skills I could start with this guy.  Maybe even advance him far enough to even start his big world-spanning journey.

I could even see a future feature here where I try to stat him up in other FRPGs but each time have him a little more advanced.  Maybe even ending with his BECMI stats at 36th level.

Phygor

What are your memories of DragonQuest?  I'd love to hear them.

Monday, January 18, 2021

Character Creation Challenge: 7th Sea, 2nd Edition

7th Sea RPG
Today is something new for me. All the games I have done so far and have planned have been games on my shelf.  This weekend I have been playing around with this idea of a Sea Witch character.  The idea of this has been floating around in the back of my mind since the 2nd Ed days when we ran a short-lived campaign sea-based campaign.  So I went out bought 7th Sea, 2nd Edition.

The Game: 7th Sea, 2nd Edition

7th Sea was always an interesting game to me. I picked up the 1st edition a couple of times at my FLGS to buy but never bought it.  When I was at the Ennies a few years ago when 7th Sea, 2nd Ed won a bunch of awards and I thought about picking it up then too. 

The setting is an alt-Europe during the Age of Sail. I have to admit the idea, and the setting is a very intriguing one.  Reading through the game I am overwhelmed with ideas.  Not just for this game, but also to add to various other games.  

One day I should really do a Blue Rose / 7th Sea / Mage the Sorceror's Crusade mash-up.  I also could see all three of those games adding more depth to my D&D games, in particular to Glantri. 

Really there is so much here I will need to come back to this one. Might have to pick up the hardcover. It really looks like a great game.

The Character: Gwenhwyfar

For this character, I went with very familiar territory or as familiar as I can get here.  Really it was the fact that characters can be Pagans that sold me on the character idea here.  Also, the thinly-veiled version of Ireland in Inismore grabbed my attention. 

Circe Invidiosa 1892 oil on canvas
Gwenhwyfar
Concept: Sea Witch
Nation: Inismore
Religion: Pagan

Traits
Brawn ••
Finesse ••
Resolve ••••
Wits •••
Panache ••

Skills
Aim •
Athletics •
Brawl ••
Convince •
Empathy ••
Hide •
Intimidate
Notice ••
Perform ••
Ride
Sailing ••
Scholarship •
Tempt •••
Theft •
Warfare
Weaponry •

Background
Saoi (Wise one), Sailor

Advantages
Bar Fighter
Able Drinker
Direction Sense
Disarming Smile
Eagle Eyes
Linguist
Sea Legs
Team Player

Sorcery: Glamour

So I don't know about this character, or this system, yet.  But I am looking forward to learning more about both.  I am not sure if Gwenhwyfar and Seren would get along (my stand-ins for Irish and Welsh respectively). 

Sunday, January 17, 2021

Character Creation Challenge: Blue Rose1st Edition, AGE Edition

Blue Rose
Yesterday I featured Blue Rose, the True20 Edition.  I am moving further afield now from the d20 base I started with, but there is still a lot recognizable here. Blue Rose 2nd Edition uses the new AGE system from Green Ronin.  Both systems, AGE and True20, have their benefits and suit the stories well.

The Game: Blue Rose, 2nd Edition

Like its predecessor edition, I have talked a lot about Blue Rose AGE edition.

In particular, I have been using it as a main feature in my recent "Plays Well With Others" posts. I have even considered it as one of the base systems to use for my "War of the Witch Queens" campaign.  In fact, one of the adventures morphed and has made its way to an official Blue Rose adventure anthology, the upcoming Six of Cups.  I have to say that working with Green Ronin on official Blue Rose material was a delight.

I have not played a campaign in BR yet, but I have played a number of one-shots that could be loosely defined as a campaign.  I have even played a few times at Gen Con with some really fantastic GMs. 

Again I spent a lot of time reviewing this game when it came out.

And I have to admit I am REALLY looking forward to the Blue Rose Adventurer's Guide for 5e when it comes out.

The game is an absolute joy and I hope to continue with it for a long time to come.

Blue Rose

The Character: Seren

Seren is a new character based on a character I have in Six of Cups.  That character, Celeste Vocolio, is considered to be one of the greatest heroes of the Aldean Navy.  She stowed away on a ship at age 8 because she wanted to see the world and she became the greatest Admiral of the Navy in Aldis, Kingdom of the Blue Rose.  I described her as "Pippy Longstockings growing up to become Honor Harrington."

Seren is not part of the Aldean Navy, nor is she a great hero. Yet.  She grew up hearing stories of Adm. Vocolio her whole life like many children growing up in Garnet. She would sit near to the Garnet Beacon lighthouse and watch the ships come in and go out.  

Seren though is not a sailor, she is a Sea-folk witch who now lives in Garnet.

Miranda
Seren
Female Sea Folk Seer (Adept) 1st level

Accuracy 1 (Prime)
Communication 1
Constitution 1 [Swiming 3]
Dexterity 1
Fighting 1
Intelligence 2 (Prime) [Nautical Lore 4]
Perception 4 (Prime) [Searching 7]
Strength 0
Willpower (Prime) 2

Speed 11
Defense 11
Armor 0
Health 25

Powers, Talents and Specializations
Sea Folk (Dark sight, swimming)
Adept (Arcane training, Arcane channeling)

Observation Talent
Seer

Languages (Aldin, Lar'ttan)

Arcana
Healing (Novice) Cure, Psychic Shield, Second Sight
Visionary (Novice) Visions, Scry, Nature Reading

Calling: The World (Exploration & Discovery)
Destiny: Ace of Swords - Courage
Fate: Ace of Rods - Overzealous

Seren is a baby Sea Witch.  My goal for her would be get her on a boat with some crew that become her adopted family of choice and have merry adventures.  Likely I see her becoming a powerful, and hopefully scary, sea witch; I see her in a Miyazaki film to be honest.

Working with her Calling, Destiny and Fate, I see her as someone that wants to see the world, to be the one standing on the front of her ship and telling the crew where to go and what to do.  But that is a long way off yet and she has to first build up the courage to get there.

Saturday, January 16, 2021

Character Creation Challenge: Blue Rose1st Edition, True20

Blue Rose, 1st Edition

One of the games I really enjoyed playing back in the early days of the new Millenium was Green Ronin's Blue Rose, True20 edition

The Game: Blue Rose, 1st Edition

Blue Rose is a great game.  It takes fantasy and instead of drawing from the heroic Pulp tradition it instead draws from the Romantic fantasy traditions.  The characters are every bit as heroic, but their actions are guided by different principles.

I have spent a lot of time talking about Blue Rose here so instead of converting that ground again, I will direct you to some relevant posts.



The Character: Marissia

Marissia (and yeah that is the spelling I am going with here) has the distinction of being the very first NPC witch I ever created.  Or at least the first one that I still have notes for. She makes her appearance in module B1: In Search of the Unknown where I call her the "Daughter of Zelligar."

She is an evil witch, or at least she will be when she gets higher in level.  Given my big Black Rose deal for this version of the game, I thought I might as well bring her in.  

Hero Forge picture of Marissia
Marissa
1st level Human Adept (Arcanist)

Strength: +0
Dexterity: +1
Constitution: +2
Intelligence: +3
Wisdom: +3
Charisma: +4

Intiative: +1
Defence: +2
BAB: 0, Melee Attack: +0, Ranged Attack: +1

Toughness: +0
Fortitude: +0
Reflex: +0
Will: +2

Conviction: 3
Corruption: 0
Alignment: Shadow
Calling: Adept - Mastery of Arcane
Light Nature: 8 of Pentacles - Dedicated
Shadow Nature: 10 of rods - Obsessive

Skills: Heal, Intimidate, Notice, Concentration, Craft (potions), Knowledge (Arcane), Sleight of Hand, Search

Feats and Powers: Arcane Focus, Brew Elixir, Visionary Arcana.
Arcana: Scrying, Battle Dance

I'd have to go over her again to make sure this fits my eventual idea of her, but it is a good place to start.

Friday, January 15, 2021

Character Creation Challenge: Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea

Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea
Another favorite game that came out of the Old-school push was Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea.  A game that took us back to the pulp-fantasy roots of the RPG hobby. 

The Game: Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea

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

I have mentioned in the past that I see AS&SH as a 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.

For me, it is another example of striking the perfect balance between B/X D&D and AD&D1.  This one leans more towards the AD&D side of the spectrum, but the power level, the grit, the overall vibe is far more B/X.  THEN you add in material from Lovecraft, Howard, and Clark Ashton Smith? Well, that is the perfect icing on the cake really.

Of course, it is nearly perfect out of the box, but it can also lend itself to so much more than what is given us to use between the covers.  I have run Zothique games and Pellucidar style ones as well where all of Hyperborea was either one continent in the far future or underground, inside hollow earth (respectively).

Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea

The Character: Xaltana

Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea has its own witch class and it really is quite excellent.

Ok, admittedly this one is a bit of a cheat since she is not only not my character, she is a pastiche of other characters.  Xaltana appears in the adventure HS4 The Lost Caverns of Acheron which I talk about here.  She is an evil witch/vampire lord found in the central part of the adventure.  She combines various characters including Drelzna and Iggwilv as well as any number of evil witch and evil vampire type characters found in Conan.  In the adventure, her stats are for 3.x edition. AS&SH is a much better fit for her really.

While I have a number of other Witch-y Vampire Queens, this one is a bit different in that she is designed to be a one and done sort of bud guy.

Xaltana, the Witch-Queen of Acheron
Xaltana, the Witch-Queen of Acheron
Female Witch, 12th level, Chaotic Evil

Race: Human(Common, but could be Hyperborean) Vampire 
Secondary Skill: Scribe

Abilities
Strength: 16
Dexterity: 20
Constitution: 10
Intelligence: 14
Wisdom: 14
Charisma: 20

Casting Ability: 12
Fighting Ability: 5

Hit Points:  36
Alignment: Chaotic Evil
AC: 5 

Powers
1st level: Brew Potions, Familiar
3rd level: Brew Philtre
5th level: Dance of Beguilement, Effigy
7th level: Animate Broom
9th level: Witch's Apprentice

Vampire Powers

Spells
First: (5) Burning Hands, Charm Person, Locate the Dead, Shocking Grasp, Sleep
Second: (5) Cause Blindness, Ghoul Touch, Hold Person, Infernal Tongues, Ray of Enfeeblement
Third: (4) Black Cloud, Explosive Runes, Phantasm, Witch Fire
Fourth: (4) Black Tentacles, Charm Monster, Mirror Mirror, Sorcerer Eye
Fifth: (3) Control Winds, Magic Jar, Sleep Everlasting
Sixth: (2) Disintegrate, See

Magic Items
Bracers AC1


Xaltana, the Witch-Queen of Acheron
Xaltana, the Witch-Queen of Acheron
Female Witch, Malefic Tradition 13th level, Chaotic

Abilities
Strength: 16
Dexterity: 20
Constitution: 10
Intelligence: 14
Wisdom: 14
Charisma: 20

Hit Points: 29
AC: 1 (Bracers)

Occult Powers
Familiar: Bat
7th level:  
13th level: 

Spells 
Cantrips: Alarm Ward, Black Flame, Daze, Detect Curse, Object Reading, Open
First: Cause Fear, Everlasting Candle, Ghostly Slashing, Increase Sex Appeal, Minor Curse
Second: Bewitch II, Burning Gaze, Enthrall, Evil Eye
Third: Feral Spirit, Clairaudience/Clairvoyance, Tongues
Fourth: Dance Macabre, Intangible Cloak of Shadows, Phantom Lacerations
Fifth: Death Curse, Dreadful Bloodletting
Sixth: Death Blade, Mass Agony
Seventh:  Wave of Mutilation

Magic Items
Bracers AC 1

Both versions are good. I might rethink my plan to make her a one-shot villain!

Character Creation Challenge

Tardis Captain is the originator of this idea and he is keeping a list of places participating.  When posting to Social Media don't forget the #CharacterCreationChallenge hashtag. 

RPG Blog Carnival

This month's RPG Blog Carnival is being hosted by Plastic Polyhedra. They are doing Characters, Stories, and Worlds, so that fits right in with everything we are posting this month.

Check out all the posts going on this month at both of these sources.


Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Character Creation Challenge: Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, 2nd Edition

Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, 2nd Edition came on the scene to much anticipation back in the Spring of 1989.  I was in college at the time but I still managed to get the books very close on release day.  The game was largely an update and cleanup of the AD&D 1st Ed rules.  Gygax had been gone from TSR for a while at this point and the rules lacked his "voice" but they were a significant improvement in many ways.  

But today no one talks about the 2nd ed rules as much as they talk about the settings.

The Game: Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, 2nd Edition

There is no doubt that the 2nd edition made many improvements to the AD&D ruleset. While Basic-era D&D moved on with the BECMI series, AD&D came here.  With the streamlined, but not simplified, rules in place TSR focused on what they believed to be their cash-cow, settings.  And to be fair the settings are what we all recall today.  There were also tons of splat books and eventually an update that was called AD&D 2.5 by some, but never by the company.  

This was also the edition that caved under the pressure of the religious right and bowdlerized demons and devils right out of the system.  It would not be till later with Planescape that we got them back in the forms of Tanarri and Batatezu. 

Since the Splats and Settings are so important to the identity of 2nd Edition it behooves me to mention a couple and my relationship with them. Not to mention the witch options they gave me.

The Complete Wizard's Handbook

Among 2nd Eds features were the "Kits" or archetypes you could apply to various classes to customize them.  Sadly like many splat books you see power creep in these. The Complete Bard's Handbook was one of the worst offenders along with the Elves book. But today is not the day to discuss those. Today I want to talk about the Witch Kit.

The Witch-kit appeared in the Complete Wizard's Handbook and was a mere 3 or so pages, but it was the first official witch class in AD&D.  She got powers every odd level and had a lot of role-playing potential.  This might seem more powerful than your average wizard, but at the time everyone was assumed to have a kit of some sort.

Ravenloft

My world of choice in the 2nd Ed era was Ravenloft.  The gothic horror tropes were too much of a lure to avoid. Interestingly enough it would not be until Spring of 2000 when Ravenloft would get their first witch class/kit and by this time they were owned by Wizards of the Coast.

This class/kit gave us the Witches of Hala, which is a kit that any non-magic using class could use, so only Fighter and Theif. But the witches did gain some spell abilities.  To differentiate between the two witches Van Richten's Monster Hunter's Compendium, Vol 3 calls the Complete Wizard Witch Kit the "Sorcerous Witch." To further distinguish them I took to calling the Witches of Hala "Hedge Witches."

Forgotten Realms

During the 2nd Edition years, Forgotten Realms was the undisputed King of the Campaign Worlds.  I largely ignored it.  I have made up for lost time since then and been spending more time in the Realms, but that is another post.  I did however know all about the Witches of Rashemen and Spellbound was one of the first Realms products I ever bought. This setting also uses the wizard kit and the Witches of Rasemaar kit.


Due to the amount of material I have here I am also going to do two characters.

The Character: Sinéad

Following my Celtic-influenced witches, I give you Sinéad.  Of course, she is named for Sinéad O'Connor whose album "The Lion and the Cobra" pretty much changed everything for me in 1988/1989.  

Sinéad is built using the Witch Kit from the Complete Wizard's Handbook. Now the witch kit says they can't be multi-classed, but the concept I want to try is. So I am going to do it anyway, but not choose a kit for the Bard class.  Some of the restrictions on this kit feel the same as the removal of the demons and devils; giving the players in-game reasons not to use it.

Sinéad is not a character I played back then, but this build is pretty close to what I would have created back in 1989 while living in Room 109 of the Wright I Hall Dorms.

Goodwife Sinéad
(Goodwife is how you address a witch whose marital status is unknown)
Half-elf 7th level Wizard (Witch Kit)/7th level Bard
Chaotic Good

STR: 12
DEX: 16
CON: 15
INT: 17
WIS: 14
CHA: 16

AC: 1 (Bracers of Defence)
HP: 50
THAC0 (Base): 17

Saving Throws
Paralyzation, Poison, Death: 12
Rod, Staff, Wand: 9
Petrification, Polymorph: 11
Breath Weapon: 13
Spells: 10

Weapons
Dagger

Proficiencies/Skills/Languages
Herbalism, Spellcasting, Artistic Abilities (Singing)
Climb Walls (30%), Detect Noise (40%), Pick Pockets (25%), Read Languages (90%)

Special Abilities
Half-elf: Resist Sleep (30%)
Bard: Spells, knowledge
Witch: Read Magic, Detect Magic, Secure Familiar (3rd), Brew Calmative (5th), Brew Poison (7th)

Spells
Bard: (1st) Light, Faerie Fire, Protection from Evil (2nd) Charm Person, Hold Person (3rd) Dispel Magic
Wizard (Witch): (1st) Audible Glammer, Magic Missile, Shocking Grasp, Identity (2nd) Continual Light, Spectral Hand, Ray of Enfeeblement (3rd) Lightning bolt, Fly (4th) Dimension Door

The Character: Nida

Nida is a character I have been playing around with for my War of the Witch Queens.  She is supposed to represent the "other" witches of 2nd Ed, the ones I didn't use but the ones everyone else did. That is the Witches of Hala and the Witches of Rashemen.  She is not a starting character because I need her to have some history.

Nida was a Rashmi girl born to poor parents.  She was playing when she was taken into the Mists and found herself in the lands of Ravenloft.  She became a thief to survive the world on her own until she tried to pick the pockets of a Witch of Hala. For the next ten years she trained with this witch and learned the secrets of Hala and her magic. One night she was hunting a particularly nasty Annis Hag when she found herself back in her homeland of Rashemen.  Unable to return, she tried to pick up her life before she left only to discover her family had long since died.  She began training as a Wychlaran, or a Witch of Rashemen.  Like the witches of her homeland she adopted a mask and changed her name to "Nida" which means "voice."

Note: Since Nida is a dual classed character, a Thief/Mage, there is no reason to assume she can't be a Thief (Witch of Hala) / Mage (Witch of Rashemen) even though the Witch of Hala can't be taken by a spellcaster (she is a thief at the time) and the Witch of Rashemen has to be a spellcaster (she is a mage at the time).


Lady Nida
Human 4th level Thief (Witch of Hala Kit) / 9th level Wizard (Witch of Rashemen kit)
Chaotic Neutral*
(Witches in Ravenloft can't be chaotic, but this is the character concept I have.)

STR: 11
DEX: 16
CON: 16
INT: 17
WIS: 13
CHA: 18

AC: 1 (Bracers of Defence)
HP: 48
THAC0 (Base): 18

Saving Throws
Paralyzation, Poison, Death: 13
Rod, Staff, Wand: 9
Petrification, Polymorph: 11
Breath Weapon: 13
Spells: 10

Weapons
Dagger

Proficiencies/Skills/Languages
Herbalism, Spellcasting, Artistic Abilities, Ancient History
Pick Pockets (35%) Open Locks (35%), Climb Walls (30%), Detect Noise (40%), Pick Pockets (25%), Read Languages (90%)

Special Abilities
Half-elf: Resist Sleep (30%)
Bard: Spells, knowledge
Witch: Read Magic, Detect Magic, Secure Familiar (3rd), Brew Calmative (5th), Brew Poison (7th)

Spells
Witch of Hala: (1st) Combine, Reveal the Weave, Luck (2nd) Arcane Insights, Master Coven Magic (3rd) Water Walk
Wizard (Witch of Rahemen): (1st) Circle, Alarm, Magic Missile, Shocking Grasp (2nd) Dazzle, Protection from Poison, Blindness, Tasha's Uncontrollable Hideous Laughter (3rd) Firelance, Lightning bolt, Suggestion (4th) Negate Magic Weapon, Magic Mirror (5th) Teleport

I like these builds. I certainly want to use Nida somewhere.  Maybe see what she is like with another system. Both are 14th level and have a similar range of abilities.

Character Creation Challenge

Tardis Captain is the originator of this idea and he is keeping a list of places participating.  When posting to Social Media don't forget the #CharacterCreationChallenge hashtag. 

RPG Blog Carnival

This month's RPG Blog Carnival is being hosted by Plastic Polyhedra. They are doing Characters, Stories, and Worlds, so that fits right in with everything we are posting this month.

Check out all the posts going on this month at both of these sources.


Sunday, October 11, 2020

October Horror Movie Challenge: The Baztán Trilogy

Spent the day watching all the movies of the Baztán Trilogy today. I had plans, but these movies sucked me in.  I debated whether or not they count as horror.  They are typical police murder dramas on the surface. But beyond that they feature child sacrifice, ancient witch cults, good vs evil, mind control, and at least three different mythological monsters that were all (mostly) new to me.  So yeah, I am going to call it horror.

The Invisible Guardian (2017)

This is the first of the trilogy.  The story takes place in Baztan, Navarre in the Basque region of Spain near France. It is a lovely, picturesque countryside and one is immediately reminded of such folk horror movies like "The Wicker Man."  Like The Wicker Man, this area is steeped in ancient superstitions and folklore and this plays into these stories. 

The story focuses on inspector Amaia Salazar.  She is the chief homicide inspector and is investigating the murder of a 13-year girl.  During the investigation, she has to return to home town and deal with her sisters.  Amaia left years ago to join the FBI and there is an obvious rift between her and her family.  This rift is investigated and how it relates to her case.  Soon more girls turn up murdered and the killer is dubbed "El Basajaún", named for a forest creature from the region. 

During the investigation, there is an obvious occult connection, but one that does not become obvious right away.

There are a lot of questions, even when the murderer is discovered.  One is, is Basajaún real?  We hear it's weird whistling in the forest in the mountains. Something pulls Inspector Salazar from her car wreck.  Something directs the detectives to the cave where tons of human bones are. And we catch a glimpse of something large and hairy in the distance. 

The Legacy of the Bones (2019)

It's a year or so later and Amaia Salazar has a new baby boy and is drawn back to Baztan where there is a string of unrelated suicides. Unrelated save they all ask for her before they kill themselves and they leave a word behind, usually scrawled in the victims on blood, Tartalo; another monster from the Basque region that may have had something to do with the local witchcraft covens.

We also learn more about Amaia's relationship with her institutionalized mother who tried to kill her on several occasions when she was a girl. Likely part of the reason she left the family to live in America for a while. 

The movie focuses on the bones found in the local cave and how there has been a long history of cult-like killings. 

Amaia also gets closer to a local judge while her American husband is pushed further away.   

The climax comes when Amaia's mother escapes a clinic run by the Opus Dei.  She kidnaps her grandson, thinking it is a granddaughter, to sacrifice "her."   Amaia stops her by pointing out it that it is a boy that ruins the sacrifice. 

Her mother manages to escape and everyone, save Amaia, thinks she drowns in the flood.

Offering to the Storm (2020)

The final chapter ties together all sorts of plot threads.  Amaia is having an affair with Judge Juez Markina.  More murdered baby girls are turning up and they all seem to lead back to a single house in the country.  A house where Amaia's mother used to frequent with other women.   Sound like a witch cult? Yeah. It does.  And the similarities don't end there.  The members of the cult will make a sacrifice and then become very rich. The ones that don't have their lives destroyed.  

We learn that the children, all baby girls, were sacrificed to a demon named Inguma.  A demon that causes nightmares and kills babies in their sleep.  Dismissed today as a way to explain crib death.

In the process, Amaia learns that she had a twin sister who must have been sacrificed as a baby. Her bones were discovered in the cave from the first movie.  There are all sorts of other spooky things going on that would be a spoiler to share, but suffice to say that the Basque Witch cult that everyone talks about in the past tense in this movie is very much a current thing. 

Amaia hunts down members of the cult and learns her mother was an active member and she was supposed to be a sacrifice herself.  Also, the girls killed in the first movie were girls who were supposed to have been killed as babies. 

The movies are good on their own, but like the Millennium series (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo) they are better as a series.  Also, like the Millennium series, it shows that the evilest monsters are humans.

Watched: 18
New: 12

I am starting my next movie now, so I will post something for Monstrous Monday tomorrow.