Showing posts with label charmed. Show all posts
Showing posts with label charmed. Show all posts

Monday, November 5, 2018

Charmed Season 1, Episode 4 "Exorcise Your Demons"

Exorcisms seem to be a popular topic on witch shows of late. We start the fourth episode of the season with the Charmed One still harboring the Harbinger demon stuck in the body of their friend Angela.  We learn that six month back that Marisol (their now dead mother) was working with Angela to press sexual harassment charges against a male professor (the same from episode 1).
She gets depressed and tries to OD and ends up in a coma.   Here she is easy pickings for the Harbinger demon.


This is also when the Charmed Ones meet their first Elder.  Now Elders in the Original Series were powerful Whitelighters.  In this series, we meet Charity who seems to be a living witch.  She is the CEO of a non-profit organization to help women in developing countries.  Yes, Charmed is still wearing their politics on their sleeve.   But saying this is far more than just "fan service" it established two essential plot points. 1. Elders are living witches, not powerful Whitelighters and 2. that this is someone the girls would trust.  We also learn through Charity that Marisol was an Elder or Senior Witch; "the same thing" according to Harry.
Charity's plan is to kill the demon and thus Angela.  This doesn't sit well with Mel, who pushed Angela to press the charges; she feels responsible.   Eventually, Mel discovers that Angela is alive and trapped in her own body.
Mel convinces Maggie, Macy and eventually even Harry that Angela can be saved.  They discover a new spell, one that had been hidden but only revealed till all three girls agreed to try, in the Book of Shadows.   It is a witch exorcism spell based, according to Harry, on Santariea. All I know is that Mel sounds great speaking Spanish.
Again, I won't be spoilery with the ending, but not everyone makes it out alive.

What is New for this Series?
The Book of Shadows has a "search feature" not sure if I like this or not.
Elders are living, senior witches, and someone/thing is killing them
Demons look cooler.
Marisol was an Elder.

Elders in Your Game
Last week I gave you all Exorcism and Vanquishing spells so no need to go over that again.
But I do want to investigate this idea of Elders in the game.  Now if this were 3rd Edition/Pathfinder we were talking about then an Elder would be a Prestige Class for a witch. Much like my Imbolc Mage Prestige Class.

For OSR style games I would just make some sort of social structure.  Something like the Witenagemot of 7th century England.  This "Council of the Wise" in many ways typifies what I think the Elders should be about.  J.K. Rowling used this idea for her "Wizengamot" of her world.
In my world, I supposed I could call it a "Wiccegemot" or "Council of Witches (Wicce)".
What would they do? What powers would they have?  I would like to think that representatives of the major covens and traditions would be here.  Maybe this is the council that my Witch Queens are on that meet once every seven years. Or thirteen years, can't remember right now.  Looked it up, it's 13 years.

I would say there are special ritual spells that only can be cast by the Wiccegemot.  Powerful spells. Earth, or even Plane, altering spells.
I am also likely to give them access to secret spells of lower levels, just ones they don't widely share.

Right though, I'll just keep them mysterious and unknown.

Monday, October 29, 2018

Charmed Season 1, Episode 3 "Sweet Tooth" (and Battle of the Network Witches)

It's a Charmed Halloween and we get a few more bits of Charmed lore.  First Maggie needs to win big with her sorority so she throws a party in the Vera Manor (which looks really big on the inside) and uses a Glamour spell to make the Halloween decorations extra special.  We learn from Harry that such uses of magic have consequences.   In the original series, the Charmed Ones could not use magic for personal gain as well, but the consequences were usually more immediate and pronounced.  in the new series Maggie has her magic spaz out on her.

Mel really wants to tell her girlfriend she is a witch.  We learn that Mel was always accepted as gay by her mother so she was never "in the closet" now having to hide that she is a witch is killing her.  She has also mastered some sort of spell akin to Eldritch Blast or Fireball that is dangerous to everyone around her when she casts.

Macy has to reveal a secret of her own. The demon of the week, the Harbinger, feeds on virgin blood.  So far she has eaten a Nun, a girl in charge of the "Purity Patrol", and a right-wing podcasting incel (ok, so two human and a community service kill).   While trying to cast a protection circle around the house they discover the demon is inside.  So to lure it out they need virgin blood.  Macy steps up as a potential source (we have seen Maggie and Mel already have sex). Macy claims she never got around to it.

The Elders still seem to be about as useless as always, but we learn that Harry had another witch he was protecting but she told someone she was a witch and ended up in a mental asylum.  He feels it is an honor to be able to serve the Charmed Ones.

The title comes from the notion that this demon can't digest sugar.  More of Macy's "there is science in this magic stuff."

I love how both Maggie and Macy commented on their mother's collection of hebs and candles and say how could the girls not known she was a witch?

--
Over on Netflix (though it has a solid CW feel thanks to having  Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and Greg Berlanti as producers) we are getting The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina which is soooo good.  I am not going to get into it that much right now (have a post for later in the week) but I do want to comment on the Charmed connection.


In Episode 6 Sabrina wants to hold an exorcism of another's character's uncle (yes I am trying to avoid spoilers).  The episode is very, very reminiscent of The Exorcist, what was completely intentional.  We learn through that witches (at least these witches) can't and are not allowed to perform exorcisms.   Indeed even going through my own database of spells I don't have exorcism on the list.  As it turns out Sabrina's father had worked one out that does not rely on the power of the Catholic Church or the Christian God.
And it sounds really, really, really similar in tone to the Vanquishing ritual the Charmed Ones used to destroy the Source of All Evil and later Cole.






In every instance (I could not find a video for Sabrina) the witches gather and call upon the power of other witches to aid to defeat an evil.  In Charmed it is the witches of their family starting with Pru, their mother, grams and working backward.  In Sabrina, they invoke the names of Lilith, Aradia, Diana, Marie Laveau among many others.  I'll go back and rewatch it for all the names, it's like a witch's who's who.



How would this work in your games?
The spell has similar features to the Clerical/Divine Exoricsm and the Arcane Banish.

Banishment
Level: Cleric 6
Range: Creatures within visual range
Duration: Instantaneous
A banishment spell is a more powerful version of the dismissal spell. It enables the cleric to force extraplanar creatures out of their home plane. As many as 2 Hit Dice of creatures per caster level can be banished. The cleric can improve the spell's chance of success by presenting at least one object or substance that the target hates, fears, or otherwise opposes. For each such object or substance, the cleric gains a +2 bonus vs the creature’s saving throws. Note: a holy symbol is always assumed and does not add to the saving throw adjustment. For example, if the creature’s save is 13 and the cleric presents the appropriate symbols, say such a bell or candle then the creature’s save is now 15. Spell resistance (if applicable) is reduced by 5% per item.
Certain rare items might work twice as well as a normal item for the purpose of the bonuses each providing a +10% bonus against Spell Resistance and increasing the save by 3 or 4 depending on the Game Master.  Such rare items could be the relic of a Saint that opposed these creatures, an ancient weapon forged to destroy them or even a special time of day.
Any creature failing to save is sent back to the realms from which they came.
Material Components: At minimum a holy symbol and prayer book. Other items can be added.

Vanquish
Level: Witch Ritual 8
Range: One Creature within visual range
Duration: Instantaneous
This ritual doesn’t just banish an extra-planar creature, it destroys it. However, to use this spell requires three or more witches to cast and even more witches to power.   Three or more witches will cast the spell focusing all their attention on the creature to be vanquished. The gathered witches now must call upon their ancestors, past witches of their coven or the names of powerful patrons to lend support to vanquishing of this creature.
Each witch beyond three adds a +2 bonus to the spell vs. a Saving throw (and +5% against any roll to overcome magic resistance, if used).
Certain rare items might work twice as well as a normal item for the purpose of the bonuses each providing a +10% bonus against Spell Resistance and increasing the save by 3 or 4 depending on the Game Master.  Such rare items could be the relic of a witch that opposed these creatures, an ancient weapon forged to destroy them or even a special time of day or place.
If the creature fails the save they are dead and no resurrection can bring them back.
Any creature failing to save is sent back to the realms from which they came.
Material Components: At the minimum the witch’s ritual tool and the names of the witches they are calling upon for power. Other items can be added.

Tonight we also get NBC's "A Very Wicked Halloween" for more Witchy Goodness.



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

Monday, October 22, 2018

Charmed Season 1, Episode 2 "Let This Mother Out"

Last night's Charmed episode felt like a "proper" Charmed episode in tone, but not one we would have ever seen on the Original Series. 


The girls, still grieving for their lost mother are also dealing with new sister issues.  While in the original series it took Piper a while to really accept Paige as her sister, since her and Prue were so close, here we see Mel as the one more reluctant to "replace" her mother with Macy.  Maggie, the empath, is the one that acts as the bridge much the same way Phoebe did.

Of course Original Charmed would not have used Grams or Patty in the same way they used Marisol here.  And in the case of Prue they really couldn't have done it nor I think would they have tried.  In this way, the New Charmed ups their horror game a little.  These are demons and they will play dirty; no one is off limits.

We also get some very-Charmed like shenanigans of the truth potion getting mixed up and Maggie hearing every thought whether she wants too or not.

Also, the plot here of not trusting the Whitelighter is something you not have seen in Charmed before.  Leo was immediately trustable. Plus I don't see Harry falling in love with any of the Charmed ones anytime soon.

I would call this one a step up from last week, though last week was still a good showing.  Last week's was Macy's spotlight (though all the girls shined) and this week was Maggie. 

Next week look downright scary!

RPG Applications
I figure if I am going to do Charmed reviews each week I might find something in every episode to use in my games. Here are a few things I was working on.

Veritas (Truth Spell)
Level: Witch 1
Range: Touch*
Duration: 1 hour per level
By means of this spell anyone touched by the witch will be forced to speak nothing but the truth for the duration of the spell.
Material Components: The south facing bark of a willow tree, the pin feathers of a migratory bird, and the moss from the north side of a stone.

Spirit Boards
These boards, sometimes known as spirit boards, witch borads, or even Yes/No or Yes/Yes boards, are used to contact the spirits of those departed. Using one a witch or other spellcaster gains a 5% or +1 to any roll that may be required or -1 or -5% on any roll used to oppose the contact.
There is always a chance that a trickster demon known as an Imposter will answer the call instead.

Trickster Demon, Imposter
Hit Dice: 3
Armor Class: 8 [11]
Attacks: 2 claw (2x1d4)
Saving Throw: 15
Special: unique kill, +1 better to hit.
Move: 12
Alignment: Chaos
Number Encountered: 1
Challenge Level/XP: 5/240
Trickster demons are notoriously chaotic and never appear the same way twice.  Imposters though are Tricksters that appear as a recently passed loved one.  Despite how they may look they are not undead. These demons usually find ways into our world via spirit boards.  (Trickster Demons that attach themselves to spirits coming through are known as Travellers.)
These demons are immune to all non-magical weapons.  The only way to permanently destroy these demons is to reduce them to 0 hp and then show them their own reflection.

--

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

Monday, October 15, 2018

Charmed Season 1, Episode 1 "Pilot"

Last night the new Charmed appeared on our screens here in America (not sure when you are getting it overseas) and I thought it might be nice to talk about it.  So let's get to it!

Fair Warning 1:  This review/overview will contain some spoilers.  If you don't want to be spoiled, avoid this post.
Fair Warning 2:  If you thought Supergirl wore their politics on their sleeve...buckle up buttercup because Charmed wears their politics like a battle armor.
Fair Warning 3: I loved Charmed (1998). It is one of my favorite all-time shows and I will fight anyone in my claim it was better than Buffy.  So that is the point of view I come from.  So any show named Charmed has to fight that uphill battle for me.

The new Charmed takes place in Hilltowne (aka "Helltown") a college town in Michigan.  Ok, I like the move to the Mid-west already.  Also setting it in a college town gives them access to a wide variety of plots.  Already all the women of the new Charmed are associated with the College.

The show begins with sisters Mel (Melonie Diaz) and Maggie Vera (Sarah Jeffery) living with their mother Marisol (Valerie Cruz).  Now Mel and Maggie look and act every bit like sisters, so kudos on the casting there.  Marisol is a professor of Women's Studies at Hilltowne College and currently leading the charge in a sexual harassment case against another professor.

With the girls out, Marisol begins to feel a strange presence and goes to her attic.  Here she begins casting a spell, but is attacked by crows/ravens.   Both girls get texts to come home right away.  When they get there they discover their mother has fallen from their attic to them patio beneath and is dead.

Three months later the girls are still no-where closer to learning about their mother's death.  Mel is angry all the time and Maggie just wants to be a college freshman and join the local sorority.

We are introduced next to Macy Vaughan, Ph.D. She is new to Hilltowne having received a grant and a job offer to work in Hilltowne College's lab.  She walks by the Vera Manor and gets a weird feeling.  Back in her lab she looks up the house and reads about Marisol's recent death.  She visits the sisters that night and shows them an old photograph of Marisol in front of the manor hold a baby. The baby is Macy.   Once the girls are in the same house their powers begin to awaken.

What we get next is almost a Cliffe Notes version of the Charmed universe.  We meet Harry their Whitelighter who is more Giles than Leo.  We encounter a demon dog (like it) and a possessed human with a Supernatural like demon (also a nice touch).  The big demon, who I supposed should be obvious, but I'll still keep quiet on, was very cool looking in a White-Walker sort of way.
Loved the Power of Three spell in the end to defeat him (need to go back a try to translate more of their pseudo-Latin later).

The episode ends with the girls all living under the same roof and getting along (I do hope there is a little more tension in the future) and a warning on their Ouija board not to trust Harry.

OK a lot to go over here.

The Vera Book of Shadows looks similar to the Halliwell book for the few seconds we see it.  What we do see is a picture of Melinda Warren in the first few pages.


The picture is of the same Melinda Warren of the Original Series.


So are the Vera witches of the same Warren bloodline as the Halliwell witches?  Could be.  I think it is likely.  There are anywhere from 11 to 15 generations of witches since Melinda (oh please let it be 13!).

There are a couple of other lines talking about why these witches are now the Charmed Ones.
The first had me dying, basically, Trump being president is a sign of the Apocalypse! Another sign though has me both concerned and intrigued.

The other sign is the death of many powerful witches.  Could the Halliwells all be dead?  I would hate to think so and the fans will revolt. BUT...think of the storytelling opportunities here. Think about it. What can be killing the most powerful witches in the world? (The Winchesters?) I have been considering something similar in my War of the Witch Queens.

The prophecy ends with the return of The Source of All Evil.  Now Charmed fans know, the Source isn't just a Big Bad. He is the Biggest Big Bad there is or has ever been. He killed Prue! He was only stopped by the Charmed ones, one of his chief lieutenants and his own demonic oracle.  Yeah, he is bad news.

So what if this is what is going on here?  The Halliwells, or at least most of the most powerful good witches are all dead and now the Vera line must take up the battle?  Maybe the Warren line of witches split into what would become the Halliwell lines and the Vera lines of witches?  They are cousins in a matter of speaking but have forgotten about each other.  Maybe twin witches born to Prudence Warren.  One set up the Halliwell line and the other the Vera line.  I can see this.

I also would like to point out that the fictional witches of the new Charmed would feel like good allies to the real actors of the old Charmed.  I think Mel has quoted Allysa Milano verbatim!  Well maybe not, but the feeling is there.

The Verdict?

How do I feel about the new Charmed?

Well for starters I like it.  I want to know more about what is going on in this world. Is this the same as the Halliwell's world? If so are they still in it?  What is the new Source going to be like? What other NEW things will we see?

For the sisters.  Right now Macy is my favorite.  I am not just saying that because she has a Ph.D. but because I think she a lot of potential.  I could see an episode (and maybe this is because I am a geek) of Macy working on something in her lab and "accidentally" using her powers to move an experiment along and suddenly she is in the spotlight and can't replicate the effects.  Now this one would have to be done with a humorous side to it.

All three lead actors are very good.  I need to see more of them to form a better opinion, but so far I like all three and think they will grow into their roles nicely.

Harry is interesting, but I am not 100% sold on him yet.  Leo I liked right away. Maybe that is the point. Harry is not Leo.  Also.  He is a Whitelighter, but where are his Orbs?  Ah well.  Minor thing really.

I am also not blind to the problems.  Look I LOVE the politics they have shown so far and if the snark like this keeps up then I am here every week!  But I see that it can also be a turn-off for some.

Also, this show hits on all the strengths that made the first Charmed so great.  All that is except for one.  The Original Charmed knew when to take themselves serious and more important they new when not too.   This show needs to make sure it does the same.

Looking back over the "Pilot" and comparing it to "Something Wicca This Way Comes" I see good and bad in both.  SWTWC was so raw and the actors were still grabbing on to their parts.  But all three were also very seasoned actors (hell, even in her early 20s Allyssa Milano has seen more work than most of her peers combined) so they had an edge.  The script to SWTWC was weaker but had elements that pulled you right in.  The Pilot for Charmed (2018)  knows more about their world, in large part due to the groundwork laid by SWTWC and the next 177 episodes, but also has the advantage of a more stable future than Charmed (1998) did its first season.

The bottom line for me is this: Encounter at Far Point.  You can't judge a show by its first episode.  Encounter at Far Point for Star Trek the Next Generation was not a good episode.  In fact, much of the first season was not good.  BUT the groundwork for later, much much better episodes was established here.  You can't get a "Best of Both Worlds", "Darmok" unless you wade through "Encounter at Far Point".

I want to see the girls struggle as sisters, as witches, and as college people. But I also want to see them come together.  Just like Marisol says "You're better together. Your differences are your strengths and nothing is stronger than your sisterhood."  Well said mom.

Also. For the love of broomsticks and pointy hats can we please get more Valerie Cruz on the show? Even as a ghost?

Next week does look fun.


Did you watch? What do you think?

Thursday, September 13, 2018

It's a GREAT time to be a fan of Witches...

My cup overflows with witch-related TV shows.

Let's have a look.

First up is the one everyone knows about, Charmed on the CW.




Over on FX we have American Horror Story Apocalypse, which is I gather a sequel to Season 1 Murder House and Season 3 Coven, or two of my most favorite seasons.



Not to be outdone Netflix is giving not just one show, but two!

First up, and just in time for Halloween is The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina!



And later The Witcher.  Heard the drama about the Ciri casting and I really could not care less. As long as the actress is good.   I am very curious who they will get for Triss though.

Over on Sci-fi (SyFy i guess) we will get Season 4 of Magicians.  Let me tell you, this is one insane show.  Think Hogwarts with a lot of sex, a lot of drugs and ... well there is no good way to describe it. Just watch it.



Over in respectable countries we are getting A Discovery of Witches. Based on the books.  I have a number of issues with these books, but maybe the TV show can improve on it.  I will say this, the casting brilliant.



And lastly, one still looking for a home.  Titled, simply enough, Witches.



Love the look of this one!  The website is also cool. http://www.witchestvseries.com/

Things are looking good!

Friday, August 17, 2018

#RPGaDAY2018 DAY 17: Describe the best compliment you've had gaming.

What do we have today?


DAY 17: Describe the best compliment you've had gaming.

I have had some FANTASTIC experiences while playing games.

I used to run Ghosts of Albion games at Gen Con a lot.  Every year I would get the same group playing my games.  They told me, and others have as well, that would play ANY game I would run.
I thought that was a nice compliment.  These guys came from thousands of miles it was my games they enjoyed the most.

Interestingly enough, after I stopped running Ghosts (to enjoy the con more with my family) I played in a Buffy/Supernatural game.  The same guys were that too.
In that game, I got praise from the GM for playing the best Piper she ever had.

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Dark Places & Demogorgons: Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Charmed; How Soon is Now?

The Buffy crossover I did with Supernatural was so much fun I thought I would try something similar only this time for my favorite genre show of all time, Charmed.


Of course, this is not the first time I have done a Charmed / Buffy crossover.  Back in the days of my Willow & Tara games, I had an episode/adventure "Semi-Charmed Life".

This one though is different. This one needs to live in the world of "Sunny Valey, OH".  Thankfully, while transporting the cast of Buffy to 80s requires some tweaks, I can transport the entire cast of Charmed to the mid 80s (let's say 1986) with barely a change.

Ok, what do we need to know about Charmed in 1986 for a Dark Places & Demogorgons game?
Well. For starters, the girls are all young. Their mother, Patty, has been dead now for 8 years and they are being raised by their grandmother, Penny.  Penny, or Penelope Halliwell has blocked their powers to keep a warlock from feeding on them.  When Patty died she kept the power block in place to keep the girls safe.  Penny was no witch to mess with either.  While originally a peace-loving hippie witch, she soon learned that the only way to deal with demons and warlocks was to kill them.
Leo, the girls' Whitelihter and Piper's future husband, would also be watching the girls at this point.

We have a rule in writing Willow-centric adventures.  Try to avoid having her spells go awry.  It is lazy writing and unbecoming of someone that is supposed to be one of the most powerful witches in the world.  BUT.  This Willow isn't that yet is she?  She is young. She is eager to learn.  So let's say that one day she finds a spell to summon a witch teacher (this is a spell I actually use in my D&D games).  She takes the spell to Tara, who advises caution but can see nothing wrong with it.  There isn't until Willow casts the spell and asks not for a witch tutor, but the most powerful witches in the world.  She is a little shocked when she gets three girls just a few years younger than herself.

For an adventure, I would have the Charmed girls either be NPCs to the regular cast OR as PCs if there are new people.

I see Pru as being angry at first that she was transported here, then angry at grams for hiding their powers.  Pru comes up with the idea of blocking grams and Leo.  Pru also enjoys going on patrol with Buffy (a nod to their real-life friendship).


Piper would be the most out of sorts and the angriest.  I can see her having the most interactions with Willow; the both have issues with witchcraft to work out.
Phoebe would find this to be a great adventure and, this is 100% Phoebe, she is the one that learns Tara is in love with Willow.
Grams will scry for the girls, not get them, yell for Leo then yell at him. She will eventually find them, 100% safe and sound.  I would not be too surprised if she didn't have a word or two with Willow.

Now my first Buffy/Charmed crossover has such a great title. What should I call one from the mid-80s?

Episode Title: How Soon is Now?


Pru Halliwell
Born: 10/28/1970
Age: 15*
(assuming early in Season 2, 1986)

Class: White Witch  Level: 5 (temp)
Alignment: Good
Languages: English

Attributes
STR: 11 +0
INT: 17 +2
WIS: 16 +2
DEX: 14 +1
CON: 11 +0
CHA: 17 +2
SUR: 16 +2

AC: 10     HP: 22    Attack Bonus +0

Courage: 6 +3
Critical: 5
Death: 5
Mental: 4
Poison: 3

Background
Lives with an overprotective grandmother.  Acts as stand-in mother for Piper and Phoebe.

Class Abilities
+1 to saves involving magic, +3 to courage saves, healing touch 8/day, heal at double rate, summon light, see in darkness, advantage on saves, immune to fear, talk to animals and plants, create potions

Skills
Art +5, Math +1, Science +1, Knowledge (History) +5, Paranormal +4, Botany +3

Possessions
(none)

Money: none

Spells
Minor (4), Major (1)

Power: Telekeniss.

Piper Halliwell
Born: 08/07/1973
Age: 13
(assuming early in Season 2, 1986)

Class: White Witch  Level: 3 (temp)
Alignment: Good
Languages: English

Attributes
STR: 10 +0
INT: 13 +1
WIS: 13 +1
DEX: 12 +0
CON: 11 +0
CHA: 12 +0
SUR: 12 +0

AC: 10     HP: 12    Attack Bonus +0

Courage: 5 +3
Critical: 4
Death: 3
Mental: 4
Poison: 3

Background
Lives with an overprotective grandmother.  Acts as peacemaker for Piper and Phoebe.

Class Abilities
+1 to saves involving magic, +3 to courage saves, healing touch 5/day, heal at double rate, summon light, see in darkness, advantage on saves, immune to fear, talk to animals and plants

Skills
Cooking +3, Math +1, Science +1, Paranormal +3, Botany +3

Possessions
(none)

Money: none

Spells
Minor (4), Major (0)

Power: Molecular destailazation.

Phoebe Halliwell
Born: 11/02/1975
Age: 10
(assuming early in Season 2, 1986)

Class: White Witch  Level: 1 (temp)
Alignment: Good
Languages: English

Attributes
STR: 8 -1
INT: 12 +0
WIS: 10 +0
DEX: 12 +0
CON: 10 +0
CHA: 14 +1
SUR: 12 +0

AC: 10     HP: 5   Attack Bonus +0

Courage: 3 +3
Critical: 4
Death: 3
Mental: 4
Poison: 3

Background
Lives with an overprotective grandmother.

Class Abilities
+1 to saves involving magic, +3 to courage saves, healing touch 5/day, heal at double rate, summon light, see in darkness

Skills
Atheletics +2, Math +1, Science +1,  Paranormal +2, Botany +2

Possessions
(none)

Money: none

Spells
Minor (1), Major (0)

Power: Premonitions.

My god, these characters look fun!  I should do this with more Charmed characters.

Take us home Morrissey!



Sunday, May 20, 2018

Charmed is Back!

Last week we go the "upfronts" for the various TV networks. What did we learn?
Well, Batwoman is coming to the Arrow-verse on the CW so that is a cool thing.
And we got this!



I'll admit I watched it a few times. Plus WOW Valerie Cruz as the mother? Seriously.  That almost makes up for not picking up Wayward Sisters! (ok, no it doesn't).

This has promise.  Hard to judge a show based only about 7% of its content, but I am excited.

It joins Supergirl on Sunday nights.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Big News about the Next Version

Of course, I am talking about Charmed.

We have the final casting in place for the next Power of Three.
http://www.eonline.com/news/918622/charmed-reboot-finds-its-3-sisters


They are left to right, Sarah Jeffery (Madison), Melonie Diaz (Mel), and Madeleine Mantock (Macy).

I am 100% unapologetic about my love for Charmed. I was a fan early on and enjoyed all 8 seasons.  I think one of the reasons you have not seen me post the stats of the Charmed Ones here is because I don't think I could do them justice the way I want.  I did stats for the for Semi-Charmed Life, but I want to redo them.
Though one of my most favorite memories of Gen Con is playing Piper in this big Charmed/Buffy/Supernatural crossover.  It was so much fun.




The new show is being described as "fierce, funny, feminist," and that is rubbing some people the wrong way.
Not me.
I want it to be in your face feminism. I want them to vanquish demons and douchebags with equal gusto. I want to see alt-right bloggers and Fox News bobble-heads crying because this show is on the air.

Now I know a lot of old fans are also pretty up in arms about this. Not wanting a new series, or wanting a new series but only with the original cast (all four).  I get this.  But it is not going to happen.
I hate to be blunt but can Allysa Milano and Shannen Doherty even work together any more?  And not to be insensitive but Shannen is battling some pretty nasty cancer. She is, by all accounts, keeping her head up high and spirits strong, but could she take on the physical rigors of filming a series again?  Plus can Rose McGowan even be in the same room as any of the other three?  I follow them all on social media and they are great women and turning into some fierce fighters for rights, but maybe a silly little show about witches is not enough for them now.

So here is to the new cast. I hope they get picked up for the 1st Season and many more after that.
I hope that Macy, Mel, and Madison will soon be as important names to me a Prue, Piper, Phoebe, and Paige.

Oh and in other news Pathfinder is going to go into a 2nd Edtion. You can find Playtest information and a FAQ on their site.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Start Your Year With a Reboot, or Two

By now anyone that reads this blog would have read it elsewhere about the new adventure from Wizards of the Coast, Tales from the Yawning Portal. Gotta admit I really don't care for the name, but the book itself intrigues me.

The adventures include:
Sound familiar? Yeah, all stuff I have run and converted to 5e myself. Where was this two years ago!  That all being said, it looks like it could be a lot of fun and certainly something I will pick up.

There are some conversion on the DMs Guild now, but not for all these yet.  Plus it will be interesting to see what 5e designers actually have to say about these adventures.

In other reboot news that might only be exciting for me, it looks like the CW is ordering a reboot of the series Charmed.  The new series will have three new witches and take place in New England set in 1976.
For me, this sounds great. New England, 1976, Charmed...it's like someone was reading my Christmas list. I have always been a huge fan of Charmed and always thought it would make for a fun RPG property.   Maybe this will reignite some interest in that.

In both cases, adventures and television, I'll have to wait.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Cinematic Unisystem: Witches of East End

It really should be no surprise that I enjoy Lifetime's Witches of East End.


Yes it is a "chick show" and yes it is soap opera-y but really I don't care.  It is a a fun show and it has witches in it.  Plus I love Mädchen Amick and was drawn in because of her.

But a few surprising things happened.  First I was not prepared to walk away saying "wow Julia Ormond was really great in that!"  I NEVER liked Julia Ormond, I never liked her work.  Yet this show made me do a complete 180.  I think she is great in this and now I am wondering if I was just underestimating her as an actress.  OR I think she needed to mature a bit more (and maybe me too) so I could appreciate how good she is.
Rachel Boston and Jenna Dewan-Tatum are both great as the younger witches Ingrid and Freya respectively.

Honestly it is like the a crossover between "Charmed" and "Practical Magic".

Of course I was bummed out when Lifetime canceled it after Season 2.
Though there maybe hope yet. There is a massive campaign to get the show back and it seems to be making a lot of head way. Even William Shatner is Tweeting that it should not have been canceled.
Checking on the #RenewWitchesOfEastEnd hashtag on Twitter it seems to be gaining more and more ground.



Witches of East End for Cinematic Unisystem

My normal mode here is to use Classic Unisystem for books and Cinematic for TV shows.  Well Witches of East End is both.  For this posting I am going to focus soley on the TV show and do Cinematic Unisystem.  This is mostly Buffy/Angel stats, but a lot of Ghosts of Albion added in since it is a better fit for the show.
The Beauchamp witches are considered to be a supernatural race so they can choose some supernatural qualities and drawbacks normally denied to humans.

Joanna Beauchamp
Joanna Beauchamp (Julia Ormond)
Witch
Str: 2  Dex: 2 Con: 2 Int: 5 Per: 4 Wil: 7

Life Points: 39
Drama Points: 10

Qualities
Age 10, Attractive 1, Contacts 2 (occult), Control Weather 5, Hard to Kill 5, Healing Touch 3, Immortal, Magic 7, Nerves of Steel, Occult Library 3 (The Grimoire), TK 7, Unique Kill (Argentium)

Drawbacks
Adversary 5 (various witches, warlocks and members of Asgard that support her father),  Emotional Problems (must protect her girls above all else) 1, Honorable 2, Love (Tragic), Obsession (Find a cure for her family curse), Secret (is immortal from another world) 2

Skills
Acrobatics 1, Computer 1, Crime 1, Doctor 3, Driving 3, Engineering 1, Getting Medieval 3, Gun Fu 1, Influence 3, knowledge 6, Languages 4 (English, Latin, Greek, Asgardian), Notice 5, Occultism 8, Science 2, Sports 1

Spellcasting: +22
Deflect: +22

Joanna is the matriarch of the Beachamp witches.  She is sister to Wendy and mother to Ingrid and Freya.  Joanna is over 1,000 years old and has been living on earth in exile. She tries to maintain a low profile when she can in order to keep her girls safe.
She works as an art teacher in the small town of North Hampton

Wendy Beauchamp (Mädchen Amick)
Wendy Beauchamp
Witch
Str: 3  Dex: 4 Con: 2 Int: 4 Per: 4 Wil: 5

Life Points: 54
Drama Points: 10

Qualities
Acute Senses 2 (night vision, smell), Age 9, Attractive 2, Contacts 2 (occult), Control Weather 4, Hard to Kill 8, Healing Touch 2, Immortal, Magic 6, Nerves of Steel, Occult Library 3 (The Grimoire), Supernatural Form (dual form, human and cat), TK 6, Unique Kill (kill all her nine lives)

Drawbacks
Addiction 1 (mild lechery), Adversary 4 (various witches, warlocks and members of Asgard that support her father),   Love (Tragic), Secret (is immortal from another world) 2

Skills
Acrobatics 3, Crime 2, Doctor 2, Driving 3, Engineering 1, Getting Medieval 4, Gun Fu 1, Influence 4, Knowledge 6, Languages 3 (English, Latin, Asgardian), Notice 6, Occultism 8, Science 2, Sports 3

Spellcasting: +19
Deflect: +19

Wendy is Joanna's younger sister. She is flighty and free spirited, but is fiercely devoted to her sister and nieces.  Wendy and Joanna were estranged for while when Wendy accidentally killed one of Ingrid's incarnations.

Ingrid Beauchamp (Rachel Boston)
Ingrid Beauchamp
Witch
Str: 3  Dex: 2 Con: 2 Int: 6 Per: 4 Wil: 4

Life Points: 39
Drama Points: 10

Qualities
Attractive 2, Bookish, Control Weather 1, Hard to Kill 2, Healing Touch 2, Magic 3, Nerves of Steel, Occult Library 3 (The Grimoire), TK 3,

Drawbacks
Adversary 2 (various witches, warlocks),  Honorable 2, Love (Tragic), Secret (is a semi-immortal from another world) 2

Skills
Acrobatics 1, Computer 4, Crime 1, Doctor 3, Driving 3, Engineering 1, Getting Medieval 3, Gun Fu 1, Influence 3, Knowledge 6, Languages 3 (English, Latin, Greek), Notice 5, Occultism 5, Research 4, Science 5, Sports 1

Spellcasting: +12
Deflect: +12

Ingrid is the oldest daughter. She has only discovered that she is in fact a witch.  She spent most of her life as a rational skeptic.  She has similar powers to her mother but can also write new spells.
Ingrid currently works at the local East End library. She is also working on her dissertation on witches and witchcraft.

Freya Beauchamp (Jenna Dewan-Tatum)
Freya Beauchamp
Witch
Str: 3  Dex: 2 Con: 3 Int: 4 Per: 4 Wil: 3

Life Points: 37
Drama Points: 10

Qualities
Attractive 3, Control Weather 1, Hard to Kill 1, Healing Touch 1, Magic 3, Nerves of Steel, Occult Library 3 (The Grimoire), TK 3,

Drawbacks
Adversary 2 (various witches, warlocks),  Honorable 2, Love (Dash, Killian), Secret (is a semi-immortal from another world) 2

Skills
Acrobatics 2, Computer 2, Crime 2, Doctor 3, Driving 3, Engineering 1, Getting Medieval 3, Gun Fu 1, Influence 3, Knowledge 5, Languages 1 (English), Notice 4, Occultism 4, Research 3, Science 2, Sports 2, Wild Card (Making Potions) 3

Spellcasting: +10
Deflect: +10

Frey is the youngest and usually the first to fall in love.  She is not as strong in her magic as her sister or mother, but has a special affinity for making potions.  She is also the daughter that gets along the best with Aunt Wendy.
Freya has calmed down a lot since her "wild child" days (which also makes her Wendy's favorite) to get married to a man named Dash. Though she falls in love with his brother, Killian.  Both brothers are warlocks though.   Freya currently works as a bartender.

Personally I think they would work great in any Cinematic Unisystem game.

I'd love to see more of this show (and so would the rest of the fans).

If you feel so inclined, send a Tweet to @Lifetime with the hashtag #RenewWitchesOfEastEnd.
I would consider is a personal favor.

Also if you are so inclined then please check out this petition.
http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/renew-witches-of-east-end

Saturday, August 16, 2014

#RPGaDAY Day 16, Game you wish you owned

#RPGaDAY Day 16, Game you wish you owned

Following up on yesterday.  I wish I had kept my copy of the Supernatural RPG.


I lost track of watching the show and I was not playing the game at the time so I sold my core book.

Of course I almost immediately regretted it and picked up the PDF.  But I would like to have a copy of this book.  Actually I would like one that is updated to the latest seasons.

The other game I wished I owned is one I wished existed and I wish I could write.


I personally think it would be a blast.

Friday, April 18, 2014

A to Z of Witches. P

P is for Prue, Piper, Phoebe and Page

I don't hide it.  I loved Charmed. One of my wishes is to write the official Charmed RPG.

Not a real game, but I wish it were.
I have talked about Charmed a few times here including the first A to Z Challenge I ever participated in; C is for Charmed.  I also wrote a Buffy/Charmed crossover for the Buffy RPG, "Semi-Charmed Life".

What I liked the most really was the interaction between the sisters.  It was a show about family that also happened to be witches and kill demons.  Supernatural covers similar ground and I like it for similar reasons.

I also picked up the Charmed comic that continued the story of Piper, Phoebe, Paige and yes, Prue.
That was the other thing, Prue was killed at the end of Season 3. They were still mourning her in one way or the other by Season 8.  Star Trek The Next Generation did that with Tasha, but most other genre shows forget after an episode or two (looking at you Buffy).

A couple of Gen Con's back I got a chance to play a Buffy-based Buffy/Supernatural/Charmed crossover. I got to play Piper. It was a blast.

Buffy is an obvious choice for a Charmed game, but I have also been playing around with Fate a little.
My ideas are only in the genesis phase at the moment, but I have some.  I also have a Fate Week coming up so hopefully I will get them altogether for that.



Supernatural AtoZ

Friday, May 18, 2012

Charmed RPG, and Dave Hoover

There are two things I would still love to do in the RPG Biz.
The first is create my own game from the ground up.  With Ghosts of Albion, although it is a complete game and I am very, very proud with it, I didn't create the mechanics that power it.

The second is write the Charmed RPG.
I have made no secret of my love for Charmed.  I loved the TV show and have been reading the "Season 9" comic.  I think there are many more stories to tell in this universe.

I'd love to kill two birds with one stone too.

Not a real cover. But I can hope.
I know I am not the only one.  Jason Blair (Little Fears) has called Charmed his "dream license" and Andrew Peregrine (Victorana 2nd Ed and Hellcats & Hockeysticks) made his own version back in the day. So I obviously have some steep competition in this regard.

But I was looking over some art from Dave Hoover and thought how fantastic would it be if the RPG book had all the comicbook art.

Paige

Phoebe

Piper


Looks pretty good to me.
Those are of course from the late Dave Hoover. He would have been 57 this week.

I am sure that one day I am going to write my own system.  I even have stacks of notes and drafts.  I just doubt it will be a "Charmed" game.

Monday, April 4, 2011

C is for Charmed

I am not ashamed of this, but all things considered I vastly prefer Charmed to Buffy. I don't even consider myself a Buffy fan to be honest, more of a Willow & Tara fan. But I am an unapologetic Charmed fan.

There is the whole witch thing to be sure.  And the Charmed Ones are rather easy on the eyes.  But I think my friend and former TV writer Robert Black said it best,  Charmed never forgot who their audience was and never forgot they were a TV show.

You can see his post from an archive of the Original Other Side here, http://web.archive.org/web/20040518093406/http://www.xtreme-gaming.com/theotherside/tenways.html

I am at a really good place in my gaming life.  I get to game all the time now with various groups. I get to talk to the people that make this hobby happen and they are really cool.  And I get to write the stuff I like.

But I'd kill to be able to write a Charmed RPG.



While I know the demographics of the show and your average gamer are not exactly the same, I think with the amount of "modern supernatural" fiction being published today that a Charmed game would be fantastic.  Buffy sold well, Dresden Files is doing nicely.  Granted those are properties with significant geek/gamer buy-in and at the time of their games the properties are still active.

I would like to point out that with all the stuff I have written about witches and magic in the things I have published that this game would be a natural for me. ;)

The world of Charmed is richer and it is a drama about sisters that happen to be witches and living in a supernatural world. Not one about witches that happen to be sisters.  The differences sound subtle but have huge potential differences on how a story can be told.  Charmed featured, not just witches and demons (the typical fare in my book) but all sorts of other races, creatures and groups with agendas of their own; and just because two groups were working for the same side they didn't always get along.  For example the Charmed Ones and the Elders or even the Valkyries.

I think there are better stories one can tell in the Charmed universe, actually I know so.  One of the premises of Season of the Witch was to take two Buffy characters and put them into a more Charmed like universe and tell a story.  It worked. It worked really well in fact.

Of course my system of choice for this would be Unisystem, but I can also see doing it in something like Mutants & Masterminds or even Cortex..    Maybe I need to chase down the company that owns the game rights (I know, or rather knew, who they are) and see if they want to hire me cheap.  If Eden were to do it and publish it I'd even consider doing it for free.

There are a couple of versions of Charmed on the web.
Andrew Peregrine, author of Victoriana 2nd ed and Hellcats and Hockeysticks did one way back when.  You can still find it here, http://www.peregrine.madasafish.com/charmedrpg/.

Jeff Slick also did one years ago, but all his copies seem to be gone.  I did find thins one though, http://www.scribd.com/doc/44502892/Charmed-RPG-Netbook.

I like both, but there are things I'd do different in each one.

At the end of the day though I think a Charmed RPG may never be.  More is the pity too.  I think I could really rock on writing it.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Season of the Witch: Episode 1

Episode 1: Semi-Charmed Life



Episode 1: Semi-Charmed Life by ~WebWarlock on deviantART

Semi-Charmed Life
Summer 2004

Overview: Willow and Tara join forces with the Charmed Ones to stop D’hoffryn from becoming the new Source.

Synopsis: Willow and Tara are on vacation in San Francisco when they decide to stop in an auction house selling items from the Victorian Occult revival. While there they notice many demons and witches passing as normal humans. A book catches Tara’s eye and the director of the auction tells her she should buy it. The book is “The Journal of Tamara Swift”. The girls also notice another item up for a bid, a talisman believed to be owned by Madame Blavatsky, but Willow notices it as the Heart of Belial, a potent demonic artifact.
They bid on the items and win the Journal, but the Heart goes to a very attractive woman (who reminds them of Cordelia). The auction director tells the girls that the Heart has fallen into the hands of evil and they have to stop it. She says she could not do anything herself, but tells Willow and Tara that they need to find her sisters, The Charmed Ones. She tells them her name is Prue Halliwell.

At the same time at the Halliwell Manor Piper is frantic about trying to juggle new baby Chris and still dealing with P3 scheduling nightmares (she is trying to get Michelle Branch back), Phoebe is rushing off to work and Paige is reading the want ads. In the middle of all this chaos, Prue appears and tells them that the “Charmed Ones” (but not “you” or “my sisters”) are in danger. Everyone panics, and Leo says he wants to talk to the only other witch he knows that has come back from the dead.

Leo finds Willow and Tara and takes them to the Halliwell manor. Leo knew Tara when she was in Heaven and she asks him about Kara. Willow wants to know why she does not have a Whitelighter and Leo tells her it was because she was using magic for personal gain and on a tract towards evil.

Meantime the demon (Kira the Seer) who purchased the Heart of Belial shimmers into the underworld. Where she meets with D’Hoffryn. She give the Heart to him commenting that every demon from the source on down that has fought the Charmed Ones has gotten a bad case of being dead. D’hoffryn replies that is why he is not going to fight them, he has something more subtle in mind. Kira also lets him know that Willow and Tara are also in town. D’Hoffryn comments that this must mean that the Awakening is about to occur. He take the Heart and begins to chant his spell.

At the Halliwell Manor the five witches discuss what this all must mean. They look up the Heart in the both The Book of Shadows and in the Journal of Tamara Swift. They discover that it is the actual heart of the demon Belial and it had been in the possession of the former Protector of Albion, John Dee and assumed to be destroyed by later Protector Tamara Swift. The Heart allows it’s possessor to manipulate time. The Halliwells immediately trust Tara and Willow when they go to the Book of Shadows and can open it.
Suddenly Phoebe and Willow disappear and are replaced by Paradox Sisters. Everyone believes that everything is completely normal, including the fact that Paradox Phoebe and Paradox Willow do not have magic (and thus no Charmed Ones power of three or Willow and Tara’s combined Anamchara magic). Tara attempts to hold Willow’s hand and going in a kiss, which causes Willow to pull back in shock. Paradox Willow is straight. At the same time the Book of Shadows refuses to be around Phoebe. Leo orbs out to consult with the underworld (he still does not trust the other Elders). The witches have no time to figure out why though, they are attacked by the warlocks Hannah and Rex.

Taking advantage of Leo's absence the warlocks attack. As in Season 1 of Charmed they try to steal the Charmed Ones powers. The battle goes badly given the depowered nature of the cast and it looks like they are about to gain their quarry, Wyatt’s vast untapped power, when Hannah is hit by an arc of Elder lighting. Thinking is it Leo the Cast is surprised (as are the Players) when it is revealed to be Prue. A wounded Hannah and Rex shimmer out.

In the Underworld Leo find real Willow and real Phoebe, but they are in a temporal bubble and their powers are being drained. Once he sees them Leo remembers who they are. He attacks D’Hoffryn who tosses him around like a rag doll. He hits him with lighting of his own and he disappears. D’Hoffryn tells Phoebe that he was removed from all time. Rex and Hannah shimmer in and D’Hoffryn kills them by tossing them across the room. Willow and Phoebe tell D’Hoffryn it is only a matter of time before they are found by their loved ones. D’Hoffryn tells them that they are not even looking.

At the manor everyone knows there something wrong. Tara feels a loss she can’t explain and is getting very concerned and Paradox Willow is depressed. Paradox Phoebe is angry because she is only here because her flight back to New York was delayed and she hates being involve in all this “magic stuff”. But everyone is more concerned with Prue returning. Thinking that the Heart of Belial must be at the root of this, the witches try to scry for it, but no success.

Phoebe, an empath, combines her magic with Willow to try to get a message out. Phoebe tries to get it Piper, but Willow’s thoughts are too strong on Tara. Tara, also an empath, gets the message.

The three witches and the paradox sisters are orbed to the underworld by Prue. D’Hoffryn is in the middle of some spells surrounded by demons in robes. Everyone sees real Phoebe and real Willow in the bubble, but can’t reach them. The Charmed Ones and Prue attack the demons, Tara tries to get to Willow and Phoebe. Paradox Willow and Paradox Phoebe remain in the background, mostly forgotten.

The Demons are fought and killed and Tara and Phoebe figure out a way to break the time bubble. Once that is done the Charmed Ones power back up, as do Willow and Tara. The remaining priest demons are then easily vanquished. Paige hurls a vanquishing potion at D’Hoffryn but it has no effect. He has become the new Source of All Evil. He throws a fireball at Prue but Paradox Phoebe pushes her out of the way and takes the full blast, exploding into ashes. Prue attacks D’Hoffryn with her lighting. This leaves the cast (and the players) to figure out what to do next. They decide to try a modified version of the Power of Three spell, only this one is a Power of Five. All five witches link hands, even Paradox Willow puts her hands on top of Tara’s and Willow’s linked hands, and they summon the power of the witches in their family line. The spell takes hold and strikes down D’Hoffryn, destroying him and the Heart of Belial. Leo reappears, but Paradox Willow remains.

At the end of the episode the cast, with Prue and Paradox Willow, are at P3. Michelle Branch is back.
The women toast to their new friends and family and promise to always help each other in the future. Paradox Willow wonders why she is still here and all they can think of is there must be some magic left over from the Heart. Willow discovers that Paradox Phoebe has an apartment still in New York so Paradox Willows figure she will go there since she has always wanted to sing on stage. They raise a toast to their “lost sister” Phoebe Bennet and Prue gets ready to leave. Prue does tell Willow that her case was “reviewed” again by the other Elders and they have decided to give her and Tara a Whitelighter on a “probationary” basis. Prue orbs out and Cordelia Chase orbs in with a “You have got to be kidding me!”

Tara, laughing, opens up the Journal of Tamara Swift and a letter falls out. It is address to “Misses Tara Maclay and Willow Rosenberg”. It was written by Tamara in 1889.

Epiloge
Kira is on her knees picking through the dust that was D’Hoffryn till she finds a small rock. Saying “that will do” she holds it and concentrates. Cole half shimmers in. She hands him the rock, all that is left of the Heart of Belial, and tells him she kept up her side of the deal now he was going to tell her how she can come back from the wasteland after Zankou kills her in a few months.

Notes and Comments

Well as the first official episode I had a lot of setup I wanted to do here, but not beat people over the head with it. I mention the Awakening only once and we learn that Tara’s mother was named Megan and her Grandmother Deidre.

I wanted a “witchier” feel to this season than Buffy, so there are lots of elements from various witch shows to guide the players in; Buffy, Charmed, Hex, Ghosts of Albion even little bits of Practical Magic. Then there is the letter to the girls from Tamara, big stuff is in store. Plus I also touch on the theme of nothing is more important than the people you love.

In many ways Charmed is seen as the antithesis of Buffy. So what better way to seperate "Willow & Tara the Series" from Buffy than to have a Charmed crossover.  And not just a crossover, but show Buffy characters aspiring to becoming more Charmed-like. D'Hoffryn becoming The Source, Willow wanting a Whitelighter, Cordy becoming a Whitelighter.

I used Andrew Pergine’s Charmed netbook for the Girls stats, even if I am not 100% sold on his point breakdowns for Whitelighters.

I brought in some Charmed bad guys, Rex and Hannah, and Buffy bad guy D’Hoffryn making a claim to Source. In truth D’Hoffryn would make a bad ass Source, too bad he did the one thing you should never, ever do in my games; piss of a witch.  Here is D'Hoffryn's entry in the Halliwell Book of Shadows.  It mentions that there is no known vanquishing potion for him (Willow would have been able to figure one out back in the old series) but that does not stop the cast from trying one.



Charisma Carpenter gets double duty here both as Cordy the new Whitelighter and as Kira the Seer. I wanted to bring back Cordy because I felt her character got shafted in the show. Not as bad as Tara, but still. Plus she also makes a good foil for Willow, I bring in Tara’s foil later. And let’s be totally honest here, Charima Carpenter is hot.


Of course Paradox Phoebe and Paradox Willow are from my Sisters of Paradox post. They were developed for this adventure. http://timbrannan.blogspot.com/2009/11/sisters-of-paradox.html

Paradox Willow living at the end was homage by us to our friend and fellow Kitten Bob Black who came up with the idea originally and he had Paradox Willow live. Paradox Phoebe dies to save Prue which I felt was good because it should that even though that Paradox Phoebe hated Prue they were still sisters and you do anything to help a family member or loved one.

Plus it also became something of an in-joke in my group. If you are playing the Buffy RPG and your Willow is straight then it obviously means you are using the "Riff Reagan" version.

The playable characters were Phoebe (and Paradox Phobe, same player), Piper, Paige, Willow (and Paradox Willow, same player) and Tara. Originally Prue was also going to be a playable character, but it never really worked out. I also had a sub-plot with Andy returning, but it was too much.

This was also the only episode where I made a "cover" image.  You will note that the "Buffy RPG" logo is dropped and a "Willow & Tara RPG" logo is in it's place.  I figure that if you run a modern supernatural game using Ghosts of Albion as the source and the Buffy books as the splats, then what you have is the "Willow & Tara Roleplaying Game".  Made sense to me.

Here is the back cover:



Kara was of course Tara's "Sister" from the Dragon and the Phoenix, Megan was her mother and Deidre her Grandmother.  Originally it was the other way around, but Lisa had Megan as Tara's mother in all her work, so I switched them.  Pru was not a Player-Character at the time, so I felt it was not right to have her there to defeat the bad guy.

The rest of this season was not as finished as "The Dragon and the Phoenix", often times all I had were some rough notes.  Plus my regular group of players was getting less regular.  I was also moving to a new group and running more Ghosts of Albion.  Some of these adventures then had their origin as something that could be run under Buffy or Ghosts.

Originally these were to follow right after "Dragon" but there was a lot of time inbetween, so there is a break of one year game time between the last episode of Dragon ("No Other Troy") and "Semi-Charmed Life".

Next up the girls go to London to confront their past and future. Plus one more guest star makes a surprising appearance.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Magic in Cortex, Savage Worlds and Witch Girls Adventures


This is part two of my deep delve into the magic systems of some of the games I like, in particular Cortex, Unisystem and Savage Worlds.


So. I am currently re-doing the magic system for an RPG and trying not to plagiarize myself from other games and it has me thinking.


Why don't Savage Worlds or Cortex have better magic systems?


I'll be 100% honest here, I am not a huge fan of Savage Worlds, but I do see the attraction and why it is a good game. So it is likely that there is something out there and I just haven't found it yet. I do however own every Cortex book there is (and I love the Supernatural RPG) and I usually left feeling a little underwhelmed when it comes to magic. This seems a touch odd really, given the people that worked on it and games that have come out for it. Ok, to be fair, none of the games are trying to be the next Mage or WitchCraftRPG.

Reading over both games I am struck with many of the similarities (yes there are lots of differences too, but I want to talk about them in general) they share. No surprise really. Both are products of post-d20 game design and both take the best aspects (in their author's opinions) of games that came before. Both attempt to fill the same need that GURPS, True 20 or Unisystem fills for others. Maybe that is why I am not all "ZOMG THIS IS TEH BEST GAEM EVAR!!!!" about them. Yeah they are really, really good. But they are missing something critical for me. A good magic system.


Now Savage Worlds presents a system that is designed to be used with Magic, Psionics, Mad/Weird Science or Supers. It does work and it has a nice streamlined design that I do like. In fact it really is the first game where I felt Mad Science was a great option (I disliked it in both Mage and Buffy). Cortex is more of toolkit approach in the core where the author actively supports you building a system on your own. Why thank you Jamie! I think I might just have to do that. ;)

I have made attempts over the last year to port the Ghosts of Albion magic system over to varying degrees of success (and failure). The process is simple really. Pick an attribute (typically a mental one), add an Edge (SW: such as "Arcane Background") or Asset (Cortex), combined with a skill (Savage Worlds suggests "Spellcasting" or "faith") and compare that to some target number, usually modified by the spell difficulty. Not really that hard. The system out of the box for Savage Worlds is most similar in concept to WitchCraft, where Arcane Background functions as The Gift. Then this allows you to buy more powers (Edges) that are used as spells. In Ghosts of Albion spells are not Edges, Assets or Qualities, they are things you can buy or acquire, typically via the Occult Library Quality. This frees up those character creation points, but makes for very specific effects. "Fireball" does just that, but a "Fire Manipulation" power can be at low levels effecting a normal flame or a fireball at higher ones. Arcane books then in this system then become more how-to-guides and training rather than recipes for spells. Good for WitchCraft RPG and Witch Girls Adventures, bad for Charmed, Buffy and Ghosts of Albion.


So I have to take a different approach.


So should "Spells" be Powers? Yes. I think that much is clear. Given the point economies of both systems spending a ton of points on individual effect spells will take forever. Of course that is if I am doing something like Charmed. If I stick with something like Supernatural then maybe that is fine.

There needs to be a trait (Edge, Asset, Quality or even Attribute) that grants power to perform magic. Like the Gift or Magic. It is tied to a skill, called Spellcasting or Arcana maybe. The skill then can be how you increase your personal power. Of course the Magic trait can also have levels to represent raw power and even something like Mana/Essence points. Currently neither game offers something exactly like this. But Witch Girls Adventures does.


Witch Girls Adventures is fun game I picked up over the summer and have been having quite a bit of fun with. So before I build a new magic system, let's see how one ported over might work.

WGA has a Magic attribute that typically starts out at d8 for most characters, though some have d10. Remember, this is a magic heavy game. Let's translate that to a Magic Edge/Asset. The first level you can buy is d4 and it can move up. WGA also has the Spellcasting skill. Let's move that over as well.
The basic Cortex formula then is Magic + Spellcasting and compare vs Target number. It's a simple system. WGA also various spells/powers that can be bought or learned. We can also use the basic Zap Point mechanic.


Savage Worlds is a bit different. It's power system compares your level (Novice, Seasoned, Veteran…) and then subtracts power points. In WGA every spell has a level, 1 to 6 typically, and those might correspond to SW levels. So Novice can be levels 1-2, Seasoned 3, Veteran 4, Heroic 5 and up. The power Points loss is equal to twice the WGA level. You can still take the different magical "Schools" and break them out into skills. It might even make sense to create a Magic Attribute (just like WGA) and have it ranked d4 and up and purchase the magical skills (WGA schools) just like one does normally in SW. A magic roll then is a Skill roll (plus the Wild Die for Wild Cards) compared to the TN, and then add in any raises. I would also give magic using characters power points equal to twice their Magic Attribute die. So a d4 has 8, a d8 has 16 and so on, just like Witch Girls Zap points.


I like this for Cortex, but not convinced it is any better or worse than what Savage Worlds already has now. What is does give Savage Worlds is more variety to its magic system. Like Unisystem, Savage Worlds has carved out a niche for itself and it works well in that niche. It's Pulpy with "Bigger Than Life Heroes!" and maybe not the high magic hijinks one would see in Ghosts of Albion or Mage.


I have a couple more ideas to test this out, maybe finally bringing to life that Charmed RPG I have been dying to do for years.
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