Showing posts with label osr. Show all posts
Showing posts with label osr. Show all posts

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

New in Print: Mail-call Edition

When I get games or game books together; either via a con, or an auction, 2nd hand sale, or whatever I tend to think of them as "linked" products whether they are or not.  This is doubly true when I get a bunch books at the same time in the mail.  Like I did over the last couple of days.

Here is what the UPS man left on my door in three different boxes.


That is +Mark Taormino's latest Maximum Mayhem Dungeon #4 Vault of the Dwarven King, fresh from the Kickstarter.  The print proof of my own The Green Witch, which you can now buy in print AND while it is on sale at RPGNow's Christmas in July.   With +Gavin Norman's print copy of Theorems & Thaumaturgy Revised Edition. His PDF is also on sale.

Let's jump in!

First up is the fourth installment of Mark Taormino's Maximum Mayhem Dungeon series.  This time for characters level 4 to 7 it involves investigating a Dwarven mine.  But you know that is not all.

The mine cars and tracks look more like roller coasters and there are monsters breeding down in the mines.  I would say they are unimaginable, but in truth, they are EXACTLY the sort thing we probably imagined at age 13-14 when making our own dungeons.  Mark just has better production values.  Like the others in this series, this is pure nostalgia fueled gonzo fun.   Crazy mines, insane monsters, goblins with chain saws. Yup.  This module has it all, and what it doesn't one of the others in the series does.


OR order them this way to have The Maximum Mayhem CampaignTM for levels 1 to 14!


Makes me want to pull out my Basic and Expert books and do that!

If so then you can bet that I will be including one of Gavin Norman's Vivimancers in the mix.

Theorems & Thaumaturgy Revised Edition has been out for about 7 months and it looks like it is doing well.  That's great because this is completely kick ass little book.


Inside we have three new classes, The Elementalist (specialist in the volatile energies of nature), The Necromancer (master of death and restless spirits), and The Vivimancer (expert of cloning, vat-growth, and bio-sorcery).  All for you Labyrinth Lord or Basic-era game.
If you have the older T&T then Gavin has put up a blog post to explain the differences.


And of course, I will have to include a Witch in the mix.


The Green Witch for Swords & Wizardry follows up my Warlock class.  These are witches that protect the wood.  Are they protecting it from humankind, or are they protecting humankind from it? Maybe both.

Like my other witch books, this presents a new witch Tradition which includes new Occult Powers and Spells.  It also has some new associated classes, the Green Knight (a paladin for witches) and the Huntsman (a pagan-inspired Ranger).


All my recent witch books are for Swords & Wizardry and written not only to be compatible, but also to have very little in the way of overlap.  Obviously, the Experience tables are the same (they are all witches) and some spells are shared by all witches (Bestow Curse is a good example).  I try to make each one worth your while and moeny to buy.



And right now it is on sale. In fact nearly everything for the witch is on sale now.



Monday, June 19, 2017

FreeRPG Day Haul

 Really busy weekend.

Free RPG day, Father's Day, grilling, playing D&D.  It was packed.

Here are the books I got at my FLGS.


I am most excited about Runequest. I have not played it in YEARS and have been itching to do so more with it.

My hat is off to +James Raggi.  I admit I have been critical of his products and style over the years.  The truth is his style is not my style. That is not good or bad, just different tastes.
But  ALL that aside, giving out a free HARDCOVER book? Holy shit dude.
Plus his Vaginas Are Magic is actually really, really good.

It galls me, and makes me happy, that he keep proving me wrong by being good.

I might not ever play Lamentations of the Flame Princess, but damn. His production values are through the roof.  He even pulled in +Stacy Dellorfano and +Elizabeth Chaipraditkul to help him on this book.  I trust their opinions and judgment. I am going to have to dig into his book a bit more. Ok. A lot more.

So +James Raggi, it took me a while, but I think I finally "get it".  

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Methyn Sarr, Witch Queen of the Fire Coast

I spent some time over the long weekend reading through Barbarians of Lemuria: Mythic Edition. I have the previous editions and this one captures the same feel of the pulp-era adventures.  It is a fun game in it's own right but in truth, I am not at a point anymore where I want to learn a bunch of systems.
I am very, very happy with my world of OSR and B/X so I set out to convert BoL over to B/X D&D.   I also quickly discovered that a one to one conversion is not always the best idea.

Barbarians of Lemuria: Mythic Edition is a low-magic, and dare I even say, low-powered game.  Even the main antagonist would not really convert to very high level given most of the advice I have seen online.

I went into Barbarians of Lemuria with two goals.  First, I want to get some more information on Lemuria for my own games and add this feel to my current "Second Campaign" game.   Secondly, I want to convert the main antagonist, Methyn Sarr, into something I can use for my "War of the Witch Queens" game.   I'll detail the first as it happens, but I can talk about the second now.

Barbarian's of Lemuria, along with Crypts & Things, share an ethos and a feel with another favorite game of mine, Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea.  In my mind all three can be combined to make a Pulp-fanstastic, old-school D&D like-game worthy of any mighty thewed barbarian or crafty sorcerer. Mix in a little DCC or Lamentations of the Flame Princess and you have a heady brew.   There is a lot to love here, I just wish I had the time to do all of these games the justice they deserve.

Of course, the antagonist, Methyn Sarr, caught my eye.  She is described as "the Witch Queen of the Fire Coast" and the devoted agent of Zaggath, Lord of Fire.  She is fierce, cruel, beautiful and deadly. Everything I love about an evil witch.  A direct conversion didn't feel right.  No one is afraid of a 3rd level witch*.  (*the suggestion that 1 HD = 5 LB has been thrown out on the internet.  So her 12 LB would be 2.4 HD).

Instead, I looked at her Arcane Power (16) and her careers.   She can cast Third Magnitude spells which I figure are about 6th-8th level for witches.  Since I was looking at AS&SH that puts her 11th level (or 12th).  I wanted something a little more impressive, so I also looked at my own Witch stats for 13th level.

Methyn Sarr, Witch Queen of the Fire Coast


Methyn Sarr, Witch Queen of the Fire Coast
Female Witch 11th level (Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea, +Jeff Talanian)
Chaotic Evil

Race: Human
Secondary Skill: Torturer

Abilities
Strength: 10
Dexterity: 12
Constitution: 10
Intelligence: 18
Wisdom: 16
Charisma: 17

Casting Ability: 11
Fighting Ability: 5

Hit Points:  24
Alignment: Chaotic Evil
AC: 5 (battle harness)

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

Spells (due to her connection to Zaggath she may also cast Pyromancer spells)
First: (5) Burning Hands, Charm Person, Influence Normal Fires, Shocking Grasp, Sleep
Second: (5) Cause Blindness, Flame Blade, Flaming Sphere, Infernal Tongues, Ray of Enfeeblement
Third: (4) Black Cloud, Explosive Runes, Fireball, Witch Fire
Fourth: (3) Fire Shield, Mirror Mirror, Transfer Wounds
Fifth: (2) Magic Jar, Produce Bonfire
Sixth: (1) Disintegrate

Magic Items
Battle Harness (provides AC 5)
Blood Dagger of Zaggath (adds +1d6 damage due to dripping fire blood)


Methyn Sarr, Witch Queen of the Fire Coast
Female Witch, Malefic Tradition 13th level (The Witch)
Chaotic

Abilities
Strength: 10
Dexterity: 12
Constitution: 10
Intelligence: 17
Wisdom: 16
Charisma: 18

Hit Points: 29
AC: 5 (battle harness)

Occult Powers
Familiar: Raven
7th level:  Evil's Touch
13th level: Devil's Tongue

Spells 
Cantrips: Black Flame, Daze, Detect Curse, Object Reading, Open, Palm
First: Cause Fear, Fey Sight, Ghostly Slashing, Increase Sex Appeal, Sleep
Second: Agony, Blast Shield, Death Armor, 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
Battle Harness (provides AC 5)
Blood Dagger of Zaggath (adds +1d6 damage due to dripping fire blood)

So not exact conversions by any stretch, but certainly workable ones.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

The Warlock for Swords & Wizardry

Now to the Brocken the witches ride;
The stubble is gold and the corn is green;
There is the carnival crew to be seen,
And Squire Urianus will come to preside.
So over the valleys our company floats,
With witches a-farting on stinking old goats.
- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe "Faust" 

Tonight is Walpurgis Night.  Tonight the witches will ride on brooms and goats to the Brocken in the Harz Mountains and celebrate with the Devil.
Tomorrow is Beltane and Witches will celebrate the start of May and the return of Summer with bonfires.

Today I celebrate the release The Warlock for Swords & Wizardry!

Cover art Copyright 2015 Dean Spencer

The Warlock includes:
  • The Warlock class
  • New race: The Tieflings
  • Rules for goblin, hobgoblin and bugbear warlocks
  • 160+ spells
  • 50+ Warlock invocations
  • New monsters including the Baalseraph, Calabim, Lilim and Shedim demon families.
  • Animal Lords and Faerie Lords
  • New Magic Items
The Warlock is 64 pages and is compatible with The WitchThe Witch for Swords & Wizardry LightThe Witch: Aiséiligh Tradition for Swords & Wizardry, and The Witch: Hedgewitch for the Hero's Journey RPG.  It is also rules-compatible with Sisters of the Aquarian Order.  In fact, all are designed to work together as a complete whole.  Getting these various witches to work together in your game is another matter entirely.

A softcover version is coming in the next couple of days.  I just need to wait till it is delivered to me for approval.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Reviews: Battleaxes & Beasties and the Witches of Hagswallow

I have been wanting to get some more reviews in and I am woefully behind schedule. So along with my deep dive into the Forgotten Realms, I am also investigating more games and products built around Swords & Wizardry.

First up is Battleaxes & Beasties by +Anthony Hunter.


Battleaxes & Beasties is a core rule book from Sleeping Griffon Productions. It is based on Swords & Wizardry, but has some interesting quirks of it's own.   The book is 175 pages, black & white interior with color covers.   There are hardcover and softcover options, I am reviewing the PDF.
We spend a couple of pages going over the basic "what is roleplaying" and "what are these funny dice".  We have all seen this a 1000 times, but it does make it work well for a new player.  Indeed the whole book is great for anyone that has never played before.
Since this is based on S&W we have the same basic six Attributes and modifiers.
It is not till we get to the classes that we some changes.  Now B&B can act as a standalone game, there are enough classes here, but it can also act as a supplement to and other S&W-based game.  I could not help but feel there was a certain level of, well, camaraderie between this game and The Hero's Journey.  Both fall closer together on the "Heroic vs Muder Hobo" scale than say Dungeon Crawl Classics.  The classes include a Beguiler (which is like a Bard, but instead of songs he masters lies), the Faithful (like the cleric), Hunter (something like a Ranger), Scout ( Ranger-y Rogues), Totemist (Druid-Shaman cross),  Warrior and the Wizard.  All the classes advance to 10th level, so this is solid White Box territory.  After the human classes, we get race-specific classes.  Now, these are a lot of fun really. There is the Dwarven Guardian, Dwarven Paladin, Elf Ranger, and the Halfling Outcast.  Seriously fun stuff. We are 20 pages in and the book has paid for itself in my eyes.
There is a section on careers, which other games might call backgrounds.
Spells come next and are sorted by class and level.  There are some new ones here too, not just a rehash of the same old spells.  Additionally, magic is divided into Arcane, Miracles and Fey magics. An interesting touch if you ask me. It doesn't have a lot of game play effects, save on how Rangers learn spells, but it does provide a nice bit of flavor.
Next, we get to the default setting for this game, the Borderlands of Zarteth.  It starts with a "Z" so you know it is going to be a dangerous or at least strange place!
The setting is very D&D; that is neither good or bad, just what it is.  I got the feel reading it that was Clark Ashton Smith plus Robert E. Howard, without the extra helping of doom and despair. It's not 4e Points of Light, nor is it Hero's Journey's "Let's go on an adventure" nor is it the Grimdark of DCC.  It is in between.
The rest of the book is the Referee's Section. I say "rest" but it is really half the book. Everything you expect is here.
The gem here is the Monster section. The monsters are divided up by type first then alphabetically.  There are some nice new monsters here too, again making the book rather worthwhile.
To go with those monsters are some great magical treasures.
There is also an included adventure, reference sheets and a nice character sheet.
Battleaxes & Beasties does not break any new ground, but covers the same ground in interesting ways. Interesting enough to make it easily worth 10 bucks for the PDF.
I am caught between 4 or 5 stars out of 5 here. I'll give it a 5 to adjust the review average.

Witches of Hagswallow Adventure is an adventure for Battleaxes & Beasties.
It is 47 pages, color covers, Black & White interior. Designed fro 3-6 characters of 2-3 level. It can be run directly after the included adventure in the corebook and gives more background on the setting of the Borderlands of Zarteth.
It is a great example on how even the simpleist monsters can be used to great effect.  The "witches" are not witches of course, they are harpies.  But for all practical purposes, the might as well be.  After all these are 2nd level characters; most have just learned which end of the sword is the dangerous one!
There are a lot of great maps, a bunch of new monsters and it expands the world a little bit more for the players.
The adventure also comes with pre-generated characters.
Everything comes in the PDF, but separate files are also included.

All in all this is a very fun system.  Familar, but with a enough new materials to make it completely worthwhile.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

It's a Liminal Time, A Time of Hedgewitches

Tomorrow is the Vernal Equinox also known as Ostara.
Tomorrow we will have equal amounts of light and dark.
Half-way between the start of winter and the start of summer.

It is a time for in-betweens, for liminals, for things not one thing or another.
A time for Hedgewitches.

Tomorrow you can join them.




Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Thingizzard, the Witch of the Fens

I have been wanting to stat up some of the classic witches of the D&D game and one of the ones I had forgotten about was Thingizzard, the Witch of the Fens, from Return to White Plume Mountain for 2nd ed and Outside the Moutain for 3rd ed.

For 2nd ed she is depicted as a 12 HD hag.  For 3rd Ed she is a CR 12 green hag wizard.

But we all know what class she should be.

I want to try out her out using my Basic Witch class, but I also think I really need to also stat her out as one of +Jonathan Becker 's The Complete B/X Adventurer Witches (his blog IS B/X Blackrazor afterall) and Sage of Greyhawk, +Joseph Bloch's Adventures Dark & Deep Darker Paths Witch class.

All will do a good job in representing this sort of witch.

According to the 2nd Edition "Return to White Plume Mountain" she is:

Thingizzard
AC -2 (natural hide and Dex bonus); Mv 12, swim 12; HD 12; hp 80; THACO 9 (3 with Wave and Str bonus); #AT 3/2 (Wave); Dmg ld10+9; MR 25%; SZ M (5’ tall); ML fanatic (17); Str 18/00, Dex 17, Con 19, Int 14, Wis 15, Cha 12; AL NE; XP 7,000.

Special Abilities: full movement rate through quicksand and swamp; brew any potion.
Spell-like Abilities (at 12th level): l/day-animate dead, call lightning, control weather, curse, dream, forcecage, mind blank, polymorph other, polymorph self, veil, vision.
Special Equipment: five potions of extra-healing, potion of gaseous form, potion of super-heroism.

These stats also assume she has Wave.

I think for the sake of building and good comparison, I am going to make her a 13th level witch in all cases.  Also in each case I am going to swap what her highest ability should be. So for my witch it will be Charisma.  Wisdom for the Darker Paths Witch. Intelligence and Wisdom are the primes for the Complete B/X Adventurer Witch, but I think I'll give her the higher Intelligence here to balance it out.

Of course in the original, she is a hag.  So in these versions I will keep that by keeping her really high physical stats.

Thingizzard, the Witch of the Fens

Basic Era Witch
13th Level Hag (Faerie) Tradition

Strength 18
Dexterity 17
Constitution 19
Intelligence 14
Wisdom 12
Charisma 15

hp: 63
THAC0: 16

Death Ray: 9
Magic Wands: 10
Paralysis, Turn to Stone: 9
Dragon Breath: 12
Rods, Staffs, Spells: 11

Occult Powers
Familiar: Toad
Brew Potions
Lesser: Speak with Animals/Plants
Minor: Fey Shape

Spells
Cantrips: (4) Alarm Ward, False Glamour, Mote of Light, Object Reading
First: (4+2) Blight Growth, Burning Hands, Detect Invisible, Endure Elements, Hold Winds, Sour Stomach
Second: (4+1) Discord, Evil Eye, Fever, Nausea, Scare
Third: (3) Bestow Curse, Dispel Magic, Toad Mind
Forth: (3) Confusion, Polymorph, Vomit
Fifth: (2) Animate Dead, Dream
Sixth: (2) Control Weather, True Seeing
Seventh: (1) Greater Arcane Eye

Darker Paths 2: The Witch by +Joseph Bloch
13th Level Witch

Strength 18
Dexterity 17
Constitution 19
Intelligence 14
Wisdom 15
Charisma 12

hp: 72
THAC0: 12

Paralysis, Poison, Death: 5
Petrification, Polymorph: 8
Rod, Staff, Wand: 9
Breath Weapon: 11
Spell: 10

Powers
Familiar: Toad
Brew Poisons
Bell, Book and Candle
Create Magic Items

Spells
First: (5) Charm Person, Predict Weather, Taunt, Witch Shot, Wither
Second: (5) Blight Field, Change Self, Charm Monster, Misfortune, Precipitation
Third: (4) Bestow Curse, Control Winds, Fear, Insect Swarm
Forth: (4) Jealousy, Polymorph Self, Prophecy, Sleep
Fifth: (4) Breath Poison, Control Weather, Polymorph Other, Season of the Witch
Sixth: (3) Blink, Cackle, Magic Cauldron
Seventh*: (3) Call Lightning, Death Curse, Great Rite

*Ok, she should not get seventh level spells due to her wisdom, but hey, my character.

The Complete B/X Adventurer by +Jonathan Becker
13th Level Witch

Strength 18
Dexterity 17
Constitution 19
Intelligence 15
Wisdom 14
Charisma 12

hp: 65
THAC0:

Paralysis, Poison, Death: 5
Petrification, Polymorph: 8
Rod, Staff, Wand: 9
Breath Weapon: 11
Spell: 10

Powers
Familiar: Toad
Brew Poisons and magical Potions
Bind Wounds
Book of Shadows

Spells
First: Hex, Light, Resist Elements, Speak with Animals
Second: Dreams, Fog, Locate Object
Third: Call Animals, Hoodoo, Object Reading, Quagmire
Forth: Mind Jab, Polymorph Others, Polymorph Self, Tarantella
Fifth: Control Weather, Greater Hoodoo, Insect Plague, Visions

I am hard pressed to say which witch I like better for her.  All three have something essentially "Thingizzard" about her.  Each witch has some spells that are particularly nice for her.

I will have to come back to this and see about doing 5e version once Tales from the Yawning Portal is released next month.

Bonus Question: How do you pronounce her name? I am partial to "Thing-iz-zard" myself, but "Thin Gizzard" also has a nice swampy feel to it.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Kickstart Your Weekend: Maximum Mayhem Dungeons #4: Vault of the Dwarven King

Mad genius +Mark Taormino is at it again!

Maximum Mayhem Dungeons #4: Vault of the Dwarven King


The 4th dungeon in the Maximum Mayhem Dungeon series is being Kickstarted.

These modules really embody what I think is best about Kickstarter.  Mark uses these to get to a wide audience to pay for his art and production costs, which are always top notch, and get them out to everyone despite being a one-man operation.

This adventure is for levels 4 to 7 so it helps round of the "missing levels" from the other three modules.  It's almost like he was listing to me! ;)
(for the record I know he was not, this is a logical level spread and my input was not needed.)

In any case, back this. You know you want too.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

DIY Swords & Wizardry Light Folder + Something new

(Ugh. That election.  But I am not going to sully this blog with talk of our new national nightmare.)

+Erik Tenkar's Sword & Wizardry Light is out. More or less.  It's a great idea and has endless utility.

I played around with the file some to get something I could print out and use.  So I decided to do this.




A touch unwieldy sure, but still very useful to have.  Works as a GM screen or a folder.

Now if I only had something to put inside...


Oh.  Yeah. That looks good.

Have some editing and some checking to do, but stay tuned!

Friday, October 21, 2016

Kickstart Your Weekend: Old-School Style!

Have some great Old-School influenced Kickstarters today so get to it!

First up is +Stacy Dellorfano's Swords & Wizardry 3rd Printing


https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/froggodgames/swords-and-wizardry-complete-rulebook-3rd-printing

Now. I have been on record before about not liking this cover.  I have over the last two weeks had a change of heart.  But the bottom line is I am NOT the target audience for this.
Besides I love the idea of this book, I really want it to succeed.  The team that Stacy is rock solid and I am just dying to see what +Elizabeth Chaipraditkul will be doing for this. She is great.
So yeah, they might not need my support at this point, but they have it.

In more old-new-Old School news we are also are getting a new edition of Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea.


https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1806106772/astonishing-swordsmen-and-sorcerers-of-hyperborea-0

I really, really love this game.  Just such an awesome vibe about it.  +Jeff Talanian did a fantastic job with the first edition boxed set and this new 2nd Ed hardcover is something I have been wanting for years.

I mentioned this one earlier in the week, but it can be repeated.


https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/playattentiongames/monsters-a-sourcebook-for-chill-third-edition-horr

Chill 3rd Edition Monsters.  This should also be a great book.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Book Sizes

Kind of a late post today.

I was Lulu looking to fill some of the gaps in my OSR/Old-School collection and noticed  a pretty even split between the 6"x9" (or OD&D) and 8.5"x11" (Basic & Advanced) form factors.

In general which size of books do you all prefer?


Thursday, August 18, 2016

Maximum Mayhem Dungeons. My collection is now complete!

Look what I got in the mail today!



+Mark Taormino's Maximum Mayhem Dungeons #2 and #3.



I now have the complete set.

In order of playability, lowest to the highest.

Just missing an adventure for 4th to 6th and then 12th to 14th.

Not sure what I will do with these.  Hanging Coffins was so much fun I just had to have these.  The 3D glasses and pictures are a nice and unexpected treat.

I also can't help but think that Mark and +Venger Satanis need to get together to make a really gonzo adventure.  Liberation of the Demonslayer would fit into all of this really nice and Star Spawn practically begs to be mixed with Alpha Blue.  Get on that one guys!

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Plays Well With Others: Dark Albion: Cults of Chaos

The newest supplement for Dark Albion is now out, Dark Albion: Cults of Chaos.  With a name like that how can I possibly say no?

A bit of history, I worked with author Dominique Crouzet quite a bit back in the late 90s and early 2000s.  I know what sort of thing he likes (or at least liked) in this area, so I know I was going to be pre-disposed to like this.  +Kasimir Urbanski is also the author and his contributions were going to be a bit more of a mystery. But I liked Dark Albion so my expectations were pretty good.  Like Dark Albion, this book can be played with any flavor of D&D you like. It is simple enough and light enough on the "crunch" it can actually be played with just about any RPG really.  While reading I Was thinking about it in terms of Pendragon, Cthulhu Britanica and other games.

Dark Albion: Cults of Chaos is the cults and cult-like groups book for the Dark Albion campaign setting/rules.  The book itself is 92 pages (94 with covers). This includes 2 pages of character sheets, a cult sheet and the ogl.  Minus title page and various bits we are looking at 80+ pages of solid content.
The art is all black and white and is a mix of newer art and woodcut designs.  I am rather fond of the woodcuts myself, I love seeing these in books.  I recognize a number of pieces as belonging to Dominique; so he is one of the artists as well as one of the authors.
The first part of the book deals with the cults.  In particular their size, composition, what social class they come from (very important really) and of course their motivations and where their secret lair might be.  Life of the cultist within the cult is also detailed to a degree.  Enough anyway to get you thinking more about them. In particular what they do in the cult, why they might have joined and possible mutations.  That one needs some more explaining.
Some cults are so exposed to the forces of Chaos that their cultist can begin to mutate.  A great idea that I am glad to see here.  Dom and I did something similar for Warlocks back in my 3.0 edition of my Witch book.  So immediately I grabbed on that as something to use.  The idea though has a lot of traction. There are similar ideas in Lamentations of the Flame Princess and I believe Dungeon Crawl Classics.
The next section covers running advnetures involving these cults.  Obviously these cults are not menat to be a one-time adversary. They are meant to be reoccuring antagonists and potentially even the "Big Bads" of your game.  This includes a number of NPCs, mostly normal level humans, that are involved in the their cults.  Don't assume though that "0 Level" = powerless. Nobility wield a lot of power regardless of level, a noble in a cult can be very bad for a party of adventurers.
I might as well acknowledge the inclusion of the "Frog Cults".  I still think "Frogland" is kind of dumb to be honest, but I don't mind these cults at all.  In fact wasn't "Temple of the Frog" the first real adventure played in D&D and certainly one of the first ever published.   The "Keepers of the Frogs" from Blackmoor could certainly fit as a DA cult.


Packed amongst all of this information are also tables of rumors and other information PCs can learn.  I thought of this as the "Scooby Doo" section of the book; the PCs split up and search for clues.

We next get some sample cults and some examples of some cults in various dungeon settings.  These are split up into low, medium and high level.

The appendicies are very interesting and include a section on Elves in Albion.  This section reminded me a bit of a similar direction given in Castles & Crusades Codex Celtarum.  Indeed, one could use both books together to get a large, more detailed picture of the elves/fae/sidhe.  DA tends to be low-fantasty compared to the C&S High(er) Fantasy.  Still in niether case are these "D&D Elves", they still have more incommon with the likes Obereon, Titania and Puck than Tanis or Legolas.

The next appendix details a score cults of various types. All ready to drop in your game.  The last appendix details sorcerery and chaos and the strange things that can happen when they mix.
We end with a cult creation sheet and a character sheet.  The character sheet should be offered for free download, I think people would like it.

All in all a fun book.  There is nothing here we have not seen before in one form or another, but to have it all one place with this particular presentation is great.   I am reminded a bit of the old Witches and Pagans book from White Wolf that covered similar territory. I even pulled out my Mage: The Sorcerers Crusade to see if this would work well enough with it.  It would take some work, but it could be done.


What strikes me most is how easiy it is to integrate this into any game you like.  The crunch that exsists is easily converted. Since a lot of the die rolling deals with tables and their results, conversion is a simple process.

I mentioned in the past that Dark Albion is particularily friendly to +Jeff Talanian's Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea. Using a page from DA:CoC one could easily add DA style elves (and of course their cults) into the world of AS&SH.  AS&SH style witches and warlocks seem particularily suited for the the chaos magic of DA.


In the end I thought this was a fun purchase. Glad to have it and glad to mine some ideas from it.

---
I am up for an Ennie this year for Best Blog!
Please click on the link and vote "1" under "The Other Side".

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Class Struggles/Plays Well With Others: The Vile Witch

Mazes & Perils is the newest game on the OSR scene.   I covered the game in a "Class Struggles" back in May.  Then I focused on the new(er) magic using classes in the game.  There was a promise then that there would be more classes.
Given the Holmesian origins of this game the newest class is, appropriately, a witch.

The Vile Witch is the newest class for Mazes & Perils from +Vincent Florio, +Brian Fitzpatrick and +Sal Valente 
Before I talk about the class I want to give a shout out to cover artist +Jacob Blackmon. He is the one responsible for my new header above.

The Vile Witch is a 14 page book (cover, 2 pages of OGL, 1 page of ads, 1 title page for 9 pages of content) dedicated to the new vile witch spell caster. This is a character that revels in what others throw away.  It immediately reminded me of the Junk Lady in the movie Labyrinth AND Maja the witch from Adventure Time; she is the witch that buys Marceline's teddy bear Hambo for its memories.  The idea is that there is power in memories and power in items that have been associated with others.  It's a powerful archetype really and one with a LOT of potential.
But because the witch is so often mired in the refuse of others her appearance and form suffers.

The class has a lot of interesting features and powers in addition to some new spells and familiars.  Vile Witches are limited to 9th level. I think I see why, but I would try them to 10th or 12th like the other spell casting classes. Though she does have more powers (familiars and "vile blood") as well as a quicker spell advancement.
The book has both "vile familiars" and "common familiars". Common familiars can be used by any spell casting class, the vile ones are for the vile witch.  The rules are simple, as befitting the M&P game, and easy to use.  If you want familiar rules then this is a good choice to be honest even if you never use the class itself.
The book also contains 19 new vile witch spells.  While these spells could be used with any other magic using class, they are very specific to the vile witch and really give her a lot of flavor and color.

For just under $2 there is a lot of material here. It is a very different sort of witch and I like that. I am certain that this class will make for some great NPCs and hopefully some really great PCs as well.

Class Struggles
What I kept thinking while reading it was that a Vile Witch dedicated to the Goddess, Tlazolteotl would be a good idea. She could even be "good" or Lawfully aligned. Something like a "Sin Eater".
Her job is to make good things happen by "eating" the bad things.
Only a thought, but it would be how I'd play the class.
Unlike other classes I have talked about under the Class Struggles banner I can't really think of a similar class.  Maybe

Plays Well with Others
Mazes & Perils is firmly rooted in the "Basic" era style gaming and Holmes in particular.  That being true it works really, really well with my own Basic Era Witch class and many others.

If I were to convert this to my own book I might call them a "Sin Eater Tradition" for Lawful witches or "Vile Witch Tradition" for Neutral and Chaotic ones.

For Occult Powers I might try this;

Lesser: Vile Familiar
Minor: Toxic Blood
Medial: Greater Glamour
Greater: Curse
Major: Shape Change
Superior: Vile Apotheosis

Have to work out all the details of these, but the idea is that exposure to all this...stuff...changes the vile witch is both physical and supernatural ways.

Here are some spells from my book that you can use with the Vile Witch.

Sickly
Level: Witch 1
Range: Touch
Duration: 1 minute per level
This spell causes the target creature to suffer from poor health.
Witches must succeed at a touch attack to strike the target. Subjects who fail their saving throw suffer a –1d6 penalty to Constitution, with an additional –1 per two caster levels (maximum additional penalty of –5). The subject’s Constitution score cannot be reduced below 1.
Material Components: A dried up dandelion.

Sour Stomach
Level: Witch 1
Range: One Target (within 25’ + 5’ per 2 levels)
Duration: 2 hours per level
This spell causes the target to have a nervous stomach, thus experiencing severe digestion, discomfort and cramping upon the engagement of any event that’s moderately stressful or exciting.
So terrible is this form of indigestion that the target must succeed a Poison saving throw, find a means to relieve their situation within 4 to 7 rounds (1d4+3) or have an “accident” that results in potential embarrassment and potential discomfort. The triggering event of such inconvenience could be most anything, from running into an encounter to finding treasure of mysterious properties to even meeting some stranger along the road. Each worthy event during the full duration of the compulsive enchantment can cause another potential outbreak of discomfort, thus requiring another save.
Material Components: A bit of soured milk.

Vertigo
Level: Witch 1
Range: 1 subject
Duration: 1 round per level
This minor hex causes the target creature to have a feeling of vertigo. The subject will feel that they are falling and their footing is unsure. Dizzied creatures suffer a -4 to their dexterity score and any to hit rolls.
Material Components: The witch makes a spinning motion with her finger.

Defoliate
Level: Witch 2
Range: 25’ + 5’ per 2 levels
Duration: Instantaneous
With this spell, the witch instantly slays all minor vegetation (weeds, flowers, small bushes, etc.) in a 20-ft.-radius. If a creature with the plant type is targeted, it takes 1d8 points of damage per caster level (max. 5d8). Creatures that are not plants are unaffected by this spell.
Material components: The witch picks a flower and pulls off the petals while chanting the words to this spell.

Nausea
Level: Witch 2
Range: 25’ + 5’ per 2 levels
Duration: 1 round per level
Subjects of this spell become sick and queasy, feeling as though they are about to vomit. This condition renders subjects unable to attack, cast spells, concentrate on spells or do anything else requiring attention. They may only make a single move or move equivalent action each round.
Material Components: A drop of animal fat that has gone rancid.

Contagion
Level: Witch 3
Range: Touch
Duration: Instantaneous
The subject contracts a disease selected from the table below, which strikes immediately (no incubation period). The subject can save vs. Spells normally, but after that only a remove disease or remove curse (or greater magics) can cure them.
Each disease affects a different ability. Infected creatures cannot attack and move at ¼ their normal movement rate.
Roll d8 Disease Damage
1 Blinding Sickness 1d4 STR
2 Cackle Fever 1d6 WIS
3 Filth fever 1d3 DEX and CON
4 Mindfire 1d4 INT
5 Red Ache 1d6 STR
6 Shakes 1d8 DEX
7 Slimy Doom 1d4 CON
8 Hags curse 1d3 WIS and CON

Blinding Sickness: For every 2 points of STR lost, a new save vs. Paralysis must be made or the target will go permanently blind. Not contagious.
Cackle Fever: Symptoms include high fever, disorientation and frequent bouts of hideous laughter. It’s commonly also known as “the shrieks.” Not contagious.
Filth Fever: An infection commonly gained while around dire rats, were-rats and otyughs. Not contagious.
Mindfire: Victims feel like their mind is on fire. It is as common as a curse in spell books. Not contagious.
Red Ache: Skin turns red, bloated, and warm to the touch. Not contagious.
Shakes: Causes involuntary twitches, tremors and fits. It is contagious to others by touch. Save vs. Paralysis prevents spread.
Slimy Doom: Victim turns into infectious goo from the inside out. It must be cured in a number of days equal to new CON score or victim will permanently loose CON points. It’s highly contagious by touch. Save vs. Paralysis at -2 prevents spread.
Hags Curse: Takes ability damage as listed and the victim becomes infertile or impotent (female or male respectively). Must be cured in a number of days equal to new CON score or become permanent.
Material Components: The witch needs crushed verbena in the blood of a viper and vinegar.

Mind Rash
Level: Witch 3
Range: 25’ + 5’ per 2 levels
Duration: 1 round per level
This spell causes the target to experience horrible itching sensations all over their body. Though not actually inflicted with any real physical ailment, the delusion of itching is so great that the target is unable to perform any action not related to attempting to relieve the persistent suffering. Likewise, the irritation actually causes the target to wound their bodies in the process of trying to relieve the itch. Any sort of thing to scratch and scrape away at the sensations, including stones, weapons, and bits of metal are used. Each round during the duration of the mind rash the target wounds their body for 1 point of damage.
Material Components: A bit of dried poison oak.

Vomit
Level: Witch 4
Range: 25’ + 5’ per 2 levels
Target: 1 Creature
Duration: See below
This spell seizes subjects with sudden spasms of violent regurgitation. Those who fail their saving throw regurgitate helplessly for 1d4 rounds. While vomiting, subjects cannot move more than 5 feet per round and cannot fight or cast spells. For all purposes they are considered staggered. When the spasms end, subjects are overcome with a magical weakness which reduces their Strength by 1d4+1 points. This weakness persists for 1 round per level of the witch.
Material Components: The witch sticks a finger down her own throat.

Gnawing Pain
Level: Witch 5
Range: 25’ + 5’ per levels
Duration: 3 rounds + 1 round per level
Upon casting this spell, any creatures within the spell area must make a saving throw or suffer a gnawing pain that slowly spreads throughout their body.
During the first round the victims will feel a dull pain that causes a cold sweat. Casting any spells during this round requires a concentration skill roll. On the second round this pain becomes a sharp agony and the target is effectively shaken. By the third round the searing pain has reached its maximum intensity and the victim is nauseated. Each round thereafter the victims must make a saving throw or become wracked with convulsions. They are now completely incapacitated and helpless to defend themselves.
The effects of this spell linger in the mind of the victims even after the duration has expired. The targets will feel unnerved for 1d6+1 hours, resulting in a -1 penalty to any Wisdom-based rolls (including magic saves). They will suffer disturbing nightmares during the following 1d4 weeks, making sleeping difficult and reducing the rate of natural healing by one half.
Material Components: A branch of nettles with which the witch swats her bared arms or legs.

Magic Item
Sack of Rats
A cursed item in the general sense, many vile witches have found some use for this. This normal sack appears to all magical detection (except for detect curse) to be a Bag of Holding. Once  a food item though is stored in this bag, its true magic is discovered. Out from the bag will pour thousands of rats that will run in every direction away from the holder of the bag. The bag contains 1,001 rats. A save vs. Paralysis must be made or anyone in 10’ feet of the bag will be unable to move due to all the rats. The rats will bite and all within 10’ of the bag will take 1d6 hit points of damage.

All items are Copyright 2012, 2016 Timothy S. Brannan.  All spells and items are released as Open under the OGL.
The Witch: A New Class for Basic-ear Games, Copyright ©2012, Timothy S. Brannan. Elf Lair Games. 

Monday, May 16, 2016

Monstrous Mondays: The Piasa Bird

Welcome back to Monstrous Mondays!
Today I want to add a monster from stories of my childhood.  If you grew up in Central or Southern Illinois you heard stories of the Piasa Bird.   I featured this monster in one of my earliest posts here and thought I really need to bring it back.

The following text is considered Open for use under the OGL.


The Piasa Bird
AKA: The Piasa, "The Bird That Devours Men", "The Destroyer"
Frequency: Very Rare
No. Appearing: 1
Size: Large 18'
Armor Class: -2 [22]1
Movement
 Basic: 90' (30') Fly:  240' (80')
 Advanced: 9" Fly: 24"
 3e/5e: 25 ft  Fly: 60
Hit Dice: 11d8+6 (55 hp)
% in Lair: 50%
Treasure Type: None. The Piasa eats all meat an discards everything else.
Attacks: 4 (claw/claw/bite/tail swipe) + fear
Damage: 1d6+2/1d6+2/2d8/1d6
Special Attacks: Cause Fear once per day.
Special Defenses: none
Save As: Fighter 102
Magic Resistance: 0%
Morale: 93
Alignment: Chaotic evil
Level/XP: XXXX4

STR: 22 INT: 8 WIS: 8 DEX: 14 CON: 15  CHA: 4

1 Descending and [Ascending] Armor classes are given.
2 This is used for Basic games, and S&W. Also for monsters that I think need to save a little differently than others.
3 Morale is "Basic" Morale and based on a 1-12 scale. Multiply by 1.6667 for 1-20 scale.
4 Still working out an XP systems that works across all games.

According to the diary of Louis Joliet, the Piasa Bird "was as large as a calf with horns like a deer, red eyes, a beard like a tiger's, a face like a man, the body covered with green, red and black scales and a tail so long it passed around the body, over the head and between the legs."

Piasa Birds in the game are a larger and resemble a manticore or a dragon.
They do not keep treasure. They are only interested in killing for meat and sport.

Story of the Piasa Bird 
The following story appeared in the Alton Telegraph (1836) by John Russel. It is claimed that this is story told to Father Jacques Marquette and Louis Joliet by the Indian tribes of the valley.

When Marquette and Joliet came down the Mississippi river in 1673 they encountered a bluff on the east side of the river with the painting of a giant monster. When they asked the Indians what this monster was, they retold for them the story that had been handed down to them for generations. Marquette named the monster "Piasa," pronounced Pie-a-saw, which means "the Destroyer."

The Legend of the Piasa bird that was related to Marquette and Joliet went something like this. Many years ago a great bird roamed the land. Every morning the people would wake in fear to the shrill screams of the great Bird. The bird awoke hungry and would carry off dozens of boys and girls to its cave to be eaten. Chief Ouatoga [OO-wa-toe-ga] was getting old. He wanted to destroy this terrible monster before he died. He called his braves to a meeting and told them he was going to ask the Great Spirit what to do.

He went up on the highest bluff. He spoke with the Great Spirit. The Great Spirit told the Chief, "Dip your arrows deep into the poison of a copperhead snake and shoot them into the body of the Bird. They will cause its death." He returned to the camp and told his people what the Great Spirit had told him. He gathered up a small army of the strongest braves and set out to hunt the Bird. Chief Ouatoga told his braves that the plan was for someone to stand on the cliff to lure the Bird down. When the great monster swoops down they were to shoot it with their poison arrows.

The braves all begged their chief to be the one to sacrifice themselves. But the chief told them no, he would be the one, since he was older. While the braves practiced with their bows, Chief Ouatoga spoke with the Great Spirit. "Think not of my life," he said, "but the lives of the children."

The next morning the chief stood tall waiting for the great bird to come. Its screams could be heard as flew down the river looking for victims. The bird saw the old chief and swooped down on him with a terrible scream.

Just as the monster was ready to attack the braves shot their arrows and all 100 met their mark. The monster fell into the Mississippi river and died. The braves carried the broken and bruised body of their chief back to the tribe. The medicine man healed him and he awoke the next day surrounded by his grateful people. In remembrance of the act the returned to the site and painted a life-size picture of the monster. Every time an Indian went down the river after that, he fired an arrow at the bluff.
In alternate versions of the story the youngest brave stands on the cliff instead of the Chief. When he is healed the next day he becomes the new Chief.

The rare female Piasa Bird.   
Section 15: "The Piasa Bird". Copyright 2016 Timothy S. Brannan.


Don't forget to include the hashtag #MonsterMonday  on Twitter or #MonsterMonday on Google+ when you post your own monsters!

Friday, April 29, 2016

Werewolves For Basic Era Games

Tomorrow night is Walpurgis Night.  A night when witches, vampires, and werewolves are known to be out.
I have already given you Witches and Vampires so now I present Werewolves.



Werewolves: The Beast Within is a 10/20 level race-as-a-class class for your favorite Basic Era OSR game.

From the back cover:

Werewolves…
The fear to loose control and become a hungry, blood lusted
beast has haunted our nightmares since we clutched together
in the dark. It has also been the secret desire of others.

Lycanthropes been a staple of role-playing villains, monsters, and
anti-heroes since the dawn of the role-playing hobby.

Now you can play these fearsome monsters of horror tales and
movies in your Basic-Era style games.

Presented here is a full 20 level class with all the classic
werewolf powers.

Fully compatible with the werewolf monsters you have been
using for nearly 40 years.

Also fully compatible with my books for Witches and Vampires.

This one is a buck, but that is really just to pay for the art.

So celebrate "Half-aween" (half way to Halloween) with some classic monsters.


Friday, March 18, 2016

Kickstart Your Weekend: Five for Friday

Lots to talk about today, so without further ado.

Classic Edition GM Screen
from +Richard LeBlanc and  New Big Dragon Games Unlimited.


I have been waiting for this one for some time now ever since Richard first teased it.


Sherwood: The Legend of Robin Hood
from +Jonathan Thompson and Battlefield Press


This one looks interesting. I enjoy the Robin Hood legends and this is multi-stated for 5th Ed, S&W and Pathfinder.


Baker Street RPG: Jack the Ripper and Missions from Mycroft
from +Bryce Whitacre


I played Baker Street at Gen Con and it was a fun time.  This looks like an excellent addition to the game.  Honestly with the way Baker Street works this could be an excellent addition to ANY Victorian-era game.


Sandy Petersen's Cthulhu Mythos for Pathfinder


Sandy Petersen knows Lovecraft.  To see this for Pathfinder is a real treat!  And this one looks so good.


Hollow Earth Expeditions: Perils of Mars
by +Jeff Combos


I enjoy the heck out of the HEX books.  This one looks like a ton of fun too!



Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Mail Call, Part 2

When it rains it pours around here!

Look what else was in my mail box today.


A collection of Basic Psionics books from +Richard LeBlanc including a sticker and a pin.


Alpha Blue and Liberation of the Demon Slayer from +Venger Satanis!

Looks great with the batch I got on Saturday.


Now to come up with something that ties all these together!

Though I do want to point out that the Basic Psionics and White Star books have been BEGGING me to mix them up into something different.  I already talked about how well the B/X Rogue and the Psionics books work together.


Sunday, January 17, 2016

Mail Call!

Look what came in the mail yesterday!


Hardcovers of White Star from +James Spahn, Between Star & Void by +Matthew Skail and a softcover of the B/X Rogue from +Gavin Norman.

They all look great and since they came in at the same time I am thinking a Plays Well With Others is in order.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...