Showing posts with label pathfinder. Show all posts
Showing posts with label pathfinder. Show all posts

Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Class Struggles: The Necromancer, Part 2

The Necromancer
I have not done a Class Struggles in a bit. Let's change that today.

The Necromancer is fertile ground for gamers.  I featured the Necromancer as one of the first Class Struggles.  There is still more to be said. Also in the last few months, I have bought at least three new necromancers. So lets see what we have.

Dragon #76 The Death Master
I spoke a lot about this one when I covered Dragon #76 in This Old Dragon and in my original Class Struggles. It really is the model I follow when creating an evil necromancer type though Len's here was a bit of an arcane necromancer with a bit of a death priest of Orcus mixed in. As I became savvier in what I knew about necromancers and the various D&D worlds I decided that Death Masters were unique to the Word of Greyhawk's Oerth. 

The Death Master became a playable class in the 3.x era with the publication of Dragon Compendium Volume 1 (there was never a vol. 2). Here the Death Master got a full 20 levels and was based directly off of Len Lakofka's class. Personally, I think a Prestige Class would have been a better choice. In fact a Prestige Class with just 13 levels like the original. I'd structure the prerequisites to need 3 levels of cleric and four levels of wizard or something like that. Sadly the Dragon Compendium Volume 1 is not just out of print, it is also not available on DriveThruRPG.  But Amazon has a copy and sometimes Noble Knight Games has them too.  

The Genius Guide to the Death Mage
Speaking of the old Death Master by Len Lakofka in Dragon Magazine. Owen K.C. Steven remembers! it! And this 20-level class for Pathfinder "feels" like that class, but it is its own thing.

This class is a stand-alone class (like most of the Pathfinder classes) complete with new powers and spells over 14 pages. In truth, it is a lot of fun. The author compares it to necromancer wizards, death priests, and undead-bloodline sorcerers, and how it is different. A better comparison is to druids. But where the druid is dedicated to life, the Death Mage is dedicated to death and the spirits of the dead.

There are five "Sub-types" of Death Mages presented. Corpse Mages, Ghoul Mages, Tomb Mages, Reaper Mages, and Shadow Mages.

There are 11 new spells. I think an opportunity was missed here to have 13 spells.

One of the newest necromancers on the block and designed specifically for Old School Essentials.  This is designated as "Play Test Material" but it really is ready to go. There have been necromancers for OSE before and there is at least one necromancer for other B/X-Basic games written by Gavin Norman already. Here the Necromancer is a subclass of the Magic-user, as would be expected, and some notes are given about using these new spells for the magic-user.  But thematically they fit with the necromancer much better. The new spells are from 1st to 6th level and there are 12 of each. I see why there are twelve of each; to fit the style and layout of what Gavin does with his OSE games. But I would have been tempted to make it a nice 13 per level myself. 
The spells are good and fit well. Some we have seen in other forms and formats over the past few years, but that does not detract from this book at all. Do you want a great OSE necromancer? Well, here it is.
The format used here could be adopted for all sorts of other magic-user type classes or subclasses like the Illusionist or Enchanter for example.

Castles & Crusades Black Libram of Naratus
I am a huge fan of Castles & Crusades and frankly, I don't think the game gets anywhere near as much love.

So I grabbed this one since it deals with darker magic and was part of the Haunted Highlands campaign (which I also enjoy). There is also the cover which is a call back to the infamous Eldritch Wizardry of OD&D. The first part covers necromancers and necromancer spells. This includes a way for normal spell casters to gain a level of Necromancer. A nice little add-on for any CK really. There is also a great spellbook in here called the "Grimoire of the Witch Queen" that makes the whole book worth it to me all by itself! That's the first half of the book. Later we get into Ritual/Sacrificial magic, magic items, and some new monsters. Given the types of games I run and the magic I like to have this is a "Must Have" book for me. The book is a tight 38 pages.

I have to give special attention to my other "new" necromancer.  This one does not differ from the previous editions of AS&SH/Hyperborea. At least not that I can tell. The necromancer here is cut from the "evil cultist" mold like their warlock and has a lot of great spells and powers. It is still one of my favorites, but the new OSE one has a lot of great spells to go with their's so a combination might be in order. 

For Pathfinder we have a few choices. 

Mysteries of the Dead Side: Sacred Necromancer
This book is presented in landscape orientation for easier screen reading. We are given a 20-level base class for Pathfinder with six "Callings" (sub-types). I have to admit this got may attention since my cabal of evil necromancers is called "The Order of Six" so I could restat them as one of each type here. No new spells, but there is a fully...fleshed out...NPC. So it is worth the download really.

New Paths 7: Expanded White Necromancer
This 17-page book gives a new perspective a, GOOD necromancer that protects the dead. I like the idea, to be honest.  It comes with a complete 20-level base class and six new spells. There are also feats and stats for various undead companions. It makes for a great companion piece and counterpoint to the 3.x Death Master from Dragon Compendium Volume 1.

Special Mention: Shadow of the Necromancer

Not a class, but an adventure from friend of the Other Side Mark Taormino. This is a short adventure for 1st to 3rd-level characters. And most importantly (to me) it comes in both Old-School/1st Edition and 5th Edition D&D versions!
The adventure comes with a map, in beautiful old-school blue for the 1st ed version and full color for the 5th edition version. The module itself is 16 pages (one page for title and credits, one page for OGL , one page blank).  The adventure is a simple "strange things are going on! The PCs must investigate!" situation. It turns into "stop the minion of the Necromancer from finishing his evil plans." It's tried and true and it works fine here.  The adventure, as with many of the Darl Wizard/Maximum Mayhem Dungeons, is a deadly affair. Not as deadly as the Hanging Coffins of the Vampire Queen, but it is not a walk in the graveyard either. It is a fun romp and really captures the feel of old-school playing. Both versions are great and I can keep the 1st-ed version for myself and give the 5th-ed version to my kids to run.

Shadow of the Necromancer


I certainly have enough here to do an "Against the Necromancer" sort of campaign. Or even bring back my Order of the Six.

Wednesday, September 28, 2022

100 Days of Halloween: Echelon Reference Series: Witch (3pp+PRD)

Echelon Reference Series: Witch (3pp+PRD)
Back in August, I reviewed the Echelon Reference Series: Witch Spells which covers every witch spell for Pathfinder.  It is a great series that represents a near Sisyphean effort to track all these spells. An effort that is only apparent once you dig into it.  Tonight I thought I might go for their collection of witch class material.  Basically, everything for the witch but the spells.

As always I will be following my rules for these reviews.

Echelon Reference Series: Witch (3pp+PRD)

Again this one comes as two PDFs. One for Pathfinder and one for Pathfinder and all other Third Party material.  The author points out that these are "living" documents as the material will be updated periodically.

Presently the Pathfinder book is 78 pages and the Pathfinder + 3PP book is 196 pages.

Both books follow the same format.  

About the Echelon Reference Series

This give you an overview of not just these two books but the series as a whole. Explains the differences between the PRD (Pathfinder SRD) and PRD+3PP (Pathfinder SRD plus Third Party Publishers) and the multiple versions of various books. 

This section also covers the issue of duplicate names; that is when one publisher calls something "X" and another publisher calls something "X" as well but they do different things.  Also some things may have different names but do remarkably similar things.  In both cases everything is here.

Classes and Archetypes

Covers the basic witch class and the published (and Open) archtypes. The PRD covers just material that is open from Paizo and can be found (for the most part) in the Pathfinder SRD.  The PRD+3PP covers the same but also all of the Open 3PP material.

Class Features

For the witch, this covers all her Patrons and all the various Hexes she can take. This might be one of the more useful chapters in the book. 

Other Options

Here we get favored class options, feats specifically for witches, and spell casting options. No spells since those are covered in multiple other Echelon books.

NPCs

What it says on the tin. The PRD has five and the PRD+3PP has the same five plus five more

Appendices

Not much here yet save for the Index and the OGL.

There is no art, nor is art required. This is a massive data dump designed for people that want only the crunch and none of the fluff.

This does not replace the products it gets its OGC from. The "source" products may have in-world examples or other materials that situate all of this to give proper perspective. This is the RAW OGC as is.  For me? I use Section 15 of the OGL statement here as a shopping list.  I use the original books/sources as my inspiration, but I sue this as my quick reference.

Looking forward to seeing what else is added! 

Tuesday, September 27, 2022

100 Days of Halloween: Sisters of Rapture

Sisters of Rapture
We are getting much closer to Halloween now! It is cooler here in Chicago and I am ready for the seasons to change.  Here at the Other Side, I am kicking up the witch topics hitting on products I have had for a while but have not reviewed or talked about.

Tonight is a good case in point.  I have had this particular product in both the OGL and Pathfinder versions for years. I have not found a group that it would work well for, however.  There is a lot of material here that I can use in my witch worlds.  But, well. Let me get into the products and you decide.

As always I will be following my rules for these reviews.

Sisters of Rapture

OGL (d20 3.5) and Pathfinder versions. 

PDFs, both 72 pages of content (76 and 74 total respectively). Color covers and interior art.

For Mature Readers. Let's approach this one upfront. The art featured on the cover is a rather tame example of the art that can be found inside. Point blank, there is a lot of nudity here and lot of sexual situations. The entire idea of the Sisters of Rapture is a class of semi-divine spellcasters centered around love and sacred sex. If this is not your thing then best to back out now.  Again I have struggled with how to use some of these concepts in my games. 

We know that history has had temple prostitutes, sacred sex, and many pagan rituals involving fertility. There are historical examples to fit this book more so than say the martial arts monk side by side with a horse-riding paladin in a quasi-European Medieval setting.  

Plus, and I want to be truthful here, there is a lot a great and well-written material here that begs to be used. So let's get to it.  Also, why am I doing these along with witches?

Unless mentioned the OGL and Pathfinder sections are largely similar. They are not 100% the same, more like 90% but both deal with their source game where they need too.

Introduction

Here we are introduced to the central concept of this book. That of the power of love. We learn of the Sisters of Rapture, a "close-knit organization of warrior-priestesses, dedicated to preserving and protecting the ideals of the various goddesses of love, beauty, sex, passion and other related concepts."  

In terms of RPG applications the author (and artist) T. Catt, points to the various artists of fantasy art.

Chapter One: Love's Blessed

Here we are introduced to the Sisters of Rapture base class, also known as the Rapturous. They are a bit of a fighter, a bit of divine spellcaster, and maybe some rogue added in. They are dedicated to the various goddess of love.  Their raison d'être is to spread pleasure and love around their worlds. 

Here we also get our first look at the art of T. Catt; mostly nude women. Now I just finished watching HBO's hits Rome and Game of Thrones, so this fits that aesthetic, but like I said it is not going to be for everyone.

In terms of 3.x OGL/Pathfinder classes, they have somewhat medium combat abilities, good Fort and Will saves, with low Reflex saves. They can cast spells up to the 9th level, same as all full casters. They also get a power every other level. Their spells are known as "Carnal Domain" Divine spells. They get d8 HD and can only be women of any species.

There is a limit on the number of spells they know like sorcerers. Their powers largely focus on and around their sex and sexuality. There are several "kiss" powers for example. I actually rather like the Kiss powers, I have used something similar and lets be honest history is repleat with various sorts of powerful or significant kisses. 

Depending on the Goddess they follow they can gain different powers. So Aphrodite grants her Rapturous different powers than Freya.  Freya in particular grants her Rapturous a "Righteous Rage" ability to Rage like a barbarian of half her level. 

What does this sound like? Yeah. Witches and their patrons. 

Chapter Two: Love's Chosen

This covers the various Prestige Classes. I mentioned before that I like Prestige Classes, I always have. These classes work well with this base class. Though I will point out that other classes should be able to qualify for these to be within the spirit of the d20 rules; these don't really do that.

The Inamorare is something like a muse. They get some Bard-like abilities (mostly inspiration) and of the five levels they advance in spell casting in three of them.  The Patron Mother takes on the role of training the next generation by taking on a Rapturous apprentice. In this respect, she more similar to a cleric. The Spellswinger (and I admit I like that name) swings both ways, Divine and Arcane magic. NOW this Prestige Class does require that character be able to cast Rapturous and Arcane spells.Yes, they are all about sex magic. My favorite though might be the Stormsister. These Rapturous are the strong arm of the Sisters and they punish anyone that harms women or stops love. 

The Pathfinder version also includes various archetypes for the base class. These include the Abbess (closer to her Goddess and church), Divine Virgin (celebrates the pure divine love and refrain from sex), and the Sacred Prostitute (think of the Epic of Gilgamesh), 

Chapter Three: Love's Method

This covers skills and feats.  For skills there is Knowledge (Carnal). I can't help but wonder if the author was familiar with the old AD&D Netbook Book of Unlawful Carnal Knowledge. No, don't go dig it up, it's not worth it. There is also Perform (Sexual Techniques) and various Professions.

Feats are an interesting lot and could have a lot of interesting applications.  Blown Kiss, for example,  allows the Rapturous to "blow a kiss" or deliver a touch spell/power attack at range. 

The Pathfinder also covers various traits.

The next portion of this chapter covers the Carnal Domain Spells. There are only nine, but since the publication of this book there have been plenty of others that would work.

There are some magic items. The Rings of Faithfulness are certainly interesting. 

Chapter Four: Love's Divinity

This chapter covers the various goddess of love, beauty, and sex. These include the expected Aphrodite/Venus, Isis, and Freya. Others are briefly mentioned. Shout outs to my favorites Astarte and Brigit. Additionally, we are presented with a "new" Goddess, Parvati. 

The Pathfinder version is largely the same but I think a mention of the Goddess of Love Shelyn and her lovers Desna and Sarenrae should be in order here. I feel that their combined faiths would be perfect for the Sisters of Rapture. (I know these goddesses are not "open" in terms of the OGL so they could not be included in this book).

Chapter Five: Love's Order

This details the society and church organization of the Sisters of Rapture.  This includes the religious practices of the Sisters and the roles they are play within the church organizations. 

Chapter Six Love's Relations

It seems odd to call these creatures monsters, but they are creatures/people that are associated with or related too the Sisters of Rapture. There are the Theliel, the Archons (Angels) of Passion. The Beloved, undead victims of the Succubus. The Congress of the Wolf, an all-male group in opposition to the Sisters. We just call them the Patriarchy.  There is Lileetha the Queen of the Succubi. The Half-Nymph and Huldra. The Pleasure Ooze looks like a woman but is really an ooze that wants to eat you.  As does the Venus Mantrap. 

I will say this for Pathfinder. The "Evolved" monster stat block makes it a lot easier to read than the base D&D 3.x one.

Appendix 1: Who's Who

This covers various Raprurous NPCs. Theophania Leandros the current Overmother, Althea Acarides a half-nymph Sister of  Aphrodite, Saereid an elven Sister of Freya, Ninythys a human Sister of Isis, and Kamala Siddah a humanSister of Parvati.

Appendix 2: Modern Rapturous (OGL)

Here the books differ quite a bit. The OGL version covers the Modern d20 book and how the Sisters of Rapture exist in the modern age. 

The OGL book ends with one of the most attractive-looking character sheets I have ever seen. 

Appendix 2: The Nefer-Sefet (Pathfinder)

This is a special sect of Isis-worshiping Sisters of Rapture that attach themselves to an Arcane spell caster and bolster their powers. Essentially they are a living Meta-magic battery for these arcane spell casters. 

Both the required OGL pages.

So. What to make of all of this.

Well, there is a  lot of great mechanics here. The class is solid and even if you toned down the sexual aspect of it there is a lot her that is good to play.  You have to ask though what is here that a cleric could not do or even should be able to do. This is a divine spellcaster. There are some powers, but I think a cleric could cover similar ground.  I guess at some level the differences are the same between a cleric and this class and a wizard and a witch. 

I also can't but help but admire the complete level of detail the creator has gone in on this. While others might scratching their head about where to use this class you know that T. Catt has thought about all of these things and more. It's obvious from the level of detail here.

Among other things, the half-nymph is a great idea, the various feats have some wonderful uses, and the creature section has some surprise hits.

For me there is a lot here that could be used with my various witches. I have reviewed Swine Witches and Worm Witches already in the last week. I have Green, Winter, Pagan, Hedge, evil and more witches in my own catalog, a sex(y) witch is not too far from any of those. Hell. Some of the material here would have worked just fine in my Pumpkin Spice Witch book. 

I guess each Game Master has to decide on their own how to best use this sort of book. 

 


The Other Side - 100 Days of Halloween

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

100 Days of Halloween: Paragon Hags and Occult Covens

Paragon Hags and Occult Covens
More hags and more Pathfinder tonight!  Really getting in the mood for some witchy hijinks this Halloween!

In Pathfinder (much like AD&D 2nd Ed) there is a deeper connection between hags and witches. I have looked at a few products here that explore that. This one looks promising as well.

As always I will be following my rules for these reviews.

Paragon Hags and Occult Covens

PDF. 28 pages. Color cover. Black & White interior art. 1 cover, table of contents, 1 OGL page, rest content.

We start off with some history and the in game assumption that all hags are the daughters of hags and mortal men. These offspring are known as changelings, and will eventually become hags once they reach 15 years of age.

We get a new race, Hag, for player characters, and a new class, the Paragon Hag. 

Paragon Hags get a number of powers above and beyond that of just what the Hag race gets. Among these is the ability to cast Witch spells up to the 6th level. 

Different Hag families are detailed. Many of these are familiar. They are the Annis, Blood, Bone, Green, Hearth, Moon, Night, Sea, Storm, and Winter.

We get new archetypes to go along with the new class. There is the Cauldron Hag, Coven Mother, Focused Hag, and Mother of Steel.   So by choosing different archetypes and different hag families you can get a wide variety of hag types. 

New races and new classes mean new feats, and we have them here. Pretty good mix really. Mostly "Coven" feats, which could be used by witches as well. 

There are new Rituals and new Spells. 

Finally, we get monster stats for the Bone Hag, Hearth Hag, and another take on the Moon Hag.

I have to admit I rather like it all and will add to my growing pile of Pathfinder material to use.


The Other Side - 100 Days of Halloween


Monday, September 19, 2022

Monstrous Mondays: Pathfinder Bestiary 4

Still working my way through a bunch of different monster books. Been spending the month of September on Pathfinder, but today is something a little different.  Let's get to it!

Pathfinder Bestiary 4 and Box

Pathfinder Bestiary 4 and Box

Today I am going to cover the Pathfinder Bestiary 4 and the Pathfinder Bestiary 4 Box.  We grabbed these back in 2015 or so I believe.  My oldest was running his D&D 5e game and wanted to add more Mythos monsters to it.  We grabbed the Bestiary 4, which has quite a lot of them, and then got the box of monster pawns to go with it.  By then we had also discovered the Cthulhu Wars game at GenCon and bought a bunch of those minis for him to use. So the box has been sorely underused.

Pathfinder Bestiary 4
Pathfinder Bestiary 4

PDF and Hardcover book. 320 pages. Full-color cover and interior art. For this review, I am considering the hardcover I bought in 2014 and the PDF I got from Paizo's webstore.

We grabbed this book for the mythos monsters. There are over 250 monsters in this book, so there were plenty of reasons to grab it.

This Bestiary gives us Kaiju. This book introduces them and there are more in the Pathfinder Mythic Realms books. There are 11 kaiju mentioned and three are detailed here.  They are all mostly Chaotic Neutral, with some suspected at Chaotic Evil. All are CR 26 and higher. 

Among the Mythos creatures, which are known as Elder Mythos here, are the bhole, colour out of space, elder thing, flying polyp, mi-go, nightgaunt, ratling, Spawn of Yog-Sothoth, Star-spawn of Cthulhu, and an whole collection of "Great Old Ones" that include Bokrug, Cthulhu, Hastur, and even Dagon as a Demon prince.

I can finally do my big "Godzilla vs. Cthulhu" idea!

There are even some old favorites here like the Leanan Sidhe, Nosferatu and Swan Maidens. Even really old ones like the Lurker Above and the Trapper (Monster Manual 1 AD&D) favorites get an update here. Spoiler: They are from the same family of creatures, no shock there. 

So yeah, for a "4" in the series, this one still has great monsters to give us.

Pathfinder Bestiary 4 Box

The Pathfinder Bestiary 4 Box is filled with cardboard cut-outs of *most* of the monsters listed in the Pathfinder Bestiary 4 book.  

They are study and work fine in places where you don't have a dedicated mini.  Also, the price of the box is much more economical than getting all of these minis. 

Pathfinder Bestiary 4 Box
Pawns and mini comparison.

Pathfinder Bestiary 4 Box


Pathfinder Bestiary 4 Box

There are no minis for the Kaiju or Great Old Ones. Which is one of the reasons we grabbed it.

Should have checked the back of the box I guess.

Bestiary Box contents

Still, this is great to have to fill out the places where I don't have the right mini.

Demons. Undead. Kaiju and Old Ones? Yeah, no wonder my oldest loves this one.

100 Days of Halloween: Blood and Broomsticks - Sorcerers & Witches

Blood and Broomsticks - Sorcerers & Witches
Getting back to some Pathfinder tonight. There is just so much great material for this game I feel I am barely scratching the surface.  One thing is certain though.  Morpheus is the witchiest of all the fonts. 

As always I will be following my rules for these reviews.

Blood and Broomsticks - Sorcerers & Witches

PDF.  41 pages. Front and back covers. Credits (including art credits). Compatibility and References. Table of Contents. 1 ad.  2 pages of OGL.  About 30 pages of content, minus various bits of art.  Full-color covers and interior art.

This book gives us one sorcerer bloodline and two witch archetypes. 

We open with a word about magic and spells and how Sorcerer magic differs from Witch magic. There is a bit on what are some of the best spells for both classes to take. 

New Sorcerer Bloodline: The Altered. This is the offspring of a witch whose patron altered them in the womb.  An interesting concept and one I have also played around with myself.  These sorcerers get access to the Patron's spells as their own bonus spells.  They also gain access to a handful of Hexes.  Not as many as the witch of course, but enough to keep the class interesting.

New Witch Patrons: These are also related. The Blood Patron and the Family Patron are the direct extensions of the offspring of witches. Others include Greed, Kinetics, Metal, Pyre, and Sunlight.

New Witch Archetypes: The Ink witch is a tattoo witch and various powers linked to markings.  The Pyre witch is all about fires and flames. 

There are 14 new hexes (of all levels) and five new magic items.

There are also 13 new spells. All can be used by the witch, and most can be used by sorcerers. 

I like how the book looks and the game material also looks pretty solid and fun.  Certainly something I would use in my games.


The Other Side - 100 Days of Halloween


Thursday, September 15, 2022

100 Days of Halloween: Beyond the Mundane

Beyond the Mundane
This one is not a witch book, per see, but rather for all sorts of spell-casters for Pathfinder. I grabbed it for this and also because it uses the same Dean Spencer cover I did for my Winter Witch book. I thought it might be fun to use them together. 

As always, to stay objective I will be following my rules for these reviews.  

Beyond the Mundane

PDF. 30 pages. Title page, 1-page OGL.  Color cover and interior art. 

This book has archetypes for all the spellcasting classes for Pathfinder.

Among the ones I like the most are the Choreographer (Bard), Blood-Spiller (Bloodrager), Primal Growler (Cleric), Lunar Touched (Druid), Agent of the Green (Hunter), and Cupbearer (Witch).

There are a lot here and each one does ad something interesting to their base class. It is really good and if you play Pathfinder and want to try something new then grab this.

There is also a new race, the Shadiir, who are naturally magic, so a good race choice for any and all of these archetypes.

I did not see anything I could use with my witches or my Winter Witch in particular, but it was fun all the same. 

 

The Other Side - 100 Days of Halloween


Tuesday, September 13, 2022

100 Days of Halloween: Book of Lost Spells (PF1 & D&D5)

Frog God Games has long been producing great gaming products for a variety of systems. Their dedication to old-school style play comes from their earliest years when they were associated with Necromancer Games. So to see a couple of new spell books (and you know I love spells!)  for D&D 5e AND Pathfinder featuring all sorts of old-school spells?  Yeah. Put me down for one of each, please.

Book of Lost Spells (Pathfinder) Book of Lost Spells (5e)

Book of Lost Spells (Pathfinder) and Book of Lost Spells (5e)

PDF. 201 pages (PF) and 137 pages (5e).  Color covers. Black & white interior art.

The content of these two books is largely the same. The 5e smaller page count comes from the rules ability to cast spells at higher levels for increased effects, while Pathfinder (like the games that came before it) needs a different spell at higher levels.  Also, Pathfinder has more spell-using classes, so their spell lists take up more page count.

There are other minor differences depending on what spells each of their respective core rules already has, but the focus of both books is to provide classic "1st Edition" era spells to the new editions.

In both cases, the books have the spell lists by class and level first then followed by the spells and descriptions in alphabetical order.  

The spells are largely SRD derived and are certainly like the feel of 1st edition spells. Frog God is very, very good at doing this. I have not yet found any specifically from 1st ed AD&D that is not in the SRD but is also here.  There are a few that have new names that essentially do the same thing, which is fine by the OGL really.  

If you are a Pathfinder or 5e player and you want/need more spells then these books are a treasure trove, whether you played AD&D 1st or not. If you did then you will find something that feels familiar and new at the same time. 

Unless you play both games (or level spell books) then you don't need both, but I am happy to have them both to be honest.

In both cases, I have found them incredibly useful. 


The Other Side - 100 Days of Halloween


Monday, September 12, 2022

Monstrous Mondays: Pathfinder Bestiaries 2 and 3

Continuing my overviews/reviews of the various D&D-related monster books, I am coming up on a few I bought in PDF form only.  I'll talk about that and what these books have to offer that is different from other, similar, books.

Pathfinder Bestiary 2
Pathfinder Bestiary 2 

PDF. 336 pages. Full-color covers and interior art. 285 monsters.

This book is also available in a Letter hardcover version (first published) and a smaller softcover Pocket-Edition (6.4" x 8.3").

This is the second of the Pathfinder Bestiaries and it was published first in December 2010, just a little over a year after the first Bestiary in October of 2009. My expectation here was to get all the monsters "left over" from Bestiary 1, or at the very least, monsters from various Paizo products published in the last year.  We did get a little of each, but not as much as I expected and instead got a lot of new and even many original monsters. A few that I had not seen in print before. 

There were quite a few monsters here I was a little surprised and happy to see. Among them were the Chupacabra, Dhampir, the Jabberwock (our cover model), Neh-thalggu (more on that one in a bit), and the Wendigo.  I wanted it most for the wendigo, but the others were a nice touch. The big surprise was the Neh-thalggu or the Brain Collector that originally appeared in module X2 Castle Amber. I used this as my base to convert to 5e when I ran Castle Amber and of course, my players never encountered it. 

There are a few other "mythos" monsters here too. Denizen of Leng, Gug, Hound of Tindalos, and Leng spiders. We will see even more in future Bestiaries.

The nice innovations that Pathfinder brought to these monster entries are the nice single page, or most often 2-page spread for every monster. Stat blocks are better organized to find what you need when you need them.

Pathfinder Jabberwock

I can print out a bunch of monsters for an adventure and stick them into my folder with the adventure and notes and not need to cart around a bunch of different books; just the material I need.


Pathfinder Bestiary 3
Pathfinder Bestiary 3 

PDF. 320 pages. Full-color covers and interior art. 268 monsters.

This book is also available in a Letter hardcover version (first published) and a smaller softcover Pocket-Edition (6.4" x 8.3").

This one was released a year after the Pathfinder Bestiary 2 in December of 2011. Like the previous book this one surprised me with the new of new to print creatures it has.

We do get some classics like the Axe beak and Lammasu from the original Monster Manual. The Adherer, Dire Corby, and Huecuva from the Fiend Folio. The Bandersnatch and Jubjub bird to go along with our Jabberwock. And one of my favorites, the Dimetrodon (always have a soft spot for these guys).

We get another new Cat Lord (originally from Monster Manual II).

Cat Lord

So this one certainly feels like an expansion to the first two. One could make a good argument that all three are really part on one whole given the mix of new and classic monsters.

Like the first two this book also has monsters 1 to a page or across 2 pages. Making printing easy (well, not so much on your printer) but allows you to mix and match monsters as you need. Doing a "Lewis Carol" themed adventure? Print out the Jabberwock from Pathfinder Bestiary 2 and the Bandersnatch and Jubjub bird from Pathfinder Bestiary 3 along with whatever else you might need. 

Both books make good use of the OGL and have some previously published OGC here. They also release all but a tiny bit of IP as Open to the OGL for any and all to remix and reuse. 

They are quite a treasure trove of creatures.

100 Days of Halloween: Otherworldly Invocations Advanced Witch Patrons

Otherworldly Invocations
If you are like me and love witches then Pathfinder is the system that just keeps giving and giving. A case in point today is one of many products I have picked up from Necromancers of the Northwest.

As always, to stay objective I will be following my rules for these reviews.   

Otherworldly Invocations: Advanced Witch Patrons

PDF. 51 pages. 1 page each for cover, back cover, title, and credits. 2 pages of ads. And 2 pages of OGL. 43 pages of content.  Color cover and interior art.

This product contains 10 HIGHLY detailed witch patrons for Pathfinder 1st Edition. 

Each patron is given some history, how they most often appear to mortals and witches, their goals, their typical followers and witches, as well as what sorts of familiars they have.

There is "mechanical" information as well. This includes what spells they offer with their pact, pact boons, and Pact Prices. Think of these as "anti-boons." Often these are tied to the boons they grant. 

They are all great, but for me the section on Baba Yaga is worth the price of the PDF alone. The rest are gravy.  Though Thyrvinistar, Don of Dragons is also rather fun.

Obviously, these are for use with Pathfinder.  BUT a little tweaking would make them work well with my own OSR witches or even D&D 5e's Warlocks. 

The artwork is largely stock photos but they make them work for this. Again the text here is what is important to me. 

It is just under $8, so figure about 80¢ per patron. Not bad really. 


The Other Side - 100 Days of Halloween

Thursday, September 8, 2022

100 Days of Halloween: Legendary Villains: Wicked Witches

Legendary Villains: Wicked Witches
A little more Pathfinder tonight. This one promises some wicked witches. Let's see if it delivers. 

As always, to stay objective I will be following my rules for these reviews.  

Legendary Villains: Wicked Witches

PDF. 36 pages. 1 title page, 1 table of contents, 1 page OGL. Color cover and interior art.

I went into this expecting some NPCs, and I got that, but this is also more here. 

There are three new archetypes presented here, the consort of fiends, the curio collector, and the shadow sister.

All are presented as being evil, which is great fun really. I do love an evil witch.  All of these are quite fun too, but it is the consort of fiends and shadow sister that have the most of my attention.

Each archetype has appropriate powers to call on. The Consort of Fiends for example has powers and fluff thatmake it feel like a 5e Warlock.  The Shadow Sister works with any of the various Shadow prestige classes we have had since the early 3e days.

Speaking of which there is also a prestige class offered here, the Hag Matron, which makes the connection between witches and hags stronger. The witch in question actually transforms into a hag as she gets stronger. This reminds me a bit of the old Van Richten's Guide to Witches from the AD&D 2nd Ed Ravenloft days.  This would certainly fit in well with that.  Also different sorts of hags have different powers.

We also get a bunch of Patron Oaths, which are different ways at looking at the patrons. 

There are new witch hexes, new magic items, and a lot of "lesser" familiars.

All in all a very fine addition to the trove of witch related material available for Pathfinder. The focus on evil witchcraft is a great bonus here.

 

The Other Side - 100 Days of Halloween


Tuesday, September 6, 2022

100 Days of Halloween: Witches of Porphyra

Witches of Porphyra
I bought this one as soon as it came out. Purple Duck Games does a lot of great stuff so I had very high expectations for this one.  This is for Pathfinder, but likely it would work for any 3.x d20 OGL game.

As always, to stay objective I will be following my rules for these reviews.   

Witches of Porphyra 

PDF. 52 pages. 1 cover, 1 title, 4 pages OGL. Rest content. All text open gaming content.  Color covers and interior art.

A bit about the art. We have seen a few of these pieces already. The cover by Gary Dupis, interior art from Brian Brinlee and Brett Neufeld.  I mention it because I really want to collect all the products that use the same art a build something, maybe an NPC witch using that Gary Dupuis art and all of these books.  So yeah, for me this is all a value add.

We start with an introduction to Witches and Witchcraft in Porphyra. A nice little extra that many books do not do. 

We get right into the archetypes next. The Blooded Hag, the Brewer, the Impetuous Dervish, the Insufflator (a "breath" hag), Legionmaster (lots of familiars), Mentor, Polytheistic Witch (many patrons, nice idea), Sanguisuge (feeds on their familiars), Sightless Seer, Warweaver, the Whitelighter (!), and the Wood Witch.  All are fantastic and I'd love to try them all to be honest.

We get some new familiar archetypes. As well as new familiars (4).  Our cover girl is set for example with the new Hoop Snake on pages 31-32. If you want something a bit more classic there are winged monkeys too.

Of course, with a new world, there should be opportunities for new types of Patrons.  This book delivers on that with 13 new* patron types.   I say new* because I have seen these Patron types in other books. That is not a slight against this book. It just means the authors all had similar ideas.

Hexes are one of the Pathfinder's witch's biggest features. So this book does have some new hexes as well. Nine hexes, six Major hexes, and three Grand hexes.  

There are also nine new feats.

There is a section on new materials and a sample witch.

The book is great and if I were to say it was missing anything it would be spells. But there is so much here that I didn't even think about it in my first read-through.

So for just under $4 you get a lot.


The Other Side - 100 Days of Halloween


Monday, September 5, 2022

Monstrous Mondays: Pathfinder Bestiary 1

Pathfinder Bestiary
Last week I talked about the last of the D&D 3.x monster books to be published, but that was not the end of the d20 "3rd Ed era" monster books by a long shot.  When Wizards of the Coast moved on to D&D 4th Edition, Paizo (who had been publishing d20 material this whole time) came back with Pathfinder. 

The Pathfinder core combined the Player's and Game Master's material into one place and there was a rumor that the book would also have monsters. That was not to be and that was good in retrospect since it would have given us a 900+ page book.

Pathfinder Bestiary

Print and PDF. 328 pages. Color cover and interior art. For this review, I am considering the hardcover I bought in 2010 and the PDF I got from Paizo's webstore.

At this point, people were calling Paizo's Pathfinder "D&D 3.75."  It was an update, via the OGL, of the D&D 3.5 rules with many of their own rules added on. Not sure if it was a coincidence or choice but both Pathfinder and D&D 4 featured cover art from Wayne Reynolds. This helped what came to be known as the "Dungeon Punk" style and gave us Pathfinder's unique-looking goblins, kobolds, and trolls.  

Wayne Reynolds Monster Books

This bestiary features 309 monsters. Like their godfather, D&D 3.x all the monsters feature robust stat blocks and full-color art.  Like 2nd Ed AD&D before and 4th ed D&D currently, each monster is present on a single page. Again the value add for me is the ability to print the PDFs and place them in the order I like along 3rd party Pathfinder monsters.

The stat block of the Pathfinder monsters is easy enough to read for native D&D 3,x players.  There is some reorganization and added details that greatly improve both the readability and playability of these monsters. 

Nearly all of the "classics" and "usual suspects" monsters are here. What makes this book so much fun is seeing how a familiar creature changes between the D&D 3.x worlds to the Pathfinder ones.

I would argue that anyone playing D&D 3.x can get a lot of value out of the Pathfinder Bestiary books.  The rules are not so dissimilar as to have problems. And unless I am misreading here, it really does appear that ideas in this book would later manifest in D&D 5e.

Monster books

The value of the Pathfinder Bestiaries comes not in so much how they are alike the other "Monster Manuals" or even monster books derived from the SRD, but how they are different. At some level, these differences are cosmetic or even campaign world specific. It will be interesting to read the future ones and see what they have to offer outside of this core set of monsters.


100 Days of Halloween: Heroes Weekly, Vol 5, Issue #3, Witchcraft

Heroes Weekly, Vol 5, Issue #3, Witchcraft
Some more Pathfinder tonight. This time for the Heroes Wear Masks RPG.

Heroes Weekly, Vol 5, Issue #3, Witchcraft

PDF. 13 pages. Color covers and interior art.

This one is a bit of a mixed bag really.

I love the idea of having an evil witch class. This one is also different enough from the base Pathfinder witch to make it worth a look.

I don't love that they chose to call their evil witch a "Wiccan."  After all no one would make an evil cleric class and call it a "Catholic" or anything like that.

These witches get powers but no spells to speak of; though the powers take place of the spells.

There are some print and fold minis near the end.  The art is mixed. I am not a fan of the cover. If this was for a modern sort of game it feels out of place.  The witch on page 2 would have been a better choice.

In the end, there is not enough here for me to recommend it. 


The Other Side - 100 Days of Halloween

Sunday, September 4, 2022

100 Days of Halloween: Bloodlines & Black Magic - The Witch

Bloodlines & Black Magic - The Witch
Back to a little bit of Pathfinder tonight, though with a modern twist. 

Bloodlines & Black Magic - The Witch

PDF. 21 pages. Black & White art.

This is a supplement for the Bloodlines & Black Magic RPG. A dark modern RPG based around Pathfinder. This one presents a witch class. 

It is largely the Pathfinder witch class with 5 levels. There are some new hexes presented here so that is nice. 

The art is really nice. Black & white, but fits the mood and tenor of the game, so it works here. Color would be a distraction. 

It could work with Pathfinder proper or even with D20 Modern 3rd edition as a Prestige or Advanced class.  Personally, that is what I would like to try with it.

I'll have to check out the full Bloodlines & Black Magic RPG.


The Other Side - 100 Days of Halloween


Saturday, August 20, 2022

100 Days of Halloween: #30 Magic Tools (PFRPG)

#30 Magic Tools (PFRPG)
Going back to Pathfinder tonight with some (28) magical tools for all classes not just witches.  

#30 Magic Tools (PFRPG)

PDF. 13 pages. $2.95. 1 cover page, 1 title page, 2 pages of ads, 1 page of OGL. 8 pages of content.

A collection of 28 tools for Pathfinder characters.

The tools are varied from a Brass fastener to a spoon to gloves.

Each one has an associated skill attached to it and what magical aura it gives off. It describes the item/tool, what it does, how it looks and there is even some lore attached to each item.

While built for Pathfinder, it could be used with any version of D&D really, with some tweaks. The Lore is good and the effects can be translated easily.



The Other Side - 100 Days of Halloween


Monday, August 15, 2022

100 Days of Halloween: Talented Adventurers - The Witch: Marena Lenoire

Christina Stiles Presents: Talented Adventurers - The Witch: Marena Lenoire
Ok, this is a bit harder to give a fully objective review to because I have worked with nearly everyone involved on other projects.  That being said I will be following my rules for this work. 

Christina Stiles Presents: Talented Adventurers - The Witch: Marena Lenoire

PDF. $3.95. 24 pages. 1 cover page, 1 credits page, 1 about the author page, 3 pages for the OGL. 18 pages of content. Color cover and interior art.

This product does one thing and does it really, really well.  It presents us a single witch, the titular Marena Lenoire, from 1st level to 20th level.

We are given a little bit of background on her and then detailed stat blocks for her 20 levels.

It is a great product for any Pathfinder DM/GM who needs a reoccurring NPC to aid the party. She is a Lawful Good witch (rare and nice to see) so she would not make a good "bad guy" for them. 

Use in War of the Witch Queens

I mean, yeah, she really begs to be used.  I have worked with everyone involved with her creation, so I owe them at least that much to have her show up in the campaign at some point.  I see her in the exact role she was designed for; as something of a folk hero.  She is not a witch that would seek out the title of Witch Queen but would accept it if her peers willed it and she could use it to help her people.

I just need to find a good spot for her.


The Other Side - 100 Days of Halloween



Sunday, August 14, 2022

100 Days of Halloween: Stock Art: Curlee Witch's Ritual

Some stock art tonight. This is another Marc Curlee piece. It was featured as the cover for The Talented Witch I reviewed last night.

Stock Art: Curlee Witch's Ritual

I knew Marc only tangentially, but I am friends with many people that were very close to him.

You can buy this piece and use it in your projects.  I think I would like to use it in one of mine, just need to find the right one.

It has a solid Pathfinder feel to it with the inclusion of the hag.





The Other Side - 100 Days of Halloween

Saturday, August 13, 2022

100 Days of Halloween: The Genius Guide to the Talented Witch

The Genius Guide to the Talented Witch
Rogue Genius Games does a LOT of great stuff. Their "Talented" line for various classes was always something I wanted to look into, but since I haven't been playing Pathfinder all that much so I never bought any of them.  But of course, I had to buy the Talented Witch.

As always I will be following my rules for these reviews, moreover, many of the people involved with these products are people I have worked with in the past. So I am going to try be extra careful in how I review these.

The Genius Guide to the Talented Witch

PDF ($4.95) and Softcover Print Options, 57 pages. 1 cover, 1 table of contents, 1 credits, 1 OGL, rest content.  Color cover and interior art. 

There is a lot to like about this really. The cover art is from the late Marcum Curlee and features an interesting trio of witches. There is art from Other Side friends Jacob E. Blackmon, Brian Brinlee, and Gary Dupuis.  I really love the art, but that is expected. Hell, even that Morpheus font is like they are flirting with me. 

The talented witch is a little different than the base Witch class in the Pathfinder book. It gets various Edges and Talents at alternate levels. These largely replace all the powers of the witch, including the Hexes.  

Edges are first and there are 40 of these. Edges are a lot like Feats in how they are presented. They include Combat, Cunning, Elemental, Hag, Patron, Spellcasting, and Spellcasting Conduits.  Hag for example can give the Edges of Bite or Claws to do damage. 

Talents are more like magical powers, like Hexes, and also have groupings. There are 140 of these in Blessing, Crafting, Curse, Necromancy, Personal, Spellcasting, and Utility. There are also Major and Grand Talents. Talents that are Hexes are marked with an asterisk.

The idea here is customization. Basically, if you can imagine a witch, you could build it from these options.  There is a dizzying array of choices here. There is even an appendix on familiars here and another on patrons and a compiled witch spell list from various Pathfinder products. 

There is an absolute ton of information here and more than I know what to do with.

The Genius Guide to More Witch Talents
The Genius Guide to More Witch Talents

PDF. ($2.95) 25 pages. 1 cover, 1 table of contents, 1 credits page, 1 OGL page. 

This adds more Edges and Talents to the witch class.

This gives us 5 new edges and 95 new witch Talents. And I thought I had options before. Talents that are Hexes are marked with an asterisk.

This one leans more into the curses which are nice. 

Like the Genius Guide to the Talented Witch, this book provides a lot of options for nearly any sort of witch.  Also, like that book the art here is really good.

I am not exactly sure where or when the Talented idea came about but checking the Rogue Genius Games listings there are lot of these. I am not sure how they change the game, but I do love the ideas here as a designer and player of witch classes. As a player, it would also be fantastic especially if you love character customizations.  As a Game Master, keeping track of all of this would be a bit of a chore I think.

I'd have to print these both out I think to get a real feel for them.  

One thing I didn't like about both books was the huge border around all the text. It makes the book pretty, but it is not as efficient when it comes to displaying the text. 


The Other Side - 100 Days of Halloween


Thursday, August 11, 2022

100 Days of Halloween: Echelon Reference Series: Witch Spells (3pp+PRD)

Echelon Reference Series: Witch Spells (3pp+PRD)
Something a little different today, although I am not moving on from Pathfinder just yet. Today I want to explore the amazing reference that is the Echelon Reference Series from Keith Davies.  There are a bunch of these, but I am going to focus my attention on the witch.

As always I will be following my rules for these reviews.

Echelon Reference Series: Witch Spells Compiled (3pp+PRD)

2 PDFs. $33.99. 186 pages (PF) and 544 pages (3PP).

Yes. 730 pages total. This compiled collection covers both spells from various Pathfinder products and the 3rd Party Pathfinder products.  There is no fluff. Very little art.  Here is how each book breaks down.  There is a cover page, and OGL statement of Open Content page, a table of contents, and two pages on what this book is.  For the Pathfinder book there is three pages of OGL. For the 3rd Party book there are seven pages for the OGL. There is a hyperlinked index for both and hyperlinked table of contents.

The rest is solid text of spells.

And by spells. I mean every single witch spell ever published by the date of this book.  The 3rd Party book for example has nearly 30 pages of cantrips, 50 pages of 1st level spells, 60 2nd level spells and so on. 

The spells are given an editorial clean-up so that they all look similar and can flow well. 

What these books lack (and were never trying to cover) is all the fluff or explanatory pieces that might go with the background of a spell.  For example "Air Bubble" mentions a firearm can be loaded within an Air Bubble, but makes no attempt to explain anything more.  This is perfectly within the scope of this product.

The number of spells break down as follows:

Witch 3pp
Cantrips: 123
1st level: 200
2nd level: 251
3rd level: 221
4th level: 188
5th level: 163
6th level: 142
7th level: 131
8th level: 122
9th level: 109
Total 1,650

Witch Prd
Cantrips: 15
1st level: 83
2nd level: 107
3rd level: 88
4th level: 70
5th level: 51
6th level: 39
7th level: 40
8th level: 28
9th level: 22
Total 543

That's insane really. 

He also has these per level and for every spell casting class in Pathfinder.

Echelon Spells

You might ask if you buy this does that get rid of the need to buy other Pathfinder spell books? I say no since there is nothing here but the spells.  Other products often have the spells, explanatory notes, monsters, feats, and items that might go with them.  These books are a fancy SRDs. Highly organized and very useful ones at that.

If you are like me this is a treasure trove.


The Other Side - 100 Days of Halloween