Showing posts with label television. Show all posts
Showing posts with label television. Show all posts

Thursday, August 20, 2020

Wynnona Earp for NIGHT SHIFT

Wynonna Earp is back for Season 4! Largely due to the efforts of the fans, "Earpers",  and so far it has been great.  

So I think giving them the NIGHT SHIFT treatment is in order.

Spoilers up to Season 3.  Images of the characters by HeroForge.

Wynonna Earp
AKA "Nona"
5th Level Chosen One, Human
"I am the girl. With the big-ass gun."

Strength: 15 (+1)
Dexterity: 20 (+4)
Constitution: 18 (+3)
Intelligence: 12 (0)
Wisdom: 13 (+1)
Charisma: 15 (+1)

HP: 40 (4d8)
AC: 6
Fate Points: 10

Check Bonus (P/S/T): +3/+2/+1
Melee bonus: +2   Ranged bonus: +6
Saves: +2 to all saves

Special Abilities/Skills
Brutal Warrior, Killing Blow, Supernatural Attack, Difficult to Surprise, Improved Defense, Ranged Combat, Survivor Skills, Stunning Blow, Melee Combat, Regeneration of HP, 2 bonus Damage Dice, the Earp Heir. 

Equipment
Peacemaker (gun form), whiskey flask.

Wynonna Earp is the great-great-granddaughter of Wyatt Earp and heir to the Earp curse.  She is the one that must rid the Ghost River Triangle of all the revenants, or "demon-adjacent" dead that return to battle with the Earp heir.

Waverly Earp
AKA "Waves", "Baby Girl", "Angel"
3rd Level Survivor / 1st Level Sage, Half-Angel
"Heroes always win."

Strength: 12 (0)
Dexterity: 14 (+1)
Constitution: 17 (+2)
Intelligence: 17 (+2)
Wisdom: 15 (+1)
Charisma: 17 (+1)

HP: 20 (3d4 + 1d6)
AC: 8
Fate Points: 15

Check Bonus (P/S/T): +3/+2/+0
Melee bonus: +2    Ranged bonus: +3
Saves: +3 to Death saves

Special Abilities/Skills
Stealth skills, Danger Sense, Perceptive, Sneak Attack, Read Languages, Suggestion, Lore, Half-angel abilities

Equipment
Shotgun, Earp lore.

Waverly Earp is Wynonna's younger half-sister. She only recently discovered that she is not in fact and Earp, but instead the offspring of Michelle Earp, nee Gibson, and the Angel Julian.  She knows the most about the Earp family and curse.  She is currently engaged to former Sheriff Nicole Haught.

Nicole Haught
AKA "Red", "Sheriff Hot", "Hot Sheriff" 
4th level Veteran, Human
"Did I just hit my head and wake up in patriarchal bullshit land?"

Strength: 16 (+2)
Dexterity: 17 (+2)
Constitution: 16 (+2)
Intelligence: 16 (+2)
Wisdom: 17 (+2)
Charisma: 18 (+3)

HP: 37 (4d8)
AC: 6
Fate Points: 10

Check Bonus (P/S/T): +3/+2/+0
Melee bonus: +2  Ranged Bonus: +2
Saves: +2 to all saves

Special Abilities/Skills
Combat Expertise, Increased damage, Supernatural attack, Tracking

Equipment
Shotguns, handguns

Sheriff (formerly) Nicole Haught is the only survivor of an attack of demons lead by Bulshar, the demon responsible for all the demonic activity in the Ghost River Triangle and the town of Purgatory. She is smart and resourceful. She is in love with Waverly Earp and just said yes to Waverly's proposal.

John Henry "Doc" Holiday
AKA "Doc", "Holiday"
5th level Veteran, Vampire
"Careful, Earp. Doing what’s right, even in the face of ridiculous odds … you are beginning to sound like a hero."

Strength: 20 (+4)
Dexterity: 20 (+4)
Constitution: 18 (+3)
Intelligence: 13 (+1)
Wisdom: 15 (+1)
Charisma: 16 (+2)

HP: 42 (5d8)
AC: 6
Fate Points: 10

Check Bonus (P/S/T): +3/+2/+1
Melee bonus: +2   Ranged bonus: +6
Saves: +2 to all saves

Special Abilities/Skills
Combat Expertise, Increased damage, Supernatural attack, Tracking, Vampire abilities

Equipment
Handguns

John Henry "Doc" Holiday was cursed after his friend Wyatt Earp died and had been trapped in a well for 130 years. He was released by Wynonna and they went from being colleagues to friends to lovers. Though with his aging catching up to him Doc went to his ex-wife Kate and became a vampire.

This could be a lot of fun really!

How about a sneak peek at Season 4?

Let's hear that theme song again.


Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Motherland: Fort Salem for Dungeons & Dragons (all editions)

Last week was the Season Finale of Motherland: Fort Salem on the FreeForm channel.   The season was great, start to finish. It had great characters that showed a lot of growth and at least three different "What the Hell!" moments in the last few minutes of the last episode.

If you have not been watching then you are missing out.  Motherland gives us an alternate history where witches rose up during Salem and forged a pact with the then Colonies to protect the new country from their enemies.  There are fewer states in the US and a large portion, The Cession, was given back to the Native Americans in return for their help and magic.  The series follows three new witch recruits, Abby, Tally, and Raelle, as they go through Basic Training and survive as a unit.
There is a terrorist organization of rogue witches known as the Spree who resent the servitude that sends all witches to the Army.

    Honor me, make a place for me and my kind and we will win your wars.
- General Sarah Alder to Massachusetts Bay Militia, Say the Words    

The show features a full cast of strong, interesting women characters.  The leader of the Army is General Alder, a 300+-year-old witch, their drill sergeant is a woman. Even the President is an African-American woman.  Men are either tertiary characters at best (the Witch-Father) or eye-candy (Abby's two boy toys).  Tally doesn't even see a man until one gives up his seat for her so she can fly from California to Massachusetts.  Not that men are put into a bad light.  The Witch Father is respected and well-liked. Raelle's dad is proud of his daughter and worries about her.  It's just their stories are not as important here.  That's a nice change of pace really.

The witches are also not a Ms. Pac-Man trope. They are warriors, witches but also women and they are allowed to be all three. It really is quite enjoyable and very different from what I have seen in the past.  It has been a fantastic first season.

I can't believe I have to wait a whole year to catch up on the Bellweather Unit and their battle against the Spree and "The Camarilla", the "Ancient Enemy" of all witches.   This certainly sounds like a lot of fun.   But can I wait that long?


So what am I going to do?  Easy.  Convert them to D&D characters!

The witches of Motherland are perfect as adventurers really.  They are great as a group with Abigail as their leader, Raelle as the healer and Tally as the seer.   I don't know much about who or what the Camarilla is, but given what we saw in the last episode I am looking forward to it.

Witches vs. the Camarilla?  Yeah. Sign me up!

Basic D&D and D&D 5

D&D 5 is the latest and greatest version of the game but the Basic version from the early 80s is my game of choice these days.  So I figure I can do both.

Basic D&D (1981)
In this version I would use one of my own Witch classes.  But instead of Traditions, I would opt for family lines.
I am putting them all at 3rd Level since they "Finished Basic." I know. Dumb D&D joke. 

D&D 5th Edition
In this version, there is no proper witch class.  There is a warlock of course, but that doesn't feel like the right call here.  With their focus on combat, voice-based magic, leadership, and some healing the obvious choice is the Bard class.  There is even a perfect sounding group for them, The College of War.

Abigail Bellweather

Abigail "Abby" Bellweather, of the East Coast Bellweathers, is the leader of the Bellweather Unit.  She starts out in the show as an arrogant, if even spoiled, girl of privilege. By the end of the series she is the leader she was born to be.  Even her rivalries with Raelle and fellow East Coast witch Libba Swythe become something different as she accepts the responsibility of what being a soldier-witch means.

Base Abilities
Strength: 12
Dexterity: 11
Constitution:  13
Intelligence: 14
Wisdom: 11
Charisma: 17

Hair: Drk. Brown
Eyes: Brown

Basic D&D
Witch Level 3, Lawful
HP: 10  AC: 7
Tradition: Bellweather family (Leaders) (For this I will use my Amazon Witch Tradition)
Abilities: Windstirke*, Fighting Prowess
Spells: Fury of the Ancestors, Windshear* (Ritual), Suggestion

D&D 5th Edition
Bard Level 3, Lawful Good
HP:  21   AC:  11
Abilities: Bard Abilities, Spellcasting
Spells: Eldritch Blast, Thunderclap, Truestrike, Cure Wounds, Featherfall, Heroism, Thunderwave, Phantasmal Force, Suggestion

Weapons: Dagger, Scourge.

Click here for her D&D Beyond Sheet

Tally Craven
Tally comes from the depleted Craven line. All her aunts had gone to fight in the Army and they all died.  She is the last of her line. She lived in the Matrifocal Allotment near Sacramento, California. She had not even seen a male until she answered her call of duty, an action her mother strongly wished her not to do.  Her power is to "see." She can detect disguised and hidden objects or people and might be one of the most powerful seers to come up in the ranks in a long time.
Tally is a sweet girl who loves with all her heart because that is what she knows.  She is fiercely loyal to her Unit.

Base Abilities
Strength: 11
Dexterity: 13
Constitution: 14
Intelligence: 13
Wisdom: 12
Charisma: 16

Hair: Red
Eyes: Brown

Basic D&D
Witch Level 3, Lawful
HP: 9  AC: 7
Tradition: Craven family (Seers) (For this I will use my Classical Witch Tradition)
Abilities: Windstirke*, Detect Evil
Spells: Foretell, Detect Invisible, Witch Sense

D&D 5th Edition
Bard Level 3, Neutral Good
HP:  24   AC:  11
Abilities: Bard Abilities, Spellcasting
Spells: Thunderclap, Truestrike, Detect Magic, Heroism, Identity, Thunderwave, Detect Thoughts, See Invisible

Weapons: Dagger, Scourge.

Click here for her D&D Beyond Sheet

Raelle Collar
Raelle lived in the part of American known as the Chippewa Cession where the Indigenous Tribal Federations are.  She is a healer of great power, like her mother was.  Her mother was reported dead by the Army and Raelle blames the Army and Gen. Bellweather in particular.  She doesn't want to be there and her plan was get enlisted to the infantry and get killed as soon as possible.  Her attitude earned her the nickname "shitbird" from Abby.
Raelle attitude changed when she met and fell in love with fellow cadet Scylla Ramshorn.

Base Abilities
Strength: 12
Dexterity: 13
Constitution: 15
Intelligence: 12
Wisdom: 13
Charisma: 15

Hair: Blonde
Eyes: Blue

Basic D&D
Witch Level 3, Lawful
HP: 11  AC: 7
Tradition: Collar family (Healers) (For this I will use my Pagan Witch Tradition and Basic Witch Tradition)
Abilities: Windstirke*, Healing Touch (1d4)
Spells: Cure Light Wounds, Sleep, Heal Affliction

D&D 5th Edition
Bard Level 3, Chaotic Good
HP: 24  AC: 12
Abilities: Bard Abilities, Spellcasting
Spells: Thunderclap, Truestrike, Cure Wounds, Feather Fall, Healing Word, Sleep, Lesser Restoration, Warding Wind

Weapons: Dagger, Scourge.

Click here for her D&D Beyond Sheet

Scylla Ramshorn
Scylla is a "Necro" or a Necromancer.  Because their power makes others uneasy they are quartered in a different part of the base. We learn that Scylla's parents were killed when she was young.   She meets and falls in love with Raelle.  Later we find out she is part of the terrorist organization known as The Spree, responsible for hundreds of deaths across the country.  Her job was to recruit Raelle, but she actually fell in love with her.

Base Abilities
Strength: 11
Dexterity: 13
Constitution: 16
Intelligence: 14
Wisdom: 13
Charisma: 18

Hair: Black
Eyes: Blue

Basic D&D
Witch Level 4, Chaotic
HP: 13  AC: 7
Tradition: Ramshorn family (Necromancer) (For this I will use my Mara Witch Tradition)
Abilities: Glamour
Spells: Bewitch I, Lay to Rest, Dark Whispers, Hypnotize

D&D 5th Edition
Bard Level 4, Chaotic Neutral
HP: 35  AC: 12
Abilities: Bard Abilities, Spellcasting, Magic Initiate (Necromancer)
Spells: Chill Touch, Message, Minor Illusion, Toll the Dead, Truestrike, Bane, Charm Person, Disguise Self, Dissonant Whispers, Sleep, Enthrall, Lesser Restoration, Suggestion

Click here for her D&D Beyond Sheet.

Notes

For Basic D&D I linked to the Witchcraft Tradition that best fits each witch.  If I were to do something more like this I might revive my old "War Witch Tradition."  This is the ancient Celtic tradition of witches like The Morrigan and Scáthach.



For 5th Edition Bards felt like the closest match.  I originally had Scylla as a Magic Initiate (Warlock) to cover her other magical abilities and to represent her membership in the Spree.  But I changed it to Magic Initiate (Necromancer) to cover some of her Necro powers.  She is still too low-level to really take advantage of the necromancy spells.

I considered making them all Sword-Pact Warlocks and taking a Magic Initiate Feat at first level to cover their various Traditions/Backgrounds.  So Necromancer for Scylla, Cleric/Healer for Raelle, Bard for Abby and Wizard for Tally.  That might still work well to be honest.

*Windstrike is the basic attack ability of a Warrior Witch.  With her voice the witch can cause 1d6+1 hp of damage.

*Windshear is a ritual spell performed by multiple witches.  It is a shield from attack and it destroys whatever comes in contact with it.



The Scourge is a flail like weapon used by all witches.  It is long with a whip-like handle and a knob on the end that glows with the witch's magic.  It is considered a +1 weapon and does 1d6+1 points of damage.  In D&D 5th Ed it is considered an exotic weapon.

The real test will be doing stats for Sgt. Anacostia Quartermaine and Gen. Sarah Alder.



Other Editions of D&D

Building these characters was so much fun I could not help but think how other editions of D&D might work.

1st Edition AD&D
Bards are out because they are very different here.  I would use Magic-users and let them dual-class into another class to help.  Or even use Druids.

2nd Edition AD&D 
Ah now here is a chance to really try something fun.  Like 5th Edition, I would make them Bards, but I would also have them take the Blade kit from the Complete Bard Handbook.  Again like 1st Ed, I might let them dual-class into another class OR just allow them to take the proper spells.

3rd Edition D&D
So many choices here.  I would try out a Hexblade or Bladesinger for these.  I mean really, a witch-army has the Forgotten Realms written all over it!  Blasesigners and Witches of Rashemen are just about War Witches now.

4th Edition D&D
So many classes!  Ok make them Pact of the Blade Warlocks, let them take a multiclass feat at first level to add the other class features they need.  OR start them out as Witches from Heroes of the Feywild and then multiclass feats.

I might try each option on one character to see how it would work.  The choice is obvious.


She may be General Sarah Alder, but I know a Witch Queen when I see one.

Saturday, April 18, 2020

Zatannurday: J.J. Abrams Justice League Dark

Well, the big news is the rumor that J.J. Abrams has three new shows coming up on HBO Max.  One of them is supposed to be Justice League Dark!

Here are some of the links to various news sites.

https://www.theverge.com/2020/4/16/21224271/justice-league-dark-jj-abrams-hbo-max-warnermedia-shining-berlanti-dc-comics

https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/live-feed/jj-abrams-sets-3-hbo-max-shows-justice-league-dark-shining-spinoff-duster-1290530

https://variety.com/2020/tv/news/justice-league-dark-series-the-shining-series-hbo-max-jj-abrams-1234582489/



I am looking forward to this, but Justice League Dark has not had a lot of success getting off the page to the screen, save for the one animated movie. And even then they had to throw in Batman.

With a little bit of luck, we will get Matt Ryan to play John Constantine.

The thing I am looking forward to the most is who will play Zatanna.

Related, I did find this video on all the portrayals of Zatanna over the years.




An here she is from the Justice League Dark animated movie.

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Witchy Wednesdays: Motherland Returns, Magicians Retires

I mentioned all the great TV on now.  Which is good since we are supposed to Shelter In Place here in Chicago-land until April 30. That, and I already finished watching "Tiger King".

Well, it's Wednesday and that means we get new Magicians and new Motherland: Fort Salem.
Sadly it is also the series finale of Magicians tonight and I have no idea how they are going to wrap this all up.

Insert witty and caustic Margo quote here.

I think I am going to have to do stats someday for the Magicians characters.  Either for Cinematic Unisystem or Night Shift.

I am going to miss the Brakebills kids.

How would Alice, Julia, Kady, and Margo fare at Fort Salem?
Would Raelle, Tally, and Abigail do well at Brakebills?

I am pretty sure that Scylla and Marina would get along. Or kill each other.

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Television: Witch on Witch Action

It has been a great time for genre TV for the last few years.  Now we are getting a bunch of new witch shows on TV and you know I am happy.  So let's have a look.



Charmed (2018)
Last years Charmed reboot got a second season and turned the premise of the show upside down.   The Charmed Ones are still, well Charmed, but they lost their powers. They can still cast and there are still demons to be fought and witches to be saved. The show is subtly different and in many ways better.  It's taking a while to get to the main plot but from what I have seen so far, I am a few episodes behind, looks fun.



Chilling Adventures of Sabrina
We just got Season 3 and it was great.  Satanic witches, Lilith, Hecate, and Pagan witches. Again, it's like someone has been reading my Christmas list.  Very fun.



Luna Nera
This is an Italian series on Netflix. Taking place in 17th Century Italy it features more witches vs. witches. This time it is witches vs. Benandanti; it sounds like one of my games!



Motherland: Fort Salem
This is the big premiere from the previous week.  An alternate reality where the U.S. Government made a deal with the witches at Salem to create an elite unit of witches in the U.S. Army.
The first episode was fun. Again we have two groups of witches fighting each other as our main plot.  Or at least one of them so far. Looking forward to seeing where this one goes too.


Magicians
This show gets crazier all the time. Though now we are in our last season. Going to miss them all.

Witcher
Not a "Witch show" per se, but plenty of magic and witches here.

Vampires
Not witches but Vampire the Masquerade: The High School Years.  I only watched two episodes of this French import on Netflix, so not as sure about this one yet.


Thursday, March 5, 2020

No Magic Like Family: Angela, Dolly and Elvira

It should be no shock to anyone that I am a huge fan of Cassandra "Elvira" Petersen.  So when I saw this, well you know where my thoughts went!



I mean seriously? Dolly and Elvira in a TV show playing sister witches?? It's like someone on the internet was reading my secret stash of fan-fic...that I totally don't have.

Dolly & Elvira by Neon Horror
http://www.neonhorror.com
Dolly did a movie with a witch back in 86, A Smoky Mountain Christmas. Yes. I remember it.

I can't do a TV show. And seriously Hallmark, you can do 3,000 Christmas movies, would a Halloween one like this kill ya'?  But I can do RPG stuff.

And I know the PERFECT RPG book for this.

Background
Ok, I am going to add this to my War of the Witch Queens somehow.  Dolly's and Elvira's mother, a very powerful witch, has just died. I don't think she is one that sets off the war, but it is a precursor.  Their mother was the founder of the Home, Heart, and Hearth shops and both her daughters worked there.  Dolly went more for the "lighter" side of things focusing on the front side of the stores where minor magics are sold.  Elvira was naturally attracted to the darker, backroom side of the business that dealt in "gray market" magic items.

Just to make life easy for all of us, I am just going with "Dolly" and "Elvira" for their names.  No need to create new-weird character names.  Just pretend they are twin sisters and it all works out fine.

Of course, given this, only one woman could be their mother. Angela Lansbury.

This is another good example of mixing and matching my various Basic-era witch books to suit your own needs.



Dolly
Female Witch 14th level, Pumpkin Spice Tradition

Armor Class: 6 (witch gown, +3)
Hit Dice/Level: 14d4+14 (50 hp)
Attacks: 1 (weapon) or spell
Damage: 1d6 or witch Spells
Movement: 90’ (30’)
Special Attacks & Defenses: witch powers
No. Appearing: 1 (Unique)
Save As: Witch 14
Morale: 11
Alignment: Lawful

Str: 12 Int: 15 Wis: 16 Dex: 12 Con: 14 Cha: 18

Dolly has the following witch spells and Occult Powers.  She casts as a 14th level witch.

Occult Powers
Familiar: Dog "Popeye"
Lesser: Things That Man Was Not Meant to Know are Fine For Women
Minor: Resting Witch Face

Patron: Cardea, the Opener or Ways

Spells by Level
1st (5): Blessed, Forget Me Knot, Glamour, Speak with Animals, Cake and Tea (Ritual)
2nd (4): Heal Affliction, Light as a Feather, Stiff as a Board, Witch Slap, Sage Burning (Ritual)
3rd (4): Bewitch III, Live Laugh Love, Ward of the Season, Merry Meetings (Ritual)
4th (3): Age Resistance (Lesser), Cleanse, Mirror Talk
5th (3): Calm Weather, Private Sanctum, Tripping the Light Fantastic (Ritual)
6th (2): Cloak of Dreams, Summon Higher Power
7th (2): Peace Aura, Hell Hath No Fury (Ritual)

Elvira, Mistress of the Dark
Female Witch 13th level, Mara Tradition

Armor Class: 6 (witch gown, +3)
Hit Dice/Level: 13d4+26 (60 hp)
Attacks: 1 (weapon) or spell
Damage: 1d6 or witch Spells
Movement: 90’ (30’)
Special Attacks & Defenses: witch powers
No. Appearing: 1 (Unique)
Save As: Witch 13
Morale: 10
Alignment: Chaotic

Str: 11 Int: 12 Wis: 14 Dex: 14 Con: 15 Cha: 18

Elvira has the following witch spells and Occult Powers.  She casts as a 13th level witch.

Occult Powers
Familiar: Hell Poodle "Gonk"
Lesser: Dream Invasion
Minor: Nightmare Shape

Patron: Hecate

Spells by Level
1st (4): Bewitched I,  Feel My Pain, Protection from Spirits, Vigor
2nd (4): Choking Grip, Ghoulish Hands, Hypnotize, Summon Witches (Ritual)
3rd (3): Bestow Curse, Edge of Blackness, Summon and Bind Imp of the Perverse (Ritual)
4th (3): Grave Sanctuary, Intangible Cloak of Shadows, Ardour Flame (Ritual)
5th (2): Cry for the Night Bird, Summon Shadow
6th (2): Aspect of the Crone, Summon Nightmare Steed
7th (1):  Enchant Item

And just for fun, let's say that Angela is actually alive but faked her death to get her two daughters working together again to save the family business!  Hey Hallmark! Where's my job offer now?

Angela
Female Witch 17th level, Classical Tradition

Armor Class: 7 (witch gown, +2)
Hit Dice/Level: 19d4 (48 hp)
Attacks: 1 (weapon) or spell
Damage: 1d6 or witch Spells
Movement: 90’ (30’)
Special Attacks & Defenses: witch powers
No. Appearing: 1 (Unique)
Save As: Witch 19
Morale: 11
Alignment: Lawful

Str: 11 Int: 16 Wis: 18 Dex: 12 Con: 11 Cha: 18

Angela has the following witch spells and Occult Powers.  She casts as a 19th level witch.

Occult Powers
Familiar: Dog
Lesser: Gift of Prophecy
Minor: Drawing Down the Moon
Medial: Charge of the Goddess

Patrons: Hestia and Hecate

Spells by Level
1st (6): Color Spray, Fortell, Fury of the Ancestors, Obedient Beast, Speak with Animals, Witch's Mark (Ritual)
2nd (5): Augury, Blur, Demeter's Lament, Witch Sense, Favor of the Gods (Ritual)
3rd (5): Danger Sense, Dither, Scry, Third Eye, Family Curse (Ritual)
4th (4): Create Talisman, Divination, Eyes Everywhere, Hounds of the Underworld (Ritual)
5th (4): Dome of Deepest Night, Empower Distaff, Sending, Access the Library (Ritual)
6th (3): Analyze Dweomer, Empower Rod, Staff or Wand, True Seeing
7th (3):  Breath of Life, Magickal Conception, Sirocco
8th (2): Permanency,  Protection of the Goddess (Ritual)

Angela has the patrons of Hestia and Hecate. With their guidance, she began the Home, Heart, and Hearth shops.


And if you can check out the REAL shop at Neon Horror. Some great merchandise there including that Dolly & Elvira t-shirt.

Monday, December 30, 2019

5 x 5: End of the Year Top Fives. Television Shows

Continuing my Top 5, here are my top 5 television shows of all time.

The Twilight Zone



Star Trek: The Next Generation



The X-Files



Tales from the Darkside



Game of Thrones


Wednesday, October 16, 2019

October Horror Movie Challenge: This House Possessed (1981)

I can't honestly recall if I have ever seen this movie or not.  I am still trying to track down my elusive TV horror movie and I pretty much knew this one was not it.  BUT, it has all the hallmarks of what would have gotten my attention back then, creepy house, weird state of the art technology, and Lisa Eilbacher who I thought was good looking back then (spoiler alert, she was and still is!)
It also featured early 80s TV mainstay Parker Stevenson and Slim Pickens playing...well, the same character he usually played.

The premise is solid. A house doesn't want anyone to live in it but it's beloved Margaret who moved away at age 7.  But before we get to that we get the REAL HORROR of this movie! Singing by Parker Stevenson!!  I give him grief; I like Parker Stevenson, I thought he was a good actor and his shows the Hardy Boys and Probe were a lot of fun.  So he plays a "rock star" who has a nervous breakdown and needs a living nurse, Lisa Eilbacher as  Sheila, to help him.  They find this old house and strange murders begin to happen.

I realized this was not the movie I was looking for very soon, but I was hooked into the story. I know.

I want to say I have seen this to be honest. Like I said it hits all my interests as an 11-year-old, but I watched it without really any sense of recognition.   I was half-tempted to mark it down as "watched" but I am going with "first-time view" on this one.

The search continues.

Watched: 21
New: 15



Saturday, October 12, 2019

October Horror Movie Challenge: Made for TV Movies

Yesterday's Midnight Offerings made me want to search a little more a movie that has been "haunting" me forever.  This movie is about witches and the occult; satanism in particular.  It was on TV on Halloween night. It had to be between 1977 and 1982, I know a huge time frame. I think it was a made for TV movie. The movie had a girl with psychic powers or witchcraft; they were often synonymous in the late 70s.  There is a scene near the end of the movie of a girl (not sure if it is the same one) lying on an altar.  Either she about to be sacrificed OR this is supposed to give her powers.  All I can remember was there a long progression of cultists going up a circular staircase up in a tower and each one put a drop of blood on the girl's forehead.  That is the clearest thing I remember.

For the life of me, I can't figure out what the movie was.  But I have been trying.

So I spent the day searching and here are the fruits of my labors.

Spectre (1977)
First up is Robert Culp, John Hurt, and Majel Barrett in Spectre a great little tale of Asmodeus and Lilith in modern times. Culp plays a criminologist who now studies the occult.  Gig Young play Dr. Hamliton; Watson to Culp's Holmes.  He gets attack by a succubus, whom Culp manages to send back to hell. This leads to an investigations of the Cyon family in England where we get to see a young John Hurt.  Turns out the family are cultists and they are playing to sacrifice the daughter, whom the succubus had taken the form of, to Asmodeus.
We do get a scene of cultists and a woman being sacrificed.  But that is about as close as we got.
The movie comes to us from Gene "Star Trek" Roddenberry. I guess it was supposed to be a pilot movie for a new series.  It might have been fun to be honest.  The story is good and the acting fine but somehow it just doesn't come together right.  Ah well.

Verdict: Not the movie I was looking for.

Stranger in Our House / Summer of Fear (1978)
Our next choice is a Linda Blair starring TV movie Stranger in Our House, based on the book Summer of Fear.  A housekeeper, inhabiting the body of a suspected dead cousin (Lee Purcell) is taken in by Rachel's (Blair) family and strange things begin to happen.  How do we know Julia is a witch?  Her penchant for black flimsy dresses and her white and red eyes.
This was Linda Blair's next movie after the critically panned Exorcist II.  This one in truth is not much better, but I have soft spot in my heart for Blair.  Still we get a decent enough Wes Craven film here.  I had forgotten how much cars exploded all the time in the 70s. Actually, this is something my dad and I always watched for when we would watch these terrible movies together.   Near the end of the movie Julia's car explodes before it is even half-way down the mountain.  The whole thing has a serious Stephen J. Cannell vibe about it.

Verdict: Not the movie I was looking for. The fact that it premiered on Halloween night 1978 on NBC I was sure this was the movie.

Moving on.

Alison's Birthday (1981)
On paper, this sounds like it is it.  Girls playing with an Ouija board and discover that a strange fate meets Alison on her 19th birthday.  It even has an evil coven of witches.  I had high hopes for this one but a couple of things let me know right away that this was not it.  First, the movie is Australian. I am not sure about a lot of things when it comes to this vague memory but I think I would have remembered that.  Plus I am also sure this was not a made-for-TV movie.
Now there is a scene at the end with cultists, but no girl with psychic powers to speak of.

Verdict: Nope. Not the movie I was looking for. Some of the elements are right, but not enough of them.

Invitation to Hell (1984)
Let's see.  It's 1984 and I need an attractive TV actress to paly a hell-spawn.  That's right! It's All My Children's Erica Kane, aka Susan Lucci playing Jessica Jones (!!) in Wes Craven's next made for TV film, Invitation to Hell.   It starred Robert Urich (one of those actors you never heard a bad word about) and Joanna Cassidy as a couple moving into a new town. Here they join a new Country Club but discover it is actually a doorway to Hell.  Which makes it like most Country Clubs I have dealt with.

Soon Matt's (Urich) wife and son become posessed and he has to put on a space suit to get them from Hell.  You read that right.  This also features Soleil Moon Frye, aka Punk Brewster, as the daughter.

Anyway, the movie is kinda all over the place and fairly forgettable.  I'll admit to nodding off a couple of times to rewind it.  But Urich saves his family in the end.  No one was going to win any Emmys for this one though...oh sorry Susan.

Verdict: Not the movie I was looking for. But I also suspected it wasn't.  It's a little outside of the time frame I was thinking it should be in and this movie is solidly 80s.  Hell, it looks like it was filmed in the same suburb as Poltergeist.

While I am thanking my Roku for all these gems. I am getting blind here staring at my TV screen.  Plus these are all beginning to blur in my memory now even as I write this.

Maybe I will continue my search next week.   Maybe I can also find some good witches for a change.

I think with these four though I have some good ideas for the Cult of Asmodeus I was working on.

Watched: 15
New: 10






Friday, October 11, 2019

October Horror Movie Challenge: Midnight Offerings (1981)

A made for TV movie about early 80s witchcraft?  Sign me up!  I am a little shocked I have never seen this one.  Maybe I did, hard to say, but I certainly don't remember it.

The move features a who's who of early 80s TV stars.  We have Melissa Sue Anderson (Little House on the Prairie) as evil witch Vivian, Mary Beth McDonough (The Waltons) as good witch Robin. Cathryn Damon (Soap) played Vivan's mom and Gordon Jump (WKRP in Cincinnati) played her dad. And everyone's favorite mom Marion Ross played the older witch Emily.

The plot is simple, even a little weak, but still a lot of fun. Writer Juanita Bartlett tried to use everything popular about witchcraft in this tale and it works really.  I mean I have seen better, but I have also seen much worse.  It was a fun bit of 80s TV horror.

Also, I do believe that this is where we get the "Noctila" from the AD&D 1st ed Monster Manual II. The timing is just about perfect really. Yews, yes the word existed before this, but I am talking about her particular inclusion in the Monster Manual as a Lady of Hell.

In any case, this was a fun little trip.

Watched: 11
New: 6



Friday, May 24, 2019

Caverna do Dragão / Cave of the Dragon

Like many gamers my age I have had a "complicated" relationship with the Dungeons & Dragons cartoon of the 80s.  At the time I thought it was stupid. But as I got older I came to appreciate it for what it really was.  My kids LOVED it, especially my youngest son.  I bought the boxed set that came out with the D&D 3.0 stats and it was a great blast.

So the whole Internet has been abuzz when these pictures start coming out.


A cosplay group?  A new movie!? A Netflix series??
Nope. It's a Brazilian car commercial for the new Renault Outsider!




I have to admit. Tiamat looks freaking awesome here, and they really captured the feel of the characters.  I swear that Eric and Diana looked like they walked right out of the cartoon and into this commercial. 

My orginal DM just said on Facebook that they must have had a bigger budget for this 1 minute 45 second TV spot than the first D&D movie.  I am inclined to believe that.

AND now thanks to Renault we know how the story ends.

Now maybe Paizo can team up with Nissan for a Pathfinder commercial?

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Batwoman: New Trailer and Vigilante City

Super busy at work today, but something cool came up on my feed. The new First Look trailer is out for the CW's Batwoman.


I have been a solid fan of the character since the 52 mini-series and her own series.  I still consider Batwoman: Elegy one of the best comics ever written.

Given the grittier street feel of the CW Arrowverse, Vigilante City is a great choice to stat her up.
Since the series has not appeared yet, let's try her out at Level 1.

Batwoman
True ID: Katherine "Kate" Kane

Class: Dark Avenger
Level: 1
Alignment: Law

STR: 17
INT: 16
WIS: 15
DEX:18
CON: 17
CHA: 16
SUR: 19

Courage: 16
Critical: 14
Death: 10
Magic: 10
Mental: 14
Poison: 12

HP: 9
AC: 5 (Batsuit)
Initiative Bonus: +3
Attack Bonuses.  Melee: +2  Ranged: +3

Move: 12
Vigilante Points: 1
Kits: Batsuit and gear, utility belt

Skills
Combat, Fighting (Martial Arts), Interrogation (+2 bonus), Intimidation (+1 bonus), Steet Smarts, Computer Skills 1, Parkour 1

Height: 5'7"
Weight: 135 lbs
Age: 26
Hair: Black / Red
Eyes: Light Green
Sex: F

Will alter some details this Fall!

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Must Be the Season of the Witch: Movies and TV

Now, this is working WITH me!

A new movie and new TV series created just for my entertainment. Though I am sure you all can watch too.

First up, Angelina Jolie is back as Maleficent: Mistress of Evil.





And over on Disney's FreeForm, who is currently KILLING IT with Marvel's Cloak & Dagger, we are getting a Witches-as-Warriors in a modern-day supernatural show, Motherland: Fort Salem.


I mean seriously, has someone been peeking at my birthday wish list?
Can't wait for these!

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Melisandre. Priestess or Witch?

"The Night is dark and full of terrors."
- Melisandre

Melisandre of Asshai - by John Picacio
Game of Thrones is in its final season and so far it has not disappointed me.  Well...there was that "whole new world" scene with Dany, Jon, and the dragons.
This past week we got to see the Red Woman, Melisandre again during the battle at Winterfell against the Night King and his army of the dead.  It was so fantastic, to be honest.   Loved the battle, loved how the episode ended.  Everything.

But I am not here today to talk about the battle.

I want to talk about Melisandre.
In particular is she a Priestess, read Cleric, or is she as many will claim, a Witch?

I thought a firey red priestess/witch would be good for Beltane today.

Let's look at what we know.  I am going to focus nearly exclusively on the TV show on HBO.  I'll grab from the books when needed to smooth out some details or get answers to questions.

In many ways, I am going to follow the spirit of my other series, One Man's God and Class Struggles.

What is Known
Or Me nem nesa as the Dothraki say.

We know that Melisandre calls herself a priestess of the god R'hllor, known as the Red God, The Lord of Light or the One True God.  In Westeros this sets her apart from most people as they tend to worship the Seven, or the New Gods. The ones that don't worship the "Old Gods".
Melisandre claims that all the other gods are false gods.  Most people have no issues with the Old or New Gods, so this also sets her apart.

She has seen to have powers of divination, cursing, breeding shadow spawn, summoning fire and the greatest, bringing people back from the dead.  She able to cast glamours and her red-gold choker seems to keep her young or at least appear young.
We know she is very, very old. She was a slave named "Melony" who was sold to the Red Temple in Asshai.

Looking at her through the lens of classes in D&D, and in particular B/X version, has many limitations.  It is still a fruitful exercise though.  For starters, it shows the flexibility of the B/X flavor of classes. It also helps me see how well my own witch classes can emulate various media representations of witches.  My philosophy in game and class design has always been "if a player wants to do to something my rules should tell them how they CAN do it, not how they CAN'T." (I hear grognards, OSR purists and other screaming in rage now. That's fine, let them scream.)

So let's pull out my D&D Expert book and give Melisandre a go.

Melisandre is a Priestess
This is the easiest of course. She refers to herself as a priestess as do others.  Her religion is widely accepted in Essos and treated as such.  The biggest clue, of course, is her ability to raise the dead, a power she claims is not hers, but that of the Lord of Light.  Her spells and powers seem closest to a cleric.
If we take "Raise Dead" as the peak of her powers then that puts her level at a minimum of 7th level for B/X D&D. I would not say she is much past 9th level, but I am willing to accept 9th.

Melisandre, Priestess of R'hllor


7th level female Cleric

Strength: 9
Intelligence: 16
Wisdom: 17
Dexterity: 10
Constitution: 12
Charisma: 17

AC: 9
HP: 33

Magic items: Necklace of Protection Against Aging

Spells
First: Cure Light Wounds, Light, Remove Fear
Second: Hold Person, Resist Fire, Silence 15' radius
Third: Continual Light, Remove Curse, Striking
Fourth: Cure Serious Wounds, Protection/Evil 10' radius
Fifth: Commune, Raise Dead

Close...but missing some of her abilities she is really known for, starting fires and giving birth to shadow monsters.  Plus by the rules Melisandre the Cleric can Turn Undead.  That skill would have been helpful in the Battle of Winterfell.

Taking a peek at my 5th Edition D&D books it looks like a Cleric and not a Warlock or Druid would be the best choice.

Let's see how she works as a witch.

Melisandre is a Witch
Of course, for that, I would also need to decide on a tradition for her.  Something like Lord of Light Tradition.  Witches, in general, do not get the spell Raise Dead.  So I am thinking that should be an occult power.  Something they gain at 7th level.
Also, there is her lesser explored power of alchemy/herbalism.  Something all witches get.

Melisandre, Witch of R'hllor


9th level female Witch, Lord of Light Tradition

Strength: 9
Intelligence: 16
Wisdom: 17
Dexterity: 10
Constitution: 12
Charisma: 17

AC: 9
HP: 26

Magic items: Necklace of Protection Against Aging

Occult Powers
Familiar: Spirit of fire
Herb Use
Raise Dead

Spells
First: Bewitch I, Burning Hands, Glamour
Second: Augury, Dark Whispers, Hypnotize
Third: Bestow Curse, Brave the Flames
Fourth: Divination, Intangible Cloak of Shadows
Fifth: Summon Shadow

So I had to raise her level to 9th to get the Summon Shadow spell.  In general, I like her spell choices as a witch better.  BUT that could be my biases since I have written so many (900+ so far!) and I have many to fit an exact situation.

She doesn't really have a familiar, so I am saying her "familiar" is her ability to look into flames.
I also did not give her any "bonus" spells since I wanted a pure B/X experience here.

I should point out that Green Ronin produces a very fine game based, not on the TV show, but the books in A Song of Ice and Fire.


It's Beltane! A time for witches to celebrate.  Start your own celebrations with my new witch book: Daughters of Darkness, The Mara Witch Tradition

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Dungeons & Dragons Stranger Things Starter Set

There is no doubt that Stanger Things gave D&D a boost.
D&D 5th ed was already doing great and was on its way to being the best selling version of D&D ever before it became a major feature of the highly popular Netflix show Stranger Things.  When Season 1 premiered I had adults my age (who would have been the same ages as the kids in ST at the time) coming to me and asking how they could get a D&D game for their kids.

Well, I wish I had had this boxed set at the time.


The new Dungeons & Dragons Stranger Things Starter Set is making it's way to retailers now.
I picked up a copy on Amazon (to donate to my son's D&D club at High School...yeah they have now) and getting another one from my FLGS.

Truth be told I don't *need* it, but it sure is fantastic!

Done up like everyone's favorite red box D&D this is a starter set for D&D 5th Edition.  And it is PERFECT for anyone that is a fan of the show and wants to learn how to play D&D.
It does have the Wizards of the Coast logo on it, but also the "Hasbro Gaming" logo which is new.  Also since this is being sold not only in game stores and Amazon it is being released to Game Stops (the video game store) and other markets.   Hasbro is serious about backing D&D and I think it is going to be a huge win for them.

The box set includes a basic rule book similar to what we got in the first D&D 5e Starter set.  We also get an adventure "Written by Mike Wheeler", character sheets, a set of dice (mine are exactly like the ones I got in the Starter Set) and two "Demogorgon" minis; one painted the other plain.




Starter Set Rulebook
This book gives all the basics of D&D in 44 concise, full-color pages.  Everything is here to get you started. How to play, the basics of combat and adventuring, a chapter on spell casting and a subset of magic items and monsters.  Pretty much what you expect in a "Basic" set.
Instead of art we get some screen grabs from the ST show.
There are stats for the Demogorgon monster (not the demon).

Hunt for the Thessalhydra
Ok, truth time, I LOVE this. I want more adventures like this.
The sample adventure is done up to like a notebook written by Mike from the show.  Complete with wide ruled notebook paper background and Jr. High style art (only much better).  D&D artist Stan! is behind this one and I could not be happier about that.


The adventure is as old-school as summer 1983. You have a quest, a knight a monster to defeat, a table of rumors. Troglodytes! (art takes it inspiration from the Monster Manual) and random encounters.
The adventure is not ground-breaking, but it is not supposed to be.  BUT it does take place in the "Upside Down", so that is cool. They describe it a bit like the Shadowfell, but no attempt is made to make it part of the larger D&D 5 cosmology and that is perfectly great by me.  There is even a sword from the Upside Down.
And no Refrigerator Aleena in this one, there is a Proud Princess that will aid the characters but they can't even harm her if they try.  She is obviously the Eleven stand in.

Character Sheets
These are all stand-ins for the kids on the show, more or less, We get all the major races; elf, dwarf, human, half-elf, and half-orc. No halfling though. And a good subset of classes; bard, cleric, paladin, ranger, wizard. But no straight up fighter or rogue.  A halfling rogue (or maybe a zoomer!) would have been a nice touch.  No names or genders on the sheets as it should be.

Dice and Demogorgons
The dice a pretty standard, same set I got with the other starter set.  There are only six (as were in old-school sets) so no d%, there is a standard d10 (and d4, d6, d8, d12 and d20).
The Demogorgon minis are the weakest part of this set.  The minis are the right scale but the plastic is really flimsy. The "painted" one only has a little bit of orange on it. These are not the Wiz Kids minis we get at game stores, these are made by Hasbro and appear to be made cheaply so they can make tons of them.

But really, this box hits all the nostalgia boxes AND is still a solid introduction to the D&D 5 game.





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