Showing posts with label vampire. Show all posts
Showing posts with label vampire. Show all posts

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Holy Grail Item: Vampyre Mini Game from TSR

So to recap a long and sad story, I lost a lot of my old school D&D books in one of my moves between college and grad-school.  The only thing I had from my "early days" were my core 2nd Ed AD&D books and a few modules.    Fast forward a few years and the sweet combination of a great job and an understanding wife I have been able to replace all that I had lost and then some.

But there are still a few items that have remained ever elusive.
Today I can cross one more item off that list.

Thanks to an estate sale on eBay I was able to pick up a copy of the Vampyre: Game of the Hunt for Dracula for much less than it normally goes for.



The game is, as far as I can tell, complete if already punched.  The maps are in great shape, the book less so.






The book has highlighter all over it, which sucks, but hey I can't expect a perfect copy and I am sure mine had highlighter all over it too.

As big fan of the novel Dracula, I loved this game.  I remember enjoying the wilderness portion more than the castle. 

Very nostalgic seeing the same Souvenir/Soutane font and Erol Otus art as the B/X sets. I tried many times to run a Castle Dracula like game with Basic/Expert.  Maybe now is that time!

Anyway happy to have this.  Only a couple more items on my list.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Daughters of Darkness: Lilith and the Mara Witch Tradition

This year marks my 40th year of playing D&D.  I started with Holmes Basic and quickly moved to Moldvay Basic when it was released.  It is also the 20th anniversary of my "Netbook of Witches & Warlocks".  So fairly auspicious anniversaries.

Since this year has been about "Back to Basics" for me I have some books ready to celebrate.

I am pleased to announce the first of three new Witch books for Basic Era Gameplay.

Daughters of Darkness: Lilith and the Mara Witch Tradition



Of Adam’s first wife, Lilith, it is told
(The witch he loved before the gift of Eve,)
That, ere the snake’s, her sweet tongue could deceive,
And her enchanted hair was the first gold.
And still she sits, young while the earth is old,
And, subtly of herself contemplative,
Draws men to watch the bright web she can weave,
Till heart and body and life are in its hold.
 - Dante Gabriel Rossetti, “Lady Lilith” 1873

"The world has forgotten their dark mother.  
WE will remind them why they should fear the dark."
- Traditional Mara oath.

Presented here are:

The Mara Witchcraft Tradition, an evil tradition for Basic Witches.


To be released next week on Walpurgis Night or Beltane Eve, or April 30th.  Print version to follow.

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Vampire Willow & Vampire Tara: Ubiquity / Leagues of Gothic Horror

I love Ubiquity.  It's a great system that has the cinematic feel of Unisystem and the grit of Savage Worlds.

Leagues of AdventureLeagues of Gothic Horror and Leagues of Cthulhu are Ubiquity powered games from Triple Ace Games.  The Hollow Earth Expedition RPG is a Ubiquity powered adventure game from Exile Game Studios.  All these games are compatible and together give us a world full of adventure and horror.

There is a new Kickstarter for Leagues of Gothic Horror RPG Expansions from Triple Ace Games.  It looks like a bunch of fun (as all the LoGH books are).

So today though I wanted to come back to some characters near and dear to my heart.
The Vampire versions of Willow & Tara.  In of particular use to us here is Leagues of Gothic Horror: Guide to Vampires and Guide to Black Magic.

Of course, everyone knows who Vampire Willow is. Vampire Tara appeared in the video game Chaos Bleeds and the related stories, all by Christopher Golden.  They also appear in the Wish-verse comic One Soul.

I have also used Vampire Willow and Tara in my adventure Through a Glass Darkly. I stated up Vampire Tara for both Cortex and Unisystem.  I always meant to do Vampire Willow, but never got around to it.  Well, in truth Vamp Willow for Unisystem appears in one of the books (forget which one, I remember writing the stats) and I don't play Cortex anymore.


Here they are for Leagues of Gothic Horror, though for a modern age game.

Vampire Willow
Vampire Willow
Willow Danielle Rosenberg
Female Vampire Witch

Patron 3
Archetype: Vampire
Motivation: Mayhem, Protect Tara

Style: 5
Health 11*

Primary Attributes
Body 5, Dexterity 6, Strength 5, Charisma 6, Intelligence 6, Willpower 5

Secondary Attributes
Size 0, Move 11, Perception 11, Initiative 12, Defense 11, Stun 5*

Skills
Academics: Computers 7, Religion 3, Athletics 6, Brawl 6, Con 5, Diplomacy 4, Intimidation 7, Linguistics 5, Science 4, Survival 3

Talents
Attractive +3, Fearsome, Fearsome Attack, Magical Aptitude, Tough, Unarmed Parry (can block melee weapons), Well Educated

Resources
Contacts 2

Rituals
Empower, Fear, Greater Hex, Harm,

Flaw
Thirst for Blood (+1 Style point when her unholy appetite reveals its true nature), Lustful

Weapons
Bite 9L**, Punch 9N

Vampire Willow has less experience as a witch than her human counterpart.  This is not a problem as Willow prefers to use her vampire powers to scare and intimidate.



Vampire Tara
Vampire Tara
Tara Ann Maclay
Female Vampire Witch

Patron 2
Archetype: Vampire
Motivation: Stay with Willow

Style: 5
Health 11*

Primary Attributes
Body 6, Dexterity 5, Strength 5, Charisma 6, Intelligence 4, Willpower 6

Secondary Attributes
Size 0, Move 10, Perception 10, Initiative 9, Defense 11, Stun 6*

Skills
Academics: Art 4, Religion 1, Animal Handling: Horses 4, Athletics 3, Brawl 5, Diplomacy 5, Empathy 4, Intimidation 7, Linguistics 4, Performance 3, Survival 3

Talents
Animal Affinity, Attractive +2, Danger Sense, Fearsome Attack, Magical Aptitude, Tough, Unarmed Parry (can block melee weapons),

Resources
Contacts 2

Rituals
Empower, Fear, Greater Hex, Harm, Lesser Hexr, Spirit Binding, Summon Animal

Flaw
Thirst for Blood (+1 Style point when her unholy appetite reveals its true nature), Danger Magnet

Weapons
Bite 9L**, Punch 9N

Tara was essentially the same witch she was in Season 4 prior to becoming a vampire.

* Vampires are immune to lethal and nonlethal damage except fire or holy objects.
** If Vampire Willow or Tara scores 3+ successes on her bite attack, she has latched onto her victim’s neck. Until she ceases feeding voluntarily or is forcibly removed (as per ending a grapple), the victim takes automatic damage equal to her Strength rating each round.

Decapitation/Piercing the Heart: This requires a Called Shot against a vital area. If the damage exceeds the Vampire’s Body rating, she is instantly killed, otherwise, the attack has no effect.

All in all good builds I think.
Make sure you check out the Kickstarter for Leagues of Gothic Horror Expansions.

Friday, March 15, 2019

Kickstart Your Weekend: Queen of the Damned: Velrath's Vampires

The weekend is on the way so you know what that means! Time to Kickstart Your Weekend.  And do I have something special today!

You know my fascination obsession with the Queen of Vampires?  Well, Cass Suwinski gets me.
Here is his new Kickstarter and I hope you will find it as much fun as I do.

Queen of the Damned: Velrath's Vampires



https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/tombguardians/queen-of-the-damned-velraths-vampires?ref=theotherside

Here are the Queen and some of her court.









Of course, they come unpainted, but that is expected.
I also got a chance to talk to Cass a bit.

For the benefit of the audience, could you please introduce yourself?  
My name is Cass and I'm the owner of Tomb Guardians, Inc.

How did you end up starting Tomb Guardians Miniatures?  
Tomb Guardians was started in June 2018.  After my son and I went to Origins as we do every year, my son came home and told his mom how popular our game we run every year and how many people wanted to join.  My wife the next day told me I should write the rule to our Dungeon crawl and adventure module.  I thought about it and agreed to do just that.  Unfortunately, I didn't realize how much work it takes and the depth of writing the rules.  As the rules proceeded, my wife again asked me if we had miniatures to match the characters in the game and I said no.  She then said why don't you create your own miniatures and I thought about it and thought it was a great idea.  I then reached out to some of the people I knew in the field and that lead us too Jason Wiebe, Bobby Jackson, and Patrick Keith.  Of which we hired all three to create miniatures for our company.  The first miniatures created was a set of 13 Dwarven heroes and 17 monsters.  They were released in December of 2018 to a very positive action.

Could you tell us more about the Kickstarter for Queen of the Damned - Velrath's Vampires, and your involvement with the project?  
The Vampires heroes is one of the 8 factions within our world.  Queen Velrath's was created and sculpted after my wife.  We used her wedding dress as the dress she wears. That was my thank you to my wife for her support and encouragement.  The back story too Queen Velrath was she was the wife of Telamir, the original leader of the Templars, and left the Kingdom of Rasa with him when he was expelled.  She very much desired to learn the ways of attunement with the moon’s power, but she was forbidden from learning it because she was a woman.  Angry at the snub, she started secretly exploring this herself, but instead of attuning with Wecarus, she found it much more beneficial to bask in the eerie darkened glow of Delaura.  When Telamir discovered what she was up to, she was burned as a heretic, and dumped in a nearby swamp.  But fortunately for her, Delaura was full on that evening, and with her strong attunement with it, she was reborn as the pinnacle of all undead beings, the vampire.  Since that day, she has been enlarging her undead ranks, while punishing any Templars or male citizens of Rasa by enslaving them to do her bidding.  Today her followers have strongholds in nearly every swamp in Elkarim, and they all hold a special hatred for the Templars. There are 10 Vampire heroes, Queen, Mage, Cleric, Anti-Paladin, 2 Grave Spirits and 4 male slaves.

How did you assemble sculptors and other artists for Queen of the Damned?  
I try and use the best sculptors in the world, Jason Wiebe, Bobby Jackson, and Patrick Keith along with painter Mary Profitt.  They do amazing work and keep my vision for the miniatures on key.  I couldn't ask for anything better.

Would you say Queen of the Damned - Velrath's Vampires is open to newcomers? Or is it for people with prior knowledge of Tomb Guardians' work?: 
Queen of the Damned - Velrath's Vampires is a collection of 21 28mm miniatures, of which there are 10 Vampires and 11 monster miniatures and accessory pieces.  The miniatures are cast in metal and come with a 5 year guarantee.  If someone breaks the miniature all they have to do is mail it too us and we will replace it no questions asked.   Queen of the Damned is not a game.

What has it been like working with Jason Wiebe, Bobby Jackson, Patrick Keith, and Mary Profitt?: 
All our sculptures and painters are amazing and very easy to work with.  I'm very happy to have them part of our team.

Could you describe your history with Kickstarter?:  
Tomb Guardians had one other Kickstarter last year and that was our first.  We learned a lot from that Kickstarter, unfortunately, we canceled the Kickstarter prior to its completion on December 5th, 2018.  However, even though we canceled the Kickstarter we did get an investor which allowed us to take pre-orders starting on December 7th, 2018.  This was with the understanding that the miniatures would ship in late February/early March.  We started shipping these orders 2 weeks ago and will finish those orders by the middle of March.  Offering Pre-Orders was a huge success and surpassed my expectations.

Do you plan to attend Origins this year? If so, will this be your first time at Origins after starting Tomb Guardians, and do you plan to promote your company as an exhibitor there?  
Yes, we will be at Origins, demoing our game that we are releasing in the fall.  This game is a RPG/dungeon crawl with an adventure module.  A group of players selects a party of heroes and has to accomplish certain objectives within each level of the dungeon.  We will be demoing this game all week.  More details later on the game itself, but all the miniatures we are creating will be used in our game!

AND I just got this announcement this morning.
Tomb Guardians is excited to announce that we are doubling your stretch goal awards. That means you will get 2 sets of all our stretch goals hit in our campaign! Anyone that pledges the “All In” pledge or upgrades will get not just 1 set but we will double that stretch goal set and you get 2 sets! That means if we hit all our goals you would get 22 free miniatures!!! The total set goes from 41 miniatures to a possible 63 miniatures. That works out to be $5.87 per miniature! This is an outstanding offer, you would get our Black Dragon that retails for $89.95 for $5.87!!! This offer applies to everyone, including those that have already pledged or if you upgrade your pledge. Don’t miss out on this incredible offer. We would like to thank everyone again for there support and trust in us.
Pretty cool if you ask me.
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/tombguardians/queen-of-the-damned-velraths-vampires?ref=theotherside

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Darlessa the Vampire Queen

I have had a long and sorted history with the "Vampire Queen" in my games.

One of the first adventures I worked on for OSR publication was called "The Tomb of the Vampire Princess" or "Vampire Queen" or "Palace" depending on my mood at the time.

I essentially saw it as a sequel of sorts to the original Wee Warriors / Pacesetter Games "Palace of the Vampire Queen".  But a few things happened. First Mark Taormino published his own "Hanging Coffins of the Vampire Queen" which was AWESOME.  Then Bill Barsh of Pacesetter Games produced some sequels of his own with Castle Blood and Crypts of the Living.
So the need for my own sequel dwindled.

A couple years back Small Niche Games produced Guidebook to the Duchy of Valnwall. I had the pleasure of working on that product.  I submitted a character to be "Saint" in the game, Father Johan Werper, my very first D&D character ever.  When I got my copy I was so thrilled. Something I had wanted to happen for ages was going to happen, Johan was going to be a real saint in a "D&D" book! I opened it up and I was not disappointed at all!  Moreover the book's main author and designer Pete Spahn had added this section:
He died in a tragic tale that is recounted in the Hunt for the Dark Mistress, where he tracked down and slew Darlessa the Vampire Queen who had abducted his granddaughter.
Unfortunately, Johan was himself cursed by the taint of the vampire's blood. Rather than remain an undead abomination, he bid goodbye to his granddaughter and used the last of his strength to douse his body with oil and set himself alight.
Pete never contacted me about this and I could not have been happier!  Without knowing it he included things that happened in my game; Johan dying and leaving his granddaughter, Celene, behind (Celene was my first 2nd Ed character, and afraid of the dark.  Now I know why).  The use of holy oil in my games (does 1d8 damage to undead; more when lit) and of course giving a name to an enemy that had been lurking in the back of my mind ever since I first read about Elizabeth Bathory.

It was like throwing a deck of cards into the air and having them land in a perfect house of cards.

So modules V5 and V6 combined will cover a lot of similar territory to what I was going to do in my adventure. So I'll just drop that and keep the elements that are new.  The opening of the crypts.

I have a stack of various notes, maps, ideas and going through them all I think I have something pretty cool here.  I'll have to get it all together in time for my annual Halloween horror game.

Right now the working title is Descent into the Crypts of the Vampire Queen. It will be my homage to the great adventures of the Golden Era but also a nod to the two Vampire Queen adventures that brought me so much joy.

Here she is for Advanced Labyrinth Lord.

Darlessa, The Queen of Vampires
Female Vampire Witch, Demonic Tradition
No. Enc.: 1 (Unique)
Alignment: Chaotic (evil)
Movement: 120’ (40’)
   Fly: 180’ (60’)
Armor Class: -5 (bracers of defense, amulet of protection, ring of protection)
Hit Dice: 13
Attacks: 1 (touch, see below) or spell
Damage: 1d10, drain 2 points of Constitution, witch Spells
Save: W13
Morale: 12
Hoard Class: XXII
XP: 11,400

Str: 18 Int: 15 Wis: 14 Dex: 18 Con: (18) Cha: 22

In addition to the powers of a vampire, Darlessa has the following witch spells and Occult Powers.  She casts as a 13th level witch.

Spells by Level
Cantrip (3+5): Alarm Ward, Black Flame, Daze, Knot, Mend, Mote of Light, Object Reading, Spark
1st (4+3): Burning Hands, Cause Fear, Everlasting Candle, Hecate's Spiritual Dog, Minor Curse, Read Languages
2nd (4+3): Agony, Bewitch II, Burning Gaze, Enthrall, Ghost Touch, Produce Flame, Rite of Remote Seeing
3rd (3+2): Astral Sense, Clairaudience/Clairvoyance, Danse Macabre, Toad Mind, Tongues
4th (3+2): Arcane Eye, Bewitch IV, Elemental Armor, Moonlit Way, Phantom Lacerations
5th (2): Death Curse, Greater Command
6th (2): Death Blade
7th (1): Wave of Mutilation

Occult Powers
Familiar (Undead Raven)
Evil’s Touch
Devil’s Tongue

Magic Items
Intangible Cloak of Shadows, Amulet of Protection* (also prevents cleric turning), bracers of defense, ring of protection, ring spell storing.

Links to Adventures



Links to my 'Vampire Queen' posts



Wednesday, August 15, 2018

#RPGaDAY2018 DAY 15: Describe a Tricky RPG experience you enjoyed.

Here we are, the half-way mark!



DAY 15: Describe a Tricky RPG experience you enjoyed.

Back in my later college days, my old High School DM had moved down to my own.  We were not gaming together at this point; I was working on getting into grad school and he had a new girlfriend if I remember right.
But anyway he invited me over to help him run the "Nightmares of Barovia" adventure option found in I10: Ravenloft II House on Gryphon Hill.

He introduced me to his group and we began.  I ran Ravenloft II and everytime they characters fell asleep he would pick up with the same characters in Ravenloft I6.

We had to keep track of various things that players were totally oblivious too.

We played it at a marathon session over a Halloween Weekend.  This was back when my school (SIU) through some pretty notorious Halloween parties, but the city had shut it all down the university was send everyone home.

The adventures were great, individually.  Together...welll I don't think anyone at TSR actually ran the "Nightmare" option.   But it was great.  Though by hour 36-38 I was done.

Still it was hard, lots of juggling and so, so much fun as a DM.  I would do it again in the drop of a hat, but I'dd need someone that whose style would be a good match for this.  Plus we would need to meet ahead to discuss how to handle things not covered in the two adventures.

I'd also need a group of players that know of Strahd, but never played anything with him in it.  Or at least never played I6 or I10.


It would be fantastic!

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Survive This! Dark Places and Demogorgons - Carmilla / Buffy Crossover

My Dark Places and Demogorgons Buffy game has been a lot of fun.  I keep reaching back into my own high school years for ideas and one that came up was the "Foreign Exchange Student", once I hit on that everything else flowed.

So a bit of background. The year is 1983 and the place is Sunny Valley, OH. Here the events of lives of Buffy, Willow, Tara, Dawn, and the others are playing out.  We just had Sam and Dean Winchester come to town so we now know there is a lot more going on.
In today's special episode we meet 13-year-old Laura Hollis played by Elise Bauman and her father Sherman played by Enrico Colantoni.  Of course, this is my big Carmilla crossover.



The problem is that I have a GREAT idea and it involves Laura at 13 in full-blown "kid investigative reporter" mode AND it would also fit nicely with the timeline in the movie Styria.
BUT it also means that I am planning on NOT using Carmilla herself.

Having Carm in the mix, even if she is a "useless vampire", is just asking Buffy to try to stake her.  Not preferred.  But I figure this can be like Pre-Flash Barry Allen visiting Oliver Queen in Arrow.

So for a week or so, Laura Hollis, Teen Reporter is in Sunny Valey, OH and she does not like it. No sir, not one bit.

Of course, this is a perfect time for all those old jokes about "having a girlfriend in Canada".  Alex should be the butt of that joke.

What Class is Laura?
That's a good question.  He dad teaches her Krav Maga.  He makes his own pepper spray that can drop a bear.  He could be a Doomsday Prepper, but he is not paranoid, just overprotective.  Laura could be a Karate Kid, but that doesn't really define her either.  In truth, there is an archetype of the horror genre that is not covered; the Kid Gumshoe or Kid Reporter.

Kid Gumshoe (new Class)
THEY are hiding the truth. What truths? Well if the adults won't get up off their butts watching "Dynasty" or "Wide Wide World of Sports" then it's up to you.  You are ready for it too. You have your notes, your tape recorder (and hope to save up for a real camcorder one day) and you have the one thing that the others don't; moxy, gumption, the desire to dig and keep digging.
While most of your fellow students have pictures of Duran Duran and Bon Jovi on their walls you have Woodward, Berstein, Cronkite, and Murrow.  Of course, those are there to hide your giant map/pin board of every weird thing going on in town.  That jewelry store that never has customers save for late at night.  Your money is on werewolves.  And really what is the deal with a Light House in middle of a landlocked county where then the nearest body of water is the YMCA Pool.

"The Truth is Out There" - X-files

PREREQUISITES: Intelligence or Wisdom 12, Survival 8
LEVEL 1: Step aside Woodward and Bernstein. You have this covered!
+2 to Courage saves,  Investigation +2, Outdoorsmanship OR Stealth at +1,  Computer, Ranged Weapons, First Aid. Because of the frequent scrapes and fights you find yourself in you add +1 to melee attacks.  Typically this something like a martial art or brawling.

LEVEL ADVANCEMENT
2 +1 to AC, +2 to Investigation and Spot checks
3 +1 to Courage saves, Gain a local contact that grants you +2 on any one Investigation Check
4 +1 to Survival, +2 Brawling
5 "I gotta a guy." Gain more local contacts, +2 on any three different Investigation checks per day.
6 +1 to Intelligence or Wisdom, +1 Investigation
7 "Are You Sure?" can reroll any one Investigation check. 

STARTING GEAR:  notebooks, pencils, lists of contacts, pocket tape recorder with extra tapes.  5d6 Dollars, fake ID.


Laura Hollis
Class: Kid Gumshoe  Level: 2
Alignment: Good
Languages: English, French
Age: 13

Attributes
STR: 10 +0
INT: 16 +2
WIS: 12 +0
DEX: 15 +1
CON: 14 +1
CHA: 16 +2
SUR: 16 +2

AC: 11     HP: 8   Attack Bonus +1

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

Background
Mother is dead, Father is way overprotective.
She has not admitted she is gay yet, father knows.

Class Abilities
(see above)

Skills
Investigation, Stealth, Computers, First Aid, Spot

Possessions
Notebook, pencils, pocket tape recorder

Money: $5 (Canadian)


I like it! Both the NPC and the Class.  They might need some tweaking, but all in all I am happy.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Plays Wells With Others: Dark Places & Demogorgons and Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Reading over Dark Places & Demogorgons I could not help but make comparisons to another game of strange things going on with high school kids fighting monsters.   Of course, I am talking about the Buffy the Vampire Slayer RPG.


Both games deal with fighting the unknown, both games deal high school students and both games are steeped in 80s clichés and pop-culture.  Where Buffy attempted to subvert those clichés, Dark Places & Demogorgons embraces them.

I am just throwing this out here, I have a lot of issues with Joss Whedon.  I think he is an asshole.
But I am damn proud of the work I did on the Buffy the Vampire Slayer RPG.

Reading through the core of DP&D and all the supplements it became very, very obvious what game I need to run.

Welcome to Sunny Valley, OH
"I am certain that whoever named this place Sunny Valley was having a joke on us. The winters are long, cold and dark. It rains in the spring and fall. I think they named the place in the three days of the summer we do get sun.  Not to mention the werewolves, the vampires and oh yeah the Hellmouth just outside of town.  Welcome to Sunny Valley Ohio California girl. Bet you can't wait to leave."
- Alexander "Alex" Harris to Elizabeth "Buffy" Summers.

I decided to take the entire "Buffy Package" and drop it wholesale to the Midwest and set it all in 1984.  There are some changes that need to be made.

In this new setting Elizabeth Anne "Buffy" Summers moved from sunny California to the ironically named Sunny Valley, Ohio.  As a nod to my friend and co-author on many of the Buffy books, Thom Marrion, who was going to do a series of Buffy books set in Cleveland, I wanted to do this in Ohio.  Cleveland is the "big city", but I never detail how far it is.

There is a Hellmouth, but is more indistinct.  No one is sure where it is, but they all know it's there.  There are two high schools, Sunny Valley Prep (the "good" school, where we start) and Sunny Valley Community High (the "bad" school).

Elizabeth Anne "Buffy" Summers
Class: Monster Hunter (vampires)  Level: 5
Alignment: Good
Languages: English, French
Age: 15

Attributes
STR: 18 +3
INT: 12 +0
WIS: 12 +0
DEX: 18 +3
CON: 18 +3
CHA: 16 +2
SUR: 18 +3

AC: 15     HP: 35    Attack Bonus +4 / +7 (vs. vampires)

Courage: 6 (additional +3 vs. vampires)
Critical: 5
Death: 6
Mental: 4
Poison: 5

Background
Mother is rarely at home.
Annoying little sister.

Class Abilities
+3 to hit, track, dmg to Vampires
+1 Toughness

Skills
Outdoorsmanship +4, Paranormal +5, Knowledge (Historical) +2, Brawling, Persuasion +2, Basic Athletics +3, Stealth +2

Possessions
Leather jacket, pants, stakes

Money: $30

This version of Buffy is actually named Elizabeth. She is a former California girl and now lives here with her mom and weird little sister. She is a Slayer, but she has no idea how or why.  There are no Watchers here in Sunny Valley, no Giles.  Elizabeth just knows she is strong, fast and she can sense vampires.
At the end of Series 1 she dies, but only for a little bit.  This gives us Faith Lehanne, a wild girl from Sunny Valley Community High.

Faith Lehanne
Class: Monster Hunter (vampires)  Level: 5
Alignment: Neutral
Languages: English
Age: 14

Attributes
STR: 17 +2
INT: 12 +0
WIS: 10 +0
DEX: 18 +3
CON: 18 +3
CHA: 17 +2
SUR: 18 +3

AC: 15     HP: 32    Attack Bonus +3 / +6 (vs. vampires)

Courage: 5 (additional +2 vs. Vampires)
Critical: 5
Death: 4
Mental: 3
Poison: 4

Background
Parents are dead, lives with Aunt
Dirt poor

Class Abilities
+2 to hit, track, dmg to Vampires
+1 Toughness

Skills
Outdoorsmanship +4, Paranormal +4, Knowledge (local ) +1, Brawling, Intimidation +4, Street Smarts +4, Stealth +2

Possessions
Leather jacket, pants, stakes

Money: $0

Faith shows up in Series 2 from SVCHS where she makes an impression by killing two vamps right away.  She introduces us to her friend Tara, and she and Willow start to spend a lot of time together.



Both Buffy and Faith are built using the Monster Hunter class from DP&D: Player Options & GM Guide.  In truth I could build a "Slayer" class, but I didn't really want to do that.  I wanted to try them out Rules As Written.

In general the cast would be much younger than the TV show.  Anywhere from 2 to 3 years younger. This fits perfectly with DP&D but changes the dynamic a little.   For starters, I would downplay the sexual tension to almost nothing, or at least a slow burn.  A 200+-year-old vampire prey on a 17-year-old sounds bad.  Preying on a 14-15-year-old sounds worse for some reason.  I am also going to give Faith the benefit of the doubt here.   During my Buffy game Season of the Witch, I pointed out that what the show writers had done to her essentially was so contradictory that the character was broken beyond repair.  So what if I took a potential "Bad Girl" and instead gave her a friend.  Maybe someone she saved from some bullies.  Enter Tara.  In this world Faith saved Tara from being picked on because of her poor family and the open secret that she is gay; something that was still very hard to deal with in the 80s.  Both girls help each other out till they meet the cast.

Dawn Summers
Class: Telekinetic  Level: 1
Alignment: Good
Languages: English
Age: 11

Attributes
STR: 10 +0
INT: 12 +0
WIS: 16 +2
DEX: 12 +0
CON: 14 +1
CHA: 12 +0
SUR: 16 +2

AC: 10     HP: 4    Attack Bonus +0

Courage: 3
Critical: 2
Death: 3
Mental: 4
Poison: 2

Background
Mother is rarely at home.

Class Abilities
Telekinesis, Psionic Attack, Psionic Push

Skills
Paranormal +1, Investigation +1, Knowledge (local) +1, Stealth +1, Video Games +1
Psionic Attack +1

Possessions
Bike, Backpack, Journal describing how she used her powers in secret.

Money: $10

In my games, Dawn developed psychic powers.  Maybe not Jean Grey levels, but certainly Carrie ones.  I thought it would be fun if the "Annoying Kid Sister" trope was subverted by making her Powered.  She was built with the optional Psionic classes in the Core Rule book.

I also did Cordelia Chase (basically an archetype "Princess"), Alexander "Alex" Harris (a "Geek" due to his Star Trek obsession), Oz (Metalhead turned Werewolf) and Angel (Teen Heartthrob turned Vampire).

What can DP&D Players get from Buffy?
The Buffy RPG is a great game that focuses a lot on the high school experience and how fighting monsters can be a metaphor for life in High School. Personally, I think EVERY player and GM of DP&D needs to read Chapter 7: Episodes, Seasons and Drama. It is hands down the best chapter written about running anytime of modern supernatural game or a game set around High School age kids.  The mechanics on Drama Points and their use would also be useful.
And of course all the monsters, vampires and demons the book has would be helpful to any DP&D GM.

What can Buffy Players get from DP&D?
The Buffy RPG is a mature game.  Not just in content, but shelf-life.  I know people that are still playing the game 15+ years later.   For me, DP&D has given me a breath of fresh air and has re-energized my Buffy-related experiences.  Hell, this is the first honest to goodness Buffy campaign idea since Season of the Witch and that was more than 12 years ago.
The "Back to Basics" feel of DP&D cannot be ignored or understated.  It really helped me think of this game in a different way.


Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Review: Survive This! Dark Places & Demogorgons Companions

Today I spend even more quality time with Dark Places & Demogorgons.  There are a number of great supplements now out for PD&D and more on the horizon.  Right now I am going to focus on these four since they will focus on my new campaign idea I'll talk more about tomorrow.
In all cases, I am reviewing the physical copies and PDFs.



Dark Places & Demogorgons: Jeffersontown Setting Guide
140 pages, color covers, black & white interiors.
This book covers the Jeffersontown setting introduced in the core rulebook.  I have to admit, I was not going to buy this book.  I was not really that interested in the J'town setting; I had my own setting, settings really, to try out and this one did not grab me.
That would have been a mistake. This book is really freaking awesome.
Reading through this book you begin to realize that all small towns are the same.  I read through this and was mentally replacing J'Town details with my own old hometown Jacksonville (J'Ville, no really that is what we called it).  There are a ton of great ideas here for any type of campaign.
So who should buy this?
Well if grew up in the 80s then you know this already. You lived it.  But this book is a wonderful trip down memory lane.  It's someone else's memory lane, but it looks like yours; it looks a lot like mine too.
If you didn't grow up in the 80s then this book is a must-have.  Really sets the tone and tenor of the game perfectly.
This makes this book a must buy, I am glad I picked it up.

Dark Places & Demogorgons: Player Options & GM Guide
124 pages, color covers, black & white interiors.
Now this book.  I knew I needed this one the moment I read the table of contents.  This book expands the game in a number of really awesome ways. Now all classes can go to 7th level and all the core classes get a boost.  That is great, and we get 13 new classes. They are Equestrian Show Rider, Equestrian Rider, Monster Hunter, Party Animal, The Performer, Phantasmagon, ROTC Cadet, Soviet Spy, Spy in Training, Street Tough, Survivalist, Teen Ninja, and the Telepath.   We also get five new Magic classes! Black Witch, Mechano-Mage, Nature Witch, Voodoo Practitioner, and White Witch.  All with a bunch of new spells! So yes, I am quite excited about these.  Worth the price on the cover alone for me.
Additionally, we get a bunch of new skills.

The last half of the book is everything 80s.  I have seen a lot of 80s guides in games before, but this one is very comprehensive.  These sections include 80's Crushes/ Idols, Your Songs of the 80's, Your Movies of the 80's, Random 80's Movie Quote Table, and Your TV of the 80's.  And just listing these does not do this lists justice at all.  I consider myself an 80s aficionado and there are things here I had forgotten or even never knew.  I am little surprised there isn't a Dark Places & Demogorgons 80s mix list on Spotify.
Really glad I got this book and I consider it a must-have for fans of this games.

Dark Places & Demogorgons: Vampire Sourcebook
36 pages, color covers, black & white interiors.
With the Vampire Sourcebook, we move DP&D a little further away from "Stranger Things" and "X-Files" territory and more into the realms of "Fright Night", "Lost Boys", and "Buffy the Vampire Slayer".  The cover in fact is very reminicent of all the above.
We start off with an introduction to basic vampire pop-culture lore and quickly move to a list of vampire movies of the 1980s.  It's a solid list, I knew all the titles so it feels complete, but I am sure there a couple Euro flicks missing.  Not a big deal since that is not the focus of this book.
We get stats for a variety of vampires and plot hooks/backgrounds for all of them.
The book is designed for DP&D, but it really can be used with any OSR game.
For more 80s fun combine it with some New Wave Requiem from the World of Darkness game.
If you want to play a vampire then I suggest The Blood is the Life - Basic Vampires as a mostly compatible solution.
It is a thin book and I would have liked to see more varieties, in truth this probably the perfect size. Vampires are series-ending "Big Bads" not just your monster of the week.  So characters are only likely to see one or maybe two their entire game life.

Dark Places & Demogorgons: Werewolf Sourcebook
36 pages, color covers, black & white interiors.
Same size, but a step up from the Vampire book to be honest.  There feels like there is more material here and I will admit I was surprised to see the page count was really the same. 
We get a little background on werewolves as a horror trope. Different means of causing lycanthropy are also covered.  There is also a section of infecting humans and how it alters their stats, including Player Characters.  Now I would say that being a werewolf runs counter to what a GM might normally want to do with a DP&D game, I can see it coming up.  Good for drama really.
Now anyone that knows me well knows I am "the Witch guy" and before that I was "the Vampire guy".  So I was totally expecting this to be my least favorite book, but no chance of that!  This is a great book and even better than the Vampire book.
There plot hooks, NPCs, monsters AND a complete adventure.  The book is packed. Well worth the money spent.
IF you can only afford one of these books, Vampire or Werewolf, then I would put my money on the werewolf one. Plus it has some fantastic Jacob Blackmon cover art, so what could be better?


Monday, February 26, 2018

Monster Monday: Eretica

Been a while since I have done one of these.  Here is a rare type of vampire that was a witch in her former life. For Basic-Era games.


Eretica*

Armor Class: 3
Hit Dice: 7** (M)
Move: 120' (40')
 Flying: 180' (60')
Attacks: 1 touch or special
Damage: ld10 + double Con drain or special
No. Appearing: 1d3 (1d6)
Save As: W7
Morale: 10
Treasure Type: F
Intelligence: 12
Alignment: Chaotic
XP Value: 1,750
Monster Type: Undead, Enchanted (Very Rare)

Vampires are among the most feared of the undead.  Eretica are witches that have returned from the dead as a horrible vampire.  Believed to be the followers of Hecate the eretica are also created when witches denounce the predominant religion of the area and are cursed by a local cleric.
The eretica can appear as attractive young women, but their true form is that of an ancient hag in rags.

Abilities: All eretica are unaffected by sleep, charm, and hold spells, and can only be hit with magical weapons. An eretica may take the form of a human, a dire wolf, a giant bat, or as a mote of moonlight at will. Each change takes 1 round.

Whatever its form, an eretica regenerates 3 hit points per round, starting as soon as it is damaged. Like the vampire, if the eretica is reduced to 0 hit points it does not regenerate, but becomes moonlight and flees to its coffin.

In dire wolf or giant bat form, the eretica's move, attacks, and damage are those of the animal.
The eretica's AC, Hit Dice, morale, and saving throws remain unchanged. In moonlight form, an eretica cannot attack but can fly at the speed given above and is immune to all weapon attacks.

In human form, an eretica can attack by gaze or touch or can summon other creatures. The touch of an eretica inflicts a double energy drain (removing 2 points of Constitution) in addition to damage. The creature's gaze can charm. Any victim who meets the gaze may make a saving throw vs. spells to avoid the charm, but with a - 2 penalty to the roll. To the charmed victim the eretica appears to be a beautiful young woman. To others she is still a monstrous hag.

The eretica may summon any one of the following creatures, which will come to its aid if they are within 300 feet (300 yards outdoors):

Rats 6-60 Giant rats 4-16
Bats 8-80 Giant bats 3-18
Wolves 3-18 Dire wolves 2-8

Any character slain by an eretica will return from death in three days, as a wraith under the control of the eretica who slayed them.   Only witches killed by an eretica can become eretica in death this way.

Since eretica were witches in life they still can cast witch spells.  They are treated as 7th level witches, but they do not have any Occult Powers.

Weaknesses of the eretica: The eretica shares the same weaknesses and vulnerabilities of the vampire. A eretica cannot come within 10 feet of a strongly presented holy symbol, although it can move to attack from another direction. The odor of garlic repels an eretica; the creature must make a successful saving throw vs. poison or stay at least 10 feet away from the garlic during that round.

The eretica cannot cross running water, either on foot or flying, except at bridges or while in their coffins. During the day, an eretica usually rests in its coffin; failure to do so results in the loss of 2d6 hit points per day. These hit points are not regenerated until the eretica has rested in its coffin for a full day. An eretica casts no reflection and avoids mirrors.

The only way to truly destroy an eretica is burn the body at the stake or to stake her in the heart with a stake of aspen.

The eretica are Turned as Vampires.

Monday, October 30, 2017

No Spell to Right This: Carmilla Week Round-up

Well...it was more than a week really.

I love doing these week-long deep dives into a character or a system. It's a great way to explore a topic in my mind. Whether it is a week-long deep dive into a game system like Blue Rose or Superbabes or investigating a set of characters like I did with Miriam and Fran it is something I really look forward to planning and doing.

Doing this for Carmilla and Laura was just as much fun.

I did a lot of stats for various horror games.
Not to mention my original Ghosts of Albion stats for "book" Carmilla.

I also watched a lot of movies.
I would like to try some more systems to be honest. Chill 3.0 comes to mind.
Anyone have any requests?

I am looking forward to doing some more of these deep dives.  Maybe next time a game system.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Weekend Gaming: Halloween Gaming, Return of the Vampire Queen

It was our weekend of Halloween gaming.  It's was also my oldest son's birthday weekend.
He ran games all night long and while he slept today I ran  "Hanging Coffins of the Vampire Queen" again, this time for my younger son and his group.



It was 2014 when I first ran this adventure for my oldest son, so I wanted to run it again this year for my youngest since they would have been the same ages.  Very different experiences!

I picked up this adventure back when +Mark Taormino kickstarted a few years back and it is one of my favorites. It's just so much fun.  I also combine it a lot with the classic Palace of the Vampire Queen and the sequels made by Bill Barsh at Pacesetter.

Combined they really make for a great full palace, dungeons, and vampire pits.

Today's group got much further.  I made some changes based on previous runnings and some advice from Mark.

Sin, the Queen on her throne, Diabolica, and the Queen ready to attack
Combined with mins from three different companies this represents one of the things I love the best about this hobby; everyone coming together to provide something new and exciting.
Standing Lady Neeblack is the Vampire from Reaper Minis.


Ok and a bunch of tombstones and coffins from Michaels.



Oh and an old D&D action figure Umber Hulk to represent a giant Umber Hulk.  Yeah, they were scared about that.



They managed to survive long enough to face the Succubi Sin and Diabolica and finally Lady Neeblack the Vampire Queen herself.

I can't say enough good things about these adventures.  It would not be Halloween without them.
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