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

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Red, White and Blue Rose

June may have been "Blue Rose month" but I have so much more to say and do!

I am going to have a couple of upcoming "Plays Well With Others" coming up.  More details later, but here are some teasers.

First, something that was inspired by my old "Black Rose" game (Blue Rose + Ravenloft) and something that came to me in a flash on a recent run.  Something I am calling "Blood Red Rose".


Blue Rose + Vampire the Masquerade (2nd Edition).

Next is less of a Plays Well With Others and more of a "Campaign Model".
I give you my "White Rose"


Blue Rose + Swords & Wizardry White Box.

This is going to be great.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

This Old Dragon: Issue #150

Moving more forward in time to October 1989 and to one of my most favorite issues of all time, Dragon #150.  This issue was during the prime of the "themed issues" of Dragon magazine, where each month/issue had a theme.  October was always horror and always my favorite.  Plus this issue also features one of my all-time favorite bits of Larry Elmore cover art.
This issue had one of the articles that honestly had such far-reaching effects that I am STILL using ideas from it.   Issue #150 came out in 1989, and I am sure I picked it up right away. I would have been a Junior in university at that time.  I wasn't playing much since I was busy studying all the time, but I do know that I had at least a draft copy of the witch in text format on a floppy disk.

The Dragon's Bestiary is up first with a bunch of new mind-flayer related monsters from Stephen Inniss.   I remember reading this one over and over.  I really wanted to use these guys in my games and I still do.  I noticed while re-reading this recently that the monster stats are for 1st Edition, but the other parts of the magazine are fully 2nd edition.  This was the dawn of 2e and the magazine has a strong post-Gygax vibe about it.  This article though feels older, though there is also a pre-Dark Sun feel to it as well.  The article introduces the Illithidae, or natives of the same world of the Mind Flayers.  If we stick with the mythology they could have easily come in the starship from Expedition to the Barrier Peaks.  The monsters include the pack hunting Cessirids, the lone hunter and slow moving Embrac, the large Kigrids and the near-Illithid Saltors.  These monsters would later be updated to the Illithidae monsters for 3.5 in the Lords of Madness book.

Stephen Inniss follows this up with an article that is heavy on fluff, light on crunch and one that has stuck with me for years. The Sunset World deals with the world of the Mind Flayers.  The article is a long one and presented in the style of an academic symposium, which is likely what attracted me to it.
This article was the start of the idea of block out the sun as a plot device in my games.  I used it in the Dragon and the Phoenix for Buffy and currently in the Come Endless Darkness campaign for D&D 5.

Speaking of vampires and vampire slayers.  Fangs Alot! has the updated/corrected version of the Vampire listing for the 2nd Edition Monstrous Compendium.  If you recall the vampire had the same material printed on both sides of the page, the difference only being the "western" and "eastern" vampire pictures.  This version has the proper second page in place.

The Well-Rounded Monster Hunter details some skills every investigator should have in Call of Cthulhu.  I always read these articles with great interest, looking for things I could port over to my then-current (but sadly dying) Ravenloft game.

The Role of Computers covers some video games. The late 80s were an interesting time for computers, I felt he had hit something of a golden age; computers were getting more powerful and cheap and yet there was still enough of a hacker mentality that kept these machines (mostly) in the hands of nerds adn geeks like me.  In many ways if you were a teen playing D&D in the 80s you grew up to be one of the people playing around with computers in the 90s and part of the Dot.Com boom in the late 90s.  It is interesting now, rereading this, to see all the variety of computers software was made for then.  I know in my own case back then I desperately wanted to see more games fro my own Tandy Color Computer 3.  Mock it if you like, but that little computer got me through my undergrad degree in psychology.  I would need the help of an "IBM PC-clone" to finish up my grad school degrees.  Still, it is neat seeing some of these games.  I bet many would run well  on my phone with an emulator.

I still love looking at all these ads.  I actual had sent off a SASE once upon a time to get my own character art. Never sent it back with my payment; never had the money to spare. I always wanted one though. Maybe that is one of the reasons I love getting art now.

John J. Terra has a great article for the FASA Trek RPG, A Final Frontier of Your Own.  Rereading now I am impressed how much of it still applies for LUG Trek and new Trek playtests.  Sitting at my kitchen table re-reading this I sketched out an idea for a game.  I want to run a Star Trek game called the "Daughters of Kahless".  It would be a group of dishonored Klingon Women in a broken down D6 cruiser trying to regain their honor and for the greater glory of the Klingon Empire.  I remember at the time I wanted to do the adventures of a ship propelled to the far ends of the Universe.  I guess that why I have such a love/hate relationship with Voyager. Love the idea, hated the exicution.

In another article by Dean Shomshak we have another CoC article, Unspeakable Secrets Made Easy. This details a number of magical texts.   No spells are listed, but plenty of background information.

More ads follow including the ads for the then new Monstrous Compendiums.  Vol. 1 was out (I picked mine up at a game store in Harrisburg, PA while on vacation) and Vol. 2 was on the way.  The ad though looks different than the binder I picked up and I always wondered if it was because I picked mine up from a different part of the country than I typically bought my Dragons.  Turns out nothing so interesting, just a mock-up for the ad.


It's hard to see, but there is a red border behind the images of the monsters.

Again, this was a great issue that brought back a lot of great memories.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Kickstart Your Weekend: Team Synergy & London Gothic

I have a couple of really fun ones for you today!

First up is a Superhero team of cousins called Team Synergy.
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/hbcomics/team-synergy-vol-1-spellbound



From their Press Release:

“Team Synergy” Kickstarter Promises New Heroes For Young Girls
HBComics' super-hero comic on kickstarter is“For every young girl who never had a hero of her own”

HBComics, a boston based indie comic publisher, has launched a kickstarter campagin for “Team Synergy,” a comic about a super-team of teenage girls, aimed at getting young female readers interested in super heroes.

According to the creators, the book was very much inspired by their own daughters and nieces.

“This book is so important to be, because I have two young girls...we have a lot of girls in our family.” said Chris Hebert, in the campaign's video. “(The young girls at comic conventions) would light up when they saw the book. One girl was literally jumping up and down hugging it. She was so excited there was a book just for her.”

The description of the comic on the kickstarter reads: "Five Teenage Girls. All cousins. All super-powered. Trained by their great grandmother, the original super heroine, to be the next generation of heroes. For every young girl who never had a super hero of their own to look up to, this is TEAM SYNERGY!” The book is written by Alan Hebert (Writer of Lazerman) and has art by Scott Shiver (Fem Force) and colors by Chris Hebert.

The kickstarter is running until February 24th, and can be found here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/hbcomics/team-synergy-vol-1-spellbound

About HBComics™: HBComics™ is an independent comic book publisher, founded by two brothers from Boston. More information on the company, or the titles being produced, can be found at www.hbcomics.com

####

If you'd like more information about this topic, or to schedule an interview, please call Chris Hebert at 781-588-9867 or e-mail info@hbcomics.com

The heroes include team leader Awesome Girl, cheerleader turned superhero Hot Pink, introvert and skeptic punk (and destined to be a new fave here at the Other Side) Scatterbrain, shrinker and anime fan GlitterBug, and finally the hyper social butterfly Pinball. Love these names.  I could see these characters EASY in an Icons game.

Personally, I think it looks awesome and I love finding Kickstarters like this. For me this why Kickstarter was created; to help out independent creators get their creation out to you.

Switching from comic fun to the dark streets of Victorian London.

A London Gothic
Dark Tales of Vampires, Witches, & Demons on the Streets of Victorian London!
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/415194828/a-london-gothic


As I mentioned to the author, Paul Voodindi,  "Vampires, Witches, Demons, London of the Victorian age?  Sounds like my Christmas list!"

From the press release for this:
Paul Voodini welcomes you to the dark and Gothic London of an alternative 1888. A dark and Gothic London where the shadow of Jack the Ripper still hangs over the streets of the East End like a malignant memory, fresh in the mind and with the power still to terrify. It is barely a month since Saucy Jack claimed the life of Mary Jane Kelly, yet, as our heroine Little Nell Trent is about to find out, there are more horrors than just old Jack lurking in the grim backstreets of Whitechapel.

Attacked on her own doorstep by a vampire girl, 18 year old Nell is herself transformed, joining the ranks of the East End vampires, known by the human residents as Tooth Fairies, and is plunged into a world of blood, lust, and dark wonder.

Captured by a human gang and forced into servitude, Nell befriends her one-time assailant Sally, the girl who originally turned her from mortal to vampire, and over the Christmas period of 1888, Sally protects her protégé as best she can, and every night recounts to her a Gothic tale from the dark underbelly of London.
“I had so many stories to tell,” explains Paul, “that I didn't know which one to focus on. So then I thought, why not write them all?!”

Inspired by the classic '1001 Arabian Nights', in which a wife successfully manages to stave off her execution by reciting a tale each night to her king husband, 'A London Gothic' features a series of short stories intertwined within the main narrative. And so, amongst others, we hear of Mary Shelley, who in this reality is a witch intent on raising back to life her dead friend, Amanda Frankenstein; Tiny Tim, the vampire boy, who prophecy tells will lead the vampire girls of London's East End out of the shadows and into the glittering heart of the British capital; and the poor, young funeral worker who on Christmas Eve is possessed by the unquiet spirit of Jacob Marley.

“Yes, these are tales of horror and melodrama,” says Paul, “but they are also tales of love and of loss, and although the anti-heroes of my stories are all creatures of the night, the stories they tell are of being cast adrift in a world that shuns them. I think that's a story that we can all, on one level or another, identify with.”
Find 'A London Gothic' on Kickstarter here: http://kck.st/2kwaq9b

See, sounds like a blast.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

October Horror Movie Challenge: Horror Rises from the Tomb (1972)

Have not done a Paul Naschy film yet this year.
This one has a warlock and his witch bride coming back from the dead as something similar to a vampire.  It's not bad but less blood, gore and nudity than I expected from a Paul Naschy film to be honest.

Alaric de Marnac is the warlock from this tale and he would later go on to appear in other Naschy movies.  I kinda like the idea, even if this movie was only so-so.










2016 Movie tally
Watched: 26
New: 21


Tuesday, October 25, 2016

October Horror Movie Challenge: Carmilla (1989) & Styria (2014)

With the somewhat disappointing nature of The Unwanted, I went looking for some more Carmilla based movies.  Finding them wasn't the issue. Finding ones I have not seen was.

First up was Carmilla (1989) with Meg Tilly and Ione Skye.  This moves the tale to post-Civil War Georgia. The story is largely unchanged with Ione Skye and Laura and Meg Tilly as Carmilla.  There were some neat scenes but it was a Showtime Nightmare Classics episode, so there isn't the investment you see in a big movie production. Still though it was fun.  There isn't much chemistry between Skye and Tilly, which struck me as odd to be honest.  Plus you get the feeling in the end that Laura became a vampire after Carmilla was killed.

Styria (2014) or "Angels of Darkness" as it is known in the US, is also a retelling of the classic tale.  This time moved to 1986 and Styria, Slovenia.  This time Laura and Carmilla are played by Eleanor Tomlinson and Julia Pietrucha.  These actresses had more on-screen chemistry and the tale has a bit more terror.  Moving it to Communist-controlled Eastern Europe was an interesting twist and I liked it. Plus it gave them a good excuse to use music from Joy Division and The Jesus and Mary Chain.
Unlike the 1989 version or Unwanted, Carmilla is much more of a predator here and more of a classic vampire OR Laura is insane.  Could go either way. Of the three "Carmilla" movies I have seen this challenge so far, this is the best.




2016 Movie tally
Watched: 25
New: 20


Friday, October 21, 2016

October Horror Movie Challenge: Devil's Plaything (1973)

The Devil's Plaything, or "Der Fluch der schwarzen Schwestern", is one of those notorious movies I have always heard about but never seen.  I got ahold of a copy, but only the R rated version.  There is one that is 18 mins longer that contains more graphic sex, many of the actresses were Swedish porn actresses, but sadly that won't help the plot of this one.

The plot, such as it is,deals with bringing back to life a dead vampire baroness, her lesbian lover and to kill the descendants of those that killed her.  She has her own cult with high-priestess and acolytes that I guess have to dance around in the nude all the time.

The actors and actresses are speaking English, but it is obvious that this is not their first language.  Add that to a terrible script makes this almost a yawner.

I think it must have the fairly graphic scenes of nudity, sex and implied incest that put this on the notorious list.  I have seen DVD copies at Half-Price Books go for a $100.  Don't waste your money.

If you are really curious the scenes that were cut are here.


2016 Movie tally
Watched: 21
New: 16


Thursday, October 20, 2016

October Horror Movie Challenge: The Unwanted (2014)

The Unwanted came up in my search for different sorts of vampire movies.  This one is a retelling of Sheridan Le Fanu's "Carmilla".  In this one Carmilla is the daughter of Millarca and it takes place in Georgia and not Austria.

Of course given that I should have guessed the ultimate fates of both Carmilla and Millarca, but no such luck. True it is closer to the original story this way but would it kill us to make something a little different once in a while?

William Katt plays the father in this with much creepiness.
Christen Orr and Hannah Fierman are both rather good as Carmilla and Laura respectively.

I was hoping for much better to be honest.





2016 Movie tally
Watched: 20
New: 15


Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Vampyres: Chill 3rd Edition

Back in the earliest days of this blog I did a week-long deep dive into the characters of Fran and Miriam from the 1974 version of Vampyres.  I worked them for a number of games, including Chill 1st Edition.

Well 2015 gave us not only a new edition of Chill but a new version of the Vampyres.  I thought it might be fun to update them.

For starters, we see some more "classic" vampire abilities from both women.  No fangs, but they can't be photographed. Fran also shows that she is very strong, stronger than humans, and can jump or fall from very high distances.  Both women are also really fast.  We see them avoiding sunlight and mirrors, but not sure if these cause them harm or not.
These vampires also do not seem to have a supernatural form, but one could argue that they can shift into a black mist.  Also, there is a sequence at the end where Miriam's eyes glow and Fran looks like she has wings, but this could also be part of a dream that Harriet has.

Fran


EWS: 105 (Deadly)
REF: 70
STA: 80
Injury: Superficial, Minor –10, Serious –20, Major –30, Critical –50, Lethal
Disciplines: Change Form (fog), Confuse, Dreamsend, Influence, Time Stop (Unique - Chill Core)
Aspects: Bane (mirrors), Parasitic, Special Weakness (sunlight, wood), Supernatural Speed, Sustenance, Unkillable, Unliving

Fran must rest eight hours to regain Stamina. Fran prefers to be underground when resting. She appears to be dead when resting; she does not breathe, has not heartbeat and her body is cold.

Fran needs to feed on least 2 quarts of fresh blood a week. She does not have to kill to get this blood, but she often does.

In combat, Fran uses a straight knife. She can attack once per round.


Miriam



EWS: 100 (Deadly)
REF: 75
STA: 80
Injury: Superficial, Minor –10, Serious –20, Major –30, Critical –50, Lethal
Disciplines: Change Form (fog), Confuse, Influence, Time Stop (Unique - Chill Core)
Aspects: Bane (mirrors), Parasitic, Special Weakness (sunlight, wood), Supernatural Speed, Sustenance, Unkillable, Unliving

Miriam must rest eight hours to regain Stamina. Like Fran, she prefers to be underground when resting. She appears to be dead when resting; she does not breathe, has not heartbeat and her body is cold. Miriam is a light sleeper and can wake herself at the slightest noise.

Miriam needs to feed on least 2 quarts of fresh blood a week. She does not have to kill to get this blood, but she prefers to do so.

In combat, Miriam uses a straight knife. She can attack once per round.


Figuring out their stats is difficult since they don't do much to separate themselves into proper characters.  As the nominal "leader" I gave Fran the Dreamsend EWD since she is more often the lure for their victims. Both get the unique (uhh...ok) power of Time Stop, but I am going to rule that they can only use it together.

They avoid sunlight and sleep in a wine cellar, but I am unsure if sunlight harms them. I will say they can not use any of their of EWD while in sunlight.  They are still fast and strong, but can't use any other disciplines.

Given the upped level of violence in the new film I am not sure if my "Mayfairs" concept would work for them.  BTW a lot of people online are saying the newer movie has "upped the eroticism" over the 1974 version. I disagree. I think those people have only seen the edited version of the 1974 film.  

In the 1974 version, Fran and Miriam are more than just two women with a shared goal, they very much were partners.  In the 2015 version, I am not getting that vibe at all.

I am certain we will get more Evil Way Disciplines in the upcoming Chill Monster book.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

October Horror Challenge: Vampyres (2015)

It is not often I get to watch a horror movie when they first come out. Let alone on the day they are released.  But this is my day today (tonight).  The remake of the notorious 1974  José Ramón Larraz cult classic Vampyres was released on video today.  To my knowledge, this never was released in the US in the theaters, just in Spain.  The movie was also filmed in Spain, though it is supposed to be set in England.

Marta Flich and Almudena León take on the roles of Fran and Miriam respectively. Now maybe it is just my nostalgia speaking, but I find the original actresses, Marianne Morris and Anulka Dziubinska, more attractive.

The movie starts out in a similar fashion to the original.  Our heroes (Fran and Miriam are the heroes right?)  Our new Harriet is a photographer and not a painter as in the original.

Also at nearly 70 Caroline Munro still looks good and having her in movie gives it an air of authenticity, it is too bad that her talents are wasted here.  She is a better actor than most of this cast.  Though to be 100% fair I am pretty sure that English is not their first language save for Munro.

The movie doesn't really get going in terms of our Vampyres till about 20 minutes in.  The dialog is very similar to the original as well. Sadly though many of the plot problems have also been retained. Not to say it is a scene by scene remake, there are some differences and some improvement.  The shower scene from the first movie has been replaced with a bath-tub and a Bathory-esque shower.

This Fran and Miriam are much crueler than in the original.  In the original film you got the feeling that two innocent women had been killed and cursed to come back as vampires.  These two new ones are just killers.  Plus Marianne Morris and Anulka Dziubinska had more on-screen chemistry than these two actresses.

One could almost, almost, see this as a sequel of sorts to the first.  The fact that history is repeating itself some 40 years later is just one of those things that happen when you have a lot of vampires around.

In the end, I didn't like it as much as the original, but again it is more to do I think with nostalgia for me and maybe giving the edge out to the 1974 version only because I first saw it at a very impressionable age.

On it's own merits the movie is still fun.  Plus when was the last time we had a good female vampire movie?  Feels like forever.  If you are a fan of the original then see this one too.

I could not help but notice that one of the production companies for this film is "The Other Side Films".
http://theothersidefilms.com/portfolio-items/vampyres




2016 Movie tally
Watched: 18
New: 13


Wednesday, October 5, 2016

October Horror Movie Challenge: Mystics in Bali (1981)

Mystics in Bali is one of those movies I have known about for years.  I have been wanting to see because it had Leyak black magic and a Penanggalan in it.  One of the very few movies I have been able to find about them.

Let's get this done first.  This movie is not good. The acting is bad, the script is a bit lame and specially effects are bad even by the standards of 1981.

The Leyak, or the black magic witch had an annoying habit of laughing, moaning and talking like Yoda throughout the entire movie.

Now the basic story is interesting enough; a young American woman researching black magic in a land unknown to most Americans and seduced by the magic.  
I won't give away the end save that it was fairly predictable and cliched.




2016 Movie tally
Watched: 5
New: 4





Friday, June 10, 2016

Kickstart Your Weekend: Leagues of Gothic Horror: Shapeshifters & Vampires

Triple Ace is back with more books in their Leagues of Gothic Horror line.  This time featuring Shapeshifters & Vampires.



I rather enjoy the Ubiquity System. It scratches that itch for me that I think others get from Savage Worlds. Leagues of Adventure and Leagues of Gothic Horror also sit in that sweet spot between Victorian adventure, Steam-punk, near-Pulp action and Gothic horror.   Plus I like the rule system. It's like a mix of Savage Worlds and Unisystem in some respects.

I could really get into this game.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

A to Z of Adventure! V is for Vampire Adventures

V is for Vampire Adventures.

There is no "V" series of adventures.  Which is too bad really since the obvious choice is "Vampire".
While D&D has had some notable vampires show up over the years, Strahd and Drelzna in particular.  The very, very first D&D adventure ever sold was "Palace of the Vampire Queen".

Palace of the Vampire Queen was written by Pete and Judy Kerestan back in 1976.  I should also note that the very first published adventure was also co-written by woman; so yes women have always been a vital part of this hobby.  Interesting note. The adventure is called a "kit" and not a "module"; a name that would be later used.

This adventure was always something of a holy grail for me.  I knew about it, but had only seen bits and pieces of it online.  I didn't know much more than it was the first published adventure and it was really, really rare.  Sites like the Acaeum helped fill in the blanks in what I knew and I learned more from other blogs. Here is Grognardia's take and a bit from Jeff's Game Blog.

Original copies are still very rare, but I managed to score a couple of official reprints from Pacesetter.  As well as the sequels Crypts of the Living and Castle Blood.

I have run the original PotVQ before and it was great fun.   The adventure is so barebones by even the standards of the early 80s that it is easy to use anywhere.  The next two are more "story" driven.  I have run Castle Blood, but it didn't quite live up to the promise of the Vampire Queen.
Personally I would like to take all three and recraft them into something else.  Keep the Vampire Queen elements of course, but introduce some more background.

Hitting that nostalgia feeling hard is another adventure, The Hanging Coffins of the Vampire Queen.

This adventure, written by +Mark Taormino might be an homage to the first Palace of the Vampire Queen adventure, but it is more likely an homage to those meat-grinder, total-party kill, fun-house dungeons of the late 70s early 80s.  There is a basic plot here, enough to get you in the door and moving along, but really this adventure is about killing things and avoiding getting killed.  Example, in one of your first encounters you have to run a gauntlet and get past a bunch of fire giants. Eight of them. And their hell hound pets.  This is "room 1".  It is downhill from there.  It has demons and other vampires in the wander monster table. Liches, demons, succubi, greater devils, nearly 50 vampires in total, tons of other monsters and of course the Queen herself, Lady Neeblack.
This is not an adventure to challenge the resolve of hardy role-players. This is an adventure to survive and leave a trail of bodies behind you.  It is old-school, but old-school through the eyes of 40-somethings looking back on their times as teens.
The adventure itself has a great lead in to get you interested, but that is just the carrot on a stick, most people buying and playing this module are going to want to jump right in.  Another example (this is not a spoiler), you are captured by Lady Neeblack and told you have to run through her crypts for her amusement.  The conceit is the characters will feel coerced into doing this, so they slide down a passage to the previously mentioned Fire Giants.  In truth my players wanted to jump in like they were doing a dive at the pool.

Though to claim people will play this for nostalgia reasons is completely unfair.  Mark did a great job of this. The rooms are detailed and what detail!  There are interesting encounters and Lady Neeblack herself should really move up the ranks as one of the more memorable NPCs ever.  In fact I am hoping that she comes back for a sequel sometime soon.  Just like a good Hammer villain she should find ways to come back from the dead.  +Mark Taormino, this needs to happen.
The text of the book is big, easy to read and despite the "old school" claims still has boxed text to read (screw you Grognards! I still like boxed text even when I don't use it.)  Each room is unique and feels like it belongs.  Plus the "Hanging Coffins" themselves are the coolest idea in vampire graves since the Lost Boys.

The proof of any adventure is not in the reading, but in the playing.  So I played it. It rocked.
Now the game is designed for OSRIC, but can played with 1st or 2nd Ed AD&D.   I played it with 5th Edition D&D.  I just replaced the monsters and made a character sheet for Lady Neeblack.   I ran the same group of people that I had taken through the original Palace of the Vampire Queen and we all treated it as an unofficial sequel.  I worked out well enough.  We all had fun, but if this module reads as a deathtrap on paper it's a killer in the playing. So make of that what you like.
Personally I would love to run it again using AD&D1.


I have two perfect succubi from the recent Pathfinder demon sets that are perfect for  "Sin" and "Diabolica".   The Reaper Bones Female Vampire figure makes for a perfect Lady Neeblack.  The mini is listed as "Naomi" for the metal version. So the Vampire Queen must be Lady Naomi Neeblack!  Sure. Why not.

If I ever re-run this I will do it under AD&D1 as it was meant for.  I fear that D&D5 reduces the power levels of the characters a bit at the highest levels.  Though there is great flexibility in D&D 5.
For example in the adventure there are 8 Fire Giants waiting for you when you enter the pits.  They have 93 hp and do 5d6 damage per attack.  Their D&D 5 counterparts have 160 hp (iirc) and do a lot more damage.  Character can heal faster in D&D5 yes, but their starting hp is still not much better than their AD&D1 counterparts.  Rogues get a d8 vs Thieves d6.  So yeah. Meat Grinder.

I will say this.  If you enjoyed Tomb of Horrors then this will be right up your alley.
In any case this is one of those adventures that will have your players talking for a long time.

One I would like to take all these and combine them in a longer campaign, or part of a campaign.



I have also been seriously considering replacing the "vampire world" in Q1 with Hanging Coffins and make it my own Q2.  Queen of the Demonweb meet the Vampire Queen!

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Class Struggles: The Basic Vampire

The great thing about Basic-era D&D (OD&D, B/X, BECMI) is how flexible it is.

That flexibility and something I always had regarded as a negative, race as a class, is now something I wish to exploit more.

For that I give you the updated and slightly revised Basic Vampire class.
The Blood is the Life - Basic Vampires


This is actually part of an experiment for me. Well two really.

The first is to see if the Vampire as a class would be something that others would want or play.
If so, there is a whole game I have been playing around with for a while that I think will do nicely.

The second is an experiment on publishing a "Pay What You Want" title.

I have had conversations with other publishers about PWYW and they are unwilling to do it. Claiming that they will never get the money they need to make it worthwhile.  I disagree, I think the gaming community at large and the OSR community in particular would rather pay for the materials they want.

If this is successful, and success is a relative term, then expect to see more from me like this.

The Race-as-Class works so well for the Vampire. Afterall if an elf can fight and cast spells, then a vampire can fight and do all the things that make a vampire cool.

Mind you I am not trying to do a Basic knock off of Vampire: The Masquerade here.   This is still the same basic-era vampire we have been fighting for 40 years.  He just now can start at 1st level and work his way up.

Let me know what you all think.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Blog Roundup: Gods, Vampires and Blinky Thieves

I have some edits that I need to make to Sisters of the Aquarian Order today, so I won't be getting that out to every just yet.

I have some posts I need to wrap-up, but I am headed to an early morning meeting today so some links will have to do.

+Ray Chapel over at Quasar Knight's Fantasy Blog has put together something I have been meaning to do for a while.  A comprehensive list of all the White Star products on OneBookshelf.
http://quasarknight.blogspot.com/2016/02/a-comprehensive-list-of-white-star.html
It is an impressive list to be honest.

+Sean McG over at The Power Score has done another of his fantastically detailed analysis of a D&D monster. This time it is for the Vampire. A long time favorite of mine.
http://thecampaign20xx.blogspot.com/2016/02/dungeons-dragons-guide-to-vampires.html


+Chris Kutalik and +trey causey have both given us some detail on the so called "Erol Otus Pantheon" on their respective blogs.
http://hillcantons.blogspot.com/2016/02/the-erol-otus-ddg-pantheon.html
http://sorcerersskull.blogspot.com/2016/02/the-otus-pantheon.html


It is a nice little trip back to the 80s.

+Mark Craddock has been steadily releasing D&D5 material over at the DM's Guild for a bit now.
His biggest project is Deities and Domains: Specialty Priests of the Forgotten Realms (39 Feats for 5E).  At 25 pages  and 39 dieties this is one of the larger products.  While overtly for the Forgotten Realms, there is so much here that any D&D 5 palyer should grab it and just swap out the names for their own gods.  Plus it comes with a printer-friendly version.  I am already using the cleric of Mystra, only in my game it is a cleric of Wee Jas.

His newest is Psionics Unearthed: Tesseract.   I just got it and love it.  The best way to describe it is "blinky thieves" but it would work for any martial class too.  It might actually be a little underpowered compared to say the Arcane Trickster, but the fact that a Tesseract can use their powers multiple times between long rests makes up for it.  My kids will fight over who gets to use this one!

My favorite though has to be Character Crucible: Dhampirs.
Not very large, but it does exactly what it needs to do.  The Dhampir is a great race to play in any version of D&D, but Mark capitalizes on the strengths of D&D5 to make a fun race.  I would have an easier time working these Dhampirs into my games than the Dragonborn and Tieflings my kids want to play all the time.

Monday, January 18, 2016

The Return of Strahd

The news is finally out, Ravenloft is coming back.
I have known about this for a while now from multiple reliable sources but obviously could not say anything.

Curse of Strahd is the next campaign for D&D 5.

http://dnd.wizards.com/articles/news/return-ravenloft

http://dnd.wizards.com/products/tabletop-games/rpg-products/curse-strahd

So yeah...I am REALLY excited about it.

I just hope that Barovia is not relocated to the Forgotten Realms. We all know it is from Mystara!

But in any case this looks great and I can't wait till March 5th!  (Yeah I get new releases 10 days early).



Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Demon Hunter Class for AA (and C&C)

Just in time for Halloween (but I just found it now) Jason Vey has put out a new Demon Hunter class for his SIEGE Engine Amazing Adventures RPG.

http://bit.ly/aafreeclass

While designed for the Pulp-era adventures of Amazing Adventures this class also would work fantastic with Castles and Crusades.

The class is much more "Buffy" than it is "Solomon Kane" but you could do either with it.  Mostly though it reminds me of John Gregory, the Spook, from the "Last Apprentice" book series.

It compares well to the Paladin really, except it doesn't have healing, spells or a special mount. It does have supernatural senses and a special weapon.

Just another reminder that I need to play more Castles & Crusades.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

October Movie Challenge: Nocturna: Granddaughter of Dracula (1979)

I do feel the need to point out that just because a movie is from the 70s that's doesn't mean I am going to like it.   Case in point this cinematic turd known as Nocturna: Granddaughter of Dracula.

On paper it has a lot going for it.
John Carradine turning in his last role as Dracula.
Yvonne De Carlo, though given the really unfortunate name of Jugulia Vein.  What is this a Scooby-Doo movie?
Brother Theodore in a Reinfield like role.  Brother Theodore was just an odd dude.  He has never really ceased to entertain me. ....Till now.
Even Nai Bonet, whom I was sure couldn't act, at least would look good in the part.

It has some things that gave me pause,  Like renaming Dracula's Castle as Hotel Transylvania 33+ years before Adam Sandler did.

But when I realized this was going to be a disco-dance movie I should have ran.  But dear readers I am committed.

Lets be honest. This is a terrible movie. I wasn't expecting much, but I was hoping for more than this.  Carradine's talents are wasted on this, even more so that "Billy the Kid vs. Dracula".  Nai Bonet is just bad. She is a great dancer to be sure, but her acting is so bad.
It also strikes me that there are a lot of similarities between this movie and "Love At First Bite".

In the end nothing really can save this movie.  I can't even find something small in it for a game.


Stats
8 Watched / 6 New




Thursday, July 9, 2015

Countess Erzsébet Báthory for Ubiquity

A while back I did a series of posts on Erzsébet Báthory for various systems.  I am giving her a go for Ubiquity and in particular Leagues of Adventure.

You can read her background here.

You can see my other builds of her here:
I am sticking close to these, but this is not an in and out conversion.

Yes. This is the blood-bathing vampire version.  Not the historical one.

Countess Erzsébet Báthory
Patron 5
Archetype: Vampire; Motivation: Stay Young and Beautiful; Style: 5

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

Secondary Attributes
Size 0, Move 11, Perception 10, Initiative 10, Defense 11, Stun 5*, Health 11*

Skills
Academics: History 7, Religion 5, Athletics 8, Brawl 6, Con 8, Diplomacy 9, Empathy 7, Intimidation 8, Linguistics 8, Performance 9, Stealth 7

Talents
Mesmerize** (Make a single Willpower roll against all opponents within 10 feet), Iron Jaw (+1 Stun)*, Unarmed Parry (can block melee weapons), Well Educated

Resources
Refuge: Size 1 (smaller apartments across Eastern Europe), Status 1 (Foreign noblewoman; +2 Social bonus)

Flaw
Thirst for Blood (+1 Style point when her unholy appetite reveals its true nature, she prefers young women)

Weapons
Bite 9L***, Punch 9N

* Báthory is immune to lethal and nonlethal damage except from drowning, fire, or holy objects.
** This represents the Báthory’s indomitable will being projected onto others. As such, she uses Willpower rather than Performance.
*** If Báthory 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 Báthory’s Body rating, she is instantly killed, otherwise the attack has no effect.

Wild Rose Aversion: Báthory suffers a –2 penalty to all rolls to affect a person wearing a garland of wild roses. Wild roses can also be used to ward entrances

Mesmerize: As per the Captivate Talent.

Power of the Lord: A Patriarchal cross (Greek Orthodox), crucifix, or holy wafer (and paraphernalia of other religions at the Gamemaster’s discretion) can be used to make a Touch Attack against Báthory. Such objects cause 0L damage.

These holy objects can also be used to keep Báthory at bay, but only if the wielder is a true believer in the faith. Presenting such an object requires an attack action. In order to close within five feet of the wielder, Báthory must make a Willpower roll as a reflexive action. If she rolls more successes than the wielder’s Willpower,she is unfazed and may act as normal. Otherwise, she can advance no closer, no use any of her other abilities against the wielder.

Regeneration: When Báthory rests in his earth-filled coffin, she makes a Body roll each dawn. Every two successes removes one level of lethal damage caused by drowning, fire, or holy objects.

Shape Change, Lesser: Báthory can transform into a wolf. This requires two complete rounds and a Willpower roll. While in animal form, she retains her own statistics but cannot speak, use tools, or use any of her other abilities. Reversion to her true form is a reflexive action.

Sire: Anyone slain by Báthory’s bite returns as a vampiric minion within three days of burial. Such fiends are incapable of personal growth, no matter how long they live. They retain their mortal attributes, Skills, and Talents, save for Intelligence, which is lowered to 1—these fiends are naught but nocturnal, feral hunters. A true vampire is created only if Báthory allows her victim to drink of her own blood before death.

Monday, May 4, 2015

A to Z of Vampires: White Star SPECIAL Space Vampire

Heck with it.  Here is a special vampire for today.  To celebrate the release of +James Spahn's "White Star" here is a blast from the past, the Space Vampire of the 25th Century. The Vorvon!  Also useful for +Dan P's Starships & Spacemen or +Kevin Crawford's Stars Without Number.

The Vorvon


The Vorvon is a vampire from the darkest reaches of space. They are vampires and some even say they are the source of the vampire myths on hundreds of worlds.  They stand at just under 2 meters tall.  Their skin is a sickly pale blue color and what hair they have is thick, course and black.  They have long fangs, and long taloned fingers. It is through these talons that they drain life energy.  The vorvon can choose to drain either 2 points of Wisdom or 2 points of Constitution per touch.  The vorvon can go great periods of time between feedings, but once it meets up with intelligent life it must feed till full (30 points of Con or Wis drained total).

Vorvons do not cast shadow, reflection and they do not show up on security cameras or video recordings.  They have infrared vision to 120 ft and can survive the vacuum of space.

They are immune to the effects of energy based weapons except ones at the ultraviolet end of the spectrum.  These do 1d6 points of damage per firing.  Also the vorvon can shoot and energy blast of their own.  This is actually anti-life energy (also known as necrotic energy) to effect others.

The vorvon can hypnotize (as per the psychic power). Anyone drained by the vorvon becomes a mindless "half-dead" slave under it's control.

A mystical ward will hold it off; a diamond shape made up of four smaller diamonds.


The only way to destroy it is to get it within 800,000 km (500,000 miles) of a star.

Vorvon
AKA: Space Vampire
Frequency: Very Rare
No. Apperring: 1
Size: Man-sized (M)
Armor Class: 2 [18]1
Movement
 Basic: 180' (60')
 Advanced: 18"
 3e: 30'
Hit Dice: 10+5 (50 hp)
% in Lair: 50% (coffin by day)
Attacks: energy bolt,  Energy Drain (touch),
Damage: 1d6, Energy Drain
Special Attacks: Hypnosis,
Special Defenses: Only killed by close orbit to sunlight; immune to energy weapons*
Save As: 102
Magic Resistance: 55%
Morale: 103
Alignment: Chaotic evil
Level/XP: 10/5,750 + 12/hp

STR: 21 INT: 11 (Normal) WIS: 11 DEX: 18 CON: __(15)4  CHA: 85

1 Descending and [Ascending] Armor classes are given.
2 This is used for Basic games, and S&W. Also for monsters that I think need to save a little differently than others.
3 Morale is "Basic" Morale and based on a 1-12 scale.
4 Have not decided yet if I want to use 3.x style undead Constitutions or not. (15) Reflects what their Con would be if I do use it.  I might just put a number in () like I do for Ghosts of Albion.
5 obviously more reflective of personality and character than looks.

The Vorvon first (and last) appeared in Buck Rodgers in the 25th Century episode "The Space Vampire"

A to Z Challenge 2015 Reflections Post

I survived another A to Z blogging challenge.


I was so unprepared this year.  I know what vampire I was going to talk about each day, but often not much more than that.
By the numbers Vampires are much more popular than Witches or Demons.

Despite there being fewer participants in the challenge this year I did not get a chance to visit everyone.  That is too bad really, visiting new and interesting blogs is one of the highlights.
Though with the fewer blogs there were more that seemed in it to really enjoy it.

I actually had a lot more fun this year than last.  So that is something.
I did miss not participating in a mini-hop like I did last year.

This challenge would not be possible without our hosts:
Arlee Bird @ Tossing it Out
Ninja Captain Alex J. Cavanaugh
Jeremy @ Hollywood Nuts
Nicole Ayers @ The Madlab Post
Author Stephen Tremp
Heather M. Gardner
AJ Lauer
Pam @ An Unconventional Librarian
Matthew MacNish @ The QQQE
Zalka Csenge Virág @ The Multicolored Diary
S. L. Hennessy @ Pensuasion
C. Lee McKenzie @ The Write Game
Joy Campbell @ The Character Depot
Susan Gourley @ Susan Says
John Holton @The Sound of One Hand Typing



I'd also like to thank the Ambassador's Team that I worked with this year:
Arlee Bird, Rob Z Tobor, J Lenni Dorner, Jenny Pearson, and Jeffrey Bushman.
You are all a great bunch!

Anyway in case you are curious here are the vampires and their country or myth or origin.

Letter
Vampire Country / Myths
A
Aswang Philippines
B
Berbalang Philippines
C
Camazotz Central America
D
Dearg-Due Ireland
E
Estrie Jewish Folklore
F
Farkaskoldus Hungary
G
Gierach Eastern Prussia / Poland
H
Hsi-Hsue-Kue China
I
Impundulu South Africa (Zulu & Xhosa)
J
Jigarkhwar India
K
Kyuuketsuki Japan
L
Lilith Ancient Mesopotamia
M
Moroi Rumania
N
Nosferatu Germany
O
Ovegua Guinea, Africa
P
Pĕnanggalan Malaysian
Q
Vampire Queen Modern
R
Rolang Tibet
S
Soucouyant Trinidad
T
Tenatz Eastern Europe
U
Upierczi Poland
V
Vrykolakas Greece
W
Wurdalak Russia
X
Xiāng-shī (殭屍) China
Y
Yara-ma-yha-who Australia
Z
Zburător Rumania

Other Vampire Posts

Vampire
Country / Myths
Baobhan Sìth Ireland
Dracula Novel
Elizabeth Bathory History / myth
Lilith, as a demon Ancient Mesopotamia
Lilith, as a witch Ancient Mesopotamia
Strigoi Eastern Europe


I have NO idea what to do for next year! Any requets?
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