Showing posts with label warlock. Show all posts
Showing posts with label warlock. Show all posts

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

DMSGuild Witch Project: 5e Warlocks as Witches

Yesterday I reviewed some DMSGuild Druid circles that would work as witches.  Today I am going to look at some Warlock Pacts that would work as witches. 

For many a witch is a distaff warlock, but as you can imagine that has never really worked for me.  That is not to say you can't do it. I am currently playing a very witchy warlock. In fact the whole point of the character is to see if I can get a witch-like experience of the Rules As Written warlock.   



For these reviews, I am still following my rules


Warlock Patron: The Witch

This PDF is one page (cover not included in the download).  It is a PWYW with a suggested price of $1.00.  

While it is called the Warlock Patron The Witch, I am not seeing much to differentiate it from other warlocks. Nor anything about it that is particularly witchy.  I was hoping for warlocks that make pacts with ancient witches and Witch Queens like Baba Yaga, or even Tasha/Iggwilv.  So some neat ideas here and there, but not pulled together well enough for me. 

Which is too bad, the cover art had a lot of promise.


Warlock Patron- Hala

Hala was the Goddess of Witches for Ravenloft.  She was introduced in the late 2nd Edition days along with the Ravenloft Witch. 

This PDF is three pages (1 cover, 1.5 content) and sells for PWYW, suggested $0.50. 

In this case the warlocks do choose Hala as their patron and we get a Warlock pact that is very, very similar to what we saw in 2nd Ed Ravenloft, Van Richten's Monster Hunter Compendium Vol. 3. It works so well in fact that this could be the model for other witchy-type warlocks.  

Easily worth the $0.50.

Gingerbread Witch

This one is a neat idea.  A Warlock with a special kind of patron to become a Gingerbread Witch, ala the witch from "Hanzel and Gretel."
This PDF is a straight sale of $0.75 and you get three pages of class features to the Warlock. There is also a Gingerbread familiar which is a nice touch.  Though I am less impressed with the art; the author uses the Gingerbread man from the movie "Shrek."  This is doubly disappointing given the number of public domain images that could have been used or artists out there that would have done art for this. 
While the idea has some merit I don't see a lot of people playing this as a class option long term.


Lastly, I have one that covers Warlocks, Druids, Sorcerers and Wizards all as witches.

A Witch with Options- Witch Character Options

This 9 page PDF is PWYW with a suggestion of $2.00.  It covers four different subclass archetypes that can be used as the witch.  

There is Druid: Circle of the Coven, which draws on the natural powers associated with the Fey.  Sorcerer: Witch Stigma, which is a sorcerer with faerie blood, or witch blood if you prefer. Warlock: Haggardly Pact which is a pact with hags and finally the Wizard Arcane Tradition: Coven, which is similar to the witch kit found in AD&D 2nd ed or the witch subclass for wizards in D&D 4e.

Each one is like viewing the witch through the lens of the stated class. Each one also provides something unique, but also each one is an incomplete picture.  I think what might be fun is to have a coven of five witches, each one represented by a subclass here and one more as a Witch class. OR create a witchy subclass for the cleric.

That would be fun to try. 

Friday, September 18, 2020

One Man's God: Melnibonéan Mythos

Elric by Jeff Dee

Getting back to the mythos in the Deities and Demigods proper I want to take a look at one filled with demons, elementals and other creatures of the multiverse.  The Melnibonéan Mythos of Michael Moorcock.

The Melnibonéan Mythos is one of the two expunged mythoi from the D&DG, the other being the more popular Cthulhu Mythos.  I talked about those myths and some of the controversy around them in a previous installment of One Man's God.  I'll also talk a little more about that at the end, but first, Gods and Demons.

Elric of Melniboné was my gateway to Cthulhu.  I had done all the high fantasy that was popular in the 80s and Tolkien in particular.  But I was looking for something a little darker, something that also appealed to my same frame of mind that loved horror films.  Elric then was the logical next step.

Maybe as much as Tolkien, the works of Michael Moorcock laid down the foundation that was going to be the lens of D&D.  The alignment system, the multiverse, champions of Law and Chaos, all these things came to D&D via Moorcock.  Though in truth for this piece I could also just say Elric since these are the mythos we are discussing today.


Melniboné and Demons

The tales of Elric and Melniboné are overrun with creatures called demons. Everyone from Arioch on down is referred too as a demon in fact.  Elric's own ancestor, Terhali, also known as the Green Empress, ruled Melniboné for 605 years a thousand years before Elric. Her long life was attributed to her mother, who was a demon.  Other creatures in the books are also called demons. Arioch himself appears in many Medieval grimoires as a demon and in Milton's Paradise Lost, Book VI, Line 371.

Whether or not these meet the AD&D Monster Manual criteria for a demon is to be decided.  Let's explore some other details first.

Law & Chaos, Good & Evil

The battles in Elric's world(s) are not just of Good vs. Evil but of Law vs. Chaos. Chaos is shown to be a destructive, and often evil force.  Elric and his kin are all dedicated to the Lords of Chaos and have pacts with many of these lords.  So the "alignment" system of Elric's world view is the same as that as D&D really.  It's where we get it in fact.  So this does free up one issue; creatures described here as being Chaotic Evil are likely appropriately described in their own world and an AD&D one.  We are not going to run into issues here of Chaotic Evil creatures that also protect mothers like in the Aztec myths for example.

Lords of Hell and Demons

The Elric saga takes a "multiple hells" view on the cosmos.  There is more than one hell and they ruled over by Lords of Chaos.  Some of these Lords are also explicitly demons. They are called such in the text.  In many ways, One Man's God and my own games have evolved to be more like this point of view. 

Demons vs. Elemental Lords

There are many creatures of power in the Elric tales (and Moorcock's books as a whole). Some are explicitly demons. Others though are classified as Elemental Lords. These creatures do not see to differ very much the Princes of Elemental Evil first seen in the Fiend Folio.  In the 4e cosmology they would be called Primordials and the Titans and Giants are their offspring.  This also fits in well with the mythology Gary was building in the GDQ series.  So there are at least some relationships between these Elemental Lords and the Demons.  But that is for another day.  Though all of this leads me to two conclusions:

  1. Many demons/creatures/lords of the Elric saga are very much like the demons of AD&D. Or maybe it is the other way around.
  2. Elric might be listed as a "Magic-user 19th level" and "Cleric 10th level" but what he really is, using the current term, is a Warlock.  In fact he might be the exemplar from which we draw from.

But more on that later.

Elemental Lords & Animal Lords

Before I get to the Demons, let's look at the various Elemental Lords Elric has pacts with or is able to summon. We can compare them to other examples in other AD&D works.

In the Melnibonéan Mythos, we have Darnizhaan (NE, Earth), Grome (N, Earth), Kakatal (CN, Fire), Misha (N, Air), and Straasha (N, Water).  Generally speaking, these creatures are more powerful than the Princes of Elemental Evil found in the Fiend Folio. Which would track if these are the "Kings" and the others are just "Princes."

Elemental Lords are not the only creatures Elric encounters. There are also the various Animal Lords, or Master Types.  These are almost taken verbatim for the Monster Manual II Cat Lord and in the later editions of AD&D/D&D.  Among the Animal Lords are Fileet (Lady of Birds), Haaashastaak (Lord of Lizards), Meerclar (Lady of Cats), Nnuuurrr'c'c (Lord of the Insect Swarm), Nuru-ah (Lord of Cattle), and Roofdrak (Lord of Dogs).  Back in the 80s we treated Meeclar as the Cat Lord before the "current" Cat Lord and Bast as the one before Meeclar.  Gary would go on to support our claim in the 90s when he made Gord the new Cat Lord.  all of this fit into our worlds very nicely.

The Demons

Let's get to the demons.  There are lot of creatures in these myths are weird and Chaotic Evil.  BUT, does that make them an AD&D demon?  Well, some fit perfectly, others, we might need to file off some of the edges to make them fit.

Arioch (and Xiombarg)

Let's address the Chaos Lord in the room.  Arioch.  In the books he is Elric's patron.  I believe he is even described as a Patron Demon.  He often referred to a Lord of Hell, a Lord of Chaos and it is said he is worshipped as a god in many worlds.  But is he a god? He is certainly very powerful. On the side of a God is the fact that he can have many avatars on multiple worlds (though in D&D 3 and beyond this would be called an Aspect), on the side of Demon is the fact that he can be summoned, sometimes even against his will. It is possible that Arioch (Knight of Swords), as well as Xiombarg (Queen of Swords) and Mabelode (King of Swords, and not in the D&DG) are Demons, they are just very, very powerful ones on the level of the Arch Dukes of Hell.  

I am inclined to make them powerful Demon Lords/Princes.  Their power is such that would disrupt the hierarchy of Hell (the AD&D Hell), but in the Abyss they can plot and scheme all the like.  Again they have never been described as anything but Chaotic Evil.  I would also argue that their stats in the D&DG might be a touch high. Elric did kill Arioch in the end.

Assassinator of the Gods

Back in the AD&D days we always combined this creature with Ma Yuan of the Chinese Mythos. Though they were not exactly the same.  In this case, I am inclined to make this a completely unique creature. 

Clakar

Chaotic Evil winged apes that can be used as guards.  A bit like a summoned demon, but nothing about them screams demon to me.

Elenoin & Grahluk

These two are in a perpetual race war against each other. Not demons. I always thought of them as the female and male of the same species in a division that has gone very, very wrong.  I say every few years both races have a "pon farr" like time where both are compelled to mate.  While both can be summoned I took this more as they were responding to some other pact made. So they are not demons, but likely commanded or ruled by demons.

Kelmain

Humanoids from Limbo.

Mist Giant

More of a monster than a demon.

Mordagz

Now here is an interesting character. A former Lord of Chaos, he has been "demoted" to a Storm Giant. He could qualify as the classical definition of a demon; a former god reduced in power and status.  His alignment though is Chaotic Neutral.

Pyaray

Now this guy. Lord of the Ocean Abysses. Looks like a demon. Commands a flotilla of sunken ships manned by undead sailors. his soul is stored in the blue crystal on his head like a demon amulet.  Yeah, this one fits the demon description rather well.  His 250 hp makes him a bit more powerful than Demogorgon, but otherwise he is a good fit. We also know that Pyaray and Straasha are bitter enemies. so if Straasha is an Elemental Lord, we can have Pyaray be a Demon Lord.

Quaolnargn

Ok. This one is explicitly called a "demon from the Abyss."

There are more creatures in the tales, but these are what appear in the D&DG.

Elric as a Warlock

The big surprise here is not that there are demons and elementals in this mythos, but that Elric might be better represented as a warlock rather than a wizard, or as he is described in the book, a sorcerer.  We see Elric using magic, but mostly we see him summoning creatures to do his bidding. We rarely see him use the sorts of magics that one might expect of a 19th level magic-user/10th level llusionist/10th level cleric/5th level druid. However, all this magic can be used by a warlock. 

I did a quick build with Elic for the 5th Edition warlock. I made him a tiefling to cover his demonic ancestry and it worked out well.  But a better choice might be a Demonic Pact Warlock using some old-school rules.


My Warlock book for Swords & Wizardry would be a good fit here since I also re-classified the various demons to work with multiple "hells" and planes.

Elric of Melniboné

19th level Warlock, Demonic Pact (Melnibonéan)
Tiefling Male 

Strength: 6
Intelligence: 18
Wisdom: 17
Dexterity: 17
Constituiton: 3
Charisma: 20

Invocations: Arcane Blast, Agonizing Blast, Arcane Mastery*, Arcane Mastery (Greater)**, Arcane Mastery (Superior)***, Beast Speech, Eldritch Sight, Minions of Chaos, Pact Blade, Thirsting Blade

Spells:
1st: Black Fire, Charm Person, Command, Detect Magic, Mage Armor, Obedient Beast, Spirit Servant
2nd: Agony, Burning Gaze, Cause Light Wounds, Clothes of the Emperor, Grasp of the Endless War, Magic Circle Aganist Spirits, Share my Pain
3rd: Astral Sense, Circle of Respite, Clairsentience, Fiend's Shield, Lifesteal, Summon Winged Steed
4th: Arcane Eye, Call Imp, Divine Power, Fear, Spell storing
5th: Blade Dance, Conjuration of Elementals, Extend Spell (Greater), Song of the Night, Ward of Magic

*6th: Invisible Stalker
**7th: Conjuration of Demons
***8th: Symbol

I rather like this. 

And Arioch would fit rather well in my Warlock book too.


And finally,

The "True" Story of the Melnibonéan and Cthulhu Mythos in the D&DG?

Up first an article from DM David.

https://dmdavid.com/tag/the-true-story-of-the-cthulhu-and-elric-sections-removed-from-deities-demigods/

And a video from Seth Skorkowsky on "The Notorious Deities and Demigods (Ft. Sandy Petersen)"

Both are worth the time to go over.

Friday, June 19, 2020

Character: Magnus Ulslime, the Chaotic. Death Pact Warlock (BECMI Special)

Last week I talked about the adventure Quagmire for the Expert set.  Earlier I talked about the adventure Death's Ride for the Companion set.  What do these both have in common?  They were the genesis points of a reoccurring bad guy in my games, Magnus Ulslime, the Chaotic.


Magnus, as he was most often known in my games, is not just an awesome reoccurring bad guy, he was my testbed for all sorts of evil, death-priest, warlock style characters.

Anytime a new version of D&D would come around I would roll up a new Johan Werper as the son of the previous one, either as a LG Cleric or Paladin.  I'd attempt to make a version of Larina.  And I would make a version of Magnus.  But unlike Johan, who is a different character each time but always a LG holy warrior, or Larina who was a reincarnation of her previous version and always a witch, Magnus was always something different.  I would always go with the class that would give me the best evil traits.  In Basic he was a evil Cleric. In AD&D1 a Death Master, in 2nd Ed he started out as a Druid and then became a Necromancer.  When I switch over to 100% Ravenloft in my college years the cover of Ship of Horror and the evil necromancer Meredoth also had a huge influence on me.  As it turns out Meredoth would be revealed as an expatriate of the Mystaran country of Alphatia.
In 3rd Ed...well there were some many choices that I eventually made 6 different versions.  You can see some of that in my Buffy adventures The Dark Druid and The Dead of Night.  In 4e I used him as a test of the Death Pact Warlock that never saw the light of day under 4e.  It did, however, affect the writing I did for my warlock books.

Magnus Ulslime became my poster boy for warlocks soon after I got a copy of 4e.
I tried him out in several different ways mixing in bits of cleric, wizard, and especially necromancer.
In my Strange Brew: Warlock book for Pathfinder I introduce both Cthonic and Death Pact warlocks.  I expand on those ideas from a different point of view in my more recent book, The Warlock for Old-School Essentials.  In both cases, I made Magnus a Death Pact warlock.  It was a much better representation of how I saw the character.  He made a trade to Death for more power in the mortal world.

Magnus for BECMI
If I rerun Death's Ride again for any version of the game I'd like to replace Ulslime the Cleric with Magnus Ulslime the Warlock.  For 3rd to 5th Edition of D&D this is not a big deal.  But BECMI does not have a warlock.

No. But Old-School Essentials and Swords & Wizardry do.

My warlock for Old-School Essentials is a B/X style warlock with Death Pacts.  But it only goes to 14th level.  My warlock for Swords & Wizardry goes to 20th level (the level I want Magnus at) but it doesn't have Death pacts.  No problem. I designed the books to work together like this.  By combining them I can get the exact warlock I want.  If I need more death or necromancy themed spells



Magnus Ulslime, the Chaotic
20th level Death Pact Warlock
Lodge: Sixth Circle, Masters of the Undying

Str: 10
Int: 18
Wis: 16
Dex: 10
Con: 15
Cha: 18

HP: 66
AC: 2 (mage armor, phantom shield, ring +2)

Invocations (10)
Arcane Blast, Agonizing Blast, Armor of Shadows, Aura of Fear, Claws of the Ghoul, Eldritch Sight, Form of the Undead Horror, Mask of Many Faces, The Wasting, Whispers of the Grave

Spells
Cantrips (6): Aura Reading, Daze, Detect Curse, Mend, Message, Object Reading
1st level (7): Arcane Dart, Corpse Servent, Häxen Talons, Feel My Pain, Mage Armor, Phantom Shield, Taint
2nd level (7): Augury, Aura of Chaos, Corpse Walking, Death Knell, Grasp of the Endless War, Speak with the Dead, Ward of Harm
3rd level (6): Bestow Curse, Black Lightning, Cackling Skull, Corpse Candle, Lifesteal, Rage
4th level (6): Animate Dead, Crystal Visions, Extend Spell (Lesser), Fear, Spell Storing, Undead Compulsion
5th level (6): Bad Luck (Run of Bad Luck), Death CandleDeath Curse, Dreadful Bloodletting, Song of the Night, Winds of Limbo

Magic items: Amulet of Chaos, Pentacle Rod, Ring of Protection +2, Staff of the Warlock,

Not too bad really.  I might have to go more "BECMI" and raise him to 25th or 36th level!

While I am playing around, here is a 5th Edition version to use in my 5e Converted Death's Ride.

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Which Warlock is Which? OSE Edition.

Doesn't quite roll off the tongue like "Which Witch is Which?" does it.

My new Warlock book is out for Old-School Essentials and it is natural to want to know what is in the book.  More to the point do you need this book if you already own my The Warlock for Swords & Wizardry OR The Craft of the Wise: The Pagan Witch Tradition for OSE.

Very valid questions.

Let's go over the Warlocks first.



The classes are the same XP, HP progression wise save for where B/X and S&W differ.
  • There are few overlapping spells, but I wanted to go with new spells for the book.
  • There are few overlapping Invocations, again plenty of new and a couple revised ones here.  For example, both books have an Arcane Blast, the bread-and-butter attack of all warlocks.
  • There are no overlapping Patrons or Pacts. If you play OSE and use this Warlock book, but want a demon pact you can import it from the S&W book with no changes needed.  Same if you play S&W and want a Dragon pact.
  • There are no overlapping lodges.  I wanted to include the Masters of the Invisible College warlocks from S&W for the OSE book, but space ran out.  Instead, I am going to the Masters here at a later date with the text that was going into the book on how you play them with OSE and these Pacts. The Masters also take Cosmic Warlocks.
I wanted both books to complement each other.  I am very keen on people not thinking "hey, I already bought this book two years ago!"

For the two Old-School Essentials books, the biggest potential overlap was the spells.


I mention in the Warlock book that witches can take warlock spells and the other way around.  That is depending on your Referee. There is the subtle notion that the witches of the Pagan Tradition are at odds with warlocks.  Granted this idea works best with the demonic pacts, but it is there for players to use.  This can limit access to spells the others might "steal".

In both books, I also add new spells for Clerics, Druids, Magic-users, and Illusionists.  How they get those spells is of course up to the Referees.

I have made all the spell names and levels available for you to see in this Google Sheet.
Spell names in Red are from the OSE Warlock.  Blue links take you the book the spells appear in.



You can also link to it here:  Old-School Essentials Spells.
This sheet has ALL the Old-School Essentials spells, not just mine.

I guess the question of "why is there any overlap at all?"  Well, some spells are so ubiquitous to witches that not including them would be strange. A good example is Bestow Curse, which interestingly enough is not in these two books.

So here is a break down of all 1,078 spells I have used and 229 monsters.  Again spell names in Red are brand new to the OSE Warlock book. This sheet helps you see the spell overlap.

Witch Books - Google Sheets



My goal is always to give you something new with each book while making it playable.
So any book can be your "first" witch book and it will work AND be 100% compatible with your "second" or "third" book.

I am currently drafting my next book which will be all monsters.  After that, the plan is to do what I am now calling my last witch book, the High Secret Order Tradition.

Thursday, April 30, 2020

New Release: The Warlock for Old-School Essentials

Once again evil witches gather to celebrate Walpurgis Night and good witches celebrate Beltane.

And once again the Warlocks join the festivities.

The Warlock for Old-School Essentials



Mine is the Power!

Power. Humans have always sought it.
Clerics pray for it. Wizards study for it.

Warlocks take it.

Introducing the Warlock class for your Old-School RPGs.

- Four new warlock pacts: Chaos, Cosmic, Death, and Dragon.
- 78 Warlock spells including Cantrips
- 13 new spells for clerics, druids, illusionists, and magic-users each.
- 55 Warlock Invocations, the ultimate expression of their power!
- Magic items and warlock patrons.

Fully compatible with Old-School Essentials and other Basic-Era Games.
Fully compatible with other witch and warlock books from The Other Side.

Requires Old-School Essential Core Rules.

Cover Art by Conner Meek.  Some interior art by Jeff Dee.

POD version on the way.

This book is 100% compatible with The Craft of the Wise: The Pagan Witch Tradition also for Old-School Essentials. In fact it is written so warlocks can use witch spells (up to 5th level) and witches can use warlock spells.   The two groups of classes are also natural antagonists for each other.

This book is also 95%(*) compatible with The Warlock for Swords & Wizardry
Both warlock books feature pacts, invocations, spells, and lodges.  There is some minor overlap (invocations like Arcane Blast, some spells) but otherwise, each book adds to the other.  Expand the warlocks spell list and invocations.






Thursday, January 9, 2020

Review: Brimstone Angels: A Forgotten Realms Novel

Back in 2011 Dungeons & Dragons 4e Essentials was out and Wizards of Coast was putting it's full efforts behind it.  To help expand on their 4e and Neverwinter properties WotC turned to relatively new author Erin M. Evans to turn in a tale about tieflings and warlocks, two of 4e's more popular additions.

The result of her efforts was the first novel in the "Brimstone Angels" series, also titled Brimstone Angels.  The six-book series spanned two editions of the D&D game (4th and 5th) and help define what tieflings, warlocks, Dragonborn and even devils, succubi,  and Asmodeus himself.  But it all started with a tiefling girl named Farideh with mismatched eyes and her twin sister Havilar.

Farideh is a tiefling and since publication, she has become something of a poster girl for tiefling warlocks. But that is getting way ahead of myself.  Farideh and Havilar were abandoned outside of the walls of their village, they are adopted by a Dragonborn warrior (who has a past) Mehen.  Mehen is a good father to the two girls, although no amount of warrior training prepares him for raising teenage girls, especially tieflings and teens at that.  In the Forgotten Realms tieflings are new and twin tieflings are considered to be a bad omen.  That soon enough comes true as Havilar finds an old book and attempts to summon an imp.  Farideh has to jump in, she is more familiar with magic, and the girls soon realize they have bitten off far more than they can deal with.  They summon the cambion, Lorcan, the half-human and half-devil of the Invidiah, the leader of the Enriyes.   To send him off Farideh agrees to a pact with him and becomes his warlock.

Summoning the devil has other consequences, including burning down their home and getting them kicked out of their village of refugees (Arush Vayem).  They then go on an adventure where Evans treats us to a *new* Forgotten Realms.  I say new because unlike other Realms books where you can play spot the Extra Special Guest Star, this is a trip of normal folk, or in this case, three unknowns that happen to be a Dragonborn and his two adopted tiefling daughters.  Evans plays the family dynamics expertly.  Mehen obviously loves and worries about his girls.  Havilar is closer to his sensibilities having picked up the glaive and become and fighter like her father,  but it is Farideh that has him the most worried.

In addition to that dynamic, there is the Farideh-Lorcan relationship which gives us the best "Will they or Won't they" dynamic since Maddie and David (Moonlighting) or Ross and Rachel (Friends).  I won't spoil it, but I will say I am very satisfied with it.   Evans knows how to write characters, she would be fantastic in a game.

All this time there is a great story and impending apocalypse that could change the face of the Realms and a prophecy about the Brimstone Angels that will change the politics of Hell itself.  So no small stakes here, so no small feat for the first book.

The background story is great and a ton of fun, but truthfully it is the characters that will make you want to read the next in the series.  Lorcan is devilishly fantastic, Havilar just wants to beat things, Mehen wants to keep his family safe and Farideh is caught between them all.

As "gamer fiction" the book does a great job of explaining some of the quirks of 4e. Such as why are succubi devils now? Why did erinyes change? What happened to Hag Countess of Hell? Why is Asmodeus a greater god now?  What is the deal with Rohini? Well, not all these questions are answered right away, but they are dealt with.

What I loved about this book, other than the characters, of course, was that you didn't need a ton of Realms knowledge to enjoy it.  But in truth none of that matters, there is enough of Farideh, Lorcan, and Havilar to enjoy.    It is also a good introduction to the Forgotten Realms if you are like me and ignored the Realms for the last few decades.

It's a great start to a great series.

Legacy

Brimstone Angels was the first of six books that spanned from 2011 to 2016, and like I said, two editions of Dungeons & Dragons (4e and 5e).  The books had a huge effect on the direction of the game at least in terms of how warlocks could be played.

One needs to look no further than the Player's Handbooks for both editions to see the effects.


There in the Dragonborn names are Mehen, Farideh, and Havilar. 
There are other cases where text from the books, in particular interactions between Farideh and Lorcan, are used to flavor text next to the warlock entries. 

As I go through the other books I will try to remain spoiler-free, but apologies if an odd one slips by.

Links
https://smile.amazon.com/Brimstone-Angels-Forgotten-Neverwinter-Paperback/dp/B014S2IWTQ
https://dnd.wizards.com/products/fiction/novels/brimstone-angels
https://forgottenrealms.fandom.com/wiki/Brimstone_Angels
http://slushlush.com/
https://www.facebook.com/brimstoneangels/

Monday, April 23, 2018

The Return of Nibiru

Nibiru, the Crossing Star, is back.  With the same results that we had back in September.

So in honor of this apocalyptic repeat here is the original article!

 If you are reading this then you know we survived.

Today is the day that some conspiracy theorists believe that the planet Nibriu will destroy the earth.
Interestingly enough the Babylonian "star" of Autumn was called Nibriu.  Of course, the tin-foil hat crowd will claim that this is because the Babylonian's and the Aztecs were in contact with the same aliens (the Zetas according to one group).



Of course, this is all great stuff for a game.
Nibriu could be a sub-brown Dwarf, a body with 2.5 times the mass of Jupiter.

With a name like Nibru it could be some Clark Ashton Smith-like god, a fatal star whose invisible light shines down bringing woe and destruction.  Worshiped by insane warlocks and blind abominations whose milk-white eyes can see the foul light.

Witches and warlocks can forge a pact with Nibiru for more magics.

Nibiru's Crossing
Level: Witch/Warlock 2
Range: 1 person
Duration: Instantaneous
By means of this spell, the warlock can instantly transport himself instantly 10 feet + 5 feet per level to any unoccupied space of five feet square. So a 4 level warlock can transport 30 feet away.   The warlock does not need to see the area he is transporting too, but he must know if it is occupied or not.

Winds of Nibiru
Level: Witch/Warlock 3
Range: 40 feet from the warlock
Duration: 1 round + 1 round per 3 levels
With ancient incantations, the warlock summons the foul winds of Nibiru. The winds blow from the warlock in a cone shape and terminate 40 feet away.  Creatures in the area of effect are blown outside of it. Those outside cannot enter the cone area in front of the warlock.  Missle weapons and spells are also ineffectual in area.  Such is the concentration required that the warlock cannot move during the duration of the spell.

Dreadful Gravity of Nibiru
Level: Witch/Warlock 4
Range: 100 feet from warlock
Duration: 1 round
With this spell the warlock summons the dreadful gravity of the planet Nibiru and can pull one Small, Medium or Large creature to it to stop five feet from the Warlock.  The creature is pulled and immobilized for 1 round.  After this it may attack normally.

Eclipse of Nibiru
Level: Witch/Warlock 5
Range: 50 feet radius sphere from warlock
Duration: 5 rounds
This spell summons a piece of dread and invisible Nibiru to block all magical attacks directed at the warlock. Any spell directed at the warlock is deflected or is stopped at a distance of 50 feet from the warlock.  Magical weapons are also likewise deflected.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Nibiru: The Crossing Star

 If you are reading this then you know we survived.

Today is the day that some conspiracy theorists believe that the planet Nibriu will destroy the earth.
Interestingly enough the Babylonian "star" of Autumn was called Nibriu.  Of course, the tin-foil hat crowd will claim that this is because the Babylonian's and the Aztecs were in contact with the same aliens (the Zetas according to one group).



Of course, this is all great stuff for a game.
Nibriu could be a sub-brown Dwarf, a body with 2.5 times the mass of Jupiter.

With a name like Nibru it could be some Clark Ashton Smith-like god, a fatal star whose invisible light shines down bringing woe and destruction.  Worshiped by insane warlocks and blind abominations whose milk-white eyes can see the foul light.

Witches and warlocks can forge a pact with Nibiru for more magics.

Nibiru's Crossing
Level: Witch/Warlock 2
Range: 1 person
Duration: Instantaneous
By means of this spell, the warlock can instantly transport himself instantly 10 feet + 5 feet per level to any unoccupied space of five feet square. So a 4 level warlock can transport 30 feet away.   The warlock does not need to see the area he is transporting too, but he must know if it is occupied or not.

Winds of Nibiru
Level: Witch/Warlock 3
Range: 40 feet from warlock
Duration: 1 round + 1 round per 3 levels
With ancient incantations, the warlock summons the foul winds of Nibiru. The winds blow from the warlock in a cone shape and terminate 40 feet away.  Creatures in the area of effect are blown outside of it. Those outside cannot enter the cone area in front of the warlock.  Missle weapons and spells are also ineffectual in area.  Such is the concentration required that the warlock cannot move during the duration of the spell.

Dreadful Gravity of Nibiru
Level: Witch/Warlock 4
Range: 100 feet from warlock
Duration: 1 round
With this spell the warlock summons the dreadful gravity of the planet Nibiru and can pull one Small, Medium or Large creature to it to stop five feet from the Warlock.  The creature is pulled and immobilized for 1 round.  After this it may attack normally.

Eclipse of Nibiru
Level: Witch/Warlock 5
Range: 50 feet radius sphere from warlock
Duration: 5 rounds
This spell summons a piece of dread and invisible Nibiru to block all magical attacks directed at the warlock. Any spell directed at the warlock is deflected or is stopped at a distance of 50 feet from the warlock.  Magical weapons are also likewise deflected.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Class Struggles: AS&SH 2 Warlocks and Witch Lords

The new Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea, 2nd Edition from +Jeff Talanian is out. It's going to take me a bit to go through it all.  But so far I am enjoying the hell out of it.

One thing that the 1st Edition had that the new 2nd Edition has expanded on is the Warlock class.
The book tells us:
Some warlocks practice the sorcery of cryomancers and may be referred to as ice lords; others practice the sorcery of pyromancers and may be referred to as fire lords. Perhaps the most feared and reviled of warlocks are those who practice the black arts of necromancy (death soldiers)...
Pretty cool really. And it got me thinking.

Yesterday I worked up the character Grimalkin as a warlock that has chosen witch magic as her type of  Sorcery. There is something interesting here. Something pretty cool.

Witch Lords

Warlocks the choose witchcraft as their sorcery see (Vol. II, p. 148: Table 68) are known as Witch Lords.   These warlocks are often found protecting the covens of more powerful witches or ruling over covens of less powerful ones.

Curse of the Witch Lord by tmza
Using the Grand Coven idea from my Warlock for Swords & Wizardry you can use Witch Lords as the leaders of Grand Covens in the Hyperborean world.  Instead of the usual compliment, a 9th level Warlock can gather, they may opt to form a Grand Coven.

The troop gathered include these 0th-level fighters of 1d8 hp each (known as cowans).
* 15 longbowmen (studded armor, longbows, short swords)
* 5 cavalrymen (chain mail, lances, light crossbows, horseman’s flails; light warhorses)
* 20 light crossbowmen (chain mail, small shields, light crossbows, long spears, short swords)
* 15 halberdiers/pikemen

They also gather the following coven
* 9 initiate witches of 0 level
* 3 witches of 1st level
* 1 witch of 2nd or 3rd level

A 9th level witch and a 9th level Witch Lord that gather together can create a cult stronghold to house all these members.

Once again, AS&SH is firing up my imagination for a game.

Friday, June 9, 2017

The Warlock goes Copper!

I just logged onto and noticed that just at six weeks that The Warlock for Swords & Wizardry has gone Copper Best Seller at RPGNow!



I am so pleased!

The Warlock joins such worthies as The Witch (Silver on DriveThru), Eldritch Witchery (Copper), Sisters of the Aquarian Order (Copper), and Ghosts of Albion (Gold on DriveThru and Silver on RPGNow).

Thank you all for supporting me over the years.

I hope my next book, The Green Witch, is just as welcome.

Friday, May 12, 2017

The Warlock, In Print!

After two failed attempts the Warlock is finally ready for print purchases!


You can now get a copy to go with other books in my Witch line.


Like Hedgewitches,


Or any Witch for that matter.


BTW, does anyone want The Witch: Aiséiligh Tradition for Swords & Wizardry in print?


Combine them all for a Complete Witch!

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

The Witches (and Warlocks) of Swords & Wizardry

This is a post I have been meaning to do for a while.  Collect all my Swords & Wizardry Witch books in one place.

Roughly in reverse publishing order.

The Warlock for Swords & Wizardry



The Witch: Hedgewitch for the Hero's Journey RPG


The Witch: Aiséiligh Tradition for Swords & Wizardry



The Witch for Swords & Wizardry Light



Sisters of the Aquarian Order



Not for Swords & Wizardry, but still largely compatible are:

The Witch: A sourcebook for Basic Edition fantasy games



Spellcraft & Swordplay: Eldritch Witchery



Combine them all for a Complete Witch!

Warlock Lodge: Masters of the Invisible College

Today I want to share one of the Warlock Lodges from my new book The Warlock for Swords & Wizardry.  Also, this is a good topic for this month's RPG Blog Carnival topic Magic and The Occult, hosted by Sea of Stars RPG.

Warlock Lodges
The Lodge is a secret order that often only admits a few Warlocks at a time. Each Lodge has their methods of instruction for their potential Warlock, and these are a closely guarded secret. While a Witch may leave the lands where she learned her tradition from her sisters, Warlocks join a Lodge for life. The Lodge is also the physical meeting place, sanctuary, and library of the Warlock.

Masters of the Invisible College
This esoteric lodge believes they are the foundation for all arcane study, not just Warlocks, but Wizards and Witches as well. Their vaulted halls contain the wisdom of the ages and spells never before seen. Only those of the highest intelligence may be admitted and then a rigorous training program must begin. Only when the Warlock has proven himself (10th level) will he be allowed access to the Deeper Mysteries and Hidden Knowledge of the Akashic Records. The location of this great store of knowledge is one of the best-kept secrets in the world.
Warlocks of this Lodge believe that nothing is more important than the arcane pursuits. This lodge is unique among lodges in that it actively recruits warlocks, witches, magic-users and clerics of gods of magic and knowledge to join their ranks for the pursuit of arcane knowledge.   Members of this lodge agree to put aside personal differences in terms of patrons, alignments, and racial differences so that they gain greater insight to magic. Masters of the Invisible College are the foremost expert on identifying magic items and researching spells. Prospective members must bring a new magic item to the lodge for study. The item need not be powerful, indeed, low power but unique items are more sought after. Items with history or created by famous spellcasters are also sought after.
The Lodge does not reveal what they do with these items outside of study.

While the Masters of the Invisible College has the overt makings of a Grand Lodge or a Grand Coven (a grouping of both Witches and Warlocks), it is actually neither.
Witches most likely to join the Secret Masters will belong to the Aquarian Tradition (from the Witch).  Wizards and Alchemists are also likely to join.

Witches in this Lodge will treat it as their Coven.  They can learn Magic-User spells of the appropriate level to replace their Ritual Spells much like a Hedge Witch or Witches of the Aiséiligh Tradition.   Such spells could also be unique or rare to the game world.  (I suggest something like +Dyson LogosMagical Theorems & Dark Pacts to add more spells.)

Joining the College
Potential entrants are brought in at 1st level.  They must have Intelligence scores of 16 or better and bring in one new magic item.  Entry must be done before 2nd level.  Often the College seeks out gifted individuals and waives the normal entry fees (1000 gp).  All Probationers are required to have a Sponsor who will eventually become their Mentor.  Entry is decided by the Deans of the College.

GM's are encouraged to make Lodges that fit their own game world.

Pick up a copy of the Warlock for Swords & Wizardry.


Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Good Times. Bad Times.

In the days of my youth I was told what it means to be a man...

Oh wait. Not those times.

Good News. I got the proof copy back of the Warlock today! I was going to make it live.
Bad News. Rather glaring typos on the back cover.

Not happy about this. So I am going to fix them and re-submit.  But it looked so great.





Sunday, April 30, 2017

The Warlock for Swords & Wizardry

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

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

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

Cover art Copyright 2015 Dean Spencer

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

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

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

S&W Warlock: Meet Nik Nak, Goblin Warlock

Nik Nak is one of the first warlocks I worked up for my new Warlock for Swords & Wizardry.
He is a sneaky little goblin, but smarter than most.

Nik Nak by Jacob Blackmon
Nik Nak
3rd Level Goblin Warlock (Bogelbo)
hp 11

S: 9
I:  13
W: 10
D: 12
Cn: 10
Ch: 14

Saves: +2 to saves against charm, hold, paralysis and sleep spells.
BtH: +0
AC: 7* (lesser if Armor of Shadows is invoked)
Alignment: Chaotic

Invocations
Arcane Blast, Agonizing Blast, Armor of Shadows

Spells
1st: Häxen Talons, Obedient Beast
2nd: Poisonous Stare

Nik Nak is a respected, and feared, member of his goblin clan.  He is an impressive and smarter than average goblin. So smart in fact he found his way to the center of the Goblin City and presented himself to the King of Goblins beseeching him for power.  The great King admired the young Nik Nak's verve and granted him a token; a feather from his own cape.  The feather became Nik Nak's warlock familiar and now Nik Nak serves as a warlock with the Faerie Pact to the Goblin King.
In battle, Nik Nak carries a bone rod and wears leather armor. He rides on a giant frog (named "Mrs. Black") he has made obedient. He wears the skull of a giant rat as a helmet. Though this is more to protect the feather he has braided into his long dreadlocks than his own skull.
Nik Nak is a goblin, but he is not a particularly evil one.  He has learned that the threat of violence and terror of his power is usually more effective than actual violence.
Also, Nik Nak is perfectly happy to deal with adventurers in amicable terms as long as there is something in it for him or his Lord the Goblin King.

Usually found in the Goblin Wood outside the Haven Valley, Nik Nak can also be found wandering the Goblin Market where he trades wares, and insults, with other Bogelbos or in the town of West Haven where he deals with darker beings.

Despite racial enmity, Nik Nak has friendly if strained, relations with the Winterhaven gnome clan. This is mostly due to the legendary friendliness of the Winterhaven gnomes.

The Warlock for Swords & Wizardry will be out April 30, Walpurgis Night.


Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Strange Brew: Warlocks

I am interrupting this A to Z Challenge to talk about my newest book. The first part of "Strange Brew" is now out.  This book features Warlocks for the Pathfinder game.

Strange Brew: Warlock



Power.

Sorcerers are born into it. Wizards spend their lives in rigorous study for it. Witches gain it through devotion to their patron. But some who seek power are unlucky enough to have been born mortal, with no access to or desire for arcane education; ordinary people who know little of witchcraft’s ancient traditions. Unlike witches, who are called by their patrons, warlocks seek out powerful beings to grant them the power they crave or desperately need.

That power can now be in your hands.

Included in these 30 pages is the new Warlock class for the Pathfinder RPG.

  • Also inside are new rules on Grimoires, the ancient and living texts of warlocks.
  • Details on new warlock pacts, including unique powers and spells.
  • Examples of several new warlock Patrons.
  • New feats
  • New hexes
  • New spells
  • And a new warlock NPC

All for your Pathfinder Role-Playing Game!

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Class Struggles: The Warlock

There have been a number of warlock classes, but unlike the wizard, fighter, cleric or even thief, everyone has had their own take on what a warlock should be.
I have talked about the warlock as a class, distinct from the witch, in the past.
I do like keeping my warlocks separate from my witches in terms of class.  In my mind they are just too different. Similar yes, but still very different.  I would allow any warlock to use the same spell list as a witch unless there was a good reason not to do it.

I think the first ever warlock class I ever saw was the "Warlocks: A New Magic-User Sub Class" by Anthony Barnstone in The Dungeoneer #16.  It had some great spells, "Pentacle of Fire", "Aura of the Occult", "Curse of the Bloody Revenge" to name a few.  This was certainly meant to be an evil character class to play, not just as an NPC.  Interestingly enough this the same issue that featured the mystic class.  I have to admit it was one of the things that made me like the Dungeoneer magazine.  It didn't treat it's audience like little kids.

To my knowledge, there has never been a warlock class in the pages of Dragon magazine.  I know there was not one in the pages of White Dwarf.

The Arcanum and Bard Games had a witch/warlock class, making them the same thing.  I am not a fan of that really.

In my mind the witch and the warlock began as the same class, but the warlocks broke off from the witches  sometime in the ancient past.  Either warlocks wanted to become more like wizards and mages OR they were responsible for the first wizards.

Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea has a great Warlock class. It is a sub-class of the fighter but calls upon dark powers to give them some magical power and spells.  Mor to the point I like how the warlock and the witch are very different sorts of classes.

The AS&SH warlock is something more akin to a swordmage.  We see something similar in D&D4 Essentials Hexblade.  In general I liked the D&D4 Warlock.  They were a class that wanted quick access to power and none of the work that Wizards had to do.  That was a fine role-playing excuse, but not something that played out in the rules.  Warlocks gained powers just like the Wizards did and had no more or no less requirements.

There is a Warlock I created in Eldritch Witchery. It is a type of Wizard really. I liken it to "Wizard Grad School" to be honest.  They use the same spells as the witch and gain a few extra powers.

The Warlocks in Fantastic Heroes & Witchery are another sort.  It is a chaos aligned wizard and has a lot of the same features really.  It uses the same xp per level tables, same HD and same spell progressions.  The FHW Warlock does gain some power, similar in many ways to my own witch, but at a cost.  On the surface this doesn't make it much different than a wizard, with a different selection of spells.  What makes this class, and really this book, different are the selection of spells (the book has 666) and the additional rules for acquiring magic and casting spells.  Adding this material makes the Warlock a much more interesting character.

The Pact-Bound in Magical Theorems & Dark Pacts is another warlock-like class.  Again the idea here is a class that takes a quick path to power for a price, usually to an other-worldly power.

There is a similar one in the pages of the ACKS Player's Companion.  Again the nice thing with this book is that the witch and warlock are separated.

In the 3e era we have a couple of "warlocks".  There is a warlock in the Complete Arcane and the witch in Pathfinder, which always felt more like a warlock to me.  Just staying focused on 3e we have a warlock class from WotC and a witch class for Pathfinder.  For 4e there were also very different witch and warlock classes.  5e only has a warlock.

In the case of the official D&D warlock, he is less of a spell caster and more a raw magical power wielder.  His pacts give him this power.

The question becomes one of whether the warlock should have spells or just weid raw magical power and thus have "blasts".  I am torn myself.  I like the warlock to have access to spells to be honest, the idea is these guys have sold their souls for power, but the "blasty" warlock really isn't all that powerful compared to a "spelly" warlock or wizard.

A good example of what I call a "blasty warlock" is Jeremy Reaban's The OSR Warlock.  Like his Witch Hunter book this book has a number of nice features in addition to the class. The class does not cast spells, it does have lot of special powers. This is by design and owning to the stated OGC and pulp sources.  The warlock here does get some spell like abilities in place of powers.  It actually works rather nicely   What I think makes this book special is the level advancement tables for "First Edition", "Original Edition", "Basic/Expert" and "Cyclopedic Edition".   Plus the author has a section of notes on the class.

I have to admit one of my favorite "warlock" books and one that  captures the Pulp Era warlock well is Green Ronin's "Warriors & Warlocks" book.  Yes it is for their superhero game Mutants and Masterminds (2.0 version) but it was my goto guide for a proper pulp warlock will AS&SH came out, and it is still a lot of fun.

I am certain I have missed some here.  Let me know in the comments below!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Building a 5e Warlock

I have been playing around a little (very little really) with the Warlocks in 5e.  My son has made one and I have two that I started but have not gotten back too.

Though I like what I have played with so far.  The 5e Warlock is a nice mix of the 4e Warlock and even a little bit of the 4e Witch.

Concept wise I can build a number of "witch like" characters and can build a number of other sorts of warlocks and witches.  Again, the class is so nicely set-up that their is no real need for me to build a witch for 5e.

I have a couple more experiments with the 5e warlock to try out, but so far so good.

This video came up in my feeds as something that I would like and you know what, I did.
It is too simple for anyone reading this blog, but still a nice walk through.




Friday, June 6, 2014

Then Again...maybe I spoke too soon

From the desk of Mike Mearls.




Warlocks in D&D 5.  I had heard a rumor of witches in 5 too.

Here is a larger pic



I like the look so far!
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