Showing posts with label willow. Show all posts
Showing posts with label willow. Show all posts

Friday, December 8, 2017

Willow & Tara: Mighty Protectors

Willow and Tara are a couple of serious powerhouses in my games.  If you look at the most recent "canonical" versions of them from Armageddon they can do some serious supernatural smacking down.
For their Mighty Protector's versions I toned it down a bit, but still set them at over 200 CP.  These are very similar to their Villains & Vigilantes 2.1 counterparts which I have put at around 12-13th level.

Now I can easily dump more CPs into powers and "spells".  I truthfully want to tweak them both a bit to see how well my magic rules work.  That is the real test of any character I would normally want to play.

Willow Rosenberg
Willow has a lot of spells and I can swap them out as needed. Willow and Tara share a psychic bond to allow them to communicate with each other regardless of distance. Willow also has increased wealth due to selling off her software firm.

Tara Maclay
Tara retains her ability to heal that she gained as an ascended witch.  She shares Willow's psychic bond.  I likely could have dropped the CP cost for both since it would work fine if only one had it.

Both have TK, a holdover from the Buffy RPG rules and both magical senses, aka "Lesser Sensing" from Ghosts of Albion.  The real tweaks for these two characters would be their magic and spells.  Given that I have them in semi-retirement I would not expect some of their powers, and certainly not their Basic Characteristics, to get better. Though one could argue that Willow's IN could be higher.
Also I could raise their Energy by a lot really.  Somewhere in the MP book it mentions the amount of CP/XP I can expect and I have seen online a rough V&V Level to MP CP conversion.  So if I come back to these two I can dump those extra points somewhere.

But all in all I am pretty happy with these builds.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Willow & Tara: Blue Rose 2nd Edition

Yesterday I posted the first part of my conversion of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer universe to Blue Rose.  Today I want to post the second part.  In this post, I'll look at Blue Rose versions of my two favorite witches, Willow & Tara.
I had posted some conversions for these two using the Blue Rose/True 20 system, but those were modern versions of what I call the "Dragon and the Phoenix" timeline.  They were not Aldean versions of the characters.  Honestly given their treatment in the main continuity, they will be more respected in Aldea than in Sunnydale.

Like with Bethan I am starting with what is the essence of the characters and adapting that to a Aldean/Blue Rose background.  So I am pleased to introduce Helyg (Willow) and Brynn (Tara).

Helyg & Brynn, Rose Adepts
In my games, and in much popular fan fic, Willow and Tara have been reincarnated many times and in each life they have been lovers.

Helyg, Adept of the White Rose

Helyg was born to a not-very-rich merchant and his University schooled wife.  She had expected she would join the service of the Church of Pure Light in Jarzon like so many other intelligent, but not wealthy, girls living in Jarzon.  Helyg knew though she was different. Very different.
She knew the thoughts of others, even when she didn't try. She could "see" when things were about to happen and avoid them.  As her magical power grew so did her realization that she also was caria daunen and preferred other girls. She had been in a relationship with boy who was a childhood friend because this was expected of her.  When she was with him she could avoid the questions her mother had, but only voiced in her mind.  Helyg planned to escape to Aldis where she could, at least, be away from a country that did not approve of her love or her magic.  Somehow she managed to convince her parents, and to this day she believes she used Arcana to do this, to allow her to attend University in Aldis.
Here she met the Darkfiend Slayer, Bethan and learned of her battles.
She also met Brynn.
When she met Brynn she felt a deep connection to her from the start. She thought at first it was because she had met another young adept and a potential "study buddy" and friend. It was not till they touched, physically and mentally, that she learned the truth.  Helyg and Brynn had been part of each other's Eternal Dance since the dawn of time. Always together, always finding each other. Thousands of lives and names. Names like Bodhmal and Liath, Sallie and Teamhair, Will and Tamara, Willow and Tara, flooded their minds. Sometimes the love was romantic, other times familial, but always in love. They knew they were Anamchara.
They have had no time to reflect on this though. They have encountered a new Shadowgate and more Darkfiends pour out.  Helyg and Brynn have also learned that they might be the first Rose Adepts in nearly one-hundred years.

Jarzoni (living in Aldis)
Class: Adept Level: 3

Score Focus
3 2
2 Psychic
5 4 Historical Lore, Arcane Lore

AR 0
Defense 12
Health 32
Weapon Groups: Brawling, Staves

Staff, Attack 3, Damage 1d6+1
Athame, Attack 1, Damage 1d6

Armor Training: None
Talents: Arcane Training: Shaping (J), Psychic (N)
Mundane Talents: Lore (N), Linguistics (N)

Psychic: Psychic Contact*, Psychic Shield, Second Sight
Shaping: Move Object, Arcane Weapon, Wind Shaping, Wind Walking

Calling: The Adept, Mastery of the Arcane
Destiny/Fate: Seven of Chalices, Practical/Deluded
Goals: Keep Brynn safe, help Bethan, Learn the secrets of the Rose Adepts.
Corruption: None, but she thinks she might have unduly influenced her parents with Psychic Arcana. This is something she has only shared with Brynn.

Brynn (4). She is the love of my life. My soulmate, my anamchara. I see a better version of myself in her eyes and she makes me want to be that person. I will always find her.
Bethan (2). She is my best friend. To everyone else, she is the indestructible Slayer but we have shared fears, sorrow, and happiness. I know the true Bethan.
Gwawr (2). She is my best friend's sister. I sense power from her, but she doesn't know it yet herself. She loves Brynn so much I can't help but be protective of her.

Brynn, Adept of the White Rose

Living in the great forests of the Pavin Weald is not an easy life.  Living under the shadow of sorcery makes it much tougher.  Brynn grew up in such an environment. Her father and brother were both stern military men that took the point of view that women need to remain at home.  He wanted to rais his daughter the same way, her mother, Meghan, would have nothing to do with that. While many girls in this part of the Pavin Weald did not bother to learn to read, Brynn was taught by her mother. She also learned that she, her mother and grandmother, were all part of a great legacy of Reznan Witches. Her father, Riobard, had rescued Meghan from a Darkfiend attack many years ago.  Riobard always felt it was the trace of Vata blood in Meghan, her mother and now in Brynn that had attracted the Darkfiends.  After Meghan had died Brynn learned that a sizable sum of money had been saved for her to attend University in Aldis.
She left her home and entered the wide world for the first time.
She also met Helyg.
When she met Helyg she felt a deep connection to her from the start. She knew Helyg had power, she had felt the same around her mother and grandmother.  It was not till they touched, physically and mentally, that she learned the truth.  Helyg and Brynn had been part of each other's Eternal Dance since the dawn of time. Always together, always finding each other. Thousands of lives and names. Names like Bodhmal and Liath, Sallie and Teamhair, Will and Tamara, Willow and Tara, flooded their minds. Sometimes the love was romantic, other times familial, but always in love. They knew they were Anamchara.
They have had no time to reflect on this though. They have encountered a new Shadowgate and more Darkfiends pour out.  Helyg and Brynn have also learned that they might be the first Rose Adepts in nearly one-hundred years.

Human (some Vata heritage)
Forrest Folk (living in Aldis)
Class: Adept Level: 3

Score Focus
3 2
2 Psychic
4 3 Natural Lore, Arcane Lore

AR 0
Defense 12
Health 35
Weapon Groups: Brawling, Staves

Staff, Attack 3, Damage 1d6+1
Athame, Attack 1, Damage 1d6

Armor Training: None
Talents: Arcane Training: Psychic (J), Healing (N)
Mundane Talents: Animal Training (Horses) (N), Medicine (N)

Psychic: Psychic Contact*, Psychic Shield, Second Sight, Calm, Sense Minds
Healing: Cure, Sleep

Calling: The Moon, Discovery of Secrets
Destiny/Fate: Six of Rods, Confident/Apprehensive
Goals: Protect Helyg from Corruption, help Bethan and Gwawr, Learn the secrets of the Rose Adepts.
Corruption: None.

Helyg (4). She is the love of my life. My soulmate, my anamchara. I see a better version of myself in her eyes and she makes me want to be that person. I will always find her.
Bethan (1). She is Helyg's best friend and she treats me like I am family. If I can help her in anything I will.
Gwawr (2). She is my best friend, even though she is younger. She also has powerful psychic potential, but it is untested. I will protect her as my mother protected me.

*When using Psychic Contact between each other, neither Helyg nor Brynn suffer fatigue.  Contact is made at +5 to their rolls.

WOW. I am so, so pleased with these stats. I can't wait to play these two!

“The only thing more frightening than meeting a Celt in battle is meeting a Celt in battle with his wife at his side.” 
- Attributed to Pliny the Elder, 1st Century CE

Anamchara (“on-um-kor-ah”), or soul-mate, is the Gaelic term used to describe a deep and powerful bound shared between two people. This goes beyond mere companionship and even beyond love; the souls of the two people are connected at a deep and fundamental level. Some occult scholars even speculate anamchara share one soul between two physical people.
The anamchara (singular and plural) are often aware of each other on a preternatural level. While this not a full blown telepathy or even empathy it is beyond what the normal senses would allow. This manifests itself in mundane ways as two lovers humming the same song at the same time with no outside influence, husband and wife completing each others sentences, separated twins living parallel lives, or even one sibling knowing her other sibling is about to walk into a room before the event happens.
Anamchara can be, and often are, lovers, but they are not limited to that alone. Some anamchara can also be very close siblings or very deeply devoted friends. Sometimes the connection can be forged in battle, giving rise to a “brothers-in-arms” effect. The Anamchara can also have a deep connection resulting from life times of being together, often both having been in the Eternal Dance together for centuries.
The only prerequisites for this are the two characters must love each other, as represented by a relationship intensity of 3 or greater.

SP  Stunt
5   I Will Always Find You. This acts like a mild form of Empathy or Awareness that extends only to their anamchara. This grants +2 to locate their anamchara via mundane, magic or psychic means. This also gives each anamchara a broad sense of the other’s health and well being.
5   I’ll Stand By You. When anamchara are together even dire situations do not seem as grim. With a soothing word or even a knowing look a character can grant her anamchara +5 on any one test. Best of all, she can do it after the player has already made this test. The granting character spends her Action explaining she is doing this to aid her beloved. This can only be done once per game session per character.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Willow & Tara: Armageddon, the End Times

This post has been a long time coming.

Back in 2001 I started a project to stat out two of my favorite witches for every RPG I have ever played.  You can see the fruits of those efforts here.  I printed out hundreds of character sheets, filled them out, even used a few in games.  Deep diving into two characters and seeing how they work across different systems and different worlds. It has been a great time.

One set of sheets I started in 2006 and thought, oh I'll get to these when I run my "Generation HEX" game.  Well...I never got around to those sheets.  I was in the habit putting the date of the game on the top of the sheet. That way I could keep the overall campaign straight in my head.

This week was the 20th anniversary of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, a milestone I was going to leave unremarked.  But I pulled out those sheets and noticed the date on them.   The game was also one I wanted to revisit this year given ...all sorts of reasons.

The year was 2017 and the game was Armageddon: The End Times.

There are so many reasons that Armageddon is the most perfect choice for Willow and Tara in 2017.

Armageddon is the sequel to the WitchCraft RPG much in the same sense that the Buffy RPG is; just a different evolutionary path. Armageddon features much more powerful characters in a post-apocalyptic world. In fact, there is a lot about the game world of 2017 that we can relate too in the real world of 2017.

I described Armageddon as:
The ultimate expression of the Classic Unisystem game line. Use it as a future for your WitchCraft games, or as source material for WitchCraft and All Flesh Must Be Eaten. Far improved over the poorly edited 1st Edition, this could be C.J. Carella's finest work and that is saying something.
It should then stand to reason that my versions of Willow and Tara should also be represented in their ultimate expression.

Willow & Tara in 2017

Given what I have been doing with the characters for the last few years I would have to say they have been largely retired.  Given the reunion staged by Entertainment Weekly, I would say something pulled them out of retirement.  Maybe a horrible orange monster threatening to take over the world. Or something.

On my sheets, I gave them both 200 extra character points. One of the first things I did was buy off many of their drawbacks. Most of that stuff dealt with youth and being young.  I am also going with the fan-favorite theory that they have two daughters by this time.

I didn't buy up their attributes much save for maybe ones that would be expected to improve due to better diet and exercise.

Willow Rosenberg-Maclay
Wicce Seeker of Knowledge
Gifted Master

Age: 36, Ht: 5'3", Hair: Red, Eyes: Green

Attributes: Str 2 Dex 3 Con 3 Int 5 Per 5 Wil 6
Life Points 36
Endurance 38
Speed 12
Essence 65

Channeling Level: 8

Qualities & Drawbacks: Gifted (+5), Essence Channeling (25), Increased Essence Pool (+20), Adversary (Assorted, 2), Ambidexterity, Anamchara, Attractiveness (+2), Hard to Kill (+2), Honorable (-1), Minority, Lesbian (-1), Nerves of Steel (3), Old Soul (2), Resources (3, wealthy)

Skills: Acrobatics (4), Brawling (3), Bureaucracy (5), Computers (9), Computer Hacking (9), Computer Programming (9), Craft (5), Dodge (6), Electronics (5), Engineering, Robotics (5), Humanities, Psychology (1), Languages (English, French, Greek, Hebrew, Latin, Russian), Magic Theory (5), Instruction (1), Medicine, General (2), Occult Knowledge (9), Research (4), Rituals, Wicce (7), Trance (1).

Powers: Absob Power, Aura of Confidence, Create Ward, Essence Shield, Farsee, Flame, Float, Mindtalk strength and art (7), Mindhands strength and art (5), Lightning Bolt, Mindfire strength (5) art (4), Mindtalk strength and art (5), Physical Shield, Search Person (4)* (8 if that person is Tara, Brianna or Chole), Sending, Soulfire Blast, Visual Illusion.

Tara Rosenberg-Maclay
Wicce Weird One
Gifted Master

Age: 37, Ht: 5'5", Hair: Blonde, Eyes: Blue

Attributes: Str 3 Dex 2 Con 3 Int 5 Per 6 Wil 6
Life Points 36
Endurance 38
Speed 10
Essence 70

Channeling Level: 8

Qualities & Drawbacks: Gifted (+5), Essence Channeling (25), Increased Essence Pool (+20), Artistic Talent (7), Hard to Kill (+1), Honorable (-1), Minority, Lesbian (-1),  Nerves of Steel (3), Old Soul (2), Resources (3, wealthy)

Skills: Cooking (5), Craft, Candle Making (2), Craft, Simple Crafts (4), Humanities, Art History (6), Humanities, Psychology (7), Languages (English, French, Gaelic [Irish], Greek, Japanese, Latin), Magic Bolt (4), Magic Theory (5), Instruction (5), Medicine, General (2), Myth and Legend, Folk Magic (7), Occult Knowledge (9), Research (4), Rituals, Wicce (7), Singing (2), Survival, Urban (2), Trance (2), Dancing (3)

Powers: Blessing of Protection, Create Ward, Essence Sheild, Flame, Float, Influence Emotional State, Lesser Healing (Heal Wounds, Cure Disease), Mindfire strength and art (4), Mindtalk strength and art (5), One with the Land, Perceive True Nature, Physical Shield, Search Person (4)* (8 if that person is Willow, Brianna or Chole), Sending, Touch of Healing*, Visual Illusion

*Tara still retains her healing touch divine powers from when she was brought back from the dead.

Not sure if I spent all my points correctly, but that is fine. I had a lot of fun doing this.

So for me it has been nearly 10 years since I used these characters in these incarnations.
What have they been doing?  Well in the Dragon and the Phoenix/Season of the Witch timeline they moved to Boston, been married for years. Willow owned a software security firm ("RedWitch") that she later sold making millions. Tara has degrees in art history and counseling. She teaches at a school for young magicians and witches (no not Hogwarts). They have two daughters Brianna 12 and Chole 9.

If you want to see a "timeline" of their development then here you go. These are in world-chronological order, not the order I wrote them.

Pre-2000, BESM
2000-1, WitchCraft
2001, d20 Modern
2002, BESM-d20
2003, BESM 3rd Ed
2004, World of Darkness
2005, Chill
2006, Cartoon Action Hour Season 3
2006-7, Doctor Who
2007, Savage Worlds
2007, DC Heroes
2008, Cortext
2008, World of Darkness (new)
2009, Mutants and Masterminds 2nd ed
2010, OVA
2011, Mutants and Masterminds 3rd ed
2012, Marvel Heroic Roleplaying
2013, Superbabes

There are more, but you get the idea here.

This was great. Like meeting up with old friends again and seeing that they are getting along wonderfully. Been wanting to do this for a while now and it did not disapoint.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Willow & Tara: Victorious

I am continuing my week-long deep dive of the Victorious game and I thought I'd go back to some familiar territory for me.   Though to be fair, the game did give me this idea.

There are a couple of things about Victorious right from the start. First, the ability to port in other classes from other SEIGE Engine games, like Castles & Crusades.  Second, the in-game plot element that there are some characters there from the 21st Century.
So what if I DID decide to bring some characters? Who should I bring over?  No real question really.
While I was working on this post the question of Savage World's Rippers was also brought up. So why not try something with that too.

So here is my premise. Sometime in 2006 (not 2016) Willow and Tara are ripped out of their time back to London of the 1890s.  Let's just say 1896.  Digging through some old games....ah yes, they were at a museum in London and they saw a daguerreotype picture of themselves in Victorian period dress with another woman.  Maybe something like this.

Willow and Tara flanking the Slayer of Victorian Age, Tara LaGrange by mqken.
The other young woman is Tara LaGrange who is featured as a "Slayer" in the Rippers book.

So. Let's try bringing in my two favorite witches using some of the spell casting rules from Castles & Crusades (I'll do something different tomorrow) and see if I can build a Slayer using these rules.

As cool as those guns are and as tempted I am to really turn the Steampunk elements up to 11 on this, I also want to do a simple spellcaster conversion first.
I have a few things I need to consider.  1. Are spells Vancian in nature?  I think I am going to say yes with the option that certain low-level spells can be cast more than once. A signature spell so to speak.
2. Can spellcasters mix in magickal powers? Again yes, but I am going to limit it to just what they get for their CHA bonus +1.

For spellcasters, they take the "Spellcaster Power" every other level.  This gives them access to the next level of spells.  So Spellcaster as levels 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, 11, 13, 15, and 17 for spell levels Cantrips and 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9 respectively.  This gives them roughly half of the free Power Points of other characters. So these remainder points can be allocated as needed.  Typically I would see a spellcaster at first level taking Spellcasting, Blast (Magick) and Psycho-Kinesis.  The 1 point shortcoming is that the spells must be studied in a book of rituals.

Proper Name: Willow Danielle Rosenberg
Strength: 9 (0)
Dexterity: 11 (0)
Constitution: 13 (+1)
Intelligence: 18 (+3)*
Wisdom: 16 (+2)
Charisma: 17 (+2)*
INIT: +0
Actions: 1 per round
AC: 10, +6 (Mystic)
Defensive: +9 Vision
Hit Points: 44
Level: 12
Alignment: Good
Victory Points: 5
Skills: History/Legend (Intelligence), Linguist (Intelligence), Occult (Intelligence), Prime (Intelligence), Science (Intelligence)
Languages: English, Latin, Greek, Hebrew
Supernatural Powers: see Packages

Spellcaster (Arcane) 12th level.
0: Dancing Lights, Detect Magic, Light, Mage Hand, Message, Prestidigitation
1: Burning Hands, Comprehend Language, Identify, Magic Missile, Shield, Shocking Grasp
2: Darkness, Knock, Levitate, Locate Object, See Invisible
3: Clairvoyance/Clairaudience, Dispel Magic, Fly, Lightning Bolt, Suggestion
4: Arcane Eye, Fear, Mnemonic Enhancer
5: Contact Other Plane, Permanency, Telepathic Bond*
6: Chain Lighting, Guards and Wards

Powers: (Spellcaster) Blast 2, Keen Senses (Sight, Magick), Psycho-Kinesis 2, Telepathy,

Shortcomings: Enemy 2 (The Beast), Enemy 1 (Dracula), Minority (Lesbian Jew in 1890s England), Notorious, Phobia (Frogs), Watched (British Home Office)

Proper Name: Tara Ann Maclay
Strength: 12 (0)
Dexterity: 12 (0)
Constitution: 11 (+1)
Intelligence: 16 (+2)*
Wisdom: 18 (+3)*
Charisma: 16 (+2)*
INIT: +0
Actions: 1 per round
AC: 10, +6 (Mystic)
Defensive: +9 Vision
Hit Points: 42
Level: 11
Alignment: Good
Victory Points: 6
Skills: Fine Arts (Charisma) History/Legend (Intelligence), Occult (Intelligence), Prime (Wisdom)
Languages: English, Latin, Greek
Supernatural Powers: see Packages

Spellcaster (Divine) 11th level.
0: Create Water, Detect Magic, Endure Elements, First Aid, Light, Purify Food & Drink
1: Animal Friendship, Calm Animals, Entangle, Faerie Fire, Obscuring Mist, Shillelagh
2: Animal Messenger, Cure Light Wounds, Hold Animal, Produce Flame, Speak with Animals
3: Call Lightning, Neutralize Poison, Protection from Elementals, Pyrotechnics, Speak with Plants
4: Cure Serious Wounds, Dispel Magic, Scrying
5: Cure Critical Wounds, Commune with Nature
6: Find the Path

Powers: (Spellcaster) Healing, Keen Senses (Sight, Magick), Psycho-Kinesis 2, Telepathy,

Shortcomings: Enemy 1 (The Beast), Enemy 1 (Dracula), Minority (Lesbian Wicca in 1890s England), Watched (British Home Office)

I like both of these. They are right out of C&C, but I feel they could go toe-to-toe with the big bads of Victorious.  I also think they compare favorably to their Amazing Adventures counterparts.

Now on to The Slayer.
Tara LaGrange appears in the Savage Worlds Rippers universe.  I converted her to Unisystem as both a normal girl and as an honest-to-goodness Vampire Slayer.
If I stick with 1896 then Miss LaGrange will be 21.

The Slayer
Proper Name: Tara LaGrange
Strength: 18 (+3) / 23 (+5)
Dexterity: 16 (+2) / 21 (+4)
Constitution: 13 (0) / 18 (+3)
Intelligence: 12 (0)
Wisdom: 12 (0)
Charisma: 16 (+2)
INIT: +12 (Intution, Lightning Speed)
Actions: 1 per round
AC: 10, +2/+4 (Dodge), +3 (Lightning Speed)
Hit Points: 50
Level: 5
Alignment: Good
Victory Points: 5
Skills: Prime (Strength), Melee
Languages: English, French
Supernatural Powers: see Packages and Powers

Slayer (theme)**
- Attribute Increase: Strength
- Attribute Increase: Constitution
- Intuition
- Might
- Regeneration (heal self 1d6 per rank)
- Robust

Powers: Robust 2 (taken at level 2), Might 2 (taken at level 3), Attribute Increase (Dexterity) (taken at level 4), Robust 3 (taken at level 5)

Shortcomings: Enemy 2 (Vampires)**, Enemy 1 (Dracula), Obligation**, Watched (British Home Office)**

Powers marked with ** are part of the Slayer Package.

I might need to tweak it a bit more, but for Miss LaGrange here I think it will work rather nicely.
I am now thinking I want to run a game with these three!  Maybe do that vampire game I have been thinking about for a while now.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Willow & Tara: D&D 5th Edition (Modern)

I haven't visited my witches in a while. Some part of my brain likes to think they are nice and retired, living in the suburbs somewhere raising a bunch of daughters.  So I never even considered doing a post with them for D&D 5.

Geek and Sundry decided to do it for me.

Granted they did for the Buffy cast, but Willow and Tara got a special place on their list.
Check out their link, If the Apocalypse Comes, Play D&D, to give them the hits.

They also did some Harry Potter sheets too, because Hermoine and Willow in the same game would be epic. (Also remember, the Scobby gang are the same ages of the Potter kids. They were in "high school" at the same time).

But here are my girls in their D&D form.

So. What Wild Shape would Tara prefer?  I also approve of Tara being just a bit lower level than the rest of the gang.

Necromancy for Willow?  You know, I think I can see this.

These are obviously early in their adventures, Season 4 to 5 I would say.

Consequently, today is Alyson Hannigan's birthday! So Happy Birthday Alyson!

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Willow & Tara: Castle Falkenstein

It's been a while since I visited my two favorite witches.  I thought they were mostly retired by now, trying to live a quiet life.    Well I was wrong!

Long time reader and friend Ronnie Bradley shared his Castle Falkenstein stats with me.  I really like what he has done here.  Ronnie was also responsible for the Kult stats from a few years ago.  Willow from Boston and Tara having a Fey background actually ties in nicely to things I have done too.

So thank you Ronnie! Here are his stats.

Willow & Tara for Castle Falkenstein

The world of the Victorian age of New Europa is a world of steampunk technology, Faerie, Magick and derring do. It is of course our own Europe of the Victorian era with a few obvious changes but the nations remain the same. How do Willow and Tara fit into this world? Here is my take on it.
Given that so much of the action takes place in New Europa and the sheer weight of history and intrigue in that area I am going to have Willow and Tara emigrating to London. Willow will be a Consulting Detective (very similar to Madame Vastra in Doctor Who) who specializes in dealing with the occult and mystical crimes with her partner and lover Tara, who is the heiress to a great estate and fortune in England thanks to her Fey lineage.

The character sheets along with a small biography for the two characters are presented below. I have added the Health Points for those who wish to use the standard combat system from the main rulebook rather than the revised one from Comme Il Faut.
Whilst the overwhelming amount of information is held by the core rulebook, some of the skills and tomes come from Comme Il faut and a few tomes from The Book of Sigils. It would be useful to have these 3 books at least (and Sixguns & Sorcery is always a good one as well).

Willow and Tara flanking the Slayer of Victorian Age, Tara LaGrange by mqken.
Willow Rosenberg
Willow was born in Boston, Massachusetts and showed herself to be an adept and able student at school, excelling in the sciences and engineering. Many believed that she would become a great mathematician and perhaps solve the great scientific mysteries of the day. However as she entered College (still a great rarity for a woman of that age) she found herself becoming interested in the mystical and how magick could be manipulated.
For Willow magick became an equation to be cracked, a formula to be stripped down and re-assimilated. Using her keen mind she was able to strip spells down to their core components and re-assemble them as she wished. In the course of her studies into the mystical arts she became friends with and eventually lover to Tara Maclay, a sorceress whose power was only matched by her beauty. Willow soon learned that there was a price to pay for her tinkering and began to realise that magick was part of the natural lifeblood of the world and that damaging and tinkering with its power unchecked could cause grave repercussions.
Unwittingly letting loose a daemon from the Unseelie Court into the college, she was able to stop it with Tara’s help. Her actions however had her thrown out of the college to the shame of her family, who could not accept Willow’s new found interests, both academic and romantic and disowned her. With nowhere to go she was heartened by Tara’s offer to come with her to her ancestral home in England, where they could live in comfort as she continued her studies. There Willow has learned to harness her intellect and keen perception in providing services for those needing help against dark magickal forces.
In the 10 years since their move to England Willow has gained a reputation in London as someone to go to when the crime is mystical or supernatural in nature and her business is a thriving one. Tara remains her partner both in business and in love and together they have defeated many attacks on British soil by nefarious  Wizards and sorcerous orders and the Unseelie Court. Willow is by nature loyal to her friends and especially to Tara although she can at times be quick tempered and whilst Tara is by nature passive Willow is more certainly more aggressive.

Willow Rosenberg, 32 yr old Sorceress (Consulting Detective) Health Points: 7

Athletics (GD/♣)
Charisma (GR/)
Comeliness (EXC/)
Connections (GR/♠)
Courage (GR/)
Education (EXT/)
Exchequer (GD/♠)
Invention (EXT/)
Fencing (GD/♣)
Marksmanship (GD/♣)
Motoring (GD/♣)
Natural Sciences (GR/)
Perception (EXC/♦)
Performance (PR/)
Riding (PR/♣)
Sorcery (AST/)
Tinkering (EXC/)

Equipment: 22 Derringer, Rapier, Notebook, magnifying glass. Willow also has an extensive library of criminology and a small  lab in the basement of the London mansion that is their base of operations. Money is almost no object so assume any day to day items needed can be provided for.

Tara Maclay
Tara was born the daughter of a wealthy woman who met and married her father, a lay preacher, whilst on holiday in Boston and chose to stay there with him. Their eldest, a son, followed his father into the ministry whilst the younger, Tara, grew up as a gentlewoman.
Tara’s mother however had kept back one thing from her husband, her Fey ancestry. Not only was she Fey, she was in fact Tuatha De Danu, one of the rarest of all the Fey races and the most powerful. Her husband, whilst a good man in most respects, saw the Fey in strict black and white and saw them all as demons and tempters to be thwarted. As such, she did not share her life energy with either of her children, ensuring they were born mortal so as not to raise suspicion. Although she did not pass on her secrets of magick to her son, who she quickly realised was her husband in younger form, she did teach what she knew to her daughter, especially with regards to the delicate nature of balance and the need for the Second Compact. Tara showed a remarkable ability with magick. Whilst not powerful she showed an effortless ability to cast spells seeming to easily and safely grasp the thaumaturgical energy from the ether and give it form.
Sadly, her mother’s presence was soon discovered by the Unseelie and in her determination to save her children, she sacrificed herself to protect them. Her father and brother, grief stricken, declared all fey to be the enemy of the family and went on a moral crusade to rid all of them, Seelie and Unseelie, from the town. They were eventually stopped by Tara, using spells of defence and confusion to keep them from killing a family of fey who had resided in the area for decades. In doing so she accepted and embraced her fey heritage and was renounced by her family as a demon.
Tara moved away, eventually becoming a part of a small coven dedicated to protecting the people of Boston from the forces of darkness. Whilst at a meeting with the head of her coven who taught at the local college, she struck up a friendship with a young woman who was interested in learning about magick. The young woman, Willow, soon won Tara’s heart and their relationship grew stronger. She saw in Willow incredible power but a recklessness in her determination to wield and understand the forces around her. It was this recklessness that led to the opening of a portal and the near destruction of the college.
Tara aided Willow in defeating the demon that appeared but when the Coven asked her to choose between them and her new friend, she chose Willow. At that point fate intervened and she was visited by a man who turned out to be her maternal Grandfather. She learned of her lineage and of their ancestral home. Although she was not Fey she was still the eldest of the lineage as her brother had refused to acknowledge the line. She was given the title of Lady Tara Maclay of Constance Manor, a
stately home on the outskirts of London, along with the deed to the house. The grandfather died soon after, but not before giving his blessing to her love and wishing them well.
In the 10 years since their move to London, Tara has graced high society and her initial shyness has been replaced by a quiet confidence. She aids Willow in her Detective work whilst often entertaining dignitaries from around the world and from the Fey realms. She is often seen as a neutral ambassador and her clear headedness is often used for diplomatic work for the Fey in high society.

Tara Maclay, 32 year old Sorceress (Noblewoman) Health Points: 7

Charisma (GR/)
Comeliness (EXC/)
Connections (GD/♠)
Courage (GR/)
Education (GD/)
Exchequer (EXC/♠)
Fencing (GD/♣)
Fisticuffs (PR/♣)
Marksmanship (GD/♣)
Motoring (GD/♣)
Perception (EXT/)
Performance (GR/)
Physician (GR/)
Riding (GR/♣)
Social Graces (EXC/♠)
Sorcery (AST/)
Tinkering (PR/)
Equipment: 22 Derringer, rapier. Assume any other equipment needed is either already owned or can easily be acquired given
the wealth available.

Given that Castle Falkenstein doesn’t have a traditional spell list but rather certain spells in certain tomes I list below the tomes that Tara’s mother, over the years, has managed to copy out of. This makes the Maclay tome one of the most complete tomes of magick ever assembled and would mean instant death from several orders if they knew the couple had access to spells and rituals known only to specific sorcerous orders. As such the tome is held in a secret part of the library, hidden from all so as to keep the Manor and the couple safe.
A note on casting. The corebook states that if more than one person casts then only the Sorcery skill from the primary caster is subtracted from the Thaumaturgical energy cost. That is fair enough but not really in line with Willow and Tara and how they cast when together so for them subtract their total score from the TER (which yes makes them incredibly powerful). A Joker will still wildfire a spell but they should be able to mitigate the results.

The following tomes all appear in the core rulebook with the exception of those marked * which appear in Comme Il faut and those marked ^ which are found in The Book Of Sigils.

Manuscriptum Mentallis
Ritual Writing Of Psychic Binding
Megron’s Realm Of Dreaming
Realm Of The Unknown Mind
Osman’s Tome Of Physical Movement
Scrolls Of Dimensional Movement
Manuscript Of paranormal Divination
Manuscript Of Elemental Shaping
Burton’s On The raised Forces Of Nature
Primal Forces Raised*
Realm Of The Senses*
Zwinge’s Practicum^
The Didi Papyrus^
The Book Of Glass^
The Riddler’s Guide^

Ultimately this is just one possible interpretation of how the couple could exist inside the great world that is Falkenstein. Obviously change and augment what you feel needs changing but I think as they sit they would be interesting characters and fun to play and powerful in themselves without being completely unstoppable.


Ronnie, I don't think I could have done any better myself!  Thanks so much.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Why I Love RPGS: C. J. Carella's WitchCraft RPG

Note: This is part of the Dyvers Project on RPGs.  We are supposed to talk about RPGS we love and why we love them.  This is my second part.

RPGS I Love: C. J. Carella's WitchCraft RPG

WitchCraft is, hands down, my favorite game.  Period.  Picking up a copy of this book back in 1999 was just like picking up a copy of the Monster Manual in 1979.  Everything I ever wanted in a game was right there.

WitchCraft had such a profound effect on my gaming that I can draw a rather clean line between what came before and what came after it.  Granted a lot was going on in 1999/2000 both gamingwise and personal that may have added to the this effect, it was an effect all the same.

Back in 1999 I was really burned out on D&D.   I was working on my own Witch netbook and reading a bunch of different games when someone, I forget where, must have been the old RAVENLOFT-L that TSR/WotC used to run, told me I really need to check out WitchCraft.  At first I balked.  I had tried Vampire a couple years ago and found I didn't like it (and I was very much out of my vampire phase then), but I was coming home from work and the my FLGS was on the way, so I popped in and picked up a copy.  This must have been the early spring of 2000.

I can recall sitting in my office reading this book over and over. Everything was so new again, so different.  This was the world I had been trying, in vain, to create for D&D but never could.  The characters in this book were also all witches, something that pleased me to no end, it was more than just that.  Plus look at that fantastic cover art by George Vasilakos. That is one of my most favorite, is not my favorite, cover for a game book. I have it hanging in my game room now.

WitchCraft uses what is now called the "Classic" Unisystem system.  So there are 6 basic attributes, some secondary attributes (derived), skills and qualities and drawbacks.  Skills and attributes can be mixed and matched to suit a particular need.

WitchCraft uses a Point-Buy Metaphysics magic system, unlike Ghosts of Albion's levels of magic and spells system.  Think of each magical effect as a skill that must be learned and you have to learn easier skills  before the harder ones first.    In D&D for example it is possible to learn Fireball and never have learned Produce Flame.  In WitchCraft you could not do that.  WitchCraft though is not about throwing around "vulgar magics".  WitchCraft is a survival game where the Gifted protect humanity from all sorts of nasty things, from forgotten Pagan gods, to demons, fallen angels and the Mad Gods; Cthulhoid like horrors from beyond.  WitchCraft takes nearly everything from horror and puts all together and makes it work.

The Eden Studios version was the Second Edition, I was later to find out.  The first one was from Myrmidon Press. I manged to find a copy of that one too and it was like reading the same book, from an alternate universe.  I prefer the Eden Edition far more for a number of reasons, but I am still happy to have both editions.

The central idea behind WitchCraft is the same as most other Modern Supernatural Horror games.  The world is like ours, but there are dark secrets, magic is real, monsters are real. You know the drill.  But WitchCraft is different.  There is a Rekoning coming, everyone feels it, but no one knows what it is.  Characters then take on the roles of various magic using humans, supernatuals or even mundane humans and they fight the threats.  Another conceit of the game (and one I use a lot) is that supernatural occurances are greater now than ever before.  Something's coming.  (dogs and cats living together, mass hysteria).

It is most often compared to World of Darkness, but there are things WitchCraft does that I just like better.  Unlike (old) Mage there is no war between the (good) Mages and the (evil) Technocracy.  There is a war certainly, but nothing so cut and dry.  Unlike new Mage there are rarely clean divisions between the factions.  Yes, yes Mage players, I am being overly simple, but that is the point, on the simple levels new Mage dives everything into 5 because that is how the designers want it.  There are factions (Associations) and there are different metaphysics for each, but also overlap, and sometimes no clear and defined lines are to be found or given.  It feels very organic.

In my opinion C. J. Carella may be one of the best game designers out there.  WitchCraft is a magnum opus that few achieve.  I took that game and I ran with it.  For 2000 - 2003 it was my game of choice above and beyond anything.  The Buffy RPG, built on the Cinematic Unisystem took over till I wrote Ghosts of Albion, which also use the Cinematic Unisystem.  I mix and match the systems as I need, but WitchCraft is still my favorite.

WitchCraft in fact is what got me into professional game design.

Back in the Spring/Summer of 2001 I started up a new game.  I had just purchased the WitchCraft RPG book about 16 months prior and I was looking for something new.  That something came to me in the guise of Willow and Tara.  I had been watching Buffy for a bit and I really enjoyed the character of Willow.  When she got together with fellow witch Tara I thought they were perfect.  I had become very involved in the online Willow/Tara fandom so I created a game, focusing on just them.

The game would focus on just these two, no one else from the show (which I would soon become an ex-fan of, but that is a different story).  Plus it gave me something to try out in a modern setting, something I have not done since my days with the Chill RPG.

The trickiest part of developing game stats of any fictional character that belongs to someone else is knowing how to strike a balance between the game's rules and the fictional pottrayal. A lot of "artisitc" license needs to be used in order to get a good fit. For example, how do you determine what some one's strength is when there is little to no on screen evidence? What spells would the girls have?

In the end I decided to play it a little loose, but I love where their stats ended up.  In many ways this is who Willow and Tara are to me, not the characters on TV or comics, but the ones that were my characters since that day back in May 2001 that I decided they needed their own chance to shine.

After this I went on to work on the Buffy the Vampire Slayer RPG.  It should be no suprise then that the Willow and Tara stats that appear there are not that much different than my own.  I can be quite vocal in play tests.  That got me the chance to write the Ghosts of Albion RPG. This also allowed me to meet, work with and remain friends with Christopher Golden and Amber Benson.

WitchCraft paved the way for so many other games for me, not just in terms of playing but in writing.  If it were not for WitchCraft then we would not have had Buffy, Angel or Army of Darkness.  Conspiracy X would have remained in the it's original system. There would be no Terra Primate or All Flesh Must Be Eaten and certainly there would be no Ghosts of Albion.  The game means that much to me.

But you don't have to take my word for it, Eden Studios will let you have it, sans some art, for free.

Download it.  If you have never played anything else other than D&D then you OWE it yourself to try this game out.

My thing is I wish it was more popular than it is.  I love the game. If I was told I could only play one game for the rest of my life then WitchCraft would be in my top 3 or 2 choices.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Labyrinth Lord: Liath and Bodhmall

I recently picked up two books from Brian O'SullivanFionn: Defence of Ráth Bládhma and  Fionn: Traitor of Dún Baoiscne.  While the books are about Fionn MacCumhail (Finn MacCool) they feature younger versions of the druidess Bodhmal and the warrior Liath Luchara.
Like I did, he has both women as lovers.  I have not read the books yet, but a quick flip and I like what I see.  
His Liath and Bodhmal are not exactly like my versions of them and that is cool.

Like what I have been doing with Skylla I wanted to do some versions of Liath and Bodhmall to test out different systems.  I wanted to do "by the book" versions for both Labyrinth Lord:AEC (as a stand in for any OSR game) and D&D5.  Another good choice would be Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea.

I made minor changes in each case to reflect what works best for that game.

Previous Versions:
Castles & Crusades
Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition, Essentials

Since I am currently running a D&D5 game around 5th-7th level, I set them around that.  I did both versions of the characters around that level.

Liath Luachra
Kato as Liath

NG Female Half-elf*
Ranger 7th Level

Strength: 13 (+1)
Dexterity: 16 (+2)
Constitution: 18 (+3)
Intelligence: 10 (0)
Wisdom: 10 (0)
Charisma: 11 (0)

Breath: 9
Poison or Death: 8
Petrify or Paralyze: 10
Wands: 9
Spells or Spell-like: 12

AC: 7
HP: 50

Base To Hit AC 0: 14

Infravision 60'

Long bow (1d8)
Spear +1 (1d6+1)
Leather Armor +1

Water skin, belt pouches, travellers gear, boots.

*I am going with half-elf since I am going with the idea that Liath has some fae or Sidhe blood in her ancestry.  I have a lot of "in-universe" reasons for this, but for me it just works out nice.

Rin as Bodhmal

N(G) Female Human
Druid 8th Level

Strength: 10 (0)
Dexterity: 10 (0)
Constitution: 14 (+1)
Intelligence: 14 (+1)
Wisdom: 18 (+3)
Charisma: 11 (0)

Breath: 14
Poison or Death: 9
Petrify or Paralyze: 12
Wands: 10
Spells or Spell-like: 12

AC: 7
HP: 37

Base To Hit AC 0: 17

1st Level: Divine weather, detect magic, faerie fire, shillelagh
2nd Level: barkskin, cure light wounds, produce flame, charm person
3rd Level: call lightning, pyrotechnics, protection from fire
4th Level: flash fire, summon sylvan beings

Leather Armor
Amulet of Protection +1

Water skin, belt pouches, travellers gear, boots.

Stating these two for LL was exactly like AD&D/D&D.  I have made scores of characters for LL but I am always surprised how quick and easy it always is.
Having already done 5e versions; they were just as fast as these.

In the past I had made Liath a barbarian.  Here I went a ranger.  I thought a fighter might also work, but a ranger to me seems closer.  I will have more thoughts on this when I post the 5th edition stats.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Summer Cleaning

So making some cosmetic changes here at the ole' Other Side.

I moved my Kickstarter applet lower on the screen so people can still see it, but make room for my social media buttons.

I also have a great summer themed banner from old friend from the Kitten Board, Willow Ehrenreich.
Yes that is Willow and Tara up there. Yes I think it's cool.  Here is her untouched copy.

I like symbolism to be honest. Tara under the tree, Willow on a rock.  Fits well with how I have been running these characters for the last 12 years.

Posting might be light this summer.  Working hard on Strange Brew and other projects.  But don't worry.  I am not going anywhere.  In fact I have something special in mind for tomorrow. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Who is Your Favorite Witch?

Something I did for another site, but thought it would work well here.  I started watching "Salem" finally. Love it so far.  Has not grabbed me like American Horror Story did, but it is only a matter of time.
We also have Maleficent out this weekend so really it is a good time for witches on TV and Movies.

Or as Time Magazine said it, "Witches are the new Vampires".

My goal with Strange Brew: The Ultimate Witch and Warlock would be to allow you play ANY type of witch. Good, Bad, Wicked, whatever type of witch is YOUR favorite, that is what I want to do.

Here is a list of my Top Ten witches, in no particular order.  Who is your favorite?  Let me know in the poll below and in the comments section.

1. Cordelia Foxx (American Horror Story: Coven) - In the 13 episodes of 'American Horror Story - Coven' we saw Cordelia go from meek instructor of Miss Robichaux's Academy for Exceptional Young Ladies and living in the long shadow of Jessica Lange's Supreme to be being blinded, given the Sight, finding out her husband was a witch killer, given some new eyes, blinded again and then finally displaying the Seven Wonders to become the newest Supreme.
As the Supreme she is in charge of all the world's witches.  Since going public that is a lot more girls that need training.  American Horror Story never shied away from death, gruesome dismemberment, sexual taboos and killing off main cast members.  While we might not see Supreme Cordelia again, we certainly will see Sarah Paulson in more seasons.

2. Hermione Granger (Harry Potter Books and Movies) - Harry may have been the 'Chosen One' but you know what he would have been without the "most brilliant witch of her generation"?  Easy. Dead.  Remember in the books Hermione was shy, not very attractive and an infuriating know-it-all.  By Book 3 Harry and Ron both begin to notice, but long before her magical makeover Hermione was proving she was worth more than a full Quidditch team of Chosen Ones.  She mastered spells long before any of her classmates, she brewed the Pollyjuice potions, even in Book 3 (the Prisoner of Azkaban) she is using a Time Turner to take extra classes in the same day.  Who else has done that?  Not to mention while dealing with the whole You-Know-Who thing she still manages to fight for House Elf rights.
Plus, and let us be honest here, she could have a wicked temper.  She was the one that tricked Dolores Umbridge into the Forbidden Forest to get captured by Centaurs and she keeps Rita Skeeter trapped in a jar for the last part of The Goblet of Fire.

3.  Piper Halliwell (Charmed) - For eight seasons of Charmed Piper went from the quiet middle sister of the Halliwell witches to the ass-kicking, demon killing leader of the Charmed Ones, the most powerful witches in the world.   She helped kill the leader of the demon-world, The Source of All Evil, twice. Three times if you count the near attempts in the later seasons.   She married a Guardian Angel (a "White Lighter" in the show), gave birth to two sons that were half-witch and half-lighter and destined to be the future protectors of the innocents of the world.  But more importantly she did all of this while keeping her family and friends safe. Well...mostly safe.

4.  Willow Rosenberg & Tara Maclay (Buffy the Vampire Slayer) - Willow was the shy Scooby. The one that didn't want cause problems, but she helped her new friend Buffy Summers, another chosen one, because if nothing else Willow does what it right.  She got a little taste of magical power in Season 2 and the rest. Well Willow became the most powerful witch in the series.  She re-ensouled Angel, she went toe to toe with demons of all sorts, and when a god destroyed her girlfriend Tara's mind then Willow did something that the Slayer herself had not done. She made a god scream.  Willow though struggled with her power and when a stray bullet killed Tara, Willow (and the Willow and Tara fans) went crazy and nearly destroyed the world. She was talked back down, but she never seemed the same after that.
Tara was and is my favorite Buffy character. For me she is a quiet, but deep well of power. Spend anytime on this site to see what I mean.

5.  Samantha Stephens (Bewitched) - You know what real power is?  Not strangling the annoying people around you! At least that is what I think Samantha's real power was.  Married to a muggl-sorry, mortal, Darren, Samantha still managed to use her powers, stay out of the spotlight (or at least the prying eyes of neighbor Mrs. Kravitz), solve the problems and still look fantastic all in 25 minutes.  A lot of Samantha's problems came from trying to please her husband Darren or from her relatives and later daughter.  With a twitch of her nose and nary a "hocus pocus" heard she still managed it all.

6. Joanna Beauchamp (Witches of East End) - Joanna Beauchamp has managed to do something so magical it makes the other witches seem like First Years at Hoggwarts.  She made me really like Julia Ormond!  I am being slightly snarky with that I fear.  I like Julia Ormond, I just never cared for her characters till now.  Joanna is a fierce witch. She is the protective mother (and ALL that entails) of Freya and Ingrid and loving sister of Wendy (who I thought was going to be my favorite Beauchamp witch). She has proven to be strong, determined and despite all that, she still doesn’t know all the answers.  I like that in my witches; knowing that magic can’t solve all her problems.  Joanna and Julia keep me coming back for more Witches of East End.

7. Lafayette Reynolds (True Blood) - Lafayette may have died in the books early on, but in the TV series he is a series regular and one of the most popular characters.  Later on he learns he is witch when his boyfriend Jesus reveals to him that he is a Brujo.  Lafayette can channel the spirits of the dead and possibly even a demon.

8. Mary Sibley (Salem) - I have only just started watching this series but so far I love what I see. Mary is an interesting, conflicted character.  It is hard not to sympathize with her, but she is certainly not on the side of angels here.  Special recognition has to go out to Tituba, one of the historical Salem “witches” and the bridge point between this series and American Horror Story Coven.

9. Katrina (Sleepy Hollow) - We have only seen glimpses of Katrina and her power. But one thing is for sure she is firmly in the camp of the “Good Witches”.  Also given her birth she would be one of the first women to truly be called an “American Witch”.  I am looking forward to seeing so much more of her next season of what turned out to be one of my favorite shows of 2013.

10. Maleficent (Sleeping Beauty, Maleficent) - She is either a fairy or a witch, maybe both, but there is no doubt that she is powerful. She put a princess to sleep for 100 years and raised and entire forest of thorns.

Honorable Mention: Cassie (Hex), Wicked Witch of the West (Oz, Wicked), Angelique (Dark Shadows), Robin (Witch Hunter Robin), Sabrina (Sabrina the Teen Aged Witch), Luna and Tonks (Harry Potter), Witchiepoo (H.R. Puffinstuff), Jadis (The Lion, The Witch and Wardrobe), Rachel Morgan (The Hollows Series) and Kiki (Kiki’s Delivery Service)

Who is your favorite?

Favorite Witches
  free polls 

Friday, September 20, 2013

Willow & Tara: Superbabes

Of course I had to do this.

Witches and magic using types are always a good test of any supers system.  Either they break them or they get broken and don't work quite as well.  In Superbabes it takes a lot of XP and levels to do anything super-like with magic.  The Magic Spells are twice the cost of the powers, but you gain a lot of flexibility.   In Superbabes though you are are also limited by the powers listed.

I am keeping with my conceit that the characters here are aging real time so I can experiment with how they might grow.  Though in truth I have not really played either character in a number of years now, so they are semi-retired.

In both cases their primary stats are not really high. I really wanted to keep them to human norms.  The unfortunate side effect to this is this also means a low number of Power Points.  So I would maybe create a Power called Power Well that characters can dump CPs into to get PP out.  But that might bend the rules a bit.

Character: Willow Rosenberg
Age: 32   Apparent Age: early 30s
Origin: Supernatural Pupil (50cp)
50 CPs

Primary Stats
Muscles: 10  Max Press: 200 (seems a bit high)
Health: 14   Regen, Combat: - Regen, At rest: 1pp/5rds  HTK/Day: 2d6
Moves: 14 ("Agile")  Bonus to hit: - Movement: 5" Hittability: 5 Initiative Bonus: 1
Brains: 24  Mental Attack Bonus: +2 Mental Hittability: 7
Will: 26  Regen Rate: 2pp/1rds HTK Regen/Day: 2d6
Personality: 20
Looks: 17
250 CPs

Secondary Stats
PP: 125
HTK: 55
Fame: 6/16 (normal/supernatural world)
Bimbo Points: 1
Level: 10
CPs: 2 more to spend

Magic Spells
- Blast 6d6 (72cp)
- Flight 2 (16cp)
- Force Field 10 (60cp)
- Misc spells (100cp)
Move things Without Touching Them 200cp
Suck it Up (Magical) 100cp
Super Senses
- See Magic 20 cp
Read Minds (listen & talk) Tara only 20cp
588 CPs

Doll's Eye Crystal, Magical Focus 100pp
20 CPs

Occultist 50 cp
Scientist 50cp
Computer Ops 20cp
Electronics 20cp
Contacts (Supernatural) 20cp
Languages (English, Hebrew, Greek, Latin) 30cp
190 CPs

Character Description
Height: 5'3"
Weight: 120 lbs
Hair: Red
Eyes: Green
Skin: Caucasian

Character: Tara Maclay
Age: 33   Apparent Age: early 30s
Origin: Supernatural Pupil (50cp)
50 CPs

Primary Stats
Muscles: 10  Max Press: 200 
Health: 15   Regen, Combat: - Regen, At rest: 1pp/4rds  HTK/Day: 1d20
Moves: 15 ("Dancer")  Bonus to hit: - Movement: 6Hittability: 6 Initiative Bonus: 1
Brains: 17  Mental Attack Bonus: +1 Mental Hittability: 5
Will: 22  Regen Rate: 1pp/1rds HTK Regen/Day: 1d6+4
Personality: 24
Looks: 16
238 CPs

Secondary Stats
PP: 119
HTK: 58
Fame: 4/14 (normal/supernatural world)
Bimbo Points: 2
Level: 10
CPs: 0 more to spend

Healing II 100cp
Magic Spells
- Blast 6d6 (72cp)
- Force Field 20 (120cp)
- Misc spells (90cp)
Move things Without Touching Them 200cp
Super Senses
- See Magic 20 cp
- Sensitive touch 10 cp
Read Minds (listen & talk) Willow only 20cp
672 CPs

Miss Kitty Fantastico II (Familiar, 200pp)
40 CPs

Occultist 50 cp
Equestrian 20cp (maybe the only time this skill was used in Superbabes!)
First Aid 20cp
Contacts (Supernatural) 20cp
Languages (English, Latin, Russian, Irish Gaelic, Japanese (free)) 30cp
Animal Handler 20cp
160 CPs

Character Description
Height: 5'5"
Weight: 130 lbs
Hair: Blond
Eyes: Blue
Skin: Caucasian

So both girls ended up around 10th level.  They have quite a bit of power, but are not as powerful as other characters around the same levels.  Batwoman or Red Sonja could best them in a purely physical fight.
I would have to work up a few spells and even some rituals. Rituals in this case would be spells that do not take CPs but do burn PP.  Usually only a one time deal.
I cheated and gave them Gizmos that store PP. Well, its not a cheat, but it is bending the rules a bit.
Again. Pretty happy with what I have here.  

Friday, June 7, 2013

Willow & Tara: Villains & Vigilantes

I want to continue talking about Villains & Vigilantes today.

It seems like years ago that Tim Knight of Hero Press asked me to do V&V write-ups of Willow & Tara.  I actually remember it being almost exactly 2 years ago because I was sitting in the DMV getting my licensed renewed. I had my copy of V&V 2.1 on my tablet and jotting down some notes on powers.

The biggest issue with any supers game is magic. It really is the "break all the powers" power.  Especially in systems where you can take Magic and then take all the other powers as spells.

Here are the girls in their post Dragon and the Phoenix versions.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Castles and Crusades: Liath and Bodhmall

I want to wrap-up my week on Castles & Crusades with a post of two of my favorite characters of Irish Myth.  Liath Luachra & Bodhmall the Druidess.

One of my favorite stories is that of Fionn mac Cumhail.  I used him as character in the very first Buffy RPG adventure The Dark Druid. The back ground of the adventure had Fionn coming to the 21st century and that the characters in the game were the new incarnations of people from his past.  My conceit was that his foster mothers Bodhmall and Liath were Willow and Tara respectively.   I expanded on this in my Willow and Tara based Buffy/Ghosts of Albion games. Episode 5 of The Dragon and the Phoenix expands on this and makes the connection well known to the characters.  Episode 11 of Season of the Witch establishes that in the game world Liath and Bodhmall were also the founders of the Daughters of the Flame coven.   So these are some characters with game history for me.

And yes. They are also lovers.

Peter Bradley of Ravenchilde Illustrations.  A very C&C version of Bodhmall and Liath
So whenever I need a "D&D Version" of Willow and Tara I turn to Liath and Bodhmall.  This way I can direct their fates in new and different directions and not mess with my "modern age" versions.
I have stated them up for D&D4 here before. In fact I spent a lot of time on it since the D&D4 druid couldn't do what I wanted till Essentials.

Bodhmall as expected makes a better druid under the Castles & Crusades rules than she did under D&D4.
Liath though needs some tweaking. Ranger in C&C is a little different and not really what my mental image of what she is.  It is very, very close, but missing the key ingredient.  I have this mental image of the first time Bodhmall meets Liath.  Bodhmall needs a protector/body guard while she is taking a babe to be fostered to the north.  She sees Liath standing on a raised log. On either side of her on the log are her brothers. They are fighting with long staves and the men are trying to knock her off the log.  She is more than holding her own. Her hair is long and braided and despite her young age is already graying; thus her name "The Gray of Luachair".

Some might balk at me taking two established mythological figures (however obscure) and making them same-sex lovers.  In truth I wondered about this too.  But I was doing research and I picked up a copy of Morgan Llywelyn's  Finn MacCool and there was an interesting typo on the character pages.  It listed Liath as being Bodhmal's wife.  That clenched it for me.

Character Creation
If you ever made a character for 1st Ed AD&D then you can make for C&C in about the same time.  If you have familiarity with 3e, then it might go even faster.
(Honestly I am wondering at this point if C&C should just be the AD&D game I play.)

I like the way the powers for the classes work out for the characters.  I made the right choices.
Since I am using this with the Codex Celtarum, the characters both get a Fey power at 1st level, plus something special

1st level Human Druid, Female, Neutral Good

STR: 10 (0)
DEX: 10 (0)
CON: 14 (+1)
INT: 14 (+1) P
WIS: 18 (+3) P
CHA: 11 (0) P

AC: 13, Leather Armor
HP: 7 (d8)

Staff +0, 1d6
Scimitar +0, 1d6

Nature Lore
Druid Spells
- First Aid, Light, Purify Food & Drink
- Entangle, Magic Stones
Second Sight (1), p. 93 CC

Liath Luchara
1st level Human Barbarian, Female, Chaotic Good

STR: 13 (+1) P
DEX: 10 (0)
CON: 18 (+3) P
INT: 10 (0)
WIS: 16 (+2) P
CHA: 11 (0)

AC: 12, Leather Armor
HP: 13 (d12)

Spear +1, 1d6
Short Sword +1, 1d6

Combat Sense
Primeval Instincts
Shapeshifting (Salmon), p. 94 CC (based on Morgan Llywelyn's work)

All in all I am happy with those write-ups.

Liath and Bodhmall with Finn
Of course I can't introduce Liath and Bodhmal and not have their Anamchara quality.  It what helps define them.

So here it is for use with the Codex Celtarum.

Level 6 Druid, 6 Witch

CT na D 10 rounds R self + one other
SV none SR none Comp n/a

“The only thing more frightening than meeting a Celt in battle is meeting a Celt in battle with his wife at his side.” 
- Attributed to Pliny the Elder, 1st Century CE

Anamchara (“on-um-kor-ah”), or soul-mate, is the Gaelic term used to describe a deep and powerful bound shared between two people. This goes beyond mere companionship and even beyond love; the souls of the two people are connected at a deep and fundamental level. Some occult scholars even speculate anamchara share one soul between two physical people.

The anamchara (singular and plural) are often aware of each other on a preternatural level. While this not a full blown telepathy or even empathy it is beyond what the normal senses would allow. This manifests itself in mundane ways as two lovers humming the same song at the same time with no outside influence, husband and wife completing each others sentences, separated twins living parallel lives, or even one sibling knowing her other sibling is about to walk into a room before the event happens.

Anamchara can be, and often are, lovers, but they are not limited to that alone. Some anamchara can also be very close siblings or very deeply devoted friends. Sometimes the connection can be forged in battle, giving rise to a “brothers-in-arms” effect. The Anamchara can also have a deep connection resulting from life times of being together.

Extension of the senses (“I Will Always Find You”). This acts like a mild form of Empathy or a lesser Situational Awareness that extends only to their anamchara. This grants +2 to locate their anamchara via mundane, magic or psychic means. This also gives each anamchara a broad sense of the other’s health and well being.

Boost Morale (“I’ll Stand By You”). When anamchara are together even dire situations do not seem as grim. With a soothing word or even a knowing look a character can grant her anamchara +5 on any one test or roll. Best of all, she can do it after the player has already made this test. The granting character spends her round or turn explaining she is doing this to aid her beloved. This can only be done once per game session per character.

Combat Effects 
The benefits detailed above have some application in combat as well. The extension of the senses translate into making the anamchara a particularly effective fighting team. In order to gain this benefit the anamchara actually need to train together in a fighting style. Players should decide which style (martial arts, medieval weapons or even magic) they will train together in. This training offers a +2 bonus to all attacks of that type and damage for each. Both can also effectively fight against one opponent with out penalty due to room. Anamchara naturally avoid each others weapons. 

I am curious to see what the Castles & Crusades players think of this power.

I am also posting this as part of my giveaway for the Bloghop Against Homophobia and Transphobia.
Win a copy of the Witch and help me support the Trevor Project!

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