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

Thursday, November 11, 2021

Plays Well With Others: Modern Occult Horror Games

Been thinking a lot about all the modern supernatural games I have (and I think I have all of them) and in particular the ones that have come out from the Old-School gaming scene.  These games all cover roughly the same sort of topics and themes but they all do them in different ways that I keep thinking they would all work great together. 

OSR Modern Occult Horror RPGS

In other words, it sounds like a perfect topic for a Plays Well With Others

So the games I am talking about are Dark Places & Demogorgons, We Die Young, Dark Streets & Darker Secrets, and my own NIGHT SHIFT.  These are the big modern supernatural, occult horror games from the OSR. 

I have reviewed these games in the past.

Obviously, I have not reviewed NIGHT SHIFT. Reviewing your own game is incredibly tacky and remarkably dishonest. 

I have covered many of these games in other Plays Well With Others too.

With the addition of Dark Streets & Darker Secrets to my occult library, I wanted to revisit some of these ideas. Though I want to take a different approach today.

With this Plays Well With Others, I am going to mention each game and talk about what can be used from that game in any of the other three.  In some cases, this is easy like moving from Dark Places & Demogorgons to We Die Young which are essentially the same system.  In others, it will be converting characters from one system to the other. 

At the core of all four games (three systems) is the old-school, the OSR, design.  All of these games have the same "godfather" as it were in Original or Basic D&D.  They have the same uncle (mother's brother), the d20 SRD. And their mother is all the D&D games we all played and the supernatural, occult, horror and urban fantasy media we consumed when not playing. 

Dark Streets & Darker Secrets
Dark Streets & Darker Secrets 

This is the newest game, for me, and the one on my mind the most.  Thankfully it is also the one that has the most to offer all the games.  

For starters, the classes can be imported rather easily into the other three games.  In particular the Tough, the Nimble, and the Smart can be used as subtypes of the Veteran or Survivor in NIGHT SHIFT or as a class in We Die Young.  Maybe not so much for DP&D since those are supposed to be kids. The Gifted of DS&DS is similar to the Supernatural in NS.

The real gift of DS&DS is all the tables.  Someone online described the game as a great toolkit game. Some of the best ones to use in all games are the Complication table (p.20), Weird Items (p.32- 33), almost all the Gear. The Magic and Psychic backlash tables are also fun. ALL the artifact tables. The various "signs" in Chapter 7.  In fact, pretty much all of Chapter 7 to be honest.

Survive This!!

Both Dark Places & Demogorgons and We Die Young from Bloat Games use the same Survive This!! basic rule system, so right out of the gate they are compatible with each other.   Dark Places & Demogorgons focuses on kids in the 1980s and We Die Young on young adults in the 1990s.  So there is a continuum there for any that wish to use it.  There are plenty of "classes" in both games that can be used and mixed and matched.  Like DS&DS there are a lot of great toolbox-like tables and ideas that can be imported into another game.

I can easily see a game then of people in their 30s in the 2000s with large chunks of DS&DS mixed into the Survive This!! system.  Would this game be called "Survive This!! Dark Streets" or "Dark Streets, Dark Places, Darker Secrets & Demogorgons?"  I don't know, but I LOVE the idea of kids experiencing weird shit in the 80s, taking a bunch of drugs to forget them in the 90s (both DS&DS and WDY have these) and finally having to deal with this shit all over again in 2000-2020s as older adults.  Very "It" if you think about it.

Dark Places & Demogorgons We Die Young

The jewel though in the Survive This!! (and there are many) though HAS to be the DP&D Cryptid Manual.  DS&DS takes a toolkit view on monsters.  NIGHT SHIFT has a minimalist view (a very OD&D view if I can add) on monsters.  But the Cryptid Manual gives us a proper monster book.

Of note. Both DS&DS and We Die Young use the newer D&D5-ish Advantage and Disadvantage mechanic. Albeit in slightly different ways.  I have been using this in NIGHT SHIFT as well and find it works better for me than a simple +3 or +5 to rolls

Also, both games have a Madness mechanic.  I like the one in We Die Young much better.  Bits from DS&DS could be added to this, but in general, I think I'd use the one in WDY. 

We Die Young also has some really cool races that can help fill out the "Gifted" of DS&DS.

Don't forget you can get the new Hardcover version of Dark Places & Demogorns on Kickstarter now.

NIGHT SHIFT: Veterans of the Supernatural Wars
NIGHT SHIFT: Veterans of the Supernatural Wars

I talk a lot about NIGHT SHIFT here and with good reason, I am quite proud of the work I have done it.  It fills the void in my life left by the Buffy RPG and everything I wanted from all three editions of Chill, but never exactly got (no slight on Chill, fantastic game), a little more approachable and less nihilistic than Kult, and none of the baggage of The World of Darkness (though I do get the urge to play that again.  My oldest want to give it a try sometime).

Dark Places & Demogorgons makes some assumptions in the game that makes it what it is.  The characters are kids and there is also the Jeffersontown setting, all of which are central to the game and make it work.

Dark Street & Darker Secrets is on the other end of the spectrum with no assumed setting other than "The City" which also works fantastic for this game and one of it's great strengths.

In between those two, we have NIGHT SHIFT (and We Die Young, but I'll get to that).  NIGHT SHIFT does not have a default setting. There are different levels of difficulty you can configure the game in, Cinematic, Realistic, or Gritty.  DP&D would be Cinematic, DS&DS is the poster boy for Gritty, and WDY is around Realistic.  So I would use ideas from those games to inform my choices in the three levels of NS and vice-versa. 

What NIGHT SHIFT has to offer these other games are our "Night Worlds" or mini-settings.  Any of these can be used in any of the other games and the other games can be used to add more details.  Jason's "The Noctnurmverse" can be supplemented either by or used in DS&DS.  The "City" in DS&DS becomes the Noctnurmverse's Pittsburgh.  Or dialing back the Way-Back Machine use it with We Die Young in the 1990s.  My own "Generation HEX" benefits from the ideas on playing kids in DP&D.  You could even take Generation HEX and play it as a DP&D setting if you wanted.  My "Ordinary World" can be used in DS&DS IF you ever decide to move out of the city into the suburbs. 

I already talked a lot about how NIGHT SHIFT and Dark Places & Demogorgons can be used together.  The same logic applies when adding in the other two games.  In fact one place where this might work great is my own Sunny Valley, OH game of the Buffyverse in the 1980s rather than the late 90s/early 2000s.  This works well since a.) NIGHT SHIFT was made to fit the "Buffy-shaped" hole in my life and b.) DS&DS takes a lot of cues from and was influenced by Buffy in all media.  I might just be the best melting pot for all these games. Or crucible. Time will tell.

Putting it All Together

Honestly, there are just too many ways to combine these four games into something you can use.  Start with one and add what you need.  Start with two and be pickier about what you add from the others.  One of the ways I am using it is in my Life-Path Development ideas. Each game represents a different point the characters' lives and each is used to model that time.  The obvious reasons are that DP&D takes place in the 80s with kids, WDY in the 90s with younger adults, and DS&DS and NIGHT SHIFT go beyond that.  To go with personal experience, I was living in Chicago proper in the mid to late 90s and then in the suburbs after that.  To use my ordinary world example my progression would look like this:

DP&D (high school, small town) -> WDY (college, college town) -> DS&DS (grad school, city) -> NIGHT SHIFT (adulthood, suburbs).

In a weird way, it makes sense to me.  But I am not stating up myself. I don't live in a magical world, I live in this one.  BUT I do have my Drosophila melanogaster of these sorts of experiments, Willow and Tara.   I have done stats for them for Dark Places & Demogorgons and NIGHT SHIFT.  Doing ones for We Die Young and Dark Streets & Darker Secrets would be easy enough.  BUT.  Those are not the same characters really. They fall under my "Alternate Reality" versions rather than "Lifespan or Lifepath Development."   Though doing DS&DS versions of Willow and Tara should be in my future.

No for this I need a character that has been around for a while, for that I am going to have to turn to my Iconic Witch Larina.

Fortunately for me, the witch is one of the few character classes/archetypes/concepts that can be found in all these games (the weird psychic is as well, but witches are my thing).  So building a witch feels right.

I worked up all the sheets and this is what I ended up with.  Purple is the color of all of Larina's sheets. Click for larger. 

Dark Places & DemogorgonsWe Die YoungDark Streets & Dark SecretsNIGHT SHIFT

Dark Places & Demogorgons

It's 1984 and Larina is 14 and 4th level.  She lives in a small town where her mom runs a spice shop and her dad is a Professor of Anthropology and teaches music.  She is called "creepy girl" by the kids in school.  At this point, she is shy and can't quite understand why others can't see the strange things all around them. 

Most of these adventures are of the "Scooby-Doo" sort; short ones that are resolved by the end.  Easily Monster of Week sorts.

We Die Young

We are moving to the early 90s now and she is 7th level. Larina is in grad school and is now Larina Macalester. She was married at age 19 but obviously, it is not working out well.  She is living in Chicago while her estranged husband is still living in Ireland. Her stats nudge up a little but she largely is similar to her 1DP&D version.  There are some differences between the two types of Witch classes (and DP&D still has others) but nothing I consider earth-shattering.  I did get to add her two tattoos. One is a protection tattoo (a large Triple Moon Goddess on her back) and one on her left wrist that allows her to cast a magic bolt. 

Dark Streets & Darker Secrets

Things are getting darker.  Larina is now 35, 10th level, and back to going back to using "Nichols" as her last name.  Her complication is she is hiding from her ex-husband who was in the IRA.  (NOTE: I actually played through this back in the early 2000s.  The big twist was that while she was hiding out, her ex had moved on and was living his own life with his new wife.)  I wanted to use my new idea for Sanity by having it as Intellect +  Willpower /2. BUT for Larina here both scores are 17 giving me an average of 17. 

NIGHT SHIFT

Here is the one closest to my heart, obviously.  She has more spells, but this is expected at 13th level. 

As expected the powers don't always match up right and I could have taken more care in aligning the spells with each version. But I figure that these changes can be chalked up to learning and experiences.  I do feel that all versions reflect the character at the time well.   

Looking forward to trying this with other characters to see how they work out. Also, I am keeping all of these books together to use as needed.  By themselves, they give me a wonderful experience. Together they give me an epic experience.

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

The Fall of the House of Whedon

I was debating on whether or not to remark to the latest (and maybe the last) of the ongoing drama with Joss Whedon, but I think at least a summary and retrospective might be in order.  Besides one of the reasons of for the existence of this blog was due to the earlier incarnation of The Other Side getting hacked all the time by Whedon fanboys because they did not like my message then.  So. Here we are nearly 20 years later.

burning house

First, let's start with the most recent news.  On February 10th Charisma Carpenter took to Twitter to talk about how she had been treated by Whedon while filming her last season of Angel.  While widely known to many people in the fan community at the time, this tweet was a revelation to many.  Among the other issues were asking her if she would get an abortion to accommodate the Angel shooting schedule and storyline.  What followed was a tsunami of posts from fellow actors and people associated with Buffy, Angel, and Firefly. 

This has all lead to the #IStandWithCharismaCarpenter hashtag to trend.

The question that some are asking is why is this all trending now versus 18 years ago? Or why are the actors all coming out now as opposed to then?

Well, keep in mind that a lot of the actors and people involved DID come out with these allegations.  I remember talking online about it at the time, in particular, Charisma Carpenter's firing because she got pregnant (which is illegal by the way).  What is different?

First, the actors above have the advantage of a more robust social media infrastructure.  They can get their message out to more, quicker.  Cases in point all the Tweets and Instagram posts above.

Second, there was the MeToo movement which shifted the lens of belief from the auteurs to the actresses.  There are countless stories of Kubrick, Hitchcock, and of course Weinstein but that all changed in the last few years when such behavior would no longer be tolerated.  This gave Ray Fisher a chance to speak out about how he was treated on the set of Justice League.  Cases in point were the comments made by Kai Cole, Whedon's ex-wife on The Wrap.  This was also one of the reasons that Stunt Coordinator Jeff Pruitt And Stuntwoman Sophia Crawford shared their story yet again and that James Marsters felt he could share his story as well.

I mentioned Jeff Pruitt and Sophia Crawford above with a "yet again" they shared this story before. Back in 2000.  It was detailed by Jeff, quasi-anonymously, in his "The Parabal (sic) of a Knight."  He is the Knight, Sophia is the Handmaiden and the Young Prince who becomes King is Whedon. It is also fairly negative to SMG, but that is not what I talking about today.  While he had to hide this in a story, the Buffy fandom at the time dismissed all of Jeff's and Sophia's claims.  It only took 20 years before the fandom took them at their word.

Related to that is my third point. The fandom that revered and protect Whedon is largely gone.  Back in 2003 or so, Whedon was on the top of his world.  Any complaint would have been drowned out by the screaming fans that worshipped him. Case in point. Anytime I would post something to my older version of The Other Side my host would get attacked.  It got so bad that between 2005 to 2009 there was no "Other Side" on the web.  I created this blog since I figured Blogspot/Google would be better protected. Of course by that time I had decided to move on. 

People talk about "toxic fandom" and how it can be directed in a negative way at creators.  One facet they don't mention is how un-checked praise and even worship of creators can also be damaging to others that are trying to warn us about those creatives.  Woody Hall, Harvey Weinstein, Stanley Kubrick, Quentin Tarantino, and yes Whedon all built their cult of personality and auteur status.  These same cults also shielded them from scrutiny.

The "Big Question" everyone is asking is "Why now?"

As I mentioned above the climate has changed.  These actors are no longer in a place where Whedon can damage their career.  They have moved on to other things. Charisma has roles, SMG is living the stay-at-home mom dream she has always wanted (and her husband Freddie Prinze Jr. is doing great), Amber has books out and has been behind the camera more than in front of it.  So the control he once had on their lives is not there.  The fan network has largely gone away as well.

Also, and this can not be stated too many times, other people do not have to conform to your timeline of healing.  Michelle Trachtenberg said it took her years to even come to terms with it.  Eliza Dushku only talked about the sexual abuse she suffered at age 12 three years ago. Michelle Trachtenberg mentions that it took her till she was a woman of 35 to deal with things that happened to her as a teenager of 15. I know others he has been involved with as well. The gaslighting he has done to them still bothers (enrages) them.  You don't get to dictate how others heal.

The question also comes up of why didn't others speak up or stop it.  Well, I think I covered that, the ones that did were blacklisted and deemed "difficult to work with."  You also have actors like Anthony Head and Amy Acker that said they did not see this abuse but support the others all the same.   Again, it can't be said too many times but abusers work by targeting those they know they can abuse and get away with it.  Bullies always pick on those weaker than themselves.  In terms of the power structure, everyone was weaker than the Grand Auteur.

Back in the early 90s I had a job at a head injury facility. I was a Qualified Mental Health Professional for the State of Illinois. I took the job because my own research was on cognitive development.  The job was so depressing. I would call my girlfriend every night after my night shift (she was living 300 miles away at the time; its ok though we got married in the end) complaining about how awful it was.  Not the staff, they were great, it's just the despair.  She asked me many times why I don't just quit.  I couldn't. Apart from needing this on CV for my Ph.D. program, I also needed to eat, pay rent, and have a job that a working grad student could do at night.  I couldn't just leave. Neither could these actors, and I didn't have a contract holding me in a place like they did. 

The Second Big Question is, for me, Why do I even care?

Over the years through my work on the Buffy, Angel, and Ghosts of Albion RPGs I have gotten to know a few of the people involved here. They are good people. In the years following, I have been able to get to know more. They are also good people.  They deserved a lot better than what they were given.

I guess really it is no surprise when given the chance to do my own versions of the Buffy-verse the people that made it over were "played" by Charisma, Amber, Michelle, Eliza, and also  Alyssa Milano and Rose McGowan.

Truthfully the only answer one needs to give to a question of "Why should you care?" is "Because what happened was wrong."

Thursday, November 5, 2020

Plays Well With Others: Kids Games, Dark Places & Demogorgons

Last week I talked about an Other Side perennial favorite, Dark Places & Demogorgons and using it as a central feature of a generational game. Today I want expand on that idea a little more.  While this is a "Plays Well With Others" and I normally use that to talk about how the subject be used in conjunction with a lot of other, maybe unrelated, games.  Today I am going to focus exclusively on Dark Places & Demogorgons and NIGHT SHIFT: Veterans of the Supernatural Wars, but there is no reason why the same logic could not apply to say Kids on Bikes/Brooms and other modern supernatural games like Dark Streets & Darker Secrets.

Reminder: Dark Places & Demogorgons 5e is having a Kickstarter RIGHT NOW to update DP&D to the 5th edition of D&D.  Go. Pledge now and come back here. 

Playing Kids' Games

Dark Places & Demogorgns (DP&D) is fantastic. Full Stop. But, I should say a little more than that, and I have and I will. I have even dedicated other PWWO to their Cryptid Manual.

DP&D is a "Stranger Things" like game of playing kids in the 80s, early and mid-80s in particular, when the audience for this game was the age at the time their characters would be.  It is a great game that captures a time that many remember as simpler (though I also remember trying to get "online" with a 300 baud (bps) modem...nothing simple about that!) time. 

That is the main focus of the game, playing kids and 80s kids in particular.  But that is not all it can do.  It is a great game of "mild" supernatural terror.  A lot less than Call of Cthulhu, or even Chill, but greater than say Scooby-doo or Ghostbusters. For me, it is exactly the sort of shenanigans I wish I could have gotten in to.  You know, but minus all the death. 

But let's say for example you don't play DP&D (and why not?) you play something like NIGHT SHIFT that deals with more adult matters? Not R or X rated mind you or even bills and jobs, just people over 18.  What can a game like DP&D do for you?

DP&D is such a delight. It really is. I am very fond of this game and I still enjoy playing it.  On the surface it looks like DP&D and NIGHT SHIFT could be used to tell the same sorts of stories, and that is true to a degree, but that really underplays what makes both games special.  

NIGHT SHIFT covers adults in a very dangerous supernatural modern world.

Dark Places & Demogorgons covers kids in a very dangerous supernatural world of the 1980s.

Getting the Characters to Play Well With Others

It seems to be an unpopular topic among old-schoolers, but new gamers love this stuff. They want to know about their character's backstory, what they did when they were younger.  Even down to things like what their favorite foods are, who was their childhood crush, and more.  Personally, I think it is fun as hell and I love that these newer players have so much excitement for their characters and games.

But how can an old guy like me do that and still stay true to my own roots?

Easy.  Take my characters and play them as kids.  There are a few ways to make this work.

The Flashback

This is the technique used in the Stephen King movie "It" and a couple of times on Supernatural. 

Take your NIGHT SHIFT characters and re-do them as DP&D characters.  Something I mentioned before, and it is true here as well, do not try to make a one to one correspondence between the classes. Think about yourself, what you were, and what you were doing when you were 13 vs. now.  I would not be the same "class" at all.  In fact, this is part of the fun.  What was your character back then that made them who they are now?  Were the actions of the DP&D game what made your character into who they are now?  OR, and I will admit this is a favorite, was the event so traumatic that your adult character forgot it so you have to replay it as a kid.

The forgotten flashback is a good way to build some background and then they can get XP or perk once they remember.  So in a NIGHT SHIFT based game, I'd give a character some perk from DP&D related to their "kid" class.  Nothing to unbalance the game, but certainly something to add to each character. Making them something a little "more" than they were before.

Lifespan Development

Another great option is to start as a kid in DP&D and progress to the logical end (18) and then pick up as an adult, maybe a couple of years later even, in NIGHT SHIFT.

Again, there is not a good one to one class correspondence between the games and nor would I want there to be.  A Jock (DP&D) might end up as a Veteran (NS) or even as a Chosen One (NS).  In truth, I would give any DP&D kid character some "free" levels in Survivor but allow them to keep some of the perks of their original DP&D class.  So Goths still see ghosts, Karate Kids still kick ass, and so on.  

This is the option for people that want a rich backstory for their characters, but don't want to write it, they want to live it.

Age Regression

There are also a few ways to do this one. In Star Trek: The Next Generation there was a great episode "Rascals" where Picard, Ensing Ro, Keiko O'Brein, and Guinan were transformed into pre-teens due to a "transporter accident".  Their bodies were de-aged, but their minds were the same. 

In the third season of Charmed the episode "Once Upon a Time" did it the other way around; the cast stayed in their own adult bodies but their minds were like children.  They needed to do this because only children can see fairies.   In this case, it was a spell and this also makes it more useful for your NIGHT SHIFT game.  Your character stays the same, but not your mental attributes are DP&D.

Alternate Reality

Finally, one I have been using a lot lately is an alternate reality/timeline.  In this one the characters are children.  It's not necessarily the same character, but certainly the same character in a different situation. 

Case in point I run a "Sunny Valley, OH" game is an alternate version of my Buffy RPG.  Same characters (mostly) but the differences are the characters are all younger than they were in the show/RPG, they are set in the ironically names Sunny Valley, Ohio instead of Sunnydale, CA, and it is set in DP&D's proper 1980s instead of the late 1990s/early 2000s.

Pulling it Together: The Characters

One of my better examples and I have a few, would be my versions of Willow and Tara for both NIGHT SHIFT (my "The Dragon and the Phoenix" timeline) and DP&D (my "Sunny Valley, OH" timeline).

This split allows me to different things, have different sorts of adventures, tell different sorts of stories. 


Can I do this all in one system? Of course. Especially for a game like NIGHT SHIFT.  BUT changing the system allows me to do two things. It allows me to give the different times/ages a different feel via the system.  Do I feel the same way now as I did in the 1980s? No. Do I do things the same way? No.  The mechanics are a good way to reflect it. 

It also allows me to force the players to feel the experience as being different.  ESPECIALLY if it is a game that is similar but slightly different. Like NIGHT SHIFT and DP&D are.  Combat is largely the same for example, but saves are different. Skills are different.  This difference helps mimic the feel of being younger and not always knowing what to do or how to do it. 

I have always said a "rising tide raises all ships."  Other designers/games are not my competitors, they are my colleagues. Playing games from other designers gives me new insights into my own games. 

For more details and examples I am providing some links below to other posts.

And don't forget the Kickstarter!

Dark Places & Demogorgons

Sunny Valley, OH

NIGHT SHIFT Veterans of the Supernatural Wars





Friday, October 30, 2020

Willow & Tara: NIGHT SHIFT Veterans of the Supernatural Wars

It was really only a matter of time before I got around to posting this. 

One of my personal goals with NIGHT SHIFT was to be able to create any character, any situation, I could think of.  While I have dozens of characters I have created for NIGHT SHIFT I am only posting a few to show off the capabilities of the system.  Since we are getting to the end of Witch Week, this is a must post.

Following up on my 2018 Update of my witches I had them coming out of retirement to battle a bloated orange monster.   Looking over my recent posts of both NIGHT SHIFT characters and Baba Yaga from a couple nights ago, I wonder if maybe there is something else going on.  

What if Baba Yaga was targeting the girls of the Wayward Sisters so Jodie and Donna seek out the help of Rowena (who can't help them because she is in Hell) but instead gets them in touch with Charlie, who in turn leads them to Willow and Tara.   Feels like it could be a part of my War of the Witch Queens campaign set in modern times.  It would be appropriate.  I'd just have to figure out how to also work in the Charmed Ones!  

Why go through all that effort? Well to be honest it would take something this big to pull Willow & Tara out of their comfortable retirement. I honestly have not used these characters in anything of my home games in years. Baba Yaga, especially how I am thinking of revisioning her? Yeah. That is big.
Maybe that is one of the reasons the War of the Witch Queens starts, Baba Yaga is on some other world now. 

I digress.  Here are Willow and Tara in their 2020 versions.

Tara Rosenberg-Maclay

11th level Witch, Human

Strength: 12 (0)
Dexterity: 9 (0) 
Constitution: 12 (0)
Intelligence: 16 (+2) s
Wisdom: 18 (+3) P
Charisma: 16 (+2) s

HP: 34 (11d4)
AC: 9
Fate Points: 1d10

Check Bonus (P/S/T): +5/+3/+2
Melee bonus: +2  Ranged bonus: +2
Saves: +5 to spells and magical effects

Special Abilities: Arcana, Casting 105%, Telekinesis, Arcane bond (Willow), Innate Magic (Cure), Telepathic Transfer

Skills: Dance (Dex), Literature (Int), Research (Int), Theology (Int), Beast Whisperer (Wis)

Languages: English, Latin, Greek, Gaelic, 

Spells

1: Bless, Cure Light Wounds*,  Dancing Lights, Detect Evil
2: ESP, Locate Object, Produce Flame, Protection from Evil
3: Clairvoyance, Dispel Magic, Fly, Protection from Evil 10'
4: Cure Serious Wounds*, Dimensional Anchor, Restoration
5: Heal, Contact Higher Plane
6: Enchant Item


Willow Rosenberg-Maclay
12th level Witch, Human

Strength: 9 (0)
Dexterity: 11 (0) 
Constitution: 11 (0)
Intelligence: 18 (+3) P
Wisdom: 16 (+2) s
Charisma: 17 (+2) s

HP: 32 (11d4+2)
AC: 9
Fate Points: 1d10

Check Bonus (P/S/T): +6/+4/+2
Melee bonus: +2  Ranged bonus: +2
Saves: +5 to spells and magical effects

Special Abilities: Arcana, Casting 110%, Telekinesis, Arcane Bond (Tara), Enhanced Senses, Telepathic Transfer

Skills: Computers (Int) x2, Science (Int), Research (Int), Theology/Mythology (Int)

Languages: English, Latin, Greek, Hebrew

Spells

1: Chill Ray, Detect Evil, Detect Magic, Magic Missile
2: ESP, Invisibility, Produce Flame, Protection from Evil
3: Clairvoyance, Fly, Remove Blindness/Deafness, Speak w/ Dead
4: Arcane Eye, Daylight, Produce fire
5: Commune, Dispel Evil, Raise Dead
6: anti-magic Shell, Enchant Item

Yes. I can see these versions working out great, to be honest.  In fact, these versions feel just as "right" as the WitchCraft RPG versions and the official ones in the Buffy RPG (which I worked on anyway).  Looking over them again I maybe should have given them an extra level each.  They are retired, but I am certain they still managed to stay busy.


NIGHT SHIFT Characters

Friday, May 1, 2020

HeroForge 2.0 Color: Where My Witches At?

Well.  I was not expecting to make this post today!

Two weeks ago I got my early access to Hero Forge 2.0 Color Mini creator.
I applauded the interface and was very thrilled to see all the options that were already up and running.
I praised them for their successful use of Kickstarter to get up and running and to reward those that have supported them over the years.

I ordered my minis and was told that they would be delivered around mid-June.  Sweet! Just in time for my birthday.  Guess what I got in the mail yesterday?


That's a month and a half early.   Now I am not saying everyone will get in this fast.  I have a feeling I got mine before it got super busy.  But still.

Let's look at these in detail.  As I expected they are a bit paler than they appear in the software and a little less detail, but still, they look fantastic really.  They are also a little bit heavier than previous prints.


Here is my iconic witch with different generations of the prints.  The first, white one, is from their original Kickstarter. Not a lot of detail and kind of "sandy" feeling.  The second in the newer and current plastic, painted by my wife.  The third one is the new color 3D print.   If you look really close you can see print lines, but you have to be looking for them.  The last all blue one is an STL download and printed on my printer here at home using PLA.


Of course, I HAD to do Willow and Tara.  These are the new color 3D mins and the slightly older premium plastic.  Same poses.  You can see that the bases on the color minis are larger.
You can feel the lines on the color ones and not on the premium plastic.
So if I ever get these painted it will be interesting to see the differences.

Comparing the prints:


To the images in the software:


You can see there is some loss of color and detail.  BTW this is an older pic of Willow, I changed the color of her top when I went to have the print made.

But none of that is a deal-breaker for me.  I am going to assume they will get better and better with more detail.


I included a figure of my Keribum version of Tara too.  I wanted to see the size differences translated to 25mm.

I am very pleased with the results. 
I think I might wait a bit before I get more.  Partially to let others get a chance to get their's and partially to see what sort of upgrades they are planning.

You can get yours at https://www.heroforge.com/

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

HeroForge 2.0 Color

Crazy busy day today.  This working and school from home has me working more than ever.  Hell of a way to get job security.

I checked my email and I got my early access to the new HeroForge 2.0 with color, and I am happy to say that it really exceeds my expectations.

There are a lot of nice features, not all are in yet, but enough to make very, very happy I backed this Kickstarter and the original HeroForge Kickstarter.




You get a bunch of tools and textures to work with.




There are some pre-configured color themes that can really help get you started.



Not everything is ready just yet.  Likely good or I'd be spending too much money now.  This will likely be good for tattoos and designs.  If we can upload our own designs then I have a few custom tattoos I am going to do.



While there are plenty of colors to work with you can use a standard RGB palette to adjust everything.

Here are a few I made tonight.


My superhero character Justice.


A new version of my iconic witch Larina.  I love the shading on her hat.


Iggwilv and The Simbul from my War of the Witch Queens campaign.


Of course my two favorite witches. You may or may not be able to tell, but even Tara's fingernails and toenails are painted.  That is the level of control you have.

And my two newest characters.



Asabalom and Maryah.  These are my new druid and ranger characters for Old-School Essentials.  They have made appearances in my Pumpkin Spice Witch book, in NIGHT SHIFT and other places.  They have been my playtest characters for other things as well including a couple of Blue Rose adventures I have written.  I am quite happy with how they turned out.

Maryah, in particular, is just fantastic looking.  If you compare her and Justice to Willow, Iggwilv or Larina above you can see she has more musculature. Appropriate for a ranger and superhero respectively.


If you look you can see her eyebrow piercings are different metals, copper and two gold.

The minis are $45 each in the color plastic OR $145 to have someone paint it there.  Frankly, I am not sure how they are going to make money at $145 to paint a mini given the amount they are going to do.

I am going to at least pick up four right away.  Though it will likely be a couple of months before I see them.

Gonna have to sell more books to feed my mini addiction!

Friday, July 12, 2019

Willow & Tara: 5e Modern variant

My Facebook friend Ron McNiel has been playing around with a 5e inspired modern game variant and he decided to do his own reboot of Buffy.  It looks pretty fun, to be honest, and you can see all his details here.  Looks like he is using this as a test run for his next campaign so looking forward to hearing what he does.


In the meantime here are his versions of Willow & Tara for his game, complete with new casting.

Tara Maclay, played by Violett Beane

Click for larger

Ron: I present you Tara Maclay (Violett Beane) - is a shy, quiet, and nervous person. She often finds her self stuttering when she speaks, especially when Willow is around. Not much is known about Tara, because she is afraid to open up to others because of her verbally abusive father and brother. She harbors a secret, a secret her father drilled into her, something about a family curse that was bestowed on the women of her family that would manifest on their 20th birthday. She began to believe her father about the curse, because her mom became ill. She has a small rebellious streak that she indulges from time to time, such as lying to her father and staying out all night. Being relatively new to Sunnydale High, having recently moved to Sunnydale (for the best care for her mother), she doesn't have much friends, until Willow introduces herself, which would spark something deep down inside of her.


Willow Rosenberg, played by Emily Rudd

Click for larger

Ron: I present Willow Danielle Rosenberg (Emily Rudd) – is a consistently sweet, trusting, gentle, intelligent, and caring person. She is a somewhat naive, painfully shy nerd who has a hopeless crush on her best friend Xander. She is very friendly and understanding, though she is not afraid to be tough. While still having a easily nervous nature. She is incredibly loyal and supportive to her friends, especially Buffy and Xander as she almost never openly criticizes their decisions with hostility even when she disagreed, a factor in her understanding nature. She normally does not display fits of extreme anger toward those who done her wrong, even if they were her close friends, retaining a calm and receptive demeanor, never forgetting. She is often speaks in strange speeches and phrases, something she shares with her best friend Buffy, which could often confuse those around her who aren’t used to it. She is greatly emotional and prone to senseless babble when nervous (which is another similarity to Buffy). She is also very determined to get things done when she feels they are important. It is sometimes hard for people to change her mind, a sign of this being her "Resolve Face." She does not hold grudges against people. In fact, she is usually one of the first to forgive people for their mistakes, even if large ones, being incredibly forgiving. Another notable trait of hers is her remarkable ability to put aside grudges and personal feelings to get an important task done which she has done on numerous occasions. She doesn’t often let personal feelings cloud her judgment either, making her very responsible and level-headed. One of her amazing gifts is with computers and cracking codes. She also seems to be the only one out of the Scooby Gang that actually enjoys going to school and doing homework as well as tutoring, much to the confusion of Buffy and Xander.


This looks great!  He has done the other characters, but these are my favorites.

You can see my own "reboot" of the series here:

Monday, April 15, 2019

April TTRPG Maker, Day 15

Day 15: Favorite Tropes to Subvert?

Halfway there!

Favorite Tropes to Subvert?  ALL OF THEM!

But seriously, a few come to mind.

You will never, ever see a "Women in Refrigerators" situation in one of my games.  No woman will ever be killed to forward a male character's arc. Never. 

You will never, ever see rape as a means of helping to build up a character as via a Rape-and-Revenge arc. As in when you take a character down to their lowest levels so they can be built back up into something more powerful.  I guess the trope could be called the "I Spit on Your Grave" trope.

Most of all you will never, ever see a "Bury Your Gays" or a "Dead/Evil Lesbian cliché" in anything I publish. Ever.

"But", you may ask "what if the story calls for it?"
Sorry, but no. Time to write a new fucking story then.

"But aren't you giving 'special treatment' to a certain group?"
No. And also fuck you, go write your own fucking games and don't buy mine if that is what you think.

These are my lines in the sand.

Thursday, March 28, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Vampire Willow
Vampire Willow
Willow Danielle Rosenberg
Female Vampire Witch

Patron 3
Archetype: Vampire
Motivation: Mayhem, Protect Tara

Style: 5
Health 11*

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

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

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

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

Resources
Contacts 2

Rituals
Empower, Fear, Greater Hex, Harm,

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

Weapons
Bite 9L**, Punch 9N

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



Vampire Tara
Vampire Tara
Tara Ann Maclay
Female Vampire Witch

Patron 2
Archetype: Vampire
Motivation: Stay with Willow

Style: 5
Health 11*

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

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

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

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

Resources
Contacts 2

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

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

Weapons
Bite 9L**, Punch 9N

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

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

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

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