Showing posts with label witch. Show all posts
Showing posts with label witch. Show all posts

Monday, January 18, 2021

Character Creation Challenge: 7th Sea, 2nd Edition

7th Sea RPG
Today is something new for me. All the games I have done so far and have planned have been games on my shelf.  This weekend I have been playing around with this idea of a Sea Witch character.  The idea of this has been floating around in the back of my mind since the 2nd Ed days when we ran a short-lived campaign sea-based campaign.  So I went out bought 7th Sea, 2nd Edition.

The Game: 7th Sea, 2nd Edition

7th Sea was always an interesting game to me. I picked up the 1st edition a couple of times at my FLGS to buy but never bought it.  When I was at the Ennies a few years ago when 7th Sea, 2nd Ed won a bunch of awards and I thought about picking it up then too. 

The setting is an alt-Europe during the Age of Sail. I have to admit the idea, and the setting is a very intriguing one.  Reading through the game I am overwhelmed with ideas.  Not just for this game, but also to add to various other games.  

One day I should really do a Blue Rose / 7th Sea / Mage the Sorceror's Crusade mash-up.  I also could see all three of those games adding more depth to my D&D games, in particular to Glantri. 

Really there is so much here I will need to come back to this one. Might have to pick up the hardcover. It really looks like a great game.

The Character: Gwenhwyfar

For this character, I went with very familiar territory or as familiar as I can get here.  Really it was the fact that characters can be Pagans that sold me on the character idea here.  Also, the thinly-veiled version of Ireland in Inismore grabbed my attention. 

Circe Invidiosa 1892 oil on canvas
Gwenhwyfar
Concept: Sea Witch
Nation: Inismore
Religion: Pagan

Traits
Brawn ••
Finesse ••
Resolve ••••
Wits •••
Panache ••

Skills
Aim •
Athletics •
Brawl ••
Convince •
Empathy ••
Hide •
Intimidate
Notice ••
Perform ••
Ride
Sailing ••
Scholarship •
Tempt •••
Theft •
Warfare
Weaponry •

Background
Saoi (Wise one), Sailor

Advantages
Bar Fighter
Able Drinker
Direction Sense
Disarming Smile
Eagle Eyes
Linguist
Sea Legs
Team Player

Sorcery: Glamour

So I don't know about this character, or this system, yet.  But I am looking forward to learning more about both.  I am not sure if Gwenhwyfar and Seren would get along (my stand-ins for Irish and Welsh respectively). 

Sunday, January 17, 2021

Character Creation Challenge: Blue Rose1st Edition, AGE Edition

Blue Rose
Yesterday I featured Blue Rose, the True20 Edition.  I am moving further afield now from the d20 base I started with, but there is still a lot recognizable here. Blue Rose 2nd Edition uses the new AGE system from Green Ronin.  Both systems, AGE and True20, have their benefits and suit the stories well.

The Game: Blue Rose, 2nd Edition

Like its predecessor edition, I have talked a lot about Blue Rose AGE edition.

In particular, I have been using it as a main feature in my recent "Plays Well With Others" posts. I have even considered it as one of the base systems to use for my "War of the Witch Queens" campaign.  In fact, one of the adventures morphed and has made its way to an official Blue Rose adventure anthology, the upcoming Six of Cups.  I have to say that working with Green Ronin on official Blue Rose material was a delight.

I have not played a campaign in BR yet, but I have played a number of one-shots that could be loosely defined as a campaign.  I have even played a few times at Gen Con with some really fantastic GMs. 

Again I spent a lot of time reviewing this game when it came out.

And I have to admit I am REALLY looking forward to the Blue Rose Adventurer's Guide for 5e when it comes out.

The game is an absolute joy and I hope to continue with it for a long time to come.

Blue Rose

The Character: Seren

Seren is a new character based on a character I have in Six of Cups.  That character, Celeste Vocolio, is considered to be one of the greatest heroes of the Aldean Navy.  She stowed away on a ship at age 8 because she wanted to see the world and she became the greatest Admiral of the Navy in Aldis, Kingdom of the Blue Rose.  I described her as "Pippy Longstockings growing up to become Honor Harrington."

Seren is not part of the Aldean Navy, nor is she a great hero. Yet.  She grew up hearing stories of Adm. Vocolio her whole life like many children growing up in Garnet. She would sit near to the Garnet Beacon lighthouse and watch the ships come in and go out.  

Seren though is not a sailor, she is a Sea-folk witch who now lives in Garnet.

Miranda
Seren
Female Sea Folk Seer (Adept) 1st level

Accuracy 1 (Prime)
Communication 1
Constitution 1 [Swiming 3]
Dexterity 1
Fighting 1
Intelligence 2 (Prime) [Nautical Lore 4]
Perception 4 (Prime) [Searching 7]
Strength 0
Willpower (Prime) 2

Speed 11
Defense 11
Armor 0
Health 25

Powers, Talents and Specializations
Sea Folk (Dark sight, swimming)
Adept (Arcane training, Arcane channeling)

Observation Talent
Seer

Languages (Aldin, Lar'ttan)

Arcana
Healing (Novice) Cure, Psychic Shield, Second Sight
Visionary (Novice) Visions, Scry, Nature Reading

Calling: The World (Exploration & Discovery)
Destiny: Ace of Swords - Courage
Fate: Ace of Rods - Overzealous

Seren is a baby Sea Witch.  My goal for her would be get her on a boat with some crew that become her adopted family of choice and have merry adventures.  Likely I see her becoming a powerful, and hopefully scary, sea witch; I see her in a Miyazaki film to be honest.

Working with her Calling, Destiny and Fate, I see her as someone that wants to see the world, to be the one standing on the front of her ship and telling the crew where to go and what to do.  But that is a long way off yet and she has to first build up the courage to get there.

Saturday, January 16, 2021

Character Creation Challenge: Blue Rose1st Edition, True20

Blue Rose, 1st Edition

One of the games I really enjoyed playing back in the early days of the new Millenium was Green Ronin's Blue Rose, True20 edition

The Game: Blue Rose, 1st Edition

Blue Rose is a great game.  It takes fantasy and instead of drawing from the heroic Pulp tradition it instead draws from the Romantic fantasy traditions.  The characters are every bit as heroic, but their actions are guided by different principles.

I have spent a lot of time talking about Blue Rose here so instead of converting that ground again, I will direct you to some relevant posts.



The Character: Marissia

Marissia (and yeah that is the spelling I am going with here) has the distinction of being the very first NPC witch I ever created.  Or at least the first one that I still have notes for. She makes her appearance in module B1: In Search of the Unknown where I call her the "Daughter of Zelligar."

She is an evil witch, or at least she will be when she gets higher in level.  Given my big Black Rose deal for this version of the game, I thought I might as well bring her in.  

Hero Forge picture of Marissia
Marissa
1st level Human Adept (Arcanist)

Strength: +0
Dexterity: +1
Constitution: +2
Intelligence: +3
Wisdom: +3
Charisma: +4

Intiative: +1
Defence: +2
BAB: 0, Melee Attack: +0, Ranged Attack: +1

Toughness: +0
Fortitude: +0
Reflex: +0
Will: +2

Conviction: 3
Corruption: 0
Alignment: Shadow
Calling: Adept - Mastery of Arcane
Light Nature: 8 of Pentacles - Dedicated
Shadow Nature: 10 of rods - Obsessive

Skills: Heal, Intimidate, Notice, Concentration, Craft (potions), Knowledge (Arcane), Sleight of Hand, Search

Feats and Powers: Arcane Focus, Brew Elixir, Visionary Arcana.
Arcana: Scrying, Battle Dance

I'd have to go over her again to make sure this fits my eventual idea of her, but it is a good place to start.

Friday, January 15, 2021

Character Creation Challenge: Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea

Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea
Another favorite game that came out of the Old-school push was Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea.  A game that took us back to the pulp-fantasy roots of the RPG hobby. 

The Game: Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea

I am very, very fond of this game. There is just so much potential here that I become overwhelmed with ideas.  Do I want to do the dawn-time of humanity when the Old Ones have left the Earth?  Do I want to do an older, colder Earth of the far future under a dying sun?  Or just smoosh it into my current games? I want to do it all, to be honest!!

I have mentioned in the past that I see AS&SH as a good combination of B/X and AD&D rules.  Essentially it is what we were playing back in the early 80s.  Where I grew up it was not uncommon to come to a game where people would have an AD&D Monster Manual, a Holmes Basic book, and a Cook/Marsh Expert Book.  The rules we played by were also an equally eclectic mix.

AS&SH is like that. It favors the AD&D side more, but there are enough B/X influences that I smile to myself when I see them.

For me, it is another example of striking the perfect balance between B/X D&D and AD&D1.  This one leans more towards the AD&D side of the spectrum, but the power level, the grit, the overall vibe is far more B/X.  THEN you add in material from Lovecraft, Howard, and Clark Ashton Smith? Well, that is the perfect icing on the cake really.

Of course, it is nearly perfect out of the box, but it can also lend itself to so much more than what is given us to use between the covers.  I have run Zothique games and Pellucidar style ones as well where all of Hyperborea was either one continent in the far future or underground, inside hollow earth (respectively).

Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea

The Character: Xaltana

Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea has its own witch class and it really is quite excellent.

Ok, admittedly this one is a bit of a cheat since she is not only not my character, she is a pastiche of other characters.  Xaltana appears in the adventure HS4 The Lost Caverns of Acheron which I talk about here.  She is an evil witch/vampire lord found in the central part of the adventure.  She combines various characters including Drelzna and Iggwilv as well as any number of evil witch and evil vampire type characters found in Conan.  In the adventure, her stats are for 3.x edition. AS&SH is a much better fit for her really.

While I have a number of other Witch-y Vampire Queens, this one is a bit different in that she is designed to be a one and done sort of bud guy.

Xaltana, the Witch-Queen of Acheron
Xaltana, the Witch-Queen of Acheron
Female Witch, 12th level, Chaotic Evil

Race: Human(Common, but could be Hyperborean) Vampire 
Secondary Skill: Scribe

Abilities
Strength: 16
Dexterity: 20
Constitution: 10
Intelligence: 14
Wisdom: 14
Charisma: 20

Casting Ability: 12
Fighting Ability: 5

Hit Points:  36
Alignment: Chaotic Evil
AC: 5 

Powers
1st level: Brew Potions, Familiar
3rd level: Brew Philtre
5th level: Dance of Beguilement, Effigy
7th level: Animate Broom
9th level: Witch's Apprentice

Vampire Powers

Spells
First: (5) Burning Hands, Charm Person, Locate the Dead, Shocking Grasp, Sleep
Second: (5) Cause Blindness, Ghoul Touch, Hold Person, Infernal Tongues, Ray of Enfeeblement
Third: (4) Black Cloud, Explosive Runes, Phantasm, Witch Fire
Fourth: (4) Black Tentacles, Charm Monster, Mirror Mirror, Sorcerer Eye
Fifth: (3) Control Winds, Magic Jar, Sleep Everlasting
Sixth: (2) Disintegrate, See

Magic Items
Bracers AC1


Xaltana, the Witch-Queen of Acheron
Xaltana, the Witch-Queen of Acheron
Female Witch, Malefic Tradition 13th level, Chaotic

Abilities
Strength: 16
Dexterity: 20
Constitution: 10
Intelligence: 14
Wisdom: 14
Charisma: 20

Hit Points: 29
AC: 1 (Bracers)

Occult Powers
Familiar: Bat
7th level:  
13th level: 

Spells 
Cantrips: Alarm Ward, Black Flame, Daze, Detect Curse, Object Reading, Open
First: Cause Fear, Everlasting Candle, Ghostly Slashing, Increase Sex Appeal, Minor Curse
Second: Bewitch II, Burning Gaze, Enthrall, Evil Eye
Third: Feral Spirit, Clairaudience/Clairvoyance, Tongues
Fourth: Dance Macabre, Intangible Cloak of Shadows, Phantom Lacerations
Fifth: Death Curse, Dreadful Bloodletting
Sixth: Death Blade, Mass Agony
Seventh:  Wave of Mutilation

Magic Items
Bracers AC 1

Both versions are good. I might rethink my plan to make her a one-shot villain!

Character Creation Challenge

Tardis Captain is the originator of this idea and he is keeping a list of places participating.  When posting to Social Media don't forget the #CharacterCreationChallenge hashtag. 

RPG Blog Carnival

This month's RPG Blog Carnival is being hosted by Plastic Polyhedra. They are doing Characters, Stories, and Worlds, so that fits right in with everything we are posting this month.

Check out all the posts going on this month at both of these sources.


Thursday, January 14, 2021

Character Creation Challenge: Spellcraft & Swordplay

Spellcraft & Swordplay cover
Spellcraft & Swordplay was one of the very first retro-clones or near-clones on the market.  In my mind, it was always much closer to original D&D than say Swords & Wizardry was mostly because the core mechanic of S&S was a 2d6 like the original combat of Chainmail.  It was the "Alternate Combat" method in OD&D that gave us the d20.  I enjoyed the game so much in playtesting that I had to do a witch class for it. I also did a warlock, one of my first ever.

The Game: Spellcraft & Swordplay

Spellcraft & Swordplay was released in 2009 and it became one of my favorite games. Super easy to learn, and very fast to play it captured that "Oldest school D&D" feel better for me better than some of the clones on the market at the time.  S&S is powered by O.R.C.S. (Optimized Roleplaying Core System) which is the forerunner to the O.G.R.E.S. (Oldschool Generic Roleplaying Engine System) we use in NIGHT SHIFT. There is something like 90% compatibility between the two, but that 10% is a bit different. 

After I played the game I went to Jason and asked to do a witch book for it.  The result was Eldritch Witchery, which presented the witch and warlock as "Elite Paths" to the Cleric and Wizard respectively.

It remains one of my favorite books.

Spellcraft & Swordplay book

The Characters: Runu and Urnu

Runu and Urnu are characters in my game with a bit of history.  They began as drow elves, then shadow elves, and then Shadar-kai elves.  They are twins and I modeled them to be the "evil Wonder Twins."  In 3e they had drow working with my big bad necromancer Magnus.  I know they killed their parents and they are/were pariahs in drow society.  They might be half-drow, half-shadow elf or something.  In any case they are fairly evil and are steeped in the darkest necromancies.

For Spellcraft & Swordplay, they are elite paths. Runu is a warlock (wizard) and Urnu is the witch (cleric). In an inversion of drow norms, Runu is the warlock/wizard and her brother Urnu is the witch/cleric.   Since Spellcraft & Swordplay features a native Necromancer class (wizard elite path) in the core rules, S&S has a good number of Necromancer spells to choose from.

Runu
ePic character by Overhead Games
Runu
Female Dark Elf 1st level Warlock (Wizard), Fraternity of Bones Lodge
Alignment: Evil

S: 11
D: 12
C: 13
I: 17
W: 15
Ch: 17

HP: 4
AC: 7 (leather)
Attacks: 1

Familiar: Bat

Powers: Hexes, Arcane Blast, Occult Powers

Spells
1st: Bane

Runu considers herself the oldest, though the two twins were born so close together that no one knows for sure who was first. Since they caused their mother's death in childbirth no one can ask her.

Runu, like her brother, invert the norms of their society, so she is a warlock (wizard).  Her coven is small, only her, her brother, and their leader.

Urnu
ePic character by Overhead Games
Urnu
Male Dark Elf 1st level Witch (Cleric), Demonic Tradition
Alignment: Evil

S: 12
D: 11
C: 13
I: 15
W: 17
Ch: 17

HP: 5
AC: 7 (leather)
Attacks: 1

Familiar: Rat

Powers: Read Magic, Occult Powers, Coven Spells, Herbal Healing

Spells
1st: Ghostly Slashing

Urnu follows his twin sister, and like her, considers her the oldest.  He is a witch (cleric) dedicated to the Demon Lord of the Undead.  This makes them doubly rejected by their people.  Their devotion to undeath also makes them outcasts among other witches.

He is part of a small coven dedicated to the Demon Prince Orcus.  They dedicate kills to him and when they are higher level they will also create undead for him. 

Since S&S has a good number of necromancer spells I allow them to dip into those as well.

I like the way she turned out to be honest.  It's a shame that I think she might be dead! 

Character Creation Challenge

Tardis Captain is the originator of this idea and he is keeping a list of places participating.  When posting to Social Media don't forget the #CharacterCreationChallenge hashtag. 

RPG Blog Carnival

This month's RPG Blog Carnival is being hosted by Plastic Polyhedra. They are doing Characters, Stories, and Worlds, so that fits right in with everything we are posting this month.

Check out all the posts going on this month at both of these sources.

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Character Creation Challenge: Castles & Crusades

Castles & Crusades Players Handbook
I continue with the D&D descendants with what might be one of my favorite RPGs.  Castles & Crusades. It has the feel of the best of 1st Ed. AD&D and the best mechanics of 3rd Ed.D&D.  It is is no surprise really that some of the ideas from this game made their way to D&D 5.

The Game: Castles & Crusades

Moreso than Pathfinder or any other retro-clone, Castles & Crusades feels like classic D&D.  If you ever played any version of D&D then you can pick up C&C with ease.  So much so that I have converted games back forth from C&C to AD&D and back with ease. D&D5 might be the successor to AD&D, but C&C is the spiritual successor. 

For whatever reason this happened there is a strong Celtic vibe to many of the C&C books I buy. The Codex Celtarum (1st and 2nd Printings), the Haunted Highlands, and more might give me this impression, but it is one I gladly stick with. So naturally, the character for today has to fit this.

I have written so much over the years on Castles & Crusades it is hard to put anything new here.  So check out all my C&C posts.

The Character: Fear Dorich

Fear Dorich is "The Dark Druid" of my campaign worlds.  He is a notorious bad guy and evil druid. He wants to become truly immortal and not this half-life he has now.  

Long time readers might recognize this guy as the enemy of Fion MacCumhail.  I featured him in a Buffy the Vampire Slayer adventure naturally titled "The Dark Druid."  Later he made another appearance in the "prequel" adventure "Blight" for Ghosts of Albion.  Here he was known as "The Necromancer" so I could make it either part of my Dark Druid Cycle or as part of the official Ghosts of Albion line.  Eventually, I wanted to make yet another prequel to all of those set in Celtic Ireland where Fionn and his band of heroes first fight the Dark Druid. I was calling it "All Souls Night" but I never quite got it into the shape I wanted. There have been a couple of good adventures to give me ideas like Robert J. Kuntz's Dark Druids and Night of the Sprits for Castles & Crusades.  It was these two adventures along with my two Dark Druid ones that gave me the idea for War of the Witch Queens.

If I ever finish All Souls Night I might redo the Dark Druid Cycle to use Castles & Crusades.  Replace Ghosts of Albion with Victorious and Buffy with Amazing Adventures.

Fear Dorich
Fear Dorich
Fear Dorich
Human 1st level Druid, Neutral (Evil)

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

AC: 13, Leather Armor
HP: 7 (d8)
BtH: +0

Staff +0, 1d6
Scimitar +0, 1d6

Druidic Language, Nature Lore
Druid Spells
0 (3): Create Water, First Aid, Know Direction
1st (1+1): Entangle, Magic Stones

This is Fear Dorich at the start of his career. He is already showing signs of being evil too.

For this character, I would let him take spells from the Codex Celtarum and also the Black Libram of Naratus.

Castles & Crusades books


Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Character Creation Challenge: Pathfinder 2nd Edition

Pathfinder 2nd Edition
Of all the RPGs I have looked at so far it is this one I know the least.  Part of the issue is that Pathfinder 2nd Edition is so new, only published in 2019, and I have not had the chance to play it really at all.  Indeed I wasn't even going to pick up but my oldest expressed an interest in playing it so we got it.   He would later return to his true love, D&D 5, but I found I rather liked the books myself.

The problem I am running into here, for today, is I do have so little knowledge about it.  So little in fact that my plan for today was to update a character I had played in PF1 but I only now discovered that the class I wanted, Cavalier, has not been updated to PF2 yet! Though other options are open to me.

The Game: Pathfinder 2nd Edition

As I mentioned Pathfinder 2nd Edition was released back in 2019.  I recall the Paizo "booth" (more like "block") staked full of shiny new Pathfinder books.  I am sure they expected them all to sell out, but I get the feeling that the sales were not as high as they wanted.  Not a huge surprise really.  Pathfinder 1st Edition's success was built on their success with the D&D 3.5 products they had made and no small amount due to the failures of D&D 4th Edition.  Today, or at least in 2019, D&D 5 is a huge success and some gamers have gone from Pathfinder back to D&D.   

Also as I said I was not originally going to pick this game up, but I changed my mind after going over the playtest materials and my son wanting to get it.  There are a lot of really cool ideas here and some I think would work well in D&D 5. For example, Ancestry would be better in D&D 5 over the very outmoded "race" or even the awkward "species."

Much like a software development fork, Pathfinder represents one development off of the D&D 3.x line where D&D 5e is a different fork.  To be fair, Pathfinder is closer to its OGC roots than D&D 5 is, but looking at the games in 2021 you see similar parentage and DNA.  This means that someone could in theory bring the best of both worlds back together into one game.  An interesting thought experiment to say the least.  

One thing I will say for Pathfinder 2nd Edition.  It is designed from the ground up to show new players how to play and give them enough to keep them for a long time.  I think it would be fun to play a character in this from 1st to 20th level in a well-crafted adventure path.  I can see how that would be great.

The Character: Oisín

Character creation in Pathfinder 2 is a more modern process than the games in its, well, ancestry.  While you could easily roll up a character here just like you did in AD&D or D&D 3.x, it behooves me to follow the process here.

Oisín was a character I played in Pathfinder 1st Edition. In the game he was the youngest son of this powerful lord and a witch.  In reality, I decided he was the son of a Paladin/Warrior named Fionn and my witch Labhraín.  In the game, he was searching for who killed his mother and who his true father was. 

In Pathfinder 2nd Ed. we have a variety of character customization options that recreating that character is no longer as interesting as rebuilding him from the ground up.

For this character, I am going to use the Pathfinder 2nd Edition Core Rules and the Advanced Player's Guide which features the witch class.  Also for this character, I am going to start him at 1st level, but advance him to 2nd.  Also, just because, I am going to limit my 1st level choices to the Core Rules, and then 2nd level choices to the Advanced Player's Guide. I have my reasons.

Oisín

Niamh and Oisín

Lawful Neutral half-elf*
Bard 1

Ability Scores
Strength +0 (10)
Dexterity +1 (12)
Constitution +0 (10)
Intelligence +3 (16)
Wisdom +1 (12)
Charisma +4 (18)

Reserves
Hit Points 16/16
Hero Points 1/3
Focus Points 1/1

Defenses
AC 15 (Leather)
Fort +3
Ref +4
Will +6

Senses
Perception (Wis) +6 (E)
Low-light Vision

Tactical
Speed 25ft
Size Medium
Space 5 ft.
Reach 5 ft.

Other
Wealth 2 gp; 80 sp
Bulk 4/10

Attacks (1st/2nd/3rd Strike)

Dagger
Melee +4 / +0 / -4 1d4 Pier
Ranged +4 / +0 / -4 1d4 Pier

Fist
Melee +4 / +0 / -4 1d4 Blud

Longsword
Melee +3 / -2 / -7 1d8 Slsh

Hand crossbow
Ranged +4 / -1 / -6 1d6 Pier

Sling
Ranged +4 / -1 / -6 1d6 Blud

Skills
+6 Academia Lore T
+1 Acrobatics U
+6 Arcana T
+0 Athletics U
+6 Bardic Lore T
+6 Crafting T
+7 Deception T
+7 Diplomacy T
+4 Intimidation U
+4 Medicine T
+4 Nature T
+6 Occultism T
+7 Performance T
+4 Religion T
+6 Society T
+1 Stealth U
+4 Survival T
+1 Thievery U

Feats
Half-elf (Heritage)
Otherworldly magic (Elf, Ancestry)
Assurance - Arcana (Background)
Bardic Lore - Egnima (Bardic Feature)
Composition Spell (Bardic Feature)

Spells

Bard Cantrips
Chill Touch (DC 17) Unlimited +7
Daze (DC 17) Unlimited +7
Light Unlimited +7
Mage Hand Unlimited +7
Shield Unlimited +7

Bard 1st-level Spells
Magic Missile 2/2 +7
Magic Weapon 2/2 +7
True Strike 2/2 +7

I will be honest, this one took me a lot longer to do than expected.

I choose "Half-elf" as both a nod to the original myths of Oisín and to reflect there is something otherworldly about him.  He would not really be a traditional "AD&D Half-elf" more of a human with fey or sidhe blood in him from his father.

At 2nd Level instead of a Bard class feat I am going to take a multi-classed witch feat, Witch Dedication.    Multiclassing in Pathfinder 2nd Ed is a little bit like multiclassing in D&D 4 where you take a feat to gain some of the abilities of that class. This feat gives Oisín access to witch spells and feats as well as a Patron (including skills), and a familiar. 

Since Oisín has Engima as part of his Bard training I am going to choose a Fate Patron. Though there is some overlap here. He would get training in Occultism skill and the True Strike spell, both of which he already has.  I am going to leave this since the Egnima he is following is Fate; they are the same.

This is of course not optimized, but it fits better with my concept of the character, so I'll take the hit. In building this I realized I had unintentionally built the Pathfinder version of the Ghosts of Albion Occult Poet.  I am not unhappy with that.

Again, this is a good character idea, I might try to replicate it in D&D5 with a Bard/Warlock mix, I think it might actually work out a little better there.

Maybe I can even work out his Niamh one day.

Pathfinder 2nd Edition

Character Creation Challenge

Tardis Captain is the originator of this idea and he is keeping a list of places participating.  When posting to Social Media don't forget the #CharacterCreationChallenge hashtag. 

RPG Blog Carnival

This month's RPG Blog Carnival is being hosted by Plastic Polyhedra. They are doing Characters, Stories, and Worlds, so that fits right in with everything we are posting this month.

Check out all the posts going on this month at both of these sources.

Monday, January 11, 2021

Character Creation Challenge: Pathfinder 1st Edition

Pathfinder Core Rulebook
Paizo's Pathfinder was a bit of a revolution in the RPG market.  Paizo had been a solid d20/3e publisher in the heyday of the d20/OGL boom, with the zenith of this time actually publishing Dragon and Dungeon Magazines for a time. When WotC opted to move on to 4e, Paizo began their work on an update to the 3.5 OGC ruleset for their own game.  In 2009 the Pathfinder RPG was released and soon there became two "Big names" in the RPG biz; Dungeons & Dragons and Pathfinder. 

The Game: Pathfinder, 1st Edition

Pathfinder quickly took on players that played D&D 3.x but who did not want to go on to D&D 4. Pathfinder was informally called "D&D 3.75" and moving between Pathfinder and D&D 3.x was fairly trivial compared to D&D 3.x and 4e.  Additionally, Paizo gave Pathfinder robust support both in terms of online presence and their Pathfinder Organized Play.  Releasing the rules as an open playtest was deemed so successful that many other companies, including WotC for D&D5, adopted it.

Paizo also released a number of high-quality sourcebooks, many of which are backward compatible with D&D 3.x. I am particularly fond of the Advanced Player's Guide, Book of the Damned, Bestiary 4 (for the mythos monsters), Occult Adventures, and Horror Adventures. I consider these part of my "core" for Pathfinder.  The witch-centric "Regin of Winter" Adventure Path is a must-have for me.

I have posted a lot about Pathfinder here. I enjoy the game but I don't play it all that much anymore. Still, I enjoy reading over the material.

My "Core" Pathfinder books

The Character: Labhraín

I played in a Pathfinder game that I treated as an alt-Universe version of my 3e/4e game universe. I held the idea that the two universes I was playing (4e vs. Pathfinder) had a similar start (3e) and then diverted.  The Pathfinder universe had devils as their "big bad" while 4e (running the Orcus-themed HPE series) had demons. Some characters were the same in each world.  Labhraín was the Pathfinder version of Larina. 

Here, because of the influence of various devil cults from the former Chelaxian Empire, Labhraín hid her status as a witch.  I took a page from "Prime World" Larina, who faked being a wizard to hide as a witch, to Labhraín faking being a priestess to hide being a witch.  I did not do much with the character but use her as a backstory to my cavalier character that I was playing at the time.  The belief was that Labhraín was dead.  I detail my other character tomorrow.

ePic Character Generator portrait of a witch
ePic Character Generator
Labhraín

Human (Ulfen) witch 1 (Pathfinder RPG Advanced Player's Guide 65)
LN Medium humanoid (human)
Init +0; Senses Perception +1

Defense

AC 10, touch 10, flat-footed 10
hp 7 (1d6+1)
Fort +0, Ref +0, Will +3; +1 trait bonus vs. divine spells

Offense

Speed 30 ft.
Special Attacks hex (charmAPG)
Witch Spells Prepared (CL 1st; concentration +4)
   1st—charm person (DC 14), cure light wounds
   0 (at will)—daze (DC 13), light, read magic
   Patron Fate

Statistics

Str 9, Dex 11, Con 11, Int 16, Wis 12, Cha 16
Base Atk +0; CMB -1; CMD 9
Feats ScholarISWG, Silent Spell
Traits classically schooled, history of heresy
Skills Bluff +4, Diplomacy +4, Disguise +4, Knowledge (arcana) +9, Knowledge (religion) +6, Spellcraft +8
Languages Common, Elven, Infernal, Jistka, Skald
SQ witch's familiar (cat named Scamall)

Special Abilities

Charm +1 (3 rounds, DC 13) (Su) Improve attitude of humanoid or animal in 30 ft. by 1 step(s).
Empathic Link with Familiar (Su) You have an empathic link with your Arcane Familiar.
Familiar Bonus: +3 to Stealth checks You gain the Alertness feat while your familiar is within arm's reach.
Scholar (Knowledge [arcana], Knowledge [religion]) +2 bonus on two Knowledge skills.
Share Spells with Familiar Can cast spells with a target of "You" on the familiar with a range of touch.
Silent Spell Cast a spell with no verbal components. +1 Level.
Witch's Familiar (Ex) Gain the services of a special familiar that stores spells.

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I like the way she turned out to be honest.  It's a shame that I think she might be dead! 

Character Creation Challenge

Tardis Captain is the originator of this idea and he is keeping a list of places participating.  When posting to Social Media don't forget the #CharacterCreationChallenge hashtag. 

RPG Blog Carnival

This month's RPG Blog Carnival is being hosted by Plastic Polyhedra. They are doing Characters, Stories, and Worlds, so that fits right in with everything we are posting this month.

Check out all the posts going on this month at both of these sources.

Sunday, January 10, 2021

Character Creation Challenge: Quest of the Ancients

quest of the Ancients RPG

So an interesting thing happened this week.  I posted my Rhianon character for AD&D 1st Edition and I was pointed to a Dragonlance adventure that featured a very thinly veiled version of Stevie Nicks! Well, you could imagine my surprise at that.  Then double that I tracked down the said adventure, DL15 Mists of Krynn, to discover it was written by none other than Other Side favorite and the only guy more obsessed with witches than me, Vince Garcia.

I grabbed the adventure and read it through.  Yup. Totally Stevie Nicks. 

This got me thinking.  The adventure is low-level, deals with a powerful witch, but one that is here to help the party, not fight them. 

It also deals with a witch traveling across the planes. 

Seems like a perfect fit for my War of the Witch Queens campaign!

The adventure was written in 1988, so a little bit before Garcia's publication of the "Druids of Rhiannon" Dragon Issue #155 and his Magnum Opus, Quest of the Ancients.  Given the Stevie-like character on the cover of both editions of his game, it seemed certain that they were somehow related.

The Game: Quest of the Ancients

I will admit I am rather fond of this game.  I spent some time talking about it in the past here so you can read all of those posts for more detail. But suffice to say that this game is a Fantasy Heartbreaker in the classic sense, still though I can't help but be fond of it.

The Character: Sarana

So there is a character in DL15 Mists of Krynn, Stevie, who really is a very, very thinly veiled version of Stevie Nicks. Now I am totally fine with that. But she isn't the only one. On the cover of the 1st Edition of Quests of the Ancients, pictured above, is Sarana. She is the one in the pink dress.  She is also a thinly disguised version of Stevie Nicks.  In the book she is listed as a 20th level Witch/Bard, but no other stats are given.

The Second Edition/Printing cover makes this a bit more obvious.


And if that wasn't enough, here is the dedication found in both printings.


Again, I am right there with him on this. He even mentions Dark Shadow's Angelique here and then again in REF5 Lords of Darkness as an NPC vampire. 

Sarana is an interesting case.  I can be perfectly ok with the idea that Sarana from QotA and Stevie in Dragonlance are one and the same. Sure, Stevie is listed as a grey elf and Sarana as a human.  One or other of those could be glamours or disguises.  I am likely to say elf or half-elf.  

Now "how" did get there? Well for that let us follow the story of her co-cover girl Raven TenTolliver.  I gave some insight to her goings-on in this post of her appearance in the Forgotten Realms.  Raven has been known as "Raven," "Whisper," and even "Rhiannon" (!) over her years.  It looks like in the Forgotten Realms book, LC1 Gateway to Ravens Bluff, she is largely retired and runs an inn.  You can read some of the details here, here (lifting words from LC1), and a bit on the Inn she runs in Ravens Bluff.  While retired she was a 25th level witch/20th level assassin!

So Raven left her group of adventures and then settles in Ravens Bluff in the Forgotten Realms, Sarana finds her way to Krynn, where she gets trapped and is sometimes known as Stevie. I split the difference and made her into a half-elf. She is a follower of the Faerie Goddess Rhiannon.  Given this I *might* have her in the Feywild and not Krynn.  I need to read over the adventure more to see. 

Sarana (Quest of the Ancients)
13th level Half-Elven Witch

Armor rating: 0
Tactical move: 10'
Stamina points: 68
Body points: 15

Stots: St 10; Ag 13; Cn 15; IQ 18; Ch 19; Ap 19: Lk 7

Attack 1
Combat phase: 3
Dmg: 1D4+1 (dagger) or by spell
Ethics: G
Size: 5'1", 125#

Witch Abilities
A: Create Focus ()
B: Additional Combat Skill Slot (2 for 4 total)
C: Create Potions and Elixers
D: Form Coven

Skills (180 pts)
Animal Handling: 40%
Nature Lore: 60%
Calligraphy: 40%
Danger Sense: 10%

Spells

Rank 1: Beguile, Catfall, Evil Eye, Helping Hands, Lirazel's Silent Scream, Magic Dart, Read Magic Script, Slumber, Trick, Witch Warrior
Rank 2: Discern Magic, Enchant Bracers, Fire Darts, Fire Tounge, Net, Night Sight, Stone Speak, Tell Sight, Witch Wand
Rank 3: Charm, Crystallomancy, Energy Blast, Laughing Skull, Sheet Lightning, Spirit Talk, Witch Mark
Rank 4: Hex, Illusion, Shape Change, Shooting Stars, Transform, Witches Eye
Rank 5: Cauldron of Magic, Lirazel's Pocket Dimension, Polymorph, Witchfire
Rank 6: Aura of Fear, Control Weather, Pentagram of Protection, Talisman
Rank 7: Vision Globe, Witch Ward

That's a lot of spells.

For my War of the Witch Queens, I made D&D witch stats for her too.

Character Creation Challenge

Tardis Captain is the originator of this idea and he is keeping a list of places participating.  When posting to Social Media don't forget the #CharacterCreationChallenge hashtag. 

RPG Blog Carnival

This month's RPG Blog Carnival is being hosted by Plastic Polyhedra. They are doing Characters, Stories, and Worlds, so that fits right in with everything we are posting this month.

Check out all the posts going on this month at both of these sources.

Saturday, January 9, 2021

Character Creation Challenge: Dungeons & Dragons, 5th Edition

We now come to what be the most popular version of D&D ever published in terms of units sold and public discussion.  While the debate can be held on the relative popularity of 1st ed vs. 5th ed one thing is certain that 5e has outsold all other versions of D&D and has introduced a new generation to the game that has been unprecedented. 

The Game: Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition

I have described D&D5 as being something akin to the "Greatest Hits" of D&D.  I see bits of 1st ed here, 2nd Ed there, lots of 3e, and even bits of 4e.

Released in August of 2014 we (my family and I) were not originally going to pick it up.  I still had a ton of 4e material and my sons were looking seriously at 1st Ed to give it a try, but we starting hearing more so I grabbed the "D&D Next" playtest materials and thought, ok, let's give it a try.  When August 8, 2014, rolled around the boys and I went out at midnight to get our copies (and tacos).

5e quickly became the home system here.  My oldest ran games for his friends from high school and then college, he even ran games with his gaming group that has been together since they all met in pre-school.  My oldest played and eventually started the Table Top Club at the local high school. Between the two of them, they must have gotten somewhere around 40-50 new players to the game.  Of course many had heard about it via Critical Role first but remained players to this day. 

The Characters: The Coven

right away I was asked if I was going to do a witch for D&D 5.  Certainly, there are a lot of good reasons for me to do one, but in truth I was pretty happy with a lot of the options that D&D 5 already gives me. Plus I wrote my Old-School witch only after years of playing, writing and playtesting. Even when I published my first OSR witch book in 2012 I had over 30 years' worth of playing under my belt and a few published books.  I didn't want to just knock together something and slap a 5e label on it.

Plus with the advent of the DMsGuild (and 5e adopting the OGL) there were and are plenty of witch options from others for 5e. I spent all of October detailing them

So instead of making a witch class, I worked on characters that were RAW but I could make witchier.

I worked out some ideas and called them "The Coven."  The idea here was to take a very basic old-school idea.  Take a class and play it how I like.  In each case, I took a by-the-book spellcasting class and took the options to make them feel more like a witch.  The idea behind this group of witches is they all met in The Library, each searching for a particular tome.  All six managed to end up at the same place at the same time and each one wanted the same book, the infamous Liber Mysterium.  As it turned out the author of the Liber Mysterium, my iconic witch Larina, was present. She took all six under her tutelage.  Each class is a magic-using, spell-casting class, and each one has some connection to learning or deeper mysteries.  They all adventure and make appearances in my games as information brokers. 

Since I am doing six characters today I am going to link out to their sheets on D&DBeyond.

Tayrn Nix
Half-elf Warlock (Fey Pact)

Taryn was the first "witch-like" character I tried.  She is Larina's half-elf daughter.  She is a warlock, fey pact, and is my "embrace the stereotype" witch character.

Celeste Holmes
Human Wizard (Sage)

Celeste was a character I was planning on creating when I was going to go back to 1st ed before 5th ed came out.  She would have been a Magic-user but playing as a witch.  She was the first character I imagined going to The Library.  Felica Day is my model for this character.

Cassandra Killian
Human Sorcerer (Divne Soul)

With a backdrop of The Library, Cassandra became a no-brainer.  She is very obviously modeled after Cassandra Cillian from the Librarians played by the lovely Lindy Booth. She is also a nod to another character in my shared world. When my High School DM went off to college he created more of his world and a character named Killian.  Killian was major figure in his world and he created many adventures to go with it; Killian's Tower, Killian's Maze, Killians Dungeon, and so on. True old-school Gonzo affairs. 

For my Cassandra, I wanted someone whose magic felt like second nature to her. She didn't learn it so much as live it. So the Sorcerer seemed like the best route. Know of the great wizard Killian she took his name as her own.  She was the second character to enter the Library.

Jasic Winterhaven 
Gnome Bard (College of Lore)

Jasic is a character I have used off and on since my 3e days. I will admit he was created as a response to so many people I have gamed with saying how much they hate gnomes.  Jasic is a great guy.  He is a bard but I play him like a Benandanti witch.  He is also best friends with Taryn.

Sasha
Cleric (Knowledge Domain)

Sasha is an interesting one. She is a tiefling and claims to be the daughter of Glasya and is Taryn's Half-sister (same father, different mothers). She is a cleric, but again I play her like a witch priestess. I would suppose that the closest analogy would be if Sabrina (from Chilling Adventures of Sabrina) was Rowena's (from Supernatural) daughter instead of Lucifer's.  She is wanted by all the key players in Hell's Hierarchy but she herself has no power or pull beyond what she gets from her Goddess Cardea/Hecate (clerical).  Cardea led her to the Library.

Áedán Aamadu
Human Druid (Circle of the Land)

Áedán is a druid pagan who is the son of my two druids from OSE, Asabalom and Maryah. They were great friends with Larina (that is they were all part of my OSE playtests and games in summer of 2019).  Áedán is a circle of the land druid that I play as a pagan. Yes his name is Irish, but he looks like Will Smith.  I am pretty sure that he and Taryn are going to have a thing. 


Each one brings something different to the table for me.  I can't wait to convert them back to Basic/OSE for my War of the Witch Queens!

Character Creation Challenge

Tardis Captain is the originator of this idea and he is keeping a list of places participating.  When posting to Social Media don't forget the #CharacterCreationChallenge hashtag. 

RPG Blog Carnival

This month's RPG Blog Carnival is being hosted by Plastic Polyhedra. They are doing Characters, Stories, and Worlds, so that fits right in with everything we are posting this month.

Check out all the posts going on this month at both of these sources.

Friday, January 8, 2021

Character Creation Challenge: Dungeons & Dragons, 4th Edition

Dungeons & Dragons Player's Handbook 4th Ed.
Like the editions before 3rd Edition had a long run, though maybe not as long.  Soon it began to get overwhelming to run a game what with the glut of d20 sourcebook, books from WotC and just an unprecedented amount of material available.  3e's greatest strength soon became it's greatest problem.  What is a publisher to do?  Simple. Reboot and start over with a new edition.

Thus in June 2008 Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition was released to much hoopla. While many people gave it a try, only a few would stick with it. Many went back to 3e or older games, a significant chunk went to Pathfinder, what many were calling 3.75 or "the real 4e" and some stuck with it.

The Game: Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition

This might be the most hated version of D&D ever made according to some or a misunderstood game by others.  I will say this, the vast majority of people complaining about or taking potshots at it have never actually played it. 

I have had friends comment that if the game had been called "D&D Miniatures Battles" then they might have liked it better. To be fair D&D 4 does require a lot of minis and battle maps.  But I am not here today to figure out the whys and wherefores of this game's successes or failures. Today I am here for a character and what is D&D first official witch subclass.

Player's Option: Heroes of the Feywild gave us more detail on the Feywild, the D&D land of the Fey.  Among those details are a proper witch class. While I thought it could use a little flavor it was a very good witch class and one I would have loved seen ported over to D&D 5.  But that is tomorrow's post.

Dungeons & Dragons 4e

The Character: Eireann

 My plans for 4e back then were to play in the Forgotten Realms (no kidding, I became a convert in the 4e days) and have a heavy influence from both the Shadowfell and the Feywild.  Well...that never quite happened, but a lot of those ideas came over to my Second Campaign for D&D 5e.

Eireann was going to make a show sooner or later.  My concept of her was going to be she was higher level and act as a literal "Faerie Godmother" to the party.  This is Eireann when she was first starting out.  She is Sidhe Lady (well, not yet, but getting there), Moon Elf Witch of the Full Moon Coven.  She lives in the Feywild and only comes out to the mortal realms when she has to.

D&D 4 gives you the options of rolling abilities, point-buy, or a standard array.  This is a 25-point, point-buy build.

Photo by Juliana Stein from Pexels
Photo by Juliana Stein from Pexels
Eireann
1st level Female Moon Elf Witch (Wizard)
Unaligned

Abilities
Strength: 10 +0
Constitution: 15 +2
Dexterity: 10 +0
Intelligence: 18 +4
Wisdom: 15 +2
Charisma: 12 +1

Combat
Initiative: +0
Speed: 6 (30ft)
Hit Points: 25, Bloodied 12
Healing surges: 8, 6hp

Defenses
AC: 14
Fortitude: 12
Reflex: 14
Will: 15

Skils
Arcana +9, Bluff +1, Diplomacy +1, Dungeoneering +2, Endurance +2, Heal +2, History +9, Insight +2, Intimidate +1, Nature +2, Perception +2, Religion +9, Streetwise +1

Feats
Moon Elf Resilience

Powers (Spells)
At-will
Breath of Night, +4 vs Fortitude, 1d10+4 damage
Witch Bolt, +4 vs Reflex, 1d10+4 damage

Encounter
Burning Hands, +4 vs Reflex, 2d6+4 damage
Glorious Presence, +4 vs Will, 2d6+4 damage

Daily
Bewitching Charm, +4 vs Will (Charmed)
Sleep, +4 vs Will (Sleep)

Rituals
Gentle Repose

I had forgotten about the sheer amount of choice you have with characters in D&D4.  I could have made another 1st level witch that was identical, picked different powers/spells and had it come out very different. The books are also gorgeous to look at. 

Dungeons & Dragons 4e

Yeah D&D 4 gets a bad rap that it doesn't really deserve.  As the character levels up I could even take a feat to gain some Warlock or Druid powers, which would fit the concept of the character well.

There are also plenty of Paragon Paths I could take this character into such as the Legendary Witch or taking some ideas from the Forgotten Realms Player's Guide a Silver Star would also work.

Dungeons & Dragons 4e

And of course, what I can only describe as "flirting" with me, the Epic Destiny for the witch is the Witch Queen. 

Dungeons & Dragons 4e

Combat in 4e is a slog though.  But still I'd like to give it another go sometime.

Character Creation Challenge

Tardis Captain is the originator of this idea and he is keeping a list of places participating.  When posting to Social Media don't forget the #CharacterCreationChallenge hashtag. 

RPG Blog Carnival

This month's RPG Blog Carnival is being hosted by Plastic Polyhedra. They are doing Characters, Stories, and Worlds, so that fits right in with everything we are posting this month.

Check out all the posts going on this month at both of these sources.