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

Thursday, September 13, 2018

It's a GREAT time to be a fan of Witches...

My cup overflows with witch-related TV shows.

Let's have a look.

First up is the one everyone knows about, Charmed on the CW.




Over on FX we have American Horror Story Apocalypse, which is I gather a sequel to Season 1 Murder House and Season 3 Coven, or two of my most favorite seasons.



Not to be outdone Netflix is giving not just one show, but two!

First up, and just in time for Halloween is The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina!



And later The Witcher.  Heard the drama about the Ciri casting and I really could not care less. As long as the actress is good.   I am very curious who they will get for Triss though.

Over on Sci-fi (SyFy i guess) we will get Season 4 of Magicians.  Let me tell you, this is one insane show.  Think Hogwarts with a lot of sex, a lot of drugs and ... well there is no good way to describe it. Just watch it.



Over in respectable countries we are getting A Discovery of Witches. Based on the books.  I have a number of issues with these books, but maybe the TV show can improve on it.  I will say this, the casting brilliant.



And lastly, one still looking for a home.  Titled, simply enough, Witches.



Love the look of this one!  The website is also cool. http://www.witchestvseries.com/

Things are looking good!

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Sleeping Not Yet Dead

Well, nowhere near dead really and not sleeping either (no worries, I am going to doctor next week) but I can't help but use a Jefferson Starship quote.

I might not be posting as much, but be assured I am busy.
In fact here is a bit of teaser. No here are two.
Coming Halloween 2018



Coming Winter 2018

I have lost track of how many new spells, magic items, occult powers and monsters I have written for these two. 

I am hoping to open 2019 with some new fun stuff, like my love letter to 80s horror, Völlig Losgelöst and Space Truckers.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

The Witch of Loch-Durnan

One of the things I love about GenCon are the booths selling cheap games.  There are lots books from the dismal 90s and a ton from the dawn of the d20 boom.

The Witch of Loch-Durnan was from the d20 dawn published by Mystic Eye Games who had a lot of cool books back then, some I still use.

This book though has vexed me.
First look at that Jhoneil Centeno art.  I can't recall seeing his work before or since.

Then I could never find it online at a decent price and there is no PDF to be had for money or love.

The 72-page adventure was written by Andrew Thomson. It is for four characters 5th to 7th level for the 3.0 flavor of the d20 system. There are some new monsters or more to the point a system of generating new mutations of monsters like scorpion dogs and goat men.

Then there is the eponymous witch herself.


Mellie, is the witch of Loch-Durnan.  She is also the central figure of this adventure.   Reading this makes me realize that this might in fact be the missing piece of my War of the Witch Queens adventures.  She certainly is worthy to join their ranks.

Mellie - The Witch of Loch-Durnan
for The Witch: A sourcebook for Basic Edition fantasy games

Female Half-elf
Witch 4th-level, Chaotic Neutral
White Witch* Tradition
Flock of the Moon Sisters Coven

Abilities
Strength: 14
Dexterity: 14
Constitution: 10
Intelligence: 10
Wisdom: 16
Charisma: 17

Saving Throws
Death Ray: 13
Magic Wands: 14
Paralysis or Turn to Stone: 13
Dragon Breath: 16
Spells: 15

+2 to magic based saves

Hit Points: 12
AC: 8
To hit AC 0: 19

Occult Powers
Familiar:

Spells 
Cantrips (5): Dancing Lights, Detect Magic, Ghost Sounds, Mend Minor Wounds, Message
First (2+2): Charm Person, Mend Light Wounds, Protection from Spirits, Speak with Animals
Second (2+2): Augury, Evil Eye, Knock, Mind Obscure

*The White Witch is a type of witch featured int he Hunt the Rise of Evil campaign from Mystic Eye Games.  It is pretty much what you think a white witch is. Non-evil, focused on healing, protection, and divination magic.

Pretty close to her d20 counterpart.  I like it! Can't wait to use her as a Witch Queen!




Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Dark Places & Demogorgons: Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Charmed; How Soon is Now?

The Buffy crossover I did with Supernatural was so much fun I thought I would try something similar only this time for my favorite genre show of all time, Charmed.


Of course, this is not the first time I have done a Charmed / Buffy crossover.  Back in the days of my Willow & Tara games, I had an episode/adventure "Semi-Charmed Life".

This one though is different. This one needs to live in the world of "Sunny Valey, OH".  Thankfully, while transporting the cast of Buffy to 80s requires some tweaks, I can transport the entire cast of Charmed to the mid 80s (let's say 1986) with barely a change.

Ok, what do we need to know about Charmed in 1986 for a Dark Places & Demogorgons game?
Well. For starters, the girls are all young. Their mother, Patty, has been dead now for 8 years and they are being raised by their grandmother, Penny.  Penny, or Penelope Halliwell has blocked their powers to keep a warlock from feeding on them.  When Patty died she kept the power block in place to keep the girls safe.  Penny was no witch to mess with either.  While originally a peace-loving hippie witch, she soon learned that the only way to deal with demons and warlocks was to kill them.
Leo, the girls' Whitelihter and Piper's future husband, would also be watching the girls at this point.

We have a rule in writing Willow-centric adventures.  Try to avoid having her spells go awry.  It is lazy writing and unbecoming of someone that is supposed to be one of the most powerful witches in the world.  BUT.  This Willow isn't that yet is she?  She is young. She is eager to learn.  So let's say that one day she finds a spell to summon a witch teacher (this is a spell I actually use in my D&D games).  She takes the spell to Tara, who advises caution but can see nothing wrong with it.  There isn't until Willow casts the spell and asks not for a witch tutor, but the most powerful witches in the world.  She is a little shocked when she gets three girls just a few years younger than herself.

For an adventure, I would have the Charmed girls either be NPCs to the regular cast OR as PCs if there are new people.

I see Pru as being angry at first that she was transported here, then angry at grams for hiding their powers.  Pru comes up with the idea of blocking grams and Leo.  Pru also enjoys going on patrol with Buffy (a nod to their real-life friendship).


Piper would be the most out of sorts and the angriest.  I can see her having the most interactions with Willow; the both have issues with witchcraft to work out.
Phoebe would find this to be a great adventure and, this is 100% Phoebe, she is the one that learns Tara is in love with Willow.
Grams will scry for the girls, not get them, yell for Leo then yell at him. She will eventually find them, 100% safe and sound.  I would not be too surprised if she didn't have a word or two with Willow.

Now my first Buffy/Charmed crossover has such a great title. What should I call one from the mid-80s?

Episode Title: How Soon is Now?


Pru Halliwell
Born: 10/28/1970
Age: 15*
(assuming early in Season 2, 1986)

Class: White Witch  Level: 5 (temp)
Alignment: Good
Languages: English

Attributes
STR: 11 +0
INT: 17 +2
WIS: 16 +2
DEX: 14 +1
CON: 11 +0
CHA: 17 +2
SUR: 16 +2

AC: 10     HP: 22    Attack Bonus +0

Courage: 6 +3
Critical: 5
Death: 5
Mental: 4
Poison: 3

Background
Lives with an overprotective grandmother.  Acts as stand-in mother for Piper and Phoebe.

Class Abilities
+1 to saves involving magic, +3 to courage saves, healing touch 8/day, heal at double rate, summon light, see in darkness, advantage on saves, immune to fear, talk to animals and plants, create potions

Skills
Art +5, Math +1, Science +1, Knowledge (History) +5, Paranormal +4, Botany +3

Possessions
(none)

Money: none

Spells
Minor (4), Major (1)

Power: Telekeniss.

Piper Halliwell
Born: 08/07/1973
Age: 13
(assuming early in Season 2, 1986)

Class: White Witch  Level: 3 (temp)
Alignment: Good
Languages: English

Attributes
STR: 10 +0
INT: 13 +1
WIS: 13 +1
DEX: 12 +0
CON: 11 +0
CHA: 12 +0
SUR: 12 +0

AC: 10     HP: 12    Attack Bonus +0

Courage: 5 +3
Critical: 4
Death: 3
Mental: 4
Poison: 3

Background
Lives with an overprotective grandmother.  Acts as peacemaker for Piper and Phoebe.

Class Abilities
+1 to saves involving magic, +3 to courage saves, healing touch 5/day, heal at double rate, summon light, see in darkness, advantage on saves, immune to fear, talk to animals and plants

Skills
Cooking +3, Math +1, Science +1, Paranormal +3, Botany +3

Possessions
(none)

Money: none

Spells
Minor (4), Major (0)

Power: Molecular destailazation.

Phoebe Halliwell
Born: 11/02/1975
Age: 10
(assuming early in Season 2, 1986)

Class: White Witch  Level: 1 (temp)
Alignment: Good
Languages: English

Attributes
STR: 8 -1
INT: 12 +0
WIS: 10 +0
DEX: 12 +0
CON: 10 +0
CHA: 14 +1
SUR: 12 +0

AC: 10     HP: 5   Attack Bonus +0

Courage: 3 +3
Critical: 4
Death: 3
Mental: 4
Poison: 3

Background
Lives with an overprotective grandmother.

Class Abilities
+1 to saves involving magic, +3 to courage saves, healing touch 5/day, heal at double rate, summon light, see in darkness

Skills
Atheletics +2, Math +1, Science +1,  Paranormal +2, Botany +2

Possessions
(none)

Money: none

Spells
Minor (1), Major (0)

Power: Premonitions.

My god, these characters look fun!  I should do this with more Charmed characters.

Take us home Morrissey!



Thursday, July 19, 2018

DC in the News

So I remain, despite a box-office trouncing, a devoted DC fan.

Few things are cooking in the DC Universe that will make me happy this fall.  Lets start with a big one and move on to EVEN BIGGER ONES!


We already knew that Kate Kane, AKA Batwoman will be featured in the Fall sweeps 4-Episode Arrowverse crossover (I guess that also means no tying in Black Lightning just yet).

Now it seems they want to use that as a backdoor pilot for a Batwoman series for 2019-20.
They are currently looking for an out lesbian/queer actress of any ethnicity to play Batwoman.

I commend them on this.

There is nothing about Batwoman's background that says she has to be white, or black, or Asian, or Algonquin, or Hispanic.  There are three things though that immutable about the character.

1. Kate is a Soldier. She lives to serve. Just now she wears the uniform of the Bat.
2. Kate is a Lesbian. Even in her earliest interactions, this is something she knows about herself and we know about her.
3. Kate is Jewish.  This informs how she sees life, how she approaches everything she does. The colors of her uniform.

In Comics Dark seems to be the new Black.

The Witching Hour will be a 5-comic arc featuring Wonder Woman, JL Dark and the plot revolves around Hecate and Witches!


I mean read this:
Part one, WONDER WOMAN AND JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK: THE WITCHING HOUR #1, with art by Jesus Merino, sets the tone for the Wonder Woman-centered event. In this 48-page debut one-shot, Hecate, the witch-goddess of magic, always knew a day would come when the monsters she stole her magic from would return. Now she must activate the Witchmarked, humans within whom she secreted vast stores of power. This hits Justice League Dark especially hard: one of the most powerful of the Witchmarked turns out to be Wonder Woman! WONDER WOMAN AND JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK: THE WITCHING HOUR #1 is on sale October 3.
Those aren't tears in my eyes.  No. Not at all....Shut up, you're crying.

And just when my poor heart couldn't take anymore.



Holy Shit!  Robin just said "Fuck Batman" and that Raven!  That is the Raven I have been waiting nearly 38 years to see on my screens.  Even Dove and Gar look great.

So yeah.  You can have your Infinity Wars and your snappy Thanos (who is a rip-off of Darkseid anyway). I know where my action is going to be this fall.

Right?


That's so Raven!

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Willow & Tara: Survive This! Dark Places & Demogorgons

Yesterday I took the entire Buffyverse and dropped them into 1984 Ohio and found it works rather well.  Today I want to continue that thought but also do a deep dive into the three witch classes that DP&D has to offer.  And I know of no better way to do this.


So for reasons that work for the game, I am going with Dark Places & Demogorgons: Player Options & GM Guide for the witch classes. A White Witch for Willow and a Nature Witch for Tara.  So far I have no reason to assume that Willow will need a Black Witch.  The two realities are connected, but also different.

Willow D. Rosenberg
In 1984's Sunny Valley Willow is a mathematical genius who is the only person, quite likely in the whole town, that knows how to use a computer for more than just video games.  She has been best friends with Alex Harris since kindergarten and has been friends with Daniel "Oz" Osbourne since Junior High.  Oz is obviously rather fond of Willow, but he suspects there is something holding her back.


During her summer job at the local library, Willow discovered a locked room.  Normally one to follow every rule, this room called to her.  One day she found a key (after several weeks of searching she would later admit) and opened the door.  Inside books on the occult, summoning demons and more importantly magic.  She has been reading them and trying to master them.  Though she has help from a fellow witch and honest to the goddess wiccan in Tara.

Willow Rosenberg
Class: White Witch  Level: 5
Alignment: Good
Languages: English, Hebrew, Latin, Greek
Age: 14

Attributes
STR: 9 +0
INT: 18 +3
WIS: 16 +2
DEX: 11 +0
CON: 11 +0
CHA: 17 +2
SUR: 16 +2

AC: 10     HP: 19    Attack Bonus +0

Courage: 6 +3
Critical: 5
Death: 5
Mental: 4
Poison: 3

Background
Parents are rarely at home.

Class Abilities
+1 to saves involving magic, +3 to courage saves, healing touch 8/day, heal at double rate, summon light, seen in darkness, advantage on saves, immune to fear, talk to animals and plants, create potions

Skills
Computers +5, Art +1, Math +5, Science +5, Knowledge (Magic) +5, Paranormal +4, Botany +3, Electronics +4

Possessions
Bike, Home Computer,

Money: $40

Spells
Minor (4), Major (1)
Charm, Glammerd Appearance, Magical Insight, Burning Ash hands,
Firebolt

Tara A. Maclay
Tara attends Sunny Valley Community High School on the southside of town.  She lives in a trailer with her father and brother.  Her mother Megan died from cancer just last year.  Having a rough time with that and struggling with being the "known gay" in school she was picked on quite a bit.  It was not till the arrival of Faith did things change.  Faith protected Tara because she felt something of a connection to her.  When Elizabeth Summers died north of town Faith became the new Slayer. Elizabeth came back (thanks to Alex) and soon Tara and Faith joined the Northsiders on their nightly fight against vampires, zombies and other undead menaces.  While Faith has been drawn more and more to Elizabeth and their shared mystery. Tara has been getting much closer to Willow.


Tara and her best friend Faith

Tara Maclay
Class: White Witch  Level: 4
Alignment: Good
Languages: English, French, Latin
Age: 15

Attributes
STR: 12 +0
INT: 16 +2
WIS: 18 +3
DEX: 9 +0
CON: 12 +0
CHA: 16 +2
SUR: 12 +0

AC: 10     HP: 16    Attack Bonus +0

Courage: 5
Critical: 4
Death: 3
Mental: 5
Poison: 3 +4

Background
Mother is dead, Father is super-strict

Class Abilities
Toughness: Nature/Weather +4, Empathic w/ Animals, Create Potions, Control Animals.

Skills
Botany +4, First Aid, Knowledge (magic) +4, Outdoorsmanship +2, Paranormal +4, DAnce +3, Horsemanship +4,

Possessions
Bike,

Money: $40

Spells
Minor (3)
Blind, Charm, Magical Insight

If this were an 80s show then Willow and Tara would have had (implied) sex but then Tara would have been killed and Willow sent on an "evil lesbian" rampage only end the show crying in the arms of some man.  Really, who wants to see some shitty after-school special cliché like that?

I think these classes work great, to be honest.  I would like to reorganize their powers a bit to fit my concepts of these characters. Normally I would let Willow have access to some Dark spells and Tara should be the one to heal by touch.

This also brings up an interesting dilemma. Should Willow be a multiclassed Kid Scientist 1/Witch 4?  DP&D, like a lot of OSR games, has no Multiclassing rules.  To me though I like the idea of a multiclassed Willow.  She starts off as a Kid scientist and then moves to White Witch and maybe Black Witch IF we follow the original series.  Tara can start as a Nature Witch then move to White after a bit.

These are great.  This really captures what I wanted from this game quite well.

Friday, June 8, 2018

Kickstart Your Weekend: Runewild

This one just came to me today and it looks so cool I have to share.

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/matthewjhanson/the-runewild-a-fey-themed-5e-sandbox-campaign?ref=theotherside



A dark, fey themed 5e adventure sandbox featuring 12 different witch covens?
It sounds like someone has been reading my Christmas list!

160+ pages and we get:

  • A history of the Runewild and its surrounding settlements. 
  • 100 detailed encounter areas for player characters to explore. 
  • New optional rules for exploring and resting 
  • Advice for running a sandbox campaign 
  • A new feat: Fey-Touched 
  •  13 unique magic items (like witch embers and the staff of clarity and confusion) 
  • 32 new monsters (including clockwork dwarves, fey lions, giant forest sloths, and the terrifyingly beautiful Golden Bodach). 
  •  Detailed descriptions of the histories, motivations, and weaknesses of the witches of the Runewild, including the Whitebone Sisters; Missus Switch, the swine hag; Korthsuva, the Witch of Hours; and the hag-queen Griselda, Mother of Ogres. 

Seriously.  Let's get this one backed and funded so we can have all this great stuff.

Plus it looks like the book is already done, just minus some art and layout.

Looks great.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Willow and Tara: Amazing Adventures, 2018 update

In many ways I still associate Tuesdays with Buffy.

Hard to believe, but five an half years ago I posted Amazing Adventures stats for Willow and Tara.  The idea then, and now, was to experiment with different types of Arcanists.  Willow is a very typical Intelligence-based spell caster while Tara was always a more Wisdom-based one. I have also done a Charisma-based Aracanist, in the form of Rachel Morgan.

As you can imagine I am trying to replicate my C&C Witch in a modern format.

The Amazing Adventures of Willow & Tara, 2018

Recently I have been using Amazing Adventures as a modern game as opposed to a pulp game.  So instead of thinking about Tommy Guns and the like I am more interested in smart phones, computers and GPS.    The shift has been an interesting one.  Thankfully Amazing Adventures is based on a core of d20 so finding extra material is very easy.

So what have my witches been up to?

Given what I have been doing with the characters for the last few years I would have to say they have been largely retired.  So taking the reunion staged by Entertainment Weekly, I would say something pulled them out of retirement.  Maybe a horrible orange monster threatening to take over the world. Or something.  Of course I do want to figure out an adventure to pull all my favorite supernatural shows together in one mega-episode crossover.

Willow Danielle Rosenberg-Maclay
Arcanist (INT) 12
Human Female, Lawful Good

Age: 37, Ht: 5'3", Hair: Red, Eyes: Green

hp: 45
MEP: 114
AC: 12 (locket of protection)/ 15 (when in physical contact with Tara)
Move: 30'

STR: 9 (0)
DEX: 11 (0)
*CON: 11 (0)
*INT: 18 (+3)
WIS: 16 (+2)
CHA: 17 (+2)

Languages: English, Latin, Hebrew, French* (extra language)
Background: Computers +4 (+2 initial, improved at 5th, 10th level), Science +2
Traits: Spellgifted (offensive), Reckless
Skill: Knowledge (Arcana)

Spells per Level 9/6/6/5/3/2/1
0: Arcane Mark, Dancing Lights, Detect Magic, Ghost Sound, Light, Mage Hand, Message, Open/Close, Prestidigitation
1: Arcane Bolt, Burning Hands, Identify, Read Magic, Shocking Grasp, Sleep
2: Bullet Proof, Darkness, Enhance Attribute, Invisibility Scare, Shatter
3: Blink, Clairaudience/Clairvoyance, Fly, Lightning Bolt, Magic Circle
4: Confusion, Locate Creature, Scrying,
5: Telekinesis, Telepathic Bond
6: Chain Lightning

Willow's class is Arcanist, but her backgrounds are computers and science. She does have increased knowledge skill in Arcana.  It is also likely that Willow has bought off her Reckless by now.  Compared to my earlier version, I have dropped the unneeded Gadgeteer level.

Tara Ann Rosenberg-Maclay
Arcanist (WIS) 11
Human Female, Lawful Good

Age: 38, Ht: 5'5", Hair: Blonde, Eyes: Blue

hp: 42
MEP: 100
AC: 12 (locket of protection)/ 15 (when in physical contact with Willow)
Move: 30'

STR: 12 (0)
DEX: 9 (0)
CON: 12 (0)
INT: 16 (+2)
WIS: 18 (+3)
CHA: 16 (+2)

Languages: English, Latin, Gaelic, Japanese (bonus free language)
Background: Historian +4 (+2 initial, improved at 5th, 10th level), Artist +2
Traits: Spellgifted (defensive), Polite
Skill: Knowledge (myth and legend)

Spells per Level 9/6/6/5/3/2
0: Blinding Flash, Detect Evil, Detect magic, First Aid, Know Direction, Light, Purify Food & Drink, Message, Prestidigitation
1: Animal Friendship, Command, Cure Light Wounds*, Protection from Evil, Remove Fear, Shield of Faith
2: Aid, Darkness, Delay Poison, Hold Person, Lesser Restoration*, Speak with Animals
3: Cure Serious Wounds, Dispel Magic, Magic Circle against Evil, Remove curse, Spiritual Weapon
4: Dismissal, Restoration*, Wall of Force
5: Dispel Evil, Scrying

*Tara still retains her healing touch divine powers from when she was brought back from the dead.
To fit my general idea of Tara more I would like to up her MEP to the maximum amount. She might not have a lot of different spells, but she has a lot of power.

So for me it has been nearly 10 years since I used these characters in these incarnations.

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

Reading over this I think what I really need to try is to start these characters over again at 1st level and see what it is like to run them under AA.  It makes perfect sense if you think about it.

Buffy = Demon Hunter
Xander = Hooligan
Willow = Arcanist (Int)
Tara = Arcanist (Wis)
Cordelia = Socialite
Giles = Occultist
Oz = Werewolf
Angel, Spike = Vampire

I could be a lot of fun.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Charmed is Back!

Last week we go the "upfronts" for the various TV networks. What did we learn?
Well, Batwoman is coming to the Arrow-verse on the CW so that is a cool thing.
And we got this!



I'll admit I watched it a few times. Plus WOW Valerie Cruz as the mother? Seriously.  That almost makes up for not picking up Wayward Sisters! (ok, no it doesn't).

This has promise.  Hard to judge a show based only about 7% of its content, but I am excited.

It joins Supergirl on Sunday nights.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Witch & Witchcraft Reading Challenge: Shadow of Night

“Witches see the truth plainly—even if their husbands are full of nonsense.” 
- Deborah Harkness, Shadow of Night

WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD

I read Shadow of Night with a little more enthusiasm than I did for A Discovery of Witches.  Witch Diana Bishop and Vampire Matthew Clairmont were time walking to the court of Elizabeth I and all of Tudor England was open to them.  We were going to see Shakespeare and John Dee and Christopher Marlow.  I could ignore the fact that formerly super-independent Diana was now no better than Bella in Twilight. I mean this part of English history was Deborah Harkness's forte, her area of expertise.

Well...I was not disappointed in the historical bits.  I would have loved more Shakespeare and Dee and much less Marlow to be honest.  Other characters are introduced but never rise above caricature to be honest; Gallowglass, is that your name or your job?   Plus the rules of Time Travel are very weird. Clairmont is in his own body from then, but where is his consciousness?  How can he remember in his own future? Why does Diana have her own body?  To quote Ron Stoppable, "time travel it's a cornucopia of disturbing concepts." 
Of course, they keep looking for Ashmole 782 pages and come no closer to finding it. In truth I can't even recall if they did or not since the ending pissed me off so much.

Here are the spoilers.
Diana and Matthew get back only to discover that the witches that have been pursuing them killed Emily “Em” Mather, Sarah Bishop's (Diana's aunt and foster mothers) partner.  Fucking great. Another dead lesbian.  Killed "off-screen" no less.

Look. This might not be an issue for you, but I made promises to people. So I emailed Harkness's publicist to ask if this is "undone" somehow in the next book, "Book of Life". I was told no.

So do not expect a review for Book of Life here. Like I said, I made promises and stick to them.

You can find Deborah Harkness on the web at http://deborahharkness.com/.

2018 Witch & Witchcraft Reading Challenge

Books Read so far: 4
Level: Initiate
Witches in this book: Dozens, more implied.
Are they Good Witches or Bad Witches: Good for the most part, but some evil.
Best RPG to Emulate it: I get a World of Darkness vibe here, especially the old WoD, Mage: The Sorcerer's Crusade.
Material for WotWQ: The historical setting is so much fun. Too bad the characters in it are not more exciting.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Witch & Witchcraft Reading Challenge: A Discovery of Witches

“It begins with absence and desire.
It begins with blood and fear.
It begins with a discovery of witches.” 
- Deborah Harkness, A Discovery of Witches

I read Deborah Harkness' "A Discovery of Witches" a bit back.  I kept debating on whether or not to stop reading it many times.

Somethings about the book rubbed me wrong.  While I can appreciate the scholarship that went into this book there were some things that just bugged me.
Diana Bishop, our protagonist, is supposed to be a smart, independent woman.  She is a Ph.D. and overtly a feminist.  So why does she keep falling for the dry as old paint vampire?
The story has an interesting quest, the search for an alchemical text that might have something to do with all creatures (vampires and witches). They run all over the world and do a lot of research.
I stuck through it till the end, since I think there was an interesting mystery in there with some fairly unitesting characters in my mind.
In the end I wanted to like it more than I did, but I did read the next one in the series too.  More that one later.

You can find Deborah Harkness on the web at http://deborahharkness.com/.

2018 Witch & Witchcraft Reading Challenge

Books Read so far: 3
Level: Initiate
Witches in this book: Dozens, more implied
Are they Good Witches or Bad Witches: Good for the most part, but some evil.
Best RPG to Emulate it: I get a New World of Darkness vibe here. 

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

New Spells for the Deathwitch and Mara Witch Tradition

The Little Book of Adventuring Classes Vol. 1 was just released by Jason Paul McCartan.  It is for Swords & Wizardry but can be easily adapted to other games.  I will get a review out on it soon, but I want to wait on reading it since it has a class and race very similar to something my son and I have been working on and I don't want any undue influence.
(spoiler, what I have read is great and worth every penny!)

But the one class I did read was the Deathwitch. She also appears to be the cover girl of this book, so it has my attention. Also, the book was released on Walpurgis Night so many kudos to Jason for planning ahead.   

The deathwitch fills the same niche as my Mara witch Tradition.  They share enough similarities that ideas can used for one or the other almost equally, but both still retain their uniqueness. 

Both witches have very strong associations to death and the undead.  The deathwitch maybe a little more so.

I was already working on a big spell-related project and as it turns out necromancy spells really don't fit in well to it.   They do however fit in well here.

So here are some spells for both the Deathwitch and the Mara.  All are 100% open content.
(email me for a full section 15 if you want to reuse any.)

"Witch" refers to both the deathwitch, the Mara tradition of my witch class or a warlock
Note: Mara Witches, and other witches from The Witch, require material components. Deathwitch and warlocks do not.

Black Fire
Level: Witch 1
Range: 15’
Duration: 1 hour + 10 minutes per level
This spell allows the witch to create an immobile source of heat with black fire, emitting no light but providing warmth equivalent to a small campfire in a 10-ft. radius.  The fire is a diffuse source of heat that is not sufficiently focused to ignite combustible materials.  It can be used to slowly cook meals or boil water, although doing so always requires double the amount of time required with a normal campfire.  The flames are uncomfortable to the touch, but they will not cause any burn damage.  They can be extinguished in the same manner as a normal fire. 
Material Components: A piece of lampblack and a 1-lb lump of coal. 

Blight Growth
Level: Witch 1
Range: Touch
Duration: 1 week
This spell can be used in three ways.
Blight Garden - Growth is decreased by 20% during the duration of the spell When used on a natural garden, it will produce 20% less food.  This can be used to affect gardens up to 10 square feet per caster level. 
Blight Body - If cast on a living creature, they will recover one less hit point for each full night of rest.  
Blight Mother - This spell can also be used to decrease the chances of a woman getting pregnant, though it’s up to the GM to decide exactly how it’s affected.
Material Components: A drop of fetid water.

Bone Cage
Level: Witch 4
Range: Any 25' radius the witch can see and is within 100'
Duration: 1 round per level 
This spell is favored by evil witches, warlocks, and necromancers.  Upon uttering the command a cage of bones will erupt from the ground and trap up to 5 man-sized creatures in a 25’ radius.
The material component for this spell is a bone of a man that died in captivity.

Command Undead
Level: Witch Ritual 1, Deathwitch 2
Range: Undead within Sight
Duration: Instant
This spells summons the divine power of the Witch’s patron and gives her the ability to affect undead as if she were a cleric one level lower. This special ritual requires only one witch, but she must use a specially consecrated altar item such as her athamé or pentacle. 
If she is joined in the spell by another witch or a like-minded cleric then she can add one effective level for each additional participant.
Material Components: A concencrated athamé or pentacle.

Death Armor
Level:  Witch 2
Range: Self
Duration: 1 round per level
This spell causes the witch’s skin to become highly acidic.  Anyone touching the witch’s skin, via an unarmed attack or otherwise, receives 2d6 points of Acid damage (save for half).  The witch can make a touch attack with this spell.
Material Components: 100 gp worth of special creams, which must be rubbed over the witch’s arms.

Feel My Pain
Level: Witch 1
Range: 50’
Duration: Instantaneous
The witch transfers pain and damage to another target in line of sight.  She invokes the spell and either cuts herself or causes damage in some way, such as putting her hand in a torch fire.  She takes 1 hp of damage (regardless of how much would have been dealt normally) and she turns and magnifies that on her target causing 1d6 points of damage.
Material Components: The material components for this spell are the witch's boline or dagger or whatever she uses to cause herself pain.

Ghostly Slashing
Level: Witch 1
Range: 25’ + 5’ per 2 levels
Duration: Instantaneous
This spell creates what seems like a ghostly attacker that attacks the target.  In fact, the spell only causes an open wound on a person.  This spell deals 1d4 slashing damage +1 per level (max +20).  The placement of the wound is random.  This spell has no effect on the Undead or construct creatures like golems.
Material Components: A small flake of any kind of metal.

Hecate’s Spiritual Dog
Level: Witch 1
Range: 10’ per level
Duration: Special
This spell summons the spirit of a dead dog to act as the necromancer wishes for the duration of the spell.  The dog has one Hit Die for every odd level the caster has (1 HD for levels 1 and 2, 2 HD for levels 3 and 4, etc.) to a maximum of 5 HD. 
A non-combative dog is useful mostly for warning and will vanish after one warning or 1d4 hours + 10 minutes per level, whichever comes first.  A combative dog fights as a dog with Hit Dice as generated by the summoning and lasts until killed or 1d4 rounds + 1 round per level.  Both have an Armor Class in inverse proportion to caster level up to level 10 (level 1, AC 9. level 2, AC 9, … level 10, AC 0).  Past level 10, the dogs have AC 0. 
Material Components: The witch’s Athamé, dog fur (for a non-combative dog) or a dog tooth (for a combative dog).

Mimic
Level: Witch 2
Range: the Witch herself
Duration: 1 hour
The witch uses this spell to mimic any voice she has heard.  She can’t use any of the languages spoken by the voice unless she knows them as well, but can mimic the voice perfectly.  A saving throw (modified by Wisdom bonus) allows a victim to notice the truth.
Material Components: The witch brings her hands to her mouth.

Shadow Monsters
Level: Witch 4
Range: 30’
Duration: 1 round/level
The witch may create phantasmal pseudo-real monsters in an area of 20’. The monster or monsters created cannot exceed the witch’s level in HD. Monsters created in this fashion must all be the same type. They have 2 HP per the creature’s normal HD. Victims are allowed a Wisdom check to realize the creatures are only partly real. The phantasmal monsters are able to attack and deal damage as per a normal creature of their type to any being that fails this check. If the check succeeds, the phantasmal monsters damage is halved. 
Material Components: The witch makes a shadow of a monster with her hands while casting the spell.

Skull Guard
Level: Witch 3
Range: One Skull
Duration: Until sunrise (8 hours)
The witch casts this spell on a normal skull and sets it out to guard at night. Any creature that approaches the skull causes it to glow. If a creature moves past it closer to the witch it will begin to cackle, howl or otherwise make a noise to awaken the witch.  The noise is magical and will always wake the witch. The witch can enchant one skull for every 2 levels.
Material Components: A skull, preferably of a hanged man.  If the witch plans on casting for multiple skulls then she will need those skulls as well.  The skulls are not consumed in the casting. 

Tears of the Banshee
Level: Witch 4
Range: 100’ + 10’ per level)
Duration: 1 minute + 1 minute per level
This spell calls a thick green mist to roll forth from the earth, completely obscuring darkvision/infravision and reducing regular vision up to 5 feet.  All those within the mist are shielded and are at a -5 to hit. Furthermore, those within the area of effect must make a saving throw (fear-based) or be scared by the eerie qualities of the fog, as strange sounds such as wailing, laughter and screaming persist for the duration of the spell.  Affected creatures suffer a –2 to all attacks and saves, but do not have to flee as if they were panicked.
Material Components: Water from a bog where a childless woman has killed herself.

Waves of Fatigue
Level: Witch 5
Range: 30’
Duration: Instantaneous
The witch sweeps her arms in a long arc and a wave of negative energy renders all living creatures in the spell’s area fatigued.  Fatigued characters can’t run and they take a -2 penalty on any Strength and Dexterity rolls (including attacks and damage).  Fatigued characters require 8 hours of rest.
This spell has no effect on a creature that is already fatigued. 

Monday, April 23, 2018

The Return of Nibiru

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

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

 If you are reading this then you know we survived.

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Tim Kask on Witches

Tim Kask, who goes back in TSR as long as there was such a thing has been online ruminating about the history of TSR, D&D, and related topics.

He has a YouTube channel, called appropriately enough, Curmudgeon in the Cellar.  Though I think he missed an opportunity to call it Curmudgeon in the Dungeon.

In this video, he talks about a lot of things going on in social media this week.  First is the issue of gatekeeping at GaryCon.  I didn't see or feel any myself so I am not sure where this is coming from.

The big one for me, of course, starts at 6:13, where Tim talks about why there was not a witch class in 1st Ed AD&D.  A lot of this we have heard before and tracks with the history of the game.  Here he is in his own words.


Frankly, I am glad they didn't include witches.  If they had I might not have ever made my own which led to my own publications and my current career/hobby.  I likely would have refocused back on writing vampire stuff.

Tim also goes into how he runs his games.

I like Tim, even when he is cantankerous (he is a self-professed curmudgeon after all) or maybe even more so.  He is also a fellow Saluki, so he always gets a pass in my book for that alone.

I am looking forward to watching some his other videos.  Should be fun.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Areelu Vorlesh, Witch Queen of the Worldwound

I picked up some Pathfinder minis a while back and this succubus in the mix that I did not recognize.  She also had a proper name, Areelu Vorlesh.  Imagine my joy when I discovered she was not only a succubus (well half succubus) but also a witch!

A trio of wicked witches, Iggwilv, Areelu, and Skylla
Turns out she is also a major NPC baddie in Pathfinder, the primary architect of the Worldwound in Golarion.  I am not sure what happens to her there, but she would really be a perfect addition to my War of the Witch Queens.  Plus I already have her mini!  Now I just need a Wayne Reynolds print on my wall.

Her Pathfinder stats are crazy. She is a 10th level witch, 10th level demoniac and an 8th level archmage.  Plus she has a lot of her half-succubus powers.  She has some truly outrageous stats too.

Areelu Vorlesh
The human that would become the witch Areelu Vorlesh has been lost to time. It was known that she was a witch in Deskari’s cult.  She was researching the nature of the separation of the worlds and planes (Plot hook!).  It was her success at opening the Worldwound that caused her Patron to transform her into a half-fiend.

Areelu Vorlesh (28th level witch)
The Witch

Strength: 14 Death Ray, Poison 3
Dexterity: 18 Magic Wands 4
Constitution: 18 Paralysis, Polymorph or Turn to Stone 3
Intelligence: 18 Dragon Breath 6
Wisdom: 18 Rods, Staffs, Spells 5
Charisma: 19

Hit Points: 73
Alignment: Chaotic (Evil)
AC: -2 (Bracers of Defense, +3 Amulet of Protection)

Occult Powers (Malefic Tradition)
Familiar: "Gimcrak" (Quasit, Enhanced)
7th level: Evil's Touch
13th level: Devil's Tongue
19th level: Curse
25th level: Polymorph Other

Succubus Powers
Fly (at normal movement rate).
Drain Constitution (1 point).
Immune to fire damage and poison.
Half damage from cold and electricity.
Takes double damage from "holy" items.

Spells
Cantrips (7): Arcane Mark, Detect Curse, Ghost Sound, Mend Minor Wounds, Message, Spark, Summon Vermin

First (8+3): Bewitch I, Cause Fear, Charm Person, Command, Increase Sex Appeal, Mend Light Wounds, Protect Familiar, Quicken Healing, Shattering the Hourglass, Silver Tongue, Spirit Dart

Second (8+2): Ecstasy, Enhanced Familiar, Enthrall, Evil Eye, Hold Person, Invisibility, Phantasmal Spirit, Rite of Remote Seeing, Scare, Twisting the Heartstrings II

Third (7+2): Bestow Curse, Clairaudience/Clairvoyance, Dispel Magic, Enlarge Familiar, Feral Spirit, Fly, Ghost Ward, Tongues, Witch Wail

Fourth (7+2): Abomination, Charm Monster, Confusion, Divine Power, Intangible Cloak of Shadows, Moonlit Way, Phantom Lacerations, Spiritual Dagger, Withering Touch

Fifth (6): Baleful Polymorph, Feeblemind, Greater Command, Nightmare, Teleport, Waves of Fatigue

Sixth (6): Bewitch VI, Break the Spirit, Geas, Mass Suggestion, Repulsion, True Seeing

Seventh (5): Draw Forth the Soul, Eternal Charm Monster, Maze, Binding Ritual (Ritual), Gate (Ritual)

Eighth (5): Bewitch VIII, Damming Stare, Destroy Life, Wail of the Banshee, Imprisonment (Ritual)

So this version of Areelu Vorlesh is pretty powerful, though still not as powerful as the Pathfinder version (551 hp!) but still a very formidable foe and a worthy Witch Queen.



Sunday, March 25, 2018

Arts and Crafts Weekend, Part 1

I am on Spring Break!  So we spent the first part of my vacation working on various arts and crafts.  My wife painted a bunch of minis. I'll share what I did in the next post.


First up is a little Piasa Bird.



She did a Tiefling Necromancer and a gold skinned demoness.


She also worked on my witch Larina!




She looks great with other versions of her!




Larina and her daughter Taryn.






She also did Iggwilv for me!



Art imitates art!

Been a great time.  Love these little witches!

Monday, March 12, 2018

Strange Brew: Skills & Feats

The next book in the Strange Brew series is now out.


Strange Brew: Skills & Feats is everything you need for your witch character in the Pathfinder game.

I will check with my editor, but I think this means the full book will be out soon.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Big News about the Next Version

Of course, I am talking about Charmed.

We have the final casting in place for the next Power of Three.
http://www.eonline.com/news/918622/charmed-reboot-finds-its-3-sisters


They are left to right, Sarah Jeffery (Madison), Melonie Diaz (Mel), and Madeleine Mantock (Macy).

I am 100% unapologetic about my love for Charmed. I was a fan early on and enjoyed all 8 seasons.  I think one of the reasons you have not seen me post the stats of the Charmed Ones here is because I don't think I could do them justice the way I want.  I did stats for the for Semi-Charmed Life, but I want to redo them.
Though one of my most favorite memories of Gen Con is playing Piper in this big Charmed/Buffy/Supernatural crossover.  It was so much fun.




The new show is being described as "fierce, funny, feminist," and that is rubbing some people the wrong way.
Not me.
I want it to be in your face feminism. I want them to vanquish demons and douchebags with equal gusto. I want to see alt-right bloggers and Fox News bobble-heads crying because this show is on the air.

Now I know a lot of old fans are also pretty up in arms about this. Not wanting a new series, or wanting a new series but only with the original cast (all four).  I get this.  But it is not going to happen.
I hate to be blunt but can Allysa Milano and Shannen Doherty even work together any more?  And not to be insensitive but Shannen is battling some pretty nasty cancer. She is, by all accounts, keeping her head up high and spirits strong, but could she take on the physical rigors of filming a series again?  Plus can Rose McGowan even be in the same room as any of the other three?  I follow them all on social media and they are great women and turning into some fierce fighters for rights, but maybe a silly little show about witches is not enough for them now.

So here is to the new cast. I hope they get picked up for the 1st Season and many more after that.
I hope that Macy, Mel, and Madison will soon be as important names to me a Prue, Piper, Phoebe, and Paige.

Oh and in other news Pathfinder is going to go into a 2nd Edtion. You can find Playtest information and a FAQ on their site.

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