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

Thursday, June 4, 2020

Review: B7 Rahasia (BECMI Special)

"You soon are lead to an elven maid, whose veiled grace and beauty outshines all others present as the sun outshines the stars-she is Rahasia.
"Will you aid me?" she asks."

Module B7 Rahasia

B7 Rahasia is an adventure for the BECMI version of the Basic rules.  Since module B5 the Basic modules all featured the new BECMI trade dress, but B7 Rahasia is an older adventure with some solid history in the D&D game.  But I am getting to the middle of the story.

Back in 1979 Tracy and Laura Hickman wanted to play AD&D but needed money to be able to buy the Dungeon Master's Guide. So like so many after them they wrote an adventure to sell so the could afford to pick up the DMG.   That adventure was Rahasia.

Later the Hickmans would go to work for TSR and here they would give us what is arguably one of the greatest adventures of all time, Ravenloft, but before that, they republished Rahasia in 1983 under the RPGA banner.  In fact, RPGA 1 Rahasia and it's sequel RPGA 2 Black Opal Eye were the first two RPGA adventures for the new BECMI Basic game.

Rahasia is for levels 1-2 and then Black Opal Eye for levels 2-3.


These currently go for a lot of money on eBay now.  RPGA2 Black Opal Eye is available on DriveThruRPG, but the RPGA1 version of Rahasia is not.

Rahasia would get a third printing again in 1984 as the new adventure module B7 Rahasia.
This new version was a combination of the two earlier editions.

For this review, I am considering the PDF from DriveThruRPG and my original print copy from 1984.

Module B7 Rahasia
Tracy and Laura Hickman. 32 Pages, color cover, black & white interior.
Cover art by Jeff Easley. Interior art by Jeff Easley and Tim Truman
Maps by Diesel & D.C. Sutherland Ill

This adventure is a primary example of what has been called "the Hickman Revolution" and while it was independent of the design of the BECMI rules, it does dovetail into the rules and feel rather well.  The Hickman Revolution can best be explained with the original requirements the Hickmans set for themselves in their adventures.
  1. A player objective more worthwhile than simply pillaging and killing.
  2. An intriguing story that is intricately woven into the play itself.
  3. Dungeons with some sort of architectural sense.
  4. An attainable and honorable end within one or two sessions playing time.
Another very strong point is an NPC/Antagonist that is more than just a mindless monster.  This can be seen in Dragonlance and can be seen in its ultimate form in Count Strahd from Ravenloft.

These all exist in one form or another in this adventure.  We have an evil cleric known as the Rahib, but is he really our "Big Bad" of this tale?  No. But again I jump ahead.

The plot begins as a simple one.  The characters agree to help an elven maid named Rahasia defeat a great evil that has come to her lands. This evil, the Rahib, has captured two elf maidens (Sylva and Merisa), Rahasia's father, and her fiancee. So the characters have to rescue the Prince this time!  He has also taken control over a group of elven cleric/monks (essentially) known as the Siswa.

This is an important bit, so I am going to interrupt myself here.  The Siswa are all mind-controlled, normally these are the elves that guard the temple, so they really should not be killed.  In the Hickman Revolution simply killing things is never the way to go.  This is true here.  The characters need to find ways to incapacitate the Siswa, but not kill them.

Defeating the Rahib is fine, and getting to him is the first half of the adventure.  The second half is discovering the REAL Big Bads.  You might have seen them on the cover.

Part 2, or the part that was covered in Black Opal Eye, deals with the real villains of this piece.  Here we learn that the Rahib had made a deal with the spirits of three dead witches, Karelena, Solorena, and Trilena.  These witches have now taken over the bodies of the elf maids and want to get Rahasia for Trilena.  They can accomplish this with the Black Opal Eye. When all three witches are freed they are much more powerful, so getting them before they can get Rahasia is the goal. Failing that any female character with a Charisma of 15 or higher is the target.

There are some traps, some false leads and some clues in the form of wine bottles.  But all in all a very effective adventure with some nice twists.  More importantly, it also gives us three (well four I guess) memorable NPCs.  While the Rahib can be defeated, and ultimately forgotten about, the witches, Karelena, Solorena, and Trilena, are far more interesting and really should come back again in a future adventure.

There are maps, pre-rolled characters to use, and of course an elven princess who will be in your debt.

The adventure also features something that the "new" BECMI modules all would feature, new monsters.
Here we get the haunt, the water weird (an AD&D import), and the bone golem who will not see an AD&D rendition until Ravenloft.

Ravenloft Connections
I have often stated that I feel that Barovia, the lands of the mists featured in the Ravenloft adventure and line, came from the B/X & BECMI world of Mystara.  Here is another connection.  First, the idea of body-snatching undead witches is a strong horror trope.  I am sure there are dozens of horror movies made before 1979 that feature this.  I am sure I have seen at least a dozen or more of these myself.


Plus like Ravenloft, Rahasia was written by the Hickmans. Even in the 5e era the Curse of Strahd adventure for 5e lists Rahasia as an influence.  Plus there are some other solid connections.  Like finding the same wines in Rahasia's Wizard tower and in Ravenloft Curse of Strahd.



For 5th Edition
Thanks to the efforts of the Classic Modules Today group there is a conversion guide for B7 Rahasia.  Classic Modules Today: B7 Rahasia (5e) is 10 pages and includes all the various stats you need to covert this adventure over to 5th Editon D&D.  In truth the conversions are very straight forward but it is nice to have them all in one place.  Plus for $1.95 it is really worth it.  Given the Ravenloft connections, I could see this as an adventure for 1-3 level characters in Curse of Strahd very easily.  You need the complete B7 module, that is not included here and there is no adventure information other than the stats. The Bone Golem and the witches, Karelena, Solorena, and Trilena get full stat blocks.

War of the Witch Queens
For me this is also a great starting module for my War of the Witch Queens campaign.  Three dead witches combing back from the grave to possess the bodies of three others?  If it can be done once, it can be done again and I have some great long term NPCs to harass my characters with.  Plus the mere fact that they came back now points to the upheaval in the Occult world that this War is having.
It also makes for a solid case for this game to be run using the BECMI rules.
Now there is a thought...

Other Posts & Links

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Motherland: Fort Salem for Dungeons & Dragons (all editions)

Last week was the Season Finale of Motherland: Fort Salem on the FreeForm channel.   The season was great, start to finish. It had great characters that showed a lot of growth and at least three different "What the Hell!" moments in the last few minutes of the last episode.

If you have not been watching then you are missing out.  Motherland gives us an alternate history where witches rose up during Salem and forged a pact with the then Colonies to protect the new country from their enemies.  There are fewer states in the US and a large portion, The Cession, was given back to the Native Americans in return for their help and magic.  The series follows three new witch recruits, Abby, Tally, and Raelle, as they go through Basic Training and survive as a unit.
There is a terrorist organization of rogue witches known as the Spree who resent the servitude that sends all witches to the Army.

    Honor me, make a place for me and my kind and we will win your wars.
- General Sarah Alder to Massachusetts Bay Militia, Say the Words    

The show features a full cast of strong, interesting women characters.  The leader of the Army is General Alder, a 300+-year-old witch, their drill sergeant is a woman. Even the President is an African-American woman.  Men are either tertiary characters at best (the Witch-Father) or eye-candy (Abby's two boy toys).  Tally doesn't even see a man until one gives up his seat for her so she can fly from California to Massachusetts.  Not that men are put into a bad light.  The Witch Father is respected and well-liked. Raelle's dad is proud of his daughter and worries about her.  It's just their stories are not as important here.  That's a nice change of pace really.

The witches are also not a Ms. Pac-Man trope. They are warriors, witches but also women and they are allowed to be all three. It really is quite enjoyable and very different from what I have seen in the past.  It has been a fantastic first season.

I can't believe I have to wait a whole year to catch up on the Bellweather Unit and their battle against the Spree and "The Camarilla", the "Ancient Enemy" of all witches.   This certainly sounds like a lot of fun.   But can I wait that long?


So what am I going to do?  Easy.  Convert them to D&D characters!

The witches of Motherland are perfect as adventurers really.  They are great as a group with Abigail as their leader, Raelle as the healer and Tally as the seer.   I don't know much about who or what the Camarilla is, but given what we saw in the last episode I am looking forward to it.

Witches vs. the Camarilla?  Yeah. Sign me up!

Basic D&D and D&D 5

D&D 5 is the latest and greatest version of the game but the Basic version from the early 80s is my game of choice these days.  So I figure I can do both.

Basic D&D (1981)
In this version I would use one of my own Witch classes.  But instead of Traditions, I would opt for family lines.
I am putting them all at 3rd Level since they "Finished Basic." I know. Dumb D&D joke. 

D&D 5th Edition
In this version, there is no proper witch class.  There is a warlock of course, but that doesn't feel like the right call here.  With their focus on combat, voice-based magic, leadership, and some healing the obvious choice is the Bard class.  There is even a perfect sounding group for them, The College of War.

Abigail Bellweather

Abigail "Abby" Bellweather, of the East Coast Bellweathers, is the leader of the Bellweather Unit.  She starts out in the show as an arrogant, if even spoiled, girl of privilege. By the end of the series she is the leader she was born to be.  Even her rivalries with Raelle and fellow East Coast witch Libba Swythe become something different as she accepts the responsibility of what being a soldier-witch means.

Base Abilities
Strength: 12
Dexterity: 11
Constitution:  13
Intelligence: 14
Wisdom: 11
Charisma: 17

Hair: Drk. Brown
Eyes: Brown

Basic D&D
Witch Level 3, Lawful
HP: 10  AC: 7
Tradition: Bellweather family (Leaders) (For this I will use my Amazon Witch Tradition)
Abilities: Windstirke*, Fighting Prowess
Spells: Fury of the Ancestors, Windshear* (Ritual), Suggestion

D&D 5th Edition
Bard Level 3, Lawful Good
HP:  21   AC:  11
Abilities: Bard Abilities, Spellcasting
Spells: Eldritch Blast, Thunderclap, Truestrike, Cure Wounds, Featherfall, Heroism, Thunderwave, Phantasmal Force, Suggestion

Weapons: Dagger, Scourge.

Click here for her D&D Beyond Sheet

Tally Craven
Tally comes from the depleted Craven line. All her aunts had gone to fight in the Army and they all died.  She is the last of her line. She lived in the Matrifocal Allotment near Sacramento, California. She had not even seen a male until she answered her call of duty, an action her mother strongly wished her not to do.  Her power is to "see." She can detect disguised and hidden objects or people and might be one of the most powerful seers to come up in the ranks in a long time.
Tally is a sweet girl who loves with all her heart because that is what she knows.  She is fiercely loyal to her Unit.

Base Abilities
Strength: 11
Dexterity: 13
Constitution: 14
Intelligence: 13
Wisdom: 12
Charisma: 16

Hair: Red
Eyes: Brown

Basic D&D
Witch Level 3, Lawful
HP: 9  AC: 7
Tradition: Craven family (Seers) (For this I will use my Classical Witch Tradition)
Abilities: Windstirke*, Detect Evil
Spells: Foretell, Detect Invisible, Witch Sense

D&D 5th Edition
Bard Level 3, Neutral Good
HP:  24   AC:  11
Abilities: Bard Abilities, Spellcasting
Spells: Thunderclap, Truestrike, Detect Magic, Heroism, Identity, Thunderwave, Detect Thoughts, See Invisible

Weapons: Dagger, Scourge.

Click here for her D&D Beyond Sheet

Raelle Collar
Raelle lived in the part of American known as the Chippewa Cession where the Indigenous Tribal Federations are.  She is a healer of great power, like her mother was.  Her mother was reported dead by the Army and Raelle blames the Army and Gen. Bellweather in particular.  She doesn't want to be there and her plan was get enlisted to the infantry and get killed as soon as possible.  Her attitude earned her the nickname "shitbird" from Abby.
Raelle attitude changed when she met and fell in love with fellow cadet Scylla Ramshorn.

Base Abilities
Strength: 12
Dexterity: 13
Constitution: 15
Intelligence: 12
Wisdom: 13
Charisma: 15

Hair: Blonde
Eyes: Blue

Basic D&D
Witch Level 3, Lawful
HP: 11  AC: 7
Tradition: Collar family (Healers) (For this I will use my Pagan Witch Tradition and Basic Witch Tradition)
Abilities: Windstirke*, Healing Touch (1d4)
Spells: Cure Light Wounds, Sleep, Heal Affliction

D&D 5th Edition
Bard Level 3, Chaotic Good
HP: 24  AC: 12
Abilities: Bard Abilities, Spellcasting
Spells: Thunderclap, Truestrike, Cure Wounds, Feather Fall, Healing Word, Sleep, Lesser Restoration, Warding Wind

Weapons: Dagger, Scourge.

Click here for her D&D Beyond Sheet

Scylla Ramshorn
Scylla is a "Necro" or a Necromancer.  Because their power makes others uneasy they are quartered in a different part of the base. We learn that Scylla's parents were killed when she was young.   She meets and falls in love with Raelle.  Later we find out she is part of the terrorist organization known as The Spree, responsible for hundreds of deaths across the country.  Her job was to recruit Raelle, but she actually fell in love with her.

Base Abilities
Strength: 11
Dexterity: 13
Constitution: 16
Intelligence: 14
Wisdom: 13
Charisma: 18

Hair: Black
Eyes: Blue

Basic D&D
Witch Level 4, Chaotic
HP: 13  AC: 7
Tradition: Ramshorn family (Necromancer) (For this I will use my Mara Witch Tradition)
Abilities: Glamour
Spells: Bewitch I, Lay to Rest, Dark Whispers, Hypnotize

D&D 5th Edition
Bard Level 4, Chaotic Neutral
HP: 35  AC: 12
Abilities: Bard Abilities, Spellcasting, Magic Initiate (Necromancer)
Spells: Chill Touch, Message, Minor Illusion, Toll the Dead, Truestrike, Bane, Charm Person, Disguise Self, Dissonant Whispers, Sleep, Enthrall, Lesser Restoration, Suggestion

Click here for her D&D Beyond Sheet.

Notes

For Basic D&D I linked to the Witchcraft Tradition that best fits each witch.  If I were to do something more like this I might revive my old "War Witch Tradition."  This is the ancient Celtic tradition of witches like The Morrigan and Scáthach.



For 5th Edition Bards felt like the closest match.  I originally had Scylla as a Magic Initiate (Warlock) to cover her other magical abilities and to represent her membership in the Spree.  But I changed it to Magic Initiate (Necromancer) to cover some of her Necro powers.  She is still too low-level to really take advantage of the necromancy spells.

I considered making them all Sword-Pact Warlocks and taking a Magic Initiate Feat at first level to cover their various Traditions/Backgrounds.  So Necromancer for Scylla, Cleric/Healer for Raelle, Bard for Abby and Wizard for Tally.  That might still work well to be honest.

*Windstrike is the basic attack ability of a Warrior Witch.  With her voice the witch can cause 1d6+1 hp of damage.

*Windshear is a ritual spell performed by multiple witches.  It is a shield from attack and it destroys whatever comes in contact with it.



The Scourge is a flail like weapon used by all witches.  It is long with a whip-like handle and a knob on the end that glows with the witch's magic.  It is considered a +1 weapon and does 1d6+1 points of damage.  In D&D 5th Ed it is considered an exotic weapon.

The real test will be doing stats for Sgt. Anacostia Quartermaine and Gen. Sarah Alder.



Other Editions of D&D

Building these characters was so much fun I could not help but think how other editions of D&D might work.

1st Edition AD&D
Bards are out because they are very different here.  I would use Magic-users and let them dual-class into another class to help.  Or even use Druids.

2nd Edition AD&D 
Ah now here is a chance to really try something fun.  Like 5th Edition, I would make them Bards, but I would also have them take the Blade kit from the Complete Bard Handbook.  Again like 1st Ed, I might let them dual-class into another class OR just allow them to take the proper spells.

3rd Edition D&D
So many choices here.  I would try out a Hexblade or Bladesinger for these.  I mean really, a witch-army has the Forgotten Realms written all over it!  Blasesigners and Witches of Rashemen are just about War Witches now.

4th Edition D&D
So many classes!  Ok make them Pact of the Blade Warlocks, let them take a multiclass feat at first level to add the other class features they need.  OR start them out as Witches from Heroes of the Feywild and then multiclass feats.

I might try each option on one character to see how it would work.  The choice is obvious.


She may be General Sarah Alder, but I know a Witch Queen when I see one.

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

OMG: Special Edition The Goddess of Magic

I want to get back to my One Man's God series, but before I do I want to take look at the various Goddess of Magic.

Hecate by Iren Horrors
One thing myths seem to have in common, at least the handful I have covered to date, is a Goddess of Magic.  These goddesses, while different in many respects and aspects, share something in common.  They have learned the secrets of magic and these secrets seem to be something only goddess are meant to know.

Here are a few an how I see them through the lens of a Goddess of the Witches.

Ereshkigal
The world's first goth-girl.  I talked a lot about her during my wrap-up of the Babylonian, Sumerian, and Akkadian myths.  She is the goddess of the underworld and the magic associated with that. Ereshkigal is often considered to be the dark half of her sister Innana/Ishtar.

Isis
Isis is the earliest Goddess of Magic of Egypt.
With Osiris and Horus (the divine child) they make up a Holy Trinity. She is the Goddess of marriage, motherhood, fertility, magic, healing, reincarnation, and divination, to name but a few. Isis is the patroness of priestesses. One myth has Isis poisoning the Sun God Ra, offering to save him only if he would reveal his secret name. At last, at the brink of destruction, Ra gives Isis his heart, with the secret name it held, and his two eyes (the Sun and the Moon).  Isis quells the poison and ends up with Ra’s supreme power. In time the great Eye was passed along to her son Horus.  Proclus mentions a statue of her which bore the inscription “I am that which is, has been and shall be. My veil no one has lifted”. Hence, to lift the veil of Isis is to pierce the heart of a great mystery.

Hecate
Hecate got her own OMG post a while back.
Hecate is, in Greek mythology, the Goddess of darkness, magic, and witchcraft.  She is the daughter of the Titans Perses and Asteria. Unlike Artemis, who represented the moonlight and splendor of the night, Hecate represented its darkness and its terrors. On moonless nights she was believed to roam the earth with a pack of ghostly, howling dogs. She was the Goddess of sorcery and witchcraft and was especially worshiped by magicians and witches, who sacrificed black lambs and black dogs to her. As Goddess of the crossroads, Hecate and her pack of dogs were believed to haunt these remote spots, which seemed evil and ghostly places to travelers. In art Hecate is often represented with either three bodies or three heads and with serpents entwined about her neck.
Of all the deities who have covens, Hecate’s covens are the most widespread and well known. Hecate was once a fairly benign goddess in early Greek times. She later became the dread Greco-Roman Goddess of ghosts, a close confidante of Persephone, and a patron of witches. The brutally wronged Hecuba of Troy was reincarnated as one of Hecate’s black dogs, which accompanied her on her night walks. When Hades kidnapped Persephone in the later Greek myth, farseeing Hecate was the only one who witnessed it. Hecate was worshiped at three-way crossroads at night even by ordinary Greek families and could ward off ghosts if properly propitiated. But Romans also believed She had more sinister worshipers; the witches and sorceresses who could coerce even the gods to do their will.

Freyja
Freyja is associated with magic, but mostly with seiðr. What is seiðr? Well, it is a bit of an odd translation but it usually refers to a pre-Christian pagan form of magic.  Today we would shorthand it and call it "witchcraft" but that is not exactly right.
I hope to cover her more when I finally get to Norse myths.

Ceridwen
Celtic Goddess of wisdom, intelligence, magic, divination, and enchantment. She is the Goddess of the cauldron. Popular among the Celtic Classical and Craft of the Wise Traditions.
Cerridwen’s cauldron has the power to return the dead to life.

Áine
Another  Celtic Goddess is the Irish goddess Áine.  She is also the Goddess of Summer.
I want to get back to Celtic myths soon.

Coyolxāuhqui
I forgot to mention Coyolxāuhqui last week when I did Central American myths.  She is the sister of Huitzilopochtli (the God of War in the D&DG).  She is most often depicted as the Goddess of the Moon when she was beheaded by her brother and he tossed her head into the sky.

Huitaca
Also known as Xubchasgagua she is the Goddess of arts, dance and music, witchcraft, sexual liberation, and the Moon. That is quite the portfolio.  Like many Goddesses, she is associated with the owl as her animal.  She is described as a "rebel Goddess." She is really the archetypical witch.
She is associated with the religion of the Muisca which is now Columbia in South America.

From D&D

Wee Jas
Wee Jas also got her own post a while back.  Wee Jas is what Hecate would be if she were a Suel god. Or more to the point the D&D version of Hecate, the Goddess of Magic, Witches, Ghosts, Necromancy and the Crossroads.   It is said that Wee Jas guards the doorways to the dead and the same is true for Hecate.  In fact, I have used them rather interchangeably for years.

I think for my own version of Wee Jas, I would start with the Dragon 88 version, add a little bit of what we saw in D&D 3.x, and then change her "Death" portfolio to "Spirits" ("Wee Jas" = "Ouija").  She can summon undead, and her priests may do so as well, but no raise dead spells.  I rather liked the Raven Queen from D&D 4 and 5, so pass off Wee Jas' control of Death (save for spirits) to the Raven Queen.  Since the Raven Queen is described as a young or new Goddess, it could even be that she is the daughter of Wee Jas.  Ioun was one of Wee Jas' first students.

Mystra
Mystra is the Forgotten Realms Goddess of Magic.  I have not talked much about her here because my knowledge of the Realms is limited.  But I have always wanted to explore the Mystra-Mystara connection.  Is there one? Likely not, but there should be at least in my games!

I am sure there are more, lots more even, but this is good for now.

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Which Warlock is Which? OSE Edition.

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

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

Very valid questions.

Let's go over the Warlocks first.



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

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


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

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

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



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

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

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

Witch Books - Google Sheets



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

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

Friday, May 1, 2020

HeroForge 2.0 Color: Where My Witches At?

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

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

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


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

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


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


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

Comparing the prints:


To the images in the software:


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

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


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

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

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

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Magic Item: The Witch Whistle

This image has been floating around the net for about a year.  Figure I should do something fun with it.  So here it is for Old-School Essentials.



Witch Whistle (Witch Flute)
Summons an army of rats when blown.

  • Summons 10-100 (10d10) normal rats when blown (usable 2x per day)
  • Or summons 5-30 (5d6) giant rats when a short tune is played (1 per day)
  • Or summons 1-4 (1d4) wererats when a longer song is played (1 per day)

These whistles are created by Pagan Witches and Death Pact Warlocks. Crafted from the bone of a wererat and petrified paw of a rat.  They keep the songs well hidden but allow the magic to be used to summon normal rats.  If the songs are learned the player can use one of any of the powers once per day.
Under any circumstance, the player does not control the rats that are summoned.
They arrive within one round.


Saturday, April 11, 2020

Zatannurday: WitchFire

I was SUPPOSED to be working on some FASA Star Trek characters.  So I was going through my character folders trying to find some of my old characters for Decipher Trek.  I didn't find them.  I DID find characters for my very, very first Generation HEX characters.  Namely Taryn aka "Teen Witch" and Brianna who had a lot of names, but one of them was "Witch Fire."

Imagine my surprise when it finally dawned on me that there was a DC character named Witch Fire AND my complete surprise when I found out Marvel also had a Witch Fire!

I pulled her out, went over her stats and thought it would be great to update her to Mutants & Masterminds 3.0 from version 2.

I also looked over the DC Witchfire and the Marvel Witchfire for some ideas.

DC, Rebecca Carstairs
Fandom: Rebecca Carstairs (New Earth)
Fandom: Rebecca Carstairs (Prime Earth)
ComicVine: Witchfire
Comic Book Realm: Witchfire aka Rebecca Carstairs
Notes

DC Earth-27 Project, Rebecca Carstairs
PhilChoArt: Rebecca Carstairs (Earth 27)
Rebecca Carstairs (Earth 27)
DeviantArt Sheets, Page 1 and Page 2.

Marvel, Ananym
Wikipedia: Witchfire
Fandom: Ananym (Earth 616)
ComicVine: Witchfire


All three characters (Marvel, DC, and Mine) had several similarities.
- All three are redheads
- All three had fire powers in addition to magic
- All had strange, magical parentage.

So instead of trying to do one or the other (and I am partial to the DC version), I'll present my own with some add-ons from the other two.
Here she is!

Witchfire aka Brianna O'Kelly
PL 8
Strength 3, Stamina 1, Agility 3, Dexterity 1, Fighting 1, Intellect 2, Awareness 1, Presence 1

Advantages
Attractive 2, Languages 1, Well-informed

Skills
Acrobatics 1 (+4), Athletics 2 (+5), Close Combat: Fire Aura: Damage 4 1 (+2), Insight 1 (+2), Perception 2 (+3), Persuasion 3 (+4), Ranged Combat: Fire Blast: Damage 8 2 (+3), Sleight of Hand 1 (+2)

Powers
Alternate Form (Fire) (Activation: Standard Action)
   Damage: Damage 1 (DC 16)
   Flight: Flight 3 (Speed: 16 miles/hour, 250 feet/round)
   Immunity: Immunity 0
   Insubstantial: Insubstantial 3 (Energy)
   Teleport: Teleport 1 (60 feet in a move action, carrying 50 lbs.; Medium: Energy Medium)
Dazzle: Cumulative Affliction 1 (1st degree: Impaired, 2nd degree: Disabled, 3rd degree: Unaware, Resisted by: Fortitude, DC 11; Cumulative, Increased Range: ranged; Limited: Sight)
Enhanced Ability: Enhanced Agility 3 (+3 AGL)
Enhanced Ability: Enhanced Strength 3 (+3 STR)
Fire Aura: Damage 4 (DC 19; Reaction 3: reaction)
Fire Blast: Damage 8 (DC 23; Increased Range: ranged)
Magic: Burst Area Line Area Damage 8 (DC 23; Burst Area: 30 feet radius sphere, DC 18, Line Area: 5 feet wide by 30 feet long, DC 18)

Offense
Initiative +3
Damage: Damage 1, +1 (DC 16)
Dazzle: Cumulative Affliction 1, +1 (DC Fort 11)
Fire Aura: Damage 4, +2 (DC 19)
Fire Blast: Damage 8, +3 (DC 23)
Grab, +1 (DC Spec 13)
Magic: Burst Area Line Area Damage 8 (DC 23)
Throw, +1 (DC 18)
Unarmed, +1 (DC 18)

Complications
Fame (well known under real name)
Motivation: Thrills

Languages
English, Irish Gaelic

Defense
Dodge 3, Parry 2, Fortitude 2, Toughness 1, Will 3

Power Points
Abilities 14 + Powers 91 + Advantages 4 + Skills 7 (13 ranks) + Defenses 4 = 120


Not bad.  She is PL 8 since that is where I set all my M&M3 Generation HEX.
I might have to do some more.

Thursday, April 2, 2020

Old-School Essentials Spell Lists

Working on the OSE Warlock in my spare time.  It's been fun but I want to be sure that all the spells are new in this one.  So no repeats from any of the OSE books and none from my recent Basic-Era books like the Pagan and Pumpkin Spice Witches.


I am also going with some different warlocks than what I had in my Swords & Wizardry Warlock book. So revised invocations and spells in some cases and all new ones in most others.

The goal is, of course, to have a book that works great with Old-School Essentials AND also will work with my witch books and the S&W Warlock book.

To this end, I wanted to make sure I was not repeating myself and built this handy-dandy spreadsheet.



Or this link. https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1Sd-OQ3l16V35t3ChfwGeu471V_tNWS-7Pww_tjzgRcQ/edit#gid=153289230

You can see the sheet covers the Witch, Witch Ritual, Cleric, Magic-User, Druid, Illusionist, and Warlock spells.  The hyperlinks in the sheet go to the various publications the spells are in. They are not affiliate links.

There are no warlock spells in this sheet yet. They are on my version at the moment.  Once the warlock book comes out then I'll populate this sheet.

So if you want to find a spell the default state is sorted alphabetically by all spells.
If you want to sort by Class then you need to highlight the range (A to H) and then go to Data, Sort Range and then choose the Class you want followed by Spells. It's not required to sort by spells since there are no duplicate lines in this sheet.






That should allow you to sort the spells you want.

If you have an OSE specific spellcasting class and want your spells here just let me know!

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Witchy Wednesdays: Motherland Returns, Magicians Retires

I mentioned all the great TV on now.  Which is good since we are supposed to Shelter In Place here in Chicago-land until April 30. That, and I already finished watching "Tiger King".

Well, it's Wednesday and that means we get new Magicians and new Motherland: Fort Salem.
Sadly it is also the series finale of Magicians tonight and I have no idea how they are going to wrap this all up.

Insert witty and caustic Margo quote here.

I think I am going to have to do stats someday for the Magicians characters.  Either for Cinematic Unisystem or Night Shift.

I am going to miss the Brakebills kids.

How would Alice, Julia, Kady, and Margo fare at Fort Salem?
Would Raelle, Tally, and Abigail do well at Brakebills?

I am pretty sure that Scylla and Marina would get along. Or kill each other.

Friday, March 27, 2020

Kickstart Your Weekend: Tarot Witch of the Black Rose: Origins TPB

Stuck inside What we all need are comics and games, so here is a Kickstarter from my friends Jim and Holly.

Tarot Witch of the Black Rose: Origins TPB



https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/jimbalent/tarot-witch-of-the-black-rose-origins-tpb?ref=theotherside

I can't sell this any better than Jim himself, so here are his words.
Hello and Welcome to the Tarot: Witch of the Black Rose ORIGINS trade paperback Kickstarter!  20 years ago, Holly and I  had this idea to start a Comic Company (BROADSWORD COMICS)and to publish an ongoing series. I always loved sword and sorcery comics as well as the superhero comics. I combined the two and created Tarot: Witch of the Black Rose.

            I based the Art and Stories on myself, people I knew and my Imagination.
            I was told, by the so called experts, that Tarot wouldn’t last past 3 issues . As of the writing of this letter Tarot#121 is being published.

            So to celebrate that first year of Tarot , we have gathered the first 5  sold out issues that launch this adventure series!  In these issues you will find the FIRST APPEARANCE of Tarot, Raven Hex, Jon Webb the Skeleton Man , Crypt Chick, and Mor Meb Dred the Dragon Witch! For those of you just discovering Tarot, welcome to the adventures of this voluptuous Redheaded Witch who is the Swordmaiden to the Goddess and charged with keeping the balance between man and Magick! This is where it all started!

               Holly and I started BROADSWORD COMICS 20 years ago, so come and join the celebration and with your help we can make this Magickal tome happen.

Jim Balent 
There you go.  There are a ton of great stretch goals full of some great Jim and Holly art. I hope you check it out!

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Television: Witch on Witch Action

It has been a great time for genre TV for the last few years.  Now we are getting a bunch of new witch shows on TV and you know I am happy.  So let's have a look.



Charmed (2018)
Last years Charmed reboot got a second season and turned the premise of the show upside down.   The Charmed Ones are still, well Charmed, but they lost their powers. They can still cast and there are still demons to be fought and witches to be saved. The show is subtly different and in many ways better.  It's taking a while to get to the main plot but from what I have seen so far, I am a few episodes behind, looks fun.



Chilling Adventures of Sabrina
We just got Season 3 and it was great.  Satanic witches, Lilith, Hecate, and Pagan witches. Again, it's like someone has been reading my Christmas list.  Very fun.



Luna Nera
This is an Italian series on Netflix. Taking place in 17th Century Italy it features more witches vs. witches. This time it is witches vs. Benandanti; it sounds like one of my games!



Motherland: Fort Salem
This is the big premiere from the previous week.  An alternate reality where the U.S. Government made a deal with the witches at Salem to create an elite unit of witches in the U.S. Army.
The first episode was fun. Again we have two groups of witches fighting each other as our main plot.  Or at least one of them so far. Looking forward to seeing where this one goes too.


Magicians
This show gets crazier all the time. Though now we are in our last season. Going to miss them all.

Witcher
Not a "Witch show" per se, but plenty of magic and witches here.

Vampires
Not witches but Vampire the Masquerade: The High School Years.  I only watched two episodes of this French import on Netflix, so not as sure about this one yet.


Thursday, March 19, 2020

Which Witch is Which? Basic Era Edition

A while back I did a post, Which Witch is Which? Swords & Wizardry Edition in which I broke down all the various S&W witch books I had done.  What each contained and what they covered.

I have since done a few more books and that question is being asked again.  Since my goal here is to get you to buy the one book you really want instead of three or four you might like.

Let's break them all down.


Let's start with my first Witch book.

The Witch: A sourcebook for Basic Edition fantasy games
This book is designed with the "Basic" rules in mind.  So Holmes, Moldvay, or Mentzer or them modern clones like Basic Fantasy or Labyrinth Lord.  Largely compatible with my Swords & Wizardry line.  In includes:
  • The Witch Class, levels 1 to 36
  • Six Traditions (Aquarian, Classical, Faerie, Family, Maleficia and Eclectic)
  • Cantrips for witches
  • 381 New Spells, 20 New Witch Rituals
  • 29 Monsters
  • Magic items
  • 120 pages
This book is the most basic of the Basic witches.  If you don't know which book to get, get this one.

Then I opted to do other books.

Daughters of Darkness: The Mara Witch for Basic Era Games
This book is designed for the Labyrinth Lord game.
The witches of this book are from the Mara Tradition, witches dedicated to the Dark Mother.
  • Levels 1 to 20
  • Spell bonuses for high Charisma
  • Level limits for Dwarf, Elf, Gnome, Half-elf, Half-orc and Halfling witches
  • The Daughters of Darkness coven
  • 175 Spells and Rituals for witch characters
  • 39 Monsters to challenge or be allies including the Lilim demon race.
  • 3 Non-player characters. 
    • “Bloody” Mary Worth
    • Darlessa, The Queen of Vampires 
    • Lilith, Queen and Mother of all Lilim
  • 80 pages. 
If you like your witches evil, have powers to seduce people, summon demons or raise undead then this is your book.

Cult of Diana: The Amazon Witch for Basic Era Games
This book is designed for the Blueholme Prentice Rules game.
The witches of this book are a revised version of the Amazon Tradition, witches associated witht he Amazons and Diana.
  • Levels 1 to 20
  • The witch class and two new witch covens
  • 40 Spells and 8 Rituals for witch characters
  • 26 Pages.
If you want to play an Amazon witch, then this is your book.  This book is also FREE, so grab it anyway.


The Children of the Gods: The Classical Witch for Basic Era Games
This book is designed for the Blueholme Journeymanne Rules game.
The witches of this book are a revised version of the Classical Tradition, some of the first witches the world has known.  Witches from the ancient time of myths and legends.
  • Levels 1 to 20
  • The witch class and four new combination classes, using Blueholme rules
    • Witch-Cleric, Witch-Fighter, Witch-Theif, Witch-Magic User
  • Guidelines for playing any species of witch
  • Six witch covens of the Classical Tradition
  • 120 Spells and Rituals for witch characters
  • 25 Monsters to challenge or be allies
  • 29 magic items and six artifacts
  • Three Non-player character witches from pages of mythology
    • Circe
    • Medea
    • Medusa
  • 84 pages.
If you want to play witches from a Greek, Roman or Egyptian background then this is your book.

The Basic Witch: The Pumpkin Spice Witch Tradition
This book is designed for the Labyrinth Lord game.
The witches of this book are from the Pumpkin Spice Tradition. A somewhat silly origin that led to one of my favorite traditions.
  • Levels 1 to 20
  • Spell bonuses for high Charisma
  • Level limits for Dwarf, Elf, Gnome, Half-elf, Half-orc and Halfling witches
  • The Sisterhood coven
  • 122 Spells and Rituals for witch characters
  • New magic items including magic cauldrons, masks, and tea. Plus the magic item black market
  • 24 Monsters
  • 3 Non-player characters
    • Becky
    • Karen
    • Carol
  • 64 Pages.
If you want to play a "Hollywood" style witch or a witch with some unique spells then this is your book.

This book is designed for the Old-School Essentials game.  
The witches of this book are members of the Craft of the Wise, the Pagan tradition of northern Europe.
  • Levels 1 to 14
  • The Bándrui and Followers of Aradia covens
  • Cowans, the champions of the witch
  • 100 Spells and Rituals for witch and non-witch characters
  • 28 Monsters to challenge or be allies
  • 4 Non-player characters
    • Bodhmal
    • Liath Luchara
    • Alice Kyteler
    • Morgane le Fey
  • 66 Pages.
If you want to play a pagan witch or a follower of "the Old Ways", then this is the book for you.

All the books are pretty much inter-compatible.  The witches all use the same XP, to hit and saving throw tables.  Sometimes there are differences between what level the witch goes to or what species can become witches, but that is also something that can be worked out in your games.

If you want to mix and match Basic-Era and Swords & Wizardry that is also fine and will work well.

So let's say you want a Basic-era Tiefling Winter Witch.  Or you want to play a Pagan Witch to level 20? You just get the books with those and mix as you like.

Now if you are curious about what is in each book, well the preview on DriveThru covers the first few pages including the table of contents.  But sometimes you want more details.

So here is a break down of all 1,060 spells I have used and 229 monsters.

Witch Books - Google Sheets



I hope this helps you make a good choice!

I have a couple more I want to do.  One is a book on High Witchcraft (Ceremonial) and then either a Demonic witch or a Blood magic witch.
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