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

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Must Be the Season of the Witch: Movies and TV

Now, this is working WITH me!

A new movie and new TV series created just for my entertainment. Though I am sure you all can watch too.

First up, Angelina Jolie is back as Maleficent: Mistress of Evil.





And over on Disney's FreeForm, who is currently KILLING IT with Marvel's Cloak & Dagger, we are getting a Witches-as-Warriors in a modern-day supernatural show, Motherland: Fort Salem.


I mean seriously, has someone been peeking at my birthday wish list?
Can't wait for these!

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Melisandre. Priestess or Witch?

"The Night is dark and full of terrors."
- Melisandre

Melisandre of Asshai - by John Picacio
Game of Thrones is in its final season and so far it has not disappointed me.  Well...there was that "whole new world" scene with Dany, Jon, and the dragons.
This past week we got to see the Red Woman, Melisandre again during the battle at Winterfell against the Night King and his army of the dead.  It was so fantastic, to be honest.   Loved the battle, loved how the episode ended.  Everything.

But I am not here today to talk about the battle.

I want to talk about Melisandre.
In particular is she a Priestess, read Cleric, or is she as many will claim, a Witch?

I thought a firey red priestess/witch would be good for Beltane today.

Let's look at what we know.  I am going to focus nearly exclusively on the TV show on HBO.  I'll grab from the books when needed to smooth out some details or get answers to questions.

In many ways, I am going to follow the spirit of my other series, One Man's God and Class Struggles.

What is Known
Or Me nem nesa as the Dothraki say.

We know that Melisandre calls herself a priestess of the god R'hllor, known as the Red God, The Lord of Light or the One True God.  In Westeros this sets her apart from most people as they tend to worship the Seven, or the New Gods. The ones that don't worship the "Old Gods".
Melisandre claims that all the other gods are false gods.  Most people have no issues with the Old or New Gods, so this also sets her apart.

She has seen to have powers of divination, cursing, breeding shadow spawn, summoning fire and the greatest, bringing people back from the dead.  She able to cast glamours and her red-gold choker seems to keep her young or at least appear young.
We know she is very, very old. She was a slave named "Melony" who was sold to the Red Temple in Asshai.

Looking at her through the lens of classes in D&D, and in particular B/X version, has many limitations.  It is still a fruitful exercise though.  For starters, it shows the flexibility of the B/X flavor of classes. It also helps me see how well my own witch classes can emulate various media representations of witches.  My philosophy in game and class design has always been "if a player wants to do to something my rules should tell them how they CAN do it, not how they CAN'T." (I hear grognards, OSR purists and other screaming in rage now. That's fine, let them scream.)

So let's pull out my D&D Expert book and give Melisandre a go.

Melisandre is a Priestess
This is the easiest of course. She refers to herself as a priestess as do others.  Her religion is widely accepted in Essos and treated as such.  The biggest clue, of course, is her ability to raise the dead, a power she claims is not hers, but that of the Lord of Light.  Her spells and powers seem closest to a cleric.
If we take "Raise Dead" as the peak of her powers then that puts her level at a minimum of 7th level for B/X D&D. I would not say she is much past 9th level, but I am willing to accept 9th.

Melisandre, Priestess of R'hllor


7th level female Cleric

Strength: 9
Intelligence: 16
Wisdom: 17
Dexterity: 10
Constitution: 12
Charisma: 17

AC: 9
HP: 33

Magic items: Necklace of Protection Against Aging

Spells
First: Cure Light Wounds, Light, Remove Fear
Second: Hold Person, Resist Fire, Silence 15' radius
Third: Continual Light, Remove Curse, Striking
Fourth: Cure Serious Wounds, Protection/Evil 10' radius
Fifth: Commune, Raise Dead

Close...but missing some of her abilities she is really known for, starting fires and giving birth to shadow monsters.  Plus by the rules Melisandre the Cleric can Turn Undead.  That skill would have been helpful in the Battle of Winterfell.

Taking a peek at my 5th Edition D&D books it looks like a Cleric and not a Warlock or Druid would be the best choice.

Let's see how she works as a witch.

Melisandre is a Witch
Of course, for that, I would also need to decide on a tradition for her.  Something like Lord of Light Tradition.  Witches, in general, do not get the spell Raise Dead.  So I am thinking that should be an occult power.  Something they gain at 7th level.
Also, there is her lesser explored power of alchemy/herbalism.  Something all witches get.

Melisandre, Witch of R'hllor


9th level female Witch, Lord of Light Tradition

Strength: 9
Intelligence: 16
Wisdom: 17
Dexterity: 10
Constitution: 12
Charisma: 17

AC: 9
HP: 26

Magic items: Necklace of Protection Against Aging

Occult Powers
Familiar: Spirit of fire
Herb Use
Raise Dead

Spells
First: Bewitch I, Burning Hands, Glamour
Second: Augury, Dark Whispers, Hypnotize
Third: Bestow Curse, Brave the Flames
Fourth: Divination, Intangible Cloak of Shadows
Fifth: Summon Shadow

So I had to raise her level to 9th to get the Summon Shadow spell.  In general, I like her spell choices as a witch better.  BUT that could be my biases since I have written so many (900+ so far!) and I have many to fit an exact situation.

She doesn't really have a familiar, so I am saying her "familiar" is her ability to look into flames.
I also did not give her any "bonus" spells since I wanted a pure B/X experience here.

I should point out that Green Ronin produces a very fine game based, not on the TV show, but the books in A Song of Ice and Fire.


It's Beltane! A time for witches to celebrate.  Start your own celebrations with my new witch book: Daughters of Darkness, The Mara Witch Tradition

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Daughters of Darkness: The Mara Witch Tradition

Tonight, evil witches gather on the Brocken to celebrate Walpurgis Night.
Tomorrow, good witches gather to celebrate the new spring with bonfires of Beltane.

But now you can join the celebrations with the Daughters of Darkness and the Mara Witch Tradition for Labyrinth Lord and other Basic Era Games.

The Daughters of Darkness for Basic Era Games


https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/274429/Daughters-of-Darkness-The-Mara-Witch-for-Basic-Era-Games?affiliate_id=10748

Hail Lilith!

“Humanity has forsaken their Dark Mother.
 We will remind them.”

Lilith. 
 First Woman. First Witch. Mother of Demons.
 Now Her Daughters of Darkness are ready to take what is theirs.

Introducing the Mara Tradition, witches dedicated to the Dark Mother.
 - The Daughters of Darkness coven
 - 175 Spells and Rituals for witch characters
 - 39 Monsters to challenge or be allies
 - 3 Non-player characters to challenge the mightiest characters

Fully compatible with Labyrinth LordTM and other Basic-Era games.
Fully compatible with other witch books from The Other Side.

Part 1 of my "Back to Basics" series!

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Daughters of Darkness: Lilith and the Mara Witch Tradition

This year marks my 40th year of playing D&D.  I started with Holmes Basic and quickly moved to Moldvay Basic when it was released.  It is also the 20th anniversary of my "Netbook of Witches & Warlocks".  So fairly auspicious anniversaries.

Since this year has been about "Back to Basics" for me I have some books ready to celebrate.

I am pleased to announce the first of three new Witch books for Basic Era Gameplay.

Daughters of Darkness: Lilith and the Mara Witch Tradition



Of Adam’s first wife, Lilith, it is told
(The witch he loved before the gift of Eve,)
That, ere the snake’s, her sweet tongue could deceive,
And her enchanted hair was the first gold.
And still she sits, young while the earth is old,
And, subtly of herself contemplative,
Draws men to watch the bright web she can weave,
Till heart and body and life are in its hold.
 - Dante Gabriel Rossetti, “Lady Lilith” 1873

"The world has forgotten their dark mother.  
WE will remind them why they should fear the dark."
- Traditional Mara oath.

Presented here are:

The Mara Witchcraft Tradition, an evil tradition for Basic Witches.


To be released next week on Walpurgis Night or Beltane Eve, or April 30th.  Print version to follow.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Magic School: Idle Thoughts

Been busy this week.  I am part of a team that is building a new Masters of Social Work program.  It is great because this time I am NOT in charge of it, one of my really qualified co-workers is heading it up and I am really looking forward to working with him in his "Senior" role.  We are the same level so this is a nice switch and will give me some freedom to work creatively at a more "on the ground" level.  Last time our roles were reversed and he got to do the cool fun stuff while I had to mind all the details!
Remember, the reward for hard work is more hard work.

I was in my home office yesterday and two minutes before our video conference meeting started I noticed that my notebook was still out in my car.  So I grabbed the closest thing, my son's D&D notebook.  While sitting through the meeting I keep a set of parallel notes on D&D-ish social work program.  If is SOOO half baked right now and may never, ever see the light of day. But I was amused.

But it got me thinking on larger Magic School ideas and how they tie into my desire of "Back to Basics" this year.

Bruce Heard is over at his blog and online quietly building all sorts of great stuff for his Calidar world. Recently his big project is one I am REALLY dying for; Calidar On the Wings of Darkness. This product will include his magic school for his country of wizards.  Bruce gave us much of what we know about the Great School of Magic located in Glantri City.  If that work is any clue, add 32 more years of game development and writing and that gives me a hint of what we might see in On the Wings of Darkness.

His latest post also helps me figure out which flavor of Basic I am planning to use.  While my great love is B/X Molday/Cook/Marsh D&D, a strong  case has been made for BECMI flavor of Basic.  Plus I have my snazzy new Rules Cyclopedia thanks to POD so this is a good thing for me.
I just like the idea of crazy Magic School hijinks using the Basic rules.

Speaking of the Great School of Magic.  A new-to-me blog, the Breath of Mystara, pointed out a great resource to me, a 555 page PDF on the Great School of Magic.

Seriously that is a lot of material.

Another interesting bit that came up for me yesterday was this fun little character creator for making your own Hogwarts student.
https://www.deviantart.com/hapuriainen/art/Hogwarts-student-maker-302435099

For fun, I did one of me and my iconic witch Larina.  This would have been back when she had brown eyes and her hair was a bit darker.



For my magic school, I have not thought of "houses" really. but think about how important they are to the Harry Potter world and fandom.  EVERYONE has a house they think they belong to.   In my mind, I was more focused on the "Colleges" which is what we did in actual college/university and grad school.

I have also been following Dave Chapman's discussions on a Harry Potter RPG (hypothetical RPG that is) and taking a lot of his advice to heart.

Now I need to work more on my idea of "High Witchcraft", but more on that later.

Sunday, April 14, 2019

April TTRPG Maker, Day 14

Day 14: Are Your Game Mechanics and Characters Intersectional?

My mechanics are math which is about as non-intersectional as you can be. Math is math.

Again, not to sounds like a broken record, I go back to my key philosophic design foundation; Is it fun?  Everything else flows from that.

Now to be fair.  I DID write The Witch: Aiséiligh Tradition AS I thought a radical feminist witch group would look like in a D&D/Fantasy world. 

Here I did play with concepts of power and gender as they related to the archetype of the witch.  I based it on the "Reclaiming Tradition" in modern Wicca who have decided that they need to reclaim the name "witch" and make it their own positive label.

The Aiséiligh are in a very real sense my Social Justice Witch class.  Lawful, Good, and sick your patriarchal shit.

Monday, April 8, 2019

Monstrous Monday: Lilith, Queen of Demons

It's April. And I have to admit I am kinda missing the A to Z challenge this year.  Maybe I'll do it next year.  But in any case, I was thinking of past challenges last week and the topics I have done and one topic just kept coming up nearly every time I did it.
Lilith.

For three consecutive challenges, I posted about Lilith on "L" day for Demons, Witches and Vampires.
2013 L is for Lilith and Lilim
2014 A to Z of Witches. L
2015 A to Z of Vampires: Lilith

The story of Lilith has always fascinated me.  The character has always fascinated me.
I suppose then it is no surprise that she lies at the intersection of all my interests.

Also this weekend I finished a nice binge watch of Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, Part 2. Here the amazing Michelle Gomez plays Lilith the Mother of Demons and the First Witch.

So, I figured it was time to revisit my muse.

Lilith by IsraLlona
Lilith
Queen and Mother of all Lilim (demons)
Hit Dice: 18d8 + 33 (114 hp)
Armor Class: -3 [22]
Attacks: 2 claws (1d4), 1 weapon (1d8)
Saving Throw: 3
Special: +2 magic weapons to hit, magic resistance (65%), immune to fire, magical abilities, summon minions
Move: 12/18 (flying)
Alignment: Chaotic Evil*
Challenge Level/XP: 20/3,400
Lilith appears an inhumanly comely woman standing 5’7” tall and weighing roughly 130 pounds. Her skin is cinnamon colored, and her hair is waist length and blood red. She has a pair of leathery black bat-like wings that she can hide or expose at will.

Lilith never openly attacks.   She considers combat beneath Her and will not partake in it.  Her arena is intrigue, guile, and deception.  Why fight when a cup laced with poison or a dagger in the night is much quicker.
She can use ESP and cast fireball, hold person, charm person or charm monster, suggestion and teleport at will. Three times a day she can cast lightning bolt and wall of fire.  She can see perfectly in darkness of any kind. Lilth can summon 1d4+4 lilitu with a 100% chance.

The First Witch
was the first witch and can cast any witch spell.  She cast spells as a 20th level witch but does not have any occult powers other than her magical abilities listed above.
Lilith was the first human woman. She rebelled against the gods that created her and now controls armies of demons.  The gods won't work against her or strike her down because she knows all their True Names.

Lilith has no true friends because most fear her.  She is known to ally herself with the Goddess Ereshkigal since both have similar portfolios and areas of concern.  Some even claim that Lilith spent some time as Ereshkigal's handmaiden.  Others claim she served Astártē or Ishtar.

Appearance and Emissaries
Lilith always appears as a young very attractive woman.  Most often with long flaming red hair.  It is claimed her true form is that of an ancient hag with long, but sparse wild black hair, talons, fangs and the feet of a predatory bird.  Either or neither could be her true form.

Servants
Lilith is typically honored by the Witches of the Mara Tradition.

Naamah - Known as the Daughter of Lilith Naamah is either a demon, a human or something else.  She is honored in her own right as either the Patroness of Whores or the Patroness of Those Who Hunt the Night (slayers of the undead).  Her title as The Daughter of Lilith, as opposed to just a daughter of Lilith, is significant.  She may be her first true daughter or she may be her first human daughter.

Abyzou - Another daughter of Lilith. She is a powerful Lilitu Demon. She takes pleasure in possessing others and destroying them from the inside out.

Nox - The Petty Goddess of the Dusk is also believed to be a daughter of Lilith.  Possibly the offspring of Lilith and a Sun god.

Camazotz - a Son of Lilith and the bloodthirsty god of Vampires.  Some claim that his father may have been Orcus.

*Lilith's alignment is listed as Chaotic Evil.  The Chaos part should be obvious, she has rebelled against the entire universe.  While many of her actions are evil, she still kills babies, she is also a lot more complicated than that.  Lilith has a high personal morality. She honors and keeps her friends and associates.  You can trust that she will always do what is best for herself, but she also cares for her own "children" so she will protect them.

Holy Texts
As witches, the worshippers of Lilith hold their own Books of Shadows as their holy texts, but a few are are considered to be helpful in understanding Lilith.

The Splendor - The foundation text on which many of the Gods of Light have based their own holy texts.  The Splendor mentions Lilith as one of the first demons of darkness. For this reason, many religions will see Lilith as a threat to their religion.

The Enochian Tablets - More details on the life and rebirth of Lilith. Written in an ancient angelic script that is difficult for many sages to translate. Also discusses her relationship to the divine and the demonic.  It also details the origins of Those Who Hunt the Night.

Other posts about Lilith here
Every Angel is Terrifying: The Secret and True Origins of the Slayer
Pseudo Slayers
Going Up to Hell: Cosmology
Sympathy for the Succubus
- Part 1, Part 2, Part 3
Let's Talk About Sex(y)
E is for Eodemon
The Dragon and the Phoenix: Episode 7
Season of the Witch: Episode 2

Monday, March 25, 2019

Monstrous Mondays: Lady Midday

One of my favorite games is Leagues of Adventure along with the Leagues of Gothic Horror setting.   It is a Ubiquity power game and it gives me the same feeling I get from Cinematic Unisystem.  So I was quite pleased to see three more books are coming out for it;  Guides to Faeries, Hags, and Walking Dead.

I'll post more about this later in the week, but today I wanted to update a monster I have used in the past, but have not featured here before.  Since I am on a Basic-era kick, let's do stats for Basic D&D (esp. as presented by Blumeholme and B/X Essentials) and Ubiquity.

Poludnitsa, Lady Midday


The Poludnitsa or Poludnica, also known as Lady Miday, is a relative of the more common Hag races. She is a creature of faerie (like all hags).  Unlike the more common hags, Lady Midday is very beautiful, unearthly so, and is only encountered on midday on hot summer days (thus her name). She appears as a very tall, beautiful pale woman with long white hair wearing a long white dress. Though it is said her true form is that a sundried corpse.

She will often appear in the middle of fields of wheat, barley or rye carrying a large set of antique looking shears or a scythe.  She will stop to ask anyone working in the field a question. If they fail to answer to it or answer incorrectly she will cut off their heads with the shears.
She is also known to kidnap girls under the age of 12 to take them back to her lair where she teaches them witchcraft if she doesn't eat them first.
Those she doesn't kill she can curse with madness or the "Heat Sickness".  Those that are not treated will die.

Poludnitsa lives in vast underground complexes, filled with ovens and roaring fires. Her captured slaves fulfill her wishes, roasting sheep and baking bread for her, all day long. Poludnitsa exits her underground lair only during sunlight hours. She usually perches in the immediate vicinity of her lair, waiting for unwary travelers to pass.

She is not commonly encountered, but parents of children commonly warn about her. Any child that wanders off, especially into fields of rye, run the risk of being captured by Poludnitsa. Parents will often warn “Don’t go to the rye, Poludnitsa will eat you!” or “Poludnitsa will burn you up!”

It is unknown if she is a unique creature or if there are many such creatures, but very, very rare.

Poludnica’s Sheep
The sheep Poludnitsa keeps are anything but ordinary. Each is a Large sized monstrosity, with wool the color of fresh blood.

Poludnitsa Basic-era stats
AC: 5
HD: 6d8 + 12hp
Move: 30'
Attacks: 1 weapon + Heat Madness
Damage: 1d8* (beheading on a natural 20) + Special
Alignment: CE
Treasure: none
XP:  1,280
Abilities: Strength +1, Intelligence +1, Charisma +2

Poludnitsa can only appear during the hour before and the hour after midday.  During the Sumer Solstice though she can appear during all hours of daylight. 
She may only attack those that refuse her questions or answer them incorrectly.  Once that has happened she will attack with her shears or scythe.  They are treated as "vorpal" weapons in her hands (treated as normal weapons in anyone else's).

Once per day, usually at the height of noon or moment of greatest temperature, she can curse one humanoid creature with heat madness.  They must make a saving throw vs. Death or be strickened.  A successful save means the creature is dazed and cannot attack for two round.  If the save is failed then the victim suffers the full effect of the heat madness. They are treated as if they had a combination of Slow and Feeblemind spells cast on them. Failing the first save means they will need to make another Death save in one full day or die.  Failing the first save and making the second means the victim is bedridden for four (4) days, minus their Con adjustment.  A Bless, Heal or Remove Curse spell will remove the heat madness.

Poludnitsa is immune to all heat and fire based attacks. She takes double damage from any cold-based attack.

A witch or cleric can "turn" (but not destroy) Poludnitsa as a Vampire if they present a Moonstone.

Poludnitsa Ubiquity Stats
Patron 1
Archetype: Hag
Motivation: Survival
Style: 1
Primary Attributes:
Body 3, Dexterity 3, Strength 3, Charisma 2, Intelligence 2, Willpower 3

Secondary Attributes:
Size 0, Move 6, Perception 4 (8), Initiative 4, Defense 6, Stun 3, Health 8, Horror n/a (human form) or 4 (corpse visage form)

Skills: Athletics 5, Brawl 5 (Grapple 6), Intimidation 8, Stealth 5 (Hiding 6)
Talents: Fearsome 2 (Can temporarily frighten foes)
Resources: None
Powers: Madness, Immune to Fire and Heat based attacks.
Weaknesses: Cold vulnerability (She takes x2 damage from any cold-based attack.)
Flaws: Thirst for Flesh (+1 Style point when its unholy appetite reveals its true nature)
Weapons: Shears 7L


Friday, March 22, 2019

Winter Witch is the Deal of the Day!

The calendar may say Spring, but the temps are still cold here in Chicago.

To celebrate the end of winter I am offering the Winter Witch Tradition book on sale as today DriveThruRPG/RPGNow's Deal of the Day.


So take advantage of this sale.  The Winter Witch for Swords & Wizardry is only $1.20 for the PDF for the next 20 hours (from this posting).




Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Isaina Lyd’ar for The Witch for Swords & Wizardry White Box

I don't think it is hubris to say I know my witches.

My first knowledge of Thomas Denmark was when I picked up a copy of the absolutely fantastic d20 book "Way of the Witch" by Citizen Games.  His work is featured throughout the book and on the cover. For me, it really helped define the feel of that book and the classes involved.


Since then I have worked with nearly all the authors of that book and Christina Stiles and Megan Robertson joined me on the Strange Brew d20/Pathfinder project which we all felt was the spiritual successor to Way of the Witch.   Sadly Citizen Games was a casualty of the d20 bust.
The text lives on in Strange Brew and the art lives on with Thomas Denmark.

So it was not a big surprise, but a pleasant one all the same, when I saw the art for Isaina Lyd’ar in Beasties II.    In fact, I have seen it before.


I was very, very pleased that Thomas could use his art again in his own products.  It is too good to let lie forgotten in an out of print book.

It is only fitting then that his "magic-user" should really be a witch in the proper sense.  She is 100% Open OGC in Beasties and my The Witch for Swords & Wizardry White Box is as well, so it is a perfect match in my mind.

Isaina Lyd’ar
Human Female
4th level Witch, White Witch Tradition
(or perhaps Sinderan Tradition)

Strength: 11
Dexterity: 13 (+1)
Constitution: 12
Intelligence: 14
Wisdom: 14
Charisma: 18 (+3)

HP: 12
Alignment: Neutral Good
AC: 7 [12] (Leather Armor)
Saves Base: 12
THAC0: 18 [THAC20: 19]

Equipment: girdle of stealth, this confers near invisibility for 3d6 turns. It takes half a day to recharge.

Occult Powers
Familiar: Visions* (instead of a familiar Isaina gets dreams that instruct her on what spells she needs.)
Herbal Healing

Spells 
Cantrips (6): Arcane Mark, Dancing Lights, Knot, Lift, Mend, Object Reading,
First (2): Locate Animal or Plant, Protection from Evil
Second (2): Extra-Sensory Perception, Sleep

Description From Beasties 2:
Isaina has always been an outsider. She would rather talk to animals than humans. When she does make friends she is incredibly loyal and close. She always thinks about how her actions can lead to the greater good, and she believes it is each individuals responsibility to bring more happiness into the world and reduce suffering.

She often has visions and haunting dreams of a coming disaster. She is driven to prevent these from really happening.

She is a bit too enamored with ale, wine, and intoxicants and is occasionally willing to try out new experiences.
Section 15:
The White Witch for Swords & Wizardry White Box. Copyright © 2018, Timothy S. Brannan, Other Side Publishing
Beasties 2, Copyright 2019, Night Owl Workshop

Now that is a cool character.  Can't wait to use her in a game.

Thursday, February 28, 2019

Tanith, Iconic Witch for Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea

When Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea first edition came out I loved it.  At the time I was also doing a bunch of reading of what I was calling "Beyond Appendix N", or similar authors and time periods, but with much more of an occult bend to it all.  Not "real" occult, but pop-culture occult.  I wanted to get a good feel for what people were reading at the time D&D was created to really capture the idea of a "D&D Witch".
A lot of that reading would later go into the making of my Swords & Wizardry witch classes.
But AS&SH was never far from my physical and mental reaches.

A Witch Shall Be Born

With the idea of old witch families and dark occult secrets passed down generations I started putting together some ideas, overtly for a different project.
So back in 2014-5 I jotted this down in some notes:

Winters
The Winter family is very, very old. So old in fact that many people believe that the season was named for them. As their name implies their magic comes from the use and application of cold.
In this family, only women can become witches.  Once a girl in the family turns 13 her hair will turn white and this is the sign that she must travel north to train with the ancient Grandmother Winters.  The girls return to the family a year and a day later with the basic knowledge of their family witchcraft.  Once returned they will continue their training with other women in their family.  Each year they all congregate at a location determined by Grandmother Winters, usually one of the larger homes of the family.  The family gathers to begin their celebrations on the Winter Solstice, the height of their power.
The family is common in the northern, colder climes.  They own lots of land, but their homes tend to be more primitive than the local homes. Longhouses are most common. Women are almost exclusively witches, with the occasional priest or even wizard.  Men tend to be barbarians, warriors or occasional bard.  They are masters of survival in the cold.   Witches gain the Chill Touch spell for free.
Dark Secrets: The Winters Clan often are associated with darker, colder gods like Chernobog.  Their men are often accused of lycanthropy, mostly as werewolves.
Clan leader: Grandmother Winters
Current PC: Tanith Winters

Tanith Winters was born.

Tanith became my first AS&SH PC witch.  She never got past 2nd level since I tend to be the Gamer Master rather than the player.  Later I converted her to Swords & Wizardry and she became my first play-test Winter Witch.

I figure this is a good time to bring her home to Hyperborea.

The new Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea now has a Cyromancer class.  Something that I didn't have when I made Tanith.  To use the Winters family in AS&SH2 I would have some of the men, a rare few, become Cryomancers. Most would be Barbarians or Huntsmen.
Members of the Winters family tend to be shorter and smaller than other Hyperboreans. It has to lead to the pervasive rumor that they are in fact "Elf-folk" and not really human at all.

Yes. I named her for Tanith Lee.

Tanith Winters

Base Stats

Female Hyperborean Witch
Alignment: Neutral (but it is likely she will move towards Evil at some point)

Languages: Common, Hellenic (Hyperborean), Old Norse, Speak with the Dead, Speak with Nature Spirits
Size: M (Height: 5'2", 114lbs)
Move: 40
Saving Throw Modifiers: Transformation +2, Sorcery +2
Secondary Skill: Weaver (almost all Winters women begin as weavers)
God: Lunaqqua

ST 10 [+0 +0 2:6 2%]
DX 14 [+1 +0 3:6 8%]
CN 13 [+1 +0 80% 3:6 8%]
IN 16 [+1 75%]
WS 12 [+0]
CH 16 [+1 8 +1]

Snowy Owl Familiar ("Beira"): AL N; SZ S; MV 10 (Fly 80); DX 15; AC 7; HD 1/4 (hp 5); #AT 3/1 (claw, claw, bite); D 1/1/1; SV 17; ML 5; XP 11

Normal Gear
Winter robes, winter cloak, clothing, daggers (2), backpack, woolen blanket, chalk, ink and quill, polished steel mirror, incendiary oil, parchment (4), soft leather pouch (2), small sack (2), tinderbox, torches (2), wineskin (mead), writing stick, iron rations (one week), spellbook (contains all prepared spells), 1 gp, 5 sp

1st level Witch

Age: 14 (1 year and a day since training with Grandmother Winters)
AC: 9 (heavy cloak of winter)
HD: 1
hp: 5
FA: 0
CA: 1
#Attacks: 1/1
Damage: 1d4 (dagger), 1d4 (sling)
SV: 16
ML: 9
XP: 20

Abilities
Speak with the dead; Speak with nature spirits; Brew Poison (once per month) Ingestible I; Brew Potion 1/month (a hallucinogen, a paralytic, or a soporific);  Read Magic; Read Scrolls; Scribe Scrolls; Familiar (Snowy owl);

Spells
First level (1+1): Sleep, Write Spell

Gear and Magic: Scroll (detect magic), wineskin (sapphire wine*),  amulet of undead turning (TA 3),

5th level Witch

Age: 19
AC: 4
HD: 5
hp: 19
FA: 2
CA: 5
#Attacks: 1/1
Damage: 1d4 (dagger), 1d4 (sling)
SV: 14
ML: 10
XP:  200

Abilities
Speak with the dead; Speak with nature spirits; Brew Poison (once per month) Ingestible I, Ingestible II, Ingestible III; Brew Potion 2/month (a hallucinogen, a paralytic, or a soporific);  Read Magic; Read Scrolls; Scribe Scrolls; Familiar (Snowy owl); Brew Philtre 1/month; Dance of Beguilement; Effigy

Spells
First level ( 3+1): Charm Person, Shocking Grasp, Sleep, Write Spell
Second level (2+1): Darkness, Extrasensory Perception, Ray of Enfeeblement
Third level (1): Phantasm

Gear and Magic: Scroll (detect invisible), potion of healing, antidote, wand of freezing, ring of feather falling, amulet of undead turning (TA 3), Bead of Force, Defensive Bracers (AC 4)

9th level Witch

Age: 24
(add one point of Intelligence, IN 17, +one level 3 spell, 85% chance to learn)
Age: 19
AC: 4
HD: 9
hp: 35
FA: 4
CA: 9
#Attacks: 1/1
Damage: 1d4 (dagger), 1d4 (sling)
SV: 12
ML: 12
XP: 1,500

Abilities
Speak with the dead; Speak with nature spirits; Brew Poison (once per month) Ingestible I, Ingestible II, Ingestible III, Ingestible IV, Ingestible V; Brew Potion 3/month (a hallucinogen, a paralytic, or a soporific);  Read Magic; Read Scrolls; Scribe Scrolls; Familiar (Snowy owl); Brew Philtre 1/month; Dance of Beguilement; Effigy; Witch's Apprentice

Spells
First level (5+1): Charm Person, Light, Scare, Shocking Grasp, Sleep, Write Spell
Second level (4+1): Darkness, Extrasensory Perception, Identify, Ray of Enfeeblement, Ungovernable Hideous Laughter
Third level (3+1): Continous Darkness, Slow, Phantasm, Wind Wall
Fourth level (2): Freeze Surface, Moonlight
Fifth level (1): Cause Lycanthropy

Gear and Magic: Scroll (detect magic), wineskin (sapphire wine*), sapphire necklace, platinum ring, potion of healing, wand of freezing, wand of lightning bolts, ring of feather falling, ring of warmness, amulet of undead turning (TA 3), Defensive Bracers (AC 4), Crystal Ball, Horn of Valhalla

*sapphire wine is made by the Winters family. It is very strong and used as a bartering item between northern clans.

About
Tanith Winters was born on a very auspicious night. It was midnight on the Winter Solstice during a full moon.  She was born with a full head of blonde hair and bright blue eyes.  So notable was her birth that Grandmother Winters herself came to southern lands (though still considered the north by most others) to see this new babe.  To everyone's delight, she proclaimed that she would train this child when she came of age (13) and to everyone's gasps she also promised babe to her own grandson for marriage.  The grandson, Azhrarn, was already as a teen a powerful Cryomancer and was considered to be one of the most handsome men produced by the Winters clan. He was also a notorious rake and already showing signs of the family curse of lycanthropy.

Tanith grew and learned witchcraft from one of the most powerful witches in the world.  While she grew in power and womanhood her cousin Azhran also grew in power, but also more evil.  After her intial training Tanith took up with a group of adventurers in an attempt to delay her fate.  She knows that it is only a matter of time before Azhrarn finds her. She hopes that she will also be powerful enough to face him on her own terms.

Monday, February 25, 2019

Monstrous Monday: The Social Justice Witch

File Under: Well...it was only a matter of time really.

EDITED TO ADD: Check out Justin Ryan Isaac's version for Vigilante City.

This is for those guys on Reddit who seem to be easily irritated at what I post!

Alexandria  Ocasio-Cortez and the Freshman Force: New Party Who Dis?
Thought I might do something a little different for my Monstrous Monday.  This is not really a monster in the classical sense but would make for a great NPC who battles injustice, the local patriarchy, or whatever mouthbreathing douches are in your game.

Plus I was inspired by these articles:
Here are some of the fun bits from the video.  Remember there are people that believe this is 100% true.
The good news about the midterm elections is that there is a great opportunity for evil to be exposed in the days and weeks to come,” he said. “It’s been widely publicized that there is a coven of witches that cast spells on President Trump 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This particular coven is found in the southern portion of New York City.”
...
“So, right in the middle of all of this, the southern district, in the middle of where these witches are doing the 24/7 spell-casting, we find the territory of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez,” Kubal added. “Her district is in the center of all of this going on. Is this a coincidence? Maybe … Is there an evil thread running through this area, trying to dispel diabolical power?”
So how about it.  Let's make a Social Justice Witch!

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
7th level Witch Aiséiligh Tradition
Lawful (Good)

Strength 12
Dexterity 15
Constitution 15
Intelligence 18
Wisdom 16
Charisma 18

hp: 32
THAC0: 17
Saving Throw: 9

Occult Powers
Familiar: Small blue bird named "Twitter".
1st level power: Healing Touch
7th level power: Immune to Fear

Spells
First (3): Feel My Pain, Glamour, Minor Fighting Prowess
Second (2): Burning Gaze, Mind Obscure
Third (2): Call Lightning, Witch Wail
Fourth (1): Instant Karma

Yeah, I like it.  Give them Hell AOC!

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Featured Artist: Iren Horrors

Todays featured artist is some I have been stalking for a while because I absolutely love her art.

Ksenia Svintsova, aka Iren Horrors, is an artist from Obninsk, Russia and she has a great witch-punk style that I love.  She describes her style and art as "Dark, gothic, witchy illustrations" so of course, I am going to notice her!



Honestly, there is not a single piece she has done that I don't 100% love.













And there is at least ten times more this amount that I love.  In a perfect world I'd get her to do the art for a witch and horror-centric D&D 5 book.

You can find Iren Horrors online at:


Please check out her sites!

Friday, January 18, 2019

The Winter Witch in Print!

Got home last night after a LONG day at work to a little brown box I have been desperately waiting for.  Inside was my print copy of The Winter Witch for Swords & Wizardry!


It looks gorgeous if you ask me.  And it looks great next to her "sisters".




 IF you ordered the PDF before now and want a print copy then please check your notifications on DriveThruRPG/RPGNow.  I sent you a discount code for $3.00 off the print price (to cover the $2.99 PDF cost).


Winter is Now!

Monday, December 24, 2018

Kris Kringle, Winter Warden

The lands of the north are full of magic. There is the Abominable Snow Monster, also known as the Bumble, the Dreaded Winter Warlock and human evils like the Burgomeister Meisterburger.  To protect the children of the lands of the north there is a fierce guardian, a Winter Warden, a man named Kringle.

Here is Kringle as a Warden from my new book The Winter Witch for Swords & Wizardry.

Kris Kringle
Winter Warden, 12th level
Human Male, Lawful

Abilities
Strength 16
Intelligence 15
Wisdom 16
Dexterity 17
Constitution 16
Charisma 18

Hit Points: 70
AC:  6 (Heavy coat and dex)
Saving Throws: 4

Favored Enemy: Anyone that mistreats or harms children or animals.

Spells
Druid 
1st level (3): Locate Animals, Predict Weather, Snowball
2nd level (2): Cure Light Wounds, Flurry of Snowballs
3rd level (1): Ward of the Season

Witch
1st level (2): Animal Friend, Create Snow
2nd level (1): Raven Spy

Equipment: Kringle coat, magic snowball, a huge sack of toys.

The man who would be known as Kris Kringle was left as a baby near the home of the Kringle Barbegazi (Ice Gnomes). Those these gnomes had also lived close to many Álfar (Snow Elves) that they had picked up their ways.  Many local humans simply called them Kringle Elves.
Kris grew to manhood and took on his adoptive family's decree as the First Toy Makers to the King to deliver toys across the mountains to Sombertown, the only place where the Kringles had not given out their toys (they were related to Tinker Gnomes as well).


To do so he had to first face the terrible Winter Warlock, whom he defeated but would take on as a friend.  The Winter Warlock (now Lawful and lost some of his powers) provided him with his Snowball of Seeing and magic corn for his flying reindeer.


Kringle is the current Winter Warden for the area surrounding Sombertown.  No one is sure who his parents are, but it is suspected his father was a powerful wizard or cleric.

--

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from the Other Side!

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Queen Elsa, the Winter Witch

I just recently watched "Frozen" (I know, I am late to the game) and I admit it lived up to the hype.  I am very familiar with the Hans Christian Andersen tale "The Snow Queen" in which Frozen is based, but it became a very different story when it hit the big screen.
In any case, Elsa, much like her literary counterpart the Snow Queen, can be depicted as a Winter Witch.

Another good reason to consider her a witch is her voice is done by Idina Menzel, who is also known for her portrayal of Elphaba in the Broadway musical Wicked.  That's a serious witch-pedigree in my book.

So here is Elsa, the Winter Witch Queen for my newest book, The Winter Witch.

Elsa, Queen of Arendelle
Human Female, Lawful
20th level witch
Winter Witch Tradition

Abilities
Strength 12
Intelligence 15
Wisdom 13
Dexterity 16
Constitution 15
Charisma 18

Hit Points: 54
AC:  5 (dress is made of ice granting a +3 to AC, +1 due to dex)
Saving Throws: 4
+1 to cold-based attacks, +2 to charm spells

Occult Powers
Familiar: Snow Golem "Olaf".
Lesser: Cool Demeanor. +2 to cold-based saves, +1 to mind-affecting spell saves.
Minor: Pass Without Trace
Major: Hyperborean Apotheosis

Spells
1st level (6): Chill, Chill Touch, Freezing Hands, Hold Portal, Ice Dagger, Obscuring Cloud
2nd level (6): Flurry of Snowballs, Fogbank, Frigid Slowness, Gust of Wind, Ice Armor, Winter's Grasp
3rd level (6): Aura of Frost, Chilling Mist, Ice Spears, Sleet Storm, Soul of Frost, Weather the Storm
4th level (5): Conjuration of Ice Elementals, Elemental Armor, Ice Storm, Mirror Talk, Wall of Ice
5th level (5): Breathe Frost, Cone of Cold, The Howling, Ice Bridge, Summon Weather
6th level (4): Blanket of Healing, Control Weather, Freezing Sphere, Frigid Chrysalis
7th level (3): Freezing Cloud, Ice Body, Ice Castles
8th level (3): Antipathy/Sympathy, Encase in Ice, Glacial Slide

For a "kid's movie" Elsa can do some serious freaking damage if she wanted too.

Speaking of damage, if you have not seen it here is Else in a Rap battle against Snow White.



My money is on the Queen.

Even real Norwegians love her.

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Winter Is HERE! The Winter Witch Tradition for Swords & Wizardry

From the lands of the Ice and Snow comes the newest Witch Tradition for Swords & Wizardry.

The Winter Witch Tradition


With this book, you can now learn the secrets of the Winter Witch, the living personification of all that makes winter the most dazzling and the most dangerous season.

Inside you will find:

The Winter Witch tradition and the Winter Warlock Pact
The Vǫlva and Warden classes
New races for S&W Complete to suit the winter world.
  • 130+ witch spells
    • 100+ Warlock spells
    • 14 Cleric spells 
    • 40+ Druid and Magic-User spells 
50+ Monsters
New Treasure, magic items and artifacts of powerful witches.

Art by Dean Spencer, Jacob E. Blackmon, Daniel Comerci, Larry Elmore, William McAusland, Todd Shearer, and Josh Soper.

All for your Swords & Wizardry games!

Winter is here, are you ready?

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Featured Artist: Anna Marine

I am not sure how I found my next Featured Artist, I am just glad I did!

Anna Marine is from Prague, Czech Republic and is an amazing talent.  As you can expect from me she loves to draw witches and demons.

Here is a commission I had gotten from her for my Swords & Wizardry White Box Witch.
She was so great to work with that I am now looking for any excuse to get to do it again!


It's a young Larina flying to her sabbat sky-clad.  She does some really wonderful stuff.


Her newest is "Yule".










You can buy all these prints from her Big Cartel or Etsy stores.

You can find her on the net at:
She is available for commissions as well.


Thanks so much Anna!
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