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

Thursday, October 22, 2020

DMSGuild Witch Project: 5e Witches, Part 2

Going to look at some more D&D 5 Witch classes today. Today and the rest of the week I am going to look at some of the smaller PDFs.  Usually less than 20 pages.

For these DMSGuild classes, I am going to still follow my own rules and guidelines to make sure I am giving these a fair review.

Witch Class 5E
by Donald Armstrong

This pdf is 15 pages (1 title, 1 legal) and selling at $1.00 PWYW, falling below my 10 cents per page price threshold.  The PDF itself reminds me a bit of the style and presentation of an Unearthed Arcana article, but with art. I am sure that is the author's intent.

This class has a bit more flavor than others, with a little more background for the witch. It takes a specific point of view on witchcraft but is easily adopted or adapted.  Like most of the other DMSGuild witches, this one is a full 20 levels with casting to the 9th spell level ability. This one also has a limit on the total number of spells the witch can know.  The witch gets some powers common to all witches and some that specific to their coven.  The common powers are known as Witchcraft (naturally) and revolve around channeling life energy. 

The covens include the Celestial, Fey, and Infernal. There is a spell list and four new spells.  So this gives it an edge over many of the others. 

There are a lot of neat ideas here and many worth looking into deeper.

D&D 5e Witch Class
by Nils Kjesem

This PDF is 18 pages (1 title, 17 pages content). There is no art and no layout above what can be done in a simple word processor. It also only sells for $1.00, so that evens everything out.

This witch is at 20 levels, but only progresses to the 5th spell level ability. Interestingly enough this witch also uses a 1d8 for HD, so making her a little tough than other witches. This one also puts more details into the various familiars the witch can get.

The archetypes are referred to as "Teachings" here. There are Fortune Teller, Herbology, and Sigils. 

We get a spell list at the end.  

Some interesting ideas, but it feels a bit like a rough draft rather than a completed product. Then again for $1.00 you can buy it and detail it any way you like. 

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

October Horror Movie Challenge: Blood Orgy of the Queens of Evil (1972)

One Occult/Hippie/Witchcraft movie leads to another and another and another.  This time though we might have some fruit.  

Queens of Evil (1972)

A lone biker/wanderer David (again) stops to help an older man with a flat tire.  For his effort, the older man punctures David's motorcycle tire with a nail.  David gets his bike fixed and tries to chase down the old man.  The old man panics and crashes his car into a tree and dies.  David, wanting no part of this speeds away.

He comes up to a shack and since it has been dark this whole time he decides to spend the night.  When he wakes up a young woman, Liv, who tells him he needs to leave now before her family sees him.  David is expecting parents but instead is found by her two sisters Samantha and Bibiana.  They invite him to stay for breakfast and ends up staying for much longer.  The three women live in the BEST witch house I have seen in a while and really is making me rethink what needs to go into a witches' house. The wall-size pictures of each of the three women are going to go into something to be sure.

Everything is very psychedelic.  The first hour of so is slow, but the last 20 minutes really kicks in and gets really going.  David begins to see what sort of trouble he is in. Not before he has sex with Liv at any rate; which actually might have been the final thing that does him in really. 

The women kill him and bury him in the yard. All the guests from the party are there, already in black. The rich older man from the first scene is also there. Turns out he is the Devil! Pretty cool ending really. The witches mention that to corupt him was very difficult and that the Devil will no longer be needed.  All the guests at party are "conjurers" and are designed to keep sin alive and well.

Pretty cool.

Blood Orgy of the She Devils (1972)

This one starts off with some trippy special effects and a witch ritual that at least reads right. It's the early 70s so we are also are going to get some scantily clad dancing girls and a vaguely Satanic looking sacrifice.    I been wanting to see this one since the witch (Witch Queen maybe) Mara. 

At one point Mara channels her "Indian guide" with some of the most painful dialogue I have heard outside a racist cartoon. It is quite painful really.  So our witch Mara kills a UN Ambassador and the ones that paid her try to kill her, but I guess she can't be killed. 

This movie though is so 70s it treats magic as a foregone conclusion; it exists but not everyone has mastered it yet. 

There is a lot of neat sympathetic magic here, but not really a lot of blood nor orgies though really.

The movie ends with a group of "good guys" killing all the women. 

Watched: 38
New: 26

NIGHT SHIFT and Old-School Content
A few random ideas.
  • Witches need to have really cool, or at least really unique, homes.  
  • I need to expand some psychic powers for witches.
  • I should develop some rules for reincarnation for witch characters.
  • More wizard vs. witch battles.

DMSGuild Witch Project: 5e Witches, Part 1

Going to look at some more D&D 5 Witch classes today. Today and the rest of the week I am going to look at some of the smaller PDFs.  Usually less than 20 pages.

For these DMSGuild classes, I am going to still follow my own rules and guidelines to make sure I am giving these a fair review.

The Witch Class
by Spencer Dimmick

This one is 15 pages (1 title, 1 legal, 13 pages content) and sells for $1.99. There is no art.  This class is a full 20 levels, with spell casting to the 9th spell level ability.  This witch also has a number of spells known per level. Spellcasting is based on Intelligence.

This witch has a number of special powers and more granted by their Practitioner's Path. These include The Hedge Witch, The Seer, The Maleficent, The Familial, and The Weaver. So a few more than average. Each has a nice solid witchy feel to it and can fill many niches for the witch class. 

Also detailed are more powers for the witch and the list of witch spells. No new spells are included.

For 2 bucks it packs a lot of punch.

Witch Class: Cackling Guidebook for lonely Spellcasters
From Ingo Könemann

This PDF is 9 pages and $1.00 PWYW. There is no art but the layout is nice. 1 page for the title and 1 page for legal and changelog, bring the content down to 6 pages.  This class is a full 20 levels, with spell casting to the 9th spell level ability. 

This one is interesting since your "Source of Power" determines your spellcasting ability. You may choose Intelligence or Charisma. This witch is also a ritual caster.

Covens grant the witch some "secret spells" starting at the 2nd level and special powers.

The Covens are Coven of the Beast, Coven of the Storm, Coven of Nature.   

There is a list of spells, but no new spells. 

Both have some good points but I'd like to see them expanded a bit.

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

October Horror Movie Challenge: Vampire Ecstasy (1973-4)

Ok. So I have been working my way through the world of European horror and focusing on the era right before The Exorcist, in particular, 1969 to 1973 with 1972 as my sweet spot.  Any search in this time period for "Occult", "Vampire", "Witch", or "Coven" is going to pull up some questionable material.  It is also going to pull up the same few titles over and over.  This one classifies as "all the above."

I have seen this one before. But the copy I saw then was so edited and cut that it didn't make any sense.  I am half-tempted to consider this a "New" showing.

Vampire Ecstasy (1973-4)

I started my research on this one back in September. It is called, in various versions, languages and edits: Vampire Ecstasy, Der Fluch der Schwarzen Schwestern (the curse of the black sisters), the Devil's Playthings,  the Veil of Blood, Le château des messes noires, Schloss der schwarzen Hexen (Castle of the Black Witches), Sexorgien der schwarzen Hexen (Sex orgy of the Black Witches) and more. It was written and directed by Joseph W. Sarno, who was somewhat notorious back then. 

The movie comes in a wide variety of edits and run times. The edits range from a PG-13/R version to NC-17 (or would be NC-17 these days) to a soft X. The version on most Internet channels (like Tubi) seem to be the NC-17 version.  The BluRay is impossible to find, but I did pick it up on DVD with another Sarno movie.  It was worth it just for the audio commentary. 

It was a joint German-Swedish production with most of the actresses coming from Germany. Notable though was Marie Forså, who was Swedish. All the actors and actresses had to be able to speak English though. There also seems to be a bit of controversy about when it was filmed.  Many dates say 1974, others say 1973.  The issue might be due to the fact that new star Marie Forså was either 17 or 18 at the time of filming. Some commentary I have read even puts her as young as 16.  True the age of consent in Germany is 14 and 15 in Sweden. But still, it seems a bit, squicky.  But I digress.

The plot of this one is razor-thin.  A 17th century Countess, Danielle Vaga, was burned at the stake accused of vampirism and witchcraft. She was sort of a Countess Bathory rip-off/homage.  Her spirit lives on in her followers who still reside in her castle. The offspring of the Countess shows up at the castle, dark-haired Monica (Ulrike Butz) and blonde Helga (Marie Forså). With Monica is their cousin Iris played by Flavia Keyt and these two are obviously having sex, but it is not the only incest happening here.

Also arriving later are Dr. Julia Malenkow (Anke Syring) and her brother Peter (Nico Wolf). They are the descendants of the witch hunter that killed Countess Vaga.  Dr. Malenkow is an expert on local superstitions (so she is Julia Malenkow, Ph.D. thank you very much) and she wants fuck her brother.

Nadia Henkowa plays Wanda, the leader of the cult. She brought an air of authenticity to the role with her severe look and actually a rather great accent.  she has invited Monica and Helga to the reading of their grandmother's will.  If they can stay in the castle they get it and all the wealth.  But of course the "Black Sisters" are going to use their magic to tempt them into acts of lust.  Not just for the fun of it though, they need a living host for the soul of Countess Vaga. 

So we get an hour or so of people having sex with each other. And according to the DVD commentary that was also happening behind the scenes as well.  At one point the producer tells us they could find Forså because she was always in someone else's room.  It was the 70s. 

Eventually, the spirit of Vaga takes over the body of Monica and Helga is turned into a mindless sex toy. Vaga tries to get Julia to become the willing sacrifice on the stake, or she will make Helga do it instead.  Julia agrees, but stakes Vaga/Monica instead.  Everyone comes out of their trances now that the Vampire Countess is truly dead.

So. It would be easy to dismiss this as just another in a long, long line of European sexploitation movies with a vampire fetish.  But damn if Sarno doesn't actually have an eye for talent (the actresses, especially Forså can actually act) and he has a good eye for cinematography.  The castle they use in Bavaria is an authentic 17th-century one and they paid rent to the Baron to use it. The dungeon scenes were shot in the actual dungeon.  

The filming was also a bit tragic. Anke Syring had to leave the set for a bit because her mother and father had been killed. The producer was driving back on the last day of shooting and was in a terrible accident, but he survived.  One of the coven sisters played by Claudia Fielers would later commit suicide. 

The movie has very little blood and no gore in it.  There is a solid 70s occult vibe to it.

I think Sarno had ideas and vision, I don't know if he didn't know how to pull them off, or was happy with what he was doing.  I know, thanks to the DVD commentary, that the Producer, Chris D. Nebe was pleased. 


Watched: 36
New: 24



NIGHT SHIFT and Old-School Content
It might have been stated before, but really powerful vampires can come back from the death beyond undeath. While guys like Dracula seem to come back in their own bodies, female vampires seem to need a willing, or semi-willing, host.  Not sure why they should be, but it is also something we see in the "Daughters of Darkness" and Hammer's Karnstein Trilogy. 

What I am going to do then is this.  After I run my War of the Witch Queens campaign I will run a Night Shift game. During the War, the players are likely to meet up with Darlessa the Vampire Queen, and hopefully, defeat her.   Later I will run a Night Shift game where her direct descendant will be cursed with the spirit of Darlessa.  Hopefully, it would be the same players.   

The trick here is how to stat her. In the War of the Witch Queens she is a 13th level witch. But here she should be weaker (a nod, no matter how silly, to the movies).  I am thinking of making the NPC human a vampire spawn under control of the spirit of Darlessa; she is also Darlessa.  Confused? Well it's basically a Scooby-Doo plot. 

If I get this worked up I will certainly need my mini of Darlessa. 

Vampire Queen Darlessa


It's Free Witches!

 OR...Make that a Free Witch.

Right now DriveThruRPG (and all the OneBookshelf "DriveThru" sites) are having their Halloween Sales.

Now, normally I would be telling you which one of my Witch books are on sale.  And I will, but I have something EVEN BETTER.

Right now if you go on to DriveThruRPG's site you will find witches hats, jack-o-lanterns, ghosts and more to get a free download.

One of those free downloads is my The Basic Witch: The Pumpkin Spice Witch Tradition!


I could tell you where, but that would ruin all the fun!  Trust me it is there and the Basic Witch, the Pumpkin Spice Witch Tradition is now FREE until the end of this month November 2nd.

Grab it and see what I do.

Also, there are plenty of great sales going on.


In addition to the Pumpkin Spice Witch being free several of my other books are on sale.

Help me celebrate my FAVORITE holiday by adding something witchy to your games.

DMSGuild Witch Project: The Witch

Going to look at some more D&D 5 Witch classes today. These are all just called "The Witch." Since that was also the name of my first witch book back in 2012 I thought I should check them out.  As it turns out I have one for each primary spellcasting ability, Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma. 

For these DMSGuild classes, I am going to still follow my own rules and guidelines to make sure I am giving these a fair review.

The Witch by Jeroen Boogaard

This pdf is 8 (6 pages content, 1 cover, 1 page of spells) pages at $0.50, so right under my ¢10 per page guideline.  The pdf is full color but light on art. Mind you, that is not a big deal here since the art it does have is used to good effect. 

Presented here is a full 20 level spellcasting class similar in feel to the Pathfinder witch, including minor (five of these) and major hexes (also five of these).  They get a full 9 levels of spell casting slots and Intelligence is their spellcasting ability.   These witches also get an herbalism ability.  Their subtypes are known as "Covens" so that is a good thing.  There are the covens of the dragon, the ancestor, and of the wild.  Each coven gets some special abilities and additional spells.

There is a spell list on the last page, but no new spells.  There are some minor typos, but nothing that impedes the understanding of the text.

The Witch by Dave Rich

This PDF is 15 pages (1 cover, 10 pages content, 3 pages of Appendicies, 1 legal). No art.  The pice is $3.00 PWYW.  So twice my ¢10 per page guideline. 

This one presents the witch class with four archetypes and a sorcerous origin.  We get a full 20 levels of the witch class. Spellcasting is based on Wisdom, and the witch gets a full 9 levels of spellcasting.  This class has a limit on the total number of spells known.  For example, the witch has a full 22 spell slots from 1st to 9th level, but only knows 17 spells.  you can choose to forget a spell of lower level when a higher one is available.  Witches gain familiars here and have a number of unique powers.

The Archetypes of the witch are called Entropic Spirals here. There are the Spiral of Life, Spiral of Fate, Spiral of Bewitching, and Spiral of Glamour. There is a list of spells, with an expansion to cover Xanathar's Guide.   

Appendix A covers a sorcerous origin for witches. Appendix B details the author's thoughts on the creation of this class; namely Terry Pratchett's Discworld and Mage: The Ascension. 

Some neat ideas and I like the sorcerous origin.

Class: The Witch by Calum Brough

This PDF is 11 pages (1 cover, 1 table,  2 pages of spell list).  I don't recall if I paid $1.02 for this or $1.27. Either way right around my ten cents per page.  There is no art. 

This class is designed to be an arcane variant or compliment to the Druid.  A full 20 levels (as expected) with spellcasting to the 9th level of spells.  This class is a Charisma-based spell caster. There are some witch powers here, some are copied over from the druid.

The Archetypes for this witch are the Maiden, Mother, and Crone.  Each archetype has some nice powers to go along with it.  There are no new spells.



Each of these comes close to the idea of the witch, but not the ideal witch. 

Monday, October 19, 2020

Monstrous Monday: Hyrrokkin Hag

Here is one I have been playing around with for a while now.  I am converting her from my d20 3.5 stats, so I hope it works out. 

Here is a monster that combines two great tastes that go great together, Norse Mythology and Werewolves.  Plus after watching some werewolf movies last night (and one tonight) it would be fun. 

Hag, Hyrrokkin

Large Fey (Hag)
Frequency: Very Rare
Number Appearing: 1 (1)
Alignment: Chaotic [Chaotic Evil]
Movement: 120' (40') [12"]
  Wolf form: 180' (60') [18"]
Armor Class: 3 [16]
Hit Dice: 8d8+24** (64 hp)
Attacks: 2 claws or bite or spells
Damage: 1d8+4 x2 or 1d8+2 or by spell
Special: Witch spells (7th level), werewolf shape, damaged by silver
Size: Large
Save: Witch 8
Morale: 10
Treasure Hoard Class: VII (but no silver)
XP: 1,750

The Hyrrokkin Hags are believed to be the offspring of the great Jotun witch Hyrrokkin.  They can be identified by their pale skin, yellow eyes, and yellow hair.  They stand close to 9 ft. tall and are extremely strong (Strength 20).  They are known to keep wargs and dire wolves as servants and pets. Like their legendary mother, they will ride a warg the size of a war-horse.

Hyrrokkin Hags are fiercely territorial and will not suffer anyone to be in their self-proclaimed territories, especially other hags. While theoretically, they could form coveys with other hags, their hatred of them precludes this.  

They can transform into a large wolf or wolf hybrid as per a werewolf.  In this form, they can even transmit lycanthropy which gives them the sobriquet of "Mother of Werewolves."  Anyone with lycanthropy that sees a Hyrrokkin Hag must make a save vs. spells or be charmed as per the spell.

They can cast spells as per witch of the 7th level, but they have no occult powers.  If their spells are insufficient they can also attack with powerful claws or a bite.  This can be done in any form. They may only cast spells in Hag form.

These hags are damaged by silver, not by cold iron as their cousins.  Also, no treasure horde of a Hyrrokkin Hag will have silver.  One clue that a Hyrrokkin Hag has attacked a group is if all their treasure is gone save for their silver.


DMSGuild Witch Project: Vesper Burjoski's Witches

This week I am going back to looking at pure Witch classes.  Today I am grabbing two PDFs from Vesper Burjoski.  One of a class and one of the additional subclasses.   

For these DMSGuild classes, I am going to still follow my own rules and guidelines to make sure I am giving these a fair review.

The Witch: 5e Class

This is the base witch class.  The PDF sells for $2.00 and has 24 pages (1 cover, 23 pages of content) so well over my 10 cents per page guideline.  This PDF also looks nice, making good use of layout and art. 

This witch is a charism based caster with wisdom as the ability to cover other abilities.  She also has a lot of nice background information. This witch casts similar to a warlock but is limited to the 5th level.  This makes her similar to the Hedge Witches I have reviewed in the past.   This witch also has magical tattoos called kennings that provide powers.   I'll give it to this witch class, it has a lot of really cool features.

The archetypes are known as Coven-Keepers, Mediums, and Transmaurge. Each has some neat features including some additional spells.  Coven-Keepers draw on their covens which can include other spell casters.  Mediums speak with ancestral or fey spirits. It might work well, thematically, with some warlock multiclassing.  The Transaurge alters and changes animals around them.  A really cool idea to be honest.

Speaking of multiclassing there is even a section on multiclassing this witch. 

Next up are the Kennings, or the tattoos with power. Mechanically they work a bit like Occult Powers,  Hexes, or Invocations.  The kennings have a solid witchy feel to them. 

There are no new spells (but not really needed) and five NPC witches.

All in all you get a lot for your $2.00.  

The Witch: 3 New Subclasses

This PDF provides three new witch subclasses. This is 11 pages with a PWYW suggestion of $1.00, so again right at that 10 cents a page.  The subclasses are, The Wortwitch (which the author also calls a Hedge witch), the Fatalist, and the Rambler.  The DMSGuild page does a great job of detailing the various sub-classes. 

Like his previous witch book, this one has a lot of flavor to it.   There are also more Kennings in this pdf as well.  

Both PDFs together come in at $3.00 and over 30 pages. 

The author has other pdfs on DMSGuild too. I might need to check them out.

Sunday, October 18, 2020

October Horror Movie Challenge: Patty Shepard Night

I have this disc with a bunch of movies on it. The first one The Witches Mountain I started and stopped a couple of times. I noticed the other movie on the disc, The Werewolf Versus the Vampire Woman, also featured Patty Shepard in it. So let's make it a movie marathon.  I might have asked for too much in one night!

The Witches Mountain (1972)

Ok. I can certainly be excused for falling asleep during this one. I had to rewind it to rewatch it a bit and I still had no idea what was going on.  I looked it up, turns out, nope. The movie just doesn't make any sense.

This movie starts with a scene of a woman, a little girl, a dead cat, a snake, and a gasoline fire. That in of itself makes no sense but it has nothing to do with the rest of the movie.  

In the next scene a photographer, Mario (John Caffari), breaks up with his girlfriend by canceling his vacation and taking the next job his publisher gives him.  Was the girlfriend the same woman in the first scene? I thought so, but now I am not sure.  The photographer goes to the Pyrenees mountains to take pictures.  He takes some of a woman undressing (Delia played by Patty Shepard) and decides to talk to her.  Sure. Why not. It's 1973 Italy. They decide to travel together, stay at an inn (with the creepiest innkeeper played by the ubiquitous Víctor Israel, who had been in a ton of Spanish horror films) and they hear about a witch's coven in the mountains.  

They find the witches of course and they induct Delia into their coven.  Oh, there is a little more than that, but not by much. In the end, Delia runs off a cliff.

The original title was El monte de las brujas. It was advertised in some of the other reviews I read as a "lost classic of Italian horror" or as an "occult thriller", well it had a solid 70s vibe to it, but that is about it. 

The Werewolf Versus the Vampire Woman (1971)

Also known as "La noche de Walpurgis" or "the night of Walpurgis." 

This one opens with a bit more promise. Two doctors are performing an autopsy on a supposed werewolf and mocking the "stupid superstitions" the whole time.  They remove the silver bullets and the full moon comes out.  The man (none other than Paul Naschy himself) gets up off the table, turns into a werewolf. He kills the doctors and the first woman he sees.

Next, we switch over to Elvira (Gaby Fuchs) and Genevieve (Barbara Capell) driving through the countryside. They are looking for the tomb of Countess Wandessa (Patty Shepard), a Medieval witch, a murderess, and a suspected Vampire.  Instead, they find Waldemar Daninsky (our werewolf Naschy).

We encounter his sister Elizabeth (Yelena Samarina) who seems really weird. Elvira takes an interest in Waldemar after initially not wanting to stay.  But Genevieve wants to leave after being attacked by Elizabeth. 

They do find the tomb, but Elvira doesn't want to open the coffin. Genevieve cuts herself and gets her blood on the corpse of the countess (of course).  Elvira is attacked by a zombie/revenant in the church and this doesn't seem to raise much of an alarm.  Night comes and the Countess rises and starts preying on Genevieve. She is killed and the countess turns her attention to Elvira. 

Waldemar keeps doing his werewolfing, but keeping away from Elvira while he does it. 

Patty Shepard is really channeling Barbara Steele in this as the vampire Duchess.  This was the point.

The movie has it's climactic battle between the werewolf and vampire. With both dying in the end and Elvira walking out into the sunrise with her otherwise useless boyfriend from the second scene. 

This one was a fun romp and really woke me back up from the earlier snooze fest.

Glad I started early, I also found this one.

Crypt of the Living Dead (1973)

Also known as Hannah, Queen of the Vampires and La tumba de la isla maldita.  The set up of this movie sounded so much like the setup of the Palace of the Vampire Queen that I HAD to check it out. 

This one has Andrew Prine (Chris) a couple of years after his bit in Simon King of Witches.  So a Witch King vs. a Vampire Queen.  I can do something with that!  

Chris is here on the island to retrieve the body of his father.  In the process, he manages to set Hannah free. The natives begin to tell tales of how this island used to be known as Vampire Island it will be again.  Hannah tries to spread terror, but she is a rather slow-moving vampire to be honest. She has a helper who appears to be some sort of primitive man; I decided he was some sort of half-turned werewolf.  She is also getting help from Peter (Mark Damon), Chris' father's friend and brother to Mary (Patty Shepard).  

Hannah is played by Teresa Gimpera, though she has no lines.  Between Pine, Damon and Shepard there is an impressive list of movies and TV shows.  Soon after this Mark Damon would go on to become one of the biggest producers in Hollywood.  So the cast is no lacking.  

Sadly the story is slow and Hannah the Vampire never really lives up to her reputation.

Watched: 34
New: 24

NIGHT SHIFT Content
I love the idea of a coven of witches meeting on a mountain top. Maybe to combine the first two movies here, cause they are going to blur anyway, the witches meet over the tomb of their founding coven member, a witch who had been suspected of vampirism.  They are threatened, and this how the PCs learn of them, from the outside by a small pack of werewolves.  To add in elements of the third movie I would set it all on a remote island. Maybe in the Aegean sea.



Saturday, October 17, 2020

October Horror Movie Challenge: The Search Continues

Last year I talked about this movie I have been trying to find.  This movie is about witches and the occult; satanism in particular.  It was on TV on Halloween night. It had to be between 1977 and 1982, I know a huge time frame. I think it was a made for TV movie. The movie had a girl with psychic powers or witchcraft; they were often synonymous in the late 70s.  There is a scene near the end of the movie of a girl (not sure if it is the same one) lying on an altar.  Either she about to be sacrificed OR this is supposed to give her powers.  All I can remember was there a long progression of cultists going up a circular staircase up in a tower and each one put a drop of blood on the girl's forehead.  That is the clearest thing I remember.

This past summer I reached to various horror groups on Facebook to help me out.  These are the movies they suggested.

Mortuary (1981, 1983)
This movie was released in 1983, but everything about it screams late 70s. The copyright date on the movie itself is 1981.  It stars a young Bill Paxton as the son of a mortician. He is love with Christie (Mary Beth McDonough) but she is in love with Greg (David Wallace). 

There are some murders, and a bit with Christie's mom (Lynda Day George, who is only 17 years older than McDonough) being part of a weird séance to contact Christie's dad (which is why I think it was offered to me).  Other than that it is kind of a slow slasher flick that was done better in films like "Fade to Black".  

But it was new to me so, that is something and it does hit that sweet spot of horror films in terms of timing. 

Most of the actors here are normally TV actors, so there was a pretty good chance this one was going to be it.  Sadly not the case.

Viewed: New
The movie I was looking for?: No

Crowhaven Farm (1970)
On the surface Crowhaven Farm should have everything I want. Made for TV. Satanism. Salem Witchcraft. The release date is a bit older than I would have thought. It even has John Carradine in it. Though he is woefully underused here. 

The movie does have a nice creepy feel to it and it even starts out with a creepy kid causing a death, so that is always a plus. It is though fairly typical of the 70s made for TV fare.

There is some 70s interpreted witchcraft ideas, which is always fun. Crowhaven is like "Salem-lite" with more Satanic elements.  So yeah, exactly the sort of thing I enjoy.

Maggie and Ben, our childless couple that inherits Crowhaven, also "inherit" a new child, in the form of Jenifer (Cindy Eilbacher, later to star in Beverly Hills Cop), when her aunt Mercy dies.  Jennifer is also the child (teen really) that causes the death of Maggie's uncle.   Jennifer as it turns out knows all the secrets of Crowhaven and wastes no time getting all creepy with Ben and causing more deaths.  Turns out that Mercy and Jennifer were condemned for witchcraft back in 1692 and Meg was the cause. They are all replaying again in the 1970s. 

Viewed: New
The movie I was looking for?: No

Satan's Wife (1979)

Also known as "The Ring of Darkness."

Gotta love the Occult 70's.  This bit of cinematic trash fits the time frame and has many scenes of occult rituals that are close to my memory, but I doubt this one was ever on American TV.  Too much occultism and nudity. Plus the star of the movie, Lara Wendel, playing the possessed/demonic daughter Daria spends some time in movie topless and nude and she was 14 at the time.  I have not found details on if the movie was banned or not, the 1970s were different and so was Italy.   This is also not the first such scandalous movie involving Lara Wendel. She had other movies in Germany and Italy from when she was 12 as well.  There is a story here and likely not a happy one.  She retired from acting in 1993 and is 65 now. 

The plot should work, women make a deal with Satan, but later they back out so he goes after their daughters. I was unclear whether or not the children were also supposed to be Satan's kids or not.  But it doesn't. Not even close really.  I have heard that is had to be recut and re-edited because it was too much like The Exorcist. So, I guess that could explain it.   

Plenty of ripping off of Exorcist and Rosemary's Baby.  There is a final fight between Daria (who has to do it full frontal) and her mother Carlotta (played by Anne Heywood) and then the movie just ends.

Viewed: New
The movie I was looking for?: One scene was so very close but in the end. No

Watched: 32
New: 21

NIGHT SHIFT Content.
With Crowhaven, first I love the name, great name for a farm where witches once lived but it is also a great little spooky film with some reincarnation.  In my games witches can't be raised from the dead, only reincarnated.  So reincarnation often becomes a theme in my games.  

All three movies have satanic cults in common, so maybe an old school 70s occult style cult is needed again. 



Friday, October 16, 2020

DMSGuild Witch Project: Near Witches and Witch-related

A bit of a different batch today.  These PDFs came up in my searches and suggested products, so I thought I should check them out.  Most of these are not Witches in the sense I have been using the term, but close enough.  Since this past week has all been about other classes as witches I thought I'd end the week with these.

Again, I am going to try to stick to my own rules and guidelines for these reviews. 

The Witch Born (Half Hag)

Ok, this one caught my eye because it uses the same art as my "The Witch for Basic-era Games" and it offers up a new race; something I have not done a lot of myself. 
The PDF is 3 pages (1 cover, 2 pages of content) and is PWYW with a suggestion of $0.50. 
The layout is nice and the internal artwork also good.  The pdf presents a playable race, a sort of half-hag known as a Witch-born.  The material is good and the race seems playable.  Only a couple of nitpicks. The race is often described as cursed, but there is little in the way of mechanics behind that. All the traits seem positive and there seems little reason not to play this over a normal human.  There is the fact that hags hate them, but hags hate everyone.   It's hard to complain about 50 cents, but something to make them stick out a bit might have been nice. 

Class: The Witch Doctor

NOTE: Between my review and today this PDF changed it's name to The Shaman.

This one is a 9 page PDF (7 pages content) with a PWYW price suggested at $1.00.  So right there near the 10 cents per page guideline I am looking at.  My issue with this one is it conflates "Witch Doctor" and "Voodoo" together. Granted, so has Hollywood and western culture for years. In the 7 pages, the class is presented with three different "Occult Practices." The class seems playable, but if this is to replace the various tribal shamans or tribal priests I would have gone a different direction myself. 

The layout is good, but the color background will drain your ink. The art is good. The pieces I recognize are from the DMSGuild collection, the ones I don't do not have a credit attached. 

I would like to see a Voodoo-like class done right someday. 

The Witch Knight

Witch-knight is one of my favorite concepts for witches. An armored knight that is sworn to protect and defend witch covens.  I have done it many times as Cowans, Witch Guardians, and Wardens.  But this one is a witch knight proper.

This PDF is 14 pages (13 pages content) and is PWYW with a suggestion of $5.00.  A bit more than my 10 cents per page guide, but lets see what is inside.  The art and layout is great. It looks like a 5e book. The art and layout are all given proper credit, so that is a mark above many titles in the DMSGuild.  

The Witch Knight is a full martial class of 20 levels with some limited spell-casting ability.  The powers the witch-knight gets look good on the surface. It feels like a good playable class. The sub-classes of the Witch Knight are known as Disciplines and there are five of them.  The Spellblade and the Eldritch Guardian are my two favorites and fit best with my own concepts of a Witch Knight.

There is a spell list and even a section on brand new spells.  So that is a nice bonus.

All in all the class looks like a lot of fun, but I am left wondering (and not just for this one but for my own and others like it) what does this class do that an Eldritch Knight can't already do?  The obvious answers are in the powers, but couldn't this just be a way to role-play an Eldritch Knight?  However you decide to do it, this PDF has some great ideas. 

Thursday, October 15, 2020

October Horror Movie Challenge: Night of the Devils (1972) and Vamps (2017)

I swear with all the Italian horror Giallo movies from the 70s I have seen I should be able to speak Italian. 

Night of the Devils (1972)
A man stumbles and faints in the countryside.
Next, see him hooked up to a bunch of machines in a hospital setting. We assume the images we see of torture and murder are all going on in his mind.  The doctor working on him makes the claim that the patient has no memory of his previous days and no ID.

A woman claiming to know him shows up, but this only sends him into a panic. We later see in flashback what happened.  

Nicola (the man) crashes his car while avoiding hitting a woman (Sdenka, from above) but when he looks she is nowhere to be seen.  We see some locals burying a body (later we learn it was the old man's brother). They are acting like the person needed to be killed. Nicola finds the home of the locals along with Sdenka (played by the lovely Agostina Belli) and they reluctantly take him in for the night. The locals are very rustic, Sdenka even mentions she has never seen a television. 

We soon discover that the family is under a witch's curse. They will become undead after they die.  Said witch is later seen running in the dark and digs up the idol from the dead brother's grave. 

The movie is actually fairly good. Tension is built, there is a lot of mystery with this creepy family. The vampire decay is also pretty cool for 1972.  

Like "Black Sabbath" this movie is based on the Tolstoy novella, The Family of the Vourdalak. Doing a little reading led me to my next film.

Vamps (2017)
Also, known as "Ghouls," but more importantly, "Vurdalaki"

The copy I had access too (Amazon Prime) was originally in Russian and then dubbed and subtitled.  It looked slick but I kept feeling that the voice actors were not doing their characters justice really.

This one deals with the Moyori, or a race of half-human/half-vampires and the six clans of vampires. So a little of Dracula meets Vampire the Masquerade or Vampire Dark Ages. 

Like the original, this one has vampires coming back from the dead to haunt their own families and draw them out for feeding.

Our story focuses around Milena (played by Aglaya Shilovskaya) she is target of affection by both our hero Andrey (Konstantin Kryukov who looks like a young Lindsey Buckingham) and our Vampire Lord who needs her Moyori blood to become a day walking vampire. 

The movie's biggest issue though is the pacing. It is just so slow in places. But it is a good looking movie all the same. 

Watched: 27
New: 17

NIGHT SHIFT content
I did the Vourdalak, or rather, Wurdalak a while back as a vampire that is formed under a witch's curse. I made stats for both OSR games and Ghosts of Albion.  So one for NIGHT SHIFT is certainly in order.

Vourdalak
The Vourdalak or Wurdalak is created by a family curse.  Typically one laid down by a powerful witch on an entire line. When a member dies they will return as a vourdalak to feed on members of their own family.  Sometimes a vourdalak will also spontaneously arise when a member of the family disgraces their family name or when a member (typically a daughter) goes against the wishes of a recently deceased member (such as her father or uncle).

Vourdalak, Master
No. Appearing: 1
AC: 2
Move: 40ft.
Hit Dice: 9
Special: 4 attacks (claw, bite, 2 weapon), vampire abilities (Feed on Blood, Immune to Normal Damage, Mind Control, Regenerate, Repulsed by Holy Items, Spawn, Strong and Fast), Vampire Vulnerabilities (Stake Throw the Heart, Holy Water, Cannot Polymorph)
XP VALUE: 1,400

This is usually the one cursed by the witch and the one that will turn all the other family members.

Vourdalak, Spawn
No. Appearing: 1-6
AC: 6
Move: 30ft.
Hit Dice: 5
Special: 2 attacks (claws, bite), Cannot mind control. Cannot Polymorph. Cannot create new vampires.
XP VALUE: 200 

These are the other family members. Unlike the Vampire Spawn, these creatures are Strong and Fast.

No Vourdalak can polymorph into animals.

 


DMSGuild Witch Project: 5e Wizards as Witches

And our last look at D&D 5e Base classes as witches.  Today I will work with Wizards.

Again, I am using these rules/guidelines for my reviews.

School of Witchcraft

This pdf is only two pages (no cover). It is listed as PWYW with a suggested price of $1.00.

It is a pretty straight-forward Arcane Tradition (Wizard sub-class) to add a witchy feel to a wizard. IT does offer a stat block for a witch, which is nice, but some new spells would have been nicer or even a list of spells the witch can access outside of the wizard's list.  The Warlock's Witch Bolt and the divine/Cleric Cure Wounds would have been good choices. 

I had hoped for more.


The Coven Guide to Witchcraft (5e Bundle)

This pdf is 39 pages and is priced at $5.99. So also a bit more than my ¢10 per page rule of thumb.  This one combines four of the author's previous works into one pdf with a witchcraft theme.  As themes, they work and I can see where the author is coming from but there is one rather big issue.

There is no witch class within these pages.  I am sure that the four different crafts could be layered over the top of other classes, say like the druid or wizard, there is no advice on how to do so.  This is a supplement where I don't have the book it is a supplement too. 

There plenty of neat ideas here and 20 some odd new spells as well as recipes and poisons. 

The author has close to 150 titles on DMSGuild, but this one looks like an early attempt. I searched to make sure there wasn't a book of classes that this might be referring too.  

Which is too bad for the size and the price I was hoping for a bit more.

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

DMSGuild Witch Project: 5e Sorcerers as Witches

We have done druids, warlocks so let's now have a look on how D&D 5e Sorcerers can be witches. 

Up first might have the longest title yet.

The Witch - A Sorcerous Origin and Character Background Option for 5th Edition Dungeons & Dragons

This PDF is seven pages and is PWYW with a suggested payment of $1.17.  Ok, a bit random, especially since the $1.14 makes a little more historical sense. 

The author knows his sorcerers, so that is reflected here. The pdf has background information for your witch characters as well as some other useful tables. The Sorcerous origin reads like a "Natural" or "Born" witch archetype so often used.  It works well here too.

No new spells, but none were expected to be honest. 

This one packs quite a bit into six or so pages of content.


Call of the Wild - The Witch Class and Archetypes for Harnessing Primal Power (5e)

This one a bit larger at 35 pages. It is also PWYW with a suggestion of $2.99. This falls under my $0.10 per page rule of thumb so we are still good.  This book offers a lot of varied content. 

There are different sorts of animal-folk (beast folk, bear folk, cat folk), a full witch class (not a sorcerer build as I was expecting) complete with hexes and curses. There are also three Witchcraft "Practices", the Herbalist, the Pact Maker, and the Soulsplitter.

There are also new class options for all the D&D5 classes. There is a new Sorcerous Origin, the Hagborn, and three new Warlock Patrons/Matrons including Mother Nature.  

Both the Sorcerer and the Warlock could double as a witch.   

What might be fun for this one is choose one of the new races and make a coven of the Witch, Warlock, and Sorceror types here.  

This book also doesn't have any new spells which is a bit of surprise given how much else it has.  


Archetypes for D&D

This seven-page PWYW PDF covers five new archetypes for some D&D 5e classes.  Of interest to me are the Witch archetype for sorcerers and the Witch Hunter archetype for any martial-type class.

The witch gets some new spells (from other classes) and four new powers. If I were to use this with other witch classes I might call it a Witch-kin or a Witch-blooded.

This one also highlights one of my strong dislikes for DMSGuild.  The art on the cover for this comes from the book Four From Cormyr.  I could be mistaken, but I don't think that is in any of the approved art packs I have downloaded.  Some of the author's other titles also feature art that I know is not part of the approved packs.

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

DMSGuild Witch Project: 5e Warlocks as Witches

Yesterday I reviewed some DMSGuild Druid circles that would work as witches.  Today I am going to look at some Warlock Pacts that would work as witches. 

For many a witch is a distaff warlock, but as you can imagine that has never really worked for me.  That is not to say you can't do it. I am currently playing a very witchy warlock. In fact the whole point of the character is to see if I can get a witch-like experience of the Rules As Written warlock.   



For these reviews, I am still following my rules


Warlock Patron: The Witch

This PDF is one page (cover not included in the download).  It is a PWYW with a suggested price of $1.00.  

While it is called the Warlock Patron The Witch, I am not seeing much to differentiate it from other warlocks. Nor anything about it that is particularly witchy.  I was hoping for warlocks that make pacts with ancient witches and Witch Queens like Baba Yaga, or even Tasha/Iggwilv.  So some neat ideas here and there, but not pulled together well enough for me. 

Which is too bad, the cover art had a lot of promise.


Warlock Patron- Hala

Hala was the Goddess of Witches for Ravenloft.  She was introduced in the late 2nd Edition days along with the Ravenloft Witch. 

This PDF is three pages (1 cover, 1.5 content) and sells for PWYW, suggested $0.50. 

In this case the warlocks do choose Hala as their patron and we get a Warlock pact that is very, very similar to what we saw in 2nd Ed Ravenloft, Van Richten's Monster Hunter Compendium Vol. 3. It works so well in fact that this could be the model for other witchy-type warlocks.  

Easily worth the $0.50.

Gingerbread Witch

This one is a neat idea.  A Warlock with a special kind of patron to become a Gingerbread Witch, ala the witch from "Hanzel and Gretel."
This PDF is a straight sale of $0.75 and you get three pages of class features to the Warlock. There is also a Gingerbread familiar which is a nice touch.  Though I am less impressed with the art; the author uses the Gingerbread man from the movie "Shrek."  This is doubly disappointing given the number of public domain images that could have been used or artists out there that would have done art for this. 
While the idea has some merit I don't see a lot of people playing this as a class option long term.


Lastly, I have one that covers Warlocks, Druids, Sorcerers and Wizards all as witches.

A Witch with Options- Witch Character Options

This 9 page PDF is PWYW with a suggestion of $2.00.  It covers four different subclass archetypes that can be used as the witch.  

There is Druid: Circle of the Coven, which draws on the natural powers associated with the Fey.  Sorcerer: Witch Stigma, which is a sorcerer with faerie blood, or witch blood if you prefer. Warlock: Haggardly Pact which is a pact with hags and finally the Wizard Arcane Tradition: Coven, which is similar to the witch kit found in AD&D 2nd ed or the witch subclass for wizards in D&D 4e.

Each one is like viewing the witch through the lens of the stated class. Each one also provides something unique, but also each one is an incomplete picture.  I think what might be fun is to have a coven of five witches, each one represented by a subclass here and one more as a Witch class. OR create a witchy subclass for the cleric.

That would be fun to try. 

Monday, October 12, 2020

Monstrous Monday: Monsters of the Basque

“El sueño de la razon produce monstruos” - Francisco Goya

The sleep of reason produces monsters. Or in my case right now the lack of sleep produces monsters.


Yesterday I watched The Baztán Trilogy and it featured, or least talked about, three monsters from the Basque region of Spain. 

While I have seen variations of these creatures from other myths and regions, this was the first time I had seen them under these names. So let's give them a bit love.

Basajaun
Large Monstrous Humanoid
Frequency: Very Rare
Number Appearing: 1 (1d4)
Alignment: Neutral [Neutral Good]
Movement: 120' (40') [12"]
Armor Class: 4 [15]
Hit Dice: 5d8+10* (32 hp)
Attacks: 2 fist slam
Damage: 1d6+3, 1d6+3
Special: Stay hidden 95%.
Size: Large
Save: Monster 5
Morale: 6 (6)
Treasure Hoard Class: None
XP: 525

The Basajaun is a type of large wild man of the forests similar in many respects to the Sasquatch and Yeti.  It also has commonalities with the Wood Wose due to it's more benign and protective nature. They are tall (9') humanoids covered in course black and brown hair. 

The name Basajaun means "Lord of the Woods". The plural is basajaunak and the female of the species is a basander.  They are suspected of building megaliths with their immense strength and keep flocks of sheep.  They are a shy and reclusive species, speaking only their own language, although a few know the local languages.  They are averse to fighting but will protect their lands if necessary. 

They can avoid being spotted 95% of the time. Often they are just confused for a large bear.  They can be recognized though by the whistling they do to communicate with others of it's kind.


By Luistxo eta Marije
originally posted to Flickr as
Izenaduba-Olentzeroren etxea
CC BY-SA 2.0

Tartalo
Large Fiendish Humanoid
Frequency: Very Rare
Number Appearing: 1 (1)
Alignment: Chaotic [Chaotic Evil]
Movement: 120' (40') [12"]
Armor Class: 2 [17]
Hit Dice: 6d8+12* (32 hp)
Attacks: 2 fist slam or by weapon
Damage: 1d6+4, 1d6+4 or 1d10
Special: Magic required to hit, evil eye
Size: Large
Save: Monster 6
Morale: 6 (6)
Treasure Hoard Class: See below
XP: 660

The tartalo is another large creature found in the Basque region of Northern Spain. It appears as a cyclops or as a one-eyed ogre. It has a fiendish glint in it's one large eye.  Many scholars of the occult believe they are connected to demons, either by birth or by actions.

The tartalo lives alone in caves. They are 10' tall and only speak in simple grunts. They do seem to be intelligent, it is just speech is beyond them. Only males have ever been spotted leading scholars to conclude they seek out young maidens as their "wives."  

Anyone wandering into the cave of the tartalo runs the danger of becoming the monster's next meal.  They prefer the taste of young men and women, especially ones that have not been baptized (or dedicated to a god).  Their tactic is to use their "evil eye" to stun (treat as a Hold Person spell) their victims. They will kill and eat any young men and anyone over marriage age.  They will keep the young unmarried women to birth their monstrous sons.  These women when then also be killed and eaten.

The only treasure a tartalo has is a fine wrought golden ring.  The ring is a curse and anyone wearing it will be known to any other tartalo in the region and they will seek the wearer out to kill them. 


Inguma
Small Fiend (Demon)
Frequency: Unique
Number Appearing: 1 (1)
Alignment: Chaotic [Chaotic Evil]
Movement: 180' (60') [18"]
Armor Class: 2 [17]
Hit Dice: 12d8+12* (66 hp)
Attacks: 2 claws, nightmares
Damage: 1d4, 1d4 or 1d10
Special: Magic or +2 weapons required to hit, cause fear, nightmares, ability drain
Size: Small*
Save: Monster 12
Morale: 10
Treasure Hoard Class: See below
XP: 1,900

Inguma is a demonic lord of sleep and dreams. He is believed to create incubi and can give his followers riches if they give him his preferred sacrifices, that of baby girls before two years of age.  He commands a small sect of Mara Witches.

Though small, he is a powerful demonic lord.  He can cast Fear and Nightmare three times per night. His physical attacks are weak, but he can gain entrance into the minds of sleepers, save vs. death to avoid. Once there he will invade the dreams and learn all the victim's secrets. Their sleep is disrupted so they can't heal normally nor will spellcaster regain their spells. By the third night of the invasion, the victim begins to lose Constitution points at the rate of 1 per night.  Only an exorcism (cleric) or cleanse (witch) spell will remove the influence of Inguma.  Often Inguma forces his victims into suicide long before they succumb to his draining effects. Each night the victim must make a save vs. death. A failed save means they will kill themselves.

Inguma rarely takes physical form. When he does magic is required to attack him. When he does manifest it is always as what the viewer fears the most.

It is believed that Inguma is the father, or at least the ancestor and patron, of the Tartalo and possibly the Imps of the Perverse. Some incubi revere him as their lord. 

Basque Mara witches see him as their lord and patron and will offer sacrifices to him. He rewards them with riches.

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