Showing posts sorted by relevance for query druther. Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query druther. Sort by date Show all posts

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Druthers for Ghosts of Albion, Witch Girls Adventures and d20

Druthers


For Ghosts of Albion, d20 (3.x) and Witch Girls Adventures.

Druthers are special sort of magical construct often associated with witches and witchcraft. Their kind has not been seen on Albion's shores in many centuries, but they were known to have existed and are referenced in many rarer occult tomes. It is believed that the secret is still known to some witches and to encounter one is a sure sign of witchcraft.

The name comes from an old piece of doggerel scribbled inside a witch's Book of Shadows

"If I really had my druthers,
I'd have my wooden druthers too."


A wooden druther is a corrupt form of "wouldn't I'd rathers", or something the witch doesn't want. So the wooden druther performs tasks that the witch would rather not do herself. The druther can understand simple command phrases of about 15 words each. Typically druthers are used for menial labor or to perform a task that the witch can not do or won't do herself, like killing or scaring an enemy. Often a witch will have a few druthers protecting her home while disguised as trees, requiring a Perception + Notice check of 3 or SL to detect.
A druther cannot communicate at all. Some witches have used woody reeds in the construction of their druthers. When the wind blows across the druther it sounds like a deep bassoon.
Druthers can appear in any form. Usually they are biped and always made of wood. The wood can be carved or a collection of sticks tied together. The appendages need to be attached separately if the druther is to move at all. They can be precisely carved to appear as anything the witch wants, but they typically look like walking bunches of sticks.
Legend has it that there was a witch that had such beautifully carved druthers that they were often mistaken for wood nymphs.

For Ghosts of Albion
Druther
Motivation: To follow orders
Creature Type: Magical Construct
Attributes: Strength 7, Dexterity 2, Constitution 6, Intelligence 1, Perception 1, Willpower 1
Ability Scores: Muscle 20, Combat 7, Brains 2
Life Points: 67
Drama Points: 1
Armor Value: 4
Powers: Hard to Kill 3, Immune to cold, fear, poisons, sleep, water, and any mind effecting spell, Natural Toughness, Vulnerability to fire.

Manoeuvres
Name Score Damage Notes
Punch 7 14 Bash
Slam tackle 7 14 Bash
Stake 8 14 If equipped with stakes
Takedown 12 7
Dodge 7 Defence action
Grapple 9 Resisted by Dodge

Combat
A druther is mindless in combat. It instinctively strikes with its wooden fists with almost no regard to what else is going on. One thing druthers excel at is killing vampires. The druther is equipped with built in stakes in the form of fingers if the witch so chooses. The druthers biggest weakness is fire, something a vampire is not likely to use and they have no blood to drink.
Immunities: A druther is immune to cold and water. Stabing weapons only do 1 point of damage per hit. Fire damage against a druther is treated the same as against a vampire.

Some magicians value the wood from an inanimate druther to use to make magical fires.


Animating a Druther
The only know spell came from an ancient tome called the Manual of Druthers. The spell has been copied, but it is still very rare to find. Only an Occult Library of Amazing has a chance of having the spell and even then it must specialize in the tomes of Witchcraft. It is also known to be used very rarely among Shamans, but since Shamans do not write their spells down the chances of acquiring that version is even rarer still.

Construction
Witches can construct a druther if she can learn how.
The witch will need at least 200 pounds of wood, either as sticks, planks or individually carved pieces. She must gather and form these pieces herself. The witch will need her consecrated witch tools, special oils and fine incense. After creating the body for the druther, the witch will have to cast the animating spell, then sprinkle the ashes from the burned incense on the wood.

Animate Druther (Ghosts of Albion)
Quick Cast: No
Power Level: 3
Philosophy: Witchcraft, Shamanism
Requirements: The manual creation of a druthers body and an hour long ritual in which the spell components are burned and poured over the druther.
Components: Rare oils rubbed into the wood of the druther, incense to be burned. Price at least £100.
Effect: The witch must prepare the druthers body out of wood and/or sticks. This should take at least a day to gather materials and make the body. Longer times are needed for more complex druthers. The oil is then rubbed into the wood while muttering the spell. Incense is burned and the ashes are sprinkled on to the druthers body. Successful casting means the druther is animated and will respond to the witchs commands.
Spell failure results in a druther that can never be animated. The witch will need to burn the wood and start over. Spell Backfire can result in a Rogue Druther.
Creation: Alteration (+5), Casting Time (-2), Touch (-1), Permanent (+6), Unusual materials (-2), Philosophy ().

Drudges
Sometimes druthers are referred to as "Drudges", mostly due to their ability to menial work, usually around the home. While a druther may be used to do the witch's dirty work, a drudge will do the witch's dirty laundry. Adventurers have reported of a witch with intricately carved wood drudges as her household staff. A drudge butler was so well made that they could not tell it was a magical construct at all.

Rogue Druthers
The druther has a strong tie to its animating elemental force. Sometimes though, a druther will break free of the witch's control, but not of its wooden body. These druthers are known as rogues and take out their frustration the only way know, to throw themselves into any combative situation it can.
A rogue druther will enter into any situation where its goal is to get itself destroyed, preferably by fire, to free its spirit.

For d20

Druther

Medium Construct
Hit Dice: 9d10+20 (69 hp)
Initiative: -1
Speed: 20 ft. (4 squares)
Armor Class: 17 (-1 Dex, +8 natural), touch 9, flat-footed 17
Base Attack/Grapple: +6/+11
Attack: Slam +11 melee (2d6+5)
Full Attack: 2 slams +11 melee (2d6+5)
Space/Reach: 5 ft./5 ft.
Special Attacks:
Special Qualities: Construct traits, damage reduction 10/magic, darkvision 60 ft., low-light vision, immunities, fire vulnerability
Saves: Fort +3, Ref +2, Will +3
Abilities: Str 20, Dex 9, Con , Int , Wis 11, Cha 3
Skills:
Feats:
Environment: Any
Organization: Solitary
Challenge Rating: 6
Treasure: None
Alignment: Always neutral
Advancement: 10-15 (Large); 15-20 (Huge)
Level Advancement: None


The druther can understand simple command phrases of about 15 words each. Typically druthers are used for menial labor or to perform a task that the witch can not do or won't do herself, like killing or scaring an enemy. Often a witch will have a few druthers protecting her home while disguised as trees, requiring a DC 25 Spot check to notice.
A druther cannot communicate at all. Some witches have used woody reeds in the construction of their druthers. When the wind blows across the druther it sounds like a deep bassoon.
Druthers can appear in any form. Usually they are biped and always made of wood. The wood can be carved or a collection of sticks tied together. The appendages need to be attached separately if the druther is to move at all. They can be precisely carved to appear as anything the witch wants, but they typically look like walking bunches of sticks.


Combat
A druther is mindless in combat. It instinctively strikes with its wooden fists with almost no regard to what else is going on.
Immunities: A druther is immune to cold and water. Piercing weapons only do 1 point of damage per hit.

Construction
Witches can construct a druther. If the witch has access to a manual of druthers, then she can create a druther from that work. Otherwise a witch may opt to create one from scratch. The witch will need at least 200 pounds of wood, either as sticks, planks or individually carved pieces. She must gather these herself. The witch will need her consecrated witch tools and fine incense. After creating the body for the druther, the witch will have to cast spells, then sprinkle the ashes from the burned incense on the wood.
CL 10th; Craft Construct, air walk, bless growth, feral spirit, lesser strengthening rite, minor creation, caster must be at least 10th level; Price 3,600 gp; Cost 2,000 gp + 1,000 XP.


Legend has it that there was a witch that had such beautifully carved druthers that they were often mistaken for wood nymphs.

Treants, dryads, and wood nymphs view a druther in the same manner a human views the undead or a flesh golem. Most will attempt to destroy them when they can. Some witches and wizards value the wood from an inanimate druther to use to make magical fires.

For Witch Girls Adventures
Druthers

In the world of Witch Girls, Druthers are a fairly common sight.  Often charged with doing all sorts of repetitive minimal tasks, in fact self respecting witch family would do without a couple in their homes.   While such tasks as making diners is beyond them, setting tables or doing dishes are common enough tasks.

Rank 1 Monster
Druther
Body: D8 Mind: D2 Senses: D2
Will: D4 Social: D2 Magic: D2
Life Points 16
Skills: Fighting +1

Magic: Druthers are immune to many magical effects especially ones that affect the mind.  They do however take double damage from any fire based attack.

Cryptozoology fact: Druthers (and Drudges) are near mindless constructs made of wood.
Cryptozoology fact: Druthers take extra damage from fire.

Animate Druther
Elementalism Rank 4
The Witch can bind an elemental spirit to the form of a Druther she has built.   Often it is customary to only compel the elemental spirit to service for a year and a day then the Druther falls apart.  

Monday, January 31, 2011

Druthers for Basic era FRPGs

Trying out some more Basic monsters. These are conversions of some d20 ones I have done in the past. Depending on which Basic game/retro-clone you use I have listed Armor Class as both descending (start at 9 and go down) and ascending (start at 10 and go up).

Here is one of my faves, the Druther.
You can also find this guy in my book, The Witch.

Druther
AC: 2 [17]
Hit Dice: 9d8* (40 hp)
No. of Attacks: 2 Limbs (fists or constructed weapons)
Damage: 2d6 / 2d6
Special: Immune to piercing, water and cold-based attacks. Double damage from fire based attacks.
Movement:: 20 ft.
No. Appearing: 1 (1-3 in lair)
Saves: Fighter 9
Morale: 12
Treasure: None
Alignment:: Neutral
XP: 1,200

A Druther is a type of wood golem that can only be created by a witch. The name comes from an old piece of doggerel often muttered by witches,

“If I really had my druthers,
I’d have my wooden druthers too.”

A “Wooden Druther” is a corrupt form of “wouldn’t I’d rathers”, or something the witch doesn’t want. So the Wooden Druther performs tasks that the witch would rather not do herself.

The druther can understand simple command phrases of about 15 words each. Typically druthers are used for menial labor or to perform a task that the witch can not do or won’t do herself, like killing or scaring an enemy. Often a witch will have a few druthers protecting her home while disguised as trees (Wisdom check at -2 to notice).

A druther cannot communicate at all. Some witches have used woody reeds in the construction of their druthers. When the wind blows across the druther it sounds like a deep bassoon.
Druthers can appear in any form. Usually they are biped and always made of wood. The wood can be carved or a collection of sticks tied together. The appendages need to be attached separately if the druther is to move at all. They can be precisely carved to appear as anything the witch wants, but they typically look like walking bunches of sticks. Legend has it that there was a witch that had such beautifully carved druthers that they were often mistaken for wood nymphs.

Treants, dryads, and wood nymphs view a druther in the same manner a human views the undead or a flesh golem. Most will attempt to destroy them when they can. Some witches and wizards value the wood from an inanimate druther to use to make magical fires.

A druther is mindless in combat. It strikes with its wood fists with almost no regard to what else is going on.
As a construct a Druther is immune to mind-influencing effects, poison, disease, and similar effects. Not subject to critical hits, subdual damage, ability damage, energy drain, or death from massive damage.

Arrows or other piercing items, such as spears or thrust daggers, only do 1 point of damage per hit. Water based attacks have no effect on the druther whatsoever. Fire based attacks always do double damage. Cold based attacks do no damage.


Section 15 Copyright Notice

Open Game License v 1.0a Copyright 2000, Wizards of the Coast, Inc.

System Reference Document Copyright 2003, Wizards of the Coast, Inc.; Authors Jonathan Tweet, Monte Cook, Skip Williams, Bruce R. Cordell, based on original material by E. Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson.

Liber Mysterium: The Netbook of Witches and Warlocks is Copyright© 2003, Timothy S. Brannan and the Netbook of Witches Team.

Basic Fantasy Role-Playing Game Copyright © 2006-2008. Chris Gonnerman.

Labyrinth LordTM. Copyright © 2007, Daniel Proctor. Author Daniel Proctor.

"Druthers for Basic era FRPGs" Copyright ©2011, Timothy S. Brannan

Art is Copyright ©2001 Daniel Brannan and used here by permission.  Art is not open content.

Monday, September 16, 2019

Monstrous Monday: Pumpkin Golem

Often times the witch needs someone or something other than their coven for aid.  In addition to summoning a familiar or an Unseen Servant, the witch will often create a servant or helper from the material she has at hand.  The druther and scarecrow are two such examples. The Pumpkin Golem, or Gourd Golem, is another.


The Pumpkin Golem is usually a bit more powerful than a scarecrow but not as powerful as the golems created by priests or mages.  Typically, like a scarecrow, these creatures are used to guard the witch's home or garden.  If a scarecrow is left in a field to guard there, the pumpkin golem will be closer to the witch's home.  Likewise, the druther will be guarding inside the home.

Pumpkin golems are immune to any spell that affects the weather. Any spell that has water as an attack (ie. "Flood of Tears") will heal the golem of all damage.  Pumpkin golems only take half damage from fire or fire-based attacks.  They take double damage from cold-based attacks.

The ritual to create a pumpkin golem follows.

Golem, Pumpkin
(Blueholme Journeymanne Rules)
AC: 6
HD: 5d8
Move: 30
Attacks: 2 vine whips (1d6x2),  1 fireball (once per day) 3d6
Alignment: N
Treasure: None
XP: 300

Golem, Pumpkin
(Old-School Essentials)
A collection of pumpkins and vines in a vaguely humanoid shape. The pumpkin used for it's head is carved like a Jack-o-lantern and glows with an inner fire.
AC 6 [17], HD 5 (24hp), Att 2 and 1, vine whip and fireball, THAC0 16 [+4], MV 60’ (20’), SV D11 W11 P12 B13 S15, ML 12, AL Neutral, XP 300, NA 1 (1), TT none
 Attacks twice per round with vine whips, 1d6 per attack.
Can cast a fireball once per day for 3d6 hp of damage; save for half
Construct: Not affected by sleep, charm or hold spells.  Silvered or magical weapons required to hit.

Create Pumpkin Golem
Level: Witch 5
Range: One pumpkin patch with at least five ripe pumpkins
Duration: 1 week per witch level or until the Winter Solstice
With this spell, the witch can animate a pumpkin golem.  The raw components of the spell must include a pumpkin patch of no less than five ripe pumpkins, a specially blessed candle, and one pumpkin carved into a face.  The witch casts this spell and over the pumpkin patch. She then selects one of the pumpkins and carves it into a Jack-o-lantern.  The witch burns herbs gathered from her own garden (50gp value) and then she lights the candle. 
Once lit the golem is animated and will obey the witch's commands.
Material Components: The pumpkin patch, jack-o-lantern, blessed candle, herbs.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Zatannurday: Happy Birthday to my Brother!

Wednesday was my brother's birthday!

Here is a a Zatanna drawing he sent me earlier in the week.


Love the rabits!

Daniel has done art for me before and you have seen some of it.  You have seen more if you picked up a copy of my Witch book.

The Xothia

Xothia of the Rock by Daniel Brannan

Halfling Witch
Halfling Herb Woman by Daniel Brannan


Druther

Druther by Daniel Brannan


Thanks so much Dan!!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Monstrous Monday #4: Witch Monsters

For today I want to do something a little different.

The Witch came out over the weekend and I want to talk about the relationship between witches and monsters and why there are monsters in a "class" book.

There are essentially two types of monsters that come up when talking about witches in myth, legend and fairytales.
1. Monsters that are associated with witches.  These would be things like familiars or created monsters.
2. Monsters that are witches.  The hags and crones of myth, but also some vampires and werewolves.

I'll cover these both with some examples from The Witch.

Monsters Associated with Witches
Witches have a number of "monsters" that are often associated with them.  Familiars and created monsters are the most common.  In The Witch I cover familiars quite a bit as a character option, but I also include a lot of special familiars.  The Brownie, or brown man, is known to many gamers. What many people don't know that the mythology of the brownie is tied to old pagan beliefs.  The Cait Sith, or faerie cat is another type of creature that indicates the presence of a witch, or in the case sometimes is a witch.
Other  creatures pose an interesting problem because of how they are portrayed in myth  is sometimes different from how they are portrayed in the rules.  Gnomes are a good example.  In the games (and SRD) they are a player character race, but in many pagan myths gnomes are creatures of earth, something like an elemental, that can aid a witch. To split the difference I made their magic more witch like than other portrayals.  Witches are often found in the company of trolls since both are fairy tale and fantasy staples. These trolls are not the green, rubbery type, but more of the creatures of earth found in Norway.
For created creatures, I have included the Druther, which is a special form of a wood golem that I created in my games years and years ago.  Another original monster is the Batling, a monster created by witchcraft, but has an ecology of it's own.
Plus we should not forget flying monkeys as a more recent example.

Monsters that Are Witches
Witches in fairy tales are often monstrous looking women and not normal human women with a particular career choice.  These monsters are covered well by the Hag monster in the rules, but there are a lot of different types of hags.  There are swamp hags, hags that live in ginger bread houses at the edge of forests, hags that live under the sea, or rivers, cold wastelands or ones that steal into homes to take your souls, breath or children.  I want to cover as many of these as I could and enhance them with rules I have in the book.
There are other creatures too that often blur the lines between creatures.  The Baobhan Sìth blurs the line between witch, faerie, and vampires. The Strigoi is described as a witch and a vampire.  The Boroka is witch  that under a curse and is also a cannibalistic monster.  The Rusalka is an undead witch.

There are many more, and I still have quite a few on my hard drives.  These though I think represent a good cross section of with related monsters.

For your consideration, the monsters from the Witch.


Baobhan Sìth
Banshee
Batlings
Bendith Ý Mamau
Boroka
Brownie
Cait Sídhe
Druther
Earth Troll
Elf, Gypsy (Ranagwithe)
Fen Witch
Green Jack
Hags
 - Annis
 - Cavern
 - Green
 - Ice
 - Moon
 - Sea
 - Storm
 - Swamp
 - Wood (Makva)
Imp
Jack-O’-Lantern
Night Hag
Rusalka
Scarecrow
Strigoi
Winged Cat
Winged Monkey


The Witch is out now at DriveThruRPG in ebook format.  Print copies are on the way.

Monday, October 15, 2012

The Awakened Golem

Golems are a big part of the D&D game.  Well. Maybe not a *big* part, but they have their part to play.  What is interesting about them though is the varieties of myths that were pulled together to make them.
The word Golem and the Clay Golem monster have their roots in Jewish folklore, horror and film.  The Flesh Golem is an homage to Frankenstein and his monster.
Other Golems come from a variety of places.  The Iron and Stone Golems seem to have basis in tales, but the most likely origin seems to be the films featuring the Ray Harryhausen monsters, in particular the giant statue from Jason and the Argonauts (whose fertile ground also gave us Skeletons).

The one thing that many of these stories have that the RPG monster does not though is the semblance of true life.  After all.  A Golem with no life that does it's business is no big deal.  But give it a spark of true life and suddenly you have horror.

The Awakened Golem then is a Golem that has been "Awakened", it has a spark of true life.  This is either by accident such as a word or letter is mis-coded in a Clay Golem, or the personality of the original body lives on in the Flesh Golem, or the animating spirit in the Druther overrides the witch's control, or even the golem becomes the vessel of some spirit of vengeance.  What ever the cause a living soul is now in procession of a body that it can only see as an abomination.

Different types of Golems have different chance of Awakening.  This percent is rolled when the golem is made or under special circumstance; such as a nearby tragic death, or a bolt of eldritch lighting hits it.
(These Golems have appeared in various editions of the game)

Statue (any golem made to be a statue):  2%
Iron, Stone, Amber, Silver, Mud (any non-living mater): 5%
Clay, Wood, Druther, Bone (formerly living matter): 10%
Flesh, Corpse (formerly a sentient being): 15%  +5% if body parts come a wrongly convicted murderer.
Plush (special Ravenloft golem): Plush golems and stuffed toys are better handled as an  Imaginary Friend or a Boogey.

In most cases the Awakened Golem will be Chaotic, or at best Neutral.  Some rare cases will occur when the awakened Golem will be Lawful.

The changes to the monster will be a greater intelligence (at least Average, often more) and a blinding hate for whomever created it.  The Awakened Golem, even Lawful ones, will be driven to write some percieved wrong.  An Awakened Golem might want to kill their creator, or kill everyone.  Or it might want to discover the killer of some innocent.  What ever  the motivation it should be tied directly to their origin story.

The Awakend Golem gains HD over their non-awakened counterparts. Better AC and attacks.
Despite their origin and/or appearance, Awakened Golmes are not undead.  They are still immune to the effects of mind affecting spells, sleep, charm and hold.  They do not need to eat (but might do it out of habit) and can not be healed.  Awakended Golems regenerate 2 hp per round, even if reduced below 0hp.  Only fire can completely destroy them since they do not regenerate after fire damage.

Awakened Golem (Flesh Golem)
Armor Class:  0 [22]
Hit Dice: 10d8+15* (60 hp)
No. of Attacks: 2 (fistsl)
Damage:  2d8/2d18
Special: immunities, regeneration
Movement: 30’ (90')
No. Appearing: 1
Saves As: Fighter 12
Morale: 12
Treasure: None
Alignment: Chaotic
XP: 2800

The Creature (as he is know) is an Awakened Flesh golem. He stands over 7 feet tall and has greenish cadaverous skin. Despising what he sees  himself to be he killed his creator and terrified a nearby village. He currently lives in a cave where he prefers to stay in peace, reading books on philosophy.
If he is disturbed though he will fly into a violent rage and kill anyone that disturbs him. He will not though attack children.
The Creature has been killed many times, only regenerate from the smallest scraps.

OGL Section 15 The Awakened Copyright 2012 Timothy S. Brannan.
All text is Open under the terms of the OGL.
Links are not considered part of this entry and are not under the OGL.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

This Old Dragon #148

Jumping ahead this week to go solidly into the 2nd AD&D era.  Or is it?  A brief look at the table of contents tells me that 1st Ed is not going away so quietly.  It's August 1989.  I am a Junior in University now.  D&D has had to take a back seat since I am now in a lot of "honors" level courses, I am even eyeing grad schools now.  I do still have my notes about my witch class still from this time. I spent the summer working but also playing in some D&D games.  I began to convert her from a stand-alone 1st ed class to a sub-class of the Priest.  So let's see what else was going on in This Old Dragon #148.

This is not a cover I remember well. At first, it looked like a Clyde Caldwell painting, only not enough.  It is by Ned Dameron and I guess it was enough that there is an editorial about it.

The theme of this issue appears to be loosely collected around fighters and fighting.

Big ads for Ghostbuster International and AD&D 2nd Ed.  While Dragon is becoming more and more D&D focused we are getting more and more other types of games. 

Letters cover a wide variety of issues.  Most importantly we learn that Jeff Grubb has moved on to other projects with TSR and the Marvel-Phile will not appear as regularly as it used to. 

The Editorial covers issues of art looking like other art.  In particular some dragons on the cover of 146 looking like some form the cover a Larry Niven book. Also, this month's cover looks similar to last months Clyde Caldwell cover.  They talk about how they see the same ideas over and over and how hard it is to have a truly original idea.  Case in point, they talk about Wood Golems. At about this time I had also come up with my own Wood Golem, the Druther, and thought I was being very clever about it.  Later I discovered, no wood golems are actually pretty common.

Skip Williams is up with Sage Advice. This month he covers the 2nd Edition Player's Handbook.  Some stem from translation from 1st Ed ("Can Halflings become clerics?") to typos ("page 44 is right, page 45 is wrong"). 

Fighting the Good Fight is our featured theme section this month.  Maybe why I did not buy this issue since I tended to focus on magic using classes.

Gordon R. Menzies discusses armor in Always Wear Your Best Suit. Armor enameling, engraving and decorations are discussed. Some increase the value of the armor other might have a small AC bonus.

Tracking Down the Barbarian by David Howery shows that 1st Edition is not going to go quietly off to the Old Games Home.  This is a revised barbarian class for 1st ed.  Making this what, the 3rd or 4th barbarian we have seen?  Now if the barbarian was a class I was interested in I'd roll up some, each using a different take on the class.  Maybe something Celtic.  Could be fun.

Scott Bennie takes on a topic closer to my heart with "Good" Does Not Mean "Boring". He talks about the 1st Ed Paladin. This immediately brought the Gary Gygax article Good isn't stupid, Paladins & Rangers, from Dragon #38 just over 9 years before (the same article where Gygax says that female dwarves DO have beards). This article goes into much more detail about Paladins than the Gygax one did.  Indeed, reading this over now I see a lot of good advice for D&D 5e Paladins as well.  There is also a Paladin-Cavalier class.

Speaking of which, the next article is all about the Cavalier.  The Corrected Cavalier by David Howery is another attempt to give us a working Cavalier class for 1st ed.
Now I like the cavalier class, always did.  I think I would have rather seen a 2nd Ed Cavalier.  I know now that one was coming in the Fighters book, but I didn't know that then.

Bruce Kvam breaks out the theme with Arcane Lore: Can a wizard cure your light wounds? No, but... . Or healing like spells a wizard can use.   Again this is a 1st Ed focused article.  Lots of interesting spells here, but really designed for a party that wants a wizard, but no cleric.

TSR Previews is up next.  The big ones are The Monstrous Compendium vol. 1 for July and the new Dungeon Masters Guide for August.  I have to admit that the 2nd Ed DMG was a bit of a disappointment compared to the vast tome that the 1st ed DMG was.

Robin Jenkins has a short story about the Deck of Many Things, in Luck of the Draw.  It also includes some rules and some notes, so it really feels more like an "Ecology of..." article.

The Game Wizards covers SPI's Sniper game on the Mac.

Jim Bambra has some Reviews, mostly featured on monsters.  Ents for MERP, Trolls for Rune Quest, the Orcs of Thar by +Bruce Heard and the Bestiary of Dragons and Giants both for D&D.  The D&D products are also ones I still use to this day.

The Role of Computers covers the then state of the art software.  I am hesitant to say too much about these articles.  The biggest issue is I was not really playing these games all that much back then.  When this article came out I owned my second computer, a Tandy Color Computer 3.  It was as expanded as much as I could make it at the time and it got me through my undergrad days well enough.  But aside from Rogue there were no games I could play on it.  It would not be till my fifth computer in 92, a Gateway 2000 486 that I had anything like a "real" powerful computer.

We have some small ads next.

Jim Bambra is back with a fantastic article covering the D&D (B/X and BECMI) Gazeteers in Around The World In 36 Levels.   This one of those articles that really needs to be reprinted or revisited with new eyes.  The article is long and really gives you a good idea of what to expect in the books.  2nd Ed may be king of the 90s, but I like to think there was a time and maybe places where BECMI and the Known World rulled.   This article begins with a good overview of the splt between AD&D and D&D that really should be a must read.

Robert Bigelow covers minis in Through the Looking Glass.

Watch Your Step! by Thomas M. Kane details landmines in the Top Secret SI games.

The Con Calendar is a whopping 3 pages for just the next few months. When was the Golden Age of Cons?  Was there a time where there was a good one every week?

Dragonmirth has some comics. 
Yamara is here.  I never knew exactly when this one started. 
None of the comics though I remember are here anymore.  End of another era I guess.

Big ads for Sniper, the 1990 TSR calendar, and the new Dungeon! board game.



I don't really have any memories of this issue. I am sure it was not one I bought. 

If I ever play 1st ed again I am certainly going to have to comeback to this issue.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

This Old Dragon: Issue #119

While today's choice is sort of a cheat, it is a very timely one.  I grabbed it because it features one of my favorite covers of all Dragons.  The recent Doctor Who episode "The Eaters of Light" featured a story about the fate of the Ninth Legion of the Imperial Roman army in Scotland.  My first thought was "well, we know it was Kostchtchie!" from Daniel Horne's fantastic cover.

But once I grabbed it I also noticed how it was a really nice companion to my own Green Witch that was published yesterday.  So nice in fact I put the magazine down until today!  I didn't want anything in it unduly influencing me.  Though in re-re-reading it now I can see there were some things there in 1987 that did stick with me over the years, including some more Doctor Who references.
So set your TARDIS back to March 1987, put on U2's With Or Without You, and get ready for This Old Dragon Issue #119.

Letters cover a guy just discovering the Chainmail rules. Interesting to read, to be honest. We forget that in this day and age nearly every shred of information is literally at our fingertips.  I just got another copy of Chainmail for my birthday from my old Jr. High DM.  It is different than the one I had by a couple of pages. I am going to need to investigate that.



The big feature of this issue is the section on Druids.  I can't help but see the "Spinal Tap" Stonehenge every time I see the standing stones and lintel that works as the header for these articles.

That aside this was one of my favorite series. I had by this time already written my first copy of the witch class. It was though lacking in some historical oomph. This series gave me a lot of inspiration on what can be done with the class AND what not to do.  Not in terms of things being bad in these articles (far from it) but in terms of making my witches different from the druids.  In fact I put these articles as "Must Reads" for anyone wanting to play a druid.

Carl Sargent is up first with Underestimating Druids (is a bad practice). It's a look into the strengths of the class and giving them their due. Several tips and bits of advice are given for using the Druid in and out of the dungeon setting, but most telling (and also the most interesting to me) was a break-down of the XP per level and the amount of spell-power all the AD&D1 spell-casting classes had.  The Druid comes out looking the best. Plus let's be honest, Flame Strike is a MUCH cooler spell than Fireball.

Up next is an article covering the Druid in his role as a healer. We are warned that  John Warren's "Is There a Doctor In the Forest?" is unofficial material.  It is also closer to what we think we know about druids in real life; that they were the healers of their society. There is a ton of great ideas here for herbal and natural healing in AD&D. Unofficial or not there is a lot great rules here.  The crunch is the same level as AD&D, so more than I want for an OSR or even a 5e game, but worth looking into the next time I play AD&D1 proper.

On cue another ad for the Time-Life Enchanted World books!

Next up is an article I had re-read a lot back in the Summer of 1987. From by William Volkart and Robin Jenkins we get On Becoming The Great Druid.  It dealt with that little remembered now artifact of the Druid class that at higher levels you needed to defeat the druid whose level you wanted to take.   I have to admit that at the time I was not fond of the idea, though now I see as a great plot and role-playing device.  I was trying to come up with a way to add this all to my then current game.  I never really did to be honest since I figured I needed to come up with my world-wide Druid religion.  Of course, nothing in the history of the Druids supports the idea that would or even could do this (I was also reading some Margaret Murry, so I am excusing myself) but I got fixated on the idea I needed to figure out their complete religious structure first.  I made some head-way and a lot of that was actually added to my Witch class with the "Court of Witches".  I just replaced Great Druid with Witch Queen.  The Grand Coven of the Earth Mother in The Green Witch also comes from those notes way back then.

Rick Reid is up and has Cantrips for Druids - Naturally. Makes me REALLY glad I kept this to the side while working on the Green Witch and that I didn't put cantrips in that book. They will appear in the "The White Witch" later this summer.

Ah. Now here is an old friend. Ed Greenwood (who's early Dragon writing I am really enjoying again) has the Beastmaster NPC class.  It is such an overkill class.  Hell, I would not be surprised to discover that Drizzt didn't start out as a beastmaster. Though to be 100% fair it is described as an NPC only class...yup. Just like the witch was. ;)
I talked about a lot of Beastmaster classes in an early version of Class Struggles. At that time I had forgotten all about this one though in re-reading it now I see that my DM's homebrew Beastmaster was based on this one.

While not a part of the official Druid feature, Calle Lindstrand has the write up for The Uldra a new character race.  The article is the type of "anything worth doing is worth doing to excess" type that I really love. We get a new race, a monster entry, and some gods. The Uldra themselves seem to be a cross between a gnome and a dwarf.  I really hope that wherever Calle Lindstrand is that Uldras as written here are still part of their game. There is too much, well, love here to ignore.  Uldras would later go on to be upgraded to a full offical D&D race.

It is also one of the reasons while I like to include a new race in a book overtly about a class. The Green Witch, for example, has another take on Gnomes for Swords & Wizardry.

Ed is back with Ecology of the Korred.  Given that it follows right behind the article on the Uldra I often conflated the two into one race. Not really fair to either to be honest.  My then DM really enjoyed this article and it was the inspiration to the only "Dance off in D&D" I have ever done.  I later stole his idea and had another Dance Off in Ghosts of Albion: Blight. Only this time it was against the Sidhe.  This article also gives us a new god.

Dragon's Bestiary features some sylvan monsters for your game. Again, not exactly part of the Druid feature, but close enough that it fits really well.

We get some fairly interesting creatures too. The Wild Halflings are great and I think I detect a bit of what would later develop in Dark Sun.  The Luposphinx is a winged wolf/lion hybrid that doesn't seem out of place at all. The Leshy is based on some older fairy tales. There is another take on the Wendigo (none have every truly been "right" as far as I am concerned). The Wood Giant, which has since been promoted to the ranks of "official D&D monster". There is a Wood Golem here too. A bit about that. This wood golem never really stuck a cord with me. It was neat and all, but wood? Through flaming oil at it.  It was not till I read the Doctor Who story Lungbarrow and their "Drudges" that gave me the idea for something new.  I remember reading a story about an old witch that used to always say "If I'd had my druthers, I have my wooden druthers too."  The Wooden Druther became my new Wood Golem.  Wood Golems have also been promoted, but they will always take a back seat to my Druthers.

Not bad. Half the magazine and all of it quality or really, really fun materials.

In fact, if I had stopped here, 50 some odd pages in (minus ads) I would have considered it money well spent.  I suppose it is also no surprise then that I like to include a lot of these same things in my own books; a class, races, alternate classes, monsters, and spells.  1987 was a turning point year for me really.

Charles Olsen is back with an article about NPCs; Henchmen and Hirelings. Five pages of material that looks liek it should work with any version of the game.

Jeff Grub has Dinner With Elminster.  The article is a bit silly to be honest but I tend to forget that 1987 was the year of the Forgotten Realms. While everyone else was falling in love with that my years-long game was about to hit its final Act.   How long does it take to roleplay a massive war? Two years, give or take.

Let's see what's left here... Some fiction...

Some Sage Advice...

The Gamma World article has some cryptic alliances in Politics Amid the Rubble. Just another reminder to me that I REALLY need to a Gamma World game going again some day.

The Marvel-Phile (actually in this issue!) has Psylocke in her pink outfit.  Just as an FYI Oliva Munn, the future movie Psylocke is only 6-years old at the publication of this issue.

TSR Previews covers the new and hot items of April and May 1987.  Make sure you get your copy of the Lazer TagTM rules. I did!


In May we get the first of GAZ series for Mystara and the Known World, GAZ1 The Grand Duchy of Karameikos.

Lots of Cons advertised and some small ads. Finally, we get Snarf Quest and Wormy.
Little did I know that Trampier and I would be heading to the same town to live more or less around the same time.

Really a great issue.

I see the seeds of ideas here that later germinated in games I played then and later in college and now in the stuff, I put up here.

What are your memories of this issue?

Want to know what I was saying about White Dwarf magazine during the same month? Check out my White Dwarf Wednesday for issue #87.

--
The Green Witch is now out!



Pick up a copy today for Swords & Wizardry.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Art of "The Witch"

The Witch is done editing and now layout and art.

I have a bunch of art I have been buying over the last couple of years for this. So now comes the process of picking out images.

I have a few I really love and have meaning to me.
Note: All the art I am posting today belongs to me.  The artist holds the copyrights (it is still theirs) but I own the publication rights.  So these are not considered OPEN under the OGL or Fair Use.

Here are two that were done for me by my brother Daniel.   A Druther and a Halfling Witch.



Plus a magical Distaff,



These are from a former student of mine, Aitor Gonzalez. Two witches.





I am using some old Public Domain witch art to give is a period feel and some art from Larry Elmore.  
I make no apologies for that, I have always wanted to have a witch book out with Elmore art in it. 

There is a different set that will appear in Eldritch Witchery.

So looking forward to getting this out to you all!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

The Message

That is the name of this story my oldest son has been writing.  His teacher is very proud of him and so are his mom and dad!  But beyond how cool that is, today during our Dragonslayer session he ran "The Message" for the very, very first time as a game.  This was his very first time running a D&D game and frankly I thought he did really well.

We took the Dragonslayers, including his own character as a quasi DM-PC (I'll help run him) and I got a chance to play my witch again.  The one I rolled up back when D&D 3.0 was new and my witch book was in playtest.

The adventure was simple enough.  We (the characters) had to cross Druid Woods and deliver a message (thus the name) to a Baron on the other side of the forest.   Simple right? What could go wrong?  Well we were attacked many times in the woods by kobolds, hobgoblins and (much to my joy) a rogue druther and an evil treant. Of course the Baron had been kidnapped and we needed to save him from being the main event in a sacrifice to Tiamat.  We saved the Baron (who turned out to be a Neutral Blue Dragon in human form) and we were attacked by a huge adult red Dragon (in my boy's world Reds and Blues hate each other so much that they will work with anyone to defeat the other).

Baron saved, returned home and the message delivered.  It really was great fun.  Liam (my oldest) said he toned down the Red.  We got the initiative on him and dealt what I felt was a respectable 64 hp damage to it.  Then he turned around and did a 48 to all of us on his first attack (and that was with the elemental protection my witch set up).  He toned the dragon down a touch and we all came out of it more or less intact.

It was really, really fun.  Liam did a great job and it was nice to not only see him running a game and doing a good job, but also running an adventure he wrote all on his own.

Connor (my youngest) also got in some good playing too.  We found a gold necklace and I said his character could have it for his girl-friend, to which he replied "What girlfriend?  I am too busy adventuring to have time for one of those!"  And when we fought a fire elemental he told us that "I hate these guys, when I was younger they attacked my village and killed my mother."  No idea where that came from.

Maybe next time we will hit the mountains.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...