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

Friday, December 27, 2019

5 x 5: End of the Year Top Fives. Albums

Over on the old Facebooks I have been challenged or tagged in various top five lists. Five favorite books, favorite albums, things like that.  So I thought I'd end my year here with my Top Five favorite Top Fives!

For the next five days I'll post a top-five list.  These will be presented in no particular order and at least according to the rules of a couple of the challenges, with no explanations.

So today I am doing my Top Five Albums.

The Police Synchronicity

Thomas Dolby The Golden Age of Wireless

Sinéad O'Connor The Lion and the Cobra

Pink Floyd The Dark Side of the Moon

Stevie Nicks The Wild Heart

Thursday, August 8, 2019

#RPGaDAY2019: Obscure

Today's topic is Obscure.

Again I am going with a different version of the word because this made me think of Pink Floyd's "Obscured by Clouds".  A very, very underrated album and one semi-central to my D&D playing years.

Obscured by Clouds was released in 1972, a year before their landmark album Dark Side of the Moon.  Now I could write a dissertation on Dark Side, and many have.  But that is not today's post.

ObC was a softer album, but in it are the seeds of what the "new" Pink Floyd became planted in the very fertile ground of the older psychedelic Pink Floyd.

My first DM, the guy that ran me through so many adventures of D&D Expert combined with AD&D, turned me on to this album.  We were both huge Pink Floyd fans and Dark Side was my favorite album. I would go over to his house to play D&D but before we would play, like so many kids in the 80s, we went out on our bikes first.

He lived near the Capitol Records plant so we would rummage around the loading doc and always find a cassette or two that never made it on to the trucks.  Mostly things like Kenny Rogers, but every so often a gem like Iron Maiden or Kraftwerk (Capitol was EMI's American counterpart).  If we were REALLY lucky we would score a Pink Floyd cassette.  Especially since Floyd had left Capitol/EMI for Columbia/CBS Records in the mid 70s.

Obscured by Clouds was a soundtrack of sorts to the film La Vallée (The Valley).  But to my young and unsophisticated ears, it was the soundtrack of an older adventurer.  Someone that had adventured,  loved, lost and now lay dying only with his regrets.

Nothing characterized that better for me than the song Free Four.  Sure it is about the recording industry and Roger Waters singing (again) about his dead dad.  But in the early 80s it was more than that to me.

Floyd would continue to be an inspiration to me when playing although I can't draw a direct line from them to anything I have created like I can with Stevie Nicks or the Police or Led Zeppelin.

Still. To this day, listening to Floyd makes me think of D&D games gone by.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Five Albums, Five Days: Stevie Nicks - The Wild Heart (1983)

The search for my muse continues.

The year is 1983 and it is my 13th birthday.  There was was always a lot big "to do" about your "Golden Birthday" when you were a kid. That is when your age matches the day you were born.  I was born on a Friday the 13th in June and now I was 13.

Not sure what I got that day from others.  But I do know one.  My best friend Steven Todd gave me a copy of an album by an artist we both loved.  But in truth, I think he did it so I would stop borrowing his tape.  The artist was the immortal Stevie Nicks.
Last year for my birthday my wife got me the extend cut rerelease.   It was like listening to it for the first time again.

The Album: Stevie Nicks - The Wild Heart (1983, 2017)

Friday, September 15, 2017

Mona Dowie, In Memoriam

You may have already heard or read this by now, but artist and friend of the Other Side Mona Dowie lost her fight with cancer this week.

Her husband +William Dowie informed everyone via Facebook that Mona had passed at 9:08pm on September 13.

Sadly the bills for cancer and now the funeral don't go away.
So if you have a few coppers you can spare please head over to her fundraiser and spare what you can.

I feel honored and privileged to have known her. We talked games and our mutual love for witches and Stevie Nicks.  We chatted at length on how she completely got my character Nox.  I shared with her notes from my old Buffy game describing her and she drew exactly what I had without even knowing it.

My thoughts are with her family and especially her husband William at this time.
I can't even imagine what he might be going through now.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Fundraiser for Mona Dowie

I met Mona Dowie online, via Facebook.  We bonded over our shared love of witches, Stevie Nicks, and coffee.

We were paired up on Petty Gods and she produced the art for my characters Nox and Syla.

I loved these so much I HAD to have her do some art for my then upcoming Swords & Wizardry projects.  I sent her some basic ideas and she sent me some art of my iconic witch Larina.

She was sick then and things have only gotten worse.

+R.J. Thompson let me know of a GoFundMe going for her.  You can find that here:

Please donate what you can.
+Erik Tenkar over at the Tavern is going to match the first $250 donated by the OSR crowd.

So until further notice, I am donating ALL profits from my Green Witch for Swords & Wizardry (which features the Larina art) will be donated to her GoFundMe page.
It's not much, but it is something I hope.

Whether you buy my book or donate directly please help her out.
The OSR is full of some great, generous people.

Monday, August 15, 2016

RPGaDAY2016: Day 15

What types or source of inspiration do you turn to most often for RPGs?

I have mentioned it before, and if you hang out here for any length of time it is obvious, but music and horror movies are my primary sources of inspiration for games.

Yes. I am a voracious reader and I devour fantasy, horror, history and psychology books to feed my game ideas.  But those ideas usually come from a place when I am listening to music or watching a horror movie.

Many of my games even have a "Soundtrack", often known only to me, but they do.
For my "The Dragon and the Phoenix" Buffy game I posted many of the songs here. The Dragon Slayers also had/have a soundtrack.

Ghosts of Albion was written on a steady of diet of Hammer Horror films and Black Sabbath.
The Witch was written with a playlist full of "witchy" songs, from the obligatory Stevie Nicks, to Garbage, Third Eye Blind, and Love Spit Love.

I pretty much lay my muses bare for all to see.

This is going to be a fun one to read from others!

Friday, February 5, 2016

Friday Night Videos: Songs of the Aquarian Order

The Sisters of the Aquarian Order are full of idea I have had for a number of years.  Some of those ideas have come from the music I listened too while conceptualizing it and other from music I listened to while writing it.

So here is a brief selection of songs that get me in the mood to write and play.

First up is a favorite of mine, but a newer song.
The Sword know how to do witchy imagery well.  The protagonist of this song, "The Veil of Isis" is an Aquarian Sister if I ever saw one.

A lot in this book is what I like to think of as "left-over hippie shit".  The 70s were a heady brew of occultism, psuedo-science, emerging technology and science fiction. If that was the stew that fed my creativity then this is the broth.   The 5th Dimension recorded "Age of Aquarius / Let the Sunshine In" in 1969.  It featured prominently on the soundtrack for the musical Hair.  I never liked Hair, but this song I always kind of enjoyed.

True fact.  I love Psychedelic Rock, especially if it is in that sweet spot between 1968 and 1977.  If sounds like the band took a lot of drugs and traveled in space then I am there.   The Amboy Dukes really only had one hit, "Journey to the Centre of the Mind".  But it is exactly the sort of thing I enjoy.

Slightly earlier, but no less awesome, was Procol Harum.  "Whiter Shade of Pale" is just one of the songs that seems to call out to me from some great distance of time and space that I can't quite transverse.  An echo of something I should have heard, but have no idea what it was and only have the memories. I think it is the Hammond organ to be honest.

On the other side is 1979's "Children of the Sun" by Billy Thorpe. It is almost so corny and campy that you would assume it was a parody song, but Thorpe meant it in all earnestness.  From the album of the same name it was one of his biggest hits in the US.  I can honestly say this.  The seeds of the Aquarian Order are here.  I remember the summer of 79, I was out riding my bike and I heard this song and thought about a group of Space Wizards. Interestingly enough the album was released by Capricorn Records.

Even getting further away, but still close enough to matter to me, is April Wine's "Sign of the Gypsy Queen".   Something about this song really gets to me.

If Stevie Nicks is an archetypical witch then Grace Slick is an archetypical Aquarian Sister.  I have had a long and complicated relationship with Jefferson Airplane/Starship.  "Winds of Change" hits a lot metaphorical notes for me.  From 1983 it fits into my timeline for solid D&D/Chill game playing.
"Sleeping, not yet dead."

Friday, January 15, 2016

Friday Night Videos: Women Rock!, Part 2.

A while back I posted a bunch of videos from women that rock.
It was quite popular.

I said then that a part 2 was in order.  So here it is!

K's Choice wis a band from Belgium that had some notoriety in the mid to late 90s.  The biggest album was 1995's Paradise in Me which gave us the hit "Not An Addict". This was a huge song for me during my Sojourn in Hell period, for what should be obvious reasons.  My biggest issue with K's Choice is that for years I swore they were Canadian.   This is the European version of the video which I prefer.

Speaking of the 90s, no one, and I mean no one, does angry like Tori Amos.  Don't think so?  Listen to her lyrics sometime, especially songs like "Me and A Gun", "Pass the Mission", "Spark" and "Cornflake Girl" or to a lesser degree "Crucify".  Taylor Swift sings about someone and it is fodder for Twitter. Tori Amos sings about someone and it is Primal Scream Therapy.
Though the song that always gets me is the first time I saw her.  "Silent All These Year" from the phenomenal Little Earthquakes.

My scream got lost in a paper cup
You think there's a heaven
Where some screams have gone

Never fails to get to me.

I am not all about pathos.  Last time I mentioned my love of Siouxsie Sioux and the Banshees.  That is still true. But I was thinking back to the first song I ever heard of theirs.  Without a doubt it has to be "Cities in Dust".  I remember hearing this all the time in the hey of MTV. I actually sat down to listen to the lyrics once and realized it was about Volcano Day.

At this point do I really need to explain why I am including Stevie Nicks?  No. Ok good.  But I will add that this is my favorite song from the fantastic The Other Side of the Mirror.  This is a more adult and more mature Stevie.  This is a woman that knows who she is and where life is going.  At 31 she was more interesting than the "Wild Heart" girl of her early to mid 20s.

Last time I also mentioned Joan Jett, but I really need to give a shout out to the band that gave us Joan Jett, Lita Ford and Cherie Currie, The Runaways.  The Runaways have been given their due more lately. There was the bio-pic in 2010 and appearances of their signature song "Cherry Bomb" in both Lollipop Chainsaw and Guardians of the Galaxy.   The version from the movie is not too bad, but lacks something raw that original had in droves.

Taylor Momsen may have gotten her start as "Cindi Lou Who" but thankfully for all of us she sold her soul to darkness.  Just kidding...mostly.  Well years later she is fronting the band Pretty Reckless and she seems to be constantly trying to shed that wholesome image.  She is, in some sense, the spiritual successor to The Runaways.   She looks like Cherie Curry and tries to sing like Joan Jett.  She isn't bad and the band has some good songs.  "Heaven Knows" might be the most recognizable.

So who are your favorites?

Friday, November 20, 2015

Friday Night Videos: Women Rock!

Growing up I had a friend that knew every actress' name, movie she was in all these details about their lives.  In college I had another friend who did the same thing with all these supermodels.

When asked who I found attractive or "liked" I would always say names like Stevie Nicks, Deborah Harry or Joan Jett.  For me it was always about the rock girls.

It is also no surprise that most of the female PCs and NPCs I have or have had were based on the women whose albums, tapes and CDs I would buy.

So with the new Supergirl show on now and Jessica Jones on tonight in the US here are some of my favorite ass-kicking superheroines.

This should not be a surprise to anyone I have already featured great performers like Shirley Manson of Garbage, Stevie Nicks,  So here are a just a very few of my favorites.

I have always loved Joan Jett.  She is just so goddammed cool and can rock with the best of them.  She has SOOO many great songs, but this one always gets me going.  Plus it is the "theme song" for the Grazzt/Iggwilv love affair.  That's their dirty little secret...they actually love each other.

Ever hear a song and thought "man I need to do something with that!",  Pat Benatar's "Shadows of the Night" from 1982's Get Nervous was always that song to me. It is very, very likely that the "Midnight Angel" later became Nox.  I always loved her and yes I did have a witch character that looked like her in the 80s.   I never liked the video for it to be honest.  If had been thinking about this I should have made my own video with footage of her on Charmed.  Yes. She was on Charmed for an episode.

Speaking of Nox. "Because the Night" was written by Patti Smith and Bruce Springsteen thanks to the manipulations of Jimmy Iovine (who is immortalized in my games as well).   Patti Smith is such a powerful singer that most people can't do this song justice.  Bruce can.  Natalie Merchant did a good job, so did Shirley Manson.  But they can't compare to her version.   This is one of my favorite songs.

I was once asked if I thought Siouxsie Sioux was attractive. I said yes without hesitation and then I showed them the video for "Kiss Them For Me".  It's not the most iconic Banshees' song, but I really like it.

One of my favorite bard characters looks just like Aimee Mann. What can I say, she is so damn cute and more talented than a truckload of pop-princesses.

Even Darth Vader loves Blondie.  "The Tide is High" is not really related to any gaming, but damn. Deborah Harry in her prime.

What do a Gateway 486, an HP Desk Jet and Hormonally Yours all have in common?  They were the essential ingredients to the first time I sat down to collect all my notes for the Witch class.  I mention the printer because I still have that printout with a couple hundred hand written notes.
Hormonally Yours was the second album from Shakespears Sister featuring former Bananarama singer Siobhán Fahey.  "Stay" was a big hit with me in 92. I thought she was so hot back then, still do in fact.

Very, very, very few people (not just singers) have left such a mark on my psyche as Sinéad O'Connor.  Seriously. I can divide time into two very distinct and very different points. The time before I heard The Lion and The Cobra and the time after.  I have talked about Sinéad before, but the amount I have talked about her doesn't reflect what her music has meant to me.  "Troy" is not my favorite song on this album, but it is damn close.

I think this a good place to stop.  I can do a part 2 later!

Friday, September 18, 2015

Friday Night Videos: Fall into Autumn

The first day of Autumn is Wednesday Sept. 23. Though the first day of Meteorological Autumn was Sept. 1 and Labor Day, the unofficial start of Fall (what we call Autumn in the US) was Sept. 7.

So however you look at it, Autumn is in the air.
I love Fall/Autumn.  I am still wired so much into the academic calendar to feel like Autumn is the start of a new year.

So here are some songs celebrating Fall and the end of Summer.

Was there ever a song more about September than Earth, Wind & Fire's "September"?  Do you remember the 21st of September?

I will admit, I liked Green Day back in the day, but right around the time American Idiot came out I had kinda out grew them.  Still this is not a bad song.  This is not the 8 min long minin movie version.

And the summer became the fall, I was not ready for the winter.

I have posted Stevie before.  This is a triple rarity.  This was a song on "Solid Gold" that was not lipsynched. It is also a video that was never as far as I know ever shown on Friday Night Videos. Also it featured a very strong performance from Stevie's own sister in law Lori Nicks. Lori sang the chorus here, but on the album Stevie sang both parts.  I really like Lori's voice and love it when she sings duets with Stevie.
Here is Stevie Nicks, the White Witch of Rock & Roll, with "Nightbird" from The Wild Heart.

I talked about John Cougar Mellencamp a while back.  Growing up in the Midwest Fall also means Harvest. means that everywhere, but just as my rhythms as an academic are defined by the school year, the harvest is very much part of the world I grew up in.
Plus it is great fucking song from a great album.

I have said it before, but Led Zeppelin is pretty much AD&D in music form. OR is that AD&D is Led Zeppelin in RPG form?  "Ramble On" from Led Zeppelin II is one of those songs that just cements this idea.  Part ballad, part metal, it could be a song about an adventurer "mine's a tale that can't be told" complete with Tolkien references.

Don Henley's "Boys of Summer" was just one of those songs that was always on the radio the Summer of 1985 and it was the perfect song for that time too.  Building the Perfect Beast was a fantastic album, but I will talk about it another time.
Here is the Atari's version.  I have actually seen a Black Flag sticker on a Cadillac.

AND just because today is Casandra Petersen's aka Elvira, The Mistress of the Dark's birthday today.
Yeah....I did actually listen to this song when came out.  You can't judge me.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Friday Night Videos: Flashback 1982

Welcome back to Friday Night Videos!

Tonight I want to pay homage to the years that really got me going D&D wise.  1980, 1981 and 1982!

So this morning I was reading Arlee Bird's blog Tossing it Out.
Lee is the brains behind so many great blog challenges including the April A to Z challenge.

This morning he was talking about music and it's relationship to people.  For me though music has always been about the times it was in or what was going on when I heard it.  The cue for me to switch gears tonight and focus on 1982 was his use of the fantastic Alan Parson's Project, Eye in the Sky.  The meaning of the song of the same name is debated; is it about 1984, security cameras or something else.  For me this song will ALWAYS be about the module B3 Palace of the Silver Princess.  The "Eye in the Sky" in this case is the evil creature/god Arik and his ruby eye.  This song was on constant rotation the entire time I bought and first ran this adventure.

From the same album is a song my younger brother and I loved, "Psychobable". To me the song was more about horror and nightmares and that certainly had a huge effect on the style of game I ran even back then.  This was only compounded when I got my first copy of Chill.
This video is an odd one but I really like it.  The creator re-edited an old Orson Welles student film to go with the song.  For me it just fits.

Few albums are more "D&D" than Blue Öyster Cult's Fire of Unkown Origin and few songs more so than "Veteran of the Psychic Wars".  Let's look at the song's pedigree for a moment.  It was co-written by Micheal Moorcock, author of the Eternal Champion series. It is about the greatest, or at least the most popular of all the Eternal Champions Elric of Melniboné.   The song also appeared in the movie Heavy Metal.  On the releases I saw this was during the Taarna sequences.  The song is an ode to any D&D character ever. It is practically a Grognard anthem.  I would revisit the imagery myself during the years I was running my "Willow & Tara" game, Episode 5: Veteran of the Psychic Wars.

Last week I talked about how much Stevie Nicks influenced, well, pretty much everything I have ever written.  "Leather and Lace" was another song from Bella Donna that I loved.  This one I also connect to B3.  In particular the love story of the Princess and the White Drake.  In the original version of the adventure (written by Jean Welles) he was the bad guy.  In the revised version (by Tom Moldvay, the hero of 1981!) they became lovers instead.  I have to admit I like his version better than hers.

In the opposite direction of the sentiment of Leather and Lace we have Greg Kihn, whom I always associate with the start of the "video age".  "The Breakup Song" was from Kihn's album Rockihnroll.  The truth is, just like the song says, they just don't write 'em like that anymore.

This is one is kind of a cheat. I loved this song back in the day, but never associated it with gaming till much, much later.  Donnie Iris' "Ah! Leah!" from Back on the Streets.  Though it was out in 1980 I am sure I never heard it till 81.  Like Veteran of the Psychic Wars this song became part of the "soundtrack" of music I listened to when working on the Buffy RPG and then later Ghosts of Albion.  "Leah" was immortalized in my game universe as the name of the woman that married Tara's brother Donny in "Strange Sort of Homecoming" (which itself is named for a Sting song).

"Let me be the one to say when I've had enough..."

Sum songs capture an age perfectly.  Others only capture the feeling, and in retrospect are perfect.  Santana's "Hold On" is that sort of song.  It's too Latin sounding to be really part of the early 80s. But yet here we are and this song is perfect at describing the time.  The first track released from 1981's Shangó.

Got to concentrate, file away
Every last detail
Don't want to lose what's going down
I want to remember everything I'm feeling
Should time try fading or stealing something away.

What are your favorite memories from 1981 and 1982?

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Zatannurday: Happy Birthday Zee!

Wednesday, May 20th is the official birthday of Zatanna.
(it is also Zatanna creator's Gardner Fox's birthday!)

Since we celebrated Stevie Nicks' birthday last night, lets keep the celebration of magical ladies going with Zatanna today.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Friday Night Videos: Stevie Nicks

Welcome back to Friday Night Videos, where we wish a happy birthday to the White Witch herself, Stevie Nicks!

You don't have to know a lot about me to know that I LOVE Stevie Nicks.   Tuesday May 26 is her birthday and we are going to celebrate here this weekend.

Whether with Fleetwood Mac or on her own no single artist has ever influenced my writing more.  To this day if I am going to write something new about witches I put Stevie and let the words flow.

We first hear of Stevie Nicks in the 1975 self title Fleetwood Mac album. Stevie and then boyfriend Lindsey Buckingham had joined the band bringing Rhianon with them.  Stevie had heard the story of Rhianon from a book, and only later heard of the Welsh Goddess.  She would often introduce the song as "This is a song about an old Welsh witch..."

Stevie went on to record her first solo album.  The enchanting Bella Donna.  While many of us were already in love with her from Rumours and Tusk, this solidified her hold as the Queen of Rock.
"The Edge of Seventeen" came about because Stevie could not understand Tom Petty's wife's thick southern accent.   Either way it gave us one of the enduring Stevie Nicks images, the White Winged Dove.

Fleetwood Mac was at their height when 1982's Mirage was released.  The album had a number of hits but the most Stevie of all the songs was "Gypsy".  Mirage my have been the swan song of the Fleetwood Mac that was, but Stevie never rose higher.

Shortly after the Mirage tour came to an end Stevie threw herself right into the recording of what would become, in my humble opinion, her greatest album to date.  This is the album I had playing on cassette when I wrote the first draft of the witch class. This is the album I listened to on CD when I made my 2nd Ed. Netbook. And this is the album I listened to on MP3 when I wrote The Witch.
The Wild Heart is one of the best albums ever.  My memory of this album is I got it for my 13th birthday just as soon as it was out.

Featuring keyboards by none other than the Purple One himself, Prince, "Stand Back" is not very witchy, but I love it all the same.

"Nightbird" the song that launched a 100 characters. I wanted my witch character to be as awesome as this song and to look like Stevie. It was 1983, but it is still just as true today 32 years later.
This version from "Solid Gold" is still one of my favorites.  In an age when artists were just lip-syncing their own songs  Stevie was singing hers.  She is joined here by her longtime back up singer, best friend and sister-in-law Lori Nicks singing the parts that Stevie over-dubbed on the album.

Stevie has spent years trying to escape the image of the "Witchy Woman" only to embrace it full on in season 3 of "American Horror Story".  The finale for "Coven" was an episode featuring what can only be called a Stevie Nicks video.  The song and the episode was called "The Seven Wonders".  The album was Tango in the Night from 1987. The last Fleetwood Mac album I ever bought on tape.  Yeah. We used to buy tapes.

You can watch the American Horror Story: Coven version below.

There are so many more of course. But that is good for tonight.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Friday Night Videos: Guest VJ Elizabeth Chaipraditkul of WITCH

Welcome once again to Friday Night Videos!

Tonight I want to welcome my very first Guest VJ.
Back on the original FNV guest VJs were a staple.  Usually they had something to promote, a new movie or TV show, or they were pop-culture icons.

Tonight I want to welcome my very special guest Elizabeth Chaipraditkul, author and designer of new game WITCH!

I featured WITCH this morning on my Kickstart your weekend post so please check that out.
So without further ado here is Liz!

Hi! I am Liz and I was asked by Tim to guest VJ and make a playlist based on my game WITCH and what I listened to while creating it. This was difficult and I spent a lot of time agonizing over my Spotify playlists and YouTube history before I came to this core essence list. I hope you enjoy it.

Florence and the Machine - No Light, No Light

When I need to get in the mood for writing I love listening to beautiful things and for me that is Florence and the Machine. Their lyrics stay with me and make me think. No light, No Light is no exception. It is a simple love song with beautiful lyrics. “You are the night time fear, you are the morning when it’s near, when it’s over you’re the start, you’re my head, you’re my heart.” When creating WITCH, the fluff pieces that are meant to tempt and entice readers, I try to emulate what I feel when I listen to Florence and the Machine

Lana Del Rey - Gods & Monsters

Lana is so apathetic in all her songs, it is brilliant. I am a pretty passionate person, at least I like to think so, and Lana is the perfect Yin to my Yang. Furthermore, the subject matter of her songs is darkly shallow, the perfect mood for a simple noir setting- smoking a cigarette, sipping a martini, and trying to hide the run in your stockings. Lana Del Rey just works for WITCH, she’s mysterious, deceptively shallow, and seductive- just like magic.

Johnny Cash - I Hung My Head

Anything Johnny Cash was the soundtrack to my university years. He is a fantastic storyteller. His voice conveys so much emotion, it’s clear and it’s strong. I try to emulate Johnny when I write and listening to him clears my mind. I Hung My Head is one of my penultimate favourite songs by Mr. Cash, it is a simple story of utter tragedy. It makes me think a lot about WITCH, what would you do if you did something so stupid, what would you give up to get out of a stupid mistake you made?

Stevie NicksEdge of Seventeen

We’re shaped a lot by our parents. I wasn’t the coolest kid in school so, when I wanted to get into music, I asked my mom to buy me “cool” tunes (big mistake). She came back with Fleetwood Mac. While this didn't make me the most popular kid, I am now happy she did. I love Stevie Nicks and she helps me when things just aren't working the way I want in WITCH. Stevie Nicks and Fleetwood Mac are my editing music. They get my head bopping, they allow me to let go of crappy pieces of text I through were brilliant weeks ago, and the help me get work done.

Shireen - Unmarked

Shireen is actually a band who’s lead singer I know pretty well. She’s my friend and her name is Annieke and she has the voice of a siren. Normally, when you meet people and they tell you they have a band you cringe a bit. (Note: This normally has nothing to do with the band and more me just being too judgmental). However, when I heard Shireen I was sold. Their music is amazing and haunting. I ended up listening to this one track so much while working on our Kickstarter Campaign. It’s a perfect song for WITCH (especially if you take the lyrics a bit too literally).

Thank you for listening in with me. I had so much fun compiling this list :).
If you like the playlist and you’re interested in our Kickstarter for the corebook of WITCH, please check it out here:


Tim here again. Thanks Liz. That's a great playlist.
Are you interested in being a Guest VJ here at Friday Night Videos? Send me an email at

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Stevie Nicks on American Horror Story Coven

The writers for American Horror Story: Coven continue to pick ideas out of my head and will be featuring Stevie Nicks on an upcoming episode.

Seriously, it is like they read this blog! (Ok, I know they don't)

New Orleans? Check and check
Witchcraft Traditions? check
Stevie Nicks? Check
Witch Queens? Check.

Ok all of that is to be expected really.  But it has still been a really fun ride!

In other TV-Witch news, "Witches of East End" has been picked up for Season 2.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

The New Witches of TV

2013 is turning into the TV Season of the the Witch.  Rarely has there been this many witches on TV at once.

American Horror Story: Coven
What's not to like about this one? Witches. New Orleans. Voodoo. Stevie Nicks music.  Sounds like my kind of show.  Plus it has Jessica Lange as "The Supreme" or what would called in one of my games, the Witch Queen.  So far the story is engrossing and I am sure there is going to be a fairly hefty body count.
The witches on this show seem to have a signature power as well as the ability to cast some spells.  There are only a handful of witches left in America (having been hunted down) so there is a sense of "us vs them" in this.  Actually given the voodoo angle it is likely to be "us vs them vs them".
ETA: Totally "us vs them vs them".

Witches of East End
This show is based on the books by Melissa de la Cruz.  This is much more campy and much more soapy.  Here the witches don't have a power each, but a signature curse.  I kinda like that to be honest, very Practical Magic about them.  It deals, much like Charmed and Practical Magic, with sisters.  I will say that this is the first time I have watched Julia Ormond in something and I liked her in it.  It also stars Mädchen Amick, who I have liked since her brief appearance on Star Trek The Next Generation back in season 2 (1988-89).
Comparisons to Charmed and Practical Magic are going to abound in this one. The house even reminds me of the Halliwell Manor home.   It is not quite as good as American Horror story, but there is fun about it.

Sleepy Hollow
Though not a witch-show per se, it does feature Katia Winter as Katrina Crane who was/is a witch.   I liked Katia Winter during her recent stint on Dexter, so her roll her is very different but gives you just enough to make me want to know more about her.  Plus I want to know how this character differs from the original Katrina Van Tassel.

Two other shows that don't presently have any witches but very likely might are the new Dracula series on NBC and the upcoming Bitten on SyFy based on the books of Kelley Armstrong. Then there is also the rumor now of Charmed coming back to TV as a reboot.  Way too early for that to be honest despite how much I enjoyed Charmed.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Quest of the Ancients: The Obscure Fantasy RPGs Appreciation Day

"Look upon this, old-schoolers, and know that this path has been tread before." -  Jeff Grubb

Today is The Obscure Fantasy RPGs Appreciation Day hosted by Mesmerized by Sirens.

oie Umu0 PWl3 Ploq

On this day I want to go back over some ground I have tread before.  Today I want to talk about Vince Garcia's magnum opus Quest of the Ancients.

QotA was the topic of one of my A to Z posts a few years ago. It seems I was not the only one to use it for Q, Jeff Grubb posted about it the same year and Charlie Warren the year after.   There is surprisingly little information out there about this game.  The Wikipedia article is sparse and the RPGNet database entry only has the basics.  There is very, very little else on the web and the author, Vince Garcia, seems to have no net presence I can find.  Plus there is no legal pdf of it out there. In fact if you search for "Quest of the Ancients"  + "legal PDF" you will only find me asking for it on RPG.Net.  I would also like to find a copy of the 2nd edition print.  It has different (and better) cover art but that is all I know for sure.  I have heard it was never printed and in other places I have heard it is longer by a few pages.  No idea.

So, obscure? Yeah. It has it in droves.
I don't even remember where I learned about it.  I am pretty sure I know how and about when though.
I was finishing up my very first netbook on Witches for AD&D 2nd ed and I wanted to collect all the AD&D  compatible witch classes that were ever made.  My idea was I was going to play test all the classes with the same character (same background and stats) and see how they all played out.  Something I still do to this day. I discovered the Judges Guild Witch Class and was not overly thrilled with it.  Somehow I discovered or was told about Quest of the Ancients. I picked up a copy on eBay and that was that.

Quest of the Ancients can be best described as an AD&D clone, an AD&D add on or as a collection of someone's AD&D house rules.  The author, Vince Garcia, had some publications before QotA came out including some material for AD&D2 and White Wolf magazine.  So he was not new to this. In deed the copyright date on this book lists 1982, so some form of these rules were around at least then.  Likely it was a collection of house rules.  What I noticed though right away was the Witch Class.

Let's be 100% honest here.  Vince Garcia loves the Witch class as much as I do.  Really.  The book is easily 70-75% class material and the class that gets the most attention and the most text is the witch.  Before I get into that let me talk about what the book has.

We start out with the title/author page.  He dedicates the the book to "Miss Stevie Nicks".  Ok. So let me be honest here.  I get this. No, I really do.  That doesn't not make it weird. But I get it.  He also thanks "Angelique".  Yeah, I did the same thing.

The QotA game (and I am unsure if this is intended to be a seperate game or as thinly veiled add-on to AD&D) characters have nine (9) stats.  They are rolled differently depending on the race of the character and sometime the gender.  Nearly everyone has the same mins and maxes (1-20), but the different dice and pluses usually mean different mean, median and modal scores.   The big stat is IQ (Intelligence) since it determines how high level you can go.  The ability adjustments for these abilities are D&D standard (+0 for average up to +3 for 18 and beyond). Our abilities are Strength, Agility, Conditioning, IQ, Charm, Appearance, Luck, Stamina, and Body (which is the average of Strength and Conditioning).
The book covers the standard races (human, elf, dwarf, half-elf, gnome) and some ideas on how to make other races like the ogre or a "furrfoot" (halfing) work.  This bit is not bad advice really and certainly expands on the ideas of races.

Chapter 2 covers the classes.  This is the reason you buy this book.
There are  Fighter classes. These include the Cossack, Gladiator, Knight, Legionnaire, Rouge (not a thief), Saracen, Viking, and Woodsman.  Another group are the Tricksters which are the Assassin, Bard (with some spell-songs), Cutpurse (this is the thief), and Gypsy.  The gypsy is interesting since there is a difference between male and female gypsies.  The males are more like a Bard/Cutpurse/Rogue while the females are more witch-like.  Lastly we have all the  Spellcasters.  Each class is presented and all their spells follow after.  This includes the Druid (different from the AD&D one), Earth Priest, Necromancer, Sorcerer, and Witch.    The Necromancer is more akin to the original idea of a Necromancer, one that speaks to the dead.  He does have plenty of death-related spells.  The Sorcerer is a "do it yourself" sort of spell using class.  No spells are even listed for this class assuming the GM will make their own or use some "from magazines".

Let's talk about the Witch now.
Like I mentioned the classes take up pages 13 to 157 (of 214),  the witch has 52 of those pages. Who does that remind you of?
 She has a lot of new spells up to the 7th level and about five new powers. The witch is also the only class to get a detailed NPC. Actually she gets three.  The "Queen of Witches" Elvyra, her familiar and her chief handmaiden. The rules limit advancement to 20th level; Elvyra is 25th and Night (the handmaiden) is 23rd.   Look. I am the last person that can throw stones at this one OK.  Part of me is face-palming over this, and another part is impressed with the shear bravado of it.
Notably the "iconics" from the cover are not stated up anywhere in the book.
The Witch and Gypsy are both pretty interesting classes.  I think what happened here is the author wrote all this material for the Witch and then had a bunch of spells and ideas left over that used for the other classes.  Or maybe I am projecting too much.  Hard to say.

There are some interesting rules on multi-classing.  It reminds a little of the D&D4 Hybrid class rules.  Basically you advance in two classes at the same time, taking the more advantageous options.  The experience points are a little more than 75% of the two classes added together.  So on the average a multiclassed character takes 1.5 times longer to level up than a single class character.  Neat idea on paper, not sure how it works in reality.

The rest of the book goes by fast, really just enough to call it a complete game.  There is a chapter on skills. only a couple of pages really but for an AD&D Heartbreaker it has some neater ideas.  A chapter on Equipment, one on "the Adventure" and another on Combat.  The Combat is a d30 deal which is again interesting, but not one I would ever use to be honest.
You might think the Chapter on Magic would be longer than it is. But it is only about 3-4 pages.  Though there is some interesting ideas on magical research for all classes.
There are chapters on Rewards and some Monsters.  The only thing that sets it apart is the listing of female vs. male unicorns.  One (female) is white and good and the other (male) is black and not as good.
There is also a chapter on the campaign world of Islay.  It is a typical game world where lot of quasi medieval and semi-mythical lands are clumped together Xena-style.
There is some historical  detail about the worshipers of Brigit and his witches which made me smile.  Vince Garcia and I read a lot of the same books it seems.

In the end I can't dislike the game and I admire the author intents.
I am not likely to use anything from it really,  but it is a fun book to pick up a flip through. Plus I kinda like that there is not a whole bunch known about it.  Gives me the illusion that I am some sort of occult expert in a very narrow field of expertise.  I can pull on my old professor clothes and have a snifter of age brandy; "Islay you say? Let me tell you about the lands of Islay. Her unicorns, demons and most of all about the Witch Queen.  Yes. You must hear about the Witch Queen Elvyra..."

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

White Dwarf Wednesday #19

The summer of 1980 I turned 11, and White Dwarf published issue #19 for June/July.

Let's take a moment and look at this Les Edwards cover.  Some sort of ghoul or demon coming up out of a pit (a ghoul according to his website).  He is not here to welcome us to the dungeon or give us candy.  I love the detail of this image.  But it is not the only detail we should look at.  Note how the magazine is up 15p from last issue (and 50 cents in the US, Canada and Australia).
We are treated to some more full-page ads.  Again, I enjoy these and they are a different insight to the time and too what was popular.  Up front, Chaosium is no longer "The Chaosium".    An ad as a letter from TSR detailing what is coming to the UK this summer from TSR.  The new Deities and Demigods book as well as the  Modules GW1, S3, B2 and Q1.  Interestingly enough B2 is listed as both for D&D and AD&D.

An aside.  We are really getting into the time when I was hardcore into D&D (as opposed to the last 30+ years I guess).  I can't help but reflect on when this was all so new to me and new to everyone else.  Popping in my MP3s from Stevie Nicks "Bella Donna" (ok that was 81, but hey).

An ad for the the new Ares magazine and the new game John Carter, Warlord of Mars. (Aside #2: Must pick up John Carter on Blu-Ray today!)

The editorial this issue is about the lack of back issues (tell me about it!!) and how they will publish the White Dwarf compendiums, one "The Best of White Dwarf Articles"  and the other "The Best of White Dwarf Scenarios".  I remember wanting those both so bad back in the day.  It was not till post college, a steady paycheck and the magic of eBay that I was able to fill in my gaps.

On to the articles!

Trevor Graver gives us a criminal background for Traveller characters.  Again, I love these old mags because they were so system agnostic.  Everything was thrown in together.  Traveller, D&D/AD&D, Runequest, it was all here.

The Fiend Factory is back with some low level monsters.  The Empopath, which is like a low-level psychic frog.  The Stormbiter, a sort of air-elemental of the desert, similar to a Dust Devil.  Undead Horses (what it says on the tin), the Werefox which I think is the same the would later appear in Monster Manual II. And the Darkhawk which is an evil looking, but not evilly aligned, undead hawk.  Monsters still have Monstermark ratings.

A Runequest mini-scenario, Jorthan's Rescue, by Stephen R. Marsh & John T. Sapienza Jr. is up next.  It looks pretty solid to be honest.

Next up is a page on how there has been an interest of late of new character classes and some ideas behind the new Beserker class that follows.   Roger E. Moore then presents the Berserker as a complete class.  This is an order of magnitude above other classes in terms presentation, use and how it was written.  The class is complete on one page.

ANOTHER mini-scenario by Tom Keenes is next.  Ogre Hunt is presented as suitable for 4-7 moderate to low-level characters for C&S.  At only a page and 3/4s it is smaller, but does what it sets out to do.

Open Box is up with new games.  Starfire from Task Force Games is a tactical naval space battles game for 2-3 players.  It gets a solid 8/10.  Magic Realm from Avalon Hill has been a constant search for me at game auctions. It is described as a fantasy-adventure role-playing game with a board.  While reviewer Colin Reynolds likes the magic battles, he downgrades it for it boardgame like set up.  I get the feeling that this game was in his mind neither RPG or board-game.   It gets a 7/10.   We also have two books from Fantasy Productions Inc. The first is High Fantasy, which reminds the reviewer of D&D. It has some interesting design ideas, including a to hit vs dodge mechanic, but the rest seems uninspired. Don Turnbull gives it a 4/10.  Fortress of Ellendar is an adventure module to be used with High Fantasy, but it fares better with a 7/10.  Finally the first official adventure for Traveller, Adventure 1 The Kinunir gets 9/10 from Bob McWilliams.

Lew Pulsipher gives us an article on magical wards for AD&D. Very interesting, not just in terms of content, but as an extension of D&D scholarship; articles designed to expand some minor bit of game esoterica. This sort of thing will fill magazines for years to come and websites and blogs long after that.

The Letters section has the typical comments on Fiend Factory, but also some letters on the differences between the 1st and 2nd printings of the new MM and DMG, with one complaining that the different "editions" came too soon on the heels of the previous one.  Somethings never, ever change.

Treasure Chest gives us some pre-gen NPCs instead of magic items.

The next article is something of an archaeological find really. It discusses the future of CM gaming, that is Computer Moderated.  The Archaeopteryx of today's MMORPGs.  The game is called Starweb from Flying Buffalo Inc. The turns are still sent and returned by mail, but all the moderation is done by computer.  What is most interesting I think is not that this was the first entry into what would today become a business either adored or reviled (or both) by traditional Table Top RPG fans, but that Starweb is still going on!  This is what I love about these retrospectives, the archaic knowledge of a bygone time AND how it is related to today.
I suppose it should be noted that the reviewer sited a number of problems with Starweb, I don't think he foresaw it would still be running 32 years after publication.

We end with news of some new character sheet books coming from TSR and the C1 module.  The Empire Strikes Back is mentioned with the often quoted "three trilogies" idea.
We have ads. A lot of them in fact, with finally a full page ad for Top Secret again.

White Dwarf grows also to 36 pages (including covers).

This was a great issue to be honest.  Lots of great finds here.  Again, the issues and debates we today were going on then.  In one issue we get Edition Wars! Computer vs. Table Top play!  Power Creep!  Gamers of game X vs. Gamers of game Y! Fun stuff.

What else was going on in RPG history?  Well You can read about White Dwarf here.
James at Grognardia is doing a retrospective of Ares every Tuesday.
Matt over at Land of Nod is doing Dragon by Dragon every Sunday.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Sabrina the Witch

Oddly enough one witch I almost never talk about is Sabrina The Teen Aged witch.

Not because I don't like her, I just don't know all that much about her.  I knew of the Archie comic, but never read it.  I watched the old Filmation Saturday Morning Cartoon and enjoyed that.  I never watched the TV series though with Melissa Joan Hart or the cartoon spun off from it.

Truthfully I never gave her much thought other than starting up a sheet for her in Buffy with a note to watch some of the episodes.  My idea then (2001-2002) was to have the MJH version meet up with the Cast.  That never happened since I went full on into another series.  She never even guest stared in my next series about witches, which is kind of a shame really.

It probably would have stayed that way until fellow Eden writer Thom Marrion hadn't included her in his "Swinging 70's" character write-ups.  Course there she was "Sabrinia, the Late-20 to Early-30s Witch".

But I liked the idea so much that I thought I'd update that version of her.  I always wanted an older matriarch sorta witch character in my game.  Someone that was not active in the normal affairs, but had history.  Plus I also wanted someone that pretty much had the entire supernatural world owing her favors.
And of course I was dying to use Stevie Nicks as casting in something.  Given my history with her, it had to be something special.  Sabrina as a character might not have been my first choice, but I am happy how it all worked out.

Sabrina the Late Middle Aged Witch
(based on Thoms original)

Note: All respect to Thom Marrion for this. This is an idea I had kicking around in my head for a while. Plus I have ALWAYS wanted to use Stevie Nicks as the Queen of Witches in my games. I was listing to the "Wild Heart" today and decided to do this.

Sabrina Spelman-Krinkle
Age: 63, played by Stevie Nicks
Very Experienced Investigator (Semi-Retired)

Name: Sabrina Spelman-Krinkle
Motivation: Not much motivates her now
Creature Type: Human
Attributes: Strength 2, Dexterity 2, Constitution 2, Intelligence 4, Perception 4, Willpower 5
Ability Scores: Muscle 10, Combat 12, Brains 16
Life Points: 26
Drama Points: 20
Special Abilities: Attractiveness +2, Contacts (Supernatural) 5, Emotional Problems (Depression, -2), Love (Tragic), Magic Family, Occult Investigator, Occult Library(Amazing), Secret (She's a witch who belongs to a powerful magical family), Magic 8, Supernatural Senses (Basic and the Sight)

Name;Score;Damage Notes
Dodge;12;;Defense Action
Grapple;14;;Resisted by Dodge
Magic;21;Special;Varies by spell

Thom gives us an idea of what Sabrina was doing in the 70s since that time Sabrina married her long time love Harvey Krinkle which was no end of controversy, a Spelman marring a mortal (though it had been done before) and eventually she rose up in ranks in the Witches Council. After the death of Samantha Spelman-Stephens, Sabrina was the logical choice as the successor to the Queen of Witches. Logical to everyone except to Sabrina herself and maybe Harvey (but not like the Council cared for his opinion), it was in fact their mistreatment of her husband and their non-magical daughter (though their other children were magical) that she finally took on the role. She had hoped to change the Council from the top down. The trouble was the Witches Council is an old organization and moves slow. It took her months to even get them to install a computer in her office.
After years of fighting the system Sabrina is now tired of fighting. Her reason to fight, Harvey, died a couple of years ago and now she is not much more than a figurehead with the true operations of the Witches Council being run by Tabitha Stephens.
However dont let her apathy fool you, Sabrina saw more of the supernatural before age 17 than most teams of occult investigators see their entire lives. Like the previous Queen of Witches, her (great) Aunt Samantha, Sabrina has the full might and power of the Council at her disposal. Though it would take something considerable to get her attention.

In your games: Sabrina looks over her life and sees the wasted years fighting the council, working to keep the council and her family both happy and she has ended up here, older, alone and pleasing no one. Her stats have not changed much to reflect this stagnancy of her life. Think Queen Victoria after Albert died. I even have her wearing black.

Also I like the idea that if you bring her into the game it needs to be for a really good reason.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Tumble 4 Ya Blogfest: My 80's Crush

The I'll Tumble 4 Ya, the 80's crush blog fest.

Growing up in the 80s was actually kinda cool. We got videos games, MTV, and I got to play a lot of Dungeons and Dragons.

A lot.

An obscene amount really.

One thing that will always be linked for me in those early years was playing D&D at my buddy Jon Cook's house and watching MTV.
We got to watch MTV when it was good and at an age to really enjoy it.  Music seemed to explode in a variety of styles.  Plus it opened up the world of women to my young mind.

But unlike many of my friends though, my first crushes were not models or even actresses (though Brooke Shields holds a special place in my memories).  No my first crushes were rock girls.  Singers, musicians or any of them.  I loved Joan Jett (I still love Joan Jett!), Shelia E., Terri Nunn, Dale Bozzio, and others long forgotten.

But none of them could hold a candle to Stevie Nicks.

Not only did I love how she looked, I loved (still do) her voice.  I have been known to still blast "If Anyone Falls" in my car while driving home.  I am not ashamed to admit it.

I think I wore out two copies of "The Wild Heart" on cassette and at least one (maybe two) copies of "Belladonna".  That's not counting the Fleetwood Mac tapes I'd make to feature her only.  Well except Mirage and Tusk, they are kind of perfect as they are. (Interestingly two of my favorite Fleetwood Mac songs "Hold Me" and "Don't Stop" don't even feature Stevie).

Plus, and lets be honest here, look at those pictures.  What do you see other than an incredible woman?  Yeah, a witch.
Now lets be 100% clear, Stevie is not a witch. At all.  She likes to dress like that and she calls her production company Welsh Witch.  But in my 13 year old mind (and before the internet) I didn't know any better.  So my first witch character was loosely based on Stevie Nicks.  I am not the only one who did that either.

That first witch of mine, whose name by the way was Stephanie (yes Stevie's real name), later came back to life in a way as Megan Maclay, nee O'Kelly, the mother of Tara in Season of the Witch.  My first Witch book has a ton of spells that involve voice or singing in some way or another.  All because I expected my witches to be able to sing.  Maybe too much D&D and MTV at the same time.

I even used Stevie Nicks as part of a "casting" for a write-up I did for an older Sabrina the Teenage Witch. My friend Thom Marrion did the teenage version (actually in her 20s) and I did the older version.  I should post those here sometime.

I think though the first video I ever saw of her was "Nightbird" on "Solid Gold".  What I liked was that it was obvious she was not lip-synching like everyone else had been. Plus the song is amazing.
Anyway, here are some of her videos from that golden age when Stevie was on MTV while I was working on my first witch character.

She still looks and sounds great today.

Here is the list of others participating bloggers.
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