Friday, October 28, 2011

Elizabeth Bathory: Spellcraft & Swordplay

A while back I posted a bunch of character write-ups on Elizabeth Bathory.
I thought, given the season and to celebrate Spellcraft & Swordplay in physical print copies I'd bring them both together.  Based on my Dracula stats from early today, Bathory also has the advantage of being a coven witch.
This build is based on my earlier ones, as well as the material from Eldritch Witchery, which is coming out soon.

Elizabeth Bathory
Vampire / Witch (Demonic Tradition)

AC: 5
Move: 90'
HD: 15 (48 hp)
Attacks: 2 claws (short sword), 1 bite OR Spells as a 6th level coven Witch
Special: Climb 40', Blood Drain, Animal Empathy (Improved; Rats, bats, wolves), Dominate, Spawn (Blood or Energy drain), Energy Drain (bite), Alternate Form (wolf, incorporeal gas, improved), Resist electricity, Immune mundane weapons, Vulnerable sun, fire, holy water (treat as 2d6 acid), witch abilities
Treasure: 8
XP: 2100
S: 21 D: 16 C: 18 I: 14 W: 16 Ch: 19

Bathory can not change into a bat as other vampires.  She can also only summon wolves. Unlike Dracula, Elizabeth is damaged by the sun.
In addition to being a vampire, Elizabeth Bathory is also a coven witch of the 6th level.  She is not the highest level witch, but she is the coven leader.
Her familiar is demonic black coated wolf with red eyes.  When she is done draining her victims she feeds the remains to this monster.

She may cast the following spells
First level: Charm, Ghostly Slashing, Increase Sex Appeal
Second level: Ecstasy, Rite of Remote Seeing, Virgin Innocence
Third level: Dance Macabre, Toad Mind
Fourth level: Masque

These spells, the Demonic tradition, and what a coven witch is will all be detailed in Eldritch Witchery.

Dracula: Spellcraft & Swordplay

I think it would be awesome to run a total old school dungeon crawl in Castle Dracula.  Not Castle Ravenloft, with it's puzzles and puns.  Castle Dracula.  It would be a blast.
And what better system to do it with than Spellcaft and Swordplay?

Anytime I stat up a character for S&S I have to ask myself the question, could this guy go toe to toe with Conan?  Sort of like what I did with Red Sonja.

Vlad Dracula
Warrior Vampire Lord

AC: 4
Move: 90'
HD: 15 (54 hp)
Attacks: 2 claws (short sword), 1 bite OR 1 weapon as a 15th level warrior (8 + 6)
Special: Fly 40', Climb 40', Blood Drain, Animal Empathy (Improved; Rats, bats, wolves), Dominate, Spawn (Blood or Energy drain), Energy Drain (bite), Alternate Form (bat, wolf, incorporeal gas, improved), Resist electricity, Immune mundane weapons, Vulnerable sun, fire, holy water (treat as 2d6 acid), +2 to all Con based saves.
Treasure: 9
XP: 2400
S: 24 D: 18 C: 18 I: 15 W: 15 Ch: 17

This incarnation of Dracula is the Transylvanian warlord with vampire powers to make him far more brutal than he ever was in life.  He will be surrounded by an army completely loyal to him, though only human, not vampire.

As per the Vampire, Dracula is immune to sleep, charm and hold spells. He may summon 10-100 rats (5-20 giant rats), 10-100 bats (3-18 giant bats) or 3-18 wolves (2-8 dire wolves). Dracula may shapechange into a large bat or wolf, but his hit points remain unchanged. Dracula may also regenerate 5 hit points per round as long as he has fed.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

October Challenge: Legion (2009)

What happens if you take the line "Every Angel is terrifying" and make it into an entire movie?  You might get something like Legion.

Legion (2009)

I really enjoy the good War in Heaven movies.  It shows that The Plan isn't all it's cracked up to be.  Plus demons, as scary as they can be, are so over done.  "oh look, another one of hell's rejects, I wonder what it might do?"  But a rogue Angel?  Or a rogue Angel with a shotgun?  Yeah that sounds cool.
The story is really though nothing new.  Angel "falls" to Earth and cuts off his wings (and his symbolic link to the Master Plan) and then heads out to the desert.  Here he finds a pregnant woman and we learn that her baby has a huge destiny in front of him as mankind's next savior.
The angel in this case though is the Arch Angel Micheal.  And the woman and her unborn are not being hunted by demons, but other angels.   They make a stand off in the diner in the middle of the desert with Denis Quaid and Charles S. Dutton (two actors that are always really fantastic in what they do).
The baby comes and so do the trumpets.  Micheal's BBF Gabriel is here and the action turns up a bit.
Long story short, mother, baby and new boyfriend that always loved her from afar drive a new town with a car full of guns.  Not exactly a Christmas story, but hey.

I liked how the angels looked, there was an alieness about them that we only normally see in demons or Lovecraftian horrors.  These are not fat, nekkid babies with little wings.  These warriors that are willing to commit genocide in their Creator's name AND with the knowledge that what they are doing is right.
Plus they can posses people.  Why should demons have all the fun.

Now this movie got some pretty bad reviews.  Some of those are deserved.  The plot is thin at best, but this is a fun movie.  There are some good scares in it and really it combines many different horror tropes together rather nicely.
I liked it and thought it was fun.

Tally 26 movies, 23 new.

Game Ideas: This is an Armageddon or WitchCraft game blended with All Flesh Must Be Eaten.
In fact it has been done already,  I have to admit I really, really like Thom's take on the Arch Angels.

Dracula: Lord of the Vampires, Threat Report

Mutants & Masterminds Threat Report #43: Dracula

I really like these M&M Threat Reports.  They are a quick and easy way to add a villain to your game in a second.
What I like about these is they remind me so much of the old Chill supplements and the Con X ones.  Not that I Am saying they are copies, far from it! But rather all three games went to the same well and each came back with something a little different, and each one was very cool for their own game.

So of course I had to get this one on my favorite villain of all time, Dracula.

The vampire lord is presented with stats for M&M3, as well as some plot hooks for adding him to your game.  Included is his "classical" history and personality profile.  His powers are also discussed, which is nice since the new M&M3 book does not have a Vampire Lord like the old 2nd ed book did.

My only complaint about this one.  Dracula in the books was immune to the effects of sunlight.  He should be unique in this regard.

I would have given him the complication Powerless during the day.  It would have added some nice flavor AND been a big surprise to the players. I have used Dracula in every game I have played and the look on player's faces when he walks out into the sunlight and then grabs them by throat is PRICELESS.

I like the Plot Hooks and the "Power in the Blood" is a great idea.  You could use it with Dracula or even some new vampire upstart.

Since M&M3 is the same system as DC Adventures then this is also perfect for that.

Also they should edit the boiler-plate credits and licensee page for this one. Dracula can't be Product Identity.  His history in the M&M universe is, but his "real world" history can't be.

But all in all a great product.

You can see my M&M 2nd Ed version here:

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

October Challenge: Morgane et ses Nymphes

Ok this one is hard to properly classify.  It has many elements that make it horror.  Old castles, villagers warning the heroes away from the dark forest, an immortal witch and her slaves, torture and death.  It is also soft-core Euro-cinema and while there is nothing out and out scary about it, there is the nagging feeling that something not right is going on.

Morgane et ses Nymphes (1971)

Also known as the "Girl Slaves of Morgan le Fay" this is a very sureal movie.  It starts out with best friends Anna and Françoise, travelling the countryside. Both women are young a quite attractive.  They are warned to stay away from dark country side, which they ignore. They spend the next few hours driving on and on so they decide to sleep in a barn they find once it gets dark.  After a figurative and literal roll in the hay.  Françoise wakes up to find Anna gone.  Françoise eventually finds a boat and lead to island full of beautiful women and their leader Morganne.  Eventually Anna is found here and she and Françoise spend time enjoying the company of the other women of the island.  Sure there is this creepy dwarf Gurth and the bit about giving up their souls to Morganne so they can live forever.
The biggest problem comes in the form of Yael, who does not want Françoise to become Morganne's new favorite. She and the other favorites, Sarah and Sylviane work to get Françoise out of the picture.  Françoise tries to escape, only to learn she does not have the magic to summon the boat, but Gurth does.
During the final scene where Anna and Françoise are to give their souls to Morganne, Françoise decides to seduce Yael.  Afterwards Gurth gets lowered into the pit for having the girls perform on each other for his own amusement.  There is some twisted irony in there.
Françoise gets his ring to summon the boat and then a horse. But it doesn't matter because once Françoise sees an old woman and a dead one she realizes she would rather be young and beautiful forever.  She calls out to Morganne who comes to get her.  They walk back to the boat but stop by the farm house where Anna and she had spent the night.  Inside still sleeping she sees Anna and Yael (at least I think it is Yael) sleeping in each other's arms, happy.  Françoise smiles.

Ok so. Is this horror?
Again there are plenty of elements of horror even if the movie is not scary.  Françoise does give up her soul to stay immortal and live with Morganne forever.  Judging by the number of women here it seems she is not lacking in volunteers.  Morganne is not an unkind witch, she does let Anna and Yael go off to live their own "happily ever after".
The girls though are still victims of Morganne, or are they all co-dependent on each other. Morganne needs them to live and they need her so they can remain forever young; trapped even in a moment in time. In the end that might make more horrific than any number of monsters or slashers.

Many have commented on the surrealistic nature of this film, and that is true.   It is like Françoise has passed over into a mytic land.  Sort like Mist of Avalon, if Morganne had been a lesbian.

Tally 25 movies, 22 new.

Game ideas: Obviously Morgane Le Fey is still alive and living on the Isle of Avalon.  I would fix this with Mists of Avalon and even a bit of my own Daughters of the Flame to get some interesting.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

October Challenge: Shower of Blood

I like cheesy horror movies, but they are very much a hit or miss affair.  I like little independent movies too.  They generally have more heart than budget and that will show in the enthusiasm of the actors.
but other times you get this.

Shower of Blood (2004)
I think the most telling bit here is that none of the actors have every gone on to do anything else, with a minor exception. The director also never went on to anything else.

So what do we have here?  Well five college kids are going on a weekend trip.  Lisa has an Uncle Marty she has not seen in 10 years and figures she can just pop in with her drunk and horny friends to spend the night.  Of course we are also supposed to buy that Lisa and Heather are virgins.  Casting tip: Girls with breast implants do not make convincing virgins. Trouble is Uncle Marty is a vampire and he wants Heather to be his new bride.

Well what is good about this movie?  The basic plot is not bad. The special effects are surprisingly well done. And there is plenty of flesh for all.

The bad points are, well pretty bad.  The acting is sub high school play, in fact I think many of the "actors" were purposely trying to be bad.  The sound editing is beyond terrible and into the amateur.  Adding burbs and farts to the actresses moving around is either stupid, mean spirited or both. While the basic plot is not bad, the execution of said plot is terrible.  Beyond it really.

Honest this is not the worse movie I have seen this challenge, but it is really, really close.

What I can't understand is how a sequel was made.  I might have to watch that one too.

Tally 24 movies, 21 new.

Wizard's Witch

Wizards of the Coast put up their preview of the new Witch class, er sub-class, for their Heroes of the Feywild.

So far I like what I see.  The witch uses Intelligence and Wisdom as her primary abilities with high scores in Charisma and Constitution being favorable.  There seems quite a bit of overlap in the role (small r) of the witch and the warlock, but that only gives me a lot of ideas.
Witches do not gain the Ritual Caster as do Wizards, but given the way Essentials has downplayed the rituals I think that it might be fine.

There are some loosely defined covens (Dark Moon and Full Moon) which act mechanically like the Warlock Pacts, but thematically are different.

When the witch is out I want to start comparing it to the warlock and to my own witches.

I think the 4e witch is positioned to more of a direct competitor to the Pathfinder witch.

What I dislike about it is that the Witch is just a sub-class of the Wizard.  But I guess I shouldn't complain.  We are getting a witch afterall.