Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Heroes & Witchery is back

Dominque Crouzet's massive retro clone Heroes & Witchery is back in print and free PDF formats.

The book is massive and attempts to work in as many of the ideas seen in other Retro-clones it can.
I am partial to it since I have worked with Dom in the past and he is a great guy.

I also like how it uses my own Witch book as an example on how to integrate other products into this game.

Go and grab it. It might not replace what you are using now, but it will certainly give you some great ideas.

A to Z of Witches. M

M is for Morgan Le Fey (and other Morgans)

Morgan le Fay by Anthony Frederick Augustus Sandys
Morgan Le Fey is one of the first witches from literature I ever encountered.  I remember reading tales of King Arthur, Merlin and Morgan.  She seemed like such an interesting and complex character to me.  Not exactly 100% evil but certainly not good either.  She has a very complicated relationship with her half-brother and their son Mordred.

Of course there is also the Morgan le Fey of Marion Zimmer Bradley's The Mists of Avalon.  She is a different character to be sure.  Her "evil" is only how the Christian invaders see her paganism.  Yeah there is a lot in this mix and may or may not belong in an Arthurian legend, but I don't care. It's a great tale.

There are other Morgans too. There is Morgause, the older sister of Morgan. The two often get merged into one character.

There is The Morrígan the Crone of War from Celtic myths. There have been some attempts to connect this older figure to the Arthur myths.

She even shares a lot in common with the Game of Thrones character Cersei Lannister. Both desire their sons to be king. Both conceived their sons via incest. Both wish to control behind the scenes. Where Morgan uses magic Cersei uses guile and sometimes poison.  

Morgan le Fey (and I do prefer that spelling over "fay") is certainly a character with some depth and history.  Like all good myths her powers, abilities and motivations change with the telling. While she might be more famous than Circe, she has less characteristic powers.  We know she drugged Arthur to a sleep to seduce him. We know that she has some sort of precognitive powers, but they are not great.  But she is powerful, or at least powerful enough to concern Arthur.  She may have also learned magic from Merlin and he knows a trick or two.

For my use Morgan le Fey is a member of the Faerie Tradition.  Seems logical. It also fits since the morality of the fey can seem to be good or evil depending on the point of view.  There is also a regalness to the fey that I also see in Morgan and the Faerie Tradition.  It also fits in nice with the Mists of Avalon version of her.

Morgan le Fey
The Witch stats for Basic Era Games
13th level Witch, Faerie Tradition

Strength: 9
Dexterity: 12
Constitution: 13
Intelligence: 17
Wisdom: 11
Charisma: 18

Death Ray or Poison:  9/7
Magic wand or devices: 10
Paralysis, Polymorph or Turn to Stone: 9
Dragon Breath: 12
Rods, Staffs and Spells: 11

To hit AC 0: 16

Hit Points: 66
Alignment: Neutral (maybe a little Chaotic)
AC: 5 (talisman of protection)

Occult Powers
Familiar:  Raven (+2 to Death related saves)
7th level:  Speak to Plants and Animals
13th level: Fey Shape

Cantrips: Analyze Fertility, Chill, Daze, Detect Curse, Object Reading, Open, Sound
First: Bewitch I, Cause Fear, Sleep, Silver Tongue
Second: Calm Emotions, Enthrall, Evil Eye, Phantasmal Spirit, Mind Obscure
Third: Fly, Scry, Twisting the Heartstrings III
Fourth: Bewitch IV, Dance Macabre, Divination
Fifth: Endless Sleep, Greater Command
Sixth: Bewitch VI, Projected Image
Seventh:  Foresight

Pretty good build really.

Supernatural AtoZ

Monday, April 14, 2014

Souvenir/Soutane Fonts

Gotta question for you all.

I am reading over a new book right for a review and I noticed it uses the Souvenir font.
You all know this font. It was used in the Moldvay version of Basic, in Labyrinth Lord, Basic Fantasy and both of my witch books.

Personally I like the font, but I have had some emails that it is hard to read when printed out.

I am always thinking about new books to work one and even free ones to send out I was curious about your thoughts.

The thing I have always been told is Serif fonts are easier to read, but no one has shown any real (measurable) difference.  Souvenir seems like a nice comprise of a lightly-serifed font.

Let me know what you all think.

A to Z of Witches. L

L is for Lilith
Lilith by Isra2007

I have talked about Lilith. A lot actually.
Last year I talked about Lilith and her roll as the mother of the demons The Lilim.

I talked about her and her relationship to demons and Vampires a couple of times.

I made her the cover of my Eldritch Witchery book.  So yes. I am a fan.

Lilith has always been a part of my game worlds.  In some like Buffy and Ghosts of Albion she is a behind the scenes player dealing with "children" the vampires, demons, witches and the Slayer.
In my old school games she is the mother of demons, but also the first to rebel against the powers of good. She was a human but no longer. She has been raised to the power of a god because she knows so many magical secrets.

Here she is for the Pathfinder RPG and pretty much how I use her in other games too.


Titles: The Mother of Demons, Witches, and Vampires
Alignment:  Chaotic Evil
Portfolio: Magic, Demons
Worshipers: Witches, Lilim, Vampires
Cleric Alignments
Domains: Evil, Magic, Knowledge/Secrets
Favored Weapon: Dagger

Lilith is considered to be the Mother of Demons, Vampires and Witches.

Lilith was the first human woman. She rebelled against the gods that created her and now controls armies of demons.  The gods won't work against her or strike her down because she knows all their True Names.

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

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


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

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

Church of Lilith
Lilith has no formal religion outside that of her demons and witches. Even these do not worship her but instead regard her as their mother.
Through her daughter Lilith is also seen as the protector of harlots and whores.
There are those who also view Lilith as triumph of humankind, in particular womankind, over the tyranny of the gods.  She can in this aspect even have worshipers that are otherwise good in alignment.

Worshipers and Clergy
Lilith is worshiped primarily by witches but also by demonic clerics and wizards.

Temples and Shrines
Temples and shrines to Lilith are small affairs.  Usually a stone relief hidden away.  Since most gods of light and many other gods despise Lilith her shrines are destroyed by their followers.

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

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

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


Witches of Lilith celebrate the phases of the moon, the new moon in particular.

ETA: Julia Mathews is doing Lilith today too. She also talks about the moon named Lilith.

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

Supernatural AtoZ

Saturday, April 12, 2014

A to Z of Witches. K

K is for Kiki and Kikimora

Two related witches.

Kiki is from one of my favorite Studio Ghibli movies Kiki's Delivery Service.
Hayao Miyazaki is a master.  He not only knows his witches, but he also knows how to do an animated movie for children that can also appeal to adults.

Kiki is a 13 year old witch who is ready to do her year of training away from home.  Everyone knows witches are real and they are an accepted part of life.  Kiki's mom is the local potions mistress and her father seems to be a normal mundane human.
We got this movie back when my oldest son was still a baby and he loved it. But not at much as me I think.

Kiki's Delivery Service is not about being a witch though, it is about finding out your own strengths and finding out that what is inside you is everything you need to succeed.

I know there are debates between people that prefer one version or the other.  For myself I like the 1998 version with Phil Hartman as Jiji the cat.  Yeah he seems like he is from the same litter as Pokemon's Meowth and Salem from Sabrina the Teenage Witch.

There have been rumors of a live action Kiki for years.  I hear about them and then loose track.
Here is the trailer from the newest one.  I am not sure if we will see it in the States or not, but I easily recognize all the scenes.

One thing is sure. The actress playing Kiki looks spot on to me.  That nice mix of youthful excitement and cautious naïveté.

On the other side of the spectrum we have the Kikimora, a female house spirit from Slavic lore.  She looks like a small humanoid chicken (not the first female spirit to be connected to a bird) and will do house work if left alone.  If bothered she will break dishes and keep children up at night.
In other tales she is believed to be more witch like she is also the bringer of nightmares in children.

She shares many similarities with the brownie and leprechaun.

If I were to write this creature up for Pathfinder I would give her 2 or 3 HD and access to one Hex.

Armor Class: 6 [13]
Hit Dice: 2d8 (8 hp)**
No. of Attacks: 2 claws
Damage: 1d3, 1d3
Special: Spell-like abilities
Movement: 60’
No. Appearing: 1 per house
Saves As: Witch 3
Morale: 9
Treasure: None
Alignment: Neutral
XP: 25

The Kikimora is a house fae distantly related to brownies, sprites and, some say, hags.  The kikimora certainly looks like a small hag creature. It stands 1½' to 2' tall and dresses in the garb of a peasant woman. Her face is brown and wrinkled, giving the impression of actually being a shrunken apple.  Her nose is abnormally long and gives the appearance of a beak.  Her feet when visible are those of a chicken.  She carries a broom with her and sweeps where ever she goes.
The Kikimora is is naturally shy and prefers not to attack. She will attack animals if they bother her and humanoids if cornered.  If ignored she will perform small chores around the house. Sweeping, mending clothes and quieting crying babies at night so parents can sleep.  If a household suspects they have a kikimora they can appease it by leaving out a bowl of warm milk sweetened with honey.  Though other sages claim the best way to keep one is to also leave out strong spirits (such a vodka or brandy) and cigars out on holidays.  The kikimora will sleep in the next day (having drunk all the spirits) but this ensures the family protection and service till the next holiday.
If discovered and acknowledged with anything other than milk she will break dishes, pinch babies in the night and cause nightmares in children by whispering in their ears.
A kikimora will prevent a house from becoming the home to a brownie, boggart, poltergeist or a bloody bones.
A kikimora can also cast spells as if she were a 2nd level witch.

Supernatural AtoZ

Friday, April 11, 2014

Victorian Adventure Enthusiast interviews Timothy Brannan

Check out the interview I recent did with the Victorian Adventure Enthusiast.
They are revamping their site, so keep them in your RSS reader for more Victorian era gaming fun.


And you can see me in my Victorian gentlemen's suit.

Interesting note. I was at the wedding of one of my oldest friends.  He was having a Civil War reenactment wedding.  All of the guys and the groom were in uniform. I was standing with him on stage as a groomsman but I didn't feel right wearing a uniform.  I am not a reenacter and unlike many of the other guys I also was not in the military.  So I wore this instead, knowing I can get more miles out of it later.

The guy getting married, Jon, was my DM in Jr. High.  In the picture I am standing next to the guy who was my DM in High School. He is cropped out of this version.

I thought it was going to be a lame wedding but I am happy to admit I was wrong and it was an absolute blast.

Pop by and read about how I wrote the Ghosts of Albion RPG.

ETA: If I look like I am sweating. I am. It was late June in Central Illinois, 95 degrees on it's way to 100 and I am wearing black wool.