Sunday, January 11, 2015

Hero Forge Mini

Yesterday I got my Hero Forge mini in the mail.  Here is Larina!

The mini is nice but there is far less detail than I expected.  True I picked the "Strong" mini and not the "Ultra Detailed" one, so I think I need to try that one out.

Shipping took about 4 weeks, no idea what it would take now.
If I get the other characters I want I am going to be in the market for someone to paint them!

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Zatannurday: First New Zatanna of the Year

This one has been making some rounds but I really love it.
It is part of the Justice League Series by Mike Mahle.

I first saw it on the DailyDCU tumblr page.
Who reblogged it from Long Live the Bat.
Then my good friend Calvin posted it on his recent "Z is for Zatanna" post.

I'd love to find this one as a print.

Friday, January 9, 2015

New Monster: Urhag

I have been rereading H.P. Lovecraft's "The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath" a story that both fascinated me and frustrated me in my youth.  For my group of gaming friends and our extended group of their older brothers, it was always an unspoken, but well understood rule that it didn't reall matter what Lovecraft story you began with, but your last one had to be "Kadath".  So I am rereading it for the first time since 1987.

It is just as phantasmagorical as I recalled. Reading it now is also a treat that I have better understanding of the mythos and the creatures mentioned throughout are now well known to me.
But one creature captured my attention that I had not seen before and forgot.  The Urhags.
That night I had a dream about Maleficent, so I knew I had something here.

I checked various games that cover Lovecraft-type monsters such as The Realms of Crawling ChaosAstonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea and various Call of Cthulhu books but only found one mention of them in H.P. Lovecraft's Dreamlands.   They are interesting, but I kinda liek what I came up with a little more.  These urhags are released from their Dreamlands origins and brought closer to Ur-Hags.

"High over its jagged rim huge ravens flapped and croaked, and vague whirrings in the unseen depths told of bats or urhags or less mentionable presences haunting the endless blackness."
- H.P. Lovecraft, Dream-Quest Of Unknown Kadath

Here is my take on the urhag.  In "Basic Era" format to use with The Witch.

The follow is considered Open under the terms of the Open Gaming License.
OGL Section 15: "Urhag" Copyright © 2015, Timothy S. Brannan


Degenerate  Noble 
Armor Class:                    3 [16] 4 [15]
Hit Dice: 5*+2 (25 hp) 8*+13 (50 hp)
No. of Attacks: 2 claw, 1 bite; stench   2 claw or weapon, spell
Damage: 1d4/1d4/1d6 1d4/1d4 or by weapon type
Special: Stench, Magic, see below      Magic, Harmed by iron, see below
Movement: 30' / 90' fly 30' / 90' fly
No. Appearing: 1 1
Save As: Witch 5 Witch 8
Morale: 7 9
Treasure Type: Special Special
Alignment: Chaotic (Evil) Chaotic (Evil)
XP: by system by system

Scholars debate the relationship between the races of hags. While many look to the vile and evil Night Hags as their progenitor, scholars who have pierced the veil between Reality and Dream claim that such a progenitor race is known as the urhags.

The Urhags are found in two basic varieties, the Degenerate and the far less common Noble.

The Degenerate Urhag appears to be a hideously ugly humanoid woman. She appears naked, but covered in filth, with long clawed fingers, wild hair and inhumanly long feet and toes. What is the most curious feature of the urhag are her large bat-like wings.  One is immediately reminded of a harpy; which scholars also claim are an offspring of this creature.  The urhag does not speak, but only screams and shrieks.  The urhag can attack with a claw/claw/bite routine which is their most typical attack.  They are also surrounded by a horrible stench. Characters within 10' of the Urhag must save vs. Poison (Constitution, Fortitude) or suffer a -2 on all attacks against the creature.  The urhag may also cast spells as a 3rd level witch.  Spells that attack and due damage are preferred over all others.
Urhags are immune to all cold-based effects and are immune to cold and cold based spells. Dengerate urhags are carnivorous and their preferred  source of meat is humanoid flesh.  They are able to enter the dreams of people sleeping in their territories; usually within 300 yards.  Through this special attack the urhag will Charm a sleeping male into breeding with them. Once complete the urhag will then wake thee male to kill and eat him.  They prefer to wake their victims because they enjoy hear the sounds of their screams.  Within 3 months the urhag will lay a leathery egg in which a juvenile urhag will emerge. The new urhag will not expect any care or succor from her mother; in fact the mother is just as likely to eat her offspring as she did her offspring's father.

The Noble urhag is a different creature, though no less evil.  Like the degenerate urhag, the noble appears to be a winged woman with long taloned hands and feet.  Noble urhags also have horns growing from their heads that often causes them to be mistaken for some sort succubus or other demonic creature.  While not demonic, the noble urhag is still quite evil.  While the degenerate urhag is hideous and covered in filth, the noble urhag is regal, attractive and clothed in only the fines wares. Her features are sharp and possiblly indicate a relationship to the fae that other, more common hags, share.   The noble urhag can be harmed by iron in the same fashion that fae are; iron weapons cause +2 damage and +1 to hit.
The noble urhags can cast spells as a 7th level witch.  She may also take the occult powers of a Malefic or Faerie tradition witch.

While the degenerate urhag is indiscriminate about her choice of mating partners, the noble urhag prefers only the finest quality human males.  They do not care for elves since elves do not dream in the same manner as do men.  Also noble urhags do not always eat the men the lay with.  Some prefering to return to the same male time and time again as instinct drives them to reproduce.

Unlike common hags urhagss of either sort are not tied to a particular locale or environment.  Degenerate urhags do prefer colder wastes and demon-haunted lands and the noble urhag prefers temperate forests there are no restrictions on either.
Unlike night hags, urhags are not interested in the transport of souls or the outer planes.
Urhags can, in theory form coveys as other hags do and maybe even with other  hags, but none have been observed doing so.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Updated Witch Links

I spent some time over my Christmas vacation to update my witch links page.
I have expanded it to include message boards as well as blogs.

These are only links, you will have to go to the blog in question to read the article.

Have something you think needs linked here?  Shoot me an email or post below.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Owl & Weasel Wednesday #23 February 1977

February 1977 gives us Issue number 23 of Owl & Weasel and at 20 pages it is the largest O&W to date (and ever in fact!).  Though a lot of those new pages are dedicated to the 1977 Games Day, as the cover so proudly tells us.

The editorial has an introduction to Games Day and gives new comers an idea of what to expect.
Moving on Page 4 (and some of 6) cover an introduction to Table Top games, which at this point still refers mostly to war games.  So far the content leads me to believe that they expect most people at Games Day and/or reading this zine not to be familiar with the types of games that will be there.  This strikes me as a bit odd to be honest.

Page 5 (and 6) Ian covers the British 1977 Toy Fair with an eye towards the game manufacturers represented there.  There seems to me to be more American game companies listed here than they discussed last year. To be fair they were pretty down on the Toy Fair last year so it could just be that they didn't mention it.

Page 6 contains the overflow of the previous articles, but of interest to me is the 1977 Scrabble championship.  My brother is a big Scrabble fan (we all have our things) so I found this kind of interesting.  Wonder how he would have fared? Well, terrible really, it was another year till he was born.

Page 7, 8 and 9 have ads. Lots of them in fact.  These are all companies at the Games Day, stand numbers are included, but it is still interesting to see as this represents a shift closer to White Dwarf in terms of content.  Games Workshop is hosting the D&D booth and a "Totally NEW concept in game design".  Again the joy here is not simply nostalgia at looking at something I have already seen, but that feel of when everything was still new and untested. I guess this is also one of the reasons I have always worked at start-up companies and moved on when they get older and established.

Pages 10 and 11 have the map of the hall and the time table of events.  Still not Gen Con, either then or now, but it looks like a lot of fun was had. Matchday, Diplomacy, Monopoly, and of course Dungeons & Dragons games are featured many times.  The whole thing runs 10:00am to 6:00pm that day.

We get another 3 pages of ads, and then a page on "What Do I Do After Games Day?" It is actually a nice little bit of advice and something that Gen Con could even add to their programs. Though many of us know this stuff instinctively.  They do explicitly state that many people that come to Games Day are new to all these games, so the split them up into "Family Games", "Board Games", "Table Top Games" (we call these Wargames now or miniatures games) and "Fantasy Games" or RPGs in the current nadsat.  The continue on with "Postal Games" (play by mail), and "Abstract Games".  They list some of the big name game shops in the area, along with publications and clubs.

Pages 18 and 19 are dedicated to the D&D society, including interestingly enough, an org chart of how the society is run on the national and local levels.  Nice, but I wonder if it happened this way in practice. I will be honest, I don't recall reading much about the D&D society in White Dwarf.

Finally we get to the last page with the items Games Workshop is selling.

So a much larger issue, but only this one time. The overall impression is the hobby is growing steadily but as we know the big boom is yet to come.  O&W makes more of it's evolution towards White Dwarf, but the next issues will be more telling.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

First Blog Challenge of the Year - Witches & Witchcraft Reading Challenge

I read a lot of books all year round.  I have them on my phone, on my tablet, I listen to them in my car. I have even been known to pick up an honest to goodness dead-tree paperback or hardcover.

So a reading challenge is right up my alley really.  What makes it even better is this challenge is made up of "Witch" books.

It should be fun. And as always as a "value add" for my own readers I will translate what I can into game terms.

So. Time to start gathering up some books!

Edited to add:
Here is my first book for the Challenge!

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