Friday, June 5, 2015

Chrys Fey, Libby Sawyer and the Witch of Death

Recently I had the pleasure to read a pre-release copy of The Witch of Death thanks to author and fellow A to Z Blogging survivor +Chrys Fey.  This introduced me to her newest character Liberty "Libby" Sawyer, a police detective and kick-ass witch.   Which of course means she is perfect for this blog!

So please allow me to introduce Libby and Chrys.

Liberty “Libby” Sawyer
“Actually, I’m a witch.” She smiled when Reid jolted and turned to face her. “I’m Detective Liberty Sawyer." She stuck out her hand.

Cinematic Unisystem Rules (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Magic Box, Ghosts of Albion)
Experienced Hero 
Libby, off duty obviously

Drama Points: 10
Life Points: 39

Attributes
Strength: 2
Dexterity: 3
Constitution: 3
Intelligence: 3
Perception: 4
Willpower: 5

Qualities: Attractiveness 2, Contacts (criminal) 2, Contacts (occult) 1, Empathy 2, Hard to Kill 3, Magic 2, Magical Family, Nerves of Steel, Occult Library 2, Psychic Visions 1, Rank (Detective) 2

Drawbacks: Adversaries (various. supernatural and criminal) 3, Honorable 2, Love (Reid) 4, Obligation (uphold the Law)

Skills: Art 1, Computer 3, Crime 3, Doctor 2, Driving 3, Getting Medieval 2, Gun-Fu 3, Influence 2, Knowledge 3, Kung-fu 2, Language 2 (English, latin), Mr. Fix-it 1, Notice 3, Occultism 5, Science 2, Sports 1

Initiative: +2
Spellcasting: 1d10 + 12
Notice: 1d10 + 7
Magical sight: 1d10 + 9

Gender: Female
Age: 33
Height: 5’11”
Weight: 138 lbs

Combat
Gun +6 by type
Punch +5 4
Kick +5 5
Spells +12 by type
- Witch Bolt +12 damage 4
- Deflect +14

Liberty "Libby" Sawyer is a witch from a long line of family witches.
Her personal occult library is growing, but she has access to much larger collections through her magical family connections.  Unfortunately because of these ties enemies of her family are hers as well.  She is not sure, but suspects that she is distantly related to Elizabeth Sawyer.

Like most witches Libby can read auras, is sensitive to psychic impressions, and has magical sight.
She is likely to have the Anamchara quality with Det. Reid, but it is still undeveloped at this point.

New Spell: The Bleeding 
Quick Cast: Yes
Power Level: 4
Philosophy: Evil
Requirements: A command word, line of sight, and a drop of blood from the target.
Effect: This spell causes the target’s blood to evaporate if he is within 50 feet. He must resist the spellcasting roll with a Constitution (doubled) roll each Turn or suffer one-third of his total Life Points in damage (round up). The effect lasts for a number of Turns equal to the half the Success Levels (round down) of the spellcasting roll. Multiple castings of this spell on one target have no effect.
Once the blood has been removed from the body the witch casting the spell gains the victim’s Magic Levels.  For every 2 levels of magic the victim has the caster gains 1.
Note: This is not one of Libby's spells.

You can find Chrys on the web at http://writewithfey.blogspot.com/
And more about Libby at The Faux Fountain Pen and Tasha's Thinkings.



Title: Witch of Death
Author: Chrys Fey
Genre: Supernatural/Suspense
Format: eBook Only
Page Count: 45 (short story)
Release Date: May 20th, 2015
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press

Blurb: 

Detective Reid Sanders doesn’t believe in the supernatural, but when he’s faced with a crime scene that defies the laws of nature, he has no other choice but to start believing. And solving a magical murder involves working with a witch.

Liberty Sawyer embodies the look of your classic evil witch, so, it’s no surprise when she uncovers the murderer is a witch that she becomes Reid’s number one suspect. If she can’t convince him otherwise, more people could lose their lives to dark magic, including her.

BOOK LINKS:


ALSO AVAILABLE:


Blurb:

Jolie Montgomery, a twenty-one-year-old woman, wakes up in an alley next to her corpse. She has no memories of her murder or the night she died. She didn’t even see the killer’s face before he or she took her life. Wanting justice, Jolie seeks answers in the only way a ghost can...by stalking the lead detective on the case. 

Avrianna Heavenborn is determined to find the person responsible for a young woman’s death. She gets closer to the killer’s identity with every clue she uncovers, and Jolie is with her every step of the way.

But if they don’t solve her murder soon, Jolie will be an earth-bound spirit forever.

Book Links:



BIO:

Chrys Fey is the author of Hurricane Crimes and 30 Seconds. She is currently working on the sequel to Hurricane Crimes that’ll serve as book two in the Disaster Crimes series.

When Fey was six years old, she realized her dream of being a writer by watching her mother pursue publication. At the age of twelve, she started writing her first novel, which flourished into a series she later rewrote at seventeen. Fey lives in Florida where she is waiting for the next hurricane to come her way.

You can connect with her on Facebook and her blog, Write with Fey. She loves to get to know her readers! 

Author Links: 

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Troll Lord Games Sale, Part 2

Here is part two of some of my favorite Troll Lord Games products.
I know. I am gushing, but I really enjoy this game and wish I played it more often.

Castles & Crusades Black Libram of Naratus
Obviously I grabbed this one since it deals with darker magic and was part of the Haunted Highlands campaign (which I also enjoy).  There is also the cover which is a call back to the infamous Eldritch Wizardry of OD&D.
The first part covers necromancers and necromancer spells. This includes a way for normal spell casters to gain a level of Necromancer. A nice little add on for any CK really.
There is also a great spellbook in here called the "Grimoire of the Witch Queen" that makes the whole book worth it to me all by itself!
That's the first half of the book. Later we get into Ritual/Sacrificial magic, magic items and some new monsters.  Given the types of games I run and the magic I like to have this is a "Must Have" book for me. The book is a tight 38 pages.  Covers, title/ogl page, so 35 pages of solid content.

Castles & Crusades Book Of Familiars
I love playing magic using classes. I also love having familiars.  Nothing it more iconic that a witch and her cat or a wizard with his owl. Or a necromancer and a floating skull!
This book covers the basics; what is a familiar? How is it different than an animal companion?  What does it do for a wizard?
We move into a number of familiar "abilities" that a caster can use.  Now these look an awful lot like feats from 3.x. That is no shock, this book began as a d20 supplement and this is the new C&C version.  That is fine, they have been reworked and it works well here.  Don't think of them as feats really. Familiars also get a few special abilities themselves.  A lot of these are true special abilities and set the familiar off from the rest of animal kind.
We get a list of "standard" familiars and the benefits they grant. We also get "Greater" and "Supreme" Familiars.  Pretty much anything can now be a familiar.
If we wanted to just talk about basic familiars we could stop here.  But we don't.  Next chapter deals with the familiars Assassins can get. This is followed by a chapter on Barbarian familiars and special mounts.  This is includes an awesome bit on Totem Spirits. Buy it for the wizards, keep it for the barbarians! (and we are only 1/4 of the way through!) This is followed by chapters for Bards, Clerics, Druids, Fighters, Monks, Paladins and Knights, Rangers, Rogues, and finally special ones for Wizards.
We get 12 pages of new animals and 25 pages of new monsters.
We get 2 pages of new spells and 4 of new magic items.  All in all 210 pages. Pretty nice really.

Castles & Crusades Night of the Spirits
I LOVE Halloween themed adventures.  This one comes from Brian Young who also gave us Codex Nordica and Codex Celtarum.  The adventure takes place in the Codex Celtarum version of the world over three days of Samhain, or Halloween to you heathens.
The veils between the worlds are thin and there is every chance that fae lords and lady or even th Lord of the Dead himself will make an appearance.
Personally I am a little jealous of this one.  It features the machinations of a Dark Druid. I ran something similar myself many years before. I am jealous because this one just oozes style and creepy atmosphere.  The adventure is not long.  It could be played in a couple of sessions or a longish one on Halloween night. Start at 6:00 or so and you can be hitting the end of Act 3 at Midnight.
Honestly. There is so much I love about this adventure I kinda want to blame Brian Young for hiring clairvoyants to get exactly what I wanted out of my head and on to print.
It is that good and I hate him forever for it.
(not really...but maybe a little bit)

Castles & Crusades The Goblins of Mount Shadow
Another Celtic/Fey themed adventure for characters 1st to 5th level.  This time they have to deal with the rise of the Grey King (who I really, really want to call Jareth).  The book is 26 pages with the artwork you come to expect from Troll Lords.  Also written by Brian Young this adventure feels like someone should be playing uilleann pipes in the background.  I love that C&C can effortless emulate old-school D&D, but these adventures take to someplace new...or rather someplace old. Someplace that is a little darker.
This adventure is simple enough (as it should be) but it also might be more difficult in terms of the challenges faced.  Granted life in Celtic, even pseudo-Celtic, times was supposed to be harsh.  I would say have the characters start at 2nd level instead.

Castles & Crusades A Druid's Lament
A nice little adventure that can be played in a single session.  While not specifically tied to the Celtic world of Codex Celtarum, it does work well with it.  It is an introduction adventure so there are many of the tropes of that, but that is fine. It works here.
If you have an afternoon and couple of bucks then this is a great choice.

Castles & Crusades The Giants Wrath
Another Celtic-themed adventure featuring some classic Irish and Welsh monsters and situations.  Giants used to populate the lands but now men do.  Some of those giants are not happy about it.
This adventure is 26 pages and can be played in a couple of sessions.  Be warned though, it is a tough one given that there are a large number of giants to fight.  Characters should be strong and the party should include a fair number of fighters and rangers.  A wizard would help too.
This adventure also makes for a good bridge (somewhat literally) between the normal fantasy of C&C to the Celtic-fueled darker fantasy of the Codex Celtarum.
Also a good way to introduce the lands of faerie to new players.

Magnificent Miscellaneum Vol. 3
These books are a collection of various items for use in C&C by James Michler.  Vol. 3 includes a couple of new artifacts, about a dozen new "White Box" menaces (monsters) and finally (and why I bought it) 3 new druid spells.

Magnificent Miscellaneum Vol. 4
These books are a collection of various items for use in C&C by James Michler.  Vol 4. has to offer five new artifacts/magic items and 10 new White Box style monsters.

Still have more to look at.

Troll Lord Sale

Troll Lord Games, makers of the amazing Castles & Crusades and Amazing Adventures is having a sale this week till Sunday.

I really, really like Castles & Crusades. There is so much going on in that game that I just love.
D&D 3 mechanics, AD&D feel and as streamlined as D&D 5.  Or, rather...D&D 5 is as streamlined as C&C!

This sale is crazy. There are some serious deals here and I am loading up my cart now.

Here are a few of my favorites.

Castles & Crusades Players Handbook 6th Printing
Read my review here.

Castles & Crusades Castle Keepers Guide
Read my review here.

Castles & Crusades Monsters & Treasure
This is the main monster and treasure book for C&C. Here you will find what I call the "classic" monsters from the great Monster Manual. If you are familiar with 3.x then these are all the monsters from the SRD in C&C's format. There is plenty of new text here though to make this more than just another SRD-derived book. Like all the C&C books the art and layout is great. I have the physical book, the pdf and a printout of the PDF and all read great.

The Castles & Crusades Monster stat block is a nice combination of Basic's simplicity, 1st AD&D's comprehensiveness, and some 3.x style rules. Saves are simple (Physical, Mental or both), AC is ascending and there is a "Challenge Rating" stat and XP all factored in. Honestly it really is a synthesis of the best of D&D. Grabbing a monster from another source and converting on the fly really could not be easier.

This book though is more than just a monster book, all the treasure and magic items (normally found in a Game Master's book) are here. This is a nice feature really. One place to have your encounter information.

Castles & Crusades Classic Monsters The Manual
A fantastic collection of monsters from the original Fiend Folio, Monster Manual 2 and various publications. All revised to be used in in Castles & Crusades. Not a "must have" book, but certainly a "you will really, really want it and kick yourself if you don't get it" book.
It is a fantastic edition to my C&C collection and I am very glad I bought it.

Castles & Crusades Tome of the Unclean
A collection of fiends, demons and devils for C&C (and any SIEGE Engine Game like Amazing Adventures).  At 38 pages it focuses on some of the classics of fantasy RPGs. There are not a lot, but there are enough new creatures and unique devils to make this worth anyone's while.
Personally I would love to use this with Amazing Adventures.  Faustian bargins against a backdrop of 30s pulp noir is just too tempting not to do.
The creatures each get about half a page of stats and description along with art.  Just because you know these creatures from other games don't assume you know them for this one! Actually, go right ahead and assume. That makes the game that much more fun for the Castle Keeper!
If I had a criticism it is I wish the book was larger.  There is enough material out there for a book 4 times this size.

Castles & Crusades Of Gods & Monsters
A collection of gods and monsters from various myths and legends. It immediately reminds you of the of Deities and Demigods, but it is closer in format to the earlier Gods, Demigods and Heroes.

The myths are well represented, though there are a few oddities. The Greek and Roman myths are separate and the demi-human myths could have been left out.

I did like all the new spells for clerics of the various gods. That was a good touch.

Castles & Crusades Codex Celtarum
All my C&C games have a Celtic feel to them.
Read my review here.

Castles & Crusades Character Reference Sheets
Sheets specifically designed for Castles & Crusades. Plenty of room for all your equipment, information and spells.
I like that they are a nice combination of both modern functionality (3.x era) and old-school sensibilities (AD&D).  Diving the sheets up by what ability the characters need (Strength, Dexterity, Wisdom) is a nice call back to the old "golden rod" sheets of a bygone age.
Yes you can find sheets on the web for free, but these are worth the price.

Amazing Adventures!
My favorite Pulp-era game.
Read my review here.

Amazing Adventures! Manual of Monsters
I won't lie.  I LOVE Monster books.  They are to this day one of my favorite things to buy for any game.  The Amazing Adventures Manual of Monsters manages to give me monsters I have seen before, but with a whole new take.  I mean a mummy is a mummy right?  Well...your old monster book won't tell you how it reacts when you fire your .38 into it.  But beyond that this book also has a lot of new monsters.  Enough to make it worth while in my opinion.
Also as an added bonus feature is an appendix of monsters from different countries.  So fight that Kelpie on it's native soil.  Or tangle with the machinations of the Greys.
If you play AA then you need this book.

Amazing Adventures Rise of the Red God
GREAT adventure for Amazing Adventures.  Maybe I should have said amazing.
But seriously this adventure has it all. Exotic locations, cults, demons, two fisted/high calibre action.  Even an ancient text to be found.
But more than your lives are stake here. You sanity or even your soul will be lost.

I have had the pleasure of running this under both AA AND Castles & Crusades (converting from Pulp to Fantasy) and both times it worked out great.  So even if you don't play AA (and why aren't you??) then you can run this with some thematic tweaks (and almost NO mechanical ones) with Castles & Crusades.

Part 2 later on today.  I just bought a bunch of stuff myself!

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

More Content Theft. They "Stole" My Content

I don't even know what to say or think about this one.

So I was doing some more research today and I discovered this site using some art from my witch book and a similar name.  So I checked it out.
Sure enough it was one of my posts.

But the translation was so poor and so haphazard that I could barely tell what it was supposed to be about.
Anyway here is my original:
http://theotherside.timsbrannan.com/2012/11/witch-traditions.html
and here is their copy:
http://witchnest.blogspot.com/2014/10/witch-traditions.html

And that is not all.
Mine:
http://theotherside.timsbrannan.com/2010/01/what-should-osr-witch-do-or-be.html
Their copy:
http://witchnest.blogspot.com/2013/08/what-should-osr-witch-do-or-be.html

This one is great. The screwed up the picture and since they are adding these things at random and back filling dates their copy actually predates the TV I was posting about.
Mine:
http://theotherside.timsbrannan.com/2012/04/zatannurday-y-is-for-young-justice.html
Their (really bad) copy:
http://witchnest.blogspot.com/2010/03/zatannurday-y-is-for-young-justice.html

I mean seriously?  It's like it was translating into Klingon then into German over to Chinese and then back to English.  And this is all supposed to be a "witch" site.  But the articles are a schizophrenic bunch.



I mean really.  I am trying to figure out the logic of this site (and the related ones linked out) and damn if I can.

Oh. And I am not alone.  +Joseph Bloch and +James Maliszewski also get a couple of articles in.

http://greyhawkgrognard.blogspot.com/2012/03/banknotes-in-greyhawk.html
http://witchnest.blogspot.com/2014/04/banknotes-in-greyhawk.html

and

http://grognardia.blogspot.com/2011/01/dwimmermount-sessions-60-61.html
http://witchnest.blogspot.com/2009/01/dwimmermount-sessions-60-61.html

I love how they were playing in Dwimmermount two years before James himself was!

There might be more.
At first I was thinking of emailing them to get them to take it down, but I dismissed it just as fast.
No one would listen and frankly I don't care.
Maybe they copied you too!

Well...so much for that idea.

Not everything will work.  Not everything will work well.
Sometimes though things do work, and do work well, but not in the way you thought they might.

Today's example was the giant post I had started and wanted to wrap up in the next day or so.
I was calling it "In Search Of...Castle Greyhawk".  A play on the old In Search Of TV show and by desire to uncover mysteries from my gaming past.



Sidebar: I found a bunch of stuff I had written decades ago on some old floppies.  There were a lot of treasures there but also a lot a things I was researching.  Back then I didn't have the resources I do now so research was a longer, more difficult process.

Back to In Search Of...

SO I wanted to post a lot on the historical Castle Greyhawk. What was it and how could I play it today.

Turns out all that work was done years ago.
I knew that +Joseph Bloch was the go to guy for this kind of information.  His blog Greyhawk Grognard is full of these sorts of tidbits and his game Adventures Dark and Deep is a love letter to the Gygaxian games that never were.
He has already done all the heavy lifting on this topic, in part of his working on Castle of the Mad Archmage.   In fact part of my own research was to look into how he wrote CotMA.

But he posted most of his own findings years ago.
http://greyhawkgrognard.blogspot.com/search/label/Castle%20Greyhawk
In particular this post is the most useful, http://greyhawkgrognard.blogspot.com/2008/12/getting-off-pot.html


Now I am a bigger fan of "Expedition to the Ruins of Greyhawk" than Joseph is. But I have the benefit of something he did not have back then; his completed Castle of the Mad Archmage.

So now my research is done. Admittedly by someone else.  I just need to see if I want to run a Castle Greyhawk adventure at all.

I'll start working on my next "In Search Of..." post.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Witch Adventures

I have been looking for some published adventures to use with my Witch class book.  Surprisingly most of the adventures I have been working on don't really feature my witch class.  So here are some I have bought over the years.
Note: I wrote these reviews while watching "Blood Sabbath" from 1972, featuring a really young Anthony Geary prior to his "Luke and Laura" days.  Maybe I can use Alotta, Queen of Witches, from this.



No Salvation for Witches
I picked up this Lamentations of the Flame Princess adventure based partly on the name, how could I refuse? I also bought it because I am a fan of +Rafael Chandler and his Teratic Tome.  While this adventure uses the LotFP rules, it can be easily adapted to just about any OSR/Old School game. It is also set in +James Raggi's pseudo European setting which also makes it easy to convert to just about anything if you don't mind ignoring some of the history presented.
As the title implies, NSFW is not for everyone.  It is no worse or no better in terms of art than anything else in the Lamentations catalog or TT.  I will give Raggi credit, he springs for some quality art.
The adventure itself is weird, bloody and full of body horror.  It is also a race against the clock.  IF you go with the idea that Woolcott is a witch (and not a LotFP magic-user) and evil then the PCs have something to work for.  Otherwise I can't see how the world they create in the end is all that bad?  I am kidding, a little.  For me I think it would be interesting that if in their goodwill to recreate a better world they made it more horrible.
The adventure is a combination of Eurotrash occult horror, Lovecraftian style outsiders and creepy history.  There is also a splash of 80s slasher flick in this.  It is a heady brew of horror tropes in the guise of an adventure. The Tract of Teratology featured in this adventure is almost worth the cover price.   The listed monsters are also really cool and unique.  There is just so much I could do with this.
It can be hard to judge power level of this adventure.  But I am going to say high level at least.
The book is 68 pages with covers, maps and OGL.  It is also full color.
Does it work with The Witch? Yes, but some changes have to be made.  Woolcott is obviously a witch, but is she a Witch?  I think I would have to think about it in terms of how I want to run it and who or what the Primogenitor really is.

Dungeon Crawl Classics: Saga of the Witch Queen
This is a meaty module.  84 pages, covers, maps and OGL still leave a lot of pages for material.
First off, if you are not familiar with Dungeon Crawl Classics modules they are meant to emulate a certain feel of early 80s play.  They went on to create the game Dungeon Crawl Classics, but the adventures are still largely OSR compatible. Actually I didn't see a single thing in this adventure screamed is should be used for one system or the other.
This adventure is actually 3 adventures in one.  Legacy of the Savage Kings, The Lost Passage of the Drow, and War of the Witch Queen.  Each one is a different part of the Witch Queen's plan.
Reading through this adventure is one part excitement for the new and one part excitement for the nostalgia.  For the new, I wanted to learn more about Kyleth (the eponymous Witch Queen) and the tome Ars Maleficus.  The nostalgia comes from many little easter eggs through out the pages that call back to adventures of the TSR-days.  I am convinced the Mad Hermit here is the same as the one in the Keep on the Borderland for example.  There are also hints of influences from Vault of the Drow, Ravenloft, and even the rest of the GDQ series.  In fact the second adventure, "The Lost Passage of the Drow" could be slotted into the D series and no one would be the wiser.   Replace Baba Yazoth with the proper Baba Yaga and have one of the many adventures she features in as a side trek.
There are a number of named characters that would work well as witches, Maeve, Baba Yazoth and of course Kyleth herself.   While using the title of "Witch Queen" Kyleth is only an 8th level Magic-user.  Make her a 9th or 10th level witch and then you have something really scary.
Does it work with The WitchYes, absolutely.  There are number of great items and story points in this adventure for any witch character.  In fact I would say that any good witch would want to see Kyleth taken out on general principle.  Plus there are a number of encounters and NPCs that would benefit from the rules in the Witch.  Night Hags get more spell casting powers for example and the medusa can also have some levels of witch.
Of course there is the one issue of Kyleth being one of The Thirteen. The Thirteen most evil wizards, witches and necromancers in the world.  She was the newest member, who are the other 12 and what are their plans?  Anyone up for an adventure against the Legion of Doom?  I might have to come back to this idea. I can see witches, vivamancers, blood mages, evil wizards, and necromancers part of this evil cabal. Each providing something different.
Seriously, there is so much fun stuff here I can't wait to try it out.

The Evil of Witches Fen
This adventure is really more of hex-sandbox.  It is two pages and the central conceit is the characters are stranded here till the next boat arrives so they might as well figure out why the place is dying.  There are some suggested quests and some points of interest.  There are a couple of witches mentioned.  The Gray Lady is the spectre of an old witch. She is also a quest. Dispatch her to help bring the area back from extinction.   There is also the remains of a witch cult.  They are not described in any detail.
This is a pay what you want product, then by all mean plop down a buck for it.  At two pages (no title page or ogl) there is a still a lot here.  You can find out more at the author's website: http://games.taskboy.com/#tbg-b
Does it work with The WitchYes. Only in teh respect that the adventure has so little detail that it works with anything.  Now for some people this is perfect. Indeed I can see a number of sessions based on these two pages alone.  You can drop it into any game as a break from the regular campaign.  But if you want more meat to your module then this might not be for you.

The Witch of the Tarriswoods
A 24 page OSR adventure (2 covers, toc, ogl, 3 maps).  It's a good adventure of the "there is something strange going on in the woods, let's investigate!" type.  The hazards make this more of a challenge for 3-7 level characters instead of say 1-3.  That is fine really. I would use this to lull seasoned players into a false sense of security and then show them there are still dangers to be had in simple settings.  This is the perfect adventure for say a lazy afternoon. You can drop it nearly anywhere in your world.  Our main bad guygal is Llorona, Witch of the Tarriswoods.  She is a 5th level magic-user.
There are also some new monsters in this that are a lot of fun.
Does it work with The WitchYes. I say change Llorona to a 5th or 6th level witch and give her some more spells. Given her name, dress her in blue and white gowns and focus on water-based spells.  change the "wizard staff" to a trident or tined fork.  This would make her much more of a threat.

The Ruins of Ramat (S&W)
This one is for Swords & Wizardry, but can be played in any OSR game really.
14 pages, 2 mapes, cover, ogl.  This is the S&W conversion of the Castles & Crusades adventure.
The adventure is a good introductory adventure for players and low level characters.  It is a simple two level dungeon that used to be the home of an evil cult. So there are a lot of undead and some demonic powers here.  The catacombs are supposed to be filled with treasure according to legends.
Given that this all takes place on "Witch Hill" I would want to expand its history a bit to say more about the cults that were there.  I would make the cult a coven of witches.
What I think works best about this module is not only can it be located anywhere, but it can even be located under anything in another adventure.  A little tinkering and suddenly I have "The Ruins on Witch Hill".
Does it work with The Witch? Well. There are no witches in this.  So unless I want to make an active cult there (and that is really a good idea) then there is not much to add from my book.  Save for some magic items and scrolls with ancient spells.

Witches Court Marshes (1982)
When I first got this years ago, but long after I had moved away from AD&D 2nd ed, I was not that impressed. Now looking back at it, it has a certain charm and it does better than my memory of it. The Witch class is a sub-class of Magic-User, but the experience for each level is much lower that I have seen for other witches. There are plenty of new spells and in true old-school fashion some classes and monsters are completely immune to the witch's power/spells.
In addition to all of this there is a marsh that is the home to many evil witches. Given how JG used to write the adventures it can be converted to a lot of systems with ease.
Does it work with The Witch? For the most part yes. While this book was not an influence on my writing of the witch class it does have similar DNA.  That is to say the feel of this book and the time it was published was something I sought to emulate in my own witch.  The classes themselves are not really compatible save that the witch in most cases is compatible with a wizard.
The adventure is certainly usable by today's OSR games.

The Manor, Issue #6
Ah.  Now this one is an interesting case. It does have an adventure and specifically designed to use my witch.  "Witches of the Dark Moon" is a great little one-shot written by +Tim Shorts himself using a lot of elements he had at his disposal. This includes using my own Witch Class for the witches. You don't need my book to play this, but it does add a little extra to the mix.
Does it work with The WitchCompletely.

Adventure Path/Campaign: War of the Witch Queens?
I wonder if I have enough here to make an adventure path/campaign to go after the evil witches in the world, while at the same time protecting the good witches? (hey, I have my biases).  Plus there are an inordinate number of marsh and swamp related locales here.
  • Witches of the Dark Moon (The Manor #6): Low level
  • Ruins of Remat: Low level
  • The Evil in Witches Fen: 4th to 7th
  • Dungeon Crawl Classics: Saga of the Witch Queen
    • Legacy of the Savage Kings: 4th to 6th
    • The Lost Passage of the Drow: 6th to 8th
    • War of the Witch Queen: 7th to 9th
  • Witches Court Marshes: High Level
  • No Salvation for Witches: Finale
I am thinking that running these under B/X D&DAdventurer Conqueror King or Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea and capping the levels at 13.


Could be a lot of fun.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Magic Girls Monday

A couple of products came up on my radar. Since I had some credits burning a hole in my pocket over at RPGNow I figured I'd pick them up.

These games are all of the "magical girl" type in one way or another. So if you like stories like W.I.T.C.H., Sailor Moon, or even Steven Universe then these are good choices.  The systems under the hood is different in each case, but there are some familiar names here.

Star Sailors: The Magical Girl Supplement for White Star RPG
Oh, this one is a fun.  This little book (11 pages, including cover and OGL) is packed full of great material.  Basically this presents a Magical Girl class, the Star Sailors.  Each level the Star Sailor gains a "Heart Power" of a different color. Very cool.  They also get a "Starlight Blast" that is blasted out of her "Star Sailor Starlight Wand".  I know this all sounds silly, but trust me, this is exactly the sort of thing you would see in a Magical Girl show or book.  I also love how each power has a catchphrase.  I would totally make my players say these to activate each attack.
The powers are described, with effects. Also some background on the Starlight Entity.  The sailors also can have mascots, aka pets.
There is also a great monster/big bad for the sailors to fight, the appropriately named "Gloom".
While the book is overtly for White Star it includes some ideas for Modern Times and S&W.
Really, really fun.  The art also really fun and appropriate.
Don't like Magical Girls?  You could, with minor tweaking, turn this into a Green Lantern like organization.

Witch Girls Magical Minutia: Crossover
This book for Witch Girls Adventures previews a bit of the rules we will see in WGA 2.0 and the upcoming super hero games from Channel M. WE are introduced to Nemsis Earth, an Earth populated by superheroes and some differences in history.  Chapter 1 covers the details of this new Earth and it's features, both magical and tech.
The book is presented from the point of view of a Witch Girl travelling across the dimensions.
There are plenty of new equipment for Witch Girl stars and even a new heritage (Half-Metahuman).
Chapter 3 covers Channel M's new "Youthquake" team of superpowered teens.
The general feel of this "Crisis on Two Earths" and honestly I really like that. I wish I had had this back when I was working on Season 3 of my Willow & Tara game where I crossed over to a super powered Earth that resembled the Earth int he DC universe.  While reading this I was also wishing I had an Icons version of this.  Same ideas, characters and text, but Icons as the rules.  They would mesh together rather nice I think.
If you are a fan of supers and Witch Girls Adventures then this is a good buy.
One issue. I hate to bring this up, really. I love Malcolm's work but he should really hire a good proofreader and editor to help clean up his work.  That leaves him to focus on the big ideas and let others do the editorial work.

Sparks of Light
At 110 pages this is the largest of the books I have picked today. No surprise, this is a complete system-sort of.
Sparks is a light hearted game of Magical Girls. I uses the Fate system, but it can be used as a guide for any magical girl game regardless of system.
I think the most important thing about this book is how do the characters relate to each other and too the NPCs.  This is the key feature of any magical girl story whether or not it is Sailor Moon, W.I.T.C.H., Cardcaptor Sakura or even Charmed.  It is the relationships that define the character.  Take someone like Tuxedo Mask from Sailor Moon, he is (let's be honest) useless. But he does have relationships to the rest of the cast and that makes for drama.  Would it make for a good game? No, maybe not, but consider Angel in the first season of Buffy. He was basically Tuxedo Mask.
I also really liked the Hope Points mechanic.  Magic Girls rarely see last death or injury (Sailor Uranus and Sailor Neptune not withstanding), so hit points don't really make a lot of sense.  Plus the Darkness is not about killing really. It's about snuffing out the light or hope of the heroes.
In this respect it might make it a better game for little kids.  Don't get me wrong, I have played D&D with grade-schoolers and they are a vicious, blood thirsty lot. But they don't have to be.
If you like Fate then is a good game to try out, especially given the price.
If you like Magical Girls then this is a must buy (even if some of this is covered in other books as well).

Personally I think Sparks of Life makes for a great addition to Star Sailors.  Get both books and use them together. Star Sailors for the basic game and ideas and then Sparks of Life to expand on them.
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