Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Dark Places & Demogorgons: The Ghost Hunter's Handbook

Nothing beats a good ghost story and the early 80s was full of them.  From the old school hauntings of 1981's Ghost Story to 1982's Poltergeist to the old guard in House of the Long Shadows (1983) and even to 1984's Ghostbusters. And this is now where near all. If you loved ghost stories it was a great time.

Thankfully Bloat Games hears you and has what you need.

DARK PLACES & DEMOGORGONS - The Ghost Hunter's Handbook is 60 pages (digest sized) with color covers and black and white interior.  It has the same feel as the other books in this series.  The art is good and I recognize a lot of the names inside. 

With this book, like the others, we start out with new classes.
The Clairvoyant can see things the others can't (we have a couple "I see dead people" classes already, but this is a good one).
The Parapsychologist is great, but I think it is stretching what it means for a "Kid" class like the core book is filled with.  Though, I guess reading the starting equipment this is also the class that best fit me in High School! Yes, I did write a program to emulate a PKE meter on my TRS-80 Color Computer.
The Mystical Ghost Hunter covers your basic exorcists/cleanser type.
But the class I was happiest to see was the Nullifier!  This is the guy who walks in the room and all paranormal activity stops.  The class might have limited growth, save that they are the ones that will survive any magical attack, but I like them all the same.  In college one of my "hippie" friends claimed I was a "Null" because his Ouija board never worked when I was around! 

Pages 14-24 cover different kinds of ghosts, spectres, and haunts and their reasons for haunting.   This is one of the parts that make this book "and use w/other OSR games".  You can drop these spookies into any OSR game (some will require tweaks) and you are good to go.  They can all be run as-is really; especially if you are playing Swords & Wizardry.    In fact, there is a lot here in the DP&D that the S&W game master can use.

A few pages on what you can find on The Other Side! (uh...Thanks! but I didn't get you anything.  OH! THAT Other Side.)

There are a couple pages on equipment including Ghost Hunter kits to fit your price range.

Next, we have some new ghost-related magic items.
A couple pages of minor and major spells.

And what book on ghosts would be complete without a haunted house? Well, this one taped into that 80s feeling well and gives us a haunted asylum! It's like you guys read my Christmas lists or something!

Information of the J'town Paranormal Society (which feels like it is somewhere between Supernatural's "Ghost Chasers" and Doctor Who's LINDA).

We end with a great, but incomplete, list books, movies, and television shows.

Author Josh Palmer did a hell of a job here and this is a worthy addition to the DP&D line. The book is worth every penny. In truth, at just $5 and 60 pages you are getting a hell of a deal.
Print on demand is coming soon.

It's Halloween. Get out there and bust some ghosts!

Monday, October 1, 2018

October Horror Movie Challenge: Beyond Evil (1980)

It's Halloween everyone!  Or October. Same thing.
This year I want to focus on movies made in the 1980s.  I have done a lot 70s and 60s movies, but never a dedicated tour of the horror movies on the 1980s.  I also want to focus on the Occult and things that made people really nervous in the age of the Satanic Panic.

So let's get started.

Up first is John Saxon in Beyond Evil (1980).  It's slightly less Blaxploitation than say Live and Let Die,  but the vide it there.  in fact this movie feels very 70s to be honest. No surprise of course, but it will be interesting to see when the shift happens.

The movie is a "Scooby-Doo" plot where John Saxon and wife Lynda Day George get a house in the Caribean.  Of course, it is haunted by a woman who was murdered by husband.  So we get a lot of Lynda Day George acting all possessed and weird.  A lot of John Saxon not believing in black magic and then of course wackieness ensues.

The movie is not bad it an attempt to update the old haunted house trope by sticking it into someplace really nice. But in the end, the cast is better than their script.

Watched: 1
New: 1


Magic Kids for Magic School

I was talking with my kids this weekend about our Magic School game.  Since I first proposed the idea to them they have both discovered and fell in love with Call of Cthulhu.  As such my plans have drifted a bit and my magic school is more Miskatonic University rather than Hogwarts.

I'm still going to stick with B/X era Basic for this.  With all the material I have and what I want to do it just seems to be the better fit.

Over the weekend I went to my FLGS and we found these minis that would be PERFECT for a magic school game.




They are from WizKids and are called Wardlings. Each one is a kid with an animal companion.

We did not grab them all but we did get these based solely on their pets. 
They are great little sculpts and the pets are cute as hell.
I just had to have that winged cat for my witches.

Love the little moon design on his fur.

Currently, there are two waves out, Wardlings 1 and Wardlings 2.  I have heard that there is a third one on the way, but I can't find confirmation of that.

Can't wait to see what they come up with next.

Monday, September 24, 2018

Alice Kyteler, the "First" Irish Witch

But now wind drops, dust settles; thereupon
There lurches past, his great eyes without thought
Under the shadow of stupid straw-pale locks,
That insolent fiend Robert Artisson
To whom the love-lorn Lady Kyteler brought
Bronzed peacock feathers, red combs of her cocks.
-  William Butler Yeats, "Nineteen Hundred and Nineteen"

I love finding new things.  In this case, I found a new artist and a new (sorta) witch.

The artist is Neftali Hinojosa aka Hassly.  They have DeviantArt, Patereon, and Facebook pages, so there is plenty of chances for you to enjoy their art.

The witch is Alice Kyteler and she was the first woman to be tried for witchcraft in Ireland. Reading through her history she was a fascinating woman. Really a self-made woman who had made a small fortune and it appears as if she was targeted for her money.  Also, it is very likely she did kill her husbands.

Looking over Hassly's version of Alice I can't help but think she has to be some ancestor of my Larina.  Not one of the "good" witches to be sure, but all witches have a little good and bad in them, don't they?  They share the same hair color, eyes and taste in tattoos.

Reading over her trail there is a lot here to assume that she was a Demonic witch, but I am going to say this is just the populace spreading rumors.  There is a lot more to support her as a Venefica, or poisoning witch.  Her husbands were poisoned and she kept all sorts of jars of strange ingredients.
Plus I have not tried to make a Venefica in a while.

Alice Kyteler
Alice was the only daughter, and only surviving child, of Flemish merchants who settled in Ireland near Kilkenny.  She was married 4 times, but each husband died with poison being the prime suspected method. 
Dame Alice escaped her trial, but her chief servant Petronella de Meath  (Petronella of Meath) was burned in her stead.


Alice Kyteler (14th level witch)
The Witch

Strength: 12 Death Ray, Poison 9
Dexterity: 12 Magic Wands 10
Constitution: 16 Paralysis, Polymorph or Turn to Stone 9
Intelligence: 17 Dragon Breath 12
Wisdom: 16 Rods, Staffs, Spells 11
Charisma: 17

Hit Points: 41
Alignment: Chaotic (Evil)
AC: 6 (Tattoo of Protection, on her chest and back)

Occult Powers (Veneficia Tradition)
Familiar: Robin Artison / Robert, son of Art / Robertum filium Artis (Alchemical Familiar)*
7th level: Brew Love/Hate Potion
13th level: Manufacture Potions

Spells
Cantrips (6): Arcane Mark, Black Flame, Daze, Irritate, Object Reading, Sound

First (5+2): Bewitch I, Cause Fear, Charm Person, Command, Glamour, Increase Sex Appeal, Silver Tongue

Second (4+2): Ecstasy, Enhanced Familiar, Enthrall, Hold Person, Phantasmal Spirit, Twisting the Heartstrings II

Third (4+1): Bestow Curse, Clairaudience/Clairvoyance, Enlarge Familiar, Fly, Witch Wail

Fourth (4+1): Confusion, Intangible Cloak of Shadows, Masque, Neutralize Poison, Withering Touch

Fifth (3): Endless Sleep, Nightmare, Waves of Fatigue

Sixth (2): Mass Suggestion, Repulsion

Seventh (2): Foresight, Wave of Mutilation

*Alchemical Familiars are created by venefica witches. They are similar to homunculi but are given life by a familiar spirit.  In Alice's case, this familiar was a demonic spirit. She was accused of sexual relations with it.

Alice Kyteler, Green Witch
Some point out that Alice is believed to be evil only through the lens of her time.  Indeed if she did not kill her husbands then she very easily could have been a pagan caught up in a wave of new religion.  You can play her as you like in your games.

If you want to know more about Alice, she is all over the web (more or less).
Hassly can be found on Pateron.

Friday, September 21, 2018

Kickstart Your Weekend: The Runewild - A Dark Fairy-Tale Setting for 5E

I love fey-inspired settings, especially ones that also have a bit of darkness about them.

The Runewild - A Dark Fairy-Tale Setting for 5E looks like my sort of setting!


https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/matthewjhanson/the-runewild-a-dark-fairy-tale-setting-for-5e

The core book includes:
  • A history of the Runewild and its surrounding settlements.
  • 100 detailed encounter areas for player characters to explore.
  • New optional rules for exploring and resting.
  • Advice for running a hex-crawl campaign.
  • A new feat: Fey-Touched.
  • 8 new Runewild-specific backgrounds (including hag-owned, Runewild folklorist, time-lost knight, and polymorphed animal).
  • 13 unique magic items (like witch embers and the staff of clarity and confusion).
  • 32 new monsters (including clockwork dwarves, fey lions, giant forest sloths, and the terrifyingly beautiful Golden Bodach).
  • Detailed descriptions of the histories, motivations, and weaknesses of the witches of the Runewild, including the Whitebone Sisters; Missus Switch, the swine hag; Korthsuva, the Witch of Hours; and the hag-queen Griselda, Mother of Ogres.
  • Dozens of random tables designed to help GMs make the Runewild campaign their own.
They pretty much had me at "witches" and "hags".

There are also a number of free previews you can grab over at RPGNow.


And a couple of books already for sale.


The setting is evocative and the art looks great.  I see a lot of potential for this!

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Fear of a Black Superman

Very, very few characters reach out and touch people in a profound way.  Life-changing or life-affirming when we get one of those characters then we tend to be fairly protective of them.

So in way, I understand the...well lack of a better word...anger surrounding the rumor (and that is all it is at the moment, rumor) that Michael B. Jordan would be cast as the next Superman. 

Frankly, I would love to see DC/Warner be so bold as to do this.  Plus if you have seen Creed you know that MBJ is a talented actor and he could pull this off.  He has the physique for it to be sure at 6'1" and only 31 years old. 


That is all fine.  Until you get online.  Then the so-called fans begin their bitching, whining an complaining.  Yes, it is overwhelmingly white and male that are doing the loudest wailing.

Superman/Kal-el/Clark Kent was created by two Jewish immigrants who wanted to tell the tale of another immigrant and how he could hold up the ideals of Truth, Justice and the American way.

So why then does he have to be white?

Well originally I am sure it never occurred to them he could be anything else.  And there is the practical reasons that a black superhero would have never sold comics back then.  Plus I am sure they wanted to see themselves in the comic.  We all do.

But to hear the "fans" you think this was a travesty, a crime worthy of a mob rule.
Or in other words, the masses being a bunch of dicks again.  More to the point a bunch of dicks who have never read a Superman comic before.

I mean we have had Val-Zod.


Calvin Ellis,


Steel,


And President Obama,


Ok. Maybe he doesn't really count here.


There are plenty of precedents (not just Presidents like Ellis and Obama) for a black Superman.

It's time for the fandom to grow up.  We as geeks are accepted like never before in mainstream society. It is time now for us to show mainstream society that we are still not a bunch of basement dwelling adolescents.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Dragonborn in Oerth

A few questions on the various Greyhwak and Oerth related groups on Facebook have prompted me to think a little more about Dragonborn and their place on Oerth.

This is something I began thinking about during the end run of my 3.x campaign, The DragonSlayers.  The be reveal was going to happen when I ran the old BECMI adventure M3 Twilight Calling.  Here the Carnifex were roughly analogous to orcs and to the Dragonborn's elves.
I am also going to use the Tom Moldvay article on the Seven Planets from The Dragon #38.  Which also includes Len Lakofka's updated AD&D 1st Ed stats for Tiamat and maybe the first Yellow Dragon.

But I still need to run that.

I did all the background work for that adventure and came up with some ideas of where to place the Red Mesa, which is a feature of the Dragonborn's homeland.

In Krynn it is pretty easy. Dragonborn are either replaced by or used instead of Draconians.  Though there are still many differences between the two races.
In the Forgotten Realms Dragonborn are godless warriors that have been enslaved by the Dragon Tyrants of Abeir, the lost "twin" world of Toril.  During the Spellplauge (cough*4thedition*cough) bit of Abeir and Toril combined and then split again during the Sundering (clearsthroat*5thedition) leaving some behind.
Other worlds do other things.

Mystara/the Known Wolrd has a thousand places for Dragonborn and any can work into the history.  But Oerth is different.  Let's check out some potential sites.
Again this falls into another debate...what is and what isn't a canon map of Oerth. I am going to stick with the more recent one since it serves my purposes best.

The Oerth
I am going to focus on the mostly undefined West since there a lot of good places to place the Dragonborn Empire (yes I am calling it an Empire, more on that in a bit).

Candidate #1: Fireland
Like many lands on this side of the world, there is very, very little known and even less that have been published.  Fireland, by its name, seems to be an area of volcanic activity or at least much hotter than expected.  Also given its name and its location I am also inclined to draw parallels to Iceland.
I like the idea of an island because it keeps the dragonborn remote and isolated. They could have been there for thousands of years and no one would have known.
Besides, who else would live on a volcanic island? Ok, lots of people do.

Candidate #2: Draconis Island
Another island and this time that really has a good "name claim".
Draconis Island is smaller and less remote but still has a good claim.  It is just about smack in the middle of the Celestial Sea, so maybe this is the home to dragons and/or dragonborn.   It is also closer to the Eastern and more well-known areas of Oerth, so having dragonborn suddenly show up can be readily explained.
Like Fireland there is a lot of appeal to me because it is an island.  I am planning on molding MY Dragonborn Empire on the Dragon Empire of Melniboné of the Elric Saga.  Instead of humans it will dragonborn and maybe not a cruel or decadent.

Candidate #3: The Draconic Imperium of Lynn
This is a big one. Not just in size (it is the largest of the three) but also the name.  The Draconic Imperium implies a Dragon Empire. Whether ruled by dragons or dragonborn or humans that worship dragons, well it's hard to say.
The only thing we know for sure about this area is there is a great city of Lynn and it is full of sea-farers and merchants.
This also seems to be a favorite of some places online as well.

For me though I am going with my Candidate #1, Fireland.
It seems like a better fit for what I want with Dragonborn and still have them in my world.
Speaking of which.  "My world" isn't even Oerth.  I am still happily using the merged Mystara/Oerth world of Mystoerth.

In my world, Fireland is very, very far west. So far in fact it wraps back around to the East.



I get a good sized island that is far enough away to be rumor and close enough that people have heard the rumors and believed them to be true.

Rise and Fall of the Draconic Empire
By human reckoning, there were no powerful civilizations more than 6000 years ago.  This is human arrogance.  When humans were still living hand to mouth as hunter-gather tribes and elves leaving their crystal cities of azure in the Feywild for the forests and wild places of the world the Dragonborn reigned supreme and unconquered.
In their history when the gods and primordials fought in the Dawn War; Tiamat and Bahamut fought their titanic battle in the skies.  As their blood fell to the ground the Dragonborn sprang into life.  Since none knew whose blood they came from they honored both gods as their own.
It is said that Tiamat fell from the skies and crashed into the Oceans.  Her blood and fire and body rose up to become the volcanic island known to humans as "Fireland"; though in the Draconic language it is known as Arkhosia or "Cradle".  Scholars are quick to point out the exact same word in old draconic means "Tomb".  It was here that they built their empire.  The great city of Aurix'ir (the "Golden City") was built. It featured the grand palace of the Emperor whose unbroken line can still be seen today and the even grander twin temples honoring Bahamut and Tiamat. Priest of both sects interacted here and were under strict oaths never to harm the other while in Aurix'ir.

Within the center of the island, surrounded by icy peaks and volcanos lay the legendary Red Mesa and within the Red Mesa was the even more legendary Dragons' Graveyard.

For the next 6000 years, the Dragonborn expanded their empire. Both Tiamat and Bahamut decreed that the riches in the Dragons' Graveyard would belong to the Draconic Empire and thus Emporer.

The wars of the Dragonborn were in the prehistory of Humankind, but would have been glorious for a human historian.

The First Great War was against the evil Carnifex. These lizard-men were the progenitors of Lizardfolk and Trogldytes and maybe scores others creatures.  They were old, even predating the Dragonborn, and they had a prior claim to the Dragonborn Island (though it did not exist till the dragonborn did).  The enemity between the two races was great; much like that between the elves and the orcs.  Indeed the similarity does not end there.  The Carnifex were the offspring of the great lizards known as dinosaurs and they represented a much different Oerth than what it was now.  A hotter place, filled with life from beyond the stars or from deep time.

The Second Great War, sadly was inventible as it was regretable.  The Dragonborn came up against the expanding elves time and time again.  Elves, with their ability to adapt nearly perfectly to their environment, were grabbing lands faster than the dragonborn could get their own people out into these new realms.   The conflict was brief, but global.  While both sides still hold long cultural memories of this war they have decided to work more towards peace, if not just a break from the hostilities.

The Third Great War was between the Dragonborn and the formerly human, now tiefling Empire of Bael Turath.  This was the war that would last 5 generations and destroy both empires.  In the case of Bael Turath it would wipe them from the face of the world and the dragonborn would return to their island and never interact with the outside world again until recently.
Some say the war began with a distarous first meeting between the two races, others say that war was always going to happen. In truth the war began in the Nine Hells when Asmodeus, always vying for more power, created the tieflings and cast Tiamat from Hell into the Abyss.  Offended beyond measure Tiamats clerics screamed for blood and in a rare case of ancestry overriding other concerns even the clerics of Bahamut, who still consider Tiamat their "grand mother", joined them in their cries for vengence.
Soon the lands, skies and seas were filled with battle.  Dragonborn sorcerers battled tiefling warlocks.  Paladins of Bahamut and Tiamat traded blows with hellknights of tieflings. Dragons attacked with mighty breath weapons while Olitiau, monstrous war-bats returned attacks with hypersonic shrieks. When the world could not contain their battles they spread to other realms and planes.  They spilled each other's blood in the sands of Athas. They fought in airships over Khorvaire.  On Krynn both sides were so bloody that all traces of both races were gone by the time of the Lance.  Emperors on both sides had been assassinated and capitals had fallen.  The war finally ended when the dragonborn finally broke the tiefling hold on Arkhosia and sent the tieflings fleeing.  It is said that remnants of this war still remain and great and terrible magics are to be had.  It is rumored that a tiefling spellbook from Bael Turath ended up in the have a wizard in the then young Suel empire.  It is believed that the spell that caused the Invoked Devastation that came upon the Baklunish was just a fragment of a spell found.  It would also seem the Baklunish had their own source of Turathi spells with the rain of colorless fire.
When the war ended no one was a live to have remembered it's beginning.  The animosty between the races today is one more of lazy hate.  They know each other's history but also the long history of what the recovery from that war entailed.


Given the dragon's proclivity to amass things I would say that Fireland/Arkhosia has the world's largest library on magic.  Spells of every description, level, and type.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...