Tuesday, October 30, 2018

A Wicked Time. Glinda the Good Witch for Swords & Wizardry White Box

Today, October 30, 2018, marks the 15th Anniversary of the premiere of Wicked on Broadway.
It has gone on to be not just the longest-running Broadway musical, but also the most profitable.

But I am not going to talk about Wicked.  Instead, I want to focus on the stars, the Witches of Wicked. In particular Glinda the Good Witch.

Glinda is considered to be the most powerful witch in Oz, though we see more magic from the Wicked Witch of the West.
Here she is for Swords & Wizardry White Box for the White Witch Tradition.

Glinda, The Good Witch 
aka Glinda Arduenna Upland
10th level Human Female Witch,
White Witch Tradition

Strength: 11
Dexterity: 15
Constitution: 12
Intelligence: 17
Wisdom: 15
Charisma: 18

HP: 36
Alignment: Lawful
AC: 9 [10]
Saves Base: 6

Occult Powers
Familiar: Invisible Stalker (Spirit of the Air)
4th level: Herbal Healing
7th level: Create Magic Items
10th level: Coven* (I will argue that all the Cardinal witches are part of the same coven)

Spells 
Cantrips: (6) Alarm Ward, Animate Tool, Arcane Mark, Dancing Lights, Object Reading, Warm
First: (4) Animal Friend, Bright Blessings, Detect Danger, Speak with Animals
Second: (3) Augury, Barrier, Calm Emotions
Third: (3) Animal Summoning I (Ritual), Calm Animals, Fly
Fourth: (2) Cleanse, Plant Growth
Fifth: (2) Enchant Item (Ritual), Find the Path

Equipment
Wand

In other games, Glinda very well could be a dual-classed Witch/Magic-User since she was described as studying Wizardry as well as being a Witch.

--

Don't forget the Witch for Swords & Wizardry White Box is now out! Featuring the White Witch Tradition.  It is 100% compatible with my other Swords & Wizardry witch books.  Each one with a new tradition, occult powers, magic items, spells, and rituals.  Many even include new monsters.

Monday, October 29, 2018

Charmed Season 1, Episode 3 "Sweet Tooth" (and Battle of the Network Witches)

It's a Charmed Halloween and we get a few more bits of Charmed lore.  First Maggie needs to win big with her sorority so she throws a party in the Vera Manor (which looks really big on the inside) and uses a Glamour spell to make the Halloween decorations extra special.  We learn from Harry that such uses of magic have consequences.   In the original series, the Charmed Ones could not use magic for personal gain as well, but the consequences were usually more immediate and pronounced.  in the new series Maggie has her magic spaz out on her.

Mel really wants to tell her girlfriend she is a witch.  We learn that Mel was always accepted as gay by her mother so she was never "in the closet" now having to hide that she is a witch is killing her.  She has also mastered some sort of spell akin to Eldritch Blast or Fireball that is dangerous to everyone around her when she casts.

Macy has to reveal a secret of her own. The demon of the week, the Harbinger, feeds on virgin blood.  So far she has eaten a Nun, a girl in charge of the "Purity Patrol", and a right-wing podcasting incel (ok, so two human and a community service kill).   While trying to cast a protection circle around the house they discover the demon is inside.  So to lure it out they need virgin blood.  Macy steps up as a potential source (we have seen Maggie and Mel already have sex). Macy claims she never got around to it.

The Elders still seem to be about as useless as always, but we learn that Harry had another witch he was protecting but she told someone she was a witch and ended up in a mental asylum.  He feels it is an honor to be able to serve the Charmed Ones.

The title comes from the notion that this demon can't digest sugar.  More of Macy's "there is science in this magic stuff."

I love how both Maggie and Macy commented on their mother's collection of hebs and candles and say how could the girls not known she was a witch?

--
Over on Netflix (though it has a solid CW feel thanks to having  Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and Greg Berlanti as producers) we are getting The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina which is soooo good.  I am not going to get into it that much right now (have a post for later in the week) but I do want to comment on the Charmed connection.


In Episode 6 Sabrina wants to hold an exorcism of another's character's uncle (yes I am trying to avoid spoilers).  The episode is very, very reminiscent of The Exorcist, what was completely intentional.  We learn through that witches (at least these witches) can't and are not allowed to perform exorcisms.   Indeed even going through my own database of spells I don't have exorcism on the list.  As it turns out Sabrina's father had worked one out that does not rely on the power of the Catholic Church or the Christian God.
And it sounds really, really, really similar in tone to the Vanquishing ritual the Charmed Ones used to destroy the Source of All Evil and later Cole.






In every instance (I could not find a video for Sabrina) the witches gather and call upon the power of other witches to aid to defeat an evil.  In Charmed it is the witches of their family starting with Pru, their mother, grams and working backward.  In Sabrina, they invoke the names of Lilith, Aradia, Diana, Marie Laveau among many others.  I'll go back and rewatch it for all the names, it's like a witch's who's who.



How would this work in your games?
The spell has similar features to the Clerical/Divine Exoricsm and the Arcane Banish.

Banishment
Level: Cleric 6
Range: Creatures within visual range
Duration: Instantaneous
A banishment spell is a more powerful version of the dismissal spell. It enables the cleric to force extraplanar creatures out of their home plane. As many as 2 Hit Dice of creatures per caster level can be banished. The cleric can improve the spell's chance of success by presenting at least one object or substance that the target hates, fears, or otherwise opposes. For each such object or substance, the cleric gains a +2 bonus vs the creature’s saving throws. Note: a holy symbol is always assumed and does not add to the saving throw adjustment. For example, if the creature’s save is 13 and the cleric presents the appropriate symbols, say such a bell or candle then the creature’s save is now 15. Spell resistance (if applicable) is reduced by 5% per item.
Certain rare items might work twice as well as a normal item for the purpose of the bonuses each providing a +10% bonus against Spell Resistance and increasing the save by 3 or 4 depending on the Game Master.  Such rare items could be the relic of a Saint that opposed these creatures, an ancient weapon forged to destroy them or even a special time of day.
Any creature failing to save is sent back to the realms from which they came.
Material Components: At minimum a holy symbol and prayer book. Other items can be added.

Vanquish
Level: Witch Ritual 8
Range: One Creature within visual range
Duration: Instantaneous
This ritual doesn’t just banish an extra-planar creature, it destroys it. However, to use this spell requires three or more witches to cast and even more witches to power.   Three or more witches will cast the spell focusing all their attention on the creature to be vanquished. The gathered witches now must call upon their ancestors, past witches of their coven or the names of powerful patrons to lend support to vanquishing of this creature.
Each witch beyond three adds a +2 bonus to the spell vs. a Saving throw (and +5% against any roll to overcome magic resistance, if used).
Certain rare items might work twice as well as a normal item for the purpose of the bonuses each providing a +10% bonus against Spell Resistance and increasing the save by 3 or 4 depending on the Game Master.  Such rare items could be the relic of a witch that opposed these creatures, an ancient weapon forged to destroy them or even a special time of day or place.
If the creature fails the save they are dead and no resurrection can bring them back.
Any creature failing to save is sent back to the realms from which they came.
Material Components: At the minimum the witch’s ritual tool and the names of the witches they are calling upon for power. Other items can be added.

Tonight we also get NBC's "A Very Wicked Halloween" for more Witchy Goodness.



--

Don't forget the Witch for Swords & Wizardry White Box is now out! Featuring the White Witch Tradition.  It is 100% compatible with my other Swords & Wizardry witch books.  Each one with a new tradition, occult powers, magic items, spells, and rituals.  Many even include new monsters.

Friday, October 26, 2018

Kickstart Your Weekend: Venger Satanis Style!

Venger has got another Alpha Blue Kickstarter in the works and it claims to be the last.

The Last Alpha Blue Supplement


https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1575519826/the-last-alpha-blue-supplement

This kickstarter includes not one, but two books: Kobayashi Maroon & Sexual Predators.

Sexual Predators is the new title.  Kobayashi Maroon is already out.
I will admit I enjoy Alpha Blue.  It is that nice mix of 70s and 80s sci-fi sleaze that was a steady diet of my youth.  It's not for everyone, but I love it.

So this Kickstarter is wrapping up, but Venger has been excellent with all his Kickstarters so far and this should be no different.

Kobayashi Maroon
How am I supposed to say no to an Alpha Blue product that invokes the memory of one of my favorite things in one of my favorite movies ever?
That answer is "No. I am not going to ignore it."

Now sometimes I like to read books to review on my lunch break at work.  Yeah. That wasn't going to happen with this one.  Look, there is nothing X-Rated in this book.  Maybe R, maybe a racy PG-13.  Nothing more.  But it is certainly Not Safe For Work, so keep that in mind.

This is a collection of three short adventures.
Episode one is a riff on the Kobayashi Maru, you need to rescue The Vanessa before Yog-Soggoth comes..er, wait that sounds bad. Before Yog-Soggoth arrives.  I dig this one since I have been all about mixing Trek and Cthulhu.  I am not sure I can play this one straight though.  Still, I love the idea and it really made me laugh.

Episode two is an Amok Time riff and I must say kudos to author Zoltar Khan Delgado (no shit, that's his name. I really, really want it to be his real name too.) for coming up with Pr0n Fa'ar.  I am disapointed in myself for not coming up with it myself.  But then again I was not blessed with a name like Zoltar.  With a name like that there are certain expectations.

The third and last epsiode features a wine mixing event in which the PCs are security.  It's a pretty clever set up and could be run complete straight to be honest.  The NPCs are all rich, powerful, extremely good looking or all the above. This where the power of the three galaxies come to play.  Of course there is going to be trouble!
We end with an Appendix of random tables that will only ever find use in an Alpha Blue game.

My only gripe about this book is where was it when I REALLY needed it? You know back in 1985.

But in all seriousness, this is just good old pervy fun.  I won't run it for my kids, but I will mine it for ideas. Plus my kids are old enough now that if they find it and want to run it for their groups that is fine.  Serious. Why is being a "murder hobo" ok but a pervert is not?  Give me a pervert any day.

Anyway check this out.

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Happy Birthday Larina!

Sort of.  I actually rolled the character up in July of 86 but I put her birthday down as October 25. It was one of those character quirks I gave her. She was born on the 25th but told everyone that her birthday was the 31st.  Yeah, a weird thing. We used real-world dates since we could never really liked the World of Greyhawk ones.

So for 32 years, she has been one of my favorite characters and my iconic witch for my books. She is also one of my favorite characters to get art of.   The most recent one comes from artist Hassly.

I discovered Hassly from his Patreon site with his Alice Kyteler, the "First" Irish Witch post.
My post was here and his is here.  I loved it.  She looked like, to me, that she could have been one of Larina's ancestors. I had to get a commission from him for my witch.

He posted his version of my witch today.
https://www.patreon.com/posts/larina-22225140


I love it. I wanted something that showed off her back tattoo and I am not disappointed.

So check out his Patreon, he has a bunch of other great pin-up style art.

I absolutely love getting art of my characters and love how every artist gives me something new. I have something REALLY special coming up next month.  Can't wait to share it with you all.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Which Witch is Which? Swords & Wizardry Edition

This month see the release of my version of the Witch for the Swords & Wizardry White Box.  If things go as planned I'll have the Winter Witch out this Yule and some others after that.

It has gotten some people asking if the books are all compatible (they are) and what features each book has to make it "Special".  I hope this help clears some of that up.

For starters, yes, there is some overlap.  The table of experience points and spells per level are all 100% the same.   There some spells in common.  For example, the 3rd level spell Bestow Curse appears in multiple books since a curse is so central to the archetype of the witch.  There is also a lot new material in each one.


The Witch for Swords & Wizardry White Box
  • The Witch class, levels 1-10
  • The White Witch Tradition
  • 76 unique spell (out of 183 total spells)
  • Monsters, treasures, and magic items

The Witch: Hedgewitch for the Hero's Journey RPG
  • New Race: The Gnome
  • New Professions
  • The Witch class, levels 1-10 
  • Hedge Witch Tradition
  • 80 spells new to The Hero's Journey
  • 15 new monsters
The Green Witch for Swords & Wizardry
  • The Green Witch tradition 
  • The Green Knight and Huntsman classes
  • New race for S&W Complete: Forest Gnomes
  • 200+ witch spells
    • 91 Druid Spells
    • 61 Magic-User spells
    • 43 Cleric spells
  • Places of Power for Witches and other Spellcasters 
  • Monsters
  • Magic Items
  • The Grand Coven of the Earth Mother for Witches and Druids
The Warlock for Swords & Wizardry

  • The Warlock class and Traditions
  • New race: The Tieflings
  • Rules for goblin, hobgoblin and bugbear warlocks
  • 160+ spells
  • 50+ Warlock invocations
  • New monsters including the Baalseraph, Calabim, Lilim and Shedim demon groups.
  • Animal Lords and Faerie Lords
  • New magic items

The Witch: Aiséiligh Tradition for Swords & Wizardry

  • The Aiséiligh witch Tradition
  • The Daughters of the Flame Coven
  • 70+, new to Swords & Wizardry spells including never before published spells.

The Witch for Swords & Wizardry Continual Light

  • The Witch for S&WCL
  • Three new Traditions, The Light, The Dark, and Twilight Witches
  • New Spells
  • Seven New Monsters

The Witch for Swords & Wizardry Light

  • The Witch for S&WL

Additionally, I have my other two OSR Witch books.

The Witch: A sourcebook for Basic Edition fantasy games
This book is designed with the "Basic" rules in mind.  So Holmes, Moldvay, or Mentzer or them modern clones like Basic Fantasy or Labyrinth Lord.  Largely compatible with my Swords & Wizardry line.  In includes:

  • The Witch Class
  • Six Traditions (Aquarian, Classical, Faerie, Family, Maleficia and Eclectic)
  • 381 New Spells
  • Monsters
  • Magic items

Eldritch Witchery for Spellcraft & Swordplay
Again this book is largely compatible with the S&W line, though in different ways than the Basic Witch is.  It includes.

  • The Witch and Warlock classes (slightly different than the ones above)
  • New Witch traditions, Craft of the Wise, Tradition of the Magna Mater,  Demonic, Faerie and Gypsy.
  • New Warlock Lodges, The Dark School of the Scholomance, Fraternity of the Bones, Goetic, The Hermetic Lodge and The Secret Masters of the Invisible College.
  • New Demons, the Calabim, the Shedim, the Lilim, and the Baalseraph.
  • 248 spells


So 17 Witch traditions and 761 total spells!



Currently in the works:

The Winter Witch. the Winter Witch tradition, the Pact of Winter for the Warlock. New monsters and magic items. Lots of new spells.  New races

The Black Witch.  A B/X dedicated witch, levels 1 to 13.  The Black Witch Tradition (no, it's not what you think it is), lots of new spells, new magic items and maybe some monsters. Hags as a playable race.

and finally The Complete Witch a book that combines all these books into one.  Maybe...have not decided yet.


Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Mary Poppins: The White Witch (Swords & Wizardry)

It is no shock or surprise, but the White Witch has it's roots in Disney as much as it does in D&D.

There is no one character I can point to and say "that is it, that's her!" but a lot that I can take aspects of.  It all gets jumbled up a bit to be honest as the same character can also inspire different interpretations. 

No one is a better example of that than Mary Poppins.
In grade school, I forget what grade, I remember my teacher taking us all out of the classroom and we went out to this atrium area that was large and domed outside of the library and she read Mary Poppins to us.  I remember being very interested in it once she mentioned Mary knew a girl from the Pleiades. 

I have talked about Mary before.  I have even given stats for her as a witch and as a Time Lord.
My good friend and blogger Tim Knight over at Hero Press has a trailer up for the new Mary Poppins Returns and of course, he says she is a Time Lord.  I will admit I am very fond of that idea myself.

The new movie is coming out and I adore Emily Blunt. I can't think of a single thing I have seen her in that I didn't like and think she was the reason it was as good as it was.

So in the case of going back to my roots, here is Mary, as a White Witch.

Mary Poppins
10th Level White Witch Tradition
From Witch for Swords & Wizardry White Box

Strength: 10
Dexterity: 15
Constitution: 14
Intelligence: 16
Wisdom: 17
Charisma: 18

HP: 42
Alignment: Lawful
AC: 7 [12] (coat equal to leather)
Saves Base: 6

Occult Powers
Familiar: Jackdaw (Raven)
4th level: Herbal Healing (with a little drop of sugar)
7th level: Create Magic Items
10th level: Coven* (Mary gets the benefits of a coven when she is with a family)

Spells 
Cantrips: (6) Alarm Ward, Animate Tool, Dancing Lights, Ghost Sound, Object Reading, Warm
First: (4) Analgesia, Animal Friend, Detect Danger, Speak with Animals
Second: (3) Augury, Healing Broth, Raven Spy
Third: (3) Animal Summoning I (Ritual), Calm Animals, Fly
Fourth: (2) Cleanse, Joyous Tidings
Fifth: (2) Animal Summoning III (Ritual), Enchant Item (Ritual)

Equipment
Bag of Holding, Umbrella (serves as staff and witch's broom), Bowtie, Jaunty hat (witch's hat), tea-set.

Using Mary in Your Games
Mary, of course, works best when there are children about. If your game has younger children as the Player Characters then Mary practically, as she often does, invites herself in.
For me, I am planning on using her in various "flashback" episodes with the current characters.

Monday, October 22, 2018

Charmed Season 1, Episode 2 "Let This Mother Out"

Last night's Charmed episode felt like a "proper" Charmed episode in tone, but not one we would have ever seen on the Original Series. 


The girls, still grieving for their lost mother are also dealing with new sister issues.  While in the original series it took Piper a while to really accept Paige as her sister, since her and Prue were so close, here we see Mel as the one more reluctant to "replace" her mother with Macy.  Maggie, the empath, is the one that acts as the bridge much the same way Phoebe did.

Of course Original Charmed would not have used Grams or Patty in the same way they used Marisol here.  And in the case of Prue they really couldn't have done it nor I think would they have tried.  In this way, the New Charmed ups their horror game a little.  These are demons and they will play dirty; no one is off limits.

We also get some very-Charmed like shenanigans of the truth potion getting mixed up and Maggie hearing every thought whether she wants too or not.

Also, the plot here of not trusting the Whitelighter is something you not have seen in Charmed before.  Leo was immediately trustable. Plus I don't see Harry falling in love with any of the Charmed ones anytime soon.

I would call this one a step up from last week, though last week was still a good showing.  Last week's was Macy's spotlight (though all the girls shined) and this week was Maggie. 

Next week look downright scary!

RPG Applications
I figure if I am going to do Charmed reviews each week I might find something in every episode to use in my games. Here are a few things I was working on.

Veritas (Truth Spell)
Level: Witch 1
Range: Touch*
Duration: 1 hour per level
By means of this spell anyone touched by the witch will be forced to speak nothing but the truth for the duration of the spell.
Material Components: The south facing bark of a willow tree, the pin feathers of a migratory bird, and the moss from the north side of a stone.

Spirit Boards
These boards, sometimes known as spirit boards, witch borads, or even Yes/No or Yes/Yes boards, are used to contact the spirits of those departed. Using one a witch or other spellcaster gains a 5% or +1 to any roll that may be required or -1 or -5% on any roll used to oppose the contact.
There is always a chance that a trickster demon known as an Imposter will answer the call instead.

Trickster Demon, Imposter
Hit Dice: 3
Armor Class: 8 [11]
Attacks: 2 claw (2x1d4)
Saving Throw: 15
Special: unique kill, +1 better to hit.
Move: 12
Alignment: Chaos
Number Encountered: 1
Challenge Level/XP: 5/240
Trickster demons are notoriously chaotic and never appear the same way twice.  Imposters though are Tricksters that appear as a recently passed loved one.  Despite how they may look they are not undead. These demons usually find ways into our world via spirit boards.  (Trickster Demons that attach themselves to spirits coming through are known as Travellers.)
These demons are immune to all non-magical weapons.  The only way to permanently destroy these demons is to reduce them to 0 hp and then show them their own reflection.

--

Don't forget the Witch for Swords & Wizardry White Box is now out! Featuring the White Witch Tradition.  It is 100% compatible with my other Swords & Wizardry witch books.  Each one with a new tradition, occult powers, magic items, spells, and rituals.  Many even include new monsters.

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