Friday, November 30, 2018

Kickstart Your Weekend: Final Call!

I have a bunch of Kickstarters making their ways in the RPG/Geeky world and a lot of them are ending soon.  So here's your chance to get a last look in.

HYPERBOREA: Players' Manual, Referee's Screen, and more!


I love AS&SH. It's a great game.  But look at this beast:


That is a lot of book.  And not all of it is good for the players to have (or need).  This Kickstarter gets you a slimmer version of just information for the player.  You can also get a GM's screen and Players folder.

Never Going Home: World War Occult Role Playing



Described as "Eldritch Horror Role Playing in the Trenches of World War One" it looks like a great game.

I also have a couple from the comics world.

Legend of the Shaders - Harp Twins Comic!


Nordic harp-bard twins and their enigmatic cat discover that the Shader creatures of legend might not be myth after all.

Created by local girls Camille and Kennerly Kitt, aka the Harp Twins.  Normally known for their harp versions of Heavy Metal songs the girls are in their own comic adventure.  I have to admit, I am curious to see what this is all about.

And of course my most recent Featured Artist,

WILLOWBROOK #1



I think this one will be great too!

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Featured Artist: Emma Kubert

Something a little different today.  I have been talking with Emma Kubert about her Kickstarter for Willowbrook and in the process found some really fun and wonderful art!

So for today's Featured Artist, I will give you some art and an interview with Emma about her Kickstarter and art.



The Other Side: Tell everyone who you are and a bit about your art.
Emma Kubert: I am Emma Kubert, I recently graduated from the Kubert School! I have been drawing ever since I could hold a pencil, but I didn’t seriously get into comic art until I started at the Kubert School. From this educational experience, I found that I don’t just have a love for traditional superhero comics. I can create any kind of story I want with any kind of medium, which is really quite exciting!

TOS: Kubert School of Art.  That can't be a coincidence, right? ;)
EK: It is no coincidence! :) I am the daughter of Andy Kubert, niece of Adam Kubert and granddaughter of Joe Kubert.

TOS: So this gives you a bit of solid art history.  Is everyone in your family artistic?
EK: Not everyone in my family is artistic. I think what sets us Kubert’s apart from other families isn’t being artistic, but having a relentless determination, pursuing what we want to do with our lives and doing it well. Some of us just happened to fall in love with art and others are successful in other ways.

TOS: Now tell us about Willowbrook.  I love the idea and the art grabbed me right away.
EK: Willowbrook is about a small fictional town in upstate New York, where magical creatures run amuck, and the main character is now on a track to go and find them to protect the people of the town. It is a young adult fantasy comic, but fun for all ages!



TOS: Tell me more about Eliza Anderson.  What little I have read and seen of here she sounds like a great character.
EK: Eliza Anderson is a teenager who grew up away from regular social norms and studied magic. She is very positive, goofy, wacky, and incredibly curious about normal teen stuff, but doesn’t quite understand it, so this is where her ignorance for regular human interaction can be humorous!


TOS: And Willbrook, the town itself?  Looks like a fun place if you like weirdness (and I do!)
EK: Willowbrook has that backwoods, small town, you only stumble upon it if you are lost, kind of feel to it. The place is scattered with magical creatures that have escaped from an unfound portal that leads to other worlds. Eliza’s job is to rid this town of said creatures :)

TOS: What is the future for Willowbrook?
EK: Right now, we are about to end our Kickstarter for the first issue. My hope is to send it to publishers and hopefully make it into a long ongoing series, but for now, we focus on the first introduction issue, so people get a good feel for the project.

TOS: Finally, a question I always ask here at the Other Side.  Who is your favorite witch/wizard and why?
EK: Oh wow that is a tough question! There are so many to choose from! I obviously love Willow from Buffy the Vampire Slayer (if you couldn’t tell) but I am a huge fan of Melissa Joan Hart’s Sabrina in Sabrina the Teenage Witch. I also love Ginny Weasley and Lily Potter from the Harry Potter books. Sorry, couldn’t just choose one! :)



You can find Emma's Willowbrook #1 Kickstarter here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/emmakubert/willowbrook-1

It looks like a lot of fun and I can't wait to see it out.

And elsewhere on the net:







Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Black Star: The Conqueror Worm

"There is no evidence of avifaunal or crawling vermicular lifeforms on Jouret Four."
- Data, Star Trek the Next Generation, Best of Both Worlds, Part 1

I had a Black Star post ready to go today, but this one grabbed my imagination a lot more.  I am currently reading "The Door to Saturn: Collected Fantasies of Clark Ashton Smith, Book 2" in it is a story, “The Kingdom of the Worm”, about an ancient evil kingdom of the dead and the giant charnel worm that rules there.  This reminded me of another one of my favorite Clark Ashton Smith tales, "The Coming of the White Worm", which I need to re-read soon.

While reading I could not help but think of all sorts of worms and how they have been used to terrify us. Edgar Allen Poe's "The Conqueror Worm" comes to mind, which also leads me to the Stephen R. Donaldson short story (from "Daughter of Regals and Other Tales") of the same name, though that one is about a centipede. Which of course made me think of the Sand Worms of Dune and then the Sand Worms of Saturn from Beetlejuice and of course the Sathar of Star Frontiers.

It is that last one that gave me the idea explosion that this post is.

Black Star is if nothing else, about exploring the horror that is space. Space is dark, I am just adding Eldritch Dark to it.

It got me thinking that a great adventure would be to have our crew check in on a planet, much like TNGs Jouret 4, that the entire population is gone.  They discover that they have all been eaten by worm-like creatures, maybe even the Sathar.  Of course they are nothing compared to the towering monstrosity that is Mordiggian, the Charnel God.  I had used Mordiggian and his ghouls once before in a Buffy/WitchCraft/Willow & Tara game which also gave me the spell "Lend Me Your Fire" (to appear in a witch book someday!)

In this adventure, the colony (shades of  LV-426 to be sure) is wiped out by the millions and Starfleet is sent to investigate.  There is evidence that everyone died pretty close to each other in time and there is a lack of bodies.  The Sathar have been consuming the dead, which is not typical behavior, and they are worshipping Mordiggian as their God of Death.  The real big bad here is Mordiggian.

The horror aspects here are of course the death of millions and the natural squeamishness many people seem to have about worms, maggots, and other eaters of the dead.  "Wormfood" is an evocative image for a reason. Also, there is the notion that Mordiggian is here and maybe he is a god maybe he is not, but did he come to our notice now because of the use of the new Triberyllium Warp-13 drive has opened our dimension to that of the Cthulhoid mythos creatures.

For sci-fi this is my chance to square the circle of merging Star Frontiers' United Planetary Federation and Star Trek's United Federation of Planets.

SATHAR (for WhiteStar)
ARMOR CLASS: 6 [13]
HIT DICE: 2
HDE/XP: 3/75
SAVING THROW: 16
TOTAL HIT BONUS: +1
MOVEMENT: 12
SPECIAL: Keen Senses (vision, smell)
ATTACK: by weapon

Sathars are long, worm-like creatures. Their bodies are divided into segments, like an earthworm's. They do not have a skeleton. Instead, they support their bodies hydrostatically, by pumping liquid into the segments so they become hard. A shiny, clear slime coats their skin. Federation scientists believe they are warm-blooded, but no live specimen has ever been studied. Their eyes are placed near the sides of their heads and contain double pupils giving them extraordinary vision.  They smell through two pits in front of their eyes.

A Sathar moves by slithering across the ground with the first meter of its body raised. They also can coil like a snake, raising 1.5 meters of their bodies from the ground.
The color of Sathar skin varies from yellow to brown. The tentacles are the same as the body, but with a slight greenish tint. The underbelly is pale pink. A pattern of dots, speckles, and stripes decorates the back of the head. These patterns are natural on some Sathar, but are tattooed on others.

Some survivors of Sathar attacks have reported that Sathars are not effected by electrical shocks, phasers set to stun or stun grenades, but these reports have never been confirmed.

Sathars are highly intelligent and have a space-faring culture found on the Frontiers of Federation Space.  They are considered dangerous even if very little else is known about them

Source: http://starfrontiers.wikia.com/wiki/Sathar

So, Black Star: The Conqueror Worm (Star Trek + Star Frontiers + The Kingdom of the Worm + Aliens + Tremors + The Charnel God).

Monday, November 26, 2018

Monstrous Mondays: The Almas

I am back from Thanksgiving break only to have the worst blizzard in two-three years hit the Mid-West.  My kids schools are closed and my office is even closed!  With all that snow outside it is a PERFECT day to do some more work on my Winter Witch book.

Today I want to feature a monster that has some significance to me.  The Almas is a cryptid that dates back at least to the 15th century.  I featured the almas as suspected antagonists, but later turned allies in the Ghosts of Albion adventure "Almasti". Here a tribe of Almas has come to London to stop the plans of the evil god Chernbog. 

For the Winter Witch I wanted something a little different, but close enough that it was obviously the same creature.

Almas
Hit Dice: 3 (4 for Shaman)
Armor Class: 7 [12]
Attacks: 2 fists (1d6) or by weapon type
Saving Throw: 13
Special: Fly, immune to cold, spells
Move: 12 / 24 fly
Alignment: Neutral
Number Encountered: 1d8
Challenge Level/XP: 6/400

Almas are the smaller, more intelligent cousins of the Yeti. Due to their smaller size, they do not have the yeti’s hug attack.  For every group of six almas, one will be a shaman who has the spellcasting ability of a 2nd level winter witch.  With the aid of the shaman, an Almas can fly on the boreal winds, but only after the sun has gone down.

They are immune to normal and magical cold.  Almas speak their own language and that of giants.

--

Working hard to get the Winter Witch to you in time for the holidays. 
Until then check out the Cyber Monday sales at DriveThruRPG. All my Swords & Wizardry witch books are on sale.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Monday, November 19, 2018

Monstrous Mondays: Wind Wraith

Interestingly enough this monster came up while playing Pokémon GO with my wife and kids at Gen Con this past summer.  Also based on some other ideas I have had over the years.

Wind Wraith
Hit Die: 5
AC: 1 [18]
Attack: 1 touch (1d6 + con drain)
Movement: - (Fly 24)
Save: 12
Alignment: Chaotic
Challenge Level/XP 9/1,100
Special: drain 1 point of Constitution with hit, magic or silver weapon to hit, ignores non-magical AC.

Wind wraiths are the spirits of mortals that die in one of the elemental planes and become hopelessly lost and can't move over to the other side.  They return to the Mortal Plane to haunt others and steal their lifeforce (as represented by constitution points).
The successful touch of a wind wraith will cause 1d6 points of damage and drain 1 point of Constitution.  A saving throw is allowed to prevent this drain, but the damage is always taken.
More horribly the wind wraith ignores all but magical armor.  The foul creature's clawed hand will pass through the hardiest plate mail as it does through leather or cloth.  All are treated as having an AC of 9.
If the armor is magical then the magical enchantment can be added to the character's AC, but not the armor itself.  So +1 Plate mail would confer an AC of 8 while +3 leather armor would be treated as an AC of 6.
Wind Wraiths appear as they did in life from the torso up. Their lower halves fade into mist and vapor.  They typically haunt areas of strong magic in hopes to find a way to a permanent death.  They are also found in the elemental planes.
They can be turned as Spectres.

Friday, November 16, 2018

Kickstart Your Weekend: Willowbrook #1

One of my absolute favorite things about today's connected world is the ability to find new and great things and people.  Emma Kubert and Willowbrook are both of those.



https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/emmakubert/willowbrook-1

According to Emma herself:
Willowbrook is a fictional town that is set in the woodsy areas of upstate New York. Eliza Anderson (our protagonist) and her black cat Willow arrive in Willowbrook to find her grandmother, Minerva Proctor. Eliza finds out soon that the entire town is riddled with creatures from different worlds, so she stays to help her grandmother, while unraveling the mystery behind her purpose there.
What grabbed me though was her reasons for creating it.
I watched all my favorite tv shows and movies, including Harry Potter, Sabrina the Teenage Witch, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Gravity Falls, Stranger Things, etc. I love young adult fantasy genres (especially the good ones) because throughout all the adventure and excitement, there are characters that resemble ourselves and the changes that we go through too. So, every time I finished one of these shows or movies, I had that lost feeling of “WHAT AM I GOING TO DO NOW THAT HARRY HAS FINISHED VOLDEMORT?!?!”
I can totally relate.

What grabbed was the idea of Willowbrook but what kept me reading more was her art. Check out the Kickstarted page to see what I mean.  Emma Kubert has a solid pedigree when it comes to art, but ignoring that for a bit just look at what she can do.  The emotions of her characters can be felt through the screen.   Plus there is something here that reminds me of reading "A Wrinkle In Time" for the first time again.  Magical and weird among the ordinary and mundane.

It's great stuff really.

So check it out and toss her some money. I like to see new up and coming comic artists succeed when they have talent and Emma certainly has that.  Plus the story sounds fantastic and I could easily grow to like these characters.

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