Friday, October 2, 2020

October Horror Movie Challenge: The Horrible Sexy Vampire (1970, 1971)

Well.  One of the words in the title is a lie, but one is spot on.

Also known as "El Vampiro De La Autopista" this is a movie that never really knows what it wants to do.  Both titles tell us this is a Vampire film, but it is often treated (right up to the end in fact) as a mundane murder mystery.   They make a big deal of the murders happening every 28 years, but the ending does nothing to explain that.

Not to spoil it, but the movie is kind of dull, the police detective pins the murders on an escaped mental patient.  One we don't even hear about till the very end.  This is despite the fact that the murders have an obvious supernatural element to them.  How obvious?  Well, the killer is invisible.

Now under other circumstances, this might be interesting, but here it is just cheesy.

Sadly some interesting ideas lost in this Spanish "Hammer-envy" movie.

Watched: 2
New: 2

Well.  The best thing to do with this one really is to have a serial killer in your games. Everyone thinks it is a vampire, but it really just a human psychopath.  This works well in Ordinary World if all the characters are supernatural and they are worried that one of their own is going to get them exposed.

Kickstart Your Weekend: Bitchin Chimera and the Jaquays' Archive

Quite the collection today!

Lost Tomb of the Bitchin' Chimera - Dead Milkmen RPG Module

The Dead Milkmen are releasing a D&D adventure about a "Bitchin Chimera." Do I really need to tell you more than that? No idea if Tony Orlando and Dawn, Beelze-bubba, Mojo Nixon, or a Punk Rock Girl will appear. 

Judges Guild Deluxe: Dark Tower, Caverns of Thracia, & More

Ok, first and foremost this Kickstarter will not benefit any of the current racist owners of the Judges Guild.  This collects some of the best material of the early days of JG and all written by Jennell Jaquays. Some very, very solid stuff here, and Goodman Games puts out a solid product.

and finally one more look at this one now that it has made it's funding goal.

Hellbringers: The Sacred Heart

All are ending soon!

DMSGuild Witch Project: Witches of Rashemen

Today I have three products again that work well with each other, but this time they are not by the same author.  

These products all deal with the area of the Forgotten Realms known as "The Unapproachable East" and Rashemen in particular.  This is of course one of the strengths of doing a product for the DMSGuild as opposed to doing it via the OGL; the ability to access Wizard's IP to use. 

While that is certainly attractive in some cases, I much prefer to use the OGL.  But if these authors had then we not have these products.

Again, here are my rules for these reviews of this series. 

The Great Dale Campaign Guide

This one is huge and has ten authors. The pdf and hardcover book fills it's 144 pages with full-color art and details on all sorts of details on the Great Dale section of the Unapproachable East.  This book actually rivals such books from WotC like The Sword Coast guide and the Icewind Dale. This book covers the people of the lands with new classes (sub-classes), new backgrounds, new feats as well as new spells and magic items. The lands are covered with geography, history, factions, friends, and foes.  There are guides for playing in the lands as well.  The author's introduction sets the stage for the book AND I think it also a good selling point for why people would want to use the DMSGuild rules over the OGL.  

In the case of this book it works well.  I also appreciate that authors not only took the time to properly credit the artists, the obtained commissions for some art as well.  This more than justifies the $19.95 price tag for the PDF.  It is also one of the few DMSGuild books I would want as a hardcover too.  If I played in the Realms more.  If I ever get a Realms 5e going then this will be on my list for getting the hardcover version.

While the Witches of Rashemen are mentioned, there is no "Witch" class.  Plenty of Warlock and Wizard sub-classes though.

Spells of the Unapproachable East

This is a modest PDF that punches above its weight class.  It gives us 13 pages of 5e style spells that are conversions of earlier spells from the Unapproacble East area.  A few I recognized from Unapproachable East (3.5) and from Spellbound (2e).  No art, but 39 spells that were not part of the D&D 5 corpus at the time the PDF was made.  All of that for just a PWYW of $0.50.  Not to bad really. 

Again, no Witch class in this one. But plenty of spells.

Homebrewed Class: Wychlaran Witch

Ah! Now here is what I have been wanting.  You can't write about witches in D&D as long as I have and not come across the Wychlaran Witch, the Witches of Rashemen.  It was one of the reasons I finally put down my Greyhawk books to see what this "young upstart" of the Forgotten Realms was about.

This PDF is modest, only 8 pages, written by Bryan Williams.  It covers the Wychlaran Witch class as a full class.  It covers the class and all the class features, but it is missing the advancement tables and spells per level. It looks and reads like it should be akin to a sub-class of the Sorcerer, and that works to a degree, still I would have liked to see the table.  There is a section on new equipment, which is good, and 13 new spells.  I supposed the advantage to this particular PDF is if you have a Witch class you like you can use this in conjunction with it to create a more witch-y Wychlaran.  So that is a bonus in it's favor.

Also the PDF is PWYW with a listed price of $0, but I say use my guideline of ¢10 per page and give the author ¢80 (or ¢60 for the actual content).  For less than...well just about everything, you can have a class and some new spells.

Thursday, October 1, 2020

October Horror Movie Challenge: Doctor Mordrid (1992)

As typical, I start with some of the left-overs from last-year.  This one was high on my list due to some chatter online.  I guess the deal is that it was supposed to have been a Doctor Strange movie with Jeffery Combs playing the Strange role.   Here he is now Anton Mordrid, and it suits him better I think.  Brian Thompson is in this as well, playing, what else, the bad guy.

The effects are a little cheesy, but that is to be expected, this was low budget even 1992 standards.  It was fun to see some old-school stop-action effects.

The horror is roughly on par with the Doctor Strange comics.  All the elements are there, but you are never really expected to be afraid.

Combs and Thompson make for great adversaries, it is a shame we have not seen them in something else together.  Both look so damn young in this. But I guess this movie is nearly 30 years old.

The "I'll see ya again I promise," leads me to believe that there was going to be more, but sadly we never got it.

All in all a fun little movie.

Watched: 1
New: 1


Doctor Mordrid's world is so adaptable to Night Shift that one wonders why I never watched it before this!  He is in all respects a version of Doctor Strange, but there is more to it than that.  Mordrid, for example, seems to be much older than Strange having waited 150 years for the return of Kabal.

Anton Mordrid, Ph.D.
20th Level Warlock
Str 12 (+0) Dex 10 (+0) Con 17 (+2) Int 18 (+3)* Wis 18 (+3)** Cha 15 (+1)**
XP: 4,000,000
Hit Dice: 11d4+18 (20) Hit Points: 66 AC: 7
Attack Bonus: +6
Check Bonus: +8*/+6**/+4
Armor: Magic cloak
Saves: +7 vs. spells and magical effects
Fate Points: 10
Class Abilities: Arcana 150% (knowledge about magic, rituals, cults, and spellcasting), Spellcasting 150% (160% if he has his Amulet of Kronos).
Other Special Abilities: Arcane Bond (Amulet of Kronos, adds +10% to spellcasting), Blaster, Enhanced Senses, Telekinesis
Spells Levels: 1:6 2:5 3:5 4:5 5:4 6:4 7:4 8:3 9:3

Mordrid has an extensive library so all spells in the core NIGHT SHIFT book are available to him

DMSGuild Witch Project: The Hedgewitch

Let's start this off with two products that are used in conjunction.

As a reminder the "rules" for reviews are here,

The Hedgewitch (player class) by PCSpinner  and Covens (for the Hedgewitch) by PCSpinner 

Both products feature the same cover art with some color variation. 

The Hedgewitch PDF is a PWYW with a suggestion of $1.00 for 9 pages.  
Covens is $0.50 for 4 pages.

It looks like the math here is about ¢10 a page. Let's see if that holds up across the DMSGuild titles. 

Both come in standard format and printer-friendly format.

The Hedgewitch is true to its name and presents a Hedgewitch class.  She gets spell levels up to level 5 only. The class has a nice variety of features and powers and all have a really nice witchy feel to them. 

The "sub-classes" or archetypes of the hedgewitch are "covens" which is exactly what I would do and would expect since "Traditions" were taken by the Wizards class. There is a nic variety here.

The layout and art look really nice. I think some of it is public domain art and photos. At least they look a little familiar. 

There are no "new" spells, but it does use spells that were new at the time of publication.  

Covens for the Hedgewitch is similar in terms of art, layout, and options.  This pdf offers another four covens to use with the Hedgewitch.

So a couple of thoughts.

These easily could have been combined into one product, but I think I see the rationale for keeping them separate.  Either way it is fine.

The layout and art is really nice, the creator spent some time on this and it shows. This was released four years ago and I thought the creator would have done more, but I only see six total titles in the DMSGuild.  The inclusion of printer-friendly versions is a very nice touch.

I would try this class out. I think there are some good ideas here.  

ETA: The Hedge witch class was taken down since I wrote this review.

The DMSGuild Witch Project

October is here!  I am not sure about you, but my thoughts have turned to Halloween.  Ok, that’s not true. I was thinking about Halloween back in August.  But since most everyone else is now thinking about Halloween I thought it might be nice to delve into reviews.

My kids have been wanting me to create a 5e Witch class ever since 5e came out. I have not done it because, well, I think I can get out of the warlock and druid and some deft multiclassing the witch character I want.  Presently I am playing a wizard who also has the magical scholar background that is working out well.  I am also playing multiclass warlock/paladin to cover a “Green Knight” and Warlock that has been picking up various feats from sorcerer, wizard, and bard to get a more witchy feel.  But since I play so rarely (I am always the DM) it is hard for me to get out of these characters what I want.  Plus I feel the need to playtest everything.

So with Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything on the near horizon, I have turned to the DMSGuild for ideas.

There are so many witch classes on the DMSGuild I figure I would try a few. And I have. And my experiences...well...let’s just say they have been all over the place.

Now, I am planning to review these witch classes and witch related materials.  BUT I want to set some ground rules for myself.  

The Rules

I normally feel a little bad when reviewing someone else’s witch class.  Not to be too blunt, but there is just no way they have been writing about this as long as I have. So I can’t knock them down for missing something that is obvious to me, but maybe not to someone else.

Also, I have to remember that these publications, by their very nature, are amateur. I can’t expect high levels of layout, art, or design in most of these.  Yes, there is some absolutely stunning pdfs there in terms of production values and art.  But most of these are not going to be at that level; most of the books there are not at that level period.

In truth, art is going to be a big issue since a lot of the PDFs I have grabbed seem to have a lot of “borrowed” art.   I’ll mention art issues as they come up. 

The price point also seems to be an issue. A lot of these products are priced much higher than similar-sized ones on DriveThruRPG.  Like the art, I’ll talk about the price if it is a big issue for the item. My mental comparison on price here is going to be about ¢10 per page. 

I want to give each product a fair shot, given that I know that many of these could be the first effort of the author/designers.

Some products I’ll be reviewing here are quite small. Others are linked to other products.  Some others still are naturally paired with other products.  In any case, I have bought and downloaded enough to cover the entire month.

I am going to leave this page like this with the rules and what I am doing so I can link back to it with each review.

With each class/pdf I am going to be looking for the following:

  • Is it a playable class?
  • What new things does it offer?
  • How “Witchy” is it?
  • Are there any new powers, feats, or spells?

My goal is to find something to recommend for each product and no to unfairly compare it to other, more polished witch products.

I might also make a distinction between a "witch" and a "Witch" or class that can act like a witch vs a class named Witch.  This is a distinction that might only matter to me, but hey, this is my blog.

Happy October! From the Other Side!

It is now October!

Larina by Djinn

Let's celebrate the most wonderful time of the year at The Other Side!