Thursday, October 22, 2020

DMSGuild Witch Project: 5e Witches, Part 2

Going to look at some more D&D 5 Witch classes today. Today and the rest of the week I am going to look at some of the smaller PDFs.  Usually less than 20 pages.

For these DMSGuild classes, I am going to still follow my own rules and guidelines to make sure I am giving these a fair review.

Witch Class 5E
by Donald Armstrong

This pdf is 15 pages (1 title, 1 legal) and selling at $1.00 PWYW, falling below my 10 cents per page price threshold.  The PDF itself reminds me a bit of the style and presentation of an Unearthed Arcana article, but with art. I am sure that is the author's intent.

This class has a bit more flavor than others, with a little more background for the witch. It takes a specific point of view on witchcraft but is easily adopted or adapted.  Like most of the other DMSGuild witches, this one is a full 20 levels with casting to the 9th spell level ability. This one also has a limit on the total number of spells the witch can know.  The witch gets some powers common to all witches and some that specific to their coven.  The common powers are known as Witchcraft (naturally) and revolve around channeling life energy. 

The covens include the Celestial, Fey, and Infernal. There is a spell list and four new spells.  So this gives it an edge over many of the others. 

There are a lot of neat ideas here and many worth looking into deeper.

D&D 5e Witch Class
by Nils Kjesem

This PDF is 18 pages (1 title, 17 pages content). There is no art and no layout above what can be done in a simple word processor. It also only sells for $1.00, so that evens everything out.

This witch is at 20 levels, but only progresses to the 5th spell level ability. Interestingly enough this witch also uses a 1d8 for HD, so making her a little tough than other witches. This one also puts more details into the various familiars the witch can get.

The archetypes are referred to as "Teachings" here. There are Fortune Teller, Herbology, and Sigils. 

We get a spell list at the end.  

Some interesting ideas, but it feels a bit like a rough draft rather than a completed product. Then again for $1.00 you can buy it and detail it any way you like. 

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

October Horror Movie Challenge: Blood Orgy of the Queens of Evil (1972)

One Occult/Hippie/Witchcraft movie leads to another and another and another.  This time though we might have some fruit.  

Queens of Evil (1972)

A lone biker/wanderer David (again) stops to help an older man with a flat tire.  For his effort, the older man punctures David's motorcycle tire with a nail.  David gets his bike fixed and tries to chase down the old man.  The old man panics and crashes his car into a tree and dies.  David, wanting no part of this speeds away.

He comes up to a shack and since it has been dark this whole time he decides to spend the night.  When he wakes up a young woman, Liv, who tells him he needs to leave now before her family sees him.  David is expecting parents but instead is found by her two sisters Samantha and Bibiana.  They invite him to stay for breakfast and ends up staying for much longer.  The three women live in the BEST witch house I have seen in a while and really is making me rethink what needs to go into a witches' house. The wall-size pictures of each of the three women are going to go into something to be sure.

Everything is very psychedelic.  The first hour of so is slow, but the last 20 minutes really kicks in and gets really going.  David begins to see what sort of trouble he is in. Not before he has sex with Liv at any rate; which actually might have been the final thing that does him in really. 

The women kill him and bury him in the yard. All the guests from the party are there, already in black. The rich older man from the first scene is also there. Turns out he is the Devil! Pretty cool ending really. The witches mention that to corupt him was very difficult and that the Devil will no longer be needed.  All the guests at party are "conjurers" and are designed to keep sin alive and well.

Pretty cool.

Blood Orgy of the She Devils (1972)

This one starts off with some trippy special effects and a witch ritual that at least reads right. It's the early 70s so we are also are going to get some scantily clad dancing girls and a vaguely Satanic looking sacrifice.    I been wanting to see this one since the witch (Witch Queen maybe) Mara. 

At one point Mara channels her "Indian guide" with some of the most painful dialogue I have heard outside a racist cartoon. It is quite painful really.  So our witch Mara kills a UN Ambassador and the ones that paid her try to kill her, but I guess she can't be killed. 

This movie though is so 70s it treats magic as a foregone conclusion; it exists but not everyone has mastered it yet. 

There is a lot of neat sympathetic magic here, but not really a lot of blood nor orgies though really.

The movie ends with a group of "good guys" killing all the women. 

Watched: 38
New: 26

NIGHT SHIFT and Old-School Content
A few random ideas.
  • Witches need to have really cool, or at least really unique, homes.  
  • I need to expand some psychic powers for witches.
  • I should develop some rules for reincarnation for witch characters.
  • More wizard vs. witch battles.

DMSGuild Witch Project: 5e Witches, Part 1

Going to look at some more D&D 5 Witch classes today. Today and the rest of the week I am going to look at some of the smaller PDFs.  Usually less than 20 pages.

For these DMSGuild classes, I am going to still follow my own rules and guidelines to make sure I am giving these a fair review.

The Witch Class
by Spencer Dimmick

This one is 15 pages (1 title, 1 legal, 13 pages content) and sells for $1.99. There is no art.  This class is a full 20 levels, with spell casting to the 9th spell level ability.  This witch also has a number of spells known per level. Spellcasting is based on Intelligence.

This witch has a number of special powers and more granted by their Practitioner's Path. These include The Hedge Witch, The Seer, The Maleficent, The Familial, and The Weaver. So a few more than average. Each has a nice solid witchy feel to it and can fill many niches for the witch class. 

Also detailed are more powers for the witch and the list of witch spells. No new spells are included.

For 2 bucks it packs a lot of punch.

Witch Class: Cackling Guidebook for lonely Spellcasters
From Ingo Könemann

This PDF is 9 pages and $1.00 PWYW. There is no art but the layout is nice. 1 page for the title and 1 page for legal and changelog, bring the content down to 6 pages.  This class is a full 20 levels, with spell casting to the 9th spell level ability. 

This one is interesting since your "Source of Power" determines your spellcasting ability. You may choose Intelligence or Charisma. This witch is also a ritual caster.

Covens grant the witch some "secret spells" starting at the 2nd level and special powers.

The Covens are Coven of the Beast, Coven of the Storm, Coven of Nature.   

There is a list of spells, but no new spells. 

Both have some good points but I'd like to see them expanded a bit.

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

October Horror Movie Challenge: Vampire Ecstasy (1973-4)

Ok. So I have been working my way through the world of European horror and focusing on the era right before The Exorcist, in particular, 1969 to 1973 with 1972 as my sweet spot.  Any search in this time period for "Occult", "Vampire", "Witch", or "Coven" is going to pull up some questionable material.  It is also going to pull up the same few titles over and over.  This one classifies as "all the above."

I have seen this one before. But the copy I saw then was so edited and cut that it didn't make any sense.  I am half-tempted to consider this a "New" showing.

Vampire Ecstasy (1973-4)

I started my research on this one back in September. It is called, in various versions, languages and edits: Vampire Ecstasy, Der Fluch der Schwarzen Schwestern (the curse of the black sisters), the Devil's Playthings,  the Veil of Blood, Le château des messes noires, Schloss der schwarzen Hexen (Castle of the Black Witches), Sexorgien der schwarzen Hexen (Sex orgy of the Black Witches) and more. It was written and directed by Joseph W. Sarno, who was somewhat notorious back then. 

The movie comes in a wide variety of edits and run times. The edits range from a PG-13/R version to NC-17 (or would be NC-17 these days) to a soft X. The version on most Internet channels (like Tubi) seem to be the NC-17 version.  The BluRay is impossible to find, but I did pick it up on DVD with another Sarno movie.  It was worth it just for the audio commentary. 

It was a joint German-Swedish production with most of the actresses coming from Germany. Notable though was Marie Forså, who was Swedish. All the actors and actresses had to be able to speak English though. There also seems to be a bit of controversy about when it was filmed.  Many dates say 1974, others say 1973.  The issue might be due to the fact that new star Marie Forså was either 17 or 18 at the time of filming. Some commentary I have read even puts her as young as 16.  True the age of consent in Germany is 14 and 15 in Sweden. But still, it seems a bit, squicky.  But I digress.

The plot of this one is razor-thin.  A 17th century Countess, Danielle Vaga, was burned at the stake accused of vampirism and witchcraft. She was sort of a Countess Bathory rip-off/homage.  Her spirit lives on in her followers who still reside in her castle. The offspring of the Countess shows up at the castle, dark-haired Monica (Ulrike Butz) and blonde Helga (Marie Forså). With Monica is their cousin Iris played by Flavia Keyt and these two are obviously having sex, but it is not the only incest happening here.

Also arriving later are Dr. Julia Malenkow (Anke Syring) and her brother Peter (Nico Wolf). They are the descendants of the witch hunter that killed Countess Vaga.  Dr. Malenkow is an expert on local superstitions (so she is Julia Malenkow, Ph.D. thank you very much) and she wants fuck her brother.

Nadia Henkowa plays Wanda, the leader of the cult. She brought an air of authenticity to the role with her severe look and actually a rather great accent.  she has invited Monica and Helga to the reading of their grandmother's will.  If they can stay in the castle they get it and all the wealth.  But of course the "Black Sisters" are going to use their magic to tempt them into acts of lust.  Not just for the fun of it though, they need a living host for the soul of Countess Vaga. 

So we get an hour or so of people having sex with each other. And according to the DVD commentary that was also happening behind the scenes as well.  At one point the producer tells us they could find Forså because she was always in someone else's room.  It was the 70s. 

Eventually, the spirit of Vaga takes over the body of Monica and Helga is turned into a mindless sex toy. Vaga tries to get Julia to become the willing sacrifice on the stake, or she will make Helga do it instead.  Julia agrees, but stakes Vaga/Monica instead.  Everyone comes out of their trances now that the Vampire Countess is truly dead.

So. It would be easy to dismiss this as just another in a long, long line of European sexploitation movies with a vampire fetish.  But damn if Sarno doesn't actually have an eye for talent (the actresses, especially Forså can actually act) and he has a good eye for cinematography.  The castle they use in Bavaria is an authentic 17th-century one and they paid rent to the Baron to use it. The dungeon scenes were shot in the actual dungeon.  

The filming was also a bit tragic. Anke Syring had to leave the set for a bit because her mother and father had been killed. The producer was driving back on the last day of shooting and was in a terrible accident, but he survived.  One of the coven sisters played by Claudia Fielers would later commit suicide. 

The movie has very little blood and no gore in it.  There is a solid 70s occult vibe to it.

I think Sarno had ideas and vision, I don't know if he didn't know how to pull them off, or was happy with what he was doing.  I know, thanks to the DVD commentary, that the Producer, Chris D. Nebe was pleased. 


Watched: 36
New: 24



NIGHT SHIFT and Old-School Content
It might have been stated before, but really powerful vampires can come back from the death beyond undeath. While guys like Dracula seem to come back in their own bodies, female vampires seem to need a willing, or semi-willing, host.  Not sure why they should be, but it is also something we see in the "Daughters of Darkness" and Hammer's Karnstein Trilogy. 

What I am going to do then is this.  After I run my War of the Witch Queens campaign I will run a Night Shift game. During the War, the players are likely to meet up with Darlessa the Vampire Queen, and hopefully, defeat her.   Later I will run a Night Shift game where her direct descendant will be cursed with the spirit of Darlessa.  Hopefully, it would be the same players.   

The trick here is how to stat her. In the War of the Witch Queens she is a 13th level witch. But here she should be weaker (a nod, no matter how silly, to the movies).  I am thinking of making the NPC human a vampire spawn under control of the spirit of Darlessa; she is also Darlessa.  Confused? Well it's basically a Scooby-Doo plot. 

If I get this worked up I will certainly need my mini of Darlessa. 

Vampire Queen Darlessa


It's Free Witches!

 OR...Make that a Free Witch.

Right now DriveThruRPG (and all the OneBookshelf "DriveThru" sites) are having their Halloween Sales.

Now, normally I would be telling you which one of my Witch books are on sale.  And I will, but I have something EVEN BETTER.

Right now if you go on to DriveThruRPG's site you will find witches hats, jack-o-lanterns, ghosts and more to get a free download.

One of those free downloads is my The Basic Witch: The Pumpkin Spice Witch Tradition!


I could tell you where, but that would ruin all the fun!  Trust me it is there and the Basic Witch, the Pumpkin Spice Witch Tradition is now FREE until the end of this month November 2nd.

Grab it and see what I do.

Also, there are plenty of great sales going on.


In addition to the Pumpkin Spice Witch being free several of my other books are on sale.

Help me celebrate my FAVORITE holiday by adding something witchy to your games.

DMSGuild Witch Project: The Witch

Going to look at some more D&D 5 Witch classes today. These are all just called "The Witch." Since that was also the name of my first witch book back in 2012 I thought I should check them out.  As it turns out I have one for each primary spellcasting ability, Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma. 

For these DMSGuild classes, I am going to still follow my own rules and guidelines to make sure I am giving these a fair review.

The Witch by Jeroen Boogaard

This pdf is 8 (6 pages content, 1 cover, 1 page of spells) pages at $0.50, so right under my ¢10 per page guideline.  The pdf is full color but light on art. Mind you, that is not a big deal here since the art it does have is used to good effect. 

Presented here is a full 20 level spellcasting class similar in feel to the Pathfinder witch, including minor (five of these) and major hexes (also five of these).  They get a full 9 levels of spell casting slots and Intelligence is their spellcasting ability.   These witches also get an herbalism ability.  Their subtypes are known as "Covens" so that is a good thing.  There are the covens of the dragon, the ancestor, and of the wild.  Each coven gets some special abilities and additional spells.

There is a spell list on the last page, but no new spells.  There are some minor typos, but nothing that impedes the understanding of the text.

The Witch by Dave Rich

This PDF is 15 pages (1 cover, 10 pages content, 3 pages of Appendicies, 1 legal). No art.  The pice is $3.00 PWYW.  So twice my ¢10 per page guideline. 

This one presents the witch class with four archetypes and a sorcerous origin.  We get a full 20 levels of the witch class. Spellcasting is based on Wisdom, and the witch gets a full 9 levels of spellcasting.  This class has a limit on the total number of spells known.  For example, the witch has a full 22 spell slots from 1st to 9th level, but only knows 17 spells.  you can choose to forget a spell of lower level when a higher one is available.  Witches gain familiars here and have a number of unique powers.

The Archetypes of the witch are called Entropic Spirals here. There are the Spiral of Life, Spiral of Fate, Spiral of Bewitching, and Spiral of Glamour. There is a list of spells, with an expansion to cover Xanathar's Guide.   

Appendix A covers a sorcerous origin for witches. Appendix B details the author's thoughts on the creation of this class; namely Terry Pratchett's Discworld and Mage: The Ascension. 

Some neat ideas and I like the sorcerous origin.

Class: The Witch by Calum Brough

This PDF is 11 pages (1 cover, 1 table,  2 pages of spell list).  I don't recall if I paid $1.02 for this or $1.27. Either way right around my ten cents per page.  There is no art. 

This class is designed to be an arcane variant or compliment to the Druid.  A full 20 levels (as expected) with spellcasting to the 9th level of spells.  This class is a Charisma-based spell caster. There are some witch powers here, some are copied over from the druid.

The Archetypes for this witch are the Maiden, Mother, and Crone.  Each archetype has some nice powers to go along with it.  There are no new spells.



Each of these comes close to the idea of the witch, but not the ideal witch. 

Monday, October 19, 2020

October Horror Movie Challenge: The Boy Who Cried Werewolf (1973)

After watching the "Werewolf Vs. the Vampire Woman" I remembered an old flick from the 70s called "The Boy Who Cried Werewolf (1973)."  The werewolf reminded a bit of this flick so I thought I'd dig it up. I had not seen it in years.  

The movie feels like a "Hardy Boys" episode to be honest. Maybe it is how it is filmed.  The acting is not great.  At least Kerwin Mathews ("Robert") is good, but the kid Richie, played by Scott Sealey, isn't.  He has not been in anything else.  George Gaynes makes a cameo as a psychiatrist but is still a decade away from his role in Police Academy.

The movie is a bit slow really.  The only interesting thing about it is some of the werewolf bits (the extended forefinger was very memorable) and the hippie commune.  Now I had memories of these groups. They are obviously Christian of some sort, but they also have some odd things about them, belief in reincarnation and five-pointed stars (not exactly a pentagram, though that is what they call it) on their cross.  I distinctly recall them being more pagan than they are here.  It was the 70s and all sorts of freaky weird shit happened then.  Bob Homel, looking like a hippie John Goodman, delivers a memorable performance as Brother Christopher is what was going to be one of his last roles.   Actually, Brother Christopher is my favorite character. 

The werewolf transformations are pretty good for 1973, we are still a decade away from the genre-defining "American Werewolf in London."

Oh, and since it was the 70s cars explode the second they go off the road.

So the father is bit by a werewolf and now is one.  The only one that knows is the kid. 

What follows is fairly typical werewolf mayhem.

This one makes the connection between werewolf and Satanism more explicit. The scene where the hippies create a circle and Robert can't enter is an interesting one. I am not sure if it is interesting because it keeps the werewolf out or because of the combination of Christian and New Age beliefs.  

The movie is not exactly as I remember it, but it was better than I had hoped for.

Watched: 35
New: 24

NIGHT SHIFT and Old-School Content
Werewolves are easy enough, it's the group of Christian Pagans that has me the most intrigued.  I'd likely give Druids the same chance to turn lycanthropes like Clerics do undead.  Though I would make them a little more effective than Brother Christopher was.

Maybe include a sect of Theosophists that are Christopagan
So it's nearly 50 years later, Brother Christopher has passed, but he trained an elite force of Christo-pagan-hippies that travel the remote areas of the West Coast to the Rockies protecting the unwary from monsters like werewolves and sasquatches.  They seem like a group of burnouts, but really they are an effective group.  

Richie though has passed the curse on...

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