Wednesday, August 3, 2022

#RPGaDAY2022 Day 3 - When were you first introduced to RPGs?

I believe I have shared this story before, but it never hurts to re-share.

For me, it was the Winter of 1979.  It was "quiet reading" time at school and I had already read everything in our school's small library on science and my new fascination, Mythology.  So instead of picking up "D'Aulaires' Book of Greek Myths" for the 100th time, I borrowed a friend's book that also covered all the same monsters and creatures. 

The book was the AD&D Monster Manual.

D&D gateway

The rest is history.  I tried to figure out to play on my own, made up a bunch of stuff, and then finally got a copy of the Holmes Basic book. A poorly Xeroxed copy to be exact. Until I got my hands on the Moldvay Basic set this was how I tried to play D&D.  


100 Days of Halloween: 1,000,000 Witches

 Two different products from two different publishers that aim to do similar things. But combined?  Oh I may have found something rather amazing here.

As always I will be following my rules for these reviews.

100 Witches10,000 Witches

100 Witches

PDF. 19 pages. Color cover and pages. Black & white art.  $1.99.

This book has 100 different witches with names and a paragraph for their background.  Need a quick NPC witch? Roll a d100 and you will have one. There are no stat blocks, just the names and backgrounds.  But that is exactly what they adveritse, so we are in great shape really.

10,000 Witches

PDF, 1 page, no art. $1.50.

Another one of Lee's Lists products. This one features two d100 tables, one of names and the other of titles or honorifics.  So a roll of 23 and 85 produces "Isadora the Bald."

What it lacks in length it makes up for in versatility.  You can in fact create 10,000 different witches here. 


Now how can I get 1,000,000 witches? Take both products and run your generation methods; a 3d100. The first d100 gives you the name, the second d100 gives you the title honorific, and the last d100 you use to get the backstory.  100x100x100 or 1003 or 1,000,000 witches.

Combine this with a product like Build a Witch and you can create a nearly endless supply of witches.

The Other Side - 100 Days of Halloween

Tuesday, August 2, 2022

New Releases Tuesday: Witch & Warlock Bundles

It's Tuesday and that usually means new releases.  It is also Lughnasadh (well yesterday) and the first of the Pagan harvest festivals.

I thought some "new" releases were in order.  They are not new per se, but they are new bundles.

Pagan Witch Bundle
2022 Pagan Witch Bundle

This combines several "Pagan" witches into one set.  Five books for four different OSR rulesets (Old School Essentials, Labyrinth Lord, Blueholme, and Swords & Wizardry).  Plus the Witch/Warlock Character Folio. 333 pages.

It includes:

The idea is to take whichever class you want, a Pagan Witch, or a Green Witch, and use the ruleset of your choice. Use all the spells, powers, and monsters from all the books.

And not to let the witches have all the fun, I have a warlock bundle as well.

2022 Warlock Bundle
2022 Warlock Bundle

Five books for four different OSR rulesets (Old School Essentials, Labyrinth Lord, Blueholme, and Swords & Wizardry).  Plus the Witch/Warlock Character Folio. 333 pages.

#RPGaDAY2022 Day 2 - What is a great introductory RPG?

There are a lot of great choices out there, but I am still rather partial to the 1981 Moldvay Basic Set.  Starts you out simple and lets you build as you go on.  While the Mentzer Red Box Basic for the BECMI line gets a lot of kudos (and got the sales to be sure) I am still more in the camp of Moldvay.

I suppose it follows then that Old-School Essentials is also a good choice as is Basic Fantasy.



100 Days of Halloween: Advancing with Class: The Witch

Advancing with Class: The Witch
Been spending some time with various Pathfinder supplements. Tonight I want to look over the Knotty Works book Advancing the Class.

As always I will be following my rules for these reviews.

Advancing with Class: The Witch

PDF. 27 pages. 1 cover, title page, back cover, 1 ad, 2 pages of ogl. 22 pages of content.

This book has a bunch of new material for the Pathfinder 1st Ed. Witch class.

There are five new Patron themes (with patron spells listed); Arcane Patron, Courtly Fey Patron, Nature Fey Patron, Summer Patron, and Whimsy Patron.

There are 54 new hexes in four categories along with the general, major and grand hexes.

The 17 new feats are interesting since I do like to play with the idea that witches are almost a different type of human.  So there are lot of "blood" nature feats.

The witch Archetypes give you different roleplaying ideas, with some mechanical advantages. We have the Eldritch Witch, Fey Touched Witch, Harrowed Harlequin, Madness Matriarch, Mystic Astrologer, Occult Scholar, and Shadow Mistress. 

There are also three NPC witches using them material above.

There are certainly some great ideas here and some archetypes I'd love to try out.   

The layout is ok. The font is very readable, but the blue boarder seems unnecessary.  The art is a bit of a mixed bag.  But for just under $3.50 it's a good deal.

The Other Side - 100 Days of Halloween

Monday, August 1, 2022

Monstrous Mondays: The D&D 3rd Edition Monster Manual

It is the year 2000. We don't have flying cars, but I have a brand new baby, and Wizards of the Coast, the brand new owners of Dungeons &  Dragons are putting out their new 3rd Edition material.  The Monster Manual was the last of the three core rule books.

Monster Manuals for D&D 3.x

For today I am going to consider the 3.0 and the 3.5 versions of the Monster Manuals.  I am also considering the Print and PDF versions from DriveThruRPG.

Monster Manual 3.5
Monster Manual 3rd Edition

3.0 220 pages. 3.5 324 pages. 425 monsters.

More so than the AD&D 2nd Edition Monstrous Compendiums or Manual this book felt like the Monster Manual of old.

It was the start of the new millennium (almost) and we all survived Y2K.  I had been moving away from D&D for some time by this point and this was the edition that brought me back.  I do sometimes still get the urge to play 3.x and this book is one of those reasons.

The art budget for D&D (no more "Advanced") was heavily increased. Art that would have been chosen for cover art for products in the 1990s now joins several more just like for interior art. Every monster in illustrated in full color now and the book itself is a work of art.

Inside are all the favorites and many new ones to boot.  Demons and Devils are back AS Demons and Devils, although they also retain their bowdlerized names of Tanar'ri and Baatezu respectively. This works out to Wizards of the Coast's advantage since now those names can be considered Product Identity under the newly formed OGL. Sure other publishers can, and do (and boy do they!), talk about demons, but Tanar'i are off-limits.

What is special about this book, and 3.x in general, is now monsters are built using the same rules as characters. They have the same abilities, a great wyrm blue dragon has a strength of 39, and built like characters are with the same skills and the new feat system.  So that same ancient blue dragon can have a fly-by attack feat.  I can't say everything is perfect, but it is certainly better than the catch as catch can abilities of AD&D where a Will-O-the-wisp can has ridiculous stats. 

The implication is here is that some monsters could even be characters. For a crazy example take the Skum (p.229). It has 2d8+2 HD. At the bottom of the stat block is a "Level Adjustment" of +3. Skum start out at 3rd level but still 0 XP. Once they gain enough to get to 4th level they can advance. Usually, there is a preferred class listed, but almost everything can advance as a fighter. 

Creatures also get a different hit die based on their type. Faeries get a d6 while undead gets a d12. Type is very important here. 

There are also templates which is a great idea. Have a 14th-level fighter who is changed into a vampire? Well in older forms of D&D he would have gone down to the HD of a vampire.  In 3.x he is now 14th level (yeah level drain is gone, more or less) and you add vampire abilities on top. It was something hinted at with Ravenloft, now it is part of the rules.

I mentioned the art, it is great though there are some changes between the 3.0 and 3.5 versions.


In fact, there are some monsters not illustrated in the 3.0 version that do get illustrations in the 3.5.

It is really a great resource.  My one complaint is that the one monster per page layout is gone.  This does conserve space and makes the book smaller, I just had gotten used to the format with 2nd Ed.  4th Ed would bring it back.

I have very fond memories of this book. My oldest son as a small child would spend hours flipping through it, just like I had done with the original Monster Manual. 

I should also point out that because of this book and the Open Gaming License I was able to get my first ever professional RPG writing gig working on Eden Studios' Liber Bestarius.

Liber Bestarius

#RPGaDAY2022 Day 1 - Who would you like to introduce to RPGs?

Hmm. I have already introduced RPGs to so many people. My kids and through them more people. 

I think there are is an untapped market in appealing to other creatives I know; artists, writers, and the like. I think many of them would naturally take to RPGs.

Though it is still many, many years down the road, maybe I can introduce RPGs to my grandkids!