Wednesday, October 31, 2012

October Challenge: BloodRayne: The Third Reich (2011)

BloodRayne: The Third Reich (2011)

I am a glutton for punishment.  Each year I watch something from Uwe Boll.  And each year I ask myself why.
This year I didn't, because I finally get Boll.  He is not trying to be Spielberg, or Howard or anyone. He is just trying to have a good time and make some movies.

BloodRayne though really has a lot going for it on paper.  Hot half-vampire Rayne who is a little bit of everything (she's half-vampire, half-human, ambidextrous, bisexual) is fun to watch.  You have Nazi's as the big bad, and really watching them die never, ever gets old.  And unlike the first two movies, this one is somewhat closer to the video game.

Don't go into this expecting high entertainment.  This is B-Movie all the way. But it is fun.  The plot holds together surprisingly well. Michael Pare chews up scenes all over the place and Natassia Malthe still can't act to save her life, but that is fine.

It has all the right elements of a horror or action movie and I will say this.  I doubt a "better" director would have done better on this.  Sometimes you get steak, sometimes you get cheeseburgers and sometime you get a slider.  This is a slider, don't pretend it is steak.  That is OK. Sometimes a couple of sliders is exactly what you need.

I enjoyed this movie quite a bit to be honest.

Tally: Watched 33, New 24

I am going to go back over all the other participants (next month) and see what they watched.

What are you watching?

October Challenge: Paranormal Activity 1, 2, & 3

Paranormal Activity (2007)
Paranormal Activity 2 (2010)
Paranormal Activity 3 (2011)

I wanted to save these for a last.  Glad I did because they do live up to the hype.

PA1, the first has this great charm about it.  You really feel like this is something that has been going on for a bit and just now they (Micha & Katie) have deiced to something about it.
It starts out slow.  Maybe too slow, but I love the build up and payoff was great.
This movie is a very, very effective mix of "Blair Witch Project", "The Exorcist" and any number of good haunted house movies.  My only complaint really is the Ouija board scene. It seemed a little over the top compare to the rest of the movie.  I think if it had just spelled out the name and not caught on fire that would have been better.  Some of the creepiest scenes are also some of the most understated ones.  Shadows and noises you can hear in any house  at night.  I LOVED the scenes were Katie would get up and just stand there starring at Micha for 2-3 hours at a time.

Of course the biggest issue was also why not get more people into the house with you to help.  After all that video evidence I'd be calling everyone to help out.  Well that doesn't serve the script/movie at all of course.

I'll talk about 2 & 3 together since they share some similar positives and negatives.
I kinda wish I had done my research more on these movies, it might have been fun to watch them in reverse order, but chronologically correct for Katie.  The sequels (or prequels rather) are more polished and go for the faster scare. Unlike the sequels to "Blair Witch" and the "Exorcist" these do add something to the mythos of the movies.  The biggest issue of course is why wasn't information from movies 2 and 3 mentioned in the respectively later movie 1?  Well we know why, of course.  For me, I also suffered from Paranormal Activity fatigue.  After a few hours I was wanting to see something a bit more.  That is more due to me though than the movies I think.

I liked 3 a little better than 2, but 1 was the best.
I am going to say this though, while I have not seen PA4 yet (and I will), I think this well might be dry.
To do something else or even to take it up another notch will make the movie more like the Exorcist really.
You can only jump at so many shadows and creaks.  I am reminded of a scene in Tom Hanks' movie Big.  When his character as an adult is scared of all the noises outside his apartment, many scenes later the same noises are occurring but he only gives them curious glance and goes back to eating chips and watching TV.  That was me, except sitting in front of my computer typing this.

I beat the Challenge! So far I watched one extra movie, but saw one less new movie over last year.
Though I still have one more I can watch and I might even have the time to get it in.

Tally: Watched 32, New 23

What are you watching?


A lot going on here today!!

First, don't forget that you have less that 13 hours to sign up for "Spread the Witch"!

I have some movies left to review and put up for the October Challenge (and I am draggin' today).

Also White Dwarf Wednesday.

Foremost though Happy Halloween!  The Best of all holidays!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

History of The Witch

The Witch is my latest book of rules to play the Witch character class for a version of the World's Largest and First Fantasy Roleplaying game.

It is not my first book.  Or even my second.  To date this is my third book on witches.

My first was a "netbook" called "The Complete Netbook of Witches and Warlocks" for the 2nd Edition version of the game.  It was totally a fan-driven work and most of it had been written for the 1st Edition version of the rules.  Back then the file on my computer was called "thewitch.doc".

This original "thewitch.doc" was never really meant to be seen by anyone but my gaming group. Indeed, I figured I'd be the only one to ever play a witch character.  I took a Magic-User character I had rolled up with the idea of playing her like a witch and then stopped her MU advancement and started her out as a 1st level witch.  Occult Powers were spells back then and all I had was a list of spells from the Cleric and MU lists that I felt were "witchy".   That document grew to become the "The Complete Witch" and then finally  "The Complete Netbook of Witches and Warlocks".

The CNoWaW was in my mind a great sucsess. I released it between October 28th and October  31st of 1999.  In fact I remember sitting in the hospital room right after my first son was born posting it on a laptop while my wife and new baby slept.  Well that baby turned 13 over this past weekend!  Kinda nice that my newest Witch book  was released 13 years later.

After that in 2002 released  "Liber Mysterium: The Netbook of Witches and Warlocks".  This one was far more polished and I considered a "real" release.  It used the OGL and the d20 logo.  I worked with what was then called the FANCC, or the Fantasy Community Council.  Their goal was to make and release quality netbooks that adhered to the OGL.  Many of the members would later go on to do other things.  I went on to Eden to work a number of their books including WitchCraft, Buffy and Ghosts of Albion.

In the case of all my books I would go back to my ever evolving research notes.  Pictured above and below is just one of maybe 4 binders of information I have collected over the years.  One of the print outs has a date scrawled in red pen (former teacher here!) of March of 1997.  I know I have some materials even older than that. Lots and lots of notes.


In every case and especially when starting a new project I like to go back to my notes.  Revisit old ideas, question why I rejected some and kept others.

The Witch is different from the CNoWnW or LM.  While in each book the witches have "Occult Powers" their mechanisms are different.  Each witch can for example cast "Wave of Mutilation", but how it works is slightly different.  Complete Netbook witches are akin to that  edition's Priests.  Liber witches are more like Wizards.  The witches in The Witch are something new.  Older versions of my witch needed high Wisdom as their primary stat.  Witches in The Witch need a high Charisma.

It is a ritual for me to go back even further when I start a new project to go not just to my notes, but my primary sources.  For the Witch I really wanted that feel of a game supplement from the late 70s early 80s.


So I went back to my books.  I re-read not just game books and the latest retro-clones, I also hit books about witches and witchcraft from the 60s and 70s.  The things the first and second generation of gamers would have read if they were making a witch class.  I watched the old movies like "Rosemary's Baby" and "The Initiation of Sarah".  In fact, look over my lists of movies from the October Challenge of the last couple of years.  That will give you an indication of my "Research".

You can still find my older books online, I don't link them here really for a couple of reasons.  First they were done a LONG time ago and I would like to think my writing has improved significantly since then.  Also, at least in the case of CNoWaW, they are predominantly fan works and written under that assumption.  Those assumptions are not the same that The Witch (well and Liber) was written under.  While I don't explicitly state any compatibility I did do a lot of playtesting to make sure that The Witch works with what ever version of the Basic Era game you are using, be it the original games or the newest Retro-clones.

You can read more developments notes under the Basic and Witch tags (there are a lot though).


I am very, very pleased with the way MONSTROUS MONDAY turned out!

Thank you all very much who participated, commented and visited all the sites.

Managing the sites was pretty easy.  Many of the participants were familiar faces from other blog hops, so they knew what to do.   I did delete a few sites from the listings.  Some signed up early and then must have forgotten.  Others signed up yesterday and never posted a link back or a monster.  One I even recognized from previously bloghops/blogfests as signing up but never participating.  Obviously just looking for the links.

I have a LinkyTools account now, so I am going to look into ways of using it to improve my site.  Likely a dynamic link list of some sort.

Though the action is not done here yet.  I still have the WICKED AFTER DARK bloghop I am participating in.  Don't forget to visit all those sites and enter for some free stuff.  I am giving away a copy of the Witch!

Monday, October 29, 2012


How is your MONSTROUS MONDAY going so far?

Mine is GREAT!  I love seeing so many cool monsters.  I have not gotten to everyone, but I will.
In fact you can still sign up!  I am sure I am going to spend the next couple of days going to every site and reading what you all posted.  If I am going to run a blog hop and people are going to work to get posts up then you can expect that each and everyone will get my attention.

I wanted to talk about what sort of monsters I like.  I have spent this month posting all sorts of monster stats in preparation of this day.
- Wine Nymphs
- Ruslaka
- The Awakened Golem
- Witch Monsters

I also talk a lot about monsters here as can be seen from my posts tagged Monsters.  Now it is natural to assume that I would want to talk about Witches today. Though honestly I don't see witches as monsters.  Witches are witches.   No in truth my favorite monsters are Vampires.

I have talked more about vampires than pretty much any other monster, maybe even all monsters combined. The vampire is our dark mirror of our times.  He can be plague and pestilence, or smooth killer, or even ersatz super-hero.  While Edward my not look a thing like Dracula or Count Orlock, he does share more than one quality with the likes of Lord Ruthven or Lestat.

My favorite of course is Dracula.  He can be suave, sexy and cool and then in a flash be violent and bloody; a rampaging monster.  He is the best of what is great about vampire literature and film.
I have talked a lot about Dracula and the subject never gets old to me.  Back in the day I had this folder that I had written "Project Dracula" on.  It was one of my first attempts at multi-stating a character for more than one system.  Near the end of the 90s I had worked him out in dozens of systems.

I would later go on to do the same thing for the real life Countess Erzsébet Báthory.  If I have written more about Dracula, Bathory wins in terms of shear number of visits to my site.  She fascinated me and horrified me at the same time.  I could not imagine the scope of her crimes or even how she got away with it all.  I guess in the end she didn't and she got her everlasting youth afterall.

I also spent a lot of time discussing the cheesy horror movie Vampyres. I will not lie, I enjoy the hel lout of this movie.  What I like about it is how the vampire has evolved yet again here to be victim and villain.   Likewise I have felt the same about Carmilla.

Looking around this blog I seem to have stated up more vampires than I have witches.  Oddly enough I have not played all that many games of Vampire. Either the original Vampire the Masquerade or the newer Vampire the Requiem.

If vampires are thing and you also like old-school gaming then might I suggest my free book, The Vampire Class.  You can play a vampire character in Basic Era games and it is 100% free and 100% compatible with my new  book The Witch.

So what about you all?  Do you like vampires? Why or why not? Share your thoughts below!

For me they are the ultimate in Halloween monsters.


NOTE: Looking for the Entry Page for the WICKED AFTER DARK Bloghop? Click HERE!

Are you ready for the MONSTROUS MONDAY Blogfest?

Check out all the sites that have signed up.
Come back all day today for more MONSTROUS fun!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

October Challenge: Army of Darkness (1992)

Army of Darkness (1992)

I debated doing this one too.  But it was a first time viewing for my kids, so I thought that made it ok.

I would say I forgot how much fun this one is, but I have seen it so many times now I have it memorized.
Great, fun. Some sorta-scary bits and a generally a great horror-comedy.

Puts me in the mood to see the new Evil Dead.

Tally: Watched 29, New 20

What are you watching?


I have to admit. I really enjoy reading the Retrospectives over at Grognardia.

James usually covers something I know, but every so often something comes up and I am seeing something new.  But in every case I learn something I didn't know before.

Here are some of my favorites:

  • The Book of Marvelous Magic - I was looking for a copy of this at the auction, so this was the right thing at the right time.
  • Authentic Thaumtaurgy -  Issac Bonewits was one of the first people I talked to on the Internet back in the old Bitnet days.  He was kind of a jerk.  But I liked this book.
  • Dragon Dice- precious jewels!
  • The Dying Earth - How I learned to love Vancian magic.
  • Palace of the Vampire Queen - managed to score a copy of this.
  • Alma Mater - this one too. One of the strangest games in my collection.
  • Chill - again my love of Chill knows no bounds.
  • Castle Amber - one of my most favorite adventures.
  • Castle Greyhawk - I also own this one, and yes it is bad.  It is also deadly, maybe one of the deadliest dungeon  crawls to be published by TSR.  Yes. Even more deadly than Tomb of Horrors.  If I remember right CG features at least two elder vampires, three Death Knights, a couple of demon lords and everything but a Kitchen Sink Monster.
  • Ravenloft - Still my favorite adventure ever.
I have used these retrospectives many times as a starting point to do more research for articles on Wikipedia or for my own benefit.

Friday, October 26, 2012

October Challenge: The Vampire Lovers (1970)

The Vampire Lovers (1970) & Lust for a Vampire (1971)

I debated on whether or not to do this one.  Obviously I have seen this movie many times given the postings I have made about it and the effects it has had on my game.  In fact it is second only to Dracula in terms of how much I have read and seen this.

I decided to sit down and watch it again, this time while listening to the audio commentary  since I had seen so many Carmilla-based movies this year.

Back in June of 2011 I mentioned how this movie is like a perfect storm for topics here at the Other Side.
Based on the original novel, it is Hammer, has Ingrid Pitt, Peter Cushing, Kata O'Mara, Pippa Steele and Madeline Smith, there is even a Faux Dracula (John Forbes-Robertson as Dracula looking exactly like he will look in Hammer's "Legend of the Seven Golden Vampires").

The movie is actually fairly close to the book.  Enough that if you read the book and see the movie you will notice more of similarities rather than the differences.

The movie should be familiar ground to any horror fan by now.  Young girl Emma makes a new friend, Carmilla, soon after another one of her friends dies.  Soon Emma begins to weaken and only do the men of the tale suspect that Carmilla may be to blame.  Vampire hunt follows.  This movie though somehow makes due with this simple story really.  I am giving it the benefit of the doubt of having been based on the work that created this kind of story; but the movie holds up rather well.  Even under repeated viewings I have not grown tired of it.

Now here there is no doubt that Carmilla is supposed to be evil.  She casually uses and tosses away Mdme. Perrodot (Kate O'Mara) and she did kill Laura (Pippa Steele) but yet to me there is something underneath all of this.  Carmilla is still a tragic figure.  She was damned, but maybe the least of the damned.  Not as much as in the novella, but it is there.

Now taken as part of the Hammer Karnstien Trilogy, this is obviously the best of the lot.  The others are good bloody fun, but there is a much better story here.  Also the characterization of Carmilla is much more nuanced here.  I also think that is due to a better story and better acting ability by Ingrid Pitt.  Again I am publicly calling for a new Carmilla movie.  I know that Styia is coming out next year, and it looks good, but I think I want a period piece again.

Also I feel I should comment on the poster.  WTF?  I am not sure what movie that poster is for but none of that happened in the movie.

I also decided to rewatch Lust for a Vampire (1971), the second movie of the Karnstien Trilogy.

It had been a long time since I had seen this one. I forgot about the overt Satanism, but it was Hammer in 71 so that is no surprise.  Mind you I don't mind that, it works for Dracula, but Carmilla?  I am not quite seeing it.  Now to be fair I DO see it for the Karnstiens as a family.  Let's be honest though, this is the least of this movies problems.

Once again we get a near-Christopher Lee as an almost-Dracula. Heck they actually used Chris' famous red eyes from Scars of Dracula.  This time he is in charge of the Satanic ritual that brings Carmilla/Mircalla back from the dead 40 years (1830, prime time for GoA) after the first movie.  Gone is the hair "color a rich very dark brown", Carmilla is now a blonde.  Maybe it was the peasant girl she ate.  BTW the Peasant Girl in this movie was the first vampire killed in TVL and one of the first "witches" burned in "ToE".

 The movie though goes downhill, story wise from here.  We get the involvement an author, Richard Lestrange (who's family will later go on to support the Dark Lord) who gets a job at a local girl's finishing school where Carmilla is now a student. It's an oldie but a goodie and I have used it myself.
The rest follows the well worn paths of Hammer lore.  People die, some people think there is a vampire, others don't. Compared with Vampire Lovers this one feels like the cast was still standing around after the last movie stopped so they decided to do another one.

With TVL and the book Carmilla, you felt that Carmilla was a victim of her circumstance as much as she was the villain. Here you don't get any of that nuance. In fact Carmilla is more interested in Lestrange than her roomate!  What is up with that?

This was not one of Hammer's better films.  What gets me the most is that there are a lot of good elements to this movie and some great ideas, just strung together rather poorly.

In a related movie I have seen, but not reviewed the related "Captain Kronos: Vampire Hunter". That was an enjoyable film. (Not counting it for this Challenge)

Tally: Watched 28, New 20

Given the influence of this film, here is a links sections to other posts here.


Carmilla, by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu (off site links)

What are you watching?

Witches and Protectors: John Dee

I am always very proud of the books I work on.  Whether it is a small amount or an entire book each one is pretty special to me.

So it is a rare treat when I can do something that covers multiple books.  It is even rarer when it happens to be these two books.

I was going down my list of potential witches and I realized that one of the names stood out.  John Dee.

John Dee was a real person in Elizabethan times.
He is sort of what I had in mind when I created the Aquarian Tradition.
He also was the Protector of Albion.  That's not just me making that one up, that was part of the early conversations I had with Christopher Golden and Amber Benson about former Protectors.

I will keep his "known" background the same. His Occult background was that he was a witch/Protector that used the power of the stars, planets and other heavenly bodies to fight the enemies of Albion for his Queen.  He worked with Occult Poet William Shakespeare to protect Albion from evil witches, demonic forces and vile necromancers.  He guided Queen Elizabeth during her long and successful rule.
Most of the magical protections around Albion are a result of Dee's magic.

John Dee
20th Level Witch Aquarian Tradition
From  The Witch

Strength: 9
Dexterity: 10
Constitution: 12
Intelligence: 17
Wisdom: 18
Charisma: 16

Death Ray or Poison: 5
Magic Wands: 6
Paralysis: 5
Dragon Breath: 8
Rods, Staffs and Spells: 7

To Hit AC 0: 14

Hit Points: 42
Alignment: Lawful
AC: 8 (talisman of protection)

Occult Powers
Familiar: Angelic Spirit
7th level:  Astromancy
13th level:  Moon Blessing
19th level: Planetary Blessing

Cantrips: Alarm Ward, Animate Tool, Dancing Lights, Ghost Sound, Object Reading, Warm
First: Comprehend Languages, Everlasting Candle, Fey Sight, Light, Magic Circle Against Evil, Consecration Ritual (Ritual)
Second: Augury, Detect Thoughts, Guard Watch, Mind Obscure, Rite of Remote Seeing, Calling the Quarters (Ritual)
Third: Astral Sense,  Dispel Magic, Scry, Spirit of Albion (Avalon), Imbue Witch Ball (Ritual)
Fourth: Analyze Magic, Divine Power, Ethereal Projection, Remove Curse, Drawing Down the Moon (Ritual)
Fifth: Calm Weather, Dream, Greater Command, Seeming
Sixth: Anchoring Rite, Greater Scry, True Seeing, Legend Lore (Ritual)
Seventh:  Ball of Sunshine, Greater Arcane Eye, Binding Ritual (Ritual)
Eighth: Astral Projection, Discern Location, Mystic Barrier

John Dee
Protector of Albion
Very Experienced Master
From Ghosts of Albion

Life Points
Drama Points 10

Strength 2
Dexterity 2
Constitution 3
Intelligence 6
Perception 5
Willpower 5

Contacts (Royal Family, Government) 4
Contacts (Supernatural) 5
Hard to Kill 2
Fast Reaction Time
Magic 10  (Protector of Albion)
Magical Family
Nerves of Steel
Occult Library (Amazing)
Resources 8
Situational Awareness
Supernatural Senses (the Sight)
Status 5

Adversaries (Lots) 7
Honorable (Minimal)
Love, Romantic (Tragic) (Two wives)
Obligation (Albion, Important)
Obligation (Queen Elizabeth, Important)
Rivals 2

Useful Information
Initiative +2
Actions 1/2
Observation 1d10 + 12
Lesser Sensing +21
Fear +12

Armed Mayhem 2
Art 4
Athletics 2
Crime 1
Drive / Ride 1
Engineering 3
Fisticuffs 2
Influence 8
Knowledge 7 (Science, Mathematics, Astronomy)
Languages 7 (English, Italian, Latin, Greek, Egyptian, French, Enochian)
Marksmanship 2
Notice 6
Occultism 9
Physician 2
Wild Card

Maneuver Bonus  Damage  Notes
Dodge / Parry    +4 - Defense Action
Grapple +4 - Defense Action
Punch +4 4 Bash
Magic +24 per spell Usually graphs a horoscope first
- Counterspell +21 Special Magic defense action; dispels spell
- Deflect +24 Special Deflects spell 45 degrees
- Hold +23 Special Magic defense action; delays spell SL turns
- Deflect +18 Special Magic defense action; returns spell to caster

Furious Friday!!

I have a lot going on today!  So let's get to it.

First a reminders about the MONSTROUS MONDAY Blogfest on Monday.
If you are participating you need to have your  image and link back here by Monday 12:01 AM CST.
I will be checking and sending out emails over the weekend.  You can still sign up after that time.

If you are not participating, then please stop by and see my post and visit all the sites.  If you are a gamer there will be a lot of great monsters for your use.  If you are not a gamer but are here as an author or horror fan then maybe there will be something here to influence you!

I am still in the middle of the WICKED AFTER DARK Blogfest.  Please visit these sites to win something cool.  Every site is giving away something, usually a book, but I have seen all sorts of things.

I am giving away a PDF copy of The Witch!  Go to my sign-up page for a chance to win!  I opened up some more options for you to get some entries.

So not only can you win some cool prizes and visit some site outside the normal OSR Blog Realms, but you can win a copy of the Witch for your self!

If you don't want to enter you can still purchase a copy of the Witch on your own.  It is on sale now for $5.00 at DriveThruRPG / RPGNow.  A little bit later today or this weekend I am going to go into some of the history of this project.

DriveThru is in the Halloween mood as well, so don't forget their Halloween sales. Look for the pumpkin to get your own Halloween treat!

Finally I am still participating in the October Challenge.  I have seen a bunch of horror films at will be talking about them every night.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

October Challenge: Crush (2009)

Crush (2009)

Crush was a bit of a random one.  Promising a supernatural twist and obsessions.  We got all of that.  To bad the beginning of the movie was so slow.

Julian is an American living in Australia and going to school.  He takes a job house sitting against his girlfriend's wishes and soon he can't tell what is going on anymore.  He is visited by Anna, who he assumes is the owner's niece. They have sex and things go downhill here from there.
It is a rule in horror, never have sex with someone you are not supposed too.  Julian spends the movie forgetting he is in a horror movie and makes all sorts of mistake that readers of the this blog never would.

Anyway Anna isn't what she appears (of course) and now Julian is really in trouble.

I don't want to give away the end since that really is the best part.

Not a bad little flick really.

Tally: Watched 27, New 21

What are you watching?


My first review for the Witch is up.

I got a 4/5, which I think is fantastic.  The reviewer did mention a couple things that they would have liked to see, but I think all in all the review is quite fair.

If you grabbed this, let me know! A review is great way to share the love.

Halloween Sales

It is that time of year.

DriveThruRPG is offering a Halloween Sale.

The one that caught my attention was the sale Troll Lord is having on Castles and Crusades.

If you ever wanted to try out the C&C system, this is a great time.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

October Challenge: Blood and Roses (1960)

Blood and Roses (1960)

Blood and Roses, or Et mourir de plaisir, is one of those movies I have know about for years and I have always wanted to see.  Well I found it on Amazon Instant Video and thought this was a good of time as any.

After dealing with The Twins of Evil earlier in this challenge I have to admit my hopes for this one were low.
Well this one certainly has it's moments, even if it is a touch slow.  I was thinking if it were redone today the narration would have been dropped.

This movie takes place in the modern day and plays a little like a sequel to the Vampire Lovers, with Twins of Evil as a prequel.  This one though introduces a male lover for Carmilla/Millarca which will have any long time reader to this blog scratching their head like me.

The movie though is good.  The lesbianism is as underplayed as the vampirism.  This easily could be about a girl going crazy because the man she loves is marrying someone else.  It is only at the end is their a supernatural (maybe) twist.

I now think I have seen all the film adaptations of Carmilla, but it is possible that one is still out there.

Tally: Watched 26, New 20

What are you watching?

Slasher Flick: Jenny Two-Bags

I am a fan of Shon Richard's Erotiterrorist site.

If eroticism or even mostly R and X rated stories bug you, then don't go.  But among many other things Shon has a great imagination and can write a good tale.

His Halloween feature this month have been tales from the Succubus, Sukubeth.  Today's tale was about this serial killer that comes back from the dead.  It is a great mash-up of Carrie, Friday the 13th and any nameless college-age porno.  Of course in my twisted mind I think it would make a a great Slasher Flick bad guy.

I reviewed Slasher Flick a couple of weeks back (here) and even posted some characters.  What I never posted was a Killer to go along with the story.

So, presented here, is the horrific, but ultimately sad, tale of of a Girl known as Jenny Two Bags.
You can read her story here,
I will not attempt to retell it.

Appearance: Jenny appears as young women, roughly college age.  Her body would be the envy of most supermodels and she usually does not spend much time covering up.  Her face though is completely hidden by a sexy red devil mask.  If you were to remove her mask (which is a suicidal idea) you would see her face.  While Jenny was not attractive in life, death has done nothing to improve her.  In fact she bares the marks of every kill and every time she has been killed on her horrific face.

Components: Fearful Visage, Feeds on Fear, Hard to Kill, Linked Location (the cemetery where her body was dumped and the nearby colleges), Punish the Promiscuous (this is her Raison d'être), Superhuman Strength

Plot Hooks:
• Jenny Two Bags only shows up on Halloween.  If there is a high school or college party with alcohol (which means EVERY party) then expect Jenny to show up.
• Don't call her that! If a character calls Jenny by her name "Jenny Two-Bags" then she will go into a mindless killing frenzy.
• Last Boy.  If one of the last characters is a somewhat average male (the Nerd Archetype works best here) and he tries to be nice to Jenny she will forget why she is there.  This is treated as an attack.

Jenny can be killed by normal weapons and has been killed many times.  But she is always back by next Halloween!

Read about Jenny Two-Bags here:
Get Slasher Flick here:

White Dwarf Wednesday #37

White Dwarf #37 opens up 1983 with what will be the first full year of monthly issues for WD.
At this point in time I was DEEP into D&D and AD&D, often mixing the games as was our wont.

The cover art is a small faerie, perfect for the article coming up.

We start off the issue with a large number of ads (more Judge Dredd) and then the editorial.  Ian Livingstone laments the lack of British RPGs, complaining that the recent downturn of the Pound vs the Dollar have made American RPGs kind of expensive.  o for myself I would have sworn there were British RPGs out at this point, but I guess I was wrong.

First up we have the aforementioned article on Faeries.  This is an attempt by the author, Alan E. Paull to bring AD&D in line with the land of Fae; or at least close to it.   This first entry is short (2 pages) but a great start really.  Faerie should be so much more than what it typically is in *D&D.  Next issue will have stats.

Andy Slack is back with An Introduction to Traveller.  This issue is Part 2: Refereeing.   He covers a lot of the published material out there and how to use it to help your game.

Open Box is next with reviews of Soloquest from from Chaosium. This little gem helps you run a solo RuneQuest game.  It has some interesting ideas (DreamQuest, Maguffin Hunt) that I think might be interesting to try  in D&D or even CoC.  Clive Bailey gave it a 9/10 all by himself.  Star Frontiers is next. I had just gotten this one for Chistmas so I was quite excited to build my own adventures from Star Wars, Star Trek and Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy.  Yes my very first character was a Vrusk named Zaphod.  Andy Slack likes the rules and what you get in the box,  but does not like the lack of space travel rules, (Night Hawks was still a bit away) and gives it a 7/10.   Eventually my issue with Star Frontiers was the same as one of my issues with Traveller; it degraded into D&D in Space. Er, wait, sorry. D&D in SPPAAAAAACE!  Lastly we have a Play By Mail game, Crasimoff's world "The International game for the modern thinking mind".  Trevor Graver likes the detail and gives it 8/10 but dislikes the poor English and slow  turnaround time (2 weeks).

Marcus Rowland, of future Forgotten Futures fame, has a GREAT article on Vampires.  This article is a great companion piece to the old Dragon article Varieties of Vampires. This article was fodder for me and my games.  I don't think I had a single vampire that was 100% like another in my games.  Great things about this article, vampires getting more powerful with age, variations on powers and weaknesses.  Great, great stuff really.

City in the Swamp was another one of those articles that made their way into my world myths.  My Necromancer from a few issues back had his base of operations in a swamp. Actually a lot of things went into making that character, but this was one of those pieces.  Graeme Davis gives us this adventure for 5th to 7th level characters.

Letters are up next.  A reader LOVES the Necromancer, calling it the best class White Dwarf has done yet. Not so says Don Turnbull, putting on his official TSR cap, he calls the Necromancer "most distasteful".  Which gets a note from the editor reminding him (and us) that the class is an NPC class. Another reader dislikes Infravision based on what he knows about infra-red cameras. Another dislikes the constant D&D focus of everything and one more asking for better Traveller material.

Lewis Pulsipher is back with D&D Scenarios, or what we would call adventure seeds today.

Fiend Factory has some odd monsters that cross species.  Some land dwelling reptilian cephalopods that seem to worship the god Pyaray from the Elric books.  We also have chameleon cats, bird  men and ant men.  None are bad, I like I the cats, the Crestcats, but also none of them fill me with any desire to use them.  This has been the case for Fiend Factory for a while now.

RuneRites has two new Battle Magic spells from Richard Case and edited by Oliver Dickson.
Starbase has more new vehicles for Traveller.
Treasure Chest deals with AD&D encumbrance.

We follow with the ads and classifieds.  One that was brought to my attention was this one:

15-yr old male AD&D player wishes to contact very attractive female AD&D players to discuss adventures.  Please send current photo (if possible) or letter to...

I wonder if he ever got a response? I found someone the same age and grew up in the same area.  I can report he seems successful and happily married.  No I am not posting his name here.

We end with a few more pages of ads.

White Dwarf of 1983 is certainly taking a page or two from Dragon.  The layout is cleaned up more and and there seems to be a great deal of professionalism as well.  83 was a big year for RPGs for me.  Interesting to see this all again in the pages of WD.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Wicked After Dark Blog Hop / Spread the Witch

EDITED TO ADD:  If you are NOT a Gamer I will also include a set of rules to play the Witch with.  There are many free ones out there and I need to make sure I can include one of those in this giveaway.

Reposting this to officially start the Contest!

Wicked After Dark Blog Hop

I am participating in the Wicked After Dark Blog Hop and Give Away. The hop takes place over October 24th to November 1st and is hosted by Close Encounters with the Night Kind.

You can find more information on it here:

This Blog Hop will run over the same time as my own Monstrous Monday Blog Hop so I hop to get a lot of great crossover.  There are a TON of good blogs on both lists.

The Wicked After Dark though is a giveaway bloghop.

I will give away a PDF copy of The Witch.

I was considering giving it to anyone on my "Followers" list.  But I have people on that list that do not have email addresses  and others that I know follow me on Google+ or Facebook.

Given that the Wicked After Dark is also full of books on erotica and paranormal romance I think I am going to run a contest for this.

So without further ado, the Spread the Witch contest!

Here are the rules.

  1. On your own blog, Facebook page, or Google+ page put a link up to my blog, This can be for the one post only.
  2. Talk about  The Witch.  You do not need to link to the DriveThruRPG page, but if you like you can.  This can be something as simple as "Hey check out Tim Brannan's new book The Witch at".
  3. POST the link to your site in comments section of this post.  Posting the link to your entry on my site is my way of knowing you are entering this contest.

Entries will be judged by myself with the help of my wife. I am looking for clever, cute or creative ways to get people's attention.   While I am not going to say avoid NC-17 ads, I will say please keep in mind your audience and mine.  I don't restrict my blog due to content mostly because I think my demographic skews 25+.

The winner will be chosen the week of Oct 29th.  I would like to give it away on Halloween to be honest.

So link here, spread the word and maybe you too can get a free copy of the Witch!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
If the Rafflecopter above app is not working please right-click on it and choose "re-load frame".

Listed below are the other participants in this blog hop.  They are all giving away things too!

The Witch: Preview

I have had some questions about what is in The Witch.
Namely, what is in the book, how long is it.

So here is a preview PDF.  It includes the cover, table of contents, and the complete text of the first 2 chapters  and the introduction to the chapter on Traditions.

I will be talking about the spells and rituals a little bit later.

Monster Monday Round-up #4

Last Round-up of the Monstrous Mondays!
Next week follow the bloghop links to see all the monsters.

I am sure there are some I have missed. If so, just let me know.

Monday, October 22, 2012

October Challenge: Young Frankenstein (1974)

Young Frankenstein (1974)

Well. I had not set out to watch this one, but it was on TV, I was looking for something Halloweeny to watch, but not a horror flick cause the kids were still up.  I landed on this.

So happy I did.

Now, unlike some of the other movies that I have seen more than once I have seen this one something like a dozen times.  It is one of the favorite movies of both my dad and my father-in-law.  Anytime I have visited either of them in the last 20 years I was running a good chance of seeing it again.  My dad had it on old VideoDisc and my Father-in-law has it on VHS, DVD and BluRay.

Watching this now, especially since I have recently watched the Universal Frankenstein, gave me a totally new perspective on this movie.  First off I will say it.  Mel Brooks is a genius. He really is.  He captures every cliche of the 1930s Horror films and turns them up to 11.  No. 15.  Plus there is always fantastic social satire of the times.  This movie pokes as much fun at 1930s films as it does about the 1970s.

Back to the movie. It plays as sequel to any of the Frankenstein moveis of the 30s and 40s.  The cast is fantastic. Gene Wilder in the titular role ("That's Franken-STEEN!!") and Peter Boyle as the Creature.  Along the way we pick up Marty Feldman as Igor ("Eye gore") and Cloris Leachman as Frau Blucher.  Teri Garr and Madeline Kahn also join the cast as a love interest and the fiancee of Victor.

If you ever have seen a Frankenstein movie, then you have seen this one, at least in terms of plot and pacing. But this one goes over the top with comedy and is very close to a Brooks masterpiece.  Only Blazin' Saddles might be better.  There is so much here for the horror fan to enjoy.

Tally: Watched 25, New 19

What are you watching?

Wicked After Dark / Spread the Witch

Wicked After Dark Blog Hop

I am participating in the Wicked After Dark Blog Hop and Give Away. The hop takes place over October 24th to November 1st and is hosted by Close Encounters with the Night Kind.

You can find more information on it here:

This Blog Hop will run over the same time as my own Monstrous Monday Blog Hop so I hop to get a lot of great crossover.  There are a TON of good blogs on both lists.

The Wicked After Dark though is a giveaway bloghop.

I will give away a PDF copy of The Witch.

I was considering giving it to anyone on my "Followers" list.  But I have people on that list that do not have email addresses  and others that I know follow me on Google+ or Facebook.

Given that the Wicked After Dark is also full of books on erotica and paranormal romance I think I am going to run a contest for this.

So without further ado, the Spread the Witch contest!

Here are the rules.

  1. On your own blog, Facebook page, or Google+ page put a link up to my blog, This can be for the one post only.
  2. Talk about  The Witch.  You do not need to link to the DriveThruRPG page, but if you like you can.  This can be something as simple as "Hey check out Tim Brannan's new book The Witch at".
  3. POST the link to your site in comments section of this post OR the post I will be making on this on October 23rd, 11:59PM.  Posting the link to your entry on my site is my way of knowing you are entering this contest.

Entries will be judged by myself with the help of my wife. I am looking for clever, cute or creative ways to get people's attention.   While I am not going to say avoid NC-17 ads, I will say please keep in mind your audience and mine.  I don't restrict my blog due to content mostly because I think my demographic skews 25+.

The winner will be chosen the week of Oct 29th.  I would like to give it away on Halloween to be honest.

So link here, spread the word and maybe you too can get a free copy of the Witch!

Listed below are the other participants in this blog hop.  They are all giving away things too!

Monstrous Monday #4: Witch Monsters

For today I want to do something a little different.

The Witch came out over the weekend and I want to talk about the relationship between witches and monsters and why there are monsters in a "class" book.

There are essentially two types of monsters that come up when talking about witches in myth, legend and fairytales.
1. Monsters that are associated with witches.  These would be things like familiars or created monsters.
2. Monsters that are witches.  The hags and crones of myth, but also some vampires and werewolves.

I'll cover these both with some examples from The Witch.

Monsters Associated with Witches
Witches have a number of "monsters" that are often associated with them.  Familiars and created monsters are the most common.  In The Witch I cover familiars quite a bit as a character option, but I also include a lot of special familiars.  The Brownie, or brown man, is known to many gamers. What many people don't know that the mythology of the brownie is tied to old pagan beliefs.  The Cait Sith, or faerie cat is another type of creature that indicates the presence of a witch, or in the case sometimes is a witch.
Other  creatures pose an interesting problem because of how they are portrayed in myth  is sometimes different from how they are portrayed in the rules.  Gnomes are a good example.  In the games (and SRD) they are a player character race, but in many pagan myths gnomes are creatures of earth, something like an elemental, that can aid a witch. To split the difference I made their magic more witch like than other portrayals.  Witches are often found in the company of trolls since both are fairy tale and fantasy staples. These trolls are not the green, rubbery type, but more of the creatures of earth found in Norway.
For created creatures, I have included the Druther, which is a special form of a wood golem that I created in my games years and years ago.  Another original monster is the Batling, a monster created by witchcraft, but has an ecology of it's own.
Plus we should not forget flying monkeys as a more recent example.

Monsters that Are Witches
Witches in fairy tales are often monstrous looking women and not normal human women with a particular career choice.  These monsters are covered well by the Hag monster in the rules, but there are a lot of different types of hags.  There are swamp hags, hags that live in ginger bread houses at the edge of forests, hags that live under the sea, or rivers, cold wastelands or ones that steal into homes to take your souls, breath or children.  I want to cover as many of these as I could and enhance them with rules I have in the book.
There are other creatures too that often blur the lines between creatures.  The Baobhan Sìth blurs the line between witch, faerie, and vampires. The Strigoi is described as a witch and a vampire.  The Boroka is witch  that under a curse and is also a cannibalistic monster.  The Rusalka is an undead witch.

There are many more, and I still have quite a few on my hard drives.  These though I think represent a good cross section of with related monsters.

For your consideration, the monsters from the Witch.

Baobhan Sìth
Bendith Ý Mamau
Cait Sídhe
Earth Troll
Elf, Gypsy (Ranagwithe)
Fen Witch
Green Jack
 - Annis
 - Cavern
 - Green
 - Ice
 - Moon
 - Sea
 - Storm
 - Swamp
 - Wood (Makva)
Night Hag
Winged Cat
Winged Monkey

The Witch is out now at DriveThruRPG in ebook format.  Print copies are on the way.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

October Challenge: Prometheus (2012)

Prometheus (2012)

Well. I had high hopes for this one.  I know, me, you and everyone else.  But I had hoped that against all hope that the bad reviews were because people just didn't understand it.

Boy was I wrong.

Now it's not that this is a bad movie.  It just has so many plot holes and there are too many answered questions. It is also no where near the suck-fest that was Alien: Resurrection, but it was also no Alien either.

The acting is good. The pacing is a bit slow in the beginning, but I think that is on purpose to set the last acts.

There are some nice thrills in the Engineer's base.  Still have no idea what they were all running from in the holo-recording.  The creatures were interesting of course.

I noticed a lot of nods to the first two Alien movies.  And because I had heard about it, little nods to Blade Runner as well.

There are some scary moments. I mean they won't rank up there with Alien.  Though this movie did make me want to re-watch Alien.

Tally: Watched 24, New 19

What are you watching?