Friday, October 18, 2013

Review: Adventures Dark & Deep The Darker Paths

Nearing the end of my delve into Adventures Dark and Deep so here are two older products. In fact I picked them up about a two years ago and reviewed them then.

These two classes appeared under the subtitle "Darker Paths" and they are two favorite classes of mine.

Darker Paths 1: The Necromancer
The Necromancer is the first in a set of alternate classes for the Adventures Dark and Deep RPG.
The Necromancer is one of the more popular "alternate classes" developed for any fantasy RPG.  Almost always an alternate class and never a core one, the necromancer is the ultimate foe in many games or the ultimate PC in others.  But as long as horror and undead are popular in game, then the necromancer is right there with them.
Darker Paths 1: The Necromancer packs a lot of  punch in a small book. At only 24 pages, we get a new class, a "new" race and 75 new spells.  No small feat really. The material is for the Adventures Dark and Deep game, but it certainly can be used with any retro-clone, near-clone or any other game that emulate AD&D 1st ed or Basic D&D.  The art is mixed, but very evocative of the era.  Some new pieces and some public domain works (and it looks like the editor did his research too).
If you like Necromancers and play an older edition of the game, whether an honest older edition or a newer clone, then this is a good choice.

Darker Paths 2: The Witch
I am always a bit hesitant to review other peoples work on witch-related classes since I have products of my own out there. I fear of being too critical or too lax, each to out weigh the other.  In the end I think I just need to review the product as is.  Like DP1: The Necromancer this product is for the "Adventures Dark and Deep" RPG, OR any other near-clone of AD&D.  Also like the first Darker Path book this presents the witch as an evil character class; not the Earth loving priestess of old faiths or even the spiritual seeking witches of modern tales.  This must be recalled when reading the rest of this book.  These witches are more Baba Yaga and not Circe for example.  There is the obligatory disclaimer on Contemporary Witches and how this game is not that. (As an aside, as someone that has written these myself this one does seem more of a disclaimer of "don't email me" rather than a "I am not trying to offend", but that could just be me. EDITED: I did get an email clarification on this and the author was very much in the "I am not trying to offend, but these are different things" camp, which is cool by me.)
Witches in this game are all evil and their main ability is Wisdom.  Their Charisma must start high, but it degrades as the witch rises in level.  Interesting.  I am not sure I like that since it seems here that Charisma is used as an "Appearance" proxy and not as a "Force of Personality" one.  It would make it hard to make a character like Circe, who was evil, attractive and had a lot of force of personality, as a witch in these rules. That is fine, she would have to be something else, but I do want to point it out.
Witches advance to 13th level; so reminiscent of the druid.  She has a nice variety of spells to choose from (more on this) and there are rules for her brewing potions and poisons.   Like other witches of folklore, this witch can also have multiple familiars.  A nice touch in my mind.
The spells are the real gem of this book.  Nearly 50 new spells there are a lot of classics here.  There are spells on Candle Magic (and done differently than my own) and nearly every base is covered (curses, storm summoning, afflicting others).

Like with DP1, the art is a mix of new and public domain art, but all of it is appropriate to the feel of the book.  In the end this is a very good evil witch class.

One thing that is nice about these classes is  they are sub-classes of the Mage and Cleric respectively.  So you multi-class them.'s not in the rules per se but you should be able to.   Of course I have teh perfect test character for this.  My latest acquisition, Light Core Hex!

CE Female Dark Elf
Witch 5 / Necromancer 5

STR: 10
INT: 15
WIS: 18
DEX: 9
CON: 10
CHA: 13

Saving Throws
Paralyzation, Poison, Death: 9
Petrification, Polymorph: 12
Rod, Staff, Wand: 11
Breath Weapon: 15
Spells: 12

Special Abilities (class)
Magic bonus: +6 to magical saves
Spell casting
Create Magic Items
Affect Undead
Bell, Book & Candle
Brew Poison
Call Familiar
Limited to 13th level in Witch
Charisma degradation

Special Abilities (race)
Infravision 120'
Speed 150'
Bonus Spells
Sunlight Vulnerability

HP: 13
AC: 6 (Bracers)

Experience: 38,050 (19,025 each)

Blue Flame, Ghostly Hands, Witch's Mark, Blight Field, Fascinate, Magic Broom, Fear, Hand of Glory, Spit Poison

Chattering Skull, Death Mask, Detect Bones, Ectenic Blast, Eyes of the Dead, Animate Dead

Bonus (race)
Faerie Fire, Dancing Lights, Darkness 5' radius, Detect Magic, Know Alignment, Levitation, Clairvoyance, Detect Lie, Suggestion, Dispel Magic

Bonus (wisdom)
Detect Good, Ears of a Bat, Charm Monster, Misfortune, Magic Missile, Sleep

That's a lot of magic!

I have done Skylander's Hex before for other systems:
This one is by far one of the more powerful!  To get an idea of the rule differences between the systems, have a look at all these versions.

So +Joseph Bloch, if I ever play Adventures Dark & Deep with you at a convention can I use this character?!


Greyhawk Grognard said...

In Castle of the Mad Archmage? Sure. Let's try level 7. :-)

As for the charisma degradation on the witch, I would say you could still have a "pretty witch" like Circe. Especially her, since she would almost certainly have spells like polymorph self, which she would use to mask lower charisma of her natural form (I'm thinking here of Iggwilv in particular from the World of Greyhawk setting).

Pun Isaac said...

Great use of Hex!