Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Strahd Von Zarovich for Blue Rose / True20

True20 might be dead, but that's doesn't mean I have to like it.  So to celebrate the new version of Blue Rose AND the start of my month of vampires here at the Other Side.   Here is D&D's first "Vampyre", Strahd as he appears in my Black Rose games.

Type: 15th level Undead (Adept 4/Expert 1/Warrior 9)
Size: Medium
Speed: 30 ft
Abilities: Str +8, Dex +7, Con -, Int +3, Wis +1, Cha +3
Skills: Acrobatics 18 (+25), Bluff 7 (+10), Climb 8 (+16), Concentration 6 (+7), Diplomacy 10 (+13), Disable Device 2 (+5), Disguise 2 (+5), Escape Artist 2 (+9), Gather Info. 7 (+10), Handle Animal 2 (+5), Intimidate 13 (+16), Jump 2 (+10), Languages 5 (+5), Medicine 4 (+5), Notice 2 (+3), Ride 6 (+13), Search 4 (+7), Sense Motive 2 (+3), Sleight of Hand 2 (+9), Stealth 5 (+12), Survival 7 (+8), Swim 0 (+8), Knowledge (History) 2 (+5), Knowledge (Arcane) 2 (+5), Knowledge (Religion) 2 (+5)
Feats: Iron Will, Menacing, Leadership, Armor Training (Heavy), Armor Training (Light), Weapon Training, Armor Training (Heavy), Weapon Training (Long Sword), All-out Attack, Canny Dodge, Attack Focus (Long Sword), Defensive Attack, Diplomatic, Improved Strike, Dedicated, Influential, Fascinate, Uncanny Dodge, Power (Imbue Unlife), Smite Opponent, Greater Attack Focus, Power (Suggestion), Power (Summon Beasts), Power (Corrupting Shadow)
Traits: No Constitution, Dark Vision (60ft), Proficiency (Natural Weapons), Immunity (Mind Influencing Effects), Immunity (Sleep,Poison,Paralysis,Stunning), Immunity (Critical Hits,Fatigue), Immunity (Fortitude Saves), Unhealing, Healed by Harm (Harmed by Heal)
Powers: Imbue Unlife 7 (+10) DC 15, Suggestion 7 (+10) DC 15, Corrupting Shadow 7 (+10) DC 15, Summon Beasts 7 (+10) DC 15
Combat: Unarmed +18, Damage +8 (20/+3), Longsword +18, Damage +11 (19/+3), Defence +18/+19, Initiative +7
Saving Throws: Toughness +7, Fortitude +5, Reflex +11, Will +10

Not too bad I think.  Poor Queen Jaellin isn't going to know what hit her.

The Return of Blue Rose

Green Ronin has announced the return of Blue rose for the AGE system.

And as you can imagine there are posting of varying degrees of interest.

I am on the record many times over on the side of liking Blue Rose. I liked the idea, I liked the play and I liked the system.  Sure I ended up doing some very different things with it, but there was something there that I really enjoyed and never quite understood why the masses hated it so.

I have seen some people complaining about this new game and others praising it.

Currently I am in a "discussion" with RPGPundit. His stance is that most people praising it have never played it.  I take something of the contrary position: most people that criticize it have never played it.  We might be the exceptions to each other's claims, but I do stand by mine.

Here are my thoughts.  While I get why they want to use AGE (and it might even be a great fit) I am going to miss True20.

I hope that Green Ronin puts more support into this version of Blue Rose.  There Dragon Age products are very nice, but as a licenced product they can only go so far with it.  Blue Rose gives them a campaign background and a world to play in.

You can still find all the True20 versions of the books on DriveThruRPG

I hope Green Ronin does not pull these.  I still hope against hope that the True20 system will resurge one day.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Woodwose for Basic Era Games

The Woodwose is a creature from English mythology that is part wild man, part bigfoot, part fae and part demonic spirit...depending on who you ask.  But interestingly enough they never have really graced the pages of any official D&D product; though Brownies come close and there has been a Woodwose for Pathfinder.
This is not based on those, this a new take.

AC: 6 [13]
Hit Dice: 2d8* (9 hp)
No. of Attacks: 1 club
Damage: 1d6
Special: Spell use*, takes 2x damage from cold iron
Movement: 45’
No. Appearing: 2-12 (2d6)
Saves As: Fighter 2
Morale: 8
Treasure: None
Alignment: Chaotic
XP: 55

The Woodwose, or "the Wild-Man of the Wood" is faerie creature related to the brownie and buckwan. These creatures typically look like small, old men completely covered in hair. Their hair can vary from brown, to light yellow to even green.  These creatures stand about 4' to 4 1/2' tall though some have been reported as small at 2' and others as tall 7' tall.   They have a language, a very early form of Sylvan, that they use among themselves but they can speak elven when talking to others.
As their name would suggest the woodwose are a wild, barely civilized race. Much of their time is spent in raiding the homes of other faerie creatures stealing food, treasures and their women.  Woodwose that live close to human settlements have also been known to attack an outlying farm or prey on a lone traveler.   They are only brave in packs and rarely venture out of their burrows alone.  Despite their size a woodwose will attack any creature up to and including ogre sized, if they have the numbers.  Woodwose fear and avoid elves.
For every 6 woodwose encountered 1 will be a shaman capable of casting spells as an 2nd level druid.  For every 12 one of those 2 shamans will be 3rd level.  At 24 woodwose, a small community, there will be a shaman with the powers and spells as a 4th level druid.
In any case all woodwose are capable of casting the druid spell Shillelagh on their club once per day.  They are also capable of casting Pass Without a Trace at will as many times as they need.
Woodwose will be wary of adventurers unless they can outnumber them 2-3 to 1.

Witches & Witchcraft Reading Challenge: March Reviews

Here are the reviews for March for the Witches & Witchcraft Reading Challenge.

First up this month is a continuation of last month.

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Ok this is the book where everything changes. The saga of Harry Potter stops being a "boy's adventure" and becomes something deadly serious.  We are treated to generous helpings of lies, betrayal, pain and death. Time to grow up Harry and face your enemy face to face.
This is also the book with so much more in it that the movie.  So much in fact that entire characters, plot lines and development was missing from the movie. I marvel at that fact that the movie script writers were able to do.
In any case this middle point of the Harry Potter books raises the bar.
Witch Count: Hundreds if not thousands.

Bewitching Brews and Devilish Desserts: A Collection of Cocktail and Dessert Recipes
This free book by Roxanne Rhoads ("Sex and the Single Witch").  It's a neat little book where various Modern Supernatural authors submitted a drink or dessert recipe from their witch characters.  A cool idea really.
Witch Count: a few dozen.

Tanith by Jack D. Shackleford
This is a classic tale of British occultism.  What makes it "British", well there is the dark underlying current of something old and evil pervading every page.  There is also plenty soft core smut that it feels like a Hammer Horror film.  Plus there is that cover.  It is from the great Chris Achilleos, so it really invokes the feel of the old White Dwarf/Heavy Metal covers.  The scene is lurid and right out of the book.  The cover talks about "demonic possession", but really this is about one witch battling another for the control of yet a third witch.  No demons to speak of really. There is a lot of well researched details on various rituals; but Shackleford has a name for himself in this sort of supernatural fiction.  Enough that I want to check out more of his work.

Without getting into details or spoilers I think it might be an interesting story to come back to today, see where some of the characters in 2015 vs 1975.  The characters of Tanith and Virginia are really interesting and I'd would have loved to know more about them to be honest.
I should also stat up the Woodwose for a system or two.

Witch Count: 3 (or 4 depending).

Books read: 8
Current Level: Maiden: Read 6 – 10 Witchy Books

Sunday, March 29, 2015

I'm Home Muggles!

So last week I had the ole blog here on auto-post while the family and I spent some quality time at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.   All I can say is wow.

If you haven't been it is located at Universal Studios in Orlando Florida.  It is split up into two parks Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley.  The attention to detail was amazing.  We spent maybe half our time in just these two parks.  More or less ignoring the rest of Universal.

We spent a ton of time in Diagon Alley. Drinking Butter Beer, eating at the Leaky Cauldron, buying souvenirs at all the shops and checking out all the details.

We all got these interactive wands that would do all sorts of cool things to various shop windows.

Really. It was a great time.  Oh. I have to add that the staff at Universal from our hotel all the way to the shops of Hogsmeade were all top-notch.  Each and everyone of them was great.

But it got me thinking more and more about a Harry Potter RPG.  I know there is no chance of if ever occurring, but I think it would be great.  You can start with the adventures of young wizards and move out from there.  While there I talked to my kids about how such a game would work.

D&D seems like a good choice, use levels to indicate year in school or something like that. But I don't really need things like "Strength" or "Constitution".  These are kids after all, not mighty thewed warriors.   No abilities like "Courage", "Loyalty" or "Wisdom" are better suited to this sort of game.

Also the appeal to a Harry Potter game would be the same as a Harry Potter theme park; the vast history created for the novels by JKR.  I want a game that captures that same feeling of walking down Knock Turn Alley and seeing the little details.  THATs what I want.  Not to recreate the books, but to feel like I am experiencing them a new way.

There are lots of game systems out there that I think might work well; Ghosts of Albion, Witch Girls Adventures, but none are exactly right for it.

I am going to be giving this one some serious thought.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Zatannurday: Costume Designs

Digging through my back logs here and found a few images featuring various costume changes.

I know she hasn't had the most (Wonder Woman is catching up in just last 3-4 years) but I have always liked how her "supers" costume is the same as some variation of her stage costume.
So here are some official and some unofficial costume designs.

Presentation by SaokoTai on DeviantArt

Zatanna by Black-iZe on DeviantArt

Zatanna Redesign by Femmes-Fatales on DeviantArt

Bronze Age Zatanna by Femmes-Fatales on DeviantArt

Zatanna by DawidARTe on DeviantArt

Zatanna by YuiMusunde on DeviantArt

Zatanna Redesign by NachoMon on DeviantArt

Zatanna Zatara by Salamandra88 on DeviantArt

Zatanna by kaloy-costa on DeviantArt

Zatanna-YJ by jadenwithwings on DeviantArt

Zatanna Redesign! by Comicbookguy54321 on DeviantArt

Zatanna by seanpatrick76 on DeviantArt

Till next time!

Friday, March 27, 2015

Friday Night Videos: Eric Burdon, the Animals and War

Welcome once again to Friday Night Videos!

Inspiration will sometimes come from the oddest places.

Take for example the case of Eric Burdon, The Animals and War.

I "discovered" Eric Burdon while going through a stack of old 45s back in my teens. The Animals' song "House of the Rising Sun" painted such an evocative picture for me that I was obsessed with it for years.

Fast forward to the late 90s early 2000s.  I began listening to more of Eric Burdon's "new" band, War.  "Spill the Wine" was pretty much on constant rotation for me for the longest time.  Combine these two and a vista was painted for me in sharp relief.  Eric Burdon has the distinction of being the only living person I have stated up as an Occult Poet, he is also the only character I have used both in my Willow & Tara based Buffy game and my lighter tone Hex Girls game.

House of the Rising Sun is a haunting song.  It is no surprise to me that it was used in the teaser trailers for American Horror Story Coven last year.  For me the House was a house of ill-repute, but it became something more; something much darker.   In my games Burdon found the house and uses his occult powers to keep others away.

Don't let me be Misunderstood also had a similar effect on my writing.  You could almost construe it as an adventurers lament and not just a man to his lover.

We Got to Get Out of This Place.  Vietnam or "Subterranean Fantasy Fucking Vietnam".
Bloggers have spent thousands of pages of text on analyzing the pulp writings of old and their effects on the genesis of D&D, but what about the music?  I saw just like the late 70s and 80s captured the mood of the time and D&D, the 60s are what influenced the authors of the games.

Have you ever played a gnome? I have played one and that was during the start of D&D 3.0.  Jassic Goodwalker.  Jassic was a long haired overfed leaping gnome with a fondness for wine, song, and women.  Spill the Wine was the song that gave birth to Jassic.  Never played a gnome after Jassic, but I would dust of his sheet in heartbeat.

Till next time.

Kickstart Your Weekend: Darkplane

Up this week is a new campaign setting in the vein of the great campaign settings of the 2nd edition of the world most popular fantasy RPG.


I think what attracted me first about Darkplane is really the art, it just has such a dream like sureality to it that it called to me.  I like that despite the "darkness" of it all, there is light too. Need that to bring the darkness and horror into sharper contrast.

Changing by Benita Winckler

But once I got into it and started reading more, http://www.darkplane.com/, I discovered that this isn't just a campaign world, but a campaing universe to explore in.

The world is "Weird Horror" which is something I like, but rarely seen done well.  So I am excited about this one since I think the author gets it.

This one has already got to their goal so now it is about getting past those stretch goals.

Can't wait to see what this one has in store!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

What are YOUR Favorite NEW Old-School Adventures?

For the longest time I go on and on (and on and on...) about my enjoyment of the many of the old school games.

But I am really doing my contemporaries a huge disservice.   So today I wanted to talk about some of my favorite old-school adventures published within the last few years; aka the OSR adventures.

The Hanging Coffins of the Vampire Queen
I have talked about this one a lot.  It's a meat grinder and just a crazy, gonzo adventure with tongue firmly planted in cheek.  It is great fun and you can read more of my experiences here, http://theotherside.timsbrannan.com/2014/10/into-lair-of-vampire-queen.html

The Shrine of St. Aleena
Another great intro module and a great intro to what Old School Gaming can be.
I also covered this one here, http://theotherside.timsbrannan.com/2013/10/review-shrine-of-st-aleena.html

Oak Grove Whispers
Another great intro module set outside of the City of Domvay (and included in the special edition print versions of the book). If The Shrine of St. Aleena works for you then give this one as a try.  This is more straightforward.

A lot can be said (and has been said) about this mega-dungeon/campaign, but one thing is for sure. Autarch really saved this project.  I am not a huge fan of mega-dungeons, but this really is a must have.  I think in the end what sells me on this project is it's vision. Sure it could be described (and has been) as a monumental act of hubris OR you could look at it as a commentary on how the OSR solidified 70s and 80s nostalgia into a post-millennial marketing tool.  It might not be the best at saying what we do, but it is an honest look.

Castle of the Mad Archmage
This might be the closest we will ever get to exploring Castle Greyhawk. Yeah it is not perfect, but the effort and work here is beyond reproach and it is a damn fun adventure.  This is also on the complete opposite end of the spectrum from Dwimmermount.  Like the other mega dungeon this is the vision of one man, in this case Joseph Bloch.  Though were Dwimmeromount received much hype CotMA just quietly got published with no drama.  When Bloch has done Kickstarters they have been on point, fast and he usually gets people their materials WAY before he promised he would.  This is also a good example of the OSR ethic.  There is still nostalgia here but it took a different path.

No Salvation for Witches
I will be honest. I find most of James Raggi's adventures to be unplayable.
Not due to content or anything like that. I just believe that the GMs job is to help characters to greatness, not stick them into an adventure where they have no chance of winning.   I don't mind a meat grinder now and then (see Vampire Queen above) but not a design philosophy centered around fucking with the players.  Tomb of Horrors was a one time deal, not a template for every adventure.
That being said I like No Salvation for Witches.  It still has the same art quality one expects from LotFP and the adventure still has buckets of gore, but author Rafael Chandler brings some of the same splatter-punk horror the he demonstrated in his own Teratic Tome (which would make a good add-in for this).  I like the setting and the plot is something taken out of the most salacious accounts of the witch trails. Well if those accounts were embellished a little by Clive Barker.
NSFW (cute) is set in LotFP's pseudo historical Europe, but frankly I would rather take it and set it in the world of Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea to give it that "older and colder" feel that AS&SH does so well.

Liberation of the Demon Slayer
Venger As’Nas Satanis has a reputation comparable to James Raggi. Liberation of the Demon Slayer does nothing to change this.  Also this adventure is something I might like to run under Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea.  There is a mix of demons, devils and Lovecraftian beasts/gods that somehow feels right for that world.  There is a lot of the author's advice for running and some of his house rules. Normally I might ignore these, but they seem central to his design philosophy that maybe, just for this adventure, they should be used.
If you, like me, love eldritch abominations and dark magic then this the adventure for you. The adventure itself "sounds" simple enough. Retrieve a demon killing sword from the caves to stop the demons attack your village. Easy peasy.   Trouble is that the author grew up when dungeons-as-meat-grinders were a thing.  This adventure though is closer in tone and danger to the Hanging Coffins of the Vampire Queen than it is to most Lamentations of the Flame Princess products.  With the right DM this could be a great and dangerous adventure where the party could live. Sure they could all easily die too. One can read this and imagine that all of the author's games are a bit like it.
Actually I have known the author for a number of years and yeah this is exactly the kind of things I expect in his games.  I think the difference here with this adventure and some of his earlier material is there is a maturity here to accept the absurd.  This adventure can be played straight or with a dash of dark humor.  Think of it as a horror movie, even the scariest have a touch of humor to them; it sets you up for the bigger punch later down the road.
Curiously enough in my own games I do have an epic weapon for killing demons. In my current world state this sword is lost and a quest is needed to recover it.  Maybe this is what I need.  If so then the value of this adventure just increased ten-fold for me.   I am going to have to spend some quality time with it and a pencil to see if it can be recrafted into something that fits my world a little better.

The Snake's Heart - A Lost Age Adventure
This is my newest one. The overall feel of this one is like an action movie. Maybe more like a horror-action movie, but you get the idea.  The adventure is hard core old school. It is compatible with S&W: White Box but like most of the OSR adventures it can be used with just about any rules.   The file is a pretty simple affair; 19 pages, line art. So nothing too fancy, but the aesthetic is very, very old school.  It looks like something your older brother's friend who was the first kid in the neighborhood to play D&D might have made; only a lot better.
The adventure itself starts with a simple set up and encounter (I like adventures that make the players DO something right away) and then that simple encounter leads to a confrontation with an evil cult. Shenanigans ensue. The adventure takes a few cues from more modern adventures and separates encounters. The effect this has is to keep the action flowing.  If this were a movie it would be Raiders of the Lost Ark or, more aptly, The Temple of Doom.  At just under $2.00 it is also perfect for an afternoon when you want to play something but don't have an adventure ready to go.  
For myself I might make some minor changes here and there.  Snake Goddesses are fun and all but what if I need a Wolf Goddess or a Centipede one?  It make a great introduction for some characters that have already been through one adventure and are their way to the larger plot brewing.   I say grab this one and use it this weekend.

Hmm...maybe there is a campaign here.

What are your favorites? What have I missed that I should be playing.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Going Beyond the Murder-hobo

I have professed my love for many old-school adventures here.  Both ones published "back in the day" and the current crop of new old-school adventures.

Well I was listening to a you video on Dungeon! recently and the parallel was drawn yet again between the Fellowship in the mines of Moria and your average dungeon crawl.   There are lots and lots of similarities and by now everyone knows it. But there is a fundamental difference between the Fellowship and what a lot of dungeon crawls assume.  The Fellowship was only there on their way to become heroes, not to loot the dungeon and kill orcs.

Sometimes I do feel out of step with my Old-School brethren because I do think a character in D&D should aspire to be more than just a "murder-hobo".  I think part of that stems from my involvement with other games very early on.  In Chill for example you start out as the "everyman/everywoman".  Heck even one of the archetypes is "Socialite".  The point is that you start out like this but the horrors in the world force you to become something else.

There is an old saying in the horror genre. Take a movie's Final Girl and turn into a buff male with a gun and then you have an Action Movie.  I say put a sword in her hand (or a wand) and you have a D&D adventure.  The point though for me is whether horror, action or D&D the characters must be the heroes of the tale.

That is one of the reason why I like to weave a coherent story in my adventures.  Each one is a clue to the next to the larger threat.  A cult in the Cave of Chaos tips off the adventurers to a series of deaths on Bone Hill which leads to the rumors of slave traders that tie into attacks by giants...

Maybe I am taking too much of a modern supernatural story line to my adventures, but I find one endless dungeon crawl after the next to be boring. Its one of the reasons I never liked mega-dungeons either.  And yes I like character development.  I like heroes.

What are your favorite kinds of adventures? What do you do?

Monday, March 23, 2015

A to Z Blog challenge 2015 Theme Reveal

It's that time of year again!  Time for the Blogging A to Z challenge.

Today is the big reveal of what your theme will be.

This year I have the least surprising reveal of everyone I think.

This year I am going to be doing Vampires.  I know I have threatened to do this in the past, only to do witches or demons instead.  But this year I am serious.

And I am out of time. It is the only thing I have written!

So gamers, expect to see stats for various types of vampires.  I am hoping though that there will be something for everyone.

Are you participating? What is your theme?

Sunday, March 22, 2015


My posting is going to be a bit sporadic over the next week and half.

Work, family and other obligations are demanding my time.

Hope to have some great stuff for you all in April!

Friday, March 20, 2015

Friday Night Videos: All Hail Dio!

Welcome once again to Friday Night Videos!

This week I have a special treat. Well at least for me.
Tonight features what must be the quintessential videos and songs of what was known as "Sword and Sorcerery Rock".

And the lord of all of these was none other than Ronnie James Dio!

He fronted Black Sabbath, Rainbow and his own band Dio. He was a rocker and showman and by all accounts a great guy.

So here we have some of his most "D&D" songs ever.  These were huge inspiration to me in the day and then again later one when I was working on newer games.

Man on the Silver Mountain might just be one of the first "Sword and Sorcerery" songs recorded by a "metal" group.  Ritchie Blackmore left Deep Purple and after hearing Dio sing wanted him for his new band, Rainbow.  Of course the reasons Deep Purple had problems continued to plague Rainbow, but not before we got Man on the Silver Mountain.

Dio left Rainbow and about that time Ozzy was kicked out of left Black Sabbath.
Heaven and Hell is considered to be one of the penultimate Dio-fronted Black Sabbath songs.

Black Sabbath and Dio parted ways, but that gave us one of the best 80s metal bands and early darling of MTV's metal playlist.  Many nights when playing D&D we had to stop to watch Holy Diver or The Last in Line.

Rainbow in the Dark became something of a theme during my Buffy playtests.

Kickstart Your Weekend: Elizabeth Chaipraditkul Interview

I want to spend some more time talking about WITCH today with the developer Elizabeth Chaipraditkul, +Liz C. 
WITCH is getting a lot more attention and I wanted learn more about the game.

To say I am looking forward to this is an understatement.

Tim Brannan/The Other Side:  Let’s start at the beginning,  who are you and what is Angry Hamster Publishing?
Elizabeth Chaipraditkul/Angry Hamster: My name is Liz and I am the co-founder of Angry Hamster publishing. I’ve written WITCH and it is our flagship game for Angry Hamster Publishing. I’ve written for the Living Forgotten realms before and I am currently working on a project for Onyx Path Publishing.

TB: How did you get into gaming?
Liz: I was a very solitary kid, the kind of girl who spent all her time in her room playing with her Barbies and making up stories, so the moment I found out about gaming I jumped on it. I thought it was fantastic that there were other people out there that wanted to make-pretend as much as I did. I started out with form rpgs when I was in middle school and then in highschool I was introduced to D&D 3.5 and it took off from there.

TB: What are some of your favorite games? Why?
Liz: TTRPG-wise I would have to say Vampire the Masquerade. I love how gritty it is, the romance and the tragedy of an immortal existence. I blame Anne Rice and Joss Whedon for this. I also love Numenera and Monster Hearts. Numenera because it is unique and wonderful, I love adventure and this game is pure adventure. Monster Hearts holds a special place in my heart, because it is a game that perfectly encapsulates all the angsty supernatural/teen TV shows I love.

TB: Now the good stuff.  What is “WITCH”?
Liz: WITCH is a dark, modern fantasy role play game where you play a member of the Fated a witch or warlock who has sold their soul to a demon for power. The game is set in our world, but then if we had all the cool stuff like magic and monsters. The game deals heavily with how characters will find a way to survive and triumph over their personal storylines and demons. This rather dark theme is set in a world that is utterly fantastical. The world of WITCH, unlike the lives of the Fated, is not dark at all. In fact is it wondrous, magical, and begging to be explored.

TB: What is here in WITCH to set it off from other Modern Supernatural games?
Liz: We place a large importance on character’s stories and their interactions with their personal demons. When I created this game I wanted the character’s lives to be as much a part of the main plot as whatever cool story the GM had cooked up. With the Fated constantly having to deal with their demons the game does that just that. In order for the Fated to gain more power they must summon their demon and make a new deal with them, demons are real characters who have wants and needs, and they will (probably) as the Fated to do something they are not comfortable with. How the Fated deal with their demons and how they still survive in their own lives is a unique feature in our game.

TB: Tell me more about the magic system in WITCH
Liz: Mechanics wise, our magic system is very unique. We don’t put a limit on how much magic players can use, they are able to use as much magic a day as they want, however, it comes at a price. Players can also do things such as Magic Alteration, changing the look and feel of their Spell, at will. This means that players can customise their characters without a penalty and each character’s magic will be unique.

TB:  What sort of games/stories do you expect that people will use this for?
Liz: I’d like to say the two themes I love most in games and that is - adventure and drama. There is nothing like your coven recovering an ancient artefact just for one of you to give it to your demon for power power is there? I love exploring places that beg to be explored and interacting with a world completely foreign to you. However, as a player I am also very selfish. I want a personal story and I want drama. I always hope my GM is going to pick apart my backstory and find something crazy to run with. I believe that is what WITCH allows GMs to do.

TB: Going on the drama bit for a second.  Would it be possible to do a Monster Hearts-like (a game I love) game with WITCH?
Liz: For sure! The setting isn’t limited to adventure, horror, etc. Often, in the WITCH games I run the player’s lives end up taking center stage, their relationships etc. The story I have in mind is always second and woven deeply into who the characters are. I also think that the Fated and their demons could have interesting relationships together. We have a story in the book of a woman named Mary, she was a Pagan and actually ended up married to her devil. I would not call their relationship love… actually the exact opposite, but how fantastic would that type of drama be in a story?

TB: Your Kickstarter is doing great.  You are funded and heading into stretch goals.  What what you like to do this with these funds?  (the Cape Town and Athens additions)
Liz: Well, our most recent stretch goal is one of my most beloved and that is the Devil’s Deck. The Devil’s Deck is an altered Major Arcana of a tarot deck that the fated use to divine the future. It features heavily in our game and if we get 100 more euros in our campaign we unlock it for our players! Each one of our backers will get the digital PNP files for the Devil’s Deck. The next stretch goal after that is getting all our backers (who have pledges for a physical copy of the book) a hard copy of the deck. I really hope we get there!

TB: Cool so a Tarot set to go along with the Witch board!  Any other goodies you would like to do?
Liz: Oh yeah! The next rewards is for sure going to be a GM screen or what I like to call - 4 page cardboard excuse to showcase the amazing art we have! I never use my GM screens as actual screens, but I love handy quick references and the art is always so amazing! Also, if the last two days go crazy I have also sourced custom dice, but we’ll see if we get there :D.

TB: What are your future plans for this game?
Liz: I have a companion that is half on paper and half in my mind. It will give players more options for higher Spell Levels and also introduce two new Fates. It will basically contain a lot of content that didn’t make it into the CRB. I am also working on a few adventures and I would love to get to write more about the Fates.

TB: Ok last question and this is for my own benefit. Who is your favorite wizard, witch or magic-user?
Liz: Argh! Just one? Okay, I am going to pick two - Tara (from Buffy the Vampire Slayer) and Halaster . I love Tara, because she is perfect and wonderful in every way. I love Halaster, because he is crazy. Haha, I actually can’t describe him more than that.
TB: I absolutely LOVE Tara!  Would it be possible to play Willow and Tara in WITCH?
Liz: YES! Well, I want to say no, because we know where the relationship ends up - but yes! Also, dark Willow would make such a cool higher Spell Level witch. In our game when you get to higher Spell levels you get to focus your magic into either redemption or utter damnation (and more, but see my answer above about wanting to write more books ^^). I totally see a tragic dark Willow and redeemed Tara story. Ahhhhh!
TB: Well Tara is alive and well in my games, so I will have to try stating them up!
Liz: I want to see that ^^.

TB: And finally where can we find you on the internet?
Liz: You can find more about WITCH at angryhamsterpublishing.com and follow us on Twitter @angryhamsterrpg. I also have a personal blog, which is epicxcloth.blogspot.com


In the process of talking to Liz I decided EXACTLY what my first WITCH game is going to be.
I am going to abandon the Fate version of my American Horror Story: Coven game I was playing around with and do it all under WITCH instead.

AND of course I need to stat up Willow and Tara as soon as I can.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

40 Years of Dungeon!

I am a big fan of the Dungeon! board game.  In fact at any given time around here you can find a board set up and ready to go.  So you can imagine my pleasure when this link to an interview with Dave Megarry started getting passed around last night.


Though this might be rather elementary for anyone reading this blog, here is Ross Maker, one of the first players of Dungeon! showing us how it is done.

There is also some great history at The Zenopus Archives including some rough drafts of the first Dungeon! game, The Dungeons of Pasha Cada!

And Jonathan Becker has new rules for the newest version of the Dungeon! game over at B/X Blackrazor.

He has some new monsters and treasures.  Plus he has some rule additions that include more "classes".  Some of these are are similar to the optional rules that appeared in Best of The Dragon Vol 1 (which was a combination of articles from the early days of The Dragon).

The Dragon articles add Clerics, Dwarves, Thieves and "Hobbits" (Halflings) to the Classic Dungeon.
The "Expert" Game from JB adds Heroes, Elves, Superheroes, Wizards, Clerics, Dwarves, Hobbits, Theives and Necromancers.

Based these here is an alternate character class for your Dungeon! game.

The Witch

Witch (purple):  Witches are users of magic similar to wizards.  A witch moves like a wizard (or the default 5 in the new game).  Witches gain spells in the same manner as a Wizard. The exceptions are she does not have access to Fireball and has Clairvoyance and Charm/Hold from JB's Expert game above.  The witch can charm any monster to become a minion and fight for her.  The minion will fight till defeated in combat.  If the witch uses her charm spell in a chamber she must indicate which monster she is charming before the cards are revealed. The witch may only have one minion at a time. The witch attacks as a Wizard. The witch requires 30,000 gp to win.

Have fun!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Crazy Long Day

So work is kicking me in the but this week.  I spent a lot of time today re-writing a bio-stats final exam.  So I am a tad brain dead.

What do I know?

Well how is the new URL working for everyone?  Anyone notice a difference at all?
Because of the URL change some internal links are a bit wonky.  I will fix those as they come up.

Played around with the Android x86 OS on a lap top today.  There is a lot of good about but I would need to spend more time with it.  It won't replace Windows or Ubuntu 14.04 for me, but it was fun to play with.

Hopefully I will have something more intelligent to say tomorrow.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Update your URLs!

I decided to splurge and get a custom domain for my blogs.

You can now get to the Other Side blog at this address: http://theotherside.timsbrannan.com/
If by chance you still read my atheism blog, the Freedom of Nonbelief, then you can find that here: http://atheism.timsbrannan.com/

Eventually I will have something in place for http://timsbrannan.com but until then it goes to my Other Side Blog.

You can reach me at admin@timsbrannan.com or webmaster@timsbrannan.com.

Leprechauns for Basic Era Games

Happy St. Patrick's day!

Here is something I have been working on for a little bit.  I think it would work well in the right game.

Leprechauns for Basic era FRPGs

Leprechauns are small humanoids that live in the same general areas as do elves. While elves prefer the open spaces, Leprechauns live underground in elaborate burrows and low. They share many similarities with halflings and gnomes but are actually more closely related to pixies, faeries and distantly elves.

The typical Leprechaun stands 3' to 3½ ' tall, and weighs about 45-50 lbs; About the same size as a Halfling. Their skin color ranges from tan to a pale, if pinkish hue, their hair is typically any shade or red though some are darker, and their eyes can be any shade of green. Leprechaun males typically have longer beards the same color as their hair. Leprechauns generally wear natural fibers with quite a bit of green in them, though they decorate their clothes with intricate stitching or fine jewelry. Leprechauns reach adulthood at about age 40, and they live about 400 years, though some can live almost to 600 years.

A Leprechaun character must have a score of 9 or higher in both Charisma and Dexterity. Leprechauns are similar to Elves in terms of play, they can act as fighters (though not as good as true fighters or Dwarves) and can cast spells as do Magic-Users, though they are limited to the Enchantment school.

Leprechauns are inherently magical, many excel in areas of enchantment and other magic, and most all Leprechauns know at least a little magic. Adventuring Leprechauns can cast wizard spells as indicated below.

Leprechauns tend to be Neutral in alignment, but quite a few are Lawful.  Chaotic leprechauns are known as Fear Deargs.  These leprechauns are of sour temper and typically wear red.

Prime Requisite: A Leprechaun has two Prime Requisites: Wisdom and Dexterity. If either of these Ability scores is 13 or greater the character gains a 5% bonus to Experience Points earned every adventure. If both are 13 or greater, the XP bonus if 10%.

Weapons and Armor: Leprechauns may use any weapon, but it needs to "sized" to fit them. Typically any weapon sized for a Halfling character. Leprechauns may not use "two-handed" handed weapons such as two-handed swords, long bows, battle axes, and other larger weapons.

Leprechauns may wear any type of armor, but most prefer "natural" armor such as leather or hide.
Leprechauns may use any magic item that is useable by Magic-Users and any magic weapon.

Special Abilities

A Leprechaun has a number combat advantages, due to it's size and familiarity with various terrain.

Combat: Leprechauns use a combination of melee weapons and magic in combat situations. All Leprechauns gain the following bonuses when in combat.

-2 bonus to Armor Class when attacked by creatures larger than man-size.
+ 1 bonus to initiative rolls.

Luck: The greatest power of a Leprechaun is it's "Luck".  Once per day the Leprechaun can effect one die roll with luck.  Giving it an automatic +1.  This feature must be used before the roll is made, but it can be used on any sort of roll.  As a leprechaun increases in levels he may use a spell slot to convert spell levels to luck.  So a 4th level spell can be converted to +4 on a roll.  The points have to be used at one time, no splitting them up among different rolls.

Superstitions:  This is considered to be the other side of their luck ability. In order to have good luck the leprechaun has to observe a number of superstitions.  While they might seem to be harmless or even non-sense the leprechaun must follow them or take steps to avoid them.  For example a leprechaun will typically carry a lucky charm, such as a four leaf clover or rabbit's foot, for every level they have gained.  If they do something that would normally cause bad luck (lighting three on a single flame, walking under a ladder, letting a black cat cross their path) they must use their luck item or do a small ritual to "break the curse". This could include putting a lucky copper piece in their shoe, kissing a "blarney" rock, whistling a song backwards, or any number of other small rituals. Failing to perform this ritual right away will result in the loss of one point of good luck.

Hiding: Leprechauns are difficult to spot. In their natural habitat, dense wooded areas, low hill lands and natural (not man-made) underground formations a Leprechaun can only be detected 25% of the time (GM rolls). In man-made dungeons this increases to 35%. The Leprechaun must remain still and not be carrying any type of light.

Leprechaun's Gold: There is a legend that leprechaun's guard a pot of gold. There is some truth to this.  If someone were to beat a leprechaun in some form of personal challenge (cards, drinking, or being found when they would rather stay hidden) the leprechaun is obliged to grant the winner a gold coin.  This coin will grant the winner a single +1 to any roll.  This luck comes from the leprechaun's own pool of luck for the day.

Languages: In addition to the common and alignment languages Leprechauns may also speak Leprechaun, elf, gnome and goblin.

Vision: A Leprechaun can see twice as well as a human in low-light conditions (starlight, moonlight, torchlight and a "light" spell, but not "Continual Light").

Spells: As mentioned, Leprechauns can use Magic-User spells like an elf.  They favor Enchantment and Charm spells.  Leprechauns cannot use necromancy.

Leprechauns may advance only to 9th level "Tighearnán" (male) or "Tuilelaith" (female). This is balanced by the Leprechaun's magical ability and their ability to also fight better than a same level magic-user. At 9th level a Leprechaun may settle in area and attract other Leprechauns to form a clan, or gather their family together for a clan as it's Chieftain. In any case there will only be a small gathering of immediate family and some close relations.  Leprechauns are so spread out though they immediately assume any other leprechaun they meet must be a related and refer to each other as "cousins".

Leprechauns are known as "solitary faeries". This makes them great candidates for an adventuring race.  They will settle down in a area but there must not be any other faerie species in the area, especially pixies and other "trooping faeries".  Leprechauns and Pixies have an uneasy truce.

Hit Die

Death Ray or Poison
Magic Wands
Paralysis or Turn to Stone
Dragon Breath
Rods, Staffs and Spells

Leprechauns use the same attack to hit rolls as do fighters, dwarves, elves and Halflings.

Target's Armor Class

Section 15 Copyright Notice

Open Game License v 1.0a Copyright 2000, Wizards of the Coast, Inc.

System Reference Document Copyright 2003, Wizards of the Coast, Inc.; Authors Jonathan Tweet, Monte Cook, Skip Williams, Bruce R. Cordell, based on original material by E. Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson.

Basic Fantasy Role-Playing Game Copyright © 2006-2008. Chris Gonnerman.

Labyrinth LordTM. Copyright © 2007, Daniel Proctor. Author Daniel Proctor.

"Leprechauns for Basic era FRPGs" Copyright ©2015, Timothy S. Brannan