Showing posts with label 1st ed. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 1st ed. Show all posts

Thursday, February 22, 2024

Review: Forgotten Realms Campaign Set

The Forgotten Realms Campaign Set
 I have asked this before, but it bears repeating here and now. How does one review a classic? Better question. How does one review a genre-defining classic?  Because that is what I have sitting in front of me now. A genre-defining classic. Eighteen-year-old me back in 1987, ready for his first year at university, would not have thought so at the time, but that is what much older me thinks now. 

The Forgotten Realms was the foundation of the "new" TSR, the one without Gary Gygax and many of the other founders on which they would build their new home. We can debate the merits of this and financials ad nauseam, but by any stretch of the imagination, the Forgotten Realms were very successful. So successful that the biggest video game of 2023 is set there.

This review will cover the Forgotten Realms Campaign Set, the Boxed set from 1987. Written by Ed Greenwood and Jeff Grubb and edited by Karen S. Boomgarden. But any insight to this product knows that the genesis was with Ed, and he first brought it all to life in the pages of Dragon magazine. At least that is alive to us. Many other authors have contributed to Realms over the decades, but here is where it begins.  

How do we begin? Let's take Ed's own words, which he scribbled into my Cyclopedia of the Realms as our opening.

Welcome to the Forgotten Realms

"Welcome to the Forgotten Realms!" - Ed Greenwood

Forgotten Realms Campaign Set

by Ed Greenwood, Jeff Grubb and edited by Karen S. Boomgarden. 1987. Boxed set. Full-color covers and maps. Cyclopedia of the Realms 96 pages. DMs Sourcebook of the Realms 96 pages. Maps and clear hex overlays.

Forgotten Realms box contents

For this review, I am considering the physical boxed set from 1987 and the PDFs from DriveThruRPG. There has yet to be a Print on Demand version.

The DriveThruRPG PDF combines all this information into a 230-page book. Maps are broken up and scanned in at letter size.

Cyclopedia of the Realms
Cyclopedia of the Realms

96 pages. Color covers. Sepia-tone pages and art.

"Let's start at the very beginning. A very good place to start." - Maria von Trapp nee Kuczera, Bard/Cleric

This book is an introduction to the Forgotten Realms, and maybe the most important bit here is the introduction by Ed Greenwood/Elminster and the About this Product.  We start immediately with the "voice" of the Realms, Elminster. He is no ersatz Gandalf, nor is he a more approachable Mordenkainen, and certainly, he is more interesting than Ringlerun. He is our guide, but sometimes I still like to think of him as an unreliable narrator. These are the Realms in his eyes. More (if the not the most) knowledgable, but there are still "small stories" to tell that are beneath his notice. Those are the stories (aka games) I want to know about.

This book covers the timeline (I do love timelines!) and ways of keeping time in the Realms. The date for this set is the end of 1357 DR (that's Dale Reckoning or Dalereckoning). For full context, the Baldur's Gate III video game takes place in 1494 DR, with the current year of the D&D 5e titles at 1496 DR. There is a bit of discussion about holidays and how the "weeks" are grouped as Tendays (3 a month). It feels different and I like it.  The money system is rather AD&D standard, with some proper names to the coins. This is fine because this IS supposed to be an AD&D world, and the authors want people to feel familiar with it all, if not right at home.

Languages and scripts are up. Some of these are still being used in current versions of D&D. 

The Gods are next. These were already familiar to me, not just because this is an old product, but because Ed talked about them in Dragon magazine back in 1985.  See "The Dragon Connection" below. While these gods have "Earthly" sources, it actually works out great and ties into the mythology of the Realms as one being connected to Earth. Something it shares with Greyhawk's Oerth. The connection between Greyhawk and the Forgotten Realms is strong. They share almost all the same demi-human gods. By extension of the rule-set they also share all the same demons and devils. This makes moving between worlds a little smoother. The gods and their relationships are detailed well here and there is just enough unknow to keep them interesting.

Next section is about Adventuring Companies. So here is one thing that the Realms does better than Greyhawk (well there are more, but the first thing in this book). Adventurers are baked into the system. The world doesn't just need adventuring parties, it demands them. These parties can be used as models for your own adventuring parties. All these parties have names as well. I'll have to think about how Sinéad and Co would fit this format. Plus, the back cover of this book has a grid for the adventuring party! Room for 10 characters even.

Adventuring Party Roster

We get into the "Cyclopedia" part of the book now. This is an alphabetical listing of major topics within the Realms. These include things like the various character classes, races, countries, towns, areas of interest and other topics. There is a narrative piece describing it, Elminster's Notes for the point of view of the most knowledgeable native (even when he admits to not knowing much), and Game Information.

I rather like it, to be honest. Hit me with facts, and let me build some adventures around it!

DMs Sourcebook of the Realms
DMs Sourcebook of the Realms

96 pages. Color covers. Sepia-tone pages and art.

One of the best things in this book is the Introduction. We get words from Ed (as Ed) talking about the World of the Forgotten Realms and how it is now our world too. Yeah it is trademarked by TSR and now WotC/Hasbro, but this is an open invitation to do what you want with this world now. This is a foreshadowing to all the great Ed Greenwood content we would get over the next almost 4 decades. Honestly reading Ed's own words make me excited for all the exploration ahead of me. This is followed by words from Jeff Grubb, who also had a hand in shaping the AD&D version of the Realms. And more by editor Karen S. Martin who adds her experience and excitement to this world.

So much better than any puff-piece bit of gamer fiction!

We get right into it. Information on how to use this as an AD&D campaign world is started from the word go. Overview again of the boxed set. How to set up campaigns for new players, new campaigns for experienced players, and bringing in characters from other campaigns. Hmm...I should try all of these to be honest. Maybe a character from one of my Greyhawk or Mystara campaigns could come on over. I DO like the idea that Elvish and Dwarvish and some others are mostly the same languages. Would really help bring the worlds closer together. 

A bit of coverage on the maps and how to use them. Nice comparison of the map of Faerûn compared to the continental United States. And a section of various wandering monsters. The Forgotten Realms may be Forgotten, but they are very much alive!

The next 20 pages detail NPCs of note. Any to drop in as background, enemy, or ally. 

Speaking of living. A really nice section on recent news and various rumors starting in DR 1356 to 1357 are presented. With or without your characters, the Relams live on. 

Another plus for this boxed set is the ready-run adventures for low-level characters. The first, The Halls of the Beast Tamers, is a nice dungeon crawl. Next is Lashan's Fall, which appeared in Dragon #95 as "Into the Forgotten Realms," and even the maps are the same! Mind you I think this is a bonus since that is the adventure I always wanted to use as an intro to the Realms. I still can come to think of it. 

Into the Forgotten Realms

The next section is a "Pages from the Mages" style entry.  Lots of spells books to be found with plenty of new spells. I think some of these were in "Pages form the Mages" to be honest. That's fine, they work well here.

Honestly, the ONLY thing missing here are some new monsters, and this would be complete.

Maps & Plastic Hex Overlays

There are four gorgeous maps of the content of Faerûn. While it doesn't quite live up to the artistry of the Darlene World of Greyhawk maps, they are more practical. The plastic hex overlays also make it easier to read the maps and then do your hex crawls in whatever area you like.

The Dragon Connection

One of the great things about doing my This Old Dragon feature and concentrating on the period between 1980 and 1987 is watching the Forgotten Realms develop and grow as an Advanced Dungeons & Dragons world. From Ed's musings on gods in Down to Earth Divinity to magical tomes and spells of the Pages from the Mages and The Wizards Three features to adventure Into the Forgotten Realms, all of which would find homes in an official Forgotten Realms product in some shape or form.

I mentioned already that Dragon #95's Into the Forgotten Realms makes an appearance here as an introductory adventure.

As I mentioned, all we were missing were monsters. Well, Ed penned enough monsters in the pages of Dragon Magazine that were explicitly for the Realms, so collecting them all is worthwhile. In addition to monsters, there are magic items, more spells, blades, shields, and even musical instruments, and I know I am nowhere near collecting it all. I do know I will run out of room in my box for them all.

Realms in Dragon Magazine

My Thoughts

There is a lot packed in this box. It's like a TARDIS really; bigger on the inside. In truth, nothing of what I thought was going to be here was here. Yes, there are NPCs, but they are background, and your characters may never ever run into them. They are the background noise of the Realms until the characters are the big noise. I certainly unfairly judged the Forgotten Realms. 

A lot of this stemmed from me thinking that Gygax had been done wrong. Yes, that was true, but the Realms really had nothing to do with that. The New TSR was working to relgate Gygx to the past and Ed was just the guy in the right place in the right time with the right idea. I was also unfair of me to judge the Realms on that.  If reading Ed's "The Wizard's Three" has taught me anything that Abier-Toril and Oerth have more in common than not.

Greyhawk and the Forgotten Realms

This is, of course, just the start. A big start, to be sure, but a start all the same. This is a canvas to paint on. This is a great set, not just for its time but also for now. Minus some of the stat blocks and spells, everything here can be used with any version of D&D or similar game with little or no effort. 

While I am somewhat overwhelmed by the task before me, I am also excited about it.

Honestly, I am going to pull out some dice and roll up some characters now.

Wednesday, February 7, 2024

Review: Module N4 Treasure Hunt

N4 Treasure Hunt
I knew my exploration of the Forgotten Realms would take me to new and unexpected places. I just didn't think it was going to be this soon.

In my exploration of the Forgotten Realms product Moonshae, I discovered an interesting bit of knowledge. In the back of that book it mentions that Adventure Module N4 Treasure Hunt can be used with the Moonshae Islands. I later discovered that the islands in N4 were moved over to the Forgotten Realms for this purpose.  So I had to switch courses and check out this module. I am really happy I did.

This module is not just an introduction module, but maybe THE introduction to the game module. Where you have an honest-to-Gary Session 0 and start with 0-Level characters in 1986. Given I am new to all things Realms, I might as well start at level 0!

N4 Treasure Hunt

by Aaron Allston, 48 pages (2 full color map pages, 36 pages of adventure, 10 pages of character profiles) black & white interiors. Art by Stephen Fabian. Cartographers: David F. "Diesel" LaForce, Stephen D. Sullivan, Bill Reuter, Stephanie Tabat. Cover art by Jeff Easley/

For this review, I am considering the PDF and Print on Demand version from DriveThruRPG/DMSGuild.

Treasure Hunt is a completely introductory adventure for players of the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 1st Edition game. I say "players" since I feel this adventure still requires a bit of rules savvy from the Dungeon Master, at least in terms of some of the lifts needed to work with the 0-level characters. However, reading this one nearly 40 years later, with honestly tens of thousands of hours spent on this game, there are nice gems here.

Speaking of which. I am not going to attempt to judge this adventure by the same yardstick as new Level-0 or the so-called "Funnel" adventures. That is not fair to the author nor the adventure itself. This has to judged on the merits of its time. But I will tell you this, I'd run this today, as is, with no changes to be honest.

There is a Player's Introduction and Dungeon Master's Introduction. 

This is the most interesting parts for me today since they cover the rules of rolling up and playing Level-0 characters.  For starters, you don't have a class yet. You are a Normal Human (or elf, or half-elf, or whatever), and you have 1d6 hit points and maybe a secondary skill. You don't even have an alignment. The plot revolves around your character, either one you make or use from the starting characters, being kidnapped by pirates, and then your pirate captors are shipwrecked and mostly all killed. Now, you are stuck in the Korinn Archipelago, later added to the north of the Moonshaes.

Korinn Archiipelago

From here the new PCs work out an escape plan and defeat their first enemy, the last pirate.

As the players play through the challenges presented on these islands they can build up what their character does and earn some XP. They are all 500 xp away from level 1. The adventure explains that even 1st level characters have some training. A fighter at level 1 is called a Veteran. A 1st level Cleric is an Acolyte. Even thieves and magic-users have some skills at first level that 0-levels do not.  Want to be a thief? Try picking that lock. Want to be a Cleric? What do you feel when you enter the Temple of the Goddess and how do you react? You won't know till the end (or near that) and you won't get there till you try.

0-level and skills

Frankly, it is great. A fantastic set of mini-mechanics to get the story going and flowing.  

The adventure itself is divided into six "episodes." And episode is a good word here since there is a bit of cinematic feel to this. It feels like Aaron Allston watched a lot of Raiders of the Lost Ark, or more to the point, Romancing the Stone. This is a good thing.

Each episode gives the new PCs something tangible to do. Defeat the pirate, stop the orcs and goblins, explore the Temple, explore the Sea King's Manor, and so on. While there is a great feel to all of this, add a bit of the Moonshaes to it, and thus some Celtic and Old Norse culture to it all, and it becomes a fun mix.

Even for the time, the adventure is a bit linear, but not in a terrible way. I mean, let's be honest, the plot is "I've been captured, now I am free, but how do I get out of here?"  At the end of each episode, there is a debrief for the DM on handling anything that went amiss, tracking the character's class and alignment progression, and so on. There are even contingencies if certain NPCs are not encountered or die before they are supposed to do something. So, linear but with enough branches to keep it fresh. 

Experience points are tracked all along the way, so there is a chance the characters will break the 500 XP threshold by the end of episode 5. 

There are appendices on "What if Things Go Wrong" or "What if the Character Dies?" and all are handled pretty well. There are some clever Player's Maps and the map of the islands. 

The character profiles in the back can be used as potential PCs or NPCs. A few are even worded to be male or female. Someone online would have screamed, "Woke!" at it, but it is presented here as just one of many options. I do feel more care was taken here to entice both male and female new players to the game.

This adventure is a good one for new players. The only thing missing here is some more guidance for new DMs. Something that B2 Keep on the Borderlands does rather well. Maybe the perfect starting trilogy is this adventure, then T1 the Village of Hommlet, and ending with B2 Keep on the Borderlands.

N4 Print on Demand

About the Print-on-Demand Scan

This is a print of a scanned image. So there is some fuzziness to some of the letters. It is obviously not as sharp as, say, a direct from digital print. It is still very readable.  Getting the PoD and PDF will give a book you can use and be able to print out the character cards and player maps as needed. 

Treasure Hunt in the Forgotten Realms

I already mentioned that the location of this adventure, the Korinn Archipelago, was dropped as right into the Moonshae Isles, which were already an addition by Douglas Niles to the Forgotten Realms, supplanting Ed Greenwood's own islands that were there. Already the Realms are evolving in front of our eyes and it is not even fully 1987 yet.

As an adventure, it is also a great start for Realms-centric characters. I had already planned to make my start in the Moonshaes, this just sets characters on the path of adventure in a different way. You didn't meet in a tavern or bar. You were captured and met your companions along the way. Something we will see again in Baldur's Gate 3 or even, to a degree, Skyrim. 

The Temple of the Goddess in Episode Three can easily become a Temple to the Earth Mother / Chauntea. Lots of different Goddesses are given as example, but I thought it might be fun if the Earth Mother appears as all of them. Playing into my fascination with "the Goddess is all goddesses" motif.

Sinéad for Treasure Hunt

Sinéad's Perspective

At the outset of these reviews, I said I wanted to explore the Realms through the eyes of a native, but one that was just as naïve as me. Sinéad is that character. She was chosen partially because she has a pseudo-Celtic background (so starting the Moonshaes was great). She was a Forgotten Realms native already, but mostly because she was just so much damn fun in Baldur's Gate 3. 

For Sinéad, I re-did her sheet as a 0-level character.  The DMG suggests using Method I for rolling up characters; 4d6 drop the lowest and arrange as desired. Well. I did that with Sinéad as a first level, so I opted to use a trick I used all the time in Unisystem's point build, I just knocked a few points off. 

Her "1st Level" abilities add up to 92, so I took 10 off and re-distributed the points among her six abilities. Then I added on back. My world. My rules. I also felt that since her main defining feature at this point is that she is a half-elf, I decided that was her class. So I used a Basic-D&D style sheet. The one I have above is from New Big Dragon Games Unlimited's GM screen.

Since my concept of her is a proto-Bard at this point, and she is young, I figure she really doesn't have any secondary skills yet. At best, she can play the lute or flute. If she was captured by pirates, she likely lost whatever she had. This would be a bigger loss to her than however much gold she had. 

At the end of the adventure, she becomes a magic-user with her one spell, Burning Hands. The same spell she accidentally burned down the barn she was in back at home, which was why she was running and how she got caught by pirates. 

After this adventure, how could she possibly go home? There is an entire world out there. 

Besides, she survived pirates. What can be worse than that?

Oh. And since I have had friends do this exact thing, after her adventure here, Sinéad uses the dagger she found to chop off her hair and dye some of it. Seems like a perfectly reasonable trauma reaction to me. 

Sinéad at the end of N4

She is just a kid at this point.

Final Thoughts

If I had been smarter, I would have used this first when re-creating Sinéad on paper, but as it is, this worked out fine. This is also a great new-to-me adventure for a new-to-me world. While I LOVE B2 Keep on the Borderlands, it is too closely tied to Greyhawk and the Known World for me to really adapt it over the Realms. Would it even fit in the Realms? I am sure many online users have found a home for it. Maybe one day I could as well, but for now, this is a great adventure to start with. In fact, I want to go through all the N, aka "Novice," adventures and see how they fit my needs here. But for now, I am pretty happy with this.

Sunday, January 28, 2024

Character Creation Challenge: "Retsam Elddir" for Wasted Lands

 This one is important to me.  

Yesterday, I briefly introduced you to a character I mentioned around here but finally gave him a proper introduction: Nigel "Death Blade" Delamort. If he sounded like the sort of character a 13-year-old makes while trying to sound edgy, then yes, you are 100% correct. But he is part of a quintet, five aspects of my personality on paper as it were (remember I was just introduced to psychology and I was eating it all up). Today's character is the last of that quintet.

Briefly, when looking at psychoanalytic theory (and please keep in mind I am reducing a hundred+ years worth of thought into the size of a bubble gum wrapper), a person's personality can broken up into two aspects according to Jung (Anima/Animus) or three according to Freud (Id/Ego/Super-ego). I have already introduced you all to my Animus (Phygora), Anima (Larina), Id (Nigel), and Super-Ego (Johan), so all I need now is my Ego-self.  

My ego is Johan Werper, aka Retsam Elddir.

Retsam Elddir / Scott Elders character sheets

Wait. That doesn't make any sense. Here is what I am talking about. 

Again, I ask you to come back with me to the years between 1983 and 1986. I was in High School and playing a ton of D&D...or, more to the point, AD&D. We really tried to draw a very solid line between the two. When I was the DM, it was B/X D&D, and our world was "The Known World," later to be called Mystara. When my friend Michael was DMing, it was AD&D, and the world was Greyhawk. We would merge them, and that world became something like the Mystoerth that I use today.

Around 85-86 we were both working making new character classes and trying them out. Mine were the Healer, the Sun-Priest, a variant on the Necromancer/Death Mage, and my most successful one, The Witch. Grenda was not sitting by. He had created, sort of as a joke, a super-powered class of psychic adepts that had to hide their powers since at that time we said psionics were considered unnatural in a world of magic. That class was the Riddle Master, named after the Patricia A. McKillip book, The Riddle-Master of Hed. As it happened, he really loved the class. So much so that he wanted me to try it out.  So I said fine, roll up my stats and I'll come over.  He did and the stats for my new Riddle Master were the exact same as the ones Johan I had. So we thought this was the Johan of Oerth and not the same as the Mystara one I was playing. We were both high from the Crisis on Infinite Earths, I had also been reading Job: A Comedy of Justice by Heinlein and The Coming of the Quantum Cats by Pohl. So we decided that this new Johan was a "Quantum Cat" or multiverse counterpart (the current en vogue term is Variant) of my first Johan. Much like Superman of Earth 1 vs. Superman of Earth 2 there was a generational age difference.

We decided that this new Riddle Master character had to use a different name to avoid confusion in our inevitable cross-overs.  I did the only logical thing. I spelled his name backwards, much to the chagrin of Grenda. Of course I stole the idea from him. He had characters named Adnerg and Htaed.

Thus began the adventuring life of Retsam Elddir. He crazy powerful psionic powers and still made dumb mistakes. Like when he stuck his hands into a Gelatinous Cube (he wore gloves after that forever to hide the scars), he was best friends with Larina, married Heather, and killed the ancient vampire Mal Havoc

Later on, Retsam, using the name Scott Elders, would show up in Ghosts of Albion, WitchCraft, and even feature in a Star Trek game as a guest, then as the main PC. The AD&D version was a blast to play with but I also enjoyed the WitchCraft version a lot. It was the WitchCraft version that I used in my Vacation in Vancouver campaign.

Retsam has a lot of things in common with both Johan (Super-Ego) and Phygora (Animus). Like both of those characters, he is an occult/arcane scholar. Like them both he is an expert in magic. In Larina's library, there are books with blue covers from Johan, black covers from Pygora, and red covers from Retsam.

Retsam Elddir / Scott Elders
Retsam Elddir / Scott Elders / Johan Werper

Class: Psychic / Scholar
Level: 20
Species: Human
Alignment: Light Neutral
Background: Scholar

Abilities
Strength: 15 (+2) 
Agility: 10 (+0) 
Toughness: 12 (+0) 
Intelligence: 15 (+1) N
Wits: 15 (+1) N
Persona: 19 (+3) A

Fate Points: 1d12
Defense Value: 5
Vitality: 120
Degeneracy: 0
Corruption: 0

Check Bonus (A/N/D): +8/+6/+2
Melee Bonus: +4 (base) +1 (touchstone) 
Ranged Bonus: +4 (base)
Psychic Attack: +7
Saves: +7 vs Persona (Psychic), +1 to all (touchstone)

Psychic Abilities
Psychic powers: 5, Supernatural attacks, Supernatural power: Astral Projection

Psychic Powers
Bio-feedback
Psychokinesis
ESP
Telepathy
Temporal Sense

Sage Abilities
Languages: 15, Lore 95%, Mesmerize others, suggestion, Renegade Skills: 3rd level, Spells 3/2/1

Stealth Skills
Open Locks: 30%
Bypass Traps: 25%
Sleight of Hand: 35%
Sneak: 30%

Spells
First level: Arcane Dart, Damage Undead, Mystical Senses
Second level: Lesser Renewal, Unlock
Third level: Concussive Blast

Heroic/Divine Touchstones 
1st Level: First Level Spell: Black Flame
2nd Level: +1 to melee combat
3rd Level: Charm Power
4th Level: Favored Enemy: Vampire
5th Level: +1 to all checks, attacks, and saves
6th Level: Immunity to Undead Attacks
7th Level: Character ceases to age
8th Level: Persistent Luck
9th Level: Down but not out
10th Level: Time Slip

Heroic (Divine) Archetype: Knowledge

Gear
Sword, Leather Armor

Retsam in the Wasted Lands

Much like Nigel this is where Retsam starts. In the Wasted Lands I would focus on his psychic abilities and his desire to hunt the undead, vampires in particular.

Retsam in NIGHT SHIFT

In modern times Retsam is using the name Scott Elders. NIGHT SHIFT works great (naturally) with the type of supernatural games I like to play/run. In this sort of game I can use Retsam/Scott as Prof. Scott Elders, an occult scholar and faculty at St. Andrews University. 

Retsam in Thirteen Parsecs

This Scott Elders was the Chief Medical Officer and then Captain of the medical starship Mercy. To have one system to be able to do all three of these different versions is fantastic. Especially one system that allows me to do this character so well.

ALL allow me to use the same character across different times, different places, and right up to the Solar Frontier.

You can get the Wasted Lands RPG and the NIGHT SHIFT RPG at Elf Lair Games. Thirteen Parsecs is coming soon.

Character Creation Challenge

Saturday, January 27, 2024

Character Creation Challenge: Nigel Blade for Wasted Lands

 Back in the mid-80s, I discovered psychology. I thought it was a great topic and it really fascinated me. I started, of course, with the classics where most people start, Freud and Jung. Well, really, Jung and then Freud , I wanted to read Jung and, in particular, Synchronicity in the original German. It was not easy let me tell you. While both Freud and Jung are psychoanalysts, but Jung always more like philosophy to me.  One of his concepts was that of the Anima and the Animus side of your personality. Like a Ying and Yang. Similarly, Freud had his view of the Id, Ego, and Super-ego (das Es, Ich, and Über-Ich), which I think a lot of people at least have a passing knowledge of. 

You might be asking, great, but what does this arm-chair psychology have to do with characters? Well for this weekend, a lot. 

Psychology Character Sheets

My exploration of psychology (which also led to my eventual career as a Psychologist) was going on at the same time as some of my most prolific character creations.  It is no shock, then, that I have characters that represent these psychoanalytic concepts. 

On the Jungian side (because I am still Jung at heart! Yes, I use that joke often) we have my obvious Anima in Larina. In fact, I may have identified her as an anima before she was a character. My Animus is Phygora. I have not explored him much because what is there to say? He is an academic, he has magic. Swap magic for science, and you have me.     

On the Freudian side, Johan I is very much my Super-ego. So, who are my Id and Ego characters?  

Ego represents you, who you are to the outside world. My Ego character is "Retsam Elddir" (yeah, I will explain that later).

Id represents all your unchecked desires and dark impulses. My Id is Nigel "Death Blade" Delamort.

Nigel "Death Blade" Delamort sheets

Who is Nigel "Death Blade" Delamort?

Nigel was a 1st Ed AD&D character and I had a lot of fun with him. He is/was a Neutral Evil assassin that used to adventure in the same party as Johan II. I fudged it and said that both heard a prophecy that they would both be needed in a great war and they could not harm each other.  All BS of course, I wanted to have a LG Paladin and a NE Assassin at the same time. 

Nigel began life through a dirt-poor second son in Specularum, he tried to steal a dagger from a local blacksmith. Instead of turning the boy in the blacksmith trained him, until the blacksmith was killed by assassins.  I won't get into the details here, but suffice to say that he was a fun character who allowed me to live out a lot of violence (it is what my Id would do).  

He mellowed out over the years. Which is good because he was a bit of an asshole.

Through a series of events that are too long and complicated to get into here, Nigel was transported to the future so I could use him Star Frontiers. He would come back to help Johan in my big war at the end of High School with his spaceship, the Lucifer.  Along the way, he became immortal, or at least very long-lived, and he has been a galactic bounty hunter for hire. 

Nigel "Death Blade" Delamort
Nigel "Death Blade" Delamort

Class: Renegade
Level: 20
Species: Human
Alignment: Twilight Evil
Background: Craft (Blacksmith)

Abilities
Strength: 18 (+3) N
Agility: 20 (+4) A
Toughness: 17 (+2) N
Intelligence: 13 (+1) 
Wits: 12 (+1) 
Persona: 8 (-1) 

Fate Points: 1d12
Defense Value: 2
Vitality: 119
Degeneracy: 1
Corruption: 0

Check Bonus (A/N/D): +8/+6/+4
Melee Bonus: +6 (base) +3 +2 (touchstones) 
Ranged Bonus: +6 (base) +4 +1 (touchstone)
Spell Attack: NA
Saves: +7 vs Death effects (Renegade), +2 to Toughness-based saves related to stamina and endurance (Craft). +1 to all (touchstone)

Renegade Abilities
Improved Defence, Ranged Combat, Stealth Skills, Climbing, Danger Sense (1-7 d8), Perception, Vital Strike x7, Read Languages, Stealth Skills

Warrior Abilities
Combat Expertise, Improved Defence, Melee Combat, Master of Battle, Supernatural Attacks, Spell Resistance, Tracking, Masters of Weapons, Extra Attacks (x2), Extra Damage

Stealth Skills
Open Locks: 95%
Bypass Traps: 95%
Sleight of Hand: 95%
Sneak: 95%
Climbing: 95%
Perception: 95%

Heroic/Divine Touchstones 
1st Level:  +1 to melee attacks
2nd Level: Favored Weapon: Sword (+1 to hit, +2 Damage)
3rd Level: Level 1 of Warrior
4th Level: Level 2 of Warrior
5th Level: +1 to all checks, attacks, and saves
6th Level: Level 3 of Warrior
7th Level: Character ceases to age
8th Level: Level 4 of Warrior
9th Level: Down but not Out
10th Level: Level 5 of Warrior

Heroic (Divine) Archetype: War

Gear
Sword, Leather Armor, thieves tools, (later plasma rifle).

Nigel in the Wasted Lands

This is the starting point for Nigel, my D&D stand-in. When I had him move between systems I always had to restat him. Here he can move between the epochs with ease.

Nigel in NIGHT SHIFT

In modern times Nigel is something of a supernatural hunter. From his personal timeline this occurred after he spent his time in literal Hell. After coming back from the future he went back to Glantri. Here he followed his daughter's (Raven) killer into hell. Again like said above it is long and complicated. But after Hell, Nigel was a WitchCraft/Armageddon character.

Nigel in Thirteen Parsecs

This was right after "D&D" and here I used Star Frontiers for his stats. It was an interesting translation.  Then we tried a little Gamma World, then a little (tiny little) bit of Traveller. Each translation I felt something in the character was lost even if my knowledge of the games increased. Thirteen Parsecs hopefully will fix that for me. Nigel will be one of my first 13P characters.

ALL allow me to use the same character across different times, different places and right on up to the Solar Frontier.

You can get the Wasted Lands RPG and the NIGHT SHIFT RPG at Elf Lair Games. Thirteen Parsecs is coming soon.

Character Creation Challenge

Thursday, January 25, 2024

Character Creation Challenge: Sinéad for the Forgotten Realms (1st Edition AD&D)

Sinéad sheet
 I am switching gears today since I will get some of my reviews on the Forgotten Realms up. I want to start with the character first, though. When reading or playing games, we often view their world as they see, hear, and experience it. For me, that will be Sinéad. Not Sinéad Moonshadow just yet; that is much later down her road. No. This is 1st Edition AD&D Sinéad as I might have rolled her up back in 1987 when the Forgotten Realms were still new. 

Sinéad in 1357 DR

Sinéad in 1357 DR (the year before the Forgotten Realms Boxed set) is a girl living in the Moonshae Isles. I have always known this, but I never really had the details until now.

She grew up on the Island of Gwynneth in the country of Corwell. Her father was a reputable human blacksmith of modest means, and her mother was a Llewyrr (though now mostly moon elf) seer. Growing up Sinéad heard tales of other lands and places and wanted to visit them, but her parents told her the world beyond was full of evil terrors and the only place safe was here, closest to the Earth Mother's heart.  She grew up loving and fearing the Earth Mother and wondering about other places, other peoples, and other gods. It was around the time of 16th birthday when her latent magic began to flare up. She would spontaneously and randomly set things on fire (Rules: Burning Hands spell). This was kept under control until she had turned 19. The local Lord wanted her to marry his son for the prestige of a marriage with a Llewyrr and as compensation for all the damage she had been causing. One night during the early harvest festival, Sinéad accidentally burns down a barn and grain stores, threatening to leave her small village hungry for the winter. Her mother distracts the crowds who have come after "the witch" while her father gives her enough gold to get to a port and out of the Moonshaes to the Sword Coast.

And that is about all I have for at this point. She will meet up with Nida and others when she gets to the Sword Coast, but that is a bit off. She first has to cross her homeland to get to the port. She will encounter fae, a prophetic witch, and more.

For Sinéad, I am starting out with AD&D 1st Ed, the same as the Forgotten Realms boxed set. To make a stronger line between her starting adventure and her later ones, I used just the Player's Handbook, DMG, and Unearthed Arcana for her. I tweaked her abilities a bit to fit better. Also, since I am seeing her as a bard from the word go, I am using the alternate Bard from Dragon #56. I thought it would be a good fit given how Bards are in the Forgotten Realms and Moonshaes in particular.  Plus, I wanted her to be a bard from 1st level. 

Sinéad of the Moonshaes
Sinéad of the Moonshae

Level: 1/1
Class: Magic-user/Bard
Female Half-elf

Abilities
Strength: 13
Intelligence: 17
Wisdom: 13
Dexterity: 16
Constitution: 16
Charisma: 17

Saving Throws
Paralysis Poison: 14
Petrification/Polymorph: 13
Rod, Staff, or Wand: 11
Breath Weapon: 15
Spells: 12

Resistances: 30% to Sleep and Charm
Infravision 60'
Languages: Common, Elvish, Gnome, Goblin, Hobgoblin, Sylvan, and Ffolk (there is no reason why she would know orc or gnoll. Halflings don't or should have their own language, and Goblin and Hobgoblin should really be the same one).

AC: 8
HP: 7
Move: 12"

Charm: 10%
Lore: 0%
Read Language: 0%

Dagger

Magic-user Spells Known (* memorized)
Burning Hands*
Magic Missle

Bard Spells
Speak with Animals

Notes on Sinéad

Originally I saw her more along the lines of a witch, but after playing the character in Baldur's Gate I have come around to thinking that she is actually some sort of Sorcerer with Wild Magic.  No way to really represent that in AD&D 1st, so I have to fudge it a bit. The only spells she has had access to are Burning Hands and Magic Missle, and I am saying she learned them innately. To get more she will need to adventure more. She has Sehanine Moonbow whispering in her ear (a holdover when I briefly wanted to try her as a warlock). 

I wanted the witch she goes and sees to be Larina, just because I can. Larina would have been 34 at the time, so not bad, really; it also corresponds to the time when Larina disappears into the Feywild. 

I did roll to see if she had psionics. She had a 4% chance, I rolled an 8. 

I like the Dragon magazine bard, and it helps make her feel different from my other bards. Looking forward to seeing how it stacks up.

--

Don't forget to stop by the Tardi Captian's Blog to see all his character posts, and all the other participants.

Character Creation Challenge

Thursday, January 4, 2024

Character Creation Challenge: Johan Werper III for Wasted Lands

 Moving ahead to the magical year of 1986 a few things were going on in my games. For starters, I was fully converted over to AD&D 1st ed. I was playing rather regularly with my High School DM, Michael Grenda, and we were looking to merge our worlds to be something more cohesive. To this end we thought we needed a "New Generation" of characters. This was the generation into which Larina was born, but today is not her story. 

Johan Werper the III character sheets

Today I am going to talk about Johan Werper III. This Johan was the son of Johan II and grandson of Johan I. But this Johan was not a Cleric or a Paladin. He was one of the new Cavaliers from the new Unearthed Arcana

I wanted this Johan to be a bit different, he was the son of a King, not something I had done before. Johan II was the son of a cleric, and Johan I was the son of a fisherman. So I wanted him to be a bit arrogant, and he didn't have the frame of mind to be a holy warrior. He eventually became something else, a key figure in my giant "War of the Dragons" to end my high school games, and start my college ones.

For this build I want to stick to a rather solid Warrior build. That was his thing. He was a "Knight in Shinning Armor" but not necessarily "nice." His alignment was Lawful Neutral as opposed to the more common (for me) Lawful Good.

Johan Werper III

Class: Warrior
Level: 9
Species: Human
Alignment: Light (fits here)
Background: Warrior (Wasted Lands p. 185)

Abilities
Strength: 19 (+3) A
Agility: 16 (0) 
Toughness: 18 (+3) N
Intelligence: 17 (+2) 
Wits: 16 (+2) 
Persona: 17 (+2) N

Fate Points: 1d10
Defense Value: 1
Vitality: 87 (9d8+1d10)
Degeneracy: 1
Corruption: 1

Check Bonus (A/N/D): +5/+3/+1
Melee Bonus: +7 (base) +1 Divine Touchstones
Ranged Bonus: +7 (base)
Saves: +3 to all Saves, +2 to Toughness (Warrior background), +1 Divine Touchstones

Warrior Abilities
Combat Expertise, Improved Defence, Melee Combat, Master of Battle, Ranged Combat, Supernatural Attacks, Spell Resistance, Tracking, Masters of Weapons, Extra Attacks (3), Extra Damage

Divine Touchstones
1st Level: +1 to melee attacks
3rd Level: +1 to saves 
5th Level: Smite
7th Level: Favored Enemy Undead
9th Level: Blind Fighting

Heroic (Divine) Archetype: War

Gear
Longsword, Full plate armor, Holy symbol

Wasted Lands as AD&D 1st Ed

Like previously, the conversion between AD&D and Wasted Lands is rather easy thanks to O.G.R.E.S. (and to a degree O.R.C.S.). While the Wasted Lands Warrior covers a lot of what would have been AD&D Fighters, Paladins, Rangers, Barbarians, and Cavaliers. To split them up there are skills, powers, multiclassing and divine touchstones. All to make for some very unique characters.

You can get the Wasted Lands RPG and the NIGHT SHIFT RPG at Elf Lair Games.

Character Creation Challenge

Wednesday, January 3, 2024

Character Creation Challenge: Johan Werper II for Wasted Lands

 While I had other Basic (B/X) era D&D characters I could discuss (and still will), I want to skip ahead a bit and talk about another character in Johan's family tree, his son, Johan Weper II.

Johan the Second Character Sheets

Johan II was the son of Johan and another character of mine Luna Mondgott, a cleric "of the old ways" who converted over to still rather unspecified faith of Johan I. She was a prototype witch for me.

Johan II differs from Johan I in that he was a Paladin and my very first Paladin to be truthful. I always imagined he had some clerical training first before moving on to Paladin, thus the dual-classed Cleric/Paladin.  I would revisit this later on in D&D 3.x.

While I have a LOT of options here, I am going for something fairly straightforward. Johan II is a warrior with some clerical, or in this case, Theosophist training. I'll use some divine touchstones to help smooth out his paladin powers.  Since this is the first "Advanced" conversion, I'll also make use of the optional backgrounds in the Wasted Lands.

Johan the Second
Johan Werper II

Class: Warrior (from Wasted Lands) / Theosophist (from NIGHT SHIFT)
Level: 8/4
Species: Human
Alignment: Light
Background: Warrior (Wasted Lands p. 185)

Abilities
Strength: 19 (+3) A
Agility: 11 (0) 
Toughness: 17 (+2) 
Intelligence: 16 (+2) 
Wits: 18 (+3) N
Persona: 18 (+3) N

Fate Points: 1d8
Defense Value: 1
Vitality: 66 (8d8, 4d6, +1d10)
Degeneracy: 0
Corruption: 0

Check Bonus (A/N/D): +6/+4/+2
Melee Bonus: +3 (base)
Ranged Bonus: +3 (base)
Saves: +3 to all Saves, +2 to Toughness (Warrior background).

Theosophist Abilities
See Dead people, Turn Undead, Protection from Dead

Warrior Abilities
Combat Expertise, Improved Defence, Melee Combat, Master of Battle, Ranged Combat, Supernatural Attacks, Spell Resistance, Tracking, Masters of Weapons, Extra Attacks (3), Extra Damage

Divine Touchstones
1st Level: Bless, Cure Light Wounds
3rd Level: Cure Disease

Heroic (Divine) Archetype: Occult Scholar, Hunter of the Undead

Gear
Longsword, Full plate armor, Holy symbol

Wasted Lands as AD&D 1st Ed

Like previously, the conversion between AD&D and Wasted Lands is rather easy thankks to O.G.R.E.S. (and to a degree O.R.C.S.). Play style is also quite similar. Given when I was playing Johan (High School) my Roman-Norse Pantheon would be a perfect choice with the Werpers all paying homage to Unser Vater and Luna Werper originally worshiping Ôstara

This Johan was the one who first fought Strahd von Zarovich back in 1986. So I would want to play up his general attitude vs. Undead over what is written for the Warrior class. The rest of playing a Paladin is largely going to be one of role-playing and me sticking to a prescribed set of ideals I think a Paladin, an AD&D Paladin, should follow. 

Looking at the Goldenrod character sheet, I see Johan will be 40 years old at the end of this month. He was, for the longest time, my central character. At the end of my high school games, he became a King and started a dynasty that I still use to this very day. I think I could be quite happy with this version.

You can get the Wasted Lands RPG and the NIGHT SHIFT RPG at Elf Lair Games.

Character Creation Challenge


Wednesday, November 29, 2023

D&DGII The Black Forest Mythos: Fata Norne, the Fates

I am now at my last set of gods (or whatever the Fates are), which brings me full circle. Today, I want to talk about the Fates.

Fata Norne

When I began this project I talked about this book of mythology I had that had stories of the Greek myths, the Norse myths, and ending in Beowulf. In my young mind, these looked like a continuum, one set of tales flowed into the next.  While age would teach me that these were separate myths, later age would also teach me they are still just one set of myths from an even older source (Proto-Indo-European, which I still want to tackle one day). But even way back then (I want to say 5th Grade) I saw the similarities between the Greek Fates and the Norse Norns. Three women, each representing the Past, Present, and Future, spinning, weaving, or otherwise looming the fate of humankind. Each person, from birth until death.

The image was powerful, and I was sure there was a connection between them. Even doing the briefest of surface research (ok, briefest of literature review. I am particular how people throw the word "research" around) one kind find similar beings all over the Earth and across time due to their PIE origins.

  • Albanian: Fatia
  • English: Wyrds
  • Greek: Moirai
  • Hinduism: Tridevi
  • Hittite: Gulses
  • Lithuanian: Deives Valdytojos
  • Norse: Norns

Those are only the most obvious. 

For my Pantheon here I want to include them. They were important to the Greeks and Romans in their guise of The Fates (Moirai) and very important in Norse myth. Indeed, in Norse mythology, every living creature had a corresponding set of Norns that measured out their fates. 

I will also admit (and a little begrudgingly now) that some of my ideas of the Fates have also been colored by the Piers Anthony book series, The Incarnations of Immortality, with Book 3 With a Tangled Skein chief among them. The first five books were fun. The next two ok to falling apart at the end (it's like he had painted himself into a corner among other issues) and the last one? Well I have not read it despite owning it, I heard it was terrible. 

Fata Norne

The Fates of the Black Forest Mythos are not gods in the traditional sense. They are immortal, or more accurately, unending. They often appear as three young, mature, and old women in similar aspects of the Maiden, Mother, and Crone, though that is not who they are. Instead, they are Future, Present, and Past respectively. They can also appear as three identical sisters of indeterminate age. It is their job to measure the fates of the Gods and Mortals alike. No one, not even the Gods, can escape their decrees. It has led to a saying, "Once Fate has spoken, it is so."

FATA NORNE

Eternals

ARMOR CLASS: 5
MOVE: 24" 
HIT POINTS: 300 each
NO. OF ATTACKS: 1
DAMAGE/ATTACK: Special Only
SPECIAL ATTACKS: Decree of Fate
SPECIAL DEFENSES: See Below
MAGIC RESISTANCE: 100%

SIZE: M (5')
ALIGNMENT: Neutral
WORSHIPER'S ALIGN: None
SYMBOL: The faces of three women or a loom
PLANE: Erde (Prime Material)

CLERIC/DRUID: 15th level Cleric
FIGHTER: Nil
MAGIC-USER/ILLUSIONIST: 15th level Magic-user
THIEF/ASSASSIN: Nil
MONK/BARD: 10th level Bard
WITCH/WARLOCK: 15th level Witch
PSIONIC ABILITY: II
S: 23 I: 25 W: 25 D: 16 C: 24 CH: 10

Fata Norne, the Fates, are the goddesses in charge of all fates, from the lowest vermin to the mightiest gods. They do not interact with mortals save in the direst of circumstances. They avoid direct contact with the other gods; likewise, the gods avoid and possibly fear them.

If the Fates are encountered, they need a mortal agent of fate to complete some quest. They will give this mortal what they need but no more than that. It is assumed that since they know all creatures' fates, their choice is correct, but that is not the same thing as the mortal succeeding or even living through the quest.

If anyone is foolish enough to attack the Fata Norne, they can pass the Decree of Fate. Which removes the threat permanently. They decree that the attacker was never born and they cease to exist; no saving throw is permitted. In some cases, the offending mortal (or god) is instantly replaced with an alternate version who lived the same life but was not as foolish as to attack them. 

They can't be hit by normal weapons; even magic is ineffective. In addition to the radical removal of the offending attacker from all existence, they can, more simply, remove their attacker's knowledge of whatever magic they would use to attack. 

At their choice, they can cast spells as a 15th-level spell caster, either as a Cleric, Magic-user, or Witch.

No one worships the Fata Norne, and they do not grant spells to clerics.

--

There you have it! All the gods and monsters of this syncretized set of myths. Hope you can find some uses for them.

Now to produce a PDF of these.

Links


Monday, November 27, 2023

Monstrous Mondays: D&DGII Ulmenfrau

Ok. Back it! We had some measurable snow here in Chicagoland, and I thought a snow monster might be nice for today. But while working on it, it morphed into something else.  So I might bring those original ideas back later, but for today let do the monster that came out of this process. The Ulmenfrau.

Ulmenfrau
Ulmenfrau

The Ulmenfrau, or "Elm Wives" are what my Roman-Germanic/Norse Pagans call the tree spirits of the Black Forest Mythos. They are related to the Norse Askafroa of the Ash Trees.  They also fold in elements of the Nisse of the Scandinavian countries, the Greek Pteleai (Elm Dryads), and the nymph Chione.  There are some elements of the Norse myth of Ask and Embla here as well.

Ulmenfrau are tree nymphs, so they most like dryads but can move further away from their trees. It is believed that Ulmenfrau are actually tied to a grove of elm trees rather than a specific singular tree.  It is said they are the daughters of the North Wind and can be encountered most frequently after the first snowfall.

They are closely associated with the European White Elm ("Ulmus laevis").

ULMENFRAU
FREQUENCY: Very Rare
NO. APPEARING: 1 (2-12)
ARMOR CLASS: 4 
MOVE: 90"
HIT DICE: 5+10 (32 hp)
% IN LAIR: 100%
TREASURE TYPE: None
NO. OF ATTACKS: 1 club or spell
DAMAGE/ATTACK: 1d6
SPECIAL ATTACKS: Magic Use
SPECIAL DEFENSES: Immune to charm, hold, sleep, and other mind-affecting spells. Immune to Cold attacks, vulnerable to fire and iron.
MAGIC RESISTANCE: Standard
INTELLIGENCE: Very
ALIGNMENT: Neutral (Good)
SIZE: M (under 5')
PSIONIC ABILITY: Nil

The Ulmenfrau, or Elm Woman or Elm Wife, is a type of woodland faerie creature similar to nymphs and dryads. Indeed, she may be a type of dryad and shows many similarities to the Askafroa found in ash tree groves. The Ulmenfrau as the name suggests, is the spirit of the Elm tree, though this fae is not tied to any specific tree, but rather the grove at large. A grove of 100 trees can support a dozen or so ulmenfraus. Larger groves can support more but often no more than a dozen will ever be spotted. When dealing with mortals they typically agree on a single ulmenfrau to interact.

Ulmenfraus are not combative as a rule. They can attack with a club when needed, but they mostly will attack and defend with magical spells, typically that of a 4th-level Druid or Witch. They will avoid using fire-based magic.  If their need is dire then a group or three or more ulmenfrau can cast Control Weather as if they were a druid circle or a coven of witches. They will use this to blanket their grove in deep snow and sub-freezing temperatures. 

All ulmenfraus are immune to mind-affecting and altering magics. They can not be charmed, held, or put to sleep. They are also immune to the effects of cold, either magical or mundane, and thus do not take damage from cold-based magic. Like many fae creatures, they take extra damage (+3 to damage per hit) weapons made of cold iron. Cold iron weapons are those that lack carbon to make them steel. They are hard and heavy weapons that break easily. Also, they take double the damage from any fire-based attacks.

Ulmenfrau are hard to find in summer months, where they are busy making sure their grove is growing, they can be spoted in their humanoid form most often in the winter. Here, they appear as slight (only 5' tall) elven women light grayish brown skin that gets lighter as they age with white hair. Like many dryads their hair changes with the seasons, but green-haired and red-haired ulmenfrau are harder to find. They are thought to venture out in winter to explore and potentially find mates. Though unlike other dryads the ulmenfrau have no magical ability to charm. 

It is believed that the ulmenfrau are the offspring of the North Wind and the Wood Maidens.

Links


Monday, November 20, 2023

D&DGII The Black Forest Mythos: References

O. Von Corven "The Great Library of Alexandria" Artistic Rendering of the Library of Alexandria, based on some archaeological evidence.
The end is nigh! I have one more set of gods I want to do for this project, and then I'll see if I can put together a PDF for everyone.  

I said I was not going to treat this as an academic work. Especially since I blatantly ignored things like real archeology, anthropology, and ethnographic studies. But I thought others might be interested in some of the legwork I did to get where I am on this today.

This is not a comprehensive bibliography, not even a targeted one. It is a catch-as-catch-can one based on the books I was reading when I started having these ideas.

References

Daileader, P. (2013). The Early Middle Ages. The Teaching Company.

Drake, J. (2020). Viking Mythology: 2 Books In 1 – The Complete Guide to Norse Mythology and Celtic Mythology Including Legends, Beliefs, Norse Folklore, Norse Gods, and Celtic Myths. Josh Drake.

D’Aulaire, I., & D’Aulaire, E. P. (1962, 1992). Book of greek myths. Doubleday Books for Young Readers.

Gaiman, N. (2018). Norse mythology. Bloomsbury.

Gosden, C. (2021). Magic: A history: From alchemy to witchcraft, from the Ice Age to the present. Picador.

Hale, J. R. (2013). Exploring the Roots of Religion. The Teaching Company.

Harl , K. W. (2011). The Fall of the Pagans and the Origins of Medieval Christianity. The Teaching Company.

Harl, K. W. (2005). The Vikings. The Teaching Company.

Higginbotham, J., & Higginbotham, R. (2018). Paganism: An introduction to earth-centered religions. Llewellyn Publications.

Lecouteux, C. (2016). Encyclopedia of norse and germanic folklore, mythology, and magic. Inner Traditions.

Lewis, S. (2018). Mythology mega collection: Classic stories from the Greek, Celtic, Norse, Japanese, Hindu, Chinese, Mesopotamian and Egyptian mythology. Scott Lewis.

Line, P. (2015). The Vikings and their enemies: Warfare in Northern Europe, 750-1100. Skyhorse Publishing.

O’Donnell, J. J. (2016). Pagans: The end of traditional religion and the rise of Christianity. ECCO an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.

River, C. (Ed.). (2018). The Ancient World’s Most Mysterious Religious Cults: The History of the Cult of the Apis Bull, the Eleusinian Mysteries, and the Mysteries of Mithras. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform.

Voth, G. L. (2013). Myth in Human History. The Teaching Company.

Waggoner, B. (2009). The Sagas of Ragnar Lodbrok. The Troth.