Showing posts with label Tanith. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Tanith. Show all posts

Thursday, February 28, 2019

Tanith, Iconic Witch for Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea

When Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea first edition came out I loved it.  At the time I was also doing a bunch of reading of what I was calling "Beyond Appendix N", or similar authors and time periods, but with much more of an occult bend to it all.  Not "real" occult, but pop-culture occult.  I wanted to get a good feel for what people were reading at the time D&D was created to really capture the idea of a "D&D Witch".
A lot of that reading would later go into the making of my Swords & Wizardry witch classes.
But AS&SH was never far from my physical and mental reaches.

A Witch Shall Be Born

With the idea of old witch families and dark occult secrets passed down generations I started putting together some ideas, overtly for a different project.
So back in 2014-5 I jotted this down in some notes:

The Winter family is very, very old. So old in fact that many people believe that the season was named for them. As their name implies their magic comes from the use and application of cold.
In this family, only women can become witches.  Once a girl in the family turns 13 her hair will turn white and this is the sign that she must travel north to train with the ancient Grandmother Winters.  The girls return to the family a year and a day later with the basic knowledge of their family witchcraft.  Once returned they will continue their training with other women in their family.  Each year they all congregate at a location determined by Grandmother Winters, usually one of the larger homes of the family.  The family gathers to begin their celebrations on the Winter Solstice, the height of their power.
The family is common in the northern, colder climes.  They own lots of land, but their homes tend to be more primitive than the local homes. Longhouses are most common. Women are almost exclusively witches, with the occasional priest or even wizard.  Men tend to be barbarians, warriors or occasional bard.  They are masters of survival in the cold.   Witches gain the Chill Touch spell for free.
Dark Secrets: The Winters Clan often are associated with darker, colder gods like Chernobog.  Their men are often accused of lycanthropy, mostly as werewolves.
Clan leader: Grandmother Winters
Current PC: Tanith Winters

Tanith Winters was born.

Tanith became my first AS&SH PC witch.  She never got past 2nd level since I tend to be the Gamer Master rather than the player.  Later I converted her to Swords & Wizardry and she became my first play-test Winter Witch.

I figure this is a good time to bring her home to Hyperborea.

The new Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea now has a Cyromancer class.  Something that I didn't have when I made Tanith.  To use the Winters family in AS&SH2 I would have some of the men, a rare few, become Cryomancers. Most would be Barbarians or Huntsmen.
Members of the Winters family tend to be shorter and smaller than other Hyperboreans. It has to lead to the pervasive rumor that they are in fact "Elf-folk" and not really human at all.

Yes. I named her for Tanith Lee.

Tanith Winters

Base Stats

Female Hyperborean Witch
Alignment: Neutral (but it is likely she will move towards Evil at some point)

Languages: Common, Hellenic (Hyperborean), Old Norse, Speak with the Dead, Speak with Nature Spirits
Size: M (Height: 5'2", 114lbs)
Move: 40
Saving Throw Modifiers: Transformation +2, Sorcery +2
Secondary Skill: Weaver (almost all Winters women begin as weavers)
God: Lunaqqua

ST 10 [+0 +0 2:6 2%]
DX 14 [+1 +0 3:6 8%]
CN 13 [+1 +0 80% 3:6 8%]
IN 16 [+1 75%]
WS 12 [+0]
CH 16 [+1 8 +1]

Snowy Owl Familiar ("Beira"): AL N; SZ S; MV 10 (Fly 80); DX 15; AC 7; HD 1/4 (hp 5); #AT 3/1 (claw, claw, bite); D 1/1/1; SV 17; ML 5; XP 11

Normal Gear
Winter robes, winter cloak, clothing, daggers (2), backpack, woolen blanket, chalk, ink and quill, polished steel mirror, incendiary oil, parchment (4), soft leather pouch (2), small sack (2), tinderbox, torches (2), wineskin (mead), writing stick, iron rations (one week), spellbook (contains all prepared spells), 1 gp, 5 sp

1st level Witch

Age: 14 (1 year and a day since training with Grandmother Winters)
AC: 9 (heavy cloak of winter)
HD: 1
hp: 5
FA: 0
CA: 1
#Attacks: 1/1
Damage: 1d4 (dagger), 1d4 (sling)
SV: 16
ML: 9
XP: 20

Speak with the dead; Speak with nature spirits; Brew Poison (once per month) Ingestible I; Brew Potion 1/month (a hallucinogen, a paralytic, or a soporific);  Read Magic; Read Scrolls; Scribe Scrolls; Familiar (Snowy owl);

First level (1+1): Sleep, Write Spell

Gear and Magic: Scroll (detect magic), wineskin (sapphire wine*),  amulet of undead turning (TA 3),

5th level Witch

Age: 19
AC: 4
HD: 5
hp: 19
FA: 2
CA: 5
#Attacks: 1/1
Damage: 1d4 (dagger), 1d4 (sling)
SV: 14
ML: 10
XP:  200

Speak with the dead; Speak with nature spirits; Brew Poison (once per month) Ingestible I, Ingestible II, Ingestible III; Brew Potion 2/month (a hallucinogen, a paralytic, or a soporific);  Read Magic; Read Scrolls; Scribe Scrolls; Familiar (Snowy owl); Brew Philtre 1/month; Dance of Beguilement; Effigy

First level ( 3+1): Charm Person, Shocking Grasp, Sleep, Write Spell
Second level (2+1): Darkness, Extrasensory Perception, Ray of Enfeeblement
Third level (1): Phantasm

Gear and Magic: Scroll (detect invisible), potion of healing, antidote, wand of freezing, ring of feather falling, amulet of undead turning (TA 3), Bead of Force, Defensive Bracers (AC 4)

9th level Witch

Age: 24
(add one point of Intelligence, IN 17, +one level 3 spell, 85% chance to learn)
Age: 19
AC: 4
HD: 9
hp: 35
FA: 4
CA: 9
#Attacks: 1/1
Damage: 1d4 (dagger), 1d4 (sling)
SV: 12
ML: 12
XP: 1,500

Speak with the dead; Speak with nature spirits; Brew Poison (once per month) Ingestible I, Ingestible II, Ingestible III, Ingestible IV, Ingestible V; Brew Potion 3/month (a hallucinogen, a paralytic, or a soporific);  Read Magic; Read Scrolls; Scribe Scrolls; Familiar (Snowy owl); Brew Philtre 1/month; Dance of Beguilement; Effigy; Witch's Apprentice

First level (5+1): Charm Person, Light, Scare, Shocking Grasp, Sleep, Write Spell
Second level (4+1): Darkness, Extrasensory Perception, Identify, Ray of Enfeeblement, Ungovernable Hideous Laughter
Third level (3+1): Continous Darkness, Slow, Phantasm, Wind Wall
Fourth level (2): Freeze Surface, Moonlight
Fifth level (1): Cause Lycanthropy

Gear and Magic: Scroll (detect magic), wineskin (sapphire wine*), sapphire necklace, platinum ring, potion of healing, wand of freezing, wand of lightning bolts, ring of feather falling, ring of warmness, amulet of undead turning (TA 3), Defensive Bracers (AC 4), Crystal Ball, Horn of Valhalla

*sapphire wine is made by the Winters family. It is very strong and used as a bartering item between northern clans.

Tanith Winters was born on a very auspicious night. It was midnight on the Winter Solstice during a full moon.  She was born with a full head of blonde hair and bright blue eyes.  So notable was her birth that Grandmother Winters herself came to southern lands (though still considered the north by most others) to see this new babe.  To everyone's delight, she proclaimed that she would train this child when she came of age (13) and to everyone's gasps she also promised babe to her own grandson for marriage.  The grandson, Azhrarn, was already as a teen a powerful Cryomancer and was considered to be one of the most handsome men produced by the Winters clan. He was also a notorious rake and already showing signs of the family curse of lycanthropy.

Tanith grew and learned witchcraft from one of the most powerful witches in the world.  While she grew in power and womanhood her cousin Azhran also grew in power, but also more evil.  After her intial training Tanith took up with a group of adventurers in an attempt to delay her fate.  She knows that it is only a matter of time before Azhrarn finds her. She hopes that she will also be powerful enough to face him on her own terms.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

RPGaDAY2016: Day 25

In your opinion, what do you need for a satisfying character?

All I need is a good concept I want to explore.

In particular when creating a character I might have some archetype or even some stereotype I want to explore.

Currently, the character I am working on is an NPC for various project. She is a witch (of course, but so are my projects), but comes from an ancient line of witches.  Something like the Mayfair witches from Anne Rice, but a lot less incest.

Tanith Winters is a member of the ancient Winters family of witches.  She might be the powerful one yet, no one is sure.  But I plan to find out.
Like all of the Winters witches Tanith is pale, with white hair and favors darker clothing.

I am basing her look a little off of Taylor Momsen, the actress and lead singer of The Pretty Reckless. Yes she was also "Cindy Lou Who" in the live action How the Grinch Stole Christmas movie.

The name is a nod to both the novel "Tanith" by Jack D. Shackleford and the author Tanith Lee.

Lately for characters, I have been putting together Pinterest boards to collect ideas, mostly images, about the character.

Here is Tanith's:

Follow Timothy's board Tanith on Pinterest.

I also have boards for other characters as well.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

October Movie Challenge: The Devil Rides Out (1968)

I swear I had seen this movie.  I knew the story, I knew about the stellar performance of Christopher Lee in one of his few turns as a good guy.  An intense good guy, but a good guy all the same.  So when I sat down to watch it last night imagine my surprise when I realized I had not seen it at all.
I think I was confusing it with another Christopher Lee movie.

In any case The Devil Rides out is fantastic.  A nice little battle with the forces of evil.
Hammer based on the book by occult writer Dennis Wheatley. It would not be the last time that Hammer and Christopher Lee would collaborate on a Dennis Wheatley tale, this time putting Lee back in the role of bad guy for To The Devil A Daughter.

The feel to this movie is very much like the book Tanith. In fact the book of The Devil Rides Out was one of the influences on Tanith.  Each features a central character named Tanith and also deals with rural England paganism and/or satanism.

There is so much here for a game. Occult secrets, cultists, magical battles.  You can also do worse than model your clerics after Lee.   Plus I am dying to role up a new witch named Tanith that may or may not be involved in devil worship.

This reminds me how much I love Hammer Films.

6 Watched / 4 New

Monday, March 30, 2015

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

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

October Challenge: Red Riding Hood

I'll admit it. I am a sucker for dark fairy tales.  I mean fair tales in their original, un-Disney form are pretty freaking dark.  But any time you can bring one of those back and put them on the screen then that is aces in my book.  If you can do it and get Gary Oldman in to be in the cast then even better.

But despite all of that good stuff we get something like Red Riding Hood.

Red Riding Hood (2011)
I was very excited for this one when it came out.  Then all the bad reviews came in and well I truthfully kind of forgot about it. Since a few others were also covering this one for the Challenge I figured I give it a go.
To begin with, RRH is not a bad movie, it is just not a good one either.  Amanda Seyfried is very attractive, but dull in the titular role.  I didn't get the sense that she was ever afraid or actually in love with this guy she was supposed to be in love with.  Or anything really.
Gary Oldman though was at his scene chewing best as the creepy Father Solomon. Honestly the man can play anything.

Of course there is a werwolf in this one; seems to be the thing to do these days, make the "big bad wolf" into a werewolf.  Makes me wonder what they would do with the "Three Little Pigs"?  I know.  A movie about three cops, one played by Harvey Keitel and maybe the other by Omar Epps. That are chasing a perp when the moon rises and now the cops are being chased by the Big Bad Werewolf. Have not worked out how the houses of Straw, Sticks or Bricks work into it yet.  I know!  That is their last names.  Keitel is Lt. Brickson, Epps is Det. Sticks (or something).  Hey. It is not the dumbest thing I have come up with this week. We need a comic relief guy for Straw.  Maybe James Franco.  Anyway.......

So in the movie they actually made in Hollywood. We do get get a hunt, an old witch (maybe) and creepy father/daughter relationship.  Again, there was a lot of potential here. I can't say wasted, just never fully realized.

It could be I was expecting something like Tanith Lee's "Red as Blood", a book that I always thought about when seeing the poster for this movie.

As expected the Tanith Lee story is much better.

Tally: 19 movies, 17 new.

Game Material: In a classic D&D adventure the PCs come a small village on the edge of a "haunted" forest. They are constantly attacked by wolves, till the PCs show up, and then the deaths start.  Will they discover to true wolf before they are burned at the stake.  Afterall it can't be the kind little girl or her old weak grandmother.