Showing posts with label WotWQ. Show all posts
Showing posts with label WotWQ. Show all posts

Sunday, September 25, 2022

100 Days of Halloween: Wickerpunk

Wickerpunk
Time to move to 5e for something a little more flavorful.  One of my favorite themes is the struggle of paganism vs the rise of monotheism.  The dark twisted child of this struggle is Folk Horror. This new book looks like covers a little bit of all the above.

As always I will be following my rules for these reviews.

Wickerpunk

PDF. 276 pages. Color cover. Black & White (as appropriate) interior art.

First things first. I love this name. I am kicking myself for not coming up with it first.

We get an introduction that, "Wickerpunk is where heroic fantasy and folk horror meet."  Interesting premise.

Chapter 1: What is Wickerpunk

Here we learn how a "Wickerpunk" game differs from your normal heroic fantasy.  It is not grim-dark, but it is dark. Nature is more dangerous, strange pagan gods still roam the land, and the locals still practice forgotten rites and ceremonies. 

The author also lets us know that "wickerpunk" could be called "wyrdpunk" due to horror elements added to the game. This is not quite a gothic horror, but we can see that genre from here. The author is careful to let us know this is not horror and that horror-fiction and wickerpunk are cousins, not siblings. But kissing cousins to be sure.

Like my fascination with Pagans vs. Monotheists, this book covers the Wyld vs. Industry. The extension of this is Arcane vs. Divine magic. Where one is wrong and the other is a gift. My "old-faith vs. new-faith" is even covered later on.

There is a lot here, more than I will detail in this review, but suffice to say there is a lot of great ideas here on setting up your games. 

Just under 25 pages I am now wanting to rip out the roots of my "War of the Witch Queens" campaign to add more of these ideas. 

Chapter 2: Campaign Elements

This chapter details how a wickerpunk campaign affects your rules.  up first is alignment. Law and Chaos are replaced by Industry and Wyld. Good and evil are replaced by Benevolence and Malice.  Again...I want to use this instead of what I am using now.

Planes of existence have little use here since all that matters is the struggle of Industry and Wyld in the world of humans. 

This chapter also covers various time periods from Stone Age to Victorian. And adventures from Mysteries, Treasure Seeking, and exploration among the eight presented.

There are some encounter tables which include types, places and motivations. 

Chapter 3: Players and Characters

This chapter covers the 5e base classes and how they are altered in a wickerpunk game; both in terms of Wyld and Industry.  These changes are not really mechanical, but rather thematic. They also include player hooks, example adventures, enemy hooks and NPC hooks. Throughout the book, inspirational reading or viewing is presented in a sidebar.

The same is done for the main PC species. 

Chapter 4: Monsters

This chapter takes the types of monsters and discusses how they can be used in a wickerpunk game. There are more details on fey, fiends and undead as expected, but nearly every type of monster is considered. It is very flavorful. There is not much or anything in the way of "crunch" or game mechanics, but honestly, it is not needed here since the material is so good. It reminds me a bit of the old Ravenloft materials.

Chapter 5: Enemy Organisations

What is "The Wicker Man" without Lord Summerisle and his cult? Or "Children of the Corn" without the children? Not much really. This chapter covers the various organizations, or Cults and Cult Hunters.  The PCs find themselves between the Wyld Cults (and Gods) and the Industry Inquisition. 

Yes, this chapter also includes ideas for witches (even though 5e does not have a real witch class). 

Chapter 6: Magic and Technology

The tools of the Wyld and Industry.  There are some new ideas for magic items and spells, but only one spell is presented, "The Evil Eye."

Chapter 7: Sample Campaigns

There is a sample campaign here, the Island of Eye. Which looks a lot like England. Detailed here are what the humans and the older inhabitants of the land are doing.  Plenty of locations and adventure hooks are detailed here. As well as plenty of interesting NPCs 

Chapter 8: Appendix N

A nod to the famous Appendix N in the 1st Ed AD&D DMG. This covers various campaign periods. Each section includes movies, novels, television, comics, and video games. With commentary. 

--

There is very, very little game-specific information here. If you are looking for mechanics or "crunch" then you are likely to be disappointed.  But if you are looking for something more thematic or "fluff" then this is fantastic.

This is also this book's greatest unadvertised strength. It can be used with any version of D&D you like. While reading I kept thinking about how can I use this with say Old-School Essentials or even B/X D&D and the answer is "Easy."   In fact one of the few actual bits of game material, the Evil Eye spell, is something I did years ago in my first witch book.  But even then the conversion is super simple. 

There are a lot of things I can use here for my War of the Witch Queens campaign, but I would also suspect that any D&D 5e DM could use these ideas for their Ravenloft or the Wild Beyond the Witchlight campaigns.

In any case, there is so much here to love.


The Other Side - 100 Days of Halloween



Saturday, September 24, 2022

100 Days of Halloween: Worm Witch: The Life and Death of Belinda Blood

Worm Witch: The Life and Death of Belinda Blood
Head back to not only just the OSR but to Old-School Essentials. This one is from Knight Owl Publishing who has been putting out some really great stuff lately.

As always I will be following my rules for these reviews.

Worm Witch: The Life and Death of Belinda Blood

PDF. 73 pages. Color cover, black & white interior art.

This book is a sequel and elaboration on The Chaos Gods Come to Meatlandia. I don't know much about that other product save that it seems to be a wild "anything goes" sort of setting.  This has a similar feel. 

This product includes both the Worm Witch and Worm Warden, classes.  Witches and Wardens are classes I have also explored in my various book so I am quite excited to see these.

The Worm Warden is like a paladin, ranger, or guardian for the witch cult. They are fighter types. Their primes are Strength and Charisma. 

The Worm Witch is a witch class and it shares many similarities with other witch classes. This is largely due to books we all read and the various means we all use to make classes.  Personally, I find this great. The Worm Witch could fit in well with all the witches I have played and still have enough unique features to make her special. What makes her special of course is her connection to worms. Even the worm witch's special abilities could be mapped on to my Occult Powers.

Both the Warden and the Witch share a secret language

The Worm Witch also gains witch spells. And there are some great ones here.  There is the expected ones like Animal Friendship and Charm Animal, and some really interesting ones like Infect with Worms, Mass of Maggots, Wave of Worms, and more.  Yeah, they do pretty much what you expect.

This is all about one-third of the book. And this was all then I would be really happy. I am glad someone wrote this book. This is a needed sort of witch that I would not likely write. Ok. I would have never done this one. Worms are great for my wife's garden, and that is about all the use I have for them.  So kudos to Wind Lothamer and Ahimsa Kerp for doing this.

We still have the rest of the book. 

Belinda Blood
The next section covers the land of Annalida, a land near Meatlandia. This is another third of the book and it is interesting, but I have no context for it. Still, the Witch Wood is very cool. 

The last third (or so) covers the monsters of the land, which as you can imagine, is full of worms. 

The NPC witch, Belinda Blood, is also presented. She was a very powerful Worm Witch and could fit the bill as a Witch Queen for my War of the Witch Queen Campaign.  It is also all written for Old School Essentials so that is another good fit. Alive or dead she would be a great Witch Queen.

As I mentioned this book is written for OSE and fits well.

So I bought this hoping for a class and a few new spells. I got that. I also got another class, a campaign setting, some monsters, AND a new Witch Queen to add to my Old-School Essentials campaign. 

That's pretty nice if you ask me.


The Other Side - 100 Days of Halloween


Wednesday, September 14, 2022

100 Days of Halloween: Witch The Road to Lindisfarne

One of the things I talk about here is something I call Traveller Envy. This is the feeling I got from watching Traveller and their interconnected RPGs and Board Games.  It is something I would love to replicate for my D&D games and for my War of the Witch Queens campaign in particular. 

I can't always find board games that fit the bill for me, but I have tried.  While not a board game this GM-less "story game" does fit the bill of this notion for me.  But how is it?  Let's find out.

Witch: The Road to Lindisfarne

PDF. 32 pages. Multiple files.

So this is a story game, not something I have a ton of experience with.

It says 4 to 6 players, no dice, pencils, or extra paper needed. 

The game takes place in London in 1350 but you head to the Abbey at Lindisfarne; the same that was rather famously attacked by the Viking raids. 

Each player gets one of the characters included in this file. The special character is Elouise our central witch, or at least a confessed witch. There are two outcomes her player can choose, Elouise is Guilty or she is Innocent. Depending on which one is chosen determines the end of the game.

The purpose of the game is to take Elouise from London to Lindisfarne.  There are many stops along the way and the players describe what their characters do along the way. The other players (and characters) do not know the Truth of Elouise so they seek to discover it. It is entirely possible that Eloise is found guilty and burned at the stake or found innocent and set free independently of the truth.

If this sounds like the 2011 movie Season of the Witch, well the designers agree with you.

The game is very interesting and it does give me a lot of ideas of things to do with my own games.

The game does have re-playability, with different characters being played by the same group, but I can also see that it is a little limited in that respect.

Still, a fun game to play on a cold wet afternoon in late October.

 

The Other Side - 100 Days of Halloween


Tuesday, August 23, 2022

Oh, Oh Shelia!

Busy day at the day job today (Fall term is starting) so a quick one today.  I picked up the Icons of the Realms: Dragons of Stormwreck Castle minis over the weekend. I mentioned these back in June and had hoped they would at least include the thief Shelia.  Well...they didn't.

Icons of the Realms: Dragons of Stormwreck Castle minisIcons of the Realms: Dragons of Stormwreck Castle minis
 

I do like the way they all look.

Icons of the Realms: Dragons of Stormwreck Castle minis

I was never a big watcher of the Dungeons & Dragons cartoon. I worked on Saturdays and often missed it. BUT I picked up the DVD boxed set back in the early 2000s and my kids LOVED it. It was the set with the 3rd Edition stats for everyone.  

You might notice that this set is missing Bobby, Uni, and Shelia. I will get to that in a bit.  It does include someone just labeled "Cleric."

I can't help but think that this Cleric is none other than Aleena.

Is that you Aleena?

The outfits are not perfect. And I thought I read somewhere that Aleena was a blonde. But this certainly works.  I have been using Aleena as the Patron Saint of Adventurers for a while now.  Though like the D&D cartoon, the D&D Red Basic set for BECMI was not something I was into then.

Since Kelek was in the D&D Cartoon and Skylla was supposed to be they seem to work well with this set.

D&D Cartoon reunion

Oh Shelia

I said I did not watch the D&D cartoon much, but I was aware of it. I can't help but wonder if the red-headed girl with a penchant for wearing purple and hoods in 1983-85 didn't somehow influence my red-headed witch with a penchant for purple dresses and black hoods in 1986?  I honestly can't say.

In fact, I did even think about it until I scored this D&D Cartoon "kids" book at my local game auction.  It is called "The Witch's Spell Book."

The Witch's Spell Book

The basic plot is you have the Golden Wood by finding Agnes the Witch's Spell Book. For reasons, only Shelia can read the spell. You would think Presto, but no it is Shelia. 

Now not to go out on a limb too far, but those that make Shelia an initiate witch?  It would in my games. She is 13 in the show, the age witches often "hear the Call of the Goddess" in my game worlds. (BTW this is what makes Larina special, she heard the Call at age 6.)

But sadly I don't get to add Shelia to my War of the Witch Queens yet. But all is not lost thanks to Hero Forge!

HeroForge Shelia the Thief HeroForge Shelia the Thief

I could get the print from HeroForge and for the Invisible Sheila download the STL and print her here at home in clear resin.  Like I did for my "Ghost" of Aleena.  Click on the pictures above to buy your own from HeroForge.

Aleena

I think we have some clear blue resin still.

If Shelia has a theme song then Aleena should too.  It kinda works. Or maybe this one, if I go with the idea that she was a blonde. At least the timing of all three is right for me. 

So that only leaves a question for me.  Should I introduce Shelia to my War of the Witch Queens campaign?  I might need to revisit the dual classing or multi-classing rules from OSE Advanced.

They do all fit on my shelf rather nicely together.

Witches in the Realms of Dungeons & Dragons


Tuesday, August 16, 2022

#RPGaDAY2022 Day 16 - What would be your perfect game?

Perfect game? Hmm.

If you mean the perfect RPG then I have to say NIGHT SHIFT, but that is kind of a cheat for me really since it was designed out of the box to be my perfect game.

Night Shift

For a perfect game, I have run? Hmm. Either my "Dragonslayers" game I ran with my kids some years ago. "The Dragon and The Phoenix" Buffy game that eventually would influence my writing on Ghosts of Albion. I also love my current "War of the Witch Queens."

Maybe I should re-tool The Dragon and The Phoenix or Season of the Witch for NIGHT SHIFT!

RPGaDAY2022


Monday, August 15, 2022

100 Days of Halloween: Talented Adventurers - The Witch: Marena Lenoire

Christina Stiles Presents: Talented Adventurers - The Witch: Marena Lenoire
Ok, this is a bit harder to give a fully objective review to because I have worked with nearly everyone involved on other projects.  That being said I will be following my rules for this work. 

Christina Stiles Presents: Talented Adventurers - The Witch: Marena Lenoire

PDF. $3.95. 24 pages. 1 cover page, 1 credits page, 1 about the author page, 3 pages for the OGL. 18 pages of content. Color cover and interior art.

This product does one thing and does it really, really well.  It presents us a single witch, the titular Marena Lenoire, from 1st level to 20th level.

We are given a little bit of background on her and then detailed stat blocks for her 20 levels.

It is a great product for any Pathfinder DM/GM who needs a reoccurring NPC to aid the party. She is a Lawful Good witch (rare and nice to see) so she would not make a good "bad guy" for them. 

Use in War of the Witch Queens

I mean, yeah, she really begs to be used.  I have worked with everyone involved with her creation, so I owe them at least that much to have her show up in the campaign at some point.  I see her in the exact role she was designed for; as something of a folk hero.  She is not a witch that would seek out the title of Witch Queen but would accept it if her peers willed it and she could use it to help her people.

I just need to find a good spot for her.


The Other Side - 100 Days of Halloween



Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Mail Call: Print on Demand

I took advantage of the latest Christmas in July Sales at DriveThruRPG to get myself some Print on Demand deals.

Print on Demand

I wanted a new Dragonlance hardcover to replace the one my son absconded with when he was little. I have also been wanting copies of City System and A Paladin in Hell for a while now.  Cult of the Dragon and Minsc and Boo's Journal of Villainy are gifts for the aforementioned son.

While that was getting printed and shipped to me my youngest was 3D printing my Sagarassi minis.  

Sagarassi and Dragonlance

They are a little hard to see, here is a close-up.

Sagarassi minis

Yeah, still a little hard. Here is what they will look like painted.

Sagarassi sea-elf

Sagarassi octo

I am pleased with how the prints turned out.

Thursday, August 4, 2022

100 Days of Halloween: Witches and Bats

Witches and Bats
Halloween is coming...in a couple of months, but you are going to need to be ready and here is something to help with that.

Witches and Bats

These papercraft minis to print and cut out.  You get 6 wicked witches, 4 giant bats and 1 small bat swarm. There is a preview on the DriveThruRPG page.

I do not own a Silhouette/Craftrobo cutter, I just printed them out on a laser printer and made little stands for them.  I use them as part of a village of witches.  My kids have learned that "paper minis" are NPCs that don't interact much while "plastic minis" are main NPCs.  So of course they want to talk to all the paper minis!  At least these ones are interesting. 

One page at $2.95 but that is fine really, I don't think art has to follow the same rules I use for reviewing other materials.

Do I use these with my War of the Witch Queens?  Absolutely. I need a lot of witches to populate the Tredicim (the gathering of Witches) and these are great to fill out the ranks.

I mix them with Ghostly SpiritsDemonsDevils and ImpsScarecrows and Jack-O-Lanterns (a favorite), Evil Cultists, and Gothic Statues for a full-on Halloween Village feel.

The Other Side - 100 Days of Halloween

Wednesday, July 27, 2022

100 Days of Halloween: Dice Witchery

Dice Witchery
And now for something completely different!

A while back I decided I wanted a set of "premium dice."  I have, well, an embarrassing amount of dice. But in my defense, I have collected them from various sets over the last 42+ years, plus getting a set when I go to Gen Con and other cons.  Everyone here in my house has a set of special or premium dice.  Everyone that is but me. Until now.

So I sought some of the dice makers online. There is a whole cottage market of RPG-adjacent makers out there and I think it is all great. One, for obvious, reason caught my eye. I clicked on them for their name but bought the dice for how they looked.

Dice Witchery

I found Dice Witchery on Twitter back in June and saw they had a lot of great designs.  I figured this was a perfect place to get some "witch" dice. I had been looking for something special for my War of the Witch Queens and this looked perfect.  But which set should I get?

Check out all the choices I ended up with a  full set of the Fey Masquerade dice. This includes a d2 (coin), d4, d6, d8, d10, d%, d12, and d20.

Well. They came in the mail just the other day!

Dice Witchery Box

Dice Witchery Box
Fancy!

Dice WitcheryDice Witchery

Dice WitcheryDice Witchery

Dice Witchery
The cauldron is a bit larger than the one I had.

Sending along the candy was nice! Lemon IS my favorite flavor.


On to the Dice!

Dice Witchery Dice!

Dice Witchery Dice!Dice Witchery Dice!


I wanted something blue and purple with gold numbering. These turned out perfect.

The dice are resin and roll nice. They seem pretty sturdy too, but I am not going to test that on a hard floor.  I just love how they came out.

A while back I bought a Tarot Card box to hold various cards in, but it was never quite the right size.  But it is perfect for this.

Witchy dice boxWitchy dice box

Yeah. I am pretty happy with these dice and the dice box. 

I can't wait to roll these in my next War of the Witch Queens game!

You can find Dice Witchery here:


The Other Side - 100 Days of Halloween

Tuesday, July 19, 2022

Old School Essentials: Eddie and Chrissy

Old-School Essentials Advanced Fantasy Player's Tome
Stranger Things is still making news and dominating all sorts of geeky-related culture and I think that is great.  While I do agree that Saddie Sink, aka Max, got absolutely robbed of an Emmy nomination this year, I am enjoying all the love that Joseph Quinn and Grace Van Dien, the ill-fated Eddie Munson and Chrissy Cunningham are getting online.

Spoilers for Stranger Things Season 4 follow.

Eddie is the metal-loving, D&D playing, "super-senior" and head of the Hellfire Club.  Chrissy is the popular cheerleader who goes to Eddie to look for drugs to help stop the visions she is getting.  Their few moment of screen-time have prompted the Duffer Brothers to come out and say they regret killing both characters because their chemistry was so good. This has led to the Internet's newest "ship" of Eddie/Chrissy, known online as #eddissy or #hellcheer.

Grace Van Dien has been on her Twitter account and is a huge #eddissy fan. 

It's cute. The metal head and the cheerleader find common ground and even become close. Hell back in, oh about the exact same time, I remember talking to a classmate when we were both outside of our high school social structures and I was very surprised and very pleased that this cheerleader I barely knew had such excellent taste in music (from my point of view).  Certainly opened my young eyes.

So yeah. I am not much of a shipper these days, but this is fun.  Then I got to see this artwork.

Well. Eddie and Chrissy might have fallen to Vecna/#1/Henry in Hawkins, but that doesn't mean a D&D version of them didn't survive somewhere!  So here they are for Old School Essentials - Advanced Fantasy.  And since I just got back from the Bristol Ren Faire I have some ideas. 

Chrissy Cunningham
2nd level Human Acrobat
Chaotic Good

STR: 12
INT: 16
WIS: 12
DEX: 17
CON: 11
CHA: 16

HP: 6
AC: 7
THAC0: 19 [0]

Saving Throws
D: 13 W: 14 P: 13 B: 16: S: 15

Acrobat Skills
CS: 88 FA: 25 HS: 15 MS: 25 TW: 65

Eddie Munson
3rd level human Arcane Bard*
Chaotic Good

STR: 14
INT: 14
WIS: 13
DEX: 15
CON: 13
CHA: 17

HP: 13
AC: 7
THAC0: 19 [0]

Saving Throws
D: 13 W: 14 P: 13 B: 16: S: 15

Powers
Bard skills, Lore, Spell Casting*

*Druid spells don't really fit Eddie, so he is getting Magic-User spells instead. The Arcane Bard from Carcass Crawler 0 is a better fit.

Bard Skills
CS: 79 HN: 1-3 PP: 30 RL: 60

First Level: Charm Person, Shield

--

Based on the wonderful art from JC above, this version of Eddie and Chrissy are street performers by day and thieves by night. I imagine they come into a town Eddie plays while Chrissy dances for tips all the while scoping out the locals.  They try to steal only from the very rich and corrupt. It usually doesn't take them long to figure out who their mark will be.  

They are not evil, so they steal what they can and give most of it away to the needy, keeping a couple of choice items for themselves. They also keep enough from their take and tips to live a comfortable, if nomadic lifestyle.

Since these characters are in OSE-Advanced, I might make them "blink and you will miss them" NPCs in my War of the Witch Queens campaign. I am going to say they have a small apartment above the tavern they perform at in the town of West Haven.  Here they just perform, no theft.

Wednesday, February 16, 2022

Mail Call: Night Shift, More Witch Queens and Rat Baby!

Quick one today.  Yesterday's mail brought me some wonderful gifts.

Mail Call

Up first are the new books for the NIGHT SHIFT RPG.  The Night Companion and a new "Night Trip" A Faustian Dilemma.   These are both the babies of my co-author Jason Vey.  You can now get both at the Elf Lair Games store.

I do have a new "Nigth World" in Night Companion.  My "Weirdly World News" where you get to play tabloid reporters try to get that ever-elusive story that proves the supernatural is real, and hope there is a good paycheck in it. 

This book also introduces the world the everyone's favorite cryptid, Rat Baby.

Weirdly World NewsRat Baby Spotted!

 Kickstarter backers will be getting their books now. I knew I was on the end of the list for my copies.

Night Shift

I also got a new Witch Queen adventure in the mail again from Carlos A.S. Lising and casl Entertainment.

When Come the Witching Hour

As you can see, this one also features Iggwilv as the titular Witch.

The Witch Queen

I am going to give this one a review and hope it is as fun as The Witch-Queen's Lament was.  I think I am going to restructure my War of the Witch Queens adventures just a bit.