Showing posts with label character. Show all posts
Showing posts with label character. Show all posts

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Character Creation Challenge: BX RPG

BX RPG
I am posting this at the end of the month instead of the first (new month, new character) since April will be full of monsters.  But in a way, today's character is a monster in his own right.

Last month I posted the stats for Twill Topknot and before that Sarana, the first main NPCs of my War of the Witch Queens campaign.   While I have plenty more NPCs to figure out and stat up, there is one that I do need to do and figure out how he did it.  That NPC is Kelek the Cruel.

I have talked about good (evil) old Kelek in the past and I think stating him out is a good idea. He has his origins in Basic/Expert D&D, Quest for the Heartstone and The Shady Dragon Inn, so Basic-era is the obvious choice.  More so since he is my Big Bad for War of the Witch Queens.

One of the things I want to do with this is pick and choose from various RPG/OSR systems.  I did Old School Essentials with Twill.  While that doesn't mean I can't reuse it, but I would like to see what is out there. I also need to figure out what sort of "magic-user" old Kelek is since I also have that choice.

Much like what I have done with Skylla (with whom he has a history with) I took her Magic-user and tried her out as a witch in various OSR style games. If she is a witch, then what is Kelek?  

Kelek the Cruel from Quest of the Heartstone

He is a type of wizard to be sure.  He learned his magic, so a warlock or a sorcerer (as defined by D&D 3 to 5) is fun, but not really who he is. I need some class that also has the ability to cast gates, maybe even a way to summon a minor demon or two. But not someone interested in controlling undead. Most importantly I need someone that would be able to kill a Witch Queen.  

We know from Kelek's history that he wants some form of immortality or mastery over life and death.  To me that says Necromancer.  But I am kinda bored with necromancers.  I mean I have done necromancers so many times.  BUT this group has never gone up against one of my necromancers before.  Eric over at Swords & Stitchery also talks about Kelek and even has him becoming a lich. Eric usually has very good ideas, so I am inclined to take this as a vote towards Necromancer. 

So if it is a necromancer, then which one?

The Basic Fantasy one is nice, but not really powerful enough for what I need.  The necromancer from Adventures Dark & Deep is good. Has a lot of potential but still not exactly what I want. Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea also has a great necromancer, but the spell list is not 100% where I want it. Magical Theorems & Dark Pacts are getting much closer, as is Gavin's Theorems and Thaumaturgy. The one that feels the closest is the one from the BX RPG.

I reviewed the BX RPG a while back and have been wanting to do something more with it. 

If he is my big bad for War of the Witch Queens then I am going to take advantage of BX RPGs 1-20 level spread and make him 15th level.

Kelek the Cruel from HeroForge
Get your own Kelek the Crue from HeroForge

Kelek the Cruel
Male Human (mostly) Necromancer, 15th level, Chaotic Evil

Kelek

Strength: 15
Intelligence: 15
Wisdom: 13
Dexterity: 11
Constitution: 14
Charisma: 7

HD: 9d4 +6 (+9)
hp: 40

AC: 0 (Bracers AC 1, Ring of Protection +!)
Base THAC0: 14

Saving Throws (+1 for magic, +1 ring)
Paralyzation: 8
Petrification: 8
Wands: 9
Breath Weapon: 11
Spells: 8

Weapons
Dagger +1
Staff of Striking
Wand of Cold

Spells
First level: Read Magic, Sleep, Necrotic Shield, Fear, Hold Portal, Read Languages
Second level: Hold Person, Knock, Mirror Image, Wizard Lock, Necrotic Touch, Blight
Third level: Fly, Haste, Death Purge, Clairvoyance, Necrotic Blast, Dispel Magic
Fourth level: Dimension Door, Polymorph Other, Necrotic Strike, Wizard Eye, Confusion
Fifth level: Plane of Death, Magic Jar, Teleport, Life Drain
Sixth level: Abyssal Flame, Anti-Magic Shell, Death Spell
Seventh level: Astral Spell, Instant Summons
Eighth level: Clone, Gate

Scrolls*
First level: Chill Touch
Second level: Choke, Speak with the Dead
Third level: Skull Sight, Unhallow
Fourth level: Charm Monster
Fifth level: Death Spell
Sixth level: Knowledge of Life
Seventh level: Summon Demon
Eighth level: Symbol (Pain)

Height: 5'11"
Weight: 156 lbs
Age: 55

*The spells from scrolls are Necromancer spells from Theorems and Thaumaturgy. I am likely to give him other necromancer scrolls from the other necromancers out there. 

I also say mostly human since I consider Kelek to have a bit of orc in his line somewhere.  This explains his high strength and constitution, his low charisma, his pointed ears, oddly shaped head in some depictions of him.  He can also speak orc and hangs out with Zarak all the time. 

Kelek also has a large warg he rides like a horse.  In typical D&D cartoon fashion, his name is just Warg.

Kelek on Warg from HeroForge
Kelek on Warg from HeroForge


The many faces of Kelek the Cruel

Yeah, I have a lot of plans for this guy. 

Now I need to figure out how he killed the Queen of Witches to get us all in the current problems we are in.

Tuesday, March 9, 2021

Red Sonja: Old-School Essentials (Remembering Frank Thorne)

Frank Thorne as the Wizard
On Sunday, March 7th, Frank Thorne, the legendary Red Sonja artist, and writer, passed a few hours after his wife Marilyn.  He was 90.

Fans of Red Sonja all know Frank's work from the mid to late 70s. In truth, he defined the character nearly as much as Robert E. Howard, Roy Thomas, and Barry Windsor-Smith.

He certainly left his mark on her enduring legacy.

He was also known for Ghita of Alizarr and "Lann" in Heavy Metal magazine. He was an early cosplayer, taking on the role of "the Wizard."  He would then judge Red Sonja look-a-like contests.  Wendy Pini’s Sonja would be with him at many of these conventions and shows and predated the modern cosplay scene by decades.

Red Sonja

I have done stats for Red Sonja in the past for all sorts of systems:

Feels like a good time to update her to Old-School Essentials, Advanced Fantasy.

Red Sonja
Red Sonja 

13th Level Barbarian
(Old-School Essentials)

Strength: 15
Intelligence: 16
Wisdom: 11
Dexterity: 17
Constitution: 11
Charisma: 18

Alignment: Neutral (chaotic good)

Hit Points: 72
AC: 0 (special scale mail 4), +4 bonus
THAC0: 10 [+9]

Saves
D:3 W:5 P:4 B:5 S:5

CS: 99%
HG: 56%
MS: 50%

Weapons
Sword +2, Great Axe, dagger


Thorne
Thorne "The Wizard"
14th Level Wizard

Strength: 13
Intelligence: 18
Wisdom: 14
Dexterity: 16
Constitution: 11
Charisma: 15

Alignment: Neutral (neutral good)

Hit Points: 34
AC: 6 (Robe of Protection)
THAC0: 10 [+9]

Saves (+3, Robe of Protection)
D:5 W:6 P:5 B:8 S:5

Spells
First level: Detect Magic, Magic Missle, Read Magic, Shield
Second level: Detect Evil, Levitate, Locate Object, Wizard Lock
Third level: Fire Ball, Fly, Protection from Evil 10', Protection from Normal Missiles
Fourth level: Confusion, Dimension Door, Curse, Wizard Eye
Fifth level: Contact Higher Plane, Telekinesis, Teleport
Sixth level: Anti-Magic Shell, Disintegrate, Projected Image

Thorne is Red Sonja's wizard patron. He provides her with magical arms and armor. He is rather over-fond of attractive women. 

Monday, March 1, 2021

Character Creation Challenge: Old-School Essentials

Old School Essentials Advanced
It's the first of the new month and time to introduce a new character!  Although this one is not really a new character. 

Back in January, I posted stats for Sarana, my version of Stevie from the adventure Tanglewood Keep in DL15 Mists of Krynn. I had a lot of fun with it to be honest. I am planning to use Tanglewood Keep with Sarana/Stevie in my War of the Witch Queens campaign.  I think it would be a lot of fun and it would fit great theme-wise and provide the multiverse hoping I really want to do with the campaign. 

The adventure is not a difficult one, nor particularly original, but it is fun.  

Though...there is one little issue.  The crux of the adventure is to regain a crystal to make a magical travel mirror work again.  The characters have to get the crystal and return to Sarana/Stevie's home so they can return to their own world.   The questions arise. Why can't Sarana/Stevie get it herself? Failing that why can't her Kender friend Twill Topknot get it for her?

The answer is timing.

The PCs have entered Krynn at two important points in time.  First, the PCs have entered Krynn during the events of the Dragons of Autumn Twilight novel and the DL1 Dragons of Despair module.  This means that, among other things, there are no gods.  No gods also mean no healing magic.

The second point deals with the accident of Twill Topknot and this brings me to my character for this month. 

In Tanglewood Keep, Twill is a 3rd level kender thief.   He is essentially a Tasselhof stand-in.  But I wanted to try something new.  In particular, I really wanted to try out Sara Thompson's combat wheelchair for my Old-School games.  This past summer when this was causing a stir I joked "I was going to make one and put a Kender in it!"  Well.  The idea was actually too good to pass up.

Putting Twill in a wheelchair makes a lot of sense since I need him to NOT to be able to help the characters; the Keep is not easily accessible.  

I am currently rereading the Dragonlance saga and the comment has been made that there are no old Kender.  They usually die before that due to accidents.  This is Twill's tale. He was adventuring when he slipped and fell off a cliff.  He was discovered by Sarana who used her witchcraft to heal him the best she could. While she could heal his wounds and kept him from dying, she could not heal everything.  With no healing magic from the gods, she did an admirable job. 

Thankfully for Twill, Tinker the gnome was able to craft him a "mobility chair" which Twill thinks is the best thing ever.  He has a pocket for his maps, cool little baubles, and a place for his hoopak staff.

Since my War of the Witch Queens is a B/X flavored game, I thought that my current favorite Basic-era game Old School Essentials would be great for these stats today.

Twill Topknot
Twill Topknot
Male Kender Bard, 3rd level, Neutral Good

Strength: 10
Intelligence: 13
Wisdom: 9 
Dexterity: 18 (agility) / 9 (movement)
Constitution: 13
Charisma: 15

HP: 12
AC: 4

Saves
D: 13  W: 14  P: 13  B: 16  S: 15 

Initiative: +3
Movement: 20

To Hit AC 0: 20

Weapons: Dagger 1d4 

Hoopak staff 1d4

I decided that Twill is better suited in my game as a Bard (I was not doing Bards in a vacuum last month).  One of the things I found endearing about Tasslehoff Burrfoot was his rich store of stories he knew and wanted to tell. I enjoyed it more on my recent re-read (and was profoundly irritated with Flint every time he told Tass to be quiet).   So a Kender storyteller bard sounds great to me.  I'll make an Arcane Bard since there is no divine magic in Krynn at this point.  Plus the Arcane Bard for OSE still has some thief skills to use.  

In my mind, Twill lives (platonically, for now) with Sarana.  She thinks it is to protect him (he doesn't need it) and he thinks it is to protect her, being from another world (she doesn't need protecting either).  So Twill stays with her in her little house in a haunted forest. He tells her stories that she delights in and she makes him tea. He shows her all his wonderful maps of Krynn and talks about dragons (still only a story now) and she tells him about wonderful worlds she has seen.

No wonder she has no real desire to leave Krynn.  But don't assume anything untoward! This is Krynn and there is a certain morality in place (that I seemed to have completely missed at 14 when I read it the first time).

Sarana and Twill
Sarana and Twill

Twill's Mobility Chair

Being a good-natured sort, Twill is quite proud of his remarkable "mobility chair."  He will gladly show off the pockets it has for his maps, dagger, and that really interesting thing the PC's just dropped and he was keeping safe.   There is even a place on the back for his hoopak.  He credits Tinker (a tinker gnome, naturally) for building it and Sarana for enchanting it to cover any ground or terrain. 

In fact, he will often state that life with his new chair is even better now, though he will admit he misses wiggling his toes. 

Thanks to Sarana's magic the chair can travel over any terrain that Twill himself could do save for anything involving swimming or climbing, with that he can levitate.  The wheels have permanent Floating Disk spells on them to provide levitation.  Since the chair is new he is still learning how to navigate stairs. 

Using the Combat Wheelchair 2.1 for 5e Twill's is a modified basic wheelchair. 

You can get (and modify) your own Twill Topknot mini from HeroForge.

ETA: Since I posted this I noticed that Hero Forge has added three wheelchair options.  

Here is a new version of Twill with his cat.



Thursday, February 4, 2021

Star Trek: Mercy and BlackStar Characters

One thing I wanted to accomplish with the recent Character Creation Challenge was to create characters that I could use in my War of the Witch Queens campaign AND get ideas for a multiverse of witches.

But that is not the only thing I wanted from it.

I also wanted to see the differences between various Star Trek-like systems in order to find good NPC for my BlackStar and Star Trek: Mercy games.

Of course, my main source is going to be the challenge founder Carl Stark at Tardis Captain's blog (and of course his Star Trek RPG page). 

Reading through all of these (and it has been great!) I am more convinced now that my Star Trek Mercy game needs to be a FASA Trek game while BlackStar can be something else; most likely Star Trek Adventures.

Star Trek: Mercy Title Card

Star Trek: Mercy

As I have mentioned previously Star Trek Mercy will take place aboard a Federation Hospital Ship.  Its mission is a bit like Doctors Without Borders; they fly into dangerous situations with the goal of helping.  While it is a Federation/Starfleet ship I am going to open up character choices to any and all Star Trek races.  So humans, Vulcans, Andorians will be expected, but also Romulans, Klingons, Deltans, even Gorn, and Orions if someone can give me a good reason.  These crew will not be members of Starfleet, they still belong to their respective worlds, but I also have to, want to, work within canon.  

For this, a few guidelines are needed.  No Klingon Starfleet officers. Worf was the first and the Federation and the Klingon Empire are at a period of cooled tensions.  They are not allies per see, but they are also not shooting at each other.  We know from the TNG episode "The Neutral Zone" that Romulans have not had any relations with the Federation since the Tomed Incident of 2311.  There is still a Romulan Ambassador on Earth in 2293.  That gives me 18 years' worth of gameplay.

I stated in my first post on this that 2295 would be a good year to set this in.  Seems like I was on to something.  I can even use the Plasma Plague of 2294 as the first mission of the Mercy. We even get a Stardate for it, 38235.3, though that date can't really work for 2294, it doesn't even work well for The Original Series Stardates. That date gives you Wed Feb 24 2360 for TNG and Tue Oct 28 2279 for TOS. Might need to use the FASA Trek Stardate calculations to make this one work!

Also since this is FASA Trek I can borrow some ideas from The Next Generation Officer's Manual.  In particular, the notion that there were a bunch of different uniforms in use. Gives me an excuse to use the ones I want.  These would be new here and old by the time the USS Protector and the Mystic-class ships roll out.

Star Trek Command Circa 2295

Star Trek Sciences Circa 2295

Star Trek Support Circa 2295

I am going to need a new ship design too.

What would also be nice is to work in some Original Series Apocrphya into my game; Saavik being half-Vulcan/half-Romulan, Chekov working for Starfleet Intelligence and a touring Chess Master (loosing to the Betazoids), Scotty as a Professor of Engineering at Starfleet Academy before getting lost near a Dyson Sphere in 2294, Sulu as the Captain of the Excelsior and Harriman as Captain of the Enterprise B. Uhura as Demora Sulu's Godmother. I would also like to find out more about Lt. Elise McKennah, played by Michele Specht in Star Trek Continues.

McCoy becoming an admiral, Spock continuing his role as Federation Ambassador, and Kirk disappearing on the Enterprise B. Though those are not really disputed. 

I like this idea since it is also the first Trek game my Star Trek loving wife has mentioned she would like to play.

Wednesday, February 3, 2021

Morelia the Wood Witch for Basic Era D&D (BX/OSE)

I make no excuses for it, I like Ginny Di. She is great and is having more fun with D&D than a roomful of dudes my age.  She often has content I enjoy but this week she has given her viewers three more NPCs to adopt or adapt and I just couldn't say no.

So with her (implied) permission here is Morelia the Wood Witch.  She has accidentally overdid it on a love potion and now the whole village is madly in love with her.  She is very happy to see any new PCs, especially ones not from the village.  She will work out a deal with them. If they can bring back enough Pixie's Tongue (it's actually a type of plant) then she can brew up the antidote for everyone.  But you better hurry! Two fights for Morelia's hand have already broken out and things promise to get worse soon!


Morelia the Wood Witch

Ginny Di as Morelia the Wood Witch
8th Level Green Witch*, Elf

Abilities
Strength: 12
Intelligence: 15
Wisdom:  13
Dexterity: 17
Constitution: 16
Charisma: 17

Saving Throws
Death or poison: 10
Wands: 12
Paralysis: 11
Breath Weapons: 14
Spells: 13

AC: 9
HP: 

Spells
1st Level: Bewitch I, Charm Person, Color Spray
2nd Level: Burning Gaze, Glitterdust, Bonds of Hospitality (Ritual)
3rd Level: Dance of Frogs, What You Have is Mine (Ritual)
4th Level: Bewitch IV, Dryad's Door

*The Green Witch Tradition from my Swords & Wizardry Green Witch book is perfect for her, but I also want this character to have access to some Pagan spells. Plus I want to use her as an NPC for BX/OSE, so she is a Pagan Green Witch.  Combine books and mix and match spells.

Helping Morelia now in the adventure will pay off later.  Morelia knows about the Tridecium and what is going on with the Witch Queens.  She will be an invaluable source of information. That is if she can fix her love potion mishap.

Monday, February 1, 2021

Character Creation Challenge: Looking Back and Forward

And that is done!

I managed to get through the 31 Day New Year,  New Character creation challenge. It was quite a bit of fun.  In fact, I might continue this on the 1st of each month.  I still have plenty of games to cover.

For the record, here are all the characters created this past month.

31 Games, 38 Characters.  Not too shabby really.

Many of these characters will find some life again in my War of the Witch Queens.

Sunday, January 31, 2021

Character Creation Challenge: DragonRaid

The DragonRaid RPG
Here we are. The end of the New Character Creation Challenge. First, a tip of the hat to Tardis Captain for getting this going.  This has been a lot of fun and I have considered doing it on the first of each month for the rest of the year.  Maybe not tomorrow, but who knows. 

Now for today's last character.  Ah. This is a game that has been on my radar for YEARS, decades even.  Today feels like the perfect time.  So let's make a character LightRaider for DragonRaid!

The Game: DragonRaid

Ok. This game. 

So DragonRaid got a lot of grief in the gaming communities I was apart of.  I had some Christian gamer friends that thought it was a cheap attempt to capitalize on their faith and some even did not want to mix their D&D and belief.  As an Atheist, then and now, I thought it was interesting. As someone who was interested in psychology then and someone with degrees in it now I also thought it was an interesting way to learn something, in this case, Bible verses.  I always wanted to see the game for myself.   

One thing I have to keep in mind that this "game" is not really an RPG, but a teaching tool in the form of a role-playing game. 

The game's author and designer was Dick Wulf, MSW, LCSW, who is, as his degrees indicate, a licensed Social Worker and holds a Masters in Social Work.  He had done a lot of work in psychotherapy and ministry. He also played D&D and Traveller. So it seems he actually likes and knows RPGs better than the guys who gave us Fantasy Wargaming!

Plus I have to admit the ads in Dragon Magazine always looked really interesting.  I mean seriously, that is an evil-looking dragon and should be stopped and those look like the brave warriors to do it. Even if they need some more armor*.  (*that is actually a point in the game! more later)

Ad for The DragonRaid RPG

A while back my oldest son and I saw this game at my FLGS and I told him all about it. He is also an Atheist (as everyone in my family is) and he wanted to get it so we could play the other, evil, side.  He wanted to do something with the dragons in the game (he loves dragons) and I of course wanted to bring witches into it (cause that is my raison d'├¬tre).   Plus this copy still had the cassette tape in it.  I mean that is just beyond cool really.  So yeah I grabbed it with every intention of having a bit of a laugh with it.

I might be a witch-obsessed Athiest, but I am also an educator and not really an asshole.

The truth of the matter is spending this past week with the game I just can't take a piss on it.  The author is just too earnest in his presentation of this game.  There is love here, and scholarship, and frankly good pedagogy behind the design.   I don't normally mix my professional education background with my game design work.  Yes, they can and they do mix.  But when I am writing a book on the Pagan witches for Old-School Essentials I am not trying to write a historical treatise on the pagan religions of Western Europe during the time of the Roman Empire.  I'll try to keep my facts in line, but I can't serve two masters. I have to write what is best for a game.

DragonRaid also doesn't serve two masters. It serves one and makes that work for both pedagogical reasons (to help young people understand Christianity and their Bible better) and game design reasons (to have a fun roleplaying experience). 

For this DragonRaid succeeds in a lot of ways.  For this, I simply can't do anything else but admire this game and its design.  So no playing dragons here, or me coming up with a witch class to fight the characters.  I might do that at home, but I am not going to be a jerk about it.

Besides look at everything you get in this box! I mean seriously, this is some value.

The DragonRaid RPG Box contents 1

The DragonRaid RPG Box contents 2, Lightraider sheets

The DragonRaid RPG Box contents 3, so many books!

The DragonRaid RPG Box contents 4, counters

The DragonRaid RPG Box contents 5 documentation

I even got the cassette tape! I don't have anything to play it on though.

The DragonRaid RPG Box contents 6, and honest to goodness cassette tape!

Thankfully you can go to the official Lightraider Academy website to get the audio files from the tape. 

This company is all in on this game and I have to admit I totally admire them for it. 

So expect me to more with this game on these pages including a full review.

The Character: Solomon

Building your character, the Lightraider, is one of the core elements of this game. It is also why we are here today.   There is a pad of Lightraider worksheets and a smaller sized pad of Lightraider character sheets.  I am betting I will need both.  There is also a blue Game Instructions Rulebook for players.

There are two books that I start with.  The red book is the New Player Briefing. The yellow book is the Dragonraider Handbook Player's Guide.  I will start with the red since it is the smaller of the two and covers the game basics. The yellow, spiral-bound one covers the in-game background.  After some background, we get to the characters on page 60 or so. There are 9 Character Strengths (Love, Joy, Peace, and more, based on Galatians Chapter 5, verses 22-23.) and 2 physical attributes.  The first nine are determined randomly on a d10 (called a "Starlot" here. the d8 is a "Shadowstone." I think that is what I am calling d8s from now on!).  Many other attributes and scores are determined via derived stats from those strengths. I see why we need/want a worksheet.  There are also 8 character abilities that are required and three optional ones. 

Note: I am not doing this as a proper review. That will come later. Today I just want to make a LightRaider.

I am going to do this properly and roll all random strengths.  Let's see what sort of character I get. Rolling is the easy part, everything else on this sheet requires a lot of math.  Not difficult math really, lots of averages, but had I know I would have worked up a spreadsheet.

DragonRaid Spreadsheet

Ok. I did a spreadsheet anyway.   This is the exact thing I would have loved back in the day. I would have written a BASIC program for my Color Computer to help me generate a character.  Even now I can see all the code in my head!  So let's look over all my numbers and see what character I have here.

Solomon's worksheet
Solomon
Knight of the Way

Character Strengths
Love (LO) 6
Joy (JO) 6
Peace (PE) 5
Patience (PA) 10
Kindness (KI) 2
Goodness (GO) 6
Faithfulness (FA) 7
Gentleness (GE) 2
Self-Control (SC) 10

Character Abilities
Courage (CO) 7
Endurance (EN) 8
Hope (HO) 6
Knowledge (KN) 7
Listening (LIS) 7
Quiet Movement (QM) 8
Vision (VIS) 7
Wisdom (WIS) 4

Blend with Surroundings (BWS) 9 +2 11
Climb Skillfully (CLS) 8
Track Enemy (TE) 8 +2 10

Weapon Abilities
Solo Battle (SB) 6
Sling 7
Flail 7
Crossbow 6

Solomon's character sheet
Defensive Abilities
Evade Enemy (EE) 8 +2 10
Recovery from Injury (RFI) 6
Resist Torture (RT) 7

Armor
Belt of Truth (BT) 7
Breastplate of Righteousness (BR) 6
Shield of Faith (SF) 6
Helmet of Salvation (HS) 6
Sword of the Spirit (SS) 1
Boots of the Gospel of Peace (BGP) 6

Physical Attributes
Physical Vitality (PV) 27
Strength (ST) 4
Agility (AG) 4

You can't see it, but there are a lot of derived stats here.  For example, Blend with Surroundings (BWS) is made up of Self-Control doubled (SCx2), plus Patience (PA), plus Endurance doubled (EN).  Endurance itself is made up Joy, Peace, Patience (doubled), Faith, and Self-Control doubled, all divided by 7 and rounded down.  See why I wanted a spreadsheet.

Can't get much more old-school than this really!

Looking over this character I see he qualifies now for a special Character Role.  Normally this would be chosen later after a few games, but let's do it now.  Doing the math (again) I see he meets or passes the thresholds for Knight of the Way or Rescue Master.   Looking over his stats, mostly at his really poor Kindness and Gentleness scores it looks like Knight of the Way is the better choice.  That also gives me a +2 bonus for BWS, TE, and EE.

So. Who is this guy?

Well seeing how low his Wisdom is I thought let's name him Solomon.  A reminder of what he needs to work on. 

Solomon is a bit of loner. He is not particularly kind nor gentle.  He doesn't learn from his mistakes well (low Wisdom) but he is not stupid.  What he is however is tireless in his goal of hunting down the enemy of the Overlord of Many Names. He specializes in getting other Lightraiders behind enemy lines and hopefully getting them back out, but that is a job for the Rescue Masters. He knows if he gets caught he can resist the enemy better than most and that is where his true kindness is; if catching him means someone else avoids the Dragon Lord's torturers then so be it. 

His combat scores are good, but better with ranged weapons.  And yes despite what you may or may not have heard characters ARE expected to fight and kill the forces of evil.

His Faith is pretty good and his Goodness a little less.  I think this guy is likely more about wanting to hurt the enemy rather than helping out good people.  That will be his struggle. 

Well...the real struggle is I don't really know any bible verses so I am not going to get very far with the Word Runes.  But I suppose that is the purpose of this game really, to teach them to young adults.  This is actually a cool idea; memorizing real bible verses to have an effect in the game. As an educator, I can appreciate this. 

I will need to get into that in a future review.  

The Links

I am going to be going through this game some more.  So I am going to share my collected links here so we both have them for later.

Saturday, January 30, 2021

Character Creation Challenge: Mutants & Masterminds

Mutants & Masterminds 3rd Edition
Mutants & Masterminds from Green Ronin might feel like a stretch from all the other systems I have done, but really it is quite appropriate given the playstyle I like.  And if I am doing a multi-verse of witches here, then it behooves me to throw some supers into the mix. 

The Game: Mutants & Masterminds 3rd Edition

M&M 2nd Ed was one of my favorite superhero RPGs, so it made sense for me to upgrade to the 3rd Edition when it came out.  Also given that the same system was being used in the DC Adventures RPG, I just really could not say no.

I have talked a lot about M&M 3 and DC Adventures here. And it is no surprise with my Zatanna postings that I am more of DC fan than a Marvel fan. 

I am happy to see the M&M is still going strong.  One of the true success stories of the OGL experiment. 
Green Ronin even has a Pateron for Mutants and Masterminds at https://www.patreon.com/MutantsAndMasterminds

From the very start of War of the Witch Queens, I knew there was going to be some influences from other games and other universes.  Mutants & Masterminds, which already embraces the Multiverse, was an early obvious choice for me.   But something that no one knows is that my Come Endless Darkness also had an origin point in M&M.  Back then it was going to be Dracula trying to take over the world.  I really could not pass up the chance of Dracula fighting someone named Summers.  While I moved the whole thing over to D&D (and Dracula to Strahd) I can still see some of the old DNA of M&M in it.  Some of the rest moved on to WotWQ.  One idea, in particular, was an anti-hero Sc├íthach.

Now before I get into the character of Sc├íthach, I do want to address that this is neither the Ulster cycle character Sc├íthach, nor is the Red Sonja character of Sc├íthach, The Red Goddess, though in true comic book fashion, both are inspirations.  Since she is supposed to be a witch of sorts I am going all the way back to one of my first WitchCraft RPG games that took place at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland. Plus I wanted a character I could port back over to D&D if I wanted.

DC Adventures

The Character: Sc├íthach the Shadow Witch

Professor Moria Stewart, Ph.D. was a lecturer on classic Irish and Scot Mythology at the University of St. Andrews.  She was busy sketching pictures of Dunscaith Castle in Scotland while working on a new paper about C├║ Chulainn when she noticed that all her sketches featured the same shadowy figure.  She did not remember drawing it, nor even seeing it.  She compared it photos she took but nothing was uncovered.  She returned to the castle site and was confronted by a Shadow.  She fell and hit her head on some rocks below the castle. She was certain to die but the figure came to her saying it would give her power if it could bond to her.  Not wanting to die Dr. Stewart agreed and became a creature of shadow herself.

While during the day she goes about her life and teaches her classes to bored undergrads by night (or when she needs too) she can veil herself in shadows and she becomes Sc├íthach the Shadow Witch!

Neve McIntosh as Scáthach
Neve McIntosh as Scáthach
Scáthach, The Shadow Witch - PL 10
Realm Name: Moria Stewart

Strength 1, Stamina 1, Agility 1, Dexterity 1, Fighting 7, Intellect 3, Awareness 2, Presence 1

Advantages
Contacts, Languages 3, Well-informed

Skills
Athletics 2 (+3), Deception 2 (+3), Expertise: History 8 (+11), Insight 2 (+4), Intimidation 2 (+3), Perception 4 (+6), Ranged Combat: Shadow Blast: Cone Area Damage 10 8 (+9), Stealth 8 (+9), Technology 4 (+7)

Powers
Blend in Shadows: Concealment 2 (Sense - Sight; Blending)
Faerie Fire: Cumulative Affliction 5 (1st degree: Impaired, 2nd degree: Disabled, 3rd degree: Unaware, Resisted by: Will, DC 15; Cumulative, Increased Range 2: perception; Limited: One sense (Sight))
Shadow Blast: Cone Area Damage 10 (shadow, DC 25; Cone Area: 60 feet cone, DC 20, Increased Range: ranged)
Shadow Form (Activation: Standard Action)
   Alternate Form (Shadow) (Activation: Standard Action)
      Concealment: Concealment 5 (All Visual Senses, Sense - Hearing; Limited 2: Darkness and Shadow)
      Insubstantial: Insubstantial 4 (Incorporeal)
      Movement: Movement 3 (Safe Fall, Trackless: Choose Sense 1, Water Walking 1: you sink if you are prone)
   Flight: Flight 6 (Speed: 120 miles/hour, 1800 feet/round)
   R├şastrad: Enhanced Fighting 6 (+6 FGT)
      Strength Effect
   Shadow Aura: Protection 6 (+6 Toughness; Sustained; Noticeable: Visible effects)
Shadow Magic: Illusion 5 (Affects: Two Sense Types - Sight, Hearling, Area: 30 cft., DC 15)
Shadow Sense: Remote Sensing 5 (Affects: Visual Senses, Range: 900 feet)
Shadow Sight: Senses 3 (shadow, Darkvision, Low-light Vision)

Offense
Initiative +1
Faerie Fire: Cumulative Affliction 5 (DC Will 15)
Grab, +7 (DC Spec 11)
Shadow Blast: Cone Area Damage 10 (DC 25)
Throw, +1 (DC 16)
Unarmed, +7 (DC 16)

Complications
Identity: Shadow Witch is different than Moria
Mythic Weakness: Can't touch any metal while in Shadow form

Languages
English, French, Greek, Latin, Scots Gaelic

Defense
Dodge 3, Parry 7, Fortitude 2, Toughness 7, Will 4

Gender: Female
Age: 35
Height: 5'10"
Weight: 145#
Hair: Black
Eyes: Blue

Power Points
Abilities 22 + Powers 98 + Advantages 5 + Skills 20 (40 ranks) + Defenses 5 = 150

Hero Lab and the Hero Lab logo are Registered Trademarks of LWD Technology, Inc. Free download at https://www.wolflair.com Mutants & Masterminds, Third Edition is ©2010-2017 Green Ronin Publishing, LLC. All rights reserved.

This character could be a lot of fun!  I can see her working in either the DC Universe or the M&M Universe.

Friday, January 29, 2021

Character Creation Challenge: Mage 20th Anniversary Edition

I want to end this week the same way I started it; with Mage.  Only this time I am focusing on the massive tome that is the Mage: The Ascension 20th Anniversary Edition.

The Game: Mage: The Ascension 20th Anniversary Edition

I remember picking up a copy of Vampire the Masquerade back in the early 90s and thinking it looked interesting, but nothing I was going to play really.  Though my thought did go to moving the whole thing over to Ravenloft.  It wasn't later until I had moved to Chicago to work on my Ph.D. that I found Mage.  

The ground floor of the commuter train station had a bookstore in it.  One of the pure joys of my daily commute. I picked up a copy of Mage: The Ascension (Revised) and thought that it was fantastic.  While I would ultimately stick with WitchCraft, Mage continued to have a fascination for me. Moving back and forth between the systems I ultimately landed on the idea that a "Mage" was an evolved form of a "Witch."  I did some refinements, mostly after Mage the Awakening was released, so eventually came to the idea of an "Imbolc Mage" the term borrowed from a friend that wrote about "Ascended witches."  IT worked for me.  Even in my D&D 3.0 days, an Imbolc Mage was a witch prestige class.  My Imbolc Mage is even tied back to Amy and Megan.  In one universe Amy is a good friend, in another Megan is her grandmother. In Sc├íthach/Moria Stewart's universe, she is the superhero Witchfire (but more on that tomorrow).

While Mage the Ascension grabbed my attention, it was Mage the Awakening that I created the more material for.  I soon figured out why, it was that it was very close in feel to WitchCraft.  I wanted to do something that took the best aspects, or more to the point my favorite aspects, of both games and use them together.  I grabbed the Mage Translation Guide with great glee, but I never really did anything with it.  With the release of Mage: The Ascension 20th Anniversary Edition (and its nearly 700 pages) I just dropped all the work I was doing with Mage the Awakening. 

This brings me to Bri.

Brianna was really my first character specifically for Mage the Awakening.  I knew she was going to me an Imbolc Mage according to the myths of my game worlds so stating her up in Mage first made the most amount of sense.  Given that her character birthday is coming up (February 1) I think she needs to be stated up for Mage: The Ascension.  

The Character: Brianna

Of the members of this week's coven, Bri is the youngest and the most powerful.  She is also one of the oldest characters I have made and have detailed this month.  In my first Generation HEX game she was born February 1st, 2005, since that game was set in 2022 she would have been 17.  Well, she will be 16 in a couple of days, so let's see how she looks for Mage.  

One of the big changes right away is shifting her from a Verbena to a Sister of Hippolyta.  While the game even mentions that these two should have merged a long time ago they are separate still.  Given that Brianna is part of the Daughters of the Flame, the sisters feel like a much better fit really.  This is also apparent in her Avatar and Destiny Backgrounds.  She is going to do Big Things someday. But right now she is just a kid.

Abby Cowen as Bri
Abigail Cowen. She has played a witch and a fire faerie.
She is perfect as Bri.

Brianna

Nature: Activist
Demeanor: Idealist
Essence: Primordial

Affiliation: Sisters of Hippolyta
Sect: Daughters of the Flame
Concept: Guardian

Attributes
Physical

Strength 2
Dexterity 3
Stamina 3

Social
Charisma 2
Manipulation 1
Appearance 3

Mental
Perception 4
Intelligence 3
Wits 3

Abilities
Talents
Alertness 2, Athletics 1, Awareness 1, Empathy 1, Intimidation 2, Leadership 1

Skills
Martial Arts 1, Melee 1, Research 1, Survival 1, Technology 1

Knowledge
Academics 2, Computers 1, Enigmas 2, Esoterica 2, Investigation 1, Occult 3, Science 2

Spheres

Life (Affinity) 2, Mind 2, Forces 1, Prime 1, Spirit 1

Backgrounds
Avatar 3, Destiny 3, Mentor 1

Arete 3
Willpower 5
Quintessence 5

Gender: Female (she/her)
Age: 16 (DOB Feb 1, 2005)
Hair: Red
Eyes: Blue
Height: 5'5"
Weight: 120 lbs.

Yeah. This makes me want to play Mage again!

Thursday, January 28, 2021

Character Creation Challenge: The Great American Witch

The Great American Witch
Last year I supported the Kickstarter for Christopher Grey's The Great American Witch. It is based on a variant of the Apocalypse World Engine but has a lot of neat features of its own. I thought it might be fun to try a character for this game now.

The Game: The Great American Witch

The Great American Witch (GAW) was released last year to much excitement (well on my part certainly).  The game is quite a lot of fun, though I have not had the chance to play it as much as I would like, it has become a great resource for some of my other games.

I reviewed the game here, and interviewed the designer Christopher Grey here

While I continue to be mostly unimpressed by Powered by the Apocalypse games, this one deviates enough from that standard to make it more interesting to me. Plus I do like the character, craft, and coven building material within the book.  The coven building, in particular, has been very helpful for my Basic-era War of the Witch Queens game. I can also see it working great for WitchCraft and maybe even WITCH: Fated Souls.  The Crafts of GAW could also work out well enough, narratively, as different "Crafts" of the Wicce in WitchCraft. 

Still, I see a lot of potential for this game and I am happy I picked it for today's challenge.

The Character: Amy Nakamura

Amy is a character I have used as an NPC in my WitchCraft/Buffy games before but never stated her out.  I thought it might be fun to detail her a little more here.  Though in previous versions she was a follower of Brigit.   This Amy did not become "Brigh daughter of Brigit" instead she became something of a solitary witch looking to protect others on her own.  Since my War of the Witch Queens spans the multiverse I am going to say that "Amy" was needed, but instead of Brigh they got this Amy.  Or maybe in this world, she is the one that has that needed multiversal connection. 

For a lot of reasons that make sense mostly to me, she is a "Craft of Tara" witch, "Coven of the Storm".

Character creation in GAW actually begins with Coven Creation.  For this coven I am going to choose the witches I have been featuring this week, Megan, Fiona, Alexandria, and Amy, each pulled from their timelines. 

Coven of the Storm

Oath: Use force to enact change
Holy Day: Samhain
Hearth: A hidden building
Connections & Resources: A hideout that cannot be located by natural or supernatural means.

Coven Resources: Few. Witches operate in the mundane world
Staus: Well thought of by those that know.
Mainstream? Witches need to come together.
Mundane? Has value, but not important
Influence: Not well known
Members: Only these characters

witch
Photo by Joy Marino from Pexels
Amy Nakamura
Craft of Tara

Mercy -1
Wisdom -1
Severity +2

Maiden: Tara Swift and Heroic
Mother: Blue Tara
Crone: Black Tara

Refuge: Personal Shrine
Background: Family has always practiced the craft
Lifestyle: Spritual activist
Personality: Optimistic and supportive

Relationships
Who helps you keep peace in the coven? Megan
Who is the most volatile and needs the most management? Fiona
Who gives you the strength to confront challenges? Megan and Alexandria
Who confronts challenges for you? Alexandria
Who brings balance to the coven? Megan and Amy
Who brings the coven out of balance: Fiona

Ok! So I have a character here that works great for this game.  

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Character Creation Challenge: WITCH Fated Souls

WITCH: Fated Souls

We are getting near the end of this challenge and I find I am sad to see it go.  I am going to revisit these characters all at a later date I am sure.  Maybe reunite them under one system.  Today though I want to go back to a system I really like but rarely get to do anything with.  Elizabeth Chaipraditkul's WITCH: Fated Souls.

The Game: WITCH: Fated Souls

WITCH: Fated Souls was part of a very successful Kickstarter and later sales on DriveThruRPG. It shares many of the background features of WitchCraft but in a different way.  That will be a theme all this week. WITCH:FS also has "witches" and how they use magic to affect the worlds around them. It is a different take on some of the same ideas and I always find it a joy to read.

I did a lengthy review of the game a while back, and it was part of another Character Challenge where I stated up Thomasin from "The VVitch" in different systems.  

The system is pretty easy to learn and is flexible.  I prefer WitchCraft in many ways, but that is hardly a fair comparison.  There is a lot that WITCH:FS does very well and I do wish I spent more time with it. It is a game that rewards your investment of time to it with the characters becoming more and more interesting as they progress.  There is every bit of the same sort of world-building here that happens in WitchCraft or The World of Darkness games.  It just needs a GM that will give it the time that it deserves.

WITCH: Fated Souls

The Character: Alexandria

Alexandria has been with me in idea form for a little while.  Her concept writ large is a "Tireless Social Justice Witch."  She is not afraid to fight for what she believes is right and she doesn't back down.  

Also, I always imagined her as looking like Cuban singer Camila Cabello. Why? Because I adore her and I listened to a lot of her music to get the right vibe for this character.

Camila Cabello
Alexandria is portrayed by Camila Cabello
Alexandria

Fate: Djinn
Familiar: Appears as a small bluebird

Attributes
Intelligence: 3
Wisdom: 2
Perception: 3
Charisma: 3
Manipulation: 3
Dexterity: 3
Strength: 3
Stamina: 3

Skills
Athletics 1, Brawl 2, Craft 2, Deception 2, Dodge 2, Empathy 1, Expression 1, Intimidation 1, Perform 2, Spot 1, Stealth 1, Survival 2, Thievery 1, Wits 1

Hit Points
Hurt: 12, Injured 12, Mauled 7, Unconcious 3
Soak: 0
Initiative Mod: 3

CD to Hit: 12

Pursuits: Property 3, Contacts 1, Funds 1

Spell Level: 1

Talents: Casting 2, Potions 1, Occult 1

Spells: Emneya
Cantrips (Tether), Canto I, II

This is a fun character. I can't wait to see what she has in store.