Showing posts with label characters. Show all posts
Showing posts with label characters. Show all posts

Thursday, August 31, 2023

The Blizzard of Summer 2023!

One of the best things about blogging and writing about games for so long is I have gotten to meet so many really great people and made some really great friends.

Two such are Tim Knight over at Hero Press and Pun Issac over at Halls of the Nephilim. Both are great guys, and we all have many intersecting interests in RPGs, comics, and movies.  So it is no real shock then when we decide to go over and play in each other's sandboxes.

Over the summer, they graciously allowed me to use two of their iconic characters, The Acrobatic Flea and The Web Archivist, for The Wasted Lands.

Now they have returned to honor and built versions of my misanthrope villain, The Refrigerator, for their own respective supers games, along with tweaks to make him work in their worlds. 

The Refrigerator

Both are great takes on my villain, and I love the additional little details they have both added. 

What is the point of having an iconic character if you can't share it?

Monday, July 10, 2023

Wasted Lands Playtest: Superheroes in the Dreaming Age, Part 0

 I have been thinking a lot about gods, monsters, humans, and demons in these pages lately. Between my One Man's God, my ideas for Deities & Demigods II, and playtesting The Wasted Lands gods and their relationship to humankind have been on my mind a lot.

This has also got me thinking about how in today's society, the role of the hero of myth is now played out by comic book superheroes and maybe even more so by their movie counterparts. 

Christopher Nolan quote

Rick Riordan

Edna Mode

And there are more.  So this week I am going to make some modern "gods" and recraft them as Wasted Lands heroes. 

As is my nature, I am going to lean in on DC Characters, or at least their archetypes.

So come back later today and all this week for some humans as superheroes as gods in the time of the Dreaming Age for Wasted Lands.

And don't forget to checkout and back the Wasted Lands Kickstarter too!


Thursday, June 1, 2023

Jenny, Larina and Valerie for the Doctor Who RPG Second Edition

So it is June, and historically June has been D&D month around here. Though I have to admit I have not been in a D&D mood all year.  I do have some things that fill that space certainly and will get to them.

Today though feels more like May 32nd. So I am going to do a little bit more with my Doctor Who posts and move on to other things.  And a good place to do that is to compare the three characters that I have been using for all my Doctor Who posts; Larina, Jenny Everywhere, and Valerie. 

The biggest difference between the 1st Edition and 2nd Edition Doctor Who RPGs is predominantly in character creation. Since I have three characters here that are a bit outside of the norm they make good test subjects for the new Distinctions.

Three Time Travelers meet in a bar

Who Are You?

So I have a public domain "shifter," an immortal from the 16th Century, and a witch vaguely aware of all her past lives. How do these three get together in a bar in Soho?

Thankfully I already have good ideas about who these characters are in the Doctor Who universe. I just need to get them to jell together.  Using the Shared Background Experiences table on p. 33 helps. 

  • Jenny has met other versions of Larina but sees that, unlike her, Larina is only vaguely aware of them. Larina wants to know what Jenny knows.
  • Jenny has come across Valerie in the past. Val thought Jenny was immortal, Jenny (never Jen) thought Val was another shifter. 
  • Val and Larina have known each other for years. Val has also interacted with Larina's past lives.
  • Jenny goes to Larina for a Tarot reading, and despite all the shuffling, all the cards when flipped over are blank. The same thing happens again with Valerie. 
  • This is the big one. All three try to avoid each other. Larina says they have strange auras, and not the same sort of strange. Jenny says the other two "buzz" and it gives her a headache. Val says that when they are together weirder than average shit happens. When it is all three the wierdness increases.

So when a chance meeting in a bar in Westminster one cold November night, things got weird.

Going back to the characters now and build them by the new rules. 

Jenny Everywhere

I have mentioned Jenny a lot. She is a great character for the Doctor Who game and maybe even a better character for this newer version.

As always, I must include her license:

"The character of Jenny Everywhere is available for use by anyone, with only one condition. This paragraph must be included in any publication involving Jenny Everywhere, in order that others may use this property as they wish. All rights reversed."

Concept: Shifter in time and space.

What does that mean? Well she can sense changes in time flow, she can move about realities, she knows things that she otherwise would not know or not be capable of knowing. This new edition is explicit on the fact that the Time War changed history and the future and what we thought happened didn't or happened differently. Jenny can sense that.

Focus: Adventure

Jenny is nothing if not about adventure. She doesn't bemoan her abilities or lot in life, she embraces them.

Distinction: Shifter

This is what she is. It defines her. Since this is a major one her Story Points are reduced per page 47.

Jenny Everywhere for the Doctor Who RPG 2nd Edition


Valerie Beaumont

To paraphrase the Doctor, she is not my character but I have put a lot of work into her. Valerie is an immortal and she is always search for others like her, somewhat out of companionship and kinship but mostly to discover why she is the way she is. 

Concept: Immortal seeker of knowledge

Everything about Val revolves around her desire to learn more about who she is and her place in this cosmos. 

Focus: Discovery

Val is cautious not to let people know who she is until she knows who they are first. But when it comes to a mystery or discovering something new she jumps in feet first and then figures out how she will land on the way down.

Distinctions: Immortal, striking appearance

This one was easy, and the examples are given in the book. She also takes a minor reduction in Story Points.

Valerie Beaumont for the Doctor Who RPG 2nd Edition for the Doctor Who RPG 2nd Edition


Larina Nichols

Ah. Now this girl. We go way back. 

She is a witch. Regardless what that means in any given world that is who she is. If anything she lives by the quote "A witch is not what you do it is who you are." Sounds like a Concept to me.

Concept: Modern Witch

She believes in magic, in the power of crystals and more. She does not view these as "paranormal" just "extra normal." Certainly in the universe of Doctor Who she can be justified.

Focus: Curiosity

Larina wants to know things just for the sake of knowing them. Her curiosity is insatiable and it gets her into trouble. A lot.

Distinctions: Psychic, striking appearance

Ah, now here is where the Distinctions work better than traits. In the First Edition, I had to buy a lot of traits to get her the powers I wanted, even if in a small bit. Here she takes a Major Distinction, Psychic and I work out with my GM (well...me) and figure out what she has when. So she is telepathic and empathic and can have visions of the future (precognitive) when needed.  There are plenty of examples of these sorts of humans in Doctor Who, well traveling with this bunch has turned her abilities up. Turned up so much that they might even become dangerous. 

The balance here is do I reduce her Story Points OR as the GM use her as a plot device?  Both sound appealing. 

Larina "Nix" Nichols for the Doctor Who RPG 2nd Edition for the Doctor Who RPG 2nd Edition

I have to admit. I rather love these. I knew with the new 2nd Edition system, things like my group of weirdos here would work so much better.

Right now the only thing keeping me in the First Edition game is inertia, but if I had too I could switch over to the Second Edition with no looking back.

We are the Weirdos Doctor.

I'll reiterate this with more clarity.

If you are new to RPGs and/or new to Doctor Who, then this is the version of the game to get.  Get to your FLGS (preferably) or Amazon (if you must) and grab a copy. Or if you are a Save the Trees type (good for you!) then head over to DriveThruRPG and grab a copy in PDF. It has everything you need except dice.

Friday, May 26, 2023

Jenny, Larina and Valerie for Doctor Who Adventures in Time and Space

Time to put it all together now.  Over the course of my reviews of the various Doctor Who RPGs I have looked at some characters with the express purpose of comparing them across different versions. 

Today I want to take three characters and have a go at building them in the 1st Edition of the Doctor Who: Adventures in Time and Space RPG. The three are: 

For this group, let's say they are all traveling together. The game gives us a lot of options on "Games without Time Lords," so this would be a good place to test it all out. Either Jenny or Val have a vortex manipulator, but I also like the idea that Jenny can travel in time and space (to a limited degree) all on her own without needing gadgets. 

In all three cases I stuck as close as I could to the point-buy budgets for character creation. Though in all three I did go over. That is not a big deal in my mind since Val has already had some adventures (The Ghost Tower of Inverness, Illinois), and Jenny, well I can use nearly anything to justify her stats. But in all cases I tried to stay close to what I had done in other games.

Jenny Everywhere

Jenny, as I have mentioned in previous posts, is a "shifter" she can shift between realities and times and even interact with her own alternates. She is expressly a public domain character that everyone can use, so for my tests, she is the perfect stand-in for a Time Lord. In previous versions of the Doctor Who RPG, this was a conceit since there were other Time Lords, but in the "new" game, there is only the Doctor.

Here she has some of the qualities/traits of a Time Lord, but not the ability to regenerate as River Song did.

As always, I must include her license:

"The character of Jenny Everywhere is available for use by anyone, with only one condition. This paragraph must be included in any publication involving Jenny Everywhere, in order that others may use this property as they wish. All rights reversed."

Jenny Everywhere
Jenny Everywhere

"The Shifter"
Story Points: 12

Attributes
Awareness 4
Coordination 3
Ingenuity 4
Presence 3
Resolve 4
Strength 3

Skills
Athletics 1
Convince 2
Craft 
Fighting 1
Knowledge 4
Marksman 1
Medicine 
Science 3
Subterfuge 2
Survival 1
Technology 3
Transport 1

Traits
Brave, Charming, Lucky, Time Traveller (Minor), Eccentric (-1)

Special Traits
Shifter, Feel the Turn of the Universe

Equipment
Various gadgets

Home Tech Level: 6 (Jenny has some solid tech)

Larina Nichols

Larina of course is my witch that I use everywhere. She is my experiment to see if I can do a witch in any game, Rule as Writen. So far I have come up with some very interesting versions of her. Unlike Jenny she is only vaguely aware of her other selves in different realities, usually images that appear to her in dreams. She knows what they are but she has no control over them.  

In the Doctor Who universe her "magick" appears as advanced psychic powers. Humans in this game have a bit more psychic abilities than assumed in previous games. Indeed in the new series of Doctor Who we have seen actual witches.  Larina though is human and not a Carrionite. Though I am not ruling out that human witches might not have Carrionite blood/DNA in them.

Larina Nichols
Larina Nichols

"The Witch"
Story Points: 12

Attributes
Awareness 4
Coordination 3
Ingenuity 4
Presence 4
Resolve 6
Strength 3

Skills
Athletics 
Convince 1
Craft 2
Fighting 1
Knowledge 4
Marksman 1
Medicine 2
Science 1
Subterfuge 1
Survival 2
Technology 2
Transport 1

Traits
Attractive, Empathic, Psychic Training, Insatiable Curiosity, Obsession (learn more about magic)

Special Traits
Psychic (Package)
 - Clairvoyant 1
 - Precognition 1
 - Telekinesis 1
 - Telepath 1

Equipment
Book of Shadows (on her phone), Tarot Cards.

Home Tech Level: 5

I have this funny notion that Jenny goes to Larina for a Tarot reading about her and despite all the shuffling all the cards when flipped over are blank. The same thing happens again with Valerie. 

That seems like a fun hook.

Valerie Beaumont

Val is an immortal who was born in England in 1569. She came with a family to the new colonies (America) to be the nanny of Virginia Dare, the first child to be born of European parents in an American colony. Both she and Virginia are immortals and have a Doctor/Master style relationship.

She is not my character per se, she is the character of one of my good friends Greg, though she does appear as an NPC in many of my games.

Valerie Beaumont
Valerie Beaumont

"The Immortal"
Story Points: 12

Attributes
Awareness 4
Coordination 5
Ingenuity 5
Presence 5
Resolve 4
Strength 3

Skills
Athletics 2
Convince 1
Craft 
Fighting 3
Knowledge 5
Marksman 2
Medicine 1
Science 1
Subterfuge 2
Survival 3
Technology 1
Transport 

Traits
Attractive, Brave, Quick Reflexes, Tough, Adversary (Virginia Dare), Dark Secret (is Immortal)

Special Traits
Immortal (2), Fast Healing (2)

Equipment
Sword cane

Home Tech Level: 4 (she was born in 1569)

--

In truth I am rather happy with these. I altered some of Valerie's skills from her play test file. 

I can easily see a series of adventures with these three. Likely running into Madam Vastra and Jenny in Victorian times (and whom Valerie has dealt with before), Sherlock Holmes and John Watson in a modern London (gotta figure out how that works!), and of course fellow witches Willow and Tara

It's a weird and wonderful universe out there, and this is the game to explore it!

character sheets


Wednesday, September 21, 2022

The Witches of Prowlers & Paragons Ultimate Edition

Yesterday I spent some LONG overdue time with Prowlers & Paragons Ultimate Edition. It is a ridiculously fun game that is really easy to learn and play. I want to give it some more trials, but one of the first things I always do with a game is to see how well it emulates one or two of about a half-dozen or so characters I am always throwing at a game. 

I choose these characters because I know how I want to play from the start, the question is can I make the game do what I want.  Today, with the Fall Equinox knocking on our door and my 100 days of Halloween still on my mind, I am going to do witches.  Shocking. I know.

The Witches of Prowlers & Paragons Ultimate Edition

BUT there is a good reason for this. I always want to check out the "magic" power of any supers game since that is the place you can really break the system. Also, I want to use characters familiar to readers here. This way you can compare and contrast between the various systems. They all do very similar things, but they all also do something different and it is in these differences I make my decisions. 

So, let's get back to some old favorites of mine!

Click on the sheets for larger.

Taryn Nichols, AKA "Teen Witch"

Taryn is my young, "Teen Titans"-esque superhero character. She needs to be on the low end of the supers scale. Her purpose is to see what I can do with the fewest amount of points.  In P&P I started her off at "Low" which is 100 hero points.

Taryn character sheetTaryn mini

Larina Nichols, AKA "Witch Queen"

Larina is always my "rules as written" witch.  To get her the way I wanted I had to jump a level to "High" at 150 hero points. I wanted to do 125 but she kinda got away from me.  Plus I would like to see the interplay of mother and daughter here in a supers game. 

She gains the extra Super Senses (Magic) power from her cursed left eye.

Larina character sheetLarina mini


Tara Maclay

Anyone who has been here for a while knows of my undying love for Willow and especially Tara.  They are largely retired now but would still be magical powerhouses in any game. I set Tara at "Legendary" with 175 hero points. She puts some points into her ability to heal by touch.

Tara character sheetTara mini


Willow Rosenberg

Willow sits at the highest end of my experiments. She is at "Iconic" level with 200 hero points. Like Tara she no longer has Burnout or Concentration con modifiers to her powers the Nichols girls do.  They have to focus, magic to Willow and Tara is like breathing at this point. 

Wilow character sheetWillow mini

I like how they turned out.  As with any game you might do things a little differently and that is fine. These builds work for me and give me a good idea of what the Omni-power can do for Magic.

I used the character sheets instead of typing them all up because I wanted that visceral feel of pencil on paper. Also so you all could an idea of what the sheets look like. 

You can see my other write-ups too for Zatanna, The Refrigerator, and Justice.

ZatannaThe RefrigeratorJustice


Saturday, August 27, 2022

#RPGaDAY2022 Day 27 - How has the character changed?

After 40 years all my characters have changed a bit. 

One character I had, Nigel was a Neutral Evil assassin, but over the years my DM pointed out he wasn't actually acting very evil anymore and he slowly had drifted to Chaotic Neutral, even to the point of losing his assassin's guild.

Larina went from a rather minor character in the late 80s to more and more importance in my games. I even made subtle changes to her looks, ie her eyes went from brown to blue, and in-story I claimed it was because her magic had become more powerful.

Now how *I* have changed with my characters is I am far more willing to try weird characters. Crazy Gnome bards (although not that weird anymore), crazy little goblin cultists, anything. I was never big on the Sword & Sorcery trope characters, but now even less so.


RPGaDAY2022

Monday, January 31, 2022

Character Creation Challenge: Motherland Fort Salem

I missed a couple of days last week on this.  Busy at the day job.  But I am making up for it today, the last day.  Today I want to feature the witches of Motherland Fort Salem

Season 3 has not started yet and there is a huge push to get a Season 4.  While I do respect the creators to tell their story in a three-season arc, I would love to see more.

If you have not been watching then you are missing out. The show is fantastic really. 

Motherland gives us an alternate history where witches rose up during Salem and forged a pact with the then Colonies to protect the new country from their enemies.  There are fewer states in the US and a large portion, The Cession, was given back to the Native Americans in return for their help and magic.  

The series follows three new witch recruits, Abby, Tally, and Raelle, as they go through Basic Training and later War College and how they survive as a unit.   The show does a great job of featuring both their strengths and their weaknesses and how they work together to be a better whole. 

The show features a full cast of strong, interesting women characters.  The leader of the Army is General Alder, a 300+-year-old witch, their drill sergeant is a woman. Even the President is an African-American woman.  Men are either tertiary characters at best (the Witch-Father) or eye-candy (Abby's two boy toys).  Tally doesn't even see a man until one gives up his seat for her so she can fly from California to Massachusetts.  Not that men are put into a bad light.  The Witch Father is respected and well-liked. Raelle's dad is proud of his daughter and worries about her.  It's just their stories are not as important here.  That's a nice change of pace really.

The witches are also not a Ms. Pac-Man trope. They are warriors, witches but also women and they are allowed to be all three. It really is quite enjoyable and very different from what I have seen in the past. 

I can't wait for Season 3!

In the past, I have stated the witches of the Bellweather Unit/Sekhmet Company for OSR D&D, D&D 5e, and NIGHT SHIFT.  

So here they are again for another show overtly about empowered (and powered up) women, Buffy the Vampire Slayer RPG, and mixing in bits of Ghosts of Albion RPG

Since magic has a greater role in M:FS than it does in Buffy, I am going to use Ghost of Albion Magic Rules.

Since I missed four days, here are all the characters to make for it (with an extra one)!

Raelle Collar
(Taylor Hickson)

Hero

"I'm in this with you, and we're gonna figure it out together, okay? Whoever you are, whoever you were, I'm in. No matter what happens, no matter what anybody else thinks, I'm with you."

Life Points: 65
Drama Points: 15

Strength 2
Dexterity 4
Constitution 5
Intelligence 3
Perception 3
Willpower 2

Qualities
Attractiveness (2)
Contacts (2, Amry, Spree)
Hard to Kill 9 (bonded with the Mycelium) 
Immortal (bonded with the Mycelium) 
Nerves of Steel
Soldier
Witch (Magic) (3)
- Magical Philosophy, Fixer (Healer)

Drawbacks
Adversary (lots)
Honorable (2)
Love, Romantic (Scyla)
Obligation (3, Army)

Useful Information
Initiative +4
Observation +5

Height: 5'4" 
Hair:  Blonde
Eyes:  Blue

Skills
Acrobatics 1
Art 2
Computers NA (Tech seems to be about 1980 levels, but no computers)
Crime 2
Doctor 6
Driving 1
Gun-Fu 0 (I have not seen any guns in this universe)
Getting Medieval 4
Influence 3
Knowledge 3
Kung Fu 2
Languages 2 (English, Méníshè)
Mr. Fix-it 1
Notice 2
Occultism 4
Science 1
Sports 1


Combat
Maneuver Bonus  Damage  Notes
Dodge / Parry     +8 - Defense Action                           
Grapple +9 - Defense Action
Scourge +8 7 Attack Action
Windstrike +6 7 Attack Action
Witch Bomb +6 Special Special

Gear
Scourge, Salva

Raelle lived in the part of American known as the Chippewa Cession where the Indigenous Tribal Federations are.  She is a healer of great power like her mother was.  Her mother was reported dead by the Army and Raelle blames the Army and Gen. Bellweather in particular.  She doesn't want to be there and her plan was to get enlisted in the infantry and get killed as soon as possible.  Her attitude earned her the nickname "shitbird" from Abby.

Raelle attitude changed when she met and fell in love with fellow cadet Scylla Ramshorn.

She came in contact with the great mycelium network under Fort Salem and she has bonded to it. This makes her practically immortal.  She has a special attack dubbed "the witch bomb" which lays waste to all around her.  She is hesitant to use it.

--

Tally Craven
(Jessica Sutton)

Hero

"
It's my duty to fight for this country. I think of it more as a privilege. A privilege we witches share."

Life Points: 37
Drama Points: 15

Strength 2
Dexterity 3
Constitution 4
Intelligence 3
Perception 5
Willpower 4

Qualities
Attractiveness (2)
Contacts (1, Army)
Fast Reaction Time
Hard to Kill 1 
Nerves of Steel
Soldier
Witch (Magic) (3)
- Magical Philosophy, Seer

Drawbacks
Adversary (lots)
Honorable (3)
Obligation (3, Army)
Tradition Bound

Useful Information
Initiative +5
Observation +10 (+13 with magic)

Height: 5'6"
Hair: Auburn
Eyes: Brown

Skills
Acrobatics 2
Art 2
Computers NA (Tech seems to be about 1980 levels, but no computers)
Crime 1
Doctor 2
Driving 1
Gun-Fu 0
Getting Medieval 4
Influence 3
Knowledge 4
Kung Fu 2
Languages 2 (English, Méníshè)
Mr. Fix-it 1
Notice 5
Occultism 4
Science 1
Sports 1


Combat
Maneuver Bonus  Damage  Notes
Dodge / Parry     +7 - Defense Action                           
Grapple +8 - Defense Action
Scourge +7 7 Attack Action
Windstrike +7 7 Attack Action
Sight +13 Special Special

Gear
Scourge, Salva

Tally comes from the depleted Craven line. All her aunts had gone to fight in the Army and they all died.  She is the last of her line. She lived in the Matrifocal Allotment near Sacramento, California. She had not even seen a male until she answered her call of duty, an action her mother strongly wished her not to do.  Her power is to "see." She can detect disguised and hidden objects or people and might be one of the most powerful seers to come up in the ranks in a long time.

Tally is a sweet girl who loves with all her heart because that is what she knows.  She is fiercely loyal to her Unit.

She saved Alder's life when she volunteered to become a Biddie for a short time.  This has given her access to Alders memories.

--

Abigail Bellweather
(Ashley Williams)

Hero

"
Obviously you're familiar with the Bellweather name..."

Life Points: 44
Drama Points: 15

Strength 3
Dexterity 3
Constitution 4
Intelligence 4
Perception 3
Willpower 3

Qualities
Attractiveness (2)
Contacts (2, Army, Bellweather family)
Hard to Kill 2 
Nerves of Steel
Resources (10)
Soldier
Status (4)
Witch (Magic) (3)
- Magical Philosophy, Storm magic

Drawbacks
Adversary (lots)
Honorable (3)
Obligation (4, Army)
Tradition Bound

Useful Information
Initiative +3
Observation +6

Height: 5'8" 
Hair:  Brown 
Eyes: Brown  

Skills
Acrobatics 4
Art 0
Computers NA (Tech seems to be about 1980 levels, but no computers)
Crime 1
Doctor 1
Driving 2
Gun-Fu 0
Getting Medieval 4
Influence 4
Knowledge 4
Kung Fu 3
Languages 2 (English, Méníshè)
Mr. Fix-it 1
Notice 3
Occultism 5
Science 1
Sports 1


Combat
Maneuver Bonus  Damage  Notes
Dodge / Parry     +7 - Defense Action                           
Grapple +8 - Defense Action
Scourge +7 7 Attack Action
Windstrike +7 7 Attack Action
Maelstrom Generation +11 Special Special

Gear
Scourge, Salva

Abigail "Abby" Bellweather, of the East Coast Bellweathers, is the leader of the Bellweather Unit.  She starts out in the show as an arrogant, if even spoiled, girl of privilege. By the end of the series she is the leader she was born to be.  Even her rivalries with Raelle and fellow East Coast witch Libba Swythe become something different as she accepts the responsibility of what being a soldier-witch means.

When the Camarilla targeted her family and killed her cousin she has dedicated her entire training to wiping them out. 

--

Scylla Ramshorn
(Amalia Holm)

Hero, Villan, Anti-Hero

"I like you, okay? I have feelings for you, and they're not something I'm used to having ... not something I'm used to dealing with. I'm a dodger, which means no attachments. Because things go away, we go away."

Life Points: 44
Drama Points: 15

Strength 2
Dexterity 3
Constitution 5
Intelligence 4
Perception 4
Willpower 3

Qualities
Attractiveness (2)
Contacts (1, Spree)
Hard to Kill 2 
Nerves of Steel
Soldier (Dodger)
Witch (Magic) (4)
- Magical Philosophy, Necromancer

Drawbacks
Adversary (lots)
Love, Romantic (Raelle)
Obligation (1, Army)
Obligation (4, The Spree)

Useful Information
Initiative +3
Observation +8

Height: 5'3" 
Hair: Brown 
Eyes: Blue 

Skills
Acrobatics 1
Art 1
Computers NA (Tech seems to be about 1980 levels, but no computers)
Crime 4
Doctor 2
Driving 1
Gun-Fu 0
Getting Medieval 3
Influence 3
Knowledge 3
Kung Fu 3
Languages 2 (English, Méníshè)
Mr. Fix-it 1
Notice 4
Occultism 5
Science 1
Sports 1


Combat
Maneuver Bonus  Damage  Notes
Dodge / Parry     +6 - Defense Action                           
Grapple +7 - Defense Action
Scourge +7 - Attack Action
Windstrike +8 - Attack Action
Other magic +12 Special Special

Gear
Scourge, Salva

Scylla is a "Necro" or a Necromancer.  Because their power makes others uneasy they are quartered in a different part of the base. We learn that Scylla's parents were killed when she was young.   She meets and falls in love with Raelle.  Later we find out she is part of the terrorist organization known as The Spree, responsible for hundreds of deaths across the country.  Her job was to recruit Raelle, but she actually fell in love with her.

Scylla was instrumental in discovering the location and leadership of the local Camarilla faction.  With her help Raelle got to see her mother one more time and now she, along with the Spree, are protecting the Bellwether Unit.

--

General Sarah Alder
(Lyne Renee)

Very Experienced Hero

"Honor me, make a place for me and my kind and we will win your wars."

Life Points: 88
Drama Points: 20

Strength 3
Dexterity 3
Constitution 9 (with biddies)
Intelligence 5
Perception 5
Willpower 4

Qualities
Age (3)
Attractiveness (2)
Contacts (4, Army, Governments)
Fast Reaction Time
Hard to Kill 6 
Nerves of Steel
Soldier
Witch (Magic) (8)
- Magical Philosophy, War magic

Drawbacks
Adversary (lots)
Honorable (3)
Obligation (4, Army)
Tradition Bound

Useful Information
Initiative +5
Observation +9

Height: 5'9"
Hair: Black
Eyes: Blue 

Skills
Acrobatics 3
Art 2
Computers NA (Tech seems to be about 1980 levels, but no computers)
Crime 4
Doctor 3
Driving 3
Gun-Fu 
Getting Medieval 9
Influence 7
Knowledge 5
Kung Fu 5
Languages 3 (English, Méníshè, French)
Mr. Fix-it 2
Notice 4
Occultism 9
Science 1
Sports 1

Combat
Maneuver Bonus  Damage  Notes
Dodge / Parry     +12 - Defense Action                           
Grapple +13 - Defense Action
Scourge +17 18 Attack Action
Windstrike +17 18 Attack Action
Other magic +21 Special Special

Gear
Scourge, Salva

Sarah Alder was a survivor of the witch hunts of the 16th and 17th Centuries. She rallied her fellow witches at Salem, Massachusetts and presented the new government with a deal. Save us and we will fight your wars.  The US Government and the Witches have been allies ever since.  

Sarah maintains her youth with her select group of "biddies" or women that have sacrificed their own youth so she may remain forever young.  The biddies and Alder are all connected, much in the way a witch and familiar might be.  Thus Sarah can call on greater magics than her already high level has access to.

Alder appears to die at the end of the last episode of Season 2, but instead we see she has become part of the mycelium network.

--

Damn. Now I want to rewatch all of Season 1 and 2 again!

Want to see more of the #CharacterCreationChallenge? Stop by Tardis Captain's Blog and the #CharacterCreationChallenge on Twitter for more! 

Character Creation Challenge

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

The NPCs of "The Wild Beyond The Witchlight"

Skylla, my ex
While "The Wild Beyond The Witchlight" has a lot going for it the reason, well one of the reasons, I really wanted it was because we were getting some official D&D 5th Edition stats to some classic NPCs, in particular, Skylla and Kelek two "iconic" characters that I am using in my War of the Witch Queens campaign. So I want to look at these old friends and maybe a couple of new ones too.  I'll leave poor old Thaco alone with his pipe and bitterness today.  Plus it is October and Horror month, so I really just want to talk about my favorites, the bad guys.

Who Are These Characters?

Long before the use of the term Iconic Characters to refer to reoccurring D&D characters in publication, there were names like Warduke, Strongheart, Ringlerun, and Kelek.  They appeared in the AD&D toy line from LJN and in other media including coloring books, stickers, adventures, and sometimes even the Dungeons & Dragons cartoon.   It is also one of the reasons why I have to laugh when people today will see a stuffed Owlbear and complain that "WotC is selling out and ruining D&D."  They must have forgotten the Official Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Yoyo or Sunglasses.

Of all of these characters, there were a few standouts who got extra attention.  Ringlerun, the Good Wizard would be the cover boy for the Jeff Easley recover of the AD&D Player's Handook, although many at the time did not see the connection.  Kelek and Warduke would go on to get a guest spot on the D&D cartoon.  Warduke in particular would go on to be a minor celebrity in D&D iconic circles, getting 1st Ed (well...Basic really), 3rd Ed, and now 5th Ed Ed stats.

LJN D&D Toys

We would get all their official D&D Basic and Expert set stats, not AD&D, in the product AC1 The Shady Dragon Inn.  This was sort of a Rogues Gallery for BECMI D&D. You can read my review of it here

What I would like to do here today is compare these characters from the Wild Beyond the Witchlight to their Shady Dragon Inn and Quest for the Heartstone counterparts. 

Bad guys

The League of Malevolence

Heroes are great, but give me a "good" villain any day of the week.  Here are five iconic D&D villains. I will compare them to their D&D Basic versions to see what has changed and what has stayed the same.

Kelek

First up is the leader of the League of Malevolence, our Legion of Doom for D&D.  All these characters are Chaotic Evil which tracks well to their original alignments of Chaotic.  

In Basic D&D Kelek was an "Evil Sorcerer" of course at this time a "Sorcerer" was the level title for a 7th level Magic-user.  In 5e his class has become a Sorcerer.  This actually make a lot of sense and I approve of this change.  His stats are pretty much the same from edition to edition with the exception of his Charisma which goes from 7 to 17.  Charisma is the "prime" stat for sorcerers. Here he is described as a sociopath. That tracks with how I have seen him in the past

Part of this adventure is searching for a lost Unicorn horn. Well that was more or less the plot of the only D&D Cartoon to feature Kelek.  If nothing else I am saying he is still after unicorn horns. 

Skylla

Ah. My beloved Skylla.  I was the most excited and the most worried to see what the Wizard's dev team was going to do to you.  I have to say I am not disappointed. In Quest of the Heartstone, she is listed as a 6th level Warlock. Again, this time "Warlock" meaning 6th level magic-user. I do note that the TSR team avoided calling her a "Witch" at the time. Likely due to the Satanic Panic (but Warlock is fine?).  Like her former boss Kelek, the level title is translated to Class here and she is a 6th level Warlock. It fits well if you ask me

Skylla's stats are mostly the same with some tweaks to improve what she needs to be a Warlock.  Though the best changes are in her background.  For starters, her patron is not a demon (like I did) but rather with Baba Yaga (like...I did).  Additionally they tackle the Skylla/Charmay art issue head-on as sometimes Skylla goes by the name Charmay.  It's different than what I do with her, but it works out fine in my mind.

For the record, they got Skylla as close to a "witch: as D&D 5e's rules will currently allow.  I think they did a great job with her.  Kelek too.

Warduke

I do have to ask. Why does everyone like this guy so much? I never quite got it, but hey someone out there is looking at my nearly 30 posts about Skylla and scratching their head. 

That all being said, Warduke here is fairly impressive. I think the fans will be happy.  His stats are all the same in both versions.  His Dread Helm in Basic gave him Infravision to 60'.  The D&D 5e version only makes his eyes glow red.  Well, as I have said many times, I have a pencil.

Zarak

The half-orc Assassin was just an odd dude in Basic D&D that didn't have half-orcs as monsters, let alone as a character race, nor did it have assassins.  Yet there he is on page 18 of my Quest for the Heartstone. In D&D 5 he also has some strangeness. He is a full orc here BUT he is a short one to fit the AD&D/D&D Basic orcs.  Though he is still a Chaotic Evil Assassin.  His Dexterity gets a buff in 5e, but he loses his "boomerang" dagger!

Zargash

The evil cleric is back.  He is 7th level, so that makes him an evil Bishop. Zargash is still Chaotic Evil and he worships Orcus. Stats are tweaked a bit, but otherwise he is largely the same.

Missing Evil Characters include, Grimsword (Evil Knight aka Anti-Paladin), Zorgan (Evil Barbarian) and Drex (Evil Warrior) all from Quest for the Heartstone. Fox Fingers (Thief) and Raven (Evil Cleric) from Shaddy Dragon Inn.  In might be fun to make Raven. She is evil (but maybe not totally), and in love with Warduke. She was once friend with Mericon. Who is up in the next batch.

Valor's Call

Our group of good hereos had the real chance of being boring on one hand and overly sanctimonious on the other.  Thankfully were spared the worse.  They are not as interesting as our bad guys, but they are still fun and there are still some tweaks that make them worth reading and using.

Elkhorn

Our Lawful Good dwarf might have been one of the more popular figures right behind Warduke.  His stats are the same in both versions.  I do like how they took an essentially blank canvas and made a dwarf that is not a Flint Fireforge clone or a Dime store Thorin and gave him some goals.  He is a staunch enemy of evil.  If Strongheart is the founder of Valor's call, then Elkhorn is its heart.

Mercion

Ok. She is no Aleena, but Mercion is the cleric of the group. Her stats are tweaked a bit to give her better Strength and a higher level, but the Mercion in 5e is much more interesting.  In what I feel is a real homage to her Basic D&D roots, she does not worship a god but rather an ideal. She believes that truth gives life to artistry and beauty.  It's kind of a cool concept. If I were to use her as an NPC I would make sure she never lies about anything, ever. In fact, the brutal truth is better for her than a sweet lie. 

Molliver

Molliver the good thief was not in the Shady Dragon Inn product but can be found in the Quest for the Heartstone. In Quest no gender is given for Molliver, so in the 5e book their pronouns are "they."  I like it. I like it because a.) it works for the character and b.) it will certainly piss off the ones that need pissing off.

Molliver is also the only Chaotic Good member of the party. A "Lawful" thief does not make much sense really. Stats are largely the same with a buff for Dex. They even have their boots of levitation, handy for a thief.  

Ringlerun

Our Lawful Good Wizard from Basic remains a Lawful Good Wizard in 5e.  Never as interesting as Kelek, Elminster, or Mordenkainen he was on the cover of the Player's Handbook and a popular figure. 

Ringlerun
His arm must be tired

He is still largely a generic wizard. He has kind of a James Randi in his later years look about him.  In my games he is dead; died of old age, but that doesn't really make sense for a wizard I guess.  I have some ideas forming that I might explore later.  Or not. After all he was never very interesting.

Strongheart

If I have one purely AD&D gripe it is that I rarely see anyone playing a paladin a good way.  "Sanctimonious Asshole" is not a Paladin. Neither is "Grim, tortured because there is so much evil in the world" isn't either.   I was worried that Strongheart was going to fall into one of those two camps. Or even worse, weak Sturm Brightblade clone.

Thankfully, that is not what we got. Instead, 5e Strongheart is the kind of paladin who is all about "we should get together to defeat evil because there is so much good in the world to enjoy!" He makes a good leader.  Again his stats are slightly tweaked to give him a better Strength (13 to 15) which, by the way, his D&D Basic stats were not good enough to make him an AD&D Paladin!

He was the character I was prepared to dislike the most (I have played paladins in EVERY version of D&D) and his actually was pretty cool.

It is mentioned that there are more characters in Valor's Call, off doing Good elsewhere.  They do have a solid feel of "The Superfriends" here. Not s big surprise I guess. Potential other members from Quest of the Heartstone include Peralay (Elf Fighter/Mage), Figgen (Halfling Fighter or Fighter/Theif), Deeth (Fighter), Hawkler (a totally NOT the Beastmaster Ranger), Bowmarc (Good "Crusader") and Valkeer, a half-giant warrior.  Of these Valkeer might the most fun to update to 5e.  Of these Peralay also appears in The Shady Dragon Inn.  

Strongheart and Warduke

Other NPCs

There are plenty of other really interesting NPCs in this book.  Many I plan to lift and convert back to D&D Basic for use in my War of the Witch Queens campaign.

Burly the Hobgoblin

Before D&D, a hobgoblin was more a trickster as exemplified by Puck or Robin Goodfellow. In Witchlight we have Burly a Neutral Good Hobgoblin.  Ok, I'll go with that. My favorite bit is he is a hobgoblin who wears a pumpkin on his head.  Now, where have I seen that before?

Pumpkin head

Bugbear. Hobgoblin.  The differences are largely academic.

Likewise, Chucklehead is a goblin with a  head shaped like a taffy apple.

Iggwilv the Witch Queen

Yes! Getting Skylla was one thing, getting a new Iggwilv?  That's just crazy good.

This is Iggwilv after she has left the Abyss and has been hiding out in the Feywild for centuries. Here she is also known as Tasha, Natasha, and Zybilna.  There is an interaction here with Kelek that plays so well into my plans it is hard not to use it all.  There is an interesting Maiden-Mother-Crone aspect of Iggwilv here in the form of Tasha-Zybilna-Iggwilv.

Iggwilv

Now I am perfectly happy with the formerly Chaotic Evil Iggwilv becoming more Chaotic Neutral as time goes on.  What I am not 100% sure about is her desire to abandon all her research on the Abyss and Demons in favor of learning about the Feywild instead.  But...I can live with it.

The Hour Glass Coven

I like them. Very interesting bunch of witches and hags.

The Minis

This is such an interesting group of NPCs it makes sense that there is also an equally interesting group of minis to go with them.  Sadly the supply chain breakdown has pushed many of these minis till 2022.  But I am really looking forward to them.

Kelek
Kelek

Skylla
Skylla

Zyblina
Zyblina


Looking forward to them.

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Motherland: Fort Salem Season 2 and NIGHTSHIFT

Last year's big surprise hit for me was Motherland Fort Salem and Season 2 starts tonight!

Motherland Fort Salem

And I can't wait!

The show gave us a very different sort of Army and a different sort of witches.  Now with Season 2 we have two different witch factions (the Army and the Spree) and an ancient group of Witch Hunters called The Camarilla.  I am also looking forward to learning more about the "Mother Language" that witches can speak called Méníshè.  Reminds me of what was trying to be done with Inha as a witch language

If this all sounds like a great RPG setting, you are right! This is a fantastic setting for NIGHT SHIFT.

I am stating up the characters up to the end of Season 1, but not including the game-changing season finale.

Raelle Collar
(Taylor Hickson)

5th level Witch

Base Abilities
Strength: 12 (0)
Dexterity: 13 (+1)
Constitution: 15 (+1) s
Intelligence: 12 (0) s
Wisdom: 13 (+1) P
Charisma: 15 (+1) 

HP: 19  (5d4) +5
AC: 6 combat armor
Fate Points: 1d10

Check Bonus (P/S/T): +3/+2/+1
Melee bonus: +1  Ranged bonus: +2
Saves: +4 against spells and magical effects
Arcana: Innate Magic: Wind Shear (1d6 per level of witch)

Hair: Blonde
Eyes: Blue

Spells
1st level: Cure Light Wounds, Sleep, Wind Strike* (treat as an air-based magic missile)
2nd level: Continual Flame, Levitate
3rd level: Cure Disease

Raelle lived in the part of American known as the Chippewa Cession where the Indigenous Tribal Federations are.  She is a healer of great power like her mother was.  Her mother was reported dead by the Army and Raelle blames the Army and Gen. Bellweather in particular.  She doesn't want to be there and her plan was to get enlisted in the infantry and get killed as soon as possible.  Her attitude earned her the nickname "shitbird" from Abby.

Raelle attitude changed when she met and fell in love with fellow cadet Scylla Ramshorn.

Abigail Bellweather
(Ashley Williams)

5th level Witch

Base Abilities
Strength: 12 (0) s
Dexterity: 11 (0)
Constitution: 13 (+1)
Intelligence: 14 (+1) s
Wisdom: 11 (0)
Charisma: 17 (+2) P

HP: 18 (5d4) +5
AC: 6 combat armor
Fate Points: 1d10

Check Bonus (P/S/T): +3/+2/+1
Melee bonus: +1  Ranged bonus: +1
Saves: +4 against spells and magical effects
Arcana: Innate Magic: Wind Shear (1d6 per level of witch)

Hair: Dark Brown
Eyes: Brown

Spells
1st level: Detect Snares & Pits, Obscurement, Wind Strike* (treat as an air-based magic missile)
2nd level: Levitate, Suggestion
3rd level: Curse

Abigail "Abby" Bellweather, of the East Coast Bellweathers, is the leader of the Bellweather Unit.  She starts out in the show as an arrogant, if even spoiled, girl of privilege. By the end of the series, she is the leader she was born to be.  Even her rivalries with Raelle and fellow East Coast witch Libba Swythe become something different as she accepts the responsibility of what being a soldier-witch means.

Tally Craven
(Jessica Sutton)

5th level Witch

Base Abilities
Strength: 11 (0)
Dexterity: 13 (+1) 
Constitution: 14 (+1) 
Intelligence: 13 (+1) s
Wisdom: 14 (+1) P
Charisma: 16 (+2) s

HP: 18 (5d4) +5
AC: 6 combat armor
Fate Points: 1d10

Check Bonus (P/S/T): +3/+2/+1
Melee bonus: +1  Ranged bonus: +2
Saves: +4 against spells and magical effects
Arcana: Innate Magic: Wind Shear (1d6 per level of witch)

Hair: Red
Eyes: Brown

Spells
1st level: Detect Evil, Detect Magic, Wind Strike* (treat as an air-based magic missile)
2nd level: Knock, Levitate
3rd level: Clairvoyance

Tally comes from the depleted Craven line. All her aunts had gone to fight in the Army and they all died.  She is the last of her line. She lived in the Matrifocal Allotment near Sacramento, California. She had not even seen a male until she answered her call of duty, an action her mother strongly wished her not to do.  Her power is to "see." She can detect disguised and hidden objects or people and might be one of the most powerful seers to come up in the ranks in a long time.

Tally is a sweet girl who loves with all her heart because that is what she knows.  She is fiercely loyal to her Unit.

Scylla Ramshorn
(Amalia Holm)

6th level Witch

Base Abilities
Strength: 11 (0)
Dexterity: 13 (+1) 
Constitution: 16 (+2) 
Intelligence: 14 (+1) s
Wisdom: 13 (+1) s
Charisma: 18 (+3) P

HP: 27 (6d4) +12
AC: 6 combat armor
Fate Points: 1d10

Check Bonus (P/S/T): +4/+2/+1
Melee bonus: +1  Ranged bonus: +2
Saves: +4 against spells and magical effects
Arcana: Innate Magic: Wind Shear (1d6 per level of witch)

Hair: Dark Brown
Eyes: Blue

Spells
1st level: Deathwatch, Obscurement, Wind Strike* (treat as an air-based magic missile)
2nd level: Levitate, Phantasmal Image, Suggestion
3rd level: Animate Dead, Speak with Dead

Scylla is a "Necro" or a Necromancer.  Because their power makes others uneasy they are quartered in a different part of the base. We learn that Scylla's parents were killed when she was young.   She meets and falls in love with Raelle.  Later we find out she is part of the terrorist organization known as The Spree, responsible for hundreds of deaths across the country.  Her job was to recruit Raelle, but she actually fell in love with her.

General Sarah Alder
(Lyne Renee)

20th level Witch

Base Abilities
Strength: 13 (+1) 
Dexterity: 14 (+1) 
Constitution: 20 (+4) 
Intelligence: 17 (+2) s
Wisdom: 16 (+2) s
Charisma: 20 (+4) P

HP: 123 (10d4+18) +80
AC: 6 combat armor
Fate Points: 1d10

Check Bonus (P/S/T): +8/+5/+3
Melee bonus: +7  Ranged bonus: +7
Saves: +8 against spells and magical effects
Arcana: Innate Magic: Wind Shear (1d6 per level of witch), Telepathic Transmission, Arcane Bonds (Biddies) 

Hair: Black
Eyes: Blue

Spells
1st level: Command, Cure Light Wounds, Detect Magic, Inflict Light Wounds, Protection from Evil, Wind Strike* (treat as an air-based magic missile)
2nd level: Cause Fear, Continual Flame, Lesser Restoration, Levitate, Suggestion
3rd level: Clairvoyance, Curse, Haste, Protection from Evil 10', Unholy Blight
4th level: Arcane Eye, Confusion, Hallucinatory Terrain, Phantasmal Killer, Restoration. 
5th level: Cloudkill, Commune, Domination, Telekinesis
6th level: Control Weather, Disintegrate, Feeblemind, Slay Living
7th level: Death Aura, Veneration, Wave of Mutilation, Windershins Dance
8th level: Antipathy/Sympathy, Damning Stare, Discern Location, Wail of the Banshee
9th level: Astral Projection, Breath of the Goddess, Mystic Barrier

"Honor me, make a place for me and my kind and we will win your wars."
- General Sarah Alder to Massachusetts Bay Militia, Say the Words

Sarah Alder was a survivor of the witch hunts of the 16th and 17th Centuries. She rallied her fellow witches at Salem, Massachusetts and presented the new government with a deal. Save us and we will fight your wars.  The US Government and the Witches have been allies ever since.  

Sarah maintains her youth with her select group of "biddies" or women that have sacrificed their own youth so she may remain forever young.  The biddies and Alder are all connected, much in the way a witch and familiar might be.  Thus Sarah can call on greater magics than her already high level has access to.

Sergeant Anacostia Quartermain
(Demetria McKinney)

10th level Witch

Base Abilities
Strength: 16 (+2) s
Dexterity: 17 (+2) 
Constitution: 16 (+2) 
Intelligence: 13 (+1) 
Wisdom: 15 (+1) P
Charisma: 16 (+2) s

HP: 45 (10d4) +20
AC: 6 combat armor
Fate Points: 1d10

Check Bonus (P/S/T): +5/+3/+2
Melee bonus: +4  Ranged bonus: +4
Saves: +5 against spells and magical effects
Arcana: Innate Magic: Wind Shear (1d6 per level of witch), Telepathic Transmission

Hair: Black
Eyes: Brown

Spells
1st level: Command, Inflict Light Wounds, Sleep, Wind Strike* (treat as an air-based magic missile)
2nd level: ESP, Levitate, Phantasmal Image, Suggestion
3rd level: Clairvoyance, Dispel Magic, Protection from Evil 10'
4th level: Arcane Eye, Phantasmal Killer, Produce Fire
5th level: Harm, Telekinesis

Staff Sergeant Anacostia Quartermain serves as the sergeant for the Bellweather Unit.  She is absolutely loyal to General Alder but also cares a great deal for the girls in her unit. 

She is a highly trained combat witch.

--

Motherland: Fort Salem would be an excellent setting, aka "Night World" for NIGHT SHIFT.  I am hoping to learn more about the witch hunters in the Camarilla this season and I hope Tally will be OK, and what ever happened to Rae and Abby.

Get NIGHT SHIFT here: