Showing posts with label class. Show all posts
Showing posts with label class. Show all posts

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Winter Is HERE! The Winter Witch Tradition for Swords & Wizardry

From the lands of the Ice and Snow comes the newest Witch Tradition for Swords & Wizardry.

The Winter Witch Tradition

With this book, you can now learn the secrets of the Winter Witch, the living personification of all that makes winter the most dazzling and the most dangerous season.

Inside you will find:

The Winter Witch tradition and the Winter Warlock Pact
The Vǫlva and Warden classes
New races for S&W Complete to suit the winter world.
  • 130+ witch spells
    • 100+ Warlock spells
    • 14 Cleric spells 
    • 40+ Druid and Magic-User spells 
50+ Monsters
New Treasure, magic items and artifacts of powerful witches.

Art by Dean Spencer, Jacob E. Blackmon, Daniel Comerci, Larry Elmore, William McAusland, Todd Shearer, and Josh Soper.

All for your Swords & Wizardry games!

Winter is here, are you ready?

Thursday, October 18, 2018

The Witch for Swords & Wizardry White Box

It's 13 days till Halloween.
What better way to celebrate than with

A complete set of rules for the witch class for the Swords & Wizardry White Box RPG.

Inside you will find:
  • The Witch Class (levels 1-10)
  • The White Witchcraft tradition
  • 183 witch spells
  • 76 brand new spells
  • 18 monsters 
  • New treasure and magic items

All for your Swords & Wizardry White Box old-school games!

And 100% compatible with all my Swords & Wizardry witch books/traditions.

Cover art by A.E. Short.
Some interior art by Anna Marine:

Available NOW in both PDF and Print on Demand formats.

Joyous Samhain and Happy Halloween!!

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

New Spells for the Deathwitch and Mara Witch Tradition

The Little Book of Adventuring Classes Vol. 1 was just released by Jason Paul McCartan.  It is for Swords & Wizardry but can be easily adapted to other games.  I will get a review out on it soon, but I want to wait on reading it since it has a class and race very similar to something my son and I have been working on and I don't want any undue influence.
(spoiler, what I have read is great and worth every penny!)

But the one class I did read was the Deathwitch. She also appears to be the cover girl of this book, so it has my attention. Also, the book was released on Walpurgis Night so many kudos to Jason for planning ahead.   

The deathwitch fills the same niche as my Mara witch Tradition.  They share enough similarities that ideas can used for one or the other almost equally, but both still retain their uniqueness. 

Both witches have very strong associations to death and the undead.  The deathwitch maybe a little more so.

I was already working on a big spell-related project and as it turns out necromancy spells really don't fit in well to it.   They do however fit in well here.

So here are some spells for both the Deathwitch and the Mara.  All are 100% open content.
(email me for a full section 15 if you want to reuse any.)

"Witch" refers to both the deathwitch, the Mara tradition of my witch class or a warlock
Note: Mara Witches, and other witches from The Witch, require material components. Deathwitch and warlocks do not.

Black Fire
Level: Witch 1
Range: 15’
Duration: 1 hour + 10 minutes per level
This spell allows the witch to create an immobile source of heat with black fire, emitting no light but providing warmth equivalent to a small campfire in a 10-ft. radius.  The fire is a diffuse source of heat that is not sufficiently focused to ignite combustible materials.  It can be used to slowly cook meals or boil water, although doing so always requires double the amount of time required with a normal campfire.  The flames are uncomfortable to the touch, but they will not cause any burn damage.  They can be extinguished in the same manner as a normal fire. 
Material Components: A piece of lampblack and a 1-lb lump of coal. 

Blight Growth
Level: Witch 1
Range: Touch
Duration: 1 week
This spell can be used in three ways.
Blight Garden - Growth is decreased by 20% during the duration of the spell When used on a natural garden, it will produce 20% less food.  This can be used to affect gardens up to 10 square feet per caster level. 
Blight Body - If cast on a living creature, they will recover one less hit point for each full night of rest.  
Blight Mother - This spell can also be used to decrease the chances of a woman getting pregnant, though it’s up to the GM to decide exactly how it’s affected.
Material Components: A drop of fetid water.

Bone Cage
Level: Witch 4
Range: Any 25' radius the witch can see and is within 100'
Duration: 1 round per level 
This spell is favored by evil witches, warlocks, and necromancers.  Upon uttering the command a cage of bones will erupt from the ground and trap up to 5 man-sized creatures in a 25’ radius.
The material component for this spell is a bone of a man that died in captivity.

Command Undead
Level: Witch Ritual 1, Deathwitch 2
Range: Undead within Sight
Duration: Instant
This spells summons the divine power of the Witch’s patron and gives her the ability to affect undead as if she were a cleric one level lower. This special ritual requires only one witch, but she must use a specially consecrated altar item such as her athamé or pentacle. 
If she is joined in the spell by another witch or a like-minded cleric then she can add one effective level for each additional participant.
Material Components: A concencrated athamé or pentacle.

Death Armor
Level:  Witch 2
Range: Self
Duration: 1 round per level
This spell causes the witch’s skin to become highly acidic.  Anyone touching the witch’s skin, via an unarmed attack or otherwise, receives 2d6 points of Acid damage (save for half).  The witch can make a touch attack with this spell.
Material Components: 100 gp worth of special creams, which must be rubbed over the witch’s arms.

Feel My Pain
Level: Witch 1
Range: 50’
Duration: Instantaneous
The witch transfers pain and damage to another target in line of sight.  She invokes the spell and either cuts herself or causes damage in some way, such as putting her hand in a torch fire.  She takes 1 hp of damage (regardless of how much would have been dealt normally) and she turns and magnifies that on her target causing 1d6 points of damage.
Material Components: The material components for this spell are the witch's boline or dagger or whatever she uses to cause herself pain.

Ghostly Slashing
Level: Witch 1
Range: 25’ + 5’ per 2 levels
Duration: Instantaneous
This spell creates what seems like a ghostly attacker that attacks the target.  In fact, the spell only causes an open wound on a person.  This spell deals 1d4 slashing damage +1 per level (max +20).  The placement of the wound is random.  This spell has no effect on the Undead or construct creatures like golems.
Material Components: A small flake of any kind of metal.

Hecate’s Spiritual Dog
Level: Witch 1
Range: 10’ per level
Duration: Special
This spell summons the spirit of a dead dog to act as the necromancer wishes for the duration of the spell.  The dog has one Hit Die for every odd level the caster has (1 HD for levels 1 and 2, 2 HD for levels 3 and 4, etc.) to a maximum of 5 HD. 
A non-combative dog is useful mostly for warning and will vanish after one warning or 1d4 hours + 10 minutes per level, whichever comes first.  A combative dog fights as a dog with Hit Dice as generated by the summoning and lasts until killed or 1d4 rounds + 1 round per level.  Both have an Armor Class in inverse proportion to caster level up to level 10 (level 1, AC 9. level 2, AC 9, … level 10, AC 0).  Past level 10, the dogs have AC 0. 
Material Components: The witch’s Athamé, dog fur (for a non-combative dog) or a dog tooth (for a combative dog).

Level: Witch 2
Range: the Witch herself
Duration: 1 hour
The witch uses this spell to mimic any voice she has heard.  She can’t use any of the languages spoken by the voice unless she knows them as well, but can mimic the voice perfectly.  A saving throw (modified by Wisdom bonus) allows a victim to notice the truth.
Material Components: The witch brings her hands to her mouth.

Shadow Monsters
Level: Witch 4
Range: 30’
Duration: 1 round/level
The witch may create phantasmal pseudo-real monsters in an area of 20’. The monster or monsters created cannot exceed the witch’s level in HD. Monsters created in this fashion must all be the same type. They have 2 HP per the creature’s normal HD. Victims are allowed a Wisdom check to realize the creatures are only partly real. The phantasmal monsters are able to attack and deal damage as per a normal creature of their type to any being that fails this check. If the check succeeds, the phantasmal monsters damage is halved. 
Material Components: The witch makes a shadow of a monster with her hands while casting the spell.

Skull Guard
Level: Witch 3
Range: One Skull
Duration: Until sunrise (8 hours)
The witch casts this spell on a normal skull and sets it out to guard at night. Any creature that approaches the skull causes it to glow. If a creature moves past it closer to the witch it will begin to cackle, howl or otherwise make a noise to awaken the witch.  The noise is magical and will always wake the witch. The witch can enchant one skull for every 2 levels.
Material Components: A skull, preferably of a hanged man.  If the witch plans on casting for multiple skulls then she will need those skulls as well.  The skulls are not consumed in the casting. 

Tears of the Banshee
Level: Witch 4
Range: 100’ + 10’ per level)
Duration: 1 minute + 1 minute per level
This spell calls a thick green mist to roll forth from the earth, completely obscuring darkvision/infravision and reducing regular vision up to 5 feet.  All those within the mist are shielded and are at a -5 to hit. Furthermore, those within the area of effect must make a saving throw (fear-based) or be scared by the eerie qualities of the fog, as strange sounds such as wailing, laughter and screaming persist for the duration of the spell.  Affected creatures suffer a –2 to all attacks and saves, but do not have to flee as if they were panicked.
Material Components: Water from a bog where a childless woman has killed herself.

Waves of Fatigue
Level: Witch 5
Range: 30’
Duration: Instantaneous
The witch sweeps her arms in a long arc and a wave of negative energy renders all living creatures in the spell’s area fatigued.  Fatigued characters can’t run and they take a -2 penalty on any Strength and Dexterity rolls (including attacks and damage).  Fatigued characters require 8 hours of rest.
This spell has no effect on a creature that is already fatigued. 

Thursday, April 19, 2018

This Old Dragon: Issue #109

You know how some issues don't grab you at first, but something about them keeps at you and makes you keep coming back to them?  They was me and this issue back in May 1986.  I did not buy this issue when it came out, my then regular DM did (more on that later) but I kept borrowing it. I kept coming back to it.  Today rereading it again after getting my own copy I am struck by how much of it stuck with me.  So let's set the way-back machine to May 1986, put on some Whitney Houston and see what we have in this Issue #109 of This Old Dragon!

The cover for this one is mixed for me.  I love the artist's (Daniel Horne) other works and this is objectively a good piece of work.  But there is something....I don't know.  I have never been able to come out say I like it or I hate it.  Strange.  No fault of the artist, but something with me I am sure.
Note: looking past the cover I see this is his first cover for Dragon.

Moving on!

While we are near the time of the special features and theme issues, we are not quite there yet in this one.  For example our center piece is a fold out poster and the Gen Con 19 Booklet.  Whomever owned this issue before had removed the book, but kept in a folder with all their Gen Con 19 registration materials and receipts for game tickets.  Very interesting stuff.  Heavy on AD&D.

That is not to say there are not some great features here.  Far, FAR from it.

Letters covers people noting that AD&D game seems to be growing rules-wise all the time and there is so much to keep track of.  Others discuss how Dragon is becoming the "house organ" of TSR.  Oh just wait buddy...and another asking if we will see more Gary classes he promised three years ago.  Sadly we did not know it then, but Gary was nearly out the door by this time and completely gone in less than 5 months.

Up first is an article that pretty much dominated my life for the next few years.  Paul Montgomery Crabaugh's famous Customized Classes article was for the D&D game, but could be adapted to AD&D.  I think most of us today know this article and many of the similar class customization tools you can find online or in books like the ACKS Player's Companion.   I used this to "check my numbers" for my first witch and healer classes, which were using modified XP tables based on the cleric.  I found my witch needed to be increased and the healer decreased.  The numbers I used today are based now more on playtest and some numbers I worked out in Excel.
My then DM, who owned this issue, went even further than me.  He created a whole new grouping of psychic based classes (we playing a pretty heavy Deryni-like game then were psychic were the outcasts in our world.  His classes, call Riddlemasters (based very, very loosely on the Riddle-masters of Hed) were psychic warriors that survived by making their psychic powers look like magic.   I remember coming over to play and he handed me a 25-page typed manuscript that explained them and how they worked.  They also needed something like 7,500 XP just to hit 2nd level.  Each level had different color robes with white for first level and black for 10th.  My character, Retsam, spent so long at 9th level (like a year) that in the game world and real world he gained the nickname "Retsam the Red".  He was a Bedouin-like human with dark skin and white hair and became one of my most favorite characters of all time.  But Riddlemasters were not for everyone.  He also created Shadowmasters and Beastermasters, which did basically what you think they might do.  I tried to adapt the Riddlemasters to 2nd ed AD&D and then again to 3rd Ed, but not with any success.
On a sad note this was Paul Montgomery Crabaugh's last article.  He had died in November of 1985 and never got to see it print or it's legacy online.

The Barbarian Cleric by Thomas Kane provides us with a different view of the cleric.  It is an interesting idea and one I think got great traction under the name "Shaman" for other publications/editions of the game.  I like the idea of defeating a spirit nemesis in theory, but not sure how it works in practice.  I do like it.  I like the idea that clerics all need to be different than each other.

James A. Yates has a nice long bit on mercenaries in Fighters for a price.  It's really long and has a lot of great advice and tables.  It should still work in the newest editions too.

Ahh, here is another one of those articles that stuck with me for years.
Question. Do dwarf women have beards?  Today it is not so much of a discussion, but back then? Wow.  Worth its weight in gold helps clear up some this mysteries and more by John Olson.  This article taught me to never trust a male dwarf that shaves.  It also answered for me, definitively, that dwarven women do have beards years before I met Violet of the Rat Queens.  Later when designing the Xothia tradition of dwarven witches I decided that what made these women different from others was they could not grow a beard at all.  If a dwarf woman can't grow a beard it is because she is a witch.

Bill Mickelson is next with one of my favorite Ecology articles, The Ecology of the Displacer Beast.

Role of books features the best of May 1986.  At this time I was moving away from fantasy into horror.  But I still read the second Dragonlance Trilogy (featured here) and thought it was better than the first.

Garry Spiegle covers some additions and clarifications to the War Machine rules found in the D&D companion set. I never used these rules really, or the BattleSystem for AD&D.  I wonder if there would have been more of this sort of rules if the two lines had adopted a signal use of the same rules.  I have talked to people over the years and I keep hear that War Machine is better than BattleSystem.

The Uncommon Tongue by Gregory Andersen helps provide some differences to your languages by using some old English to spice things up.

Have a couple of smaller articles next.

Locals aren't all yokels: In town, adventurers may not hold all the aces by Ralph Sizer covers unexpected NPCs in small towns.  I think back to Fred Gwynne's judge character in "My Cousin Vinnie" who got his degree from Harvard and lives in a little town.

Blades with personality by Sam Chupp discusses how to make mundane and slightly magical swords more interesting.  A name, a little history is what makes for your Excaliburs, Stormbringers and Mournblades.

Giant-sized weapons by Stephen Martin discusses weapon adjustments for large and larger creatures, something you can see in D&D now.

Ah, now this one was fun.  Hooves and green hair by Bennet Marks covers two new breeds for the AD&D game universe; the half-satyr and the half-dryad.  I remember that 4e had similar races too, but that is the only official ones I can think of.  Rereading it now I think they would make for some great race choices in a 1st ed or 5e game.

TSR Profiles covers Jeff Easley and Ruth M. Hoyer.
TSR Previews has the Dungeoneer's Survival Guide (wow, how much did this one change your game?) and the Marvel Superheroes Advanced game.

John J. Terra has some advice for Top Secret administrators.

Up next is Ares.  I loved the Ares section.

Stephan Jones is first with Combat Variations in Space Opera.  I still need to try this game out, it seemed so epic to me to be honest.

For Star Frontiers we get new material for cults in Patriots, Terrorists and Spies.  Great stuff.  I used to run with a cult of "Earth First" groups.

The Double-Helix Connection gives us some rules for running mutants in Traveller from Michael Brown.

The Second Annual Hero roster is up for Marvel Phile.

Sherri Gilbert has a great article on getting started with Sci-Fi games.  At three pages it is not everything, but it is a good start in the Keys to Good SF.

Small ads and classifieds.
Dragonmirth, SnarfQuest and what is likely one of the last Wormy's before Tramp and I move to the same town (unknow to me at the time).

So a fun issue, a useful issue and one I like coming back too.

Want to see what I was saying about White Dwarf from the same time? Or do you just want to pop over and see one of my favorite White Dwarf covers of all time?  Either way, check out White Dwarf Wednesday #77.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Stranger Things: Zoomer Archetype for D&D 5

"See. Zoomer."
- Maxine "Mad Max" Mayfield

Stranger Things 2 is out and many of you may have binge watched it all by now. We just finished this past weekend and thought it was just as good as season 1.  The newest character introduced is Maxine "Mad Max" Mayfield a new girl from California.  When the boys digress into D&D talk, she makes the statement that she could be a "Zoomer", which gets the predictable results from a bunch of middle schoolers in 1984.

Well, I thought that a Zoomer could totally be a thing.

So here is a Zoomer Rogue Archetype for D&D 5.


Windrunner by Stanley "Artgerm" Lau
In this world, you have learned there are two types; the quick and the dead.  You prefer not to be among the dead. So speed is not just what you do, it is what you are. Get in fast, attack fast and get out fast. Live another day.

Starting at 3rd level, you can use the bonus action granted by your Cunning Action to make an extra attack. Strength bonuses do not apply since you are compromising power for speed.

When you choose this archetype at 3rd level, you gain the ability to move faster than normal; Your base speed increases by 50%. So characters that move at 30 ft can now move at 45 ft.  Terrain that slows down other characters will still affect you, but based on your new movement rate.

At 9th level, you may add +5 to your initiative rolls.

Starting at 13th level, you move at twice your base speed.  Sneak attacks must still be made at normal movement speed; which is half speed for you.

When you reach 17th level, you can attack three times per round.  These extra attacks ignore any bonuses due to strength.

Obviously, I have not playtested this, but I think it could work out nicely.
What do you think Max?

Thursday, June 22, 2017

This Old Dragon: Issue #119

While today's choice is sort of a cheat, it is a very timely one.  I grabbed it because it features one of my favorite covers of all Dragons.  The recent Doctor Who episode "The Eaters of Light" featured a story about the fate of the Ninth Legion of the Imperial Roman army in Scotland.  My first thought was "well, we know it was Kostchtchie!" from Daniel Horne's fantastic cover.

But once I grabbed it I also noticed how it was a really nice companion to my own Green Witch that was published yesterday.  So nice in fact I put the magazine down until today!  I didn't want anything in it unduly influencing me.  Though in re-re-reading it now I can see there were some things there in 1987 that did stick with me over the years, including some more Doctor Who references.
So set your TARDIS back to March 1987, put on U2's With Or Without You, and get ready for This Old Dragon Issue #119.

Letters cover a guy just discovering the Chainmail rules. Interesting to read, to be honest. We forget that in this day and age nearly every shred of information is literally at our fingertips.  I just got another copy of Chainmail for my birthday from my old Jr. High DM.  It is different than the one I had by a couple of pages. I am going to need to investigate that.

The big feature of this issue is the section on Druids.  I can't help but see the "Spinal Tap" Stonehenge every time I see the standing stones and lintel that works as the header for these articles.

That aside this was one of my favorite series. I had by this time already written my first copy of the witch class. It was though lacking in some historical oomph. This series gave me a lot of inspiration on what can be done with the class AND what not to do.  Not in terms of things being bad in these articles (far from it) but in terms of making my witches different from the druids.  In fact I put these articles as "Must Reads" for anyone wanting to play a druid.

Carl Sargent is up first with Underestimating Druids (is a bad practice). It's a look into the strengths of the class and giving them their due. Several tips and bits of advice are given for using the Druid in and out of the dungeon setting, but most telling (and also the most interesting to me) was a break-down of the XP per level and the amount of spell-power all the AD&D1 spell-casting classes had.  The Druid comes out looking the best. Plus let's be honest, Flame Strike is a MUCH cooler spell than Fireball.

Up next is an article covering the Druid in his role as a healer. We are warned that  John Warren's "Is There a Doctor In the Forest?" is unofficial material.  It is also closer to what we think we know about druids in real life; that they were the healers of their society. There is a ton of great ideas here for herbal and natural healing in AD&D. Unofficial or not there is a lot great rules here.  The crunch is the same level as AD&D, so more than I want for an OSR or even a 5e game, but worth looking into the next time I play AD&D1 proper.

On cue another ad for the Time-Life Enchanted World books!

Next up is an article I had re-read a lot back in the Summer of 1987. From by William Volkart and Robin Jenkins we get On Becoming The Great Druid.  It dealt with that little remembered now artifact of the Druid class that at higher levels you needed to defeat the druid whose level you wanted to take.   I have to admit that at the time I was not fond of the idea, though now I see as a great plot and role-playing device.  I was trying to come up with a way to add this all to my then current game.  I never really did to be honest since I figured I needed to come up with my world-wide Druid religion.  Of course, nothing in the history of the Druids supports the idea that would or even could do this (I was also reading some Margaret Murry, so I am excusing myself) but I got fixated on the idea I needed to figure out their complete religious structure first.  I made some head-way and a lot of that was actually added to my Witch class with the "Court of Witches".  I just replaced Great Druid with Witch Queen.  The Grand Coven of the Earth Mother in The Green Witch also comes from those notes way back then.

Rick Reid is up and has Cantrips for Druids - Naturally. Makes me REALLY glad I kept this to the side while working on the Green Witch and that I didn't put cantrips in that book. They will appear in the "The White Witch" later this summer.

Ah. Now here is an old friend. Ed Greenwood (who's early Dragon writing I am really enjoying again) has the Beastmaster NPC class.  It is such an overkill class.  Hell, I would not be surprised to discover that Drizzt didn't start out as a beastmaster. Though to be 100% fair it is described as an NPC only class...yup. Just like the witch was. ;)
I talked about a lot of Beastmaster classes in an early version of Class Struggles. At that time I had forgotten all about this one though in re-reading it now I see that my DM's homebrew Beastmaster was based on this one.

While not a part of the official Druid feature, Calle Lindstrand has the write up for The Uldra a new character race.  The article is the type of "anything worth doing is worth doing to excess" type that I really love. We get a new race, a monster entry, and some gods. The Uldra themselves seem to be a cross between a gnome and a dwarf.  I really hope that wherever Calle Lindstrand is that Uldras as written here are still part of their game. There is too much, well, love here to ignore.  Uldras would later go on to be upgraded to a full offical D&D race.

It is also one of the reasons while I like to include a new race in a book overtly about a class. The Green Witch, for example, has another take on Gnomes for Swords & Wizardry.

Ed is back with Ecology of the Korred.  Given that it follows right behind the article on the Uldra I often conflated the two into one race. Not really fair to either to be honest.  My then DM really enjoyed this article and it was the inspiration to the only "Dance off in D&D" I have ever done.  I later stole his idea and had another Dance Off in Ghosts of Albion: Blight. Only this time it was against the Sidhe.  This article also gives us a new god.

Dragon's Bestiary features some sylvan monsters for your game. Again, not exactly part of the Druid feature, but close enough that it fits really well.

We get some fairly interesting creatures too. The Wild Halflings are great and I think I detect a bit of what would later develop in Dark Sun.  The Luposphinx is a winged wolf/lion hybrid that doesn't seem out of place at all. The Leshy is based on some older fairy tales. There is another take on the Wendigo (none have every truly been "right" as far as I am concerned). The Wood Giant, which has since been promoted to the ranks of "official D&D monster". There is a Wood Golem here too. A bit about that. This wood golem never really stuck a cord with me. It was neat and all, but wood? Through flaming oil at it.  It was not till I read the Doctor Who story Lungbarrow and their "Drudges" that gave me the idea for something new.  I remember reading a story about an old witch that used to always say "If I'd had my druthers, I have my wooden druthers too."  The Wooden Druther became my new Wood Golem.  Wood Golems have also been promoted, but they will always take a back seat to my Druthers.

Not bad. Half the magazine and all of it quality or really, really fun materials.

In fact, if I had stopped here, 50 some odd pages in (minus ads) I would have considered it money well spent.  I suppose it is also no surprise then that I like to include a lot of these same things in my own books; a class, races, alternate classes, monsters, and spells.  1987 was a turning point year for me really.

Charles Olsen is back with an article about NPCs; Henchmen and Hirelings. Five pages of material that looks liek it should work with any version of the game.

Jeff Grub has Dinner With Elminster.  The article is a bit silly to be honest but I tend to forget that 1987 was the year of the Forgotten Realms. While everyone else was falling in love with that my years-long game was about to hit its final Act.   How long does it take to roleplay a massive war? Two years, give or take.

Let's see what's left here... Some fiction...

Some Sage Advice...

The Gamma World article has some cryptic alliances in Politics Amid the Rubble. Just another reminder to me that I REALLY need to a Gamma World game going again some day.

The Marvel-Phile (actually in this issue!) has Psylocke in her pink outfit.  Just as an FYI Oliva Munn, the future movie Psylocke is only 6-years old at the publication of this issue.

TSR Previews covers the new and hot items of April and May 1987.  Make sure you get your copy of the Lazer TagTM rules. I did!

In May we get the first of GAZ series for Mystara and the Known World, GAZ1 The Grand Duchy of Karameikos.

Lots of Cons advertised and some small ads. Finally, we get Snarf Quest and Wormy.
Little did I know that Trampier and I would be heading to the same town to live more or less around the same time.

Really a great issue.

I see the seeds of ideas here that later germinated in games I played then and later in college and now in the stuff, I put up here.

What are your memories of this issue?

Want to know what I was saying about White Dwarf magazine during the same month? Check out my White Dwarf Wednesday for issue #87.

The Green Witch is now out!

Pick up a copy today for Swords & Wizardry.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

The Witch: Hedgewitch for the Hero's Journey RPG in PRINT

I am pleased to announce that The Witch: Hedgewitch for the Hero's Journey RPG is now being offered in softcover.

The book is 68 pages, so it is a small book, but it goes great with your copy of +James Spahn's The Hero's Journey RPG. (Print copies are at Lulu in full color or B&W pages.)

Or even my other Witch books.

Each book offers a different set of witch "Traditions" so you can buy them all and combine them.

Get your copy today!

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

The Future of the Swords & Wizardry Witch

Yesterday saw the release of the Witch class for Swords & Wizardry Light.  +Erik Tenkar put together a nice set of rules and I had to do something to support it.
So far I am pretty pleased with the sales.  The natural question now is "What's next?"

Well, I have some plans!

Swords & Wizardry is not a game I embraced at first.  Sure it is fun, but I didn't see why people kept calling it an OD&D clone.  It has some design elements similar to OD&D but it is still pretty far removed from my memories of actually playing OD&D.   In truth, Spellcraft & Swordplay is much, much closer to OD&D than Swords & Wizardry is.

That all being said I stopped worrying about what Swords & Wizardry wasn't and focused on what it is.  What it is is a surprisingly fun, easy and fast game that still feels like D&D.   You can thank White Star for that really.

What does this mean for you and my work?

There will be witch books for Swords & Wizardry.

The first is for Swords & Wizardry Whitebox.  I am going to focus on rebuilding the witch class from the ground up to fit S&W.  There will be plenty of new material; I want this to be worth my time in doing it and your money in buying it. I also want it to be compatible with my Basic Witch class, so that they can be used together.

There will be overlap between this new book, the Witch and Eldritch Witchery.  The new book will feature a new Witch Tradition, appropriately called "The White Witch Tradition" and have new spells and magic items.  I have not decided whether or not this book should include monsters.

Next will be another book for +James Spahn's  The Hero's Journey Fantasy Roleplaying Game.  This book will be very, very similar to the Whitebox witch. I won't lie, this book will be about 90% the same as the White Box Witch.  It will have its own Tradition as well, the "Hedge Witch".

Finally, I'll pull everything together from everything I have ever written and put that into a "Complete Witch" for Swords & Wizardry Complete.  This will contain all the spells, magic items, powers and Traditions of all my books.  In particular, I want this to be used with the +Stacy Dellorfano led 3rd printing of S&W Complete.  Plus using my witch in +Elizabeth Chaipraditkul's S&W

My plan is to bundle these together so that anyone that really, really wants all these books can get them at a reasonable price.   I also want to make it so that if you choose to buy only one book you have a set of complete rules and something unique the other books do not have.

I have other projects that NEED to be finished first, though, so don't expect these books in the next few weeks or even months.

I am very conscious of the fact that this feels like I am "going back to the same well" too many times.  But this is something I need to write, for me. If you enjoy it too, then fantastic. I would love it if you enjoyed it too.

So let me know what you think below.
Is there something you want to see in these books?
Is there something you DON'T want to see in these books?

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Leprechauns: The PWYW Experiment Continues

Something I put together for St. Pat's day, but didn't get through the approval process in time.
Two options for adding Leprechauns to your games.

First up is a race as a class option for "Basic Era" games.
Leprechauns for Basic Era Games

While I working on that one +James Spahn released his very fun Hero's Journey, so I felt a Leprechaun race option might be fun for that.
Leprechauns for Hero's Journey

The PDFs cover the same essential materials, so having one will give 80% of what the other has.
Both are Pay What You Want.

If you have some spare change and what to try a new class/race might I suggest this.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Class Struggles: Class Compendium Books

RPGNow has a big sale going on on various d20 books.

I am not done with the class analysis I wanted to do today so I thought maybe I would highlight some of the books with new classes for your OSR games.  Some of these I have reviewed in the past.  I am sure there must be others, but these are the ones I am most familiar with.  Not all these books are on sale.

A Curious Volume of Forgotten Lore
One of the first, this is the book that launched BRW games and Adventures Dark & Deep. Part of +Joseph Bloch's "What If" experiment of a hypothetical Gary helmed 2nd Edition.  I recently went back and reread some of the articles from Gary about the 2nd Ed. game of AD&D that never was.  Interestingly he made comments about a 3rd and 4th edition game too!  This book covers the Bard, Jester, Mystic, Savant, and Mountebank classes.  The mystic was the first class I looked at for the Class Struggles series.

The Complete B/X Adventurer
This is the second book of the B/X Companion series by +Jonathan Becker.  Where Adventures Dark & Deep gave us a hypothetical AD&D 2nd Ed, Becker gives us a Companion set that never was.    This book gives us some extra rules but the main feature are the classes.  The classes are Acrobat, Archer, Barbarian, Bard, Beastmaster, Bounty Hunter, Centaur, Duelist, Gnome, Mountebank, Mystic, Ogre-Kin, Scout, Summoner, Tattoo Mage, Witch, and Witch Hunter. 17 new classes.  New classes in B/X and BECMI related games are a bit more varied since races are also classes.  But there are a lot of great classes here.

Basic Arcana
+Tom Doolan published his first work, Basic Arcana all the way back in 2013!  This is also a "Basic Era" product.  It starts with some "Class Variants"; Dwarf Priest, Dwarf Scout, Elf Sorcerer, and Elf Warrior. For humans we have the Martialist (like a monk) and the Barbarian. All of this and some extra rules on combat and a page of spells.

Magical Theorems & Dark Pacts
A favorite of mine, this book introduces a baker's dozen of new magic using classes and their spells. +Dyson Logos gives us the:  Cleric, Wizard, Elven Swordmage, Elven Warder, Enchanter, Fleshcrafter, Healer, Inquisitor, Merchant Prince, Necromancer, Pact-Bound, Theurge, and the Unseen.

ACKS Player's Companion
ACKS is still one of the slickest look games around.  +Alexander Macris gives us 19 new character classes, including the Anti-paladin, Barbarian, Dwarven Delver, Dwarven Fury, Dwarven Machinist, Elven Courtier, Elven Enchanter, Elven Ranger, Gnomish Trickster, Mystic, Nobiran Wonderworker, Paladin, Priestess, Shaman, Thrassian Gladiator, Venturer, Warlock, Witch, and Zaharan Ruinguard.  So a good collection really. That takes up about 44 pages of the book's 160.  New classes have new spells as well. Best of all is a character class creation guide. It look like a similar idea that appeared in Dragon years ago.  Basically it reduces any class to a set of points and you point buy a new class just like you would in say GURPS or Unisystem.  Maybe one day I'll check out a bunch of classes using this.

Theorems & Thaumaturgy
This is part a class book and of course all the new spells.  It's not part of the sale, but +Gavin Norman offers it as Pay What You Want, so make this worth his while.  The new Classes are the Elementalist, Necromancer and Vivimancer. The Vivimancer later gets his own book, but these are three very solid class choices.

Class Compendium
+James Spahn has been delivering solid classes since the dawn of his Barrel Rider Games.  This is a collection, edit of some of his best selling and favorite classes. The first 166 or pages are dedicated to a Basic Era/Labyrinth Lord compatible class.   Well this book is huge and we are given 52 classes, divided by category.
Arcane Allies: Alienist, Familiar, Thopian Gnome, Wild Wizard
Doughty Dwarves: Raging Slayer, Rune-Smith, Warchanter
Enchanting Elves: Dark Elf, Greensinger, Half-Elf, Sylvan Elf
Heroic Halflings: Burglar, Feast Master, Huckster, Lucky Fool, Tavern Singer
Holy Rollers: Angel, Friar, Inquisitor, Undead Slayer
In Shining Armor: Commander, Dragon Slayer, Knight
Martial Masters: Barbarian, Berserker, Gladiator, Samurai, Sword Master
Monstrous Marauders: Dragon, Goblin,  Half-Ogre, Half-Orc, Treant
Second Star to the Right: Fairy, Lost Boy, Pirate
Traveling Trouble-Makers: Acrobat, Explorer, Fortune Teller, Wanderer
Unhallowed Heroes: Cultist, Damphir, Death Knight. Eidolon
Urban Adventurers: Bandit, Bard, Bounty Hunter, Watchman
Virtuous Victorians: Automation, Investigator, Metaphysician, Shootist

New Class Options
One of the most recent one this comes from Genus Loci Games and +Johua De Santo.  The classes included here are the: Blood Witch, Chesh, Forrester, Highlander, Mermaid of the In-Land Sea, Mythwood Elf, Pixie, Prodigal, Ruca and the Draken-Knight.  I covered the Blood Witch in some detail a while back.

So. Over 120 (give or take) new classes.  Not to bad really.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Class Struggles: The Beastmaster

Class Struggles: The Beastmaster

Rewind to 33 years ago today, the latest movie in the early 80s flirtation with Swords & Sorcery hits the late summer movie theatres.  Everyone was going to see the dearing-do of Marc Singer as Dar "The Beastmaster"!
ok. Not everyone really. The movie didn't do that hot.  Plus, lets be honest here just as many of my friends went to see it for Tanya Roberts as much as the sword & sorcery content. But The Beastmaster left a solid dent in the game playing of many of my peers for years.  I remember seeing tons of "Beastmaster" classes.  I even helped make one of my own.

The idea is a compelling one really.  A barbarian (of sorts) but has the magical ability to communicate with all animals. Maybe even he (it's almost always a he, but I have a few great exceptions to that rule) has the abilities to fight like an animal.  Fiction is replete with such characters. The aforementioned Marc Singer role, Tarzan, Sheena Queen of the Jungle, Vixen from DC Comics, Mowgli, even various "wolf boys" or "wild childs" that appeared in true and fictionalized accounts of children left in wilderness.

+Jonathan Becker must have had these in mind when he created his Beastmaster class for his The Complete B/X Adventurer.

The Beastmaster of this book is an interesting class.  It is actually closer to a monster in terms of play. For example it uses a 1d8 for hit points (like fighters and monsters) and it uses the monster attack matrix using it's level as HD.  This makes it a very good fighter.  It's saving throws are from the cleric list (good choice) so it will feel different than playing a fighter.
The beastmaster's prime ability is Strength.  This makes it slightly different than say your typical barbarian and their reliance on Constitution.  The reason given is that nature respects strength. This is true, but I think nature respects survival more than anything.  So Constitution would have been a good choice too in my mind.   The beastmaster also needs a better than average Charisma.

Becker's beastmasters have a number of abilities that set them apart. First is their ability to learn the languages of animals.  This is quite a nice skill because it is a gateway to other abilities the beastmaster has such as Calling, Befriending and Mastering.   These are really the key elements of any beastmaster archetype.  Think of Tarzan and his trademarked call. Ok, think of the Johnny Weissmuller Tarzan.

In many ways the closest AD&D class to the beastmaster is the Ranger and not the Druid.  In fact I would have upped the XP per level for the beastmaster a bit and given him some Ranger like abilities including a starting animal companion (though you can get one with Mastering) and maybe some beast-like fighting styles.  But I see why that was not done here since it would make the beastmaster more like a reskinned ranger than something unique.

The beastmaster is hardly ever surprised, can't wear man made armor and has a limited number of weapons to choose from.  All of this works with the character concept really.

But don't just take my word on this.  Jonathan did a series of posts himself on his beastmaster.  Our opinions differ a bit; but only as creator vs user.
It is an interesting read combined with the final Beastmaster in the book.

Other Beastmasters of Note
The big one is the beastmaster of the Compleat Adventurer book from Bard Games written by Stephan Sechi.  As Becker claims this is the obvious inspiration for his beastmaster class. This class also adds animal Turning to their skills.  Not like undead turning, but the opposite of friendship.

If you want an idea of what this beastmaster was like, +Richard LeBlanc put one together about a year ago and it captures a lot of the same notes.

The next one is the Beastmaster kit for the Ranger for 2n Ed AD&D found in the Complete Ranger Handbook.  As with many of the kits this one was fairly over powered in my mind, giving the beastmaster telepathic communication with their animals at a low level.  Though the same feel is here, all three could exist in a room together without breaking the laws of the universe.

Finally, though by no means the only, there is the beastmaster archetype from the new 5th Edition of D&D.  It is in many ways a spiritual successor to the Bard Games beastmaster and if you are looking for cross system compatibility it makes for a good translation of Becker's beastmaster. This one is more animal companion focused. But in truth you can easily take one of these beastmasters and use them to emulate the others with good roleplaying.

The final question always is "would I play this class?" Well. yes. In fact like I mentioned above we had done our own beastmaster back in the day and I played the hell out of that class.

From 1986 or so.

Absom Sark
Level 7, Beastmaster ("Wild Guardian"), Male

Strength: 18
Dexterity: 17
Constitution: 14
Intelligence: 14
Wisdom: 18
Charisma: 16

Hit Points:  46
AC: 6 (Cave Bear pelt armor)

Languages: Canine, Ursine, Feline, Mustelid, Saurian.

Absom Sark was the child of a prince and his wealthy wife until their caravan was attacked on route to a diplomatic mission.  Everyone was killed in the ensuing battle save for little Absom, who was only a baby.  Wolves came to feast on the remains and found the crying baby. A large she-wolf fostered the child, recognizing a kindred spirit in him.
Absom grew into the protector of the wild and he vowed that no one would use his wild to murder others.

Our beastmaster had a limited selection of various druid spells. I don't think it added much to the class to be honest, but maybe even a more restricted list focusing on animals might be nice.  Summon Animal I, II, and III would be good.  Limit the beastmaster to 3rd level spells or something.

The class is really fine as is. I just have a thing for spell-casting classes.

How effective is this class?  Well in the dungeon it might end up like a fighter. But in the wild they shine.

Here is video documentation of one beastmaster (though she might have some levels in bard) attacking two treants.  She speaks avian, mustelid, rodent, and ungulate.

Easily a class I would play.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Review: New Class Options

Picked up +Johua De Santo's New Class Options the other day and wanted to spend some time with it.

I love new classes, I love trying them out, taking them apart and seeing what makes them tick.  I also like thinking of potential characters to use with the new classes.  So grabbing this product was a no brainer for me.  Plus, I will admit I am a fan of Kaitlynn Pealer's art, so that attracted my attention right away.

The book is overtly for Swords & Wizardry Core rules, but it can be adapted to any old-school game. The book is 24 pages, 3 are cover, table of contents and the OGL.  So 21 pages of solid content.
There are nine classes and one "Advanced Class Option".  There is no unifying theme to the classes, save for maybe a rough fae or celt theme.

First up is the Blood Witch which is a reprint/revision/update of a class the author did for Dungeon Crawl #3.  The class is an alternate take on the magic user.  This one, naturally, uses blood to power her magic. A very classic archetype. Equally naturally this one uses Constitution as the primary stat.
The blood witch has higher hit die (d6) and needs more experience than the stock magic-user.
The casting of spells required the expenditure of blood (again naturally) in the form of HP.  Good thing she has a higher HD.    One of the problems I see with this class is that the blood witch needs to roll higher than her Con + Spell level.  So a Blood witch with the minimum Constitution (13) needs a roll of 20 (on a d20 presumably) to cast a 7th level spell.  So her most powerful spells have only a 5% chance of working.  In any case the blood is spent.   So does have access to potentially every spell in the book, but this limiting factor seems to be too much really.

I am going to go into the Blood Witch in more detail tomorrow.

The Chesh are next. These are a race of cat-girl-like fae creatures.  They have a some interesting abilities and would work very well in a game that has other faerie races in it or one if you want to get younger kids to play.  They have some magical abilities based on music, though most of the abilities are support in nature.

The Forrester is akin to a archer-like ranger.  Not as powerful as say the stock Ranger of AD&D but within the limits of S&W.

The Highlander is a somewhat romanticized version of a celtic themed barbarian.   The barbarian  rage ability is replaced by a fury ability which is like a super cleave.  You can attack another victim if you kill the first. Though this one can be up to 12 feet away.

The Mermaid of the In-Land Sea is interesting.  It's a mermaid, which is neat choice, but there was nothing here about how long she can live away from water.  Maybe to keep the rough theme here they could be renamed to "Merrows".

The Mythwood Elf is actually very interesting.  These are elves that look forever young and can summon up various elemental spirits.  There is a list of the domains (Earth, Water, Air...) and what they can summon and do.

The Pixie. Pretty much what it says on the tin!  Play a pixie. Actually a lot going on for this little thing.

The Prodigal is sorta like a traveling jack of trades.  They pick up companions, spells, knowledge and some thieving skills.   Actually a very, very workable class.

The Ruca is a dog-like humanoid character.  Again a workable character and certainly more of a role-playing challenge than a game rules one.

The last class is for "Advanced" games, ie games where class and race are seperate.

The Draken-Knight and their companion the Drake are dragon riding, or drake riding, knights.
The class has some odd experience point requirements.  In fact it acts more like a "Prestige Class" for AD&D 1st ed than anything else, much like the Thief-Acrobat.  The idea is you start out as a fighter till 5th level then you can switch over to Draken Knight.  Not a bad plan really.  Also reminds me of the old Knights in the Dragonlance books.

All in all this is a good book. Each class had something that felt a little off to me, but the proof is not in the reading, but in the playing.  It passes my basic test when reading classes; would I play a character of that class?  The answer was typically yes.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Prestige Class: Daughter of Baba Yaga

There is an ancient tradition among witches to seek out the Great Crone Baba Yaga to learn arcane secrets known to no one else.  The vast majority of witches never find her mysterious hut. Those that do are often killed and eaten for their impropriety and presumption.  But a few, a very few, find the ancient hag and she sees something of worth or value in the witch.  These witches go on become quite powerful in their own right.  They are known as the Daughters of Baba Yaga.

Section 15: Daughter of Baba Yaga, Copyright 2015, Timothy. S. Brannan.
OGC Declaration: The following content is considered Open Content for term of the OGL.

Daughter of Baba Yaga

The Daughters of Baba Yaga (DoBY) are a varied lot but all share a desire to learn more arcane secrets and in particular secrets of witchcraft.  Witches are the most common of her daughters, but sometimes an occasional wizard or sorcerer will also seek her out.

Hit Dice: d4

 To qualify as a Daughter of Baba Yaga, a character must fulfill all of the following criteria.

Knowledge (History): 9 Ranks
Knowledge (Arcana): 7 Ranks
Feats: Iron Will
Spell casting: Ability to cast arcane spells
Special:  Female only; Oath of Fosterage*

The Oath of Fosterage must be taken when Baba Yaga first considers to take on the potential daughter.  Baba Yaga will often demand some sort task or quest from the witch.  The task will be one that is difficult and require cleverness to complete.  For example asking her to fetch water from a well but only give her a sieve to collect the water.
Once the Oath is made the Daughter cannot attack or harm in any way any other Daughter or Baba Yaga despite their alignment.  All Daughters, despite when they were fostered will know each other on sight.

Alignment: Any (usually any non-evil)

Class Skills
(2 + Int modifier per level): Bluff, Climb, Concentration, Craft (any), Knowledge (arcana),  Knowledge (history), Knowledge (nature), Profession (any), Spellcraft, Survival, and Swim.

Class Features

All of the following are class features of the Daughter of Baba Yaga prestige class.

Weapon and Armor Proficiency: The Daughter of Baba Yaga gains no additional weapon or armor proficiencies

Spells per Day: The character’s caster level increases when a Daughter of Baba Yaga level is gained if she had also gained a level in a previous class that allows them to qualify for this class.

This affects her spells per day and spells known, as if they had gained a level, but she does not gain any other benefit a character of that class would have gained. If a character had more than one qualifying class before becoming a Daughter of Baba Yaga, she must decide to which class she adds the new level for purposes of determining spells per day and caster level.

Daughters continue to use whatever Arcane spell lists they used before becoming a Daughter of Baba Yaga.  Daughters also continue to use what ever spell casting ability she had been using before becoming a Daughter.

Poison Resistance (Su): Daughters are exposed to a number of noxious potions, poultices and herbals and even poisons.  This exposure builds up over time till the witch gains a +5 to any posin based saving throws.

Arcane Diversity (Sp): Starting at 2nd level, the Daughter of Baba Yaga can learn any 1st level Arcane spell that is not on her typical list.  So if she begins as a witch she can choose a 1st level spell from the Wizard/Sorcerer, Bard or Magus lists. At 4th level she can choose a 2nd level spell and so on.  The spell will use same spell casting ability she uses for all her spells.

Hex (Sp): The Daughter may choose a Hex from the Witches list of hexes.  If she previously met the requirements for higher level hexes she may choose from those lists as well.

Kitchen Witchery (Sp): The Daughter may substitute any spell of 1st to 3rd level with an Alchemical Extract of the same level.  The Daughter may replace 1 spell of every level, 1st to 3rd, in this manner.  The Daughter though is not an alchemist by training so once a spell is replaced in this way the choice is permanent.
At 9th level the Daughter can choose Alchemical Extracts of 4th to 6th level. She may replace one spell each of levels 4th to 6th.

Table Daughter of Baba Yaga Progression

Class Level Attack Bonus Fort Save Ref Save Will Save Special Spells per Day
1st +1 +2 +2 +0 Oath, Poison Resistance +1 level of existing class
2nd +1 +3 +3 +1 Arcane Diversity, 1st level +1 level of existing class
3rd +2 +3 +3 +1 Hex +1 level of existing class
4th +2 +4 +4 +2 Arcane Diversity, 2nd level +1 level of existing class
5th +3 +4 +4 +2 Kitchen Witchery, 1 +1 level of existing class
6th +3 +5 +5 +3 Arcane Diversity, 3rd level +1 level of existing class
7th +4 +5 +5 +3 Hex +1 level of existing class
8th +4 +6 +6 +3 Arcane Diversity, 4th level +1 level of existing class
9th +5 +6 +6 +4 Kitchen Witchery, 2 +1 level of existing class
10th +5 +7 +7 +4 Arcane Diversity, 5th level +1 level of existing class

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

A to Z of Vampires: Moroi

The Moroi (male) and the Moroaica (female) are "living" vampires from the legends of Rumania.  Living, because despite some overt vampire like traits they are living, breathing people and can be harmed or even killed like everyone else.

Legends abound on the how a Moroi is born and what makes them different from a Dhampir.   With a Dhampir the mother must be human and the father a vampire.  For the Moroi both parents are living.  According to some accounts a Moroi is created when a baby is born with a caul or a vestigial tail.  In other legends a Moroi is the result of an incestous relationship.   Of course a Moroi can also be the product of two Moroi.

On their death Moroi will become a vampire, a Strigoi.  This is actually pretty close to the separation between the Living and Dead vampires in the Hollows Series by Kim Harrison and even the Vampire Academy books by Richelle Mead.

In the Pathfinder RPG, the Moroi are a type of Dhampir race.  That race has a lot going on, I tend to like something a little simpler.

Moroi by Diana Martinez
Moroi Race
The Moroi are a race with the blood of ancient vampires in their veins.  Some speculate that the Moroi came first and vampires followed after their deaths.  Still others claim that the vampires were always first and they perverted the Moroi to their current state.
Once the Moroi had a great empire with the undead Strigoi at the top of their ranks and thousands of human slaves.  This empire has long been overthrown and destroyed but Moroi remain.  Many of the living Moroi know of this history and act as if they still were the royalty they once were.

Physical Description:  Pale, tall and thin, Moroi look like humans carved from marble or ivory.  Their features are sharp but fine.  Thier limbs and fingers are long and look delicate, but are deft and fast.  They are all physically attractive, cultured and refined despite what their true upbringing might have been.  Despite their loss of power and position Moroi families are still quite wealthy.
Males tend to be 5'11" to 6'9" though only weighing 110lbs to 160lbs.  Females are 5'7" to 6'2" weighing 100lbs to 140lbs.  So quite thin indeed.
Skin tones are universally pale. Hair color tends to be black for both males and females.  Some Moroi families have been known to have an occasional red head or platinum blonde.  These births are a great omen.  Eye color also tends to be pale though some are born with black irises and others red.

Moroi reach maturity at 16 years of age and live approximately 120 years.  Most are able to pass as human or sometimes half-elf.

Moroi are cross-fertile with humans and half-elves with Moroi traits being dominant over 3 generations.  Moroi however find such matings beneath their status and they generally prefer their own kind.  Intermarriage of cousins in Moroi society is common and acceptable.

Standard Racial Traits (3rd Era Games)

Ability Score Racial Traits: Moroi are quick, graceful and always charming, but somehow appear to be thin and underfed. They gain +2 Charisma, +2 Dexterity, and –2 Constitution.
Size: Moroi are Medium creatures and thus receive no bonuses or penalties due to their size.
Type: Moroi are humanoids with the Moroi subtype.
Base Speed: Moroi have a base speed of 30 feet.
Languages: Moroi begin play speaking Common and Moroi. Moroi is an ancient language understood by all vampires.  They may learn other languages based on their Intelligence and Linguistics skill
Senses: Moroi have Darkvison to 60'
Undead Resistance: Moroi gain a +2 racial bonus on saving throws against disease and mind-affecting effects.  This resistance also works against the Moroi in terms of magical healing.  Any spell or spell like affect that heals will take a penalty of -1 hp.  Ex. If a Cure Light Wounds spell would normally heal 3hp of damage, it would only heal 2hp on a Moroi.  This includes the Laying on Hands ability and potions.  It is possible for a result of 0hp to occur.

Favored Classes: The Moroi favors classes that allow it to use their innate magical abilities such as  Bard, Sorcerer and Warlock.  Moroi Sorcerers are typically of an Undead or Vampire bloodine. Moroi Warlocks typically are Death Pact warlocks.

Alignment: Morio tend towards Chaos and Evil as a race, but individuals can be of any alignment. Lawful Good Moroi, while not unheard of, are rare.

Basic and Advanced Era Games
Moroi have a minimum Charisma score of 14 and a minimum Dexterity of 12.  Their maximum Constitution is 16.

A moroi character of can opt to be a fighter (maximum of 9th level), a thief, an assassin (maximum of 10th level) or a witch (maximum 13th level). An moroi character can also be multi-classed, i.e. a fighter/witch, a fighter/thief, a witch/thief, or a fighter/witch/thief.  Thief can be substituted for assassin where appropriate.

Moroi characters have a 90% resistance to sleep and charm spells (if these spells are cost upon them a percentile dice roll of 91% or better is required to allow the magic any chance of having an effect, and even then the saving throw against spells is allowed versus the charm spell).

Moroi have the ability to see into the infra-red spectrum, so they are able to see up to 60' in darkness, noting varying degrees of heat radiation.

As has been shown previously, moroi characters add a bonus of +1 to their initial dexterity score. Likewise, as moroi are not as sturdy as humans, they deduct 1 from their initial constitution score.

Moroi as a Class (Basic Era)
Moroi generally follow the example of the Elf class. instead of magic-user spells the moroi use witch spells.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Leprechauns for Basic Era Games

Happy St. Patrick's day!

Here is something I have been working on for a little bit.  I think it would work well in the right game.

Leprechauns for Basic era FRPGs

Leprechaun adventurers in Neverwinter Nights
Leprechauns are small humanoids that live in the same general areas as do elves. While elves prefer the open spaces, Leprechauns live underground in elaborate burrows and low. They share many similarities with halflings and gnomes but are actually more closely related to pixies, faeries and distantly elves.

The typical Leprechaun stands 3' to 3½ ' tall, and weighs about 45-50 lbs; About the same size as a Halfling. Their skin color ranges from tan to a pale, if pinkish hue, their hair is typically any shade or red though some are darker, and their eyes can be any shade of green. Leprechaun males typically have longer beards the same color as their hair. Leprechauns generally wear natural fibers with quite a bit of green in them, though they decorate their clothes with intricate stitching or fine jewelry. Leprechauns reach adulthood at about age 40, and they live about 400 years, though some can live almost to 600 years.

A Leprechaun character must have a score of 9 or higher in both Charisma and Dexterity. Leprechauns are similar to Elves in terms of play, they can act as fighters (though not as good as true fighters or Dwarves) and can cast spells as do Magic-Users, though they are limited to the Enchantment school.

Leprechauns are inherently magical, many excel in areas of enchantment and other magic, and most all Leprechauns know at least a little magic. Adventuring Leprechauns can cast wizard spells as indicated below.

Leprechauns tend to be Neutral in alignment, but quite a few are Lawful.  Chaotic leprechauns are known as Fear Deargs.  These leprechauns are of sour temper and typically wear red.

Prime Requisite: A Leprechaun has two Prime Requisites: Wisdom and Dexterity. If either of these Ability scores is 13 or greater the character gains a 5% bonus to Experience Points earned every adventure. If both are 13 or greater, the XP bonus if 10%.

Weapons and Armor: Leprechauns may use any weapon, but it needs to "sized" to fit them. Typically any weapon sized for a Halfling character. Leprechauns may not use "two-handed" handed weapons such as two-handed swords, long bows, battle axes, and other larger weapons.

Leprechauns may wear any type of armor, but most prefer "natural" armor such as leather or hide.
Leprechauns may use any magic item that is useable by Magic-Users and any magic weapon.

Special Abilities

A Leprechaun has a number combat advantages, due to it's size and familiarity with various terrain.

Combat: Leprechauns use a combination of melee weapons and magic in combat situations. All Leprechauns gain the following bonuses when in combat.

-2 bonus to Armor Class when attacked by creatures larger than man-size.
+ 1 bonus to initiative rolls.

Luck: The greatest power of a Leprechaun is it's "Luck".  Once per day the Leprechaun can effect one die roll with luck.  Giving it an automatic +1.  This feature must be used before the roll is made, but it can be used on any sort of roll.  As a leprechaun increases in levels he may use a spell slot to convert spell levels to luck.  So a 4th level spell can be converted to +4 on a roll.  The points have to be used at one time, no splitting them up among different rolls.

Superstitions:  This is considered to be the other side of their luck ability. In order to have good luck the leprechaun has to observe a number of superstitions.  While they might seem to be harmless or even non-sense the leprechaun must follow them or take steps to avoid them.  For example a leprechaun will typically carry a lucky charm, such as a four leaf clover or rabbit's foot, for every level they have gained.  If they do something that would normally cause bad luck (lighting three on a single flame, walking under a ladder, letting a black cat cross their path) they must use their luck item or do a small ritual to "break the curse". This could include putting a lucky copper piece in their shoe, kissing a "blarney" rock, whistling a song backwards, or any number of other small rituals. Failing to perform this ritual right away will result in the loss of one point of good luck.

Hiding: Leprechauns are difficult to spot. In their natural habitat, dense wooded areas, low hill lands and natural (not man-made) underground formations a Leprechaun can only be detected 25% of the time (GM rolls). In man-made dungeons this increases to 35%. The Leprechaun must remain still and not be carrying any type of light.

Leprechaun's Gold: There is a legend that leprechaun's guard a pot of gold. There is some truth to this.  If someone were to beat a leprechaun in some form of personal challenge (cards, drinking, or being found when they would rather stay hidden) the leprechaun is obliged to grant the winner a gold coin.  This coin will grant the winner a single +1 to any roll.  This luck comes from the leprechaun's own pool of luck for the day.

Languages: In addition to the common and alignment languages Leprechauns may also speak Leprechaun, elf, gnome and goblin.

Vision: A Leprechaun can see twice as well as a human in low-light conditions (starlight, moonlight, torchlight and a "light" spell, but not "Continual Light").

Spells: As mentioned, Leprechauns can use Magic-User spells like an elf.  They favor Enchantment and Charm spells.  Leprechauns cannot use necromancy.

Leprechauns may advance only to 9th level "Tighearnán" (male) or "Tuilelaith" (female). This is balanced by the Leprechaun's magical ability and their ability to also fight better than a same level magic-user. At 9th level a Leprechaun may settle in area and attract other Leprechauns to form a clan, or gather their family together for a clan as it's Chieftain. In any case there will only be a small gathering of immediate family and some close relations.  Leprechauns are so spread out though they immediately assume any other leprechaun they meet must be a related and refer to each other as "cousins".

Leprechauns are known as "solitary faeries". This makes them great candidates for an adventuring race.  They will settle down in a area but there must not be any other faerie species in the area, especially pixies and other "trooping faeries".  Leprechauns and Pixies have an uneasy truce.

Hit Die

Death Ray or Poison
Magic Wands
Paralysis or Turn to Stone
Dragon Breath
Rods, Staffs and Spells

Leprechauns use the same attack to hit rolls as do fighters, dwarves, elves and Halflings.

Target's Armor Class

Section 15 Copyright Notice

Open Game License v 1.0a Copyright 2000, Wizards of the Coast, Inc.

System Reference Document Copyright 2003, Wizards of the Coast, Inc.; Authors Jonathan Tweet, Monte Cook, Skip Williams, Bruce R. Cordell, based on original material by E. Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson.

Basic Fantasy Role-Playing Game Copyright © 2006-2008. Chris Gonnerman.

Labyrinth LordTM. Copyright © 2007, Daniel Proctor. Author Daniel Proctor.

"Leprechauns for Basic era FRPGs" Copyright ©2015, Timothy S. Brannan