Showing posts with label d20. Show all posts
Showing posts with label d20. Show all posts

Thursday, April 18, 2024

#AtoZChallenge2024: P is for Pathfinder (and Paizo)

 A bit of a divergence today for, well, a bit of divergence.  Let me set the stage a bit. It is 2007, and Wizards of the Coast has decided to end the publication of the wildly successful Dungeons & Dragons 3rd Edition line and will now produce Dungeons & Dragons 4th edition.  D&D 3e was the edition that brought many back to the game. It was the edition that rekindled my enjoyment of the game after so many years. The idea that this would end only after 7 years (10 years per edition had been the average) seemed a bit odd.

In any case, 4th edition was released, and ... well, I'll talk about that on Sunday. But people were not ready to give up their 3rd Edition rules. Enter Paizo and Pathfinder!

Pathfinder Core Rules

Back when 3rd Edition was popular, Wizards of the Coast had licensed out the RPG Hobby's flagship gaming Magazines, Dragon and Dungeon, to Paizo, Inc. Here they helmed both magazines for many years and built a few 3rd Edition compatible products thanks to the Open Gaming Licence. In 2007 Wizards of the Coast announced 4th edition they did not renew the contract with Paizo to produce material. So Paizo went on to produce their own Pathfinder periodical, a set of publications similar to the Dungeon magazine. 

In 2008 D&D 4e started out with good sales, but soon they began to fall. Fall faster than expected. Paizo saw there was still a market for 3rd-edition compatible material, but they also wanted to make some changes. Thus, in 2009 the Pathfinder RPG rules were born.

So in 2009, we both did D&D 4e, which was not compatible with D&D 3x or any other D&D rules set. And Pathfinder, which was 95% compatible with D&D 3.x.  That last 5% is for the differences in the D&D 3 and 3.5 rules and the extras Pathfinder added in. But honestly, you could take your D&D 3.0 characters, fight D&D 3.5 monsters while the Game Master ran Pathfinder rules, and everyone would be fine.

Sadly, Wizards of the Coast/Hasbro has a very bad habit of firing people. The good news here though is that some of those people would go on to be hired by Paizo to work on Pathfinder. I mentioned before that Pathfinder is often thought of as being "Dungeons & Dragons 3.75" and there is a lot of truth to that. There is a lot here that feels like D&D 3.x perfected. They certainly had the advantage of 9 more years of playing and writing to help them out. 

Pathfinder then did the impossible, it dethroned D&D as the best selling Fantasy RPG. They beat D&D at their own game. If the OGL was one of the reasons 4e got made, it was 4e's failures that got 5e made. In the meantime, Pathfinder just kept moving along and doing its thing.

Pathfinder 2nd Edition came along in 2019. It was different. While the rules were still very much tied to the OGL and the system first created for D&D 3, these rules had more divergence. The Pathfinder 2nd Edition rules were created to go after the D&D 5th edition, which by this time had reclaimed its market superiority. 

This would change again in 2023 when Wizards announced they were going to "revoke" the OGL (something they actually could not do legally). Pathfinder relied on the safe harbor of the OGL (as do many publishers) so in April of 2023 they announced their Pathfinder 2e Remastered. This would be their 2e ruleset, rewritten to avoid using the OGL and instead their own ORC license. While this did not deal the blow to D&D 5e that Pathfinder did to 4e, it was enough to have some people (myself included) move from D&D 5e to Pathfinder 2eR. 

Pathfinder 2e and 2eR
Pathfinder 2e and 2eR. I am still a sucker for a ribbon in my book.

I can find no significant differences between the Pathfinder 2e rules and the Pathfinder 2eR ones. I know Paizo is no longer selling the 2e rules in favor of the 2eR, which is as it should be. Pathfinder 2e is a fine game in its own right, and I like it better as long as I am not trying to compare it to either D&D 3e or 5e. And then only because they can all do the same sorts of games, just in different ways.

Tomorrow is Q Day, and I am going with a tried and true one. I will talk about the various Queens of Dungeons & Dragons.

The A to Z of Dungeons & Dragons: Celebrating 50 years of D&D.


Sunday, April 14, 2024

#AtoZChallenge2024: Sunday Special, D&D 3rd Edition

This is another Sunday special to talk about another edition of D&D. Today, we are going to visit the year 2000 and the Third Edition of Dungeons & Dragons.

Dungeons & Dragons, 3rd Edition

Dungeons & Dragons 3rd Edition

Ok, let's get caught up. By 1997 I was married, had a new house, a new job and we were planning on starting a new family. I was also really, really burned out on D&D. I was tired of the nonsense that TSR kept pulling on their fans, I was tired of the infighting between the fans of different settings, and the power creep in the books was getting to be way too much. 

In April of 1997, TSR was not just in dire straits; they were failing life support and hemorrhaging money. In comes Wizards of the Coast, flush with cash from the success of Magic the Gathering. They buy TSR, and Dungeons & Dragons, and wipe out all of TSR's debt. 

For a while, things seemed, well, weird. Wizards ran TSR as an extension, and books were still produced using the TSR trade dress.  However, in late 1999, I got an email. I want to say it was December since that roughly corresponds to my 20th anniversary of playing. This email, which I was told was ultra-confidential, was the play test documents for the new Dungeons & Dragons 3rd Edition.

Then 2000 rolled around. On September 11, 2000 (not *that* 9/11) I went into my Favorite Local Game Store and bought a copy of the 3rd Edition Dungeons & Dragons Player's Handbook. 

This edition was new. So new that unlike the past editions this one was not very backward compatible. This was fine since Wizards of the Coast (now dropping the TSR logo) had provided a conversion guide. The books were solid. All full color and the rules had expanded to fix some of the issues of previous versions of D&D. Armor class number got larger as the armor got stronger, as opposed to lower numbers being better. Charts for combat were largely eliminated, the number on the sheet was what you had to roll against. Everyone could multiclass, all the species (races) could be any class without restrictions, though some were better at it than others, and everyone had skills. 

But the most amazing thing about 3rd Edition D&D was that aside from a few protected monsters and names, Wizard of the Coast gave the whole thing away for free! Yes the books with art cost money. But the rules, just a text dump, were free for everyone to download. It was called the System Reference Document or SRD. It was all the rules so that 3rd-party publishers could produce their own D&D compatible material. With these rules you could play D&D without the books. There was no art and no "fluff" text, but everything was there.

Eventually the system was updated to a 3.5 with various levels of compatibility with 3.0. It was I still say 98% compatible, except for where it wasn't.

Dungeons & Dragons 3.5 Edition - Special covers

The books were larger, and had some new art, but they were still largely the same. They were close enough that originally I did not feel the need to buy them. But when the "Special Edition" leather-bound covers came out, I had to have them. Plus I am a sucker for a book with a ribbon. 

D&D 3rd edition had a very solid run from 2000 to about 2008. 

The rumor I have heard was that the higher-ups at Hasbro (who now owned WotC) demanded a 4th edition because they could not believe that WotC was just giving away the game in the SRD. The way the license was written though they just could not pull it. They tried this back in December 2022/January 2023 and the fans and the publishers revolted. Hasbro's stock fell and subscriptions to their online tool, DnDBeyond, tanked so bad that Hasbro not only backtracked, they dumped the whole 5th Edition SRD into the Creative Commons.  I might to cover that in detail someday.

D&D 3rd Edition, though, still lives on. The Pathfinder RPG was created by people who worked with WotC on D&D 3.x and is often called "D&D 3.75." Pathfinder 1st Edition was published in 2009 and directly competed with D&D 4. By many measures, it out-sold and outperformed D&D 4. Pathfinder 2nd Edition was published in 2019. While not as backward compatible as the 1st edition, we are now at a point where the D&D 3.x (also known as d20) rules are approaching 25 years old.  That is some longevity. 

I still enjoy 3rd Edition. I played it a lot with my kids and had a great time. It rekindled my love for D&D, and that was no small achievement.

Dungeons & Dragons 3.x Edition was also the edition which Wizards really embraced PDF format. So to my knowledge nearly everything is available at DriverThruRPG.

Tomorrow, we will be back to regular A to Z posting. It is M day and Monday, so you know I am going to talk about Monsters!

The A to Z of Dungeons & Dragons: Celebrating 50 years of D&D.


Tuesday, September 27, 2022

100 Days of Halloween: Sisters of Rapture

Sisters of Rapture
We are getting much closer to Halloween now! It is cooler here in Chicago and I am ready for the seasons to change.  Here at the Other Side, I am kicking up the witch topics hitting on products I have had for a while but have not reviewed or talked about.

Tonight is a good case in point.  I have had this particular product in both the OGL and Pathfinder versions for years. I have not found a group that it would work well for, however.  There is a lot of material here that I can use in my witch worlds.  But, well. Let me get into the products and you decide.

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

Sisters of Rapture

OGL (d20 3.5) and Pathfinder versions. 

PDFs, both 72 pages of content (76 and 74 total respectively). Color covers and interior art.

For Mature Readers. Let's approach this one upfront. The art featured on the cover is a rather tame example of the art that can be found inside. Point blank, there is a lot of nudity here and lot of sexual situations. The entire idea of the Sisters of Rapture is a class of semi-divine spellcasters centered around love and sacred sex. If this is not your thing then best to back out now.  Again I have struggled with how to use some of these concepts in my games. 

We know that history has had temple prostitutes, sacred sex, and many pagan rituals involving fertility. There are historical examples to fit this book more so than say the martial arts monk side by side with a horse-riding paladin in a quasi-European Medieval setting.  

Plus, and I want to be truthful here, there is a lot a great and well-written material here that begs to be used. So let's get to it.  Also, why am I doing these along with witches?

Unless mentioned the OGL and Pathfinder sections are largely similar. They are not 100% the same, more like 90% but both deal with their source game where they need too.

Introduction

Here we are introduced to the central concept of this book. That of the power of love. We learn of the Sisters of Rapture, a "close-knit organization of warrior-priestesses, dedicated to preserving and protecting the ideals of the various goddesses of love, beauty, sex, passion and other related concepts."  

In terms of RPG applications the author (and artist) T. Catt, points to the various artists of fantasy art.

Chapter One: Love's Blessed

Here we are introduced to the Sisters of Rapture base class, also known as the Rapturous. They are a bit of a fighter, a bit of divine spellcaster, and maybe some rogue added in. They are dedicated to the various goddess of love.  Their raison d'être is to spread pleasure and love around their worlds. 

Here we also get our first look at the art of T. Catt; mostly nude women. Now I just finished watching HBO's hits Rome and Game of Thrones, so this fits that aesthetic, but like I said it is not going to be for everyone.

In terms of 3.x OGL/Pathfinder classes, they have somewhat medium combat abilities, good Fort and Will saves, with low Reflex saves. They can cast spells up to the 9th level, same as all full casters. They also get a power every other level. Their spells are known as "Carnal Domain" Divine spells. They get d8 HD and can only be women of any species.

There is a limit on the number of spells they know like sorcerers. Their powers largely focus on and around their sex and sexuality. There are several "kiss" powers for example. I actually rather like the Kiss powers, I have used something similar and lets be honest history is repleat with various sorts of powerful or significant kisses. 

Depending on the Goddess they follow they can gain different powers. So Aphrodite grants her Rapturous different powers than Freya.  Freya in particular grants her Rapturous a "Righteous Rage" ability to Rage like a barbarian of half her level. 

What does this sound like? Yeah. Witches and their patrons. 

Chapter Two: Love's Chosen

This covers the various Prestige Classes. I mentioned before that I like Prestige Classes, I always have. These classes work well with this base class. Though I will point out that other classes should be able to qualify for these to be within the spirit of the d20 rules; these don't really do that.

The Inamorare is something like a muse. They get some Bard-like abilities (mostly inspiration) and of the five levels they advance in spell casting in three of them.  The Patron Mother takes on the role of training the next generation by taking on a Rapturous apprentice. In this respect, she more similar to a cleric. The Spellswinger (and I admit I like that name) swings both ways, Divine and Arcane magic. NOW this Prestige Class does require that character be able to cast Rapturous and Arcane spells.Yes, they are all about sex magic. My favorite though might be the Stormsister. These Rapturous are the strong arm of the Sisters and they punish anyone that harms women or stops love. 

The Pathfinder version also includes various archetypes for the base class. These include the Abbess (closer to her Goddess and church), Divine Virgin (celebrates the pure divine love and refrain from sex), and the Sacred Prostitute (think of the Epic of Gilgamesh), 

Chapter Three: Love's Method

This covers skills and feats.  For skills there is Knowledge (Carnal). I can't help but wonder if the author was familiar with the old AD&D Netbook Book of Unlawful Carnal Knowledge. No, don't go dig it up, it's not worth it. There is also Perform (Sexual Techniques) and various Professions.

Feats are an interesting lot and could have a lot of interesting applications.  Blown Kiss, for example,  allows the Rapturous to "blow a kiss" or deliver a touch spell/power attack at range. 

The Pathfinder also covers various traits.

The next portion of this chapter covers the Carnal Domain Spells. There are only nine, but since the publication of this book there have been plenty of others that would work.

There are some magic items. The Rings of Faithfulness are certainly interesting. 

Chapter Four: Love's Divinity

This chapter covers the various goddess of love, beauty, and sex. These include the expected Aphrodite/Venus, Isis, and Freya. Others are briefly mentioned. Shout outs to my favorites Astarte and Brigit. Additionally, we are presented with a "new" Goddess, Parvati. 

The Pathfinder version is largely the same but I think a mention of the Goddess of Love Shelyn and her lovers Desna and Sarenrae should be in order here. I feel that their combined faiths would be perfect for the Sisters of Rapture. (I know these goddesses are not "open" in terms of the OGL so they could not be included in this book).

Chapter Five: Love's Order

This details the society and church organization of the Sisters of Rapture.  This includes the religious practices of the Sisters and the roles they are play within the church organizations. 

Chapter Six Love's Relations

It seems odd to call these creatures monsters, but they are creatures/people that are associated with or related too the Sisters of Rapture. There are the Theliel, the Archons (Angels) of Passion. The Beloved, undead victims of the Succubus. The Congress of the Wolf, an all-male group in opposition to the Sisters. We just call them the Patriarchy.  There is Lileetha the Queen of the Succubi. The Half-Nymph and Huldra. The Pleasure Ooze looks like a woman but is really an ooze that wants to eat you.  As does the Venus Mantrap. 

I will say this for Pathfinder. The "Evolved" monster stat block makes it a lot easier to read than the base D&D 3.x one.

Appendix 1: Who's Who

This covers various Raprurous NPCs. Theophania Leandros the current Overmother, Althea Acarides a half-nymph Sister of  Aphrodite, Saereid an elven Sister of Freya, Ninythys a human Sister of Isis, and Kamala Siddah a humanSister of Parvati.

Appendix 2: Modern Rapturous (OGL)

Here the books differ quite a bit. The OGL version covers the Modern d20 book and how the Sisters of Rapture exist in the modern age. 

The OGL book ends with one of the most attractive-looking character sheets I have ever seen. 

Appendix 2: The Nefer-Sefet (Pathfinder)

This is a special sect of Isis-worshiping Sisters of Rapture that attach themselves to an Arcane spell caster and bolster their powers. Essentially they are a living Meta-magic battery for these arcane spell casters. 

Both the required OGL pages.

So. What to make of all of this.

Well, there is a  lot of great mechanics here. The class is solid and even if you toned down the sexual aspect of it there is a lot her that is good to play.  You have to ask though what is here that a cleric could not do or even should be able to do. This is a divine spellcaster. There are some powers, but I think a cleric could cover similar ground.  I guess at some level the differences are the same between a cleric and this class and a wizard and a witch. 

I also can't but help but admire the complete level of detail the creator has gone in on this. While others might scratching their head about where to use this class you know that T. Catt has thought about all of these things and more. It's obvious from the level of detail here.

Among other things, the half-nymph is a great idea, the various feats have some wonderful uses, and the creature section has some surprise hits.

For me there is a lot here that could be used with my various witches. I have reviewed Swine Witches and Worm Witches already in the last week. I have Green, Winter, Pagan, Hedge, evil and more witches in my own catalog, a sex(y) witch is not too far from any of those. Hell. Some of the material here would have worked just fine in my Pumpkin Spice Witch book. 

I guess each Game Master has to decide on their own how to best use this sort of book. 

 


The Other Side - 100 Days of Halloween

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

100 Days of Halloween: Elements of Magic - Mythic Earth

Elements of Magic - Mythic Earth
Going back a bit when the D&D 3.5 edition of the game was all the rage and ENWorld began publishing material under the OGL and d20 STL.

This one covers the mythic magic of our World. 

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

Elements of Magic - Mythic Earth

PDF in a zip file. 58 pages. Front and back cover supplied as separate JPG files.  

You can tell this is the early days of PDF publishing. The publisher provides a README file to explain how use the layers to make a print-friendly PDF. Vey nice I have to say. Very polite.

This book largely assumes that you will be using this in a modern d20 game where magic is real.  There is an appendix in the back about using it with "Fantasy d20" coughD&D3.5cough.

Preface

A one-page overview of what this book is and how it is updated from it's predecessors (other Elements of Magic books).

Chapter One: Myths

This chapter is the foundation layer for playing a "mythic" game. This covers what sorts of myths you to use or create for your game. The default is a modern high fantasy. We get some very basic examples of how myths work in the world. Such as the abduction of Persephone causing the seasons to a basic overview of A Hero with a Thousand Faces monomyth.

Honestly, there could have been a lot more here.

Chapter Two: Spellcasting and Magical Traditions

This covers the spell-casting basics.  This includes "regular" spell casting and ritual magic. Magic is largely a skill-based system. Because of this any class can cast spells but some are going to be better trained than others.  There are new backgrounds, new skills, and of course lots of new feats.  Feats are the primary vehicle to differentiate the various magical styles.  It works much better than it would seem or even to anyone that is "feat exhausted."

In truth, the feat system is really rather perfect for this, or maybe, this book's conceptualization of these different mythic traditions is well suited for feats.  In other games, these would be all different classes or sub-classes.  Here it is entirely possible to build an arcane dabbler that knows a little runic magic, some voodoo. Your dabbler will never be an expert in anything due to the limited number of feats you can take, but that is also true in real life. They are also designed to provide some interesting playability if you do take more than one Tradition feat.

Examples of some magic items and a ritual spell are also given.

Chapter Three: The Magic of High Fantasy

This is our campaign world; magical modern Earth. They make a distinction between our Earth, "Terra" and the magical Earth, "Gaia." It is not a particularly new idea, but it is well executed here and that is the important part. Detailed within are various organizations that exist on Gaia that are related to magic. There is the governmental "Bureau" that act as the law enforcement in the magical world and "The Knights of the Round" that enforce the treaties with the Fey.  There is room for many more.

We are also given The Mage, an Advanced Class for d20 Modern. This rounded off with some NPC Mages.

Chapter Four: Spells

Spells here are applications of magical skills. The ten skills are Attack, Charm, Create, Cure, Defend, Divine, Illusion, Move, Summon, Summon, and Transform.  Each skill must be trained. So it is easy to see you can have generalists in all skills and experts in just a few.  Each skill has a number of spells associated with it.  You can design spells as needed with whatever enhancements seem to work the best.  Each enhancement requires a skill rank.  So four enhancements mean four additional skill ranks. 

The system takes a little bit to learn but is easily adaptable and usable in play.

Appendix

This covers converting the Mage advanced class to a Base class for use in Fantasy d20 worlds. 

It is obvious to me that this was someone's favorite campaign model for a while. There are a lot of really great ideas here and few I'd like to try out.  Reading it now I am taken by how much of this could be ported over to True20 or even a modern OSR game.

The Other Side - 100 Days of Halloween


Sunday, September 18, 2022

100 Days of Halloween: Love Witch

Love Witch
Something a little different tonight. NUELOW Games has given us a lot of off-beat supplements for d20; many using old comics that have fallen into the public domain. It is a good idea really, some of these older comics are actually good and some are kinda creepy and many lend themselves well to all sorts of games.  That is what we have tonight.  Though I will admit I am not 100% sure if the comic used IS public domain OR if it is one they licensed for this use.  The copyright notice seems to indicate that Marv "Teen Titans" Wolfman still owns and it is used with his permission. 

Love Witch

PDF. 56 pages. Color Cover. Black & White interior art.

Not to be confused with the similar-sounding movie out the same year. 

This product is split into four major parts.  Parts 1 to 3 are the comics about the "Love Witch" and Part 4 is the OGL d20 rules to use some of the magic.

Burnick is our titular Love Witch. The first comic introduces us to this beautiful but evil witch. The next two deal with her various battles, with the last one dealing with her battle with her arch enemies the Druids.

The Game related sections start on page 36 and deal with the fall of Atlantis and the migrations of the Atlanteans.  The magic of Atlantis, at least in terms of the d20 rules are a bunch of different feats that can be taken to provide magical effects.  Not a bad method and it certainly feels different.

In the modern eras, we get two groups that continue the Love Witches fight. The Daughters of Burnick continue in the steps of the Love Witch and the Watchers of the Stones who are the modern-day Druids.

It's fun and I could easily see a "Daughters of Burnick" coven that I could use with my own witch books or even better with the Hyperborea RPG. 


The Other Side - 100 Days of Halloween


Monday, August 8, 2022

100 Days of Halloween: Witchology 101

Witchology 101
Now for something a little different. Pathfinder is great, but it is not the only 3.x-based game out there not named Dungeons & Dragons.  For a while there I did a lot stuff for D20 Modern and I still like to pick up material for it.  Though today I think a 5e-based Modern might be the way to go.

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

Witchology 101

PDF. 60 pages, $2.99. 1 page cover, 1 title page, 1 page introduction, 3 pages table of contents. 3 pages Creative Common license, 1 page OGL.  Rest content.

This book is punching way above its weight class, to be honest.   The organization is a bit odd, but nothing I can't navigate. 

We get a Glossary at the start, which I guess works to help people unfamiliar with some of these terms.  An introduction to a Who's Who of magical people and places. This includes the various school of magic as if they were actual schools. Each school gets its Latin motto, its center of studies, and titles. It is a pretty cool idea really.  Spells by school are listed with their appropriate colleges. 

There is a whole implicit setting here that can be used in conjunction with any Modern d20 game that also has magic, say like Urban Arcana. It can also be used with other modern games that are built on a d20 system.  I am not 100% sure, but I bet it would work with Mutants and Masterminds for example.

This is a d20-based rule book so there are some features of that. What am I saying? There are Feats! Quite a few in fact. There are spells, some new, some we have seen before (this is fine).  Also to my pleasure, there are new creatures or some reskinned ones. This is a must I think.

It has a Creative Commons License and the OGL. I am not really sure if you can mix the two.  But that does not detract from my enjoyment of it.

So for just under $3 you get 50 pages of solid content. There is no art to speak of, but that is fine really.

Solid work.


The Other Side - 100 Days of Halloween

Friday, May 20, 2022

Review: Traveller20 (2002-2007)

Traveller20 (2002, 2007)
We are now in another new decade. In fact a new century and a new millennium in fact. And of course another new edition of Traveller.  Interestingly enough we are now 25 years out from the Little Black Books. But we are now nearing the end height of the d20 boom.

Traveler, for the first time in its history, is now using the same system as Dungeons & Dragons.

Traveller for d20, also called Traveller 20 or even T20 used the d20 system under the OGL and d20 STL.

Since this is the 20th day of SciFi month, let's do Traveller for d20!

There are two versions of this game, one out in 2002, which I remember was a single hardcover book.  The other, available from DriveThruRPG is the 2007 edition and made up of three books (and a handbook).  I had the 2002 version briefly but ended selling it off in an auction. Why? I can't recall. I had a baby and another one on the way, I bet I needed money.

Both versions have similar cover art.

For the purposes of this review, I am going to consider the 2006-7 version from DriveThruRPG and from Far Future Enterprises where I got my copy from. 

Traveller20 Core Rules Set (2006-7)

PDF. Four files. Color cover art, black & white interior art.

Traveller20 (2006-7)

Ok. I want to start with this. I like d20. I do. My favorite version of the Star Wards RPG is Wizard's Revised d20 version. I know that sounds like blasphemy to so many, but I don't care.  Star Wars and D&D are so wrapped up into my childhood that bringing them together under one system was a no-brainer for me.  Now if I can add some Traveller bits?  Well I don't know if I can just yet, but the idea is so tempting, so tantalizing I just can't help it.  Seriously what could be more Summer of 1977 than Star Wars + D&D + Traveller?   What does that mean for you?  Well.  I am likely to cut this edition a lot of slack. Maybe even to the point of excusing some things I shouldn't.  Forewarned is forearmed.

The Traveller's Guidebook
The Traveller's Guidebook

PDF. 234 Pages, Color cover, black & white interior art with blue accents.

This is the "Book 0" OR the Book 4 of the 2006-7 Traveller d20 line.  This book covers all the basics for the Traveller Player. 

We get out Introduction which tells us what we are in for here.  It is written for the point of view of anyone new to RPGs or new to Traveller (any version). 

We get brief overviews of the d20 mechanic. How to set your Difficulty Levels (DCs) and even a little on success levels.

Character Creation is next.  What follows is pretty standard for all d20 games.  Roll abilities, choose races, select classes, set skills, add feats, roll up hitpoints.  This is Traveller so there is a bit more added on.

D&D/d20 has six Character Abilities. Traveller has six.  T20 has nine. These are Strength, Dexterity, Constitution, Intelligence, Education, Wisdom, Charisma, Social Standing, and Psionic Strength.  Ok a mix of both systems.  Not exactly what I would have done, but hey.  Ability scores are d20 standard, modifiers are as well.   

Hitpoints are split between Stamina and Lifeblood. Or what other games might call wound points and health points.  One slows you down the other represents how much you have till you die. Loosing either is not good.

Races are discussed and the standard humans are given with variations. You can also choose Vargr, Aslan, Ursa, and Virushi. 

Since this is Traveller you have your homeworld to consider.  There are plenty of random tables to help you figure this all out.  Tech Levels from previous editions remain here. It's a nice touch of course.  Also you have your prior history, or what you did before you decided to live the glamorous life of a Traveller.  Turns of service enter here with various paths and what that all means in terms of your character (background, credit earned, and skills).   I am not sure but it seems like there are a lot of careers here. More than other editions.

Once that is figured out you can choose a class. XP values are the same as D&D 3.x so that is easy enough. There are 12 core classes: Academic, Athlete, Barbarian, Belter, Entertainer, Martial Artist, Mercenary, Merchant, Noble, Professional, Rogue, and Traveller.  Nine "Service" Classes: Army, Convict, Corsair, Flyer, Law Enforcement, Marine, Navy, Sailor, and Scout. And eight Prestige Classes: Diplomat, Engineer, Medic, Ace Pilot, Ancients Hunter, Big Game Hunter, Psionicist, and TAS Field Reporter.

Skills are covered and as expected there are a lot of them. A lot. Nearly 30 pages worth.  Same goes for Feats (this is d20 after all).  Now I prefer a smaller list of skills myself, but I see why the authors did what they did.

Equipment and Starting Funds cover the next 40 pages or so.  Imperial Credits are still good here!

Combat is the d20 system with a few twists, but nothing the average D&D 3.x+ player couldn't figure out.  The covers personal, vehicle and ship combat.

Adventuring covers quite a lot from what the characters do, living expenses, environments and their dangers, weather dangers, movement, vision, and on to Psionics (which really should be it's own chapter).

We now get into what could be reasonably called the Traveller Black Books of d20.

Book 1: Characters and Combat
Book 1: Characters and Combat

PDF. 209 Pages, Color cover, black & white, and color interior art.

I will admit I am confused. This book looks older than the "Book 0" above.  No problem.  Ok. So I get the idea these textbooks are actually separate from the first one. Not sure what the logic here is, but works for me.  I'll take these three books as a group, like the Little Black Books of old.

We start out with some game fiction. Move right on to an introduction from Marc W. Miller, but I think that is all he did for this particular version.  This moves on to the Introduction to RPGs section and about Traveller in particular.  So while it is similar to the book above it also goes into far more detail.

Characters cover character creation.

There is an overview with page references to where they are detailed later in this book.  Most interestingly there are now eight (8) Abilities.  The standard d20 ones plus Education (EDU) and Social Standing (SOC).  

You generate your abilities first, examples are given of how EDU and SOC work in the game.  Determine your race/species included here are humans (with sub-types), Vargr, Aslan, Luriani, Sydites, Ursa, and Virushi.  Mentioned ar the Droyne, Hivers, and K'Kree.

As always your homeworld stats are determined and character adjusted as needed.  This also helps with skills and what classes are available to you. 

Classes are next and there are a lot of them. This time they are better explained.  We have the core classes: Academic, Barbarian, Belter, Mercenary, Merchant, Noble, Professional, Rogue, and Traveller.  The  Service Classes: Army, Marine, Navy, and Scout. And Prestige Classes: Ace Pilot, Big Game Hunter, and TAS Field Reporter.  Classes work like the d20 standard. 

I do admit I have a desire to run a game with TAS field reporters.  If nothing else this is giving me a load of ideas for my Star Trek: Mercy campaign. 

Skills are up and we also get a note that this section is Open Game Content. Nice touch.  There are quite a lot of skills here, more than the d20 standard of the time.  A lot of these are also limited to particular classes or backgrounds.  Unlike standard d20 and more like some other games, some skills can be used with more than one ability. Pilot for example can be INT or DEX.  I think my favorite addition though is the "Dealing with Bureaucrats" DC table.   As expected this section is rather large.

Feats (this is d20 after all) is also a long section.  There are also some Final Details to figure out like age, height, and weight. 

Oddly, but maybe it makes sense, Prior History is after all of this.  Reading through is does actually since it modifies what the character is like. In truth it is like a rather robust "Backgrounds" from D&D 5th Edition, just 10+ years before that.

Combat is up. The book says that combat is pretty much the same as d20 standard except in a few   cases.  Mostly Traveller universe specific examples.  Where things are different it is noted.

After combat, the Prestige Classes are covered.  And at the end as always (more or less) is Psionics.

The Appendices follow.  Their page numbers start as if all three books are combined.  Nice really. So Appendix I starts on page 426.  The last page is the OGL and Product Identity information.

Book 2: Equipment and Design
Book 2: Equipment and Design

PDF. 164 Pages, Color cover, black & white interior art.

I just want to say right now that I am loving this Classic Traveller presentation of the Traveller 20 rules.  I wish I had a POD of this. 

This book continues, page numbers and all, from Book 1. 

This book covers all the Technology and Equipment (about two dozen pages), the design of vehicles and starships, and some standard designs.  All of it is largely what you would expect it to be.

Technology and Equipment.  This discusses various TLs (Technology Levels) and the character "shopping list" so lots of weapons.  We do have sections of drugs, medical care, food and living expenses, as well as cybertechnology (somewhat that started in Traveller just a decade ago) and cloning.  Interestingly enough I did not see a lot on robots save that they can be built like vehicles.  I do appreciate the conservation of rule space here, but more might have been nice.

Computers are more advanced, but you are all sick of me harping on that.

The Appendices repeat here as well as the OGL information.

Book 3: Worlds and Adventures
Book 3: Worlds and Adventures

PDF. 107 Pages, Color cover, black & white interior art.

Ok, I have to admit I am enjoying this system. 

This is the smallest of the three. 

This book covers Travelling (Chapter 14), Starship Encounters (Chapter 15), Universe and World development (Chapter 16), Campaigns (17), and Traveller Adventures (Chapter 18).

The design here is one of characters living in a giant Galactic Imperium that is full of adventure and lite on the details of the Imperium itself.  Oh there is information here on it anyone with any knowledge of Traveller can easily fill in the blanks.  The focus of this game though is more like Classic Traveller, on the characters and what they do.  There is more here than Classic Traveller, but not as much as say MegaTraveller.

I can gather from reading that this takes place sometime prior to the timeline of the LBBs, before 1000. But not much more.

--

Ok so this bundle has two separate versions of the T20 game. For my money, I would rather the Three Books and add in details from The Traveller's Guidebook where needed. 

The Three Books cover the same material as The Traveller's Guidebook save for where the TGB goes into additions (more classes, more abilities).   I am not 100% convinced that the additions to TGB are better. 

I am not going to lie. I like the 3.x d20 system, warts and all.  I like the idea of a huge Galactic Empire.  So if I am going to play a non-Trek game then some flavor of d20 is likely going to be my choice.

Call me crazy, but I like this one. 

Part of me wants to find a copy of the Traveller d20 dead tree book online to buy another part of me wants to print out what I have to put into a binder with other d20-based SciFi games.  I know there is d20 Starfleet Battles / Prime Directive and more. 

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Kytarra Bane, the Witch Queen and Mixing Books

I am often asked if one witch book can be used with another or with a game I didn't overtly design it for.  Say for example using The Warlock with Basic-era D&D, or The Amazon Witch Tradition with AD&D or S&W.   Well, the short answer is YES!


My goals for every book are simple. Make it a fun class. Make it compatible with every other book. Make it so the someone can pick one up and play it.   Any book I have can be and will be, someone's first book in the series.  So I want maximum playability.

So what can you do to mix them?  Well like I said I spend a lot of time trying to make it easy and avoid any potential issues.  In all things your GM has the say (and you or they can also always ask me) but here is an example.

Today I want to rebuild a character from Necromancer's Fane of the Witch King.
The character is Kytarra Bane, the "Witch Queen" of the adventure.  In the D&D3/d20 is a half-fiend/half-nymph 4th level druid.  Here nymph and druid levels "stack" in d20 so she ends up something like an 11th level druid.  But I don't want a druid. I want a witch.  So how could I build her using my books?

Well, given that she is half-fiend I am going to opt to make her part of the Mara Tradition.   To handle her handful of druid spells I will also grab some material from the S&W Green Witch book.  Finally, to deal with her half-nymph side I am going to use the multiclassing and use any race rules from the Classical Tradition book.  That book also has a large variety of nymphs to choose from.   Her bonus spells due to high Charisma (from The Mara book) and her Occult powers will help cover her nymph and fiend abilities.

Since I have all the books I can choose from a wider variety of spells for her.  There is some overlap in spells, that can't be helped. All witched get a Curse spell of some sort, but it makes for a nicer variety all the same.  I will also grab some cantrips from my original The Witch for Basic-Era Games book.

Kytarra Bane
Kytarra Bane, The Witch Queen
From Fane of the Witch King
11th Level Witch, Mara Tradition
Half-nymph/Half-demon

Strength: 19
Intelligence: 20
Wisdom: 20
Dexterity: 17
Constitution: 17
Charisma: 20

Saves (unadjusted)
Death Ray or Poison:  9
Magic wand or devices: 10
Paralysis, Polymorph or Turn to Stone: 9
Dragon Breath: 12
Rods, Staffs, and Spells: 11

Hit Points: 52
Alignment: Chaotic (Evil)
AC: -1 (-2 dex, -1 natural, -3 bracers, Death Armor +1)

Occult Powers
Familiar:  Fiendish Dire Tiger
Herb use
Lesser:  Blinding Beauty (as per Blindness spell, once per day)

Spells
Cantrips (6): Black Flame, Chill, Flare, Mend Minor Wounds (x2), Object Reading
First (4+3): Bewitch I, Endure Elements, Fey Step, Häxen Talons, Mend Light Wounds, Obedient Beast, Obscuring Cloud
Second (3+3): Burning Gaze, Burning Hands, Defiling Touch, Fury of the Sun, Produce Flame, Stunning Allure
Third (3+2): Bewitch III, Brave the Flames, Contagion, Continual Fire, Witch Fire
Fourth (2+2): Dispel Magic, Dryad's Door, Elemental Armor, Rain of Spite
Fifth (2): Death Curse, Flame Strike
Sixth (1): Fire Seeds

Magic Items: Bracers (+3), Death Armor

I am pretty pleased with this build. I grabbed unique spells from all my sources listed about and it made for a nice witch. The mixing worked well and I ended up with a character very close to that of the original d20 product.  Since she is not part of an organized coven, or any coven really, I opted NOT to give her any witch Rituals.  That is not a hard and fast rule in the books, but one I use in my own games.

The are more ways to combine the books.  I should have a few more NPC witches coming up.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

The Witch of Loch-Durnan

One of the things I love about GenCon are the booths selling cheap games.  There are lots books from the dismal 90s and a ton from the dawn of the d20 boom.

The Witch of Loch-Durnan was from the d20 dawn published by Mystic Eye Games who had a lot of cool books back then, some I still use.

This book though has vexed me.
First look at that Jhoneil Centeno art.  I can't recall seeing his work before or since.

Then I could never find it online at a decent price and there is no PDF to be had for money or love.

The 72-page adventure was written by Andrew Thomson. It is for four characters 5th to 7th level for the 3.0 flavor of the d20 system. There are some new monsters or more to the point a system of generating new mutations of monsters like scorpion dogs and goat men.

Then there is the eponymous witch herself.


Mellie, is the witch of Loch-Durnan.  She is also the central figure of this adventure.   Reading this makes me realize that this might in fact be the missing piece of my War of the Witch Queens adventures.  She certainly is worthy to join their ranks.

Mellie - The Witch of Loch-Durnan
for The Witch: A sourcebook for Basic Edition fantasy games

Female Half-elf
Witch 4th-level, Chaotic Neutral
White Witch* Tradition
Flock of the Moon Sisters Coven

Abilities
Strength: 14
Dexterity: 14
Constitution: 10
Intelligence: 10
Wisdom: 16
Charisma: 17

Saving Throws
Death Ray: 13
Magic Wands: 14
Paralysis or Turn to Stone: 13
Dragon Breath: 16
Spells: 15

+2 to magic based saves

Hit Points: 12
AC: 8
To hit AC 0: 19

Occult Powers
Familiar:

Spells 
Cantrips (5): Dancing Lights, Detect Magic, Ghost Sounds, Mend Minor Wounds, Message
First (2+2): Charm Person, Mend Light Wounds, Protection from Spirits, Speak with Animals
Second (2+2): Augury, Evil Eye, Knock, Mind Obscure

*The White Witch is a type of witch featured int he Hunt the Rise of Evil campaign from Mystic Eye Games.  It is pretty much what you think a white witch is. Non-evil, focused on healing, protection, and divination magic.

Pretty close to her d20 counterpart.  I like it! Can't wait to use her as a Witch Queen!




Wednesday, November 29, 2017

PWWO: Mighty Protectors

Time again for another edition of "Plays Well With Others"!

Mighty Protectors is a new game, but it has a long history and some solid Old-School DNA.  Because of this, there is a lot of ways to tinker with the game.

It is no secret that there is D&D DNA in Villains & Vigilantes.  That DNA carries over to V&Vs offspring, Mighty Protectors.  While there are still plenty differences in these games, there are enough similarities to build on.

Mighty Protectors and Villains & Vigilantes 2.1


Total cheat really. These games are less "Mix and Match" as they are "ideas to be shared". They are basically two slightly different expressions of the same world.  Now V&V 2.1 has better, or at least, more explicit rules for magic and psionics. Plus converting between MP and V&V 2.1 is easy; there is a section in the MP book on converting V&V 2.1 over.  Using this V&V 2.1 becomes a Rosetta Stone of sorts for d20 based games.

This conversion key is really helpful for me for the next two games.

Mighty Protectors & d20 Silver Age Sentinels / BESM d20


Alas, Guardians of Order.  You were a not a well-run company, in the end, but you did have some fun games.  Two of GoO's games are of particular interest to me.  Big Eyes Small Mouth d20 (BESM d20) and Silver Age Sentinels d20 (SAS d20).  Both had great breakdowns of the d20 system (circa 2002) into Level-Based Point buy systems.  Using our V&V translation you can now have a translation of BESM/SAS d20 to V&V and MP.  In particular, the book Advanced d20 Magic for BESM d20 is a great resource for point-buy spells.   I have not worked out the mathematical translations or crunched the numbers just yet, but there are there.  My initial guess is that 1 CP (MP) = 2 Points for SAS/BESM. 
This would give me a great point-buy spell system with some well-defined familiar spells.

Another great thing about SAS (Tri-Stat or d20 versions) is the excellent history of comics and the superhero in modern culture. The Silver Age sensibility of the "how to play" sections fit Mighty Protectors to a tee.

Mighty Protectors and Mutants & Masterminds 2.0


One can't talk super-hero games and not mention Muntants and Masterminds.  While now in the third edition, it is the second edition that concerns us here and now.  M&M2 shares a lot in common with MP. I could detail it here, but this link, Converting Mutants & Masterminds 2.0 to Mighty Protectors, does a far better job.   I have gone over the list of Powers and Abilities for both games to see what one has that the other doesn't, But I can say that between these two nearly every power likely is covered.

Plus Green Ronin has an absolute ton of material for M&M.  Personally, I like to put the supers of each game into their own cities and if you go to that city that's where you will find them.

For my next round of characters, I am going to take some notes from these other games to get the characters I am really looking for.  It should be a blast.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Star Wars

I feel the need to make an obligatory Star Wars post today.
But yet I am not quite feeling the excitement.

Don't get me wrong. I love the Star Wars movies and had a blast with all of them.  I loved everything Star Wars growing up too.    I still have a couple of Boba Fetts (one I had to save proof of purchases for, one I bought) sitting on my desk.  I went from being a hard-core fan to a more relaxed one.  I did like the newer movies despite HUGE plot holes (the first movie was about a trade agreement?? really??) and my kids love them.  My adult tastes went more for Star Trek.

I really enjoyed the d20 Star Wars game.  I know "heresy"! How dare I say anything was better than the d6 West End Games version.  I have (or rather my son has) the Revised d20 version.  It is a bit like D&D 3 and so we have been adding it off and on to our regular D&D game.

To me, d20 and Star Wars seemed a perfect match.  I think back to the late 70's and early 80's and what my obsessions were; Star Wars and D&D.  Having played the game a bit I can see why some people don't like it and why some still prefer the WEG d6 version (I don't), but to me it just works. Stars Wars and D&D share history, they share a common place in the Gen X collective sub-conscious right there next to video games.  To me, D&D/d20 and Star Wars just belong together.

Not only was it out at the same time (more or less) I discovered D&D. It became so much a part of my experiences as a kid that is hard to tease out where one influence begins and the other ends.

This movie has: A boy who would be the hero, a swashbuckling rogue, a princess to rescue, a wise old man/wizard/jedi, an evil warrior, an impenetrable fortress, magic, fights, side-kicks, monsters, sword fights and epic battle.  Everything here IS D&D.  They even meet the rogue in a bar!

Yes this another retelling of the monomyth or The Hero with a 1,000 Faces.  That's why it works so well.

Also, I have a long history of dissatisfaction with Sci-Fi games.  It's odd really.  I love Sci-Fi, but the RPGs I have tried (Traveler, Star Frontiers, Alternity) have left me feeling flat.  Star Frontiers was my favorite.   So I guess to me then, the perfect Sci-Fi game would have elements of Star Wars, Star Frontiers and Alternity all powered by the d20 system.  That is also easy to do.  I am a touch surprised I have not tried that yet.

I was talking about this with my wife last night in fact. We are not going to see Star Wars right away, but we are much more excited for the new Star Trek movie to be honest.   She also suggested I pick up the hardcover of White Star and play with that for a while, or even stick with Starships & Spacemen.  Though it is more "Trek" to White Star's "Wars".

Maybe what I need is a solid hook first for some good Sci/Star Wars/Star Trek gaming.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Seven Wonders - Examining the Witches of the d20 Era

Strange Brew: The Ultimate Witch & Warlock Kickstarter will go live again tomorrow.



Today I want to spend some time talking about the Seven (yes, 7!) Witch classes that have appeared for the d20 game in various shape and forms. I want to discuss their pros and cons, and why Strange Brew: The Ultimate Witch will be all the better for it.

Witch #1: The DMG Witch – Wizards of the Coast
Let's not forget that the very first witch was a "sample" character in the 3.0 edition DMG. She was basically a sorcerer with a different spell list. She dropped some of the iconic damage spells of the wizard in favor of some minor Cleric spells. I always considered this the baseline witch. Though since it was not in the SRD, I avoided reading about it. When working on Liber Mysterium back in the day, I was very, very strict about what I would read. In fact, I have a spreadsheet full of spells, and I would have discussions on what was and was not a witch spell. In the end, I ended up with a list that was not too unlike the witch spell list in the DMG, but I have tons of documentation of how I got to that point—we were more concerned back then that WotC was going to stomp out any d20 infraction they found. Still glad I did all the work, though. I was able to go back to it for all my other witch books.
I still use that very same spreadsheet. Maybe I could share it someday, if people are curious about how I go about doing this sort thing.

Witch #2: Liber Mysterium - Timothy S. Brannan
Back when d20 and OGL was still new (2001), I began updating all my notes on witches for publication quality book. This book became known as Liber Mysterium, and was released in 2003. There are a lot of things I REALLY liked about this book. There were a few things I really wanted to do with witches that became a lot easier with the d20 rules. In particular, I had a bunch of “Kiss” spells that had more effectiveness because they were delivered with a kiss. With d20, that became a metamagic feat. Coven spells were covered well, as were occult powers. Though 10 years later, I can admit it was not perfect. There was my own overriding opinion that most witches were going to be good. My bias. While there are tons of spells, some were redundant or a little over- or under-powered, 10 years of playing witches in my ongoing 3.x game has helped me work out a lot of the bugs.
One of the coolest things from the this project though is it really taught me how to work with a team of designers.  I carried over these lessons to Buffy and to Ghosts of Albion.



Witch #3: The Witch's Handbook - Green Ronin; Author Steven Kenson
This one is certainly a great effort. There is a lot I really like about this book. The gems of this book are the ideas for skills, and, of course, the fantastic cover art by Stephanie Pui-Mun Law. Like my own Liber Mysterium, this witch uses Wisdom to cast arcane spells. I still kinda like that, to be honest. There are a lot of nice prestige classes here. In particular were the Witch Priestess and the Witch's Champion, which was similar to something I  was calling the Cowan in my games. The Diabolic Witch and the Witch Hag were also nice and gave some balance to the "mostly good" Witch Priestess. There are new spells, and like Way of the Witch below, it uses the Ritual Casting rules from Relics & Rituals, which were very much in vogue at the time. Covens in this book were covered, but not as much as in Liber or Way of the Witch.
What this book lacks in page count, it makes up for in utility; there is something useful on every page. More to the point, there is something I wanted to use on every page.



Witch #4: Way of the Witch - Citizen Games; Authors Janet Pack, Jean Rabe, Megan Robertson, Christina Stiles
Style-wise this is the best of the lot of the early witch books for d20. Hardcover, with some of the most beautiful art I have seen in a book. I mean, go look at that Thomas Denmark cover.
The witch is basic and has a lot of really nice features. The prestige classes are simple, but functional, dividing the witch into white, black, grey, and brown witches. There are some other nice ideas, as well including how witches lived in this world and their much greater affinity to the magical rhythms of the world. The authors really took their time and care with this one, and it really shows.
There is so much I love about this book that it made want to make my own books better. The nice flow between the art and the text made this feel much more like a single creative endeavor. Even if the material wasn't good (and the material was good) it was a joy to look at. I bought this one before I was done with Liber Mysterium, but I put it up until Liber was out the door. I remember sitting in my car one afternoon to pick up my kids from daycare and wishing I had done some of the things in this book.
Alas, Citizen games did not make it out of the d20 boon alive. They were going to come out with a second witch book, Seasons of the Witch, and I had heard a little about it. I had high expectations really.


Witch #5: The Quintessential Witch – Mongoose Publishing; Author Robert Schwalb
I am not a huge fan of the older Mongoose books. There are number of issues with the classes being all over the place, odd editing, and art that runs the gambit. This book is not any different. The witch class is pretty typical of the time (early days of the d20 boom). There is a wide variety of prestige classes such as the Caller to the Veil, Diabolist, Gypsy Matron, Witch Doctor and even a Witch Hunter, which is nice, but not all of them are usable. For example I am not sure why the Medium has a Charisma loss, or why the Occultist spells are the way they are. The book also tends to be full of a lot clichés. The art for the Vamp prestige class comes to mind, actually the entire Vamp prestige class is pretty much a huge cliché. An evil woman scorned by a member of the opposite sex using her "feminine whiles" to corrupt others. Oh and lets show her in bed with an innocent looking girl. Not really forward thinking there.  Though the material that was good (Patron of the Five Sprits, Puppet Mistress), was very good. There is a good section on new uses for skills, including telling fortunes and a good section of feats. There are new spells and new magic items, as expected, but the coolest thing might be the Places of Power. I also liked the Times of Power and the very detailed Herbal section. What made the Herbal so nice was not all of the herbs used, but that the ones they did included art. It looked like an old-school herbal.



Witch #6: Pantheon and Pagan Faiths – Mystic Eye Games
This was part of Mystic Eye Games: Hunt the Rise of Evil product line. It was also a great effort, and it captured my attention early on. I liked this one because it was the other end of the spectrum from the Green Ronin one, but still not quite Way of the Witch - the book had an implied world setting with witches as a part of it, but not quite as integrated into the fabric of the world as we see in Way of the Witch. The witch still existed in a rich world, and a lot was expected of her. She had the spells and the powers to meet these expectations, too.
This witch was a divine spellcaster, not an arcane one. This was also a nice change of point of view.
I also liked the prestige classes. They were a nice selection of orders with Divine backgrounds and really what I wanted to see in a Prestige Class. The Furies of Destruction were similar to my own War Witch, but far more deadly. The Beast Friend looked like a fun class to try out for a Druid, but it's alignment restrictions (Lawful Good only) didn't quite make sense to me. Slaughter Priests should be in every game.



Witch #7: The Pathfinder Witch (Advanced Player’s Guide)
This is the current Witch. I have spoken about the pros and cons of this witch many times. But I have to admit what I really like are the Hexes. These are such a nice addition to the witch class. The Patrons here are very, very similar to the Patrons I used. Also, if I made the error of assuming that all witches are mostly good, I think this book has the bias that witches are mostly evil. I also can’t get past how weak the covens are in this book.


All seven (and some others here and there) all offer me something fun and unique to the game play. What I want now though is something that allows me to play all these experiences.

Or, to put it another way, the Ultimate Witch.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Strange Brew Kickstarter is back!

The new video for my Kickstarter is now up.

I am re-kicking off "Strange Brew: The Ultimate Witch & Warlock" again soon.  This is going to be the ultimate book of witches, warlocks and pretty much everything I have been doing for the last 13 years.

But here, let me tell you about it.


This book with be for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game.  It would be compatible with any 3.x d20 game you choose to play.

We have taken some time to trim the book down a bit, but it will still be a huge book.  I have a ton of material and I am not alone in this project.

What I want to do here is the same thing that was done for Wizards in Deep Magic and Psychics in Ultimate Psionics.  These are also massive books at 378 pages and 452 pages respectively.  So a book on witches, warlock, their prestige classes and spells will come in around the same size.

Also everything is written.  We have some careful editing to do to get down to our target size, but really if you have liked my work in the past then this will like this one too.

I plan on getting more video up, but vloging is really not my thing.

We are getting some great art and here is one of our firsts, the iconic witch Larina and her familiar Cotton.



This is going to be a great book!

Friday, January 10, 2014

Ultimate Witch & Warlock

Been sitting on this one for a little bit but now has come the time to talk about it.

I am currently working on a new project with Misfit Studios called "Strange Brew: The Ultimate Witch & Warlock" for the Pathfinder game.

You can read my first post about it over at Misfit Studios blog.
http://misfit-studios.com/blog/uncategorized/tim-brannan-strange-brew-ultimate-witch-warlock/

The idea with this began a long time ago as a way for me to update my old Liber Mysterium to D&D 3.5 and to include what I felt was some of the best OGC.  That project never materialized, mostly because I switched focus to instead produce The Witch and Eldritch Witchery.

Recently I began talking to an old friend Christina Stiles.  We had worked together on Buffy and a few other projects for Eden and generally ran in the same circles.  She was looking to update her old Citizen Games book Way of the Witch and thinking about "getting the Coven back together" and adding me on as an editor/designer.  I had mentioned to her that I had already done most of the work she was wanted to do.  We got to talking and soon The Ultimate Witch was born.

Again the idea was to take work I had done (now close to 500 pages), edit it, combine it with the best witch-related OGC out there, and recraft it all for Pathfinder.  The goal is to have a one stop book for all everything you need to play a witch character in Pathfinder.  Not just new spells, but hexes, backgrounds, new uses for old skills, magic items, feats and backgrounds.

I am not ready to release too many details, but this book would be the spiritual successor to both Liber Mysterium and Way of the Witch.  Neither of which are available in print anymore.  It would also update a lot of great d20 witch material, some of which has no equivalent for the Pathfinder game.

Now there are a couple of really obvious questions.
First what is in this book that is not in my other books? Simple answer is "a lot". When working on the first draft of what would become the Ultimate Witch I converted it over to "Basic" for The Witch.  What didn't fit or I could not convert I threw out.  All that stuff is back.  I don't want give the impression that it was thrown out because it was bad. Some of it, like feats for example, just didn't work. Others there were no good rules for with the way I saw the Basic Witch, like 9th level spells.   Plus the d20/Pathfinder system gives me a lot room to work on things too.  Some of the OGC I want to use did make it's way into The Witch and EW, but only the stuff I had used in playtests and my own games.  With the Ultimate Witch a lot more great stuff is going back in.  In particular the OGC from Way of the Witch.
I am also being joined by others on this, so the vision is not mine alone (that would be dull!)

Another question is why do this?  I mean I do have two books I am really, really happy with and proud of.  Why go back to well?  The answer here is again a simple one.  I like the Pathfinder witch, but she could be so much better.  As it turns out I have those things on my hard-drive.

So stay tuned.  I'll have more to say on this and how I plan to have a Witch and a Warlock classes.