Showing posts with label ogl. Show all posts
Showing posts with label ogl. Show all posts

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Class Struggles/Plays Well With Others: The Vile Witch

Mazes & Perils is the newest game on the OSR scene.   I covered the game in a "Class Struggles" back in May.  Then I focused on the new(er) magic using classes in the game.  There was a promise then that there would be more classes.
Given the Holmesian origins of this game the newest class is, appropriately, a witch.

The Vile Witch is the newest class for Mazes & Perils from +Vincent Florio, +Brian Fitzpatrick and +Sal Valente 
Before I talk about the class I want to give a shout out to cover artist +Jacob Blackmon. He is the one responsible for my new header above.

The Vile Witch is a 14 page book (cover, 2 pages of OGL, 1 page of ads, 1 title page for 9 pages of content) dedicated to the new vile witch spell caster. This is a character that revels in what others throw away.  It immediately reminded me of the Junk Lady in the movie Labyrinth AND Maja the witch from Adventure Time; she is the witch that buys Marceline's teddy bear Hambo for its memories.  The idea is that there is power in memories and power in items that have been associated with others.  It's a powerful archetype really and one with a LOT of potential.
But because the witch is so often mired in the refuse of others her appearance and form suffers.

The class has a lot of interesting features and powers in addition to some new spells and familiars.  Vile Witches are limited to 9th level. I think I see why, but I would try them to 10th or 12th like the other spell casting classes. Though she does have more powers (familiars and "vile blood") as well as a quicker spell advancement.
The book has both "vile familiars" and "common familiars". Common familiars can be used by any spell casting class, the vile ones are for the vile witch.  The rules are simple, as befitting the M&P game, and easy to use.  If you want familiar rules then this is a good choice to be honest even if you never use the class itself.
The book also contains 19 new vile witch spells.  While these spells could be used with any other magic using class, they are very specific to the vile witch and really give her a lot of flavor and color.

For just under $2 there is a lot of material here. It is a very different sort of witch and I like that. I am certain that this class will make for some great NPCs and hopefully some really great PCs as well.

Class Struggles
What I kept thinking while reading it was that a Vile Witch dedicated to the Goddess, Tlazolteotl would be a good idea. She could even be "good" or Lawfully aligned. Something like a "Sin Eater".
Her job is to make good things happen by "eating" the bad things.
Only a thought, but it would be how I'd play the class.
Unlike other classes I have talked about under the Class Struggles banner I can't really think of a similar class.  Maybe

Plays Well with Others
Mazes & Perils is firmly rooted in the "Basic" era style gaming and Holmes in particular.  That being true it works really, really well with my own Basic Era Witch class and many others.

If I were to convert this to my own book I might call them a "Sin Eater Tradition" for Lawful witches or "Vile Witch Tradition" for Neutral and Chaotic ones.

For Occult Powers I might try this;

Lesser: Vile Familiar
Minor: Toxic Blood
Medial: Greater Glamour
Greater: Curse
Major: Shape Change
Superior: Vile Apotheosis

Have to work out all the details of these, but the idea is that exposure to all this...stuff...changes the vile witch is both physical and supernatural ways.

Here are some spells from my book that you can use with the Vile Witch.

Level: Witch 1
Range: Touch
Duration: 1 minute per level
This spell causes the target creature to suffer from poor health.
Witches must succeed at a touch attack to strike the target. Subjects who fail their saving throw suffer a –1d6 penalty to Constitution, with an additional –1 per two caster levels (maximum additional penalty of –5). The subject’s Constitution score cannot be reduced below 1.
Material Components: A dried up dandelion.

Sour Stomach
Level: Witch 1
Range: One Target (within 25’ + 5’ per 2 levels)
Duration: 2 hours per level
This spell causes the target to have a nervous stomach, thus experiencing severe digestion, discomfort and cramping upon the engagement of any event that’s moderately stressful or exciting.
So terrible is this form of indigestion that the target must succeed a Poison saving throw, find a means to relieve their situation within 4 to 7 rounds (1d4+3) or have an “accident” that results in potential embarrassment and potential discomfort. The triggering event of such inconvenience could be most anything, from running into an encounter to finding treasure of mysterious properties to even meeting some stranger along the road. Each worthy event during the full duration of the compulsive enchantment can cause another potential outbreak of discomfort, thus requiring another save.
Material Components: A bit of soured milk.

Level: Witch 1
Range: 1 subject
Duration: 1 round per level
This minor hex causes the target creature to have a feeling of vertigo. The subject will feel that they are falling and their footing is unsure. Dizzied creatures suffer a -4 to their dexterity score and any to hit rolls.
Material Components: The witch makes a spinning motion with her finger.

Level: Witch 2
Range: 25’ + 5’ per 2 levels
Duration: Instantaneous
With this spell, the witch instantly slays all minor vegetation (weeds, flowers, small bushes, etc.) in a 20-ft.-radius. If a creature with the plant type is targeted, it takes 1d8 points of damage per caster level (max. 5d8). Creatures that are not plants are unaffected by this spell.
Material components: The witch picks a flower and pulls off the petals while chanting the words to this spell.

Level: Witch 2
Range: 25’ + 5’ per 2 levels
Duration: 1 round per level
Subjects of this spell become sick and queasy, feeling as though they are about to vomit. This condition renders subjects unable to attack, cast spells, concentrate on spells or do anything else requiring attention. They may only make a single move or move equivalent action each round.
Material Components: A drop of animal fat that has gone rancid.

Level: Witch 3
Range: Touch
Duration: Instantaneous
The subject contracts a disease selected from the table below, which strikes immediately (no incubation period). The subject can save vs. Spells normally, but after that only a remove disease or remove curse (or greater magics) can cure them.
Each disease affects a different ability. Infected creatures cannot attack and move at ¼ their normal movement rate.
Roll d8 Disease Damage
1 Blinding Sickness 1d4 STR
2 Cackle Fever 1d6 WIS
3 Filth fever 1d3 DEX and CON
4 Mindfire 1d4 INT
5 Red Ache 1d6 STR
6 Shakes 1d8 DEX
7 Slimy Doom 1d4 CON
8 Hags curse 1d3 WIS and CON

Blinding Sickness: For every 2 points of STR lost, a new save vs. Paralysis must be made or the target will go permanently blind. Not contagious.
Cackle Fever: Symptoms include high fever, disorientation and frequent bouts of hideous laughter. It’s commonly also known as “the shrieks.” Not contagious.
Filth Fever: An infection commonly gained while around dire rats, were-rats and otyughs. Not contagious.
Mindfire: Victims feel like their mind is on fire. It is as common as a curse in spell books. Not contagious.
Red Ache: Skin turns red, bloated, and warm to the touch. Not contagious.
Shakes: Causes involuntary twitches, tremors and fits. It is contagious to others by touch. Save vs. Paralysis prevents spread.
Slimy Doom: Victim turns into infectious goo from the inside out. It must be cured in a number of days equal to new CON score or victim will permanently loose CON points. It’s highly contagious by touch. Save vs. Paralysis at -2 prevents spread.
Hags Curse: Takes ability damage as listed and the victim becomes infertile or impotent (female or male respectively). Must be cured in a number of days equal to new CON score or become permanent.
Material Components: The witch needs crushed verbena in the blood of a viper and vinegar.

Mind Rash
Level: Witch 3
Range: 25’ + 5’ per 2 levels
Duration: 1 round per level
This spell causes the target to experience horrible itching sensations all over their body. Though not actually inflicted with any real physical ailment, the delusion of itching is so great that the target is unable to perform any action not related to attempting to relieve the persistent suffering. Likewise, the irritation actually causes the target to wound their bodies in the process of trying to relieve the itch. Any sort of thing to scratch and scrape away at the sensations, including stones, weapons, and bits of metal are used. Each round during the duration of the mind rash the target wounds their body for 1 point of damage.
Material Components: A bit of dried poison oak.

Level: Witch 4
Range: 25’ + 5’ per 2 levels
Target: 1 Creature
Duration: See below
This spell seizes subjects with sudden spasms of violent regurgitation. Those who fail their saving throw regurgitate helplessly for 1d4 rounds. While vomiting, subjects cannot move more than 5 feet per round and cannot fight or cast spells. For all purposes they are considered staggered. When the spasms end, subjects are overcome with a magical weakness which reduces their Strength by 1d4+1 points. This weakness persists for 1 round per level of the witch.
Material Components: The witch sticks a finger down her own throat.

Gnawing Pain
Level: Witch 5
Range: 25’ + 5’ per levels
Duration: 3 rounds + 1 round per level
Upon casting this spell, any creatures within the spell area must make a saving throw or suffer a gnawing pain that slowly spreads throughout their body.
During the first round the victims will feel a dull pain that causes a cold sweat. Casting any spells during this round requires a concentration skill roll. On the second round this pain becomes a sharp agony and the target is effectively shaken. By the third round the searing pain has reached its maximum intensity and the victim is nauseated. Each round thereafter the victims must make a saving throw or become wracked with convulsions. They are now completely incapacitated and helpless to defend themselves.
The effects of this spell linger in the mind of the victims even after the duration has expired. The targets will feel unnerved for 1d6+1 hours, resulting in a -1 penalty to any Wisdom-based rolls (including magic saves). They will suffer disturbing nightmares during the following 1d4 weeks, making sleeping difficult and reducing the rate of natural healing by one half.
Material Components: A branch of nettles with which the witch swats her bared arms or legs.

Magic Item
Sack of Rats
A cursed item in the general sense, many vile witches have found some use for this. This normal sack appears to all magical detection (except for detect curse) to be a Bag of Holding. Once  a food item though is stored in this bag, its true magic is discovered. Out from the bag will pour thousands of rats that will run in every direction away from the holder of the bag. The bag contains 1,001 rats. A save vs. Paralysis must be made or anyone in 10’ feet of the bag will be unable to move due to all the rats. The rats will bite and all within 10’ of the bag will take 1d6 hit points of damage.

All items are Copyright 2012, 2016 Timothy S. Brannan.  All spells and items are released as Open under the OGL.
The Witch: A New Class for Basic-ear Games, Copyright ©2012, Timothy S. Brannan. Elf Lair Games. 

Monday, May 9, 2016

The Return of Monstrous Mondays: The Cailleach Bheur

For a while now I have been contemplating returning to an old feature here, Monstrous Mondays.
A few other bloggers I met in the A to Z Challenge also do it, tailored to their respective audiences.  The last one I did was just over a year ago (Yog, Monster from Space) but I never kept going.

Natasha Duncan-Drake
Part Time Monster
Dispatches from Kickassistan,

For this blog, I would feature monsters that would likely appear in my games. I would likely focus on OSR stats.  Also, I am likely to release them all as "Open" via the OGl.  Art is excluded from that of course.  Wish to join me?  Let me know each Monday and post with the hashtag #MonsterMonday (Twitter) or #MonsterMonday on Google+.

So let's get going!

I think for my "OSR" stated monsters I am going to start using the format/stat block I used for some of the vampires I did last year.

The following text is considered Open for use under the OGL.

The Cailleach Bheur as a human witch
The Cailleach Bheur by Andrew Paciorek
used with permission
The Cailleach Bheur
AKA: The Blue Hag, The Crow of Winter
Frequency: Very Rare
No. Appearing: 1 (believed unique)
Size: Large 8" (L)
Armor Class: 2 [17]1
 Basic: 120' (40')
 Advanced: 12"/18"
 3e: 30ft
Hit Dice: 10d8+5 (50 hp)
% in Lair: 50% (roaming countryside in winter, dormant in summer)
Treasure Type: None
Attacks: 3 (claw/claw/bite) + cold, fear
Damage: 1d6+4/1d6+4/1d4
Special Attacks: Cold 6d6 (breath), once per day. Cause Fear once per day.
Special Defenses: Immune to cold based attacks
Save As: Witch 102
Magic Resistance: 25%
Morale: 103
Alignment: Chaotic evil
Level/XP: 10/5,530 + 15/hp

STR: 19 INT: 10 WIS: 17 DEX: 16 CON: 204  CHA: 75

1 Descending and [Ascending] Armor classes are given.
2 This is used for Basic games, and S&W. Also for monsters that I think need to save a little differently than others.
3 Morale is "Basic" Morale and based on a 1-12 scale. Multiply by 1.6667 for 1-20 scale.
4 Have not decided yet if I want to use 3.x style undead Constitutions or not. (15) Reflects what their Con would be if I do use it.  I might just put a number in () like I do for Ghosts of Albion.
5 monster witches can use an "absolute value" for Charisma.  So a really bad CHA is just as good as a really good one.

Known as the Crow of Winter, The Cailleach Bheur is a very deadly hag. She appears only after Samhain/All Hallow’s Eve and stays till Beltane eve. While as evil as other hags, Cailleach Bheur is more interested in eating sheep and deer than children. In Ireland and Scotland, she is the personification of Winter. During the summer months, Cailleach Bheur turns to stone and is indistinguishable from the other standing stones of the area.

The Cailleach Bheur was cursed into her existence back in a time before writing came to Scotland. One tale, disturbing as it sounds, describes the Cailleach as the ancient Protector of Alba, maybe even a faerie queen or goddess.

In her previous life, the Cailleach Bheur was a lone protector of animals (a Ranger) and a follower of the Great Goddess. One night he fell asleep by a well. The well overflowed with the thaw and she nearly drown. She invoked powerful magics to move the water away, but in the process created Loch Awe (in Scotland) and drowning several villagers and cattle. As repentance, she is to walk the snowy earth till she can feel the mid-summer sun on her face, something that can’t ever happen since she is cursed to be stone from Beltane to Samhain.

The Cailleach Bheur still protects her lands as she did before, ignoring humans unless they tread on her domain, then she kills them with glee by freezing them solid. She blames humans for her current state.

The Cailleach Bheur is believed to be at least 400 years old.

Staff of Winter: Possibly a remnant of her former life the Cailleach Bheur carries a magical staff. The Staff of Winter is made up of holly and gorse branches intertwined to form a 7’ long staff of solid wood. It acts as a magical focus tool providing the Cailleach Bheur +2 magic to all magic related rolls, attacks, saves and checks.

Anyone in possession of this staff can command Cailleach Bheur to leave the area by holding the staff and saying “Bì falbh buitseach!” (begone (get out) witch!). Both Cailleach Bheur and her staff will disappear after the command is uttered. This would require research into Cailleach Bheur specifically or local lore.

Section 15: "The Cailleach Bheur". Copyright 2016 Timothy S. Brannan.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

A to Z of Vampires, Berbalang

We are sticking with the Philippines today.  Why? Because they have some awesome freaky fantastic vampires there.  I swear they have the Carpathians and Eastern Europe beat.

The Berbalang blur the line between vampire and ghoul. They are described as "bat winged creatures that live underground and eat corpses. They make a loud moaning sound that can be heard for miles when they feed."

The Berbalang appeared in the Fiend Folio for AD&D 1st Edition and it was something like an astral ghoul. It changed a bit over the editions to what we have below.

CR 6
XP 2,400
CE Medium undead
Init +4; Senses darkvision 60 ft.; Perception +14


AC 20, touch 15, flat-footed 15 (+4 Dex, +1 dodge, +5 natural)
hp 68 (8d8+32)
Fort +6, Ref +6, Will +9
Defensive Abilities projection DR 10/good or silver; Immune undead traits


Speed 40 ft., fly 60 ft. (good)
Melee* bite +10 (1d6+3 plus paralysis), 2 claws +9 (1d6+3 plus paralysis) or incorporeal touch +10 (1d4 Con damage)
Special Attacks paralysis (1d4+1 rounds, DC 18)
Spell-Like Abilities (CL 9th; concentration +13)

At will—bleed, ghost sound (DC 14)
3/day—alter self, charm person (DC 15)


Str 17, Dex 19, Con —, Int 13, Wis 16, Cha 18
Base Atk +6; CMB +9; CMD 26
Feats Defensive Combat Training, Dodge, Flyby Attack, Mobility
Skills Bluff +10, Escape Artist +10, Fly +17, Knowledge (local) +5, Knowledge (religion) +6, Perception +14, Stealth +15
Languages Common


Projection (Su)

Once per day as a full-round action, a berbalang can enter a trance that separates the creature's spirit from its body. This splits the berbalang's current hit points in half between its body and its spirit. The berbalang's spirit body gains the incorporeal subtype and special ability; otherwise, it retains the same statistics as its physical self with the following changes: AC 19, touch 19, flat-footed 10 (+4 Dex, +4 deflection, +1 dodge), single incorporeal touch attack that deals 1d4 Constitution damage on a hit as its sole attack. This spirit projection can travel no more than 1 mile away from the berbalang's body. Because the creature is only partially in existence when in this state, its body gains displacement as the spell. When separated in this way, the berbalang's body is unconscious and helpless. If the berbalang's body is injured while in this state, the separated projection immediately returns to its body, and the body loses displacement. If the physical body is slain, the spirit body immediately dies as well. If the spirit is reduced to 0 or fewer hit points, it returns to the body immediately. A berbalang in spirit form can end the effect at any time as a standard action, at which point the spirit immediately returns to the body. When a berbalang's spirit form returns to the body, add both the spirit body's hit points and the physical body's hit points back together to determine the creature's current hit point total.


Environment any land
Organization solitary or pack (2-8)
Treasure standard

Berbalangs prefer to make their homes within a day's travel of humanoid settlements. These lairs are well hidden and sometimes protected by other undead creatures. Some berbalangs set themselves up as secluded shamans or wise old crones, using alter self to appear human. Ultimately cowardly, berbalangs rarely attack a settlement directly, preferring to pluck its meals from those who stray too far from civilization. A berbalang stands as tall as a human and rarely weighs more than 100 pounds.

OGL Section 15: Copyright Notice - Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Bestiary 3
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Bestiary 3, © 2011, Paizo Publishing, LLC; Authors Jesse Benner, Jason Bulmahn, Adam Daigle, James Jacobs, Michael Kenway, Rob McCreary, Patrick Renie, Chris Sims, F. Wesley Schneider, James L. Sutter, and Russ Taylor, based on material by Jonathan Tweet, Monte Cook, and Skip Williams.

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

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Gog and Magog for Advanced Era Games

Don't you love it when you are doing a bit of research on a couple of different things and suddenly you read one thing and all these disparate threads come together as a nice whole?  Jung used to call it Synchronicity.  I say that if you bury your head in something for long enough your research numbed brain will see connections everywhere.  In either case this is some thing that clicked for me the other day.

I was doing research on the the original Balor/Type VI demons in 1st Ed AD&D and how there are only six of them.  The DMG lists them as Balor (their leader and the largest), Errtu, Ndulu, Ter-Soth, Alzoll, and Wendonai.  Wendonai.  Doesn't exactly fill you with fear does it.  Since I am using the OGC Balor as the basis of my own Baalor in my games I wanted to expand them a bit.  So these names are purely off limits (save for Balor).

That tied in with all the myths I have been reading (well, since forever) of Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales (er Walesland?).  There was a Balor there too.  Only he was a giant with one eye on his forehead and another on the back of his head. I was reading about all these giants when I came across Gogmagog.

I had been familiar with Gog and Magog and Gogmagog because of an off-hand reference on Doctor Who years and years before.  I had scribbled down that Gog and Magog were akin to Ogres, but divine.  I choose ogres because of something the Doctor said "Gog, Magog and Ogre",  pronounced 'O-gree'.  In the book of Revelations Gog and Magog were the ultimate enemies of God's people.  Though to be fair Gog and Magog hopscotch all over the Bible and one is never really sure if they are individuals, peoples, or lands.  Gog and Magog also appear in the Qur'an as a monster (the monster of Gog and Magog) or again as a land.

Recently I reread the Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkien.  The chief of the Balrogs was a being known as Gothmog.  I knew I was on to something.  Obviously Tolkien, a professor of English literature and languages (especially Old English) knew of Gogmagog. In some early versions of Tolkien's work Gothmog is even described as a "son of Melkor and the ogress Fuithluin",  Later a "Gothmog" was also the orc in charge of Mordor's army in the Return of the King.  Obviously named after the Balrog (and less confusing than Glorfindel of Rivendell vs. Glorfindel of Gondolin).

All of this though has given me some ideas.

Here they are using OSRIC and  LL Advanced  Edition Companion.  All text below is considered Open for use under the OGL.

Section 15: OSRIC Chapter V copyright 2007-08 by Stuart Marshall, Chris Hopkins, James Boney, Robert Ross, Jeremy Goehring, Mike Davison, Daniel Proctor, B. Scot Hoover, Chris Cain, Bill Silvey, Floyd Canaday, Vincent Frugé and Matthew James Stanham.
Advanced Edition Companion, Copyright 2009-2010, Daniel Proctor. Author Daniel Proctor.
Adventures Dark and DeepTM Bestiary, Copyright 2011-2013 BRW Games, LLC.
Gog and Magog for Advanced Era Games, Copyright 2015 Timothy S. Brannan.

Gog and Magog
Class F Standard Order (true) Demons
Frequency:  Very Rare (Unique Demons)
No. Encountered:  2
Size: Large, 13' (Gog), 13' 5" (Magog)
Move: 60 ft; 150 ft flying (AA:III)
Armor Class:  -3 (Gog) / -4 (Magog)
Hit Dice*: 10d8+10 (Gog), 10d8+21 (Magog)
Attacks: 1 bite or by special attack
Damage: 1d12+4
Special Attacks: Flaming great sword (2d8) (Gog) or Flaming great axe (2d8) (Magog) + 3d6 fire
Special Defenses: +2 or better magic weapon to hit
Magic Resistance: 75%
Lair Probability: 0%
Intelligence: High
Alignment: Chaotic evil
Level/XP: 9/3,750 + 13/hp**

Gog and Magog are two unique demons of the same sort of Balor.  While they are larger and more aggressive than their kin, their natures preclude them from ruling large numbers of lower demons as their brethren might.   Gog and Magog are described as "brothers" and this has never been proven by any occult scholar.  They share a physical similarity to each other.  Gog is large, predominantly red in color with black hair and beard. He wields a large flaming sword in battle.  Magog is larger, predominantly black in color with red hair and beard.  He wields a large flaming great axe.  Either causes an extra 3d6 points of fire damage per hit.
Gog and Magog can also use the following powers at will: detect invisibility, detect magic, dispel magic, fear (as the wand), pyrotechnics, read languages, read magic, suggestion, telekinesis (600 lbs.), and symbol (despair, fear, sleep, and stunning).   A +2 or better magical weapon to hit.
Unlike other demons, Gog and Magog cannot gate in lesser true demons.  Instead they may summon 2d6 demonic Ogres each.  These creatures appear as normal ogres save that their skin is red and they are immune to fire, poison, sleep and charm spells.  They also need a +1 or better magical weapon to hit.  Demonic ogres always have the maximum hitpoints for ogres.
Much like other demons, these two will bicker and fight and even plot against each other.  However when confronted with a common foe the will work together to defeat them.  They are completely loyal only to each other. They are often found in each other's company.
They are most often found on the Material Plane, the summoning ritual for one will also summon the other and only rarely in the Abyss.
They are violent, aggressive and constantly angry.  Neither is much for planning, but when pressed they are good strategists and have been used as generals by stronger Demon Lords and Princes.  They have even been known to serve the Baalseraph Ahriman, also known as Angra Mainyu.  A common tactic among the Demon Lords that engage their services are to choose a location and let the brothers go.

*Many "Advanced Era Games" use a d8 for monster HD. I prefer to use a d10 myself.
** Adjust according to your preferred system.

Friday, January 9, 2015

New Monster: Urhag

I have been rereading H.P. Lovecraft's "The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath" a story that both fascinated me and frustrated me in my youth.  For my group of gaming friends and our extended group of their older brothers, it was always an unspoken, but well understood rule that it didn't reall matter what Lovecraft story you began with, but your last one had to be "Kadath".  So I am rereading it for the first time since 1987.

It is just as phantasmagorical as I recalled. Reading it now is also a treat that I have better understanding of the mythos and the creatures mentioned throughout are now well known to me.
But one creature captured my attention that I had not seen before and forgot.  The Urhags.
That night I had a dream about Maleficent, so I knew I had something here.

I checked various games that cover Lovecraft-type monsters such as The Realms of Crawling ChaosAstonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea and various Call of Cthulhu books but only found one mention of them in H.P. Lovecraft's Dreamlands.   They are interesting, but I kinda liek what I came up with a little more.  These urhags are released from their Dreamlands origins and brought closer to Ur-Hags.

"High over its jagged rim huge ravens flapped and croaked, and vague whirrings in the unseen depths told of bats or urhags or less mentionable presences haunting the endless blackness."
- H.P. Lovecraft, Dream-Quest Of Unknown Kadath

Here is my take on the urhag.  In "Basic Era" format to use with The Witch.

The follow is considered Open under the terms of the Open Gaming License.
OGL Section 15: "Urhag" Copyright © 2015, Timothy S. Brannan


Degenerate  Noble 
Armor Class:                    3 [16] 4 [15]
Hit Dice: 5*+2 (25 hp) 8*+13 (50 hp)
No. of Attacks: 2 claw, 1 bite; stench   2 claw or weapon, spell
Damage: 1d4/1d4/1d6 1d4/1d4 or by weapon type
Special: Stench, Magic, see below      Magic, Harmed by iron, see below
Movement: 30' / 90' fly 30' / 90' fly
No. Appearing: 1 1
Save As: Witch 5 Witch 8
Morale: 7 9
Treasure Type: Special Special
Alignment: Chaotic (Evil) Chaotic (Evil)
XP: by system by system

Scholars debate the relationship between the races of hags. While many look to the vile and evil Night Hags as their progenitor, scholars who have pierced the veil between Reality and Dream claim that such a progenitor race is known as the urhags.

The Urhags are found in two basic varieties, the Degenerate and the far less common Noble.

The Degenerate Urhag appears to be a hideously ugly humanoid woman. She appears naked, but covered in filth, with long clawed fingers, wild hair and inhumanly long feet and toes. What is the most curious feature of the urhag are her large bat-like wings.  One is immediately reminded of a harpy; which scholars also claim are an offspring of this creature.  The urhag does not speak, but only screams and shrieks.  The urhag can attack with a claw/claw/bite routine which is their most typical attack.  They are also surrounded by a horrible stench. Characters within 10' of the Urhag must save vs. Poison (Constitution, Fortitude) or suffer a -2 on all attacks against the creature.  The urhag may also cast spells as a 3rd level witch.  Spells that attack and due damage are preferred over all others.
Urhags are immune to all cold-based effects and are immune to cold and cold based spells. Dengerate urhags are carnivorous and their preferred  source of meat is humanoid flesh.  They are able to enter the dreams of people sleeping in their territories; usually within 300 yards.  Through this special attack the urhag will Charm a sleeping male into breeding with them. Once complete the urhag will then wake thee male to kill and eat him.  They prefer to wake their victims because they enjoy hear the sounds of their screams.  Within 3 months the urhag will lay a leathery egg in which a juvenile urhag will emerge. The new urhag will not expect any care or succor from her mother; in fact the mother is just as likely to eat her offspring as she did her offspring's father.

The Noble urhag is a different creature, though no less evil.  Like the degenerate urhag, the noble appears to be a winged woman with long taloned hands and feet.  Noble urhags also have horns growing from their heads that often causes them to be mistaken for some sort succubus or other demonic creature.  While not demonic, the noble urhag is still quite evil.  While the degenerate urhag is hideous and covered in filth, the noble urhag is regal, attractive and clothed in only the fines wares. Her features are sharp and possiblly indicate a relationship to the fae that other, more common hags, share.   The noble urhag can be harmed by iron in the same fashion that fae are; iron weapons cause +2 damage and +1 to hit.
The noble urhags can cast spells as a 7th level witch.  She may also take the occult powers of a Malefic or Faerie tradition witch.

While the degenerate urhag is indiscriminate about her choice of mating partners, the noble urhag prefers only the finest quality human males.  They do not care for elves since elves do not dream in the same manner as do men.  Also noble urhags do not always eat the men the lay with.  Some prefering to return to the same male time and time again as instinct drives them to reproduce.

Unlike common hags urhagss of either sort are not tied to a particular locale or environment.  Degenerate urhags do prefer colder wastes and demon-haunted lands and the noble urhag prefers temperate forests there are no restrictions on either.
Unlike night hags, urhags are not interested in the transport of souls or the outer planes.
Urhags can, in theory form coveys as other hags do and maybe even with other  hags, but none have been observed doing so.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

New Spells: Blessings of The Morrígan

Couple new spells I have been playing around with.  I was inspired by reading the overviews of the Artesia comic that Trey is doing over at From the Sorcerer's Skull.  I picked up the first couple of comics and they are good.  They certainly remind me a lot of Celtic myth, but there is more to it than that.   It got me thinking about this article saying that if there were a zombie apocalypse we would not have to worry because nature would wipe out all the zombies.  In particular birds would eat them.

So what is an a party to do then when a group of zombies, who are immune it seems from the fauna of your world, show up and ooops, they don't have a cleric to turn them?  Simple. They make sure their witches and druids have these spells.

Still playing with the damage.  I wanted them to be right around "fireball" strength, but given the higher level and the fact they only effect undead I was fine with the extra 1d12.  Let me know what you think.  Also I am releasing it as "open" under the OGL.  So take it and use it how and where you like including publishing your own stuff.

All material below this point is Open for terms of the OGL.
Section 15: "Blessings of The Morrígan" Copyright 2014 Timothy S. Brannan

Blessings of The Morrígan

Clerics are granted blessings from their deities in dealing with the undead.  Nearly all gods want the dead (whom they are caretakers of) to be at rest. A soul roaming free after death cannot be claimed by any god.  So clerics can turn or destroy undead creatures as their own gods wish.
Other followers of gods and of divine or arcane principles, such as druids and witches, lack this innate power.  Some have learned magic though to mimic it.

Blessings of The Morrígan
Level: Druid 4, Witch 4
Range: Corporeal Undead within sight
Duration: Instantaneous
By the means of this spell the druid or witch sends out a plea to The Morrígan, the great Battle Mother, Crow of War.  Instantly several murders of crows fly out from a spot just above the caster toward  any corporeal (ie Physical) undead the caster can see.  The crows bite and pick at the undead till 1d12 + 1d6 per caster's level is done in total damage.  Damage is divided up among all the undead creatures with weakest getting damaged first. Any creature reduced to 0 HP is dead and stripped clean of all flesh it had renaming.  In the case of skeletons they simply die. Creatures not damaged will be held for 1 extra round while the crows fly about.
This spell will effect skeletons, zombies, ghouls, ghasts, wights, mummies, vampires and liches.  The crows are considered magical.  It has no effect of ghostly or ghost like undead.
This spell has no damaging effects on living creatures, though for the round the spell is cast they are temporarily held (as per a Hold Person spell) and blinded (as per a Light or Darkness spell). Both of these conditions are removed at the end of the current combat round.
Material Components: A feather of a crow found feasting on a corpse after a battle. Only one feather may be used per crow.  The feather disappears after this spell is cast.

Blessings of The Morrígan, Greater
Level: Druid 6, Witch 6
Range: Incorporeal Undead within sight
Duration: Instantaneous
This spell is identical to the 4th level Blessings of The Morrígan spell, save this one will affect Incorporeal undead.  The crows will appears as ghostly crows and only partially in our own reality.
This spell will effect wraiths, spectres, banshees, ghosts, shadows and other ghost like undead.  It has no effect on corporeal or physical undead unless that undead creature also has become incopreal, such as a lich in the Ethereal plane or a vampire that has become incorporeal.

Monday, October 20, 2014

The OSR Scarecrow

Here is the only OSR Scarecrow you need.  This is the Scarecrow from The Witch.
(Yeah I am a little late on the snark here, term start and I have a conference to go to this week.)

AC: 9 [10]
Hit Dice: 3d8* (14 hp)
No. of Attacks: 2 Limbs
Damage: 1d6/1d6
Special: Paralyzing Gaze, Triple Damage from Fire based attacks
Movement: 30’
No. Appearing: 1 (always in lair)
Saves As: Fighter 3
Morale: 12
Treasure: None
Alignment: Neutral
XP: 75

Scarecrows are basic guardians similar to golems, but not nearly as powerful. Like typical scarecrows, their bodies are made of straw and cloth. The stumble about their assigned area poorly and attack most anything that wanders through it. Some Scarecrow Guardians are bound to a post. A Scarecrow can use their paralyzing gaze to imprison any trespassers (save vs. Paralysis, fail means victim remains rooted to the spot).
Scarecrows are assigned to protect a particular area. They never leave the area, even when chasing an intruder. They will attack anything, humanoid or animal like in appearance that walks into its territory unless otherwise instructed by their creator.
A scarecrow is immune to mind-influencing effects, poison, disease and similar effects. They are not subject to critical hits, subdual damage, ability damage, energy drain or death from massive damage.
Fire Vulnerability: Because of their straw bodies, Scarecrows are extremely vulnerable to attacks from fire. They take triple damage from all fire attacks.
In addition, a scarecrow guardian will catch fire easily after any attack that would normally ignite mundane items. A scarecrow on fire receives 2d6 damage each round (do not double this damage)

All content is designated as Open for the Open Gaming License.
Art is from the Public Domain
Section 15 OGL Copyright Notice

The Witch, Copyright ©2012, Timothy S. Brannan
"Scarecrow" Copyright ©2014, Timothy S. Brannan

Monday, June 30, 2014

New Monster: Web Witch

Today is my mom's birthday.

Why should you care?  Well it was my mom that introduced me to the weird world of sci-fi, horror and the macabre.   Her idea of a bedtime story was telling about a haunted schoolhouse where the floors still were stained with the blood of two boys that killed each other in a knife fight.  Or of a man who was so sick of his nagging wife that he chopped her up and buried her in the garden, only to have the flowers grow with her face on them.  She introduced me to Dark Shadows and "documentaries" on Bigfoot and Atlantis.  Though to be fair I think my dad introduced me to the Twilight Zone and I know my love of bad horror movies comes from him.

So here is a creature she had to share with me last week.  It works well for D&D but I think she had more of a pulp feel for this.
Albino Spider by Mooki003

Web Witch

Human Form Spider Form
Armor Class: 8 [11] 5 [14]
Hit Dice: 3*+2 (15 hp) 3*+12 (25 hp)
No. of Attacks: 1 poison dagger 1 bite
Damage: 1d6 + Poison 2d6 + Poison
Special: Magic, see below Invisibility
Movement: 30' 20' Web 40'
No. Appearing: 1 1
Save As: Witch 3 Fighter 3
Morale: 8 10
Treasure Type: Special Special
Alignment: Chaotic Chaotic
XP: 160 185

The web witch is a female humanoid that can also take the form of a huge spider.  Not a lycanthrope, the web witch can shift between forms once per round as often as she likes.  In her human form she appears as a smallish woman (possibly of elf decent) with very pale skin, long white hair and eyes with a reddish tinge.  She will typically wear a long black dress or gown that appears to be made of silk. It is, but her own spider silk.  When in human form she can be mistaken for a vampire.  Despite the ability to use witch magic a web witch cannot form a coven with other web witches. Though it is speculated that she may be able to do so with other witches and/or hags.
In her human form she use magic as a 2nd level witch including the use of magic items usable by a witch.  GMs should pick out which spells the web witch has access to.
In her spider form she appears as a huge white spider with red eyes.  When sitting in her web she can make herself and the web invisible until touched.  The web itself is made up of stick long black strands of spider silk.  The web witch can move about in spider form invisible as per the invisibility spell. She can speak in this form, but not use magic.
A favored tactic of the web witch is to pretend to be a damsel in distress and lead a party of adventures into her maze of webs where she can shift form and feed on them.  She will keep any treasures she can find including magic items, but items such as swords, armor or other weapons she will discard, magical or not.
Once per year a web witch will capture a humanoid male for breeding. Three months later she will lay a clutch of eggs. She injects a different poison into the male to paralyze him and place the clutch in his mouth.  After one month the clutch will hatch and 10-100 (10d10) baby web witches will devour the male from the inside out.  The hungry web witches will then turn on each other til only about dozen survive (2d6). They will reach maturity in one year and transform to their human shape for the first time.

The silk of a web witch is much prized by wizards as a superior ingredient for their web spells. Creatures need to have a Strength of 15 or higher or be 6 HD or higher to break free.
The venom of the web witch is also valued.

There is no known relationship between the web witch and the fabled Queen of Spiders or the Dark Elves.

There are rumors of more powerful web witches that can use even greater witch magic.

"Web Witch" is copyright 2014 Timothy S. Brannan.
All monsters stats and text below is considered OPEN under the guidelines of the OGL.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Maleficent for Basic Games

Last weekend was my birthday and I got a chance to go out and see Maleficent.
I liked it.  I thought Angelina Jolie did a great job (if maybe a little hammy) and there were some great moments with some good lines.   I thought the denouement was both welcome and interesting.

I know people had some issues with the changes to story and character, but honestly if you want to see "Sleeping Beauty" then go watch Sleeping Beauty.

What I have here is a cross between both her portrayals. The idea that reality lies somewhere in between.  I think she is rather obviously a Faerie Tradition witch.

Maleficent, either version, is still one of my favorite characters.

The Witch stats for Basic Era Games
14th level Witch, Faerie Tradition

Strength: 10
Dexterity: 12
Constitution: 12
Intelligence: 17
Wisdom: 12
Charisma: 18

Death Ray or Poison:  9/7
Magic wand or devices: 10
Paralysis, Polymorph or Turn to Stone: 9
Dragon Breath: 12
Rods, Staffs and Spells: 11

To hit AC 0: 16

Hit Points: 70
Alignment: Chaotic (in Advanced games she varies between Chaotic Good, Chaotic Evil and Chaotic Neutral)
AC: 5 (Ring protection)

Occult Powers
Familiar:  Raven (+2 to Death related saves) "Diaval"
7th level:  Speak to Plants and Animals
13th level: Fey Shape (She can grow wings)
Like all Faerie Witches Maleficent takes extra damage from items made of cold iron.

Cantrips: Chill, Daze, Detect Curse, Object Reading, Open, Sound
First: Bad Luck, Cause Fear, Silver Tongue, Sleep, Speak with Animals
Second: Bewitch II, Burning Gaze, Evil Eye, Rose Garden
Third: Bestow Curse, Fly, Improved Faerie Fire, Scry
Fourth: Arcane Eye, Intangible Cloak of Shadows, Polymorph
Fifth: Death Curse, Endless Sleep, False Vision
Sixth: Geas, Wall of Roses
Seventh:  Maze, Hell Hath No Fury*

New Ritual Spell

Hell Hath No Fury
Level: Witch Ritual 7
Witches Required: 1
Range: One Creature
Duration: Permanent
The ritual, Hell Hath No Fury, is a rare ritual in that only one witch is required to cast it, but the situations in which it can be cast are also rare.  The witch lay a devastating curse on an individual who has someone personally harmed the witch in some way.  The harm isn't as simple as an attack, the offense must be a great one such as murdering the witch's family or lover, breaking the witch's heart with the promise of true love or spurning the affections of the witch for another.  Typically only one such person in the witch's lifetime would fit the requirements.  The witch then takes all her anger, rage and sorrow and pours it into this curse.  The witch may affect the person responsible or a member of that person's family.  The choice of victim and the curse is directly tied to insult done to the witch herself.
Once the curse is laid then it can only be broken under very specific circumstances either dictated by the witch or somehow related to original hurt to the witch.  This curse can not be broken via a remove curse, wish, dispel magic or similar enchantments.  The witch herself can not break the curse either.

Examples would be Maleficent's curse on Aurora or Maria Owens curse on her own family in Practical Magic.

Section 15 OGL Statement
The new witch ritual "Hell Hath No Fury" is considered Open for the terms of the OGL.
"Hell Hath No Fury" Witch Ritual, Copyright 2014 Timothy S. Brannan.