Showing posts with label television. Show all posts
Showing posts with label television. Show all posts

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Supernatural: Carry On, Sam and Dean Winchester for NIGHT SHIFT

Wow.  

Here we are.  I know last week seemed like the "season finale" but tonight is the big "Series Finale".

Let's do this!

the road so far

I have talked a bit about Supernatural here.  Certainly not as much as my fandom might indicate.  Supernatural is the one show that everyone in my family all watches together. My wife and kids all sit down to watch it. Doesn't matter what else we watch or what we do, this is the one show we always watch.

Supernatual then was also the test bd for NIGHT SHIFT.  

I have been pretty open about what my personal design goals for NIGHT SHIFT have been.  I wanted to be able to play ANY modern supernatural urban-fantasy I know.  I want a game where I can create any sort of witch I want and have access to magic, demons, and the like.  NIGHT SHIFT does all of this.

So when I was playtesting this with my kids there were two characters that were absolutely perfect. Sam and Dean Winchester.

Dean Winchester
Dean Winchester
15th level Veteran, Human

Strength: 16 (+2) s
Dexterity: 18 (+3) P
Constitution: 18 (+3) s
Intelligence: 14 (+1) 
Wisdom: 14 (+1)
Charisma: 18 (+3)

HP: 120 (15d8+45)
AC: 6 (varies)
Fate Points: 1d12

Check Bonus (P/S/T): +7/+4/+3
Melee bonus: +8 (+12)  Ranged bonus: +9 (+16)
Saves: +5 to all saves

Special Abilities: Combat expertise, Melee combat bonus, Increased damage, improved defense, ranged combat bonus, Supernatural Attacks, Tracking

Skills: Hand to hand combat, Steady hands (Dex), Resistance (Con), Insight (Wis), Charm/Intimidate (Cha)

Languages: English

Equipment: Leather jacket, handguns, cell phones, hunter's equipment, "Baby" 1967 Chevrolet Impala.

Dean is the archetypical hunter and Veteran.  He has been described as "the perfect killer" by many including God (aka Chuck).

Sam Winchester
Sam Winchester
9th level Veteran, 1st level Psychic, 5th level Sage, Human

Strength: 15 (+1) 
Dexterity: 15 (+1) 
Constitution: 16 (+2) 
Intelligence: 18 (+3) P
Wisdom: 16 (+2) s
Charisma: 18 (+3) s

HP: 95 (9d8+18 + 1d6+2 + 5d6+10)
AC: 7 (varies)
Fate Points: 1d12

Check Bonus (P/S/T): +7/+4/+3
Melee bonus: +5 (+8)  Ranged bonus: +5 (+8)
Saves: +5 to all saves

Special Abilities: Combat expertise, Melee combat bonus, Increased damage, improved defense, ranged combat bonus, Supernatural Attacks, Tracking, Psychic: TK (Cha based), Sage: Survivor skills at level 2, Read Languages, Spells

Skills: Research (Int), Steady hands (Dex), Computers (Int), Insight (Wis), Charm (Cha)

Languages: English, Latin, Greek, Enochian, Sumerian

Equipment: Thick jacket, handgun, cell phones, hunter's equipment, laptop

Sam has had an interesting arc.  He starts out as a veteran at a very young age. Because he also has/had some demon blood in him he was telekinetic for a while, but that only manifests when he drinks demon blood. He is also a Sage and has played that role well in the 15 seasons of the show.   

It was also stated a few times that he was Rowena's "student" so a couple levels of Witch might have been appropriate, but I think Sage covers it well. I could also see Sammy with a couple of levels of Survivor, but again, the Sage abilities cover that. 

Both brothers have high Charisma. They need to be able to talk their way in and out of situations a lot. Plus they have been on the air for 15 years.

Likewise, Dean could have also had a level or two of Sage, due to his Men of Letters status, but really Veteran covers it all.

Regardless where tonight's LAST episode takes us (and it was looking a little dicey two weeks ago!) I know that if I want to continue the story I have these write-ups and NIGHT SHIFT.

Other Supernatural Characters for NIGHT SHIFT

Gonna miss these guys.  Ok Kansas, play us out.


Saturday, October 24, 2020

October Horror Movie Challenge: The Search Continues, Part 2

Another attempt to find this mysterious movie that haunts my memory.  Last week I did three, this week? Well, I have a whole list of potential candidates but my expectations are pretty low.

I think for this one I am going to come up with my NIGHT SHIFT content while I watch them.  I just got into the first and need something to keep my focus.

Asylum of Satan (1972)

I think I may have seen this one. Not sure. A woman, Lucina Martin (Carla Borelli) is brought to an asylum/hospital and she has no idea or memory why.  And....that's about it really. The asylum is a front so Dr. Spector can sacrifice people to Satan. Crappy acting all around, crappy script.  

I am glad I stuck through it if no other reason that to see the shittiest Satan/Devil I have EVER seen.    There was a part about an hour in which I thought I had found my movie, but thankfully it was not.  I am not sure I was ready for the movie I have been searching for for so long to be this steaming turd. 

I am never getting "Red Light Lady" out of my head.

Viewed: New
The movie I was looking for?: Hell no

NIGHT SHIFT Content. Not a lot here that hasn't been done better by so many others.

Something Evil (1972)

This one was also my list but in the "not likely" category.  A couple of things though made decide to watch it.  First, the main actor is none other than Darren McGavin, Kolchak himself. That's a plus. And the Director is Steven Spielberg. THE Steven Spielberg. So I figured, what the hell. 

It also features such 70s fixtures as Johnny Whitaker, Ralph Bellamy, David Knapp,  and Sandy Dennis.  The movie is rather cheap. IT is a made for TV deal after all.  

One nitpick, the six-pointed barn hex sign is called a "pentacle".  It's slow, but the acting is good and everyone gives it their best, so they make the best of a small budget. 

In a decade Spielberg would go on to do Poltergiest. Some of seeds for that movie can be seen here, to be honest. 

Viewed: New
The movie I was looking for?: No, but I was pretty sure of that when I started

NIGHT SHIFT Content:  Haunted houses are always fun.  Watching this is like a Proto-Poltergiest in the country.   

Watched: 44
New: 29


Saturday, October 17, 2020

October Horror Movie Challenge: The Search Continues

Last year I talked about this movie I have been trying to find.  This movie is about witches and the occult; satanism in particular.  It was on TV on Halloween night. It had to be between 1977 and 1982, I know a huge time frame. I think it was a made for TV movie. The movie had a girl with psychic powers or witchcraft; they were often synonymous in the late 70s.  There is a scene near the end of the movie of a girl (not sure if it is the same one) lying on an altar.  Either she about to be sacrificed OR this is supposed to give her powers.  All I can remember was there a long progression of cultists going up a circular staircase up in a tower and each one put a drop of blood on the girl's forehead.  That is the clearest thing I remember.

This past summer I reached to various horror groups on Facebook to help me out.  These are the movies they suggested.

Mortuary (1981, 1983)
This movie was released in 1983, but everything about it screams late 70s. The copyright date on the movie itself is 1981.  It stars a young Bill Paxton as the son of a mortician. He is love with Christie (Mary Beth McDonough) but she is in love with Greg (David Wallace). 

There are some murders, and a bit with Christie's mom (Lynda Day George, who is only 17 years older than McDonough) being part of a weird séance to contact Christie's dad (which is why I think it was offered to me).  Other than that it is kind of a slow slasher flick that was done better in films like "Fade to Black".  

But it was new to me so, that is something and it does hit that sweet spot of horror films in terms of timing. 

Most of the actors here are normally TV actors, so there was a pretty good chance this one was going to be it.  Sadly not the case.

Viewed: New
The movie I was looking for?: No

Crowhaven Farm (1970)
On the surface Crowhaven Farm should have everything I want. Made for TV. Satanism. Salem Witchcraft. The release date is a bit older than I would have thought. It even has John Carradine in it. Though he is woefully underused here. 

The movie does have a nice creepy feel to it and it even starts out with a creepy kid causing a death, so that is always a plus. It is though fairly typical of the 70s made for TV fare.

There is some 70s interpreted witchcraft ideas, which is always fun. Crowhaven is like "Salem-lite" with more Satanic elements.  So yeah, exactly the sort of thing I enjoy.

Maggie and Ben, our childless couple that inherits Crowhaven, also "inherit" a new child, in the form of Jenifer (Cindy Eilbacher, later to star in Beverly Hills Cop), when her aunt Mercy dies.  Jennifer is also the child (teen really) that causes the death of Maggie's uncle.   Jennifer as it turns out knows all the secrets of Crowhaven and wastes no time getting all creepy with Ben and causing more deaths.  Turns out that Mercy and Jennifer were condemned for witchcraft back in 1692 and Meg was the cause. They are all replaying again in the 1970s. 

Viewed: New
The movie I was looking for?: No

Satan's Wife (1979)

Also known as "The Ring of Darkness."

Gotta love the Occult 70's.  This bit of cinematic trash fits the time frame and has many scenes of occult rituals that are close to my memory, but I doubt this one was ever on American TV.  Too much occultism and nudity. Plus the star of the movie, Lara Wendel, playing the possessed/demonic daughter Daria spends some time in movie topless and nude and she was 14 at the time.  I have not found details on if the movie was banned or not, the 1970s were different and so was Italy.   This is also not the first such scandalous movie involving Lara Wendel. She had other movies in Germany and Italy from when she was 12 as well.  There is a story here and likely not a happy one.  She retired from acting in 1993 and is 65 now. 

The plot should work, women make a deal with Satan, but later they back out so he goes after their daughters. I was unclear whether or not the children were also supposed to be Satan's kids or not.  But it doesn't. Not even close really.  I have heard that is had to be recut and re-edited because it was too much like The Exorcist. So, I guess that could explain it.   

Plenty of ripping off of Exorcist and Rosemary's Baby.  There is a final fight between Daria (who has to do it full frontal) and her mother Carlotta (played by Anne Heywood) and then the movie just ends.

Viewed: New
The movie I was looking for?: One scene was so very close but in the end. No

Watched: 32
New: 21

NIGHT SHIFT Content.
With Crowhaven, first I love the name, great name for a farm where witches once lived but it is also a great little spooky film with some reincarnation.  In my games witches can't be raised from the dead, only reincarnated.  So reincarnation often becomes a theme in my games.  

All three movies have satanic cults in common, so maybe an old school 70s occult style cult is needed again. 



Thursday, October 15, 2020

Supernatural: Charlie Bradbury for NIGHT SHIFT

It's Thursday and that means Supernatural day (well it is also Star Trek Discovery day, but that will wait till Fridays).  

I thought another NIGHT SHIFT character write-up was in order, and one with some solid geek cred. Charlie Bradbury played by geek icon Felicia Day.

Charlie Bradbury
(supernaturalwikisupernatural.fandom)

Charlie, real name Celeste Middleton, was a techie and hacker turned Hunter and "Woman of Letters." She met up with Sam and Dean during the Leviathan outbreaks (Season 7, "The Girl with the Dungeons & Dragons Tattoo") where she quickly proves her worth to the hunter's cause. She is smart, quirky, so steeped in Geek culture, and really quite a delight.  We also learn that she is one of the very few in the world that can't be copied by the Leviathans (her and Bruce Springsteen).  She becomes a hunter, but really shines when becomes an honorary Woman of Letters. Well...I guess a real one since there were no more Men of Letters in the US save for Sam and Dean.

She picks up a little magic here and there. Picks up a couple of women, including a faerie princess and notorious witch hunter Dorothy Baum/Gale

Sadly Charlie, like pretty much everyone in the Winchesters' life, was killed. She was murdered by the Styne's, the modern descendants of Dr. Frankenstien.  While her death didn't raise the ire that say Tara's or Lexa's did, it did raise concerns because she was such a beloved character. 

Charlie Bradbury

7th level Sage, Human

Strength: 12 (0)
Dexterity: 13 (+1) s
Constitution: 14 (+1)
Intelligence: 18 (+3) P
Wisdom: 17 (+2) s
Charisma: 18 (+3)

HP: 33 (7d6)
AC: 9
Fate Points: 1d8

Check Bonus (P/S/T): +4/+2/+1
Melee bonus: +0 (+1)  Ranged bonus: +0 (+1)
Saves: +3 to spells and magical effect

Special Abilities: Open locks 35%, Bypass traps 30%, Sleight of Hand 40%, Move Silently 40%, Hide in Shadows 30%, Climb 75%, Danger Sense 50%, Perceptive 80%, Mesmerize 70%, Lore 88% (special bouns +15% for computers, +5 for magic)

Skills: Forgery (Dex), Computers (Int) x2, Knowledge (Int), Research (Int)

Languages: English, Elvish, Dothraki, Greek, Latin

Spells
1: Detect Magic, Bane, Sleep
2: Locate Object, Suggestion
3: Remove curse

Notes: Charlie became the adopted younger sister of the Winchesters. While I was never happy with her death, the show treated her well both before and after and there was a strong sense of loss and mourning on the show.  Besides. Dean, at great risk to his own soul, kills every single member of the Styne family in retaliation. 


"Later Bitches!" - Charlie

Charlie Bradbury, Apocalypse World
(supernaturalwikisupernatural.fandom)

When the Nephilim Jack began to open portals one opened to a world where the Winchesters were never born. This world had been overrun with demons so bad that the Angels came to Earth to eradicate them. And then they kept on going and started killing humans.  A resistance front grew and one of their commanders was Charlie Bradbury.

Charlie, along with alternate version Bobby and others came to the Winchester's world to escape. Charlie became a hunter in this world too.  She was the same person, but only more hardened and serious. 


Charlie Bradbury

3rd level Survivor/4th level Veteran, Human

Strength: 12 (0)
Dexterity: 13 (+1) s
Constitution: 14 (+1)
Intelligence: 18 (+3) P
Wisdom: 17 (+2) s
Charisma: 18 (+3)

HP: 33 (3d4, 4d8)
AC: 9
Fate Points: 1d8

Check Bonus (P/S/T): +4/+2/+!
Melee bonus: +0 (+1)  Ranged bonus: +3 (+4)
Saves: +3 to death attacks & area saves

Special Abilities: Open locks 35%, Bypass traps 30%, Sleight of Hand 40%, Move Silently 40%, Hide in Shadows 30%, Climb 75%, Danger Sense 50%, Perceptive 50%, Read Languages 80%, Tracking 70%, Supernatural Attacks.

Skills: Forgery (Dex), Computers (Int), Knowledge (Int), Research (Int), Survival (Wis)

Languages: English, Greek, Latin

Notes: This Charlie at first wanted to have nothing to do with the other Charlie's life and that included a friendship with Sam and Dean. Time in this world has mellowed her out a little.  She even expressed curiosity about finding her and Charlie's former girl-friend. Charlie broke up with her in this world, but she was killed in Apocalpyse World. 

Charlie spends some time with the witch Rowena as well.  Regular world Charlie was a bit afraid of her, but Apocalpyse World Charlie is not so easily shaken.

Bobby: Rowena and Charlie are road tripping it through the Southwest.
Mary: That's trouble.
Bobby: Ginger trouble -- the worst kind. 

13.23 Let the Good Times Roll


Ginger Trouble

So I really have to hand it to Felicia Day.  Over the course of her tenure on Supernatural, she played three different (well four I guess) versions of Charlie and each one felt different. Regular Charlie, Good and Evil Charlies (split by the Wizard of Oz) and Apocalpyse World Charlie. 

In truth, I was not a fan of Felicia Day until I saw her on Supernatural. Then I was like, "oh! so that is what all the fuss is about. I get it now."

Charlie would make a fantastic guest star on Wayward Sisters. The cast pulling her in when they need some magical help, since Rowena is unavailable. I can see Charlie eventually calming down and going more the sage route like her alternate did.  Hell. I think it would be cool if Apoc Charlie came across a stash of journals and notes from her alternate from this world, maybe even taking a page from Star Trek III (because Charlie would have) and figured out a way to store part of her own katra onto the Internet before Styne killed her.

Lots of ways I could go with this character to be honest.

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

October Horror Movie Challenge: Space Vampires of 1980

Bit of a cheat tonight. But I always want to do a Doctor Who episode.

Doctor Who, State of Decay (1980)

I picked up the Tom Baker Doctor Who, Season 18 Blu-Ray a while back and I wanted to re-watch the episode State of Decay.   It has been a few years since I had seen it, but it was and still is one of my favorite episodes of Doctor Who.

The idea of the race of great Vampires as the ancient enemies of the Time Lords is, in my mind a great addition to the vampire lore.  Something that I even added to my games at the time, though obviously from a more fantasy and horror elements.

The episode is 100% Hammer Horror.  I would not have been surprised to hear that the crew stole items from sets of the various BBC horror films and TV shows, in particular, the late 70s Dracula.  We get everything though here. The "Hammer Hamlet" with the scared villagers, the castle with the evil Lords (and Lady), even the warnings "not to go to the castle".

Of course, watching the special effects 40 years later have not aged well, but it is Doctor Who and you can't expect a lot. 

The great vampire reminds me a bit of the Beast from the 10th Doctor's "The Satan Pit" so that is nice bit of continuity.  The Great Vampires come from the "early times" from "even when Rassilon was young."  Easy to see a connection.

The horror elements are light, but still good for Doctor Who episode.

The behind the scenes features of the Blu-Ray are also great.  I guess at the time it caused quite a stir.

Buck Rogers in the 25th Century: The Space Vampire (1980)

The year is 2491 and Capt. William "Buck" Rogers is back at Earth from 1987, battling a...well...space vampire.  Ok, so I watched this one when it was new and enjoyed it. But I was 10.  BTW did you know all the episodes of Buck Rogers are free to watch?  The plot is thin really. Buck and Col. Dearing are going on vacation and they stop off at a space station to get Twiki repaired. I do like the idea of a vampire on a space station sadly the vampire here leaves a little to be desired. 
The story borrows heavily from Dracula, with the ship crashing into the station named "Demeter" and one of the passengers is named "Helson" as opposed to "Helsing".
One of the things that bugged about BR:25C is how Col. Dearing went from being a strong character in the pilot movie to such a weak one in later episodes. 
The vampire going after Wilma makes a lot of sense really, even if it is also a little clichéd.  Though it did give Erin Gray a chance to stretch her acting muscles a bit, which is good.

Watching both of these from the same time period is interesting.  BR:25C had better effects, but the story in Doctor Who was better.  I will even go on a limb here and say the acting was better in Who as well.

The real question is not who did the better vampires (Doctor Who) but which sidekick was more annoying, Adric or Twiki?

Watched: 25
New: 15

NIGHT SHIFT and BlackStar Content.
Ever since Doctor Who, Buck Rogers, and Lifeforce I have wanted to do a "Space Vampire."
Even in a later Doctor Who novel they had a vampire couple leave the earth by hitching a ride on a satellite bound for deep space. So I guess it is possible to have any half-crazed idea work.
Not 100% sure how I would do a Space Vampire in NIGHT SHIFT, but I think I owe it to my 10-year-old self to give it a try in BlackStar.




Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Dungeons & Dragons Animated Series: Requiem The Final Episode

Well here is an unexpected treat.

Growing up I didn't watch much of the Dungeons & Dragons cartoon. I caught it when I could, but I worked most Saturdays and didn't always see it.  This was also back before DVRs or even on-demand viewing, so unless recorded it on VHS, well I missed out.

Many years later I picked it up on DVD when it was packaged with some wonderful 3rd Edition content. This was about the same time my oldest was getting interested in D&D and the D&D animated series was the perfect gateway drug for him.  If it is possible to wear out a DVD then he would have done it.

On the DVD extras were a lot of neat little things. One of them was the script for Requiem, the last episode of the series.  Written by series writer Michael Reeves it detailed the last adventure of Hank, Eric, Diana, Bobby, Sheila and Uni. It had been put on as a radio play in 2006 and was also included in the DVD release. 

Now some enterprising animators pulled together clips from the series and new animations to give us the final episode in full animated form.

Watch it while you can.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QsNHTnY6HQg

I think they did a pretty good job, to be honest, all things considered.  

Thursday, August 20, 2020

Wynnona Earp for NIGHT SHIFT

Wynonna Earp is back for Season 4! Largely due to the efforts of the fans, "Earpers",  and so far it has been great.  

So I think giving them the NIGHT SHIFT treatment is in order.

Spoilers up to Season 3.  Images of the characters by HeroForge.

Wynonna Earp
AKA "Nona"
5th Level Chosen One, Human
"I am the girl. With the big-ass gun."

Strength: 15 (+1)
Dexterity: 20 (+4)
Constitution: 18 (+3)
Intelligence: 12 (0)
Wisdom: 13 (+1)
Charisma: 15 (+1)

HP: 40 (4d8)
AC: 6
Fate Points: 10

Check Bonus (P/S/T): +3/+2/+1
Melee bonus: +2   Ranged bonus: +6
Saves: +2 to all saves

Special Abilities/Skills
Brutal Warrior, Killing Blow, Supernatural Attack, Difficult to Surprise, Improved Defense, Ranged Combat, Survivor Skills, Stunning Blow, Melee Combat, Regeneration of HP, 2 bonus Damage Dice, the Earp Heir. 

Equipment
Peacemaker (gun form), whiskey flask.

Wynonna Earp is the great-great-granddaughter of Wyatt Earp and heir to the Earp curse.  She is the one that must rid the Ghost River Triangle of all the revenants, or "demon-adjacent" dead that return to battle with the Earp heir.

Waverly Earp
AKA "Waves", "Baby Girl", "Angel"
3rd Level Survivor / 1st Level Sage, Half-Angel
"Heroes always win."

Strength: 12 (0)
Dexterity: 14 (+1)
Constitution: 17 (+2)
Intelligence: 17 (+2)
Wisdom: 15 (+1)
Charisma: 17 (+1)

HP: 20 (3d4 + 1d6)
AC: 8
Fate Points: 15

Check Bonus (P/S/T): +3/+2/+0
Melee bonus: +2    Ranged bonus: +3
Saves: +3 to Death saves

Special Abilities/Skills
Stealth skills, Danger Sense, Perceptive, Sneak Attack, Read Languages, Suggestion, Lore, Half-angel abilities

Equipment
Shotgun, Earp lore.

Waverly Earp is Wynonna's younger half-sister. She only recently discovered that she is not in fact and Earp, but instead the offspring of Michelle Earp, nee Gibson, and the Angel Julian.  She knows the most about the Earp family and curse.  She is currently engaged to former Sheriff Nicole Haught.

Nicole Haught
AKA "Red", "Sheriff Hot", "Hot Sheriff" 
4th level Veteran, Human
"Did I just hit my head and wake up in patriarchal bullshit land?"

Strength: 16 (+2)
Dexterity: 17 (+2)
Constitution: 16 (+2)
Intelligence: 16 (+2)
Wisdom: 17 (+2)
Charisma: 18 (+3)

HP: 37 (4d8)
AC: 6
Fate Points: 10

Check Bonus (P/S/T): +3/+2/+0
Melee bonus: +2  Ranged Bonus: +2
Saves: +2 to all saves

Special Abilities/Skills
Combat Expertise, Increased damage, Supernatural attack, Tracking

Equipment
Shotguns, handguns

Sheriff (formerly) Nicole Haught is the only survivor of an attack of demons lead by Bulshar, the demon responsible for all the demonic activity in the Ghost River Triangle and the town of Purgatory. She is smart and resourceful. She is in love with Waverly Earp and just said yes to Waverly's proposal.

John Henry "Doc" Holiday
AKA "Doc", "Holiday"
5th level Veteran, Vampire
"Careful, Earp. Doing what’s right, even in the face of ridiculous odds … you are beginning to sound like a hero."

Strength: 20 (+4)
Dexterity: 20 (+4)
Constitution: 18 (+3)
Intelligence: 13 (+1)
Wisdom: 15 (+1)
Charisma: 16 (+2)

HP: 42 (5d8)
AC: 6
Fate Points: 10

Check Bonus (P/S/T): +3/+2/+1
Melee bonus: +2   Ranged bonus: +6
Saves: +2 to all saves

Special Abilities/Skills
Combat Expertise, Increased damage, Supernatural attack, Tracking, Vampire abilities

Equipment
Handguns

John Henry "Doc" Holiday was cursed after his friend Wyatt Earp died and had been trapped in a well for 130 years. He was released by Wynonna and they went from being colleagues to friends to lovers. Though with his aging catching up to him Doc went to his ex-wife Kate and became a vampire.

This could be a lot of fun really!

How about a sneak peek at Season 4?

Let's hear that theme song again.


Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Motherland: Fort Salem for Dungeons & Dragons (all editions)

Last week was the Season Finale of Motherland: Fort Salem on the FreeForm channel.   The season was great, start to finish. It had great characters that showed a lot of growth and at least three different "What the Hell!" moments in the last few minutes of the last episode.

If you have not been watching then you are missing out.  Motherland gives us an alternate history where witches rose up during Salem and forged a pact with the then Colonies to protect the new country from their enemies.  There are fewer states in the US and a large portion, The Cession, was given back to the Native Americans in return for their help and magic.  The series follows three new witch recruits, Abby, Tally, and Raelle, as they go through Basic Training and survive as a unit.
There is a terrorist organization of rogue witches known as the Spree who resent the servitude that sends all witches to the Army.

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

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

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

I can't believe I have to wait a whole year to catch up on the Bellweather Unit and their battle against the Spree and "The Camarilla", the "Ancient Enemy" of all witches.   This certainly sounds like a lot of fun.   But can I wait that long?


So what am I going to do?  Easy.  Convert them to D&D characters!

The witches of Motherland are perfect as adventurers really.  They are great as a group with Abigail as their leader, Raelle as the healer and Tally as the seer.   I don't know much about who or what the Camarilla is, but given what we saw in the last episode I am looking forward to it.

Witches vs. the Camarilla?  Yeah. Sign me up!

Basic D&D and D&D 5

D&D 5 is the latest and greatest version of the game but the Basic version from the early 80s is my game of choice these days.  So I figure I can do both.

Basic D&D (1981)
In this version I would use one of my own Witch classes.  But instead of Traditions, I would opt for family lines.
I am putting them all at 3rd Level since they "Finished Basic." I know. Dumb D&D joke. 

D&D 5th Edition
In this version, there is no proper witch class.  There is a warlock of course, but that doesn't feel like the right call here.  With their focus on combat, voice-based magic, leadership, and some healing the obvious choice is the Bard class.  There is even a perfect sounding group for them, The College of War.

Abigail Bellweather

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

Base Abilities
Strength: 12
Dexterity: 11
Constitution:  13
Intelligence: 14
Wisdom: 11
Charisma: 17

Hair: Drk. Brown
Eyes: Brown

Basic D&D
Witch Level 3, Lawful
HP: 10  AC: 7
Tradition: Bellweather family (Leaders) (For this I will use my Amazon Witch Tradition)
Abilities: Windstirke*, Fighting Prowess
Spells: Fury of the Ancestors, Windshear* (Ritual), Suggestion

D&D 5th Edition
Bard Level 3, Lawful Good
HP:  21   AC:  11
Abilities: Bard Abilities, Spellcasting
Spells: Eldritch Blast, Thunderclap, Truestrike, Cure Wounds, Featherfall, Heroism, Thunderwave, Phantasmal Force, Suggestion

Weapons: Dagger, Scourge.

Click here for her D&D Beyond Sheet

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

Base Abilities
Strength: 11
Dexterity: 13
Constitution: 14
Intelligence: 13
Wisdom: 12
Charisma: 16

Hair: Red
Eyes: Brown

Basic D&D
Witch Level 3, Lawful
HP: 9  AC: 7
Tradition: Craven family (Seers) (For this I will use my Classical Witch Tradition)
Abilities: Windstirke*, Detect Evil
Spells: Foretell, Detect Invisible, Witch Sense

D&D 5th Edition
Bard Level 3, Neutral Good
HP:  24   AC:  11
Abilities: Bard Abilities, Spellcasting
Spells: Thunderclap, Truestrike, Detect Magic, Heroism, Identity, Thunderwave, Detect Thoughts, See Invisible

Weapons: Dagger, Scourge.

Click here for her D&D Beyond Sheet

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

Base Abilities
Strength: 12
Dexterity: 13
Constitution: 15
Intelligence: 12
Wisdom: 13
Charisma: 15

Hair: Blonde
Eyes: Blue

Basic D&D
Witch Level 3, Lawful
HP: 11  AC: 7
Tradition: Collar family (Healers) (For this I will use my Pagan Witch Tradition and Basic Witch Tradition)
Abilities: Windstirke*, Healing Touch (1d4)
Spells: Cure Light Wounds, Sleep, Heal Affliction

D&D 5th Edition
Bard Level 3, Chaotic Good
HP: 24  AC: 12
Abilities: Bard Abilities, Spellcasting
Spells: Thunderclap, Truestrike, Cure Wounds, Feather Fall, Healing Word, Sleep, Lesser Restoration, Warding Wind

Weapons: Dagger, Scourge.

Click here for her D&D Beyond Sheet

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

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

Hair: Black
Eyes: Blue

Basic D&D
Witch Level 4, Chaotic
HP: 13  AC: 7
Tradition: Ramshorn family (Necromancer) (For this I will use my Mara Witch Tradition)
Abilities: Glamour
Spells: Bewitch I, Lay to Rest, Dark Whispers, Hypnotize

D&D 5th Edition
Bard Level 4, Chaotic Neutral
HP: 35  AC: 12
Abilities: Bard Abilities, Spellcasting, Magic Initiate (Necromancer)
Spells: Chill Touch, Message, Minor Illusion, Toll the Dead, Truestrike, Bane, Charm Person, Disguise Self, Dissonant Whispers, Sleep, Enthrall, Lesser Restoration, Suggestion

Click here for her D&D Beyond Sheet.

Notes

For Basic D&D I linked to the Witchcraft Tradition that best fits each witch.  If I were to do something more like this I might revive my old "War Witch Tradition."  This is the ancient Celtic tradition of witches like The Morrigan and Scáthach.



For 5th Edition Bards felt like the closest match.  I originally had Scylla as a Magic Initiate (Warlock) to cover her other magical abilities and to represent her membership in the Spree.  But I changed it to Magic Initiate (Necromancer) to cover some of her Necro powers.  She is still too low-level to really take advantage of the necromancy spells.

I considered making them all Sword-Pact Warlocks and taking a Magic Initiate Feat at first level to cover their various Traditions/Backgrounds.  So Necromancer for Scylla, Cleric/Healer for Raelle, Bard for Abby and Wizard for Tally.  That might still work well to be honest.

*Windstrike is the basic attack ability of a Warrior Witch.  With her voice the witch can cause 1d6+1 hp of damage.

*Windshear is a ritual spell performed by multiple witches.  It is a shield from attack and it destroys whatever comes in contact with it.



The Scourge is a flail like weapon used by all witches.  It is long with a whip-like handle and a knob on the end that glows with the witch's magic.  It is considered a +1 weapon and does 1d6+1 points of damage.  In D&D 5th Ed it is considered an exotic weapon.

The real test will be doing stats for Sgt. Anacostia Quartermaine and Gen. Sarah Alder.



Other Editions of D&D

Building these characters was so much fun I could not help but think how other editions of D&D might work.

1st Edition AD&D
Bards are out because they are very different here.  I would use Magic-users and let them dual-class into another class to help.  Or even use Druids.

2nd Edition AD&D 
Ah now here is a chance to really try something fun.  Like 5th Edition, I would make them Bards, but I would also have them take the Blade kit from the Complete Bard Handbook.  Again like 1st Ed, I might let them dual-class into another class OR just allow them to take the proper spells.

3rd Edition D&D
So many choices here.  I would try out a Hexblade or Bladesinger for these.  I mean really, a witch-army has the Forgotten Realms written all over it!  Blasesigners and Witches of Rashemen are just about War Witches now.

4th Edition D&D
So many classes!  Ok make them Pact of the Blade Warlocks, let them take a multiclass feat at first level to add the other class features they need.  OR start them out as Witches from Heroes of the Feywild and then multiclass feats.

I might try each option on one character to see how it would work.  The choice is obvious.


She may be General Sarah Alder, but I know a Witch Queen when I see one.

Saturday, April 18, 2020

Zatannurday: J.J. Abrams Justice League Dark

Well, the big news is the rumor that J.J. Abrams has three new shows coming up on HBO Max.  One of them is supposed to be Justice League Dark!

Here are some of the links to various news sites.

https://www.theverge.com/2020/4/16/21224271/justice-league-dark-jj-abrams-hbo-max-warnermedia-shining-berlanti-dc-comics

https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/live-feed/jj-abrams-sets-3-hbo-max-shows-justice-league-dark-shining-spinoff-duster-1290530

https://variety.com/2020/tv/news/justice-league-dark-series-the-shining-series-hbo-max-jj-abrams-1234582489/



I am looking forward to this, but Justice League Dark has not had a lot of success getting off the page to the screen, save for the one animated movie. And even then they had to throw in Batman.

With a little bit of luck, we will get Matt Ryan to play John Constantine.

The thing I am looking forward to the most is who will play Zatanna.

Related, I did find this video on all the portrayals of Zatanna over the years.




An here she is from the Justice League Dark animated movie.

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Witchy Wednesdays: Motherland Returns, Magicians Retires

I mentioned all the great TV on now.  Which is good since we are supposed to Shelter In Place here in Chicago-land until April 30. That, and I already finished watching "Tiger King".

Well, it's Wednesday and that means we get new Magicians and new Motherland: Fort Salem.
Sadly it is also the series finale of Magicians tonight and I have no idea how they are going to wrap this all up.

Insert witty and caustic Margo quote here.

I think I am going to have to do stats someday for the Magicians characters.  Either for Cinematic Unisystem or Night Shift.

I am going to miss the Brakebills kids.

How would Alice, Julia, Kady, and Margo fare at Fort Salem?
Would Raelle, Tally, and Abigail do well at Brakebills?

I am pretty sure that Scylla and Marina would get along. Or kill each other.

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Television: Witch on Witch Action

It has been a great time for genre TV for the last few years.  Now we are getting a bunch of new witch shows on TV and you know I am happy.  So let's have a look.



Charmed (2018)
Last years Charmed reboot got a second season and turned the premise of the show upside down.   The Charmed Ones are still, well Charmed, but they lost their powers. They can still cast and there are still demons to be fought and witches to be saved. The show is subtly different and in many ways better.  It's taking a while to get to the main plot but from what I have seen so far, I am a few episodes behind, looks fun.



Chilling Adventures of Sabrina
We just got Season 3 and it was great.  Satanic witches, Lilith, Hecate, and Pagan witches. Again, it's like someone has been reading my Christmas list.  Very fun.



Luna Nera
This is an Italian series on Netflix. Taking place in 17th Century Italy it features more witches vs. witches. This time it is witches vs. Benandanti; it sounds like one of my games!



Motherland: Fort Salem
This is the big premiere from the previous week.  An alternate reality where the U.S. Government made a deal with the witches at Salem to create an elite unit of witches in the U.S. Army.
The first episode was fun. Again we have two groups of witches fighting each other as our main plot.  Or at least one of them so far. Looking forward to seeing where this one goes too.


Magicians
This show gets crazier all the time. Though now we are in our last season. Going to miss them all.

Witcher
Not a "Witch show" per se, but plenty of magic and witches here.

Vampires
Not witches but Vampire the Masquerade: The High School Years.  I only watched two episodes of this French import on Netflix, so not as sure about this one yet.


Thursday, March 5, 2020

No Magic Like Family: Angela, Dolly and Elvira

It should be no shock to anyone that I am a huge fan of Cassandra "Elvira" Petersen.  So when I saw this, well you know where my thoughts went!



I mean seriously? Dolly and Elvira in a TV show playing sister witches?? It's like someone on the internet was reading my secret stash of fan-fic...that I totally don't have.

Dolly & Elvira by Neon Horror
http://www.neonhorror.com
Dolly did a movie with a witch back in 86, A Smoky Mountain Christmas. Yes. I remember it.

I can't do a TV show. And seriously Hallmark, you can do 3,000 Christmas movies, would a Halloween one like this kill ya'?  But I can do RPG stuff.

And I know the PERFECT RPG book for this.

Background
Ok, I am going to add this to my War of the Witch Queens somehow.  Dolly's and Elvira's mother, a very powerful witch, has just died. I don't think she is one that sets off the war, but it is a precursor.  Their mother was the founder of the Home, Heart, and Hearth shops and both her daughters worked there.  Dolly went more for the "lighter" side of things focusing on the front side of the stores where minor magics are sold.  Elvira was naturally attracted to the darker, backroom side of the business that dealt in "gray market" magic items.

Just to make life easy for all of us, I am just going with "Dolly" and "Elvira" for their names.  No need to create new-weird character names.  Just pretend they are twin sisters and it all works out fine.

Of course, given this, only one woman could be their mother. Angela Lansbury.

This is another good example of mixing and matching my various Basic-era witch books to suit your own needs.



Dolly
Female Witch 14th level, Pumpkin Spice Tradition

Armor Class: 6 (witch gown, +3)
Hit Dice/Level: 14d4+14 (50 hp)
Attacks: 1 (weapon) or spell
Damage: 1d6 or witch Spells
Movement: 90’ (30’)
Special Attacks & Defenses: witch powers
No. Appearing: 1 (Unique)
Save As: Witch 14
Morale: 11
Alignment: Lawful

Str: 12 Int: 15 Wis: 16 Dex: 12 Con: 14 Cha: 18

Dolly has the following witch spells and Occult Powers.  She casts as a 14th level witch.

Occult Powers
Familiar: Dog "Popeye"
Lesser: Things That Man Was Not Meant to Know are Fine For Women
Minor: Resting Witch Face

Patron: Cardea, the Opener or Ways

Spells by Level
1st (5): Blessed, Forget Me Knot, Glamour, Speak with Animals, Cake and Tea (Ritual)
2nd (4): Heal Affliction, Light as a Feather, Stiff as a Board, Witch Slap, Sage Burning (Ritual)
3rd (4): Bewitch III, Live Laugh Love, Ward of the Season, Merry Meetings (Ritual)
4th (3): Age Resistance (Lesser), Cleanse, Mirror Talk
5th (3): Calm Weather, Private Sanctum, Tripping the Light Fantastic (Ritual)
6th (2): Cloak of Dreams, Summon Higher Power
7th (2): Peace Aura, Hell Hath No Fury (Ritual)

Elvira, Mistress of the Dark
Female Witch 13th level, Mara Tradition

Armor Class: 6 (witch gown, +3)
Hit Dice/Level: 13d4+26 (60 hp)
Attacks: 1 (weapon) or spell
Damage: 1d6 or witch Spells
Movement: 90’ (30’)
Special Attacks & Defenses: witch powers
No. Appearing: 1 (Unique)
Save As: Witch 13
Morale: 10
Alignment: Chaotic

Str: 11 Int: 12 Wis: 14 Dex: 14 Con: 15 Cha: 18

Elvira has the following witch spells and Occult Powers.  She casts as a 13th level witch.

Occult Powers
Familiar: Hell Poodle "Gonk"
Lesser: Dream Invasion
Minor: Nightmare Shape

Patron: Hecate

Spells by Level
1st (4): Bewitched I,  Feel My Pain, Protection from Spirits, Vigor
2nd (4): Choking Grip, Ghoulish Hands, Hypnotize, Summon Witches (Ritual)
3rd (3): Bestow Curse, Edge of Blackness, Summon and Bind Imp of the Perverse (Ritual)
4th (3): Grave Sanctuary, Intangible Cloak of Shadows, Ardour Flame (Ritual)
5th (2): Cry for the Night Bird, Summon Shadow
6th (2): Aspect of the Crone, Summon Nightmare Steed
7th (1):  Enchant Item

And just for fun, let's say that Angela is actually alive but faked her death to get her two daughters working together again to save the family business!  Hey Hallmark! Where's my job offer now?

Angela
Female Witch 17th level, Classical Tradition

Armor Class: 7 (witch gown, +2)
Hit Dice/Level: 19d4 (48 hp)
Attacks: 1 (weapon) or spell
Damage: 1d6 or witch Spells
Movement: 90’ (30’)
Special Attacks & Defenses: witch powers
No. Appearing: 1 (Unique)
Save As: Witch 19
Morale: 11
Alignment: Lawful

Str: 11 Int: 16 Wis: 18 Dex: 12 Con: 11 Cha: 18

Angela has the following witch spells and Occult Powers.  She casts as a 19th level witch.

Occult Powers
Familiar: Dog
Lesser: Gift of Prophecy
Minor: Drawing Down the Moon
Medial: Charge of the Goddess

Patrons: Hestia and Hecate

Spells by Level
1st (6): Color Spray, Fortell, Fury of the Ancestors, Obedient Beast, Speak with Animals, Witch's Mark (Ritual)
2nd (5): Augury, Blur, Demeter's Lament, Witch Sense, Favor of the Gods (Ritual)
3rd (5): Danger Sense, Dither, Scry, Third Eye, Family Curse (Ritual)
4th (4): Create Talisman, Divination, Eyes Everywhere, Hounds of the Underworld (Ritual)
5th (4): Dome of Deepest Night, Empower Distaff, Sending, Access the Library (Ritual)
6th (3): Analyze Dweomer, Empower Rod, Staff or Wand, True Seeing
7th (3):  Breath of Life, Magickal Conception, Sirocco
8th (2): Permanency,  Protection of the Goddess (Ritual)

Angela has the patrons of Hestia and Hecate. With their guidance, she began the Home, Heart, and Hearth shops.


And if you can check out the REAL shop at Neon Horror. Some great merchandise there including that Dolly & Elvira t-shirt.

Monday, December 30, 2019

5 x 5: End of the Year Top Fives. Television Shows

Continuing my Top 5, here are my top 5 television shows of all time.

The Twilight Zone



Star Trek: The Next Generation



The X-Files



Tales from the Darkside



Game of Thrones


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