Showing posts with label uw&w. Show all posts
Showing posts with label uw&w. Show all posts

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Kickstarter hits 65% in 10 Days!

So my recent Kickstarter for Strange Brew is moving along nicely.
In the first 10 days we have hit 65% of our funding goal.

That is fantastic, but it won't help us hit man of our stretch goals.

So are thinking of adding some more "benefits" for levels.  For example we have the rights now to the old Citizen Games, Way of the Witch book and were are updating that to Pathfinder.
We have a couple of other products ready and a few more nearly ready.

What would you like to see?
Pledge and get a free copy of my Basic Era Witch book?
Something else?

If nothing else or if you are not interested, please consider spreading the word!  Let others know.


Wednesday, May 21, 2014

What *is* a Warlock?

I have been thinking and talking a lot about warlocks of late.

More specifically "what is a warlock?"

Research on the word reveals that it is Scottish in origin and was first used in the early 1700s and has a few cognates. So what is a warlock?
A wizard: Well that doesn't help. We have those already in Pathfinder. Ditto for sorcerer and magus.
A male witch: No. That doesn't work so well either. Besides a male witch is a witch unless you want a male witch to be a wizard. But why have a witch at that point?
A spellcaster: No. Half the classes are "Spellcasters" in one way or another.
There is evidence that word shares roots with lēogan and wǣrloga, but those only tell me the roots of the word, not what the word is itself.

And more to the point, what does a warlock mean in my games? What is it's role? What does it do?  This isn't a history or linguistic text I am working, it is a game book, so I have to think about this in terms of what is good for a class and what is good for the players.

Recently I spoke about them on my blog back in April (W is for Warlock), but I have never really sat down to define them in terms of role and powers.  Powers might be important mechanically speaking, but if the class doesn't fill a role in my game then the powers could or should go to someone else.

A while back on my blog I reprinted what Tom Moldvay, author of the D&D Basic set, had to say about witches.  These came from Dragon Magazine #43 which was presenting their version of the Witch class.

According to Moldvay a witch has:  1. The ability to use herbs for healing and magic.  2. The power of fascination, like a super-charm ability.  3. A combination of both Clerical and Magic-User abilities. 4. The ability to practice sympathetic magic.  5. Be worshipers, in secret, of a religion otherwise forbidden in a particular era. 6. Powers based on nature and the cycle of seasons, similar to Druidic* powers.
I added a 7th, the ability to form into covens.

I would like to take these as a basis for the Warlock class, since the witch and warlock are so intertwined historically.

1. The ability to harm using magic.  Warlocks, if anything, are seen as evil.   But players should be able to choose their own alignments for their characters. So an "Evil" act would be to use magic to directly harm.  One thing D&D/Pathfinder is missing is a magical blaster class.  Sure the Wizard and Sorcerer could do this, but it is a side effect of their spell use, not a feature of the class.

2. Combination of Witch, Cleric and Wizard powers. Like the witch the warlock is an arcane spell caster that deals with otherworldly powers. They are a bit cleric, a bit wizard and a lot of something else.  I think this should allow them access to the Witch spells.  This also ties the two classes closer together.

3. Witches have sympathetic magic, warlock have this too but in order to do harm.  This is best exemplified by curses. But warlocks need something more than just that.  Correspondences will be important to warlocks too. Their magic is tied closely to their patron. The rituals they perform to learn and cast their magic also bind them closer and closer to their patron. Their magic needs to be reflected in this.

4. Like witches, warlocks are in league with otherworldly powers for their own benefit.  These are stereotypically demons, devils and lost gods, but they are also Arch Fey Lords and Ladies, areas of magical power, even elementals and primal creatures.  These pacts are a way for the warlock to gain power without having to do all of the learning that wizards do. They also do not have the sorcerer's magical bloodlines, so power for the warlock must be taken where it can.

5. Warlocks, again like wizards and witches, form into groups that aid them. Wizards have their schools, witches have covens, and warlocks have cabals. Where covens are more centers of worship for the witch, a cabal is place for like minded warlocks to share secrets. It is similar to the wizard school in that there is shared learning.

Additionally I would like to see the warlock have some form of corruption happen to them. Their pact ties them body and soul to their patrons.  This should be reflected in the physical presence of the warlock.  The Oracle class has their curse for example and the anti-paladin has their auras.

In the Strange Brew Kickstarter I mention I want the witch to be more than just a distaff wizard.  I also want the warlock to be more than a male, maybe evil, witch.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

The Downside of a Big Kickstarter Project

I am so pleased to report that in the first 36 hours the Strange Brew Kickstarter has reached a third of it's potential funding.

I am quite excited about this. And a bit overwhelmed!  So I have been working on the 1000 or so spells for the book and deciding what to keep and what to get rid of.  No small task.  This is after all the "Ultimate" book and I just don't want a rehash of my Witch book or Eldritch Witchery. Those are fine book but the Pathfinder system requires different things.

So it is off to work (day job) now and editing spells tonight.

In the meantime here is my new favorite dice bag.  I picked it up from BlessedBe Garden.

Ready to go for my Unisystem games.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Strange Brew: The Ultimate Witch & Warlock

The Kickstarter for Strange Brew: The Ultimate Witch & Warlock is back on.

From the KS text:

A 256-page, full-color hardback Pathfinder book on witches and warlocks, featuring spells, ritual magic, patrons, covens, familiars, an

Strange Brew: The Ultimate Witch & Warlock contains everything you need to play every kind of witch, warlock, or pythoness you can imagine, detailing an expansive list of new options for use in the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game. In this fantastic new tome you'll find...

  • new alternate classes for the occult
  • the warlock base class
  • several traditions
  • innovative uses for skills
  • new feats
  • hexes and powers
  • dozens of new prestige classes
  • class archetypes
  • familiars and patrons
  • multi-class paths
  • hundreds of spells
  • ritual magic
  • and more—no two witches need ever be the same again!

Make your witch much more than a distaff wizard with Strange Brew: The Ultimate Witch & Warlock!

So what makes this different from The Witch or Eldritch Witchery? Plenty!

I have taken the d20 witch classes and picked the best of the best OGC. I have also included my original d20 witch refined over 13 years of play. Added to this all is the Pathfinder witch and a brand new Warlock class.

We dropped the page count, made the book full color and dropped our funding goal.
I want to do for witches what Deep Magic and Ultimate Psionics did for wizards and psychics respectively.

If you have liked the work I have done it the past then you will love this.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Seven Wonders - Examining the Witches of the d20 Era

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Strange Brew Kickstarter is back!

The new video for my Kickstarter is now up.

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

But here, let me tell you about it.

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

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

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

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

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

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

This is going to be a great book!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Strange Brew Kickstarter back on!

So in February we started a Kickstarter for Strange Brew: The Ultimate Witch & Warlock.
We ended up pulling the plug on it because we wanted some more art, video and better definition of what we wanted to do.

Well we have not been sitting around this past month and in April we would like to bring it back.

We have more art now and we are working on some other details with artists as well.
Plus we are lowering our target amount and hoping to present a more streamlined book.

I still have 500+ pages written, but not sure yet how much of that will make it to the final cut.

I have seen mock-ups of the layout and it looks great. I am so excited to be part of this.

But what has the me the most psyched is the team being put together for this.
Here is something from our revised Kickstarter.
Timothy S. Brannan has been writing about witches for most of his RPG career. In 2002 he released Liber Mysterium a book on playing witches for the Dungeons & Dragons 3.0/d20 game. He has worked on the Buffy the Vampire Slayer RPG and Ghosts of Albion RPG, where he worked side by side with Amber Benson, who played his favorite TV witch, Tara Maclay. Tim is this project's Author and Lead Designer.

Industry veteran and award-winning writer and editor, Christina Stiles, will be our Editor-in-Chief. In addition to co-authoring of the original Way of the Witch, Christina has written, edited, designed and developed scores of projects for Paizo, White Wolf, Green Ronin, Misfit Studios, Super Genius Games, Kobold Press, Rogue Genius Games and more.
She is currently finishing Freeing Nethus for Kobold Press and starting editing on Bite Me! The Gaming Guide to Lycanthropy.

Robert H. Hudson, Jr., best known for his work on Hero System’s Pulp Hero line, will be the book's developer. Robert has been both lead designer and lead developer on numerous projects for Christina Stiles' Presents.

Mike Welham, the 2012 RPG Superstar in Paizo Publishing's Pathfinder contest, will be providing additional feats, spells, archetypes--and whatever else strikes his imagination!

Team members Carlos Ovalle, Andrew Durston, and Heleen Durston will also be contributing to the project.

Morgan Boehringer and Mike Myler will provide material to the book.  Morgan has been in Kobold Quarterly #23 (Gauntlet Witch) and Wayfinder (no's 7,8 and 9 - #7 was the Bonewitch); as welll as Midgard Tales, Legends of Midgard and Journeys to the West. I also published the critically acclaimed Direlock.
Mike Myler has also authored numerous Pathfinder books including Rise of the Drow and The Clockwork Wonders of Brandlehill.

Additionally, Morgan Boehringer and Megan Robertson (a co-author on Way of the Witch) have been asked to provide stretch goal material for the project. And Jean Rabe (a co-author on Way of the Witch), best known for her Dragonlance novels, will be writing an original short story for the project. Janet Pack, the final co-author on Way of the Witch, may be joining us on this romp, as well.

Peter Bradley, Troll Lord Games' artist and layout guru created the cover art and will be doing additional art in the book.

Jacob Blackmon, an extraordinary artist who has done work for Christina's Rogue Mage RPG (Misfit Studios) and other projects, will be doing much of the interior art.
I can't wait to get this out you!

Monday, February 3, 2014

Kickstarter: Strange Brew - The Ultimate Witch & Warlock

The Kickstarter for Strange Brew: The Ultimate Witch & Warlock is now up.

Ok so what makes Strange Brew - The Ultimate Witch & Warlock, well...Ultimate?

The Ultimate Witch & Warlock began a number of years ago for me.  I was working on collecting everything I had ever done for witches for various games that never saw print (Buffy, WitchCraft RPG, Ghosts of Albion), items from my blog here and what I considered the best of the best OGC.

When the whole Old School thing hit, I shelved UW&W and produced "The Witch for Basic Era Games" and then later "Eldritch Witchery".

Christina Stiles approached me about a potential Pathfinder book a while and asked if I had material.  I turned around and gave her 500+ pages of things I have been working on.

UW&W is the spiritual successor to "Liber Mysterium", but also to "Way of the Witch" a product I very much loved.  If you liked either of those then you are likely to like this one.  With Liber I have had another 10 years of playing witches in a d20/3.x game and have made many tweaks that only real play can afford you.

Let me say this. I am so excited about this. Not only do I have a ton of great material, but the idea of getting it all together for the first time in one book is fantastic.

So please consider backing my Kickstarter!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Coming Soon! Strange Brew

Remember when I said I had a lot of projects on my plate?

Strange Brew by Peter Bradley

She's a witch of trouble in electric blue.
In her own mad mind she's in love with you,
With you.
Now what you gonna do?
Strange brew ...

Strange Brew: The Ultimate Witch & Warlock. Coming soon for the Pathfinder RPG.

Discuss this over at the Paizo boards as well.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Ultimate Witch & Warlock

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

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

You can read my first post about it over at Misfit Studios blog.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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