Showing posts with label witch. Show all posts
Showing posts with label witch. Show all posts

Thursday, November 10, 2022

Larina Nichols for Amazing Adventures

I have some projects going on right now that I am trying to get organized for my big Christmas break this year.  I am planning on burying myself in writing. So I am finding bits of text here, and some ideas there, and I have not even gone through my bookmarks* yet.

(*I scribble ideas on bookmarks while I read. Habit from my undergrad days.)

A couple came to me more or less at the same time.  The first was more details on what I am doing with the various incarnations of my iconic witch Larina. The other was some notes about an Amazing Adventures street-level supers game I keep batting around in my notes.  Since the new printing of Amazing Adventures (well, new printing and reorganized material) is now up on Indiegogo I thought, let's clean up one stack of notes with a post. 

The Game: Amazing Adventures

I have always been rather fond of Amazing Adventures. It is a modern version of Castles & Crusades and with the 2nd printing, the rules cleave much closer to the C&C SIEGE Engine rules. My understanding is that this new printing (a bit like a 2.5) is even closer. So close that the three books of Castles & Crusades are called "The Three Sisters" and the new three books for Amazing Adventures are called "The Three Brothers." Three brothers and three sisters? That sounds like my family. 

If you like modern games then this is a great time to get into Amazing Adventures. Especially if you are a fan of Castles & Crusades.

The Character: Larina Nichols

Larina Nichols, witch

One thing that I do with my Larina is to have different versions of her in different games. These are truly different versions of the same character in the multiverse but connected a bit like the Eternal Champion.  These are my worlds, I get to do these things. The GREAT thing about Amazing Adventures is that it IS so much like Castles & Crusades I can make moving between a modern world and a fantasy world much easier. If I can do that with her, you can do it with any character.

Also for me, there is this notion of adventures connected by places or people and displaced in time. This would be my trilogy of adventures "All Souls Night," "Blight," and "The Dark Druid" dealing with D&D-like fantasy, Victorian-age Gothic horror, and modern supernatural respectively. Larina, or someone like her, would be there in all three, reincarnated each time to deal with the threat of the Dark Druid.

But before I can do that right, I have to make sure I can move characters, or their other incarnations, to each time.  Here is my Drosophila melanogaster for these experiments.

Larina photo
Larina Nichols

19th Level Witch (Arcanist)
Race: Human

Strength: 10 (0)
Dexterity: 11 (0)
Constitution: 13 (+1) P
Intelligence: 17 (+2) 
Wisdom: 17 (+2) P
Charisma: 18 (+3) P

Hit Points: 79
Alignment: Lawful Neutral
AC: 10 
BtH: +4
MEP: 226
Primary Spellcasting Attribute: Charisma

Sanity (SAN): 90 (Max), 75 (Current)

Fate Points: 6
Fate Die: 1d12

Languages: English, Latin, Gaelic, Greek, Russian (native language is English)
Background: Scholar (Librarian)
Skills: Mythology (Celtic, Norse)
Traits: Spellgifted (Enchantments/Charms)

Powers
Familiar: Cotton Ball
Spellcasting

Spells
Cantrips: (9) Arcane Mark, Dancing Lights, Detect Illusion, Detect Magic, Light, Magical Aura, Mage Hand, Prestidigitation, Stun
First: (5+1) Color Spray, Command, Darkness, Identity, Shield, Sleep
Second: (5+1) Alter Self, Blur, Burning Hands, Hold Person, Pyrotechnics, Scare
Third: (4+1) Aid, Blink, Nondetection, Remove Curse, Tongues
Fourth: (4) Dispel Magic, Emotion, Phantasmal Killer, Seeming
Fifth: (4) Feeblemind, Mass Suggestion, Projection, True Seeing
Sixth: (3) Mislead, Veil, Wind Walk
Seventh: (3) Prismatic Spray, Teleport without Error, Word of Recall
Eighth: (3)  Antipathy, Prismatic Wall
Ninth: (2) Astral Projection

That went pretty fast really. Like creating an AD&D 1st Character.  In fact, that should really be the main reason to check this game out; how close it is to AD&D. 

In truth, that was a LOT of fun to do. Makes me realize how much I miss playing C&C and AD&D too.

So everyone get in on that Indiegogo campaign so others can see just how much fun this game really is. 

Amazing Adventures


Wednesday, November 9, 2022

The Witch Babylon: Daughter of Eros, Mother of Harlots

So back at the end of September, I guess we had, and missed, another end of the world. Yup. I was reading that September 25, 2022, was supposed to be the Rapture. There were a bunch of videos on TikTok and YouTube that frankly I can't be bothered to link to it. Suffice it to say nothing happened.

But it does give me the excuse to post this picture from Spire Christian Comics

The GREAT SNATCH!!!

I know. I am a juvenile. 

BUT. In the process of looking for that image, I found this one from the same comic.

Babylon Mother of Harlots

Black magic? Witchcraft? Demon contact? Sorcery?

Someone has been reading my letters to Santa again! 

And she is such a groovy cool looking 70s witch too.  I learned that the artist, Al Hartley, had done "Betty and Veronica" comics and some softcore comics prior to being born again. 

This is supposed to be the Whore of Babylon, a character from Revelations. I get that she is supposed to be largely symbolic and not a real person, but sometimes it reads like she is. 

From Revelations Chapter 17.

  1. And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication:
  2. And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.
  3. And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus: and when I saw her, I wondered with great admiration.

I don't pretend to know what all this is supposed to mean. But the imagery is fascinating like most of what is happening in Revelations. 

Of course, I am going to use her as a witch. Come on? 70s occult propaganda? That's my Appendix N!

Who is Babylon?

That art above is plenty to get me going. Given her role in Revelations, I am going to have to say she is a Witch Queen naturally.  But what kind? In my mind, each Witch Queen is head of a large coven and/or Tradition. She is not a Mara Witch, I have plenty of those. Nor is she a Pagan. And she is most certainly NOT a Pumpkin Spice Witch! No, she has a calling and it is not any of these. It could be close to the Classical Witch, but still not exactly right. No I think she is the Queen of a completely different tradition.

Daughters of Eros

Her tradition is something I have been mulling over for a couple of years now. In my recent reviews of the Love WitchThe Pantheon and Pagan Faiths, Sisters of RaptureJeremy Reaban's Beguiler and Enchanter, I have some more ideas of what a new tradition, The Daughters of Eros, could be.

Note I have nothing I am going to publish in a book yet OR even if there is any need/desire/want for such a book. 

Babylon, Mother of Harlots

Babylon
23rd Level Witch, Daughters of Eros Tradition 

Strength: 11 (0) Saving Throws (base)
Dexterity: 16 (+2) Death Ray, Poison 5
Constitution: 13 (+1) Magic Wands 6
Intelligence: 14 (+1) Paralysis, Polymorph or Turn to Stone 5
Wisdom: 17 (+2) Dragon Breath 5
Charisma: 19 (+3) Rods, Staffs, Spells 7


Hit Points: 55 (10d4+13)+10
Alignment: Chaotic (evil)
AC: 1 (Ring of Protection, Garter of Defence)
THAC0: 12

Occult Powers (Daughter of Eros Tradition)
Familiar: Familiar spirit (comes in the shape of a cupid cherub or an incubus)
7th level: 
13th level: Devil's Tongue
19th level: Curse

Spells
Cantrips (6): Analyze Fertility, Clean, Daze, Message, Object Reading, Warm
First (7+3): Bewitch I, Block the Seed, Burning Hands, Charm Person, Command, Drowsy, Increase Sex Appeal, Sleep, Soothe, Twisting the Heartstrings I
Second (6+2): Alter Self,  Bewitch II, Ecstasy, Enthrall, Fever, Hold Person, Rose Garden, Twisting the Heartstrings II
Third (6+2): Astral Sense, Bestow Curse, Betwitch III, Continual Fire, Fly, Mind Rash, Tongues, Witch Wail
Fourth (5+2): Bewitch IV, Elemental Armor, Emotion, Moonlit Way, Neutralize Poison, Spiritual Dagger, Drawing Down the Moon (Ritual)
Fifth (5): Anti-Magic Candle, Bewitch V, Bull of Heaven, Dream, Song of Discord
Sixth (4): Bewitch VI, Heroes' Feast, Mass Suggestion, Wall of Roses
Seventh (4):  Bewitch VII, Breath of the Goddess, Peace Aura, Serpent Garden
Eighth (4): Astral Projection, Bewitch VIII, Greater Mislead, Mind Blank

--

The Witch Babylon
Named for the city she was born in (Βαβυλών), Babylon is a near-immortal witch. Some say she is the daughter of Lilith, some say she is the bastard child conceived when the demon Astaroth forced himself onto his mother Astarte, but the majority claim she is the youngest child of Eros and Psyche.  She is beautiful like her mother, grandmother (Venus), and older sister, Hedone* (also known as Volupta) but was jealous of all three. 

(*Followers of Hedone are known as Hedonists and are also part of the Daughters of Eros Tradition. Though they tend to be more good and neutral in alignment.)

Whatever her origin she is the patroness of whores and debauched witchcraft. She has allied herself with the forces of evil and will stand as their herald of the end times.  She also represents the corrupting nature of civilization.

Babylon is the quintessential "lover, not a fighter" though she also has no problem charming, compelling, or wiping someone's mind to be her lover. She has an entire cadre of former adventurers that had been on a quest to kill her that are now her mindless slaves.

She shares many attributes with Nocticula and the two try to avoid each other when possible. There is an ongoing rivalry between the two. If Babylon hears that Nocticula is having a Midsummer's Eve party with 1,000 guests, then she will try to increase her own party to 1,100 or more.

She will act as a witch priestess, but to what Patron she will not divulge. All witches are welcome in her court.

Babylon in War of the Witch Queens

Babylon is not likely to change what she is doing during the War of the Witch Queens. Indeed she will remark on how neutral she is and will try to avoid the whole thing. In truth, she is trying to figure out who has done the deed and will figure out if she needs to ally with them or betray them. 

The 1979 Campaign

Come on! You know she needs to be in this! She is too groovy not to be.

Babylon in NIGHT SHIFT

As a nearly immortal witch, Babylon will still be active in the worlds of NIGHT SHIFT. Now she would be living in LA, New York, Paris, or some other large metropolitan city.  She will be involved in all sort of illicit dealings but most especially drugs and human trafficking. On the surface, she runs an "Adult Entertainment Empire" called simply enough, Babylon.


RPG Blog Carnival

This is my entry to this month's RPG Blog Carnival hosted by Campaign Mastery.

This month's theme is "Art-spiration." This is my entry for the Al Hartley art of Babylon above.  I am likely to have more since this is such a fun topic.

RPG Blog Carnival

Monday, October 31, 2022

October Horror Movie Challenge: Documentary Night

I do like to have at least one night of documentaries.

Understanding the Witch Trials (2018)

Understanding the Witch Trials (2018)

This was a good one. I found it on Kanopy and it is part of the Great Courses series. Not a lot of new data here but it was all very well represented. I will need to find the rest of this series.  

Aside: Kanopy is a great service. All you need is a public library or University library card to get access. 

War on Witches (2011)

Fairly obscure one. I only found it on Tubi. It covers England and Scotland's witch trials, arguably some of the most famous. It's fluffy and not a lot new material. 

Witches: Masters of Time and Space (2021)

Ok, this one does cover material I have seen before but it also covers stories and histories from other parts of the world that I have seen only a few times before. So quite good really.

War on WitchesWitches: Masters of Time and Space (2021)

The Witches of Hollywood (2020)

This one covers how witches are depicted in Hollywood (and before). It features commentary from Peg Aloi, Heather Green, Pam Grossman, Kristen J. Sollée, and Dianca London. I am familiar with most of them.

It covers a lot of history very quickly to focus on Hollywood. They start with Snow White and Wizard of Oz and moves on to The Witch.  We get some history on why Margaret Hamilton has green skin.  There are some interesting thoughts on the ruby slippers but totally ignores the fact they are silver in the book and red because that shows up better in Technicolor. Other movies covered are Carrie, Rosemary's Baby, I Married a Witch, and more. 

They cover television as well including one of my favorites, "Bewitched" and "Charmed." 

There is a lot of great commentaries also on witches vs. the Patriarchy which is great, to be honest. This documentary reminds me how much I like Peg Aloi's and Pam Grossman's work.  

The Witches of Hollywood (2020)

I have a few more on my list but I am running out of juice here. So I am calling it.

HAPPY HALLOWEEN EVERYONE!


October Horror Movie Challenge 2022
Viewed: 48
First Time Views: 37

October Horror Movie Challenge 2022


100 Days of Halloween: Witch: Fated Souls Second Edition

Witch: Fated Souls Second Edition
Double shot today for my LAST #100DaysOfHalloween. Wow. It was nice and sunny and I was sitting on my patio when I wrote my first post in this series. Now it is cold, rainy, and gray outside. But this is exactly where I want to be. And today I saved something very special for last.

Witch: Fated Souls Second Edition

I have been a fan of Witch: Fated Souls and Elizabeth Chaipraditkul for a while now. I even got her to the foreword for my own The Green Witch for Swords & Wizardry book. 

So for this Halloween day, I give you Witch: Fated Souls Second Edition, Quickstart, AND the Witch: Fated Souls Second Edition, Kickstarter.

Quickstart

PDF. 36 pages. Full-color cover and interior art. 

Design & Development: Elizabeth Chaipraditkul & Steffie de Vaan

This quick start covers the basic rules of Witch: Fated Souls Second Edition and includes a quick adventure to play.

Like the 1st Edition, Witch: FS2 deals with people (Witches or "The Fated") who sell their souls for power in the modern world. The different sorts of "demons" these characters sell their souls to will determine what sorts of power they will get and how they interact with the world, or their "Fates". 

Pausing for a second I can see already improvements in gameplay, readability, and layout of this Quickstart over the original Witch: FS1. 

Characters now have nine abilities, not eight, and are grouped by Mind, Body, and Spirit with three sub-attributes each. These are all explained and how they are used in the QS.  Checks are also explained. The new mechanics are based on Elizabeth Chaipraditkul and Steffie de Vaan's other game Afterlife: Wandering Souls. This opens up a whole level of play if you have both games. But I am going to wait on that one. 

We have a section on magic and knowing Witch: FS1 there is going to be a lot more in Witch: FS2.

There is even some detail on advancement. So really, as far as characters go you have enough here to keep you busy until the Second Edition Kickstarter is done.  

Demons are covered in their own section and they are the most interesting and likely complicated thing in this game. Complicated that is in how to run them and interact with their Fated. 

The last half of the quickstart covers the included sample adventure, "The Devil Made Me Do It."

There are included NPCs, similar to the ones that appear in Witch: FS1 and using the same art; which is great for returning players helping them get acclimated to the new system. It is recommended you use these characters to aid you in learning the game. 

The Fated

If the full product is anything like this Quickstart then we are in for a treat!

Kickstarter

The Kickstarter for this game just launched today and it will likely be funded by the time you read this post.

You can read all the Kickstarter details on their campaign page, but for me, the proof is in the playing.  I liked Witch: Fated Souls First Edition, even if there were things I would have done differently (but hey, that is the nature of these things) and this new edition looks better.

There is an absolute ton to go along with this game and it looks fantastic. 


My Links to Witch: Fated Souls, First Edition


The Other Side - 100 Days of Halloween



Saturday, October 29, 2022

100 Days of Halloween: 4e Witches

Yesterday I took a look at the World of the Witch for 4E. Today I want to re-reflect on the official witch from 4e in Heroes of the Feywild. I also want to go over the Heroes of Shadow. While there are no witches in that volume they very well could have been.

Heroes of Shadow (4e)Heroes of the Feywild (4e)

Player's Option: Heroes of Shadow (4e)

PDF and Hardcover book. 160 pages. 

For this review, I am considering the hardcover version I purchased when new and the PDF from DriveThruRPG.

The Shadowfell is now a feature of the D&D 4 landscape and many products have discussed it including many of the adventures and Monster Manuals. With the Player's Option book we get classes and races based on the shadow realms and how they can be used.

One of D&D4's greatest strengths was its modularity. Adding or subtracting material from the game was easier than ever before. It is a feature that 5e adopted, though not as radically as 4e. Adding more classes then never felt like a bloat since you could limit the number of classes or races or any other feature. The Player's Option books were that in execution. Heroes of Shadow introduces the Assassin class, the Blackguard Paladin option, the Vampire class, the Binder option for Warlocks, and additions to other classes such as clerics (death domain), warlocks (gloom pact for hexblades), and the Necromancy and Nethermancy schools for wizards. Since classes are so detailed this covers the majority of the book.

The Vampire class should be mentioned since it is different. The idea behind it is that no matter what a person was before this, they are now a vampire and they can progress in power as a vampire. Not for everyone, I am sure but there was an elegance to it that can't be denied. It also worked quite well, to be honest.

There are some new races of course. The Revenant is back from the dead with the power of the Raven Queen with them. The Shade has traded some of their mortality for Shadow stuff. This is the best version of the Shade since 1st ed. The Vryloka are living vampires, one of my favorites in 4e, and variations on Dwarves, Elves/Eladrin, Halflings, and Humans.

There are new Paragon Paths for many classes and Epic Level Destinies. A handful of new feats and some new equipment.

It is a fun set of options that really had the feel of the shadow-soaked 4e world down.

Plenty of great ideas for a 5e game using the same classes (all have 5e counterparts) or as fluff for other versions of the game.

Player's Option: Heroes of the Feywild (4e)

PDF and Hardcover book. 160 pages. 

For this review, I am considering the hardcover version I purchased when new and the PDF from DriveThruRPG.

In general like Heroes of Shadow, Heroes of the Feywild assumes that these characters are either from or have strong ties to their "homeland" in this case the Feywild. IF you have any interest at all in the Feywild or any sort of land of the Faerie (such as Avalon, Alfheim, or any number of others) then this is a good book. While not really compatible with older editions of D&D there is still plenty that can be used. The feats even are written that they could even be used with Pathfinder or D&D 3.x. I found plenty I can use for my current 3.x game that I run with the kids and Ghosts of Albion. I actually ended up liking this book more than the Heroes of Shadow book out earlier.

The Witch The witch is a new "sub-class" of the wizard that basically learned in the Feywild. On one level I didn't like this since the witch isn't really a type of wizard. But in reading it I can get past it since the witch is only a type of wizard "mechanically", she uses the same rules as a wizard and thus all the same powers, feats, magic items, Paragon Paths, and Epic Destinies the wizard can use. In this respect, it makes her more like what I have done in the past where wizards and witches are both a type of "magic-user". It gives the witch a lot of power to choose from.

The witch has two builds or covens she can choose from, a Full Moon Coven and a Dark Moon Coven, or if you prefer a good witch and a bad witch. The covens have some powers associated with them, but the witch is still free to choose powers as she sees fit. Only Paragon Path is given, the Legendary Witch, and it focuses on the two covens. It lacks any strong thematic element, but this is a complaint I have had of the Paragon Paths of the post-Essentials line. The Epic Destiny, the Witch Queen, though is quite good. I had done something similar as a Prestige Class for 3.5. This one is different but there are some interesting powers and effects.

I might try a multi-classed witch/warlock, but that might be splitting my roles a bit too much

Powers and Spells What sets this Witch apart from another Wizard or a Warlock are her spells and powers. The witch relies on her familiar to learn magic. Something I have seen more and more of late in FRPG versions of the witch. Her magic has a distinct feel to it different than that of the warlock, even if there seems to be some overlap. Witches do get a minor healing power from the Full Moon Coven, and her magics in general are more subtle. She does not, for example, have a fireball-like spell, but she can change monsters into other animals and they take damage for it. Heavy on the charms and transformations. Lots of powers with the Psychic keyword. Some are similar in theme to the Warlock; Horde of Puckish Sprites is not too different, save in level than Pixie War Band.

I would like to see more about the relationship between Witches and Warlocks. Especially given the Fey commonalities and interactions with Patrons. I think I'll have to write that myself now given that the 4e is a dead game line.

Non-Witch Material There are three new races to play that are well suited to a Feywild/Faerie World sort of game. The Hamadryad, the Satyr, and the Pixie. All have something very interesting about them and I'll stat up some witches for each race as well. There are other class builds as well the Berserker (Barbarian), Protector (Druid), and Skald (Bard). All great for a pseudo-Celtic-themed game of D&D. Just add Player's Handbook 2 to the mix to get the base Bard and Gnome and you are set. Honestly, there is enough here to run a high-magic game and never leave the Feywild.

Overall I am very pleased with this book. It's not perfect, but it is very, very close.

4e books



The Other Side - 100 Days of Halloween


Friday, October 28, 2022

October Horror Movie Challenge: Häxan (1922, 2016)

I have watched Häxan before. Many times in fact and honestly it never gets old.

Häxan (1922, 2016)

This is the new version is from the Criterion Collection BluRay. It looks so good too. There is also a 32 page guide book to go along with it.

This new version is gorgeous. The devils seem more lurid, the priests more vile, and the witches...oh they have never looked better.

I got this one for my birthday back in June and I have been waiting to watch it now for the 100th Anniversay.

I will have to check, but I don't think there is anything here that isn't also on my DVD, save for the upscaling. 


October Horror Movie Challenge 2022
Viewed: 42
First Time Views: 31

October Horror Movie Challenge 2022

Witches Larina and Solaine make a potion

Well, this is a fun little treat!

My good friend and wonderful artist Djinn not only created a wonderful little toon of our witches Larina (mine) and her's (Solaine) but she animated them too. And Larina talks!

These are part of her "Dirty Sticky Journal" series, little cartoons like this featuring her character and others she has drawn over the years. She has done a lot of art of Larina, but seeing her come to life like this is really fun.

You can find them on her Instagram page and this one in particular.

The best place though is her Patreon site. And her Linktree.

I have shared her art in the past and she was one of my earliest Featured Artists.

Oh, and speaking of art. I shared The Simbul, Witch Queen of Aglarond yesterday on Twitter and I got this from Ed himself.


All in all a pretty red letter geek day for me!


100 Days of Halloween: World of the Witch 4E

World of the Witch 4E
Moving up to D&D 4e now (I have pretty much-covered everything for 3e), I get to one of the stand-alone Witch Classes.  How is it and how does it compare to the Witch in Player's Option: Heroes of the Feywild?

World of the Witch 4E

PDF. 105 pages. Full-color cover and interior art.

I would call this book a "full service" D&D 4e book. It was published well after 4e was done as a line so it has the advantage of a long development time. It also can incorporate the best of what 4e had to offer.

To start we have seven character themes; the Black Cloak of Vanuna, Cat Sister/Brother, Cauldron Adept, Maleicar, Sea Witch, Temptress/Tempter, and the Witch Priestess. Each gaining some sort of mechanical and roleplaying benefits.

Witch Class

Next, we get to the Witch Class. This is not a subtype of the Wizard like we see in Heroes of the Feywild, but their own class. There is even a nice sidebar about Witches vs. Warlocks.  For this witch the abilities are Charisma, Constitution, and Wisdom, so exactly like I would suspect.

There are four archetypes, here known as covens. They are the Hag Witch (combat ready), Karmic Witch (reactor), Primeval Witch, and White Witch. Each gets a feature or power. 

All witches get the Bewitch feature at 1st level as well as the Ritual Caster feat.

As with all 4e books, we get a long listing of the various at-will, encounter, daily and utility powers they get. A lot of these look really fun. Makes me miss 4e.

Paragon Paths

At 11th level you can choose a Paragon Path with gives you access to other magic. These are the Night Hag, Black Witch, Pact Witch (you have to be a Witch AND a Warlock), and Shaper. There is some text on other published Paragon Paths.

Note: There is no Epic Destiny here.

New Feats

While not as bad as 3e in terms of feats, 4e still has more than 5e does. But that is fine, I like feats to be honest.

Tools of the Trade

lots of mundane and magical tools for the witch.

Lore & Locations

This covers covens, people, places, and things. This book also has a Daughters of Darkness coven! I suppose that should not be a surprise really. Lots of variety here and that is nice. 

There are some NPCs here including a goddess-like figure and some powerful witches. 

The Witch Kingdom of Amarath

Now, this has my attention. It was a kingdom for and by witches and ruled over by three Witch Queens.  There is not a lot here, but for me, it is worth the price of the PDF.

Witch Adventures

There is a table of 50 plot hooks followed by a section on more developed ideas for a campaign. 

There are even new monsters and NPCs listed.

All things considered, I rather like it all. There are a lot of good ideas here and the powers feel about right.   I am a bit removed from 4e nowadays, but this makes me want to play it some more.

Compared to the Player's Option: Heroes of the Feywild witch this one has certain benefits. For me, I might combine them and play them all as one class. I would certainly grab the Witch Queen Epic destiny to use here. 

The art is fine, but all over the place in terms of quality. I don't fault them for that really. Many I recognize and have used myself, to be honest.

There is no POD option for this and I am going to take that as a plus. Why? Well, I mentioned the modularity of the 4e material before, well I can take this, print the pages I want, and build my own 4e witch book to use. Combine it with other 4e material I have and I can have the ultimate 4e witch. And this book serves as the base for all of that.


The Other Side - 100 Days of Halloween


Thursday, October 27, 2022

October Horror Movie Challenge: Bell Witch Movies

A couple of Bell Witch movies tonight. They both pretty much follow the same formula.

The Bell Witch Haunting (2013)The Mark of the Bell Witch (2020)

The Bell Witch Haunting (2013)

Take the legend of the Bell Witch, mix in bits of Paranormal Activity and the Blair Witch Project and you could get something good. BUT this is The Asylum doing the mixing so we get mixed results. There is some gratuitous nudity, some sub-par acting, and sometimes some fun scares. 

None of the actors or characters are even remotely memorable, but there are some fun scenes usually involving the witch.  The bit at the end where "Dana is currently in a private Asylum on the East Coast" was funny I admit.

The Mark of the Bell Witch (2020)

This is much better and has a few good scares in it too. It follows the story of the Bell Witch closer than the 2013 one above. This one actually takes place in the 1800s.  If I had known this I would have watched this one first.  Nah, it was better this way. It would have made the Asylum movie look even worse.

Kinda tired, so that's enough for one night.


October Horror Movie Challenge 2022
Viewed: 41
First Time Views: 31

October Horror Movie Challenge 2022

The Simbul, Witch Queen of Aglarond

The Simbul, Witch Queen of Aglarond
The Simbul, Witch Queen of Aglarond
I have been asked in the past why I have not stated up one of the greatest spellcasters in D&D lore before and the answer I have always given is this, I wanted to do it right.

That is partially true. The other part is that a character like The Simbul, Alassra Shentrantra Silverhand, Witch Queen of Aglarond has to be done with care and reverence.  Doing my review of The Seven Sisters has only raised this sense in me.  While at the same time filling me with excitement over the prospect of doing it.

I have known since the beginning of my War of the Witch Queens that The Simbul would be involved, and even for a brief time, I considered her to be the Witch Queen that was murdered to set this whole thing in motion. But in truth, I could not do that, even if this is my multiverse's Alassra I just couldn't. The love Ed Greenwood has for this character shines so brightly through every word he commits to paper about her that I just couldn't.  He loves her and made me love her as well.

So she will meet some other fate. In DR 1479 it is said she dies to save Elminster (cough*refrigerators*cough) BUT my Realms game is taking place in DR 1387 or so (using the 3rd ed book as my base which starts in 1372). So she is not dead and may not die.

Also in my Realms. She is a proper witch.

Putting the Witch back into Witch Queen

I always knew I was going to be. But it was Ed's own note in the Seven Sisters that gave me "permission:"

The entries on each Sister detail powerful characters that can easily be renamed and fiddled with for use in other campaigns, and that provide most importantly character motivations and aims for such NPCs of might.

                                                                                                      - The Seven Sisters, page 4

Going back to the 3rd Edition Forgotten Realms Campaign Guide renewed my interest in the Realms and gave me some other insight.

But the final bit of information was reading through Ed's own writings in the pages of Dragon Magazine. In many cases, he clearly is using the word "witch" and meaning it to be the Witch NPC class from Dragon, in particular the one for issue #114.  This gives me all the cover I need really.

Ok. So. Let's say the Simbul is an actual witch, not a mage or wizard. We know (thanks to the Seven Sisters book) she trained with the Witches of Rashemen, so what Tradition would she be? A Rashemen Witch? A Chosen Witch?  I mean Mystra is very much her Patron she owes more of her magic to her involvement than the study of tomes.

I thought that a Chosen of Mystara might be right, but that is more of her birthright than a Trad. Also, there are other Chosen who are not witches. She still has access to wizard spells, so I think she would have to be one in my new High Witchcraft Tradition. This is my homage to a lot of the witches in D&D.

What about her level? Well, in my Basic Witch book the Queen of Witches is Level 36. Does The Simbul go this high? According to her official stats in 2nd ed, she is a Wizard 30 and Fighter 6, and in 3rd ed, she is Sorcerer 20/Archmage 2/Wizard 10.  So 36 and 32 total levels respectively. So yes,  I think 36th level is fine.

The High Witchcraft Tradition

The Simbul is the Witch Queen of the High Witchcraft Tradition.  This is the same tradition that is taught in the Magic School of Glantri, but as a Chosen, she comes on it naturally. Her familiar in this case is her connection to the Weave and the spirits of Magic. So much like a Sorcerer in D&D 3e she comes on her magic naturally, but she also has learned magic.  Witches of the High Witchcraft Tradition are also called The Secret Order and they can learn Arcane/Wizard spells as well. They gain them as other witches gain Ritual magic. 

I have not figured out all of the Occult Powers of this Tradition yet, so this is a work in progress. I am grabbing spells from all my witch books for her, but the base character build is based mostly on The Witch

The Seven Sisters and the Witch


The Simbul, Alassra Shentrantra Silverhand
Witch Queen of Aglarond
The Simbul, Alassra Shentrantra Silverhand Witch Queen of Aglarond
36th level Witch, High Witchcraft Tradition
Human Female, Neutral (Chaotic Neutral)

Strength 14
Intelligence 17
Wisdom 15
Dexterity 18
Constitution 16
Charisma 18

Saving Throws (Base)
Death Ray/Poison 2
Magic Wands 2
Paralysis, Polymorph 2 
Dragon Breath 2
Rods, Staffs, Spells 2

Height: 5' 10"
Hair: Silver 
Eyes: Gray

Hit Points: 87
AC: -2
(Bracers of Protection +3, Cord of Protection +2, Ring of Protection +3, Dex 18 -3)

Base THAC0: 6
(I know, THAC0 was not used in Basic D&D. You know what this means)

Occult Powers*
Lesser: Familiar (Familiar Spirit)
Minor: Witch Vision (see magic, invisible) 
Medial: Drawing Down the Moon
Greater: Witch's Blessing
Major: Craft Permanent Magic
Superior: Longevity/Timeless Body
(*these are not all well-defined yet)

Spells
Cantrips (6): Arcane Mark, Acid Splash, Daze, Mote of Light, Object Reading, Open,
1st (9+2): Analgesia, Bar the Way, Burning Hands, Burning Gaze, Charm Person, Comprehend Languages, Eldritch Fire (Silverfire), Glamour, Mend Minor Wounds, Pace Without Trace
2nd (9+2): Arcane Disruption, Agony, Alter Self, Burning Gaze, Continual Flame, Detect Charm, Dweomerfire, ESP, Evil Eye, Haunting Mists, Mind Obscure, Web 
3rd (9+2): Astral Sense, Bestow Curse, Clairsentience, Control Winds, Danger Sense, Dispel Magic, Expand Senses, Fly, Immunity to Normal Weapons, Lightning Bolt, Protection from Fire
4th (9+1): Analyze Magic, Ball Lightning, Cauldron of Rage, Charm Monster, Divination, Forest of Deception, Masque, Polymorph Others, Polymorph Self, Remove Curse
5th (9): Break Enchantment, Decimate, Enslave, Maelstrom, Nightmare, Private Sanctum, Sending, Telekinesis, Ward of Magic
6th (9): Analyze Dweomer, Animate Shadows, Cackle of the Winter Crone, Cloak of Dreams, Greater Scry, Heroes' Feast, Mass Suggestion, Mislead,  Rain of Fire, 
7th (9): Astral Spell, Breath of the Goddess, Chain Lightning, Greater Teleport, Limited Wish, Regenerate, Spell Turning, Wave of Mutilation, Wind Walk
8th (9): Demand, Eye of the Storm, I Am The Fire, Mass Charm, Permanency, Protection of the Goddess, Storm of Vengeance, Stormbolts, Vanquish

These are only some of the spells she has access to. She has a lot of "named" spells, but I have to find rough analogs in my own books for those. Besides, this should keep her with plenty of arcane firepower. 

While I say that witches of the High Witchcraft Tradition can learn Wizard Spells, the spells above are all witch spells. Some are cross-listed with Wizard, but they can be learned by other witches too. 

Larina seeks advice from The Simbul
Larina seeks advice fromThe Simbul on a magical problem.

Links

Fellow Witch Queens

Forgotten Realms Links


Wednesday, October 26, 2022

October Horror Movie Challenge: Bulbbul (2020)

Bulbbul (2020)
I have not watched many films from India despite my enjoyment of many of their action films. So tonight was another choice by my wife (who also loves the all-singing and all-dancing Bollywood movies). 

Bulbbul (2020)

Bulbbul is a child bride in the Bengal Presidency, India in 1881. She thinks her husband-to-be is Satya, but instead it is his much older brother Indranil. Over the next 20 years they grow up Bulbbul becomes much closer to Satya.  So close that Indranil arranges to send Satya to London.  

Much of the movie is given in various flashbacks. We see Satya telling Bulbbul a story about a demon-woman witch (a Churel or Chudail) who lives in the trees and kills men. Her most notable feature is her feet; they are on backward. They spend the next few years writing the story out. Satya leaves for London early causing Bulbbul to get upset and burn her story. Her husband finds the partially burn book but only sees "Satya and Bulbbul" not realizing that it was both their names as authors.  Indranil goes to Bulbbul who is bathing, he pulls her out of the tub where he beats her with a fireplace poker. We don't see anything but blood.

He beats so bad that her legs are broken and her feet are deformed.  While she is in bed with her legs trussed up to heal. Shamed, Indranil leaves the manor and leaves his twin's wife Binodini in charge. His twin, Mahendra, is also mentally challenged.  While essentially tied down Mahendra comes to her room and rapes her.  Later Binodini cleaning Bulbbul up tells her that she is in a very rich family and she should just keep quiet and everything will be fine.

Back to the present Satya has returned home to discover that Mahendra is dead, Binodini is living in one of the smaller houses on the manor property and previously shy Bulbbul is the undisputed Lady of the house.  Meanwhile men in the local village are all being killed. Satya thinks it is some sort of animal, the villagers say it is the Witch.

Satya decides, because he went to Law School in London I guess, to investigate on his own.  After he finds the body of a man in a tree he decides that it must be a man doing the killing. When asked by Bulbbul "why not a woman?" he laughs her off. 

Satya begins to suspect Dr. Sudip who has been at every man's home recently.  He takes him at gunpoint to arrest him. Sudip isn't worried and is quite blasé about it. Satya says the only way he will be seen as innocent if there really is a witch. At that point, there is a thud, and the carriage stops.  Satya finds the driver dead. Satya tells the Doctor he is innocent because the witch is real and he is going to kill the witch. The Doctor tries to stop him (knowing who the witch is). Satya and the Doctor fight and in the process start a fire with their torches.  Satya runs into the forest, following the same paths he and Bulbbul did as children and he realizes that it is Bulbbul doing all the killings.

We now see (here and in flashbacks) that it is Bulbbul killing all the men. Each one had done something to harm a woman; the husband who broke his wife's bones, the husband who took a younger second wife and the first killed herself, the older man raping little girls and also Mahendra. She uses her mutilated feet to run in the treetops like the Churel in the stories. By now the fire has engulfed the forest and Bulbbul is trapped up a tree. Staya leaves.

Sometime later Indranil returns to his now deserted manor. He is lying in bed alone when he sees a cloud of smoke. The smoke solidifies into a burning figure that becomes Bulbbul.

--

Ok! This one was a lot of fun and completely unexpected. Great choice.


October Horror Movie Challenge 2022
Viewed: 39
First Time Views: 29

October Horror Movie Challenge 2022


The Village Crone (2015)

 Some more witch board games today and the last one for this season.

The Village Crone (2015)

You play one of six witches (1 to 6 players) and work to take control of a village (Wickersby) without a crone. You send out your familiars (up to 5) to gather ingredients for spells. The first to 13 points wins and becomes the new Village Crone of Wickersby.

The Village Crone

The Village Crone

The Village Crone

The Village Crone - Witches

The Village Crone

The Village Crone

The Village Crone

The game is fun enough and the rules are easy enough. The replayability is high so that is good and there are enough random elements to keep it interesting enough. 

I rather like the idea from an RPG standpoint. Witches going out into the world to find a little hamlet to call their own. Certainly, something they would all like to brag about at the Tredecim. 

You can get The Villiage Crone here: https://firesidegames.com/games/village-crone/


Tuesday, October 25, 2022

Larina for Witchblood

Witchblood
Today is October 25th, the day I traditionally observe as the "birthday" of my first real witch character Larina.  Since I rolled her up in 1986 she is now 36 years old! Not too bad really.  I thought she might be a perfect character to try out for Witchblood. I reviewed this game just this past Sunday to start my last full week of #100DaysOfHalloween

The Game: Witchblood

This is a new game from Rose Bailey, (author of the great "Die For You" RPG), Benjamin Baugh ("The Shadow of Golgotha" with Bailey), and Jacqueline Bryk (lots of Onyx Path titles). While reviewing it I knew I wanted to build some characters right away. The only downside for me is that character building for this game is best done with all the players in Session 0 so everyone knows what they are doing and how all the characters work together.

I don't have that luxury here and now, but at least using a character I know so well makes some choices easier. So I printed out my sheets and hit Chapter II: Wanderers and went through the extremely easy Character Creation process.

I knew some things up front. Larina was a Witchblood and a Wise One. But there were still things for me to discover about a character I have known for 36 years.

The Character: Larina Nix

In Witchblood you start with your name, your Birthright, and your Calling. You Birthrighe sets your points for the Identity pairs of Patience-Cunning (Mental Identities), Vigor-Grace (Active Identities), and Understanding-Persuasion Spiritual Identities).  

Your Calling sets your points for dual Quality pairs of Generosity-Selfishness and Demonstration-Observation, Courage-Wrath and Endurance-Defiance, and Trust-Faith and Honesty-Deceit.  These points can change in the course of the game. Sometimes rapidly and often. Always due to the nature of what is going on around them (these changes are called Slides).

For Larina here, these were easy choices for me. Her Birthright is Witchblood and her Calling is Wise One. For her Profile, I went back to her early incarnations as a lone solitary witch so the Stranger seemed like a good one.

Next, I added her bonus dots/points. I get to raise my Birthright or Calling by +1, I picked Calling since the earliest versions of Larina always had her hearing the "Call of the Goddess" at an early age.  I get +3 points for Identities but none can be raised over 3. All my pairs had one 3 in them, so that meant just adding to the ones with only one in them. I kept her Patience at 1 and moved Understanding to 3.  Lastly, for points, I get +5 points for Qualities. These were distributed across all six pairs. Finally I calculate my Violence Potential, which is a 9. This is mostly used in combat situations. 

What does this give me?  Well, I am actually rather pleased with it.

Larina in a purple dress
Larina y Diamynedd, art by me 
Larina Nix

"The Witch of the Wood," "y Diamynedd (The Impatient)"

Birthright 3
Calling 2
Profile: The Stranger

Patience 1 / Cunning 3

Generosity 3 / Selfishness 1

Demonstration 1 / Observation 2

Vigor 2 / Grace 3

Courage 2 / Wrath 2

Endurance 2 / Defiance 3

Understanding 3 / Persuasion 3

Trust 1 / Faith 2

Honesty 3 / Deceit 1

Violence Potential: 9

Traits

She knows,

  • the speech of the higher animals, though they owe you no fealty.
  • the best paths through the wilds your witch dwells in, such as the forests, glaciers, or deserts.
  • appropriate gifts to attract the attention of most supernatural beings.

  • the difference between illness, poison, and curses.
  • how long a wounded or injured person has to live.
  • herbal or other remedies for common illnesses, poisons, and curses.

Liar’s Magic
Awaken the Wilds
Fulfill Fate

Predict Weather
Treat Wounds
Ward Curse

Stranger Prompts

What do they call you?
  Larina y Diamynedd (The Impatient one)

What do you do?
  I travel to learn more about the nature of magic

Why do you stand out?
   People can tell there is something off about me. Even when they can't see my witchmark on my left wrist.

Why can’t you go home?
   My home burned. I have nothing and no one left.

What have you picked up on your travels?
   Knowledge of the world and friends. 

Why do you travel with companions?
   They are my found family. People who accept me for who and what I am.

Why are you dangerous to your companions?
   There is a darkness that follows me. Whatever gave me my magic is jealous of my attention.

Why do you interfere?
   Because I must. Not everyone in this world has my gifts and the world is not just.

--

OK! I like this. In fact, I like it so much these sheets might get stapled to my D&D version of her as a role-playing guide. 

Now to find a group to play with!

Oh. And Happy Birthday Larina. 36 looks good on you!

100 Days of Halloween: The Complete Wizard's Handbook (AD&D 2nd Edition)

The Complete Wizard's Handbook (AD&D 2nd Edition)
This week is all about D&D. Since I have been doing spooky things in general and witchy things in particular, this one *might* stretch this notion a bit. But this book does give us our first-ever official Witch class, er... kit for AD&D. So for that reason alone I should consider it.  But there are other reasons for me to consider this.

The Complete Wizard's Handbook (AD&D 2nd Edition)

PDF and softcover editions. Black & White interior art. 128 Pages.

For this review, I am considering the PDF on DriveThruRPG and my softcover book from 1990.

So a bit of background first. AD&D 2nd Edition came out in later 1989 and introduced the concept of Kits. These were roles that could be taken by a class. They are similar in many respects to the sub-classes or archetypes of D&D 5. You took a kit at the first level and that gave some powers, abilities, and restrictions. They quickly got bloated and dare I say, game-breaking (looking at you The Complete Bard's Handbook) but the early ones like this gave the game some great flavor, and others, like The Complete Psionics Handbook, extended the rules in interesting ways.

The Complete Wizard's Handbook is all about wizards, magic-users, and magic.

Ok class what spell is this?
Chapter 1: Schools of Magic

This is not a classroom-like school (though it can be) it discusses the 8 schools of magic codified by AD&D (that is still around today). In AD&D 2e you could have a "Specialist Mage" or someone dedicated to a particular school, they excel in casting spells from that school but can't cast spells from an opposing school.  The example in the Players Handbook is the Illusionist, a holdover from AD&D 1st Ed. Arguably the most popular would become the Necromancer. (more on that later).

Each school is detailed and the requirements for each are also given on top of the requirements for a Generalist Wizard. For example, a Conjurer must have some human blood (seems random) and Enchanters need a Charisma score of 16 or above (that makes sense).

Chapter 2: Creating New Schools

This covers the creation of new schools of magic that either augment or abandon the schools above. It is a great primer on how magic might work and how it could be learned. While the standard schools are not dropped here, they are reorganized. This chapter is also helpful for anyone wanting to rethink their wizards can do. If Original D&D gave us a magic-user that can do anything, this gives us multiple types of wizards that collectively can do it all and not always the same way.

Chapter 3: Wizard Kits

At only 20 some-odd pages this section feels larger. And it is also the focus of my attention today. There are 10 kits detailed here, each with requirements, preferred schools, barred schools and what they do. The kits are the Academician (scholar of magic), Amazon Sorcerers (what it says on the tin, but all the The Complete Class book had an Amazon kit), Anagakok (Wizards from primitive cultures), Militant Wizard (also what it sounds like), Mystic (in this case a sort of pacifist wizard), Patrician (a wizard of noble birth), Peasant Wizard (just the opposite), Savage Wizard (wizard from very remote areas), Witch (why we are here), and the Wu-Jen updated from the 1st Ed AD&D Oriental Adventures

I mentioned this was the first official witch in AD&D, this is true, but it is not the first official witch of D&D. That honor goes to the witch school for Magic-users in GAZ3 The Principalities of Glantri which predates this by 3 years.  The witch here is easily the most detailed of the all the kits along with the Wu-Jen.

The kit creation section was a well-used and abused feature of this book for me when working on other kits and subclasses.

Chapter 4: Role-Playing

This chapter covers all sort of role-playing advice and tips for wizard characters. Various personality types are covered here; the Altruist, the Brooder, the Mystery Man, the Showman., and more. There are also adventure ideas and plot hooks for wizard characters. 

Not the Scarlet Witch
Not the Scarlet Witch

Chapter 5: Combat and the Wizard

AD&D wizards at low levels are easy to kill, so combat tips are most welcome. This covers Defensive spells and Offensive spells and how to best use them. There is also a bit about the restricted weapons list of the wizard.

Chapter 6: Casting Spells in Unusual Conditions

Details what spells are effective where and more importantly which ones are not effective. This includes the mundane underwater and the more fantastic environments like the planes. Also various conditions on the spell caster like blindness, impaired hearing, and speech.

Chapter 7: Advanced Procedures

Covers level and spell advancement to 32nd level. Details on various spells and a bunch of materials on how illusions work in the game. Details on spell components, spell research, and magic item research and creation.

Chapter 8: New Spells

Pretty much what it says. 40 new spells for AD&D.

Chapter 9: Wizardly Lists

Various lists from 25 helpful familiars, to five unusual places for spell components, nine magic items that have not been invented yet, and more. There are maps, locations, and even 12 new magic items.

The utility of this book for AD&D 2nd can't be undersold. There is more here than just class information there is also information on the very lifeblood of most fantasy games; magic.  While the book is solid AD&D 2nd ed there is enough information here for players of any edition of D&D. 

I have mentioned in the past that the magic school and wizard training information makes a great complement to the magic school found in GAZ3 The Principalities of Glantri.  In fact most of my late 90s AD&D 2nd ed games revolved around this idea.  I even brought many of those ideas back to my short-lived D&D 4th Edition game.  And most recently have gone back to this book for my newest AD&D 2nd ed character Sinéad.

I am surprised about how much I can still get from this book.

And obviously, it was the model I followed when I did my very first witch book 23 years ago this week!

Wizards and Witches



The Other Side - 100 Days of Halloween