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

Friday, October 7, 2022

100 Days of Halloween: Winter of the Witch

My search for my Winter Witch for War of the Witch Queens continues. Today's candidate comes in two flavors 4e and 5e. She gets a few extra bonuses as well.

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

Dungeon #162 (4e) - Winter of the Witch

PDF. 111 pages, color covers and interior art.

I am not reviewing the entire issue of Dungeon here, though I will briefly talk about the other contents. Robert J. Schwalb has two adventures here. A Scales of War Adventure Path adventure and “Depths of Madness” from the Madness trilogy. Schwalb does great work and I am sure these are both top-notch. 

Winter of the Witch is by Stephen Radney-MacFarland with illustrations by Dave Allsop, Eric Deschamps, Izzy, William O'Connor, Wayne Reynolds, Amelia Stoner, Sam Wood, and cartography by Jason A. Engle, and Sean Macdonald. 

This adventure calls the characters back to Winterhaven to the Keep on the Shadowfell. The plot is similar to what we would later see with the Night King and Winterfell in Game of Thrones. (But this was published in 2009.) Koliada is marching south with her army of Undead and winter follows after her. This could easily be tied in with the HPE series of adventures from 4e if you could find a way to slot them in. All the right elements are here it is a matter of working it out. OR it would make for a great epic-level adventure for some other D&DF 4 campaign. It is set for levels 21-30.

Personally, the adventure is fine, but the true star here is Koliada the Winter Witch. She is so much fun that I have used her in BECMI D&D and made my own D&D 5 stats for her. I also thought she might make a great Dark Lord if part of Pathfinder's Irrisen got sucked into Ravenloft as Ikkesen.  She is a standout character and one I love to keep coming back to.  The fantastic Wayne Reynolds art doesn't hurt either.

The adventure is a tight 34 pages.

Winter of the Witch (5e)
Winter of the Witch (5e)

PDF. 32 pages. No art.

This conversion is from Michael "solomani" Mifsud making use of the WotC fan license to convert older products. This is a conversion of the Monsters (and just the monsters) from the Winter of the Witch adventure from Dungeon 162.

Monster stats are limited to one per page to make printing easy with the notable exceptions of our white dragon Kurikveaeri and Koliada herself.  His stats don't match mine save where we both drew from the original, but he has a some good ideas here to be sure.

The product doesn't not try to convert the whole adventure. It also doesn't claim to try to convert it all either, this is just the monsters.  For just under $2 that's not bad, but I would have liked some more. Still this is a lot of work and plenty to get me going.

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For use in War of the Witch Queens

I can use this adventure largely as is, I would drop the Orcus involvement altogether. She is interesting enough on her own.

Why is Koliada invading now? Simple the High Witch Queen, whom even she feared, is now dead and she thinks there is no one to stop her. Even the PCs should have time trying to stop her to be honest. Regardless of how I use her, she is too interesting to NOT use.

Koliada, the Winter Witch


Thursday, October 6, 2022

October Horror Movie Challenge: Devil's Possessed (1974)

Devil's Possessed (1974)
When is a Paul Naschy movie not a Paul Naschy movie?  When it is directed by León Klimovsky and it is 1974's the Devil's Possessed.

The movie is a semi-retelling of the story of Gilles de Rais with Naschy as Barón Gilles de Lancré.  His wife, Georgelle (Norma Sebre) is in cahoots with alchemist/charlatan Simon de Braqueville (Eduardo Calvo).  At first, de Lancré doesn't want to participate in the killing of virgins (I feel this one is going to come up a lot this month; save yourself from demonic sacrifice, have sex early and often).

Returning war hero and friend of the Baron, Gaston de Malebranche (Guillermo Bredeston) returns to town and quickly learns of de Lancré's crimes.  He joins up with a group of bandits to go after the Baron. 

At this point, I am halfway through the film and I have not seen many horrors or any of the other things I normally associate with a Naschy movie.  Hardly any blood, no nudity, and honestly very little in the terms of creep factor.   The movie is better classified as a horror adventure.  A good one (ok maybe not "good") to get some ideas on how to run a village attacking a vampire lord.  

The movie is from 74 but it feels older, like from the early 60s only not in bright technicolor despite what the poster claims.

In the end it just isn't very good.

Use for War of the Witch Queens

I think one of the things that gets lost in heroic fantasy is how much the thought of the Devil terrified the common folk. They were ignorant and filled with superstitions and living in a world that was designed to keep them that way. PCs hear "the Devil" and think "that's a whole lot of XP!" and not "our immortal souls are at risk!" 

Use for NIGHT SHIFT

This one is more a "Dark Age" setting, but Gilles de Rais is a perennial favorite among occultists today, so maybe this can be the history piece of a new tale.  Essentially the same thing but having the descendants repeating the actions of their ancestors. Sounds like a Giallo movie to me. 

October Horror Movie Challenge 2022
Viewed: 6
First Time Views: 5

October Horror Movie Challenge 2022




Board Game: Wizards (1982)

Wizards (1982)
I was reorganizing my shelves trying to find some room for some new books when I found this little gem hiding in my lower shelves.  I totally forgot I had this!

Wizards (1982)

Wizards is described as "Avalon Hill's game of fantasy adventure."  It is easy to see why they would want to make this game too.

1982 was some prime years for Fantasy RPGs and D&D in particular. 

There are board game elements to this as well as plenty of RPG elements.  For example you can choose what sort of wizard character (Order) you will play; Wizard, Sorcerer, or Druid. Each also has four levels (Ranks).

The first part of the game is setting up all the locations of the various islands on the hex grid sea map.

After that the various wizards race around the map to collect various gems for the High Druid. There are seven, six are needed to win.

While this is going on there are various Event and Task cards that send your wizard on quests, trap them or other hazards. These add time it takes to complete your missions but they can also raise your Wizard rank and make you more powerful. 

From the rule book. Here is what is needed to play and win.

  1. Join a Magical Order. Without that, you may not accept any Tasks or gain points of any kind.
  2. Acquire Tasks and complete them for points of Knowledge, Power and/or Perception.
  3. Fight the Evil Powers that take over the islands, making them inaccessible.
  4. Advance to Rank 4 in your Order. 
  5. When you are at Rank 4, collect all 6 Gems from the High Wizards.
  6. When you have the Gems, pass them to the High Druid Rüktal in the Center of the Sacred Circle to win the game.

The game uses two six-sided dice.  

Wizards (1982)

Hex map of the sea

Wizards 1982

Wizards 1982

Wizards 1982

Wizards 1982

Wizards 1982 Wizard Sheet

Wizards 1982 Play area

Wizards 1982

Wizards (contents)Wizards (contents)

I love the *idea* of this game, but while I enjoyed the set up I could not get anyone to play it here.  My wife does not care for board games with RPG elements and my kids would rather play D&D.

I am adopting some ideas from this game though for my own games, most notably the War of the Witch Queens, but certainly others as well.

Traveller Envy and the Avalon Isles

I have talked a bit about my Traveller Envy here in the past. To finally overcome this I am taking all the various board games I am going to cover this month and create a new area of my world; the Isles of Avalon. The origins here should be pretty obvious, I am going to base a lot of the mythology of the lands on England, Ireland, and the various islands around them. Also, I am drawing heavily from the Avalon Hill games, so much so that the currently unnamed main island has a place called Avalon Hill. It will be my world's Glastonbury Tor.  There is a volcano on one of the islands (this will be an archipelago) where a famous Warlock lives.  With a volcano I can also get representations of all the elements; Earth, Water, Air and Fire.

There will be a smaller island nearby that I am calling the Island of the Necromancers.

I will spend this month detailing this place further.

If I get nothing else out of these board games then I think I will be fine.

100 Days of Halloween: The Witchwar Legacy

The Witchwar Legacy
Switching worlds, editions, and even systems now.  

This adventure was released in 2010 and is a prelude to their Reign of Winter adventure path released in 2013.

I am not entirely sure to be honest, but I think this is the adventure that prompted Paizo to make the Reign of Winter adventure path. 

The Witchwar Legacy

PDF and Print 32 pages. Color covers and interior art.

This adventure is for characters level 17 and essentially is a MacGuffin hunt for the Torc of Kostchtchie. The characters can choose to aid Elvanna, the Witch Queen of Irrisen gain the Torc or the demon-lord Kostchtchie. 

It is a short adventure, essentially a single location with a lot of monsters and NPCs.

It is a quick one, to be honest for such a high-level adventure. If it wasn't so high level it would be a great introduction to the Reign of Winter series. 

I feel like it could be run in the afternoon, but I also think I would like to adjust the threats to make it a little lower level. I would also tweak it a bit to fit the Reign of Winter series. 

My Snow/Ice/Winter Witch?

Elvanna is fantastic, but she never shows up here. She is a good witch...well an evil witch, but she is great at that. The Reign of Winter also features Elvanna but in a different sort of role and she dies in the end...or at least could die. Plus she is so wrapped up in everything I would have to change the Reign of Winter to work for War of the Witch Queens.

Still, she is rather great and I really want to use her. BUT I am also covering the "Reign of Winter" campaign in a couple of days and that, well, changes things. Tune back in for that.

The Other Side - 100 Days of Halloween

Wednesday, October 5, 2022

100 Days of Halloween: FIGHTING FANTASY - Caverns of the Snow Witch

Snow Witch
Last night I covered an adventure that mentions the Ice Queen, but no more details than a mention. This works fine for me since I have a plethora of choices. Here is the first one I considered, but not my only one.

FIGHTING FANTASY - Caverns of the Snow Witch

PDF and Print. 45 pages. Color covers, black & white interiors.

This adventure has a solid pedigree.  It is based on Ian Livingstone's Fighting Fantasy books from 1984.  This adventure is for the d20 system / D&D 3.0 system published in 2003. So nearly 20 apart, here I am nearly 20 years after that reviewing it. 

This adventure covers the same plot and situations from the Fighting Fantasy "choose your own adventure" book.  

The adventure is designed for one character or a small group of adventures.  Reading through it does follow the same plot lines as the Fighting Fantasy book. 

This adventure also features the Luck saves from the original book. It has some changes to the d20 ruleset. There are a few new monsters (including a Yeti!), some new spells, campaign notes, and some new NPCs.

There are a lot of location-based adventures, essentially a collection of encounters the PCs jump from one to the next. The advantage here is that it is easy to convert from d20 to what I am planning to use it with, Old-School Adventures.  

The Snow Witch in this adventure is a sorcerer/vampire which works great for d20/3.0. For my adventures, I would make her a proper witch. 

The adventure is fine, but I think I might be viewing it through what my "Nostalgia Goggles."  Am I reading a good adventure or am I reading something because it was enjoyable to me in the 1980s?

I guess in the end it doesn't matter, as long as I am having fun with it. 

Is She My Snow/Ice Witch?

Well, I guess I should really ask do I just need one? I have a few more choices but this one has some serious old-school street cred. My other Snow/Ice/Winter witches though are a little more interesting.

Still, this is a fun adventure and one I am looking forward to using.

The Other Side - 100 Days of Halloween

 

Tuesday, October 4, 2022

100 Days of Halloween: A Witch's Desire - Adventure for Old-School Essentials

A Witch's Desire - Adventure for Old-School Essentials
Honestly, I could not pass this one up. It is a low-level adventure featuring a witch, it is quick and it is for Old-School Essentials.  So yeah, I had to grab it.  But how does it play?  Let's look into it.

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

A Witch's Desire - Adventure for Old-School Essentials

PDF and PoD. 27 pages. Color covers and interior art.

The designed levels for this are 1 to 3, but I find that it works well as an "interlude" adventure, that is as the characters are moving from one major adventure to the other.  Not to say that this can't be a major adventure, it can. But for me, I wanted to feel more like the characters "wandered into a dream" sort of deal. 

To start with, and what helps fuel this notion of an interlude, are some rules for travel.  While the PCs are moving from their last adventure to this one using these rules helps give this one it's own feel. Yes they can be used elsewhere and adapted. Adding to this is the section after the travel and before the adventure proper, and that is the influence the witch has on the lands near her. I have been using something similar for my War of the Witch Queens based on the old superstition of Hex Signs, but the rules here are more explicit in their application.

 The adventure is a "straightforward" mission to get some water for the Witch of the Wilds they meet at the start of the adventure. I say "straightforward" because obviously, it isn't.  They are plenty of hazards along the way and foes to fight. The adventure is scaleable so that is also quite good. 

There are no stats for the witch herself, nor should there be. The PCs should not be fighting her.

This adventure is set in the Forever Winter setting. Honestly a name like screams to be used.  Also, there is mention of the Ice Queen and her rivalry with the Witch of the Wilds.  The Ice Queen is not mentioned much here save for a sidebar, but the potential is great.  So great in fact that I have an idea of how to work the Ice Queen (also a witch in my world naturally) into my War of the Witch Queens.  I'll discuss her tomorrow. It is likely that their A Wintry Death adventures could be used in conjunction with this one, but I am pretty pleased with it as is to be honest.

While the art is wonderful for this it does make you think the Witch of the Wild could be something of an evil-ish character, certainly otherworldly.  While reading through this I kept asking myself, what if this witch was good and just really needed the character's help?

Suddenly all I could think of was Ginny Di's character Morelia the Wood Witch.  She would need the water for her potions obviously. Changes the whole tenor of the adventure.   Not that I have any problems coming up with witches. It would also change the nature of the relationship between the Witch of the Wilds and the Ice Queen. They are still rivals, but now it is different.

Witch of the Wilds VS Morelia the Wood Witch

Note: I just noticed that Morelia's familiar Crimini is a cat with white fur and gold eyes. Much like the art for the Witch of the Wilds. Maybe Morelia polymorphs Crimini to act as the scary Witch of the Wild? She then hides in the background so that the PCs she is hiring don't know she really is about as dangerous as a bunny. A lot like Balok in the classic Trek episode "The Corbomite Maneuver."  Instead of tranya she offers them tea of course. Yeah, I like this idea. 

In either case, the Witch of this adventure would need to be a potential ally for the characters in my game.  I can't actually see Morelia getting mad with them anyway. And I really want to use Morelia. I just don't think I can pull off the voice Ginny Di uses for her!

In any case a fun adventure with a lot of ideas for use in my home campaign. The PDF version comes with separate maps. The PDF also features layers so you can turn on the background image for readability. That's worth an extra star in my book to be honest. 

Monday, October 3, 2022

October Horror Movie Challenge: Witchouse (1999)

Witchouse (1999)
My "soft theme" this challenge is "films with pentagrams on the cover." Silly I know, but I have subscribed to a few streaming services and I was adding a bunch of movies and noticed many of them had pentagrams on the covers. So I decided to just kept going with it.

Tonight I am already questioning the logic of this plan.

Witchouse (1999)

This comes to us from 1999 and Full Moon Features. Now I love Full Moon. Their movies are short, silly, and usually fun. You can expect some kids to get themselves into stupid situations and usually dying in dumb ways.

Our plot concerns Elizabeth LaFey (yes that is her name) inviting a bunch of her old high school friends to her new house for a party. The house has a "dark history" as does LaFey.  It also has copies of "Le Necronomicon." The characters are less than characters and really little more than clichés. But that is fine because you are not really supposed to be relating to them as characters but rather as relatable archetypes. The stoner, the football player, the cheerleader, the hot girl who doesn't know she is hot, the juvenile delinquent, the nerd, and so on. 

Elizabeth plans to sacrifice her friends on May 1 to resurrect her ancient witch ancestor.  Nothing shocking or surprising here really, but it was still kind of fun. The acting, for the most part, is pretty terrible. Honestly, it looks like it was filmed in a single night. 

This one has been on my list for a bit largely just based on the name. 

Directed by David DeCoteau, responsible for, I have no idea how many Full Moon movies.  This one even features scenes from Dark Angel: The Ascent. Actually, the scenes of Hell here have been in at least two other movies.


October Horror Movie Challenge 2022
Viewed: 3
First Time Views: 2

October Horror Movie Challenge 2022

100 Days of Halloween: When Comes the Witching Hour

When Comes the Witching Hour
Another adventure from casl Entertainment featuring the "Witch Queen" which may or may not be Iggwilv. 

When Comes the Witching Hour

PDF and Print. 80 Pages. Color covers. Black & White art.

This adventure is designed for levels 9 to 12 for the OSRIC game, which is the clone of AD&D 1st Edition.

I grabbed this adventure back in February after reviewing The Witch-Queen's Lament, a later, but lower-level adventure.

There is a nudge-nudge-wink-wink commentary on how to fit this adventure into the World of Greyhawk. But it is also fully usable in any world. 

The adventure is overtly the search for a missing princess. What makes this different is the missing princess is likely in the Dungeons of the Mad Archmage and might have something to do with the Queen of Witches.

Now. Before I get too much further let me point out what this adventure can do. Obviously, there are the fans of the World of Greayhawk who can use this to expand on their game worlds. You can grab nearly any other version of the Castle or Dungeons of the Mad Arch Mage.  It is really a nice piece that could fit into a lot of campaigns. 

The adventure is a wonderful romp through some of the storied locations of the World of Greyhawk, if in a thinly veiled manner. Also, anything that involves Iggwilv or the Witch Queen is a must-buy in my mind.

The adventure covers the first half of the book. The last half has new monsters including many unique demons, new magic items, pre-gen characters, and finally the maps. Note. The print version maps are a little difficult to read. I have the PDF so I printed them out.

One other nitpick. There are no page numbers printed on each page. 

When Come the Witching Hour

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For Use in War of the Witch Queens

This one is so on brand for my War of the Witch Queens that I am shocked how well it works for me. It covers several bases for me. For starters, it is OSRIC thus satisfying my need to involve all sorts of OSR rule sets. It is set in Greyhawk which satisfies my desire to involve many of the game worlds as I can. And most of all it features the machinations of not just "A" Witch Queen, but "THE" Witch Queen. I mean really. If I have any complaints about this adventure it is I didn't write it myself.

For Use in NIGHT SHIFT

While I love to use some of these adventures for NIGHT SHIFT not everything will fit. This is a perfect example, while I love the idea of this adventure it would not be good for NIGHT SHIFT. This adventure is too deeply tied to the World of D&D and especially Greyhawk.

The Other Side - 100 Days of Halloween

Sunday, October 2, 2022

October Horror Movie Challenge: Hagazussa (2017)

Hagazussa (2017)
This one had been on my radar for a bit. Described as a "gothic folk tale" I knew I had to check it out. The name of the movie also comes from the old German word for "Witch."

Hagazussa (2017)

Told in four acts with very little dialog we see how the local villagers treated a goat-herding woman and later her daughter, Albrun, as witches.

In the first act young Albrun begin to menstruate, but before she can even talk about it with her mother all sorts of strange things happen. They are accosted one night by men wearing masks. Soon after Mother comes down with the Bubonic plague.

While attending to her mother Albrun is sexually assaulted by her mother, who is losing her mind.  At some point, Mother runs out of their cabin and dies in the night. Alburn finds her dead mother the next day covered in snakes. 

Act 2 takes place 15 years later. Alburn is still living in her cabin and now how has a baby of her own. She lives alone and is a little strange now. She is treated as a pariah in the local town where the local boys pick on her, and the local priest gives her the decorated skull of her mother.  She befriends another local woman, Swinda. But when Swinda sees the skull of Alburn's mother set up on an altar. Swinda later takes Alburn up into the mountains where they encounter a man Swinda knows. Swinda holds down Alburn while the man rapes her.  In revenge, she takes a dead rat and blood and poisons the water supply.

Act 3 Alburn comes to town with her baby and sees a lot of people dead and dying. She walks into the woods and eats some mushrooms. She begins to hallucinate and accidentally drowns her baby. 

Act 4 Alburn wakes up and discovers her baby is dead. So she cooks the baby in a stew and eats it. She gets sick. Her hallucinations come back as she hears her mother talking to her. She wanders outside and catches fire in the rising sun.

The horror of this movie is the abuse of Alburn from her childhood to her adulthood. She would be considered a witch or hag in the legends of the local village and that is the tragedy of this tale.  It is not a feel-good movie. 

Use for War of the Witch Queens

This movie has something of a timeless feel about it. It takes place in the 14th century or thereabouts, so it would be a good background for any sort of lower-level witch. To quote the TV show Magicians "magic is pain" and Alburn knows pain.  From this, you can assume there is really no such thing as a happy witch.

It is also a good example of how others treat these women, outside of outright hate. 

October Horror Movie Challenge 2022
Viewed: 2
First Time Views: 1


October Horror Movie Challenge

100 Days of Halloween: The Coven

The Coven
Tonight I am starting my deep dive into a bunch of witch-related adventures, many of which I would like to use with my War of the Witch Queens campaign.

The adventures will come from the various versions of D&D and the retro-clones in the OSR. They all have or feature witches in them.  Sometimes these witches are the antagonists, other times they are allies or even friends. The point is to show this rise in witch-related activity.  The players would see this rise but only later learn the reason is that the High Witch Queen had been murdered and now the witches are running wild.

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

The Coven

PDF. 45 pages. Black & White cover and B&W and color interior art.

This is a 0-level or 1st-level "adventure". In fact the adventure covers creating a coven of new "witches" (1st level magic-users).  There are a lot of random tables to help generate these characters including their background, patrons, enemies, and more for these witches. You also generate the lands and homes of these witches and their enemies.

This book is designed for Lamentations of the Flame Princess, but that is close enough to B/X that you can use that or OSE instead. 

I say "adventure" in quotes because there is not an adventure here. There is a setup for future adventures and there are plenty of ideas here to create your own. But no "going to point A to point B and kill monster X."

What it might lack (and I don't think it is lacking) in structure it makes up for in style and detail.

For Use in War of the Witch Queens

I would use this as a session zero for a future run of WotWQ (right now my characters are around 3rd level) but this would be a fun start.

Instead on 1st level magic-users I would use my witches, with a random table to also help choose their tradition.  

For Use in NIGHT SHIFT

So this is set up for LotFP, but with some tooling, I could make it work for a modern-age NIGHT SHIFT game. Certainly something for Ordinary World or even Generation HEX.


The Other Side - 100 Days of Halloween


Saturday, October 1, 2022

100 Days of Halloween: Octhorrorfest and Lost Classes: The Arnesonian Classes

Octhorrorfest
It is the first of October! It is the month of Halloween finally.  I am going to start this auspicious night with a treat from last year, Appendix N's Octhorrorfest, and some more.  For this month I am going to focus largely on D&D in general and material for my War of the Witch Queens in particular.

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

Octhorrorfest!

PDF. 50 pages. Color covers. Black & white interior art.

This book is designed for Old-School Essentials, so that is already a plus in my mind.

It is filled with some wonderful art that is both creepy and evocative. 

We begin with an introduction from author R.J. Thompson about Halloween, and all the things that make Halloween great.  

There is a bit on Samhain (with correct pronunciation) and All Hallows with ideas of how to add them to your game. This includes what classes can do and the effects on magic. 

There are new classes and since this is OSE there are race-as-classes.  The classes include The Jack-o-Kin racial class and race for Advanced OSE. A jack-o-lantern race is a really interesting idea. Maybe not one I would play myself, but I am sure I would use it as an NPC race.

The next class is the Witch. Ah. Now we are talking. The class is a Wisdom-based spellcaster. They are fairly close to the Cleric class. There are a lot of interesting features to this class like healing, cure poison, and my favorite the Dying Curse. 

There is also a Witch Hunter class. A fighter type that also can turn undead and detect evil.  Essentially like a less devout paladin.

Magic of Hallows covers the spells for the witch. There are some ones that are familiar from OSE or SRD sources and four new spells.  This section also covers Ritual Spell Casting which is adapted from the old d20 Relics & Rituals converted to OSE. It is rather good to be honest.  There are 11 "new" spells. They are familiar spells but re-presented as ritual spells.

There is a section on Curing Vampirism, Demons and Exorcism.  Another section on Turning the creatures of the Outer Dark (like Undead Turning). 

Up next, around page 40, we get some movie monsters. 

Since this Appendix N Entertainment, we get an Appendix N with new readings, music, and film. 

In its 50 pages we get a lot of fun material. Well worth the price.

Lost Classes: The Arnesonian Classes
Lost Classes: The Arnesonian Classes

PDF. 30 pages. Black & white covers and interior art.

This one is not really a "Halloween" issue, but given I am doing Octhorrorfest I figure I would add this one is as well. Plus, it is for Old-School Essentials so that is reason enough.

Plus I think today is the last day of Dave Arneson week, so there is that.

This book covers what is called the Arnesonian Classes. This includes the Merchant and the Sage, as standard classes.  We also get the Beastfolk. This includes Chimpanzee Folk and Duck Folk.  We get both Basic race-as-class versions and Advanced races.

I have to admit I want to make a Chimpanzee Sage. I think that would be rather fun.

This little book is a great addition to OSE.

Both books are great fun.


The Other Side - 100 Days of Halloween



Friday, September 30, 2022

100 Days of Halloween: BaF - The Muse

The Muse
Keeping with the OSR books tonight.  This one is a bit special.  First, it is produced by Basic Witch Games which is just a great name.  Secondly, the game is produced by a couple of friends of mine, Miranda Hunt and her wife Caitlin Hliwa doing the art. Thirdly I contributed a few spells for this book.

So...that makes reviewing this a little more difficult. So in addition to following my rules I am also going to be especially careful here.  I am not going to review the spells for example.

BaF - The Muse

PDF. 8 pages. Color cover. Black & white internal art.

BaF is short for "Basic as Fuck" a philosophy and a game design ethic. These classes (of which the Muse is the first) are designed for B/X D&D or OSE. 

This class, the Muse, is a magic-using class that alters emotions and enchants their companions. This is a Charisma base class and it cast spells in a similar manner to the witch classes. 

The XP charts follow the same format as Old School Essentials. The muse is similar in advancement to the Cleric and Magic-users. The Muse casts spells up to the 5th level. 

While I don't feel it would be right to review the spells there is a good number here and many that are original.  

There is also a new magic weapon featured.

The class is really fun and I can see a lot of uses for it as a great support character (like the Cleric) and some magic firepower (like the Magic-user).


The Other Side - 100 Days of Halloween


Thursday, September 29, 2022

100 Days of Halloween: Jeremy Reaban OSR Classes

OSR Witch
Reviewing Twilight Fables the other day has put me more into the mood for more OSR material. So Given I am spending my 100 Days of Halloween talking about witches, lets go with some other OSR witch material.

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

Jeremy Reaban has published a good number of OSR Classes.  While they say OSR on the cover they do have advancement tables for "Original," "First Edition," and "Basic/Expert" editions.  So they are really quite flexible.  I do note that the "Basic/Expert" table does go to level 20, so great for Labyrinth Lord and Basic Fantasy, but you will need to cut off at 14th level for Old School Essentials. Keep in mind these classes all predate OSE in publication.

All his classes, and indeed all his publications, are Pay What You Want.  I like that. Given he is buying art for all of these at least pay him a couple of bucks.

Here are his classes that I think work well with the witch concept. 

PC13 - The OSR Witch

PDF. 15 pages. Color cover.

Covers the basics of the class including requirements, alignment, and all the other expected details.  There is a section on the special abilities of the class, in this case abilities all witches get.  Each witch also gets a "Focus" or what I have called a "Tradition" but could be read as archetype or even sub-class.  These include Black Witch, Fire Witch, Frost Witch, Light Witch, Mind Witch, Storm Witch, Wander Witch, Water Witch, White Witch, Weather Witch, and Wood Witch for a total of 11 (two more would have been great). Each gets some powers and a selection of spells unique to that Focus.

This is followed by the advancement tables. Witches get bonus spells for high Charisma. And the selection of spell common to all witches.  

There are 9 NPC witches of various levels and alignments. 

There are some design notes that talk about the lack of an official witch class and how most of the OSR ones are all done by "one guy" (no idea who that could be). 

We end with the OGL statement.

All in all a really fun class. If this one works for you then by all means go with it.  There are a lot of great ideas here. 

PC11 - The OSR Warlock

PDF. 14 pages. Black & White cover.

This is the "new" warlock from Reaban. I'll get to the "old" one in a bit.

Essentially this is a conversion of the 5.1 SRD warlock and I am totally happy with that.  You get a Pact boon and a bunch of Eldritch Invocations.

Listed are various Patrons the warlock can take. We get the Fiend, the Great Nature Spirit (this one is new), Faerie Queen (or King), the Great Old One, Elemental Prince, and the Celestial. Each gives the warlock powers and a collection of spells. 

This is followed by the advancement tables (with level titles!). Warlocks get bonus damage on their Eldritch Blast for high Charisma. And the selection of spells common to all warlocks.  

There are 7 NPC warlocks and some design notes. The design notes in particular discuss why this is the second Warlock Reaban has done and how the old warlock is now the Kineticist.

PC1 - The OSR Kineticist

PDF. 8 pages. Color cover.

This was the first OSR class done by Reaban and was originally called The Warlock. This class is a bit different. It is like a sorcerer in that has innate magic, but this is not due to bloodline. It has some blasty-like warlock powers, and some others making the class fairly unique. 

There are the advancement tables (with level titles!). Kineticist get bonus damage on their Arcane Bolts for high Charisma.

It is a new idea and I really like it. This one is so early that there are no NPCs. 

PC2 - The OSR Exorcist

PDF. 6 pages. Black & White cover.

Ah. Now here is a class that is not all that witchy, but one that is likely to come up in any game where there are a lot of witches and demons.  I have also played around with an exorcist class in the past and this one works so well for me I really don't think I need to do one now. 

Exorcists are a bit warrior, bit cleric. 

There are the advancement tables (with level titles!) but no NPCs yet in this one.

The class does exactly what is should do and does it well.

PC3 - The OSR Witch Hunter
PC3 - The OSR Witch Hunter

PDF. 7 pages. Color cover.

Can't have witches and not expect a few witch hunters. Like many of the "witch hunter" classes you can find this one is not limited to hunting witches alone but any supernatural evil. Like the Exorcist this one is a combination of fighter and cleric, though more leaning on the fighter side (they are considered a sub-class of the fighter).  They get a number of abilities to allow it to hunt down their prey and vanquish them.  

The witch hunter also gets a Bard-like Lore ability and the ability to read magic. They can even turn undead at 3rd level. 

There are the advancement tables (with level titles) for First Edition, Original Edition, Basic/Expert Edition, and Cyclopedic Edition (to 36th level).

PC8 - The OSR Amazon Warrior

PDF. 9 pages. Color cover.

This might be stretching my "witch" idea, but I did do a book, the Cult of Diana: The Amazon Witch, and I like to use this book with that one.

This one gives us the Amazon Warrior class. It is a fighter, but with a more athletic bend to it. The have to have minimum scores of 15 in Strength, Dexerity, AND Constitution.  The Amazon Warrior can't use magic items unless that magic item is a weapon and provided to them by a god. 

There are the advancement tables (with level titles) for First Edition, Original Edition, Basic/Expert Edition, and Cyclopedic Edition (to 36th level).

There are 10 NPCs including a Red Martian (nice!), Zenia, and "Crimson Sonia" who is 25th level. 

There is also a section on the daughters of the gods and how they can generate ability scores. There are also role-playing notes on the children of gods.

All in all a really fun additional class.

PC10 - The OSR Beguiler

PDF. 15 pages. Color cover.

A related class, this one has also been called the houri, the courtesan, the temptress, or the hetaera. It is a Charisma based class that uses charms. She is also a poisoner along with her other skills, so in many ways she is closer in nature to the thief or assassin. 

There are the advancement tables (with level titles) for First Edition, Original Edition, and Basic/Expert Edition. 

This one also has some new magic items. There are 19 NPCs. 

PC17 - The OSR Enchantress

PC17 - The OSR Enchantress
PDF. 15 pages. Color cover.

This class is another spellcasting class, this time ismanipulates the emotions of others.  This class is a magic-user sub-class. 

There are the advancement tables (with level titles) for First Edition, Original Edition, and Basic/Expert Edition. There is also spell advancement to the 7th level.

The best part of this class, at least for me, are the new spells. There 33 in total. Some come from the d20 SRD, but that is fine. They work great here.

There are only 2 new NPCs here.

And finally there are two new Witch Focuses for the Witch Class; a Desire Witch and a Dream Witch.

Works great for me to be honest.

--

Lots of great classes here and I didn't even review them all.

Wednesday, September 28, 2022

100 Days of Halloween: Echelon Reference Series: Witch (3pp+PRD)

Echelon Reference Series: Witch (3pp+PRD)
Back in August, I reviewed the Echelon Reference Series: Witch Spells which covers every witch spell for Pathfinder.  It is a great series that represents a near Sisyphean effort to track all these spells. An effort that is only apparent once you dig into it.  Tonight I thought I might go for their collection of witch class material.  Basically, everything for the witch but the spells.

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

Echelon Reference Series: Witch (3pp+PRD)

Again this one comes as two PDFs. One for Pathfinder and one for Pathfinder and all other Third Party material.  The author points out that these are "living" documents as the material will be updated periodically.

Presently the Pathfinder book is 78 pages and the Pathfinder + 3PP book is 196 pages.

Both books follow the same format.  

About the Echelon Reference Series

This give you an overview of not just these two books but the series as a whole. Explains the differences between the PRD (Pathfinder SRD) and PRD+3PP (Pathfinder SRD plus Third Party Publishers) and the multiple versions of various books. 

This section also covers the issue of duplicate names; that is when one publisher calls something "X" and another publisher calls something "X" as well but they do different things.  Also some things may have different names but do remarkably similar things.  In both cases everything is here.

Classes and Archetypes

Covers the basic witch class and the published (and Open) archtypes. The PRD covers just material that is open from Paizo and can be found (for the most part) in the Pathfinder SRD.  The PRD+3PP covers the same but also all of the Open 3PP material.

Class Features

For the witch, this covers all her Patrons and all the various Hexes she can take. This might be one of the more useful chapters in the book. 

Other Options

Here we get favored class options, feats specifically for witches, and spell casting options. No spells since those are covered in multiple other Echelon books.

NPCs

What it says on the tin. The PRD has five and the PRD+3PP has the same five plus five more

Appendices

Not much here yet save for the Index and the OGL.

There is no art, nor is art required. This is a massive data dump designed for people that want only the crunch and none of the fluff.

This does not replace the products it gets its OGC from. The "source" products may have in-world examples or other materials that situate all of this to give proper perspective. This is the RAW OGC as is.  For me? I use Section 15 of the OGL statement here as a shopping list.  I use the original books/sources as my inspiration, but I sue this as my quick reference.

Looking forward to seeing what else is added! 

Tuesday, September 27, 2022

100 Days of Halloween: Sisters of Rapture

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

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

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

Sisters of Rapture

OGL (d20 3.5) and Pathfinder versions. 

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

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

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

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

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

Introduction

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

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

Chapter One: Love's Blessed

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chapter Two: Love's Chosen

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

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

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

Chapter Three: Love's Method

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

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

The Pathfinder also covers various traits.

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

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

Chapter Four: Love's Divinity

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

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

Chapter Five: Love's Order

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

Chapter Six Love's Relations

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

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

Appendix 1: Who's Who

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

Appendix 2: Modern Rapturous (OGL)

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

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

Appendix 2: The Nefer-Sefet (Pathfinder)

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

Both the required OGL pages.

So. What to make of all of this.

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

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

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

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

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

 


The Other Side - 100 Days of Halloween

Monday, September 26, 2022

100 Days of Halloween: Runewild Preview 1: Missus Switch, Swine Witch

Runewild Preview 1: Missus Switch, Swine Witch
A couple of nights ago I reviewed a Worm Witch. Tonight, why not a swine witch?

This preview for the Runewild Setting is worth the time to download.

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

Runewild Preview 1: Missus Switch, Swine Witch

PDF. 8 pages. Color cover and interior art. Price: Free.

This small 8-page book (1 cover, 1 ad, 1 page of OGL) introduces us to the Ruenwild setting I reviewed last year

We are given a little bit of background on the Runewild (coming soon to Kickstarter!) and the witches of the Runewild. 

We are also introduced to the titular Missus Switch, something known as a "Swine Hag" (yes there are stats) and a small background "Adventure," actually an adventure location. Runewild is a hex crawl-friendly setting for 5e.

For free we get a good introduction to the Runewild and Missus Switch. 

It would play well with the Worm Witch and Wickerpunk books.


The Other Side - 100 Days of Halloween




Sunday, September 25, 2022

100 Days of Halloween: Wickerpunk

Wickerpunk
Time to move to 5e for something a little more flavorful.  One of my favorite themes is the struggle of paganism vs the rise of monotheism.  The dark twisted child of this struggle is Folk Horror. This new book looks like covers a little bit of all the above.

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

Wickerpunk

PDF. 276 pages. Color cover. Black & White (as appropriate) interior art.

First things first. I love this name. I am kicking myself for not coming up with it first.

We get an introduction that, "Wickerpunk is where heroic fantasy and folk horror meet."  Interesting premise.

Chapter 1: What is Wickerpunk

Here we learn how a "Wickerpunk" game differs from your normal heroic fantasy.  It is not grim-dark, but it is dark. Nature is more dangerous, strange pagan gods still roam the land, and the locals still practice forgotten rites and ceremonies. 

The author also lets us know that "wickerpunk" could be called "wyrdpunk" due to horror elements added to the game. This is not quite a gothic horror, but we can see that genre from here. The author is careful to let us know this is not horror and that horror-fiction and wickerpunk are cousins, not siblings. But kissing cousins to be sure.

Like my fascination with Pagans vs. Monotheists, this book covers the Wyld vs. Industry. The extension of this is Arcane vs. Divine magic. Where one is wrong and the other is a gift. My "old-faith vs. new-faith" is even covered later on.

There is a lot here, more than I will detail in this review, but suffice to say there is a lot of great ideas here on setting up your games. 

Just under 25 pages I am now wanting to rip out the roots of my "War of the Witch Queens" campaign to add more of these ideas. 

Chapter 2: Campaign Elements

This chapter details how a wickerpunk campaign affects your rules.  up first is alignment. Law and Chaos are replaced by Industry and Wyld. Good and evil are replaced by Benevolence and Malice.  Again...I want to use this instead of what I am using now.

Planes of existence have little use here since all that matters is the struggle of Industry and Wyld in the world of humans. 

This chapter also covers various time periods from Stone Age to Victorian. And adventures from Mysteries, Treasure Seeking, and exploration among the eight presented.

There are some encounter tables which include types, places and motivations. 

Chapter 3: Players and Characters

This chapter covers the 5e base classes and how they are altered in a wickerpunk game; both in terms of Wyld and Industry.  These changes are not really mechanical, but rather thematic. They also include player hooks, example adventures, enemy hooks and NPC hooks. Throughout the book, inspirational reading or viewing is presented in a sidebar.

The same is done for the main PC species. 

Chapter 4: Monsters

This chapter takes the types of monsters and discusses how they can be used in a wickerpunk game. There are more details on fey, fiends and undead as expected, but nearly every type of monster is considered. It is very flavorful. There is not much or anything in the way of "crunch" or game mechanics, but honestly, it is not needed here since the material is so good. It reminds me a bit of the old Ravenloft materials.

Chapter 5: Enemy Organisations

What is "The Wicker Man" without Lord Summerisle and his cult? Or "Children of the Corn" without the children? Not much really. This chapter covers the various organizations, or Cults and Cult Hunters.  The PCs find themselves between the Wyld Cults (and Gods) and the Industry Inquisition. 

Yes, this chapter also includes ideas for witches (even though 5e does not have a real witch class). 

Chapter 6: Magic and Technology

The tools of the Wyld and Industry.  There are some new ideas for magic items and spells, but only one spell is presented, "The Evil Eye."

Chapter 7: Sample Campaigns

There is a sample campaign here, the Island of Eye. Which looks a lot like England. Detailed here are what the humans and the older inhabitants of the land are doing.  Plenty of locations and adventure hooks are detailed here. As well as plenty of interesting NPCs 

Chapter 8: Appendix N

A nod to the famous Appendix N in the 1st Ed AD&D DMG. This covers various campaign periods. Each section includes movies, novels, television, comics, and video games. With commentary. 

--

There is very, very little game-specific information here. If you are looking for mechanics or "crunch" then you are likely to be disappointed.  But if you are looking for something more thematic or "fluff" then this is fantastic.

This is also this book's greatest unadvertised strength. It can be used with any version of D&D you like. While reading I kept thinking about how can I use this with say Old-School Essentials or even B/X D&D and the answer is "Easy."   In fact one of the few actual bits of game material, the Evil Eye spell, is something I did years ago in my first witch book.  But even then the conversion is super simple. 

There are a lot of things I can use here for my War of the Witch Queens campaign, but I would also suspect that any D&D 5e DM could use these ideas for their Ravenloft or the Wild Beyond the Witchlight campaigns.

In any case, there is so much here to love.


The Other Side - 100 Days of Halloween