Showing posts sorted by relevance for query ban drui. Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query ban drui. Sort by date Show all posts

Monday, October 12, 2020

DMSGuild Witch Project: 5e Druids as Witches

Back in the days of AD&D I was really taken by the Druid.  Part of it was my own self-style Anglophilia and Celtophila, but another part was that the class was not only so very, very close to the type of witch I wanted to play, it was also a good example of taking a pre-Middle Ages archetype and making it work in D&D.  As a then fan of the work of Margaret Murray, this appealed to me.   Yes, yes I know that her thesis and premise has been booted from academics. That is fine and the way it should be, but it also works fine in my games.  

So today I thought let's have a look at Druids as Witches in D&D 5.  For the first time since 1st Ed AD&D the Druid is close to the witch archetype again.

I am still following my rules as I mentioned here.

Druidic Circle: Circle of Witchcraft

This pdf is three pages and is a PWYW price, with a suggestion of $1.00.  

There is a cover and a page of legal, so only one page is dedicated to the class.  This witch is a Druid of the Circle of Witchcraft.  The witch gains Ritual Spellcasting, a bonus cantrip, and some powers.  At level 6 there is a Blood Sacrifice option, Speak with Dead at 10th, and an "Occult Power" at 14th level. 

It is interesting, but there is really not a lot here.

3 Archetypes #04 - Druid

This PDF is four pages and costs $1.00. This one offers three druid circles, the Circle of Rebirth, the Circle of Seasons, and the Circle of Witchcraft.  

The Circle of Witchcraft has some interesting features.  You gain a familiar, your wild shape can old become older or younger versions of your self, and you gain some new circle spells.

There are also powers at 6th, 10th and 14th level (like all druid Circles). These are Coven Ward, Evil Eye and Deathly Gaze respectively. 

In general, I like this Circle of Witchcraft better than the first one. I think the first one is good for a Blood Witch like archetype and the second better for the nature priestess, Ban Drui, type.

Both could be used. 

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Class Struggles: The Dark Druid

I am have a great time here planning out my "War of the Witch Queens" adventures.  My 5th Ed game is running like a well oiled machine and there is nothing I need to plan for it for many more months (I need a high level adventure to cap it off).

This week I finally got a copy of an adventure I have been wanting forever; Dark Druids by Robert J. Kuntz.  It is a real treat and worth the wait and money I paid for it.

I had been researching Irish myths and legends and read about how Liath, Bodhmall, and Finn defeated an enemy known as the Dark Druid. It was quite a fascinating tale and I loved the idea of an evil druid.
I want to talk today about the Dark Druid class, but first a little background.
Many years ago I wrote an adventure for the Buffy RPG called The Dark Druid. Actually it was the first ever published Buffy adventure.   The adventure was a Willow and Tara focused adventure dealing with their past lives, Liath and Bodhmall, Finn MacCool and the Dark Druid "Fer Dorich".

The idea was compelling enough that Irish author Brian O'Sullivan took the same characters and same myths and put his own spin on them in his books the Fionn MacCumhail series.   Like I did he has Liath and Bodhmall as lovers and he even has a Dark Druid, a "Tainted One".  I bring this up because HIS Dark Druid is much cooler than mine.  Mine is simply evil.  His is a perversion of nature.  In gamer circles we might want to describe this in terms of undeath or even Cthulhoid like nastiness.   O'Sullivan is better than that.  His Tainted One radiates a level of "wrongness" that it is noticed my Ban-drui Bodhmall from miles away and even puts fear into the legendarily fearless Liath.
(BTW get his books. They are great!)

Back to my Dark Druid for a bit. The adventure was designed to be a modern tale (thus the Buffy) system.  Part 2 took place in Victorian times as Ghosts of Albion: Blight.  The main enemy was an unnamed necromancer that is imprisoned in a faerie ring.  In publishing it was the necromancer, Lord of Dragons from Ghosts of Albion: Embers.  In my personal games it was the same Dark Druid.
Part 3 was supposed to take place back in Mythic Éire and deal with Liath, Bodhmall, and Finn defeating the Dark Druid for the first time.  Three parts separated by time.   Part 3 was going to be called "All Souls Night" (after the Loreena McKennitt song).   It would have been for *D&D-ish and included the new classes the Dark Druid and the Green Knight.  I did write bits of of it for 3.0 and the Dark Druid and Green Knight live on as Prestige Classes (but I am not going to talk about those today).
I was going to release it, but now I don't have too.
Brian Young gave us the wonderful Codex Celtarum and the adventure Night of the Spirits for Castles & Crusades.  Night of the Spirits does pretty EVERYTHING I wanted to do with All Souls Night.  It even has a Dark Druid.

Dark Druids is a similar adventure. I am not reviewing the adventure yet, but I do want to talk about the class it offers; The Dark Druid.

The class is like the Druid of AD&D source; only this time OSRIC.  It can be any evil alignment or Chaotic Neutral.  This has some logic to it.  The book includes the Dark Druid class and two different sects of Dark Druids.  Dark Druids eschew hierarchies  so there are no "high priests" but many that might claim that title. There are "Dread Hierophants", but that really can be more about power than actual religious hierarchies.   Advancement wise they are like Druids. The only thing I didn't care for was that the Dark Druids are controlled by a demon.  I would think that they are controlled by something older and more evil.  An Eodemon or Urdemon or even some other horror from beyond; something outside of reality.  The book also comes with 42 new spells.  I did not see an OGL statement with any of this.
Given all this The Dark Druid would also make for a great class in Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea.

I would avoid giving the Dark Druid too many necromantic spells. Sure he can have some, but that is not their role.  Some of the vivimancer spells from the Complete Vivimancer are a good choice.  Obviously there are some good witch spells as well.

There is a lot of potential for a class concept like this.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Witch & Witchcraft Reading Challenge: Fionn, Defence of Ráth Bládhma

"'I am An Cailleach Dhubh,' Bodhmhall replied cynically 'No secret is unknown to me.'"
- Bodhmhall, Bandroai of Ráth Bládhma

Fionn: Defence of Ráth Bládhma: The Fionn mac Cumhaill Series: Book One by Brian O'Sullivan

In this Part 1 of the story of Fionn mac Cumhaill, also known as Finn MacCool, the titular character barely makes an appearance.  He is there, yes, and all the events of the story are centered around him and his mother, but he is not the hero of this tale.
The heroes are the Bandroai (or Ban Drui or Druid) Bodhmhall and her protector and lover Liath Luachra.  When pregnant Muirne Muncháem shows up at Ráth Bládhma, Bodhmhall is duty bound to give her shelter even though she knows that this woman is being pursued by an army who want her and her unborn son dead.  There is also something else in the wood, something darker and evil.
Soon the siege of Ráth Bládhma is on and others are seeking protection and it is all one outcast druid and her warrior woman anamchara can do to protect Muirne and her son.

Since this is a part one there are a lot of characters to get introduced and the whole issue of the oncoming siege and the dark power in the woods.

Ultimately this book is a tale of survival. I hesitate to call it a book about war, there is war yes, but it is more about the survival of the clan and what others will do to survive.

What attracted me to this story was course it was about Fionn mac Cumhaill as well as well as Liath and Bodhmal.  I have read many of the tales about Fionn and most of the modern novelizations.  Fionn was also a central character in my own Buffy the Vampire Slayer games.  So imagine my surprise and pleasure when I discovered this tale was really more about Liath and Bodhmal!

Very little has been said about Fionn's fosterers in the tales and little more has been mentioned in the novels.   For this book to be all bout Liath and Bodhmal was more than I could have asked more.
While reading I found myself connecting to things O'Sulivan had written; we obviously have drawn from the same sources.  So I found his work to be familiar and yet completely new.  When I had read a quarter of the book I had to stop myself from saying "Liath wouldn't do that" or "That's not what Bodhmal would say." At about half way I was so completely enjoying the book that I forgot all that.  Before I finished I had already bought every book Brian O'Sullivan had written.  There are more parts to this story as well as one with Liath and her time with the warrior band Na Cineáltaí or "The Kindly Ones".

The book is largely self contained. That is you can read it and not be left on a cliff hanger if you know the tales of Fionn. I am planning to queue up the next books in the series right away to be honest.  The tale is timeless and one that can be retold many ways.

Liath & Bodhmal
I feel I should address this subject, especially if you have ever read my blog.  Many know my long time love affair with Liath and Bodhmal.  They have appeared in many of my games and have worked their way into the histories of not only the witches I write about, but my characters too.  I have spent a long time with these two. I have very definite opinions on who these characters are and what they should be doing in any given situation.  While my interpretations are different than O'Sullivan's we both agreed on some very important key points. Liath is a peerless warrior. Bodhmal was a druid with a past and not a great past at that. We also agreed on a very key point, that Liath and Bodhmal were lovers.  It's not something I had seen in other tales before. Morgan Llywelyn hinted at it, or maybe I read into it, but Brian O'Sullivan also saw that and his tale is worthy of these two.  Sure I have to get over the first meeting in my mind of Liath and Bodhmal (Liath sparing with her two brothers with a staff and keeping them both on the defense) but this is a really great book.
I can't wait to read more.

2017 Witches & Witchcraft Reading Challenge
2017 Witch & Witchcraft Reading Challenge
Books Read so far: 9
Level: Maiden
Witches in this book: Bodhmhall is called a "Bandraoi" but she is a witch in my book.
Are they Good Witches or Bad Witches: Very good.
Best RPG to Emulate it: A better question is what RPG have I NOT used to emulate it!  Again, this Liath and Bodhmhall are not my Liath and Bodhmal exactly, but they are closer than any other set I have seen.  To date I have used Castles & CrusadesLabyrinth Lord, D&D 4th Edition,  and of course Unisystem.
Use in WotWQ: What do you think?  But seriously though, in the mythology of my games Bodhmal was not the first witch, but she was one of the first. The Daughters of the Flame coven come from here and in some ways so does the Aiséiligh Tradition.

You can find more of Brian O'Sullivan's books at

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Witch Guardians, 3.x and 4e

Amy stood in the large room with the eighteen other witches. "Witches" she thought, "a wholly inadequate term to describe these sword wielding warrior women; They are Guardians."
They all wore heavy robes and the Flame burned in the center of the room, but despite that Amy felt chill. The wood floor was cold to her bare feet and all eyes in the room were focused on her.
The High Priestess, Mistress Brent, stood in front of her. She seemed slight compared to the others, especially next to the tall dark skinned Amazon she had come to know as Cerriweden, but Brent radiated a power that made everyone else in the room seem small and powerless. In Mistress Brent's hands was a finely crafted sword of Celtic design.
    "Amy Nakkamura, daughter of Hoshi and Deidre Nakkamura. Approach the Circle." Mistress Brent said. She complied.
    "How do you enter?" Mistress Brent asked.
    "With perfect love and perfect trust." Amy answered with words she had known since she was a child. After all the Daughters were still "witches".
    "Do you submit to the Goddess?" Mistress Brent said. Despite the tone it was not a question. Amy lowered her eyes and kneeled. Two other guardians approached and removed her robes leaving her sky-clad and her bronze skin exposed to all.
    "The Daughters of the Flame are a pastoral order. We do not seek violence and pursue paths of peace, love and communion with the Goddess. We follow the path laid out for us Brigit and recorded by the Ban-Drui Bodhmal. Do you accept Peace and Love Daughter of Brigit?"
    "With all my heart." Amy answered, it was more than a litany to her, it was the truth.
    "But there are those that seek to harm us, to destroy us and they will not be tolerated. As Brigit is the Fire of Life she is also the Fire of Retribution. Fire that warms you, sends away the cold, or destroys. The Flame is Life."
    "The Flame is Life!" the other Guardians repeated.
    "As Liath was Guardian to Bodhmal and they found love, the Guard is Guardian to the Daughters.
    "Will you protect the Flame daughter of Brigit?" Again, not a question from Brent.
    "The Flame is Life. I will protect it." Amy asked.
    "How shall you defend it?" Cerridwen then asked.
    Amy stood, her arms outstretched and naked to world. "With only with what I have. My Body, My Mind and My Soul." She said. A nod from Brent and the two guardians returned with new a new robe, one that looked like their own.
    "Then you shall have these robes to signify that you are one of us and to keep you warm." She held up the sword. "To defend your sisters you will have this sword. But this sword is not for Amy Nakkamura. Mistress Brent held the pommel of the blade with both hands pointing the sword skywards, it was, Amy noted, the same position as the Wiccan handfasting rite
    "I give this sword to Brigh nic Brigandu to defend your life, your sisters and the Flame. Accept this Brigh, Daughter of Brigit. Welcome to the Imbolc Guard!"
Brigh, no long Amy, took the sword.
Brent turned her head away from Brigh and spoke aloud to rest of the Guard. "Imbolic Guard. Do you accept Brigh nic Brigandu as your sister and fellow Guardian?"
Their was a collective "We accept her" from the Guard, then cheering as they broke the circle to embrace Brigh.

The Witch Guardians
While the witch is perfectly capable of defending herself and her own, sometimes it becomes necessary for arms to be taken up in defense. This defender of the coven is known by many names but all are generally known as witch guardians.

"Witch guardian" is a broad term used to describe those that devote their lives to defending witches and their faith. They can come from the ranks of the coven themselves, or they may be from another class, called to serve the Goddess in their own way, with arm, sword and spear rather than by bell, book or candle.
While there are a variety of types of witch guardians, they all share some things in common.

The witch guardian defends and protects witches. She is usually the same general alignment as the coven, but many tend to be more lawful. In many ways the witch guardian sees herself as fulfilling the same role as a paladin might. Witch guardians are considered to be part of the coven, but do not take part in coven duties. For example the Imbolc Guard that protects the Daughters of the Flame are not required to tend the sacred flame, though many still do. Some witch guardian groups also are almost a tradition of sorts themselves. The Waelcyrie are one of the oldest groups of witch guardians known and they will protect witches of all traditions and covens.

Witch guardians do not actively seek out those who oppose the witch's faith, but are prepared to defend their charges. The witch guardian has both martial weapons and magic at her disposal. The covened witch guardian will stand guard and protect the coven while they perform their rituals and ensuring the safety of all members. The witch guardian will then, either in private or with the coven's high priestess, perform her own rituals. In covens with more than one guardian the high priestess will often perform a second set of services. It is understood by all that the Patrons excuse the guardians from these normal ritual duties because of the important roles they serve.

Witch guardians also will protect places of power from desecration or may even be assigned other duties such as protecting an important artifact or even a single witch in particular. For those who are not part of coven travel around seeing the world and ensure that places of power they find are free of contamination, infestation and desecration.

Witch guardians feel an urge to protect witches and the faith. It might be a calling from the Goddess, but guardians never divulge why they took up their duty. An apprentice witch guardian needs to take instruction from a more experienced one for three months before they are eligible for the initiation into the tradition. The initiate's instructor (known sometimes as an "Advocate") and three other experienced guardians must be present to invest the initiate into the tradition. If a coven does not have four experienced guardians, the required amount are summoned by the Patrons when the rite is to take place, to ensure that another joins the tradition. These guardians usually do not stay with the coven.

During the rite of investment the apprentice decides to join the witch guardians, or continue in their chosen class. The only time a witch guardian leaves this tradition is through death. If they become disillusioned in witchcraft itself, they must also leave the class. All supernatural and spell-like abilities learnt are lost (as they are provided by the Patrons) as well as access to the witch spell list.
First and foremost the witch guardian lives to protect the lives of the witches in her charge. Most would rather die than allow any harm to come to the coven.

3.x and Pathfinder

Hit Dice: d8
    To qualify as a witch guardian, a character must fulfill all of the following criteria.

Base Attack Bonus: +5

Knowledge (Witchcraft): 4 ranks
Spellcraft: 4 ranks
Wilderness Lore: 2 ranks
Feats: Weapon Focus (weapon will depend on what type of guardian they become), may be taken at 1st level of Witch Guardian.
Class Skills
The witch guardian's class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Climb (Str), Concentration (Con), Craft (Int), Handle Animal (Cha), Heal (Wis), Hide (Dex), Knowledge (Religion) (Int), Knowledge (Witchcraft) (Int), Move Silently (Dex), Ride (Dex), Sense Motive (Wis), Spellcraft (Int), and Wilderness Lore (Wis).

Skill points at Each Level: 4 + Int modifier.

Class Features
All of the following are class features of witch guardian prestige class.

Weapon and Armor Proficiencies: A witch guardian is proficient in all simple weapons, plus 6 martial weapons of her choice. She may choose to swap any 2 martial proficiencies for 1 exotic proficiency.
Proficient in all light and medium armor. Note: The abilities gained by Nature's Gift are only useable with light armor.

Weapon of Choice (Ex): The witch guardian gains a weapon of choice. The type of guardian they become often determines this weapon. The Patron they serve or the coven they protect can also put restrictions on this weapon. This is also the weapon the would-be guardian chooses for her Weapon Focus feat. See descriptions below.
This weapon gains an enchantment of +1 at first witch guardian level and then an extra +1 every other level of witch guardian (+1 at 1st level, +2 at 3rd level, +3 at 5th level, +4 at 7th level, and +5 at 9th level of witch guardian). Unlike magic weapons created by normal means, the guardian need not spend experience points or gold pieces to accomplish this task. However, a guardian's enchanted weapon only functions for her, not even other guardians of the same coven.

Deity's Gift (Su): The witch guardian is the defender of all witches and places of power, and they often come across spellcasters who wish to destroy all they hold dear. Because of this, they are granted a +2 divine bonus to saving throws against magic. This ability increases to +4 at 4th level (and is not cumulative with +2 already granted).

At 7th level this bonus is applied to all allies in a 20-foot radius as well as all inanimate objects, including all items on the body of the guardian and her allies, within the area. The guardian herself still has his +4 bonus. At 10th level the area is increased to 40 foot radius. Note if they are more than one 7th level witch guardian within a 20 foot area, the bonuses do not stack as they are the same type of bonus.

Detect Witch's Foe (Sp): This supernatural ability gained at 2nd level is similar to the Detect Evil ability of Paladins. However it only finds those who wish to harm a witch, a place of power, or the witch guardian herself.

Nature's Gift (Ex): The fighting style of the guardian emphasizes agility and reflexes over strength as well as the duality of the God and the Goddess. As such, when a guardian fights with no armor or in light armor they gain the benefits of Ambidexterity and Two Weapon Fighting feats.
If they already have both these feats, they may instead choose two from the following list: Improved Initiative, Lightning Reflexes, Combat Reflexes, Dodge, Mobility, Spring Attack, Improved Two Weapon Fighting, Run, Point Blank Shot, Shot on the Run, Evasion, Uncanny Dodge.

Favored Enemy (Ex): At 6th level, a guardian may select a favored enemy like that of a ranger. These will be enemies that threaten the coven directly and are generally not class of enemies per se. They might be another coven, a group of evil sorcerers, a local church or even a cult of warlocks. The witch guardian gains a +2 bonus on Bluff, Listen, Sense Motive, Spot, and Survival checks when using these skills against creatures of this type. Likewise, she gets a +2 bonus on weapon damage rolls against such creatures.
At 8th level the witch guardian may choose another favored enemy or choose the same one to increase the bonuses to +4.

Hex Mark of Warding (Su): At 8th level the Witch Guardian can scribe a magical rune onto a door, wall, tree, or other stable object denoting their protection of that area. If any enemies to the Coven or place of power the Witch Guardian is pledged to protect come within level yards of the mark, the Witch Guardian may make a Spot Roll DC 20 – the number of enemies to be alerted to their presence and numbers, but not exact nature. A Witch Guardian may have up to one Hex Mark of Warding per 2 levels in the Witch Guardian class. So a character with 8 levels of Witch Guardian may have up to 4 Hex Marks working at one time. Distance is unlimited as long as the Witch Guardian is still on the same plane as the Hex Mark.

Spells per Day: The witch guardian has a limited ability to cast witch spells. If she came from a spell casting background before (say for example witch or ranger) these spells are in addition to ones she already knows.
The witch guardian uses the same spell list as witches.
Witch Guardians
    There are many types of witch guardians that vary by exact role, traditions raised in, or covens they protect. Each coven could theoretically have their own unique style of witch guardian, but some larger groups are described below.
What sets most apart are their weapons of choice, duties to the coven and their philosophies.

Huntresses of Diana. These guardians are most common among Classical Greek and Amazon traditions. Like the Amazons, they honor Diana and like their Goddess all Huntresses must be chaste and physically fit. They opt for no or very light armor and their weapon of choice is the bow. The Huntresses protect not only their covens but also the natural areas in which the witches live. The huntresses will kill most intruders on sight, especially men. This is not in contradiction with their alignments since this is the interpretation of their Goddess' will. Most good aligned huntresses will attempt not to kill and instead try to get most intruders to leave via magic or trickery.
A related group are the Huntresses of Mabd, who perform the same function for Faerie traditions.

Imbolc Guard. These guardians are assigned by Brigit herself to protect the witches of the Daughters of the Flame coven. The Imbolc Guard are also charged with the task of training and aiding the Imbolc Mage. Their weapon of choice is the sword. Often these are smaller swords designed to be easily concealed, and they will always be of masterwork quality. Like the witches they protect, the Imbolc Guardians number 19. Smaller covens have fewer Guardians. When not charged with protecting the coven or the Imbolc Mage the Guardians will be training or aiding in the tending of the sacred flame.

Waelcyrie. These guardians are one of the oldest groups of witch guardians known. The Waelcyrie can be found protecting any type of coven or tradition. They are also most likely to be found wandering from coven to coven providing their aid or protecting places of power. The Waelcyrie can choose any weapon of choice and wear any type of armor (spell casting restrictions still apply). Waelcyrie will only protect witches of same, or similar alignment.

War Witch. These guardians are always women. They began as a group of warrior women known as Wild Women that protected druid groves and many still do, even though the Wild Woman predates the druids by millennia. A fair number have also lent their spears to protect witch covens. Consequently they tend to be associated most with Celtic Classical and Craft of the Wise traditions. Their weapon of choice is always the spear. Often they are recognizable by the black leather breeches they opt to wear. Not only do they disdain the use of armor, but also most will enter battle either topless or completely nude. This is done for the same reason that Celtic men will paint their bodies, to distract and incite fear in their opponents.
Table: Witch Guardian Level Progression
Spells per day 
Weapon of Choice (+1),
Deity's Gift (+2) 
Detect Witch's Foe, Nature's Gift 
Weapon of Choice (+2) 
Deity's Gift (+4) 
Weapon of Choice (+3) 
Favored Enemy 
Weapon of Choice (+4), Deity's Gift (+2 20' rad) 
Hex Mark of Warding 
Weapon of Choice (+5) 
Deity's Gift (+2 40' rad) 

4th Edition
Witch Guardian Paragon Path
"No one dares harm my brothers and sisters!"
Prerequisite: Warlock (or Witch) (or alternately any Arcane Class)
You have traded the implement of your choice for that of a sword. You protect the members of your coven using magic and sword.

"Witch guardian" is a broad term used to describe those that devote their lives to defending witches and their faith. They can come from the ranks of the coven themselves, or they may be from another class, called to serve the Goddess in their own way, with arm, sword and spear rather than by bell, book or candle.

While there are a variety of types of witch guardians, they all share some things in common.
The witch guardian defends and protects witches. She is usually the same general alignment as the coven, but many tend to be more lawful. In many ways the witch guardian sees herself as fulfilling the same role as a paladin might. Witch guardians are considered to be part of the coven, but do not take part in coven duties.

Witch Guardian Path Features

Weapon Expertise (11th level): You gain the feats Weapon Proficiency (longsword or weapon of the coven's choice), Weapon Focus and Implement Expertise (longsword or weapon of the coven's choice). This allows you to use a sword as a melee weapon and as your implement when casting. You gain the following, proficiency in that weapon, +2 to damage caused by that weapon in melee attacks, and +2 to attack rolls when using the weapon as an implement. These both increase to +3 at 20th level.

Pact/Coven Gift (11th level): When adjacent to a member (or members) of the coven or group you are sworn to protect you confer a +2 to all their defenses and attack at +2.

Witch Guardian Spells

Enemy of the Pact/Coven 
Witch Guardian Attack 11 
You single out an enemy that threatens the members of your faith and burn them with your fire.
Encounter wArcane, Implement, Fire, Weapon

Standard Action
Close Blast 5
Target: Each Enemy in Blast
Attack: Charisma or Constitution vs Reflex
Hit: 2[W] + Charisma or Constitution modifier damage + 1d8 Fire damage
Miss: 1d8 Fire damage


Against the Coven's Foes
Witch Guardian Utility 12 
You have been charged with the protecting your Coven, they in turn empower you to find their enemies.
Encounter wArcane, Psychic

Immediate Interrupt

Trigger: A melee attack hits you
Effect: You gain a +2 power bonus to AC and Fortitude against the triggering attack and become invisible to enemies until the end of your next turn.

Hex Mark 
Witch Guardian Utility 20
You cast a rune of warding and fill it with your power to protect.
Daily wArcane, Implement, Psychic

Standard Action
Close Burst 10
Target: Creature entering the zone making an attack.
Effect: Any creature that enters the zone and makes an attack against yourself or an ally triggers the Hex Mark.
Opportunity Action
Close Burst 10
Trigger: A creature making an attack roll against you or an ally.
Target: The triggering creature
Attack: Charisma, Intelligence or Wisdom vs. Will
Hit: 1d8 + Charisma, Intelligence or Wisdom modifier psychic damage
Effect: The creature is dazed (save ends)
Sustain Minor: The zone persists but is fixed to the starting square.

Tuesday, January 3, 2023

Character Creation Challenge: Katia Crane for NIGHT SHIFT

Continuing my series here on using my OSR Witch books with NIGHT SHIFT I am providing more detail and background to a character that only got a paragraph in the NIGHT SHIFT core rules.

Green Witch for NIGHT SHIFT

The Green Witch

I will admit, the Green Witch is one of my favorites. It has a witch concept I really love and introduces both the Huntsman and Green Knight classes to use.  

While it works fantastic for Swords & Wizardry, it really gets to shine as part of NIGHT SHIFT.

I have discussed the idea of a Ban Drui or druid-witch in the past. The Green Witch comes closest to that idea.  In NIGHT SHIFT this can get even closer to my concept.  

Again, you can use all the spells from the Green Witch in NIGHT SHIFT. Some might need to be altered to fit your game or gaming style, but the idea is to give the Green Witch something more special about here above and beyond that of the average witch.  

Here is how I would redo her occult powers into arcane powers.

Level 1: Familiar. The Green Witch gets a familiar. This is a spirit in the form of a naturally occurring animal.  Use the familiar rules in the Green Witch book for the bonuses to the witch.

Level 4: Herbal Healing. Just like the Herbal Healing power in the Green Witch book.

Level 7: Speak to Plants and Animals. Again, just like the Occult Power the Green Witch gets at level 7.

Level 10: Green Walking. Just like the Shadow Walking power in NIGHT SHIFT, but the witch uses her natural surroundings to move.

Level 13: Pass Without A Trace. Same as the level 13 Occult Power for the Green Witch.

I have to admit, this works rather well. 

Katia Crane
Katia Crane
8th Level Green Witch

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

HP: 30
Alignment: Light (for now), Neutrality
AC: 9
Attack: +1

Fate Points: 1d8

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

Witch Abilities

Arcana, Supernatural Senses, Spells, Arcane Powers

Arcane (Occult) Powers
Familiar, Herbal Healing, Speak to Plants and Animals

Knowledge (botany and plants), Knowledge (chemistry), Insight

First Level(4): Bless Growth, Detect Magic, Sanctuary, Sleep
Second Level(3): Bewitch II, Binding Earth, Command
Third Level(3): Bestow Curse, Fear (Greater), Remove Disease
Fourth Level(2): Call Lightning, Confusion

Katia Crane is an attractive witch in her early 30s. She has a young son, Henry, who she dotes over. She runs the local apothecary and herbal shop in the town of West Haven.  By all accounts, she is a pleasant person and no one, witch, supernatural, or mortal, seems to have a bad thing to say about her.  This is largely due to the fact that she plays her cards very close to her chest.

Katia is of the belief that witches should rule the world. She has no idea exactly how to make that happen, but she keeps tabs on all the witches in the area, particularly the Montblanc and Winters clans.  If she had a preference, she would side with the Winters; odd given her focus on plants and their focus on the cold, but she feels they are an older family more in touch with the "old ways."  She thinks the Montblancs are too used to their modern comforts. 

She never speaks about Henry's father, not even to say if they were married or not. This has led to some gossip that she had poisoned him. She did not, but she did have him killed. 

You can get NIGHT SHIFT in print and pdf.  You can get my Green Witch book in print and pdf here.


Want to see more of the #CharacterCreationChallenge? Stop by Tardis Captain's Blog and the #CharacterCreationChallenge on Twitter for more! 

Character Creation Challenge

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Protectors of Éire for the Ghosts of Albion RPG

Tá an chumhacht agaibh. Cosnaímis mé, a Chosantóirí na hÉireann!

The Protectors of Éire
Like it's neighbor, Albion, Éire (the mystical name for Ireland) has also had her Protectors.

At the time of Swifts (1839 on) the Protector of Éire is Tadgh O’Braohain and he is detailed in the upcoming adventure "Ghosts of Albion: Blight", which can be played this 2010 Gen Con.

Though until then here are some of the more famous Protectors of Ireland's shores.

Fionn Mac Cumhail (Finn Mac Cool)
Protector of Éire

Fionn Mac Cumhail was believed to have lived sometime around the Fifth to Second Century BCE. Fionn lost his father, Cumhail, when he was killed by a rival clan. Muirne, his mother, called her son Fionn which means fair-haired. Knowing that the Clan Morna would seek him out as well she took him to be raised by the wise Ban-drui Bodhmal and her anamchara the warrior woman Liath. They taught Finn to be both a warrior and a druid. He was taught magic, poetry, and the arts of survival.

Fionn learned also from druid Finegas. Finegas captured the Salmon of Knowledge and Fionn cooked it. He burned his thumb on the fish and sucked on it, giving him the gift of wisdom. When Fionn wanted to gain insight to a problem he would put his thumb into his mouth, behind his molars and contemplate.

Fionn later went on to become captain of the Finana, an army of men loyal to the High King Fiachadh (fee-a-kuh). Fionn implemented a code of honor among them, changing the Fianna from an unruly band to a group of champions of the people. The Fianna became models of chivalry and justice. Some claim that the tales of the Fianna formed the basis of the legends of the Knights of the Round Table.

Fionn is also the ancient Protector of Éire, the mystical name of Ireland. Fionn was the father of the Irish hero Oisín, by the goddess Sadb. Fionn battled many mundane and supernatural foes including a Scottish giant and his greatest enemy of all, the Dark Druid. Details of his death are sketchy and many contradict each other. Some say he is not dead at all but merely waits for Ireland to need him. When Éire is in its greatest need he will return.

Special Notes: Fionn generally avoids overt magical use. He knows some spells (as needed by the Director) and performs them when he must through the use of poem or song, though he is not as powerful in this respect as his son Oisín, considered to be one of Ireland’s greatest Occult Poets. Fionn prefers to use his magic in a more passive role, for healing or discovery. This however does not make him a pacifist, far from it, Fionn enjoys to defeat his enemies in combat either by weapon or hand to hand.

As a protector Fionn is allowed to use Magical Flourishes and may use any Magical Defence maneuver.

Name: Fionn Mac Cumhail
Protector of Éire
Character Type: Hero
Attributes: Strength 4, Dexterity 4, Constitution 5, Intelligence 3, Perception 3, Willpower 4
Ability Scores: Muscle 14, Combat 17, Brains 12
Life Points: 64
Drama Points: 5
Qualities: Attractiveness +1, Fast Reaction Time, Hard to Kill 6, Honorable (Rigid), Magic 6, Nerves of Steel, Occult Poet, Protector of Éire (Ireland)
Drawbacks: Adversary (Dark Druid and others) 5, Archaic (in 20th Century)
Skills: Use Brains Score for Occultism and Wild Card (Herbal Remedies)
Name Score Damage Notes
Dodge 17 Defense action
Grapple 19 Resisted by Dodge
Kick 16 14 Bash
Punch 17 13 Bash
Big Sword 17 29 Stab/slash; two-handed

Notes: Fionn appeared in the first published Buffy RPG Adventure, the Dark Druid. He has been updated to the Ghosts of Albion RPG here.


Cú Chulainn
Hero of the Ulster Cycle (The Red Branch, The Cattle Raid of Cooley), the Hound of Chulainn
Protector of Éire, Manx and Alba

Known as in his early childhood as Sétanta, the boy who would be Cú Chulainn was already the fairest and strongest in the land. Even at the age of seven Sétanta would enter into battle and invoke his ríastrad to defeat enemies three times his age and twice his size. Tutored by the bard and occult poet Amerigan as well as the druid Cathbad, it was predicted that he would be Ulsters greatest warrior. It was also foretold that his life would be a short one and that its beginning and ending would be marked by the death of a dog.
The first dog was one of the great hounds of the blacksmith Chulainn. Stanta was visiting the smith on the invite of his fosterer King Conchobar MacNessa. Conchobar though forgot to let Chulainn know and he released his guard hounds. Stanta was attacked, but he managed to kill it with a hurley ball. Devestated at the loss of his prized hounds, Chulainn demanded retribution. Sétanta, already honorable beyond his years offered to rear a new hound for him and until such time the hound was ready he himself would be his guard dog. From that point on he was known as Cú Chulainn, the Hound of Chulainn.

Worried that Cú Chulainn will steal their wives and daughters now that he is of marring age, the elders of Ulster decide that he should be sent to train with the fierce warrior woman of Alba, Scáthach, the Shadowy-one. In Alba Cú Chulainn learns not only the skills to become a master warrior, he also impregnates Scáthach, her daughter and Alfie, Scáthach’s mortal enemy and sister. Each bare him a son in due course.

Cú Chulainn returns to Ulster and has many more battles and adventures (and sons).
For more see

Cú Chulainn first was called by Éire at age seven to become her Protector. Though mostly associated with Ulster (Northern Ireland) his adventures took him all over. His training by, and his command over, Scáthach earned him the Protector of Alba (Scotland) as well. His defeat of Alfie gained him the Protectorship of Manx.
Like Fionn, Cú Chulainn learned his magic from bards, ovates and druids. He often sings his spells when going into battle. Again, like Fionn, Cú Chulainn prefers to be more physical.

His greatest weapon is the Gáe Bolg, or great spear. The skill to use this devastating weapon is only know to Scáthach. She at first refused to teach it, but was overcome with Cú Chulainns resolve to learn it. He had also by this time impregnated her daughter so she demanded he stay. The Gáe Bolg is a heavy spear that can be used as a melee weapon (min STR 4) or a throwing weapon (min STR 5). What makes this weapon so awful is the spear blade is formed with many barbs so that removing the spear causes even more damage, represented by the number of Success Levels from the attack.

Name: Cú Chulainn
Protector of Éire, Manx and Alba
Character Type: Master
Attributes: Strength 6/9*, Dexterity 4, Constitution 3/6*, Intelligence 4, Perception 3, Willpower 5
Life Points: 64/94
Drama Points: 5
Qualities: Attractiveness +4, Fast Reaction Time, Gáe Sidhe, Hard to Kill 6/8*, Honorable (Rigid), Magic 7, Nerves of Steel, Protector of Éire (Ireland), Manx and Alba (Scotland), Ríastrad*
Drawbacks: Adversary 5, Geas (the death of a dog will end his life, 5), Geas (must accept any dinner invitation offered to him, 5)
Skills: Armed Mayhem 9
Name Score Damage Notes
Gáe Bolg 13 28/40* Removing spear causes an extra 12+SL points
(thrown) 12 21/30
Dodge 13 - Defense action
Grapple 15 - Resisted by Dodge

New Quality

5 Point Quality
Ríastrad, or Warp Spasm, is a type of supernatural attack in which the attack can go into a berserk sort of rage. During a ríastrad the attackers Strength and Constitution are increased by 3 each, with an additional 2 levels of Hard to Kill (with corresponding increase in Life Points). Attractiveness though drops to -3 regardless of what the previous level was. In addition the ríastrad will cause the attacker to attack everyone, friend and foe alike.
To enter ríastrad the attacker must be excited, that is to see blood or an army massing. A failed fear check might be enough to push someone into a ríastrad against their will.
Once in the throws of the ríastrad the attacker’s body twists and bloats. Arms and legs become huge with tendons and veins visible under the skin. Their hair sticks out in chaotic directions, eyes bulge an pop out while their tongues look engorged with blood. The scene is frightful enough that friends and foes alike must make a fear check.
The attacker then my attack, usually running into the direction they were facing and randomly attacking all. Only a difficult Will test can calm the attacker down.

Gáe Sidhe is detailed in the Ghosts of Albion corebook.

New Drawback

1-5 point Drawback
A Geas (Gesa) is a magical taboo that has it roots in the Celtic tradition. A cast member must always follow his Geas or a calamity will occur. The nature of this calamity should be up to the Director, but it should never personally be life threatening. Unlike a curse the Geased person can violate the taboo by force of will, but must pay the price.
A Geas of 1 point is something the character is never likely to break or has minor consequences, such as never owning a black cat or violate it to be overcome with a fit of coughing. A 5 point should be something that the cast member cannot avoid, such as always accepting any invitation to dinner offered, or something life threatening.
The player and the director can work out the details of the Geas. How did the cast member become Geased? Is it magical taint? Karmic debt? They must also figure out how the Geas needs to be paid off. The director should not allow the player to buy off the Geas with points, they must actually do something; like lay the bones of a long dead relative to rest, or travel to some distant land and bring back some water from a sacred stream. Or maybe there is a time limit, such as when they reach their 30th birthday.
In the case of C Chulainn he could not avoid his Geas and it did end up killing him in the end. He is offered dinner by his enemy Lugaid who feeds him dog meat. This breaking of his Gesa manifests by removing the power of the Protector from him. He is then defeated in battle by Lugaid.

Brigit of Kildare
Protector of Éire

"A Bhrigid, scar os mo chionn, do bhrat fionn dom anacal."
- Traditional prayer to Brighid

The Goddess Brighid is one of the most beloved by the Celtic people. Every year they celebrated her feast day, Imbolc, to celebrate the return of spring.

Brighid, also known as Brigit, Brigantia, Bridget, or Bride, is the Celtic Goddess of the rivers and rural life. She is also the Goddess of Healing, Midwifery and Wisdom. She was the daughter of the Dagda and one of the Tuatha Dé Danann. She was the wife of Bres of the Fomorians, with whom she had a son, Ruadn (the Red).

Brighid is one of the great Triple Goddesses of the Celtic people, with some saying that there are three Brigits: one sister in charge of poetry and inspiration who invented the Ogham alphabet, one in charge of healing and midwifery, and the third in charge of the hearth fire, smithies and other crafts.

Once the Christians came to Ireland the Goddess Brighid was not forgotten, but her worshippers favored the new Christian God.

Later in the very center of Brighid's worship center, Cill Dara ("Kildare"), a woman of God was born. Her name became Brigid.

Here, as a nun Brigid of Kildare performed miracles, healed and taught. All the things that pagan Brighid had done. When she had done enough in this world she left and was made one of the Patron Saints of Ireland.

Brighid as a Protector
Not all Patron Saint were Protectors and visa versa, but in Ireland there was a great sense of pride and of belonging with the land. This was land of the Goddess and she choose her own Protectors. Like Patrick, Brigid was very much a part of Ireland. It is natural then that Ireland Protector, a land that never fought against the Christian conversion, would choose to exemplars of it's faith to lead it into the next age.

Brighid as the Protector embraces both halves of the heart of Ireland, the Christian and the Pagan.

Name: Brighid of Kildare
Motivation: Protect her worshippers, Christian and Pagan
Creature Type: Protector, Goddess or an Irish Saint, hard to say really
Attributes: Strength 6, Dexterity 9, Constitution 9, Intelligence 6, Perception 8, Willpower 9
Ability Scores: Muscle 18, Combat 18, Brains 22
Life Points: 88
Drama Points: 5
Special Abilities: Aspects (Fire, Healing, Water, Wisdom), Age (Ancient), Immortal(?), Iron Mind, Hard to Kill 6, Magic 9, Regeneration (2 Lifepoints per turn), Supernatural Senses (Empathy, Insight, the Sight)
Dodge;18;;Defense Action
Grapple;21;;Resisted by Dodge
Spell;22;by spell type

New Quality
Blessed of Brighid
1 Point Quality
Prerequisites: Must have red hair; taken only during character creation (or by special Director permission).
In Ireland is said that those marked by Brighid lead charmed lives.  They can usually be spotted by their firey red hair.
The Blessed of Brighid can do one of the following once per day.
1. Aspect of Three.  The player may roll three (3) dice (d10) for any one roll made and choose the more favorable of the outcomes.
2. Add 3 to any one roll. The player may add 3 points to any one roll made in a day.  The choice can be made after the roll is done.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Willow & Tara: The Dragon and the Phoenix

Note: Work still keeping me busy.  Here is one I have been meaning to post for a while. Enjoy!

A lot of what I put up here is based on my playtest of Buffy and Ghosts of Albion.  Those playtests were part of a larger series I ran featuring the characters Willow & Tara.  I started them out in a WitchCraft game back in 2001 which led to Buffy and then to Ghosts.  But I thought I'd post the game summaries, playtest notes and actual play reports here to give context to the crunch I have posted and for the crunch I'll continue to post.

These games ran between 2001 and 2006 and reflect a lot of what was going on in my life and in my own RPG freelance career.   I hope you enjoy.

Willow and Tara: The Dragon and the Phoenix

The Dragon and the Phoenix originally began as the means for my Buffy playtest group to tell a Willow & Tara centric story in a new way. Originally titled "Road Stories", it began with the death of Tara's father and then followed Willow and Tara in their cross-country trip across the Southern US in Robert Maclay's (Tara's father) old 67' Thunderbird.

There would be some strangeness along the way. That is of course till March 2002 came around and we heard that Tara was going to be murdered. Now I was (and still am) a huge Willow and Tara fan, but most of my playtesters were even bigger fans than I was. We were angry as all hell, so we changed course rather quickly. Road Stories was scrapped, and we worked to come up with a new idea. In our talks (and we were less concerned now with playtesting and more with providing ourselves with something we had lost) The Dragon and the Phoenix was born. We were going to bring Tara back. We decided rather early that there were not going to be any of the issues that plagued Buffy herself the season before. As Lisa, one of my playtesters and the brain behind the episode Heaven Bleeds, stated "without Willow even Heaven would have seemed like Hell to Tara".

The ideas flowed in pretty quickly. The name of the series, the "past episodes" of the demonic army and Yoln came from an AD&D game I had played in the 80s just before going off to college. One of my characters, Morgan, had been a character that I had set up to die and have regretted it nearly the instant it happened and ever since. So to bring her into this and make her death parallel to Tara's (and to some extent Buffy's) was poignant on a personal level but also because I felt I could do a much better job of it. In AD&D Morgan had been a Bard (1st Edition) with a particular hatred for vampires. In The Buffy game I retconned her into a Slayer.  The death Morgan was something that had bugged me forever.  I can even recall a time walking to class in 1994 thinking I had done her wrong and that had been 7 years ago at that point.

The choice of Leviathan as the big bad was also pretty easy. I loved old Godzilla movies and had this vision in my head of the Cast standing, looking up and facing a giant monster like that. I was also using the Armageddon Playtest docs in my game, so it seemed an obvious choice. Adding that Willow and Tara are the only ones to stop it was also my snarky remark that anyone playing in a world without a resurrected Tara was doomed to be consumed by the Mad God.

My playtest group was also watching a lot of Charmed, so quite a bit of those mythos entered into our games as well. The Demonic Wasteland influenced Leviathan's plane. Warlocks became more Charmed like with their quasi-demon heritage (and thus ok to kill by characters taking a Geas never to take a human life) and witches were given other choices as a secondary power other than just TK. As development in the Buffy game progressed, so did the Dragon and the Phoenix. Each adventure was designed to take advantage of the new rules in the books. Want to play the next adventure, well you'll need to pick up the next book. But we moved from that when Buffy development slowed down. Eventually we moved all moved on to Ghosts of Albion where we were joined by the kindred spirits of Amber Benson and Chris Golden. There are a number of new rules and things we wrote for Willow and Tara that later were tweaked for William and Tamara. Given the parallels, we all felt that this was very appropriate. Did we make Willow and Tara Protectors? No, that was never considered, plus given the Anamchara casting rules there was no need. Once Ghosts got into full swing The Dragon and the Phoenix had to take a back seat but when the core of the rules were laid out we went back to it. We dropped Willow and Tara into the Ghosts of Albion world and used their current stats with the magic-richer world of Ghosts. To quote my co-author of Ghosts and Dragon Garner Johnson the amount of power they could summon up was "just sick". We knew we had done good.

We tried out the other adventures with a mix of unpublished Buffy books and Ghosts rules. In "Enemy Within" we compared Thom Marion's revised Werewolves with the Ferals of Ghosts of Albion. We used Army of Darkness' mass combat rules to detail how an army of demons and angels could fight an army of tainted demonic dragonmen. Magics were mixed and matched. The episode Silent Lucidity added cinematic Bast, but while they were nice the rules for them never gelled for us.  A lot of things worked and they ended up in the Ghosts of Albion book and some I have posted here.  Other things didn't.

We decided to "release" the adventures for people to play since there was quite a bit of controversy over Tara's death and most of the people we knew gave up watching the show at this point (myself included), so this was our replacement. Outside of Garner and myself none of playtesters had ever gamed before, but all had written fan-fiction. I grabbed them for a few reasons, first if the Buffy game was going to work it had to appeal to non-gaming fans. The fact that they learned to play the game and even get to a point to where they were working on adventures is a testament to the game. Secondly I wanted fan-fic authors, and good ones at that, because they understood dialog and plot. Most RPG adventures make good dungeon crawls but terrible "books". I wanted people to feel like they were IN the show that the adventure and drama was now indeed their own. How well did this work? I was driving home one day after going to the store and I had just been given the first draft of "Identity Crisis". The main author, Sass, had pitched to me as an excuse for Tara to do a strip tease for Willow and the two of them get caught. I had read it and of course I was amused, the dialog was great the B-plot was snappy as hell and I was building up the A-Plot (the Buffy part) and then it dawned on me. Tara was alive and well and I soon could care less what was going on in the "canon", the Dragon and the Phoenix was the only thing that was "real", anything else was just a rumor.

We also had some surprising help. Amber Benson  remarked that Garner and I now knew Tara better than anyone (except maybe for Chris). We even had a writer on the show that was sending us scripts long before the shows would film. So we worked spoilers for the other Season 7 into the narrative and mocked them. The writer has asked to remain anonymous and that is the way it will stay. This person agreed with us but was powerless to do anything. We were also hearing about how toxic the set had become and how most people were counting down the days till the show was over.

Similar to the authors I got Willow & Tara fans (collectively known as "Kittens") to do the covers for the adventures, you can see them all here.

There are a lot references to music and songs in the episodes. I do my best work to music. I wrote my dissertation while listening to the Ramones and "Ghosts of Albion" was written on a steady diet of Black Sabbath and Iron Maiden when I needed horror elements and Sinéad O'Connor, Enya and Máire Ní Bhraonáin (I guess we are distantly related), and Lorrena McKinnett for when I needed to write about the fae or ancient history. Dragon had a lot of influences, but mostly I listened to a lot of Linkin Park.

The Dragon and the Phoenix was a great success in my mind. Of the adventures we released, 1 through 5, it has been translated into German, French and Spanish. There are two "unauthorized" fan-fics by authors not related to the project set in the same universe not to mention the works of the authors involved from the dramatic ("Unexpected Consequences") to the silly (Willow and Tara's drunken adventures in a adult book store by Sass) to Lovecraftian inspired horror (Garner's "Those that Feed"). Plus two more series and a mini-series that comprise what we call "Willow & Tara the Series". "Road Stories" was later revived as "Season of the Witch" and the ghost of Robert Maclay is added to the cast. "Mid Semester's Night Dream" was a mini-series featuring a semi-retired (from monster hunting) Willow & Tara being asked to investigate a suspected vampire at a private boarding school. This lead to "Generation Hex" where Tara is still teaching at the school and they have help the next generation of hunters of the supernatural.

Series Details
The Dragon and the Phoenix - Buffy game with original cast set in an alternate season 7. Tara comes back to help the Cast defeat Leviathan. A mix of "Buffy" and "Armageddon". (2002 to 2003).

This Season is designed with the idea of bringing back the character of Tara Maclay who was murdered near the end of Season 6. This Season takes place in a different Sunnydale, though the history is the same, the future is new. The Cast must deal with the notion of what love is and what it means to be a family. Other issues are of course, working together and the handling or mishandling of power.

The following information is for all the episodes.

Special Guest Stars
Though the character of Cordelia Chase should be played as an NPC. Notes will also be given for playing Giles and/or Anya as NPCs.
Tony Foster. A rookie officer on the SD Police force who stumbles into the Slayer's world. Knows a little bit about what goes on in Sunnydale (ie not a dumb cop). Is attracted to Buffy.
Luna. A Seraphim that may be aiding the cast.
Kara Maclay. Tara's "twin sister".

Little Bads
The Knights of Elohim. These three fallen angels provide most of the problems for the cast in the first episode and reoccur in a later one. They seek to return the Earth to the demons so that they may be first in the eyes of God again.

Strawberry Switchblade. She was a friend of Dawns (introduced early) and was killed by the Vampire Chicas. Now she is pissed off at Dawn and Buffy for letting her get killed. Wants to kill or turn Dawn.

Yoln. The Hand of Leviathan. Yoln was a human general in the armies of Hell. He was part demon himself. During the Dark Ages he attempted to seize control of Earth, but during a pivotal able battle in Gaul (France) he met a girl. This girl was the only person who ever bested him in battle. They fought, but Yoln ran her through with his sword, Pillager. Though she knew she was dying, she took his sword from her body and she fought him back to his dimensional portal with his own sword. She even managed to wound him, cutting off his right hand and broke his sword in the process. This girl, Morgan, died after defeating Yoln. She was also a Slayer.

Big Bad Leviathan. Ancient. Colossal. Primordial. Leviathan is a dead god. But dead does not mean the same to gods as it does to mortals. "He" is being drawn into this world. Doing so destroys everything. The world, the cosmos, everything. He has cultists spanning the globe and there is a prophecy that he will reawaken and his birth will be heralded by the death of the Slayers. (Same Leviathan from Armageddon.)

Important Items
The Codex Albius - The White Codex. The spellbook Tara returns from Heaven with. Provides all the new spells in the series. Normally in exile Tara would have had to give this up along with her healing power, but the fact she still has both leads to Cast to believe that Tara's exile may not be exactly what they think it is. This sets up the tension of will Tara need to return when the adventure is over.

The Ankh - Given to Willow by Isis. This prevents her from feeling the effects of the dark magic. Believed to have been influenced by Set, it is learned in time that the "Dark Magic" is in fact Taint and set up by Leviathan centuries ago to use Willow as his portal into this realm. The Ankh can be later used to stop Nox in episode 11 (cast choice).

Pillager - Yoln's Hellforged Sword. His first task in the series is to find the pieces he needs to reforge it. Once he has this he goes on a killing spree, killing every demon (who he feels betrayed him in the 7th Century) and supernatural creature he can find.

The Hand of Yoln - A gauntlet from Yoln's battle with the Slayer Morgan. She had cut off his lower arm with his own sword before knocking him into a portal to the Astral. The gauntlet has been protected by an order of Witch Knights, an order blending both Christian and Pagan beliefs. The gauntlet appears as a clawed hand and may be used to kill Yoln (cast believes), in fact it is the last piece Yoln needs to fully manifest into reality.

The Spear of Destiny - Also known and The Spear of Cúchulainn or the Gáe Bolg. This is the weapon the cast must find to kill Yoln. Buffy, Willow and Tara's first quest for it takes them to 7th Century Gaul were it is being protected by members of the Church and the Ban-Drui. Yoln was leading an army of demons to take it by force but is defeated by the Slayer of that time. She dies, but passes a bit of her soul on to Tara (who tires to heal her).

I will give episode summaries and actual play reports in the future.