Showing posts sorted by relevance for query daughters of the flame. Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query daughters of the flame. Sort by date Show all posts

Friday, May 31, 2013

QotA: Elvyra Queen of Witches

While re-reading Quest of the Ancients I thought a good way to bring one of the few stated up characters back over to D&D via The Witch.   I also it might make for a nice homage if one of Vince Garcia's signature characters lived on with my rules.  Like I mentioned in my review of Quest of the Ancients it was obvious to me that we had read a lot of the same books, watched a lot of the same TV shows and listened to a lot of the same music to get to our respective witches.

Plus Elvyra has a connection to the Daughters of the Flame/followers of Brigit. So she has a "hook" in both games.

Here she is in both sets of stats, Elvyra (pronounced "EL-veer-uh" according to the book) the Queen of Witches.  In Vince Garcia or anyone with a copyright claim wants me to remove this then of course I will.

Elvyra -- Queen of Witches (25th level witch)
Gypsy Elf Li 57 by =Falln-Stock
Quest of the Ancients stats
Armour rating: 0 (-5)
Tactical move: 10' or as applicable in different form
BAR: 17/10/54
Stamina paints: 70
Body points: 13
Stots: St 12; Ag 20: Con 14; IQ 20; Ch 20: Ap 20: Lk 19
Attack 1
Dmg: 1D4+5 (dagger) or by spell
Ethics: I
Size: 6' tall
Special note: Shape change at will; possesses Artifact of Power-the Scarlet Flame: her symbol is a 4-armed spiral, eagle or hummingbird.

Elvyra appears as a tall elf with flaming red hair, typically attired in blue and white with a red sash but her waist. Upon her head she wears a silver crown over which floats large emerald acting as a device that doubles her 1st-3rd rank spell slots. She thus possesses 40 slots of each of these spell ranks, and 20 slots each of ranks 4th-7th
The flame removed from the temple was later enchanted into her wand focus, creating an Artifact of Power known as the Scarlet Flame. It appears as a wood and silver scepter with a huge ruby set into its tip, containing a burning name within. The wand absorbs all spells directed at the possessor, converting their ranks into potential that regenerates any stat loss, similarly to the Mind Sapphire of Serpen. In addition, the wielder is able to use any fire-based spell at the 35th level of skill at a cost of 1 charge off the wand per spellrank, castable in a single phase.
Elvrya's rarely used melee weapon consists of a BF 5 unicorn horn dagger, which provides the further benefit of making her immune to poison and disease of any sort.
One interesting fact about her relates to her ability to shape change (as per the witch spell) at will. When she remains in a single form, her eyes change color each minute.
The Queen has existed in legend since the dawn of time, and most believe that if she yet lives, she and her followers no longer remain on the Nexus, but instead dwell with their goddess, the Queen of Faerie, within Her enchanted realm. Nevertheless, some have claimed to have encountered the Witch Queen in the midst of isolated sylvan woodlands, and in a rugged area of volcanoes in Naz-Al. It is even been reported that she frequents the Witchwood, a forest in Avalon, but this story is given little credence.
If she is encountered, she will either be accompanied by her familiar, her chief handmaiden or both (20%/30%/50%). Last of all, Elvyra is believed to know lost spells that are vastly more powerful than many used today.

Elvyra - Queen of Witches (25th level witch)
The Witch stats

Strength: 12 Death Ray, Poison 5
Dexterity: 18 Magic Wands 6
Constitution: 14 Paralysis, Polymorph or Turn to Stone 5
Intelligence: 18 Dragon Breath 8
Wisdom: 18 Rods, Staffs, Spells 7
Charisma: 18

Hit Points: 55
Alignment: Neutral
AC: 1 (Bracers of Defense)

Occult Powers (Faerie Tradition)
Familiar: White Dragon Tiger
7th level: Speak to Plants/Animals
13th level: Fae Shape
19th level: Curse
25th level: Shape Change

Spells
Cantrips (7): Alarm Ward, Daze, Detect Curse, Object Reading, Open, Spark, Warm
First (7): Bewitch I, Cause Fear, Command, Faerie Fire, Minor Fighting Prowess, Sleep, Spirit Dart
Second (7): Alter Self, Biting Blade, Blast Sheild, Enthrall, Evil Eye, Hold Person, Phantasmal Spirit
Third (6): Astral Sense, Bestow Curse, Continual Fire, Feral Spirit, Fly, Improved Faerie Fire
Fourth (6): Air Walk, Betwitch IV, Dance Macabre, Neutralize Poison, Spiritual Dagger, Withering Touch
Fifth (5): Anti-Magic Candle, Blade Dance, Dream, Primal Scream, Song of Discord
Sixth (5): Break the Spirit, Control Weather, Find the Path, Moonbow, True Seeing
Seventh (4):  Ball of Sunshine, Breath of the Goddess, Etherealness, Serpent Garden
Eighth (4): Astral Projection, Greater Mislead, Mystic Barrier, Wail of the Banshee

In my games Elvyra didn't steal Brigit's Flame, but rescued it.   There is still a long standing cold war between the Queen of Witches and the Daughters of the Flame covens (the Eula want to forgive her, the Brenna want her to pay for what they still feel is the theft of the flame), though both factions of the coven want a better accounting on how she made the wand the Scarlet Flame.


Oh and if you don't have this song going through your head while reading this then you are not as old school as you think you are.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Season of the Witch: Episode 11

Episode 11: The Burning Times

April 30, 2005 (Beltane)

Willow and Tara are mad. They have spent the last month researching all things mage, “Awakening” and every prophecy they can find and there is nothing useful out there. Though lots of stories of mages going insane or accidently causing destruction wherever they go. Plus their Adourflame condition is getting steadily worse, now they can barely touch each other without setting something on fire. A quick kiss in the kitchen one night causes the microwave to explode. In fact they discover in their research that most fire-starting supernaturals are either evil or groomed by evil. Independently each discovers something that might help, the binding ritual they used on Amy and Beth to remove their own magic. They do not mention it to the other.

They do get a visitor in the form of Anya, who is here to represent Lilith. She tells them that they have learned that Witches’ Committee is pissed off and they will be sending operatives to come and get them soon. They change plans and instead look for a refuge since they figure out that the town will not be safe. They discover there is a coven of witches, The Daughters of the Flame, in Sacramento. Willow and Tara are certain they can teleport there on their own. Anya remains, not wanting to trust their new powers teleporting them to an unknown location.

Not a moment too soon either as Bob appears to tell them that there are Witches’ Committee operatives headed their way. Anya says she will try to stall them. The girls along with Bob and Cordy, teleport out.

Arriving at the covenstead Willow and Tara are surprised to see it is really a commune with a few score witches. As soon as Willow and Tara though arrive they are set upon. There is a scuffle but soon the leader of the coven, Mistress Brent, recognizes the two and kneeling she welcomes them “home”.

They all go to Brent’s office. Cordy and Bob are silent as Brent explains the history of this coven. Bob and Brent keep looking at each other, till finally Bob calls her “Cathy”. She gasps out loud and says “Robert?” Brent, like all the women here, takes a coven name that is some form of a Celtic Goddess’ name. She explains she has been expecting them for some time now. She knows they are the reincarnations of Bohdmal and Liath, the founders of this coven. She didn’t know that Liath/Tara was the daughter of Robert Mclay, a man she had known about, but never met. Tara’s mother had been raised by the coven and was sent out to work with a “Robert Mclay” many years ago. Brent blamed that man for Megan’s death. Though Brent is torn now that Megan’s own daughter is here, seeking aid and the reincarnation of Liath to boot. Cordelia asks her leave to report this situation to the Elders and find out what she needs to do.

The girls explain what their problem is, the magic and being followed by both the Witches Committee and Lilith. Brent doesn’t trust either side. Brent offers the coven’s library, but she has never heard of two witches that were becoming mages that were also Anamchara. Bohdmal and Liath were Anamchara, but they never became mages. Brent says it is an exciting time in their cycle of life to have become mages at this point and waxes on what their next life might be like. Willow doesn’t care about the next life, she wants this one, with Tara. Tara mentions the binding ritual. Brent says that would destroy their magic, all of it, and also remove them the witches’ cycle of life, death and rebirth. Plus there is the roll they have to play in the Awakening. Willow and Tara argue that a life that they can’t have each other is no life at all. Brent agrees that if they ask her to she will perform the binding. It also means that they will never see Cordy or Bob ever again, but it will stop the Witches Committee and Lilith from chasing them. But she asks for 24 hours so they can all research a better solution.

They all agree and set to work. Because of their position in the coven, Willow and Tara are given a “Guardian” by the name of Ceridwen and a research assistant named Brigh. Brigh is in awe over Willow and Tara, having studied Bohdmal and Liath all her life. She couldn’t help but notice that their auras were brighter than any she had ever seen and more strangely they were exactly the same. Brigh said that even married couples whose auras begin to blend still retain distinctive patterns. As an example she asks them to view her and Ceri. They had been handfasted a few years back (June 21, 1997) and legally married recently (in Cerri's home of Boston last year), though both agreed that their handfasting was the true date of their bond. Brigh mentions that her own aura had been disrupted due to exposure to Taint a few years ago and when she and Ceri fell in love and were married the interplay between their auras “smoothed out” the Taint. Willow and Tara are a little stunned to meet two married women and their thoughts turn to each other. Brigh notices this and studies their auras more carefully. She gasps and tells them the exchange spiked the power in their auras. She doubts that they have 24 hours. She doubts they have 2 hours in fact before their magical feedback blew a hole in reality.

With Brent involved now the girls begin to think very seriously about the binding ritual. Of course I had dropped a hint or two, but they asked not about a binding ritual, but a bonding one. They discovered that a handfast could do the same thing but also allow them to still use their magic as always. Taking that huge step they agreed. That evening they prepared. Robert stood for his daughter, Cordy for Willow and with Cerri and Brigh as witnesses. Brent performed the ceremony. The girls kissed for the first time in a month and their auras were visible to all.

The girls are given the night to consummate their marriage, but by morning the reality of their mission hits them again. The Witches Committee are at the coven’s doorstep demanding that they release Willow and Tara to them.
The Daughters of course refuse, but the Committee tells them that they are not capable of dealing with mages. If Willow and Tara were only “just witches” it would be fine, but the Committee was set up to deal with witches that become mages. Both sides agree to allow Willow and Tara to be seen by the Committee’s people (called The Keepers). To everyone, Willow and Tara’s auras no longer look like mages, but just really powerful witches. Though they still have their mage powers. The Keepers, seeing but not believing, challenge them both to a battle Arcane. If they are Mages then they will be fine, but have to go with the Keepers. If they are witches then they will loose, but can remain here. Before anyone can say anything though Willow is grabbed by the female Keeper and Tara by the male and they all phase. All four have been removed from the reality of the coven, though everyone can still see everyone else. Willow and Tara are also not in the same reality and can’t touch to get the benefit of being Anamchara. The battle progresses, and does so poorly for the girls. Willow is locked in a reality with her attacker and Tara is also locked with her own. Cordy and Bob both make different attempts to phase into either girl’s reality, only to run into a wall. Willow and Tara both try to exploit their own connections to somehow bring themselves together, but no luck there either.
Tara does notice that the aura’s of the Keepers are also strangely linked. She figured out (with some good rolls and a drama point) that these two must be sleeping together, but don’t want anyone else to know (she sees lust and guilt). She uses the binding ritual on the male keeper to pull him closer to his clandestine lover. They crash into each other, metaphysically speaking, a cancel the magics in place. Brent rules that since Tara defeated them both not with mage magic, but witch magic they don’t have to leave with them and they can stay here. The male Keeper, furious, knocks down Brent, pulls out a gun and fires on Tara. Willow throws up a barrier and the bullet ricochets off and hits the Keeper in his side. He lives, but will need surgery to repair is intestines.

Willow and Tara decide to remain with the Daughters as a “honeymoon” and as a way to be trained on their new mage powers.

Notes: Brigh was “played” as Lexa Doig, Ceri was Yancy Butler, Brent was played by Kate Jackson, I did not cast the Keepers, but any resemblance to certain Executive Producers or show runners I am sure is by coincidence only.

Ok what is going on here?
A few things. The Daughters of the Flame are a coven I had made for my 1999 AD&D Witch book. I had used the coven a number of times in my own works and games for years before that. Lisa, who had been helping write a bunch of these episodes and was my Tara had also, independent of me, used the Daughters in her own writing. Brigh, Ceri and Brent were her creations. I ran Brigh and Ceri through some WitchCraft adventures back in 2003-2004 (where Brigh picked up some Taint from a Mad God cult), so it was nice to have them back here. In my WitchCraft game at the time I specifically mentioned that Brigh can’t read auras. Ah well, I forgotten that. The Keepers were also her creation (though she only had one) and their job was to train Mages into assassins. I wanted them all here in Season of the Witch since their genesis was so related to the “witch culture” I had built in my own games (Mages were even Prestige Classes for witches in my later d20 book).

The Daughters also gave us the chance to poke a little fun at our selves, the Willow and Tara fan community. Often stereotyped as fanatical lesbians devoted to Willow and Tara above anything else, the daughters became (on the surface anyway) a group of fanatical lesbians who believe that Willow and Tara (or rather their past lives) were their reason for being. If the Wicce book had ever come out for the WitchCraft game you would have seen a more balanced view of the Daughters of the Flame. There were the “Eala” or swans that were more passive and the “Brenna” or ravens were more fanatical.

The date the girls were married is set in my world as April 30, 2005.
Marriage. If there is one thing that is debated more in W/T fan communities more than when they first had sex it is what sort of wedding the girls should have, if any at all. I forced the issue by well, forcing the issue. Since no situation would have appealed to all tastes I made it so they had to get married in order to preserve their magic. There is a nice little bit of parity there. To save their magic (which had been a metaphor for love) and likely the world they had to get married. The Keepers, who were having an illicit affair (the male Keeper was married), actually became their weakness. I don’t pretend to be subtle.
This is also the Gaelic Tree month of "Willow".  Again.  Not subtle.
Plus we wanted to talk about the whole same-sex marriage issue, it's not something a TV would do to be honest, at least not one at the time.

Originally there was going to more to this episode making a double episode really. Dawn was going to be there as well since she was taking college courses and still in town. Willow and Tara were going to “confront their Old Souls”, but we had kind of done that with The Dragon and the Phoenix. Cordy was mostly an NPC by now anyway, but I was happy she was at the wedding, someone from the Original Series there was nice. I had more political play between the Daughters and the Witches Committee but it never came out well in the game, so it was dropped. There was also more scenes with Willow/Tara and Brigh/Ceri. We did learn that Ceri’s birth name was Susan and she had played drums in an all girl KISS tribute band called LICK when she lived in Boston. Brigh had been born Amy Nakamura to a Japanese father and an Irish mother. She had lived in Toronto.  Amy's transformation into Brigh was part of the background for my Witch Guardian post.

Next up: The Cast travels north to find the Veil between realities is torn and the witches holding it together are not in the mood to hear some new-comers' ideas on how they are supposed to do their jobs; fated or no.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Bodhmall, the Druidess, er.. Nature Priestess

Regular readers know of my search in 4e for the best Druid class. I have been largely disappointed with the class we got in Player’s Handbook 2 and instead have expressed my fondness for the Nature Priest in Ari Marmell’s Advanced Player’s Guide from Expeditious Retreat Press.
Well now I have the Wokan from Dave Arneson’s Blackmoor 4e.

A bit of background on the Wokan, the Wokani made their appearance in Mystara many years back. They were basically the witches or even witch-doctors of the world. In fact many publications set in Mystara (the Glantri books are a good example) have “witch” in older versions and “wokani” in newer versions of the same copy-pasted text. So I figured they were a good place to look too.

Now for Bodhmall nic Tadg.
Bodhmall (“Bode-vull”) is a character of mine, she is described in Irish myth as the sister of Muirne the White Neck (or sometimes Cumhail) and the foster mother of Fionn mac Cumhail. She is a wise woman and a druidess. In my games I deal with a younger Bodhmall. She is a druidess still, with a penchant for fire and weather based magic. Not quite an elementalist, but close. She also, along with Liath Luchara, form one of the enduring covens of witches in my games, the Daughters of the Flame. The Daughters appear time and time again in all my games, and I usually have Bodhmall and Liath, or their reincarnations, in my games somewhere.

For this experiment I built many different versions of Bodhmall to 12th level. This gave a wide choice in powers and a Paragon Path. Lets go to the data.

First up is the Druid from D&D Player’s Handbook 2
Short: Hate it. I am sure there are plenty of people that like it, but I never used the druid wild shape ability and this is all the stuff I didn’t like in 1st Ed Druids turned all the way up. There are some nice powers sure, but not enough to merit taking the class.

Secondly, using the Hybrid rules for Dragon/DDiThis build is a hybrid Druid/Shaman. Aw now there are more choices, but not enough fire based powers. Sure I could add Warlock into that mix, and given my success with warlock hybrids that is not a bad idea, but it isn’t what I want. Still though a hybrid fey-lock/druid might have some potential and take the Alchemy feat from Arcane Power. Druids can be ritual casters, but druids did not read, that was the deal with being a druid all this knowledge committed to memory.

Though the Keeper of the Hidden Flame is so close in concept to a Guardian from the Daughters of the Flame that I almost can’t pass it up.

Third, The Nature Priest from Advanced Player’s GuideGenerally speaking this class is weaker than the druid. The powers are about the same in terms of effects and damage done. But concept wise it is such a better fit that it is unreal. Lots of Fire-based powers, lots weather based ones. Going through and build Bodhmall to 12th level was so easy that I figured I had time to do this Blog post about it.
The cons here though are there is not a wide variety of powers to choose from, but the powers they do have a re very nice.

For a Paragon path I choose the Hierophant. Not as close as the Keeper of the Hidden Flame, but good enough and it is more “druidy” feeling.

Fourth, the Wokan from Dave Arneson’s Blackmoor 4eThe Wokan is not a perfect either. To pull out something from the half remembered Miller’s Analogies Test, Druids are to Nature Priests as Shamans are Wokans. I think that is what they are supposed to be too. The powers are nice, a little more powerful than the Druid in some ways. Quite a few powers that would make good Fey-lock powers. A Hybrid Wokan/Warlock (“Worlockan”?) might be interesting to see one day.

I did not pick a Paragon path for this one since I could tell right away it was not going to give me what I wanted.

The Winner?
There is a clear winner here. The Nature Priest is exactly what I want in a druid with all the extras that everyone seems to like. Not sure if the Nature Priest could be considered another build of Druid or not. They are so similar in some ways and so different in others; like comparing Warlocks to Sorcerers.

Though I am ready to chuck the druid from 4e and use the Nature Priest instead.

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

OMG: Greek (and maybe Roman) Mythos, Part 3 Hecate

Hecate is getting her own post.

There is no way I am going to say everything about this Goddess; either for D&D or in general.  So keeping that in mind, let's go.

Hecate, or sometimes, Hekate, is the Goddess of Witches, Ghosts and the Crossroads OR she is a Titan. OR she is something different. 

Like some of the Olympian Gods, she is of the third or fourth generation.  Her Great grandparents are namely Gaia (Earth) and Ouranos (Sky), same as Zeus' own grandparents.  Their offspring was Crius, whom the D&DG gives as the Greater Titan of Gravity.  Gaia (Earth) and Pontos (Sea) gave birth to Eurybia (Winds and Constellations; things that seemingly comes from the sea). Crius and Eurybia give birth to Perses (Titan of Destruction). He joins with the Titaness Asteria the Titan of stars and nighttime oracles.  She herself was the daughter of Phoebe and Coeus, making her a half-sister to Leto the mother of Apollo and Artemis.   Though there are other claims to her parentage.  Some also claim she the daughter of Leto, which would make her Apollo and Artemis' half-sister.

Hecate then is the daughter of Peres and Asteria and of the same generation of Apollo, Artemis, Hermes, and Dionysus.  While she is their generation she is often considered to be a Titan.

Like many of the Greek and later Roman Gods, Hecate has more than one, in what D&D came to call Portfolio.  She is the Goddess of Nighttime as opposed to Nox the Personification of Night. She is the Goddess of Oracular power based on stars (as opposed to her semi-cousin Apollo who is the God of Oracles), one of the Goddess of the Moon.  Her torches light the night.  She is the goddess of the Crossroads. With her three faces, she can see the past, present, and future.  And most notably, she is the Goddess of Witchcraft, Creatures of the Night and Ghosts.
Due to her rather complicated lineage, she also has dominion over Earth, Sky, and Sea.

She has been associated with the Goddess Demeter having been mentioned int he Homeric Hymns to Demeter.  She is believed to have lit the way to Hades for Demeter to find Persephone. While Persephone is in the underworld she and Hecate are companions.  She helps Persephone on her trip to and from the underworld.  This gives us one of our first triple-goddesses, with Persephone, Demeter, and Hecate as the Maiden, Mother, and Crone.

As a Goddess, she is often seen in the company of large dogs from the Underworld, the Hellhounds and common house cats.

She is depicted in the D&DG as being Lawful Evil.  I am not buying it.  Lawful I can live with, but so much of what she does is both good and evil that Lawful Neutral is the much better choice.

Hecate is one of the few gods that retains her name in both the Greek and Roman versions.  Though there is the Roman Goddess Trivia that also takes on some of what makes Hecate.

Goddess of Witchcraft
We know that many tablets and surviving scrolls have her mentioned in many curses and spells of protection against creatures of the night.  According to Hesiod, "Hecate whom Zeus the son of Cronos honored above all. He gave her splendid gifts, to have a share of the earth and the unfruitful sea. She received honor also in starry heaven, and is honored exceedingly by the deathless gods."

Interestingly enough her domain over witchcraft relates to her being worshipped by Circe and Medea. Medea, in fact, is called a Priestess of Hecate. Medea is almost always described as a witch.

Hecate also appears in Shakespeare's Macbeth and mentioned in Hamlet. Each time due to her association with witches.

Lampad the Nymphae Avernales
The lampads are described as Underworld Nymphs.  They were the constant companions to Hecate as a reward for Hecate taking part in the war against the Titans.  Sometimes described as the Daughters of Nyx or of Daimones, they share a similar relationship to Hecate as the forest nymphs do with Artemis.

Lampads appear in the Pathfinder game, in Bestiary 4.  Here is my interpretation.

Lampad (Nymph)
Armor Class: 9 [10]
Hit Dice: 3d8 +16 (30)
Attacks: 0 (see below)
Damage: None
Special Attacks & Defenses: Cause feeblemindedness, malaise and death
Movement: 120’ (40’)
No. Appearing: 0 (1d4)
Save: Witch 3
Morale: 8
Hoard Class: IX, XI x 10
Alignment: Neutral (Chaotic)
XP: 100
Nymphs are stunningly beautiful female fey creatures that closely resemble elven women. The lampad are nymphs of the underworld and desolate places.  They appear similar to drow (dark elves), with grey ashen skin and long white hair.  Anyone that sees a lampad must make a save vs. spells or become feebleminded as per the spell.  If more than one lampad is present the victim is instantly killed on a failed save.
Lampads have the spell-casting abilities of a 6th level witch. They have their own language and speak common and the languages of the infernal realms.

Tears of the Lampad:  These tears are extremely magical if a tear touches a mortal (not an elf though) they must make a save vs. poison at -4 or enter into a depression so deep they are unwilling to move or do anything.  A victim will starve to death before they will attempt to bring themselves out of this malaise. Only a remove curse spell will allow them to return to their normal life.

The Empusa
I have used the Empusa many times in a lot of games.  I have often categorized them as Lilim, or the Daughters of Lilith (who also shares a lot with Hecate) but in ancient myth they are the daughters, or at least the offspring, of Hecate.

Empusa (Lilim)
Armor Class: 3 [16]
Hit Dice: 8d8+4** (40 hp)
No. of Attacks: 2 claws and 1 bite or 1 weapon
Damage: 1d6 / 1d6 / 1d6 or 1d10
Special Attacks & Defenses:  Magic resistance (25%), Lilim abilities, magical abilities, +1 magic weapons to hit, Intelligence drain
Movement: 120' (40')
   Flying: 240’ (80’)
No. Appearing: 1d4
Save As: Witch 9
Morale: 8
Horde Class: X, XI
Alignment: Chaotic (evil)
XP:  2,380
These are believed to be the daughters of Lilith or Hecate and the various proto-demons. They are the most “demonic” of all of the Lilim. The Empusae (or “forcers-in”), like all Lilim, can appear as a stunningly beautiful woman or as a demon. The demonic form of the Empusa is one of the most hideous of all of the Lilim. The body remains mostly humanoid and female but covered in fine scales. Its legs become like those of a horse or ass and end in hooves that are made of brass or bronze. Its back supports a set of large leathery bat-like wings, similar to that of a succubus. It is its head that features its most horrible transformation. The creature’s long flowing tresses are replaced with a mass of snakes similar to that of a medusa. Its facial features are blocked by an area of complete darkness, only it’s glowing eyes are visible. It is said among sages that face of the Empusa is not shrouded in darkness, but it is so horrible that our minds block the vision from us. It is also said that other demons can actually see the Empusa’s face and run in fear from it. Its former delicate hands now end in razor-tipped claws. A long reptilian tail completes the picture.
An Empusa can appear as human, or it can also shapeshift into a large dire wolf (statistics as per Dire Wolf).
Unlike the combat avoidant Succubus, Empusae live for battle. They can either use their natural claw/claw/bite routine or use a flaming sword that strikes for 2d6 points of damage plus 1d6 of flame damage. Empusa gain to hit and damage bonuses due to their high strength as well.
The touch of an Empusa drains the Intelligence of the victim at 1 point per barehanded, not weaponed, attack.



Hecate / Heka Connections
The Greeks and the Egyptians had a long and complicated relationship.  Greeks scholars used to say that everything they know came from the Egyptians.  Back when I was doing the research for OMG: Egyptian Mythos I came across this saying all the time.  This lead me to the Egyptian God of magic Heka.  Like many before I noticed some similarities with Hecate and Heka.  Both are their respective gods of magic. Both are heralded as "gifts" to the human race by their respective heads of their pantheon.  Despite the similar portfolios and similarity in names there is no linguistic connection between the two.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

L is for Lilith and Lilim

Lilith by Isra2007
Lilith.  Ah, Lilith.

I have written so much about her over the last 20 years I hardly even know where to start today.

For those that don't know, Lilith is from the ancient Talmud and Jewish texts as the First Woman.  The woman created before Eve at the same time as Adam.  She rebelled against God and Adam and became her own thing.  She is not really a demon, but something else.

As a horror author who loves witches, demons and vampires, Lilith is all of those rolled up into one thing.
As an Atheist, Lilith is a great example of a "glitch" in the "Source code" of the bible.  Contradictions in the text that show that Genesis was even written by a number of different people over the ages.
As someone that considers themselves a feminist she is a "recent" icon.  In short what is not to love?

Lilith was a major character in my "Willow & Tara" game Season of the Witch (a Buffy game where I playtested the rules for Ghosts of Albion).  Characters (and players) didn't know if she was the Big Bad or on their side. In the end she was on her own side, but was not after the characters.

In my "Willow & Tara" games Lilith plays not just a central role in the events of the season, but in my revised mythos of world.  Lilith was not just the "mother of demons" and possibly the mother of vampires. She is also the mother of all witches and even the Slayer.  (See "Every Angel is Terrifying").  I like it since it gets rid of Whedon's overt rape metaphor and makes the Buffy game more compatible with the mythos of the WitchCraft game.

Back in the 2nd Edition AD&D days I "created" a new race of demons called the Lilim.  They were the "Daughters of Lilith" and included the Succubi and a number of related all female demons.  I later used these demons in my Buffy/Willow & Tara games "The Dragon and the Phoenix" and "Season of the Witch" along with Lilith herself.

I am revising these races once again for Eldritch Witchery.

Lilith by John Collier
These demons have their creative origins from Lilith, but also the Lilin, Lilu, and Lamashtu.  I have included creatures such as the succubus, the night hags and other related creatures.


Lilim
The Lilim are an old race of demons, though some scholars debate on whether they are a true race unto themselves or not.  Lilim are also known as the daughters of Lilith, the “Queen of Demons”. A title she abhors.  Each subrace of Lilim is believed to have come from Lilith herself and her congress with other demon types such as the Baalseraph, Eodemons and Shedim.

The Lilim all share a number of unique qualities in addition to the powers all demons share. Lilim are also fully immune to poison and poses Nightvision instead of Darkvision.
All Lilim have a draining attack, as detailed below.  Most Lilim can switch between a “human” and a “demonic” form.  The human form allows them to infiltrate society and collect the souls they require.  Any time the lilim is under stress or in combat she will revert to her demonic form.  Both types of forms are detailed below.
Nearly all Lilim can cast spells as if she were a witch.

Alrunes: These demons are legion. It is most commonly believed that they are the offspring of nymphs, sayyrs and other fey with other Lilim, in particular Succubi. A succubus will sometimes shape change to a male to seduce fey creatures, and sometimes they are even seduced themselves. These demons have only the most basic of the powers of the Lilim and indeed they only have one form, a “human” one.  Though many have features can give away their demonic heritage.  They posses small vestigial horns, wings and sometimes even a tail.  Most opt for some demonic form of witchcraft.  Like all members of this demonic race they are female.  Of all the Lilim only Alrunes are not wholly evil, though very, very few are ever good.  Alrunes do not have a draining attack per se, but their kiss can lure a victim into a deep sleep as per the spell.

Batibat: These are among the weakest of the Lilim.  They prey on people in their dreams.  They house themselves in a tree near where their victim is sleeping and invade their dreams.  They have only a weak physical attack (1-3 hp) but their dream attack requires a Wisdom saving throw each night or the victim looses 1 point of Constitution.  When their victim dies (reaches 0 Constitution) they can summon a Nightmare and return to their master with the soul.  During the day they sleep in their tree and are helpless. These deams appear to be small, elfin like women and are sometimes mistaken for a dryad.  Their hair though is dark black.

Empusa: These are the daughters of Lilith and various calabim demons, most likely the Utukku.. They are the most “demonic” of all of the Lilim.  The Empusae (or “forcers-in”) like all Lilim can appear as a stunningly beautiful woman or as a demon.  The demonic form of the Empusa is the one of the most hideous of all of the Lilim.  The body remains mostly humanoid and female, but covered in fine scales.  It’s legs become like those of an horse or ass and end in hooves that are made of brass or bronze.  It’s back supports a set of large leathery bat-like wings, similar to that of a succubus.  It is its head that features it’s most horrible transformation.  The creature’s long following tresses are replaced with a mass of snakes similar to that of a medusa.  It’s facial features are blocked by an area of complete darkness, only it’s glowing eyes are visible.  It is said among sages that face of the empusa is not shrouded in darkness, but it is so horrible that our minds block the vision from us.  It is also said that other demons can actually see the empusa’s face and run in fear from it.  Its former delicate hands now end in razor tipped claws.  A long reptilian tail completes the picture.
An empusa can appear as human or it can also shape shift into a large dire wolf (statistics as per Dire Wolf).  Unlike the combat shy succubus, empusae live for battle. They can either use their natural claw/claw/bite routine or use a flaming sword that strikes for 2d6 points of damage plus 1d6 of flame damage.  Empusa gain to hit and damage bonuses due to their high strength (21) as well.
The touch of an empusa drains the Intelligence of the victim at 1 point per bare handed, not weaponed, attack.

Lamashtu: Are powerful demons, close only to the Lilitu themselves.  Believed to be the offspring of Lilth and the various Eodemons. These demons are old even by demonic terms.  Their natural form is a horrid hybrid of a linoness’ head, donkey ears and teeth, a hairy human female body, with the hind quarters of a pig.  They are commonly holding a large snake.  In their “human” form they prefer to disguise themselves as old women or nursemaids.  This gives them access to their preferred prey, new born babies.  Once she has gained access to  a new-born babe she will carry it off till she can find a safe place to eat it.  Lamashtu are not tempters, they hunger and only flesh will satisfy them.  They can be held at bay if a witch prepares a special talisman.    Her song drains Constitution to all who hear it, 2 points per night.  Anyone so drained must make a Consititution based save or fall asleep.  
Lamashtu may cast spells as a 7th level witch.

Lamiae: Lamiae can appear as any female type humanoid they choose.  They typically choose to emulate humans and elves of high charisma.  Their demonic form is less innocent.  The Lamiae has the same upper body of a beautiful woman, but her features have become twisted to show only evil.  The lower half of the creature becomes serpentine.  This gives them a look similar to the Marilith,  much to both races displeasure and distaste.  Other Lamiae appear to be women with the lower body of a lion.  It is believed they are the offspring of Lilith and various Animal Lords. 
Lamiae will most often attack her prey when they are sleeping.  They have a song that acts a sleep spell cast as a Witch of 14th level.  They may use this song once per day.  Lamiae then embrace their victim to drain their wisdom or blood (1d6 hit points).  Typically a lamiae will spend many nights corrupting a single man by draining his wisdom, all the while laying with other men to drain them of their blood.  A Lamiae will not let the corpses stack up to betray her nature. 
If forced into combat a Lamiae can use a weapon or change to her normal form and use a claw/claw/bite routine. A Lamiae will avoid open combat at all costs except to save her own life.  She would rather poison a rival, or better yet, get someone else to do the killing for her. 
While a Lamiae can gate in 1-4 Empusa to aid her, she rarely does.  But if her life is threatened she can and has a 1-4 on a 1d6 chance.
Lamiae drain Wisdom, up to 2 points per touch.  The touch must be with their bare hand and not a damage causing hit.

Lilitu: The Lilitu are not only the most powerful of the Lilim, but they may be among the most powerful demons, outside of the Balor. The Lilitu are the daughters of the Goddess Lilith and powerful spirits.  Every Lilitu are millennia old. A Lilitu’s human form is unearthly beautiful. Unnaturally tall, they have perfect voices and skins.  Their beauty is only matched by their minds; intelligent, witty and full of grace. Their personalities are in a word, formidable.  Of course this is all a façade, the Lilitu are demonic and should not be underestimated. Their demonic form is very similar to that of their human form.  Their beauty remains, but their unearthliness becomes apparent.   A set of large dark feathered wings spring from their back, alternately described as looking owl or crow like. Their once fine fingers curl into razor sharp talons.  Their legs are replaced with those of a giant predatory bird complete with claws for feet.  Despite appearances lilitu are not related to harpies and to suggest so to one invites certain death.
Lilitu do not avoid combat.  While they would rather have someone else do their fighting, they are perfectly capable of protecting themselves. Lilitu can attack open handed with both hands or with a weapon in both hands with no penalty.  They are also preternaturally strong (Strength = 20) and gain the appropriate bonuses to hit and damage.  Their touch or kiss can drain 2 points of Strength and 2 points of Constitution per hit.
Lilitu may also cast spells as if she were a 10th level Witch.

Moromo: The Mormo, or Momolyceia (“frightening wolves”), may the most frightening of the Lilim.
The mormo can appear fair and beautiful, but such forms are only an illusion, their demonic form is horrible to behold. The are tall, 7’-8’ feet tall and appear to much like a type of hag.  Their lower half is that of a wolf and they have a set of large bat-like wings on their backs.  The mormo is covered with a fine coat of gray or black hair.  Their hands end in long talon like nails and their mouths are filled with large, sharp canine fangs.
The Mormo have no fear of combat, in fact they relish in it..  They can fight in their demonic form with a claw, claw, bite routine.  She may also choose a weapon, but rarely do. They can also drain Strength points.  Typically they withhold this power to use among her victims; draining a point here and a point there to keep them weak in body so that she can work on their wills.
Like the Empusa, the Mormo feeds on human blood and human children.

Night Hags: Night hags spend much of their time moving between the worlds of men and that of demons.  They are the couriers of souls of humans to their demonic lords and can found in the employ of any demon greater in power to themselves.  Though night hags have their pride and only sell their services to most power of the demon lords and ladies.  Since most Lilim have little regard for their “sisters” Night Hags are most often found with Shedim or Baalseraph masters.
The Night Hag appears as other Lilim, as a tall humanoid female, but unlike the others they do not have a natural “beautiful” form and must accomplish that with any magic they have.  Night Hags can cast as a Witch of 8th level.   In addition to the powers in common with all Lilim night hags can cause a deep paralysis so they may drain a victim of their vital essence (constitution, 1 point per night).
They have a claw/claw attack, but avoid using it since their goal is to drain their victims to 0 Constitution. Night hags also have a horrible bite that can inflict a disease known as Demon Fever.  This fever causes an additional 1d6 points of Constitution damage and leaves the victim bed ridden.
Night hags also may form coveys with other hags if they choose.  Occult scholars have not determined why this might be the case, but many speculate that night hags are the offspring of other lilim and the more common hags.

Succubi: Succubi are the most common of the Lilim.  These female demons are not found in great numbers and never working together.  These demons, while not physically very powerful, are capable of controlling other demons that are far more powerful.  Succbi are charged with the tempting of mortals, a task they relish in.  They appear as unearthly beautiful women (or men if needed), in their true form they stand 6' high and feature small horns, a tail and large bat-like wings growing from their backs.
A Succubus can cause Darkness 5', have Nightvision, can Dominate any one (1) PC and can become Incorporeal at will.  The succubi lures her victim into acts of passion and drains their life force with a kiss.  This Energy Drain takes 1 life level/hit dice.  She can also use the following spells as a Witch of 6th level, Charm Person, Detect Good, Continual Flame, ESP, Clairaudience, Hold Person, and Polymorph Self. Succubi also have Spell Resistance against fire based magic.  If pressed they can attack with two claw attacks (dagger -2), if each attack succeeds then she can also grapple for her energy drain attack/kiss.
A succubus can gate in another demon (expect another succubus) but prefer not too since that would compel the succubus to a service for that demon or it’s master. 
They can also with a touch, kiss or embrace drain 1d6 points of strength and constitution.  Often this accomplished by touch as the Lilitu see humans as little more than animals.  As with all Lilim, they choose whether or not their touch will drain life energy or not.


Posts about Lilith here:
Every Angel is Terrifying: The Secret and True Origins of the Slayer
Pseudo Slayers
Going Up to Hell: Cosmology
Sympathy for the Succubus
- Part 1, Part 2, Part 3
Let's Talk About Sex(y)
E is for Eodemon
The Dragon and the Phoenix: Episode 7
Season of the Witch: Episode 2


Friday, April 8, 2011

Season of the Witch: Episode 13

Episode 13: All Along the Watchtower

May/June, 2005
Heatherfield, WA

No previously on “Willow & Tara: Season of the Witch” we pick up right where we left off.

Willow and Tara are separated by the newly repaired veil. A lot of things happen at once. Tara is screaming for Willow and collapses, but does not pass out. Cordelia and Bob both disappear. The Guardians “power down” and revert to their normal forms.

The members of the Witches’ Committee attempt to use magic to capture Tara, but all discover that they no longer have any magic at all. S.A.V.E. (Nigel, Faith and a couple of field agents) gets in between them with guns (Faith, btw no longer feels like a Slayer). At some point the Daughters of Flame had arrived and are now surrounding Tara to protect her from anyone that might cross their line. It looks like everyone is going to resort to physical fighting. In what would later be called “Tapping a Line” in my games, Tara, the only Mage in the group, screams “Enough” and summons up enough magic to physically move everyone away from her. Think of those anime shows where the hero summons up magic. So lit from the bottom, hair flying wild, glowing eyes.

Tara manages to round up the groups and sets them into figuring out what is going on. I tell her player she can still feel Willow, but it is weak and distant. She can tell that Willow is still alive, but that is it.

With Bob and Cordilia gone I get their players to play Nigel (and Faith, representing S.A.V.E.) and Morgan (representing the Witches’ Committee). I slip them notes with what their ultimate goal is. S.A.V.E. wants to keep the veil closed so there are no more magical threats. Nigel though wants Tara to be with Willow because of his own guilt with Megan and Bob. The Witches Committee wants the veil to be removed since they have the most to gain in a world of magic. Lilith is also there, being represented by Anya. She is an NPC, but Lilith’s interests are maintain the status-quo. But she has plans for either outcomes. The Guardians for the first time in years have nothing to guard. They have no powers and they feel lost.

While meeting and discussing the various merits of all the plans, Tara and company get a visitor. The Lich from Episode 10. Tara meets with him alone, everyone else is too terrified and too surprised to see him still walking around (they had gotten reports that all magical creatures were gone or dead).

On the other side of the veil, Willow is having the opposite problem. She is super powerful, but everything she throws at the veil does nothing to change it. She is joined by Coyote. He mocks her a bit, saying this what the old Willow would have wanted, all this power. Willow tells him if the price for power is Tara then it is not worth it; That she would rather be a normal human, living a normal life as long as she is with Tara. Coyote tells her that maybe she can have both and he wanders off. Willow follows.

Tara and the Lich are meeting in a room, the Daughters begged her to allow a body guard, but Tara didn’t want one. The Lich tells her that they are linked, that she owes him but in the present state of the world there is no way she could pay him back. Tara figures out the other reason they are linked. Everyone else’s magic is gone, but his and hers. He was a Mage too. The Lich says that the only way they can settle their debt, and he indicates his mark on her, is to bring magic back to the world and not just the trickle that leaked through the Veil, all of it. Tara asks him what he wants in return. The Lich is silent.

Willow follows Coyote to the court of the Fae. Both the leaders of the Seelie and Unseelie Courts are there. The Seelie King and Queen treat Willow with an odd amount of respect. The Unseelie Queen is down-right friendly. King Oberon address Willow and says it has been over a hundred years since they last met. Willow is confused. Queen Maeve (the Unseelie Queen) tells her that the King refers to her past life when the Veil was erected by herself and her Anamchara.
The Seelie want the veil to remain closed, and have offered Willow a home on this side of it. The Unseelie want it open, Maeve enjoys humans and will miss the interactions. The court leaves Willow to think about her future, Coyote joins her.

Tara has decided to drop the veil. Living in a world with no magic is one thing, but living in a world with no Willow is another thing all together. Since she and the Lich are the only ones with magic she doesn’t even bother to tell the others.

Willow can feel Tara’s anxiety but does not know what it is about. She decides that living in a world full of magic is meaningless without Tara. She goes back to the Veil. Laughing, Coyote follows her telling her it is time to destroy the world.

At the Veil Tara is followed by the throng, wanting to see what she is going to do. She summons up her magic and tries to bring down the Veil. Nigel asks her to stop, telling her that if she drops the Veil she might not get it back up again.

On the other side Willow feels Tara at the Veil and uses her own magic to lower it. The Seelie Court detects this and are right on her heels trying to stop her. The Unseelie try to stop them.

The Veil is weakening as it does the people with magic on the other side begin to feel the return. The Guardians are first, and they are unsure what to do. The decide to help Tara. The Witches Committee member, Morgan, lends her magic as do the Daughters of the Flame.

On Willow’s side she can feel the flow of magic more and knows Tara is on the other side helping. Maeve is also lending her magic. So total we have five Guardians, three Daughters of the Flame, Morgan, Maeve, Willow and Tara, and the Lich for a total of 13 witches/mages.

The Veil falls.

Willow and Tara are reunited as magic rushes into the “real” world, banality rushes into the magical one.

The Guardians of the Veil are now the Guardians of the Watchtowers, each a mage in her respective element.
Morgan and the Daughters all have their magic levels increased.
Bob and Cordelia are back.
Maeve and the rest of the fae feel weaker in terms of magic, but they mention this is a temporary solution. King Obereon tells Willow and Tara that the pact forged in their past lives is now broken.
Two of the Daughters, Ceriweden and Brigh, offer themselves as their personal protectors as long as they draw breath.
Morgan can be heard on her cell phone talking away about setting up a press conference right away. She is ushered into a car that had just pulled up. She pauses to thank Willow and Tara and tells them they should come to offices, now that they are not trying to kidnap or kill them. They can do lunch.
Nigel and Faith mention they will figure out something to tell S.A.V.E., Faith kisses both girls on the cheeks and tells them not to be strangers anymore.

Tara looks out to see the Lich. It nods to her and she feels her mark burn. The Lich speaks in her mind, “there is still the debt”.

Tara feels ill, then light headed and she passes out.

--

Tara wakes in a hospital room. She is connected to an IV drip and Willow is sitting by her side. Bob is “pacing” the room. As soon as Tara sits up Cordelia orbs in. She tells them all the Elders are “Freaking out” but not as much as the demons. They are all crazy busy, but she felt they knew this was the direction everything was going to go. Now that they don’t have to cover up magic anymore they can concentrate more on fighting evil. Cordy gives Willow and Tara both a hug goodbye. She tells them she can’t be their Whitelighter anymore since they are Mages and she is needed elsewhere. But she will come by to see them when she can.
Cordelia orbs out.

Bob, who has been quiet this whole time says he has to go too. Tara protests, but he tells her that she is grown up and doesn’t need her daddy to help her back on to the horses anymore. He tells her this was how it was always going to be, he was here to help with the Awakening and that is what he did. He tells her he is tired, and he wants to see Megan again. Megan appears (played by Eliza Roberts again) she goes to Tara and hugs and kisses her. She also hugs Willow thanking her for being there and loving her daughter so much. She tells them both how proud she is of them and how exciting the future will be for them. She takes Bob’s hand and as they fade away they fade to their younger versions from the 1980s.

Tara is crying and Willow is holding her.

The doctor comes in, a young Indian man. He apologizes for being so late, saying that the ER has been a nightmare for the last 24 hours. He asks if Willow can leave so he can talk to the patient, Willow protests, but Tara mentions they are legal domestic partners and are married in the tenants of their faiths. That they are spending the rest of their lives together and that anything that she needs to know Willow needs to know too.

The doctor says, “Ok, this should be good news then. Congratulations Ms. Maclay, you are pregnant!”

The final scene is the stunned look on the girls’ faces.

--
Notes: Ok so big things here. Let’s break it all down.

No Big Bads: One of the things I wanted to do here was do a Season/Series/Arc/Campaign with no Big Bads. No final boss at the end of the level to fight. I am going to say that this was 100% a success. It did take some work to do. The mental place you are in when working on this game is a Big Bad. It’s what the show does, it’s what a lot of shows do.

The Awakening: The big season focus was on the Awakening, or the return of all Magic. Or as we said at the time, Magic was being outed. I felt that the world as it was could no longer exist. You can’t explain everything with gangs and PCP, you can’t even explain anything really. So the best plan was to have a world where everyone knew magic was real. We do it all the time in D&D and ShadowRun. My major influence here was the Piers Anthony “Incarnations of Immortality” series. Magic has returned to the world and it allows me make some rather big changes.

Pregnant: Yup. I got Tara knocked up. Well. Not me personally.
I wanted to keep the identity of the other parent secret for a while, but my Season 3 never quite got together the way I wanted. It got together in a completely different way, but more on that later.
Tara is pregnant. At the time we were building “The Dragon and the Phoenix” there was a meme of Tara getting pregnant stories. There were tons of them. Examples,  http://www.uberwillowtara.com/artfamily.htm  and http://www.uberwillowtara.com/artmothers.htm
I thought we should do our own take too. Taking a cue from Lisa , our co-author and resident Tara expert, I went to her Willow & Tara epic tale (700+ pages) “Unexpected Consequences” and got the name for Tara’s child, Brianna. Brianna was born Feb 2, 2006.

Who is the “father”? Well I wanted to do a lot of Red Herrings and things like that. Maybe even implicate the Lich, but in the end that never came to pass. Season Three picked up many years later, with a small “Mini-series” in between.

The father of Brianna is Willow.

You can even see where (and when) I came up with the idea, http://edenstudiosdiscussionboards.yuku.com/reply/21984#reply-21984

During the adourflame the girls suffered provide the magical catalyst, and they were certainly having enough sex at the time. This is also (I am told) a fairly common theme in lesbian authored Sci-Fi stories, so I suppose I should not have been surprised there were so many fics out there of it.

Ghosts of Albion: A lot of what happened in Season of the Witch made it one way or the other into Ghosts of Albion. These were our play tests. Anamchara casting rules became “William and Tamara Casting Together”, faeries, expanded vampires, magical philosophies, all of it came from these games. Mages obviously never made it to Ghosts, but we also did not have Protectors in Season of the Witch (except Milicent, and she was only there in the beginning).
This lead to a number of discussions with Chris Golden, Amber, and all my players on how different were William and Tamara compared to Willow and Tara. The answer of course is not much at all.

This was the last time I played with that group. I had a more local group forming at this point and we were getting back into D&D and Ghosts of Albion. We played a lot of games, thus continuing my “conversions” threads over the years, but it was not the same without my witches.

Where are Willow and Tara now?

Well the character sheets (hundreds of them, for several dozen games) sit in a 4-inch binder in my game room.

The characters?

Willow created a small software company that produced a new type of data encryption method. It was quickly bought by a larger company making millions for Willow and Tara. Willow was hired by the same company as an executive consultant. She helps other companies set up her software to protect their data. Willow herself uses the same software on her home computers to protect all the magical texts she has scanned in over the years.
Willow took her money to have special Subaru Outback converted to a hybrid car.

Tara completed her degree and is teaching Art History at a local private school. She is also a youth councilor at the school. She still has her mother’s spellbook/journals as well as her own. She wants to complete a Ph.D. but thinks she will wait till after Brianna is older. She is also starting to think she wants another child.

Brianna is four and is the spitting image of Willow.

They all live in a converted Brownstone in Boston, MA. Tara takes her bike to work everyday (when it is cold she laments giving her dad’s car to the vampires). They have not seen Cordy again, but have heard of her and some of her charges. They have seen Dawn a few times, she is currently in medical school where she uses her psychic powers to diagnosis and treat patients.

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
Requirements
    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
Level 
BAB 
Fort
Save 
Ref
Save 
Will
Save 
Special
Spells per day 
1st
+0 
+0 
+2 
+2 
Weapon of Choice (+1),
Deity's Gift (+2) 
2nd
+1 
+0 
+3 
+3 
Detect Witch's Foe, Nature's Gift 
3rd
+2 
+1 
+3 
+3 
Weapon of Choice (+2) 
4th
+3 
+1 
+4 
+4 
Deity's Gift (+4) 
5th
+3 
+1 
+4 
+4 
Weapon of Choice (+3) 
6th
+4 
+2 
+5 
+5 
Favored Enemy 
7th
+5 
+2 
+5 
+5 
Weapon of Choice (+4), Deity's Gift (+2 20' rad) 
8th
+6 
+2 
+6 
+6 
Hex Mark of Warding 
9th
+6 
+3 
+6 
+6 
Weapon of Choice (+5) 
3
10th
+7 
+3 
+7 
+7 
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
Personal

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.