Monday, December 14, 2009

Stop! Hammer Time

Sorry had to do that.

I just picked up "To the Devil... a Daughter", the last Hammer Studios film produced and their first "occult" based one (unless you count "The Satanic Rites of Dracula"), rahter than their staples of Gothic Horror or even the odd "devil worshipping cult" films.  The film itslef is not very good either as a Hammer film or even as an occult thriller.  It would be forgetable really had it not been for the rather scandalous scenes of full frontal nudity from then underage Nastassja Kinski.  Though it does have some things going for it.  For one it was nice to see a Hammer film outside of the "Hammer Hamlets" and take place is urbane, even swinging, London.  Chritopher Lee is still great, if under-used here.  And this film does capture a zeitgiest of 70s occult revival very well.  Sure it is not as good as Rosemary's Baby or the Exorcist, but it is still a far cry better than the Omen.  I guess Satan really loved the 70s. It certainly does explain some things. 

I am not going to go too deep into Hammer film theory or analysis other than they are good fun.  I have not seen all of them and a few I have not seen in maybe 20+ years but they have always had a profound effect on the games I write.   Ghosts of Albion in particular is overflowing with my love for Hammer, as are most of my adventures.   My vampires are not modern mopey emos.  They are blood thirsty killers in the sauve exterior of Christopher Lee. 

Even in Eldritch Witchery I have tried t tap into that same vibe of Hammer Horror.  Even though most of their moveis were made in the late 50s and 60's, there is something very 70's about them to me.  Maybe that is when I watched most of them (then and the early 80's).  In this respect I would have to say that my view of Mal Havoc (previous blog post) was greatly affected by Christopher Lee's Dracula.

Hammer, I am glad to say, is on their way back,  While I am sure some of the old magic is gone I will hold my judgement till I see some of their newer movies.  In the mean time I have several hours of "Dracula" to keep me busy for sometime to come.

Here is old Dracula, very much inspired by "Dracula A.D. 1972".  You can see the full Mutants and Masterminds stats and background here: or here:

Count Dracula

PL: 18 (270 pp)

Born: 1431, turned 1476

Str: 26 (+8) Dex: 21 (+5) Con: NA (-) Int: 16 (+3) Wis: 15 (+2) Chr: 25 (+7)

SKILLS: Acrobatics 6 (+11), Bluff 10 (+17), Climb 4 (+12), Concentration 4 (+6), Diplomacy 10 (+17), Disguise 5 (+12), Drive 2 (+7), Escape Artist 6 (+11), Gather Info 6 (+13), Handle Animal 6 (+13), Intimidate 12 (+19), Investigate 6 (+9), Arcane Lore 8 (+11), History 8 (+11), Tactics 8 (+11), Theology and Philosophy 6 (+9), Streetwise 8 (+11), Medicine 2 (+4), Notice 8 (+10), Ride 4 (+9), Search 8 (+11), Sense Motive 8 (+10), Sleight of Hand (+5), Stealth 4 (+9), Survival 8 (+10), Swim (+8)

FEATS: Animal Empathy, Assessment, Contacts, Fascinate (1), Fearless, Fearsome Presence (1), Inspire (1), Leadership, Minions (4), Accurate Attack, All-out Attack, Attack Focus (Melee) (5), Blind-Fight, Critical Strike, Elusive Target, Improved Critical (1), Improved Grapple, Power Attack, Rage (1), Uncanny Dodge

Animal Control (8), Drain Constitution (blood Drain) (1), Immunity (Fortitude Effects) (30), Insubstantial (mist) (2), Protection (7), Regeneration (blood drain based) (5), Shapeshift (Wolf, Bat) (2), Mind Control (visual dependent) (5), Weather Control (obscure, wind and fog) (3), Super-senses (Acute) (2), Super-movement (wall crawling) (1)

COMBAT: Melee 20 [Unarmed +8 (Bruise)] Ranged 15 [Unarmed +8 (Bruise)] Defense 25 (25 flatfooted) Init +5

SAVES: Toughness 7 (7 flat-footed) Fortitude 0 Reflex 10 Will 10

Weakness -Blood Dependence [Freq DC 10] [Sev DC 5]
Weakness -Holy Items [Freq DC 10] [Sev DC 10]
Weakness -Sunlight [Freq DC 5] [Sev DC 5]* Dracula can move about during the daylight hours, but he can not use his powers. (Gave him this as opposed to Power Loss).
Weakness -Garlic, Mirrors [Freq DC 5] [Sev DC 5]

Breakdown: Abilities 43 + Skills 42 (165 ranks) + Feats 27 + Powers 96 + Combat 60 + Saves 13 – Drawbacks -11 = 270

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Mal Havoc: I was waiting for this?

So back in the day I gleefully stole pretty much anything for my games. It was the 80's and we were all doing it. But one thing I remember fairly well was from The World's Greatest Superfriends. The episode was "The Lord of Middle-Earth" and the villain of the week was this Anton Le Vey, vampire looking wizard called "Mal Havoc" (or maybe just Malhavoc). I was psyched about this episode because at the time I was sucking up anything related to Tolkien, or rather more to the point, anything related to the Hobbit having seen the old cartoon on TV recently (well back in 77 or 78).

Well......that is not what I got.

I got trolls, and something like a Drider and a dragon. Which was all fine, but even then I recalled the episode was weak. But I did like the character of Mal Havoc (and I guess I am not the only one). So I began to use him in my D&D games. Though I admit I messed with the character a little. He was still a wizard, but I turned him into a real diabolic one. Not that he was fiendishly clever (he was) but diabolic in the sense that he worshipped Beelzebub. Did I mention it was the 80's?  Oh. and he was also a vampire.  So Mal Havoc became a "hellspawned vampire of the court of Beelzebub" and a semi-reoccuring bad guy in my games.  When I later went on to develop "The Dragon and the Phoenix" for the Buffy game I was running I knew I wanted one of my old D&D bad guys.  Mal Havoc was a serious contender, ultimately he lost out to Yoln (another baddie) since I didn't want to confuse my game with anything Malhavoc Press was doing at the time.

Watching it now I am struck by how bad these things really were (and I own several Superfriends DVD collections) and yet how much potential could have been here.  I can attest that Mal Havoc can be one serious bad ass.  Ok so he smacks around Superman, but that is fine Supes always had a problem with magic.  But he also does the same to Wonder Woman and Batman.  Aquaman doesn't even try.  He also a serious evil vibe going on.  He enslaved a race of trolls (ok more like gnomes really) and has some inhuman or subhuman lackeys working for him.  His "ultimate power" can even kill all the trolls in "middle earth". That serious shit right there.

Given my love (yes, it remains) for the old Super Friends I decided to give Mal the "Bruce Timm" treatment.  I updated the character look to seem more of physical threat, think Glenn Danzig only taller and with a goatee.  He is a wizard still or maybe one of the very, very few cases where I would use the term "Warlock" in a modern game, and look fiendish (and might even worship some devilish or demonic lord), but his deal is he is a vampire crime lord.  "Crime" in he is not interested in crime for money, it's just the things he does keeps him on the wrong side of the law; ie murder, kidnapping, theft, not your typical saturday cartoon fare.  Though in the original SF he had enslaved trolls to mine diamonds, so slavery, forced labor and diamond smuggling is also possible.  He has group of followers, his "Coven"  (not "Camarila" to stay true to the 70's/80's vibe) and of course lackeys and conscripted labor (ie slaves).  Maybe a tad mature for games with kids, but a perfect foe for a group of adult gamers looking to rid the world of evil.

So given that, it looks like that stating him up in Muntants and Masterminds is a must!
My M&M is a bit rusty, but here it goes.

PL: 13 (200 pp)

Str: 22 +6
Dex: 18 +4
Con: NA NA
Int: 16 +3
Wis: 15 +2
Chr: 22 +6

SKILLS: Acrobatics 2 (+6), Bluff 4 (+10), Climb 2 (+8), Concentration 4 (+6), Diplomacy 4 (+10), Disguise (+6), Drive (+4), Escape Artist 4 (+8), Gather Info 4 (+10), Handle Animal 2 (+8), Intimidate 7 (+13), Investigate 3 (+6), Arcane Lore 10 (+13), History 2 (+5), Tactics 4 (+7), Theology and Philosophy 2 (+5), Medicine 2 (+4), Notice 4 (+6), Ride 4 (+8), Search 2 (+5), Sense Motive 2 (+4), Sleight of Hand (+4), Stealth 2 (+6), Survival 4 (+6), Swim (+6)

FEATS: Assessment, Fascinate (1), Fearless, Fearsome Presence (1), Leadership, Minions (2), Blind-Fight, Improved Critical (1), Power Attack, Rage (1)

2 Supersenses
5 Mind Control
1 Drain Constitution (blood Drain)
2 Hellfire Control
30 Immunity (Fortitude Effects)
2 Insubstantial (mist)
7 Protection
5 Regeneration (blood drain based)
1 Shapeshift (Giant Bat)
5 Magic
   5 Mystic Blast ("Hellbolts")
   1 Trasform (humans to trolls)
   5 Teleport
   5 Drain Powers

COMBAT: Melee 13 [Unarmed +6 (Bruise)] Ranged 13 [Unarmed +6 (Bruise)] Defense 23 (16 flatfooted) Init +4

SAVES: Toughness 7 (7 flat-footed) Fortitude 0 Reflex 9 Will 10

Weakness -Blood Dependence [Freq DC 10] [Sev DC 5]
Weakness -Holy Items [Freq DC 10] [Sev DC 15]
Weakness -Sunlight [Freq DC 5] [Sev DC 5]

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Witch Hunter Robin for BESM

Earlier I did Robin for the Witch Girls Adventures RPG, which you can see here,

Now here she is in another fave of mine, Big Eyes, Small Mouth

It is Robin Sena, the titular character of the awesome anime series Witch Hunter Robin for BESM. Sadly BESM is out of print and Guardians of Order out of business.   I had hope that Arthaus would continue the game, but no chance.  I liked BESM, it had a lot going for it.  I should post something about BESM and GoO sometime.  Until here is our twisted little firestarter.

Robin Sena

Race: Witch

Occupation:Witch Hunter / Witch
Age: 15 (in 2002)
Gender: F
Weight: 105#
Eyes: Green
Hair: Auburn

Mother:Maria, dead
Father:Toudou, dead.
Grandfather(maternal): Juliano Collegrie, priest and high ranking officer of Solomon HQ.
Allies: Amon, Nagira, hunters from STN-J
Enemies:Rogue witches, rival hunters

Body: 4 Mind: 6 Soul: 8

Health Points: 70
Energy Points: 70
Shock Value: 14

Combat Value: 6
Defense Value: 4

Computers 1x2 = 2
Artisan 1x2 = 2
Driving 2x2 = 4
Police Sciences 3x2 = 6
Unique Character Skill 5x2 = 10 (Occultism)
Urban Tracking 1x3 = 3 Attributes
Appearance 2x1 = 2
Damn Healthy! 1x1 = 1
Organizational Ties 1x3 = 3 (Great Power, Solomon, STN-J)
Dynamic Sorcery 4x2 = 8
    One Discipline (Pyrokinesis)
Magic 4x4 = 16 (40 magic points left)

Awkward 1x-1 = -1
Marked 1x-1 = -1
Nemesis 2x-1 = -2
Sensory Impairment 1x-1 = -1 (Vision when using magic)
Skeleton in the Closet 1x-1 = -1

Uh...ok, wtf?

Dear Fringe Christian Right,

Thank you for the comedy. 

What is with these weird Christian groups and their use of the word "occultic"?  Isn't "occult" fine by itself?

Of course there is an "occultic" "Dungeons & Dragons game set", which currently has no characters, no rules, just one long out of print supplement (Manual of the Planes) and a supplement for another game entirely (ok, it is The Arcanum, which does have a cool red pentagram n the cover).

Originally posted here:
And it's YouTube page is here,

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Old School Horde, part 2!

Fellow blogger Eric over at Toyriffic, has posted a bit about my new toys here.  I thought that was cool.  You can read it at

Check it out and all the other cool posts he has!

Toyriffic: Silly Geeks, Toys are for Kids!

Toyriffic: Silly Geeks, Toys are for Kids!

Old School Horde!

So I spent Thanksgiving with my family and look at what my younger brother dug up for my kids.  A set of a bunch of the old Dungeons & Dragons toy figure monsters!  A couple of these were mine (the Ogre, neo-otyguh and Kalak, who is missing, and maybe one of the others), some were my other brother's (the Bullywugs and orcs I am sure) and some are my youngest brother's (Tiamat).  Of course my son LOVED them.

You can see all I have left of Kalek is his spellbook.  Maybe I'll put that in my witch figure display in my game room.  I really like the ogre and the hook horror.  That hook horror looks like he walked out of my Fiend Folio and I still prefer this look to the "revised" one we get in D&D 3.x.

Of course what my son is most psyched about is the Tiamat figure.  She does not have her wings anymore, but he quickly said "she is the god of dragons, she can fly without wings if she wanted to".  Plus he has been coveting my aspect of Tiamat D&D mini for a very long time.  So this is a nice little prize for him.

While I doubt I'll use these in any of our games, my "Dragon Riders" campaign with my son using D&D 3.x is so off the wall gonzo now that they certainly would not seem out of place. Certainly the Skeleton Warriors could pass for say skeleton Cloud Giants. The Chimera, while goofy looking, is probably more to scale than the D&D mini one.

Of course while my oldest son got these, my youngest had to make do with a bag full of Generation 1 Transformers.  My inner geek self is still smiling. 
And no.  Nothing is for sale. Sorry. ;)