Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Owl & Weasel Wednesday #4 May 1975

Owl & Weasel #4 takes us to 1975.
Still 8 pages and still 10p.

The feel of this is still very, very local.  But I did enjoy the front page story on Go (a game I have always wanted to learn).
Outside of that the zine is still focused mostly on Wargaming.  Which is interesting comparing it more modern White Dwarfs.  I feel less and less like White Dwarf turned it's back on RPGs and instead just went back to its focus.

There is another Monopoly variant published here.  If you have three or more undeveloped properties then the lowest one goes on the auction block.  Also the bank can bail you out if you go bankrupt.  Though the editors dislike the Labour-style hand-outs.

Some newer movies are reviewed by comparing them to games.  Cute, but little utility in that.   Also a batch of "Urban" games are also reviewed, but they could also be called "Ecological" ones.  I can remember being in grade school and getting hit with a ton of ecology related curriculum or propaganda so I guess that it was in vogue over in England as well.

There is an editorial/letters page in which we learn that a Game Day is being planned. First of many as we now know.  And that the crossword puzzle is going away due to complaints.   There are not really any letters, but a place to send them is noted.

Some used games for sale are also noted.  See what I am saying about the local feel.

Finally we get to the aforementioned crossword.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Mary Poppins: Witch or Time Lord, Part 2

Mary as a Time Lord

So I explored how Mary could be a witch.  How can she be a Time Lord?

Well in addition to all that we know she speaks a lot of languages including Baby.  Her carpet bag could be a bag of holding or it could be Time Lord science.   She acts both young and wise, much like the Doctor and spends a lot of time with younger companions.  The 11th Doctor even made references to her in "A Christmas Carol" and in the book "Magic of the Angels".  In MotA the Doctor even has a carpet bag that he claims he got back from Mary.

Mary could have avoided the Time War much like the Doctor did.  She could have been The Nanny even.  Heck if that is case maybe she regenerated into Nanny McPhee.

She knows people from other planets such as the girl from the Pleiades.
Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious is almost as bad as Raxacoricofallapatorius.

Mary Poppins
Time Lord
From  Doctor Who: Adventures in Time and Space Limited Edition Hardcover Edition
Story Points: 8

Awareness 5
Coordination 4
Ingenuity 6
Presence 6
Resolve 5
Strength 3

Athletics 1
Convince 4
Craft 3
Fighting 1
Knowledge 5
Marksman 0
Medicine 4 (little drop of sugar and all)
Science 3
Subterfuge 1
Survival 2
Technology 3
Transport 1

Animal Friendship, Attractive, Brave, Feel the Turn of the Universe, Friends (major), Indomitable, Keen Senses, Lucky, Quick Reflexes, Resourceful Pockets, Voice of Authority, Time Lord
Argumentative, Distinctive, Eccentric, Owed a favor to (the family she serves), Selfish (to a degree)

Umbrella, Carpet Bag

Home Tech Level: 10 (mostly conforms to 4)

Personal Goal
To protect the Children

The Time Lord known as Mary Poppins fled Gallifrey in the earliest days of the Time War with one goal in mind. To protect those who could protect or help themselves.   She has been known to have encountered the Tim Lord known as The Doctor at lease once.

She has a number of family members she will mention, but these are all adopted and are world wide.
It is also not too much of a stretch to see her working the Paternoster Row Gang at some point.

Next time I'll cover why Ms. Frizzle of the Magic School Bus is not just a Time Lord but is in fact River Song.

So how about you?  Is Mary a Witch or a Time Lord?

Mary Poppins: Witch or Time Lord?

Mary Poppins is an interesting character.

She is both serious and fanciful. Strict and stern, yet kind and lovable. Old and wise and still young and innocent.  A witch and a Time Lord.

What was that last one again?

Certainly Mary has a number of traits that could be considered magical and even witch like.  But there are other times her crazy world could be explained easier if she were in fact a Time Lord.  Both seem as likely as the other to be honest.

Mary as a Witch

Mary has a number of qualities that make her seem more like witch or some sort of magic user.
Indeed a lot of what she does is called magic.  It could be that is just what she is calling it to help explain it to the locals.

Mary Poppins
20th Level Witch Eclectic Tradition
From  The Witch

Strength: 10
Dexterity: 15
Constitution: 14
Intelligence: 16
Wisdom: 18
Charisma: 18

Death Ray or Poison: 5
Magic Wands: 6
Paralysis: 5
Dragon Breath: 8
Rods, Staffs and Spells: 7

To Hit AC 0: 14

Hit Points: 50
Alignment: Lawful
AC: 7 (coat equal to leather)

Occult Powers
Familiar: Jackdaw
7th level:  Speak to Plants and Animals
13th level: Permanent Magic
19th level: Witch’s Blessing

Cantrips: Alarm Ward, Animate Tool, Dancing Lights, Ghost Sound, Object Reading, Warm
First: Comprehend Languages, Everlasting Candle, Fey Sight, Light, Magic Circle Against Evil, Consecration Ritual (Ritual)
Second: Augury, Detect Thoughts, Guard Watch, Mind Obscure, Rite of Remote Seeing, Calling the Quarters (Ritual)
Third: Astral Sense,  Dispel Magic, Scry, Spirit of Albion (Avalon), Imbue Witch Ball (Ritual)
Fourth: Analyze Magic, Divine Power, Ethereal Projection, Remove Curse, Drawing Down the Moon (Ritual)
Fifth: Calm Weather, Dream, Greater Command, Seeming
Sixth: Anchoring Rite, Greater Scry, True Seeing, Legend Lore (Ritual)
Seventh:  Ball of Sunshine, Greater Arcane Eye, Binding Ritual (Ritual)
Eighth: Astral Projection, Discern Location, Mystic Barrier

Magic Items:  Umbrella (works as a Witch's Staff), Bag of Holding (Greater).

Mary Poppins
Very Experienced Master
From Ghosts of Albion

Life Points 44
Drama Points 10

Strength 3
Dexterity 4
Constitution 4
Intelligence 5
Perception 5
Willpower 6

Attractive 1
Contacts (Underground) 3
Contacts (Supernatural) 6
Good Luck 2
Hard to Kill 2
Magic 8
Magical Family
Nerves of Steel
Occult Library (Amazing)
Resources 8
Situational Awareness
Supernatural Senses (the Sight)
Status 4

Adversaries (Lots) 5
Honorable (Minimal)
Metal Problems (Cruel, mild)
Metal Problems (Intolerance, mild)
Obligation (To the family she serves)
Rivals 2

Useful Information
Initiative +2
Actions 1/2
Observation 1d10 + 11
Lesser Sensing +19
Fear +12

Armed Mayhem 2
Art 5
Athletics 2
Crime 2
Drive / Ride 2
Engineering 3
Fisticuffs 1
Influence 6
Knowledge 7 (Science, Mathematics, Astronomy)
Languages 7 (English, Italian, Latin, Greek, French, Animals)
Marksmanship 1
Notice 6
Occultism 9
Physician 4
Wild Card

Maneuver Bonus  Damage  Notes
Dodge / Parry    +2 - Defense Action
Grapple +2 - Defense Action
Punch +2 4 Bash
Magic +23 per spell Usually graphs a horoscope first
- Counterspell +20 Special Magic defense action; dispels spell
- Deflect +23 Special Deflects spell 45 degrees
- Hold +22 Special Magic defense action; delays spell SL turns
- Deflect +16 Special Magic defense action; returns spell to caster

These builds assume that Mary is one of the more powerful witches in your game.  Of course to deal with children she would not need to be this powerful.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Found my Gen Con Game

Every time I have taken my kids to Gen Con we have started a new adventure.
I like to pull from the classics no matter what it is I am playing.  So in the past we have done S4 The Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth and B2 Keep on the Borderlands.

This year it is going to be L1 The Secret of Bone Hill!

I am rather fond of this adventure and have figured out some new tweeks to it to make it work great in my kids' AD&D game.  Plus I have a bunch of Len Lakofka's material from Dragon that I want to port into this.

Should be a blast!

Margot Adler (1946 - 2014)

I have long stated that the witches of my books and posts here have had far more to do myth and fairytale than they have had with the witches of modern paganism or Wicca.

But even a casual glance at my work will reveal that while my witches are more Baba Yaga than Isaac Bonewits or Fiona Horne, there is a bit of modern pagan thought there.  This is no surprise really.   I have often talked about how my influences are in line with the occult revival of the 70s and even the Satanic Panic of the 80s.
So in addition to reading a lot of fantasy stories about witches I also read a lot about Wicca, paganism and modern witchcraft.

One of those books I remember well was Margot Adler's Drawing Down the Moon.
What I liked about it was how it took each of these religions/belief systems and gave them equal weight.  Some books I read at the time were either predominantly pro-wiccan and thus put their system in the est possible light or had a Christian bias and thus looked down their nose on all the systems.
It also avoided what I have come to call "Margret Murrayism" and make claims that could not be supported.

For gamers I would say pick up this book to see how you can run cults and faith in your games.  Yes there are other texts, and even some that are better suited for this. But this is a good overall text and also one I think fits the feel that some of us want in our "Old School" games. Either the original 1979 printing or the revised 1986 one would be best for this.
The 2006 revised edition though is the only one I can find for an eReader.

This is also one of the books that I attribute to my cultivation of my own feminist thought (yeah I know that "feminist" is a bad word to some and loaded word to others. I don't care. I can use it to describe myself as I choose).   It shares that distinction with Carl Sagan's "Dragons of Eden" and Carl Jung's "Man and His Symbols".

Margot Adler died today after a long battle with cancer.  She was 68.

I Don't Believe in Bloody Mary

I don't believe in Bloody Mary, I don't believe in Bloody Mary, I don't believe in blood...

Bloody Mary is one of the more scary childhood monsters under the bed, or more accurately in the mirror.  Say her name three times while looking in the mirror in the dark and she will appear.
But who is she?

Stories abound, was she a young mother whose children had died?  Was she murderess who killed her husband to be before taking her own life?  Or is she as some stories have told the mother of Jesus, weeping tears of blood for the son she lost?

Bloody Mary Trickery by ~Skyberry-13 on deviantART

One of the stories I remember best was one about a witch named Mary Worth who in the late 19th century would kidnap slaves to torture.  Very so like the tales of Elizabeth Bathory or even Cathy Bates character of Delphine LaLaurie in American Horror Story Coven.

For The Witch I thought something else might be nice.

Mary Worth was a young woman who dreamed of her future life as a wife and mother. One All Hallows Eve Mary waited till midnight to look into her looking glass. She had heard the stories that you would see the face of your future husband in the glass.  But what Mary saw filled her with dread and horror.  The face she saw was that of a man, covered in blood with a countenance of pure evil and murderous intent.

A year later Mary was arranged to be married to an acquaintance of her father, it turned out to be the same man. Though this man seemed fair enough and treated her well.  Years went by and she gave him two children.

To protect herself and her children Mary turned to witchcraft so she could learn more of her fate and possibly change it. She suspected her husband was unfaithful that one night she went to brew a potion to ensure faithfulness. When she returned home she discovered her husband in the arms of another woman while her children slept.  They argued and she struck him with the poker from the fireplace. As blood raced from his brow she saw the vision she saw so many years ago.  She screamed and pushed her husband back into the fireplace.  Quickly the fire spread throughout the house.  Mary ran screaming, but her husband, his mistress and the children all died in the flame.

From that day forward any time Mary looked into a mirror she saw the faces of her dead husband and children.  Mad with grief she clawed her own eyes out and dashed her head into the mirror.  The glass severed her neck and she died in the mirror.

She now haunts all mirrors, scarring girls away who wish to learn their fates too soon.  She also captures younger children to replace the ones she lost, but these children cannot survive in her land of the dead.

Bloody Mary (when alive)
4th Level Witch (Eclectic Tradition)

Strength: 10
Dexterity: 10
Constitution: 12
Intelligence: 16
Wisdom: 11
Charisma: 16

Death Ray or Poison:  13
Magic wand or devices: 14
Paralysis, Polymorph or Turn to Stone: 13
Dragon Breath: 16
Rods, Staffs and Spells:  15

To hit AC 0: 20

Hit Points: 25
Alignment: Chaotic
AC: 9

Occult Powers
Familiar:  Talking Mirror

Cantrips: Chill, Daze, Detect Curse, Ghost Sound, Open, Sound
First: Bad Luck, Cause Fear,
Second: Burning Gaze, Evil Eye,

That works for me!

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