Tuesday, November 30, 2010

DriveThruRPG Blog Support - Holidays

So since I am a member of the DriveThruRPG blog support program I get to pass on the savings to you my faithful readers.

DriveThruRPG.com

Here are this month's list of products:

Weird War II Player's Guide [Pinnacle Entertainment]
Adventurer's Guide to Cthonia [Alea Publishing]
ArcheTech Special Report: An Assortment of Armor [Cracked Mirror Publishing]
Wu Xing: The Ninja Crusade [Third Eye Games]
Martial Cultures: the Daikort Pack [Chaotic Shiney Productions]
Legend of the Five Rings (4th Edition) [AEG]
Dungeon Dwellers (Rev. 2nd Edition) [Empty Room Studios]
Fuzzy Heroes (2nd Edition) [Inner City Games]
Ave Molech (2nd Edition) [Morbidgames]
Book of Alignment (OGL/Pathfinder) [Emerald Press]

Your coupon code for 20% off is Holiday2010BPCX.

I have a coupon for a free product as well, need to figure out what to do with it first I think.

Vampire Translation Guide

No not how to translate a Sparkler into something more like Christopher Lee's Dracula, but how to translate between the two different versions of White Wolf's signature vampire RPGs Vampire the Masquerade and Vampire the Requiem.

http://rpg.drivethrustuff.com/product_info.php?products_id=86202&affiliate_id=10748

I came late to the Vampire party.  I was playing a lot of AD&D 2nd Ed and really getting burned out (plus I was in Grad school).  Vampire seemed to me to be a pretender to the throne of Gygax.

I did pick up a copy sometime around 1999 and thought it was very cool and would be great for adding to my games; which at that point were a winding down, nearly dead AD&D and one of my new-found love, WitchCraft RPG.  I did pick up Vampire the Requiem when it came out and noticed right away how much it was like Unisystem.   I like the rules of nWoD much better than that of oWoD, but the fluff of oWoD can't be beat really.  So a document like this is a perfect thing for me really.

I seriously doubt I'll ever use it.  I just don't play any of the WoD/White Wolf games anymore.  But I am glad that this is out.

Plus I love how the cover combines elements of both games into something new, yet familiar looking.

You can read my review of it here.

Monday, November 29, 2010

So...Have you ever killed a God?

As you know I am gearing up for my Dragon Slayer's campaign end game.  One of the goals of the Dragon Slayers has always been to kill Tiamat on her own plane.

This could have some fairly epic effects.
If this were the last game then no big deal, but we are moving to 4e after this and will using the "kids" of the characters  that are retiring.  I have already decided that the kids can have a magic item each given their famous and powerful parents.  But what of Tiamat?  And the idea of the 4e modules is to kill Orcus and maybe even others.

Will she still be "dead"?  What does that mean to all the evil dragons?
While talking with Jason Vey today he says that in his world that unless every worshiper is dead then the god can't die.  I like that idea myself.  But what does that mean the Dragon Slayers did?

Tiamat is at least a bit easier.  She can have a daughter, Takhisis who will become the new Dragon Queen in time.  Didn't Marduk kill Tiamat once too?

Orcus is also not a big deal.  He is a demon, demons can be replaced.  Plus I could put my own demon lord or put Vecna in as God of the Undead (though he doesn't seem like a good fit to me).

What if I continue my plan to have Orcus as nothing more than a blunt tool and have Asmodeus as the Big Bad?  What if the characters kill him?

So what have you all done?
Have you killed a God before?  What happened afterwards?

100+ Followers!

So over the Thanksgiving weekend I hit 100 followers!  And in the time since I started this post I hit 101!

I have some discount codes for Drivethru I'll be posting soon for everyone in my follow list,  my way of saying thanks.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Getting back in to it

Ok, sorry for the long delay.  Holidays, work, school.  You know the drill.

I am going to start my end game for the "Dragon Slayers" game.  Here is how it is going to go.

The Dragon Slayers are in Glantri now having just solved the mystery of the Palace of the Silver Princess (module B3).
I was going to have them go on to S4 and WG4, but instead I think it will go like this.

First I am going to have to go to the "Forbidden City" (module I1) since I worked on the Wikipedia article a lot.  Then move on to the Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth (module S4) one of my favorite adventures.  Here they will need to get the copy of Iggwilv's Demonomicon.  Then naturally move on to WG4, the Forgotten Temple of Tharizdun and then finally ending in Death's Ride (module CM2) then moving on to Tiamat's lair for the big "boss battle".  Though I am going to have to up the challenges in all the modules since the characters are now between 14th and 17th level.

What I am thinking of doing is expanding S4 and WG4 into one larger supermodule.  There is so much information out there on S4 and it is a module I have owned since 1983, so I am very familiar with it.  Plus there is a lot of cool things in S4 that play well into the overall arc.  We need a copy of the Demonomicon and the Wonderous Lanthorn would be cool to have as would the Prison of Zagig (great place for Tiamat after the Dragon Slayers destroy her physical body).

Something to look forward to.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Up next, Lost Caves, Hidden Temples and Death's Ride

So I am starting up my end game for the Dragon Slayers.

I think their next to the last adventure will be the old D&D Companion Adventure Death's Ride.  I remember going through this one when I was younger and I think it will be a perfect fit for this group.

It will help build up some of the action for the next campaign and it is a good cap for this campaign.

I am going to do S4 Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth first, and maybe squeak in WG4 The Lost Temple of Tharizdun.  There is a blue dragon in S4 that just might become Korbundar in CM2.

Now the question I have for you all.

Does anyone know if CM2 had been updated to 3.x rules at all?  I have a ton of RTF/DOC files of modules that people updated back in the early days of 3.0.  I have them for a lot of modules, but what I don't have is one for CM2.

Anyone know if something like this is out there?

Ingrid Pitt, First Lady of Hammer Horror, dead at 73

Just saw this.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-11823418

Having gone on a Hammer bender here just recently I saw a lot of Ingrid Pitt movies.

Of course she did more than Hammer films, but that is what she will be best remembered for.

You can see her filmography here, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ingrid_Pitt and here, http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0685839/.

Her website, http://www.pittofhorror.com/

She will be missed.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Return to the Palace of the Silver Princess, Session 3, Finale

Well we finished the adventure.

I changed it a bit and actually had the character fight Arik of the Hundred Eyes who was in reality not so much of a god, but a really, really powerful fiendish beholder.  Set him at 20 HD and let the group of characters, 6 of them, 10th to 14th level, deal with him.

In the end it was pretty awesome really.  Lots of fun.  Everyone got a chance to level up and I forgot how much book-keeping 3.x is.

Now need to figure out what to do for the next adventure before they take on Tiamat.

Return to the Palace of the Silver Princess, Session 3

Heading into Session 3 of "Return to the Palace of the Silver Princess" today.  I am basically running a combined version of the Green and Orange covers, updated to 3.x and increasing the threats to cover levels 10-14.



I am expecting the characters to get through most of the adventure today, we have a few hours.
Should be fun!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Orcus as the Boss? Immortal level D&D? What's my End Game?

I have been thinking about the whole Orcus as the big bad in 4e.  It's cool and it has a lot of fun about it. But there is a big issue I have with it.  Orcus is a brute.  He his not a planner or plotter.  He smashes and destroys.

In my game multiverse Orcus used to be a Primal God.  In 4e I am fine with this being called a Primordial, but now he is a demon.  He is a demon prince and a very, very powerful one, but an over arching plot seems a bit cerebral for him.  I am thinking that maybe Orcus is nothing more than the weapon being used by someone more powerful, but behind the scenes.  But who and for what ends?
I mean Orcus is no dummy, but as a demon he is more concerned with destruction than labyrinthine plots.

Here are some thoughts on some potential players.

Vecna - God of evil knowledge and a lich, but what does Orcus have that Vecna wants?  What could Vecna be using Orcus for?

Asmodeus - The Blood War may be in cold war mode now, but maybe the Arch duke of Hell needs Orcus to get the seed of evil.

Tharizdun - This one is easiest.  Tharizdun wants out of his prison.  While everyone thinks Tharizdun is imprisoned either in the Abyss or the Astral, he is in reality imprisoned in the lowest point in Hell.  Asmodeus is still his jailer.  I would make him a bit like Lucifer in Dante's Inferno, chained to very bottom of hell. Asmodeus thinks he is draining power off of Thaizdun, which is why he is a god-like power now.  Tharizdun is allowing this knowing that he gains a little more control over Asmodeus.  Who is using who?  Well I guess that depends on who wins in the end.



Iggwilv - The Witch Queen wants the Abyss, and Orcus is one of the big things in her way.  I have been dying to use her is some way.

So here is my plan.

Iggwilv and Asmodeus are working together to manipulate Orcus.  He is being propped up as this huge threat so the PCs take him out.  Iggwilv is directing the PCs to do this while also working on Orcus telling him that doing this will make him a god.  The plan is to have the PCs kill Orcus and deliver his wand somewhere it can be destroyed.  The PCs end up in Hell and hand over the Wand to Asmodeus. Asmodeus has told Iggwilv that he wants the extra shard and she can keep the Abyss.  In truth Asmodeus is being manipulated by Thaizdun.  Orcus' Wand and Asmodeus' Rod together will free him.

Yes, this is bit much for a D&D plot, especially a D&D4 one, but I like the idea.   If the PCs play this right they could defeat Orcus, Iggwilv and Asmodeus all in one fell swoop.  

The old AD&D adventure H4 Throne of Bloodstone is an influence here since the goal there is to destroy the Wand.  The E1-3 series for D&D4 focuses on Orcus wanting to become a god.  So I will merge them a bit.  The whole Tharizdun bit is a bit recycled from the Gygax "Dance of Demons" book, but that is fine really.

Part of this though also depends on something else.
To defeat Orcus in the E series takes the characters right to 30th level. To then take on Iggwilv, Asmodeus AND Tharizdun then is something else altogether.

So I had yet another idea. What about Immortal Level D&D.  Reading over the Mentzer D&D BECMI set I do see how well Immortal level play can work and that is something Immortals would do, stop the imbalance of Tharizdun coming back into play.   I am just not quite sure how to do that in D&D4 just yet.  I am sure I'll figure it out.  Though I did ask about it on RPG.Net.

Presently I am working on finishing my 3.x campaign.  Since the 4e characters are the kids of the 3.x ones I can start planting some seeds now.  Drop the name Tharizdun and Iggwilv.  Mention Orcus' and Asmodeus' rise to power.  Might need to figure out how Vecna and Raven Queen fit into all of this.  Maybe once Orcus is dead Vecna becomes the new patron of the Undead.  Am I ready to get rid of Orcus once and for all?

Hmm.  Interesting thought.

Update on Jim Ward

Quick one today.
New site with updates on Jim Ward.

http://bailoutthewardenfund.bbnow.org/index.php

Friday, November 19, 2010

The Dragon and the Phoenix: wrap-up

The Dragon and the Phoenix ran for 13 episodes and it was great fun.

We set out to show we could tell a great story and even a better one than the source material and I think we succeeded.
Here are some random things we learned while writing and playing these episodes.
Their first semester living together Willow and Tara arranged their schedules to always be near each other.

They also rearranged classes so they could both come home during the day to watch "Jerry Springer" though they told everyone else it was so they could watch PBS.

Tara's first meal back as a human? Chicago style deep dish pizza. She tried crawfish etouffee but discovered she was in fact still allergic to shellfish.

Tara does not drink at all. She has smoked some pot in the past (mostly highschool) but no longer.

While Willow was in high school she discovered some old journals of Jenny Calendar where she talked about being "outrageously bisexual" with her roommate in college. It made her feel more comfortable about her own questioning sexuality.

Dawn has walked in on Willow and Tara having sex 4 times. Xander has walked in on them 0 times.

Willow can disco. It is not something she is proud of or even talks about, but her father (a HUGE Saturday Night Fever fan) taught Willow how to dance when she was little, she remembers it all to this day.

Willow is ambidextrous, she can write equally well with either hand.

Tara hates ponies. She loves to ride horses but thinks ponies are evil.

Tara has a set of witchcraft ritual tools. She prefers to cast rituals with her athame when she can. Tara discovered that Willow is also capable of using Tara's ritual tools (not something that is normally done).

The Cast has both memories of Tara and memories of her sister Kara. Generally there is no conflict with these.

Tara's mother was named Megan, her grandmother Deidre. Her father's name was Robert. Tara's middle name in Ann. Her brother would tease her and call her "Annie", to this day she hates the name and will not use it.

Dawn knew she was psychic as early as Episode 1. In the finale she was given a glimpse of her futures as well. One where she was a doctor and another where she becomes a physicist.

Anya and Xander split up after a couple of months. They do not get divorced until some time later. I toyed with the idea of Anya also being pregnant and might still do that.

Buffy begins dating the police officer Tony Foster. In one possible future shown by the Mouth of Leviathan she and Tony are married.

Spike is not seen or heard from again. He is rumored to be "alive" somewhere.

Clem the Demon can do complex mathematical calculations in his head.

Giles had a religious upbringing. While his mother was a duty-bound English Watcher, his father was a Irish Catholic. Giles was brought up in both the Catholic and Angelican churches. No wonder he rebelled.

Luna the Seraphim was one of my D&D characters from back in the day. Her original character sheet says she was rolled up in 1982.

Charmed influences abounded. Rack was a "Charmed" style Warlock and had no soul. He was in fact stealing powers from the magical kids in his thrall. Cordy had become a Whitelighter.

The plane of Leviathan was taken from the Monster Smackdown book, it was augmented based on the old Dragon Magazine adventure "Nogard", the demonic wasteland from Charmed and the last planet in the Heavy Metal movie. Leviathan himself is Leviathan from Armageddon. He is demonic as well as a mad god due to all the demonic "souls" he has been feeding on over the millennia.
We took a break and then went into the next season of episodes, Season of the Witch,  those were not as playtested as much.

I'll post the Season of the Witch reports starting next year I think.  Holidays coming and all.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Of Boxes and Box sets

I want to draw your attention to a new article that is up.

http://www.icv2.com/articles/news/18808.html

It is written by Scott Thorne owner of Castle Perilous Games in Carbondale IL.

I like this article for two reasons.  First the more personal.  I lived in Carbondale for many years.  I loved it.  One thing though I didn't love was I was cut off from my Favorite Local Game Stores.  Sure they had a used book store where I bought a copy of Deities and Demigods with Cthulhu and Elric for 18 bucks, but it was not a Game Store.

Then sometime in the early 90s Castle Perilous opened up.
I was a poor struggling grad student then, but I do believe that that vast bulk of my 2nd Edition AD&D games and nearly all my Ravenloft stuff (all pre WotC) was purchased there.  In fact I still think of them as my Second Favorite (Not So) Local game Store.  Any love that can be thrown at them is great in my book.

Secondly I like this article because it points to a growing trend.  The market shift to the novice gamer.
As gamers we are a dying breed.  I don't mean that quite so literally, but there is truth to that.  In the age where video games and online interactions can simulate the role-playing experience, it is hard to convince someone to buy a set of rules in huge books and tell them follow them and then show them the price tag.

Box sets are a different mentality.  They are, for the most part, cheaper and have everything you need to play. Sheets, books, dice and counters in many respects.  This is where the new Essentials line is pure genius.  Don't market it to the Grognards who won't buy it, don't market it to the 4e fans, who have most of it and probably will buy it anyway, but market it to the causal fans, the non-gamers or the lasped gamer.  And at a $20 entry fee, that is cheaper than a family going to the movies (trust me, WAY cheaper).

Putting it all in the trade dress of the most popular boxed set in D&D history now looks like a no-brainer really (though I still prefer my Moldvay Basic Set).



Hasbro has been marketing family game night for their board games as an economical way to stay home, not spend money and get together as a family.  You don't need to be a market analyst or a sociologist to see why that has win written all over it.  WotC is following suit.

Essentials is like that fake ad for the Wii vs. PS3, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x7PhJp3ciRQ  "I am cheap and fun!"  Boxed sets elicit the same response.  Especially if there is a lot of stuff in them.  It doesn't matter that a book is more handy, or a PDF more searchable and portable, a boxed set means there is something for everyone at the table to touch.

I have nothing to back this up, but I think that the Essentials and the new Red Box starter set is going to do really good things for WotC this year and is good for the RPG biz in general.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Jim Ward is ill

To many of us old enough to remember the old guard one name always stood out to me; Drawmij.   Drawmij was a one of the many characters of Gary's home game that became immortalized in the pages of Greyhawk.

The real Drawmij, Jim Ward is not doing as well.

According to this post, and many others in the blog realms, he is ill and the hospital bills (as they do) are rising.
There are a lot of things that you can do to help, the Dragon'sfoot page details some of them, but another would be to buy something from his DriveThruRPG store.  
http://rpg.drivethrustuff.com/index.php?manufacturers_id=2191&affiliate_id=10748

You can read more here:
http://poleandrope.blogspot.com/2010/11/please-help-jim-ward.html
http://greyhawkgrognard.blogspot.com/2010/11/jim-ward-needs-our-help.html
http://batintheattic.blogspot.com/2010/11/warden-is-declearing-medical-emergency.html

and some more recent updates:
http://poleandrope.blogspot.com/2010/11/update-regarding-jim-ward.html
http://blackmoormystara.blogspot.com/2010/11/james-ward-on-way-to-recovery.html

Jim gave us Metamorphosis Alpha, which in turn gave us Gamma World and even recently spoke to WotC about it all.

Here is hoping that Jim gets better soon.

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.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Random observation

No idea if this is true or not.  But I have been thinking about my friends and their likes and the all the blogs, pages and facebook stuff I read and I think there is something to this.

People that like Star Wars tend to be Marvel Comics fans.
People that like Star Trek tend to be DC Comics fans.

I know, I know, statistics of small numbers and all, but there might be some merit to this.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Need some Minis Painted

I will admit this up front.  I suck when it comes to doing anything artistic.
I can do some tricks on Photoshop, but that is it.

But I have a problem.  I love the miniatures from Dark Sword and Reaper.  But I can't paint a damn.
So,  I am looking for someone willing to paint some minis for me.  Yes I would pay you.  I understand this ia complicated procedure and I am willing to put my money where my mouth is.

Here are some of the figures I want to get painted.

First up is my new character.

This is the Dark Sword Halloween 2009 Witch.  Of course she is perfect for my new D&D 4 Essentials warlock and her familiar "Mojo".   I would LOVE to have it pained very similar to this in terms of color.  Maybe more purple and black, but I love the glowing blue sword and the blue reflected on her face and body.

The next few are actually the same character,  first is the Laurana Sorceress figure from Reaper.


This one I might one to be painted similar to this picture as well (I try to choose the picture that is the closest).

The next mini is the same character as above, so I would want similar coloration.  It is the Elmore Masterworks Mini from Dark Sword of Early Snow.



This one I want painted very close to the painting it was based on. http://www.fantasygallery.net/elmore/art_1_early-snow.html.  I have it in my game room now and it would be great to have a painted mini of it.

The one I am currently using now is the Elmore Green Witch from Dark Sword.  She is already painted similar to the Early Snow one, so I am good there.


The main differences are her purple dress and black cape.  I would like to find someone that can paint the other three as nicely as this one.  Why not go with the guy that painted this one?  Easy, I lost his contact info.  Plus I had to ship the figure, get it shipped back (which he did a fantastic job on) and it was a touch expensive.  Not that I didn't mind paying that at the time, but now I want 3 more.

I do have the minis right now, except for the Dark Sword Halloween Witch, so I can ship them to whomever.

My only request is that I am allowed to post pictures here on my blog.

So please.  Post here or email me if you can do this kind of thing.

Thanks!!

Ghosts of Albion: William Shakespeare, Occult Poet

The Occult Poetry of William Shakespeare

One of the new qualities in Ghosts of Albion is Occult Poet.  The Occult Poet creates subtle, but sometime far reaching magical effects that are often less overt than that of a witch or magician.  Presented here is one of Albion's greatest occult poets. 

Few people in the history of the world, let alone the history of the English language, have had the world-wide effect of the Bard of Avon, William Shakespeare.

Born sometime in the Spring of 1564 (generally attributed to April or May), much about Shakespeare’s life is still mystery. It is unknown when and where he picked up his proficiency in Occult Poetry or even why he picked it up. What is know that the plays, poems and love sonnets have had sometimes subtle and sometimes grand magical effects. To modern (Victorian) occult scholars the effects are obvious and profound, and among other Victorian English occult poets his works are now as valued as highly as Byron’s and the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam (1859).

Shakespeare’s work is known in general to protect the shores of Albion from supernatural attack and to strengthen her people. His works have been demonstrated to protect against evil minded faeries, witches and malicious ghosts. While nothing to date has been discovered that specifically protect against demons or even other threats from beyond, there are many “lost plays” that scholars feel would provide such protection.

Contacting the Bard from beyond has proven to be impossible. No one has reported seeing his ghost and mediums and spiritualists have not been able to contact him. So asking him directly has failed.

Noted works and Effects

These works only achieve their magical state when performed by a troupe of actors (as Shakespeare intended) or by an Occult Poet. To find the key passages or phrases the Occult Poet needs to pass an Occultism skill check (Intelligence + Occultism). A magician or occult scholar my attempt to find these as well (-2 to their skill check) but they are unable to use them as occult poetry. Any Occult poetry learned from Shakespeare’s works can only be used once per day as the Bard intended.
To use the works of the Bard as Occult Poetry requires the described roll from the Ghost of Albion RPG under the Occult Poet quality.
Again, Directors are encouraged to have their players recite the stanzas in question. After all quoting Hamlet well should be worth a Drama Point!

A Midsummer Night’s Dream came to Shakespeare appropriately enough as a dream on one Midsummer’s night. Generally regarded as one of his greatest comedies, it was also crafted as an occult pact of sorts between our world and that of the world of the Faerie. Each time the play is performed the pact is renewed. The Faerie will remain out of our realms and humans, except a select few, will not be able to see the faerie realms or their gateways. In addition the Seelie Court, ruled at the time by King Oberon and Queen Titania, would prevent the Unseelie Court from interfering as well.
Occult Poetry effects: When the appropriate passages are quoted, interactions with any Faerie are treated as if the Poet had an Attractiveness or Charisma +2 levels higher.

Macbeth is the Bard’s most obviously supernatural play. Each time it is performed it sets up a protection against witchcraft. Originally it was designed to protect all of Albion, but an error in the writing has limited it to only the people watching the performance. Unfortunately the same error backfires on the performers and makes them more likely to suffer the malfacea of evil witches during the rehearsals of the play. It is common believed that Macbeth was written to fend off a personal attack by witches.
Occult Poetry effects: When the appropriate passages are quoted, the Occult Poet receives a protection against evil witchcraft. All magical attacks against him are considered to come from a witch with 2 levels of magic lower. For example, Byron is attacked by a witch casting Soul Burn (PL6) with magic of 7. Quoting Macbeth, Byron causes the attack damage to be recalculated as if the witch’s magic level were 5. While this is lower than the PL of the spell the witch still casts, only damage is effected.



All's Well That Ends Well, Measure for Measure and Troilus and Cressida, each attempt to right some societal ill or wrong. Here the Bard struggles with wordcraft as an Occult Poet and wordcraft as a playright. Depending on how they are performed they do provide a positive benefit (usually Good Luck +1) to those in attendance.
Occult Poetry effects: When the appropriate passages are quoted, the Occult Poet receives a +1 bonus to his next roll within the next three hours.

Romeo and Juliet has had many purported occult properties. However many occult scholars and Shakespeare scholars report that so many changes have been made to it since Shakespeare’s death that the occult properties it once had may be lost.
Occult Poetry effects: For this tragedy of love the occult poet may contact the spirit of a lost loved one and speak to them. This effect though can only be performed at sunset.

His histories, King John, Richard II, Henry IV, etc, while mostly just good plays, have some occult properties for strengthening the monarchy and might of Albion.
Occult Poetry effects: When the appropriate passages are quoted, the Occult Poet receives a +1 bonus to his attacks and damage for the next three combat turns.

Titus Andronicus, one of the Bard’s bloodiest plays, speaks of death, combat and struggle.
Occult Poetry effects: When the appropriate passages are quoted, the Occult Poet receives a +3 bonus to his attacks and damage for the next single combat turn, but looses -1 to his dodge roll.

The love poems and sonnets of Shakespeare are the most quoted in the world. Lovers world wide have uttered his words in love and devotion thousands of times over.
Occult Poetry effects: Quoting Shakespeare’s love poems is believed to magically increase one’s Attractiveness or Charisma by +1 to anyone the Occult Poet fancies.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

D&D 4 Essentials today instead

So we had our "Little Kids" game today.  We had been playing Pathfinder with the boys, but the DM showed up with something else in mind.  He re-did all the Pathfinder characters using only D&D Essentials and we went through the adventure from the Red Box.  We had, as he described it, the D&D Essential experience.

It was awesome!

The boys picked up on the rules quickly, but they had all played 3.x, Pathfinder and D&D 4 before.  The characters were familiar to them all, that was also a plus. The tokens worked great, the maps are cool and the new Rules Compendium made looking things up a breeze.

We got through three encounters in about 4 hours, not too bad really.

Greg, the DM, and I are going to talk, but this might be the game we play with the boys. I still ahve our 3.x game to wrap-up and then start their 4.0 game.  Greg and I are still going to do Pathfinder for our "Big Kids" game, so this makes crossovers between the two groups more problematic, but not impossible.

Looking forward to more of this.  I am really, really enjoying the 4e Essentials stuff.

And yes, I played a Fey-Pact Warlock. Gotta stick to what works for me.

Pathfinder today

Have the "Little Kids" game today.  Playing Pathfinder and going to the Keep on the Borderlands (again).
I am actually playing, not running, this one.  Playing the new Pathfinder witch, which I like but it needs some tweaking to be perfect.

Now the biggest obstacle.   Getting my game room cleaned before the other players and the DM gets here. ;)

Friday, November 12, 2010

The Dragon and the Phoenix: Episode 12

Episode 12: No Other Troy

Yoln: You brought an army to stop me Slayer?
Buffy: No. I brought two.

- Willow and Tara: The Dragon and the Phoenix, Episode 12 “No Other Troy”



Episode 12: No Other Troy by ~WebWarlock on deviantART

Why should I blame her that she filled my days
With misery, or that she would of late
Have taught to ignorant men most violent ways,
Or hurled the little streets upon the great.
Had they but courage equal to desire?
What could have made her peaceful with a mind
That nobleness made simple as a fire,
With beauty like a tightened bow, a kind
That is not natural in an age like this,
Being high and solitary and most stern?
Why, what could she have done, being what she is?
Was there another Troy for her to burn?

- William Butler Yeats, No Second Troy

Oh, I love you
God, I love you
I'd kill a dragon for you
I'll die
But I will rise
And I will return
The Phoenix from the flame
I have learned
I will rise
And you'll see me return
Being what I am
There is no other Troy
For me to burn
- Sinéad O'Connor, Troy

No time, no date (Cast returns on May 19, 2003. Monday)

The cast leads an army of demons and an army of angels to Leviathan’s plane, but they discover it may require the death of one of their own to seal the portal forever. Release the souls of all the Slayer’s Leviathan has been feeding on for years. Buffy must defeat Yoln, but Willow and Tara must find a way to stop a God on his home realm.

Story Arc Elements: Willow and Tara are shown their pasts and futures by the Mouth of Leviathan, how everything they have done was constructed to bring them to this point to allow Leviathan to enter this realm. Leviathan had meant for Willow to be his instrument to be powerful enough to allow him to enter this realm. Tara was the factor he did not count on, her influence was turning Willow away from the path she was on to one more in balance with magic. Without Tara, Leviathan will enter the realm through Willow at anytime he chooses.

Game Mechanics:
Stats for various Slayers from the past. Dragons.
Soundtrack:
Sinead O’Connor “Drink Before the War” and "Troy".  Megadeth “A Tout Le Monde”, Sarah Maclachlan “Elsewhere”

Notes and Comments:
This is the big one. The finale. Designed to be both the series finale for “Buffy” and the start of a new spin-off series “Willow & Tara” and there is a lot going on.

Let’s start with the big stuff. The Cast comes through Dawn’s rift using the Spear as a guide. It takes them to a cave in an outcropping overlooking a valley. A valley filled with demons (40,000 to be exact), when they see Buffy they all begin to shout “Slayer! Slayer!” It was quite a visual.

The first act of course is to get a grip on this new demonic army. The leaders are the Mormo demons from before. The cast is also joined by a smaller, but no less effective, army of angels. Among them is Kara, who has taken Tara’s place in the armies of Heaven. In fact she has surpassed even Tara’s previous achievements. Once the cast can convince the demons and angels to fight together against the forces of Leviathan then the action begins.

For the battles I used the Army of Darkness mass combat rules with Buffy as the general, but I made sure everyone had a chance to shine.
Upon entering the realm of Leviathan the cast notices that their Con and Wills are being drained. So, we have a time limit here. Both Faith and Buffy know that the realm is draining the source of their power, though they can’t figure out why.

Dawn has to hold the portal open, so she is given a group of angels to protect her. Spike has the Hand of Yoln as a weapon and Buffy has the spear.
We spend some time battling the armies of Leviathan. His creatures combine the worse aspects of dragon, snake and demon, for lack of a better word I called them Draconians.

The cast enters Leviathan himself, anyone with a soul takes another hit to Will. Anyone without a soul is absorbed into the walls, floor, everything. Thus newly re-re-ensouled Anya and recently souled Spike are fine. Well, fine as can be. I struggled with this for a bit, do angels have souls? In the end I decided no, they have spirits like demons. So the angels that went in with the cast are lost. This is done for the obvious reasons; the cast needs to shine here, not the armies.

Buffy fights Yoln. Until next season she is the star and the big guy is going after her. Now I don’t know how many of you all use the Original Slayer in games, but she is one deadly character. I had to up Yoln to obscene levels just to deal with her. Faith and Spike are fighting at her sides (I am sure there is metaphor here, but I am not going there) and these three can quickly mow down (and did) most opponents. Spike gets his arm chopped of by Yoln (yeah I did that first too) and dumps the ash out of the glove and puts it back on.

“You think you came here to stop me and my lord. You can’t. Everything is in motion, everything had been planned before you were even born. This is not my defeat, this is my apotheosis. You are not heroes.
You are sacrifices.”
- Yoln, the Shadowreaper
Yoln becomes fully human again (or at least as human as he was before), he tells them it is a trap and the attack start anew. Yoln is stronger now, but can be killed. Buffy does kill him, which just starts the whole place to start exploding.

There is truth in Yoln’s quote since this was an adventure I had planned to do for AD&D 1st ed back in 1987. It took place during the same battle as the “flashback” from Episode 5. Then, as in now, the story focused on a battle with Yoln and his Master, then known only as “The Whispering God”, and two lovers; Morganne (the Slayer from episode 5) and a young swordsman. So this adventure had been in the works long before Buffy and crew were ever “born”. Yoln was then a demonic-human that became a death knight.

Anya and Xander meanwhile are off to discover the reason why their “souls” are being drained. They discover that the spirits all of the Slayers that have died before are stuck on Leviathan’s plane. Literally. They are stuck in the wall of the dead god’s flesh and are slowly being consumed. Anya and Xander work to free them while fighting lesser minions (giant white blood cell things). They manage to free some of the Slayers who can fight (but are still dead, but at least now they can move on) till Spike come running up telling them it is a trap.

Willow and Tara confront Leviathan “himself” in the form of The Mouth of Leviathan played by Malcolm McDowell at his evil best.

From the Mouth of Leviathan we learn Leviathan worked through Set and other gods and demons to get things done. He empowered Willow when she first gave Angel back his soul. Willow was supposed to be his instrument, a force strong enough to bring Leviathan into this world, then he would feed on Willow. In a way she was working like another one of my old AD&D influences (or rather my DM’s), Raven from the Teen Titans. Though Willow is not Leviathan’s daughter, he does need her to enter the world.

What Leviathan never worked into his plans was how much of an influence Tara was having. Tara was pulling Willow away from the self-destructive forms of witchcraft (Sorcery) and too the more “natural” Magic. At first he worked on Glory and her minions to redirect Glory to a vulnerable Tara, but that was short lived. The Mouth shows the girls thousands of alternate realities where they are together, but in each one Leviathan manages to kill Tara (or somehow turn Willow) and consume the world. So Leviathan through his agents stopped the bullet from hitting Willow and instead redirected to Tara. The various realities shown are all various fan-fictions of my playtesters and our friends on the Kitten Board. There are also scenes of various alternate versions of Willow and Tara. Lots of ones on their past lives, including one where they both die in Atlantis; a pair of Chinese sorceresses; Liath and Bodhmal from Episode 5 and “The Dark Druid” and others. There are also alternate versions of Tara, the Tara that really was part demon, the nature sprite Tara that Whedon talked about doing, vampire Tara, even the “original” plan for Tara to make her what the Amy character eventually became; the dark magic junkie. The outcome for any alternate though is the same, the destruction of the world.

The mouth offers Willow a choice now, they can leave together, all she needs to do is drain all of her’s and Tara’s magic into Dawn. Then Leviathan will enter the world via Dawn. They can then live on Faith’s old magic dead world. Of course everyone they know or love will die.
Now at this point we had planned to go in a bunch of different directions, but the winning one, the plan that made the most sense won out.

Standing on spires (really his spine) of Leviathan’s plane Willow and Tara see their friends running back to the portal, being perused by devilish, dragon monsters, the armies still fighting. They see torn and battered Slayers limping to attack Leviathan’s creatures, even though they stand no hope of even slowing them down. Meanwhile with Yoln’s death the conduit to the mortal realm is breaking up. Dawn is fighting to keep the portal open and the land (which is really Leviathan himself) is reacting violently with “earth quakes” and volcanoes. The Earth can be seen (blocking out the sun) and rising. The Mouth tells the girls that all Leviathan needs now is enter the world through the gate, either through Willow now or Dawn (since she is holding it open) and then drain his “hosts” magic to manifest fully.

Seeing the death and destruction they realize there is only one way to keep it from getting worse. Grabbing hands, they jump into the gapping maw of Leviathan’s plane. Yup. I went for the “Thelma and Louise” ending.
Now everything goes berserk. Demons are running amok, trying to get out of the place. Angels find they are fighting the hordes of Leviathan AND retreating demons, the land is throwing fits more than ever, and then silence.
From the maw that Willow and Tara threw themselves in comes the reborn Leviathan. He was “force feed” all of Willow’s and Tara’s combined magic. Given the Anamchara rules that is quite a bit. He now stands over 200 feet tall and getting taller by the second, seven heads and full of anger. There is no way he can go through the portal now, so he is going to settle for killing everyone and everything on his plane. Time for the cast to run.

Of course I gave them the chance to get to the portal. Leviathan is chasing them down, roaring in anger. Then I need to decide what I should do with the characters. Leviathan is not a stated out monster, he is pure plot device. But I want the surviving characters to well, survive. Yeah I really, really wanted to off Spike. I felt he was representative of everything that I considered wrong with the show. The plan was that he was going to take the remote detonator for his chip and wait till the armies got on top of him then he was going to blow his own head off. But Garner convinced me otherwise. Plus I was already working on “Season of the Witch” at this point and he never showed there, but I figured I’d need him later. I did in fact for a Ghosts of Albion/Buffy crossover. I wanted to make him into a ghost and said as much very early on, but he ended up being a ghost in Angel, so I figured I could do better than that. So his player and I agreed that Spike was going to buy the rest of the cast time. He stood and fought the on coming demons and draconians to keep them a little bit at bay. That way if I needed him back I could, or if I needed him evil again then I can say Leviathan had been whispering in his ear all this time, the same thing he did to Yoln. At this point anyway I was borrowing heavily from Charmed so Leviathan’s plan was the same as the Demonic Wasteland. There were plenty of powers laying around there for someone with the will to use them. Spike could have come back (and still might who knows) like Cole did in Charmed.

The remaining cast get through the portal. Beaten, broken, but alive. They leave the ruins of the High School (they are shot out of the Hellmouth) and Dawn says the mouth is closed completely.

Cut back to a grey void where Willow and Tara are. Luna, the Seraphim, returns and offers them a choice. They can go to Heaven together as their reward, or the Summerlands if they prefer, or they can be sent back to Earth. Tara will loose some of her divine power she had before (the aura around her that induced fear in demons), but they will let her keep the ability to heal by touch.

They come back and we wrap up the game. Scenes of Xander’s and Anya’s wedding (this time a small private ceremony), Giles ends up catching the bouquet. Buffy’s martial arts class is still a big hit, we see her going on dates with Tony, the cop from Episodes 6 and 7. There are a few demons left in town, but most have cleared off. The last scene is Willow and Tara enjoying themselves (not like that!) at home. I don’t have it my notes, but they talked about how their lives are theirs to do with as they please. At that point Dawn comes in to tell Tara the phone is for her, it is her brother.

Covers
This may be one of my most favorite cover of the series. The idea was to only going to get Willow and Tara fans to write the episodes, play test and do the covers, and in particular only members of the Kitten Board. This one was done by Chris Cook who runs a website devoted to Willow and Tara in every universe. Called “Through the Looking Glass” it has tons of art, stories, and even games for the Willow and Tara fan base. The premise really mirrors that of this episode. I showed the multiverse where Willow and Tara are together in every reality. I also showed that in realities that they are not together are doomed to destruction. Chris shows us the realities where they are together. Have a look, http://www.uberwillowtara.com/ there is even some Dragon and the Phoenix art there as well. The various realities are all from various W/T fan fiction.  The sources for them were stories from the Kitten Board, Different Color Pens fiction board and the old Willow and Tara fiction site, Extra Flamey.


And of note. This is my 100th post tagged "witch".

Next time, DS al Coda.
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