"Go to the sign of Harvel's Axe, a dubious inn on the edge of the Thieves Quarter, in the City of Greyhawk, and look to your own wrist. If you perceive a bracelet and dangling dice, watch for the next throw in the war between Law and Chaos and be prepared to follow the compelling geas." -Signal

Saturday, July 9, 2011

The Quintessential Witch D20, Death Curse

As I may have mentioned previously my long term character has been a thief  but if I had to pick a character I have always had the most interest in  playing it would be the witch. It was Dragon #43 and then again #114 that  presented us with the witch class. After the first I was intrigued and then  after the latter I was sold on the want to play a witch.

The Quintessential series to me has always been a little too much in the  power gaming camp for me to get fully behind. They are the 3.x or D20 answer  to the second edition splat books which I also have not always liked for what  they did to groups. Still as with most gaming products I can find useful  stuff to mine and so I buy them.

The Witch offering in the series was most likely the first of these that I  actively made a point of buying. The books presentation is well done and it  offers enough information that could be used elsewhere be it in gaming or  writing that I would never feel bad about having bought it.

The first real section covers most of what would be the stuff that would go  under the class portion if this were being included in a core rule book. It  also offers us background information on the witch history and also how they  fit into society. The game statistic portion covers the advancement table,  their spells and their features and allowable feats (it is 3.x after all).

The next two section are the Character Concept section and then the Prestige  Witch. I combine the two because are so intertwined it is hard to separate  them. These two sections cover over twenty pages of the book. I find them  both equally interesting but the prestige section takes it to that next level  that I guess is the core reason I most likely will never be a 3.x fan. I can  understand adding some abilities bu changing the core hit dice or granting  bonus spells at certain levels reeks of munchkin.

Tricks of the Trade is the next section and it offers some good information  on skills that a witch might have that help off set them from the rest of  society. This gives information on alchemy, craft (ceremonial items),  divination skill, herbalism and fortune telling. The information on fortune  telling is the most complete portion of this area. It offers advise on  implementing it as a game mechanic and then quite a bit of information on the  Tarot functionality itself.

The Witch Feats section presents a rather lengthy list of options feats that  the Witch can take. Some of these are better than others and might go as far  to again overpower the character. Many of these though are things that were  presented in the Dragon Magazine offerings though so I can't criticize too  much. Some are things that I would have thought would have been included in  the concepts section though. Still it allows some level of uniqueness t the  character.

Tools of the Trade, why it was not a chapter earlier though, is next. This  may be the best section for use in other games that is in the book. The  first, dealing with herbs, portion occupies most of the pages in the section.  The old Bard Games "The Complete Alchemist" is still better but as far as  herbs but this is a close second from what I can recall. This presents herbs  though as items the witch consumes bringing it closer to potions. I see a  huge role playing option here where the witch grows dependent on specific  herbs which offers the GM a means to direct the adventure somewhat. The  mundane items section is nice but could have been expanded upon to make it  stand out as being memorable.

The Book of Shadows section covers spells that are new to the witch class as  presented in this book. There are few lower level spells presented here and  these offer some ideas that could offer some role playing opportunities.  There are a few more mid-range spells than lower and these were in range with  what I would call level appropriate. The vast majority of the spells are in  the seven, eight and ninth level area. They a very powerful spells they  might be a little too powerful even for the levels they are at but then I  have written some crazy powerful spells to present to you myself.

The next section Rites and Ceremonies covers the social nature of the witch.  This deals mainly with the witches casting with her coven but it can involve  other witch. The Rituals are more powerful than ceremonies and address item  creation and spell heightening of which the latter is the most interesting  and could be role played or used as a plot hook to prevent or assist with.  The ceremonies are not to be taken lightly though. Many of these will have  great role playing potential but minimal game effect. Others that are  powerful and should be used sparingly. All of these have a coven number  requirement, casting times in hours and a minimum level requirement for the  witch leading the ceremony.

The Magic Items section covers items that a witch with the right abilities,  experience level and materials can create. The witch can begin doing this at  low level but with only minor items. The witch has the ability to create  items from almost any type of magic items range except for perhaps armor.  Many of the items presented here could be added as items character could find  even if the witch is not sued as a class. This is an area of the book that I  will mine one day.

Places of Power address Ley Lines which are magical paths that connect places  of significant magical energies and Places of Power which area areas that  will allow the witch create sites that will have special abilities affecting  casting. Both of these could be used even if the witch is not. the idea of Ley  Lines goes back through a number of systems and this could be used for any  casting class. In game terms here it affects the witch by adding two levels  to earth based magics. I would expand on that myself but I will leave that  for another time.  The places section details how the witch with the right  abilities can create magical areas that can be enchanted to add special  magical effect. Each ability requires one to three slots and each area can  only contain three slots worth of powers.

Seasonal Magic address one of what I would consider the core features of the  witch. That being magic that is modified based on the moon, the seasons and  the effect of the special days of the year such as the equinoxes and the  solstices. These all add differing levels of bonuses to the caster based on  what the moon phase is and how close it is to one of their special holy days.  I like this concept but think that a reverse needs to be added to balance it  out. For the Sabbats there is an effect that only applies for that day and  then an effect that they will always have until the next sabbat.

The last section deals with covens. It starts by explaining the basics of a  coven then it deals with the benefits of the witch belonging to a coven. It  also provides information on how a witch can create their own coven. It also  address the High Secret Order as a special coven. Finally it addresses the  creation of a Cowan which is a special guardian of the coven.

The book in total is 132 pages. The final sixteen are filled with an index  which is always useful and a special four page character record for the witch.  The most useful part is a Rules Summary that provides a concise section on  important rules for the witch.

The book is good and almost good enough to make me want to be a fan of  3.x/D20 but like I said almost good enough. It is full of interesting material  and stuff that can be used in any gaming system or as a foundation for a  witch specific game. One item of note is the art in the book. It is good in  many places but it alos contains a lot of topless females. Not a bad thing  for many but it may attract attention so it is probably NSFW. 


Spell:

Death Curse


Level: Seventh
Range: None
Duration: One Day
Ares Effect: Caster
Components: V
Casting Time: One Round
Saving Throw: None

By means of the spell the magic user accomplished two goals. The spell will grant the caster some minor protection against dying. If the protection fails and the caster were to die it will affect the person or creature causing this with a curse that will given enough time let the caster have their revenge.

This spell can be cast at anytime during the day but is most useful cast as soon as the new spells are memorized. The protection portion of the spell will grant the caster one of two options to chose from. the first is a bonus of +2 to all saving throws. The second is a plus +1 to all saves and the ability to reroll any save once. If the option to re-roll is taken the +1 is lost for the rest of the day but the other revenge potion remains in effect.

The revenge potion of the spell will not have any immediate indication that it has occurred other than perhaps a cinematic quote by the caster if they choose (insert Khan quote here). The person or creature that directly caused the death of the caster will be affected by a long term wasting curse. They will permanently lose one hit point per day and one point of constitution per week. This will continue until such time as they reach zero hit points or their constitution drops below three.

To remove this effect the victim has three options. The first is to find the casters body and arrange or perform an effective raise dead (or resurrection if raise dead can not be used on the caster). The second is to have a Remove Curse spell cast on them by a cleric of a deity favored by the caster of no less than the level of the caster (this should be role played to the highest level as the cleric doing so is in peril of losing favor with the deity). Finally the effect can be removed through use of a wish or limited wish.

This spell can have an unexpected drawback and the caster may want to warn compatriots of the spell. The spell will affect anyone that causes the death even if an accident. As an example a thief triggering a trap that causes the death of the caster will be the recipient of the curse.

Disclaimer: The spells that you will see, for how ever long the write ups last, were all written up or conceived of back in the 80's so the terminology may not appropriate for anything other than 1e and depending on how well I did back then it may be slightly off for that as well. If there is any duplication of spells that exist now it is most likely I wrote mine first :) Please feel free to comment on them but try not to be too hard on me. If anyone wishes to use these in anything they print please let me know in advance and all I ask is proper credit.

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