Ulisses Spiele
Browse Categories











Back
pixel_trans.gif
Other comments left by this customer:
You must be logged in to rate this
pixel_trans.gif
Mysteries of the Dead Side: Sacred Necromancer
Publisher: Zombie Sky Press
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 11/30/2022 10:18:38

Originally posted here: https://theotherside.timsbrannan.com/2018/09/class-struggles-necromancer-part-2.html

This book is presented in landscape orientation for easier screen reading. We are given a 20-level base class for Pathfinder with six "Callings" (sub-types). I have to admit this got may attention since my cabal of evil necromancers is called "The Order of Six" so I could restat them as one of each type here. No new spells, but there is a fully...fleshed out...NPC.

For just under $4 it is worth it.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Mysteries of the Dead Side: Sacred Necromancer
Click to show product description

Add to Ulisses Spiele Order

pixel_trans.gif
New Paths 7: Expanded White Necromancer (Pathfinder RPG)
Publisher: Kobold Press
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 11/30/2022 10:18:33

Originally posted here: https://theotherside.timsbrannan.com/2018/09/class-struggles-necromancer-part-2.html

This 17-page book gives a new perspective a, GOOD necromancer that protects the dead. I like the idea, to be honest. It comes with a complete 20-level base class and six new spells. There are also feats and stats for various undead companions. It makes for a great companion piece and counterpoint to the 3.x Death Master from Dragon Compendium Volume 1.

For just under $3 it is a great buy for anyone that wants something a little different or for that GM whoes player keeps begging to play a necromancer.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
New Paths 7: Expanded White Necromancer (Pathfinder RPG)
Click to show product description

Add to Ulisses Spiele Order

pixel_trans.gif
Old-School Essentials: The Necromancer
Publisher: Necrotic Gnome
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 11/30/2022 10:18:27

Originally posted here: https://theotherside.timsbrannan.com/2018/09/class-struggles-necromancer-part-2.html

One of the newest necromancers on the block and designed specifically for Old School Essentials. This is designated as "Play Test Material" but it really is ready to go. There have been necromancers for OSE before and there is at least one necromancer for other B/X-Basic games written by Gavin Norman already. Here the Necromancer is a subclass of the Magic-user, as would be expected, and some notes are given about using these new spells for the magic-user. But thematically they fit with the necromancer much better. The new spells are from 1st to 6th level and there are 12 of each. I see why there are twelve of each; to fit the style and layout of what Gavin does with his OSE games. But I would have been tempted to make it a nice 13 per level myself.

The spells are good and fit well. Some we have seen in other forms and formats over the past few years, but that does not detract from this book at all. Do you want a great OSE necromancer? Well, here it is. The format used here could be adopted for all sorts of other magic-user type classes or subclasses like the Illusionist or Enchanter for example.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Old-School Essentials: The Necromancer
Click to show product description

Add to Ulisses Spiele Order

pixel_trans.gif
Shadow of the Necromancer 1E
Publisher: Dark Wizard Games
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 11/30/2022 10:18:20

Originally posted here: https://theotherside.timsbrannan.com/2018/09/class-struggles-necromancer-part-2.html

This is a short adventure for 1st to 3rd-level characters. And most importantly (to me) it comes in both Old-School/1st Edition and 5th Edition D&D versions! The adventure comes with a map, in beautiful old-school blue for the 1st ed version and full color for the 5th edition version. The module itself is 16 pages (one page for title and credits, one page for OGL , one page blank). The adventure is a simple "strange things are going on! The PCs must investigate!" situation. It turns into "stop the minion of the Necromancer from finishing his evil plans." It's tried and true and it works fine here. The adventure, as with many of the Darl Wizard/Maximum Mayhem Dungeons, is a deadly affair. Not as deadly as the Hanging Coffins of the Vampire Queen, but it is not a walk in the graveyard either. It is a fun romp and really captures the feel of old-school playing. Both versions are great and I can keep the 1st-ed version for myself and give the 5th-ed version to my kids to run.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Shadow of the Necromancer 1E
Click to show product description

Add to Ulisses Spiele Order

pixel_trans.gif
Shadow of the Necromancer 5E
Publisher: Dark Wizard Games
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 11/30/2022 10:18:01

Originally posted here: https://theotherside.timsbrannan.com/2018/09/class-struggles-necromancer-part-2.html

This is a short adventure for 1st to 3rd-level characters. And most importantly (to me) it comes in both Old-School/1st Edition and 5th Edition D&D versions! The adventure comes with a map, in beautiful old-school blue for the 1st ed version and full color for the 5th edition version. The module itself is 16 pages (one page for title and credits, one page for OGL , one page blank). The adventure is a simple "strange things are going on! The PCs must investigate!" situation. It turns into "stop the minion of the Necromancer from finishing his evil plans." It's tried and true and it works fine here. The adventure, as with many of the Darl Wizard/Maximum Mayhem Dungeons, is a deadly affair. Not as deadly as the Hanging Coffins of the Vampire Queen, but it is not a walk in the graveyard either. It is a fun romp and really captures the feel of old-school playing. Both versions are great and I can keep the 1st-ed version for myself and give the 5th-ed version to my kids to run.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Shadow of the Necromancer 5E
Click to show product description

Add to Ulisses Spiele Order

pixel_trans.gif
Old-School Essentials Purist Character Sheet
Publisher: Necrotic Gnome
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 11/01/2022 14:55:35

You always need more character sheets and with Old-School Essentials you have a few options. This sheet follows the design philosophy of OSE. Make it functional, make it simple and make it work.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Old-School Essentials Purist Character Sheet
Click to show product description

Add to Ulisses Spiele Order

pixel_trans.gif
Old-School Essentials Vagabond Character Sheet
Publisher: Necrotic Gnome
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 11/01/2022 14:55:20

You always need more character sheets and with Old-School Essentials you have a few options. This sheet follows the design philosophy of OSE. Make it functional, make it simple and make it work.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Old-School Essentials Vagabond Character Sheet
Click to show product description

Add to Ulisses Spiele Order

pixel_trans.gif
Witch: Fated Souls 2e Quickstart
Publisher: Angry Hamster Publishing
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 11/01/2022 13:24:21

Orignially posted here: https://theotherside.timsbrannan.com/2022/10/100-days-of-halloween-witch-fated-souls.html

Witch: Fated Souls Second Edition

I have been a fan of Witch: Fated Souls and Elizabeth Chaipraditkul for a while now. I even got her to the foreword for my own The Green Witch for Swords & Wizardry book.

So for this Halloween day, I give you Witch: Fated Souls Second Edition, Quickstart, AND the Witch: Fated Souls Second Edition, Kickstarter.

Quickstart

PDF. 36 pages. Full-color cover and interior art.

Design & Development: Elizabeth Chaipraditkul & Steffie de Vaan

This quick start covers the basic rules of Witch: Fated Souls Second Edition and includes a quick adventure to play.

Like the 1st Edition, Witch: FS2 deals with people (Witches or "The Fated") who sell their souls for power in the modern world. The different sorts of "demons" these characters sell their souls to will determine what sorts of power they will get and how they interact with the world, or their "Fates".

Pausing for a second I can see already improvements in gameplay, readability, and layout of this Quickstart over the original Witch: FS1.

Characters now have nine abilities, not eight, and are grouped by Mind, Body, and Spirit with three sub-attributes each. These are all explained and how they are used in the QS. Checks are also explained. The new mechanics are based on Elizabeth Chaipraditkul and Steffie de Vaan's other game Afterlife: Wandering Souls. This opens up a whole level of play if you have both games. But I am going to wait on that one.

We have a section on magic and knowing Witch: FS1 there is going to be a lot more in Witch: FS2.

There is even some detail on advancement. So really, as far as characters go you have enough here to keep you busy until the Second Edition Kickstarter is done.

Demons are covered in their own section and they are the most interesting and likely complicated thing in this game. Complicated that is in how to run them and interact with their Fated.

The last half of the quickstart covers the included sample adventure, "The Devil Made Me Do It."

There are included NPCs, similar to the ones that appear in Witch: FS1 and using the same art; which is great for returning players helping them get acclimated to the new system. It is recommended you use these characters to aid you in learning the game.

The Fated

If the full product is anything like this Quickstart then we are in for a treat!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Witch: Fated Souls 2e Quickstart
Click to show product description

Add to Ulisses Spiele Order

pixel_trans.gif
Open Grave: Secrets of the Undead (4e)
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 10/31/2022 12:25:48

Originally posted here: https://theotherside.timsbrannan.com/2022/10/monstrous-mondays-d-undead.html

Ghosts. Vampires. The Undead. These are the monsters that got me into D&D from the start. Yes it was fun to see all the monsters of mythology here, but I didn't want to be Perseus or Heracles, I wanted to be Van Helsing (I ended up as Dr. Seward, and that is fine).

So it is to the undead that my monster-hunting eye has always turned. This has been true for every edition of D&D I have played. Second Edition AD&D had Ravenloft and The Complete Book of Necromancers. Fourth Edition has had today's subject.

Open Grave: Secrets of the Undead (4e)

PDF and Hardcover. 224 pages. Full-color cover and interior art. For this review, I am considering both the PDF from DriveThruRPG and my hard-cover book.

This book has a solid pedigree. First off one of the authors of this, Bruce R. Cordell, was also one of the authors of Libris Mortis: The Book of Undead. He was also one of main designers of the epic HPE series of Orcus-focused adventures for 4e. This means to me at least that if you are running the HPE series and using undead (and of course you are) then this book is a must-buy. There are more details in this book that make it a great book on D&D Undead, but I will get to those in due time.

Chapter 1: Undead Lore

This book starts much like it's 3.5 Edition counterpart. This chapter covers the hows, whats, and whys of undead. There are sections on physiology, outlook, and psychology, as well as society. These sections are very similar to the 3.5 edition, which makes sense, with the addition of edition specific details.

For my point of view, the two books (Open Grave and Libris Mortis) both compliment and complete each other. Together they are not the final words on Undead, but they cover quite a lot.

The section that is newest here is the one on Shadowfell (and thus why it is a great resource for the HPE adventures).

There are few undead monster stat blocks featured here as well.

Chapter 2: DM's Guide to Undead

This covers DM's rules. In particular there are skill challenges, how to handle hauntings, and building undead into campaigns. This section in particular is good advice to any DM of any edition wanting to use undead in their games.

There are also some artifacts detailed here including the Mask and Sword of Kas, the Soul Sword, the Von Zarovich family sword, and more. Like 3.5 there are even some undead grafts.

New rituals are also detailed. Something I felt D&D 4e never had enough of.

Chapter 3: Undead Lairs

Location-based encounters were a big deal in 4e. This covers ones with an undead flavor to them for Heroic, Paragon, and Epic level tiers. Three of each are featured with character levels from 1st to 26th. As with all 4e encounter listings, there are plenty of quasi-unique monsters here. Sometimes they are new, and often they are just an edit on an existing creature.

Chapter 4: New Monsters

Ah, here is what we want! There are more than just undead here, there are the "unliving" as well; monsters that have cheated death but are not undead themselves. There are 122 statblocks of monsters here. These included variations on the Ghoul, Lich, Mummy, Skeleton, Vampire, and Zombie. There are new creatures including undead constructs and oozes. Our old friend the Brain in the Jar from Ravenloft is also back. So many of these are at least familiar to me and some are new.

Undead Hall of Infamy

This flows from the Chapter 4 material and is nominally part of Chapter 4, it is its own section. Here we get some stats for some of the biggest undead names in D&D history. They include Acererak, Ctenmiir the Cursed (from White Plume Mountain), Kas the Betrayer, Kyuss, Osterneth the Bronze Lich (a new NPC but has the relic, the Heart of Vecna), Strahd von Zarovich, and Vecna himself.

Templates

Also part of Chapter 4 these are templates for undead creatures.

Alternative Powers

Undead should be unique, so these are alternate power for various undead that replaces one or more of the powers they have listed.

The utility of this book to the 4e DM can not be overstated. Especially if you are running the HPE adventures or dealing with any undead.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Open Grave: Secrets of the Undead (4e)
Click to show product description

Add to Ulisses Spiele Order

pixel_trans.gif
Libris Mortis: The Book of Undead (3.5)
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 10/31/2022 12:24:42

Originally posted here: https://theotherside.timsbrannan.com/2022/10/monstrous-mondays-d-undead.html

Ghosts. Vampires. The Undead. These are the monsters that got me into D&D from the start. Yes it was fun to see all the monsters of mythology here, but I didn't want to be Perseus or Heracles, I wanted to be Van Helsing (I ended up as Dr. Seward, and that is fine).

So it is to the undead that my monster-hunting eye has always turned. This has been true for every edition of D&D I have played. Second Edition AD&D had Ravenloft and The Complete Book of Necromancers. Third Edition has had today's subject.

Libris Mortis: The Book of Undead (3.5)

PDF and Hardcover. 192 pages. Full-color cover and interior art. For this review, I am considering both the PDF from DriveThruRPG and my hard-cover book.

Libris Mortis was the undead book for 3.5. Undead were covered in the Book of Vile Darkness for 3.0 and here they get more attention and more details.

Introduction

Tells us all about this book and the basics of the Undead and undeath.

Chapter 1: All About Undead

Gets into the detail of the undead including how they manifest; largely along the traditional Corporeal/Incorpeal lines. Undead physiology and details like metabolism and feeding are covered. There is a useful table of various undead monsters and whether or not they feed, what they feed on, and whether it is needed or just desired. This also covers their senses which can be very different than the living stock they came from. All Undead have Darkvision 60' for example, but their sense of touch is limited.

Also, undead psychology is covered. Namely, how does one deal with being nearly immortal and never changing? There is a bit on undead religion including some gods (in 3.x format) of the Undead. Some of these we have seen before or have seen mentions of. Doresain the King of Ghouls, Nerull the Reaper, and our good friend Orcus are all mentioned here.

Though one of my favorite sections is the Fighting Undead section which covers weaknesses and tactics that can be used in fighting the undead. Much like Professor Hieronymus Grost informs us in Captain Kronos – Vampire Hunter, all undead (not just vampires) have a means to their destruction. This section should make the undead scarier than other monsters. Orcs and Dragons die the same way. You reduce their HP enough with weapons and they will die. Not always so with Undead.

Chapter 2: Character Options

This is a 3.5 book so there are going to be character options. These start with the feats. They are split between undead-friendly feats and undead-hunting feats.

Building off of the Savage Species there are rules for Undead Characters. This includes level adjustments for undead characters. Not every group will want undead characters, but these rules do help. There are even some Monster Classes. Of course, the best use of these is to make unique undead NPCs to threaten characters with.

Chapter 3: Prestige Classes

3.x was all about the prestige classes. And there are several here that I found a lot of fun. There are Death's Chosen (high level lieutenants for the undead), Dirge Singer (a fun bard idea), Master of Radiance (one my Paladin went into), Master of Shrouds (their evil counterpart), Pale Master (Prestige Divine Necromancer), Sacred Purifier (another good undead fighting class), True Necromancer (Prestige Arcane AND Divine Necromancer). The True Necromancer advances in both Divine and Arcane spellcasting classes and gets special powers. It is also an odd Prestige Class in that it has 14 levels. Obviously to give the maximum effect of taking three levels in a divine class (need Knowledge Religion 8 ranks, cast summon undead II) and three levels in an arcane class (need Knowledge Arcan 8 ranks, cast command undead). I also can't help but think this is an obvious nod to the Death Master.

There are also Undead Prestige Classes such as Lurking Terror, Master Vampire, and the Tomb Warden.

At this point, I could run a 3.5 campaign and battle only undead and never run out of combinations and permutations of monster, class, feat, and prestige class combinations.

Chapter 4: Spells

Covers spells for Assassins, Blackguards, Clerics, Druids, Paladins, and Sorcerer/Wizards. There are many here that are new. I'd have to go line by line to see how many came from the Complete Book of Necromancers.

Chapter 5: Equipment

A shorter chapter that covers new equipment. There are alchemical substances, toxins, poisons as well as undead grafts and magic items.

Chapter 6: New Monsters

Nearly 50 new monsters here and only a few seem to come from previous versions of D&D. The Brain in a Jar stands out as a previous one, but the rest are new.

I never get tired of new monsters, especially undead ones.

Chapter 7: Campaigns

This covers the last quarter or so of the book. It covers how to use undead in various roles including using them in encounters. There is also a great section on variant undead. I believe that all undead should be unique in some fashion, often relating to how they lived or died (see "A Christmas Carol"). Only a few examples are given, but they can be extended to all sorts of undead.

There are various cults here that can be used anywhere and in any version of D&D. There are also adventure sites and seeds which can also be dropped anywhere but require some minor conversion for other versions of the game.

This is one of those books I keep coming back to for more ideas. Yes I have been using the undead in my own games for more than 40 years now, but there is something else to do, something else to learn, and more to the point, more monsters to fight.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Libris Mortis: The Book of Undead (3.5)
Click to show product description

Add to Ulisses Spiele Order

pixel_trans.gif
World of the Witch 4E
Publisher: Sage of Sorcery Productions
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 10/28/2022 12:05:24

Originally posted here: https://theotherside.timsbrannan.com/2022/10/100-days-of-halloween-world-of-witch-4e.html

Moving up to D&D 4e now (I have pretty much-covered everything for 3e), I get to one of the stand-alone Witch Classes. How is it and how does it compare to the Witch in Player's Option: Heroes of the Feywild?

World of the Witch 4E

PDF. 105 pages. Full-color cover and interior art.

I would call this book a "full service" D&D 4e book. It was published well after 4e was done as a line so it has the advantage of a long development time. It also can incorporate the best of what 4e had to offer.

To start we have seven character themes; the Black Cloak of Vanuna, Cat Sister/Brother, Cauldron Adept, Maleicar, Sea Witch, Temptress/Tempter, and the Witch Priestess. Each gaining some sort of mechanical and roleplaying benefits.

Witch Class

Next, we get to the Witch Class. This is not a subtype of the Wizard like we see in Heroes of the Feywild, but their own class. There is even a nice sidebar about Witches vs. Warlocks. For this witch the abilities are Charisma, Constitution, and Wisdom, so exactly like I would suspect.

There are four archetypes, here known as covens. They are the Hag Witch (combat ready), Karmic Witch (reactor), Primeval Witch, and White Witch. Each gets a feature or power.

All witches get the Bewitch feature at 1st level as well as the Ritual Caster feat.

As with all 4e books, we get a long listing of the various at-will, encounter, daily and utility powers they get. A lot of these look really fun. Makes me miss 4e.

Paragon Paths

At 11th level you can choose a Paragon Path with gives you access to other magic. These are the Night Hag, Black Witch, Pact Witch (you have to be a Witch AND a Warlock), and Shaper. There is some text on other published Paragon Paths.

Note: There is no Epic Destiny here.

New Feats

While not as bad as 3e in terms of feats, 4e still has more than 5e does. But that is fine, I like feats to be honest.

Tools of the Trade

lots of mundane and magical tools for the witch.

Lore & Locations

This covers covens, people, places, and things. This book also has a Daughters of Darkness coven! I suppose that should not be a surprise really. Lots of variety here and that is nice.

There are some NPCs here including a goddess-like figure and some powerful witches.

The Witch Kingdom of Amarath

Now, this has my attention. It was a kingdom for and by witches and ruled over by three Witch Queens. There is not a lot here, but for me, it is worth the price of the PDF.

Witch Adventures

There is a table of 50 plot hooks followed by a section on more developed ideas for a campaign.

There are even new monsters and NPCs listed.

All things considered, I rather like it all. There are a lot of good ideas here and the powers feel about right. I am a bit removed from 4e nowadays, but this makes me want to play it some more.

Compared to the Player's Option: Heroes of the Feywild witch this one has certain benefits. For me, I might combine them and play them all as one class. I would certainly grab the Witch Queen Epic destiny to use here.

The art is fine, but all over the place in terms of quality. I don't fault them for that really. Many I recognize and have used myself, to be honest.

There is no POD option for this and I am going to take that as a plus. Why? Well, I mentioned the modularity of the 4e material before, well I can take this, print the pages I want, and build my own 4e witch book to use. Combine it with other 4e material I have and I can have the ultimate 4e witch. And this book serves as the base for all of that.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
World of the Witch 4E
Click to show product description

Add to Ulisses Spiele Order

pixel_trans.gif
Worm Witch: The Life and Death of Belinda Blood
Publisher: Knight Owl Publishing
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 10/27/2022 14:37:18

Originally posted here: https://theotherside.timsbrannan.com/2022/09/100-days-of-halloween-worm-witch-life.html

Worm Witch: The Life and Death of Belinda Blood

PDF. 73 pages. Color cover, black & white interior art.

This book is a sequel and elaboration on The Chaos Gods Come to Meatlandia. I don't know much about that other product save that it seems to be a wild "anything goes" sort of setting. This has a similar feel.

This product includes both the Worm Witch and Worm Warden, classes. Witches and Wardens are classes I have also explored in my various book so I am quite excited to see these.

The Worm Warden is like a paladin, ranger, or guardian for the witch cult. They are fighter types. Their primes are Strength and Charisma.

The Worm Witch is a witch class and it shares many similarities with other witch classes. This is largely due to books we all read and the various means we all use to make classes. Personally, I find this great. The Worm Witch could fit in well with all the witches I have played and still have enough unique features to make her special. What makes her special of course is her connection to worms. Even the worm witch's special abilities could be mapped on to my Occult Powers.

Both the Warden and the Witch share a secret language.

The Worm Witch also gains witch spells. And there are some great ones here. There is the expected ones like Animal Friendship and Charm Animal, and some really interesting ones like Infect with Worms, Mass of Maggots, Wave of Worms, and more. Yeah, they do pretty much what you expect.

This is all about one-third of the book. And this was all then I would be really happy. I am glad someone wrote this book. This is a needed sort of witch that I would not likely write. Ok. I would have never done this one. Worms are great for my wife's garden, and that is about all the use I have for them. So kudos to Wind Lothamer and Ahimsa Kerp for doing this.

We still have the rest of the book.

Belinda Blood The next section covers the land of Annalida, a land near Meatlandia. This is another third of the book and it is interesting, but I have no context for it. Still, the Witch Wood is very cool. The last third (or so) covers the monsters of the land, which as you can imagine, is full of worms.

The NPC witch, Belinda Blood, is also presented. She was a very powerful Worm Witch and could fit the bill as a Witch Queen for my War of the Witch Queen Campaign. It is also all written for Old School Essentials so that is another good fit. Alive or dead she would be a great Witch Queen.

As I mentioned this book is written for OSE and fits well.

So I bought this hoping for a class and a few new spells. I got that. I also got another class, a campaign setting, some monsters, AND a new Witch Queen to add to my Old-School Essentials campaign.

That's pretty nice if you ask me.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Worm Witch: The Life and Death of Belinda Blood
Click to show product description

Add to Ulisses Spiele Order

pixel_trans.gif
FOR6 The Seven Sisters (2e)
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 10/27/2022 10:15:43

Originally posted here: https://theotherside.timsbrannan.com/2022/10/100-days-of-halloween-seven-sisters.html

I have had a long and complicated relationship with the Forgotten Realms. They came out while I was getting ready for University. I had my first interactions with the setting were with its fans online. In those days it would have been LISTSERVs on BitNet or on Usenet. I have to admit. The fans annoyed me. Plus I was a Greyhawk and Known World fan, how dare this upstart world displace those?
Then a few things happened. First I picked the 3rd Edition Forgotten Realms guide. I thought it was great. Secondly, I got the Dragon Magazine CD-ROM and I went back and reread some of the old articles and realized the depth Ed Greenwood contributed to everything in D&D since, well the beginning. Slowly I began to see how rich the Realms were. And yes. Just like those fans that annoyed me so, I began to really like the characters of the Realms.

Case in point. I really, really enjoy the Seven Sisters and The Simbul in particular. So for today's 100 Days of Halloween, I wanted to talk about these seven extraordinary women, of which two of them are called witches.

FOR6 The Seven Sisters (2e)

PDF and softcover book. 128 pages. Color cover, black & white art.

This book covers the Seven Sisters, the Chosen of Mystra; Alustriel, Dove Falconhand, Laeral Silverhand, The Simbul, Storm Silverhand, Syluné, and Qilué Veladorn.

Before delving into this book one thing is certain, Ed Greenwood loves these characters. He talks about them in the pages of Dragon magazine, his books, and all his writings. He knows them and loves them and it shows. This is something I keep in mind while reading this.

This book and these characters are an obvious nod to something that has been described as one of the oldest stories in the world, The Seven Sisters or the Pleiades star cluster near the Belt of Orion. We call them "the Seven Sisters" but today we only can see six with the naked eye. This is because 100,000 years ago we could see a seventh star. This seventh is sometimes called the Lost Sister. Why mention this, well it is obvious when you get into this that Ed, as usual, did his homework before class.

Introduction

This section details what this book is and how to use it. There is even some background fluff. Ed even says we can take these "powerful characters that can easily be renamed and fiddled with for use in other campaigns." I am holding on to that.

Who are the Seven Sisters?

This is an overview of the Seven going through them all very briefly. Only six are mentioned here and the Seventh...well that is our missing sister and she will be detailed soon enough.

The Story of the Seven

We get an overview not just of the Seven and how they came to be but the nature of the Chosen, in particular the Chosen of Mystra. They all are the children of a ranger and Harper named Dornal Silverhand and Elué Shundar a half-elf sorceress who agreed to be the host of Mystra's spirit and power. Soon seven girls were born in the winter of each following year. Anastra Syluné, (761 DR), Endue Alustriel (762 DR), Ambara Dove (763 DR); Ethena Astorma "Storm" (764 DR), Anamanué Laeral (765 DR), Alassra Shentrantra "The Simbul" (766 DR), and Erésseae Qilué (767 DR). Though being the host of such magical power Elué was withering away and was little more than a lich while she was pregnant with Qilué. So Mystra transplanted the unborn baby into the womb of a nearby drow adventuress whose own unborn child had died in her womb. Elué died and Dornal, disgusted with what the Goddess had done went out to seek his own death leaving the six girls in the care of Mystra herself.

I would go into more detail here, but that is retelling the story already here.

Powers of the Chosen

Now here is the chapter on how I discovered this book. I was looking for some details on the Chosen of Mystra. There are a lot of powers granted to those favored by the gods.

The Seven

Each chapter that follows is named for one of the Seven. They are in order, Alustriel, Dove Falconhand, Laeral Silverhand, The Simbul, Storm Silverhand, Syluné, and Qilué Veladorn.

There is some history, backstory, some fiction, their true name, and more. A stat block is given for each, and make no mistake these are powerful characters. Each chapter lists her powers, what people think of her, what angers her, what pleases her, and what she can be expected to be doing. There is also black & white art of each sister. The only time I have seen them all together and in color is the cover (promotional images) for the novel Silverfall.

The fiction bits are fine, though I will note that the piece accompanying The Simbul's chapter is the same as the Pages of the Mages book and "The Wizards Three" from Dragon #200, December 1993. So yeah this is the third time I have read it, but I don't care. I love the fact that there are the three most powerful mages of three different worlds and they all fear Her.

It would be natural for me to say that this sister got more attention and this other one got less, but all get about the same level of detail and attention.

Spells of the Seven

New spells developed or used by the sisters. 105 new spells. Some I have ended up in later editions of D&D, but many are still new.

Magical Items of the Seven

Likewise, there are some special and even unique magic items. There are nine here.

Using the Seven Sisters in a Campaign

A guide on how to use these powerful sisters by engaging what they are most interested in. There is also a brief mention of any situation where more than one would be encountered.

--

Outside of the chapters on the Spells and Magic items there is not a lot here that is edition specific. I mean yes there are NPC stat blocks for each sister, but I can easily say that for example Qilué is a 16th-level cleric. Or that The Simbul is a dual-classed 30th-level mage and 6th-level fighter. Consequently, she is a Sorcerer 20/Archmage 2/Wizard 10 in D&D 3rd Edition. So their levels I say are guidelines. Strong guidelines, but guidelines all the same. Although you have someone like Dove Falconhand and you can see her progression from 1st Edition to 3rd Edition. The point being that this book is still useful for many versions of D&D, not just AD&D Second Edition.

I don't think I have even scratched the surface of what I can do with this.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
FOR6 The Seven Sisters (2e)
Click to show product description

Add to Ulisses Spiele Order

pixel_trans.gif
DMGR7 The Complete Book of Necromancers (2e)
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 10/26/2022 12:05:27

Originially posted here: https://theotherside.timsbrannan.com/2022/10/100-days-of-halloween-complete-book-of.html

In AD&D 1 the example of the Illusionist gave birth to the specialty wizards of AD&D 2nd Ed. One of those specialty wizards was the Necromancer. Though, unlike the Illusionist, the Transmuter, or even the Evoker, the Necromancer got its own book.

The Complete Book of Necromancers was one of those books that everyone seemed to want. I remember picking it up back when it was first published. I paid $15 for it. Later the cover price jumped to $18 and soon it became very rare. No idea why. The aftermarket price jumped considerably and I ended up selling mine on eBay back in 2000 for $81. Not a bad deal really. I ended up re-buying again recently at Half-Price Books for $9.

DMGR7 The Complete Book of Necromancers

PDF and softcover book. 128 pages. Black & white interior art. For this review, I am considering my softcover edition and the PDF from DriveThruRPG.

Let's be honest, few classes have had the spotlight quite like Necromancers have had. There have been many attempts before and since. But when comes down to it, the 2nd Ed Complete Book of Necromancers is the gold standard that all other books on Necromancy are compared to. This book is packed. Even the font size is smaller than the other Class books for AD&D 2nd Ed.

Introduction

Our introduction informs us that this is a book for DMs to make memorable foes. Indeed throughout the book refers to the Necromancers as NPCs. Even warnings are given about Necromancer PCs of higher than the 9th level.

Chapter 1: Necromancers

Details "The Standard Necromancer" or even "The Masters of the Dark Art" with minimum ability scores and the rolling methods to gain them (with a table on page 10). Additionally, only humans can be necromancers. Role-playing wise I can see this. Elves would not be concerned with the spirits of the dead and if they wanted to speak to them then they have the books they wrote. Dwarves and Halflings are very much about the here and now. Mechanically though there is no reason to assume they can be, save that this is AD&D.

We get an extended Necromancer (Wizard) XP advancement table to level 30. There are also details about weapon and non-weapon proficiencies. New non-weapon proficiencies are also given.

There are also new Kits for the Necromancer. They are the Archetypal Necromancer, Anatomist, Deathslayer (killer of the undead), Philosopher, and Undead Master. Additionally, two kits from the Complete Book of Wizards and the Complete Sha'ir's Handbook are brought over for use here. They are the Witch and the Ghul Lord.

Chapter 2: Dark Gifts

Covers the powers of Necromancy. This starts with a discussion on Dual Classes characters (remember Human only) each combination is discussed such as Fighter/Necromancer, Thief/Necromancer, Cleric/Necromancer, and the Psionicist/Necromancer.

Vile Pacts and Dark Gifts cover the powers Necromancers are likely to pick up as they gain the notice of dark powers.

Despite all the recommendations above, up next is a section on Humanoid Necromancers like Drow and Githyanki.

Chapter 3: The Price

Details the down-side of dealing with necromancy. While the social stigma stuff might be a blessing to many necromancers, things like deformities and body afflictions are less welcome.

Chapter 4: The Dark Art

This deals with the magic and the spells of Necromancy. A great section for any sort of AD&D 2nd ed DM really. It discusses "Black" or "Criminal" Necromancy, "Gray" or Neutral Necromancy, and "Benign" or "White" Necromancy.

There are 25 new spells from levels 1 to 9 here. Many I note still live on in new editions.

Chapter 5: Death Priests

Can't let wizards have all the fun. Besides, Necromancy is not just a school of arcane magic but a sphere of divine magic as well. Death Priests (Clerics) get the same treatment as did the Wizards above. Including an advancement table to level 30. Here different gods/faiths are discussed that might be a home to a Death Priest. The obvious are the God of the Dead. But also the Goddess of Murder, God of Pestilence, God of Suffering, and the Lord of the Undead.

Chapter 6: The Priest Sphere

Cover the necromancy priest sphere and spells. Here we get 18 new priest spells of levels 1 to 7.

Chapter 7: Allies

Covers everything from Apprentices, Henchmen, Familiars (including Undead ones), and Undead minions. Undead minions get the most detail with various sorts of undead discussed.

There is a great section on Secret Societies. I used this one quite a lot when I developed my Circle of Six Necromancer group. A group of bad guys that I STILL use today (though only three are still active).

Chapter 8: Tools of the Trade

Covers potions, poisons, various magical items (including some new), and necromantic lore.

Chapter 9: The Campaign

Looking back I realize there is a lot in this chapter I STILL use. The first is Sahu the Island of the Necromancer Kings. Granted an Ilse of Necromancers is not 100% original and I could have easily got it from Clark Ashton Smith, but this one comes together nicely for AD&D 2nd and still works for me today.

There are some adventure hooks connected to Sahu and some more connected to the various NPCS found at the end of this section. That's is the other thing I still use. The NPCs here were quite memorable to me.

Appendix 1 Common Spells for Necromancers: Lists of spells and their sources by Offensive and Defensive capability.

Appendix 2 and Appendix 3 Necromancy spells for Wizards (2) and Clerics (3).

Appendix 4 Index of Necromantic spells: Alphabetical listing.

There is so much here that would later find homes in the 3e Book of Vile Darkness and the 4e Heroes of Shadow. And much that is still very useful today.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
DMGR7 The Complete Book of Necromancers (2e)
Click to show product description

Add to Ulisses Spiele Order

pixel_trans.gif
PHBR4 The Complete Wizard's Handbook (2e)
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 10/26/2022 12:00:58

Originally posted here: https://theotherside.timsbrannan.com/2022/10/100-days-of-halloween-complete-wizards.html

Since I have been doing spooky things in general and witchy things in particular, this one might stretch this notion a bit. But this book does give us our first-ever official Witch class, er... kit for AD&D. So for that reason alone I should consider it. But there are other reasons for me to consider this.

The Complete Wizard's Handbook (AD&D 2nd Edition)

PDF and softcover editions. Black & White interior art. 128 Pages.

For this review, I am considering the PDF on DriveThruRPG and my softcover book from 1990.

So a bit of background first. AD&D 2nd Edition came out in later 1989 and introduced the concept of Kits. These were roles that could be taken by a class. They are similar in many respects to the sub-classes or archetypes of D&D 5. You took a kit at the first level and that gave some powers, abilities, and restrictions. They quickly got bloated and dare I say, game-breaking (looking at you The Complete Bard's Handbook) but the early ones like this gave the game some great flavor, and others, like The Complete Psionics Handbook, extended the rules in interesting ways.

The Complete Wizard's Handbook is all about wizards, magic-users, and magic.

Chapter 1: Schools of Magic

This is not a classroom-like school (though it can be) it discusses the 8 schools of magic codified by AD&D (that is still around today). In AD&D 2e you could have a "Specialist Mage" or someone dedicated to a particular school, they excel in casting spells from that school but can't cast spells from an opposing school. The example in the Players Handbook is the Illusionist, a holdover from AD&D 1st Ed. Arguably the most popular would become the Necromancer. (more on that later).

Each school is detailed and the requirements for each are also given on top of the requirements for a Generalist Wizard. For example, a Conjurer must have some human blood (seems random) and Enchanters need a Charisma score of 16 or above (that makes sense).

Chapter 2: Creating New Schools

This covers the creation of new schools of magic that either augment or abandon the schools above. It is a great primer on how magic might work and how it could be learned. While the standard schools are not dropped here, they are reorganized. This chapter is also helpful for anyone wanting to rethink their wizards can do. If Original D&D gave us a magic-user that can do anything, this gives us multiple types of wizards that collectively can do it all and not always the same way.

Chapter 3: Wizard Kits

At only 20 some-odd pages this section feels larger. And it is also the focus of my attention today. There are 10 kits detailed here, each with requirements, preferred schools, barred schools and what they do. The kits are the Academician (scholar of magic), Amazon Sorcerers (what it says on the tin, but all the The Complete Class book had an Amazon kit), Anagakok (Wizards from primitive cultures), Militant Wizard (also what it sounds like), Mystic (in this case a sort of pacifist wizard), Patrician (a wizard of noble birth), Peasant Wizard (just the opposite), Savage Wizard (wizard from very remote areas), Witch (why we are here), and the Wu-Jen updated from the 1st Ed AD&D Oriental Adventures.

I mentioned this was the first official witch in AD&D, this is true, but it is not the first official witch of D&D. That honor goes to the witch school for Magic-users in GAZ3 The Principalities of Glantri which predates this by 3 years. The witch here is easily the most detailed of the all the kits along with the Wu-Jen.

The kit creation section was a well-used and abused feature of this book for me when working on other kits and subclasses.

Chapter 4: Role-Playing

This chapter covers all sort of role-playing advice and tips for wizard characters. Various personality types are covered here; the Altruist, the Brooder, the Mystery Man, the Showman., and more. There are also adventure ideas and plot hooks for wizard characters.

Chapter 5: Combat and the Wizard

AD&D wizards at low levels are easy to kill, so combat tips are most welcome. This covers Defensive spells and Offensive spells and how to best use them. There is also a bit about the restricted weapons list of the wizard.

Chapter 6: Casting Spells in Unusual Conditions

Details what spells are effective where and more importantly which ones are not effective. This includes the mundane underwater and the more fantastic environments like the planes. Also various conditions on the spell caster like blindness, impaired hearing, and speech.

Chapter 7: Advanced Procedures

Covers level and spell advancement to 32nd level. Details on various spells and a bunch of materials on how illusions work in the game. Details on spell components, spell research, and magic item research and creation.

Chapter 8: New Spells

Pretty much what it says. 40 new spells for AD&D.

Chapter 9: Wizardly Lists

Various lists from 25 helpful familiars, to five unusual places for spell components, nine magic items that have not been invented yet, and more. There are maps, locations, and even 12 new magic items.

The utility of this book for AD&D 2nd can't be undersold. There is more here than just class information there is also information on the very lifeblood of most fantasy games; magic. While the book is solid AD&D 2nd ed there is enough information here for players of any edition of D&D.

I have mentioned in the past that the magic school and wizard training information makes a great complement to the magic school found in GAZ3 The Principalities of Glantri. In fact most of my late 90s AD&D 2nd ed games revolved around this idea. I even brought many of those ideas back to my short-lived D&D 4th Edition game. And most recently have gone back to this book for my newest AD&D 2nd ed character Sinéad.

I am surprised about how much I can still get from this book.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
PHBR4 The Complete Wizard's Handbook (2e)
Click to show product description

Add to Ulisses Spiele Order

pixel_trans.gif
Displaying 1 to 15 (of 1335 reviews) Result Pages:  1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9 ...  [Next >>] 
pixel_trans.gif
pixel_trans.gif Back pixel_trans.gif
0 items
Powered by OneBookShelf