Archive for the ‘Everyday D&D’ Category

Good Way to Make a Friend

Monday, October 5th, 2020

We have been looking at the ways that witches might be harmful to a party, whether it be by polymorph other or an imp or lifting some important gear or slipping a love mickey into an unsuspecting bard’s drink. Frankly, this approach is surprising for me: I am usually on the side of a little side hustle or casting an appropriate spell that makes an encounter go more favorbaly.

Think of all the opportunities to save a suspected witch from being burned at the stake or crushed by rocks or hanged. The party comes over a small hill, sees the local lackwits gathered around an about-to-be-lit pyre, also sees a lass struggling against being tied to the stake in the middle of the pyre, and springs into action. The ranger lets loose a couple arrows into the toughest looking villagers, the fighter charges down the hill looking to grapple with the giant oaf, and the cleric strolls down to untie the supposed witch and get to the bottom of the story.

If nothing else, those villages won’t be tying up anyone against their will anytime soon.

Girlfriend is a Witch

Sunday, October 4th, 2020

The standard witch, at least what adventures are running into in modules or seeing in Krull or Buggs Bunny cartoons , aren’t rolling too high on their comeliness scores. Sure, they might be able to cast disguise briefly but mostly they are going to have warts and snaggle-teeth and other things that are, you know, witch-like.

But this type of witch should not be the only witch that gets time in an adventure. There also should be the baba yagas or the serpent-witch that Conan fights at the start of Conan the Barbarian (1982). Now these are the kinds of witches that can easily seduce a party member at the tavern, find out a little insider information, lift a magical item or two, and leave Bronger the Mighty none the wiser. All Bronger will remember is that a lass wearing flowing robes started chatting him up at the bar.

Witching Hour

Saturday, October 3rd, 2020

Things about witches adventuring parties should know:

  1. They probably live in a hovel outside of a hamlet, or if they are upscale, an out-of-the-way village. Unlike either Suspiria or American Horror Story, Coven, these AD&D witches stay rural.
  2. Be prepared for shape change, usually crow/vulture to crone to comely vixen who has bad teeth, if The Wicked (2013) is to be believed.
  3. Most will have familiars, but only real dangerous ones will have rolled a 15 and got one of the special choices like an imp or a quasit. Approach with extreme caution, here dwarves and halflings. No one, and I mean no one, wants to get imped. There is no living that down.
  4. After witchy woman gets turned to paste, be sure to search the above-mentioned hovel closely. Get the thief to take a second look at all the piles of clothing or bubbling cauldrons. A dedicated party usually can find potion of super healing or a ring of water breathing in all the junk.

The Witch

Friday, October 2nd, 2020

Despite to popularity of the witch in general [see The Love Witch from 2016], there isn’t a defined witch NPC or monster in AD&D. There are the shamans and witch doctors in the Dungeon Masters Guide and Morgan Le Fay in Deities and Demigods is a sorceress who probably could be a witch, but no stats, levels, or any of the other stuff that would save a lazy dungeon master from having to conjure up a witch on their own.

I haven’t adventured with anyone who played a straight-out witch either. It would be easy enough to turn a magic-user into one. Get find familiar somewhere, stumble into a polymorph scroll that is copied into ye olde spell book, get cloudkill from an unsuspecting local warlock, and next thing that happens, Miss Witch is the next Baga Yaga.

“The Witch” is the song that got me into The Sonics. It was on the Nuggets collection and is almost perfect pre-garage punk:

Holy Dyvers

Sunday, August 2nd, 2020

After spending three nights getting re-supplied in Greyhawk, we hopped back on our well-worn saddles and made the overnight trip to Dyvers. In case you don’t know, and I really didn’t until I went through its large gates, is that Dyvers is pretty damn rich. They are at a nexus of several trade routes, and there is decent Nyr Dyv access. But I doubt anyone is reading this travel journal for economic policy history.

Know what rich places have in abundance? Rich people. I probably saw a half-score of those human/demi-human/humanoid chariot things, where someone is carried around by six or eight folks that have 15 or greater strength. I don’t even know what one of those things is called, but I know enough to know that it costs more than I make in a typical adventure just to keep one of those going.

Another thing rich places have are places to eat. Want to eat carp from the Azure Sea served to you by a wood elf? You can do it. Want a big hunk of reindeer meat? Well, head down to the Barbarian Bar-B-Q and prepare to eat. Plants more your thing? One of the street markets we walked by had six types of halfling radish.

Another thing rich places are is expensive. Do not go to Dyvers if you have to worry about money. The meals I talked about above all ran well over 5 gps per person, plus merry juice is expensive. Dyvers is orderly, so don’t think you can pull a fast one here. But if you have the money, Dyvers offers a lot for the tasteful adventurer.

  • Why did we go there? It was close, and I hadn’t really explored it.
  • What is there that is interesting? Lots of rich people, lots of restaurants and taverns, expensive stuff.
  • Would we go again? You bet. If price doesn’t matter, there are a lot of good places to rest one’s weary head, get a filling meal, and relax in a safe, orderly, prosperous city.

Up next: Getting gnarly in the Gnarly Forest.