Pumpkin Spice!


I am drinking a PSL with a pumpkin donut, and have a pumpkin spice candle burning as I, a wiccan, celebrate Samhain.Two weeks ago I went to Maine to look at the turning of the leaves. I am pretty basic.


This makes me the perfect target audience for this excellent addition to Timothy Brannon’s collection of witchcraft related gaming supplements. In addition to a collection of tongue in cheek references to the trope of those who enjoy the seasonal beverage (his sample characters embodying Maiden, Matron, and Crone are Becky, Karen, and Carol) with spells and powers like OMG Becky, I Want To Talk To Your Manager, and Resting Witch Face, it actually has a lot of content I want to be playing with. The rest of the magical abilities include the sort of Fairytale abilities that would let you emulate the abilities of both Cinderella’s fairy godmother and the Wicked Witch of the West.  The rituals that emphasize the ssense of community of a coven warm my heart, but then I have always been a fan of witches.

Illustrations below copyright by the Beistle Co, and Adrienne Adams


I did some illustrations for this one:


Now, there is one spell in the book called Eerie Forest, which makes people caught in the affected woods uncomfortable and frightened. Given the Pumpkin Spice Tradition’s love of All Things Autumn, I propose the following spell:

Enchanting Forest:

Level: Druid 3, Magic User 3, Witch 3

Duration: 10 min/level

Range: a 60′ radius of forest

With this spell, the caster intensifies the experience of being in a beautiful autumnal forest, with glorious fall folliage, crunchy leaves, and just enough of a briskness in the air to appreciate a light scarf and a favorite sweater. The caster can designate one creature per level to recieve the benefits of this experience, +2 to saves, and the effects of a remove fear spell.

Material components: a lovely crispy fallen leaf

Note: This spell may be cast in conjunction with Eerie Forest, creating an area that is both delightful to some, and disturbing to others.


When I have included witches in my GURPS  games, it was easy to build them in Fantasy, as magery is the source of all spells, and the witches could just pick up spells from, animal, body, plant, elemental, communication and empathy, and mind control without issue. With DF, it is a little more complicated. IFor a 250 point witch,would require a familiar, from DF 5, magery 0, and 60 points from any of the other spellcasting classes: druidic power investiture, magery, shamanic, and elemental attunement, with any of their powers (autotrance, faerie or spirit affinity, green thumb, plant empathy, empathy…it goes on) At some point I have to lay out the class complete, and also detail the funky familiar called the Meowl!


Solo Goodness and Random Generators: A Review of Kabuki Kaiser’s work

ruins of the undercitymad monks

Before I relaunched my 2002 game Northport on RPOL.net, I was starved for gaming, and just discovering the blossoming fruit of the OSR.  A few years before, I had given my AD&D stash to a friend, as I could no longer afford to keep my storage unit and had no space in the apartment for games I hacn’t been able to play for over fifteen years.   I had recently discovered Peter Dell’Orto’s blog, and had started buying GURPS supplements for the Dungeon Fantasy Line, and was thinking about reviving the game I had once run using GURPS 3E and some variant rules from a long since vanished website.

I needed a fix, and a dungeon generator, and found both within Kabuki Kaiser’s Ruins of the Undercity.

This also led to my acquisition of Goblinoid Games’ excellent retroclone, Labyrinth Lord, (which while free, is worth purchasing for the art content).  From around this time, I have been swimming in OSR adventures, assorted Retro-clones and alternative bestiaries, and have even bought PDF’s of TSR books long since gone from my grubby little hands.

Ruins of the Undercity, and it’s companion work, Mad Monks of Kwantoom, (both currently available at onebookshelf for only $5 each) stimulated a lot of nostalgia and a drive to acquire in me.  These are not simple random dungeon generators, although that is their core mechanic.  They are one of the few solo products I have seen in years, and their tone is perfect.  The bestiaries they contain are revisionist retrofitting of late 1E critters into the B/X mold of Labyrinth Lord, but the careful editing of selection from the Fiend Folio (in the case of Ruins) is very tone specific, and drives a lot of the flavor of the setting.  The suggestions on how to run the descriptions of the random dungeonscape are extremely useful, and the random events that happen during the player downtime is outrageously good, and some of the entries have been driving plots in my game.

Mad Monks, on the other hand, in addition to bringing Wuxia wow to B/X style games, has a bestiary designed after some really fabulous matchbook covers, and some really high powered mythological set pieces that feel more like unlocked secrets than simple random encounters. The tables for city encounters and events have a grand feel to them, that shifts perspective in play from murder hoboism to giving a sense of belonging within the world setting and instills a desire to obtain status rather than just wealth; to even get to the island where the Pagodas are requires membership in a society.

Dyson Logos gives some examples of play over in his blog, and if you weren’t following him already, for his awesome crosshatched maps, please do.

Kabuki Kaiser has produced some truly entertaining examples of modern old school solo play with these supplements, that are worth mining for details if you ever plan on running a city, and has a thoughtful method for random generation of availability of goods when your PC’s are shopping, in addition to a well thought descriptive system for dungeon design.