Appendix N

INSPIRATIONAL AND EDUCATIONAL READING

Inspiration for all the fantasy work I have done stems directly from the love my father showed when I was a tad, for he spent many hours telling me stories he made up as he went along, tales of cloaked old men who could grant wishes, of magic rings and enchanted swords, or wicked sorcerors [sic] and dauntless swordsmen.
— E. Gary Gygax, Advanced Dungeons and Dragons Dungeon Masters Guide, 1st Ed., 1979

The whole “Appendix N” thing has sort of blow up in the past few years among the OSR crowd.  Sticking to tradition, I’m devoting this space to inspirational reading as well as useful reference works I’ve accumulated over the years.  This will cover specific games/settings, but also cover more general resources for the fantasy, swashbuckling and horror genres.

Inspiration for Witch Hunter: The Invisible World

While the Inspirations section of the Witch Hunter core book is full of good sources, it’s also a bit dated.  It remains unchanged from the original edition in 2008, so media, literature and pop culture have at least a good six year lead on it.  This is my incomplete attempt to add to that list.

FILM AND TELEVISION

  • Captain Kronos: Vampire Hunter (1974)
  • Dog Soliders (2002) In a sub-genre that consistently brings the suck, Dog Solider is one of the best and most consistently entertaining werewolf movies I’ve seen in the past 20 years.
  • Penny Dreadful (2014-2015)
  • Salem (2014-2015)
  • Season of the Witch (2011)
  • Solomon Kane (2009)
  • Supernatural (2005-2015)
  • Werewolf: The Beast Among Us (2012) Not a good movie by a long shot, but a very good example of how a cadre of witch hunters might operate, plus it’s just good enough that any GM worth his salt could turn it into a pretty decent scenario.

LITERATURE

  • The Dresden Files, Jim Butcher (2000-2014) (Seriously, there are some 15 books, a couple of anthologies, graphic novels…it’s a big damn franchise!)
  • The Swords of Albion Trilogy, Mark Chadbourne (2008-2012) (The Silver Skull, the Scar-Crow Men, the Devil’s Looking Glass)
  • Thieftaker Chronicles, D.B. Jackson (2012-2015) (Thieftaker, Thieves’ Quarry, A Plunder of Souls, Dead Man’s Reach)
  • Matthew Corbett Chronicles, Robert McCammon (2002-2014) (Speaks the Nightbird, Queen of Bedlam, Mister Slaughter, the Providence Rider, the River of Souls)  This recommendation came straight from Henry Lopez, himself, who said it was a big piece of his inspiration for the Witch Hunter world.

The Game Master’s General Reference Library

A Quick Word about Name Books
Ok, let’s get something straight right off the bat.  Yes, you can find plenty of character naming resources on the internet these days, from random generators to whole “history of the name” references.  I use these too.  But if you don’t have at least one big book of baby names sitting in your reference library, you’re doing yourself a disservice. The two books I’ve listed from my collection include some pretty esoteric resources, and are perhaps the most used pieces in my collection.

3 thoughts on “Appendix N

  1. Pingback: Back from Vacation | …and a Brace of Pistols

  2. Cincinnatus

    Love your Blog keep up the good work it is invaluable to those of us trying to run WH. I am still working on a WH-Savage Worlds conversion and am stuck once again. This time is translating the WH Rites to SW Powers. Some easily translate while others a bit more difficult. For example how do you translate Spirit Son, Halo of Awe or Exchange of Hurts. Do you limit the characters to only the translated powers in the WH core book or bring in additional SW powers. Do you take stain into effect? I was thinking about using Solomon Kane Magic rules as the base. Another issue is the characters in WH seem somewhat limited by the number of options (Rites/Powers) they have to choose from especially as they advance. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

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    1. blusponge Post author

      Thanks for the encouragement, Cincinnatus. Paradigm recently released the Rites and Relics sourcebook, which is very player-centric and filled with all manner of new Rites for PC sorcerers, along with rules for Kabbalah, Alchemy and Voodoo. Pretty much everything in it was converted from the 1st edition core book (grimiores and relics) and the Blessed and the Damned sourcebook (rites, relics, new circles of sorcery). That book should give WH players plenty of new rites to chew on while they climb the experience ladder. I posted a review of it here: https://braceofpistols.wordpress.com/2015/09/28/new-witch-hunter-products/

      As to converting WH rites to SW, that’s a whole blog post in itself. I would probably stick with the powers available in SWoSK myself (convert the spirit, not the letter of the rules). I would make a couple of changes however:
      1) Create a Prayer category of magic and assemble an approved powers list for it.
      2) All Powers take a minimum of 1 round to activate, regardless of the modifier. When I was playing SWoSK, I can’t remember a single time that a player opted to spend extra time casting a power, except in a non-stressed situation in which case the modifier didn’t mean anything. If I was feeling ambitious, I’d probably add a minimum modifier as well to cover that aspect. So basically, every power takes at least one round to activate. If you spend extra time casting, you can reduce the modifier by 1 point for each round up to the minimum penalty.
      3) Adapt the ritual magic rules from the SW Horror Companion. Ritual magic ignores the modifier but takes considerable time.
      4) If you are using the Damnation/True Faith rules I posted on the blog, giving certain powers a damnation score would be enough to give it that WH vibe. The power in question is assigned a damnation cost (the number of points of damnation received for using the power, usually 1-3) and a threshold (the damnation score the character must possess to no longer receive damnation points from using the power).

      Those changes should give you a strong WH vibe without having to do a lot of conversion work.

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