Wednesday, April 6, 2022

OSR Commentary On White Box Gothic By James M. Spahn [Swords & Wizardry]

 ""Alone with the dead, I dare not go out!"

White Box Gothic brings gothic horror to your Swords & Wizardry WhiteBox campaign! Inside this terrible tome you'll find a horde of horrors!

  • Six New Classes: From the deadly Monster Hunter to the damned Dhampir.
  • Thirty New Spells: Speak with the dead, defile the land, and bind spirits to your service!
  • Twenty-Five New Magic Items: Draw undead servants from your Bag of Bones, learn the secrets of the Book of the Damned, and draw hope from the Symbol of Piety!
  • Fifteen New Monsters: The lowly Cultist, the mysterious Breath Stealer, to the powerful Vampire Lord!
  • Optional Rules: Corruption, Dread, and laying Curses!

Inside these fifty pages you'll find all manner of dark and dire secrets to vex your players and defy the undead" 

Its been a long time since I cracked my copy of White Box Gothic By James M. Spahn & this rpg is going to pick right up from yesterday's Lost Carcosa review here. The idea here is that White Box Gothic has a few PC classes that would compliment Lost Carcosa nicely. We've got the monster hunter class which goes to ten levels. The Metaphysican which is standard occult 'Van Helsing' type & cleric rolled into one. Spiritualist whose your medium distrusted by society. The wanderer class covers everything from your cast out victim of supernatural forces to your wandering crusader. Dhampir is your half vampire whose on a mission against the occult! The Reanimated is your Frankenstien monster type created in a lab whose a victim of circumstances who crusades against the forces of darkness. 
We've got optional rules on Corruption, Dread, & Curses both major or minor. And then we get into major spells up through the sixth level; "Empower Turning Spell Level: Cleric 3 Range: Self Duration: 2 rounds This spell allows a Cleric to roll 4d6 instead of the normal 3d6 when attempting to Turn Undead." This gives far more weight to the cleric! 

The magic items are ideally situated for a Gothic OSR campaign romp with little preparation on the part of the DM take for example;"Candle of Darklight This appears to be a large candle crafted from black wax. When lit it produces a black flame that actually radiates no visible light. Those who are within 60 feet of a lit Candle of Darklight are able to see perfectly in natural or magical darkness. A Candle of Darklight can burn for up to six hours before being expended. Usable by: All Classes" 
Useable by any PC class and able to peer through those infernal clouds of darkness that demons & the like love to use. And this dives into the White Box Gothic  monsters of this Gothic OSR rpg & we get the following nastiness; " Blood Raven Armor Class: 8 [11] Hit Dice: 1 Attacks: Peck (1d6-3) Special: Devour the Eye Move: 6 (15 when flying) HDE/XP: 2/30 These large, red-eyed birds have feathers as black as midnight. It is not known whether they are truly ravens or not – but they are most commonly found on ancient battlefields, barrow mounds and in graveyards. They crave human flesh and take particular delight in devouring the eyes of living victims when freshly dead carrion is not available. Whenever a Blood Raven rolls an unmodified 19 or 20 on its “to-hit” roll, the target of the attack must make a saving throw or find their eye plucked from its socket and devoured. This blindness can only be cured by powerful magic, though once a blood raven has devoured the eye of its victim its lust for blood is slaked and it flies contentedly away. They are known to travel in groups of 3 – 18 (3d6). These groups are known, aptly, as a “murder” of blood ravens." 

How could White Box Gothic be used with LoFP's Carcosa?! Well there are several thoughts that come to mind. The first is the fact that Carcosa despite its Gonzo trappings is actually a Sci Fi horror campaign setting and so the corruption rules are going to be in full affect for PC's messing with the technological magic items of Cacosa. And the nasty nature of Carcosa itself is just waiting for the PC's themselves and this can be traced to the Great Old Ones who are more then willing to created one of the most dangerous monsters of White Box Gothic The Clerical Liche; "Clerical Liche Armor Class: 1 [18] Hit Dice: 12 - 18 Attacks: By weapon (1d6) Special: See Below Move: 12 HDE/XP: 15/2,900, 16/3,200, 17/3,500, 18/3,800, 19/4,100, 20/4,400, 21/4,700 While the vast majority of liches have mastered the arcane arts of the Magic-User in rare cases, some of them devote themselves to the service of a malign god or goddess with such zeal that they rises as powerful and terrible 42 Eric Fabiaschi (Order #34172416) masters of corrupted divine magic. These are known as Clerical Liches. They are able to cast spells as a 10th level Cleric. In addition, they have also mastered the spells of a Magic-User, though to a lesser degree than traditional liches. A clerical liche can memorize and cast spells as a MagicUser with a level equal to half their normal hit dice, rounded down. This means that a liche with 14 or 15 hit dice would memorize and cast spells as a 7th level Magic-User and as a 10th level Cleric. Clerical liches cannot paralyze with either their touch or aura, but can Turn Undead as a Chaotic Cleric of 9th level, as described in Swords & Wizardry: WhiteBox." 
Such a liche created by the Great Old Ones or Outer Gods would be perfect as the head of a cult or other  Mythos related religion sprung from the dark other worldly jungles of Carcosa. The third thing that comes to mind is the way that White Box Gothic's spells really makes the cleric into a force to be reckoned with & with Lamentations this makes for a much more dangerous playing field. Anything the PCs can do the NPC can do as well! This means that the inversion of some of the spells could cause a lot of harm to the PC's in spades! 

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