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The Demon's Sacrifice on Sale until Boxing Day

My newest heroic fantasy novel "The Demon's Sacrifice" is on sale until Boxing Day 2019 (ebook version only). The paperback is $17.99.

The sleepy farming village of Millkrest has been attacked and their virgin priestess has been abducted, presumably to be sacrificed to the foul god Masexus at a shrine deep in the woods east of the village. The barbarian Wrathgar teams up with the wizard Soljargon, the half-elf priestess Helene, the skilled elf archer Gyburn, and the halfling sneak-thief Kaeto in order to rescue her. If sacrificed her life-force will be used to summon a demon prince...

But they are heavily outnumbered and teamwork is not their strong suit, and Wrathgar has been forced into a leadership role when he has no experience in leading others. Worse, Gyburn and Kaeto keep arguing, and Kaeto keeps getting into trouble. What will Wrathgar have to do to forge the group into a team? What will it take to rescue the priestess and prevent the demon prince from being summoned? What sacrifices will have to be made in order to defeat the evil brewing deep in the woods?

Meanwhile the Xarsian priest Mordechai is on loan to the Masexites and beholden to the High Priest of Masexus. Ostracized by his own dark church, he finds himself allied with murderers, rapists and criminals. Firm in his belief that Xarsius is the true god of evil and that Masexus is just some minor god Mordechai secretly seeks ways to fulfill his own bloodthirsty desires and find a new liege who has loftier goals than slaughtering a single farming village.


Reading Order of the Witcher Books

Back in the summer (2019) I purchased two of the Witcher books for my wife, who is a big fan of the Witcher 3 video game.

At some point I would like to read the books too, but I have a giant stack of other books waiting to be read so the Witcher books will have to wait. They are definitely on my To Read List however.

With the TV show coming out tomorrow (less than 12 hours from now) I thought I should make a list of all the Witcher books and their chronological order.

However just because they came out in this order doesn't mean you should read them in that order. Thus I have listed below the correct order you should read them in in parentheses.

1992 - The Sword of Destiny* (2)
1993 - The Last Wish* (1)
1994 - Blood of Elves (3)
1995 - Time of Contempt (4)
1996 - Baptism of Fire (5)
1997 - The Tower of the Swallow (6)
1999 - Lady of the Lake (7)
2013 - Season of Storms (1.5** or 8)

* The Last Wish and Sword of Destiny were published out of order, and they are both anthology collections of short stories. You should definitely read The Last Wish first.

** Weird thing about Season of Storms. It takes place after the short story 'Last Wish' and before 'Question or Price' within The Last Wish anthology. So if you really want to read them in the proper order then you need read the short story, then read Season of Storms, then read the rest of The Last Wish book, then you continue in the order.

HOWEVER, some people claim it is better to save Season of Storms until the last book on your reading list because it contains some spoilers for later books. So there is a strong argument for reading it last.


Alternative Spell Progression Chart for a High Magic Campaign

If you play 1st or 2nd Edition AD&D chances are likely you are already happy with the spells and the spell progression. But WHAT IF you wanted to play a game that allows wizards and other spellcasters to be more "High Magic"?

Note - The concepts below can easily be applied to other editions too, as House Rules.

Wizards and other spellcasters are already pretty OP (overpowered). So what is the benefit of making them even more high powered?

Well, it depends on how you do it.

If you give the PCs lots of magical items then eventually everyone in the party becomes OP. So by then it doesn't really matter.

But if you keep a firm lid on the availability of magical items (eg. they cannot be purchased and are very rare) then the only magic the party encounters is the magic of spellcasters and magical critters. But if you keep a tight lid on magical critters and spellcasters are rare, then you also can make that aspect of the game also rare.

So why do this? What is the benefit?

Flavour. It gives the world a very different feel if magic is both very rare, but also very powerful.

Imagine feeling like you are in a low magic game. You are fighting orcs, ogres, giants, and similar non-magical critters. Supernatural critters, undead and magical critters are all rare. Then you run into an ogre magi, but this ogre magi has magic that is more powerful and the DM plays the ogre magi as being very intelligent and battle savvy. The "Die Hard/Bruce Willis" version of an ogre magi.

Which makes the PCs the equivalent of Hans Gruber and his goons. And you are losing. And every time the ogre magi kills one of the PCs he shouts yippy kai yeah m***** f*****!

If the DM is like myself, they are running a deadly campaign. PCs will die. We will roleplay their funerals and the players will eventually take their revenge on the ogre magi.

Suddenly magic is so much mysterious and dangerous.

It sets a very different tone.

And to make it clear to the players that this increase in magical deadliness goes both ways - the monsters and foes are deadlier, but so are the spellcasting PCs you need a way to make the PC spellcasters more powerful.

Thus I present:


So what is the Fs for? Favourite Spells.

For each spell level category the wizard gets to choose 1 Favourite spell. That spell will be their favourite forever and it cannot be changed. It is essentially a bonus spell that they always memorize every day and they do not need a spellbook to memorize it. It is automatic. In the case of Specialist Wizards (illusionists, evokers, etc) their Favourite spell must be chosen from their specialist school. This essentially replaces and supersedes the bonus spells specialists usually receives.

You will therefore notice that level one wizards start play with one 2nd level spell, their favourite spell. However even though 2nd level spells are more powerful, this is tempered by the fact that their casting level is still only 1.

Likewise when the wizard reaches 3rd level they now could potentially choose Fireball as their favourite spell, but because their casting level is only 3 their fireballs only do 3d6.

So yes, wizards now gain access to higher level magic at lower levels, and yes they get more spells overall. This makes them more powerful, yes, but again everything is a balancing act. Enemy spellcasters are now more powerful too.

Magical monsters should have at least 1 of the following adjustments:

1. Raise their casting level by 4.
2. Magical poisons have a -4 on the saving throw. Or alternatively a creature that did not have magical poison, now has it and it is quite deadly.
3. The DM can sometimes give negatives on savings throws (-1 to -4) for magical effects from monsters because the particular critter is deadlier.
4. Magical critters may have access to higher level spells or abilities.
5. The DM might even invent new magical powers that make sense for the critter. Such as Air Elementals being able to cast Control Wind or other wind spells.

So yes, you make the spellcasters more OP, but you also make the monsters deadlier. Then, like all DMing, it is just a balancing act between deadly monsters and powerful heroes.

Some groups might only have the 1 OP spellcaster while other groups might be all or mostly spellcasters so how much the DM needs to balance will vary.

Now you might think "Why not just use bigger monsters?" Why not use the equivalent of a giant magi instead of an ogre magi? Yes, you could do that. But strategically this is about smart play vs DM laziness. An ogre magi should be played as being intelligent, and a DM wanting it to be even more awesome needs to take that up to the proverbial 11th degree of hardness. Adjusting the standard monsters to make them more unique is important to increasing the challenge.

Take for example the issue of magical weapons found in loot.

The skeletons guarding the treasure are using horrible rusty spears, but if they are in the actual treasure vault why not have them use the actual treasure. A skeleton wielding a +2 sword suddenly becomes a bigger threat. Especially if the skeleton is somehow smarter and hides above the doorway and has levels in Thief... Skeletons with Backstab and a +2 sword. There you go. A challenge that your players will not be expecting.

Another alternative to this...

Take the normal spell progression charts for all spellcasters and cut the number of spells in half, rounded up. Spellcasters suddenly becomes way more squishy because they have so few spells and have to choose between defensive spells and attack spells. The smart ones who are powerful enough will definitely want Teleport or Dimension Door for a quick exit.

A world where magic is both rare and magic users don't get that many spells... Sounds much more dire. And valuable. Suddenly people are murdering other people just to get a +1 dagger.

The point is that DMs have the power to make these house rules and subtly change the flavour of their world.

Storytelling

Story wise a DM could work this kind of rules change into their storytelling, and they could make this power upgrade only effect a particular type of magic. eg. Only arcane magic, as used by wizards and bards. The sudden shift in magical power could even be a "World Event" caused by some strange mystical event that causes all arcane magic users to become more powerful.

eg. All of the party, NPCs, everyone suddenly hears a thunderclap from the sky and a shockwave knocks them off their feet. By the time they get back to their feet the wizards can all feel it... their magical power has been increased. They don't know what happened, but suddenly their magical energies have increased... There could even be an atmospheric effect of the boost in magic, with Northern Lights appearing over much of the planet and lasting for X hours.

Afterwards the PCs have to figure out what caused this sudden shift in their magical abilities.

(Such a shift could also be used to explain what happens when PCs suddenly switch editions. Imagine you are playing 2nd Edition and suddenly a thunderclap happens, everyone falls down, and then it is now 3rd Edition. Tada! Not that I would do this, I would rather just start a new campaign. But in theory a group of players + DM could hypothetically do this if they want to keep the same characters and switch editions.)

Witcher 3: Wild Hunt Maps

Witcher 3: Wild Hunt Maps

I am going to have to post more Witcher maps in the near future. "The Witcher" TV show is coming out on Netflix in just 7 days, so expect a lot more Witcher maps and stuff about the Witcher in general.

My wife plays the Witcher 3: Wild Hunt and has two of Andrzej Sapkowski's books. I am waiting to read the books eventually after she finishes reading them. (I have a giant stack of other fantasy books I am reading and hope to review someday.)

We are both looking forwards to watching the new Witcher TV show.

The first map below doesn't include place names, but the other maps further below are clearly labeled.









Viking Slices and Kanel Snegl

Viking pastries are some of my new favourite things to eat.

The Danish Pastry House at the Eaton's Centre is conveniently close to where I DM my weekly Dungeons and Dragons games.

#1. Viking Slices


#2. Kanel Snegl


#3. Kanel Bread Loaves


If you are not hungry after looking at all 3 images, I pity you. There must be something seriously wrong with you.

Also...

D&D wise... Wouldn't it be fun to play a Viking Pastry Chef?

Croissant Dragons


Croissant Dragons???

Edible draconic pastries? Num num num!

Witcher Teaser Trailer



I am very much looking forward to this TV series. I need to read the books sometime too.

My wife plays The Witcher 3 and I have enjoyed watching her play the game.

The Demon's Sacrifice, a Heroic Fantasy novel by Charles Moffat

December 1st 2019

By Charles Moffat

My newest novel was released today. I arranged it for pre-order over a month ago.

The book in question has been on my To Do List for 12 years.

It has sat on the backburner many times during that 12 year period.

It went through seven rewrites. As in, start from scratch, rewrite the whole thing.

The final "official version" that was released today is basically version 7.4.

The painting on the cover art is also by myself.

I have decided that in the future I will be paint all my own covers. Part of the reason is because I find that when I hire an illustrator they have difficulty following instructions / completing the piece the way I want it done, thus if I want it done properly I should just do it myself.

And yes, there are definitely giant ravens in the book. :)

The Demon's Sacrifice - Available on Amazon Kindle for $8.99.

The sleepy farming village of Millkrest has been attacked and their virgin priestess has been abducted, presumably to be sacrificed to the foul god Masexus at a shrine deep in the woods east of the village. The barbarian Wrathgar teams up with the wizard Soljargon, the half-elf priestess Helene, the skilled elf archer Gyburn, and the halfling sneak-thief Kaeto in order to rescue her. If sacrificed her life-force will be used to summon a demon prince...

But they are heavily outnumbered and teamwork is not their strong suit, and Wrathgar has been forced into a leadership role when he has no experience in leading others. Worse, Gyburn and Kaeto keep arguing, and Kaeto keeps getting into trouble. What will Wrathgar have to do to forge the group into a team? What will it take to rescue the priestess and prevent the demon prince from being summoned? What sacrifices will have to be made in order to defeat the evil brewing deep in the woods?

Meanwhile the Xarsian priest Mordechai is on loan to the Masexites and beholden to the High Priest of Masexus. Ostracized by his own dark church, he finds himself allied with murderers, rapists and criminals. Firm in his belief that Xarsius is the true god of evil and that Masexus is just some minor god Mordechai secretly seeks ways to fulfill his own bloodthirsty desires and find a new liege who has loftier goals than slaughtering a single farming village.

The villagers of Millkrest are depending on this small band of heroes to rescue their priestess and avenge their fallen. Can Wrathgar rise to the challenges of leadership? Can his companions learn to work as a team?


Notes

"The Demon's Sacrifice" is Book II of the Adventures of Wrathgar. You do not need to read Book I (The Assassin's Trail - Ebook $2.99 / Paperback $6.49 USD) to enjoy Book II. Each book can stand on its own.

Yes, I will be releasing a paperback version of "The Demon's Sacrifice" soon. Probably within the next week.

All of the Wrathgar books take place in the fictional kingdom of Korovia, which is also featured in the Lilith Bloodstone Series, the Wulfric the Wanderer Series and other books.

I will be releasing a new Wrathgar short story on March 1st 2020: The Blizzard's Daughter.

Got any questions? Post a comment below or contact the author on Twitter or Facebook.


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