Saturday, April 17, 2021

Review - The Basic Witch: The Pumpkin Spice Tradition

Title: The Basic Witch: The Pumpkin Spice Tradition
Publisher: The Other Side Publishing
Author: Timothy S. Brannan
Year: 2019
Pages: 65 pages
Rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book is designed for Labyrinth Lord as part of the Back to Basic series. Originally, it started as a joke on everything Pumpkin Spice themed. It roughly follows the other books in the series, with the exception of some level limits for non-human characters. 

This is my favorite of the series. While not entirely tongue-in-cheek, it's a fun read. In my mind, it comes across like the film A Knight's Tale. Popular culture is mixed up and presented in a timeless way. The idea of harvest, fall, and Halloween is in this product's DNA, but in a way that would not detract from a series of Dungeons and Dragons experiences. Yes, there are jokey bits, but they are well thought out so they don't break the theme of D&D. If you like Angel or Buffy, these details will be right up your alley. 

This particular set calls out Labyrinth Lord but readers will find that it is a nice addition to any basic era game such as BlueHolme or the Red box set. With a little adaption, this book could be plugged into a great many rule sets like AD&D. The author specifically mentions a desire for this title to be cross-compatible, but noted they didn't make that the focus of this work. I suspect that Mr. Brannan wanted this book to cover a far wider range of game systems than I am familiar with using. Even if it doesn't go there, it's still a rock-solid offering. 

Usually, when I do a review, I mention the artwork. This product is loaded with art. I didn't count, but it seems like every other page or every third has something. In this book, most of the artwork is a quarter page and inline with the text, rather than being placed in the centerline like 3.5 books. Again, like the subject matter in the book, the artwork has a gothic summer-turned-autumn feel. 

Somehow, this version of the witch character class feels old, but not too old. It invokes a pleasant feeling of Deja Vu of my college days when game night also featured a movie or TV before or after. That feeling of people just out to get together and have fun. 

Reviewer's note: The date is taken from the forward, this could be the most recent update rather than the original publication date. If that is the case, my apologies but then that also means the author is providing an excellent experience by routinely updating his works. 


  1. Again, I am so pleased you liked this! Yes it did start out as a joke, but as I wrote I realized that you know what? I love fall. I love Halloween. Hell, I even enjoy a good PSL. So this book is that to me. A Pumpkin Spice Latte. Light, sweet and enough caffeine kick to keep you going all day.

    Thanks so much for this review.

  2. Thanks for the great series.

    My wife is all about Halloween, it's like Christmas and New Years with costumes. It's great. I love nothing more than being outside in fall, usually camping. It's the most wonderful time of the year.