Monday, December 3, 2018

The Dumping Grounds of the Sub Sector

by Luka Rejec,
(click to embiggen)

Consistent readers of this blog will know that Elsai is my fever dream setting that makes you wet with high fantasy sword and sorcery, post apocalyptic survival, and everything in between. And Luka Rejec took it upon himself to breathe life into it on paper. So I'm proud to present the world map for Elsai, the Dumping Grounds of the Sub Sector!

Saturday, November 10, 2018

The Hungry Worm That Likes Books

The Hungry Worm that likes books is a local dungeon resident. He is always hungry for something to read and anything with a heartbeat.

When the PCs first encounter the Worm That Likes Books, he will befriend them and inform them about anything dangerous in the surrounding rooms. He will point out the pile of half-nibbled adventurers stowed in the back and his small pile of literature right next to it. Then he will offer to dig a tunnel to wherever the PCs need to go. 

Regardless of wherever the PCs need to go, the Worm That Likes Books doesn't trust areas beyond the small perimeter it operates in. Roll a d20 and reference the dungeon's key; that's the room he'll tunnel to. Replace with a bigger or smaller die as necessary.

He consider this a freebie.

The next time the PCs visit The Hungry Worm That Likes Books, roll on the wandering monster table and he'll want to eat the monster rolled. From now on he will refuse to dig anymore tunnels until the PCs bring him what he wants to eat or something good to read. If the PCs insist he dig them a tunnel, he'll eat them. If they return empty-handed, he'll eat them. If they bring him a trash novel, he'll eat them.

HD 6 AC Chain Constrict d8

Swallow - The Round after a successful Constrict The Worm That Likes Books will swallow the grappled creature whole. The swallowed creature suffers 1d8 damage per round from muscle contractions and stomach acids. Attacking him from the inside is easier said than done. The cramped space only permits attacks with weapons no larger than a dagger, and the attacker loses a roll.

Sunday, October 21, 2018

I don't know what to write

So I'm writing about it.

I've struggled with this blog. And the recent G+ apocalypse has inserted the thought of burning everything to the ground once or twice. The issue is that I have no idea what I wan't to write about.

Going into this blog I decided I wanted to produce things that I would read and use myself. But I've discovered that there's not a lot of interesting things to write about in that regard.

I run my games barebones. Here's a dungeon. Your characters are inside it. What do you do? There's no real intent behind it. It's just how I've come to DM. You see my problem here?

I can't produce things I'd read or use myself because there's nothing I need to read or use. The current way I use things is fine and I see no need to sacrifice that for producing content online.

If a situation comes up where I need to do some work I can just swipe something online. We live in an age where nothing is new under the sun. Why would I reinvent the wheel when I have a fine wheel right here?

So that's why this blog is suffering. I'm sure there's something I can write about. But I'm not sure what that is. But it feels like I'm getting close.

I don't know. I'm just going to keep churning out shit until it turns into gold.

I just fucking murdered my players

- died of blood loss after having his corroded artery ripped out by a hungry Wydarr. The last to die.

- succumbed to his injuries in battle and fainted. Dragged off into the darkness. Presumed Wydarr food. The first to die

Don Jose
- leg sliced off at the knee by hungry Wydarr. Watched helplessly as allies tried to save him. The second to die.

Jacob O'Brien
- avoided delimbing. Succumbed to injuries in battle and fainted. The fourth to die.

Lewis Hopcraft
- neck snapped by Wydarr. The third to die.

First Mate Bones
- abandoned best friend Shuren to his fate. Promoted to Captain. Enjoying wonderful sea adventures with fishman Dale.

The Creati

A Creati possesses the ability to recreate non-living objects from their body by breaking down their own fat at the molecular level.

A Creation, Book Learning
B Spot Weakness
C Creation II
D Lucky Bag, Danger Sense

You can recreate a 5' non-living object after one Round of concentration. Afterwards eat a ration or suffer 1 point of CON damage. 
You must have seen the object and understand how it works in order to recreate it. If the object is magical you can recreate its form but not its magical properties.
Your creations last for one Round per level before reverting to fat.

Book Learning
You gain two additional skill. All you knowledge of these skills come from books that you own.

Spot Weakness
Once per scene you can observe a creature for one Round. Afterwards you learn a weakness, secret, or fear the creature has. If you use this information to bring harm to a creature, it translates to +1d12 damage or an automatic failure on a Save.

Creation II
Now you can create a 10' non-living object after one Turn of concentration. Afterwards eat a ration or suffer 1 point of CON damage.
Now your creations last for one Turn per level before reverting to fat.

Lucky Bag
You can launch a small bag from your chest up to 40'. The bag contains contents that you get to determine. Up to six objects that are no bigger than a bread loaf can fit into the bag. Afterwards eat d6 rations or suffer the same amount of CON damage.

Danger Sense
If you are surprised you have a 50% chance to act on the surprise round anyway. If you do you get a free one-time use of your Spot Weakness ability.

Image result for momo yaoyorozu

Friday, October 19, 2018

I Playtested Zak Sabbath's Hero Game

....And it was great!

Zak was scouting for playtesters for his new heroes and villains game. I was lucky enough to get in.

Warning: the game is still in development. So take what I say with a grain of salt.

I played in two different games. My first character was an 80s style transformer Police Monster Truck (PMT). My second character was the kinetic absorbing kid named Punching Bag.
PMT's crime fighting career ended fast due to unfortunate circumstance. But Punching Bag ended up saving the day! But that's a story for another time. On to character creation.

Zak has released a version of the character creation rules on his blog. But there are a few aspects of character creation left out of the post. For example this system has the most entertaining way to produce your core stats.

Each character has a CAPTAIN. That stands for Calm, Agility, Perception, Toughness, Appeal, Intelligence, and Network. Each stat has a die (as in a d6, d8, d10, etc; not a number).
You generate die by rolling all the standard dice from d4 to d12. Then you arrange the dice from lowest to highest. Then you take the die with the middle number; if there's a tie you get to pick the die.
This by itself makes rolling up characters a blast! You roll your stats late in the character creation process. But I had to mention it first because its so interesting and fun.

First you roll your character's first set of abilities. Most of the entries give you a choice between two powers. For example for PMT I got to choose Weather Control of Custom Vehicle. (He was a transformer so I chose he vehicle.)
Zak stated he structured entries to appeal to two players with opposite play styles. A player who wants to play a psionic is different from a player who wants to play animal clawed villain.
The first set of abilities are Primary Powers and define your character a great deal. Punching Bag rolled Energy Vampirism/Absorption. I picked Kinetic as the type of energy. This ended up being his only power but he crushed a league of villains that had more diverse powers. So don't feel cheated if you only get a single power because it's not an arms race.

Second I'm not sure what happens, but you do some more rolling and there's a chance you'll get more powers or a Gimmick. I didn't learn much about the process for this step other than there's a d20 involved.

Third you roll your occupation. Your occupation gives you skills from what I can tell. For PMT and Punching Bag I got "Job where you're shot at" (cop) and kid.

Fourth you roll your CAPTAIN.

Fifth and last you pick your skills. You get 3 skills along with the skills from your occupation. Your skills start at one level higher than their governing stat. So if you have a d12 Toughness and Berserker, Berserker gets a d20.
Martial Arts and Berserker ended up being the two strongest skills I encountered. A little too strong.
Zak stated that a character can't take Martial Arts if their Primary Power is based off toughness. For example Punching Bag couldn't take it since his power was Toughness based. Also it counts as two skills so...meh?
Berserker seems like a skill any character would take. It reduces a significant amounts of damage. But there was the stipulation that you can't use your noggin. Plus you take some penalties afterwards so...meh?

At any point during character creation you can spend a Boost to reroll a power or stat. You get one for free and circumstance can provide you with more.

And that's it for character creation! It's simple, short, sweet, and fun to boot. And I heard one person mention that it's a lot simpler than most superhero rpgs. So points for succinctness!
Now on to the game itself.

Zak pitted our heroes and villains against each other. He stated that the game isn't based around PvP. But PvP provided the simplest method to playtest everything.
Zak walked our characters through exploring a lair. The first lair was a defeated villain's hideout. The second was an alien satellite in low orbit. Our characters wondered through the rooms until we were face to face. Then initiative started!

I say started because initiative in this game is more complex than standard D&D. First the GM lists each player by Perception. Then each player goes in order from lowest Perception to highest. They state what their character is going to do, picking up the dice they'll need and holding on to it. Then everyone rolls at the same time. Then actions resolve from the highest roll to the lowest. It takes getting used to but it's exciting and keeps you on your toes.

I was the most confused by the recover mechanic. It kicks into gear when your character gets knocked out. From what I understand your Toughness level functions as your hit points. So if you have a d12 Toughness you can take 12 points of damage before getting knocked out. Once knocked out, you lose a round. The next round you start making recovery rolls. If I remember, you roll your toughness. Then whoever knocked you out rolls the damage of whatever they used to knock you out. If your recovery roll is higher than the damage roll you recover the difference in Toughness. Once you're back to positive Toughness then you're back in the action.

That's it for my commentary. My final verdict is that this game looks solid. I love the character creation and the combat. I can't wait to see what a campaign would look like.

Fighting Punching Bag is a lot like this

Saturday, October 13, 2018

OSR Guide for the Perplexed Questionnaire

1. One article or blog entry that exemplifies the best of the Old School Renaissance for me:
James Maliszewski's Old School Dungeon Design Guidelines encapsulates the best principles of the OSR.

2. My favorite piece of OSR wisdom/advice/snark:
"A dungeon you explore once is not a dungeon."

3. Best OSR module/supplement:
This is a toss-up between what I want and what I know.
I want to say Hubris is the best OSR module because it exemplifies everything I want from a setting book in the best way possible.
But from experience I have to say Hot Springs Island. It's a thick read and it lacks quick statistics, but it is the best playground I've run for my players in a long time.

4. My favorite house rule (by someone else):
My friend Nathan has an old d6 that's chipped, making it a d7. He calls it his paradox die. Once per session a player could roll this paradox die. If they did and it landed on its seventh face some weird shit would happen next session. This has resulted in Spock and company beaming down right in front of our characters and parlaying with actual Cthulhu monsters.

5. How I found out about the OSR:
It was 2014 or 2015 and I was running 5E at my friend's comic book shop. A codger walked in with his wife. They were looking for a gift for his birthday. They saw us playing D&D and I invited them to come back next week and roll up a character. They came back and they brought a treasure trove of old school books with them. I was entranced and asked if the codger (the above-mentioned Nathan) would run a game for us. He obliged and I've been trapped ever since.

6. My favorite OSR online resource/toy:
I'm not sure if these count. But Discord and GIMP are my go to tools for running games these days.

7. Best place to talk to other OSR gamers:
The heaving throes of G+.

8. Other places I might be found hanging out talking games:
I'm on Discord. Feel free to friend me (Mcgee#3580).

9. My awesome, pithy OSR take nobody appreciates enough:
If you think OSR is a ruleset you have no idea what you're talking about.

10. My favorite non-OSR RPG:
It has a shit online presence but I still like playing 5E. Also I would like to give 13th Age a run.

11. Why I like OSR stuff:
It has character. It has avoided the soul sucking proboscises of big business.

12. Two other cool OSR things you should know about that I haven't named yet:
Library of Attnam is underrated and if you think I'm wrong you should read his posts about druids.
Remixes and Revelations is also underrated and he is the only glogger that gets it.

13. If I could read but one other RPG blog but my own it would be:
The easy answer is Jeff's Gameblog. 
But I would lock myself in a room with Fists of Cinder and Stone.

14. A game thing I made that I like quite a lot is:
Everyone likes the Time Wizard but it's shit.
I'm fond of my quick and dirty car rules.

15. I'm currently running/playing:
Right now I'm running Hot Springs Island as a part of a larger wavecrawl.

16. I don't care whether you use ascending or descending AC because:
I just want to kill you.

17. The OSRest picture I could post on short notice:
This picture of a medusa from LotFP because it was the first thing I saw when I opened the book and it convinced me the OSR was rad.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Target GLOG

GLOG is the system I use to run my home games. But I don't like the fact that it's a roll-under system. I've got nothing against roll-under, but my mind is ingrained with roll-over from playing the d20 System and 5e. But I've also got my issues with roll-over.

My biggest issue with roll-over mechanics is the prevalence of Difficulty Class. In the end DCs are arbitrary because they rely on the whims of the DM instead of the mechanics of the game. So my goal was to make a roll-over system without DCs. But Delta of Delta's D&D Hotspot beat me to it with his Target 20 system.

Target 20 is intuitive and simple. The main mechanic is:

d20 + level + modifiers ≥ 20

That's it! Attack Rolls, Saving Throws, and Skill checks are based off this simple mechanic. But there's a caveat.

Delta did the math and came to the conclusion that Target 20 deviates by "1 or 2 pips.". In other words it deviates by 5% or 10% from the system it was based on. This deviation is positive for the most part. PCs take a hit to their early level saves, but they "closely match the book at middle levels; and are more generous at the highest levels." DMs might scour at this, but this deviation is also positive for monsters. So there's really nothing to cry about.

Target 20 was based off OD&D. So it will need to be tweaked to fit GLOG. The +level approach wouldn't suit GLOG because Attacks and Saves are made with secondary scores. Also it would be easier to modify the target number 20 with Defense than adding/subtracting it from the roll itself. So to hit an opponent with a Defense of 11, you'd need to roll a 21 or higher (because 11 minus 10 is 1.) Also the micro-math natural to GLOG  needs reduction or elimination.
Target 20 Compatibility Mark

This is my first hot take:

Ability checks/saves
d20 + Ability Score ≥ 20

Attack Rolls
d20 + Attack Score + STR/DEX ≥ 20 + Target's Defense

d20 + Save + CHA ≥ 20

d20 + 12 + DEX ≥ 20

d20 + 5 + DEX ≥ 20

I haven't figured out Opposed Checks or Combat Maneuvers yet. But I figured most situations are resolvable with a roll-off. A success wins. In the case of a tie, the highest roll wins.

Friday, October 5, 2018

Break me a 21

I'm in the middle of an existential crisis right now. So I look towards the warm bosoms of math to comfort me.

In my current campaign I use a roll under as a resolution mechanic. But roll under is the most over-used method in old school gaming, and for good reason. It works. roll under is square-one of resolution mechanics. It requires no math. It requires no arbitrary decisions. It's binary; you fail or you succeed. 

On the other end of the spectrum, roll over is the least-used method, and for good reason. Most roll over methods require math and arbitrary decisions. It is also the flagship mechanic of the mediocrity that is modern elf games.

If I had to pick between the two, I would choose roll under. But that's the easy choice. And this post isn't about doing things easy.

I want to explore the possibility of a roll over mechanic that is simple and intuitive.


The traditional roll under mechanic uses a variable that the player rolls equal to or under in order to succeed.  That variable is an Ability Score most of the time. Allow me to introduce Kenned.

Kenned is a first level fighter. He's got dreams and aspirations; and he's got a Strength score of 16. Right now all that matters is Kenned's Strength Score. (Fuck your dreams and aspirations Kenned.)

In the traditional roll under mechanic, Kenned has an 80% success rate for Strength tests. But if we flip to a roll over mechanic, Kenned looks a bit more scrawny. In the roll over mechanic, Kenned only has a 25% success rate. Now most people would abandon the roll over idea here because they think it means restructuring D&D. But this isn't the case.

Both mechanics have two things in common. They both have a dice roll. And they both have a target number. However in the case of the roll under mechanic, this target number is an ability score most of the time. This just doesn't work in a roll over mechanic because the maxim of "high score be good" is broken by the nature of the roll over mechanic. And since we can't change the dice roll, we have to change the target number.

But changing the target number comes with a stipulation. The success rates have to be the same. In other words a score of 16 has to have a success rate of 80% in a roll under mechanic and a roll over mechanic.

After a lot of mad scribbling I've come to a target number of 21.

In order to keep the maxim "high score be good" we have to invert the roll under mechanic. One would think this would result in a target number of 20, but this proves to not be the case. This is the result of adding the score to the roll. In a roll under mechanic there's no math. So by introducing a modifier the target number increases by one. But the success rates check out. A score of 16 has an 80% success rate in both systems.

So the basic mechanic in this roll over system would look like this:

d20 + modifier ≥ 21 = Success

The modifier varies depending on what is tested. Ability Scores modify ability checks; skills modify skill checks; etc; etc.

The key to this mechanic is to modify the target number instead of the roll. Instead of applying a -4 penalty to the roll, add 4 to the target number.

Let's go back to Kenned. He's got some leather armor. Leather armor has an AC of 2. So we add that to any attack rolls' target numbers. So Kenned would have an "AC" of 23 (or 25 if he's got good DEX.) 

This method means players don't have to do multi-step math. It's roll and add. That's it. Only the target number fluctuates, and it's easy for the DM to communicate the target number.

I'm no math-man, but I think this works out. Regardless it's a basic start and I'll explore it further later after I've accepted nihilism.

Friday, September 28, 2018

GLOG: Class: Beerbarian

From Arnold K.'s GLOG:
Each point of drunkenness expands your critical fail/miss range by 1. So a character with 3 points of drunkenness would critically miss on a roll of 17-20. This lasts until next morning.
With that said...

You gain +3 HP for every two Beerbarian template you possess.

A Barfly, Angry Drunk
B Swig
C Drunk Strength
D Drunken Master


Each point of drunkenness expands your critical success/hit range by 1.

Angry Drunk
If you're drunk you gain immunity to Fear and Pain. You can't do anything defensive, curative, or tactical.

You can consume alcohol to restore 1d6+1 HP. This gives you 1 point of drunkenness. This ability works even if someone pours the booze down your unconscious throat.

Drunk Strength
If you have at least two points of drunkenness, you can gain a Strength of 22 (+4) for 1 Round once per day.

Drunken Master
Now each point of drunkenness expands your critical success/hit range and your critical fail/miss range by 2.

Image result for beerbarian

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Meet Me After School. —Love Gandalf

So I've been in the death throes of wizard fever lately. I've gotten some excellent feedback by throwing my Sword Wizard and Forge Wizard out there. And I'd like to take this opportunity to share my notes on GLOG Wizard design.

1. Wizards are problem solvers
The wizard "presents a limited number of abilities (spells) with which to skip certain specific resource drains" (Lungfungus). Where Fighters have to roll to hit and Thieves have to roll to open locks, Wizards spend spell slots to make problems disappear. Pesky goblin no one can hit? Magic Missile. Pack of orcs? Sleep. Locked Door? Knock. With that said....

2. Magic is reliable
Wizards solve problems with magic. Or in other words, magic is their tool. A blacksmith wouldn't use a cracked hammer to pound steel. A woodworker wouldn't saw planks with a chipped saw. Therefore a magic user wouldn't solve problems with unreliable magic. Therefore magic must be reliable. With that said....

3. Magic has unpredictable costs
Mishaps and Dooms make the Wizard closer to Fighters and Thieves in that it adds a cost under a certain condition. For Fighters and Thieves is strictly roll-based. Rolled too low? Miss. But in the Wizard's case the magic still happens, then they take costs. With that said....

4. Wizards hedge reliable problem solving with unpredictable costs
This is the main "strategy" of the Wizard. If Mishaps and Dooms didn't exist the wizard would just get to spam 2+ MD spells willy-nilly. But since Mishaps and Dooms are present, the Wizard has to wage his risks. He could invest 1MD in Magic Missile on that owlbear, but it has two claws and a bite and a bear hug, but if you invest anymore you could pay a terrible cost. I theorize this is why most wizards go mad. With that said....

5. Spells require an "Upgrade Factor"
Wizards need a reason to upgrade their spells with more spell dice. Or in other words an upgrade factor. This is usually in the form of the dice variables [dice] or [sum] but it could be in the form of an upgraded version of the spell. If your spell doesn't have a dice variable or an upgraded version, then it needs to come with a clause or downside to prevent the wizard from spamming it. With that said....

6. Spells need a "Hijinks Factor"
Spells should be multitasking tools. A hammer can be used for more than just pounding steel. Same concept with spells. But spells shouldn't be super tools that can power through any situation. Basically you want the spell to have a definitive effect that is applicable in at least two dungeon-to-dungeon situations. The wizard player will take care of the rest. With that said....

That's it. That's all I could think of.

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

GLOG: Class: Forge Wizard

Smithing has always been the domain of devils. In fact it's one of the key differences between them and their crude demon cousins. It's a testament to the acuity of devilkind, and a stick to the Man upstairs.

When primitive humans wondered into Hell seeking to learn the devils' craft, they were given a deal. Their souls in exchange for smithing. Of course they accepted, and of course they got the raw deal. Sure the devils taught them, but they didn't teach them everything, and in the end they got fresh souls while the flesh-apes only got a few iron tools and weapons.

This charade continued for centuries until some humans realized they were getting stiffed and bargained for a renegotiation of terms. Most of them got their souls eaten, but there was a few who came out with the better half of the deal. Those people are known as Forge Wizards.

by William Blake

Perk: You gain +1 Attack or Defense when using weapons or armor that you've made yourself respectively. You start with a Devil Hammer.

Drawback: 10% of treasure that you discover gets donated to devilkind. Hey man a deal's a deal.

A devil hammer can be used as a weapon that deals d6+1 damage. It also cuts smithing times down from 1 month to 2 weeks.

1. You can recall your devil hammer to your hand.
2. You can etch your symbol on a metal object.
3. You can make your eyes glow with cosmetic fire.

Spell List

1. Burning Hands
R: 20' cone
T: area
D: 0
You touch your thumbs together and sheets of flame explode from your fingertips, dealing [sum] damage, Save vs Dex halves, and setting flammable objects alight.

A classic. Pretty powerful at close range, hence the save. Otherwise totally useful for setting crowds or rooms on fire.

2. Bargain
R: 50'
T: one creature
D: 0
You can instantly swap one object your holding in your hand with an object the targeted creature is holding in its hand. If you invested 3 dice or more you can swap objects on your target's persons instead (backpack, pockets, boots, stomach, etc); you have to have seen the object or know where it's located.

Steal the doom sword from the evil lich or get the keys out of the guard's stomach.

3. Weld
R: Touch
T: [dice]+1 objects or creatures
D: permanent
You meld the targeted creatures or object together. If the targets are creatures they get a Save, but only one needs to fail their Save to be considered meld together. This spell can be reversed to undo its own effects.

A potentially powerful spell against creatures, but the touch range means the wizard has to put themselves in harms way. Otherwise gives them an opportunity to make some unique items.

4. Gauntlets of Mephistopheles 
R: 20'
T: one creature
D: [sum] attacks
Giant gauntlets of black metal envelop the targeted creature's fists. They gain +1 Defense and their unarmed attacks deal 1d6 fire damage and set flammable object alight.

Give the Fighter flaming fists of fury.

5. Whirling Hammer Toss
R: 60'
T: one hammer
D: 0
You spin the targeted hammer in your hand with supernatural speed before throwing it. The hammer carries you and up to [sum] creatures and objects with it Thor style.

Most of the Forge Wizard's spells are touch spells, so having a spell to close the gap is a big convenience.

6. Summon Lemures
R: 30'
T: one surface
D: 0
You summon [sum]+[dice] Lemures that obey your command.

Lemures are basically the trash of Hell. Devils don't mind sending them to you. In fact you're doing them a favor by giving them a place to dump all of their garbage.

7. Secret Forge
R: Touch
T: one surface
D: varies
An iron door materializes on the targeted surface. This takes 30 minutes. Behind the door is a 20' room furnished with furnace, forge, bellows, and all of the other tools necessary to run a smithy. The room lasts for 2 hours, doubling in duration for each die invested. At the end of the duration all creatures inside are ejected.

Taken from Arnold's Door Wizard. Gives the Forge Wizard a port-o-forge for smithing on the go. Also gives the party a safe place to crash when their deep down in the deep dark.

8. Statue
R: 0
T: Self
D: [dice]*10 minutes
You turn into a metal statue. You can switch in and out of statue-form in a single round.

Potentially useful for stealth missions, or as an impromptu battering ram.

9. Transmute Metal to Fire
R: 80' 
T: one metal object 
D: permanent
You change the targeted metal object into searing fire. The object maintains its mass and shape but scorches for 1d4 fire damage for each [dice] invested.

Taken from the Sword Wizard. It didn't really make sense for that school, but it's perfect for this one.

10. Bonefire
R: Touch
T: one corpse
D: 10 minutes
The targeted corpse burns with a gentle ethereal fire, and after 10 minutes all that's left is ash. This ash can be rubbed on an object to enchant it with [dice] properties that belonged to the corpse when it was alive. If the corpse was a wizard's, you can imbue their prepared spells into objects instead and they will function as scrolls. The ash's properties and its enchantments last until sunrise.

Apparently in olden times blacksmiths would put bones in their forge because it produced purer steel. This started a trend of putting in animal and human bones to infuse them with their power. 

Emblem Spells
11. Meteor
R: Space
T: one meteor
D: 0
You grab a meteor from the sky and bring it crashing towards earth. 
If it's night, the sky illuminates as if it were daylight for [dice]*2 hours.
Nocturnal creatures will return to their layers, and diurnal animals will stir as their sleep cycle is interrupted. 
All creatures with [dice]*2 HD or less that realize you were responsible Save vs Fear or take a morale check, or flee/bow down to you.
The meteor lands 1d100 miles away in a random direction. If you invested 3 dice or more the meteor utterly obliterates anything d10 miles away from the impact zone, and deals [sum] damage to everything else in a d100 miles radius.

Taken from Vaginas are Magic. Apparently Tutankhamen was buried with a dagger forged from iron that belonged to a meteor. 

12. Bone Armor
R: 20'
T: one creature
D: Concentration
The targeted creature gets covered in bone armor. The bone armor has a 12+[dice] Defense and absorbs [dice]*2 damage from non-bludgeoning attacks. The wearer also gains telepathy with the Forge Wizard.

Taken from Arnold's Bone Devil. Pretty much turns the target to a lean mean boning machine.

1. MD only return to your pool on a 1-2 for 24 hours.
2. Take 1d6 damage.
3. Random Mutation for 1d6 Rounds, then Save with a -4 penalty. Permanent if you fail.
4. Blinding smoke billows from your lungs, filling a 10' cubic area.
5. Your cerebrospinal fluid boils. Unconscious for 1d6+2 Rounds. 
6. Save vs Fear against fire for 24 hours.

1. Devils shatter your leg bones. Your movement rate per round is reduced to a 10' crawl.
2. Chains clinch your heart, the black smoke of Hell fills your lungs, fire burns your hair to cinders, and devil kisses grow lumps of flesh all over your body. Your CON and CHA is halved.
3. Your head falls off and sprouts a maggot-like appendage. A devil possesses your body in the form of a flaming skull, Ghost Rider style, and becomes an NPC hellbent on spreading as much sin and destruction as possible. You're a soulworm that has lost all of your wizarding capabilities until you get your body back.

You can circumvent your Dooms by traveling to Hell and stealing the horseshoe of a Nightmare that belongs to an archdevil and wearing it around your neck.

Sunday, September 2, 2018

Fuck CMDs

The prior iteration of the sword wizard was met with universally harsh criticism such as:

  • Too much of a focus on combat tricks. Even a wizard based off swords shouldn't be this combat focused.
  • Spells are too utilitarian and lack a "hijinks factor."
  • Cantrips, Mishaps, and Dooms are underwhelming.

For the most part I agree, but I would like to take this opportunity to address these critiques and what they mean for GLOG wizard design going forward.

Swords to Sticks is a good example of a bad spell. Its design is very narrow. The intent is to turn a bunch of scavenged sticks into useful weapons for the party, but that's it. Outside of that situation this spell is pretty much useless because swords aren't that hard to come by.

Transmute Metal to Fire is a good example of a good spell. Its design is very open. The intent is simply turn metal into fire. You can turn a regular sword into a flaming sword. You can turn an iron golem into a giant fire elemental. You can turn a cannon into fire, causing the powder charge to explode, which in turn causes shrapnel-shaped fire to pepper the deck of the ship, setting even more things on fire. Or you can just put out an iron door to get to the other side. It has a long range of uses—perhaps maybe too long.

The difference between these two spells is emergent gameplay, or in less pretentious terms, the hijinks factor. This means the spell is sitting in the Goldilocks zone of intended use. It's narrow enough to not solve every problem, but it's open enough to apply to a range of situations. This lets the wizard player get up to a whole bunch of hijinks.

Pure utilitarianism is too be avoided if possible. Buff spells have their place (just look at Mage Armor) but spells like this are more interesting if it has a weird clause. Argyrosis kind of gets this but clings too close to its utilitarian purpose to really be an interesting spell.

Now we get to the hard part.

I don't like Cantrips, Dooms, or Mishaps, or CMDs for short because the latter is too fucking long.

There I said it.

I get why cantrips exist. They're there for the wizard to do something magical when they run out of spells. But honestly there's a bunch of stuff a wizard can do already without them. Grab a bow and shoot something. Grab a spear and hide behind the meat shield. Cantrips just feel like a distraction from the main attraction themselves, the spells.

Dooms and Mishaps I actually like, but I don't like their execution. I feel like they would be better handled on a spell to spell basis, like how DCC does with its spells.

Something like:

What spell do
What spell do if roll Mishap
What spell do if roll Doom

I don't think I piss anybody off by saying I don't like CMDs. I don't think Arnold or Skerples are looking for disciples, and a unified GLOG ruleset just isn't going to happen anytime soon. So I might as well go full pariah.

Anyway this post started good but quickly devolved into a rant. I'm going to finish my earl grey, take a nap, and go to work.

Saturday, September 1, 2018

Escape the Island

A Jeff Rients style escape table for Skerple's piratical GLOG, and other wavecrawl island-hopping style games, for when you need to end the session early or in the middle of combat.

PCs must Save or roll on the Escape the Island table below. Their Save is modified by plus or minus the difference between their level and how far away their current hex location is from the landing hex of their ship. For example, a second level character three hexes away from their landing point would have a -1 penalty on their Save. On a failure, roll on the table below 

Escape the Island! (d20)

1. Ye Scurvy dog! Ye manage to escape and board yer vessel safe and sound with all yer loot.
2. Ye escape but are gutted somethin foul! Take 4d6 damage.
3. Ye manage to board yer ship, and so does somethin else! The DM will roll a wanderin monster which will be resolved at the start of the next session.
4. Ye escape but crawled onto the wrong ship! Roll 1d6, 1—3 they're friendly, 4—6 they're not. Save again to see if yer allies notice.
5. Ye escape but are captured by slavers. They strip ye of all yer loot and haul ye off to the nearest port, and put ye to auction for Level*1000gp. Save again to see if yer allies notice.
6. Ye escape but are conscripted by a local warband under penalty of death! They confiscate all of yer equipment. Save again to see if yer allies notice.
7. Ye emerge from the smoke naked and delirious.
8. Ye escape with half yer loot. The DM will determine randomly what loot is lost.
9. Ye escape with 1d6 pieces of loot missing. The DM will determine randomly what loot is lost. 
10. Ye escape but yet loot is stolen by island denizens. Save again to get a whiff of their trail.
11. Yer swallowed by a leviathan of the deep! Save again to see if ye survive. Save a third time to see if yer allies catch the sea monster's trail.
12. Captured! Island denizens haul ye off to the closest dungeon/settlement. Save again to see if they don't execute ye in ritualistic fashion. Save a third time to see if yer allies notice!
13. To Davy Jone's locker with ye! Any escaped allies are able to bring yer remains and loot back to the ship.
14. No dog left behind! Ye die but any escaped allies are able to bring back yer remains. Yer loot is lost forever.
15. Dead as the gallows! Yer allies know the general location of yer corpse.
16. Scurvy dog it's what's for dinner! Eaten by monsters or island denizens. They add yer loot to their hoard of treasure.
17. Now the enemy! Yer killed and brought back as a minion of monsters or island denizens.
18. Taken as a trophy! Yer petrified, polymorphed, de-limbed, or otherwise made immoble to be put on display for a local monster or island denizen. Save again to see if yer allies notice.
19. They spin tales of ye as they pass grog. Yer body and loot are lost forever!
20. Stab 'em in the back! Pick an ally who escaped. Roll 1d6, 1—4 yer buddy takes yer place and has to roll on this table while ye escape, 5—6 ye both suffer the fate rolled.

by Wojtek Kapusta 

Friday, August 31, 2018

GLOG: Class: Sword Wizard

The rule of Norag is one of eugenics. There are greater men and there are lesser men. The lesser men serve, while the greater men rule. But kings are not made by their blood and pedigree. To be king one must be worthy.

Like their War Wizard brethren, the Sword Wizards have given themselves to the War Lich. But where the War Wizards give mind, body, and soul; the Sword Wizards need only give their heart.

For hours the Sword Wizards are held flat on a basalt slab as their chest is sliced, their ribs cracked, and their veins snipped until before their very eyes rests their beating heart. Then at last the micalibur, a sword of such fine a craft to be of an immeasurable earthly value, is thrust into their chest. Those that survive leave the basalt tower to make kings worthy for the thrones of greater men.

Bright Wizard by calebcleveland
by calebcleveland

Perks: Embedded in your chest where your heart is there's a sword. It is your micalibur. 

Drawback: If your micalibur is destroyed, you die.

1. You can sharpen a fist-sized object to a knife's edge. You must be holding it and it can't be harder than steel.
2. You can restore 1d8 HP by swallowing iron/steel swords. The sword is destroyed in the process.
3. You can suck one lantern-sized object, up to 50' away, into your chest hole. Activating this cantrip again ejects the object up to 50' away.
Spell List

1. Sticks to Swords
R: 50' T: [dice] sticks D: [dice*2] Rounds

You change the targeted sticks into swords. If you invested 3 or more [dice] the sticks change into large weapons that deal 1d10 damage.

2. Barrel Trick
R: 0' T: Self D: special
Slashing weapons gain a particular likeness for you; so much so that they refuse to leave after digging into your flesh. They also do you the solid of not killing you while they're crashing on your insides. When you would take damage from a slashing weapon, you absorb the damage and the weapon gets stuck inside you. The weapon is immovable while it's inside you. After you've absorbed [sum+5] damage the spell ends.

3. Steel Wind
R: 50' T: one object or creature D: 0
The sharpness of your blade carries on the wind. Make a melee attack with a slashing weapon in your hand to a target within 50', dealing +[sum] damage on a hit. If you're unarmed this spell deals 1d6 damage. You gain +[dice] Attack for this spell's Attack roll.

4. Transmute Metal to Fire
R: 80' T: one metal object D: permanent
You change the targeted object into searing fire. The object maintains its mass and shape but scorches for 1d4 fire damage for each [dice] invested. 

5. Personal Armory
R: Touch T: one container D: [dice*2] Hours

Your establish a link with the targeted container. For the duration, your chest opens up like a closet revealing the inside of the targeted container. You can swap items in and out of the container  through your chest cavity regardless of the distance between you.

6. Argyrosis
R: 0 T: one creature D: [dice] hours

The target creature's skin turns into platinum. Their unarmored Defense becomes 14+[dice].

7. Animate Sword
R: Touch T: one sword D: [sum] Rounds
You bring a sword to life, allowing it to move and follow commands. It moves by hopping on it's hilt at a rate of 10' per Round. If you invest 3 or more [dice] the sword can fly at a rate of 40' per Round.

8. The Razor Spiral
R: Self T: [dice]x10' radius D: concentration
Blades of invisible force fly around the caster. All creatures in area take 1d4 damage each round the spell is maintained. Roll damage for each creature individually, starting with those closest to the caster. The spell ends automatically when [sum]+3 damage has been dealt. The blades will also cut or damage fragile objects in the area.

by Skerples

9. King's Voice
R: 50' T: one creature D: [dice] hours
You fill the targeted creature's voice with authority. The targeted creature can't be you. For the duration of the spell, that creature can utter a [dice] word command to one other creature that can hear and understand them, who must Save or obey. If the command lasts more than one round, the creature gets a new Save at the beginning of each round.

10. Wall of Swords
R: 30' T: wall D: permanent
You summon a [dice]*10' panel of swords. You can configure the panel however you want but it must remain rectangular.

Emblem Spells
11. Sword of Kings
R: Touch T: one creature D: Permanent
You anoint the targeted creature as a true king and bestow upon them the divine right of rule. If they accept your burden, they must draw your micalibur from your chest.  Next sunrise [sum] Vassals will arrive to the creature's location to help them forge the kingdom they will inevitably rule. Vassals are first level Fighters. You can only cast this spell once in a lifetime. If your micalibur is lost or destroyed, the creature will lose their claim to royalty forever and their vassals will disperse.

12. The Vorpal Sword
R: 50' T: one creature D: [sum] Rounds
You summon this most feared blade in the hands of the targeted creature. The Sword decapitates its target on a natural 1 through [dice] if they fail a Save (and if they have a head.)
1. MD only return to your pool on a 1-2 for 24 hours.
2. Take 1d6 damage.
3. Random mutation for 1d6 Rounds, then Save with -4 penalty. Permanent if you fail.
4. Your micalibur flies from you, landing 50' away.
5. 2d4 daggers dig out of your body like fleeing parasites, causing you 1 damage each.
6. If the spell targets a sword, it targets you instead. If it targets you, it targets an enemy or fizzles. If it targets an enemy, it targets an ally.

1. One of your limbs is replaced with a sword. You can control the sword like a limb, put you can't use it to grab or hold anything.
2. Your chest hole erupts with searing fire, causing you 1d8 Con damage. The fire never burns out and shines as a torch. Sheathing your micalibur causes you terrible horrible pain, dealing 1 Con damage.
3. You turn into a sentient sword. If a creature picks you up you can make a contested Cha check to dominate them.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Dealing with Ogres

The Night Axe Ogres of Hot Spring Island hold dominion over bone and obsidian. They use their powers to craft efficient tools and deadly weapons that aid in their quest for vengeance against Svarku and his Fuegonauts.

The Night Axe are willing to offer their finely crafted useful objects to adventurers in exchange for more resources (hide, bone, obsidian, etc.)

Every time the PCs bring at least 100gp worth of resources to the Night Axe, roll on the Night Axe Treasures table (HSI pp. 160, 166-167.) It'll take the Night Axe 1d10 days to complete the crafting process. Subtract 1 day from the process for each additional 100gp worth of resources the PCs bring, minimum 1 day.

The below table offers some stats geared toward the GLOG system, but can be easily converted for any other retroclone.

ResultEntryAdditional Notes
1—2Bait PouchCan store up to 4 inventory slots worith of items. If containing meat and opened, there's a 50% chance that d6+1 Zip Birds will converge on the location.
3—4Basket of Regrowthcontains enought whale fat for 6 uses.
5—6Blade of Martok
7—8Bluescale Hood
9—10Bluescale Slippersgrants +2 Defense
11—12Bone Mallet of Straight FlightDeals d6 damage on a hit, plus if a creature is killed, the spike travels through them and attacks the next creature behind them.
13—14Bone Necklace of Salamader BlindnessWhen donned, provides 1 Round of Invisibility against Salamanders if moving. 10 minutes if completely still. Has 12 uses.
15—16Bonespell Necklace
17—18Bubble Bracelet
19—20Candle of Relaxation
21—22Censer of LearningRequires 1 inventory slot worth of Foraged Herbs from the island to be burned. Other herbs might work. 1 person can inhale the smoke to gain perfect photographic memory for the next 4 hours.
23—24Coppermance Prowler FeathersDestroy a feather to teleport to a location 50' away that you can see.
25—26Counting Pouch
27—28Cube of AntsBreaking the cube unleashes a horde of d20+40 bullet ants. They prioritize fuegonauts and their allies.
29—30Fireproof Blanket3x8' foot blanket that absorbs up to 20 fire damage before exploding in a puff of ash.
31—32Giggling Sling Stones
33—34Gourd of WaterContains a mounful water elemental (HD 8, Attack 15, Defense 19, dmg 1d8, +1d8 dmg against submerged targets.) The elemental must be coaxed out of his gourd.
35—36Lady Finder
37—38Obsidian Shrapnel
39—40Obsidian Water Grenadesexplodes for 1d6 damage in a 20' radius.
41—42Paw'lard's Perfumegrants +4 to reaction rolls. Has 12 uses.
43—44Paw'lard's Wooden Spoondeals 1d10 damage and takes up two inventory slots worth of space. The meat of slain creatures is perfectly preserved.
45—46Red Crystal Firestarter
47—48Red Scale Bootssolidifies a 10x10' area of lava over 1 round.
49—50Redball8 uses
51—52Rockcrackerdeals 1d10 damage and takes up two inventory slots worth of space. Once per day can open up a 5x10' crack in stone. Useless afterwards for 24 hours.
53—54Runed Bird Skull HelmGrants a STR of 20 when wounded or dying.
55—56Runed Bird Skull Pauldrongrants +2 Defense
57—58Runed Bone Haftdeals d6 damage and has a reach of 10'
59—60Runed Bone Torch
61—62Runed Head of Obsidian Blindnessprovides 1 Round of invisibility against obsidian bladeguards if moving.10 minutes if completely still. Has 12 uses.
63—64Runed Salamader Jawbonegrants +1 Defense and the wielder ignores 4 points of damage from fire or heat sources.
65—66Salamader Deciever's Dice
67—68Scrimshawed Ear Gaugesif pierced through the ear, grants the wearer the ability to communicate telepathically with any other creatures wearing the gauges. The telepathic line is open and private conversations aren't possible if multiple creatures are wearing the gauges.
69—70Silver Gloves of Obsidian Artillery
71—72Silver Hair Belt
73—74Silver Sack of Nuggets
75—76Silver Tongue Skull
77—78Silversight Hood
79—80Silverzip Bola
81—82Singing Rope
83—84Slipshine Oil
85—86Stay Fresh Bag
87—88Strap of Facesallows the wearer to counsel with the God of Vengeace. Has 6 uses.
89—90Training AxeAny creature that attempts to lift the axe must Save or be caught in an hour long trance. During the trance they're body will run through axe manuevers.
91—92War Horn of Friendship
93—94Watertight Basket
95—96Whalebone Lockone locked only the owner can pry it loose.
97—98Wind Glove
99—100Wooden Multitool