Friday, March 30, 2018

Street Toughs and Vertical Slums

Skerples said you can judge a system by its Fighters. With that said here's the version of the GLOG fighter I made for David Lewis Johnson's Gathox setting.

Class: Street Tough

A: A Limb for Your Life

B: Tats
C: Intimidate
D: Dirty Fighting, Cleave

You gain+1 HP for every Street Tough Template you possess.

A Limb for Your Life
Once per day you can reduce incoming damage by 1d12. If you choose to sacrifice an arm or a leg you can reduce the damage by 12 points instead of 1d12. If instead you sacrifice a small sensory organ, such as an eye or finger, you reduce the damage by 6 points.

Each time you obtain a total of 10, 20, 30, and 50 kills with a weapon type, you gain enough street cred to get a tattoo of that weapon along with a new ability for that weapon chosen from the list below:

  1. +1 Damage
  2. +1 Advantage (max 2)
  3. Special Ability (negotiated with DM, one per weapon)
Dirty Fighting
Once per combat you can fight dirty. Make an Attack with +1 Advantage and your target is stunned for d4 rounds.

Once per day you can intimidate another humanoid. They roll a Charisma save. On a failure you force them to obey one request.

Whenever you kill a creature, you can make another attack with the same weapon.

by Seo Hee

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Drop Giants

There's only one population of giants on Elsai, and it's the cloud giants of the Geralt mountain range, far north of Wundergauss on the continent of Nebelkuste.

These cloud giants stand between 16 and 20 feet tall. Their skin is blue grey. Their hair is white, grey, or charcoal. Their eyes are foggy and dead with glowing white irises. They wear garbs of cloudsilk etched with geometric patterns.

The giants despise Wundergauss and its inhabitants. The reason for this hatred is because the giants are old enough to remember the eldritch horror that lies within the city and how screwed they'll be if it is unleashed.

Giants can also walk on clouds. This is known because their frequent raids on the city begin with squads of giants propelling from the clouds like members of SWAT. The fun ones, known as Berserkers, take the quick way down like drop bombs. Other giants harry ground forces with boulders from atop their cloud platforms.

Despite their hatred for Wundergauss and the other cities of wonder, there exist peaceful giants that wander Elsai. However these giants are always characterized by some form of disfiguration, be it a severed limb, missing eye, or severe scar tissue. These giants never divulge the secret of their maiming, nor are they want to discuss giant culture.

by Kenneth Solis
HD 10 Con 18 Str 18
Weapon 1d10 Boulder d20

Crush - Once per round the giant can squash, swat away, or otherwise obliterate a humanoid size creature. The creature gets a Dex Save to dodge out of the way. Exceptionally strong creatures (Strength 16+) can roll a Str Save instead. Creatures larger than a humanoid are immune.

Hardiness - Convential weaponry only deals a maximum of 1 damage against the giant. Siege weaponry, such as catapults and cannons, deals listed damage.

Cloudfoot - The giant can walk on clouds as if it was a hard surface and takes half damage from falling from great heights.

by Eric Griffin
Giant PCs
Players can opt to play a giant character. Giant PCs get the abilities above in addition to the following:

Giant Ability Scores - Giants apply their bonus twice to Strength Checks when doing "human things" but they leave destruction in their wake.

For example a giant opening a human sized stuck door would apply their bonus twice, leaving the door in splinters and pieces if they succeed.

When doing giant things, such as opening a giant stuck door, the giant only applies their bonus once.

Additionally, giants apply half of their bonus to Dexterity Checks when doing "human things", again leaving destruction in their wake if they succeed, but add their full bonus when doing giant things.

Disfigurations - Giants that don't want to kill humans are horribly disfigured. Therefore giant PCs begin play with d3+1 horrible disfigurations.

Sunday, March 18, 2018


You gain +1 HP and Move for every Farrier template you possess

A: Origin of Concept, Materialize: Object, Materialize: Sacred Relic
B: Divining Strike, Read Object
C: Resolute Soul
D: Materialize: Inner World, Inner Journey

Origin of Concept
Your inner world revolves around a single idea. This idea can be anything. It can be vague, or it can be specific. The only stipulation is that the idea must be something grounded in the real world. For example, you couldn't choose Darwinism because that idea is completely conceptual. It must be something tangible like a toy or gun.

Materialize: Object
You can materialize one object from your inner world into reality. This object remains tangible for one round per Farrier template.

Materialize: Sacred Relic
You can materialize one sacred relic from your inner world. You possess one relic per Farrier template. Sacred relics are objects of extraordinary power that reside in your inner world. They remain tangible for one round per Farrier template. Once you utilize a relic's power, you must take a long rest to meditate and realign your thoughts in order to utilize its power once more.

Divining Strike
Your specific martial arts allows you to read your opponent psychically the longer you fight them. As part of an Attack, you can mark your opponent. As long as they are marked you gain an advantage against them, and if you roll a gambit, you can ask the DM one question about the opponent instead of taking the usual result. The DM is obligated to answer the question truthfully, however he is not obligated to be clear and precise.

Read Object
You can hold a real object that is associated with your Origin of Concept and concentrate for a round to learn certain information related to that object. You learn who the owner of the object is and of any events that occurred recently in which the object was present.

Resolute Soul
You gain +1 Save against Fear, Charm, and Sleep per Farrier Template

Materialize: Inner World
You can replace a 40ft area of reality with your inner world. The area is filled with 1d20+10 objects that you can control mentally. You can psychically attack with one of these objects for d6 damage by concentrating for a turn. Alternatively you could concentrate for a round to make a psychic barrage attack for d12 damage. You gain +1 HP, Save, and Move while you stand within the area.

Inner Journey
Once in your lifetime you may take an Inner Journey. You can transfer your complete consciousness to your inner world, along with the consciousnesses of anyone willing to share in your journey. On this journey you will face true peril. You will face fears you never knew you had. You will be tempted by vices that at once seemed petty. And before the end what it means to be you will be redefined. However, at the end of your journey you will discover your Id Mythos. An Id Mythos is a sacred relic all your own. It is constructed from you and made by you. It is an object that represents the mental you and the physical you. It is both your twin and yourself, and in your hands it is capable of terrible power.

By Ken Jyi Lim
Mechanical Notes
This class is very open-ended and requires a lot of cooperation on the part of the DM and the player. Therefore it is not recommended for new or inexperienced players.

Sacred Relics: Sacred Relics are supposed to be objects with powerful effects that are out of the ordinary. They should have an effect on the game bigger than a simple mechanical bonus. Likewise a Farrier's Id Mythos is a Sacred Relic taken to 11. Much consideration must be devoted to a Farrier's Id Mythos if he plans to obtain it.

Advantages and Gambits: These are oddities of the homebrewed attack system I'm using for my current campaign. In a traditional OSR game a gambit is the equivalent of a critical success. An advantage can be equated to a system's situational bonuses.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Coming Back, Moving Forward, and Maxims for Better Rpgs

Around New Years, I took the plunge to improve my life via negativa. I deleted all of my social media, including this blog. I did this for several reasons.

The first is that I felt I was pandering to the OSR community. Now that might not be the case and I blame no one but myself for this pandering syndrome. Regardless, I found myself asking Will the OSR like this? every time I edited my posts, and the experience was just frustrating and soul-sucking.

The second is that I felt out of place in the OSR. Now I'm just your average middle class straight white dude, and I feel that the OSR is compromised of many liberal-minded people. There's nothing wrong with that, but I've gotten the impression on more than one occasion that cis-scum such as myself was unwelcome. Now this is admittedly completely wrong and I am full of bullshit. This liberal cis-scum-hating SJW was a phantom of my own creation, and I used it to motivate my hasty exit from the OSR. I bare no hatred towards liberal-minded people, and I doubt they harbor any hate towards me.

The third is that my life was in dire needs of getting set straight. Now I wouldn't say I was using my OSR writtings for pure escapism, but it hadn't reached hobby status either. I had just moved out of a roommate situation, meaning I was on my own for the first time in years, and I definitely needed more time to focus on life stuff. However, I feel I've developed my skills enough to a point to where I can cultivate my OSR writings into a full blown hobby.

So those are the reasons why I cut my ties with the OSR in a fever-fueled haze, and in a similar fashion I'm diving back in.

Now this is the part of the post where I will outline the things you need to do in order to do rpgs better. I call them maxims because that's a cool word.

Now I lay down these maxims as a completely unpublished, unsuccessful author or game designer. So take these maxims with as big as a grain of salt your mines can provide.

1. D&D is your Hobby
Yes. This silly elfgame is your hobby. Not World of Warcraft. Not anime. On a list of your top 3 things that makes you happy, D&D is number 1, and you cross out the other two. Now that doesn't mean you shouldn't have other hobbies. In fact you should. Admittedly there are people that take these elfgames too seriously. Having a hobby allows you to get away from these elfgames when you're in too deep, at least for a time, and once you're refreshed, you can dive back in with renewed vigor. But don't forget. This. Is. Your. Hobby.

2. When in doubt go to the most Prolific source
You don't need me to tell you this. There are dozens of blogs out there that have been around for years, run by great people that write alot. D&D with Pornstars, Jeff's Gameblog, and Goblinpunch are probably the top three that I rely on the most. But there's also Ten Foot Polemic, In The Land of Twilight Under The Moon, and Fists of Cinder and Stone. Read them. Use them. They are an inexhaustable source of inspiration, which leads me to maxim number 3.

3. Find Inspiration in the most unlikely places
Here reads the introduction to Talislanta 5th Edition:
I read all of Jack Vance's Dying Earth books, Lovecraft's The Dreamquest of Unknown Kadath, Marco Polo's The Travels, and back issues of Heavy Metal magazine.... And I confess to partaking of one of Turkey's finest products nightly, which helped inspire most of the visual elements of Talislanta, and some remarkably lucid dreams I had of actually visiting Talislanta.
Now you don't have to read good literature or smoke good weed to write a good game or setting. Find inspiration everywhere: TV, anime, dreams, what you had for lunch this morning. Just always be thinking how you can apply what you experience to your game.

4. Steal don't plagarize
Nothing original exists under the Sun. It is impossible to not steal something at one point or another. All art is derivative anyway, so embrace your inner thief. However, this doesn't mean you can just take someone else's idea or mechanic and slap your name on it. That's plagiarizing. Stealing means taking something and making it your own. That means you have to put your own spin on it, your own stamp, your own signature. Breathe your breath into it. Steal something and make it yours!

5. Write for Yourself
Don't be like me. Don't fall into the trap of pandering to others for whatever reason you make up for yourself. Additionally, don't let others dictate your writing. If someone has issues with the way you do things, well that's their fucking problem, not yours. There's generally two ways you can check these kind of people. 1) completely ignore them. Hit that block button and move on. Nothing to see here. 2) get stuck in. Embrace your inner Zak S and talk to these people until they go away or you talk some sense into them. These are the two choices, but don't forget there's usually a third.

6. For every 1 masterpiece, you will produce 99 pieces of shit
That is assuredly a gross overestimation. But this maxim presents you with two options. 1) Wade through the shit to get to your masterpiece. Or 2) Don't bother at all. Give up. Go home. Who wants to smell like shit anyway.

Obviously, I chose the second option—and more than once in the past I admit. The bottom line is this. Just create something. 

You'll think it's shit. Someone else will think it's shit. That doesn't matter. If you're me, you'll look back at something from years ago and realize it's a masterpiece when you thought it was a heaping pile of doody. To this day the greatest thing I have ever written is some three-fourths page horror story in 3rd grade. 

I was eight. It has to be shit right? No. It's amazing. The structure, the build-up, and the pay-off is unremarkable. And the fact that it was penned by a third-grader makes it that much more charming. It is one of my few masterpieces.

7. Always ask "why?"
Why do you need this houserule? Why do you need this custom class? Why do you need this highly intricate lore?

It can be any reason really. You need this custom class because your player wants to play it. You need this lore because your setting wouldn't make sense otherwise. You need this houserule because there's surprisingly no rules for adjudicating the thing you need to adjudicate.

The reason you ask yourself why is to get to the core of your ideas and to prevent you from recreating the wheel. The world already has enough elf variants. It doesn't need another.

8. Don't rush
Shigeru Miyamoto said "A delayed game is eventually good. A rushed game is always bad." 

While you might not be trying to create the next Zelda, this advice applies to you.

That cool idea for a monster you've been sitting on? Don't try to rush it on to your blog in a day. Work on it. Leave it alone. Go do something else. And come back to it. Even when you think its ready, don't put it out there until you've left it alone for at least a day. Because once it's out there, it's out there. And fine-tuning an idea after it's already reached the eyes of others is an awkward fix.