Friday, October 9, 2020

GLOGtoberfest 6th, 7th, and 8th - Food, Adventure, and Mystery

Trying to get myself back on schedule...


FOOD

GLOGtoberfest the 6th is food. Here's a list of monster parts that, if you eat them, grant you special powers. You must eat the entire part in less than an hour, with no help, and cannot significantly alter it (salt and pepper is fine, serving it on a bun isn't). 
  1. Dragon's heart; you're immune to fire, and can roar huge distances.
  2. Troll's feet; you gain +1 HP per level, and every time you regain HP, you regain +1 HP.
  3. Mind Flayer's tentacles; gain +1 INT for each type of humanoid brain you consume (so +1 for humans, but multiple humans don't stack).
  4. Displacer Beast's tendrils; when you want to, you have a 50% chance to flicker in place for an hour, distorting your position.
  5. Roc's wings; you suffer no falling damage.
  6. Carrion Crawler's skin; you can eat corpses and carrion as if they were fresh meat.
  7. Beholder's eyes; you can see invisible objects and creatures, your eyes stay open and alert when you sleep, your eyes can see through your own head and body, and your eyes can spin around 360 degrees.
  8. Lich's brain; you can hear magic like a lute being strummed, smell magic like fresh bread out of the oven, and feel magic like static electricity in the air. You get +1 MD, permanently.
  9. Ooze's ooze; you can squish and contort yourself to fit into small spaces easily; your spit can slowly dissolve through weak materials, like cardboard or burlap.
  10. Werewolf's ears; you always know what phase the moon is in, how many hours until sunset or sunrise, and one small part of your body (both of your ears, three fingers, a single kneecap) is immune to mundane attacks.
  11. Cloaker's mandibles; if you hunch down and throw a cloak or coat over yourself, you can fade into the scenery, provided you're in an at least somewhat-dark space.
  12. Hook Horror's hooks; you can climb twice as fast and twice as well as everyone else, and can cling to the sides of walls as if you were standing up straight (so you can't, say, hang on for an entire day, but several hours is probably fine).
  13. Flumph's bell; you can speak to the strange, deep creatures of dungeons and the dark; your skin can glow slightly blue if you need it to.
  14. Rakshasa's hands; any magic that would detect you lying doesn't detect your lying, unless you want it to; gain +1 CHA per humanoid leader's heart eaten (so kings, generals, and high priests count, but peasants and servants and grunts don't).
  15. Treant's crown; you gain +1 AC, you grow callouses quickly and easily, and birds will always sit on you if you let them.
  16. Naga's tongue; if you die, there is a 50% chance you will rise again, but every time you die after that, the chance halves.
  17. Vampire's skull; you gain 10 ft. of night-sight; for every cup (or 1/4 liter) of humanoid blood you drink, you regain 1 HP.
  18. Bullette's snout; any damage sustained solely to your head or face only deals half damage; your hair turns silver; you can tunnel twice as fast as a regular person.
  19. Owlbear's beak; wizardly detection devices ping like mad near you; you can hoot very loudly; both bears and owls take a shine to you.
  20. Mimic's juice; disguises are shockingly effective on you, Sherlock Holmes-style; you can lick an object to tell if it is secretly alive.
These are, basically, delta templates. And I think that's cool.

GLOGtoberfest 6, food, done.


ADVENTURE

GLOGtoberfest the 7th is adventure. I wrote a class, along similar lines to the Heresiarch, but even more so: the Rightful Heir.

That's GLOGtoberfest 7, adventure, complete.


MYSTERY

GLOGtoberfest the 8th is mystery. This isn't content, but instead a quick analysis and a recommendation for Cavegirl's Stygian Library. The Stygian Library is much-lauded, obviously, but not in the way I want to talk about it now.

One of the enduring challenges I encounter in many of my campaigns is the question of "How do you let players uncover the answers to secrets and mysteries?" Many campaigns hinge on secrets: who murdered the Queen, how can the Dark Lord be defeated, where can the Dungeons of Doom be found. Uncovering ancient wisdom and forgotten knowledge is, in my view, an important part of the adventurer fantasy, and it's one that isn't usually done very well, in my opinion.

Usually, when there's an important secret to a campaign, it gets resolved either by A) having a prelude/setup quest where you go to a dungeon to learn the important secret (sometimes with their own prelude dungeons, ad nauseum); B) having an NPC just tell you, or have a big bad enemy drop their notebook or something, or C) just handwaving it and telling the players where to go or what to do through some not-really-diegetic way. 

These methods... work, technically, but never feel particularly good, and really tend to burst at the seams in more open sandboxy games. Most OSR games get around it by leaning into the "don't have secrets" angle, which can work, but what if you want to have secrets and be sandboxy? Well, the self-promo answer is to have a Sage in your party, but the real answer is to just play the Stygian Library.

People love the Library, we all do, but most of the reviews and commentary I've seen praises its atmosphere or its procedural level generation or its clever writing or a bunch of other stuff—but not the structural problem the Progression mechanic solves. (As a refresher: you earn Progress as you delve deeper into the Library and read more books; get enough Progress, and get the answer to a question you have, with thresholds of progress for difficulty of question.)

See, Progression gives players a mechanical, systemic way of answering questions. Not just the Big Important Campaign Questions that you can plan for ahead of time, but basically any question that comes up at any point. Players need to know where the necromancer's hidden fortress is? Take a trip to the Library! Need the secret formula to make a turbo antivenom so can you take on a turbo-Naga? Take a trip to the Library! Need to know which courtier is planning on betraying the party? Library trip!

The brilliance of the Library, structurally, is that it is an optional, risky means for players to answer questions. It can be accessed from most cities but not in the wilderness, so it takes commitment and planning, but it's not determined by the DM; it's a systemic way to solve mysteries that players are in control of. They never must go to the Library, but they always can go to the Library; it puts the onus of solving mysteries not on contriving some way to feed players information, but instead on the players deciding to take a risk and go dungeon delving. It's ingenious.

So yeah. If you want to run a sandbox game that still has mysteries and secrets to uncover, open the Library's doors to your players.

Bam, GLOGtoberfest 8, mystery, finished.

GLOG Class: the Rightful Heir

Your royal mother, the ruling Queen, has just been assassinated. The Queen's brother, your uncle, has seized power and usurped the Crown. You believe—you know—that your uncle was behind the killing, but you cannot prove it.

You have the better claim to the Crown; by rights, the realm is yours. Your uncle knows this, as do the realm's nobility: in order to secure his claim, your uncle needs you out of the picture.

You are on the run.

GLOG Class: the Rightful Heir

A: Crown Fugitive, Sworn Protector, Old Loyalties
AΔ: Child, Adult, Life Experiences
B: Noble Ally
BΔ: Noble Power, Church Blessing, Common Support
C: Evidence
CΔ: Evidence Acquisition
DΔ: Evidence Presented, Open Rebellion

Starting skills: noble youth, and also [1d3]: 1 = some diplomatic education, 2 = some military education, 3 = some religious education

Starting equipment: a symbol of your mother, a set of noble clothes, a set of ill-fitting travelling clothes, a piece of royal jewelry worth 100gp, a sworn protector (see below), a map of the realm, a letter of writ from a noble who secretly supports you (see below), and two fast horses.

(A) Crown Fugitive
You are a fugitive from the Crown; as far as the realm is concerned, you are a dangerous traitor who needs to be stopped. If you're recognized, the authorities will be called to arrest you.

Nobles, government agents, military officers, and other well-connected people will likely recognize you, though it will take them a minute or two. Common folk probably won't, so long as you aren't acting too regally in public.

Furthermore, your Uncle has sent soldiers, spies, and operatives to pursue you. By default, your uncle's operatives want to bring you back to court to be publicly tried and sentenced; this means they're out to capture you, not murder you in cold blood.

If you are arrested or captured, you'll be hauled back to court, bound and gagged on the back of a horse. Your companions, however, are more expendable: if they're as young as you, they'll be given a thorough thrashing and then be dragged back with you; if they're adults, they might well simply be put to the sword.

You should add your uncle's operatives to your table's random encounter tables; doubly likely if on the road or in a major town.

(A) Sworn Protector
You have a guardian watching over you, someone who has sworn a sacred oath to protect you, be it by life or by death. 

While in your presence, your sworn protector gains +[templates] Defense, and has advantage on saving throws against fear, mind control, or being moved against their will, as well as advantage on checks made to reach and stay close to you (like, say, digging through rubble, or prying off assassins). 

If they are right next to you when you are attacked, both you and they can make a save (probably DEX) to ensure warden guards ward; if either of you succeed, your protector takes the damage instead of you.

If you die while your protector lives, they will be ridden with guilt, blamed by other members of the resistance, and likely executed by your uncle.

If it's at all possible, your sworn protector should be another PC. Promise them whatever they want—in and/or out of character—to make it work.

(A) Old Loyalties
While your uncle has seized the Crown, the people of the realm may still be loyal to you. When you ask someone for aid in your struggle, roll 2d6:

Common Folk:
2–3: They recognize you but pretend not to, and will report you to the authorities at the soonest opportunity.
4–6: They won't help you, and tell you to scram or there will be trouble.
7: They won't help you unless you offer them some kind of payment.
8–10: They'll help you, provided it doesn't draw down direct harm upon them.
11+: They recognize you, and were deeply loyal to your mother; they'll do anything they can to help you.

Nobility (and other elites):
2–3: They recognize you, and summon their minions to clap you in irons; they'll send word to your uncle as soon as possible.
4–6: They recognize you and will summon their minions to clap you in irons; they'll spend a little while weighing their options before they report you, though, giving you a chance to either persuade them to release you—or try to escape.
7: They don't recognize you, and tell you to move along, or there will be trouble. If you can prove who you are, treat this result as a cautious 8–10.
8–10: They recognize you, and will provide significant aid and resources if you can make it worth their while (be that in gold or promises).
11+: They recognize you, are loyal to you and your mother, and will do anything they can to help your cause.

Modifiers to these rolls, both good and bad, should be flexible. If you've just performed some heroic deed and demonstrated your just and chivalrous nature, you should get a bonus; if you're covered in blood and mud and act like a common brigand, you should get a penalty. Work with your GM to see what seems fair.

This is meant for NPCs that you don't know or only kind of know; if they're already an ally or a sworn enemy or something, you don't need to roll.

(AΔ) Child
Earned if you are a child, less than twelve years old or so. Lost when you reach adolescence.
You have not yet started your proper education; lose the [ld3] skill.
Your uncle is not even sure you need to die, and slaughtering the children of the late Queen isn't a good look.
Your uncle's operatives might bully, manhandle, and bind you, but will never draw steel against you or intentionally cause lasting harm. The same can't be said for your companions.
When you roll for Old Loyalties with common folk, take +1 to the roll; when you roll for nobility, take -1.

(AΔ) Adult
Earned when you become a full adult, older than eighteen or so. 
You've finished your education, drop the "some" from your [1d3] skill.
You're simply too dangerous to be left alive, so your uncle's operatives have orders to kill you on sight, along with any of your companions and anyone else who might be loyal to you.
When you roll for Old Loyalties with nobility, take +1 to the roll; when you roll for common folk, take -1.

(AΔ) Life Experiences
As a youth raised in the palace, you don't have much in the way of real life experiences; while you're obviously in the middle of a succession crisis, you also are in the middle of growing up.

As you do the following, take the associated bonus:
  • First fight - +1 to-hit
  • First serious scar - +1 HP
  • First kill - some quantity of emotional guilt, then +1 to-hit (player's choice; both is fine)
  • First meal you made yourself - open a new skill called "self reliance"
  • First night sleeping on the road - +1 inventory slot
  • First time waking up in the middle of the night to flee - cannot be surprised
  • First short-lived love affair - brutal heartbreak, then +1 to mental & emotional saves
  • First time getting really shitfaced - a monstrous hangover, then +1 HP
  • First serious argument with your companions - +1 INT
  • First companion lost - +1 WIS
  • First mission you lead yourself - +1 CHA
  • First betrayal - open a new skill called "political intrigue"

(B) Noble Ally
You have a noble ally, of not-inconsiderable strength and power, who will let you shelter in their hall, and will provide you with support. You have access to the basic perks that a noble can provide: beds, food, proper gear, fresh horses, hidey-holes, a library, and guides to the region.

Your noble ally will offer some gold (a few hundred pieces, give or take) and perhaps a handful of soldiers or a couple knights, but won't provide an army or war chest.

To win back your throne, you want:
  • Support from a majority of noble power (meaning not necessarily a majority of nobles, just a majority of the power that the nobility collectively wields).
  • The blessing of the church / supreme cultural institution de jour.
  • The broad support of the lower classes and the peasantry.  

(BΔ) Noble Power
Earned when a majority of noble power in the realm supports you and your cause against your uncle.
Any noble that supports you provides the same benefits as your original Noble Ally. Take +1 to Old Loyalties rolls for the nobility.
When the time comes to take back the Crown, these nobles will support you, with coin and swords. 

These benefits can be lost and gained on a noble-by-noble basis. Earning a given noble's support requires one of: A) them to be a die-hard supporter of your mother anyway, B) your uncle to have really pissed them off at some point, or C) a large gift, or an even larger promise of gifts in the future (of money, land, station, etc.)

(BΔ) Church Blessing
Earned when the church, or other supreme sociocultural institution, gives their blessing to you and your cause. 
Priests and clergy will help you, provide you with food and shelter, and might hide you from your uncle's operatives if it comes down to it. Take +1 to Old Loyalties rolls for anyone particularly religious, be they high- or lowborn. 
When the time comes to take back the Crown, the religious hierarchy will give you access to some old relics that prove your authority and righteousness to the world.

This will depend on how religious organization operates in your world, but generally, once the church-as-a-collective has decided something, they stick to it. Earning the church's blessing either requires your uncle to really piss them off, or else for you to do something sufficiently monarchical, pious, and sneakily-political, like fund a new cathedral, recover some lost artifacts, or swear oaths of religious fealty.

(BΔ) Common Support
Earned when the lower classes prefer you over your uncle. 
Peasants will be awed when you publicly arrive in town; you'll be plied with food and drink at pubs; young people your age will take a romantic interest in you. Take +1 to Old Loyalties rolls for the lower classes. 
When the time comes to take back the Crown, your peasant levies will grumble less and your uncle's peasant levies will grumble more.

Generally speaking, the commoners will like you, young and attractive and tragic-heroic, over your uncle. That said, to really win their support, either your uncle needs to really piss them off, or you need to make some grandiose promise to them (which you may or may not keep).

(C) Evidence 
You have learned that there is evidence that your uncle was behind the Queen's assassination. Roll 1d6 to determine what the evidence is:
  1. An assassin who, with the right pressure, might be willing to talk
  2. An entry in your uncle's private diary
  3. A confession from a member of your uncle's inner circle
  4. A letter placed to the Assassin's Guild from your uncle
  5. A royal servant who happened to be at the right place at the right time, twice
  6. A drunken slip-up from your uncle himself
Naturally, acquiring this evidence will be tricky. It will be on the run, sealed in a castle, unwilling to reveal itself, or otherwise challenging to find.

(CΔ) Evidence Acquisition
Earned when you have the evidence of your uncle's treachery in hand, ready to present to the world. Lost if you lose the evidence.
If you take the time to show the evidence, explain why it proves your uncle is treacherous, and then prove who you are, you count as automatically rolling an 8–10 on Old Loyalties.

(DΔ) Evidence Presented
Earned when you present evidence of your uncle's treachery to the court—ideally with your uncle in attendance.
You are no longer considered a fugitive; your uncle's operatives will continue pursuing you, but ordinary guards and authorities will support you, rather than arrest you. If your uncle's operatives try to attack you in public, people will help you fend them off.
Your cause is no longer viewed as treason by the world; the law is now definitively on your side.

(DΔ) Open Rebellion
Earned when you call your banners and march against your uncle.
If you win, you regain the Crown and take your rightful place as your mother's heir. If you fail, you'll be executed.

You are now quite literally at domain-level play. Maybe check out my rules for rulers to get some basics on how to proveed.

--

This is a messy one; I'd highly recommend you make an r-map to help your players keep track of the different elements they're juggling.

Templates that have both a letter and a Δ require you to be that level and complete the associated task. 

If it's not obvious, this originally was the barebones of an adventure, but now it's a class. You could pretty easily just assign this to a given character that already has a class, and just let them level this class concurrently. The actual power benefits mostly come from Life Experiences, which you could honestly imagine giving to an entire party of young adventurers. 

I dunno about this one. Might be amazing, might just be clunky trash.

Inspirations: Hamlet, Malcolm, Simba, Emily Kaldwin, Daenerys I and (f)Aegon VI Targaryen, Charles II, and many, many more.

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

GLOGtoberfest 5th - Maps

MAPS

GLOGtoberfest the 5th is maps. I'm sure lots of people will be posting big fancy geographical maps for the 5th, so I'm going to post something else: an r-map, or relationship map.

This is a concept cribbed from Paul Riddle's Undying, which is probably cribbed from some other early PbtA hack that I don't know about.

An r-map, as the name implies, is a map of relationships: it's meant to show the landscape not of physical structures but of social structures.

Here's an example that I made for my earlier Rules for Rulers:

Click this to see a larger version

That map doesn't include barons (+0 rulers), religious or other non-political leaders, any family members other than the crown princess, or any important household members beyond royal protector. You can imagine how, as you add these things, it gets increasingly complicated—but also more fun!

R-maps are a way for you and your players to track the complexity and nuance of a political game, both for ease of understanding and for players to use to their own benefits. They let players quickly get to grips with complicated social and political situations, which gets you into the fun part of the game—politicking and drama—more quickly.

Honestly, there've been games where a physical map matters far less than a relationship map, even in situations much simpler than this. Anytime there's a political hierarchy—be it a noble court, election map, high school clique, or military rank—I'd recommend drawing an r-map, even a simple one. They work wonders in communicating to your players how the game operates, and how they can engage with it.

You're free to steal or modify that map I just made, if you want.

Maps, done.

 

Thursday, October 1, 2020

GLOGtoberfest 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th - Guns, Blood, Goblins, and Swirling Rainbow Vortices

On G_d, I'm doing the GLOGtoberfest challenge all the way through. 


GUNS

GLOGtoberfest the 1st is guns. There are already a bunch of good posts about guns and classes about guns, so I figure I can't just do another class or list of guns.

My big-structural-paradigm-brain is running a little smooth tonight, so we're just going to make a list of strange bullets instead of something bigger and wilder.
  1. Mind Bullets.
    Strange, translucent bullets, flickering like an old TV screen.
    When mind bullets hit a target, the target suffers no damage, but until you next reload, it is to them as if they had been shot. They will suffer pain, clutch at their wounds, possibly even "die," but suffer no physical harm.
  2. Bumper Bullets.
    Heavy, blue-painted rounds, smooth and rounded on the end.
    Bumper bullets deal no damage; instead, when they strike a living target, the target is launched 30 feet in whatever the direction the bullet was fired from. At the target's option, they can make a save (probably STR) to either halve or double that distance.
  3. Piercer Rounds.
    Bullets with a flat end and no shell casing.
    Piercer rounds, when fired, will travel forward exactly 1000 feet and then stop. They will pierce through literally anything in their way, be it flesh, wood, stone, water, fire, or any other substance.
  4. Sanguinosuppressor Rounds.
    Black bullets with no sheen to their metal.
    When sanguinosuppressor rounds are fired, they make no sound, the target does not bleed, and the target feels no pain or pressure on impact. The bullet hole is still visible, and if someone jams their fingers in the hole they can feel the bullet, but the target won't register the bullet hitting them from pain or impact.
  5. Stake Shot.
    Spiky, shiny, hexagonal bullets; sharp to the touch.
    When a stake shot hits something and stops moving, a three-foot metal stake grows out of the back of the bullet. 
  6. Time Lag Bullets.
    Ordinary bullets, but with a symbol of a clock etched onto the casing.
    When fired, time lag bullets move forward enough to clear the muzzle of the gun, but no further. You can them move them around however you please and place them wherever. When you next reload, the bullets will launch forward with all the force and power as if they were just fired, oriented towards the front of the bullet.
  7. Recycler Rounds.
    Green-tinged gunmetal bullets with rifling around their edges.
    When you shoot a recycler round and it doesn't hit a living target, the bullets will land and then slowly roll back to your gun, automatically reloading themselves; if you reload, the bullets will stop moving.
  8. Resurrection Rounds.
    Perfectly-constructed even bullets, encased in pale bone.
    When you kill a target using resurrection rounds, upon next reloading, the target returns to life at 1 HP. 
  9. Messenger Shot.
    Silvery bullets covered in dozens of tiny glyphs.
    Before firing a messenger shot, you can whisper a single word to it. Three seconds after being fired, that word will appear written, based on wherever the bullet was fired: if it was into the sky, it appears like a flair or skywriting; if it was into wood or concrete, it appears as cracks or carvings; if it was into flesh, it appears written in blood or as a fresh wound. You can whisper multiple words to multiple shots to get a whole sentence.
  10. Carrion Bullets.
    Slightly-barbed bullets splattered with red.
    If you kill a target with a carrion bullet, fish the bullet out of their carcass, and then eat it, you regain 1d4 HP and count as having eaten enough food for one day.
OK, cool. That's October 1st, guns, done.


BLOOD

GLOGtoberfest the 2nd is blood. I'm making another one of my comedy-body-horror-with-a-generic-last-name classes, called Bloody Gonzalez. This one's going in its own post, since this post is going to be long enough as is.

Here's the link: Bloody Gonzalez.

That's October 2nd, blood, done.


GOBLINS

GLOGtoberfest the 3rd is goblins

Everyone knows that goblinism is contagious. Goblinism is most common in "orphans, urchins, drunkards, wastrels, and particularly cunning feral dogs," but really, just about anyone catch a case of goblinism.

Contracting Goblinism

Every day you're in close contact with a goblin or goblins, roll 1d20. If the result is a 2 or lower, you contract goblinism.

For each of the following that is true, subtract 1 from the d20 roll:
  • You don't bathe regularly
  • You can't spell correctly
  • You speak in a cockney accent, or similar
  • You have a predilection for theft
  • You've made and wielded a shiv
  • You've eaten food out of a dumpster, bin, trash heap, or dungeon
For each of the following that is true, add 1 to the d20 roll:
  • You are of noble blood, or are otherwise well-bred
  • You have a proper education
  • You are considered attractive or comely
  • You think theft is unethical
  • You vomit easily, or have a quick gag reflex
As you can see, goblinism is far more common in some people than others. (My own Scavver, for example, would be quite likely to catch a case of goblinism.)

Symptoms of Goblinism

As soon as you contract goblinism, and then every month after (or week, if your game is on a shorter timeframe), you gain 1 goblin feature, 1 goblin quirk, and 1 goblin perk. If you roll a repeat, that particular trait doubles in effect.  (Many of these lifted from the Goblan.)

Goblin features:
  1. Your nose and ears grow longer and more pointed
  2. Your skin takes on a swampy greenish pallor
  3. Your eyes take on a bright yellow tinge
  4. You shrink 1d6 inches and have a more hunched posture
  5. Your voice and mannerisms take on a cockney twang
  6. You grow thinner and lankier, particularly in the fingers and joints
  7. Your nails and teeth grow longer, sharper, and more yellowed
  8. You gain a slowly-increasing fascination for small shiny things
Goblin perks:
  1. You can see a few feet in front of you while in the dark
  2. You can smell accurately up to about 20 feet in front of you
  3. You gain +1 to rolls to avoid large oncoming sources of damage, like spinning saw blades or fireballs
  4. You gain +1 to rolls to avoid large oncoming sources of responsibility, like special missions or prison sentences
  5. Your teeth are sharp enough that they can be used as a weapon (as dagger, probably)
  6. Once per day, if you need one, you can always find a small weapon, like a dagger or hatchet
  7. One corpse you loot per day has an extra 1d10 copper pieces on it
  8. Choose one bug: spiders, centipedes, flies, beetles, roaches, worms. Those bugs are friendly to you, and you always have at least one on you.
Goblin quirks:
  1. You physically cannot spell words correctly
  2. If something has gone missing, everyone immediately suspects it's you, even NPCs who have never met you before
  3. You smell terrible, like a marsh-drenched drain-dog, always
  4. You have to make a save to resist uncontrollably eating sweet things
  5. If you have one drink, you get drunk, no matter what
  6. If an NPC (or PC) ever decides to pick a party member to bully or harass, it's always you
  7. You always have fleas, ticks, and other pests in and on your clothes and body
  8. Shopkeepers, bartenders, priests, and other NPCs will throw you out of respectable establishments if you step foot inside them

Curing Goblinism

If someone has four or fewer of each of the traits, they can be cured of goblinism. 

To cure someone of goblinism, they must be bathed, groomed, dressed in respectable clothing, attend a fancy dinner, and then sit through some kind of cultural event (usually an opera), and they must do it all while maintaining proper etiquette and a polite demeanor. Usually, this requires the patient to want to cure their goblinism, although patients can occasionally be forcibly cured as well.

If someone has more than four of each of the traits, they can be cured of goblinism, but they must do each of the activities for an entire week in succession, rather than just a single night. Additionally, they must have the most choice options for at least one night: delicate bath perfumes, a fresh haircut, the latest fashion, the most delectable meals, high art opera, and perfect decorum throughout.

If a person has all eight of each of the features, perks, and quirks, they become a full goblin, and thus are incurable.

Bam. October 3rd, goblins, done.


SWIRLING RAINBOW VORTICES

Octoberfest the 4th is swirling rainbow vortices

This, to me, is a spell. 

Swirling Rainbow Vortices

R: 50'
T: point(s) in space
D: concentration

You conjure [dice] swirling rainbow vortices, each of which is a portal to another realm.

For each vortex, roll 1d6 on [dice] of the following tables (so 1 die means only roll on the first, 2 dice means the first and second, and so on):

A portal to...
  1. Hell
  2. The Plane of Air
  3. Deep underground tunnel networks
  4. The palace of the nearest emperor
  5. The Astral Sea
  6. Home
...more specifically, within that realm, it's a place...
  1. To withstand foes and attacks
  2. To rest and recuperate
  3. To feed
  4. To socialize with others
  5. To hold rituals, sacred or profane
  6. To be alone from the rest of the world
...but this portal...
  1. Sucks people and objects in from up to 25' away
  2. Spits people and objects 50' out the other side
  3. Opens and closes every 10 seconds
  4. Re-paints anything that goes through it a different color of the rainbow
  5. Transforms all metal that passes through it into gold
  6. Swaps one language of anything that passes through it to another
...but this portal ALSO...
  1. Has two more traits from the 3rd table
  2. Can be moved at will
  3. Sends you forward 1d6 days in time
  4. Is one-way only
  5. Re-rolls the first two dice every minute
  6. Has all of the above traits
Essentially, every die you spend adds another portal and makes each portal increasingly complicated and specific.

Kind of a goofy beast. But yeah, that's October 4th, swirling rainbow vortices, completed.

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That's the first round of GLOGtoberfest done. We'll see what the next round holds.

GLOG Class: Bloody Gonzalez

 Weird day, weird class, but this time it's for GLOGtoberfest!

GLOG Class: Bloody Gonzalez

A: Inordinate Exsanguination, Strange Ichors
B: Split Flows, Rhythmic Pumping
C: Practiced Incision, Rest is Good for the Blood
D: Shared Blood, Heart to Heart

Starting skills [1d3]: 1 = vampire experiment escapee, 2 = cursed transfusion recipient, 3 = inverted blood mage sacrifice

Starting equipment: A 10-gallon cask, six waterskins, 10 feet of rubber hose, a ladle, an oilskin pouch, 2d6 prominent scars, and a pair of oilskin overalls.

You gain +3 HP per template. Vampires and mosquitoes treat you as both a monstrosity and a fascination.

(A) Inordinate Exsanguination
Your heart can generate a seemingly-infinite quantity of blood; you can't die from blood loss. If you have an open laceration that is deliberately kept open (thus not clotting and scabbing), you will bleed indefinitely. 

A a small wound, such as a stab, will bleed at a rate of about 1/4 gallon of blood per minute; a medium wound, such as a slash from a sword, will bleed at a rate of about 1 gallon of blood per minute; a large wound, such as losing a limb or being hacked open, will bleed at a rate of about 3 gallons of blood per minute.

(A) Strange Ichors
Normally, you bleed standard, ordinary blood. However, at your option, when you wake up in the morning, you can elect to not bleed ordinary blood. If you do so, roll on the following chart to determine what substance you bleed instead:
  1. Air
  2. Oil
  3. Water
  4. Honey
  5. Molten iron
  6. Milk
  7. Fruit juice of your choosing
  8. Tar
  9. Quicksilver
  10. Ink (any color)
  11. Gunpowder
  12. Sand
  13. Beer
  14. Acid
  15. Wine
  16. Pure alcohol
  17. Taipan venom
  18. Peanut butter
  19. Nectar
  20. Turpentine
You may adjust your roll by [templates], up or down. Every day you decide not to bleed ordinary blood, roll again. You can only opt to swap what you bleed when you wake up in the morning, not at any other time.

You are always immune to whatever you bleed, as long as it is within your immediate vicinity and bled out of you somewhat recently. For example, you are immune to gunpowder while it's flowing out of you, but if you barreled it, left it, and then returned the next day, the gunpowder inside the barrel could damage you.

(B) Split Flows
Your heart valves each pump separate blood; you divide your body into [templates] sections, each of which can pump a different blood. Decide for each section whether it will pump ordinary blood or strange ichors, and then roll for each section separately.

(B) Rhythmic Pumping
Once per day, at any time you can opt to change what one section bleeds, as if you had just slept for the night. This can be used to change between ordinary blood and ichor, or to re-roll a strange ichor.

(C) Practiced Incision
If you take damage from an edged weapon wielded by yourself or an ally, the attack deals 1 damage only, instead of rolling normally. 

(C) Rest is Good for the Blood
You can roll for strange ichors after taking only a short nap, rather than sleeping for a full night.

About an hour, I'd say. If your game has short rests, one of those.

(D) Shared Blood
If an ally successfully drinks one full cup of one of your ichors, for the next hour, they bleed the same ichor. 

(D) Heart to Heart
If you eat the heart of a living, significant creature, the next time you roll for strange ichor, you decide what you get, instead of rolling. 

Significant creature just means you can't be eating a bag of rats. Human or bigger, as a basic rule of thumb.

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You can read some more GLOGtoberfest content here.


Sunday, September 27, 2020

GLOG Class: Heresiarch

Heresiarch

He-re-si-arch
noun
"The founder of a heresy or the leader of a heretical sect."

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Obviously, anyone can be a heretic; it takes a special kind of person to lead the heresy itself.

GLOG Class: Heresiarch

A: Heretic, Following, Signs & Miracles
B: Secret Heretics
C: Shelter for the Faithful
D: Intercessor, Divinity
Δ: Open, Published, Excommunicated, Persecuted, Martyred

Starting skills [1d3]: 1 = theological zealot, 2 = political splinter-leader, 3 = divine incarnation 
(Honestly, as you level up, you should probably get whichever of these you didn't start with. All three will become basically true as time goes on.)

Starting equipment: garb, accouterments, and texts as befits your particular heresy; a relic of your life from before becoming the Heresiarch.

(A) Heretic
You are a heretic from the established religion and Church of the land, meaning you have significantly divergent beliefs, enough that things have gotten ugly. You should work with your GM to figure out (or come up with) both what the established Church is, and then what your specific heresy believes that marks it as divergent. Salty Dan's CK3 religion generator is a good resource for doing this.

Because you are a heretic, the Church wants you driven out, disproven, and dead. They will sink considerable resources into doing so, relative to the power and visibility of your movement. If you meet a member of the Church hierarchy who knows you as a heretic, expect them to treat you as a foe.

(A) Following
As leader of the heresy, you have followers, other heretics who believe in your cause, and believe in you.

Basics
You can maintain a number of followers equal to [templates] × (highest of INT, WIS, or CHA) score. Any more than that and some voices will be unheard, some concerns unaddressed, and you'll have rapid desertions until you reach your max follower count.

In general, your followers will look to you as their leader, and physically follow as best they can. If they come to you with theological, spiritual, or ethical questions, they will accept whatever you say; you are the Heresiarch, you are their leader.

Your followers will, in general, give you what resources and supplies they can spare. You are broadly expected to provide food, water, and shelter for your followers. For every day in which you don't, you will lose 1d6 followers for each you fail to provide.

Orders
When you give a difficult order to your followers—which could be difficult in the sense of "charge those armed Temple Guards" or difficult in the sense of "leave your home and families to travel with me"—roll 2d6:

2–3: Your followers break and run, to a one. You lose all of your followers.
4–6:  Your most devout follow the order, but many do not. You lose half of your followers.
7: Most of your followers obey, but you lose a few stragglers. You lose 1d6 followers.
8–10: Your followers obey the order, to a one.
11 or higher: Your followers obey the order with such zeal that onlookers can't help but feel your movement's righteousness. You gain 1d6 followers. 

If you have recently performed a miracle in front of your followers, add +1 to the roll.

What orders are considered difficult can change on a day-to-day basis; if your followers are well-fed and happy, nearly anything can be done; if your followers haven't slept in the three days and are pursued by inquisitors, even something as simple as "keep walking" could be a difficult order.

Recruiting
If you spend an hour talking to someone and they aren't indignant and furious by the end of it, you can recruit them as a follower (this works cumulatively on groups; if you spend six hours talking with a group of six, you can recruit them all at once). 

If you're talking to someone who already hates the Church or has lost their faith, it only takes a minute of listening before they will join you.

(A) Signs & Miracles
Starting at template A and for each successive lettered template, one Sign manifests itself: roll 1d6 to determine which Sign appears, and which corresponding miracle you gain. If you roll a repeat, roll again.

Your followers interpret these as Signs from G_d, proof of your divine provenance. The Church interpret these Signs as illusion and deception, proof that you are consorting with witches and demons.

Your Signs and their Miracles are:
  1. Sign of the Dawn.
    For three days, there will be only be darkness or light: the sun will either never rise or never set.
    You can perform the prophesied Miracle of Radiance: at any time, day or night, you summon the light of your star, enough to light a temple's courtyard, town's square, or mountain's clearing. This light comes from the heavens, and thus cannot pierce ceilings or the earth, but is as bright as daylight.
  2. Sign of the Prophet.
    A burning red comet stretches across the sky, lasting for a year and a day.
    You can perform the Miracle of Divination: once per session, you go into meditation. The GM will secretly tell you (via note, whisper, or text) something that is true or will be true; this may be vague or unclear, but it will be true.
  3. Sign of the Dead.
    For one week, spirits of the dead return to the earth: family members and friends return to their homes as spectral ghosts.
    You can perform the Miracle of Resurrection: you raise a person that has died in the past seven days from the dead. Before performing the next resurrection, you must wait seven days; then seven weeks; then seven lunar months; then seven years. 
  4. Sign of the Waters.
    For a lunar month, a significant body of water, such as a river or oasis, runs crimson.
    You can perform the Miracle of Tides: you can walk on water, and can cause [templates] followers to walk with you. Once per lunar month, you can cause a body of water to dramatically change and shift, such as reversing a river or parting a sea.
  5. Sign of the Harvest.
    All of the crops in the land grow ripe overnight.
    You can perform the Miracle of Sustenance: if a non-follower freely provides you with food and water, you can multiply that food and water, enough for [templates] × 100 people.
  6. Sign of the Bells.
    When you are in town, every bell rings on the hour, every hour.
    You can perform the Miracle of Judgement: when you spend one hour talking to someone, you learn their most terrible secret and their greatest virtue; they know, instinctively, that you have learned these secrets. If you are speaking with a member of the Church hierarchy, this only takes one minute, rather than one hour.
  7. Sign of the Apocalypse.
    Mountains rend in twain, the sea rushes over the land, the earth splits asunder, fires burn in the sky, and blood runs from the eyes. 
    Non-believers are waver in their beliefs as your followers' faith only grow stronger; the ensuing chaos shakes the Church's power to its very foundations. You are canonized in the eyes of the faithful, and your memory will remain exalted forevermore.
(B) Secret Heretics
When you meet a member of the Church hierarchy or somebody else important (a military officer, a noble, a merchant captain, etc.), there is a [templates]-in-50 chance that they are secretly a devotee of your heresy. 

They will try to provide benefits accordingly, such as shelter or gold, but are unlikely to follow you or make their beliefs known openly.

(C) Shelter for the Faithful
When you enter into a city or town, your followers will connect you with other heretics, ones who have access to safe houses, hiding places, and quiet ways into & out of town. These heretics can provide enough shelter for you and 1d6+[templates] others, but no more. 

You can use this ability twice per town (once in and once out) or, if you're in town a while, twice per week.

(D) Intercessor
[Templates] times per day, you can cure someone of an affliction or ailment, such as blindness, leprosy, or a lost limb. 

(D) Divinity
After going through a complicated ritual, ordained priests of your heresy can become 1st-level Clerics, with your G_d as their deity and you as their head of religion.

Secret heretics will begin practicing more openly, founding their own communities; heretical nobility will protect other heretics dwelling in their lands.

(Δ) Open
Earned when you freely practice your heresy, rather than keeping it a secret.
You will be actively searched for and questions by Church inquisitors; you may be thrown out of churches for voicing your beliefs.
When you give a difficult order to your followers, you gain +1 to the 2d6 roll. Secret heretics will make themselves known to you as best they can.

(Δ) Published
Earned when you publish your beliefs to the world at large through printed material or fiery sermons.
Monks and clergy will write long, complicated arguments against you and your beliefs. Books bearing your words or ideas will be burned.
The chances of an important person being a secret heretic increase by 3-in-50. More people will grow angry with the Church, and actively seek you out to join you.

(Δ) Excommunicated
Earned when you are tried before an ecclesiastical court and excommunicated from the Church.
You will be barred from churches and holy sites. Faithful Church members will spit on you and curse your name.
When you give a difficult order to your followers, you gain +1 to the 2d6 roll. Roll 1d6 for another Sign & Miracle.

(Δ) Persecuted
Earned when your beliefs cause a town or city to violently drive you out.
You will be actively hunted by Church inquisitors. Faithful cities and towns will close their gates to you.
The chances of an important person being a secret heretic increase by 3-in-50. Roll 1d6 for another Sign & Miracle.

(Δ) Martyred
Earned when you are put to death for your beliefs.
If the first six Signs & Miracles have not yet occurred, following your death, there is a 50% chance another 1st-level Heresiarch will immediately arise to lead your heresy.
If the first six Signs & Miracles have occurred, the seventh Sign, the Sign of the Apocalypse, occurs.

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This class has a lot going on; you can read my notes on it here.

Notes on the Heresiarch

I just published a long and complicated GLOG class called the Heresiarch. These are my notes, explanations, and thoughts on it.

--

To start with, my basic thoughts & feelings:

The Heresiarch is, first and foremost, a social class; its power is all in talking, and ideas, and people. It's got some useful "magic" or whatever in the Miracles, but it's not particularly good at fighting things or delving into dungeons or whatever else ordinary adventurers do. If you're running a game that's mostly about climbing into holes in the ground and killing whatever lives there, the Heresiarch is going to blow.

But, if you're running a domain-ish game, a game where you travel around and pick up a lot of minions and interact with kings and the like, the Heresiarch will be real interesting indeed.

--

In terms of influence, there are two primary sources: the Hocus from Apocalypse World, and a mishmash of Biblical figures, mostly Jesus and Moses (and a dash of your apocalypse doomsday cult figures, a la David Khoresh). It also draws off of CK2's heresy/secret cult mechanics, some of Deus & Vayra's NLNW/Unfinished World content, and Sword of Mass Destruction's revised Clerics.

Like Gun Priest and OG Wizard, this is a class that has a fair amount of, like, "magic shit" going on, but very little in terms of actual magic. It's in that weird kind of liminal space, where it's clear to both player and character that something a little bit extraordinary has occurred, but neither can quite pin down the degree of influence brought by the supernatural.

--

Some rapid-fire commentary about mechanics-y things:

Heretic isn't mechanical; it's literally just the "you are a heretic" feature. Following has a lot of words, but it basically boils down to: you have a mob of followers that you have to care about, you can bully them by rolling 2d6, and if someone listens to you, they will probably join you. 

Secret Heretics and Shelter for the Faithful are both really about just saying "you have more followers and they can help you out sometimes." That's about it, really.

Intercessor is the "healers heal good" perk; don't let it heal HP, just more RP-ish afflictions. Divinity is another not-really-mechanical one, it basically just says "hey you reached level 4, you get a real religion now, hooray!"

Signs & Miracles are the power meat of this class, other than followers. It's important to note that the Signs just happen. The Heresiarch is here to shake things up, for better or worse, and the Signs are how that happens. 

The Miracles are the meatier spell-ish powers; most are not super combat-useful, so be generous in how your Heresiarch can use them. For the Divination, as GM, the best revelations are super specific but kind of lacking context: "Duke Belair will betray you," say, or "it will not rain for one month." Things that are workable and easily-proven, but not immediately useful in the moment.

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Δ templates, pronounced as "delta templates," are templates that you get the benefits of not as you level up, but instead when you fulfill their specific narrative beats. (They're basically just Pasts/Traumas from Zombie World, if you're familiar.) 

Δ templates count as templates for the purposes of [templates], in my mind, so if you have C templates and Open+Published+Excommunicated, [templates] = 6. If you think that's super OP or whatever, you can skip it.

Generally, the Δ templates escalate and ramp up the drama as your Heresiarch gets more powerful. You get more powers and more perks, but it means the Church hates you all the more.

Note that in order to get all of the first 6 Signs & Miracles, you need both Excommunicated and Persecuted and to have hit D templates.

--

Martyred is this class's endgame, sort of like the Gothic Villain; it can be continuation (if the first 6 aren't fulfilled), a giant blowup ending (if they are), or something that's never triggered (which means you win, basically).

Really, Heresiarch is a campaign-plot-structure that's dressed up as a class. 

GLOGtoberfest 6th, 7th, and 8th - Food, Adventure, and Mystery

Trying to get myself back on schedule... FOOD GLOGtoberfest the 6th is food . Here's a list of monster parts that, if you eat them, gran...