Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Anything Not Nailed Down is Legally Mine (Thief GLOG Class)

If I can pry it loose, it's not nailed down (if you want to buy this thing do it here I guess)

Next in the Primary Class Triad: Thieves!


For every Thief template you have, gain +1 Stealth.

A: Wall Crawler, Scrounge
B: Pick 1 Skill, Roll 1 Skill
C: Roll 2 Skills
D: Pick 1 Skill, Roll 1 Skill

Starting Equipment: Roll on Scrounge Table

Wall Crawler
You climb just as well without climbing gear as with it. If a climb would be trivial using gear, you don’t need to roll, even if you’re free-climbing. If a climb would be impossible using gear, you can roll anyway.

Once per session, digging through trash, you can get an item rolled on the Failed Career Table (or another starting item table).

Skills d20

  1. Acrobat: You can move an extra 15’ per round (45’ total). You can jump 20’ instead of 10’. Treat your falls as 20’ shorter. You can easily maintain your balance on a taut rope. 
  2. Cat’s Eyes: With a little bit of light, you can see 30’ in darkness (no color). 
  3. Coward: Cover grants +1 Armor from normal (Low: Armor 2, High: Armor 3)
  4. Divine Grunt: 1/day Issue an irresistible one-word command. Only affects: d4 1 Undead, 2 Animals, 3 Plants, 4 Furniture
  5. Dog Whisperer: You start with a dog. Dogs you train can DEX Save for stealth with advantage, communicate if an area is obviously dangerous, and track a week-old trail by scent without fail (barring magical concealment). 
  6. Fashionable: Fancy clothes provide Armor 1 but don’t take up any Inventory Slots. 
  7. Getaway Horse: You start with a horse. Horses you train can DEX Save for stealth with advantage, understand abstract directions, and follow a schedule to the minute. 
  8. Lucky: 1/day, reroll one of your d20 rolls. 
  9. Opportunist: When you have a situational attack bonus, deal an extra 1d6 damage. 
  10. Pack Rat: +3 Inventory Slots. 
  11. Quick Fingers: You have advantage on DEX Saves to pickpocket people. You can steal things directly out of someone’s hands with a regular (no advantage) DEX Save. 
  12. Recorder Crow: You start with a crow. It can make and play auditory recordings. It responds to Record, Stop Recording, Play, Pause, Rewind, and Fast Forward. Max storage: 1 hour. It’s very smart. 
  13. Redirect: Once per round, when an enemy attacks you, you can make a DEX Save to redirect their attack to another enemy they can hit. 
  14. Second Chance: Once per lifetime, cheat death. 
  15. Square Meal: Lunch heals you to full HP provided you pair it with alcohol. 
  16. Tongues: 1/day Speak with d4: 1 Weapons, 2 Doors, 3 Birds, 4 Clothing
  17. Tricky: Advantage on Gambits. 
  18. Urchin: A street rat demands to learn. They’re a very sneaky hireling that doesn’t ask for pay. If you lose your urchin, you can recruit another wherever urchins are plentiful, but it will be difficult if you have a reputation for getting them killed. 
  19. Watchful: You have advantage on DEX Saves for initiative. You can’t be snuck past. 
  20. Wizardly Initiate: By tasting an object, you can tell whether or not it is magical. You have 1 MD that regenerates overnight. (You can’t memorize spells). 

They are also thieves (You can buy this as a shirt)

Design Notes

Thief should be, I think, the best class for new players. It should be as simple as possible, encourage shenanigans, and have room for variation in case multiple new players pick it. This class system—unique to my thief—hopefully does all three of those things.

Wall Crawler is a permission slip to get anywhere you like. It’s dead simple and fairly strong. It was inspired by a single passage in Veins of the Earth saying basically “let specialists [thieves] climb without rolling,” which I’ve turned into the core of the class. Scrounge is a consistent way to provide players with an extra tool for free: my first thief found 10 Hallucinatory Berries on their first use of the ability and they have proven incredibly useful for wizard-sabotage and bishop-assassination already.

The other abilities are invented or collected from various other thieves and thief-like classes. Every thief gets a unique combination of them, depending on what they pick and what they roll. My current thief player chose Dog Whisperer and rolled Second Chance; neither has seen a ton of use yet, but she was happy with both.

Lexi’s Thief and Scholar for Mimics and Miscreants at A Blasted, Cratered Land are based on this Thief, if you want to see two more takes on this concept. She posted hers before mine because I’ve been sharing GLOG classes on the OSR Discord for a while now for people to use and modify, but I’m only just now beginning to post them here.

I am a huge fan of knife+gun. It is just so cool (Darkest Dungeon is rad)
Just a real cool design (Darkest Dungeon is rad)
I don't have huge problems with bards as a class but this guy is knifey enough to count as a thief, too (Darkest Dungeon is rad)
Pretty clearly a thief who picked Dog Whisperer at template B (Darkest Dungeon is rad)

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Concentrated Early 2000s Energy: Klyntar (GLOG Class, Parasite Challenge)

I hope you're ready for some really dumb comic stuff because Venom is absurd and I love it (Venom #4, cover illustrated by Mike McKone)

I wrote this class as an entry in the informal Parasite Class Challenge on the OSR Discord! It's a hub of GLOG activity; a real buzzing, twitching lump of creativity. There are more events like this to come.

Klyntar (Symbiote)

For every Klyntar template you have, increase your HP by 1.

A: Alien Biology, Fashion Goop, Powerful Grip
B: Internal Arsenal, Lose Control, Nemesis
C: Skullcruncher, Host Hopper
D: Extra Limbs, Improved Arsenal

Alien Biology
You play a goopy alien symbiote attached to a regular person. You take double damage from fire. You take 1d6 damage per round from very loud or high-pitched noises. You must eat raw meat for rations to heal from lunch. You must eat sapient brains, sedatives, or chocolate to heal STR damage (negative HP in the GLOG). Mental effects only affect one of your two minds—the symbiote or the host.

Fashion Goop
The symbiote can mimic any clothing, recoloring it to its own color scheme. It can’t mimic the effects of armor, but it can mimic its appearance, and all symbiote clothing counts as Chain armor.

Powerful Grip
You have advantage on grappling and climbing.

Internal Arsenal
You can reshape your limbs at will into any light or medium mundane melee weapons.

Lose Control
When you hit 0 HP, you lose control. You automatically heal 1d6 HP and your symbiote clothing counts as Plate Armor. You must attack every round. You are terrifying to look at. You may attempt to regain control with a 2-in-6 chance every round. You can’t lose control more than once per day.

Pick another member of the party to be your nemesis. When you lose control, you must treat them as a dangerous enemy—you can focus on other enemies first, but if you kill all other enemies before regaining control, you must attack your nemesis.

When you kill an enemy in melee, you can eat their head to regain 1d4 HP.

Host Hopper
You can separate the symbiote from the host, controlling both separately. The original host loses 1 HP per round without the symbiote. The symbiote can attempt to take control of another creature, which gets a Save to resist; if they fail, the Symbiote can control their actions. If they succeed, the Symbiote’s player still controls their actions, but they must work toward the temporary host’s immediate goals, which the DM must provide. They can do so inefficiently. The Symbiote must Save to disconnect from a host that passed their own Save. Success or failure, the symbiote can talk telepathically to the temporary host while attached. If the original host dies, the symbiote must Save or die every day, even when attached to a temporary host.

Extra Limbs
You can extrude up to two extra limbs. In Moonhop, when holding multiple weapons, roll damage dice for each and use the highest result.

Improved Arsenal
You can reshape your limbs at will into any mundane weapon (light, medium, heavy, melee, ranged). It still takes two limbs to make a two-handed weapon.

I mean, really, the sheer density of early 2000s energy in this image is enough to kill a small elephant
(Venom Vol 2 #38, penciled by Kim Jacinto and colored by Lee Loughridge)

Design Notes

Since it’s such a recent creation, this class is, of course, completely untested, and probably too powerful by the time you reach max level. To start with, though, you’re a well-armored climber, grappler, and fashionista  with several serious weaknesses—fire is common and dangerous, and long term healing requires special supplies.

At level 2, Internal Arsenal lets you smuggle weapons anywhere you like and switch your loadout to whatever best suits the situation. You also get Lose Control, a Rage-like ability that only activates in serious danger and carries a downside: enmity with your Nemesis.

At level 3, Skullcruncher grants unreliable in-combat healing and Host Hopper provides mind control, but with a downside—the potential death of your true host, the only one that can really sustain you. If you get “captured” by the temporary host, you can still hinder them and learn some of what they want, which is pretty neat. Other classes and items have abilities that could mitigate the risk to your real host.

Finally, at level 4, you really get dangerous: you double the number of weapons you can hold with Extra Limbs and greatly expand the categories with Improved Arsenal to become a walking cache of weapons. Notably, however, you don’t ever get a true Extra Attack, which I’m hoping will mitigate the power of being able to use two halberds or four pistols.

I mean, come on, isn't this just the coolest stupid idea ever? Don't you look at this, recoil a little, and then lean in? 
(Spider-Gwen Vol 5, cover illustrated by Khary Randolph) 

This. This is my favorite one. I own this comic and it is stupid, edgy, and ridiculous, and it is the best thing ever 
(Venomverse #1, penciled by Iban Coello and colored by Matt Yackey)
A fantastic OSR party if ever there was one (Venomverse #1 Variant Cover by Gustavo Duarte)

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

FIGHT (GLOG Fighter)

I will take any excuse to use Darkest Dungeon character art (Darkest Dungeon wiki)

I’ve written close to two dozen GLOG classes, but most of them just sit moldering in a folder. It’s time to fix that.


For every Fighter template you have, increase your HP by 1.

A: Cleave, Parry
B: Tricky, Rally
C: Sentinel, Threat Assessment
D: Extra Attack

Starting Equipment: One Weapon of Your Choice, Chain Armor (2 Inventory Slots, 1 Armor)

When you kill a creature or roll max damage, you can make another attack.

When an enemy attacks you, you can sacrifice a piece of combat equipment (weapon, shield, armor) or fancy clothing to reduce the incoming damage by 1d6.

Advantage on Gambits. Gambits are added to attacks. Say what you’d like to do (“I disarm the goblin”) and what will happen if you fail (“the goblin gets a free attack”). The GM has final say. Save (STR in this case) to try the gambit. You still deal damage regardless of the Save (like regular attacks).

Add +[templates] to Hired Hand Morale Saves.

Once per round, when an enemy leaves your melee range, you can attack them.

Threat Assessment
For every 10 minutes looking at or 1 round fighting a person or creature, you can tell one of: how many HD it has (roughly equivalent to level), how many mundane attacks it has, and how much damage each attack deals. Additionally, if it’s a person and you make eye contact, you can tell how many sapients they’ve killed: None, One, or Many.

Extra Attack
You can attack twice in each round.

Spear and shield is an underused combo, I think (Darkest Dungeon wiki)

A Noble Line (of Fighters)

The lineage of my GLOG Fighter is an interesting one, so I’m going to talk about it before my notes on my class. We start with Arnold K’s Goblin Guts Fighter, which is notable for inventing (for GLOG purposes) the ability Notches: as Fighters gets kills with specific weapons, those weapons get stronger.

Next in line is Skerples’ Fighter. Unlike Arnold’s Fighter, this one gets an Extra Attack at first level, due to the ambiguity of “+1 Attack” in the original Goblin Guts Fighter (I asked Arnold and it actually means +1 Attack Stat). Since most GLOG Fighters are based off of Skerples’, though, that small misinterpretation has rippled out to most of the GLOGosphere. Extra Attack *is* a good Fighter ability, though, so its popularity is not unwarranted.

Now we’re at my first Fighter. I moved Notches to first level, since I like classes that get their primary unique features at first level. I moved Extra Attack to second level, since it’s very strong. I moved Parry to third level, since I wanted my fighters a bit less survivable. This is the only version of the class I’ve had played in one of my games, and I concluded two things: Notches is too slow and abstract and Extra Attack is still too strong that early.

Before I move on to my version of the class, I need to make an honorable mention of zoeology31's Fighter; it rolls a d20 after each kill, and if the number is under the weapon’s Notches, the Fighter gets a new ability. I played in her campaign, which had a couple fighters, and it worked quite well.

Design Notes

Fighter is one third of the THIEF - FIGHTER - WIZARD triad, the Primary Classes at the top of my class list. I think a well-designed Thief is the best class for new players (they can be simple and still encourage shenanigans), but Fighter comes in second place for sheer simplicity, so I kept the ability list static (my Thieves are randomized and my Wizards use schools).

Now, for a review of the class itself. It hasn’t been tested yet, but I feel good about it.

Stat Buff and Starting Equipment
HP makes Fighters a bit tougher, as does Chain Armor (statted out for Moonhop). Getting your choice of starting weapon is fairly powerful on its own, especially in campaigns where guns are available.

It’s sorta like Extra Attack Lite. I’m writing all my classes to be compatible with Moonhop, which doesn’t have attack rolls, so instead of “activates on crits and kills,” Cleave activates on max damage and kills. That means that low damage weapons Cleave more often, which I choose to treat as a feature rather than a bug.

I came up with this version of the ability as I was writing this post; I don’t like the 1/day damage reduction parry because it would be the only limited-use ability my Fighter gets, and I like consistency. This version was inspired by the popular Shields Shall Be Splintered houserule. I’m hoping that making it a class-limited ability with lower damage reduction will balance out the more frequent, equipment-limited use.

Gambits are a catchall for risky things like grappling and targeted shots. My hope is that by making this ability strong, Fighters will go out of their way to do gambits, reminding the other players that they exist.

Impress is an ability that makes Fighters better with hirelings, but I don’t think I’ve ever had players in a situation where they could use it. I’m hoping this simpler hireling buff will be more useful and encourage all players to use hirelings, much like Tricky could encourage all players to use gambits.

When I’ve played 5e, I’ve found that reaction attacks really slow things down and confuse new players, and they also make it very difficult to make a fighting retreat. New players are important to me, as are fighting retreats, so I removed them from the main rules. It’s a fun class ability, though; it makes Fighters feel like badass combat experts.

Threat Assessment
Wizards get the ability to tell whether things are magical by touching them. It’s a useful ability, but a lot of the time it provides enough information to freak your players out and not enough to actually help them. My hope is that this ability will do the same when the party encounters a kindly old grandma with Many kills.

Extra Attack
It’s a very powerful ability. Between Extra Attack, Cleave, and Sentinel, my Fighters get a LOT of attacks, so they could be very overpowered. I tend to make most of my classes too powerful, I think, although they haven’t seen a ton of testing so far.

Monday, January 28, 2019

Sting's Deadbeat Cousins, or: Divinatory Item Generator

So, the Hobbit is pretty great, right?

Pinterest is the bane of my existence but I did manage to find the original source for this image (by theGorgonist)

Sting: Dagger that Glows when Orcs are near

Item that Action when Category is near

Item d20
  1. Dagger
  2. Sword 
  3. Spear
  4. Axe
  5. Mace
  6. Hammer
  7. Halberd
  8. Bow
  9. Crossbow
  10. Rifle
  11. Pistol
  12. Shield
  13. Breastplate
  14. Helmet
  15. Ring
  16. Necklace
  17. Gauntlets 
  18. Boots 
  19. Skull
  20. Tome
Action d20
  1. Glows
  2. Changes Color
  3. Emits a Beam of Light
  4. Screams
  5. Moans Pleasurably
  6. Vibrates
  7. Freezes
  8. Burns
  9. Strobes
  10. Smells of Farts
  11. Smells of Flowers
  12. Leaks Blood
  13. Recites Scripture
  14. Becomes Heavier
  15. Levitates
  16. Smokes
  17. Moistens
  18. Plays Music
  19. Whispers Psychically
  20. Turns Invisible
Category d20
  1. Orcs
  2. Humans
  3. Elves
  4. Dwarves
  5. Goblins
  6. Dumb Undead
  7. Intelligent Undead
  8. Predatory Animals
  9. Herd Animals
  10. Birds
  11. Books
  12. Alcohol
  13. Demons
  14. Ghosts
  15. Royalty
  16. Criminals
  17. Wealthy People
  18. Liars
  19. Virgins
  20. Sluts (anyone who has had sex recently and enjoyed it, even a little) 

Most of the results for "witch hut" are Minecraft, which, in retrospect, makes sense (by Tiana Maros)

The Shop

The shop is run by an old, old man who has been old for as long as anyone can remember. They call him The Shopkeeper in the Woods. He loves mysteries, especially the mystery of what his magic items do, and he’ll encourage the players to buy the cheapest items. If killed, he Obi-Wans out (with all his items and cash) and returns the next time someone visits the shop, gently admonishing his killers if they return. If they kill him a second time, they will never be able to find the shop again.

At every visit, the shop has 5 items for sale, all rolled randomly. They count as magic for the purposes of hitting ghosts and werewolves or whatever.
  1. Two unlabeled items, each a bit cheaper than a silvered sword
  2. An item with its action labeled, 2x the price of the unlabeled items
  3. An item with its category labeled, 3x the price of the unlabeled items
  4. An item with both its action and category labeled, 4x the price of the unlabeled items

Tables for items like these would probably be cool, too (xkcd)

Betty Bacontime has her own version of this table here.
The button was built using Spwack's Automatic List-to-HTML Translator v2.

Sunday, January 27, 2019

BE HELLBOY! or: the Sanctioned Cambion--a GLOG Class

So, Dan over at Throne of Salt wrote a Hellboy class for dB/dX games. In the grand tradition of the GLOG, I decided to adapt it (with his permission). The class was already quite close to GLOG format; I just added Fan the Hammer, tightened the wording, and ordered the abilities. Without further ado, here’s the class:

I haven't read any Hellboy yet, but he sure does look cool (image via IGN)

Sanctioned Cambion

For every Sanctioned Cambion template you have, increase your HP by 1.

A: Infernal Heritage, Leadfoot
B: Blessed Lead, The Gitchy Feeling
C: Drawing Out the Devil, Ember Eyes
D: White Sacrament, Fan the Hammer

Starting Equipment: Revolver (d6 exploding on 6, offhand, 6 shots)

Infernal Heritage
Take half damage from mundane fire and embodied demons. You are immune to seduction.

You’re heavy, as though made of stone. It’s difficult to move you or knock you down. Most humans can’t do it at all, and you roll with advantage against stronger creatures. You sink.

Blessed Lead
Keep up to [templates] bullets primed to deal triple damage to possessive demons (and none to their hosts). It takes a day to prepare one bullet.

The Gitchy Feeling
Sense the presence of demons and spirits within 60’, and (roughly) their numbers and strength.

Draw Out the Devil
Force incorporeal demons to Save or be trapped in an object. If you know the demon’s true name, it has disadvantage on its Save.

Ember Eyes
With a bit of light, you can see 30’ in the dark (no color). Your eyes glow like hot coals.

White Sacrament
With an hour long ritual, you and your allies can enter a pocket of hell and strike at the blackened soul of a manifested demon. For every HP you sacrifice, your allies all get +1 damage on their next successful attack. If you are killed, everyone is trapped in hell.

Fan the Hammer
You can fire your revolver as many times in one attack as it has bullets remaining, but use only the best roll for the actual attack.

Here’s a neat trick: you can set a google doc so that anyone with the link can view it, then get a shortened URL and QR Code attached to that link, then print those things out. An iPhone's camera, Android's Google Lens, and Snapchat can all read QR codes. That lets everyone at the table look at the doc on their phones without printing a bajillion copies or emailing them the link. You can just print the QR and show it to them. This link goes to my google doc for the Sanctioned Cambion, which will update if I make any changes.

Like I said earlier, this class is mostly not mine, but I do have some commentary on the abilities and changes I made.

Ability Ordering: I spread the three applied exorcisms out over the last three levels and the infernal bits out over all of the levels. That way, the Sanctioned Cambion grows in power both with their hellish abilities and as a demon hunter, which is pretty cool.

Infernal Heritage: Reduced the fire immunity to resistance, because I’m not a fan of total immunity.

Leadfoot: Removed the math from it, because less math is better.

Blessed Lead: This is the same--Dan updated his version to match mine.

The Gitchy Feeling: Added a range specification.

Drawing Out the Devil: I didn’t want to bother with turning tables, and Save scales with power anyway.

Ember Eyes: I worded this one to match my thief ability.

White Sacrament: I don’t like spell activation effects, so I converted it to simple HP-for-damage.

Fan the Hammer: This ability is an original. I tried to word it so that it would make sense in both the GLOG and Moonhop. I considered giving the class an Extra Attack, but I decided that infringed too closely on Fighter Territory. I’m proud of this ability, though--it lets players mess with crit/exploding damage chance, if you use those things, and practically guarantee a hit at the cost of using a lot of ammo.

So, I’ve written 15 other classes, but I posted this most recent addition first because it was easy to write commentary for. I think I want to say more about the other stuff I’ve written, but I also don’t feel like writing it down right now, so they remain unposted. If you do want to see them, you should hang around on the OSR Discord, where I workshop and share my stuff regularly.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Moonhop (an Oddhack)

Here it is! I’ve been workshopping this on the OSR Discord for a while now and I think I’m happy with it. It’s a hack of Into the Odd (paid version, free version), with GLOG-style races, failed careers, and a bunch of player-facing rules, including classless GLOG Magic, a new-ish set of Hexcrawling speed rules, and weird Hireling Squad rules.

Click the image or this link.