Saturday, May 25, 2019

HELLWALKERS: the First Hellwalkers

When the demons first invaded, the remnants of the Order of Asphodel scraped up adventurers to combat their forces. Four in particular rose to become true heroes: the First Hellwalkers. They did not, however, become HELLWALKERS: the Order's forces were ruined, and though they fought on for a day and a night, they were eventually routed.

FIGHTER: Paul


Legend has it he still roams the southern badlands, cursed to hunt demons until the last infernal creature is slain. They say he can hit a bird in flight a mile away with his rifle. (He is cursed to fight one demon repeatedly, and his aim is good but not supernatural).

K11. Speaks stumblingly. Athletic. Worked as a farmhand. Crack shot with a rifle. Was conscripted by the church and rose quickly to the rank of Hellwalker. He is very bitter at his local priest, who got him conscripted and now lives in Bones (O03. The priest is deeply regretful, and will ask you to let Paul know. He will be outwardly magnanimous but inwardly take a while to cool down). He is now tormented by Babe, the demonic blue ox (it respawns but he will be grateful if you kill it and will give you his awesome rifle if you give him a replacement).

Tells the players that his mission was doomed from the start, and suspects the Order of Asphodel knew it.

I realized after writing this that this is basically Luke Skywalker if Obi-Wan Kenobi had sent him to the empire for training (from Polygon)


THIEF: Bryce


Legend has it she pickpockets the stars themselves for fabulous wealth for her eastern forest retreat. They say she stole cartloads of bread and delivered it to starving people. (She just takes stuff from dead people, and she was arrested and conscripted for stealing a loaf of bread for herself and a few friends).

Q07. Apologetic and self-deprecating. A petty bread thief given the opportunity to serve her sentence as a Hellwalker. As her fellow Hellwalkers were chased screaming into the wastelands, she made a deal for her life with her pursuers. At night and when angry, she is possessed by a huge demon, hulk-style. The deal forbids her from divulging this information. She hides out in a huge cavern full of wrecked furniture with a bedroom-less bunker in the corner. She can provide the players with refined demon blood, which grants the hulk-out.

Tells the players that the Order of Asphodel recruited people who would not be missed to fight the demons. Knew many other petty criminals who were also conscripted.

This reference was intentional. I'd use art of one of the she-hulks but it tends not to focus so much on the muscles (from Wikipedia)


WIZARD: Gladice


Legend has it she is immortal by sheer intellect, and that when she met a genie she left disappointed by its inferior magical experience. They say she can read minds at a glance. Her laboratory is supposed to lie deep in the jungle. (She is immortal by being a Cyberlich, she got some magic knowledge from her familiar, and while she has telepathy spells she’s mostly just a really good at reading people).

F02. Monotone. No emotion except faint melancholy. Escaped from the robot labs to become a Hellwalker. As the demons chased her, she sacrificed her humanity to become a Cyberlich, losing her emotion and humanity to stay alive (strength, speed, endurance, spellcasting). She has not actually been caught; she has a few safe houses she rotates between as she holds off her pursuers, possessed robots. Her familiar is an agent of the demons, but she keeps it obedient and doesn’t let it communicate with its fellows. She worked on an Ark capable of leaving the planet in B11, and can give you a map of it and how to turn off the automated defenses.

Tells the players that she does not trust the Order of Asphodel, that there were schemers in its ranks and they were very interested in studying demons. Tells the players there might be an alternate solution: to evacuate the populace with her Ark. All the Hellwalkers know she had some project she can no longer work on but should be finished and will tell the players so.

Gladice wasn't really inspired by GLaDOS but I'm running out of energy for this so have this picture anyway (from Wikipedia)


CLERIC: Theo


Legend has it you can hear his the screams of his torment miles away from the mountain he is chained to. They say his pain gives him the power to grant prayers. (You can hear him in the next hex over, but he can’t grant prayers. The owls will bring him news of very public prayers and do what they can at his behest, though).

D11. Speaks in Shakespearean. Righteous. Paladin of Glasswing, patron of Maces, Scarabs, and Oil. He was turned over to to his captors by voluntarily possessed Orderlies of Asphodel. Tormented by barn owls, which peck out his liver only for it to regrow each day. The owls commiserate and bring him news. His bellows at his betrayers are audible in the next hex. He can send messages through the owls and provide his mace, which can cast Grease 1/day.

Tells the players that a large chunk of the Order of Asphodel directly worships the demons, and that they betrayed him to the demons. He fears the corruption ran deep before the organization fell, and that those that remain may be the most corrupted of all.

"Man, the weather today is just awful." "Yeah, my back is killing me." "Sorry, that's actually my beak digging into your flesh." "Ah, you're fine, work is work. I know how it is. How are the kids?" (from this website)



And here, once more, is the map, for reference

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

HELLWALKERS: the Pilgrim’s Verse and the Crow’s Chime

Journey West, Pilgrims
Through field and mire,
Vine and spire
To the Pit of Flame.
Ring the Crow’s Chime,
Turn back time
Restore the righteous world,

The words float on the air. They linger on the lips of the wounded; they lure the foolhardy to the gates and echo after their un-worn boots. Those who heed the Pilgrim’s Verse are Hellwalkers. They all dream of saving the world—of becoming the true HELLWALKERS.

Rumors of the Pit of Flame (B07)

Their destination is the Pit of Flame: a volcano in the Western Mountains, just southwest of the town of Bones. Rumors drift down the river Styx to the town of Stones: the people of Bones are terrified of the Pit. They whisper of a beast, the Crow, but the journey is long; merchants are few and Hellwalkers fewer. No witness has ever returned with a direct account of the thing or its prize: the Chime.

Oscar of Astora (Dark Souls)

The Lab

A concrete bunker squats in the caldera. The doorway is exploded; the great steel doors, stamped with the seal of the Order of Asphodel, lay 40 feet away. Inside are countless piles of feathers, shinies, and small treasures. Skeletons both human and demon for the floor, and blood and feathers cover shattered test tubes. In the central chamber is a single large test tube frame the size of a small house, in the bottom of which is a huge nest with piles of coins and other treasures. A vault door lies in front of an alcove in the back of the room with a pedestal in it.

Treasures: Unhatched Crows’ Eggs, 6-Second Skip Pills, 6-Second Rewind Pills

The Crow

Crows infest the lab and the caldera. Their tiny hoards dot the area. Among their number, however, are demon crows and cyborg crows (2d8: 1 much bigger, 2 flaming, 3 shadowy, 4 teleporting, 5 laser eyes, 6 feather blades, 7 jet wings, 8 electric talons). They build their nests in the test tubes of their birth. They’re smart, and they’ll test the party with gifts and caws to see if they’re friend or foe. They are the younger siblings of The Crow.

It looms up to the size of a T-Rex. A hive of dimly-lit glass eyes set in a huge metal plate dominate the left half of its face (they shoot a huge laser). It raises its wings to obscure itself in shadow fog. Feather blades line its wings. It breaths with the noise of a jet engine and moves with speed to match. If wounded, its talons ignite with electric flame. It hungers for more shinies.

The Shrieker (Darkest Dungeon)

The Crow’s Chime

A rod of steel and silicon, as long as an arm and engraved with the seal of the Order of Asphodel. It weighs more than it should and catches light from unseen sources. It is, in reality, a sort of checkpoint, set to a day 15 years ago, 15 minutes before the beast breaks containment and four hours before the end of the world. If it is rung—twisted into position over the course of a day and struck by strong steel—it will drag the rest of the world back to its anchor point. The Chime pulls everyone touching it to its physical location in the lab as well, leaving their bodies, memories, and inventories intact. The ritual that ended the world took place in the lab four hours after the checkpoint was set. It can be stopped by the HELLWALKERS.

The Chime is not on its pedestal.

The Chime is in the Citadel (I08). With no one left in the lab to claim it, the demons took it to safeguard their victory in the past.

The Draft Room

An iron-banded oak door covered in charred claw marks blocks a side passage, or used to, before it rotted away. It was an office. Inside is a skeleton, a sturdy desk, and a small pile of opened cans, enough for two days’ worth of rations. On the desk is a one-way radio distress transmitter and dozens of sheets of paper—rough drafts of the pilgrim’s verse.

Journey West, Pilgrims, through field and forest, or grass and woodland, or sun and shade. Visit the Caldera of Knowledge, or the Scholar’s Cauldron, or the Final Volcano. Ring or toll or twist the Chime, the Chime of the Beast, or the Past-Walker’s Chime. Reclaim what was, or seize your former fate, or rewrite old wrongs right again: HELLWALKERS, or PASTSHAPERS, or PENITENTS. There is a final sheet of paper next to the radio with the final verse.

Other pages track frantic thought: “Door barred. Two days’ food. Chime remains for now. Order Asphodel ruined; no rescue. Battery for one transmission. Chime must be used to change past, but none in Order are stronger than Escapee. Must attract others.”

“Could explain situation. Broadcast openly. Too long to transmit, too much knowledge to bear. Instead: spread simple myth of Chime’s power through Order survivors.”

“First Hellwalkers—allies? [locations of two Hellwalkers] Know much. Will overburden others with strict morals. No doubt bitter. Chime must ring. Be direct. No distractions.”

“Last can. Transmission sent. Demons still outside. Chime remains. Pray they don’t take it.”

“So hungry. One day since last can. Rescue still unlikely.”

“hungry hu̸ǹg͢ry h͘ù́n̕͠gr̵̛y̡̧ h̴͜͡u̷͞҉҉n̸̛g̨̨̕͜r͠͏̵̷͜y̸̡ h̶̜̜͉̝û͓ͭ̊̿͒ͧ̌n̶̫̣͓̮̂ͯ̇ͩg̒͂ͧͦ̂̂̍ṟ͈̮̻̼ͪ͋ý̯”

MFW I'm waiting for the adventurers to Ring the Crow's Chime and Turn Back Time (imgflip)

Design Notes: Influences


Dark Souls
So, I didn’t really fight the Dark Souls influence here. As those of you who have played the game might have noticed, the Pilgrim’s Verse is directly inspired by Oscar’s Undead Prophecy in Dark Souls 1: a call to arms to visit a far-off location and ring something. The ringing of the bell in Dark Souls is so strongly imprinted in my memory that I just let that bleed through here: the Hellwalkers are also trying to ring a macguffin. The influence runs deeper than that, though—also like the Undead Prophecy, it misleads those who follow it: there is a second Bell of Awakening to ring in Dark Souls and the Chime is not in the Pit of Flame. Just like the Undead Prophecy, the Pilgrim’s Verse is a fabrication by a waning power hoping some future adventurer will restore it.

Enter the Gungeon
The quest is also inspired directly by Enter the Gungeon: in that game, the player characters are attempting to go back in time and undo their past mistakes. I think that’s pretty cool, and it makes me feel less bad about writing a world full of crappy stuff.

Doom (2016)
The Order of Asphodel works parallel to the UAC. Both meddled in demonic power and things went south. There’s some evidence of that here in all the broken test tubes, but I’m going to try to scatter more of it around the map.

Darkest Dungeon
It has a cool corvid boss fight.

Here's the map, for reference

Thursday, May 2, 2019

Rats, Snakes, and Small Swarms of Bees (Critter Master GLOG Class)

Oops, I accidentally dropped pictures of a bunch of cute critters all over this post, my bad (Wikipedia)


Way back in the dark pre-GLOG ages, Arnold wrote a Rat Master. I wrote an animal-agnostic, GLOG-compatible version.

Critter Master 


You can call one critter per minute, to a max of [templates] cubed (1, 8, 27, 64).

A: Critter Friend, Commander
B: Bond, Blessing
C: Dire Critter, Critter Form
D: Reinforce, Dire Form

Critter Friend
Pick a type of critter, for example: rats, spiders, snakes, pigeons, or small swarms of bees. You can speak to them, and they can speak to you, and they treat you with respect. Supernatural critters might not be respectful. You can call out for critters almost anywhere, crawling forth from nooks and crannies. You can call one critter/minute, to a max of [templates]^3 (1, 8, 27, 64).

Commander
You can command your critters in combat (in addition to acting yourself). Critters deal damage in clumps. They deal 1dX damage, where X is the amount of critter in the clump, maxing out at 1d12. Only one clump can attack a target at a time. When attacked, Clumps are unarmored and have X HP, and when hit by an AoE attack a clump must Save or Die, with half surviving on a success. You can order critters to explore and perform other tasks, but they’re not very smart.

Bond
You can sense the locations of your called critters.

Blessing
You take on some aspect of of your critter (rat agility, spiderclimb, snake venom, bee sting). Abilities should be active and have [template] uses/day.

Dire Critter
Take 10 minutes to call a dog-sized version of your critter. It counts as 8 critters toward your cap. Stats are 1 HD, Armor as Leather, 1d8 damage, plus whatever else the critter would have.

Critter Form
You can transform into your critter.

Reinforce
Once per day, you can call any number of critters up to your cap in one combat round.

Dire Form
You can shift between normal, critter, person-sized critter, and part-normal-part-critter forms.

Snek!!!


Design Notes


I like this class. I really like the growth from one little buddy to a whole horde of them. The werewolf-ish stuff is fun, too. I think this class is pretty straightforward, but I also think it has a good toolset for solving OSR-style challenges.

So far, this class has been tested in two sessions: once with snakes and once with pigeons. Both times went well: the uses of A Single Snake and A Single Pigeon are very intuitive and helpful, even when you don’t have any other class abilities.

Since we’re finally done with the Primary Trio of classes, there’s a lot less Design Theory going on. These are just for fun.

Look at this small friend! Stay away from me though, small friend! I'm low-key scared of you! You are a good small friend, though!

Pigeons! They can be cute too! (Wikipedia)
Drawing the line at spiders, sorry, so have Lucas instead (His series is great)
It's actually illegal for me to go an entire class post without including Darkest Dungeon. Picture this but it's a swarm of 30 dachsunds instead (Darkest Dungeon!!)

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

HELLWALKERS


HELLWALKERS


Demons invaded the world! Great warriors gathered from every kingdom to drive back the infernal forces!

They died.

15 years passed.

The demons erected a Citadel. A week ago, it began firing jets of green flame into space—a sickly omen. The brave rot in the pale light, but bravery never ensured survival. Scheming hope springs up amid the mud and flame. When heroes fall, HELLWALKERS rise.

I played the modern Doom and thought it was pretty good. Haven't played the original but I hear it's good too (Doom)

HELLWALKERS is a hexcrawl/setting/campaign I’m going to write and run in a few months. The Player Characters grew up after demons invaded their world, Asphodel (a moon of the gas giant Charybdis). Adventurers—known as Hellwalkers—journey out into the burning wastes to try to learn why the demons invaded, and, ultimately, save the world from its demon occupation. After the Demon Citadel began firing jets of green flame into space, the player characters took on the Hellwalkers’ quest themselves. If they can survive the hellish environment, if they can save the world, they’ll become true HELLWALKERS.

I just finished running the first campaign that really achieved the goals I set out to achieve at the start (a medieval fantasy pastiche hexcrawl featuring feudal politics and taxes). I might post about it in the future, but today what matters is that I am ever-ambitious, and I have lofty goals for this next project.

I am excited for the sequel. It is going to have Dark Souls style multiplayer. Also this lightsaber (Doom)

Goals


Focus on the hexcrawl. In my last campaign, the party spent several sessions’ worth of time sticking inside of single hexes, mostly dungeons and towns. It was great! But I would like to focus my next campaign much more on the hexcrawl part of gameplay, meaning less time delving dungeons and scheming in town and more time traveling overland. There will still be tombs to rob and civilized areas to visit, but there won’t be as much depth to them. The interesting bits will be in the relationships between spread-out locations.

Make a bigger map. The last map was just 8x10 hexes, and the players stayed in a very small area within it, only 6x3 hexes. They were always easily within a days’ travel of town, which reduced the pressure to gather supplies in the wilderness and heal STR damage in town. This time around, the map will be bigger, there will be fewer towns, and there won’t be as many roads.

Run an investigation. This has been sort of a nebulous goal of my last few campaigns. The players wandered around learning things, but it didn’t have any large impact and it wasn’t particularly guided. This time around, there will be major mysteries to uncover. To begin with, the players will be investigating why the demons invaded in the first place, and then, later, what they can do about it. I’ll spread known important locations and NPCs around the map to get them moving.

Run a more challenging (deadlier) game. I am a total wuss. Moonhop’s injury system is good because it removes me from the process—if the players take injuries or die, it will be mostly their fault. At some point, however, I do need to put actually-dangerous things on the map, things that the players won’t outsmart on their first try. Victory is sweeter when it comes after legitimate failure.

Give in to my gonzo science fantasy instincts. Medieval pastiche is fun, but I suspect that I am, at heart, a science fantasy person. I like cyborg, wizards, and cyborg wizards, and I intend to put all three on the same hexcrawl. I’m also going to tap into the OSR favorite Aesthetics of Ruin and try to make a really grand setting for the players to marvel at.

Watch a ragtag bunch of misfits rise to heroism or fall in a blaze of glory. My players definitely played misfits, but they accumulated power a bit more quickly than I’d like and there wasn’t ever much chance of the blaze of glory. I’m going to be more direct with this goal by setting the player goal at “Save the World” and putting deadly obstacles in their way.

On my last map, numbering started at 0, and let me tell you, that was a really dumb idea

MAP


I don’t know what all of the stuff on the map means yet. A big part of my process is putting down hexes that I think look cool and then thinking of things to put in them. I’ll try to blog about that process here. Arnold has some good words about the deep comfort of mapmaking.

I used Hex Kit to make this; it’s $15 for the program itself and a little more money for the pretty colored hexes. I recommend it. If you’re strapped for cash, I recommend Hexographer, which is clunkier and not as pretty but perfectly functional.

The seed of this campaign: “Joan of Arc and Doomguy
team up to kick ass.” (Courtesy of Dan at Throne of Salt)

DOOT (by Storm Wolf

Monday, April 29, 2019

A Conduit for Poor Decisions (GLOG Wizard Foundation Class)

Unquestionably a GLOG Wizard. The skull is probably a familiar. (Darkest Dungeon: still cool)


So, GLOG people like Wizards. Here’s my basic template for them, rounding out my Primary Class Trio. It’s adapted primarily from this Coins and Scrolls Class.

Wizard


For every Wizard template you have, gain 1 Mana Dice (MD).

A: Wizard Features, School Features, +2 Spells Known (1-6)
B: Spell Breeding, Call Familiar, +1 Spell Known (1-8)
C: Wizard Vision, +1 Spell Known (1-10)
D: Arcane Communion, +1 Spell Known (1-10)

Wizard Features


Mana Dice (MD)
You get 1 per Wizard template. They are d6s. Whenever you cast a spell, you choose how many MD to invest into it (minimum 1). The result of the spell depends on the number of [dice] and their [sum]. If a MD rolls a 1-3, it returns to your pool to be used again. Otherwise, you lose it until you get a night of sleep. You can’t cast without MD.

Spells
They’re stored either in your mind or on scrolls/spellbooks, in “Spell Slots.” Spells stored on scrolls/spellbooks can be cast once per day. Spells stored in your mind can be cast as many times per day as you want. You can move spells between your mind and your spellbook every morning. There are two ways to acquire spells: levelling up, and stealing them from the spellbooks of other wizards.

+Spells Known
Every time you gain a Wizard template, you gain a new Mind Spell Slot and a new Spell, rolled randomly on your school list (more on that later). You start out with two Mind Spell Slots and two Spells.

Identify
By licking an object, you can tell whether or not it is magical.

School Features


Spell List
Every Wizard School has a list of 11+ spells associated with it. You roll randomly for them each time you take a Wizard template: 1d6 for the A template, 1d8 for B, and 1d10 for C and D. Later spells are Emblem spells that you must quest for.

Perk/Drawback
A passive bonus/penalty.

Cantrips
Minor magical abilities you can use as often as you like.

Mishaps/Dooms
Mishaps occur when you roll doubles on your MD. They’re potentially dangerous magic accidents. Dooms occur when you roll triples. There are three, and they occur in order. They will end your wizardly career or kill you if you don’t quest to avoid your Doom.

Level 2+ Features


Spell Breeding
With a night of work, you can breed (destroy) two spells you know or have on scrolls to learn a new spell, rolled randomly from your school spell list.

Call Familiar
You may call to a familiar, a magical spirit. The familiar will appear in 1d20 hours. You must then bargain with it for its service. They like ambition and valuable sacrifices. Roll under INT (bonus/penalty depending on bargaining); if it fails, no familiar will ever appear for you in this location again, but if it succeeds, the familiar agrees to a mutually binding magical contract. Your familiar will serve you to your last drop of ambition.

Familiars can provide a Service once/day. For each Service, you owe the familiar one Favor. They can be pretty nasty tasks, but failing to fulfill them incurs a Breach of Covenant, which are nasty for you. Everything else dealing with familiars is GM-facing. You are not required to call a familiar.

Familiar Services

  1. Detect Magic (for free, ask nicely)
  2. Teach you a new spell from your school’s spell list (1d4+1 max, first is free)
  3. Allow you to cast a spell from a scroll or spellbook twice in one day
  4. Grant you one free MD
  5. Exercise its unique power
  6. Save you from death, once
  7. Anything else you can think to ask of it. Just remember that it will count for a Favor. 


Wizard Vision
You always see invisible things as a faint lensing of light, and can tell roughly how big they are. By making eye contact with someone, you can tell if they are possessed, undead, protected by divinity, or a spellcaster.

Arcane Communion
You can pool your MD with other wizards (including lower level and NPC wizards). Mishaps and Dooms affect all of you.

Ohoho, you thought we were done with Venom, did you? You thought WRONG! (by Mike Hawthorne)


Design Notes


I really like to condense things. It’s fun, I think I’m good at it, and it makes things easier to understand. I’ve been condensing the wizard class since I first played the GLOG; I think this result is good.

I’m not going to talk about school design; Skerples has a good post on the subject over at Coins and Scrolls. I’m also not good at writing wizards—I don’t have any I’m happy with yet, and they’re not very high priority. I’m already spoiled for choice with existing GLOG wizards.

Now, on to the actual notes. Identify is great. It’s simple, it gives players just enough information to freak them out but not enough to help, and it encourages your wizards lick dangerous things. What’s not to love?

My system for spellcasting is sort of the opposite of Vancian casting; instead of having a limited number of more convenient memorized castings and less limited clunky book castings, my wizards can cast their “signature” memorized spells until they run out of MD and scrolls/books are for niche situations. It’s a bit more video-gamey and makes more sense to me. At some point, I might try real vancian casting, but I’m happy with this for now.

Familiars are great. Arnold says it better than I do, so if you want more detail and GM-facing information, head to his post on the subject. I’ve taken his rules and condensed them down to just the player-facing parts. Familiars hit a core theme: wizards are a class for making Poor Decisions. Free MD every day? Nice! Salvation from death? Cool! Horrible demon favors? Ye—wait, uh, what? The biggest issue with this is that I am a total wimp and I’m bad at thinking of good horrible demon favors. (Also I use CHA instead of INT for the roll since I don't have INT as a stat.)

Wizard Vision is another neat Arnold idea I’m formalizing as a wizard class ability. Arnold’s original version involves losing either WIS or CHA, but because I run with STR/DEX/CHA as the only stats and roll them with 3d6-drop-lowest, I don’t do the stat drain.

Arcane Communion is another conduit for Poor Decisions. At 4 MD, the chance for a Mishap is about 70%, and the chance for a Doom is about 10%. It’s not hard to get 8 MD with this ability and a couple first level shmucks, but—while it is very strong—it's also a colossally stupid idea since they’ll all have sparks shooting out of their eyes as the magic goes haywire. It’s perfect. As a side note, Monsieur’s Witch foundation has this ability at first level, but since I find it a bit complex for my tastes, I just decided to move it here.

Wizard Teeth


When a wizard casts a spell, sometimes the magic words get stuck in their teeth. Mostly, this makes them yellowed and crooked, but after a long enough career of magic, serious magical residue builds up. If you—ahem—acquire a set of wizard teeth, you can grind them down to get an iridescent ivory dust. Each charge of Wizard Teeth grants 1 temporary MD to cast with (it still returns on a 1-3, but once it’s gone, it’s gone for good). If you harvest all the teeth from one wizard, you get one charge for each level they had. Non-wizards can use Wizard Teeth to cast from scrolls. This is also the system I use for Moonhop, which is classless by default. I place charges as loot, mostly, but in theory my players could buy Wizard Teeth in a market place or try to find them in the wild.

Alternate Doom Events


Normally, Mishaps occur on doubles and Dooms occur on triples. It's very elegant. It also means that Dooms are impossible until 3rd level, though, and then only when your wizards really let loose with their magic. You can see the chance of Mishaps and Dooms with various amounts of MD in this handy chart, provided by magnificentophat:

I don't have any other pictures of wizards to show you but math is basically magic so

That leaves the chance of Doom too low for my taste, so I'm experimenting with a different system. Every wizard has a stat, let's call it Sanity, that starts at 20. Every time a Mishap occurs (on doubles, as before), they reduce their Sanity by 1, then roll a d20. If it's under their Sanity, all is well! If it's over, they experience a Doom.

I started using this system in my last campaign, and, for the first time, actually had a wizard experience a Doom (he got unlucky and rolled a 19 at Sanity 18). I think it really cements the inevitability of Dooms since any number of MD greater than 1 could bring your fate closer, and I think I've provided enough tempting options to boost MD to make it happen. I haven't done the math on how likely the Dooms actually are, but they'll definitely occur more often at later levels than normal Dooms.

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!

Thief


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.

Scrounge
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)