Monday, December 24, 2018

Secret Santicorn 2018: CHARLATANS

So we ran a Secret Santicorn event over on the OSR Discord server. My prompt is from the wonderful Gorinich over at Without further ado, here it is:

“A random table for magical powers that can be rolled on multiple times to generate character that is anywhere from a complete charlatan with no magical powers to one that only has magical powers. So that NPC wizards can be made with a list of powers they claim to have and players have to figure out how much of it is bullshit and how much is genuine.”
--The Illustrious Gorinich

In a lot of ways, this prompt is just about systematizing Mysterio, which is rad because Mysterio is rad (image source)

Format: Effect of Spell or Magic Item / Mundane Explanation
Roll 1dX to see how many of an NPC’s powers are actually magical, where X is the number of powers they have.


  1. Fireball / Grenade up your sleeve
  2. Disguise Self as different person / Makeup kit and acting classes
  3. Magic Missile / Bag of rocks and impeccable aim
  4. Flight / Harness and very thin wires
  5. Telekinesis / Powerful electromagnets in your sleeves
  6. Teleportation / Smoke bombs, hireling in lookalike makeup (+ acting classes)
  7. Raise Dead / Skeleton marionettes, hirelings in zombie makeup 
  8. Summon Hellhound / Large, friendly dog with red paint
  9. Feign Death / Easily ruptured fake blood packets, superb breath control
  10. Prophesy / A set of tarot cards and friendly, gossipy, inquisitive hirelings at the front door
  11. Transmute Copper to Silver / Water, Silver Nitrate Powder, and Copper Wire
  12. Extradimensional Pockets / That trick where objects disappear from your hands
  13. Sleep / Airborne knockout drug and compressed gas canisters
  14. Light / Paintbrush sleeves, chemically activated luminescent paint
  15. Invisibility / Flashpowder, trapdoor
  16. Polymorph Self / Flashpowder, trapdoor, well-trained animals
  17. Summon X from Hat / Hat with open bottom, cabinet with open top, object to summon.  d6 1 Colorful Scarf 2 Fluffy Rabbit 3 Blazing Molotov 4 Steel Sword 5 Gold Coins 6 Delicious Pie
  18. Potion of Cure Wounds / Alcohol, Opiates, and Glitter
  19. Darkness / Chemical log, burns to make thick black smog
  20. Haste / Drugs and rollerblades. So much drugs. So much rollerblades. 

Deep insecurities about lack of magical ability. He can still totally blow up your house, though

There’s the table. Let’s take it for a spin. We’ll give our CHARLATANS four abilities each. (I apologize for the names).

Minnie Gonnegaul
“You better watch out, mister! If you piss me off, I can--I can disguise myself as anyone! I can call forth to the dead to serve me!”
“Abilities”: Disguise Self, Feign Death, Raise Dead, Darkness
Fake Abilities: 4. Complete fake.
She’s an actor with a penchant for fake blood, which she uses to die dramatically and pathetically, and to paint onto her hirelings to make them look like zombies. She also has a brick of dirt she burns to stress people out.

Ianus McKillian
“Do not mistake me for some conjurer of cheap tricks! These are all real! I promise!”
“Abilities”: Flight, Extradimensional Pockets, Haste, Summon Blazing Molotov from Hat
Fake Abilities: 3. He’s got one eldritch trick up his sleeve, in addition to the regular ones.
He learned a party trick a few years back for making things disappear from his hands. That was a gateway drug; he soon learned to pull things from hats (ever the daredevil, he decided to use lit bombs). It turned out that was a gateway drug into actual drugs, which he has paired with rollerblades to terrifying effect.

He can also ACTUALLY FLY. It’s unclear where he learned this. It may have been with whoever gave him the drugs.

Linda of the South
“AH SHIT! poof
“Abilities”: Teleportation, Potion of Cure Wounds, Invisibility, Polymorph Self
Fake Abilities: 3. Like Ianus, there’s a spark of magic in her heart, alongside all the opiates.
She’s got a lot of pets, and a lot of friends, and a lot of trapdoors. Combine the three to get an unnerving stagemaster, zipping around and occasionally showing up as a dog. Where did the real woman go? Under the stage, of course, to take a long draft of her “cure for a long day.” After she missed a few payments, her supplier sent someone to collect. Greeted by the sight of a tall man with a receipt, Linda shrieked and disappeared. There was no trapdoor.

Smirlin of the King’s Court
“If you continue on your current path, I foresee--if you look in the cards here--a pile of ash. Quit asking questions about how this works if you wanna avoid that future.”
“Abilities”: Fireball, Light, Prophesy, Telekinesis
Fake Abilities: 1. Tricks by day, demonic pacts by night.
A fortune teller who lives just down the street. Good for a day of entertainment. The last guy to call his bullshit was levitated to the top of a tree, lit up brighter than the moon, and exploded. Business is booming.

Torch Hollow did my prompt over here: 

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Moonhop Failed Careers: A Knight and a Cowboy Walk Into the GLOG

Here’s some more Moonhop.

That's what Into the GLOG is called now; I’m committing to the implied setting. Today, I’m posting Failed Careers (modeled after James’) to go with the Race table I made. Era die size determines max starting era: d12 for Orbital (default), d10 for Digital, d8 for Modern, d6 for Industrial, d4 for Medieval, and skip the first die for Ancient. Many of the failed careers are “forwards compatible,” so you can update equipment where necessary to avoid anachronism (like an Aristocrat in an Orbital setting basically still makes sense if you call the weapon a Laser Rapier). That said, I’m going to use older failed careers exactly as written, even in Orbital settings, for reasons enumerated below.

First, an explanation of the weapon notations as I use them. I'm not totally confident in this method of sorting weapons, but it'll give you a basic idea of each weapon for now.

dX: Damage, Applied Automatically
Armor X: Reduces Damage by X
OH/MH/BH: Offhand, Mainhand, Both Hands
You can hold up to 2 OH, or 1 MH/1 OH, or 1 BH
Throw: Can be Thrown for Full Damage
Xpld: if damage rolls listed value, add another die
Shots: How many shots before reload
Ignite: Save or d6 every turn until success
Jump: if damage rolls listed value, roll damage against nearest target

d12 (Era)d12Failed CareerWeaponAnother Thing
1-2 Ancient
1AstrologerAugury Knife (d6, OH)Spyglass
2BakerRolling Pin (d6, OH)Delicious Bread
3BrewerDagger (d6, OH, Throw)Beer Urn
4EmbalmerExcerebration Hook (d6, OH)Canopic Jar
5False ProphetGnarled Staff (d6, MH)Devoted Disciple
6FarmerScythe (d6, OH)Ox
7GladiatorTrident (d8, MH)Net
8OutlanderGreataxe (d10, BH)10 Hallucinatory Berries
9PrisonerManacles (d6, OH)Funny Looking Rock
10ScribeChisel (d6, OH)Salacious Love Clay Tablets
11ShepherdCrook (d6, MH)Sheep
12SoldierSpear (d8, MH, Throw)Shield (Armor 1, OH)
3-4 Medieval
1AristocratRapier (d8, MH)Fancy Clothing, Too Much Chin
2Barber-SurgeonScissors (d6, OH)Wig
3BlacksmithHammer (d8, MH)Chain Mail (Armor 1, 2 Slots)
4CultistWavy Dagger (d6, OH)Pint of Blood
5FalconerCrossbow (d8, BH)Falcon (3 HP, d6)
6FlagellantScourge (d8, MH)Horrific Scars
7ForesterBow (d6, BH)Bear Trap
8Grave DiggerShovel (d8, MH)Sack of Dirt
9JesterScythe (d6, OH)Belled Hat
10MinstrelQuarterstaff (d6, OH)Lyre
11NunStick (d4, OH, Throw)Roller Skates
12SquireWooden Sword (d6, MH)Shield (Armor 1, OH) with Heraldry
5-6 Industrial
1BankerFlintlock (d6 xpld 6, OH, 1 Shot)Sack of 30 Counterfeit Coins
2ChimneysweepBarbed Wire Broom (d8, MH)Endless Soot, Insufferable Accent
3ClockmakerScrewdriver (d6, OH)Pocketwatch
4CowboyRevolver (d6 xpld 6, OH, 6 Shots)Dynamite (4d6, Save for Half, 20' Radius)
5Factory LaborerHammer (d8, MH)Tattered Rags
6FiremanFireaxe (d8, MH)Bucket of Matches
7GamblerFlintlock (d6 xpld 6, OH, 1 Shot)Deck of Cards
8MercenaryRifle (d8 xpld 7-8, BH, 1 Shot)Chain Mail (Armor 1, 2 Slots)
9MilkmaidStool (d6, OH)Bucket of Milk, Smallpox Immunity
10Oil BaronFlintlock (d6 xpld 6, OH, 1 Shot)3 Wine Bottles of Crude Oil
11Revolutionary3 Molotovs (d6, OH, Ignite, 10' Radius, Throw)Pamphlets Decrying Status Quo
12Street MagicianBrass Knuckles (d6, OH)Top Hat, White Rabbit
7-8 Modern
1ActorProp Sword (d6, MH)1 Bunch Flowers
2AthleteJavelin (d8, MH, Throw)Pole Valuting Pole
3Boy ScoutPocket Knife (d6, OH)50' Rope
4DetectiveSnubnosed Pistol (d6 xpld 6, OH, 6 Shots)Trenchcoat with Deep Pockets
5Mafia ThugTommy Gun (d6 xpld 1-2, BH, 3 Shots)Ragged Suit
6PhilosopherBook (d6, OH)Pack of Cigarettes
7PhotographerCamera Stand (d6, MH)Film Camera
8PilotRevolver (d6 xpld 6, OH, 6 Shots)Flak Vest (Armor 1, 2 Slots)
9ProfessorMetal Meterstick (d8, BH)Pipe, 3 Smokes of Tobacco
10ProstituteWhip (d6, MH)Restraints
11SpyButterfly Knife (d6, OH)1 Dose Lethal-If-Ingested Poison
12StonerTree Branch (d8, BH)6 Joints
9-10 Digital
1Audio EngineerBoom Mic (d10, BH)Boombox, 1 min Audio Storage
2Chemical EngineerCarbon Steel Knife (d8, OH)Industrial Explosives (6d6, Save for Half, 40')
3Drug DealerUzi (d6 xpld 1-2, OH, 3 Shots)1 Packet Crack
4HackerTaser (d8, OH)50' Programmable Blinking Lights
5LegislatorCane Gun (d6 xpld 6, MH, 1 Shot)1d100 Bribe
6Pizza DeliveryHubcap (d6, OH, Throw)6 Pizzas
7PlumberPipe Wrench (d6, OH)Large Bottle of Glue
8RoboticistShoulter-Mounted Robot Arm (d8, OH)Camera Drone, 1 Hour Battery
9StudentBookbag (d6, MH)1d10,000 Crippling Debt
10Tech SupportPipe Wrench (d6, OH)Paired Radios, Unmitigated Rage
11WeathermanBrass Knuckles (d6, OH)3-Day Weather Predictor
12ZookeeperSpiked Electric Cow Prod (d10, BH)Necklace of Teeth
11-12 Orbital
1Anti-Riot PoliceShotgun (2d4 xpld 4, BH, 6 Shots)Riot Shield (Armor 1, OH), 3 Smoke Grenades
2Bionic SurgeonCauterization Dagger (d8, OH)Bionic Eye and Viewing Pad
3BureaucratSilenced Pistol (d6 xpld 6, OH, 6 Shots)Blackmail on Local Leader
4GeneticistInvalid Trophy (d6, OH)Mutant Baby
5HooliganBat with Nails (d8, MH)Hoverboard
6Laser Engineer3 Laser Pointers (2d6, OH, 1 Shot Ever)3 Flexible Mirrors
7ScrapperCrowbar (d6, OH)Strong Electromagnet
8Space PilotLaser Pistol (5d6, OH, 1 Shot Ever)Bottle of Whiskey
9Spaceship EngineerCoil Pistol (d6 jump 6, OH, 6 Shots)Blowtorch
10SupersoldierAssault Rifle (d8 xpld 1-3, BH, 6 Shots)Battle Armor (Armor 2, 4 Slots)
11SurvivorRusty Knife (d6, OH, Throw)Irradiated Jeans, Irradiated Genes (Sterile)
12WarlordSpiked Scepter (d8, MH)Outfit with Too Many Spikes (Armor 1, 2 Slots)

And now a quick aside about the world of the video game Rimworld:

In Rimworld, humans fly around their arm of the Milky Way at sublight speeds in cryosleep, colonizing planets. Every time a planet gets to a certain tech level, it either becomes a singularity and cuts off contact with everyone OR it nukes itself into ruins. That’s not the end, though: eventually, survivors rebuild from the stone age up. This has been going on for a long time. In the actual game part of Rimworld, you manage a colony of people whose cryosleep ship has crashed into a world on the rim of the arm of the Milky Way. Your characters get a random childhood and a random adulthood, and they don’t even have to be from the same tech level: you might get a medieval serf kid who grew into a spacefaring mercenary, or a gene-modded super soldier child who grew up to be a librarian.

So basically, I’m trying to do something similar here. Every moon is at a different tech level, so player characters can be from any tech level, presumably abducted into space. Humans get two failed careers, so most of them will actually be transplants from one tech level to another, which is neat. A game might start with a Barber-Surgeon, a Cowboy, and a Hacker sharing a last drink before a lethal dungeon-delve. That’s good shit.

Also I realized that I had left off a major inspiration for Moonhop: Enter the Gungeon, which is just fantastic all around. It’s super gonzo, it oozes charm and fun, and it still manages to pull off interesting, melancholy NPCs. It also has a great implied world, one very similar to what I’m trying to build here, with lots of anachronism and desperate adventurers blundering around the universe. I’ll probably do a more in-depth post on it at some point in the future, separate from Moonhop.

Starbound isn't currently on the list of inspirations, but I love it a lot and at some point
I'll realize some fundamental piece of Moonhop is lifted from it (Lili Ibrahim)

This image was like two months of controversy in the Starbound community, you have no idea (Starbound)

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Moonhop Race Table: Gonzo Space Fantasy

So, as I mentioned in my post about Halloween in the Deep Carbon Observatory, I’m working on a hack combining Into the Odd and the Goblin Laws of Gaming. For the past few days I’ve been working on a GLOG-style table of races, and since it’s done, I guess I’ll post it here.

Two Failed Careers
Disadv vs Mutation
(Color = 1d6 ROYGBV)
Two Failed Careers
Disadv vs Mutation
1Dwarf, BoozeBlood is AlcoholDisadv when Sober
2Dwarf, CandleBurn HP for Light, 1 HP:10 minSlowly Melt at High Temps
3Dwarf, Jumping30' Standing JumpSave vs Heights
4Dwarf, MoleSmell Metal within 15'Allergic to Copper
5Dwarf, Sea FloorHold Breath 8 HoursSink
6Dwarf, SpinnerSecrete 30’ Rope/Day20' Color Vision
1Elf, Amnesiac SpaceSTR +4, DEX +4, CHA +43 HP, not d6 HP
2Elf, BloodYour Blood heals HP 1:1d4 HP, not d6 HP
3Elf, ChitinArmor 1Save vs Molting when Stressed
4Elf, HairAnimate Own HairSave vs Bad Fashion
5Elf, SeaSpeak to FishYou Irritate Fish
6Elf, Silence1’ Radius Silence near HandsDeaf
1Copper KnightArmor 1Disadv on Stealth
2Cyborg 2d8 Beam 1/dayEat Coins to Recharge Beam
3DevilspawnIgnite Eyes, Arrowhead Tail 1d6Terrify Small Animals
4Dragonflyling1d6 Firesneeze 20’2x Fire Damage
5DryadDead Plants Bloom at TouchDisadv vs Electronics
6FacetakerEat heart to appear as person for 1 dayReflection is True Appearance
1FrederickTelepathy with FredericksIdentity Crisis
2GalateanPunch for d8, 24 HP, not d6 HPCannot Heal
3GiantEat Strong Heart to Grow 1d12 inchesSave vs Challenges
4GrayMove handful-of-coins-sized objects at 20'Disadv vs Insanity
5Half OrcExtra Attack after First BloodNo Legs (Start with Wheelchair)
6JackallingSpeak with Recently Dead 1/dayDisadv on Death and Dismemberment
1Many RatsPile of Rats, TrenchcoatScatter at 0 HP, become One Rat
2RooklingPerfect MimicryNo Voice
3SepiidalingAdv on Sneak when NakedSkin shows emotions under stress
4SharklingSmell Blood 200’Save vs Frenzy
5Skeleton, BeeBeehive in RibcageDisadv on Stealth
6Skeleton, ClockworkDon't EatMust be Wound 4 Hours/Day
1Skeleton, Vine1 hour Sunlight = 1 Ration2x Fire Damage
2SnakehairPetrify 1d4 rounds Gaze 1/dayHair is Argumentative
3TrollkinRegrow Limbs, ExtremitiesGain Mutation on Regeneration
4Twitch50' Teleport 1/dayTouching Iron Deals Damage
5WeasellingFit through any hole 8” wideSave vs Pocket Valuables
6Roll TwiceGet Both PerksGet Both Drawbacks

This table is intended for the tentative implied setting of Into the GLOG--gonzo space fantasy set in a system of moons around a gas giant. It’s called Moonhop, and it takes inspiration from FTL, Rimworld, and Kerbal Space Program. I’ll go into more detail later if I keep posting about it, but basically I like FTL’s soft sci-fi, Rimworld’s intentionally anachronistic technology, and Kerbal Space Program’s realistic orbital physics.

I spend a lot of time hanging out on the OSR Discord, and the people there were a huge help both in suggesting races and cutting the list down. If you want to see us hack out a system in real time, just head over there and hang around the GLOG text channel.

"Skeleton, Bees" (I haven't listened to this album but here's the link anyway)