Friday, July 15, 2022

A serious problem with 5e: the first sentences.

 I wrote a way back about a hidden problem in 5e with advantage.   I've recently become aware of another, perhaps more insidious problem:  the flavor/fluff writing and the mechanics *do not match*.

Basically, most spells or class abilities  have the format of a title, a sentence or two of fluff/flavor, then a mechanical description. But HOW OFTEN does the first sentence not really match the mechanics?!?  Let me give an example that happened in play very recently: 

So we had an encounter with a weird monster (I'm GMing gates of firestorm peak, an excellent 2e adventure I converted to 5e.) and the party paladin decided to "detect evil, paladins can do that in 5e right?"

So here is the power. I have put the first "fluff" sentence in italic

Divine Sense​

The presence of strong evil registers on your senses like a noxious odor, and powerful good rings like heavenly music in your ears. As an action, you can open your awareness to detect such forces. Until the end of your next turn, you know the location of any celestial, fiend, or undead within 60 feet of you that is not behind total cover. You know the type (celestial, fiend, or undead) of any being whose presence you sense, but not its identity (the vampire Count Strahd von Zarovich, for instance). Within the same radius, you also detect the presence of any place or object that has been consecrated or desecrated, as with the hallow spell.

The player tried to argue that the effect would detect evil... but it doesn't! It detects fiends, celestials and undead (and consecrated/desecrated stuff). The thing was plenty evil, but it was technically speaking an aberration but it was such a vile one (and kind of undead-ish) that I ruled it as detecting evil, but RAW (and probably RAI) it shouldn't have.

In my experience, a lot of casual players are... not super aware what their powers/spells do. So they look at the name of a power, read the first line, think "that looks cool and makes sense for this situation, let's do that!"   This is how they learn the game - by playing, by trying things and see how they work "live".   And all these powers/spells that have a miss-match trip up these casual or new players, and there is no need for it. There is no reason why the first sentence couldn't have said "The presence of extraplanar beings and undead register on your... "

Here is another example from a  few months ago, in a Drakkenheim game.

A fighter was surrounded by 2-3 foes.  The party druid decided to help their fellow PC out by casting a spell at one of the bad guys.  She looked at her selection, and chose Ice Knife.  She cast it at the foe and... it turns out that the ice knife is an *ice grenade*, and the spell hurt everyone in the area, including her fellow PC!  Let's look at the spell and what happened:

 Ice Knife

You create a shard of ice and fling it at one creature within range. Make a ranged spell attack against the target. On a hit, the target takes 1d10 piercing damage. Hit or miss, the shard then explodes. The target and each creature within 5 feet of it must succeed on a Dexterity saving throw or take 2d6 cold damage.

So once again, the casual player takes a brief looks, thinks "this looks good" - and it turns out the ice knife, which sounds like a single target spell, is actually an area of effect spell.  It's a good spell!  But it's not what the label says, and a more "serious" player would not have made that mistake... but neither would have a casual player if the spell had been named properly. 

These experiences make the game less fun and harder to learn, and could be fixed easily with better writing. 

There are several more examples of this if you look for them.  The cantrip friend, for example. 

Tuesday, May 24, 2022

THE DEFENCE Of SAN FLORIA: A Short Glog adventure/Session Recap


I had a GLOG session a while ago that was quite interesting.  I wrote a recap, and I told myself: why not just slightly change it and publish a little adventure? :)

Enemy design:  Spekkio at black rat big hat
NPC guard/mercenary class design:  Petty Sell-Sword
Ruleset:  the GLOG, but I hope that there are enough details here that this could easily be run in B/x or something similar.

Basic scenario concept:  

In this campaign, the heroes are part of a large-ish mercenary company (the Fox's Company), who's captain has made enemies (as they do).  The captain, Ricardo Volpe, receives rumors of a plot to raid a monastery and frame him for the raid.  He sends some of his trusted followers (the PCs) to protect the monastery and his reputation.  There is a roughly 1 week window of time in which this raid will occur.

Feel free (of course) to modify this intro to fit your campaign.   The only real requirement is that the PCs would be seen as trustworthy enough to be hired for this.  If they aren't... you could reverse the scenario on its head and have the PCs be the raiders!

This adventure was play-tested with 4-5 2nd-level PCs using the GLOG system.  

The Monastery:

The Convent of San Floria 

Leader: Abbesss Maria:  A no-nonsense woman with a strong will, with sharp features and green eyes.  She is a bit dubious about this entire situation, and does not trust the PCs entirely, but will allow them to defend the monastery.  She is worried about the relic being stollen, but also concerned about the monastery’s extensive wine cellar, and she doesn’t want it raided or even discovered. Most of the other sisters will stay out of sight and not interact with the party.  She will provide some lodging (sleeping in the hayloft or something of the sort) and food to the party while they stay at the convent.  The convent has about two dozen nuns and a few servants.

Guards:  3 eunuchs, rescued from a difficult situation and devoted to the convent.  No armor, armed with quarterstaves, 5hp.  Will help the heroes defend, but more in a "extra pair of eyes" role - they see their main objective as protecting the convent itself and would rather let the PCs do the fighting.  The leader is Bernard, a boarman, 10 hp.  He did some soldiering in his youth, which makes him both relate to the party and yet not trust them fully.  The guards’ attitude towards the party will depend on how respectful and competent the PCs behave.

The Relic: a silver and glass reliquary containing the Hand of San Floria, said to be able to remove curses during lunar eclipses... it doesn't really matter, it's a McGuffin.  Worth a few hundred gp to the right buyer.

By Dyson Logos, see link above

Monastery grounds:

A wall surrounds the monastery, but in the north and part of the east is "incomplete" - a series of graceful arches beautifies but make it easy to bypass .

The convent is on a large patch of poor soil, used for pasture.  They have little agricultural activity beyond a few apple trees and beekeeping.   About 750 feet north-west of the monastery is a tiny hamlet - a few modest homes where an extended family of shepherds live.  A dirt track leads past it to the nearest town.   To the north and east there is a small cops of woods, and less than a hundred feet to the south there is a small river (15 feet wide and fordable on foot) in a small, bushy valley.

Rather bland, but it shows the layout.  each square = 30 feet.  Taken late in the session.

The opposition:  

Marnie's Movers, a group of petty-sell-swords (designed by Spekkio, I added one member, Burak)

= Marnie (leader) =
F Human
9 9 9 9 14 9
Atk: +1 / 1d6 dagger [dual-wield]
AC: 12 (leather)

Items: 5 daggers total, 3 rations, shovel, 30' rope, a small insignia of Fox's Company to be left behind.
Treasure: 4gp 8sp various coinage, anklet worth 17sp
Skills: Literate, Brigandry (+2 to checks relating to executing an ambush), LOW CUNNING (+2 Stealth, can perform crude deception)

Appearance: Esmerelda from Quasimodo, but aging and with a few scars and pockmarks.
Personality: Dry and lowbrow. Motivated by greed.

= Burak =
M Dwarf
9 9 14 9 9 9
10 HP
Atk + 0 1d6 (hand axe)
AC: 13 (leather, shield)

Items:  3 rations, matock, large sacks
Treasure: 4 gp, ring worth 3 sp
Skills: Brigand  (+2 to checks relating to ambushes)

Appearance: stout even for a dwarf, black hair and eyes
Personality:  Cautious, suspicious, and protective, sees himself as Marnie's bodyguard.  The voice of "reason".

= Nicolin ("Young Nick") =
M Ratling
9 9 9 10 9 9
Atk +2 / 1d6 dagger (Fell Handed)
AC: 12 (leather)

Items: 3 rations, shovel
Treasure: 2gp various coinage, locket worth 13sp
Skills: Urchin/Pickpocket.

Appearance: Black fur. Squinty eyes.
Personality: As Todd T Squirrel.

= Percival ("Perc") =
M Ravenling
9 9 9 9 9 11
8hp (Eating Well)
Atk +0 / 1d6 dagger
AC: 12 (leather)

Items: 8 rations, shovel
Treasure: 8sp, 20sp bauble
Skills: Brigand (+2 to checks relating to ambushes)

Appearance: Beak heavily scuffed from clam habit
Personality: Thinks he's funny

= Nicholas ("Old Nick") =
M Ratling
9 9 9 10 9 9
Atk +0 / 1d6 dagger
AC: 12 (leather)

Items: 3 rations, shovel, lantern
Treasure: 18 sp, 6sp earring
Skills: EAGLE EYE (adv to perception checks), Brigand (+2 to checks relating to ambushes)

Appearance: Greying, with whiskers sticking out in all directions. Rather long and thin face.
Personality: Reticent.

= Winnifred ("Winnie") =
F Badgerling
9 9 13 9 9 9
Atk +0 / 1d6 dagger [dual-wield]
AC: 12 (leather)

Items: 2 daggers total, 3 rations, whompin' shovel
Treasure: 22sp, 3sp Toe-ring
Skills: LOW CUNNING (+2 Stealth, can perform crude deception), Peasant/Animal Handling, can dig

Appearance: -
Personality: Surly in comparison to normal people, rather upbeat for a badgerling. Still likes animals more than people.
Extra: has a small donkey, named Cheeky. She loves him dearly.

= Alais =
F Human
9 9 9 14 9 9
8hp (eating well)
Atk +0 / 1d6 dagger, 1d6 bow
AC: 12 (leather)

Items: 8 rations, shovel
Treasure: 14 sp, 12sp snuffbox (empty)
Skills: Urchin/Pickpocket.

Appearance: Pale and waifish. Tendency to stare.
Personality: Very intense.

Marnie is cunning and objective driven - she doesn't want to fight, she wants the relic.  Depending on what defensive measures the PCs adopt, she will craft a plan to bypass them (or so she hopes!).  She is a big fan of using a distraction to draw away defenders while the main group sneaks in the back. You can read the recap below to see one example of such plan.


If you feel like making the scenario thornier, a third party may intervene - a local taxman who has a dispute with the monastery for example - a taxman the party may mistake for a raider scout/impostor?  Perhaps a young nun is interested in one of the PCs?  Perhaps Bernard is not a boarman but a were-boar and the full moon approaches?  Have fun!


The Abbess will reward the party with a bottle of fine wine each, claiming that they were given to the monastery by a noble a few years ago (true) and that they had no use for it (quite false).  These bottles can be sold for 5 gp each (it's a somewhat famous vintage), or simply enjoyed.  She will also gift them with a large jar of honey.

Captain Ricardo will reward the PC according to their success.  A complete failure yields no reward, a successful defense will earn the PCs 10 gp each, and information about the plot another 10 gp, and perhaps extra equipment from the company store. (adjust according to your campaign, of course)


So how did this work in my game?  Explody.  Here is how it went down:

Ragno, a spiderling sawbwones (level 2)
Xerses, a dwarven Sorcerer from afar (level 1 sorcerer, level 1 thief)
Mr Bill (level 2 human Zouave)
Violetta (level 2 gnome tactician, player is absent for most of it)
Giuseppe (level 2 human hunter, has a crossbow) 

The party managed to establish a decent rapport with both the local guards and the local shepherds - the later achieved with an offer of a few silvers to the shepherds to keep an eye out.  A few days after arriving at the monastery, they got word from said shepherd of "suspicious strangers" seen lurking in the north (Marnie's men were scouting the scene - they paid the shepherds in coppers, not sliver).

Correctly anticipating a nighttime raid, the PCs surrounded  the monastery with fires at night, so that no one can sneak in unseen.  Marnie, seeing this, developed a plan of attack.

First, a distraction - 3 members (Alais, Nicolas and Winifred) "attacked" from the north at night.  Each carried a long pole, each end of the poll having  dummy carrying a "spear" and a torch, creating the illusion of 6 attacking torchbearers and "more" poorly seen.  Once within about 200 feet of the monastery, they stopped, put down the poles on support (the fake attackers are now "standing on guard") and begin shooting flaming arrows at the building from extreme range.  If a counter attack happens, they run.  But because they start their charge from quite far, it takes a long time for a counter attack to work...    The flaming arrows did little damage, but certainly caused a lot of concern, and the monastery guards went on fire control duty, leaving the PCs to take care of the fighting.

(I'll note that in the GLOG, ranged attacks have significant penalties, and these ranges may have to be adjusted so they make sense for your system.  The attackers want to be close enough that shooting arrows at a far range at a large collection of building is possible, but far enough that return fire has little chance of hitting them). 

In the south, Marnie, Burak, Nicodin and Percival snuck close to the back of the monastery, taking advantage of the distraction and cover from the small river valley.  They have with them bales of hay that they soak in the river and use to extinguish one of the fires, and a ladder to go over the wall.

But Xercese, the party sorcerer, suspects that something is amiss and heads south.   He manages to signal to the others that the mercenaries are coming, but his efforts to slow the invaders down only spur them to greater speed.  He paralyzes Marnie and her dwarven guard Burak, green sparks shooting out of his ears from the magical effort.  But the fat ravenling Percival and Nicolin the ratling are already over the wall and charge him, with Percival yelling "grab the wizard!!!", and they tackle the sorcerer.

Ragno and Mr Bill are rushing south, and Guisepe is trying to flank, but are just a wee bit too far.  Xerces is not hindered by the grapple -he is not a wizard, but a sorcerer, he doesn't need mumbo-jumbo gestures or chants!  He draws his powers for the third time, and paralyzes Percival with a thunderclap!  Nicolin panics, and decides the solution to the "wizard problem" is stabbing!  He misses.  Guisepe fires a bolt but misses as well.

Ragno and Mr Bill are so close!  Xerces decides to turn invisible for a short moment to escape, thinking that Mr Bill and Ragno should be able to handle Nicolin.  But Xerces has used too much magic today, and the spell catastrophically backfires.  For a brief moment he is engulfed in crackling magical energy (tacking 9 dmg) ... and then he *explodes* in a fireball, inflicting 16 damage to everyone within 20 feet.  Xerces, paralyzed Percival and stabby Niccodin are obliterated....   Mr Bill and Ragno, outside the blast zone, can only stare in shock as Xerces's peculiar hat flutters down from a great height...

(note: in the GLOG, the sorcerer is a caster that the more they cast, the more dangerous it gets - the player pushed his luck too far.  They knew they were going to blow up sooner or later!)

The arcane explosion brings the battle to a stop.  Marnie, still paralyzed, is captured by the PCs, along with a few others.  In exchange for their freedom, she tells the PCs all about who hired them.  The party begin to see the outline of a plot against their captain... 

 Thanks to Kwub for helpful suggestions and revisions

P.S.  I have pretty good notes from this campaign, and I think a few of the other adventures are also "decent enough to publish".  The next one will not be a battle, but a "capper" - The Yamac Sauce Capper.  I think we need more adventures in the GLOG - enough classes!

Thursday, May 19, 2022

The GLOG alchemist: a playtest

 I previously published a GLOG class called the alchemist.  I was pretty proud of my creation, but it was a complex class, and it hadn't been playtested.  Anyone who does game design knows that no matter how "solid" something seems, if you don't playtest it, you can't be certain that it works like you intended.

The first thing I realized is that I hadn't included backgrounds.  Oops

Either come up with something good yourself, or Roll 1d3:

1: wizard.  You have no talent at casting spells, but you can detect magical items as a wizard.  You start with 2d10 silver

2: cultist:   Use the summoner class as a guide to create the cult you used (or still? belong to).  Start with 1d6 silver and a dagger.

3: Inventor:  You start with 1d12-6 gold and a peculiar crossbow that only you can use.  If  you have negative gold, you owe it to someone who may prove troublesome.

The second thing - much more important - that playtesting uncovered was that the  degradation rules and the resulting "stabilize" system just do not work well in play.  The design intent was to prevent someone building up a huge arsenal and "nova strike" with all their spells at once.  It doesn't really, and it really is penalizing to the character.  If a level 1 alchemist prepares a concoction one day but doesn't use it, each day there is a 1/6 chances of it being lost forever - those CDs aren't like a wizard's MDs, they don't "come back".  But if the alchemist doesn't, well the alchemist has no magical powers.  This is *not* ideal nor fun. 

 What we compromised instead was that alchemical preparations should have an "expiry date".   How to do that easily in game?  Simple.  Keep track of the character level at which the preparation was made, and 2 levels  higher the preparation has gone stale and is worthless.  

Example:  Kava the gooseling alchemist has made a smoke pot at level 1.  He keeps it for a while, but if he doesn't use it by level 3, it is now a dud and the CDs are lost.

So why not simply at the next level?  Well it could result in something expiring *very* fast if the PC happens to level up on the same session as the smoke pot was prepared.  

I would update the preparation tracking sheet with something like this:

Lastly, we decided that the sword of St-Germain alchemical enhancement can be used on a dagger - or any vaguely sword-like implement.  It seemed a bit silly that the alchemist could not use the sword they prepared due to proficiency issues.  

So how did it play?  Fairly well!  The alchemist basically plays a bit like a conservative mage, but can be rather good in clutch situations.   It's not for every players clearly, but my player enjoyed it.  We also found that the proposed amounts of CD was about right, at least right for my campaign pacing.  I also occasionally allowed the player to find spare CDs when it made sense, such as finding an abandoned alchemist's lab.

Of course, one PC in one campaign not sufficient playtesting, so if you too have played an alchemist, I would love to hear about it.

Thursday, April 28, 2022

A new Familiar: The Potato

 Familiars are an important part of some D&D rule-sets (they are sorely lacking in the GLOG...*) and can be a fun and very useful addition to a party.  

5e, 2nd ed and other editions had lists of "regular" familiars people could take:  cat, raven, crab etc etc etc.  But I have realized that these lists are all missing an *excellent* form for a familiar:  the Potato.

Here is why:

1: No plant based familiar

2: Something people are familiar with, it's plausible.

3: SUPER stealthy.  Who suspects the potato?

4: EXCELLENT guard - due to all its eyes, the Potato familiar has 360 vision. (but see point 7...)

5:  Yes it has poor speed, but it can burrow.

6: In a pinch, the potato can be used as a weapon and hurled at your foes.

7: The potato makes for an excellent bribe for certain foes, esp goblins (this makes the potato a poor choice to spy on goblins).

8: in a pinch, the potato can be used to make a meal.

9: It cannot fly, but it will not get sucked into a jet engine. (thank you Dice and Doggos for that crucial contribution)

10:  It can be used as a battery to power high tech devices or perhaps used as a magical focus (autographedcat came up with this one)

11:  Significant RP potential.

That's a lot of utility for a simple familiar!  

Now  you might say "ok sure, it's the best regular familiar, but surely it doesn't beat the improved familiars like the imp".  And yes, you would be 100% correct.  To be in the same class as the imp, you need a turnip.  Why?  I have said too much already... 

*edit:  about that, I've been a bit out of touch from the GLOG-sphere so maybe there are several ones now out there, I thought I should note that.  Also, some have asked me to generate rules for familiars in the GLOG and that is harder than in looks, since spells are "entities" of sort in the GLOG magical theory, so a find familiar spell may not make sense.  A familiar in the GLOG would be something different...

Friday, April 15, 2022

Angels and Devils, Birds and Bats

 Ok.  Why do angels have bird wings, and devils bat wings?  This is a quite consistent depiction in art etc.  Why is this, what is going on?

From Memoirs of Bartholomew Fair ... Fourth edition", p 104, 1892

I have been pondering this for some time, and a sort of revelation came to me.  The situation is complex, but it can be boiled down to a simple fact:

Angels are birds.   Devils are mammals

Why is this significant.  And what *are* birds, really?  Birds are dinosaurs (seriously, look it up). 

Angels are the survivor of the meteor impact. They are a hyper advanced civilization, watching earth from far above in their sky-cities, the heavens if you will.  They have existed for millions of years, as they achieved *stability* - they do not change, they are "sustainable".  Maintaining the Status Quo, the Divine Order, is paramount.

Once the dust from the great meteor strike settled (if it was a meteor strike...), mammals became somewhat dominant on earth. The bird-angels became curious about this new form of life - advanced, but still nowhere near as advanced as they, of course -  and did some experiments. They created the devils, as a lark perhaps.  Gave them bat wings.  For a time, the devils lived in the sky cities in small numbers, slowly growing, seen as "lesser" than the Angels.

With time, humans eventually came to the scene.  The angels grew concerned - intelligent mammals, not under their control?  Could they become rivals?

So they started instructing them in "morals".  As Nietzsche pointed out, this morality was a "servant"  morality.  Not suitable for leadership.  Designed to control the humans.

The mammal-devils were horrified - they felt kinship with these humans.  They wanted to instruct the humans about freedom, self-determination.  They started agitating. 

The bird-angels were offended and cast the traitor devils out of their celestial bases; and started warning humans about not trusting the devil's words - their temptation would lead them to perdition.  But if humans were "good" they would go to the "heavens" - a lie, of course.

Preposterous some of you may say... BUT:  Who is said to be our secret rulers?

Lizard people. And lizards have the same origin as birds... it's an other conspiracy with a small nugget of truth inside. ;) 

Saturday, February 27, 2021

The problem with 5e? ... it's best feature.

 So people have been grumbling about 5e.

(tl,dr:  advantage is great!  but it has consequences - the players engage less. A proposal to fix it)

I think 5e is a good game.  But like all versions of D&D, it's not perfect.  Compromises had to be made (I consider it "medium crunch" and I am happy with the level of complexity, but for some it's too complex, for others not enough).  Some new rules had unintended consequences - the "sort rest classes vs long rest classes" balance depends on the pacing of the game, which is strange.  There is no longer a "magical item market" where you could customize your magical gear - some see this as a good thing (I do!) and some see it as bad.  Some say that the game is too easy, that the PCs are too tough (a valid criticism I think).

However, the advantage/disadvantage system was almost universally praised.  And it is good!  It was a bit... much... at times in the older editions.

This is an example from the PF game (the kingmaker AP where I play an alchemist)

"My starting to hit number is +9, but there are modifiers.  I have drunk the mutagen, which gives me +4 to dex, which means +2 to hit. I've also cast reduce, which increases my attack by 1 and gives me 2 more dex so another +1. The foe is 25 feet away so point-blank shot kicks in, giving me another +1, BUT there is a -2 range penalty. The bard is signing that's +5 right? (our bards is *awesome) - nope the bard is more than 30 feet away from me, reducing the bonus to +3. I'm also firing into melee (-4) and there is some cover (-2) so that's not great... but wait I'm hasted by the sorcerer, so I get another +1! So now it 9 +4 +1 +1 +1 -2 +3 -4 -2 + 1= +12 (... I think)... vs touch attack armor"

And this will change every round - did I take just take dex damage, or been hit by a debuff? did range changes, is cover less (or more), did a buffing spell expire, the bard stopped signing, etc etc etc."

Advantage sweeps almost all of this away.  With very few exception like cover, in most situations you have advantage (roll twice take the best), normal chances of success, or disadvantage (roll twice take the worse).  This ended the constant re-calculations of bonuses changing from round to round.  It made the game faster and easier.

But some of the discontent about 5e was more... nebulous.  Some blamed the "Mercer Effect".  Others that the game didn't "feel" right.

Recently, I saw this video about 5e being like super-heroes and how the character's power all came from their sheet and that the rewards of engaging with the world were less - you could just use your "own" power to win.   Now this video wasn't quite 100% right. you still need the other PCs IMO.  And it didn't quite explain why you didn't need to "engage" anymore.

But that video made me realize what the issue is - it's advantage!  Once you have advantage, getting more help doesn't matter.  

You don't need to find the higher grounds. You don't need to flank the giant.  Just get advantage by doing *one* thing and you're good.  And a lot of classes have ways to easily give themselves or others advantage.   So you don't need to engage with the world as much!  Just show up, and get ready to rumble!

So... how do we fix this?

First, Advantage is not a 2nd d20 roll.  It's a +1d6 bonus.  This is roughly the same as advantage (advantage is equivalent to +5 *if* you have 50% chance of hitting.  If your chances are very low or very high, the impact is less.  So +1d6 is roughly equivalent).

Second advantages stack - you could get more than a d6.  But for things not to get completely crazy, (good or bad: disadvantage stacks too!), the extra D6 don't add, it's a "take the highest roll". So if  you have advantage from 3 sources, one source of disadvantage, roll the 1d6 twice, take the best, and add this to your 1d20 roll.  So if you have a *lot* of advantages, the bonus will approach +6

I *think* this might encourage re-engagement with the world and terrain, but without the excessive complexity of pathfinder/3.x....  

EDIT:  It's been pointed out to me by a number of people that this 1d6 solution can be found in the game Shadow of the Demon Lord.  Given the amount of time I've spent on the OSR discord, it's quite possible that I saw that there, "forgot" and then half-remembered it when I was looking for a solution.  I certainly don't want to take credit for something someone else thought of first!

I think that while the solution (original or not) is important, identifying the problem is my main "original" contribution.   I also note that the solution would need to be play tested, as it has a major impact on the critical hit system, and a few feats. 

Another thought:  would this stack with bless or guidance?  Yes, it would, same way advantage stacks with guidance/bless, and this should go for other "bonus dice" that 5e can grant.

Thursday, November 26, 2020

The Ironclad

 *Borne of a misunderstanding on the OSR servers.*

The Ironclad is a master of defense and survival.  They achieve victory by outlasting all foes.  They have been studying the advancement of arms and armor, and have concluded that more metal and more technology will always be the winning strategy.

The Ironclad

Every template the Ironclad gains 2 hp.  If the ironclad gains a new template and has no shield, gains a shield.  Proficient in metal-working

Starts with chain armor, shield, cutlass (does 1d6 dmg (slashing or bludgeoning as it delivers a nasty hilt punch, double damage vs ropes), 1d6 sp + 1d6 cp.

Dusack aka dussage, from the Wallace Collection

A:  Armor wearer.  Hand Gunne 

B:  Armor improved to brigandine,  Parry 

C:  Armor improves to plate.  Lantern shield.  Axe Gun 

D:  Fortified, River Walker, Protector


Armor wearer.  The Ironclad has no encumbrance penalties for armor (ie armor takes not slot for them).  However armor penalties to speed, stealth  etc. remains.

Hand Gunne.  A weapon that takes a full round to load, 30 range (1 penalty per 10 feet beyond), 2d6 dmg.  Can be fired while using a shield.  10 bullets and 10 powder charges.   If used by anyone else, 1d10 mg, 10 feet range (1 penalty pert 10 feet beyond), needs two hands to use and 3 rounds to reload. (edit:  I should mention that in my gun system guns have 2 points of armor piercing)

Armor improvements:  These are due to the Ironclad constantly improving and adding more metal, more padding, more protection to their armor.

Parry:  As the fighter in Many Rats on a Stick

Lantern shield:  The Ironclad's shield has a protected enclosure for a bulls-eye lantern, allowing them to wield a shield and hold the lantern with a single arm. 

Axe Gun: Inspired by news from the East, the Ironclad adds a blade to the Hand Gunne - it can be used in melee to inflict 1d8 slashing damage.

Fortified:  When wearing their armor, the Ironclad is immune to critical hits - they are normal hits instead.

River Walker: The Ironclad does not fear the water - they can walk at bottom of rivers, sea-floor etc. with no issues.  They can hold their breath for con X minutes with no effort (beyond that, use standard rules for holding breath as if the PC had just started).

Protector:  If the ironclad is within 10 feet of an ally; and said ally are hit by an attack, the ally can make a reflex save to dive behind the ironclad and have the attack hit the ironclad instead, using the same attack roll (the attack may hit or miss the ironclad, depending on the original roll).


Cannoneer:  Knowledge of cannons and gunpowder.  An extra 10 charges of powder.

Armorer:  Armoring skill and tools.  2 spare shields. 

Inventor:  Literate.  Knows of alchemy and geometry.  A vial of alchemist's fire

Hedge knight:  Obscure claim to nobility.  Knowledge of heraldry.  An old tired horse, and a lump of a squire. (6 in all stats, club, coward). 1d3 gp

Design note:  I think this is solid but it... will be fun?  I'm also really not sure at what level what power should show up.  Are there too many?  Is this too good?  Many thanks for the feedback on the OSR server.

Tuesday, November 3, 2020



My partner was kidding around waving her arms like she was a T-rex.  She was laughing hard and when she does, she snorts.  I said she was like a t-rex-pig.  To explain, I drew it.  She laughed harder :) 

Now she wants me to make a class with it.  Since it's GLOG WEEK, here we are.

This is why I don't draw my owns illustrations for this blog


You are an intelligent hybrid animal, with the body, tail and head of a pig, and the legs and arms of a T-rex.  You can talk and can manipulate objects with your spindly arms, but they are weak - (think the arms of a 5 year old).  You can shove with  your body quite well though.  You can eat food many would find unpalatable. 

Your hide provides armor as leather.

A:  Scent, natural attacks

B:  Greasy, cork-screw tail

C:  Long legs, Tusks 

D:  Huge, eat anything.

Scent.  You have the keen sense of smell of a hog.  You can find mushrooms, follow tracks etc

Natural attacks.   You can deliver a powerful clawed kick for 1d6 dmg.  Alternatively, you can feebly claw with your arms for 1 dmg

Greasy.   You are very hard to catch in a grapple, and have advantage on any check to avoid or escape one.

Cork-screw tail:  Your corck-screw tail can now be used to open bottle of wine and similar tasks.

Long legs:  Those legs are long aren't they?  Your movement speed doubles.

Tusks:   Your teeth also have grown and you now have tusks.  Gain a second attack doing 1d6 dmg as you gore your enemies.

Huge:  You have been making most of life indeed and are now the size of a horse.  Gain  an extra 5 hp, your hide now provides armor as chain, and your damage dice increases to 1d8

Eat anything.  There is nothing you cannot eat.  The gods fear your hunger.

Background (1d3):

Made by a wizard.  You can smell magic.  Why aren't you with the wizard anymore? well... 

Escaped from Hell/lower planes.  You're actually some type of fiend.  You didn't like hell *at all* - all the fire, the screaming - just ghastly.  You didn't fit in, and you don't want to go back.   You have knowledge of Hell, demons/devil and their languages.

Retired Law Enforcement officer:   You're a copper but you grew disillusioned.  You can read and write and have knowledge of legal procedures.