Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Curse as a class "contest" - the Ogre

On the GLOG discord server, Mother came up with the *brilliant* idea that a curse, like say, lycanthropy, could be expressed as a "class" - you lose your highest class template, and gain the lowest (the "A") template of the curse class.  Until the curse is broken, the character cannot advance in levels...  unless the character allows the curse to progress, losing their humanity and slowly becoming consumed by the curse.  Others agreed that it was a very solid idea, and a challenge was issued to come up with examples.  

A lot of the good ideas were already claimed (ghouls, vampires and lycantropes notably, and I couldn't help but note how Skerple's Goblin class fit the bill...), so I chose to do the Ogre.  (scroll down to see the other entries!).

The Ogre.

How Ogrism is caught is unknown.  Fighting an ogre might trigger it, but there are several reported cases of Ogrism occurring without any recorded contacts with Ogres.  It has been noted that it particularly afflicts those eager to use brute force to solve problems, especially when motivated by greed or gluttony.  

For each template of Ogre, your HP and your strength goes up by 2

A:  Thick skull, Iron stomach
B:  Rage, Eater of Flesh
C:  Ogre Smash, Hulking form
D:  Tough, Boulders, Thick skull

Thick Skull:  Roll 3D6, and compare it to your intelligence.  If the number is lower than your current intelligence, it is now your intelligence score.  

Iron Stomach:  you can eat anything organic as food - bones, bark - but prefer meat.  You need to eat 2 rations' worth of food to be satisfied

Rage:  As per Barbarian Rage, but if you haven't eaten today, you can only stop raging if someone/thing has died.  

Eater of Flesh:  If you eat a part of a recently slain humanoid (one arm should suffice), you regain 1d6+1 HP.  If you are in battle, kill a foe and haven't eaten yet that day, you must save to resist the urge to start eating right away.

Ogre Smash:   If you wield a large club two handed, you inflict 2d6 points of damage.  Your rage can only be willingly interrupted on a 1 in 6 chance.  

Hulking Form: Your hulking form is now too big for most suits of armor. Your thick fingers can't manipulate bows or crossbows, or any other such fine weapons or tools.

Tough:  You reduce incoming damage by 1.  

Boulders:  You can throw a rock with a range increment of 30 feet for 1d6 + strenght bonus dmg.

The Cure:  Sages have speculated that Ogrism can easily be cured by a strict vegetarian diet and a period of a year and a day of kindness and lack of violence.  However, no known recoveries have been reported.

Design note:  This is a powerful class, but it is a risky one.  If all templates are Ogre, the PC is now fully an ogre and should probably be retired.  I leave the task of creating an Ogre Mage to a more deft designer than I... (edit: oh well)

Other Entries:

Words for Yellow:  Vampires, Wendigos and more! 
Archon's Court:  Nanoweapon Poisoning 
Walfalcon:  the Skablin (?) 
A Blasted, Cratered Land: Hero (aka Destiny)
Anxious Mimic:  The Oath
The Benign Brown Beast :the Restless Dreamer
Princesses and Pioneers: Mirror-Struck (you could build a campaign around this)
Parasites and Paradoxes: The Doppelgänger 
Bubgear Slug: The Abattoir God (this is *amazing*)
Nuclear Haruspex:  The Undying (and the originator of the idea)
Meandering Banter: Wizzard Bidness
The Whimsical Mountain: The Fading

The Oblidisideryptch:  awaiting the entry - soon!

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

The Sword of Lurm and more armor options.

While running my occasional GLOG game, the party traveled back to town to resupply and sell loot.  Needing some medieval city, I simply grabbed the City of Elderstone by Skerples.  This city has an enchanter, Lurm.

Lurm the Enchanter is an Orthodox wizard, although a bit on the roguish side (has been known to associate with summoners, or worse).  It is know that he will put a "work a day" enchantment on a sword...  but what is that exactly?  I suppose it could be a +1 bonus, but that's not very interesting.  So here I give you, the Sword of Lurm:

The swords of Lurm have thin angular runes that are designed to attract and trap a very minor fire elemental.  When the user of the sword hits an enemy (a successful attack), they can shout the sword's command word (LURM!!) to release the sword's power in a burst of flame, inflicting an additional 1d6 points of fire damage.  This exhausts the fire elemental, and the sword's energies must be recharged by putting the blade in a fire - a campfire would suffice - for one hour.  While the sword is charged, the runes glow with a very faint orange - when there are no other sources of light, they are visible and shed an amount of light equivalent to a small candle, enough to light a single 5 foot square.  The enchantment process makes the sword immune to fire damage (although the blade will turn black with time), but the wielder has no such protection.  
If asked if the command word is a form of publicity for his shop, Lurm will coyly imply that it is, but the reality is more cynical - Lurm does not want his creations ever used against him, due to some vague prophecy about his death.  Should someone dare so, he can pre-emptively activate (and de-charge) the magical items he created (and prevent his foes from using them) by simply shouting "LURM"!

Second, for my Five Dagger edition project, I present my armor rules - more armor types, and who can use them.  This is probably the easiest and least interesting of the rule changes I intend to make.  

Leather armor and arming doublet can be slept in without a penalty.  Gambeson and chain impose 1 point of fatigue, and heavier armor can't be slept in.

Armor proficiency:  Everyone can wear armor up to gambeson.  Classes with some fighting background (ranger, thief, barbarian etc) can wear chain, but only fully trained classes (fighter, knight, paladin, tactician) can wear all armor types.  

The new armors are as follows:

- Improvised armor:  Doesn't last long and encumbering, but might just save your life.  Pots and lids, sticks tied to limbs with twine, wearing 5 shirts.  

- Arming doublet:  The thick shirt you wear under your metal armor to prevent chaffing and absorb some of the blows.  The average warrior's is sweat and rust strained (it comes included with chain and heavier armor free), but the upper nobility can wear extremely elaborate doublets.  

- Gambeson:  not merely an "armor undershirt" but a fully protective garment in its own right, made of over a dozen layers of linen quilted together.  They were hot, stiff, but very effective.

- Brigandine.  Also known at the coat of plate, a series of smallish metal plate sandwiched between 2 layers of leather, with rivets holding everything together.  Worn over chain to protect the torso mostly.  A more primitive form of armor than plate mail, it stayed in production due to its lower cost/ease of production and slightly better flexibility.  

-  Wicker shields:  A cheap, flimsy shield who's sole advantage is costing less.  Reduces 1d6 dmg if sacrificed to absorb damage (instead of 1d12), and is automatically broken (no damaged reduced) if the foe rolls a critical.  

cost (GP, city/village) + notes
?  (pot on your head, wooden slats and twine etc)
Arming doublet
1+   (can be *very* elaborate, ie cost can be very high)
Shield, wicker

(the other armors are by Skerples)

Saturday, July 27, 2019

Announcing the "GLOG: Five Daggers Edition" Project

I've been playing with the GLOG for a bit now (we've had 5 sessions) and the qualities of the system have become clear to me.  However, some of the limits have shown as well - mostly the lack of a proper skill system.  Back in June, I had speculated about merging the GLOG and 5e , and the feedback was positive.  This idea has been dancing in the back of my mind ever since.  

After some thoughts, I realized that a 50/50 mixt is not really feasible.  You can have a somewhat simplified 5e, or you can have a 5e flavored GLOG, but you can't fully integrate the two.  Some of the basic design principles of each game simply don't mixt.  So I decided that I was going to leave 5e alone and modify the GLOG by bolting on a skill system inspired by 5e.  Simple right?  The GLOG is *made* to be hacked, after all.

Well... I have to re-do the backgrounds (which are very good in 5e, and impact the skills).  And I also have to tweak the classes (what skills does a knight have?), especially classes that are skill focused (the thief essentially).  And if I'm tweaking the classes, well I might as well update them (Skerples did a great review of his edition with suggestions on what to change).  And if I'm doing all these changes to the classes, it means I get to choose which classes are in, so I might as well add a few from Arnold K Arnold K 's martial list (too many wizards!) along with a few others (I like the Sawbone by Iron and Ink), and remove some I don't.  And the 5e skill system doesn't have the same mechanic as the GLOG (it's roll high, not roll low), and I prefer roll high, so now I have to update the combat system and...

… Well it's turning into a new edition isn't it?!  So be it!  Because I love how good daggers are in the GLOG, and because of the origin of the skill system, I am naming it "the Five Daggers Edition".

So why make an announcement?  I hope it may get me a bit more feedback, but mostly I figured that by announcing it, it will motivate me to actually finish it!  I intend to work on it in "chunks" - publishing drafts of sections/concepts here, getting feedback and advice from readers, and then pulling it together.  I hope to be done in 6 months.  

A major conceptual obstacle initially was how to write this up as a complete document.  I'm not changing everything (I am not re-writing all those spells!), so how do I incorporate this into the edition?  I don't want to have a document I give my players where half of it is "click here for the spells", I want it to be complete.  But now I'm "stealing" stuff from others, and I don't want to do that...  I really was struggling with this but then it dawned on me - just contact the authors and ask for their advice/permission.  I have and they have given me their blessing, for which I am very grateful.  The GLOG community really is something!  I will do my best to be very transparent as to who made what and provide full credit.  

That being said, there are still uncertainties (how to layout things properly is one, if I do this myself it's going to be very basic...), but I hope that some of these questions will be resolved before I pull things together and publish the final package.  As this will be a free product (respecting the GLOG ethos), I hope that my readers will be forgiving.  There probably won't be any art, but maybe something will come up.

Lastly, when I'm finished, I will start working on a Yoon Suin Edition, which will essentially be the same but adapted for Yoon Suin (changing the classes and races essentially).

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Tomb of the serpent King, Session 4: Ze Goblins

In November, we ran the 4rth session of the Tomb of the Serpent Kings  by Skerples, and a new session is coming up - I find writing these recaps is a great way to refresh my memory.  Sessions one , two  and three can be found by clicking on the links.

As per the third session, again 2 of the 7(!) players were missing, making my life more manageable.

The original crew:

Elrond, a Low Elf knight and historian.  I informed the player that low elves are still much better than humans, and he proceeded to roll better stats than anyone else

Smartas, the human Illusionist.  Has a fear of cheese.   The new player, sarcastic but momentarily out of inspiration, came up with this fetching name.  We grabbed random miniatures and hers was much bigger than the others so it was agreed that this was an unfortunate residual illusion that had never left her, and she appeared to be 7 feet tall.  Also has the most HP in the party.

Twitch the human thief.  Rolled 10 in every stats except 12 in con and 8 in charisma.  The perfect "this is a playable character".  An ex brigand, a bit dubious about the whole affair.

The new PCs - an arcane heavy group.

Gildorf the dwarven Summoner.  The leader of the newcomers.  Here to kill goblin. (player used to be Argus).  Not the best entities but good hp at least.

Sabriel the Elven Necromancer.  A new player, very excited to explode corpses.

Trogdor the human fighter and Min the gnome(?) were still missing following an invisibility misshap. 


Dwane, The third rock, Rock and Roll and Skip:  a growing rock collection. Trogdor's "beloved" priest stayed with his master

The party had found substantial treasure already, and supplies were dwindling.  Should they go back?  Greed won over.  There was no signs of Trogdor or Min the gnome... Although at time a strange presence could be felt...

(No one remembers the player playing Min the gnome taking part in this session, however my notes are written as if he was.  I've decided that clearly the gnome, being stuck invisible, decided to follow the party to perhaps gain their help, or steal their gold...)

After going down a long flight of stairs, the party entered a room, which Twich recognized as another pit trap.  It contained a little bit of treasure - a small gold ring - and bodies - nothing but bones really.  Sabriel decided to collect 2 more corpses for "future usage", although the pile of bone nature of the find made this difficult.  The next door led to a hot and strange room, with a large pit with some sort of magical fire at the bottom - clearly there was no fuel visible.   Glitter indicated that there may have been valuables down there, but wary of getting burned - or traps - the party decided to leave it well alone.

Instead, they decided to take a breather and eat lunch in this room – it was uncomfortably warm, but the flames provided illumination, allowing to spare the dwindling supply of torches.   As the party was discussing what their next move should be, a strange lurching, scraping sound was heard.  Weapons were grabbed, and a strange being entered the room.  A skeleton... but one covered in a peculiar orange goo.  It was clearly hostile, and attempted to crush Sabriel's head, although it was not particularly good at it.  However, the party quickly became alarmed at the thing's resistance to their blows, which seemed completely ineffective.

… So they pushed it down the fire pit.  Victory!   Everyone congratulated themselves on being so clever, but the cheers turned to gasps of horror as the skeleton started climbing up out of the fire pit, seemingly unharmed by the flames.  Fed up, Twich lassoed the thing and Elrond wrestled it to the ground.  Everyone else piled in, and with much shouting, tied it up properly.

Realizing that a nigh invulnerable skeleton on a rope could be useful, they decided to keep it and named it Bill Cosby. 

The next room in the seemingly endless complex was a square intersection with a domed ceiling.  One of the door was made of iron, and despite his best efforts, Twitch was unable to defeat the lock.  With a few picks, crowbars and a few days, he was confident that the door could be defeated but... Not now. 

Going through another door that opened with a lurch, the party found itself facing a tunnel of a much different nature - filthy and crudely made, the floor slightly slimy and with numerous insects squirming around.  The smell was disgusting and... Very peculiar.  Strange chittering sounds could be heard in the distance.  The party advanced warily, down on their last torch.   The tunnel opened in a rough chamber of some sort, filled with sharpened stick, and a strange creature.

Humanoid, with a lumpy head, a mouth filled with needle like teeth, eyes set far too apart and no evidence of a nose or ear.  It was dressed in rags and wielded a broom.  Chittering in a high pitch bizarre language (all that was evident was alarm), the creature tried to push the explorers away with his broom.  Annoyed, Elrond lashed out with his sword.  The blade bit deep into its head, its flesh the consistency of a slightly undercooked potato and with not bones or blood visible.  It shrieked and collapse, apparently dead.  Was this... A goblin?

The party searched the room, finding a lot of silverware - hey it's worth something said Twitch - the party pressed on deeper.  The next room they found was much larger, and seemed to be a "farm" of some sort, with sickly plant stuck in the mud, along with stick, fingers... Is that a coin?!?   The party began digging in earnest.  Gildorf noted that the species of blue mushroom known as "dungeon cucumbers" grew here, and that they could be used to cure petrification.  He grabbed half a dozen.

After digging in the muck and finding a few minor treasures (including more silverware and a gem ),  Smartas found something – a crown.  The party ooed – it was intricate looking, made of interwoven gold and platinum snakes with emerald eyes and seemed *quite* valuable .   Gildorf, wondering if it was magical, decided to put it on his head.  Much screaming ensued, but Sabriel snatched it off before Gildorf went permanently insane.   The crown was then put onto Bill Cosby the jelly skeleton, who seemed unaffected by whatever magic/curse the crown had. 

However, the loud screaming seemed to have attracted attention.  The skittering noises increased, and the sound of numerous small feet padding in the muck could be heard coming from deeper in the tunnels.  Goblins and lots of them.  The party fled. 

To reach the surface, they had to bypass the Basilisk, something they knew they could do given time and due caution... But there is no time.  The last torch has maybe 15 minutes of light left, and the goblins are giving chase.   The party elected to simply shove Bill Cosby the skeleton as hard as possible towards the darkened area where the Basilisk was chained and flee in terror. 

The plan worked, and as they retreated they could hear the large beast munch on the now stony bones of their persistent foe.    As they reached the sunlight, with minutes to spare on their last torch, they wondered - could the Basilisk be befriended somehow?

After a day spent marching at speed, looking over their shoulders constantly and wishing they had more food, the party reached the village of Borgenhoff.  Feeling that the locals would not be able to supply them correctly (or be able to buy their loot), the party purchased more food and headed out to the City of Elderstone to spend their well-earned loot.

Sunday, July 21, 2019

A deep history of Yoon-Suin

I think it's important to have a deep history - a "how did this place came to be" - for your setting.  This "deep history", or cosmology if you like, doesn't have to be detailed, you just need the broad outlines - but said outlines can be very helpful.  

 How do you come up with said outlines?  If you take a decision about your campaign (no elves!!), it can lead to a question - why is that?  "Because I don't like elves" is a perfectly fine reason for you, but sometimes asking what is the "in world" reason can yield interesting rewards.

The Yoon Suin book left many questions unanswered.  These questions led me to my deep history.  Some of these questions were:

- Why are there dwarves but no elves?
- Why is there *one* Topaz dragon.  Why is she there?
-  Why are there so many freaking gods?
- Why do people reincarnate?
- What are the Krakens up to? 

So here are my answers:  

(If my players are reading this, stay out!  That means you Po Befi!) 

1: A very long time ago, a powerful being, called Ikrum, decided to build the wheel of reincarnation - why people die and reborn in Yoon-Suin - for reasons only known to him. Spinning this wheel would require significant spiritual power.
2: To do so, he pierce a small, precise hole from reality into the "divine source". This powers the wheel. The spent divine essence then flowed into a great river, the God River. This is why gods are so plentiful, the river contains the essence of divinity.  Any two-bit spirit that plays their cards *just right* can become a god. However these are weak gods that require sacrifice to sustain themselves and their holy men.  They are often tied to a locale, and many spirits rejects being tied down thus.
3: Ikrum then wandered north and left Yoon Suin because he's not the most stable kinda guy. The *elves* left because they didn't want their elven souls reborn as a "lesser creature"
4: The dragons were *alarmed* by Ikrum's shenanigans but were unable to undo his work. To prevent his return, they have been growing the Mountains of the Moon ever since. This changed their nature, turning them crystalline.
5: The divine essence leached into the Gulf of Morrays where it was fed upon by the Krakens, who grew in power and cunning.  They wanted *true* power, to sample it at the source.
6: The arch-mage Enftebtemang grew alarmed by this, and vowed to block the Krakens from going up river to tap into the Divine Source directly.  To do so, he founded the Yellow City, and created a servitor race, the slugmen (see for more details).  Allies of the arch-mage turned the surrounding jungle into an impenetrable nightmare to prevent the Krakens from simply bypassing the city.
7: Enftebtemang also asked the Dragons of the Mountains of the Moon for help. They agreed, and sent one of their own - the Topaz Dragon. However, she was chosen because she was vain and frivolous, ie more because she wasn't well liked than due to true competence.
8:  Many years passed.  Enftebtemang eventually ran out of life extending magic and passed away - but before doing so told the slugmen how to reproduce.  The slugmen grew numerous and indolent, and placed powerful wards amongst the Topaz Isles.  The Topaz dragon grew immense.   The Yellow City, being the only port connecting the Purple Lands to the rest of the world, became very important, and immensely wealthy. 
9:  Passage over the mountains is still possible near Sugh, which is how the ogre-mages gained access, but is becoming more difficult by the centuries - they are almost impossible today.  Sea travel, or risking the veins of the earth, is the way most travelers reach Yoon Suin today. 

I think that David McGrogan was *very wise* when he crafted the Yoon Suin book - it raises so many tantalizing questions that simulate the imagination. I'm not saying that what I wrote are the best answers - I'm not even sure they are *good* answer. But for me an many others, those answers are possible because of the fertile soil that is Yoon-Suin.