Tuesday, October 29, 2019

The Leaf Ghost

Since Halloween is coming, a spoopy post!

Sometimes, when someone dies a violent death in the forest, their soul gets trapped amongst all the dying leaves.  They become a leaf ghost, a peculiar form of spirit.  Their power to affect the world is limited - no possessions, no objects flung, no icy claws.  All they can do is move a small pile of leaves on the floor.  They seem like nothing more than a moving disturbance on the leafy ground, as if blown by a peculiar gust of wind, or perhaps an unseen small animal lifting leaves as it darts on the forest floor.  They are good at hiding, but are easily slain, a single blow is sufficient to dissipate them for good.

Leaf ghosts, unlike most spirits, do not last long, and will fade away in a few weeks or months.  To avoid this fate, they must be near dying living beings and leach energy from their death - sentient beings preferably.  They learn to lead predators, who follow the ripples in the leaves, to travelers the lost, so that they can feast upon the resulting violent deaths.  These deaths often result into more leaf ghosts, until an entire forest can become haunted and widely feared.

With each death, leaf ghosts become more potent and darker, eventually transforming into shadows, specters or the like.  They continue to prey on the unwary of course...

Scholars speculate that leaf ghosts are but a one type of an entire family of weak spirits all trying to lead folks to their doom.  Currents pulling people towards the deep.  Dusts ghosts spreading illness between houses, nothing more than dust bunnies.  Floating ghost lights, leading travelers deep into bogs.  Spark ghosts, floating embers on the wind, who can only exist outside flames for a few minutes, dreaming of killing fires...

A leaf ghost has a choice, of course.  It could not cause the death of others, and after a few week, dissipate, letting the soul to move on to whatever afterlife it deserves.  Or it could take the darker path...

Leaf Ghost
Speed 30 (as normal human)
Size small
HP 1   AC as leather
Advantage to stealth checks.

Inspired by a walk in a leafy park at night.

Sunday, October 27, 2019

Troika, Advanced Fighting Fantasy and Warhammer

So I've been running a few Troika! sessions now and I'm beginning to get a feel for the system.

Troika! is both a setting (very zany!) and a system.   Said system is based on the Advanced Fighting Fantasy system (AFF), which itself is based on the Fighting Fantasy "choose your own adventures" that my friend and I so enjoyed in our early teens.  This was our first RPG system, and we played it for a year before we abandoned it for AD&D 2nd edition.

In very brief, each character has a skill score (how good are you at doing stuff), a stamina score (hp essentially) and luck (saving throw etc).  Skill is pretty static, stamina is regained by eating and rest, and luck is spent (you can run out!) but also recharges daily.  There are also advanced skills you can have, which improve your chances at specific tasks.  You roll under your skill or luck on 2d6, except when you are doing an opposed skill check (battle being a prime example) where  you roll 2d6, add your skill (and advanced skill rank, if applies) and whoever has the highest wins (injures the other).  Spell are skill tests and cost stamina to cast.  

Troika! has retained this basic system, but has done some changes to the details.  Do these details fix the problems?  In many cases, I think it does.

1: Starting skills are lower. If you looked at the pregen heroes, they had like 8-10 skills, with weapon skills in the 10-12 range. They were super good (meaning it often felt like there was no challenge). Troika's heroes are much more modest and that's great. That being staid, your basic skill range is 4-6, and skill 4 is brutal. You can gain advanced skills but you can't increase your base skill score (you used to be able to in AFF) so being stuck with 4 is just awful. Anyone who gets 4 gets bumped up to 5 in my game (my first house rule). 

2: Weapon damage went up, waaaay up. The average sword blow used to be 2 points of damage. When you have 20 stamina, that's not too scary. Now it's 6. Large weapons can do well over 10 and can kill in one blow. So on one hand great, you can now kill a goblin easily in a single swing... but your PC might only be able to take 3-4 hits. I think it's arguable that Troika may have gone too far in this regard, but if you want high risk combat, it delivers.  It bears noting that stamina does not improve in Troika!, only luck.

3: There is no more healing magic. You used to be able to restore stamina with a spell... and casting cost stamina, so you could keep casting forever, at least until you had a serious OOOPS failure (double 6 on the casting roll indicates trouble). Now you can't. This is great for restraining magic, but it also makes combat deadlier because there are no healing spells. You can still heal by eating food (only 3 times a day) or by resting.

3b: You can't restore luck with spells anymore, but you can spend pocket gods (small offerings) to regain some luck.

4: You can't design your own character. You are rolling for the stats, same as the old system, but you aren't picking and chosing advanced skills. Instead, you roll for a random background (a bit like a "class") that has a number of advanced skills and possessions. This is an improvement over AFF as it can avoid some serious problems with min maxing and PCs that are all vaguely similar. However, not choosing your own "class' is a difficult bridge to cross for some people, but it *is* how Warhammer frpg does things too...

4b: It bears to note that the Troika! backgrounds are *exquisitely* flavorful, but that is more of a setting things, not a system thing. By designing the backgrounds available for a campaign, you essentially are designing an important part of the flavor, tone and lore of said campaign. And yes, you could re-write the Warhammer frpg careers into Troika! backgrounds. In fact, one of them is *specifically* a Warhammer homage (the gremlin catcher, inspired by the rat catcher).

5: Armor is much more important in Troika! because of the elevated damage. Despite this, in Troika! the majority of characters are unarmored (while they were lightly armored in AFF - some leather, bits of chain etc.) As armor could transform an incoming hit of 8 to a much more survivable 2, getting armor should be a priority.

6: Magic users are different. It used to be that magic decreased your skill rating, making you ineffective at sword fighting - making the "wizards are bad at fighting" trope work. But it was harsh because it negatively impacted your other skills too. In Troika wizards/priests etc. have the same skill scores as other characters. However, as spells are advanced skills, knowing a lot of spells means you won't know as many other advanced skills. I think this was a good decision overall, but after a bit of adventuring a wizard could become a good swordsman.

7: Troika introduces "special abilities" that some, but not all, backgrounds have.  Many of them involve a luck check, so characters with low luck will rarely be able to benefit from them.  It's not an ideal mechanism, but I like it - not all things should be skills.   Some characters also start with special equipment - magical items, high-tech ones, natural weapons/armor...

So in conclusion, Troika definitely fixed some of the problems with the old AFF system, and would work for generic fantasy if divorced from the wonderful Troika! setting.   However, due to its design, the end result would be much more similar to warhammer than D&D.   Like in Warhammer, magic may backfire spectacularly (or simply not work), combat is an *opposed* affair where the skill of the combatants determine who gets hit, PCs can die after a couple of hits even at higher "levels", and armor reduces damage instead of making you harder to hit.  

Should you run try Warhammer with Troika!?  I think so.  The system is easier, faster and more or less does the same thing.  Sure you'll need a few days to make all the backgrounds, and you may want to bolt on an insanity system and a few other things, but it shouldn't be too hard.  It also fixes a main flaw of Warhammer (very "whiffy" combat at low levels where very few hits are landed) so that's nice too.

(note - I'm using the warhammer frpg 2nd ed as my comparison, as it's the one I'm most familiar with)

Saturday, October 19, 2019

Petit Albert spells: More translated by request spells

Continuing with my translation of Petit Albert spells as requested by the OSR reddit.  This is my second entry of these - sorry for the delay, they take time!

We will start with friendlier spells.

Secret of the staff of the good traveler

You will take, on the day following All Saints' day, a strong branch of elder, from which you will make a staff to your preferences; you will hollow it out by removing the pith inside, and garnish the bottom of the staff with an iron ferrule.  You will take two eyes of a young wolf, the tongue and the heart of a dog, three green lizards, three swallows' hearts, and sprinkle all these with fine saltpetre powder and dry them in the sun between two sheets of paper. This will be put in the bottom of the staff, and on top of this you will put seven leaves of vervain harvested on the eve of the Saint Jean-Baptiste, then a stone of multiple colors that you will find in the nest of a hoopoe.  You will cap the top of the staff with an boxwood cap or any other substance that you want, and you can be assured that this staff will guarantee  you against the inconveniences and perils that too commonly befall travelers; such as brigands, ferocious beasts, rabid dogs and venomous creatures.  It will also obtain you the good will of those with whom you are lodging.  

This was quite challenging to translate, and was originally a single run-on sentence.  Given the precise timing of the collection of some of the ingredients, this staff would take about 6 months to craft.  I suppose in game term this would reduce the chance of certain random encounters occurring, and improve the reaction rolls of innkeepers and other such providers of hospitality.  Treacherous peasants who rent a barn to travelers only to rob them might decide to let the staff wielder go unmolested because they have taken a liking to them, for example. 


I tested in Flanders the effect of a lamp to free us of the importunate croaking of frogs and to subtlely impose on them silence; it was in the castle of Lord Tillemont, whose moats were so filled with these noisy insects that one could hardly get any rest at night.  We made white wax melt in the sun with crocodile grease, which is about the seame as whale oil; and I believe that this oil would have the same effect as crocodile grease, which is quite rare in this country.  We furnished a lamp with this composition with a fairly large wick, and as soon it was lit and put on the edge of the moat, that the frogs ceased their croaking.

This is such a nice, friendly spell, with sentences of a reasonable length, alternative ingredients and a modest, laudable goal. And yes, I do know frogs are not insects... clearly taxonomy in the 1700s was a bit... vague.

To have sweet, soft and nice smelling melons.

You will obtain seeds of a good strain of melons, you will infuse them for two days in a syrup composed of raspberries, cinnamon, cardamom, of two grains (is this "two small bits" or grain as in the weight measuring unit?) of musk and of ambergris.  The syrup should not be too thick or lukewarm (it is unclear if the text meant "not luckewarm" or "but lukewarm) when you put the seeds in infusion.  You will need well prepared soil where you will sow the seeds, with a good layer of horse manure, and to be careful no to water them too much and ensure to avoid overabundant rain (no rain repeller spell in the book!).  If you are exact in all these things, you will have melons fit for the palate of a king.

To make the true water of the Queen of Hungary 

You will put in an alembic a pound and a half of fresh rosemary flowers, half a pound of pennyrile flowers (a type of mint), a half pound of marjoram flowers, half a pound of lavender flower, and on top of all of that, 3 pints of good aquae vitae (Eau-de-vie, alcohol); having plugged the alembic well to prevent evaporation, you will put it for 24 hours of digestion in steaming horse manure; then you will distill in a Bain-Marie.  The usage of this water is to take it one or twice a week, in the morning while fasting, about one dram in a liquor or other drink, and of washing the face and any limb where one would feel pain of feebleness.  This remedy renews vigor, clarifies the mind, dispels darkness (depression?), protects the sight from the failing of old age, makes the user seem younger, is beneficial to the chest (breathing? breasts?) and stomach (digestions but *maybe* keep the waist thin?) by rubbing it on: this remedy must not be heated, no matter if used as a potion or by friction (application to the skin).  This recipe is the true one that was given to Isabelle, queen of Hungary. 

Interestingly, this recipe has its own Wikipedia entry!   You will note that beyond the wild health claim this … isn't a spell at all.  It's just perfume.  It illustrate the very fuzzy relationship between magic, craft and science that existed at the time.  I am also very amused by the comparison to GOOP one of the OSR redditors made :D 

Against the inconvenience that one may receive from dogs.

You will stop them from barking at you, if you carry on yourself the dried heart and eyes of a wolf: the great antipathy between dog and wolf causes this effect, which has often been tested and proven.

Very short and simple.  Anyone could do this.

Now, we will move on to the not so nice spells...

A light that is related to the hand of glory, and makes people fall asleep.

Take four ounces of the herb known as little dragon (French: serpentine, as far as I can determine this is tarragon), put it in a closed earthenware pot, then make it digest in the belly of the horse. By this we mean in hot manure for 15 days, the herb will change in little red worms, from which you will pull (extract) an oil as per the principles of the art. From this oil you will supply a lamp, and when this lamp is lit in a room, it will cause sleep, and will make those in the room sleep so soundly that it will not be possible to wake any of them, as long as the lamp remains lit.

This is a very interesting spell, but challenging. How to make it is unclear, parts of the process are deliberately left out. Furthermore, how to *use* the lamp is not as obvious as it seems. You can make people in a room fall asleep yes, but then what? You can't enter the room, you'll fall asleep too! Probably best to take out guards so you can do something in another room. By making allusion to the hand of glory, the author is making clear that the intended use of this spell is for some kind of mischief.

A deadly Miasma

(stink) is naturally contrary to the health of men, and it can sometimes be deadly, as witenessed by the writings of Fioraventus, who says that if you take the dirt (muck) of human blood, once the waters and serums are out of it, and after drying said blood dirt, if we mix it with styrax and we burn this in a room, the miasma that results is lethal.

The author is being very sneaky here. He gives us a death spell, and not very complex either, so that we may be motivated to learn his protection charm against it! Way to sneak in black magic in your mostly innocent book, author! (the original title of the section is "Against the diseases and other accidents that hinder the life of man")

To make a man or woman insensitive to torture, so that one would obtain nothing from their confession.

(this spell is interwoven in a long shaggy dog story about a legal process which I cut out, so it's a bit choppy)

There are those who use certain words, softly pronounced, and others use small notes hidden upon their body. Here are three verse they speak in the times they are applied shame (generic poor treatment):

Imparibus meritis tria pendant corporæ ramis.
Dismas & Gestas in medio est divina potestas,
Dismas damnatur, Gestas as astra levatur.

And here are other words spoken when they are actually being tortured: "As the milk of the blessed and glorious Virgin has been sweet and pleasant to Our Lord Jesus, may this torture and rope be sweet and pleasant to my limbs"

... we found no other thing on him that a small note on which was the figure of the three king, and these words on the other side: "Beautiful star, which freed the mages from the persecution of Herod, free me of all torment". This note was stuffed in his left ear.

The author then gives us a counter spell to the anti torture charms, in the interest of not letting clever criminals get away, clearly stating that he's on the side of the torturers. How... civic... of him...

There were a few other spells in there that are a bit... rape-ish?  Better left in the past.

And that is it for now, I'll probably do one more round :)

Friday, October 18, 2019


The Bear is a very important "monster" in the OSR, because it is a "teaching" monster.  Sure you could fight the bear and perhaps lose a party member or two, but it's much better to avoid it or bribe it with food instead.  Particularly devious parties will even trick the bear into fighting their enemies for them.   Learning how to deal with a bear is an important rite of passage for gamers.

(I'll note that the bear stats can be re-used for a *lot* of monsters, but that's a topic that has already been well covered by other bloggers).

Ok, so now your players know how to deal with a bear.  Can you still use bears as a GM or is it boring?  Of course you can!

The local villagers approach the party because they are having a bear problem.  What is going on?
Roll 1d8:

1.  A single bear has been spotted by villagers in the woods; it is acting erratically and looking "not natural".  The bear is actually a bear-shaped robot piloted by tiny space gremlins who are exploring the local fauna and flora.  They didn't do a good job disguising in their exploration craft.

2. The bear has been eating moths in the mountains to fatten up, as bears do.  It has found a large batch of dream moths.  He is now stalking the dream world and giving the locals nightmares.

3.  An alarming number of bears have been spotted in the woods and people are disappearing.  A virulent case of bearantropy is to blame - merely being in contact with the bear is enough to catch it, with an onset of mere minutes.  The PCs must found the original carrier and cure it to break the curse  so they can return everyone (and possibly themselves) to normal.

4. An alarming number of bears have been spotted in the village. The 14 bears are intelligent and armored.  They are a mercernary band on break between jobs, and they are eating a *lot* of food. The locals are very nervous
5.  A bugbear had a bad encounter with ogres and has lost all its belongings, including its clothes.  It's quite embarrassed by the whole situation.

6.  A wizard has been polymorphed into a bear and is trying to get help to turn back into her original form.

7.  A particularly clever local bear feels it has been born into the wrong body and dreams of being human.  It is trying to fool humans into turning it into an humanoid.

8.  There is no bear.  The locals are cannibal cultists who wanted to lure the PCs into the wood to hunt them down and eat them.  The forests is filled with traps and ambush points.

edit/PS:  someone said I should do tigers and bears.  Well I can't possibly do tigers better than this.  Brace yourself!  http://goblinpunch.blogspot.com/2013/11/inventing-tiger.html

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

10 Slugmen encounters

My "best tables of OSR" post has been a huge success, but it made me realize something - I have not written a *single* table of my own for this blog that I can think of. I must remedy this at once!

So I give you 10 slugmen you might encounter.

roll 1d10

1. Huki Eki, House of Quartz, Grain negotiator.
Slender, twitchy, prefers jade ornaments. Followed by two servants and a guard.
Huki Eki has recently purchased the book "Causality: a rebuttal" by Lug the Mad. It is said that whoever reads the book goes completely mad and comes to a tragic end. Huki Uki really wants to read it, but wants to test its safety first. If the party refuses, the slugman will try to hire them to find someone who will.

2. Bagga Vo, independent, alchemist.
In patched red robes and hematite beads. One of their eyestalks is longer than the other, giving them a questioning look. Has a stout human servant armed with a club.
If one of the PCs is a foreigner of an "exotic race" (ie, not a dwarf, human, slugman or crabman), they invite the party to their "palace" (a modest tower) to discuss. They want to extract a bit of blood from the PC in question in exchange for 100 rupees. The PC's arrival in the Yellow City has been noted and some covet their blood. By making it available to purchase, demand is met and violence is averted (this is not a threat!). Proposes weekly sessions.
If no PC are of an exotic race, Bagga Vo has heard rumors of an *elf* (astounding!) having reached the Yellow City and will offer 100 rupee them to find said elf (unharmed and not inconvenienced!).

3. Polaha U, of Ras Bolon, righ hand man of Fo Kulo
Large, confident, armed with a large axe and well armored. Alone
Polaha U is looking for smuggling opportunities in the Yellow City. There are heavy duties on goods coming in and out of the Yellow City, but the nearby river port of Ras Bolon has no such tariffs, only a few bribes to pay... there is money to be made.

4. Kapo Shofi, independent, head auctioneer, Holy woman of Va Qabu, the little dog of dream and sleep.
Old and very tall, presents as female. Wears gold jewelry. Followed by a slugman clerk and 3 armed guards.
She will approach rich/powerful looking PCs and invite them to attend the next auction at the Gold Auction House (an opulent place where magical doo dads and rare artworks are purchased and sold) in the Golden Triangle district. If the PCs look poor (but adventurous), she will let them know that the Old City has much odd but valuable treasures to be found, and that they can make significant amounts of money auctioneering off their finds at her auction house.

5. Kavela, House of the Sea, Golemologist.
Identifies as male, wears several medallions of various metals. Accompanied by his friend Chit Du Ban, a human holywoman of the Crane of Dawn.
Kavela is loudly and excitedly speculating about a new theory of apotheosis and how it could be tested. Chit Du Ban is urging him to keep it down, and that such talk could be considered heresy - best kept for the offices of the Society...

6. Ui Ga, Independent (formerly House of Brass)
Unusually dark colored and wears yellow silks. Alone
Ui Ga is one of the head warlocks of the Topaz Order. They are seeking warlocks of the Kraken, which are quite illegal in the Yellow City. If the party has been using strange magic, the slugman is investigating the party discretely. Alternately, they are looking for mercenaries to take out a suspected cell of Kraken cultists.

7. Uki Le, House of Leaves, rent collector
Sickly looking and with few ornaments. Alone, armed with a kris.
Uki Le is bitter about their lot in life. They have no magic or scholarly talents, went missing for two years without their house noticing (it wasn't voluntarily) and made an oath to an angry warrior to help feed poor children in the Narrows but lack the funds to do so. They are looking for fulfilment, magic and money, in that order.  Perhaps if they somehow got some grain from the Great Granary...

8. Papali, House of the Sea, captain
Stout but quick footed, wears a leather cape, followed by a couple of sailors.
Papali is on the look out for sell-swords willing to bolster his ship's defences as he goes for a *discrete* trade run in unguarded waters. Pays wells. Has no magic but skilled with a cutlass.

9. Wu Yi , House of Quartz, holyman of Boxeos (the north wind) and head Granarian:
Large and well armored, followed by workers from the Great Granary.
Wu Yi overlooks the Great Granary on behalf of the House of Quartz. The house is known for infighting, and they fear that rivals in the house will try to embarrass them by having an incident at the Granary.  They have increased security and are looking to bolster it further. Unbeknown to anyone in the city, squid men are planning an attack.

10. Fihame Yi, House of Brass, mage and mineral trader
Average height, richly dressed, constantly eating dandelions, accompanied by at least 6 guards and a few servants. Identifies as male
Fihame Yi usually keeps an eye on the house of White and Black, but today he is trying out his new Giant Leopard Worm steed. It is *not* going well, and the appearance of the PCs have agitated it further. He will blame the PCs for any damage and demand compensation .

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

GLOG HACK: Trailer Park Boys

So, in honor of a show I love, the Trailer Park Boys (I grew up in the Maritimes, familiar with some poor areas, this speaks to me, and it's deeper than trash humor), a rough glog hack.

Because this is Trailer Park Boys style, this is going to be quick, dirty, and incomplete.  Here we go!

STYLE OF PLAY:   The Trailer Park Boys identify one big goal they want to do this season (go on a cruise is a good example).  They then concoct some big money making scheme to do it (or some other big plan if money is not an object).  There is then a series of obstacles they must overcome, by lying, bulling, scamming, sneaking or plain hard headed driving through.  Failing to overcome an obstacle is a setback, a complication, not a failure.  Only during the last obstacle challenge do things finally succeed (they go on a cruise!) or fail spectacularly (they go to jail).

DM PREP:  Pick the Big Goal and/or the Big Money Scheme - or have the players come up with it in advance (maybe session 0?).  Prepare about half of the series of obstacles based on the Big Goal/Scheme, but keep it loose - the player's actions, schemes and failures will almost certainly generate the other half.  Improvise!

COMBAT.   Heroes have two pools of health point:  Tough Points and Heath points.

When fighting in non lethal ways (fisticuffs, wrestling, throwing rocks, hockey sticks), Tough Points damage is taken.  When this reaches zero, you are "done" - you've been over come, you can't fight on anymore, unless you Realy Mean It.  There are advantages of doing combat this way - it's less dangerous, easier to heal and people are far less likely to call the cops

Fighting with guns, knives (and more exotic dangerous weaponry) can be lethal.  On a critical hit, they inflict health point damage, which are REAL injuries that actually need medical attention.  If you Realy Mean It, (ie you aren't shooting to intimidate, you are shooting to kill), 50% of hits are lethal.  If you Realy Mean It and you are fighting in non lethal ways, you can keep fighting even at zero tough points, but you are now taking lethal damage - you should have stayed down!

Anyone who takes health damage is allowed to collapsed in a heap and curse and wine and be considered defeated (ie not shot at anymore).  The players and GM should remember that no one wants to die, and no one want to go to jail for a decade or more for murder (which would take the character out of the game).

Healing Tough Points:
Taking a breather:  1 hour break heals 1d4 tough points
Cigarettes:  1 tough points
Drink:  1d3 tough points
Toke:  1d3 tough points
Full joint: 1d6 tough points
Hot dog: 1d4 tought point
small snack: 1 tough point
Big snack: 1d4 tough point
Cheeseburger: 1d6 tough point

Healing real damage
First aid:  up to 2 points, can be done by a friendly trailer park denisen
Vet:  Up to half (round in your favor) of your total health, he will want a favor
Hospital:  All your health points, but you're out of the scene for a bit, and questions will probably be asked
0 health point left:  You're dying and only an ambulance can save you.  Questions *will* be asked
negative health:  You're done.

EXPERIENCE:   At the end of the season, everyone surviving goes up a level, and is in jail and/or enjoying the fruit of their labor.  The next season begins when the money runs out, the cruise is over or the characters are let out of jail.  (if you are in jail for a long time because of very serious crime, you need a new character)

And that's it.  I'm going to write the characters and guns in another post, but this is the essence of the idea.  They will all have roughly the same combat characteristics, but each will have special powers based on the show.  For example, about once per episode Ricky tells an enormous lie that people believe somehow.  Or Julian *always* has a drink.   This sort of "powers" fit very well in a GLOG class template.

Lastly, I should apologize for the language of this post.  I did not proof read, *at all*, because it's Trailer Park Boys style!   I'm really sorry about that.... no you know what, I'm not sorry at all, so you can fuck off!  ;)

Saturday, October 5, 2019

Yoon Suin: a GLOG clockwork golem player character.

In the Yellow City, the art of Golemology is highly advanced. Clockwork golems are a somewhat recent development. Many are simple, somewhat fragile devices while others are hulking machines of war, powered by a human soul. The second variety are tightly controlled by enchantments and runes so that they do not turn against their masters.

But sometimes golemists working on practice golems make models with advanced cognition but, not being the potent, hulking versions, neglect to install rigorous control mechanisms. Some of these models escape their masters or are simply abandoned, and make their own ways into the world.
Credits: Chrono Trigger design team (akira toryiama I'm told)
For each template (ie level) of Clockwork Golem, your HP goes up by 2. AC starts at 12, goes up 1 per level (max of 15 at level 4). 1 Energy Dice (ED)/level

A: Iron Fist, Clockwork Cannon, Surge of Strenght
B: Eye beams, Rocket Fist
C: Shocking Burst, Overclock
D: Analyze, Energy Beam

Energy Dice:  A clockwork golem can build up stores of excess energy to be used at critical times to performed extraordinary feats.  These regenerate after every long rest, and (like an MD) are retained on a 1-3 and expended on a 4-6 (see exception below).

Iron Fist:  A golem dislikes weapons and prefers to attack enemies with its metal fist (1d6 dmg).

Clockwork Cannon:  Instead of a left hand, a mechanical weapon shooting iron balls at bone breaking speeds.  Range increment 30 feet, dmg 1d6, 6 shots - reloading it is a slow affair, taking about 10 minutes.

Surge of Strenght: With a roar and a billow of smoke, the clockwork golem fires his engines for maximum capacity.  Strenght increases by [sum] for [dice]X2 minutes.

Eye Beams:  Project light from you eyes, range 30 feet, 10 foot wide cone (a mediocre flashlight) for [sum] hours.

Rocket Punch: Launch your fist ahead of you, range 20 feet, to inflict a punch attack doing [sum] damage. The fist is attached to your arm by a strong chain. It can be used as a powerful winch, as a grappling hook, a way to bring an item to you etc.

Shocking Burst: Release a massive discharge from your capacitors. Everyone but you within 15 radius takes [sum] damage, dex save for half.

Overclock: Once per day, you can increase the size of your Energy Dice(s) for one use from 1d6 to 1d8. You only regain the dice on a 1-3, so the chances of getting to re-use the dice(s) are smaller The regained die are normal (1d6) sized. At level 4 the increase is to a d10.

Analyze:  You shed light similarily to the Eye Beams.  This light last [sum] minutes and reveals invisible creatures/object, illusions, etc (essentially True Seeing).

Energy Beam:  Your clockwork cannon becomes the weapon it was meant to be, and burns a single target with a terrible light.  Range 300 feet, damage [sum]+dice (no save).  This spell doesn't impede normal clockwork cannon function.

General notes:  A clockwork golem is not a biological being.  For instance it cannot swim, but it cannot drown either.  Clockwork golems speak in the tongue of their creator, and one random language (the mother tongue of the soul used to create it).

Sleep and encumbrance:  A clockwork golem does not need sleep like a living being does, but it does need about 4 hours of self-diagnostic and repair every day. In that state, the golem is highly distracted and unmoving. A clockwork golem that has not performed self diagnostic for more than 2 days has disadvantage on all rolls. Clockwork golems are immune to magical sleep.  As long as its rest and fuel needs are met, a clockwork golem will not tire.  There are limits to what it can carry, and it has the same number of equipment slots a human of equivalent strenght would have.  Its iron fist and clockwork cannon do not take slots however.

Food and water: A clockwork golem does not eat, but it does consume fuel in its burner. Coal or charcoal is preferred, but wood will do fine, and in a pinch it may use dried hay or straw, paper, clothing... it consumes fuel at the same rate that a human would eat (in "rations") but the bulk of the fuel required depends on its quality. High quality (coal, charcoal, oil) fuel is 3/encumbrance, medium quality (wood) is 1/encumbrance and low quality (bark, dried leaves etc) is 1 load/2 encumbrance. Exotic fuel may have … consequences. A clockwork golem needs about 1 litre of water per day for its boiler. The water intake is equipped with filters so it can "drink" water that a human would find unacceptable. After 3 days without fuel or water, a clockwork golem will fall into a dormant state - it may wake up for a few minutes to take a few steps or say a few sentences, but that's it.

Healing:  Medical skills are useless when it comes to a golem.  However, a golemologist, or even a skilled and clever mechanic, can effectuate repairs.  Natural healing for a golem parallels humans, by resting (running diagnostics) and burning fuel.  Upon reaching zero or negative hp, the golem will shut down, and will remain so until magically healed or repaired.  To do the latter, requires the skills of a proper golemologist, but this will only be possible as long as the negative HP are not greater than double the original max hp.  These repairs are liable to be very expensive (use cost of resurrection magic as a guide), and care must be taken that the golemologist does not repair or install control runes that would overpower the will of the clockwork golem.

Many thanks to Words for Yellow for the design assistance.  This is clearly inspired by Robo from Chrono Trigger, but I removed the healing abilities entirely.   I believe that the result is a tough caster with both utility and combat ability, and *massive* roleplaying potential.   I do note that the overclock ability will have to be carefully monitored for potential OP, this is not play-tested material.  Troika did something similar with the Thinking Engine.  I also note that you could use this class for a modron.

This class was part of an OSR Discord server challenge.  So far participants are
- The Oblidisideryptch, with Aztec inspired, multi sensorial mechs (they are the holder of the "official list" so be sure to check there in case I missed one)
- Words for Yellow, with Magical Mechs - awakened temples, colossal demons, wizard towers on wheels and much more, it's fantastic stuff.
- Nuclear Haruspex with Evangelion-inspired rules.
- Octarine Tinted Glasses with the mantle, a class for an engineer who infuses parts of their soul in a machine - and rules about how this machine feels about its creator.
- Coins and Scrolls with a late but *hilarious* goblin entry