Sunday, August 23, 2020

The Monkey King and the GLOG Funnel

So we have been watching The New Legends of Monkey, a tv series based on Journey to the West.  It's "fun but cheesy", not the best adaptation to be sure, but worth watching.

What struck me in this show is how the "gods" are essentially level 7-9 D&D 5e characters.  They are powerful and capable, but also limited and vulnerable.  The Monkey King, much like a 5e fighter or barbarian of similar level, is sorely needed by the gods (he's the party tank!  the lifter of boulders!) but at the same time, he is dependent on magical items and isn't really capable of doing a lot of what the others can do (like... teleport, bring people back to life, animate objects... you get the drill).  Demons are more like warlocks and hexblades - not quite as powerful as the gods, but tricky and good at violence.

So how do you do that, if  you want to achieve that in your game?

Start your PCs as GLOG characters.  It's a funnel!  But when they reach level 5, they can retire (as normal)... OR they get re-created as D&D characters.  In a stroke of lighting, they are reborn - bigger, brighter and more colorful.  Sure the 5e fighter still has 2 attacks like a level 4 GLOG fighter, but the 5e fighter does much more damage, can action surge, has 2-3 times the HP.... it's super-heroic!  A GLOG character goes to zero or less HP and pop goes the death and dismemberment table!  But a 5e character goes down?  Healing word, they'll be fine.  Oh shit that didn't work?  Welp, better get them raised.... like Gods, 5e heroes are hard to kill.

I mean *sure* you could use the Exalted rpg system but... 5e does it just as well, just jazz up the descriptions a tad :)

So how does this go?  Well petty financial concerns are gone - people will feed them, house them, out of reverence.   And other gods (higher level NPCs) now notice them, and involve the party in affairs of the realms.  The gods are powerful... but there are only so many of them, and they can't be everywhere at once.  Let these new gods deal with the evil pirate shaman!

So a GLOG campaign can lead to a 5e campaign... AND vice versa.  The campaign is wrapping up, there is a final scene.  Villagers approach them with a problems - but the gods are tired and need a break.  But hey says one of the gods, why don't you ask these ruffians, they look tough?  They won't do it?  Fine, *we'll* ask them to do it - and poof, level 1 GLOG campaign on a mission from Gawd. 

That's it for the post :)


  1. In the books (as I'm sure you're fully aware, but just to add to the discussion), despite being a rowdy villain of a stick-wielding monkey, Sun Wukung primarily was a highly trained taoist philosopher and an extremely accomplished magician. He could do the requisite 72 transformations etc. etc., the whole thing. He absolutely could do what amounts to teleportation all over the world and only travelled by foot because the boddhisatva personally told him to. Although it takes years for Tripitaka to finally get there, Son Goku leaps to Buddha's palace and back multiple times.

    1. Interesting - I must admit my familiarity with the source material is limited. In the show the Monkey King is *definitely* not a great magician - in fact he can't read the language of the gods. I should grab these books one day.