Sunday, January 16, 2022

Best GLoG Posts of 2021

    Inspired by the Salties and the 2021 GLOGIES, I reviewed and read most of the GLoG posts of 2021 and tried to pick out my favorites. These are my personal opinions, which means they are absolutely right. All images are from the mentioned blogposts.

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BEST ADVENTURE: Brewing Bears in my Stomach by Phlox

    This is the OSR adventure/scenario that I had the most fun running in 2021. I played it on Halloween, so I switched out the bears with werewolves, but kept the basic essence of the scenario. My players had a blast! They climbed to the top of the fort and rescued Bela, killed one of Pheloc's beastly guards, and promptly fled town when Pheloc was splashed with lots of potions and turned into mega-ultra-super-werewolf.

    I also incorporated Phlox's Pumpkin Knight, who was arrogant and dangerous. The players skirted out of his way, avoiding a long speech about the terrors of the town.

BEST MECHANIC: GLOGtober Day 4: Domain-Level Locks and Keys by TheFirstGokun

        This article is an interesting way of incorporating metroidvanias, which I like, into a RPG game. The system is very easy to implement, with a simple Lock → Key → Reward structure. The examples given are very cool and suggest a world I would play in or run. Thus I award it the 'Best Mechanic' status of 2021.

BEST SETTING: FIRMAMENT by Locheil

    

    This one was a close one. It was either going to be Black Star of the Cannibal Kings or FIRMAMENT, but Locheil's evocative setting ultimately won due to the unique ideas he presented for nations and classes. A tyrant Sun King? Cool. Demigod knights? Totally. Astrologer-as-class? Definitely on board. I am excited to see what comes next in the FIRMAMENT series.

BEST SYSTEM: Wizards with Guns by FifthDragon

    Wild West + Wizards! The combination seems obvious. FifthDragon manages to not only make a flavorful world that is fun to explore, but also an elegant word-based freeform spell system. I feel like Wizards with Guns catches some of the essence of fantasy and can't wait to shoot people and die in the Untamed Lands.

BEST SIMPLE CLASS(ES): Very Leetle Mountain Classes by Vayra

    I agree with Vayra when she says that sometimes Mountain classes are too big. That is why I really appreciate her leetle Mountain classes, which strip down the archetypes to their core essence and powers. In fact, they inspired me to start making my own simple classes, which I might share sometime soon.

BEST NON-CASTER CLASS: Champion by Locheil

    The best Greek mythology RPG setting is Eikonokosmos, created by Locheil. The first post in the series is the Champion, the fighter-type for the world. It has a cool FATE mechanic, a few excellent archetypes, and a Violence Dice system (which I stole). The class was based on the question: What if masked cleric but fighter? I think this is an exemplary answer.

BEST CASTER CLASS: True Witch by Vayra

    Vayra's Mountain setting has always intrigued me. This is the best caster class, although close seconds are deus ex parabola's Alienist and Locheil's Magos. With a list of twenty spells, four doom lists, four subclasses, and a list of 20 witch-friends, this is packed with content to use and steal, although I personally think the below entry is Vayra's best.

BEST FLAVORFUL CLASS: Sacred Alchemist by Vayra

    Well, I love alchemy, in both its fantastical and real-life aspects. So, when someone came out with an alchemist class focused on the seven six sacred metals, I was excited to read it. The class is packed full of flavor and spells. I like the different alchemy mechanic because of its simplicity, but especially appreciate the varied alchemist orders.

Sunday, December 26, 2021

Lore - Akademia

    At the end of the War of the Hundred Hands, most of the Speakers lay dead, either cut down in the darkness of that terrible night by supposed allies or lying dead with their mechanical titans. In total, ten Speakers escaped the flaming ruins of the Holy Mountain.
    Six of them decided to found schools and teach their mystical philosophy. It is through these schools that the High Language was passed onto the first generation of mages.

Akademia Mortos
    It is said amidst the wisps and witchlights of the Endless Swamp lies the dread Academy of Shadowfall. Within its stuffy halls and decrepit laboratories, future necromancers practice their corporal craft, reknitting flesh and sundering bone. Founded by the Lich of the Swamp, whose bloodstained name was struck from the records, Shadowfall is found only by the mad and desperate.
    Very little is known about necromancy. Its students, when captured alive, swear they adhere to the eldest of the High Arts, taught by the greatest of the Speakers. Most people regard the practitioners of the Art of Flesh and Bone to be lunatics armed with a few cantrips of healing. Then, they see the horde of zombies, skeletons, and grotesques marching to their village, their teeth red and their claws sharp.
    Very few, then, doubt the power of necromancy.

Akademia Mekanikos
    Haven, the fantastical City of Steam, is known to peasants, wizards, and warriors alike. Its flight paths are meticulously memorized and its appearance is a cause for jubilant celebration, for the artificers dwell within Haven. Their bronze and steel creations, running on a combination of steam and magic, walk the streets and converse with visiting merchants. Founded by Malos the Wise, an eccentric inventor in his twilight years, Haven’s streets are constantly flooded with new and novel inventions, much to everyone’s delight.
    Artifice is a well-defined and ever expanding High Art. Countless tomes are dedicated to it and it is quite popular with the rulers of the Known Sky, who often employ a court artificer to advise them. The Art of Craft and Forge, although widely dispersed and known, is quite hard to master; the room for error is wide, with many aspiring artificers winding up injured or dead due to dangerous experiments.

Akademia Oracula
    Venture north, they say. Venture further north. No, further. There, you will behold a mechanical mountain, frozen over with time. Trek to the top of the titan and you shall find the Academy of Astra, home of the diviners. They are a secretive sort, with many odd ways and customs. Astra's founder, the eight-eyed Lilethia, weaves a great web of possible futures in the Academy hall, trying her best to direct the flow of time towards her own mysterious ends.
    The occult art of divination is often misunderstood. Many people think that a diviner's vision shows them the immutable future, something that will come to pass. In actuality, an oracular vision shows a possible future, that will only come to pass due to a certain set of choices. Because of this misunderstanding, charlatans and false diviners abound, preaching their false visions for a few sigloi.

Akademia Ignitia
    As the Wars of Succession rage, the pyromancers of Inferno reach even higher heights of popularity. Born and trained for war, the pyromancers practice for decades in the bronze fortress before being hired by the various armed forces of the Known Sky. Acting as elite magical mercenaries, pyromancers work to amass wealth for themselves and their people.
    The Art of Fire and Flame, pyromancy, is known only to a group of aristocratic families known as the Fireblood Houses. They train their children from birth to be the greatest soldiers and only sell the knowledge of their High Art to the wealthiest bidder. Rogue pyromancers are not uncommon and neither are magical spies sent by the other Academies.

Other Magical Arts
    The four High Ars described above are the most common mage schools in the Known Sky, but there are certainly more. The druids and aeromancers will probably kill you if their less popular Academies are forgotten and of course there are the four Low Arts, taught by those Speakers who decided not to found schools: gastromancy, galvanism, geomancy, and illusion.

Saturday, November 27, 2021

Alignment, Part I - THE ONLY THING THEY FEAR IS YOU

 

CosmicSpaceWhale

“Let’s play a game: which body part do you need the least?”
- Ramsay Bolton, Game of Thrones

"With blood and rage of crimson red,
Ripped from a corpse so freshly dead,
Together with our hellish hate,
We'll burn you all--that is your fate!"
- The Red Lantern Oath, DC

"In a galaxy at war, Savage, there is only one way to get the attention of the Jedi. Slaughter of the innocent. Mercilessly and without compromise."
- Darth Maul, The Clone Wars

-

    Some things just aren’t fair. Long ago (or maybe a few seconds ago, you can’t really tell), you lived a normal life. You woke up, ate, went to work, and slept. You were the definition of Ordinary. Then, due to fate or merely some bad luck, your reality fractured into innumerable pieces.

    Your brain ruptured and oozed neural juices, overloaded with the Truth of the world. You, your mother, your father, and indeed everyone in the world, were just pawns of greater, more primordial Things. Uncaring creatures whose forms drove you to make bloody ribbons of your eyes. Your body broke itself down in despair, bones cracking, muscles spasming, and flesh bleeding. And only one emotion remained in your poor ruptured skull: Rage.

    This was not supposed to happen. You were Ordinary and you were content with that. And then, everything got fucked up. You were dying now, bleeding out of all of your normal orifices and several new ones. ‘Fuck the world’ you screamed with your raw vocal cords. Nothing mattered and that fact made you really mad.

    This anger at the world, at life, at your existence, attracted one of those Things. It built your body back up, giving you a new flesh bag to rip and tear. Of course, your body was built back wrong, for the Thing had no true comprehension of human anatomy. It gave you throbbing muscles, sharp teeth, and wickedly long claws.

    Its name was the sound of a death-scream and of blood spilling from a fatal wound. You were to be its servant in the Cosmic Slaughter of the other Powers. It filled your grasping, feeble mind with images of viscera and a feeling of unending wrath. If nothing truly mattered, you could kill whoever the fuck you wanted and vent your rage at your position.

    Your first act? Pick up a weapon.

spaghettibastard

Class: FIGHTER

Starting Equipment: 2 Large weapons, both covered in fresh blood [2d6 +STR damage, 2 slots each]. 1 Medium weapon, stolen from a victim of yours. [1d8+STR damage, 1 slot]. Some tattered rags OR no clothes at all.
Starting Skill [d6]: Combat [Swords], Combat [Axes], Combat [Hammers], Combat [Maces], Combat [Spears], Combat [Tridents].

Level 1: Born for Battle, Murderous Intent, Kill Dice
Level 2: Clear Mind, +1 Attack per round, +1 Violent Deformity, +1 KD
Level 3: Sudden Death, +1 Violent Deformity, +1 KD
Level 4: Wrath, +1 Attack per round, +1 Violent Deformity, +1 KD

Born for Battle
    War changes a person, in your case physically. Let your body grow and change to fit the needs of the Thing that controls you. After all, what can you do to stop it?
    Every level, you gain a Violent Deformity, which are found in the list below. If you run into a repeat, keep going up until you reach one you don't have.

  1. RIPPED MUSCLE. Your muscular system is clearly visible beneath your thin layer of skin. +2 STR.
  2. UNBROKEN SINEW. Ligaments and tendons are as tough as leather. +2 DEX.
  3. IRON FAT. Bulging with fat, it is hard for you to feel the weak blows of your enemies. Damage reduction of 2.
  4. RIPPING CLAWS. Your fingernails grow, twist, and harden until they're shiny black talons. Your fists go up a damage die.
  5. WINGS OF DEATH. Wings painfully burst from your back, scarlet and magnificent. You gain a flying Speed of 30'.
  6. ARM REACHING FOR HELL. Of course you need a third arm! Another hand to hold a weapon. You gain a third hand and all that implies.
  7. EYES OPEN. Your foes wonder how you can see them in the darkness of night. Little do they know, you have eyes in the back of your head. You can never be surprised.
  8. SCALES OF STEEL. Skin as tough as steel protects you. +2 AC.

Murderous Intent
    The basic act of murder can be done with anything. All you need is will. Weapons you wield, even improvised ones, deal 1d8 base damage if they would normally deal less. If you have a STR penalty, it no longer applies to your attack or damage rolls.

Kill Dice
    You have [level] Kill Dice (KD), which are d6s. You regain all your Kill Dice on a Rest. You can gain extra dice from dealing maximum damage or from killing a creature with more HD than you. Dice gained from dealing damage can go over your maximum amount. Extra KD that you gain dissipate whenever you go one round without fighting.
    You can roll a Kill Die whenever you deal damage and add it to the regular damage of the attack. You can do the same when you take damage and subtract the value of the die roll. KD are expended on a 4-6 and return to your pool on a 1-3.

Clear Mind
    You’re immune to magical effects that would affect your mind.

Devon Kennedy

Sudden Death
    Weapons on your person can be drawn instantly even if you were wearing them on your back, or hiding them in your boot, or were tied up and couldn't possibly have reached them. Your fists go up a damage die.

Wrath
    WRATH. WRATH. WRATH. 
WRATH. WRATH. Your weapons never break unless you want. When you choose to break a weapon, you automatically hit with that attack and deal double damage.

Sunday, November 7, 2021

Assault on the Windswept Peak

 The Party

  • King Jack of House Brock (Level 4 Human Fighter). The peasant boy who overthrew the insane last ruler of Archeria, King Belligerent. After unifying the land under his firm grip, King Jack travels to the Outlands, where he will face the last threat to his power.
    • Mars. A wolf that has followed Jack since he started feeding it long ago.
  • Hachiman the Swordsman (Level 4 Human Fighter). A legendary fighter from the River Province, Hachiman was captured as a boy and thrown into King Belligerent's Arena. After surviving for seventeen years as a slave, he and his friend Jack Brock led a successful revolution against Belligerent.
    • Cardinal (Level 3 Human Wizard). Specializing in transmutation and arcana, Cardinal served as Belligerent's spymaster and Royal Wizard for years. On the night of the Gladiator Revolution, Hachiman found him sleeping in his tower and forced him to swear a magical pact of servitude to the new dynasty.

The Prelude
    After the death of King Belligerent and his fractured nation of Archeria, King Jack of House Brock has only one force of opposition: the ailing King Aurgelmir, the leader of the monsters. With a great army of Capitalfolk and his best friend Hachiman at his side, King Jack passed through the Barrier and entered the Outskirts. After a month of hard travels and the almost complete eradication of their forces by monster ambushes, the Captialfolk army reaches Castle Troll, the seat of Aurgelmir's power.

    With a small group of eight soldiers, five monks of the Light, three berserkers, a wolf, and an archmage, King Jack and Hachiman arrive at the gate of Castle Troll.

The Session
   
Debating how to get into the castle, Jack sends his soldiers to scour the mountainside for any possible secret entrances. While that is happening, Hachiman and the monks climb up the crumbling castle walls and slit the throat of a sleeping orc guard. Hachiman opens the castle drawbridge and King Jack, the berserkers, the soldiers, and Mars all rush in to attack.

    Rushing into the castle courtyard, the soldiers, berserkers, and Mars get into a brawl with four elite orc guards along with their hulking captain. Two soldiers perish nigh-instantaneously as they all rush and kill the captain, the most obvious threat. One of the orc guards, armed with an arquebus, seeks the castle's lone tower to snipe from. Another of the orc guards rushes inside the inner keep and bars the door. Hachiman finishes off the bravest orc as King Jack's remaining troops all aim their spears at the sniper in the tower. He falls with six spears embedded in him. The last remaining orc flees out of Castle Troll to whereabouts unknown.

    The three berserkers bust open the locked door to the inner keep and are confronted with the sight of the last orc holding a grenade. In broken Common he roars: "For Aurgelmir!" and throws the grenade. Four soldiers, a berserker, and the last orc are all killed by the resulting explosion. Slightly singed, the group presses on to a set of austere double doors at the end of a long hall. They open the doors.

Aurgelmir the Monster King
D&D Beyond

    In a vast room, sitting upon a solemn stone throne, King Aurgelmir waited. His beard was the color of mountain frost and his armor was old and dented. He says "So. You have finally come. Let us be about it then." He grabs a massive black iron axe as a berserker charges him. He bites the head off of the berserker and swings his massive axe. Three monks fall to the floor, split in twain by Aurgelmir's attack.

    Hachiman realizes their ultimate weapon -- the archwizard Cardinal -- has run away and sprints around Castle Troll trying to find him. Meanwhile, Aurgelmir lets loose a magical ball of ice, which freezes everyone in the throne room, including King Jack. Finally, Hachiman returns with the cowardly wizard and commands him to expend all his magic on a single attack on Aurgelmir. Cardinal, in a great foolish run, half-tripping over his robes, touches Aurgelmir's calf.

    Great ropes of red magical energy spring from his fingers and restrain Aurgelmir. They slowly start pulling tighter, shrinking Aurgelmir down to the size of a bug. Hachiman strides slowly over to the now speck-like Monster King and deftly steps on him. The chains turn on Cardinal and enter his body through his eyes.

    After a long, grotesque process, Cardinal is turned into a human-sized snail. Although retaining his magic, his voice, and his intellect, Cardinal is now hideous to look at. Dejectedly, he melts all the frozen warriors in the room, freeing them all from icy deaths. The group, weary in body and spirit, turns back north and slowly heads back home.

Notes
   
I ran this session using Mimics and Miscreants with GROG's combat system and Into the Odd's mass combat system. This is actually the end of a campaign about Jack Brock and Hachiman.

Thursday, October 28, 2021

GLoGtober '21 Day 5 - Green is What is Left When Ardor Fades, When Passion Dies, When We Die

    For the GLoGtober conversion prompt. Inspired by the movie The Green Knight.

Knight of Spring

Pierre Droal

Starting Equipment: A bronze battleaxe [described below]. The Horn of Springtide [described below]. A set of plant-covered chainmail armor [+4 AC, 4 slots]. A direram mount [described below].
Starting Skill [d6]: Botany, Alchemy, Geography, Chivalry, Animal Handling, Survival.

Level 1: Fae Immortality, Superiority of Arms
Level 2: Greentongue
Level 3: Thirst for Blood
Level 4: The Storms of Spring

Fae Immortality
    You used to be human, but are not so now. You left your humanity behind in your reliquary. The reliquary itself is a small bronze-bound chest of living wood containing your bones. You sacrificed your bones to the Thousand Gods for eternal life and power. In place of them, you have a structure of living wood that can only be broken by a knight.
    Every time you die, after 1d8-[level] days, you will return fully healed from the earth near your reliquary. You do not regain lost equipment with this feature.

Superiority of Arms
    Any weapon you wield, even your fist, has its damage die scaled up one. For example, a light weapon would deal 1d8 damage, while a medium weapon would deal 2d6 damage. When a heavy weapon is scaled up one, it is 3d6 damage.

Greentongue
    You can speak Root, the language of plants, trees, and flowers. This can be used to converse with them but it can also be used to command them. [level] times, you may utter in Elderspeak a command to the plants within 30' of you. Some example greentongue commands are:

  1. Grow: Plants equal to your [level] grow up to 30 extra feet over the course of d6 rounds.
  2. Ensnare: Roots burst from the earth and trap your opponents for [level] rounds if they fail a DEX Check of 11+[level].
  3. Ripen: Plants equal to your [level] grow large fruit, even if they couldn't before. These fruits count as [level] days of rations.
  4. Sunder: A single plant explodes, dealing [level] piercing damage to all within 10'.

    Some ways to regain your greentongue abilities: make a large sacrifice to the Thousand Gods, awaken an ent, kill an enemy knight, restore a fairy ruler to power, etcetera.

Thirst for Blood
    You can now attack twice per round. You force Morale Checks on all 1 HD minions who see you. Your name is whispered throughout the land, for all the good and ill that brings.

The Storms of Spring
    You rival the power of some of the Thousand Gods. You have 5 points to distribute across your character sheet. They can increase any stat. People will worship you and try to slay you in equal measure.

Adam Glazer

The Armaments of Springtide

  1. A bronze battleaxe. A two-headed bronze battleaxe with a haft of living wood. Deals 3d6+STR damage and takes up 2 Inventory Slots. Can be thrown 20' and returns magically to its wielder's hand.
  2. The Horn of Springtide. A great instrument of ram's horn. 1 Inventory Slot. The horn itself is engraved with Elderspeak runes detailing the Maiden of Spring. If an action is spent blowing it, the Wild Hunt appears the next round. The hunters are composed of 1d4+1 faery knights, 1d6+1 faery huntsmen, and 2d6+1 direwolves. The horn can only be used once before it has to recharge again. To recharge, dip it in the blood of a king.
  3. Direram Mount. A regal direram. 3 HD ram with an Armor Class of 12. Has a 2d6 gore attack. Can speak to all animals in their native tongues and is quite persuasive.

Saturday, October 16, 2021

GLoGtober '21 Day 4 - Traincrawl Engineward Entries

    Traincrawl. I never thought I would be writing about trains on my game blog given my dislike of train games, but here I am. I am working on the engineward portion of the Immortal Train, while my collaborator theisticGilthoniel is writing the coldward portion.

    The Traincrawl is a depthcrawl. When you enter a new car, roll a d6 on both tables, adding the distance in number of cars from your starting car (so the first car you explore will be +0, the second +1, etc.). Every car has a 2 in 6 chance of being semi-permanently inhabited, and each inhabited car has a 50% chance of having a party and a 50% chance of having a murder mystery. If the car cannot be feasibly inhabited by humans, dwarves live there.

Car

  1. Boxcar
  2. Seating Car (six seats wide)
  3. Seating Car (four seats wide)
  4. Dining Car
  5. Sleeping Car
  6. Observation Car
  7. Tavern Car
  8. Prison Car
  9. Slave Car
  10. Torture Car
  11. Mine Car
  12. Tomb Car
  13. Arena Car
  14. Eugenics Car
  15. Ritual Car
  16. Engine Car
  17. Assembly Car
  18. Angelic Car
  19. Beacon Car
  20. Locomotive Car

Details

  1. Empty
  2. Hot
  3. Dirty
  4. Burning
  5. Industrious
  6. Ruined
  7. Dead scrappers
  8. Dead dwarves
  9. Unstable
  10. Massive exposed silver train-wheels
  11. Protruding machinery
  12. Massive orrery
  13. Lava pools
  14. Clumps of iron
  15. Bloodstained
  16. Dead angel
  17. Smoke-filled
  18. First generation murals
  19. Heavily guarded
  20. Ominously silent

Encounters

  1. Empty
  2. Outgoing scrappers
  3. Returning scrappers
  4. Pacifistic, but hunted, cyborgs
  5. Fire cultists
  6. Dwarf soldiers
  7. Drunk dwarves
  8. Imprisoned slaves
  9. Slave village
  10. An angel torturer and tortured slaves
  11. Dwarf miners
  12. First generation tomb
  13. Blood-sport arena
  14. Angel gene-manipulator and its mutant servants
  15. Engine cult
  16. Grand Enginepriest
  17. The Assembly Master
  18. The Lord-Ophanim
  19. Sentient chained star
  20. The Conductor

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

GLoGtober '21 Day 3 - Occult Inspirations

     This was supposed to a runes post for GLoGtober. Then, as always, my muse left me at the last possible moment and gave me a really vague idea to write about.

    It's this game where everyone plays wizards in a normal medieval world. Except the wizards are weird, mysterious, and all a bit crazy. A player would engage in dangerous wizard politics, recover and create dangerous mystical artifacts, and deal with monsters and their mutating bodies. Watch out for those Dooms too.

    So, I figured I would write down the inspirations for the game, in the same vein as this post. I will try to fulfill to the wizard prompt. This is mostly to help myself but if you find a cool link, then all the better.

Wizardly Links (Last Updated 11-20-2021)

From the Pilgrim's Temple - Class: Thaumaturge (New!)
Goblin Punch - Sister Witches and Monastic Wizards
Middenmurk - The Affairs of Wizards (New!)
Numbers Aren't Real - Class: Masked Cleric
Numbers Aren't Real - Class: Virtuous Saint
Numbers Aren't Real - Who, Whom, Why
Portals and Pegasi - Class: Philosopher (New!)
Save vs. Worm - Class: Mad Poet (New!)
Spiceomancy - Random Advancement Templates
Spiceomancy - There Are No Mundane Towers
Sundered Shields and Silver Shillings - Four Types of Old Magick (New!)
Tarsos Theorem - d100 Weird Powers
The Hill Cantons - Corelands, Borderlands, and the Wierd
The Mad Queen's Court - 1d20 Fantasy Languages
The Mad Queen's Court - Class: Artist
The Mad Queen's Court - Mountain: On Fire, the Elements, and Old Gods, Oh My
The Nothic's Eye - Class: Magos
Tower of the Lonely GM - Your Wizards Are Losers

Occult Images

A. Shipwright

cobaltplasma


JasonTN

This list will be periodically updated with new links as I find them. Hope you are inspired. (: