Wednesday, April 29, 2020

No Light, No Warmth (GLOG Expedition, new rules)

    We had a discussion in the OSR Discord channel a few days ago about "dungeon"-crawling through ancient alien ships abandoned in deep space. What would be the dangers? What hazards would you face, not just from wicked architects and hungry monsters but from the unthinking and total hostility of the environment?
    Strange visions seemed to flicker behind my eyes — of the Edge Chronicles (children's fiction about a bizarre society on a cliff-face jutting out over an unmapped abyss), Made in Abyss [a manga (later an anime) about a bizarre society on a cliff-face jutting out over an unmapped abyss], Vambrace: Cold Soul (a terrible Darkest Dungeons ripoff in a frozen world) Touching the Void (a docudrama about a mountaineering disaster).
    Then I woke, with the taste of blood and pumpkin on my lips.



    "A generation ago, the famous Klohr Expedition was formed to descend down the shadowy southern Face of the planet — which is, as everyone knows, an inverted tetrahedron. They made excellent progress, despite the antiquity of their maps, and discovered fascinating ruins from the ages before mankind. Then communication was abruptly lost.
    With the advent of new technologies, and a resurgence of interest in the fabled Losian Relics, the Klohr family has gathered enough funding for a second expedition. They, too, will descend the southern Face. They will recover the bodies (or discover the fates) of Klohr's group, and they will reveal the secrets hiding at the very bottom of the world.
    Main concerns: First, the Face is cold and perfectly dark. It has never seen the Sun. Anything that makes its home in these conditions must be horrible indeed.
    Second, your party is descending down a highly irregular climb. On occasion there will be caves, or slippery paths of ice. Other times you will be free-hanging from ropes and swinging to the underside of inverted cliffs.
    Third, the Klohr family expects results. They are putting their hopes and the last of their money into this. They want maps. Notes. Closure."

    Something like a Veinscrawl or a Darkest Dungeons run. An inverted mountain climb in an extremely hostile environment, while picking up the pieces of a failed expedition.


    A few classes have been prepared. I've done the up the Monkey Herder, who will no doubt be useful while descending the Face of the world. The Mad Queen's Court did a Blue Heretic, a variety of paladin too stupid to get cold. Mihau, an OSR Discord user, prepared the Vertical Ranger. I have recreated the Vertical Ranger in my ruleset for your amusement and edification:


    Your order was founded decades ago to serve on the Barrier, a mile-high and mile-thick wall which runs across the northern end of the continent. At first the only tools they had were grapnels and ropes. But the development of the Pneumatic-Grip Pants opened up new vistas, and many Vertical Rangers accompanied Klohr on the disastrous expedition.
    As a Vertical Ranger, you are proficient in pistols, knives, picks and grenades. You can wear light armor and use shields. If you fall off a cliff with a canister remaining you instantly latch back on, taking 1d6*5 feet worth of fall damage if you swing into a wall (if this distance is higher than the cliff, you hit the ground and then reel back up to the top).
  • A: PGP Experience, +2 Move
  • B: Swapout, Extra Tweak, +2 Climbing
  • C: Horizontal Viability, Extra Tweak, +2 Sneak
  • D: Rapid 3D Movement, +2 Climbing
PGP Experience
    You carry a treasure of your order: a pair of PGP. These things are difficult to use - imagine half-a-dozen steamjets strapped to your junk which are activated by flexing specific thigh muscles. They launch grapnels which seize on to pieces of the environment. Even the sheerest surfaces may be accessed through pants.
    A PGP is loaded with two pressurized canisters (on the hips, you freak) which are used to fire a cord and grapnel fifty feet. When you do so, there is a 3-in-6 chance of depleting it. Canisters may be refilled with two hours of pumping. Spares (pulled off of dead Rangers) occupy ⅒ of a slot. Cords are launched instantly and reel in at a rate of one second per five feet.
    Like all surviving PGP yours is a hack-job of tweaks and malfunctions held together with hasty patches and prayer. Roll once on each of the following lists to determine the initial state of your PGP. You might invent new tweaks with the approval of your DM.
Tweaks:
  1. Thunder. Careful modification of the vents makes them resemble a trombone. Whenever you use a canister, you can also produce a terrific loud noise which frightens off demons and wild animals.
  2. Torque. An optimized motor to chew up cordage. Your cord reels in at a rate of one second per ten feet
  3. Dash. Simple modification to put a pep in your step. You can blast a canister backwards from your pants, expending it immediately and doubling your movement speed for about six seconds.
  4. Distance. Finding spare cordage wasn't hard (there are plenty of corpses hanging from the walls around here). Splicing two cords together, though, was tricky. Your cords are 80' long.
  5. Spare Motors. The things go backwards now, too. You may rappel with your pants. Doesn't even take a canister — you just attach the hook and abseil.
  6. Precision Flexing. You may target creatures with your pants. When the pants wind back in, the lighter/more unstable creature is drawn towards the heavier/better situated one. A PGP motor has 24 Strength.
Malfunctions:
  1. Chafing. The damn things don't fit right. Not surprising really, since you probably pulled them off a corpse. Whenever a canister is expended you take 1 damage, which can never reduce you below 0 HP.
  2. Whistling Sheaves. The pulleys won't stay on-track. They hiss noticeably whenever the cords are reeled in, which is both annoying and unstealthy.
  3. Overheating. Some elements or bearings are causing undue friction, and you don't know which. When you use your pants they begin to overheat, and need thirty minutes to cool down. If you continue to use them there is a cumulative 1-in-6 chance of mechanical failure. These mechanical failures take two hours to repair.
  4. Bad Rings. The company that makes them went out of business forty years ago. Your canisters deplete on a 4-in-6.
  5. Misalignment. The entire damned frame has shifted around, somehow. It takes ten minutes to swap out a spare canister
  6. Hair Trigger. When you take damage, roll a d6. If the result is under the damage taken, your legs twitch and your grapnel fires in a random direction.
Swapout
    Though the company that makes the PGP went out of business years ago, and its scientists all boarded the same ship and were drowned at sea, and its CEO was executed for tax fraud, and the whole thing was covered up by the government... sorry, getting sidetracked. There are plenty of dead Vertical Rangers hanging splattered against a wall somewhere. With a few spare parts and four hours of fiddling, you can reroll a malfunction or tweak. You might even discover new malfunctions on someone else's PGP rig. Only you have the skill to alter these pants safely.
Horizontal Viability
    You've fully mastered the use of your PGP with your feet on the ground. You can triple the length or height of a jump by using a canister. While attached by your pants to a wall, you may walk and run as if it were solid ground.
Rapid 3D Movement
   You've fully mastered the use of your PGP while flying through the air. While moving around at cord-length, ranged attacks only hit you on a critical. You may fully expend a canister to move to any point within the radius of your cords. Remember the risk of fall damage from swinging into walls. The closest humanity has ever come to flight will, of course, be the death of you.
    The corpses of Vertical Rangers are scattered across the Face of the world. Some serve as landmarks.



    Xenophon of Athens prepared some GLOG-compatible climbing rules, and I really like them.
G20 sheet, with new CLBG stat (may be added to various rolls)

    Really want to run a weird reverse-Everest climb. Very excited by the prospect. Incensed with thought. Here's some weird NPCs you might meet on the way.
  • Arcus, Purple Mask Cleric. 8 HP, 8 Morale, poor climber. Knows the spells Guide Eyes and Literal Translation. Her scrying spells have started to show only one scene: a human form in a realm of absolute darkness, pinned to a wall, encrusted with black ice — yet still moving. She thinks this is a scene from the Face, and if she can find it she will once more be able to spy on her rivals.
  • Callaghan, Sword-Shepherd, 10 HP, 9 Morale, moderate climber. He is a student of the Damask style, and he has as many knives as he can carry. He carries GOLDEN CARTULARY CITY, a sword which sings to itself in a language no scholar recognizes. Perhaps revelations wait for him on the Face?
  • Minar, Tactician. 4 HP, 11 Morale, poor climber. Earned glory on the battlefield decades ago and knew Klohr personally. The Face calls to him in his dotage; he seeks a last victory before he joins his old friends in death.
  • Hull, pirate. 10 HP, 7 morale, climbs like a monkey. Was offered a choice: join the expedition and share rigging/ropes expertise, or be tied to an anchor and dropped into the middle of the sea. Deeply resentful. Fights with a hook. 
  • Audubon, Black Mask Cleric. 8 HP, 9 Morale, moderate climber. Knows the spells Hold Fast and Glorious Halo. He has heard that the last expedition ended in disaster, and the Unburied bodies of the explorers may still wander the frozen Face. Their souls will not be freed until their bodies are dispatched
  • Ggth, leper. 15 HP, ?? morale, poor climber. Wrapped head to toe in gory bandages. Won't stay behind even though you tell them (?) to go away. Apparently under the impression there's something they want on the Face.
   

    More will likely be added to this post over the next few days. Stay tuned! Talk to me on Discord! I don't have many friends!

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Like Herding Monkeys (GLOG Class: Can't really categorize this one either)

    What drives a man to drive the monkeys? What happened to you, and made you like this? The mind quails. What horrors you have experienced are yours alone to bear. Yours... and the monkeys.

Source: I have no idea. (Update: it's a parody of Laocoon and his sons)

Class: Monkey Herder

    You are the drill-sergeant of a troop, the ring-master of a circus, the chieftain of a tribe. You lead a group of primates. You are not necessarily the leader of the group of primates. The real world is a complicated place, my friend.
    You can wear light and medium armor, and you never fumble while using halfpikes, shortswords and shortbows. You can use shields effectively. Monkeys have their own abilities.
    The strange abilities of the Monkey Herder are powered by Monkey Drugs. These MD represent your limited supply of banana liqueur, chewing tobacco, cocaine and other vices. Each MD takes up a ⅓ slot in your inventory. Treat them as d6 depleting dice. Don't run out.

Skills: 1. Carpentry 2. Battlefield tactics 3. Substance tolerance.

Starting Equipment: a set of tattered business attire (as unarmored but +1 reaction), a medium szabla, three doses of MD and one piece of Circus Gear of your choice.

  • A Monkey Drugs, Monkey Troop, +2 Move.
  • B Monkey Recruiting Policy, +2 HP.
  • C Monkey Lieutenant, +2 Move.
  • D Ape Monkeys.

Monkey Drugs
    The monkeys tolerate your leadership because monkeys are not allowed to go into bars. You're like a big brother who buys them things. Any sort of intoxicant or stimulant might be MD; monkeys require them as motivators, but humans can consume them (roll for usage) as well to gain 2 HP or another save against mind-altering effects. MD cost 10 gp a dose in town, but you may also spend an hour converting reagents (monster parts, radioactive material, funny-looking mushrooms) into some unpleasant bodge.
    When a human consumes your MD, they save or experience an unpleasant side effect. Roll randomly or pick a relevant one:
Real Drugs
  1. Drunk. Can fumble with weapons you are proficient with. Fumble and critical range increased by 1. Lasts an hour.
  2. Dizzied. Movement speed is halved and take a -4 penalty to ranged attacks. Lasts ten minutes.
  3. Nauseous. Cannot stomach lunch or any further consumption of MD. Lasts the rest of the day.
  4. High. Automatically fail saves against Charm and Fear. Further doses just make you more high. Lasts an hour.
  5. Cheered. Things are looking up! Surprised by every attack until the end of the day.
  6. Ruthful. Why did you come here? Why couldn't you have stayed at home and been a carpenter like your dad? You need a good cry, and can't do anything too useful for ten minutes.
Unpleasant Bodge
  1. Cursed. You really shouldn't have smoked that. Your fumble range increases by 1 until a cleric removes the curse.
  2. Delusional. You are someone else. DM's pick. Lasts until the DM says so, or you go to bed.
  3. Tripping the Fuck Out. Aaa! Aaaaaa! Aaaaaaaaa! You are under spiders, while all your friends . Thunder and great blue triangles. Scream your head off for ten minutes, unable to do anything too useful.
  4. On Fire. Catch from the inside. You are on fire.
  5. Wrothful. Makes you irritable and itchy. For the rest of the day, you enter rage at the beginning of combat.
  6. Totally Numb. Almost pleasant, really. You are immune to agony effects and no longer know your HP total. If you don't see an attack hit you, you don't know you took damage at all. Lasts until the end of the day.
    As an experienced monkey drugs user, you roll side effects twice and choose the one you want. Monkeys never experience side effects. Monkeys have definitely smoked frogs before.
Monkey Troop
    You have a troop of monkeys who follow you around. They are loyal, as monkeys go, but are primarily in it for the drugs. Every day in which you are accompanied by at least one monkey, roll usage on your MD. Monkeys can climb better than the best human, carry 3 slots of inventory and a torch, and are fairly trustworthy when retrieving and delivering objects which are not drugs. They probably have 6 HP, armor as leather, and a 1d6 unarmed attack.
    They may attempt to communicate through sign language, but monkeys cannot speak nor do they fully understand human language. Monkeys do not set watches and do not understand what guard duty is. Their joints do not allow them to use bows or any weapon much larger than a banana. Most monkeys will only fight in self-defense unless bribed to join a fight with MD.
    You start play with a pair of monkeys (there's a half dozen below this paragraph, and a random generator here). You may recruit more as you find them, after negotiating appropriate pay.
d6 Monkey Friends:
Source: Wikimedia. Puny Bert the talapoin. She has a real eye for valuables and is totally silent. You can use an MD to order her to try and pick a lock or a pocket.
Wikimedia. King Ansegisel the mandrill. He has a quite majesty about him. Two attacks per round. You can use an MD to order him to carry an injured person on his back for a day.
Wikimedia. Jun Mao the whitehanded gibbon. Intensely religious. She hoots prayers and wards off the Eye when he smells evil. You can use an MD to have her perform a burial service.
Wikimedia. Howard the panin. He knows how to use a sword. Use an MD to order him to duel an opponent in honorable single combat.
Wikimedia. Grendela the cotton-top tamarind. Journeys out of regret for her past sins. Knows basic first aid, and you can use an MD to have her treat someone for 1d6 healing once a day.
Wikimedia. Vitruvius the aye-aye. Can see in the dark, and can read and write the Losian language. You can use an MD to have him memorize and perfectly reproduce a page of text.

Monkey Job Application
    Monkeys can smell hiring opportunities for literally thousands of miles. No matter where you are, if you want to hire a monkey intern one will appear within 24 hours. An intern carries 6 slots and is always willing to fight. These monkeys prioritize their own safety over everything else, and are only in it for the drugs. Use your MD an extra time each morning for every intern currently following you. If there are ever more interns in the party than humans, they will beat you unconscious and run off with all your drugs.
Monkey Lieutenant
    Designate a loyal monkey to be your right-hand primate. They will use their special abilities without bribes, and stay with you through drugless periods (they trust you to square once you're back in the plush). Lieutenants count as humans when calculating how many monkey interns you can safely control.
Ape Monkeys
    You've been around these monkeys for so long you've begun to imitate them. You don't suffer MD side effects. Whenever you want, you may become a first-level Monkey Dad (but like, a cool dad). You lose your interns and your ability to hire them, but you keep your troop, drugs, and all skills and bonuses.


Circus Gear
  1. Whip. As a light weapon with extra reach, hitting you for 1 damage on a fumble. You can use this to control the monkeys. ⅓ slot.

  2. Cat-o-nine-tails. A light weapon which cannot be thrown. Inflicts bleed on a critical hit. The monkeys might use this to control you. ⅓ slot.

  3. Baton. A fine piece of carpentry tipped with gold. As a light weapon. ⅓ slot.

  4. Starter pistol. A light ranged weapon, reloaded with shells (start with 6). 1 slot.

  5. Elaborate Set of Facepaint. Lets you age or de-age yourself, or look like a clown. 1 slot.

  6. Rope Net. Allows grapple checks at a distance. Dropping on to one reduces fall damage. 1 slot.

  7. Grappling Hook and 50' of rope. 1 slot each.

  8. 50' of Chain. 2 slots.

  9. Megaphone. Makes your voice loud, or alternately lets you hear through thin walls. ⅓ slot.

  10. Religious Texts. Complicated theological text from a heresy of your choice. ⅓ slot.

  11. Costume Gems. Good enough to fool an expert. 10 gp worth.

  12. Chrism. Blessed in the name of the Lord of the Circus. Predators will not attack someone anointed with this balm. Three doses, lasts a full day.

  13. Mallow Peanuts. Tastes like neither marshmallow, nor peanuts, but bananas. They are disgusting and you have nine rations worth. 3 slots.

  14. 50' of Tightwire. Can't be climbed, but is well-suited for walking across. 1 slot.

  15. A large tophat and three rabbits. The rabbits are worth three rations. Altogether, 1 slot.

  16. Set of three hollow metal hoops. Can be filled with oil and lit as a lamp. 1 slot each

  17. Heavy Sandbag. Weighs as much as a human.

  18. Fake Barbell. Marked with "200 LBS" on both spherical, hollow weights. Can be used as a light weapon and floats on water. 1 slot.

  19. Fake Beard. Keeps your face warm, and is very convincing.

  20. An oddity. Roll on the following table:

    1. A button whirligig. Play with it in your hands while looking at someone to make them see the world upside-down. 
    2. An annatto-colored ring. Exudes a strong, pleasant scent. Somewhere in the world, someone is wearing a saffron-colored ring, and you know the exact direction and distance.
    3. A spiderweb scarf. While you are actively strangling yourself, your feet cling to any surface and cannot be shifted.
    4. A lantern pumpkin. Will not rot. Can be communed with. ⅓ slot.
    5. A packet of fairy matches. Their light is steady, and they catch even in the wind. Their fire burns aggressively but with no warmth. Ten matches.
    6. An aprical lense. Like a monocle with cheery yellow glass. Snow and ice are invisible when viewed through it.

Friday, April 24, 2020

The Plurality (GLOG Class: Many Wizards)

    The early Discworld novels hadn't settled down on having the Unseen University as a major in-setting faction. The wizards mostly just backstabbed each other, summoned demons and were slaughtered, and generally made a nuisance of themselves. This class is a swarm of treacherous wizards in the style of Many Goblins or The Extras.
    Some people think of wizards as harmless kooks who spend their time locked up in towers trying to summon a hot succubus. Some people think of honey-bees as fuzzy little buddies, and of piranhas as delightfully colored fishy friends. People like that are a danger to themselves and everyone around them.
Source: Discworld (obviously)

Glog Class: Many Wizards

    Something has stirred you up — a summoning gone wrong, a rumor of a powerful artifact, or the vague idea that Wizards aren't getting enough respect in the world. Sixty percent chance of solving the problem? Thirty percent chance of making it worse? Ten percent chance of turning into a toad??  You'll have to demonstrate the true percentages — personally.
    You use Multitude Dice to cast spells, which operate a little differently from normal Magic Dice. You can wear light armor (subject to the usual Many X rules), and can wield staves, crossbows, clubs and knives. You cannot use shields unless your DM lets you multiclass with someone who can (which they should not! Bad idea!).

Starting Equipment: Enough tall pointy hats for everyone, enough high-end cheese and pickles for three rations, one inaccurate map of the surrounding area.
Skills: 1. Maths 2. A complete, self-consistent and wildly incorrect understanding of natural science 3. Choir singing.

Perk: This many wizards in one place represent a combined total of hundreds of years of study. When you encounter an ancient bit of text, some exotic wallpaper or an interesting object, you may spend ten minutes bickering amongst yourself about what it is. Pass a save or take 1 damage from the slapping and the biting, then pass an intelligence check to see if you actually identified the thing.
    Additionally, you can see Death, curses, and other stuff most people try not to worry about. You are generally difficult to fool with illusions or mind-control, and you spot invisible creatures or secret doors on a 3-in-6.

Drawback: You can't trust anyone, especially not yourself. Charm effects instead reduce you to one half of your current HP as the wizards turn on each other in brutal internecine fracas. You automatically fail saves vs. Fear and disappear into nearby scenery. You get to roll if someone else damages the source of the Fear.
    Finally, your incompetence and greed gives you a 1-in-6 chance of pulling any given unmarked lever or picking up obviously cursed what-have-yous (DM's call when this relevant). Wizards are awful about this stuff. It's just terrible.

  • A: The Plural of Wizard, +1 MD 
  • B: Additional Staff (Ha, Ha), +1 MD 
  • C: Some Semblance of Order, +1 MD 
  • D: Further Additions, +1 MD 
 
The Plural of Wizard
    You are a small host of shitty wizards, subject to the usual rules of multitudes. In brief; each hitpoint lost in damage represents a wizard dying in some horrible but amusing way; area-of-effect spells hit you only once and single-target spells work on you as a whole (save-or-die deals 1 damage without a save), you cannot benefit from mundane equipment like shovels or breastplates or horses unless you have enough for 10 people, you occupy a 20' square whenever possible, and there are 2d6+3 of you if it matters (rerolling every time it matters). You move and act as a single character. You can do the work of ten men in an hour, but for every subsequent hour you have to pass a save to keep yourself motivated with rousing speeches and ferocious kicks.
    You are led by an Archchancellor who is some variety of first-level wizard. He has a really stupid name, a really impressive hat, and does the talking when necessary. If you all die the Archchancellor can recruit more shitty wizards at any large city; if the Archchancellor dies then you truly die. The Archchancellor is assumed to be carrying any magical equipment you have. Once per scene, he may step forth from the crowd to fire off a spell or tool (essentially giving you an extra action).
    You know a group spell at first level (determined randomly), and develop an additional random spell every level. Casting these spells takes five minutes for a single MD, ten for two, thirty minutes for three MD and two hours for four.
    Finally, wizards don't like feeling as if they are porters or bagboys. You can carry only five slots of items, which are passed from hand to hand inside your group. Additional gear is "accidentally" set down somewhere and forgotten about. Armor or ten identical weapons do not take up inventory slots, and your Archchancellor has three quick-draw slots he may fill with crossbows or magical artifacts.
Additional Staff (Ha, Ha)
    See, because wizards carry staffs, and so additional wizards would carry additional staffs, but they would also represent more staff. It is a Pune, or a play on words. Aha, ahaha. Aha.
    Your Archchancellor has seen fit to promote or hire an additional wizard. This wizard also gets an action once per scene, and survives with the Archchancellor if the Many Wizards all die. They have a single MD which never returns to their pool. Roll on the table below:
  1. Muhsin bin O'Hooligan, first-level Illusionist. He knows Mirror Image, creating the illusion of 1d4d12+13 shitty wizards, which is just terrifying. Is an alcoholic but lies about it.
  2. Poncegain Trattogap, first-level Diabolist. He knows Bind. The stench of brimstone and the awful fire that accompanies the black chains bursting from the earth makes his identity clear to everyone. He insists he is a cleric from a church in Canada. You probably haven't heard of it.
  3. Tollain Ditherer, first-level Adipomancer. He knows Aura of Warmth, which affects all of the Many Wizards. Dimwitted, wears a horned helmet, excellent cook.
  4. Boris Strugatsky, first-level Metatron. He uses Falsify Memory to smooth things over with Johnny Law. Boris is invariably chipper, and as his scene-action can challenge people to a friendly fencing match. Quite good at fencing.
  5. Archibald Money, first-level Orthodox Wizard. He knows Featherfall, which affects all of the Many Wizards. Is old as Hell, hates children and dogs, and his wheelchair must be carried over gaps and up cliffs.
  6. Quimbly Fethers, first-level Fighter. Grandniece of the Archchancellor and something of the black sheep of the family for her choice of occupation. Grants a +2 initiative bonus to the Many Wizards, and once per scene can step forward to block 1d6 damage with her sturdy shield. Wants to rescue a prince and settle down.
  7. Krx Krx Come In Krx, first-level Radiomancer. He knows Annihilation. Refuses to leave his hazard suit, or to say anything except his own name through the suit's comms.
  8. Dread Tiger, first-level Tech. He knows Door: Electrify, which requires no power. Fell through a wormhole from a cyberpunk world but has adapted quickly. Assumes other people are also robots until corrected.
  9. Two Accountants, first-level Geometer. They know Package Neatly and some basic algebra. Two Accountants is actually one person who only thinks they are multiple people. Imagine that! What a wild concept!
  10. Radamandafandalaster, first-level Numismancer. He knows Vault. Terrifically agoraphobic, and always votes on casting his spell as soon as possible.
  11. Killchester Cherrybones, first-level Architect. He knows Wardline. Loudly comments on nearby bits of civil engineering to let everyone know he went to an expensive school.
  12. Zapdar the Fearsome Lord of Death, first-level Gastropomancer. He knows Wall of Cabbage, which he considers rations and everyone else hates. His late mother (G_d rest her soul) named him for his warlord father. He is usually a sweetheart but gets very prickly about his parents or his name.
  13. Mssr. Pongo, first-level Monkey Dad. He has a 12 in every stat and gives the Many Wizards all relevant bonuses. Communicates through "ook"s and expressive physical violence. As a scene-action, can perform a remarkable feat of strength.
Some Semblance of Order
    The wizards consider it inhumane, even violating, to have to carry around all these expensive cheeses and smelly bedrolls. That's why they hired a bunch of muledrivers, torchbearers and porters to do it for them. There are now 4d6+6 of you if it matters, and you can carry a full 10 slots of inventory without losing anything. You can "rent" the service of any mundane item (torches, buckets, rope &c) for double its usual cost, though it only lasts for a single scene. The Archchancellor is a second-level wizard.
Further Additions
    At this level, and at every subsequent level, roll for another Additional Staff. The Archchancellor is now a third-level wizard.


Group Spells:
  1. Summon Greater Pig
    R: 5' T: n/a D: permanent
    Summons a large sow or boar (your choice) with [sum] HP and +[dice] to-hit and damage. The pig is not grateful and is not loyal. When killed, withers into [sum] pounds of bacon-scented clay.
  2. Enlighten Peasantry
    R: [dice] miles T: up to [sum] humanoids with 1 HD or fewer D: [dice] days.
    Targets become convinced of any nonsensical "scientific fact" you can come up with an explanation for. Bats are birds because "bat" is a shoddy translation of Latin for "definitely a bird". Sharks cause lightning because the mist from their blowholes is electrically conductive. At the end of the duration, targets make an intelligence check to realize it's all made up, or else continue to believe your facts until corrected.
  3. Open Doorway
    R: [dice]*5 miles T: a place the Many Wizards have visited in person D: [sum] minutes.
    Opens a circular viewing portal (radius 10') to the targeted area. Can be seen through in both directions, but does not allow sound, gas or solid objects to pass through. Does count for spells with line-of-sight limits.
  4. Raise Tower
    R: n/a T: the area around the Many Wizards D: permanent
    Raises up a stone tower [dice]*10 feet in height over a course of [sum] minutes. Tower is empty inside, but does have a platform around the inside of the top with a ladder allowing access. Has [dice]*10 hitpoints with a DR of 6, and disappears with a pop when dispelled or "killed".
  5. Bother Deity
    R: n/a T: a powerful spirit or demon, or a minor g_d D: [dice] questions
    This spell allows communion and communication with a targeted supernal being. They are under no obligation to help you and may be irritated, but you can ask questions like "How can we repay you for your time O Big One?" to perhaps smooth things over.
  6. Magic Missive
    R: [dice]*10 miles T: a person the Many Wizards have spoken to in person D: n/a
    Sends a message of 2+[sum] words to the target creature. Arrives like a loud voicemail from a tech-illiterate aunt, and can be heard by nearby creatures.
  7. Silence Urchins
    R: sight T: [sum] minors of 1 HD or fewer D: [dice] hours
    Targeted children can only respond to direct questions for the duration. Has a casting time of 1 round if a single annoying child is the target, in which case the MD is burnt.
  8. Protection from Beggars
    R: n/a T: selves D: [dice] hours
    For the duration of the spell, the Many Wizards appear to be comically destitute. Their hats are pried open as if with a can opener, the soles of their boots flap behind them like sad banners, their clothing is threadbare and grimy, and their valuables are rendered invisible. Moderately convincing.
  9. Protection from Mildew
    R: [dice]*5' T: a circular area around the Many Wizards D: see below
    The targeted area becomes clean, dry, as well-lit as plausible, and remains so for the duration. Lasts for [sum] hours at one MD, [sum] days at two, [sum] years at three MD and is permanent at four.
  10. Power Word: Boo
    R: n/a T: a creature of [dice]+1 HD or fewer D: [dice] days
    One of the Many Wizards memorizes a dangerous word in an elder tongue. An elf or a g_d or something would instantly kill the target by speaking this word; your wizard just inflicts a failed morale check. The MD used to cast this spell do not return to the pool until the Power Word is spoken.
  11. Delayed Blast Lightning Bolt
    R: n/a T: n/a D: n/a
    What's with all those n/a's? Well, you see, this spell is part of the classic "Cheap Wand of Lightning" scam. It creates [dice] rods of lightning. These can be used to cast a Lightning Bolt spell with 1 MD by a wizard (save or take a point of damage), or by a non-wizard who passes a save (on a fail, deals full damage to them and blasts into the sky). Each such wand has a 1-in-6 chance of going off on its own every day. These are good for a lot of money in towns which have never heard of the Many Wizards.
  12. Ray of Tape
    R: 60' T: an object which wants some taping D: permanent
    Enshrouds the target with several layers of electrical tape, aluminium foil and glue. Holds up [dice]*20 pounds indefinitely. Can be cast on door hinges, padlocks, pressure plates and other things to gum them up quite badly.

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Twenty-Three Swords-ish

    Before I give you the long list of weird swords, let me babble at you about color for a moment. There is a disconnect between the words your language uses to describe color and your actual ability to perceive it (although it's not a total disconnect and there have been a lot of weird experiments about that). There exist impossible colors, corresponding to your brain's interpretation of misfiring cone cells. There may be human tetrachromats with a fourth yellow-sensitive cone in their eyes, and people with damaged corneas can see farther into the ultraviolet spectrum (just looks like more purple apparently).
Can't read this chart but I bet it's useful.
    And this isn't even getting into the made-up sounding stuff, like how brown doesn't exist or how you can see low-frequency sounds. Wild. Anyway, back to the swords.

Sacred Steel


    The g_ds invented new colors (more reliable than simple atoms) as they needed them, to perform specific and unusual tasks. Mankind alloyed these colors with iron to make weapons and tools. Many legendary weapons are made by some combination of the sacred steels, but you can buy a non-legendary weapon if you have some cash.
  • Pale. The color is something like the quality of translucency or pearlescence, such as can be seen on morning mists and fresh-cut plants. Green is green because it is pale.
        Folklore says that pale steels are arrogant but cowardly. Scholars say that pale steels contain crystalline structures which are easily damaged by torsion or heat differentials, which is just incredibly boring and swotty. Mechanically, pale weapons have +2 to-hit and damage, but are ruined on a fumble and must be repaired by a smith.
  • Chardun. The color is something like the quality of matteness or of soft light, such as can be seen on cloudy dawns or through thin smoke. Reds and grays are chardun.
        Chardun steels are flinty to the touch, and do not clink or rattle. Chardun armor gives no stealth penalties and weapons deal maximum damage on surprise.
  • Bronte. The color is something like the quality of penumbrance or of damaged vision, such as can be seen out of the corner of the eye or after a lightning strike. Purple and ultraviolet are colors with a lot of bronte in them.
        Bronte steels are friends to the ditch-digger and the dirt-farmer. Families pass bronte shovel-heads and plough-shares down through generations, and these tools are always eager to assist their masters. Mechanically, they provide a +1 bonus to all checks related to their use (including attacks).
  • Ossgold. The color is something like the quality of light reflecting from gold or radiating from hot objects, such as can be seen when counting money by firelight. Infrared may be perceived as ossgold.
        Ossgold steel is heavy, yes, but also possesses more inertia than it should. It is a good insulator but makes better shields than armor. Mechanically, tools made out of ossgold takes up twice as many slots as normal. Weapons have +1 to-hit and damage and harm the undead, shields may be used to block lightning and fire, and a full set of light armor halves falling damage but is as restricting as heavy armor. A full set of medium armor would halve all damage but subject you to the maximum possible encumbrance penalties (and would be worth more than its weight in diamonds). A full set of heavy armor would kill a strong man.
  • Adamant. The color is something like epilepsy and something like staring directly at the sun, such as can be seen by inducing flicker-vertigo in yourself with a laser pointer. Blue has a little adamant in it.
        It is no longer possible to rework adamant steels, but if you find an appropriately-shaped piece it is an indestructible weapon which always deals maximum damage. All such pieces are cursed.

    And finally, a list of odd swords vaguely in the style of Dwarf Fortress artifacts. They have the bonuses listed; not those of normal weapons of their material. They may or may not be able to speak at least some human languages.
  1. EMPTY THRONE MILLENNIUM. He is a heavy sword of pale and adamant. Six feet long, guard and hilt studded uncomfortably with flawed diamonds, with runes down the fuller revealing his name. He sings verses of scriptures while cutting and promises miserable reincarnations to those he kills. Every time you kill someone with EMPTY THRONE MILLENNIUM, intelligent enemies within earshot check morale. Currently a prized treasure of the green heretics.

  2. STOCHASTIC UNIVERSAL DESCRIPTION. He is a light rapier (+1) of adamant. Elaborate swept basket hilt, name in runes ringing the pommel. When a nearby enemy rolls a fumble mark it down; your next attack against them automatically hits. When you roll a fumble he laughs at you. Currently in the possession of a fairy bounty hunter.

  3. PRAGMA OMP PARALLEL. She is a medium sword (+1) of chardun. Sturdy Oakeshott XVIIIb, name passed down by tradition. When you take damage while holding her, you may teleport to a spot you could have strolled to in about three seconds (~15 feet on level terrain). Currently in the possession of a blue heretic at the bottom of a deep well.

  4. VOID STAR RETURN. It is a medium swordbreaker of pale and chardun. Unadorned metal rod with linen-wrapped handle embroidered with its name. The damage of this weapon explodes on an 8 (only possible when wielding it in two hands), and it destroys magical locks with a touch. Currently buried in a treasure chest on a desolate island.

  5. NO VOID RETURN. She is a medium tulwar (+1) of chardun. Broad polished blade, gilded hilt with her name spelled out in rubies. Reflections in the blade have inverted colors. Text reflected in her blade is translated to your own language (though it's not necessarily easy to read mirrored color-inverted text). Currently volunteering at a museum.

  6. THIS ALWAYS WORKS. She is a light straight-razor of ossgold. Her scales are well-worn red pine and she whispers her name when held to the ear. If thrown, she flies 30' and then rapidly returns to the hand. If thrown after promising to retrieve her, she flies 60' and automatically hits. Holds grudges. Can be found embedded high in an apple tree totally encrusted in old gore.

  7. DEAD RECKONING G_D. He is a medium kopesh of pale and bronte. Curved blade with sharpened false-edge, hilt and guard of heavy brass. Screams his own name once every sixty seconds, alerting nearby enemies and marking time perfectly. He either refuses to respond to conversation or else can't hear you at all. Hits on an attack roll of 11–20 and misses on 1–10. Currently serving as a church bell in a small town.

  8. WHO LIVES DIES. It is a medium whipsword of bronte. Sharp-edged squares two inches to a side, linked by unbreakable chains. Name passed down by tradition. Who Lives Dies may be whirled around the body like a dancer's ribbon, granting an effective AC as leather+shield. Also grants its wielder an additional attack, but if you roll a fumble you deal normal damage to yourself. A monastery in the west uses it in a particularly bizarre harvest festival.

  9. LONG CANDLE SNUFFER. He is a heavy executioner's sword (+2) of bronte and ossgold. Mottled blade of black and gold, prayers and his name etched directly into the metal. On a critical hit or upon rolling maximum damage, the creature struck by Long Candle Snuffer saves or rapidly disintegrates. He is a staunch Black Mask and will attempt to kill wielders who defy their tenets. Travels in the possession of a nervous murderer who is trying to pawn him off without revealing the crime.

  10. NIGHT BLUNTED SCYTHE. He is a massive long falx (+3) of pale and adamant. Looks like a single ten-foot chunk of indestructible glass. Immediately recognizable to anyone, and was once a favorite weapon of the First Brother himself. Deals half of 4d6 damage. There isn't a grindstone in the world which can repair Night Blunted Scythe's ruined edge (he is very sad about this). Lives in the holy city as a beloved religious artifact.

  11. SPRING THAW MOON. It is a medium sword (+3) of extremely high-quality pale. Straight, double-edged, designed with cavalry in mind. A small army of Kings are trying to retrieve it so it may be melted down. They will pay you a large sum of money for it, and if unwilling to sell they will kill you with throwing stars.

  12. SPHERE EQUATION TENDENCY. He is a medium sword of adamant. Standard Oakeshott XII with a translucent blue blade. Happy to explain his name and his dislike for wooden architecture (encourages sexual profligacy and poor diet). Twice a day, instantly damages a wooden object as much as a strong man could in thirty seconds with a hatchet. An heirloom of a woodcutter's family, but he has finally realized they are affiliated with Big Wood and would be happy to find a new master.

  13. LATE CRISIS WORD. She is a light rapier of pale and adamant. Blade of delicate mauve, knuckleguard covered with green rhinestones, her name psionically revealed to those who touch the rhinestones. Anyone so much as scratched by her must save or have a portion of their blood transmuted into a mild acid, which causes an additional 1d6 damage, exhaustion, cramping, vomiting and permanent liver damage. She frantically apologizes when this happens. Currently part of a collector's favorite set.

  14. KNOWLEDGE ALSO DESTROYS. She is a heavy greatsword (+1) of pale and chardun. Unremarkable design, but a topaz in her pommel vaguely resembles an eye. Affects consummate professionalism. If you pour one pint of fine gin on her blade she will fly for 60' in a requested direction with you and up to two other people clinging to her. Flight gets more dangerous and erratic as she gets more drunk. Decorates a noble's tomb in a haunted necropolis.

  15. I WOULD OBEY. He is light seax (+2) of bronte and ossgold. Attractive damasking changes as you watch, occasionally spelling out his name. He is a skilled barber and veterinarian, and is intimately familiar with the anatomy of humans and animals. Unfulfilled at his job as a hill-country sheep shearer.

  16. TWILIT PLACE TOKEN. It is a medium sword of bronte and adamant. Fat purple five-finger blade with blackened bone handle. Text inscribed on the blade explains it is considered highly valuable by the Fairy, which is true. Waits in an antique shop for a buyer who will believe.

  17. SUDDEN LIAR ARRIVAL. She is a medium flamberge (+1) of chardun. Wavy jet blade, sings quietly to herself or to wielder, but not if anyone else is around. She is clairvoyant out to five miles but only looking straight down from 100'. Marooned on a desert island, and is beginning to crack.

  18. FIFTH OF FIVE. It is a heavy kriegsmesser (+1) of ossgold and adamant. Tangerine blade lit from the inside, visible for miles in the darkness, stamped with its name. Its touch is agonizingly cold and can absorb an arbitrary amount of heat. Property of a mad explorer who wishes to visit the sun and loves to talk about his project.

  19. PIECE OF HEAVEN. He is a medium shank of ylem. Resembles a splinter torn from Yggdrasil the World-Tree. Wants to kill the First Brother, who tore him from his rightful place, and then return home. Deals double damage to supernatural opponents. Location unknown.

  20. MAKE SOMETHING NEW. She is a light sickle (+2) of purest chardun. Infinitely dark blade, sharkskin wrappings on the handle. Doesn't understand human society, refuses to learn. Carves through non-living material like paper. Presumably Owain (the Second Brother) still carries this with him.

  21. SOLVE PROBLEM IMMEDIATELY. It is a heavy lance of purest bronte. Proportioned like a rapier. Completely immovable when impaled in a solid object, unless grasped by the handle and pulled out by an intelligent being. Currently traps a powerful demon somewhere in the deep ocean.

  22. HEAVY ON SHOULDER. He is a heavy maul of purest ossgold. Complex alchemical diagrams cover his clamshell blade. You can spend two rounds whirling it about your head to strike for double damage, three rounds for triple, &c. One minute should be enough to shatter a castle wall, ten to topple a small hill, but past a certain point you will likely not survive the explosion. Gripped in the hands of the Immortal Saul, where his body lies in the far north.

  23. I WOULD NOT. She is a medium broadsword of purest adamant. Sawtoothed, speaks no human language. When she strikes an enemy you heal HP equal to damage done. If you cut yourself on the blade she can inflict damage to an enemy equal to HP lost. Works line-of-sight, or at any range if you know their name.

Thursday, April 9, 2020

The Unfinished World (GLOG Campaign Setting, some races)

This is info for an ongoing campaign and may be of only slight interest to you, dear reader. But, nevertheless, I endeavor in all things for your amusement and your viewing pleasure.

Time for the map again!

    Aeshe, Umbersheen, Arel, and Lussen are languages and shared cultures. King is a language and culture which they don't like to share. There's a pretty solid Aeshean Empire (both the country and the language are named after a religious figure), but besides that the world is mostly scattered with princedoms and baronies that might not fill a single six-mile hex (~20,000 acres).
    I promised a player some meaningful mechanical differentiation between races, so here's my attempt at doing that without introducing full demihumans into the world.


I am using all derived stats. If you want to steal something from this, you'll have to adjust accordingly.

    For all races: if your INT is at least 7/+0, you can read and write in your own language. At 12/+1 INT you know an additional language.
Aeshean
    Imperial subjects tend towards the tall and sturdy, with bronzed skin and work-hardened hands. They were the g_ds' most highly-favored, once, which is why their empire is so broad and they have so many skilled practitioners of the supernal arts. Their Church is the preeminent religion now that the old g_ds are gone, but many still worship dead Timotheos in their homes. Red Heretics are common here.
    You get +2 MOVE for being an Aeshean. If you can see the sun you know how long until dusk, and if your CHA is 12 or more you know the time even underground.
Umbern
    These are the slight, fair-haired people of the east half of a narrow land bridge, divided down the middle by an imperial road. Their part of the world is broken highland and moor, and they spend most of their days fighting brutal civil wars over sheep. Umber (the country doesn't have the "n") produces sturdy warriors and little else. They are ardent followers of the Church, but Green Heresy is still common.
    You get +2 HRTS for being an Umbern. By ignoring your body's pain receptors you can sacrifice 1 HP to gain a second melee attack in combat, and if your CHA is 12 or more you eat half as many rations as anyone else.
Shee
    These are the willowy, dark-haired people of the west half of a narrow land bridge, divided down the middle by an imperial road. Their part of the world is densely wooded lowland and swamp, and they spend most of their days shooting at deer or Umbern. Sheen (the country has the "n") produces bold hunters and little else. They are ardent followers of the Church, but Blue Heresy is still common.
    You get +2 SNEK for being a Shee. Experience and a stern eye gives you an extra 10' of range from your weapons, and if your CHA is 12 or more you can tell people apart by scent.
Arelian
    Staunch plebiscitaries bearing gray hair and skin, proud of suffering under the most advanced Democracy in the known world. Every three years, Arelians elect an Undeniable Dictator who sets all taxes and spends all taxes. There are no term limits, but unpopular dictators may find themselves executed by their successor. Orthodox monasteries are common in these parts. So are harems, forbidden by the mainstream Church but common among Purple Heretics. Arelians are a complicated people.
    You get +2 SKLL for being an Arelian. You know an additional language and can read any language you can speak. If you have 12 CHA or more you know a primal language of the spirits, and can speak with wizards and demigods.
Deltan
    Natives of the rainforests and wetlands of Icorn. Originally short, ruddy and dark-haired, but most are at least part Aeshean after centuries of subjugation. They recently threw off that subjugation; this has everyone worrying. Have their leaders made deals with Wizards? Will Chaos soon have its own kingdom in the world of Man? The Deltans are just happy to be free. Most are Yellow Heretics.
    You get +2 INIT for being a Deltan. You swim like a fish and can climb trees like ladders, and if your CHA is 12 or more your jump distance is doubled.
King
    The arrogant precursors to modern humanity. Lanky, ruddy, bearing hatchet-noses and shaved heads. The Kings (claim that they) were the ones who built the ancient cities, (say that they) named the nameless hills and dells, and (may have) raised the first temples to the old g_ds (if you believe them). They (claim to) rightfully own all ruins, all artifacts, all cities and all territories. As other peoples ignore these claims, most Kings live as wandering vagabonds and mercenaries. Kings still worship the old g_ds and have a generally hostile relationship with the Church of Aeshe.
    You get +2 SAVE for being a King. Martial training from an early age gives you a permanent +1 to-hit, and if you have at least 12 CHA you recognize ancient artifacts immediately and can generally guess their value and origin.


  1. What is the deal with my cleric's religion?
    See above image. It's very complicated. Tolerance for heresy depends on the region.
     
  2. Where can we go to buy standard equipment?
    Towns have blacksmiths, larger towns have larger selections.
     
  3. Where can we go to get platemail custom fitted for this monster I just befriended?
    A Manufactory would be able to whip it up in no time, but you might be able to pay for a custom job in a larger town.
     
  4. Who is the mightiest wizard in the land?
    "Wizard" is usually used by superstitious peasants to refer to something dangerous, whatever that may be, supernatural or fully mundane. All sorts of horrible things might be the most dangerous Wizard around. If you mean "mightiest caster", and aren't picky about "in the land", the Great Sage Aeshe(pbuh) is the mightiest.
     
  5. Who is the greatest warrior in the land?
    Undoubtedly the Holy Emperor, in the great city of Anyang, capital of the land of Aeshe.
     
  6. Who is the richest person in the land?
    The Executive, an elected (not by plebiscite) official responsible for taxes and tolls, has the most ready cash. The cash at least nominally belongs to the Emperor, but the balance of power in the empire is complicated.
     
  7. Where can we go to get some magical healing?
    Every settlement has at least one qualified cleric. Settlements without clerics do not survive for very long. You can always find a wide variety of cleric-errants and heretics on the road, busily flitting from one catastrophe to the next.
     
  8. Where can we go to get cures for the following conditions: poison, disease, curse, level drain, lycanthropy, polymorph, alignment change, death, undeath?
    Poison, disease, curse and level-drain can be dealt with by any competent cleric. Polymorph and alignment change are consequences of heresy; they can be avoided by not associating with heretics and can be cured by burning at the stake. Lycanthropy is something that happens to Builders who anger their g_d. Death can be cured by lying around. You'll get right back up. Undeath can be cured by a cleric as well (the ones who carry swords).
     
  9. Is there a magic guild my MU belongs to or that I can join in order to get more spells?
    Yes, you definitely belong to some sort of organization. Unsanctioned magic is, at best, a crime. If you're particularly unlucky you will be labeled a Red Heretic and summarily destroyed. Organization isn't all bad though; you can buy new spells if you're willing to pay the exorbitant fees, and if you're trying to track down another member you can just ask your boss.
     
  10. Where can I find an alchemist, sage or other expert NPC?
    Arel (in the frozen south) is famous for its libraries and its total kooks. You could take a boat, or the nice broad highway, but it's a few hundred miles at least. Study of esoteric literature is popular among the disgustingly wealthy everywhere.
     
  11. Where can I hire mercenaries?
    Most places. There are always strapping young men and women ready to rove out in search of adventure. If what you're looking for is a large group of battle-hardened veterans, they are more expensive but still common.
     
  12. Is there any place on the map where swords are illegal, magic is outlawed or any other notable hassles from Johnny Law?
    You can't wear armor in major towns. Rougher areas are fine with you carrying weapons of self defense, but no civilized places appreciate you walking around with a blunderbuss or a pike in your hands.
     
  13. Which way to the nearest tavern?
    Less than a day's travel from you at all times. If you're farther than one day's travel from civilization, you have much bigger things to worry about than alcohol.
     
  14. What monsters are terrorizing the countryside sufficiently that if I kill them I will become famous?
    There are any number of werewolves, wizards and armies of the unburied dead roaming about. You should ask individual townships for their local problems.
     
  15. Are there any wars brewing I could go fight?
    Constantly. The Empire has many regional governors, who oversee many greater lords, who oversee many lesser lords. Some small civil war is always going on somewhere. If you prefer a longer-running and more idiotic fight, the Umber and the Sheen are always raiding up and down the borderlands.
     
  16. How about gladiatorial arenas complete with hard-won glory and fabulous cash prizes?
    Bloodsport is frowned upon (too much risk of the undead). The underworld may have what you're looking for, especially in larger harbor towns with weaker laws and more roughnecks.
     
  17. Are there any secret societies with sinister agendas I could join and/or fight?
    That sounds like something you shouldn't be asking in public. You might have a few friends or contacts who can point you in the right direction, though.
     
  18. What is there to eat around here?
    Human flesh, and plenty of it. The humans themselves eat root vegetables and goat.
     
  19. Any legendary lost treasures I could be looking for?
    Dozens, here's a list to start you off with.
     
  20. Where is the nearest dragon or other monster with Type H treasure?
    Straight down a few miles. If you'd prefer monsters you can actually reach, you should start hunting Wizards. Many carry artifacts, or can be harvested for reagents.

    Things You Need To Know:

    1. The world was created by a group of five g_ds commonly called the Brothers. They sculpted coastlines and waterways, built up mountains, and peopled the world with intelligent animals which closely resembled them (now known as "Man"). For unknown reasons they abandoned it before it was complete, and the world has never quite worked right since.
    2. Bodies which are not treated properly rise as the Unburied. Before Aeshe developed clerical magic the only "proper" treatment was the pyre, and control over the priesthood is why the Church of Aeshe is so widely accepted.
    3. The sun hangs in one spot in the north, flicking on and off at dawn and dusk. Scholars believe it was once supposed to orbit around the world like the moon, but nobody knows how that was supposed to work (what if it flicked "on" and it was pointing at the wrong side of the world?). Natural sunlight banishes evil, and in the absolute darkness of night evil flourishes.
    4. The world is flat, with three corners. Scholars believe it is a four-faced pyramid and rests its point on.... something. It's hot in the north (where the sun is) and cold in the south. Oceanic currents run "downhill". The shallow sea pools around islands and reefs. Sailing is dangerous.

    Saturday, April 4, 2020

    There Are Four Dice (GLOG Class: Wizard)

        "The Company, with G_d-like modesty, shuns all publicity. Its agents are, of course, secret; the orders it constantly and continually imparts are no different from those spread by imposters. For who will boast of being a mere imposter? The drunken man who blurts out an absurd command, the sleeping man who wakes suddenly to choke to death the woman sleeping at this side — are they not, perhaps, implementing one of the Company's secret decisions? This silent functioning, like that of G_d, inspires all manner of conjecture..."

    Source: 1984 by Alcook.

     Class: Metatron


        You are an agent of the Company, an organization related (perhaps) to the legendary Academy of the Manufacturers. You have a pool of Memory Dice, which are very similar to (but not quite the same thing as) Magic Dice. Through the use of these MD, the Company operates in secret to control the world and protect it from itself.
         You can wear light armor, but may not use shields unless another class gives you that ability. If you have at least one template in this class you never fumble while using knives, garrotes, lassos or one-handed swords.
        You know one procedure from your list, determined by rolling 1d8 at first level. You may learn additional procedures from other Metatron, or through buying them from the Company. They may also be found in coded messages throughout the world. You use Procedures by rolling your MD, in a manner very similar to casting a spell. In general, treat them as you would treat a spell, except they are called procedures.

    Skills: 1. Gaslighting, 2. Unmarked Code-Switching, 3. An Obscure, Dangerous Sport.

    Starting Equipment: one freshly dry-cleaned nice suit (as unarmored but with +1 Reaction rolls), a set of dentist gear (see below), one entry from the list of Tools with Unpleasant Implications.

    Perks: Your organization operates, at least in theory, with the approval of the government. You can mention this to guards or other legal authorities as a great excuse for all the weird crimes you are bound to commit. Common folk believe you 4-in-6 times, and the Company doesn't mind 5-in-6 times.
    Drawback: Once a month, the Company sends you the name of a target. On a 3-in-6 chance your mission is to plant an object (which accompanied the message) on their person. On a 2-in-6 chance you must engage them in conversation, identifying yourself as an agent of the Company. On a 1-in-6 chance you must kill them and make it look like an accident.

    • A: Parry, Good Technique, +1 MD
    • B: Friendly Smile, +1 MD
    • C: Better Technique, Constant Wind, +1 MD
    • D: Ban Nigh, +1 MD
    Parry
        In addition to subterfuge and sorcery, you are a student of superior swordplay. Once per turn you may reduce incoming weapon damage by your to-hit bonus. If your to-hit bonus is less than +1, consider it to be +1 while holding a light weapon.
    Good Technique
        Choose one Technique from the Sacerd or Swan list. You can learn more Techniques by paying for them, just like anyone else.
    Friendly Smile
        Look into someone's eyes, open yours wide, display your teeth and laugh wildly. The target must make a morale roll; if they fail, they are rooted to the spot until you break eye contact (and you are very good at not blinking). They may still defend themselves.
        Dogs and elfs attack you with suicidal rage instead of rolling morale. Nearby civilians will probably flee.
    Better Technique
        "Magnus Magister Multis Neces Sunt", as the poet said. Learn another Technique from the Sacerd or Swan list for free. If your to-hit bonus is less than +2, consider it to be +2 while holding a light weapon.
    Constant Wind
        Your clothing and hair constantly billow, even indoors or directly into the wind. You may suppress this effect with conscious effort, and you probably should (since it very clearly marks you as a Metatron). Civilians always believe you when you identify yourself.
    Ban Nigh
        Look into someone's eyes, open yours wide, display your teeth and SCREAM. The target must make a Morale roll; if they fail, they are rooted to the spot until you run out of breath. They may not defend themselves.
        Dogs and elfs flee immediately without making a roll. Nearby civilians run away for several minutes and then hide for several more.

    Procedures


        Your implements are your dentist gear. You can't use procedures on other people if you aren't holding your implements, but you can always use your procedures on yourself.
    1. Falsify Memory
      R: touch T: a mind, conscious or unonscious D: permanent
      The target forgets the last [dice] hours, and the memories are replaced with an impression of vague boredom. You may use 2+[sum] words to describe what they remember happening; their mind will fill in the blanks as best as it can. While the memories are irretrievable to all but the most skilled barbers, it's fairly easy to deduce that something is wrong, especially if multiple people can compare stories to find inconsistencies.

    2. Inflict Agony
      R: [dice]*30' T: a conscious mind D: instant
      The target takes [dice] damage without a save. This damage is always non-lethal. If you are exposing the target to their worst fear, they take [sum] damage instead.

    3. Haste
      R: n/a T: self D: [best] minutes
      For the duration, you move [dice]+1 times faster than you can run, silently. If someone is watching you then you are petrified and cannot move at all. You may approach [dice]*5 feet every time they blink.

    4. Knock
      R: touch T: a door or gate D: instant
      You knock loudly on the impeding target. A person on the other side who can hear you must save with [dice] penalty or attempt to allow you access. If there are multiple people on the far side, [sum] of them are affected, and will fight others who try to stop them from opening the door. The effect ends after one minute.

    5. Lock
      R: touch T: a portal or container D: instant
      You touch the target and seal it for [best] days. The target is now an object of fear, and all who behold it will be convinced, in the back of their minds, that something awful is waiting on the other side. It will open with a good kick, but living targets must pass a save with [dice] penalty to approach it. People who don't have a good reason to try won't approach at all.

    6. Magic Missile
      R: [dice]*30' T: a person of up to [dice] HD. D: [sum] minutes
      A bolt of energy, quite small, easy to overlook, fires out of your outstretched finger and into a target's eye. For the duration, every direct lie they tell deals [dice] damage to them, and they must save when asked a question or blurt out an answer.  Targets are aware of what is happening and won't accidentally kill themselves. Smart targets may try to run out the clock with inane chatter.

    7. Sleep
      R: 30' T: a creature of up to [dice] HD. D: ten minutes
      The target saves. If they pass, they attempt to flee. If they fail, they fall into a deep slumber which they perceive as passing the save and fleeing. You can't see into the dream, but you can describe its "plot" with 2+[sum] words.
          This dream seems to last for up to [sum] hours. The target gets an additional save if it is extremely unpleasant or if they do something uncharacteristic, but otherwise they will wake up confused and afraid.

    8. Thoughtgun
      R: [dice]*30' T: up to [dice] creatures which can see you D: instant
      You mime placing a gun to your temple and firing. Every target makes a save or takes [sum] damage. If they pass the save, you take 1 damage.
          If a target is killed by this spell their heads explode. If you die from this spell, all memory of your existence is removed from the minds of every creature with fewer HD than you.

    9. Locate Object
      R: touch T: an object or creature D: [dice] months
      You touch a target and implant a tracking device. For living targets, this is painless and unnoticeable. You always know where the trackers are, and may have as many active trackers as you have levels. Creatures who detect the tracker can cut it out with a sharp knife.

    10. Disguise Self
      R: self T: n/a D: [dice] days
      Your appearance radically changes. You may increase [dice] stats by up to [best] points for the duration of the spell, and may choose to resemble any basically humanoid creature. You may mimic up to [dice] templates of another class. You may change your voice. You may alter your gait, your mannerisms, and add or remove tics and nervous habits. If you can memorize enough details, you may impersonate anyone perfectly. This spell ends early if you will it or if you die; otherwise, it can not be dispelled or seen through by any form of magic.

    11. Implant Idea
      R: 2' T: an unconscious mind D: see description
      This is the first of the terrible Signature Techniques of the Metatron. The target gains a new belief, the scale of which is dependent on the [dice] invested.
      1. Coherent single thoughts. "I should kill my husband", "I should walk off this cliff", "Who even needs a king, anyway?" Unlikely to have lasting effect, but repeat castings may be disturbing for the target.
      2. Implications and complex knowledge. A suspicion of spousal infidelity, a sudden ennui which catches you off guard, an impression that democracy is a good idea. Hard to shake off, and much more likely to stick around.
      3. Motivations. You are sure your husband is cheating on you, you know you have nothing left to live for, the king is definitely a murderous bastard with an army of mind-controlling torturers at his command. Deprogramming, at this stage, is difficult.
      4. Definite knowledge. You caught your spouse cheating on you, and if you can find a gun you can kill the two of them before they get away. You've already decided to kill yourself, and now you're searching for a nice high building so you can end it immediately. The rebellion contacted you weeks ago, and tonight at the Grand Ball the bourgeois will realize all that they have done. Deprogramming is only possible if the target survives.

    12. Kill Idea
      R: 2' T: a conscious mind D: see description
      The second Signature Technique. Deals [sum] * 2 damage to target thought. Most thoughts have 1 HP, but angels and devils likely have more. Casting with more [dice] allows removal of more complex thoughts:
      1. Coherent single thoughts. "Someone should kill the king", "You're lying to me about this topic", "Hey, that guy just picked my pocket". Temporary; while the thought is permanently lost the information that led to it is still present
      2. Implications and complex knowledge. Research on the management of the kingdom, topic expertise which contradicts the lie, knowledge of the content of their pockets. Long-term;  the knowledge will have to be recreated.
      3. Motivations. The belief that the king is an oppressor, the will or talent to learn the topic, the desire to own material goods. Effectively permanent, though these may eventually be regained.
      4. Basic concepts. Understanding of "kingdom" or "oppression", knowledge that a topic exists, the concept of "ownership" or "haeccity" or "object permanence". Cannot be undone.

    Mistakes (when two MD show the same number, consult this chart)
    1. Misalignment. MD return to the pool only on 1–2 today.
    2. They bit down. You drop whatever you are holding and take 1d6 damage.
    3. Failure, hideous failure! The procedure does not occur.
    4. You lose track of yourself. You forget your position on the map and collapse like a ragdoll. Take a turn to figure out which limb is which.
    5. Disruption of the train of thought. The procedure works this time, but you can't perform it again until you have a an hour to collect your thoughts.
    6. The mind recoils, and whites out in self defense. Effect of the procedure is doubled but you are unconscious for a round and cannot perform another today.
    Consequences (when three MD show the same number, the next item on this list occurs to you)
    1. Your other self (who cannot be physically distinguished from you in any way) immediately replaces you. They have all of your memories, most of your mannerisms, and as many levels in Metatron as you do. They will cooperate with your party for an hour, whereupon you return with no memory of the time lost.
    2. Your other self immediately replaces you. They have all of your memories, but they've spent some time thinking about their hour of freedom and now want more. Their personality has diverged, and they may or may not still be cooperative with the party, depending on the treatment they receive. You will return from wherever you were sent to when the other self next falls asleep, with no memory of the intervening time. 
    3. Your other self replaces you. This is permanent. You are erased, and this identical stranger now lives your life.
        Some scholars say there is no "other self", and that the consequences are the brain sacrificing the ego to protect itself. Others say that the other selves are souls (a parasitic species) who willingly destroy their parents and deliver them into the Outer Darkness, where there is wailing and a gnashing of teeth. Either way, the consequences can not be avoided. When your other self rolls triples they will be replaced with a third, and so on, and so on.

    Tools with Unpleasant Implications

    1. Nice Suit. White silk shirt, black silk for the jacket, vest and tie. Accessories include brightly colored tie, black trilby, black patent-leather shoes, and that weird fucking nazi coat hangar thing. +1 Reaction rolls while worn. Takes up 0 slots worn, 2 slots carried.
    2. Dentist Gear. A hand-powered drill, a set of scrapers, a scalpel, a hammer and chisel, a long spool of fine wire, a bonesaw, a pair of pliers, a pair of sharp tweezers, and a large syringe. No painkiller. 1 slot.
    3. Straight razor. A light weapon. +1 damage, can't be thrown, ⅓ slot.
    4. A set of heavy manacles. The chain has 6 HP and 14 AC. 1 slot.
    5. Smoke Bombs. A small bag of ten. These produce a cloud of smoke in a five-foot cube when thrown. The smoke lasts for one minute. Anyone who breathes in the smoke must save or become dizzy and confused. ⅓ slot.
    6. Mechanical Eye. Looks like any common object of your choice which is smaller than an apple. The "receiving" end must be implanted in your own eye; you can see through it by focusing for an action. If the other end is smashed you are immediately reduced to 0 HP and knocked unconscious from the pain. ⅓ slot.
    7. Packet of Company Cockroach Eggs. You can spread these out in an area to cause a terrible infestation. They are easily distinguished from common cockroaches by their slightly-longer legs. If ingested, they survive off of the contents of the stomach indefinitely, until killed by poison.
    8. Counterfeit Money. A princely sum (perhaps around 1,000 gp) in bogus currency. You can try to spend this as if it were real, but many shopkeepers are intelligent enough to recognize it. The heavy case case occupies 2 slots.
    9. Camera Decipere. A cunningly-made contraption which uses light to project the contents of one sheet of paper onto another, making it effortless to forge signatures and easy to forge handwriting. 1 slot.
    10. A bottle of Invisible Ink. When used to write a message, the words fade. They reappear when exposed to heat — but after a few moments, they fade again permanently, and no one else will be able to see them. 140 characters worth.
    11. Cipherbook. Allows you to leave coded messages in ordinary letters, books and billboards. Another cipherbook will decode the messages, if the other person knows the key. ⅓ slot.
    12. Piano Wire Garrote. A strange weapon. A successful attack with a -4 penalty allows you to wrap the garrote around an enemy's neck; after that, thirty seconds of vigorous strangling will reduce them into unharmed unconsciousness. You automatically hit if the target is totally unprepared, and you can be interrupted at any time by another person. It's actually a lot harder to use these things properly than people think.
    13. Rapier. As a light weapon, with +1 damage. Stylish, 1 slot.
    14. Muff Pistol. A light ranged weapon which holds one bullet. 60' range, ⅓ slot.
    15. Blowgun. A two-foot length of sturdy tube which can fire darts as a light ranged weapon. These deal 1 damage and may be smeared with other substances. 1 slot.
    16. Silk Rope. 60', invisible in darkness. 1 slot.
    17. Company Bird. Looks like a normal bird, but its toes are a little too sharp. Can follow a target, and remember 6 words of human speech at a time. Smart enough to follow orders and to tell which words are important. Its cage is 3 slots.
    18. Cruel Bomb. Looks like any common object of your choice which is smaller than a loaf of bread. Has a timer which can be set for up to two years. Explodes for 3d6 damage in a 30' range, unless smashed to pieces before it goes off. 1 slot.
    19. A bottle of Instant Rage. Made from spider squeezings. Anyone who ingests it must save or attack the closest target with whatever comes to hand. Target gets a new save every time they take damage or kill someone. 3 doses.
    20. Some bizarre artifact, determined by rolling on the following table:
      1. A journal detailing the author's experience on a tropical island infested with zombies. They apparently lived for some time safely by dressing up in archaic fashions and calling themselves a vampire. The book ends suddenly, with the author at a light brunch on the beach wondering why the zombies have been acting strange. 1 slot.
      2. A dog who can speak human language. Elderly, alcoholic, mostly just interested in laying low and keeping under the radar.
      3. A silver ring which broadcasts the wearer's conscious thoughts to everyone within 10'.
      4. Two identical chairs. What affects one affects the other. If two people sit in them at the same time, the chairs swap positions. 4 slots each.
      5. A strange wall mirror, which acts as a powerful (3x) magnifying glass from the other side. Totally unbreakable. 2 slots.
      6. A pack of cards. The queens are all your mother, the kings are your father, the jacks your friends, and the rules card describes your death in poetic terms. If you burn the deck any curses or diseases affecting you vanish and you heal to full HP.