Monday, April 29, 2024

A Rough Sort (Trio of GLOG Classes)

    Got a couple of classes rattling around in my brain. Thought I'd publish them here, so at least someone might get use out of them.

"Chocolate"! AI generated, with a watermark from some sleazebaggianos... and yet, still "chocolate".

    The Thieves World series consisted of sword-and-sorcery anthologies of stories written by some of the most influential fantasists of the 70s and 80s (including the never-more-than-just-out-of-frame Marion Zimmer Bradley). They were mostly pretty terrible books, containing mostly pretty terrible stories — at best, they reach the height of "pastiches of Robert E. Howard and Clark Ashton Smith" and at the worst they're about the unshakeable love between an author-insert and a prepubescent. I've read the first two out of twelve collections, and there have already been 3 or 4 stories where a man infiltrates a wizard's house by sneaking in through the hidden escape route backwards (like in Rogues in the House, January 1934, a story worth reading). But I take real joy in crummy, crime-ridden fantasy cities, and because my current weekly game has taken the party to one (and stuck them there for a good while) I've been scaring up brain-fodder.

    The connections between Thieves World and 1980s fantasy tabletop gaming is obvious, worth discussing, and has been discussed elsewhere in long essays and shit. Go read those if you're interested; I'm only here to post some classes.

    I suppose I have one thought to share with you, a bit of Theory before the content. A common thread in the GLOG is the idea that the class is the primary medium by which the player understands the world. Vivanter has a post about class selection as the way players signal what kind of game they want to play. I couldn't find this post in time for publishing, but I've read some good posts (possibly from Grognardia?) about how Jack Vance and other sword-and-sorcery authors used throw-away references to strange peoples, secret cults and far-off lands to good effect, giving the impression that their worlds were much broader and deeper than they probably were.
    Here's that thought I promised you, reader: you don't need to write any "lore" or "setting info". You don't need a timeline, and you hardly ever need a map (unless the map is cool). The classes can speak for themselves. In Thieves World each new weird guy — Shadowspawn the witch-blood burglar; Tempus the murderously sociopathic avatar to a host of gods; Lythande the magical pedophile (written by Marion Zimmer Bradley); many more — expands and deepens the setting exponentially. Just come up with good ideas! That's all you need!

    "Nobody knows how big Sanctuary [the city which the stories are set in] really is. Anytime any one of us needs a secret meeting place we just create one – Sanctuary is either very large or very cramped." - Lynn Abbey, author, co-editor of Thieves World

Wizard School: Three Primes

    When several factors beloved by the Lord of the Three Primes align in the life of a soon-to-be acolyte (among them the loss of all family ties, a certain bloodless interest in the human body, and a talent for dark magic), then the Black Book of Sal-Carrion may appear to them, bound in soft, creamy hide, lettered in red ink. Its secrets are cruel, and difficult to believe — but if you have the inclination, surely it wouldn't be so hard to disprove them.

Perk: By your education, dress and manner of speech you are recognized as a gentleman-medico. You're permitted to enter places that are usually forbidden to wizards, adventurers, or common surgeons. Highly-placed people trust your judgment, and seek your advice in emergencies. 
Drawback: Peasants and children makes a reaction check when they realize what you are. They may attempt to ward you off with an apple. 
  1. Once per disease you are infected with, you may attempt to pass it to another person who fails a save.
  2. When you spill blood, you may choose to have it disappear before it touches the ground.
  3. Given a bird and a windup toy, you may make one windup bird with 10 minutes of work.
  1. Abstemious Supply
    R: touch T: see description D: permanent
    The caster passes their hand over a target not produced or previously affected by this spell, revealing [best] extra doses, portions or slots of...
    1MD: any food or drink...
    2MD: or poison or drug...
    3MD: or potion or magical ingredient...
    4MD: or small creature or object. 
  2. Dirty Needle
    R: self T: n/a D: until dismissed
    Caster draws a light epee +[dice] from thin air. Those struck by the blade save v. disease or contract one of the following at random: blinding sickness, bubonic plague, cackle fever, filth fever, leprosy, mindfire, red ache, shakes, or slimy doom.
  3. Ant Haul
    R: touch T: creature D: [sum] hours.
    [dice] copies of the creature appear. They follow the original in a long line, mimicking its actions, and carrying its burdens.  If slain, or at the end of the duration, the copies curl up into a dry little ball. Each corpse may be boiled into 1 ration of unpleasant soup.
  4. Carrion Compass
    R: touch T: corpse or undead creature of [dice] HD or fewer D: [sum] miles
    Caster touches a part of the target, traditionally an organ or bone, and it begins to levitate. If the target was a corpse, their piece begins to slowly levitate towards the person they would most blame for their death (if murdered, this is typically their killer). If the target is an undead, their piece begins to slowly levitate towards its controller; if they had no controller, the piece levitates towards their resurrector; if raised as undead by some curséd tomb or battlefield or artifact instead of a necromancer, the piece levitates towards some curséd tomb or battlefield or artifact; if none of these things are the case, or if they were the case but the controller/resurrector/curséd tomb has been slain or destroyed, the piece burns to ash. 
  5. Face of the Devourer
    R: touch T: creature D: [sum] minutes
    Target's face gains a hideous new shape, such as a half-melted visage with insect legs instead of teeth, seeping pits instead of eyes, and suckered tongues dangling from its misshapen mouth. The face is different every time this spell is cast. This spell does not interfere with the target’s senses or breathing, though it might prevent the target from speaking. The face is so horrible that it triggers a morale check with a [dice] penalty in any creature who looks upon it, including the target if they glance in the mirror. When dealing with outsiders, the face instead grants a reaction bonus equal to [dice]. Additionally, the target gains a medium bite attack for the duration.
  6. Know the Enemy
    R: sight T: creature of [sum] HP or fewer D: instant
    Choose a target within range. Learn [dice] relevant facts about them (of the kind appropriate for Assassins, Monster Hunters or Gumshoes) instantly.
  7. Furious Rat
    R: n/a T: n/a D: see description
    Caster summons a rat with [sum] hitpoints and [dice] levels in Berserker to their hand. Once the rat is flung, it's go time.
  8. Placebo Effect
    R: touch T: injured or sick creature D: one day
    Caster mutters some mumbo-jumbo and target "heals" up to [sum] hitpoints and [dice] injuries, fatal wounds or diseases. All damage the target takes is doubled for the duration of the spell, or until they have received a total of [sum] damage (before doubling). Every time the target takes damage, a random injury, fatal wound or disease reasserts itself. 
  9. Woundweep
    R: 30' T: an injured creature D: instant
    Target saves or takes as much damage as they are already missing from their max HP (e.g. a creature at 6/9 hitpoints is now at 3/9 hitpoints). This process is excruciating. The damage cannot directly kill the target, but if it reduces them to 0 hitpoints they must check constitution or fall unconscious from the pain, and if they have sustained any injuries they must again check constitution or suffer that injury a second time.
  10. Retained Foreign Object
  11. Revolution
  12. [data not found]

Barbarian: Cloudskater

    Tall, thin, broad-browed, blue-eyed strangers come migrating in silk-tented hordes every few years. You don't see them much before dusk. They'll do most things for pay. They're barbarians, of course, but not the common kind, if common kinds there be. 

Skills: 1. Love songs 2. Siege engines 3. Armory maintenance
Starting Equipment: boltcutters (as medium, but must be used in two hands), blue lantern, crescent harp, silver medallion
  • A Little Shadow
  • B Close Encounter
  • C Memory of Drums
  • D Round Worlder
Little Shadow
    Your wear a silver medallion around your neck, which is a token of the Moon's love for you and of the protection she has granted your people. So long as you never show this token to her jealous lover, the Sun, your jump distance is trebled and you take only 1d6 points of damage for every complete 30' you fall. Should you fail to conceal the token, by mistake or malice, you lose this benefit and gain the ire of the Sun. His light will burn you like fire. This continues until you create or obtain a replacement token made from at least 1 slot of silver that has never been touched by sunlight
    While you are raging, your jump distance increases by a factor of 10, and you take 1d6 points of damage for every complete 100' you fall. Additionally, you may only fall 100' per round. 

Close Encounter
    You can spend a point of Rage to cause a willing person, or a roughly person-sized object, to rise into the sky on a beam of light. It is trivial to move out of the way of the light, so unwilling persons must first be pacified. Later, you can spend a point of Rage to cause that person or object to descend from the sky in the same manner. 9-in-10 that the same one comes down as went up. 4-in-6 odds nothing really weird has happened. 

Memory of Drums
    Every night you dream of war in heaven. Your visions are of ships of blue glass rigged with silver wire and morning mist, swords that burn, warriors slain without a touch by air too cold to breathe, bows and lances of light, starry horns blowing silent signals, and other beautiful things no one else can understand. In your waking hours you possess a sourceless knowledge of how to build, maintain and use inexplicable devices.
    Each inexplicable device has a cost in materials (listed generically, generally available in a city or a relevant workshop) and in sourceless knowledge. You have 1 point of sourceless knowledge per level. Every time you sleep, you may reinvest and redistribute any amount of sourceless knowledge, though your devices will quickly fail without your constant upkeep. 
Inexplicable Devices:
  1. Lightning Sling.
    Cost: 10x polearm, 1 sourceless knowledge.
    This inexplicable device resembles a bident with a crescent-shaped buttspike and two toothed blades, each canted about 30° off from where a single blade would be. A cumbersome massive weapon, capable of devastating scything blows, with significant reach. If held from the bottom with one hand in the crescent, the Sling may project a 20' thunderbolt that catches metallic objects and either violently pulls or explosively pushes them. May be used to grapple with armored targets at range, or to pick up medium or heavy swords (or other all-metal weapons and objects) and fling them 60'. 
  2. Lamplighting Knife.
    Cost: 10x sword, 1 sourceless knowledge.
    This inexplicable device resembles a rainmaker with a textured rubber exterior, about ten inches long and an inch in diameter. It rattles pleasantly when shook because it is full of lead pellets. When sharply flicked, as if getting blood off a sword, a 24" baton of liquid lead extends from one end of the device. This baton remains for one minute, and then automatically retracts and cannot be reactivated for an hour. Used as a weapon, this is a light club +2, and deals an additional 1d8 fire damage to creatures who aren't very heavily insulated. Mind the spatter.
  3. Reflective Stonebow.
    Cost: 10x crossbow for the weapon, 10x arrows for the ammunition, 2 sourceless knowledge.
    This inexplicable device resembles a heavy fiddle of some polished marble-like material, with long darts of black metal. When the darts are drawn across one or more of the weapon's four steel strings, they are launched with varying effects to a range of about 330'. You know how to produce the following effects, though others may be possible:
    • Slaying. All of the dart except its head burn up in flight. It inflicts 2d6 damage to one target. 
    • Frangible. The dart disintegrates into a cloud of shrapnel. It inflicts 1d10 damage in a 10' radius sphere, save for half.
    • Freeze Missile. Struck target saves or is rendered immobile for 1d6 rounds.
    • Marking. Dart burns to nothing in flight, leaving a trail of randomly-colored thick smoke that lingers for ten minutes. 
  4. Ascetic Shield.
    Cost : 10x shield, 2 sourceless knowledge.
    This inexplicable device resembles a flat disc of almost-transparent sky-blue glass, about 4'' in diameter. When attached to your arm (donning or doffing the shield takes half an hour), it grants you a +4 bonus to AC. When held over your head, it can bear about 800 pounds of weight comfortably without slowing or fatiguing you, so long as your arm is raised. If carrying more than 800 pounds, the shield violently explodes.
  5. Horned Helmet.
    Cost: as plate, 3 sourceless knowledge.
    This inexplicable device resembles a black glass sallet with long feathery antennae like a moth's. When wearing this helmet, you may broadcast thoughts to targets within 330' whose names you know. If you are struck with a critical hit while wearing it, the helmet peacefully explodes, and all creatures within 3280' besides yourself take 1d12 psychic damage. 
  6. Hippoere Lectern.
    Cost: 10x horse, 2 sourceless knowledge.
    This inexplicable device resembles those gizmos the Battle Droids are flying around on chasing Jar Jar Binks in Star Wars Episode I The Phantom Menace. It moves faster than a horse, and hovers 3' off the ground while in motion, but if [rider's Constitution score] + [number of occupied slots in rider's inventory, excepting chi] ever equals 21 or higher, the lectern violently explodes.

Round Worlder
    While raging, your personal gravity changes to the direction your feet are pointing at the start of each round. 

Rogue: Ratbastard

    In far-away cities your kind is often born, even in the best families. In this cold and dry foreign land you are practically unheard of. Suits you just fine. 
    A Ratbastard is like a Hellbastard, but with oily black rats instead of ink. Your kind seems to fall, inevitably, into a life of crime. It makes sense, I suppose; your blood is so much thicker than water. 

    You are a Rogue, with all that that implies. 

Skills: 1. Horsery 2. Foreign literature 3. Lies
Starting Equipment: set of ridiculous clothes, sword with two blades (medium), flask of cheese-flavored liquor (3 doses)

  • A Still a Rat, However Mutable My Form
  • B Veil of Rodents
  • C Inveterate Gnawer, Poisonous Teleport 
  • D All Bastard
Still a Rat
    Your veins are full of rats. These rats are dangerous criminals. You may surreptitiously nibble on things your fingers are touching — cheese, ropes, faces, &c. When you strike someone with a sneak attack and have a free off-hand, you may make an additional attack against them at +[level] to-hit for 1d6 chewing damage. 
However Mutable My Form
    Your veins are, as mentioned, full of rats. For every point of damage you take, 1d6 rats spill forth and flee. When you would take a fatal wound, you are instead dispersed into the local environs. You will reform [max HP] weeks later, less one day for each rat which escaped the fatal wound (not the rats that you've lost in general, those guys ran off to find cheese). Friends and associates are accustomed to you disappearing for months at a time. In theory it would be possible to permanently kill you by tracking down every rat that you have ever been and destroying it, but this is obviously impractical. 
    On your character sheet, write down "LIST OF FEARS". When something disperses you, add that thing to the list of fears; record the name of a person if it was a homicide, otherwise write down the hazard. You must pass a save vs. fear to approach that FEAR in the future. If something is on the list multiple times, you must pass multiple saves. Begin play with a FEAR rolled from the following list:
  1. Fire
  2. The Sea
  3. Cats
  4. Delicious-Smelling Food
  5. Something??? in a Wizard's Tower
  6. A Grue

Veil of Rodents
    You may willingly separate yourself into a teeming swarm of rats. They occupy at least a five-foot square, and at most a ten-foot square. As a swarm, you take 1 damage from most sources, normal damage from fire, and the maximum amount of damage from explosions, bursts of poison gas, &c. On your turn in combat the swarm may force any number of creatures standing in it to save or take 1d6 damage. The swarm may pass through any opening or tunnel large enough for a rat. If the swarm takes 6 damage or more from any source, you are dispersed. It takes at least a round for the swarm to reform into you, more if they're spread out (say, on the rafters of a feasting hall you've snook up into).
Inveterate Gnawer
    Your teeth, even in human form, grow continually. They are slightly harder and more durable than aluminum.
Poisonous Teleport
    Whatever area you are in always seems to be teeming with bright-eyed sable-furred rats. Once per round, you can disappear from where you are standing and reappear up to 20' away in a location a rat could have reached. 
All Bastard
    In your human form you have a prehensile tail and can squeeze into any gap your skull can fit through. As a rats, you can speak with your human's voice.