Sunday, August 20, 2023

What a Sad Old Age (GLOG Wizard School)

    This one's from friend-of-the-blog Phlox, who did a draft trade with me (in return I sent him this monster hunter). It's a wizard school with a gimmick of greyhound-racing and fox-hunting.

Source: Bewilder by CanisAlbus

Courser Wizard

    Sighthounds, the companions of kings! Flop-eared, fat-nosed, wrinkle-faced sniffers are the domain of poachers and prison wardens. When a real ruler of men rode out for venerie, he brought with him a dog who outpaced his horse. The sport of coursing was an immediate success in the cities, not just because it's exciting, not just because it's modern, but because the song of the hounds is like the war-horns of the heroes of old, and inspires the same passions.
    And, of course, where there is money changing hands, where there are winners and losers, there is Power, and where Power is, there cometh the Wizard to take advantage of it.

Skills: 1. World records 2. Weather-predicting 3. Haruspicy
Starting Equipment: Top hat, raggedy patched suit (-1 to reactions with respectable folk, +1 to reaction with thugs and weirdos), dog whip (light), several pocketfuls of ginger (3 doses), spellbook (a much-used ledger with attached dull pencil on string)

Perk: Dogs follow your commands to attack a certain target or to desist. More complex commands, and commands to attack their owners, require a charisma check.
Drawback: When it comes to wagers, you vacillate between "veteran" and "inveterate." When given the opportunity to gamble, check wisdom to resist the urge.

  1. When someone offers a particular wager, you can tell exactly how far they've adjusted the odds.
  2. When you would be hit by a ranged attack, you may have a nearby dog take the blow instead.
  3. You can silence a pack with a wave of your hand, or provoke them into wails and whines as if they've been trapped in a burning building

  1. Expeditious Tear
    R: touch T: a creature D: [sum] minutes
        When the target spends their turn doing nothing but running, they move [dice]+1 times faster than normal.
  2. Cone of Kerosene
    R: from hand T: [dice]*10' cone D: instant
        A blast of ice-cold jet fuel erupts from your hand and hoses the target area. Creatures in this area must save to avoid getting their eyes, nose and mouth full of the stuff, with the effect of temporarily blinding and de-smelling them. Obviously, anything covered in the kerosene becomes highly inflammable.
  3. Hazardous Terrain
    R: sight T: up to [sum] 5' squares of terrain D: permanent
        Target terrain becomes extremely difficult to navigate. Ball-bearings, brambles, potholes, tripwires and 1/2 inch curbs appear as appropriate for the environment. Creatures who cannot levitate can move through the area at one 5' square per turn, or at normal speed, checking dexterity for every square they pass through and falling prone at the first failure. It takes one human being one minute per [dice] to clear away one 5' square of hazards.
  4. Feather Feet
    R: 10' T: up to [dice] creatures D: [sum] minutes
        Target creatures become supernaturally agile and careful-footed. They can balance on any object or surface that bears their weight, they cannot slip or be tripped by hazardous terrain, and caltrops, broken glass and the like cannot harm them for the duration
  5. Bite
    R: touch T: a creature with a mouth D: [sum] minutes
        Target's teeth grow long and yellow. Their bite attack is a medium weapon +[dice]. If [sum] is 6 or more, those they bite must save v. disease or suffer an infected wound. If [sum] is 18 or more, victims must also save v. rabies.
  6. Mark of Dog Hatred
    R: sight T: intelligent non-dog creature D: [sum] days
        A mark shaped like a rolled-up newspaper appears on the target's body. Target rolls reaction with every dog they meet, with penalty equal to [dice]. Dogs who roll a non-positive reaction are aggressive.
        A dog is a beast that has teeth, a name, and a master. Coyotes and dingoes and the like do not have names, wolves do not have masters, but feral dogs have both (unless they were born feral, or have killed their master).
  7. Fast Horse
    R: 20' T: an unoccupied area large enough for a horse D: one hour
        An incredibly ugly and mean horse (4HD, morale 13, hooves/hooves/bite 1d8/1d8/1d6) arrives. Only you or someone holding onto you may ride it; any other creature who attempts to approach within 10' of the horse is promptly savaged. If summoned with one [die] the horse is as fast as a fast horse (about 20mph), at two it's faster than the fastest horse (some 60mph), at three it's faster than the wind (about 120mph) and at four [dice] it's faster than its own mocking whinny (about 800mph). Disappears in a poof of smoke at the end of duration or upon being ridden [sum] miles.
  8. Frighten Animal
    R: n/a T: self D: instant
        Caster produces an extremely loud and unpleasant noise, an extremely bright and unpleasant sequence of flashing lights, and an extremely noisome and unpleasant smell. Unintelligent or unprepared creatures who can perceive the caster make a morale check at [dice] penalty.
  9. Crypticize
    R: T: D: something
        The opposite of Literal Translation. Turn a piece of text into a simple substitution cipher you know the solution to. At 2 or more [dice], the cipher becomes more complex, requiring days of effort to solve. With 3 or more, you may code up to 3 distinct meanings into the cipher. With 4 or more [dice], the cipher ignores translation magic of all kinds. With 5 or more [dice], the cipher is completely unbreakable. You may designate up to [dice] specific creatures who may immediately bypass the cipher.
  10. Summon Dog
    R: 30' T: an unoccupied area large enough for a dog D: one hour
        A dog arrives. It has the appearance and statistics of the largest, most dangerous dog the caster has ever personally killed (that is, struck the killing blow upon). It is no more friendly or loyal than it would be, given its nature. For every creature of at least 1HD the dog kills, it is granted an extra hour of false-immortality. Upon death, or when it runs out of time, the dog disappears in a puff of smoke.
  11. Maze
    R: sight T: a creature D: [sum] minutes
        Target is transported to the Demiplane of Dogracing, without a save. This Demiplane consists of an infinite greyhound track, down which a small mechanical rabbit passes every thirty seconds. Close behind are the enormous and monstrous dogs which are the native inhabitants of this plane. The target must pass a move check to avoid being trampled by the dogs; if they fail, they take 1 point of damage. If at any point they roll a natural 20 on their move check, they catch the rabbit and are freed. The target is aware of this stipulation. When they free themselves, or the spell ends, the target returns trampled and exhausted (or trampled and dead as the case may be) in the location they departed from or the nearest unoccupied space. If they won, they are wearing a golden medal worth 15gp. Cats are immune to this spell, as they are unwelcome in the Demiplane of Dogracing.
  12. Call the Wild Hunt
    R: n/a T: n/a D: n/a
        Caster summons the Wild Hunt to their location. The Hunters resemble men, except for their absent faces, and their spiffy red jackets and black jodhpurs. They hunt unarmed, and leave the killing to their dogs. The Wild Hunt generally ignores wizards as unsuitable prey (poor cardio and conditioning in general), and prefers to target fast, dangerous foes.
        At one [die] their dogs are beagles, and [best] Hunters appear. At two [dice] their dogs are vicious foxhounds with great teeth and sharp eyes, and [sum] Hunters appear. At three [dice], their dogs are creatures of the Feywild, somewhere between a tiger and a bear, and enough Hunters appear to darken the sky. At four [dice], their dogs are men in metal collars, carrying saw-toothed weapons of black iron, and the Hunters are led by their master, the Devil.

Franz von Stuck - Wilde Jagd (The Wild Hunt) (1889) : r/museum
Source: Wilde Jagd by Franz von Stuck

  1. MD only return on a 1–2 for 24 hours.
  2.  Take 1d6 damage as your stomach turns.
  3. Random mutation for 1d6 rounds, then make a save. Permanent if you fail.
  4. Any critical successes you have in the next 24 hours are instead critical fumbles.
  5. You become a canine for 1 hour.
  6. You suffer Undeniable Urge to Run at Top Speed for 1d6 rounds.

  1. A pang of conscience mars you. You cannot regain burnt die for 24 hours.
  2. All unintelligent beasts who see you instinctively hate you, as the effect of Mark of Dog Hatred.
  3. Your time is up; your master, the Devil, claps a collar around your neck. You will run as part of the Wild Hunt forever.

    You can escape these dooms by donating all your money to an animal shelter and swearing off gambling forever, by winning the hand of a princess in a bet with a king, or by finding a way to live in the Demiplane of Dogracing forever (the Devil is a poor loser, and has been banned from that Demiplane since an incident with a flammable bookie).

Saturday, July 29, 2023

A Part of the World Burning (GLOG Class: Barbarian)

    The latest engine of death to appear is appalling by its uncanny invincibleness. They hurdle trenches, crawl over shell craters and walk through forest unhalted by intense gunfire. With the death of the dashing romanticism of cavalry, the fighting seemed to take on a mere grim and sordid aspect. A dozen great machines crawling slowly (hardly faster than a man can walk) over the fields, always firing, firing at the soldiers seems somehow less compelling...
        - Weaving with Bright New Threads, a book of prophecy

    Practitioners of Manufacturing fall into two broad categories. The first type, the Manufactory, is a well-educated and respectable sorcerer who practices their Art like an engineer practices his science. The second type is more akin to a madman or a superweapon.

Source: Medieval Steampunk Knight 2 by obyekt

    What is an Armature, I hear you ask? It's a walking forklift, not unlike the Power Loader of Aliens or other exosuits of science fiction. Its function is more fantastical in the Unfinished World — an Armature is, briefly, a metal automaton like one of Vulcan's assistants, crudely bolted onto a human soul which provides it with animation. That's how the cosmology of the UW dictates that it work, but you could throw it into another setting as a product of the Serpentman Empire's attempts at interplanar travel, or as a divine blessing from a god of the forge to his most devoted cleric-hammerers, or as a wacky invention by funny haha smexy burlesque steampunk gnomes.

    I don't know if it's too powerful for your games. I hope that the Armature is (at least at 1st level) roughly equivalent to a barbarian, with an interesting dungeon-crawling twist of being very good at lifting the lids off of stone sarcophagi, setting off traps, and kicking down doors. You could lean into its random-encounter-provoking loud clankery if you wanted to add more consequences to its use.

Source: prototype Big Daddy, I think

Class: Armature

    You are an Armature, a man-machine, pilot and mechanism both, one soul in two bodies. Your changing form is fueled by the substance of Manufacturing. You have a pool of this substance equal to your maximum HP. When you would regain any amount of HP, you may choose to regain that much substance instead. 
    As an Armature, you may wear medium armor and use swords, guns and shields. You gain +1 to intelligence-related checks for every [template] you have in this class.

Skills: 1. Metallurgy, 2. Military History, 3. Court etiquette.
Starting Equipment: Concealed pistol (light, 10’ range), heavy leathers (as leather, weight like chain, half damage from fire), trigonometry text

  • A Two Bodies
  • B Customization
  • C Assault Configuration
  • D One Soul
Two Bodies
    You are a practitioner of the First Art and have a pool of substance like a Manufactory. Unlike a normal Manufactory you occupy the same 3-dimensional coordinates as a 10'-tall humanoid mecha made from glass and hot metal called an "Armature". You may pay 1 substance to swap places with your Armature at any time, so long as there is room for it to stand.
    Your Armature has as many hitpoints as you, 24 strength, 16 AC, takes half damage from conventional weapons and falls, and no damage from fire. Its limbs are medium weapons, and it can wield a heavy weapon in one hand for 1d8 base damage. The Armature is clumsy, can only move at a slow walking pace while upright, cannot move and attack on the same turn in combat, sinks in water, destroys ladders promptly, and requires 1 substance to take any action besides "pick up a heavy object" or "slowly walk forwards while holding a heavy object" (this includes attacking).
    Damage to your Armature can be repaired with two hours of swinging a wrench into empty air and cursing under your breath.
    For every [template], you may attach one upgrade or gizmo to your Armature. You will be able to obtain more of these in play; roll for a random one now. Expect the design and construction of a new upgrade or gizmo to take upwards of a week, the investment of a sizeable amount of gp, and perhaps the integration of unique treasures or mechanisms (such as a capacitor from a lightning-bolt trap, a wand of telekinesis, a vorpal sword, a unicorn's horn, &c). Swapping them out can be done at any well-equipped machine shop. Most require substance as fuel.
Assault Configuration
    After further modification and upgrading, your Armature can sprint faster than a horse and can crawl on all fours as fast as it can run. It can move and act on the same turn, and attacking with its hands or a weapon no long requires substance unless that weapon requires it for power.
One Soul
    When you would swap places with your Armature, you may choose to have it appear in a suitable location within 30' of you without yourself disappearing. It tracks its initiative separately but is otherwise under your control.

Upgrades and Gizmos:
  1. Shoulder-Mounted Pepperbox. Host of barrels like a wasp hive. You may pay 1 substance to make an attack for 1d6 damage at 30', with -1 to-hit for each 10' past that.
  2. Tower Shield. Occupies a hand. The Armature gets +2 AC, and anyone hiding behind it has complete cover in the form of an inch-thick wall of steel.
  3. Pneumatic Grip Device. Comes with a built-in substance-powered winch. The grapnel can be fired up to 100'. Ascending/descending costs 1 substance per 10'/30'.
  4. Incendiary Cutting Tool. Makes a cut in metal 6" long, 6" deep and 1" wide per substance. Deals 1d8 hellfire damage if used as a weapon.
  5. Heart-Pumped Spotlight. Casts blazing sunlight in a 200' cone for 1 round per substance, dealing 1d6 damage per round to any undead caught in the light.
  6. Deoptimized Venting Technology. May fling 20' per substance in any direction, with a pants-shittingly-loud explosion and a mushroom cloud of poisonous smoke.
  7. Chainsaw Sword. A massive weapon with a sawtoothed edge. Pay 1 substance to rev up the edge, chopping through a tree-sized man or a man-sized tree. 
  8. Spalling Recoilless Cannon. A weapon designed for killing Armatures and armored vehicles. Costs 4 substance to fire, has -1 to-hit for each 100' of range, hits touch AC for 2d10 damage plus the target’s AC
  9. Foam Nozzle. A retractile hose ending in a funny-looking funnel. For 2 substance you may spray freezing, fire-extinguishing foam in a 40' line. For 3 substance, spray sticky and highly-inflammable goo instead. 
  10. Extradimensional Chamber. A hatch on the Armature's stomach, just big enough for its hand to squeeze through, leads to 8 slots of inventory space.

Monday, June 26, 2023

Fire Kills (New System for a New Setting)

    A few months back I posted a list of random encounters from a weird Napoleonic war zone. This was a snapshot of an alt-history bio-horror setting I have occasionally mused upon in that hidden Vehme which men call "the GLOG server".

Source: "Victorious Hungarian" by Locheil

    The setting of Fire Kills is a post-Great War Europe, with a victorious Central Powers analog working to reconstruct the ruined continent in the wake of manmade horrors beyond our comprehension. The old Hermetic Orders have been supplanted by the French "New Medicine" paradigm, and the war was fought with tanks, machine guns, vat-grown supersoldiers, clockwork brains, poison gas, humoral posthumans, and the sacrifice of half the progeny of Europe. Now, in the shattered ruins, the PCs pick through the rubble and attempt to address injustices and tragedies both old and new.

    The main touchstones are Pumpkin Scissors, Fullmetal Alchemist, the Dishonored series, various Clark Ashton Smith stories, and especially the work of Arthur Machen. For the pseudo-science I'm depending on my limited understanding of humoral medicine discredited turn-of-the-century psychological and sociological theories.

    "What used to be conceptualized as the realms of the Fairy, domain of the Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter Courts, is now referred to as "The Great Unconscious". The fairies themselves are "autonomous instincts", or "archetypes" if they're particularly powerful. Our world, scientists now understand, is the 3-dimensional surface of an 11-dimensional hyper-hyper-hyper-hyper-hyper-hyper-hyper-hyper-sphere. What we think of (heh) as "ideas" and "thoughts" are like shadows of the instincts and archetypes moving below. And just as the shadow can be shaped by altering the form, and the body can be shaped by altering its humors, so too can the mind be shaped by altering the archetypes...

    "But! That's all high-level stuff. Nothing for the PCs to worry about, and probably irrelevant to their sincere but lighthearted adventures through war-torn famine-stricken Europe."

    CatDragon of Glass Candles asks, "Who won the Great War in the Fullmetal Humorist setting, or did you make it deliberately up to interpretation?"
    Nobody won the Great War, CatDragon. Sad mime face. All Europe lost...
    But in another, and perhaps more literally true, sense: the Central Powers won the Great War. A united Germany (with Prussian clockwork technology) and Austria-Hungary and the Ottoman Empire. The French, along with their pressganged "allies", lost. England is a smoking fairy-haunted ruin. The USA was glad to wash its hands of the whole business, and now isolates itself on the other side of the Atlantic. Napoleon is finally "dead". One of his great-grandsons is in charge of France now.

Source: in image

    Well, enough rambling. How does a game in this setting work?

Character Creation

    The PCs fought in the War, perhaps on the wrong side — but now the War is over. To improve the world, to make it a better place for generations to come, to shape the future in their own ideological image, to atone for their sins, or just to make rent, they have become members of the Truth and Beauty Commission (name pending). This gives them either unlimited jurisdiction or none whatsoever, depending on your perspective, and they've been sent out into the world on a picaresque to solve extremely heavy-handed morality plays about the Haves and the Have-Nots. They travel from train station to train station solving problems involving ex-supersoldiers turned bandits, corrupt nobles, failed Evil Science Experiments, traumatized survivors of horrible-but-ultimately-pointless battles, &c &c.

    To make a character, you must consider their Temperament and their Skills. There are four Humors which make up one's Temperament; these are Sanguine for making friends, talking people into favors, impressing superiors, and general sweet-hearted behavior, Choleric for bursts of strength, bullying, headbutting both metaphorically and literally, shouting down others, kicking doors, avoiding consequences and general hot-headed behavior, Phlegmatic for thinkin', translating, designing gizmos, picking locks, deciphering rituals, and general big-brained behavior, and Melancholic for terrifying normals, toughing out wounds, wringing someone's neck in total darkness, befriending horrible monsters and general cold-blooded behavior. A normal human being has 2 points in each of these.

    For the purpose of this post I'll be assuming the PC is a Supersoldier, who has had their humors  realigned (or designed from scratch if they're a test-tube baby) according to the principles of New Medicine. Supersoldiers have 9 points to assign to their Humors according to their taste, though you can have no less than 0 and no more than 5 in a single Humor, and they cannot have a tie for their highest Humor. That highest Humor determines their Temperament. You aren't required to have your characters act stereotypically according to their Temperament, but other characters will expect them to, and will be surprised if they fail to do so.

  • If you have 0 Sanguine, you are unable to be happy. You cannot vocalize except to make aimless threats or scream at the top of your lung. 
  • If you have 0 Choleric you cannot act in combat and you cannot win arguments.
  • If you have 0 Phlegmatic you are an amnesiac. You cannot recall your own history, and you cannot use Academic Skills.
  • If you have 0 Melancholy you cannot remain silent; you must constantly sing, hum or mumble. You cannot willingly enter darkness without a source of light.
    It's not recommended that you start with 0 in any attribute, although you can if you want to. This is to simulate fucked-up little bastards, and the injury system.

    These Supersoldiers also have 20 points to invest in Skills. Skills don't have a maximum value, but it gets harder to improve them the higher your rating in that Skill is. Ratings 1–4 cost 1 point each, 5–8 cost 2, and so forth. These Skills are as follows:

  1. Armory, for the maintenance and operation of firearms and artillery
  2. Hand-to-Hand, for combat with melee or natural weapons
  3. Heavy Machinery, for the maintenance and operation of tanks, automobiles, ships and Heavy Machines
  4. Military, for tactics, bureaucracy, and military history, or for interacting with military authorities
  5. Shooting, for combat with guns
  6. Piloting, for the maintenance and operation of planes and airships.

  1. Biology, for the history and practical use of the science (including battlefield medicine)
  2. Chemistry, for the history and practical use of the science (including explosives)
  3. Forgery, for the production or identification of forged handwriting, fake artifacts, or falsified documents
  4. Library, for study and for finding references in books
  5. Surgery, for the history and practical use of the art (including first aid)
  6. Profession, a generic skill representing training and experience in other fields. May be taken multiple times, e.g. a character might have 2 points in Profession (Law) and 1 in Profession (Actor)

  1. Animals, for veterinary practice, handling of tamed animals, or befriending wild ones
  2. Athletics, for running, jumping, swimming, climbing
  3. Bluff, for keeping a straight face in a poker game, lying with a smile, or pretending to be something you're not
  4. Civilian, for information-gathering, befriending normal people, pretending to live a normal life, or for interacting with civilian authorities.
  5. Stealth, for hiding, sneaking, pocket- and lock-picking.
  6. Survival, for rope-tying, fire-building, tracks-following and &c.

    When a PC is faced with an appropriate challenge, the DM (stands for "Doctor of Medicine" in this game) decides the difficulty of the challenge by assigning it a small integer number. They also decide what Humor and what Skill is appropriate for this challenge. The player adds up their character's total values in that Humor and Skill, rolls that many d6s, counts how many dice come up 4, 5 or 6, and if that total is above the assigned difficulty, they succeed.

    I feel like kind of a dope explaining this step by step. You people have played dicepool systems, right? Shadowrun maybe, or Vampire: the Masquerade? I'm talking about dicepools.

Source: in image



    I should also explain, briefly, how I intend to run combat in this system. I haven't actually tested any of this yet so it's subject to change at a whim. It'll operate a bit like Best Case Scenario. Rounds are about a second or two, and all actions take place simultaneously. If it matters who moves first (e.g. you're trying to slam a big vault door, and a horrible monstrosity is trying to slide under the door and eat you), roll an opposed Sanguine.

    To attack someone in hand-to-hand combat, roll Choleric (or Melancholic if you're attacking from surprise) + Hand-to-Hand, versus their roll of Choleric + Hand-to-Hand. If you have more successes than they do, subtract the difference from their Choleric. When they hit 0 Choleric, they've had the stuffing beat out of them. If there's no one nearby to protect them they can be killed, knocked unconscious, tied up, or can have their precious super-organs stolen.

    To attack someone with a gun, roll Sanguine (or Melancholic if you're attacking from surprise) + Shooting, versus their roll of Sanguine plus any bonuses they have from cover or distance. If you have more successes than they do, they have been fucking shot with a fucking bullet. They roll Choleric and if they don't get more successes than you did, they are dead of being shot. If they do roll more successes, then your original number of successes are subtracted from their Choleric as per being wounded in hand-to-hand.

Example Melee Weapons
  1. Brass knuckles. Concealable, silent.
  2. Combat knife. Concealable, silent, adds an extra success when attacking.
  3. Tomahawk. Silent, +1 success, can be thrown ten meters.
  4. Lead pipe. Silent, +1 die.
  5. Wakizashi. Silent, +1 success, +1 die.
  6. Katana. Silent, +2 successes

Example Guns
  1. Webley. A double-action revolver, reliable and accurate. This revolver or ones much like it were carried by Entente officers during the war, for all the good it did them.
    Range increment of 40 meters (i.e. at 41 to 60 meters subtract 1 from your successes, at 61 to 80 meters subtract 2 and so forth). Six shots. Concealable.
  2. Luger. A self-loading, self-cocking pistol — what a wonder of the modern age! The officers of the Central Powers preferred the Luger. Sidearms made little difference, but these pistols were sturdy enough to survive the war and fall into others' hands, so long as their original owners weren't blasted to smithereens by French artillery.
    Range increment of 20 meters. Eight shots. Concealable.
  3. Winchester. A tube-fed, pump-action shotgun, with a heatshield and a bayonet lug for trench combat. The Americans made short, bloody work of those who ended up on the wrong end of this gun.
    Range increment of 40 meters, but ineffective past 80. +2 dice.
  4. Lebel. A venerable platform, personally approved by Napoleon when he was "alive". This Lebel may have lost her Rosalie in her ten, twenty or thirty years of service, but she still shoots.
    Range increment of 100 meters. Nine shots. +1 success.
  5. Huot. The Canadians were desperate to answer the Central Powers' growing number of LMGs, so they assembled this monstrosity out of the carcasses of fallen rifles. There's some sort of poetry in that.
    Range increment of 100 meters. Twenty-five shots, but it fires five with every attack. +1 success. If you choose to fire another five, +1 die.
  6. Osokin. A shamanic musket that can only be operated by those who have accepted a contract with the spirits hosted in the barrel. This machine kills Leninists.
    This gun fires based on Phlegmatic, not Sanguine. Range increment of 50 meters. One shot, and you can either spend 30 seconds reloading it or pay a point from one of your Humors.

    I suppose I'm rather out of things to say. This isn't a very good post, I guess, since it's just proposing a derivative, poorly-thought-out and completely-untested system, but I wanted to get all those rules off my conscience. Usable content for this setting, detailing some adventures, factions, characters, locations &c may be forthcoming. Perhaps I'll answer some burning questions, like "what happened to Russia?" (the czarists fled east and made sweet with the indigenous people of Siberia, while the anarchists are running around in the west with tank-trains) and "what happened to the U.S.A?" (it developed a sakoku policy and has been sinking any Old World ships it finds) and "what happened to Britain?" (fairies ate it. Crowley is super dead). Perhaps we'll visit my shitty, abandoned, Dungeon23 idea. It had some frankensteins in it. Anyway, goodbye.

Wednesday, May 31, 2023

On Great Men and Little Gods (GLOG Class: Demigod)

    This one's off the top of my head, no playtesting. Compare to Locheil's Magos, Demonologist and Sacred One, from which I stole most of the mechanics. Sorry for copying your Sacred One again buddy, it's a good class. The obvious second round of ripoffs came from Kevin Crawford's Godbound. There are other references, but they're mostly linked in the text.

Source: John Augustus Knapp

    This is related to an in-the-works setting with limited presence on this blog. Highlights include a Mughal-colored Hobgoblin Empire, race-as-class, class-as-race, and a very complex system of minor gods and worship. I was writing up a post for a Domain Game where the players are minor gods, and they rule over a little cult with its little temples and so forth. Then I got to thinking: surely those minor gods aren't so minor they're doing their own adventuring. When they need something done right the first time, who do they trust?

Class: Demigod

    You are a Demigod, a supernaturally powerful human with one mortal parent and one divine parent. No other detail about you and your life is as interesting as that, I'm sorry to say. Your divine parent is one of the "little gods", of which there are many, though because they were one of the 66 gods with Major Domains they were powerful enough to have you as a child. Choose two Domains from the list at the bottom of this post and reference it throughout the class. Because the 66 gods each have their own unique pairing of domains, if another demigod has the same Domains as you they must be your half-sibling.
   Demigods may wear all types of armor and can use all weapons. It's nice to be someone important.

Skills: 1. Trivium 2. Quadrivium 3. Smooching up on the sweeties
Starting Equipment: hunting spear (heavy), three bronze throwing discs (light), priestly robes (as unarmored), fine silver mirror
  • A Glory, Power, Kingdom
  • B Servitors
  • C Miracles
  • D Reify  
    Those who see you immediately know you are someone important, though not everyone is so well-versed in lore as to recognize a demigod immediately. This makes you the most prominent member of any group, unless you are in the company of a higher-level demigod. You can temporarily suppress this ability for as many days as you have [templates] if you wish to walk among mortals unnoticed, but the reveal of your true nature is more dazzling and terrifying the longer you do this. Don't hide for more than a few hours if you don't want people saving vs. blindness or insanity.
    You have a pool of divine power which you spend to fuel your abilities. You start with a maximum of 2 Divinity, gaining one more for every [template] in this class. Temples, shrines and statues can enlarge your pool, though of course these can become targets for you enemies. At this level you can invest 1 point of Divinity in a creature with a touch, granting it +1 maximum HP and +1 to all saves and checks. You can invest up to [templates] points in a creature at a time, and can withdraw any amount of Divinity with another touch. Two demigods can transfer any amount of Divinity to each other with a touch.
    When someone sacrifices a cow, three goats or a dozen birds in your name, you regain 1 point of Divinity. When you slay a monster or hero of HD equal to or greater than yours, you gain 1 point of Divinity, though you must strike the killing blow.
    You also have a demirealm, under your absolute control and in an aesthetic style determined by you. It's somewhere someone could get to by walking, if they knew how, and most likely adjacent to or inside your parent's realm. When someone you have invested Divinity in dies, you immediately know, and may choose to have their soul migrate to your Kingdom. The shades of the dead have most of their memories and a little of their personality, though they aren't very talkative.
    You can enter your Kingdom at any time from a temple dedicated to yourself or (if you haven't got one of those) to your divine parent. You can bring other living creatures if you have invested your Divinity in them. There's food, water and air in your Kingdom but it's probably not very pleasant for mortals.
    By spending Divinity you can summon a divine servant, who appears from off-screen by odd coincidence. The form and abilities of these servants depends on your parent's Domains, and they have HD and powerlevel based on how many points of Divinity you spend. Servitors are fairly loyal (though they may be odd or may have duties to perform), reasonably intelligent (though in an inhuman way), and stick around until their physical bodies are killed or you dismiss them. If you dismiss them in your presence, you regain spent Divinity.
    By spending Divinity you can perform miracles to punish your enemies or reward your allies. Every demigod has the basic ability to throw a bolt of power for [Divinity]d6 points of damage, or heal [Divinity] mortal wounds with a touch. Your parent's Domains give you other Miracles. You choose one from each domain for the moment, though you can adventure to gain more.
    You may alter reality in the entire area within your sight, so long as that which you alter is at least tangentially related to one of your Domains. Dictate as many facts about the new way reality works as you wish. For each noun, verb, adverb or adjective, pay 1 Divinity. This is a major working which exploits the authority of your divine parent. Do not use it lightly. Be careful when using it in populated areas or the presence of powerful magi. And never do it in the realm of another god, unless you're ready to die for the privilege.


  1. Chance

        All demigods of Chance are auspicious. In your presence, your friends gain an extra +2 save for each of their [templates]. You may spend Divinity to grant yourself an equal amount of +1s on any save or check after you see the result (but please be polite and tell your DM if you intend to use this power).
        The Servitors of Chance are the Fairy. They may be wee folk, or winged sprites, or tall gentlepersons with pale skin and dark eyes, or hideous bridge-trolls, though they will tend to be larger with more Divinity. They cannot lie, though they can bullshit incredibly and like to spend their free time dicking about with mortals. In a fight they can whip out +Divinity weapons of green wood, tinsel and glass. These weapons dissolve quickly in the hands of anyone else. Fairies are very proud of their reputation for irascibility and conspicuous hatred of other Servitors and demigods.

        When you gain your Miracles, choose one:
    • Openly Cheating
      Pay 1 Divinity to get the maximum result on one of your rolls.
    • Evil Eye
      Pay 1 Divinity to force someone else to reroll anything.

        When a demigod of Chance has a pool of 5 Divinity, their eyes have 1–6 pupils every time they blink. When they have 10, dice rolled or cards dealt in their presence come up as they dictate, even in impossible ways (rolling 7 on a six-sided die, five-of-a-kind poker hands, &c).
  2. Death

        All demigods of Death are horrifying. In your presence, foes get a penalty to Morale checks equal to their [templates]. You may spend Divinity as you mark a doorway with blood or charcoal. If blood, the inhabitants of that building gain a +Divinity bonus to avoiding Death. If charcoal, an equivalent penalty.
        The Servitors of Death are the Psychopomps. Their appearance is by far the most variegated of all Servitors (with the possible exception of Aliens), as it depends on local superstition. They may be skeletal corpses, angels in black cloaks, tiger-headed men, flocks of pigeons, long shadows, black cats... but all of them are instantly recognized by mortals. Their weapons are fine steel, and wounds dealt by them take a long time to heal which cannot be hurried by magic. Psychopomps can be told a name as they are summoned. They always know how far away and in what direction the thing that bears this name lies, unless carefully shrouded against them. Let me repeat that so you can note the wording carefully: they KNOW how FAR AWAY and IN WHAT DIRECTION the THING that BEARS THIS NAME lies, UNLESS CAREFULLY SHROUDED AGAINST THEM.

        When you gain your Miracles, choose one:
    • Merciless
      No one in your presence may die from any cause besides swords, fire or water unless you allow it.
    • Pale Hand
      Pay 1 Divinity per HD to instantly slay a target with a single touch, no save. No effect on lifeless automatons.

        When a demigod of Death has a pool of 5 Divinity, they no longer bleed. When they have 10, they no longer need to breathe, and are cold to the touch.
  3. The Dungeon

        All demigods of the Dungeon are dismal. In your presence, traps (deliberate, mechanical ones) are revealed. You may spend Divinity to open a conventional lock, or spike a door against [Divinity] adult men's worth of battering.
        The Servitors of the Dungeon are the Gnomes. Short, behatted, barbigerous gentlemen, indefatigable, slightly vicious, famously industrious. To non-gnomes all Gnomes appear almost entirely identical to each other except for the color of their wee jackets and pointy caps. All gnomes know each other, and have well-developed (if slightly biased) opinions of each others' ability. Despite being knee-high, a gnome is as strong as [Divinity] men and can do the work of [Divinity] times ten. They excel at bridge-building, ditch-digging, wall-tumbling, safe-cracking, vault-drilling, tower-erecting, wall-extending, and all other forms of building and breaking. Gnomes love toil and grumbling equally well.

        When you gain your Miracles, choose one:
    • Artisan
      Pay Divinity to create a magical treasure. At minimum you could make a +X sword, or you could negotiate with your DM for other benefits. Two points could get you a +1 Flaming Sword, +1 Vorpal Axe, Wand of Casting a Spell at 2MD Once Per Day, that sort of thing.
    • Sick Lands
      An area about the size of an acre or a few stories of a large building becomes inhospitable to human life. Monsters infest shadows, trees drop poison fruit, doors become trapped at random, magical gloom prevents darkvision, and the like. You are immune to these negative effects.

        When a demigod of the Dungeon has a pool of 5 Divinity, their footsteps always sound like bare feet. When they have 10, their eyes reflect like gold, and they can see in the dark as well as a cat can.
  4. Fertility

        All demigods of Fertility are lovely. People and animals have +2 reaction to you for each [template]. You may spend Divinity to charm someone for [Divinity] days with a kiss, or bless a field, village, flock or orchard for [Divinity] seasons.
        The Servitors of Fertility are the Foxes. They appear as alluring, mysterious strangers, often with remarkable physical characteristics (get your mind out of the gutter, I mean things like "bright red hair" or "sharp teeth they hide with a fan or veil"). They fight savagely with torches and daggers, but they prefer to avoid combat. Foxes may legally marry [Divinity] people, and their romantic pursuits are always successful. Servitors and other monsters are oddly unwilling to harm or impede them, but Foxes are unwilling to really abuse this favor.

        When you gain your Miracles, choose one:
    • Esoteric Birth
      Pay any amount of Divinity to bless a target with the assurance of a healthy conception, or to simply induce pregnancy. You may dictate up to [Divinity] supernatural qualities that the child will be born with or develop.
    • Green World
      Overnight, plants within 10 miles of you grow wildly as if for [Divinity] seasons.

        When a demigod of Fertility has a pool of 5 Divinity, their shadow changes to that of an animal of their choice. When they have 10, they can perform impossible feats of harvest, such as pulling ripe fruit off of trees in the middle of winter, or catching giant saltwater tuna in small creeks with their bare hands.
  5. Fire

        All demigods of Fire are bold. Fire will not harm you, even by smoke or by collapsing buildings on top of you. You may spend Divinity to summon a werelight for [Divinity] hours, with luminosity dependent on the Divinity spent.
        The Servitors of Fire are the Salamanders. They appear as crawling things, squamous or non-, of some bright color. All Salamanders are immune to fire in any form, including supernatural or Hellish. They also all have deadly poisonous (to the tune of [Divinity]d6) breath, though they breathe almost not at all. Salamanders summoned with more Divinity have sturdier hides, and may be winged or poison-spitting. They tend to be surly and inattentive servants, and prone to robbery and random acts of cruelty. Even kicking and shouting at them won't make them obey you more swiftly, but they can be bribed, and all Salamanders love riddles.

        When you gain your Miracles, choose one:
    • Kindling Word
      You cover an acre of territory with a rain of fire for [Divinity] minutes. Each combat round, creatures in that area must save or take 1d6 points of fire damage. There are about 10 combat rounds in a minute.
    • Repayment
      Pay any amount of Divinity to draw an object or creature out of a bonfire, as if rescuing a dropped sausage. Anything or anyone who has been destroyed by fire within the past [Divinity] seasons is a valid target.

        When a demigod of Fire has a pool of 5 Divinity, they are accompanied by the smell of woodsmoke at all times. When they have 10, they can raise their body temperature high enough to scorch grapplers or light clothing or wooden objects ablaze.
  6. Madness

        All demigods of Madness are alarming. In your presence, rolls of a natural 1 or a natural 20 have slightly-implausible effects. You may spend Divinity to grant an equal number of days of speech and self-knowledge to an animal or object; they are rarely grateful.
        The Servitors of Madness are the Aliens. They appear as strange, horrible and twisted things. Think of deer with antlers of interlocking hands, backwards men in dark suits, swarms of winged eyes and the like  — as much as there is a "like" to Aliens. Touching them with bare flesh has cancerous consequences. Breathing their air sickens. Considering their form deranges. On the other hand, they love a good party.

        When you gain your Miracles, choose one:
    • Inspiring Words
      Choose an emotion. A shimmering sign appears in the air above your head for [Divinity] minutes, and all who see the sign experience that emotion. Powerful creatures may save to avoid it. "Drunken revelry" is an emotion.
    • Suicidal Secret
      Scream in a targets face. They will, in [Divinity] sentences, tell you those things they least want you to know at that moment, as judged by the DM.

        When a demigod of Madness has a pool of 5 Divinity, they can babble in the secret language known to all idiots and madmen. When they have 10, they can no longer sleep.
  7. Order

        All demigods of Order are imposing. No one can lie to you while maintaining eye contact. You may spend Divinity to take 10 on a check, save or attack.
        The Servitors of Order are the Celestial Bureaucrats. They appear as nebbish little pear-shaped men and women in rumpled, middling-quality businesswear. They have a certain je nais se quois, a certain quality, occasionally seen in lesser forms in McDonald's managers, OSHA inspectors, mall security guards, DMV clerks, traffic cops and hospital staff: an unnameable smug, greasy, puffy-eyed, predatory, I-know-something-you-don't toadosity. Mortals cannot harm or impede a Celestial Bureaucrat by conscious action (though they can refuse to unlock a door, for instance). Unlike the Foxes, they relish opportunities to abuse this. They are no more physically dangerous than any other nebbish little pear-shaped people, though the authority of their positions may make them dangerous in other aspects. Celestial Bureaucrats are uncommonly good at counting small objects and Verifying Documents.

        When you gain your Miracles, choose one:
    • Faithful Beyond Death
      When a mortal breaks an oath sworn on your name, you know. You may pay 1 Divinity to kill them without a save or inflict any other curse that occurs to you.
    • Red Crown
      You have an intuitive awareness of all public goings-on in a community you have authority over. You can communicate your will to your subordinates at any distance, though they cannot respond.

        When a demigod of Order has a pool of 5 Divinity, one side of their face mirrors over the other so that they appear perfectly symmetrical. This is a disconcerting effect. When they have 10, they become immune to disease and permanent injury.
  8. The Road

        All demigods of the Road are shifty. You can walk on any surface less than perfectly vertical. You may spend Divinity to walk that many hundreds of miles in an hour, to any location you've visited before and could have reached by foot and unchallenged.
        The Servitors of the Road are the Crossroads Devils. They appear as men and women who are tall, thin, and handsome in an asymmetrical sort of way. Their clothing is very mode, their hair impressively voluptuous, their cigar (if male-presenting) fat and strongly-scented, their cigarette (if female-presenting) long and ever-burning, their shoes patent leather, their eyes unblinking. Though a devil can fight, they prefer to talk. It's hard to stop them from talking. They love the rich, deep voices of their physical bodies. They can talk someone into anything, but the thing they love most is to talk someone into making a deal. Think of a Crossroads Devil as your middleman, your bookie, your portfolio manager. You give them Divinity and send them out into the world; they find someone with a Need, someone who'll pay through the nose to satisfy that Need; and you reap the profits. 

        When you gain your Miracles, choose one:
    • Exodus
      You and up to 10 people may walk [Divinity] hundred miles in an hour. At 2 Divinity, you may select 10 captains who may each select up to 10 people. At 3 Divinity, you may select 10 lieutenants who may each select up to 10 captains who may each select up to 10 other people, and so on and so forth.
    • Shield Ring
      People who are not welcome in a community or at a location of your choice take [Divinity] extra days to journey to it, and must save every day or become hopelessly lost and need to start again.

        When a demigod of the Road has a pool of 5 Divinity, they cannot get lost. When they have 10, they can march in their sleep.
  9. The Sea

        All demigods of the Sea are moist. You are as fast and as holdyourbreathy in water as a dolphin. You may spend Divinity to turn an acre of earth to mud, mud to quicksand, quicksand to brackish marsh, or brackish marsh to open sea. The change takes place over only a few seconds, and generates the standard set of critters. 
        The Servitors of the Sea are the Undine. They appear as beautiful, scantily-clad women, some of them with fishtails, some of them with halfshell brassieres. They sing charmingly, and if in a good mood guide sailors through troubled waters or to hidden treasures. If in a bad mood they guide sailors to their deaths, and they lay horrible curses on their slayers. Undines are skilled fighting-men and dangerous in combat, but their effectiveness in actual battle is limited by their keen-eyed search for Mr. Right. The odds of the enemy army not having even one hunk worth kidnapping quickly approaches zero. 

        When you gain your Miracles, choose one:
    • Flashing Eyes
      Negate up to [Divinity] points of another demigod's Miracles.
    • Earthquake
      The water level within 10 miles raises by thirty feet for [Divinity] hours. Riverside and coastal communities are likely to be completely destroyed with massive casualties. Armadas are able to sail to the gates of inland cities.

        When a demigod of the Sea has a pool of 5 Divinity, they can speak to fish Aquaman style. When they have 10, they can walk on water if they so wish.
  10. The Sky

        All demigods of the Sky are starry-eyed. You can project sunlight out of your eyes like a search beam. If you wish, you can politely ask the weather in the region to do your bidding. Spend any amount of Divinity, roll a reaction with that as the bonus, and see how amenable the weather is to your request. The winds and the rain are often busy! Don't take it too hard if they can't accommodate you.
        The Servitors of the Sky are the Sylphs. They are tall, thin, and slightly mothlike. They can fly, but their wings are made of a slinky, gauze material and are entirely decorative; sylphs float around like clouds. They can turn invisible at-will and like to whisper in the ear of vain, powerful people, giving them sartorial or venereal advice. It's good advice, mostly. Though effective spies, Sylphs are practically useless in a fight, and they make worse vamps than Foxes. Think of a Sylph or Sylphid (the feminine form) as more of a muse: something nice to look at and sweet to talk to.  

        When you gain your Miracles, choose one:
    • Azure King
      You can fly like the wind (~120mph).
    • In Heaven's Eye
      You may pay Divinity to ask a question of the sun or the moon, to which you will receive a truthful answer. They see everything that happens on the surface of the earth so long as the clouds aren't too thick.

        When a demigod of the Sky has a pool of 5 Divinity, a glowing crown sized for a giant hovers about their head. When they have 10, their voice thunders like an army unless they make an effort to whisper.
  11. Time

        All demigods of Time are haggard. You can see about half a second into the future, which gives you a +4 bonus to AC and to checks and saves to dodge a rain of arrows, pick a trapped lock, or other tasks which would benefit greatly from a touch of foresight. You may spend Divinity to peer that many days into the past of the location you're standing in.
        The Servitors of Time are the Sandmen. They appear as strange old men with wrinkled faces and closed eyes. They bear wands of dreaming in one hand, with [Divinity] charges reserved for your use, and sharp steel scissors in the other, for stealing eyes and fingers. Summoning these Servitors disrupts their vital work, so you'd best have a good reason for it. Other, lesser Servitors fear the Sandmen much more than they fear merely physical death. 

        When you gain your Miracles, choose one:
    • Look Forward
      Pay Divinity to ask a question of the DM about the likely outcome of a course of action, and receive a truthful one-sentence answer.
    • Thumb on the Scale
      Dictate a prophecy about their future to a mortal person, or a non-Time demigod with fewer HD than you. Nouns, verbs, adverbs and adjectives cost 1 Divinity each. Your prophecy cannot be defied, though of course events might twist it, and demigods are particularly adept at doing so. Everyone thinks "you will die" is a good 3-Divinity death-curse until they give it another few seconds of thought.

        When a demigod of Time has a pool of 5 Divinity, fine sand pours in small amounts from their cuffs and hair. When they have 10, they stop aging.
  12. War

        All demigods of War are fearsome, terrible, and doomed. You have an extra attack, your attacks cleave, and any unit you control has an extra attack in Mass Combat. You may spend Divinity to bless Mass Combat units as if they were individuals. 
        The Servitors of War are the Spartoi. They appear as burly, oiled-up Classical soldiers in heavy bronze armor with face-concealing helmets. They are 4th level fighting-men with the maximum amount of HP, and for each point of Divinity you spend summoning them, you receive 10 Spartoi. Besides their fighting ability and their cheerful willingness to march to their deaths, Spartoi are no more dangerous or competent than a mortal human.

        When you gain your Miracles, choose one:
    • Cutting a Red Road
      For [Divinity] minutes, mortals of fewer HD than you must save when attempting to attack you in melee. If they fail, they die. When fighting only mortals of fewer HD than you, your damage is applied to HD, not HP.
    • Strategic Genius
      You may lead [Divinity] units in battle, simultaneously, from the comfort of a command tent.

        When a demigod of War has a pool of 5 Divinity, weapons sharpen themselves and begin to ring in their presence. When they have 10, everything they touch is bloodied.

Saturday, April 1, 2023

Hwaet! (5e setting, classes)

Source: I made it up

    Ha! Moron. I just said this was 5e to get the bots to click on this post and make my view count go up so I can feel happiness. Let's take a look at the actual title now:

Hwaet! (Unfinished World Rock Opera)

    Well folks, you're in for a real treat this year. I've spared no expense. This year's spring project is even more absurd and over-the-top than can I usually swing. With (a lot of) help from a $1,800,000 endowment from the Canada Cultural Investment Fund, and all my genuine real-life in-person friends in the U.S. music industry, I've created a complete 10-hour long rock opera portraying the rise, agonized existence and fall of the Unfinished World, the setting which has been my major focus these past few GLOG-y years.

    I'd like to thank my family, the Academy, and you, the reader. I'd like to, but you didn't help. At best you have clicked on my post. You can listen to the whole thing on Spotify, but to be safe I'm also sharing links to each individual song in this post. Kind of like, you know, album liner notes or something. Like in a rock opera. Do you know how much of the plot of The Protomen is present in the lyrics and music of The Protomen? Or should I say; how little?

Satya Yuga, the Age of Truth

    It's an old story, one that everyone knows, so I won't bother retelling it in depth. Magolg created Ka and bade him to build the world but make no intelligent things; Ka disobeyed and created the Heroine; Magolg punished them; Heroine killed Magolg in His sleep. It's a long way down from here.
  1. A Noble Custom
  2. Ka Worked as he Willed
  3. In the Branches of a Mighty Tree

Intermission: Making Masks

Kritya Yuga, the Age of Accomplishment

    With the departure of their parents, the Five Brothers (Alden, Owain, Timotheos and the immortal Saul), mysterious beings who shaped the rivers, sculpted the mountains, and peopled the world with strange creatures that walked upright and killed each other with swords, were now left alone to make the world.
  1. 3 of Wands
  2. The Wild Parts of the World Began to Fill with Towns and Roads
  3. 4 of Cups
  4. 10 of Swords

Intermission: The Cataclysm

Preta Yuga, the Age of Hunger

     The Brothers taught metallurgy, music and art, the calendar, and ruled as fair as G_ds can for Ages. Then they left. This has made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move.
  1. Worlds Not Built to Last 
  2. The One Who is Far Below
  3. Who Leaves the Path of Wisdom Dwells in the Congregation of the Dead Forever 
  4. Friends in High Places
  5. Death is Making Us His Food

Intermission: Orphan

Kali Yuga, the Age of Strife

    Aeshe, the Great Sage, the Lord of Mercy, the Last Prophet and the First of the Latter-Day Servants of G_d, the Model of Excellent Conduct and Merit, was born in the prison-orphanage of Karn. As a child growing up in a time of chaos and collapse Aeshe saw the worst mankind had to offer. As an adult he preached defiance to the Secular orders of the time. For his troubles, he was tortured by the old Empire; they gelded him and flayed him, they cut off his fingers past the first knuckle, and severed the tendons of his limbs; they pulled out his teeth, burned out his eyes, and slit his tongue so he would not again preach their sins.
    After all this, as a last act of cruelty, the Powers That Be bolted a steel mask on Aeshe's face such that he could move his head or open his mouth, and abandoned him in the gutters. There he was rescued by Jovan, a tavernkeep, who tended to his wounds. Jovan was Aeshe's voice for the fifty days it took for the Great Sage to starve to death.
    Of course, Aeshe's was not the only important tale of the 4th Age.
  1. The Lord of Mercy
  2. Unknown, Thankfully
  3. Jovan, a Common Man
  4. The Greatest Sinner of the Age
  5. Nosam, a Gladiator
  6. The Demagogue Speaks 
  7. Nosam's Cabal Slays the High Priest Johnathan with Burning Knives
  8. Riding North, Alone
  9. Information Deliberately Concealed
  10. Technically, Slavery
  11. Sources Differ
  12. By Process of Elimination 
  13. He Burned All His Commentaries and Notes, and Left
  14. Virginia, a Sage
  15. Shaped Like a Friend
  16. Marshal, a Prophetess (?)
  17. New Roads Through Res Nullius 

Intermission: Grail Quest

Maitreya Yuga, the Age of the Mahdi (the Ready One, the Rightly-Guided, the Good Friend, the Master)

    The Green Heretics have a lot of prophecies about him (?), they're waiting for a lot of signs. They'll know it when they see it. When the Messiah comes, you won't have much time left. Very few will escape.
  1. Born Under a Bad Sign
  2. What Thoughts Play Behind Those Eerie, Inhuman Eyes?
  3. Favor of All Five
  4. Shining Eyes
  5. Rejected by Secular Authority
  6. His (?) Last Action Depicted is to Dig a Very Large Hole 
  7. Drawing the Sword from the Stone
  8. The World Liquefies 
  9. Two of Every Kind of Animal 

Intermission: Rope and Old Lumber City

Samudrolanghana Yuga, the Age of Sail

    This Age defies easy description. How do you describe a world with no world? The last loyal hound will be abandoned in Hell, or so the prophets say, and the black water will swallow up the sun, and the great egg of the universe will shatter, and we will have all gotten what we had coming.
  1. Without the Continuity of Thought, Without the Passing of Time, No Breath can be Taken

Thursday, March 30, 2023

d20x5 Raffish Ronins

    This post is part of a draft swap with friend-of-the-blog semiurge, in the style of one his worryingly-numerous and continually-multiplying d20x5 lists. I'm not altogether confident in this strange button generation technology, so if it doesn't work then simply roll your d20s by hand like we used to do in the motherland.

Source: Samurai by KidKazuya

This Ronin’s Master...

  1. ascended to a higher state of existence, leaving their servants behind.
  2. died in their sleep, and this ronin fled before they could be buried alive with the rest of their lord’s retinue.
  3. was killed by venomous treachery, and the ronin seeks evidence for an indisputable accusation.
  4. went mad, and this ronin assassinated them before they could do abhorrent harm.
  5. faked their death and fled their responsibilities.
  6. was erased from everyone else’s memory by vile magic while an imposter took their place.
  7. cast them aside for disobeying an order.
  8. was forced to commit suicide for insulting a daimyo.
  9. was killed by a stray arrow on the battlefield.
  10. was mauled by a bear on a hunting trip.
  11. was struck by lightning out of the blue, and this was generally taken as an omen of some secret iniquity.
  12. was fatally cursed by a sorcerer whose community they persecuted.
  13. was poisoned by an alchemist who claimed to possess the elixir of immortality.
  14. disowned them after scapegoating them for their heir’s scandalous behavior.
  15. was revealed to be three much-smaller masters in a trenchcoat.
  16. had himself beheaded in a successful bid to humiliate a hated rival.
  17. wandered far into the dark lands, and did not return.
  18. returned home to Alabama after a semi-failed insurrection.
  19. died gruesomely in a plague that took the lives of all his family and all other servants.
  20. doesn't even know the ronin is gone yet.

This Ronin Might Be Found...

  1. drowning their sorrows in drink.
  2. as hired muscle for a local gang.
  3. working as a bodyguard for some middling elite.
  4. protecting a village from bandits in return for food and shelter.
  5. picking fights with anyone who looks at them funny.
  6. throwing fights in an illegal gladiatorial ring.
  7. contemplating falling leaves.
  8. meditating beneath a waterfall.
  9. observing people going about their daily lives.
  10. boiling rice in their helmet.
  11. training a local militia.
  12. diving for something shiny they spotted.
  13. trying to negotiate with prostitutes for a discount.
  14. honing each of their weapons and tools to a razor-edge.
  15. worshiping silently at an off-the-beaten-track temple.
  16. sucking up to a real samurai.
  17. slicing a tall young tree as many times as they can before it falls, to keep themselves fast.
  18. punching a gnarled old tree as many times as they can before their hands break, to keep themselves strong.
  19. painstakingly copying the beautiful calligraphy of a book they can't read.
  20. gorging themselves on abandoned stew after slaying a camp of bandits.  

This Ronin’s Sword and Armor...

  1. are cheap but well taken care of. They had to sell their old stuff to survive, and couldn’t afford decent replacements
  2. are decorated with fish motifs.
  3. are a household object repurposed for combat.
  4. are plated with silver.
  5. are painted with a crimson lacquer.
  6. have been folded from alchemically-hardened paper.
  7. are mostly for show, as the ronin is a master of Sumo and Judo, and prefers to fight with teeth and bare knuckles.
  8. are antiques stolen from a shrine.
  9. are made from the steel-hard heartwood of a ten-thousand-year-old tree.
  10. were stolen from them while they slept by a gang of orphan-urchins. They’ve made due since with a walking stick and several layers of rags and saddle-leather.
  11. are loaded with hidden, spring-loaded blades that pop out with great force if subtle buttons and switches are pressed.
  12. bear the maker’s mark of a legendary smith.
  13. are covered with rust now that the ronin has abandoned their pride.
  14. were made by their father to slay a dragon he didn't live long enough to challenge.
  15. are sharp and hard as broken glass, and must be used with great delicacy.
  16. smell strongly of the strange wood of the far-off land they hail from.
  17. are studded with paste jewels.
  18. are covered with checker-marks. They cut a new line for every kill.
  19. shine like moonlight when a secret word is spoken
  20. are sized for the straight-backed, well-muscled samurai they were, not the crooked half-starved wretch who now carries them.

This Ronin’s Hobby is...

  1. writing bad poetry.
  2. whittling wooden solder figurines.
  3. gambling.
  4. bird watching.
  5. landscape painting.
  6. moonlight strolls.
  7. playing their flute.
  8. fishing.
  9. rucking. 
  10. tending a small garden.
  11. baking sweets.
  12. teaching lapdogs to perform entertaining tricks.
  13. flower arrangement.
  14. womanizing.
  15. tsujigiri.
  16. feeding stray cats. 
  17. screaming. 
  18. hunting ghosts.
  19. studying the history of war
  20. waiting in a tea-shop for someone to hire them.

This Ronin's Enemies Include...

  1. a fellow ronin and his sometimes-lover.
  2. a fiercely dishonorable demon-crow.
  3. the remnants of a bandit clan their master once ordered them to wipe out.
  4. a young warrior with prodigious talent who considers the existence of ronin to be a stain on the land.
  5. their own spouse, who has sworn to kill the ronin to avenge their dishonor.
  6. an evil centipede that can pilot people’s bodies by slithering into their intestines.
  7. a giant octopus that has learned martial arts, and also how to hate.
  8. a legendary chef, whose greatest dish (a curry that takes six years to make) was carelessly ruined by the ronin during a chase-scene.
  9. a gang of kung-fu students who have fixed on the ronin as a decent target to repeatedly beat the shit out of.
  10. the ambassador of a far-off kingdom, for nefarious reasons of her own.
  11. a family of hungry ogres who want to make them into soup.
  12. their child, who is a better samurai than they ever were.
  13. a pirate ship that descends with fire and slaughter on any river- or sea-side towns which dare to harbor (heh) the ronin for more than a night.
  14. the new student of the ronin's old mentor, sent to kill them to clear the teacher's reputation.
  15. the cruel gods above, for no reason at all.
  16. a headless horseman armed with a slaver's lash and a blazing torch. 
  17. the ghost of an enemy warrior who refuses to believe he has lost.
  18. a nightmare-nation of rat-men from the Wicked Lands.
  19. a seething magic-user whose affections the ronin once spurned.
  20. their face in the mirror, marked as it is now with care-lines and shadows.