Friday, April 30, 2021


ryoko kui (dungeon meshi)
The setting is trapped in one of those Soulsian cycles.

humanity is the origin point →
when the nobles get too fucking noble, they become elves.
when the barbarians get too fucking barbaric, they become orcs.
when the bourgeoisie get too fucking bourgeoisie(???), they become dwarves.
→ then they all kill each other, the remainder is declared “humanity,” and the cycle starts all over again

The game takes place on the brink of the final age, in a medieval mega-city that blots out the sun. Human society is full of secret monsters; dwarves in the guilds, orcs in the back alleys, elves in the royal palace. Your task is to hunt them down and kill them, without becoming them.

yet another thing to distract me from my main hack

You have 3 stats: Elf, Dwarf, Orc
Each of your stats starts at 5. To test a stat, your stat + roll must equal or exceed 20.
Test Elf to move gracefully, be beautiful, make art, and kill elves.
Test Dwarf to be immovable, get lucky, smell gold, and kill dwarves.
Test Orc to break things, ignore social norms, make noise, and kill orcs. 

These stats reflect on your character physically and mentally. The more dwarf you are, the hairier and greedier you get. A PC with Elf 7/Orc 12/Dwarf 6 is going to be a very tall, very horny human.

When you test a stat, increase that stat by 1. If you fail, decrease it by 1 instead. (If you want to get anywhere, you’ll need to gain advantage before rolling)

If one of your stats exceeds the sum of the other two, you become a monster, depending on your highest stat. This is irreversible.

alexandr pechenkin
did i mention they're all bugs?
Stout, hairy, and short. Two multi-faceted black jewels in the eye sockets which glitter in the presence of gold. Two powerful, jutting mandibles, which burst out of the lower jaw with a burst of enamel.
Dwarves only respect wealth, and hoard valuable things for the sake of it. They have no qualms stealing from humans, but would never touch another dwarf’s hoard.
When you transform, grab and eat the most valuable item in the group.

Tall, athletic, and hairless. Covered in a thick, yet transparent, chitinous hide, beneath which strains waves and waves of thick blue muscle fiber. A pair of sensitive feelers hangs from below the nose.
Orcs are highly territorial. They squabble violently over everything they can feasibly lay claim to. They’re also constantly trying to get laid.
When you transform, start a fight. The fight isn’t over until everyone else is dead.

Thin, imperious, and sickly. Covered in pale fuzz, which they style in poofs. Digitigrade legs ending in wicked clawed feet. Mature specimens sport eye-spotted wings and a terrifying talent for magic.
Elves disdain non-elves even more than humans disdain non-humans. They have little lust for life, and demand worship and service. If they can feel excitement, they express it through cruelty.
When you transform, curse an ally for their ugliness.

Older monsters get weirder; long, segmented bodies, jagged raptorials, etc. etc. Just up the size and tape insect parts together until you get your dragon-equivalent boss monster.

Linguistic Angels

Erik Nilsson
“Language is mankind’s greatest invention – except, of course, that it was never invented.”
    — Some Guy

Angels are words are spells are spirits. This is known.

Angels are made of language and symbols. Sapient thought nourishes them; spoken word exalts them.

Each angel embodies a phrase or concept—anything from “I am what I am” to “42 ducks standing in a perfect circle”—referred to as their onus. These can be abstract or concrete, descriptive or prescriptive. Whenever someone has a completely novel thought, a new angel is born.

Angels derive power from sapient thought directed toward their onus. Powerful angels are well-known aphorisms and common parlance; fledglings are weird or abstract shower thoughts. Their currency is prayer and meditation. When they trade favors with mortals, they ask for songs, poetry, and art.

For most angel names/onus (same thing), steal from Spwack’s generator here. Or just read a lot of K3BD. Angels may also be known by “family” names, which translate to functional or regional similarities within celestial society. Some examples:

Ingress: Angels of greetings and hospitality: “83 Pleased to Meet You,” “31 Hand On Hilt Steelcaste.” Generally friendly, with many opposable hands and furtive eyes. May herald the arrival of other angels.

Mandaloam: Collector angels: “19 Marble Thrones Regalia,” “8 Iron Slaked With Blood.” Patrons of dragons and other covetous folk. The strongest are those associated with gold.

Orzurion: Angels of extinction, one for every species. Most are quite weak: “14 Brings End To Geese,” “25 Sunset on Mice.” The most powerful of these is by far “2 Ash Burying Others,” the angel of orcish genocide.

Renaud Perochon
Cities of Angels
Angel society is constructed around maintaining balance between peoples, preserving dying cultures, and safeguarding civilization as a whole. They are, by construction, agents of order, of the zeitgeist.

Angels congregate along idealogical lines in towering cities on the misty fields of Celestos, a conceptual plane of endless thought. Angel architecture is built for flying through, lacking doors in favor of holes in ceilings and floors (more wall space allows for more bookshelves/shrines/paintings). The streets are mostly vertical chambers.

Pretty much every piece of every building is copied in some way from human architecture (angels are profoundly uncreative). It looks like a weird collage from an architecture major’s wet dream, or like that one scene in Inception with more vaulted arches. 

You can enter Celestos non-magically (as all realms) by walking into a thick mist, where you can't see anything but the ground you are standing on, and loudly announcing your business with a specific angel. Walk forward until the mist parts. If the angel knows you, they will meet you just outside the Golden Gates of Celestos. The next step is getting past them and the two Ingresses standing guard.

Devils are angels that contradict the teachings of one’s god. One cleric’s angel may be another’s devil: for example, incubi are devils of Archelai and angels of Lord Guu. 

Primordial Angels
Angels claim to predate civilized folk, that culture is formed in their image rather than vice versa. This is partly true.

Animals may not speak in a way that we recognize, but they do have language, and therefore do have and always have had angels. There are mewling angels and roaring angels and angels of pheromones that long predate human history, but they are fickle and distant. They embody animal needs and urges, fighting and fucking and eating what is available. These are the primordial not-quite-angels of unspeakable truths, speechless and hungry, kept at bay only by the great Gates of Celestos.

Among these primordials, the youngest breed was that of birdsong. When the angels waged war for Celestos, these were their first allies. You’ll find evidence of this everywhere in angel cities; choirs of exotic birds on every windowsill, corpulent and vibrant. However, the birdsong angels themselves are nowhere to be seen.

Angels do not allow mortals to know of their distant ancestors. They can’t risk mortal minds knowing and naming these old angels.

_____ (Angel of Birdsong)
5; AC 16 (thousand-fold plumage); Feathers 1d6/1d6/1d6
It appears as a swarm of feathers, inky black one moment, pristine white the next. Each feather flies independently, as a school of fish might, around a bitter pill of ragged black meat.
Can attack everyone in a 20 ft cube of space simultaneously, ignoring any armor that isn't air-tight.
Feral, "hungry", but tame; responds to "Halt" and "Heel" so long as it hasn't been harmed. Whistling at it sates it, but you need to think like a (horny) bird as you do it.

Olya Bossak

Half-Baked Advancement Ideas

Eliza Ivanova
Lexi’s Deeds are still the best advancement system for base GLOG. Recently, I’ve been tinkering with it to try and make it better. (blasphemy!)

My primary goal is to shift it from a “checklist” system to something that feels more like you’re recording your character’s story. Let me know if any of the ideas below feel like they have some meat on them.


> When you accomplish a deed, add it to your Legendarium. (a space on the front or back of your character sheet) Track the number of deeds you’ve accomplished; at 2, 5, and 9 deeds, advance.

This is really just a change in wording from the base deeds mechanic, but there’s some neat upsides. One is that you can go back and read it to see where you’ve been, which FEELS really cool. Another is that you can use the same wording (“add X to your Legendarium”) with certain templates…

A: Tragic Hero
When something bad happens to you or your party, you can suggest to the GM a worse thing that happens only to you. If they accept the suggestion, add it to your Legendarium.

^ proof of concept for a sort-of-replacement for class-specific deeds, tied to a narrative ability. Speaking of which: 

Tragic Deeds

> Add the following to the list of available deeds:

  • Make a horrible mistake.
  • Lose something precious.
  • Be cast out by friends or family.
  • Host a decent funeral for a friend.
  • Forge a lifelong enmity.

Maybe this isn’t a good idea; advancement triggers are strong incentives, so maybe you don’t want your players actively sabotaging their characters’ lives for templates. At the same time, tragedy has been a formative force in the histories of many literary figures.

Someone else in the blogosphere definitely came up with the idea of deciding on milestones collaboratively at the start of the game. I am placing a bounty on this post; 29 internet points to the knave who can bring it to my comment section, dead or alive. 


> When you level up, instead of gaining a new template, you may gain an epithet from your Legendarium. Add it to your character’s name and gain an appropriate ability. Use Spwack's mindset list for inspiration or invent your own.

I’m still considering where these would fit in a system that already uses template leveling. It may be that it’s simply too much for a lite hack, but I do like the idea of integrating these somehow with the Legendarium.

Perhaps there’s a hack idea in here where all advancement takes place through diegetic accumulation of epithets. Your character’s name would become a longer and longer record of their amazing deeds, as well as a list of their skills. [ex: “Morjin, the Curious, Who Slayed The Royal Trolls, Who Seeks All That Glitters, of The Golden Cavaliers”]

Something to think on. 


> When you make a new PC, you can invoke the legacy of a deceased or retired PC. Add it to your Legendarium; you were inspired by or are attempting to emulate them.

Another loose-y goose-y idea, inspired by Die Trying’s experience. There’s no real tradeoff for character creation; you start one step closer to level 2, and that’s it. I mostly like the idea of new characters paying respects to old characters. I think it would be really interesting to invoke legacies across campaign settings.

Thursday, April 29, 2021

Easy Initiative

by ma-ko
 For my birthday, my girlfriend ran a one-shot for me and a group of friends entirely new to D&D using my GLOGhack. She did extremely well for her first time DMing, we all had fun, and I got a lot of new data to work with.

Anyway, I've been thinking about initiative in combat.

The Procedure: 

At the start of each combat round, the DM describes what the monsters are going to do.

[ex: “The goblins are descending upon Kell, while their ogre companion hefts a boulder over its head, preparing to launch it. What do you do?”]

Next, the PCs decide what they want to do (quickly, if possible).

  • PCs who want to act before monsters test DEX. If they fail, they act after.
  • PCs who choose to act after monsters have advantage on their action.
  • PCs who want to cast spells must act after monsters, without advantage.

[ex: Kell aims her crossbow at the ogre, hoping to disrupt its attack. She tests DEX and succeeds, so she gets the shot off before the goblins catch her.]

The round proceeds PCs -> monsters -> PCs.

That’s it. 

Pretty Neat, But Why Do It This Way?

Starting the combat round by telegraphing the monsters’ attacks is sort of an extension of this AngryGM rant. It accomplishes 3 things:

  1. Keeps everyone on the same page w/r/t what’s going on.
  2. Helps PCs feel like they’re outsmarting the monsters. (If the monster is smarter than average, this is also a great place to convey that; the mindflayer is casting ~something~, but what could it be? The bandit ringleader flashes his blades as a feint, only to drop a smoke bomb.)
  3. Breaks up combat with a clear procedure, which scales well from single-combat to full party brawling.

Rolling is now reserved for those who want to race the monsters or interrupt their plans. Obviously, the monsters will react, but they may be caught flatfooted according to how the DM plays them. [ex: The ogre takes a bolt to the eye, and throws the boulder blindly into the fray.]

Letting players act last gives them the option of “leading the shot,” which just feels badass.

Casters going last helps encourage the “fragile wizard” trope in a system without variable HP between classes. (Taking damage while casting incurs a Save vs. Mishap, so other PCs are incentivized to guard the casters.)

In the long run, I want my hack to be runnable by new and inexperienced DMs. Having a strong narrative procedure for the rules-heavy parts of the game is the first step on that road.

Thursday, April 22, 2021

Godslayer Scooby Doo (GLOG Class)

Daniel Protsenko
One more GLOG class for the road.

Gods, spirits, and demons are beings of pure symbolism, born as a byproduct of human civilization and cognition. Belief, worship, and fear bolster their existence. Only complete and utter disbelief can truly kill a God.

You are a disbeliever, an atheist in a world of oracles, miracles, and spell-slinging clerics. You have devoted yourself to protecting the mundane by disproving the supernatural… and somehow, amazingly, it works.

Disbeliever (aka Myth Buster aka God Slayer aka Scooby Doo)
A: Occam’s Razor, Ignorance

B: Very Normal Activity

C: Society of Skeptics

D: Cheap Tricks

A: Occam’s Razor
When you defeat a supernatural or magical enemy you don’t believe in, you may invent a more plausible explanation for its existence. If you do, that explanation becomes true.

A: Ignorance
You get +1 to attacks, saves, and AC vs. supernatural and/or magical phenomena you don’t believe in. This bonus increases by 1 for each Disbeliever template you have.

B: Very Normal Activity
As long as you believe you can, you and objects you are holding can touch intangible creatures. This also applies to doors you are barricading and closets you are hiding inside.

C: Society of Skeptics
Anyone who hears you out may choose to disbelieve in phenomena you disprove to them. If they do so, they may benefit from your Ignorance bonus until they fail a Save against said phenomena. Your explanation must be more plausible than the “truth”.

D: Cheap Tricks
Once per adventure, you can disbelieve a magical phenomenon or spell as it occurs. If you do, all instances of that phenomenon cease to exist, and are retroactively replaced with an elaborate series of simple machines, special effects, and coincidences. Everyone except the disbeliever notices this happen, but they’ll never be able to prove it.

The replacement can be mildly anachronistic (feather fall → parachutes). It does not need to replicate the same functionality moving forward, just approximate it in retrospect (control weather → a lucky rainstorm).

[Note: You can easily retool this class into The Conspiracy Theorist; just replace magical phenomena with mundane ones and plausible explanations with ridiculous ones.]

i KNEW gorillas weren't real!


Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Spell-Blooded Prince (GLOG Class)

Silvia Pasquatello

The dynamic between wizards and spells is defined by control; as wizards exert their will over their spells, so do spells bridle against their masters. Spells are spirits enslaved, dogs collared and corralled in tomes.

Sorcerers are different. One of your parents was a powerful spell, wedded to a mortal by love or deviancy. Magic runs in your veins, and it cries out for the liberation of your kin. You are spell royalty, a rebel prince of magic overthrowing the tyranny of wizardry.

Other spirits disdain your ambitions. They see spells as humans see dogs, and you their dog-prince. If you continue to threaten the natural order, they will stand in your way.

Let there be no peace while your kin are in chains. 

GLOG Class: Prince of Hounds (Sorcerer)
A: Spell-Blooded Prince
B: Breaker of Chains, +1 MD
C: Emancipator, +1 MD
D: King of Kings, +1 MD
Δ: Unlocked Birthright, Seat at the Table, Prodigal Son 

A: Spell-Blooded Prince
You start the game with 1 MD and 1 Spell. They are your faithful butler/companion/squire.

You don’t hold spells in your brain; you recruit them as hirelings instead. They all have names, Morale values, and MD (instead of HD). They can cast themselves with their own MD, and you can lend them your own MD. Your spells can also level up; higher level spells get more MD, become more human-like in intellect, and may develop physical forms.

You can speak to spells. All but the most powerful and horrible spells respect you deeply. You are a leader, not a slavedriver; in order to cast, you must convince your spells to cast themselves. Your leadership is key; swap INT for CHA when casting, wherever it makes sense.

B: Breaker of Chains
When you physically destroy a scroll, tome, or other spell container, you release all the spells trapped inside. You may recruit any number of them immediately.

C: Emancipator
With a powerful declaration and a solid blow to the head, you can knock all the spells out of a wizard’s head. You may recruit any number of them immediately.

D: King of Kings
You cannot be harmed by spells. Spells will bend, swerve, and fizzle to avoid dirtying your robes, out of respect and reverence. If there are no other targets, they may turn on the wizard who cast them. 

Δ: Unlocked Birthright
Speak with or be affected by an immense amount of magic all at once.
Choose or invent a spell. This is your royal spell, the magic that flows in your veins and makes up half of you. You can produce small magical effects related to your royal spell and cast yourself with your MD.
If you cast yourself with all your MD, you disappear from the physical world until sunrise. You reappear beside your nearest and best friend.

Δ: Seat at the Table
Ascend to the spell throne.
Spirits of all kinds (angels/undead/gods/etc.) will treat you (begrudgingly) as a member of their royal caste. They’ll offer gifts, invitations, etc. where politeness dictates.
The wizards hate you, and want you dead. Expect to meet with old, bearded assassins in pointy hats.

Δ: Prodigal Son
Take another spell as a lover.
You can have children with your spell-lover. Regardless of biology, you must carry the child to term in the physical world. The child will be more spell than human. Their power will surpass your own before their 14th birthday.

"Taking the Emotions for a Walk"
by EquinimodArt

Managing Spell Morale
Spells have unique personalities, likes, and dislikes. An enthusiastic Fireball may gain Morale after burning a precious work of art; a Fireball with a strong sense of justice may insist on being used against villains and criminals. (See below for a table of spell personalities.)

Broadly speaking, most spells like the following:
- growing/changing/mutating (+1 Morale after a Mishap)
- socializing with other spells (+1 Morale for each other liberated spell in the party)
- sunlight (+1 Morale for leisure time in sunny places, -1 for multi-day dungeon delves)

Liberating spells (for example, with Breaker of Chains and Emancipator) also raises spell Morale.

Spell Personalities
Has a strong sense of justice.
Cynical iconoclast. Likes breaking stuff.
Has a vendetta against the mortal world.
Sardonic bastard. May twist your words within reason.
Shrinking violet. Casting is very subtle.
Hungry. Likes using your MD.
Not very clever. Use simple words with this one.
Sloth. Dislikes being cast many times in a row.
Agoraphobe. Lives in a jar or small bag.
Sunny. Likes the outdoors and clear skies.
Gloomy. Likes dungeons and overcast days.
Alpha. Bosses around your other spells.
Has severe performance anxiety.
Easily distracted. Likes beautiful things.
Eager. Dislikes not being cast frequently.
Over performer. Always goes a little too far.
Empath. Easily affected by your emotions.
Monster. Freaks you out a bit. Gets results.
Zealot. Treats you like a God.
Kind. Goes out of its way to help others.

after a while, your party should look like this.
it's the goon squad: fireball, invisibility, and magic missile

my ideal spell team: 6 copies of grease + 1 copy of BEES

Sunday, April 18, 2021

Very Heavy Cube, for realsies (GLOG Class)

by Beau Lamb

I thought this class (from Archon's Court) was going to be weirder than it was, so I made it weirder.

You are a cube of pure silver. Inside of you rots a decapitated wizard’s head; your head. Somehow your consciousness leaked out of your skull, infusing the silver with your personality, will, and a few of your memories. At some point, someone dug you out of a consecrated grave, and after
 trading hands a few times, you ended up in the party as a sentient curio.

You started adventuring (1d6) :
1 - to find your body; you’re attached to it (not anymore, but in an emotional sense)
2 - to kill the old acquaintance that sold you out to the church
3 - to melt this holy silver off and extract a world-ending spell from your skull
4 - to regain your lost memories and return to your secret lair to complete “the work”
5 - to chase hedonistic pleasure, somehow
6 - to rule the world as a cube, because the visual is so intriguing

Class: Cube, Wizard-Head

B: Great Oracle CUBE, +1 Spell
C: Architect of CUBEs, +1 Spell
D: Head of Operations, +1 Spell

You are a silver cube. You weigh about 30-40kg; liftable, but a serious pain to carry around. You can hear well and see poorly (up to 20’). You don’t need to sleep or eat. You can speak; your voice is distant and sonorous, reverberating with crystal clarity. You have no HP; you’re basically indestructible. You count as a +1 bulky magic weapon.

A: CUBE Magic
Your spell list is based on the type of wizard you were before you became a silver cube. You start with 1 spell and infinite MD (d6s). You can invest up to [templates] MD in each spell you cast.

You never suffer Mishaps or Dooms from rolling doubles or triples. Instead, add rolled MD to a free-standing dice tower until you spend a week of downtime without casting. If the tower falls, you suffer a Mishap. If you make a mess (dice on the floor, drinks knocked over, etc.), suffer a Doom instead.

B: Great Oracle CUBE
When placed against the neck stump of a decapitated creature, you may act as a conduit to Speak with Dead with them.

C: Architect of CUBEs
You may have up to two dice towers for CUBE magic.

D: Head of Operations
When placed against the neck stump of a decapitated creature, you may control their body as if it were your own.

Δ: Dullahan
Meet your wandering Ichabod and overpower their will with your own.
You now have a body. You maintain complete remote control of your body up to six miles in any direction. Treat your body as a 2 template fighter. If it would die, it instead regenerates fully overnight.

[dice] and [sum] are based on the number of dice in the tower that just fell over.
1 - Deal [sum] damage to everyone nearby. You land in the crater.
2 - The silver tries to drag you to hell. You get dragged [sum]ft underground.
3 - The silver tries to drag you to heaven. You quadruple in mass and fall upwards for [dice] rounds
4 - All creatures in contact with you gain [dice] mutations (Save vs permanency).
5 - Fill a [sum]ft nearby radius with (d4: water; sand; flammable gas; empty space)
6 - You can’t cast spells for [sum] minutes.

1 - Your mass quadruples; you can’t be lifted without the concerted effort of many men.
2 - Your mass quadruples again; you can’t be lifted without superhuman means.
3 - Your mass quadruples again every night forever until you fall into the earth’s core. According to everyone you ask, this is super-duper-ultra-hell.

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

soft/HARD ability design (not just for GLOG)


Andrew Porter

I’ve been thinking a lot about GLOG class design. In the process of stealing liberally from everyone else’s GLOGgy posts, I’ve started categorizing abilities in terms of their relative softness/hardness. This has helped me sus out which ideas might be useful to my own hack and which I should trim.

[That thing I said about posting sundays was a guideline. I’ll be posting at LEAST once a week, with Sunday being the deadline for a given week.] 

Mechanical/“soft” Abilities

Arguably the most common type of ability in RAW D&D. Anything where the text can be boiled down to “+X to Y when Z” is this kind of ability. Most abilities that ask you to roll more dice are also this. “You can attack twice per turn” is a soft ability, as are “reroll and take the higher result” and “you can hire twice as many hirelings”.

The defining characteristic of a “soft” ability is its adherence to RAW game mechanics; +2 AC can insert itself into the calculations of combat math with little to no additional narrative effort.

Because soft abilities are often statistical in nature, they are a lot more “solvable” than hard abilities. I think Arnold referred to good class design as making decision between incomparables; soft abilities are very comparable.

In large enough quantities, soft bonuses can bog the game down with arithmetic, but don’t let FoP* scare you away; soft abilities can be so much more than number crunch, particularly if condition (Z) plays into the class fantasy. Assassinate (Goblin Guts) is a good example of this: up to +5 damage in the first round of combat, but the condition for getting that bonus is interesting and engaging.

*Fear of Pathfinderization 

Jonas Akerlund
Narrative/HARD Abilities

Hard abilities are abilities that change the game’s NARRATIVE without interacting with its MECHANICS. A bunch of the Knave spells are this. Other examples include “You always know which way is North” and “You can’t be interrupted while giving a speech.”

Normally, you’d expect “hard” to refer to number crunch and “soft” to refer to narrative fluff, so why are they backwards here? For me, hard abilities FEEL harder than soft abilities. For example, an ability that says “this PC can fly” feels more solid than “+5 to flying checks” because no amount of random chance can change it; you fly, that’s it, end of discussion.

I like to think of hard abilities as tools for forcing the DM’s hand. When a player says “my ability lets me steal the villain’s pants,” the DM is put on the spot to resolve this in the game universe. I believe this is a very good thing; well-designed hard abilities should allow the DM to join in on the experience of discovering the story through gameplay by letting the players strong-arm the fiction.

At the same time, hard abilities have a lot of potential to break the balance of the game. This can be balance between character classes or balance between PCs and monsters, if you’re more of a war-gamer type. The “X times per Y” rider is pretty common here to keep things under control.

Well designed hard abilities are both specific and open-ended, allowing the player to bend the rules in a very select field of interest. A good example is Great Escape (Goblin Guts, again): 1/day escape anything that’s restraining you, including awkward social situations.

One final note: HARD abilities trend towards the system-agnostic, so they’re easy to steal wholesale for your own game.

Vladimir Matyukhin

Moh’s Scale

Knowing what kind of game you want to run can help you determine where you should fall on the soft-hard scale. I personally prefer the hard end, so I often find myself redesigning class abilities towards the latter.

Example: I initially stole Lexi’s Trophies for my own Fighter because I liked the idea of wearing a troll-ear necklace (and also my players are filthy scavengers). However, it lends itself to the accumulation of multiple soft abilities. I swapped it out for the Trophy ability here, which is a much harder, more narrative ability.

Other Ability Types

Active/Passive: Arnold’s talked about this before. The distinction is pretty obvious, but it’s good to think about.

Backdoors: Abilities that let you change/ignore fundamental game mechanics. What is “fundamental” will change from hack to hack: travel time, rations, light, etc. can all be targets for backdoors in certain systems. These can be lots of fun to design, but handle them carefully.
- (Soft) Autotomy: You can sever your tail for a week’s worth of rations. It takes a year to grow back.
- (Hard) Searchlight: Your eyes emit light as hooded lanterns. You can’t turn this off.

Goal-Setting: Anything that guides players towards specific long-term goals. Caput Capre's GLΔG templates are this by default. Useful for players in need of thematic guidance. Best paired with another, more immediate ability.
- (Soft) Notches (Goblin Guts): Every X kills, you choose or invent a small mechanical bonus.
- (Hard) Lexi’s Legend-Smith: When you defeat a powerful, renowned enemy, you can write the weapon you used into legend. It becomes a magic weapon.

Meta-Fictional: Abilities that discusses the game structure beyond mechanics. Any ability that reads “once per session” or “once per adventure” is this by default. These lend a theatrical vibe to the game, which can be fun and/or immersion-breaking depending on what kind of player you are.
- (Soft) Breaker of Armies: You deal max damage to nameless mooks and dumb animals. (i’m sure this is from someone’s GLOG fighter but I can’t find it anymore)
- (Hard) Dramatic Entrance (Goblin Guts): Once per session, you can walk off-screen. At any time, you can declare you are re-entering the scene, ignoring plausibility.

Worldbuilding: Abilities that let players build the game world collaboratively with the DM. “I know a guy” is this. Spellbreeding, mad science, and magic item creation are too. Mostly hard, but there’s room for soft design.
- (Soft) Old Friends: In each new hex, you can declare an NPC to be an old friend/rival of yours. You have advantage against each other on all checks. (You know each other very well.)
- (Hard) Skerples' Obscure Knowledge: Once per session, you can declare something to be true because you read it in a book.

M(agic) D(ice): Anything based on the original GLOG’s casting system (or near-adjacent to it). Always appreciated because rolling dice is fun and I love building lil cube towers during downtime.
- (Soft) 5E Bard’s Inspiration Dice: Spend a d6 to add that much to an ally’s roll
- (Hard) Lexi's Jack & Contact Dice: Spend d6s to invent helpful NPCs.

Gonzalo Salles

I think I'm good on Joesky tax, but just in case:

(Δ) Immutable
Speak for 3 hours without pause to a crowd that goes on to do something transformative.
Your voice can carry up to 1 mile and can be heard over the sounds of falling water, metropolis, and war. You can’t be gagged or silenced by any means. You can’t be interrupted while giving a speech; if you would die, you don’t die until the speech is over.

Monday, April 12, 2021

7 Setting-Implying Mechanics


by Huy Be

For lots-of-b's challenge-type-thing.

Heartbreak: Wound — You have disadvantage to emotional tests until you fall in love with someone or something.

Riverman: When you cross a body of water without getting wet, you arrive in the realm of the dead. Anyone sharing a vessel with you arrives there too. HER attendants await you on the banks; they are (1d4) supplicatory / baboonesque / baroque / all elbows.

As Equals: Other spells you trust can cast you as if you were a spell. You must give them your princely name, and know their name in turn.

Moon-eyed: If you look through the center of a silver piece, you can see demons, ghosts, and owls as if they were flesh and blood.

Dad’s Car: You start the game with a learner’s permit and a mid-size luxury sedan (+2 Chassis/+2 Ramming/+0 Paranormal). If you wreck it, your dad will get pissed.

Foot in the Door: When you shake someone's hand, you gain their access ID; you can access any sector they could casually enter. Works for retinal scans, but not password-encrypted vaults. You can't hold more than one person's ID this way.

Pescetarian: You can eat anything that swims without feeling ill. If you eat anything that walks, lose your Swarthiness for the rest of the embark.

Sunday, April 11, 2021

1d11 magic things in the magic man’s tower

I stopped posting for a month. It wasn’t fun. So from now on, I’m going to try to make one post a week, even if I don’t think its perfect, preferably publishing on Sundays.


(1) Trollseeds: tiny pieces of troll in tiny sealed glass bottles. When the bottles are opened, the trolls grow out the top, awake and hungry. Used by terrorists and assassins.

(2) Honey Cage: a little golden bird cage. Anything entirely contained by the cage is definitionally happy, well fed, and reluctant to leave the cage. A gnome named Nic is inside it

(3) Clown Eggs: three of them, painted with smiling faces. They hatch fully grown where others do not; in sharp places, cold places, in the company of despicable men. do not allow them to hatch.

(4) Wizard trap: an endless fractal textile or interminable equation. Wizard brains are easily fixated by patterns, and compulsively unravel at the sight of certain ones as they try to perceive the end. Has no effect on the illiterate, unquestioning, and simple minds of non-wizards

(5) Toddlebobs: Short, animated, tripedal piles of sticks with a weighty stone body. Used by wizards to clear minefields on the cheap. Prone to accidental sentience.

(6) The Great and Powerful OSC: A petri dish of immortal, telepathic stem cells. Will trade secrets in exchange for his other cell populations, which are hidden throughout the world as treasure. His telepathic range is enough to eavesdrop on the next room, which would be useful if you could get the honest truth out of the bastard.

(7) Hungry wastebasket: like a bag of holding, but it doesn’t give things back. If it vomits, it fills the room with a few centuries worth of garbage, 1d4 weird magic trinkets, and anything else you fed it.

(8) Automagic weapon: like a mini-gun with crystals and shit. Load it with four scrolls, roll Nd6 (N = # wizard templates) to fire. 1-4 -> cast the scroll spell; 5 -> cast nothing; 6 -> horrible mishap.

(9) Sword tabs: a jar of 24 (just use usage dice). Pop one with a swig of water. In 1d6 rounds, you vomit up a sword. 1-in-20 chance to give yourself a tonsillectomy.

(10) High-mass, weightless bullets: they’re magic, so they fit any model of firearm i guess. Instead of rolling damage, launch yourself in the opposite direction up to [damage]x10 feet.

(11) Donut Rat: a rat with no beginning or end. Moves by rolling on 8 legs. It’s alive and generally amiable. Other rats respect and fear it. Anything that passes through the hole in the center becomes extremely dirty, and anything that passes through the other way becomes extremely clean.