Friday, August 25, 2023

5 Duelist Styles

nicolas nemiri

Loch's Duelist is required reading for this post.

Ψ - Feral
The style of Inner Earth paladins, as practiced in the Prison-City.
You might have learned it from one of their fold, or the spiraling ravings carved in bedrock.

  1. Technique: Dagger-Blood - Bite your tongue and take 1 damage to spit a dagger at them.
  2. Stance: Orehound - You track expensive metal (>200gp) by smell.
  3. Technique: Manacle - With your free hand, grab their wrist. Your grip cannot be broken, except by death of one or both of you. They'll need to overpower you to use the grabbed arm meaningfully.
  4. Stance: Magnesis - You may strike at polearms-length with an iron or steel weapon, swinging it with your mind alone. While you do this, your hands are free.

Ψ - Reaper B)
An impractical style for foolish, lethal people. You must wield a scythe or, more rarely, a katana.
You might have learned it from a black-clad farmer-assasssin, or from
The Memoirs of James Blackgun.

  1. Technique: Vorpal - Go for the throat. If your next attack brings them to 0 HP, you instantly decapitate them in a terrifying display, forcing morale checks and saves vs fear.
  2. Technique: Nothing Personnel - If no one is looking at you (even for a moment), you can disappear and reappear directly behind them.
  3. Technique: Early Harvest - You may forgo both of your attacks to make a single attack against everything in the room, including the furniture.
  4. Stance: Accessories to Murder - You have +1 to hit for every 2 slots of belts you are wearing. 

Ψ - Qusan
The style of the Eastern frontier, in the trenches, under the storm-that-blinds-God.
You might have learned it from a veteran with sunken eyes and pointed teeth, or a roan-bound journal.

  1. Technique: Ankle-Breaker - When you deal max damage with a heavy weapon, you may break one of their legs.
  2. Technique: Jaws of the Steppe - When you could riposte, you can instead catch their weapon in your teeth and wrench it out of their hands. Heavy weapons get a save.
  3. Technique: Bear-Biter - This round, treat your teeth like a fistful of +[level] daggers.
  4. Stance: Yaga Cauldron - Nothing in your stomach can harm you.

Lesson of Qusan: The Man In The Trench - You can assume an alternate persona, recognizable to all who know you as different from you. He (and it is a He) is immune to fear, charms, sleep, cold, and compassion. He has six cravings—numbness, forgetting, a mother's touch, horse meat, sudden violence, and the unspeakable one—whenever you banish Him, adopt another of His cravings. He remembers things.

Ψ - Kenesse
The style of invaders from a vanished land of high cliffs and golden geese.
Maybe you learned it from a runty giant, or a 12ft stele in the hinterland.

  1. Technique: Sunder - Forgo an attack to turn a shield to splinters. Magic shields get a save.
  2. Technique: Knock - Forgo both of your attacks to knock a door off its hinges. Metal doors get a save, unless you forgo three attacks.
  3. Technique: Shape Earth - Forgo both of your attacks to split the battlefield in two. This might be a wall of earth displaced by a mighty stomp, or a collapsed roof section, or a massive crack in a sheet of ice. It's difficult to cross, but not impossible.
  4. Stance: Cloud Step - You can double-jump. If your hair is ankle-length, you can triple-jump.

Ψ - Ja Ki
The style of drunken masters, born in revolutionary circles of the Hungry City.
Maybe you learned it from one of them, or the back of the label on a 500 year old jug of moonshine.

  1. Technique: Muddle - You may forgo both of your attacks to trade weapons with them, somehow.
  2. Technique: Liquid Sacrifice - You may parry with a d10 by sacrificing a waterskin, bottle, or jug of drink on your hip.
  3. Technique: Footstool - When you could riposte, you can instead end up standing on their head, somehow. From there, you can make a further running jump. Either way, this knocks them prone.
  4. Stance: Monkey Gathers Oranges - You can pick up and throw things with your feet.

Lesson of Ja Ki: Stumble - Whenever you go anywhere, you have a 2-in-6 chance of ending up in a bar instead, and a 1-in-6 chance of ending up somewhere you are not allowed to be. This is true whether you are walking alone or being escorted in a cage to your own execution; everyone who accompanies you is utterly bewildered by this phenomenon.

special thanks to random_interrupt for getting me on boell oyino

Tuesday, August 15, 2023

Nomothetic Harmonics (d100 Spells)

Magic has a sound, a smell, and a taste.

Casting with more MD may reveal things. Casting in strange places may produce unexpected results.

Spells are stored in the skull, etched on the inside (unless they aren't).


Many spells stolen or half-stolen from Ashes to Ashes.

  1. Stonespeech – [dice + 1] stones scream incoherently for [sum] minutes.
  2. Speak With Dead – Ask [dice + highest] questions of a skull or dead body. -1 [dice] to compel truth, -1 [dice] to hear the emotion of the voice.
  3. Horsebreaker – Deal [sum x dice] damage to cavalry with your bare hands and teeth.
  4. Lore of the Herald – Cast upon a banner or similar heraldry, learn the name of its owner and [dice] of their notable deeds.
  5. Orient – A distant, melancholy song calls from the East.
  6. Dredge – [sum] buried objects (or memories) rise to the surface in an area (or creature).
  7. Phantom Limb – [dice] body parts can’t touch physical objects, only incorporeal ones. Lasts for [dice] hours, or until you dispel it.
  8. Water Walk – Treat all liquid surfaces as a stone floor for [dice] hours.
  9. Stone Egg – Collapse into a heavy stone sphere with [sum x 10] HP. Emerge [highest] hours later. Doesn't count as a rest.
  10. Snowshoe – You do not sink in snow, sand, earth, or plant matter, and leave no tracks.
  11. Glass Eye – Remove one or more of your eyes. You can roll them like marbles and see thru them regardless of distance. Lasts until you put them back in your head.
  12. Summon Hounds – Summon [dice] hounds or a single [dice] HD Hound of Ashkelon. With a royal bone as an offering, you can call a specific hound by name.
  13. Status Symbol – You conjure a golden torc. As long as you wear it, royalty cannot ignore you or order others to harm you. Tarnishes and disintegrates after [dice] hours.
  14. Prodigious Size – You grow [sum] feet taller and gain +[dice] FORT for [dice] hours.
  15. Lightning Strike – Conjure a storm cloud overhead. 1d3 rounds later, lightning strikes the tallest thing in the vicinity for [sum + dice] damage. If that thing is you, you take no damage; instead, it leaps thru your finger in the direction you are pointing.
  16. Serpentform – Become a [dice] HD snake by slithering out of your own mouth like a shed skin, or transform [dice] of your limbs/appendages into snakes.
  17. Babble – Target loudly repeats everything you think for [sum] minutes. If cast with 3 or more MD, they loudly repeat everything they think instead. It is otherwise mute.
  18. Illusory Cat – Conjure a ghostly cat with [dice] of the following:
    • fluent Citizen;
    • claws like karambits;
    • prodigious size;
    • any affection for you whatsoever.
  19. Dreamspeak – Send a cryptic dream of [dice] words and [highest] symbols to someone you saw today.
  20. Head Of Bear – Your head becomes that of a very confused and angry [dice + 2] HD bear for [dice] hours. Your body remains under your control. You see thru the bear’s mouth.
  21. Servant Hands – Your hands crawl off of your arms. They obey your commands like eager crabs. Lasts until you put them back on your arms.
  22. Feather – An object you touch weighs as much as a feather. Lasts [sum] minutes.
  23. Swords to Horses – Destroy [dice] swords to conjure that many beautiful steeds.
  24. Wild Crown – You grow horns. You can speak to anything with hooves. Wither and shed after [dice] hours.
  25. Mimic – Disguise yourself as an inanimate object between the size of a cart and a chair; or, if cast with 3 or more MD, between the size of a cottage and a pin.
  26. Summon Star – This spell does nothing.
  27. Upwell – A spring of seawater appears.
  28. 100 Hands – One hundred hands on pale, childlike limbs sprout all over your body. They can work together to perform up to [dice] actions independent of whatever you’re doing.
  29. Shuffle – [dice + 2] creatures instantly switch places at random.
  30. Reload – [dice] weapons or traps you can see reload retroactively.
  31. Lay On Hands – Dull fear and pain in those you touch.
  32. Create Skeleton – Breathe [dice]HD into a bare skeleton, giving it new life. Skeletons may retain some of the skills they had in life, if given an appropriate amount of HD. Expect them to be disoriented, with no special loyalty to their creator.
  33. Right of Way – You move thru crowds as if they weren't there. Creatures with [dice + highest] HD or less can’t impede your movement; creatures with more must save first.
  34. Taboo – You unerringly track the next [dice] people to speak a phrase of your choice.
  35. Remove Venom – Shoot [dice] poisons and/or drugs in your system out thru your eyes.
  36. Naturalise – Suppress a spell, malison or enchantment for [sum] rounds.
  37. Sculpt Silver – [sum] slots of silver take any form you wish. Blades sculpted this way deal maximum damage on their next hit.
  38. Empty Graveyard – Conjure a handful of fine blue dust into your hand. The dust deals [sum + dice] damage to unarmored corpses, [dice + highest] to armored ones, and turns them into the same dust when destroyed.
  39. Sleep – Summon a blue rope which, while tied around a limb, causes that limb to become dead and insensate. If you get it around a creature's neck, they save vs sleep, becoming drowsy on a successful save, both until the rope is removed. The rope is quite strong for [dice] days, and becomes fragile after that.
  40. Turn Bladed Weapons – [sum]HD and/or slots of sharp metal avoid you like men avoid tigers: arrows veer away, and swords cower in their sheaths when you are near.
  41. Reconstruct Ashes – Reconstruct [sum] objects from a pile of their ashes. They crumble back into ash over the course of [dice] days.
  42. Flowers to Arrows – Turn an appropriately sized field of flowers into [dice + highest] slots of arrows (20/slot) which ignore natural armor. They turn back into flowers after [dice] hours, or wherever they land once fired.
  43. Ironflesh – Turn up to [highest] sixths of your body into immobile iron for [dice] hours.
  44. Shadow – Conjure a black ceramic plate which blocks [dice] senses within spitting distance of it.
  45. Summon Storm – Dangerous weather plagues the area for at least [dice] days.
  46. Magnetize – Draw the nearest [sum] slots of metal to you, or yourself to a 20+ slot hunk of metal.
  47. Augury – You can tell when birds are lying, and anticipate their next [dice + 1] moves.
  48. Forward – You run faster than a horse in a straight line. The spell ends once you stop, slow, or turn [dice + highest] times.
  49. Spider Rider – Your steed sticks to surfaces by an invisible force, ignoring gravity.
  50. Resounding Voice – Your voice is like thunder and ringing metal, and can be heard over the sounds of metropolis, industry, falling water, and war. If cast with 3 or more MD, your voice carries for a mile in all directions.
  51. Suppress Emotion – You conjure a golden shawl which dull the emotions of the wearer to total apathy. The shawl is light as air and up to [dice + sum] feet on each side.
  52. See Through – For [sum] minutes, surfaces you touch appear to you as stained glass, depicting whatever is on the other side.
  53. See Shame – Shame, guilt and embarrassment appear to you as lingering blue-green smoke.
  54. BEES – Target container contains more bees than expected. Filling someone’s mouth with bees deals [dice + highest] damage.
  55. Time Knot – You freeze a target in time and space for 6 seconds/minutes/hours/days. It is invulnerable while frozen, and retains its velocity when unfrozen.
  56. Displace – Target appears to be [sum] feet from its actual location. Up to [dice] illusory copies may be created this way.
  57. Shatter – Target object is struck as though by [sum] iron hammers, with a loud bang.
  58. Bestow Name – Combine a deed of great heroism or villainy, and an item of personal significance, into a name or epithet with [dice] negotiated effects.
  59. Discus of Sunlight – Conjure a golden discus into your hand. It shines brightly when held in both hands or thrown, deals +1d4 on hit, and shatters into a lingering sunlit fog.
  60. Druid Fog – You appear as a harmless fawn, heralded by a creeping fog. If cast with 2 or more MD, you may turn invisible instead, but the fog is non-negotiable.
  61. Flicker – [highest] times after you cast this spell, you can choose to not be real when something tangible would affect you, such as an attack or a spell. You are unreal for an entire round.
  62. Scapegoat – Choose yourself or an object. The next [sum] spells or attacks that can target it must do so.
  63. Contingency – Set a condition in which a chain of [dice] spells will trigger. You must have the MD for the spells to trigger.
  64. Bone to Wood – Turn [sum] slots of bones you can see into dry wood.
  65. Draught of Humanity – Turn a cup/bottle/barrel/lake of water into an elixir which confers either human intelligence or human appearance for [highest] days.
  66. Rust – You conjure a red dagger. At its touch, up to [sum] slots of metal decay as if [dice] decades have passed.
  67. Haruspicy – Ask [sum] yes/no questions about a place or event in the entrails of a dead animal.
  68. Incant of Greed – For as long as you speak without taking breath, [dice + highest] targets you see cannot move or be moved away from you, and must orbit or approach you instead.
  69. River Water – Conjure a stone cup full of cold black water. Anyone who drinks of it forgets you were here as soon as you leave their sight. If cast with 2 MD or more, they lose [highest] additional memories, newest ones first.
  70. Carrion Call – Conjure a harp of bone and sinew. Anyone who hears it played saves or runs screaming in terror. After [sum] rounds, it seeps and softens into gory sludge.
  71. Handshake – Join two hands you can see, as if with strong rope, for [dice + highest] rounds. The owner of one hand cannot lie to the other.
  72. Glibness – For [sum] minutes, people are incapable of disagreeing with you and treat everything you say as reasonable and worth consideration.
  73. Defiance – Reflect [dice] commandments back onto an authority figure in an ironic or karmic manner.
  74. Sacred Bond – With a one hour ritual, establish a bond between yourself and another creature whom you trust, which contains [sum] points. You may each draw points from the bond to restore missing HP. You may only have one Sacred Bond at a time.
  75. Mercurial Form – Take one of the following animal forms: bear-sized, deer-sized, mouse-sized. Each form has at most [dice]HD. Each round, take a new form you haven't chosen yet, until each form has been chosen.
  76. Vital Ichor – Trade up to [sum] HP of blood to instantly grow a [sum + dice] foot tree from a seed or sprout. It doesn't necessarily need to be your blood.
  77. Carcinize – Your hands become heatproof, acidproof crab claws.
  78. Quest – Compel a creature to undertake a troublesome/difficult/legendary/impossible quest, or suffer a negotiated curse. Knights always fail their save.
  79. Spine Sword – Wrench the spine from a corpse, turning it into a bone sword. Casting this spell on a living person does [dice] damage, and gives you a sword with a negotiated power if it reduces them to 0 or less HP.
  80. Effigy – Weave a [dice]HD human-shaped effigy from straw or wildflowers. Resists cold, wet weather. If left unsupervised overnight, it may stand up on its own.
  81. Bristle – Grow a thick coat of sharp fur which inflicts a d[dice + highest] poison on anyone who touches you.
  82. Hazog’s Hands – Two giant stone hands emerge from the earth for [dice + highest] rounds. They obey up to [dice] simple commands from you per round. GRAB THAT GUY and PULL HIM UNDERGROUND are separate commands. Below the surface, they have arms.
  83. Ensoul Stone – Remove your soul from your body and whisper it into a stone. You are wracked with immense pain whenever the stone is struck, to the tune of 1d6 damage.
  84. Rod – Conjure a carved yew rod, as long as an arm, with [dice] of the following effects:
    • falling water gives it a wide berth;
    • sturdy and conductive as copper;
    • deals +1d4 on its first hit each round;
    • flies to your hand when called.
  85. Scramble – All forms of communication in an area become scrambled and incomprehensible: ink bleeds, tapestries unravel, music melts into a keening static wail.
  86. Killing Wind – High winds blow from the southwest, strong enough to pick up a cat/man/horse/cart and throw it [sum] feet.
  87. Gravity Sphere – Gravity increases twofold/threefold/fivefold/tenfold in an area.
  88. Boundary – A wall, fence, or other demarcation acts as a [sum + dice] ft wall of lead.
  89. Clot – You and a target both take [sum] damage. No save, ignores iron armor.
  90. Illusion – Create a moving, silent image centred on a tiny songbird you conjure. You can move and reshape it as you like if the songbird can hear you whistle. If the songbird is killed, the illusion is destroyed.
  91. Open Barrow – Open a [dice x 10] ft wide, [sum x 5] ft deep pit in the earth. Anyone standing too close as it opens must save or fall in. At the bottom is a dungeon with [sum] rooms. The pit always leads to the same dungeon; the number of rooms never decreases, and recasting with a higher [sum] causes new rooms to appear.
  92. Abbreviate – Extract [dice] relevant details and [lowest] interesting details from a large body of literature without reading it. Librarians will hate you for using this spell.
  93. Oaken Ring – A ring of sticks springs up and weaves itself into a fragile cage, trapping intangible creatures with [highest] HD or less as a steel cage traps tangible ones.
  94. Chain of Air – A [sum x 5] ft long indestructible chain of solid air appears between two points you can see. Lasts for [dice] hours, or until you dispel it.
  95. Mole – Summon a [dice + 2]HD Holy Mole with no sense of loyalty or allegiance.
  96. Berserk – You enter a frenzy wherein all things, living and dead, appear to you as snarling demons. This lasts until you next lose consciousness. Gain [dice] of the following:
    • [sum] bonus HP;
    • iron claws (d6);
    • silent footsteps;
    • eyes that see ghosts.
  97. Carp Seal – Remove [dice] poisons, diseases, or curses by whispering them to a fish. As long as the fish lives, the affliction is sealed; when it dies, the affliction returns.
  98. Align – Perfectly align [dice + highest] other targets. Among other things, this can make a person’s face more symmetrical, organize objects up to the size of a sword, or give a unit of gun-toting fools +4 to Hit on their next volley.
  99. Extinguish – Conjure a light lead shotput. Flames within spitting distance of it will burn but won’t spread. After [dice] hours, it crumbles into chalk.
  100. Epic Hunt – Learn the direction/HD/location/name of the nearest dragon.

101. Teleport – Create a shivering portal that leads to another portal you know the location of. [dice]-in-20 chance of survival, per person.

Friday, August 11, 2023

Ruined City Wizardry (GLOG Class: Crucible Wizard)

The first step to becoming a wizard is putting a hole in your head. It's mostly uphill from there.

Start with: metalworker's hammer; insulated gloves; copper rod with bite marks in it
+1 MD per Template
A - 4 Spells, Crucible
B - Smelt Spell
C - Heat
D - First Stage, +2 Spells
E - Second Stage, +2 Spells
F - Third Stage, +2 Spells
G - Seven Point Crucible

A: Crucible
You have made a hole somewhere in your body — lined with lead, concrete, and noble metals — in order to contain and manipulate spells.

Up to [template] spells can be held in your crucible(s), with a few minutes of work. Spells cast from your crucible gain attributes based on where in the body they were held.

  • Forehead: You act before thinking. The spell is fast.
  • Crown: You can't remember anything beyond the last seven years. The spell is imperious.
  • Mouth: You cannot speak. The spell is silent.
  • Eye: You are half-blind. The spell is target-seeking.
  • Heart: You need MD to stay conscious. The spell is ruinous.
  • Lung: You can't hold your breath. The spell is twinned.
  • Liver: You can't hold your alcohol. The spell is reversed.
  • Stomach: You require double rations. The spell is excessive.
  • Palm: You can't hold two things. The spell is far-reaching.
  • Sole: You limp. The spell is delayed.

(This list is non-exhaustive.)

You can add more crucibles to your body. This takes 200g and a season of psyching yourself up to do it again. (You can do it to other people too; it's a multiclassing requirement.)

B: Smelt Spell
With an afternoon's work, you may combine two spells into a new one, or separate a spell into its constituent parts.

C: Heat
You have perfect control over your body temperature. As long as you have MD, the inside of your crucible is hot enough to melt metal.

D: First Stage
The experiment begins in earnest.

With a snap of your fingers, you can reduce yourself to a formless puddle of black sludge. You transform back when heated or set aflame. (Remember: you control your body heat!)

If poured into a mold, you can solidify and take its rough form. The Sorcerer-King of Nemea spends much of her time in the form of an alligator.

In all your forms, you breathe fire.

E: Second Stage
You can change details of your outward appearance (i.e. color, face shape, hair style, sex) with a thought.

You can harmlessly and effortlessly eject poison, drugs, disease, and curses from your body. You may do so as an attack to inflict them on someone else.

F: Third Stage
Every part of your body sheds glorious sunlight.

G: Seven Point Crucible
With an afternoon's work, you may combine any seven spells into any other spell.

Monday, August 7, 2023


First thing you need to know about Celds: they love Celdaenn.
Second thing you need to know about Celds: they hate other Celds.

[bits and bobs stolen from Locheil, per usual]

4 Virtues

Celds respect you if you have two or more of these:

  1. Wit: Sharpness of the mind and tongue.
  2. Memory: Preservation of our ways of life; rediscovery of our culture.
  3. Fertility: Creation of life, art, and invention.
  4. Bear: Self explanatory.

8 Customs

Celds expect you to remember all of these:

  1. Trees: Bringing harm to trees of a certain age is forbidden. Lying to a tree of a certain age is also forbidden. Exact ages depend on species and location; penalties include lashes and dismemberment (a hand for a branch, etc). Tree law is arcane enough to merit its own profession; the lawyer.
  2. Speech: Skalds have the right of free speech; they can insult anyone, even a lord in their own chambers, and cannot be directly punished for it without the lord in question losing face. (Note: this does not prevent them from getting mauled by any Celd, just those who care about upholding the law)
  3. Drinking: Disputes are resolved by either talking, dueling, or drinking. For the latter, everyone tests FORT and gets very drunk; the loser is the one who falls over first, but both characters ToD (roll on the Table of Disgraces).
  4. Iron: Iron is forbidden in holy places. Driving iron spikes into a tree is deadly, and punishable by death. Everyone agrees on this one.
  5. Democracy: Only Celds have the right to vote. No one actually knows what this means, but they are very smug about it.
  6. Scars: For two to transcend a Blood Feud, they must share each scar created by their feuding: an eye for an eye, a hand for a hand, a child for a child. If there are no scars to share, you probably weren't feuding in the first place.
  7. Signs: Each Celd knows the Signs of Friendship (two fingers linked), Respect (fist over heart), and Veneration (two hands interlaced).
  8. Wholeness: A scarred body cannot rightly rule. Prosthetics are common, as is makeup. All parts must be accounted for. Celds go back and forth on whether a clean-shaven face counts as a scar.

royal, skeleton, saintmaker, berserker-knight

20+1 Languages 

Celds expect you to speak at least one of the first six:

  1. Citizen: business-like, loanwordful common tongue; described by outsiders as "barely intelligible" and by Celds as "soft"
  2. Celdaenni: proudly impenetrable Citizen dialect, aka Old Marks or Ancestor; completely different writing system; jostles with Citizen as the "official" language of the City
  3. Sheel: singsong tongue of the river districts, sometimes called Merchant; full of untranslatable witticisms
  4. Kalut: coarse tongue of the seaside districts; insults in Kalut are so devastating they count as attacks
  5. Ilish: grumbling tongue of the displaced Ilmari and their lost sister-cities; plagued by excessive homonyms and loanwords
  6. Skullsign: sign language of skeletons; audible bone-on-bone clacking component
  7. Palace: gliding royal tongue, spoken by servants and captives of the Palace-State; lacks structures for rudeness and aggression
  8. Orison: barking prayer-tongue, spoken by dogs; the sound of it is too delicious for gods to ignore
  9. Howl: language of ghosts and cats; inimitable without a spectral tongue
  10. Feather/Hoof/Coil: spoken by the flying/hoofed/coiling creatures of Creation
  11. Tracks: "written unknowingly by those who walk the wilderness"
  12. Knocks: percussive language spoken with large mallets; transmissible across long distances in the deep City
  13. Teppo: crashing tongue of the Land of Ashen Rain, and its Ways of Unmaking
  14. Qesic: laughing tongue of the Qet, and their Queen-Saint
  15. Gnomen: droning tongue of Gnosc reborn, and its dark wizarding colleges
  16. Feral: dead language of Carcharvan, the Iron Apostate, and of demons
  17. Koan: dead language of Koa, the Despicable Apostate; written in spirals for some godforsaken reason
  18. Nwnish: dead language of Nwn, the Silvered Apostate; has two genders (Above and Below) which annihilate one another when placed in the same phrase
  19. Apolytic: dead language of Apolyon, the Lower Apostate; inventors of law and sarcastic punctuation
  20. Obliterat: dead language; black ink on black parchment; insanely information-dense
  21. Original Linear: dead language; grim hieroglyphs of a death-obsessed civilization