Sunday, April 14, 2024

Six Layers Deep (GLOG Class: Psychopaladin)

liviu mihai

The mind is a house party, so said Dr. Anne Helfurther. Hundreds of guests are in attendance, the legions of daemons which guide personality and action, but the chaos is constrained by the prescripts of the event itself. Those on the guest list are bound by etiquette, but others can act freely. Herein lies the source of madness- an uninvited guest.

 * * *

On the streets of Pardon, fashionable ladies buy foreign corpses for their parlor rooms. Certain preservation techniques and careful attention to humidity keeps them from rotting on the table; thick perfume keeps the room from filling with death-stink. It's all perfectly sanitary.

When a fashionable lady hosts a party, the corpse in the parlor room is unwrapped and inspected. The fashionable ladies in their fashionable gloves poke and prod at it. They ooo and aaa at its many piercings: those Ouralian women are mad, they titter, how do they even eat with holes in their stomachs?

(on 6th and Freytors, a savvy corpsevendor carves intricate scars into a boring cadaver)

Then the fashionable ladies call a psychonaut, who helps them step into the corpse's dreams. They see the reedboats on the River of Seven Venoms. They walk like tourists on antimony shores. They break for tea in the shadow of the second largest moon ziggurat. They have a grand old time.

Sometimes, a fashionable lady dies in a corpse-dream. It's slightly less common than an alligator attack. It's tragic, yes, but people still keep pet alligators.

 * * *

Psychotherapy is as much a martial art as it is a science. Rogue daemons are rarely keen to vacate their hosts, and never fight a straightforward brawl, so a paladin must be ready for anything.

(This is the second class for the Victorian setting collab I'm working on with Nobless Goblige, the same setting as last month's Vampire. There are eight noble Houses, with eight different bloods. It's a whole thing.)

Start with: any weapon; copper-lined vest (as chain); 6 vials of laudanum (3/slot); practitioner’s license; a thick skull; totem, pocket-sized.
+1 to Hit and +1 Save per template
A - Group Psychonautics, Light Sleeper
B - See Spirits, +1 Daemon
C - Self-Assessment
D - Smite

If you aren’t high, drunk, dreaming, or otherwise in an altered state of mind, you lose access to all of your Psychopaladin features except Group Psychonautics.

A: Group Psychonautics
With fifteen minutes and enough drugs to share, you can transport any number of willing people and objects into the dreams of another willing person or corpse.

People are always somewhere inside their own dreams.

If you die in a dream, you die in real life. Likewise for injury, mutations, treasures, and so on. Dreams are dungeons, basically.

A: Light Sleeper
You can keep track of your surroundings even when your consciousness is altered or elsewhere. You can surface from a dream at will, so long as you have your totem.

You sleep with your eyes open. 

B: See Spirits
You can see spirits of all stripes, which are usually invisible. You can see a wizard’s prepared spells, perched on their shoulder like overgrown crows.

This is how you notice the daemon on your shoulder. (see below)

C: Self-Assessment
You can transport yourself and others into your own dreams via psychonautics. This is one way to recruit more daemons.

D: Smite
With precise application of sudden blunt force trauma, you can dislodge daemons, spirits, ghosts, curses, spells, and humors from their containers, and forcibly manifest them in the waking world. The target must be willing, or fully immobilized, or you must roll 20+ to hit.

If you hit them with your head, you can force them into your dreams instead. This is another way to recruit more daemons.

d20 Daemons
Daemons start with 2HD, are ostensibly friendly, and whisper lots of (mostly bad) advice in your ear.
They inform your personality, or are informed by it: philosophers are still debating this point. Other Psychopaladins can see and hear them, as well as certain sensitive types.

If you're on good terms with a daemon, it will let you cast it like a spell. If you do, roll their HD instead of MD.

  1. Dolores – An orb of scarred flesh with five simian limbs. Melodramatic, romantic. Isn’t satisfied unless you’re constantly berating her. When cast, reduce the next damage you take by [sum].
  2. Cambion – A black hare with human hands. Anxious, pleasure-seeking. Other daemons want nothing to do with her. When cast, establish a psychic link between yourself and up to [sum] targets, to share emotional states, sensations, and damage.
  3. Evil Jack – An eight-fingered fist with a mouth in the palm. Tells you to kill everyone. Isn’t satisfied unless you hurt at least one person every day. When cast, make [highest] attacks. They can’t be nonlethal.
  4. Frontalis – A wolf’s head with the eyes stitched shut. Political, smug, dumber than sand. Needs to be the smartest person thing in the room. When cast, witness what happened here exactly six (choose [dice]) seconds, minutes, hours, days, and/or years ago. Be warned: observing the past can change the present.
  5. Titivillus – A wretched, puggish little man with blue skin and horns. Insufferable nerd. Openly resents you for having a social life. When cast, exchange the contents of two texts. If cast with two or more dice, one of those texts can be a painting, engraving, or similarly major work.
  6. Vainglory – A kingly greatsword, constellated with rubies and emeralds, blunt as a brick. Prolix, gossipy, jealous, superlatively evil. Demands dramatic monologues. When cast, sharpen a blunt object; it loses its edge after dealing [sum] damage. He’s invisible to anyone who can’t see spirits, but that doesn’t mean he’s weightless.
  7. Leviathan – A dead, stinking angler fish, chopped up like sashimi. Foul-mouthed, delusional. Demands you treat him like a KING, DAMMIT!!!! When cast, [sum] peasants, guards, soldiers, goons, or dumb animals follow your next order without question.
  8. Hugo – A hanged policeman’s corpse. Has a black sense of humor. Fascists are attracted to him like flies to a… well, to a carcass. When cast, become immune to the law until you blink [sum] times.
  9. Subclavius – An eagle with abs, biceps, and a cock. Commanding, paternal. Has deeply sexist and racist views which they expect you to share. When cast, perform a feat of strength as if you were [sum] strong men.
  10. Yeqon – A chorus, in the Greek theater sense, of rats. Musical, critical, professionally distant. Reports on your imminent (imaginary) demise in the third person. When cast, give [sum] animals the ability to sing with Yeqon’s voice.
  11. New World Order – A humming pyramid of black glass. Personable, poetic, utterly insane. Babbles incessantly about conspiracy theories, and makes your dreams weirder. When cast, fire a [sum] damage beam from each open eye; you’re blind in that eye for the rest of the day.
  12. Agares – A crocodile-hawk with terribly human eyes. Merciful, thoughtful, pacifistic. Randomly trades places with her sister/alternate personality Agreas, who is her complete opposite and only speaks Daemonic (French). When cast, learn [sum] words in another language for a fleeting moment.
  13. Monkey – A monkey-shaped hole in the world full of static and bad ideas. Wants all the things a monkey wants. Makes your body hair grow thicker and darker, just by existing. When cast, force any machine that can hear you to obey a [sum] word command.
  14. Kosmos – A broken marble bust of a handsome woman, draped in multicolored silk. Educated in the social rituals of other, inferior cultures. Disdains all displays of genuine emotion. When cast, turn [dice] of your body parts into immobile stone until you laugh.
  15. Zelos – A ticking apocalypse clock. Fatalistic, raving, but not unintelligible. The only thing that cheers her up is the cold eventuality of complete anthropogenic catastrophe. When cast, rewind an object’s position and state to where it was [sum] seconds ago.
  16. Beatrix – A skeletal amber finger. Replaces your trigger finger on your dominant hand. Only speaks in the presence of royalty, whom she hates. When cast, automatically reload a weapon the next [sum] times it is fired.
  17. Paracelsus – An undulating fungal mass, constantly changing its shape and color. Fidgety, easily bored. Will point at things and demand you lick them to find out what they taste like. When cast, create an illusion which affects [dice] senses.
  18. Indicis – A bone-and-skin dreamcatcher. Feral, reactive, barely sapient. Hates moving at “dungeon speed”. When cast, emit an ear-splitting scream that reveals shapes and movement up to [dice] rooms away.
  19. Ladyfingers – A sourceless shadow puppet cast by clawed hands. Hates when you spend money, unless you’re doing it to make money. Full of get-rich-quick schemes. When cast, teleport [sum] slots of things your shadow is touching into your hands.
  20. Xiomara – A disembodied stork’s wing. Understands you, gives actual good advice. Will never give up on you. When cast, nothing happens.

Tuesday, March 12, 2024

Drink Deep, Beloved Son (GLOG Class: Vampire)

When John Martin-Evos first published his biological theories, he hypothesized that the modern vampire had arisen from a simple walking-leech, uplifted unto its sophisticated modern design to fill the unique biological niche found in the blood-soaked parlor rooms of Old Doggerland. In these clandestine environments, reasoned Martin-Evos, a social parasite could sample the eight flavors of royalty at its leisure.

To no one's surprise, John Martin-Evos was later killed by a vampire.

(This class is a prototype for a Victorian-ish setting project/domain game thing I'm working on with Noblesse Goblige! As part of that project, you're supposed to choose an ancestral House/bloodline to belong to- here's a quick rundown of them as they stand:

  1. House Devinsen - Steampipe hats, fancy cars. New money industrialists. Bleed gasoline; heraldic beast is a bat or raven.
  2. House Larsene - Once-great naval power, landlocked by the receding seas. Bleed seawater; heraldic beast is a horse.
  3. House Rhayadder - Ancestral backstabbers. Bleed poison; heraldic beast is a platonic worm, argued to be a snake, eel, or lamprey by various historians.
  4. House Norbury - The Northerners everyone thinks of as barbarians. Bleed moonshine; heraldic beast is a wolf.
  5. House Sardon - Bacchanalian-traditionalist bankers. Old money. Bleed ambrosia, or honey, in layman's terms; heraldic beast is a bee.
  6. House Oleone - Eternally disrespected failscions. If history is a joke, they are the butt. Bleed olive oil; heraldic beast is a somewhat dopey lion.
  7. House of John - Bleed molten lead; heraldic beast is a burning peacock, sometimes called a phoenix.
  8. House Mything - Bleed luminiferous ether; heraldic beast is a calygreyhound.

Every other class affects or is affected by your choice of House in some way.)

Anyway, the class:

VAMPIRE Start with: Flowing cape; ruby earring (in actuality, your heart); duelist’s sidearm; no inheritance; friends in all the right places. +1 Will and +1 Glamour per template A - Bite, Invitation, Fascinating, Immune to charms B - Drink Deep C - +1 Attack per turn D - Beloved by Sheep
Δ - Discerning Taste

With each template, choose another aspect of Royalty to manifest.

  1. You see perfectly through 30' of darkness, smoke, dark water, and dramatic fog.
  2. Every season, a d4 HD vampire-hunter shows up in your Domain to kill you.
  3. You always appear in a cloud of dramatic fog.
  4. You can see through paintings of yourself.
  5. If you grab someone by the back of their neck, you can make them say anything you want in their voice. This works even if they're unconscious.
  6. When you die, a giant crow arrives to take your body somewhere else.
  7. Old age slides off of you like water.
  8. You can detach your head, roll it around, and reattach it.
  9. All undead regardless of origin treat you the way you deserve to be treated – like royalty.
  10. You have no bones. You can squeeze thru any space larger than a banana.
  11. With a taste of someone's blood, you can peek into their future and receive a one word omen.
  12. You can take the form of your House's heraldic beast. (For Norbury, a wolf; for Sardon, a bee; etc. etc.)

A: Bite
Your bite deals d4 damage, increased by one die size (d4 → d6 → d8 → d10 → d12) for each of the following:

  • Your target is physically smaller than you.
  • Your target is sexually or romantically involved with you.
  • Your target is indebted or subservient to you and/or your House.
  • Your target trusts you completely, in this exact moment.

A: Invitation You can’t cross a threshold without being invited in. You have an invitation to every major party, council, and public event.

A: Fascinating
You have a stat called Fascinating, which starts at 2. Whenever you befriend a significant NPC or woo a lover, increase your Fascinating stat by 1.

When speaking privately with an NPC, you may reveal a dire secret (yours or theirs) to roll 1d6. If the result is less than or equal to your Fascinating stat, you charm that NPC, and then reduce your Fascinating stat by the amount rolled. Charmed NPCs trust you and consider you a friend. (Charming people does not increase your Fascinating stat.)

You can do this to PCs as well provided you get consent from their player beforehand.

B: Drink Deep
You can drain any container of blood in seconds, with the following effects:

  • Your bite heals you for as much damage as you deal.
  • You can exsanguinate a fresh corpse to heal d4 HP.
  • You are immune to the negative effects of drinking any blood type, including poison, alcohol, and molten lead.
  • You can suck the gas out of an automobile, suck the honey out of a hive, suck the sea water out of a drowning sailor’s lungs…

D: Beloved by Sheep
When you enter a scene, if it is nighttime or sufficiently overcast, you charm every minor NPC present. This makes you immune to attacks by goons, soldiers, servants, guards, and so on, unless you attack them or their allies first.

Δ: Discerning Taste
The first time you drink the blood of a wizard, you gain +1 MD.

The first time you drink the blood of a giant, you gain +4 HP.

The first time you drink the blood of a dragon, you gain wings of darkness. 

Tuesday, January 23, 2024

Caster Beware! (Grimoire)

redslug (tumblr)

bandwagon bandwagon bandwagon bandwagon bandwagon bandwagon

1. Uninjure – Peel [sum] injuries off of yourself and others, like stickers. You can adhere these onto other things, most commonly an effigy (representing an ancestral foe) or toy (called a banebear). If you don't do this properly before sunrise, or if the chosen effigy is not given a hero's burial, the injuries befall the caster. Caster Beware! A wounded effigy (1-4HD, agony) may rise vengeful under a harvest moon. 

2. Exact Exchange – Cast on treasure worth exactly one thousand gp. That treasure is now worth the exact amount necessary to buy one thing from anyone, provided they are willing to part with it (this is how Saint Zenigo bought lightning bolts from the sky). Caster Beware! Monetary value is one of the 33 divine laws, next to gravity and the Hippocratic oath. When it is broken, a silver coin will appear on your forehead, marking you as an enemy of bankers, numismatists, accounting-beasts (dragons), and Count Argad. 

3. Diagnose – Learn the Myers-Briggs personality type of a target (animate or otherwise), then flip up to [dice] of their tendencies. Caster Beware! Mind-altering magic is always a two-way street. For each tendency of theirs you flip, the target may choose to flip one of yours. 

4. Agastaman's Torch-Bearing Lad – Conjure [dice]HD a cloud of moths around a light source. The cloud keeps the light source aloft and follows diligently. Caster Beware! The Torch-Bearing Lads Union has been known to stalk wizards who publicize this spell's existence. Not to mention Agastaman himself, found dead in his tower after slipping on an orange peel... 

5. Gracine's Garden – A sunflower rapidly grows out of each of up to [sum] target heads. Caster Beware! Removing the flower is painful (1d4 damage + 1d4 lost memories)! Gracine advises you wait a few months for the flower to wither, or cut it with a limestone knife. 

6. Swarm of Darkest Night – Conjure a swarm of climate-appropriate winged creatures. They blot out the sun for six seconds/minutes/hours/days. Caster Beware! The swarm is not yours; rather, it is a mere side-effect of summoning the demon named Porgithal ([dice]HD, rhymes with "orbital"). Now he's free, making mischief somewhere within a three mile radius, and must be sent back to Hell before anyone can cast Swarm of Darkest Night again. He looks like a pig standing on two chicken legs. Thankfully, he's not very subtle. 

7. Skate – Wherever you step, you slide frictionlessly. Caster Beware! You might fall down and get hurt :(((

8. Shape Skull – Reshape your skull (don't worry about the gunk inside). Choose [dice] of the following:

  • You have very cool antlers. People respect you more.
  • You have a single, short, powerful horn on your forehead that can punch thru iron.
  • You have a powerful (1d8) bite attack.
  • You have a partition to separate memories/ideas/skills from the rest of your mind.

Caster Beware! This spell is almost exclusively and obsessively studied by socially-inept magical racists, who may mistake you for one of them. This will get you kicked out of actual cool non-racist wizard institutions.

9. Corpse Orb – Turn a corpse you can see into a 1' diameter sphere. This works on the undead. Caster Beware! Spherical undead are (1d4): 1) harmless; 2) immobilized; 3) just as dangerous; 4) faster and deadlier than their non-spherical counterparts.

10. Grave Curse – Target deserving, unwilling victim must save or turn into a medusa, dracula, thatcher, or other pathetic creature of the night. (entirely unchanged from phlox's version, i just wanted to remind myself to put this on more spell lists because it rocks)

Working Through the Backblog

I am three months behind on blogging. Since then, 142ish blog posts have been linked on the GLOG server. In catching myself up, I decided for basically no reason at all to note my favorites: (i had a lot of favorites)