Thursday, October 8, 2020

GLOGtober 8th: Mysteries and Baited Hooks

So, we've got the Ranger Made of Hooks, but absolutely no idea who, what, or why they are... That's a mystery. It counts.

Happy GLOGtober!

The Rangery

'Ranger' is an in-world title. Rangers are somewhat like a secret society, somewhat like a freelance intelligence agency. They exist in the largest cities and the most distant wastes; naturally, many of them have found their way to the Mountain.

All Rangers are Made of Hooks, transformed into that shape through some arcane ritual initiation that has never been witnessed by an outsider. Perhaps there is an indoctrination component, some element of the process that turns double-agents into triple-agents and prevents them from betraying the Rangery. Or perhaps the ones that can't be turned are detected and quietly killed and replaced - after all, it would be hard to identify them once their body has been transformed into a knot of barbed and twisted iron.

Like Satans, you should add Rangers to all your encounter tables, maybe opposite the Satan (boxcars?). They can appear anywhere. They shouldn't really be directly hostile unless you're fucking with them, so take reaction rolls on that end of the spectrum to mean that their purposes are orthogonal to yours and likely in conflict.

They make camps, small chambers of comfort deep in the underground or high on the face. They stock these camps with weapons and provisions, everything crafted solely from locally available materials. The entrances are very well-hidden, but should you find one uninhabited you are welcome to make use of everything within; if the Ranger had not wanted you to find it, you wouldn't have done so.

You can play a Ranger Made of Hooks if you meet a friendly one and accept and complete a questmystery for it.

1d20 Ranger Mysteries

  1. What lies at the heart of the Sun?
  2. Take this ball of fishhooks to the mouth of Hell, anchor the line nearby, and throw it in.
  3. What was the cause of the War that sundered the world?
  4. Bring me the crown of a last king of giants.
  5. Who blinded the leeches?
  6. Burn the homes of the mushroom-folk.
  7. Who were the Brothers?
  8. Make peace between the ratmen and the bat men.
  9. What is the meaning of the word 'elf'?
  10. Cast this barbed spear from the top of the Mountain or higher, and have it land in the sea.
  11. What is the source of G_d's power?
  12. Plant this fishhook in the flesh of the Rune King.
  13. Who is or was the Traitor?
  14. Open the path from the cradle to the top of the Mountain.
  15. Who survives of the Red Court?
  16. Poison the blood pits.
  17. What is the purpose of the Rangers?
  18. Bring a colony of mushroom-folk to the surface of the moon.
  19. Where lives the oldest whale?
  20. Bring the richest denizen of the catacombs before the Sun to face judgement.

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

GLOGtober 7th: Adventure! (Class: Ranger)

Happy GLOGtober!

Definitions and Etymology

So, the term "adventure". It doesn't normally - in real life - mean walking into a tomb and killing (or being killed by) skeletons, getting treasure, all the things we expect from a tabletop RPG "adventure". It really just means, like, going somewhere. The going, that's the adventure, the exciting part. What you do when you actually get there is just... Work, usually. Sometimes hanging out. With the bros. But usually just work.

This image disagrees with me, but fuck it. It doesn't know anything. It's just an image.

I forget where I was going with that. 

You know who goes on adventures? Rangers. And you know what you need for adventures? Hooks.

It all fits together, don't you see?

Ranger Made of Hooks

1/A: Bushcraft, Ankomorph
2/B: Trailblazing, Wilderness Lore
3/C: Barbs, Ranging, Fishhook
4/D: Ambush, Skyhook

A: Bushcraft
You have skill in bushcraft, and can easily make mundane objects out of natural resources such as sticks, rocks, and plant matter which function nearly as well as professionally made versions. This takes ten minutes for anything portable (torches, a short rope, snares, spears, etc), or one hour for vehicles or structures (shelters, pit traps, rafts, sledges, etc). This isn't infinite free gear - you and your GM should work together to describe what exactly you do to make whatever things you're making - but it is as much free gear and as good of free gear as is possible.

A: Ankomorph
In place of flesh, your body is comprised of thousands upon thousands of iron fishhooks, knotted together into barbed, twisting appendages in rough facsimile of an orcish or goblinoid form. This renders you immune to most concerns of fleshier beings such as disease and poison, although you do still require sustenance and have to be wary of rust and lodestones. Their natural hardness gives you 4 AC that doesn't stack with armor, and your unarmed attacks and successful grapple checks deal 1d6 base damage.

B: Trailblazing
You have skill in tracking and pathfinding. Yourself and your party are not slowed by rough terrain during overland travel.

B: Wilderness Lore
When encountering a strange plant or animal for the first time, you have a 2-in-6 chance of identifying them. When encountering a condition (a disease, poison, curse, enchantment, etc) for the first time, you have a 2-in-6 chance of knowing of a strange plant or animal that could affect that condition in some way (causing it, curing it, immunizing against it, etc). When learning of or entering a notable location for the first time, you have a 2-in-6 chance of deducing an adventure hook or rumor with at least one true element for that location from context clues and prior information. These chances improve by 1-in-6 per Ranger Made of Hooks template, to a maximum of 4-in-6 at template D.

C: Barbs
When you successfully hit with an unarmed attack, you can make another unarmed attack against the same target with no penalty and without spending an action. This continues until you miss.

C: Ranging
Your first random encounter each day always includes, contains, or consists of the following, in some form:
Dense vegetation (forest, plain, savanna, jungle): Enough food and water for your entire party.
Sparse vegetation (desert, steppe, tundra, scrubland): Enough food and water for yourself and four others.
No vegetation (dungeon, glacier, salt flat): Enough food and water for you.

C: Fishhook
You have, somehow, acquired a fish friend. It is a giant cave pike, who despite its ill temper and tiny brain considers you its best pal in the entire world and will do its best to defend you. It possesses a preternatural ability to find you if and when you abandon it, and will do so eventually even if slain. Or maybe that's a different fish, then. Hard to tell.

D: Ambush
When you begin an encounter and aren't surprised, you may retroactively decide where to have placed yourself and any members of your party that agree to follow your direction. At least one member must be visible and out of hiding.

D: Skyhook
Your hooks reverberate with minute variations in frequency, allowing you to predict what the next change in the weather will be by standing outside and concentrating for one minute.

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

GLOGtober 6th: Mountaineering Rations of the Two Cities

 Almost caught up to GLOGtober...

Rations of the Mountain

Okay, so you've taken ship to the Mountain, you've arrived at one of the Two Cities, and you're about to head inland or underground on a Grand Adventure.

What the fuck kind of food do you bring with you?

1d10 Rations available in the Old City

Or, "What are these River Kingdom troops eating?"

1. Tea, compressed and molded into cakes (discs) or bricks.

2. Sesame- or poppy-seed bagels, strung on a piece of cord and carried around the neck.

3. Pre-fried rice, millet, and/or wheat flour, eaten as a porridge - or straight, in an emergency.

4. Fermented cabbage, cucumber, and radish pickles.

5. Cured meat or fish, preserved through brining, marinating, and then smoking.

6. Repeatedly steamed and basked (dried) rice, allowing it to be quickly rehydrated with the addition of hot water. Doesn't come in a box, though.

7. Sundried cottage cheese made from horse, goat, or sheep's milk.

8. Cooked ground venison, compressed into bite-sized cubes and dried.

9. Bread soaked in vinegar (for acid) and/or fermented black soybean and salt (for salt) and then dried. Used as a condiment or soup base.

10. Fermented milk wine, slightly alcoholic.

1d10 Rations available in the New City

Or, "What are these Charter Nation troops eating?"

1. Fresh chickens (or larger beasts, for larger parties), carried or driven along alive and slaughtered when it's time to eat them.

2. Hard cheese, preserved inside its rind.

3. Olive oil, carried in small clay pots stoppered and sealed with wax.

4. Just a big ol' sack of cracked grain.

5. Hardtack or other dried biscuits/crackers.

6. Beef, pork, or venison jerky.

7. Salt fish or pork, requiring multiple boilings before palatable.

8. Small beer, barely alcoholic; or water, cut with vinegar.

9. Wine mixed with honey and seawater, or mead.

10. Sauce made from fermented fish and salt, used as a condiment.

What was the point of this?

If I'm honest, it was kind of a punt. I do think it's useful to know what the "rations" you bring with you up the Mountain or into the dungeon are, though. Like, if you're carrying a big jar of olive oil, that might come in handy for things other than eating it.

Monday, October 5, 2020

GLOGtober 5th: Mountain Topography

Bit of a cop-out, but I've gotta catch up to GLOGtober and I have a map of the Mountain that I haven't posted yet.

It's not this one, the side-view point map hastily scribbled on a piece of paper:

clicc for big, but I've already posted this one.

It is this one, a topographical map:

clicc for big, this one is new.

This was created for me ages ago by kahva and I never did anything with it, but I really like it. I suppose it'll be especially useful if and when I need to do some overland travel bits in a game. I've added the two cities myself with very little consideration - their positions aren't final.

Sunday, October 4, 2020

GLOGtober 4th: BATTLEMAGES (Class: Fighter but also Wizard)

Happy GLOGtober! Still playing catch-up, but here's your swirling rainbow vortices post. 

First, we have to talk about BATTLEFIRE.

Saturday, October 3, 2020

GLOGtober 3rd: Goblins of the Civilized Lands

The GLOGtober prompt todaytwo days ago iswas 'Goblins'. Lets knock that one out before I continue.

The Civilized Lands

The Civilized Lands, from whence adventurers come to the Mountain, are dominated by two large culture-groups, each formed from several component polities. They are the River Kingdoms, an imperial federation that originated in the homelands of the orcs, and the Charter Nations, a more loosely organized alliance and trade group that originated in the homelands of the goblinoids. Today, we are concerned with the latter.

A goblin peasant levy


The Mountain Player's Handbook has this to say about goblinoids:

1. Goblinoid: Bright red or yellow eyes with slit pupils, catlike noses, small pointed teeth, bushy sideburns (across all three sexes), and dull orange, yellow, or green skin covered with fine, short, downy fur. Goblinoid society holds that the place of men and women is at home, so most (but not all) goblinoid adventurers are neuters.

1. Bugbear: Eight to nine feet tall (-1 AC, can wield heavy weapons as if they were medium), reroll Strength.

2. Hobgoblin: Skin and fur tend towards warmer colors, five to six feet tall, reroll lowest stat.

3. Goblin: About three feet tall (+1 AC, can only wield medium weapons two-handed and can’t wield heavy weapons), reroll Dexterity.

Remember, I was an E6 3.5e gal first, so that's what my goblinoids look like. Fine, downy fur, big sideburns, and little wet cat noses. 

They're born in litters, about ten at a time, usually one or two of each binary sex and the rest neuter. Bugbears are a genetic anomaly which are born among litters of any other sort of goblinoid, and appear normal as infants but grow to their full size rapidly. Goblinoid natural philosophers theorize that these traits existed to enable their survival of some great hardship in their shared prehistory, and Charter Nation societies tend to have fairly strict gender roles as a result; expecting goblinoid men and women to be parents and homemakers while more physically hazardous roles such as mining, millwork, and military service are filled by neuters. As a result of this, of course, more adventurously-minded male and female goblinoids are likely to be encountered in regions outside of the Charter Nations themselves. 

A hobgoblin FIGHTMASTER, or perhaps a BATTLEMAGE

The Charter Nations

There are six on the Charter Court, with innumerable petty nations, city-states, and feudal holdings between them.

Forest, tundra, and steppe; geographically massive, sparsely populated, and rich in natural resources. A feudal empire, stagnant in neither ascent nor decline. Durrans are reputed as cold to those they don't know and generous and loyal to those they trust. Majority goblin.

Rolling hills and inclement weather; spread between the continental coast and a few small islands. A kingdom, technically, or between one and three depending on who you ask. Escautians are reputed as superstitious, worldly, and crude in manner. Majority hobgoblin.

Sharp mountain ridges, open plains, plenty of coastline. An ancient and rich empire in decline. Eturicans are reputed as greedy, debauched, and detail-oriented. Majority hobgoblin.

An archipelago of rocky cliffs and plateaus; warm year-round except at high altitudes. A federated commonwealth of city-states. Kolvenians are reputed as prone to vice, sloth, science, and romance. Majority goblin.

Forest, field, and river; large but land-locked. Two kingdoms merged into one through marriage, an uneasy union. Ostmarchers and Montaguans are reputed as excellent brewers, gourmands, and stubborn perfectionists. Majority goblin.

Flat plains ascending to rugged hills; sunny and warm. An ascendant empire, struggling with the tensions of industrialization. Pyrenicans are reputed as arrogant, prideful, and musically and culinarily talented. Majority hobgoblin.

It should go without saying that most of these 'reputations' originate outside of the nations mentioned and very possibly none are true. Goblinoids are a diverse bunch.

Friday, October 2, 2020

GLOGtober 2nd: Let There Be Blood and also HELLBASTARDS

The GLOGtober prompt today is 'Blood'. Blood is one of the four elements. But normally there's only one kind of blood. That's kind of boring.

Here are some more types of blood you can have.

  1. Royal blood. It's blue. Satans and vampires prize it especially, for some reason.
  2. Oil. It's flammable. Horses have oil for blood, why don't you? This one seems dangerous.
  3. Spiders! Thousands of 'em. Are they your children? Are you a spider in disguise? Nobody will ever know, unless you tell 'em.
  4. Too much blood. We're talking quentin tarantino horror movie splatters every time you get cut, and a complete inability to suffer from (or die due to) blood loss.
  5. Music. Since songs are swords, and vice versa, this can be at least a little unfortunate from time to time.
  6. Normal-ass blood. Sometimes you just gotta chill out for a second. It can't be all weird blood all the time, or none of the weird blood is weird anymore.
  7. Communism. Blood is red, at least normally. You know what else is... Red? That's right. I don't know what this does but if you or someone around you can talk to blood you should probably ask it how to solve the transformation problem.
  8. Dragon blood. Does it make you greedy? Paranoid? No, that's fascist race science, your blood doesn't define you. Having dragon blood does mean you count as a dragon (and not as a normal, non-dragon person) for things that care about that, though. Dragons probably make a lot of things that care about that, because they're fascists.

9. Ferrofluid and ink. DIGRESSION: HELLBASTARDS 

when you are a hellbastard part of your body (a hand, or both hands, or your tongue, or your heart and all your blood, or your eyeballs and brain) is inky black and wet-looking, as if you had spilled ink on it. 

everyone HATES hellbastards. that's why they're called hellbastards. so you better fuckin' keep that shit covered up. they'll like, run you out of town or stone you to death. regular people roll morale whenever you're visibly a hellbastard around them

blacktongue: tongue is inky black and far too long, might also be forked. blacktongue hellbastards are fond of masks, fans, scarves, and whispering sweet words from behind their hands. if you're a blacktongue hellbastard you count your Charisma as 2 higher whenever you're in darkness, and 2 lower whenever you're in bright light. once per day, or as many times as you want during the night, you can extinguish a light within 30' by flicking your tongue at it and swallowing it up.

blackheart: veins show dark beneath the skin and black in the corners of the eyes. blood is incredibly pigmented, so opaque it can be used as ink or dye, and ferrous -- reacts to magnetic fields like ferrofluid or the weird stuff megan fox pukes up in jennifer's body. it dries into salty magnetic tar. the blood flows slowly and hurts constantly with the dull full-body ache of a hangover. blackheart hellbastards move like rickety old people and often affect canes or crutches for comfort, though they can move swiftly when they need to. direct sunlight causes your veins to smoke through your skin and any open wounds to sputter and crackle, dealing 1 damage per minute of continual exposure -- this can be avoided with voluminous clothing or by being careful to stay on the shady side of the street, etc etc. you get +1 Strength and -1 Dexterity and roll on the Death & Dismemberment table with advantage whenever you're a blackheart hellbastard

blackhand: entire hand or hands are blackened, up to the wrists and partway up the forearms. i think this one is a whole-ass class and it's the guy from princess mononoke

blackmind: turn all your spells into blackened hellbastards. immune to most mind-affecting stuff, can't be a paladin. If anyone ever cuts open your head your brain drips out like motor oil. your eyes are completely black and this is even more disconcerting and scary than any other kind of hellbastard and everyone gets an extra 2 difficulty on morale checks if you personally cause them. you can see in complete darkness as if it were bright light, and if its magical absolute darkness then it also lets you see invisible things and lies and hidden danger.

10. Honey. This marks you either as one of the fey or a very carefully constructed simulacrum.
11. Extremely potent psychedelic-dissociative-deliriants. Don't lick your wounds. Or do, I guess. I'm not your mom.
12. Text. pages and pages and pages and pages and pages and pages and pages and pages. secrets, mysteries, books that haven't been written yet and ones that have been written many, many times. all written in monospaced pixelated font, like an old computer terminal.
13. Type O negative. This makes you a universal donor. That's a valuable thing to be. Sucks for you if you need blood, though. Some people will tell you this makes you more likely to be outgoing, have leadership abilities, easily shrug off small issues and details, be frequently late (and rude), resilient, and flexible. I think they're probably right.
14. Thread. A single, unbroken, string of red. As strong as reasonably strong fishing line. There must be miles of this stuff in you.
15. Poison. On the upside, this means you're probably immune to poison, or else you would have died by now.
16. Seawater. Foaming brine. Contains all the things the actual ocean does.
17. Glittering black glass. Molten in your veins, so probably you never get cold. Quickly hardens into brittle curls and cruel twisting spires when exposed to the air.
18. Clay. Wet, slowly trickling. This makes you extremely hard to move if you don't want to be moved, for mysterious reasons that have absolutely nothing to do with real-world physics. It also means you can't bleed out.
19. Blue house paint. Why do you have this? Is this part of some elaborate con to fake a claim to the throne? Probably, I mean that's pretty much the only reason I can think of to replace your blood with blue paint. You definitely weren't born like this.
20. BATTLEFIRE. This is a link.

okay yeah that's great Vayra but what the fuck do i DO with it

Apply this to every character from now on. Just roll a d20 or something.

Thursday, October 1, 2020

GLOGtober 1st: Modern Fiddly Firearms

 In my second-ever blog post, I said "i also wrote a gigantic table of firearm damage by specific real-world caliber, which is fun if your gaming group has gun nerds in it. maybe i'll post that later"

This is a refined, somewhat simplified (yes) version of that, hopefully suitable for use in games that are not mine and are run by people who have a (very slightly) lower tolerance for ~firearm verisimilitude~. It's all the sort of complicated that you figure out when you pick up a gun, not every time you fire it, so it runs fairly smoothly in play if you're not swapping stuff around all the time... Still rather complicated, though.

Damage has been reduced a little from my original system (which was designed for d20 E6 with d8 HD) to be more appropriate for GLOG, but is still very lethal. Try not to get shot.

Happy GLOGtober!


This whole thing works better if you have armor give HP instead of AC. This lets you have dramatic moments where you get knocked on your ass when someone shoots you in the chest with a rifle, only to pull off your shattered plate carrier and return fire. You can still get AC from Dex, maybe Wis, and cover. My recommendation:
  1. Light armor: A flak jacket, an undercover vest, other soft body armor, etc. Doesn't get in the way. 5-10 HP. An unarmored vehicle counts as having this level of protection.
  2. Medium armor. A plate carrier with ballistic panels rated for intermediate cartridges. Quite heavy, encumbers like chain in your favorite medieval/early-modern RPG. 15 HP.
  3. Heavy armor. Hard body armor with NIJ Level IV protection, likely covering the shoulders, sides, and upper legs. Heavy and restrictive, encumbers like plate in a medieval/early-modern RPG. 20 HP.
There's also vehicle armor:
  1. Light Vehicle armor. On an APC, combat helicopter, or equivalent. You can't wear this, unless it's on an exoskeleton or something.
  2. Heavy Vehicle armor. Actual tank plating. You can't wear this, ever.
Personal armor is damaged before your HP, except by critical hits, weapons that say they penetrate its level of protection or better, and stuff that would ignore armor logically (falling damage, etc).

Vehicle armor is the vehicle's entire HP, and can only be damaged by weapons that say they penetrate its level of protection or better, or critical hits.

More advanced, rarer materials might provide higher HP values or protect at higher levels. Improvised ones might provide less HP or encumber at higher levels.


The most important part of the firearm isn't actually the firearm, it's, uh, what it fires. This is what damage is based on. Cartridge stats have three values: Damage, Recoil, and Armor Penetration. I'll explain recoil when we talk about firearms themselves.

Also noise and range, I guess. Something with the "quiet" tag will be hard to notice from far away or pinpoint the direction of, especially if suppressed. Something with the "loud" or "very loud" tag probably can't be suppressed effectively. 

Range is dependent on class, potentially modified if you have a really long barrel or whatever. We'll get to that later. For now all you need to know is that you get -1 to hit for each range increment beyond the first: i.e. a .22LR pistol gets -0 to hit within 30', -1 to hit within 60', and so on.

Here's a list of some cold-war-era-to-modern stuff:

Light Pistol - Range 30'
Light Pistol (.22 LR, .25, .32 or .380 ACP) - 1d6 - R0 - quiet
Standard Pistol (9mm, .38 or .44 Special, .45 ACP, .40S&W) - 1d8 - R1 - quiet

Heavy Pistol - Range 30'
AP Pistol (HK 4.6mm, FN 5.7mm, 5.8mm DAP92, 7.62 Tokarev, sci-fi pistol) - 1d8 - R2 - AP Light
Magnum Pistol (.357 or .44 Magnum, 10mm Auto, .50AE) - 2d6 - R3 - AP Light - loud
Fuckoff Pistol (.454 Casull, sci-fi bullshit) - 3d6 - R5 - AP Medium - very loud

Intermediate Rifle - Range 60'
Subsonic Rifle (9x39mm, .300 AAC) - 1d10 - R2 - quiet
Intermediate Rifle (5.56 NATO/.223 Rem., 5.45 and 7.62x39mm, 5.8x42mm) - 2d6 - R2 - AP Light
High Power Intermediate (6.5mm Creedmoor, .50 Beowulf, sci-fi intermediate) - 2d8 - R3 - AP Light

Full-Power Rifle - Range 90'
Full-Power Rifle (7.62 NATO/.308 Win., .303 British, 7.62x54R, .30-06) - 3d6 - R4 - AP Medium - loud
Magnum Rifle (7mm Rem Mag, .338 Lap Mag, .300 Norma Mag, sci-fi rifle) - 3d8 - R5 - AP Heavy - loud
Anti-Materiel Rifle (.408 CheyTac, .50 BMG, 12.7x108mm) - 4d8 - R7 - AP Light Vehicle - very loud
Light Autocannon (14.5x114mm, 20mm, sci-fi AMR) - 6d8 - R8 - AP Light Vehicle - very loud

Shotgun - Range 30'
Light Shotgun (20 gauge) - 1d8 - R2
Standard Shotgun (12 gauge) - 3d8 - R4 - loud


The important parts of a firearm are its Size, Ammo, Action/Fire Modes, and Recoil.

Size is pretty obvious. Can you fire it effectively with one hand or not. How many slots does it take up in your inventory. That sort of thing.

Ammo is how many rounds it can hold. Reloading takes a move action (i.e. can be done in place of your movement or your action for the turn) per round, clip, or magazine loaded. If you're a Fighter maybe you can move and reload at the same time.

Actions determine what fire modes are available with a firearm and if it can be used for iterative attacks:
  • Single-shot firearms have to be reloaded between each attack. Break-action shotguns and rifles are probably the most common form of this, but there are some single-shot bolt-action rifles as well.
  • Manual (pump, lever, bolt, single, etc)-action firearms have to be manually cycled between each attack. It's assumed that you're doing this automatically as long as you have a free hand, but it means you can only make one attack with them per round even if you have multiple attacks.
  • Semi-automatic firearms fire one shot with each pull of the trigger. You can use them to make as many attacks as you have in a round. If you're a Fighter, maybe you can also double tap to fire a 2-round burst with one.
  • Fully automatic firearms fire continually while the trigger is held. You can probably only fire bursts and full-auto with them. If you're a Fighter, maybe you can also use them to fire single shots.
  • Select-fire firearms can be used as if they were either semi- or fully automatic.

Fire Modes modify recoil, damage, and potentially area of effect:
  • Single shots cost 1 ammo and don't modify recoil or damage at all.
  • Burst fire costs 3 ammo, doubles recoil, and adds 1 die of damage. A double-barreled firearm counts as firing a burst if you fire both barrels.
  • Full-auto fire costs 5 ammo, trebles recoil, and either adds 2 dice of damage or hits everyone in a cone (roll the attack roll once, compare to all ACs or have them roll Dex vs your attack or whatever).

Recoil starts with the recoil value of the cartridge, then is lowered by the following:
  • Ignore recoil if fired from a fixed mount on a vehicle or fortification or whatever.
  • -4 recoil if set up on a bipod or fired from a prone position, etc.
  • -2 recoil if the barrel is real long and/or heavy, like on a machine gun or full-length sniper or hunting rifle. This also doubles your range.
  • -2 recoil if it has a stock and you're using it.
  • -1 recoil if you're holding it in two hands.
  • -1 recoil per point of STR bonus.
  • Maybe it's got gyroscopic stabilization or a huge muzzle brake or something? You can figure out anything special beyond that.
All of these apply after multiplying recoil for burst or full-auto fire. Whatever's left is a penalty to your attack roll.

That's fiddly as hell, fuck you Vayra

Yeah, it is, but you and your players only have to calculate this stuff once per gun. I recommend doing it in advance and building a table or generator or something. For example, here are some guns:

Beretta 92FS. Semi-auto, 9x19mm Parabellum (1d8, R1/2, 30'), 15 round magazine, 1/3rd slot.
Colt Python. Semi-auto, .357 Magnum (2d6, R3/6, 30'), 6 round cylinder, 1/3rd slot.
Remington 1900 Sawn-Off. Break-action, 12 gauge (3d8, R1/5 in two hands or 4/8 in one, 30'), double-barreled, 1 slot.
PPSh-41. Full-auto, 7.62x25mm Tokarev (1d8, R0/1/3, AP Light, 30'), 35 round magazine or 71 round drum, 1 slot.
M4 Carbine. Select-fire, 5.56x45mm NATO (2d6, R0/1/3, AP Light, 60'), 30 round magazine, 1 slot.
Remington 700. Bolt-action, .308 Winchester (3d6, R0, AP Medium, 180'), 5 round internal magazine (clip-loaded), 2 slots.
Dragunov SVD. Semi-auto, 7.62x54mmR (3d6, R0/3, AP Medium, 180'), 10 round magazine, 2 slots.
FN FAL 50.63 PARA. Select-fire, 7.62x51mm NATO (3d6, R1/5/9, AP Medium, 90'), 20 round magazine, 2 slots.
Sako TRG-42. Bolt-action, .338 Lapua Magnum (3d8, R0, AP Heavy, 180'), 5 round magazine, 2 slots.
Mossberg 500. Pump-action, 12 gauge (3d8, R0, 30'), 5 round tube, 2 slots.

Recoil values include stocks and stuff but don't assume two hands on a pistol, and are given for single/burst/auto where applicable. Slap that on a table somewhere for reference, and now you have it forever. 

When someone picks up a gun, they write the name down in their inventory and figure out their attack bonus with it and they're good to go. Here's how I'd write attacks with some of these down on my sheet for a 2nd-level Fighter with +1 STR and +0 DEX:

9mm Beretta 92FS, +2 ranged (-1 per 30'), 1d8 or double-tap (-1 if one-handed) for 2d8 and 2 ammo. 16/15 loaded, 15/15, 8/15 in spares, 83 loose rounds.

7.62x25mm PPSh-41, +2 ranged (-1 per 30'), 1d8 AP Light, 56/71 rounds loaded
            Burst +2 ranged (-1 per 30'), 2d8 AP Light, 3 ammo
            Full-auto +0 ranged  (-1 per 30'), 3d8 AP Light or cone at single damage, 5 ammo 

7.62x51mm FAL PARA, +2 ranged (-1 per 90'), 3d6 AP Medium, 20/20 loaded, 10/20 in spares
            Double-tap -2 ranged (-1 per 90'), 4d6 AP Medium, 2 ammo
            Full-auto -6 ranged (-1 per 90'), 5d6 AP Medium or cone at single damage, 5 ammo, note to self: don't do this.

A guy made this in his garage while on PCP and tried to rob a train with it and got shot and then I found it in the sand twenty years later, is it still safe to shoot?

Professionally made firearms that are frequently maintained have no chance of catastrophic failure. If you fumble your attack roll with one it jams and will have to be reloaded.

For everyone else, here's my post-apocalyptic quality table:
  1. Professionally made firearms fumble on 1. Roll a d20: 1 breaks; 2-20 jams.
  2. Decent quality firearms fumble on 1-2. Roll a d20: 1 explodes; 2-10 breaks; 11-20 jams.
  3. Jury-rigged firearms fumble on 1-3. Roll a d20: 1-5 explodes; 6-10 breaks; 11-20 jams.
Exploding firearms deal their regular single-shot damage to their wielder, with a DEX roll for half. Broken firearms can be repaired with gun parts and either an INT roll or a skilled armorer.

What about melee weapons?

They should do more damage too, damnit.

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

NO LIGHT NO WARMTH: Illuminated Paladin (Class: Specialist)

Somewhere towards the southern edge of the tetrahedral world, an expedition gathers...

This is for deus ex parabola's edge-climb campaign thingy, not GROG or the Mountain.

I have stolen every word within this post from the Metatron, Sage, Gun Priest, and/or my own Oiled Paladin

It seems the difference between a Paladin and a Cleric is that a Paladin can't talk to angels directly and instead draws (sometimes) more practical powers from them in exchange for those powers being (usually) more consistently available and lesser consequences from breaking their tenets.

I'm not completely happy with this but I have determined to Just Post and fix it later, if it is determined to require fixing. Death to drafts!

Class: Illuminated Paladin (Purple Heretic)

The Purple Heretics are a gnostic group. They believe their texts contain esoterica never revealed to the masses. In them, alcohol is prohibited and harems recommended. The g_ds' disappearance is a puzzle to be solved, and those who do so will no doubt be among the elect.

You're a follower of the Purple Orthodoxy and you're damned proud of it. You have come here in search of secrets, that you might know the truth of the world. You tattoo your skin and wear your mask proudly, for it marks you as one who is—above all else—possessed of knowledge.

This is how you should play every character with a link to the divine, but it's especially how you should play an illuminated paladin.

Tenets of the Purple Orthodoxy, in order of importance.
  1. Do not, through action or inaction, allow error to be taught. Use fire if necessary. Ignore all other tenets if they would interfere with this, your most important goal.
  2. Do not share information with the unworthy or those who would misuse it.
  3. Seek out ancient tomes and ruins; do not allow information to be lost or forgotten.
  4. Correct those who are under false impressions, unless this would interfere with the second tenet.
  5. Accumulate libraries and stores of secret information, unless this would break the third tenet.
If you take off your mask or break a tenet, you can't use any Illuminated Paladin class features except fieldwork and extra attack per round until you put your mask back on and do at least three of: Edit a text, learn something new and important, point out to someone how they're wrong, eat a solid meal, stay awake for an entire night.

For every template of this class you have, you gain +1 SKLL. You use the specialist to-hit progression, increasing by +1 at templates B and D. If you have at least one template in this class you can never fumble while using fencing weapons or firearms. You can't wear armor unless you have training or templates in another class that lets you.

Starting Equipment: A purple mask (see image), academic robes, burglar's clothing, soft leather boots and gloves, a parrying dagger (light), tattoo kit, writing supplies, a regular holy book (from the Church), an irregular holy book (from your mentor), a very irregular holy book (which you are writing), and one other academic implement chosen from the list at the end.

Skills: Papermaking, Bookbinding, Calligraphy, and Illumination plus one of: 1. History, 2. Historiography, 3. Law.

A: Fieldwork, Illuminated (1 Truth)
B: Erudition, Pointed Criticism, +1 Truth
C: Confession, Extra Attack Per Round, +1 Truth
D: Hypotheses, Thought Library, +1 Truth

A: Fieldwork
You've trained for this. You have a 3-in-6 chance of picking a common lock (2-in-6 for something more secure, 1-in-6 for a safe or the like) and a 1-in-6 chance to understand any specific bit of language you don't know—like a page in a book, inscription on a ring, occult chanted phrase, or passage gleaned through Erudition—that you encounter. Both of these chances improve by 1-in-6 for each additional template of this class beyond A.

A: Illuminated
For every template of this class you have, one-quarter of your body's external surface area is covered in illuminated tattoos depicting one of the most important Truths you know. Roll on the Truth table for specifics at each template. If you roll a duplicate, choose the next non-duplicate Truth above or below it.

If one of your Truths is ever proven false, you lose the benefit of that Truth until you can have the tattoo corrected.

B: Erudition
The first time you touch any given text, you immediately know the most important 107 sequential words contained therein. You can read a text of any length in one hour as long as you have a quiet place to sit and no interruptions, and identify places where a text has been edited or redacted at a glance.

B: Pointed Criticism
You study your enemies carefully, and are adept at using this knowledge to throw them off balance and erode their will to fight. For each name or horrible secret of a target that you correctly declare to them before making your first attack, you have +1 to hit them and they have -1 to hit you and on Morale checks.

Names are any names that the target has been known by—like full name, pseudonyms, and epithets; not first, middle, and last. Horrible secrets are anything that they would rather you not know—like shameful habits, past failures, and uncomfortable associations, each of which must be distinct from any others mentioned.

This ability applies to debates and arguments as well as physical combat, but only works against targets that are capable of understanding you.

C: Confession
For every ten minutes that you engage someone in spirited discussion, debate, or argument, you can ask them one question which they must answer and answer truthfully. Roll CHA or INT, whichever is more advantageous for you—if you succeed, they don't realize that you asked the question, or that they answered it.

D: Hypotheses
Given ten minutes of meditation, you can commune with angels to pronounce a hypothesis. The GM will tell you whether your hypothesis is true, partially true, or false. If it is false, you first take damage equal to your current Falsehoods, then increase your Falsehoods by 107.

Your Falsehoods decreases by 1 for each point of damage you take from any source, and each time you read or burn a text you had not already read or burn't.

D: Thought Library
When you interact with texts owned or possessed by someone else, any changes you make—placing, removing, editing, et cetera—are reflected in their actual memory. Doing so has similar effects to one of the two Signature Techniques of the Company as performed with 1 or 2 Memory Dice. Which Signature Technique and how many MD you roll depend on what exactly you are doing. If rolled with 2, you suffer any Mistakes as an actual Metatron would.


When you gain a Truth, write down what you thinkare completely sure it is. You have to be careful about your Truths, particularly once you have access to Hypotheses or if you have a Sage or 4-template Gun Priest around.

These (or at least their names) will need to be replaced for other campaigns. They should be major questions about the setting that are understood well enough to be asked but not answered.
  1. The existence of the Soul.
    Your tattooed skin can interact with ghosts, spells, angels, et cetera as if they existed physically, and your melee attacks deal full damage to undead.

  2. The fates of the G_ds.
    You have +1 AC per template, which doesn't stack with normal armor. When someone you knew the name of dies, their name appears on your right arm.

  3. The identity of the Fifth Brother.
    Your mask is unrecognizable to those you would prefer not to know you, and your tattoos are invisible to those you would prefer not to see them and illegible to those you would prefer not to understand them.

  4. The origin of Man.
    While performing hard labor you need no food, water, nor sleep. Once finished a work, you must 'catch up' on all the food, water, and sleep you missed before working beyond normal human limits again.

  5. The source of Monkey.
    With a word, you can cause everything in contact with your tattoos to fuse to them, holding them—or you—in place. It's probably an INIT roll to use this to stop yourself from falling or something. Obviously you also need to have bare, tattooed skin in contact with the things you want to stick to. Don't do this when you already have a lot of momentum unless you want your Truths to separate from your body.

  6. The face of Aeshe (PBUH).
    You have a 1-in-6 chance per template to know one relevant piece of information about anyone you encounter.

  7. The location of the Second Moon.
    Your tattoos itch when something is being concealed from you. If you would be surprised, you're not.

  8. The nature of the Stars.
    With a word, you can cause your tattoos to glow with the dim illumination of a starry night. This is sufficient to read by or keep track of your footing, but not increase your radius of vision in darkness. While active, invisible things within arm's reach are revealed to you.

  9. The geography of the distant North.
    You can read the current direction and distance to the well at the bottom of the world on the back of your left hand, and are protected as if by clothing appropriate to the environment at all times.

  10. The creation of the Sun.
    Your tattoos emit blasts of infrared light when struck. When something deals damage to you it catches fire for 1d6 damage per round until extinguished. If you are reduced to 0 or lower HP, anyone looking in your direction must SAVE or be struck blind for 107 minutes by an invisible sunburst.

Academic Implements

  1. Purple Mask. Depicts an old man, usually grinning. Allows you to see curse-fog and maybe, sort of angels, and marks you as a member of the Purple priesthood even though that's only about half-true.
  2. Academic Robes. From a very fancy and reputable institution. Probably worth 10 gp if you can find a buyer that knows how much you paid for them. 1 slot unless you're wearing em.
  3. Burglar's Clothing. Dark, close-fitting, has plenty of pockets that are perfectly sized for carrying books, writing implements, and thieves' tools situated where they won't get in the way of movement. Covers almost your entire body, with just enough gaps that it's obvious you have tattoos but they can't be fully seen. 1 slot unless you're wearing em.
  4. Soft Leather Boots and Gloves. Supple, comfortable, not all that warm.
  5. Parrying Dagger. An elegant weapon, for a more civilized age. A light weapon that counts as a shield in any round you don't attack with it, 1/3rd slot.
  6. Tattoo Kit. A variety of needles, inks pressed from rare ingredients. Very efficiently packed. 1/3rd slot.
  7. Writing Supplies. Quills, pens, brushes, an inkpot, at least one piece of vellum. Useful if you need to write a letter, forge a document, or correct inconsistencies in a book. 1 slot.
  8. Holy Books. As the Cleric's. 1/3rd slot each.
  9. List of Grievances. Nail them to a church door and they'll cause a whole scene. 1/3rd slot.
  10. Thieves' Tools. A collection of scalpels, hammers, hand-drills, lockpicks, shims, and the like. 100% guaranteed to have everything you need to do Thief Stuff. 1 slot.
  11. Sharp Diamond Ring. Could cut glass. Worth a cool 20 gp. Too small to take up space, really.
  12. Very Nice Perfume. An exotic combination of scents, very distinctive. Probably nobody you meet will ever have smelled it before, worth 30 gp to discerning buyers. 1/3rd slot.
  13. Rifle. 2d8 damage at a range of 60', -1 to-hit for every 20' after that. Holds two rounds, takes two minutes to reload, and you must purchase the cartridges separately. 2 slots.
  14. Musical Instrument. You pick which one. 1 slot.
  15. Hookah. Comes with enough scented tobacco for you to sit around smoking it like an asshole at least 10 times, even if you're sharing it with your friends. 2 slots.
  16. Fancy Cushion. An excellent seat. 1 slot.
  17. Very Nice Hat. Your call if it's appropriate to the region (in case you need to blend in) or wildly inappropriate (in case you need to stand out).
  18. Animal Messenger. A pigeon, perhaps, or an exceptionally well-trained squirrel or mustelid. Not a crow, raven, rook, or magpie—those can't be trusted, they're too smart. 1HD, 1 slot if you're carrying it around.
  19. Waterproof Matches. Will ignite and burn in any environment; wet, dry, or airless. Box of 20, 1/3rd slot.
  20. An oddity. Roll 1d6 on the following table:
    1. WHITHER THE HEART, a medium rapier of bronte and chardun. Attracts or is attracted to iron. Sufficient to block ferrous weapons and projectiles if one spends their whole turn parrying, or always hits creatures that have blood and are not wearing ferrous armor. 1 slot.
    2. The Gleaming Stone. Warm to the touch, slowly shifts through the rainbow of colors, casts light like a torch. Priceless. 1/3rd slot.
    3. Papers declaring you—or at least someone who shares your name and description—a saint of the Purple orthodoxy. If read carefully, they also quite clearly imply that you are dead.
    4. A bone knife with a long handle and a very small blade—more like a scalpel, really. Capable of cutting through anything physical, and some things not. Can be used as a light weapon that deals only 1 damage but ignores armor or damage reduction, 1/3rd slot.
    5. A pair of round glasses with completely opaque lenses. Render lies visible and everything else invisible to the wearer.
    6. An enormous egg. Neither you nor anyone else knows what it contains. 1 slot.

Saturday, September 12, 2020

Exemplary GLOG Classes

Being a collection of my favorite GLOG classes written by others, in some sort of not-quite-exact order:

  1. Religious classes - This isn't any single class in particular, but it's my favorite archetype. Read the post, your Clerics and Paladins and Especially Devout Characters Of Any Other Sort will all be leagues better for it.
  2. Everything on Squig's blog, particularly:
    1. Gun Priest - We all know about my love for playing dedicated, arrogant, heretic religious nutjobs. What's better than one of those? One of those with a gun.
    2. Sword-Swallower - Just dripping with flavor. If I had read this before writing my Sword Witch, my Sword Witch would be better for it. As it is, I'd probably let someone play one of these as an alt-Sword Witch.
    3. Sage - Absolutely stellar class for any developed and interesting setting. Great integration of narrative and exposition-focused mechanics into a playable class.
  3. Everything on OSR Discord user deus ex parabola's blog, particularly:
    1. Anything that interacts with his color-coded heresies - "But Vayra!," you exclaim, "That's a setting element, not a class!" And you're right, but that's how good it is. It's the single best piece of worldbuilding I've ever seen committed to text. And anyway, there are some Clerics for it.
    2. Guild Thug - The other guilds therein are also good, but the Guild Thug is a standout. There's something incredible to me about the idea of unionized 80's-era action movie baddies, sauntering up to dragons and liches to bop them in the knees and threaten them with destruction of property.
    3. Metatron - Another excellent example of worldbuilding. Wizards, but they're some sort of absolutely nightmarish cold-war era fictive spy, and also (depending on interpretation) might have been replaced by a spiritual parasite. Put a Metatron in your campaign today. The implications are endless.
  4. Phlox's Acolyte - A refinement of Lexi's magic word-based Psion. Fixes several issues with the core one while retaining all of the things that made it interesting to me, ties it to a religious system (always a plus), and is just a complete blast to play. Not perfect, yet, maybe, but already great.
    1. Also the Barbarian-as-Foreigner. The list of advantages and disadvantages is incredible, awesome, great, very good, excellent, and other superlatives besides. I could see tacking that ability in particular on to other classes, perhaps in place of a 'race' adjustment in an all-human setting, or the like.
  5. Skerples' Necromancer - Sometimes, a necromancer is just a necromancer. This one has some interesting flavor about talking to dead folks, but the most important part of it is: it allows you to keep permanent undead servants at the cost of keeping your MD expended, or slowly (at risk of Doom) amass a permanent undead army of unlimited size. I consider this ability essential to anything that would call itself a necromancer.
  6. Thorinp's Shiva of Guns - We know I like Gun Witches, and this is my favorite one that isn't my own. It is particularly weird, in a very good way. "You sprout a bouquet of gun wielding arms[...]" indeed.
  7. Jojiro's Iron Salamander - This is a good class design post, much like Phlox's earlier one, but my favorite thing about it is this particular Fighter example: The Iron Salamander. Great stuff. Eminently flavorful. Powerful. Interesting.

So, what are your favorite GLOG classes written by others? I know GLOG is somewhat imperfect for this question, as it encourages stealing bits and naturally your favorite version of a class will be the one that you cobbled together with parts of others, so perhaps it's best to think of it instead as: What GLOG classes most inspire you?

Friday, August 14, 2020

CANYON: A one-page solo RPG

The inimitable Luther Gutekunst of Archon's Court posted a 200-word RPG today. Here's his description:

Canyon is a duet game about resource management and unexpected solutions, set in a largely undescribed post-apocalypse. I haven't gotten to test it yet, but I'd like to.

It's really good. I played a test run. It wasn't supposed to be a solo RPG, but the way the ghoul acts seemed so perfect for scripting that I couldn't help but think of it as one.

A handful of discord messages, a hastily googled public domain stock photo, and an hour and a half in photoshop later, I turned it into a one-page solo game:

Click for big, or here for PDF.

Like all solo RPGs, this one probably requires a little bit of interpretation on the part of the player/GM - but not much. 

In case it helps, here are two playtest reports with very slight differences in interpretation. Both are correct:

Saturday, August 8, 2020

Let Me Tell You About My D&D Character(s)

DandyMan over at Throne of Salt posted a whole bunch of their old characters and it got me thinking I should do that. I don't have the character sheets, but I'll see if I can assemble an approximate timeline of my life in TTRPG characters regardless!

I fully expect nobody will read this, as it is both deeply personal and by far the longest post on my blog to date (not counting the Mountain PHB I guess, if you include linked documents). Ah well, it was a fun trip down memory lane.

The Mists of History (c. 2000)

I started playing D&D with the red box, which my parents bought for me at a garage sale or thrift store when I was in elementary school and about 7 years old. I played one or two abortive games with the example dungeon in the box. I don't even remember who DM'd - it might have been me! I do remember the party being TPK'd by the fucking Carrion Crawler, however. And that the teacher I had roped into playing with me rolled a Magic-User with 1 HP.

I did not play red box again. Which is too bad, because it managed to teach a 7-year-old me what D&D was and more or less how to play it - albeit with the help of an older student and a teacher who had both also never played before. That's pretty incredible!

Regrettable Youth (c. 2001-2005)

Middle school! One of my friends knew what D&D was, and he ran a game that was certainly not D&D, played with our imaginations and absolutely no dice, books, pencils, or paper. I remember it cribbing heavily from Warcraft 3 and a little bit from like, Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver, which I had forgotten the name of and my (genius) partner somehow managed to identify from the extremely flawed description I gave them while writing this: "what was the like, PS2 or PS2-era PC game with the vampire guy who was ugly and had a big scarf over his face? I don't think it was Devil May Cry but it might have played like it... I wanna say "soul eater" but apparently that's an anime fighting game"

We did not ever play a tabletop game with rules.

<Foucault quote> (c. 2006-2007)

High school! 3.5e was out, I was old enough and nerdy enough to understand it, and there were people who played nearly every day! None of our games played at school lasted very long, but I did play in one fairly successful campaign run outside of school, near the end.
  • 3.5e - Bob, Human Fighter. Yes, I played a (presumably white) male human fighter named Bob, in one of many short-lived school games. He started at level 5 and was eaten by a vampire in his first or second session. He is one of the only characters of this era I remember.
  • 3.5e - CN Goliath. All I remember is playing a goliath and taking Monkey Grip for a stupendously oversized weapon.
  • 3.5e - Deep Imaskari Transmuter. Created for a game outside of school, a high-level (10th?) dungeon crawl through some module or other. Discovered an illusory wall concealing a tunnel, walked through it, was promptly bitten by a giant spider, and succumbed to the poison - all within the space of the first session. I don't remember if the game lasted beyond that.
  • 3.5e - I don't remember my character at all but we tried to play Expedition to Undermountain at least twice. I think I was an artificer at least one of those times.
  • 3.5e - Spellscale Sorcerer. Focused on fire magic, blew things up in a brief campaign run by my girlfriend at the time and including only one other player (who was playing a duskblade of a race I forget). The campaign was notable for being set on a world comprised of nothing but a single, immense Mountain... a concept which obviously left a lasting impression on me.
  • Shadowrun 3e - Troll. We played Shadowrun at least once. I think it would have been 3e, at the time. I was a heavily augmented troll, I remember taking a shotgun blast in the chest from a Lone Star agent and jumping out of a 3rd story window. I think I was fine after both, but we never played again.
  • 3.5e - 9² (pronounced "nine squared"), LE Warforged Monk/Rogue. Relied on a generous reading of the Monkey Grip feat that let it apply to Battlefists, a Warforged item that gave you a giant fist. I think I combined it with some other ability for a truly gigantic fist - as large as my character, because of course 3.5e has rules to determine how big a weapon is. 9² also had Rogue levels, the feat that allowed rogue and monk levels to stack for Sneak Attack or Flurry of Blows or something, and the Exemplars of Evil alternate Monk class feature that allows one round of invisibility on a three-round cooldown - which I recall I decided was too powerful to use as written (it was) so I stated that 9² would invariably use it on cooldown - flickering in and out of view on a regular timer like some sort of multidimensional fluorescent on the fritz. As an explanation for why 9² possessed these abilities, they were a construct created by some great extradimensional evil ("the old gods") and sent to the campaign setting to understand, consume, and eventually destroy it. I mostly roleplayed this by making a point to scoop the warm brains out of everything I killed and jam them into a grate in the front of my warforged skull to be incinerated. Unfortunately, I don't think the campaign lasted beyond a handful of sessions.
  • 3.5e - Rage McCoy, CE Strongheart Halfling Rogue. Created for an out-of-school dungeoncrawling campaign, I think the first successfully long-lived campaign that I participated in. Rage was mechanically a Strongheart Halfling, but narratively a creature born of the Infinite Layers of the Abyss - after all, it stands to reason that if the abyss is truly infinite (it is) then races exactly alike to those on the material plane would exist somewhere in it. I had a whole backstory about how and why he was present on the Prime Material, but I don't remember it - something about being banished by a demon lord or powerful sorcerer, and questing to find a way back home to kill it. A very small, very angry, extremely deadly halfling, who was briefly possessed by a bloodthirsty cursed hammer and, I think, died to a gargoyle. I (much) later recycled this character concept for Skin, a character in an entirely different game, so I definitely liked it.
  • 3.5e - Sol, CG or NG Human Cleric. I believe this was the character I played after Rage died in the same campaign, and he was a fairly standard holy-warrior cleric type - boosted by the fact that we were 7th or 8th level by then and he could be a twelve-foot titan of divine might with full base attack bonus 24/7 thanks to Divine Metamagic. I recycle this guy as an NPC often, and he might have been the start of my love for playing bombastic and extraordinarily confident heretical religious nutjobs.
I know this is a bit of a heretical opinion among OSR grogs, but 3.5e remains my favorite version of D&D to this day.

The Innocence of Youth (c. 2008-2010)

When I was 16 I dropped out of high school, got a job, and moved in with my girlfriend at the time. She ran a very long campaign with several of our mutual friends, which is to date the only long-term D&D campaign I've played in that actually managed to reach a conclusion. I've run games (both D&D and not) that reached a suitably climactic endpoint, and I've played in non-D&D games that did, but this remains the only D&D game I was a player in which achieved that.
  • 3.5e - Grittinius Vox Vercettitrix ("Vox"), TN Wood Elf Barbarian. Oh my god. This was a whole thing. I found the Obsidian Portal page for this campaign. Unfortunately it looks like we stopped using it after four sessions - although the campaign continued for the better part of a year, going from 4th to 9th level. I'll see what I can remember.
    • Vox's character was based almost entirely, from what I can remember, on (NSFW) Kronar of Oglaf. Don't click that link if you're a child.
    • His description contained the phrase "Clad in a small leather pouch and a large shirt of brilliant silver mail, he strikes a figure both intimidating and resplendent with masculine sensuality.", which might be the single best line of prose I've ever written.
    • His 'bio' was this, which is mostly notable for proving that my sense of humor hasn't changed at all in the intervening almost-exactly-a-decade, since it's one of the funniest things I've ever written I think: 
    • Immediately below that, there was a link to a 4-page backstory of incredibly purple prose.
    • I described his wood elf (more of a 'snow elf' really) tribe as generally making use of two weapons - the long knife and the hunting spear
    • The "long knife" is a greatsword, the "hunting spear" is a glaive. I thought this was tremendously funny as well.
    • Being a wood elf (STR bonus) barbarian (with Whirling Frenzy and Lion Totem - the Complete Champion version) with Leap Attack and such, he was an absolute fucking terror.
    • His main character trait was aggressively intimidating people into telling him "everything they know about dragons".
    • I had a blast.
Unfortunately, Vox died (I think he leap attacked right off of the deck of an airship, it was a glorious death) around level 6 or 7, and I had to make a new character.

  • 3.5e - ???? ("Arbor"), LE Grey Elf Psion/Thrallherd. Unfortunately this was after we stopped using Obsidian Portal for the campaign, so I've lost most of the details for my followup to Vox. What I do remember:
    • He was a member of the shaman caste of the same viking-esque elf tribe as Vox.
    • Being a shaman, he used the traditional weapon of the caste - the Ame spirit axe (it was a greataxe). Mostly for the x3 crit on coup de grace, because as a psion he mainly fought by rendering opponents helpless.
    • I had a thrall who was basically mini-Vox, because of course.
    • This campaign had a fairly uncontested main character - one of us was an Aasimar cleric of nature and light named Evayna, a good person by any metric, and generally played the 'straight man' to our collective comedic urges and attempted derails and kept us on track. 
    • The main goal of the campaign was to acquire some sort of incredibly powerful magic amulet, which would end the world and allow us to remake it according to our whims. It was basically a foregone conclusion that the cleric, Evayna, would be the one to do this since she was the only person in probably the entire campaign setting that could be trusted with that sort of power.
    • At the very end of the campaign, we fought the BBEG - some sort of ancient nightmare dragon. There was a climactic battle, Evayna was wounded but not dead, and finally, our foe was brought down.
    • I'm sure you can see where this is going.
    • Arbor stole the amulet from Evayna's weakened grasp at the last moment, triggering its ability and ending the world only to remake it into an icy crucible of suffering and hardship exactly like the snowy island he was born on.
I feel kinda bad about that now, but damn was it ever fun at the time.

  • WEG Star Wars D6 - Zlotto Malchik, Toydarian. An attempt to play an inversion of the anti-semitic caricature of Watto in the Phantom Menace, backed up by the excellent combat-related stats given to Toydarians by some kind D6Holocron editor. Since the Empire are (blatantly) Space Nazis crossed with the British Empire, Zlotto was a grizzled mercenary veteran in the model of B.J. Blazkowicz, just with a little pot belly and wings. Unfortunately that campaign only lasted a handful of sessions, but it inspired in me a deep love for the WEG SWD6 system which lives on in my heart to this day.

The Early Modern Era (c. 2016-2019)

There followed quite a long time (six years? ish?) where I didn't play in any games, though I did run several games of a post-apocalyptic d20hack that I should really type up for the blog some day, but here's a link to the generators I used to stock it for the time being. One of the most positive outcomes of this was that in doing so I introduced a friend to the wonders of TTRPGs, and he later went on to run several cyberpunk and time-traveling weirdo games using the same system. The latter three characters below were for his games, the first one was for a Roll20 campaign of FFG Star Wars that I played with some pals from leftbook.

  • 5e - ????, ?? Elven Cleric. I don't remember this game at all, and it might have been slightly before 2016. I played a single session, was bitterly disappointed in the generic fantasy setting of the campaign, the GM's style, and the 5e rules, and never went back.
  • FFG Star Wars - Eka, Droideka. Eka was a Destroyer Droid and veteran of the Clone Wars, rescued from the scrapheap by a rogue Nemoidian engineer named Puf Sriiko during/after the fall of the Trade Federation and spirited away to some backwater planet where it became one of the founding members of a Rebel cell. One notable trait was that it had a vocalizer module pulled from a riot control droid vehicle, so it had two volumes: "loud", and "ear-shattering".
    • This campaign inspires pride in me, not a strange combination of laughter and shame like the one Vox was a part of, so I'll post some direct links to the Obsidian Portal for it:
    • I had a (much shorter than Vox's, thankfully) little backstory as to why Eka was sentient. 
    • The campaign involved us (quite quickly, actually) staging a large-scale prison break at the Imperial detainment facilities on the planet where we started, seizing a custom luxury megaliner, and assembling a rag-tag flotilla around it for our little Rebel army known as "The Nameless".
    • I wrote a few notes on our organization as well as the charter for it, the former largely from my thoughts on how a self-sufficient Anarchist military force might actually be organized for guerrilla warfare and the latter largely from some research notes on historical pirate charters in the age of sail.
    • This game has been in stasis for at least two years now, but I still hold out hope it will be revived some day.
  • Time Cops - Sunflower Jade Ocean ("Sunny"), US Marine/Stoner/Pilot/Wasted Youth. Sunny was a gifted child born to a pair of neo-hippies (hence the name). Due to never being vaccinated, he had a close brush with death as an infant and never fully recovered (he had like, 6 CON). He flew a crop duster for his parents' vineyard before he was drafted, acquiring some flight skills, but wasted them (as he did his innate grasp of technology and generally amazing hand-eye coordination and physical dexterity) by spending his free time getting high.
    • The core conceit of Time Cops was that our party were a small band of losers drafted into the USMC as a result of some nightmare war with Russia in 2026 (this game started around when it looked like Hillary was going to win), who were quickly press-ganged into some time traveling shenanigans by a secret government organization, rescuing a young scientist named Teddy and escaping into the past just as the first ICBMs hit San Francisco.
    • Although the campaign was called "Time Cops", we mostly ended up shooting and and being shot at by cops, actually.
    • The campaign lasted a very long time, and was one of the more fun games I've ever played.
  • Pacifica - Janus "Sick Boy" Stanislawski, Old Tech Enthusiast, Self-Destructive Drug Addict, Smart Aleck, Soundcloud Rapper, Sharpshooter. Sick Boy was a very similar character to Sunny in many ways. He had essentially the same statline, and his story followed approximately the same beats - signing up with the Corporate Coalition in the 2040s, he was shipped to Denver to fight the US government in the crisis that won the megacorps collective extraterritoriality and destroyed what of the state's little legitimacy was left at that point. Unfortunately, he was hit with some sort of bioweapon, and nearly died before even seeing combat. Treated at a military hospital, he was discharged immediately once he had stabilized, and cut off from further corporate aid.
    • Sick Boy had probably the deepest characterization and best arc of any character I've ever played, going from a relatively incompetent layabout to a genuine revolutionary leader. Along the way I learned a lot about him - his struggling with and eventual acceptance of his sexuality, his gradual move from self-destruction to self-actualization and improvement, his freedom from drug addiction (fraught with several relapses), and his appreciation for high-powered plasma rail rifles.
    • Pacifica was also run with the ruleset I designed for my post-apocalyptic game, but was set in a more traditional cyberpunk world. The campaign ran for more than two years and spanned themes from low-level gang warfare, to Shadowrun-like deniable asset missions, to consolidation of our hold over territory, to liberation of an entire city from its corporate overlords in, essentially, a massive ground war. It was immensely satisfying.
  • Time Cops 2 - Skin, Raider. Skin was a character for the sequel to Time Cops. He was a small, angry man (or boy?) of indeterminate age and race, plucked from the post-apocalyptic setting I ran several campaigns in - we decided that since Time Cops was a pastiche of everything, it made sense for it to have tendrils in every game we had run or would run in the future from that point, and so every PC in the sequel came from a different timeline. He was very similar to Rage in many ways, but I had a lot of fun with characterizing him further. He didn't have quite the same arc as Sick Boy, but I was still very pleased with it - he developed from a frantic, angry survivalist who couldn't read and never thought of anything beyond his next meal, to a more coldly melancholic figure who was resigned to the futility of trying to fix time itself but determined to keep trying to win, literally, a better future for everyone.

Present Day (c. 2020)

Now we get to the characters I'm either currently playing, or was playing in games within this year:

  • Starfinder - Saros “BADSTAR” al-Hariq bint Ayasellah Mihelar Khalidlah, Bastard Princess of the City of Brass, LE Ifrit Solarian Noble Scion. A friend of mine from the Starsector community started a Starfinder PbP campaign at level 3, so naturally I rolled up a character with an incredibly overblown backstory involving her being, yes, literally the bastard princess of the City of Brass, and also time travel. I think I did this partially out of protest at Starfinder being one o' them newfangled D&Ds where PCs never die. I had a whole two-paragraph copy/paste written for a magical girl transformation sequence where she summons her Solarian sword and another one for her "finishing move", It was glorious and I got to use each one about twice, since the campaign proceeded through one "mission" and then went on indefinite hiatus.
  • Lancer - Hex, Horus/IPS-Northstar Pilot (Pegasus/Raleigh Mech). Made for a Roll20 campaign set in the world of Starsector with the addition of Lancer mechs. Had a bit of cool story about being a cloned Knight of Westernesse who was brutally fucked around by Alpha-level AI during some mission to the Fringe, but never really got to explore it - the GM didn't really understand the rhythm of Lancer and the game was extremely unsatisfying.
  • 3.5e - Jesh the Accursed, CG/CN Dragonborn Mongrelfolk Dragonfire Adept. I joined a PbP 3.5e server that was running several concurrent games with different GMs in a shared homebrew Forgotten Realms campaign setting, and made a DFA because I wanted to flex those CharOp muscles without ruining the game for the rest of the players in the game I joined (who were, I think, two Fighters and a Samurai). Jesh was formerly a famed paladin of Bahamut, who had been struck down and cursed by a great evil and now wandered the world in penance for her failure. I had started her as CG but planned to switch her over to CE relatively quickly (helped along by one of the first engagements we had being killing some sort of Lovecraftian elder god thing, which disillusioned her greatly) to become an Ur-Priest. The character went well, I was happy with her and she contributed hugely to a couple of fights without overshadowing anyone, but I quit after only a handful of sessions because the GM, while meaning well, was frankly incompetent. That was the closest I ever got to the RPG horror stories I hear about 4e/5e campaigns that are just a railroad of setpiece battles with very little player agency between them.
  • BFRPG/GLOG - Many Bugbears. I joined Wizzzargh's open table campaign (BFRPG but allowing GLOG classes) during an intra-party civil war, which in retrospect was probably a mistake. I rolled up Many Goblins, which was upgraded to Many Bugbears on account of there already being some bugbears around, and was promptly involved in a quadruple-cross plot by one of the players, which in retrospect was definitely a mistake - especially because we promptly lost the civil war! The Many Bugbears were summarily executed to a bugbear, and the last one fled into the mirror realm.
    • Really wish I hadn't done that, tbh. The quadruple-cross plot part.
  • BFRPG/GLOG - Mani skel Etons, Fassulian Human Necromancer (Skerples' version). My replacement character, after the resolution of the civil war, was Mani - a greenskinned noble necromancer from Fassulia, a desert country that forbids necromancy. I'm very fond of her, played her for a few sessions and she's still technically playable, but I haven't been able to keep up with the breakneck pace of the game for quite a while now so she remains in stasis. She had a lovely text accent, affect of humming constantly, and unquenchable curiousity, which I picked up from another player in the Starfinder game I played Saros in.
  • BFRPG - Magpie Burnt-Face, Dwarf Cleric. Created for another BFRPG game on the same server but run by a different person, going through an edited version of Peril of the Purple Planet, a DCC module, and played for two or three sessions. Also still technically alive, but in stasis for the same reason of it being hard to keep up with the open table for me.
  • Vain the Sword - Panko Fang, Gnoll Acolyte of Iron. A crochety old gnoll who worships an anti-god devoted to the destruction of all things and the final death of souls. A sort of weird wise man, who tells koans to rocks, lies to mercenaries, shattered his own legs with a WORD of power once, and is utterly assured that his philosophies are correct. He fully fits the mold of "bombastic and extraordinarily confident heretical religious nutjob" and I love him.
  • G20/NO LIGHT NO WARMTH - Alpha Priest, Umbran Oiled Paladin. Is it a conflict of interest to play a class I made? Maybe, but I'm having a grand time. She was created for deus ex parabola's Face campaign, fully fits the mold of "bombastic and extraordinarily confident heretical religious nutjob", and she's one of my favorite characters I've ever played.
  • Sunless Horizon - Eni L√©ashvath, Iklen Jackal. After playing Panko and Alpha, I realized I had hit upon a stellar formula for characters I love to play, so naturally when I was invited to the Sunless Horizon playtest game and saw there was a phenotype who had been created to be priests for the malign super-AI that governs Ein Soph and serves as its god I jumped at that chance. Eni is sort of a reptilian sci-fi restatement of Panko, fully fits the mold of "bombastic and extraordinarily confident heretical religious nutjob", and I greatly enjoy playing her.


What have I learned by typing this?
  • I love 3.5e, it's my favorite TSR/WOTC D&D game. Both earlier and later editions just feel lacking to me. Basic (not ECMI or /X, just B) is a close second, I suppose, but if I wanted to play Basic I'd play OSE and not a TSR product.
  • My early characters, even the long-running ones, had a certain immaturity to them. But I reimagined some of those earlier tropes into more complex characters later (Rage -> Skin, Sol -> Panko, Alpha, and Eni, Vox -> Saros kind of in a way) and found them immensely satisfying.
  • I've played most 'archetypes' over the years. Wizards are probably my least favorite, but I do like Mani a lot, so that's not a constant. I've done a lot of stabby/snipey roguish types (Rage, Sunny, Sick Boy, and Skin all fit this mold), skilled and fearsome noble warriors (Vox, Saros, plus some I never got to play), and bombastic and extraordinarily confident heretical religious nutjobs (Sol, Pano, Alpha, Eni), and those are definitely my favorite tropes.
  • This is a fun thing to do and you should make a post like this.