Thursday, July 25, 2019

GLOG Class: Gun Witch

Because sometimes you want to blatantly rip off KSBD

Gun Witch

Starting Equipment: Two guns of choice, leather armor
Starting Skills (1d3): Religion, Chemistry, Dueling

A: Hex, +1 MD
B: Quick-Fingered
C: Powder Sprite, +1 MD
D: Tricky, Backblast

You gain +1 HP and Save for every 2 Gun Witch templates you possess. Gun Witches may only use firearms and explosives. In melee, a pistol can deal 1d3 damage, a rifle 1d4, and a bayoneted rifle 1d6.

 Once per day you can apply a hex to any target you hit as a free action.

Reduce the number of rounds taken to reload a gun by 1.

Powder Sprite
Recruit a powder sprite, a familiar which can reload your guns, be consumed for an extra MD or be sacrificed for an explosive shot (+2d6 to all in 5' of target). Recruiting a new familiar can be done once a day with a successful Charisma check.

You get +2 to Combat Maneuver rolls. Additionally, whenever you attack and get exactly the number you needed, you may make an opposed Dexterity vs Strength or Dexterity (whichever is higher). If you win, you successfully execute a free Combat Maneuver.

Backblast Whenever you reduce a creature to 0 HP with an attack, you can move 5' for every point of damage dealt.


1. Target Practice
R: 50' T: [dice]x2 objects or creatures D: 0
Target creature or object is grabbed by the ground itself, and attacks against it have +4 to hit. Save vs Dex to negate, prone creatures automatically fail. Target is immobilized until it can win an opposed Strength test against the ground. The effective Strength of the ground depends on what it is made out of: Dirt 8, Clay 12, Limestone 16, Basalt 18. This spell has no effect on things that aren't touching the ground.

2. Lit Fuse
R: 50' T: creatures D: [dice] rounds
A creature takes [sum] damage on their turn for [dice] rounds. If this kills them, they explode for [sum damage] to all in 5'. If this would kill an adjacent creature, they explode as well.

3. Magic Missile
R: 200' T: creature D: 0
Target takes [sum] + [dice] damage, no save. As a Gun Witch, you cast this from the barrel of a gun.

4. Ride the Powder
R: Touch T: gun D: [dice] hours
Enchant a gun to fly and carry you at your movement speed. A pistol can slow your fall from any height. A long gun can carry you like a broomstick. Swivel guns and small cannons carry two people, medium cannons carry three, large cannons carry four. Artillery cannons will carry your entire party. While the spell is active you can summon that gun to you from any distance.

5. Force Field
R: 10' T: plane or sphere D: concentration
Creates a shimmering force field, 10‘x10’, centered up to 10' away.
Alternatively, create a sphere centered on the caster 5' in diameter (large
enough for the caster and +1 person). The force field has [sum] HP. All
attacks against it hit.


For guns, see Joseph Manola's ATWC.

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Mini-Quest: Two men walk into a bar...

You roll out of bed, get dressed, and are about to head out of the tavern when...

The innkeeper and some thugs call you over to a private room. Legend has it, Old Scratch and the King of Profligates sit down for lunch once a century at this very inn, and today's the big day. They've assembled a dubious arsenal of devil-catching implements (an innocent's noose, silver calipers, improvised holy water) and want your help catching them so they can all get wishes.

Sandman #13, by Neil Gaiman
Two unfamiliar men walk into the inn for lunch. Are they...

1. Two ordinary noblemen slumming it
2. Philosophers about to hit on a major discovery
3. Forbidden lovers on a stealthy rendezvous
4. Foreign spies sharing sensitive intelligence
5. Forbidden lovers, one under the effect of a charm spell.
6. A merchant discussing terms with a disguised genie patron
7. Polymorphed goblins trying (and failing) to act human
8. Forbidden lovers, one secretly a supernatural creature
9. Six kobolds in trenchcoats with rubber masks
10. Actually Old Scratch and the King of Profligates. None of those folk charms will work

If the PCs refuse, the innkeeper goes ahead with the plan. The PCs may return to find the innkeeper scandalized, arrested, or the whole block blown up.

GLOG Class: Wraith

Incorporeal undead, wraiths are the spirits of cursed mortals refused a place in the afterlife. A cursed person slowly becomes transparent and immaterial, the connection between their spirit and body straining, possessing mortals and creating undead revenants.

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Wraith levels can be gained in one of two ways:

Race as Class: You are a wraith, and may only take classes as a wraith.

Curse: Wraithdom is gained from a major curse. If you have control of how the curse advances, you can choose to take levels, and if you level beyond 4 can choose to replace another template with Wraith. If you don’t have control, you will gain a wraith template at every level, even replacing other templates.

A: Dominate, Incorporeal
B: Chill Touch
C: Possession
D: Gravewalker

Dominate: You touch a sentient creature, and they must make an HP check. If they roll under their current HP, they resist you. If they fail, they come under your influence for 1d6 (wraith template increment). While under your influence, they cannot harm you or your allies, and must fulfill simple commands. Being harmed by you or your allies or other severe treatment allows them to Save to break control. You can always see exactly how much HP a creature has.
Wraith template increment: 1. Rounds 2. Minutes 3. Hours 4. Days

Incorporeal: For each Wraith template, you gain +2 Defense against non magical physical attacks (normal weapons, claws etc.) Magical weapons, spells, fire, acid and attacks by elementals affect you normally. With four templates, you become immune to non magical physical attacks and become fully incorporeal.

Chill Touch: You touch a living creature and deal 1d6 cold damage.

Possession: You may jump from your body into one of your Dominated creatures for the duration of your Domination. Their equipment and physical attributes (Strength, Dexterity, Constitution, HD, HP and Speed) are used, while you keep your mental attributes (Intelligence, Wisdom, Charisma, Save). At the end of the Domination, if you are still inside, you can attempt to  re-Dominate them. If you succeed, they lose a Hit Dice and 1d8 hit points. If you fail, you are ejected, and may not re-Dominate them. While possessing another body, you may order around your old one like a mindless undead.

Gravewalker: You are (un)dead. The link between spirit and body is broken. You can now exist as an incorporeal spirit independent of a body, but cannot interact with the physical world and have no equipment. You can stay in your old body, but it will wither and lose 1d8 hit points a day until it becomes unusable. You can spend one day rending the mind of a Dominated creature into a form that suits you, and create a Revenant. This undead is permanently Dominated by you, and you can Possess it at will. It takes 1d8 points of damage at the end of each day it was possessed, which it cannot regain. You may have as many Revenants as your total level. As a spirit, you can pass through matter, but not through magical barriers or thresholds. Holy magic and spells affecting spirits also affect you.

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You want to follow this blooooog...

Is the wraith powerful? Yes. Does it have limitations? Yep. Does it need play testing? Absolutely.

For the first two levels, you basically have a situational dodge, the ability to create minions and a touch attack. At third level, you start body-hopping, lending you to a more reckless play style. At fourth level, everything changes. You no longer have equipment. Your revenants do. You’re constantly trying to maintain a population of undead hirelings, taking direct control in dire situations, knowing it will weaken you in the long term. I never want a Wraith to feel secure. They should constantly be on the prowl, itching for new bodies.

Am I worried about a level 4 Wraith having up to four utterly loyal hirelings that don’t need to eat or be paid? Nah. High level characters should have a large number of hirelings anyway, and they can only follow simple commands.

What does the Wraith look like? I’d leave it up to the player. Like regular person but a bit see-through? Sure. A pale, wispy ghost? Alright. Like a noonwraith from the Witcher? Aight. I’m leaning towards allowing the wraith to change their appearance on a long rest. Now that’s leaving the door open to shenanigans.

The Wraith lends itself to a variety of gameplay experiences, from playing Sims with your revenants to infiltrating the enemy with possession.

Image result for wraith
Muah hahaha, bahahahaha!

All that said, the Wraith isn’t a core class and should be offered on a campaign by campaign basis. Expect a player who starts turning into a wraith to become evil regardless of their previous alignment.  In fact, they fit best in wholly evil parties, playing evil campaigns, which I may or may not be working on right now....

GLOG Class: Vampire

Caveman cannibals. Humans twisted by millennia underground. Once humanity's greatest predator, now pushed to the margins of the world, in deep tombs and lurking in the human genome. The Vampire.

Image result for nosferatu
He sees you when you're sleeping...

Vampire levels can be gained in one of three ways:

Race as Class: You are a vampire, and may only take classes as a vampire.

Race as Multiclass: You take your first level in vampire, but from there may take other classes, but not as races (Ghoul, Goblin, Gnome etc.).

Curse: Vampirism cannot be transferred by a vampire to another creature. But a major curse or a sorcerous potion? Absolutely. If you have control of how the mutation spreads, you can choose to take levels, and if you level beyond 4 can choose to replace another template with Vampire. If you don’t have control, you will gain a vampire template at every level, even replacing other templates.

Vampire: Gain +1 Attack and Stealth for every Vampire template you possess.
A: Sunlight Weakness, Ancestral Terror
B: Iron Stomach, Danger Sense
C: Heat Sense, Dodge
D. Feast, Hibernation 

Sunlight Weakness: For each Vampire template you possess, direct sunlight exposure results in a -2 to Save and Defense

Ancestral Terror: Whenever you make eye contact with any humanoid, they must Save vs. Fear at -2 or be held in place as long as you maintain eye contact. Attacking or making an attack breaks this. Once broken, or if the save is made, the target will immediately become hostile and call others to kill you. 

Iron Stomach: You may subsist on the flesh and bodily fluids of any organic creature, but only gain nutritional value from meat. The fresher the better. 

Danger Sense: If you are surprised, you have a 50% chance to act on the surprise round anyway.

Heat Sense: Even in total darkness, you can sense the location of living creatures and heat sources within 60’. 

Dodge: While unarmored, you get +1 Defense per level, up to a maximum of +4. 

Feast: You regain full health if you spend an hour harvesting and eating the fresh (<24 hours) carcass of a creature of your size category. 

Hibernation: On dropping unconscious, you may choose to enter hibernation for 1d6 (level increment). You can be woken up with fresh meat or blood, and awake with one hit point. During this period, any damage that would decapitate you or destroy your heart kills you, no save.
Level Increments: 1. Days 2. Weeks. 3. Months 4. Years 5. Decades 6. Centuries 7+. Millennia

When allowing Vampire PCs in a campaign, the GM should consider how they will fit in. They are evolved to do well in the Veins (no sunlight, cannibalism, heat vision) and having one in a Veinscrawl could potentially be a bit easy on that player. If you do choose that route, adding drama by starving the party and making the Vampire choose between uncertainty and eating a party member right be fun (with the right group).

But surface campaigns allow for much more interesting roleplay. How does the Vampire stay out of the sun? How do other characters react to a lack of eye contact? How do you interact with NPCs and how do you satiate your hunger?

Monday, July 22, 2019

Play Report: Goblins and Pigeons and Ogres! Oh My!

I've been running an online play-by-post GLOG game for a solo player these last few weeks, and just underwent an... interesting course of events.

The Party

Our cast is:

Delrosa the Human Elementalist (the main PC)

Stella, a 12 year old spiderling hireling

Jak and Jax, one-eyed twin human barbarians (they lost their eyes in a freak thumb-wrestling accident)

Savathorex Bloodsnout, lizardman fighter (secretly three kobold thieves in a trench coat)

Ramajudran the sorcerer (a talking cube)

Early in the adventure, the party had captured a goblin in the employ of the BBEG and pressured it into helping them avoid patrols on the way to a wizard's tower. The goblin led them through the swamp and into a tunnel. The PCs know this leads to the dwelling of an ogre which was kept in check before the BBEG showed up. Shortly after entering, the goblin fakes a fall, breaks through its binding and escapes into a smaller tunnel. Unwilling to chase after it, the PCs press forward.

They soon come across a large chamber. They can hear the goblin screaming and begging. Getting a closer look they find it strung up above a pot of water the ogre is setting to boil. It pleads for its life, claiming it brings the PCs as offerings for passage. Hungry and not seeing anything else to eat, the ogre disregards the goblin and keeps preparing his meal.

At this point the PCs decide on the following plan: use the sorcerer's alter ability to distract the ogre by transforming the goblin into a bird. Then, while the ogre is chasing after his meal, sneak across the room and open the portcullis to get out of the chamber.

The sorcerer has already used two effects so far today, and adds another die to make the transformation last a full minute. He rolls...

MD: 4

ID: 1, 1, 1

For the first time, I break out the sorcerous mishaps table. A triple one reads: "Effect targets adjacent target instead."

So the sorcerer's magic goes wild, instead striking the ogre...

Which proceeds to critically fail its save.

Which I interpret as the effect being permanent.

So now, the PCs have a polymorphed dove standing in the middle of the room, yelling and swearing at the party (I figured it could still talk, if just for the hell of it) and threatening to warn the BBEG if they didn't turn it back right away.

The PCs, of course, proceed to totally ignore it, cutting down the goblin and continuing on their merry way. They now have a pissed off ogre flying off to warn the BBEG they're coming, and have not seen the last of him.


Thanks to the new readers who came by! If you have any questions or comments, please put them below. If you enjoyed, please share this site to anybody you think would enjoy it. Have a great day!

Sunday, July 21, 2019

On Magic Portals: Rending the Fabric Universal for Fun and Profit

Our world is not the only one. Layered on top of ours, intermingling at all points but remaining separate, is another. You know it. The Otherworld. The Mythic Underworld. The Never-never (please don't sue me Mr. Butcher, I didn't mean it!).

The world of magic, mystery and monsters just a hair's breadth from our own. You can get there... if you know how.

Image result for magic portals
Aaaand I forgot to carry the ℷ. Now I have to start all over again.


These are the traditional entries. Legal ports of entry, toll stations, guarded accesses to gated communities. If you use these, you will be noticed, observed, and often documented. Of course, there is variation: being vetted, searched and scanned before entering a secure facility is different from pulling your boat into a Somali pirate port, paying the bribe and moving through. The Otherworld has its own equivalents of all these.

Passages are the places where our two universes are closer, the Veil thin enough to pass through. Some examples:

1. Go onto the lake at dusk when the mist is thick. Take a small boat out onto the lake until you cannot see the shore. A GPS will break, so bring only a compass. Bring only people who have taken a Pact. You may tell nobody else where you are or what you are doing. If you fulfill these practices, you will be picked up by a trireme which can take you to many places.

2. There is a statue of Hades beside the entrance to a cave. Leave an offering, pray respectfully at its foot, and enter the cave blindfolded. When you feel the hands of the dead on your body, do not panic and do not speak. They are as blind as you, and will lead you to safety if you follow the Ancient Courtesies.

3. Buy and care for a milk-white stallion for seven days and nights. Then get it drunk, and ride it into the forest at midnight. It will carry you to the Faerie Woods. Bring gifts, but don't sell or gamble the horse, or let anybody eat it. You will need it to get back.

4. Go to a big party. A religious festival, a packed nightclub, your cousin's quinceañera, doesn't matter. It just needs to have the Energy. Get sloshed on maize-liquor. Unless you're in South America, you'll need to pre-game. Get on the dance floor, turn around counter-clockwise three times and look for a young man in blue or a young woman in red. The young man is shy and must be flattered. The young woman is more outgoing, and wants fascinating stories. Either will take you to the Afterparty at this cool place they know, and this place is boring, and hey you're pretty awesome yourself. If you want to have a good time, just party. If you need to do something, slip away from the party before the People ask why you aren't drinking anything.

Image result for talking at a nightclub stock photos
Don't mention the fox eyes

Of course, there are more ways to move between worlds.


Anybody can open a portal between worlds. By 'anybody', I mean 'anybody with access to magical reagents and knowledge of basic thaumaturgy.' So, one-in-a-million people. The PCs, luckily, all qualify. Frankly, the PCs should be able to make a magic circle with chalk and oil from memory before level three. 

That takes time and preparation. 10 mins for a 10'x10' portal, 30 mins for a 20'x20', 1hr for a 30'x30', and so on. 

A spellcaster, however, can make a quick and dirty portal on the spot. Bigger ones take more out of them, but it's instant. Now, while passages are like using normal entryways, portals are like blowing holes in walls, or breaking down doors.

Imagine why you might blow a hole in a wall, or break down a door:

1. You're exploring an abandoned site, and you need to take a rusty door off its hinges to get in.

2. You're a firefighter, and you need to break down a locked door with your axes and rams to rescue people inside.

3. You're a SWAT team, and there are tangos on the other side. Break out the hammers and breaching pads.

Image result for fbi open up
Probably not the PCs

Mystical equivalents include:

1. Opening a portal into a dungeon or other area abandoned by civilization. Nobody of importance will care. 

2. You're on a rescue mission, or 3. your allies are under assault and you need to get there fast. The damage to the Veil is regrettable, but sometimes speed beats subtlety. You can fix the hole in the wall later. 

All those are pretty much acceptable. Property damage is a non-issue or there are more important matters to take care of. 

On the other hand, there are less lawful ways and reasons to break into places:

4. You're thieves, breaking down a vault door with explosives to steal the money inside and escape before the authorities arrive. 

5. You're infiltrating a secure facility, and need to pick mechanical locks and disable electronic security systems.

6. You're breaking out of (or into) a prison, and are making a tunnel, stealthily, over the course of a long period of time. 

And similar uses of portals:

4. You're thieves breaking into a (magic!) vault with a portal to steal the treasure inside and escape before the authorities arrive. 

5. You're breaking into a secure fortress with magic wards blocking portals, and you need to disable them magically before you can portal through.

6. You're breaking out of (or into) a (magic) prison, and you're subtly carving a makeshift passage into the Veil. 

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Catch that strand of magic, patch that hole, and hope it doesn't collapse while you're inside

Now let me paint a picture. You're at home, reading this article. Then, suddenly, an explosion knocks you back. A second blast blinds and deafens you.

If the first thing you hear after that is, 'FBI, get on the ground with your hands on your head!' and the first thing you see is very large, serious people in armor pushing badges and warrant papers in your face, chances are a lawful citizen will let the nice people with guns do what they want. And then get the department to pay for the wall.

If you instead hear, 'Give us all your money and get in the van!' you are much more likely to be uncooperative. Especially if you're an immortal Faerie-lord and you've been intruded on by a bunch of apes waving weapons around. 

If you decide to use portal magic, know where you're going, and who else is there. Blowing open a magic hole in someone's living room is going to be a major point against you when you inevitably end up in Faerie court. And those things are expensive to fix!