Thursday, June 28, 2018

"You seek the Holy Grail -- You know much that is hidden, oh Tim" - Paladin v.1

So far this blog has been awash with all manner sin and devilry, what with Skindancers, Hellborn and Warlocks all prancing about sacrificing babies and devouring souls. Well, enough of that. It's time for some good*, honest*, hardworking* and righteous* adventuring with this particular rendition of the Paladin.

We've had Paladins of the Wind and Paladins of the Word, but this is more of a generic spellcasting type, with a few unique* twists of my own. While a Fighter/Knight and Cleric multiclass would be a perfectly viable, there's always room for the questing crusader amongst the ranks of heroic figures exploring ancient ruins. Plus, you can grab golden artefacts, boldly state "This belongs in a museum an abbey!" and trade them in for new spells. 

These paladins haven't been playtested since the onset of my new(ish) hitpoint system**, so some teething issues are liable to show up. I predict them to sit on the low end of the power curve, and if that's the case I'll drop an extra +1 Attack in the first template to match the other martial classes. These Paladins cast spells using their own lifeforce, which is always a dangerous game to play. However, if they've taken damage that day already (see Conviction) they can tally up that damage to use for spellcasting.

A Paladin who has been knocked down to zero hitpoints can, in true dramatic fashion, open a can of spiritual whoop-ass at negligible cost. Without a store of Conviction to work with, Paladins get a tough choice each time they cast a spell: do I take damage right now, or burn HD and keep fighting at at full strength. A cadre of Clerics could totally lay down a continuous avalanche of healing on a Paladin, allowing them to continue spellcasting with little regard for mortal limitations. And that is awesome.

In my opinion... I'm really not sure about how it has turned out. I feel like there's a disconnect between the heroic, quest-going, defender-of-the-people and the mechanics I'm using. The previous version was pretty simple: burn maximum hitpoints to fuel spells. If you've taken damage, then the spells are "free", for now at least. Once again, the image of a low HP Paladin doing the full smiting on a Lich's face is really what I'm aiming for. I'll have to try this out at the table and see how well it works.


Starting equipment: Sword, chainmail, holy symbol, random spell, a quest

Skill (1d3) - Wandering Judge, Priest, Chosen One

A Doer of Deeds, Conviction, d10 HD

B Strength of Will, Detect Evil, +1 Save, d8 HD

C Stand Tall, By Our Powers Combined, +1 Attack, d8 HD

D Avatar, +1 Save, +1 Luck Point

Doer of Deeds

You learn a spell every time you return a holy/unholy/magical/valuable artifcat to their church. Instead of Magic Dice, you cast spells using your Paladin Hit Dice. When you cast a spell, for each die rolled choose between - taking that much damage, or burn that HD for the day. You recover burnt HD when you rest, but you don’t heal from them.


Whenever you take damage, add to your pool of Conviction. Whenever you take spell damage, including your own, you may choose to reduce Conviction first. Conviction resets to zero whenever you take a long rest.

Strength of Will

You can pray instead of eating a ration for lunch. You can spend two points of Conviction for +1 to saves vs. disease.

Detect Evil

You can smell it, “it” being demons, devils, cultists, heretics and the undead. Roll Wisdom for specifics.

Stand Tall

You can remain conscious even with Fatal Wounding. While you stand in defense of the truly deserving, you have CHA-in-6 of healing a Fatal Wound automatically, rather than 1-in-6.

By Our Powers Combined

By praying with them for 10 minutes you can grant one of your spells to an ally. Once they cast it (using their HD) it goes back to you, they can only receive a spell 1/day.


You gain three beneficial mutations that represents your calling. Wings, razor-halo, guardian spirits, sanctified liver, armored flesh, golden-flame-spitting eyes, you name it, it’s yours. You’ve earned it. Very large mutations may come with penalties, likely to Stealth or Intelligence.

Spell list

1. Shield of Faith

Gain [sum] temporary hitpoints against a single attack.

2. Blaze of Glory

Takes an action. Your weapon burns with holy fire for [sum] rounds. Sinners or undead must save or catch alight. Save at +4 if higher HD than your level.

3. Smite

Deal +[sum]+[dice] damage after hitting with a weapon.

Optional balance: Ranged attacks work with this spell, but the cost is still paid on a miss.

4. Sanctify

Bring the area around you into the domain of your god for [sum] days, its influence on things inside it is increased. 1HD enemies or less must save to enter.

5. Banishment

Single target must save or vanished for [sum]/2 rounds. Outsiders save again to avoid permanent dismissal. Enemies with higher HD than the caster automatically succeed on second save. Can target diseases, ghosts.

6. Lay on Hands

Heal [sum], or deal [sum]+[dice] damage to any disease or invasive spirit.

7. Sword of Damocles

Charge your weapon with [sum]. To make an attack at bow range, pay 1. To make an attack at anyone within line-of-sight, pay 2.

8. Last Stand

Take [sum] damage, ignoring any that put you into negatives. Immune to damage for [dice] rounds.

Optional balance: You must burn HD to cast this spell.

9. The Call

Pray for 1d4+[dice]-CHA rounds. A [dice]d4 HD angel will appear at the beginning of the next round, here for one task of noble bearing. It’ll probably be pissed afterwards. Low HD angels usually fluoresce rapidly at sea-level.

10. Circle Against Evil

Draw a line [sum] feet long. Undead, Ghosts, Demons of less HD than you cannot cross it until noon. With higher HD, must save with [dice]x2 penalty to cross or do anything on the other side.

11. Ceremony

[sum] targets can join your circle. If they are pious they can use your Save, or a similar boon against the darkness. Lasts until they commit a sin.

12. Crusader’s Mantle

Pray over a symbol of your god for one minute. Anyone who holds it or fights in its defense gains +1 to something of their choice for [sum] minutes.

*Hahahaha, except not necessarily at all.

**Rather than maximum HP, all characters have a collecting of Hit Dice (HD). These default to d6, but range from d4 (Wizards) to d10 (Barbarians). You can get a max of three. For your first adventure and any time you take a long rest in luxurious*** conditions, roll all of them twice and take the higher. Whenever you take a long rest during an adventure, roll all your HD. If the the new total is lower than your current HP, don't change anything, otherwise you heal up the that amount.

***And luxurious is different for each class. Thieves and Fighters will need a tavern and booze, Wizards will require a library and most likely a bath, while Barbarians definitely need a mead-soaked feast in a longhall. +1 XP to the first player to combine the last two effectively.

Monday, June 25, 2018


Sometimes you want complexity. Sometimes you just want to hit things real good. I've also found that interesting equipment is the calling-card of creative, insightful, and downright entertaining gameplay. Hence, I've mushed all these things together into a level-less, mono-classed way to play GLOG. It hasn't been playtested as a whole yet, but each individual part works rather well. I'm also not quite sure how hard it'll be, hence a few "easy mode" options have been included to lighten a little of the load.

Each Fighting-Man starts with a main weapon, a special move cribbed from the original Notches move-list, a backup plan, a useful item and a "bizarre circumstance" which range from mild supernatural powers to nails torn from the throne of God (maybe). The stats are inspired from Dungeon Robber but are entirely optional. Since Wisdom is capped, it's entirely reasonable to use these initiative rules, where each player will have between 1 and 3 cards on the stack.

I'm quite fond of the progression system, but haven't yet had a chance to test it out. Fighting-Men that fight will get better at fighting, those that stay home and start making shoes for a living will not. The DM should keep an eye on what constitutes a threatening enemy, but anything that has dealt significant damage should count, no matter how lowly. In addition, the world should be threatening, chaotic, and unstable. A bunch of off-duty mercenaries/deserters, fleeing home through a battered foreign country should make for an appropriate setting.

I would put caps on the stats, but expecting each Fighting-Man to survive into old age is a moot point, as fighting is a trap. Still, flashy kills increase your Attack, getting smacked around and telling everyone "you shoulda seen the other guy" increases HP, and breaking apart ancient burial mounds to drink the ancient golden marrow increases your Save, all things that are good and proper. "Clearing" a dungeon doesn't mean subterranean omnicide. You only need to do two things: deal with the boss somehow, and have established a safe route/outpost deep inside. When you can say "this is ours" with considerable confidence, gain +1 Save.

A lot of this is written in my own shorthand, but I hope the above wall of text will help explain some of my choices and/or ramblings in a satisfactory way.

"Now they will learn why they fear the night" - Warlock v.1

While Wizard Schools are certainly a viable way to emulate practically any magical domain you can imagine, there's a key defining feature that is shared between all of them: these wizards are the master, rather than the servant. This is where the Warlock comes in.

The Warlock has some of the strongest burst potential of any class. They can Power Cast, Overchannel and mop the floor, but they'll pay for it in blood. They also get to choose their first level spell, a neat trade for the two random spells a Wizard starts with.

While Wizards can buy spells captured in scrolls, Warlocks have to make a deal with the source. Their first spell is also likely to be their master, or at least a senior representative, while their Dooms are the terms and conditions. Doing favors and fulfilling errands for your master will encourage them to introduce you to new spells, but the Warlock will have to conclude a new deal each time. It might be as easy as a blood sacrifice, a small shrine or a particular ritual, or much harder - expect mental stat drains, occult tattoos and bizarre and horrifying conditions.

None of my Wizards get cantrips, and neither do Warlocks. However, I do allow some minor, non-combat usage so long as they have any MD remaining in the tank. Your mileage may vary.

Included with this class are the Devil/Demon*, Fae, and Eldritch pacts. There are, quite frankly, too many additional pacts I've written that I'll be posting later in a sizable lump. This will include a Hexblade, and pacts with the Stars, Forbidden Knowledge and the Forgotten King, as well as anything I cobble together between now and then.

Credit Jakub Rebelka


Starting equipment: a Pact, one spell of choice implanted in brain, dagger, bizarre amulet

Skill (1d3): Cultist, Haruspex, History

A Power Casting, Unfortunate Deal, 1MD

B Overchannel, 2MD

C Soul Trade, Ritualist, 3MD

D Audience, Aura, 4MD


Your pact determines what spells you can learn, as well as your perks, restrictions, mishaps and eventual doom. Choose what you made it with (1d4): 1. Demon, 2. Devil, 3. Fae, 4. Eldritch. You can use wands and scrolls but only if you bring them under your control first.

Power Casting

1/day, switch a casting die to a 6.

Unfortunate Deal

Your first spell is the same as your patron, or at least an outcropping of them. You can ask them things whenever you like. Every other spell you want to learn you’ll need to a) Meet and b) Appease. Doing nice things for your patron can help with step A, but usually not B.


Take 1d6 damage and add +1 MD to a spell, mishaps and dooms cause another 1d6 damage if you overchannelled.

Soul Trade

Every challenging foe that submits to your patron’s will, grants +1 to your next Charisma roll against any spell. Stacks.


With time, gold, books and blood, you can summon demons/spells. Increase the power with more blood. Save vs. unwelcome attention.


One free, no strings attached, full on meeting with your patron at a place of your choosing. Use it wisely. This might be a good time to adjust the terms of your deal (i.e. your Doom)


Your presence corrupts nearby mystical essence. Divine casters must save to cast spells, Wizards must save or mishap, Warlocks know exactly where you are, Sorcerers aren’t sure what all the fuss is about.

*Why do Devils and Demons both use the same pact? Why not just have one combined Fiend pact? Read this, or for more detail, the original material. Both of them will you treat the same way, and their powers originate from the same source. However, a Devil purchasing your soul in return for some the magical equivalent of a bent penny, is a little like a crooked FBI agent letting out a criminal for a few months. You might commit more crimes, you might implicate more criminals, you might help the agent get things done the agent couldn't do themselves. But of course, you're a mortal, aren't you? Your soul belongs to them**.

Demons just love having minions running around doing their bidding. Well, some of them. Most of them will just eat you, and pick their teeth with your femur. Those that don't would greatly appreciate a couple flesh sacrifices, maybe portals opened to the fresh, tender world above, ancient protective sigils shattered. You know, the usual sort of thing for a demon worshipper.

**Except not quite. I still allow Warlocks to play Psychopomp Roulette, but 50% of the time a representative of their patron shows up no matter what. This representative is immune to all spells that derive from the initial deal, for obvious reasons.

The spells from the Warlock Pacts have been gleaned from a few different sources:
The Cancermancers of Hungry Joe (Burrowing Bolt, Shrivel, Reverse Gravity, Space Hooks)

Elf Wizards (Beautify, Floral Salvage, Elegant Judgement)

100 Orthodox Spells (None yet, but a couple WIP Pacts use a few of these spells)

The original Wizards document by Arnold Kemp (all other spells, give or take)

Thursday, June 21, 2018

"Like someone wearing an Edgar suit" - Skindancer v.1

While this little class might work better as a spell, I'm quite fond of the leveling up mechanic. It's a common enough trope, but this version is based on the novel Touch by Claire North, using the same name as the creatures from the Kingkiller Chronicles. Skindancers will probably spend a lot of their time hunting down and posessing prime physical specimens, interesting bodies and important public figures. This is both excellent and good.

In regards to the prerequisite, my experience system is measured in the single digits, and rewards 1xp for a near death "experience". Thus, becoming a Skindancer requires a fair amount of luck! This idea is based off of Touch, where the first body these 'ghosts' possess are usually the ones that are killing them. For your system, being within 10% of levelling up should be appropriate.

The Church will treat you as some kind of demon or hostile ghost, and rightly so. Once they get a hint of your presence, expect lockdowns and quarantines, searches and questioning. They'll try and force you to jump out of important individuals into a prisoner, but when push comes to shove, they'll be happy to burn you at the stake. Turn Undead and similar spells will deal damage to you, but not your host.

I'm really not sure about "Transmission". I feel like it allows you to break a few of the rules, at considerable risk to yourself, but it just doesn't quite seem to... fit. If a player wants to take a single level in Skindancer then go back to their original class, more power to them. However, if they are more interested in stealing power than making their own, the B template is keyed towards rewarding that playstyle.

If you are a spellcaster, your MD will come with you no questions asked, but your spells will have to be persuaded to make the jump as well. Moving into a hostile wizards or psions brain is not something to be taken lightly!

I haven't had a chance to playtest this yet, but the changes I would be looking out for would probably include:
  • Mild penalties when you first inhabit a body
  • The host being capable of fighting you for control
  • Changes to hitpoints (they aren't solely a physical concept, there are mental elements as well)


Prerequisite: You must be within 1 experience of levelling up, and die in skin contact with someone.

A The Waltz

B Muscle Memory, Transmission

The Waltz

You can switch into the body of any living humanoid through an instant of skin-contact. This requires an unarmed attack roll, and the target can save to pull away at the last moment. You don’t gain any of their memories. Use their physical stats, your mental stats, and average your HP with theirs. The body you leave is stunned for one round, they don’t perceive the passing of time while you are riding them. If they are possessed or their brain contains any spells, you may have to fight them for control

Muscle Memory

If the body you possess has any bonuses to derived stats like Attack, Defense, Stealth, Save etc. you can use them in place of your own.


You can try and switch bodies with a ranged attack. If you miss, save or die! If you succeed, you still take 1d6 damage to a random mental stat. In addition, you can choose not to stun your host when you change bodies.

Monday, June 18, 2018

"As it is above, so it is below" - Hellborn v.1

This one was made on request from a particularly good/bad role-player of mine, who drove his new toy directly into the filth. Precisely as planned. The Hellborn takes inspiration from here, obviously, and is in part a reaction to this and all of these.

As you can probably tell just by looking at the size of it, Inheritance is the core ability of this particular race-as-class. You get a free Inheritance once you receive the ability, which usually comprise of a passive and single-use/day ability. Beyond that, they have to be earned: tempting mighty individuals to the depths of sin, or that failing, eating them whole. No, you cannot double dip. 

Depending on which you choose, you'll edge further towards accepting a Demonic heritage, or Diabolical*. Taking abilities are actions marked as Chaotic will shift you towards Demons, while Lawful abilities will be more Devilish. Track the highest HD of any hero, priest or wizard you've destroyed in such a manner. Beating this record grants an extra Inheritance. Once per Hellborn template, you can also sacrifice something that represents your attachment to the mortal realm: your sanity, the knowledge of anything but bloodshed, the desire for children or a warm heath to return to, or even concern for your bodily safety.

Whether Demonic or Diabolical, you'll have a rough time against members of the clergy. That is... until you outweigh them, spiritually. They are likely to receive significant bonuses to their resistance from the situation, any equipment, dousing you in holy water, reciting holy texts/lobbing them at your head, and so forth. Likewise, one should always be sure to devour at least three babies during a priestly monologue. It usually puts them off their stride.


Prerequisites: Must be at least level 1, must be a Tiefling or have ruined your soul in some way. If you are a Tiefling, roll 1d6 for fiendish features, rather than 1d4**.

Starting equipment: Weapon of choice, leather armor, unholy sigil (draw this)
Skill (1d3): Haruspex, Undead, Hell

A Corrupted Duality, Inheritance

B Dread Beast OR Infestation

C Pactmaker OR Foulness Incarnate

Corrupted Duality
Depending on how you’ve acted recently, your spiritual signature will resemble that of a Devil (Lawful) or a Demon (Chaotic). If you are a Devil, paladins or clergy of a higher HD than you can Command you. If you are a Demon, then you can be targeted with Turn Undead. If you are a higher HD than them, you can make a Charisma check to reverse all effects.


When you gain the ability, you immediately earn one of the following. Each is usually formatted as (passive | 1/day power). Roll 1d20:

  1. Wicked Claw (as dagger | next attack crits)
  2. Barbed Tail (as flail | spin attack on adjacent targets)
  3. Bat Wings (reduce fall distance by 20ft | as Flight)
  4. Glowing Eyes (as flameless torch | as Power Word: Blind)
  5. Curling Horns (as axe | hit target must save vs. stun)
  6. Poisonous Breath (breath any gas freely | as Cloudkill)
  7. Hypnotic Voice (+4 to reasonable Charisma checks | as Suggestion)
  8. Toxic Blood (Splashed blood from injuries deals 1d4 damage | create a vial of poison using 1d6 HP)
  9. Shark Teeth (1d8 bite + grapple | +damage to your next grapple check)
  10. Bestial Form (+1 to relevant stat, Str for bear etc. | as Shapeshift)
  11. Metallic Scales (as chainmail | -1d10 damage from attack)
  12. Purple Flames (as candle | as necrotic Burning hands)
  13. Alluring Visage (+4 to seduction | as Charm)
  14. Menacing Aura (+2 Attack against weaker targets | as Fog/Darkness)
  15. Heart Puppets (1/day, resurrect all mortal enemies that died in last round, they last 1d20 rounds each)
  16. Blasphemy Gland (Immunity and Speak with Disease | as Curse)
  17. Bone Spines (as leather, grappling you deals 1d6 damage)
  18. Devouring Maw (make a second grapple check to swallow an enemy)
  19. Blood Vision (can see heartbeats through walls)
  20. Pick your own

There are two ways to gain additional Inheritances. Track the highest HD of any priest, hero or wizard you have Eaten (C) or Tempted to sin (L), beating this grants one Inheritance. Alternatively, you can also Sacrifice a remnant of your vestigial mortality (e.g. -3 to Trauma rolls, no retainer slots, cannot eat food, -2 Defense, lose 2 Skills) for a new Inheritance. Only one sacrifice can be made in this way per Hellborn level.

Dread Beast (C)

You can create a corpse bonfire to summon a denizen of Hell with HD equal to 1/3rd of the total HD of the pile. You take damage equal to 1d4+[bodies]. The fire needs to be hot enough to melt whatever it is you are burning, and the bodies need to be fresh.

Infestation (L)
Target needs to be fully restrained and fail a save. You and all of your equipment merges with their body, while you can choose to either Throttle or Manipulate their inner psyche. Make opposed Charisma checks either way. If you succeed, you either control their body and actions entirely (Throttle) or can cause them to veer towards a particular course of action while still behaving normally (Manipulate). They will not act directly against their interests unless Throttled. You cannot access their memories. While infested they lose one Goodness per day, collapsing into stinking ooze if their Goodness goes below 0.

Pactmaker (L)

You can lend your passives, 1/day powers or anything else you can think of simply by touching a willing target. They lose 1d6 goodness, and you regain triple that in HP. They can use it for as long as you say they can, alongside with any other terms you wish. They can, in turn, offer up traits or abilities of their own. If they break the terms of this agreement, they must save or die, with a +4 bonus if it was unintentional. You cannot prevent this. If you break the terms, you die, no save. Any that make a deal with you are permanently marked with your sigil. It glows while the contract is active, then fades to a gnarled scar afterwards.

Foulness Incarnate (C)

Your touch causes insanity. Your blood breeds corruption. You breathe madness and vomit death. You stand eight feet tall, with bones of black steel and eyes of blazing obsidian. You can rip a grown man’s spirit out and devour the viscera even as he draws breath. You know not shame, restraint, mercy or fear.
  • Grappling with you inflicts 1 Trauma
  • Being splashed with your blood requires a save vs. Mutation.
  • While holding your breath and staring at a target, they must save or have a breakdown until you exhale.
  • You can vomit black bile, after preparing for a round. This deals 1d6 damage to you, and deals 3d6 poison damage on a hit, save for half.
  • You are immune to fear, but cannot show mercy or restraint.

*Demons that have been forced to take the shackles of religion are known as Devils, and punish the sinners that arrive in Hell in a much more orderly, Lawful (with a capital L) manner. They are the ones that take on such titles and domains as Gluttony, Pride, Leaving the Toilet-Seat Up, Talking Loudly in the Theatre etc. etc. Demons have very little time for that, what with their day usually being taken up devouring one another.

**The tiefling racial feature in my setup is: Gain 1d4 of horns, cat eyes, scaly skin, tail. Rerolling with 1d6 will grant extra, and may need a few double-ups.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

"USE PARANOIA ON DOOR" - Mindsets as items v.1

Mindsets are a very gamist set of rules that act as unique bonuses and modest abilities. They aren't all equal, but some are more difficult to acquire then others. The idea originally stems from a one-on-one PbP dungeon crawl, in which "use paranoia on door" was an extremely viable tactic when alone in the dark. This expanded into the full list of Mindsets below. Backstories, boss fights, out-of-character behaviour, and in-jokes are all viable sources of a Mindset, but only one can be "equipped" at a time.

Each mindset can potentially be lost as well, whether from trauma, out-of-character changes or character actions. Mindsets such as Angry, Hungry and Greedy are relatively simple to acquire, while Righteous, Stalwart or Happy are rather rare traits for a dungeon-diver. To clarify, these mindsets should be treated as loot. If you are into that, use it to reward players for exceptional role-playing or when "here's another random magic item I guess" just doesn't cut it.

  1. Angry – reroll failed initiative check if you immediately charge
  2. Bizarre – On critical successes/failures, very odd things happen
  3. Confidence – +2 to do the first thing you suggest, instead of dallying/planning
  4. Cowardly – +2 Defense while fleeing
  5. Cruel – When you down an enemy, you can force a Morale check. Results may vary.
  6. Curious – 1/session, you find something hidden
  7. Desperate – +1 to everything while at 0 HP
  8. Determined – take +1 against anything opposing your oath
  9. Dramatic – Below HP/2, counts as a helmet
  10. Fated – Once, ever, roll 1d10 instead of 1d20
  11. Flamboyant – +3 retainer slots (normally 3+CHA)
  12. Gallant – people you protect reroll failed saves
  13. Greedy – Know the exact value of anything you hold
  14. Grumpy – Ignore most positive and negative morale effects
  15. Happy – NPCs don't automatically treat you as an "adventurer"
  16. Helpful – Your friends can reroll a d20, once per person
  17. Hungry – +4 to save against anything you ate
  18. Innocent – Anything will hesitate to kill you, at least for a moment
  19. Innovative – +2 to any checks that earned you an XP
  20. Joker – An in-character quip that makes the DM laugh heals 1HP, up to 3/session
  21. Knowledgeable – Learn a new rumor each session
  22. Monstrous – Convert 1d4 Trauma into a mutation over a long rest
  23. Mysterious – Trade this for a different Mindset when you reveal your backstory.
  24. Observant – INT check to ask detailed questions after you've left a scene (flashback style)
  25. Paranoia – receive a warning before you do anything extremely dangerous. No details.
  26. Pompous – Enemies that fail a morale check and would flee/rout (not retreat) instead grovel
  27. Proud – +1 damage at full HP
  28. Righteous – Counts as a shield against anyone philosophically opposed to you
  29. Stalwart – Immune to the Winded condition
  30. Zealous – Your voice counts as a holy symbol

A few examples:

The PC of Mat "The Magnificent" Rench, had a habit of examining doors in a very particular manner for maximum effectiveness, without slowing down actual gameplay too much. His neat thinking skills were rewarded with Paranoia, to great amusement and general utility.

The PC of Frillnecked Wizardbang, (Lizardfolk Wizard) had a frankly startling roleplaying style, and a penchant for collecting 'friends' that belied his 6 Charisma. Naturally, Flamboyant was the only possible outcome.

Gary (the Goblin) had a delightful time picking over the golem-corpses strewn about their path into the Chambers of God, and constructed some quite horrifying devices. As per my promise regarding the Dervish of War lurking in room XX (that the first party to defeat it would earn a Mindset of their choosing) he went for Curious. When sessions resume, I'll be keen to see how and when he uses it.

Saturday, June 9, 2018

"Twas brillig, and the slithy toves" - Druid v.1

A couple design goals: Standard spellcasting is only accessible from level 3 onwards. Equipment is far less important than hunting down and subduing rare creatures, and possibly eating them. The vast majority of their abilities are built around modifying their core power, Shapeshifting.

It's had a modest level of playtesting inflicted on it. A whole bunch of it's underlying inspiration comes from here, the Druid from Dungeon World, and for the "Archdruid" ability, this.

Like I attempt with most of my offerings, this class is aimed towards emulating non-level advancement. In summary, detaching some character advancement from the level system has a bunch of positive effects. For the druid, you are encouraged to explore beyond your home forest and hone your abilities by wrestling wild animals (to learn new forms), while setting fire to the occasional windmill (to learn new spells). All good things.


Starting equipment: belt, tooth dagger, no shoes

Skill (1d3): Arson, Jailbreaking, History

A Shapeshifter, Primal Tongue, 1MD

B Modify Form, Brutal Casting, 2MD, +1 HP

C Sacrifice, 3MD

D Archdruid, 4MD


Learn a new animal form by subduing a live one with your bear hands, eating one raw that you’ve killed, or other forms. Start with a random one form (1d8): Bird, Wolf, Cat, Goat, Donkey, Monkey, Crab, Snake. Unnatural creatures require a save vs. mishap when you become them.

Cast each form as a spell. Equipment not included, size limited by [dice]. 1 MD - smaller than a person, 2 MD - smaller than a horse, 3 MD - smaller than a cart, 4 MD - smaller than a house. Gain bonus hitpoints = [sum], but lose 1 every hour. When the bonus HP are gone, you revert back to human form.

Each animal form usually comes with an attack, a buff, a passive and an ability costing 1HP. You won’t be able to speak. 

Primal Tongue

Speak with Animals at will, but they probably won’t want to talk to you. Filthy human. You don't need to do anything more than grunt to get your message across.

Modify Form

You can increase or decrease the size of the animal you turn into, maximum of one step. When you take damage, you can choose which pool of HP takes it.

Brutal Casting

If you roll a Mishap, add +3 to [sum]. Dooms add +6 to [sum].


You can learn spells in a few different ways:
  • Burning something civilised that is more important than the last time. 
  • Eating another druid. 
  • Making a deal with a spell directly .
  • Silence, oaths first, then sliced tongues. 
  • Burn a spellbook. 
These can be standard spells, single use effects, personal abilities, new animal forms or somewhere in between. Depending on what you want, you may need to combine a few of these.

While this might seem pitiful for a third template ability, acquiring spells is one of the greatest challenges for (my version of) spellcasters. Only Sorcerers have spells tied directly to level progression, and they pay a large price for it. No spell list accompanies this ability. This is intentional.


You can change between forms without becoming human first. For every 5 HP you have in your current form, add a free MD. You need at least one MD in order to cast.

  1. 1 trauma 
  2. 1d6 damage (before transforming)
  3. Mutation 1d6 rounds, save or permanent 
  4. Roll Wis to act against bestial urges, 2d6 rounds exploding on 6. 
  5. Random form 
  6. Take maximum damage from metal weapons for the rest of the day 

  1. Shapeshift into the form you most commonly take, and you forget all former ties and languages. This state lasts for a day.
  2. As above for three days 
  3. As above, permanent. If anyone from your former life has done you a truly good turn, you may appear to help them once, in a time of need, before vanishing forever.

Animal Forms

Bird - Peck (1d4), +2 Defense while flying, Twitter (-1 HP, recruit nearby birds or be roughly understood by target humanoid)

Wolf - Bite (1d6+STR), Defense as leather, +1 Attack to self and adjacent allies, Pounce (-1 HP, automatically succeed next grapple check)

Cat - Claw (1d4+DEX), +1 Defense, +4 Move, Lucidum (-1 HP, spot something hidden)

Goat - Horns (1d8+STR), +4 to shoving, horns count as a shield, Charge (-1 HP, target is knocked back/prone if it fails a Strength check)

Donkey - Kick (1d6+STR), +50% inventory, Mulish (-1 HP, can retry any save or Strength check)

Monkey - Paw (can use weapons), +2 Move, tail counts as a third hand, Sly (-1 HP, open your paw to reveal something you could have stolen in the last minute. Target can save to realise)

Crab - Pinch (1d4), half damage from piercing/slashing, Scuttle (-1 HP, remove self from scene, reappear somewhere plausible)

Snake - Fangs (1d6), can attack from grapples, Venom (-1 HP, next attack is poisoned)

As I get more time to playtest my classes I'll be sure to come back with a v.2. Until then, please take everything with a bag of salt. If anyone takes it upon themselves to try this out, I bid them good luck, and would be delighted by any (de)constructive feedback!