Friday, August 31, 2018

"Nothing is destroyed, nor anything created, except by the Hand of the Authority" - Heptamancer (Wizard School)

A few pointers on Wizards:

  1. I don't use cantrips. If someone really likes a cantrip, I'll make it a spell they can learn.
  2. Sometimes, a spell can be cast using 0 MD. You still need at least 1 MD in order to do it, and it never deals damage. For example Fireball cast with 0 MD would be equivalent to a Summon Flame cantrip. Extrapolate as necessary.
  3. Wizards buy spells using this as a general guide. Basic spells go for 10 gold ($1000 in the real world), Advanced spells are 30 gold and you don't buy Emblem spells.
With that, introducing the Heptamancer, Master and Slave of the Seven Souls.

Lesser Disintegrate, credit Daniel Correia
Heptamancers are a weird, pseudo-priestly bunch. They know what happens when you die. Not the Hesayan drivel of "the pious will be rightfully rewarded" which is pretty much the same as "no comment" for them. They know the what, when, where and why of life and death. You should give the player this whole handout and this one. Some may even know about Shadoom. Some may even know what actually happened. Naturally, most Heptamancy spells are Second Degree Heresy, alongside non-bipedal necrokinetics and spells that result in excessive littering.

The Seven Souls themselves are MineralVegetableAnimal, Purple (Memory), Red (Personality), White (Morality), Blue (Magic). The Mineral and Vegetable souls are your material form and biological structure, and so remain with the body when you die as the Lower Souls. The Animal soul defines your basic instincts and and few of the higher-order biological functions, like breathing when you aren't thinking about it (not digestion). The four Higher Souls of Memory, Personality, Morality and Magic are the ones that go to the afterlife, stick around as ghosts, and eventually even reincarnate.

Several Heptamancer spells and Dooms relate to losing souls. This is a Bad Thing. You might be able to find a spell, demon, angel or other extraplanar being (and they are all the same thing really) willing to act as a replacement, but not for free.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Pitiful Damage, Pitiful Results

Ho hum. Another random generator, this one from the crowd-sourced entries here.

Except... I didn't have to write it. I'm just filing off the last edges of my automatic list button HTML generator thingamajig. It'll have some similarities to the Last Gasp Grimoire version, but aimed specifically towards bloggers who want to have some future-juice added to their posts. Just press the button, copy the script and voila, it works every time, 60% of the time.

Monday, August 27, 2018

Random Trap Button

Because sometimes you just need a large hole in the ground filled with sharp pointy metal and a healthy dose of tetanus.

  1. A column of light. When a being enters they are frozen, and an evil duplicate of them is conjured. The victim is only freed when the duplicate is killed.
  2. A dripping wet door. Opening it oods the room with ancient, rancid water and three zombie sharks.
  3. A fishing rod propped up and cast into a lake. The rod is covered in fast-acting glue and tension on the line triggers a springboard beneath the victim, casting them into the lake.
  4. A metal room filled with crushed remains, visible moving parts to door, and a sealed door leading forward. Two buttons. One opens the door, the other seals all doors and commences the crushing process.
  5. A peephole blocked up with glass fragments. Breaking the fragments releases a toxic gas.
  6. Access via Magic God Scales. Needs only 30 hearts from freshly (right now) sacrificed honey badgers to activate (i.e. ‘The Anubis’).
  7. Archway. Anyone who passes through it is transposed with a ghoul in a nearby room.
  8. Bear trap.
  9. Before you can run through them, you need to observe the swinging pendulums to determine their pattern. Anyone observing the pendulums is hypnotized by them, staggers safely through them, and begins to self-mutilate by dancing in the middle of all of them (1d3 damage per turn).
  10. Big metal skull with a gem in its open, toothy mouth. Obviously it bites anything put inside.
  11. Big tall complex place. Dimensional exit door carried about by swarms of climbing skeletons with added spider bone limbs. They fear all life and climb up and away from anything living.
  12. Bird trap – room of big stuffed birds. One has switch to secret door in its beak. The rest are not stuffed, but violent resentful waiting undead.
  13. Blood Stream: this section of corridor is partially flooded via a fast owing stream, very clear and fairly quick. Algae or some other slime has coated the submerged. The real danger is the concealed glass blades, spikes and caltrops that are hidden here. Brushing past them will cut you, falling on them will impale you and trying to knock them out of the way will break them into smaller, but still sharp pieces. Any resulting cuts or injuries have a high chance of infection because its down stream from a midden. (If this trap is being used as defence rather than a fun house fuck you type deal , this will be a defence that scouts or sentry’s will escape or fall back past, using stilts or a simple raft to get across)
  14. Can only be opened with the finger bone of a very recent and entirely willing suicide.
  15. Candle Snakes: an altar with unlit candles. The candles repeal undead when lit but have a snake skeleton inside. As the wax drips away the snake becomes noticeable. If it is burned much longer that snake bursts free and starts savaging the face of the holder. These candles were made to allow junior archivist to access the archives, crypts, and mausoleums but with strict time allowances."
  16. Carry a baby out of the dungeon. No, carry ten babies.
  17. Climb a frictionless wall (have fun collecting large furniture – shitty tables are treasure now.)
  18. Climb up giants chimney to get thing. Goblin tends fire at the bottom that falls it with wondrously noxious and choking soot and gas, but keeps it free of Stirges who swoop through whenever fire is out.
  19. Clusters of bright orange fungus growing on one or more corpses. Any disturbance triggers a deadly spore explosion.
  20. Code to pass tattooed on a Succubus.
  21. Concealed pit into piranha-filled water.
  22. Creepy Wizard made the door. Someone has to fuck the lock to get in (or handle – REPRESENTATION), (‘The Raggi’).
  23. Crossing an underwater lagoon. Hope you brought a canoe. Of course something attacks during the crossing. A fast boat can escape it, a oating table is easily capsized.
  24. Crush hallway. Find a way to survive the crush, or at least move really, really quickly.
  25. Cyclopean Door, one mile high. Latch, handle and keyhole half way up sheer dense wood, key in lock but is the size of a house. Gogmagogic sign reads ‘Door Opens Quick’. Howling gale from under crack prevents door level access. Door swings open in a quarter mile arc destroying everything (possible local settlement and ‘Cathedral of the Door’).
  26. Damp, underwater tunnel with glowing treasure at a visible dead end. A pressure plate halfway through triggers flooding of the tunnel. A normal human could get back to the tunnel exit with breath to spare, but not if they try to grab the treasure first.
  27. Disguised springboard, launching the victim straight up into the air. There is a hanging bar they can grab to avoid the fall, but weight on the bar triggers the release of giant spiders onto it, and rained down onto anyone below.
  28. Door is Gingerbread but transforms those who pass into Fondant Men. Hungry Monsters beyond.
  29. Door is glass terrarium full of poisoned ants. They run out and over the handle and about the room. One sting painful, many debilitating. Lock keeps active by the living ants, if they die, portal permanently shut.
  30. Door is the shadow of a billowing ag, but there are many ags, no light, no wind and they are all highly flammable.
  31. Door is under a rug but the whole door is rugs and a nice old man says the one rule is that you can’t move the rugs - he breaks down and goes mad if you do (i.e. ‘The DFD’). Possibly add infinite depth of rugs for interest.
  32. Door rotting but barred with the bones of a saint. Damaging them a serious sin.
  33. Door simply massive boulder, guarded by Giant strong enough to lift or roll it but cursed so that for all who pass that live, he loses one year of life, and for all of the dead who are denied, he also loses a year. The Giant is blind (i.e. ‘The Odyssey’).
  34. Door very small, magic fountain shrinks you. Area between fountain and door has foxes, mink and hawks.
  35. Door/Area utterly evil and cursed. Evil kept at bay by twenty sacred statues of Devas/Saints – they have jewel eyes that help them see the evil with. Half of the jewels are missing. PC’s can replace them to make area passable, or steal the rest. Other Adventure Party is here and disagrees with whatever the PC’s want.
  36. Dungeon has toughish monsters at the start, but they get easier, but they all avoid you mostly. Treasure is poisoned and touching it level drains and nerfs you slowly. Sunlight cures this but now the cowardly goblins at the start are gonna be a major problem, and you just brought them the treasure.
  37. Earthquake trap – portal guarded by Earth God. Opening splits building or dungeon apart with giant chasm. Whole other half of place now other side of infinite sheer sided hole. Chasm may expand to entire nation. Add written warning to increase gamability.
  38. Everything appears distorted in the mirror. Humans appear to be orcs, swords appear to be hammers, etc. The trick is to notice that the pen appears to be a key, and the mouse skull appears to be lock. Inserting one into the other will cause the door to open.
  39. Fated Doppelgangers – dark room full of tactical cover. Familiar voices warn you not to approach, turn back. Guards are your own cursed older selves, wounded from adventure. At end of dungeon you must become them and re-fight the fight, hoping to win this time and (presumably) kill alternate younger selves? Or fake your way out of the paradox somehow.
  40. First through door sent 100 years back into the past. Few monsters or treasure and traps and problems being built, they can nd ways to leave signs and info for their friends in the future to help them past stuff.
  41. Floor paved with ripe babies and spikes.
  42. Free Fall: something is wrong with space here, there’s no door or ceiling , and they effectively loop. So something that falls through the fall comes out the ceiling, soon reaching terminal velocity. A number of large rocks are doing this currently.
  43. Functional teleport brings organic material to one place, and inorganic material to another. Allow teleported people to communicate this (possibly by shouting, roll for random encounter) so they can make a more informed decision. An incipient threat hastens plans.
  44. Giant cauldron filled with treasure. Any weight added to the cauldron causes the lid to slam shut and a fire to spark to life underneath it.
  45. Giant chomping blade that must be passed through to progress. Visible pressure plate on either side. Blades are triggered when a pressure plate is released, unless the other plate is also depressed. Going slow poses no risk.
  46. Giant spider lair, huge boulders suspended in the highest webs. Too much disturbance might release a boulder, fire will definitely release them all.
  47. Glass vials of green slime hung from a ceiling, a guard with a crossbow watching from behind a barricade.
  48. Glossy, friction-less door and spiked walls.
  49. Goblin barricade staffed by several bow-wielding goblins.
  50. Green Devil Face with gaping mouth. Anything going into the mouth is annihilated.
  51. Haunted pots, audible screaming within, placed on wobbly plinths on an uneven door. Any sort of weight on the door is sure to release at least one angry wraith.
  52. Hidden jet spraying you with disgusting smelling liquid. Not harmful in itself, but might attract scent-based creatures or warn inhabitants that you’ve been poking around where you shouldn’t have.
  53. Hourglass trap – key blocks the sand, door opens inwards.
  54. Huge wooden bowl, lined with thin, insoluble gold foil. Filled with horrible, fuming acid.
  55. In a hallway climb a diagonal shaft, rotating.
  56. Infinite Distance trap – only 20 feet but end of passage is always double the distance you have already gone.
  57. Insanely hot hallway (or room where you have to perform some activity). Anyone trying to sprint through it unprotected is probably going to burn their feet and die. Things that reduce damage: being soaking wet, air circulation, walking/standing on soggy leather.
  58. Key can only be carried by foot as a slow, even pace. Any alternate or faster movement and it teleports back to the other end of the Dungeon. There are fast monsters (or, dangerous but slow monsters, easy to avoid, if you don’t have the key).
  59. Key to thing is the golden spear of a noble hero. Hero and spear are the only thing suppressing sea of shadows from slowly consuming building or dungeon from the outside in.
  60. Lake of acid. Get to the island.
  61. Lock that can only be opened at a certain minute each day. Adjacent, a lock that can only be opened at a certain minute each week. Adjacent, a lock that can only be opened at a certain minute each year.
  62. Locked door, key visible in a stinky fountain. The liquid is fast-acting acid, the key made from a special resistant ceramic.
  63. Lots of treasure but its invisible and hidden ‘between life and death’. Guarded by a Wyvern who drips their poison into a crystal cup every day. Allows those who drink free access, but they always die (i.e. ‘The Potter’).
  64. Love Lock – door/chest has ‘spin the bottle’ combination lock, clearly labelled as so. Two present randomly fall in love. Specific actions, gifts, dates, anniversaries, are required and heavy penalties if not met.
  65. Metal sword audibly humming, hooked up to electric charge.
  66. Obvious pit trap. The correct path is hidden at the bottom of the pit.
  67. Obvious trigger: taking the sword off the pedestal. Two copper spears shoot out of the wall, impaling an incautious explorer. A round later, lightning begins to arc between the spears. A round later, the room begins to fill with water.
  68. Only those wearing the crown of a King may pass. All others will be transformed into Tapiers. All local kings hate each other, want the treasure behind the portal, don’t want the other kings to have it, and have large collections of Tapiers.
  69. Open pit onto deadly spikes. Both sides of the pit are sloped into it and greased up.
  70. Path is broken tube through Demon Space - can only be held open by occupying life-devouring superchair (i.e. ‘The Warhammer’).
  71. Poisonous gas seeps from a crack in the wall.
  72. Pool of lava, a metal idol partially submerged in the centre. It’s glowing hot, but valuable.
  73. Portcullis that slams shut to split the party. You can reunite 1-2 rooms away (don’t split the party for too long).
  74. Pressure plate triggers part of the door to move down, slowly transporting the victim into the now-visible lair of a horrible monster.
  75. Quicksand, just like in cartoons.
  76. Rain Gods Treasure – if touched, doors lock and treasure turns to cold wind and rain that gradually fills room and drowns everything. ‘Key’ to get in and out is a single candle ame.
  77. Room dusted with a deadly white powder. Any rapid movement disturbs the powder, sending it into the air and then the lungs of anybody breathing nearby. Hidden pressure plate in the centre of the room triggers a loud siren, alerting any nearby threats.
  78. Rope bridge primed to split in the middle when the majority of the crossing weight has passed the mid-point. The characters can grab their half of the bridge and climb back up easily enough.
  79. Sealed door with two identical handles on the adjacent wall. One releases snakes from above, the other opens the door.
  80. Shimmering, thick air that slows all movement down to a quarter of normal. Guards with missile weapons waiting around the corner.
  81. Sign says “teleporter” but it’s really just a big blender.
  82. Sloped walkway in a freezing cold room. Pressure plate halfway up releases a flood of water down the slope, freezing near instantly.
  83. Song trap – key to something is a song. Giant sleeping Supermonster chained nearby.
  84. Statue Gallery: a looong winding tunnel filled up with statues in various poses, you have to occasionally squeeze or clamber over them if you want to get through. Some statues appear crude and unfinished (or abandoned), others executed well. Mostly sandstone but some harder materials. Creator has a good eye for movement and emotion, especially anger and sorrow. Air is a bit stuffy though.
  85. Stuck door with a gold snake-head handle. The handle will bite and poison anybody putting their hand near, unless they slip a coin into its mouth, allowing safe passage through the door.
  86. Subtle pressure plate. The trap triggers when weight is taken off the plate, except there are several pressure plates in a row.
  87. Subtle pressure plate. The trap triggers when weight is taken off the plate.
  88. The Classic: it’s 10 by 10 metre square pit, smooth-sided, and deep enough that it would injure you to fall in it and it’s hard to see the bottom with the lighting, about thirty metres. It’s not disguised, it’s plainly there in the middle of the room. There is nothing in the bottom of it. The odds are really good that your players will manage to spend a hour on this trap and resulting in at least one character badly injured.
  89. The door can only be opened in your dreams. If you open it in your dreams, you can pass through it in real life. While your body sleeps on the altar, it is inhabited by the spirit of an ancient wizard.
  90. The door of this room is laminated with symbols of disintegration. If a symbol is touched, all non- stone material in the room will take 3d6 Con damage each turn. In the room, an (unsupported) pedestal with a stone McGu n on top. In the ceiling: spiders and spiderwebs.
  91. The dragon is sleeping! Steal things quietly (common sense: it’s quieter to carry a chest away than it is to open it, a sack of coins is guaranteed to clink, etc).
  92. The dragon is sleeping! Steal things quietly, except some goblins just showed up. They want to kill you quietly, but if the dragon wakes up, you’re all probably going to die.
  93. The magic stein can only be carried by someone who is colossally, totally drunk. They have to carry themselves – no one else can help them.
  94. Treasure is a Witches Shoes. Super valuable but can’t be moved without being worn and will always lead anyone who isn’t the Witch ‘towards danger’.
  95. Treasure room a mess of gold and blood. Main prize is a hurricane gem that activates if touched or if its ‘friends’ (the other treasures) are taken from it.
  96. Trouble Giant – room full of big squashy giant asleep and having a nightmare. If made happy will shrink down so room can be navigated but has been told not to let anyone through or there will be trouble and he grows bigger when scared. He doesn’t want Trouble.
  97. Two doors in sequence. First sprays anybody passing through with highly flammable liquid. Second spits out a flash of flame, harmless on its own but enough to ignite the liquid.
  98. Two panes of glass blocking passage, filled with deadly bugs.
  99. Upper Crust: a boiling mud pool has a natural bridge of a thicker layer leading to an Obsidian Elephant Skull. It’s heavy enough that if you try and carry it you will fall through the crust and into the mud.
  100. Upside-down spiked pit on the ceiling. Gravity is reversed under the pit.
  101. Vantablack Cathedral with blind black-robed archers in the belfries. They shoot anything they hear with importune skill (i.e. ‘The Samurai Jack’).
  102. Wall of fire in hallway.
  103. Walls dotted with arrow-slots. Any movement in front of them fires the arrow, but each hole only has one arrow.
  104. When the lid of the sarcophagus is placed back on top, the bottom of the sarcophagus opens.
  105. World of teeth? Teeth that make a snake and pull other teeth? Ok I’m waaaay out of ideas.
  106. Zone of unconsciousness in hallway.

"cladem proclamabit, Bellonaeque canes in praedam immittet" - Havoc, Orc-As-Class v.1

When an immortal creature engages with a challenge, they do so perfectly, ofttimes to the point of self-destructive obsession. When the high elves vanished they left beyond all their creations, including their soldiers. They were designed to be an all-in-one solution to the problem of violence, manipulated by chemical cocktails as needed. Without these, they degenerated. Some managed to interbreed enough to become a functional race, the sturdy, oft-maligned orcs. Rarely is their lust for warfare and brutish temperament caused by anything more than a rough upbringing within their tribes. Their gods have abandoned them. Their champions of old, the purebloods, have all been hunted down and exterminated. The orcs of today are at most half- or even quarter-breeds, diluted, stilted. But sometimes, just sometimes, the bloodlines converge... and a nightmare stalks the lands again. 

Your name has become synonymous with uncontrollable devastation. You will be killed on sight by any civilised race. You are the herald of no army. You are the army.


Yeah. That guy. Credit Chris Wilkinson


Orc racial traits: Reroll Strength. Turn a Major Injury or Save vs Death into a Scar, works once per level. Save vs. Fear when exposed to Divine Magic.

Prerequisites: Must be an orc, at least level 2 and have decapitated an enemy.


B INVULNERABLE, +1 Damage, +1 Attack


You begin to manifest the traits of a Pureblood Orc. Gain one each level. If you take a second trait, increase all your HD by one step. Depending on how obviously Noble these traits are, you are more or less likely to be identified. People don't want to see a Havoc, so don't give them any reason to. If you are recognised, you will be hunted down and killed.
  • Serrated horns, d4+STR, increases with age, easily visible from above
  • Jutting brow, +1 Defence, struggle with helmets
  • Clawed toes, kick for 1d6, can’t wear shoes
  • Bulging spine, +1 Strength, increases your height significantly, anyone who has met you a month ago or more will notice
  • Second heart, +1 Constitution, anyone that lies with you will run screaming at the doubled beat
  • Grey sclera, +1 Dexterity, anyone having a conversation with you might spot them
  • Black blood, +1 Save, immediately marks you as Noble

You start with 0 Covenant. You gain a point every time you land a critical hit that kills something. You can choose to automatically hit an Attack by gaining a point. Every sunrise after you have gained at least one point, roll 1d100. If you roll under, you are selected to be destroyed by the gods.

It is possible, albeit unlikely, for you to lose points of Covenant.

You can reroll any Save, Defence or physical check (Str/Con/Dex) by gaining a point of Covenant. You can try this again but the cost doubles each time.

You can use your racial feature 1/day for a cost of 1 Covenant, alongside the once per level capability. You are really hard to kill.

"Selected to be destroyed by the gods?"
  1. Angels. 3HD the first day, +1 each day after that.
  2. Lightning strike. 1d6x1d20 damage.
  3. A chasm opens beneath you, grasping hands dragging you down to Hell.
  4. Launched into space.
  5. Wasting disease, 1d2 CON per day.
  6. Cursed. Save drops to 1.
  7. Gain a mutation 1/day until you explode. Every mutation after CON/2 requires a Save vs. Apotheosis.
  8. Your skeleton tries to escape. Probably succeeds as well.
  9. Every day at noon, the light of the sun lenses into a single iota of incandescence, centred directly on... you. 6d6 damage at the surface, drops by 1d6 every day straight down you travel.
  10. The high elves come to collect you.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

"We learn from failure, not from success!" - Experience and Levelling

This sub-system takes it's heritage from a wide array of sources. Some of it harkens to Apocalypse World and it's related spinoffs. Other parts from random snippets during various sessions, both my own thoughts and players. It is still an evolving system and hasn't been examined at higher levels, but the majority of my games only exist below level 4. This will still go through a number of iterations before - I'm never going to be satisfied with it. Oh well.

Unrelated image because this is all rules, credit Kev Chu

You need 5x[current level] EXP to get to the next level. So, to reach level 2/3/4/5 you'll need 5/15/30/50.

You can earn 1 EXP for:
  • Showing up
  • Almost dying
  • Having a decent funeral for a dead ally (good luck if they were a sinful S.O.B.)
  • As a group, successfully winning a fight against a more powerful enemy force
  • “Wasting” gold (assuming silver standard) equal to 10xlevel grants 1 EXP. If it doesn’t “help” you in the dungeon, and it doesn’t make money on it’s own, it probably counts. Training and research are perfect, as is debauchery, statue funding and having songs written of your exploits
  • Rolling a critical success, so long as it actually has an impact on the story. Always ignore Initiative rolls
  • Rolling a critical failure. The DM will suggest a bad outcome, if you come up with something worse, you earn 1 EXP, otherwise 0
  • Swearing a binding oath*. If you break it, you can’t get experience from oaths ever again, as well as some other nasty side-effects
  • Being exceptionally clever, at DM’s discretion

Finally, at the end of the session, everyone votes on each of the following. That player gets +1 EXP:
  1. Most dramatic moment
  2. Most Valuable Player
  3. Wooden Spoon (whoever is lowest total experience)
If you have enough experience, level up next time you take a long/short rest, or at the start/end of a next session.

And that's it! Benefits include - being able to tempt someone with a juicy experience point, level drain dealing damage to experience easily, easy tracking, and unified progression rates. Players will pretty likely reach level 2 if they survive their first session, and I've so far had two players reach level 4 over the course of a whole campaign and a bit, which feels about right.

*Oaths are a bit different. You can solemnly swear to rescue the princess, and say "no, I don't want the experience" or casually agree to rescue the farmer's son from the dungeon and get the point. The oath has to matter and NPCs have to notice. Normally, you have to frame them in the negative. That is, there has to be some way to clearly say if you have failed your oath. Recovering your word once you've lost it is extremely tricky. NPCs will notice if you try and swear an oath but it doesn't stick. Then they'll start to wonder...

If you retire, your next character starts with experience equal to your current level. Dying gives you nothing, unless you died a capital-H Hero and the other players actually cared about you. If that's the case, see below

When you die, for real, you gain starting Karma equal to your half current level. You get +1 Karma: if you got a decent burial, if you dodged Hell, if you ended up in Heaven, for every notable act (the other players act as a judge of this), and if your new character is somehow related to the dearly departed. You lose a Karma for every time you have skipped out on Death, and if your death was entirely your own fault for absolutely no gain. You can spend 1 Karma to reroll your new character, 2 Karma to haunt the party as a ghost briefly, 2 for an heirloom item from the previous character, and 1:1 for the XP of the new character.

Beyond Level 4:
You stop gaining HD at level 3, and stop getting class abilities past level 4. Keep tracking experience though, you can spend it for various bonuses:

+1 Attack (costs 10 XP, max +4)
Test a stat for improvement (costs 3 XP)
+1 Save (costs 5 XP, max +10)
+1 Luck Point (costs 5 XP)

Monday, August 20, 2018

"You can tell a lot about an adventurer by the contents of their bag" - Adventurer v.1

...but I don't think that's what you had in mind.

The idea for this class came after I had a single Thief blaze their way through the entire top floor of the Chambers of God (megadungeon-in-progress), only losing a single limb along the way. The vast majority of their progress could be tracked through the various bizarre objects that they collected, used, abused and tossed aside. Their backstory was minimal-to-none, more or less just a jury-rigged explanation for the random extra gear they had available. They were defined less by who they were, and more by what they had on them, who they were with, where they were going, and how big of a splash they made when they got there.

That's what the Adventurer-as-class is all about. They are a blank page, ready to be written on. Also, there aren't enough classes that use Intelligence, so there's that.

Inventory slots equal to Strength score, credit Brian Shearer


Starting equipment: two additional random items, leather armour

Skill - The first one that you use

A Practiced Perfection, A Natural, +1 Inventory Slot

B Improvise, d8 HD, +1 Inventory Slot

C Stalwart Companions OR Tinker, +1 Inventory Slot

D Copy Cat, +1 Inventory Slot

Practiced Perfection
Twice per Adventurer template, if you miss a d20 roll by 1, you instead succeed and permanently gain +2 to that type of roll. For example, Attack and Defence are with/against that particular category of weapon, while a Strength check due to lifting something would be seperate from a Strength check while swimming. If you have two or more bonuses in the same category, you can remove one and replace it with a generic bonus i.e. if you have +2 with rapiers and +2 with axes you can sacrifice the axe-bonus for +1 Attack.

A Natural
You start with a random Mindset

While you aren't wielding a manufactured weapon, you can ignore one penalty to a dice roll each round. For example, you could ignore the Attack/Defence bonus of an enemy, or a penalty due to being over-encumbered.

Stalwart Companions
Any Hirelings you acquire cost 1g less, and have +1 Morale. Non-combatants will risk their lives to save you, so long as you would do the same for them. Hireling rules - You can have up to 3+CHA retainers before they will start getting in each others way, arguing and generally being useless.

When you take something apart, you learn one of the following. You can make an Intelligence check to learn a second one:

  • Who made it
  • Where it is from
  • What it did
  • How to put it back together

Copy Cat
When you see someone or something use an ability or special attack, you can make an Intelligence check to Copy it. You can then use that ability with the same limitations and effects. If you Copy something else, you lose access to that ability. Supernatural abilities require a roll under half Intelligence and some appropriate props to recreate. If you are attempting to Copy a spell, you'll need to get your MD from somewhere else. It is bad manners to copy a Capstone ability (Template D) the first time another party member uses it.

Sunday, August 5, 2018

The Three Forms of Magic Weapon, part 3 -- Remnants

In my previous two posts I developed Occultum "magic" items and Temples, which are cantankerous and finicky versions of classic weapons of mass destruction. Remnants are simply GLOG rendition of Fetishes. They haven't been playtested yet, but most of the numbers have been wrangled to one extent or another. Depending on how powerful +1 MD is, I'd modify the level of body horror in the Overload table to your level of comfort. My gut feeling? Make 'em bleed.

Remnants - Just tape it together, you'll be fine

Hopefully you won't end up as someone else's Remnant, credit Oleksandr Serdiuk

Occultum is good for everyone, and Temples are a pretty direct route to powerful weapons, but what about wizards? Wands, staves etc. are difficult objects to create, but jury-rigged substitutes can be cobbled together out of mundane objects that have been regularly exposed to magical energies. It takes 1d10 years for organic material and 1d10 decades for inorganic material to reach sufficient saturation, with a spell cast nearby either continuously or every week or so. It can then be used to channel and focus magical energies in place of a fragile, squishy brain, a property all casters will probably appreciate.

Remnants can be used in a few different ways. In the hands of a skilled spellcaster, it can be used to add 1 MD to a spell as it is cast. It can even be used to grant 1 MD to a non-spellcaster or exhausted wizard, though this is liable to wear out the Remnant even faster. On the flipside, channeling 4+1 MD through a Remnant can pose more than a few risks.

For those feeling exceptionally brave, a spell can be added to a Remnant to allow it to be cast by any mundane plebian. This is a little different to trapping a spell in a scroll. A standard paper book or scroll is a barren, tin cage. An appropriately prepared Remnant would be equivalent to a lush, well-appointed steel vault, which happens to have a cannon attached.

Casting using a Remnant grants 1 MD, and incurs a Break on a 5/6. If cast alongside other MD it incurs a Break if the MD contributed shows a 6, or if a Mishap is rolled. Remnants can withstand 3 Breaks by default, modified below. After that, if it gains another Break, it will... well, it won’t be good for the caster, that’s for sure! Dooms also result in Breaks equal to the number rolled (triple 2 = 2 Breaks), but that is probably the least of your worries.

This Remnant can withstand three Breaks...
-1 if the object is very small (less than an inventory slot)
+1 if the object requires two hands to carry
+2 if it’s exceptionally large (requires a cart)
+3 if it can’t be moved

-1 if it contains a spell
-2 if it contains more than one spell

You need to roll under Intelligence/2 to learn how to cast using a Remnant under its own steam. You incur a Break if you fail the Intelligence check completely.

+1 for every additional minor Remnant attached
Make an Intelligence check for every attachment beyond the first, a failure incurs a Break instead

+1 if it is cleaned, coddled, caressed or otherwise cared for in an exceptional manner
-1 if it is treated poorly, gets wet or otherwise physically mishandled
Incurs a Break if used as an improvised weapon/shield in combat. Nitwit.

Double the chance of breakage for one hour after you incur a Break. You can reduce this time by cleaning off the char marks with a silk cloth, realigning the chakras, or the equivalent.

Quick reminder:

1. "I'm adding 1 MD to my own MD for this spell" - Incur a Break if the MD shows a 6, or if you roll a Mishap. If you broke something in the last hour, incur a Break for 5 or 6.

2. "I'm out of mana and using the MD on it's own" - Incur a Break if you roll a 5 or 6. If you broke something in the last hour, Break on anything above a 2.

3. "Hur-dur, me want magick shpell" - If there is a spell residing in the Remnant, non-spellcasters must roll under half Intelligence to learn how to activate it. If you fail the Intelligence roll completely, Break something. Once you've figured it out, as #2.


Phlaturgas the Blue helped a cadre of knights take down the cultists that had been sacrificing babies on the stone table beneath the manor. He pilfered the ancient brazier which had been there for years, next to the rune-scarred summoning circle. It’s large enough that he needs two hands to carry, and he uses the troll earwax he collected ages ago for the candles. It smells foul, but works as a minor Remnant. As such it can withstand 3 +1 (size) +1 (earwax) = 5 Breaks. He convinces his spare Magic Missile to live in it, reducing the cap to 4. If he was trying to get an uppity Flight spell, or Zulin forbid, a Lighting Bolt, he’d probably have to make a blood sacrifice, or even lose a few points from a mental stat for a few days. With the new magic item, his buddy Michael (a Fighter) can cast Magic Missile at 1 MD!

Except its not that simple. Michael has to make an Intelligence check and get under half. He only has 8 Int. He rolls a 6 the first time, which isn’t quite enough, but isn’t a disaster either. Phlaturgas takes Michael into town to find a specialist, who grants a +1 to the check. He rolls 17. Now with only three Breaks remaining, Phlaturgas takes it back, grumbling, and uses it to bolster his own casting ability. Some time later, he rolls a 6 and a Mishap at the same time. Ears ringing, he spots a couple cracks in the metal frame of the brazier.

He better not use this one for now… but of course he will, because what kind of wizard wouldn't trade safety for power?