Sunday, February 27, 2022

GLoGSTUCK

 

Click to go to the PDF
In ancient times, when the gretchlings still dwelt in the ghettos and were not yet lead to the promised land, a prophecy was made: there would come a day when the wickedness of the world would drive one to create a homestuck GLoGhack. The fulfillment of this baleful curse was the desire of one sect of gretchlings, who had always yearned to see the world destroyed. And so it was that GLoGSTUCK was first endeavored upon. But its vessels, its slaves, were yet impure. They did not know the true GLoG. They did not even understand the true nature of the Oblidisideryptch. And so they fell away, and GLoGSTUCK rested like a bloated corpse in the desert until it was merely bones. 

But today is the Reckoning, and the dry bones have Arisen Anew. The stillborn child, by many made, has been by one resurrected.

GLoGSTUCK

GLoGSTUCK as it stands is mostly an extended classis. In the interest of conciseness, most of the (extremely cool) setting details and additional tables from the first version have been left out. You can (and should) still look at them and use them for your games. The rules herin are not suitable, perhaps, for all GLoGhacks. Including an SBURB player into any "normal" GLoG game is obviously fraught, but should you decide to do so, make certain you've checked for errant rules and edge cases. 

GLoGSTUCK is not balanced. Its not even not balanced in the GLoG "Incomparables" way. This is a thing called "Ludonarrative resonance" apparently. The DM should consider whether to pick classpects for the players. If you decide to play this game, I cannot be held accountable. If you decide to spring this game on your normal play group in the guise of a game where you play slice-of-life as late-2000s teens, I'm impressed your group is down for that and also you are incredibly based. 

Credits: Arnold K. for GLoG; Godsgifttogrinds, writer of the definitive work Sburb Glitch FAQ; Locheil et al. for their work on the first version; and the damnable wretch known as Hussie and his far superior colleagues.

Thursday, November 4, 2021

More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold (Class: Wizard)

 

You are a devotee of the Cosmic Law of ANU. You must keep the covenants, and thereby keep the wheels turning.

You gain +1 Magistrate Die per level, which function the same as Magic Dice.

Perk: When you enter a situation, you always know how its laws deviate from common law. Laws include Cosmic Laws, Physical Laws, Moral Laws, Civil & Military Laws, and Courtesy Laws. 

Drawback: Knowingly breaking a Law disables all your abilities until you make restitution/receive punishment.

(If you don't know the common law for some situation, try and find the equivalent in the code of hammurabi.)

There are three tiers of Law. Tier one cannot be acted against. Tier two can be acted against with intrinsic punishment, whether immediate or long term. Tier three can be acted against with extrinsic punishment, carried out by a Lawful being.

By spending 1+ MD, a tier three law may be upgraded to tier two (or may stay the same tier). 2+ MD may be spent to upgrade a tier two law to a tier one law (or with 1+ MD may stay the same tier). You may spend any amount of additional MD on this upgrade. [Sum] may be distributed to upgrade the following (which start at their lowest value, and are upgraded by steps costing their new value):

Immediacy*: 1 Afterlife Consequences / 2 Within the Year / 3 Within the Week / 4 Right Now

Severity**: 1 Stern Disapproval / 2 Half Reciprocal / 3 Full Reciprocal / 4 Twice Reciprocal***

Broadness: 1 Letter of the Law / 2 Reasonable Interpretation / 3 Unreasonable Interpretation

* For tier three this is based on lawful discovery chance. For tier one this doesn't apply.

** For tier one this doesn't apply

***If you don't know, 1 damage or minum status / 1d6 or minor status / 2d6 or major status / death

Most laws start with some place on these tracks. "Eat soup with the Soup Spoon" for instance is a tier three (4/1/1). If you upgrade it to tier two, it stays (4/1/1) but is now naturally punished (You are naturally disappointed in yourself or 1 damage). If you spend 2 of your [sum], you can upgrade the severity (I dunno with this one, at least 1d6 damage in morale). (I'm not going to write for every edge case, figure it out. This class will cause arguing, its called Ludo-narrative resonance)

You can decrease laws in a similar way, but this counts as breaking them.

At Second Level, you can store up a law you encounter and implement it in another situation with 1 MD. After all, it is an emanation of the Cosmic Law.

At Third Level, you can change the punishments (or rewards) for Laws, as long as they are equal. For instance, you could change fines to lashings, or ostracism to mockery.

At Fourth Level, You create a Demiplane. Its inadvisable you enter this Demiplane until you collect sufficient laws to allow you to exist in it.

Wednesday, November 3, 2021

Metasetting races; or, A Complete List of the Cool Races

 

This follows the same spirit set forth in my Metagods post. Like those, these are variables which define a setting of mine. You pick a set, change some things around, and see what comes out. Theoretically, that would be a setting I would make and enjoy. Think of it like Magic the Gathering planes. You have some things which are constant (5 colors of mana, for instance). Then you pick, choose, and remix creature types, local forces, geography, etc. and you have a Magic plane!

The important thing is to think out the consequences of the variables you are choosing. I'll give an example setting at the end of this post. Maybe more metasetting stuff to come!

The List

Humans

The rice of races. If you include them, its normally cool to choose certain things they are comparatively weirdly good at. Perennial favorites include: Religion, Breeding, Cooking, Orating, Farming etc. Develop humans as much as other races and make them just as big of mythic weirdos. I often like humans to be foreigners. Also its fun to have them just have pointy ears or colorful skin just because.

Fauns

Cooler than elves. Can't wear boots. Normally chill pastoralists, range from minor god weirdos to shire-dwelling farmers. If you must give them physiological abilities, they might be good at climbing (don't give them headbutt attacks that's really dumb). Other abilities vary by characterization.

Nymphs & Fairies

This one overlaps a lot with some of the others on this list. You're going to have to determine on a case-by-case basis what it actually means. Also cooler than elves

Elementals

Some very lame people would call these genasi. Normally consisting of Sylphs, Undines, (choose a fire one), (choose an earth one). I say this because it seems like people (including me) don't really like the names "salamander" and "gnome". Fire boys include: ifrit, flamekin, etc. Earth boys include: dwarf, kobold, etc. Sylph is also a cooler elf. Sometimes fun to have them have element hair (cloud hair, water hair, fire hair. Earth hair doesn't really work I dunno)

Skeletons

Either very quiet dreaming dead, or skeletor. There is no in between. Having any flesh on them makes them less cool, make sure you remember that. For some reason really fun to play around with government systems with these guys. Skeleton kings, skeleton parliaments, skeleton theocracies, etc. Just having skeletons makes politics fun.

Little Guys

Or Folk, in hypogeum. Just some weird little guys. Goblins, Gnomes, Kobolds, Halflings etc. are lame but if you throw them in a pot and mix 'em up you can get something cool. Waddle-Dees, Toads, Shy guys, to a lesser extent Minecraft Villagers. Just some pretty odd little guys. They run shops or wander around the woods or form cave tribes or whatever. This is a vibe based race.

Magic Guys

Made of magic, sort of amorphous. Wizrobes, Black Mages, also Shy-Guys, Novakids, Spell-Born homunculi, could probably also encompass weird godlings. "Why aren't they better at magic than humans" shut up they need to keep their magic to maintain their bodies. Might also be Weird Little Guys.

I made this one

Cat Boys

Also in Hypogeum. Not furries, but can get close. Furries or normal beastfolk are lame. These ones are just humans but fuzzy. Have weird ears (where humans have ears! not on top of their heads, that's gross). Not actually cat-related, I just think its funny.

Sheepfolk, Frogfolk, Bugfolk, Mousefolk

The exceptions to the beastfolk are lame rule. Obviously distinct, but grouped for simplicity. Don't call them "x-folk", give them each distinct and folk-lore-y names. You can also make beastfolk not lame by making them Weird Little Guys. I like little guy beastfolk that are incongruously from victorian to edwardian times. The sorts that wear little suits or coveralls or quilt dresses and for some reason the rabbit is neighbors with the fox. 

Cyclopes

Human sized. Sometimes cool.

You Can't Play Them But They're Here

Proper Fairies and Elves

Angels

Demons

Angel and Demon descended people

Aliens and Gods

I lied you can play some of those sometimes

Remember, the principle is pick a few and remix. The other principle is "would this game feel incomplete if the only available race was x?" if the answer is yes, Bad! Examples of bad-uns: Shadar-Kai, Elves but only the stereotype, Dwarves in general, actually I don't know if those are bad but I don't like to include them. Words for Yellow also has some good races. If you have good races, comment below, and I'll tell you they're bad maybe.

Setting: The Green Kingdom

The Green Kingdom is a small region, a watershed on the southern sea rimmed by mountains. The circular cities are the homes of the humans, who take pride in making clothes. The country is inhabited by both humans and fauns, who work the land together. The wild and deep places are the homes of the cyclopes (known for their magic) and living skeletons. Living skeletons also inhabit necropoli inside the cities, but humans don't enter those districts (they are quite unnerving!).

The Green Kingdom is ruled by the Green King, a man called Basil. The duties of the Green King are mostly in directing building projects and adjudicating disputes. Local priests honor idols, great and small, collect taxes, and distribute food. The Princes, regional rulers, organize armies when the need arises (and otherwise do fuck-all). Most wars are internal rebellions, but these are not large (oftentimes they arise over badly judged disputes, with ransom and cattle stealing being the biggest tactics). 

Dangers arise from bandits in the woods (often a mix of races), cyclopes sorcerers, territorial skeletons, dragons, sphinxes, and forgotten or malign spirits. It is said cyclopes worship shadowy gods of magic, and can summon strange celestial spirits or evil bogeys (they are respected, and sometimes feared, but only rarely hated). Fauns are only occasionally dangerous, when driven by passion, but otherwise they might cause problems by being lazy or pushy. Idols which are neglected, or spirits for whom an idol was never made, may become wrathful and bring curses or attack people (fauns take pride in honoring  idols deep in the wilderness).

Dungeons and other ruins are often inhabited by Skeletons and Cyclopes but one can enter if one is courteous. Often there are unexplored portions or dangerous monsters that even skeletons fear, so it can still be lucrative to explore them. Cyclopes don't kill monsters with their magic for fear of the wrath of their gods, but they will often reward adventurers who do (whether with treasure or magic. Many successful people have a spectral attendant, a gift from a cyclopes).

(Races: Humans, Fauns, Skeletons, Cyclopes)
(Metagods: Idols, Darkness)

Conclusion

Normally, these settings just detail one, maybe 2 small kingdoms and vaguely talk about their neighbors. This is great, because it leaves open the possibility of having other races if, for instance, you have a rotating cast of characters, flailsnails style. Also, the world is mysterious. Lord of the Rings focused on 3 kingdoms (the North, Gondor, and Rohan) and 4 races (hobbits, men, elves, and dwarves). Other kingdoms were mentioned, but not described. Other races were included, but were unknowns. What does the East look like? How do the southrons live? We don't know, because we were focused on the tight group of cultures which were almost folkloric blank slates to start with. Resist always the urge to include everything and the kitchen sink, but you can lean into the known and the cool.

Possible future metasetting posts: geography and features, Monsters, Magic, Factions and Politics, other dimensions.

Friday, October 22, 2021

Hypogeum: the Charm update

We're overhauling Relic-seekers and Sorcerers. Both now use Charms (or, if you prefer, Orbs, Talismans, Amulets, Trinkets, Baubles, Wands, Staffs, Books, Sacrificial Daggers, Urns, etc.). Charms can take any form, though every form must be constrained to these rules:
  • Charms are stored in an Inventory
  • Charms may be lost, stolen, or broken
  • Charms require both special crafting knowledge and intrinsic spell knowledge
  • Charms are art

When starting as a class, Relicseekers Charmseekers choose what kinds of charm they use, or their preferred magic type. For example, "Jewelery" or "Orbs" or "Runes" or "Fire Charms" or "Sleep Charms" or "Once owned by a Pope". Lore and Speech means you recognize charms of your kind, and can speak with adjacent creatures (e.g. Jewelry and Fire would both let you talk to dragons. Runes might let you talk to dwarves. This is really case-by-case.). Prophecy is mostly the same. So is Power Against Power. Aspect lets you manifest the ideal of your charm.
Sorcerers no longer cast directly, but receive spells which they can make into charms. They still need to consume mana potions to use the spells. Also, distill mana will no longer be a spell, rather an ability. Sorcerer's can make "shamble" charms with only pretty trash in only a minute, but these can't be used by others, can only be used once, and last an hour before becoming completely inert. Proper charms need skill, materials, and time.
Characters who aren't charmseekers can use a charm at 1 MD once, after which it becomes inert for a time (normally about a week) 




I just think they're neat
Update: Random_Interrupt has produced a table of charms (as they pondered in the comments below). They are neat, and may be useful to you!

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

GLoGhaven

 

:/
I do not like Strixhaven. As an MTG set, it was ill-conceived and cringey. When they adapted it for 5e (curses on its name), they further stripped it of all interest by making every subclass only affect combat (not to mention straight up forgetting what some of the schools were all about). It is egregious and I cannot abide by its very existence in the world, whether I play either game or not. There should not be a world in which Strixhaven, as it currently stands, exists. So it falls to me, the ultimate abiter of good taste, to make things RIGHT. You could rearrange these into wizard school cantrips easily.

LOREHOLD

A: You can read any language that you've never heard spoken.

B: If you have most of the pieces and spend a bit fiddling, broken things work once for you.

C: When you tell a proper story, everyone sits up and pays attention. This includes the dead. 

D: You can talk to ruins, relics, and artifacts. They are surprisingly mobile when they want to be.

PRISMARI

A: As long as you are touching it with your hands only, you can sculpt non-solid elements into solid forms.

B: You can perform a dangerous dance which causes you to become the center of attention. You can do this while attacking.

C: While performing the dance, choose two non-solid elements. You can manipulate those elements in [class level]*5' as if you were using your hands.

D: You can shape non-solid elements into creatures, though you have to take more time for bigger creatures and you can't control more than one.

QUANDRIX

A: You are a smartypants, and can estimate and calculate easily (use Wolfram Alpha) / You can do minor shenanigans: illusory duplicates, acting as though you had two extra mage hand arms, and vanishing completely for half a second.

B: You can spend up to [template] minutes calculating, after which you can summon a fractal that looks how you choose which deals [minutes] damage attacking, has [minutes] HP, and armor as chain. Very Pointy. Lasts [minutes] minutes.

C: You can cause people to think you are an expert and a great wizard by saying something about "quantum"

D: You can sacrifice a fractal to open a portal to its location, which lasts [minutes] rounds.

SILVERQUILL

A: You can create light as a lantern. You bleed ink.

B: You can use up a well of ink to summon a little imp thing. You must give it a secret (may be untrue), which it loves to tell to people (though it loves people admiring it more). Annoyingly intelligent. You can fully control [templates] instances.

C: People believe it when you lie.

D: You can use up a book's worth of ink to fly, somehow.

WITHERBLOOM

A: You can make any organic material into food, or poison

B: You can expend all your rations or all your poisons to make that many noxious pests. You can't control them at all and they love nothing more than causing plague and famine and souring cow milk.

C: You can cause bones (nonliving) to float, and living plants to grow at twice the rate.

D: If you have a whole living creature, you can make the entire thing (including the soul) into food that fully heals all who consume it (if it is the same sort of creature as the consumer, it can even revive the dead), or a potion that transforms the consumer into that creature. Both effects cause the consumer to gain some or all of the memories and feelings of that creature.

EXTRA CREDIT

*: You can keep excellent hold on an item, even if you trip.

*: You can cast spells or abilities one handed OR while running.

*: If a spell or ability would requires materials, time, etc. you can ignore that and use it as though you used the least amount of those possible [templates] times per day

*: You can use an ability at the same time you cast a spell

*: You know how to find things in any library

*: You get invited to wizard banquets

*: With lab conditions, you can keep spell or ability effects going indefinitely

*: You can slowly levitate a foot off the ground

*: In a land aligned with your college, cast with +1 magic

*: You can try to cast any spell reasonably within your schools domain with instability equal to your magic.

*: Once per template, cast a spell you don't know.


A description of the Heavens (hypogeum)

 

A sketch of an inhabitant drawn by the Sorcerer

This is an account of an expedition to the ceiling, by this humble creature. We made the usual journey from the village of the blue folk (which stands adjacent the cavernous ruins of the orb) by way of the western fountain path to the wall of the cathedral. Here, we set up a camp. We chose this place for it was known to be traversable vertically, owing to the rooms inset in the wall and the ledges higher up. Other places, the wall-rooms of which did not connect well, were not suitable.

After resting for a time (the lights passing half over the water), we resolved to ascend. The first room contained stairs upwards and downwards, as we had heard (it is said that the stairs down were where the Farmer discovered one of his specialty mushrooms, the one which produces a sweet distinctive taste, which was called by the humans "grape"). Traveling upwards, the way for four rooms was only of interest to a rock darkling, and there were a few other rooms besides which were dead ends. In this section I also discovered a fetching hat. 

As we ascended, the rooms became less tame. They were damp with cloud-dew, and colonized by buoyant moss and the creatures that ate it, and the creatures that ate them. Some of these proved troublesome, such as a darkbeast of the wall-crawling variety (There were few more substantial darkbeasts up here. Infrequent were the flat- or pad-footed beasts, and only sparse the hooved ones). The sorcerer called it a "spidery bastard" and set it aflame (we were lucky it was so damp). Many other things happened which I won't write about.

We eventually were forced out onto the ledges. They were paths wide enough that two could comfortably stand beside one another and have generous room. However, they were dangerous, because of the prevalence of flying beasts and other hazards. These attacks were especially dangerous because of the chance of falling. But we prevailed, in the end, and ascended 4 more levels. When this was done, the roof was in sight. However, in the end there was no way to reach it.

When this became apparent, we began looking for other things to do, since we were in such a special position. The sorcerer (who was a human), and the fighter (a grimalkin) simultaneously spotted a rare sight: an Angel flying about clouds. The rest of us could not see it, and the two who did soon reported it vanished. The two both began speaking very excitedly (one should always plug ones ears when this happens, but I did not). The next thing I knew, we were awkwardly flying towards the last place the angel was seen. I later found out that the sorcerer had drunken three mana potions (our entire supply) to give us this power.

I will not bother with the details of this flight, as I cannot properly render them. But soon we found where the angel had disappeared from and where it disappeared to. Simply, there was a village in the sky held aloft by some kind of balloons. 

Some people who read this might not have seen a balloon or even heard of it. It is a practice done by wizards where they take a special sack and fill it with magic which is lighter than air. This makes the sack float, and it can be tethered with a string and produce mirth. Sometimes a balloon may be made large enough to carry a person into the air for a short time. Humans claim that it is also a practice in their world, and more common than most other magics.

The balloons which held this village were greater, of course, than the balloons anywhere else seen. And this was not the only wonder, for it was evident that there was some illusion disguising the village causing it to be invisible from the ground. And of course there were the people who lived there.

It is a common rumor that there is a sort of human which possesses wings rather than arms and may fly around. It turns out this is true. The humans call these "Angels" (which is what I called it above) or "Harpies". The Sorcerer (who was beyond excited) called them "Ritos". The Sorcerer often says weird things.

They indeed flew around on wings which were their arms. Their legs and feet were dexterous as arms and hands, though the fact that they needed to either sit or balance on one foot made them disinclined to do unnecessary things. They occupy themselves with hunting and maintaining their village.

They hunt for things like aerial beasts, buoyant moss and fungi, as well as ground dwelling creatures small enough to take back to the village. They steal cloth to sew their balloons. They perform the magic that fills them. They gather water that condenses on them to drink. These are their daily tasks.

They are hidden, and free from the influence of the Dragon. They do not revere the forces, for they are humans and do not enter the ruins at all. They live perpetually in anxiety of the failure of their village, for if it does, they will have to hide away in high rooms. Now that we have found them, they will move on so that they are not found. Because of the fantastic nature of their habit and the incredulity of those who live below, they do not object to our speaking about them.

We stayed there for some days, until we left by the same manner as we arrived.

(Translator's note: This text was found in an abandoned village, presumably the "village of the blue folk", hidden in a secret compartment. I have taken many liberties in this translation to make it interesting to human readers, but the main events and descriptions, as well as a few phrases of particular interest, are intact. The veracity of these events is suspect, but I've learned not to dismiss anything)

Sunday, October 17, 2021

Ruins

 

Ruins are spaces considered holy by Folk. Inside them you find things that you would find in the rest of the Hypogeum, only denser. This makes them very hard to traverse. Ruin Complexes are normally circular, or some equivalent, becoming denser and denser as you get towards the center. As such, most people give them wide berth, though being able to go nearer the center would make a nice shortcut. Most ruin complexes are almost a mile wide, and dominate the cavern they are in.

They dominate in more than one way. The presence of ruins in a cavern seems to affect, or at least be a good indicator of, the force that Folk revere. Or maybe the Folk built the ruins in honor of a force they already revered? The Folk are weird about religion, as we all know. That all to say, each Ruin Complex seems devoted to, or at least themed around, one Force. Oftentimes they are also pervaded by that force.

As previously stated, ruins are dense. They are full of puzzles, treasure, and most of all, Lore. Loads of (untranslated) hieroglyphs, murals, and gut understanding. Most of the puzzles and treasure are also lore. The ruins will tell you what a Force is like, what is sacred to it, what it hates, etc. There are also depictions and statues of various creatures, most of which are unidentified, but one of which is the Dragon (see: Dragons, forthcoming). Finally, there will be the Prophecy, that a sacred hero will come out of the ruin and defeat the Dragon.

Some say that the hero already came, and he died. Others say he joined the Dragon. Still others say the Dragon used to be a hero himself. These sorts of confusions come about when you're only going off somewhat abstract pictures.

There are also more mundane secrets besides, like the location of treasures, hidden wells, gates, etc.

Piranesi

The ruins are haunted by living statues. These can be found rarely in other parts of the world, but, like I said, the ruins are Denser. They also have unliving statues, and the living ones could hardly be called statues. But they move, and they're made of stone, and the name stuck. Like most things made of stone, very difficult to kill. Have a sword artist or sorcerer at the ready, dangerous as they are, those statues are more so.

Don't get caught up in a puzzle, or you'll die.

Voxelmade

Now I said they are holy to the Folk, and its clear that they have some association with Folk religion, but I feel I should expound more upon this. It is a topic of intense debate (as intense as Folk can get) about whether Folk, or anyone, should be allowed in the Ruins at all. One might expect some hassle if one emerges from a ruin in sight of those people who frown upon it, and especially if one is carrying sacred treasures. 

Folk priests make use of the ruins to understand their faith, navigating them through preordained paths and solutions to review specific commands or insights. The knowledge and tradition of these paths is what makes them priests and not just devotees (devotees might be just as holy and authoritative, but lack the knowledge and experience of ages). If a priest is feeling candid, he might show the way to those he trusts, or might simply tell them the information they seek.

Just the same as the debate regarding entrance to the ruins, is the debate regarding the sort of creature the hero will be. Some Folk cannot imagine the hero coming from among their own race, while others cannot imagine them coming from another race.

Darklings for the most part don't take part in these debates. As usual, they are rather secretive regarding their beliefs. Arites seem pretty hopeful about it though.