Tuesday, November 26, 2019

GLOG Urban Fantasy Class - OSIRIS Theurge

we are always watching
This is a modified version of Oblidisideryptch's Warlock.

OSIRIS has been preparing for this for a very long time. They are only the newest organization in a long line of others, all working to reach the same goal - a world free of supernatural influences.

Except for one.

The Pyramid looms in their minds, whispering commands. It has lived forever and back again, existing at all points in space and time. Listen to it.

Let it speak through you.

Template A: +1 Credit, Debt, Obligations, Boon, Favors
Template B: +1 Credit, Combat Meditation
Template C: +1 Credit, Beseech
Template D: +1 Credit, Pinnacle Spells, Patron's Gift

Boon: Your mind cannot be read. You look vaguely plastic and perfectly symmetrical.

Hover exactly 3.1415926 feet above the ground for 1d4 minutes.
Automatically know the statistics (HP, AC, etc.) of anyone you can see.
Clean, smooth, and polish anything you touch.

Prevent [debt] Psychics or Ynnbringers from casting again. Ever.
Enter Ynn and set it aflame.
Kill [debt] enemies of the Pyramid.
Recover [debt] supernatural artifacts.
Destroy 1 supernatural artifact.
Erase the memories of [debt] people who know too much.

Combat Meditation
Deal 4, 8, 12, or 16 damage to yourself to cast dispel magic with [dice] equal to 1/4 of the damage taken (1, 2, 3, or 4).

Beg the Pyramid for assistance. Roll 1d6 over your accumulated Debt. If you succeed, the Pyramid will assist you - teleporting you away, summoning OSIRIS agents, giving you back some Credit, etc. No matter what, you gain +3 Debt.

Patron's Gift: The Pyramid is placed inside of your heart. You are omniscient within 1 mile of you.


1. Squared Missile*
R: 100’ T: one creature or object D: n/a
An outstretched finger releases a shining black projectile, turning in perfect right angles as it travels. A single target takes [dice] squared damage.

2. Numerical Polymorph
R: touch T: one creature D: [sum] minutes
A single creature you touch has 2 of its stats switched. Unwilling targets can make a WIS save to protect themselves.

3. Simplify Object
R: touch T: one object D: n/a
A single object you touch is condensed into a small cube. The cube contains all the material of the object, but no air.

The amount of [dice] added to the spell decides the size of object that can be targeted.
1 die - a cup, toothbrush, or knife.
2 dice - a sword,  set of armor or door
3 dice - a wagon or table
4 dice - a house or car

If this would crush a creature or creatures, it kills an amount of creatures until the total HD reaches the [dice] of the spell.

4. Non-Euclidian Geometry**
R: line of sight T: self D: [sum] rounds
You are adjacent to everything within your line of sight. You are treated as if you were in all of these locations at once, and everything interacts with you as if it were adjacent to you. You do not suffer multiple effects from the same object or entity (if you are standing in every part of a fire, you only take its damage once). You can choose not to be adjacent to up to [dice] things.

5. Sacred Numbers
R: 500' radius T: 500' radius D: [sum] minutes
Choose [sum] numbers. For [sum] minutes, every time one of those numbers is rolled, you regain 1 HP.

6. Prime Attack
R: 100' T: one creature D: [sum] minutes
For [sum] minutes, every time the target rolls a prime number on their damage roll (in standard combat systems) or deals a prime number of damage (in Let There be Blood), they deal double damage.

7. Laplace Transformation**
R: touch T: [sum] creatures or objects D: [sum] minutes
The target loses up to [dice] dimensions of your choice (with a WIS save if unwilling). If you remove length, width, or height, they become 2D (allowing them to fit through gaps that are large enough in the other 2 dimensions, be rolled up like paper, and be invisible when viewed from the removed side) but cannot manipulate items with more dimensions than them.

If you remove 2 spatial dimensions, they deal [dice]d6 damage to anything they try to pass through. If you remove 3 spatial dimensions, they become a single point and cannot be detected in any way.

If you remove time, they vanish, and reappear at the end of the duration as if no time had passed.

8. Irreality
R: self T: self D: [dice] minutes
For [dice] minutes, you can walk through walls. You also cannot be directly targeted by any effect, but cannot attack or cast any spell.

9.  Simplify Person
R: 100' T: one person or creature D: [sum] minutes
Remove a single stat from a person or creature. They cannot use it for any checks. If Health is removed, the creature begins to take a Wound every time it is damaged. If AC is removed, it is automatically hit by 50% of attacks.

10. Erase Memory***
R: touch T: one creature D: permanent
Erase the last [sum] (minutes/hours/days/weeks, 1/2/3/4 dice) from the target's memory.

* - stolen from Arnold K's Modron Mathmetician
** - stolen from Velexiraptor's Fake Math Wizard
*** - stolen from Velexiraptor's Baleful Star Warlock

Pinnacle Spells

11. Simplify Terrain
R: one mile radius T: the earth D: [dice] hours
The world itself is shaped to the Pyramid's wishes. Everything becomes flatly colored and angular.

It's just like home.

While in this terrain, your movement speed is doubled and you can freely manipulate the ground (as a 4-dice casting of control earth).

12. Enter the Astral Plane
R: touch T: self + [dice] creatures D: [sum] seconds
You and [dice] creatures you are touching vanish completely into the Astral Plane. The Pyramid looms overhead. You may remain here for as long as you want - only [sum] seconds pass in the real world.

While inside the Astral Plane, you may ask the Pyramid [dice] questions. It knows everything, and will answer honestly.

Saturday, November 23, 2019

GLOG Urban Fantasy Class - Ynnbringer

Open the Gates

In my urban fantasy setting, (now called ♎︎) magic comes from Ynn, an alternate dimension where the laws of reality are more flexible and easier to persuade. With enough rituals, the veil between Ynn and the real world can be cut, allowing Ynn to override reality. In this area, and this area only, magic will work. Compared to psychics, Ynnbringers are more powerful, but require time to set up.

This is a modified version of Monsieur's Witch.

Template A: Cut the Veil, +2 MD
Template B: +2 MD, Coven
Template C: +2 MD
Template D: +2 MD, Pinnacle Spells

Cut the Veil

Over the course of 30 minutes, the Ynnbringer can perform the ritual to bring Ynn into reality. These rituals have three intensities, jokingly called Maiden, Mother, and Crone.

While inside of the ritual zone, the Ynnbringer can cast any Spell except for their Pinnacle Spells. They can also cast that ritual's Signs for free. They do not regenerate MD. While they are in the same ritual zone, their spell dice do not increase. They must prepare a new ritual to regain their MD. Rituals decay after 6 hours.

If the altar for the ritual is disturbed, the zone collapses. Real-world objects can be brought into the radius, but objects from Ynn cannot be brought out.

The Maiden ritual has a radius of 100 feet. While inside this radius, the Ynnbringer has the following abilities:

1. Send a telepathic message to anyone inside the ritual radius.
2. Nothing inside the ritual radius makes any sound.

Perk: The Ynnbringer knows the exact location of everyone inside the ritual radius.

Work Die: 1d4

The Mother ritual has a radius of 100 feet. While inside this radius, the Ynnbringer has the following abilities:

1. You can make a plant or wooden object inside the ritual radius move. Bend the wooden stocks of rifles, grab people's ankles with vines, drop branches on people's heads.
2. You can move an object from Ynn you are directly holding out of the ritual radius without it vanishing.

Perk: The Mother ritual is powered by a simple incense burner, that can be carried on the Ynnbringer's person. While carried, the ritual's radius is centered on the Ynnbringer.

Drawback: If the Ynnbringer is damaged, they must make a Wisdom save or the ritual collapses.

Work Die: 1d6 

The Crone ritual takes a radius of 250 feet. While inside this radius, the Ynnbringer has the following abilities:

1. The Crone can speak to any denizen of Ynn.
2. Nothing can enter the ritual radius unless you allow it.

Drawback: The Crone ritual opens the gate far enough that the Idea of Thorns starts to enter it. When the Crone ritual ends, the Ynnbringer must make a Wisdom save or be afflicted by the Idea.

Work Die: 1d8


Under the eyes of OSIRIS, no lone Ynnbringer lasts long. Their covens are spread far and wide, keeping each other hidden and supported.

The coven is made up of 2d4 Ynnbringers. You can call on them for information and assistance, but they will call on you in return.

Pinnacle Spells

Each of the three Pinnacle Spells is keyed to a particular ritual - Deafen for the Maiden, Barrier for the Mother, and Expel for the Crone. They can be cast as a standard Spell, but only by the ritual they are keyed to.


1. Sleep
R: 50' T: 20' radius D: 10 min
Every creature within a 20' radius (up to a total of [sum] HD of creatures) falls asleep. They will reawaken in [sum] minutes, or if forced awake (physically).

2. Control Earth

R: 50’ T: a bucket’s worth of earth D: concentration
Control a bucket's worth of soil within 50' of you.
1 die - Slowly excavate, move, and shape 1 bucket worth of dirt.
2 dice - Move and shape a person-sized mass of soil, quickly enough to bury someone.
3 dice - Move and shape 2 person-sized masses. Trigger tremors. Range increases to 100'.
4 dice - Shape all the earth within 100' of you like water.

3. Animate Plants
R: Touch T: [sum] small plants or [dice] trees D: concentration
At your touch, [sum] small plants or [dice] large plants or trees spring to motion. They can be commanded verbally.

4. True Sight

R: self T: self D: [sum] minutes
For [sum] minutes, all is revealed to you. See through all illusions and into people’s auras (allowing you to tell if they are magical or psychic, and see them through walls).

5. Control Weather
R: 100’ radius D: [sum] minutes
For [sum] minutes, the weather is controlled around you.
1 die - sunlight, clouds, light rain
2 dice - bright light, dense darkening clouds, heavy rain
3 dice - blinding light, black out the sky, thunderstorms
4 dice - unnatural creations - plagues of locusts, rains of frogs, firestorms

6. Command
R: touch T: one person D: [dice] minutes
Give a single person you are touching a command up to [dice] words long. This command cannot lead them to their death unless 3 or more dice are used. The effect ends after [dice] minutes.

7. Create Illusion
R: 100’ T: n/a D: [dice] minutes
Manifest an illusion. Targets must make a WIS save or be tricked by the illusion. The illusion expires after [dice] minutes.

8. Dispel Magic
R: 100’ T: one magical object or effect D: n/a
An amount of dice equal to the dice of a spell cast must be expended to counter that spell. Magic items will be shut down for [dice] minutes.

9. Disguise Self
R: self T: self D: [sum] minutes
Disguise yourself. Targets must make a WIS save or be tricked by the illusion. The disguise expires after [sum] minutes.

Pinnacle Spells

Maiden: Deafen
R: 100' T: Everyone within the Ritual Radius D: [sum] minutes
Everyone within the Ritual Radius is deafened and takes [dice]d4 damage as a horrible, pulsing sound fills the Ritual Radius. This repeats every round for [sum] minutes, or until canceled by the Ynnbringer.

Mother: Barrier
R: 10' T: n/a D: Permanent
This spell can be cast on another character's turn. If activated when an attack is declared, it activated before the attack hits. This spell creates a 10' wide, 6 inch thick barrier of soil and grass in front of the Ynnbringer. The barrier lasts until destroyed.

Crone: Expel
R: 100' T: one creature D: n/a
A single target takes [sum] damage and is thrown violently from the Ritual Radius.

Thursday, November 21, 2019

RPG Review - Star Dogs

Disclaimer: a review copy of this game was provided for free by the author. This review is based off of a reading of the book, not a playtest.

Star Dogs, by Michael Raston, is a recently-released space opera OSR game built off of a d20 roll-under system.


  • Roll-under stat checks, with difficulty changing the die size (for example, an easier test could have you roll a d12 or d10).
  • Items also have stats (ranging from 1d6 to 4d6 drop lowest) to be rolled when the item is used.
  • Advantage/Disadvantage, with stacking (so Triple Disadvantage would have you roll 4 dice and take the worst result).
  • Skill checks work on a 1d12 Target-1 system, with the result modified by stat modifiers. For example, rolling a Surgery (INT) check with an INT of 18 (+3) would have you subtract 3 from your skill result.
  • 6 standard classes as well as the Khybe Sensitive/Khybe Monk - every character has a 10% chance of starting Khybe Sensitive, allowing them to level into the Khybe Monk (space wizard) class.
  • Boons and Banes taken in character creation - if you take a Boon, you also must take a Bane.
  • Goal-based experience - 1 Level Up point is gained whenever you complete a particular task.
  • Range-band combat, used for both on-foot, vehicle, and space combat.
  • Immediate death at 0 HP.
  • Fast healing.
  • Short equipment list and assumed Quantum Inventory.
  • Starships treated as characters, using the same weapons and stats but with weapon damaged doubled for each size category (On Foot, Hovercraft, Spacecraft) above the target, or halved for each category below.
  • No bestiary.
Character Creation

The races are interesting - some having simple stat bonuses, some starting with implanted augmentations, and one starting with the ability to be resurrected.

In contrast, the classes are simple and boring, largely eschewing new abilities for Skill increases, new weapon proficiencies, and free equipment.

The 10% chance for Khybe Sensitivity is an odd choice - restricting a class to a random roll is unnecessary and not particularly fun, because you don't have another chance to receive that ability during play. Compare this to random equipment rolls, which mainly affect your character during the early game.

Boons and Banes are a good way to easily add variety to low-level characters, but Boons and Banes are very unbalanced against each other. For example, the Skillful Boon gives you +1 to a skill of your choice, while the Banes are things like missing a limb or disadvantage on all ranged attacks forever.


Between the changing die sizes, Advantage/Disadvantage, and Skill system, Star Dogs' main system is overcomplicated for my taste, with no real benefit. The system of changing die sizes is solid enough on its own, and would be a good addition to most roll-under games. If the skills were more connected to the stat system (for example, if having an applicable skill decreased your die size by one step on stat checks), that would help reinforce both the changing die sizes and base system.

The fast healing and Quantum Inventory help speed up the game - fitting it's heroic, space-opera tone.

Strangely, the Augmentations section has 4 pages of augmentation malfunctions (almost all of which, like "Something is growing from the augmentation, something foul and disturbing." or "Will eat those impacted and targeted by augmentation." really do not fit with the tone presented by the rest of the game), but no example augmentations.

The Khybe Casting system is odd - a somewhat freeform system that simultaneously is incredibly restrictive. It's point-based, with each point spent opening a new effect - for example, a 2 point casting can affect "The PCs own physical body." This is all the game says for the effect of a 2 point casting.

While there is no bestiary, there are some guidelines for creating NPCs for the game.

Star Dogs has some deep system issues, but the roll-under die changing is an interesting method for skill checks, and a polished version of the Boons & Banes would make a good addition to any OSR game looking for more early-game character differentiation.

The space opera tone is sabotaged by the horror-style augmentation failures, but bolstered by the quick health regen and Quantum Inventory. A range-band combat system helps keep it fast, but immediate death at 0 may be too lethal for people more used to Death and Dismemberment tables, knockout periods, or other similar additions.

I would not buy Star Dogs in its current state, but I would keep an eye out for any updates, supplements, or new editions. 

Thanks to Michael Raston for sending me this review copy.

Saturday, November 16, 2019

Let There Be Blood - An AFF/Troika Inspired One-Roll Combat System

Let There Be Blood

Melee Weapons
Each melee weapon has a small 2-row 1d6 table: one row Attack, the other Defense - similar to this post by Daniel Sell. For example, the reliable (albeit boring) Shortsword's table is like this:

1. 2/0
2. 2/1
3. 3/1
4. 3/2
5. 3/2
6. 4/2

When you declare an attack, roll 2d6 and assign one to each column. For example, you could roll a 3 and a 6. Knowing your enemies have poor damage, you put the 3 into Defense (giving you a Defense of 1) and the 6 into Attack, dealing 4 damage.

Attacks hit automatically, with Defense acting as damage reduction. Your Defense value stays active until your next round, where it reverts to zero.

Dual-wielding lets you roll on both weapon's tables, and take the Defense of one weapon and the Attack of the other. For example, an action with two swords would look like this: one sword rolls 4 and 5, the other rolls 2 and 6. So, you put the first sword's 5 into Defense (giving you a Defense of 2) and put the other sword's 6 into Attack (giving you an Attack of 4).

Ranged Weapons
Ranged weapons have no defense. Instead, they have an Aiming Time column. This value alters the initiative value. For example, the slow, high-damage Longbow's table is like this:

attack/aiming time
1. 3/-3
2. 4/-3
3. 4/-2
4. 5/-2
5. 5/-2
6. 6/-1

So, if you rolled a 3 and a 4, putting the 3 into Aiming Time and the 4 into damage, your Initiative would go down by 2, and you would do 5 damage. The Aiming Time penalty is removed after your turn, and you go back to your normal point in the initiative order.

Armor does not exist.

System Thoughts

This hasn't been playtested yet, but I think it'll have some advantages over the standard to-hit/damage system - it gives melee combat some inherent strategy, gives a similar effect to Oddomatic damage, and helps balance ranged weapons.

While it's harder to make weapons for this system (compared to just "uh... this does 1d10"), it's also easier to make weapons interesting - having axes as high-risk, high reward weapons with swingy damage and low defense, having spears give huge defense (because you're far away) but low damage, etc.

I plan to test this system, clean it up, and put it into my currently unnamed urban fantasy GLOG hack.

Sample Weapons


Axe - Swingy Attack, Low Defense
1. 1/0
2. 1/0
3. 1/1
4. 6/1
5. 6/1
6. 7/2

Spear - Swingy Attack, High Defense
1. 1/1
2. 1/1
3. 2/2
4. 2/3
5. 5/3
6. 5/4

Shield - Low Attack, High Defense
1. 1/2
2. 1/2
3. 1/2
4. 2/3
5. 2/4
6. 2/4

Dagger - Low Attack, Swingy Defense
1. 2/0
2. 2/0
3. 2/1
4. 3/3
5. 3/3
6. 4/4


Shortbow - Low Attack, Fast
attack/aiming time
1. 2/-2
2. 2/-2
3. 3/-1
4. 3/-1
5. 4/-0
6. 4/-0

Crossbow - Swingy Attack, Swingy Speed
attack/aiming time
1. 1/-3
2. 2/-3
3. 2/-2
4. 2/-1
5. 6/-0
6. 6/-0

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Ghost Ship to Planet Transylvania

Happy Halloween!
whispering from offstage
Happy... Septemberween?

Ghost Ship to Planet Transylvania is a collaborative effort between me and John Rattlemayne, following a challenge from the ever-productive glog-ghetto of the OSR Discord. It's an 11-page stealth dungeon/pointcrawl thing set on Dracula's coffin-ship, with plenty of original art from Rattlemayne, a wonderfully garish layout (also by Rattlemayne) and exactly 1,459 and 1/3 words, by us both.

Click on the inviting hands and faces of the Chief Engineer and his Assistant to grab the pdf for yourself, and be filled with unnameable horror for all eternity!


Sunless Horizon Beta 2.3 Release

Commissioned from Scrap Princess excited screeching I've been posting about  Sunless Horizon  for about a year, and after finally gettin...