Wednesday, July 8, 2020

How I Started GLOGHacking

On the OSR Discord, Oblidisideryptch released a simple challenge: talk about how you started to hack the GLOG, and what I've gotten from that - mostly as an encouragement to make more GLOG hacks.

How Hack GLOG?

The first GLOG thing I posted was this set of cyberpunk classes. In my opinion, this is the best way to start hacking the GLOG - the classes are the interface between the players and the game, so new or different classes can make the most difference for the effort required.

So, how do you make GLOG classes?
The easiest, fastest kind of class to make is the standard 4-template class, which is usually used for Fighters, Thieves, and other martial classes. I have a sort of checklist for how to make mine:

  1. Determine a concept for the class.
  2. Decide on the class's Hit Die (according to me, fighters and the like get 1d8, other non-magic classes like thieves get 1d6, and magic classes get 1d4).
  3. Create the first Template, which should give the class their most defining aspect - the Drifter's Dash, the Cube Owner's Cube, and similar abilities. These should be able to be built on.
  4. Create the second and third Templates - generally, these should either improve the character's ability to do what they are already doing (for example, a fighter may get an ability that makes them better at taking damage, or the Drifter's third template improving their blaster) or expand their abilities into a new area (a fighter getting an ability that lets them break objects more easily, or the Drifter's second template letting them deflect attacks).
  5. Then, the fourth Template. This Template can give a large jump in power compared to the rest, because multiclassing will make it much rarer. Generally, the fourth template is either completely transformative (the Nanoweapon Poisoned breaking the shackles of their body and becoming a screaming hive of machines), or just make them much, much better at what they were doing before (many fighters get a second attack with their fourth template).
That's it! For most classes, those four templates are all you need. For wizards and their ilk, I would recommend this post.

Classes Are Done. Now What?

GLOG hacks tend to fall into one of three camps in terms of mechanics.
  1. Roll-under: these games have d20 < stat as their base mechanic - for example, if you had Strength 12 and rolled a Strength check, you'd be trying to get less than 12. This base mechanic continues into combat, with to-hit rolls being roll-under.
  2. 3.5: these games are built of the mechanical skeleton of more recent editions of D&D, with d20 + bonus > TN for both a base mechanic and to-hit rolls.
  3. Orthodox: Orthodox games run off the system of the original GLOG - a roll-under base mechanic with Attack and Defense stats. Attack and Defense are used in combat, with to-hit rolls being an attempt to roll under Attack + (10 - Defense).
Of course, you do not have to fit your hack into one of these mechanics - they are simply some of the most common options. 

As well as a base mechanic, most GLOG hacks will have an extra mechanic - a change from the baseline, like BONES' slot-based character progression, or an alternate combat system like Let There Be Blood. This isn't a necessity, but it's a good way to make your hack your hack.

Other secondary mechanics, like hirelings and overland exploration, are often optional - the OSR has enough common assumptions (hexcrawl hexes are 6 miles across, loyalty rolls, etc.) that a lot of them don't actually need to be written down.

The final part of the hack is the setting. GLOG hacks are rarely tied to a particular setting, and are more often connected to a genre - cyberpunk GLOGs, urban fantasy GLOGs, etc., although some are made to fit into pre-existing settings, like this class for Yoon-Suin games.

In Conclusion

GLOG hacking is easy to get into, with plenty of ways to make your hack different from any other. Class creation is simple, and the mechanics can be changed quickly to fit your campaign better.

Many other people have made posts on this topic as well:

Mad Queen's Court

Whose Measure God Could Not Take

Bugbear Slug

Sundered Shields and Silver Shillings

Caput Caprae

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