Sunday, April 11, 2021


To be honest, I'm not sure if these (or any of my earlier ones) are really reviews - they're mostly just descriptions, with a couple thoughts at the end. I don't think that's what's important though; my goal is to compile an overview of as many GLOG hacks as I can, with the review being secondary.

One important note - I haven't played any of these systems, I've only read them.


THE GLOG HACK – ENTHUSIASTIC SKELETON BOIS EDITION, hereby known as ESB (because I don't have time for that title, frankly), is a combination of ideas from the GLOG, Black Hack, EB, and other OSR systems, with some interesting ideas about resource management and combat.


  • Basic roll-under d20, with Advantage and Disadvantage
  • Four stats - Strength, Dexterity, Insight, and Willpower
  • Combat is auto-hit, and characters deal damage based on their class (heavy weapons let them deal damage with Advantage).
  • There are a few little extras to combat I think are taken from EB - attacks can be Impaired (dealing 1d4 damage) or Enhanced (dealing 1d12) by circumstances, and attacks from multiple enemies deal damage equal to the highest attack.
  • Armor is unique (I think) - it has an Armor Value in d6s, which you can choose to roll to block damage equal to their sum.
  • Inventory management is built around four items: Supplies, Torches, Camp Gear, and Tools. All of these use Usage Dice (called Risk Dice in ESB) and are drained by heavy use or damage (taking a Lunch drains Rations, walking through water drains Torches), but not by general use.
  • Hirelings are also based off Usage Dice, rolled when they're put under stress or use some abilities (for instance, the Mercenary tests Usage to enter combat.
  • ESB includes most of the generic OSR subsystems like Reaction Rolls and Morale, but has no dungeoncrawling or exploration rules other than a distance moved per round.
  • Most classes are taken from Coins and Scrolls, however the original ones (especially the Monk) are quite interesting. (Seriously, look at the Monk). 


ESB is currently my top choice for a fantasy GLOG. Its simplified combat & inventory management make it one of the lighter games I've looked at in this series, and the hireling system is excellent. It also has good original classes, which I prefer to classless GLOGs.  


Yet Another GLOG Hack (YAGH) is... weird. A somewhat normal set of classes is broken up by Spiderman, the visual design makes me feel like my eyes haven't loaded, and ability scores are decided with a single roll.


  • A roll-over d20 base, with an assumed TN of 10.
  • Three stats: Strength, Dexterity, and Mind. Your entire statline is determined by a single roll on a d6 table (for example, a roll of 4 is 0 Strength, 4 Dexterity, and -4 Mind).
  • Combat uses Attack and Defense, but since it's roll-over it's a lot easier for me to figure out than MRoS or similar: 1d20+Attack vs. 10+Defense to attack or 1d20+Defense vs. 10+Attack to defend. It also keeps Stealth and Move as secondary stats.
  • A Death and Dismemberment table is provided - every time a character takes damage past 0 HP, check that damage on the table.
  • No classes use standard GLOG magic. Instead, the Shaman draws spirits into themselves, while the Summoner manifests them physically. Both of them are a lot less versatile than standard GLOG wizards.
  • There are no subsystems (exploration, etc.) - just character creation, checks, and combat.
  • Rules for conversion between standard OSR systems and YAGH are provided.
YAGH is a very standard GLOG, with few things to steal. The classes are mechanically interesting, but may not fit in most settings without conversion. Playing YAGH may require subsystems added from other OSR systems, but the rules provided for conversion are nicely in-depth. The tone is strange - some standard fantasy classes, an Old West duelist, Spiderman, and others.

The creator has since released a second GLOG hack, Mall Rats, that hits a more consistent weird 90's tone, though it seems to be mechanically identical. Unlike YAGH, Mall Rats is being expanded with monsters, but I'd like to see more of both - sample adventures in particular are a good way to demonstrate a game's tone.

Edit: about a week after this post, Walfalcon added exactly that for Mall Rats.

1 comment:

  1. Welcome back to GLoG review purgatory, your seat has been kept warm! I didn't know that ESB was so good, I'll have to give it another look.


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