Thursday, May 27, 2021

glog class DRIP WITCH (flip templates)

 flip templates by mergo-kan here.

so cool! lets make one, mostly as an excuse to tinker mechanically.

continuing the theme of lo-fi jet-set city neon 90's that was set by mergo-kan's punk monk and CyberChronometer's lo-fi paladin

got some help naming things from Gorinich! specifically, drip witch untouchable//unbreakable, and presence//proximity

inspired by all those various fashion subcultures. mechanically an anti-mage-ish? i dunno, i slammed this out over 2-3 hours, and there's definitely some jank in how the templates work.

the day night thing was supposed to be like, wearing this kinda stuff in the day is different from wearing it at night. the day is where the dominant culture lives, the night is where the subculture lives. the day is about resisting, the night is about affecting. but i'm not sure how well that came across.

Decora - source

Blade, 21, works at a bakery for supermarket chain Woolworths. He started listening to metal in 2012 after being inspired by videos on MTV.

 metalhead - source



Yes, you get looks in the street. Good! Look at me, look at me, look at me--you force them to acknowledge your existence, every stitch screaming 'i am here, and there is nothing you can do about it.'

Starting Gear: Flashy subculture outfit, inscrutable hairstyle, a flip phone with a truly staggering number of charms

You start with the Clothes skill.

While you have more DAY templates: Double the effects of all DAY templates.

While you have more NIGHT templates: Double the effects of all NIGHT templates.

If you have an equal number of both, you get nothing. Live in the extremes or don't live at all.

Using a template flips it.

when you are in danger of imminent harm or attracting unwanted attention, you can overwhelm with a burst of visual information. everyone who can see you must look away for a couple of seconds (a round).

when you need to draw attention, or save someone from imminent harm, you can implode your presence. everyone who could see you must look at you for a couple of seconds (a round).

your fit is a symbol, a ward against that which would influence you. You are immune to mind altering effects in general and magical effects that only target you (not including damage). When you ignore such an effect, flip this template.

your fit is your armor, your shield against forces that seek to hurt you. When hit by a damaging spell, reduce the damage by Xd4, where X is the number of NIGHT templates you have. Then flip this template.

your fashion is alienating--you can use that to your advantage. When someone is approaching you with hostile intent, you can become unapproachable for a number of rounds equal to the number of DAY templates you have. No one can move closer to you during that time (you can move closer to others freely).

the community you have tied yourself to is tight-knit and always ready to lend a hand. any time, anywhere, you can have a friend show up. they're similarly dressed, won't fight, have nothing but the clothes on their back, and leave after they do what you tell them. They've got a life of their own after all.

you gain two spells and 1 MD. When you take this template and whenever you regain this MD, decide whether this template counts as DAY or NIGHT, changing which spell you can cast.

DAYBEAM: focus. hone yourself to a laser point. deal X*[sum] damage to a single target, where X is the number of DAY templates you have.

NIGHTWAVE: feel the pulsing, the pounding, the unmistakeable rhythm of the city. throw up to [sum] targets X*10' away from you, where X is the number of NIGHT templates you have.

Friday, May 14, 2021


 the units of your game are the resolution at which it will be played!

and just like 4K as a technology was never meant for computer screens, there is an optimum resolution for your game!

there are probably parts of it that are too fine.


i contend that most dungeon-delving games don't need to track time in minutes. it only adds a cognitive load on the GM's end.

just like combat is abstracted to turns, so to should dungeon delving--many games do this already, with 10's of minutes being the usual unit.

mausritter does this great--

"Each turn is around 10 minutes, and is enough time to explore one room and perform an action or two. A fight will almost always be one turn long."



if you have a superhero game where range is measured in feet that's waaaay too fine.

"You can emit electricity. spend points to increase the range."

+5' per point???? no superhero cares about 5' of distance.

in my opinion the optimal resolution for a superhero game is abstract tiers--in the case of our electricity hero, maybe something like

1. touch
2. "in the same room" distance
3. shouting distance
4. far

same goes for power. health measured in points is TOO FINE for a superhero game. in addition, health points instantly turn health into a RESOURCE!!! not fitting for superheros. superheros get hurt when its dramatic, not as a cost for goodies.

and if that's true, damage measured in integers is also too fine for superhero games.


one last example? mech games, those complicated sons of bitches. i don't have the brain RAM to run most mech games.

if we assume tactical grid (or hex) combat is the core game, no unit smaller than a single space matters.

weapons that cannot affect an entire space don't matter. (pistols shouldn't do anything in mech combat, but maybe rocket launchers do)

terrain smaller than a single space doesn't need to be modeled. drywall and 2x4's aren't gonna stop a mech from bulldozing through your house.

entities smaller than an entire space (Lancer RPG does this great--explicitly tells you pilots are useless in mech combat)

tracking parts of the mech--disabling an entire leg will have a space-level effect. the mech can't move as many spaces with a dud leg. good. disabling a foot does not. don't track it.

think about your game!! are the units too fine???


editing in real quick to say ofc you can do whatever the hell you want. at the end of the day the only consequence is that everyone at the table has to think a little harder. i, as someone who only has so much think to spare, care about reducing that as much as possible. if you don't, more power to you.

Thursday, May 13, 2021

Getting Rid of Dungeons

 i'm going to take a look at the GLOG and see what happens when the dungeon is removed from it!

this is a question i'm having because i've been seeing a lot of non-fantasy non-dungeon crawling glogs flying around lately, and i'm curious.

the goal is to come out of it with a set of general guidelines when taking the dungeon out of the glog, hopefully applicable to games outside the glog as well.

that said, here are the general guidelines.

1.  most importantly this is the big tl;dr point of my post: Dungeon Delving is a specific gameplay loop based on wagering resources. See this diagram from this blog post.

you will need to replace this loop with a different loop.

2. The fundamental systems of dungeon delving games are all Resources--specifically in dungeon and out of dungeon.

3. in dungeon resources: inventory space, light, time (minutes), hp, supplies, secondary resources (MD, ammunition)

this also includes mechanics like random encounters which turn time into a resource.

4. out of dungeon resources: time (weeks), gold, XP (characters)

5. for each of these systems (and the specific mechanics that comprise them), consider whether you need it in your game. Some things, like light (as a resource), really only make sense in dungeon contexts. Some things, like HP, will likely be tweaked rather than thrown out entirely.

Still, really consider them! some things that seem easy choices may not be--gold for example. I'm of the opinion that a cyberpunk game with a currency and a price list is worse for it--but that's just me. Or XP, which, divorced from the mechanic of gold as XP, probably shouldn't be tracked as a granular number!

the glog folks' Delta templates (by squigboss) are an alternative XP mechanic that i would guess has risen up as an answer to games that are deemphasizing dungeon play. tell me if i'm wrong though, i'm still a newcomer.

6. What's left?
core conflict resolution mechanics (dice, stats, rolls)
combat + harm

more importantly, nothing else--what's left is barely a game. You could play it, but it just turns into a shittier version of what D&D 5E does, with all the onus to guide players to what they should be doing at any given moment placed on the "adventure" and the skill of the GM. ripping out dungeons has ripped out the game from the game.

Take a good look at your dungeon-less game, whether it's a gloghack or one pager or whatever. Does it have a strong, clear, gameplay loop? if not, it probably needs one.


and here's me running through a glog and thinking things out. (which i did before writing the above)

 i'm using Skerple's Many Rats on Sticks.

just going through it in order:

1. Core Rules

    these are pretty foundational. No reliance on dungeons here, though you'll probably want to change up those derived stats depending on what your goals are.

2. Combat.

    There's quite a bit of stuff that is fantasy, but nothing that explicitly requires a dungeon. We see our first hints of dungeon-based design with the list of things you can do on your turn--keeping strict track of movespeed down to the foot is way less important outside of the cramped corridors of dungeons. quick draw slots are more general, but still assume you really care about inventory shenanigans.

    healing is interesting. healing itself isn't a dungeon only thing, but the way its been done is. that it requires resources--both actual rations and time is one system that slots into the gameplay loops dungeon crawling creates.

    there's also the types of healing, specifically short and small vs long and complete, though this is less dungeon specific.

3. Death and Dismemberment

    not really tied to dungeons. moving on.

4. Inventory and Items (+light sources and hirelings)

    inventory management is one of the crucial, foundational systems to the dungeon gameplay loop. You cannot bring everything you could possibly need into the dungeon. You may not be able to bring everything you want out. It does a lot of things, such as making multiple trips a common requirement (along with limited hp pools). Same with light as a resource, which interacts more with time (though in practice, i've never really had a moment outside of extreme circumstances where light was an issue).

    games without dungeons will probably not need to track inventories so meticulously, and will probably use more abstracted systems, if they have a system at all.

5. Dungeon and Wilderness Procedures

    as for dungeon procedures, nuff said. Most of this section is devoted to time, one of the fundamental resources in the dungeon.

    Wilderness is interesting. Why do we have wilderness in dungeoncrawling games? all the land in these kinds of games can be roughly divided into dungeon, town, wilderness. what purpose does putting obstacles in between the dungeon and the town serve?

    you could just say "to represent the distance between things in real life," but that doesn't really satisfy me. if that were true, we'd just have a system to convert distance into time/resources spent traveling and mark it off.

    The inclusion of wilderness rules (what a hex is, traversing hexes, populating hexes) indicates a sandbox style of play. That's their purpose. Notice a game like troika, which really deemphasizes the sandbox, does not come with wilderness or travel rules.

    forgive me, i've never read AFF so troika was my go to pull.

6. introduction for new players

    OSR stuff, not dependent on dungeons.

7. Characters!

    now we get some meat. First up, gold for XP. this is very strongly tied to the dungeon delving loop. XP is gold is a resource that is *spent,* else splitting gold/xp would not be a thing! XP is not a tracker or a measure of progression. In dungeon delving games, it is a resource. This is why retirement mechanics are a thing! any XP being spent on a character past level four is not as "effective" as it would be on a character under level four.

    the social class systems are for medieval stuff, moving on.

    Not gonna get into every little ability but here are some highlights.

    ancestries--some ancestry abilities are very dungeon-y (can eat rotten food as rations) some are not (can track a creature by smell)

    Notches assumes and is balanced around the fact that you are delving into meat grinder regularly. beware when adapting it to systems with other assumptions.

    anything with omens, for obvious reasons. random encounters are often the only time pressure the game is bearing on the players.

    magic dice, as a secondary resource to be managed in the dungeon gameplay loop. (plus spells as reward)

8. Tables and stuff

    The thing to note here is the price list. What purpose does tracking the actual cost of things serve, as opposed to a more abstract system such as wealth levels?

    honestly its probably just that it slots nicely into the gold treasure thing. in exchange for the large mental burden of keeping track of gold down to the copper piece, you get a single measure for quantifying the expense of both small basics like rations and torches, reoccuring costs like hirelings and projects, as well as large purchases like castles or boats.

    trying to simplify the system on one end makes it incompatible with the other. Even abstracting copper and silver out causes issues.

and that's that!

Thursday, March 25, 2021

woot woot gloghack started

 im doing a mashup of lancer and the GLOG! dungeon crawling in mech suits.

cuz i wanna run a space robot game but i can't run lancer (small and smooth brain)

i know some of yall are fiends for in progress shots... for like, posterity.

here's the first draft.

it's missing everything except what it needs to be legible!

to do:

-character creation?
-the other three classes
-more parts. endless parts.
-dungeon rules
-town rules (shopping)
-i guess a little more setting stuff

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

what is a cleric?

 here is my thinking on clerics, and how they fit into a system.

my base assumptions:

1. adventurers are not normal people. a fighter is not a normal soldier--if you've been in TTRPGs for a while you've probably heard *someone* explain why you can't send an army into a dungeon. A thief is not a normal petty criminal. wizards are not normal, period.

therefore, clerics are not normal religious figures, and the normal religious figures of your game should not be able to do the things clerics are able to do.

2. clerics are not wizards. wizards should not be able to do the things clerics are, and vice versa. even if the wizards can cast healing spells, and the clerics can call down lightning, the mechanical and fictional basis, methods, and results of their actions should differ.

so wizards can heal, but for a different cost, with a different result, and fictionally, in a different way.

based on these, my main point:

clerics are defined by their Relationship with Outside Forces. that their power is not within them is important. that it is a relationship is important.

what does this mean.

for example, the Skerples sorcerer is defined by the Instability of their Internal Power. mechanically, there is no resource--the sorcerer is a game of betting on a jenga tower.

GLOG wizards in general are defined by the Management of a Resource. how much of their resource they must expend to succeed, while not burning through it all too fast--even flavorwise, if you subscribe to the spells are living things business, there's no relationship there. you're looking for a (living) resource and figuring out where to stick it, which ones to shove in your head and which ones to shove in a scroll.

So. now you've got a choice. is your cleric magic or not.

if the cleric is magic, they carefully maintain a relationship with an outside force (or forces) who in turn channel their functionally infinite power through the cleric. what limits the cleric is not how much juice they personally have to power workings, but how much juice the outside force is willing to provide. huge and powerful magics is not a matter of cost to the cleric--they won't burn up in smoke because the power of a miracle was too much for their mortal body to handle. it's whether they can persuade the outside force to manifest, to do them this favor.

and the danger is in the unpredictable machinations of these outside forces. amaterasu hides in the cave, God turns Lot's wife into a pile of salt, Poseidon blows Odysseus off course for a decade.

this is tricky to represent mechanically in a satisfying way, i think. at least, nothing comes to mind immediately. i need to think more on this kind of relationship system, because the current model of "here's some tenets, follow them and receive boon, break them and receive punishment" isn't doing it for me.

if the cleric is not magic, their power is in their ability to create relationships with outside forces, which is not possible for the other classes. exorcist is the all time classic. using nothing but some paper with stuff written on it, some candles, some beads and their unshakeable faith, the exorcist converses, bargains, tames all manner of otherworldly powers.

that's a bit unclear, so lemme explain another way. with the classic 4-man party (fighter, thief, wizard, cleric), what does each one deal with? (my thoughts here are heavily based on this wonderful post that i love) the fighter removes hostile combatants. the thief removes non-sentient obstacles. the wizard deals in magical problems.

then the cleric deals with the things the other three don't. here's a fun chart i just made.

the non-magical cleric's power either comes from the ability, the know-how to command, or to deter, these sentient, ethereal forces. (i feel like there's a better word pair than material-ethereal, but i can't think of one)

that's my thoughts on clerics. course, you could always just not have clerics. fighter-thief-wizard is a great dichotomy.

now that i'm thinking about it, i should write something up on fighter-thief-wizard vs. fighter-thief-wizard-cleric

ADDENDUM: had some more thoughts over on the GLOG discord, here's a bit from that

zombies, wights, skeletons, etc--ran as they most commonly are (basic enemies), the fighter is actually the best bet to deal with these. undead enemies are commonly a test of how much damage a party can pump out, and that is the fighter's specialty.
(you could make undead enemies the clerics purview, that would probably involve something similar to 5e's famous channel divinity: turn undead)

magical traps, mysterious runes, rooms with wacky effects--that's wizards, who often have mechanics that allow them to identify unknown effects and disable magical fixtures

magical enemies, say... sorcerous pigman, fire breathing wing-boars, manticores? again, wizards are the ones identifying these creatures and protecting the party from their strangeness

spiritual and ghostly hijinks:
- possession, confusion, mind altering effects
- weird ghost stuff ("save or the ghost enters your body. become increasingly hungry. no amount of rations can sate you! do something about it or die of hunger in a day. the ghost died of hunger" if you can be exorcised, this challenge becomes trivially easy)
-  angry spirit (intangible) chucking shit around the room. fireballs don't hit intangible things, that makes no sense.
- non-harmful obstacles ("you get a deep feeling of dread as you enter this room. cleric, you know this is a spirit at work. your hirelings refuse to enter. deal with it or find another way around")

so i guess what wizards specialize in is magical problems that can be solved if you know what the problem is
and what clerics specialize in is magical problems that can't be solved even if you know what the problem is.

just like how thieves deal with mundane problems that can be solved if you know what the problem is (traps, that is--im leaving out locked doors and walls to climb)
and fighters deal with, you get the idea.

Tuesday, March 9, 2021

four flesh spells

 i was working on a project, but i ran out of juice. salvaged these four spells out it!

they're all flesh related.

1) lump
R: 10'  T: point  D: 1 day
create a lump of flesh and skin [sum] feet across. after 24 hours it quickly dissolves into a stain. it bleeds, but does not contain organs. it does not react to sensory stimuli. it registers as alive to anything that can sense the living, but not as having a soul.

2) bind
R: touch  T: creature  D: 1 hour
a willing target has their wounds temporarily knit together. regain [sum] hit points for the duration. at the end of the duration, they lose that many hit points. if [sum] is greater than the amount of missing hit points, do not go over. they still lose [sum] hit points after the duration.

3) detach
R: touch  T: creature  D: [sum] x 5 minutes
detach target limb from a willing creature. a limb can be any part of an arm or a leg, up to the entire limb. the limb can move as normal under the creature's control. the creature suffers no harm, and the limb can be reattached at any point during the duration. if the limb is harmed, the creature is harmed, and takes damage as normal. if the limb is not reattached before the duration is up, the limb dies and cannot be reattached. 

at three dice: the detachment can be anywhere, as long as it is a single "cut". (head from body, upper and lower halves, left and right halves, etc.)

4) loosen
R: 30'  T: creature D: [sum] minutes
target creature's flesh slightly loosens from their bones. any time that creature would take damage it takes that damage +1. any time it moves 10 feet it takes 1 damage. any time it is knocked over, falls from a height, jumps, or otherwise moves suddenly it takes 1 damage.

 at three dice: increase all damage to 2.