Friday, January 14, 2022

META PROMPT - CITIES, NATURE, GLOG - Delta Templates for Animal Lord and Castle Lord

Prompt Generator by Lexi Here 

So I've written before about a "Noble/Wyld" Reaction affecting stat. It was one of those things that I thought sounded neat but then typically got forgotten about in the flow of play. 

And someone has already done GLOG Wizards with a City/Nature dynamic better than I think I could.

So to preface this - I don't have much GLOG experience. I had a long stint where I played a GLOG Wizard named Firstborn in a Basic Fantasy campaign but I'm not sure if that counts, as that game ended at much higher level than a "normal" GLOG campaign I expect. I've written two classes for GLOG based on Social Parasites - This One is better I think. And I've been playing GLOG wizards in a few "stress test" sessions for an upcoming Magic School campaign.

I share many of the tiny critiques Manse brings up here

Anyway delta templates seem cool. Here are two Δ Templates about Nature and Cities.

An Aven Lord (Source)

(Δ) Animal Lord

Δ: Be Level 5. Defeat an Animal Lord in an Official Challenge.

You can turn into an Animal of your affinity at any time. You have all the benefits of both animal and man in either form and can use the best set of senses and appendages at any time. Lose this template if you lose an Official Challenge

  • Some Affinity examples are Canine, Feline, Piscis, Rodent, Serpent, Aven, and Equine
  • As Animal Lord you'll probably be expected to offer some amount of protection and problem-solving for those in your "Kingdom". Failure to rule adequately could mean an increasing number of Official Challengers.
  • "Benefits of Both Animal and Man" is broad on purpose and is dependent on Affinity. Canine Lords can smell as well as wolf or hunting hound at any time, can "dull" their smell to Human ability if it becomes inconvenient, and can see the entire color spectrum in the form of a dog. Aven Lords can sprout wings at a moments notice and might be mistaken for angels.
  • What constitutes an "Official Challenge" depends on the Affinity - an Official Challenge to the current Rodent Lord, a Beaver, might be to build a "better" dam. Serpent Lords love tests of wit, and Canine Lords love tests of Hunting and Tricks.

Fairly standard Druidy stuff.


(Δ) Castle Lord

Δ: Be Level 5. Defeat a CASTLE.

You have absolute awareness of all that takes place inside your castle. You can take your castle with you as long as you keep it fed and happy. 

"How do I get to Level 5 if the GLOG system I'm in only goes to Level 4" is a good question.

Saturday, January 8, 2022

Some FLAILSNAILS Observations - The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly

For the unfamiliar.

Some FLAILSNAILers getting into Fisticuffs over who gets the Book of Vile Darkness (Source)

Basically there are two categories of games that get run-

1) "Hubworlds" - These are fairly normal, comprehensive TTRPG games where interdimensional travel is something that is added on afterwards. You can make characters in them and have a bunch of sessions under the same GM and never interact with the FLAILSNAILS side of things, just like a "normal" game.

2) "DUNGEON" - These are things like megadungeons or depthcrawls that, on their own, don't have comprehensive character generation rules with them. Both Gardens of Ynn and my own Stygian Library reskin (RUNEFOREST) were some examples for this, but one GM ran Castle Gargantua and another ran a sort of miniature Sky-Ship adventure.

And then there are three categories of FLAILSNAILS characters-

1) Characters from campaigns that have ended.  Say you were stranded on a boat when the rest of your party was TPK'd by divine lions. Maybe a campaign never quite got off the ground or ended suddenly, and you feel as though your character's story is not over quite yet, or that they were really fun to play. FLAILSNAILS can be an opportunity to accomplish old goals, discover new ones, and keep telling stories with those characters who's story never got a true ending. Or maybe they were banished or cursed to wander the multiverse and are just looking for a way home.

2) Characters from campaigns that are still going. A bit more self-explanatory, this is when an active campaign subscribes to inter-campaign play and you can play your character from that campaign in any sessions that pop up. This can lead to more spotlight time for active characters to develop and also risk their lives for magic items and XP. 

3) Characters specifically for FLAILSNAILS.  This one was the rarest category. Basically whenever someone didn't have a character they wanted to play for whatever reason - maybe they were worried about fatality or were just tired of their current characters or all their characters were in prison or recovering from poison gas - they could quickly roll up something from their system of choice. We usually used Basic Fantasy. This also works for when you find a funky OSR class or concept that doesn't match the aesthetics, setting, or balance of any of the active games but you still want to give it a try. One of my favorites was a player running an Extras class made up of All Star NBA players.


1) MOAR GAMES. One of the jokes on the server is "allthegamesallthedays", but with the power of FLAILSNAILS we were actually able to have a serious game streak that lasted well before Thanksgiving and went all the way until the New Year. The ability to just sit down and run something like Stygian Library by going "I'm here to run a game whenever we get three players, bring any character you want" without having to worry about balance, systems, what character generation looks like, what are the answers to 20 questions for this setting etc, was SO liberating and allowed for GM's to just focus on the dungeon without worrying about things like "how much does a torch cost and what's the distal view of governance look like"

2) NEW AND INTERESTING CHARACTER STORY MOMENTS. This one surprised me a bit, but there were a good number of tender character moments in the DUNGEON type of games. At one point there were characters from three separate Wizzzargh campaigns that had a very cool interaction where they recapped all that had happened over a few hundred years to one another, being from the same setting. Beyond that there were hardships, friendships formed across the campaign-verse, and arguments over ethics. And none of this required input from NPC's, the players already had really solid ideas about how to roleplay their characters and could just react naturally to any strange situations that came about.

3) RUN NEW STUFF OR OLD STUFF WITHOUT WORRYING BOUT THE SMALL STUFF. My Runeforest campaign ended up dwindling after 15 sessions or so, but I still had lots of my worldbuilding notes from it. I think I enjoyed running it as a modified FLAILSNAILS  depthcrawl more than I enjoyed running it as it's own campaign premise, since it let the characters focus on the "spooky hostile magic forest" part without being muddled by things like Merchant factions as I had originally imagined. FLAILSNAILS protocols also let me hammer out my current "DUNGEON" - a card crawl with Dinosaurs and Pirates, in a single weekend. All I had to do was make an encounter table - I didnt have to think about a system or houserules or character generation or "what happens when the pc's get high level". There's alot of cool concepts, dungeons, and modules out there that would work well to run "off the cuff" without worrying about how they "fit" into a specific world.

Xelor has been facilitating some cool GMless games set in the "Main" setting on the server


To preface this, I do think most people should at least consider some FLAILSNAILS procedures if they play multiple OSR games on a server with multiple GM's, but...

1) TOO ADVANCED ADVANCING ADVANCEMENT. A side effect of characters in more games where they came back with interdimensional treasure was that keeping track of the various characters drawbacks and capabilities could be a hassle. Sometimes character's would end up with wild magic items, mutations, or curses. For example, one of my character's in particular ended up with a curse preventing them from lying, which is the sort of drawback that can be planned around when you want to do undercity crime, but only if everyone in your party knows about it. Another example was the acquisition of more powerful items like cloaks of flying. I think some of this can be prevented with both post-session reports and a sort of standard server "no-fly" list on how powerful is too powerful both for curses and magic items. This might come in handy. Alternatively, the old "+5 swords dont work here, sorry" is easy and has precedent in my opinion. There's no straightforward fix for level differences between heavily and rarely played characters though, and it can exacerbate problems for people who are only able to play more rarely, as games not even in the same setting as the campaign can start to bump up the average party level and start to leave people behind. This isn't as much of an issue as it would be in more "balanced" and less OSR systems, but I still think it's worth mentioning. 

2) TONAL MISMATCH. I do think that some themes or campaign settings open themselves up to FLAILSNAILS campaign-hopping more than others.  I've been running a game of Kingdoms (it's very cool) and while I had initially planned to open up the game to FLAILSNAILS protocols, the players opted out due to tonal concerns and how they wanted a more walled off, linear experience without any gonzo mismatched tone. I think you should consider what sorts of game experience you want, that not every world does well with the concept of inter-campaign play, and that that's ok. It's a serious decision.

3) GRAPPLE RULES. One GM on the server recently commented how it felt like "FLAILSNAILS characters tend to take half their ruleset with them". They talked about an experience having to adjudicate a grappling situation with a Godbound character, an Esoteric Enterprises character, and a Basic Fantasy statblocked monster (as if most grapple rules weren't enough of a headache already, amiright). I can absolutely sympathize with that feeling. Even with the normal authority as a GM to just make whatever ruling you want, there's still pressure to try and keep character's within their own ruleset bubbles as close as possible because your ruling can mean life or death to someone's character. I think part of this is the idea that these player characters are more "borrowed" in many ways. (Note: Many of the characters who FLAILSNAIL traveled to Runeforest ended up dead or maimed to the point where it grew something of a reputation, so I don't think it's that I went too easy on anyone)


1) TALKING (eugh) to players and GM's beforehand about expectations is something I'd recommend, just like with any game. There were some insane XP haul sessions where clever uses of things like Invisible Servants ended up netting the characters huge amounts of XP in loot-for-xp systems, and I felt better after double checking with "home" GMs about the situation and how much XP characters from their world should expect. Also do your best to set expectations about the setting itself, particularly regarding lethality and hostility.

2) CONVERSION. Most FLAILSNAILS characters on the server have had Six Traditional Stats, Five Saving Throw Categories, Gold For XP, Ascending AC, and Rolls to Hit. Despite that there were still a surprising amount of niche situations (mostly involving things like Skills) where a GM would have to make a ruling, so having a rules reference YOU are comfortable with can help speed things along. I can't comment on more outlandish conversions like what Into the Odd characters might be like when thrown into the mix.

3) START OF GAME PROCEDURES. Anything that helps move the game along and prevent needless back and forth or recaps. We've done it enough that there's a bit of a rhythm now, but depending on the game mine is usually

1) Who is Leader/Wearing the Captain's Hat - their stats and abilities modify reaction rolls and party initiative rolls, and their player gets to make final calls about things like "left vs right".

2) Who is Mapper/Treasurer - Sometimes these are different but with non-standard dungeon formats like depthcrawls or cardcrawls we usually dont need a separate mapper.

And that's it! If you're interested, I run my Pirate/Dinosaur Card Crawl game Aduna Sea on the discord server you can find here. Happy SNAILING


1d8 FLAILSNAIL "Justification"

1Astral Projection in Your Dreams, Wake Up with New Stuff
2Diegetic Ancient Teleportation Portals
3Cursed Parachute
4Wizard Enjoys Casting Gate
5Cursed/Blessed By A God
6Its Just A Holodeck
7Randomly Fall From The Sky
8Shuffled Into The Deck Of Many Things

EDIT: The GM from the "Three Grapple" Examples chimed in and corrected my misremembering the situation somewhat, see below

"Nimue" was the Godbound PC, "Nerg" was my Esoteric Enterprises PC 

I still think it remains a good example for my point about niche situations and rules headaches.

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Re-Imagined Monster Manual Challenge: Turbo Mode [A-B]

 Wizzzargh did it first, and they have more in-depth takes on the original monster manual entries that I won't get into. Instead I'm just going to stat/flavor these somewhat quickly as an exercise and attempt to get this blog running again. I'll be linking their posts as I go through and would recommend checking out Wizzzargh's posts and cool art.

All of these are based off of Centras, my ongoing setting containing Runeforest/Shell and Stone and the like.

So without further ado:

 Aerial Servant : Elementals come in all shapes and forms and you can hire them with a contract in the right language. All services are tit-for-tat. They are sometimes used as assassins by unscrupulous sorts, but
1) Their kills are fairly obvious, since they tend to just bludgeon someone to death (they hate getting wet and know that people have blood)
2) They are very gossipy, and elemental contracts require an exchange of True Names. 

Thus mages with Law Enforcement can usually consult elementals themselves to quickly discover the name of a killer.  This has lead to some interesting cases of counterplay and lengthy investigations nonetheless.

Ankheg: Insects of all sort live under the earth and sometimes come to the surface during the Spring and Summer seasons. Because the taxonomy of insects is so diverse compared to surface-dwelling humanoids (who barely survived the Great Fires), it's rare for anyone except experts to know their names. Instead, contracts get put out for "giant bug what' ate me' crops!" and some sword-swinger will come along and try to deal with it without dieing.

Ant (Giant): Ants are used as mounts by Antfolk, but they're pretty rare (the big ones at least). Sometimes a swarm of ants will gain sentience and take the form of a Giant Ant from latent Runeforest magics.

Apes (Gorilla/Carnivorous) : Regular gorillas aren't around anymore, they were granted intelligence and wings or claws by a dead god. Pushed to the brink of extinction by the Godclaws forces. If they show up on a table, it'd be a feral tigorilla or derhii driven mad without it's wings. 

Axe Beak: A strange Runeforest creature. They can eat magic weapons to bestow it's latent enchantment on their beak. Intelligent weapons consumed can easily inflict their Ego upon their beastlike "wielder", leading to some frightening encounters with highly-intelligent and tactical minds inside a murderous giant bird. They also come in titanic varieties and are sometimes used as giant mounts. 

Baboon: These are just a type of small goblin that wear funny masks

Badger: Some are nice and some are very mean but they probably won't pose much of a threat. Unless they are enlarged by magic. Then you should probably run.

Baluchitherium: Nope

Barracuda: It's a fish with teeth

Basilisk: These were a bigger deal in the Age of Heroes, nowadays they are mostly a threat in wyld places like the Runeforest. They are symbiotic with Silenced Flesh to Stone spellwisps, which is the source of their petrification abilities. Most variants are snake-like except for some found in coastal regions which resemble large iguanas.

Bears: Common Runeforest threat. Rune-variants tend towards magical claws. One common subtype called "Skull Bears" are large and black with a white, skull-like pattern on their chest. Eating Skull Bear meat is known to bring about a dreaded "curse" (actually just really bad diarrhea, a common piece of apothecary advice is that if you have to eat any meat from a Skull beast you should cook it with an herb named after a Saint)

Giant Beavers: A rare Runeforest encounter. If you're lucky enough to find and parlay with some you could probably get a great deal on scrap lumber or dam construction costs.
Many summers ago, during a previous Runeforest incursion, a rune-pelted giant Beaver began constructing great castles in the woods. The Fae and Adventurers marveled at first..until the Beaver named itself "Kastor Khan", taught other beavers to carve spears from the Rune Trees, and began a war campaign that claimed several forts belonging to the Court of Summer. Kastor Khan was pushed back at great cost....but some say he lives on, sharpening the spears of his brethren as he plots his revenge against Man and Fae.

Beetles: Beetlefolk and their Beetle Kin are hearty, unbothered creatures. They take the Summer Insect Pilgrimage quite seriously and have been known to simply wander through great battles, seemingly unaware or uncaring of their surroundings. Some take positions in the church of the insect-god Ka'Thon where they act as martial masters, showing students how to better use their shields and armor as an extension of their bodies.

Beholder: Remnants of the nearly-extinct deep sea demons from Stone-And-Shell. Basically unheard of in the Runeforest, though the Rune Logicians of Polis would really like to collect one for better component study.

Black Pudding: Mutated Ink Elementals who's stains just so happen to be a bit more permanent.

Blink Dogs: Are not traditionally sentient unless they are a blessed Cerberi. They are bred but not sold by the Hound Dealer's Guild of Polis, instead kept exclusively as companions for high-ranking members or friends of the Guild. Anyone can get a Basset Hound of Tindalos though, but those can only jump out of right angles (Available with Purchase!)

Boars: Another Common Runeforest threat, and similar to bears, rune-variants tend towards magical tusks. Unlike bears though, Boar meat actually tastes good.

Brain Mole: Nope

"Buffalo" (actually Bisons/Yaks): So most gods like the smell of cows, and also cows are delicious. So humans domesticated them. But apparently The Wyld took offense to all this for some reason, and thus we have Bisons, which are extra tasty cows hiding behind a ton of muscle and aggression. Rune-Bison tend not towards magical horns but instead magical hooves, severe variations in size, and hive-minded tendencies. Stampedes are incredibly disastrous but thankfully rare. Yaks are an offshoot of bison and cow. They are sentient, hearty pack animals that gods and similar entities like to make pacts with, bestowing the yaks with the ability to cast spells.

Brownies: A type of mischievous and occasionally helpful Fae fairy, able to remain invisible. Their helpfulness and tricks depend on their Court association, and they are a common boon or bane for those favored or unfavored by a particular Court. They are also incredibly shy and hate being discovered outright.

  • Autumn Brownies: Aid by alerting you to pickpockets, thieves, and other ambushes. Trick by spying for your enemies, "stealing" coins and other treasures (really just burying them or hiding them somewhere else in your campsite), and tying knots in all your rope.

  • Winter Brownies: Aid by tending your fires and patching up holes in your clothes. Trick by putting out fires and biting holes in your clothes and sleeping bag.

  • Spring Brownies: Aid by helping prepare and cook your meals and cleaning your cooking and eating utensils. Trick by spoiling your food and ingredients.

  • Summer Brownies: Aid by polishing, sharpening, and helping care for your weapons and armor. Trick by dulling your blades, misplacing your ammunition, and dirtying your armor.

Bugbears: Sea-Scorpion folk from the Land of Stone and Shell with a long and storied history. They enjoy but can't play music due to an ancestral curse, their blood is magic (+1 MD for drinking all of one's blood) and are generally gentle despite their size and appearance. 

For a "Bugbear" result on an encounter table, it's just a large martially competent goblin wearing an animal pelt.

Bulette: Sandsharks have been reported in the Southern Deserts and the occasional Island, but aren't particularly common. The Runeforest does occasionally make unique monsters though, which could certainly include a burying-shark monster with bulette stats. They might also just be a type of large, undiscovered bug.

Monday, August 3, 2020

Help I Accidentally Created a Fundamentally Imperfect Fallen Universe (Pantheon Generator Results and walkthrough)


This image is Wizzzargh's Fault

I generated a pantheon using the madness found here, with a bit of this and that.

Here's the insane result! Making it was fun!

I gave them names! And I've been playing lots of Cult Simulator so that inspired a lot of these. 

Eightfold Goddess - The Creator and Great Weaver of All. She who granted form to The Eight.

The First Wards: Also called Mud-To-Bricks. Individually, they are called Volcana the Hammer, Hestia the Forge, and Brigid the Smith

The Gates of Death: Each Door is it's own Aspect: Keidara of the Lock and Roshan the Unbroken

Dagr, The Noon-Blaze: Eye of the Weaver, Hour of Life and Death

Noxia, The Unceasing Wind: She-Of-Calamities

Lethe, The UnMind: The Cave-dweller, The Blank Slate

Kleros, The Blindfolded Archer: Who's Arrows Fall Where They Will

Settu, The Stray: The Darkened Claw, Dances-In-Shade

Euphos, The Guardian: The Unbroken Shield, The Great Protector

So breaking out the relationship dice rolls from here a bit more also gives some lore inspiration.

  • The First Wards and Noxia rolled an 11 on the relationship table, which is "A single designer child". It's obviously pretty interesting that Construction and Destruction got paired up in such a way, so I think the myth is something like this:
    "In the Earliest Days of the Eight, a Prophecy was whispered into the ears of Noxia and each Ward, promising them a Great Ally for their Aspect would be born by combining their essences. Each agreed, and Unceasing Wind fed part of herself willingly to the Wards, but not before her sharp winds cut each of those Three. The cuts from the Wards intermingled with the forge-worked Winds to create Ickorus, The Blood of Gods

  • The Gates of Death and Lethe rolled an 8, which is Unhappily Married. Despite that they rolled the maximum possible amount of offspring with each other and each have one Fling with a different god. I already had begun to think of Lethe as somewhat monstrous or dangerous, so perhaps their "Marriage" is actually that The Gates of Death also imprison Lethe in some sort of divine cave? Maybe there might be a sort-of Stockholm syndrome going on.

    • The Gates of Death had their affair with Euphos, the Soldier god. I think that Euphos and Roshan are attracted to each other's Fortitude and strength, but that their union creates Xashur, god of Pestilence, who is personified as a literal soldier of death.

    • Lethe had their affair with Dagr, the Day god. I think their "affair" may be less a result of mutual attraction and more "One Time Lethe Left Her Cave Prison And Day Had To Put Her Back" and it probably involved Dagr burning Lethe to cause the Cave-dweller to shed her "Skin" and weaving two aspects of leadership. Those twins would become Gwynvold and Nymenche, "The Crown and Sceptre" and probably lead Lethe back to the Underworld somehow.

    • The "Children" of The Gates of Death and Lethe probably each have their own Myth but I'm guessing that they all involve some variation of Lethe having various accidents you might expect from a goddess of ignorance.

  • Dagr and Settu rolled a 4, which is "Bitter Rivals". Lore-wise, I think this might explain why so many animals are nocturnal in this setting. They had a single child despite their rivalry though, who is the triple-god of Charity of all things. I'll have to think about this one more later but I'll call them Za-Ket

  • Finally, Kleros and Euphos rolled a 3, which is "Passionate Lovers". I think this may indicate that Soldiers tend to enjoy gambling quite a bit in this setting, and of course speaks to the inherent risk involved in each martial conflict a soldier takes part in. Also I'm going to give Kleros a bow made by Euphos as a gift, hence her moniker of "Blindfolded Archer". I'll call the bow Skoletos. Their pairing results in four additional deities.

So to wrap up this blog post, I'll summarize the second generation god names and maybe cover their relationships in a future post.

Xashur, Warrior of Decay: Sword of Plague

Gwynvold and Nymenche, "The Crown and Sceptre"

Ickorus, Blood of the Gods

Kalvores, The Riders

Ferralocke, The Conception and Birth

Sagaheim, The Book-Keeper

Za-Ket, The Three Faces of Giving

Nilarm and Baskarr, "The Flood and Blossom"

Ursck - "The Mother's Rage"

"______" - (Nameless god of Silence)

Rag-Kios - "Justice of the Gods"

Friday, July 24, 2020

Do a Fusion Dance and Turn Into A Crocodile (Styxian Pair: Jaws of Death and Quietus Oar Bonded Classes)

Biggest Inspirations for this were the Amazon Pairs by Cavegirl and Crocodile Class by Goatman's Goblet

Sometimes the crocodiles who float the River Styx perish. When this happens, their souls split, reincarnating as two individual mortals. Coming together most commonly as twins or lovers, the split souls seek adventure and power before finally returning to their guardian forms. Together, they are known as Styxian Pairs.

A party member riding on a newly fused Styxian Pair (Art by Bram Sels)

Both classes share the following abilities:

Natural Swimmer: Can swim and make attacks underwater without penalty. Can hide in water and swamps on 3-in-6

Bond of the Soul: The Jaws of Death and Quietus Oar cannot recover hit points without the presence of the other. While they maintain their own HP pools, certain Soul-Effecting magics have the chance to harm both equally, forcing each individual to save against the effect even if only one would be a legal target.

True Form: Guardian of the Styx: At 9th Level, the Jaws of Death and Quietus Oar can physically combine to live as they did in a past life: as a massive, 40 foot long crocodile beast. They can also separate back into their humanoid forms, but can only either split or fuse once each day.


Jaws of Death

XP- Magic User
Hit Dice: D6
To Hit- As Thief
Saves- As Thief
Spellcasting- As Cleric, (but see below)

Fangs of the Beast: Can Dual-Wield bladed weapons without penalty. When successfully making two attacks against a single target in this way, the Jaws of Death can immediately attempt to grapple the target for free.

Speaker of Ruin: Jaws of Death have no access to any spells innately and must learn them from other's spellbooks or similar sources. Jaws of Death can learn magic but must scrimshaw spells on bones or teeth. This usually means they are limited to access wizard spells due to the nature of spellbooks and scrolls, but if they find a scroll or learnable spell from a Cleric's spell list they can learn it as well (assuming whatever outside force grants the spell responds to the Jaws of Death's will). They can cast spells underwater without issue.


Quietus Oar

XP- Magic User
Hit Dice: D8
To Hit- As Fighter
Saves - As Fighter

Mighty Tail: Quietus Oars begin play with a special club that deals d12 damage. It deals max damage on grappled targets

Rush: Quietus Oars can move at twice their normal speed in a round a number of times per day equal to their level.

Navigate the River: Quietus Oars can navigate unerringly in water, swamp, or similar terrains

Design Notes: This is meant for something like B/X or Basic Fantasy and seems a bit more powerful than the standard classes. Having the bond be squishy (two adventurers are twice as likely to die as one, right?) might make up for it or maybe you should gate these classes behind stats or something.

I haven't really written any classes like this before but it was sorta fun. Probably don't expect it to be balanced.

Natural Swimmers' "Hiding" ability was originally just "hide as thief in swamp settings" but a half-chance seemed more straightforward- it should probably be an emergency thing rather than a reliable one. If characters take the time to hide smart then they usually aren't found but this would let the Styxian Pair supernaturally disappear, even if they would normally be in plain sight. Basically an elven cloak ability.

Some of the balance probably depends on how reliable or dangerous Grappling is in your system, but trying to game the Mighty Tail's ability seems like a fun tactical hurdle to me. It might still be a bit too strong.

Since I like progression in classes, I'd probably use Wizzargh's Fighter Techniques with the Quietus Oar and let them access Fighter Techniques at either half or third of the base Fighter rates. Collecting wuxia techniques is just really fun and lines up nicely with Wizards getting new tricks from spells.

The capstone doesn't have specifics but that's on purpose. For some things a "normal" super sized croc is fine, for my system I'd probably just let the players have the normal semi-demigod abilities that styxian crocodiles would have, like eating and controlling ghosts and total immunity to poisons.

I also have some ideas about lore and having individual Jaws of Death from certain regions or backgrounds utilizing different styled weapons- in the first draft they used Shotel's specifically to emphasize a pincer/jaws motif. Maybe there are snake variant's who use whips and poison daggers for their jaws, or a variety of long and short blades to emulate different animal styles. I might follow up on a later post if I come back around to it.

Thursday, May 28, 2020

Jojiro's Twenty Questions for Centras

Here's the cool link! I've done this once before but wanted to give another a try! In particular I've tailored answers to an area called The Jeweled Coast.

1. What is something that players can interact with that inspires wonder in your setting?

  • Skylands! They are floating islands and dungeons and ruins of ages past that float through the sky before being shot with anchoring chains shot from giant ballista and raided by adventuring crews! They can be HUGE or TINY or anything in between! There are also BUG-CITIES that roam around mortal-engine style on the backs of giant beetles.

2. How does one religion in the world work? What rituals and observances are involved, and how does this religion play with other religions out there? Are gods real?
  • The Godclaw is more or less the "official" pantheon, made up of the five hero-gods who saved the realm. While each god maintains their own church with it's own power structure and rituals, overall the Godclaw Council works to maintain order amongst the larger cities and settlements in particular, acting as a social and military resource for citizens. However, the Godclaw does not tolerate open worship of other deific beings or cults - while there is no inquisitor-like force rooting out corruption, the Godclaw's resources are so ingrained in communities that they tend to self-enforce against anyone practicing heretical worship, as all the Godclaw would need to do is withdraw their resources once finding out about heretics to cause irrevocable harm. Gods might be real.

3.How does one get access to goods and services in the setting? Will items always be available, will trade routes be jammed up by bandits, are their commissions for things, are magic items sold in regular stores, are hirelings available for hire or do we have to find them in the world?
  • There's a rather large variety of crafters and shops of all sorts. Both guild and non-guild businesses are in abundance, and enforcers of the church of Artosis called The Invisible Hand does a good job at rooting out anti-consumer practices and preventing complete monopolistic takeovers. Trade Routes can be jammed up by weather, monsters, or bandits as usual but these rarely prevent goods to be completely unavailable, as businesses tend to overstock. Prices still fluctuate though. Magic Items can be commissioned by Wizards or Wizard Academies, though they are quite expensive and typically require monster parts in addition to esoteric favors. Hirelings are usually available for hire, most commonly as guides, trackers, or the occasional out-of-work adventurer.

4. What are some examples of people and creatures a commoner would be wary of in-setting? What are some examples of people and creatures a commoner could trounce without worry? What are some examples of people and creatures a commoner would trust?
  • Humans don't like Elves because of a long history including two apocalyptic events. In forested areas there's lots of fae, so strangers tend to be treated with a mix of caution and distant politeness. Wizards are rare and people treat spellbooks and wands/staves like modern people would treat bazookas. In general any creature with a skull-pattern on it can be killed without fear of any sort of reprisal. 
5. Name a heroically slain dragon, or something comparable in threat. How was the creature slain, according to stories? How was it actually done? Was it a fluke or a well-executed slaying of a monster?
  • The great dragon-tyrant WRECKNAUGHT was killed by a veritable army of heroes and sky-pirates in an epic battle that brought about the end of the Age of Weeping Oil and ushered in the Age of Heroes. According to stories it was a pair of roguish heroes named Mitsuu and Kaizoku, a birdfolk and fox-folk who organized the attack and dealt the killing blow. The exact tactics are lost in the two ages past but the mythos places a great emphasis on teamwork.
6. How do people who adventure (if there are even such people) get jobs and contracts in this setting?
  • Nothing prevents four friends from just deciding to explore a dungeon or go try to hunt a big monster, but most either start or join an official Adventuring Company, complete with a sponsor. An Adventuring Company will have several adventuring members and handles the administrative tasks involved in sourcing and vetting profitable excursion. Open contracts still exist though, and Wytch-Guard Companies in particular can only be joined after completing a Wytch-Guard contract.
7. How do people convey their station/caste if such things exist? In particular, what intersections do station/caste have with the adventuring lifestyle (whatever the players are in the setting…guards, tomb raiders, bounty hunters, etc.)?
  • Lots of adventurers have some sort of noble or wealthy upbringing actually - station is usually conveyed through fancy clothes, etiquette, and displays of wealth.
8. What privileges and prejudices exist in your world, if any do at all? For example: How does the world view LGBTQ identities, ethnic identities within each fantasy “race”, and race relations?
  • LGBTQ identities don't have any taboo attachment, Race relations between humans is strained a bit though, due to the complications of an ongoing Cold War and a refugee crisis. Elven families are rare and tend to just stay within their own communities, though there is tension between rare meetings of Elves from the The Lineage of Days and Elves from The Lineage of Night. Dwarves have subcultures but these aren't well understood by outsiders - in general they are quite collectivist in nature and this has suited them well.
 9. Distal View of the Political System?
  • There is technically a monarchy, though it's somewhat removed.  Elected City Councils, who tend to be representative of settlement populaces, take care of local laws and governance fairly well. Basically any given city might do things totally differently.
10. Proximal View of the Political System?
  • King Markhus is well liked but elderly, and rumored to be in worsening condition. His three children include Lothric, Myrna, and Halfred, though his daughter Myrna is slated to next take the throne due to the ancient customs of the Monarch's Cycle. Lothric is talented with administration, Halfred is a somewhat famous and well-liked Naval hero who helped fight off some undead pirates, and Myrna is somewhat reclusive and lacks the charisma of her father. The Royal Family has a bloodline that traces back to the god Ka'Thon and his bride, Queen Night-Vale of the Summer Court.

11. Do your players even need their rations and torches?
  • Yes, unless you want to starve or be eaten by things who can hunt in the dark.
12. How do you become a Ruler of Many?

  • Being well-liked by a group of people, or be born into royal blood. Adventuring Companies can comprise "many" to the point of being small militaries, and their leaders are the most cunning and successful of adventurous types. If you want to lead an actual army or nation though, you'd have to go somewhere else or try to stage a coup.
13. Are there social consequences for necromancy or other forms of forbidden magic? Do these consequences differ in the view of the common man vs. other people?
  • Necromancy is openly practiced by the church of the goddess Valora, but forbidden magic or worship that clearly is meant to cause harm is brought down with extreme prejudice
14. What is the common man’s capability to distinguish the following things: a werewolf’s tracks vs. wolf tracks, a manticore attack vs. a lion attack, a demon attack vs. a gargoyle attack?
  • Any tracker could tell a wolf doesnt walk like a werewolf, but a non-hunter peasant wouldn't. Manticores leave spike wounds. Most people don't believe in demons and have never heard of gargoyles.
15. What is the social position of rogues, within both history and in the current day? Within both thieves’ guilds and within the world at large?
  • Thieves Guilds are winked at but not typically acknowledged (sometimes they even pay taxes!) and Assassin's Guilds are real but considered to be fake by most of the populace. Socially you would just introduce yourself as an adventurer or archaeologist since there's skill overlap and leave it there.
16. What is the role of dungeons within the world – are they a place where MacGuffins have been hidden, ruins of lost civilizations, unexplored caverns extending deep into the earth, Zelda-like puzzle dungeons that are more a player challenge than something that makes sense in-world, or something else entirely?
  • The three types of dungeons are Vaults, Skylands, and Ruin Bugs (fortress beetles who's population has been wiped out or moved). They are all actively sought out and competed over by rival adventuring guilds, and all tend to have some sort of treasure from either recent or ancient history. The challenge each can present vary wildly though.
17. How common are dungeons, how deep or large are they, and how much treasure might be expected within their depths?
  • Dungeons of all three types are relatively common, but vary wildly in size and profitability.
18. Explain, if you could, the differences between magic-users in the world. For instance, how would wizards, sorcerers, miracle-workers, warlocks, witches, medicine-men, stage magicians, and the like differ from each other? Do all of those categories even exist?
  • "Wizard" is a term reserved for the officially sanctioned bunch who undergo training to learn how to read the arcane language and house spells in their brain. This takes most of their lifetime. "Witches" vary in reaction from village to village but petition nature spirits and the land itself for spells. 
19. What are two examples of food culture in the world? Even if food isn’t a part of play, what dishes are people consuming in the world around the players, and what messages can be conveyed through food and drink?
  • Dwarfs brew all sorts of exotic alcohol. "Shiner Flasks" are used as an all-purpose dont-ask-whats-in-it alcohol by adventurers. Cities tend to have food-markets and street stalls that serve culinary dishes from all over the world, including exotic cheeses, dumplings, name it.
20. What is the internal logic of the game world you are running, as far as players are concerned? When the players act and the world reacts, what principles do you hold to?
  • I'm not actually sure I like this question, but is somewhere between 'maintaining realism' and 'rule of cool' on a sliding scale a proper answer?

Quick Review:

Overall I liked these and thought they were fine, I just don't quite like them as much as Jeff Rients? They seem more suited to a worldbuilding guide rather than a player guide which is less useful to me personally. A big thank you to Jojiro though for putting them together.

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Playable Ancestries of Centras

I bounce between lots of systems and stuff but in general these are ancestries that you can pick if you're playing in one of my games. They go in conjunction with class choice and affect saving throws sometimes.  This stuff is mostly based off of how Basic Fantasy does things but was also inspired by Wizzzargh's houserules for their open table games. DCC and other stuff was an inspiration as well.


  • 10% reduction in amount of XP needed to level up. 
  • Humans and only humans get to wield swords, which deal damage one step higher than whatever their normal damage dice would be. d6 becomes d8, d8 becomes d10, and so forth.
Most people you meet will be humans.


  • Roll an extra 3d6 for an additional Luck stat. Luck can be tested (1d20+luck ≥ 20) or permanently spent to reroll dice after learning the result.
  • Elves have "darkvision" but it's function depends on lineage:
    • The Lineage of Days can see twice as far in low-light and can see as normal when underneath a starry sky. They can also see through smoke, ash, and flame as though it weren't there.
    • The Lineage of Nights have echolocation that works best in subterranean or forested environments. They can also see through non-magical fog, mist, and dirty water as if it were clear.

Elves are rare to encounter outside their own small settlements.


  • Don't have conventional names. They always seem to know which Dwarf you're referring to though. Trying to give them nicknames is unspeakably rude, but adventuring Dwarfs will allow friends to refer to them by the primary color of their clothing. Such dwarfs must be careful to change this color at least once a week.
  • Have immunity against targeted magics and curses. This still leaves them vulnerable to area-of-effect spells like fireball but renders them immune to spells like sleep.
  • Dwarven "darkvision" is actually thermal vision. 
It is common for Dwarfs to settle in enclaves within the settlements of other races, though they also have their own city-states. Dwarfs 'shed' their name in a coming of age ceremony called the ritual of mirrors, and any adult dwarf who becomes too attached to a name risks the wrath of a strange psychic-mirror-vampire-monster.


There aren't any of the original hairy-footed agrarian types left in Centras, but for playable small-folk-

Kestrels: Resemble their more traditional halfling ancestors, but are born with feather birthmark "tattoos" that move and dance across their skin. Rarely, they will be born with bird-like features like talons, patches of actual feathers, or raptor eyes (but never wings). Kestrels can glide short distances.

Mice: Child-sized talking rodents. Mice can use sewing needles (stats as swords) or seam-rippers(stats as axes) as special weapons that can even harm spirit-beings. (Magic weapons without the bonuses, basically)

Kestrels tend to be nomadic, but couples will occasionally settle down among other populaces. Mice can be found wherever humans can be found.

Short post, but I just wanted to get something down. Hopefully someone finds it fun and gameable, or at least enjoyed the read. I love reading about unique twists to classic fantasy races so if you have some of your own you'd like to share please link it in the comments!