Thursday, September 28, 2017

Nightmare GLOG Hack Player's Guide & Ramblings

Here's my own GLOG hack. Pretty much a hack of Lungfungus's Valiant,  crossbred with The Nightmares Underneath(TNU), and stripped down in general.


It's hot garbage, don't read this crap!

Or read it to steal choice ideas but take it all with a strong grain of salt, once I hit actual play there was very little I actually liked!
It's just a bunch of filters and scribbles in GIMP but I wanted something to make the file less words words words
Ended up going pretty simple on the mechanics, and leaving a lot of signposts around saying 'go read this' or intentional holes like 'so how long DOES a lantern burn.'

Hopefully this
1. Makes it easier to get into because there's not loadsa bloat
2. Emphasizes that the game exists between the GM and players, not so much in the text, creating a sense of wonder and mystery rather than the staid rehashes many simple OSR compatible retroclones fall into

Rulings not rollings, that sorta thing. I was gonna write about my grand game design manifesto and the roles of novelty and mystery, then realized I don't actually give a shit about explaining it and would rather just talk about the game.

You have HD and roll for HP. You reroll them after rests though. So you have good days and bad days, but a rousing speech and a square meal can usually get you in better shape.

Once you run out of HP you start taking Con damage. Hits that deal over 1/2 your con maim you.
This is pretty much straight outta TNU, and gives a better sense that HP=/=meat points. TNU calls them disposition which was a mistake because that's like 9 more letters, but mechanically it makes it easier to describe hits from things that either aren't all that lethal sounding, or are absurdly lethal sounding, only having to worry about 'real' injury when the meat points of Con come into play.

You also deal damage based on HD. I mentioned in an earlier post why I like this.

No more vancian memorizing spells- you have your spells, you have your magic dice, you use your magic dice to cast spells, and that's all. There's already mishaps and dooms limiting wizard power, plus spells are a lot more weird and less powerful in general than in, say, D&D. Also this just means that anyone with a spell and some magic dice can cast the spell, which I like. The niche of the sage is great power at great cost, rather than the loathed niche of the D&D wizard which too often slips into 'the class that gets to do all the cool stuff and monopolize problem solving tools.' Also, the line between 'spell' and 'magic item' are blurrier than usual- Magic Missile could be a haunted lantern as easily as it could be a weird math formula in a book, usable by anyone willing- just not at the mighty levels of magic a sage commands.

Also, ~4-9 choices for templates (renamed to traits) that you can gain in any order, though you're still limited to 4. I hope the traits are all distinct and incomparable enough that there's no feeling of 'optimal builds, ' just picking what style you like best.

Some assumed setting stuff, but nothing too obtrusive apart from the specialist classes near the end.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Childhood Bestiary

I think Glorantha has good versions of these, but no- this is MY walktopus that I made up years ago for my Fantasy Hero game I played with friends


Walktopuses lived in the mountains, and had 9 blisters on their inexplicably square... hips? that could be burst to release a noxious cloud of smoke. Something that grappled you and prevented others from assisting via a cloud of obscuring poison gas sounds like a pretty good monster, honestly. The aesthetic inspiration was some weird wire and shaft affair that I think was the internal mechanism of a blender or something.

HD: 2- If you can hit them in their spine-pillar, they die pretty quick
AC: 13- They're flexible and quick, but squishy.
Attacks- 4-8 tentacles. Each tentacle pins 1 limb on a hit. Tentacles are severed if a player says they're aiming for one with a slashing weapon and hits, but losing tentacles does not cause HP loss, only the loss of an attack.
You take 1d[[attached tentacles]] of damage each turn you're being grappled, strangled, squeezed, etc. The leg tentacles can grapple too, but then the walktopus can't move.

Move- As human- they lose '1/4' of movement per leg tentacle lost, but jokes on you, they can flip upside down and use their 'arm' tentacles just as easily! And if you take out 2 from each, they can flip sideways and move horizontally like a really screwy horse!

Toxic Smoke Blisters- 5' radius of obscuring smoke, lasts until the end of the fight unless blown away. Being in the smoke makes you cough and screw your eyes shut- you're blinded for 1 round after leaving the fog too. Whenever you hit or threaten a walktopus, it usually pops a blister to protect itself. They have a keen sense of LOS, but cannot see in their own smoke, and generally only stay in their own smoke clouds if they're strangling someone. Works perfectly underwater. If you kill a Walktopus, you can harvest all the remaining blisters and huck them as grenades.

Motivations- Bioconstruct of the ancient Squidlords, whose ancient seafloor fortresses have been raised to the high mountains by tectonic action over the centuries. The Squidlords are long gone, but the durable Walktopi/puses remain and continue to enact their riot-control instinctual programming, choking out troublemakers and taking them to squidprison, and dispersing crowds with their gas.

 Hellmaw, or Hellmouth. But really, they should have been 'bogmaws,' because they lived in swamps and their thing was that they were rubbery floating balls 6-feet in diameter that had a super long tongue and swallowed you up. They also had defenses that made them right bastards to kill, and though I was too kind to ever have them grapple and eat a player and then fly off/squirm down into the muck, the players hated them anyway. 

Fly speed: 20. They can also drop out of the sky and take no fall damage, just bouncing squooshily
Tongue Speed- 60. Extends forever.
Bog maws probably can't detect you if you're further than 120' away. They usually are floating aimlessly about hunting for escaped prey, or submerged in mud or water, waiting to ambush the unfortunate traveller

Rubbery Bastard- Take half damage from physical attacks. Immune to bludgeoning.

Sticky Slimy Tongue. Drags the player 20' nearer each round, like a tape measurer sucking in its tape. I don't think tape measures were the inspiration though, I think it was some squishy green goo ball yo-yo thing that was all the rage in elementary school. The Bogmaw has infinite tongue, it's just a matter of how much is extended. Dealing 2 damage with slashing can sever the tongue, but there's always more.

In the original version the tongue lashed people to death but that just makes it kinda boring.

If a bogmaw swallows you, you're wrapped up by the tongue and then suffocated to death inside the thing. It's really hard to attack from the inside like this- -4 to hit, and only if you had a dagger. They're slightly translucent so at least other people can see you've been swallowed, and gauge your state of consciousness. The Bogmaw may fly away with you, or dive into murky waters, so really you just don't want to get caught.

Motivations: Eat things. Be a metaphor for the dangers of getting lost and drowning in a swamp. Be aerial encounters high in the sky, coming from clouds. They don't eat very often, and vomit up anything hard in a random bundle of loot.

Hellmaw pellet.
Roll another encounter for the area- the pellet contains bones, treasure, and equipment of whatever that encounter was.

METAL MAN- Each arm ends in a blade! Each leg ends in a tiny wheel! Somehow able to roll through forests! Made of solid metal and some sort of magitech computer in the head!

This is a terrible enemy, but in a really good way.
AC: 20
Metal Men are as tough as iron golems- most weapons have no chance of harming them, most spells do nothing against their terrible body, etc etc. If your players see a top-heavy stiff iron statue rolling about on wheels and their first idea is 'I should hit it with a sword,' the Metal Men are here to teach them the folly of their ways.
Attacks- 2 1d6 scything blades
Special Attack- Spinning Death- On smooth, hard ground, metal men can spin like a murderous helicopter, becoming a blur of flashing blades. Anyone approaching immediately eats 2d6 damage. They drift 10feet in a random direction each round they spin, and if they impact another spinning man they rebound violently but do not fall.

Move- x3 Human- The tiny wheels of a metal man propel them at ludicrous speed across the ground, though it takes them 3 rounds to get up to top speed, and to slow down. They don't corner well. Cobblestones and most worked dungeons that aren't TOO old and crumbling slow them to human running pace. In a forest or cave or something, they're slower than zombies.

They can be walled off by wedging a 10-foot pole across a dungeon hallway. The daring could actually approach and push them over. Stairs and doors foil them utterly. Magnets stuck to their head disable them and their eyes show static or pop-culture references depending on your age. I think these are great things to throw at newbie players.
And, saving worst for last...These bad boys are foomflambers. They're basically stingrays that roll around on ballbearings that they have for feet. They come in Earth, Metal, and Plant varieties, and actually evolve into each other in some order that I don't remember because they ALSO come from the time when each player had to have a bajillion pets in the campaign and Pokemon was all the rage. Pokemon is still great but man, Foomflambers are lame. Still, for my 'totally not a pokemon gym' wizard school that exists, they seem like an okay thing.

1d4 HP
AC 13 (15 for metal ones)
Surprise on a 5-in-6 if they burst from their home terrain

Foomflambers are some sort of harebrained elemental hybrid from Foreign Parts, because those Foreigners don't even use proper elements.

EARTH FOOMFLAMBER- Can swim through loose soil like it was water. Can spit pebbles at people. Does not create pebbles, it merely stores and spits them.

WOOD FOOMFLAMBER- Can swim through wood and vegetation. Can snag people with growing vines, possibly tripping them. Wooden weapons like quarterstaves and clubs pass through them harmlessly. I'm pretty sure this was the final evolution.

Immune to metal weapons and pretty hard to stomp to death. I think they could rust things, or maybe they could just eat metal. Having a bunch of these nibble on some poor guys fancy new platemail like a shoal of piranha could be funny.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Nightmare Realms: Nexus Of Ash

You ended up here somehow. Colors faded, the world dark beyond this bubble of sourceless light.

 The Forest- Dead and twisted trees, the pits of empty graves, and tunnels that lead to places of drying slime and dangling roots, and perhaps too the graves of flowers. If you came from there, you know what made the marks on the trees.

The Cliff- There is a drop into an abyss that way, the dunes of ash rolling into it. Ash blows into the void like snow, and is gone. If you came from there, you can speak of the sealed gates in the cliff face that you scaled, and the arid ocean bed, miles below, the dry shells the size of houses and just as empty.

The Dunes- Rising piles of ash, a grey desert stretching to blackness. If you came from there, you recall lights, rare and distant, fading as you marched. This place was the light you made it to.

The Ruin- A semicircle of crumbled stone, and an out-of place fallen pillar. Mementos shine in the dark. If you came from here, you crawled out of the pool of tar, your flesh black sludge, your skin a layer of ash, your bones your own.

Random Memento. Something to hold onto and claim its memories for yourself.
  1. A broken sword, and a memory of betrayal on the field of battle. +/-STR
  2. An idol of some serene saint, stained and scarred. But despite it all, still here. +/-WIS
  3. Rope, fraying and knotted. You can't rely on it, only yourself. +/-DEX
  4. A heavy iron grimoire, locked tight. You threw away the key yourself.  +/-INT
  5. A shard of mirror. You can't bear to see your face like this. +/-CHA
  6. The stone of a poison peach, or perhaps it is your own withered heart. +/-CON
The Tower. 4 stories or so, leading to a bridge over the forest that leads to darkness. Was there something bright atop it, briefly glimpsed?

Floor 1- Entered via a crack, not a door. A low prison that spirals ever lower, with others like you, but mad and empty, now. You weren't special after all.

The staircase was wood, and is half broken and high above your head. How to ascend?
Or, one could descend deeper, past the prisoner cells.

Floor 2- A arrow slit looks out to the tops of trees. The Jailer monopolizes the view. He has a chain of keys and plenty of manacles for all of you. The door up is locked, if you run through the smallcircle of rooms to find it.

Floor 3- A gate house to the bridge, which extends to the darkness, and into it. A barrel of torches in a supply chamber, and flint to light them.

The Bridge- Crumbling at the edges, supported by pillars of crumbling stone. But it has to go somewhere.

Floor 4- Ruined support beams. A little girl, or an old woman, pale and fanged, kicking her heels in dark and empty air. She can make you strong, if you feed her memories and let her chew on your rancid tar flesh. She'd like to leave this world, but is very weak, herself, and doesn't know the way
Basement Floor 1+-  Past the cells, the dungeons. They go down forever, the quivering memories of cities that died with their worlds. Maybe one yet remembers a way out.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Damage as HD and 1d12 Improvised Weapons

While reading The Nightmares Underneath I encountered the radical notion of 'You roll your damage for any weapon based on your own HD.' While abstract and initially icky-feeling, I decided I actually like it. I like it a lot. Because otherwise weapon choice is pretty much just 'Human Fighter, I use the d10 greatsword' or 'I'll use the d10 axe because I'm Gimli' with the occasional guy who wants the d8 longsword+shield or the madman who wants to dual wield.

HD as damage means you just pick whatever weapon you want, and if you're a fighter you do in the realm of D10 damage because you're a fighter and by the gods, if you want to kill someone with a teacup YOU WILL.
If Vin Diesel wants me to take down this image I will
And if you're a noodle-armed mage, you do 1d4 damage even if you're wielding a double-ended orcish flamberge because while mages are welcome to contribute to combat, they steal enough showtime already and shouldn't be as rad/badass (Radass?) as fighters when it comes to fighting.

This lets you use whatever weapons you want aesthetically speaking. If you're a warrior, you can cleave people in twain with that greatsword or expertly ram a dagger into their hearts for the same amount of killy and you also get away from the implication that HP are meat points and every 'hit' makes the red water come out because big weapons no longer deal bigger damage. Keep HP abstract like Fate 'Stress' and have a death and dismemberment table for when people actually are having their limbs hewed, that's what I say.

I hear that back in the bad ol days of D&D, Gygax's (or maybe Arnesons?) players all used iron spikes because everyone did 1d6 damage and iron spikes were the cheapest weapon available, so weapons got a little more detailed to discourage that. Personally though, I am totally down for the early-game aesthetic of 4 rag-clad nobodies wielding an iron spike, a brick tied to a rope, a frying pan, and a femur as they venture into the dungeon.

1- Pointy broken bone from that skeleton you just found
2-Iron spike, recovered from tent equipment
3- Rusty portcullis lever that snapped when you tried to use it
4- Sack with some rocks at the end, whirled with much enthusiasm
5- Beast claw, still attached to hairy/scaly beast limb. Is not from a bear unless you want a pun overdose
6- Silverware, sharpened if spoon,somewhat rare and expensive in medieval economy if fork
7- Heavy cooking pot. Can be used as helmet in pinch too.
8- Extinguished but hefty torch
9- A dead giant rat, stiff with rigor mortis save for the long tail
10- The curved horn of a bull from the family farm
11- Clapper from church bell
12- A Shovel. Call yourself the Shoveller.