Sunday, August 9, 2020

MTG GLOG class inspiration-ator

Inspired by HLOG. A simple generator, giving you a creature type based on Magic: the Gathering, an alignment of one or two colors, and the name of the abilities you get at each level. the rest of it, you'll have to make sense of on your own.

I Have Been So Many People

In solidarity with Throne of Salt and The Mad Queen's Court, I offer an incomplete travelogue of previous PCs. (Also Linden)

Pre-high school youth:

  • ???, half-elf ranger. My first encounter with RPGs was a 3.0 game played at a friend's birthday party.  It was a premade character that I would go on to play for several monty haul campaigns.
  • ???, Ibixien... fighter? An unknowing mixture of a 2E goatman with a 3E game.
  • Brutus, human. In a petulant pique at my brother tweaking his primary attributes, I made a character with 20 levels in every core 3E class and played him for one session.
  • ???, Zabrak Force Adept. The subject of infrequent Start Wars d20 games. No notable personality.
  • Surely many others.

High school, first half of college:

  • William Hook, halfling expert/rogue. Originally for a one-shot that turned into my first real campaign. An incorrigible haggler who consistently stole treasure from the party.
  • ???, robin expy. First Mutants and Masterminds character. Notable for attempting to use finesse regardless of whether crashing down the door would work.
  • Myself. For a long-running zombie apocalypse setting. Almost killed by a trapped trapdoor until the campaign lost steam.
  • Harry LaLowboy, In a homebrew game with a Torg-like setting, I made this character to be a medic. Randomly rolling for a drawback, I was afflicted with debilitating sadism. After a part member turned against me for murder, I used an artifact to turn invisible and disappeared from the campaign.
  • Ronin. The next Mutants and Masterminds character, this one a bit longer running. Lacked a creative concept or a concept of creativity.
  • the Herald of Alcander, human paladin/beastmaster/faith scion. Cherished paladin in a 3.5 world which lacked gods. Renounced his name to herald the way of a new deity, a giant wolf that grew more divine with time.
  • Cicero Knight, vampire archeologist. Vampire in a Xiaolin Showdown-esque New World of Darkness setting. Just a horrible oddball, immense fun to play. Ended up defeating his nemeses, a family of vampire hunters including Jackie Chan and Nicholas Cage. Catchphrase: "If archeologists don't save the world, who will?"
  • Cesare Volere, human adjunct. Alexander Hamilton in an Italian city-states 3.5 game.
  • Alaistair De'oth, human swashbuckler. Guest NPC spot turned into a weekly gig for a Pathfinder game, with very involved players, each with at least two characters in two different flashpoints. I have never seen as much involvement.
  • Thuban, tengu cleric. Same campaign as above. Based on the poem "the Old Astronomer to his Pupil." Another greatly beloved character. He was crotchety, self-sacrificing, and ruthlessly devoted to his view of right and posterity.
  • Attica, human void monk/antipaladin. Same campaign as above. A brainwashed magic experiment turned cruel. Didn't get the chance to flesh out her journey.
  • Old Master Bering, human samurai. Same campaign as above. As cool a character as he was outclassed by everything and everyone he encountered.
  • Rithe Foundling, human rogue. Back in 3.5. A build focused on sneak attack dice. This grim, low-magic Slavic setting became a sort of grim Justice League, with "the Dragon" offering specialty as a climber and infiltrator. In his free time, he invented the gaslight.
  • Tylen Taric, human oracle. People disliked that I made him a prodigal jerk even though he had high charisma. Pathfinder (of course)
  • Pavel, human kineticist. Pathfinder. Pavel was great. The game was a three-session affair premised about a group of normal people in the 1980's finding a deck of many things and needing to pull half the deck. Over the course of the game, Lithuanian expat and history student Pavel Borisovich acquired the ability to throw lightning.
  • Truman Alethiophage, human cleric. Pathfinder. Amazing bluff build. Only featured in one session, a demanding dungeon churn with no one to talk to.
  • Tenshi Nishimura, elf monk/magus. Long-running character for an anime-themed Pathfinder game.Thought he was too cool for everyone else. Ended up defeating the prime minister's mech and uncovering his past life that ended in Venice, 1946.
  • Slandyr, half-orc paladin. Third truly cherished character. Pathfinder has this version of the paladin called the "redeemer," dedicated to fighting evil in ways other than killing evil people. The campaign and other players really beat me down on this, and I had to take a break from the character. Despite this, I have overwhelming fondness for it and feel it made me a better person.
  • Visha, tiefling alchemist. The character I played while on break from Slandyr. He loved mercury. IDK.
  • the Burnaway Man, changeling witch. Played in a one-off, but ignited my imagination. I wrote a spooky song about his fairy-tale misdeeds, taking a new wife every ten years before burning her. 
  • Miguel Renzo, human navigator. I didn't feel inspired by the 40K setting, so I just made a cowboy. Ended up being a sensible, respected fit for the party.


  • Charlotte Heinlyn, human seneschal. Another Rogue Trader character, an inveterate businesswoman. Game fell apart due to personal reasons before I could get into her.
  • Buffy, human slayer. Hunga-munga wielder for a mini-campaign. Pathfinder.
  • Aarav, nagaji fighter. Snake who spat loogies in a Pathfinder one-off.
  • Santiago Destino, human oracle. Used a Pathfinder build to represent someone living in a Groundhog Day loop with the ability to dictate dice results.
  • Zataria, half-orc aristocrat. A one-off game we called "Kid nation," about founding a wilderness colony.
  • Voltimand, orc knight. For a pathfinder mini-campaign. All I remember about him was that he was a coward.
  • Canieron, gnoll bard. For a pathfinder one-off excerpted from an adventure path. There's a section where the characters participate in an evil play where they have to endure various punishments, complete with a literal script. Felt scripted.
  • Arcane Mark, aasimar wizard. Successor to previous well-loved Pathfinder campaign. A very wizardy wizard.
  • Ellis, kitsune arcanist/enchanting courtesan. Same campaign. Horribly evil femme fatale with a decoy character sheet.
  • Skeltir. Villainous merchant in a homebrew game. 
  • Tim, android whatever thieves are called in starfinder. Starfinder is boring, but I did a write-up on my robot's special space snake faith called "Snake me to Church," so that's nice.
  • Raw, gnoll druid. Horrible luddite, played in two short Pathfinder campaigns.
  • Wyndam, human magus. Played in some Pathfinder mini-campaign. Based on the Buffy character.
  • Galina. Zweihander, then later converted to Warhammer. A pimp turned adventurer, incredibly gentle despite her towering stature and martial prowess. Another standout character.
  • Sir Driant l'Ours, pagan knight. My only experience with Pendragon. Killed by the vengeful ghost of his father.
  • Twelver Ilsam, human thief. The villain of a vast Birthright game and the Guilder of Endier. Defected from two imperial pretenders and became an amazing kingmaker before the Spider forced him to marry it. Died trying to assassinate it. The game also allowed you to make minor PCs for other rulers' adventures, so we have:
    • Scylla Woman, human corn cop/fighter. Comes from a proud family of only women. Killed by a vampire.
    • Mandy Printer, human jester. Married to a hobbit Dracula.
    • Tapot DuFrieze, assassin, Killed a PC, now dead.
    • Lord Gethsemaine, human fighter. A knight who was made heir by a PC I'm pretty sure is a vampire now.
    • Lord Crispin of Achiese (pronounced a-cheesy), human paladin. The only good character in a court full of shitty villains. Survives by being as dumb as a box of rocks.
    • Hansher the Wizard, human wizard. Killed by a cursed blade. His *light* spell was his own name, flashing.
    • Specific Tragedy, wizard. Died, but I'm not sure how. By the way, I came up with all these names opening a gas station at 4 AM.
    • Sir Frickard. Still alive.
  • Corazon, human evoker. Snake wizard, replacing Twelver after his death.
  • ???, tiefling warlock. A 5e character I played for one session with a very video gamey DM.
  • Taurel Albacassis, vampire scholar. A sephardic kaballist in a Vampire: the Dark Ages game. Kind, but often ruthless. Successfully assassinated Vlad the Impaler, inadvertently triggering the apocalypse.
  • Song, gnoll swordwife. My only Vain the Sword PC. Had a blast playing a one-shot run by an associate.
  • Gruyere, witchfinder. First Troika! character. Fell down a flight of stairs and died.
  • Sir Grime, questing knight. Another Troika! character. Has yet to find the Chalice.
  • Orfeo, human cleric. AD&D character who fell off Strahd's drawbridge.
  • Mackenzie, human fighter. One of Orfeo's followers. Mostly watched the high-level PCs navigate Strahd's castle. Would have died in the last battle with Strahd, but the DM took pity on me.
  • Maral, kimmerian shaman. Current PC for an Astonishing Swordsmen game. Worships a god of chaos and blood.
  • Faris Omar Ibn-Muniqh, syrian ranger. Other PC for the same campaign. Master of the pike.


I spent so long playing in systems that consistently let me down because I didn't know it could be otherwise. I've gotten better about making characters that aren't just a build or a complete concept with no room to develop, and about reading into what sorts of characters are appropriate for the game at hand. PCs were not supposed to die unless it was dramatic until partway through college.
I'm happy to see the journey I've been on. Characters have become characters, less often power fantasies. Just gotta find someone to run more Vain the Sword for me.

Saturday, August 8, 2020

Improvising Riddles

It was requested that I write more about prospecting in Hell, so instead here's how to improvise riddles.

Lo, your party has been defeated by a foe, or else needs to pass by a bridge, or else needs to please a cruel queen, and they mercifully allow you to have your will, but only if you answer a riddle. Your GM, naturally, has not prepared this encounter and already used up their back-up riddles. What do they do?

1.Riddles of Assumption

They tell you a tale of a strange happening, where people respond strangely to what they see, then ask you why they respond in that way. The trick is that they failed to tell you something that you would assume.

Example: Roscoe and Willy are born on the same day, but Willy will die long before Roscoe and it won't be a great loss. Why not? Answer: because Willy is a dog and Roscoe is an elf.

2. Items Oddly Described

They describe something, usually a mundane object or a shadow, as though it were something else, like a beast, then asks you to tell what it is. Alternatively, the riddle is given in a dungeon and interacting with the object in question reveals treasure or a hidden door.

Example: I am a bag that's constantly blowing about with a wind. I am old, but never need to be repaired. The meanest beggar has one, but ancient kings have lost theirs. What am I? Answer: I am the lungs. (Ignore this paranthetical. It's just here to make the spoilertext longer.)

3. Puns

A hybrid of the previous two. It seeks the unity of two different things called by the same name. Usually this riddle type is kind of idiotic.

Example: I am a prodigal, yet indispensable for making heaps. What am I?. Answer: a rake. Ha ha.

4. Demonstrations of Wisdom

Open-ended riddles that are essentially challenging the victim to come up with an impressive answer. Usually cruel to spring on players unless they know they're dealing with an open-ended riddle, and that saying "there is no answer, you bully" will get them nowhere.

Example: What have I got in my pocket? Answer: the answer to this riddle.

General Guidelines

  • Remind players they don't need to answer the riddle. They can try to fight, run, or return to it later.
  • Try to ask a question at the end of the riddle so they know what they're expected to come up with.
  • Remember this riddle comes from the villain's mind. The answer should be something they know about.
  • If they only get one try, make sure that their answer is their final answer.
  • If they want to quibble with the riddle-asker, let them. I usually assume whoever gave them the riddle dislikes alternate answers (except for demonstrations of wisdom,) but that any audience will be sympathetic to good answers and will heckle perceived unfairness.

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Setting: Gold Rush to Hell

The gold rush is a great trope for a D&D setting. An economy in upheaval, the promise of gold for foreigners invading the land, the alienation of anyone currently living there.
Ihor Tovstohan

Consider this excerpt from Robert Service, about the Klondike Rush: [bolding mine]

"Gold! We leapt from our benches. Gold! We sprang from our stools.
Gold! We wheeled in the furrow, fired with the faith of fools.
Fearless, unfound, unfitted, far from the night and the cold,
Heard we the clarion summons, followed the master-lure--Gold!

Men from the sands of the Sunland; men from the woods of the West;
Men from the farms and the cities, into the Northland we pressed.
Graybeards and striplings and women, good men and bad men and bold,
Leaving our homes and our loved ones, crying exultantly--"Gold!"

Never was seen such an army, pitiful, futile, unfit;
Never was seen such a spirit, manifold courage and grit.
Never has been such a cohort under one banner unrolled
As surged to the ragged-edged Arctic, urged by the arch-tempter--Gold.

"Farewell!" we cried to our dearests; little we cared for their tears.
"Farewell!" we cried to the humdrum and the yoke of the hireling years;
Just like a pack of school-boys, and the big crowd cheered us good-bye.
Never were hearts so uplifted, never were hopes so high.

The spectral shores flitted past us, and every whirl of the screw
Hurled us nearer to fortune, and ever we planned what we'd do--
Do with the gold when we got it--big, shiny nuggets like plums,
There in the sand of the river, gouging it out with our thumbs.

And one man wanted a castle, another a racing stud;
A third would cruise in a palace yacht like a red-necked prince of blood.
And so we dreamed and we vaunted, millionaires to a man,
Leaping to wealth in our visions long ere the trail began."
Loles Romero
This mentality, of being utterly common, replaceable, tough, and ambitious, jives with many OSR systems. But you could just as easily look at the setting from the point of view of the people on the receiving end of a gold rush, either living in the "dungeons" that this pitiful army descends upon or in the romanticized "wild" around them. In a sense, this could form an anti-campaign, with players organizing a region against the predations of explorers, booms, and hangers-on.

In any case, the roil of gold fever makes the setting dynamic and troubled. Rival adventuring parties become the "2d4 wolves" of your encounter table. There is a potential for rugged wilderness survival on the part of the prospectors and for a truly difficult outside problem for the people who live in the area.

Hymn of the Dungeoneer

There’s gold and jewel and lucre
in the vaults of ancient yore
and danger, and man-making things
and hazards in the floor.
In the vaunted, varied climates
where we fight the modern war,
it’s a war for getting rich or dead
where the difference is to use your head
and to keep a slingstone by your bed
and to mind your mammy’s lore.

For this is the law between borders, 
where the scroll-scribbed taxes dim,
where the wild’s shrine to the god of gold 
and the demons guarding him:
that laid low are all who fight to fight,
and most high those who fight to win,
and there’s hard-won scores in the cavernbed
and you’ll leave the dungeon halfway dead
but you’ll leave it with a laden tread
and you’ll sing a dungeon hymn
Roberto Akeiron
And then you transplant all of that to hell. Set the scabrous eyes of adventurers on soulstone, on obsidian, on the confiscated riches of all the rich men in Hell. As Robert Service says:

"Dogged, determined, and dauntless,
cruel and callous and cold,
Cursing, blaspheming, reviling,
and ever that battle-cry-- 'Gold!'"
Wayne Barlowe
Borrow heavily from Wayne Barlowe's Hell, and from Blake's Proverbs of Hell. Adapt the Salamandrine Men as the indigenous residents of that low place, who called it home before even the demons who construct vast dungeons for the damned. Exaggerate the cavalier despoiling of land for wealth and challenge to the invasion of Hell for fun and profit.

I'll leave you with a tune I heard plucked out at the cope of Hell, in a camp called Contrition, which sins enough to be its own circle:

The Call of the Scald

Have you gazed on black atrocities
Where none could hope for succor?
Have you been warmed by the sinner’s fireglow
As you traded down your silver
To buy drink that’d make you pucker
Had you had it ‘fore your trip was set to go?

Have you glimpsed the devil’s craters
That put paid to first rebellion
Have you shivered in the traitor-wafted snow?
There’s a world you’ll soon be seeing
Whether coward ye or hellion
Take the risk, brave the climb, go and go!

Reza Afshar

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

The Salty Ten

I have pilfered class ideas from Dan of Throne of Salt. These were salvaged from his many Notebooks of Unfinished Wonder, which I am led to believe is their purpose.


Soldier Subclasses [I will do these as fighter disciplines]

War Priest 

(start with a charm, a maul, 1d20 holy symbols, caltrops, and three sudes)
A: While carrying a charm or relic, get advantage on physical saves. When you target a foe with an attack or with maledictions, allies get +3 to attack that foe.
B: When you give a speech to a group of NPCs on the sabbath, you can decide if their behavior will be restrained or wanton for the next week. Notable characters get a save to resist.
C: You can turn enemy combatants. Spend 1 fatigue per round, and they must flee to at least 30' away. If you close the distance, the effect ends.
D: When you face certain death, an angel (or similar) arrives to face it with you.


(start with armor that shares a color with your favorite charioteer, a cheaply forged katana, artisan's tools, a book of matches, and complete mastery of a niche skill)
A: You are immune to charms, diplomacy, and common sense. Also, when you spend a turn harassing someone they take 1d4 damage.
B: When you gather information, you wring out as much information as possible at the cost of alienating an NPC; this is not optional.
C: Once per combat, critique a foe to force them to try something other than what they are currently doing. They get a save if they're about to do something vitally important.
D: Spend five minutes studying something or someone to learn the best way to destroy it.


(start with manacles, 1d4 locks and keys, a staff,
A: +1 attack, but the second attack each round deals 1d4 fatigue instead of damage. When someone misses a melee attack against you, you may attempt to grab, grapple, or disarm them.
B: You always seem like the kind of person that can arbitrate disputes.
C: Instead of inflicting damage, you may chain someone to yourself. Anyone manacled to you cannot attack you.
D: Those you defeat must abide by oaths of good behavior.


(start with friends in the mini-tary industrial complex and a shmuck in fatigues, a helmet, a workhorse weapon, and a literal purple heart)
A: A soldier is a person in an army. An antisoldier is an army in a person. While in said person, you are immune to pain, poison, and fear. Fire a hail of darts from your mouth as a free action (d8 damage)
B: If you eat an extra ration, you can march without tiring. You can get 5 extra inventory slots when travelling.
C: Venture short distances out of your shmuck. Foes up to 20 feet away count as adjacent when you want them to.
D: Permanently reduce your maximum HP by up to 4. March a detachment into another person to transform them into an antisoldier of that level.


[already did this one]

Vessel Knight 

(start with etched or horned armor, a puresidian blade, a mystic essence, an essential mysticism, and a sledgehammer)
A: You can make your armor glow with Power. It deals damage to you and any foes within 10 ft. One damage if light armor, 2 damage if medium, 3 damage if heavy. This does not count as an action.
B: Commune with the essence inside you and name it. You gain one long-term ailment and two powers relevant to the essence's name.
C: Any magic weapons you wield also count as wands of a relevant spell which you can use thrice per day.
D: Your body ages to dust and you become your armor. Do not suffer from diseases or injuries, except your ailment. Death is your only release.
Daniel Romanovsky


(start with a red robe, a ledger, a performative holy symbol, a crowbar, 2d4 pieces of base jewelry)
A: You sell afterlife insurance. Any soul who bought your policy and would go to Hell instead enters a bland, yet saccharine existence in a piece of your jewelry. A demon will eventually arrive and charge you a certain amount based on their evilness, usually 1 to 7 gold. Spend a soul to cast a 1 MD spell.
B: You can command animals with fewer HD than you have souls (other than your own).
C: You can spend a day selling policies to acquire 3d10 gold by selling 1d10 policies. These numbers are modified by the sinfulness/wealth of the targeted population. Spend two souls to cast a 2 MD spell.
D: Instead of testing a mental attribute, you may spend a soul to automatically succeed.

Warframe Operator 

(start with the backing of an academy, a famous name, a cyber pistol, and a vestigial drift-twin which allows you to pilot a mech without a partner.)
A: You are allowed to take a giant mech for a spin. It has an ability and two weapons.
B: You forget pain. In close combat, sacrifice 1 strength to deal 1d4 strength damage on a hit.
C: Learn a supernatural power from the most dangerous foe you defeat, replacing it with each more powerful foe defeated.
D: Once per month, resurrect naked in a tube under your workshop.
Mech Abilities
  1. Shrink down to the size of a city street
  2. flight
  3. Imperceptible while completely still
  4. Seemingly unfillable cargo holds
  5. Specialists of your choice available 24-7
  6. Neutralizes nearby non-mech tech
Mech Weapons
  1. A rune-wrapped sword that can cut through anything
  2. Dozens of minigun epicycles
  3. Intercontinental Kaballistic Missiles
  4. Tesla coil abuse
  5. Imp hose
  6. Pneu-magnetic crushing arm


(start with a war-trained giraffe and howdah, an acacia-haft pike, a bow, and a rope ladder)
A: You always succeed in feats of skill when riding a giraffe into battle. You can always find and tame a giraffe with a week of work and a variable amount of cash.
B: Your giraffe gains +1 story in height. You can shape chewed acacia leaves into any object smaller than two of your fists.
C: When you shout challenges outside a dungeon or fortress, someone comes out to meet you. Your giraffe may make an extra attack on your turn.
D: Your giraffe gains +1 story in height. While riding it, neither you nor the giraffe can be harmed by melee weapons shorter than your own.

Alewife Witch 

(start with the love of a town, a full-bodied brown, a warning frown, a warming gown, a goose for down, and a sly renown)
A: +1 MD, your spells are extra effective against someone who has your ale in their belly. Brew ten doses a week.
B: +1 MD, you may freely convert ale into LSD.
C: +1 MD, infuse a batch of ale with an ingredient from a magical beast; they become potions of a relevant ability for one week
D: +1 MD, you can drink any body of liquid in one minute or less.

Sunday, August 2, 2020

VtS: a Quest for Power

In continuation from Friday's post, I would like to investigate how high-level GLOG PCs should be able to acquire amazing capabilities and arcane secrets, such as the fabled fireball spell. It is generally agreed that parties should be able to acquire great power at great cost, to go on a quest to prove their worth. But guidelines are often sparse. Here, then, is my method. It focuses on supernatural acquisition, since physical training and intellectual exercise is already understood and usually are boring focuses for games.

This should not be a downtime activity. It should be easy for players to say "I want to do X," and have a way to learn how. Perhaps the consultation of sages, libraries, or signs can be a generic method for learning specific steps towards their goal. The ultimate quest should be difficult, something that a PC with less than 4 levels should hesitate to attempt.

Let us consider fictional examples for the acquisition of supernatural power:

  1. A risen cleric named Imhotep wishes to resurrect his lover in a ritual which involves killing his lover's reincarnated self(?), a magic book, and a sacred location associated with life and death.
  2. A wizard named Tom Riddle finds a book that tells him how to create a phylactery in a secret ritual which involves killing someone. He does so, then later learns from an older wizard more information about the ritual and makes several more. Years later, his incomplete knowledge of the nature of phylacteries lead him to destroy one and die soon after.
  3. Fire Lord Sozun seeks to conquer the world. He leans on an order of astronomer-priests to tell him of auspicious celestial events to plan his invasions around, and exterminates one nation when a predicted passing comet gives his army superpowers. His successors continue this strategy, supplemented with kamicide and industrialization, and one crowns himself Phoenix King.
  4. The warrior Ruber learns a spell to combine weapons with flesh. He sends a griffon to steal Excalibur and combine it with his hand, then use its divine power to rule through violence.
  5. Lord Cutler Beckett learns that the renegade psychopomp Davy Jones can only be killed by destroying his separated heart, so he quests to acquire a compass that will lead him to it, and steal the key that opens the chest containing it.
  6. Richard Wilkins becomes immortal by paying off a network of demons, and achieves success as three generations of mayors of a small town, covering up supernatural events over a century in preparation for a ritual that requires him to eat a billion gross insects, then a week later makes him a demon prince but requires him to eat a graduating high school class to keep his strength up.
We already see two procedures emerge. Either there is a rigid and precise procedure for the specific power, or there is an open-ended problem that can be certainly solved with a permanent reward. OSR games love open-ended problems, but setting out a procedure may help players to notice the potential.

So the players determine an ambition (find clues alluding to one by the DM) and consult a source of information. If the source is good, it can provide enough information for the PCs to know what they need to do to acquire the power. If the source is good and specific to the ambition in question, they may also learn dangerous and specific features of the method and power.

Roll 1d4+2 steps on the table below to inspire the specific quest. With fewer steps, make each more exacting or difficult. Players need a specific artifact, not one of many.

d10 steps on the path of ambition

  1. acquire the item that will lead you to the right place
  2. acquire the item that will allow you to perform the correct rite
  3. get to the center of the dangerous and mythical area
  4. defeat the sacred guardian
  5. convince the sacred guardian
  6. acquire several minor, but scattered magical items
  7. wait for the proper celestial event
  8. perform the test of resolve
  9. find the person with the unnoticed potential
  10. solve the riddle to learn how to proceed

Example: Quest for the Fireball

The players wish to learn how to cast the fabled fireball spell. I roll a d4 and get a 1, so I roll three times on the table. I roll a 1, 4, and 2, so the steps to throw fireballs are to acquire an item that will guide you to a sacred guardian you must defeat so you can acquire the item which will allow you to perform the ultimate ritual. 

I think I want the final item to open a small portal to the Elemental Plane of Fire in your heart, granting you the power to summon vast flames at will. Since I'm embroiled in a love affair with orbs, let's say its the Orb of Jetraeas, created by a short-lived religious revolutionary. The Orb is made of obsidian, giving off warmth and light.

To acquire this orb, you first have to defeat a sacred guardian. But we don't want the guardian to just be carrying it. That turns two challenges into one. So we'll say that the Orb of Jetraeas was placed in an active volcano, impossible to reach, but by killing the volcano's spirit you can cool the magma enough to approach, but not so much that there is no risk.

In order to defeat the volcano's spirit, you must acquire the item that will allow you to perform the correct rite. So the spirit is not just lurking in a karst waiting to be randomly encountered. Let's say that this volcano was the site of an ancient battle, and that the spirit promised to return to defend against those invaders again. So if you acquire the ancient armor of those invaders and approach the volcano offering challenge, that will be enough to summon it.

Strew that armor through a nearby dungeon, prepare encounters for travel to the volcano, and introduce social complications, and you've got a quest for power worthy of its reward.

Phlox's Index

Updated August 5, 2020

Vain the Sword


Adventures, Scenarios, and Situations


GLOG Classes

  • The Microclass Compendium, a list of hundreds of small classes from over a dozen creators.
  • How to Design GLOG Fighters, meditations on fighter disciplines. Includes the Blue-Blade of Gal-Suzaz, Urumi's Wielder, Khazar Remnant, and Repentant Hexchild
  • Practitioner, the "drug paladin", master of gigre. Also lists some gigre forms.
  • Wallachian Dreamer, based on Dictionary of the Khazars. Will go on to inspire the dreamer class.
  • Nephil, for the kaiju challenge. A giant, divine monster.
  • Architect Wizard, a straightforward school of wizardry.
  • Tea Wizard, a divinatory and potable school of wizardry.
  • T-H-I-E-F, a spellthief guild for guild rogues.
  • Five of Sundered's Orb 18, including the orbseeper, mysterious orb, ghostbuster, plumber, and sigilbound.
  • The Salty 10, featuring the vessel knight the hellmerchant, the warframe operator, the giraffe-rider, the alewife witch, and some fighter disciplines: war-priest, savant-fanatic, peacekeeper, antisoldier
  • MTG GLOG class inspiration-ator, which generates prompts with the parlance of Magic: the Gathering.