Wednesday, July 8, 2020


GLOG is easy once you start. I wrote this amid requests for people to explain their GLOG process. This further exists in a context where, for ideological reasons, some people have recently fled D&D(TM), and GLOG has been offered as an alternative.
I would say that my priorities in most games go in this order:

  1. interesting setting
  2. interesting system
  3. interesting PCs
Notably, GLOG is a system. Since that makes it our #2 concern, we want it to serve the needs of the setting. This is why many wise and fun people make their own GLOG.

Making an Interesting Setting
Interesting game settings are not like settings for novels or movies. You need to make engaging with things accessible, make options obvious, and allow for people to improvise with what you've already established. I typically enjoy loading all sorts of one-off oddities in a setting but giving them a common origin. So maybe there are hundreds of weird animals that all fall under the purview of "chimera." This maximizes variety while still keeping things sensical, and allows me to draw from other people's GLOG and D&D content more easily.

The setting as you craft it will imply different kinds of stories that can easily be told in it. Don't set the table for a wargame then try to serve a dungeoncrawl game.

There is a lot that can be said about creating settings, but these points are worth keeping in mind for GLOG settings. 

Making an Interesting System
Again, a lot can be said about making game systems, but if you're attracted to the GLOG it's because you appreciate a system that is flexible and tries not to write rules when GM improvisation or common sense does just as well. There are plenty of very good RPGs with minutiae. GLOG aspires to be a good RPG with no minutiae.

We avoid small bonuses and penalties. We try to roll dice as infrequently as possible. So if I have a random encounter procedure that says "there is a 50% chance of an encounter. If there is one, roll a d10 and consult this chart to see what the players find," I shouldn't flip a coin and on a heads roll a d10. I should just roll a d20 and on an 11+ say there is no encounter.

A great GLOG word is "Always." Another great GLOG word is "Never." The ability to jump 20 feet horizontally fits better in GLOG than getting +4 to jump checks. 

Just make sure that the advantages and disadvantages that people get in your game do not obviate interesting challenges. For many GLOG players, managing light, inventory, and food are interesting challenges. To them, darkvision is not interesting. Do you agree? What is an interesting challenge to you? Many of the challenges I find interesting are made worse by forcing people to roll dice. Convincing people of things, investigating a potential trap, understanding an odd mechanism, figuring out the culprit in a mystery, should be something all player characters, regardless of build, get to engage with. Rolling a d20 is not engaging. Letting players turn one kind of challenge into another kind can be engaging. Replacing the challenge of figuring out who murdered the duke's son with figuring out how to convince the duke that you really did speak with his son's ghost is totally engaging to me.

This is why I like GLOG, and it's why I made my GLOGhack the way I did. I want to create interesting problems for PCs to tackle by creating new interesting problems. I don't want to gate things behind dice rolls.

Making Interesting PCs
First, you need to find good people who want to play games with you. Admittedly, using a homebrew system can be a liability in convincing your friends to play your game in particular.

However, if you can get people on board GLOG PCs are some of the most enjoyable to play. You don't really need to worry about doing it right, and it's easy if you've played any edition of D&D to figure out how they work. Because GLOG classes are (usually) only 4 levels long, you get to the good stuff right away, with dramatic, defining abilities. No slow, incremental development of abilities here. No sir. GLOG PCs are flexible, because the system doesn't prevent you from doing things just so other classes can be best at them, and because it takes about ten minutes to write a GLOG class.

Writing your own GLOGhack can admittedly be a little daunting. How are you supposed to know what parts of the game you like, or what subtly influences other parts? I suggest you play a game with someone else's hack, even a one or two session game. Consider looking around on the OSR discord; they're quite friendly there. And remember that as long as you are willing to change the rules of a game to suit your needs, as long as you wish to delight as much as you bedevil, the gretchlings and GLOGlins of the GLOG will smile upon you.

Here is a link to my GLOGhack.

And to Skerples's GLOGhack, considered by many the default complete hack.

1 comment:

  1. Yay! I like how you define a path for hacks as top-down (setting to classes). It’s a natural way to create an entire world.