Sunday, November 29, 2020

Table: Sigils in Mesomergos

 Pursuant to my interest in heraldry, I sometimes wonder how I could turn Spwacks's marvelous tables to the task of blazonry. This is my current attempt, though it does not do a good job of describing the placement of charges. Additionally, it always includes charges, while it might be appropriate to leave many arms as simple patterns.

This generator uses some heraldry-speak, so it is probably just for my own enjoyment. I imagine these would mostly appear on round shields, and I've kept the divisions of the field relatively simple. I am treating sable as a metal and referring to it as "iron" for setting-related reasons. Similarly, bronze is to be treated as a common metal, and some of the colors are named differently. Sanguine is used to the exclusion of gules. Turqoise is used to the exclusion of azure. Jade and vert are mostly redundant with each other (though when they appear together jade is darker).

Ten Challenges I Love in Games

These are the sorts of things I try to combine when running my own games, and the sorts of things I love to see as a player. You can see a significant throughline-- solving a problem where the default method will result in failure. 

  1. Communicating with some who doesn't share a language with you. When given the time and space to do so, playing charades with an NPC or trying to find common terms fully engages me, and makes me identify strongly with that NPC, since this kind of interaction is a rare example of intimacy between strangers.
  2. Communicating with someone who has very different basic assumptions from you. This works for the assumptions of the PCs or of the players. It is why I find it so rewarding to spend time giving the folk inhabiting the setting a properly non-modern mindset, and why many GMs are keen on the "Medieval Mindset" in particular. It makes every encounter an example of negotiating different assumptions.
  3. Fighting something that cannot be harmed by typical means. Many OSR games feature monsters too strong to fight, but other variations work too, and enforces that a problem exists to be solved rather than powered through.
  4. Outsmarting attempts to make you violate a Rule with Fierce Consequences. Taboos and transgressions are interesting themes to me, and imbues the setting itself with some kind of linguistic characterization.
  5. Piecing together a mystery from disparate sources of information. Trying to understand people long-dead based on the extant artifacts still found in our time. Noticing patterns. Inferring and stepping around biases, ancient and modern.
  6. Evading something dangerous. Usually requires exploration. Reminds me as a player that the world is not just an arena for interaction with NPCs and monsters, but a challenge in itself. often gives a concrete reward of understanding how something is laid-out or where something is.
  7. Locating something hidden with clever deduction. Sort of a combination of the previous two, but feels very different to me. Looking at the negative spaces in an area and applying sense to where they might be filled in.
  8. Making trade-offs for the people you are responsible to. Problems with no solution, that are only difficult because they have a cost. Shows the relationship between PCs and the society they keep. Many players are brave in risking the lives of their characters, or of unattached NPCs, but it can be a different game when people who depend on them are affected by their decisions.
  9. Evoking a real-life sensory experience for how your characters enjoy a meal or other pleasant experience. Redwall feasts, that kind of thing. This kind of challenge is offered, without penalty or in-game advantage. It creates small moments, pleasant moments, opportunities to appreciate. 
  10. Creating art. I believe that creating is, by default, good for someone. That when a player writes a poem about their adventures, or when their character designs a coat of arms, or the party christens itself with some self-deprecating name, the game is elevated. It does not matter how technically accomplished any of these small pieces of art are. Accordingly, I want to encourage and create opportunities for descriptions, crafts, poetry, prose, jokes, and the like.

Friday, November 27, 2020

Location: Cursed House of Twin Axes

I've been working on this one for a while. It's a haunted palace nestled in a remote mountainous retreat, in the heart of Mesomergos. I based much of the floorplan on the palace in Minos, so it is labyrinthine and full of thick walls and alcoves. Designing the cursed house, I made sure to allow for points from anywhere, since the building is full of windows and unlocked doors. This dungeon can serve as an extended introduction to domain-level play.
The Cursed House of Twin Axes is appropriate for parties of 2-6 first-level adventurers, and has enough content for several sessions. It has a bronze age feel and borrows some elements from Zhou China and early Germanic vibes, and features themes of astronomy and ancient sins. 
Click the image below to see the full Cursed House, its maps, its random tables, and some advice. I've tried to make the color-coded maps functional for those with most forms of colorblindness-- let me know if they aren't working well for you.
Click the painting

Special thanks to those who helped to playtest the Cursed House, including Oblid, Lotus, Awyrlas, Waqait, and Sir_Ahno.

Sunday, November 22, 2020


 (note: not serious, discord nonsense)

Out of love for the truth and from desire to elucidate it, I, Phlox, master of art and spurious theology, and frequent blogger of Whose Measure, intend to defend the following claim and to dispute on them in that place. Therefore I ask that those who cannot be present and dispute with me on my blog shall do so in their absence by discord.

It has been contended by many in the GLoGosphere that what we refer to as GLoG cannot be defined or understood, and many jovial "definitions" of the GLoG have been offered, such as to say that GLoG is whatever claims the title of GLoG, or that anything which has touched GLoG becomes GLoG itself. This is the opinion of a pedant!

When we define things as part of a community, we are trying to describe things that make sense, that elucidate ourselves and our interlocutors. it is possible for different sorts of people to have different working definitions for the same thing. Many ancients defined bats as a kind of bird, but modern taxonomists say it is otherwise. Both are correct in the sense that both are using internally-consistent, pragmatic, helpful shorthand to stand in for more complicated ideas. To the ancients, it was far more useful to put bats in the category of flying winged creature than in the category of a genealogical progression about which they knew nothing.

Can you define a bird? Can you describe a bird? I advance that in most cases, definitions are simply the sort of descriptions which are useful for initial explanation. You know what a bird is, and can describe birds as flying, then backtrack and admit that some birds actually don't fly. 

Can you define the GLoG? Can you describe the GLoG? Surely you can come up with some examples of things that are more central examples of the GLoG and of things that are definitely not the GLoG. Arnold K.'s original GLoG notes, Many Rats on Sticks, and GROG are pretty central examples. Pathfinder 2E, Monsterhearts, and George H.W. Bush are definitely not. If there are potential edge cases, that is only because almost every class of things we use frequently has edge cases. Edge cases are not an argument for the undefinability of a classification. 

To that end, I will describe the GLoG as best I can. I do not claim that everything in this list is found in every example of the classification. instead, like all fuzzy classifications (e.g. US territory, Rock Music, happiness, Bronze Ages), I offer that these descriptions might help someone to understand whether MRoS or George H.W. Bush are examples of GLoG.

  1. GLoG is content for roleplaying games. [Sorry George]
  2. GLoG is a specific set of rules written by Arnold K., or taking inspiration from those rules.
  3. GLoG uses classes of four levels ("templates") each. [See how many GLoGhacks don't conform with this point? I don't care. It's still useful description.]
  4. GLoG incorporates OSR principles and indie vibes [See how I refer to other fuzzy definitions? But see how there is truth to it?]
  5. GLoG frequently has a wizard class that uses six-sided "magic dice" to cast spells.
  6. GLoG emphasizes hackability. Many GLoG games incorporate materials from disparate sources that were not conceived to work together.
  7. GLoG tends towards simple systems for character skills.
  8. GLoG tends to be "roll-under."
  9. GLoG is not specifically concerned with balancing character options.
  10. GLoGhacks tend to be incomplete. Even their creators tweak the systems while they are being actively played.

You can’t see anything in the city, they say,
That neon and bulbs black out beauty with promise of endless day.
Starlight is dull there, the concrete sizzling since daybreak,
Cassiopeia imprisoned, etched in planetarium’s edge, fake.
But light is additive and though it in distance can decay,
It grows, rolls, throws lumens, glints with hints of novae
Until the world’s gold web widens, until the gaze of cynics ache,
And “Earth” becomes the name of a star whose measure God could not take.

Saturday, November 21, 2020

Anomalous Media

 Okay, here's what I managed to find in my neighborhood. (See here, here, here, here, and here.)

1. The Chrioniad
An ancient epic in the Homeric style, dated to shortly after the Illiad. Describes the end of the Trojan War picking up from the burial of Hector. Most of the piece describes three battles in intricate detail, in which ten of the gods and several of the mortal characters are slain. Zeus survives and takes on the name Elos, and appoints the Trojan prince Abramon as the king of Troy after he sacrifices his son and thirteen bulls to Zeus. 

2. Appendix N Draft
An in-house draft of the appendices section of the original Dungeon Master's Guide, recovered in an office once run by TSR. The draft is typed onto loose sheets of hole-punched paper, with frequent editing notes in pencil. Most of the notes center around the first appendix, dedicated to a rather technical and rote dungeon generation procedure. There are two notes in Appendix N, "Inspirational and Educational Reading." The first, circling "Unaussprechlichen Kulten," reads "good joke, Gary." The second, circling a title and author now redacted, reads "This is NOT. We agreed not to even talk about this junk!!" The final appendix, listing different types of calendars and clocks, has a note recommending its total deletion.

3. Rumpelstiltskin
A low-quality video file, filmed on a handheld camera. The camera operator is filming a televison, showing sections of a independent horror film titled 'Rumpelstiltskin." The scene shown in an interview with the Rumpelstiltskin character, giving a rant that puts one in mind of Tyler Durden or 2019's Joker film. Sneering and breathing heavily, the camera operator carries the camera out of the living room which contains the television, climbing a carpeted staircase and opening a door to a bedroom. We see a man waking in his bed who resembles the interviewer in the film, obvious surprised. The operator begins to scream, which is quickly cut off as the camera is turned off.

4. Rayy Tablet
A partial fragment of the Epic of Gilgamesh, describing the offenses of Gilgamesh as king before meeting Enkidu. In addition to wanton violence, he is described as having profaned a temple to Enlil with insufficient sacrifices (because they were crippled?), introspecting (?), waging war on the people "above" Ur and taking one of their "thirds" (?) as a wife. This tablet is the oldest version of the epic yet uncovered, dated to 3000 BCE.

5. Flight Footage
A silent, short clip taken on an early cell phone showing the view from an airplane window. The plane is sharply descending, and in the final frames is shown to collide with what is recognizably the US Capitol Building. 

A Youtube video, twelve years old, will a little over 100,000 views. Features three disembodied voices discussing geometry and four-dimensional shapes, with frequent diversions and corny jokes. Despite explaining that it is impossible for humans to visualize four-dimensional shapes, the voices narrate as simple computer-generated graphics depict a series of such shapes, beginning with a hypercube. Despite the title and the inexplicable depictions, no viewer has exhibited any sign of serious harm from watching the video.

7. Magic Trix
Several shots of two boys, apparently related, performing minor illusions. Only one appears at a time, and the film seems to be shot in and around a small home in the mid-2000's. About two minutes into the seven minute video, the older boy declares "This magic is for babies. Let's see what a real wizard can do!" This leads into a section where slightly more advanced illusions, including those which can only be accomplished with simple video editing, take place. When the older boy performs a trick in this section, the camera notably shakes. When the younger boy performs a trick, he appears obviously reluctant, and the flourish is accompanied by full-body shivers. In one take, blood runs from his nose and he starts to ask the other boy a question-- "Can we please--"

8. Miranda
A complete manuscript of a novel discovered in the writing desk of a recently deceased Virginian politician in 1800. In an epistolary framing narrative, a classical scholar describes how he came to uncover an ancient account of a woman who lived in poverty during the time of the Roman Republic. Descriptions of the marble-shrined city in which she lives have been interpreted by a constitutional scholar as the inspiration for many of the landmarks and features of Washington, D.C.

9. Scan for Anomaly
An audio file of the 1969 moon landing on a collection of cassette tapes. When Armstrong or Aldrin speak while on the moon's surface, the soft sound of singing voices can be heard. The song performed has been identified as an adhan. There is a period of 40 seconds of silence shortly after Armstrong's famous "one small step" line.

10. Police Report: Forced Entry as St. John's Lodge 117
Records from the Hartford Police Department regarding an incident in November, 1976. The report includes a photograph of intricately painted letters on a wood-paneled wall: "BLAKE WAS FORTHRIGHT IN ALL HIS WRITINGS." In the report, Detective Alan Davis reports an alleged break-in of the Masonic Lodge by reporter Dierdre McOwens. She claims to have taken the photograph. Members of the lodge claim that she graffitied the message on their wall and that she has threatened them in the past.

Thursday, November 19, 2020

GLoG Class: the Godchild

    (Note: this is an expansion on notes by our beloved Deus. The formatting, idea, and much of the text is theirs. Other ideas were contributed to them by the likes of Vayra, Xenophon of Athens, purplecthulhu, and rtx.)
    ONCE upon a time, there lived a man who had a son—a lazy, stupid boy who would never do anything he was told... 

    ONCE upon a time, there lived a King and Queen whose children had all died, until only one little daughter remained...

    ONCE upon a time, there was a peasant whose wife died, leaving him with two children— twins— a boy and a girl...

    ONCE upon a time, at the town of Senna on the banks of the Zambesi, was born a child. He was not like other children, for over his shoulder he carried a big sack, and in his hand an iron hammer. He could also speak like a grown man, but he was usually very silent...

    ONCE upon a time, what happened did happen, and if it had not happened this story would never have been told...

Class: Godchild

    You are a normal person in every way, Your godparent, however, is something weird. After being turned out of your home (or orphaned) you have taken to the road.
    A godchild can use light armor and shields and never fumbles while using bows, slings, clubs, hatchets, knives, named swords or anything you took off the body of a dead giant.
    Your godparent will offer you the best advantages they can, though beyond that you will have to manage as best you can.

Kens (d3): 1. Shepherding 2. War 3. Ingratiating yourself to authority. 
Starting Items: sturdy traveling clothes, three days of food in a sack, a hatchet, and one Thing to Remember Your Parents by.
  • A: Godparent
  • B+: go find a real job

    Your parents, desperately poor, selected a godparent who seemed to offer you the most potential for advancement. Roll on the following table to determine your godparent, and then roll on their subtable at every level:
  1. The Moon
    Beautiful, friend to nightingales. Her gifts recharge at dusk.
    1. Summon a +1 shield of perfectly reflective silver to hand with a word.
    2. Learn the language of the songbirds; they will be your everlasting friends.
    3. Conjure a glowing silver javelin dealing 3d6 damage and pinning its target to the ground.
    4. Sing with the voice of an angel (creatures of your choice must Save vs Charm).
    Benedick Bana
  2. The Sun
    Handsome, friend to eagles. His gifts recharge at dawn
    1. Clap your hands and glow with six seconds of sunlight.
    2. A great raptor delivers a gold-buff-coat. Anyone who wears it is recognized as an honorary deva in the war against Evil. Tell one person you are here to vindicate them and they'll believe you (no save.)
    3. Once, borrow your godfather's chariot to transport yourself, your twenty closest friends, and a caravan of supplies to any point on Earth. You won't get a second chance until you do the Sun a major favor.
    4. Call out to your godfather and small fires will fall down onto any place you request, for up to an hour.

  3. The Rain
    Tired, and the oldest of any on this list. Its powers are constant. In normal climates, it has a 1-in-4 chance of raining in a hex that contains you, +1 for each template past the first.
    1. Simple cap. Wearing it backwards summons a terrible storm.
    2. Water always runs towards whatever you're looking for.
    3. Water seals and numbs your wounds. Also, your gear works perfectly in the damp.
    4. A small vial of replenishing water. Tastes like honey and petrichor, and heals 1 HP, but not more than once per set of injuries.
    宋 跃然
  4. The Ocean
    Flashing eyes, sudden rages. She has an uneven soul. Her powers are inconstant, recharging on a 2-in-6 chance every time you sleep.
    1. +1 Orichalcum trident. Discharge its power to double the weight of a foe's armor and weapons upon a failed hit.
    2. Call an allied creature from the deep that will burst in 1d6 hours due to pressure: (1d4) 1. whale, 2. anglerfish, 3. giant man-o-war, 4. giant squid.
    3. Shout a message into any body of water and the next time your intended recipient is by water, they will hear you and be able to dictate a reply.
    4. Algae-coated chest containing 750 doubloons and jewelry worth 250 gold. This is booty freshly freed from one of the many bloody wars fought under the waves. (Does not provide XP in systems where that would be a concern.)

  5. The Winter
    He laughs but his sense of humor is cruel. Each gift is imparted with a cold touch.
    1. You freeze solid, and no longer require heat or water. Touching you is painful (+1 damage for unarmed attacks), and bodies of water freeze before you can sink into them.
    2. By scowling at a tomb or building, you chill its halls. After an hour of staring, it becomes unbearably cold inside without precautions.
    3. Box of matchsticks. People and surroundings are distorted by the match-light, made to resemble something comforting to the viewer. Once you run out of matches, your godfather will replace the box— he's got like a hundred.
    4. Your heart is cold and cruel. Make an Offhand Remark to someone to cause them to despise you and 1d4-1 other people of your choice. Lasts until your next Offhand Remark.

  6. The Devil
    Very busy these days. Each gift comes with a case of cigars as lagniappe. Beware! Lost gifts are never replaced.
    1. Velvet coin-purse. Contains an endless amount of red-gold coins. If anyone learns where they came from, every coin will turn to ash and the bag will melt to nothingness.
    2. Your godfather takes time out of his schedule to teach you how to summon hellfire with a whistle, (1d6 damage, spreads quickly,) but only if you promise never to extinguish a fire again. He'll hold you to it.
    3. A soul. They must obey your commands six days a week but can only briefly turn corporeal. They are one of the victims of a previous deal with the devil, innocent and plucky.
    4. Fraying burlap sack, just big enough to fit a squirming adult inside. Anything within cannot escape.
    Jakub Ruzalski
  7. A Witch
    Just a local one.
    1. Your godmother has taught you a curse. When you glare at someone with the evil eye they get -1 to everything, forever. It doesn't stack. She didn't teach you how to break it.
    2. You get a pair of golden scissors, styled after bird wings. If you snip the scissors while looking at someone, they get nasty cuts.
    3. You get a small whistle. If you blow it, then your Godmother's familiar will creep out of the nearest dark corner, to answer one question or give one piece of advice in her voice. She won't like it if you do this too much...
    4. In a terrifying dream, you are shown the route to a bacchic castle in the borders of Imagination and Hell. You and those you guide can slip between this place and the waking world, but it is dangerous to spend more than a few hours here and you can only return to where you started.

  8. Death
    No one ever asked him to be a godfather before.
    1. Glass goblet. When you look at a dying person through the goblet, you can see Death at their head (meaning that they are doomed) or at their feet (meaning they will live). Mechanically, roll to stabilize them immediately with a +2 bonus. Succeed or fail, their fate is set.
    2. Death shows up, buzzed and bumbling, and asks you to name anyone who is currently dead. He will gift you the skull of this historical figure, who will answer any questions you have on your journeys.
    3. As long as you are underground, you can speak with the deceased.
    4. Gilded misericorde. Anyone stabbed with it dies, but only while it is still in them. After it is removed, any damage dealt since it was inserted is undone.
    "The Frogs", Broadway 2004
  9. King of Lions
    Proud and warlike. His gifts recharge when you have a meat-based meal.
    1. Skin of a lion who sought to depose your godfather. Negates the first five slashes and cuts it receives before needing to be recharged.
    2. Day spent hunting with your uncle the king. Return with a belly full of meat, a chin dripping with blood, and invisibility while in undergrowth, as long as you move no faster than a crawl.
    3. Charm foes you've bested in physical challenge. Lasts until they see you in an embarrassing situation.
    4. Necklace with witch teeth, claimed from your godfather's foe. When you receive a permanent injury or dismemberment, turns it into merely an impressive scar. Works once before needing to be recharged.

  10. Queen of Bees
    Warlike and proud. Her gifts recharge when you have a plant- or sugar-based meal.
    1. Command a group of unnamed folk with irresistible presumption. "Unnamed" means anyone the GM has not named by the time you command them. 
    2. Retainer, a squire named Allan(druzzizm). He was once a bee knight, now made human to serve you. Loyal, but has no understanding of the humanoid world. Quixotic. Stats as a warrior of your Godchild level.
    3. Orb of wax, 2", that contains a bee princess. She can create a discrete hive in the course of an hour and relay you information on what happens in the area. A new princess enters the wax orb when your gifts recharge.
    4. Claim dominion over a small area (about three large rooms, or an acre of undeveloped land.) Mortals and beasts will recognize the area as yours until you next use this ability.

  11. Father of the Forest
    The oldest, tallest tree. Gifts are constant, never flashy.
    1. Hard, sticky mark on the back of your hand. Entitles you to travel unmolested by animals, or by creatures who fear your godfather. As persuasive as a permission slip.
    2. Yew branch, offered by one of your godfather's closest friends. Its sharpened point ignores manufactured armor. Its reassuring bend eases long hikes.
    3. Walk with the unbothered air of a hermit. Your journeys never seem to take any longer than would be predicted, no matter the misfortunes you encounter.
    4. Detritivores become your best friend, as they are to any tree. They have learned some of your language, can devour an organic item in ten minutes, and know where all the bodies are buried. It's a good bet they're around at any given time.

  12. Bored Fairy
    This seemed like an interesting diversion for a century or two — how long do humans live, exactly?
    1. A tin of three old biscuits. If someone accepts one offered as a gift, they will grant your their most prized possession.
    2. Call out to your godmother, and she'll turn an animal you've been taking care of for at least a day into a humanoid, (deeply confusing it.)
    3. One of many shards from an ancient mirror. When looking through it, you see past any illusions, including friendship and honor.
    4. A lead on an desirable bachelor(ette) and a scheme to win their hand. If you are already in a relationship, the gift is instead an infant, with the ability to see the true nature of things.
    Marc Simonetti
  13. Old Dragon
    Godchildren are, perhaps, another form of treasure. After you grow to self-sufficiency, its love must be bought. More smoke than fire
    1. 1d4+1 goldbugs, friendly to you and all who share your blood. "To guard your hoard."
    2. A cadet branch of its cult, including 1d6 champions, 2d6 priests, and 4d10 followers. Deluded, vain, more trouble than they're worth, but will follow orders as long as they think your godparent will punish them otherwise.
    3. Exquisite pheasant-tail headdress that twitches in the presence of magic. If you sleep on a magic item while wearing the headdress, learn the item's primary function.
    4. SMALL UNAPPEALING THING, the gaudy sword of an old "dragonslayer." Cuts holes through fire big enough to lead a cart through.
Things to Remember Your Parents By
  1. Belt made from ten feet of old rope
  2. Cameo, your father's wedding gift
  3. Ashes of your stillborn elder sister
  4. Collection of old devotionals
  5. Book of fairy tales with the best pages torn out
  6. Scabbard for the lost family sword
  7. Deed to grandpa's old farm, precise location unknown
  8. Scar on your arm where the wolves nicked you
  9. Comb with oxidated silver embellishments
  10. Tea pot, perfectly preserved
  11. Old family motto that people in power all seem to know
  12. Memories of a lullaby
  13. Set of rules, as bizarrely specific as they are applicable to your current situation
  14. Old red key. Each truly important lock it is tried in has a 1-in-3 chance of being its mate
  15. Journal, half-filled with ciphered text
  16. Head of a parent's spear, haftless
  17. Origami bird
  18. Flimsy wand. You haven't figured out how to use it
  19. Sling and ten bits of rubble for slingstones
  20. Scrollcase, locked, and a key you are pathologically unable to insert into the lock.

Sunday, November 15, 2020

Ten Starting Towns

There is a classic dungeoneering set-up that is "dungeon-forward." In such games, the party doesn't spend too much time outside of the dungeon that the players have come together to play. They rest up, maybe buy some supplies, and return to their delve. I find it to be a waste, not least of which because I suspect injecting character into the surrounding society near the dungeon can add a lot to the experience while taking up very little time or effort. 

To facilitate this, I will sketch out ten simple themes to throw over the town outside the dungeon. They will all change things slightly, but shall be deliberately vague and without obvious hooks to distract the party.

1. Bullywug Village
A marshy collection of stilted wooden hovels, kept dry and clean by the ingenuity of the frogfolk who live here. Only the first floor of the tavern is built to accommodate human-sized guests, and a premium is placed on dry goods. A fermented paste from lightning bugs (or will-o-the-wisps) are the standard local light source, preferred to tempermental lanterns and unshielded torches.

2. Skeleton Settlement
The normal, generic town, just without any flesh. Inhabitants are cheerful if sometimes cruel, and leery of holy symbols. The visionary director will interrogate survivors whenever a member of the party dies, and the following week will arrange a musical performance based on the event.

3. Fort on the Borderlands
Everyone's problematic fave? Suspicious folk overcoming an environment they are poorly adapted to through militarism and frequent reinforcement. Will pay through the nose for reliable maps and guides. Has a very different feel depending on whether the party belongs to the same culture group as the fort's captains or the people they are fortified against.

4. Refuge of Refugees
A once-prosperous town that has emptied its treasury to aid displaced populations fleeing dark lords, elemental catastrophes, or The Wizard. Frequent shortages on common goods, but willing buyers for useful treasures abound. Mercy and desperation is on open display.

5. Foreign Port
A coastal, cosmopolitan city that serves as a point of entry for all who would visit the country from afar. Tolerance born from constant and baffling difference. Jeweled and cursed artifacts available to anyone who flashes enough coin. Everything overseen by the domestic guards who make more with every blood-red cent poured in from abroad.

6. Benighted Hamlet
A small thorp with tall walls. The people are afraid, but the danger is not coming from outside. The baroness is eating all the young girls who might become more beautiful than her, or the duke's son is a werewolf and anyone who says so is thrown in prison, or a gang of mirror merchants replace anyone who challenges them. The party may want to stop this, but right now injustice is the status quo, and there's no good lever to change that. Maybe there's the glimmer of a hope at the end of the nearest dungeon.

7. Chivalric Chapterhouse
ha-HA! This "town" is little more than the attendant organs to an order of knights, allegedly just and full-fare. Expect jousting drills, calls for ale, and frequent challenges from giants and other weirdos.

8. Court of Idyll
The sprawling and fertile grounds of a faerie court, with its gremlin, half-elf, and beggar retainers. Abstract currencies, like songs and memories. Addictive fruit. Chivalry that would make King Arthur say enough is enough. Parties of adventurers are advised to stay on the margins or get ready for strange demands.

9. Industrial Waystation
Everyone is coughing and the weather's always bad. Few people come through here, save the caravans carrying raw materials and the deliveries of advanced materiel. Neglected but necessary to some nation-spanning machine. Is it any wonder that these people must turn to strangers to solve their problems? 

10. Plains Meeting Point
A semi-permanently inhabited city, which all nations visit every few years to trade, marry, and learn from each other. Despite disparate tongues, all can make themselves clear in a sign language using their hands, mouth, and feet. There is even less standardization of lengths, weights, and makes than in your usual fantasy world, so everyone makes sure to test things for their fit before they commit to buying them.

Sunday, November 8, 2020

GLoG Class: Dungeoneer

To round out GLoG week, here is a class emulating those intrepid heroes and heroines who braved the ever-changing hallways of the dungeon master Tregard in British 80's show "Knightmare."

Class: Dungeoneer (start with a blinding helmet, presentable attire, a satchel for food, and exactly two other random items)

            A: Food for Energy, Helmet of Justice
B: Clue Room
            C: Spellcasting
D: Quest item, Silver Spurs of Squiredom

Food for Energy: Get +1 HP when you eat something you find in a dungeon or other dangerous location. You can use this ability multiple times per day, but each instance must be more gross or more dangerous than the last.

Helmet of Justice: While wearing a closed helmet or similar, you can see as though in dim light. Attacks that specifically target your head or eyesight fail. This is the uniform of the Dungeoneer, and everyone will expect you to talk to them like they’re NPCs.

Clue Room: when searching for things secret or hidden, you may declare “I challenge!” If there is indeed something hidden in that area part of the architecture will come alive and ask you up to three riddles.            - If you solve all three, what is hidden will be revealed and the dungeon will offer advice.

           - If you solve two, what is hidden will be revealed.

           - If you solve one, You will receive a clue and the DM will roll a random encounter check.

           - If you solve none, the dungeon attempts to eat you.

Spellcasting: Once per dungeon level per day, spell a simple word to cast a spell with a number of MD equal to your level. The DM will interpret the actual effect in a straightforward way. It lasts for up to an hour or until you misspell the original word.

Quest Item: Advance immediately to this level if you successfully recover an important magical item for which you have been questing.

Silver Spurs of Squiredom: see perfectly regardless of what’s on your head, parry damage to adjacent allies by 1d12, take minimum damage from classic dungeon traps. You also get a little silver plaque worth 1 gp, entitling you to start leveling up as a knight.

Saturday, November 7, 2020

GLoG Week: Traes Sidhe

 I was dared by nyandromeda to "write a short faction that you would find in the irish fairy world," and by gum, I am bound by dares. I don't really understant all the intricacies of the milleau, but I'll do my best.

So, you know the succession of peoples who settled this fair isle? The giants, followed by dog-headed folk, followed by various tribes? Well, in the same way that Camelot was established by the rightful heirs to the Roman Empire, so too can the current regimes of the fair isle hearken back to Troy, or as it is called in their own tongue, Traes.

But there were two migrations from Troy. The first was by boat and the other an ill-fated trek through Faerie. What was intended as one expedition was fractured when the two princes leading it fell to rivalry following a hunting trip.

The Traes Sidhe are those who undertook the expedition through Faerie. They are not lost, but they are trapped, unable to fully live on the fair isle. For they have become as spirits themselves, bound by strange rules and obligations, ever banished. By now the expedition boasts many heroes and saints of our history, many still living where most folk never see.

The average traveler may see a Traes Sidhe, but in many parts of our fair isle they are more likely to encounter their mortal bondsmen. For in churchyards and in moots, mortals make simple pacts with the Traes Sidhe, who enjoy an uncomplicated good reputation compared to other spirits. The expedition offers protection, benedictions, and spells in exchange for acts of small devotion, which they claim will eventually allow them to cross over to the isle at last.

These ancient folk are not evil and not particularly cruel. Nevertheless, most other authorities distrust and oppose them when they can do so without atrocity. The church fears the nature of the worship these spirits receive, even if some are sainted. And rulers fear the arrival of powerful, immortal warriors armed with ancient techniques and adaption to survive in the realm of Faerie.