15 February 2020

GLOG: 1d24 things which might emerge from the top of a chaotic, parasitic, Top-hat and a Glog class that wears one

It would seem to be an ordinary top-hat, aside from its glossy sheen. Any humanoid who approaches the hat must make a Charisma/Willpower save to resist placing the hat upon their head. Wearing that hat levels the wearer, at which point they must take a level as a Mad-Hatter.


A: Top-hat, Thinking Cap, Emergent d6
B: Main hat, Initiate, Emergent d12
C: Hat leader, Greater Initiate, Emergent d18
D: Hat life, Spell flux, Emergent d24

Top-hat: The top-hat is sealed to your head. Any damage dealt to the hat is dealt to your HP. The top-hat's voice is inside your head, he calls himself Horatio. Horatio is an agent of Chaos. Replace one of your personality traits with one from the Chaotic personality list.You must level as this class until you have all 4 templates, even if this would replace your previous class templates. Change your name on your character sheet to [name] & Horatio.

Thinking Cap: Horatio knows much. Perhaps too much. If you ask Horatio a question there is a 5/6 chance he will give you a truthful answer. Each additional question during a session/day decreases the chance of an honest response by 1/6.

Emergent: Horatio can call forth wondrous things from the top of the hat. As an action you may roll on the Emergence Table to see what emerges from your top of the hat. If you roll a result that has already occurred this session, take the next lowest roll on the table (continuing with this if needed). As you gain new dice sizes you may choose, each time you roll, which dice size to use. To simulate a d18, roll a ((1d3 -1)x6 +1d6)). For a d24, roll ((1d4 -1)x6 +1d6)) or roll ((1d2 -1) x12 + 1d12)).

Main hat: Change the name on your character sheet to Horatio & [name]. Replace an additional non-chaotic personality trait with a chaotic one. Horatio's voice can now be heard by others.

Initiate: Gain advantage on initiative rolls in the first round. If you cause initiative to be rolled, roll 1d10 on the initiative table. If you satisfy the rolled condition, you get the matching effect.

Hat leader: Change the name on your character sheet to Horatio featuring [name]. Replace an additional non-chaotic personality trait with a chaotic one. Your voice can now only be heard in Horatio's mind.

Greater Initiate: Once you have rolled a d10 on the initiative table to gain a condition, you may choose to have the matching effect, or you may roll and additional d10 and take the effect from the new roll. 

Hat life: Change the name on your character sheet to Horatio. You retain the memories of your original character but any vestiges of their personality have gone. Their voice is a distant memory inside the mind of Horatio.The thinking-cap ability now applies to the mind of the former character. Any remaining non-chaotic personality traits should be replaced with chaotic ones. 

Spell Flux: When a spellcaster casts a spell within 15ft of you, you may force the spellcaster to take a charisma save. If they fail they must cast a different spell they know, chosen at random.

Character Missions

⃞  A non-player character complements/praises your hat
⃞  Emerge at an unsuspecting creature
⃞  Do something completely unexpected which has negative material consequences

Emergence Table

1d24 What emerges
0 A sickly magic missile springs forth, target may take a constitution save to take half damage
1 1d6 top-hats fly out, landing on the nearest humanoid targets' heads.
2 A sheep fires out at high velocity in a straight line, can save to avoid being hit, 1d6 damage each to the sheep and the target.
3 A dense mess of cactus spurts forth and continues growing for the next minute. Each round it grows larger by a 5x5ft square.
4 The hat lurches forwards 30ft, taking you with it. Roll falling damage for any impact with a dexterity save to half the damage.
5 Everything in a 30ft long by 5ft wide cylinder is healed for 1d6 HP.
6 An illusionary wolf leaps from the hat towards the nearest humanoid, save vs a fear effect. The illusion will pop like a bubble.
7 A 2HD wolf leaps from the hat towards the nearest humanoid, it will flee once it has half health.
8 Two scaled humanoid hands emerge and perform an obscene gesture.
9 A dead and decaying bull erupts forth from the hat at enormous speed, travelling up to 100ft and dealing 3d6 damage to the target (Con save to half), exploding upon impact splattering rotten carcass around the nearby area
10 A [x=1d2] level fire-bolt strikes forth, dealing x(d6+1) fire damage to the first target in a straight line, save vs dexterity to dodge it
11 The arm of a giant flies out and punches the first thing it hits within its reach of 15ft, dealing 2d6 damage, save vs con to reduce by half
12 A copper sphere plops out and a voice rings out clearly "10, 9, 8,…". Upon reaching zero (after 1 round), the sphere will explode, healing everyone within 10ft for 2d6 HP
13 A copper sphere plops out and a voice rings out clearly "10, 9, 8,…". Upon reaching zero (after 1 round), the sphere will explode as a maximum level fireball
14 Roll 1d6. A stream of X flows out at a high pressure for the next minute: (1) Butterflies (2) scolding hot water (3) toenail clippings (4) bright, blinding light (5) diseased, scurrying rats (6) pebbles
15 A wand protrudes and casts a random orthodox wizard spell
16 A 2HD animated sword flies out, it will attack nearby creatures, including players, targeting them in descending height order
17 Everything within a 30ft cone of the hat becomes invisible for the 1d6 rounds, unless it casts a spell or attacks
18 First creature in a 100ft line gains a random mutation
19 Roll 1d6. Everything in a 15ft cube becomes covered in: (1) gold leaf (2) poop (3) chicken's blood (4) glitter (5) rust (6) grease
20 The first thing in a line grows an arm. If it is a creature the arm attempts to strangle it for the next 1d6 rounds, after which it functions like a normal arm. If it is not a creature, the arm takes the form of the object which now becomes sentient, wilful, and angered at its newfound sentience.
21 A fragile flask containing love potion flies out up to 20ft, if hit save or fall madly in love with the first animal you see for 1 hour
22 Roll 1d6. Treasure worth 1d6 gold falls from the hat. Treasure is: (1) an emerald (2) a rare monster egg (3) salt (4) fine clothing (5) a landscape painting (6) a spell-book written in a dead language
23 A 20ft by 20ft iron portcullis appears parallel to the hat's top and 10ft away.
24 1d4 grasping tentacles burst forth for 1 round, range 15ft. Dexterity save to avoid being grasped. If grasped strength save to avoid being pulled inside the hat. After the 2nd round the portal at the top of the hat will close, severing anything crossing its boundary.

Initiative table

1d10 Condition Effect
1 For each round, if you narrate what you are doing in 3rd person +4 to a single dice roll that round
2 For each round in which you are not wearing anything over your lower body any roll on the emergent table can be re-rolled once per round
3 For each round in which you speak in rhymes all hat wearers gain +1 to all rolls, all hat-less creatures get -1 to all rolls that round
4 For each round in which you deliberately waste your entire turn in an elaborate way gain advantage on all rolls next round
5 For each round where you do not use your movement Next round, double your movement, you don't generate opportunity attacks 
6 If you place a hat on an opponent's head Gain advantage on actions against that opponent for the rest of the combat
7 If you set yourself on fire and don't put it out for at least 1 round For the rest of the combat, you leave a trail of fire behind you as you move
8 If you drop all your weapons and don't pick them up for the rest of the combat Each time you hit an opponent you increase in size as though an enlarge spell had been cast on you. Each time you miss an opponent you decrease in size as though a reduce spell had been cast on you. Size change gradually wears off in the minutes after the combat ends.
9 If you make a pun related to your action or an action made against you since the last turn At the end of your turn, swap places with the combatant who is furthest from you
10 Once per round, when you hit an ally with your emergence You may use your emergence ability an additional time


1: This is my own personal nonsense where player characters choose personality traits from a list and are rewarded with bonus xp for portraying them in game.
2: This can also be done by splitting the table into sections of 6 results, then using a dice roll to see which section you are in, followed by a d6 roll to get the specific result. All of these composite rolls are intended to be reroll-able by a single reroll.
3: More personal nonsense where players get bonus xp for completing certain class-related missions at least once during a session

8 February 2020

Earth Elementals part 2: Trolls

This post follows on from part 1 (Dwarves).

Troll Psychology

Trolls abhor their desire for meat. Consuming meat is an abhorrent and fetid fetish. The moist, tough squishiness is foul and unappetizing. The flavour is awful and deservedly so, after all, meat is from animals, from living organisms. Eating things that were once alive? How retched.

A considerable improvement would be eating stones, rocks and dirt (they think). The earthen crunch between your teeth, the grinding and fracturing, popping and splitting. It's firm scrape as you guzzle it down your throat. Coarse and appealing. And it comes in so many flavours! Salty, ferrous, sandy, loamy... the joyous zest of a metallic tang! Even better if it shimmers and shines and glitters.

But Trolls need meat to survive. They crave it, are drawn to it, their mind bent towards like a boulder cascading downhill. They must have it. It completes them, heals them nourishes them. 

However, a Troll cannot express these feelings. Your (un)friendly neighbourhood Troll can only speak up to two dozen words, and many of those are synonyms for "hungry". Troll intelligence is lacking, but they can be bought off with offers of meat.

Troll Physiology

Trolls must eat meat to survive, though due to the slow metabolism and cold-blood they retain from their time as a Dwarf they can go for months or years without a meal - similar to a komodo dragon or a crocodile.

Though they can no longer process them, Trolls are given to eating metals and rocks. Unlike Dwarves, Trolls also consume precious metals and gemstones, if they can find them. As their body cannot process them properly, any non-meat they eat is slowly pushed out of their back like a tooth through gum until their entire back is covered in a craggy, rocky, tough surface. If the troll's has eaten enough gold/gemstones their back will similarly glitter and gleam as the precious metals and stones protrude from it.

Whereas Dwarves preferred the dark, and had poor vision in daylight, Trolls avoid sunlight at all costs. The dawn's light will slowly petrify them, and daylight at noon would turn them to stone in a  matter of seconds. As such Trolls will be found lurking in dark, sheltered areas.

Trolls retain their Dwarven torso but their limbs become long, gangling and surprisingly powerful. They can pick up medium and small sized folk in their hands (from here they will could throw them, drop them or bite their heads off).

Though Trolls can be defeated with martial prowess, if their corpses are not burnt they will slowly congeal together again to form a new troll (though some wizards say it is technically the same troll). An alternative way to stop this process is by exposing the corpse to enough sunlight to petrify it.

2 February 2020

All the hobby: January 2020


TV I watched
The Durrels Season 1 (and half of season 2) - A British Family move to a Greek Island. As a Brit on a Greek-speaking island, this has a built-in synergy with my life. Pleasant viewing but not stirring or challenging. Intend to keep watching.
Firefly (first handful of episodes) - I like it. It's an interesting version of a western - most western movies tend to have a tense build up to the climax but there's a limit to how much tension you can build in a 40-min run time. Want to keep watching.
Rick and Morty Season 3 - I laughed quite a bit and then didn't really think about it afterwards. As expected. I'll continue watching them as they are released.

Movies I watched
Star Trek Wrath of Khan - Classic battle of wits, I kept comparing it to Star Trek Into Darkness, which rehashes the core plot. I think Wrath of Kahn is more enjoyable.
Star Trek Search for Spock - Less naff than I remember it being. Quite a decent Star Trek movie for 'one of the bad ones'
Star Trek Voyage Home - My joint favourite Star Trek movie, it was as fun as I remembered it being (the other two favourites are First Contact and Galaxy Quest)
Jurassic Park - Better than I remember, this is a solid movie. Will watch again sometime.
Scott Pilgrim vs The World - This was weird. It threw me that part way through the movie what had seemed like representations of our character's imagination turned out to be real? The meta changed oddly. I enjoyed it, I'd like to see it again some time. But not for a while.
Planet of the Apes (1968) - Slow but enjoyable. It was pointed out to me how stupid it is that thousands of years of time has passed but Ape culture so closely resembles human culture - even down to speaking the same language, with no major variations? (Is 52 years long enough ago that I don't need to put a spoiler alert?)
1917 (cinema)  - This was great. I would liken it to Dunkirk, like an atmospheric art-house war movie. Brutally real in a contrast to Hollywood sterility.

Board Games
Arkham Horror the Card Game - Good old Eldritch Horror - Attempt 1 we both died/went insane. Attempt 2 we were barely successful. Then we tried an expansion. Died several times. This got the most play time of all my board games largely because it is co-operative and challenging. My other co-operative games have all-too-obvious-flaws: Hogwarts Battle isn't tough enough and Space Hulk: Death Angel is too dependent on the 40k aesthetic.
Sid Meier's Civilization: The board game - Only my second game ever despite owning it for 3? years. Set-up time and rules explanations are too long. Good fun though. Don't know when I'll get around to playing it again. If ever...
Star Wars X-Wing Miniatures 1st edition- Only played a handful of games but they were good fun. I could play a lot of this. I bought 1st edition ships 'cos it's cheaper and I can have more of them.
7 Wonders Duel - A solid game that lost out in play time to Arkham Horror because it is not co-operative.

Starship Troopers - This was interesting to compare with the movie. The book's propaganda was all lectures from more experienced men to our protagonist. I was liking this version of authoritarian propaganda - until the characters said that they had mathematically proved that their system of governance was the most ethical (or something along those lines). This threw me from the book more than the giant-space-ants or the casual deployment of nuclear arsenals. There was other bad science in the book but as a 1959 sci-fi novel I can forgive some of it (especially when delivered by characters - the character could just be full of bullshit). I really did enjoy this book, it was some great military-sci-fi. But it came across a bit weak when characters can just say "I am right and maths has proved it to be so". It takes a burden from their arguments for their system - which were engaging and interesting otherwise. But also, I reject the notion that mathematics could ever deal with ethical arguments sufficiently enough that they could be said to be proved, especially arguments on the scale of choosing a system of governance and representation.

The fact I have so much to say about this book should recommend it in and of itself.

Video Games
Knights of the Old Republic - about 8hrs. I've played this game before. It's solid, I just ran out of steam on it. I'll probably come back to it in 6 months - a year. Also don't try to go dark side. It is not nuanced at all, you are a baby-eating-puppy-killer-moustache-twirling bully.
Hollow Knight - I played about 2-3hrs until I got stuck at a fight. It was good until then. I'll probably come back to it when I want to play a kinetic fast paced game.
Slay the Spire - ooer on steam it says 44hrs in the last two weeks. This game is great fun, I just wish it was easier to craft the deck I want to craft. That makes it sound like I didn't like it - This would be a large slice of my hobby pie-chart. Because it's really good fun. Winning is great fun. Nearly winning is very good fun. Barely surviving is fun. Transforming all your cards into random stuff is fun. Getting a card on the first few floors and designing your entire deck around it is the best. But you don't always get an interesting enough card, so you often have to settle for just fun.

RPGs as a DM
2 sessions of Majimonsters, re-skinned as Pokemon - this re-skin was quite easy, so easy it must have been intended by the developers. I might make a post about it as there doesn't seem to be any online.
3 sessions of D&D 5e Humblewood campaign - Humblewood continues to be fun. A medium difficulty encounter with steam mephits killed the barbarian. That was a fun comedy of errors.

RPGs as a player
1 session in a D&D 5e one-shot (which we didn't finish in one session, as is tradition) We were all Dwarves. I like Dwarves.

Albums - When I listen to anything in the rock/metal super-genre and like it, I put it on my Spotify list. So far 26 albums have contributed to the list.
Green Day: Dookie - 6 songs got onto the list, which is pretty good. How can I put it other than "I like their sound". Nothing in particular, but the composite whole. Writing this, I should try listening to the album again, I want to develop my opinion on it. That alone say's it's worth developing an opinion on. (The 'on' at the end of that sentence doesn't sound right but it's staying there.)
The Jam: In the City - I like The Jam. I wouldn't go any further than saying I like them. This was as expected. I didn't find any new songs on here that stuck with me.

Is it too meta to include blogging on this list?


Okay, the third link is too meta.

25 January 2020

Earth Elementals part 1: Dwarves

The average peasant probably knows this about Dwarves:

  • They are short, bearded men. At least, they all have beards and deep voices, but they must have women too.
  • They make jewelry, armour, weapons, buildings and tools very well, among other things. Dwarven craftsmanship is highly sought after.
  • They like to drink a lot. Particularly a l c o h o l i c drinks. They are a rather rowdy folk.
  • They live in mountains and hills and in other underground dark places.
Though the average peasant is, in many respects, below average, what they know about Dwarves is pretty accurate. But what they don't know is vast.

The average peasant probably does not know this about Dwarves:
  • Dwarves are Earth Elementals.
  • Dwarven beards can magically craft items when the raw materials for those items are placed inside the beard and allowed to gestate whilst the Dwarf concentrates on the finished product. If you hand a skillful Dwarven craftsman a lump of iron ore, some wood and some animal skill then, given time, he can produce for you a master-crafted iron dagger. Dwarves are also very skilled at hands-on crafting since not everything can fit inside their beards.
  • Dwarves do not need to eat meat. Meat-eating is taboo in most Dwarven cultures. They get by perfectly well with some dirt, pebbles and a tuft of grass every now and then, thank you very much. Dwarves are cold-blooded so they do not expend much energy as their body does not need to maintain a consistent temperature. This serves them well in deep, dark recesses under the mountains.
  • Dwarves don't have much access to alcoholic drinks when in their homes deep underground, so when they travel out into other lands they take the opportunity. Travelling to human lands is akin to a night out on the town.
  • Dwarves have good vision in the dark and poorer vision in bright light, such as the overlands.
  • Dwarves can self-petrify. They can do it rather quickly too. It's a defence mechanism, but it is also a last resort.
  • Dwarves can also self-depetrify. That takes a little while to do. They are quite vunerable while depetrifying.
  • They can also depetrify other petrified organisms by touch. That takes rather a long time to do.
  • Dwarves can reproduce by magically crafting a statue of a dwarven boy within their beard, and then depetrifying it. It takes a little each of concentration, beard skill and will to do this successfully. It takes a lot of concentration, beard skill and will to do this well and make an excellent new Dwarf, but unfortunately the quality of the offspring is hard to measure. Perhaps the offspring will be unable to depetrify. Perhaps its beard skill will be poor. Perhaps The Change will come to it very early in its life.
  • As a Dwarf gets old, which can take several hundred years, they begin to undergo The Change.

The average Dwarf probably knows this about The Change:
  • When you change, you develop a taste for meat and precious things, such as gold and diamonds. Once you have changed, that desire becomes all-consuming, the single characteristic by which you now live your life. Your old personality is eradicated.
  • As you change, your beard-craftsmanship declines, until your beard loses all its magical potency and your beard hairs begin to fall out. What a lamentable event.
  • During The Change your limbs and digits become gangling and lanky.
  • Your back becomes rough and stony, as you can no longer properly process the dirt and pebbles that were your staple, and they become part of your back. A changed Dwarf who consumes precious metals and stones will grow them onto their back.
  • The Change can take only a few days to complete, but sometimes takes years. There is no way to tell in advance.
  • Wizards, Elves and other bookworms often call changed Dwarves "Trolls".

Here is a variety of Dwarven cultural reactions to The Change.
  • When a Dwarf suspects he has reached The Change, he should, with no fanfare or salutations, take himself to The Hall of the Yesteryear, find a suitable alcove and petrify himself. This is the only dignified response to The Change. If a Clan or Colony is ever in the direst of needs it will awaken its ancestors in the Hall of the Past to rally to its defense.
  • The Change is the body's way of telling the mind that the time for life is over, and changing Dwarves should host a tremendous farewell feast for all their friends and family, followed by a ritual which ends their life and returns them to the dust from whence they came.
  • A pox on all Elves, Men and Halflings! The Change is a sign that a Dwarf has not done enough to advance Dwarvenkind, and the only proper response is to crusade amongst the folk of the overlands, feasting on their flesh and haunting their forests until you are slain.
  • The Change in no way devalues the life of a Dwarf, and the only true measure of a Dwarven society is how it cares for those who have undergone The Change.
  • The Change is not a physiological development but a trial from on high. The longer a Dwarf lives without undergoing The Change, and the longer they can last withstand the full effects of The Change, the greater their afterlife will be. Once a Dwarf is fully changed they are no longer a Dwarf and the creature that remains should be thrown out into the wilderness. Their soul has ascended and their body is a shell.

    Continued in:

7 January 2020

Star Wars (1977) as a setting: Questions. Questions that need answering.

Thought experiment based on http://riseupcomus.blogspot.com/2017/09/1937-hobbit-as-setting.html and receiving a copy of the Star Wars role playing game Age of Rebellion for Christmas.

If Star Wars (1977) existed in isolation, what would we know about that setting? How would the setting work for an RPG?

What questions are left unanswered from just watching Star Wars 1977? Moreover, how can we subvert expectations and avoid rehashing the information we get from the other movies?

I re-watched Star Wars (the 1977 theatrical release where Han shoots first) and I tried to think about the questions I would have had if I only had that movie to go on. What information would I have to determine to flesh out the setting?
  • If Leia is part of the Rebel Alliance, that implies that there are different groups of rebels allied together, but not united as one. This reminds me of the French Resistance, where communists and nationalists might both oppose the German rule, but for different reasons (and both oppose each other too). What is it that separates the rebel groups?
  • Luke says he hates the empire and knows it is evil but he also talks about joining the academy? It sounds like he's talking about an imperial academy (in fact I think this might be former Canon, now called Legends). We know the Empire uses ruthless tactics (killing the Jawas, Luke's relatives, destroying Alderaan, constructing a planet-killer in the first place etc) but what is it about day-to-day imperial rule that would make a farmboy hate them? But seemingly not enough to not join the academy?
  • Other than on Tatooine, the only alien we see is Chewbacca. In other words, all the imperials are human and all the rebels are human (that we see anyway). Why is this?
  • All the aliens speak their own language, and do not speak English (the human language that we hear as English not named in the movie). The exception is the alien who threatens Luke in the cantina, but he looks like he could be a disfigured human anyway. C3PO is a protocol droid that can translate thousands of languages. All the aliens seem to understand the human language though, how do languages work in the setting?
  • Obi-Wan and Luke talk about the clone wars, what exactly is that?
  • Jedi and Jedi Knight seem to be used interchangeably, but are there other types of Jedi that are not Knights?
  • Obi-Wan said that the Jedi are all but extinct, are there more out there?
  • Are there more villainous ex-Jedi such as Darth Vader? [In the movie it is implied that Darth is a first name and Vader is a second name, Obi-Wan says "You can't win, Darth", rather than Darth being a title.]
  • Who is the Emperor? What is he like? [There is no implication that the Emperor is a force user or that Vader is his apprentice.]
  • The Emperor dissolved the senate and gave the regional governors direct control, planning to keep the local systems in line using the fear of the Death Star. Since the Death Star was destroyed, this implies serious unrest in the Empire. Alderaan was destroyed, this will hurt the rebellion, and convince some to not stick their neck out. However others will be convinced to to work against the Empire. How might all that play out?
  • What exactly can the Force do?
  • Does space have a feudal system? The Emperor, Lord Vader, Princess Leia, Jedi Knights...
  • A droids like slaves? Is everyone okay with this?

  • Why does Han measure what should be a length of time using a unit of distance?