30 August 2018

d100 GLOG Wizard Schools

Why would you let a player pick what school of magic their wizard studied, when you can have them roll on a neat table instead? Here is the neat table.

From here.

d50+ Schools of Magic

  1. Adipomancer
  2. Allomancer*
  3. Anti Wizard
  4. Arcane Inventor
  5. Baboonist
  6. Bard
  7. Beeromancer 
  8. Biomancer
  9. Black Witch
  10. Blood Aspirant*
  11. Bone Wizard
  12. Book Wizard 
  13. Calcomancer**
  14. Cat Wizard
  15. Chaos Cabalist
  16. Chaos Mage
  17. Chromatomancer 
  18. Cosmomancer**
  19. Cthonomancer**
  20. Culinary Wizard
  21. Curse-Eater Wizard 
  22. Deep Mage
  23. Diabolist
  24. Diviner Wizard 
  25. Drowned Wizard
  26. Druid
  27. Earthsea Mage*
  28. Electromancer**
  29. Elementalist Wizard
  30. Elf Wizard
  31. Figmentalist*
  32. Force Wizard
  33. Forge Wizard
  34. Garbage Wizard
  35. Garden Wizard
  36. Geometer Wizard
  37. Golemist
  38. Golemist*
  39. Guild Mage*
  40. Gun Witch*
  41. Handsome Wizard
  42. Heptamancer
  43. Herald of the Immaculate Morning
  44. Hermit Wizard of the Iron Skunk Bear
  45. Hot Springs Wizard 
  46. Illusionist Wizard
  47. Industrial Wizard
  48. Iron Wizard of Tolti-Aph
  49. Jellimentalist
  50. Lenguamancer
  51. Mad Scientist
  52. Magelander*
  53. Magician
  54. Malachite Wizard
  55. Metamancer**
  56. Moderatus Wizard
  57. Monk
  58. Muscle Wizard**
  59. Narcomancer
  60. Necromancer
  61. Noise Wizard
  62. Numismagus
  63. Numismancer  
  64. Oathbound*
  65. Oracle Wizard
  66. Orthodox Wizard
  67. Psychomancer**
  68. Pyromancer
  69. Queensman Wizard
  70. Radiomancer
  71. Root Doctor*
  72. Science Wizard
  73. Sea Mage
  74. Shadow Wizard
  75. Silk Wizard
  76. Sin Wizard
  77. Skull Wizard
  78. Snake Wizard
  79. Solar Geometer
  80. Sorcerer*
  81. Soul Shaman**
  82. Speleomage
  83. Spellhost*
  84. Spellthief*
  85. Spider Wizard
  86. Summoner
  87. Sun Wizard
  88. Sword Mage
  89. Telemancer
  90. Toxinist
  91. Truenamer*
  92. Warlock**
  93. White Witch
  94. Winter Witch
  95. Witch Coven*
  96. Wizard of the Red Hand
  97. Wizard of the White Hand 
  98. Wordsmith Wizard
From here.

Here are d20 (or so) wizards or related classes that are a bit too different from the base wizard class, too weird, a bit incomplete, a bit under- or overpowered, or thematically incompatible with my setting.
  1. Botanimancer
  2. Calimarimancer
  3. Chronomancer 
  4. Cleric
  5. Crusader
  6. Cult*
  7. Door Wizard
  8. Fake Math Wizard
  9. Fiendish Channeler
  10. Gish*
  11. Hackr*
  12. Hair Wizard
  13. Heleognostic
  14. Martian Robo-Wizard
  15. Meat Mage
  16. Necroid*
  17. Pataphysician
  18. Pornomancer
  19. Preacher (part 2, part 3)*
  20. Priest of Hesaya*
  21. Psion*
  22. Sword Wizard
  23. Tech
  24. Telemancer 
  25. Thaumonaut
  26. Time Wizard
  27. Toxic*
  28. Warlock*
  29. Weather Witch*
  30. Woodland Protector
Have I missed any wizardly traditions? Tell me and I'll add them. Thanks to everyone who creates the many wonderful classes for GLOG!

From here.

*) These classes have some mechanics that differentiate them from base GLOG wizards, but they are close enough and/or interesting enough to have them here, IMHO.
**)  These classes have somewhat scattered write-ups. Have a look here.

Class: Iron Wizard of Tolti-Aph

I came upon the idea for this magic school when playing The Reliques of Tolti-Aph, so this is where iron wizards originate from.

Six hundred years ago, a group of settlers came into the middle of nowhere and found a village of Aph. The reason they braved the wilderness and ventured so far away from all other yiggish settlements was simple - a diviner wizard came to the king with a vision she had, a vision of picks and tunnels, of toil and treasure. Aph was found upon a hill where the diviner foretold the location of abundant veins of silver, and the wizard was right. The village developed quickly, exporting silver, importing miners, and gaining on significance. It soon grew into a wealthy town and awaited even more success in its future.

Three hundred years ago, the world-famous silver mines of Aph ran nearly dry. By then, Aph grew from a thriving town into a city, and then a metropolis overflowing with opulence. Its silver bought it power and luxuries unheard of. It sponsored the largest wizard academy in the whole world, partially in thanks to the wizard it owed its fortunes to. And all of this would be jeopardised once the silver flow stopped entirely. For three hundred years, the silver of Aph bought peace and prosperity for Yig. To loose this income now could be the sign of weakness all the envious neighbour countries were waiting for.

Medieval mines.

Luckily for the Yiggish, their king was not a decadent, whore-mongering noble like so many of his peers. His name was Tolti, (soon to be known as) the Mage-King of Silver and Iron. When he heard about the plight of Aph, it is said that a dark gloom descended upon his brow and he closed himself in his great library. He was a learnt man, even apprenticing at the Academy of Aph before his knightly training and obligations of an heir apparent forced him to discontinue his studies. He was also a shrewd man and after a week in his library, he emerged with a plan.

He took a hundred of his most loyal knights, ten of his most skilled wizards, and a single legendary thief who awaited execution in his dungeon. He bid farewell to his wife and his daughters. He entrusted his kingdom to the hands of his younger brother and told him to spare no expense in preserving the illusion of stability, just till he returns.  And then he quested south, deep into the Great Swamp where ancient stone circles and fairy rings are said to lead straight into the spirit world. He was gone for a year and a day.

To this day, no one knows what terrible trials he and his fellows underwent, but half of his men never returned, and Tolti himself had his right hand turned into a lump of iron and his right eye replaced with an enchanted silver sphere. They brought with themselves the salvation for Yig, though. Hidden in a massive cage of silver, glass and gossamer, they brought with themselves a being that was meant to return the faded glory of Aph to its prime. They brought Khalybs, the god of iron, defeated, bound and chained.

Chained Khalybs.
From God of War.

Soon, the empty mines of Aph were rebuilt into a massive gaol-factory, where enormous amounts of high-quality iron were produced from bare stone with the help of enslaved divinity. Where miners and jewellers used to work now stood forges that spewed torrents of steel, and the blacksmiths of Aph seemed to be unable to produce any goods but masterworks. The grateful council of Aph decided to honour their king in the name of their city, and eventually Tolti moved his court to the newly named Tolti-Aph and made it his capital. Yig became an empire and Tolti its fist emperor.

One hundred years ago, a small group of cultists (or maybe they were adventurers) managed to penetrate the impenetrable defences of the Iron Fortress of Tolti-Aph and reach the chamber of the god-cage, deep within the immense expanse of the ancient underground. They sacrificed their lives to hold off the flood of yiggish guards and iron wizards long enough to break the seals and release Khalybs from his prison. That was the day Tolti-Aph fell and the Empire of Yig was shattered.

This is how I imagine Khalybs.
Hephaestus by Ursca

Iron wizards are the remnants of the Academy of Aph, the few who were not present in Tolti-Aph when it fell. Once, they were the jailers of Khalybs and honoured citizens of Yig. Today, they are on the run, outlawed in Yig by authorities afraid of divine retribution and always looking over their shoulder for worshippers of Khalybs.

Their current troubles notwithstanding, iron wizards are proud and strong. The days might be rough, but their predecessors imprisoned a god. There is nothing an iron wizards couldn't do and it's only a matter of time until they will reclaim lost glory of their name.

The knights of Tolti battle the god of iron
in the Second Veil of the Spirit Realm.
From Diablo III.

You are an Outsider Around Here and an Outlaw in Yig.

Starting Items: a pouch of silver needles (worth 1 gp), a small piece of silver jewelry, a pair of leather gloves.

Starting Skill: (d4) 1. Appraisal, 2. Metallurgy, 3. Prospector, 4. Religion.

Perks & Flaws:

You can imbue a silver item (usually a pendant, a ring, or a circlet) with a bit of your power. Move any number of your MD into the item. You can only access these MD when you are touching the imbued item. You can only have one imbued item at a time, but should it get destroyed, the imbued MD return to your personal pool and you may imbue another item. However, be careful about loosing the imbued item or having it stolen (the imbued MD can be used by any wizard).

When spent, the imbued MD return to the item automatically on the next midnight, even if you didn't rest. Additionally, once per day you may channel magic through your imbued item and for [wizard templates] rounds, any MD you use from the item return on 1-5. When the duration of channelling ends, Save or suffer a Mishap.

As everyone from Tolti-Aph, you were cursed by Khalybs. Iron burns you on touch, dealing 1 damage per object per round of skin contact.

Cantrips:
  1. When you close your eyes and concentrate, you can sense metals within 30'.
  2. You can tell the composition of a metal item by sight. For example, you can distinguish different metals, or ratios of metals in an alloy.
  3. You can command a single metal coin within 30' with concentration. It will stand on its edge or roll as you wish, and always fall on the face you choose when you flip it.
by Gillesketting

Spell List:

1. Corrosion
R: touch; T: [dice] metal creatures or objects; D: 0

A piece of iron rusts and flakes away, and other metals are affected according to their resilience. Gold is covered in patina, silver blackens, copper turns into verdigris, etc.

Small objects (such as a lock), or a square foot of metal plating is destroyed in a pile of rust. Creatures and magic items are allowed a Save and receive [dice] breaks or [sum] damage, whichever your system uses.

2. Pick one of the following:
Heat Metal
R: 30'; T: metal creature or object; D: [sum] rounds

The target becomes searingly hot, dealing [dice] damage per round to any creature that touches it. It is hot enough to boil water, set easily flammable materials alight, and glow dimly.

If a creature wears an armour affected by this spell and takes any cold damage, this damage is reduced by [dice] and the creature takes no damage from this spell on their next turn.

Chill Metal
R: 30'; T: metal creature or object; D: [sum] rounds

The target becomes painfully cold, dealing [dice] damage per round to any creature that touches it. It is cold enough to freeze water, and other creatures or objects may become stuck to the target as they freeze to it, requiring a Str check to pull free.

If a creature wears an armour affected by this spell and takes any fire damage, this damage is reduced by [dice] and the creature takes no damage from this spell on their next turn.

3. Bend Metal
R: touch; T: metal creature or object; D: [dice] hours

A piece of metal bends or unbends. Metal weapons may become unusable and metal armour may impose significant penalties. Locks can be opened, or warped to prevent opening.

4. Repel Metal
R: 50'; T: [dice] metal creatures or objects; D: 0

You push the target away. Targets of about human size can be tripped, while smaller targets can be propelled farther away and at higher speed. Too large a target may force you to Save or be repelled yourself.

You can definitely use this to throw [dice] daggers in a single turn. Repelling a metal floor would allow you to jump very high.

5. Hold Metal
R: 50'; T: [dice] metal creatures or objects; D: concentration, up to [sum] rounds

The target is locked in place, as immovable rod.

6. Thousand Needles
R: 30'; T: creatures; D: 0

You enchant a handful of needles which shoot out from your palm at nearby targets. Split [sum] damage among creatures in range in any way you want, no Save.

7. Curse Needle
R: touch; T: creature; D: permanent until discharged

You enchant a needle with a terrible curse, and then bury this needle into the flesh of the target creature. When an attack next pierces the skin of the target, the needle will be there, ready to prick the claw or scratch the weapon. The needle is destroyed and the attacker is subject to a curse.

Pick [dice] of the following options to inflict on the attacker:
  • The attacker takes [sum] damage from intense pain.
  • If the attacker used a weapon, she drops it. If she was using natural weapons, she falls prone as sudden weakness overcomes her limbs.
  • If the attacker used a spell, the MD she used are burnt. If any of the burnt MD would have returned otherwise, the target gains them (up to the maximum MD they can normally hold).
  • The attacker has a minor curse bestowed upon him. This option costs 2 [dice].
  • The attacker has a major curse bestowed upon him. This option costs 4 [dice].

For every day the cursed needle remains embedded in the flesh of the target, they must Save or risk a mutation. Should the target be slain without triggering the cursed needle, they will rise as a zombie on the next midnight, as the curse takes over the body.

I stole this spell from here, where more information on it can be found. Note that the spell only triggers on taking slashing or piercing damage, as blunt attacks won't break the skin. The zombification happens because every curse is a spirit, and you just gave it a vacant body to use.

8. Iron Guts
R: 0; T: self; D: [sum] hours

Nothing you eat has any effect on you, positive or negative. You could eat glass or poison without harm, but need to get them out of your body before the spell expires. However, you also gain no nutrition from food, or boons from potions.

9. Iron Bones
R: touch; T: creature; D: [dice] hours

The bones of the target turn to iron and their body hardens too, granting them [sum] temporary hp. The target is immune to fractures and dismemberment. The iron makes them much heavier than normal, letting them count their Str as 20 against being pushed, shoved or moved, but preventing them from swimming, jumping and similar activities.

This spell just begs to be used on a flying enemy, or someone trying to climb out of water.

10. Iron Eyes
R: 0; T: self; D: [sum] rounds

Your eyes turn to iron. You are blind, but can see magnetic waves. There are tiny magnetic particles and metal dust nearly everywhere, so the world will look like a dreamscape of glowing dots to you. Solid metal will flare brightly and you may be momentarily dazzled if you look too closely at a large amount of it.

With 4 [dice], you can make the duration permanent.

Don't look at the knight and definitely don't wear a metal helmet. Aurora Borealis will probably look incredible through the iron eyes. Adapted from VotE.

11. Pick one of the following:
Touch of Iron
R: touch; T: creature or object; D: varies

The target turns to iron. Creatures and magical items get a Save to resist. Treat as petrification for creatures, except that they recover rather quickly unless 4 [dice] are used.

The spell duration is [sum] rounds at 1 [die], minutes at 2 [dice], hours at 3 [dice], or permanent at 4 [dice].

Touch of Silver
R: touch; T: [dice] weapons; D: [sum] rounds

The target weapon takes on the properties of silver while loosing none of its own virtues.

For example, an iron sword silvered with this spell would not burn an iron wizard's skin and would serve as a bane to lycanthropes, but it would also retain the hardness and sharp edge of an iron weapon.

12. Void Metal
R: touch; T: creature; D: [dice] rounds

The target becomes intangible to all metals. Metal can harmlessly pass through them and should they be wielding or carrying any metal items, those are dropped unless held in gloves or with a sack.

If [sum] is 12 or more, the duration becomes [dice] minutes instead. If [sum] is 20 or more, the duration becomes permanent. In both cases, the caster cannot dismiss the spell prematurely.

Here are two extra spells that can be chosen with your Master of Magics ability:

Melt Metal
R: touch; T: metal object; D: [dice] rounds

The target looses cohesion as if it was molten, though its temperature doesn't change.

With 1 [die], you can affect weapon-sized objects. With more [dice], larger objects can be affected.

Shape Metal
R: touch; T: metal; D: concentration

You can shape metal as easily as clay.

At 1 [dice], you can only roughly bend and twist the metal object. At 2 [dice], you can craft simple objects out of metal. At 3 [dice], you can craft elaborate objects. At 4 [dice], your creations can strain plausibility, being incredibly thin yet resilient, or too light for their mass.


Mishaps:
  1. Your MD only return on a 1-2 for 24 hours.
  2. You take 1d6 damage as you cough up several needles.
  3. Random mutation for 1d6 rounds, then Save. Permanent if you fail. Mutations related to metal are preferable.
  4. Random insanity for 1d6 rounds, then Save. Permanent if you fail.
  5. All metal within 30' of you corrodes. Iron is coated in a thick layer of rust, silver blackens, copper is covered in verdigris, etc.
  6. Spell targets you (if harmful) or enemy (if beneficial) or fizzles (if neutral).
Dooms:
  1. A minor body part of yours (finger, nose, one ear, etc.) turns to inanimate iron. The iron does not burn you at the point of melding with your fleshy body, but you should take care not to touch your skin elsewhere.
  2. A major body part of yours (arm, leg, tongue, genitals, etc.) turns to inanimate iron. The iron does not burn you at the point of melding with your fleshy body, but you should take care not to touch your skin elsewhere.
  3. You turn into an iron statue. You are essentially petrified, but remain conscious and deprived of all sensory input. Such is the revenge of Khalybs. You can still be communicated with through telepathy, but you will likely be insane by the time a telepath can be found.
Your dooms can be avoided by appeasing Khalybs, or turning your imbued item into a magic jar and escaping your iron body.

Massive mines and dungeons below a city
are the wet dream of every adventurer.

Adventures in Tolti-Aph

Tolti-Aph could be a great adventuring location. Ancient ruined city, once (still?) full of treasures. Academy where you could look for lost artifacts, priceless tomes, or obscure spells. Palace of the extinct royal line, items of great value monetary or sentimental waiting to be recovered. Sprawling underground, built over centuries of building and rebuilding - sewers and cellars, prisons and dungeons and tunnels, abandoned mines and factories. The shattered god-cage itself, full of profane magics. Cultists, lunatics, escaped experiments and living statues. I smell a megadungeon material.

Edited for clarity. :)

28 August 2018

Class: Wizard of the Red Hand

There is a reason why wizard towers and colleges often end up destroyed or outlawed. The First Estate sees heresy in their wanton manipulation of reality. The Second Estate fears their power, for what good is a knight when you can shoot a magic missile through his head from over the next hill. The Third Estate remembers all too well the incidents of the past and distrusts magic, and wizards even more.

Yet there is a school of magic in Jarjuna that had avoided angry mobs and inquisition for centuries. It is even well-liked, and seen as humble, pious, helpful and kind. Wizards of the White Hand enforce a strong secularity from powers both worldly and religious, keeping to themselves except for the occasional healing of the ill, or war efforts. Do not meddle in the affairs of the mighty and win the favour of masses, that is their creed. And it's working well, for people don't cross the street when they see a White Hand wizard. They greet them and maybe even invite them for a tea.

However, there was a time when the White Hand nearly lost their hard-won status of non-interference. There was a civil war in Jarjuna about fifty years ago. The old king died with no heirs and his relatives threatened to tear the country apart in their lust for the throne. Wizards of the White Hand watched the towns burn and people flock to their gates, because they were the sole party not dragged into the conflict. They helped as they could, but voices started to be raised among them that they should do more. They are hiding in their towers when their country needs them more than ever before. They helped their country and marched to war. They helped their country and battled the plague. And they will do nothing to help their country when it rends itself apart?

The Red Hand of DOOM!

And as the civil war continued, a second war was fought in secret, the most inconspicuous wizardly war ever. No one outside of the School of the White Hand knows where the new wizards with red circles on their foreheads and hands full of terrible power emerged. The White Hand helped to contain them and people of Jarjuna were inclined to believe the so called "Red Hands" to be opportunists from elsewhere, who sensed a weakened country and wanted to take over. The White Hand has great propaganda.

The truth is, wizards of the Red Hand started as a starry-eyed group among the White Hand, and wanted to make everything right. They were ready to mend their country, no matter what it takes. Their peers didn't understand their vision, they banished them and renounced them in public. They could no longer claim to be wizards of the White Hand, because who would believe them? They had to fight not only for their vision, but also for their survival. And ever so slowly, they changed.

The civil war is long over and the White Hand sits in its place of glory. They did nothing and were rewarded. The Red Hand is seething in hiding, as they gave up everything and lost both their fight and the reason they were fighting. They wanted to help but couldn't, wanted to make a difference but didn't. They were used as a public enemy and the country they were ready to defend wants nothing more than to burn them at the stake.

He who fights monsters, right?

This picture from Skerples' Wizards of the White Hand
was my original inspiration for this class.
by Jesper Ejsing

You are an Outlaw, both Around Here and in Foreign Parts.

Starting Skill: (d6) 1. Streetwise, 2. Subterfuge, 3. Disguise, 4. Medicine, 5. Guerrilla Warfare, 6. Sleight of Hand.

Perks & Flaws:

You can establish a link with a creature by feeding it a droplet of your blood. You can cast any of your cantrips or spells through the linked creature while it is up to [wizard templates] miles away. You can only have one link at a time.

You cannot eat meat. You must wear a red circle, either on your robes or belt, or otherwise marked visibly on your body.

While using inflict light wounds along with your Perk is obvious, the linked creature can also be used with spells like other eyes, vomit swarm, puppetry, or chains of earth to great effect.

Cantrips:
  1. Other Eyes: You can see through the eyes of any creature you touch.
  2. Shocking Truth: You can surprise or scare a person to make them blurt out a secret.
  3. Resuscitate: If an attack would reduce you from full hp to 0 hp or less, you may spend all your remaining MD to survive it with 1 hp. You must spend at least 1 MD.
I want to help you, why are you running away?

Spell List:

1. Inflict Light Wounds
R: touch; T: living creature; D: 0

The target takes [sum] damage, no Save.

Also pick [dice] of the following options:
  • If the damage reduces the target to 0 hp or less, they are instantly slain.
  • The damage cannot reduce the target below 0 hp, but if they reach 0 hp, they are knocked unconscious.
  • Your touch leaves behind a permanent, horrific and easily recognizable scar.
  • Your touch leaves behind open wounds that do not heal. The target can Save for every day of full rest. Until they Save, they cannot regain hp in any way.
  • The target must Save or take +1 damage from all sources for the next hour.

2. Longarm
R: 0; T: self; D: [sum] rounds

Your arms grow in length by 5' per [die] while loosing nothing from their dexterity.

3. Vomit Swarm
R: 0; T: self; D: [sum] rounds

You vomit up a massive torrent of tiny insects, creating an insect swarm in any adjacent space. Treat it as a swarm with [dice] HD and Movement equal to yours. The swarm will hunt for your enemies.

Also pick [dice] of the following options:
  • The swarm stings and bites, dealing 1 damage per round to all creatures within its space. This option can be picked multiple times.
  • The swarm crawls everywhere and distracts all creatures within its space, causing -1 penalty to all rolls. This option can be picked multiple times.
  • The swarm is thick with flies and other flying insects, and obscures vision through its space.
  • You create [dice] swarms instead, each with 1 HD.

4. Puppetry
R: 50'; T: creature; D: concentration, up to [sum] rounds

You take control of [dice] limbs of the target. They can still use them normally, but you can take an action with their limbs, overriding their wishes.

For example, you could drop their weapon or attack, trip their legs, shout, or hold their eyes shut.

5. Mirror Image
R: 0; T: self; D: [sum] rounds

You create 1d4 + [dice] illusory images of yourself, which move as you move and always stay within 5' of you. They are constantly stepping through each other, so that it is impossible to tell which is which. When an enemy attacks you, roll to see if they hit you or an image. An image vanishes as soon as it suffers a solid impact. Area effects such as a dragon's breath will cause all images to vanish.

You can spend an action to make one of the duplicates act differently from you and the others, including moving it farther away from you.

6. Unbuckle
R: 50'; T: [dice] objects; D: 0

You order the targets to open. Locks and shackles are unlocked, clothes and belts come undone, armour falls off. Magical and attended objects are allowed a Save.

Unlike the knock spell, unbuckle is rather inconspicuous. While this means it can be cast stealthily, it also won't help with a stuck door that would be violently flung open by knock.

7. Deja Vu
R: 50'; T: creature; D: [dice] rounds

The target must Save or repeat its last action for the duration of this spell.

8. Blue Flame
R: 50'; T: [dice] flammable objects; D: 0

You set a flammable object alight with magical blue flames. Magical and attended objects are allowed a Save.

The blue flames behave and spread as normal fire, but they deal cold damage and absorb heat rather than spreading it. They can also burn on water and will happily spread across it, leaving ice behind them.

9. Chains of Earth
R: 50' radius; T: area; D: concentration, up to [sum] rounds

You take away the ability to fly from all creatures in the affected area. Means of flight both mundane (wings, gas bags, hot air) and magical (including levitation and feather fall) simply fail and the affected creatures plummet to the ground.

10. Detect Thoughts
R: 30' radius; T: area; D: concentration, up to [sum] rounds

You detect the presence of thinking creatures within range.

With 2 [dice], you can spend an action concentrating on a particular thought pattern to learn the surface thoughts of that specific creature. With 3 [dice], this spell affects spirits and undead.

11. Black Hand
R: 0; T: self; D: [sum] rounds

One of your arms turns invisible. Small objects (like a dagger) held in this arm become invisible. The arm can interact with ghosts, pass through walls, etc.

You get an illusory arm on the same side that you can control freely.

12. Red Hand
R: 30'; T: living creature; D: concentration, up to [dice] rounds

You point a finger at the target and they start writhing in unimaginable agony. They spasm until their bones crack and blood gushes from their eyes, ears and nose. Then, their screams become muffled, as they tear their own vocal cords and yet still cannot stop screaming. Eventually, all sounds are drowned by the blood that starts to fill their lungs, suffocating them in between gurgles and red froth. Their ribs were shattered by the convulsions and pierced their lungs, but they will not die of drowning. Instead, with a final spasm, they bend nearly backwards and break their own spine.

The target takes [sum] damage per round and must Save each round to avoid falling prone and loosing their turn.

When you gain this spell and before you can first cast it, you must undergo a ritual where you peel off the skin of your right hand. Your hand will be forever mutilated and slowly seeping blood, but you can use the hand normally, suffer no damage or other negative effects, and risk no injury or infection, even though your hand is missing its skin.


Mishaps:
  1. Your MD only return on a 1-2 for 24 hours.
  2. You take 1d6 damage as you start bleeding from your eyes, nose, or ears.
  3. Random mutation for 1d6 rounds, then Save. Permanent if you fail.
  4. Random insanity for 1d6 rounds, then Save. Permanent if you fail.
  5. You are afflicted with a random minor curse for 1d6 hours.
  6. Spell targets you (if harmful) or enemy (if beneficial) or fizzles (if neutral).
Dooms:
  1. Your shadow escapes and disappears. You no longer cast any shadow.
  2. You are mortally afraid of shadows. You can concentrate or sleep only in bright light or deep darkness.
  3. Your shadow returns, accompanied by a horde of other shadows (all White Hand wizards who succumbed to their Doom). There will be about 3d20 shadows out to kill you.
Your dooms can be avoided by replacing your lost shadow. Either find it and take it back, or steal the shadow of someone else.

25 August 2018

ORJ: Hero Trap


With the resurgence of the roguelike genre, many of the classics (NetHack, ADOM, Angband) and newcomers (Caves of Qud, TGGW, Golden Krone Hotel) are gaining in popularity and renown. But there are so many hidden gems, obscure roguelikes few people know about and play, even though they would deserve much more attention. Here is one of them.

Floor 2, full of krakens. Only in Hero Trap.

Hero Trap is another browser roguelike that can be played here. It was created as a contribution to the Seven Day Roguelike challenge in 2017, taking up the ninth place on the overall ladder. It has a pretty cool design goal:
Make a traditional roguelike, but the very first monster kills you if you try to melee it to death.
It was successfully completed in the seven days, and later received a few more updates to fix minor bugs and add some new features. I love it.


Fighting a graveyard full of zombies. The game has
four-directional movement, so thankfully the kraken
cannot attack me.

The game is true to its design and throws monsters way too strong at you. Fight and you will die. However, clever rogues will survive, and you are playing as a (soon to be legendary) rogue!

The game also does a very clever thing with its monsters - the monsters are split into uppercase (next to unbeatable) and lowercase (hard but beatable). It's so intuitive and simple idea, yet I have not seen it in any other roguelike. It offers the most important information the player should care about and requires no spoilers or memorization. And this is still not the last clever thing about monsters Hero Trap has to offer.

Soon, you will have inventory full of unknown magical items.
Don't horde them, use them. You really, really need them.
While uppercase monsters are mostly unbeatable by conventional means, every one of them has a weakness you can exploit to overcome them. Golems are powerful killing machines, but much slower then you. Krakens cannot leave water. Faceless cannot sense you if you don't move. Saws only move in straight lines, no matter what you do, and dancing between them is really fun. Unicorns are peaceful unless you disturb them. Jabberwocks are... jabberwocks will kill you no matter what you do, so don't even try. On the plus side, they only appear very late in the game, when you have magic items are your disposal.

Quaffing unknown potions and reading unknown scrolls
is not a bad idea in this game. There is nothing that
would directly kill you and no other way of identification.

Even the lowercase monsters (or "you can kill those, but still be careful" monsters) have unique quirks and gimmicks. Monkeys steal your items and run away. Harpies come in groups and try to fly over your head to surround you. Dwarves will dig to get to you. Zombies are weak and slow, but there is a nigh endless horde of them. Fungi grow constantly, quickly filling the dungeon. Bloats cannot attack, but they will explode if you hit them. There is one monster for every letter of the alphabet, and every monster has a unique power. You won't find boring monsters in this game.

Damn you, mimics!

What's more, monsters have nice short descriptions that will hint at their behaviour and weaknesses, so you can be prepared even if you never encountered this type of creature before. Once again, no spoilers required to make informed decisions about the way you play, and clever play will get you further than mindless hacking. You will feel as a genius the first time you find a way to abuse a monster's power to your advantage.

This is my equipment for most of the game.
While it's better not getting hit, it still helps if
your enemies kill themselves as they attack.

No, it is pretty badass. In a game where stealth
will save your life, releasing clouds of impenetrable
darkness from you sword is very cool.

As if this was not enough, Hero Trap offers an interesting take on magical items. There is a set of enchantments, but they can appear on different item types. Every game, an item type is assigned to each enchantment - so you may have potions of healing in one game, but only armours of healing in another.

Discoveries at the start of the game. Here you
can see all the different possible enchantments.

And this is an end-game Discoveries screen.
That armour of death might sound strange, but
it was crucial to my survival at one point.

The item type also influences in what way you can use the enchantment. Wand of teleportation can be zapped at any creature you see. Potion of teleportation can be drunk to teleport yourself, while a scroll of teleportation will teleport every adjacent monster. Sword of teleportation will sometimes teleport struck enemies away. Armour of teleportation will also sometimes teleport attackers away, but may also randomly teleport you. Some items are very useful, some are double-edged or situational, but you will need them all to survive.

Ogres, giant beetles, lizards and pixies?
I'm sure this floor will be alright.

Or not? Whew, that one was really close.

Anyway, you can read the development and release thread of this game here, if you're interested, and once again, play it here. And if you win, let me know, because I keep dying just short of the final floor.

Yeah, floor 23 of 26. It went so well until the nymphs
stole my sword and wands, then surrounded me
without a way to escape or kill them fast enough.

Happy hacking and don't die!

18 August 2018

ORJ: Infinite Cave Adventure

With the resurgence of the roguelike genre, many of the classics (NetHack, ADOM, Angband) and newcomers (Caves of Qud, TGGW, Golden Krone Hotel) are gaining in popularity and renown. But there are so many hidden gems, obscure roguelikes few people know about and play, even though they would deserve much more attention. Here is one of them.
 
Recently, I happened to find a browser-based roguelike named Infinite Cave Adventure. I don't know if it was inspired by Colossal Cave Adventure or not, but it claims taking inspiration from NetHack on its RogueBasin page.

It seems to be virtually unknown, as I tried and failed to find some community or further information about it. Still, it's fun to play and has an interesting take on the classic roguelike elements.


I'll let the game's homepage explain:
Here's what makes this [roguelike] different:
  • Grinding is impossible or pointless.
  • No experience points, the game advances when you face new challenges, not when you collect kills or equipment.
  • A very limited inventory that makes stockpiling impossible. Choosing what gear to keep and what to discard is a major strategic choice in the game.
  • A steep ramping of power levels and an aggressive hunger clock makes the game fast-paced.
  • Each level is different in flavor in strategy, to make advancing interesting.
The idea is to make a roguelike game that is skewed much more towards a board or strategy game than a role-playing game. There's very little role-playing, but a lot of square counting and strategic choice.
I think it succeed in what it aims to do, and manages to be highly (re)playable, even if you have to accept its weirdness.


You are thrown into the game with no intro, no explanation. The map is huge and you can't see what you've already explored, so remember it. The exploration itself is really fun, though, as the map generation works well and places enough special features to make the map interesting. Wait for your first drow slaver caravan, or kobold farms.

Everything is deadly. The very first level teaches you this, because you cannot even attack without finding a weapon first, but there are wolves, bears and zombies, all of them capable of killing you with ease. You have to learn to run, and you will run away very often. Later on, you will fight wizards capable of paralysing and poisoning you, drow who summon spiders, or mind flayers with their long-range psychic blasts. Fun all around, I tell you!


You can only carry one of each type of items (one weapon, one armour, one healing item, ...) and it's not always easy to distinguish what to take and what to leave. The game offers next to no information on anything, which I'd see as a tiny flaw. Some people might enjoy this "fumbling in the darkness" feeling, but given that I'm not given the inventory space and time to experiment, I'd like to know what I'm doing.

And you don't have much time, the food clock really can be brutal. Thankfully, there can be some rare food rations found on the first level, and later levels have kobold farms full of food you can harvest. It's never enough.

However, the items themselves are useful and varied, so you probably have to persist through the period of "I have no clue" until you know what to equip yourself with and which item to use. Try wishing for "dverga-hjaalm", "dverga-skjoeld", "dvergs-oex" and "dverga-hliif", aka the full set of dwarven armour and an axe. Items such as "ring of the sleepless eye", "astral beacon" or "blinking rod" can also help you, and there are many, many more.


The game has a unique take on multiplayer, which is generally impossible to pull of in a traditional roguelike. In Infinite Cave Adventure, other players can influence your game. You will find graves of dead players and can dig them up for the treasures they died with. Signs left by other players can be read by you, and you can write your own signs by finding a signpost tool and using it. You can dig holes and tunnels, and they will persist for other players. You can even rob the bank accounts of other players, or leave items for them in special safe spots.

I managed to find my own grave once.


Even the goal of the game is somewhat multiplayer - you are all looking for a Ring of Power, trying to bring it to the Astral Throne. But there is only one Ring of Power in the game, regardless of the number of players. The first one to pick up the Ring will have it until they win, die, or stay idle for several hours. The Ring will also stay where the last player left it, so should someone die halfway to the Astral Throne, you only need to take the Ring the other half of the way to win. Have fun racing your friends.


The only strategy that's working for me so far (as in "I don't die immediately") is to explore level 0 until I find a pickaxe, then find a grave with a nice amount of cash inside and dig it up. You have to run from the ghost and try to loose it, but can return for the money later and find stairs or a portable hole to descend to level 1. There you should try to find a Temple of Midas and buy some equipment to live a bit longer. You can even buy a vorpal sword, if you dig up nice enough grave. Oh, and baby kobolds are great for your first kill, but kobold fishermen are too hard to fight without a good armour and weapon.


Anyway, you can play it here and here is its GitHub page for anyone interested.

So far, I managed to get down to level 11, while the Ring is (as of the time of writing) at level 17. Given how deadly the lower levels are, we'll see how long until someone can find it and survive.

Happy hacking and don't die!

16 August 2018

Frog Princess

I always thought elementals are neglected and unappreciated. We have so many different types of angels and demons and undead - but elementals are just "living" lumps of material. Their only distinguishing feature save for the obvious elemental abilities is their size. Why should every fiery creature be a demon? Make some of them fire elementals!

Elementals are not just matter animated in human shape, they are spirits like angels or fairies, with vast amount of different species. Some are animals, some are civilized people. Some live in the brains of elementalists.

Elementals are to unliving nature what souls are to living creatures. The spiritual part of every rock, river or wind. Unlike souls, they tend not to spend most of their time in their worldly shells. It takes them quite some effort to don and move their real world bodies, and only magical compulsion or great offense will usually make them.

But we're not here for the rant or metaphysics. Let's talk about princesses...

He he he, no.

Gorgeous women with frog heads, walking on water during daybreak and nightfall. Their moves as graceful as a dancing mountain spring. Their voice a calm and beautiful forest brook. The sound of tiny droplets raining from their skin. No dirt or muck could ever stain their beauty.

Unfortunately, there's the smell. They always smell like a murky, decaying pool of water.

Frog princesses are daughters of Hegarra of the Great Swamp, the Frog Queen and lesser elemental dragon of water, the eighth wife of Tethys. They oversee all murky, foul and polluted water. Hegarra is a neglectful mother, bored by the endless and meaningless bickering of her courtiers, unhappy in a marriage that never brought her any attention or affection from her husband, and disinterested in the day-to-day lives of her countless offspring. Frog princesses hate their mother, because it was her who gave them their portfolio and dominion over water no one wants.

Take the head...
by DoctorRat

...and the rest of the body.
Found here.

Being of noble blood (direct descendant of a lesser elemental dragon is quite something) yet lonesome and lacking protection, they are a common target for air elemental assassinations in the Cloud War*. They hate air elementals for all of their many sisters killed, and should you propose an alliance against an air elemental or payment for services in air elemental heads, they will likely gleefully agree.

They hate that most other spirits see them as a lever against their mother, or a path to her good graces. They think everyone lies to them and tries to use them, and unfortunately they are often not wrong. Thus they like to materialize in the real world when they can, as it offers some repose from the constant threat of the War and intrigues of Elemental Courts.

Frog princesses yearn for true love, for unconditional, trusting, dependable, everlasting love, for something they have never known. They hate humans. They think all a man will ever care for is their beautiful appearance, not their true selves. They think that women steal the hearts of men away from them. They hate children the most of all, for all frog princesses are born sterile and looking at a child reminds them of what they cannot ever have. When told what an emotional clusterfuck they are, they will very likely lash out in anger.

They are ill-tempered, vengeful, mistrustful, and romantic to a fault. They also take revenge very seriously, even if it's not their own revenge. Some people write their plights on a piece of paper and sent it as a paper boat on a swamp pool (or at least shout really loudly in a swamp) in hopes of a frog princess taking interest and helping them find their vengeance. So remember, should you make a frog princess fall in love with you, she would die for you. But should you break her heart, she would rather die than see you get away.

Frog princesses avoid direct confrontation, but when forced into one, they lick their foes with their long, frog-like tongues. The saliva of a frog princess is venomous, causing nausea, vomiting, and slow dehydration. Drinking water only worsens the nausea, forcing the poor victims to the floor, vomiting bile and blood. When they manage to poison an enemy or two, they try to escape and let the venom do its work. They sometimes poison the wells or other sources of water, especially when avenging a (real or imagined) slight. They like watching from afar as their enemies slowly die.

Frog princesses normally walk naked, for any clothes will limit their preternaturally agile movement and various transformations. In the presence of humans, though, they tend to use a glamour that grants them illusory clothes, as well as a human face. They can turn into a puddle of water, or a frog. They command frogs, grime and poison. A circle of at least three frog princesses may invoke a ritual which curses a whole village with unending rains, or a plague of frogs.

Lady of the Swamp by Naomi Savoie

Frog princess
HD 3
Def plate (body made of water)
Atk lick for poison (1d4 Con and vomiting), or grapple and drown
Save 8 Morale 5 (10 in love)
Special change shape, glamour
Motivation to brutally avenge all slights, to find true love

Don't believe the cute face!
It's all an illusion!
*) Long story short, water elementals put clouds on the sky and air elementals saw that as an invasion. The resulting war drags on since the Beginning.

15 August 2018

In Nomine Patris

And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying: "Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?" (That is to say: "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?")
- Matthew 27:46, KJV Bible

It drizzled.

There were no clouds to be seen on the sky, only a sad, monolithic gray. The rain was pouring for hours on end, a delicate veil of water sprinkling down on the shadowed city. It was not a true rain, nor a storm, nor an autumn shower. This drizzle was everywhere, tiny droplets creeping into every nook and cranny, trickling under clothes. It was as if the air itself was soaked and cold, unpleasant and ubiquitous.

Only a few unfortunate souls were unable to find an excuse to remain in their cosy homes or offices in this weather. They were walking on the otherwise empty streets, hunched up, never stopping or looking around, not even bothering with umbrellas. Lonely squelching steps in the monotonous drip-drop-drip of droplets. The sporadic car seemed half-drowned by the sound of rainfall.

The rainwater was running down the pavements, washing dust and dirt away in a filthy stream and bubbling towards the sewer drains. A concrete wall adorned with a psychedelic graffiti was crying tears of blood now that the paint started to dissolve.

Suddenly, the whispering drizzle was torn apart by a screech, distant and mechanical, rumbling and approaching. It was a four-stroke engine, crying like a wounded animal forced to run for its life. It dashed through the streets, closer and closer, until it appeared - a motorbike in a skid and a splash of water. Somehow, the biker kept control of his machine and for a second, the few pedestrians looked in shock at the old and tortured motorcycle. The leather and metal was drenched in rain, and so was the biker in his black and spiked garb. Whoever was behind the smoked glass of the motorcycle helmet, he paid no attention to the rushing water that made the road barely passable, and hit the gas. His bike roared and its spinning wheels sprayed water high in the air, and then the biker was gone.

Drip-drop, drizzled the rain.



The motorcycle slowed down to a halt in a narrow alleyway, sputtering as its engine stopped and the biker got off. He went back a step or two and looked over the main street, even if "main" was hardly the right word to describe it. The old asphalt was cracked and crumbling, pavements were nonexistent and the high buildings around were concrete and defaced with scribbles. Only the occasional steel balcony and the garbage containers full of house trash betrayed the buildings' purpose as apartments.

It was impossible to tell where the biker is looking with his smoked glass visor, yet he seemed to study the identical houses carefully. Rusty doors and barred windows. Tasteless graffiti. Closed curtains. A forest of chimneys releasing a dark, melancholic smoke. And still the ever-present rain.

There was a hobo sitting across the street next to a dirty rubbish bin. He was staring at the biker, mumbling and shivering. A door nearby creaked and some old granny stepped on the street. The biker moved and caught the door before it could close.

The hall was dark, dank and damp. The last working light was connected to some raw cables and constantly blinking. The plastering was stained and mouldy. Someone was throwing up behind one of the apartment doors. A music too loud to ignore intertwined with a reek of filth.

The biker went to the staircase and started to climb up, one decrepit floor after another, until he stopped on the seventh floor. The lights here were actually working, and even the floor seemed somewhat cleaner. All of the doors were closed and locked. The biker slowly strode down the hallway, until at the very end, he turned abruptly towards a door with a small crucifix hung above the spyhole.

He approached the door and fished some tiny tools out of his pocket. In a second, the lock clicked and the door opened. The biker creeped into the apartment and closed the door as silently as possible. Someone was talking in the room to the left. He went a bit further in and peeked inside.

The room was meant for a very special kind of business. The floor was covered in thick and deep carpeting, embroidered with strange symbols and runes. Glass cases along the walls were filled with crystals and candles and animal skeletons and human skulls and cards and dried herbs and tiny bottles and many, many more occult items. There was a small cauldron in one corner and a cage with a parrot in another.

The far wall of the room was dominated by a large pentagram and an old sofa was standing right below it. A woman that could no longer be called young was lying there, seemingly half asleep. A long-haired man was kneeling beside her, his right hand resting on her forehead. He was handsome, calm and focused. Dressed in a white tunic and loose pantaloons, he looked a bit like some eastern guru. The woman was breathing slowly and deeply, her body taking in the calmness of the man and relaxing. For a precious few moments, all of her burdens were taken away.

There was nothing but peace and quiet.


The biker stepped inside and the parrot shrieked. The woman woke up, confused and agitated. The man in white straightened and stood up, his face suddenly sombre.

"Here we go again," said the biker. His voice was dull and hollow from below the helmet.

The man helped the woman rise and gestured for her to leave. "I'm sorry, Mary, but we'll have to end early today. I'll call you to arrange the next appointment. I'm sorry. Have a nice day." The door closed behind the woman.

"You know her time is up," said the biker. He didn't move since he had entered the occult room.

"Still, I can help her. She can pass away in peace." The man in white sat down on the sofa. He was confident, a little angry, a little sad. "I never stopped helping. I never wanted to stop. Yet I had to hide, from you and the others."

The biker's helmet moved a bit as he examined the glass cases and trinkets. "Do you think these can help you?"

"Some have already saved my life. Nothing changed since the last time. Nothing will change if you try again. Return to your master and leave me be."

"I can't. You know that." The biker walked onto the carpet and the embroidery started to dimly glow. "You were like a son to my master. But you failed. You will come with me."

"He failed me!" The man in white stood up, a much stronger hint of anger in his voice. "I believed in him, I trusted him! And he would have let me die for his Plan!"

"Then you should have died for him." The biker turned to face the man. "Two millennia down here. How can you still bear it?"

"I have to. You gave me no choice. But I will return, one day."

"Will you?" The biker pointed at something lying in one of the glass cases. It looked like a large splinter of wood. "Memories?"

"I want to remember that I was betrayed. My exile is worth it if I can get my revenge."

"You talk of betrayal and revenge, yet it was you who faulted. 'Always loyal,' do you remember that? We both took the oaths. We were friends, once."

"I don't want to play mind games with you, Azrael. I take no pleasure in fighting my brothers, but you are all blind."

"I don't play any games." The biker's voice suddenly dropped through several octaves, until it sounded like a coming storm and wind in forgotten ruins. His black leather clothes were more like an armour now, with a cape and a hood were the helmet was. He clenched his fist and shadows danced about him, then he was holding a haft of dark wood with a sickly gleaming blade of a scythe curved above his head. "Come with me, please. Pray for forgiveness."

The man in white relaxed, closed his eyes and smiled a smile full of sorrow. His face was painfully beautiful and illuminated by inner light. The air itself was glistening around him, but his sleeves and trouser legs turned crimson as blood started dripping from re-opened stigmata. The pentagram lit up and the whole room seemed to respond. "He had forsaken me and I shall be his undoing."

Azrael grabbed darkness in his hand. "I'm sorry."

The man in white opened his eyes and they were full of starlight.

"Amen."