Sunday, October 17, 2021

G75 Challenge: Week Twoish of Zorn

 Thanks to a blog post by DIY&Dragons, I was reminded that I actually started this project. It's been, well nearly a year, I think? In reality, I actually finished it on my private Google Drive documents but I never did get around to posting the results onto here thanks to a rough year. So I'm doing that now. 

Better late than never, right?

Anyways, this week features a Hex Map and Encounter Table.

Week One

Week Two

Made With OGREMap2 (Six Mile Hexes)

Hex Locations

0313, 0414, 0413, The South Haven; the only truly safe settlement within a hundred miles, one of the main gateways into Zorn for adventurers (Southwest Coast)

0612, An old destroyed Haven; and a warning against those who think they can safely civilize Zorn. Most usable signs of civilization have been looted from this place but it’s less dangerous than most of Zorn, and a few places to make camp exist. (Middle of the Marsh)

1206, An abandoned city of unknown origin;  it's filled with strange buildings and stonework and has been mostly picked clean of all valuables, but a few secrets may remain. (Middle of the Clearing)

1311, Stracony Peaks; Local rumors state that a powerful group of cultists reside in these mountains. While it would explain some of the disappearances in that region, adventurers go missing in Zorn for an infinite number of reasons, these claims are dismissed. (Middle of the Lake)

0806, The Mountains of Hope; one of the few places actually in Zorn that is considered safe. Also one of the only places in Zorn that non-adventurers have settled. Protected by the local whitewater rivers, deep caves, and surrounding swamps, The Mountains of Hope are as safe as they get, and even then, attacks on this location are monthly at least. (Central Mountains)

Countless other ruins and small settlements may be found hidden in the deep jungles or mountains, but these are the only things obvious enough and permanent enough for a new adventurer to take note of.

Encounter Table (2d6)

2. 1 Carnis DreŇ£e
3. 1d8 Ashmongrels
4. 2d6 Soldiers
5. 1d6 Brainstirges
6. 3d4 Fresh Adventurers (0 Level)
7. 2d6 Stalking Wurms
8. 1d4 Veteran Adventurers (1d4 Level)
9. 1 Metallisc
10. Merchant Caravan (Roll 1d4 for guards: 1. Military 2. Adventurers 3. Mercenaries 4. Your Choice)
11. 1 Parrot Mantis
12. 1d4 Soldiers covered in blood, fleeing something awful

I'll probably go into more detail on the stranger-sounding creatures in a post later this week.

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Zorn: Zero Level Characters

 Zorn has always been a setting about diegetic character advancement, telling stories about the world changing your characters rather than the other way around. To better serve that purpose, I took a note from DCC and ripped the idea of a group of zero-level characters going on a deadly adventure and the survivors becoming the player party.

Here's the overarching process of this.

  1. Roll for your stats as you normally would (3d6 down the line for base stats, 2d6 for fortune)
  2. Derive Substats as normal, except for HP which is Con-6 for Level 0, and attack bonus, which is 0. This does mean you can start with negative HP, you don't immediately die, but you might soon,
  3. Roll 1d50 on the table below for background and note the results down where applicable.
  4. Pick one stat off your background's Reroll column, you can roll that stat again and take the better result
  5. Write down your background's starting inventory, items denoted with (Light), (Medium), or (Heavy) are automatically considered corresponding melee weapons
  6. Note down your background's starting skill. This provides a -2 bonus to any flat attribute check that would benefit from relevant knowledge or experience.
  7. Choose a character flaw. This is a small roleplaying quirk used to spice up your character and to provide interesting complications to the narrative. These are things like "Alcoholic", "Loves Exotic Food", "Anger Issues", "Overly Honest"
  8. Repeat this until you have 4 functioning characters.
Once these characters survive their first adventure (or at least escape it with 50 Silver), one of the survivors can level up and become a true adventurer, the remaining survivors decide that this is not the life for them and retire, die, go insane, or otherwise leave the narrative. If a player has zero survivors, they may claim a survivor from another player or generate one zero-level character that can level up if there is enough Silver remaining to do so.

After the campaign is in full swing, dead characters should probably be replaced by level one characters rather than zero-levels, but this is a nice way to set the tone at the very beginning.

The Backgrounds listed below is a quick and dirty list, maybe I'll come back later and rewrite this one to be a bit better, but I really wanted a playable draft as soon as possible. Feel free to add suggestions, comments, or other notes in the comments below as tables like this really benefit from group brainstorming.

I've also provided a few lists of random items and weapons below for posterity's sake.

1d50 Backgrounds

# Name Reroll Starting Items Skill
1 Farmer Con/Wis Shovel (Medium), 3 Carrots Agriculture
2 Hunter Dex/Wis Hunting Shotgun, Bear Trap Tracking
3 Hobo ANY Large Stick (Heavy), 3 Crappy Rations Survival
4 Nobility Cha/Dex Fine Clothes, 3 Pieces of Sharp Silverware (Light) Courtesy
5 Housekeeper Wis/Dex Broom (Medium), Fine Clothes Restraint
6 Bartender Cha/Wis 3 Bottles of Mysterious Liquor (Light), Set of Drinking Glasses Alcohol
7 Distiller Con/Int Heavy Keg of Cheap Swill (Heavy) Brewing
8 Chef Dex/Int 3 Sharp Knives (Light), Cutting Board Cooking
9 Sailor Cha/Wis Dueling Sabre (Medium), Naval Uniform Sailing
10 Soldier Dex/Str Rifle, 3 Awful Tasting MREs, Active Enlistment Military
11 Mechanic Wis/Int Large Wrench (Heavy), Coveralls, Small Bottle of Oil Jury-Rigging
12 Detective Int/Wis Service Handgun, Handcuffs Investigation
13 Pilot Dex/Int Small Knife (Light), Parachute, Small Goggles Aircraft
14 Ship Crewman Str/Wis Small Club (Medium), Hammock Navigation
15 Ship Spotter Wis/Dex Small Club (Medium), Binoculars Weather
15 Machinist Con/Int Wrench (Medium), Coveralls, Small Bottle of Oil Manufacturing
16 Industrialist Int/Cha Sharp Pen (Light), Box of Paperwork Capitalism
17 Nurse Int/Con Syringe (Light), Book on Natural Medicine Medicine
18 Doctor Int/Wis Heavy Medical Book (Heavy), Doctor's Robes Medicine
19 Dentist Dex/Int Pliers (Light), Hand Drill, Small Tool Bag Surgery
20 Travelling Salesperson Cha/Con 5 Cheap Knives (Light), Cheap Suit Trade
21 Attorney Int/Cha Heavy Legal Text (Heavy), Nice Suit Legal
22 Engineer Int/Dex Fancy Pen (Light), Drafting Paper Engineering
23 Teacher Wis/Int 5 Children's Books (Light) Teaching
24 Banker Wis/Int Abacus (Medium), Large Sack, Precise Scales Money
25 Bill Collector/Loan Shark Str/Dex Club (Medium), Black Book naming 3 Debtors Scheming
26 Archeologist Int/Con Shovel (Medium), Fine Brush, History Book History
27 Spy Dex/Wis Sharp Pen (Light), Foreign Soldier's Uniform, Fine Clothes Espionage
28 Thief Dex/Str Prybar (Medium), Dark Clothes Thievery
29 Hired Killer Str/Dex Handgun, Stiletto (Light), Cheap 3 Piece Suit, Note with Target's Name Assassination
30 Cardsharp Cha/Dex Stiletto (Light), Deck of Cards, Small Bottle of Ink Gambling
31 Smuggler Wis/Cha Prybar (Medium), Large Bag Concealing
32 Construction Worker Con/Str Heavy Tool (Heavy), Sack of Tools Construction
33 Foreman Cha/Con Clipboard Oversight
34 Miner Con/Str Pickaxe (Heavy), Miner's Helmet with Light Mining
35 Gardener Dex/Con Trowel (Light), 5 Mysterious Seeds Gardening
36 Lumberjack Str/Con Axe (Medium) Axe Demolition
37 Train Conductor Wis/Con Shovel (Medium), Sack of Coal Steam Power
38 General Laborer Con/Str 1 Random Weapon, 2 Random Items ANY
39 Tailor Dex/Wis Set of 5 Large Needles (Light), Colorful Thread Fabric
40 Barber Dex/Cha Barber's Razor (Light), 3 Rags Cutting
41 Delivery worker Dex/Con Running Shoes, Backpack Running
42 Telephone Operator Cha/Int 50' Length of Copper Wire Fast Talk
43 Mathematician Int/Wis Very Heavy Abacus (Heavy) Math
44 Artist Cha/Wis Set of Paint and Brushes Artistry
45 Philosopher Wis/Int Heavy Book on Philosophy (Heavy), Human Skull, Shiny Rock Philosophy
46 Writer Wis/Int Pencil (Light), Notepad Writing
47 Priest Wis/Cha Religious Text, Religious Icon, Bottle of Sacred Fluid Religion or Occult
48 Scientist Int/Wis Set of Scientific Tools Science
49 Oil Baron Cha/Dex Cane (Medium), Box of Fine Cigars, Fine Clothes Money
50 Exiled ANY Locked Shackles (Heavy), Tattered Clothing ANY

1d50 Random Weapons

# Name Type
1 Hunting Knife Light Melee
2 Chef's Knife Light Melee
3 Stiletto Light Melee
4 Pencil Light Melee
5 Metal Straw Light Melee
6 Brick Light Melee
7 Throwing Knife Light Melee
8 Small Statuette Light Melee
9 Pen Light Melee
10 Scalpel Light Melee
11 Icepick Light Melee
12 Small Paperweight Light Melee
13 Blackjack Light Melee
14 Very Sharp Fork Light Melee
15 Very Sharp Spoon Light Melee
16 Golf Club Medium Melee
17 Katana Medium Melee
18 Cane Medium Melee
19 Suitcase Medium Melee
20 Axe Medium Melee
21 Prybar Medium Melee
22 Shovel Medium Melee
23 Club Medium Melee
24 Wrench Medium Melee
25 Sabre Medium Melee
26 Rapier Medium Melee
27 Frying Pan Medium Melee
28 Rebar Medium Melee
29 Tire Iron Medium Melee
30 Baseball Bat Medium Melee
31 Heavy Book Heavy Melee
32 Large Rock Heavy Melee
33 Longsword Heavy Melee
34 Antique Glaive Heavy Melee
35 Sledgehammer Heavy Melee
36 Pickaxe Heavy Melee
37 Massive Wrench Heavy Melee
38 Locked Shackles Heavy Melee
39 Antique Maul Heavy Melee
40 Long Rusty Pipe Heavy Melee
41 Service Revolver Handgun
42 Military Sidearm Handgun
43 Pepperbox Pistol Handgun
44 Homemade Pipe SMG SMG
45 Military Issue SMG SMG
46 Hunting Rifle Rifle
47 Sniper Rifle Rifle
48 Antique Musket Rifle
49 Hunting Shotgun Shotgun
50 Antique Blunderbuss Shotgun

1d50 Random Items

# Name # Name
1 Bottle of Oil 26 Chicken
2 Small Bottle of Ink 27 Sheep
3 Small Bottle of Blood 28 Cat
4 Pen 29 Binoculars
5 Pencil 30 Tent
6 Prybar 31 3 Flares
7 50' Rope 32 50' Thin Wire
8 50' Chain 33 3 Small Handbells
9 Pickaxe 34 10 Pitons
10 Shovel 35 Bag of Ball Bearings
11 Axe 36 Handheld Radio
12 Hammer 37 Pocket Knife
13 Wrench 38 100' Twine
14 Large Backpack 39 Small Bucket of Paint
15 Sleeping Bag 40 Canteen
16 5 Rations 41 Oil Lantern
17 50' Colorful Thread 42 Flashlight
18 Bear Trap 43 Guitar
19 Fine Clothes 44 5 D Batteries
20 Fine Furs 45 20 Bullets
21 5 Bottles of Beer 46 Fishing Pole and 15' Line
22 Parachute 47 Silver Mirror
23 Small Goggles 48 Magnifying Glass
24 Horse 49 Gallon of Gasoline
25 Pig 50 Hammock

Monday, October 4, 2021

Zorn: Base Classes

It's been a long time since I've worked on my Zorn setting, been a long year. Now that I'm back in the mood to write, I've decided to finally jot down some thoughts on what the base classes for the setting may be. 

For those unfamiliar, I've written Zorn to be a game with diagetic character choices. These options are always available, but many other classes may exist for those explorers who encounter the strange, the dangerous, the awesome, and the unknown. These are simply the mundane enough classes that anyone can freely take them.


Your whole life you've been fascinated by magic, the occult, and other unexplainable occurences. Everyone you've met before now has just laughed at you. Not here. In Zorn, even the most mundane is unexplainable and you're ready for it. 

Skill: Arcane
Each Template: Gain 1 Knowledge Skill

A: Careful Study, Obscure Knowledge
B: Trick Magic Item, Deconstruct Magic Item
C: Well-Studied
D: Magical Tinkerer

Careful Study: You've learned enough about the unexplainable to reasonably identify it when you come across it. You can discover the obvious effects of magic items, places, and monsters with ten minutes of safe observation, this may not discover hidden effects or curses unless they are particularly obvious. 

Obscure Knowledge: Once per session, you can declare a fact about a new and unidentified magical effect; it has a 25% chance of being at least somewhat true but is never catastrophically wrong. You do not know if it is true until proven otherwise.

Trick Magic Item: You can use any identified magic item, regardless of requirements. You still need to perform any required activities to activate the item, however. 

Deconstruct Magic Item: You've gained ties to researchers in the few safe settlements of Zorn, when you are in one, you may deconstruct unwanted magic items. Roll an Arcane skill check, success means the item is successfully deconstructed and researched, gain 150% of its gold value and write the item down somewhere you won't forget, failure means it only yields 50% of its regular gold value, do not write it down. You can only use this on magic items you have yet to successfully deconstruct before (the researchers are not interested in items they already have seen).

Well-studied: Your obscure knowledge chance goes up to 75%, you can now use careful study with 2 actions in combat instead of ten minutes of peaceful observation.

Magical Tinkerer: Your knowledge of the unexplainable is master level. Every magic item you successfully deconstruct, you can now attempt to reconstruct. Make an Arcane skill check and expend 100% of the gold value of the item while in a safe settlement and it will be remade. You can also attempt to tinker with the magic before reconstruction, each additional effect from the list below requires an additional 50% of the item's gold value and add +1 to the roll (making it more difficult).

  • Remove a Curse affecting the magic.
  • Add an additional charge to the magic.
  • Remove a requirement to the magic.
  • Add an additional effect of a similar power level to the magic.


Most of the poor souls who end up in Zorn have little experience in foreign wilderness. Fortunately, this does not apply to you, in fact, one could say that that is the entire reason you are here. Perhaps you are picking up a hefty salary as a wilderness guide, maybe you think you'll fare better than most and actually strike it rich, or maybe you just like exploring new lands. Either way, your skills are almost necessary to the adventurers traveling these lands

Skill: Survival
Each Template: +1 to Environmental Checks

A: Well-Traveled, I've Seen This Before
B: Knowledgeable Guide
C: Seen It All Before
D: Master Tracker

Well-Traveled: When performing overland travel checks, you can secretly view any common encounter tables that the party rolls on.

I've Seen This Before: When coming across any kind of tracks or animal markings, you can unerringly name what caused them.

Knowledgeable Guide: When rolling overland travel encounters, you can shift the roll up or down by a number up to your total templates in this class.

Seen It All Before: You can now unerringly identify any kind of manmade marks. In addition, you automatically identify any traps you could theoretically see, this effect does not disarm them or tell you about any effects you couldn't tell through visual inspection.

Master Tracker: Once per session you can now declare the result of the next encounter roll of any kind, even declaring results that would not normally be possible.


Some people are here by choice. You are not one of them. In your old country, you broke enough laws, pissed off the wrong people, or were just plain in the wrong place at the wrong time. As a result, you were detained, stuck on a boat, and dropped in this godforsaken land. Even here, the skills of a criminal can be valuable.

Skill: Thievery
Each Template: +1 Base Fortune

A: Always Prepared, The Heist
B: Opportunist
C: Scout
D: Lucky Hit

Always Prepared: In town, you may spend any amount of money to buy an Unlabeled Package. When the package is unwrapped, you declare what it contains, as long as the contents comprise the appropriate number of Inventory Slots, don’t cost more than you originally paid, and are available in town. You can put multiple items inside a large Unlabeled Package, including smaller Unlabeled Packages. You can have no more than two Unlabeled Packages at a time.

The Heist: Once per adventure or dungeon or campaign arc, you can gain a 10% bonus XP for any one valuable item you personally stole. It has to pass through your hands, or you have to be the one masterminding the theft. Unguarded or abandoned treasure does not count (unless there are traps). For example, a gem worth 1,000gp would give you 100 extra XP. If the bonus XP would cause you to gain a Level, you instead gain the exact amount needed to gain the level.

Opportunist: Whenever you get a situational bonus to an attack roll (surprise, elevation, etc) you deal an additional +1d6 damage.

Scout: You can spend one action to move twice.

Lucky Hit: Once per session, when rolling to recover from fatal wounds, you can declare that it was a "Lucky Hit", you are immediately cleared of your fatal wounds, but lose 1d4 to a random stat for each fatal wound cleared this way.


In your old world, people called you things; deviant, heretic, strange. Here, they don't call you anything, most simply nod their head in fear as you dare to commune with the higher powers that dwell here. The Gods of the Old World hold no sway here, but you're here to pave the way for the Gods of The New World.

Skill: Religion
Each Template: +1 Cultist Die (d4)

A: Cultist Dice, Miraculum Obscura, +1 Prophecy
B: Lesser True Miracle, +1 Prophecy
C: Commune With Higher Power, Grand Pilgrimage, +1 Prophecy
D: True Miracle, Divine Recovery +1 Prophecy

Cultist Dice: These dice are equal to the amount of your templates in this class, are d4s, are used to fuel your cultist powers, and once used, are expended until the beginning of the next session.

Miraculum Obscura: You've gained the favor of a strange being, an incomprehensible higher power that lurks within this land. Each level grants you a Prophecy, a strange psalm gifted to you by the being you serve. At the beginning of each session, expend a number of Cultist Dice and create a sentence of words equal to the total, words must be selected from your Prophecies, and cannot be duplicated, though you can select the same word if you have multiple copies among your prophecies. The resulting sentence will alter the session in a positive way for you. Any time the prophecy would have an obvious effect, you may declare that you foresaw this and declare one effect of your prophecy, it comes to pass and your prophecy is over until the next session.

Lesser True Miracle: At any given moment in a session, you may expend any number of cultist dice, to create an immediate effect using words equal to the number of dice expended rather than the total number rolled.

Commune With Higher Power: You may now spend cultist dice to commune with your patron, it speaks using a number of words equal to the rolled amount, with words from your available prophecies. The first time you commune with it, it bestows a grand pilgrimage upon you.

Grand Pilgrimage: This is a strange and near-impossible task granted to you by your patron, the DM rolls your total Cultist Dice (3d4) and builds this task out of available words from your prophecies. Completing this task will allow you to ask your patron one question. This question can be about anything, it will be truthful and use any words, including ones you do not have access to. The answer may be cryptic but will include enough actionable information that you can learn what you desire. 

True Miracle: At any given moment in a session, you may expend any number of cultist dice, to create an immediate effect using words equal to the total number rolled.

Divine Recovery: Have the DM fill out the table below, whenever you fulfill the action described you may recover one expended CD. Any time it says [WORD], the DM picks one word off your prophecies to fill in the blank, you may activate this up to 4 times a session.

  1. Convert a [WORD] in the name of your patron.
  2. Kill a [WORD] for your patron.
  3. Build a shrine to [WORD] for your patron. (worth 1+ GP)
  4. Ingest a [WORD] for your patron

Prophecies: Each time you gain a prophecy, roll on the list below, reroll duplicates.

  1. Happiness can be found in the depths of chocolate pudding.
  2. There were a lot of paintings of monkeys waving bamboo sticks in the gallery.
  3. Sometimes I stare at a door or a wall and I wonder what is this reality, why am I alive, and what is this all about?
  4. The fox in the tophat whispered into the ear of the rabbit.
  5. The rain pelted the windshield as the darkness engulfed us.
  6. If I don’t like something, I’ll stay away from it.
  7. The external scars tell only part of the story.
  8. The fish listened intently to what the frogs had to say.
  9. The wake behind the boat told of the past while the open sea foretold life in the unknown future.
  10. The grey contribution tempts into the deceitful curve.
  11. The decisive brick can't sip the print.
  12. What if the awkward one ate the bug?
  13. It was then the cloistered mind met the immense reward.


The food in Zorn is nothing like the mundane stock of home. Food gathered and hunted here is strange, mutated, unknown. Without proper preparation, it can do horrible things to a person, and with the best preparation, it can provide miracles. The creatures and plants of this world are so varied that food preparation is inconsistent at best, but with your training, you can help sway the tides of consumption.

Skill: Cooking
Each Template: +1 Food Die (d4)

A: Master of Preparation, Food Dice, Banquet Meal
B: Imbued Cooking, Risky Meal
C: Ingredients of Chaos
D: Master Chef

Food Dice: Gain a number of Food Dice equal to your templates in this class, they are d4s and used to fuel your chef powers. Dice that roll a 1-2 are preserved while dice that 3-4 are expended until you take a Good Long Lunch. 

Banquet Meal: You can spend 10 minutes creating a Banquet Meal by expending a number of Food Dice, this meal heals HP equal to the amount rolled for all allies close enough to partake, people can only benefit from this ability once per day. You must expend a number of rations or special ingredients equal to the number of dice used, special ingredients still trigger their effects.

Master of Preparation: You have gained an innate sense of the special properties of the ingredients you handle, expend a number of Food Dice before cooking an ingredient to learn a number of properties it has equal to the amount rolled, these properties include special preparation methods, side effects, or random table results related to the ingredient.

Imbued Cooking: When cooking a meal with a special ingredient, you can roll a number of Food Dice and Imbue the total rolled into the meal. Anyone eating the meal can use it to shift the result of any save or random table result up or down by an amount up to the total number imbued. This does not grant any innate knowledge of the table results itself.

Risky Meal: When cooking a special ingredient, expend a Food Die to have the consumer roll on any special tables twice, taking both results. Any saves made as a result of this meal are at disadvantage.

Ingredients of Chaos: Any special ingredient can be converted into an Ingredient of Chaos, eating a meal cooked with this item will trigger a roll on the DMs choice of random effect, mutation, or spell table. raw ingredients of chaos can be inspected with Master of Preparation before cooking.

Master Chef: You've finally learned enough to innately control your meals to a fine degree. You can render any special ingredient into one entirely safe for consumption, losing any possible special benefits in addition to downsides. Your Risky Meals now generate a number of rolls on their random tables equal to the number rolled instead of just one additional roll. 


The wilderness here may be dangerous, but the worst parts are often the unusual beasts lying within. That's where you come in; you have the skills and expertise to take down these monsters. Traps, preparation, and ambushes are your trade, and it can help take down even the fiercest beasts.

Skill: Instinct
Each Template: +1 Trap Die (d6)

A: Trap Dice, Skilled Ambush, +1 Effect, +1 Trigger
B: Quick Trapper, +1 Effect, +1 Trigger
C: Perfect Ambusher, Safe Trapper +1 Effect, +1 Trigger
D: Master Hunter, +1 Effect, +1 Trigger

Trap Dice: You have a number of Trap Dice equal to your number of templates in this class, they are d6s and used to create traps. With 10 minutes of time, you can create a trap using a trigger, an effect, and a number of Trap Dice. The number of trap dice determines the [EFFECTDIE] where the number rolled is [EFFECTSUM] of the trap, do not roll these dice until the trap is triggered. If these traps are not spotted before being triggered, they automatically happen without a save, noticing them grants a save to the triggerer. Used Trap Dice are always expended until you Rest. Always effectively describe how your trap works, at least roughly, as this is how you and others will disarm or trigger the trap.

Skilled Ambush: If you are unnoticed at the start of combat, your first attack automatically hits and does an additional d6 of damage.

Quick Trapper: Your traps can now be placed with two actions in combat instead of ten minutes. When placed this way they are automatically noticed by anyone in the traps line of sight at the time of placement.

Perfect Ambusher: You can extend the benefits of your Skilled Ambush feature to the rest of the party, in addition you can never be surprised yourself.

Safe Trapper: You may provide an additional trigger condition that will automatically disarm the trap.

Master Hunter: You have reached the pinnacle of hunting. Your traps never require saves. Your Trap Dice are all d8s, and if they are unnoticed, they have either double [EFFECT] or return the expended Trap Dice on trigger (choose on trigger).

Trap Triggers (Pick 1 Each Time You Level Up):

  1. Noise
  2. Movement
  3. Light
  4. Humidity
  5. Magic
  6. Heat

Trap Effects (Pick 1 Each Time You Level Up):

  1. Melee Damage: Does [EFFECTSUM] Amounts of Damage to the Triggerer
  2. Ranged Damage: All targets in a cone of [EFFECTSUM]x2 feet take [EFFECTDIE]x2 Damage
  3. Area Damage: Does [EFFECTDIE]x2 Amounts of Damage in an area of up to [EFFECTSUM] feet around the trigger, can be freely shaped.
  4. Forced Movement: Forces triggerer to be slammed in a direction of the trappers choice [EFFECTSUM] feet away. Remaining feet are taken as fall damage when stopped.
  5. Crippling: Forces target to make a dismemberment roll with a penalty equal to [EFFECTDIE]. Cannot generate fatal wounds, always requires a save.
  6. Strong Grip: Prevents triggerer from moving for [EFFECTDIE] turns, or until they make a strength or dexterity check with a penalty equal to [EFFECTSUM]
  7. Spellcasting: Casts a scroll when triggered, can be imbued with an MD to prevent scroll destruction if a mage is available.
  8. Noise: Makes a noise, audible up to [EFFECTSUM]x10 feet away, can be intentionally quieter.


As if Zorn itself wasn't dangerous enough, the people who come here are generally unstable, disloyal, and ready to kill. You're ready for these people, or maybe you've just convinced yourself that you are. You've been trained for head-on combat, and you're ready for anything from a feral Ashhound to hostile soldiers.

Skill: Mercenary
Each Template: -1 Attack Bonus

A: Survival Instinct, Impress
B: Notches, Quick Arm
C: Aimed Attack, +1 Attack Per Action
D: Reckless Maneuver

Survival Instinct: Once per day you can reduce incoming damage by 1d12 points. If you also choose to sunder your shield, you can reduce the damage by 12 points instead of 1d12. In addition, you can tell at a glance whether someone is obviously dangerous.

Impress: Whenever you win a fight against challenging foes, people who don't like you make a new reaction roll with a +4 bonus. This even works on people you just defeated in combat, unless you caused them undeserved or disproportionate harm. Hirelings get a +2 to Morale, or a new Save vs Fear.

Notches: : Each time you attain a total of 10, 20, 30, and 50 kills with a weapon type (such as 10 kills with a dagger), you unlock a new ability for that weapon, chosen from the list below. Keep track of your kills and special abilities on the back of your character sheet.

1. +1 Damage
2. Expanded Critical Range (+1)
3. Special ability (negotiated with GM, one per weapon)

Quick Arm: You can reload, draw, or stow your weapons freely without spending any actions.

Aimed Attack: You can take a +4 penalty on an attack in order to trigger a dismemberment roll on an enemy if it hits, this attack cannot generate fatal wounds unless it reduces the enemy to below 0 HP as normal.

Reckless Maneuver: Once per day when you take the attack action, you can attack twice as much at a +2 penalty.

Thursday, September 30, 2021

GLOG Class: Spellblade

 Someone in a private discord server I frequent decided to make a hexblade class focused on elementally charging weapons. I've decided to write my own take on it.

Most wizards pray or study or practice other ways of mental fortitude. Not you. You gave in, you took the easy way out, you took your power by force. You forged a link with a being of some higher power, a demon, a devil, a foul spirit of pure malice, or some other agent of deathly hunger. 

Instead of following their lessons or staying on their good side you, once again, took the easy way out. You waited one night until your patron looked away, and you took their power. You inherited not only their powers but their very bloodlust.

Spellblade Wizard

Perk: Your weapons are your spellbook, innately inscribe and cast spells from them. 

Drawback: All metal armor and shields, interferes with your spellcasting. You are unable to cast while wearing or carrying any.

1. MD only return to your pool on a 1-2 for 24 hours
2. Take 1d6 damage
3. Random mutation for 1d6 rounds, then make a save. Permanent if you fail.
4. Spells inscribed on your weapons are randomly shuffled among themselves, they are indiscernible from each other for the rest of the day.
5. All extremities become unwieldy and sharp for 1d10 rounds
6. Agony for 1d6 rounds

All weapons located on your character right now begin to fuse into your body. All absorbed weapons are always available but you are also in constant agony. Make a con check or fly into a violent frenzy when damage is taken, leave the frenzy only after killing.
2. All weapons and armor located on your character right now begin to fuse into your body, the absorbed armor and clothing is now your permanent garb, you cannot wear any other. Make a con check for frenzy every night.
3. Everything within 15 feet of you is absorbed into your body. You are a being of incomprehensible violence. You are the avatar of blood and the creator of pain. Kill e̸͜͠v̵̬͑ȅ̶̲r̵̦̐y̸̨͗ṱ̷̍h̸̬͒ǐ̴͜n̴̗͒g̵̟̏ or die trying. If you have completed your Absolute Zone, it moves with you now.

You can avoid this doom by defeating the masters of three separate weapons in a duel on their terms, and convincing all of their disciples to cast a ritual that will tie your mental state to this realm.

Alternatively, you must meditate for 100 years without moving (includes breathing) in order to master your inner demons, if you attempt this and give in after one week but before 100 years, Zone of the Absolute is automatically cast.

 Weapons with your spells inscribed within them count as part of you for casting spells that require touch.
2. Weapons inscribed with at least one spell count as magical for the purposes of damage resistance.
3. Spend 1 MD to make an attack with a weapon that has one of your spells infused in it, this can be done once per turn and does not require an action.

1. Force of Personality
For [SUM} minutes, your presence is as pronounced or as diminished as you would like. Does not prevent mundane detection, nor does it change your actual appearance or other's opinions of you. When cast with 4 [DICE], the previous restriction is lifted and you can declare the exact nature of your presence in one word. HIDDEN, POWERFUL, BEAUTIFUL, and NORMAL are popular options.

2. Weapon as Self
Touch a weapon while casting this spell to infuse it with magical power. Pick one effect from the list below:

  • Blood Infusion: Increase range by [SUM] for next attack
  • Flesh Infusion: Increase damage by [SUM] for next attack
  • Bone Infusion: Increase defense by [DICE] until next hostile action
  • Soul Infusion: Increase speed by [DICE] until next defensive action

3. Mirrored Weapon
Touch a weapon and create [DICE] mundane copies of it for [SUM] rounds, copy magical effects if you halve the number of copies, remove the duration if you halve the number of copies, round down for these effects. Ammunition copies at a rate of 5x[DICE] instead. Recasting this spell removes any copies created by prior castings.

4. Control Link
Touch a weapon to mentally control it for [DICE] rounds. it floats near you and acts independently according to your will. It attacks with an ability modifier of 0 and an attack bonus equal to yours. It has a speed of 5. When cast with 2 [DICE], you can focus and see through the blade as if you were scrying on it.

5. Unwavering Edge
Focuses your mind and sharpens your blade. Allows you to create supernatural cuts of extraordinary lengths with one strike. The table below indicates how long of a cut this spell can create. This spell ignores the normal range of a weapon, as long as one part of the cut is within mundane striking distance. Must use a melee weapon.

  • Light Materials (Fabric, Paper, etc): [SUM] feet
  • Medium Materials (Wood, Glass, etc): Half [SUM] feet
  • Heavy Materials (Brick, Metal, etc): Quarter [SUM] feet

6. Bolt
Launch one mundane item you can touch up to [SUM] feet in any direction. Can be a gentle toss or a hard throw, the remaining [SUM] is dealt as damage and the item is destroyed during the latter option.

7. Weapon Translocation
Pick [DICE] weapons that you are aware of their precise locations, any of their locations can be freely swapped with you or themselves. Preparing this spell means you can always innately sense the location of weapons inscribed with your spells within 50 feet of you, even through obstacles.

8. Sunder Weapon
Destroy target weapon you can touch, it optionally explodes in a hail of [SUM] damage within 10 feet. You can cast this as a reaction to being attacked.

9. Weapon Transmutation
For as long as you invest 2 MD in this spell, one weapon you are touching gains a special ability, much like the notches effect of a fighter. This spell can be instantly deactivated but the used MD only return after resting.

10. Curse of Bloodlust
Create a 10x[DICE] radius cloud of thick bloody mist centered around you for [DICE] rounds. Anyone in this mist deals [DICE]x extra damage with weapon attacks, must attack every turn. This mist is supernaturally thick and confusing, anyone making an attack into the mist must roll randomly for the target as nothing more than vague silhouettes can be discerned.

Emblem Spells
11. Cursed Duel
Force one target to fly into a mindless rage and attack you. They become more powerful according to DM fiat. Defeating them adds one random spell (typically related to their nature), to your spellbook. Requires casting with 4 MD, and a target of equal level to you

12. Zone of The Absolute
Meditate for one week without moving. Survival means that the area [SUM] radius around you is perfectly attuned to your core. When within this area, you do not need to eat, breathe, sleep, or roll for any kind of check. You can freely change and shape the landscape within this area but it may never leave its original boundaries. You may only ever cast this spell once and only with 4 MD. This spell automatically triggers all remaining dooms.

Friday, November 20, 2020

Stars Without Number: Making Know Magic Less of a Ribbon Skill

 In Codex of the Black Sun, two skills are added; Cast Magic and Know Magic.

    Cast Magic is very important in that without a sufficient level your spells are essentially ten minute incantations and any distraction will cause you to restart. It's a very important skill.
    Know Magic by comparison is.... very flat. It's the Know skill but for Magic as far as I can tell, which is pretty counter to the previous skill design philosophy for revised, namely that skills are broad and any applications are pseudo-determined by whether it makes sense for your character to know it. A star pilot could use pilot for a spaceship but a racecar driver would struggle to justify the training even though it is still rules-legal. Why isn't Know Magic just another facet of the original Know Skill?
In addition to this, I wanted some more magic rules involving crafting. Something in-between downtime and occult lore and absolutely nothing.
    What I ended up doing was turning Know Magic into a pseudo-psionic discipline in design that anyone could train themselves in, although admittedly non-casters would have much more limited options to use it with. With a core technique for crafting enchantment bases called "Anchors" and gaining optional techniques to modify them, known as "runes".
    Admittedly, it's relatively complicated but no more so than the occult r&d rules and is entirely optional on the player-side. Balance-wise, it can be pretty strong near the endgame for a mage who's entirely invested in it, but it still has its weaknesses, fills a new niche, and requires a great deal of investment to reach that point. So I think it's alright.

Here's what I have so far.

Know Magic

    Creating a spell anchor allows you to extend the duration of your spells and spell-like abilities at the cost of semi-permanent system strain.
    Cantrip-like effects with a duration can be held indefinitely by a Level-0 Anchor, Spells with a duration of Light focus can be held indefinitely by a Level-2 Anchor, Spells with a duration of Deep Focus can be held by a Level-4 Anchor.
    Leveled Spells that do not have possibly indefinite durations are simply stored until a trigger rune causes it to cast the spell.
    Storing a spell in an anchor requires the casting of said spell, the slot used to cast it will not recover until it is expended from the spell anchor.
    The system strain gained by creating an anchor, will not recover until the anchor is destroyed or paused.
    Destroying your own anchors only requires that you are physically close enough to touch the affected runes or objects, any Anchor-Crafter is usually smart enough to leave hidden backdoors in the magic to allow for easy disabling from themselves. Anyone dismantling others' runes can simply smudge or deface the main Anchor to dismantle it.
    However, some users build in security measures against this, such as trigger runes designed to go off when someone touches the rune or attempts to otherwise deface it. Dismantlers attempting to bypass such measures need to roll a Wis/Know Magic check against the creator's Int/Know Magic in order to successfully avoid such countermeasures.
    In addition, you can gain runes or wards that add unique modifications to the spells and abilities of your anchors.
    Writing anchors, runes, and wards take time and equipment. You need either an Anchor Engraving Kit or Consumable Ritual Components. Each part requires (Min. Lvl of Know Magic)x 1 Hour to write, with 0 level counting as ten minutes. Thus a level-0 spell anchor would take ten minutes, but a Level-4 spell anchor with a Level-4 rune would take 8 hours to complete.
    Some anchors generate Heat as described on page 131 of Codex of the Black Sun. The effects of the Heat level extend to the full size of the area affected by the anchor. Thus a Level-4 Spell anchor loaded up with a large ward effect would cover the area in a Hot zone of Heat.
    Every time you level up Know Magic above level Zero, Gain a Technique from Anchor-Craft at your skill in Know Magic or lower.

Level-0: Can create Blank Spell Anchors that can hold up to a small cantrip effect (at DM Discretion) and up to 2 runes at the cost of 1 System Strain. These Spell anchors are considered Cold Archanotech

Level-1: Gain an extra rune or ward.

Level-2: Can create Blank Spell Anchors that can hold up to three levels of spells with Light Focus and up to 4 runes or wards at the cost of 2 system strain and 3 Ritual Components. These Spell anchors are considered Warm Archanotech

Level-3: You may now dismantle your own anchors and runes from any distance with merely a thought.

Level-4: Can create Blank Spell Anchors that can hold up to five levels of spells with Deep Focus and up to 8 runes or wards at the cost of 4 system strain and 3 Pretech Ritual Components. These Spell anchors are considered Hot Archanotech

Level One Runes

Basic Binding Rune: When applied to a spell anchor, this rune aligns the magic therein in such a way that it becomes quite strong and magnetic.
    The next physical object to touch it for 10 minutes will be stuck to it, requiring a DC 8 Exert check to force open by someone trying to pull it apart.
    Examples of usage could be to fix a small trinket, lock a door, or make a handhold on a climbing surface.

Simple Trigger Rune: This is a basic control rune for spell anchors. It can be used to trigger specific runes, trigger stored spells, or dismantle the spell anchor.
    Inputs it can use include: Voice Command, Proximity to people, Being touched or not, Intentional activation within physical contact, Electrical input, Contact with blood, Contact With Magic, Other triggers at DM discretion
    This rune can store 2 commands that are up to a sentence long.

Simple Ward: Wards are a special type of rune that can be used to limit the movement of creatures, objects, and energy.
    Wards may also be left blank, using them as an area-reading effect for other interfacing runes (such as advanced trigger runes) to use.
    The Base Size warded is a 10-foot radius cube or another shape, chosen at creation, with small border-runes placed on the corners of its area. It will only function within the area bordered by the runes, so the area may grow smaller if some of the runes are removed.
    For creatures, a general type must be listed such as "Shadows" or "Humans", for anything more specific than that, one must use a discrimination rune. Any creature blocked against must attempt a Mental Saving Throw at +4 before being allowed to cross into it. If they fail, they cannot attempt the saving throw again for a day.
    For objects, you need a discrimination rune and the warded object must be provided with its own keyrune. Then, when the object is brought into the area, it is magnetically forced back out. Dragging it into the area requires a DC 8 Exert check every ten minutes.

Level Two Runes

Discrimination Rune: This rune is specially designed to interface with other runes, allowing them to whitelist or blacklist certain people or objects.
    In order to add a person to the list, you must include a small sample of their DNA into the rune itself, which is consumed upon creation of the rune.
    In order to add items to the list, you can add specific "keyrunes" to them, small runes that act as a unique id to interact with this spell anchor.
    For example, one could use it to say that all humans except one are targetted by a rune or vice versa, it can also be included with a trigger rune in order to increase the preciseness and complexity of its commands.

Arcanomagical Repeater Rune: This rune is used to extend the range of other anchor effects.
    Runes or Stored Spells that already have an area of effect, it doubles the original radius. Note that stacking additional of these runes still only doubles the radius, thus a simple ward with 3 of these runes will be a 40-foot radius square or sphere instead of a 10 foot one.
    This Rune requires a ritual component and 1 additional system strain to use.

Pause Rune: Pause runes temporarily halt the processes of the anchor or other runes' functions. They can be turned on or off with a physical connection by the creator or a trigger rune.

Level Three Runes

Advanced Binding Rune: When applied to a spell anchor, this rune aligns the magic therein in such a way that it becomes quite strong and magnetic.
    The next physical object to touch it for 1 minute will be stuck to it, requiring a DC 12 Exert check to force open by someone trying to pull it apart.
    This Rune requires a ritual component and 1 additional system strain to use.

Advanced Trigger Rune: This is an advanced control rune for spell anchors. It can be used to trigger specific runes, trigger stored spells, or dismantle the spell anchor.
    It also can interface with wards and other runes to read information about them for possible trigger conditions in addition to the inputs available from simple trigger runes.
    This rune can store 4 commands that are up to a paragraph long.
    This Rune requires a ritual component and 1 additional system strain to use.

Anchor Overclocking Rune: This rune disables some of the heat reduction countermeasures in the anchor in exchange for increased power output.
  • Any numerical effect created or altered by this rune is increased by +2 per die or instance.
  • Any opposed skill checks against this anchor are done at a -2
  • Any saves made against this anchor are at an additional -4
    This rune increases the overall heat of the anchor by 1. If this heat increases it over "Hot" then the effect is doubled. The DM may also add their own side effects for such an overloaded anchor. If additional Heat increases are stacked then it continues doubling with new side effects introduced for each stack. The Spell Anchor may simply cease to stop working at a certain point, usually after it's pushed above Hot more than once.
    This rune requires a pretech ritual component and an extra 2 system strain to use.

Level Four Runes

Anchor Stabilization Runes: This rune's sole purpose is to make more dangerous anchors safe. When added, it decreases the overall Heat of an anchor by one.
    You can only have a maximum of two of these on any given Spell anchor before additional copies lose effectiveness. There's only so much you can maximize your cooling with this rune.
    This rune requires 2 pretech ritual components and an extra 2 system strain to use.

Anchor Dispelling Rune: This rune is unique in that you can apply it to any spell anchor from any point in its area of effect.
    Functioning like a magical virus, the rune will automatically attempt to dismantle the largest spell anchor that it is within the Area of Effect before dispelling itself. For opposed rolls, it counts as a 12.
    This rune requires a pretech ritual component and an extra 2 system strain to use.

Great Ward: Great Wards can provide difficult mental blocks to specific or generalized creatures. In addition, it can block generalized or specific objects.
    The Base Size warded is a 100-foot radius cube or another shape, chosen at creation, with small border-runes on the corners of its area. It will only function within the area bordered by the runes, so the area may grow smaller if some of the runes are removed.
    For creatures, a general type can be listed such as "Shadows" or "Humans". Alternatively, specific creatures can be blacklisted or whitelisted by providing the rune with DNA samples of them as if this anchor was equipped with a discrimination rune. Any creature blocked against must attempt a Mental Saving Throw before being allowed to cross into it. If they fail, they cannot attempt the saving throw again for a month.
    For objects, a general type can be listed such as "weapons" or "food". Alternatively, specific objects can be provided with its own keyrune as if this anchor was equipped with a discrimination rune. Then, when the object is brought into the area, it is magnetically forced back out. Dragging it into the area requires a DC 12 Exert check every minute.

New Equipment

Anchor Engraving Kit: Containing a wide range of hard alloy needles and various tools, this toolkit allows for uninhibited use of the Know Magic skill to create anchors and otherwise engrave into hard surfaces.
    When using this to create spell anchors, the anchor cannot be easily smudged and must be physically defaced from the surface. Weighs 3 Encumbrance, costs 300 credits like other toolkits.

Ritual Components: This is a general category for a number of small, mystical components and materials, such as specific chalks, inks, suspended herbal fluids.
    While an engraving kit is enough to construct simple anchors, some more complex designs may require these to be used in conjunction, and these can be used to construct simple anchors in a pinch.
    Rather than keep a catalog of inks, chalks, and herbs, the mage can use ritual components, subtracting one whenever Ritual Components are cited.
    Alternatively, they can expend one to begin writing a basic spell anchor without engraving tools. When used this way, the resulting spell anchor can be easily smudged and rendered nonfunctional.
    This item can be bundled into packs of three for encumbrance purposes. Weighs 1 encumbrance alone, costs 50 credits like spare parts.

Pretech Ritual Components: Some anchors and runes have a cost in Pretech Ritual Components.
    While an engraving kit is enough to construct simple anchors, and some more moderately complex designs may require ritual components to be used in conjunction, there are yet more complicated runes and anchors that may require pretech ritual components.
    Rather than keep a catalog of inks, chalks, and herbs, the mage can use pretech ritual components, subtracting one whenever Pretech Ritual Components are cited.
    Alternatively, they can expend one to begin writing an advanced spell anchor without engraving tools.
    This item can be bundled into packs of three for encumbrance purposes. Weighs 1 encumbrance alone, priceless due to TL 5 components.

New Foci

Anchor Smith: You are a prodigy at theoretical magic, a renowned scholar, or a master of runes.

Level 1: Gain Know Magic skill, if this improves the skill to a level above level-0 you gain a free technique as usual. In addition, you can now write anchors and runes at 10 minutes per minimum Know Magic level instead of the normal time, 0-Level anchors and runes now only take 1 minute.

Level 2: When you advance a level, Know Magic automatically gets one skill point put toward increasing it or purchasing a technique from it. You may save these points for later, if more are required to raise the skill or buy a particular technique. These points are awarded retroactively if you take this focus level later in the game.
    This focus counts as a general magic focus for the purposes of mage classes.