Thursday, May 21, 2020

Classic Fantasy Races for the GLoG

I'm a goddamn sucker for classic fantasy and this post is for my basic bitch predilections.

One of the things I like so much about the GLoG is its class system. It has a nice sweet spot for "defining character traits" and "no character building 1-20 synergy bullshit."

Another thing I like are race-as-class. Most people run GLoG as having races providing one, small optional weird perk. Like, you can be a slugman and climb up walls on a trail of slime, or whatever. But that lacks the essential good juju of race-as-class.

The idea of having races as classes being optional tickles me. You can be a dwarf cleric if you want by taking cleric levels, and just "also be a dwarf." But with the GLoG, you can mix and match. Dwarf A, B and Cleric A, B would be pretty cool.

Here are five GLoG classes that exemplify classic fantasy races. You can't mix and match unless you're a half-race. If you don't at least have the A level of your race, you're perceived as a racial outcast and misfit.


From Dungeon Meshi, different race options


Human

Humans are not as hardy as the immortal elves, being given to sickness and age. Nor are they as crafty as the underfolk, being slow to develop the crafts of alchemy and lore of natural philosophy. Yet mankind has one gift that surpasses every other: war.

Mankind is built for war. The crafts they have learned from dwarves and elves have been turned ingeniously to this purpose. They breed and maturely quickly to resupply their cities with men and women lost to hardship. They are fierce, doughty, and brave. Using their arts of war, mankind has conquered much of the Wide World. They are the conquering kings, proud and terrible.

Every human template grants 1 Mastery and +1 HP.

Starting Equipment: an heirloom tool, a one-handed weapon, a mundane pet: a cat, a dog, a horse, a goat, a rat, a chicken, whatever
Bonus Language: The Common Tongue is one of the human's cleverest inventions: a magical language that can always be understood by other speaking peoples. 
Not everybody can speak Common, just understand it. It freaks certain things out to hear it spoken ("How do I understand you? Are you in my brain? Get out!"). 


A - Master of Horses
B - Tall, Hateful
C - Communal
D - Proud


Master of Horses 
You grew up around animals and can handle them pretty well. When trained, they do incredibly improbable things.

Essentially, you can treat trained animals you keep and feed as henchmen. If it's like a war dog or war horse, they can fight beside you like a low-level fighter. 

Unless something very, very unfortunate happens, this ability ensures your favorite pet will survive even when knocked out of the fight. 

Tall
You gain either a +1 to your Strength or Constitution stat, to a maximum of 9.

Hateful
Humans use one dice step higher when rolling damage: d3 -> d4 -> d6 -> d8, etc. For most weapons, this will be a d8.

Communal
Your Mastery points give a +2 bonus per point spent, instead of +1. 

Proud 
A remote uncle dies and leaves you a great inheritance; the local lord notices your rising fame and bribes you; whatever happens, you gain a minor noble title. Name your new noble house, select heraldry and house words. 

When you fight under your own banner or wear your own heraldry, you gain +1 Attack and Defense. 

Hirelings now have a starting Loyalty of 10 instead of 6.

Anybody sworn to your service may choose to fill one of their empty Save slots with one of your Saves. Tales of your near demise are very popular, and everybody benefits from your experience. 

Dwarf

A dwarf is an obsessive creature. He loves to create. When he discovers what craft most interests him, he dedicates himself completely to it. His hours are spent perfecting his craft, innovating in his craft, critiquing examples of his craft, and tearing it all down so he can start again and do it right this time. Really, drinking is the only thing that keeps a dwarf steady. It evens him out, mellows him down, lets his mind work on problems that aren't exclusively about his craftwork.

All this obsessiveness pays off. Dwarf-craft is both practical and beautiful. It is highly sought after, which makes them rich. This is important for dwarves, who know the purpose of life: construct your tomb, because that's where you're going to spend the rest of eternity. Woe to the dwarf whose ghost goes into the afterlife bored. 

Every dwarf template grants 1 inventory slot. This slot is inside the dwarf's beard. Nobody can find it unless they shave the dwarf. 

Starting equipment: mattock, tinker's kit, half-filled book of grudges
Bonus language: Iglishmek - The dwarves teach Iglishmek to no one. It cannot be translated by someone who does not know it. It is altogether secret. It cannot be decoded. Comprehend Language spells fail. 

A - Goldnose, Crafty
B - Handy if Not Handsome, Stout
C - Obsessive
D - Stubborn

Goldnose
You can smell gold, jewels, gems, silver--minerals and crystals of value. If you stand at a crossroads and sniff, the GM will tell you which direction has the most treasure. If you sniff in an empty room, the GM will tell you if you smell the faint odor of potentially buried treasure. 

Crafty
You can identify works of craft: you have a good idea of who created it, its origins, its purposes, its powers, and its curses.

Handy if Not Handsome
As long as you have basic tools you can make significant repairs to a single object overnight. If a shield has been sundered or spear shaken, you can repair them with a single night of work. You don't even need sleep when you work: your obsession is refreshing.

Stout
You gain either a +1 bonus to your Constitution or Wisdom stat, to a maximum of 9.

Obsessive
Once in his life, a dwarf descends into a hole and comes out with his life's work: some magic item of excellent craft. 

During downtime, you can declare that you are using this ability. Work with your GM to design an appropriate magic item that exemplifies your "life story." You can only create one magic item in this way, ever. 

Stubborn
You get so stubborn even spells stop affecting you. You are now a magic null zone. Magic of any kind, both good and bad, cannot work on you. Shaving your beard cancels this ability.

Elf

Elves are at home in the wilds of the world. They are renowned for their wood-craft, and can move silently when stalking through the forest, disturbing neither twig nor leaf. They are also renowned for their great beauty, being called the fairest of all people. Many mortals hold them in awe. At times they are merry, and take great delight in dances and parties, which they will hold in the middle of forests, enwrapped in multi-colored lights. Other times, they are grim as aged kings. They keep their own laws, which are ancient and unknown to mortal men. Their ways are strange. In truth, the Elves are like a force of nature – they embody the gentle spring rain, the summer’s thunderstorm, the calm of autumn and the bleakness of winter.

Each elf template grants a +2 bonus to Stealth while in the wilderness. 

Starting equipment: a musical instrument, a phial of luminous starlight, hunting bow
Bonus language: Osanwe Kenta - If two speakers of this language stare at each other in the eyes, they can communicate by mind speech. You cannot lie in the psychic speech of Osanwe Kenta.

A - Star Eyed, Immortal
B - Glamorous, Enchanted
C - Wood-weird, +1 Magic Dice
D - Uncanny, +1 Magic Dice

Star Eyed
Elves treat starlight as sunlight. If they can see the stars, they can see as well as they can during the day. This doesn't help in dark, underground dungeons, but is helpful in the wilderness.

Immortal
Each elf keeps a tree as a home. If the elf dies, the tree dies, and vice versa. As long as this tree is alive, the elf will not die from old age. 

Practically, this means that elves cannot be magically aged. They do not suffer either mundane or magical disease. If severely wounded, the elf never looks gross. His scars look cool and beautiful.

Glamorous
You gain either a +1 bonus to your Dexterity or Intelligence stat, to a maximum of 9.

Enchanted
Elves cast spells by singing. One spell is called their "heartspell." The heartspell is drawn from the elementalist wizard list. Elves derive their "type" from their heartspell, e.g., mist elves cast feather fall, dark elves cast light, etc. 

Elves may wear elfy robes and gain 1 Magic Dice with which to cast this spell. If they do not have Magic Dice from robes or wizard levels, they may always cast their heartspell by taking 1d6 damage. The value of the damage dice is treated as the spell's [value], if relevant.

Wood-weird
Each great forest, tall mountain, and deep lake has a spell hidden in it. If you spend the night sleeping in a new, significant, natural location, you can learn this hidden spell. Make an Intelligence check. If you succeed, the GM will give you of a new elementalist spell appropriate to the place of power. You'll have to travel to different biomes to learn the whole breadth of the elementalist's spell list.

Uncanny
You permanently gain the effects of the spell Wizard's Vision, without any attribute loss. You call this spell "Elf Vision," and claim that wizards stole it from your people--that's why it drives them insane to use.

Gnome

Gnomes are what becomes of the children that elves steal. When elves get a wild hair to raise a child (elves  don't procreate normally), they sneak into human lands and steal a baby. In their place they leave a changeling--a log of alder wood or a goblin wrapped in a glamour of a human child. The glamour never lasts very long. Then they take the human baby back to Elfland and turn it into a gnome.

A gnome has the blessing of immortality but not agelessness. A gnome grows old but never dies. They never grow much larger than human children, but soon grow liver spots, long beards, bee-sting noses, yellowed nails, hunched backs. Eventually, they might grow into trees. 

By the time this happens, their elven "parents" have long since lost interest. 

Each gnome template grants +1 skill slot.  

Starting equipment: hallucinogenic mushrooms (1 dose), lantern, 30' length of scarves tied together (as silk rope), nine-pound hammer

A - Clever Eared, Tongue of Beast and Birds
B - Gnarled, Wise 
C - Foresighted
D - Deep Memory

Clever Eared
You hear would-be ambushers moments before they attack. When surprised, you have a 3-in-6 chance to act anyway.

Tongue of Beast and Birds
Gnomes make study of the languages of animals. When encountering a new type of natural animal, you can make an Intelligence check to see if they have studied that animal's tongue. Different beast languages are somewhat narrow: Mouse and Rat languages are different, for example (but perhaps in the same language family). Keep a list of all the animals you can speak to. Animal languages take up a skill slot.

Gnarled
You gain either a +1 bonus to your Intelligence or Wisdom stat, to a maximum of 9.

Wise
When you sleep at night, you may ask the GM one question of something in the akashic record.

Foresighted
Once per day, you can ask the GM: "If I do X, will Y happen?". The GM will honestly answer "yes," "no," or "maybe."

Deep Memory
When you ask a question using Wise, you can immediately ask a follow-up question after the GM has given you an answer. 


Halfling

Halflings are a peaceable people, good-natured, and inclined to be friendly. When dwarves make stuff, it's the halflings who turn that stuff into gold. Of course, they take a little commission for their trouble. This is generally agreed upon to be a good relationship, because dwarves and humans don't always see eye to eye. Besides, dwarves would rather be making.

Halflings also fill in the gaps in domestic work. Dwarves might not notice that their workshops fill up with old scraps, empty oil cans, and soot, but the halflings certainly do. Halflings like the finer things in life. They like things to be clean, put together, and respectable. Therefore, if something needs cleaning, fixing, mending, and put-right, halflings often do that job themselves.

If halflings have one failing, it’s their love of their comforts. Few people like eating as much as halflings enjoy their auntie's mushroom pie. Few people like drinking as much as halflings enjoy the pint of bitter from the Bird and Baby Tavern. Few people like smoking as much as halflings enjoy a pipe full of Old Toby from the summer harvest of '45. 

Each halfling template grants a +1 bonus to Save rolls.

Starting equipment: cooking gear, walking staff, pipe and pipeweed
Bonus language: Halfling Argot - Whatever the local language is, halflings speak a clever little variant of it. The argot is designed to sound like normal conversation from an outside, but is full of hidden meaning, rhyming words, and ironies that are apparent only to those fluent in halfling argot. "By mercy, two birds went flying over my head in the blue of this summer's morning," might actually mean "Say, do you want to rob that stupid looking human over there? Very good, let's use the lost violin grift."

A - Gourmand, Love of Comfort
B - Jolly, Small
C - Common Sense (critical dodge threshhold goes up)
D - Damned Little Buggers

Gourmand
You have exceptional taste. With just a tiny taste of food, you can tell what the ingredients are (e.g., if there's a little extra poison in there). This lets you backwards engineer most potions.

Love of Comfort
Whenever you gain a drunkenness point, you can heal 1d4 HP. You can do this a number of times equal to the number of your halfling templates until you sleep it off.

Jolly
When you encounter a creature for the first time, you have a 3-in-6 chance to change their Disposition to "Curious" or "Friendly." People just seem to like you.

Small
You gain either a +1 bonus to your Dexterity or Charisma stat, to a maximum of 9.

Common Sense
You critically succeed dodge attempts on an 18, 19, or 20. This lets you make an attack or combat maneuver in retribution.

Damned Little Buggers
Whenever a larger enemy misses you with a melee attack, you may force them to make another melee attack against a target within range. It's possible to make enemies hit themselves with this ability.

4 comments:

  1. These are all lovely! There are a bunch of very good takes here, especially the bonus languages. I agree, having races as options to multiclass into gives a lot of custom options. I put more effort into the weirder race-as-classes like dragonborn and tiefling, but I always struggled with the "default" races. What is Mastery exactly?

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    1. Cheers!

      I think "Mastery" was originally called "Assist"? It's the nomenclature from the Lair of the Lamb GLoG rule set. Normally, characters get their first point at level 5. You can spend it to nudge an ally's results up, representing veterans helping out newer adventurers. Humans get it from the get-go, as they're a communal/tribal society that's pretty nice to have around.

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    2. Oh I see, the terminology has changed again! Makes sense

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  2. Fuck me man. I don't know much about the GLOG, but I know what I like. These are great! An imaginative take on the classics. They are all instantly recognizable, but all are doing something interesting and distinctive. I would play any of these, even the halfling.

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