Wednesday, February 14, 2024

GλOG: Item Templates

Lambda templates are associated with items rather than a character class. Gaining a λ template is simple: spend a downtime action training with the associated item. This may also require an XP investiture or be limited in other ways, such as once per level - ask your GM. You cannot gain the same λ template more than once unless otherwise specified.

A good λ template does not invalidate the need for the item, nor does it require the item to use. Rather, it complements the item and unlocks new applications for the associated item and the rest of the character's inventory. Not all items have λ templates. If a month training with an item wouldn't make you significantly better at using it in a mechanically interesting way, it doesn't need one.

Some of these items have Consumable rules. I've never found a satisfying solution to tracking inventory slots, so these are references to measure the scale of the item I'm writing about. Insert your own inventory tracking and encumbrance rules here - and let me know about ones that work best for you so I can crib them for my own games.

 Abbreviations: 1H = one handed, b = bludgeoning, p = piercing, s = slashing

Crowbar: 1H 1d6b, advantage on Strength tests to lift/pry/move objects
λ - Leverage:
At a glance, you can see structural weaknesses in objects and constructs such as doors, walls, automatons, and siege engines, and you learn their current hit points. Once you know of a weakness in such a construct, you have advantage on melee attacks and damage rolls against it.
You can share the knowledge of a weakness with your allies so long as you have the time to accurately describe what you're talking about. Pitched battles don't count. 

Rope & pitons: Surfaces with a securely-anchored rope can be safely and slowly scaled without a test. Surfaces with a rope can be climbed at double speed. Consumable: Comes in 50' lengths of rope and packs of 2 pitons. Reusable.
λ - Second-Story Worker:
Double your climbing speed. You can slowly and safely scale any non-sheer surface. Halve the difficulty of tests to climb surfaces quickly.
This ability is most obviously useful for a character to climb a surface, scout an area, then let down a rope for their allies to climb after them. 

Roll of bandages: During a rest, give an injured character temporary hit points up to the difference between their current total HP (including temporary HP) and their maximum HP. These hit points wear off at the next rest. Consumable: A single roll of bandages provides 12 temporary hit points before running out.
λ - Field Medic:
You can apply bandages or other mundane medical treatments to an adjacent character with a single action, rather than a longer duration. Any temporary hit points granted this way expire at the end of combat or in 10 minutes, whichever comes first. You can't do this if you or the target character are engaged in melee combat.

Backpack: +2 inventory slots inside the backpack, +2 slots on the outside of the backpack. Items in the backpack are protected from mundane physical hazards like rain.
λ - Hoarding Impulse: Whenever you need a mundane piece of equipment that isn't listed in your inventory, you may make a Wisdom test. If you succeed, you have a ratty version in your bag that will work just this once and then break. Either way, write the item down next to this ability and cross it off; until you return to town for downtime, you can't get it from this ability again. 

Helmet: +1 AC. When you would suffer critical damage, you may splinter your helmet to reduce damage from that source to 1. Your helmet provides no further AC benefits and is disenchanted if magical.
λ - Warsight: You can see the HP, AC, Morale, and command hierarchy of enemy combatants. Roll initiative with advantage.
Warsight does not let you literally see numbers, but you gain that game-mechanical information. Much like riding a bike, you do not need a helmet to use Warsight, but you should wear a helmet anyway.

Torch: 1H. Sheds light in a 30' radius. Covering a torch is a free action or reaction, but lighting a torch takes a full combat turn and 2 hands of fiddling with a flint and steel. Many things extinguish torches, including fighting, getting wet, and sprinting. Consumable: Every exploration turn, roll 1d6. On a 1, the torch is consumed and goes out. 3 torches take up 1 inventory slot.
λ - Torchbearer: You can wield a torch as an effective melee weapon without burning yourself or it going out. It deals 1d6 fire damage and the target must save vs. being set aflame for 1d2 damage a round. Burning ends when they take 2 damage from the roll, when they stop, drop, and roll, or when they are otherwise extinguished.
I chose the 30' range so you can see as far as you can move in one action. Look before you leap. 

Lantern: 1H. Sheds light in a 30' radius. Follows torch rules for lighting, but is more difficult to extinguish than a torch. Requires oil. Semi-Consumable: Every exploration turn requires 1 unit of oil or the lantern goes out.
λ - Lightbearer: While in a dark area, you and all allies within the radius of a light source you're holding (or casting if magic) have +1 to hit and +1 AC.
I want to incentivize players to engage with lighting mechanics. 

Healing herbs: When eaten, provides 1d6-2 temporary HP (negative temporary HP deals damage) and allows the character to save against up to one poison or disease effect. If saving against a poison or disease, causes nausea and induces vomiting. Any temporary HP granted at the beginning of the next rest. Consumable: One inventory slot of healing herbs is 10 doses.
λ - Nutritious Diet: Permanently increase your maximum HP by 3.

Tower shield: 1H. As an action on your turn, you may raise your tower shield. While the shield is raised, add your Strength bonus to your AC. To move, you must lower your tower shield (this is a free action).
λ - Shield Wall: Allies immediately behind you also gain the AC bonus from your tower shield while it's raised. 

Staff: 1H 1d6b, 2H 1d8b. 10' reach.
λ - Arcane Focus (Staff): While you wield a staff, you can use it to cast a spell as an action on your turn.
I'm playing around with the idea of more characters getting to cast spells outside of combat in rituals that take an exploration turn or longer. Dedicated casters take items and templates like this to cast complex spells to harm their enemies and protect their allies in dangerous situations.
This also counts as a 10' pole. Not all staves are 10' long, but if you want a 10' pole, get one of these.

Dagger: 1H 1d6p/s. Throwable 30'.
λ - Sneak Attack: While you are behind, above, flanking, or concealed from an enemy, your attacks deal an extra 1d6 damage. If you fulfill more than one of these conditions, you also roll to hit with advantage.

Bottle of holy water: Deals 2d8 sacred damage to unclean, unholy, and undead creatures (halved on a successful Wisdom save). Throwable 30', consumed when thrown. Unclean, unholy, and undead creatures must make a Wisdom save to cross spilled holy water.
Spilled holy water evaporates over the course of an exploration turn.
λ - Sanctifex: During an exploration turn, you can bless a bottle of fresh water and turn it into 1 bottle of holy water. You can also perform a frantic blessing as an attack in combat, which forces an unclean, unholy, or undead enemy to make a Wisdom save or spend its next move action retreating from you.

Armor plate: +1 AC, -1 Initiative. Worn over one part of the body (arm, leg, or torso). You may wear up to 3 plates. If you are wearing more than one plate, you cannot move silently.
λ - Plate Carrier: You may wear up to 6 plates. 

Wizard hat: While you are wearing a wizard hat, you have +1 Magic Die.
λ - Magesight: You can see, smell, or taste magic beyond its material manifestations, making magical effects apparent to you. When making eye contact (or an equivalent mutual exchange of attention) with another spellcaster or magical creature, you immediately gain an instinctive understanding of its magical capabilities including total number of magic dice and number of magic dice remaining.
Wearing additional wizard hats or swapping wizard hats does not increase or replenish your magic dice. It is a funnel that draws power into the mind, not a sartorial affection - so sayeth the self-conscious mage.

Buckler: 1H, +1 AC.
λ - Parry-Riposte: Once per round, when an enemy hits you with a melee attack, you may make a Dexterity test. If you meet or beat their to-hit roll, you negate the hit and hit them instead.
The more armor you're wearing, the harder it is for you to parry, because attacks that hit you have higher to-hit rolls.

Vial of oil: Covers a 5' square in flammable (burns for 1 minute at 1d6 fire damage per round) and slippery (Dexterity save or fall prone in the space) grease, or powers a lantern for 1 exploration turn. A flask of oil contains 3 vials, a jug contains 6 flasks.
λ - Dungeon Chef: You can prepare Dungeon Meals from ingredients. To cook a Dungeon Meal, spend 1 exploration turn with a 1 vial of oil, a cooking pan or pot, and a blade. Make an Intelligence, Wisdom, or Dexterity test vs. 8 plus 1 for each ingredient you use. On a success, the meal is delicious and provides +1 temporary hit point per ingredient. On a failure, the meal is only edible as rations. On a critical failure, you waste the ingredients.
Dungeon meal benefits are in addition to the traditional GLOG benefits of taking a Lunch, which restores 1d6 HP. Cf. Skerples' Monster Menu-All for further information regarding dungeon ingredients.

Oversized weapon: 2H, 3d6-3 damage of a relevant type, 10' reach. Takes your entire turn to heft and attack. 4 inventory slots.
λ - Heavy Weapons Mastery: Add your Strength bonus to the damage of all your melee attacks.

Trenchcoat: +2 inventory slots. Caps your armor bonus to AC at +2.
λ - Deep Pockets: To solve an immediate problem, you may make a Wisdom test to pull a relevant mundane tool out of your bag that helps in this situation. The more obscure and valuable the item, the harder the test. If you succeed, it works once, then is consumed. Whether you succeed or fail, write the item down next to this one. You can't use this ability to gain that item again until you have downtime in town.

Lockpicks: Allows you to make Dexterity tests to open locks and disarm traps. Without lockpicks, you need a key, brute force, or a critical success.
λ - Tricky Fingers: Whenever you fail a Dexterity test to perform sleight of hand such as picking a lock, disarming a trap, or picking a pocket, your first failure doesn't alert the victim or trigger alarms.

Bow & arrows: 2H, 1d8p, 120' range, disadvantage on attacks within 30'. Quivers hold 30 arrows.
λ - Eagle-Eyed: You can always hit stationary targets within range with ranged attacks. This allows you to push buttons, break windows, and ambush guards with impunity.
If you don't make a roll to hit, you also cannot critically hit the target. This ability also works for thrown weapons, rocks, bows, guns, and even ballistae that you aim.

Monday, May 15, 2023

The Sapper

A well-supplied sapper corps will make or break a siege. In nominal peacetime, their particular set of skills lends themselves well to the mines, but mining pays even worse than spoils of war. Fortunately for the enterprising mercenary, there's no shortage of ruins to delve - compared to the battlefield, how dangerous can they really be?

Master the dungeon. Undermine the opposition.


from Adrian Smith

For each template in Sapper, you gain +1 HP and +1 inventory slot.

A: Miner, Improvised Explosives
B: Stonesense, Earthworker
C: Crew Boss
D: There's Gold In Them There Hills

Starting Equipment: Pickaxe (d6+STR damage, +2 to-hit vs. armor), shovel (d6 damage, can fling debris up to 60' for d4 damage), helmet w/ lamp mount, 100' rope, pitons

Once per day, with an hour's hard labor, you can create a tunnel 30' long and 5' in diameter through any material softer than your tools. The excavated spoil is placed outside the tunnel. Each additional template of Sapper lets you use this ability an additional time per day.

Your movement speed is not reduced by difficult terrain or tight passages.

Improvised Explosives
With ten minutes of prepwork and 3 inventory slots of adventuring gear, you create a bomb with properties similar to the items used. Items spent are consumed. The bomb takes up 1 inventory slot and deals 2d6 damage in a 10' radius; double damage to inanimate objects and terrain. It can be detonated manually (not recommended), and automatically detonates when damaged.

Some item effects:
- Rope: Create a fuse up to one hour in duration, or a tripwire.
- Alcohol or oil: Fire damage; leaves burning puddle.
- Projectiles (arrows, bolts, ball bearings, etc): Shrapnel. +5' radius for each slot.
- Black powder: +1d6 damage.
- Magnesium: Bright flash. Everyone in radius must save vs. blindness.
- Magic item: Discuss with your GM.

By knocking on a wall, you know how far it is to the next open space (if it's less than 30' away), and if there are any hazards behind it (e.g. water, creatures, mechanisms built into the wall).

You may use Miner to construct crude earthworks with the spoil from other uses of Miner. The total volume of the spoil in the construction must remain the same.

Crew Boss
Once per day, you may spend four hours directing a team of up to 12 people. During this period, they each have one use of your Miner ability, provided they are all properly equipped. You cannot mine while using this ability.

Gold In Them There Hills
You may expend a use of Miner to search through a pile of spoil you have created. Roll a d66 to see what turns up. You may only search through each pile once.

11. Ancient tablet with a fragment of text.
12. Ancient jewellery, set with gems worth d10 gp.
13. Ancient pottery; contents rancid.
14. Partial ancient tapestry, depicting controverisal mythic scene.
15. Ancient holy text, currently deemed heretical by a major religion.
16. d100 ancient coins marked with the face of an infamous king.
21. Set of scrimshawed knucklebones.
22. A human skull.
23. Internal organ, perfectly preserved in fat. Still throbbing?
24. Skeleton hand. 2-in-6 chance it's animate. Rings?
25. Fossilized bone. Odd shape. Maybe more nearby?
26. d4 wizard's teeth. One powdered tooth can be consumed for one temporary magic die.
31. Dense patch of mycelium. Psychedelic? Toxic?
32. Larval mimic.
33. Clutch of rust monster eggs. Good eating!
34. Extremely minor earth elemental.
35. Dire pillbug.
36. d6 slots of purple worm leavings. Potent fertilizer, or as black powder for a bomb.
41. Small lockbox.
42. Ragged banner of a fallen army.
43. Piece of leather armor, covered in bite marks.
44. Adventurer's pack, all items heavily used.
45. Small, well-carved stone figurine.
46. Torn fragment of a paper map.
51. Iron sword, chipped, rusted, and spattered with dried blood.
52. Shield painted with the crest of a long-dead noble.
53. Helm, rusted. 2-in-6 chance there's still a head inside.
54. Worn pickaxe from previous mining effort.
55. Cannonball, undetonated.
56. Bronze trap mechanisms, disconnected.
61. Lost key, opens something important.
62. Metal flask, full of strong liquor.
63. Thick glass vial, hermetically stopped with wax. Full of something?
64. Large egg, sturdy shell. Inside sloshes.
65. 1-inch-cube, indestructible. Ceaselessly humming.
66. A fist-sized gemstone, finely cut and polished. Something glitters within.

Tuesday, February 28, 2023

GLOGSTAR Pirate Missions

 The Interstellar Regime controls the trade lanes that tie the galaxy together, perpetually threatening violence against the neighboring Empyrean Bureaucracy. The Rebel Militia seeks any advantage they can to free the galaxy from the Regime's tyranny. In the midst of this conflagration, pirates find ample opportunity for profit, snatching prizes off of trade routes, threatening worlds with destruction if they fail to tithe, battling privateers across the stars in epic tales that are sung and embellished in a thousand spaceport bars. You are a pirate captain - fearless, merciless, and willing to do anything to make a quick buck.

by unccleulty


  1. The once-thought indestructible treasure ship Navigator's distress beacon has been recovered by the Intrepid Factor. It carries a black box that includes, among other things, its coordinates, deep within the wartorn Hyades Cluster. You have been granted exclusive first rights to plunder and salvage the Navigator, so long as you give the Factor exclusive information on what wrecked it and ensure that no one else aboard survives to tell the tale.
  2. A bulky trade fleet from the Empyrean Bureaucracy travels along the Kochab Corridor, a trade lane just off your primary hunting grounds. Your fellow captain, the Brazen Buccaneer, has already embarked with his fleet to take them as his prize. Hours after he entered a communications blackout to conceal his location, the Intrepid Factor notified you that new intelligence reveals this trade fleet to be a honeypot, and an Empyrean fleet under the command of their Bureau of Naval Intelligence lies in wait to ambush any pirates that take the bait. Can you ambush the ambush before you're ambushed yourself?
  3. The Regime has bought out a half-dozen pirate Free Crews with letters of marque signed by the Pompous Admiral himself. These newly-minted privateers know all your hideaways and secret warp-routes, and they've already sent a dozen captains to the prison world of Kraz IV. Simply killing the Admiral won't stop the crews - you'll need to kidnap and ransom someone important to force him to invalidate those letters of marque with his own hand.
  4. El Space Presidente, deposed from his benevolent rule of the Glorious People's Republic of Meridiana VII, sulks with his government-in-exile on the airless mining colony of Algol IX! The Grim Warlord sees an opportunity where most see despair - backwater colonies make for excellent pirate ports. Gain El Space Presidente's trust and ensure safe harbor for other Free Crews, but be cautious: the Presidente is a proud man whose sights are set on one thing alone: Meridiana VII.
  5. The Craven Commander, formerly of the Regime Starfleet, has deserted and started their own pirate operations out of the Tarazed Nebula. Their advanced sensors and drives allow them to operate in the electromagnetic cloud where you're blind and slow - it would be an incredible coup if you could somehow lay your hands on these technologies.
  6. A civilian fleet of supply ships is en route to relieve the heavily industrialized world of Mu Cygni III, in the throes of a devastating series of gravity-quakes. It's a wonderful prize, but this juicy target is guarded by a rare (and tenuous) ceasefire between vessels from both the Rebel Militia and the Regime Starfleet, each of whom want to be seen as the real saviors of the planet's populace.
  7. Pilgrims make their annual journey to the holy world Cygni IX, carrying relics sacred to their schismatic sect of the Church of Celestial Intelligence. Pilgrims are traditionally easy prey, but their sect is militant and flies upgunned one-man starfighters in ecstatic trances with divine speed and precision. Some of the ships and guns themselves are the relics, too, so destroying them isn't an option - and boarding means fighting their holy men, whose light-swords cut through armor, flesh, and (some say) the soul. However, if you took their ships, you'd have their Celestial relic weapons for your own...
  8. The Empyrean Bureaucracy is funding a new privateer campaign. So is the Interstellar Regime. Double-dipping is a time-honored tradition among the Free Crews, and until their myriad bounties on each others' ships expire, everyone in the sky is shooting at everyone else and dragging their hulks back to forward outposts for money. Its a free for all up there, and even the dirtiest tricks are legal.
  9. The Grim Warlord grows restless. The Throne of Hulls leaks and groans. She demands more hulks to add to its bulk, and has her sights set on some truly vast automated colony ships that failed in their ancient mission to settle the (apparently nonexistent) garden world of Hadar III. How do you disarm, dismantle, and recover something the size of a small moon? What happened to them and their sleeping populations at the absent world?
  10. The fall of the DARK EPOCH battlestation around the Monocerotis black hole has not gone unnoticed. Vast bulks of scrap and hypertechnology are ripe for the harvest - at least, until they're devoured by the very black hole it was built to exploit. Every independent scavenger in the sector, plus Naval Contract Corporation cleanup fleets, have descended on the wreck to do the exact same thing.
  11. Legends of the Worldvault, a vast xenogen treasure-planet, have always been a fool's errand to pursue. But now, the Dreaded Dominus claims he's found it, and has returned to the Throne of Hulls with a map to an uncharted point in the Triangulum Nebula and a cache of weapons of clearly alien design. If he's right, and the Worldvault is as the rumours say, he'll become the greatest pirate king in history and bring all the Free Crews to heel with his iron augmetic fist. But if you can get there first, that power may be yours to claim...
  12. Your last offense was too egregious to go unpunished, and so a fleet of the Interstellar Regime's finest warships under the ostensible command of the Pompous Admiral flies to quash the Independent Stronghold around the Sheliak protoplanetary disc. Turn the fleet back, whether by force of arms, cunning, or diplomacy - or lose one of the last free ports near Regime space.
  13. A new colony ship is settling Leonis V, a mineral-rich world near the Azanar Way, a major trade lane you prey upon. Teach them the nature of business around these parts by demanding their first tithe (of many going forward), but take care: their expedition was funded by the merciless Obdurate Marquess, and the colonists are hardbitten veterans of a dozen wars all armed to the teeth.
  14. The Grim Warlord has given tentative sanction to the Impulsive Intellect's latest design. The Intellect believes new research permits a short-range "hyperbreach" weapon that can abduct ships right off of trade lanes for easy plunder, and has constructed a working prototype on a safely uninhabitable nameless dwarf planet in the lucrative Dziban Sector. Test the weapon however you see fit, but don't bring it back unless you have conclusive proof that it's safe and cost-effective.
  15. A one-of-a-kind collection of Old Earth relics is being moved for the first (and likely only) time this century, traded from the Megarich Mogul to the Paranoid Plutocrat. The security corporation Volatex is responsible for the relics' transportation, but an insider, the Audacious Aspirant, has leaked the route to you so they can profit at its expense. Volatex has spared no expense in the defense of the relics, but their planned path takes them near the Gamma Velorum supernova and its total scanner blackout. It should be a by the book  raid - hit the delivery, take out the escorts, and recover the cargo unharmed - assuming you've been told the whole truth.
  16. Two wealthy pirate captains, the Dreaded Dominus and the Brazen Buccaneer, each accuse the other of planting traitors within their ranks. Their fleets have simultaneously docked at the Throne of Hulls, and their crews have already come to blows aboard the station several times. The Intrepid Factor demands you use your formidable reputation to mediate between the two, as the Grim Warlord is away on a therapeutic pillaging retreat and would rather her favorite station not be trashed in her absence.
  17. It's time for the semi-annual "recruitment drive"! The Regime's Naval Contract Corporation is hosting an opulent dedication ceremony for a new line of vessels hot out of drydock at the Raselhague IV shipyard ring. Interrupt the festivities, board the targets, and swashbuckle your way out of the system aboard some fancy new vessels.
  18. The megacorporation Solintel has decided to disrupt the piracy industry by hiring gig workers as bounty hunters to "enforce smuggling regulations" on ships traveling outside Regime-sanctioned trade lanes. Your supply of easy prey has dried up. Show Solintel what real disruption looks like, right above their Agitated Executive's regional branch headquarters on the third moon of Achenar VII.
  19. The Impulsive Intellect's latest development is going to get him killed. He cultivated a true AI, the Credulous Cephalon, and installed it into the crude matter of a gun. The gun, naturally, has become a triumph of engineering capable of truly apocalyptic devastation. The Celestial Intelligences don't want any competition, no matter how revolutionary this feat of microcomputing is. Now a hunter-killer dreadnought, the Rapacious Warmind, is blazing a path through inhabited space right to the Impulsive Intellect's front door - which also happens to be your home station. Protect him - or at least protect yourselves.
  20. The Pirate King of Space, at the helm of his Formidable Flagship, has returned to the Throne of Hulls. Or, at least, someone is claiming to be the Pirate King, and is flying a vessel that looks (and kills) a whole lot like their old, terrifying hulk. The Grim Warlord claims she killed the old bastard on the steps of the Throne, took command of the Free Crews, and banished their whole crew to the farthest reaches of the Triangulum Nebula - but is there more to her story? Will you back your Warlord, or throw your weight behind (potentially) the most dreaded pirate ever to sail the seven skies, who says that even death could not defeat them? Choose swiftly, for neither will wait for you to fully investigate the matter.

Most Recent Post

GλOG: Item Templates

Lambda templates are associated with items rather than a character class. Gaining a λ template is simple: spend a downtime action   training...