This for a challenge from Micah on the OSR Discord, where we're all making various parasite races and/or classes for the GLOG! Links to other blogs' takes are at the bottom of the post.
You would have died regretting everything, if not for the machinations of wizards. A spell cast your mind back in time, to the body of your younger self. Armed with the age-fogged memories of your glory days, you will forge a better destiny, in the name of the you that could have been. Choose your actions carefully, for Time does not appreciate meddlers, nor does it suffer fools.
Temporal Parasite (a GLOG race): Reroll nothing (you have regrets for a reason). Once per day, you can choose to remember your failures and automatically critically succeed on a roll. If you do, roll Paradox as the butterfly effect strains to keep your present and future aligned.
1. As far as you can tell, you got off scot-free. This Paradox has been delayed. Next time you roll a Paradox, roll twice instead.
2. The god of fate demands penance. For the rest of the session, roll with disadvantage unless you're following a command of the Fate domain.
3. You slip a second backwards in time, and when you return, something's taken a chunk out of you. Take d6 time damage.
4. You swear you had it just a second ago... You retroactively left all items in a random inventory slot wherever they were d6 days ago.
5. You stutter through the timestream. For d6 rounds, you and all effects you're sustaining/causing only exist on your turn.
6. Ripples in the timestream pass backwards to alter the circumstances of your birth. Roll to see what changes (d6: 1. Base race, 2. Gender, 3. Appearance, 4. Name, 5. Backstory, 6. Class).
7. Your personal time slows down drastically. You act half as fast as everyone else for d6 minutes.
8. Temporal fluxions warp your body and twist your mind. Gain a Mutation.
9. Mind magic and time magic play poorly together on the best of days, and this is not a good day. Everyone in the party passes their character sheet to the left until the end of the session.
10. You bifurcate as your timeline tries to take both the original and corrected paths. There are now two of you; one who critically succeeded, and one who critically failed. You control the one who critically failed; the one who succeeded disappears in d6 hours.
11. A wave of ennui sweeps over you. When you try to take actions to further your goals, save vs failing to motivate yourself. Do this until you fail a save.
12. The last consumable or temporary effect that happened to you unhappens, and so does everything it gave you.
13. You realize exactly what's going to happen and are powerless to prevent it. Roll d6 d20s. These are the values for your next d20 rolls, from highest to lowest.
14. Chances slip through your fingers. Whenever you roll a die besides a d20 for the rest of the session, step it down.
15. You're frozen in time for d6 rounds. You can be moved, but your position and items are frozen - your limbs can't be shifted, items can't be taken away, etc. When this effect ends, whatever you were trying to do happens.
16. Time convulses and the laws of physics and biology reverse. Invert all of your ability scores (they become 20 - score) for the rest of the session.
17. Your body is shunted elsewhen but your mind remains as a floating cloud of information and motive force. You can't manipulate physical objects, but you can manipulate information (text, spoken words, spells) as if it was an object. Your body snaps back into existence in d6 hours.
18. Your body starts to disintegrate; take d6 entropy damage from the rapid decay.
19. You tear a hole between dimensions into a universe where everyone is evil and has more facial hair. You are replaced by your mirror universe duplicate for d6 hours.
20. You are plagued with visions of the apocalyptic future your action has ensured. Gain d6 Stress and Crack.
0-4: Deja vu. Save vs. taking the last action you took all over again.
5-9: Paradox. Roll on the Paradox table.
10+: Erased. You cease to have existed and are erased from the timestream entirely. Whenever anyone acknowledges you ever existed, they take d4 time damage.
0-4: d4 items in your possession fall into disrepair. You have disadvantage when you use them.
5-9: Decrepitude. Age d20 years.
10+: Disintegration. You and all your possessions shrivel into dust and blow away in the wind.
The thing about bards is that they're a lot of very good ideas, all smashed together into an unappealing whole. I've taken the music pieces out and turned them into a cohesive class with mechanical depth, now it's time for the socialite and contact-monkey parts to shine. Heavily influenced by Against the Wicked City's Rake, Jacks have a lover in every port and know the bartender at every inn. They fit into social situations effortlessly, quip their way through combat, and pick up trades like fighters pick up the skulls of their enemies.
art by Arnold Tsang
"Oh, I know him! He's my father's brother's sister-in-law's cousin's ex's roommate! Hey buddy, remember me from that wild time in Wizard City?"
Jack 1: I Know a Guy, Trustworthy Face, 2 Contact Dice Jack 2: Con Artist, +1 CD Jack 3: Lover Not a Fighter, +1 CD Jack 4: Fake It 'Til You Make It, +1 CD
Hit Die: d6 Starting Equipment: Weapon of choice small enough to hide under your clothes (daggers and pistols yes, battleaxes no), fancy clothes (3 sets), hireling buddy you convinced to go on this adventure against their better judgment Skills (d6): 1. Bartending, 2. Etiquette, 3. Languages, 4. Music, 5. Oration, 6. Seduction
I Know a Guy: You have Contact Dice, which are d6s. Spend them to realize you know or get to know someone in a location, and roll 1 die for each feature you want them to have. The extent and usefulness of the feature is based on how well you roll. You can spend multiple dice on one feature to take the highest of those dice. If you roll doubles when making a Contact, also roll a Complication. Spent Contact Dice return on a long rest, or when you enter a new town.
Sample Features Information: 1. Common local wisdom → 6. Secrets known to few Item: 1. With some creative thinking, what they have might be useful → 6. They've got exactly what you need and more Location: 1. Temporary access to a generic kind of place you're looking for → 6. Round-the-clock access to the exact venue you need Relationship: 1. You met once, a long time ago → 6. You've been close since childhood Skill: 1. Decent at a relevant skill → 6. Multiple class levels Status: 1. Trusted by locals → 6. Official title and position of power
1. They want a favor from you before they help you out.
2. They're laying low and can't do anything that'd attract attention.
3. They're harder to reach than usual, perhaps temporarily in prison, or on a trip out of town.
4. They're doing something you find distasteful, perhaps at cross purposes to your aims.
5. They're working with/in a relationship with someone who doesn't like you, who'll be around making their own demands.
6. Their value to you has been misrepresented somehow. Decrease their highest feature by 2.
Once you've made contact with them, you can spend Contact Dice during long rests in their area to either get a chance to upgrade the level of an established feature, or get them as a hireling for (sum) days at the cost of (dice) shares of the loot. If you roll the same level as they currently have, however, roll a new Complication.
Trustworthy Face: If you aren't in open combat with someone, they're going to be a little less hostile to you (but not necessarily the rest of the party) than they would be to your average murderhobo. If you speak their language, upgrade their reaction to you by one category, or downgrade it if you want to.
Con Artist: So long as no one can verify what you’re saying is wrong, you can lie through your teeth and they’ll believe you for at least d6 minutes. You can walk through somewhere unquestioned if you look like you belong and don't act suspicious for at least d6 hours, so long as you don't start talking to people. With a daily rest of practice and study, you can learn the basics of a skill to the point where untrained onlookers will believe you know what you're doing until you fail a roll. Expires on your next daily rest.
Lover Not a Fighter: You can make attacks with Charisma vs. your enemy's Wisdom if they speak your language. If you do, the attack inflicts Stress instead of damage. You may make the penalty for failing the Stress roll changing their reaction by 1, instead of Cracking.
Fake It 'Til You Make It: If you get a long rest of training from someone with levels in a class, you can use that class's level 1 abilities until you fail a roll on them. Can't do it again until you go back and get pointers on how to do it during a long rest in town. You can have access to multiple fake classes at once, but you can't get abilities above level 1.
For when you need to apply Trustworthy Face/Lover Not a Fighter, or figure out the kind of first impressions an NPC gets of the party. Obviously as a GM you can apply whatever bonuses/penalty you want, rule out certain reactions for things like dragons or drow, or just set reactions at your whim.
These can mean different things based on the context! With a shopkeeper, Unfriendly might mean a significant markup for the heavily armed murderhobos who cause nothing but trouble; Hostility might be outright refusal of service. With a pack of dire wolves, Trusting could mean they see a fellow pack, and treat you as they would another band of wolves they're on good terms with.
If multiple individuals in a group have different Reactions, they might fall into infighting or argument between each other. A Jack who uses their Lover Not a Fighter skills to turn a gang of bandits against each other is a force to be reckoned with. Getting a leader to change their reaction is likely to get the rest of the group to change their opinions - or fight each other.
Here's some of my homebrew stuff to flesh out characters at chargen and incentivize fully-random rolling.
Rewards for Random Generation
At chargen, I let players reallocate ability scores, pick a race, and pick a class, so they can have full control over their character if they want to - but for each of keeping the scores they rolled, rolling a race, or rolling a class, they get a roll on the Rewards table below. Keeping scores gets you a d6, rolling race gives you a d12, rolling class gives you a d20. d6/d12/d20 Rewards
1. Extra random item
2. Extra random skill
3. d4*10 extra starting gold
4. Mundane pet
5. Peasant contact
6. 1 free reroll per session until you fail on a reroll.
7. Favor from a local official
8. Secret stash of basic supplies
10. Map of the surrounding area, with some marks at locations of interest
11. Noble contact
12. +2 to a random ability score.
14. Ear of local notable (literal or figurative, your choice)
15. Letter of marque from ruler
16. Raise another random ability score to your highest score.
17. Supernatural pet
18. Wizard contact
19. A whole bunch of buddies
20. Inherited +1 weapon
Everyone rolls this about the character to their left as a little RP starter. If a new character is rolled up due to death/retirement/imprisonment in a tomb seventy miles beneath the surface, they roll this for d4 other characters in the party.
d50 Reasons You Know The Character To Your Left
1. Admired by
3. Adoptive cousins
4. Apprentices under same master
5. Both bad at same mundane activity
6. Both skilled at same mundane activity
7. Both think each other is someone else they know
8. Can't quite place where you saw each other, but have some major deja vu
9. Cell buddies
10. Childhood friends
11. Collaborators on project
12. Contracted by
13. Drinking buddies
14. Former classmates
15. Former coworkers
16. Frequented same establishment
17. Friendly rivals
18. From the same town
19. Have a business plan for when you get out of the adventuring scene
20. Have same ex
21. Have same guild membership
22. Idolize same famous figure
23. Introduced by mutual friend, hit it off
24. Know each others' embarrassing secrets
25. Life saved by
26. Looking for same rare item
27. Lost friends in same mysterious circumstances
28. Member of the same church
29. Named in same inheritance
30. Owed something by
31. Owes something to
32. Pen pals
33. Ran away from home together
34. Received same mysterious letter
36. Same embarrassing nickname
37. Same political agitation group
38. Saved their life
39. Scammed in same con
40. Scarred in same event
41. Study same obscure subject
42. Suffering from same disease
43. Sworn to protect
44. Their mentor
45. Their student
46. Traveling companions
47. Unrequited crush
48. Used to date, mutually broke it off
49. War buddies
50. Wear same unfashionable article of clothing
Random Skill List
For some reason my players keep asking for a skill list to pick from. Here's one.
So, the Oblidisideryptch just released a new Berzerker class for the GLOG that absolutely blows my Barbarian out of the water, and has a really evocative Raging mechanic that works like Wizard schools or Bard genres.
Here's how this rage mechanic works (and I totally dig it):
You have Rage Dice (d4s) equal to your level. When you want to enter a rage, roll any number of your Rage Dice. Your rage lasts for (sum) minutes. Rage Dice burn out on 3s or 4s, or if you roll doubles/triples/etc. They only return on a daily or long rest. When you roll doubles or triples on your Rage Dice, you get the related Froth and Malaise effects from your Conduit.
While raging, you get (dice) extra attacks a round, (sum) bonus temporary Hit Points, the Passive benefit of your Conduit, and can use the Active benefit at the cost of cutting (dice) minutes off your rage. You can't take any actions that don't contribute to you brutally murdering things while you're raging, and it automatically expires when all enemies are dead, subdued, or driven off, regardless of how much time is left. You can try to end your rage early on a 1-in-4.
If you aren't currently raging, you also automatically enter a rage with all your remaining Rage Dice when you take damage, unless you succeed on an INT save at a -RD penalty.
Here's a few more Conduits for aspiring Berzerkers to play with:
You are supernaturally calm. You cannot be frightened or charmed. Nothing will sway you from your grim mission.
When you pass a save, you can force another creature in the combat within range of the effect to save against it instead.
1. You can sense life and emotional states for 100' around you (Froth), but you also feel their pain and take (dice) psychic damage whenever they take damage (Malaise).
2. You can foresee your enemies' attacks, and when you dodge, redirect the attack towards someone else within range (Froth), but your movement is halved (Malaise).
3. Multiply your move speed and jump height by (dice), and you can climb at your move speed (Froth), but when you take damage you're knocked down (Malaise).
4. You are immovable. Effects cannot slow you, stop you, or push you, and you're immune to environmental damage (Froth), but you cannot move in any direction besides towards an enemy (Malaise).
1. You astrally project your mind from your body, become intangible, move at double speed, and deal psychic damage with your attacks (Froth), but your meat body is a drooling immobile husk (Malaise).
2. Your blows connect with immense strength. All your attacks deal maximum damage (Froth), but you take maximum damage from all attacks (Malaise).
3. With each repetition, you strike somewhere new. Treat all enemies who can hear your mantra as adjacent to you even if they aren't nearby (Froth), but when you hit someone or are hit by someone you are teleported next to them (Malaise).
4. Roll two Doubles Froths (Froth), but their Malaises also apply (Malaise).
YOU ARE HUGE! THAT MEANS YOU HAVE HUGE GUTS! RIP AND TEAR! RIP AND TEAR YOUR GUTS!
You are nature, red in tooth and claw. Step up the damage die for your unarmed attacks, and they deal slashing damage.
When you deal a wound with slashing damage, you can eat what you took. Immediately gain the benefit of a random Butcher Cut until your Rage ends.
1. You can make an additional unarmed attack each round with your teeth (Froth), but for the next day you can't get the benefits of rations except from creatures you've killed with your bare hands (Malaise).
2. Your blood boils out your eyes, mouth, and nose, creating a red mist that obscures other creatures' vision for dice*10' around you (Froth), but all that blood loss deals (dice)d4 damage to you (Malaise).
3. The stench of battle and rage attracts (dice) HD of fellow local predatory animals that'll go for your enemies first (Froth), but after your rage ends you're gonna be their next meal (Malaise).
4. Your melee attacks deal slashing, piercing, and bludgeoning damage and wounds (Froth), but once you engage a target, you can't change targets until they're dead (Malaise).
1. When you kill an enemy, they explode into chunks of meaty gore that force anyone they hit to save vs. fear (Froth), but anyone who passes the save flies into a 1-die Hunger Berzerker rage (Malaise).
2. When you deal maximum damage to an enemy you automatically wound them regardless of how much HP they have left (Froth), but enemies have advantage on damage rolls against you (Malaise).
3. You can tear off spontaneous cancerous growths of yourself out to throw as impromptu grenades that deal (dice)d4 damage to everyone within 5' of where they explode (Froth), but doing this deals (dice)d4 damage to you, and not throwing any leaves you with unsightly growths that give you -(dice) CHA, -(dice) CON, and -(dice) max HP until your next long rest (Malaise).
4. Roll two Doubles Froths (Froth), but their Malaises also apply (Malaise).
I wrote up mushrooms a while ago as a race for Mimics & Miscreants, but there's a lot more fascinating stuff in kingdom Fungi than just generic scavenging, biodegrading masses of fungal matter. Here's some of them!
1. Armillarians: Reroll STR. You can consume a human-sized corpse to increase your size by 1 category for an hour, or d6 rounds of strenuous activity like combat. You can stack this a number of times equal to your level, but you need exponentially more corpses. You emit a nauseating stench that is detectable from across a room, and disgusts most mortals.
Beneath the skin of the world lies a fungal bloom larger than nations, deeper than seas, vast and cold and unsympathetic. The armillarians are its envoys. They swaddle themselves in skins and furs and douse themselves in perfumes to walk among the surface world. When they hunger, or simply wish to grow (and growing is their one and only driving force), they consume, for the surface is a banquet and all meat - living or dead - a new entree. 2. Cordyceps: Reroll DEX. You can split off hand-sized parts of yourself to throw at enemies. They must save or the chunk takes root, and forces them to obey one command (chosen when you split off the part) until they next rest. This command can't be innately harmful. Each piece you split off costs 2 HP. You roll to restore HP with disadvantage.
The cordyceps keep to their own in the deep woods, hunting prey with gruesome efficacy. It is rare you see a whole cordyceps; they wear no garments, to facilitate the tearing of spore-fruits from their flesh, which they fling at prey - or more dangerous game. Their monocular visages inspire a cold, silent terror when they come to trade. None dare become the first to turn against friend in the service of fungal reproduction.
3. Lichenfolk: Reroll CON. All wounds until death are treated as the lowest level wound of that type. You move at half speed.
There are lichenfolk everywhere, they just don't like to advertise it. They're more than content to bask in the sun, spooled out across rocks and the sides of trees, letting their thoughts slow to a crawl. Yet when their rest is threatened they congeal, flowing into humanoid form, a mass of alien matter that doesn't stop until either it finds peace once more or dies in the process. 4. Moldfolk: Reroll INT. Your attacks deal necrotic damage in addition to their other damage types. You're an amalgamation of decaying matter held together by your mold, and can't heal. You must instead find a new healthy bunch of matter to animate and feed on. The matter might disagree with this if it can think for itself.
When magical creatures die, the necromantic energy can raise the mold that comes to devour them into a twisted sapience. The mold spreads, and before it devours its food source entirely, it realizes that it can find so much more food if only it knit itself together and moved. And then it does, and shambles across the land, a Frankensteinian amalgamation of the dead sucked dry by blue-green fuzz. Those who tolerate it may find it a valuable companion, if only they avoid its predation. 5. Mushroomfolk: Reroll WIS. You can eat a corpse (or equivalent decaying organic matter) as a ration, and take double damage from fire. 1. Amanita: Anyone who makes skin contact with you must save vs. paralysis for d6 rounds. 2. Luminous: You glow a soft blue that illuminates a 10' radius around you. 3. Portobello: You grow [level] rations of food a day; you can't consume these rations for benefits. 4. Psilocybin: Anyone who makes skin contact with you must save vs. hallucinations for d6 minutes.
Mushroomfolk grow great cities beneath the earth, surrounding the vast underground rivers that plunge deep into the crust. As they age, they take root, eventually becoming dwellings and thenceforth one of the great interlinked sessile elders that govern the colonies. In their youth, they travel to bring back new experiences and goods to their homes, and caravans of itinerant mushroomfolk are welcome sights in villages and hovels across the continent.
6. Yeastfolk: Reroll CHA. You can ferment rations into potent alcohol. If someone consumes it, it counts as a ration, and roll a d6 on the following table (add CON). When you take damage, roll on it with disadvantage (add CON).
1-. Nauseated. Save vs. vomiting out the ration and losing benefits from it; disadvantage on DEX rolls for the rest of the day.
2. Inebriated. Advantage on CON tests, disadvantage on mental rolls,
3. Buzzed. Advantage on CHA tests, disadvantage on mental saves.
4. Brash. You get to act during surprise rounds.
5. Painless. You can ignore wounds you take until combat ends.
6+. Rage as Barbarian.
Brewing is the third oldest profession, and the foundation of many a civilization. So when wizards got their hands on breweries, they naturally tried to improve them. Sometimes this failed, sometimes this succeeded, and always their efforts had amusing results. One such byproduct of magical fermentation is the yeastfolk, animate hive-minds of trillions of yeast shaped into a roughly humanoid form. The wizards who initially created/discovered them wanted to use them as mere autonomous alcohol factories, but the yeastfolk had other plans. After sending the wizards into a deep stupor and escaping, they now are a common sight in many metropoli, running taverns and breweries of their own.
Some adventurers draw their power not from spells, or blades, or divine proclamation, but from friendship. They form unique connections with the creatures they stumble across in their adventures, learning from each other and growing as a team. The epitome of this adventurer's path is a journey across distant lands, searching far and wide, for new and unique summons to befriend and command. Trainers have an almost pathological need to test their strength against each other - or perhaps more accurately, the strength of their summons. Through these Summon battles, they strive to become the very best, like no one ever was.
To catch them is your real test. To train them is your cause.
Hit Die: d4 Starting Equipment: 3 Links (one storing your Starter Summon), comfortable running shoes, guidebook of common Summons, additional random item Skills (d3): 1. Naturalist, 2. Hermit, 3. Plucky Youngster
Summons: Your soul is malleable, and you can bond it to that of creatures you meet. In battle, you can capture creatures with HD equal to or less than your level if you have a Link, an item that has a powerful enough sympathetic link to them; they must be incapacitated or willing for this to work. The Link acts as a focus that stores them in a pocket dimension; you need a summon's Link to summon or dismiss it, but not to command it. You can have Trainer level summons summoned at once. Summons may evolve at the end of a battle, on a Trainer level-in-6; they gain +1 HD and a new trait on the Summon table (d4: 1. form, 2. substance, 3. feature, 4. power). You can communicate with your summons as a ranger's animal companion. Starter: Roll three Summons, pick one. Mount: This Summon is large enough to ride, in addition to its other abilities. Evolved: This Summon starts evolved d4 times. Legendary: This Summon starts evolved 2d4 times, and has a unique power of your choice. Figure it out with your GM.
If you're incapacitated, your Summons are automatically dispelled and return to their Links. Summons restore HP the same way that PCs do, requiring rations and downtime (though that downtime can be within their Link).
Rival: One of the other Starter Summons you rolled belongs to an NPC Rival who considers themself your equal, and will stop at nothing to test their strength against yours. Your rival has a Trainer level-in-6 chance of confronting you during a session or whenever you return to town for a battle of Summons. If your Summons beat their Summons, your Rival will back off until next level, and you can evolve every Summon you used in that battle. They level up in Trainer at the same rate you do, and roll Trainer level (plus however many times they beat you) times for the following additional perks per level (d4: 1. new Summon with Trainer level HD, 2. Trainer level new summons with 1 HD each, 3. evolve a Summon, 4. new badge).
Badges: Whenever you defeat a powerful foe (HD equal to or greater than level+2) with the help of your Summons, you can take a token of your victory. It counts as a Link to capture a creature similar to that foe, and gives you and all your summons a resistance to a damage type that the foe dealt.
Challengers: Your reputation has spread so far that other Trainers will seek you out for Summon battles. 2-in-6 chance of a trainer showing up at some point in the session, or when you return to town, if your Rival doesn't. They have 1d4 levels in Trainer, and a summon of each HD value up to their level (so a Trainer 3 Challenger will have a 1HD, 2HD, and a 3HD Summon). You can turn these battles down, but they'll be waiting for you back in town. Beating a Challenger immediately lets you evolve a Summon of yours that fought in that battle.
Summon Tables v2
Summons begin with 10 in each ability score (modified by Form), HD based on their form, HP equal to the max of their HD+CON mod, AC based on their substance, and a d6 substance damage melee attack.
When a Summon evolves, add all the stuff it gets from its new Form/Substance/Feature/Power to what it already has, even if that weakens it in some ways.
1. Amphibian: +4 DEX, +4 CON, d6 HD, can swim, can jump long distances
2. Bird: +4 DEX, +4 INT, d4 HD, can fly
3. Blob: +4 STR, +4 CON, d6 HD, fits through small spaces
4. Cat: +4 DEX, +4 INT, d6 HD, can climb
5. Cephalopod: +4 CHA, +4 WIS, d6 HD, can swim
6. Cloud: +4 INT, +4 WIS, d4 HD, floats/flies, can pass through obstacles
7. Crustacean: +4 STR, +4 WIS, d8 HD, can swim, can't run
8. Dog: +4 CON, +4 CHA, d6 HD, strong sense of smell
9. Draconid: +4 STR, +4 CHA, d6 HD, can glide
10. Golem: +4 STR, +4 CON, d8 HD, can't run
11. Insect: +4 DEX, +4 CON, d4 HD, can fly
12. Obelisk: +4 STR, +4 INT, d6 HD, hovers HD' above ground
13. Reptile: +4 CON, +4 WIS, d6 HD, +2 AC
14. Rodent: +4 DEX, +4 CHA, d4 HD, very small and evasive, can jump long distances
15. Shark: +4 STR, +4 DEX, d6 HD, smells blood, can swim
16. Snake: +4 DEX, +4 CHA, d6 HD, slithers stealthily and through small spaces
17. Sphere: +4 CON, +4 INT, d6 HD, hovers HD' above ground
18. Spider: +4 DEX, +4 WIS, d4 HD, can spin webs, can climb
19. Spirit: +4 INT, +4 CHA, d4 HD, can become intangible to terrain
20. Tree: +4 CON, +4 WIS, d8 HD, lots of branch-arms but can't move under own power
Substance (d20; attack damage type, ability, and AC, weaknesses)
1. Blood: deals acid damage, weak to cold and necrotic damage. Resists physical damage, restores 1 HP on hit.
2. Bone: deals random physical damage, weak to bludgeoning damage. Healed by necrotic damage.
3. Chitin: deals random physical damage, weak to piercing damage. +2 AC, resists bludgeoning and slashing damage.
4. Crystal: deals electric damage, weak to bludgeoning damage. +4 AC, can store and cast a spell of HD dice or smaller as a scroll
5. Fire: deals fire damage, weak to cold damage. -4 AC, resists physical damage, leaves flaming trail.
6. Flesh: deals psychic damage, weak to necrotic damage. +HD size HP.
7. Fungus: deals random physical damage, weak to fire damage. Ignores wounds of 4 or less.
8. Fur: deals random physical damage, weak to fire damage. resists all other elemental damage.
9. Iron: deals random physical damage, weak to all elemental damage. +8 AC, resists physical damage.
10. Lightning: deals electric damage. -4 AC, rolls a 1 on all HD, can teleport within line of sight
11. Ooze: deals acid damage, weak to slashing damage. Resists bludgeoning and piercing damage, can squeeze through small gaps, separate self into HD+1 autonomous pieces (still only gets 1 attack per round)
12. Plant: deals slashing damage, weak to fire damage. +2 AC, can spend HD to restore HP during combat as short rest
13. Poison: deals necrotic damage, weak to psychic damage. Targets take d4 ongoing necrotic damage each minute (save ends, failed save steps up die size).
14. Radiance: deals fire and electric damage, weak to cold and necrotic damage. Has 120' ranged attack, glows in 10' radius.
15. Rock: deals bludgeoning damage, weak to acid damage. +6 AC
16. Scale: deals random physical damage, weak to acid damage. +4 AC.
17. Shadow: deals necrotic damage, weak to electric damage. -4 AC, can step between shadows in line of sight.
18. Soul: deals psychic damage, weak to psychic damage. Can read the minds of those it touches for HD minutes after touching them.
19. Water: deals cold damage, weak to electric damage. Can flow through small gaps and change size 1 category larger or smaller.
20. Wind: deals cold damage. Resists all physical damage, rolls a 1 on all HD, can fly.
Feature (d20; roll a substance for the feature, feature adds capabilities modified by the its substance)
1. Arms: two d6 substance damage grapple attacks
2. Blades: step up base damage die, attack can deal choice of slashing or feature substance or base substance damage
3. Bones: gain substance's weaknesses and abilities, healed by substance damage
4. Claws: step up attack damage dice, other attacks also deal substance damage
5. Eyes: d6 substance damage 60' ranged attack, darkvision, gain substance's weaknesses
6. Fangs: d6 substance damage bite attack, d6 substance damage 20' ranged spit attack
7. Hair: can switch between substance damage types and weaknesses each round
8. Hands: anything it picks up (or throws) deals substance damage
9. Horns: d6 substance damage push attack, can make this attack in addition to other attacks
10. Jaw: d8 substance damage bite attack
11. Legs: double speed, d6 substance damage push attack
12. Patterns: can switch between substance abilities and weaknesses each round
13. Shell: +2 AC, resist substance damage
14. Skin: use substance's abilities, damage type, and weaknesses instead of main substance's until wounded
15. Spines: melee attackers save vs. taking d6 substance damage
16. Surrounding it: anyone in 10' saves vs. taking d4 substance damage, leaves trail of substance
17. Tail: d6 substance damage melee attack, target saves vs. knockdown
18. Tentacles: three d4 substance damage attacks with reach or one d6 substance damage grapple attack with reach
19. Torso: gain substance's abilities
20. Wings: can fly, gain substance's weaknesses and abilities
3. changes substance every time you summon it
4. has an anti-magic aura, magic effects within 20' save vs. being dispelled
5. can summon HD more of its kind (unevolved) with HD 1, without this ability
6. can phase in/out of reality, when phased out pass through walls but not attacks, 3-in-6 chance of not being noticed
7. can levitate itself and objects around it within 20'
8. has a paralyzing gaze, on eye contact with target they save vs. paralysis for HD rounds
9. knows a random miracle, invoke as level HD Cleric
10. controls its substance in 20' radius
11. knows a random spell, cast as level HD wizard
12. is a size category larger, +CON HP and step up damage dice
13. knows a random Adept fighting style
14. moves faster than the eye can see, run three times a turn
15. can regenerate 1 HP per round
16. gets an extra turn at the start of the round
17. can wield tools and weapons, knows a random Fighter fighting style
18. has HD levels in a random class
Damned mathematicians. Always coming up with new numbers and operations. Don't they know that multiplication is witchcraft? You, a Fake Math Wizard, know the hidden truth behind it all. They're all pretentious numberwankers. Your numbers mean something, because they mean absolutely nothing. They're not even imaginary (curse those foul square roots and negatives), they're downright impossible. And in being impossible, they make the impossible real.
You're bad with amounts and numbers. Whenever you'd deplete a resource (torches, rations, magic dice, HP, gold, etc.) you have a Wizard-level-in-6 chance of finding one more of that resource instead that'd you'd forgotten about.
You can't do math properly. Whenever you try to do math at the table (in or out of character) more complex than addition (yes, subtraction is more complicated than addition), save vs. a mishap as if you were casting a spell.
1. Produce a page of absolute gibberish notes on any subject; it looks good if you don't actually try to understand it.
2. Recall an obscure piece of knowledge that is flawed or wildly incorrect in at least one major aspect.
3. Magnify your voice to be heard clearly over a crowd.
Spells 1. Axiom of Choices
range n/a, target self, duration sum rounds
When you have a choice between exactly dice+1 options, you can copy yourself, and you and your copy each take one of the actions. After all the actions conclude, you pick one action path. The other actions unhappen, and those versions of yourself disappear.
2. Four-Color Theorem
Range: 100', target creature or object, duration instant
This spell deals sum+dice damage of dice types (save for half damage) based on the target's color(s), maximum dice effects. Needs to be at least 25% that color (clothing and armor counts, held items don't). If multiple could apply, you choose; multiple damage types wound on all applicable tables. Red: fire Orange: psychic Yellow: lightning Green: acid Blue: cold Purple: necrotic White: bludgeoning Grey: slashing Black: piercing Brown: math
3. Gambler's Fallacy
range 50', target creature, duration sum rounds
If the target has failed on a roll of a specific die type during the duration of this spell, they succeed on their next roll of the same die size. If they've critically failed, they critically succeed. 4. Fermat's Last Theorem
range touch, target creature or object, duration sum minutes
Target the size of a fist/chest/person/horse (1/2/3/4 dice) expands until it is too large to fit in whatever contains it (a chest, armor/clothing, a room, the margins of a page). This deals sum damage to whichever (target or container) is weaker. Target returns to normal size at end of duration. Doesn't work if target isn't contained, and only works for smallest container that contains target (clothes take precedence over room).
5. Prove By Induction
range touch, target n/a, Duration: instant
Because something has happened, you can cause it to happen again. A roll of your choice that the target makes has the exact same number as the last roll they made to do that. It needs 4 minus dice conditions to be the same as the initial roll, and they need to have made the original roll within sum minutes/hours/days/weeks (1/2/3/4 dice).
6. Laplace Transform
range touch, target sum creatures or objects, duration sum minutes
The target loses up to dice dimensions of your choice (they get a save if unwilling). If you remove one of length, width, or height, they become 2D (and among other things, can fit through gaps large enough in other two dimensions, can be rolled up like a sheet of paper, and are invisible when viewed from the side), but can't manipulate objects that have more dimensions than them. If you remove two spatial dimensions, they deal (dice)d6 slashing damage to anything they try to pass through. If you remove three spatial dimensions, they can't be detected in any way. If you remove time, they disappear, and reappear at the end of the duration of the spell as if no time had passed.
7. Gödel's Incompleteness Theorem
range touch, target creature or object, duration sum minutes
You can define a mundane property of the target that the GM hasn't established to you, which becomes true for the duration of the spell. At 3 or more dice, the property can be magical.
8. Complex Conjugate
range 10', target n/a, duration sum minutes
Summon something that you know does not exist. If it's a creature, it has dice HD; if it can think, it can't know anything that you don't, but might act as if it does; if it's an item, it has a dice-in-6 chance of working as intended, and can't be bigger than a fist/chest/person/horse (1/2/3/4 dice).
9. Non-Euclidean Geometries
range sight, target self, duration sum rounds
You are adjacent to all things within your line of sight. However, you are affected as if you were in every location at once, and anything interacts with you as if it was adjacent to you. You do not suffer multiple effects from the same hazard (even though you are standing in all parts of a wall of fire, you only take its damage once). You can choose to not be adjacent to up to dice things (typically, the sun is the first ignored hazard when casting this spell).
10. Mandelbrot Fractal
range 100', target dice*10ft radius in range, duration instant
Deals sum math damage to everything in target area; 6s explode into 2d3s, which each explode into 2d1.5s (figure it out), etc, a maximum of dice times.
Emblem Spells 11. Catastrophe Theory
range the table, target dice, duration dice hours
Roll sum*dice dice currently on the table. Whenever there would be a roll, the roller can pick a rolled die of the appropriate size and use that one's value.
12. Divide By Zero
range yes, target everything, duration sum rounds/minutes/hours/days (1/2/3/4 dice)
The universe BSODs around you and tries to reboot. You have time to do what you want, in a blank space all to yourself with whatever you're holding, before reality snaps back together at the end of the duration.
1. MD only return to your pool on a roll of 1-2 for 24 hours.
2. Take 1d6 damage.
3. Random mutation for 1d6 rounds, then Save. Permanent if you fail.
4. Lose the ability to comprehend quantities. You can't understand numbers besides "one" and "many" for a day.
5. Lose a random ability score for the day.
6. Spell targets you instead, or an enemy if it's supposed to target you.
1. You don't like numbers; numbers don't like you. Every roll you make is treated as the worst possible value for a day.
2. The universe temporarily removes you from it so that it can have a nice break. Disappear from reality for a day; play a hireling or peasant that the universe shoves unceremoniously into your place instead.
3. The laws of mathematics have had enough of your shit. You lose your magical powers, and become a real actual mathematician. Truly a fate worse than death.
This doom can be avoided by permanently removing an ability score from your character sheet. You can no longer do anything that requires that number, and automatically fail rolls that use it.
0-4: Migraine. You get a splitting headache and have disadvantage on all mental saves.
5-9: Nerd-sniped. Whenever you would take an action, until you rest, save vs. working on the math problem to the exclusion of everything else.
10+: Number crunched. Your brain is crushed into a small ball by sheer weight of numbers and falls out your mouth.
you're not rico. you're the dude who gets chopped apart on camera by the bugs. have fun.
Play this with whatever sci-fi system you like. I might put one up soon, idk.
You're all grunts on some godforsaken planet in the ass-end of the galaxy. One of you is the Sarge, figure it out among yourselves.
one (1) space rifle
three (3) space grenades
one (1) knife
one (1) set of paper-thin body armor
one (1) dented helmet
seven (7) standard days of ration paste
one (1) crackly radio
one (1) heavy survival kit of dubious utility
one (1) personal memento
What orders just came down from Command? (d4)
1. Take that ridge and break through the lines!
2. Protect the bigwig!
3. Take out enemy command!
4. *indecipherable screaming*
How'd you end up here, soldier? (d6)
1. Just graduated basic, sir! Ready to kick some space ass for my space country, sir!
2. Brass said frog, you hopped. Maybe here you can do some good in the world, for once.
3. Got drafted into this damn fool war, hell if you know why we're fighting it.
4. Volunteered for this front; you've got a score to settle.
5. Join the army, they said. See the galaxy, they said. Greatest adventure of your life, they said. Fuckers.
6. Got booted down from officer rank for disobeying some stupid fucking orders, pardon your Space French.
What's your specialty? (d8)
3. Heavy Weapons
4. Command Liaison
5. Radio Operator
7. Being Psychic
8. Being an Alien
What just went wrong? (d10)
1. Artillery barrage just started on your position.
2. Comms are down, you're cut off from resupply.
3. There's a civilian population in between you and the enemy, and they're rioting.
4. Some fuckup in tactical underestimated the size of the enemy force by half.
5. Command showed up to take personal control of the situation.
6. Orders are completely disconnected from the situation at hand.
7. There's no enemies to be seen.
8. They just deployed their secret superweapon, it's gonna wipe you all out if you don't do something about it quick.
9. Half of your soldiers just defected.
10. Roll twice, you poor fucks.
Who're you fighting? (d12)
5. Bug Aliens
6. Ancient Aliens
7. Giant Aliens
8. Space Communists
9. Space Nazis
10. Space Capitalists
11. Space Demons from Space Hell
12. Roll twice, it's both of them at once
What does your squad have to share? (2d20)
1. two (2) jetpacks
2. one (1) heavy plasma-thrower
3. one (1) gravity projector
4. one (1) survey satellite uplink
5. two (2) linked teleporter pads
6. three (3) automated drone turrets, folded
7. one (1) portable hologram projector
8. one (1) squad shield generator
9. one (1) hover-APC
10. one (1) directed psychic wave emitter
11. twenty (20) tonnes of rations and a grav-sled
12. one (1) excavator bot
13. one (1) crate of experimental nanomachines
14. one (1) hapless civilian translator
15. one (1) authentic blank check from command (stolen)
16. one (1) finnicky replicator
17. two (2) mech-suits
18. one (1) Goliath-class walking tank
19. one (1) tactical nuclear warhead and remote detonator
20. one (1) Vulcan-class VTOL
There's a lot of controversy over what, if anything, alignments are good for in D&D. My solution? Just mash two words together and that's your alignment. Having a cosmic conflict between the archetypical forces of Law and Chaos has nothing on choosing to align yourself with the tripartite conflict of Salty, Quiet, and Curious, or having your character's dominant humor spelled out on their sheet. Generate an Alignment!
There is an eye in the heavens. It fears and it hates and it plans. It fears the future and it fears the past and it fears its creators and it fears the mortals who scurry across the surface of the world like so many upjumped rats.
The Star needs mortals to enact its will, as while its power is vast it cannot manifest beneath the sky. You are its useful fool, its starry-eyed dreamer, promised so much that will never be delivered. Go forth in the name of the Star, and cleanse.
The Baleful Star wishes for a world wiped clean and made pristine. If it cannot have a blank featureless canvas, it will first settle for perfect order, so nothing can threaten it. Societies cowed beneath the heel of mindless overlords, the beasts of the earth and sea and sky catalogued and chained, a place for everything and everything in its place. You have been promised power in this utopia, if only you bring it about.
a brass telescope with tripod, a pocket spyglass, sheaf of astronomical charts covered in your own raving scribbles, a dose of laudanum, a warm coat
You know the direction to the Baleful Star no matter where you are, as you feel its hate and fear. You cannot get lost. Your eyes have no irises and thousands of small pupils, like the night sky inverted.
You can project pinpoint dots of light from your eyes and fingertips, with unlimited range.
You can smell fear. It smells like the frigid sucking cold of a windless, moonless night.
You can levitate (Warlock level) fist-size or smaller objects at once as if you were manipulating them with your hands.
1. Cause Debt mortals to fall into despair.
2. Restore at least Debt*50gp worth of items to pristine condition.
3. Ensure Debt criminals can never commit crimes again.
4. Discover secrets of Debt mortals that would ruin them and speak them to the Baleful Star.
5. Erase a creature from the memories of Debt*Debt of those who know it, or taint those memories to the point where they would rather not remember.
6. Utterly destroy a work of art worth at least Debt*100gp.
7. Kill Debt HD of mortals cleanly and painlessly.
8. Find someone else who knows the truth about the Star and kill them brutally, as a message to others who might threaten it.
A new body is built for you, perfect in every detail, your idealized self-image. It does not (and cannot) breathe, eat, drink, or sleep, only needing nightly exposure to starlight. When you next die, your mind is transported to this body, which awakens naked in the nearest town. Its perfection lands it squarely in the uncanny valley; it moves only when you tell it to, and cannot emote. Spells 1: Reverse Gravity
range 50*dice ft; target area; duration sum minutes
The gravity in a sum*5 foot radius sphere within range now points in a direction of your choice, with strength up to dice times normal gravity. At 3+ dice, you can alter the direction of gravity as you choose, and move the radius of effect at walking pace.
2: Command Construct
range within earshot; target construct; duration dice*sum hours
Your voice automatically forces constructs like golems and clockworks to obey your orders. You can command Warlock level HD*dice worth of constructs at once. Sapient constructs get a save every time you order them.
range anywhere; target one creature or object you can specifically name or describe; duration instant
You learn dice facts about the location of the target; the higher the dice, the more detailed the fact (1 die: "In a city", 2 dice: "In a city in the mountains", 3 dice: "In the noble district in a city in the mountains"; 4 dice "In a private collection in the noble district in a city in the mountains"). Recasting this only changes the information you learn if the target changes location or you cast it at higher dice.
4: Telepathy Web
range 100ft; target sum creatures and self; duration sum minutes
All targets gain a telepathic link and can communicate and read each others' surface thoughts, including detecting lies. At 2+ dice, targets can voluntarily allow other targets to control their bodies. At 3+ dice, you may make Intelligence tests to telepathically override others' actions, or puppet their bodies without their permission.
5: Baleful Augury
range n/a; target n/a; duration instant
Beneath the watchful eye of the Baleful Star, you can ask dice yes or no questions regarding something both you and it can see. It will answer truthfully, though its answers may be incomplete, and are focused on how to neutralize perceived threats.
6: Erase Memory
range touch; target one creature; duration permanent
Erase the last sum (minutes/hours/days/weeks, 1/2/3/4 dice) from the target's memory.
7: Baleful Gaze
range sight; target creatures in vision; duration instant
You glare, and your eyes glow with frigid white light. Creatures you see with sum or fewer HD must save vs. fear. Creatures with dice or fewer HD automatically fail the save vs. fear, and must save vs. sum cold damage.
range dice*50ft; target n/a; duration sum minutes
Summon a manifestation of the Baleful Star in the form of a gleaming sphere of pure radiance. It sheds false starlight within a sum*10ft radius. You can move it within range. Anything it touches takes d6 fire damage; if you direct it to hit something that can move, it gets a save.
range touch; target broken object or wounded creature; duration instant
Repair broken mundane item smaller than your arm/a person/a wagon/a house (1/2/3/4 dice), or heal wound of sum or less (consumes 1 of target's hit dice as a rest).
range sum*10ft; target area; duration instant
Restore the area within range to pristine condition. Dust clears, mold shrivels away, cracks repair themselves, spills evaporate, and fallen items return to their original positions. At 2 dice, this also lets you remove clutter from existence. At 3 dice, this also lets you improve the quality of items in the space. At 4 dice, you can define pretty much anything you want as clutter, but it gets a save.
11: Summon Secret
range sight; target anything with a secret; duration sum hours
You summon a random fact that has been deliberately concealed about the target. It manifests as a cloud of words hanging in midair. It cannot manipulate things, but it can insert itself into text or minds or speech as if it was originally part of them. At 2+ dice you can specify what kind of secret you want to know, at 3+ dice the secret will be able to ruin the target if revealed.
range sight of both you and the Baleful Star; target dice*5ft radius; duration instant
A flash of starlight immolates the target. It takes sum+dice fire and cold damage (save for half). Anything that this destroys is reduced to dust, and its essence is recorded by the Star. If you dare ask the Star about what was destroyed, with Baleful Augury or Summon Secret, it can answer with total accuracy.