Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Marvelous Magical Mutations

"The powers of biology and thaumaturgy mock both pitiful attempts at breeding and the pathetic will of nature. Today, we march forward, to conquer the farthest horizon, and bring into being a new breed of creature - one that is utterly faultless, free from the strictures of evolution and deific design. The kingdom shall behold and cower before my grandest creation: myself! Pull the lever, Kraj!" - Archbiomancer Phynch Darloss, seconds before metamorphosing into a hideous hybrid of elf, crocodile and crab.
Growth-Chamber Guardian by boc0
by Bram Sels
Mutant: Reroll a stat from your base folk and keep higher, then reroll a stat at random and keep lower. Instead of your folk's abilities, roll 1 mutation from the Cosmetic/Positive tables, and 1 mutation from the Mixed/Negative tables.

d20 Mutant Origins:
1. A bastard wizard did it.
2. Abducted and experimented on.
3. Actually an alien, apparently.
4. Ancient magical artifact catastrophe.
5. Bitten by a radioactive animal.
6. Cursed by a vengeful priest.
7. Drank from a really, really gross lake.
8. Grew up in irradiated hellhole.
9. Healing magic gave you a little extra.
10. Infected by mutation plague.
11. Lost a game against the fey.
12. Meteor crashed nearby.
13. Narrowly survived death, mutations saved you.
14. Next phase in evolution showed up early.
15. Parents were mutants, belong to proud mutant family line.
16. Powerful magical creature as an ancestor, hit really weird puberty.
17. Survivor of magical weapon attack.
18. The Octarine Star shone upon your birth.
19. Used self as test subject.
20. Wanted power, at any cost.
Related image
by John Ariosa
(largely inspired by/curated from Coins & Scrolls' list)

d20 Cosmetic
1. Animal Ears. d6: 1. cat, 2. dog, 3. lizard, 4. rat, 5. bat, 6. bug antennae.
2. Ant Blood. Your blood is now ants. Your skin crawls.
3. Bizarre Colour. Your skin is patterned with two colours (d8: 1. Red, 2. Orange, 3. Yellow, 4. Green, 5. Blue, 6. Indigo, 7. Violet, 8. Octarine).
4. Compound Eyes. Whole bunch of little eyeballs, like a raspberry.
5. Deadened. You look like a rotting corpse, as if you'd been dead for a week.
6. Detachable Tail. Newt-like. Falls off when you take a Wound, regrows.
7. Dopplered. You red-shift and blue-shift at walking speed, and leave a blurred trail behind you.
8. Engorged. d6: 1. Arm, 2. Leg, 3. Head, 4. Torso, 5. Hands, 6. Feet.
9. Extra Fingers. d4 per hand.
10. Extra Mouths. Gain d6 extra mouths across your body.
11. Faceless. All your senses work as normal, but your face is smooth and featureless. Don't ask how you eat/speak, you just do.
12. Flora. Grow leaves and flowers instead of body/head/facial hair.
13. Gemstone Eyes. Like cut (1d6: 1. rubies, 2. sapphires, 3. pearls, 4. diamonds, 5. obsidian, 6. bismuth). Actual gems, worth 10gp each.
14. Goat Horns. Small and pointy.
15. Hole. Mysterious hole right through your torso.
16. Skeleton Limb. One of your limbs becomes a skeleton of itself. Works normally.
17. Third Eye. On your forehead.
18. Transparent Skin. Everyone can see your organs.
19. Unusual Genitals. Whatever you had going on down there is different and weird now.
20. Vestigial Wings. d6: 1. Bird, 2. Bat, 3. Dragon, 4. Butterfly, 5. Beetle, 6. Elemental. Cannot fly.

d20 Positive
1. 1000 Eyes. They cover your body. You cannot be Surprised.
2. Amoebic. You can split and reform yourself. Each half has half stats, half HP, and half the abilities on your sheet.
3. Caustic Spray. New pulsing glands on back. Can fire 20' cone, 2d6 acid damage, smells awful.
4. Dragonbreath Gland. 30' cone, 1d6 fire damage, once per day.
5. Fractal Fingers. One hand only. Cannot drop objects held in that hand, and advantage on DEX tests with that hand. 2d1000 fingers.
6. Frog Tongue. As a whip.
7. Gills. You can breathe underwater.
8. Glow Pockets. Can glow (as a candle) at will.
9. Goat Legs. 2 of your legs become goat legs. You are not slowed by broken or rocky terrain.
10. Hydra. If head or limb cut off, CON save. If passed, 2 new heads or limbs emerge.
11. Leathery Hide. +2 AC.
12. Magnetic Sense. Lump of metal protrudes from head. Can detect magnetic north unless near a strong magnetic field or iron.
13. Out of Phase. Flickery. You can hover through solid objects by taking 1d6 necrotic damage per round.
14. Perfect Memory. Can INT test to recall incredibly trivial details. Brain glows through head.
15. Prehensile Tail. Can grip items, advantage on climbing.
16. Scorpion Tail. +1 attack per round dealing 1d4 poison damage.
17. Shark Teeth. Whole mouth full of them. 1d6 bite damage.
18. Spider Gland. On both wrists. You can spin 10' of rope per day.
19. Spores. Grow glowing, bulbous lumps. 1/day, coat a 30' radius in purple hallucinogenic spores.
20. Venomous. Your natural attacks (bite, claw, etc.) deal an extra 1d4 necrotic damage if they break the skin.

d20 Mixed
1. Antlers. Ridiculously large. d6 bludgeoning damage attack, but can't fit through doorways or thin passages.
2. Boneless. You can squeeze through gaps as small as your head. -1d6 STR.
3. Cascading Mutations. Whenever you're Wounded, gain a random (d100) mutation until you heal.
4. Claws. Your fingers fuse into sharp claws. You cannot hold weapons. You claws do slashing damage, step up unarmed damage die.
5. Crab Arm. One hand becomes a claw. 1d8 bludgeoning damage, can't wield items.
6. Crab Legs. They replace your normal legs. Can scuttle sideways at normal speed.
7. Detachable Limbs. Your arms, legs, and head can be removed and reattached.
8. Duplication. Split in half. Reduce all your Stats by 1d6 and your HP by half. Your "twin" rolls new stats and HP. 3-in-6 of your twin being comically evil.
9. Echolocation. You echolocate within 30', as a high-pitched audible whine. Can't turn it off.
10. Extra Limb. d6: 1. Left arm, 2. Right arm, 3. Left leg, 4. Right leg, 5. Tentacle, 6. Roll again, but you get d4 more.
11. Face Mimic. When you kill someone, your face shifts to look like theirs.
12. Ink Cloud. When startled, WIS save. On failure, spray ink in a 20' radius.
13. Ink Skin. You can cause words to appear on your skin by concentrating. Your thoughts also appear there; CHA save to resist this.
14. Iron Spines. You're covered in 6" iron spikes that protrude from your bones at odd angles. Can't wear armor, but deal d6 piercing damage to anyone who hits you in melee.
15. Lamarckian Evolution. One hand turns into a terrible version of the last tool you used.
16. Metal Skin. Your skin is covered in metal plates. You cannot swim or wear armour, and -1d6 Dexterity. +8 AC.
17. Molten Blood. Your blood is now molten iron. You are incredibly warm and deal 1d6 fire damage to anyone who wounds you in melee. 4 Inventory Slots are filled with Iron Blood.
18. Pheromones. Attracts insects, 20' radius.
19. Polymorphed. Reroll your race.
20. Universally Compatible. If it's alive, you can reproduce with it.

d20 Negative
1. Atrophy. One your limbs becomes withered and unusable. If leg, halve move speed. If arm, -1d6 STR.
2. Borrowed Time. Everyone around you is perpetually uneasy. At the end of each session, make a random ability score save vs. death. Pass three of these saves in a row and death gives up; heal this mutation.
3. Brittle-boned. Always wounded by bludgeoning damage.
4. Combat Fever. Perpetual barely-constrained anger. Can only restore HP if you've fought today.
5. Creaking Joints. Go last in initiative order. Mundane tasks take twice as long.
6. Cyclopean Eye. No depth perception, disadvantage on ranged attacks.
7. Delicious. You smell absolutely delicious and are going to be the first target in combat.
8. Dietary Shift. Save every time you eat a ration or vomit profusely and take 1 damage, unless that ration is (d6: 1. Blood, 2. Metal, 3. Wriggling, 4. Sunlight, 5. Poisonous, 6. Magic)
9. Flaky. You're water-soluble. 1 necrotic damage per round in rain, dissolve if submerged.
10. Ichorblood. You perpetually leak a sticky, flammable, black ichor from your pores and orifices. Whenever you take damage, take an extra point of necrotic damage.
11. Independent Hair. Your hair can move on its own, and takes as much effort to cut as hacking off your own limb. It likes messing with you.
12. Metal Reactivity. You break out in painful welts (1 slashing damage/round) whenever you touch metal.
13. No Skin. -1 AC, leave trail of blood on everything you touch.
14. Overheating. After performing strenuous activity (physical or mental), CON save vs. d6 fire damage. You're constantly steaming.
15. Parasite Friends. They live in your guts. Need to eat 1 extra Ration per day, or take -1 STR and -1 CON. Recover 1 point of this stat drain for each day you meet the parasites' needs.
16. Pox-ridden. You've got an incredibly degenerative disease. Whenever you would roll an HD to regain HP, do so with disadvantage.
17. Sudden Rapid Disassembly Syndrome. When surprised, save vs. a limb falling off. You can reattach them, but it takes a round of holding it there while it seals back on.
18. Tumorous Growths. All over your hands and face. -1d6 DEX and CHA.
19. Unstable. Guts glow a menacing orange. When you take a Wound, CON save vs. exploding. 3d6 firearm damage, 20' radius.
20. Xenobiology. Your organs are arranged oddly and perform the wrong functions. Randomly reassign your ability scores whenever you level up.

d20 Supernatural
1. Animating Touch. Objects you touch animate as a 1HD Animate Object. You can only have one object animated this way (changes when you touch something new), and it won't follow your orders.
2. Aurovore. You can eat 5gp instead of a ration, and can digest metal.
3. Blood Foam. When you bleed, it expands into a soft foam that rapidly hardens into a brittle shell. 1ft^3 per hit point of blood.
4. Chronologically Detached. Slightly transparent. Take 1d6 time damage to disappear and reappear that many hours in the future. Takes that many minutes to phase out.
5. Colour Ripple. You are always the colour of the thing you are looking at.
6. Eldritch Markings. Skin covered in colored marks; reflect your personality and deeds.
7. Elemental Affinity. Your attacks also deal (d6: 1. Acid, 2. Cold, 3. Fire, 4. Lightning, 5. Psychic, 6. Necrotic) damage, but when you're hit you also take that type of damage. Your element crackles around your hands and face.
8. Emergency Teleport. Jitter constantly. If you are reduced to 0 HP, you teleport 2d10x10' in a random direction.
9. Flame Hair. Hair is literally fire. Doesn't burn you, sheds light as torch if you feed it a ration.
10. Foggy. The air around you condenses into a fluffy, obscuring cloud.
11. Hovering. 1" off the ground at all times.
12. Mercury Arm. Arm replaced with liquid metal. Can squeeze through gaps.
13. Mimic. Bird beak replaces your tongue. You can mimic all voices, music, and natural sounds.
14. Nominative Imperative. You know whenever anyone says your name.
15. Open Soul. Visible, roiling aura. Magical effects always have the maximum (sum) on you.
16. Personal Gravitational Field. Small objects (pebble-sized or smaller) orbit you.
17. Phenotypic Mirror. You take on the appearance of the first person you see each day (don't gain their stats).
18. Second Sight. Always staring into the middle distance. Can see ghosts, spells, and spirits as faint outlines.
19. Unnoticeability. If you're not being actively looked for, you won't be perceived until you make an unexpected noise or interacting with someone.
20. Wyrdsight. One eye has glowing cataract, can see souls. Migraines and disadvantage on WIS and CHA tests when open/uncovered.

Speedrunning #AprilTTRPGmaker pt. 2

First post here! This one's much shorter, because it's less than half the month, and a good chunk of the questions are outside my area of expertise. Still, hope this gives some insight into who I am as a person and a creator!
19. Favorite themes to explore? Hope and resilience in the face of abject despair, the consequences of necessary evil, how we understand the vast impersonality of the cosmos, fighting against all odds because that is what must be done, are my high-minded answers that are probably never actually going to show up in my games. At the table, the themes that usually show up are being big damn heroes, cancelling the apocalypse, and heroic sacrifice.

20. A game you want to make that you think no one would play? Stellaris but as a tabletop game. A long-running, dozen+ player, emergent nation-building and diplomacy space opera game where you build vast spacefaring societies and explore the possibilities of galactic societies and cultures. I've tried to do stuff like this before, in play-by-post games and various video game design docs, and it always seems rad until I realize that there's no way I'd get enough people together for a long enough time to be satisfying. I'm pretty burned out on that kind of hard sci-fi anyway, though Mothership has gotten me to dip my toes back into it, and someday I'd like to play around in that space again.

21. What external factors do you struggle with to create? Ironically, feeling an obligation to create is maybe the largest. I feel an internal pressure to constantly be posting, and while I enjoy it, it does make me feel like I'm torn between posting mediocre content that I don't fully enjoy, and spending far too long perfecting and tweaking every last word. Also, most of my content skews towards mechanically-dense posts rather than theory or setting content or opinions, and that's because I'm not confident in my ability to deliver quality content in those areas. I'm trying to break through that barrier, but it's slow going - watch this space for more stuff besides homebrew classes.

22. How are you working to improve the ttrpg community? I make content that I want to see, and hope other people like what I make and get inspired by it. There's so much good in the community already - interact with and support it!

23. Mentoring/being mentored by? Nope, is that a thing that happens here?

24. Favorite RPG thing to create? I really enjoyed writing up the Goblinplagued Barracks! Expect more short dungeon content like that in the future.

25. A rad diversity consultant? Wish I knew one, sorry. I don't exactly have the money to hire one right now, either...

26. Favorite online community? I'm a big fan of (and frequent participant in) the OSR Discord. It features the #glog-ghetto channel, the glogosphere's own little pocket of a pocket of a pocket of the internet.

27. How do you market your work? The OSR discord, r/osr, and mastodon. I'm not a brand, I'm not an influencer, I just post stuff in places that I think people would like to see it, and I like it that way. I do get most of my views from other bloggers' blogrolls, so I figure I must be doing something right?

28. What tools help you create? Notepad++. I've used it for text editing since forever because it's free, quick to run and load, and has minimal distractions besides the dozen other tabs I have open. It also helps that my posts look much shorter with its super long lines, so I'm pleasantly surprised when I paste it into Blogger for formatting and it's waaaay longer than I expected.

29. Exciting 2019 rpg trends? I'm not up on recent RPG trends outside the OSRverse, but it seems to me like the OSR is in a time of upheaval. With the exodus from the still-cooling corpse of Google+, I hope we can form new social circles and hubs of activity where creativity can flourish. I'm excited to see where that takes us!

30. If you were in charge of the TTRPG industry, what would you change? Lots of the conventions established by D&D still shackle large swathes of the TTRPG market. Gigantic impenetrable book-sets that cost an arm and a leg; a focus on pushing out new content that's just refurbished same-old-same-old, a devotion to Balance that borders on the pathological (and usually creates even more imbalanced games in the process), and an obsession with hiding the fun parts of games behind towers of busywork.

If I ran the industry (and it's a good thing I don't, though give me their number and I'll give them a nice talk), I'd make the fundamental essence of the hobby a collaborative and creative one, where homebrew is a key part of major games, and you aren't expected to drop $150 to just sit down with some friends and play the one game you've heard of (or one of the neat obscure-ish ones you've seen online). Release rules for free, update them often, create transparent systems to understand, modify, and bolt on extras to, so players can create the content that they want to play at their tables instead of feeling constrained by overwrought systems with one original idea per hundred pages.

So that's April over and done with, and as usual I'm winging the content I'm releasing for May. Expect more grunginess, random tables, weird magic, people-eating, and crabs!

Saturday, April 27, 2019

The Goblinplagued Barracks

The City of Dimwell has been falling for all of living memory. Every year the lights grow dimmer, the plague deaths mount, the carts bringing grain from the hinterlands thin. The few that remain are the impossibly hopeful, the willfully ignorant, and those with no other choice. Still, these unlikely few have kept Dimwell alive, a fading beacon against the encroaching night - until now. A new plague, unlike any other that the city has weathered, ravages the outer boroughs. Barricades cordon infected areas to die, and laborers spend what little time they have off-shift watching for carriers attempting to breach the quarantine. The Goblin Plague has come to Dimwell, and it shall never leave.

from Age of Conan
The Fortune Way Barracks used to be a nexus of brutal order against everyday chaos. Nobles' hired enforcers played at law and extorted the citizenry, the unchallenged top dogs in the neighborhood. When the plague came, the enforcers used it as an excuse to ramp up their wanton brutality, and tortured and executed anyone they suspected was infected - and anyone they could later claim was infected, as well. This infected them, and soon they found themselves under unending siege by the goblin horde.

Why in the world are you going there?
1. The heir to the House Redwick fortune and Lord Bluton of the Bluton Estate stationed a dozen of their finest men there, and one of the two needs you to bring back as many uninfected as you can. If some of the other lord's men go missing, well, perhaps that's the price of victory nudge nudge wink wink.
2. They say that below the Barracks lies a key to slaying the goblins. At least, they've heard agonizing goblin-screams from down below.
3. A wizard's apprentice knows their master had plans to cure the Goblin Plague once and for all. Last they heard, the wizard had gone to the Barracks to seek out hardy, able-bodied warriors to take samples of the stronger goblins to perfect the cure.
4. A widow wants you to kill the enforcers in the Barracks. They took her husband from her under suspicion of plague, and she knows exactly what they do to those they suspect of spreading the infection. Bring her husband's wedding band back if you can find it; she's sure they've kept it to pawn.
5. This is a first push to take back a relatively recently-fallen chokepoint, in a desparate attempt to turn back the tide. Once the Barracks are taken, reclamation of the entire neighborhood may begin, with the aid of the ballista mounted atop it.
6. The Commandant's wife is worried sick about her, and demands you bring her back no matter the costs, no matter whether the Commandant is dead or alive.
Related image
by Jesper Esjing
What's the Goblin Plague? It's infectious, and spread by fluids, including mucus, saliva, blood, and excrement. Its symptoms are quite mild - akin to a weak cold - but infected become irresistibly delicious to goblins. When a PC touches infected fluids with bare skin, they have a 1-in-6 of contracting the Goblin Plague. Infected humans rapidly give off goblin-attracting pheromones. Add 1-in-6 to the chances of encountering a goblin pack in each room for each PC who's been infected. Goblins are affected differently by the Goblin Plague. They don't contract it from the same vectors as humans, only on a 1-in-6 when they eat an infected non-goblin, and it doesn't make them delicious. It makes them... well, roll below and find out.

Oh no, a goblin caught the Goblin Plague...
1. Goblin violently explodes into d6 smaller goblins.
2. Goblin becomes irresistibly delicious to everything, goblins or not, and will transmit the Goblin Plague to anything that eats it.
3. Goblin messily metamorphoses into an ogre.
4. Goblin learns a random spell and fashions a pointy hat out of the nearest thing it can find.
5. Goblin constantly leaks infectious ichor that eats through armor and infects on damage (2-in-6 chance)
6. Goblin and all other nearby infected goblins become a Goblin King (like a rat king but goblins). Goblin Kings are very cunning, and have the incredible power to make goblins listen to them and obey.

Goblins can be infected multiple times. Yes, there are Ogre Kings that know magic. You should be glad they're as rare as they are.

First Floor
1. Main Hall: Covered in blood, ichor, and inedible corpse-remnants. Stairwell (2) in back of room, door on left to Mess Hall (3), door on right to Cells (4). Pack of goblins trying to push their way through an improvised furniture barricade to the Stairwell. If the PCs don't make it down into the Sewers and they come back down through here after making it to a higher floor, the Otyugh is here snacking on everyone who's died in this room.
2. Stairwell (Floor 1 to Floor 2): Blocked by barricade (10 min to clear). 10 min after barricade cleared, 0-in-6 chance of encountering pack of goblins in any room in Floor 2 (+1-in-6 for each infected PC).
3. Mess Hall: Large table with unfinished meals, fine silver cutlery, paintings on walls (cheap forgeries). Unsteady floor. If >1 person (or >3 goblins) walk on it, it collapses into the Sewer (13).
4. Cells: 3 cells, each with 4 bunks. 1 is open and covered in the remnants of its former occupants. Another has a hole under the bed that leads down to the Sewer (13) - 3-in-6 of the Otyugh being right below, lurking in the water with its mouth open for anyone else to fall down. Last is occupied by the goblin-mutilated corpse of a wizard, whose ravings are magically etched into the walls and floors. He was trying to cure his own infection. Close examination of his writings and the inside of his skull by the magically-inclined reveal the spell Speak With Disease.

Second Floor
5. Stairwell (Floor 2 to Floor 3): Blocked by barricade (10 min to clear). Door on left to Armory (6), door on right to Guards' Barracks (7). 10 min after barricade cleared, 0-in-6 chance of encountering pack of goblins in any room in Floor 3 (+1-in-6 for each infected PC).
6. Armory: Very well stocked, not well maintained. Weapons found here haven't been cleaned or sharpened, and will transmit goblin plague on 2-in-6. 1-in-6 of encountering enforcers here, wielding Armory weapons. A cache beneath the floorboards holds emergency travel rations and 20 gold, that only Commandant Liv knows about.
7. Guards' Barracks: Bunks 12. Stinks to high heaven. Enforcers here.

Third Floor
8. Stairwell (to Roof): Door is locked. Pounding is audible from other side if Ballista (12) has goblin pack.
9. Interrogation Room: Door locked and barred from the stairwell side. Broken window. Goblin pack inside, snacking on the corpses left in the room from the last "interrogations". As soon as the PCs walk in, the goblins mutate (roll Goblinplague for d4 of them). Room is full of assorted torture tools, and a box of jewelry confiscated from the prisoners. d6 wedding rings (pawnable for 5gp each, or returnable to spouses if you can find them), assorted earrings and fillings.
11. Officers' Barracks: Has balcony, desk with official seal, piles of unfinished paperwork, box of d6 luxury cigars. Commandant is here, with 2 very loyal, surprisingly uninfected bodyguards - the leaders of the contingents from House Redwick and Lord Bluton.

12. Ballista: On roof. 2-in-6 of encountering a goblin pack trying to figure out how to use it to fire each other (+1-in-6 for each infected PC).
13. Sewer: Large complex of sewage tunnels beneath the building. No entrance except from floor in Mess Hall (3). Pitch black. Otyugh is here. 2-in-6 of also encountering goblin pack (+1-in-6 for each infected PC). 2-in-6 of also encountering a squad of (very lost) enforcers.

Pack of Goblins! d6+1+(number of infected PCs) goblins (1 hp, unarmored, bite or claw for d4 piercing damage, transmits Goblin Plague from blood on teeth/claws on 1-in-6)
One is...
1. Goblinplagued! Roll on the Goblin Plague table. Ogre (6 hp, unarmored, smash (d6 bludgeoning, DEX save vs. knockdown), resist physical damage); Goblin King (hp equal to goblins in the king, gets attacks per turn equal to the goblins in the king, calls goblins from nearby whenever it takes damage equal to the amount of damage it took)
2. Wielding a random broken weapon (step down damage die, transmits goblinplague on 2-in-6)
3. Stacked on top of another one, wearing clothes, pretending to be a person
4. Riding a Doglin (4 hp, 2 armor, bite for d6 slashing damage, it's a goblin that likes being a dog more than it likes being a goblin)
5. Hiding to ambush you
6. Roll again, and apply the result to an additional goblin in the pack

Plaguemad Enforcers: 2d4 enforcers (4 HP, 2 armor, blade (d6 piercing, can parry) or halberd (d8 slashing, push 5') or short spear (d6 slashing AND piercing) or another weapon as you see fit)
One is...
1. Armed with a blunderbuss
2. In plate armor (6 armor)
3. Secretly 3 sneaky goblins stacked on top of each other
4. Protecting the adorable garrison dog at all costs (his name is Rumples)
5. Literate, and has a scroll of (d6: 1. Animate Object, 2. Contact Greater Power, 3. Enlarge/Shrink, 4. Prismatic Orb, 5. Protection from Disease, 6. Shatter).
6. Commandant Liv, out on patrol (8 HP, 4 armor, magic sabre (d6+1 slashing, on 6+ damage target DEX saves vs. Cutting Them Up, range 10'), Cleave, Push Through, and Reaver fighting style as Fighter). Both Redwicks and Blutons swear grudging loyalty to her, and will get along when she's looking. She wields a +1 magic sabre with a blade that cuts up to 5' beyond its point. She's named it Edgimus, speaks to it more than she speaks to her soldiers, and treats it like her child.

The enforcers all sniffle and drool; their spittle has black flecks - signs of long-term infection. They are all incredibly paranoid of further infection and the subversion of their defenses. Not immediately violent. When the PCs encounter a group of enforcers, roll to see if they're loyal to House Redwick or Lord Bluton. The two groups of hired lackeys are indistinguishable to PCs who don't have a reason to know otherwise, but each hates the other group with a burning passion, blaming them for the loss of the lower floors.

Otyugh (16 HP, unarmored, tentacle (d6 bludgeoning, grapples target, 15' reach), bite (d6 piercing, inflicts Goblin Plague), can make 2 tentacle attacks a turn)

Friday, April 26, 2019

Glitch Witch

The universe has rules. Discovering them is a task that archmages set their entire lives to. Once they're discovered, however, mages move on to the next rule, the next discovery, the next horizon. You know, however, that there's still so much work to be done. You take the hooks the mages have set in reality, and pull oh-so-gently, to twist the world to your designs. Perhaps you aren't so gentle. You slash at reality, hack it to your whims, pull it apart and insert your will between the cogs of the machine. The world is but words, and you are the author of its turning.

Glitch Witch
(a GLOG witch tradition, read this first)
Image result for cyberpunk wizard
they just deleted the Wicked Glitch of the West and are following the Yellow-Striped Cable to find an installation wizard for .ozz files
image by Thomas Putnam
White Hat (d4 Work Die)
Perk: Ignore the first Attention you draw each day.

1. You can leave short comments on items and in areas. When the item is handled or area is stepped into, the message you left shimmers into view until the item is put down or area left.
2. You have an icon of authority that gives you a significant amount of magical clout. It works as authorization and a mark of accomplishment within magical groups and organizations.

Emblem Work: Resolve Conflict
Range: 10'; Target: a group of (sum) or fewer individuals participating in an ongoing conflict; Duration: (sum) rounds
Temporarily forcibly de-escalate a conflict. Swords are blunted, impacts are softened, even harsh words seem forgivable and minds seem swayable by mere reasonable persuasion. This effectively gives you a chance to start from a clean slate after things have gone wrong. If you piss the targets off again, however, they'll go right back to hostility. When the duration expires, the targets return to their previously hostile state. Doesn't work twice on the same target.

Grey Hat (d6 Work Die)
Perk: You can read the Universal Logs. You have a 1-day log of everything that's happened within 10' of you, whether you know about it or not, down to the resolution of specific actions and words. Consulting the logs takes a minimum of 10 minutes.
Drawback: Your mind is constantly racing to find more efficient solutions, whether or not they're a "good idea". You have disadvantage on Wisdom tests.

1. You can interface with arcanotechnological devices, even those from aeons long-past. On a witch level-in-6 you can identify their broad function, and the general use of any controls.
2. When you sleep, you enter a dreamstate where you can test out your items and abilities without limit on a simulated environment that matches the surrounding area. The dream doesn't replicate other characters or creatures, and you can't fall asleep in the dream.

Emblem Work: Edit Logs
Range: yes; Target: reality; Duration: (sum) minutes
Add/subtract/change (sum) words in the universal logs that you can read from the past (sum) rounds (1D)/minutes (2D)/hours (3D)/days (4D). This causes (dice) paradoxes, one when you cast this spell, and the rest at the end of the duration.

Black Hat (d8 Work Die)
Drawback: You can't prevent Attentions and must suffer the consequences of your actions.

1. Obscure your identity by decreasing your face's resolution. Your face appears as a pixelated blob, and can't be personally identified by onlookers.
2. You know of drop points in town where you can put items and recieve random possibly-useful items of similar value within the hour. Each time you do this at a particular drop point, its usefulness will drop, and you might be giving the items to people working against you.

Emblem Work: Hack the Planet
Range: variable; Target: variable; Duration: variable
Replicate the effect of a spell or Glitch Witch work of your choice. This also replicates the effect of another spell at random, targeted at you.

1. Clip
Range: touch; Target: creature or object; Duration: (sum) rounds
Target becomes intangible. If it shares a location with another object or creature at the end of the duration, each takes (sum) math damage as the universe sorts out where they're supposed to be.

2. Copy/Paste
Range: touch; Target: creature with (dice) or fewer HD, or object smaller than a head (1D)/person (2D)/horse (3D)/dragon (4D); Duration: (sum) minutes
Saves an image of target into your brain; can paste copies of target (sum) times during duration. Copies all last until the end of the duration. Copying a creature is lossy; pasted creatures take (sum)*(dice) math damage instantly and have (dice) mutations.

3. Deform Mesh
Range: 100'; Target: object or creature; Duration: (sum) rounds
Crudely stretch and squish up to (dice) parts of the target's shape up to (dice) sizes larger or smaller. This doesn't deal damage (the target continues to function somewhat normally even though their organs might now be half-size), though it can be supremely uncomfortable.

4. Hard Reboot
Range: touch; Target: creature; Duration: (sum) rounds
Target freezes up for (sum) rounds as they reset to however they were at the start of the day. This does one of the following of your choice, and (dice) random additional effects.
1. Heal all wounds suffered
2. Restore all lost HP
3. Return Stress to original value
4. Return conditions like magical effects or poisons to morning state
5. Erase all memories formed
6. Take (sum) psychic damage
7. Can't handle items that were picked up between day start and reboot until next day
8. Everyone else forgets interactions with target since day start

5. Loop
Range: 10'; Target: object or creature; Duration: see below
Target repeats its last (dice) actions. If they fail where they previously succeeded, or succeed where they previously failed, they break out of the loop. Every additional time you loop something, (dice)-in-6 of getting caught in the loop yourself.

6. Model Swap
Range: touch; Target: two objects or creatures; Duration: (sum) minutes
The targets swap bodies. They retain their own mental stats and abilities, but may not be able to use them properly. Inanimate objects that become possessed with people become animated; objects given minds act according to their nature (a shovel will want to dig, a crystal ball will want to predict the future, etc.) Two swapped objects will switch properties and magical abilities, but retain physical stats - for example, two swapped weapons will retain their damage die size, but switch weapon abilities and any magical properties.

7. Terminal Dump
Range: touch; Target: (sum)*10^(dice)' area; Duration: instant
A log of everything that's happened in the target area in the last (sum) minutes (1D)/days (2D)/years (3D)/ever (4D) is dumped into your brain. Gain (sum) stress whenever you try to sort through it to find something.

8. Typecast
Range: touch; Target: object or creature; Duration: (sum) minutes
Target physically appears as and gains (dice) abilities of a more specific subtype of target (like a sword becoming a rapier, or a fighter becoming a cavalier) until reality catches up. Every time the target does something that it couldn't do normally (i.e. that it gained from this ability), on a (dice)-in-6, decrease duration by 1 minute.

1. Bluescreen. You fall unconscious for (sum) rounds. Allies can wake you up early, but you'll take (sum) psychic damage.
2. System error. Part of your brain crashes. You can't use one of your ability scores (chosen at random) for the rest of the day. Restore it by moving resources over from your other stats, and taking disadvantage on all physical checks if it's a physical score, or mental checks if it's a mental score.
3. Null pointer. You can no longer interact with whatever you tried to Work, and it disappears from your (and only your) view. It returns after you daily rest. You can make it come back early by focusing entirely on fixing the error while taking a short rest.
4. Overload. Take (sum) math damage unless you step down your Work die for further Works you cast today.
5. Hacking duel! A rival Glitch Witch has taken notice of your skills, and wants to prove they're more elite than you. They'll set a time  and conditions for a duel, within the next 24 hours - if you no-show, you'll be blacklisted among local organizations that care about such things. Including the authorities.
6. Reality's antivirus wants you gone. Roll a Paradox unless you undo your Work and leave what you've done with it spotless before you next rest.

Losing Your Grip
1. You can't accept that others have better ideas than you. Either you need to convince yourself that it was actually your idea all along, or make enough of a contribution to the plan that you can call it yours.
2. You become incredibly paranoid. Anyone who's heard information about you can't be trusted. Everyone who walks by you on the street is a potential nefarious actor. Statistically, you know *someone* is out to get you, and obviously the only thing to do is to be forever on your guard.
3. Remove Strength from your sheet. You can no longer physically manipulate objects except through your Works and Signs.
4. You become a ghost in the machine, acting solely through terminal commands executed through the fabric of reality. You can't interact with people in any meaningful way; you've surpassed mortality entirely.

Wyrd Transports
Glitch Witches' Wyrd Transports aren't means of travel; rather, they're ways to avoid it. When you gain the Wyrd Transport feature, you can dub a suitable location as your lair and create a trinket that serves as a remote observer. While in your lair, you can cast your Works as if you were at your remote observer, and see and hear through it. The maximum number of Work Dice you can spend on Works cast through a remote observer is limited by your distance from the observer: 1 for anywhere in the same region, 2 for anywhere in the same city, 3 for within a city block, and 4 for anywhere in the lair or the building the lair is situated in.
Sample Lairs
1. Sewer bolthole
2. Relative's basement
3. Public library
4. Castle tower
5. Small business backroom
6. Abandoned warehouse

Math Wounds
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.

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Movers and Shakers

The City of Brass by stephengarrett1019
The City of Brass, by stephengarrett1019 on deviantart

Cities, towns, and villages all should be in perpetual motion, with more going on than just a few shops and quest-giving NPCs. Entire campaigns could never leave a single sprawling metropolis, and I've always wanted to run a game that meshes citywide intrigue with more classic dungeon-crawling through forgotten urban areas. This is the first of hopefully many posts that set up resources and rules for a citycrawl campaign, where thieves and scholars and butchers rub shoulders with mad scientists and snooty nobles, in the vein of New Crobuzon, or Sigil, or the City of Brass, or Ankh-Morpork. These tables are for faction generation, to create an ecosystem of power players who will pursue their own goals and catch the PCs in the middle of their schemes.

A village may have two or three of these as power players; perhaps they are individuals, or emissaries from larger nearby organizations. A town may have four or five, many of whom are their own local talent. Cities have entire social ecologies, five to eight or even all of the below in the greatest ecumenopoli of the empire.

Who are they?
1. Guards
2. Church
3. A Noble Family
4. Witches
5. Thieves
6. Scholars
7. Adventurers
8. Diplomats
9. Outcasts
10. Mages
11. Soldiers
12. Entertainers
13. Downtrodden
14. A Political Party
15. Laborers
16. Bureaucrats
17. Merchants
18. Artisans
19. Farmers
20. Cult

1. keep the peace in the area
2. have a deep-seated propensity for violence
3. run a school in the area that trains people in their craft
4. are knee-deep in the supernatural; that may mean everyone is a demihuman, or a vampire, or perhaps they all know at least a little magic
5. are the de-facto spokespeople for the public, whether the public likes it or not
6. are closely allied with another faction, to the point where many of their members are part of both organizations
7. are trying to advance a surprisingly progressive agenda, to the chagrin of established powers
8. follow an obscure and binding code of ethics that's more important to them than personal power and riches
9. secretly call the shots from behind the scenes. While the public knows of their existence, they're assumed to be a minor group that doesn't do much of anything
10. are busy falling from grace with incredible speed, with nothing left to lose. They'll try anything for a last gasp at relevance
11. are a criminal enterprise with no moral scruples and the everlasting enmity of the authorities
12. are the pride of the area, and the common-folk sing their praises. Getting on their bad side will make you a persona-non-grata among all who don't share your grudge
13. are led by a powerful being like a dragon or a beholder, and while this is not yet common knowledge they will make it known when the time is right
14. are part of the government of the area
15. are actually secretly a group of [who they are]. This is known to mid-level members of the faction and up, but not initiates or the public
16. are new to the area and making waves, pissing off the existing power players by their mere existence
17. are ancient and proud, and can trace their roots to the founding of the area. They have elaborate rituals and codes, the purposes of which are only half-remembered
18. know about a coming crisis and are using all their resources to prepare for it
19. want to be left alone and become a self-sufficient power in their own right
20. have a grand plan that is about to come to fruition, at the expense of every other faction in the area. The others know this, and are looking for any opportunity to stop it.

They want.../They have... (roll a d20 for each)
1. a large private base of operations, either well-defended or secret
2. a disproportionate amount of members
3. the key to survival in the face of a clear and present threat
4. debts of the other factions, that they will use for leverage and blackmail
5. removed powerful opposing individuals and have proof that they can do it again
6. exclusive access to locations and individuals that have personal value to the faction
7. connections with similar organizations across the region
8. the ears of rich and powerful unaffiliated individuals in the region
9. a truly fantastic amount of riches
10. ubiquity; everyone interacts with this faction on a daily or weekly basis
11. secrets that they can use to blackmail others, or advance their cause through unconventional avenues
12. magic or technology that is not fully understood in the current era, that they use with reckless impunity
13. a cache of rare resources that they need for their public duties, and makes them far more effective
14. prestige and esteem, the respect of the public and other factions
15. a monopoly on a local utility, service, or resource
16. local allies who they can trust to come to their side in coming times of crisis
17. undercover agents in other factions to report on their activities and sabotage their plans
18. a charismatic leader totally committed to their cause
19. progress towards their leader's world-changing goals
20. your personal allegiance, by threat or by choice, whether you like it or not

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Speedrunning #AprilTTRPGmaker

Ok, I've been keeping up with a few people who've been doing this challenge, and I keep meaning to write it as sorta an intro (because in three months of blogging I've pumped out almost exclusively content), but hell if I'm going to keep to a daily schedule. So here's prompts 1-18. 19-30 will presumably end up posted separately at the end of the month.

1. Introduce yourself. Hi! I'm Lexi (she/her pronouns). I write tabletop games, and have ever since I was introduced to the hobby. I enjoy hard-ish science fiction, body horror, Pratchetty fantasy, and watching my players come up with off-the-wall plans to tackle problems I never prepped for in the first place. I'm still in my undergrad, which I think makes me one of the young'uns in the OSRscape; my first D&D was 4th edition rather than any AD&D/1e/Red Box variant or derivative, so I come from a very different place than much  of the community. Still, it's a rad community with so much raw creativity and conceptual density (check out Joseph Manola's article on the subject for a very good read), and I intend to stick around for a good long while.

2. Describe your work. Almost all of my work is based on Arnold K's Goblin Laws of Gaming, which I have a handy intro to up in the top bar. My own personal hack (because the GLOGosphere is just a network of content and hacks for home games and personal tastes) is Mimics & Miscreants, which takes a chisel to all the bits of RPGs I enjoy, saws them off, and cements them together into 30-odd pages of dungeoncrawling rules with two pages (ish) of random character generation. Lots of my work is riffs on other people's stuff or conversions of existing content or ideas, but there's nothing new under the sun anyway - especially not in a hobby where the most popular systems are literally reformats of the granddaddies of all RPGs.

3. Key to your making process? I joke about it being coffee, but really it's other people. I'm a classic extrovert, and being able to brainstorm, bounce ideas around, hear what other people think works and sounds cool - this all stirs the pot of creativity that sits precipitously atop the hearth of caffeine within my head.

4. Favorite type of game scenario? To run, I love a good old-fashioned dungeon crawl. Go in, solve the problems, interact with the things, meet strange creatures and talk with them, stab them in the back, roast them over a campfire, and take their stuff. To play in? I'd love a giant hexcrawl where I go through a character every other week and get to explore a vast world full of curiosities and wonders, all the while finding amusing solutions to difficult problems.

5. Character or worldbuilding? I can't build characters to save my life, especially not in advance. I can improvise NPCs okay, and there's a few archetypes I enjoy, but for this question I have to give it to worldbuilding by default.

6. Long or short ttrpg texts? If I have to run it or play it, it had better be well-organized and I shouldn't have to flip through 20 pages of spells or equipment (or god-help-me lore) to find the one option my character has. Large tomes do make excellent coffee table books, and I do want a giant library of interesting core books to flip through on occasion, but ultimately they just don't fit with my game style. Nice heft, though.

7. How to increase accessibility? Figure out how to write your books in a way that players actually use them. I have a laundry list of complaints that I'd love to send to the President of RPGs, if anyone could give me their number and/or address. First and foremost is making character generation something that can be done without reading the whole book back to front, or, (once again god-help-me), something you need an ENTIRELY SEPARATE FAN-MADE PROGRAM to do properly. Also, mainstream TTRPG industry, it'd be really nice if you could release like $5-$10 reference PDFs instead of $40 three-book sets with art and so much extraneous padded text, I'd probably actually recommend buying your books instead of pirating them.

8. Favorite collaborators? I haven't really collaborated with anyone, though from time to time I've helped other people on the OSR discord hash out mechanics and classes. That's probably my favorite group of people to collaborate with - though they're also the only ones I do, so...

9. How do your games distribute power among players? Mechanically, I really dislike dictating power relations among players beyond "you're all equal, chill". Up front, I tell people that there's no PvP, you've got to hammer out disputes between each other out of character if necessary, and you're working as a collaborative team. In play, I try to keep everyone engaged, asking people if they want to contribute to plans, trying to manage who gets the spotlight, etc - it doesn't always work, but I try to foster a cooperative atmosphere, rather than one with winners and losers. Even character death can mean victory, and with quick chargen it's not as daunting as other games make it seem.

10. How are your games dismantling colonialism? Colonialism is a Really Big Thing and I'd be really, really overselling myself if I said that my games were contributing to its dismantling even in the slightest. Still, I try to keep the more problematic concepts that fantasy has unfortunately reified out of my work - no noble savages or other caricatures of racialized communities, no arbitrary restrictions on character gender/ethnicity/etc, no racism/sexism/homophobia/ableism/transphobia "to make it more realistic"... sometimes it amazes me how much there is to be done, but also how easy the first few steps are. From a position of privilege, there are so many simple things you can question and think critically about to start making the world a better place.

11. Shoutout to an underloved creator! My friend T at Dreams and Fevers got me into the OSR, and they've got fantastic takes on history in RPGs. 

12. How to make work inclusive? There's so much that can be said here, and needs to be said, by lots of people who aren't all me, but here's an easy one: stop using "he or she" and "his or her" in your rulesets and just adopt the singular they. It's shorter, flows better, and actually gender-neutral instead of presuming that your readers fit into the gender binary. Perhaps more importantly, put content warnings up front if you intend for your game to cover triggering concepts (like bigotry, and graphic violence, and sex, and sexual assault, and slavery, and drug use, etc...), and talk with your players beforehand to make sure that your game and their expectations are on the same page. Don't force players to participate in something that makes them viscerally uncomfortable; we're all here to have a good time, and sometimes that means that your gritty realistic dirt farmers setting might need to accommodate female knights and treat people with different skin colors equally, or lose your players.

13. Participate in streamed games? Naah. I've started watching LoadingReadyRun's Bylaw and Order campaign, but that's an exception for some content creators that I absolutely love. Generally speaking, I can't get into watching a dozen 3-hour-long videos of a game system I don't enjoy playing in, of a bunch of people that I can't differentiate the voices of. I enjoy building games, and I enjoy playing them in person - watching others do so doesn't have the same appeal.

14. How are your game mechanics and characters intersectional? Off the top of my head, I'm not sure how you'd make game mechanics intersectional (and as someone who's been studying this stuff for a bit, this question feels like it's just throwing intersectionality in as a buzzword, which I really don't appreciate). Systematizing the interactions between multiple marginalized identities feels like something that A: I'm not the right person to do, and B: is something that would go incredibly wrong incredibly quickly, because mechanical reification of real-life oppression isn't something many people who face those struggles on the daily want in their escapism? Character-wise, you'd be hard-pressed to find a straight NPC in my worlds, but that's just because I have no idea how to RP one believably.

15. Favorite tropes to subvert? I really enjoy making gods with moralities that don't mesh with humanity's very well. They care about things, but you can't get the God of Inexorable Progress to help with your tiny little war when there's some really cool evolutionary conditions in deep sea thaumic vents that are going to yield fascinating creatures in a few dozen million years. Also, picking five fantasy races and four classes that aren't humans/elves/dwarves/orcs/hobbits and fighter/thief/wizard/cleric and making a new world assuming that those are the default.

16. How does your environment inform your work? I'm an undergrad double-majoring in cognitive science and queer studies, so questions of how people think and how systems we create work are constantly on my mind. Combine that with having a whole bunch of close friends IRL who are just as weirdly geeky as I am, and I have a lot of off-the-wall setting concepts and content that end up never seeing the light of blogs. Someday they might, if they ever get more fleshed-out, or if I decide to do a big dump of stuff for other people to pick at.

17. How does your identity influence your work? Looking back to #10 and #12, I wouldn't be putting as much thought into inclusivity and diversity if that wasn't something I had to deal with in my personal life. Experiencing institutional shit and growing up in the wild world of boys-club D&D gave me very clear perspectives on what I don't want anywhere near my tables, and the sort of stories that I want to tell. Sorry if this is vague, but I don't like crossing the streams of venting and content creation - I save the word-vomit about my personal life for my Mastodon account and my group chats.

18. What are some underlying messages in your work? Cooperation is more powerful than competition, more things are edible than you'd expect, people come in all varieties whether or not they're immediately recognizable to you, making bad decisions isn't the end of the world, and with great power comes both great responsibility and great potential for misuse at the expense of both yourself and others.

19-30 coming someday! probably April 30th!

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Lexi's Big Bag of GM Tips

Behold: my first theory post! Including lessons I've learned over a decade of GMing everything from D&D 4e to Eclipse Phase to Dungeons the Dragoning 40,000 7th Edition to a half-dozen of my own homebrews. This isn't necessarily all going to be relevant to your games - indeed, very little GMing advice is ever universally applicable (though I certainly have opinions about games that don't do some of these things) - but if you read through this and think even one is kinda neat and worth doing, this post has done its job.
Image result for bag of devouring art
reach in and pull out a tip! i promise it won't bite, i've trained it well
art by Miranda Sider
1. Build your settings to be destroyed. Players tend to wreck things, so create structures that your players will have fun obliterating, or at least trying to obliterate. Make the setting such that you will root for them when they do so. Give them oppressive regimes to topple, or enemy armies to incinerate, or ancient wonders to reduce to rubble. If you can't get them to feel wonder and pathos, at least get them to feel triumphant.

2. Or better yet, let your players do the building. Some players love reading expansive loredocs, making/reading wikis, looking upon your face adoringly as you expound on the minutia of your setting. Most don't care and won't read the 2-page setting doc you send out or hand them at the table. Giving some creative control to the players lets them have some buy-in, gives them a little customization for their characters' cultures and personalities (especially in systems where they'd be rolling mostly-random characters), and gives them something to care about. I like making my players' characters foreigners and letting the players make up where they're from; it saves me tons of setting work and means that I can reveal the setting of the game proper through play rather than giving a big exposition talk beforehand.

3. Talk with your players before the game starts, whether that's for five to ten minutes before the con game starts, or in the group chat where you've assembled your players to schedule games. Get everyone on the same page regarding table expectations, game themes, character death, system options, PvP combat, railroads, etc - and especially content warnings and topics that are unwelcome at the table. So many RPG horror stories have come from players not knowing what's okay to talk about at the table - and while a lot of it should seem like common sense, common sense isn't common, and it's way easier to shut problem players down when you've established guidelines for behaviour beforehand.

4. Rule of Cool. The answer to "is this cool thing in the scene so I can do something cool" is almost always yes. "Is the duke having a meal so I can try to slip poison into his food?" "Does the castle wall have arrow slits I can peek and shoot through?" "Is there a chandelier in the hall that I can detonate and cause mayhem at the ball?" Unless it's patently ridiculous or you've already established something to the contrary, imho, you should let them go for it. When you make rulings (because you're making rulings, not looking up rules - one of my favorite OSR paradigms), err on the side of making players feel good. That doesn't have to mean that they succeed, but it does mean that interesting things happen. Sometimes the coolest thing that can happen is character death. This does mean you have to be on the same page as your players, and understand what they want out of the game, but you should have talked about that already (see prior tip).

5. Chekov's guns are a sometimes food. If it's not going to be mechanically or interaction-relevant, don't put much emphasis on it - and when you do emphasize something, let the players use it. This is mostly regarding setting and plot info - if there's twelve noble houses and only two are relevant in the next few sessions, leave the other ten out of your description to the players, even if you've built them ahead of time. If the players want to ask, then give them the loredump - but too much information just causes decision paralysis and drags them away from whatever you've prepped. On the other hand, if you describe a granary tower in the bandit camp, let the players blow it up to cause a distraction; don't force them through fighting twenty bandits.

6. Handwave things. You do not, cannot, and should not, try to explain everything away in lore-friendly ways, because that does not work. I have spent literal days of my life arguing with other GMs about where to put teleportation circles in settings so that characters can move between parties if their players want to try a different GM for a week. I have seen dozens of stories online about how a GM took control of an absent player's character, or gave the character to another player, and killed the character while the player was absent. If a player is absent, just let the character not exist for a bit, don't explain it, don't justify it. Verisimilitude is valuable, but when you try to explain real-world phenomena with in-game logic, you're just making it harder on yourself.

7. Don't try to fix out-of-game problems with in-game solutions. Talk to your players. Make your expectations for their behavior clear. If two players have beef with each other, or someone has issues with you, speak with them about it outside of the construct of the fiction. You're all there to have fun, so if someone isn't having fun - or if someone's idea of fun is making the game unfun for others - something is going wrong. Ask the players who are having problems what's up, and mutually figure out a solution that works for all parties involved, without the pretense of verisimilitude or the rules of the game getting in the way. Also, consider if you might be the problem; not all players are up for all games, and if they're not having fun because of the game you want to run, you either need to run a different game or find players who're up for what you're running.

8. Put your characters somewhere they're going to be doing interesting things. Too many settings I've seen (currently my big pet peeve is Lancer) have so many cool ideas, and all of them are secrets to virtually any PC that'd be created, and wouldn't be revealed until well into a campaign. If there's fun stuff you want players to interact with, give them a chance to do so when the game starts, even if they don't grasp the full scope of the conspiracy, or explore the depths of all the multifarious demiplanes, or whathaveyou. Put cool stuff everywhere, and don't worry about "balance" or "level-appropriate rewards/enemies/phenomena". If you want your players to explore the City of Brass and make enemies with the djinn, don't save that for level 7 when you're starting the game at level 1 - put them in the City at the start, because at worst, even if the campaign collapses early, you've gotten a chance to play with the cool stuff too.

9. Encourage bad decisions. It's in the tagline of Mimics & Miscreants for a reason, and I wholeheartedly believe that making bold, risky, bad decisions is the heart of how I enjoy RPGs. Payoffs are all the sweeter when you've risked everything to get there, and surviving a dungeon has meaning when some characters didn't make it out. Note that that doesn't mean make every test a one-in-a-hundred miracle to pull off - that discourages bad decisions; too much risk will only make players want to do everything the safe and boring way. Instead, let players get themselves into hot water by taking actions that'll definitely work, and definitely have bad consequences, but might (might!) work out in the end if they're smart and play their metaphorical cards right.

10. Accept that your game will probably end prematurely. There's few things more disheartening than a campaign petering out because of scheduling conflicts, players getting bored, or the GM getting bored - but I've been in very few campaigns that've ended with a bang rather than a whimper. This doesn't mean the game is a failure! It just means that you need to plan shorter-term, and ensure that there's good content from start to finish, so that everyone comes away feeling like they've accomplished something even if the campaign never makes it past session 3 or 4.

Mimics & Miscreants Spell List

I've been workshopping spell lists for M&M for a long time, and I think I've finally made one I'm satisfied with. It's 50 levelless GLOG-formatted spells (so invest a number of d6s as (dice) and roll them for (sum)), and they come from all over D&D and the deepest recesses of my muddied psyche. They all have broad utility, or are in some way iconic. At some point I want to expand this list with weirder stuff, but the basics are more than enough.
Related image
this is where i've been for the past few days
image by Don Maitz

d50 Random Spells

1. Fire
2. Water
3. Rock
4. Air
5. Ice
6. Lightning
7. Acid
8. Ooze
9. Radiance
10. Shadow
11. Metal
12. Flesh
13. Sand
14. Wood
15. Fungus
16. Crystal
17. Magic
18. Poison
19. Paper
20. Ectoplasm
1. Wolf
2. Cat
3. Elephant
4. Crow
5. Rat
6. Spider
7. Octopus
8. Shark
9. Crab
10. Snake
11. Frog
12. Ant
13. Wasp
14. Deer
15. Cow
16. Alligator
17. Chameleon
18. Amoeba
19. Tyrannosaurus
20. Mimic

1. Alter Emotions
Range: 100'; Target: up to (sum) HD of creatures; Duration: (sum) rounds (1D)/minutes (2D)/hours (3D)/days (4D)
Induce a strong emotion like calm, anger, sadness, etc. Targets must save vs. being distracted by the emotion, though they still feel it if they succeed.

2. Alter Gravity
Range: 100'; Target: (sum)*10' radius sphere; Duration: (dice) minutes
You can alter the direction and speed of gravity in the area from 0 to (dice) times normal. Gravity greater than normal increases encumbrance by that many times, and any change requires everyone in the area to save to maintain their footing.

3. Animal Traits
(choose an animal when you learn this spell)
Range: self/touch; Target: (dice) creatures; Duration: (dice) hours
Give targets (dice) of the animal's physical traits or abilities. Spider Traits lets you give spider climb, web-spinning, venom, etc, Cat Traits lets you give darkvision, enhanced smell, etc, Shark Traits lets you give water breathing, natural slashing bite attack, electroreception, etc. Natural weapons deal d6 damage of an appropriate type, stepped up once per extra die.

4. Animate Object
Range: touch; Target: (dice) objects; Duration: (sum) rounds of strenuous activity, or (sum) minutes
Targets become 1HD creatures that can move under their own power. Make Charisma tests to command them. They're about as smart as a trained dog, and can talk.

5. ...ball
(choose a substance when you learn this spell)
Range: 100'; Target: (sum)*5' radius sphere; Duration: instant
Deal sum+dice damage of a relevant type to everything in the target sphere (save for half). Scatters (dice)d6*5' in a random direction.

6. Blight
Range: touch; Target: object or creature; Duration: instant
Targets take (dice)*3 necrotic damage, and show physical signs of aging (-(dice) STR/DEX/CON, counts as a wound). Objects are aged by (sum) days (1D)/months (2D)/years (3D)/decades (4D).

7. ...bolt
(choose a substance when you learn this spell)
Range: 100'; Target: object or creature; Duration: instant
Deal sum+dice damage of a relevant type (save for half) and inflict a Wound (1) of that damage type.

8. Cloud of ...
(choose a substance when you learn this spell)
Range: adjacent; Target: (sum)*(dice)*10' radius sphere; Duration: (sum) rounds (1D)/minutes (2D)/hours (3D)/days (4D)
Create a cloud of gaseous (substance). You can change its shape as an action. It obscures vision, has relevant effects depending on the substance, and you may have it deal (dice) damage of a relevant type per turn to anyone within it.

9. Contact Greater Power
(choose a specific greater power when you learn this spell)
Range: self; Target: powerful being; Duration: 1 hour
For the duration, you enter a trance and commune with an angel, a djinn, a star, your mentor, the pope, or another similarly powerful being. You may ask it (dice) questions. It will answer them to the best of its ability (though cryptically), then require a favor. That favor will be proportionate to the implications of answering your question. You cannot cast this spell again until you have fulfilled your end of the bargain.

10. Counterspell
Range: sight; Target: spell; Duration: instant
Roll a d10, stepped down once for each die beyond the first, on the Counter table.
1. Fizzled. The spell winks out of existence, never to be seen again.
2. Redirected. Point the spell at a new target of your choice.
3. Frozen. The spell is trapped just beyond the caster's fingertips. Anyone who touches it suffers its effects. It disappears in d6 rounds.
4. Illusory. It looks like the spell happened, but it's really just an illusion.
5. Delayed. The spell will take effect in d6 rounds, at the location of the original target.
6. Premature. The spell goes off at some point before it reaches its target.
7. Deflected. The spell changes to a new target at random.
8. Drained. The spell loses 1 die of potency.
9. Transmuted. The spell becomes another spell at random.
10. Mutated. Roll a Spell Mutation for the spell; you make any decisions needed for it.

11. Darkness
Range: 100'; Target: (sum)*10' radius sphere; Duration: (sum) minutes
Create a globe of utter darkness. Natural light cannot penetrate it; magical lighting is dimmed to 1/10th of its radius.

12. Detect/Locate ...
(choose something to be able to detect/locate when you learn this spell, like magic, anger, precious metals, elves, etc.)
Range: self; Target: (sum)*10^(dice)' radius area; Duration: instant
Learn how many things of the chosen type are within the area. On (dice)>2, you can name a specific creature/object/instance of the chosen type. Learn the direction to it, and if it's within range, also learn the distance to it.

13. Dispel Magic
Range: 10'; Target: magical effect or creature; Duration: (sum) rounds
The magical effect ceases for the duration, then returns as if no time has passed. If you dispel a creature, it temporarily loses (dice) supernatural abilities. You may pick 1, the rest are lost at random.

14. Enlarge/Shrink
Range: 10'; Target: object or creature; Duration: (sum) rounds (1D)/minutes (2D)/hours (3D)/days (4D)
Target increases or decreases dice size categories. In addition to the obvious effects, step up the damage and hit dice of enlarged creatures by 1 per size category, and step them down for shrunken creatures. Scale HP to match.

15. Floating Disc
Range: touch; Target: 5' diameter disc; Duration: (dice) hours
A floating disk springs into existence beside you. It floats between an inch and 6' above the floor, stays within 10' of you, and can hold up to (dice)*500 lbs. You can direct its movement.

16. ... Form
(choose a substance when you learn this spell)
Range: self/touch; Target: creature; Duration: (sum) minutes
You become a roughly-humanoid conglomeration of the chosen substance. You have (dice) of the substance's useful properties of your choice (e.g. Air Form can fly, be transparent, be intangible, etc.; Iron Form can be incredibly tough, worked into useful shapes, magnetic, etc.), and your unarmed attacks deal a relevant damage type, stepped up once for each die beyond the first. You are weak to anything the substance is weak to, and are always crit by those damage types.

17. Fuse
Range: self/touch; Target: two items or creatures; Duration: (sum) minutes (1D)/hours (2D)/days (3D)/years (4D)
Take two items smaller than a head (1D)/a person (2D)/a wagon (3D)/a house (4D) or creature with HD <= (dice) (or an item and a creature) and combine them into a new whole with (dice) useful properties from each. Unwilling creatures get a save on cast and each time interval, and fused creatures must either share the new body or fight with each other for it (roll INT or WIS or CHA (mind's choice), high roller takes control each time interval).

18. Haste
Range: self/touch; Target: (dice) objects or creatures; Duration: (sum) rounds
Targets move at up to 1*(dice) speed. Hastened creatures go before non-hastened creatures in initiative order.

19. Hold
Range: 100'; Target: (dice) objects or creatures; Duration: (sum) rounds
Targets stop moving. Unwilling targets get a save each round. This doesn't deal damage by rapid deceleration (unless you want it to).
20. Illusion
Range: 100'; Target: (sum)*10' radius sphere; Duration: (sum) rounds (1D)/minutes (2D)/hours (3D)/days (4D)
You create an illusion of whatever you want. It has one sensory property per die (e.g. 1D can make a sound or a silent image, 2D can make a silent image that creates the illusion of solidity (but isn't solid), etc). You can move the illusion within range.

21. Intangibility
Range: self/touch; Target: object or creature; Duration: (sum) rounds (1D)/minutes (2D)/hours (3D)/days (4D)
Target becomes shimmery and mostly intangible. It can pass through solid surfaces. Step down damage taken and dealt (dice) times. Unwilling targets get a save each time interval.

22. Invisibility
Range: self/touch; Target: object or creature; Duration: (sum) rounds (1D)/minutes (2D)/hours (3D)/days (4D)
Target becomes invisible. Unwilling targets get a save each round. Save to stay invisible when attacking.

23. Knock/Lock
Range: touch; Target: object or creature; Duration: instant (knock)/(sum) rounds (1D)/minutes (2D)/hours (3D)/days (4D) (lock)
Knock - Object is opened. Doors are flung wide, locks are broken, shackles are bent open, belts come undone, worn armor falls off if the wearer fails a save. Creatures must save or vomit.
Lock - Object closes and can't be opened nonmagically (can still be destroyed). Works on things beyond doors, like swords in scabbards, armor, creature's mouths. Creatures get a save each time interval.

24. Levitate
Range: self/touch; Target: (dice) objects or creatures; Duration: (sum) minutes
Targets float up to (sum)*5' above the ground. You can move them (sum)*10' per round. You can let creatures move independently. Unwilling targets get a save each round.

25. Light
Range: 100'; Target: point; Duration: (sum) rounds (1D)/minutes (2D)/hours (3D)/days (4D)
Create magical light that illuminates within (sum)*10'. If in same space as a creature, can blind them (save negates, save ends). Can move the light within range.

26. Mage Hand
Range: 10'; Target: point; Duration: (sum) minutes
Create a spectral floating hand that can manipulate items within range. It is intangible when you want it to be. You can have multiple hands active at once. For each die, you can increase the size of the hand and step up the damage of its unarmed attacks.

27. Magic Circle
Range: touch; Target: (dice)*10' radius circle; Duration: until erased
Inscribe a circle with an ink/chalk/implement of your choice. Things with certain properties cannot enter or leave the circle. You can choose (sum) properties. Each property can be (dice) words long.

28. Magic Missile
Range: 100'; Target: up to (sum) objects or creatures; Duration: instant
Deal (sum) bludgeoning, slashing, or piercing damage (your choice) divided as you choose between the targets.

29. Message
Range: sight; Target: up to (sum) creatures; Duration: instant
Send a message of up to (sum) short sentences to each target. Each target can respond with a message if you let them.

30. Permanency
Range: 10'; Target: magical effect; Duration: instant
Target effect lasts for its maximum duration. If you cast this spell with 3+ dice, the effect becomes permanent. Dispel Magic can de-Permanency an effect.

31. Polymorph
Range: self/touch; Target: creature; Duration: (sum) rounds (1D)/minutes (2D)/hours (3D)/days (4D)
Target becomes a different creature. The HD of the creature can be up to (dice) HD greater than the target. Target retains all of their mental characteristics. Unwilling targets get a save, and an additional save each time interval.
32. Prismatic Orb
Range: 100'; Target: point; Duration: (sum) rounds
Create a glowing rainbow orb that fires (dice) beams at random targets within 10' each round. You can move the orb 30' per round. Roll a d10 for the effect of each beam.
Beam Effects
1. Red. Target takes sum fire damage (save for half).
2. Orange. Target takes sum bludgeoning damage and is knocked down (save negates).
3. Yellow. Target takes sum lightning damage, (save for half).
4. Green. Target takes sum acid damage, (save for half).
5. Blue. Target takes sum cold damage, (save for half).
6. Indigo. Target takes sum psychic damage and gains d6 Stress (save negates).
7. Violet. Target takes sum necrotic damage and is blinded for sum rounds (save negates).
8. Octarine. Target takes sum esoteric (roll two elemental damage types and combine) damage and suffers a Wound 1 (save negates).
9. Struck twice. Roll a d6 twice.
10. Struck thrice. Roll a d6 three times.

33. Protection From ...
(choose a descriptor when you learn this spell)
Range: self/touch; Target: (dice) creatures; Duration: (sum) minutes
Target cannot be willingly touched by creatures of the descriptor, and has advantage on saves and defense rolls against effects and attacks with that descriptor. You can add a qualifier or similar descriptor for each die beyond the first.

34. Raise Dead
Range: touch; Target: once-living object or corpse; Duration: (sum) minutes (1D)/hours (2D)/days (3D)/months (4D)
The target returns to a facsimile of its living form, and becomes (dice) HD divided between up to (dice) separate creatures. Each undead created this way has abilities based on its form. You can break up corpses this way, like into a flesh blob and a skeleton, or a skinwraith and nerve-jellyfish. You can control up to (level)*2 HD of undead at once.

35. Read Mind/Object
Range: touch; Target: creature or object; Duration: instant
You can ask (dice) short questions about the target creature's current mental state or the target object's history, and the GM will answer truthfully, if cryptically. Creatures get saves against future casts at equal or lesser (sum)s after the first time you read their mind.

36. Regenerate/Mending
Range: touch; Target: creature or object; Duration: instant
Regenerate - Heal a wound of (sum) or lower. Consumes (dice) of the target's HD for the day (won't work if target has fewer HD left). At 4 or more dice, can heal fatal wounds if regenerated within 3 rounds.
Mending - Repair a shattered item. You need 1/(sum) of the item. Can't Mend different pieces of the item into multiple copies. Doesn't restore lost magical properties.

37. Scry
Range: city (1D)/region (2D)/continent (3D)/world (4D); Target: point; Duration: (sum) minutes
Observe from a point that you have seen (or that you can describe with enough accuracy to convince magic that you have seen) as if you were physically there. You can't move the observation point. Magic-users can tell that someone is scrying them if their level is equal to or greater than (dice).

38. Shape/Control ...
(choose a substance when you learn this spell)
Range: touch; Target: substance; Duration: (sum) rounds
Manipulate a chunk of the chosen substance the size of a head (1D)/a person (2D)/a wagon (3D)/a house (4D). You can do (dice) things with it per round. If it's part of a creature, they get a save whenever you try to do something with it.

39. Shatter
Range: 100'; Target: item, construct, or undead; Duration: instant
Deal (sum) bludgeoning damage to target in an explosion of shrapnel that shreds other nearby unnatural items and creatures, dealing (sum)/2 piercing damage. This effect chains up to (dice) times from items that the shrapnel destroys.

40. Sleep
Range: 100'; Target: (sum) HD of creatures; Duration: (sum) rounds (1D)/minutes (2D)/hours (3D)/days (4D)
All targets save vs. falling asleep. When they take damage, or each time interval (if their HD > (dice)), they get an additional save.

41. Speak With ...
(choose a thing to be able to speak with when you learn this spell. it doesn't need to be inherently capable of speech)
Range: 10'; Target: (dice) things of the chosen type; Duration: (sum) minutes
The targets become NPCs that you can talk with. They'll be willing to talk, but not necessarily friendly, or truthful.

42. Spellify
Range: touch; Target: see below; Duration: (sum) hours
Turn an item the size of a head (1D)/a person (2D)/a wagon (3D)/a house (4D) or creature (with HD <= (dice)) into raw magic and engrave it into your brain as a spell. Casting the spell creates the item's effect or the creature's abilities, scaling with (dice) - for example, casting Greataxe deals (dice)d12 slashing damage to a target in melee, or casting Goblin distracts and confuses up to (dice) creatures (a different Goblin might create an awful smell, or deal (dice)d6 piercing bite damage that infects the target, depending on the source goblin's proclivities). You can't cast this spell while you've Spellified something with it (but if you've got multiple Spellifies prepared, you can Spellify something with each of them). At the end of the duration, the target remanifests next to you, and if it's a creature it's angry. If you've got a creature in your head, every hour, roll a d4, stepped up once for each die beyond the first, for Reverse Possession.
Reverse Possession
1-2. Sedate. Nothing happens.
3. Frisky. Another spell in your brain mutates and mixes with the spell.
4. Belligerent. Make a save or have disadvantage on mental rolls for the next hour.
5. Restless. It casts itself at something of its choice.
6. Possessive. The spell gets control of you for the next hour. If multiple Spellified creatures all get this result, they share your body, which is exactly as bad as it sounds.
7. Demanding. The spell blackmails you. Do something it wants or it gets control of you for the rest of the duration.
8. Mutating. Both you and the spell gain a mutation (the spell gets a Spell Mutation, you just get a regular one). Save against the mutation being permanent at the end of the duration.
9. Trapped. The spell gets control of you indefinitely and does not disappear at the end of the duration. You get a save at the start of each day to cast out the spell.
10+. The Spellified creature bursts out of your brain fully-formed and very hungry. You detonate in a shower of gore, and all the other spells in your brain are instantly cast as well.

43. Spell Glyph
Range: touch; Target: things that interact with the glyph; Duration: until erased
Inscribe a magical glyph on a surface or page. This inscription is complicated and takes (sum) minutes. It contains another spell that you know that will be triggered when a set of conditions that you define are met. It uses the (dice) and (sum) values for this spell. When the glyph triggers, it's erased unless you succeed on a (dice)-in-6 chance. You can't change the conditions without rewriting the spell. If you learn this spell at character creation, the GM might (in their infinite generosity and wisdom) let you learn an attached spell that you can only inscribe as a glyph until you learn it in another way.

44. Suggestion/Command
Range: earshot; Target: (dice) creatures that can understand you; Duration: (sum) rounds (1D)/minutes (2D)/hours (3D)/days (4D)
Issue a command of up to (sum) words. The targets try to obey it to the best of their ability, without harming themselves (if they have HD > (dice), they get a save).

45. Summon Creature
Range: 10'; Target: summoned creature; Duration: (sum) hours (days with true name)
You draw a summoning circle to summon an outsider from the veil that shrouds the worlds. This takes 1 hour per HD of the creature (max HD = (dice)*2). When you summon it, roll under your Intelligence minus the summon's HD to bind it. If you succeed, you can give it (sum) commands. If you tie or fail, consult (sum) result on the Disrupted Summons table. It will follow the letter of your commands, unless they align with its agenda, in which case it will follow the spirit. With a number of unique symbolically important items equal to the summon's HD, you can choose one of its traits, or add an additional random trait from a table of your choice. Items used this way are consumed. With a creature's true name, you can summon and bind it reliably.
Disrupted Summons
0-2: Summon will only do things if they directly help its agenda, will obstruct you from defying its agenda
3-4: Summon is beholden to someone other than the summoner, picks random person within HD*1000' to control it
5-6: Must trade favors of equal value with summon in order to command it, otherwise it does what it wants
7-8: Summon breaks free, instantly uses its power as much as possible, then explodes for HD (substance) damage to onlookers (save for half).
9-10: Summon breaks free, is hostile, wants something from you and will threaten you for its services
11+: Summon breaks free, is hostile, wants to return to the comfort of the void at all costs and punish you for your transgressions.

Summon Tables
Summons have a Form, a Substance, a Feature, a Power, and an Agenda. 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, or for each HD it has, 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.

Form (d20)
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, 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, weak to necrotic. +HD size HP.
7. Fungus: deals random physical, weak to fire. Ignores wounds of 4 or less.
8. Fur: deals random physical, weak to fire. resists all other elemental.
9. Iron: deals random physical, weak to all elemental. +8 AC, resists physical.
10. Lightning: deals electric. -4 AC, rolls a 1 on all HD, can teleport within line of sight
11. Ooze: deals acid, weak to slashing. Resists bludgeoning and piercing, can squeeze through small gaps, separate self into HD+1 autonomous pieces (still only gets 1 attack per round)
12. Plant: deals slashing, weak to fire. +2 AC, can spend HD to restore HP during combat as short rest
13. Poison: deals necrotic, weak to psychic. Targets take d4 ongoing necrotic each minute (save ends, failed save steps up die size).
14. Radiance: deals fire and electric, weak to cold and necrotic. Has 120' ranged attack, glows in 10' radius.
15. Rock: deals bludgeoning, weak to acid. +6 AC
16. Scale: deals random physical, weak to acid. +4 AC.
17. Shadow: deals necrotic, weak to electric. -4 AC, can step between shadows in line of sight.
18. Soul: deals psychic, weak to psychic. Can read the minds of those it touches for HD minutes after touching them.
19. Water: deals cold, weak to electric. Can flow through small gaps and change size 1 category larger or smaller.
20. Wind: deals cold. Resists physical, 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

Power (3d6)
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

Agenda (d20)
1. To destroy
2. To create
3. To protect
4. To reproduce
5. To consume
6. To accumulate
7. To conquer
8. To sacrifice
9. To seek out
10. To manipulate
11. To survive
12. To enjoy itself
13. To profit
14. To love
15. To serve
16. To die
17. To make friends
18. To escape
19. To deceive
20. Roll two, it wants both

46. Summon Object
Range: self; Target: summoned object; Duration: (sum) rounds (1D)/minutes (2D)/hours (3D)/days (4D)
Summon an item. You get (sum) words to describe it with. It can't be larger than a head (1D)/a person (2D)/a wagon (3D)/a house (4D).

47. Teleport
Range: (sum)*10^(dice)'; Target: (dice) creatures or objects; Duration: instant (portals last (sum) rounds (1D)/minutes (2D)/hours (3D)/days (4D))
You teleport the target to a point you can see, have been to, or can describe as if you'd been there within range. At 3+ dice, you can create a pair of portals linking the two locations. Anyone can use them.

48. Transmute ... to ...
(choose two substances when you learn this spell)
Range: touch; Target: either chosen substance; Duration: (sum) rounds (1D)/minutes (2D)/hours (3D)/days (4D)
Turn a chunk of one of the chosen substances the size of a head (1D)/a person (2D)/a wagon (3D)/a house (4D) into the other. It turns back at the end of the duration.

49. Wall of ...
(choose a substance when you learn this spell)
Range: 10'; Target: wall; Duration: (sum) rounds (1D)/minutes (2D)/hours (3D)/days (4D)
You conjure a wall of the chosen substance, up to (sum)*10' long, 1' thick, and 10' high. It extrudes from a surface, and anything that'd be in the way gets a save to jump out of the way.

50. Web
Range: 100'; Target: (sum)*10' radius area; Duration: (sum) rounds (1D)/minutes (2D)/hours (3D)/days (4D)
Cover the target area in sticky webs. Creatures in the area are tangled and must save to move. The web has (dice)*10 HP, is destroyed at 0, and is weak to fire and slashing damage.

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