Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Weird Races as Weird Classes

When I first posted about my new hack, 2 blogposts and one whole month ago, I said the following:
"I have a complicated relationship with race/folk/ancestry/background options in tabletop games. On one hand, I love the ability to mix and match folk/calling (race/class, for those of you who can read those words and not get distracted by what they signify in meatspace). On the other... race really doesn't end up having a mechanical effect on the game, certainly not to the same degree that class does... There's a few ways to solve this that I'm poking at - one is including race-as-class as a multiclassing option... and another is including it as a background skill, like previous failed career, putting it on similar mechanical footing to skills."

So this is my attempt at the race-as-class multiclassing part of the deal. Stuff like Elf or Dwarf or Goblin or Human can be just backgrounds, but some like tieflings or vampires or whatever come with other abilities that are a little weightier than just how you grew up. These will rarely have 4 templates - I've tried to innovate in a few ways here, from single-template classes to classes you could take forever if you wanted to. I think it came out nicely, plus it's still (as always) compatible with the rest of the GLOG.

Taking a level of a race-as-class later in your character's path just involves them discovering part of their ancestry and family tree that was previously hidden from them, or them being turned into something new - contracting a troll-cancer, or being bitten by a vampire.

I want to write more of these. Angelspawn, lycanthropes, dragonborn, generic undead, a psychic... we'll see how it goes. I don't want this to feature creep any more than it already has.


Way back down the family tree, one of your ancestors made a pact. Perhaps it was for love, or for victory, or for riches. Perhaps it was a grief-maddened sacrifice; perhaps it was freely chosen in pursuit of ill goals; perhaps there was hellish trickery afoot. Maybe, just maybe, the demon was doing something for itself for once (instead of its infernal masters). Regardless, you are the product of a child born of an unholy union between mortal and devil. The traits reemerge every few generations, to raise havoc and bring dark plans to fruition. You are marked as one of hell's, and hell follows with you.

Hit Dice: 1d6 Grit, 1d6 Meat
Failed Career: 1. Artist, 2. Demon Hunter, 3. Noble, 4. Preacher, 5. Soldier, 6. Thief 
Starting Equipment: Nothing but the clothes on your back.

There is only one template for hellspawn. Everything beyond that is up to you.

Template 1: Devil's Tell, Infernal Lineage

Devil's Tell: You have a mutation that clearly marks your hellish nature. You should probably try to conceal it.
1. Animalbane. You have an aura of unease. Mortals feel queasy and are instinctively standoffish towards you. Animals keep their distance; they won't attack you unless you attack them first.
2. Ash-trail. Everywhere you go, you leave the stink of sulfur and a trail of ash. You can write in indelible ash with your fingers, and eject a small cloud of blinding sulfurous ash at will.
3. Burning Hair. Your hair is a pillar of flame. It counts as a torch. You can't stifle it and it only burns out upon your death.
4. Cat Eyes. You have infravision and can see magic.
5. Claws. Your fingers twist into rending spines of keratin and bone. Dual wield d4 damage unarmed attack.
6. Clockwork Heart. There's a mysterious ticking everywhere you go. You always know the time, and can speak with contraptions.
7. Corpseflesh. You are a walking corpse. Your heart does not pump; your blood dried long ago. You count as undead, can't be poisoned or contract disease, and wounds cannot incapacitate you (only kill or scar).
8. Fractal Fingers. Your fingers have fingers, and those fingers have fingers, all the way down. You can finely manipulate anything down to the level of a hair.
9. Goat Legs. They bend forwards and backwards and end in clacking hooves. You can't be knocked down and can climb uneven surfaces without rolling.
10. Goldilocks. Your hair and nails grow as coinage of hell like overlapping scales. You sink in water. Who would take the devil's coin?
11. Heat Metal. Any metal you touch with your bare skin heats to the point where it'll boil water. Your weapons cauterize the wounds they leave. Touching metal armor will start to cook its wearer alive.
12. Honeytongue. Your words are like the anesthetic a mosquito injects before it drinks from a vein. When you lie, if someone catches you, they will give you at least one more chance before lashing out.
13. Horns. Great horns twist from your skull. Have fun with hats. d6 damage unarmed attack.
14. Leech Mouth. You can bite others and siphon their blood as rations. This deals d4 meat damage and counts as 1 ration. Looks like a round toothy maw.
15. Levitating. You're always floating at least 1 inch off the ground (and up to 6). This lets you avoid rough terrain, pressure plates, leaving tracks...
16. Magnetic. Metal that touches you takes a strength test to remove. You sink in water.
17. Many Mouths. You have mouths on your palms, in your navel, and a few others scattered across your body. You can digest anything. Counts as 2 slots of free hidden inventory space, though it'll be a little sticky.
18. Shifting Skin. Your skin constantly bubbles and burns. You don't mind the pain, not anymore. You look unrecognizable every week.
19. Skull Face. Your face lacks skin and muscle, just dry bones and the hint of a flicker of life in your eye sockets. You're the most terrifying thing in the dungeon. You count as undead and can't be blinded/deafened/frightened/etc.
20. Tail. Prehensile. Works like an extra limb.

Infernal Lineage: Your family traces its line right back to a devil. Perhaps there was a contract. Perhaps there was a sinful love. Whatever the case, you have power, and every time you wield it your heart sings and sears with delighted flame. Send others to the fire. Revel in your power. Pick a lineage, and gain the accompanying ability. You can use it at will, so long as it's making someone else's life worse.

1. Commander. Your ancestor was a commander in the armies of Hell. Anyone who you outrank must save or obey orders you give them in combat. If they succeed on a save, they're immune to this going forwards.
2. Duke. You have royal devilblood and your family name is recognized by anyone who's anyone. You are automatically obeyed by devils of lower status and non-sapient undead, and can summon d6 impish minions (1 Meat, wings, 1 damage unarmed attack) to do your bidding.
3. Hell Itself. Hell is a vast creature in and of itself, separate and yet inextricable from the devils that call it home. It has kids. You are one of them. Your flesh, like that of hell, is conducive to heat: you have a d6 damage ranged attack that sets things on fire.
4. Lawyer. The devil makes deals. Any contract you write, signed in blood and of the free will of the parties involved, is binding. It will be enforced by hell's forces to the letter, even and especially if that means inflicting consequences on you.
5. Lost Soul. Not all in hell are devils. There's an ocean-underclass of souls, tormented and fluid, both laborer and fuel for the fires. You can see and speak to these lost souls and spirits when you find them in the world, and can tell what's anchoring them to heaven, hell, or the mortal coil. You don't have to make someone's life worse with this ability.
6. Reaper. Every life ends. Reapers speed it along, showing up at the moment of death to usher the soul to the pit (or the gates of the heavens, or the elemental realms, or stranger worlds beyond). Pick a method of death (falls, poisonings, disease, magic, assault with a bladed weapon). You know how people will likely die if you do not intervene (a duke may die of poison, a knight may die of a rival's blade). You have advantage on rolls to bring that likelihood to pass, and revealing someone's fate to them rings true - you don't have to explain your powers.
7. Seer. Hell's predictive modeling department is lean, mean, and efficient in the way that only corporate bureaucracies can be. On one of their many department retreats (to a backwater village, that leaves nothing but a smoking crater after a week of debauchery), your ancestor made a deal that would eventually produce you. When you rest, you can ask a question about the future (between then and the next rest you'd be able to take of that type) and get a response if hell deems this knowledge appropriately actionable in the service of suffering.
8. Temptation. Pick one of the seven deadly sins (or one of the twenty-one lesser sins, or the manifold sin-like actions disputed by scholars of heaven and hell alike). You can induce others who can hear your voice to act in accordance with that sin, implanting subconscious commands to give in to a desire they already possess. They must make a Wisdom save or act upon it. You can smell sinful desires and differentiate the sins involved, though not the specifics.
9. Torturer. Hell's currency is pain, its motive force agony. Lost souls cannot be threatened with anything besides torment, and reward is antithetical to the very premises of the infernal ecosystem. You have inherited the predilection to torture that your ancestor inflicted, and can induce physical or mental agony with a touch. This deals d6 damage, and can't deal Meat damage. You can cause specific pains and insert specific torturous mental images with this ability.

by TheDijb
Trolls are cancerous. Not in a perjorative way - their bodies are literally unchecked growth, mediated not by programmed cell death but by inevitable environmental ablation of their outermost layers. Anything living can become a troll, if the right switch is flipped in their biology. And after enough time, all trolls tend towards the same gangly, knobby, chunky, warty physique with a few more limbs than polite company appreciates.

Hit Dice: 1d12 Meat
Failed Career: 1. Impromptu Siege Weapon, 2. Sheepeater, 3. Toll Collector
Starting Equipment: Club. Sack.

Take Template 1 to start. You may take Template T (for Troll) any number of times.

Template 1: Trollhide
Template T: +1 Meat die. Heal a Scar.

Trollhide: Regenerate Meat at the end of each turn equal to the number of templates of Troll you have. You may restore Meat instead of Grit during rests. Roll for two Troll Weaknesses. Your regeneration does not function when exposed to them, and when you take damage to your Meat from that source or in those conditions, you permanently reduce your maximum Meat by the amount of damage you took.

Troll Weaknesses
1. Acid. Bursts cells and scours veins, leaving behind blanched tissue that refuses even to rot.
2. Cold. The frost chills your blood, and your cells go into hibernation - choosing survival over reproduction.
3. Darkness. Anything darker than the light of a full moon. When the torches fail (and they always do), death slithers its way atop your shoulder and whispers its soporific song in your ear.
4. Faith. The miracle of life falls quite short of the miracle of, well, miracles.
5. Fear. The little death that brings utter obliteration. When flight beats fight and you turn tail to save your skin, you are most vulnerable.
6. Fire. A classic. Turns out cauterization cures all wounds, including you.
7. Impacts, such as from a fall, or the blow of a warhammer. Don't trip. Second floors are the work of malevolent sorcerer-architects.
8. Metal. Iron, gold, copper, silver, bronze - exposure is like an allergy; their bite is as death.
9. Poison and disease. Death slips beneath life's guard in many guises, and it finds life wanting.
10. Pungent smells, like that of sewage, or a broken sack of spice, or a rotting corpse. You keep meticulously clean.
11. Sunlight. Its light is the light of law, and death is its most absolute command. You travel by night and sleep entombed in earth.
12. Water. The pure stuff, from a spring or a canteen or the sea. Your dreams are plagued by drowning.


Vampirism is a pathogen as old as death. The things that lurk in the night, the predators that call humans prey. We are as livestock: even the more "moral" vampires merely act as shepherds (and of course occasionally butchers). Their seductive offer is the only thing more dangerous than their bite: what would you give up, to taste immortality?

Hit Dice: 1d8 Meat
Failed Career: 1. Artist, 2. Doctor, 3. Noble, 4. Vagrant, 5. Vampire Hunter, 6. Virgin Sacrifice
Starting Equipment: Cloak, blade, brooding diary, flask of 2 Meat points of blood

To take the first template of vampire after starting play, you must find a progenitor who is willing to turn you. As you level up as a vampire, you may take Template V up to four times, until you have all the Vampire Weaknesses (you can't get the same one twice). After that, you may take Template V+, and become a Lord (or Lady or Liege or any other title that strikes your fancy).

Template 1: Bloodsucker, 1 Vampire Power, 2 Vampire Weaknesses
Template V: +1 Vampire Power, +1 Vampire Weakness
Template V+: Vampire Lord, +1 Vampire Power, +2 Meat dice

Bloodsucker: You're a vampire; an undead creature of the night. You can consume nothing but the blood of living, thinking, mortal beings (humans and goblins are in, cattle are out). Your teeth count as a d4 damage melee weapon, and for each point of damage you inflict with a bite (if your target has blood to consume), you can restore that many of your Meat points. You can't heal lost Meat in any other way.

Whenever you return to full Meat, heal a Wound. Whenever you restore Meat points equal to your maximum, heal a Scar. You may spend a Meat point to reroll a failed Strength, Constitution, or Dexterity test. You cannot truly die unless killed via one of your Vampire Weaknesses; you will only take more Scars after being reduced to 0 Meat. These can keep you very well incapacitated, but nothing more.

You are enthralled to whichever vampire turned you. You cannot refuse an order from them, nor can you hurt them directly or indirectly.

Vampire Powers

1. Apex Predator. You move utterly silently, don't have to roll to climb rough surfaces, and have double movement speed. Your nails sharpen into claws that deal d6 damage unarmed. You can no longer pass as a mortal, and everyone has opinions about vampires.
2. Fleshcraft. You can mold your flesh and that of others like clay. This inflicts 1 Meat damage on anyone you mold, including yourself, for each change you want to make (on the level of facial features or adding a hand). If you try to use this on an unwilling target, you must make an attack roll as normal and it counts as a d6 damage attack.
3. Hypnosis. If you're making eye contact with a mortal, you may issue them simple commands. They get to make a Charisma save against the command. If they fail their save and follow the command, you must spend a Meat point for each word in the command.
4. Leech. When you drink something's blood, you can gain a skill or ability they possess for 10 minutes for each point of blood you drank. This doesn't let you change your physical form (unless you also have Fleshcraft).
5. Shadowstep. You can walk between shadows of the same light level as if they were adjacent, so long as you have line of sight to them. You have infrared vision.
6. Shapeshifting. You can turn into a creature of the night. This costs half your Meat, and lasts up to that many minutes*10. Roll a d6 when you get this power to determine what you can shapeshift into (1. Cloud of bats, 2. Giant python, 3. Murder of crows,, 4. Scourge of mosquitoes, 5. Smoke cloud, 6. Wolf).

Vampire Weaknesses
1. Faith. Sincere prayer and/or the touch of a holy symbol can turn you away, forcing you to either flee the scene or take 1d6 damage.
2. Pungence. Powerful spices like garlic or cinnamon or saffron overload your senses, effectively pacifying you. It takes 1d6 damage to push through the scent. Rot, decay, and blood do not have this effect on you.
3. Names. Any name you have gone by or that you recognize as your own can be used to command you by voice. Ignoring a command deals 1d6 damage to you. You cannot make up false names that are not anagrams of your name or otherwise derived from it.
4. Running water and thresholds. You can't cross either unless invited by someone who has permission to do so. You cannot be seen in mirrors.
5. Sunlight. Direct sunlight (i.e. if you can draw a line of sight between you and the sun) sets you on fire. Fire won't go out until it's either smothered or you're totally consumed.
6. Wood and silver. Both deal double damage to you, and HP lost to them can't be healed until downtime.

Vampire Lord: You are free from your progenitor. You can create new vampires by feeding a victim your blood after feeding on theirs. Each thrall you have under your control reduces your maximum Meat by 4. You can release them to get the Meat back, but not many people take kindly to being turned into undead killing machines who can't taste chocolate anymore.


  1. I very much pity the troll with weaknesses to both sunlight and darkness... helluva mood right there

  2. After revisiting this, I quite like it.


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