Thursday, June 23, 2022

GLOG Class: Meteor Swordsman

I saw a video on discord and I had to do something about it; it looked like something that would be fun to play in a game so here we are, presenting my first stab at a GLOG class:

The Meteor Swordsman

You gain +1 Movement and +1 Initiative for every Meteor Swordsman template you possess.
Starting Equipment: Leather Armor, meteorite metal sword, a letter revealing the location of a fallen meteorite, good shoes.
Starting Skill [d3] 1 = Soldier, 2 = Aristocrat, 3 = Hermit

A    Takeoff, Ignition
B    Impact, CON +1
C    Comet, STR +1
D    Momentum, Celestial Body

A. Takeoff

The first round of combat your movement increases by [template].

A. Ignition

You can take 1 fire damage and cause your meteorite sword to erupt in flames. Add +1d4 fire damage to damage rolls made with it. This effect lasts until the weapon is sheathed or the end of your next turn.

B. Impact

Ignition may be used to add 10 feet of knockback to any attack you make and applicable to yourself or your target.

C. Comet

Ignition may be used to jump up to 5 times your normal vertical or horizontal distance.

D. Momentum

You cannot be knocked down or lose your footing against your will, even if you are not in contact with the ground. You can use Ignition to ignore fall damage.

D. Celestial Body

Landing on a target transfers the fall damage you would normally take to the target with a successful attack. If you fall at least 10 feet, you can use Ignition to cause anything within 10 feet except you to take 1d6 fire damage when you land.

Meteorite Metal Sword

Forged from metal fallen from the sky in ominous conflagration, your meteorite sword was created to harness the unstoppable force of the heavens. Should it break, you will need to find and acquire a pound of meteorite iron and find a smith familiar with working it. Each sword is unique in appearance, and influences its wielder in some way for up to a week after being separated from the weapon, despite it being nonmagical.

d6 Sword Quirks

1. Lightly attracted towards iron.
2. Glows as night just enough to see the blade.
3. The blade is uncomfortably hot.
4. When swung, the air around it whistles.
5. The blade turns black when exposed to poisons or water.
6. Can be struck like a tuning fork; dogs dislike this.

d6 Influence on Wielder

1. You carry a salt lick for personal use.
2. Your first idea always seems like the best one.
3. Going indoors or below ground makes you jumpy.
4. You always pour the first bite of food and drink onto your blade at meals.
5. You refuse to turn over your weapon for any reason.
6. You tie a ribbon to the handle after every kill. You resent when someone takes your kill.

Saturday, June 18, 2022

Wagon Accessories

What do American pioneers, All Gas No Brakes, and adventurers have in common? Not very much space to live while on the road. That is to say, they all have some form of mobile storage that often serves double duty as a place to sleep at night. Wagons are a staple of fantasy and adventure, and I have sadly not played in or ran a game where they were vital to the characters involved. This is changing with my continued playtest of Beyond the Veil (which has changed so much from what's on the blog that I ought to do a whole writeup about that!) reaching the point that soon, the parties involved will need not one, but two wagons to carry their provisions and supplies... not to mention their loot.

I was going to be adding this to the playtest originally, but decided I might as well throw it up for the world to see as well, since I haven't posted in a while and it is about time to get back on the metaphorical horse.

"Raiding the Wagons" by Ryan Pancoast

Onto Business

A person has 10 storage slots. Size 3 carts have 9 storage slots and can be pushed by hand. Size 4 wagons have 16 storage slots and require a mule or similar animal. Size 5 wagons have 25 storage slots and require a pair of workhorses or oxen.

Naturally, these animals require food, which takes up space on the wagon. Given most parties are 3-5 people strong, and that food for one person takes up a whole storage slot (animal feed is 5 days per slot), a five day journey into the wilderness takes 16-26 slots if everyone wants to eat every day, and that is just food! Needless to say, I can foresee my players wanting to solve this logistics issue by  buying a second cart and mule just to haul food, or buying smaller storage items (that hold more than they take up in slots) into wagons, which is fine and dandy. 

But, I ask myself, what if they have something else to tempt themselves with putting on their wagon?

Wagon Addons


Size Taken




Shipborne weaponry is just as useful on land. A heavy ballista or cannon securely mounted to the bed of the wagon.



An integrated straw-filled sleeping pad that folds up in the side of the wagon. Each bed has a thin cloth cover to keep the bugs off at night.

Cargo Cover


A framed cover stretched across with canvas to keep the sun and rain off your precious cargo in transit.



A hinged chalkboard mounted to the exterior of the wagon, useful for planning, chores assignment, and leaving cryptic messages.

Chicken Coop


Chickens lay an egg every day in the spring and summer, and make for excellent soup or alarms in the colder months. Each coop can house two birds.

Exterior Rack


Extra storage is always in high demand. A wagon can have exterior storage installed up to its Size.


Size of Wagon

Cork-filled barrels mounted carefully around the exterior of the wagon keep the vessel from sinking in rivers or ponds.

Integrated Chest


A chest beneath the seat of the wagon offers a handy place to keep an emergency blunderbuss. This can only be taken once per wagon.



Includes a wash basin, slate countertop, small iron stove, a pot, and a set of knives.

Lantern Sconces


Exterior mounted sconces on the sides of the wagon ensure that no grue nor bandit can approach unannounced.



Integrated shelving can hold up to 50 tomes, manuals, scrolls or other pieces of literature, protecting them from the elements.



A messenger pigeon can be the difference between life and death in the wilderness. This can house three such pigeons.

Pipe Organ


Serves as entertainment, a distraction, or attractor.

Prisoner Cage


Wrought-iron bars and a heavy-duty lock keep up to three bounty targets safely contained until delivered to the appropriate authorities.

Rainwater Collector


Drinkable water can be hard to find in the wilds, let alone enough to slake the thirst of adventurers and their animal companions. A day of rain will fill the barrel, substituting a meal in dire straits.

Religious Altar


Whether you worship the sun, the Weaver, or your ancestors, you find solace in this idol.

Secret Compartment

Size of Compartment

Taxes really are the worst. Sneak fine liquors and other things into and out of cities with a false-bottomed wagon. The ruse will be revealed only under prolonged scrutiny.

Shop Stall


A series of fold-out benchtops and shutters. Fully walls the wagon off, adds a shingled roof, exterior locking door, and includes a chalkboard.

Silver Inlay


Anti-magic engravings integrated into the frame of the wagon keeps your mobile home from being suddenly dissolved, splintered, or otherwise magically altered.

Snow Runners


When winter hits and the snow begins to pile high, wheels   become ineffective. Swap them out for runners to avoid delays in travel and keep your wagon above the snowline.

Spare Wheel


Sometimes wheels break, it’s always good to have a few spares.

Spring Assist


Should a wagon become swamped or otherwise stuck, it can be a deadly endeavor trying to free it. Passively wound using the latest technology, these spring-loaded arms can be discharged to correct your vehicle in a pinch. Recharges after traveling 50 miles.



Heavy winds, and flash-flooding are excellent examples of scenarios where one might wish their wagon was bolted to the ground. These stilts can be deployed in only one minute and prevent a wagon from being forcibly moved in winds and waters up to a hurricane in strength.



A thick coating of tar and proprietary alchemicals seals all the holes in a wooden vessel, enabling it to serve as an emergency raft or lean-to.



Thick rope wrapped around a spindle with a hook on one end and a crank on the other allows creative folks to surmount any obstacle they may come across.

The thought of a party having a wagon dedicated to playing the "1812 Overture", complete with live cannon fire is a powerful one in my mind.

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Jackalope Round 2 - The Bronze Men of Arcosa

"Write about the Bronze Men, a species of mysterious, mechanical humanoids. Live in the bronze core of the world, too busy keeping the planet spinning to stop any adventurers from looting their ancient halls." (CatDragon#9540)

Deep beneath the verdant hills and cerulean seas of the surface world, there are caves. Arterial pathways through the bedrock connecting the surface world to dark underworld. Deeper still, penetrated by the lost kingdoms of the dwarves, magma churns, moving the continents on glacial timescales only the longest lived peoples can appreciate. This is the domain of elemental forces of fire and earth, but even they are not the core of things. Beneath this sea of magma is a great bronze egg, spinning at tremendous speed through the viscous muck of the world's guts. At this egg's top and bottom, man-sized portholes offer a means of ingress to a truly colossal work. 

The interior of the egg is fixed on a cyclopean gyroscope, built around the pulsing heart of the planet, the Heart of Arcosa, burning as brightly as a star. Everything is built in relation to this molten ball, encircling its intense gravity. The egg itself is 120 miles tall, and and half as wide. At first inspection, Arcosa is abandoned. Eight-foot tall humanoid statues litter every courtyard, and every street corner; art deco sentinels of a dead city, watching downwards towards the second sun in the center of the metropolis.

Closer to the Heart of Arcosa, where the city becomes unbearably hot and gravity is twice as strong, the statues move unimpeded. They travel closer to the core, or back from it, with their surfaces burnished and steaming. They are oblivious to any interlopers, even if attacked or impeded. They swat at interlopers like one would a horsefly. Some of the bronze men lay in disrepair, unable to continue working due to melted bodies. Precious relics of a long-lost civilization are more common here, protected from thieves by sweltering heat.

Nearest the core, Arcosa steals the moisture and burns the flesh of any living thing that dare treads here unaided. Paper browns and carbonizes after an hour, and open water evaporates in minutes. The light from the Heart of Arcosa beats travelers back from below like an enraged dancer, spinning loudly. The bronze men march down into the light with the vigor of a farmhand. Peering between slats in the floor, the truth of their purpose is illuminated by the sunspots they cast against the Heart of the world.

Four rods, each a mile in length, have been inserted into the near-molten core of the planet, and thousands of these bronze men march in lock-step to push these rods and spin the core. Some machination of the machine they operate turns this force into rotation, and that rotation is captured by pillars spanning from the Heart to the exterior of the shell, spinning it with enough velocity to melt rock. That rock then churns silica butter, and heats the surface world indirectly. The rods lie abandoned in large stretches where no bronze men have taken their obvious places.

Who knows what consequences might be faced when these constructs finally give out for good?

Wednesday, April 20, 2022

5 Knightly Orders

All heraldry from here.

The Hollow Guard. Their sigil is that of 3 conjoined legs on a white field. Their armor is fused shut and completely hollow inside. Runes engraved into the interior of the armor animate the knights, binding the spirits of knights of other orders slain on the battlefield. Animals flee from their presence and their order is considered impolite to bring up in conversation. It is a secret order, consisting of volunteer knights sworn to silence.  

Order of the Broken Hearth. They do not have steeds. Their banner is an ashy gray field with a red bar dividing it vertically. Their authority begins and ends in buildings that have been destroyed and rebuilt after a fire and yeomen will often arson their own property to come under their protection in times of hardship. Fire pokers are their weapons of choice and calling upon them for service is considered heretical by the crown.

Crow Knights. They use war picks, hooks and wear crow feathers on their armor to make themselves look larger. Their sigil is a blue crow on a grey field. They are known for showing up to conflicts they have no stakes in and swaying the tides in favor of a seemingly random side. When they are slain, crows do not consume their bodies and they do not rot.

The Knight Guard of His Royal Majesty. By far the largest order in the realm, the Knight Guard is comprised mostly of nobility and foot soldiers that show valor in battle. Their crest is a silver dragon on a black field divided diagonally by a purple bar. They are not the best equipped but their training is more than passable. They are respected by the general populous. Their Knight-Commander has slain a dragon and wears armor made of its indestructible scales.

Satyr Knights. Their sigil is a brown goat on a green field. They are not literal satyrs, but are renowned for similar reasons. They each carry a set of panpipes and ride donkeys. They are immune to the inebriating power of alcohol and regularly attempt to see if that immunity is absolute. They are often hired as guards for the few legal brothels in the realm.

Monday, April 11, 2022

Secret Jackalope 2022 - The Third Man

From ReCollection

I've been paired with shutteredroom#3190, who wants "Mechanics/subsystems for isolation/loneliness, incorporating fantasy/horror/sci-fi inflected Third Man Factor/Syndrome." 

"Who is the third who walks always beside you?  

When I count, there are only you and I together 

But when I look ahead up the white road 

There is always another one walking beside you 

Gliding wrapt in a brown mantle, hooded 

I do not know whether a man or a woman 

But who is that on the other side of you?"

-T.S. Elliot, "The Wasteland" 


Third man factor is the phenomena of perceiving an additional person present with you in situations of extreme isolation or loneliness. They are always presences of comfort in times of dire need. They act as guides, supporters, and silent friends.

A creature has as much Willpower as they do Hit Dice, or the score of their lowest mental stat, whichever it higher. Willpower can be changed a number of ways but cannot drop below 0 or go above its maximum amount.

  • Each day spent isolated in a strange environment decreases Willpower by 1.
  • Each day spent without food decreases Willpower by 1.
  • Every 2 hours exposed to extreme elements decreases Willpower by 1.
  • Each day spent in the dark decreases Willpower by 1. (or light, if a subterranean species.)
  • Witnessing a grizzly scene decreases Willpower by 1.
  • Becoming subject to Fear or Charm effects decreases Willpower by 1.
  • Each time a companion dies, decrease Willpower by 2.
  • Sleeping in a bed increases Willpower by 1.
  • Speaking with a friendly person each day increases Willpower by 1.
  • A fortuitous find of resources or safe location increases Willpower by 1.

When a traveler finds their Willpower on the verge of collapse (or are facing extreme exhaustion), there is a chance that this enigmatic figure of hope appears. The chances are X in 10. Consider each of the following and make X the sum of the answers. If the result rolled is below X, they will receive aid. This check can only be made once per adventure per character.

  • +1 if religious
  • +1 if the character has an intense love for someone dead
  • +2 if close to unconsciousness
  • +2 if alone
  • +3 if in mortal danger
  • -1 for each time you've met the Third Man
  • -3 for every ally nearby

Who is this mysterious Third Man? They appear to be different to everyone, if they are even seen. Perhaps a dead loved one, an angel, or supportive stranger. Regardless of the form they take, they help the person they find themselves attached to up until the exact moment they are capable of saving themselves.

Mechanically, this means they provide advantage on saves against fear, 3d6 temporary HP (or similar), guidance towards an exit or safety, and then depart as suddenly as they subconsciously appear. This force cannot directly interfere with the way things transpire in the world, and instead act as a font of inspiration for the isolated. 

For some interesting readings on real-life examples of this phenomena check out this link.

Thursday, February 24, 2022

THE Basilisk

I saw dreaming dragonslayer's recent post about making monsters singular and thought it was a really cool idea.

The Basilisk

Born of the first toad and capon, the Basilisk is ancient, distrustful, and extremely temperamental. His eyes were plucked out hundreds of years ago and he desperately wants them back. He loves debate, and will allow safe passage through his swamp if he can be convinced of something new.

Enormous - The Basilisk is as long as the eye can see, coiling on himself in confusing knots seemingly forever. His body restrains his swamp from spreading.

Father of Poisons - All poisonous and venomous creatures are descend from the Basilisk. He is immune to and can impart any poison, or antidote, with his breath.

Father of Lies - The Basilisk taught humans politics in times long forgotten. He cannot be lied to nor can one detect if he speaks a lie unless he allows it.

Petrifying - The Basilisk's flesh instantly petrifies any living thing that touches it. He eats only stones.

Entombed - The Basilisk cannot leave or move his swamp, having struck a deal with the Creator at the dawn of the earth.

Disjointed Sight - The Basilisk can see and petrify through his stolen eyes. One eye is clouded by black smoke. One is inside a mirrored box. One is worshipped as a deity. One is just out of reach.

Thursday, January 20, 2022

State of the Table 2022: Books, Bowls, and Beyond the Veil

I wanted to write a quick update since I haven't been very active thus far in 2022. My editors and collaborators are hard at work revising the Beyond the Veil content I have up on the blog in preperation to compile it into a playtest. Along that same line, I am planning on launching a Kickstarter in the next month or two (depending on outside factors and playtest results) so that I can get this damn thing out into the world. Even if it is unsuccessful I will put the book up on and DriveThruRPG and take the invaluable experience into whatever I decide to do afterwards.

EDIT: A lot of the BTV content on the blog is really out of date now and has had a lot of content and theming changes but I am leaving it up for legacy purposes so that I, and others, can see how I started and where I end up in the future.

As far as non BTV content, I plan on doing more of that this year. Aside from more TTRPG topics, my partner and I have decides to create cooking videos for our own amusement and try out some new recipes this year. I'll be linking those here when we get arouns to them. I also think it would be fun to figure out how to prepare food and drinks mentioned in media that have no obvious recipe.

My first book review is up, covering House of Leaves. Go check it out! The book is a unique experience.