Wednesday, September 23, 2020

NO LIGHT NO WARMTH: Illuminated Paladin (Class: Specialist)

Somewhere towards the southern edge of the tetrahedral world, an expedition gathers...

This is for deus ex parabola's edge-climb campaign thingy, not GROG or the Mountain.

I have stolen every word within this post from the Metatron, Sage, Gun Priest, and/or my own Oiled Paladin

It seems the difference between a Paladin and a Cleric is that a Paladin can't talk to angels directly and instead draws (sometimes) more practical powers from them in exchange for those powers being (usually) more consistently available and lesser consequences from breaking their tenets.

I'm not completely happy with this but I have determined to Just Post and fix it later, if it is determined to require fixing. Death to drafts!

Class: Illuminated Paladin (Purple Heretic)

The Purple Heretics are a gnostic group. They believe their texts contain esoterica never revealed to the masses. In them, alcohol is prohibited and harems recommended. The g_ds' disappearance is a puzzle to be solved, and those who do so will no doubt be among the elect.

You're a follower of the Purple Orthodoxy and you're damned proud of it. You have come here in search of secrets, that you might know the truth of the world. You tattoo your skin and wear your mask proudly, for it marks you as one who is—above all else—possessed of knowledge.

This is how you should play every character with a link to the divine, but it's especially how you should play an illuminated paladin.

Tenets of the Purple Orthodoxy, in order of importance.
  1. Do not, through action or inaction, allow error to be taught. Use fire if necessary. Ignore all other tenets if they would interfere with this, your most important goal.
  2. Do not share information with the unworthy or those who would misuse it.
  3. Seek out ancient tomes and ruins; do not allow information to be lost or forgotten.
  4. Correct those who are under false impressions, unless this would interfere with the second tenet.
  5. Accumulate libraries and stores of secret information, unless this would break the third tenet.
If you take off your mask or break a tenet, you can't use any Illuminated Paladin class features except fieldwork and extra attack per round until you put your mask back on and do at least three of: Edit a text, learn something new and important, point out to someone how they're wrong, eat a solid meal, stay awake for an entire night.

For every template of this class you have, you gain +1 SKLL. You use the specialist to-hit progression, increasing by +1 at templates B and D. If you have at least one template in this class you can never fumble while using fencing weapons or firearms. You can't wear armor unless you have training or templates in another class that lets you.

Starting Equipment: A purple mask (see image), academic robes, burglar's clothing, soft leather boots and gloves, a parrying dagger (light), tattoo kit, writing supplies, a regular holy book (from the Church), an irregular holy book (from your mentor), a very irregular holy book (which you are writing), and one other academic implement chosen from the list at the end.

Skills: Papermaking, Bookbinding, Calligraphy, and Illumination plus one of: 1. History, 2. Historiography, 3. Law.

A: Fieldwork, Illuminated (1 Truth)
B: Erudition, Pointed Criticism, +1 Truth
C: Confession, Extra Attack Per Round, +1 Truth
D: Hypotheses, Thought Library, +1 Truth

A: Fieldwork
You've trained for this. You have a 3-in-6 chance of picking a common lock (2-in-6 for something more secure, 1-in-6 for a safe or the like) and a 1-in-6 chance to understand any specific bit of language you don't know—like a page in a book, inscription on a ring, occult chanted phrase, or passage gleaned through Erudition—that you encounter. Both of these chances improve by 1-in-6 for each additional template of this class beyond A.

A: Illuminated
For every template of this class you have, one-quarter of your body's external surface area is covered in illuminated tattoos depicting one of the most important Truths you know. Roll on the Truth table for specifics at each template. If you roll a duplicate, choose the next non-duplicate Truth above or below it.

If one of your Truths is ever proven false, you lose the benefit of that Truth until you can have the tattoo corrected.

B: Erudition
The first time you touch any given text, you immediately know the most important 107 sequential words contained therein. You can read a text of any length in one hour as long as you have a quiet place to sit and no interruptions, and identify places where a text has been edited or redacted at a glance.

B: Pointed Criticism
You study your enemies carefully, and are adept at using this knowledge to throw them off balance and erode their will to fight. For each name or horrible secret of a target that you correctly declare to them before making your first attack, you have +1 to hit them and they have -1 to hit you and on Morale checks.

Names are any names that the target has been known by—like full name, pseudonyms, and epithets; not first, middle, and last. Horrible secrets are anything that they would rather you not know—like shameful habits, past failures, and uncomfortable associations, each of which must be distinct from any others mentioned.

This ability applies to debates and arguments as well as physical combat, but only works against targets that are capable of understanding you.

C: Confession
For every ten minutes that you engage someone in spirited discussion, debate, or argument, you can ask them one question which they must answer and answer truthfully. Roll CHA or INT, whichever is more advantageous for you—if you succeed, they don't realize that you asked the question, or that they answered it.

D: Hypotheses
Given ten minutes of meditation, you can commune with angels to pronounce a hypothesis. The GM will tell you whether your hypothesis is true, partially true, or false. If it is false, you first take damage equal to your current Falsehoods, then increase your Falsehoods by 107.

Your Falsehoods decreases by 1 for each point of damage you take from any source, and each time you read or burn a text you had not already read or burn't.

D: Thought Library
When you interact with texts owned or possessed by someone else, any changes you make—placing, removing, editing, et cetera—are reflected in their actual memory. Doing so has similar effects to one of the two Signature Techniques of the Company as performed with 1 or 2 Memory Dice. Which Signature Technique and how many MD you roll depend on what exactly you are doing. If rolled with 2, you suffer any Mistakes as an actual Metatron would.


When you gain a Truth, write down what you thinkare completely sure it is. You have to be careful about your Truths, particularly once you have access to Hypotheses or if you have a Sage or 4-template Gun Priest around.

These (or at least their names) will need to be replaced for other campaigns. They should be major questions about the setting that are understood well enough to be asked but not answered.
  1. The existence of the Soul.
    Your tattooed skin can interact with ghosts, spells, angels, et cetera as if they existed physically, and your melee attacks deal full damage to undead.

  2. The fates of the G_ds.
    You have +1 AC per template, which doesn't stack with normal armor. When someone you knew the name of dies, their name appears on your right arm.

  3. The identity of the Fifth Brother.
    Your mask is unrecognizable to those you would prefer not to know you, and your tattoos are invisible to those you would prefer not to see them and illegible to those you would prefer not to understand them.

  4. The origin of Man.
    While performing hard labor you need no food, water, nor sleep. Once finished a work, you must 'catch up' on all the food, water, and sleep you missed before working beyond normal human limits again.

  5. The source of Monkey.
    With a word, you can cause everything in contact with your tattoos to fuse to them, holding them—or you—in place. It's probably an INIT roll to use this to stop yourself from falling or something. Obviously you also need to have bare, tattooed skin in contact with the things you want to stick to. Don't do this when you already have a lot of momentum unless you want your Truths to separate from your body.

  6. The face of Aeshe (PBUH).
    You have a 1-in-6 chance per template to know one relevant piece of information about anyone you encounter.

  7. The location of the Second Moon.
    Your tattoos itch when something is being concealed from you. If you would be surprised, you're not.

  8. The nature of the Stars.
    With a word, you can cause your tattoos to glow with the dim illumination of a starry night. This is sufficient to read by or keep track of your footing, but not increase your radius of vision in darkness. While active, invisible things within arm's reach are revealed to you.

  9. The geography of the distant North.
    You can read the current direction and distance to the well at the bottom of the world on the back of your left hand, and are protected as if by clothing appropriate to the environment at all times.

  10. The creation of the Sun.
    Your tattoos emit blasts of infrared light when struck. When something deals damage to you it catches fire for 1d6 damage per round until extinguished. If you are reduced to 0 or lower HP, anyone looking in your direction must SAVE or be struck blind for 107 minutes by an invisible sunburst.

Academic Implements

  1. Purple Mask. Depicts an old man, usually grinning. Allows you to see curse-fog and maybe, sort of angels, and marks you as a member of the Purple priesthood even though that's only about half-true.
  2. Academic Robes. From a very fancy and reputable institution. Probably worth 10 gp if you can find a buyer that knows how much you paid for them. 1 slot unless you're wearing em.
  3. Burglar's Clothing. Dark, close-fitting, has plenty of pockets that are perfectly sized for carrying books, writing implements, and thieves' tools situated where they won't get in the way of movement. Covers almost your entire body, with just enough gaps that it's obvious you have tattoos but they can't be fully seen. 1 slot unless you're wearing em.
  4. Soft Leather Boots and Gloves. Supple, comfortable, not all that warm.
  5. Parrying Dagger. An elegant weapon, for a more civilized age. A light weapon that counts as a shield in any round you don't attack with it, 1/3rd slot.
  6. Tattoo Kit. A variety of needles, inks pressed from rare ingredients. Very efficiently packed. 1/3rd slot.
  7. Writing Supplies. Quills, pens, brushes, an inkpot, at least one piece of vellum. Useful if you need to write a letter, forge a document, or correct inconsistencies in a book. 1 slot.
  8. Holy Books. As the Cleric's. 1/3rd slot each.
  9. List of Grievances. Nail them to a church door and they'll cause a whole scene. 1/3rd slot.
  10. Thieves' Tools. A collection of scalpels, hammers, hand-drills, lockpicks, shims, and the like. 100% guaranteed to have everything you need to do Thief Stuff. 1 slot.
  11. Sharp Diamond Ring. Could cut glass. Worth a cool 20 gp. Too small to take up space, really.
  12. Very Nice Perfume. An exotic combination of scents, very distinctive. Probably nobody you meet will ever have smelled it before, worth 30 gp to discerning buyers. 1/3rd slot.
  13. Rifle. 2d8 damage at a range of 60', -1 to-hit for every 20' after that. Holds two rounds, takes two minutes to reload, and you must purchase the cartridges separately. 2 slots.
  14. Musical Instrument. You pick which one. 1 slot.
  15. Hookah. Comes with enough scented tobacco for you to sit around smoking it like an asshole at least 10 times, even if you're sharing it with your friends. 2 slots.
  16. Fancy Cushion. An excellent seat. 1 slot.
  17. Very Nice Hat. Your call if it's appropriate to the region (in case you need to blend in) or wildly inappropriate (in case you need to stand out).
  18. Animal Messenger. A pigeon, perhaps, or an exceptionally well-trained squirrel or mustelid. Not a crow, raven, rook, or magpie—those can't be trusted, they're too smart. 1HD, 1 slot if you're carrying it around.
  19. Waterproof Matches. Will ignite and burn in any environment; wet, dry, or airless. Box of 20, 1/3rd slot.
  20. An oddity. Roll 1d6 on the following table:
    1. WHITHER THE HEART, a medium rapier of bronte and chardun. Attracts or is attracted to iron. Sufficient to block ferrous weapons and projectiles if one spends their whole turn parrying, or always hits creatures that have blood and are not wearing ferrous armor. 1 slot.
    2. The Gleaming Stone. Warm to the touch, slowly shifts through the rainbow of colors, casts light like a torch. Priceless. 1/3rd slot.
    3. Papers declaring you—or at least someone who shares your name and description—a saint of the Purple orthodoxy. If read carefully, they also quite clearly imply that you are dead.
    4. A bone knife with a long handle and a very small blade—more like a scalpel, really. Capable of cutting through anything physical, and some things not. Can be used as a light weapon that deals only 1 damage but ignores armor or damage reduction, 1/3rd slot.
    5. A pair of round glasses with completely opaque lenses. Render lies visible and everything else invisible to the wearer.
    6. An enormous egg. Neither you nor anyone else knows what it contains. 1 slot.

Saturday, September 12, 2020

Exemplary GLOG Classes

Being a collection of my favorite GLOG classes written by others, in some sort of not-quite-exact order:

  1. Religious classes - This isn't any single class in particular, but it's my favorite archetype. Read the post, your Clerics and Paladins and Especially Devout Characters Of Any Other Sort will all be leagues better for it.
  2. Everything on Squig's blog, particularly:
    1. Gun Priest - We all know about my love for playing dedicated, arrogant, heretic religious nutjobs. What's better than one of those? One of those with a gun.
    2. Sword-Swallower - Just dripping with flavor. If I had read this before writing my Sword Witch, my Sword Witch would be better for it. As it is, I'd probably let someone play one of these as an alt-Sword Witch.
    3. Sage - Absolutely stellar class for any developed and interesting setting. Great integration of narrative and exposition-focused mechanics into a playable class.
  3. Everything on OSR Discord user deus ex parabola's blog, particularly:
    1. Anything that interacts with his color-coded heresies - "But Vayra!," you exclaim, "That's a setting element, not a class!" And you're right, but that's how good it is. It's the single best piece of worldbuilding I've ever seen committed to text. And anyway, there are some Clerics for it.
    2. Guild Thug - The other guilds therein are also good, but the Guild Thug is a standout. There's something incredible to me about the idea of unionized 80's-era action movie baddies, sauntering up to dragons and liches to bop them in the knees and threaten them with destruction of property.
    3. Metatron - Another excellent example of worldbuilding. Wizards, but they're some sort of absolutely nightmarish cold-war era fictive spy, and also (depending on interpretation) might have been replaced by a spiritual parasite. Put a Metatron in your campaign today. The implications are endless.
  4. Phlox's Acolyte - A refinement of Lexi's magic word-based Psion. Fixes several issues with the core one while retaining all of the things that made it interesting to me, ties it to a religious system (always a plus), and is just a complete blast to play. Not perfect, yet, maybe, but already great.
    1. Also the Barbarian-as-Foreigner. The list of advantages and disadvantages is incredible, awesome, great, very good, excellent, and other superlatives besides. I could see tacking that ability in particular on to other classes, perhaps in place of a 'race' adjustment in an all-human setting, or the like.
  5. Skerples' Necromancer - Sometimes, a necromancer is just a necromancer. This one has some interesting flavor about talking to dead folks, but the most important part of it is: it allows you to keep permanent undead servants at the cost of keeping your MD expended, or slowly (at risk of Doom) amass a permanent undead army of unlimited size. I consider this ability essential to anything that would call itself a necromancer.
  6. Thorinp's Shiva of Guns - We know I like Gun Witches, and this is my favorite one that isn't my own. It is particularly weird, in a very good way. "You sprout a bouquet of gun wielding arms[...]" indeed.
  7. Jojiro's Iron Salamander - This is a good class design post, much like Phlox's earlier one, but my favorite thing about it is this particular Fighter example: The Iron Salamander. Great stuff. Eminently flavorful. Powerful. Interesting.

So, what are your favorite GLOG classes written by others? I know GLOG is somewhat imperfect for this question, as it encourages stealing bits and naturally your favorite version of a class will be the one that you cobbled together with parts of others, so perhaps it's best to think of it instead as: What GLOG classes most inspire you?