Tuesday, June 29, 2021

GLOG Class Attempt: The Wildered


Shapeshifter by Stephanie Lostimolo

The world of people once made sense to you, and perhaps you even belonged there for a time. But then you heard Nature's call, and you gave yourself over to it. It's called to you a few times since then. There's little left of your old self now- even your body has begun to take on a new shape, sculpted as it is by the wild whims of the land into an amalgam of plant, animal, and person. You're not some great protector or apex predator, at least not yet. You're just a better denizen than most.

But that will change at any moment, when the wild comes calling again.

The Wildered

Starting Equipment: tattered and travelworn clothes, a wooden club.
Starting Skills: Wilderness.

A: Drift, Hear the Land Whisper
B: Drift
C: Drift
D: Drift, See the Land Breathe

You gain +1 HP for every Wildered template you possess.

A-D: Drift
Each time you gain a template, roll once on the Drift table. Reroll any repeats. Drift is superficially similar to mutation, only it comes from giving yourself over to the transformative whims of Wild Nature instead of being corrupted by unnatural magic.

Most normal people won't know or appreciate this distinction.





Coat of Fur

A thick coat of fur covers your skin, giving you +4 to Constitution on rolls to resist cold. You shed excessively to keep cool in warm weather.


Prehensile Tail

You grow a long tail, or a vine close enough to one. It can manipulate objects like a hand or carry an item to give you 1 additional Quick Draw Slot, but it can’t do things like wield a weapon or use a magic item.



You gain the power to produce and store noxious spores. You can eject a 10’ cloud of spores centered on you once per day. Anyone caught in the cloud must Save or be stunned for 1 round. Also, every spore cloud has a 1 in 100 chance of spawning a small, feral copy of you in that area in 1d6 years.



Both your feet stretch and twist into springy animal legs. You suffer no penalties to Movement over rough terrain, and can Move and Run +10’.


Scaly Hide

Your skin becomes scaly and snakelike. Gain +1 Defense for 3 weeks out of the month. You shed and regrow your skin over the fourth week. The new you never looks perfectly like your last skin.



Leaves grow around your head like a mane of hair, soaking up sunlight. If you rest in a sunny area, you don’t need to consume a ration.


Vine or Vice

You grow either prehensile vines or a clasping appendage like a pincer. You gain +2 on rolls to grapple someone.



You gain the power to play dead very convincingly, stopping your breathing, heartbeat, and other bodily processes for up to 1 hour per day.


Root System

You can lay down roots wherever there is natural ground for them to bore into. Your Strength counts as 20 against being pushed, shoved, or moved. You can also detect soil quality and underground water within 30’.


Fang & Claw

You gain some kind of natural defense of your choice, such as claws, hooves, fangs, a beak, etc. You can attack with it as a Light weapon.


Sensitive Snout

Your face elongates and becomes bestial. You gain an acute sense of smell, and can track creatures and things by scent.



Cell walls in your muscles toughen, and your blood runs thick like sap. Reduce all incoming damage by 1. Also, cuts stop bleeding after 1 round.



Glands across your body secrete a toxic substance. Anything that grabs you or hits you with a bare part of their body must Save or take 1d4 damage. Anything that bites you has -4 on the Save.



A venomous stinger erupts from some part of your body. You can make an Attack roll once a day to inject a target with your venom (1d6).


Creeping & Climbing

Your hands and feet sport sticky pads or hairlike filaments. Climb as fast as you can Run. You can attempt impossible climb tests.



You grow rudimentary gills, a few fins, and possibly a swim bladder. Swim as fast as you can Run and breathe water for up to 1 hour a day.



Reactive pigments and patterns in your skin, hair, etc. attempt to blend you into your surroundings under duress. Gain +2 to Stealth.


Vestigial Wings

You sprout a set of wings. They can be feathered, leathery, diaphanous, etc. They are too weak to fly with, but they can slow your descent. Take ½ damage from falling.



As long as you stay alive, you can regrow a severed limb after 1 year has passed. You can only regenerate one limb at a time.


Bounteous Branches

Branches like antlers sprout from your head and shoulders. You grow fruit worth 1d4 rations every week. Picked fruit spoils in 4 days.

A: Hear the Land Whisper
You lose the ability to read or write any language, and can never become literate again. Once per day you can meditate in a place of undisturbed wilderness for 10 minutes. If you do, you can ask 1 question of the land as if you had successfully cast Dendrigraphy with 1 Magic Die invested, except you can ask your question of any natural topography- a tree, a rock formation, a glacier, etc.

D: See the Land Breathe
Just as your body has been wildered, so too is your mind. You suffer a permanent loss of 1d3 Wisdom and 1d3 Charisma as you let superfluous things like mortal cognition and interpersonal relations atrophy. You can see the vague outlines of invisible things, and know if someone is a spellcaster just by looking them in the eyes, as if you were affected by the permanent effects of Wizard Vision. Druids start off non-hostile to you, and offer some begrudging recognition of your wildered status.

Saturday, June 19, 2021

GLOG Class Attempt: Garden Hermit


Eremit in Flottbeck,
Johann Baptist Theobald Schmitt

You are, or were, a professional Garden Hermit.

What that means is that you dedicated a large portion of your life to being a living, breathing curiosity. You would seek out, or be sought out by, a wealthy and eccentric patron interested in writing up a contract to have you live as their novelty guest in a cottage, cave, or other secluded area of their property for a set number of years. During this period you would try to live up to their (at times extremely exacting) stipulations.

What these stipulations are vary from patron to patron. Sometimes they wanted you to be seen but not heard, acting as a distant piece of ornamentation for their estate, to be studied and appreciated from afar. Others actively engaged you, bringing guests to seek your earthy and introspective brand of wisdom. Still others wanted you to live like a ghost, hiding from the outside world and leaving only mere hints that your garden or grotto were inhabited- a pair of reading glasses left out on a table here, a half-eaten apple there.

It is a slow, isolated, oftentimes tedious way of life, and recently it has come under existential threat with the invention of lawn gnomes. But you make it work. The job pays surprisingly well. It offers a unique perspective on many aspects of life. It is a window into the natural world, albeit one made tame and a little less deadly. It also offers a window into the lives of the aristocrats who employ you. Much juicy gossip can be learned while legally lurking around the gardens of an affluent and well-connected noble family.

Garden Hermit

Starting Equipment: anachronistic faux-druidic robes, philosophical text, pruning shears.
Starting Skills: Gardening and Philosophy. Also, roll on the adjacent table.

A: Part of the Scenery
B: Dispense Wisdom, Land Lore
C: Used to Boredom
D: Mistaken for Magic

You gain +1 Stealth for each Garden Hermit template you possess. You get +2HP if you possess 2 or more Garden Hermit templates.

A: Part of the Scenery

If you are in any sort of manicured nature such as a public park, noble's estate, or garden, you can choose to blend in and become part of the scenery. While blended in, no one will notice or pay much heed to you so long as you spend your time doing Garden Hermit Things. These include studying/picking plants, reading old-timey philosophical texts, pretending to be an ornamental statue, etc.

B: Dispense Wisdom

You've played the part of the wise hermit long enough that it occasionally does some good. Make an opposed Wisdom roll to drag someone into dialogue about any topic. On a success, you trap them in engrossing or tedious debate for up to 1 hour. At the end of that hour your combination of platitudes and elenctic interrogation leads them to form their own good advice, giving them +1 to their next roll related to the topic of the debate.

B: Land Lore

Years of quiet observation have given you familiarity with the land, and you can identify most garden-variety plants and animals by sight or sound. Once per session, you can also declare a little-known but "interesting" fact about a type of plant or animal. The base chance of the fun-fact actually being true is 50%.

C: Used to Boredom

It's a dull affair, being a Garden Hermit. You sit around a grotto or hovel day after day, year after year, waiting to be stared at like a zoo animal or asked what the meaning of life is by a bunch of addled nobles. Occasionally an interesting bird lands nearby. You are immune to the negative effects of magic that slows down time or puts you to sleep, and you can never go mad from isolation.

D: Mistaken for Magic

You have become rustic and sagely-looking enough that you appear to the average person as a Chartered Garden Wizard of good repute at first glance. You can choose to pass as one by rolling under Charisma. Carrying a spellbook or scroll gives you +4 Charisma for the roll. Note that you cannot actually use spellbooks or scrolls, most people will be angry if they discover you are a charlatan, and druids will probably catch your scent and try to hunt you down sooner or later.


Garden Hermit Skills


You picked up woodcarving to pass the time, and have gotten good at it. Gain a small knife, quarterstaff, and 1d6 scars on your hands.


You use the isolation to further your studies. Gain 1d3 extra philosophical texts and 1 treatise penned by you.


Your last contract was terminated after you were found drinking at a tavern. Gain 2 bottles of beer.


You used garden hermeticism as a cover to steal from your employers. Gain a pair of nice boots and 1d6 pieces of cutlery.


You were also the groundskeeper for your stingy former employer. Gain a box of really rich dirt.


You are more proactive about your job security than other Garden Hermits. Gain a carpenter's hammer and 3d6 trophies from defeated lawn gnomes.

Wednesday, June 2, 2021

The Closing of the Door

The world ended, and salvation was denied.

Everyone knew this, because God Itself said so.

At least, most people believe It was God.

Admittedly no one had ever expected a giant diaphanous mantis to emerge from the Doors, all a-glimmer with silver inlaid silk and what smelled like rendered human fat.

And at least, most people believe that was what God said.

It was so long ago, and thunderous shrieks and mandibular clicks are rather challenging to translate when your eyes and ears bleed at the mere recollection of them.

God or no, the thing was powerful enough to open the Doors, and that alone had been miraculous. No one had ever managed to open the Doors- let alone damage them.

An entire generation has been born since that fateful day, so a bit more explanation is probably in order. Young people these days don't know their history. They're far more interested in collecting the newest and trendiest saints' bones, or predicting when the moon will stop screaming again.¹

For as long as history has been recorded, and probably for a good deal longer, the Doors stood watch over the world. They stood in the center of a black sand desert, taller than most mountains, and they were about as wide as one too. Even traveling in a straight line along the depth of one of their columns took several days on beastback. They had a sharp, angular construction with clean lines and a cold, dark grey coloration. They were made from a glassy rock that reflected sunlight some of the time, and absorbed it other times. At times it was reported to look porous. This is assuredly false. And the Doors were paired, if the pluralization wasn't an indicator.

The Doors were everything to us. They made our earliest, amiant-clad ancestors look up in awe and wonder. They sheltered our huddled bands from the five cardinal winds when they decided to bite and tear. They gave us something to emulate in our own architecture. They gave us something to aspire to understand through our arts and sciences. Shining cities rose up and studded the black desert around the Doors like the gleaming teeth that light up the night sky. I can scarcely believe that civilization would have developed in any recognizable way—if at all—without the Doors.

But we just couldn't figure out how to open the blasted thing.

Animals, ropes, and pulleys all failed to make them budge. Engines of all make broke down or exploded before they made any headway. Even astral arts failed to loosen their hinges- or ascertain if they truly had hinges at all. We couldn't even figure out which side, if any, was the "front" or "back" for the longest time- no matter how many holy wars one ideological camp launched against the others.

And there were many wars, mind you. At times the primordial, unchanging stillness of the Doors made the destruction and carnage which surrounded it seem all the more vibrant and terrible by contrast. Cities rose up, but they also fell smoldering into ruin beneath the indifferent shadow of that edifice. 

From the ashes arose new realms, though none ever settled directly before or behind the Doors- not only was it sacrilege, it would be suicide when the Doors finally swung open and smote all in their arcs, as surely they would one day. We knew it even then, so certainly and fervently, though centuries had dulled a little bit of our fire I suppose.

The day started like any other. Countless scribes and splinter sects have described the hours preceding the event as absolutely drowning in prophetic phenomena, but you can trust that there was none of that. That humdrum monotony was among the last things these eyes of mine ever saw, after all.²

It felt like an earthquake, when it started. In fact you very well could call it an earthquake, except instead of originating from the heart of the earth, it came from its soul. The tremors grew worse, towers fell, and fires began to spread. Finally, all eyes not blinded by smoke saw the way the left-hand door was slightly ajar. Over the next half-hour, it and its twin swung outward fully.

Within was pitch blackness studded by the twist and swirl of nebulae and the wild dance of heavenly bodies careening through space. A million voices cried out in sudden awe, terror, and prayer- and a few miles around the edge of the Door, I am told, millions more rose up in shrieks of ultimate despair as they found themselves unable to witness this event from the Wrong Side. I am told many who found themselves in that circumstance soon died, whether by their own hands or by sheer grief. I envy their alacrity.

Slowly, the infinity within the Doors began to change and distort. Swarms hundreds of thousands strong began to push toward the portal, jockeying for space between sects and congregations until a crowd crush of such force and ferocity occurred that they are still picking the bodies out of the shattered tiles of that most sacred avenue.

At last, the first raptorial leg breached the yielding, filmy surface of the portal like it was piercing an embryonic sac- but from which side, I cannot say. The second came soon after, each bearing blades that could smite whole armies had they the intent to. By now, all were cowed, stopped dead in their tracks. I remember watching all of this from my window. I clung to the sill so tightly that the tendons exploded out of the backs of my hands.

Finally came the mandibles. And then the multifaceted eyes. And then the barbed, silken body.

And then the Voice.

I learned that day that there is a level of heavenly rapture so terrifying in its intensity that it is indistinguishable from the most hellish torment.

We could not understand what God said, but we still knew it.

We heard the initial upswell of grace and glory, followed by a certain stumbling, and then... confusion. God blinked Its alien eyes and looked around as It drew both arms in pensively. There was silence that begged to endure for an eternity after we'd had our souls blasted to pieces by those trumpets.

Then, It questioned us.

It questioned what was happening.

'What is this? What are you? What have you done to the Appointed Day? Where is your Prophet? Where is the casting of clover roots and the boiling of lead? Why have you not prepared the Way? Had It not carefully instructed Its messenger to prepare you all for the Once & Final Journey? Where has gone the Bruised One?' ³

It then began to scold us. To call us names that now adorn countless monuments and graffiti. Impudent Children. Dawdlers. Undeserving. False. Those who had ran closest to the Doors did not have time to flee before they burned away into stacks of carbon and clouds of incense smoke.

Insulted, indignant, and impatient, the thing that was God shrieked and turned away. Sources differ on whether or not It scooped up a small group of people in one arm, and sources further differ on whether these people were the Chosen Ones or merely a snack for a rather hangry insect. It finally reached Its arms out and seized the Doors. Their claws bit deep into the stone as they swung inward at the speed of sound. The stone struck, the sky split, and the earth trembled.

I awoke some hours later in the rubble of my home. Everything closer than that was naught but dust.

We do not know how much destruction was wrought, because we never looked beyond the horizon of our sacred little desert. There were inklings of a world beyond, but why would we have cared about anything that was not Doorward? The peoples of those lands were benighted savages, and we were... we were...

We only know that the horizon that had been there that morning was now gone. Nothing persists beyond.

God was gone too, as was the portal It had passed through. All that remained was the wreckage of the Doors.

It was as if a mountain had toppled, because in many ways one had. What is left of the world is irrevocably altered.

We believed this was the end. Surely nothing could come after this, when the sun was knocked out of sync and the five winds were dead? How could we survive? Why would we?

As it turned out, we did not account for mortal stubbornness.

Many died, and many more were killed in the aftermath. I know I'd be dead right now had I gotten my ruptured hands on anything effective for the task, but again I was new to blindness at the time. But most did not perish on that day, and it was with more bemusement than mass hysteria that they all picked themselves back up and ambled through the dust.

The fires were put out, and the dead were mourned- often in massive, nameless heaps too tall to name or count. The hills they were covered over with now support entire shrines and temples. Yes, new shrines and temples. Some were simple dedications of honor to the dead, but others were... something else entirely. Some are even built out of the fragments of the Door, which became the most plentiful—albeit unmalleable—building material in the world.

We simply found new things to believe in. Many people deny that that thing had been God or even a god, but many more acknowledged it yet moved on. My quip about saints' bones earlier points to the very true fact that we have forced death to beget new beginnings, and that the Closing of the Door was a foundational moment that has been literally and figuratively built upon by the next generation.

Even now, I hear the rumblings of a hunt being organized to chase off another incursion by those things that dwelt in parts once perpendicular to us. The mood is light, almost flippant, as volunteers fetch their riddle-woven earspoons. They know they have succeeded many times before, and think they will do so again. I know they will.

It is equally compelling and infuriating.

My writer grows tired, and probably needs a break from my dictation now.

I do too.

¹ Current estimates point to a period of six whole weeks within the next decade. I will be well and truly spoiled by that balmy silence, if I live to hear it.

² I wish they had taught me not to stare at deific interventions when I was a child, much the same way they warn you not to look directly into the sun.

³ Through decades of study, I believe I have finally cracked the meaning of these words. In a crumbling registry of civil and criminal cases nearly seven centuries old, there are repeat instances of disturbance of the peace in a small, now nonexistent hamlet across the desert. The perpetrator was a figure known to many in the area- an old, generally harmless eccentric who was known to drift from conspiracy theory to theory with the changing of the seasons. Their last appearance in any documentation describes how their fellow citizens held a brief service in their honor after they died ranting and raving in a shelter. They fell from a rooftop while trying to kill birds for preying upon mantids and sustained blunt-force trauma to their head and neck, resulting in severe bruising and, as was discovered too late, internal bleeding. They died in obscurity, having totally and utterly failed to attract a flock of any size through their words of an approaching journey, with zero assistance from the divine patron that had apparently shattered their mind with Its touch.