Techniques for 4E

Noncombat play in D&D, in my opinion, handles best when the party has access to both a level of unreliable but broad competence (through the skill system or ability checks, say) and the ability to specialize in or prepare for solving specific types of problems (frequently the exclusive province of spellcasters, though martial characters could participate in this aspect by collecting relevant magic items). D&D 4E’s skill system is mostly satisfactory for the former (I could spill many pixels on the lack of a Craft skill, changing associated ability scores of skills, or other such minor complaints; I will not). For the latter, we have the ritual and martial practice systems. I’ve been unsatisfied with the ritual rules in D&D 4E basically since the initial release of the edition (albeit for a variety of different reasons as time passed), and since first encountering their nonmagical counterpart in Martial Power 2, I’ve disliked them as well.

The houserules presented here attempt to improve on their official counterparts in four ways:

  • Martial practices and rituals are two almost-but-not-quite identical systems for the same thing; there is no good reason not to unify them.
  • 4E’s exponential wealth scaling means that rituals’ costs quickly go from nearly insurmountable to irrelevantly cheap; this is sometimes reasonable, but many effects should remain roughly as hard to spam at low levels and high levels. Martial practices’ healing surge costs evade this issue, while also incidentally creating a tradeoff of whether to allocate resources (that is, healing surges) to combat or noncombat uses over the course of an adventure. (This has led to a few of my players jokingly referring to their healing surges as their “mana bar;” I don’t consider this a downside!)
  • There are several small gaps in the list of rituals available, and the list of martial practices is shamefully short. I’ve borrowed aggressively from Exalted and other editions of D&D, as well as designing plenty of entirely original techniques, to fill out the list.
  • Rituals aren’t universally accessible, and martial practices are even more restricted. Instead of requiring characters of most classes to invest a feat in order to be able to interact with an entire axis of gameplay, the feat (and the classes that grant it for free) instead let you learn techniques automatically without any investment of money or downtime.

I will also note the apparently odd distribution of crafting-related techniques, with the majority in Athletics, some in Arcana and Thievery, and a handful of others scattered onto other skills; this was chosen to match the existing allocation of crafting martial practices (that is, primarily to Athletics).

GLOGTOBER Day 3: Tome-Generation Tables

My party has gotten access to/is about to get access to a bunch of black-market bookstores. The party’s warlock and ex-wizard have expressed the intention to trawl through them looking for sketchy books about highly illegal magic. They’ve asked me if I can work out what they’re able to find using between-session downtime.

One of the things I’ve established in the setting is that certain books—including some of the specific ones the party’s looking for—have a bunch of different “editions” and “translations” that are actually just people writing different books and putting them under the name of a famous magical work for clout. The party has shown every indication of attempting to do this again every time they find an even slightly sketchy bookshop.

—Me, about a week ago

If you’re one of my players in a currently ongoing campaign, this post contains huge spoilers, and you shouldn’t read it.

So this is a collection of tables for generating the contents of books of warlockry, alleged editions of the Necronomicon, and similarly dubious grimoires. It’s not exactly system-neutral, but it is designed to be highly system-adaptable, under a fairly large list of assumptions:

  • Your system has spellcasting styles including:
    • Warlocks who get spells from patrons; different patrons have “affinities” for different styles of magic, and spells can be loosely classified by which patrons most commonly grant them.
    • Wizards who prepare and cast spells from spellbooks.
    • Artificers who have something vaguely resembling spells mixed in with all their other magitech nonsense.
    • Bards who have spells, which may or may not be the same thing as their spellsongs.
    • “Bladespells” which may or may not be associated with a particular spellcasting style or their own distinct construct, but are designed to be part of a magical weapon-based fighting style.
    • Rituals, both arcane and divine in nature, as distinct from normal spellcasting.
  • Your system has “arcane foci” that you can channel spells through to improve the quality of the spell in some way.
  • Your system has “signature techniques” which are associated with various skills.
  • Your system has about four rough strata of power, and a sense of stuff beyond those strata.

I also make a bunch of setting assumptions, which I fully expect will be wildly untrue for most settings; I’ve highlighted the relevant parts of the document in red text, for ease in altering them.


Since it may not be obvious how to align those mechanical assumptions with your system of choice, I will provide some notes here on how to do so for a few example systems.

Tomes for the GLOG

The strata of power are of course named appropriately for the GLOG already. I will not recommend specific classes for the spellcasting styles; the GLOGOSPHERE has no shortage of classes. Arcane Foci could grant the wielder an extra MD, regardless of level; “wildly level-inappropriate” and legendary foci might perhaps grant a second MD. If you’re using classic wizard schools, the first six spells are “level appropriate” at A, the next two at B, the next two at C, the last two at D, and emblem/legendary spells at legendary.

Signature techniques are slightly trickier, and may perhaps have a whole post of their own in the future; for now, I offer a brief list of examples relevant to skills mentioned herein.

Athletics
A: Ox Meditation—Increase your carrying capacity by several hundred pounds.
B: Racing Hare—Run three times as fast outside of combat.
C: Deck-Strider—Move around rigging, slippery deck, etc. without risk of falling, regardless of conditions.
D: Mason’s Hand—Break stone with your bare hands.
Legendary: Mountain-Crossing Leap—Jump fifty miles in a single bound.

Bluff
A: Enigma’s Guile—Even without specific deception, save vs attempts to determine your motivations.
B: Subtle Speech—Shared secret language with your friends that appears to be innocuous conversation to outsiders.
C: Spurious Presence—As long as your gear and behavior are normal for the circumstances, nobody will consider your presence suspicious.
D: Heist of Doubts—When you steal something from someone, they save or temporarily forget you aren’t the real owner.
Legendary: Perfect Mirror—Your disguises (including changing apparent height, weight, age; visual special effects) are flawless; people can’t even attempt to recognize you as fake unless you’re behaving out of character.

Diplomacy
A: Small Manners—You reflexively adapt to the customs and expectations of unfamiliar cultures.
B: Speech without Words—You can communicate nonverbally without a common language.
C: Unpleasant Proposal—Regardless of what persuasion you attempt, it will not damage your reputation or ruin your relations with the target, success or failure.
D: Diplomat’s Guile—You cannot be surprised by a creature you’re talking to suddenly becoming violent or hostile.
Legendary: Erode Reason—If you can get a creature to debate you for a full hour, you can make it suffer a nervous breakdown.

Dungeoneering
A: Fracture Analysis—You can break objects with Wisdom instead of Strength.
B: Superior Supply—You can buy nonmagical adventuring gear retroactively.
C: Underworld Caravaneer—You travel 25% faster and use half as much supplies on extended underground journeys.
D: Fortune’s Resonance—You can smell precious metals and gems.
Legendary: Planar Sojourner—You find extraplanar hazards no more difficult to handle than their corresponding dungeon hazards.

Endurance
A: Armored Scout—You aren’t encumbered by your armor and shield.
B: Long-Distance Runner—You can run for 16 hours without stopping.
C: Diamond Body—You can ignore harm from basic, mundane scenery.
D: Mithril Stomach—You can safely consume and gain nutrition from anything that can fit in your mouth.
Legendary: Unbreathing Determination—You don’t need air, except to speak.

Heal
A: Brew Potion—You can create healing potions with appropriate materials.
B: Prosthetic Genius—You make replacements for missing limbs, organs, and similar injuries.
C: Remove Affliction—Your medical treatment can remove charms, curses, petrification, and similar magical effects.
D: Fantastic Recuperation—You can (expensively) make drugs that allow people to get by with one hour of sleep a night.
Legendary: Instant Treatment—You can perform any kind of surgery or medical treatment in two minutes or less.

History
A: Panoply Lore—You can identify magic items and their cultural significance.
B: Decipher Script—You can translate any written text, at least approximately, at 10 minutes per page.
C: Discerning Eye—You can reconstruct by eye writing that has been damaged or erased.
D: Sage’s Celerity—You can read as fast as you can turn the pages.
Legendary: Voice-Caging Calligraphy—You can write a document in a way that renders the reader unable to repeat any information they learn from it.

Insight
A: Judge of Talent—You can tell what skills people you interact with have.
B: Scent of Guilt—You can examine a group of people and tell who’s feeling the guiltiest.
C: Psychometric Touch—You can touch an object and read the emotions of the last character to touch it.
D: Revelation of Associates—As you interact with people, you can suss out who their allies are.
Legendary: Soul’s Price—You can reliably guess what it would take to persuade someone to undertake a task of your choice.

Intimidate
A: Ruinous Filibuster—All administrative and similar peaceful tasks come to a halt while you monologue.
B: Tireless Cadence—Your marching songs increase a group’s rate of travel by half again.
C: Elite Training Techniques—You can train any willing group into battle-ready soldiers in a week.
D: Winter-Wolf Pack—You can train a unit of soldiers to master a specific terrain type of your choice in a week.
Legendary: Giant-Slaying Tactics—You can train a unit of soldiers to expertise in fighting larger enemies in a month.

Perception
A: Frugal Analysis—You can quickly and precisely determine the quality of goods on sight.
B: Reasonable Paranoia—You always know whether you are being watched.
C: Crafty Profiling—You can determine someone’s mentality and personality by examining their possessions or evidence they left behind.
D: Keen Sight—You can see in minimal light, make out small details three hundred feet away, and count an army at a glance.
Legendary: Dedicated Ear—When someone you know personally and well speaks to you, you can hear them from any distance.

Streetwise
A: Guise of Vulnerability—You can make yourself appear to be the perfect target for a crime of your choice.
B: Guise of Procurement—You can make yourself appear to be a master of all things mercantile, the source of the best deals.
C: Guise of Rectification—You can make yourself appear to be a subject of confidential trust on institutional matters.
D: Speed the Wheels—With relatively minor bribes, you can render a bureaucracy exceptionally efficient on a particular topic.
Legendary: Foul Air of Argument—With slightly more substantial bribes, you can destroy a bureaucratic project entirely.

Thievery
A: Hidden Pockets—Objects you hide on your person are exceptionally difficult to find.
B: Duplicate—You can make a reasonably good fake of a small object in ten minutes.
C: Lightning Sleight—When you pull of sleight-of-hand tricks, it always takes people at least an hour to figure out what exactly happened.
D: Magpie’s Talon—You can imperceptibly move up to 15 feet as part of a pickpocketing attempt.
Legendary: Flashing Quill—You can edit documents untraceably, even rewriting any magic included within.

Tomes for 4E

Consider A and B to be heroic-tier, C and D to be paragon-tier, and legendary to be epic tier; in particular, consider A to correspond to +1 items, B to +2, and so forth.

The classes here more or less directly correspond to the system’s arcane classes, but you should almost certainly consider “bladespells” to mean swordmage spells and not actual bladespells. Bardic “spellsongs” are their exclusive rituals, and their spells are their actual class powers.

Your arcane foci are implements; here, usually tome implements. Your signature techniques are approximately martial practices; but, of course, the Martial Power II practices are far more limited than these tables would imply. Stay tuned for my rework and vast expansion of the system.

Tomes that allow “book-casting” of one or more spells should have the “Choose a power contained in this tome and expend an unused wizard daily attack power of an equal or higher level. You gain the use of the chosen power during this encounter. The power is lost if you do not use it before the end of the encounter.” power that many tome implements have.

Tomes for 5E

Consider A to correspond to levels 1-4 and common items, B to levels 5-10 and uncommon items, C to levels 11-16 and rare items, D to levels 17-20 and very rare items, and legendary to levels 21+ and legendary items. See the GLOG section above for signature skill techniques. Bladespells are spells like the green-flame blade cantrip that can be channeled through weapons. Spellsongs are the same thing as bard spells. Rituals are just any spell with the ritual tag.

GLOGTOBER Day 2: The Legend of Manjula the Beautiful

I will tell you of Manjula the Beautiful, warlock of Na Khon; I will tell you of the magic she wove, and the Doom that fell upon her.

There is an art of sleep, of dreams; an art that the princets of faerie will teach you, that the spirits of the deep earth know; an art that Manjula studied with the longest days of summer. Many Khoni have mastered this art, and their battles slip between the waking and dreaming worlds; but all this is well known, and I will not speak more of it.

There is a spell that is never given, only taken; and its name is called the Mist of Evening. Manjula the Beautiful found it deep within dream, in a palace in a garden on an island in the river that is Time, and from that place she took it away; but what else she found there, she would never say.

When Manjula spoke that dread incantation, the air grew thick and sweet as honey around her, and all those who breathed it were pulled inexorably downward into dream. First their movements grew sluggish, their reactions dulled, and finally they slipped into a slumber that did not end until the sun had risen and set once more, or perhaps rested eternal, their throats slit while they lay unmoving in bewitched sleep, or else slain by some creature in those shadowed realms of dream.

And yet Manjula’s thirst for power could not be slaked, not even as her foes collapsed into sleep around her; her ambitions aimed higher still. She whispered into the dreams of her fallen foes, and her words weaved a story of deadly foes, and they rose again to fight their old allies. But her own dreams shunned her; she slept rarely, and only within her own mists, a day and a night before she woke.

Months passed, then years. Manjula conquered and built, weaving grand palaces of marble and dreamsilk, but poor replicas of the palace she dreamed of once. And, in time, Manjula found she could no longer sleep at all, in mists or clear air. Days passed, then weeks, as the world around her twisted and deceived her, and she passed the end of her life in exhaustion and madness, wandering through palaces that could never quite recapture the glories of dream.

Months passed, then years; palaces crumbled to rubble; and the world forgot there had ever been a Manjula the Beautiful, as if waking from a nightmare. Perhaps there never had been, but had we merely dreamed of Manjula, then I have always remembered my dreams well.


Mist of Evening

Duration: [dice] rounds
Range: 10m radius cloud centered within 30m
Target: All creatures in cloud
Any creature that would start a turn within the cloud must make save or be poisoned, their initiative dropping by 3 points (or 1 point, on a d6 initiative scale) every round of combat until they save (up to [dice] rounds at most). This effect stacks with itself. A creature reduced to 0 or negative initiative this way sleeps for a day and a night.
If you are at Doom II or higher, you control the dreams of a creature sleeping this way, and can burn an MD you used to cast the spell to cause it to sleepwalk under your control.
If you are at Doom III, MD you use to cast this spell are burned only on a roll of 6 or by the above feature.

Doom of the Mists

I. When you learn to cast Mist of Evening, replace your Doom track with the Doom of the Mists, and immediately gain this first Doom if you are not already more Doomed than that. You sleep with your eyes open, and cannot sleep except in total darkness.
II. You cannot sleep except by result of your own Mist of Evening.
III. You cannot sleep, by any means.


The prompt I rolled was “dark elves,” and indeed this was supposed to be a story about dark elves, but they never bothered to show up. So, instead, have a story about something that belonged to them and someone who belongs to them.

GLOGTOBER Day 1: The Realmwalker (Classis)

GLOGTOBER has begun, and I have randomly rolled “someone else’s setting” on the day 1 prompt table. So, here’s a classis for playing a character from someone else’s setting.

Realmwalker

You’re not from around here. No, not from Foreign Parts, from all the way not around here. Choose +1 each to two of HP, saves, or attacks at each template.

Starting gear: Good cloak and boots, and whatever your background offers.

A: Terrain Dominance
B: Wordless Emissary
C: Outrealm Contacts
D: Lord of a Thousand Roads

Terrain Dominance
As long as you stand on either superior terrain, or familiar terrain from your homeland, you have advantage on attacks and people attacking you have disadvantage. You can give up the advantage or disadvantage for a free combat maneuver.

Wordless Emissary
Language and cultural barriers are never more than a minor inconvenience for you. People will generally be tolerant and understanding of you not knowing things that everyone from around here knows.

Outrealm Contacts
When in any major settlement, you can purchase items that are readily available in your home setting but not your current setting, and have a 2-in-6 chance of being able to purchase items from any other setting you’re familiar with.

Lord of a Thousand Roads
Any type of terrain you’ve been traveling through (not just stationary in) for at least the last day counts as familiar. This applies to both your Terrain Dominance, and to anything that only someone familiar with the terrain would know or recognize.


(1) Heimjingren

Starting Equipment: 3 days worth of rice, bottle of rice wine, sword with logogram pommel, climbing gear, robes.

Benefit: Roll a random Zodiac sign (1d15), and roll another at each template. You gain a corresponding exceptional capability.

  1. Rat | You can burrow through earth, but not rock.
  2. Ox | You can endure any non-magical non-violent hardship.
  3. Tiger | Your bite is a medium weapon.
  4. Rabbit | You can jump impossibly high.
  5. Dragon | Your followers’ morale will not break as long as you are still fighting.
  6. Snake | You can fit through any gap your head will fit through.
  7. Horse | Each of your feet is a light weapon.
  8. Goat | When you hit an enemy with a charge attack, knock them flying.
  9. Monkey | You can use your feet as hands and vice versa.
  10. Rooster | Your voice can be heard and understood up to a mile away.
  11. Dog | When your enemies attack nearby allies, you can interpose yourself and become the target.
  12. Pig | You can eat anything as if it were nutritious food.
  13. Wolf | You move twice as fast as expected.
  14. Boar | You can improvise a disguise with minimal supplies.
  15. Bear | You can lift/shove/break twice as much as expected.

Drawback: While you can see the sky and aren’t tied to anything, you have disadvantage on saves, or just automatically fail if you’re saving against fear. You know in your head that here, at least, you won’t plummet upwards; but your heart doesn’t believe you.

(2) Legamon Trainer

Starting Equipment: One random LEGAMON, cargo shorts and a shirt with pockets, and a bicycle.

Benefit: You can banish your LEGAMON into a pocket dimension and resummon it at will. Your LEGAMON can use your Terrain Dominance feature.

Drawback: You can’t actually fight yourself; without your LEGAMON to protect you, you’re helpless in combat.

(3) Blood-Bucketer

Starting Equipment: A locked briefcase full of Necronomicon, A CHAINSAW WITH A SEVEN WORD NAME, mirrorshades, and a bloodstained suit.

Benefit: You have some access to a big messed-up source of information—a Nokia, classified files, psychic 4chan, whatever. Roll 1d6 whenever you want to.

  1. You’ve been traced by some kind of MIB or your current setting’s equivalent (Team REDACTED admin, Red Word inquisitor, etc.).
  2. Nothing useful, splitting headache.
  3. Kill order on some target; no further information until you take them down, but cash payment when you do.
  4. You learn how the government, aliens, or Big Whatever is involved in this situation.
  5. You learn a ritual that’ll solve a problem at hand in exchange for a terrible sacrifice.
  6. One fact about the fears, dreams, politics, or employment of an individual you’ve met.

Drawback: Every spooky complication in the area is inexplicably right in your path. If you ever open the briefcase, the entire setting will try to kill you for its contents.

(4) Iodine Imperial

Starting Equipment: Knives made out of an unusual material, sick jacket, captainish hat, more than one belt, 1d6 heresies.

Benefit: Choose an element (chemical, not classical) or pick one at random. You can create magical effects themed around that element. You can’t do so again until you have night to rest in safety. Pick another element with each template.

Drawback: You find daylight too bright to see clearly in.

(5) Orc

Starting Equipment: Surprisingly modern first aid supplies, two weapons of choice, rope and a grappling hook, bearskin armor.

Benefit: You have a Virtue. It can be tapped to reroll a specific type of check; and it passively gives a +1 (or maybe +2) to some number on your character sheet. Untap one Virtue when you eat lunch and all of them when you sleep. You get one Virtue slot per template, and can fill empty ones or replace filled ones by declaring that you aspire to a Virtue, then succeeding on a roll that it’d apply to three times on three separate days.

Drawback: Orcish thaumobiology is ill-suited to healing magic. Whenever you get healed, take a point of Strain that reduces all further healing by 1. Lose 1 point of Strain whenever you rest.

(6) Acmori Islander

Starting Equipment: Fur-lined armor, very specific type of sword, flask of gløgg, cold-weather survival gear.

Benefit: Between consecutive adventures, you can accomplish things of domain-scale significance even if nobody else in the campaign appears to be operating at the scales of time or resources that would apply. If you need specific rules, choose three realm actions between adventures—make a decree, send a diplomatic overture, host a council or guest, go on a pilgrimage, go on a side adventure, visit someone elsewhere (all the way elsewhere, as above), engage in covert activities, pursue your hobbies, train your skills, make friends or lovers, get married, have kids, build infrastructure, acquire assets, recruit troops…

Drawback: You age a year between adventures, again even if no time has passed for anyone else. From your perspective, you’re only visiting/adventuring in this setting once a year.

The Gretchling Arts of War

Hayao Miyazaki’s Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind

The Arts are perhaps the unification of the different concepts this blog wanders among; an unusually nonlethal GLOG hack aimed somewhere between romantic fantasy and wuxia action, with moderately heavyweight tactical combat inspired by D&D 4E, where the majority of character creation consists of something resembling designing your character’s class on the spot. Read it here.

The Spampire: Another Not Altogether Serious GLOG Class

I first posted this on Discord a while ago; but it having become unexpectedly relevant, I thought I should keep it somewhere more accessible. I suspect most or all of you have seen the comments, on various blogs, that inspired this class.

You are a SPAMPIRE, an undead creature of the night who feeds on personally identifying information.

Starting gear: Fangs, a dramatic swooshy cape, an envelope stuffed with fake ID cards, the most advanced communication device commonly available in the setting (carrier pigeon, cellphone, crystal ball…)

Skills (1d4): Writing rapidly without regard for grammar or spelling, gothic aesthetic sense, swindling, obsessive knowledge of extradition treaties

A: Drinker of Names, Harsh Light of the Sun, +1 MD
B: Immortal Transformation, +1 MD
C: Spellmarket Contacts, +1 MD
D: Lord of the Night, +1 MD

Drinker of Names: You sustain yourself by committing identity theft. Your magic dice are restored, not by resting, but by consuming identities. Merely a name, address, and appearance is enough to restore an MD once each day. Enough information to impersonate someone in writing restores up to two MD once each day. Enough information to gain control of someone’s finances will still only restore two MD, but with no daily limit. Enough information to impersonate someone in person to people who know them, if you can manage it, will instantly restore all of your MD, without restriction. You do not inherently know any spells, but if you obtain a wand, scroll, or similar device you can use your MD to cast its spell.

Harsh Light of the Sun: You cannot sleep or eat; several hours’ rest restores hit points to you as a lunch would for a mortal, and lunch is worthless to you. However, you can invest MD to regain [sum] hit points. When illuminated by sunlight, you appear obviously fake; a cardboard cutout, wax sculpture, illusion, hologram, or other imitation of life. You can invest an MD to prevent this until the next sunrise.

Immortal Transformation: You know a ritual that takes three days, requires difficult-to-source components, and can transform any non-classed living creature into a spampiric spawn. It gains the Drinker of Names and Harsh Light of the Sun abilities, with [dice] MD, and its hit point total becomes [sum]. In return, you gain the entirety of its previous mortal identity, to do with as you choose.

Spellmarket Contacts: Via the use of your communication device, you can contact the Market of Spells (variously known as the Goblin Market, the City’s Doorway, or the One Thousand Streets). By the next sunrise, any magical, sacred, profane, or ritualistic materials you require will be delivered to your precise location. Payment is required on delivery. Mortal currencies are not accepted.

Lord of the Night: You can use Immortal Transformation even on creatures with class templates; however, they are permitted to Save. They lose [dice] of their templates and gain the same number of SPAMPIRE templates. In addition to their mortal identity, you also gain any spells they lost; you may cast them once each using your MD.

Spampire Names

You no longer have your original name, it having been consumed by the elder spampire who turned you. Instead, you’ve taken on a new title. Roll on both charts, if you want to.

  1. Lord [name]
  2. [name] the Nameless
  3. Director [name]
  4. [name] the Eternal
  5. Baron/ess [name]
  6. [name] the Impaler
  7. Count/ess/a [name]
  8. Roll again, but 1337-speak
  1. Mark
  2. Byron
  3. Vlad
  4. Shelley
  5. Chocul
  6. Malice

GLOGSTAR: Ships of the Border Stars

This is an supplement of sorts for GLOGSTAR, which is in turn a collection of classes for playing spaceships as characters in the GLOG (presumably in a game where everyone is playing spaceships; I’m not quite sure how you manage a party of an Exploration Cruiser, an Orbseeker, a Gun Witch, and a Zenith-Caste Solar, but if you run that game please tell me about it).

Out on the frontier, the standardized classes of carriers, cruisers, and battleships that form the backbone of core-system fleets give way to a more eclectic array of ships. You might see a battleship with a decades-obsolete hull, hauled by the engines of the class that replaced it, and awkwardly bolted-on guns of another empire entirely—and that’ll be the closest-to-regulation ship in its fleet. Beyond such simple hacked-together variants of existing ship designs are the ship classes below—designs that can only thrive out beyond fleet regulation, standardized maintenance schedules, and common sense.

Class: Auxiliary Logistics Ship

Long operations in hostile or simply unindustrialized space can test the limits of even the best-supplied ships. The natural way around this issue is simply to bring a safe harbor with your fleet: the auxiliary logistics ship. One part mobile drydock, one part supply hauler, one part engineering drone controller, an “aux” can in theory keep a fleet active indefinitely given a few well-placed moons and asteroids to scavenge for materials.
This is a wizard school, though one that’s closer to a conventional cleric in party role.

Perk: All-Devouring Industry

You can convert raw materials into deployment dice, for your own use or an ally’s, at a rate of roughly a big metal asteroid or equivalent per die. This can’t be done in combat unless it’s a very long combat indeed, but when individual rounds aren’t being tracked consider the time negligible; certainly faster than the normal refit and repair process a typical carrier can manage.

Drawback: Lumbering Colossus

You can’t mount main guns. If a question of the form “are you maneuverable enough to ______” needs to be asked, the answer is no.

Cantrips

  1. Fleet Logistics Hub: You, personally, cannot run out of supplies. As long as you’ve used All-Devouring Industry within the past dozen duty cycles, neither can [templates] capital ships and proportional light escorts under your care; if you need to care for more, divide the frequency of raw material consumption accordingly.
  2. Dedicated Engineering Team: Your crew can fabricate from spare supply any device simpler than a jump drive and smaller than a shuttle. This takes about a duty cycle, less if you devote your full focus to it.
  3. Decompilation: Your crew can convert an unknown piece of technology, or the wreckage thereof, into schematics for that device. This has a [templates]-in-6 chance of working at all on wreckage, and the same chance of not turning a previously working piece of technology into wreckage.

Spells

  1. EVA Repairs (R short, T one capital-scale target or a squadron of escorts, D instantaneous)
    Restore up to [sum] hull to or divided among the target(s).
  2. Hostile Environment Support (R medium, T [dice] capital-scale targets or escort squadrons, D command)
    Grant the targets +[dice] to saves against a particular type of environmental condition.
  3. Thermochemical Boosters (R long, T one ship, D [sum] rounds or [dice] landing + takeoff sequences)
    Grant the target doubled movement in space combat, or the ability to land and take off again in a gravity well it is not normally designed for (most capital ships can’t land on anything bigger than a large moon).
  4. Arsenal Pods (R medium, T up to [dice] capital-scale targets, D command)
    Assign the rolled dice to targets; they each deal +1 damage with missile attacks, ticking their die down by one for each shot, ending when it reaches 0. You can also add a special tag of your choice to attacks modified this way; something like “incendiary” or “sensor-jamming” that doesn’t give direct bonuses but does imply things about what types of defense are applicable or what happens to someone who gets hit.
  5. Chaff Generators (R long, T up to [dice] capital-scale targets, D command)
    Grant the targets +[dice] to AC and stealth.
  6. Ablative Swarm (R medium, T one ship, D command)
    Absorbs the next [sum] hull or crew damage the target would take from external sources.
  7. ECM Drones (R [sum] su, T whole area in range, D command)
    Conceals the area from standard sensors. Sensors of exceptional quality may be able to pierce the ECM field. Looking out the window still works.
  8. Isolation Field (R long, T one ship, D command)
    Target must save at -[dice] or be entirely cut off from all communications.
  9. Jump Solution Optimizer (R long, T up to [sum] total ships, D instantaneous)
    Allows all the targets to make an FTL jump without any further preparation. If this does not cover all the desired targets, the jump may be canceled without consequence beyond wasted dice.
  10. Psychohistorical Simulation Network (R self, T something highly connected and significant, D [lowest] hours)
    Provides up to [dice] relevant predictions about the future behavior of the target.
  11. Capital Drydock (R touch, T one ship, D one duty cycle)
    You can salvage and restore even a destroyed ship from wreckage, at least temporarily. The first [die] recovers the ship’s black-box. The second [die] recovers up to [sum] crew. The third [die] restores the ship to limited functionality, but it can’t be restored above 0 hit points without a full rebuild. The fourth [die] restores the ship to true functionality with up to [sum] maximum hull, but reduces your maximum deployment dice by one as long as you need to keep it functioning. The fifth [die], if you can somehow acquire it, truly and completely restores the ship.
  12. Improvised Weapon Paradigm (R self, T self, D [sum] rounds)
    With a ship full of engineers, everything is a weapon. For the duration, you do not take damage from capital-ship or lesser weapons, your attacks deal maximum damage, and your attacks against targets of HD/level less than [dice] cannot miss.

Class: Battlecruiser

Take a mostly-obsolete light battleship. Rip out most of the armor—it’s just slowing you down. Fill the space you’ve opened up with more guns and thrusters. Behold: the battlecruiser, a ship with the speed and armor of a cruiser, the rough size and crew of a battleship, and the broadside armament of a dreadnought, the ultimate in hit-and-run tactics.
This is, to a very rough approximation, a monk.

A: Battle of Maneuver
B: Broadside, Point Defense
C: Excessive Thrust
D: Broadside!, Injection Burn

Battle of Maneuver

Positioning wins battles; timing wins wars. As long as your armor is no heavier than bulkheads, as part of an attack or combat maneuver, you can name and describe a unique naval tactic. This stunt allows you to ignore [templates] AC or difficulty, and if applicable also add [templates] to damage. Record named stunts; you can use it in the future when circumstances permit, avoiding the need to invent a new stunt, but only once per battle.

Broadside

An unfairly large fraction of your mass is dedicated to heavy artillery. With two templates, add +1d6 damage to any attack you make when you have a perfectly clear shot at your target (no circumstantial improvements to their defense, say). With four, add another +1d6.

Point Defense

By replacing your armor with more guns, you both can and must shoot down projectiles a true battleship would simply shrug off—assuming you have time to react. Unless something is impeding your movement or targeting, you can protect yourself and other ships within 5 su of you from any projectiles launched from more than 30 su away.

Excessive Thrust

If a piece of fancy piloting work would be feasible for a subcapital ship but laughable for a capital ship, you have a 2 in 6 chance of being able to pull it off anyway. If you consider it a round in advance so your crew can precalculate the maneuver, you can roll before deciding whether or not to try it.

Injection Burn

You win initiative. You are not surprised. You are too maneuverable to properly outflank or line up raking fire against; no benefits are gained from these and similar types of maneuver against you.

Class: Ace

There are legends of fighters who have stood against capital ships and won, weaving between the lines of battle, one with their pilots. Those are not mere tall tales; you are that ship, cunning and grace incarnated in the smallest of durasteel frames.
This is… a raven?

A: Wings of Glory, Lethal Precision
B: Targeting Interlock // Squadron Commander, Electronic Countermeasures
C: Zero Profile
D: Specialized Payload

Wings of Glory

You are a personal spacecraft in a world dominated by capital ships, with all that entails. Regardless of your stats and templates, you only have one crew member, and accordingly a single hit point. You can’t mount any armor or capital-ship weapons, you have one bay (inventory slot) and even that’s smaller than usual, but you’re twice as fast as a capital ship and effectively infinitely more agile. The good news is that although you really can’t survive a hit from a capital ship gun, your size and evasive maneuvers also make you an incredibly difficult target to hit; you only take damage from critical hits. You don’t carry supply for long-term independent operations, normally, and are instead based on an allied capital ship, from which you can launch or land as your movement in a round.

Lethal Precision

You couldn’t possibly carry a weapon capable of blasting through capital ship armor. You don’t need to; there’s all kinds of deliciously vulnerable systems that have to be partially outside the armor to work, and you have the maneuverability to get in close enough to actually target those weak points. Instead of making attack rolls and dealing hull damage, your attacks (at point-blank range only) have a [templates]-in-6 chance of shattering a random vital system. Roll (not choose) the same system twice, and you’ve knocked out the power core, plus save vs. rapid unscheduled disassembly.

  1. Communications
  2. Main Weapon
  3. Thrusters
  4. Sensors
  5. Life Support (1d6 crew damage)
  6. Choose One

Targeting Interlock (Based on Combat or Specialist Ship)

Your targeting computer is designed to act as a spotter for the far heavier guns of your allies. Whenever you use your Lethal Precision, whether you hit or miss, your base ship can make a free attack against the same target.

Squadron Commander (Based on Carrier or Support Ship)

Your communications array is designed to coordinate a full wing of other light ships. Whenever you use your Lethal Precision, whether you hit or miss, your target rolls saving throws against your base ship’s small craft twice and takes the worse result. Alternatively, you can take your action to focus fully on command, allowing your base ship to reroll a single deployment die while launching small craft this turn.

Electronic Countermeasures

You can credibly and reliably spoof any communication you have the proper authorization codes for, and have a [templates]-in-6 chance of disrupting a target’s scans or communications at point-blank range. You roll saves against electronic attacks twice, taking the better result.

Zero Profile

You can, as a free action once per round, shut down or reactivate all your systems. While shut down, you can’t move other than gliding, or take any other action besides passive observation; but you are also invisible to any sensors more sophisticated than literally looking out the window.

Specialized Payload

Spend up to four full duty cycles aboard your base ship loading a special payload, replacing either your inventory slot or your weapons. This payload can be deployed and consumed, with effect as if you personally were a unit of small craft (choose and modify-if-needed a spell, including a legendary spell, from whatever source you want), with one deployment die per duty cycle of preparation. You can restore yourself to your normal configuration in 1d6 rounds on your base ship.

Swords of Fine Culture

The current trend in THREE WORD NAMES for weapons has inspired me to create 1d12 (or 1d8, for small wielders) swords with a different naming scheme entirely.

  1. Blaspheme Profusely Against Light and Law, a light (2d3) crystalline-mithril makhaira set with tiny agates. She has studied a wide variety of heretical theologies, and will expound at length on her ontological ideas whenever not sheathed. She has a 1 in 12 chance of knowing the true name of any demon encountered.
  2. Personal Conflicts of Interest, a light (2d3) meteoric-steel saber with a teak pommel. He constantly points out opportunities, however farfetched, for advantage, and knows the rough market value of anything his blade touches. He affects a drawl, but drops it when talking business.
  3. Shut Up and Roll the Dice, a pair of light (2d3) cold iron hookswords. A character carrying one of the sisters will never succeed at any kind of acrobatic stunt; a character carrying both still won’t, but will also never suffer harm in attempting one. They finish each other’s sentences, which are usually references to media nobody else has ever heard of.
  4. Militant Disregard for Common Sense, a light (2d3) Imperial Gold parrying dagger. They will bicker endlessly with a sword wielded alongside them, but have a grudging respect for axes. If they’re used to sever a rope, both cut ends will immediately knot themselves.
  5. I Seriously Doubt That Possibility, a medium (2d4) jade-and-bronze jian with an oversized crossbar. Those cut by him and still bleeding can see the invisible and touch the intangible. He is fond of epic poetry, and his blade glints brighter when the wielder’s actions remind him of a particularly dramatic scene.
  6. Wake Me Up When You Have a Better Idea, a medium (2d4) ringsword of coruscating adamant. They are unbreakably linked to the global gossip network, and any kill they aid in will instantly be widely attributed to the wielder.
  7. Another Day Another Blasphemy, a medium (2d4) glasssteel scimitar with a wing motif on the crossguard. He condescends to any wielder incapable of magic use, and incorrectly assumes his knowledge of hydromancy is equalled in any other discipline. He does actually have a magic die he will deign to allow the use of in spells dealing with water.
  8. A Royal Lesson in Rhetoric, a medium (2d4) cutlass of some strange Hyperzephyrean alloy. Exceptionally well-versed in military protocol, courtly etiquette, and the Pirate’s Code. They parry siege-weapon shots as readily as other blades.
  9. Let’s Give It Another Go, a heavy (2d6) ulfire flamberge, her hilt wrapped in dreamsilk. She has an extensive knowledge of history, but is a refugee from a highly divergent timeline, limiting its applicability. Against other creatures of that timeline, she always deals maximum damage.
  10. Please Consult Your License Agreement for Further Details, a heavy (2d6) sigil-inscribed worldwood and darksteel glaive. They speak slowly, picking their words with care and precision, and can find loopholes in any contract by cutting a bit of the paper it’s written on.
  11. Perhaps That was a More Than Sufficient Amount of Blasphemy, a heavy (2d6) screaming soulforged sword more reminiscent of a bulldozer blade than anything designed to be actually wielded. She is overly critical of her wielder’s social missteps, but one who takes her seriously will actually improve in such niceties, gaining the Savoir Faire skill.
  12. Should Have Considered the Arthropods, a heavy (2d6) steel zhanmadao with green jade inlays. He can speak with stones, and translate their speech; for a while after doing so, his normally nervous demeanor shifts more calm and resigned.

Arts of Legend: GLOG Advanced Classes

The following classes, each based on a Pathfinder prestige class, all lack an A template. They cannot be taken by a starting character; instead, they each have a special requirement that must be met to train in them. Even if your GLOG hack of choice doesn’t otherwise have generous retraining rules, you can overwrite up to three of your existing templates with advanced-class templates; but regardless you must always keep an A template from some source.

Enlightened Necromancer

From the boundary between life and death, you glimpsed a shining truth—true mastery of death comes not without, but within. Shunning armies of the damned, you seek to perfect the magic of life and death in your own body and soul, and ascend beyond the cycles of the natural world.

Δ: View from the Brink
B: Lich’s Grasp, Eldritch Transgression, +1 MD
C: Deathly Misdirection, Scholar of the End, +1 MD
D: Flesh Falls Away, +1 MD

View from the Brink

You must have slain a living creature, restored life or unlife to a dead one, and won a game with your soul as the stakes.

Lich’s Grasp

Your touch is a weapon that deals [sum] damage to the living and restore the same amount of health to the undead.

Eldritch Transgression

Your spells that affect living, dead, or undead creatures now affect all three.

Deathly Misdirection

If you capture a ghost or other spirit, you can use it as a mask, replacing any or all information divinations might find about you with the result the mask-spirit would have. (For example, a spell that detects living creatures could fail to find you, as the mask-spirit is dead; a spell scrying for your location would still work, as the mask-spirit is in the same place.)

Scholar of the End

The secrets of life and death know their rightful master. After you see a spell that deals in life or death cast, you can call it to you, and it will abandon its former mage and join you instead. Thereafter, you can cast it with your MD as normal.

Flesh Falls Away

Your secrets are assembled; your mind and soul are prepared; your body has lost its former relevance. Your transcendence begins. Choose one of the following or research and invent your own. Regardless of your choice, you can see in the darkest night, you no longer age, sleep, hunger, or thirst, and you are, technically speaking, dead.

Lich

  • Your flesh is gone; only bone and sorcery remain, tough as chainmail.
  • You fear no chill or storm; neither cold nor electricity will harm you.
  • Your soul is stored externally to your body; in the event your body is destroyed, it will regenerate a new one in 1d10 days.
  • Your Lich’s Grasp paralyzes creatures if you roll a 6 on any of the damage dice.

Vampire

  • Your flesh is cold and hard as steel plates.
  • You cannot be killed except by a stake through the heart, sunlight, or immersion in running water.
  • You can take the form of a mundane bat, wolf, or cloud of fog.
  • Your Lich’s Grasp can also be delivered through a bite instead of a touch; if it is, you regain hit points equal to the damage dealt.

Shade

  • Your physical form is no longer material; you can walk through walls and so forth.
  • While in shadow, you can neither be seen nor harmed by any physical attack.
  • You can step into one shadow and out of another nearby.
  • When you kill a creature with your Lich’s Grasp, you steal its shadow. Up to three stolen shadows will serve you as loyal minions.

Ranger-Warden

They say there will always be tyrants, and you know better than most. As the machinery of empire pushed ever outward into the frontier, you stood before it, and a hunter of beasts became a hunter of tyrants. People hungry for freedom look to the woods for your sign, emperors tremble, and armies move against you.

Δ: Signs of a Champion
B: Woodland Affinity, Guerrilla Tactics, +1 MD/VD or +1 Damage
C: Heart of Freedom, +1 MD/VD or +1 Damage
D: Phantom Strike, +1 MD/VD or +1 Damage

Signs of a Champion

You must have made your own armor by combining the horns or hide of a great beast with the regalia of an Imperial high officer, both slain by your hand.

Woodland Affinity

While in wilderness terrain, you gain the following benefits.

  • You can intuitively sense hidden snares and ambushes.
  • The weather is at worst annoying to you, never truly harmful.
  • You can’t be tracked.
  • The wind and fog move at your sign.
  • You can see through darkness and thick foliage clearly.

Guerrilla Tactics

When you attack from ambush or outflank your foes, you can deal an extra 1d6 damage on a hit, automatically knock down or disarm a humanoid enemy, or disappear back into cover before your position becomes clear.

Heart of Freedom

You can roll twice and take the better result when saving against fear and compulsion attacks. Those who follow your banner gain this benefit, and the same benefit on morale checks. Furthermore, once each round when one of your enemies in range attacks one of your allies (who does not have a similar feature), you can return fire immediately.

Phantom Strike

Your movement is not hampered by terrain or poor visibility. In addition, when you successfully attack from ambush, your target must save, or choose whether to flee or cower in panic (in addition to any morale check that may be required).

Starmarshal

Out on the frontier, the law is weak and desperate; its reach no more than the range your keen eye and fine weapon permit. Stagecoach robbers, reagent smugglers, renegade thaumaturges—they thought nobody could stop them, and nobody could until you reached out and did.

Δ: Long Arm of the Law
B: Bulletproof, Labyrinth Commando, +1 Attack
C: Deadeye, +1 Attack
D: Under the Gun, +1 Attack

Long Arm of the Law

You must have been deputized, led a posse, and brought in a notorious outlaw dead or alive.

Bulletproof

You take minimum damage from all ranged attacks, and when you succeed at a saving throw for half damage you take none instead.

Labyrinth Commando

While in urban terrain, you cannot become lost, you always win initiative, and opening or kicking down doors doesn’t interfere with your movement.

Deadeye

Your ranged attacks ignore cover and armor, and you can’t inadvertently kill someone you’re trying to take down alive.

Under the Gun

Creatures your weapon is pointed at cannot lie or attempt to deceive you in any way unless they are immune to fear.

The GLOG: Chosen by Divinity

I have been thinking, off and on essentially all year, about removing the cleric part of the 5e cleric domains—really, the cleric is the uninteresting part, the domains are mostly good fun. And so here I have six GLOG classes for the gods’ Chosen; perhaps you could use them to model a demigod, or simply some sort of champion, or anyone else with a fair bit of divine will but not really a cleric as such. Any Chosen gets +1 to saving throws per template, plus the features below.

Lawgiver’s Chosen
Starts with: A sword, a set of scales, a legal text, a magnifying lens, a formal robe, a holy symbol, obligations to your superiors and inferiors

A: You can give away your attack in combat. If you do and the gift is accepted, you choose the target of the attack. Any unlawful attack against your person meets resistance as if you were wearing plate armor.
B: When you make a demand backed by some form of legal authority, creatures must save vs spells or comply for at least 1 minute.
C: Any action you and your companions take against abominations, demons, and similar creatures of Chaos is legally sanctioned, both with respect to your A and B templates, and the reaction of any society you find yourself in.
D: When a creature hits with an attack granted by your A template, it rolls the damage twice and takes the better result. Once per week, if you spend ten minutes praying to the one who chose you, they will seal away indefinitely a creature you kept in your presence for the duration of the prayer.

Loreseeker’s Chosen
Starts with:
A backpack full of esoteric texts, a mostly blank notebook, writing implements, a walking staff, a holy symbol, an academic rival

A: You speak whatever languages are relevant. When you gain this template, choose two highly specific areas of study; you know whatever information would be useful or interesting about those fields. Pick another field at each template.
B: Carefully examining an object always allows you to determine its purpose and method of use; if it is broken, you can determine what’s wrong with it, though not necessarily what to do about that.
C: You can pick up the surface thoughts of creatures you interact socially with. You can attempt to alter those thoughts, injecting an idea or impulse of your choice, but a save vs spells is permitted, and you can’t do so again until you rest or eat lunch.
D: You can carefully examine an area to gain a vision of any recent and significant event that may have happened there. When you pray to the one who chose you, you learn what you need to know, though rarely what you want to know.

Radiant’s Chosen
Starts with:
A sword, a heavy shield with inscribed holy symbol, shining mail armor, firestarting supplies, a golden necklace, a necromantic conspiracy tracking you

A: Above and behind your head is a halo that shines as brightly as a lantern. You can also briefly flare it substantially brighter than that, once per rest or lunch; not brightly enough to blind someone properly, but enough to force them to reroll an attack that would otherwise hit you, for example.
B: Magical darkness effects you touch are shattered. When you flare your halo, each enemy within 30 feet must save vs. spells or take 2d10 damage from the searing light.
C: You can shroud one weapon at a time in holy light. Such a weapon benefits from Wisdom as a normal weapon would from Strength and/or Dexterity.
D: Your halo shines as brightly as sunlight. Fires it illuminates cannot be extinguished by water. When you pray to the one who chose you, it will be answered with light that burns away darkness and deception.

Stormbringer’s Chosen
Starts with:
An axe or hammer, a suit of non-conductive armor, a book with a lightning-charred cover, a holy symbol, a giant’s enmity

A: When a creature damages you with a melee attack, it must save vs breath weapon or take the same damage from lightning.
B: Your melee attacks are accompanied with deafening crashes of thunder that knock enemies flying backwards.
C: If you’re not happy with a damage roll, you can choose to deal maximum damage instead. If you do, the difference is made up with electricity damage, and you can’t do so again until you rest or eat lunch.
D: You can fly as easily as walking, even in heavy armor. Once per week, if you spend ten minutes praying to the one who chose you, they’ll make lightning strike at the fixed location of your choice.

Trickster’s Chosen
Starts with:
Three sets of identification papers with different names, a coin that always flips tails, a dagger, a mask, a holy symbol, a bounty on your head

A: You are twice as likely to surprise creatures you encounter, and your movement is completely silent. You can loan this feature to a creature you anoint for one hour, but can’t use it until then.
B: You can create a perfect illusionary copy of yourself that lasts for a minute. It can’t fight, but you can control its movement, and it’s distracting enough to flank creatures. Alternatively, you can turn invisible by concentrating, remaining invisible until you breathe or attack. Once you use one of these features, you can’t use either again until you rest or eat lunch.
C: You can treat any weapon you wield as if it were poisoned. This poison works even on the undead.
D: You can create four copies instead of one with the B template, and you can use it twice (in any combination of the two modes) before resting or eating lunch. When you pray to the one who chose you, they will always answer, but never honestly.

Warmaster’s Chosen
Starts with:
Two weapons of your choice, an imposing suit of plate, a bloodstained map, a holy symbol, an old war wound

A: You can wield any object you can lift as if it were a deadly weapon of war. You are as nimble in heavy armor as in ordinary clothes, and as protected in ordinary clothes as in heavy armor. When you drop a foe, you can cleave through it to deal any excess damage to another.
B: When you or a warrior under your command misses with an attack, you can choose for that attack to hit instead. If you do, you can’t do so again until you rest or eat lunch.
C: Each round of combat, you can deal 1d8 collateral damage to a weaker enemy within your reach. This doesn’t require an attack roll, and happens in addition to and as a side effect of whatever else you’re doing with your turn.
D: You take half as much damage from weapons, rounded down. When you pray to the one who chose you for reinforcements, they will arrive, but after the battle you can expect them to make demands of you.