Wednesday, May 22, 2019

GLOG Class: Thief

You grew up lacking something. Parents, a home, a conscience, something to do, restraint. Any or all of those.

There’s no hole inside you. And even if there were, you’ve filled it with excitement.

Right?

Mathieu Latour-Duhaime

GLOG Class: Thief


Changelog: 6/2: Added examples to an Eye for Detail.

A:The Heist*, Hidden Pockets, Fast Hands (Syndicate vs. Freelancer)^
B: Eye for Detail, Wall Crawling**, Unlabeled Package*
C: Tricky**, Scrounge**
D: Great Escape*, Opportunist*

* are sourced from Skerples’s Thief.
** are sourced from Type1Ninja’s Thief.
^ not core feature but discussed below the core features.

The Heist is the core of your being, the thrill of the hunt. Once per adventure or dungeon or campaign arc, you can gain 10% bonus XP for any one valuable item you personally stole. It has to pass through your hands, or you have to be the one masterminding the theft. Unguarded or abandoned treasure does not count (unless there are traps). For example, a gem worth 1,000gp would give you 100 extra XP. If the bonus XP would cause you to gain a level, you instead gain the exact amount needed to gain the level.

You’ve got Hidden Pockets on your person. You can mark a number of items equal to your Thief templates hidden. Unless your apparel, body, and armor is very thoroughly searched, these items won’t be found. The items hidden must be small enough to fit in your mouth.

Your Fast Hands help keep you alive. You gain an extra Fast inventory slot for each Thief template you have.

Your Eye for Detail helps you find things others overlook. You can spot additional details when searching or peeking or gain insight into the meaning of a detail.

1d6 extra details:

  1. Marks of recent activity involving item/area
  2. Item/area’s history
  3. Use of item/area
  4. Past users of item/area
  5. Traces of a substance (liquid, powder) on an item/area
  6. Item/area partway through an action


Wall Crawling is a necessary habit. You climb just as well without climbing gear as with it, and if a climb would be impossible using gear, you can roll anyway.

In town, you may spend any amount of money to buy an Unlabeled Package. When the package is unwrapped, you declare what it contains, as long as the contents comprise the appropriate number of Inventory Slots, don’t cost more than you originally paid, and are available in town. You can put multiple items inside a large Unlabeled Package, including smaller Unlabeled Packages. You can have no more than two Unlabeled Packages at a time.

You’re a Tricky combatant, as such, you roll with advantage when attempting Stunts.

Scrounge for useful things. Once per session, when you dig through trash or refuse, you can get an item rolled on the starting item table.

Once per day, you can automatically pull off a Great Escape from something that is restraining you and that you could plausibly escape from. This includes grapples, lynchings, and awkward social situations, but not sealed coffins or forcecages.

Be an Opportunist! Take advantage of situational bonuses to (surprise, elevation, etc) to deal an additional +1d6 damage on a nonmagical attack, provided you hit.

Syndicates versus Freelancers:
I didn’t include this in the core thief but I do think it’s an important part of thievery, and I’ll be using it in my own personal game.

Syndicated thieves enjoy a certain amount of protection, patronage, and equipment in exchange for 30-60% of their earnings per month. These rates can be negotiated, of course. Syndicates also act as contractors for thievery and similar endeavors, providing a somewhat steady source of employment and fences for objects. If a thief is caught or seen, a syndicate can bribe officers, eliminate witnesses, extract thieves, destroy records, or other such things. This aid depends on how much the thief pays the syndicate and how useful the syndicate perceives the thief to be. Some jobs are smokework, and if a thief gets caught on a smokework job, they’re expected to off themselves or be eliminated.

Freelancing thieves enjoy none of these benefits but keep 100% of their earnings. They can potentially build their own network or even their own syndicate but must be wary of competition from other syndicates or thieves. If a freelancer is attracting contracts away from syndicates, they may face recruitment offers, have an assassin sent after them, or have a bounty put on their head.

Basically, it’s a safety net versus faster leveling. The existence of syndicates also depends on the level of civilization in your setting, too.

Design Notes:
Well, I don’t believe in class triads. I do believe in the importance of sneaky stealy classes though. The feature that aggrieves me the most is Eye for Detail.
I struggled between giving thieves a Second Chance to see things or disarm traps or more information via Eye for Detail. I opted for more information but that means something else important: if the thief gets more information, they have an edge. This is right and good. Fighters get more attacks, wizards get more spells that summon killer ramen.
However, I don’t think thieves shouldn’t have a monopoly on information. All the clues necessary to solve the puzzle (including traps and maybe negotiations) need to be available to a party regardless of the number of thieves or quality of thieves the party has. I’m not going to lock information behind a successful roll if the party has been scouting/researching appropriately.
What is the utility of Eye for Detail, then, if all the information should be theoretically present to a party of veterans or druids?
Well, I see two options. The first is additional details that aren’t necessary to solve the puzzle/trap/social interaction but provide additional context. The second is an understanding of what the details mean. I’m sure there are other ways to use this, and I hope your thieves discover more ways.
This class will have some cross-pollination with the Assassin and possibly the Inquisitor. All three (Thief, Assassin, Inquisitor) do rely on a certain amount of subterfuge to accomplish their goals. Those goals will likely be very different, though.
This class will be a part of Who Fights Monsters, my in progress GLOG hack.

Sunday, May 19, 2019

And If You Think They Pay Students To Do This You'd Be Wrong

"Wizard schools are hotbeds of hobbies injurious to humanoid health, souls, and minds. And that's not even including the annual Flavortown cookoff, sponsored by the Monster Menu-All, your guide to underground edibles."

 - Asmodeus's Guide to Higher Education

"There must be a way to channel the energies of students into more productive, cooperative, and less rowdy disciplines. Wizard duels are too tightly regulated and boring for these new generations, what with these illegal seconds, thirds, fourths, and contingency spells."

- An excerpt from a memo High Magi Acererak wrote to the Hon. Smaug regarding wizardly spats

From the undoubtedly imbalanced minds of the Oblidisideryptch and the Velexiraptor (whose teams can be found here):

FIREBALL
A game of skill, luck, and informed cheating

Do you wish to contest this ruling, mortal?

Fireball is played between 2 teams of 4 players. At least one player on each team must be able to cast Fireball (or an equivalent spell that creates a ball of fire), and every team member must be able to interact with Fireballs in a way besides becoming seriously injured by them.

The game has 4 15-minute halves, separated by short rests for players to recover HP, strenuous abilities, and dunk their heads in Wyvernade.

A Fireball pitch is just long enough for long-ranged spells (like, for instance, Fireball) to make it halfway (~200', or 60 metres); a goalpost is located at each end.

Teams get one point for each Fireball spell that hits the opponent's goalpost; if it volleys off of 2 or more players besides the caster, it counts for 3 points instead.

There's a laundry list of what counts as a fireball, what counts as a player, what's allowed re. magic items, extradimensional interference, necromancy, time travel, etc. These (and other) rules are enforced by three referees, all loaded up with powerful movement, divination, and abjuration spells.

Gameplay Rules:
Player locations are demarcated by which Zone they're in. You're either on Home Side, Midfield, Away Side, or in Home/Away Goal (only one player is allowed to be seen in each goal at all times)

Home Goal | Home Field | Midfield | Away Field | Away Goal

At the beginning of the quarter, fill a bag with chits, one per player. Teams can set up their players anywhere from Midfield to their own Goal. Determine starting player by drawing from bag (without replacement). On a player's turn, they can move one zone and take one other action (casting a spell, punching someone, trash-talking...). If you move into a zone with an opponent in it, you may move to Cover them, so you can more easily Intercept their spells. If you move while Covered, whoever is Covering you can opposed DEX test to move with you and keep Covering you. If you move while undefended, anyone in the same zone can make a DEX test to catch up with you. If they do, they can Cover you.

To throw a Fireball (or another similar spell), make an INT or DEX test. Fireballs can go up to one zone away. Anyone in the same zone as the caster can try to Intercept by beating your INT/DEX test result with another INT/DEX test; if they succeed at Intercepting, initiative moves to them and they can interact with the Fireball; if multiple players try to Intercept then the highest roll wins. Anyone Covering the caster gets to Intercept as well, and goes first no matter what if they succeed.

If you can handle a Fireball with your bare hands (with a Shape/Control Fire spell, or by being magically fireproof), you can carry Fireballs while moving and hand them off to other players. Only players covering you or your target can try to Intercept the handoff.

If the Fireball makes it to its target:
    Target is an undefended goal: Score points equal to the Fireball's (dice)! If the Fireball volleyed off of at least 2 Intercepting players, it counts for double points.
    Target is a defended goal: Goalie makes a INT/DEX save to Intercept
    Target is an undefended player: The Fireball passes to the target, who now gets to act
    Target is a defended player: Everyone involved makes a INT/DEX test; whoever wins gets to Intercept   

When multiple Fireballs are in play, resolve them from closest to the Away Goal to closest to the Home Goal (this is Home Field Advantage)

If there are no Fireballs in play, next player is determined by drawing a chit; once the bag is empty, the Quarter ends.

The National Conclave for Arcane Athletics (NCAA)

8 of the 16 NCAA teams follow below.

The Balthifore Oracles:
Balthifore will have an excellent sense of timing. Infrastructure upgrades, downsizing before recessions, and generous college programs for obscure fields that suddenly become hotbeds of innovation and wizardly startups has propelled Balthifore University into generous budget surpluses that are quickly allocated towards fruitful initiatives...most of the time. To prevent massive prosecution over potentially illegal foreknowledge, the university also pours large sums of money into stupid and wasteful projects. Like the ongoing construction of the world’s largest Fireball stadium. Every year, a phase is finished, and the inauguration of the new construction phase takes place the next day. The current “stadium” is capable of hosting 4 simultaneous Fireball games and has been the seat of the last 2 finals. Despite their obvious prescient advantage, the Oracles only perform slightly above average...though their team steadily increases in quality from year to year.

Star Player: Pythia Alexandris, an international student famed for her stunning ability to be in the right place at the right time, especially if a game is on the line.

Special Techniques: The players have an eerie sense of coordination, dodging push-foiling maneuvers and adapting to new strategies with disconcerting speed. However, their audacious stratagems occasionally crater at just the wrong moment. At any given time, an Oracle can reroll any Int or Dex test with advantage or disadvantage. However, every time they use this ability, their opponent gains one use as well.

Home Field: The fields are well pruned and maintained, with no exceptional features save one. The massive projecting screen displaying the game has, without fail, displayed 5 random seconds of the upcoming game 5 minutes before the game begins. Attempts to thwart the projected 5 seconds from coming true have resulted in multiple freak coincidences creating the exact events projected.


The B. Smith Undergraduate College For Indigenous Education Thunderbirds:
The BSUCFIET - or “BS U” - to its students - has had a long and controversial history stemming from its establishment on a native burial ground and the culture of nepotism and racism among the college’s traditional administrators, the Smith family. Despite projecting a reputation as an institution where indigenous traditions were studied and preserved orally and in literature, the programs undertaken by faculty have often been deleterious to the cultures they wished to examine, in some cases benefiting companies seeking to profit off of natural resources held by said cultures. Tensions came to a head in the massive student riots 25 years ago that culminated in the college’s current president and deans being held hostage by students. The standoff with local law enforcement has continued since then, and with large numbers of faculty quitting, classes and facilities have become increasingly student and graduate managed. Despite these difficulties, the college has experienced a windfall in investments ever since indigenous representatives gained a majority seat on the college council, leading to a renaissance in cultural studies and overall education with enough money left to field a proper Fireball team.

Star Player: Quanah Parker, the son of a graduate student and a faculty member. Quanah demonstrates a devastating aptitude for weather magic, and frequently uses high pressure lashes of water to his advantage.

Special Techniques: The Thunderbirds have the power of flight, which they use sparingly as it tends to produce undirected discharges of lightning. A Thunderbird can potentially fly over an opposing player, but when they touch the ground again, they discharge a lightning bolt at a random player (Dex test to avoid) that deals 1 dice of damage for every zone traveled in the air.

Home Field: The field’s location is on a desecrated re-consecrated burial ground with massive sinkholes interspersed between stretches of tall, charred plains grass. The Thunderbird itself sleeps in the field’s’ cavernous holes, and occasionally emerges to conjure a torrential rainstorm over a player or a massive team-shifting gust of wind. The field itself harbors an animosity towards visitor teams, and usually curses one or two players before a match’s conclusion.


The Vigilaincie Beholders:
The Vigilaincie Institute of Opthamology is a small, private college seemingly unsuited to support a powerhouse Fireball team. Despite their lack of a home stadium, the Beholders possess unique abilites which gives them a strong edge to any unprepared teams. The players begin the match completely blindfolded, and communicate through a series of whistling and clicking noises of unnatural tone. When they take off the blindfolds, though, their terrifying power becomes clear. The Eyes of the Beholders possess many strange magical abilities maintained through visual acuity - if they can see a target, it can be affected. These powers are usually replicated in lesser form by fans for goofy effects and staring contests during matches.

Star Player: Ghuanadar Eyries, a humanoid of unknown ethnicity. Rumors that Ghuanadar’s entire body is covered in eyes beneath their black jumpsuit are entirely unsubstantiated.

Special Techniques: The Beholders each possess one team eye power - an antimagic stare - and one individual eye power and can “see” up to 2 zones away while blindfolded. When their non-antimagic eye is exposed, they can manifest powers ranging from petrification effects to walls of turf.

Home Field: None. However, the team lugs along large mirror apparatus that they often set up on the field and use to get the drop on players out of their visual range.

The Minneennim Twinned:
Minneennim University is a beacon for studies covering the broad spectrum of visible and invisible effusive radiations. As such, their Fireball team is composed of the most maddening illusionists they can find. The Twinned specialize in infuriating illusions of themselves, fireballs, and opposing players, often allowing for shenanigans right under the referee’s eyes and false “goals” that send the tally-devils into a frothing frenzy. Often, opposing teams will try to sneak in specially enchanted headwear to filter out the false cards.

Star Player: Hannah Tibbit, a graduate student with a penchant for camouflaging herself or enemy players to match their current background. Is suspected to conjure an illusory duplicate while impersonating a referee during home games. Such flagrant violations remain unproven.

Special Techniques: Illusions of fireballs, players, and medusae. Lots of them. Teams usually employ special tics during games to differentiate themselves from their illusory duplicates.

Home Field: The stadium is regular. The field is a box coated with one-way mirrored glass with two holes for exit and egress and mirrored geometric shapes sprinkled through the field. Snowblind glasses are a must for watching or playing a Twinned match.


The [] Mimics:
[] University is the premiere institution for the fine arts of acting and character impersonation with an impressive graduate espionage program. The University takes on the name of whatever team it’s due to play in it’s next Fireball match, leading to no end of legal confusion and temporary differentiated postage until the match is resolved. The players, consequently, are drawn from other teams. I mean, they impersonate players from other teams.

Star Player: Whatever player is popular at the moment, until the winds of change blow.

Special Techniques: Randomly determine team composition based on all sanctioned Fireball teams except the R’yleh [REDACTED] and whatever the opposing team is. Players may make an Int test to impersonate objects like fireballs and goalposts. Impersonating referees is strictly prohibited.

Home Field: The game takes place inside a large, open air wax museum of famous people and famous university graduates wearing Fireball equipment and magically animated to perform simple, harmless, random gestures. The wax will reform slowly if melted. It’s tradition for the Mimics to impersonate 4 random wax figures that are removed from the stadium as the game starts.


The Steer City Beastmasters:
Steer City University boasts one of the largest arcane animal husbandry programs in the world which spans hybridization, bringing extinct ancestors back, researching common arcane ancestry, and unique veterinary certifications. Their players are often talented students who’ve bred and bonded with archetypical beasties - one per player - that accompany them in matches.

Star Player: Bevonia Langhawrne, scion of a long line of ranchers who successfully bred a displacer beast with a cow, creating a 2000-pound beef behemoth named Vobe with fireproofed horns who’s always in a more inconvenient place than his position would suggest.

Special Techniques: The Beastmasters often bring dangerous animal companions onto the field. Pseudohydras and pseudochimeras are quite popular choices for matches, as the hybrid creatures incorporate classical abilities of many other monsters.

Home Field: The stadium is a squat concrete block stained and scarred by many monster emissions over the years. It features lots of hay bales and tasty treats for hungry beasts that will hopefully prove more appetizing than enemy players.


The Paracelsian Primordials
Paracelsus University is an old, renowned center of elemental studies with Colleges of Earth, Wind, Fire, Water, Metal, Wood, Void, Light, etc…..and the hotly contested Heart. The yearly team tends to be composed of leading students from randomly selected colleges. Inter-college rivalries between elements often flare up during matches, resulting in many widespread expulsions of fans from games over the years. Famously, the 5th final ever played didn’t have a winner because several feuding faculty, with the assistance of students, summoned multiple elemental apocalypses on the playing field at the same time. After decades of magical rehabilitation, the stadium was declared “fit to use pending terms and conditions and signing of a release of liability agreement”.

Star Player: Hawea Kekoa, a burly undergrad with many animated tattoos. He carries around a fireproofed surfboard that he always seems to find a use for, whether to swat fireballs or surf crowds.

Special Techniques:
Pyromancers: Can cast a 2 MD fireball with one dice and bend the path of fireballs.
Aeromancers: Can fly and suck the wind from opponents.
Hydromancers: Can extinguish or repel players with water.
Vaccuumancers: Can attract opponents or fireballs into gaping voids torn in reality.
Luxomancers: Can create blinding flashes of light and make hardlight implements.
Timbremancers: Can warp greenery into weapons or fashion lethal plants.
Empathomancers: Can cause opponents to feel the pain they inflict.
There’s an infinite number of mancers!

Home Field: A cracked, pitted wasteland of charred earth, rivers of lava, acid, and molten metal, occasional patches of greenery, and several named geysers that erupt in sync with the small volcano in the middle of the field.


The Lost Angels Radiance:
The Radiant Word Seminary was a small theology college until the Fall of Notre Dame. Surviving faculty and students took refuge in this college, leading several unsuccessful crusades until formally christening the Radiant Word as their new home. With the endorsement of leading clerics and paladins, the Seminary has become a thriving force of light opposite the blackened, crumbling spires of Notre Damned. Their rivalry is one of the most intense in the league. It’s rare a Radiance/Balors game goes by without at least half of each team carried off the field.

Star Player: Joan d’Arch, a living saint dedicated to an eternal crusade against the forces of Go’al. She leads a team of devoted paladins, each ready to martyr themselves to win against the forces of darkness.

Special Techniques: The Radiance are masters of banishment and containment of eldritch and demonic forces alike and possess massive staying power as each player knows how to heal.

Home Field: A consecrated, polished slab of white marble, where harmful enchantments are punished by angelic smites.

Write your own conferences! We'll play some games someday.

Ezcocotli

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