The GLOG – a guide for new initiates

As I’ve written in the past few days, I’m in love with an OSR system called ‘GLOG’, short for ‘Goblin Laws of Gaming‘. Or, to be more exact, Arnold created these rules first, and then a lot of others wrote their versions of them.

Its beauty is its simplicity. Also, the GLOG is nothing like all the countless other retroclones out there. It gives a flying fuck about staying close to whatever old version of D&D it tries to emulate, comes up with new and really exciting ideas (enter GLOG magic) and literally hundreds upon hundreds of classes and spells. The GLOG is just like your own feverish fantasy: It is what you want it to be.

The GLOG is also: free. And I mean this in both senses of the word. Free, as in free as a bird. You can really let your imagination soar, and the rules won’t stand in your way, while still providing a solid framework to hang your ideas on. And free, as in free of cost – if your financial situation doesn’t look very bright at the moment, you can still download ALL the material for absolutely free.

To some people, the possibly hundreds of blog posts with GLOG content, PLUS the wild variety of rulebooks available, look more like a threat (some call it “mess”).

But fear not – the following example of character creation will hopefully help you.

I’m deliberately using my own patchwork GLOG rules to prove to you that creating GLOG characters AND playing/running it is extremely simple.

As mentioned before, I use the Rat on a Stick edition as foundation, but for character creation, I’m using the Trenchcoat edition (the name coming from the blog that posted it, ‘Two goblins in a trenchcoat’). The reason: This edition has more races and failed careers.

Let’s open the pdf.

Ah, page 2. Character creation.

What do we have here? The same six stats as good ol’ D&D. That’s good. We know them, we know what they mean. So, let’s roll 3d6 in order:
STR 15, DEX 15, CON 10, INT 13, WIS 14, CHA 10 (holy shit, I really just rolled these numbers)

Stat Modifiers:
STR +2, DEX +2, INT +1, WIS +1

Then: Roll for Race. We’re still using Trenchcoat.

d60 on the Race Table: 7, I’m a Human. I may choose one stat for a reroll, and so I pick CON: 11! As a perk, I get a dog, but I’m rolling at a disadvantage when I have to save vs. mutations.

Next: Roll for Failed Career.

d100 on the table: Forester. I start with a bear trap.

Next: Filling out the other fields on the character sheet.

  • HP: I’m using the Rat on a Stick formula because it’s more forgiving: HP=CON-4, so: 7
  • Attack STR (that’s the number I have to roll on or under to hit successfully): 10+STR mod, so: 12
  • Attack DEX (ranged): 10+DEX mod, so: 12
  • Defense (that number, subtracted from 10, is subtracted from the attacker’s Attack stat):  10+DEX mod, so: 12
  • Save (like in Whitebox and other games, there’s only one general Save stat): 6+CHA mod, so: 6
  • Initiative: I don’t use this rule, so I leave this field blank
  • Aid (when you’re helping someone, for instance, trying to stabilize severely injured beings): INT/2, so: 7
  • Sneak: DEX-4, so: 11
  • Inventory Slots: STR, so: 15.

Next: Choose your Class.

Most GLOG variants offer several classes to choose from, but since they’re all cross-compatible, you can simply go ahead and pick one of the more than 300 classes available (and I’m sure, there are lots more out there on the intarwebs):

So let’s say, I’m picking the Barbarian.

You’ll notice that every GLOG class offers 4 different sets of abilities, from A to D. What you’ll do is you write down all the abilities listed under A. Later, when you gain a new level, you can either choose to pick the second set of abilities (B), or, even COOLER, you may choose to pick another class altogether. If you’re doing this, you’re multiclassing without all the fuzz of other games, and you’ll write down the first set of abilities (A) of the new class. That way, you could, theoretically, create a Barbarian-Cleric-Gambler-Orthodox Wizard. And yes, I would totally play that.

But we’re starting out right now, so I pick Set A from the Barbarian’s list. It contains one single ability: Rage. I won’t go into details about that ability, you can easily read it for yourself.

I also get to roll one starting skill: 1, I’m a Mountaineer. That means I can’t wear chain or plate armor.  I roll again to determine my mountaineer background: 2, I was a prince of a great nation who lived in valleys between mountains that cut through the clouds. Fucking A, man. I also get the Courtesy skill, 1 piece of gold, and the starting Noble rank of 1. Awesome!

That’s basically it. I now have a (poorly) equipped Barbarian and I know all his stats. What’s next?

Next: The GLOG Game system.

It’s a roll-on-or-under system. My barbarian has DEX 15, so whenever DEX is involved, I try to roll on or under 15 – a solid 75 percent success chance.

Opposed rolls are pretty simple, as well: Let’s say, I want to armwrestle another barbarian with STR 12. My barbarian has STR 15. Simply subtract the opponent’s stat from 10 and add the result to your STR. That’s the number you must roll on or under to beat him. So: 10-12 =-2. My STR of 15 -2 = 13. You could use change this to a more active resistance: Both sides try to roll on or under. The side with the higher, but still successful roll wins. Either way: Piece of cake.

Next: Combat.

Initiative: I’m not a fan of initiative rules, so we either establish the order of actions narratively, or I have each side (not individual) roll 1d6, higher goes first.

Let’s say, I attack you. I have an Attack stat of 12. You have a Defense stat (which will increase if you’re wearing armor), let’s say 11. Like with the opposed rolls above, I subtract your DEF from 10, then add the result to my Attack stat: 10-11=-1; 12-1 = 11. For this combat, I have to roll 11, tops, to hit you successfully. Let’s say you’re wearing chain armor (4 points), then the armor value is added to your Defense: 11+4 = 15. I would have to roll on or under 7. That’s a 35 percent success chance.

The simpler variant that doesn’t change the math is the one we were discussing on the Discord GLOG server the other day: Take the opponent’s armor value, add +1 for every point his DEF is above 10, subtract 1 for every point his DEF is under 10. So an opponent with DEF 11 wearing chain armor (4 points) gets 4+1= 5 points. Now, when I attack, I still try to roll on or under my Attack, but over the opponent’s number. In my case, this would result in a range between 6 and 12. This, again, is a 35 percent success chance.

Let’s say I roll my attack successfully and, thus, hit you. Now, I’m rolling damage, adding my STR bonus. The sum is the number of Hit Points you lose. Once you get to 0 hit points, nothing is lost, you’re not dead, but every hit after that has the potential to severely injure or kill you.

I’m using the Death & Dismemberment Table from the Die Trying edition. Let’s say, I hit you (5 hp) with a whopping 10 points of damage. You are now at -5 hp. I attacked you with my sword, so slashing damage it is.

The entry reads: “Horrifying near-miss, +1 Trauma”.
Now, I don’t use Trauma rules, so I simply take the next line down: “Painful injury; +1 DD and Shaken (Disadvantage on all checks), save ends”

That’s interesting! So my blow has probably cut you wide open and you’re bleeding profusely. Do yo know what “DD” means? DD are “Death Dice”. Each DD is a d6, and you add the result of that DD to every hit or damage you receive. Uh-oh.

Let’s continue this example: We exchange blows, you hit me, then, I hit you. I roll another 10 points of damage, but now I add the result of the 1 Death Die: 3. So, 13 points of slashing damage. Oh. The entry reads: “Left arm disabled; +3 DD”. Oh boy. This hit got you pretty good. You now have 4 DD. You are still standing, though. Maybe it’s advisable to play possum? But you won’t. OK. I understand that.

You attack, but miss (because of the Disadvantage you have, see above). My attack hits home again, and I’m rolling a sweet 8 for damage. PLUS 4 Death Dice: 4,2,4,4 = 14. That’s a total of 22 slashing damage. The entry reads: “+6 DD, automatically suffer a Breakdown”.

Now, you’re going down. You’ve collected 10 Death Dice in this combat, which means if someone hit you again now, the average damage coming from the Death Dice alone would be 35, resulting in, to quote the table, “TOTAL OBLITERATION”.

So there you have it. The bare basics of the GLOG. Very, very simple, right?
If you want me to write another piece for Wizards, please let me know.

And now, folks, please, puh-lease, give the GLOG a whirl. It’s a great, great game.

6 thoughts on “The GLOG – a guide for new initiates

  1. Thanks for writing this! I'm gonna send this to my players as when I start up my GLOG campaign. Although, I'll have to tell them to be wary that some things may be different.


  2. Thanks a lot, Luther! The DIY & Dragons was the post that got me interested in the GLOG. I had stumbled across Arnold's original GLOG before on his blog, but for some reason, I was not into it. Now, this has changed 🙂


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