I don’t care about D&D. My heart belongs to its children.

I don’t care about D&D.
Or to be exact, D&D as a ruleset? Can’t be bothered.
I really can’t. I don’t care (any more) about the original game, and I don’t care (never have) about 3rd, 4th and 5th edition. Too much to do and to choose from, too many moving parts, way too many rules and superheroic feats.
Way. Too. Many.
And sorry but not sorry, descending armor class is bullshit and completely counterintuitive. AAC makes it more bearable, but still… way too many rules.
Way. Too. Many.
I don’t care about much of the OSR, either. Retroclones, my ass. I have the original game(s) on my shelves, and even if I didn’t have them, I’d go buy pdfs or decently priced originals.
I DO care about a few OSR games, though.
I care about @Chris McDowall ‘s Into the Odd. Because it’s so quick and forgiving-unforgiving at the same time. Because it has so, so, so many awesome hacks people wrote for it. Its big brother, Bastionland, will be a piece of art. I’ll be backing this beaut on Kickstarter like crazy.
I care about @Olde House Rules 2d6 system (Blood of Pangea and Barons of Braunstein, specifically). Because it takes me back to a time before fancy dice invaded our hobby. Because it feels positively ancient, but still plays very, very quick.
I care about The GLOG. Because it’s the D&D I always dreamed of and always wanted to play (and tried to write, often enough). Because it has all I want in a game: classes galore, races galore, a magic system that blows my mind because it’s so freakishly awesome (and you can still use old D&D spells if you want).
So there you have it: I don’t care about D&D. I care about three of its children, and that’s really all that counts, isn’t it?

A.I. and OSR: I had a neural network create hex descriptions. This is what happened.

I took a few of Arnold’s hex descriptions of Abasinia:

Slave-trading hub.  Muddy coliseum.

1307 The Burning City
Former capitol of Abasinia.  Was smote by clerics of the Church prior to Abasinia’s conversion.  Now it burns eternally, fire sputtering up through the flagstones, etc.  Full of trapped genies.

1605 West Ascent to White Plateau
Rumors about the White Plateau: The people there are wizards who deal in spiders and rubies.  They hate outsiders.  They will shred your dreams and poison your gold, but they do have the ability to regrow missing limbs.  (This place is sort of based on the Plateau of Leng, but it’s safe to say that because I know next to nothing about the Platea of Leng.)

And then, I asked a neural network to spin that tale further. This is what it came up with, and I must say, I’m impressed:

1592 Bairnhill
The Black Market has been in one place, but the merchants no longer make use of it. The Black Market is a huge chain of shops. You can’t pick where you’re going, not even to avoid any traps around you. You can even sell food that you’ve eaten. There are the usual random choices. 

1722 A Town on the Edge of the World
Named after the gold-filled mountains near the town of Glimador. Rumors of high-end treasure and great gold have begun to spread among the populace.   In response, the nobles of the Silver City have banned all forms of magic, particularly necromancy.   And the gold has vanished into thin air, and the silver still doesn, too. (For now.)

2050 Black Pyramid
A huge pyramid with a white pyramid inside.  The people here are cannibals who eat human skin. They use a sort of necrogish-synthesized-glint magick to heal wounds at the touch of a blade. 

1702 Borne-Havre-St. Denis
“The first city in a large desert region. The largest city is named after the region, just the place. It’s very peaceful but it’s quite an interesting sight in it’s own time. It stands as a symbol for the area around. It is a city from ancient times until the modern day. When things seem really bad, a local magician’s son who was born with magical powers comes to stay at the city.

1745-1765 (Punishing-Trolls-on-Fire) 
A band of trolls (not the Red-beetles I am trying to call them) who, since they are evil, use fire as a weapon of destruction. They live in an unbreakable wall of flames that makes everything inside it unliveable or impossible to reach, so there is not even a bridge and no way to cross it.

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): https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1P4vVibmet_QzJH9IrmIRQaM-9QD5uv5dPbKLad21Ibo/edit#gid=0

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.

My own private FrankenGLOG (or is it GLOGgenstein?)

This is what I wrote on MeWe yesterday:

Just came back from our first GLOG game ever. And FUCK ME, what an awesome game it was! This really is what I have been looking for, for ages and ages! Super quick, super easy to referee, cool and funny classes… Thank y’all for writing all the crazy good material, and thank you, @ArnoldK, for inventing that system. It’ll be my go-to rpg from now on. We had so much fun tonight, we roared with laughter 🙂
Haven’t had so much fun in a long time in an rpg session. Arnold calls it a “swift little engine of joy”, and I agree wholeheartedly. And add the following, “a swift little engine of joy that can handle anything you throw at it”. And no shit, I think I have found my game.

I think I’m in sweet nerdy nerd-love again. The object of my gaming heart’s desire is called GLOG. My, what a wonderful, wondrous, free, humorous, welcoming and light-hearted creature you are!

You tickle my gaming nerves in all the right places: roll-to-hit, HD/hp and stats compatible with the old editions of Ye Olde Game, just the right amount of special abilities (between 4 and 8, tops), and multiclassing is outrageously simple (just pick another class template when you gain a new level, gather the special abilities, done).

There are many different variations of Arnold’s original GLOG out there; I picked a few and created my personal Frankenglog, consisting of: