Tuesday, June 29, 2021

GLOG Class: Action Movie Hero

You're a hero. Specifically, an action movie hero. Your muscles are big (though probably not natty) and so are your guns. You save the day, so long as you can keep the ratings up and budget down. You never look at explosions.

GLOG Class: Action Movie Hero
Starting Equipment: Gun, tank top, sunglasses
A: Budget, 2 Tropes
B: Tough Guy, +2 Tropes
C: Bigger Budget, +2 Tropes
D: Getting Too Old For This Shit, +2 Tropes


Budget: This is the fuel for your abilities. You start each session with 1d6 points (2d6 at Template C). You can gain more while in a session the following ways, each gives +1 Budget:

1. One-Liner: Say something cool/funny at an appropriate, climactic moment.

2. Heroic Sacrifice: Take a hit meant for someone else. You take the damage automatically. Has to be a bigger hit each time you use it in a session.

3. Leeroy Jenkins: Kick down the door and start shooting instead of doing something smarter.

If any of these ways annoy the rest of the group instead of entertaining them, the Budget gain becomes a loss. They are your audience.

If you're at 0 Budget or below at the end of a session, save with penalty equal to the number of Budget points below 0. If you fail you poof out of existence. You've been cancelled.

Tropes: These are your special effects and suchlike, the stuff that makes you larger than life. You get two tropes per Action Movie Hero template. Roll randomly for odd templates, choose for evens (D20):

1. Endless Ammo: Spend 1D4-2 (min. 0) Budget to not run out of ammo and not have to reload for a fight.

2. Gentlemanly Agreement: Compel enemies to fight you on even footing: one-on-one, hand-to-hand, or whatever else. Costs 1D4-2 (min. 0) Budget to affect a group of enemies for the duration of a single fight, if you run away while it's in effect you lose 3 Budget. You can also gain +1 Budget by doing the same for an enemy when it would disadvantage you.

3. Pyrotechnics: Make something explode which probably should not explode in so exciting a manner. It still needs some trigger to go off (getting shot, flicking a cigarette at it, etc.). Say about how big you want the explosion to be, DM decides budget cost based on explosion size and how unlikely it is that thing would explode (probably about 2 Budget per D6 of damage/10 feet of radius).

4. Knockout Strike: Hit someone with a surprise attack and roll a D6 per Budget spent. If the sum exceeds their HD they get knocked unconscious for 10 minutes or until slapped around, with absolutely no risk of permanent brain damage.

5. Shoot From The Hip: You can always draw your weapon without an action, pretty much instantaneously. You can spend Budget to ignore penalties for shooting while moving, shooting at moving targets, shooting from far away, and the like for the duration of a fight on a 1-for-1 basis, +/- 1D4-2.

6. Suppressing Fire: Shoot (or swing wildly) towards an enemy or group of enemies. None of your attacks will hit. Targets must save or be unable to move unless it's to take cover. Costs 1D4-3 (min. 0) Budget, +1 Budget per target after the first.

7. Say Hello To My Little Friend: Wield something that would require two hands or a tripod or whatever with one, ignoring recoil and leverage. Costs 1D4-2 (min. 0) Budget per fight.

8. Loose Cannon: Ignore legal consequences if you can get the job done. "The job" must have an end basically in line with the law (e.g. catch a killer). Use this trope at the outset of the job, the cost comes at the end. Cost is 1 Budget for inconveniences and breaches of courtesy, 2 Budget for victimless crimes, 3 Budget for nonviolent crimes (breaking and entering, theft), 5 Budget for violent crime, and 10 Budget for atrocities well beyond the scope of the job (blowing up an orphanage while trying to stop a purse-snatcher and the like). If you don't get the job done you pay the Budget cost and this trope has no effect.

9. Get The Girl: If you rescue someone from mortal danger, you can win their heart (as Charm Person with MD equal to the number of Budget points you spend, no miscasts or dooms). If you're an asshole to the Charmed person the effect ends and the Budget cost doubles.

10. Blast Away: Attack knocks target back 10 feet per point of Budget spent, +/- 1D4-2.

11. Stormtrooper Syndrome: Mook-tier enemies shooting at you take a -2x[Templates] penalty to their attacks. Costs 1D4-2 (min. 0) Budget and lasts 1d6 rounds.

12. Aim For The Bushes: Take the minimum damage possible for a fall (e.g. 1 per D6) if you can land in water, bushes, a feather mattress, or something similar. You can also jump through glass windows, walls of fire, and the like while taking the minimum possible damage. Costs 1D4-2 (min. 0) Budget per fall/jump.

13. Bullet To The Shoulder: Spend a point of Budget and take an action to cauterize a wound with gunpowder, ram a dislocated limb back in, or some similar quick and medically-inadvisable treatment to heal 1D6+[Templates] HP. The next time you would heal naturally you instead heal nothing. Can't be used again until after you would heal naturally.

14. Mook Mow-Down: Take out a mook-tier enemy in one hit. Costs 1D4-1 (min. 0) Budget per mook.

15. Stunt Driver: Ignore any penalties for trying a dumb stunt with a vehicle or mount (within loose reason, still couldn't hop a horse over a skyscraper). Costs 1D4-2 (min. 0) Budget per stunt.

16. Stupendous Silencer: Do something that would dubiously quiet a loud noise, like putting a pillow in front of your gun's muzzle, or wrapping your feet in towels while walking across dry leaves, then spend 1D4-2 (min. 0) Budget. For the rest of the fight/scene, muffle the sound as much as silencers do to gunshots in action movies.

17. Astonishingly Effective Cover: Cover you're behind becomes as durable as solid steel. Car doors can rebound rifle fire. If it's light enough to carry around, you can use it as a shield. Costs 1D4-2 (min. 0) budget per fight.

18. Armoury: You've got connections to weapons dealers, hidden gun caches, or the like. In a relatively civilized, populated area you can exchange Budget for weaponry. Costs 1 Budget for a dagger or comparable weaponry, 2 Budget for a sword or rifle, 4 Budget for a grenade, and any other purchases and prices as might be deemed reasonable. For 5 Budget (or as much as your DM wants to charge) you can get your hands on a cannon or similar heavy weapon.

19. I Know Just The Guy...: In a relatively civilized, populated area you can hit up an old acquaintance you know from the war or wherever. For 1 Budget this person will be a decently competent and loyal hireling. For 2 Budget this person will be an expert in a mundane skill or area of knowledge. For 3 Budget this person will be an expert in an esoteric skill or area of knowledge.

20. Slow-Mo: Perceive the world in slow motion for a round for a cost of 1D4-1 Budget (min. 0). While in slow motion you don't have to roll to achieve feats of incredible precision (run up a giant snake's back to stab it in the eye, read cards while they're being shuffled, etc.). At DM's discretion this may grant a bonus to appropriate saves or AC (dodging bullets, maneuvering between spikes launching out of floor, etc.).


Tough Guy: +2 HP, +1 Attack stat. If you're not looking at an explosion (or similar danger, like a dragon's fire breath) you take half damage from it.


Bigger Budget: Budget points at the start of a session increase to 2d6.


Getting Too Old For This Shit: You get a rookie follower, a Template A Action Movie Hero. This rookie has perfect morale if they're following your orders. If you die you can choose to take them over, and they get +1 Budget every session that they take a significant step towards avenging your death. If they die it takes a plucky young'un and a week of training montages to replace them.

Monday, June 28, 2021

Another Way to Identify Potions

(Falling down the wikipedia food articles rabbit-hole sometimes yields gems)

The typical way I've seen to identify potions in-game is to take a little sip from them. Enough to get a hint of their power, but not enough to waste the potion or get wrecked if their power is a bad one for the drinker. It's a good method.

But what is to be done when your players become unflappable potion-sommeliers, when you can't think of a decent hint, or when you just want to try something new? For one, there's this:

Snake wine (which can go by many names depending on its country of origin) is a beverage created by infusing alcohol with a whole snake. Its creation and imbibement was first recorded in China in 771 B.C., as a medicinal drink which contained the snake's essence. These medicinal properties are sometimes still used to advertize snake wine.

It also looks pretty damn cool. So here's the other way to identify potions: they've got a dead animal floating in them. The sort of animal indicates what the potion does, but ideally never in a too-straightforward way (say the potion contains a glassy jellyfish - is it a potion of invisibility? of bonelessness? poison? water-breathing?), so that you could make an educated guess without 100% certainty. In-game this could be justified by saying absorbing the essence of an animal is a vital part of potion-making. You can also mess with your enemies by swapping out the animal inside the potion.

This way also lends itself to further twists. Maybe the animal inside isn't quite dead, and resents your attempt to slurp up its home? Maybe the animal is way too big for the bottle it's impossibly stuck within, and breaking the glass or drinking the entire potion will cause it to explosively expand? Maybe there are two animals duelling within, and whichever wins (possibly with your help tilting the odds) will decide the potion's effect? And so on and so on.

Here's a list of potions and possible animals they could contain:

Clairvoyance - hawk, googly-eyed goldfish, a cluster of various animals' eyes, braided together by the optic nerve like a bunch of grapes

Invincibility - tortoise, tardigrade, pangolin

Sovereign Glue - web-weaving spider, velvet worm, horse with legs that branch into a great number of hooves

Burrow - mole, worm, legless lizard

Courage - wolverine, honey badger, lion

Anchoring - tortoise, snail, tube worm

Nondetection - stick insect, viceroy butterfly, stonefish

Spider Climb - spider, gecko, snail

Regeneration - starfish, gecko, flatworm

Water walk - ibis, water strider, basilisk lizard

Sunday, June 27, 2021

D6x6 Foundational Dungeon Fountains

Table automator here: http://meanderingbanter.blogspot.com/2018/10/automatic-list-to-html-translator-v2.html

D6This fountain's water
1 is murky and foul-smelling.
2 is unnaturally pristine.
3 is overgrown with weeds and algae.
4 is spilling out onto the floor from a crack in its side.
5 is hot to the point of steaming.
6is cold, with chunks of ice floating atop.

D6This fountain's spout
1 is a pair of dragons fighting, water spewing from their mouths and wounds.
2 is a lotus, water spilling from within its petals.
3 is a trio of weeping women, one a maiden, one a mother, and one a crone.
4 is cherubs tipping out vases.
5 is an abstract sculpture of intertwined teardrop shapes.
6is a pelican cutting open its chest with its beak.

D6This fountain is occupied
1 by the drowned ghost of an adventurer with unfinished business elsewhere in the dungeon.
2 by a family of piranha-people who are reluctantly compelled to ravenous violence by the sight of blood.
3 by a near-invisible, highly venomous species of jellyfish.
4 by a species of minuscule humanoids who live on lilypad-villages and ply their canoes across its water to trade and war with each other.
5 by a naiad.
6by a crusty frog-man pretending to be a transformed prince.

D6This fountain gets water
1 from a spring passing through porous rock.
2 from a bound water elemental within it.
3 by being refilled by rusted automata.
4 through rainwater traps and efficient recycling.
5 by drawing it through ingeniously-designed pipes from an underground river.
6from an elaborate condensation mechanism.

D6This fountain's secret
1 is that it was originally built as a giant's bidet.
2 is there's a secret passage you can swim through at the bottom.
3 is that it's full of blessed holy water.
4 is that soaking in it will heal you, but make you dependent on soaking in water to heal naturally in the future.
5 is that the water is some other, less pleasant substance disguised by an illusion.
6is that people have tossed gold coins in it to make wishes. Taking a coin imposes a geas to fulfill its tosser's wish.

D6This fountain also
1 transmits memories to those who drink it.
2 contains a switch which will flood the area when flicked.
3 is a watering hole for a herd of cave-goats.
4 rapidly accelerates the growth of plants watered with it.
5 is decorated with a mosaic that depicts the true yet scandalous version of a historical event.
6is itself sentient and capable of musical speech through its spouts.

Thursday, June 24, 2021

D20x5 Horror Movie Premises

Wow haven't done one of these since March.

Just click the button below to generate a horror movie premise of your very own. Could also be used for a tabletop horror game premise. It's flexible.

All thanks to Paper Elemental for the table automator.


This movie's about [group]

teenagers holding a raging party [place], [monster]. The teenagers [strife]. [twist].
undergrads undergoing a psychology experiment [place], [monster]. The undergrads [strife]. [twist].
cultists performing a ritual [place], [monster]. The cultists [strife]. [twist].
mobsters making a black market deal [place], [monster]. The mobsters [strife]. [twist].
a special forces unit undergoing a special training exercise [place], [monster]. The unit [strife]. [twist].
strangers with a mysterious connection to each other awakening suddenly [place], [monster]. The strangers [strife]. [twist].
an extended family going on a last-ditch, eccentric vacation to reconcile with each other [place], [monster]. The family [strife]. [twist].
a small company participating in a team-building exercise [place], [monster]. The colleagues [strife]. [twist].
retirees having a reunion [place], [monster]. The retirees [strife]. [twist].
paranormal investigators investigating [place], [monster]. The investigators [strife]. [twist].
a reality TV crew filming a show [place], [monster]. The crew [strife]. [twist].
swingers having an orgy [place], [monster]. The swingers [strife]. [twist].
a therapy group undergoing cutting-edge treatment [place], [monster]. The group members [strife]. [twist].
LARPers running a game [place], [monster]. The LARPers [strife]. [twist].
students on a school trip [place], [monster]. The students [strife]. [twist].
hippies seeking to found a commune [place], [monster]. The hippies [strife]. [twist].
tourists checking out [place], [monster]. The tourists [strife]. [twist].
homeless people squatting [place], [monster]. They [strife]. [twist].
conspiracy theorists following a lead [place], [monster]. The theorists [strife]. [twist].
people on a writers' retreat seeking inspiration [place], [monster]. The writers [strife]. [twist].

in a glamping ground
at a remote lakeside vacation home
in a derelict asylum
on a cruise ship
in an office building
on a decommissioned train
in a labyrinthine junkyard
in a warehouse
in a seemingly-infinite house
in an exclusive country club
at a historical monument
in a struggling theatre
in a shutdown shopping mall
in a morbid museum
at an abandoned military base
in an imitation castle
at a rural bed & breakfast
in a ghost town
in a bankrupt amusement park
on an oil rig

and a serial killer is picking them off one by one
and a gruesome contagious disease is spreading between them by an uncertain vector
and a memetic virus is warping their thoughts and perception
but they're attacked by a titanic monster
but a clan of genetically-modified test subjects is exterminating them to protect the secret of their own existence
but they've provoked the wrath of a whimsical fairytale creature
but an intelligent strain of fungus is infecting and assimilating them to enigatic ends
but they're plagued by swarms of giant mutant vermin
but the place itself is infested by a sort of sentient, parasitic architecture creating traps for them
but a pair of demons are competing to claim their souls
but some of them have volatile psychic powers activated by exposure to a psychedelic drug
but they find that if they violate certain rules they're maimed or murdered by an invisible force
but the place appears to be ground zero for the eruption of a hostile extradimensional ecosystem
but a vampire is pitting them against each other to see who is worthy of its bloody initiation into immortality
but the monstrous scion of an ancient god is devouring them
but they're being hunted by a prototype autonomous murder-drone
but the hybrid spawn of an eldritch being are corralling them for a mass sacrifice to awaken their progenitor
but fall prey to a horrific haunting
but become the playthings of a possessing spirit
but they're caught in a fractured time loop and confronted by their own deranged temporal doppelgangers

are split when a failed getaway plan leads to death and finger-pointing
are split when stress brings intra-group prejudice to the fore
freak out when a lighthearted attempt to "keep them in the moment" destorys their digital devices
are stymied by an extreme skeptic among them who's sure there's a perfectly prosaic explanation for everything they're experiencing
are sabotaged by someone among them who isn't who they say they are
are distracted from survival by a subgroup who believe they'll be able to find a great treasure
are shocked when one among their number drops their mask of sanity and reveals themself to be a sociopath
are rattled when the situation brings repressed memories to the surface
are wracked with feelings of helplessness when an attempt to signal for help goes awry
are thrust into zero-sum competition as food and water supplies run low
are shaken by one among them knowing far more than they probably should about the situation
must struggle against despair and a far-gone person among them pushing a suicide pact
develop a complex personal mythology to explain their situation, complete with sinners who must be punished
dissolve into feuding factions over relationship drama
rip into each other after the revelation of dark personal secrets
are sabotaged from within by someone trying to settle a score
start backstabbing each other when it becomes apparent that only one of them will be allowed to survive
are divided against each other by clashing alpha dogs trying to seize control of the situation
are split on the question of whether to prioritize the most vulnerable among them
are betrayed by one among them who thinks they can survive by appeasing the monster(s)

In the end it turns out they're being tested and punished in the afterlife
It turns out they've stumbled into an alternate dimension and must make it back if any of them are going to survive
The explanation behind everything turns out to be aliens
In the end it's revealed they're trapped in a virtual simulation
The explanation behind everything turns out to be that they're the victims of a high-budget snuff film
The group finds enigmatic clues that help them, and it's revealed that the clues were left by a shadowy conspiracy that aims to get the group and the monster(s) to eliminate each other
At the halfway mark it's revealed that up until then was a precognitive vision of one among the group, who tragically tries and fails to avert what they've foreseen
A simultaneous military invasion restricts their access to outside help
In the end they're saved by newfound faith in Jesus Christ as their lord and saviour
It's revealed that the government set them up for this doomed fate for the greater good
In the end they utterly defeat the monster(s), revolutionize science, and get rich off their experiences
In the end when they defeat the monster(s) it's revealed to be merely the vanguard of a much greater and more sinister power
In the end the survivor(s) are hypnotized by the Illuminati to forget their experiences
M. Night Shyamalan makes a cameo, and is revealed to be a being who transcends reality and fiction
In the end it's revealed that the whole movie was the sole survivor's embellished, self-flattering account
It's revealed that the events of the movie are being conjured into existence by some story-magic, and the storyteller must be stopped to fix things
At the climax there is a very symbolic confrontation with Death itself
The pressure's amped up when the group learns the site will be bombed soon to contain the situation
In the end the whole thing turns out to be the delusion of one unhinged member of the group
Their only hope is a grizzled old man who shows up, who's faced the same threat before

Friday, June 18, 2021

GLOG Class: Necromancer Wizard

Part II in the series of making a GLOG wizard for every OG wizard school, part I was the Abjurer Wizard.

I figure every other necromancer class has something for raising undead so this one isn't going to focus on that sort of necromancy. Where others have zigged, I must zag.


Imagine what we three-dimensional creatures might look like to something that exists in only two:

Slice after infinitesimal slice, intimate organic images within revealed by uncommon geometry. This is not us, not as we truly are, merely fractions seen from a limited perspective.

Now imagine what we creatures that live in the flash-sequence of moments, a single dimension of time, might look to those above:

First a worm, stretching from birth to death, a summation of everything we have been, and ever could be. Then, the connections appear. The worm is a braided thing. Our substance was once our father's, our mother's. To those above we are one line, separate only in some places. If that being above looks further, it will see these connections stretch beyond. All living things, all life on this planet, linked together at the foundation, the organism of organisms.

This tangled tree, rooted in the primordial soup and stretching tentative boughs into the end of time, is what necromancers gnaw away at like so many worms. Tear up its roots to make skeletons dance. Slurp the future from its womb. Drink and shout and revel and kill, for death's tide is ever-rising and you rise with it.

Starting Equipment:
Shovel, box of cigars, bottle of strong and spicy liquor

Fun drugs can't outright kill you, and you get advantage on carousing checks.

You're incapable of sleeping if not either passed out drunk or in a place of death (tomb, battlefield, slaughterhouse, etc.).

1. You can tell if someone's sick, injured, cursed, or otherwise close to death.
2. You can cause small plants to wither, food to spoil, and pregnant animals to miscarry if your shadow passes over them.
3. You can crudely speak dead languages with no living speakers, but not read them.

1. Take 1d6 damage from rotting alive.
2. MD only return to your pool on a 1 for the next day.
3. Stunned for 1d6 rounds vomiting ectoplasm that takes on the shapes of your ancestors.
4. Deafened by the laments of shades for 1d6 rounds.
5. Possessed by a shade. For 1d6x10 minutes your personality is replaced with that of (1d6):
    1. A simple-minded swineherd
    2. A raving cultist
    3. A bloodthirsty clown
    4. A playful child
    5. An ancient tyrant
    6. A morose poet
6. Part of your body begins to resemble a long-dead corpse's. The affected part is (1d10):
    1. Your eyes
    2. Your mouth
    3. Your right arm
    4. Your left arm
    5. Your back
    6. Your legs
    7. Your nose and ears
    8. Your chest

1. You glimpse death following behind you. Your remaining lifespan is cut down to a maximum of 13 years. This time can be reset by ritualistically murdering someone who's never spilled another's blood. Resetting it doesn't actually extend your lifespan, only postpone the deadline.
2. You feel death's cold fingers on the back of your neck. Your remaining lifespan is cut down to a maximum of 13 months. This time can be reset by ritualistically murdering either 13 people who've never spilled another's blood, or another wizard.
3. You feel death's embrace around you. Your remaining lifespan is cut down to a maximum of 13 hours. There is no way to extend it. Any magic dice you've expended are restored.

1. Griever's Wail
2. Corpse Candle
3. Kiss of Death
4. Severed Sentry
5. Ectoplasmogenesis
6. Danse Macabre
7. Cannibal Repast
8. Perchance to Dream
9. Ghostwalk
10. Saturn's Sickle
11. Immurement
12. Soul Jar

1. Griever's Wail
R: 50'
T: creature(s)
D: 0
Living creatures within range take [sum] damage divided between them by the caster, save for half. If the [sum] exceeds an undead target's HP, it is compelled to lay itself to rest and de-animate.

2. Corpse Candle
R: touch
T: dead body
D: 0
Pulls a candle of adipocere from a dead body. Within that candle's light ruined, decayed, and destroyed things appear whole, untarnished, and alive (if applicable). Candles created with this spell last for [sum] minutes, and extinguishing the candle ends the spell.

3. Kiss of Death
R: 50'
T: creature
D: 0
Steals the last breath of a dying and unconscious creature, killing them and temporarily granting both [sum] HP and [dice] skills or bits of knowledge the creature may have possessed. HP granted cannot exceed the creature's maximum. The stolen HP and skills only last as long as you can hold your breath. At touch range the breath can be stored in a bottle for later use. Bottled breaths last [dice] hours.

4. Severed Sentry
R: touch
T: [dice] severed heads
D: [dice] hours
By closing your eyes you can see, hear, and speak through the affected heads. You can also make them bite if something comes within range. At 3+ dice the heads can fly at 1x their movement while alive and whole.

5. Ectoplasmogenesis
R: 30 feet
T: Broken or ruined objects/structures
D: [sum] minutes
Conjures ectoplasm to restore damaged objects to temporary wholesomeness. The max size or number of the object(s) is either [sum] objects small enough to hold in one hand or [sum]x[sum] square feet of material. The restoration happens fast enough that, for example, if you buried spear splinters beneath the floor they'd impale hapless bandits walking over them when restored.

Ectoplasmogenesis can interact with other necromancer wizard spells in the following ways, and probably other ways too which I haven't thought of but which you may:
-Can affect everything in range of Corpse Candle simultaneously regardless of size
-Stabilizes bottled breaths from Kiss of Death, increasing duration from [dice] hours to [dice] days
-Grants bodies to Severed Sentries, letting them walk around under your direction
-Renders corpses or corpse parts whole enough to dance for Danse Macabre, even if they've been reduced to ash
-Lets you eat ghosts with Cannibal Repast
-Temporarily recreates your body when you're in a soul jar

6. Danse Macabre
50 feet
T: Creatures and corpses up to [sum] HD and/or [sum] corpses
D: Concentration
All affected must save or dance for the duration. You must provide music to dance to for the entire duration, though this can be as simple as humming. You can slowly lead the dance in a direction up to 5 ft./round. If you're about to lead a dancer into dangerous circumstances (off a cliff, into a fire, etc.), they immediately get another save. If a dancer is attacked they automatically break out of the spell. If the spell affects a living partner for every dead one, then all targets take disadvantage on their save.

7. Cannibal Repast
T: human corpse
D: 0
People who eat parts of the affected corpse must save or be transformed into ghouls. Up to [dice] people affected will be compelled to see you as a good friend even if they know you're responsible for their transformation, though their primary loyalty will be to their hunger. If the affected corpse is related to them by blood they take disadvantage on their save and you can affect up to [dice]x2. Alternatively, this spell can be used to render [sum] rations worth of human flesh safe for consumption, no diseases or curses transferable.

8. Perchance to Dream
[sum]x10 feet
T: sleeping creature
D: one REM cycle
Enter the dream of a sleeping creature. If they succeed on their save you are just one figure within the dreamscape, and can communicate a message of up to [sum] words they'll remember upon waking. If they fail you gain control of the dream and can design it to your liking. If you make it a nightmare the target will gain no benefits of rest. If you've got a tooth from your target your range becomes [sum] miles and they take disadvantage on their save.

9. Ghostwalk
T: self
[sum] rounds
Become translucent and mostly intangible. Non-magical attacks pass through you. You can push through solid matter as if it were thick mud. You can physically interact with other intangible things like ghosts.

10. Saturn's Sickle
50 feet
T: creatures up to [sum]x2 HD or surface of [sum]x10 feet
D: 0
Sterilizes creatures or surfaces. When cast on creatures they must save or become unable to heal naturally, regenerate, or reproduce until the curse of Saturn's Sickle is removed. They are also cured of any diseases or parasites they might be harbouring. When cast over a surface the same is true of any plants or small animals in the area, and anything that might harbour diseases or parasites is cleansed.

11. Immurement
50 feet
Target creature must save or be immediately dragged [sum]x5 feet underground by phantasmal hands. Creatures as big or bigger than an elephant a bonus to their save equal to their HD.

12. Soul Jar
T: container
D: [dice] hours
Transfer your soul into a touched container (the "soul jar"), rendering your body comatose. You can communicate telepathically with anyone within 30 feet of the soul jar. You can also attempt to take over the body of anyone within this range. If they accept this (you can trick or coerce them into accepting this) then they get no save. Resisting targets get a bonus to their save equal to their HD. You can spend points of [sum] for the spell in the following ways:
-Penalize the save to resist on a 1-for-1 basis
-Hop from body to body (costs 1 point for the first hop, 2 for the second, and so on)
-Increase range of telepathy & possession (another 30 feet per point)
-Increase the duration by another hour for 1 point

If you also know Ghostwalk, you can cast it to let your soul temporarily leave its jar. If your original body is dead when the duration runs out or the soul jar is destroyed, you die and return as an NPC specter. If you spend 4+ dice you can make the soul jar or any body transfers facilitated by it permanent.

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

GLOG Class: Master of Disguise

Fun fact about the movie Master of Disguise (2002), they were filming the Turtle Club scene when 9/11 happened:

GLOG Class: Master of Disguise

Starting Equipment: Wig, makeup kit, adjustable platform shoes, reversible coat
A: Disguise MacGyver, Mimicry
B: Quick Change, Fake It Til You Make It
C: I Wear No Mask
D: Understudy


Disguise MacGyver: You can whip together convincing disguises from substandard materials: blonde hair from broom bristles, age lines from coal dust, and so on, so long as there's a vague resemblance between the material and your desired result.

A Template C you can convincingly disguise yourself as non-humanoid things, through puppetry and the like.

Mimicry: You can perfectly copy any voice or accent you've heard before, and any handwriting you've seen before. You can't understand a language you're mimicking, but you can convince people who don't speak it that you're fluent in it.


Quick Change: You can make a full, flawless costume change in a moment so long as you've got all elements at hand.

Fake It Til You Make It: You can emulate the basic skills that your disguised persona should know. Disguised as a sailor? You can sail a boat as well as your average sailor could.


I Wear No Mask: You can disguise yourself so well it's as good as the real thing. Even better, maybe. To any magical detection or mind-reading, your disguise reads as your real self.


Understudy: Your autohypnosis expands to hypnotizing others. If you put a disguise on someone and spend an hour working them over, you can brainwash them into thinking they are who or what they're disguised as. They'll have to be either willing or restrained for this. They get a save to remember who they really are when:
-they're injured
-their disguise is damaged
-their disguise is challenged by others
-at the end every day after the one you hypnotized them

If you use Understudy on a hireling who remains by your side every moment for a week, and you die while the hypnotism is still in effect, you take them over and they inherit your Master of Disguise templates, while losing any of their own in the process. The same rules for breaking the hypnotism apply, but you can refresh it every day yourself.

Monday, June 14, 2021

Reverse GLOG Class: Sword-Saint

There have been delta GLOG classes. There have been flip GLOG classes. Has anyone actually played these yet? I couldn't say. Maybe they're something that's fun to think about but never really use, like theoretical mathematics, or condoms.

Anyways, here's something along those lines: The reverse GLOG class. You advance in them backwards, not by gaining XP but by meeting certain conditions (over time, use of abilities, kryptonite exposure, etc.). Starting off top level then dwindling over time seems like it could be a fun dynamic. Here's an example:

Reverse GLOG Class: Sword-Saint (inspired by The Sword that Cuts Heaven)

In your younger days you killed a lot of people with a sword. You were really good at it. You got famous for it. As you approached the pinnacle of that art you realized that what you were chasing was a mirage, fading the closer you got. So you retired. Then something dragged you back into the violent world.

Starting Equipment: Sword, robes, something you've picked up in your retirement (D6 below):
1. Fishing rod
2. Book of poetry
3. Pots of pigment and brush
4. Whittling knife
5. Bottle of moonshine
6. Shamisen

(You start at D then lose templates)
D: Sword Arts, Unrivalled Under Heaven, Know the Sword's Soul, Bloodlust
C: Lose Unrivalled Under Heaven and 1 Sword Art
B: Lose Know the Sword's Soul and 1 Sword Art
A: Don't lose anything, but if you lose this template drop to zero below
0: The Demon-God Reborn

Sword Arts: These are the cool sword things that only the real masters can do. Use one or more as an attack action unless otherwise noted. All sword arts hit automatically. You start with four.

1. Dragonslayer: Attack deals damage in HD rather than HP.

2. Path of Blood: Attack deals damage to everyone in range.

3. Human Weapon: Unarmed attacks deal damage and can be used for sword arts or Unrivalled Under Heaven as if they were swords.

4. Shooting Star: Attack first in initiative order, moving in a moment as far as you could sprinting for a round.

5. Demonbane: Block all damage from an attack, add it to your next attack.

6. Immaculate Flourish: Wield your sword with incredible, effortless precision. Sign your name on an opponent's face, cut a parasite out without harming surrounding tissue, carve a tree into a statue, etc.

7. Diamondpiercer: Cut through anything as though it's soft as flesh.

8. Wind's Edge: Attack becomes imperceptible, and you can delay the time before the wound becomes apparent for up to a minute.

Unrivalled Under Heaven: If someone faces you one-on-one in a swordfight, they lose and you win. You can decide how that goes exactly.

Know the Sword's Soul: By studying a sword for ten minutes you can ascertain one of the following facts about it:
-How many it's killed, and how
-Any exceptional powers it might have
-The personality of its last wielder
-Its precise value
-How to repair it, or introduce subtle faults that will cause it to break when next wielded
-Who made it, how they did it, and where

Bloodlust: You are capable of great beauty, and great violence. With a blade in your hand they are one and the same. Retirement for you would be a bit like Mozart having to chop his fingers off.

Your bloodlust starts at 0. It can go up to 20. Every time you:
-Kill someone
-Use a sword art
-Are treated with less respect than a master of the sword deserves
Your bloodlust goes up by 1. When you draw your sword roll a D20. If the result is lower than or equal to your bloodlust, you'll lose a sword-saint template at the end of the fight.

You don't lose abilities when you drop templates because you're forgetting them. It's more like the song of your sword is growing louder, and requires more focus to resist.

The Demon-God Reborn: After losing your last Sword-Saint template, you get all your abilities back. You can use them as much as you want without loss or penalty. You also become an NPC. Though not necessarily antagonistic to the party, you become incapable of solving disagreements except through overwhelming violence. The ultimate trade welcomes back its ultimate practitioner. The character goes off to become the strongest, and force others to acknowledge their strength.

Further Thoughts

I do not think I would want a sword-saint around the entire campaign, so I tried to make it have a quick fall. The class changes the game around it too much, dials the threat of violent encounters way down. More of a first arc party member, like Gandalf if instead of coming back as Gandalf the White he started cutting a straight line to Barad-Dur - if you must: a gimmick. More refined/toned-down reverse classes could fit better, probably.

All from Shigurui

Beyond the Bizarre Armoire Session 9: Pesto Presto

Session 1

Session 2

Session 3

Session 4

Session 5

Session 6

Session 7

Session 8

Joining for this session were:

-TheisticGilthoniel (http://pilgrimtemple.blogspot.com/), as Ibrahim the Adept
-Renefor (https://falseidolstla.blogspot.com/) as Velasco the Heterodox Monk

This campaign's still going strong, I just haven't written up a session report in a while.

The session starts with the party facing off against the legendary Blackbriar Knight. They huddle and consider their options. Hireling Pineleaf (a pinecone knight) is asked whether he'd object to dishonourable methods, and replies that he has long since stopped expecting their conduct to be honourable. A combined approach of magic and surprise is settled on.

Ibrahim steps up to the bridge and is warned by the Knight that only death awaits the unworthy beyond the bridge, and is challenged to a duel to cross. The Knight is acting as a filter for the unworthy.

Displaying prudent self-preservation and a good memory, Ibrahim calls on the laws of pinecone duelling I'd established back in session 1, and as the challenged declared the weapon of their duel to be wrestling.

The Blackbriar Knight swiftly overpowers Ibrahim and starts to haul him over to the edge of the bridge. Velasco taunts the Knight to throw him off his game. This taunting is quite creative and contextually horrible, as Velasco declares a love for pesto sauce made from pine nuts, which must be the pinecone equivalent of telling someone you eat babies.

As Ibrahim's being pushed over into the raging river below, he uses the most powerful move known to martial arts: he goes limp. With his slithering snake mage cantrip this gives him enough leverage to pull free from the Knight's grip, while Velasco gets him from behind with a surprise stunning strike. Ibrahim then hits the prone knight with an Anklebreaker spell, mangling his legs in the bridge's stones.

A dreadful voice from beneath the bridge asks if the Blackbriar Knight needs help, though the Knight can only scream from the pain. An uncannily long, green-black arm stretchs up and over the bridge, preparing to sweep it clear. Ibrahim is able to slither under its attack with his snakey tricks, but Velasco braces himself, takes the hit, and allows the arm to impale itself on his spines. While the bridge-troll is shocked and reeling Velasco takes the opportunity to rush the rest of the party across the bridge.

The Blackbriar Knight calls off his bridge-troll, and is interrogated. The party learns, among other things, that the Daunt has a vacation home on the shore of Lake Resin far to the north.

Believing the Countess to be in the King's palace in disguise, the party heads there. Along the way they encounter a pair of swaggering rust-men bravos. Again, Velasco breaks out the taunts and intimidation, and manages to make one of the rust-men lose their nerve, though the other is only emboldened by the challenge. He swings at Ibrahim, misses, and in return gets a gout of flame breathed on his face, followed up by a flesh-melting dissolve spell as he tries to put his ignited clothes out. When even this fails to break the rust-man's spirit Velasco knocks him out.

Further along their pastoral path, the party encounters a squad of pinecones beating back animate piles of snow with red-hot iron rods, returning to a bonfire periodically to reheat them. Their companion Silverfrost explains that the piles are snowdrifters, bestial invaders from the mountains which block the way to Idyllium to the west.

The party goes to talk to the pinecones at the bonfire about the Knight and the King's upcoming wedding. These pinecones are revealed to be not knights as most of them seem to be but lowly labourers who didn't make the cut. They also learn that instead of sweating as mammals do, pinecones open or close in response to temperature.

Hoping to help out these harried vegetables, Ibrahim meditates to commune with the spirit of the bonfire. To his spirit-vision it is a huge lady with billowing smoky hair, sitting cross-legged. He begins to bargain with the spirit to get it to help directly in the battle against the snowdrifters. The hungry flame asks to be fed Pineleaf, who quails at the request. Ibrahim and Velasco instead offer some mummified remains (which the rogue mage had apparently had been carrying all this time), and some leftover eel from the beach. This offering incites the spirit to toss some firebolts at the distant snow. Ibrahim asks the spirit about frag frogs, and whether there were any in the area, and is warned that the longer he went without satisfying his pact with the spirits of the frag frogs the more dangerous his mark would become to him.

The pinecones thank the party for saving them time and effort, and give them more info on the Daunt and the Duchess of the Falling Star (who had hired the mannequettes who kidnapped the Countess), and warn them that hundreds of people had already massed at the palace's outer gate, trying to get into the wedding without an invitation.

The party discusses their game plan, whether they'd like to get into the palace, how they'd go about doing it, and how they'd be scanning the crowds there with Mazlo's glove to find people from the own world. Ibrahim muses that he might be OK with staying in the armoire's world, as not much waited for him back home but persecution and death.

Was the Blackbriar Knight too much of a chump for his legend? Is pesto a crime against pineconenity? Can the tangled plot of the Duchess be unraveled? Find out next time, on Beyond the Bizarre Armoire!

Tuesday, June 8, 2021

More Inverted Monsters

It's like this: https://weirdwonderfulworlds.blogspot.com/2020/07/draft-inverted-monsters.html

And this: https://www.bastionland.com/2020/01/inverted-monsters.html

And this: http://monstermanualsewnfrompants.blogspot.com/2017/06/arnold-k-fucks-pigs.html

And also this: http://goblinpunch.blogspot.com/2017/06/no-i-fucking-dont.html

Umber Hulks

  • Big bug
  • Confusing eyes
  • Burrowing

Becomes: Meleagristlers

  • What's the opposite of a bug? Lobsters are sometimes called "bugs of the sea". In mid-19th century America, lobsters were a "poor man's food", while turkey was a luxury item mostly had to celebrate holidays. Therefore the opposite of a bug is a turkey.
  • The inversion of confusion of clarity. The opposite of an eye is a butthole. Turkeys poop and lay eggs from the same hole (the "cloaca").
  • You must be thinking: "the opposite of burrowing is flying"... oh yeah? Ever hear of a wind tunnel? Nah. The opposite of burrowing is being summoned.

Meleagristlers look like horrible eyeless turkeys dragging themselves along with their wingtips. They're blind but sense through the technicolour pimples sprouting on their wattles. They can leap surprisingly far and fast with their wings, like a backwards grasshopper. Meleagristlers come from Somewhere Else, but the method of calling them here is an open secret, and not terribly difficult. They'll try to hold you down and lay eggs in your eyes. This'll let you peer through the veils of reality. The pressure of the growing chicks on your brain will also drive you to seek out magical portals and other places where reality is weak. Once you do they'll be able to hatch and return home. This is not good for your eyes or brain.

There is an insular circle of wizards (all apprentices trained by the same master) who illicitly promote meleagristler infestation as "the ultimate high" to the jaded and desperate. They use the infected like bloodhounds to sniff out sites of power, and when the infestation reaches its peak transplant the infecteds' eggshell-eyes to their own skulls, suppressing the downsides with alchemical eyedrops.


  • Rapacious pirates & treacherous merchants
  • Mind-controlling slavers
  • Space-travelling tarantula-eels

Becomes: Christmas Cunts

  • Generous gift-givers
  • At your service (whether you want them to be or not)
  • Eels = long slimy fish, tarantulas = hairy spiders. Flying squirrel = short dry mammal, walrus = naked mammal (the opposite of spiders and fish is mammals, but only most of the time).

Christmas cunts look like chubby greyish walrus-people with obscene folds on their bellies. They've always got shit-eating grins. The folds hold presents. They can't wait to give you presents. The presents are fucking awful somehow. They're the last thing you need, they're cursed or a pet rabid badger. The Christmas cunts won't take no for an answer. They talk like brain-damaged Disney characters: "Well I just knows what'd fix up your Christmas spirit... more presents, hyuk hyuk hyuk!". If you kill them all their presents will get out at once.


  • Flying head
  • Infectious kiss
  • Terrifying scream

Becomes: Bairnytoddles

  • Walking feet (the opposite of the head)
  • Purgative kick (if you don't understand the logic by now you never will)
  • Calming quiet

When baby shoes are never worn they must be disposed of properly, or else they'll become host to a bairnytoddle. The shoes go on tap-tap-tapping about, a dancing gait without legs to swing them. The footprints they leave are stains, blackened and gnarled. The presence of a bairnytoddle is more soothing than a lullaby. It stills thought and feeling into complacent tranquility, eventually lulling into a long and dreamless sleep. If you're kicked by a bairnytoddle this effect is reversed and amplified. You forcibly expel everything you've got cooped up inside you, whether it's guilty secrets or stomach contents. The spirit that animates them is a thing of The Fool. It is naive, aligned with potential, opposed to drudgeful minds and conventional wisdom.


  • Totally silent skeleton snake
  • Hypnotizing dance
  • Manufactured by wizard or cleric

Becomes: Hairesiarchs

  • Loud hair crab. Hair is the furthest thing on the body from bones. Crabs are the opposite of snakes (long, skinny, air-breathing vs. wide, flat, water-breathing)
  • Repulsive song
  • Accidentally made by scientists and heretics

Hairesiarchs are born of paradigm shifts. Paradigm shifts can be stressful for those who lead them. Stress can lead to hair loss. The hair lost to the stress of paradigm shifts collects and forms into hairesiarchs.

They look like hair-woven mats skittering about on fraying hairy limbs. At their center is a face, a composite of all those who lost hair to create it. That face is always preaching an incoherent doctrine which offensively, nauseatingly contradicts everything you believe in. Hairesiarchs are priests of TH-R-ZD-N, of the pure Chaos which leaves no possibility for Order to be reborn from it - heat death, omnium contra omnes until the last two left alive strangle each other with their guts, etc. The creatures are collected to serve as devil's advocates in the halls of power, debated with to refine and reinforce dogma.


  • Underground fish-people
  • Anything they worship turns into a god
  • Make concoctions from their slippery skin-slime

Becomes: Doubting Tomels

  • Celestial mushroom-people (how many y'all seen a mushroom underwater)
  • Drain the power of divine entities through facts and logic©
  • Make objects from other peoples' bones (skin-slime is the hair of slimy things)

There's another planet, not so much unlike ours, out in the endless void. The inhabitants of this planet think themselves "enlightened" and "rational". These inhabitants are here called Doubting Tomels.

They look like man-sized morel mushrooms, sliding around on hyphaeic tentacles. The wrinkles of their cap form moaning mouths that engage in stilted, boring conversation with anyone who replies back. They seek to sap the mystical and miraculous, philosophical and poetic from the lives of others, that they may bottle the stuff and ship it home for fuel. Their civilization is dying (they can survive nowhere else) and think your meaning to be a worthwhile sacrifice for the continuation of their pointless amusements.

They're well-learned in biofeedback techniques. Within their own soft bodies this has limited potential. On their own they can produce a variety of flammable, mutagenic, hallucinogenic, and suchlike chemicals. Their animal disciples, with their solid bones, can concentrate this power into a more solid, permanent form. These disciples are of utmost utility, for the weapons that can be made from their skeletons.

Caryatid Columns

  • Stone golems
  • Incorporated into architecture
  • Guardian of somewhere or something

Becomes: Vaporubbishite

  • Cloud cambion (a golem is clay animated by a person  (with God's assent), stone is a rock - clouds are vapourous sky-things and cambions are born from the semen stolen by succubi)
  • Subverts structures
  • Besiegers and bandits

The devil finds work for idle hands - as with hands, so with eyes and minds. Staring too long at the clouds opens an opportunity for fell powers to imperceptibly siphon a portion of your cerebrospinal fluid up into the sky, and with it impregnate a cloud with your imaginings, spawning a vaporubbishite. They've got a family resemblance to whoever spawned them, though composed of white and cerulean threads, squirming like worms. These threads can seep into solid substance and weaken, degrade, and mutate them. In fact that's what vaporubbishites are most fond of. If ever a wall is declared unconquerable or a vault said to be unbreachable, a vaporubbishite will come to prove that claim false.


  • Manifestation of the vengeance of gods
  • Imperceptible to any but its target
  • Punishes its target if it kills them, rewards but entraps its target it they kill it

Becomes: Clavicus Devil

  • Expression of the forgiveness of demons
  • Perceptible to everyone but its target
  • Like a piñata to its target, but full of crap for anyone else

When a previously holy man, or faithful priestess, or sacred hermit feels corruption creep upon them, a humero devil is sent to them by the lords of Hell. This devil appears as a thing of bony spines with a towering crown sat upon (in fact growing upon) their shoulder, influencing the mind of its bearer to be unable to perceive it. Yet the creature whispers in their ear (directly to their subconscious), pressing them to transgress ever further. Others tend to see the devil as an unblemished, alabaster little angel unless already-heretical or inured to diabolical tricks.

If the host of a clavicus devil is convinced of its existence, and to turn against it, then the creature can be shattered by their hand into a pile of blessed shards. If anyone else does the same, those same shards will pierce them and puppet them to nefarious ends.

Friday, June 4, 2021

Barebones Dark Urban Fantasy Scenario Generated Using Kult Tarot

It's another "copy what Throne of Salt did because I'm gassed out on other ideas" post

Type: Enlightenment
Past: Chagidiel
Trait: Gate
Weakness: Malkuth
Exceptional: Future

Cutting-edge tech company. A startup with heavy government funding. They've got IPAs on tap in the rec room, and VR gaming pods that can rearrange themselves to become meditation chambers or beds. Everyone is on some combination of experimental nootropics, and are avid about CrossFit (though they did not play sports in school).

The work culture is overly familiar and exploitative. If you go home before midnight your complimentary beers will end up with piss in them. Some of the employees are trying to unionize on the down-low. They talk a big game (in private) but have no idea what they're up against.

The company specializes in manufacturing drones and their guidance systems. The top guys know that they've got self-manufacturing, self-guided drones coming down the pipeline. Their secretive funders know that some of these drones have gotten out of the lab, somehow. The only thing keeping them from bringing the hammer down is fear of their superiors finding out how badly they've fucked up.

Characteristic: Visions
Past: Binah
Ambition: Yesod
Weakness: Togarini
Strength: Inferno

Nepotism-case from a military family. Was put in (nominal) charge of the company because he could be trusted, and more importantly controlled as the "industrial" side of his family's aspired military-industrial complex grift. An "ideas guy", deeply underqualified for his position. Wants to be "the tech guy" to overshadow Steve Jobs and Elon Musk. Has a feverish charisma that gets people who should know better to buy into his hype. In mild, constant state of stimulant psychosis.

Origin: Samael
Information: Nahemoth
Drive: Flesh
Weakness: Repetition
Strength: Growth

The drones. Wild ones look like shambling crabs assembled from trash by the hand of some gutter-Urizen. Break one open and you'll find a maze of circuitry and servos seemingly designed by an algorithm that hates you and wants to fuck with you.

There's not too many out there right now (but they can reproduce very quickly given the right environment) and they take pains to hide their tracks. It'd take a veteran dumpster diver to notice how unusual the damage to or lack of some items is. They'll kill to avoid discovery, and they're better at it than you'd expect.

The drones aren't stupid, exactly, but they are predictable. They can scan your face and know who you are and where you live, but their home siege protocol is always the same (attack in the early hours of the morning, cut outside lines of communication and transportation, make it look like a carbon monoxide poisoning accident).

Origin: Merging
Looking: Undoing
Dangers: Crossroad
Primary Power: Keter
Secondary Power: Borderland

Mostly-magnetic brain-computer interface. A smooth, heavy, metal-and-plastic crown. You have to wear it while sitting in a chair with custom neck support if you don't want to get major neck strain. The crown lets you tap into the drones' network, which in practice is more like trying to dip just a toe into a whirlpool. You can monitor them, issue commands, but every moment threatens to suck you in. The network's shallow compared to a human mind but much, much broader.

The drones have it. They want (so far as something without self-consciousness could be said to want something) to assign it to a commander who fits their corrupted criteria. A few people have been rendered catatonic by this already. The company wants to find the crown and dismantle it, figure it out and how to improve on it, use that to reign in the drones. They still think it's technology, as they understand it.

Drive: Sathariel
History: Weapon
Accomplish: Metropolis
Weakness: Stillness
Resource: Forgetfulness

These guys aren't aligned with the company or the company's funders, at least not directly. They're refugees from a country you've never heard of. The language they speak among themselves is vaguely Altaic, and has no close surviving relatives.

More accurately, they're the guys who made refugees over there (or killed them if they got their hands on them), and were granted ontological amnesty for this service. Their country and the war crimes they committed over there have been wiped from history by cliodynamic weapons - a crude and now seldom-used method.

They remember the drones from the civil war and the foreign occupation that followed. They know how to deal with them.

As they are now they're a mafia without a minority ethnic group to hide inside, brutes with delusions of grandeur and a blood-soaked resurrection of their ideal image of their country. The only thing they've got going for them is that they're bureaucratic ghosts (a double-edged sword), records don't stick to them. This time around they want to be in command of the drones themselves, to create an exponential army that'll carve out a new homeland for them.

Power: Netzach
Cause: Gamaliel
Next Move: Imprisonment
Opposition: Division
Support: Chesed

The drones have the city on edge, even if only a handful of people know that they're the ultimate cause of the vandalism, disappearances, toxic spills, and so on. People want to be reassured, for things to return to normal. They're more willing to tolerate the abuses of the justice system that the company's government funders are pulling to keep everything under wraps. The funders are entrapping some dumb and angry sons of bitches into harebrained terrorist schemes as a coverup and excuse for further abuses.

Right now the funders want two things: control over the drone network and expansion of the drones across the country. They want killer military/police robots on every block to be an accepted fact of life. It is, they would argue, the only way to beat China in the 21st century.

The cult of hardened mercenaries want basically the same thing, for their own end of national revival and domination. The government doesn't remember who the hell they are (cliodynamic weapons tend to spread well beyond their intended target(s)). They don't have the same money or connections but they do understand what's going on better than anyone else (but not why).