Sunday, March 24, 2019

Who is the GLOGosphere?

Several times on here, I've referred to a "GLOG-o-sphere" - a sub-scene of RPG bloggers who use the Goblin Laws of Gaming, aka, the GLOG. So just who is this GLOGosphere? Who are the GLOGgers?

It's worth asking because right now, honestly, they're one of the hottest corners of the RPG blogosphere. Compared to some other sleepy quarters, they're practically incandescent with activity and interest.

Aside from their shared love for the GLOG ruleset, what else do they have in common? For one, they like writing new classes, and because the GLOG's interesting magic rules are probably its biggest selling feature, they especially like writing new magic-using classes.

For another, they like writing random tables, on any topic, the more the merrier, and they're fond of using push-button technology to get the computer to roll all the dice for you at ... well, you know.

What else? Well, I think they're mostly younger than me, Nintendo-Millennials rather than Atari-Millennials, and possibly younger than that.

They use pseudonyms a lot more than the other sectors of the RPG blogsphere that I frequent.

They're energetic, posting fairly often.

And they seem to know how to have fun. They like what they're doing, and their collective project is more fun-building.

Along the way, they seem to have mostly avoided getting involved in any of the drama that's so often embroiled the OSR. There's no edition-warring going on here. There's no, or very little cult-of-personality that I can detect. Arnold K of the Goblin Punch blog and Skerples from Coins & Scrolls are probably the closest thing the GLOGosphere has to leaders, and while their roles are a bit like "the old prophet" and "the new evangelist" the other GLOGgers mostly seem to get on with borrowing and adapting their stuff before going straight back to writing and gaming. There's not much in the way of hero-worship, or interpersonal gossip of any sort, at least not anyplace that I'm able to see it.

There's a definite do-it-yourself / make-it-your-own sensibility across these blogs. One person will write a new class, and a half-dozen people will write supporting material for it or incorporate it directly into their setting, and a half-dozen more will write modified versions of the original to better suit their own sensibilities. Nothing is sacred, nothing is off-limits, everything can be improved, or at least customized, including the rules themselves, which is why so many GLOGgers have their own houserules documents.



Aside from its magic system, which I'll describe more in a second, the primary appeal of the GLOG has got to be its overabundant, gonzo variety. Vanilla fantasy isn't even a distant sight in the rearview mirror in these games. Want to play a weasel who rings magic bells, a spider paladin, or a seething pile of goblins who function as a single character and also found a cannon right after leveling up? Well, reader, you're in luck! You'd have to go to the Lizardman Diaries to find a wilder list of random player-character races (and to be honest, he's probably the OSR blogger who's most similar to the GLOGgers), and the vast array of classes is like everything I wanted from Pathfinder distilled into bite-sized flavor-concentrated portions.

The creative magic system seems to be everyone's favorite part of the GLOG, and I suspect that alongside living the gonzo fantasy dream life, the chance to use this style of magic is one of the key attractions of the rule system. Spells have no level, and can be cast multiple times per day. Magic-using characters have one or more Spell Dice, and they choose how many of these they want to roll each time they cast a spell. Both the number of dice and the sum total showing on the dice affect the spell's outcome. You get those dice back after casting the spell ... most of the time. Also, if you roll two or more Spell Dice and get doubles, there's a mishap; if you roll three or more and get triples, there's a catastrophe. (The mechanics are quite different, but the FEEL isn't very far off from DCC.) Spells are also posited to be living beings, like Espers in Final Fantasy, or whatever the hell Jack Vance was talking about in Rhialto the Marvellous. Magic-users are like Pokemon-collectors, except instead of storing their creatures in crystal balls, the spell-monsters go live inside the wizard's head. And yes, sometimes that means that when two spells love each other very much they go on to make little spell babies, and sometimes it means that the specific magic specimen inside your skull evolves, or mutates, or whatever you want to call it. Each spellcasting class has its own bespoke list of 12 spells to potentially learn, which means that each of these classes has its own unique feel. There are garden-variety wizards (as well as garden-wizards) but there are also deeply, fantastically weird magicians out there as well.

And you know what? These kids won me over. You can expect to see more GLOG content on here in the future. For now though, let's take a whirlwind tour and meet the GLOGosphere.



Blessings of the Dice Gods
blogger: Jeff Russell
founded: January 2010
location: http://blessingsofthedicegods.blogspot.com/

Because I decided to list these in chronological order based on their start dates (rather than attempting to come up with any kind of hierarchy) the first blog on my list isn't a full-time GLOG blog, or at least it didn't start out as one. Blessings of the Dice Gods went on hiatus in late 2016 as a general OSR blog, but when he came back in mid-2018, he was a GLOGger.

(I also JUST noticed that he mentions me in his post on types of creative problem-solving in RPGs. Thanks for the shout-out, Jeff! My sense of what I might have to contribute as a blogger has been a little different since I read The Participatory Museum by Nina Simon. She points to "critics," "collectors," "joiners," and "spectators" as modes of participation alongside "creators." The idea that everyone should, or even can be "a creator" is like a pernicious myth that deters people from other forms of participation and creativity. And those other contributions are at least as valuable to maintaining the scene as the "creators" are.)

Since then, he's written an automatic GLOG character generator and a lore-heavy automatic monster generator. He has a Fiend character class with a unique take on GLOG magic (this is going to be a recurring theme in the entries below). Really, his whole Fellhold campaign setting is made to work with the GLOG. And in another recurring theme among GLOGgers, he has a number of really nice random tables. I'll call out my favorite, a table of random inspirations from Princess Mononoke. Also, while it predates his introduction to the GLOG, his Middenheim campaign setting is worth a look.



Goblin Punch
blogger: Arnold K
founded: November 2012
location: http://goblinpunch.blogspot.com/

Arnold K of Goblin Punch is the original progenitor of the GLOG, and the reason anything like the GLOGosphere is able to exist. His entry was the hardest one for me to write, because he's just so prolific (albeit slightly less so recently), and because his blog has a bit of everything, from lore for his earlier Eldritch Americana and later later Centerra home campaign settings, to essays about game design and game mastery, to thoughts about game mechanics (some of which form the original mechanical basis of the GLOG), to just interesting ideas that he's thinking about at the time.

I saw Arnold K once describe himself as writing creepypasta in the form blog posts, and that seems like a fair description of some of his entires, like his VERY popular post about a spell that summons Catherine, and this kind of odd one about how foxes don't exist, the god of foxes don't exist, and how there's a city of foxes that also doesn't exist and ALSO also your player characters can't travel to it. Then again, he also wrote about how time-traveling dinosaurs have taken over all of the past, so it's sort of a matter of personal preference, I guess, which of his "creepypastas" you like and which you don't care for. You'll see links to fan favorites all over the GLOG blogs listed later in this piece, as pretty much every GLOGger has used at least one Goblin Punch post as a jumping off point to write something more. He's arguably one of the most influential bloggers in the OSR, in terms of writing things that other people cite and use.

From the very earliest days of the Goblin Punch blog, you can see him toying with discreet houserules elements which will eventually get compiled into the GLOG, starting, I think with his "lunch rule" about how rations help you regain hit points. There is quite literally too much there for me to link to all of it, or even a sizable fraction. A couple years after starting the blog, he announced that he was starting to put his various houserules together, and a couple years after that, he announced that he'd finished his initial draft of the GLOG. Following that initial announcement, he updated the GLOG many times over. He also made PDFs of all his rules available for free.

Arnold K's tinkering with spellcasters and magic starts, I think, with this post about monastic wizards, which includes the ideas that each monastic order should have a very specialized spell list, and that there should be as many monastic orders as player interest will support. With that philosophy to guide him, and those starting spell lists as a kind of template, the doors were pretty much thrown open for Goblin Punch (and every subsequent GLOG blog) to write lots, and lots, AND LOTS of wizards, including the Noise Wizard, the Hair Wizard, the Spherical Wizard, and the much-imitated Biomancer. His next major post about spellcasting essentially laid out his philosophy that spells are living creatures who can be captured and trained to live inside wizard brains. That idea is ONE OF the most compelling ideas about magic in the GLOG, and it opens the door to ideas like the one that spell-spirits can mutate and evolve inside your head. By the time he first laid out all his major spellcasting ideas in one place, he had pretty designed the system that's still used today. After one more post about differentiating different kinds of spellcasters, he was ready to introduce the class that I believe is most responsible for the GLOG's popularity, the original GLOG Wizard.

Most of the other GLOG classes appear in the PDF rules without getting their own blog posts, but I do want to point out a few other classes he wrote that, alongside his philosophy of "as many wizard schools as you can dream of" probably helped push the later GLOGgers to embrace their creativity. The first is the Really Good Dog, which is probably the inspiration for all the later animal classes you'll see in my list below. There's also the Bug Collector (plus some bonus ecosystems) who is like a Pokemon collector, an model I always enjoy seeing variations on. There's also the Mathematician, a very different spellcaster that is awesome in its weirdness.

Arnold K also wrote about a philosophy for designing character races that says that they should get active abilities instead of static bonuses. (He also says that players should be encouraged to build their parties entirely from a single race, whether that's all-human or all-orc, but that idea is pretty much instantly abandoned by the rest of the GLOGosphere in favor of heterogenous parties made up of menageries full of animal-people.)

Alongside developing the GLOG, Goblin Punch is also a repository for ideas about old-school style roleplaying. Again, he's written way WAY too much for me try to link more a little of it, but I'll give some special attention to a small series of posts about how to GM well. He starts by observing that the maxim "rulings, not rules" does not, by itself explain what good ruling would look like. He goes on to talk about his philosophy for when to write a rule, his philosophy for when to use the dice, and his philosophy for how to make rulings well. He also compiles a longlist of old-school style roleplaying challenges. A final post, not exactly in this series, also talks about how he writes adventuring scenarios.



To Distant Lands
blogger: Alex Chalk
founded: January 2014
location: http://todistantlands.blogspot.com/

To Distant Lands is another blog that's not really a GLOG blog per say, but he does have a couple posts about the GLOG. The first is a charming little class called the Muse that looks like it would be fun to play. More recently, he's also written a 30-minute dungeon, which is an adventure template established by another GLOGger that seems to rapidly be becoming a favorite among the GLOGosphere. Outside of those entries, his houserules heavily reference Goblin Punch, and he has a table of random demands from asshole wizards, and a roll-all-the-dice table for random weird plants. Unrelated to the GLOG specifically, I thought his essay about the difference between torches and search checks was thought-provoking.



Wayspell
blogger: Christopher S
founded: March 2016
location: https://wayspell.blogspot.com/

As far as I can tell, Wayspell's first GLOG contribution was writing a couple new ecosystems for Goblin Punch's Bug Collector class. Since then, he's been working on cyberpunk inspired GLOG content, starting with failed cyberpunk careers, a Hacker character class, and other cyberpunk character types like "The Face" and "The Street Samurai." To go along with those, he's written some general equipment and some cybernetic augmentations for cyberpunk characters.



Same is Shark in Japanese
blogger: Lucas Exempli Gratia Smith
founded: March 2016
location: https://sameissharkinjapanese.blogspot.com/

Technically, this blog is named ふかひれスープ. He started GLOGging with a few classes based on Edo Japan, like the Samurai and the Ninja. More recently he's been posting classes based on 8-bit video games, I think, and made a list of spell-songs for punk genre Bards.



Rise Up Comus
blogger: Josh
founded: June 2016
location: http://riseupcomus.blogspot.com/

Rise Up Comus is another recent convert, who seems to have been won over by the possibilities that GLOG rules open up for playing a Monk. His earlier campaigns include an all-Hobbit adventure, and a take on the Knights of the Round Table. He does have a couple good random tables though - random topics for roleplaying conversations around the campfire, and encounters with creatures from medieval illuminated manuscripts.



Fists of Cinder & Stone
blogger: Connor W
founded: July 2016
location: http://fistsofcinderandstone.blogspot.com/

Fists of Cinder & Stone has written a couple of GLOG wizards, specifically the bard-like Noise Wizard and the Hungry Hungry Hippo the Lard Lord Lipomancer. (In accumulating the links for this post, I've noticed that a lot of GLOGgers seem to be interested in scifi, musician characters, seafaring, and culinary campaigns. You might notice those as recurring themes as you read on.)

Most of his writing is devoted to his home campaign, a kind of fantasy Ancient Greece called Anemos. Anemos is a richly-imagined setting, and the back catalog there rewards you for investigating it, especially if you're interested in nautical campaigning. He's written a random god generator for it, and a very flavorful set of tables for generating random spirits and the favors they demand. He also has posts about magic tattoos and tattoos as armor. He also has a short, neat series of posts about encounters with dryads, encounters with questing tree-knights, and foraging for terrain-specific potion ingredients.



The Oblidisideryptch
blogger: Max Sellers
founded: September 2016
location: https://oblidisideryptch.blogspot.com/

Like some others The Oblidisideryptch got into GLOGging in mid-2018. His biggest innovation so far is writing the Warlock class that, as you'll see later, seems to have caught on with the rest of the GLOGosphere. The concepts of debt, obligation, and sacrifice to the supernatural patron seem quite compatible with the rest of the GLOG's magic system. He's also written a couple wizard archetypes that are dual-statted for the GLOG and D&D 5e - the Solar Geometer and the Toxinist. His design notes about his process of writing each class for each ruleset are pretty nice too.



The Furthest Lands
blogger: Moses McDermott
founded: November 2016
location: http://www.furthestlands.com/

The Furthest Lands is primarily focused on developing a campaign setting in the city of Booezor and the megadungeon beneath it. To that end, he posts a lot of encounter tables, about dedicated to regions of his megadungeon, and the other half devoted to common terrain types in the wilderness. He's written one GLOG class, the Jellimentalist, a very well-named slime wizard. He also has several good random tables, including random familiars, random troll mutations, and random starting equipment that can also show up on "search the body" checks.



The Bogeyman's Cave
blogger: Tristan Tanner
founded: February 2017
location: http://bogeymanscave.blogspot.com/

The Bogeyman's Cave almost didn't make my list of GLOGgers. After all, there's no "GLOG" tag in his list of blog topics. There's no plethora of wizard archetypes like other GLOGgers write. Most of his monsters say they're "for Holmes Basic".

But then again, he has three different push-button random generators in his sidebar. He wrote the post asking "what are your settings core themes?" that other GLOGgers like to answer. He seems to have invented the incredibly popular 30-minute dungeon format, and he's written A LOT of 30-minute dungeons. And if you look at his houserules document, JABOM aka Just A Bunch Of Mechanics, you see things like races that re-roll one ability score and have one main benefit and one main drawback. You see classes that only go up to level 6. So is the Bogeyman's Cave a GLOG blog? If not, he's the closest GLOG-adjacent blogger I've found yet, and probably deserves "honorary" status on the strength of the 30-minute dungeons alone. Depending on your reading of JABOM though, he might unquestioningly be a GLOGger, albeit one who never uses the word GLOG. (Also, come on, if I'm counting people who only posted a single GLOG class, it's not like I'm setting a high bar to count.)



Coins & Scrolls
blogger: Skerples
founded: February 2017
location: https://coinsandscrolls.blogspot.com/

I can't tell you how much it surprises me that it took this long to get to Coins & Scrolls, because he's probably done more than any other GLOGger, possibly even more than Goblin Punch, to promote and popularize the GLOG. Arnold K posted more as he was developing the GLOG and then less shortly after releasing it, but Skerples leapt into the breach to help popularize the new ruleset, posting hot and fast pretty much from the very beginning.

Where even to start with this guy? I mentioned Goblin Punch's advice on designing fantasy races, but it was Coins & Scrolls that published the first longlist of random races, almost all of whom are animal-people, and established the oft-repeated format of allowing one ability score re-roll, granting one benefit, and imposing one penalty. He's also written advice for designing GLOG races. (These "advice columns" are a recurring feature on his blog, and they're one of several ways he contributes to the collective strength of the GLOGosphere.) 

Similarly, he wrote his own Wizard archetype, and immediately began filling it out with entries like the Orthodox Wizard, the Garden Wizardthe Spider Wizard (the first in what you'll see is a recurring fad among GLOGgers to write animal-themed wizards), and another version of the Biomancer. To go along with these, he's written a condensed version of the GLOG's spellcasting rules, a list of 100 spells in the GLOG format, and advice for designing GLOG wizards.

In addition to his many wizards, he's written several other good GLOG classes. The most influential, probably, is the Many Goblins (based on Against the Wicked City's the Extras class), where "the character" is a composite of numerous fictional individuals who function as a unit. (Basic Red's the Financier is probably the most recent version of this basic idea.) He's also written the Exorcist as a kind of cleric substitute, and the Bell Exorcist, which I think is his most interesting version. He also has a GLOG barbarian, a GLOG sorcererthe Cannonneer (my personal favorite), the Goliard (a louche wastrel possibly based on ATWC's the Rake class), and a whole host of pirate classes (including, yes, the Crew, a composite class of bumbling pirate incompetents), to name only a few. As with races and wizards, he also has advice on writing GLOG classes more generally.

He wrote Tomb of the Serpent Kings, everyone's favorite introductory dungeon, and he's written a variety of other campaign settings, including the Veinscrawl (an adaptation of Veins of the Earth), and his current project, the Magical Industrial Revolution. These are system-neutral, but Tomb of the Serpent Kings, especially, is a popular adventure with other GLOGgers. He's written advice for gourmet campaigning (and a Cannibal character class to take advantage of all those delicious humanoid monsters.) He has his own GLOG houserules document, a second pirate-themed GROG houserules, and a nice review of the original GLOG.

What else? I would be remiss if I didn't mention Skerples' ongoing efforts to bring more medievalism in to his own (and everyone else's) roleplaying. He recommends filling the background of your campaign with wars and plagues. He has a good list of medieval occupations and medieval "camp follower" NPCs. There's more, really A LOT more, there, but for our purposes, this is a good starting point.



Journey into the Weird
blogger: Chris Wilson
founded: March 2017
location: https://journeyintotheweird.blogspot.com/

Journey into the Weird really likes writing sword using / sword making wizards. The Forge Wizard is his most recent version of the concept, but there are 2-3 earlier version in his back catalog. His other semi-ongoing project is writing GLOG conversion of Gathox Vertical Slum. He also wrote a Druid class and a Woodland Protector archetype for it. Like many others, he has his own houserules, and he's given some thought to how GLOG spellcasting works, and what some of its limitations might be.



Throne of Salt
blogger: Dan
founded: May 2017
location: http://throneofsalt.blogspot.com/

Throne of Salt is one of the most active GLOGgers. He has a couple active campaign settings - Mother Stole the Fire, set in mythic times when the world was young and the gods were active, and Great Discape (formerly Danscape), which is a venue for planet-hopping science fantasy. (Perhaps relatedly, he's also a big Mothership fan.) He's written several interesting GLOG classes. The Folk are his version of elves, are fascinating, rather than gaining levels normally, their level changes with their current amount of fairy-ness versus worldly-ness. He's also written a Priest class and a Book Club Witch archetype. He has the Adipomancer as another food-themed class, and a Unified Theory of Food for culinary campaigning. And for scifi fans like me, he has the Thaumonaut, a wizard who wears a space suit, and the Spaceship, so you can play an actual spaceship as your character.

Throne of Salt is also quite fond of writing mini-bestiaries. Among the more interesting of these are his guide to "mundane" animals, his guide to what happens when animals eat human flesh, his two posts about Linnaean monsters, and a list of mutations based on real-world animal abilities. He also has some good random tables, including random Biblical events, and random character beliefs.



The Furtive Goblin's Burrow
blogger: The Furtive Goblin
founded: July 2017
location: http://furtivegoblingaming.blogspot.com/

The Furtive Goblin's Burrow has one GLOG class, the Orc Haruspex. Most of the rest of his blog is worldbuilding for his Ivory Tower University campaign setting. At times, I'm not sure if he's writing prosody actual play reports, or if he's writing fiction about adventurers in his campaign setting.



DMiurgy
blogger: Wizzzargh
founded: July 2017
location: http://wizzzargh.blogspot.com/

DMiurgy started his blog by posting a Silk Wizard and an alternate GLOG alchemist. He very quickly posted his own houserules document, Nightmare GLOG, and got to work writing things like a combined character race/occupation table for Noonlanders, Daylanders, and Moonlanders, the three broad cultural groups in his World of the Wolf Moons campaign setting. He also has a neat post about civilization-destroying dragons. More recently though, he's posted a critique of his own houserules, and it's not clear to me that he's still using the GLOG either to guide his writing or run his games.

In both joining and leaving (?) the GLOG, Wizzargh seems to have shared similar thinking to Lungfungus of Melancholies & Mirth. He recently posted a critique of having too many classes in your game, and later a more full-throated critique of the GLOG that he subsequently deleted from his blog. In fact, he seems to have deleted all GLOG-related posts from his blog's history, and to have edited the remaining old posts to remove their GLOG content, which is why Melancholies & Mirths doesn't make this list. (He really did a LOT of deleting. His 2017 archive dropped from 57 posts to 14. I'm not privy to the details of exactly why he did this.) DMiurgy might be a retired GLOGger, but his back catalog is still available to anyone who's interested in it.



Animate Kratocracy
blogger: Henry V
founded: August 2017
location: http://animatekratocracy.blogspot.com/

He hasn't posted much, but Animate Kratocracy is one of my favorites for his flavorful accounts of his Anerion campaign setting, home to the City of Copper and Brick, which seems to exist in a kind of Baroque/Victorian era, and to involve space travel, so on both accounts, naturally I'm interested. His GLOG-specific writing has been converting material from Mazirian's Garden to GLOG rules. He's also written a few good random tables, like random ways for wizards to recover their spells, and random ongoing wars.



Remixes & Revelations
blogger: Yami Bakura
founded: August 2017
location: http://www.remixesandrevelations.com/

Even among GLOGgers, Remixes & Revelations has written A LOT a lot of wizards. He's also applied a few interesting ideas to transform the Wizard class. The ability to breed spells intentionally is now a standard class ability, as is "astral fishing" - casting one spell out on a silver thread as "bait" and hoping to "catch" a second spell from the Astral Sea. Instead of the standard Mishaps on doubles and Dooms on triples, wizards now get Chaos on doubles and Corruption on triples - and both doubles and triples grant a random number of Doom Points. Accumulate 10 doom points and suffer the Doom of Fools, accumulate 20 and suffer the Doom of Kings, and accumulate 30 and suffer the Ultimate Doom. You can look at that megapost I linked to above for examples, or check out my space-themed favorites the Cosmomancer aka Star Wizard (plus chaos/corruption), and the Cthonomancer aka Gravity Wizard, or the ever-popular Biomancer (plus chaos/corruption).

When he's not writing wizards, Remixes & Revelations is deeply interested in aberration monsters and in angel monsters. He also writes some religiously-themed classes, like the Bearers of the Word of GOD. He's interested in a contemporary occult American setting, and has divided that across three different tags in a way that I don't fully understand. As far as random tables go, among others, he has a random dragon generator and a random demon generator.


 
Down in the Cthonic Deeps
bloggers: Molly J & Nick S
founded: October 2017
location: http://chthonic-halls.blogspot.com/

Down in the Chtonic Deeps is another recent convert to GLOGging. They've written a couple wizard archetypes - the Numismancer, a money wizard, and the Chronomancer, a time wizard. Prior to that, though, they had a long career of writing excellent, evocative system-neutral encounter lists, adventure settings, and just interesting ideas that can be dropped into more-or-less any campaign that wants them.

I really can't emphasize enough how much it pays off to delve into their back catalog. They have interesting variations on elementals and accursed imps. They have entourage encounters, like the Bombastic Knight and his followers. They have a curio seller with random curios, and a traveling circus that is sort of halfway between truly magical and disappointing con artistry, a liminal space that feels perfect for an antagonistic encounter. They have a demon-haunted fire swamp, a fantastical Arabian Nights inspired desert, an army of ivory-armored knights, and general rules for carving magical scrimshaw charms. They have an alchemist's manor as an adventuring site, complete with serum-addicted servitors and general ideas for roleplaying alchemy.

(Incidentally, I think this is part of the appeal of rulesets like the GLOG, I2TO, and Knave - they have advice for resolving common adventuring situations, but contain relatively few built-in assumptions about setting, and their rules are flexible enough to incorporate whatever content you want to bring in, pretty much as is, without needing to adapt or convert much of anything.)


    
Iron & Ink
blogger: Luke Thomson
founded: November 2017
location: https://swordsandscrolls.blogspot.com/

Iron & Ink started off writing a 30 Years War inspired campaign setting called Pike & Schotte that included a classic GLOG race table, and classes like the Reiver and the Sawbones. Like many other GLOGgers, he's also written quite a few wizards. More recently, he's written a Mystic character class, which is a religious magic-user that's intended to be as customizable as the wizard. My favorite cutomization so far is the mystic who basically worships money.



Buildings are People
blogger: Michael Bacon
founded: December 2017
location: https://buildingsarepeople.blogspot.com/

The most notable entries in Buildings are People's blog are his thoughtful series on game resolution mechanics. He's written a Specialist / Thief class for the GLOG that's really interesting for using more randomization to determine abilities than non-spellcasting classes usually get. He also has a nifty Kowloon Planet home campaign going.
 
 
 
Sword of Mass Destruction
blogger: Circas K
founded: December 2017
location: http://swordofmassdestruction.blogspot.com/

Sword of Mass Destruction has written a Wizard of Earthsea style wizard for the GLOG. My favorite thing he's written is a table of escaped spell-spirits who have gone feral in the wild, but can potentially be re-tamed by a careful wizard. He also helps fill out the GLOG's spirit ecology with a table of minor spirits and advice for generating a random dragon. His home campaign setting is a red-stained badland called Circassa that includes interesting takes on standard fantasy races.



Goodberry Monthly
blogger: Martin O
founded: January 2018
location: https://goodberrymonthly.blogspot.com/

Since obviously everyone's favorite part of the GLOG is playing weirdo wizards, Goodberry Monthly had the very sensible idea to plan an all-wizards campaign, where spells are treasure, currencies like "secrets" and "your happiest memories" are coins to gamble away in the casino, and no one ever has to worry about "but what will the kid who hits stuff with a stick real good do while the grown-ups are magicking?" He also tosses his hat into the planar-travel-campaign ring with the math-centric Infinity Hotel setting, and envisions an unending WWI-type conflict playing out on a world where one side is always day and one side is always night. That setting, oddly enough, is the one that spawned the Goldsoul Mine dungeon.

He's also written a GLOG-specific Cleric of Santa Claus, made a plan for clerical domains to grant worldly responsibilities, and he has a table of dangerous foods for gourmet campaigning.



Archon's Court
blogger: Luther Gutekunst
founded: January 2018
location: https://archons-court.blogspot.com/

Archon's Court is using the GLOG rules for far-future scifi gaming. He has his own houserules document, Artificial Sky. He wrote the Tech class as kind of far-future wizard, along with a handful of supporting classes. His own campaign setting, Sunless Horizon, is set inside a space station ruled by insane AIs.



Rose & Kingfisher
blogger: Ezra Bloom
founded: February 2018
location: http://roseandkingfisher.blogspot.com/

Rose & Kingfisher is mostly a 5e blogger, but they've written the Mystic character class as an alternative cleric for the GLOG, and the Poet, and personally I'd love to see a party with a Muse, a Golliard, and Poet dissolutely rogue-ing their way through the world. They also have interesting things to say about gold, astrology and the zodiac, and dinosaurs as monsters.



Swords & Storytellers
blogger: Andy
founded: April 2018
location: http://www.swordsandstorytellers.com/

Swords & Storytellers has written a GLOG fighter and a GLOG witch. His other posts are musings about how to make rulings well, what wilderness travel should look like, and maybe trying to write a custom houserules document based on I2TO.



Unlawful Games
blogger: Lawful Neutral
founded: May 2018
location: http://unlawfulgames.blogspot.com/

I'm sort of pre-disposed to liking Unlawful Games, since we apparently have similar taste in books. So I'm fond of the character races and monster encounters he adapted from Walter Moers' Zamonia books, and the monsters and NPCs he generated from Nick Harkaway's The Gone Away World. He's also obviously a bit into Dada, which is how you get classes like the Pataphysician. He also wrote the Snake Wizard and the Really Angry Goose if you like animal characters.

He's also written some very nice random tables, like mansion rooms and haunted house effects (that pair pretty well together), animal familiars for wizards, post-apocalyptic treasures, and versions of the demon Buer (who he seems mildly obsessed with). And, carrying on the tradition of gourmet campaigning, he recently wrote a plan for a Brewscape campaign, and a partial bestiary for it.



Paper Elemental
blogger: Betty Bacontime
founded: June 2018
location: https://paperelemental.blogspot.com/

Paper Elemental is an oddly food-centric GLOG blog. She's written classes like the Skeleton Wizard and the Meat Mage. She's proposed a campaign setting, Platescape, which is just what it sounds like, like Planescape but with plates. It's very weird, but I kind of like it. She also made the Pominomicon, a reference book to magic berries, such as the Squesh (banana + tomato) or the Banananana (banana + banana).

She's also written some pretty cool random tables, like random Biblical signs of angelic heritage for aasimar and nephilim. She's one of a couple people who've written computer code to turn random tables into push-button generators. Most of her tables have been converted to generators using this code, including a neat table of wizard familiars and a table for generating a store that sells divination magic items.



Rhyming Fool Exits Stage Left
blogger: Evoro
founded: June 2018
location: http://evoroxv.blogspot.com/

Unlike the blogs that have only one or two GLOG entries out of dozens of other posts, Rhyming Fool Exits Stage Left is kind of a "one-post wonder" - a GLOG blog that literally only has one or two posts in total. There are a few more of these coming up in my list. I'm not sure if these are already abandoned, or if they're more like placeholders that are someday going to spring back to life, when their founders get more time or inspiration. Anyway, the post of note here is the Vivisectionist character class.



Meandering Banter
blogger: Angus Warman
founded: June 2018
location: http://meanderingbanter.blogspot.com/

Arguably, Meandering Banter's greatest contribution to the GLOGosphere is the push-button list generator he wrote. Which is not to diminish the other things he's written, but other GLOGgers REALLY really like automating their random tables with push-button technology. What kinds of crazy tables has Meandering Banter automated for himself? How about an ASCII dungeon generator? How about random dungeon vending machines to stock it with? How about randomized GLOG races? He also wrote a magic wand generator and an automated carousing table. He ALSO also made automated GM screen for The Gardens of Ynn and a Knave / Stars Without Number mashup. You should also especially check out his blog's sidebar. He has a random GLOG character generator, a dungeon generator, and a mutation generator. (Also, my recommendation to everyone with a GLOG blog with push-button tables in the sidebar? Put them in a post too, so people can link directly to them!)

He also has a houserules document and another called Die Trying, and a home campaign setting called the North-West Marches. He wrote a random crypt-based dungeon, and a haunted forest adventuring site. He's also written about a half-dozen GLOG classes, including a druid, paladin, and tiefling, among others.



Library of Attnam
blogger: Red Kangaroo
founded: June 2018
location: https://attnam.blogspot.com/

Like many other GLOGgers, Library of Attnam has written a whole lot of wizards. I'm quite fond of the early elemental ones, the Sea Sorcerer, the Deep Mage, and the Winter Witch, and the recently written Cat Wizard. He's also written a flexible Cultist character class that can be customized by the choice of heretical patron, and a number of classes adapted from the Monster Blood Tattoo book series. Library of Attnam also has a long-standing interest in random weapon lists, and the spirit world where GLOG spell-spirits live.



The Whimsical Mountain
blogger: Gorinich Serpant
founded: July 2018
location: https://whimsicalmountain.blogspot.com/

Like several others on my list, The Whimsical Mountain is also an I2TO fan, and most of his blog is dedicated to magic for I2TO or ideas about alignment. He does have a single GLOG class, the Very Smug Cat, very much in the tradition of the other animal classes mentioned so far.



Of Slugs & Silver
blogger: Ancalagon The Black
founded: July 2018
location: https://slugsandsilver.blogspot.com/

Most of Of Slugs & Silver is about fantasy coinage and/or Yoon Suin. There is one GLOG class though, the Gish, a runesword-wielding paladin type. There are also play reports for the Tomb of Serpent Kings.



Tarsos Theorem
blogger: Saker Tarsos
founded: August 2018
location: http://tarsostheorem.blogspot.com/

Tarsos Theroem might make more use of push-button random tables than any other GLOGger. His Blasted Lands campaign setting is communicated almost entirely through push-button tables to generate wizards, outlaws, malfunctioning robots, giant monsters, hirelings and NPCs, ghosts and spirits, and misremembered histories. He's also created automated DM screens for Mothership and Veins of the Earth. (Which are both fan favorites within the GLOGosphere.)

He's also written some creative and interesting character classes, including the Scar Speaker, the Dream Raider, and the Fungal Hive Colony. It's not automated, but he's also written a series of tables for summoning a random spirit.



Ship of Socrates
blogger: Ninja Sword
founded: August 2018
location: http://shipofsocrates.blogspot.com/

Ship of Socrates is pretty much a one-post wonder, but they do give us the Drunken Master for when your gourmet campaign needs a drunken lout thirsty bon vivant.



Provinto RPG
blogger: Ian Schlom
founded: August 2018
location: https://provintorpg.blogspot.com/

Provinto RPG is the last blog on my list that isn't really a GLOG blog, but has a few dedicated entries. Specifically, he has a review of GLOG, and his own overview of the GLOGosphere.



A Swamp in Space
blogger: Wr3cking8a11
founded: August 2018
location: https://aswampinspace.blogspot.com/

A Swamp in Space seems to be creating a setting that's half-1980s cyberpunk, half-1980s giant-robots-in-space anime. Like me, they're a bit of a compiler, so they have a list of playable races for the void of space, and a Fighter class for the void of space that both borrow heavily and unapologetically from other GLOGgers. The also have a unique Wordsmith Wizard class that makes use of something like Papers & Pencils "magic words" idea, and, my personal favorite, a list of bard songs in the Vaporwave genre. They've also written a couple 30-minute dungeons, which, at this point, I'm prepared to declare as the unofficial official dungeon format of the GLOGosphere.



Jeff Marches
blogger: Jeff Schwartz
founded: September 2018
location: http://jeffmarches.blogspot.com/

This is another one-post wonder, and the last one on my list. Currently, he's only written a very medieval-feeling Priest class.



Two Goblins in a Trenchcoat
blogger: Type 1 Ninja
founded: September 2018
location: http://twogoblinsinatrenchcoat.blogspot.com/

Two Goblins in a Trenchcoat actually has two houserules documents, the first is a just a personal take on the GLOG rules, called the Trenchcoat Edition. The second is called Moonhop, and its a mixture of GLOG and I2TO rules. Most of his blog content is written for Moonhop, including a list of gonzo space fantasy character races, and a list of gonzo space fantasy failed careers, which are nested by technology level, so you could end up with a shepherd or falconer, or with a zookeeper or geneticist. He has also written a nifty generator to create random tools of divination.



The Bottomless Sarcophagus
blogger: Monsieur Le Battlier
founded: October 2018
location: https://bottomlesssarcophagus.blogspot.com/

The Bottomless Sarcophagus has so far focused on witchcraft and necromancy, and on developing his own campaign setting, the Thawing Kingdom, where Spring has finally come to a world that just spent 500 years in Sleeping-Beauty-like frozen slumber. As for the witchcraft I mentioned, he's developed the Witch as an alternative genus for developing new magic-using class species, and the Orthodox Witch as an initial implementation of that idea. Posted elsewhere, he also wrote an atomic wizard, the Radiomancer.



Tales of Absolute Doom
blogger: rattlemayne
founded: December 2018
location: https://toadrpg.blogspot.com/

Tales of Absolute Doom is another GLOGger with their own houserules document, this one called TOAD, and also incorporating some I2TO in the mix. They haven't posted much yet, but they did write a nifty Unicorn character class, and most recently, they seem to be working playing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles using I2TO.



A Blasted Cratered Land
blogger: Velexiraptor
founded: January 2019
location: https://crateredland.blogspot.com/

A Blasted Cratered Land is probably one of the most active of the new GLOGgers. She's posted new takes on a variety of classic D&D classes, as well as a few science-fantasy types, like the Engineer and the Mad Scientist. She's also the author of the Bard class that others have written genre lists for, and of another Math Wizard. Like several others mentioned so far, she has her own houserules document called Mimics & Miscreants. In terms of random generation, she's put out a handy murderhobo hireling generator, and she's written another spell mutation table, might be useful if you want some additional variety in that.

My personal favorites are the starfolk races, which include both the usual GLOG information, plus some very good physical descriptions. Play as a Lunai, Belter, or Jovian from one of Jupiter's four moons? I regret that I can only play one at a time! (She also has some nice crustaceansbugfolk, and fungusfolk.) There's also The Baleful Star, a hateful black star that wants to extinguish all life, and serves as a warlock patron. A patron who gives me a bronze telescope and some hand-drawn star-maps in my starting equipment? The end of all things is a small price to pay for such a bounty!



The Lovely Dark
blogger: Vulnavia
founded: February 2019
location: https://thelovelydark.blogspot.com/

The Lovely Dark is one of the newest bloggers on my list. Her campaign setting seems to be more Baroque/Victorian than most of the others here, and also seems to be inspired by Echo Bizarre and the other Fallen London games. So far she's written an Anti Wizard class wizards who want to annihilate their own senses in favor of perceiving Ultrareality, and Semiramis-Nebuchadnezzur-Shamsi, a tripartite warlock patron with Babylonian, Code of Hammurabi kind of feel.



Princesses & Pioneers
blogger: zoeology31
founded: March 2019
location: https://princesses-and-pioneers.tumblr.com/

Princesses & Pioneers only has one post so far because she's just so new. She's written the physics-inspired Science Wizard.



So that's the GLOGosphere as it stands today. Where else can you find these cool kids, besides their respective blogs? One popular hangout spot appears to be the GLOG sub-channel on Chris McDowall's overawing OSR Discord. There's also a GLOG community on MeWe, although that seems to be less used.

54 comments:

  1. Your curation is always on point, Anne! Always great to see new blogs.

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  2. Hey, that's me! I've also got random character generators on my sidebar for all your GLOGalike needs. The OSR discord is definitely one of the top places in terms of activity and content, we've got our own little dedicated grotto!

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    1. Angus, I updated to mention your sidebar! I continue to recommend putting them all in one post so you can share a dedicated link straight to them.

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  3. While I had seen GLOG mentioned on G+, I wasn't really aware what the deal was. Thanks for the scene summary.

    For your Millennial classifications is that the game system that came out around the time you were born (maybe 1982 with the Atari 5200 and 1990 with the Super Nintendo)? 'Cause the Atari is a Gen Xer artifact! ;)

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    1. Trey, I wasn't fully aware either until I started compiling the various blog addresses from people's sidebars in order to start putting this together. It mostly started with noticing that a bunch of the newest blogs I was following were all using the same rules, at least some of the time. (I might not have undertaken it if I'd known what I was getting into!)

      I swear I've seen the Atari-vs-Nintendo distinction as a way of diving a larger generation in half before, but maybe you're right and it's supposed to be Gen X that's split up this way. I should probably just avoid the "Millennial" nomenclature altogether. Technically, it refers to Gen Y kids of the 80s and 90s like me, but I think at least half the time, people use the term to mean Gen Z kids born after the start of the new millennium.

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    2. Yeah, it seems like whatever is the current hot generation gets expensive boundaries and the older ones shrink.

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  4. Is there some kind of basic rules document for GLOG? I had heard the name before, but didn't know it's a game. Where can you find out what it is?

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    1. Yora, Goblin Punch and Coins & Scrolls have probably the 2 most widely-used versions of the "complete" rules. I've linked to both those rulesets within their respective entries, above.

      As for where you can find out what it is, the answer, I hope, is "here".

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  5. It's really interesting seeing how (in addition to the creativity, playtesting rigor, and great gaming content) Skerple's deep and *highly specific* fussiness has filtered through in varying degrees to other GLOG writers' material.

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    1. Fussiness is next to... next to... well it's next to something. :D

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  6. I'm def bookmarking this page for future reference.

    GLOG looks So. Damn. Fun! I love the bespoke classes and the dangerous magic. I love the crazy implied setting that the various classes create.

    I want to start getting into GLOG stuff, but trying to fit yet another crazy game into my life seems like a path towards madness.

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    1. Yeah, the magic reminds me of kind of the best of DCC mixed with Wonder & Wickedness / Marvels & Malisons.

      You get quite variable spell strengths, along with the chance for miscasting and spectacular failure - except that the way it's all organized makes a GLOG spell much MUCH easier to write than a DCC spell, which in turn lets you have (many) more specialized wizards.

      I hear you though, on the issue of personal overload!

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  7. Thanks, it seems I have some reading to do. :)

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  8. Thank you so much for featuring my blog! This is the first time I've ever heard someone talk about it!

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  9. I love how thorough this is.

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    1. I was kind of motivated by seeing various people asking to learn more about the GLOG and only finding pretty incomplete lists in response. So I guess I felt like I wanted to be as completist as possible on this one.

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  10. Impressive!! Well done, Anne! I'm definitely heading down this rabbit hole the instant I have some time...

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    1. I hope you enjoy the delve, Tamas! I know this entry will be out of date soon, because more people will join in. I think if I'd waited much longer to write this, I wouldn't have been able to ... or else it would have to be more like a "greatest hits" selection of bloggers. (Which honestly, I don't feel qualified to adjudicate. I had a hard enough time picking "best of" links within each blog!)

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  11. If any of them isn't on the Old School RPG Planet, I'd love to add them!
    https://campaignwiki.org/wiki/Planet/Please_join!

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    1. Oh, good point, Alex! Any GLOGgers reading this, be sure to follow the link Alex posted if you want your blog added to his nifty reader/aggregator!

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    2. I think I still have 20 tabs open. I'm trying to post a comment on all the blogs somewhere if I don't have them on the Planet already. My fingers are nearly falling off! 😭
      But then again, seeing so many cool blogs I have never heard about. So beautiful! 😍

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  12. Anne, this is such a great post. I see so much GLOG activity and felt completely bewildered by it. This helped tremendously. More blogs to follow! I linked to this post on my blog and mentioned it on my podcast this week.

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    1. Thanks, Jeremy! I'm glad you found this useful. Hopefully others will too.

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  13. A new challenger emerges! Welcome to the GLOGosphere, Nuclear Haruspex! https://nuclearharuspex.blogspot.com/2019/03/the-golemist-glog-class.html

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  14. Have I said that this is one of my favorite blog posts this year? It is.

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    1. Thanks, Luka! I was trying to put together something useful. It's nice to see that I succeeded.

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  15. What are the Goblin Laws of Gaming? Are they written somewhere?

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    1. They are all of the above Patrick! Everyone has their own version. Skerples is the most popular/complete/whatever, but pretty much everyone has their own "version". It came from Goblin Punch originally, and is just *the best*.

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    2. So the "Laws" are the rules? I was thinking this was referring to something else.

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    3. Patrick, GLOG is an acronym for "Goblin Laws of Gaming," which is indeed the general name for the ruleset everyone up there is using.

      I have a link to the first version in the Goblin Punch entry, and if you do a Ctrl F search for the word "rules" you find about a half-doze to a dozen more versions that various others have written.

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    4. Yeah, I just for some reason really thought there was a lore aspect to it as well. Like, Goblin Law #1 Do not eat your GM, something like that. I kept looking for the "Goblin Laws" amongst the rules and couldn't find them so I really thought I was missing something somewhere.

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  16. A fantastic list! Humbled to be counted among them. Can't wait to dig into the ones I haven't read yet. Thank you for putting this together!

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  17. Wow, the glogosphere is a lot bigger than I reckoned. Great list! Vital now that G+ is gone. Thanks for doing this!

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  18. Hi Anne! Thanks for listing me!! I'm honoured.

    I'd say it's probably half a 5e blog, half OSR stuff, altho I'm not sure that holds up in practice. In any case, it'll probably get more OSR-y over time, and of the two games I actually run one is GLOG-like and one is 5e.

    Also, I'm nonbinary and go by they/them pronouns, if you could update that in blurb :)

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    1. Sorry about that, Ezra. I've updated my language above.

      A lot of thinking about setting or discrete components of the fantasy world ends up looking system neutral, so it can be hard to tell how much is "for" one ruleset or another.

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    2. For sure! The description gave me an opportunity to muse about the direction of the blog.

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  19. Wow! I'm surprised and honored to be included here, and I didn't even consider myself GLOG adjacent until now, but honestly? There are a lot of similarities and I'm happy to be compared to such talented and creative individuals! Thank you!

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    1. Awesome! I think your creation of the GLOGgers' favorite dungeon format would be enough by itself, but you're right, I think there are some other similarities and affinities there.

      Thanks for your ongoing work on 30-minute dungeons!

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  20. If you're interested in the GLOG but don't know which one to use, I've reviewed 4 versions here: https://archons-court.blogspot.com/2019/04/review-some-glog-likes-why-not-rat-on.html

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    1. That's great! Thanks for doing that, Luther!

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  21. Why thank you for the mention! :)

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    1. The more, the merrier, Ancalagon!

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    2. Alas, I am not young nor cool... Honestly I'm on the periphery of the Glogosphere. However you may like my latest post which was in part inspired by your great discussion on resources.

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    3. Oh, thanks for the tip! Yeah, alchemists are kind of a challenge right? They need material components to make sense in a way that other casters don't - but does that work with any kind of encumbrance system?

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  23. Anne, I'm incredibly thrilled to see myself counted on this list! I'm glad you've enjoyed what sporadic content I've managed to post over the past 2 years. After this August I should have enough time to expand on the topics I've mentioned before :)

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