Thursday 30 April 2020

Flashpoints - PCs in Mass Combat

Secret Jackalope is like Secret Santicorn but for Easter!
Which I clearly missed, but I did it in the end!
So here is my somewhat belated Jackalope gift for Mr. Florent "killerklown" Didier of D.R.E.A.D. who requested:

"A simple way to make character actions in mass combat meaningful yet dangerous and not omnipotent"

I already did this in my Titan-Scale Mass Combat rules, but just linking back to that feels like cheating!
So instead I'm just going to adapt it to something more human-scale, such that PCs will be able to affect the outcome on the battlefield rather than just commanding from above.

So the main thing is that the PCs need a goal that isn't just "roll attacks against enemy soldiers".
If they're just in the rank-and-file they have no agency and no real means to affect the battle - they're just another soldier, even if they're like ten times better at killing than a regular soldier.

More importantly they need several possible goals so they have agency.
Flashpoints are these goals - points where the PCs can influence the course of the battle.


Every good scenario has an outcome that is essentially "what happens if the PCs don't intervene?"
Set that now.

A good idea is to just grab a famous battle from wikipedia and use that!
Good for "realism", good for one of your players picking it up and going "oh sick I know exactly what went wrong in the Battle of Cannae!" and feeling cool for using their historical meta-knowledge.

This is also good for working out the terrain and the power imbalance between the two sides, less work for you is always good right?

Rules Overview

Battles are fought by Units, representing formations of troops.
Battles take place on a hex grid Battlefield.
The PCs can influence the battle by going to Flashpoints, places which could tip the balance of the battle in their favour.


Armies are made up of individual Units, each representing a single formation of troops.
They have two stats - Speed and Power, and perhaps some extra bullshit special abilities.

Slow Units (eg. zombies) move 1 Hex per Turn.
Standard Units (eg. human armies) travel at 2 Hexes per Turn.
Fast Units (eg. winged dragon-cultists) can move 3 Hexes per Turn.

A Units's Power dictates the die they roll in combat. It's 1dX, where X is their Power.
eg. a Unit with Power 10 rolls 1d10 for combat, a Unit with Power 6 rolls 1d6.

Each side rolls their combat die.
The Loser loses 2 Power, dropping down a die size.
The Loser may move a hex, if able.

Killing a Unit:
If a Unit is at 4 power (ie. uses a base d4 for combat) and loses a combat, they are destroyed.
Survivors may flee, if possible, as a useless noncombatant unit.

Bullshit Special Abilities:
These are some extra bits to differentiate units and make them a bit more characterful.
Some possibilities:
Charge: Move an extra hex when you move in a straight line.
Riverwalk: Can cross water without a bridge.
Overrun: When you destroy another unit, move into their vacated hex.
Ranged: This unit can attack from 2 hexes away, but has -2 Power in normal melee combat. If they lose in a ranged combat against a non-ranged foe, they take no damage.

The Battlefield

The Battlefield is a hex grid. Each hex is as big as you need it to be.

Each Turn is anywhere between 10 minutes and an hour - time is flexible in the midst of combat.

Add some terrain to spice up the battlefield. Some possibilities:
Elevation: Units with the high ground gain +2 Power.
Slow Terrain: Units that move into this terrain end their movement.
River: Impassable to normal troops.


Flashpoints are places where a small and dedicated group of 2-8 characters of appropriate level might make an impact.
Think of Aragorn and Gimli defending the gates from the battering ram at Helm's Deep, or what would have happened if Legolas had actually taken down that one guy with the torch before he could light the bombs under the walls.

Whenever two enemy Units engage in combat, a random Flashpoint occurs.
PCs that arrive in time can enter the Flashpoint - essentially a short combat scenario that affects the course of the combat.

The PCs success or failure decides the outcome of the combat.
Success: Your allied Unit wins.
Failure: Your allied Unit loses.

These can basically be any cool combat battle scenario you can think of and you'll need to stat them up appropriately, but here's a d10 table to start you off!

Roll 1d10:

1. Enemy Champion
A very strong foe is here! A big monster, a powerful enemy hero, or some other terrifying singular threat! Defeat the Champion and your side is assured of victory!

2. Defend the Breach
A hole has opened up in the ranks and/or fortifications, and enemy troops are surging through! Hold the line for several rounds until reinforcements arrive, your troops recover, or the fortification can be shored up.

3. Enemy Leader
A particularly important enemy commander is here, and their tactical acumen will lead to the inevitable victory of the enemy forces if they're not stopped!
Fight, sneak or otherwise reach the leader in a few rounds and either kill them or force them to flee.

4. Morale Shaken
The pressure of combat, the death of a beloved soldier, or some other calamity has shaken the faith of the troops! Fight at their side and encourage them with inspirational deeds and words, stirring their souls and raising their morale to fight back against their foes!

5. Unexpected Tactics
Something completely unanticipated has happened! Outriders are attacking the flanks, or some fell magicks have turned the soil to mud, or a feigned retreat has left the unit surrounded by once-hidden foes! Help your Unit recover the initiative and turn the tides back in your favour!

6. Push the Advantage
A hole has opened up in the enemy formation, an opportunity to break through if only someone could seize it! Lead the charge and break the morale of your foes!

7. Capture the Standard
The enemy is holding some prideful totem that gives their forces strength and power! Capture their prized standard, powerful magical totem, or whatever it is that will make them abased and demoralised if it is seized!

8. Mark a Target
Some sort of destructive ranged attack, be it massed bowmen or artillery or arch-wizard, is ready to fire on a tactically important place but they need someone to mark the target before they can do so!
Somehow get to the target location and plant the smoke canister, arrow-attractor, or magical ley-stone in position so they can blow it to hell!

9. Recon Mission
If only your troops knew what was ahead they could assure themselves victory! Whether it's an ambush, a trap, or simply knowing what the enemy they're facing has to fight back with, there's something ahead that would be easily overcome with prior knowledge.
You have limited time to go forth, find out the necessary knowledge, and survive to return and inform your troops of what lies ahead!

10. Elite Guard
The elite forces of the enemy are ahead - bloody-minded veterans, empowered uruk-hai, or some other force much more powerful than their regular rank-and-file is arrayed before you.
Support your troops in the fight ahead against a multitude of powerful foes!

The exact make-up of these different Flashpoints is down to the individual scenario.
If the enemy is other humans, an Enemy Champion result might be a particularly powerful warrior with a massive sword.
If they're undead it might be a massive zombie abomination that crushes all before it.
If they're mushroom men perhaps it's a rolling spore monster that chokes your soldiers so that the shroom rank-and-file can finish them off.

Turn Order

Each Turn goes like this:
  1. Unit Movement
  2. Create Flashpoints
  3. PC Movement
  4. Flashpoints!
  5. Resolve Combat

1. Movement
Units move in whatever order you want up to their speed.

2. Create Flashpoints
If two opposing units are in adjacent hexes, a Flashpoint occurs!

3. PC Movement
PCs move in whatever order they want.
Since they don't have to march in formation, PCs are faster than regular Units.
Mounted: 4 hexes.
Lightly Encumbered: 3 hexes
Encumbered: 2 hexes
Morbidly Encumbered: 1 hex

4. Flashpoints!
If one or more PCs has moved to a Flashpoint, they see what the scenario is!
If they choose to engage, they join the Flashpoint scenario.

5. Unit Combat
If the PCs succeeded at a Flashpoint, their Unit wins!
If the PCs failed at a Flashpoint, their Unit fails.
Otherwise, roll for the outcome as above.

Some Example Units

Power 6. Speed 2.
- Pike Square: Bonus +2 Power vs Cavalry

Power 6. Speed 3.
- Charge: Bonus +1 Speed moving in a straight line.

Power 6. Speed 2.
- Ranged: This unit can attack from 2 hexes away, but has -2 Power in normal melee combat. If they lose in a ranged combat against a non-ranged foe, they take no damage.

Power 6. Speed 2.
- Raise Dead: Permanently gain +2 Power when they defeat a Unit with bones.

Power 8. Speed 2.
- Treestride: This unit is not slowed by forests.

Power 10. Speed 3.
- Flying: This unit is not blocked by impassable terrain.
- Devastate: If this unit wins a combat, the enemy unit loses 4 Power instead of 2.

Hopefully that's good enough! If you want to add monstrous unkillable titans that are threatened by nothing other than each other, check out the original post!

Sunday 29 March 2020

Harder/Better/Faster/Stronger - A Crafting System

One of my players has been getting big into the idea of being some sort of Mad Scientist specialist, which naturally necessitates a bullshit crafting system!

Did I phrase everything like this to shoehorn a reference to a two decade old Daft Punk song into a crafting system?
... Perhaps.

The Central Gimmick

When you upgrade an object or device, you can choose to upgrade any one of these four essential aspects:
  • Harder:
    Make it sturdier, tougher, more resistant to harm.
    A bit like improving its Constitution.
  • Better:
    Make it multi-use, prettier, or otherwise upgrade it in a way oblique to its usual purpose.
    A bit like improving its Int/Cha/Wis.
  • Faster:
    Make it easier to use, faster to deploy, or quicker to recover.
    A bit like improving its Dexterity.
  • Stronger:
    Make it more powerful, more effective, better at its primary task.
    A bit like improving its Strength.

But nothing improves without sacrifice.
When you upgrade one aspect, you must downgrade another.

Roll Tinkering.
On success, you choose the downgrade.
On failure, the DM chooses.

The downgrades are the inverse of those above:
  • Brittle:
    It breaks easily, or gives less protection, or needs excessive care to maintain.
  • Worse:
    It's uglier, less useful, more obvious, or otherwise less good in a way oblique to its primary purpose.
  • Slow:
    It's unreliable, difficult to control, or requires laborious reloading.
  • Weak:
    It's less powerful, less effective, and not as good at doing the main thing it should be able to do.

Naturally the actual mechanical impact of these relatively vague categories is down to negotiation with the DM.


This is primarily designed to allow some fun inventions and equipment upgrades without getting into the world of +1 Swords and other straight upgrades. I like it when things have upsides and downsides - not necessarily for any balance reasons, just because it's nice to have interesting choices.

Plus Tinkering is a fun skill that's not used so much beyond repairing gear, and once you've opened the door to weird and wacky inventions why stop?
Plus if I'm leaning into this post-apoc thing, having scratch-built equipment that does funky stuff is very on-theme!

The aspects are quite loose and open to interpretation.
Harder, Faster and Stronger are supposed to be your fairly straightforward upgrades and downgrades.
Sword does more damage (Stronger) but breaks easily (Brittle).
Armour is more effective (Harder) but encumbers you more (Slow).
Firearm loads swiftly (Faster) but doesn't pierce armour (Weak).

The "fun" aka more ruling-heavy part is in the Better/Worse metric.
An easy one would be like classic ceremonial armour that's super classy and impressive (Better) but easily damaged (Brittle).
But how about adding a gun to a katar (Better) so you can shoot while you punch? Maybe the actual weapons are less effective (Weak) but who cares when you can punch bullets into people?
Build an oil channel and spark into a sword to make it go on fire (Better) but at the cost of having to reload it with special oil between times (Slow). Go wild!

Monday 24 February 2020

Wizard Rework Finale: The Death of Spell Levels + 500 Levelless Spells

Last year I reworked wizards so that they used Mana instead of spell slots.

In that very post I said the following -

This is part of my soft move towards all spells becoming scaling Level 1 spells, a la Wonders & Wickedness. This way I can still use the regular spells in the book while any new spells can be introduced at Level 1.

Time to make that soft move a HARD MOVE BABYYYYYY.

A Whole Load of Spells

First off, here's my big list of 500 levelless spells (and counting!) culled from many sources.

Ten Foot Polemic Spell List

If you look at the sources you'll notice there's lots GLOG-adjacent stuff because translating "[dice]" to caster level is a pretty easy shift!
I'm still adding stuff (next is to scavenge spells from individual GLOG wizards..) but biggest thanks to Isaak Hill, Skerples, Lost Pages, and this imminentchurchengine person who posted a massive d200 spell list on reddit.

Spells are hash-marked because it's sometimes useful to be like "You find scroll #154" and then look up the hash later when they finally identify it.

Quick rundown of what's in this sheet -

Generates random MU and Necromancer spells and random spell mishaps for each.


One big list of all the wizard spells I've got so far!

Magic-User Mishaps:

Automated version of Aura's wild magic table. Pulls through to the Generator tab, but useful if you need a specific table result.

Big list of Necromancer spells. Currently fairly short, but more to come!

Spellbook Generator:
 Generates 6 MU spellbooks and 6 Necromancer grimoires.
The MU one is designed to give starting wizards mostly standard LotFP L1 starter spells with 1-2 fun ones from the whole list. Got to make sure new Wizards mostly get the classics!
Necromancers get their archetypical spell Subjugate Dead and 3 random spells from the whole list. I might change that if the Necromancer spell list gets anywhere near as big as the MU one, but it's fine for now! Raising and controlling the Dead is the main one, after all.

The layout is meant for copy-pasting into a doc for printing, which is why it looks a bit janky, and it doesn't update if you refresh the page, sorry!

Wizard spells should spit out into this document if I've got it right - Beginner MU Spellbooks.
And Necromancer spells should come out here - Beginner Necromancer Spellbooks.

Get on my Level

So - the obvious. All spells are now "Levelless", or effectively first level spells that scale with caster level.
This means I can tighten up the spellcasting rules as follows:

Mana: You have 1 Mana per level. This powers your spells.
You can still cast spells when you’re out of Mana, it’s just significantly more dangerous.
Your Mana Pool refills after 8 hours of rest.

Casting: You have two ways of casting spells.
Bound: Bind spells in advance. For those who plan ahead.
Wild: Cast instantly and spontaneously. For those who live in the moment.

Spellbinding: Spend 1 Mana and 10 minutes meditating with a spellbook to create a Bound Spell.
It takes a round to cast a Bound Spell - declare casting as an Action, it goes off at the start of your next turn. If you get hurt mid-cast, Save vs Chaos. On success you maintain casting, on failure the spell goes off immediately as a Chaos Burst

Wild Magic: Roll 2d6 on this table plus:

Skill: Your Intelligence modifier.
Bulk: -1 per Encumbrance level
Mana: For each Mana you spend, roll an extra 1d6.
Blood: For each HP you sacrifice, add +1.

Wild Magic is cast instantly as an Action.

Caster Differentiation

I had a few ideas about caster differentiation on one of the initial posts, but I've had a couple of slight changes of heart since!
Most significantly I'm making Necromancers have the same casting rules as others. This has necessitated separate spooky-themed Chaos Burst and Cosmic Horror tables, but that's part of the fun!
A smaller change is to move back to Magic-Users having one Familiar. I liked the idea of a powerful wizard being surrounded by a cloud of animals and people being able to guess what they've got prepped, but having a single Familiar (or two, in one notable case) is pretty iconic in my game now.

In short -
  • Magic-Users get a Familiar and the most flexibility.
  • Necromancers get a separate spooky spell list and need bodily fluids and stuff to cast spells at full power.
  • Muscle Wizards trade range for close-combat capability.
  • Elves get themed superpowers but can only cast Wild Magic.
Each caster class also gets a unique Vengeance when they die, which I thought would be a fun way to make the chaotic casters inject even more chaos into a situation!

Full player facing stuff is in the Quick Class Breakdowns, but here's the rundown using the casting rules above as the baseline.


Starting Spells: 
Start with a Spellbook containing four random spells.

Choose a smallish animal to be your Familiar at character creation. Familiars obey orders, communicate telepathically, and cannot die. If ever somehow destroyed, your Familiar reforms next to you.
Spells can be cast through your Familiar - counting it as the origin point of the spell.

When you bind a spell, you can bind it into your own head or into your Familiar.
Spells bound in your head grant you access to Cantrips - minor magical effects on the general theme of the bound spell, eg. Sleep could make someone yawn or Magic Missile might give you a bonus to Aim actions.
Spells bound to your Familiar grant it useful mutations. Shield might give it a tough shell or Spider-Climb could give it spider legs to climb up walls.
These effects last until you cast the spell.

Wizard Vengeance:
When you die your Familiar mutates into a horrifying demon and takes revenge.
Unspent Mana gives it more power. Uncast Bound Spells give it more abilities.
Roll it up with this generator: Saker's Summon Hack.
It's base HD is your level +1 for each unspent Mana you had.
It can cast any remaining Bound Spells you had at-will.

Moving to levelless spells really streamlines this class.
Familiars are the only change to before - back to a single creature.
Familiars are good for signal-boosting spells, delivering Touch or Area attacks at range, and mutating into useful forms for shenanigans.

Oh also I'm so glad I was linked to that Summon hack! Great stuff!


Starting Spells:
Start with a Grimoire containing Subjugate Dead and 3 random spells.

Also start with a bandolier of glass vials. You fill these with the ritual components of your spells.
The bandolier is non-encumbering, but when you fill a vial it is added to your inventory.
You can stack up to 5 identical vials to an encumbrance slot.

You require vials of ritual components to cast spells at full power. The components are listed in the spell descriptions.
Sacrifice the required components when you cast the spell, otherwise the spell is cast as though you're a level 1 caster.

Last Breath:
The Dead will only obey those who speak with their voice, and so the most important ritual component is Last Breath - the final gasp of a sapient creature.
Breathing this in grants you the Voice of the Dead - crucial for raising, subjugating and controlling your Dead minions. A single vial lasts 10 minutes, after which your minions will simply obey the last order they were given.

Death Resistance:
Bound spells are ghosts that live in your bones and help hold your soul in.
Each Bound Spell grants you +1 when you roll to Tempt Fate.

Necromancer Vengeance:
When you die you release a wave of death magic and vengeful ghosts.
This deals 1d6 damage per unspent Mana and uncast Bound Spell to every living thing within 10'/level.

Streamlining the Necromancer to be in line with other casters is good for newbies.
While in the previous version I envisaged the Necromancer as the mirror of an Elf - ie. can't do Wild Magic while an Elf can only do Wild Magic - it turns out every newbie finds "Necromancer" more evocative than "Magic-User"!

They've still got a "prepare in advance" vibe through their need to have vials of stuff ready in their bandolier, but you'll notice this doesn't matter at Level 1.
It would suck to be a new player or new character starting in the middle of a dungeon and find out you're unable to cast your spells because you don't have any salt or eye jelly on hand!
The components are loosely themed - like salt is for warding spells and blood is for affecting living things. I'll be building up the Necromancer spell list over the next little while, so more to come!
Having a bandolier of stuff for Necromancy is, naturally, inspired by Abhorsen. Albeit those were bells not vials of phlegm and bone dust.

The exception is Last Breath for their signature spell, as you'll see in the Subjugate Dead spell description in the starter grimoires.
Last Breath is evocative and also pretty readily available in any delve - just do a murder!

I also dig the idea that intelligent Dead are powerful because they don't need Last Breath to control minions - they're already speaking with the Voice of the Dead.
The ten minute limit on Last Breath is so you can micromanage your minions in a combat situation, but outside of combat you'll need to put them on autopilot.

Oh yea, and if you bind your spells in advance it makes it harder for you to die! Cool huh?
And then if you do die, you pull every motherfucker in the room into hell with you.

If you've got any rad Chaos Bursts or Cosmic Horrors for Necromancers, hit me up. I need more entries!

Muscle Wizard

Starting Spells:
Start with a Spellbook containing 4 random spells.

Muscle Magic:
Your fists deal 1d4 magical damage and count as Shanky weapons.
All spells have a maximum range of 10' - punching distance - and casting your spells must be combined with an unarmed attack.
You choose whether a spell you cast affects you, your target, or both.

Core Power:
Mana suffuses your core, increasing your resilience.
You gain +2 HP for each unspent Mana in your Mana Pool.

Bound Strength:
Binding spells moves them into your muscles to grant yourself physical power.
Each Bound Spell grants your unarmed attacks +1 to hit and +1 to damage.

Final Impact:
When you die you can flash-step to somewhere in the scene, utter a final line, and unleash your ultimate move.
Deal 1d6 damage per unspent Mana and uncast Bound Spell to a creature in the vicinity.

I still laugh at that ridiculous Wide Kylo Ren meme. Anyway...
No big changes to the previous version, except they've got to choose between +HP and +attack with their Mana.
Do you keep it in Mana form so you're tough? Or turn it into Bound Spells so you're buff?
Remember - there's no penalty to casting Bound Spells in armour, so you can mitigate the HP tradeoff with better AC.

Affecting yourself and someone else with a single spell is very intended. Being able to go two-for-one on a buff spell at the cost of punching your mate in the face makes me laugh.


Elves start with a single random spell from this list. This is their Heartspell.
It defines what powers they will receive and the monster they will become.

Wild Mage:
Elves cannot Bind spells.
They can cast their Heartspell instantly as an Action. Other spells require a Wild Magic roll to twist their Heartspell into a new shape.

The more Mana an Elf has, the more powers and mutations they manifest.
Mutations and powers can be found here - Elf Mutation List.
These power tiers are based on Mana, not character level, so they lose their gifts as they use up Mana.
If an Elf runs out of Mana they can no longer cast spells - they are human once more.

Elves do not sleep, but they do disappear for hours at night to dance beneath the moon.
They are gone for an hour per level at some point during the night. When they return, their Mana is back to full.
Their powers wax as the moon wanes.
They get +1 Mana during a Crescent Moon, and double Mana during the New Moon.
They get -1 Mana during a Gibbous Moon, and half Mana during a Full Moon.

Cold Iron:
Cold iron weapons deal maximum damage to Elves.
Cold iron is simply iron that is cold - not a special type of metal.
Sustained contact with cold iron locks the Elf off from their powers, reverting them to human form until the cold iron is removed.

Wild Vengeance:
When an Elf dies it releases a Chaos Burst of its Heartspell per unspent Mana, each randomly targeted at any creature within 50'.

Notes: No big changes here, other than to give them their own special Vengeance thing.
That'll be great fun if my players face enemy Elves...
There's another minor difference to other casters - Elves technically can run out of spells! If you want to cast that dangerous 2d6 Wild Magic you'll need to keep a Mana back so you stay an Elf rather than some measly human.

original muscle wizard pic before I remembered about Ben Swolo

Finale Worde

So there you have it! What I always kind of wanted to do with the caster classes but was too lazy to follow through with!
Big big thanks to KingPenta who was the main person to nudge me into de-levelling the lotfp spells, and another big thanks to the GLOGosphere who I will continue to mine for levelless spells.
Turns out I find it kind of relaxing to translate content into my game's own idiom? I figure I'll just keep building it up over time.

Part of the fun is going to be adding my players' spells to the list over time as they research them, and in fact there are already a few in there from Sophia's brief but shining run as an Elf.

Conveniently enough one of my players has rolled up a Necromancer and another just rolled up a Wizard after his previous character united with his god and ascended ever so slowly to heaven, so I'll actually be able to see how they go in play!

Friday 7 February 2020

Secret Santicorn 2019: The Breakdown

This post is just a link to DIY & Dragons who has organised aaaaall the Secret Santicorn stuff we did in the Discord at the end of last year!

Secret Santicorn 2019

There's some really great content in there, I think making stuff for other people really makes people put in all the effort!
Big shout out to what is obviously the best one, the one Spwack made for me!

Feels weird to have such a short post with no pictures stolen from a google image search, so please enjoy this sandwich alignment chart.
Bring it out next time you're out with friends or on a date and I guarantee a good quarter hour of conversation.

Thursday 16 January 2020

Class: Barbarian - The Rage Spiral

It's been more than six years since I added the Barbarian class to my game, and in that time we've had a fair few of them!
Unfortunately they've rarely used their iconic Barbarian Rage ability. Something had to be done!
So here's a pair of abilities that synergise nicely, and encourage Barbarians to throw themselves headlong into battle...

Rage Gimmick Overview

You can go into a Rage at any time. 
You deal increasing amounts of damage as your rage grows, but the angrier you get the harder it is to stop!

Death Trance
When you're at 0 HP you enter a Death Trance.
The more hurt and/or enraged you are, the more attacks you get.

Rage + Death Trance
Together this means that a raging Barbarian in a death trance gets fuckloads of attacks and deals fuckloads of damage and will keep killing until everything stops moving.
Great for killing big monsters. Extremely great for dying gloriously. Extremely scary for everyone around you if you sink too deeply into battle-madness and go berzerk!

Rage Points

For ease of explanation and cross-compatibility I'm going to call the core mechanic "Rage Points" here.
Assume Rage Points last until you leave a Rage or combat ends.


Entering a Rage takes an Action.
While in a Rage:
- Hitting a foe grants you a Rage Point.
- Hitting an ally removes a Rage Point.
- Each Rage Point grants you +1 to melee damage and -1 to AC.

You must attack during a Rage. 
You lose 1 Charisma every time you could take an Attack action and don't.
If you reach 0 Charisma you lose your mind (and your character) and murder everything in sight.

Rage is overwhelming and calming down is difficult.
As a Standard Action, or for free when you kill a creature, you may attempt to calm the fuck down.
Save vs Doom, with a bonus equal to your level and a penalty equal to your Rage Point total.
On success, your Rage ends.

Note: Using an action to attempt to calm down is a non-attack action, so if you fail you'll lose Charisma. Best to sate your bloodlust by killing something...

Death Trance

At 0HP you enter a Death Trance.

While in a Death Trance:
- You gain a Rage Point every time you take damage.
- You gain an extra attack per Rage Point.
- You cannot be knocked out, put to sleep, or otherwise made unconscious.

Discussion -- Rage

So that's the Big New Thing! Pretty straightforward, and hopefully the synergies and tradeoffs are obvious.
Rage is good on its own - it makes you a powerful single-target damage dealer.
Death Trance is good on its own - it gives you a bunch of extra attacks in a pinch.
Put them together and you're a monster!

On the other hand, having tons of Rage Points is awesome up until you have to leave your Rage. If you're unlucky you'll get sucked down into a spiral of violence where you murder all your friends!

Moving Rage from a limited use resource to a building spiral was spurred by a conversation on the Discord with Great_Job, Chuffer, Rook, and some others.
Great_Job brought up that a Rage is usually presented as a resource management mechanic rather than evoking the "somewhat fluid, emotional nature" of losing yourself to anger, which is totally true!

Heavy inspiration from Great_Job's take on a rage monster PC: The Accursed.

The Rest

With the all-important Rage and the Death Trance out of the way, here's the rest of the Barbarian's cool shit.

Barbarian saves and attack bonus don't advance normally.
Instead they roll twice on this Barbarian Powers table each level!

Barbarians cannot wear armour, but they have a natural AC of 14 due to Barbarian luck and God-favour.
Despite wearing barely anything, Barbarians always count as protected against extreme weather.

Party Hard:
Barbarians are great at carousing.
The Barbarian, and anyone who chooses to Carouse with them, doubles how much they spend while carousing (and thus, doubles how much exp they gain).
However when they Save against carousing mishaps, they roll the save twice and take the worst result.
This stacks with multiple Barbarians. Two Barbarians means triple spend but roll three times and take the worst, and so on.

Discussion -- Full Package

Barbarian powers are cool and comfy at this point.
Everyone likes the wacky unique stuff like Charisma armour or crit range improvement, but you might notice that even the "boring" results - attack bonus and Save improvement - are indirect improvements to Rage. Attack bonus means you actually hit with your high damage rage attacks and Save bonus means you break out of Rage easier. Pretty sweet!

Low armour fits the Barbarian theme, but also serves as a way to separate the Barbarian from the other combat class - the Fighter.
Fighters can wear heavy plate, Barbarians are usually stuck with 14 AC. Low armour and a Rage mechanic that makes them easier to hit means they'll get knocked down to that spicy Death Trance easier!
Natural protection against extreme weather is important for my post-apoc weather stuff. I dig the idea that Barbarians can walk around in furry shorts while everyone else needs a full body suit!

Barbarians carousing is another thing that's seeped into the group lore, I really liked the times the rest of the group was like "uhhh no actually I can't afford to party with the Barbarian we'll carouse later".
I kinda picture Barbarians as being somewhere between That One Friend who first got you drunk when you were a teenager and That One Friend who insists on going to a club even though you're old now and it's past midnight and you've been feeling a bit tired since 7pm.
Either way you're going to find yourself staring at a toilet bowl asking yourself why you agreed to shots.

Yo what happened to punching ghosts?!

If you've been in my game for a while you might notice that the Barbarian has lost a few things they used to have as standard.

Long story short, both "fists do d4 and can punch ghosts" and "eat spells cast on you on a nat 20" are on the random Barbarian Powers table now.
This is largely because Barbarians get lots of wacky powers already, and keeping track of these and the random powers and abilities from backstories was quite a lot!

And Finally - Death Rules Integration

So that's the cross-compatible version above.
In my game I've integrated this into my Death mechanics

It's maybe a bit too mechanically cute, but it's my game so whatever! I can regret it later!

Pain fuels Rage.

So my death system basically works by giving you Death Tokens at 0 HP.
Mostly this is Pain Tokens which might make you pass out, but you can also get Bleed (damage over time) and Trauma (risk of death).

In this version, Pain Tokens are used as Rage Points.
This has a few fun mechanical implications!

Same exact concept as above, but here's how it works in the Death Token version:


Entering a Rage takes an Action.

While in a Rage:
- You never Tempt Fate, ie. No passing out from Pain, no death from Trauma, no damage from Bleed.
- Hitting a foe grants you a Pain Token.
- Hitting an ally removes a Pain Token.
- Each Pain Token grants you +1 to melee damage and -1 to AC.

You must attack during a Rage. 
You lose 1 Charisma every time you could make an Attack and don't.
If you reach 0 Charisma you lose your mind (and your character) and murder everything in sight.

Rage is overwhelming and calming down is difficult.
As an Action, or for free when you kill a creature, you may attempt to calm the fuck down.
Save vs Doom, with a bonus equal to your level and a penalty equal to your Pain total.
On success, your Rage ends.

Note: Using an action to attempt to calm down is a non-attack action, so if you fail you'll lose Charisma. Best to sate your bloodlust by killing something...

Death Trance

At 0HP you enter a Death Trance.

While in a Death Trance:
- You gain an extra attack per Pain Token.
- Pain does not add to your rolls on the Death Table.


So this version uses Pain Tokens but is functionally the same as up top.
The fun part is that this has fairly interesting mechanical effects!

Some examples:
- Pain Tokens don't add to death table rolls so you tend to shrug off minor wounds. Like even if you're at zero with 5 Pain and get hit for 6 damage... you "roll" 0d6+6 instead of rolling 5d6+6. Life saver!
- Clerics can heal Pain Tokens. Might be fun to sabotage an enemy Barbarian by healing them, or use God's mercy to calm the soul of your angry Barbarian friend before he murders you all.
- When the Rage ends you've still got a bunch of Pain Tokens, so could probably pass out after your Rage.
- Food heals Death Tokens too, so a Barbarian who's come out of a rage will be H O N G R Y.
- Poison is Death Tokens so you're literally immune to poison during a Rage.
- Drink Pain Poison to hype yourself up!?

Hopefully it is fun! Someone persuade Ollie to go into a rage so we can see what happens. Would be real funny (for me...) if Zulu murdered everyone in a rage-fueled accident!

Game Stuff

Here's the player-facing character breakdown text:


Combat Hero, Rage, Unique Barbarian Abilities
Can’t wear armour, anger management

To the surprise of everyone, you detect as Lawful.
Technical Stuff
HD: 1d8 - minimum 6 at first level.
Saves: Fighter. (Stun 14, Doom 12, Blast 15, Law 13, Chaos 16)

Special Abilities
Unique: At first level, and every level thereafter, roll 1d100 twice on the Barbarian Powers table.
These can be anything from +1 to hit to intimidating hostile beasts to boosted crit damage.
Bare-Chested: You can’t wear armour (it’s for the weak) but you have a natural armour class of 14 due to luck, the favour of barbarian gods and/or protective tattoos.
Despite wearing not much at all you always count as protected against extreme weather.
Party Hard: You party really fucking hard. The whole party rolls double for carousing when you’re around, and when they save against Carousing mishaps they roll twice and take the worst.
This increases with multiple Barbarians - triple for two, quadruple for three, and so on.
Death Trance: You are an absolute monster when you are close to death.
While at 0HP, you enter a Death Trance where you attack in a frenzy and shrug off minor wounds.
In this state you gain an extra attack per Pain Token, and Pain does not add to your Death Table rolls.
Rage: In battle, as an Action, you can hype yourself up into a Rage.
Pain fuels your Rage - each Pain Token grants you +1 to melee damage and -1 to AC.
You gain a Pain Token whenever you hit a foe in melee, growing your Rage.
You lose a Pain Token whenever you hit a friend, slowing you down.
While in a Rage you never Tempt Fate due to Death Tokens, so you never have to stop fighting..
To stop Raging is difficult. As an Action, or when you kill a creature, you can attempt to stop your Rage by passing a Save vs Doom. You get a bonus equal to level and a penalty equal to your Pain total.
You must attack in a Rage. You lose 1 Charisma every time you could make an Attack action and don’t.
If this takes you to 0 Charisma you lose your mind (and your character) and murder all in sight.

And the full Barbarian Powers table

In case something happens to the Google doc!

1 - 29More smashy! +1 to hit.
30 - 45More lucky! -1 to all Saves
46Double the Smash! When you dual-wield, always take both results for damage.
47 - 48Meaty Motherfucker! +1 to Constitution Modifier
49 - 50Fuck me?? No, fuck you! When a creature hits you when you're on 0HP, make a free attack against them. If you roll this again - two attacks, and so on.
51 - 52Sense Weakness. When you attack an enemy, you know how much HP they have remaining.
53Ah yes I know this beast. When an Encounter Check is rolled in a wilderness environment, you know exactly what a creature is from its Tracks, Spoor or Traces if you've seen its like before.
If you reroll, +1 Wisdom Modifier.
54Spell Eater. You can save vs any spell, even those that don't usually give a save. If you do, you "eat" the spell, negating the effect and causing your eyes and tattoos to glow a cool thematic colour. You unleash the spell's effect the next time you hit in combat, and you can save the spell for up to ten minutes.
If you reroll, -2 to your Chaos save.
55Loyal minion! You gain a hound, henchman, horse, or other exceptionally loyal and intelligent creature.
They think you're the best, and obey your every whim. If you treat them badly they look at the camera and say "well, it's a living" and still do it.
If you reroll and they're still alive, they get one free pass to avoid death. If they died already, it turns out they somehow survived! They're back!
56Back, Beast! You can walk right up to a natural beast of animal intelligence and force them to roll a Morale check modified by the inverse of your Charisma modifier (as in higher Cha is better) - if they fail you choose whether they flee or calm down.
On a reroll, +1 Charisma Modifier.
57Something's coming. You have +5 Awareness in Wilderness environments.
If you reroll, this bonus also applies to one other creature of your choice. One extra per reroll.
58Get hench! +1 to Strength Modifier.
59 - 60Bear-Handed. If you eat the heart of a natural creature you killed, you gain their strength for a ten minute Turn. That is, when you attack bare-handed you get their number of attacks, bonus to hit, and damage die.
During this time you can't really speak and can only point and grunt.
If you reroll, lasts an extra Turn.
61King Hit. Boost damage die of weapons you wield. If this goes above 1d12 roll over onto 1d12+1d4, then 1d12+1d6, and so on.
If you reroll, keep boosting.
62 - 63Luck of the Gods. -2 to your Doom Save.
64 - 65Overpower! On a melee hit you can blast everyone around you back 10' or so.
On reroll, +1 to melee attacks.
66And stay down! On a melee hit you can knock your target prone.
On reroll, +1 to melee attacks.
67Grapplemaster. When you win a Wrestle, you can choose 2 results instead of 1 - even the same result twice.
If you reroll, +1 Strength Modifier.
68 - 69Greetings, fellow traveller! +2 to Reaction Rolls and Morale Checks with other uncivilised folks, basically anyone who spends most of their life outside of a city, village, or other settlement.
70 - 71But it is not this day! You can sacrifice a limb of your choice to cancel all damage from a single attack, and you no longer drop to 0HP when you sustain such an injury. If you reroll, an already broken limb somehow gets better (heals, miracle prosthetic, whatever) or the next time you do this you also pop back up to maximum HP.
72 - 73Headtaker. Your crit range extends by 1, so you crit on a 19 or 20. If you reroll, it keeps extending.
74 - 75Beastslayer. You deal double damage to natural beasts. If you reroll, triple damage, etc.
76 - 78Gore Grinder. When you crit, roll twice and take both results. If you reroll, roll three times, etc.
79Get behind me! If you pass a Save, you can make someone nearby pass their Save against the same thing.
If you reroll, two people, and so on.
80-82Glamour armour. Add your Charisma or Strength bonus to your AC, whichever's higher. If you reroll, either take both or boost your Charisma Modifier by 1.
83 - 84Piss off, ghost! Your fists deal 1d4 damage and can harm anything, especially things usually immune to mundane attacks. If you reroll, keep improving the Damage Die of your fists.
85 - 86Ultimate Nelson. When you choose to Hold a foe in a Wrestle, you pin them completely.
If you reroll, +1 to Wrestle rolls each time.
87 - 88Know no fear. Immune to fear effects and +2 bonus to Saves vs spooky undead or necromantic powers.
If you reroll, further +2 to such saves each time.
89Bah! It is nothing. You take 1 less damage from elemental effects, like fire or cold or lightning. Minimum 1.
If you reroll, take 2 less damage, and so on.
90Heedless Charge! When you charge into battle - you cannot be stopped by Opportunity Attacks and you deal double damage.
If you reroll, triple damage, etc.
91 - 92This will do. Given ten minutes and some relevant materials, you can craft a 1d6 damage weapon of any type from bones, sticks, rocks, and other detritus.
If it gains a Notch it falls to pieces.
If you reroll, improve the Damage die by one size.
93 - 94These fools will believe anything! Civilised folk will generally believe anything you tell them about the exotic sights you've seen and great beasts you have slain.
When you spout such braggadocio, reroll the Reaction Roll with a +2.
If you reroll, add another +2.
95 - 96Sin Eater. If a Cleric calls forth a Miracle in your vicinity, you cast it as well if you Save vs Law.
If you reroll, -2 to your Law save.
97 - 98Die! Die! Die! Once per round, when you successfully hit with an attack, you get a free attack against the same target.
If you reroll, you can do it twice per round, and so on.
99Don't Have Time to Bleed! You never take damage from Bleed Tokens when you Tempt Fate.
If you reroll, +1 to your Constitution modifier.
100Indestructible Master of War! Any time you would take Trauma Tokens, take that many Bleed Tokens instead.
If you reroll, +1 to your Strength modifier.