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RELIC v3 is a rules toolkit for running analog adventure games based on Arnold K’s GLoG (Goblin Laws of Gaming) available at https://goblinpunch.blogspot.com/.  

It is compatible with D&D 1e, B/X, OSE, and most AD&D materials. The 1e Monster Manual or Gavin Norman’s Old School Essentials Monster Book are good companions for this rules set.

Like all house rules, this is a living document that receives updates from time to time.

What about GLAIVE?

Glaive definitely informed my work on Relic, but the two are quite different (the first being a classless game and the other being a class-based game). Glaive is still a perfectly good rule set and adapting any future Relic material to it should be no more complex than adapting old D&D adventures/resources.

Updated 10 days ago
StatusReleased
CategoryPhysical game
Rating
Rated 5.0 out of 5 stars
(7)
AuthorLonely Adventurer
GenreAdventure, Role Playing
Tagsdnd, Dragons, dungeons, Fantasy, glog, relic, Tabletop role-playing game

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RELIC_v3.pdf 7 MB

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If I may air my thoughts?

First of all? I don't like doing this. As a creative myself, with a partner who also is, I know how crushing even light criticism can be. It's awkward, as I'm really fond of all of your games (and Atomic Robo!) so I don't want any of my thoughts to come over as mean, ever. Then again, this could just be me being an empathetic baby.

The thing is? I love Relic, I want to adopt it, I can't. Why? I suck at balancing and there's one thing about it that really disagrees with me and plucks at my mind. I'm sure it has its place, and people like it, it's just that it isn't especially compatible with me which is why I've stuck with Glaive. It's really the only thing, and it's lead to me trying to house rules a patchwork monstrocity hybrid of Glaive and Relic.

How can I put this?

As a roleplayer, my brain is incompatible with hierarchy and grouping. This is why the rules I use have to accommodate for that. As a roleplayer, if I ever feel forced to do something that I feel my character wouldn't do? That takes me out of the game and immediately puts me off the system. Where Relic fails me here are the hierarchical talents which are grouped.

What made Glaive singularly and uniquely awesome was that it seemed to go for the realisation that I'd always had: talent trees suck. That's just my opinion though, and one many might not agree with. I mean, one of my favourite mods for Torchlight was one that removed the tree, rebalancing it so that each option was worth picking, and with only a scant handful of instances of requirements (you need this to get this).

I have a dragonkin character, for example. He's a lovely old eccentric, kind, and gentle. In a pinch, to save a life, he might use his elemental breath. However, the concept of him having the cold, dead stare of a cold-blooded predator is incompatible with my view of him (and chromatic dragons in general, but that's neither her nor there). I grumbled over that and muckled on, but then I found that more and more I disliked having to take talents that didn't fit with my character in because they're grouped in a template.

This is just my opinion alone, solely, nothing else, but I feel that in this regard Relic has become more of a video game and less of a roleplaying game. In a video game, you play the character that's laid out before you, you're not really playing a character of your own, with your agency having any impact on how things turn out. I mean, sure, you have rare gems like New Vegas (sans the very linear DLCs), but most video games aren't especially taken with player agency.

I love that in Glaive, I can pick the elements that I feel are relevant to my character. I can multiclass then by picking other traits. That's really cool, as I can build up something I want to roleplay and be supported by the system's mechanics. That's actually kinda unique. The reason I play rules-lite is that often I struggle against these video game-y elements in crunchier systems. I want to roleplay my character, not someone else's vision of it.

So in Glaive, I can mix and match a whole boatload of traits to really give my character the kind of bulk I'd want. I've even been trying to hack Glaive a bit to add new traits which I feel fit the classes, and that's actually a lot of fun! In Glaive, you have something that's incredibly diverse and something that can be built upon. I feel that Relic really begun to build upon that... and then lost the diversity in favour of video game-y elements.

Here's another thing: I actually really like that you've got lineages as classes, I get why you did that and it's fun. The whole reason is so you can have race traits. I dig it. However, the other side of this is that there's now the loss of a bunch of the cool lineages (like ursinkin and turtlefolk, two of my partner's favourites).

In my opinion, there's something truly awesome to be found in the weird space between Glaive and Relic—where lineages have traits, and there's none of the hierarchy or grouping (you just pick a trait or two every level).

One thing I have to acknowledge though is that I have a faulty dopamine circuit, which is not like a lot of people. I'm neurodiverse. As such, I've found that progression in games doesn't really do a lot for me. I've always preferred upwards rather than sideways. Seeing numbers get bigger is... Well, it's nothing. At least, not to me. It's a means to an end, but it doesn't excite me. However, Glaive did. Its sideways progression meant that my character became more interesting, not bigger number'd.

So, I guess what I'm saying is that a lot of this might just be people like me, and we might be a minority. You might change the hierarchy and grouping of Relic, and it might upset a lot of people. There are people for whom the sense of progression is more important than playing a uniquely interesting character that isn't bound to the rules, the character that you want to play. I'm writing this and I worry that it sounds like an insult, but it isn't. It's just... What it is? I mean, in an MMO, people love progression. The character is a means to an end. For me, the opposite is true. I love the character, and the progression is just a means to an end.

I'm sorry that this was an essay of waffle, but I'm not good at being succinct or explaining my feelings, and I always worry I'll convey myself wrong and cause hurt where that isn't my intent. I just wanted to share to see if you had any input.

Frankly, if you put up an optional module for Relic that was Glaive-ish with its traits (no grouping or hierarchy, you just pick on level)? I'd buy that in an instant. Like I said, I really like Relic but, for me, being bound that way and having limitations on how I can express my character is a bad time, it doesn't feel great. But that aside, I absolutely love Relic. I mean, if I wasn't really fond of it, I wouldn't be writing an essay long comment about it, so I hope that's obvious?

I just hope this doesn't come across as kind of a gut-punch anyway because, hey, like I said, I dig Relic and I dig Glaive. Relic just has that one part that just... doesn't work for me. I don't know what your thoughts on this will be, but I wanted to share mine.

Thank you for reading!

Wow! First things first: the length of your comment shows your passion for the subject, so how could I possibly be offended by your critique? ;)  I might disagree with certain points, but I take no offense.  I might not even disagree. My design goals might simply be out of alignment with your tastes.

It's all good! My wife is also neurodivergent. I think I understand when you are talking about processing RPGs a bit differently, but correct me if I'm wrong

I think I'm seeing 3 basic critiques/concerns here, right?

1. Moving from classless Talents to character classes with Templates

2. The need to take Templates in order when not every Template fits your vision for the character

3a. Species as class is interesting, but not all fantasy heritages are represented in Relic

3b. My interpretation of what makes a Dwarf the "dwarfiest" dwarf there is, is not going to align with other people's ideas about what the ur-Dwarf should be

I think that #1 and #2 can be addressed together. It comes down to that fundamental rule of DMing: your home game is unique to you. Ignore or change anything you like. :) 

If I wanted to make Relic more like Glaive what I would do is this:

1 & 2. Treat class Templates as themes, the way Tallents are treated in Glaive. "Here are some things that are typical of Barbarians, but anyone may select them."

That's actually how Relic multi-classing works already, except that you need to take the Templates in order. So get rid of that rule too.

While I tried to create logical progressions for the class Templates, they are not particularly well balanced or play-tested in most cases. It was just what made sense to me based on my experience playing other RPGs.

You can even work around what feels like it should be an exception to this rule: Species as Class. If my human wants to pick a Dwarf template at level 3 I would just say they were adopted into the culture, underwent weeks or months of ritualistic training to gain the Iron Gut ability, were taught the secrets of sonic throat singing, and had gems embedded in their temples or eyes so that they could gain Stone Sight.

Something like this would be a big deal though and I'd want to tie it into a whole adventure somehow.

Also, wow, making a deal with a devil and becoming a Tiefling mid-game sounds like another awesome adventure hook.

3A & 3B. I think any DM, should feel free to reinterpret, edit, or ignore what I think makes interesting templates for different heritages. If you think Dragonborn should have warm amber eyes that glow subtly with their inner fire and not the cold dead eyes of a predator, I cannot argue with that. :) If you don't like The Stare as an ability you can replace it with something else and it's unlikely to mess up your game.

As for heritages that are not represented: This one is on you to work out. I might eventually publish some more, but my "to-do" list is already quite long, so it will be a while.

I can give you some advice on how to do it though. I tried to make each species Template equivalent to class templates. My goal was that a human PC with 4 Temples of Thief was not any better or worse than a Tiefling PC with 2 Tiefling Templates and 2 Thief Templates. Just different in interesting ways.

Some heritages come with enough lore for a full 4 templates (Dwarf, Elf) while others are newer and less well described in fiction and RPGs (Dragonborn, Tiefling). This is, of course, just my opinion. You might easily be able to write 4 templates of Dragonborn.

What determines the number of Species-as-Class templates for me is how different they are from baseline humans. 

A Tortle looks very different. But I think the only mechanical differences in D& are the natural armor from the shell, claws (that do the same damage as fists I think?), and the ability to hold their breath. I could write that up in a single template.

Now my essay is matching and exceeding your essay, haha. I will end this here. I hope I was able to address your concerns. Let me know if I did not.

And I would be happy to offer feedback on any addition heritages that you might feel inspired to write up!

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I just listened through all of the podcast episodes. It was great to hear all your thoughts on game theory. Very fun to hear how Glaive and relic evolved through your play experience.

Is the podcast dead or will there be more episodes?


Are there more things planned for Relic?
I would love something about the setting you used for Relic.
We have picked up up now any i love to DM it and my players are really enjoying to play it.

I'm so glad you are having fun with Relic! :)

The podcast is semi-dead? I haven't had much to say lately, but I think about it at least once a week, so there will probably be a trickle of new episodes in the future.

I think moving forward with Relic I will just be publishing little adventures. Occasionally a new class. I'm currently working on a system-neutral zine about growing your starting town into something like a petty kingdom as the PCs advance in level.

I probably will publish a zine about my setting at some point. There's a very short write-up about it in an adventure I am cleaning up for publication, but I could do an entire zine on it easily. 

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Hello :) i really like your stuff. Since there are no clerics in relic, is healing supposed to be something one does with rations between fight?


There are no healing spells right?

Healing spells exist but they are very rare and expensive (you can change this of course). 

So yes, food essentially works like healing spells. I use rations simply because they work better with my Item Slot inventory system in terms of forcing weird player choices. Ex. my party killed a Giant Crayfish. They took what they could carry but ended up throwing a "craw-dad cookout" for some nearby locals they wanted to gain pints with using all the bits they could not prep and take with them. :)

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Thank you, great answer.

If i where to use OSE for monsters and treasure tables, what conversions do i need to do?Change gold gain mabye, i see that first level in relic is alredy at 250xp.

Do wizards need free hands to cast spells?


If i take a wizard template at level 1, then a fighter template at level2. Can i wear heavy armor?

All good questions!

I don't find that I need to alter monster stats when using the OSE Monster Book. The same goes for the spells (though obviously, you need to adapt them to the [dice] [sum] system which is very easy once you do it a few times).

You do need to alter treasure. I don't bother on a monster-to-monster basis, but when stocking a dungeon.

Wizards: I've never thought about it actually haha. Whatever you like best I guess? I've always assumed at least 1 free hand and the ability to speak. Thus being tied up or under the effects of a Silence spell they cannot speak

As long as a wizard has the Item Slots to carry heavy armor they can wear it.

Great stuff :)


One last question :P

When you players eat rations to heal, do they count towards the 2 daily rations needed to be consumed to not gain fatigue?

I allow it, though the rules are vague on this. 

My general thinking was: Inventory should prompt meaningful choices, but not be a burdensome chore.

I think forcing PCs to carry rations for survival and additional rations for healing is a kind of punishment.

Also, if healing spells are common in your setting (or you just prefer them) you could treat them like rations, but maybe say they are small and 2 or 3 fit in a single slot.

You're the DM, it's up to you! :)

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This project is coming along nicely, great work! I liked Glaive, and I like this too. :D

I did find a small typo. Page 72:

https://throneofsalt.blogspot.com/2018/02/all-lightsin-sky-are-wizards.html

should be:

https://throneofsalt.blogspot.com/2018/02/all-lights-in-sky-are-wizards.html

(You’re missing the hyphen after ‘lights’).

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Oh wow, you've got the original PDF! :D 
It's kind of a dead document at this point, but I will definitely update it for those who have it so they can find your rad blog :D
Thanks for finding that!
I'm fairly certain the link in the v3 PDF is correct, but I won't be the least offended if you double-check me haha
EDIT AGAIN: wow so many versions of this PDF . . . which one are you looking at?

Oh, gosh, this is embarrassing. I do have the latest v3, but I somehow opened up my old copy of v1.1 instead! Yes, I see now v3 doesn’t even have a page 72. Nevermind, then! Thank you for catching that. :D

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haha, its all good

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double check the Additional Classes pdf. Looked fine to me but the brain edits text in strange ways

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You know, it’s the darnedest thing. The Additional Classes (RELIC_v3_Characters.pdf) looks correct, there’s a hyphen after “lights.”

Hyphen

But when I highlight and copy the URL in Adobe Reader, to paste to my browser address bar, it pastes without the hyphen, like so:

throneofsalt.blogspot.com/2018/02/all-lightsin-sky-are-wizards.html

Incredible disappearing hyphen!

My guess is, maybe Adobe Reader thinks that URL is a hyphenated word, and it’s “reassembling” the word when I copy and paste, not knowing the hyphen is part of a URL.

Edit: Yes, it looks like this is actually a thing reported to Adobe Forums already! Just a weird little quirk of PDFs, I suppose. https://community.adobe.com/t5/acrobat-discussions/end-of-line-hyphens-delete-when-copying-text-from-adobe-acrobat/td-p/9952973

Thank you for looking into this, sorry for any wasted time. Keep up the good work!

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That is SO weird