Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Staring Contests

I walk around the ring, but I never take my eyes off my opponent.
I keep my eyes on him, 
even if he's ready and pumped and can't wait to get his hands on me as well.
I keep my eyes on him.
I keep my eyes on him.
I keep my eyes on him.
Then once I see a chink in his armor, 
One of his eyes may move, and then I know I have him.
Then when he comes to the center of the ring,
he still looks at me with his piercing look as if he's not afraid,
but he already made his mistake when he looked down for that one-tenth of a second.
I know I have him.
He'll fight hard for the first two or three rounds,
but I know I broke his spirit.

A staring contest is spiritual combat of a sort that any two individuals can engage in. Children sense this inherently and begin training their spirit in bouts against one another from a young age. It is only when other means of contest become available that staring contests become less common.

This is a grave mistake.

Defeats are not only dealt out via sword and spell, but with eyes and stiff upper lips. The heaviest armor may save you from the type of wounds which will heal anyway, but without practiced discipline of spirit you are vulnerable to wounds that may mar you forever.

Additionally, PCs may engange in a starting contest with indivuals that are not culturally appropriate to fight by other means. The wisened sage, the child, the prominent official do not take well to the sword, but a conflict with stakes can be engaged in by these means.

so, the rules.

Staring contests are invoked when two parties pass judgment on one another in an irreconcilable way. The traditional way to settle this is with combat, but here the staring contest is used instead. 

  1. One party passes judgment on the other
  2. The second party return judgment on the first
  3. A single roll to determine the will and spiritual fortitude of the participants, with the loser accepting the judgment of the other as true about themselves.

I recently goaded Phlox's sage NPC in his Ten Blade Demigod game into a staring contest. I botched my end, but here's how that would have panned out according to these rules.

PC, seeking wisdom and guidance: "what use is a sword?"

NPC: "A sword is a weapon of war. A sword-dancer dances to titillate butchers. A sword-brandishing hunter pursues illusory prey. Those who wreak the work of war inherit tools laid out before."

PC: "A last question before I depart, what did your tea leaves say about me?"

NPC: "That if you sin, you will sin defiantly."

at these remarks a rather comprehensive judgment has been passed on my PC. He is sword-forward and seeks to use it to do good, and by the second comment, both of these attributes are called into question by the sage. The utility of the sword and his goodness.

PC: "Hmph. I came seeking wisdom, but found only one who wishes the world to be different, but is not willing to take the sword into her hands to change it."

Eyes are locked. A stat representing spirit and will is tested. The loser accepts the judgment of the winner as true about themselves for the time being. My PC lost, calling into question his ability to work good and his goodness itself, thus far unchallenged in the game. Fun!

These contests can be arranged with different stakes, of course, when fighting is not an acceptable recourse similar to wrestling.

Wednesday, November 10, 2021

swarms of slimy bugs!

Too late for halloween, too late for GLOGtober, but these squirmy bugs must be let loose! Thanks to Spwack for the generator generator.

Thursday, August 5, 2021


What is a magic sword? Have you ever thought about it? Why are they so ubiquitous? Every hero needs one and every PC is after one. On the GLOG discord server just making up chainsaw sword names is enough. 


A magic sword is what allows Scott Pilgrim to vanquish the ex and secure the girlfriend. A magic sword, once lost, caused Thor to do some soul searching and invade a government base. A magic sword once chose the King of Camelot. So what's their deal?


A magic sword is the thing you're looking for when you plumb the depths and venture into the chaotic wastes. I mean that in more than just your game. When you move, as I did recently, you leave the walled safety of civilization (that you know and are familiar with) and enter the relative unknown of a new land rife with dangers you are not yet familiar with. Over time, though, you get to know the place, its social customs, its idiosyncratic dangers, and the safety of civilization re-emerges around you.



But by then you are not in the same civilization. And you are not the same. A journey into the wilderness of life does not leave one unscathed, but when you return successful from your metaphorical/archetypal journey you are more than you were when you left. The lessons you learned, friends you gathered, treasure found are the precise things that caused the safety and comfort of home to re-emerge.


The sword is of that type of thing. It is the treasure but in its active form. Sometimes when you are thrust into the miasma by the monsters of life, there are no simple fairytale endings to be found. There's no pot of gold waiting at the end of your rainbow journey. The only way back is to step over the corpse of the monster that brought you here.

As far as I can tell, the only way to kill a monster is to become one. No pastoral farmer slays the hydra and rescues the village. Even if it was a farmer that left the village to do so, once they make it back they are no farmer now. The sword is a symbol of that. It is not a sensible tool to bring on an adventure. It's no axe or pick or crowbar. It's the thing for killing. It makes a monster out of you.


Anto Finnstark

When life grabs you by the hair and pulls you into the underworld (disease, loneliness, depression, isolation, unemployment, breakup, divorce, crisis of faith), you might curl up into a ball and cry. But not for long. That's not what heroes do. Forge ahead, stumble blindly if you must. Grasp. Reach. Find your magic sword and start swinging. The only way out is over the corpse of the thing that brought you here.


Once in your life, you may find yourself in the FIELD OF SWORDS. Here's the tool for any job. Look around:

Limitless potential is at your fingertips here, if only you could pull them all. But you can't. You get one choice. If you're greedy you'll leave with nothing. Life is like that sometimes. 

Examine them closely, you'll get only the appearance until you grasp one and by then the choice is made. The sword you grab might be the thing you need. It might even make you King.

Staring Contests

I walk around the ring, but I never take my eyes off my opponent. I keep my eyes on him,  even if he's ready and pumped and can't wa...