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Cleric + Thief


This is a journal of meta-content and behind the scenes kind of updates.

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- fantasy cms

My boy ~piusbird is writing a sort of CMS+Blogging platform for solo roleplaying.

This is relevant to my interests.

There is obviously this of mine, Cleric + Thief. And there is also The 36 Corollaries of Lisergia [1], and Basement Quest [2], which is not a solo project but which is a roleplaying / blogging kind of situation also in need of content management.

[1] <gemini://>


I feel like I too am teetering on the edge of writing some weird, niche, bespoke CMS for my games.

I have two things to keep track of:

  1. DOCUMENTS: the recaps and writeups that essentially become blogposts. But also non-game metacontent such as this journal, and meta/planning notes about the game.

  2. DATA: Lists of NPCs, locations, plot threads, and all the information associated with them.

My solution for DOCUMENTS at the moment is just piles of markdown. Documents get published—or not—based either on directory structure (like Cleric + Thief), or sometimes based on yaml metadata (like Basement Quest), or sometimes based on file names (like Forest[3]). This usually changes from project to project. It’s messy and is the part most in need of a solution for me.


My solution for DATA at the moment is an esoteric plain text database called a recfile. I already wrote a little bit about how I use it in this game in the /doc folder of this repo[4]. You can also—at the risk of spoiling yourself—see what such a database looks like in /db[5]



- Tallman


Quick write up of test driving the new combat rules from Brighter Worlds v0.9.1, because I know AwkwardTurtle will be interested to hear about it.

The main change to combat is the concept of overflow damage, which means that if you deal direct damage in excess of the size of the target’s str die, they immediately step down their str die. And this cascades: if the spill over damage after that step down is in excess of the size of the next str die, do it again.

So here’s what happened “behind the screen” during this encounter.

Iofi and Maddox did not want to fight three mooks and a boss by themselves. So Maddox disappeared one and one escaped.

Maddox, Iofi, and two clones rolled really low against the one mook, but then took him out on the next round. The mook managed to wipe out all Maddox’s grit in the process.

Boss fight! Tallman took out a clone and dropped Iofi’s grit down to 1. She cast Entropic Drain, reducing her grit down to zero, and siphoning off all Tallman’s grit and giving it to Maddox.

Tallman stats by the way: d8 str d6 dex d6 will 4 grit d6 weapon. Special: you can make a second IMPAIRED attack on your turn, but it will leave you open to an ENHANCED attack next round.

So Maddox has 3 grit, back from zero. Rolls a 12 on their enhanced attack (!!), and the clone rolls 3 for 15 total. (Point of order: clone probably shouldn’t have dealt direct damage..)

Tallman is sitting on d8 str with zero grit and 15 direct damage. Immediate step down to d6 with 7 spillover, which immediately steps his d6 down to d4 with 1 direct damage left. He passes his str save.

Narratively this is when Maddox gives him a dead arm and mechanically lost his second attack. Because an automatic double step down hurts!

Maddox and Iofi team up on the next attack and do well over 4 damage, taking him out.

So yeah, that massive damage up front to tallman was devastating. I tried to make him a little beefy hoping for a dangerous fight. But, yowzers!

And in other news…


Yo check out the free BBC sound library:

Sharing sound mixes seems to be broken at the momnet, but here’s what I was listening to when Iofi first hears the chains rattling behind her:

- How To Play Cleric + Thief: Part II

Playing Cleric + Thief means doing one—or sometimes more than one—of the following:

- How To Play Cleric + Thief: Part I

Here’s how I play Cleric + Thief.

  1. Review notes and progress from last session

  2. Set the scene: think about what your characters are doing right now, what their goals are.

  3. Roll dice: determine a scene complication and/or alteration.

  4. Roll dice: Ask a bunch of questions.

  5. Have your characters react and respond to the situation. Do a lot of writing.

  6. Repeat steps 3 and 4 as much as desired.

  7. Update lists of NPCs and plot threads.

That’s the basic flow for any solo rpg I play. Or, for any rpg really to a certain degree, I guess.

Create interesting situations and react to them.

- 00007 Blackguard

Hi, I have covid 👋

I felt blocked on this update for a while because I thought it wasn’t “good writing” to just kind of worldbuild and lore dump.

But here’s the cold hard truth, my little cabbage. At the end of the day, when all is said and done, this is just a game I’m playing by myself. And sometimes, for me, playing the game means just thinking of backstory.

That said, there is a lot of backstory and worldbuilding and lore behind this update.

As always, I’m not sure how it’s all going to fit together, or how it’s all going to end up.

I’ll just have to keep playing to find out.

- Brighter Worlds 0.9.1

New update to Brighter Worlds!

I have an update I’m working on, but am kind of struggling with it narratively.

- Pantheon

A twelve sided die has 12 faces, 30 edges, and 20 verticies.

Let’s start by creating a domain / portfolio / aspect for each face. These are gonna be our “Major Twelve” gods, the Olympians.

  1. Law
  2. Magic
  3. Healing
  4. Chaos
  5. Life
  6. Death
  7. Plants
  8. Dreams
  9. Time
  10. Sun
  11. Animals
  12. Moon

Second, each vertex will get a domain. These will become our “Minor Twenty” gods. Lesser gods, local gods, demigods.

  1. Trickery
  2. Metal
  3. Fertility
  4. Water
  5. Change
  6. Creation
  7. Destruction
  8. Fire
  9. Madness
  10. Storms
  11. Courage
  12. Wealth
  13. Air
  14. Earth
  15. Weather
  16. Wisdom
  17. Strength
  18. Protection
  19. Travel
  20. Pain

Okay so each god, major and minor, gets their own domain, and then their neighbors. That’s neighboring faces for points (four total), and neighboring points for faces (six total).

In order for any of that to make sense, you need to stare really hard at Polyhedral Pantheon Design top and Polyhedral Pantheon Design bottom at

Major Gods Template:

2 Magic AEFNO
3 Healing ABFGH
4 Chaos BCHIJ
5 Life CDJKL
6 Death DELMO
7 Plants QRGHI
8 Dreams FGOPQ
9 Time PTMNO
10 Sun STKLM
11 Animals RSIJK
12 Moon PQRST

Minor Gods Template:

A Trickery 1,2,3
B Metal 1,3,4
C Fertility 1,4,5
D Water 1,5,6
E Change 1,2,6
F Creation 2,3,8
G Destruction 3,7,8
H Fire 3,4,7
I Madness 4,7,11
J Storms 4,5,11
K Courage 5,11,10
L Wealth 5,6,10
M Air 6,9,10
N Earth 2,6,9
O Weather 2,8,9
P Wisdom 8,9,12
Q Strength 7,8,12
R Protection 7,11,12
S Travel 10,11,12
T Pain 9,10,12

Okay let’s fill out the templates.

Note: I discovered at this point that it’s best to shuffle your list of domains lest your domains be thematically clumped. For example, when brainstroming, I wrote out all my elemental domains at once. This resulted in a god of fire, water, earth, and water. So spread your domains out thematically if you’re doing this.

By the way, every god is merely an aspect of the god-above-all-gods, PATRICK.

The major gods:

1 Unutrik Law Trickery, Metal, Fertility, Water, Change
2 Dutrik Magic Trickery, Change, Creation, Earth, Weather
3 Tritrik Healing Trickery, Metal, Creation, Destruction, Fire
4 Kvartrik Chaos Metal, Fertility, Fire, Madness, Storms
5 Kvintrik Life Fertility, Water, Storms, Courage, Wealth
6 Sestrik Death Water, Change, Wealth, Air, Weather
7 Septrik Plants Strength, Protection, Destruction, Fire, Madness
8 Oktrik Dreams Creation, Destruction, Weather, Wisdom, Strength
9 Nautrik Time Wisdom, Pain, Air, Earth, Weather
10 Dektrik Sun Travel, Pain, Courage, Wealth, Air
11 Eltrik Animals Protection, Travel, Madness, Storms, Courage
12 Dotrik Moon Wisdom, Strength, Protection, Travel, Pain

AND the minor gods:

A Aatrik Trickery Law, Magic, Healing
B Batrik Metal Law, Healing, Chaos
C Catrik Fertility Law, Chaos, Life
D Datrik Water Law, Life, Death
E Eatrik Change Law, Magic, Death
F Fatrik Creation Magic, Healing, Dreams
G Gatrik Destruction Healing, Plants, Dreams
H Hatrik Fire Healing, Chaos, Plants
I Iatrik Madness Chaos, Plants, Animals
J Jatrik Storms Chaos, Life, Animals
K Katrik Courage Life, Animals, Sun
L Latrik Wealth Life, Death, Sun
M Matrik Air Death, Time, Sun
N Natrik Earth Magic, Death, Time
O Oatrik Weather Magic, Dreams, Time
P Patrik Wisdom Dreams, Time, Moon
Q Qatrik Strength Plants, Dreams, Moon
R Ratrik Protection Plants, Animals, Moon
S Satrik Travel Sun, Animals, Moon
T Tatrik Pain Time, Sun, Moon

So now I have d20 minor gods, and d12 major gods. Neat!

A lot of things here just work when you look at them. The god of madness and chaos? The god of life and fertility? Others are interesting. The god of Law and Trickery? The god of Healing and Destruction? Nautrik is the god of Time and Wisdom, but also of Time and Pain.

I imagine none of these gods will use actual names, but will instead remain rather loosely conceptual, going by an epithet when it is neccessary to refer to them.

I also admit that this is all a little bit over the top. Do I really need 32 gods in my little make believe game? No, I do not. But now I can have some readymade, weird, jumbled portfolios that I can draw on when I want to, all of which are random and jumbled enough that they ought to be quite interesting.

Some fun resources on pantheons:

- 00006 Bone and Feather

🎶 Minotaur - Thee Oh Sees

The Dead Ringer plays the part of both Theseus and Forunato in this episode. And Iofi is a more clever Daedalus, for her labyrinth successfully delivers the villain into the hands of the Minotaur to be immured as revenge.

Or is it just that this Minotaur is a more competent and capable monster?

In other news, we now have some old church ruins to play around with! I guess maybe I should make a pantheon?

- 00005 Climax

So the dice insisted on telling an intense story by the end of this episode.

They compelled Blackguard to “suddenly act”, Meadowgloom had to die, and the Ringer had to find the safe house.

Quite a climax! Can’t wait to see what happens next.

It didn’t even occur to me for a long time that Iofi might be able to do a resurrection, despite her being a cleric. It was a difficult roll because it was a big miracle. And she barely pulled it off. But yay! Meadowgloom lives! For now.

- 00005 The Hand

Yes, the Hand are luchadors.

Yes, they follow parlimentary procedure during their meetings. The Index insisted on it.

Yes, Pinky’s spies are Facebook.

- Cardtography

In Episode 00004 - Pinky, I used playing cards to generate the layout of the Supper Club, and its encounters, on the fly.

Here is a summary of how to make a quick dungeon with playing cards as first described in the ‘cardtography’ series of posts on koboldpress.

You will need a deck of cards and a whole bunch of six sided dice.

  1. Lay out 25 cards face down in a staggered 5 x 5 grid:

        A B C D E
    01.   o   o
    02. o   o   o
    03.   o   o
    04. o   o   o
    05.   o   o
    06. o   o   o
    07.   o   o
    08. o   o   o
    09.   o   o
    10. o   o   o
  2. Flip the bottom, middle card face up and place a dice at the bottom edge. This is the dungeon entrance.

  3. Imagine the card as a clock that goes up to six:

  4. Roll 3d6 (2d6 for the first card) and place them at the appropriate corners.

  5. Doubles are long hallways, or locked doors, or traps.

  6. Explore, turning cards and rolling dice.


  1. Black cards are empty rooms or puzzles. Come up with something atmospheric or interesting.

  2. Red cards are adversarial. Low numbers are easy / simple encounters. High cards are dangerous.

  3. Face cards are special.

  4. When a card is the same suit and value as another face up card, that is the boss, or an exit to another level of the dungeon.

- Non-Player Characters

NPCs are kind of a weird concept in the context of solo games.

Every character is a player character when you’re the only player.

- Feed Esoterica

Okay some of you will get a kick out of this.

I decided I needed to roll my own feeds, and so I used ED to programatically edit my source files into recfiles, used an m4 include in one instance, and then used recfmt templates to create the rss items.

That is right. Ed, m4, and recutils.

- Blow Me Down

It is definitely not true that I based the looks of Iofi and Maddox on Shelley Duvall and Robin Williams from the 1980 American musical comedy smash hit Popeye.

- episodes rss feed

Made an update that will hopefully fix the links in the Episodes feed.

If not, I might need to start handrolling a feed instead of relying on

In fact, I just noticed that the journal feed is kind of borked too.

Yeah I may just need to create my own feeds..

- 00002. Meadowgloom

Hey gamers it’s ya boy dozens!

This update focuses briefly on Meadowgloom. Which is a name I snatched up from a fantasy name generator. It also generated the astounding name “Eccentric Kevin”. Who is a character I have every intention of introducing at some point as a perfectly normal, sane, and reasonable straight man.

- 00001. Cleric + Thief

Hey I started a new thing!

This is the narrative version of a solo roleplaying game.

It is based on the mechanics and the callings of Brighter Worlds by awkwardturtle. It is a lovely game and I wanted to play it. I came up with the setting and the starting scenario using GRAPES and WTAF?! tarot spreads as described by Sean F. Smith. And then I used the One Page Solo Engine to answer questions during play.

My thief almost friggin died in the very first scenario. Yikes! Combat is lethal.