A Half-Dozen jobs for CRACK!

In the midst of last month’s horseshit from WotC, the Merry Mushmen decided to take matters into their own hands to be sure we old school adventure-gamey folks were covered even if a pack of wizards tried to take all the toys and go home.

The fruit of their labours is CRACK!, a gleefully stripped down and funny as hell take on B/X that we can all chew on and elbaorate over as we please (it’s CC-BY!) —

So of course I’ve started chewing on it, lol.

And to that end, here’s a half-dozen more jobs for CRACK!, with a few ideas for gifts of nature appended to one, even. (hitting up the “spells” tag on here might give even more, if you want seasons or elements.)

Onward ~

Tall and imposing, with sharp and nearly reptilian features, slitted pupils, long tapered ears, claws, and a faint metallic sheen to their skin.
Health Peak: d8
Get Better: 125 XP
SAVE: 13, -2 at rank 4, 7, 10 etc.
– You can use your claws as weapons (1d4+1, if using varying weapon damage)
– Add your rank when imposing your presence on others, whether through fear, glamour, intimidation or sheer overwhelmingness (don’t call it your “majesty” or “aura”, that’s gauche)
– You can see in the dark and add your rank to resisting elemental damage (choose a type of damage)

Forest- and glen-dwellers, green-tinted and often flowery or barky. Pointy-eared, but don’t like the comparison to elves.
Health Peak: d6
Get Better: 100 XP
SAVE: 12, -2 at rank 5, 9, 13 etc.
– You can subsist off water and light like a plant, needing only half-rations
– You’re good at identifying plants or parts of plants, even monstrous or magical ones (2-in-6)
– Once a day per rank you may draw a tool or weapon from growing plant-life (or fungi) that lasts for one hour
– You can see in the dark

Has a special gift of the mind, which caught the attention of a supernally intelligent beastie. This can be good or bad, depending on the beastie and if you’ve got any kind of sense yourself.
Health Peak: d6
Get Better: 115 XP
SAVE: 13, -2 at 4, 7, 10 etc.
– You have a psychic gift; choose or roll:
01. you can speak in the minds of those you can see; 2-in-6 chance to pick up surface thoughts or sense emotion, with effort
02. you can lift objects with your thoughts, 1 kg/rank, even fling them like an arrow
03. you can try to see a distance place you’re familiar with, 10 mi./rank
04. you can heal 3x your rank in total HP per day
05. once per rank you can discern the answer to one question
06. you can kindle flame, visual range; 1d4 HP, if used against an adversary (also, they’re on fire)
– You are mindlinked to a companion creature, intelligent and capable of speaking in your thoughts. This beastie looks like a normal critter – perhaps with some unusual colouration – like a hunting dog, cat, fox, raven, wolf or horse. It is Bad News for you if they get killed.
– You cannot wear armour above chainmail, or use shields.

(or druid, or primalist, or woodwitch, or whatever)
Drawing on the powers of the natural world and the primal forces that fuel it. As likely to be a cheerful village gardener as a forest-dwelling wild-eyed ritualist.
Health Peak: d6
Get Better: 75 XP
SAVE: 14, -2 at rank 5, 9, 13, etc.
– Add your rank to attempts to forage for food, identify natural objects or phenomena, and resist poisons
– You can speak with animals successfully on 2-in-6
You can create a palm-sized amount of a pure element (air, earth, fire, water …) a number of times a day equal to 1 + your rank
– At 2nd rank and up, you can call on gifts of nature (spells)
– You cannot wear above leather armour or use shields

Some example Gifts Of Nature

* Natural Tap: Draw one pint / rank of sweet syrupy liquid from a flower head or a score in treebark, no matter how daft it seems.
* Whispering To The Foundations: The caster summons up a primal element for 2d6 minutes of service. The primal will have 2d8 HD, + 1d8 HD per rank of the caster, who must have at least a handful of the primal’s element to offer in thanks.
* Tanglewall: Grass grows, trees twist, and briars twine to make a barrier where the caster desires up to 2m (6′) high and 10m (30′) long. The tanglewall lasts an hour/rank, and the caster may designate up to four other creatures that may pass without trouble.
* Lesson Of The Small: Turns a subject into a wee beastie, like a rabbit or a pigeon, for one hour per rank of the caster.
* Ancient Elder’s Bulwark: Skin grows thick and barklike, granting a dAC of 14 and an ability to make punishing unarmed attacks for 2d8 turns.

Some folks toss around flashy magics, sure, but that’s not the common sense and wise sayings you learned at Auntie’s knee or from yellowed pages alongside Grandpa’s cherry pie recipe, now is it.
Health Peak: d4
Get Better: 60 XP
SAVE: 12, -2 at rank 5, 9, 13, etc.
– You can heal 3x your rank in total HP per day via applying nostrums, salves and trinkets
– You can give a charm to grant a bonus to someone (or something) or their next roll, with total bonus scores per day equal to your rank (grant +1 at rank 1, two +1s or a +2 at rank two …)
– Add your rank when resisting enchantments or unraveling riddles or other folksy things
+ Once per rank you may make a SAVE to dispel an active spell or enchantment, not necessarily on you specifically
+ You cannot wear armour above leather or use shields, or use the big fancy weapons

Dedicated to an ideal, or at least to mastering a specific weapon, and upholding honour (or claiming to, or their own at least). Exactly why they go into holes in the ground is anyone’s guess; maybe it’s for the challenge. Or maybe someone important was offended.
Health Peak: d8
Get Better: 100 XP
SAVE: 14, -2 at rank 4, 7, 10, etc.
+ Choose a specific weapon type (rapier, etc); add your rank to attacks using that weapon
+ Add your rank when attempting feats of concentration, calmness observation, bluffing, or a good old staredown
+ Add your rank when rolling to see who acts first; yes this might put you in action before your pals, for good or bad
+ You cannot wear armour above leather


Some seek power through acts of physical strength, some through erudition. Some petition so-called higher powers instead, seeking to channel that power through themselves.

You have chosen another way, a far more pointed way. You have been inducted into — or have woven together for yourself, from bits of lore and subtle hints from prodigies and other, odder things — a path to cultivating your own, inner power, one that is of you and only you.

Along that path you will clash with beasts, spirits, monsters, and fellow cultivators jealous of your power, following a rival philosophy, or simply seeking to thwart you personally.

But if you reach the end of that path?



Prime Requisites: WIS and CHA
Attack: as Cleric
Saves: as Magic-User
Hit Dice: 1d4
Armour Allowed: None
Weapons Allowed: Staff, dagger, and one chosen weapon or object to use as weapon
Languages: Common, Alignment

* Spiritual Weapon: Choose a specific type of weapon (shortsword, spear, dagger, etc). By bonding with a specific example of that weapon, you may treat it as a +1 magical weapon with 1d6 base damage; this bonus increases by +1 at 5th and 10th level. You may select a non-weapon object; in your hands, it now causes 1d6 damage.

At 3rd level, you may use your spiritual weapon to cast a bolt of damaging energy. This bolt has a range of 50′ and does 1d4 damage, increasing to 2d4 at 7th level.

Losing your spiritual weapon requires hunting out a replacement and spending one day and 100gp/level x2 to bond to the new weapon.

There are known tales of cultivators enchanting their spiritual weapons to great effect.

* Sect: All cultivators belong to a sect, whether formally — trained as a member of the sect — or informally, having absorbed the lessons of cultivation from a manual or pieced their path together independently via snips of wisdom and lore. This sect determines an ideal to follow, a ban or taboo, and often a theme or type of thematics for its particular stripe of cultivation philosophy.

Much like knightly orders, cultivation sects can become elaborate and byzantine in their codes, rules and symbols — and clash with rival sects at the drop of a pin, especially over resources and promising new students.

* Spirit Sense: A cultivator has a 2-in-6 chance to sense the presence of a spirit, ghost, otherworldly entity, or similar unearthly being within 40′. This chance increases as the cultivator progresses in level: 3-in-6 at 4th level, 4-in-6 at 8th level, and 5-in-6 at 12th level. From 2nd level, they have a 2-in-6 chance to recognize enchantments, specific otherworldly entities and subjects pertaining to their sect’s specialties.

* Turn Undead: As the Cleric, including the possibility of commanding undead (a specialty of some sects, even). In addition to undead, a cultivator’s sect teaches how to affect a second category of entities, such as far, nature spirits, heavenly or demonic entities, or magical constructs. This second category must be chosen at character creation.

At discretion, with a suitably prepared location or object at hand, a result of destruction can instead be a sealing away of the turned creature.

* Purity of Body: A cultivator sheds more and more mortal weakness as they gain in the refinement of their inner energies (aka rise in level); these changes progress as follows:

1st Level: +1 AC bonus, +2 to saves vs poison and disease
3rd Level: +2 AC bonus, +4 to saves vs poison and disease
5th Level: +3 AC bonus, immune to mundane disease, +4 saves vs poison and magical disease, age at half rate
8th Level: +4 AC bonus, immune to mundane disease, half-effect from poison, +4 saves vs magical poison and disease, age at quarter-rate
12th Level: +6 AC bonus, immune to mundane disease and poison, +6 saves vs magical disease and poison
14th Level: +8 AC bonus, immune to all but the most potent supernatural afflictions, Unaging Immortality

* Magic Item Creation: At 1st level a cultivator may enchant spell scrolls and potions, as per the standard enchanting rules. At 4th level they may enchant protection scrolls. At 8th level, a cultivator may enchant all forms of magic items.

* Flying Sword: Beginning at 6th level, a cultivator may step onto their spiritual weapon and ride it into the skies, flying at a rate of FL 24 (eagle or equivalent). This flight lasts two hours/level. At 8th level, they may bring one passenger along. At 13th level their range doubles and their speed triples.

* Spellcasting: A cultivator has a certain number of spell slots per day with which to cast magic. Spells are memorized from the spell levels accessible (as per cleric spell memorization), selecting daily spells from all those available on the cultivator spell list which are a level which the character can cast. A cultivator may cast a reversed spell without penalty.

Many sects also possess unique, “secret” spells. A character must be taught this spell or otherwise awarded access to it (perhaps on a scroll); these spells are not automatically added to the cultivator spell list.

– Assimilation: A cultivator has a chance of learning a spell not normally on their spell list, treating it as if it was always available. By studying a spellbook or scroll or holy text, there is a 1-in-6 chance of so assimilating the knowledge of the spell. The source is destroyed regardless of success or failure.

* Magic Item Use: A cultivator may freely make use of magic items, save for enchanted armour. This includes spell scrolls intended for other classes.

* Foundation: At 10th level, a cultivator may found a school, attracting 2d6 1st level cultivators. Or, the character may strike out on their own and found their own sect as well, attracting 1d4 would-be student cultivators and 1d8 fighters or thieves — needed extra muscle as rivals will appear and their home sect may be displeased. There is a 50% chance, in either case, of also attracting 1d3 “unusual” petitioners, actually concealed spirits or demons or the like.

A Few Thumbnail Sect Ideas

Forest In Winter
“Be at peace. Be still and measured. Conserve yourself for the moment that you, or others, require your strength.”
– turn elementals
– ban: inciting violence or thoughtless action; flame magic

“There is nothing without knowledge. Hoard it like the perfect pearl it is.”
– choose one turning or command category
– ban: destroying texts or allowing them to be destroyed; passing up a chance to educate — or learn a secret

Black Wind
“Do not suffer your enemies to live. Keep them close in death.”
– command undead
– ban: allowing a deliberate slight to go unchallenged

Golden Chain
“Be vigilant, because so few others seem capable of doing so.”
– turn demonic entities
– ban: tolerating undead or demonic forces; excessive wealth or indulgence

XP ProgressionSpell Slots
yeah that’s not a lot of spell slots, arguably; but it’s easier to add than take away
First Level SpellsSecond Level SpellsThird Level SpellsFourth Level Spells
01.Detect MagicPurify Food And WaterSilence 15′ RadiusRemove Curse/Curse
02.Protection From EvilFalse AuraInvisibilityConfusion
03.Light (Darkness)Know AlignmentProtection From Evil 15′ RadiusTemperature Control
04.Read MagicProduce FlameSuggestionHallucinatory Terrain
05.ShieldLevitateClairvoyanceWizard Eye
06.Detect DangerBlindness/DeafnessDispel MagicFear
07.SpookHold Person
08.HypnotismCure Light Wounds
don’t forget sect secret spells (talk to each other, GMs and players!) and also assimilating like a mofo

Some Thoughts

This is kind of …

Dramatically lower-powered than in cultivation fantasy/xianxia fantasy? Damn right it is, those fuckers can practically explode planets by the end of the road in some of those novels. I wanted something that had as many of the highlights and nifty powers I like in those stories, but could also work in a B/X-Basic D&D game.

Not a lot of offensive magic capabilities, though?

Let’s be real here, in the fantasy stories cultivators come from, they’re the stars of the show and they do everything; if I piled a bunch of attack spells and the like in here, they’d beat the magic-user at its own game if not beat the pants off the class in the process. (Basic D&D, remember!)

And there’s a lot of stuff to squeeze in here, which is why I (regretfully) also left off a specific warding-type class feature. (I may change my mind on that at some point.)

That said, if you want to add spells to the class list, there’s space? Or make combat spells various sect secrets!

Actually, Let’s Talk About Sects

If we legit talked about sects my fingers would fall off typing; more importantly, those are a lot more setting-specific even in the source novels (are your sects initiatory, like in the I Shall Seal The Heavens series of novels, or are they also extended families like in Grandmaster of Demonic Cultivation, or …).

Honestly, they’re left as wide open as they are for a reason. Make them as simple or as baroque rules- and roleplay-wise as you want.

You could even borrow some of the many tables of esoteric weirdos under my “factions” tag and change them around to suit, lol.

Did you have to mix in druid and illusionist spells?

I wanted to.

If that really sticks in your craw, or you don’t have any version of those you can crib from, here’s some alternate lists:

First Level SpellsSecond Level SpellsThird Level SpellsFourth Level Spells
01.Detect MagicPurify Food And WaterSilence 15′ RadiusRemove Curse/Curse
02.Protection From EvilESPInvisibilityConfusion
03.Light (Darkness)Know AlignmentProtection From Evil 15′ RadiusContinual Light
04.Read MagicBless (Blight)Protection From Normal MissilesHallucinatory Terrain
05.ShieldLevitateClairvoyanceWizard Eye
06.Detect DangerBlindness/DeafnessDispel MagicLocate Object
07.Hold PortalHold Person
08.Remove Fear (Cause Fear)Cure Light Wounds
honestly you could probably use the find-and-replaced spells anyway, but then the lists possibly aren’t as nice and rollable.
maybe even them out to nearest die if needed?

[BLHack] Multiclassing

Multiclassing isn’t built into the Blue Lotus Hack as-is, but all things being equal I don’t see any reason not to have it on the table as an option.  The more variety the merrier, says I, and this is one way to handle it.

Something maybe like this:

  • first and foremost: since there is no XP, when you gain a level you just decide which class you’re adding the level to
    • but remember, this is a 10-level system and you will lose options quickly; you will never “max out” a class if you multiclass
  • when you first take a level in a new class you gain:
    • hit points according to a roll of that class’s Hit Die
    • access to that class’s weapon and armour permissions
    • the attack damage of that class, if better than your initial class
    • the basic abilities of the class
  • choose which class you’re gaining a level in whenever the opportunity comes up; you do not need to abandon your initial class (unless this is a game houserule)
  • you do not get to stack hp rolls, or bonuses to attribute checks when leveling up
    • use whatever Hit Die or check bonus is appropriate to the gained you just leveled
  • only non-caster levels count towards gaining a new ability; only caster levels count towards gaining new gift/spell slots
  • if a level is lost due to level drain or similar, start with the most recently gained class; if you can’t remember the order after that, alternate them
    • or: drop the highest class level until they match, then alternate

The Blue Lotus Hack

Well, here we are.

In 2018, I (after several years of tinkering and talking myself into it) released the Blue Lotus Hack on Drivethrurpg under the name Vai Earthflame, a level of separation that I needed to turn the thing loose at all.

Once I started nosing around the scene again (on Twitter), I alluded to the thing, and then eventually named it, but still did nothing else with it. But I still have some things I’d like to do — some more critters, some more bits and snips and shiny objects — and I can’t readily do that here on the blog without the thing, while adding the things to the Fanged Moon blog would be even more awkward than it initially felt at the time.

So here’s the Blue Lotus Hack, another iteration on the first edition of The Black Hack, with a pile of critters and some treasures and a mini-gazetteer of the setting of Varas. It’s Pay What You Want, because my layout skills are just as non-existent now as they were then; it’s not fancy, it doesn’t have nice art, but it’s (I hope!) readable and does that job well enough.

But it does feel nice to have this actually on my name.

The Blue Lotus Hack — itch.io

The Blue Lotus Hack — Drivethrurpg

[spacehack] the Freelancer (Venturer)

Being sick sucks.  Being sick for a month+ sucks a lot.  *sighs*

The following is a class I put together for my unnamed “spacehack” for The Black Hack 1e.  There’s a few references to bits from the Blue Lotus Hack (mainly “gifts” from the Mystic class); I wanted to leave them in for this post.  Markers and Favours can be found here.


Freelancer (Venturer)

Starting HP: d6+4
HP per Level/Resting: 1d6
Weapons and Armour: one-handed swords, daggers, crossbows, blunt weapons; gambeson, leather, chain
Attack Damage: 1d6/1d4 Unarmed or Improvising

Leveling Up: Roll to see if attributes increase, roll twice for DEX or CHA.

Special Features:

* Roll with Advantage when testing CHA to avoid charm effects, make a good impression, get the feel of a social scene, or find a buyer or seller.

* Wheel and Deal: In any given civilized (“civilized”) place, a Venturer can find a contact for making and breaking favours and promises; pick up a marker, get a favour, without needing to make a CHA test. These favours can and do get traded, though, like any others!

* Uncanny: Beginning at 1st level, a Venturer gains a single spell or gift of any kind, of level equal to 1/2 class level or lower. Another spell is gained at every level thereafter. A Venturer has slots equal to their Level and uses CHA for casting tests.

Replace any starting feature with one of:

* Oathpact: The Venturer may sign a contract with another being; if the terms are violated, the violator suffers catastrophe until the breach is made good.

* Worldwise: A Venturer rolls with Advantage when researching or otherwise seeking out a detail of history, world type, cultural quirk, or hoary tradition. They may discern the basic features of a world and its primary culture upon first encountering it.

* Rally The Troops: By giving up their own action in a given Moment — aside from a suitable rallying cry, splash of consecrated rum, or what have you — the Venturer may grant Advantage to an ally’s next action once per battle.

* Flurry: As part of their action, the Venturer may make 1 attack / 2 levels.

* Oh Captain My Captain: The Venturer may acquire a loyal minion (1 HD and some useful skill or knowledge) when visiting a metropolis or other centre of relative civilization. They may have a maximum number of minions equal to half their CHA. Mistreating or not supporting one’s minions can have Consequences.