Thursday, October 13, 2022

GOZR Clarifications

There have been a couple of cool reviews of GOZR lately:

The Questing Beast review

Ray Otus review

Some questions and criticisms were raised. I addressed them on social media but here I'm going to gather all that wisdom in one permanent spot.


The entire book was lettered by my own wee fingers. No fonts were used.


I wasn't very clear about this in the book. When you attack, the damage formula is:

Attack roll minus Prowess plus weapon damage minus the target's Defense.

But what about when you're defending? In that case, damage to your PC would be determined like this:

Prowess minus Defense roll plus weapon damage minus your character's Defense.


Various icons are used to determine if you should roll on a table, choose a result, or if it's an optional table. One of the icons is a skull and it means high risk/reward. When I drew that icon, I planned to have a lot of tables fitting that description. But as the game evolved I didn't include very many and none of them ended up in the character creation section.

You can see examples of the skull icon used on pages 16 and 18.


The GM should roll a creature's Threat Dice every round. If it has two dice, the intention was that you'd have a double chance of getting a 1-2. But you could also say that the creature gets 2 possible Threat actions per round. DEADLY.

GMs should feel free to be creative with Threat. Don't just stick with whatever the creature's description says. Make them gooey, spitting electricity, or summoning backup. Also, you don't need a Threat action for a creature to do something it is described as doing. For example, a vector snake can constrict anytime it hits a target. It doesn't have to be based on a Threat action. Threat actions are supposed to be extra things a creature can do. It makes them less predictable and more... threatening.


The DEF score was originally a d6 roll during character creation so that every gooz had a "natural Defense" score. But during playtesting we discovered that having too much DEF leads to longer combats. To make the game play faster and be more lethal, I eliminated the natural DEF. But I think some artifacts of the original design remain on the page, suggesting there should be a default DEF score.

The default DEF score is zero. It only goes up with armor and/or special items.


I chose "AC" for the three stats on purpose because the core concept of the system was to use the old D&D AC system. Instead of PCs having stats that get higher, they have stats that are the target numbers, so making them lower is better. They are the "AC to hit" for any given action.

EDIT: To clarify further, the AC system in GOZR is the same as modern D&D AC (and other d20 style games). The AC is the target. I realized after posting this that "the old AC system" suggests descending AC using THAC0 or a table, but that's not what I meant.


I don't believe I was as clear as I could have been about this. If you are casting a spell and there is a target that will resist it, you need to make a Magic roll. If you are casting a spell that isn't going to be resisted, then you don't.

Example: The spell Bestial Visage makes you appear monstrous. This spell should require no Magic roll. Likewise, Investigation is a spell that lets you know 1d6 clues or hidden things. There's really no need to roll for that. You're spending WIZ to make it work, after all.

Example: But the spell Charm, which makes people like you, should probably require a Magic roll or else the targets have no agency. The spell Confuse might also require a roll since an opposing spellcaster should not just be an easy target.

Ultimately, it is the GM's decision which spells really need a Magic roll. Perhaps the context makes the difference. Casting Charm in a low-stakes situation maybe shouldn't require a roll. But casting it during a battle or against a big bad enemy surely should.


There is only one codified method for character improvement: the Level Up. This is something that happens between sessions or adventures and it does not have any effect on your Action Classes, DEF, or your Talents. This is intentional. I didn't want the game to have a codified leveling up system. I didn't even have the Level Up rule in the original game concept. Instead, I want gooz to develop organically based on what happens at the table.

GMs should be creative with weird items, spells, and strange events. In one of the playtests ran by another GM, they included a strange magic item that had random effects. If you were lucky, the item would actually change your ACs.

And that's how I like it. Play GOZR long enough and your characters should be radically altered from when they got their start. And very little of that alteration should be driven by any rules in the book.


The character sheet has space for multiple Talents, but during chargen you only get one. There is no mechanism in the game to add more Talents. But GMs should allow for PCs to learn or acquire new Talents or even to alter their existing Talent. This should happen naturally, as described in the previous paragraphs. Perhaps a PC discovers a dusty machine that reveals ancient wisdom to them and only to them. Now that PC has gained a Learned Subject Talent of some kind (not just what's listed in the book). Or perhaps a PC wizard becomes the apprentice of a powerful gooz wizard and the player specifically talks about their duties and misadventures that take place in downtime. Maybe the GM could then say that PC has acquired a new Arcane Luck or even a new Magic Power.

I suggest peppering these types of changes throughout your campaign and not worrying much about it. This is a game about ugly gooz and they should be weird as hell. Let them get weird.


  1. Just picked up the PDF of GOZR on Saturday after stumbling upon Questing Beast's review while watching YouTube with friends. Even if he hadn't said a word about the game, I'd have bought it - my friends and I were hooked the moment we laid eyes on all the great content and art. It hit all the necessary underground art nostalgia buttons for us: Den of Earth, Cobalt 60, Deadbone, Wizards, '70s/'80s Heavy Metal magazine, etc... a perfect recipe for awesome sauce! Thanks for making such a cool little game - and for clarifying the only thing we were wondering about!

    Oh, and along with GOZR, we're going to be diving into some Black Pudding-fueled B/X. I've been a fan since Issue #1 - just needed to get to the right space and time to play some games. As The Tick says: "Now is the time! Seize the day!"

    Thanks again!

  2. You mention a Defence roll. In the book it says that's a d20 roll against PRO.

    If it was an attack roll, a failed roll here would be a failed attack. What happens if you fail the defence roll?

    1. Failed defense roll means you were hit by the attack. Damage is AC minus roll plus enemy's damage mins your DEF. Go to my website and check out the text only PDF of the game, which includes some rules clarifications such as this one.