Wednesday, 12 October 2016

We Be Goblins! Remix Edition

So, I got a hankering to run We Be Goblins as a fun way to get the ball rolling again with my old group. However, reading through it and the three followup/prequel modules, I wasn't as massively taken with them as I remember.

For a module series focused on a fun, anarchic experience, the Pathfinder rules are a terrible fit. Too chunky, not enough leeway, more concerned with simulationism than fun.

Even the non-mechanical assumptions are pretty jarring - there's a whole tribe of goblins looking to score some fireworks, but only 4 of them get to do anything? You're a rag-tag group of the lowest rung of the humanoid ladder, but you're organised into a perfect Fighter-Thief-Cleric-Alchemist combo? You get to compete for magic items the tribe just has laying around?

There's a lot of small things that feel a little off with the modules, so here's the way I want to try it:
  • Goblins are the lowest of the low. They roll their stats with 3d6, and have all the usual Goblin traits. Goblins don't get the usual Pathfinder Feats or Traits, and have no Class. 
    • (It's a stolen joke, but it's a classic)
  • They start with 1d4 HP, modded by Constitution.
  • Each player also gets two pre-gen backup Goblins, cause this is gonna be a deadly one.
  • Goblins are a chaotic, ramshackle lot - each Goblin has to roll for a Name, Trinket, Lucky Frog and Trait on the following tables:
Roll
Name
Trinket
Lucky Frog
1-2
Addur
A single, half-soggy firework
Spotol
3-4
Aka
A bag of salted slugs
Fat Frog
5-6
Boorgub
Hand-sized spider in a cage (named Stankrush)
Dogfinder
7-8
Chee
Jar of pickled halfling toes just about ready for eating
Amfibier
9-10
Chuffy
Halfling-sized toasting fork
Splat
11-12
Churkus
20 feet of rope with dead moles sewn into it
Bitey
13-14
Drubbus
Small silver hand mirror, in surprisingly good condition
Froggy McFrogface
15-16
Fevva
Jar of Dwarven perfume (half drunk)
Squish
17-18
Gawg
Rusty meat hook (1d4 dmg)
Bugeater
19-20
Geedra
Flint and tinder
Gump
21-22
Ghorg
Human-sized bridal veil
Shitter
23-24
Gogmurch
Halfling ladies’ corset (AC+1)
Stink
25-26
Goomluga
3 metal skewers (1d3 dmg, throwable)
Pigface
27-28
Gretcha
Stuffed raven
Really Fat Frog
29-30
Hibby
Bottle of brine-soaked alligator eyes
Barbar
31-32
Hoglob
Child’s doll with the eyes taken out
Lord Frogington
33-34
Ikky
Grappling hook
Actually a Toad
35-36
Irnk
3 tindertwigs
Boggy
37-38
Janka
Cowbell (worn)
Smokey
39-40
Jurk
Homemade Thieves' Tools
Munchmunch
41-42
Kavak
Squashed dried toad (his previous lucky pet toad)
Cobblers
43-44
Klongy
Jar of pickled fish heads
Kick
45-46
Luckums
6 Goblintallow torches
Bubbles
47-48
Lunthus
Almost empty salt shaker
Bip
49-50
Lupi
Pig’s tail jerky
Stabber
51-52
Medge
Wooden flute (too splintery to play without injury)
Mad Dug
53-54
Mogawg
Gourd of pickled leeches just about ready to eat
Horsesniffer
55-56
Mogmurch
Skull face mask (+1 AC, fragile)
Shagrat
57-58
Murch
Juicy slug in a small pot
Dunk
59-60
Namby
Metal codpiece, anatomically correct (+1AC)
Goose
61-62
Nurpus
Heavily-soiled Human-sized Jester’s hat
Spits
63-64
Olba
Pumpkin-head lantern
Warty
65-66
Ooft
Black eyepatch (with hole cut in it to see)
Blob
67-68
Pogus
Hard leather boot (used as belt pouch)
Windy
69-70
Poog
Bag of incredibly weevil-infested flour
FIRETOAD
71-72
Rempy
Ancestral dogslicer, stolen (1d6 dmg)
Hairy
73-74
Reta
A very thick piece of charcoal
Jarp
75-76
Ronk
A stick. It's very sharp. (1d4 dmg)
Looky Lou
77-78
Ruxi
A bag of spotted blue mushrooms (DC11 Fort save or 1d6 Int dmg and hallucinations)
Sticky
79-80
Rotfoot
Lucky charm necklace made of Halfling ears
Slipper-Slide
81-82
Scroff
Large wooden spoon (1d3 dmg)
Smudge
83-84
Sweetums
Stone skinning knife (1d4 dmg, fragile)
Bonk
85-86
Unk
3 dead rats
Maggiepie
87-88
Urub
Metal brazier torch (1d4 dmg plus fire)
Plop
89-90
Vogun
Brass trumpet (well out of tune)
Parp
91-92
Vruta
Rattleshirt of small animal bones (+1 AC)
Lurky
93-94
Yalla
RICHES (1gp)
Egg
95-96
Ziku
Jar of goblin urine, well aged (causes sickness)
Snoopy
97-98
Zobmaggle
Halfling-sized powdered wig
Wakka
99-100
Zord
Human-sized wand (1d3 charges of a random 1st level spell)
Soggy

Roll
Trait
1-4
Dog-Sniff-Hate - you gain Scent, but only for dogs and dog-like creatures.
5-8
Balloon-Headed - your head is way too big. +1 to Perception
9-12
DOG PUNCHER - +1 to hit and +2 damage vs dogs
13-16
Pustular - you got the Pox. Advantage on Fort saves vs Sickening/Nausea
17-20
Goblin Stupidity - gain +1 to hit when fighting foes larger than you.
21-24
Goblin Bravery - first to run, last to die. +2 to Initiative
25-28
Bouncy - your bones are rubbery. Falls count as 10' shorter.
29-32
Ankle Biter - your teeth are sharp. Gain a bite attack (1d4 dmg)
33-36
Ugly - you are hideously scarred. +2 to Intimidate
37-40
Pyromaniac - you're used to getting set on fire. It is not your friend. Gain Fire Resistance 2.
41-44
Rager - you were born with a tiny, green fury in your heart. Gain Rage as a 1st-lvl Barbarian, but you can't tell friend from foe.
44-48
BURN BURN BURN - you love fire. Fire is your only friend. You do 1d4 extra damage with fire.
49-52
Easy Rider - you know just the right chokeholds to stay on a mount. +2 to Ride
53-56
Coward - you know just how to get out of fights. +4 to initiative, but you must pass a DC13 Will Save to get into combat in the first place.
57-60
Oversized - you're a biggun! +2 Str, Medium size
61-64
Headcase - you're insane, even by Goblin standards. Gain +2 vs mental effects
65-68
Shaman's Apprentice - you studied under the Tribe's magic-user. You learn 3 0-lvl Adept spells, castable 3/day each
69-72
Smartarse - you have more brainpower than the average Goblin. +2 Int
73-76
Sarge - you were born to lead. +2 Cha
77-80
Tough - as old leather boots! +2 Con
81-84
Sweaty - you constantly ooze. +2 to Escape Artist
85-88
Tinkerer - you're always fiddling with something. +2 Craft (any)
89-92
Runt - you were the smallest of the litter. -2 Str, +2 Dex
93-96
Colour Thief - your skin is oddly chameleonic. +2 to Stealth.
97-100
Backstabber - if you manage to sneak up on someone, you score double damage on all attacks they don’t expect.

Once you've made your Goblins, it's time to face the horrors...

Next time, I'll show my mashup of the best bits of the modules into one big chaotic mess - just right for Goblins!

Tuesday, 6 September 2016

D&D's New Direction: Is It A Good Idea?

So, a recent speech (and series of tweets) have told us one of the new focuses that Wizards of the Coast is taking with 5e is to focus on Actual Play, rather than Adventure Paths and League Play (though both of those will still be major factors).

So why focus on watching how people play? Well, it provides something that APs and organized play simply don't - the actual experience of playing with friends.

If you've played an Adventure Path, you know how different running through one can be to just playing - while there's often a strong theme and a tightly woven story to follow, you kinda have to follow it - a lot of player agency and choice is either removed or subsumed into the existing plot. There's a pre-written story, and if you don't follow it, it's kinda pointless buying it, right? Don't get me wrong - there's some great materials in these adventures, and the fact that they are linked means you can get some really awesome set-pieces built off the actions that led to them, and allows new or busy DMs the chance to give players an immersive experience, with long-lasting consequences and tightly-woven plots. But it means leading players towards certain outcomes, whether through Batman Gambit levels of planning to get them to do what you want, or brutal railroading.

Organised play leagues suffer the same limitations - by ensuring that everyone who takes part gets the exact same experience, it ensures that GMs are constrained in their creativity, and players don't get the full spectrum of play that RPGs can provide. When you have ostensibly limited options masked by unlimited possibilities, you can't experience "true" freedom to play.

But now, WotC is apparently focusing on Actual Play - sharing and broadcasting live gaming, giving more focus to creativity and an open attitude towards not necessarily "pushing the brand". Sure, most of these are ostensibly using the latest D&D Adventure Path (Storm King's Thunder actually looks... pretty fun!), but their previous use of Zak S and the RPG Pundit during 5e's development, followed by Zak openly discussing how he hacks 5e apart for his game, by sponsoring podcasts with more adult humour (watch the Rooster Teeth games for an idea), and by the recent opening up of the DM's Guild for user-created content, you can see a move towards being more open and willing to see how the games are played, rather than trying to tell you how to play.

Is it a good idea? I don't know. I can see how it could be a great asset for them, and how it might allow the small team they currently have to get a better idea as to what players want, but I can also see it souring some of the types who use Adventure Paths exclusively, or who want a more organised experience.

Only time will tell how this turns out, but I'm optimistic!


Thursday, 18 August 2016

Let's Read: The Book of Erotic Fantasy: Chapter 2: Rules, Skills and Feats Part 1

Welcome back, friends, for a further investigation into what a mathematician's sex life must look like.

Chapter 2 (this is really taking a while) focuses on the mechanical aspects of sex in D&D. As if reading my mind, the first header here is "Rules? For Sex?" - apparently, you should only roll dice for sex when it's important to find out how good it was. It doesn't say why the quality of the sex might be important to a game, but it at least tells us sometimes you can just fuck and not roll dice.

We're introduced to the Appearance stat - a seventh 4d6-drop-lowest roll that determines how attractive your character is. A few skills become partially Appearance-based - Bluff, Gather Information and Intimidate can be used with either Charisma or Appearance.

Do you have to flash your pecs and perfect treasure-trail to intimidate some Orcs with your App?

Are you willing to deal with the fan backlash from breaking this guy's nose?
Weirdly, Disguise is now exclusively an Appearance skill. Surely being more attractive would make disguising yourself more difficult? Looks bring scrutiny, after all, especially when you're an 18 App demigod and everyone else is either a Half-Orc Barbarian with yet another dump stat or a shit-covered peasant!

There's a table which tells us that the average dragon is more attractive than the average Dwarf, which seems weird. And that the Will-O-Wisp, a featureless ball of light, has an App score of 20.

It's literally more attractive than any normal human. A fucking ball of light.
Censored for the prudish.
It seems to be low-hanging fruit to mention that the table for aging penalties to Appearance includes Juveniles getting a +2 bonus for being "cute". With the content of this book, that seems more than a bit inappropriate.

And everyone gets a -2 penalty to Appearance checks outside of their species - except Elves, because Mary Sue.

Sidebar: Appearance and Sexual Organs isn't about having an ugly dick, but says that due to personal preferences, being well-endowed doesn't give you a bonus to Appearance checks, and doesn't assure any skill in bed. No, that comes down to Perform (Sexual Techniques), a skill we still haven't got to. 

Then we get another list of creature types and notes about their average Appearance. It has an interesting bit where Constructs require specific DCs to make them attractive (e.g. DC 30+ to give a score of 16-17), and that rotting Undead are App 1 or 2 ("Which of these corpses would you rather fuck?") and that Vampires are generally "sexy". There's a lot of vampire love going on here, and this was well before Twilight, so we can assume that Lestat had an influence here.

Then we get Size and Sex, which features some interesting quotes - "A Halfling can use fellatio to pleasure an Ogre (or vice versa)"...
Just gonna leave this here.
But if you're trying anything with something a size category away from you, that's a -4 penalty to your relevant checks - which implies there's more to fucking than just Perform (Sexual Technique) rolls. And that makes me sad.

Next time, it'll be the real meat and potatoes - How To Sustain Sex, bedroom uses for existing skills, and of course, the STD table.

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Big Update!

So, regular followers will know that I've done a lot of Microlite20 content - it's my preferred no-prep system, and I use it with any new group to gauge what kind of game they might be interested in.

Well apparently, that work didn't go unnoticed - Seth Drebitko decided to take me on as a partner, so now I'll be sharing my time between here and working on the next generation of M20 content!

We have a few really cool things in the pipeline, so keep your eyes peeled for new content coming from us!

Wednesday, 3 August 2016

Let's Read: The Book of Erotic Fantasy: Chapter 1, Part Three: Sex and Species

Our first chapter still has a lot of info to get through, so I'll get stuck straight into the next section – Sex and The Species, looking at (as one might guess) how the various species in a fantasy world might view sexuality.

It goes into detail regarding the “standard” sexuality for each of the Core races, with added details about pregnancy for these races. There’s nothing too exciting here, but there’s a lot to unpack. I’ll briefly summarise anything interesting:

Dwarves are so mired in tradition, there are “Dwarven Sex Manuals”, to show young (40 year old) Dwarves the accepted positions and techniques to use. (Now there's some good loot if ever I saw it...)

Elves are almost all bisexual.

Gnomes are apparently sex-toy maniacs, and see sex as way more fun than any other race.

Half-Elves are either too mature for Elves or slower to mature for humans, making puberty super awkward.

The half-orc entry makes some really unfortunate mentions of gay half-orcs sexually dominating their tribe-mates being the closest thing they get to acceptance.

And halflings are all polyamorous!

Humans are, as always, the most varied, blah blah blah.

This section also covers centaurs, doppelgangers (and their bizarre snake-like mating rituals), dryads (and their tragic single-target sexuality), giants, gnolls (with an amazing lack of mention of female pseudopenises), Goblinoids, Kobolds, Lizardfolk, merfolk, minotaurs, nymphs, orges, satyrs (total shaggers) and sprites.

Phew.

The book also makes mention of a few races (giantborn, felids, serpentines) who aren't common OGL creatures. I'd assumed these are races from other products by the same company (the way Green Ronin offers advice for adding their base classes into their other settings), but as it turns out this is Valar Project's only book.

Not that surprising.

It also gives a brief overview of the other creature types, like Aberrations, Elementals etc - which implies some things about druids (even though they said they wouldn't cover bestiality), introduces the idea of intellective necrophilia (i.e. banging a sentient undead like a Vampire), and gives a rather worrying foreshadowing in the Construct section:

"However, there is one type of construct, the pleasure golem, that is designed specifically for engaging in sex. See Chapter 6: Gods and Monsters for more information"

Well - I'm not sure if the idea of a Pleasure Golem or the fact there's a whole section dedicated to sex-monsters is worse. Let's cut our losses and say both. Both are worse.

Now I tend to avoid using the artwork from the book, but I couldn't resist sharing this piece of wonder:
1000 hours in MSPaint to keep things under control
Sidebars 
Intelligence & Sex – your min-maxed Half-Orc Barbarian with an Int less than 6? Not considered eligible in most societies for sex, apparently. It gives another tip to the idea that 10 times your intelligence score gives you a rough idea of IQ.

House of a Thousand Pleasures - describes a brothel with doppelganger prostitutes.

Next up, the section we can all use - Rules, Skills and Feats.

Joy.

Monday, 1 August 2016

The Isle of Dread - Remix Edition Part 1

So, my previous game has ground to a halt due to grown-up issues, so I'm going to try and get everyone back together, or replace those who can't continue, with a better schedule and a new campaign.

And what better way to start a new campaign than the Isle of Dread?

I do plan on changing things up a bit, and injecting a little weird into the game. After all, the module is left fairly open with regards to what's really going on - one of the best things about older modules, in my opin
ion. That level of openness and hackability makes it way easier to make the whole thing fit into your world, rather than modern modules where you lift encounters or basic plots and have to leave the rest.

I'll be using Blood & Treasure for the game, for a nice combo of new-school ideas and old-school charm.

For a start, let's make the Kopru more interesting AND give them a little more foreshadowing than "bad things on Taboo Island!"