Thursday 29 December 2022

Hat Goblin & Beastling Head Generator

We all love goblins. From Tolkien's evil and industrial goblins to Pathfinder's toothy gremlins, we have decades of tropes to pull from for our RPGs. Functionally, they work great in a game due to their size, familiarity, flexibility, and power scaling. 

But I do find in my own games there is a problem with goblins: there's too many of them and they all look the same! 

How do you keep track of thirty identical green gobbos? Saying Goblin 1, Goblin 2, etc., is boring, real-time positionality (the one on the left) is confusing, and giving them individual names is too much work and also stupid. 

My solution is to give them coloured hats. All goblins wear hats, and any given group of goblins has no repeated colours. Easy peasy. 

Another method is to give them all a different animal head. When I do this I call them Beastlings instead of goblins, but the stats and mischief remain the same. 

Enjoy this goblin hat and beastling head generator. The generator is thanks to Slight Adjustments, and a lot of content is stolen from other blogs, including Goblin Punch and this Reddit post.

Play Report - Slime Baroness (Session Four, Final Session)

Many months ago I played my final session in my dungeon 'Slime Baroness and the Lady of Unterbranch Keep'. See my page here with the other play reports and the full series where I describe my process for writing this dungeon. This final report is long-delayed and much truncated, but I won't apologize. 

Extremely Brief Session Summary

  • We started in town with a visit from the Baron himself (Baron Martingy) who promised them a new lordship over the Keep if they cleared out all the monsters. 
  • I made three members of the Baron's retinue available as hirelings and they chose the priestess Bev Beetleman who had a healing prayer ability. 
  • I mostly forget what happened but they blasted straight down to the final rooms where they busted through the False Tomb into the Sorcerer's Capsule room.
  • They fought Lady Unterbranch and defeated her, winning the favour of the Slime Baroness. 

This was another fun, satisfying session. This particular group has been a bit sporadic and we wanted to play something else, so we made an effort to finish off this dungeon during this fourth session. I had lots of fun refereeing it, and I believe the ending was satisfying. However, they left a large part of the dungeon unexplored.

I think maybe I made this dungeon a bit too large. I'm still trying to find that sweet spot for a dungeon that can be fully (or mostly) cleared in just 2-3 sessions. This dungeon has about 60 rooms and they probably only visited half of them. 

Maybe next time I'll go for 30 rooms and see what happens. 

Friday 10 December 2021

Quality Reusable Traps (d6)

When I prep for games, I appreciate resources that I can reuse.

I've written about this before with reusable dungeon maps. Another example is the same die roll table I use to help me stock dungeons. I also use Chris McDowall's Small Tables format for all my encounter tables (d6, 1-3 are three variations of a common creature, 4-5 are two variations of a uncommon creature, and 6 is something big and special).

So here are six reusable traps. The mechanism is simple and the details can be reflavoured again and again. I believe that you could use any of these traps with the exact same group of players at least twice before anyone would notice. Even if they do notice, that doesn't mean it's not fun. 

d6 Quality Reusable Traps

1. Glue Sword Pond: A pond/lake of clear water, at least eight feet deep. A magic/bejewelled sword is stuck at the bottom, quite visible from above. The sword is covered in a strong adhesive that isn’t soluble in water. This cannot be seen from above -- anyone grabbing the hilt is stuck fast. (Stolen wholesale from Prismatic Wasteland). 

Monday 6 December 2021

Play Report - Slime Baroness (Session Three)

This is the third session report for my game where I ran two players through Slime Baroness and the Lady of Unterbranch Keep, a dungeon of my own making. Click here to see the other play reports as well as my series detailing my full dungeon process for creating the dungeon. 

During Session One, my two players entered the Keep for the first time and explored the upper levels, discovering the Slime Baroness herself. In Session Two they explored the main level, and almost got dispatched completely by some flying pots and pans (RIP Henrietta the hireling). 

Now, in Session Three, they suited up with a new retinue of hirelings and descending into the lower levels. This is where the true fun began. 

My two characters were a Garden Wizard and a Butcher/Warrior. 

Highlights from Session Three: 

  • I started the session by having them overhear some villagers outside the Butcher's house discuss the diamonds. These were found by the players in Session Two in the pocket of an undead brigand, but they hadn't sold them off for profit yet. 
    • This was Rumour #3: the diamonds had been stolen by the brigands from the village hetman (leader) and the village needed them to pay off back taxes to the Baron. 
    • The players bit this hook and immediately went to speak to the hetman (an NPC I had to make up on the spot) and suss out more information. 
    • I said that the Baron desperately wanted the back taxes, and implied that anyone caught selling diamonds anywhere in the Barony would be investigated, as the theft had been long-reported since the Brigands' original arrival a month ago. 
    • The Baron would be arriving in the village with his retinue in three days time. This was to kick their action into overdrive by putting a time limit on some stuff, and to force them to make a decision about the diamonds. 
  • The Butcher and the Wizard then descended back into Unterbranch Keep, heading for the last bit of unexplored ground-level, i.e. the Armoury and Vault.

Sunday 12 September 2021

Play Report - Slime Baroness (Session Two)

Click here to see all the other sessions' play reports, as well as my blog post series on my full dungeon writing process for Slime Baroness and the Lady of Unterbranch Keep. 

This session, my two players (a butcher warrior and a potentially-homeless garden wizard) headed down to the main level of Unterbranch Keep, got into a couple scuffles, went back and forth between the village to sell some treasure, and left a hireling to die after being struck in the neck by some flying pots and pans. 

Imagine one of these metal bois straight to the neck. Ouch. 

Highlights from Session Two: 

  • They found a ton of treasure, including going back to the Chapel to pick up the golden eagle talon which they disregarded in Session One. 
    • They made 1200sp selling treasure, which pleased them greatly.  
  • They finally reached the Barbican, which should have been the first room they entered through the front door. 
    • They fought the animated suits of armour and almost perished! I thought that this would have been an easy introductory fight to set the tone of Unterbranch Keep. 
    • This was funny, given that they had easily dispatched the Slime Baroness herself in Session One, a fight which I had expected to come later in the delve, and at much greater risk of danger. 
  • Their hireling fell in the snake door pit trap in front of the Grand Hall, but luckily they had tied a rope around her before sending her to investigate, so they pulled her out. 
    • There has been a lot of stress about acquiring basic gear these two sessions, like rope and water. I regret the way I set up their starting gear. I should have just run gear like straight Into the Odd/Electric Bastionland: all expeditions are assumed to have lanterns, basic climbing, mapping, camping equipment, and rations.
  • They fought the puppet brigands in the Grand Hall and found the pocketful of diamonds.
    • They didn't roll the random rumour about the diamonds being stolen by the brigands so I'm going to introduce that information next session. 
    • They have been making great use of the iron bee bracelet taken from Robert Fish the skeleton librarian. The ability to levitate an enemy up in the air and out of reach at the beginning of combat is excellent. Maybe their next enemy should have throwing knives. 
  • They had their deadliest combat yet when they entered the Kitchens!
    • Eight flying pots and pans doing d6 damage to everyone made quick work of Henrietta the hireling. The garden wizard was soon downed as well. 
    • The butcher dragged out his unconscious companion, and I told him that if he went down to the village to seek medical attention, the hireling would die. 
    • They were both fine with this (as any savvy adventurer should be) and abandoned poor Henrietta to her fate. 
    • I had no idea this fight would be so difficult. We were playing Into the Odd style, without the ganging-up rule from Electric Bastionland. With that in place, it might have been different. 
    • Very funny that a flying muffin tray to the neck killed the first adventurer, when a magical Slime Baroness and her minions barely made a scratch. 
  • The local surgeon healed up the garden wizard (for a fee) and they rested for a day. 
  • That is where we ended the session. They will probably hire someone else (maybe Henrietta's son who came to demand 100sp for his mother's funeral costs) and head back to the Keep for more treasure.