Sunday, June 23, 2013

Goblin Mines and Halls

Goblins are some of the most industrious builders and miners among the humanoid races. Many a goblin force will make it's home in dwarves halls won after decades long wars buthere are unique features that will define goblin mines and halls as well.

Goblin Mine
Goblins mine the riches of the earth as greedily as the most selfish of dwarves ever could and have developed mining techniques in advance of those practiced by many mannish nations. Goblin mines seldom stay a place for ripping forth riches secreted in the earth and often become seats of industry and and dwelling place.
Large chambers and caves breached in a goblin mine will be ringed with walkways carved in stone or made of propped up woodworks. These woodworks will sometimes be rather elaborate networks of bridges and platforms offering guard posts and living space for the goblins.
Goblins appreciate natural beauty in an odd way, when the cruelty of the world and rot are present goblins find the most beauty. Their mines will sport spiked grottoes and gardens of colorful fungi.

Goblin Wells
Identified as simple peasants as wells these are in fact shafts used by goblins to travel to the surface and to provide ventilation to their mines and halls far beneath the ground.

Take heed when entering a goblin well to plumb it's depths they are often trapped and monitored by secreted guardians that can send one tumbling to their doom with a hand that seem to appear out of nowhere.

Goblin Halls

A Goblin hall may start as a modest gathering point for a tribe guarded by a simple gate but in time it will grow into a grand subterranean hall festooned with frescoes and grand vaulted chambers with ceiling held up high overhead by baroque decorated pillars. Many a decoration conceals a secret passage, spy-point, or murder hole. The Pillars that stretch high overhead will offer amble holds for goblins to stream up and down to either escape by trapdoors high overhead or to spill forth in great numbers upon invaders to the hall.

Goblins frequently construct balconies and ledges that ring their halls where they can rain down their wrath upon invaders.

Stairs will often be seen with no rails running long ways along the walls of a grand goblin hall, these stairs offer easy travel for those of goblin stature and gait but are tricky and dangerous for those of mannish size or dwarf girth and sometimes dangerously trapped. Goblins are not prone to construct sheltered stairwells as they prefer to be bake to monitor ascents and descents with troops of archers.

Most daily life will take place in the hall with all but the most elaborate or noxious industries being practiced in the same space the goblins dine and train within.

Goblin sleeping halls will be secreted off of their halls and will be empty and silent during sleeping periods.

Goblins do not restrain themselves to the limits of what is practical and will slave away (or ensure their captive do) to surround their grand halls with elaborate and often impressive entry chambers that rival the halls of mannish emperors.

Goblin Tunnels
Goblins will build wide and high interlocking tunnels crisscrossed by ridges and sometimes running alongside each other appearing to be insets and ledges. Many a tunnel will reach a dead end seemingly for no rational purpose or lead directly into a shaft with no stair.

Goblins will also add crawl ways to allow guards and those trusted by their ruler to spy on the goblin tribe itself in secret and offer mysterious access between chamber, tunnels, and halls.

Goblins Hedges
Not all of the works of goblins are beneath the surface (see Goblin Wells above) as they will often encircle the entrances to their dwellings with walls of throned hedges. These hedges will grow to be impenetrable hard to burn walls over the centuries and will sometimes be grown in difficult to navigate maze-like patterns.

Goblin Towers
Goblins not wanting to let mankind and other show them up on the surface will from time to time contract towers of stone. These stones will come deep from their mines and halls beneath the ground and are often (but not always) a clue there is a large goblin settlement nearby. These towers seldom allow entrance on the ground either offering access part way up the tower -side or from secreted passages scattered about the tower tunneling down and then up into the tower itself.
Goblin towers are often hollow in the center with rooms and passages ringing a greta central shaft that may descend deep into the ground beneath.
There are few windows or arrrow-slits in a goblin tower as they favor sheltered turrets and balconies where they can step out and pour death on those beneath while thwarting the advance of sunlight as much as they may manage.

Goblin Magic

Goblins are a pretty magical race but do not often sport spells as human wizards do, their magic while not often noticed will be woven into their construction offering spaces larger than would seem natural, doors that link rooms with no adjoining walls and steps that travel to spaces no incline should reach.
Magical traps and illusionary walls may be as common as in a mad wizard's labyrinthine deathtrap.

Tread carefully while entering the domiciles of goblins and do not imagine all that you see is all there is at hand.


Goblins got ignored somehow way back when I was covering the constructions and habitations of  Orcs, Kobolds, Gnolls, and Hobgoblins.  I had to correct that error.

3d Line Art For Town Geomorphs

Here's a sample for 3d town/city Geomorphs as lineart:

With a little more detail here and there this might be the way to go. It leaves room for the user to add labels and their own color coding. The grid of geomorphs does present some issues when drawing maze like real worldish streets, large sections may do the trick.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Anyone Think 3D City and Town Geomprhs A Good Idea?

Curious if folks think 3d rendered geomorhps would be desirable for map making if a collection of them was avialble?

Three simple samples:

A sample image/map using the geomorph samples above:

So good idea, bad idea, you'd use it, you'd wish you could use it, you'd love it if they looked illustrated instead of 3D-rendered?

Extinction: The G.M.O. Chronicles (spoiler alert)

Extinction: The G.M.O. Chronicles is a weak-sauce entry in the infected/zombie horror genre. It's got a rambling plot full of a whole lot of "seen that before" with a few minor twists. It really should have been called "Extinction: Rise of The Parkour Mutants". It is a barely tolerable entry to it's genre.

So why mention it here? Despite the rambling, stumbling, not very engaging plot there is a tiny little bit of creativity that could be pilfered for zombie/infected/apocalypse RPG. The infected in this are mutants that develop throughout the film becoming less human, the film does depend on this for it's major action but doesn't go into it enough, but it does have some ideas worth pilfering.

The end of the humanity is caused by a retrovirus meant to be used to help big bad agri business quickly manipulate crops at a genetic level, of course things go wrong it gets out and allows lots of species to mutate and to cross breed. The result is zombie like mutants that develop into specific strains or "species" each with a range of limitations, behavior, and abilities that are a tiny bit more interesting then another dead guy trying to bite you. Some of the infected/zombie/mutants spit spores, projectile barbs, and sprays of icky goo some scream and some aren't really animals anymore so aren't prone to being hurt the same way animals are. Definitely worth using for a zombie/infected/mutant-apocalypse campaign. After a while plain old zombies get a bit dull and it becomes about the other survivors, mutant however can keep people on their toes. Watch out for the parkour mutants.

Sneakiest Trap...

Way back in issues 120-something of the venerable Dragon Magazine there was a brief piece on "Tucker's Kobolds" wherein an example was provided of devious tactics using kobolds and how a traditionally wimpy D&D monster could be turned into a horror with a little planning and knowledge of their environment. Over the years many a DM has run with that advice and magnified the cleverness, deviousness, and ability of kobolds and other little baddies to a ridiculous extent with little ones dwellign in a death trap that would make the villain of the SAW films blush.

Most folks ignore the sneakiest trap of them all: A dungeon (or sub-level thereof) built in scale to smaller humanoids.  The sneakiest trap of the them all that will provide small humanoids an amazing advantage over PC parties is the low ceiling, narrow corridor, and tiny doorway.  Life is hard on a 6' tall warrior in plate armor with a two-handed sword in 2.5' wide corridor. A doughty dwarven trollslayer (at 4'3" tall) and his +2 double headed flaming batttleaxe is at a disadvantage in a 4' high chamber.  A 1" wide door presents a durable obstacle and choke point against man sized PCs with backpacks full of gear and loot.

Game mechanics should be tough on warriors caught in tight spaces, real life sure was. Roll d12's to hit instead of D20's when the space is too tight if not outright prohibition of the use of some weapons.
Halve damage rolls for folks that must squeeze,stoop, and crawl. Reduce AC or let the little baddies roll a bonus die against big folk crammed in little dungeons (1d20+1d8 to hit possibly).

Some clever players may realize having gnomes and halflings in the party (or similar wee ones) would provide the party with some flexibility in cordiors where Earl DeDuke must stoop and Change-o the Conjuror would wish his staff of wizardry could be bent in half.  Putting monsters in the best environment for the monsters themselves will still prove to be the sneakiest trap of them all,

Friday, June 21, 2013

Hit Him Again Earl !

A passing notion for the brawling, hacking, smashing of melee combat: Let fighters keep on rolling if they hit but shift the die used of r the hit die down and come up with a different attack.

Example: Earl DeDuke has a total hit bonus of +5 he's facing A pair of peasants in with shabby protection making them AC 12 (yeah I'm going ascending it makes the math easy). Earl wins the initiative rolling a d20 to hit for a roll of 12  and a total of 17 bashing the first lowly peasant in the jaw with his shield, he swings his blade at the other rascal rollign a d16 for 15 points that;s a total of 20 another sure hit hacking the lout with his trusty sword, but not dropping him so he rolls a d12 getting a 8 , good enough to land a knee to the groin nd giving him the opportunity to crack the oaf in the head with the pommel of his sword with a d8 roll of 7! Earl DeDuke lays low the two foolish peasant!

Two weapon combat variant.... uh, you have two weapons right? It's one of those dice rolls.

So first strike 1d20, second d16, third 1d12, fourth 1d8, and 5th... well, I suppose you could roll a d4 but really yuo have to have a discrete attack. Miss on any of those rolls and you don't get to keep rolling.

Damage for kneeing, headbutts and such  1d6-3, apply STR modifiers to the modifier not the first roll so the damage roll for STR 18 (with a +3 damage mod) is 1-6,  not 4-6. Have it be stun/subdual damage if your game goes that way.

Bashing with shields and pommels of swords should likely be d3.

Higher level fighters typically allowed additional attacks should likely be allowed to ignore a miss and re-roll the next die down just in case and even get to pick the same attack form if desired.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Permanent Wounds Instead of Death

In my current campaign I've been playign with any time a character would be knocked below 0 hp they have to make a save vs death modified by their current HP score.
Make the roll and one's demise is beign preemptively considered, they actually have 0 hp and are simply unconscious.
Miss the roll by 1 to 5 points and lose a randomly determined ability point.
Miss the roll by 6 to 10 points and lose 1d4 ability points from a randomly determined ability point.
Miss by 11 or more points and the character is dead

So far 1 point of STR had been lost, as has one point of Wisdom and 4 points of CON, all among 3 different characters.

The permanent wounds are records on the off chance one discovers magics or artifacts able to cure such mangling.

Getting the stuffing knocked out of a PC is serious business even when bandaging allows a generous hp restoration and death isn't always certain.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

No One Wants to Lose Abstract HP

There's a combat option in my MOG campaign that let's a combatant burn HP to inflict more damage... it's been used once that I can recall in several sessions of play. It seems to me abstract or not my group of players just isn't into losing HP, even with my ridiculously generous wound binding rules.

Parrying on MOG

In my MOG campaign we use a parrying rule as opposed to a fixed AC bonus.
High DEX does not constantly improve AC, a combatant may choose to parry/dodge to gain a benefit of high dexterity but in doing so they loose access to their normal attacks in a round.
Missile weapons may be parried at any range if bearing a shield.
You may only dodge range attacks made from long range or dodge any attack if you have partial cover.
3...... parry +1 to AC
4-6.... parry +2 to AC
7-14...parry +3 to AC
15-17...parry +4 to AC
18-20...parry +5 to AC
21+.... parry +6 to AC

I opted against including a modifier to parrying based on initiative or weapon speed factors in interest of simplicity. I'm providing an advantage based on player tactics not a one time lucky roll of the dice alone. Each round a player must wonder... is it worth parrying now and losing my next set of normal attacks?

Not a brand new rule, it has it's roots in the first RPG I ever owned, it just needed a little tweaking.

Initiative and Weapon-Speeds

In my MOG campaign I'm using initiative and weapons speeds to differentiate weapons. Bigger heavier hitting weapons have less beneficial Weapon Speed Factors.

The house rules for initiative as it relates to the Weapon Speed Factor
Each round a d12 is rolled bu one of the players and modified by the character sheet at the top of their roster at the moment (fighting alongside clumsy folks is dangerous).
If the initiative score is under the WSF of the weapon in hand for the round wielded by a PC they are -4 to attack with that weapon. If drawing a weapon during a round the entire WSF is applied as a penalty (if worse then -4).

It's fairly simple and so far it has worked pretty well.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

ARRGGH !!! No Game Tonight

Tonight a veteran player was supposed to come on by and join the MOG campaign but his daughter got in a car accident and he has to go fetch the damaged car (his daughter is doing fine considering).
Two other regulars had to cancel earlier today and a third thought there would be no game becasue they had to cancel, another couldn't make it because he has no gas money and two of the other players who couldn't make it are usually his alternate ride... and so goes the best laid plans of sorcerers, swordsmen, and a guy who sits in a cubicle.