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Old 09-12-2016, 07:38 PM   #1
Major_Eclectic
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Default Crowd-Sourced Dungeon Fantasy Campaign

Hey all,

I've been away from GURPS for awhile now but the recent kickstarter has rekindled my face-to-face groups interest (we've got 4 backers amongst us) and I convinced them to start a bi-weekly Dungeon Fantasy game this Friday. Problem is, like I said above, I've been away from GURPS for almost a year now and I'm going to need the next few days to refamiliarize myself with the rules; can't have people shooting bows every turn without the Heroic Archer advantage!

I'm afraid this isn't going to leave me with a lot of time to put into world-building and adventure design. I'm normally not afraid of improving things but I find that spontaneous responses work best when thoroughly planned in advance.

So I figured it might be fun for everyone if I offloaded some of this work on the hive-mind. I was thinking it'd be cool to go real old-school and to a classic kind of hexcrawl sandbox game, like Keep on the Borderlands. As they progress they learn more about the world and become bigger and bigger players until (if things go well) they come to the point where they might start thinking about becoming major players, founding they're own settlements and guilds and whatnot.

Either way, I'll post up on here when I know more about what people are playing, I know that we'll have at least three or four players and that one of them will be a wizard. I'll go with whatever comes up on this thread and post up here a session report to let you guys know how it went and maybe see how it should go from there.

I'm actually kind of interested in how this kind of thing might work, it's an experiment in collective design.
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Old 09-12-2016, 07:44 PM   #2
Tallor
 
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Default Re: Crowd-Sourced Dungeon Fantasy Campaign

I'd love to help! If you have a particular idea-slot you have in mind, I'd like to know! *opens up some old tomes with scrawlings of guild ideas*
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Old 09-12-2016, 08:20 PM   #3
Major_Eclectic
 
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Default Re: Crowd-Sourced Dungeon Fantasy Campaign

I'm not sure what you mean by "idea-slot" but I guess I was thinking people would just kind of throw out whatever came to mind. I guess the first place to start would be the first session. I'll tell you what I was planning on trying if no one had responded to this: I went to a local gaming convention this weekend and played a kind of cool board game called Vast: Crystal Caverns that was about a Knight trying to kill a dragon while goblins were trying to kill the Knight while a thief was trying to steal from the cave while the cave(!) is trying to collapse on everyone. Long story short; I was thinking about having them get hired by some local lord to investigate why the three local goblin tribes (the fangs, the bones, and the eyes) had put aside they're differences and were causing so much trouble in the valley. Come to find out all they're fighting amongst themselves in their mountain lair had awoken a sleeping dragon and decided to have a nice goblin breakfast. This means the goblins are having a mass exodus looking for a new safe(r) place to nest.
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Old 09-13-2016, 07:57 AM   #4
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Default Re: Crowd-Sourced Dungeon Fantasy Campaign

This suggests to me that you need statblocks for, eg,

Several different kinds of goblins (To keep the goblin encounters fresh). Spear throwers and spear wielding agile skirmishers from one tribe, (cheap) shortsword and (wooden) shield troopers from another backed up by (shortbow) archers, not sure what you'd do with the third - dire wolf or giant spider riders sound great for everyone.

I'd recommend at least two of the tribes using magic regularly, the third might be magic resistant and shun it but have a cleric? There should be magic flying around anyways, unless you don't have a caster at all in the party.

You also need stats for the kind of traps warring goblins might have left behind in the tunnels.

Stats for a dragon.

Incidental wilderness encounters driven out of hiding by hordes of goblins (owlbear! staaaaaaampeeeeeed!).
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Old 09-13-2016, 10:41 AM   #5
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Default Re: Crowd-Sourced Dungeon Fantasy Campaign

Quote:
Originally Posted by Major_Eclectic View Post
I'm not sure what you mean by "idea-slot" but I guess I was thinking people would just kind of throw out whatever came to mind. I guess the first place to start would be the first session. I'll tell you what I was planning on trying if no one had responded to this: I went to a local gaming convention this weekend and played a kind of cool board game called Vast: Crystal Caverns that was about a Knight trying to kill a dragon while goblins were trying to kill the Knight while a thief was trying to steal from the cave while the cave(!) is trying to collapse on everyone. Long story short; I was thinking about having them get hired by some local lord to investigate why the three local goblin tribes (the fangs, the bones, and the eyes) had put aside they're differences and were causing so much trouble in the valley. Come to find out all they're fighting amongst themselves in their mountain lair had awoken a sleeping dragon and decided to have a nice goblin breakfast. This means the goblins are having a mass exodus looking for a new safe(r) place to nest.
Ok let me see if I have this correct.

3 goblin factions -> Trying to kill Knight
One Knight -> Trying to kill dragon
One Thief -> Trying to steal ? From cave?
Dragon -> Eats Goblins.

Is this the plot for the game or is the plot the Goblin Exodus?

If the plot is the Goblin Exodus, then you need to figure out what kind of habitat gobins are looking for, how they 'migrate', whats mixed in with the 'pack' (other 'goblinoids' like Bugbears, Hobgoblins, Wolfs/Wargs to ride etc). That way the goblins have a composition, motivation and destination. The 'what why and where' if you will.

For the Goblins themselves, decide what kind of 'goblin' you want. Like Orcs, there are MANY different flavors of goblin From Tokien orc equivalents to the 1d-1 HD monsters of AD&D, to the crafty savage crazy that pathfinder puts forth. THEN decide how much of that is integral to the plot of the story. Are you looking at the adventrue as a Cultural Romance type story where the players learn stuff about these goblins (Religion, tribal structure, Magic, etc) or is it just a simple DF style (There's a goblin! KILL IT!).

I might offer these scenarios/Hooks

Goblin Promised Land - The goblins are out looking for their 'promised land' now that they've been rooted from the mountain. Whether that promised land is a fetid swamp or craggy canyon or a location close enough to a poorly defended town of pacifists that they could raid it forever is up to you.

The Smartest Goblin EVAR - I think the Old GURPS Kobolds had a hook called the 'Smartest Kobold of All Time' or something like that. I love that hook. What if that tribe was being led by a civilized, erudite, eloquent and ruthless goblin leader? Say IQ 15? Or even higher!

Crisis of Infinite Enemy - Goblins are known for rapid, prolific breeding. The three goblin factions, now unified, have produced a genetic strain that Gestates in a week, and reaches adult maturity in one month. Math makes it easy to see that this will be an ecological disaster AT BEST. At worst, a wave of savages will sweep all the civilized races from the face of the World. Find them. Stop/Kill them.

The Green Economy - With work and patience, Goblins are smart enough to be trained for menial tasks. You have been sent as an envoy to enlist/hire the displaced goblins to return to a major town as unskilled labor. If they refuse your offer of employment you are to 'conscript' the goblin resource and return to town with no less than 50 fit green bodies to be put immediately to work so that members of the town are available for 'higher minded' pursuits.


Hows that?

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Old 09-13-2016, 04:58 PM   #6
Major_Eclectic
 
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Default Re: Crowd-Sourced Dungeon Fantasy Campaign

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nymdok View Post
Ok let me see if I have this correct.

3 goblin factions -> Trying to kill Knight
One Knight -> Trying to kill dragon
One Thief -> Trying to steal ? From cave?
Dragon -> Eats Goblins.

Is this the plot for the game or is the plot the Goblin Exodus?

Nymdok
Well, not exactly. I was just describing the board game in a little bit more detail than was strictly necessary because it was cool. I was just going to use the bare bones idea that there is a mountain that has had these goblins tribes living in it for ages. They hadn't really been too much of a problem because they spent more time fighting each other as they did going out and raiding the locals. That changed though when the dragon woke up and started chasing the gobbo's out into the world. So the players are thrown into this situation where there is an uneasy truce between the tribes, who are coming out of the mountain in ever increasing numbers.

As far as differentiating the tribes, the ones in the game had neat hooks to them; the Fangs tribe were the simplest,they were just the best warriors, so I'd probably give them better weapons and armor, slightly higher attack skills, maybe a level of striking ST, higher Will to stay in the fight, and maybe a combat perk or two thrown in.

The Bones tribe are monster wranglers; so they'll be poor fighters overall, but a dozen of them chivvying a troll or ogre into the fight will make a pretty formidable opponent.

Finally, the Eye tribe are the tricksters, sneaky-stealthy keepers of secrets who abhor a fair fight but are very, very hungry. They'll have high stealth
and camouflage for ambushes as well as better DX for backstabbing and putting their poison arrows right where they want them.
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Old 09-13-2016, 08:00 PM   #7
tshiggins
 
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Default Re: Crowd-Sourced Dungeon Fantasy Campaign

I think the basics are good, but you have define goblin culture, physiology and life-cycles, reasonably well.

How fast do they breed, and do the three tribes interbreed easily? If so, then the potential for a long-term problem increases. How long does it take for them to mature? That makes a huge difference.

(For instance, the Goblins/Orcs in Hârn, found in the supplement, Nasty, Brutish and Short, use primarily an r-selection reproduction strategy. A single "king" has a single "queen," who lays eggs in an offal pit. The eggs hatch and the young fight each other for scraps, and even eat one another, until they're big enough to crawl out. This usually takes about a month.

Thereafter, the males -- 98+ percent of any given clutch -- run around the compound, getting whatever food they can find or kill or steal. The girls -- the "princesses" -- are sequestered away and cared for.

The males reach maturity in about 2-3 years, and are thereafter driven by a combination of the need to feed their fast metabolisms, the desire to mate -- which the king suppresses harshly, and in so doing causes any male not the king to go psychotic should he come across a female human, dwarf or elf. They also have a genetic memory which causes them to remember and rapidly re-learn any skill their ancestors knew, should they become exposed to the equipment and the opportunity to use it.

That combination means the five different "breeds" of goblins/orcs of Hârn are all dangerously violent, cannibalistic raiders at the best of times, and have the potential for a fast population explosion. The different breeds each have different specialties and niches, even though the basic biological imperatives remain the same.

The small "streaked" goblins are semi-nomadic, and set up huts or digs or tree-forts in heavy forests. A single tribe will have several in its territory, and move between them as they hunt out an area. These guys are only about three feet tall, and specialize in nocturnal predation of isolated individuals, or poorly-defended villages.

The "white" goblins are the most skilled craftsmen, the smartest because they have to be, and most willingly engage in animal husbandry. They breed large wolves to ride. They're about 3'10" tall, and honor courage. Of the four breeds, they have the greatest sense of social order -- which isn't saying much -- and the eldest are expected to starve or offer themselves up for food, during difficult times. This group mostly lives in alpine caves, up near year-round snow fields, and raid and hunt in nearby valleys.

The "brown" orcs are about four feet tall are outstanding mining engineers, and their complexes feature a lot of traps and redoubts, as well as mines and iron foundries. They also keep cattle and horses as livestock in external pens.

The "red" orcs also like cave complexes, but are more inclined to find natural caverns, which they then expand upon. They are incredibly violent, even by the standards of the species.

The greater "black" orcs are the tallest and strongest, reaching more than four feet tall. While they will have their own cave complexes, a small warband will usually take control of a community of one of the other types (except the red orcs, which fight them to the death), and rule it as an elite caste.

Natural death, which most Hârnic goblins seldom reach, occurs at about age 25. Usually, though, they die in combat with one another, or on raids, long before then.

However, while these creatures are almost always dangerous -- even the white orcs -- the danger becomes surreal under two conditions. Firstly, when population pressure becomes too high, a tribe will "swarm."

Usually, this happens when a king dies and the tribe falls into civil war, or the population grows so great they can no longer feed themselves. Two or more factions break into the princess chambers and make off with one or more females, and then rampage out of the existing tribal home in search of a new den, killing and eating everything they come across. Nobody wants to be near a goblin-swarm,and the princesses especially hate it. Most princesses act as guardians for the queen, and remain lean and healthy so long as they never become queens, themselves.

Should a princess wind up as a queen, the process of mating and laying eggs causes her to bloat out, and become a large, semi-sessile breeder entirely dependent upon others for survival.

The violence involved usually drops the population in the existing habitat to well below critical levels, and allows for the creation of one, two, or three additional colonies, all of which raid one another.

In the second instance, a group of these beings falls under the sway of an external leader. Hârnic orcs are unable to conceive of gods, and magic is both alien and absolutely terrifying to them. So, should a sufficiently powerful mage appear, even a large tribe might bend the knee out of terror, and agree to obey the mage's every wish. More traditional warrior-kings constantly face the threat of internal assassination or rebellion, since the orcs think of him as just another orc.

In either case, should the leader become aware of the racial memory attribute, he or she can then train up a skilled and disciplined army, in short order. Should a would-be sorceror-king lead the Hârnic orcs to victory, and provide the troops with plenty of food, loot and rapine, they'll follow that leader enthusiastically, fighting to the death on his or her behalf.)

For what you're doing, the Hârnic goblins provide a good model. They start out as a somewhat-dangerous rag-tag band of fugitives, but if the PCs don't stomp them quickly, the danger grows exponentially, at an alarmingly-rapid rate.

By contrast, the immortal anti-elf orcs of Tolkien are amazingly dangerous, from the get-go, and a dozen would rapidly wipe out a poorly-defended manse defended by a landed knight, his squire, and a few yeoman archers.

So, you need to think through your goblins sorta carefully.
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Old 09-13-2016, 08:24 PM   #8
Major_Eclectic
 
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Default Re: Crowd-Sourced Dungeon Fantasy Campaign

I mean, it's Dungeon Fantasy, it couldn't be any less like Hârn if it tried. I think calculating goblin birth rates, caloric intake, child-rearing strategies and the like run's kind of counter to the whole DF idiom. There will be goblins tribes because goblins are a good starter threat, and they're will be a lot of them because my player's have 250pts of coldly calculated, combat-oriented murderhobo each so a few of them wouldn't be very fun to kill and wouldn't yield up much treasure.

I'm not denigrating your advice, mind you. That kind of detail is incredibly cool when you have the right group that is looking for that kind of game, but this isn't one of those times. I'm just trying to put together something that's only modestly goofy that we can all enjoy while we munch pretzels and drink beer.
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Old 09-13-2016, 08:38 PM   #9
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Default Re: Crowd-Sourced Dungeon Fantasy Campaign

Quote:
Originally Posted by Major_Eclectic View Post
I mean, it's Dungeon Fantasy, it couldn't be any less like Hârn if it tried. I think calculating goblin birth rates, caloric intake, child-rearing strategies and the like run's kind of counter to the whole DF idiom. There will be goblins tribes because goblins are a good starter threat, and they're will be a lot of them because my player's have 250pts of coldly calculated, combat-oriented murderhobo each so a few of them wouldn't be very fun to kill and wouldn't yield up much treasure.

I'm not denigrating your advice, mind you. That kind of detail is incredibly cool when you have the right group that is looking for that kind of game, but this isn't one of those times. I'm just trying to put together something that's only modestly goofy that we can all enjoy while we munch pretzels and drink beer.
Hey. I get (accurately) accused of over-thinking stuff, all the time. I'm pretty sure I'd get at least one point for a quirk, out of it. :)
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Last edited by tshiggins; 09-13-2016 at 08:43 PM.
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Old 09-13-2016, 08:46 PM   #10
Major_Eclectic
 
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Default Re: Crowd-Sourced Dungeon Fantasy Campaign

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Hey. I get (accurately) accused of over-thinking stuff, all the time. I'm pretty sure I'd get at least one point for a quirk, out of it. :)
Obsession: Compulsive need to elaborate. -5 points

I had it too, until I got Mitigator (Dungeon Fantasy) -20%
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