Special coins in treasure hoards

As much as the decimal system makes things easy, currency of the olden times was diverse and ancient and weird. I think it’s sad to imagine nondescript discs of metal in each and every treasure chest or bandit’s satchel.

I don’t advise you should use farthings and livres tournois and weighing scales (at least not all the time), but it might be interesting to have some goodies hidden in treasure chests. So here’s what I’m going to do, with the help of +guillaume jentey +Gherhartd Sildoenfein and +Cathia Remond.

There is 1% chance per 100 GP value that some coins found in a treasure hoard are of special interest.

Credits: Maxpixel (CC0) http://maxpixel.freegreatpicture.com/Antique-Gold-Coins-Sesterces-Roman-Old-Coins-2183470

Special coins (d20)
1. Half of the hoard is fake (fool’s gold or silver plated lead).
2. d100 coins are cursed. They can only be parted with in exchange for nothing.
3. One coin is fake and hollow. It contains a tiny scroll with a message.
4. A portion of the hoard is from an unknown or lost civilisation. A lead to an adventure site?
5. d6 coins are ancient and worth 100 times their value to a collector.
6. One coin is blessed by the saints of commerce (get advantage on a negotiation or trade related roll, once a day).
7. d3 coins are magical (function as scrolls, roll randomly).
8. Cheater’s coin with heads on both sides (of different rulers).
9. Anti missile talisman coin. It catches a missile attack, that destroys your purse and/or backpack along with its contents.
10. One lucky coin: reroll any die. The coin disappears along with d6 tenths of your overall fortune.
11. Half of the hoard is marked by a criminal organisation (spend it at your own risk).
12. The whole hoard is cursed by the weight of greed (counts as double encumbrance).
13. d100 of the coins are minted with a player character’s face.
14. Half of the coins are from an enemy kingdom. Careful where you spend them!
15. The most precious coins come from the underworld. They are worth three times as much as long as they stay away from direct sunlight.
16. d100 coins are rare, known, and stolen.
17. All silver coins are Moon Money. Their weight and value double at night.
18. One of the coins is cursed : This shinning coin becomes the owner’s most valued belonging, he/she will cherish it more than his/her own life.
19. 2d10 untarnished, sparkling coins, all linked together by magic. While one of them is still on your person, they appear back in your pocket on the next dawn (leaving the purse of whoever got them).
20. d4 jingling coins: they make stealth almost impossible while mixed with other coins.

A big fat dump from another failed web thing

I kept this minimalist webjournalblogyoke for a while. Didn’t stick to it, so since I’m more or less collating all my old school gaming stuff here, here’s a huge text dump.  It’ll look like shit but I don’t care.

slash dungeon

I’ll use this space as an quick to update, easily accessed platform for game-related ideas. Specifically, my work on White Books (an epic dungeon crawling story game powered by the Apocalypse and pocketmods), Odd Dungeons (a D&D hack for Into the Odd), and Macchiato Monsters, the mutated mongrel I created by inseminating The Black Hack with some Whitehack DNA.
Also, various thoughts and experiments in procedural worldbuilding. Some of it will come from things I post on Google+.

Sketchy D&D

Your hero: Assign 3 points to STRength, DEXterity, CONstitution, WISdom, INTelligence and CHArisma (maximum 2), then choose a class below.
Engine: Rolls are 2d6+Stat vs target number: 6 to 10 as determined by the DM. (Hipsters like me can also use the *World 6-/7-9/10+ framework) Roll STR or DEX to hit, INT or WIS for spells, CHA for reaction, WIS to notice, CON to resist poison, etc.

  • In combat, you can attack STR times.
  • Roll CON d6 for your hit points. 0 CON gives you 1hp.
  • Your Armour Class is equal to 6+DEX+armour.
  • If you can pay them, you can hire up to CHA followers.

Thieves can use DEX for thievery stuff, can use light weapons and armour.
Fighters get an extra hit die at level 1, 3, 5, etc. Heavy weapons and armour.
Magic-users can cast INT first level spells. At level 3 they get INT-1 second level spells, at level 5 INT-2 third-level spells, and so on. Puny weapons, no armour.
Clerics can turn undead with CHA. At level 2, they cast WIS first-level spells. At level 4 they get WIS-1 second-level spells, at level 6 WIS-2 third-level spells, and so on. Light weapons, medium armour.
Elves cast magic-user spells as if they were one level lower, and have super senses (INT to detect things). Medium weapons and armour.
Dwarves are fighters with +2 to resist alcohol, poison and magic. Medium armour and weapons.
Weapons: puny 1, light 1d6, medium 1d6+1, heavy (two-handed) 2d6. Armour: light +1, medium +2, heavy +3, shield +1. No DEX bonus to AC with medium or heavy armour. Spell lists adapted from B/X D&D. Every 10xp, gain a level and add +1 to one stat.

Samurai & Sararīmen

Old school RPG pitch
You play as agents and assets of the underdark zaibatsu Mindless, Inc. The Neo-Doyju sprawl extends to the horizon, but you know that beyond are the elemental wastes of what was the once a proud empire. As natives of Kozakura, it is your duty to restore the island to its former glory, bringing riches and honor to your masters, the Corporate Clan.
As Mindless operatives, you have vast resources at you fingertips. Call on hobgoblin strike squads to raid the korobokuru yakuza, order psyberware enhancements for yourself, get a spin empath to neutralise whistleblowers. They all come at a cost though, and your most ruthless enemies aren’t outside the corporation. The open plan of Head Office is sometimes more treacherous than the Warlord Blocks of the Neon Province. Your next meeting might well be your last.

  • races including Naga-folk, Hengeyokai, and Half-bakemono
  • classes like Dronemaster, Office Ninja, and Drill Kensai
  • backgrounds and advantages like Board Sensei, Buddy at Payroll, Street Education, or Gangland Connections
  • systems for Corporate resources, Giri and betrayal, Zaibatsu rank, and Operative experience
  • Random tables to generate missions, in-house politics, dangerous city blocks, troublesome subsidiaries…
  • New corporate spells!
  • Over 100 Psyberware items!

(d6 x d8) dungeon generator

Procedural worldbuilding post
This one is based off Stacy Dellorfano’s protocols, which I expanded to generate room contents in the same roll. Google doc

One-sheet, one-step die-drop sandbox

Procedural worldbuilding post
Print out, drop a set of dice, create a slice of world for people to explore. Several versions of the file in this GDrive folder. If these aren’t enough, you can get Jens Larsen’s Excell sheet to generate even more content.

Random dungeons with a deck of cards

Procedural worldbuilding post
I made this procedure today. The idea is to generate random rooms with or without monsters, their purpose, and some special events with only a deck of cards and 2d6. Here is a link to the PDF.

Is my stash still there?

Generic table post
Roll d6 when returning from an expedition, wondering if the stuff you stashed is still there.

  1. Yes, all of it. Lucky bastard.
  2. Yes, with something extra (and valuable, and misplaced by someone angry and powerful).
  3. Some of it is missing, but there’s a clue to who took it.
  4. No, there’s an envelope with your name on it.
  5. No, and it’s booby trapped.
  6. No. Something slimy and blue and shivering digged inside your hiding place and ate your stuff. It’s sleeping now.

Monster mutations

Odd Dungeons post WIP
With the planar anomalies getting more spotlight, I’ve decided most ‘normal’ monsters would come with a planar twist.

  1. Air: 1 fly, 2 weightless, 3 gusts of wind, 4 air sucker
  2. Water: 1 amphibious, 2 control water, 3 perpetually moist, 4 water breather
  3. Earth: 1 burrowing, 2 stone form, 3 phases through stone, 4 gem and metal water
  4. Fire: 1 fire breath, 2 super hot, 3
  5. Magma: 1 melt stone, 2 lava blood, 3
  6. Smoke: 1 gaesous form, 2 choking cloud, 3
  7. Ice:
  8. Ooze: 1 liquid form, 2 acidic blood, 3 goo spitter,
  9. Radiance: 1 searing sight, 2 burning skin, 3 blind,
  10. Steam: scalding breath
  11. Lightning: 1 shocking grasp, 2 magnetism, 3
  12. Mineral: 1 cristal skin, 2 metal skin, 3
  13. Void:
  14. Ash:
  15. Dust:
  16. Salt:
  17. Positive: regenerates 1d4hp between every action
  18. Negative: drains 1d4hp when touche
  19. Ether:
  20. Time:

Planar events in the dungeon

Odd Dungeons post
Drop 1d20 and 1d6 on the dungeon map.
Primary location where the d20 landed, secondary where the d6 landed. If d20=d6, there is a portal between both locations.
Duration is d6xd20 days if d20<d6, otherwise it’s d6+d20 hours.
Read the type of event on the d6 (1 monster, 2 inhabitant, 3 weather/athmospheric, 4 psionic, 5 mutations, 6 portal).
Read the plane of origin on the d20 (1 Air, 2 Water, 3 Earth, 4 Fire, 5 Magma, 6 Smoke, 7 Ice, 8 Ooze, 9 Radiance, 10 Steam, 11 Lightning, 12 Mineral, 13 Void, 14 Ash, 15 Dust, 16 Salt, 17 Positive, 18 Negative, 19 Ether, 20 Time).

d20 elements

For an upcoming mutation die drop table

  1. Air
  2. Water
  3. Earth
  4. Fire
  5. Magma
  6. Smoke
  7. Ice
  8. Ooze
  9. Radiance
  10. Steam
  11. Lightning
  12. Mineral
  13. Void
  14. Ash
  15. Dust
  16. Salt
  17. Positive
  18. Negative
  19. Ether
  20. Time

World vs Mechanics

Design post
When I have an idea for a game, it’s often a mechanic or a specific format I’d like to use. Even if this suggests a theme or genre, the game world is very secondary. If the idea seems worth developing further, I just stick a bunch of clichés together and build from there. I think that’s why most of what I’ve been designing these last few years revolves around dungeonverse fantasy. These settings come to me naturally and I don’t have to stop in the middle of a rules-y thought to ponder about the world.
But I’m wondering how much of my final products is shaped by this. Should I spend more time coming up with an interesting angle or an original setting before grappling with the mechanics, for fear of always designing similar games? Or am I just going through a phase of building the perfect dungeon delver?
What’s your own process? Do you easily hop from one aspect of the design to the other, or do you start with one of them?

What broke up last session’s group?

Odd Dungeons post
Another quick table to help kick things into gear at the beginning of a session. My current campaign has a lot of characters and I sometimes need to explain why groups are never the same.

  1. Earthquake
  2. Ambushed by monsters (roll on random encounter table)
  3. Companions left with gang or faction
  4. Followed something or someone
  5. Ran away from companions (explain why)
  6. Lured away by monsters (they’re still around)
  7. Companions left you behind (explain why)
  8. Got lost in the dark/storm
  9. Companions just disappeared
  10. Magical or planar event (roll on table)

Procedural Cave Delving

Odd Dungeons post
For The Lost City I am going to need a way to generate an interesting journey through a network of caves. Having a single tunnel going from the base of the pyramid to underground Cynidicea is super boring.
What I’m thinking at the moment is something along the lines of the desert map creation procedure I posted a while ago. Except the map will be a vertical side view.
Roll a bunch of varied dice (d4 to d12) on a sheet of paper, and write down the numbers. The lower the dice, the more mundane the area you’re mapping.

  1. Small cave
  2. Dead end corridor
  3. Large cave
  4. Water (link similar results)
  5. Vertical shaft/rift
  6. Cave: underground monster lair (use appropriate encounter table)
  7. Cave: surface monster lair (use appropriate encounter table)
  8. Cave: activity (fortifications, abandoned camp, etc.)
  9. Ancient built passageway
  10. Forgotten tomb/trap
  11. Ancient mine
  12. Planar influence (either its own room or a twist on nearest area)

To link these areas, drop a handful of d6s and d4s, and draw passages from their corners. Add more corridors when it makes sense (think about how monsters and other inhabitants use them).
Probable plug-in: a quick 3d20 table to dress up and populate areas.

Survival without food or water

Odd Dungeons post – backlog
When thirst and hunger are becoming an issue for your expedition, roll a STR save at the end of every day without food and/or water. If you pass, lose 1 STR. If you fail, roll 2d6:

  1. Would do anything for a bite or a drop of any liquid
  2. Desperate: lose 1d4 STR, 1d4 DEX and 1d4 WIL
  3. Weak: lose 1d4 STR and 1d4 DEX
  4. Tired: lose another 1d4 STR
  5. Shakes: lose 1d4 DEX
  6. Low morale: lose 1 WIL
  7. Broken: lose 1d4 WIL
  8. Irritable: WIL save to avoid violent responses
  9. Winded: lose 1d6 hp whenever exerting yourself
  10. Hallucinations: WIL save to come to your senses
  11. Iron resolve keeps you sane. But for how long?

Unfinished stuff and other notes

///Twist this for a survival table

When you suffer Ability Score loss, but survive, roll on the appropriate table for the Ability Score that you lost points in. Common sense determines if they’re permanent or temporary. If unsure, it’s 50/50.
STRENGTH (from physical attacks) 1: Gushing wound. Lose a further 1d6 STR every turn until patched up. 2: Maimed. Roll 1d6 and lose 1: Head, 2: Hand, 3: Arm, 4: Leg, 5: Ear, 6: Eye. 3: Spinal Tear. Any STR loss from this attack is permanent. 4: Whatever caused the harm is lodged inside you. It causes another 1d6 STR loss if it’s not pulled out carefully. 5: Punctured Lung. You wheeze loudly forever. 6: Brain Hit Bad. Lose 1d6 WIL permanently. 7: Concussion. You act like a dope for the rest of the day. 8: Ruined Arm. You cannot use a random arm for anything. If you lose your good arm, attacks with your off-hand are Impaired until you get used to it in d20 Months. 9: Broken jaw. You can’t talk properly until it heals. 10: Crushed ribs. If you take further STR loss before your next Full Rest, you take an additional 1d6 damage. 11: Choked. You can’t breath without assistance, and will die in 1d6 turns unless somebody helps you. 12: Flesh Wound. It’s not all that bad. Wicked scar too.
STRENGTH (from other sources) 1: You throw up a lot. 2: You have the shivers at the slightest cold. 3: Foaming mouth. 4: Lose clumps of hair. 5: Your complexion goes all gross and yellow. 6: Bad reaction! The STR loss is permanent! 7: You become so sickly that you can never regain lost STR. 8: One eye dies. 9: Half of your face falls immobile. 10: Hair turns grey/white/to-dust. 11: Impotent. 12: You shake it off! ARGH!! RARRR! I’M HARDCORE.
DEXTERITY 1: You’ve got the shakes forever. Lose 1d6 DEX to a minimum of 1. 2: You’ll never dance again. 3: You can’t stand up quickly anymore. 4: Spasms whenever least convenient, unless you pass a WIL Save. 5: Cannot walk at all without a stick. 6: Hobble for the rest of your life. 7: Comatose. Attempt a WIL Save after d20 days to restore movement. 8: Balance is shot. Require DEX Saves for things that aren’t even difficult ordinarily. 9: You can’t turn your neck anymore. 10: One eye permanently closed. 11: Slack tongue. You sound like an idiot. 12: You drool if you’re not careful.
WILLPOWER 1: Stammer. 2: You need a drink to steady your nerves, otherwise you have the shakes. 3: You have a phobia of whatever did this to you. WIL Save to confront it again. 4: Surge of idiotic heroism. You can only act if it’s suitably stupid and heroic, until you get a short rest. 5: You become an incredibly picky eater. WIL Save to avoid vomiting any meal. 6: Insomnia. You only benefit from Full Rests if you pass a WIL save and get some sleep. 7: Sensitivity. Sudden, loud noises cause you to lose 1d6 WIL. 8: Delusion. From now on the Referee rolls all your dice and keeps track of your scores, damage etc. in secret. 9: Obsession. You cannot benefit from Long Rests until you confront whatever did this to you and get revenge. 10: Anxiety. You cannot benefit from rests until you’re somewhere completely, 100% safe, and not even slightly dangerous. 11: Trigger Happy. Whenever there’s a surprise, and you’re armed, you must pass a WIL Save to avoid attacking the surprising thing. 12: Hallucinations, only when you’re alone, and you can only find out if they’re real by touching them.

The Zoomer

Inspired by season 2 of Stranger Things, I made this class for B/X style games. Posting an image because pasting into Blogger from Google docs sucks (as it should), but you can get the PDF of the Zoomer class here.


The Naked Wanderer

Here is a class for B/X compatible games that I made as an exercise when thinking about equipment scarcity and puzzles in dungeons. +James V West said he’d play a Naked Wanderer, so I guess it’s not complete nonsense 😉

We all have heard stories of these barely clothed men and women delving into unholy crypts with only a blanket and a crowbar, but somehow avoiding the deadliest traps and salvaging more treasure than anyone else. Some say they are cursed by the Gods of Wealth, richer than royalty, more destitute than beggar folk. Some say they are planewalkers in a permanent quantum state. Other assume they are just incapable of taking care of their stuff – or anyone else’s. 

Requirements: CON 11. Prime requisite: CON. Attacks and saves as Dwarf (see Robust below). Wields all weapons, shields, and armour.

Level                Title                WD        HD                 XP
1                 Wanderer               d3        1d8                0
2                 Dungeon Bum       d3        2d8                2,000
3                 Barefoot Fighter    d4         3d8                4,000
4                 Exhibitionist          d4         4d8                8,000
5                 Disrobed Robber   d6         5d8               16,000
6                 Hobo                      d6        6d8                32,000
7                 Murderhobo           d8        7d8                64,000
8                 Planar flasher         d8        8d8               120,000
9                 World Wanderer    d10       9d8                240,000
10               Clothed Master     d10       10d8              360,000
11                     …                     d12       10d8+1          480,000
12                     …                      …        10d8+2          600,000
13                     …                      …          …               +120,000

Wanderer’s Skill. You start with a wanderer’s die (WD) of d3.

Robust. Add your WD to all saves against disease, cold, and all weather or endurance related effects.

Tinker. Add/subtract your WD whenever you use an item for another purpose than the one it was intended for. The referee decides how it applies. If the game doesn’t use roll under stats, make it a +1 to d6 rolls with an additional +1 at levels 5, 9, and 13.

In combat, add your WD to the damage of any improvised weapon, and to the AC of makeshift armour (roll for every combat after initiative has been rolled).

Intuitive Learner. You have a chance of understanding magic and mundane script equal to 5% per level. This means you can cast spells from scrolls, activate magical items, and possibly disarm harmful runes. The referee decides what happens on a miss.

Clothed Master. Upon reaching level 10, stories of your exploit attract d20+level apprentices, all 1st level Naked Wanderers, who travel with you. They expect you to share food and lodgings, however basic. You can roll their numbers again at every new level.

Bare Necessities. At the start of each session roll your WD; that’s the number of items you own – remove the rest from your equipment list. It is lost forever (stolen, broken, quantum disintegrated…). This includes immobile goods and animals, but not followers. Every piece of clothing is an item, meaning that pairs of boots or gloves count as two items. 100 coins, 7 rations, 20 arrows, etc. are considered the same item, but not the container that holds them.

During play, you can only borrow a number of items equal to your level every session. Whenever you use a permanent item above this limit, it is lost (as above) if you fail a saving throw vs Spells. This includes stuff carried by followers, or held for you by fellow adventurers, but not items taken from monsters, or found in a dungeon.

Handing or giving away any of your possession triggers your curse as well: an item is lost in a number of rounds equal to the result of your WD.

At the start of an adventure, you can forgo your equipment WD roll, losing everything you had. And roll on the following table instead. Have the referee replies the entries that come up more than once. Alternatively, they may want to give you something that fits their plans.

d30 (but would be more fun with 100 entries)
1: A piece of string and a vampire tooth
2: A miniature portrait of a lost loved one
3: A quarterstaff, a mail shirt, a crossbow and d6 bolts in a case
4: A tin box of delicious and nutritious cinnamon biscuits (heal 1HP, 10 uses)
5: A chest containing d100 SP, d30 GP, and 3d6 PP
6: A holy symbol, still charged with divine energy. You can turn undead once as a cleric of the same level.
7: d20 horse shoes, d4 of them are silver plated and worth 3 GP each
8: A pound of crimson coffee worth 150 GP. Can be brewed to give d20 temporary HP to 5 people
9: A set of maximilian style, finely adorned platemail
10: A set of excellent traveling clothes, suitable for all weathers, but no boots
11:  A freeze raygun (as longbow, but damage is doubled) with enough power for 10 shots
12: A pair of shoes made of dragon hide, worth 300 GP. +2 to save vs Breath
13: A copper lantern that doesn’t need to be refilled
14: A large bag of stone marbles (several hundreds)
15: A crowbar, metal file, skeleton key, and 10 iron spikes
16: A lover letter implicating a popular crowned head
17: A portable hole, filled to the brim with someone’s precious furniture (worth 2,000 GP to the right buyer)
18: A leather canoe (sits five) and two paddles
19: The deed to a contested property, with your name on it
20: A beautifully illustrated book of erotic poetry (200 GP to a collector)
21: A +2 exotic looking sword with a gem studded scabard worth 500 GP
22: Three large sacks containing salt (10 GP), flour (5 CP), and exotic spices (200 GP)
23: A tamed axebeak, packed for a long journey (10 items of your choice, no clothes or weapons)
24: A large basket containin d12 rather smart, but decidedly needy kittens
25: A platinum crown worth 500 GP. Belongs to a nearby noble.
26: The mounted head of a catoblepas. 50% chance of attempting to petrify anyone looking at it.
27: A random potion and a random scroll
28: A spellbook containing 2d4 spells of random levels
29: A complete pack of adventuring gear (choose 20 items from the normal list)
30: A permanent magical item, randomly generated

A gallery of goblins: the thoul

I made this for +James V West‘s #glorpy challenge and it was a lot of fun. The text below is mostly the same as above.

A thoul is a patchwork of goblins, fused together with necromantic rituals and glorpy serum (also know as the blood of Glorp, father of trolls and lord of all life).

Thouls are mounts, created to patrol the base of the Great Antispire generations ago. They are now widely used for militia and military purposes, and favoured by some explorer types. They are biped but prefer to walk on all fours. About as intelligent as a dog (I roll 2d6 for their INT), most understand goblinspeak and Turkish* and can say a few simple words.
Stats: HD 3, AC as leather or by armour type, attacks d4 or by weapon plus bite d4 (save or be paralysed for an hour). Morale 9. Glorpynesis: regenerates 1d4-1 hp per turn.
About half the thouls found in Goblinburg have a quirk or extra ability. Roll d12:
1. Intelligent and able to have conversations. Ridden by a dummy knight with four spring-loaded arms flailing about in combat (once per fight, save if anywhere next to the thoul or take d10 damage).
2. Has the head of a diaphanous goblin. Knows one first level spell.
3. Styrge wings all over its body. Can levitate for a turn every hour.
4. Half a dozen gigantic hands: used to climb trees, dig galleries, and grab people.
5. Brand from a major Hexagon House. Stolen maybe?
6. Acidic skin. The rider must wear protective gear or take 1 damage per hour.
7. Old beast. Doesn’t regenerate anymore.
8. Hack job. This thoul is tiny or feeble. Halve all stats.
9. Toad tongue. Can attempt to paralyse at short distances.
10. Chaotic glorpynesis. Healed wounds sprout a head, organ, or appendage.
11. Vampiric guts. Sustained only by warm blood. Attacks with advantage when blood has been spilled, but has to feed for a whole turn when its first victim falls.
12. Not so well trained. Roll morale every turn.
Riding a thoul into battle requires a WIS check every turn to keep it under control, unless the character has history or practice with thoul riding.

*So yeah, I’ve decided that Goblinburg is located in a cave deep below an Anatolian mountain, some time under the Byzantine Empire.

Troblins and Butcher Houses

Pictured here is a troblin guarding the  Mountain Hexagon meatpacking warehouse. Fresh meat is rare in Goblinburg, and as such it is defended by the most resilient of troops.

Troblins are goblins with a fair amount of troll blood. Their regenerative ability makes them cheap to maintain and tough in a fight. Unless their opponent is aware of their tendency to pyrophobia.

It is rumoured that troblins were created by the fleshmakers. Which would make sense, since the produce sold in sinew shops comes from herds that are butchered over and over again.

Dilemma: where is Goblinburg?

So I have two ideas, and I don’t know which one will suit the campaign better. This is me brainstorming.

Deep under Anatolia, circa 1630

History, Dumas style: factions like the crowns of Europe and the Company of Jesus join the Burgmeistress and the Guild of Sigil and Candle Peddlers.
Religions can include gods of ancient Summeria (I’m sure Turkey has lots of interesting stuff too, I’ll have to research it) as well as different flavours of Reformed christianity.
Gunpowder aplenty!
A visit from the musketeer of Mars, maybe? Though I’m afraid he’s busy saving La Rochelle with his team at this time.
Goblins are interbred descendants of mythological beings. It would be easy to come up with new types: korrigan, redcaps, bakemono, karankoncolos.
Ultimately I think of this as sword & sorcery & cloak & dagger & swash & buckle. It could really work but I’m worried about the amount of research I’d lose myself into. On the plus side, introducing new players would be easy: “after the siege of Arras, you fled to Marseilles, where you met a ship captain said she knew of a city where deserters like you could hide and thrive”.

Inside a celestial object, long ago, somewhere dark and far away

This Space daemonic fantasy version is partly inspired by +Daniel Sell’s Troika! which I was reading when thinking of this.
Cultists meet to worship dark gods from the outer voids, and roam city streets to carry out their insane demands.
Goblins are star children, born of drifting seeds, daemonspawn, genetic experiments.
Magic and science are the same thing, with a lot of heat rifles and brains in jars and psychomathematic grimoires.
The Rays come from some sort of crystal dome in the asteroid; it amplifies the light of passing stars. Day/night cycles on the bright side of Goblinburg are very random (think maybe d20+d10 hours of light or darkness).
The New Worlds above Goblinburg are caves filled with alien flora. Above then is the cold, dead surface, where impossible treasure awaits in some kind of abandoned space station.
Strangely enough, this version of Goblinburg would be closer to straight fantasy (at least until the surface station is discovered, when it would morph into spelljammer hexploration). The city survives in isolation, barred the odd portal. I don’t think I mind – it’s a big enough place to keep everyone’s interest. I also think the most claustrophobic of players – the people who always want to go outside of the sandbox – would have an escape route via portals. I have both Red & Pleasant Land and Maze of the Blue Medusa. If they want to step out, they’re welcome to step into that mirror or painting. That’ll learn ’em.

So here we are. I thought writing down the pros and cons of both ideas would help me decide. It hasn’t. I have analysis paralysis, you guys.

A stack of goblins

These are 11 sorts of goblins found in Goblinburg. I’m sure more will appear. I might also post more details about some of these in specific posts.

Diaphanes or surface goblins. Reskin of elves (PC class). The fungal spores in the Ruinfields, gave them magical powers. They like climbing on things to look down on you.
Snout or cave goblins. Reskin of dwarves that look like orcs (PC class). The strongest of all goblins, good with tools and weapons alike. Often employed as semi-skilled workers in the city.
Bug goblins or gobelours. Reskin of halflings (PC class). Hairy goblins who walk silently and enjoy a good meal. Come in two varieties: city gobelours, with buttoned up waistcoats and tea parties, and wild, cannibalistic gobelours. The latter are sometimes tamed by wizards who use them as hunters and bloodhounds.
Gnawer goblins or munchlings. Vicious little creatures with oversize jaws and weak limbs. They dress in metal plates (recycled tins, pots and pans or armour suits) and use hooks and chains to grab their victims, before munching on them. They don’t attack: if three or more gnawers are near you, save VS paralysis or take your AC as damage.
Roach goblins or gremlins. Reskin of pixies. Thumb size vermin with a penchant for practical jokes. Smoke them out and stamp them to death.
Crow goblins or corbelins. Reskin of goblins with a limited ability to glide. Loud and obnoxious little bastards that live under the roofs of public buildings.

Renart goblins or fox-people. Reskin of kobolds. Clever and shy, they mostly keep to themselves, hiding in cellars and getting out when no one’s looking. Fierce competitors of crow goblins when it comes to stealing honest people’s food.
Changelings or Mimic goblins. Improved doppelgangers, capable of imitating anything, living or not. Mostly solitary predators, they are considered a public menace when in groups.
Batlings of flying goblins. Reskin of orcs, with flight. Short sighted but far reaching, they can actually travel in the Big Black (if there were anywhere to go). Colonies of batlings prey on careless gatherers in remote locations. The rumours of their hemophiliac diet are only partly true.
Hobgoblins or billy guards. Very susceptible to strong authority, these goat-faced goblins are often employed as private guards or militia. Their investigative techniques are somewhat primitive.
Dwarves or bearded goblins. Another reskin of goblins. Inventive and industrious in a nonsensical fashion, they are prone to hilarious deaths. Think Tolkien’s stunties, but garden ornament size. They have long names and longer ancestry lines (especially since their life expectancy is about two years). Favourite food: cave cheese.

First map of Goblinburg

Hastily shaded with bad charcoal pencils, and shown filtered as an attempt to make it look a bit better.

The city is built on – and carved inside – a gigantic stalactite. The main source of light are the Rays, which come only from one direction. I haven’t decided if there’s a day/night cycle yet. It’ll depend on what kind of cave we’re taking about. (I’m undecided.)

High on Goblinburg’sdark face, a titanic carved head casts starlight with unblinking eyes. No one really knows what it’s deal is. I have no idea myself. The batlings who live in the Growth and Weaklinks below avoid the light like the plague.

Drawing this, it struck me that magicks like spider climb and levitate would be invaluable to people who work outside the buildings and tend the fungal gardens of the bright side. I’m thinking one-use charms you can wear on your person. Potions require two hands and scrolls are literacy and light dependant.

So, why Goblinburg?

First notes about Goblinburg

I’ve been thinking about running a Basic Dungeons & Dragons campaign for a while now. Will I do it, I’m not entirely sure. I have my own old school ruleset to finish publishing and I don’t want to mix both projects. But I want to get this from brain cells to pixels, so here we are.

Before I delve into what I know (and would like to know) about the setting, I’ll just list what I want to do with this game/setting.

  • Urban dungeons. I want Goblinburg to be a city as dangerous as any underground lair, while still being a place where normal people live. 
  • Straight B/X rules with few alterations. I’m thinking of using Wonders & Wickedness for wizardly stuff. Not sure about clerics yet. 
  • Sandbox adventures, as the Bearded Ones intended. 
  • Goblins everywhere! I want most non-humans to be goblins. Be they reskinned races and monsters, or new ones. For example, the dude pictured above is a renart goblin, my idea of a kobold in this setting.