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.