A to Z Challenge, Basic, Dungeons & Dragons, Fantasy, Labyrinth Lord, postaday2011, RPG, RPG Carnival, Shroom-Goblins
It’s Friday, and I’m not posting one of my own maps. That’s right, emergency resuscitation gear is available. Ages ago (well, back in December at least) JDJarvis of Aeons & Auguries posted a hex-based tesseract-like dungeon with a challenge to stock it. The relevant post is here.
I love this map because it is both simple and grotesquely complex – it will be damn near impossible to map for the first while as the characters and players try to make sense of the strangely looping and warping passages that lead back to areas they have already explored. It makes me think of the small world of doors from the old Tool video, while also seeming like the perfect world for the goblins of the Labyrinth movie to live in. (Dance magic dance!)
The goblins of these caves are a unique species, having more in common with mushrooms than they have with the other goblinoid species. In fact, the population of the caves replenishes spontaneously when it starts to shrink due to excessive violence (seriously, how else to shroom-goblins die? old age? not likely!) with new shroom-goblins emerging full formed from the walls and floors, first appearing to be ugly warty mushrooms, but that’s actually the nose, ear, toes or forehead of the goblin emerging from the earth and stone walls.
There are a variety of subspecies of shroom-goblins in the caves. When it becomes important regarding what kind of shroom-goblin we are dealing with, roll on the shroom-goblin table below – typically roll once on this table for a special goblin in any group – if feeling particularly nasty have half or even all of the group exhibit these traits. Don’t actually roll for every individual goblin. Seriously. Don’t do it. I warned you!
Shroom Goblin Species & Powers (roll 1d12)
- Violet Goblin – has scary-looking antlers.
- White Goblin – typical goblin but very, very pale.
- Lumpy Goblin – goblin is misshapen with massive nose, ears or other body parts.
- Explosive Goblin – this goblin explodes in a pressurized blast of harmless spores when slain. Frightening but harmless.
- Shrieking Goblin – screams very loudly when alarmed. Attracts other goblins to the scene of the action.
- Ascomoid Goblin – tucks himself into his heavy armour (+2 AC) and rolls down the caves, charging into his opponents at double normal speed. However, he must make a save versus paralysis after charging an opponent or spend the next round stunned.
- Basidirond Goblin – when killed, this goblin erupts into a 15′ radius cloud of spores that last for 1 roudn and cause confusion (save versus poison to resist) for 1 turn for anyone who contacts or breathes them during that round.
- Contagious Goblin – anyone wounded by this goblin must save versus poison or become infected with a horrible fungal infection that deals 1d30 damage per day that cannot be healed until the infection is removed (via cure disease). If the disease kills the victim, 1d4 shroom-goblins erupt from the corpse.
- Spotted Goblin – massive warts cover the goblin. Anyone touching the goblin (such as attacking with natural weapons) must save versus poison or grow similar nasty warts.
- Cubic Goblin – roll 1d6 twice on this table.
- Absurd Goblin – roll 1d8 twice on this table.
- The Nuclear Option – treat as a cubic goblin, but explodes as contagious, spotted basidirond goblin.
The Shroom Factions
There are two factions of shroom-goblins in the caves. The first is based around the Goblin King in areas 24-26. The opposing or “rebel” faction of goblins are based in 1, 4, 15-17. The rebels have no “leader” as such, they just rebel. When goblins with no faction are encountered, roll 1d4 on the Faction Table. Wandering monster goblins are rolled for, even if in the turf of the opposing faction, because they get confused like that.
- Goblin King Loyalists
- Unaware of the factions
- Arguing over their faction alignment (if only one goblin is encountered, he is actually arguing out loud with himself)
Wandering Monsters (1 in 4, roll every turn, roll 1d12 for type)
- 2d4 Goblins (check for type on the Species table, above)
- 1d6+1 Goblins (check for type on the Species table, above)
- 3d3 Goblins (check for type on the Species table, above)
- 1d8 Goblins (check for type on the Species table, above)
- 2d3+1 Goblins (check for type on the Species table, above)
- 1d10 Goblins (check for type on the Species table, above)
- 1d3+1d6 Goblins (check for type on the Species table, above)
- 3d4-2 Goblins (check for type on the Species table, above)
- 1d3+2 Goblins (check for type on the Species table, above)
- 1d4+1 Goblins (check for type on the Species table, above)
- 2d4-1 Goblins (check for type on the Species table, above)
- 3d3-1 Goblins (check for type on the Species table, above)
However, because I have to go to work this morning, I’ll post the descriptions of the rooms themselves tomorrow. So check in then for the “H”ilarious conclusion to this mangled mini-module.
This is post 7 in the A to Z Challenge – G is for Goblins. It is also a post in this month’s RPG Blog Carnival with the focus on Cartography.
Christopher B said:
Brilliant! In an effort to return the fantastic to my fantasy role playing, I long ago decided that I was going to steer away from fantastic creatures in my campaign world reproducing in any recognizable manner (much less having family units, a la Keep on the Borderlands). I determined that goblins (a label which includes orcs, hobgoblins, trolls – they’re all just types of goblins in my campaign) would be much more sinister – more like the goblins of fairy tales than Gygaxian goblins – and that they were created from the very fabric of darkness and decay, and functionally immortal, dying only by acts of directed violence. (I.e. they can be killed only by those with intent to do so; natural events won’t kill them. It’s a good excuse to use the Goblin Resilience table from GURPS Goblins – a great game, unfortunately created for a not-so-great system, IMO.)
I just never had a firm concept for how they returned after being dispatched – but now I do. And it works perfectly with my mushroom-loving Gray Goblins! Thank you!!!
This is an awesome idea!!
It reminds me of the OLD text based comoputer adventure game called Hunt the Wumpus. It was a series of cave chambers with multiple possible exits that didn’t always go to where you expected them and the Wumpus was stalking you…
Retro RPG said:
Goblinoids are my favorite baddy. This is along the lines of mythology meets Warhammer FRP. Nicely done!
James D. Jarvis said:
Cool write up Dyson, weirdo goblins are a great fit.
@Doug, I suppose my original idea could have been influenced by hunt the wumpus to some degree I was a huge fan of the game years back, even wrote one for the mac once upon a time. I wanted to do a tesseract map and realized caves would be even more of a horror to map and mixed up expectations a bit.
m.s. jackson said:
Amazing, great work on fleshing this out with bizarre goblins. I will agree with Retro above, goblins are my favorite baddie as well, so small and uninspiring, until they show up with creative and deadly tricks. Silly players never suspect the little fellows.
Have you written a post where you show your mapping process? If so, I would like to read that. Nice job.
Dyson Logos said:
Not as such, although I’ve given the basics here and there in the comments to the various maps.
My “process” isn’t much of one. I start drawing randomly, and then get some sort of inspiration part way through the map and run with it. I use simple tools (plain old gel pens and plain paper or graph paper), and basically create organically instead of working towards an idea or goal. I rarely draw a map to suit a need, I draw them and then when I need a map, I grab one that suits the need from my pile o maps.
The background crosshatching I add in as I go instead of doing it all at the end. It is part of what I find relaxing and enjoyable about mapping, so I spread it out through the whole process.
None of my maps have “draft” versions. They are final products with no erasing, rough drafts, or so on.
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