Sunday, 12 June 2022

Tricube Tales: Expanded scene types for cooperative play

RPGClyde on the Zadmar Games Discord server recently mentioned that he likes playing cooperative GMless games with Tricube Tales, and this got me thinking about how the solo rules might be expanded to better handle cooperative play.

The main issue is the key challenges. Should everyone roll for them? One player? Do you pick someone at random? If everyone has to succeed then there's a much greater risk of failure -- but conversely, if only one player has to beat the challenge, the chance of success is far higher.

Cooperative play should take all of those factors into account, and that also means compensating for the fact that each player will likely be making fewer rolls. Introducing the use of effort tokens (as described in the Tricube Tales core rules) would help a lot, but they shouldn't be overused.

When I used to design Savage Worlds One Sheet adventures, I found my sweet spot was two scenes that required multiple rolls to resolve (one as a combat scene, the other as a Chase, Dramatic Task, or Social Conflict). So my gut feeling is to do the same here with scenes requiring effort tokens, and define two types of scenes: action scenes, and story scenes.

Action Scenes

Each adventure contains two "action scenes". These typically represent combat, chases, or other dramatic group activities.

When you draw a new scene card, before resolving the challenge, compare its suit with the scene cards you've previously drawn. If this is the first time you've made a pair (aka two-of-a-kind -- i.e., two cards of the same suit) then this is the first action scene: it has a pool of 2 effort tokens per PC (e.g., if there are 3 players, then the scene has 6 effort tokens). The final scene of the adventure is the second action scene, and it has a pool of 3 effort tokens per PC.

Action scenes use a pool of effort tokens, and the players must eliminate all the effort tokens in order to beat the challenge. Everyone rolls: those who fail, lose 1 resolve (or 2 on a critical failure); those who succeed eliminate 1 effort token for each die that succeeds (e.g., if they roll 6 5 4 for an easy challenge, they would eliminate 3 effort tokens). If any of the effort tokens remain, everyone has to roll again.

Anyone who already eliminated their share of the effort tokens may have the option of sitting out the rest of the scene (this is still TBD, but something I'll think about before writing up these rules in their final form).

Story Scenes

If a scene isn't an "action scene", then it's a "story scene". These can represent anything, even combat, but they consist of a single roll (to draw a comparison with the approach I used for Savage Worlds One Sheet adventures, these could be like Quick Combat rather than a full combat encounter).

In solo play, the lone PC resolves all the key challenges for story scenes (and thus no further changes are required), but in a cooperative game, use the suit to determine who rolls. As the action scenes can result in the loss of resolve, I recommend that story scenes don't, at least as a general rule.

Note: As a memory hook, the first letter of the scene type is the same as the name of the suit.

Clubs: Combined Effort

Everyone can roll, and only one person needs to succeed to carry the rest of the group). For example:

Agile: Someone throws something at the group, and one PC has to catch it before it hits the ground. There's a lock that needs picking, but everyone can have a go. The PCs are trying to shoot a fleeing enemy, but only one of them needs to successfully hit.

Brawny: The group is chasing a fleeing target, and someone needs to catch them! The group has to drag a heavy object or open a heavy door.

Crafty: Only one PC has to spot the ambush or notice a clue in order to tell the others. One PC has to recall an important piece of information.

Diamonds: Draw Straws

One person picked at random must roll to overcome the challenge. For example:

Agile: One PC is shot at by a sniper and must evade. One PC is caught in the enemy's field of vision and must hide. Only one PC has line-of-sight to take a shot at the fleeing enemy.

Brawny: Falling debris falls on one of the PCs, potentially injuring them. An enemy attacks one of the PCs.

Crafty: One PC happens to walk past a clue, can they spot it? Someone attempts to trick, taunt or intimidate a PC.

Hearts: Heel of Achilles

Everyone rolls and everyone has to succeed, if anyone fails then the entire group fails. For example:

Agile: The whole group needs to sneak past some guards without being spotted. The PCs attempt to ambush some soldiers, but they'll need to be quiet!

Brawny: It's a long and tiring journey, can everyone keep up, or will someone delay the group? Can the entire group run to the escape pod before the space pirates arrive?

Crafty: The PCs infiltrate an organization, if any of their acting skills aren't up to par, they will draw unwanted attention.

Spades: Step Forward

One person volunteers to make the roll. The group can discuss and nominate the best candidate for the task. For example:

Agile: One PC has to steal the guard's key, or sneak up on the lookout and overpower them.

Brawny: One PC has to climb the wall and enter through the open window (they can then open the door on the other side to let the rest of the group inside).

Crafty: One PC has to track the enemy, or bribe an official.


Tuesday, 22 March 2022

Short example of solo play using Tales of the Goblin Horde

I've seen some interesting Tricube Tales solo Actual Plays lately, so I thought it'd be fun to try posting a short example myself. I won't dive into too much detail in the various scenes, as I'm trying to keep it simple, but you can certainly do that in your own games if you prefer! After all, solo gaming is very much a personal thing, there's no "right" or "wrong" way to do it, as long as you're having fun.

I'll be using Tales of the Goblin Horde (TotGH) and the Tricube Tales Solo Rules (both of which can be downloaded free by clicking their Publisher Previews), plus the Saga of the Goblin Horde Configurable Map to plan out the route.

I will use the example character from the TotGH character creation section: Big Brak, a brawny warrior who is also a huge bugbear, but only has one eye.

Rolling on the TotGH adventure generator, I get 5 6 3. So the main plot is that Big Brak is ordered to "kill some adventurers" in "a deep cave or mine" while dealing with "a psychopathic druid"

I'll use the examples from the one-page RPG rather than make up my own:
5. The Quest for the Holy Pail: A party of human adventurers has been exploring ancient ruins, searching for a lost relic—a magical bucket?! It’s time for them to kick the bucket!

6. Swallow Hole: A network of deep caverns situated on Hightree Ridge, Swallow Hole is a popular raiding spot for greedy human adventurers.

3. Tree-Hugging Tyrant: Another human druid has gone on a murderous rampage, animating trees and controlling beasts, and sending them after goblins.
Rolling on the TotGH twist table for the subplots gives me the following:
Primary subplot (2 5 = trap): My interpretation: Someone has been ambushing Redfang goblins on Hightree Ridge, they've already killed several gangs. Could this by the druid, or is it someone else? We'll have to find out!

Secondary subplot (2 6 = key): My interpretation: A Bonedigger gang is searching for the relic as well, they believe it's the key to a magical ritual.
Looking at the map, I can see Big Brak will need to journey through Twilight Wood and climb Hightree Ridge in order to reach Swallow Hole. The Solo Rules ensure there will be at least 5 scenes, and the first is the opening scene, so I envision them working something like this:
Scene 1: Visit Chief Bignose in his tent to receive the mission.

Scene 2: Head east through Twilight Wood.

Scene 3: Climb Hightree Ridge.

Scene 4: Enter Swallow Hole.

Scene 5: Explore Swallow Hole
Further scenes may then follow, depending on the cards. Maybe the adventurers need to be chased back across Hightree Ridge and into the human lands, perhaps even followed into one of their towns. Alternatively, the secondary subplot (the Bonedigger gang) could introduce a new scene or two on the way back from defeating the adventurers.

Introduction


For time immemorial, goblins have been mercilessly hunted down and murdered by the so-called “civilized” humans, slaughtered in droves for the entertainment of bloodthirsty adventurers. But everyone has their limits, even the underdogs.

The pathetic goblins who eke out a living near the human lands are weak and timid, the aggression bred out of them through generations of culling, with only the most cowardly among them managing to survive. But the goblins of the western tribes are another matter entirely, as the rapidly encroaching scourge of human civilization is about to discover.

You are Big Brak, a ferocious boss from the Redfang tribe, leading your gang on a series of dangerous missions against the humans and other enemies. Chief Bignose is confident you won’t let him down!

Scene 1: Visiting Chief Bignose


Draw a Joker -- 6: The scene changes due to a new event
Roll for an urban event -- 6 6: Urban decay (roll 3 6 on the fantasy twist table for inspiration -- someone tripping over)

Chief Bignose's tent is old and smelly, with patches of mold growing on it. It should have been replaced years ago, but his flunkies just patch up the holes as best they can. As Big Brak walks into the tent, his huge foot catches a loose string, and the entire tent collapses. Chief Bignose yelps for help, "Hey! Who turned the lights out?"

Draw the 8 of Clubs (easy crafty challenge).

Big Brak searches through the folds of the tent, trying to find Chief Bignose. Roll -- 3 2 (failure, but reducing the difficulty to 3 with the bugbear perk turns it into a success). Big Brak uses his great strength to rip the tent to shreds, revealing the stumpy chieftain buried underneath!

Chief Bignose clambers to his feet, brushes himself down, and curses loudly about the state of his tent. He glances up, up, up, at the towering bugbear before him. "Ah, there you are, Brak. I have the perfect mission for someone of your physical stature and intellectual limitations. My scouts report that a band of ugly human adventurers has been poking around on Hightree Ridge, searching for some stupid magical bucket. It looks like they're trying to find Swallow Hole. Head over there, and do to them what you just did to my tent!"

Big Brak wanders over to his campfire and yells for his flunkies to attend him. "We're going hunting for human meat!" Without any further ado, Brak turns on his heel and marches east toward Hightree Ridge, his gang members running after him as they try desperately to keep up with his pace.

Scene 2: Journey through Twilight Wood


Rolling on the weather conditions table -- 6 4. The sky is overcast with rain, and there's a strong breeze.

Draw the 7 of Clubs (hard brawny challenge). No idea what the challenge could be, so I'll roll for a random wilderness event for inspiration -- 4 1 (rolling log/boulder). Sounds like an ambush.

Big Brak and his gang head through Twilight Wood, the trees swaying in the breeze as heavy droplets of rain drip through the canopies overhead. Suddenly, a loud crack echoes through the forest, and a huge tree topples onto the gang, pinning them to the ground!

Roll 4 3 4 (failure, using meat shield to give the damage to a gang member instead): Big Brak staggers to his feet, pulling his gang members out from under the boughs. One of the goblins is dead, impaled by a broken branch, but the other two are only dazed. A group of porcupine beastfolk hoot and cackle from their vantage point in the treetops, amused at their little prank, then they vanish among the canopies.

With a snarl, Big Brak picks up the pace.

Scene 3: Climbing Hightree Ridge


Draw the 9 of Spades (standard crafty challenge).

The gang makes its way out of the forest and starts hiking up Hightree Ridge. But soon, the goblins start arguing over which way they need to travel to reach Swallow Hole. Roll -- 5 5 (exceptional success). Big Brak shakes his head at his useless flunkies and snarls "Idiots, why do you think I chose this route? It's the fastest path to Swallow Hole!" The gang eagerly heads toward their destination.

Scene 4: Reaching Swallow Hole


Draw the 3 of Clubs (standard agile challenge).

Big Brak and his flunkies approach the lesser-known secondary entrance to Swallow Hole. It's very unlikely the humans would discover this entrance, as it's well concealed, but it's also rather dangerous.

Roll 2 4 (failure, using meat shield).

One of the gang members loses her footing and falls to her death while trying to climb down the entrance shaft. Brak and the last gang member make their way down safely, and then head deeper into the warren. They'll need to scout around and find a good spot to lay in wait for the adventurers!

Rolling for a dungeon feature -- 2 5 (distinctive smell). Big Brak raises his snout and sniffs at the air. The cave smells of blood and death, there's been fighting going on down here recently! He draws his axe and heads deeper into the cave.

Scene 5: Inside Swallow Hole


Draw the King of Clubs (advance main plot, negative) -> It turns out the adventurers are already here, and they've set an ambush!
Draw the 3 of Spades (standard agile challenge) -> As we now have 3 Clubs and 2 Spades among the spot cards, this will be the final scene.

The adventurers reached Swallow Hole before Big Brak, and they heard the splat of his gang member earlier, so they've set an ambush inside the cave. They must have already wiped out the borderland goblins that were living here, that would explain the lingering smell of blood and death.

The humans unleash a barrage of arrows and lightning bolts as Big Brak and his last remaining minion walk into their trap.

Roll -- 2 5 (success). Big Brak and his minion hunker down behind cover, avoiding the brunt of the attacks. Unfortunately, because of the ambush (negative plot advancement), the entire fight must be resolved via ranged attacks, putting the bugbear at a disadvantage. The enemy has 5 effort tokens, these represent a ranger (2 tokens), a druid (2 tokens), and a henchman (1 token).

Attack roll -- 2 6 (success, eliminate 1 effort token). The gang member hurls his spear, taking out the henchman.

Defense roll -- 6 3 (success). A lightning bolt explodes nearby, showering Brak with debris, but he shakes it off.

Attack roll -- 1 1 (critical failure, introduce a complication). Brak hurls his axe at the druid, but she ducks and reacts with a quick spell, shrouding Brak in an outline of illusionary fire. For the rest of the combat, all defense rolls will be hard (difficulty 6) challenges.

Defense roll -- 1 1 (critical failure again). As a confused Brak attempts to put out the illusionary flames, the ranger and druid unleash their attacks upon him. Using meat shield to avoid the loss of 2 resolve. Brak drops and rolls on the floor at the last moment, and his remaining gang member is obliterated instead.

Attack roll -- 6 3 (success). With a roar, Brak picks up the corpse of his last flunky, and hurls it at the druid, knocking her off her feet.

Defense roll -- 5 2 (failure). The ranger uses the opportunity to shoot an arrow, striking Big Brak in the knee. Brak loses 1 resolve.

Attack roll -- 4 4 (failure). Spend 1 karma to lower the difficulty to 4, turning the failure into an exceptional success. Brak uses his enormous bugbear physique to lift a massive rock and hurl it at the ranger, smashing him to a pulp.

Defense roll -- 1 1 (critical failure yet again). The druid shoots Big Brak with a powerful lightning bolt, electrocuting him! Big Brak loses his last 2 resolve, and his smoking body drops to the floor. The druid is injured and her companions are both dead, so she staggers out of the cave, mounts her horse, and leaves, without stopping to confirm her kill.

Sometime later, Big Brak wakes up. He's now back to full resolve, but as well as having scorched fur, he now has a permanent affliction. We'll say "fear of lightning". The mission is a failure, as the druid escaped. Chief Bignose will not be happy...

Summary


I intended this to be a brief example, but it was even shorter than I'd expected due to the cards concluding the adventure after 5 scenes. I could have stretched out the final scene, but I liked the surprise ambush at the end, so I decided to resolve the last scene as a combat encounter with 5 effort tokens.

Normally I prefer running solo games with physical props, but this time I used Roll20 for the dice and cards (with the VTT version of the Solo Deck). Luck was definitely not on my side with those dice rolls though! Perhaps things would have turned out differently if I'd used my last karma to turn the second-to-last defense roll into a success, but I hadn't expected to get yet another critical failure.

I completely forgot to use my quirk, and I also failed to tie in the Bonedigger gang, but if the adventure had been longer I could have used them to spice up the story. If there's one thing I've learned about solo gaming, it's that the story never quite goes the way I was expecting!

Wednesday, 8 December 2021

Tricube Tales: Merging concepts from Swift d12 to increase granularity

I recently had an interview on the Dieku Podcast, where I talked about my introduction to gaming, how I got into Savage Worlds and self-publishing, and about my Tricube Tales system. You can watch the interview here:

While talking about the origins of Tricube Tales, I also mentioned Swift d12, and this got me thinking about the two systems. Although I did run several successful playtests with Swift d12, I was never entirely happy with it -- but it does include a lot of options for character advancement, which is good for longer campaigns (one of the weaknesses of Tricube Tales). So this got me wondering if it might be viable to merge some of the concepts.

The first thing I did was look at the dice. Tricube Tales uses 1-3d6 vs a target number (TN) of 4/5/6, which is statistically identical to 1-3d12 vs TN 7/9/11:

Tricube Tales allows you to lower the difficulty by 1 using a perk, and by a further 1 when fighting lower-ranked foes using the Hack-and-Slash genre rules, but that means even in the most extreme case (using a perk against a lower-ranked foe) the difficulty is 2/3/4 for an easy, standard, or hard challenge respectively. Thus rolling 1 is still a failure, and easy/standard/hard challenges each have a different TN. You can't lower the difficulty by more than 2 without breaking the resolution mechanic.

But replacing the d6s with d12s gives you more wiggle room, allowing you to lower the difficulty by 5. This would allow the return of separate traits (something I had to drop from Tricube Tales), so instead of rolling an extra d12 for challenges related to your trait (agile/brawny/crafty) you'd have different ratings in each, and add your trait to the roll.

You could then increase the easy/standard/hard TNs from 7/9/11 to 8/10/12 and make "1" the baseline for each trait so that characters can be below average at some things (i.e., have a trait of 0). That would allow you to apply a modifier of up to +6 without breaking the resolution mechanic (i.e., if the TN is 8/10/12, then a bonus of +6 still allows failure on a natural 1).

I would give players 5 points to distribute among their traits (agile, brawny, and crafty), with each trait having a range of 0-3. Challenges would require rolling 2d12 and adding the appropriate trait against TN 8/10/12 for easy, standard, and hard difficulty respectively (as usual, the two dice would be compared separately, not added together). For challenges that fall entirely outside the scope of the character concept, the player would roll a single d12.

Perks could then work more like the Swift d12 feats, which provide a variety of predefined abilities and bonuses (rather than being freeform). Many of the feats are classified as "stackable", meaning they can be taken up to three times. So you might have an Alertness perk which gives a +1 bonus to perception, and you could take up it to three times -- you'd then add it to your crafty trait when making perception checks so (for example) a character with crafty 3 and alertness 3 would apply a +6 bonus to their roll, against a difficulty of 8 (easy), 10 (standard) or 12 (hard).

Conclusion

These changes would obviously add complexity. In particular, they would require the introduction of a long laundry list of perks, which is something I intentionally avoided in Tricube Tales (mostly because I didn't want people looking things up during play). But they would also add granularity and varied character options for long-term campaigns, and could be expanded with other Swift d12 features (such as the combat rules, allowing a similar style of tactical combat to Savage Worlds for those who want it).

Furthermore, it would be very easy to convert a Tricube Tales character across to these new hybrid rules, simply giving a character 3 points in their primary trait and 1 point in each of the others. Tricube Tales-style perks could still be used (they'd just give a +2 bonus, but wouldn't stack with fixed-bonus perks), and Swift d12 already has rules for karma and quirks (called "flaws", that's actually where I got the original idea for quirks in Tricube Tales).

I don't want to change Tricube Tales, but perhaps this would be a good direction to take Swift d12 when I finally get around to revisiting it -- have it work more like Tricube Tales, except with more granularity and character options.

Saturday, 4 December 2021

Tricube Tales hits Gold Best Seller: Here's a look at the sales figures

Six months ago I reported that Tricube Tales had hit Electrum Best Seller, and two of the 12 micro-settings had hit Silver. But I've continued churning out more micro-settings, as well as solo rules, and this week Tricube Tales hit Gold Best Seller!

While this is a small achievement compared to many publishers, it's still a personal milestone. I already have Gold and Platinum products on the Savage Worlds Adventurer's Guild, but promoting my own system has proven far more challenging.

However, each new micro-setting draws interest in the rest of the product line, and the recent Deal of the Day proved shockingly successful, so I thought the sales figures might be of interest to other publishers.

Total Sales per Month

Here are the total sales for the entire product line since the first release:

  • Nov 2019: 54
  • Dec 2019: 11
  • Jan 2020: 3
  • Feb 2020: 12
  • Mar 2020: 20
  • Apr 2020: 6
  • May 2020: 6
  • Jun 2020: 2
  • Jul 2020: 3
  • Aug 2020: 14
  • Sep 2020: 7
  • Oct 2020: 28
  • Nov 2020: 13
  • Dec 2020: 19
  • Jan 2021: 12
  • Feb 2021: 6
  • Mar 2021: 50 (includes a DriveThruCards Deal of the Day)
  • Apr 2021: 58
  • May 2021: 256
  • Jun 2021: 110
  • Jul 2021: 80
  • Aug 2021: 238 (includes a DriveThruCards Deal of the Day)
  • Sep 2021: 79
  • Oct 2021: 256 (includes a DriveThruCards Deal of the Day)
  • Nov 2021: 1210 (670 during the DriveThruRPG Deal of the Day!)
  • Dec 2021: 207 so far (as of 4th December)

Breakdown by Product

And here is a breakdown of sales figures for the main products:

  • Tricube Tales (core rules): 523 sales since 2019-11-08
  • Solo Rules & Deck: 482 sales since 2021-05-14

These are the "payment optional" products on DTRPG (in order of publication) -- people can download them for free, but I'm only tracking actual sales where people paid for them:

  • Goblin Gangsters: 191 sales since 2020-08-27
  • Samhain Slaughter: 219 sales since 2020-10-08
  • Chrome Shells & Neon Streets: 261 sales since 2020-11-21
  • Metahuman Uprising: 203 sales since 2020-12-28
  • Rotten Odds: 159 sales since 2021-01-31
  • Tales of the Goblin Horde: 172 sales since 2021-04-01
  • Wardens of the Weird West: 182 sales since 2021-06-12
  • Firefighters: 144 sales since 2021-07-06
  • Horrible Henchmen: 142 sales since 2021-08-13
  • Pirates of the Bone Blade: 145 sales since 2021-09-15
  • Eldritch Detectives: 157 sales since 2021-10-30
  • Wiseguys: Gangster Tales: 91 sales since 2021-11-20
  • Interstellar Mech War: 38 sales since 2021-11-30

These are the DTRPG freebies (in order of publication) -- I like to have a few free products to build up my mailing list:

  • Interstellar Bounty Hunters: 1728 downloads since 2020-09-29
  • Welcome to Drakonheim: 809 downloads since 2021-03-10
  • Interstellar Troopers: 1023 downloads since 2021-04-26
  • Interstellar Laser Knights: 1000 downloads since 2021-05-04

I also have a few freebies on Itch, which I entered into Jams. Here they are, once again in order of publication:

  • The Fools Who Follow: 511 downloads since 2020-07-29
  • Deep Trouble in Oldport Bay: 325 downloads since 2021-02-20
  • Halfling Hustlers: 116 downloads since 2021-07-03
  • Guardians of the Shadow Frontier: 251 downloads since 2021-07-31

The high download numbers for Interstellar Bounty Hunters are due to a Discord community that built up around it. But in general, I have far more downloads on DriveThruRPG than Itch.



Sunday, 30 May 2021

Tricube Tales hits Electrum Best Seller

Earlier this month, Tricube Tales hit Electrum Best Seller on DriveThruRPG, and two of the micro-settings hit Silver, so I thought it would be a good time to take a look at what's new and what I've been up to.

Two More Interstellar Micro-Settings

Last month I released a bonus micro-setting called Interstellar Troopers, which drew its inspiration from various movies such as Aliens, Starship Troopers, and Pitch Black. But more importantly, I released it under the CC BY 3.0 license along with its Scribus template, allowing other publishers to use it for their own one-page RPGs.

On May 4th, I released this month's micro-setting, Interstellar Laser Knights, inspired by a certain space opera film franchise about psychic knights wielding laser swords in a distant galaxy. This was something I'd promised the members of the Bounty Hunters: Open Season discord server, as a thematic tie-in to my earlier Interstellar Bounty Hunters micro-setting.

Solo Rules

This month I also released the Tricube Tales Solo Rules, and they received a lot more attention than I'd expected, including coverage in this very informative video about simplicity and complexity in solo RPGs by Talking About Games:


I strongly recommend checking out Abraham's other videos too if you're curious about solo gaming, particularly his advice playlist, which is packed with great tips and suggestions.

The Solo_Roleplaying reddit and associated wiki are also an excellent source of information, and they have a Discord server (Lone Wolf Roleplaying) as well.

As my solo rules explicitly reference the Tricube Tales mechanics, I decided it was finally time to update The Fools Who Follow. As my first one-page RPG, it used a simplified version of the Tricube Tales rules (without traits, perks, or quirks), so I've updated it to be consistent with the other micro-settings and make it fully compatible with the solo rules. I've left the original version up as well though, in case anyone prefers it.

Media Coverage

Quirin on PnPnews wrote an article here (in German) about some of my products a while ago, which included a section on Tricube Tales. Andrew Girdwood has also written articles on Geek Native (here, here, here, and here) about some of the micro-settings, and I recently did a Tricube Tales interview for Parallel Worlds Issue 19.

This week, Tricube Tales received a much more detailed review here (in German) by Benjamin Dose on Teilzeithelden, which referenced a summary of the system from here (also in German) by Florian of jasminéfields.net.

Six months ago I talked about my plans for going forward, and about my hope that regular micro-setting releases would help draw more attention to the Tricube Tales system. It's slow going, but the strategy does seem to be paying off.

Metahuman Uprising Actual Play

TurnTablesRPG recently hosted a hilarious actual play of Metahuman Uprising, with some truly inspired characters. You can watch it here on twitch:


Character Cards

Tales of the Goblin Horde included form-fillable character cards, and Steve W asked in the Tricube Tales discussion section if I could add some for other genres. So I've added 45 form-fillable character cards as a bonus download to the Tricube Tales product (15 for fantasy, 15 for horror, and 15 for science fiction). I've also included the Scribus template, in case anyone wishes to create their own cards.

What's Next?

Tricube Tales now has a dozen micro-settings, but I'm still coming up with ideas faster than I can implement them! I'm planning to release Wardens of the Weird West next month, and I'd also like to expand the solo rules (the current ones only really cover urban settings).





Thursday, 1 April 2021

Tales of the Goblin Horde & The Goblin Warrens

Last month's Tricube Tales micro-setting was an introductory scenario for the Drakonheim setting, so this month I thought it would be fun to base one on my own Saga of the Goblin Horde setting: Tales of the Goblin Horde!

“For time immemorial, goblins have been mercilessly hunted down and murdered by the so-called “civilized” humans, slaughtered in droves for the entertainment of bloodthirsty adventurers. But everyone has their limits, even the underdogs.

The pathetic goblins who eke out a living near the human lands are weak and timid, the aggression bred out of them through generations of culling, with only the most cowardly among them managing to survive. But the goblins of the western tribes are another matter entirely, as the rapidly encroaching scourge of human civilization is about to discover.

You are ferocious goblin bosses from the Redfang tribe, leading your gangs on a series of dangerous missions against the humans and other enemies. Chief Bignose is confident you won’t let him down!”

I published Saga of the Goblin Horde for Savage Worlds back in 2017, and I even won a Silver ENnie Award for it, but I've also used the setting for several other projects. It was the basis for a 200-word RPG called The Goblin Warrens, as well as Hightree Warren for Gold & Glory, and the Wiseguys crossover The Gobfather (which was in turn referenced by Goblin Gangsters). And of course, the work-in-progress Swift d12 Quick Start uses Saga of the Goblin Horde, as will the full setting book once I've finished it.

I've previously discussed converting Saga of the Goblin Horde to Tricube Tales, but now that I'm releasing a new micro-setting every month, I decided I should do the job properly! Unlike the other Tricube Tales micro-settings, this one actually adds some new mechanics (via gang tokens), and includes additional guidelines for turning the one-page RPG into a full campaign.

Another Jam...

Earlier this month, I also decided to update, reformat, and republish The Goblin Warrens for the Pleasure-not-Business Card RPG Jam, which was an interesting challenge! Business cards seem to be a pretty good size for 200-word RPGs.

Wednesday, 10 March 2021

Tricube Tales: Welcome to Drakonheim

The Tricube Tales One-Page RPG for March has now been released: Welcome to Drakonheim!

“Long ago, during the days of the Cevali Empire, a mighty hero slew a powerful dragon and used her bones as the foundations of Drakonheim—the “City of Bones.” After the empire’s gradual decline and eventual collapse, Drakonheim became an independent city, an oasis in the wild lands.

Several months ago the city was attacked by a hobgoblin army. Defeat seemed inevitable, until a cabal of necromancers raised an undead horde and turned the tide of battle. Although the threat was defeated, skeletal soldiers still patrol the streets; the City of Bones has earned its nickname once again.

You are a party of adventurers, visiting Drakonheim in search of fame and riches. Maybe you’ve heard of the Gray Society—the necromancers who saved the city—and wish to meet them, or even join their order. Or perhaps you view them as a dark influence that needs to be stopped.”

I've blogged about Drakonheim quite a bit in the past, but to briefly summarize: I backed the Kickstarter for a system-agnostic setting called Drakonheim: City of Bones several years ago, and I liked it so much that I contacted the publisher and offered to write the Drakonheim Savage Companion for it, as well as convert the Heroes of Drakonheim adventures to Savage Worlds.

Now that I'm releasing monthly micro-settings for Tricube Tales spanning a range of different genres, I thought it would be fun to revisit Drakonheim, so (after asking Matthew J. Hanson of Sneak Attack Press for permission) I've gone ahead and designed a Tricube Tales micro-setting that also serves as an introductory scenario to the full setting.

You can run Welcome to Drakonheim on its own, which is ideal for a one-shot, or combine it with the Drakonheim: City of Bones and Tricube Tales books for a full campaign (perhaps using the Hack and Slash genre rule to give PCs ranks).