Wednesday, 17 December 2014

We Be Savage Goblins! Part 3: The Adventure

In part 1 I covered the PCs, while part 2 covered the NPCs. This third and final part covers the adventure itself. I've decided to write it as an account of my session rather than as a generic conversion, but it should still be useful for anyone wishing to run the adventure for their own group.

Setting Rules

I used the Joker's Wild Setting Rule from SWD. I also let each player draw 3 adventure cards (after I'd removed any inappropriate cards from the deck); they could play the first card for free, and the others for 1 benny each.

Meeting at the Moot House

After reading the introduction to the players, I asked them to read out their respective descriptive blurbs, and offered them a benny each to sing or recite their character's song - they all took me up on the offer, and the humorous songs immediately set the mood for the adventure! Then I introduced them to Slorb and Chief Gutwad, and gave them an overview of their mission.

Dares

I handled the four dares as mini Dramatic Tasks, requiring three successes over three actions (instead of five successes over five actions), and I encouraged creative solutions. I only allowed each PC to participate in one dare, but I awarded a benny for successfully completing it.

Dance with Squealy Nord was based on Agility, and the player described kicking dirt into Nord's eyes before leaping onto his back. I resolved that as an Agility roll, with each success and raise giving the PC a +1 bonus to the first action of the task. The reward was a Dragon Brew Gourd, which could be consumed as a normal action and used once during the remainder of the scene to breathe a blast of fire (everyone within a Cone Template has to make an Agility roll at -2 or suffer 2d10 damage).

Eat a Bag of Bull Slugs Real Quick was based on Vigor, and the player drew Clubs for the last round (a complication); I described the final slug as being particularly swollen with throbbing green pustules. The reward was the Gorge of Gluttons, a weapon that granted +1 to attack and damage rolls against horses.

Hide or Get Clubbed was based on Stealth, and the player drew Clubs for the last round (a complication); the goblins found his hiding place! Fortunately (with a good roll) he was able to crawl away through the mud before he could be found. The reward was the Ring That Lets You Climb Real Good, which granted the wearer the Wall Walking ability.

The Rusty Earbiter was based on Agility, and the player smothered himself in grease, so I gave him a +1 bonus to his rolls. He scored three successes on the first roll, and I described how he dived into the Rusty Earbiter, sliding all the way through on his stomach without touching the sides! The reward was the Chief’s Personal Very Useful Robe That Is Useful.

The Big Bonfire

I postponed this scene until after the dares, and described a crowd of goblins fighting to reach the barrel of beverage provided by the chief. Everyone drew initiative to determine their positions relative to each other, and I positioned their minis on the table accordingly, then I placed four more goblin minis in front of them. I explained that it was an abstract representation of their approximate position in the crowd, and that they should describe each round how they wished to make their way to the front (this determined which trait they would roll).

The trait rolls were made at -2, with Clubs giving an additional -2 and a complication (similar to Dramatic Tasks), but I provided a +2 bonus for creative narrative. Each success and raise on the roll allowed the PC to move one place up the queue, until they reached the front (at which point they were removed from the queue). Of course when a PC moved past another PC, that other PC was effectively pushed back one place - I clarified that the PCs weren't necessarily pushing each other aside, but that it represented them being pushed back by the jostling crowd.

One player tried to sneak around the back, but drew Clubs and failed the roll. One of the guards whacked her over the head for queue-jumping! The rest of the PCs used a mixture of stealth and brute force to reach the front, at which point they drank themselves unconscious.

I described how they all woke up the next morning with headaches (from either alcohol or a blow to the head), and then the chief sent them off into Brinestump Marsh.

Lotslegs Eat Goblin Babies Many

I fielded Lotslegs along with three giant spiders, and had them Surprise the PCs by jumping down from the trees; everyone had to make a Notice roll or miss the first round of combat, and the NPCs all started on Hold. But despite their initial advantage, the NPCs were rapidly torn to shreds.

At this point I decided to go off the rails a bit, as I fancied running a Chase scene for a bit of variety. The PCs heard loud crashing sounds as something huge moved through the swamp, smashing through the rotten trees - another spider, this one far bigger than the others. The players realised that this must be the real Lotslegs, and the bigger spider they'd fought earlier was probably her mate or perhaps her offspring. The PCs tried to attack, but I described the spider as being too big and strong to harm (i.e., Gargantuan with Heavy Armour), and explained that their only chance was to flee to somewhere where the spider couldn't follow.

The Chase lasted about three rounds, until one of the players drew a Joker and decided to go for its eyes. I allowed "cool narrative" to trump "planned chase" (and chose to overlook the fact that the Heavy Armour from Gargantuan should also apply to the eyes), and so the insane little goblin leaped onto Lotslegs' head and started burrowing into one of her eyes. It required another round of Chase actions (and of Lotslegs stamping on goblins) before the PC was able to reach her brain, and then some Agility rolls to avoid being crushed by the falling body, but the end result was a victory that really felt like an achievement.

The Horrid Horse Pen

I ran this as a very quick and aggressive fight, with Stomp charging the PCs and attempting to inflict as much damage as possible. Two of the goblins jumped onto Stomp's back (where he couldn't reach them) and clung on tight, while another ran away, and the last goblin sliced Stomp apart with the Gorge of Gluttons.

Front Gangplank

Two of the PCs approached the gangplank, so I had them make Notice rolls at -2; one of them spotted the trap and they were able to avoid it. The PC with the Ring That Lets You Climb Real Good walked around to the back of the ship and climbed up the side, while the last PC leaped (thanks to his potion of jump) straight up onto the deck.

Upper Deck

Instead of just Scabtongue and Tickletooth, I had six feral dogs on the deck, and they attacked on sight. However one of the goblins used his Dragon Brew Gourd to kill three of the dogs and shake a fourth, so in retrospect I should probably have fielded more dogs.

The second round the Shaken dog recovered, and I decided to immediately bring in Cuddles, Vorka and Lord Longtung (so that we could have an epic final battle rather than the PCs picking off the NPCs one at a time). Cuddles charged up from below deck, and moved straight into melee combat, using Wild Attack and gaining Gang Up from the remaining dogs. Vorka revealed that she'd been hiding in a crow's nest, and starting shooting fireworks at the PCs. Lord Longtung had been hiding in the other crow's nest, and he leaped down onto the deck, attacked Mogmurch (and missed) then leaped back up again (provoking a free attack which also missed).

On the third round, Lord Longtung repeated his previous tactic, and this time succeeded. He leaped back up to the crow's nest with Mogmurch in his stomach! Mogmurch then played on all three of his Hindrances: Curious (always likes trying things to see what happens), Deranged (mentally unstable and prone to doing crazy things) and Quirk (loves blowing things up); he set off a bomb inside Lord Longtung!

I ruled that Lord Longtung was blown apart (I didn't bother rolling) but that the PC was hit with a raise - he suffered 4d6 damage, which ended up causing several wounds. Fortunately he was able to play an adventure card to negate the damage, but I then ruled that he was blown off the crow's next onto the deck below. The player reminded me that Mogmurch is Bouncy, so as well as halving his falling damage I also ruled that on a d6 roll of 4-6 he would bounce right back up to the other crow's nest - and he did! I then had him roll again to see if he slammed into Vorka, but he didn't.

While this was going on, the rest of the goblins had taken down the dogs, and focused their attention on Vorka. Poog ran up the side of the mast (using the Ring That Lets You Climb Real Good), while Chuffy leaped up to the crow's nest and tried to hit Vorka in the back, and Reta started chopping down the rotten mast with her enchanted dogslicer.

Reta finally caused enough damage for the mast to snap, and it collapsed with everyone else still in the crow's nest, crashing to the ground far below. I resolved it with an Agility roll: a failure caused 4d6 damage, a success caused 3d6 damage, and a raise caused 2d6 damage. Poog and Chuffy managed to roll well, Mogmurch hit the ground hard (but bounced), and Vorka botched the roll (I ruled that she was pinned to the ground by her head).

Reta charged down the mast (which now served as a bridge to the ground below the ship), and I described Vorka's head being squashed into the ground with every step. She slid the last few feet, with her dogslicer extended beside her, taking off Vorka's head like a guillotine.

After the battle the PCs explored the ship, recovering the fireworks and several other treasures, then headed back to their village to celebrate.

Summary

The entire adventure took around 3 hours to run, and it felt like a lot happened in that time (by comparison, it took my other group around 6 hours to play the same adventure in Pathfinder, even though there were fewer enemies to fight). The players pulled off a lot of crazy and hilarious stunts, and I handed out a lot more bennies than usual (I'd estimate around 1 benny per player every 15-20 minutes on average, normally I only hand out around 1 per hour).

If I ever have the chance to run We Be Goblins again, I think I'll use more Extras, perhaps double the number of giant spiders and feral dogs.

Overall it was a very fun adventure that works extremely well with Savage Worlds, and it makes a great one-shot. It's definitely geared towards a group of 4 players though - I don't think it would work quite as well with more (or fewer) than 4 players.