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).

Monday, 22 February 2021

Tricube Tales: My plans for 2021

Three months ago I discussed my future plans for Tricube Tales, and I mentioned that I'd like to repeat the strategy I used for Saga of the Goblin Horde, where I released a new character archetype every month. I decided to stick to that plan and publish a new micro-setting every month for 2021, and I've already released three more since that post, bringing the total number up to eight!

Here is an overview of the three new micro-settings:

Metahuman Uprising: Inspired by my recent binge-watching of Disney+ Marvel films and shows, and The Girl in the Box book series by Robert J. Crane. I wanted to show how Tricube Tales can be used to run a very rules-lite superhero game with a variety of different characters and superpowers. I also decided to make the Twist Table superpower-themed, so it could be used to help players choose their powers.

Rotten Odds: After writing Metahuman Uprising, I wanted my next micro-setting to focus on ordinary humans. I'd fancied creating a zombie apocalypse setting for a while, ever since running War of the Dead for Savage Worlds -- and while I did publish Blood & Bile a few years ago, that was more focused on the vampire vs zombie conflict. I'm also a fan of the Deathless novels by Chris Fox, particularly the way the zombies evolved in his book No Mere Zombie, and wanted to explore the idea of zombies mutating into increasingly dangerous forms.

Deep Trouble in Oldport Bay: Martian Muckraker launched the Cosmic Horror Tabletop RPG Jam on February 15th, and I decided to submit a suitable micro-setting. I initially considered creating something inspired by the short film The Fisherman, but later decided to make something conceptually more like the TV adaption of Sweet Home, except with Deep Ones (and hybrids undergoing their transformation) instead of desire monsters. I wanted to add something else though, so I decided to include a mysterious black obelisk in the bay, partially inspired by a video game called The Shore.

Future Micro-Settings

I'm still thinking about which micro-settings I'd like to release this year, but I've already started working on five of them.

Wardens of the Weird West: I looked to my Countdown Decks for inspiration, and decided I should definitely cover the Wild West. But then I thought back to when Owen Lean ran his Deadlands adventure The Taxidermist's Tail at Savage Con, and how much more fun I found the Wild West when there are supernatural elements as well. So I've decided to create a Weird West micro-setting about monster hunters.

Welcome to Drakonheim: One of my favorite settings is the system-agnostic Drakonheim: City of Bones. I liked it so much I wrote the Drakonheim Savage Companion for it, converted Heroes of Drakonheim to Savage Worlds, and even released a couple of One Sheets. So when I started thinking of fantasy micro-settings for Tricube Tales, it shouldn't come as much surprise that Drakonheim was the first setting to spring to mind -- yes, Drakonheim is a full setting in its own right, but a micro-setting would be ideal for someone who wants to run a quick introductory one-shot game. If they like it and want to turn it into a longer campaign, they can buy the full setting book. Note: I've already asked Matthew Hanson of Sneak Attack Press, and he's granted permission.

Firefighters: All of the previous micro-settings involve combat, but Tricube Tales is designed to work for non-combat games as well. One of the example scenarios at the back of the main book concerns a crew of firefighters, so I thought it would be fun to expand that idea. This micro-setting will involve fighting fires, rescuing people (and pets), and dealing with various other hazards. But there will be no combat or monsters.

Isle of Skulls: I knew I wanted a micro-setting with dinosaurs, but I couldn't make up my mind up about the specific theme. I had pondered something with time portals like Primeval, or maybe something more like Journey to the Center of the Earth, or perhaps even a cross between Jurassic Park and Lost. But after watching the movie Skull Island, I think I've finally made up my mind what style of setting it'll be!

Interstellar Laser Knights: Last year I released the Mandalorian-inspired Interstellar Bounty Hunters, and it proved pretty popular -- some fans even created a Discord roleplaying server and use Interstellar Bounty Hunters for their games! So I'd like to create another micro-setting along similar lines, this time for Jedi Knights (although once again with the serial numbers thoroughly filed off, so they're not really Jedi, just something that could easily be used for that style of gameplay). Naturally, I plan to release this micro-setting on May 4th :)

What about the rest?

I still have a long list of ideas for potential micro-settings, but I'm always open to suggestions. I may try another humorous one as well, as those seem to be quite popular for one-page RPGs (I've already made some notes for "A Welsh Werewolf in Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch", but I'm not sure if I can make the concept work).