The fine art of Goblin Lugging, enjoyed across our ancient realm by men and dwarves alike. Goblin Lugging is truly a valorous challenge of strength and grit.
Each contestant grabs a goblin, then races through a series of obstacles. The winner is the first to cross the finish line with a goblin in their possession. Progress is measured in rounds for this challenge and the contestant to complete all the obstacles with a goblin in their possession in the fewest rounds is the winner.
After the starter’s whistle, each contestant must grab a goblin by making a successful grapple (see the Combat chapter in the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Core Rulebook). There is one goblin per contestant, kept in a small pen at the start of the course. Contestant must move along the course using the move action described under the rules for grappling. If a contestant fails a grapple, then they spend 1 round trying to re-catch their goblin.
There are three obstacles along the course:
The Lake. This obstacle is 15-feet long. The contestant must make a DC 12 Swim check for each round they are in the water. On a failure, they make no progress. On a failure by more than 5, they can decide to either let go of the goblin and re-attempt the Swim check (DC 10), or they both go underwater. If a contestant’s goblin drowns they must spend 3 rounds capturing a new one.
The Wall. This wall has random hand and foot holds, and requires a successful DC 15 Climb check to get over. Contestants holding a goblin suffers a –2 circumstance penalty on this check. It takes 3 rounds to climb over the wall. If the contestant succeeds on an accelerated climb (a –5 penalty), it takes only 1 round. Contestants failing the Climb check make no progress.
The Slide. This slope has been turned into a muddy slide. Getting to the bottom is simple enough, doesn’t require a check of any kind, and takes 1 round. At the bottom of the slide the goblin gets to attempt to break the grapple, with a +2 circumstance bonus for being drenched in slippery mud.
Goblin CR 1/3 CMB +0, CMD 12
See the goblin in the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Bestiary.
The winner of a game of Goblin Lugging is the first to cross the finish line, still holding their goblin.
Enjoyed this game? Be sure to check out Welcome to Scarthey, which includes the sport of Cackle-Ball!
Adventure, adventure and more adventure. That’s what we have for you today. Fight a flaming centipede on behalf of the Dragon King, challenge the forces of the Abyss on behalf of humanity or build your own epic encounters. All this and more in today’s epic post.
Inspired in Japan
Last week we met with a nasty goblin, and the week before that we fought an oni. This week we have Dragon Kings, singing gold fish and flaming giant centipedes.
My Lord Bag of Rice is a story about a brave samurai who faces off with a giant centipede to save the kingdom of the Dragon King. As a reward, he gets an ever–full bag of rice and earns the title “My Lord Bag of Rice”.
Scene 1, a bridge over a narrow lake, much like Lake Biwa, the original setting for the story. Across the bridge lies an imperial sea dragon, who is looking for a way to rid his kingdom of a giant centipede that invades his lands nightly, killing his children. If the party attacks the dragon, he fights them for a few rounds before extoling them for their great bravery and asking them to join him.
Scene 2, under the waters of the lake. The dragon invites the party to his underwater palace. As they follow him down, the waters part magically for them, keeping them nice and dry (and saving them from Swim checks). If you need some mechanics for this, you could have the dragon give them a pearl to swallow that surrounds them in a bubble and acts as if he had cast Water Breathing on them for 24 hours.
While in his palace, the Dragon King throws a banquet for the party, with all kinds of fishy creatures serving magnificent dishes or providing entertainment. This needs some thought, because you want to paint the right picture and create a sense of awe and mystery. It’s also going to be a very different game if you have a druid in your party; if you do, this is their chance to really shine.
Scene 3, evening in the underwater palace. The Dragon King alerts the party about the coming centipede, which can be clearly seen coming down the mountain because of its flaming eyes and glowing legs. To keep things simple, use a CR appropriate centipede and keep the fire aspect of it purely cosmetic—this is fantasy, after all.
Pick a map that gives the party some time to rain down missiles on the monster, while it uses its 40 foot speed to come on like a freight train of flailing legs.
For treasure, an appropriately themed and scaled Cornucopia of Plenty could work well at the right level. Otherwise, you could easily make up the treasure quota with bags of rice, a nice bell and bolts of silk.
This adventure has two big monsters, so make sure that the CR of the centipede is the higher of the two. Also, how is this centipede making his way to the Dragon Kings palace? Centipedes don’t swim or breathe underwater right? This is a good opportunity to set up a recurring villain, someone who can cast a few spells to make things happen. This villain doesn’t even need to show themselves yet, giving you a seed for your next big, Japan themed adventure.
Avernos Unearthed Humans—that self-serving race who do more damage in their short lives than all the minions of the Abyss could in a lifetime of elves. Yet there is some hope, however slim, that this chosen race may realize their place at the head of the coming battle. Pray they do, before it is too late.
Rising Phoenix News
Last week’s post mysteriously disappeared into the netherwebs. We’re blaming it on a kobito ninja server invasion, although it probably has something to do with the auto post not running properly (or that’s what the kobito ninjas want us to think). As a result, you get two posts from me this week, happy reading!
Since I’ve been writing a bunch of Pathfinder encounters—four this month—I thought I’d share a little about my creative process. Encounters make up the heart of an adventure, so building great encounters is worth the effort.
First I get a concept. This usually comes from a map or monster that I really like. Specially, I look for an interesting twist that will make for a fun and memorable encounter. Maybe the party has to fight off some orcs, but the orcs are actually fleeing from an owl bear. Maybe that owl bear is a druid trapped in that form because of a failed spell. Maybe the party all get turned into owl bears and get to rampage through the orc camp! Whatever happens, it’ll be better than just fighting a bunch of orcs.
I’ll then calculate APL and set up the encounter. At this stage the concept may change a little. I might find that an owl bear is too challenging for my 1st level solo player, or that I need an orc chieftain to fill out the ranks. Maybe I’ll even have a little wiggle room for a small trap or another monster that will spice up the mix. Maybe that owl bear has a goblin “rider” hanging on for dear life.
Next I’ll set out the encounter in point form, something like this:
Orc party (6x orcs) appear up ahead on the forest path. They rush the PCs.
Orcs try to get past party, fighting if they must.
Five minute breather for party to recoup. If not hit hard, scrap this.
Raging owl bear storms down forest path. Screaming goblin (Knuckle ‘Ed, lvl 1 warrior) clutches at its back.
Perception checks to notice medallion around owl bears neck.
Fight with owl bear. More perception checks to notice medallion.
If defeated, PCs find medallion (transmogrifies to an owl bear). Owl bear is actually Gunther Firth (level 4 druid).
The last thing is just to flesh things out. Build NPCs, stat out the traps, decide what treasure will be up for grabs and so on. Rinse and repeat for all the encounters that make up your adventure.
That’s all from me until next week. Tell Thrilling Tales
Four contestants. Four adventure proposals. Only four winners…
As RPG Superstar enters its final round, it may be easy to dismiss the prize of the contest, since all four contestants are essentially winning it. The prize—a chance to write an adventure proposal for Paizo—is kind of like the round 5 submission. But there’s so much more at stake here—the contest isn’t called RPG Superstar for nothing—with each contestant having grown a fan base since the beginning of round 1. And that counts for a lot. Who will be the next Gygax?
So, who’s your favourite?
It is said that there exists a place on the very edge of vision, hidden in the shadow of shadows, where man is not welcome and where weird, twisted things live. None venture there by design, and those who enter unwittingly struggle in vain to escape. This is Feoni, land of the fey.
Game mastering takes effort, practice and dedication. Recently I’ve been reading the Pathfinder GameMastery Guide and thinking a lot about how I GM. Part of GMing is prep, but a whole other part is what you do at the table, which encompasses so many things: rules knowledge, social skills, time management, voice acting—the list goes on. Of all these variables, rules knowledge is probably the easiest to tackle during prep time and between sessions.
Last week I took a practice exam for DCI Rules Advisor, which might not have anything to do with roleplaying, but did get me thinking even more about rules. Things can get confusing, but usually it all comes down to common sense and an understanding of how the rules are written. What keywords are important for the game and how do they work? In Pathfinder we have checks and actions, with so much coming from the interactions of those two. Can you make an attack roll (it’s a kind of check) during a move action? No. Why? Well that all comes down to understanding those keywords and what they mean and how they work.
So if in doubt, go back to the basics, especially those keywords.
Rising Phoenix News
We’ve slashed our tile prices for this week only. Save big on Print-on-Demand and PDF titles until March 27th. Get em now!
In the story, a lost monk comes to the home of an old lady, who is actually a human-eating goblin*. She doesn’t invite him in at first, but finally lets him sit by her fire and feeds him. When her fire dies down she tells him not to look into the back room of the house, then goes out to gather firewood. When the priest gives in to his curiosity, he finds the grizzly remains of all her past victims. Making a run for it, he is chased through the night by a very angry—and probably hungry—geriatric goblin.
*In Japanese folklore, oni and goblin can be used interchangably, so the term goblin is used lightly here.
This tale could easily be turned into a thrilling, roleplay heavy, horror encounter.
Scene 1, the PCs are travelling at night. Perhaps they failed a navigation check or were given a missleading map. Force them to roll against the cold and fatigue, then offer them a shining light in the distance. On closer investigation they find the run-down home of an old woman who isn’t overly eager to let them in.
Scene 2, the delapidated hut. The old woman eventually lets the party in, offering them some rice and stoking up the fire. She’s friendly enough, but mostly she’s polite, and that offers interesting leverage—sure, you can go and collect the wood, but you’ll offend your host. For this scene a good knowledge of Japanese ettiquete makes all the difference between a good session and a great session, and you’ll want to give your players some prep too, so they can play along. The scene ends when the old lady tells the party not to go into the back room, then goes out to collect firewood. This the time to start building the suspense, which means it’s a perfect time for those Knowledge(local) rolls and the howling wind to pick up.
A lot will depend on how the players feel about their situation starting out. They might expect that the old woman will have a mission for them, that the cottage is really a safe place to be and that, after all, she’s just a little old lady. You want to lull them into a sense of peace. One option for this is the cold, but the party could also be hiding from monsters or just need a place to get those eight hours of rest.
Scene 3. The PCs will either stay around the fire, leave, or explore the house. All three options will probably lead to a confrontation with the goblin. So what kind of stats are we looking at here? I’d probably make her human and stat her as an NPC with ranks in commoner. With a reputation as a “goblin”, this little old lady cannibal is so much scarier than a real goblin. But really, she could be anything, whatever fits best with your campaign.
Once you’ve figured out who or what she is, the rest is fairly simple—the party needs to deal with her and get out of there. The cottage gives you a lot to play with; you could have traps, haunts, undead servants, prisoners that need freeing, rats, whatever fits with your idea of her hut.
For more inspiration, read up on Adachigahara, a sci-fi version of the story, and about the grusome Onibaba.
That’s all from me until next week. Tell Thrilling Tales