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Goblins pointing and laughing drawn by Symatt

Play Goblins Now!

Goblins pointing and laughing drawn by SymattOne night, after a couple of bourbons each, we got to chatting about our plans for Goblins. We had been inspired by the release of Heros Against Darkness by Justin Halliday. His excellent role playing game had been released using a Creative Commons licence and it had got us thinking. Here was a fully thought out role playing game thoroughly put together and out there for people to play for free.

The role playing industry is too small to support all the wonderful indie games out there financially in any meaningful way. It is barely big enough to support the full time developers for big companies. We decided we’d follow Justin’s lead and release Goblins! on this site for free. When we’re done, we’ll still do a self-published hard copy of the rules (mostly for ourselves) so that people can buy a copy if they’re interested.

So, without waffling on anymore, here’s the current version of Goblins! Feel free to download and play it. Please remember, this is still a far from finished version of the game. We still have a few things to fix up. The combat chapter, for instance, is a little thin on details. We appreciate any and all feedback. You can use the comments below to let us know what you think of the game, what you think works and what you think doesn’t. Those groups who provide us significant and useful feedback will be given credits in the rule book.

Goblins-club-vs-spoon

Excerpt from ‘Goblins in the Cesspit’ by Professor Bottomfinger

The following excerpt is taken from the field journals of Professor Bottomfinger:

Today I did observe a group of Goblins having some form of disagreement over the apparent status of a ‘pet rat’. There appeared to be some confusion over whether it could be classified as ‘food’ or otherwise. The tactic employed by one of the more cognitively gifted Goblins was to insist that there was something of great interest behind the other Goblin. With much gesticulating he did manage to convince aforementioned Goblin, that indeed, there was something of great interest behind him that demanded his immediate attention. Once the poor wretch proceeded to turn around, he suffered a wedgy of such fortitude and vigour that even I, a casual observer, was forced to utter an ‘egads’ in sympathy. The now prepubescent Goblin collapsed to the floor and relinquished his pet rat to the greater cause of sustenance for his peers.

It should be noted that Professor Bottomfinger’s journals were recovered by a rescue party sent to find him after he failed to return for supper.

Goblins pointing and laughing drawn by Symatt

So You Want to Play Test Goblins!?

Goblins pointing and laughing drawn by SymattWe are finally at a stage where we feel that we can start asking for volunteers to play test Goblins!. We are going to limit it to only a few groups at first, get their feedback and then expand the number of groups after that. What we will provide in the first round is the Character Generation chapter, the Combat chapter, the Doin’ Stuff chapter, and a couple of scenarios. The rest of the book is still being edited, illustrated and laid out. When we expand the play testing group, we’ll add extra content.

What do I need to do?

The very very very first thing is to read our explanation of what the game is. Goblins! is not a game that is going to suit everyone. We know this, we don’t apologise for it, and if it doesn’t suit you and your group, don’t torture yourself with it.

After passing the first test, the next step is to join this site and fill out a profile. Then hop onto the Forums and tell us that you want to be involved.

Once we have selected you (and your gaming group) you will be required to sign a non-disclosure agreement – standard stuff and, sadly, quite necessary.

We are anticipating the first initial stages will take a week or two and then we will start emailing out packages of rules, etc.

Things you can do to improve your chances of being selected

The more we see you around, the more likely we are to pick your gaming group. Like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter (see the sidebar), say hi on the forums, etc, are all things that will make it more likely you’ll get noticed. Letting us know a bit about you and your gaming experience will also help.

At the bare minimum, you need to join this site and fill out a profile.

Goblins pointing and laughing drawn by Symatt

Explaining the Game of Goblins!

Goblins pointing and laughing drawn by SymattThe other night we sitting around discussing what we needed to complete in order to get the game into the hands of play testers. As we discussed finalising the combat chapter and the “Doin’ Stuff” chapter we realised that there may be something that is more important than those. We asked ourselves “how would you convey to other groups how to play the game?”. Goblins! is not your average run of the mill roleplaying game. It is more heavily focused on roleplaying rather than action. There is no real incentive to roll a strong character. The life span of the Goblin is likely to be very short. The story is not likely to follow any recognisable preconceived plot of any kind.

To be fair, we hope we have designed a system which can support many different styles of play, and the method that we prefer is only one of them. Having said that, there are certain characteristics that we hope will become central to the game and consistent across all gaming groups. In attempting to answer this question I have addressed a few issues that tend to annoy and irritate some gamers (mostly GMs).

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Goblins character sheet

First ‘Official’ Draft of the Goblins! Character Sheet Appears

Goblins character sheetAs we have been playtesting our little hearts out on Goblins!, we have began to realise that the rough scribbles of numbers, words and doodles was probably not sufficient for a proper grown up roleplaying game character sheet. To this end I set about creating a character sheet that would fit the game (low focus on the numbers, high focus on the character side) and yet would have everything that you needed at hand. I also wanted the sheet to be printable on an A5 piece of paper (or about 2 per ‘letter’ sized piece of paper).

Anyway, here is a sneak preview of the character sheet we lovingly call Draft 03c.

Any and all comments will be gratefully received by our quality assurance Goblins, who may choose to eat them, run away from them, or use them for sanitary purposes. Continue reading

Party of Goblins

Goblins! Playtest Quote

Party of GoblinsDuring one of our playtesting sessions for Goblins! the following conversation took place between Gnashknob and Piddlepants (these Goblins being much like the two Grumpy Old Men in The Muppets). I liked it so much, I wrote it out as quickly as possible. This little conversation is quite indicative of the character of some of the Goblins we have to work with…

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Goblins-club-vs-spoon

Complete redesign of the combat syste

Well, we thought we were doing well and were right on track. Turns out we had no idea what we were talking about. What we discovered means a total rewrite of the combat system from scratch, removing a lot of the more cliché rule systems we were using and replacing it with a much more simple, yet extremely descriptive, combat system.

The old system we were using was dice based (d12 to be precise) and was, if we are honest, pretty iterative in its workings. During several playtesting sessions we started to realise two things: Continue reading