(So I've been knocking an idea around for at least three years now. The catalyst for the thought was reading about the RPG setting Midnight, where a very obvious Middle-Earth expy is mostly conquered by the resident Dark Lord and players take the role of people either surviving, fighting the occupation, or ushering in the darkness. The question it raised was "what would it be like if the story began even farther along than this?" What if the forces of evil won entirely? Well, evil likes to turn in on itself in most stories, so I figured that after a brief victory lap, the villain would implode from pyrrhic hollowness or just plain boredom, and leave only ruins behind.
It quickly became a post-apocalyptic setting where I could guiltlessly let my two major biases--mistreated goblins and desolate beauty--play out in full. Of course that was three years ago, and up until now I just idly kicked around a bunch of different systems and rules as I tried to figure out what worked best; d20, TROIKA!, Savage Worlds, USR, Fighting Fantasy, Powered by the Apocalypse, Cypher, Engine Heart, and even one very ill-advised dip into board game mechanics.
Nothing really worked out to my liking, so eventually I decided to do my own thing... by which I mean ripping bits and pieces from other existing ultra-simple RPGs like In Darkest Warrens.
I offer zero promises for this thing's balance or enjoyability now that it has finally sloughed out of my brain, but here is what I have completed so far.
Originally it was meant to be one of those trendy little single-page RPGs, and it can still work like that because I avoided the worst of my habitual rambling (unlike in this intro segment). But I've since begun work on point-crawl exploration mechanics and encounter tables in order to make the game more than just a work generator or GM fiat machine. More will be forthcoming, as are edits.
Also, happy surviving into the New Year, dear Burrowers! Or new years, depending on your calendrical preferences.)
is a game about sifting
through the ruins. You are goblins, newly awoken from your stasis
vault after the end of the world. All
is a wasteland; everyone from humans and elves, to gods and your
former Dark Lord is gone. Set
out from the cold
comfort of your caves. Explore.
the gnawing vacuum. Inherit
old legacies, or discard
are endearingly wretched little things. They have no history except
for the nightmares they have of the Time Before. Tools more advanced
than sticks and loincloths are a novelty to them. They are curious,
eusocial, and yet to discover concepts like ‘war’ or ‘personal
define your ability to overcome adversity. Stats
represent your goblin’s weaknesses; the lower the number, the
better. The four Stats
breaking stuff, enduring
hiding, delicate touches, aiming,
problem-solving, learning “magic”, etc.
skills, being brave, resisting actual
4, 4, and 5 to your Stats.
Stats can change over
never be less
are taken when you
want to perform an
can result in failure. To
Risk, roll d6 vs a relevant Stat; roll equal to or higher than your
Stat to succeed. If
you fail a Risk, you may
a Stat by 1. Circumstances
may modify a roll by ±1 or more.
where goblins have to roll several
Risks to succeed, and
may suffer Anguish if they fail.
They can be combat, exploration, interpersonal conflicts, etc. All
participating goblins earn 1 Progress per Encounter, whether it ends
well or not. There
are usually 3 Encounters in a day.
is the physical and mental trauma a goblin can withstand before
breaking under the pressure. A
goblin’s Anguish starts
at 0. Max Anguish
can be raised as high as 10.
you take damage or suffer stress, increase Anguish by that amount.
When you reach max Anguish, you are Broken.
goblin cannot act. They
are unconscious, catatonic, or both. Broken goblins can be revived
with the help of friends during a Rest. Revived goblins are reset to
half their max Anguish (rounded up). If all goblins are Broken, the
expedition is lost.
are items a goblin finds
in the wild and decides to
keep close for their utility or sentimental value. A Special Thing
can give +1 to one
Risk, like a piece of lucky
rope that lets you climb
goblin can hold up to 3 Special Things.
the goblins do not understand, which
to a band of childlike stone-age agoraphobes is… most things.
a fire, drawing
in the dirt,
picking herbs to ease a stomachache are all examples
Special Things, you
don’t get any bonuses to Risks from using spells, but the right
piece of “Magic” gives
you new options.
must first witness a spell in order to learn it.
lets goblins recuperate, compartmentalize, and give hugs. In a safe place you
can Rest to reduce Anguish and/or spend Progress Points. Goblins lose
up to 2 Anguish per Rest, (3
if you spend Progress).
Resting more than once a day might lead to unexpected Encounters.
is about overcoming your weaknesses. While
spend Progress in the following ways:
Anguish instead of 2 = 1 point
a Stat by 1 (minimum 2)
max Anguish by 1 = 2
a piece of “Magic” = 3
goblin = 4
points (anyone can
contribute, including the
goblin in question)