Crapsack Goblin Game Idea

So, reading some blog entries and some Google+ posts has given me an idea for a game that I'd like to run, but I don't know if/when I ever will.  Basically, I want to combine the "dung ages" crapsack vibe from +Thomas Fitzgerald 's Middenmurk posts, the super-grungy goblin city-crawling of +Arnold K. 's Escape from Yoblin Town, and the "everything is scavenged, everything is precious" vibe of +Jack Mack 's Neanderthal post, along with a lot of encumbrance and equipment wear stuff that Arnold K, Jack Mack, +Logan Knight  and others have been talking about a lot recently.  I think all of this stuff combines nicely into a game about Goblins.  So, here's the rough outline for what I'd do (I think) for running this.  Details after the break.

Character Creation

  • Everyone is a goblin
  • Attributes: 3d6-2 in order
  • Hit points are 1d6-1. If you get zero, you were killed growing up, roll a new character. +1d6 HP per level
  • Treat as LotFP Halflings, but with the following exceptions:
    • The 5 in 6 sneak ability applies in natural caverns and goblin settlements
    • Instead of bushcraft, goblins have dungeon/cave/mountain craft depending on where they're from
    • Players pick one of the following classes:
      • Bashers - Attack bonus as fighters
      • Sneakers - Starts with 2 skill points and gets +2 per level
      • Weirdos - start with 1d3-1 random first level spells, spell progression as magic user, find new spells by eating fungi, smoking weird plants, and examining grungy stuff


  • You start with nothing. Nada. Zip. Okay, maybe a stinky rag around your waste, if you're lucky
  • Almost everything must be crafted, but goblins treat pottery shards, shiny or interesting shaped rocks, and the occasional copper groat like money
  • When you buy something, determine its quality rating by rolling 1d6-1 
  • When you craft something, determine its quality rating by rolling 1d6 + int modifier + modifier for materials
  • When you find something already usable, if it's not clear how good it is, roll 1d6 to find its quality
  • Every time an item would be stressed or damaged, roll 1d6: if it is higher than quality, the item breaks, if it is equal or lower, the item is fine, but reduce its quality by 1


  • By default, you can carry one thing in each hand, and stuff one thing in the rope you call a belt
  • With pouches, sacks, and packs, you can have up to 6 slots to put things in. Say where those things are. Some things are bigger than one slot and might have to be strapped on in specific places besides in a pack
  • Remember, you'll have to find a or make a pack somehow if you want one
  • By default armor doesn't count for slots, but if it's heavy or clunky, it might
  • Any more than 6 slots, and you're encumbered, move at half speed
  • More than 9 and you stagger around like an open invitation to stab you and take your over abundance of stuff

Armor and Weapons

  • Goblins start with 1 better than normal unarmored AC when not surprised, due to lots of practice dodging casual murder
  • Goblins also modify their AC by Dexterity modifier
  • Any more than a 3 point improvement in AC from armor negates the native goblin bonus and any Dexterity bonuses
  • Any piece of armor (including shields) can be sacrificed to negate the damage from one attack, but the decision to sacrifice it must be made before damage is rolled
  • Goblins can't use two handed or large weapons
  • Fists do 1d4 + str modifier damage
  • Since a lot of weapons will be crude or improvised, try to keep in mind the nature of the thing and how it will interact with the environment/other goblins' skulls

Survival and Experience

  • (Yes, in that order)
  • Goblins are voracious eaters and must eat 1 HP worth of food per max HP they have every day or save vs death
    • You can't "store" HP from day to day, you have to eat the full amount per day
    • Failure indicates a temporary loss of 1 constitution point
    • 1 constitution point per day can be recovered by eating double necessary food
  • Quality human rations (or a comparable meal) are worth 6 HP
  • Monsters, goblins, people, and other creatures can be eaten for sustenance equal to their max HP (if you weren't keeping track of individuals, assume 4 HP per HD)
  • Goblins gain experience from the HP they consume on a one for one basis
  • Goblins don't need much water, and it's less fun to keep track of than things to eat, so don't worry about it unless you really want an excuse to encourage goblins to drink their own piss even more than usual
  • Goblins also get experience for bossing around other sentient beings. Multiply the number of HD of people, goblins, or intelligent monsters bossed around by 100 for experience 
  • This experience can be lost, and levels can be be lost if and when you can no longer boss those goblins around, so probably make a special note of it
  • Maybe some treasure is worth experience on its own, but more likely it helps you boss around other goblins, getting experience that way

Running Crapsack Goblin Games

  • I can't recommend this post about doing a citycrawl in a grungy goblin settlement enough for what's going on inside any goblin settlements
  • Use any other refereeing/D&D rules you like, obviously, like alternate HP or wound rules or the like.  Any emphasis on grisly injuries and crippling blows will fit in nicely
  • Traditional adventurers ought to be terrifying opponents as well as sources of pretty great loot
  • I'm not really sure why the player characters would cooperate, unless maybe there's a rotation of the currently meanest goblin bossing the others around.  Backstabbing should probably be accepted and normal, but not, you know, the only thing happening all the time
  • Hopefully survival will be a good enough driver without as strong an emphasis on finding treasure as usual
  • Be sure to have a really clear idea of the environment, so that the player characters can improvise and craft and do all sorts of grungy cool stuff

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