So I had this bright idea. The Saturday gaming group never went anywhere near the rails. In fact, they seem to completely revel in the concept of running the game off the rails. So, why not give them a sandbox where they can run off the rails?
I figured that the best way to do this would be to allow them to be a goblin band in a D&D 5e world. The sandbox would have an open world, where they would be given a very open ended mission for each session, and they would take it where they wanted to. You know, play to the strengths of the party. This group of people have a major strength in chaos.
So the first post in the series on D&D with goblins, I laid out the framework. Some players read it, some didn’t. ERIC. Each player’s character had the known backstory, and each one had an unknown part which they could RP out. I kept it pretty simple, since I wanted to provide frame for the players to run with, not to bind them in the character.
So I started out the session by explaining that the characters were not big damn heroes. They were all goblins, with the standard stats in the ranges that you would find in the monster manual. Each character had modifications. If they had minions (slave kobalds, or slave goblins) then they were pretty normal stats. If they didn’t, then they had something better like armor, or higher stats.
The characters were developed as a druid, a booyahg caster (magic user), a lockpick type thief, a would-be assassin, a quasi ranger, a couple of barbarinish types and some straight up fighters.
The set up was easy. The chief of the goblin village wanted some fresh meat. So I rolled a die to see who would randomly be given the task. The chief picked Mike. The chief told Mike that he wanted either (a) a male and female live chickens so they could breed them, or (b) six dead chickens. I then told Mike that he could tell the rest of the party whatever he wanted to.
Mike took it exceptionally well. He started up in true multi-level marketing form and asked if everyone was reaching their true potential. Five minutes later, everyone in the party was ready to get in on the ground floor of this amazing opportunity and go out and get 20 chickens for the chief.
The only problem was that goblins don’t know a chicken from a duck from a turkey. That’s ok, the chief probably doesn’t either.
Now the Chief was very clear, that under no circumstances were they to lead the monsters back to the village. More on that later.
I also took Shari aside, and told her that the chief’s mage, Bittburger wanted her to bring back the entrails from two ducks. It was important that the duck’s bodies were left to rot, and only bring back the entrails.
So the party left, looking for the nearest monster farm.
I asked them how they were traveling. Were they trying to be quiet, or were they moving like a demented circus? To the party’s credit, they all understood that as goblins, they would be moving as a demented circus, making so much noise that they didn’t find any wildlife in front of them as they moved towards the farms. It was obvious that the monster humans were hunting all of the game from the forest, since the goblins didn’t see anything in their path. Damn monsters!
Shari was playing the sneak thief. She decided that she would sneak away from the group to help. Mike helped by ordering Sissy and Pissy, his two kobald minions to help. Well, Mike botched his roll for communications to Sissy but not Pissy. I gave Sissy’s character sheet to Eric to play. He played it straight.
Shari, Sissy and Pissy went forward and checked out the farm. Sissy went to the farm on the left, Pissy went to the farm on the right. Shari wisely stayed back and watched.
All the action happened on the farm to the right. Sissy was only 3-ft 6-inches tall. The farm had a mud daub wall that was 3-ft tall. The party saw Sissy’s head bob up and down above the top of the wall, with an occasional squawking sound and a fluffy ball bouncing into the air in front of Sissy. Then they heard a door open on a shack and saw a tall grey haired monster come out of the shack with a long stick that had three sharp metal tines on it. The grey hair monster sneaked up behind Sissy and stabbed him in the ass with the pitchfork. Then the grey hair monster started yelling and pushed Sissy into the wall of another shack.
That got the attention of the goblins. They started off to save Sissy. They forgot about whatever was happening to Pissy.
The goblins rolled in like a tsunami, and half went after the grey hair, the other half went after the critters in the farmyard. Mike, Brian and Eric started looking for bags. Eric found a bag with holes in it, Brian found one good large bag, Mike found three good smaller bags. The others attacked the grey hair. No one thought of their minions. The minions evidently stood around, hoping for promotional opportunities to move up from Pariah status.
Shari sneaks up to the grey hair, and rolled a natural 20 on her sleight of hand roll, which meant that she cut a button off his jerkin and then she retreated. Now the jerkin dropped down, and started causing him to stumble a bit while he tried to wobble back to the hovel because he figured out that things were going badly.
So Collin attacked the grey hair monster. He stabbed the monster, and the monster retreated back into the hovel. Now the hovel had one door, and no windows. The hovel was a death trap.
Eric showed his true nature. His female druid smelled nice. She always smells nice. So she puts a sack on, like a potato sack dress, and hops up on the shoulders of one of the kobalds, and knocks on the door.
Now, I was expecting the goblins to set the hovel on fire, and roast the monster alive. I kept explaining that it was made of dry wood. The party was having none of that. Eric knocks on the door and says in common that she is a neighbor that is here to help. Then Eric rolls a 20 on his persuasion roll.
This is where I have to wonder about the nature of d20 games. What should the grey hair do? He just ran inside the hovel, has no windows to look out of. He can still hear the goblins hooting and hollering as they try to gather up all of the critters into sacks. He just ran into the hovel turns around and gets this knock on the door.
What should he do? Now if Eric had rolled a lower value on the d20, I could have had the grey hair ignore the knock, but a d20 with a 20 value? Well, I have to see where this is going to go.
So the grey hair removes the bar from the door, and opens up the door a little bit, and looks out, seeing the most bizarre sight. A comely looking female goblin in a sack dress, out the bottom of the sack dress are two lizard legs and a tail.
Now you don’t see that every day. I figured that he would have disadvantage at this point, so a bunch of the minions push against the door, and go inside and tackle the grey hair.
Once the grey hair was secured, Sue went in looking for booty. She found a cooking pot. This will make an awesome helmet!
Anyhow, the party goes around grabbing every possible stuffing the birds of every type into the bags. The party isn’t particularly careful about this either. Then they see a long fat mass of skin, with about 10 small wiggly masses of skin. Brian opens up the gate and starts grabbing the pink wiggly masses of skin. They were quiet when they were left alone, but once you picked one up, they got very noisy. Then they started running all over. The party goes running after the small squealing pink skin bags. They were fast. Amazingly fast.
Then Brian got bowled over by the big pink bag of skin. That huge mass of flesh moved very fast, and it was angry. It made a lot of noise also. A couple of hits later, and the sow died. Mike found a furry medium sized creature with horns. It bleated a lot. Both Mike and Brian made amazing animal handling skill rolls, so they now have a mount. A goat mount.
With all of this going on, the party never was attacked by the other farm. By this point, it was dark, and they didn’t see any lights coming from the hovel several hundred feet away. Shari and Brian decided to sneak over and check it out. Both characters bickered about not needing the other one’s help. They decided to take different vectors to their destination. They figured that if one makes noise, it will provide cover for the other.
Shari rolled poorly on her sneak roll, Brian rolled well. Shari trips over a stump and falls with a loud thud onto the ground. Brian smiles as he knows that she has drawn the attention of any defender.
Both Shari and Brian make it to the farm and find that it is under construction. No tools, no usable stuff. Someone has left for the day, and took all of the useful things.
An idea sparks. Shari and Brian come back and talk with Collin. They want to ditch the other three goblins and their minions, and get back to the village first and take credit for all of the booty.
So they convince the rest of the party to move all of the good stuff they got that is now in bags, and also the tied up grey hair to the treeline. Then they will attack the second farm. Everyone agrees. This is a good plan. The best plan. This is the biggly of all plans. It’s Yuge.
So the party leaves from the tree line to the second farm, and halfway there, Shari, Brian and Collin double back, grab the booty and high tail it to the goblin village, trying for a three minute head start on the other half of the party. They head straight back, ignoring the Chief’s demand that hey not lead anybody back to the village from the raiding party.
The other half of the goblin raiding party moves onto the village, and attacks… nothing. Eric still has Sissy and Pissy under his control.
It takes a couple of minutes for the half party to realize what has happened. They then rout back to the village, understanding that they will be left with nothing. Eric orders Sissy and Pissy to follow the first goblin group. They roll a natural 1 on a roll to track in the dark. It really doesn’t matter what attribute they would have rolled on, a natural 1 makes it fun.
After a while, they realized that either Sissy or Pissy had one leg longer than the other, and they were going in circles, just like Pooh Bear and Piglet hunting heffalumps and woozles. Thankfully, no psychedelic woozles attacked the hapless adventurers.
Then Mike got the idea that they should have him ride fast on his trusty goat steed to get to the village before the first party did. Mike rolled poorly on his animal handling roll, so the goat stood there and chewed on a can.
Aha! What better thought could a goblin have to motivate a goat than to kick it in the nuts? Yes, this is where the party took it. Then they failed their dex roll to kick the goat in the nuts. They failed their roll many times over. It was kind of sad. The visual of three goblins trying to kick the goat in the nuts. I didn’t have the heart to tell them that it was a girl goat. She was there to provide the grey hair monster with milk… But then the goblins were not so smart.
They then went as fast as possible back to their village.
When the first party got to the village, I had the second half leave the table, and timed them for a three minute interval where they could interact with the Chief, and download any information they wanted to. After three minutes, the rest of the party would crash into the village and take up the rest of the story.
So the first half of the party got to set the stage. It was a confusing, rambling diatribe of nonsense. They pushed the grey hair out in front of the chief and upended all of the bags. The critters in the bags did not travel well. They had some broken wings, broken legs and looked pretty bad off. There were ducks, turkeys, piglets, chickens, all looking pretty green.
The one thing that the Chief figured out is that the goblin party rushed straight back to the village, not trying to go up or down streams to mask their trail from dogs. He was just about to get angry when the other half of the party came rushing in.
Then it became even more confusing as the second party started yelling about how they had come back and covered their trail, possibly the trail of the other half of the party, and they left Sissy and Pissy out there as a distraction.
Shari showed off the button she stole from the grey hair. Sue showed off her cooking pot, not the pot in the cookies.
And, this is what I looked like after running this (mis) adventure.
I asked for it. I created a completely off the rails adventure. We will continue this. Everyone laughed throughout the entire adventure. I am sure that the other people at the game store thought we were insane. We carried on like a bunch of drunken frat boys knowing that the university was going to burn our charter tomorrow.
But we had fun.
I figure that at some point, Roy or Lisa are going to ask us to go outside…