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Inactive Forums => CRN Games => Topic started by: oliof on March 09, 2008, 03:54:02 PM

Title: [TSOY] Goblin Species Redux
Post by: oliof on March 09, 2008, 03:54:02 PM
Since all these threads about species in the south kept popping up, I wanted to turn my eye towards the one species I felt a bit disregarded by most people: Goblins. Maybe this is because they're culturally marginalized in most parts of Near, and don't feed into powertrip fantasies as elves do (on the other hands, elves certainly deserve their own redux thread, but hopefully by people who get more out of elves in TSOY than I do. Get me excited!). On the other hand, Goblins turn up almost anywhere in Near: As stoogy apprentices to three corner magicians in Maldor, as pets and easily controlled slaves in Ammeni, as Spriggans in Khale and as ape-like savages in Qek. The Maldor text also mentions the Hungry Ones and Urgoblins in passing.

As I recently got a preview of one of my artwork for the book, a very doglike humanoid, my interest in fleshing out Hungry Ones and Urgoblins has been piqued again, but I also see room for specific crunch regarding the other 'goblin specialities' mentioned in the text sofar, and adding others (like the yeti in southern TSOY). I invite all to contribute to this thread, and any criticism is welcome.

The Hungry Ones are Goblins whose addiction has either gone out of control or is tied to something horrific, like blood or human flesh; maybe even both. As it stands, the Secret of the Addiction is quite a thing to start with, but I'd like to present the
Secret of unquenchable Hunger

Prerequisites: This secret is not open to Goblins with the Secret of the Affliction. They must have the Secret of the Addiction though. Goblins that successfully transformed to humankind by finding true love can take this Secret, which basically has the same effects of indulging in one's addiction.

Goblins with unquenchable Hunger lose their Reason pool and replace it with a Hunger pool at the same number of points. All Reason-based Abilities suffer from a penalty die, and the Goblin cannot use advances to improve Reason-based Abilities anymore. Whenever a Goblin with this Secret refreshes Vigor, he must refresh Hunger first. The Goblin can use Hunger to buy bonus dice for Vigor and Instinct Abilities, disregarding the usual limit of one pool point per ability. He also does one additional harm level when in a conflict about his addiction.

I have the feeling that this might be a bit weak, but I hope it is food for thought. Also, there needs to be an appropriate Key:

Key of the Hungry One
Gain 1XP whenever someone tries to keep the Goblin from indulging his addiction. Gain 3XP if this causes harm to the Goblin.

Note that the key does not have the requisite of the Secret of unquenchable Hunger.

Title: Re: [TSOY] Goblin Species Redux
Post by: shadowcourt on March 09, 2008, 08:19:08 PM
It's certainly one direction to go in with the "Hungry Ones". Have you seen this thread ( in Actual Play, though? Cannibal goblins have their appeal, don't get me wrong, but there's something about goblins driven completely insane by their addictions, and physically modified by them, that seems charming, as well.

Secret of the Ravenous Addiction
You have been corrupted by the experimentation of others, most likely involving magic and torturous denial of your addiction followed by grotesque over-exposure to that which sates it. As a result, your body has grown strange and desperate for the thing which you are addicted to. You no longer fully refresh Vigor from exposure to the source of your addiction; any consumption replenishes only 1 point per scene, but if you manage to entirely gorge yourself, you can recover 1 more point per scene. If your Vigor falls to 0, you fly into a crazed panic, and take a penalty die on any check which is not directly related to acquiring the source of your addiction.
Luckily, your body has changed to better suit your desperate hunger. Choose one Ability which represents the best method to acquire your addiction; thanks to your body's inhuman transformation, you receive a bonus die on all such checks. Theft, Freeload, Haggling, or Scrapping can all be appropriate for items you must steal, bargain, beg, or fight to achieve, resulting in long spindly fingers, watery doe-esque watery eyes, a fierce ability to bargain and scrutinize value, or sharp talons, but other abilities are all an option: Savoir-Faire might be appropriate for goblins addicted to physical pleasure. Prerequisite: Secret of the Addiction.

Secret of the Ravenous Hunter
You can sniff out things which will satisfy your addiction, even if they normally don't carry a smell (such as fine art, intellectual conversation, or sources of physical affection). This requires a React (I) ability check; even Success Level 1 will result in you being able to identify "scents" at 100 paces, and higher successes can lead you trekking across miles. Prerequisite: Secret of the Addiction, Secret of the Ravenous Addiction

Key of Desperation
The source of your addiction is hard to come by; perhaps it is contraband where you live, precious to others, or no one has any interest in giving it to you (just because you're addicted to human bedroom partners doesn't mean they find you attractive, after all). Alternately, you just might need a lot of it (as a goblin suffering from the Key of the Ravenous Addiction might).
1 XP: Every time the focus of a scene is on your addiction, or your inability to acquire it.
3 XP: Put yourself in danger or face long odds just to acquire whatever feeds your addiction (i.e. break the law, steal it from a secure location, or risk public humiliation).
Buyoff: Find a way to feed your hunger more easily.

Of course, its totally possible to combine both of those ideas. I seem to recall a few goblin subspecies that get mentioned in various editions of TSOY, including bugbears and ur-goblins, and the like. Different folks might use any of these ideas to mix-and-match with any of those names, or do something else entirely.

-shadowcourt (aka Josh)

Title: Re: [TSOY] Goblin Species Redux
Post by: Rich F on March 10, 2008, 05:15:07 AM
I do like the idea of Goblin's as vampires, feeding on others.  Perhaps developing the ability to feed on other characters Pools during refresh scenes, draining them to refresh themselves.

Title: Re: [TSOY] Goblin Species Redux
Post by: oliof on March 10, 2008, 03:28:38 PM
Josh, I know that thread, even if I forgot it existed. I even posted something in there! But that is more about the source of Hungry Ones. I didn't remember Pips tentacle-maws from her kissing addiction, but I see the point, and I welcome it.

Title: Re: [TSOY] Goblin Species Redux
Post by: Eero Tuovinen on March 10, 2008, 05:41:59 PM
You goblin-boy, you. I have little to offer for such a complete race, especially as there's not much tension in your challenge. Do you find something especially wrong with goblins, Harald?

Not that I don't like goblins, mind. My favourite invention regarding them is actually a Secret I wrote for some thread around here where the goblin ate a piece of crystal that stored a Zu syllable. The sweet part was that another character might use a musical ability to strike the crystal and make it sing the word, which makes the goblin a prime candidate for exploitation. I like how that underlines the in-built theme of goblins as simple and natural savages who the humans exploit in a multitude of ways.

That being said, I'm willing to tackle the troll - 6 Secrets and no more, the basis on which turns a goblin civilization not of victims, but of masters. Not now, though; I need to do some work for a change instead of hanging at the Forge.

Title: Re: [TSOY] Goblin Species Redux
Post by: oliof on March 10, 2008, 07:19:57 PM
Eero: The only thing that's wrong is the nagging feeling that the sense of completeness from the book may be misleading. It might just be a halo effect from the Vulfen and Giant discussions, though.

Your troll idea sounds exactly like what I am after reinterpretation of the addiction idea to make Goblins something other than victims or comic relief, as is often the case.

Title: Re: [TSOY] Goblin Species Redux
Post by: Eero Tuovinen on March 11, 2008, 06:15:07 PM
I did mention this already this month, but I think that it's not necessarily good for actual play to have too much species crunch. A character filled to the ears with species stuff, so far so that he has nothing else, isn't necessarily very interesting. Of course this isn't a problem if you know what you're doing. Still, if I'd done that redux supplement for Near, I'd have kept a rather close eye on the amount of crunch for species, cultures and even generally - too much is too much in all cases if you want to leave room for independent solutions.

That said, here's some goblin stuff:

Secret of Deep Adaptation
The character's adaptability is stronger than most, allowing a near-total reshaping of the character. When an adaptation cycle is triggered for the character, the player may immediately invest any free Advances on anything appropriate to the adaptation. Alternatively, the player may reduce Pools, Abilities or remove Secrets to gain free Advances equal to an Adaptation (V) check. This Secret does not actually allow a character to learn new information, unlike the Secret of Adaptation, so he is mostly limited to physical adaptations or Abilities he already knows to some degree. Requirements: Be a goblin.

Secret of Rapid Adaptation
While a goblin would usually need some time to adapt to changing circumstances, this character has inflamed instincts in this regard, and will often show rather immediate and radical adaptations. He gains a bonus die for adaptation conflicts against time and is not limited by possible SG judgements over how fast a goblin develops adaptations; in this case, the adaptation is near-immediate. The character may also trigger an adaptation cycle without satisfying his addiction by spending 3 Vigor. However, there's a downside: the character needs to succeed in Adaptation (V) checks to not adapt instinctually to things in his environment to the maximum degree of his ability. An uncontrolled adaptation cycle costs Vigor, unless the addiction can be immediately satisfied; the SG picks the changes that happen in this case, favoring obvious choices that suit the environment. Cost: 3 Vigor Requirements: Be a goblin.

Secret of Stable Adaptation (Secret or Ability)
The character has spent lots of time in specific conditions, or he's a member of a highly specialized goblin tribe. Regardless, he has a specific Secret or Ability that belongs to his being in a rather fixed manner, and cannot be adapted away normally; it's just as permanent as it would be on a human. The Secret or Ability in question gains either a bonus die, a 1 point Pool discount or a +1 weapon rating in each scene where the goblin uses it, thanks to his being finely tuned to that specific purpose. Requirements: Be a goblin.


And here are the trolls in six Secrets:

Key of Vice (vice)
The character embraces a weakness of character as moral virtue, believing that it is of no consequence or even beneficial, contrary to societal expectations. Define the weakness.
1 xp: The character indulges in the sin.
3 xp: Suffering is caused by the sinful ways of the character.
Buyoff: Renounce the vice.

Key of Filth
The character lives in disgusting conditions and horrid ways.
1 xp: The character gets dirty or acts in a disgusting manner.
2 xp: The filth causes problems, such as disease or complaints.
5 xp: The character is ostracized for his habits.
Buyoff: Conform to expectations of personal cleanliness and action.

Secret of Vice-Troll
A goblin who revels in his moral turpitude regardless of society's requirements tends towards trollhood, at least in Goren, where people in general have a keen sense of vice and virtue. A vice-troll is a cunning creature with hypnotic powers: he can lure others into sharing his vices with soft words and an intense stare. If the target fails to resist, he gets the appropriate Key of Vice and pays the Advance for it. Cost: 2 Instinct Requirements: Secret of Addiction, Key of Vice

Secret of Filth-Troll
A goblin who lives in the soil drainages or dump heaps of closely built, unhygienic towns such as are habitated in the walled cities of Goren, tend to attain some trollish qualities, growing strong and impudent on the trash of civilization. A filth-troll like this melds his scaly hide and survives almost anything. He may use his Adaptation (V) to heal his own Harm. Cost: 2 Instinct Requirements: Secret of Adaptability, Key of Filth

Secret of Trollkind
The goblin's mutability gets locked into the Ur-Pattern of the troll caste, which lessens his adaptability considerably: the Secret of Adaptability only allows shifting one Advance at a time from now on (larger changes are then done through several adaptative stages). The child of a troll is a troll as well, and a troll does not need to fulfill the requirements to retain this Secret once obtained. A troll is a creature of great might and will and cannot be victimized: when his adaptation cycle is triggered, he shakes off any results of social or magical compels, realizing immediately his true course. Should this happen in a conflict situation, the troll may support his Resist (R) with Adaptation (V) for the rest of the scene.
Requirements: Secret of Vice-Troll and Secret of Filth-Troll; alternatively, born troll.

These trolls are crafted with the Finnish Goren in mind, by the way...

Secret of King-Troll
The character may spend Vigor to fuel attempts at intimidation, with no spending limitation. Requirements: Secret of Trollkind

Secret of Hell-mines
Trolls of Goren often rule the dark depths of mine-shafts, trading mining rights or ores with surface-dwellers. A mine troll sees in darkness with no difficulty, for his eyes shine black light. Requirements: Secret of Trollkind

Secret of Great Size
The character may learn Stature (V) and Secret of Bulk. Requirements: Secret of Trollkind

Of course, this kind of troll is a bit redundant in that goblins are constantly cast in villainous and monstrous roles anyway. Inspiration seeks not justification, but somebody might want to explore beneficial and nice goblins as well. Or not; much of the tension in TSoY often comes from having a character societally predisposed towards something, only to have him skirt all the fluff and act at the limits of what his crunch allows to him.

Title: Re: [TSOY] Goblin Species Redux
Post by: oliof on March 11, 2008, 09:16:20 PM
Just to make it clear: I like to have more options, without necessarily have all of them around in a single game. But if someone goes into a certain direction, I like having long term viability; some crunch to make that direction more interesting might help with that.

I like the adaptation variants, and I also like the trollish stuff. I wouldn't necessarily have both in one game, let alone character. As always, Eero has cleared  about a third to half of what I wanted to get out of this thread in one posting.