WHAT’S UP WITH THESE KOBOLDS?

Header image by David Stanley on Flickr

1 – Their master, a proud red dragon, died several generations ago. Now, when they march to war, they swarm underneath her skeleton and tanned, leathery hide, and carry her to glory. Arrows bounce off her scales, and they lob alchemist’s fire out of her jaws. (The locals aren’t too smart, so they think it’s still the dragon.)

2 – They’re robbing a bank. Their dragon has grown fat and lazy, and is tasking them with breaking into nearby banks (or: magic shops, universities, merchant trading houses – anywhere with a surplus of gold) and stealing as much as they can carry, relying on their skills at digging underground and disarming defences. They rig the perimeter with traps first, in case they’re discovered.

3 – They’re selling information on dragons to the highest bidder – lair locations, weaknesses, favoured prey types, hidden tunnels, types of treasure, and so on. They’re part of a collective who fled their masters and are trying to get them killed off before they hunt them down and do the same to them.

4 – They’ve engaged in trench and tunnel warfare with the local gnomes, digging under the roots of ancient trees to undermine each other, and setting nasty traps in the dense underbrush. The war ground to a standstill a year or so ago, but the no-man’s land in the forest is a tangled mess primed to kill the first person who steps into it.

5 – They hollow people out and fill them full of traps to lure people in. Sometimes they use low-grade magic items technology to complete the ruse – some clockwork to make a corpse writhe back and forth, a music box in the throat to give out an injured moan or a cry for help. The really good ones can make them walk around a bit, too. (They have a sick sense of humour, often setting them up in lifelike positions and snickering in hiding until someone approaches and triggers the traps.)

6 – They’re the larval state of dragons. If they survive long enough, and gather a large enough hoard, they’ll burrow down inside it and emerge at the start of the next summer as a young dragonling. Problem is, dragons don’t like other dragons, so they have to hide, or hire help, else they’ll wind up dead.

7 – The dwarves chose to collapse the mines as they fled, leaving the kobolds trapped within. That was six hundred years ago, and kobolds breed fast and live short, cruel lives, and now the town has opened up the mines again. The kobolds – or, the feral, pallid, almost-blind descendants of them – are still there, and they don’t want to give up their new home.

8 – They’re walking into the centre of town, bold as brass, proclaiming the coming of a mighty and powerful dragon who demands tribute else she’ll burn the whole town to the ground. Their paperwork looks official enough, but they could be having you on. Then again, do you really want to risk it?

9 – They’re transporting a dragon egg – the child of their mistress – to a sacred spawning site deep in the frosty mountains (or a volcano, for a red dragon, or a forest cavern for a green dragon, etc.). Surely this place must contain vast riches!

10 – They offer themselves as guides to move through Tunnels, a slipshod and unstable dimension which can be reached through any underground passage that’s deep, old, and dark enough. But you don’t want to meet the horrible things that live there – great hungry worms made of writhing darkness – so tread lightly, and leave quickly.

Remnants is a series where Chris and Grant, the creative leads behind Rowan, Rook & Decard, create a fantasy world through the use of Dx tables. Because who has time to read a full setting book?

[REMNANTS] Once upon a time, when the dragon-kings ruled the aetherealms and the Witch-Queens fought grand duels over generations with arcana of unimaginable power, the worlds split apart. There was too much magic, and reality couldn’t bear the weight any longer. The otherworlds splintered apart like ships crashing against a shoreline; but the pieces remained, shards of reality, and they pierced the material realm. A thousand dimensions, all attached to various degrees, to the prime material: some forgotten, some overrun with new inhabitants, some spawning monstrous creatures into the world, and some ripe for plundering.

Which Fey Court is involved in this?

Header image by Anton Novoselov on Flickr

1 – THE CONCRETE COURT. Who are in charge; who rule the high-rises, whose eyes are television, whose hair is a thousand flowing telephone wires, whose breath is choking exhaust, whose pulse is the thrum of traffic and the drone of air-con units, who are brilliant and terrible in their smog-caked majesty. They are of the City and they are the City, and they hold themselves with the bone-deep understanding that this is an unchangeable, self-evident truth. (Until it changes, of course.)

2 – THE COURT OF SPILLED WINE. Who coalesce at the end of a grimy party, summoned like foul spectres from the bottom of bottles and emerging blind-drunk and bloody from back alleys; drunks, louts, and vicious bastards the lot of them. It is generally accepted amongst fey society that, once the Court of Spilled Wine shows up to a party, the best is already over and it will soon be time to leave.

3 – THE COURT OF WAYS. Our Lady of the Underground was cast out of the Concrete Court after a failed takeover, and she dwells beneath the City in the tunnels, the subways, the metro systems, where only the faintest echoes of the neon racket above bleed down to remind her of her failure. She has fashioned a court of rat-things and the souls of trains, a cobbletogether fake, but they do her bidding – she is consumed with the idea of returning to the City above once more, and she is the ruler of ways, paths, portals and tunnels within the dark places of the under-city.

4 – THE COURT OF KNIVES. Who are the lords of division and separation. The Knives are obsessed with boundaries, streets, gates, walls – they have a keen sense of “inside” and “outside,” and can smell who is in charge of a given area if the wind blows in the right direction. They are uniquely fey in as much as they don’t do anything – they just love boundaries. Sometimes they stab people who disrespect them, but it’s not like they’re anything so gauche as guards. They’re just enthusiasts.

5 – THE LORDS MOTLEY. Who are a loose selection of gutter-born half-fey who huddle together for warmth in the cold depths of the City; cannibal elflings, ronin Knights from fallen courts, refugees from lost cities and abandoned timelines. They are desperate to hold onto any advantage they can get, but that desperation – and the lack of a proper leader – makes them easy to manipulate.

6 – THE DEVILS OF ABERNETHY STREET. Who make contracts with mortals in exchange for drugs, but only the inexperienced ones. The Devils can give you whatever it is you wish – in exchange for whatever they ask in return – and they can serve up brief happiness in whatever form they choose. There are many whose happy suburban families are mere illusions, patchwork things conjured up by the Devils, and who will turn back to old newsprint and cardboard boxes should the luckless fool not hold up their end of the bargain.

7 – THE FOREST QUEEN. Who, once upon a time, ruled this place when the trees stretched from horizon to horizon, when the dark, and not the light, was the real power. She is a withered old thing (although: she cannot die, not as we would know it) with pot-plant dryads and tired-eyed agent Knights who have been ensorcelled and mind-wiped hundreds upon hundreds of times, neither of which are enough to do her bidding with any efficiency.

8 – THE COURT OF RAIN. Who were the Court of Snow, long ago, and lived in great palaces of ice and frost when the city froze over in winter. Now: they are dreary, wet things the colour of rain-soaked concrete, hungry to recapture their past glories; they trade curious imports with humans for refrigeration units and walk-in freezers where they make their homes, and are hesitant to leave them, for in the humid modern City they will quickly melt from shimmering majesty back into their drab, lank selves.

9 – THE COUNTING COURT. Who are ghostly and pale collective of buttoned-down fey in masks and gloves (or – who have masks and gloves instead of faces and hands, it’s not quite clear) who, thousands of years ago, acquired the contract that allows vampires to sustain themselves with nothing but blood and thus gain eternal life. (Or: whatever it is this vampire takes, instead of blood.) They are owed a sliver of power from each drop of blood that touches a vampire’s lips, and they collect it solemnly, blood-letting each vampire once a year with the sombre air of a mortician.

10 – THE COURT OF GLITTER. Who are ephemeral, and to be honest stupid, sprites and wisps who are drawn to the city by cheap drinks, sex, dancing and cocaine. They are barely sapient, and they are fond of living inside the fever-dreams of clubbers or the fantasies of young lovers, and honestly they tend to leave a mess whenever they manifest fully in the real world, but they’re a Court nonetheless, and are offered a seat at the triannual meet, even if they never show up to claim it.


Glimmers is a series where Chris and Grant, the creative leads behind Rowan, Rook & Decard, create an urban horror world through the use of Dx tables. Because who has time to read a full setting book?

[GLIMMERS.] The city is alive. The city is connected, with streams of light and noise and people, to every other city; they are all the same being, all branches of the same concrete-and-glass tree. There are streets between them, forgotten streets, with secret names and grim inhabitants. (And: there are wild-lands, dark places, the Spaces Between, where nothing seems right. Airport waiting rooms. Churches, at night. Backwater villages.)

There is vast power in the thrum of machines and the buzz of traffic, and it can be yours, for a price.

Hearty Dice Friends Episode 41 – Dice Shanties

On this week’s show:

– A surprisingly long chat about old crisps, right off the bat
– Dwarfsongs
– Dice training, and why it shouldn’t
– Chromatic goblins
– Teeth?
– Fun but problematic content in games vs People actually buying it
– And many more, including a special surprise guest!

Much love, as ever.

G & C

If you like this, then you can subscribe to us wherever you get podcasts from or support Hearty Dice Friends through our Patreon.

What’s weird about these goblins?

credit: Hammermancer image by Iguanamouth

D10

 

1 They worship seagulls, after being caught at sea on a particularly treacherous voyage, and view them as pecky angels. The worship is not at all mutual and many of the dropping-caked goblins are blind in one or more eyes.

 

2 They love explosions. They were raised in a mine, turfed out by expansionist dwarves, and now they roam the countryside with a cartload of stolen dynamite and a grudge to settle. (They can hurl mining explosives, dealing moderate area damage, and they defend their cart with terrifying, chew-through-your-ankles zeal.)

 

3 They killed a first-level adventuring party, and have therefore levelled up. One of them is convinced he’s a cleric, another a wizard, a third a rogue, and so on. They all wear armour that’s far too big for them, but they can fight better than the average goblin.

 

4 They feed off insults thanks to an old fey pact. They’ll try to get people to swear at them or toss garbage their way, at which point they gain a handful of temporary hitpoints and maybe a bonus to hit for a round or two. To encourage insults, they dress as offensively as possible and like throwing turds at people.

 

5 They live inside a giant beehive full of giant bees, and they serve the queen. They paint themselves yellow and black in an attempt to fit in; this may or not not just be part of a ruse to steal some giant honey.

 

6 They’re not a joke; they’re anti-dwarf tunnel-fighters, trained to make improvised traps and lay ambushes. Their kind can see in total darkness, and they all inflict sneak attack damage as though they were rogues. (They’ll run like hell away from a fight, too, if it looks like they can’t win. Tracking them down is half the battle.)

 

7 A necromancer wove spells of undeath over the wrong graveyard, so now they’re skeletal goblins. Not much else has changed about them; they retain their mischievous nature, and often enjoy swapping heads or playing each other like xylophones as a gag.

 

8 They’re not interested in fighting, and are on a sort of fund-raising mission to get enough copper pieces to repair their dungeon roof, which has been leaking something awful. They’re doing okay so far, but they need a solid donation to ensure they can stay homed through winter.

 

9 They made off with a sizeable portion of a dragon’s hoard and are living like kings – and they’re clad in stolen magic armour that makes them hard to kill. They’re not the real threat, though, because the dragon can smell stolen gold, and she’s coming to get it back.

 

10 Devoid of morals and finding it easy to sneak up on people, the goblins have set up a sort of protection racket in the village; the inhabitants leave out food and drink for them on their back steps at night, and in exchange, the goblins keep them safe from low-level threats and non-goblin burglary. They’re not doing too bad a job of it, either.

Remnants is a series where Chris and Grant, the creative leads behind Rowan, Rook & Decard, create a fantasy world through the use of Dx tables. Because who has time to read a full setting book?

[REMNANTS] Once upon a time, when the dragon-kings ruled the aetherealms and the Witch-Queens fought grand duels over generations with arcana of unimaginable power, the worlds split apart. There was too much magic, and reality couldn’t bear the weight any longer. The otherworlds splintered apart like ships crashing against a shoreline; but the pieces remained, shards of reality, and they pierced the material realm. A thousand dimensions, all attached to various degrees, to the prime material: some forgotten, some overrun with new inhabitants, some spawning monstrous creatures into the world, and some ripe for plundering.

Hearty Dice Friends Episode 40 – Juggalo Lunch Club

ON THIS WEEK’S EPISODE:

– Timed games?
– Lunchtime roleplaying?
– James Bond?
– Beer and/or pretzels?
– New players?

And many more. Also we’re very sorry but Grant had some ambient noise on his track that we can’t remove; hopefully you’ll be able to struggle through and pick out what he says regardless. One day we’ll be able to afford sound-proofing equipment. ONE DAY.

We love you. Hop on our shoulders, and we’ll give you a great view of the band.

– Grumbo and Crumbo

 

If you like this, then you can subscribe to us wherever you get podcasts from or support Hearty Dice Friends through our Patreon.

EIGHT REAL-WORLD THINGS HUMANS HAVE BUILT GUNS INTO

There’s no limit on what you can build guns into, and we should know, because we’re humans: and humans are the best at putting guns into things where guns shouldn’t be. To that end, here’s a rundown of some stupid shit people have done with firearms, and rules to represent them in your run-of-the-mill D20 game:

Note: If you’re playing in Dungeons and Dragons or anything with a similarly fantastical feel, gunpowder and firearms are experimental at best. We can assume your system has some kind of malfunction rule – use it, but double the chance of misfire, because these things are daft.

KNUCKLEDUSTERS

This seems like top-drawer bollocks of the highest order, because it combines one of the least dangerous things you can still legally call a “weapon” with one of the most dangerous things, namely: a gun. Anyway, the Apache revolver is a British invention which starts off as a hard-to use knuckleduster and unfolds into a hard-to-use pistol, and it even comes with a bayonet on it, because that’s what every pistol needs, isn’t it.

(Pistol: D6+1 damage, range 10ft. “Bayonet:” D4, but you look like a bellend trying to use it. Knuckleduster: D3. (Warning: Knuckledust is lethal if inhaled, so wear a mask.))

PEN

The pen may be mightier than the sword, but both of them pale into insignificance next to the GUNPEN. It holds a single shot, it has a range about equal to throwing the fucking thing, and it takes several minutes to screw together. But it can propel a lump of metal into someone’s body pretty effectively so long as you stand next to them when you do it, so it’s not all bad.

(D6 damage, range 5ft, one shot.)

SWORD

The gunpen is mightier than both the sword and the pen, but the gunsword takes the gunpen round the back of the stables and shoots it clean through the head. A fairly popular tactic from the 16th century onwards was to build a single-shot concealed pistol into your sword, shield, axe or wife and use it during battle to surprise your enemy. Of all the weapons on this list, this is probably the closest to something you’d like to use in a fight: at least it still functions as a sword if it misfires, which it probably will.

(D6 damage, range 5ft, one shot. If your enemy doesn’t know you hid a gun in your sword, +2 to hit.)

RING

Here comes the bride – and she’s wearing a pistol on her finger! This ring-gun uses tiny bullets made by and for children, and boasts a barrel length of zero millimetres, making it more of an objet d’art than a usable weapon.

(D3 damage, range 0ft)

POCKETWATCH

What time is it? TIME TO DIE. Yes.

(D6-1 damage, range 5ft)

BELT BUCKLE

The Nazis did a lot of stuff wrong – I don’t think we’re being too contentious saying that. That “stuff” includes building a four-shot revolver into a belt-buckle; sounds cool in principle, and you can imagine yourself standing feet shoulder-width apart, backlit in a door, firing it at a squad of mooks, crotch ablaze with smoking death. But that’s not how it’d go – you’d have to fiddle with it, ruining the element of surprise, so your murder options are pretty much limited to people who don’t get suspicious when they see you undoing your belt: i.e. sexual partners or someone else in the same bathroom as you.

(D6-1 damage, range 5ft. Make a Sleight of Hand check when using the Belt Buckle Gun to not have someone ask what the fuck you’re doing)

A DIFFERENT, LARGER GUN

Hey! You like guns? How about we stick a gun in your gun so you can gun while you gun? Is your gun not heavy enough? How about we strap a big shotgun to the underside. Or a grenade launcher! No more arduous switching between different weapons, or talking to people even: just shoot all day long. How many guns can we fit into a single gun? We’re still finding out!

(Profile as regular gun, but: damage is reduced by -1 and ammo count is halved. You can build a gun into a built-in gun, further reducing the damage and ammo count, and so on and so forth, until you run out of damage or bullets.)

 

HAT

This was never made, which is a terrible crime. Also, as the source says, the barrel looks to be a 50. Calibre, which would most likely break or at least really damage the firer’s neck.

(D8 damage, range 15ft, D4 damage to self upon firing)