Sunday, August 31, 2014

Talking about an Analogue Goblin-Tribe Simulator Part 2: The Set-Up (pre-beta Single-Player Version)

Let's put some meat to those potatoes (vegetables and sauce will be discussed in later posts ...). The bits and pieces of this thing are still all over the place, but some of it already works together (well, enough to talk about, anyway). The set-up is one of those parts that may help illustrating how this should work.

Setting the game up

1. Roll 4D6 on the map area of your tribe-sheet:

Still not using the final version of the tribe-sheet,
but you get my drift ...
2. The sum of the numbers rolled is the total of your tribe (in this case: 5 + 4 + 4 + 1 = 14 Goblins). The highest die shows the number of males in a tribe, the highest after that the number of females, the die after that is the number of children and the lowest is the number of "weak" (this means everything: injured, sick, starved and, is added to the number of children*). Now we have 5 Goblin males, 4 females and 5 weak (4 of them being young Goblins).

3. The number of males in a tribe is the maximum number of specialists (called Toughs from here on) a tribe can have ("imports" of other creatures being the exception). Two of those rolled dice (step 1) will represent up to two Toughs a tribe may have in the beginning (one die is one level, so a player may have either 2 Level 1 Toughs or 1 Level 2 Tough ...), the remaining two have to be assigned to a tribes achievements (to be distributed between Mining and/or Crafting and/or Discoveries, which means one achievement will have no die at all)**. The first decisions a player has to make, are in what areas his tribe should be good in (high values, in which bad (low values) and which area is the weakest (not chosen at all). Let's have some details ...

3.a. Toughs
They are a tribes Jokers, so to say. Everything that could go wrong might be solved by sacrificing a Toughs Levels***, their specialization (class, so to say) gives bonuses to different actions. There are 6 classes to choose from:
  • Grunts (Strength) - the fighters, are Joker for exploration and help damaging the Opposition.
  • Hunters (Dexterity) - the explorers, are Joker against starvation and help defending the Dungeon (active).
  • Scavengers (Constitution) - the gatherers, are Joker against destruction (active) and help with the gathering of food.
  • Saboteurs (Intelligence) - the tinkerers, are Jokers against Destruction (passive) and help defending the dungeon (passive).
  • Shamans (Wisdom) - the witch-doctors, are Jokers against Destruction (active) and help with the tribes health.
  • Leaders (Charisma) - the popular ones, are Jokers against Angry Goblins and help with the reproduction.

So the ability score a players chooses to fill will define the class of a Tough. When they Level up, an additional d6 is rolled and added to the ability score (up to 3 times). High level Toughs will have values in other ability scores, but none is allowed to be higher than the class-defining ability score****.

3.b. Achievements

Those will be the other core elements of the game, working like skills, with skill-trees that grow with a tribes level (low level Mining, for instance, will be something like changing a rooms size, higher levels will result in cooling chambers, etc.).

For now I'd go for as easy as possible as far as the mechanics are concerned, which means I'd say that there is one value for Mining and one for Crafting (working like skills, with an option to add Ability scores to special tasks, like add a Saboteurs INT to the Mining Skill when building a trap, etc.). "Discoveries" will work like the Opposition (which means, it will grow steadily, with better (as far as Achievements go, high values in the opposition will mean trouble for the tribe ...) results for high values). It's the Discoveries that produce food and everything else that might be discovered and brought back to the tribe.

3.c. Example

For this example I'd go for growth before exploration. This means I choose a Level 1 Shaman (choosing a 4 for  WIS) and a Level 1 Leader (choosing the other 4 for CHA) as my starting Toughs to keep them healthy and in line. Then I have to choose two of the 3 Achievements. More Goblins means more room, so I put the 5 on Mining to make them good at expanding their caves. The 1 I'll put into Discoveries to give them at least a small head start in gathering Nosh. With it's zero in Crafts it will be a quite primitive tribe, lacking even the simplest of tools (other than those they could steal, that is). 

4. The position of the dice on the map is circled. It's the beginning of the dungeon (the lowest rolled number indicates the exit to the surrounding Wilderness (doubles, triplets, etc. just mean more exits ...).

This is still under construction in that the numbers and the positions of the dice should do more than what I'm implying above.


The way it's shaping up right now, the single-player version will be set up with one roll of the dice, with the numbers resulting in the size and segmentation of the tribe plus the beginning of a map. There are also five important decisions a player has to make where the strengths and frailties of his tribe are, before the game can start.

It's also my take on a very light D&D variant: Classes are defined by the ability score you choose, Level is the number of dice distributed. The number of dice per ability scores is restricted (could be by race, too, something like: Giants would be allowed to put 5 dice into STR, etc.), with the leading ability score giving the highest possible value a character is allowed to have in the other ability scores and a simple system of Ability Scores are always D20 + A.S. vs. Difficulty (15 = easy; etc.) to make it all tick. The rest is D&D (combat, hp, saves, etc.).

Anyway, I hope this was able to give you all some ideas how this is supposed to work.

That's the set-up so far

Next up is some talk about Phases, Turns and Cycles and some ideas what the Opposition is and how Combat will work.

* The game will be structured in Phases, Turns and Cycles (3 Phases are one Turn, 5 Turns are a Cycle). Some weak will die with the end of every cycle, some will get active tribe-members again (roll of 2D6, highest is death toll, lowest (+ Shaman-Level) is who get's active again. The rest stay weak.
**Achievements will be a bit like skills and resources. So there will be several crafting and mining skills (the number associated with the kill show how good a tribe is in getting stuff related to a skill done), while Discoveries will show resources like water, food, etc.).
***This is about the outcome of a phase. If it turns sour, levels might be sacrificed to turn the tide. This could mean the death of all the Toughs a tribe has, but it could safe the tribe ... In a game with more players, the Toughs would be the player characters for the goblin side.
****Checks against Ability Scores are always D20 + A.S. vs. Difficulty (15 = easy; etc.).


  1. This is fucking great, JD! I look forward to the final product.

    1. Man, it's great to see someone getting a bit excited about this! I hope it turns out the way I imagine it to. So far pieces keep falling into place :)