Saturday, June 4, 2016

The Goblintown Arena

So I haven't written about Goblintown in a long while, but here I am.

Escaping From The Arena

Escaping is trivially easy.  After the first fight, someone brings them a frogskin cake.  Inside the cake is a note (sadly incomprehensible, since the writer was subliterate; something about a rat) and a key.  If no one intervenes, one of their cellmates will eat the paper and complain while the other one chokes to death on the key.

The guards in the arena are only at their posts 33% of the time (but this is better than average, for goblins).  They mostly hang out in the guardroom, playing disgusting games.

Getting Caught Outside

The first time they catch you they brand your ass with "BAD ESCAPTER".  It's sort of funny.

The second time they catch you, they kick off a body part. The victim is chained to a rock in an appropriate pose, while the kick-goblin puts on his kicking boots.  They're heavy, hob-nailed boots with a sharp lip on the front edge, made from a slice of shovel.  Roll a d6 to see what body part they kick off.
  1. Nose
  2. Fingers (1d4 of them)
  3. Ear
  4. Penis / Breast
  5. Toes (1d4 of them)
  6. Scalp (They bury you up to your neck for this one.)
DM's Note: It's not funny when a goblin spends five minutes kicking your tit off.  It's fucking gruesome.  And that's actually the goblin spectrum you want to run: sorta-funny to sorta-horrible.  Don't let your players lose sight of either extreme.

Why You Shouldn't Escape The Arena

It's much safer to remain in a jail cell than it is to wander the streets of Goblintown.

I'm serious.  The place is just a maze of random encounters.  It's like being stuck in a wildnerness hexcrawl with no safe place to retreat to.  Most encounters are minor, some are horrible.  Don't forget about horrible goblin weapons.

For example: 1d4+2 Goblin "Tax Collectors".  HD 1, AC leather, "Pens" 1d6,  Accompanied by a goblin riding a collection chariot (sort of a pile of chests with wheels, with each chest containing something horrible) pulled by goblin dogs.  They want all of your money, but they also want to look more official.  They are all illiterate but pretend otherwise.

Making Money in the Arena

You could take up sponsorships.  These come with drawbacks, such as:
  • You may alienate another advertiser/patron.
  • You may be required to spend a turn during combat dancing and singing a jingle.
  • You may be required to wear some shitty equipment.
  • You may be required to eat shitty food (save vs shitting spiders for 1d3 days).
You could also gamble on yourself.  Sometimes you may need to track down the deadbeat and force them to pay up.  They might not actually have the money that they wagered.

Spending Money in the Arena

You can buy:
  • Equipment rentals.
  • Better food and sleeping arrangements (helps you recover HP).
  • Vacation days.  You get a day pass to wander around town.
by Jeremiah Morelli
The Rules (and How To Break Them)

Most matches are non-lethal.  If you want to concede, just flop over and play dead.  Faking your own death and then getting back up is cheating.  So is killing someone who is playing dead.

Gladiators who cheat have points deducted from their Score.  The Score is based on how much you win, minus how much you cheat.  The Score is completely meaningless, except for bragging about your score.  Obviously goblins care a great deal about gladiators' Scores.  They are reset every gladiatorial season.

Goblins cheat rampantly, so scores are usually negative.

Cheating in a gladiatorial match is the best possible strategy.  Or at least, it's the only way to even the odds.  Burying weapons in the arena the night before, paying members of the audience to throw you a better weapon, smuggling shurikens in your butt, paying for information about the next fight and then bringing steaks to placate the tigers, hiding in the audience and then leap-sneak-attacking. . . these are all important tactics, and the PCs goblin opponents will utilize them constantly.

Hopefully, the PCs will start using them, too.  Goblins are incompetent, so as a general rule, any scheme of cheating that the PCs concoct will work the first time, with its future efficacy diminishing according to its plausibility.


Most people will tell you that they are goblin-dwarf hybrids, but they are wrong.  These are simply dwarves that have been integrated into goblin society.  Their culture has been goblinized.  (Goblintown was founded when goblin's captured an old dwarven city.  That was hundreds of years ago, but given how long dwarves live, the goblin-dwarves you'll meet are only third or fourth generation goblin-dwarves.)

They are shabby dwarves.  Six foot long beards dragging through the dust.  Wrinkles and potbellies.  Most wear a bundy, which is just a sort of fancy diaper.  Goblin-dwarves with enough beard will use that as clothing.

In their case, the massive dwarven work-instinct is subverted towards various stereotypies (head banging, self-biting, rocking) and compulsions, especially arithmomania (counting things).  Conversations between goblin-dwarves are often tedious.  ("Do you know how much this rock weighs?" "No, but I would like to." "It weighs 231 grams.  Isn't that remarkable?  I thought it was less before I weighed it."  "Yes, that is remarkable.  Would you like to know how many steps I've taken today?")

Their activities are divided between those essential to survival (scavenging food and shelter) and their particular brand of madness (rolling a barrel through the streets, disassembling their shanty and rebuilding it a meter to the left, putting all the stones they can find in a line and numbering each one, stealing stones from another goblin-dwarf's line in order to sort them into color-based piles, arranged alphabetically by the name of the color).  They are cowardly, cheerful, and stupid.

from Guild Wars 2
To Do List

  • Patrons.  
    • There are a few powerful people in Goblintown who will want to give you money in exchange for stuff.  Gorp, Son of Gorp, might want you to come to his party (where he is serving four of the seven deadly stinks) and fight the unpopular guests (who he invited for this express purpose) in a canoe inside the "punch" bowl.  The opponents are drunk, cowering goblins; the hard part is not falling in the "punch", and not displeasing their patron.
  • Gladiator Plots. 
    • These are the sundry dramas of the arena.  Will you throw the match in exchange for some (literally) filthy lucre?  Will you assassinate a goblin sitting in the front row of the audience, and how will you do it without any ranged weapons?  
  • d20 Goblin Arena Matches
    • These are the actual fights.  Goblins get bored easily, so they all have some twists.  Usually an easy fight rendered complex by the goblin love of spectacle, or an impossible fight made easier through goblin incompetence.  For example, a three-way fight between the PCs, the opposing team, and a trio of starving tigers (who were starved too much, and one tiger will promptly kill and begin eating the smallest tiger).

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