17 August, 2011

One small step for goblins, one enormous leap for a game about them.

Goblins are a race of huge genetic diversity; there are big ones, small ones, scaly, furry, green skinned, brown.
Trying to catalogue them all would be a nigh impossible task.
Trying to create a roleplaying game or a miniatures game capable of capturing the diversity is surely a fool's errand.
But that's the task I've set for myself.
So how do I do it?
At this stage I'm treating goblin desriptions fairly simply, with two modular parts. Firstly a racial heritage that defines a series of baselines, then a series of occupations that boost those baselines.
It seems to be fairly ordinary stuff, many games have a similar structure.
But I get the feeling that a genetically diverse and decadent race that has evolved into hundreds of niches requires a carefully structured society to avoid devolving into complete anarchy. Goblins are traditionally treated as anarchists, so this might be their tendency when far from the central authorites of their race. The "powers that be" would take on a tyrannical view to keep their masses in check. Human history has seen groups do this through religion, military, nobility, commerce, and other means. Goblins add magic into the mix.
This is complicated further by a goblin's short lifespan, weeks rather than years.
Goblins don't have long to make a mark for themselves, and they find themselves oppressed by a cultural society that will certainly outlast them. Goblins may choose to rebel against their situation, subvert the society around them, or use it to their advantage in the hope of gaining access to a means of extending their lifespan and thus gaining more chance at notoriety, fame or wealth.
I'm trying to delve into a very alien mindset here, but there needs to be something familiar for outsiders to latch onto. It needs to make sense.
I'm starting to ramble here...in the attempt to explain my thought processes,,,but I'll just provide the next part of character description.
Occupations come in three levels: basic, intermediate and advanced. These are clustered into groups within a tree structure.
As an example for a warrior's occupation tree.
The basic level might be a footsoldier.
This branches to two types of intermediate warrior: infantry and cavalry.
Then each intermediate offers the choice of two advanced warrior occupations.
Each occupation takes a week or so to progress through. As a result, characters could pick two or three basic occupations from separate trees, but they'll probably die before getting very far in them.
Gaining access to an occupation requires performing some kind of feat in goblin society; these feats get harder as higher levels are being accessed. Once access is gained, each occupation offers bonuses, but it also offers obligations.
If you become the high courtier, you'll be expected to fulfil obligations associated with running court proceedings.
I'll be writing more to clarify these ideas shortly.
Post a Comment