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Goblin Heart

A game by Ash and Melody (neither of whom are three goblins in a trenchcoat, honest)

Hi! You are a family! You and those other ones with you. You are all Goblins and some of you come from far away and some we don't know where you came from. There is one person here who ISN'T a goblin. They are called THE BOSS. The boss tells goblins what is going on! Goblins, write yourselves down on paper. Heck, write two or three of yourselves! Yeah! So many goblins!

Being a Goblin

Don’t listen to no stinking books! Goblins aren’t evil - they just like mess, noise, other goblins, and REALLY COOL SHIT.

Being a goblin means:


Making Goblins

Everyone knows wisdom teeth make ya wise. That’s how goblins work, except instead of wise they’ve got teeth for CUNNING, BASHING, and being SNEAKY and then on top of all that they’ve also got SCARS.

Oh, each goblin also has a name and every goblin is the best at something.

Teeth

Each person gets like FORTY teeth to share among as many goblins as they like.
Each goblin has GOTTA have at least one tooth for being sneaky, at least one tooth in cunning, and AT LEAST one tooth in bashing.

Scars

Nothing is more impressive to goblins than some RAD SCARS AND STUFF. Every injury is evidence that you’ve been there and done some real cool shit, or that you’re just really cool from the get-go. AND GUESS WHAT! Scars can be ANYTHING! Did you get a whole leg blown off? RAD! Are you scared of bees now cause of that time? OK! Can you not hear good? Shit, that's cool!

Goblins can lose four teeth to start off with a scar.


Going on Adventures

SO when you do this game, THE BOSS, tells goblins what is going on and then goblins are like “Holy shit! We do this thing!” and then THE BOSS says what happens next! Sometimes THE BOSS will be like “excuse me, there are RULES!” and then you have to roll DICE! Then you count up how many dice are bigger than three and see what the THE BOSS says. They might be like “You totally do the thing!” or they might be like “Oh no! It doesn't work!” or they might be like “You nearly got away with it except for blah blah blah...”
If you're doing enough cool shit you might lose some teeth but at least you get to pick which ones you lose!
Sometimes shit will get really crazy and you'll get blown up or crushed by an ogre or cursed by a wizard or something and end up with a COOL NEW SCAR. When that happens you've just gotta check you haven't died. Roll dice for all your scars and count how many are less than four. If it's more than the highest number you rolled: Oh no! You're dead! If you're not dead, write the scar down on your list of scars! Otherwise make a new goblin if you want, I guess?

Hitting Stuff

Sometimes you need to break stuff, like pumpkins, locks, or faces. Roll dice for all your bashing teeth and then ask THE BOSS if it works or what happens.'

Sneaking

It's like hitting stuff but you don't do the hitting part. Roll dice for all your sneaky teeth and then ask THE BOSS what happens.

Not being there

If a bad thing is gonna happen to you and you don't want it to, you should just not be there. Roll dice for all your sneaky teeth and see what THE BOSS says. Watch out though, if you do it wrong you will probably make the bad thing EVEN WORSE.


Being The Best

When you do the thing that you’re the best at, roll dice for all your teeth combined and then see what THE BOSS has to say about THAT!

Finding Stuff

When you scavenge stuff or try to see if you have a thing on your person. Roll dice for all your sneaking teeth and ask THE BOSS if you find the thing.

Making People Do Stuff

If the thing you’re doing is, like, tricking someone or intimidating them, roll as many dice as the number of scars you got and see what THE BOSS says.

If you're trying to make another Goblin do a thing you yell at each other and then they roll dice for their scars too and whoever has the most dice bigger than three gets their way and the loser gets a new tooth.

Witching

Sometimes Goblins get WEIRD. They get real spooky and talk to spirits and stuff. If you're trying to make weird stuff happen, you gotta trick or intimidate the spirits, which is the same as tricking or intimidating people but every time you do it, you lose a tooth cause spirits always trick you back!


Figuring Shit Out

If you're trying to figure some shit out and be a real smart gob, roll dice for all your CUNNING teeth. For every three dice that are bigger than three you get to ask THE BOSS one of these questions and they have to tell you the answer:

  • What's that?
  • How do I blow it up?
  • What’s shiny?
  • Who’s got a grump?
  • Is there a trick?
  • How do I get inna it?
  • How do I get outta it?
  • Where’s gubbins?
  • Who did that?
  • Can I eat it?

Makin Plans

When you say “Let's do this thing!” and someone else asks how, explain your elaborate plan, real fast. Roll dice for all your cunning teeth. Your plan gets bonus teeth for all the teeth that came up more than 3 ‘cause you talked so fast and smart! You can add all of these bonus teeth to your rolls and stuff until you’ve finished the plan but one goes away after each roll.

Inventions

When you make like a trap or a bomb or a roof cutter or a really big bomb or a tripwire that catches someone in a net and then puts them on a conveyor belt into a volcano or a massive bomb strapped to a chicken, that's called a invention! Roll dice for all your sneaking teeth and ask THE BOSS how good you did putting it together. If you didn’t completely wreck it, count up how many parts there are. You get that many bonus teeth for rolls when you use your invention but one goes away each time, unless it's SUPPOSED to explode, cause then they all go away. Obviously.


Piling In

If you’re gonna help or hinder another goblin doing something, say you’re gonna pile in! Then, when they have rolled their dice, you can say whether or not your dice are gonna add or take away successes from their roll, then roll your dice for the same kind of thing and add or take away your successes from the first goblin’s roll.

Hoarding Together

When a lot of goblins all have to do the same thing, like sneak past someone or swim across a river, or not get set on fire by an explosion, everyone rolls whatever dice they would need to for the thing if they were on their own. Goblins who don’t get enough dice showing more than three fail at doing the thing. Goblins who get some but not lots succeed, but only just. Goblins who get lots of results larger than three can do the thing AND rescue one goblin who didn’t succeed so that they don’t count as having failed.

Looking After Each Other

When you look after another Goblin you lose one of your teeth and they get two new teeth.


BEING THE BOSS

Kind friend, it seems you have found yourself in the position of being THE BOSS of a pack of goblins. This is an unfortunate and weighty responsibility to have placed upon one’s otherwise upright and honourable shoulders and we pray that you will act with a dignity that has not been afforded to you.

It’s your thankless job to give these scamps something to do. Last time they were left alone for too long they became truly bored, and we don’t like to talk about what happened.
Put aside your worries. They may annoy you, are likely to cause slight devastation to your lands, and will almost certainly gnaw on you if you should drift into the sweet caress of sleep, but you will be fine. Probably. You’re at least three feet taller than them and have a rather magnificent cape, which is really more than enough to distract them temporarily at the very least.

The solution to your plight, my sweet compatriot, is to figure out what these goblins want and point them in the right direction. Of course, you will need to put some obstacles in their way. Just enough to keep them busy, you understand. And I suppose if you have any enemies or rivals in need of a right walloping then you might want to lead the noisome critters in their general direction, too. Not that we endorse that, of course.

How this works is that the putrid rabble will bellow some things at you about what they want to do and where they want to go. If they’re feeling especially extravagant they might even ask you some questions. Keeping your wits about you and minding your manners, you should manage the situation as well as is possible and tell them what happens next.

Oh, you want to know how to do all this. Well, I’ll start from the beginning.


Creating Adventure

Your first goal should be to find out where the goblins are and what they actually want.
First, ask them where their home is, have them describe it in some detail. Then ask them what it is they want.
We’ve prepared a handy list of possible examples for you:

  1. Mrs MacGuffins chicken
  2. The fanciest hat
  3. More cheese
  4. Lots of treasure, like really a lot of treasure
  5. A sword what is very pointy
  6. A diamond bigger than someone’s head
  7. The best explosion of all
  8. Whatever’s inside that castle
  9. Something that makes funny noises when you squash it
  10. Lord Winterbury’s Artisanal Catapult
  11. Enough beer
  12. Cannons for everyone
  13. A bear or something
  14. Gubbins
  15. Some sharp sticks
  16. A really big bonfire
  17. Another dragon
  18. Father Christmas
  19. Something else
  20. Something else but we haven’t decided yet
  21. Something else but we haven’t decided yet and we don’t know why we’re shouting

When they’ve established some kind of consensus, tell them the general direction they need to go in to find it.

Next, tell them what they encounter on the way. They respond very well to things that a) burn b) can be chewed c) make loud noises. Make sure to litter their path with such challenges and distractions.

Whenever the goblins attempt something that may provide them some level of resistance or challenge, simply say “Excuse me, there are Rules!” and have them roll dice according to their teeth or scars. Most actions will be appropriate to specific rules sections under the “Going On Adventures” chapter. If not, simply have them roll dice for their cunning teeth, their bashing teeth, or their sneaky teeth and interpret the result from there.


What to do when the goblins roll dice

For many situations the goblins will roll dice and then look to you to interpret the result. Like the ancient emperors of Rome to the gladiators, their fate is in your hand.

If six or more of their rolled dice show a result larger than three, their action should be considered an outright success.

If the number of dice showing three or higher is exactly four or five, a compromise is in order. Propose a complication or a cost that must be paid for the success.

If three or fewer dice show results higher than three, the action is a failure. Make sure to make things interesting here and keep things moving: Have something get lost or broken, Separate the goblins or put them in a spot, Introduce a new problem to deal with, or just have them get hurt and lose some teeth.

In the event that a Goblin rolls either no dice larger than three the result should be massive and catastrophic failure. In the event that they roll ten or more results larger than three the result should be vastly over successful. Both of these results should cost the goblin a few teeth and leave them with a new scar, which might be a visible injury such as losing a digit or limb or an invisible one such as tinnitus or insomnia.

Fights

Unfortunately due to the nature of Goblins they're likely to get in a scrap or two. If it's just between each other have them roll their bashing teeth in turn and then the goblin getting bashed should lose a number of teeth equal to the number of dice that come up larger than three.

If it's creatures or people or whatnot, work out about how many goblins that thing is in size. That's how many successful bashing rolls should be required to defeat it in a contest of physical strength. When appropriate have the foe either injure them or threaten to do so if not avoided. A solid punch should take out a few teeth but something deadlier like a blade or a poison fang is capable of taking out a few more. Be cavalier with this. Goblins are disposable.

When the goblins get what they want

Eventually your goblins are likely to either obtain what they desire or perish. If they do achieve their goal, including ensuring its security, you must confer with them. If you collectively would like to see the goblins pursue new goals and adventure, they must decide on what they want next and then continue play toward that end. Otherwise each goblin should have a very short epilogue moment before ending the game.