Thursday, 19 October 2017

Saga of the Goblin Horde: Updated

I've updated the Saga of the Goblin Horde setting book and player's guide to incorporate errata and feedback. Most of the changes were minor things (such as extraneous spaces, a couple of spelling mistakes I'd missed previously, etc), but there were a couple of glaring omissions - I'd forgotten to include stats for the swamp rats, and the player's guide didn't include stats for the gang members. I also realized that I'd never made it clear how to handle gang members outside of combat.

So I've expanded the "Like a Boss" setting rule (page 31) to fill the entire page, it now provides some guidelines for gang members as well as the two missing statblocks. The "Meat Shield" and "Might Makes Right" setting rules have been moved to the next page.

The latest versions are available here: Setting Book, Player's Guide.

Friday, 29 September 2017

Saga of the Goblin Horde: Setting Book

I started working on Saga of the Goblin Horde back in December 2015, and I've released a lot of content for it since then, but now I've finally finished the full setting book! So without further ado...


The book contains the same information as the player's guide (introduction to the setting, 5 new races, 41 Edges, 20 Hindrances, weapons and armor, setting rules, deities, gazetteer, and map), but also includes the Game Master's section (setting secrets, a plot point campaign, a load of adventure seeds, an adventure generator, and a large bestiary).

Don't forget to grab all the other stuff for it, like the archetypes, One Sheets, etc. You can get them all here.

Monday, 25 September 2017

Chases in Savage Worlds

A lot of people seem to have difficulty wrapping their heads around the chase rules in Savage Worlds, either because they find the rules confusing, or because they have trouble connecting the game mechanics to the narrative. In particular, many people seem to view chases as a "race", when what they more accurately represent is a mobile combat encounter, in which the characters are exchanging attacks while rushing across the landscape.

The way I usually explain chases is by asking people to imagine a typical action movie chase scene, and then pick out five pivotal moments from the scene to represent the rounds in which the characters take their actions. The remainder of the scene would just be handled through the narrative.

For example, imagine this scene from Casino Royale:


In the above chase scene, I would probably define the five rounds as follows:

Round 1 (takes place at 0:26): James Bond makes a Driving roll in the first round (Agility rolls after that, once he leaves the vehicle). He has the Advantage, and uses the Force maneuver against the bad guy, but fails.

Round 2 (takes place at 1:15): James Bond has the Advantage, but drew the King of Clubs, meaning he's distracted by the explosion.

Round 3 (takes place at 2:40): The bad guy has the Advantage, and makes a Shooting attack at short range, but rolls a critical failure (his gun jams). James responds with an Agility trick (he doesn't need the Advantage for a Trick), and causes the bad guy to become Shaken.

Round 4 (takes place at 3:00): The bad guy has the Advantage, and attacks James, causing him to become Shaken.

Round 5 (takes place at 5:05): The bad guy has the Advantage, and reaches the safety of the embassy.

Everything else would just be part of the narrative, described by the players and Game Master.

Simplifying the Rules

Some people understand how to narrate the chases, but find the rules overly complicated, and/or dislike the way characters cannot attack without Advantage. A suggestion I've made in the past is to streamline the chase rules by removing the attack range and complication tables - even I have to look those up, and to be honest, having to reference table entries every round isn't very FFF.

Streamlined Chases

Each round, each character makes their maneuvering trait roll, drawing one card for each success and raise (as normal). The characters then take their actions in sequence, however:

1. You suffer -2 to attack (or 'Force') someone who has a higher card.
2. You suffer -2 if you have a dot card (2-10), and must use ranged weapons.
3. Complication (Clubs): Make another roll at -2 to avoid Fatigue or a collision.

So face cards would allow melee attacks, while spot card would require ranged attacks, and you'd have a penalty of between +0 and -4, which the Game Master or players could narrate as range, cover, distractions, etc.

Note: Savageblog Italia have translated this post to Italian, read it here.

Monday, 4 September 2017

Invoking Hindrances

When designing my Swift d12 system, I wanted to keep the rules streamlined, so I decided to introduce a simple mechanic for handling Flaws. The approach I used was to make them primarily descriptive, and allow players to "invoke" each Flaw once per session in return for Karma Points.

It struck me that the same approach would also work rather well for Hindrances in Savage Worlds, so I came up with a quick conversion:

Invoking Hindrances

Players can invoke each of their Hindrances once per session. This must be done before making a trait roll, and the player should explain how their Hindrance gives them a disadvantage in this particular situation. If the GM accepts the explanation, the player earns a Benny, but also suffers a –2 penalty to their roll, and must draw a card. If the card is Clubs, there is a further complication; the penalty increases to –4, and failure is treated as if it were a critical failure.

Players cannot spend a Benny to reroll an invoked Hindrance.

Example 1

The Game Master tells everyone to make Notice rolls as they approach the cave. Lexi invokes her Overconfident Hindrance; she's not scared of some smelly old cave, so she'll just go marching straight in without bothering to look for signs of danger! She draws the Five of Hearts, and makes her Notice roll with a –2 penalty, but Aces her roll and succeeds anyway.

Example 2

Rylan disturbs a dragon while exploring its lair. The Game Master decides that this scene will be resolved as a Chase, and asks for a maneuvering trait roll. Rylan invokes his Greedy Hindrance in the first round, and announces that he's been distracted by the dragon's treasure hoard. He draws the Seven of Spades and makes his Agility roll with a –2 penalty, failing the roll. Looks like he's going to need that bonus Benny for a Soak roll!

Example 3

Big Brak launches a furious attack against a human adventurer, and decides to invoke his One Eye Hindrance; the player describes how the human ducks around Big Brak's blind side, putting him at a disadvantage as he tries to swing his axe. He draws the Ace of Clubs and suffers a –4 penalty to his attack – failure! The GM declares that Big Brak loses his grip on his axe, and accidentally tosses it away into the river!

Summary

This rule obviously turns the "fluffy" Hindrances into more of a benefit than a drawback, but it works extremely well in Swift d12, where I've found it really encourages the players to add some interesting narrative to the game. I see no reason why the same solution wouldn't work just as well in Savage Worlds.

My older Hindrance Cards idea also gave players a more direct means of earning Bennies, helping to take some of the pressure off the GM, but it always felt a bit handwavy during play. By contrast, the "invoke" rule feels more like the players are paying a fair price for their bonus Benny.

Saga of the Goblin Horde: Quick Start update

Following feedback from a few more playtests (those posted here and here, as well as one run by a friend of mine for his local group) I've updated the Quick Start rules to incorporate several changes.

Get it here: SotGH Quick Start

The initiative rules have been rewritten to follow a new approach (described in more detail here): There is no longer a wits-based Guile check. Instead, the players and their minions now automatically act before enemy NPCs, but the characters can "rush" if they wish to act faster. Although the old initiative system worked fine, I found myself becoming very conscious of the extra roll every round, and it was starting to feel a bit tedious.

Goblin gang members no longer receive Agility +1, instead they just get a +1 bonus to Speed (so they still move quite fast), but have +0 in all their abilities. This makes them more comparable with their Savage Worlds counterparts, and also simplifies the combat scenes by reducing the number of modifiers commonly in play (as the Agility bonus meant an extra bonus to the gang members' attacks, and an extra penalty to all attacks made against them).

The Trapmaker Feat works a bit differently. Instead of just causing 2d6+Guile damage (comparable with a normal success), the trap is now treated as an attack roll (giving it the possibility of a critical success or failure) or a stunt (introducing the option for traps that stun, trip, or push people around).

The Cunning Feat no longer adds +1 to wits-based Guile checks (as those have been phased out with the new initiative rules), instead it gives +1 to Guile-based damage rolls (i.e., for ranged attacks).

The Chase rules have been redesigned. They still work in roughly the same way, but should now be more intuitive.

Friday, 1 September 2017

Swift d12: Rethinking Initiative

One of the problems I've currently got with the Chase rules is that, because only pursuers make initiative rolls, the fleeing character never triggers a complication. The obvious solution is to make the fleeing character roll as well, but that would make it inconsistent with regular initiative.

However if everyone rolled initiative in regular combat, it would add even more rolls, and the more I think about this issue, the more I feel that initiative is already overly intrusive. Savage Worlds manages to get away with calculating initiative every round, perhaps because the cards feel like such a different game mechanic to trait checks, but in Swift d12 the extra roll can become annoying.

The main design goal for the original initiative system was to ensure that one side didn't always get to act before the other (because there are often large numbers of combatants on the battlefield, and one side could cripple the other if they all got to attack first). Any alternative system would still need to address that original design goal.

One interesting initiative system I've read about is the one in Shadow of the Demon Lord, where characters can choose to take either a "fast turn" or a "slow turn". Players act before NPCs within each turn, and those in the fast turn take one action while those in the slow turn take two actions, so acting first comes at a price. This is a quick and clever mechanic, and feedback from players seems to be generally positive. While the solution wouldn't work as written in Swift d12, it's given me inspiration for something along similar lines.

Alternative Initiative Proposal

At the beginning of each round, the Game Master asks if any players wish to "rush" their actions, and those who rush automatically act first. After that, the Game Master may decide to make any NPCs rush their own actions, and they act next. Then the remaining players get to act, followed by the remaining NPCs.

However characters can only rush if they're not Staggered, and they become Staggered when they rush. Of course they can still use the recover action to immediately remove the Staggered condition as usual, but recovering is a simple action, so it'll cost them an action die.

Interaction with Other Mechanics

The Lightning-Quick Feat already allows characters to spend a Karma Point to take a simple action as a free action, so with the alternative initiative they could "rush" and then spend a Karma Point to recover.

In a surprise situation, the surprised characters always start combat Staggered, and this would prevent them from rushing.

The All-Out Attack maneuver gives characters +2 to attack and damage, but they also become Staggered. What I wanted to avoid in the original initiative system was a situation whereby players could choose to act last with an All-Out Attack, then act first in the next round and recover before anyone could take advantage of them being Staggered. But as Staggered characters cannot rush, this wouldn't be an issue with the proposed rule.

Thursday, 24 August 2017

Swift d12: Two More Playtests

I ran a couple more playtests this week. The first was a Saga of the Goblin Horde playtest with Manuel Sambs and his girlfriend, the second playtest was just Manuel and I, using my notes for modern-day settings.

Goblin Playtest

Although this wasn't a "proper" session, we went through the character creation process, and then I ran Bone of Contention. Character creation was reasonably fast, although the players spent a few minutes browsing through the Flaws and Feats for inspiration, as this was their first time creating characters (previously they'd just used pregens).

Once again we used the Shenanigans setting rule, and the results were hilarious. I will definitely be converting this rule across to Swift d12, so that it doesn't rely on the use of cards.

We tested out the opposed roll concept I proposed after the last playtest (where the opponent's ability is added to the TN instead of being subtracted from the roll as a penalty), and unanimously agreed that we didn't like it. It was confusing, one more thing to keep track of, and it felt particularly clunky when it came to critical successes.

While I still wasn't too happy with the current approach (treating your opponent's ability as a modifier to your own ability check), Manuel's girlfriend said that she found it about as easy as tracking modifiers in Savage Worlds. As she has a lot less experience with Savage Worlds than Manuel and I, we discussed if the main problem might be due to familiarity. Perhaps the Swift d12 system will start to feel more intuitive after a few games.

In the Savage Worlds version of Saga of the Goblin Horde, goblin gang members have Agility d8, which is average for the goblin race. So when I converted them to Swift d12, I gave them Agility +1. The problem is that Agility +1 in Swift d12 also gives the equivalent of a Savage Worlds d8 in all Agility-linked skills (including combat skills). Not only does that make goblin gang members far more competent, it also makes them more complex to track in combat, as they all have +1 to hit, and foes all receive a -1 penalty to hit them. So I think I will reduce their Agility to +0, and consider some smaller advantage to represent goblins being more agile (such as +1 Speed).

Modern Playtest

The second playtest was just myself and Manuel, so we used the Mythic GM Emulator, allowing us both to play. As a pair of independent repo men in an urban setting, we'd decided to take on a little "side job" for a wealthy gentleman, and a few days later he was brutally murdered. It was originally going to be an urban fantasy adventure, an introduction to my Primordial Horrors setting, but the GM Emulator has a habit of throwing curveballs, and this was no exception.

The initial pitch for the adventure involved an occultist and a stolen spellbook, but the former turned out to be the front for a criminal organization, and the latter ended up being a notebook filled with blackmail material, so the supernatural clues were nothing more than a smokescreen for an elaborate con. It wasn't exactly what we'd planned, but it was a pretty good story with a nice showdown at the end (a big fight outside a bar followed a car chase).

In the modern setting characters have devices rather than knick-knacks, and influence instead of gang members (although the appropriate influence can be used to recruit temporary minions, for example if you have underworld contacts, or friends in a street gang). While we did get into a couple of fights, without all the gang members combat moved much faster.

Overall I was very pleased with the feel of the mechanics, they were fast and intuitive, and supported the narrative without getting in the way.

Monday, 21 August 2017

Saga of the Goblin Horde: Updated Player's Guide

The Saga of the Goblin Horde setting book is now getting very close to completion. I'm currently working on the tenth (and final) Plot Point episode, and there are a few extra monsters that I'd like to add to the bestiary, but after that it's on to the proofreading and finalizing a few outstanding layout issues, and then it'll be ready. The PDF is currently 102 pages, I expect the final book to be around 110 pages.

I released the player's guide six months ago today, but I've added a couple more setting rules since then (Quick Skirmish and Shenanigans), and also ended up dropping the Critical Failures setting rule. As a few people have expressed an interest in using the new setting rules, I thought I'd take the opportunity to update the player's guide (and fix an embarrassing typo at the same time).


As always, you can grab all the other freebies (34 archetypes, 12 adventures, 8 adventure cards and 5 battle maps) and check out the 3 Actual Plays along with my Wild Die interview here.

Swift d12 Playtest Report

Last night Mathew Halstead and I did a playtest of the latest Swift d12 Quick Start rules. I played Big Brak and he played Krusty Snaggletooth, and we ran through the Hot Water One Sheet, converting it on the fly from Savage Worlds to Swift d12. We shared GM duties and rolled for each other's foes in combat, but the focus was on testing the mechanics, so there was also a lot of metagame discussion going on.

Here's a short summary of my thoughts:

  • It's extremely quick and easy to convert Savage Worlds adventures to Swift d12, as long as you're fairly familiar with both systems. I can comfortably convert adventures on the fly without writing anything down in advance.
  • Extended actions with complications do a great job of simulating SW Dramatic Tasks, and the ability to invoke Flaws and knick-knacks really helps the narrative. When fleeing the inferno Big Brak decided to move his eyepatch to cover his healthy eye (invoking his One Eye flaw) and charged blindly into the fire (failure on a complication), getting badly burned. The next round I invoked the eyepatch, turning failure into a critical success, as the eyepatch protected his eye from the smoke!
  • We used the new Shenanigans setting rule, and it worked out great. Our gang members got up to all sorts of mischief, and it really felt like they were part of the story.
  • The new damage system felt faster and smoother, I'm very happy with it, however I'd still like to playtest it some more.
  • The new rules for invoking gear worked very well, however it adds complexity when gang members start doing it. One of Mathew's goblins snapped a bow string, while two others broke their spears, and we then needed to track how the individual gang members were armed. It also makes Mooks much more dangerous if they can invoke weapons.
  • The attack rolls still feel clunky, and I think it's the modifier for the foe's Agility that does it, where you're effectively flipping their Agility bonus into a penalty to your own attack (or flipping their Agility penalty into a bonus to your own attack).

The obvious solution to the attack roll problem would be to create a "defense" value (7+Agility), but I've been trying to avoid doing that, as it felt out of place. I prefer to either have the target number change or have a modifier to the roll, but not both - I think it's easier for players to remember that they always need 7+ to succeed.

However in the next playtest I think I will try it anyway: For opposed rolls (which includes attack rolls), the target's ability is added to the target number (i.e., 7) instead of being applied as a penalty to the roll. There would then be an implied passive "Defense" stat for each ability equal to 7+ability, with a critical success threshold of 13+ability.

So if you attacked a villager you'd need to roll 6+ to hit or 12+ for a critical (instead of applying an extra +1 bonus to your attack), while attacking a veteran soldier would require an 8+ to hit or 14+ for a critical (instead of applying a -1 penalty to your attack).

This probably seems like a minor detail (particularly if you've not played Swift d12), but I think it will make the attack rolls faster to resolve, particularly if the foe's Defense values are written down in advance.

Sunday, 20 August 2017

Saga of the Goblin Horde: Quick Start update

A few weeks ago, Marcus Burggraf ran a two-session playtest of Swift d12 using the Quick Start rules, and afterwards he posted some excellent feedback in the Google+ community. I've finally had the chance to incorporate his feedback along with some earlier suggestions (such as Jesse Covner's concerns with bruises and wounds), and have updated the Quick Start rules accordingly.

Get it here: SotGH Quick Start

Here is a quick summary of the changes in version 11:
  • Redesigned the damage system to use multiple health levels instead of the Brawn checks (which were effectively pseudo soak rolls, and the extra rolls slowed things down).
  • Armor is now added directly to Resilience, instead of being subtracted from damage (fewer calculations).
  • Added rules for invoking weapons and armor.
  • Knick-knacks are now invoked after (rather than before) rolling, to be consistent with weapons and armor.
  • Shields no longer give an armor bonus (although they can be invoked like armor).
  • Added "Dramatic Challenges" and "Social Challenges" as examples of extended actions, as these are the extended actions I use the most in my adventures (because they've been converted from SW).
  • Added a Surprise rule based on an idea from Mylon.
  • Revised the healing rules, adding healing checks.
  • Removed bruises and injuries, along with the Bruised and Injured conditions.
  • Ranged weapon damage is now based on Guile rather than Agility.
  • Fixed conflicting rules for ranged weapon penalties.
  • Expanded the section on stunts to provide a little more information on how to use them.

This latest version of the rules should run a little faster and smoother, with fewer rolls, simpler calculations, and less information to track.

I'm still finalizing the magic system, but will leave that for a later version, as it's not essential for the Quick Start. I have three playtesting sessions lined up over the next few days, so I wanted to make sure the rules were uploaded in advance.

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Setting Rule: Shenanigans

Savage Worlds is very good at handling large numbers of combatants without significantly slowing down, with heroes often facing hordes of foes, sometimes supported by allied Extras of their own. In fact some people even play the system as a skirmish-level wargame, using the Showdown rules.

Saga of the Goblin Horde was specifically designed to play to the strengths of Savage Worlds, so I decided to showcase the benefits of allied Extras by having the players take on the role of goblinoid bosses, each leading their own gang of goblin minions into battle.

While the goblin gang members make great meat shields and expendable cannon fodder, they tend to be relegated to a background role outside of combat, if not ignored outright. Some players will incorporate them into the descriptions of their actions - for example, Harrison Hunt recently discussed how one of his player ordered his minions to build him a shelter (listen to the hilarious story here, the shelter part is at 18:25), and in a previous game I ran, one player even rolled a die every so often to determine what his gang members were doing.

So I started wondering if I could add a simple setting rule, to give the players more incentives to incorporate their gang members into the story...


Setting rule: Shenanigans

Goblins are a crazy and undisciplined lot, and gangs often get up to all manner of mischief and mayhem while their boss's back is turned. At the beginning of each scene, players with fewer than three Bennies and at least one surviving gang member have the option of invoking shenanigans.

The player draws a card to determine what one of their gang members has been up to, and earns a Benny for describing and embellish the flunky's actions and/or fate. The suit of the card can also be used for inspiration in the tale: Clubs often involves excessive violence, Diamonds might indicate that the gang member was driven by greed for riches, Hearts typically represents lust or desire, and Spades usually involves the search for something.

2: Found and ate something utterly disgusting. The gang member must make a Vigor roll to survive!
3: Beaten to death by another goblin while your back was turned. Nobody owns up to it.
4: Got into a fight or pulled a stupid prank, and have been knocked out for the scene.
5: Drank some fermented mushroom juice, and passed out for the scene.
6: Busy tormenting a small animal while the rest of the gang watch in glee. Your gang members all start the scene Shaken.
7: They become very rowdy; you and your gang suffer a -2 penalty to Stealth and Notice rolls this scene.
8: Disappeared for some private time, they will be back next scene.
9: Disappeared and won't be back, either they're dead or they deserted.
10: Decided it's time that they became boss; they Wild Attack you with the Drop, then fight to the death.
Jack: Performed an act of utter stupidity that resulted in a very painful and embarrassing death.
Queen: Accidentally stabbed you with their spear; you suffer 2d6 damage.
King: Did something unspeakably revolting. You and your gang must all make Spirit rolls or start the scene Shaken.
Ace: Tripped or pushed you at the worst possible moment; you suffer a level of Fatigue from Bumps and Bruises.
Joker: Scavenged or stole a knick-knack from somewhere. You can take it off them by force, and keep it for yourself!

Friday, 11 August 2017

Situational Rule: Pursuits

The chase rules in Savage Worlds are good at representing dogfights and mobile combat encounters, where two sides exchange attacks while running (or driving) neck-and-neck across the landscape. But sometimes a character is simply trying to escape, perhaps from overwhelming odds or an invincible foe, and the chase rules don't really work so well when only one side can attack, and the other just wants to escape.


Objective

The Pursuit rules are designed for situations in which a character's goal is simply to escape their pursuers, either by outrunning them, or by ducking into a hiding spot without being seen. The idea is to give both the pursuers and the pursuee different tactical maneuvers, so that the scene is more than just a race to the finish line.

These mechanics are particularly well suited to urban environments, and would be an excellent fit for settings like Guild of Shadows, where the characters can frequently find themselves escaping combat and fleeing the authorities, or horror settings, where unlucky investigators might find themselves being pursued by unspeakable (and unbeatable) monstrosities.

Overview

Pursuits allow characters to take advantage of the scenery, clambering up trees, jumping between rooftops, ducking into alleyways, and so on. As always with abstract subsystems like this, narration is key. A combat encounter where people just say things like “I roll to attack, I hit for 10 damage!” will have no flavor or immersion, and the same is true for pursuits. It’s essential that the Game Master and players describe their actions, using the mechanics to support the narrative, not to replace it.

Each pursuit is divided into six range steps, which are marked on a Pursuit Chart: close, short, medium, long, extreme, and trailing. Pursuers can be represented on the chart with minis or tokens. Characters cannot make Fighting attacks unless they are at close range, while ranged attacks can be performed at close, short, medium or long range, with the appropriate range penalty applied to the attack. Weapons with exceptionally long range (such as rifles) or short range (such as throwing knives) should apply the penalty as if they were one range step closer or further away.

Initiating a Pursuit

During combat, characters can initiate a pursuit on their turn by declaring their intent to escape.

The "escape" maneuver requires a successful Agility roll as a full-round action. If successful, the character flees combat, provoking free attacks as normal. Anyone wishing to pursue can simply declare that they are giving chase, and they are automatically moved to short range on the Pursuit Chart.

Each fleeing character should have their own Pursuit Chart. Characters can remain together if they wish, as long as they maintain the same pace, but this is only a narrative conceit; they are still tracked separately.

In the case of a vehicular chase, only the driver is tracked for the purposes of the pursuit.

Resolution

Characters draw action cards at the beginning of each round in the same way as combat. Those with a higher action card may choose to act before or after those with lower cards; sometimes it's preferable to act later in the round, after you've had a chance to see what your opponent is doing.

Each character may perform one pursuit maneuver on their turn as a normal action. Other actions are also permitted, including attacks, tricks, tests of will, pushes, spellcasting, and so on, at the Game Master's discretion. Characters wishing to perform multiple actions suffer the usual multiaction penalty.

Explicit movement actions are not used during a pursuit, as it's assumed the characters are always moving. If a character doesn't perform any pursuit maneuvers, they are still pursuing or fleeing, but they don't make any progress relative to their opponent this round.

At the end of the round, anyone at trailing range automatically drops out of the pursuit.

Maneuvers

Pursuit maneuvers use a "maneuvering trait", which is Agility if you're on foot, Swimming if you're swimming, or Boating, Driving or Piloting if you're in a vehicle. These maneuvers are normal actions, and each characters can perform a maximum of one pursuit maneuver on their turn (although they can perform other actions as well if they wish).

The following three maneuvers are available to pursuers:

Pursue: Make a maneuvering trait roll to move one step closer on the Pursuit Chart. Should this put you at close range, you may also move into close combat, meaning your opponent will provoke a free attack if they continue running. When chasing someone with a higher Pace, you suffer a -1 penalty to your roll, or -2 if their Pace is twice yours or higher. If your Pace is higher than theirs, you gain a +1 bonus to your roll, or +2 if your Pace is at least twice theirs.

Drive: Make an opposed maneuvering trait roll against your target to drive them in a particular direction, perhaps by cutting off an avenue of escape while herding them toward other pursuers. This maneuver can only be used at close or short range, and if successful it allows every other pursuer at long, extreme or trailing range to immediately use the pursue maneuver as a free action (this is in addition to their own pursuit maneuvers, although character cannot make more than one free pursue maneuver each round). Apply the same bonuses and penalties as the pursue maneuver when driving someone who is faster or slower than you.

Lookout: Make a Climbing roll to clamber up a tree, onto a rooftop, etc. You move one step further away on the Pursuit Chart, but can shout directions to your allies, giving them +1 to their pursue maneuvers as long as you maintain your vantage point (this doesn’t stack with the bonus from other lookouts). At the Game Master’s discretion, it may be possible to continue the pursuit by jumping from roof to roof (or across the clifftops, or a narrow overhead ledge, etc, depending on terrain), however you suffer a -2 penalty to your pursue maneuvers while doing this. You can jump down again as a free action.

The following three maneuvers are available to the fleeing character:

Flee: Make a maneuvering trait roll to move everyone on your Pursuit Chart one step further away, or two steps if they have half your Pace or lower. Pursuers with twice your Pace or higher are not normally affected by this maneuver, unless you’re able to take a route they cannot directly follow (perhaps because they’re larger than you, or riding a mount). You may take a difficult path if you wish; this gives you a -2 penalty to your trait roll, but everyone chasing you also suffers a -2 penalty to their pursue maneuvers until the beginning of your next turn, unless they are using the lookout maneuver to pursue you.

Hide: You attempt to lose your pursuers by ducking into an alleyway or finding some other hiding spot. Make an opposed Stealth roll against your pursuers' Notice, those at long range receive a +2 bonus to their rolls, while those at medium range receive a +4 bonus. This maneuver cannot be used if you have any pursuers at close or short range. Any pursuers who succeed their Notice rolls are immediately moved to close range, but if none succeed then you escape. If you are fleeing multiple pursuers, those who succeeded their Notice rolls can shout a warning to the others, who are moved to medium range.

Backtrack: You wait until your pursuers get close, then rush past them in the opposite direction. Make a maneuvering trait roll, each pursuer makes an opposed roll against it: those who succeed receive a free attack at close range. If you manage to get away, all pursuers who won the opposed roll are moved to medium range, while those who failed are moved to long range. You can attack at close range while passing your pursuers if you wish, applying the usual multiaction penalty.

Note: These rules are based on a design I originally proposed here for Swift d12.

Monday, 3 July 2017

Plot Point Episodes should Impact the Story

A couple of months ago I gave an overview of the Plot Point Campaign in Saga of the Goblin Horde, and described the War Clock mechanism I use to track the escalation of the war, triggering Plot Point Episodes in response to the players' actions during Savage Tales; the more murderous and destructive the goblins are, the faster the human retaliate.

This time I'd like to talk about a technique I use within the Plot Point Episodes themselves, inspired by the final chapter in the Heroes of Drakonheim adventure, where the players have to build up their Mass Battle tokens by recruiting allies.

Adventuring is not a Spectator Sport

I once read a fantasy novel in which the inept hero blundered from one failure to the next, outsmarted by the villain at every turn. At the end of the story, the villain completed his magical ritual - and died, because he made a mistake that he couldn't possibly have known about in advance. In effect the hero was just a spectator in the story. He "won" through a technicality, but he might as well have stayed at home, because his "quest" had absolutely no impact on the outcome. The villain was going to lose regardless.

Campaigns can sometimes feel the same way. One of my personal pet peeves with some Plot Point Episodes is that the players' actions seem to have no tangible impact on the overall story. If the players fail to rescue the informant, they get the information from someone else. If they fail to save the hostages, it doesn't really matter, life goes on as before. If they fail to steal the MacGuffin, they can just find an alternative way to continue to the next adventure. It can sometimes start to feel as if the players actions don't really matter, win or lose the result will be the same; they might as well just go to the pub and wait for the final episode.

Now obviously you don't want an adventure to be a roadblock that kills the campaign, because failure is certainly a possibility. But I do think the players actions should have a significant and tangible effect on the overall story, the adventure shouldn't just be something that "happens" to the characters, followed by a Reset Button Ending. The players should be driving the plot, not just sitting in the passenger seat.

Degrees of Victory

The approach I'm using in Saga of the Goblin Horde is to provide three possible outcomes for each of the triggered Plot Point Episodes, and these will have a direct effect on the final episode.

In Short Straw the players have to prevent an invading army of "mountain humans" (i.e., dwarves) from leaving their tunnels. If they fail, the Stonefist tribe will eventually fight off the army and prevent the invasion, but they'll suffer heavy casualties in the process, leaving them unable to provide any significant aid in the final battle. On the other hand, if the players manage to block the entire army, the Stonefist tribe will owe them a favor (a bit like an Adventure Card that the party can redeem at any point later in the campaign for a special benefit) and commit themselves fully to the final battle. A partial mission success falls somewhere between the two, with the Stonefist tribe providing limited aid in the final battle.

The other adventures follow a similar trend, with the characters aiding and recruiting the other tribes, forging alliances and recruiting allies as the war escalates. If the players don't bother fighting off the human attacks, the story will still carry on, but one by one the other goblin tribes will fall, and in the final battle the Redfang tribe will find itself standing alone against insurmountable odds (and almost certainly lose as a result).

The players can afford a few failures, but each victory will give them a much-needed edge. They will need to win some battles before they can win the war.

Friday, 23 June 2017

Worm Food: One Sheet

Last night, Manuel Sambs of Veiled Fury Entertainment ran a brand new Saga of the Goblin Horde adventure for Harrison Hunt and Nikk Lambley of the TableTop Twats Podcast. It was the second Actual Play to be recorded (the first being Eric Lamoureux's awesome 6 Heads for the Head Honcho), and it was hilarious, well worth watching! You can see it here.

The original Worm Food adventure was designed to take place at the same time as Head Hunters (and Manuel also ran it that way, with references to the Head Hunters Plot Point episode), however I wanted a One Sheet that could easily be inserted anywhere in the campaign, so I adjusted the introduction to make it a bit more generic.

You can grab the One Sheet here: Worm Food for Savage Worlds.


In case anyone is wondering, the name of the rabbitfolk leader is a reference to both Bambi and Dune, and the premise of the adventure was inspired by an Oglaf comic strip (very NSFW, so I'm not linking to it, but I strongly recommend checking out Oglaf if you're not easily offended).

If you're interested in following the progress of Saga of the Goblin Horde, don't forget to sign up to the official Facebook group.

Saga of the Goblin Horde Actual Play


Last night, Manuel Sambs of Veiled Fury Entertainment ran a Savage Worlds Actual Play, starring Harrison Hunt and Nikk Lambley of the TableTop Twats Podcast. The live stream had the end chopped off, but the full recording has now been uploaded to YouTube, and it's hilarious! Check it out:


Monday, 19 June 2017

Coming Soon: Saga of the Goblin Horde Actual Play on Twitch

This Thursday at 7pm GMT (3pm EST), Veiled Fury Entertainment will be running a Savage Worlds Actual Play, live on Twitch. Starring the infamous hosts of the TableTop Twats Podcast, this promises to be an epic tale filled with massive monsters, greased-up goblins, casual cannibalism, and wily wabbitfolk!

They've come all the way from Hightree Ridge, enticed by the promise of fame, glory, and as many humans as they can eat. Meet Hammy Groingazer and Niklam Hammerface, the brutal borderland brothers, known among the tribes as the Treetop Twits!

Watch with delight as they attempt the most insanely dangerous stunt they've ever undertaken. Laugh at their expense as they become...

Worm Food: An appropriately hard mission for a couple of inappropriately hard goblins.

Veiled Fury Entertainment will also be releasing the adventure at the end of the show, so if you fancy adding another Saga of the Goblin Horde One Sheet to your collection, make sure you tune in!

Monday, 12 June 2017

Saga of the Goblin Horde: Updated Quick Start

Earlier this month I released some Quick Start rules for the Swift d12 version of Saga of the Goblin Horde, which covered the game rules and character creation. The problem is it was mostly crunch, so anyone wishing to use the setting still needed to reference the Savage Worlds version of the player's guide. It also made the PDF feel pretty dry.

So I decided to sandwich the crunch between the introduction and the gazetteer. Then for good measure, I added Dungeon Squat to the end as an introductory adventure, and included six of the archetypes as pregenerated characters.

The end result is a standalone Quick Start book that contains everything you need to introduce the Saga of the Goblin Horde setting and run a play test using the Swift d12 system.

Get it here: Saga of the Goblin Horde Quick Start

If you're interested in following the progress of the Saga of the Goblin Horde setting, there's Facebook group for it here. If you're more interested in the Swift d12 system, there's a Google+ community for it here.

Saturday, 3 June 2017

Saga of the Goblin Horde: Swift d12 Quick Start Rules

Last month I threw together a streamlined "Lite" edition of the Swift d12 system, which reduced the full rules down to around 10% of their original size (!). After some consideration I decided that I rather like the simplified solution, at least in the short term - it's tighter, dropping and/or merging many of the bulkier and unfinished sections, and it's simpler and easier to understand, but it still retains the same general feel.

Saga of the Goblin Horde was always intended to be a fairly small setting, and I think it would be better served by a smaller set of rules. That certainly doesn't mean I'm throwing the full Swift d12 system away, I could easily see an expanded ruleset being a better fit for some of the other settings I have planned in the future. But I won't ever reach that point if I can't convince people to try out my system, and I think a lighter set of rules will be a much easier sell.

So, going back to the streamlined version, I decided to polish it and expand it into a set of quickstart rules, which you can download here:


There are 5 pages of rules, and 1 page of character creation, followed by 3 pages of Flaws and 2 pages of Feats. It might seem a bit odd to have so many Feats and Flaws, but they're an essential part of creating interesting characters, and without them the character creation rules felt wishy-washy and uninspiring.

I'm still trying to decide how best to deal with equipment. Right now weapons and armor just get a brief overview, as the plan is to cover them in more detail in a separate chapter. But for the quickstart rules, perhaps one extra page for gear would be appropriate.

Saturday, 27 May 2017

Blackwood: Only a couple of days left to back the Kickstarter!


There are only a couple of days left on the Blackwood Kickstarter, so if you've not backed it yet, what are you waiting for? If you're on the fence, you can download the free Year in the Blackwood bundle, which contains a setting primer, 6 pregenerated characters, and 4 One Sheet adventures - easily enough to get a feel for the setting, and run a few adventures for your group. Backers also get immediate access to the working draft of the setting.

The Blackwood is a fantasy setting that might best be described as the Brothers Grimm meets Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. I had the pleasure of designing a few of their Edges and Hindrances, and also did the layout work for a couple of their One Sheets, so I'm pleased to see the Kickstarter has reached its funding goal. However if the appropriate stretch goals are reached, I'll also be writing a Blackwood adventure, and designing their Campaign Deck!

So make sure you check it out if you think it might be your sort of setting; if you wait until it hits DTRPG, the stretch goals may never get reached.

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Swift d12: Thoughts on the Staggered condition

I've been thinking some more about streamlining the modifiers in Swift d12, trying to remove any that aren't strictly necessary, and one that really comes to mind is the Staggered condition. Characters frequently become Staggered in combat, giving them a -2 penalty to their rolls, so it's something that often has to be subtracted from ability checks. During play testing, it sometimes felt quite obtrusive.

However simply dropping the penalty would make the Staggered condition far less significant, noticeably impacting other parts of the game (such as stunts). So I started trying to think of alternatives, and here's a possible solution I'm toying with:

Staggered characters do not suffer any penalties to their ability checks, however they no longer recover automatically. Instead, the character remains Staggered until they spend an action to recover (Champions lose one action die, but can still perform a standard action with their remaining die).

Recovery is optional, so a character can choose to remain Staggered if they wish, however if they don't recover they will be more vulnerable to further attacks (because they'll be easier to wound). This should speed up most combat encounters, as the GM can simply leave cannonfodder foes Staggered (they'll go down faster, and won't suffer -2 to their attacks).

Players are more likely to choose to recover, but as PCs are Champions they'll still be able to take an action (albeit with a single action die), so it won't feel like "stun lock".

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Swift d12: Musings about modifiers

One of the minor niggles I ran into while play testing Swift d12 was all the different modifiers players need to add together. Savage Worlds has this issue too, but it's less severe because of things like the die step traits (instead of modifiers) and using a derived stat for Parry. I also have the issue of Staggered incurring a -2 penalty, which is another thing to add on.

A few people have expressed a dislike of the Swift d12 complication mechanic, so I've been pondering ways I might make it more intuitive. One of the ideas I considered was rolling 3d6 and keeping the lowest, middle or highest result for a minor, moderate or major complication.

While googling for similar mechanics, I stumbled across a discussion about Shadow of the Demon Lord, which uses "boons" and "banes" to represent advantages and disadvantages. Each situational bonus grants a boon die, and each situational penalty grants a bane die, and the two cancel each other out. So if you had three bonuses and one penalty, you would roll two bane dice (2d6) and keep the highest. This is apparently quite a popular approach, although the modifiers are a bit high for my d12-based system.

However rolling 3d6 and applying the lowest, middle or highest die result (as a minor, moderate or major advantage or disadvantage respectively) could be a better fit, roughly comparable with a 2, 3 or 5 point bonus/penalty.

Advantage/Disadvantage

The basic idea of this mechanic is to simplify bonuses and penalties. Instead of tracking lots of variable modifiers for things like lighting, range, cover, etc, most situations would simply grant an advantage or disadvantage (with a few situations granting a double advantage or disadvantage), and these could be listed in the rules as well as on a cheat sheet.

You would gain an advantage when...
  • Making a close combat attack against a prone target.
  • Attacking a foe who is using an improvised weapon (including unarmed) when you are using a proper weapon.
  • Surprising a foe in combat.
  • Etc...

You would suffer a disadvantage when...
  • Making a ranged attack against a prone target.
  • You are Staggered or Stunned.
  • Poor lighting makes it difficult to see what you're doing (double disadvantage in pitch darkness)
  • Your foe has cover (double disadvantage when they have heavy cover)
  • Your foe is at medium range (double disadvantage when they are at long range)
  • You are using an improvised weapon (including unarmed) to attack a foe who is using a proper weapon.
  • Your foe is being flanked by another hostile character.
  • You are jogging the same turn you're performing the action.
  • Etc...

And of course the GM could apply a situational advantage/disadvantage, in much the same way they might normally apply a situational modifier.

So if you fired an arrow at an opponent behind cover (disadvantage) at short range, you'd roll 3d6 and apply the lowest die result as a penalty to your action. If they were behind cover at medium range, you'd roll 3d6 and apply the middle die result, and if you were also Staggered you'd roll 3d6 and apply the highest die result.

The dice would be rolled at the same time as the action dice (i.e., as a dice pool) so you wouldn't need to make separate rolls. In the case of Minions, a single set of 3d6 could be rolled at the same time as a group of Minions, with the result applied to all of them, so once again there wouldn't need to be any separate rolls.

Of course you'd still need to add up the advantages and disadvantages, but there are fewer of them (two levels of lighting instead of four, etc), and the process is split into two steps - first you calculate whether you have a minor, moderate or major advantage or disadvantage, then you make the ability check.

Previously an attack might be calculated by rolling your action dice, adding your Melee, subtracting their Melee, then subtracting 2 because you're Staggered, adding 2 because they're prone, and subtracting 2 because you jogged to reach them.

But now you'd split the process into two steps:

Step 1: One disadvantage (you're Staggered) + one advantage (they're prone) - one disadvantage (you jogged) = minor disadvantage.

Step 2: Roll your action dice, add your Melee, subtract their Melee, and apply a minor disadvantage.

I'm still not sure how I feel about this idea, but I do think it might be worth testing out.

Monday, 22 May 2017

Swift d12 Lite: Streamlined Edition

I recently took a look at some testdrive rules for a new RPG, and my immediate thought was "that's a lot to read". My second thought was "I bet other people feel exactly the same way about Swift d12". So I started wondering how viable it would be to create a massively streamlined version of the Swift d12 system that still retained the general flavor of the system.

Download here: Swift d12 Lite

Because Swift d12 Lite is designed to be an introduction to the full system, I didn't want to remove anything essential - I wanted a system that still retained the general feel of the full game. However I think a set of rules that fit onto half a dozen pages is far less intimidating for a new player. Such a small system would be ideal for micro-settings like Just Insert Imagination's Fuhgeddaboudit or Aliens vs Rednecks, where it could be included as part of the download, giving the customer a full standalone game.

The document is still pretty rough at the moment, but the idea is to fit character creation onto one page, and the rest of the system onto four or five pages, perhaps with some GM guidelines at the end. Once I'm happy with the content, I'll give it the proper layout treatment. I think this could be much more appealing to potential playtesters, and some people may even prefer the lighter rules over a more detailed book.

To give credit where it's due, I also drew inspiration from Frank Turfler's Savage Dungeons rules, which are a streamlined version of Savage Worlds (although in his case you still need the full rulebook to play).

Monday, 15 May 2017

Buccaneer: Through Hell & High Water for Savage Worlds

Fans of "Pirates of the Caribbean" should keep an eye out for the new Kickstarter from Fabled Environments and Yellow Piece Games, which is due to launch tomorrow. Fabled Environments have produced some interesting settings in the past, but they're also known for publishing detailed maps, which hopefully means the setting will include some great custom maps.

They've also hired Rick Hershey of Fat Goblin Games to do the artwork! Rick is one of my favorite RPG artists (he also created most of the artwork for Saga of the Goblin Horde).

The team includes Savage Worlds veterans Christopher "Savage Bull" Landauer and Chris "Savage Mommy" Fuchs from the SavageCast podcast, so the mechanics should be solid - I know they've discussed in the past that they plan to treat ships as characters (Savage Space did the same thing, and it worked exceptionally well, so I definitely think they're on to something). Apparently they also have some interesting new rules for ship battles.

The 50 Fathoms setting never really did it for me (although the Plot Point Campaign itself was well designed, I didn't like the thematic blend of Earth nationalities in a fantasy world), while Pirates of the Spanish Main feels a bit dated (probably because it's ten years old, and was designed as a standalone product, so it still uses a much older version of the rules). I think a good pirate setting is well overdue, so I'm interested to see what comes of the project.

Hopefully we'll get to see more teasers as the Kickstarter progresses!

EDIT: The Kickstarter has now launched, check it out here!


Monday, 8 May 2017

Designing your own Savage Worlds Setting

I've released well over 30 PDFs in the last five years, most of them for Savage Worlds, but my early products had pretty crude trade dress - they were simply exported Word documents, and used free low-resolution artwork.

Back in October 2015 I decided it was time to step up my game, as my plan is to eventually move into self-publishing. I started researching how to design a setting book, and recorded my findings in a series of 20 blog posts.

Originally I provided a links to these blog posts on the Pinnacle forums, but the forums have been down for quite a while now, and not all of my recent work is specific to Savage Worlds so I figured it made sense to post a new summary here for easier reference.


In my first post on setting design I describe the process I use for creating fan supplements, and discuss the importance of content, layout design, font selection, cover and interior design, title and logo, and artwork.


This post takes a look at the layout of three of Pinnacle's newer settings (ETU, Lankhmar, and Rippers Resurrected). I provide a breakdown of the different sections in each book, showing how many pages are allocated to each section.


I provide some rough guidelines for which chapters and sections should be included in a setting book, along with an approximate word count range for each section.


An anonymous pricing comparison of 100 randomly selected Savage Worlds PDFs, with a brief look at the pricing used by Pinnacle.


Some thoughts about designing Plot Point Campaigns, and the difference between Plot Point Episodes and Savage Tales. I also discuss how to create a Plot Point Campaign by reverse engineering a TV show, and provide an example.


A comparison of Plot Point Episodes, Savage Tales and One Sheets, showing how (if you break it down) a Plot Point Campaign is really just a collection of One Sheets; if you can write a One Sheet, you can write a Plot Point Campaign.


My third blog post about designing Plot Point Campaigns. This time I talk about choosing the overarching plot, and using it to build a Plot Point Summary. I've also included a detailed example for Drakonheim, showing how I might weave three threads into a central plot, and then break the story down into 10 Plot Point Episodes.


I briefly discuss the importance of having a good cover, and give an overview of how I went about getting my rough cover concept turned into a reality.


I talk about applying the CRAP Principle (Contrast, Repetition, Alignment and Proximity), and provide some suggestions for improving typography.


A detailed description of the process I use for writing One Sheets (which are essentially much the same thing as Savage Tales and Plot Point Episodes).


I show each step of the process as I transform a one-paragraph adventure overview into a second episode for my fictitious "Prophecy of Drakonheim" Plot Point Campaign.


I discuss the importance of geography, topography, and a good map, and share some thoughts about designing a smaller gazetteer based on the mini-setting concept.


I take a step back from my Saga of the Goblin Horde setting, to consider where it came from, where it stands, and where it might go next.


I discuss a mechanism for grid-based travel, with Savage Tales triggered by points of interest, combined with Plot Point Episodes based on the overarching storyline.


I take a look at the different styles and file formats for the Wild Card symbol, comparing the approach used in various setting books, and discussing their pros and cons.


Some musings on creating a gear chapter with multiple item illustrations, and how best to present the layout.


How to create a nicely illustrated bestiary without breaking the bank, with a look at different sources of inspiration, keeping the layout easy to read, and making the bestiary a source of adventure seeds.


A first-hand look at how a setting can evolve throughout the design process, particularly when it isn't fully fleshed-out in advance.


Many game settings include a world map, but a map isn't just aesthetic, it's also functional - in fact it's often one of the most important pieces of artwork in the book, referenced extensively throughout a campaign. But what sort of thought process goes into the creation of a map?


Before I release something there are a lot of things to double-check. In the past I would frequently have to make multiple releases to correct stuff I'd forgotten, but over time I've built up a checklist of things to look out for.

Thursday, 4 May 2017

Saga of the Goblin Horde: Campaign Overview

The Plot Point Campaign in Saga of the Goblin Horde follows the great war between humans and goblins, and the main story arc is divided into eleven Plot Point Episodes (previously ten, but I've since decided to add Head Hunters). I've discussed parts of the campaign before, and have already run playtests of the first four episodes, but I thought it was about time I gave a proper overview.

The first two Plot Point Episodes (Dungeon Squat and Tavern Crawl) are designed to be played back to back, and they help set the tone for the rest of the campaign. They're a bit like a two-part pilot in a TV show, introducing the players to the setting. After running these, the GM can start inserting their own adventures as usual.

The third and fourth Plot Point Episodes (Head Hunters and Kick Off) trigger the great war, and should be run fairly close together, so the Game Master should move on to them once the players are ready for the main story arc to begin. After running these adventures, the Game Master starts using the War Clock to track the progress of the human assault.

The next five Plot Point Episodes are triggered by the War Clock, and cover the five major stages of the human assault against the goblin horde, while the final two Plot Point Episodes (Slay Day and Let Sleeping Gods Lie) conclude the campaign, and are designed to be run back to back.

War Clock

The War Clock is a mechanism I designed for tracking the escalation of the war. After Kick Off the Game Master can run Savage Tales or One Sheets, or use the Campaign Deck to generate their own adventures, but at the end of each such adventure the War Clock must be updated to reflect how murderous and destructive the goblins were during their last mission.

The later Plot Point Episodes are marked on the War Clock, and when one is reached the Game Master is supposed to run it for the next session. Thus the more violent the goblins behave, the sooner the humans will launch their next major assault. 

Plot Point Summary

Here is a short summary of  the Plot Point Episodes.

Episode 1: Dungeon Squat
A large party of particularly aggressive adventurers has been raiding goblin warrens along Hightree Ridge, attacking the weak borderland goblins with increasing frequency, and they are becoming far too big for their boots. Chief Bignose of the Redfang tribe dispatches a few gang bosses to set an ambush in one of the goblin dens, to teach the humans a lesson.

Episode 2: Tavern Crawl
Once the adventurers have been dealt with, the goblin bosses are tasked with addressing the source of the problem: the frontier town where the humans came from. Adventurers always love to kick back and relax between massacres, squandering their stolen loot on fermented drinks. But how are they going to do that if all the taverns have been destroyed?

Episode 3: Head Hunters
Recruitment has been slacking lately, and the Redfang tribe needs more cannon fodder. Chief Bignose also wants some impressive new war trophies for his collection, so he decides to hold a double headhunting contest. The bosses are tasked with headhunting new recruits for the tribe, and headhunting some new heads to decorate the chief's tent.

Episode 4: Kick Off
One of the goblin gangs recovered a very round human head from their last foray across the border, and they’ve decided it’s the perfect shape to use as a ball for a bit of competitive sport. However what they didn’t know is that the head belonged to the king’s sole heir, who had been sowing his oats along the frontier, making the most of his youth before settling down to his responsibilities.

Episode 5: Short Straw
The mountain humans have been holed up in their mines for decades, but as the attacks against the goblin horde ramp up, the stocky little humans finally decide to make their move. Bursting from their underground hideouts, they attempt to secure a foothold along the Northern River, paving the way for future attacks.

Episode 6: Ship Shape
The orcs are a seafaring race, and many of them take advantage of their special arrangement with the sea goblins, trading with civilizations across the Endless Ocean. However several enterprising captains have recently found a far easier way to turn a profit – by transporting squads of human troops, and dropping them off along the western shore.

Episode 7: Forest Fury
Several months ago, the Treebiter tribe was wiped out by the forest humans in a vicious, unprovoked attack against the goblins. Now the woodland folk are on the march once again, their scouts spreading throughout Shadowglade Forest as they begin their invasion into the goblin lands.

Episode 8: Fighting Fire with Ice
Squads of human thugs mounted on fire drakes begin launching raids across the goblin lands, burning down villages and sending the goblins fleeing for their lives. The chief sends the gang bosses to seek the aid of the Icerunner tribe, for it is said they have tamed many of the wild griffins that build their nests on the peaks of the Longtooth Mountains, and with flying steeds of their own, the goblins should stand a fighting chance.

Episode 9: Green Vaccine
Goblinoids and ogrekin start falling sick as a terrible plague sweeps the land, and this is one foe the goblins are ill-equipped to deal with. Following a lead from a priest of the Sleeping God, the gang bosses must travel to Windpoint Island and attempt to unlock the secrets of the ancient fortress, in the hope of finding a cure.

Episode 10: Slay Day
The main human army now marches across Hightree Ridge, moving through a rocky pass along the eastern side of the goblin lands. Tens of thousands strong, the human soldiers are disciplined and well-equipped, and they’re heading directly for the Spire of Flame.

Episode 11: Let Sleeping Gods Lie
As the battle rages in and around the Scorched Basin, the Spire of Flame ignites, and fire shoots up into the heavens. The sky darkens overhead as ominous storm clouds gather, and Blacktear Lake begin to churn as something huge stirs beneath the surface. The fate of the tribes will now be decided!