Monday 30 November 2020


 "A salute to the moon, gentlemen..."

Nobody knows what Thieflings are, all anyone can say is that they wear black masks and striped white shirts, that they carry things away in sacks, that they steal for the joy if it and that they revere, and perhaps serve, The Master Thief.


'The Thieflings' is a kind of club made up largely of Foxes, Racoons, Magpies, Chimney Sweeps, Tinkers and various others. It is a league dedicated to extraordinary crimes.

(Not Dogs. Dogs are never Thieflings).

When the moon is gibbous, the Thieflings gather in a secret place.

First they put on their finest gear and their magical masks. Then in a place different each time, perhaps often the cellar beneath a pub, a wizards basement or a Draculas attic, they come together and  toast each other in cups of dew and dandelion wine, giving each other grave nods and sly winks above the rims of their drinks.

Here there is always a window through which the moon might be seen, a long table at which the Thieflings sit, a portrait of The Master Thief with a brass plaque reading Our Patron and outside the area is hung a wooden sign bearing the words The Thieflings, and a long cord with a bell.

This is done to bawd the enemies of the Thieflings. If the bell is ever rung it means their meeting place is discovered and whomever enters next may be a mortal foe, or a very superior thief.

Each Thiefling tells the story of their theft and, if successful, presents the purloined loot, to cries of 'huzzah!' and 'neatly done!', placing it on the stage or table, visible to all, and balancing an empty champagne glass atop.

Before moon disappears in the sky, all the Thieflings vote by flicking pebbles across the room into the glass atop the loot produced by their favourite crime. Pebbles that miss and glasses which are unbalanced or knocked over are discounted, so it behoves the Thief in question to impress not the greatest number of thieflings, but the most skilled amongst them. An unskilled vote is hardly a vote at all.

The matter at question is only partly the value of the stolen loot, (though more valuable things are likely to be more fiercely guarded), but the originality, courage, boldness and audacity of the theft. Stealing from the poor is little regarded, not because it is wrong but because the poor have few resources with which to defend their property.

The winner is then acclaimed as one of the 'Chief Thief' and one of the 'Thieves of the Year' (the same individual cannot win more than once a year so there are always twelve, one for each month), and all Thieflings gather to 'salute the moon', after which they each hurl a cup of butterscotch or ginger beer into the shadows 'for the patron!'.


The masks of the Theiflings are curious items. Anyone wearing one can speak, even if they are a fox, or even a spider, and is impossible to identify or name except using the most general of physical characteristics.

So one might point to "The Many-Limbed Lady" or "The Bush-Tailed Gentleman" but one would not be able to say for certain if the individual being described was a Fox or a Spider. Even if it was explained later all that would remain in memory would be the idea of a very civil fellow with a bushy tail.

The reason the Thieflings all wear a striped jersey when carrying out their crimes is so that if they are seen, no-one will be able to identify them as anything other than; "the fellow in the striped jersey". But they will know, amongst themselves, that a Thiefling has carried out the crime. 

by Tillinghast

Obviously, the addition of language skills to simple animals, and the inability to correctly identify them, either as animals or even individuals, opens a wide range of possibilities for thieflings so far as crime goes. A spider could pretend to be a governess, a Fox engage in financial fraud, a Raccoon might become a pirate or a magpie rob a bank.

There are no specific rules about the use of force, but 'icing rubes' is considered poor sport, unless the theft is extremely audacious, or more preferably, if the use of force is threatened through illusion, or used to distract from a deeper theft.

Holding up a bank with a Banana for instance, is "a very neat hand, very neat", but holding up a bank with a Banana, having the place besieged by the Law and then escaping through the sewers to rob the confectioners across the street is "A Master Stroke".


One never knows if a particular animal is a thiefling or not. Membership is secret and they do not discuss such matters amongst themselves. One may see one animal giving another 'the eye', or a lady with a long nose greeting a gentleman in a red fur coat curious nod, but can you really be certain?
As to their relationship to their patron, The Master Thief, even less is known. It seems likely that he, (or she, or them), would approve of the Theiflings motivations at least. It also seems likely that they are the source of the Theiflings masks


Getting your stuff back from the Theiflings;

What do they even do with it?

The final destination of the Loot varies a great deal. Technically this months 'Chief Thief' wins all the loot which all contesting Thieflings presented that night.

Its customary for them to agree for various items to be auctioned off, ransomed back or sold in order to cover the costs of all the ginger beer, fresh dew, continually moving the clubhouse etc, so you might get it back that way. Of course your goods might also end up being sold to a powerful being..

The 'Chief Thief' might also just keep whatever it was.

Becoming a Theifling

Of course animals all know about the Thieflings, but when’s the last time you spoke to one?

Still, if one carries out a few truly remarkable crimes, you might be invited to join the Thieflings (the sign is a black mask being left on your pillow).

You could also try tracing the Thieflings to their den for this month (if you think you know who some might be), and actively stealing your own goods back from right under their noses. Should you achieve that act it shall be you who is acclaimed 'Chief Thief' and a 'Thief of the Year' and invited with the other eleven Great Thieves to the Midsummer Ball where one will take part in the great contest of the 'Thief of Thieves', and perhaps the winner will be great enough to out-steal The Master Thief themselves?

Friday 27 November 2020


Is it time for another 'Library Post'? Perhaps it is. Don't worry, content after the links



Alright, I have a whole bunch of low-level threats, the ones that get sent out to steal your Goose and mess with you, what I need more of is the MasterMinds behind the operation, the 'Big Bad'.

Lets see what I can rapidly brainstorm...


From the 'Herbie' Comic Book

Base concepts; tear in space, surreal frankenmonster, Morrisons Doom Patrol, formless being, Mr Mytzelpyk, Fairytale wish-delivering creature with nebulous but dangerous powerset, a strange motivation and a Highly Specific defeat clause.

I imagine a Creature from the Unknown to be quite lonely and existential, as its from the Unknown and doesn't know what it is. Very possibly childlike and wishing to know who, what and why it is.

In this case, the main challenge for the PCs would be surviving the Creatures strange moods and either performing some kind of detective thing to work out what it is or, more interesting, performing a kind of counterpoint detective adventure/persuasion performance to give the Creature from the Unknown an identity and place.

That could be something as simple as being a Baker or something. Or a Cow.

I suppose this is the GG&G version of a 'Demon', something from totally outside this reality. But what it, instead of being inimical or destructive to our reality, beings from beyond it were just neutral, or anxious, or terribly incomprehensibly strange.

That might mean that the Creature from the Unknown could be effected by others perceptions and views on it. PCs might think the local Goblins are working for a giant super-goblin or Horned Goblin, but in fact they just encountered a Creature from the Unknown and, since they both fear and desire a villainous dominant ruler, that's what they got. But in reality the creature itself is simply playing a role.

There is opportunity there for some sort of potential didactic lesson about identity and assumptions, which usually I loathe but it might actually work.

Since the Goblins will talk up the power horror and cunning of the 'Horned Goblin' when they speak to PCs, when they PCs meet it, if they believed the goblins, the Creature will become more like that, more powerful and monstrous. But if they don't believe them, or encounter the Creature by chance, or in different circumstances, they might appear to be quite different.

Needs more activity really. 

A lot of non-evil outsiders are tricksters so maybe some of that could be added in.

The Creature being a supreme version of whatever encounters it, or a nightmare enemy of whatever first encounters it, has potential.

Concept to be worked on I suppose.

Maybe it always has something horned or ridiculous about it, like very googly eyes or something.

Maybe they are always BLUE?


No I am absolutely not going to leave this idea alone

What was the original??

" The Crime bird.  Its beak is prized as a lock pick, it picks pockets, pillages houses and roosts on stolen jewellery, trading up whenever it can, the lesser stuff stashed in obscure nooks. Why is it not long dead? For one , it voids itself on its stolen goods, imparting a stink near impossible to remove, and secondly its beak, originally evolved to pluck deep borrowing rock worms, will take a eye out faster than you would believe. Lastly and most importantly ; it is a complete and utter cunning shit of a bird."

I mean this is pretty much perfect as it is but we already have a trillion stealing-creatures and I kind of need this to be a boss Sooo

Instead of a Thief it’s now a boss of reluctant thieves. Now it’s retired and a bit plumper and fatter, more ragged feathers, just as cunning and nasty, but now boastful and braggardly with its cowed underlings. Like a much more abusive Fagan figure.

Can definitely have a buff waistcoat now, possibly a pipe.

Crossing a crow with a shoebill with a living lockpick with a regency 'John Bull you sah? Me sah? Well I'll be demned for a dashed daigo do ye take me for a milkmaid sah? For a pauperish pennysniffle? Eh? Why that eye sir, is mine, and I mean to have it demn you sir, demn your toes! - type figure.

Just much more abusive, bullies and terrorises its underlings, shits on all wealth, rules over a stinking black roost, LOVES crime, always up for a sneaky deal and always ready for a backstab. Sends Goblins out to get it stuff so it can shit on it, will probably try to shit on your Goose. Maybe the only creature terrible enough that it would ever dare to think of such a thing.


Classic Ravenloft Strahd

Does much need to be said? Lives in a castle. Possibly has a double-identity. has a SHITLOAD of built-in powers. Wants to take over the world and will drink the blood of a Goose to do so.

Definitely tragically in love with some dead person who happens to look exactly like someone the PCs have happen to met in the Village or somewhere.

Moons around really, but in a cool looking goth way. More stalks around. Keeps its underlings in line with hypnotic powers, personal charisma, fear and the fact that apart from the Blood-Drinking the Dracula is actually a pretty OK boss. Doesn’t want to destroy the world, just rule it.

Kind of a cultured and interesting person to talk to, probably likes the PCs because they have spunk. Shows up a lot to bawd and toy with them before disappearing and turning into gas or a bat or something.

Weak in sunlight, dies in *double-sunlight* (you need something as bright as the sun, like the worlds yellowest cheese or most beautiful flower or a shard of fallen lightning. But even when they die, they just turn to ash and of course, they will rettuuuuuurn whOOOooOO.

I will not miss the opportunity to put goth girls on this blog

Probably not that arsed about being killed. Doesn't really hold a grudge but definitely wants that Goose. And will not make the same mistakes twice.

May be the Pawnbroker, who wears dark glasses and sits way at the back of the shop with smokey windows.


Obviously this should be a Queen of Ghosts, but there is no reason that they shouldn't also be the Ghost OF a Queen.

Probably what happens is if a Queen is killed by her King, whether that’s her Husband, Father or some kind of complex regency situation has taken place, then she is double-Queened, just like in chess. Made a Queen once while alive and then Queened AGAIN by being killed by a King who was also HER King.

Or maybe she has to be killed by a Royal Ghost, meaning double-ghost, double queen??? That would be interesting since to de-ghost her you would need to find the ghost that killed her and de-ghost that so that’s a nice chain of problems, and since that ghost was a royal ghost, likely it will involve you in some pretty crazy politics.

Since mortals and Ghosts have separate and different hierarchal structures (the Ghost one is complex, based on memory, age, tragedy etc) and the Ghost Queen now occupied both roles (sort of), she is now obeyed by all Ghosts (apart from the Ghost of a Sinister Pig). (As well as causing trouble for anyone who became Queen after her as many of her old living subjects (or their descendants) will still obey her if she spooks through a room or something.

This would be something like a 'King across the water' situation where there is this whole other line of descent that people valorise because they were backstabbed but also because they aren't really around to annoy them right now. Except in this case, it isn't a line of living people but one Ghost.

The Ghost Queen would be beautiful and imperious, tragic and quite mad. Ghosting around in her Ghost Palace (?). Maybe a palace of glass or mist or something that forms in fog from a still lake or exists in the reflection of the world in a drop of dew hanging eternally from one particular leaf in one particular tree but you don't know which one.

She wants the Goose because it is a fundamentally royal creature and should obviously be with her as the most royal and important person there is. Now in the ghost-world its eggs will lay Ghost Geese and she will fly on these to the Castle and retake her throne.

Dealing with her would have all the difficulty of dealing with a super ghost, a bunch of lesser ghosts AND all the living people who still kind of think that really she kind of is the Queen after all maybe just let her have the Goose.


You know what’s with this guy? He's really fucking big and kinda dumb and pretty nasty and will just beat the shit out of anyone. I mean he will flip the fuck out man.

Look at the folds
A lovely 3D model, available here 

There is really nothing good about the Ogre. He isn't even really rich like the Rude Orcs, he's just a fucking prick.

His servant creatures serve him totally out of fear (apart from a few fucked up ones who seem to be into it). 

He has no taste, no complex motivations, no twisted background. He just wants stuff because he wants stuff and he will punch and scream at his peons until they get him the stuff that he wants. You can't really argue with him because he’s too stupid and aggressive. I WANT IT BECAUSE I FUCKIN' WANT IT JESUSFUKINKRYST DO I HAVTADOEVERYTHINRHANDERE!!!!???? I KHANTFUKINBELEEVIT JUST GET ME DAFUKINGOOOSE!!!!!

He is totally planning to try eating the Goose. Will it work? Who knows? He's not even really planning it he's just gonna do it.

Less manipulative clever and inherently scary than the Crime Bird. Won't lie intelligently, turn you against each other, tell you he has your own best interests at heart and that of course you can trust him JUSTGETMEHTHAFUKIN GOOOOOOSE!!

Also too lazy to actually go out and do stuff themselves, just rolls around in a dirty bed surrounded by bottles and takeaway food and threatens their underlings to go down the shops and rob them.

Presumably the Ogre is ensconced in some place, or sitting on something of great value and needfulness to its underlings, or there is some other reason that they can't just move away from him.


We already have something for her don't we? What do we have?

"So - if her house is in the Sky, and her power comes from the Sky, then presumably if you are *under* things, like roofs and trees and under the earth or under your bed, then her power is limited.

How does the Sky Witch come down from the sky? Presumably with a Sky Ladder, so if you can find that ladder (and its glass, to keep it secret, and so heavy people can't get up it) then you can find the Witches Sky-House.

She wears and very heavy hat, which squashes her down, and heavy shoes, to keep her on the ground so you can spot her in disguise that way, and if you can trick her into taking off the hat and shoes then she will float away, up into the sky again. (But she will hold a grudge). Also she might grab someone on the way up so you will have to go and rescue them."

Ok a Witch who lives in the Clouds and who might be watching you from them is pretty good.

Witch powers already give her a wide variety of ways to manipulate and affect the local populations of Goblins etc. She can give them things they want, like magic spells and special foods, manipulate them with lies and tricks and just straight up fucking terrify them.

And because she lives in the sky even they don't know really and entirely where she is. Finding her servants won't necessarily mean you find her.

Inversion here is that typically underground creatures, who might be trouble the rest of the time, are pretty good at hiding from the Sky Witch and could be useful allies against her. The Sky Witch would not like going underground too far from the sky.

She has a bird-legged house but instead of walking around on chicken feet the house flies around and has eagle claws which it uses to swoop down and grab people, and in fact, whole houses, and carries them away and possibly feasts on them somewhere, or just drops them for fun. If she does that to your house you would need to climb up on your own roof, climb up the claws into her house and find some way to make her put your house back.

Also there could be the mystery of the disappearing houses. the village wakes up to find one just gone... Maybe they moved away?

Why does she want the Goose? For its feathers presumably, and she will place its golden egg atop her hat to keep her weighted down when she strides about the earth.


Yes I am stealing from that Isikai and no I haven't watched it.

Look, just google 'slime isekai', its pretty popular

It’s just a slime, but it is a natural leader, a hero even, but a hero for MONSTERS! You've got a goddamn monster revolutionary on your hands, building a lair, unifying the local creatures, planning on taking over!

And King Slime doesn't collect followers or motivate them through fear (except for maybe very occasionally when he absolutely has to) but instead by being a Responsible Leader who does things in the Interests of his Community. Yes just like the Clone Wars, there are 'heroes on both sides'.

Soon there will be a whole Monster Village.. actually this is too fun not to do or allow to happen. Its still going to be a massive problem though since these creatures do not recognise your Goose Rights, or any rights really, they are a revolutionary culture!

What does it mean when the monsters also have a society, and a noble heroic leader who is an innocent Slime? Can you really argue with their desire for a world of their own?

Probably the PCs are going to want to join the growing monster nation. Ok this is going to be a complex one to see play out. What happens if the Slime absorbs someone you know and kinda like? 

What happens to the slime? What happens when I am sued by Crunchyroll???

The King Slime is just going to keep getting more and more powerful and gaining more and more powers. Surely this is going to be a serious problem at some point.


By M. Broom / HatisWorst

That pig was evil as shit to begin with, and now it has the spooky powers of an undead??

Basically a Chaos-Terrorist in the form of a Spectral Pig. Likely the most truly-evil of all the possibly Top Monsters as it really has no desires apart from Chaos and Horror itself. Joker Stuff baby! Heath Ledger Joker rather than the others.

Actually in a game for children that might be a mistake. Ok depending on the Age range of the players could be anywhere from Ceasar Romero Joker to Jack Nicholson to low-key Heath Ledger Joker.

And it doesn’t dress up like the Joker or even look like him I'm just describing the aims, strategies, tactics and moral outlook here.

Really the Ghost of the Sinister Pig should looks spectral, looming, awful, somehow hollow inside while retaining the foul massy roundness of a Pig. Its grin and human expressions add to the horror.

Probably it has plans to drive everyone mad.

I may have made an error here as I already have The Worlds Most Evil Dog as a potential supervillain-level threat. I guess maybe the Dog can be a Lone Operator, one dog against the world, while the Ghost of the Sinister Pig will actually try to put together some kind of terror group, gathering servants, radicalising Goblins to its cause, turning them against each other until only the most crazed and frightening remain. 

This is not to mention the Ghost of the Sinister Pig retaining all its Ghostly Powers, like floating around, spooking people, maybe turning them old and white with fear. Together with an innate control over pig products like gammon, sausages, pork pies etc, these being the flesh of its kind. Huge sausage-golems.. Also has control over sausage dogs due to a technicality, seven black sausage dogs are the heralds of its apocalypse.

Really, in a sense, we might be talking about a vegetarian message here. The Pig *is* evil but we do eat them, so if it forms a nightmare world of grease and black pudding to terrorise us, do we really have grounds to complain?

EDIT - oh my fucking god Pig Products make Glycerin for explosives, violin strings and brushes, violins that play themselves and brushes painting by themselves, American Footballs that bounce themselves and drums that bang themselves.

The Master Thief

Nope, that was not the Master Thief

This is a complex and difficult one. Hard to integrate into an adventure.

Pretty much everything in GG&G is a potential thief, the ability and willingness to steal your Goose, and ability to do so is a key element for inclusion. So what difference does it make if there is a Master Thief?

A Thief that never gets caught, that's so good they can't be caught.

Would they even have a gang, or a lair. Well they would have to have a lair to store all their ill-gotten gains. Their gang might be Thieflings, whatever those are. (Little black fox-men?)

Another supervillain character, this one more like Phantomas, mainly into pulling heists, largely for the pleasure of it rather than pure greed. (Though they will still keep the stuff in their lair of wonders).

The Master Thief would be as happy to steal from the Village, the Wilds, or from you.

This might be the opportunity for a kind of sherlock holmes detective adventure in which its more of a game of puzzles and tricks rather than like a real crime.

I feel certain there should be The Master Thief in the Game, and maybe they should even be someone in the village in disguise. But probably not a main villain for the players to oppose. They would be more like an element of the world, ghosting through it, effecting things, causing drama, guards chasing them across rooftops etc. Playing a part in a larger drama beyond the intrigues of this small village. Not necessarily an ally of the players but not an inherent enemy either. Just a black-clad figure on a rooftop, in an ally, tipping their hat as a clue is found or a discovery made, and perhaps while the players were getting their Goose back, the Master Thief was about their own scheme, in which the PCs played an unwitting part.

Tuesday 24 November 2020


 Ok gang, lets get Goblining! (again)


Goblins in Gas-Masks and long black coats. They knock you out, steal your things and draw on your face.

Are we talking here goblins which use gas or Goblins which ARE gas?

We are talking both. But the Goblin Gas the Gas Goblins use is actually made from Goblins. That’s why its so scheming and mischievous.

How do they do it? CYCLOTRONS. And cold fusion power.

Some would say that developing the ability to produce cold-fusion energy might make the gas goblins lords of the world but the only thing they ever use it for, the only thing it seems they can even conceive using it for, is to put Goblins in cyclotrons and transform them to a plasmic gas.

They have gas tanks and big hoovers they cart the gas goblins (the goblins turned into gas, the gaseous gas goblins) around in, and they train in specific skills and qualities as, when a goblin is transformed into gas, the gas itself retains the qualities of that goblin; sleepy goblins make sleepy gas, thieving goblins make stealing gas, which steals in the form of a hooded goblin ghost, clumsy goblins make tripping gas while greasy goblins make slipping gas, smelly goblins make stink gas, cunning goblins make brain gas, stealthy goblins make a sneaking gas, angry goblins make explosive gas grenades, ugly goblins make a binding gas etc. When they use a gas (gaseous) goblin they try to hoover them back up but can't always get them, or get all of them.

Obviously they fly around in balloons and little zeppelins which they disguise by painting a night sky on their bottoms, or by disguising them as the moon, (difficulties when more than one Gas-Goblin Captain tries to do this, also it enrages Moon Goblins, see below). The balloons and zeppelins are powered by big propellers driven by goblins pedalling on cranks, the crank goblins are jazzed up on a gas made from very athletic goblins, or simply frantic goblins, so they pedal faster. Maybe they could have just put the athletic goblins in the cranks in the first place but best not to question it really. Also they need grease to keep the cranks stealthy - GOOSE GREASE! That's right! That’s what they intend to do with your goose, either that or produce Goose Gas, whatever that is.

They abseil, bungee jump and parachute down onto the roofs of houses and connect their gas pipes to the chimneys, and probably the taps and toilet, and release their gasses into the house, and probably gas the geese individually.

Their greatest enemy is wind, so they only attack on still nights.


These Goblins literally grow, like corn or peas in a pod. Not clear if this is an actual goblin or some kind of plant imbued with goblinish sentience or something else.

They grow out in the fields like a weed, but they take on the qualities and appearance of whatever plant they grow near, both as a matter of camouflage and also just for the hell of it. Unlike most goblins they grow more active in daylight and summer, the light gets them really amped up, probably.

They are literally colonies of small dry goblins that can work as a swarm, like insect-sized goblins, moving about like sandman. Swarm goblins??? Yeah I guess that’s right, they can curl up as small as Peas, and live inside plants that look like pea-pods or corn stems, adapting themselves to whatever grain or legume is local to them, and then once they have grown enough, they all uncurl and pop out. And all together they may only be enough to power one to three goblin-sized bodies but they are a nightmare to stop as, being a granular hive organism, they can get in almost anywhere, send bits of themselves to spy on you, hide in your pockets... You  need a near air-tight seal to stop them.

These are seasonal though, becoming active in summer, but drying out and dying off in summer. Evil doers might deliberately garden fields of Grain Goblins, perhaps aiming at a summery world domination.


The Autumnal replacement for Grain Goblins. Unlike them, not a hive organism but a large tuberous goblin which grows like a pumpkin or watermelon with most of its body beneath the earth and its head disguised as a local gourd or tuber. Once awoken, or awakening in autumn, they writhe up out of the soil and set themselves to mischief.


Very slender tallish goblins, sometimes no wider than a fingerwidth and with a pointed head.

Green in colour, and wearing only green clothes, they are disguised by moving in groups and, when observed, staying utterly still so that at any reasonable distance, one would mistake them for a patch of tall grass, or reeds perhaps. Being quite flexible they can also climb in through narrow spaces, though they find this demeaning, being imperious, posh and superior goblins who actually mislike the use of their only real advantage, that of looking like grass.

Though they are also quite sharp, grabbing one hastily is difficult, you could get quite a cut, OW! They can also weave themselves together into large structures like chairs or tables and try to infiltrate that way. In winter and autumn they may change their clothes for wood bark armour, like tall thin knights and act as twig goblins, or stick goblins. Sometimes, suicidally brave, sneaking in as firewood or by pretending to be a walking stick.

Small black eyes. Refer to each other as 'magister' and 'my enlightened brethren'. Live together in old tree trunks which, as they are very thin, make a reasonable space for them.


These goblins are the slaves of a race of brutal, large, intelligent moles, supremely evil creatures who live beneath they earth and never come out. They force the Mole Goblins to dig for them, burrowing their tunnels and digging into bank vaults and pantries to steal for them.

The moles are well-designed for digging and the Goblins are not, but it boots them but little to dissent. The digging gives the mole goblins bad backs and the time underground makes them pale and black-eyed. They are terrified creatures, desperately afraid of disappointing their mole masters and are convinced that the moles can observe them everywhere they go... There is no escape!

Often covered with ground dirt, wearing ragged overalls and dungarees, sneaking about in darkness, capable of moving very large weights. They do brush up after themselves when they rob somewhere, which seem nice but is really more a matter of avoiding leaving clues.

The Mole Goblins are so ruined in spirit that they think they actually need the moles and are even afraid of life without them. They don't have names, just numbers and insults, like 'Stupid Ninety-Two' or 'Clumsy One'. The moles are too lazy and cowardly to do much with many of the treasures they gain from the Goblins generally just selling them on to more powerful creatures. (Like your Goose WHERE IS IT???)


I guess they have big round bald heads swollen with cheese gas and yellow eyes like round moons, and they don't really blink they just form crescent eyes.

they are very soft and silent and still, and quite sorrowful with long pale fingers with soft wide pads and wide splayed feet with toes a little like a frogs. (no-one wears shoes on the moon, it would damage the cheese). sharp splinters and rocks can be a challenge for them, their feet are very SOFT, if they stand on something sharp, like a lego, they don't cry out, being very silent creatures but they form such a sad pained face with their wide mouths and cry quicksilver tears which roll about, obviously they will always take any cheese you have, whatever else they have come for.

The moon Goblins believe they are at war with our world due to the fireworks, which, from there point of view, are fired at the moon on many occasions. When seen from the moon the bright multicoloured explosions fill the sky and the noise is very terrible, especially in such a quiet place as the moon. All for no reason they can make out, just pure unreasoning belligerence, hatred of the moon they say so they have no compunctions about stealing from our world.

I mean them being cheese thieves makes sense, in their lairs on the moon everything is built of cheese but there are no cows (since the terrible nuclear disaster when a cow tried to jump over the moon, millions of lives were lost) so they have to sneak down here to get it.

They can arrive by giant gun shell, by silver mirror, silver ladder, by dream, by the reflection of the moon in still water and by moth, the most common method. They will ride moths down from the moon and they will always come when the moon is at its thinnest crescent, as then is when they really need cheese. The moon being thin they need to build it back up again.

They operate by night mainly.

A local villain may have a treaty with the moon goblins. They are moon mercenaries, paid in cheese. They care little for the riches of the surface world, thinking it too bright and quite ugly compared to the great cheese palaces of the moon where everything is silver, gleaming yellow, soft and silent.

Thursday 19 November 2020

The Halls of Melinoe

 The Three Uneaten Things;
Our Lady Melinoe
The Saints
The Pure Food
all else is rightful flesh

Serve the Saints
Praise the pipes
Calm Our Lady Melinoe

Sacred are the Pipes
Sacred the Pure Food
All else is rightful flesh
What is strong cannot be eaten
what was eaten was not strong
Weak songs soothe not Melinoe
Weak souls serve not the Saints
Weak minds know not their place
Weak lips seeks the Pure Food
Weak was whatever was eaten
Strong was whatever did eat
Strength serves the Saints
And the strong song soothes Our Lady Melinoe

The Souls of Acheron (1898) by Adolf Hirémy-Hirschl

The Halls

Boundaries to the Halls exist throughout the Turning Palace of Queen Mab. They are places of low status; plastic laboratory curtains, hanging surgical wraps, failed airlocks and spark-sputtering juddering gates.

The rust smell, warmth and verdigris of the Halls infiltrates from its portals and if the dark warmth of the Halls meets a continual, or even regular, light source then green mossy lampenflora bloom in the boundary.

While the rest of the Palace can be fractured, anarchistic and often ruined, it is usually dry, often sterile and freezing as the cold fingers of winter press against its cell, here in Melinoes Halls, things are low, muggy, steamy black and hot. The warmth of compost or a butchers shop, home to strange plagues, rust and decay. The Halls stink. The ambient glitchfaries pixilate out and fracture in the air as the emitters which support them corrode away. Burning peat torches replace lamps and electric light disappears, except for a few flickering bulb maintained but rusty batteries.

The place roars and moans with the churning and gurgling of pipes which seem to speak. The pipes wrap the walls, hang from the ceiling, run across the floor and meet at odd junctions. Patched, dripping, gurgling and leaking, they are everywhere.

They smell and the whole Halls smell, visitors and high status residents burn incense to war with the stink.

All things flow and all things return to the Halls of Melinoe. Largely shit, piss, foul water, blood, rags of body parts, flushed experiments, dangerous chemicals, laboratory runoff, nuclear waste, used fuel rods.. Pipes spewing out rivers of filth with mudlarks poking through them, hunched cloaked figures like rabid men. Hydraulic Dominance - everything runs from the pipes, control of the pressures is all.

All are grieved in the Halls, it is a realm without joy, not even the smiling madness of the Courts of the Queens.


Difficult to tell the difference between kinds here. There is little pomp, all go ragged, cloaked and staggering. 

Yet they are strong. One must be strong to survive here, strong and useful. All may be eaten and the cannibalism which is indulged secretly or taboo in the rest of Mabs Palace is simple law in the Hall. Anyone may be eaten, except for the Three Uneaten Things, and the only protection is immediate strength and the revenge of a clan or a group. Either that or be too toxic to come near, too wasted, thin or diseased to be worth even cracking your bones or visibly insane enough to either worry or enthral the children of Melinoe.



'The Pure'. Barely verbal somewhat leperaous claimed descendants of the last human crew who escaped here in the Reign of the Queens. These primitivists eschew all forms of transhumanism, even those with a peg leg to replace one of the inevitable injuries will be ostracised. Proud of their blood purity, though likely horrifically inbred and who knows what gen-phages or alien proteins have worked on them over the years.

Traitor Beasts

Hardly traitors, but the Parliament of Beasts is so radical and revolutionary an institution that those who's politics remains still even for a week can find themselves on the wrong wing and may only escape the Guillotine by fleeing to the Halls. These cybernetically and genetically altered animals range from mere unfortunates to hardcore republicans who denied the Queens to a handful of Quixotic Faustian Human Supremacists.

Insect Men

At some point either a race of insectoid aliens, or a human/insect transhumanist experiment, or a bunch of alien eggs, got into, and were purged from. the rest of the Palace but survived in the Halls. These Mantis people have totally forgotten any other culture they used to know and are simply one of the peoples of Melinoe, occupying roles all over the place. They cannot breed without consuming a host but will contract with one to carry their eggs, this will kill them but up until that point they will be cared for and protected.

Engram Refugees

Bundles of digitised memory and personality fleeing the Court of Dreams by copying themselves into progressively worse and worse processor cores inside worse and worse mechanical bodies. Forecd to watch their old selves die as their current body corrodes in the damp, trying to hang onto the shape of who they once were, trading for rare electricity yet at least not food for most, many become Endothermic Knights

Failed Experiments

Who knows with this lot. The Queens make and re-make flesh, form, memory and mind as they will. Though most become their toys its possible that anything could turn up.

Raid Escapees

The raids of Her Grace of Wyrms on behalf of the Queens can bring back almost any kind of being from the biomes they attack and a few of these might escape the touch of the Queens or the Guillotines of the Parliament of Beasts, (or be allowed to escape). Mad seers, rusty war-bots, traumatised transhuman soldiers. One clan claims to be the President and Bodyguards of some colony world. Not that this means anything here/


One may choose to roam free and predate upon what one finds, but likely vengeance or chance will catch you eventually. Most find a role.

Hydraulic Monk 

Servants of the Church of Pipes. They carry  pipe staves which they bang and blow through lke digeridoos to show their authority and wear tattered robes stitched with half-recalled high-vis symbols, the only bright things in the torchlight. In charge of maintaining and securing the pipes, technically no-one is meant to fuck with them, and there is at least a reasonable chance of retribution from the church if someone does


Not a slave or a serf, they would have been composted or eaten otherwise. A Myceoman may actually own or control a small patch of fruitful fungus farm. Maybe a naturally rusted half open pipe, maybe some dripping nitrates, who knows. They may not even be hungry today.

The Guild of Corpse Fishers

An honourable profession who go after only the most high-status of catches in the flow. They get very angry if they hear of anyone breaking their claimed monopoly.


Merchants more than farmers really. Serve the Nitrate Lords. Its a simple job for simple people. If you can carry Gong from place to place you can join. Carry Gong far enough and it might be worth the journey.


These specialists in recovering technology, have an important right, and an important duty - stop any dangerous tech before it reaches the saints. Specifically anything nuclear or any high-tech toxins. They can live large off the rust-rights but if a Saint is damaged they will pay in their own flesh

Drip Pilgrims of the Moisture Clans

Purifiers, lets say, not quite purifiers as creating pure water is heretical, but 'sustainers' of drinkable non-lethal water, often harvested from dripping condensation.

The Endothermic Knights

These  safeguard the Saints and control access to the heat of the nitrate piles which powers much of the halls and charges the energy of the mechanicals. One of the few ways to get something really hot is to get it in there. They are also general guardians of whatever might be considered the 'law' in Melionoes Realm.

The Nitrate Lords

Anyone who can command or at least threaten a handful of Mycoplants & moisture clans, maybe for a stable alliance with a Guild, even see Our Lady Melione if they can find a special gift. Status is largely meaningless down here, it doesn't make you safer but people still seek it out.

Pipe Pirates. 

Heretics of Depth banging pipes with tuning forks to discover "solids" and grab them before they are recovered. They have to betray the Church and break into the Pipes to do it which makes them traitors to the realm. Everyone hates them and everyone has either done it or thought about it at one point.


The soothers of Melinoe and her occasion formal ambassadors to the Realm of the Queens, where they are largely despised as creeping horrors.

By Kali Ciesmier


Ultragrubs - like grotesque alien angels. Bioluminsescene - glowing like gods in stained glass but held in ragged armatures of rust and metal, punctured with pipes and pressure gates, sending out thermal conversion tendrils into nearby compost mountains thrumming with heat, soaking in and sucking up the foulness and transmitting it into the Pure Food, the divine food of the Queens of the outer world. To taste of this is a foul sin, we below are not meant for such things. Giant living filterlivers and hyperkidneys which take in the effluvia which pipes towards them and spreads out in estuaries of shit. Like huge pulsating vertical caterpillar/nudibranch creatures, they cannot support themselves and are held up with rusty scaffolding, itself held together with barbed wire and genmanufatured hair.


All adore the Melinoe and her mercies. An exact genetic clone of the Queen of Life sent down into the dark to oversee the organic recycling. High Priest of the Hydraulic Church, Mistress of the Endothermic Knights, Guarded by the Bone-Fingered Man; a murder-bot its hands replaced by bone knives sharpened from ribs.

Great censers of incense fume, pile of saffron and spices make the air muggy with scent. The Bone-Fingered man plays slowly on a harp of electrical wire. Half-asleep, dazed by the fumes of saffron and burning incense, dressed in the finest things any in the Halls can find, is Melinoe; 

Human, clear and perfect, whole - the only complete being in the Halls of Melinoe. Kind, sympathetic, calm, reasonable, (though her councillors are not). Skin white but iridescent, glimmering like oil or ravenwings in ultraviolent. Countershaded shadows move across her like swift liquid.

Behind a screen, making up part of the throne, a sleeping dragon. Centauroid, alien, human cybernetic. An exoskeletal biohorror with her face distorted as if in nightmare. Clawed ichor and venom sacs, twitching thorn whips and chemical organic coolant. Chem warfare ejectors. Uneven, horrific, a palette of biological monstrosity curled quiescent like a giegeresque drake.

Her other self, a testbed for the horrific transhumanist experiments of the Queen of Life, an exactl genetic clone of Melinoe. This one, the clear whole human body, is a remote - an immortal clone for Melinoe to live through.


If Melione becomes upset, if her Adrenaline goes too high or the enters distorted REM sleep, the neural link between the monster body and the flesh remote is severed. Melinoe is plunged back into her own body and her full memory and selfhood, self awareness of what she is, and she goes mad and comes forth in her terror-form.

Weapon-limbs extend, neurotoxin glands hyper-actuate, psychotropic spores go into fast breeding. She goes beseark, and rampages through the halls, mad, screaming, singing and destroying, howling crazed vengence against her mother/clone/torturer. Maybe she is the true original, who knows?

The worst is not the violence but the madness, she spreads absolute manic schizophrenic frenzied insanity wherever she goes; by systemic emission of EM wide spectrum mestatising glitch-code, by her screams and song, by venom barbed poisoned sting and thorn, by spore and breath, by her wild colours like the cuttlefish, the many-handed one, her halo of shimmering feathers.

In these storms of madness the society o the halls is utterly disrupted - clanmates kill each other, the underworld is turned upside down, identity and histories are wiped out, rewritten, made illusory, strange new memories and desires introduced as natural.

In her passing the fruit of madness grows, the Gift of Melinoe. A rust-feeding fungi, found only here and not lasting long after being picked which imparts a violent and revelatory madness to all organic beings and can perhaps even infiltrate and glitch cyberware and programmes.

Good news - when she calms down, runs out of energy, damages herself so much that she is forced to sleep or when the supply of the Pure Food is disrupted and the Queens put forth their power to quell her rage, the terror-angel sleeps, the neural link is restored and the queen of mercy awakens. Order and society are restored, the saints are praised once again, the Pure Food flows. Though many are dead there is much flesh to be consumed. A jubilee of meat! And many parts to recover. A time to breed, for the weak to become string and the strong to become weak.

Monday 16 November 2020


Time for a brief Goblin Brainstorm

Ok, these are the off the top of my head Goblin Types that I came up with;

Goblin, Corn
Goblin, Egg
Goblin, Ghost
Goblin, Glass
Goblin, Gloom
Goblin, Grain
Goblin, Grass
Goblin, Mole
Goblin, Moon
Goblin, Trash

Not that bad for a starter list, ten is a decent number (wtf are there 'Grain Goblins' AND 'Corn Goblins'???)

Now I just need to think of ten different kinds of Goblins, that are all distinct, and not rubbish, and which all present interesting NON COMBAT challenges, and which all have ecologies etc etc.
Corn Goblins - Think I have already covered this but; these are inherent to Corn so if you grow anything tall that grows in rows and can be hidden in its likely that you will eventually have to deal with Corn Goblins of some kind. These are rather horrific creatures which wear masks of woven corn stalks. They steal hair, teeth, fingernails and, when those run out, bones. They can slip a bone out of you while you sleep, unzippng the skin and just eeeeasing the bone out. You might wake up just as they are wiggling the last bit of bone to free it like a foot coming out of a boot. But there will be a Corn Goblin sitting on your chest or head ready to smack you with a mallet or just suffocate you into unconsciousness.

Do you want your bits back? Then you have to go into the Corn Maze, a labyrinth of parallax stems deep in the fields. That's where the Palace of the Corn Goblins is and that is where they build their wicker men, using the hair of children to tie them up and their bones to strengthen them.

Egg Goblins - Could also be Ovum Goblins. Is there any way these are not just going to decay into some kind of batman villain obsessed with fucking EGGS?? No there is not.

Maybe they are born from eggs and never leave them, just sticking their hands and feet and heads out but running around in the giant egg body (if you smash the Egg they freak out and run away and try to become some other kind of goblin).

Live in nests? That they are associated with Eggs suggests some kind of Coocoo relationship. Perhaps the eggs are magic and bewitch people into caring for them and for the Goblin which hatches from them?

Batman villain rules suggest throwing gas eggs, blinding eggs, explosive eggs, magic eggs, egg eggs, ostrich eggs, caviar.

Goblins laying sticky piles of translucent insect-like eggs up in the corners of rafters, strung there with thread. You have to find the nest to.. well what? Is it legitimate to burn a nest of Goblin Eggs? That sounds pretty hardcore for GG&G.

I feel like there is absolutely something that could be done with Goblins using eggs as means of secret passage. Perhaps they can dimensionally warp eggs so the Goblin inside is bigger than the egg itself, so when it is time to come out, pop! a big goblin arm, then smash, a glaring goblin head, and out crunches a whole goblin in strong boots from an egg no bigger than a chickens..

Obviously they have to live in a giant fucking egg. Like an egg palace.

Maybe the magic of the Goblins is that they are total power over EGGS, like rubbish X-Men they can command Eggs in a variety of ways, use them as weapon delivery systems, stealth infiltration devices, human-capture pokeballs, the bigger the Egg the more power it has. And what do they want? MORE EGGS. Especially GOOSE EGGS. (If they Pokeball you you meet all the other people they have Pokemon'd and they can make you fight your friends).

They have crazed flintstone mobiles powered by generators which are just massive eggs spinning in a fulcrum.

The Egg Prison in the Palace of Eggs, can you crack its security? Or *beat* it? 

Ghost Goblins - Perhaps this doesn't need to be any more complex than it sounds. Are they they Ghosts *of* Goblins, or Ghosts acting like Goblins? I mean who knows.

Likely these are active at night or in dark places. They can fly around and ghost through walls, press their heads up against windows in the night. Hide in mirrors, shadows and under beds. Especially pretending to be moonlit dressing gowns or scratching mice.

Though spooky and creepy they are not very strong and can be vacuumed up, dispelled with sunlight, fluttered away with a strong wind, exorcised, scared by impersonating a monster even more scary than they are (Ghost Goblins are all cowards), trapped in bottles.

Ghost Goblins will always pretend to be the Ghosts of more important and tragic people, communicating through tapping and Ouija boards, though they cannot spell correctly. They really like scaring people, especially by freaking them out in the middle of the night and by standing on each others shoulders, putting on a hat and long cloak and standing in the corner of a dark and shadowy room just watching them.

The whole deal with Ghost Goblins is pretending to be some Slenderman/Blair Witch nightmare fuel but underneath the spectral masquerade they are just slimer. Though, still a ghost, which is pretty bad.
To get rid of ghost goblins string bells around their necks, it drives them mad and they fly away into the treetops moaning and ringing.

Glass Goblins - INVISIBLE! Plinking, sharp and cold invisible Goblins. Or at least transparent, which means mainly invisible. They can still get frosty, be covered with paint or lens light strangely, but in low light, if they are not moving around, or in the distance, they are going to be almost impossible to see. The wee scroungers!

Do these Glass Goblins even need a behavioural tic? One part of the horror may be actually smashing them. Imagine it screaming and splintering and coming apart, leaving sharp Goblin fragments all over the floor, each fragment having the image of a screaming glass goblin in it? Would the others try to pick it up? Would you try? Or just sweep it into a binbag and have done with it?

Glass Goblins can climb up and down glass but they go SKREEEE when doing so. They can also pass through glass as if it was a heavy waterfall.

Imagine seeing a Glass Goblin underwater in a pool and not knowing if it was real.

Gloom Goblins.. Is there any way I can make these something other than a Shadow Goblin? We've already had the "difficult-to-see" spot filled by the Glass Goblins.

An essential fuzzieness? As if they were covered with Velvet? An indistinctness. Goblins falling like leaves, creeping as slowly as long moonshadows. Bright direct light would be their enemy, they would hate to be caught in it. You would see that they have no eyes, no fingernails, no very distinct parts at all, like a Goblin upholstered in grey-black fuzz, as if it were trapped beneath a sheet.

Very silent creatures, almost impossible for them to make a sound, or to move quickly, they must creep everywhere, though they can streeeetch themselves out like shadows and move like stilt walkers in the gloom.

They would still need to get into your house, but perhaps they can become flat like shadows and slide under the door, but still in a Goblin shape, like Nosferatu against the wall.

However they change their shape they are still *actually there*, not truly two dimensional, jut very flat. Flat in a horrible way (though rolling them up in a rug or around a rolling pin can confound them

Wednesday 11 November 2020

Mind-Flayer Laboratory

There is someone in the bathroom, running the water, leaving the tap dripping overnight, tracking trickles through the house, wet towels strewn upon the floor where surely they can never dry....

Who will admit to it? Not you.

There, peeking from behind a hedge or around a wall. Looking closely, staring. Listening... to your MIND.

Just do NOT think of any secrets.


Too late, it’s got one! And its running off with it!!

by Spidoodle

Ok, maybe not exactly like that. The difficulty of making the attack of a non-lethal psychic monster solid and tangible, gameable, intuitive and coherent for children is one of the more interesting challenges and I doubt I will solve it here.

Also I am far, far, faaaaaaar from the first person to have the "what if Mind-Flayers were Cute" idea. Its almost a benediction when I search for equivalent images for a blog post and find none as it means that few other people have conceived the same thing.

Basics first;


Little guys, maybe two or three feet high, max. (Though a lot of things in this game are turning out to be child-sized, I suppose that makes intuitive sense.

Humanoid chibi cuttlefish men, round, wear *wet* bathrobes as they don't like to get too dry. STEAL TOWELS. Wear damp bathrobes which trail on the ground behind them, leaving wet patches. They are always in the shower and the bathroom is always steamy, the floor never dries, like come on man just put the fan on! 

Likewise, not bothered by cold, wet or dark, but dislike heat, dryness and bright light. They don't like sharp or spiky things and salt hurts them so they fear it. Have single tentacle hands and can grasp things like babies but can do fine motor work with their face tentacles.


Via numerous wiles, the Secret-Eaters are like plump, wet ninja stealth masters in bathrobes. 

They can do camouflage and alter their shape, texture and colour like cuttlefish (though they hate to take off the bathrobe as it makes them feel naked). They can octopus their way up walls and along ceilings (though they often leave wet trails. They have soft, boneless bodies and so can squeeeeeze through things, and they can stick to things too.

Should all these methods fail they can make themselves invisible, in a way, be stealing the small secret of their presence from the minds of one who discovers them.


How then, can one know that the Secret-Eaters are about?

- Dripping (they leave the taps on).
- The dragging of a wet bathrobe.
- A wet splotching sound.
- People being dazed and confused.
- People missing time, minutes or even hours of their day.
- People forgetting important things and not knowing why, or even *what* they have forgotten sometimes.
- In short, everyone acting as if they are old, and a ditherer to boot.
- The stupidest people in town saying they saw little octopus men. (No-one will believe them as they are clearly very stupid).

ill just start using Zoidberg instead


I really like the idea of them leaping on you tentacles outstretched like Zoidberg;


This makes it a lot more physical and visceral, though it may limit some possibilities in a secret-thinking game (see below probably).

So, it has to be close, meaning it will be creeping and peeking. Secret Eaters, Secret Creepers, Secret Peekers! One crawling across the ceiling, dropping down one you, then they suck the secret out through your ear (maybe also your eye or nose), then they make a gurgling noise as they gargle the secret and turn it to pearl. Like an oyster maybe, surrounding something with a protective core.

The idea that you can chase or track them and maybe somehow get the secret back is an important adventure concept.


They hear thoughts as noise, sometimes quite loud noise. Like the radio in another language - but like another language they can recognise and understand thoughts about *them*, and that makes them hard to track, (along with all the damp Ninja stuff).

Like if you walk into a room and think "Hmm, maybe the Secret-Eater is behind the curtain", they will hear you thinking that and either ninja out of the way or change shape or something else.

Maybe the only way to track one is by not really thinking about it, so you need a distraction. Like someone along with you to read a really long book, or a circus performer, or an annoying relative. Someone with stupid loud thoughts that will drown out your own.

Of course, someone really really really stupid, with almost no thoughts in their head, might sneak up on a Secret-Eater - the silence of their mind making them almost invisible.



What do they do with the secrets and how do you get one back?

I guess they can either keep the secret or digest it.

exactly what form is this secret in? Like an organ, a crystal, a snot ball?

Snot ball seems the way to go, like a liquid marble in a ball of clear snot and you can see the quality and size of the secret by the mucusy ball. Dark secrets are dark, big secrets are big etc.

The secreteater takes this somewhere and coughs it out. (You can squeeeeeze a Secret Eater to the secrets out but be careful, they are wriggly and wet). Then they can store it for safekeeping, or just eat it there.

Idea; maybe no secret eater can eat secrets which it itself has gathered. Instead it needs to swap secrets with another, so all the active secret-eaters are trying to feed their friends awwwww.

But they can also survive by trading in secrets, selling them either individually or as lots, big bags or jars of mucusy pearls - and you can never be sure whose secret is whose so if you find a bunch it can be hard to get them back to the right people, you will need an EXPERT of some sort to examine them, the Pawner can do it maybe.


Secret Eaters actually need secrets to live, is their natural food so if they can't get any they will starve to death. That might be why they end up serving dark and dangerous creatures like Crime Birds, Draculas, Edgy Dragons, Sinister Pigs, Ratmasters etc. They have access to the most secrets and can provide means for the Secret Eaters to get more.

They are sometimes transported in jars by powerful beings, they keep trying to unscrew the jars from the inside. You can usually tell that a secret eater is in a bottle or something because the owner will try to keep the contents hidden while continually reaching down to re-screw it.

I mean if there is a villain or any potent intelligent opposition it can hardly be difficult to work at least a single Secret-Eater into the game as they will be in much demand.



The sea, in times past, held many secrets; those of poets, dreamers, gods and those who dwelt in the moon, bottles hurled, ships sunk, kingdoms drowned beneath the waves. All forgotten things descend finally to the sea there to lie, forgotten, secrets known only to the sea itself, turned over in the darkest places, like the pages of a book drifting open in the dark.

It may be here the secret-eaters came from and from where they were sent, for stealing the sea-secrets and turning them to glistening pearls, hoarding them like treasure.

So the sea banished them, never to return and they crept into the dark and dankest places of the earth, living wherever it was wet and sought secrets still.


The concept of some kind of "don't-think-of-the-secret" game played round the table to gamify the seeking of the Secret-Eater is a tantalising one.

As is the use of parlour-game techniques more generally. There are a huge range of these and I know little of them but it seems to me that they represent and untapped resource for non-dice based decision making round the table.

I think Courtney wrote something about this a while ago, let me see if I can find it

ok I can't - sidebars!

But to return, playing a kind of game with the players where the challenge is "Don't think of a Secret", and if you do, they Secret-Eater gets closer an eventually goes BLAGGH and sucks it out, does seem like it could work?

But how would it work?

Furthermore, des it copy the secret or copy/delete? Copying is simpler to play through but copy/delete takes Player and DM into complex territory. Lets say for young players it just steals the secret and you know what it got but for older players it might have taken a secret from your mind and left you without it, bringing u the possibility of the player knowing something that the PC doesn't know, or of knowing the nature of something the PC doesn't know.

Answers in the comments I guess.

Friday 6 November 2020

Trap-Dog Laboratory

Kobolds - ANOTHER of the top-ten most-emblematic D&D monsters which, on examination, doesn't seem that good.

The Owlbear, while pleasingly ridiculous in central concept, didn't do anything interesting relating to either bears or owls. It was _distinct_ though. The central concept leaves a strong impression.

The Kobold though. Essentially Goblins-But-Not.

A conceptually-amorphous and unclear monster Kobolds are. Perhaps the most unclear in their central concept. They famously change from edition to edition. Sometimes little dog-men, sometimes little dragon men or lizard people.

The one thing that sticks in my mind about the place of Kobolds in D&D is that they are emblematic of weakness and a kind of petty failure to threaten in a way Goblins are not, and that their most memorable instantiations are moments of counterpoint.

Yes, the adventure says, these are Kobolds, the weakest bitches in the game, but THESE Kobolds.. etc etc etc


I only came up with one even-workable concept for Kobolds; anime-cute puppy/dog people who are just super UwU and fluffy, but they make use of utterly ruthless Vietcong-style traps, arranged with dark perversity.

Not a great idea; a one note joke, but maybe kids would like it, and something that is interesting is - how to make traps that are fiendish and feel dangerous and horrible, but without them being lethal or too horrifically violent?

That would actually be a challenge great enough to validate the effort made.

(At some point with this game I am going to hit a hard limit of things that you can take away from child adventurers that aren't blood and flesh.)

So, here is my brainstorm of...


  • GLUE - loony tunes glue, strong stuff.
  • Springs/ejection - sends you flying away somewhere to presumably not break all your bones on impact.
  • Hypno-wheel.
  • Thumb tacks - this might be too hardcore for kids but fuck it.
  • Super-magnets? I guess these could either pin you or swoop stuff from your pockets.
  • Curtains of illusion - like Kobolds can construct stage scenery super fast so they can hang a curtain across a door painted to look exactly like the room inside, but really behind it the room is full of Kobolds.
  • Pit Traps - Ok you fall, but what happens then? Do you climb out? Do the Kobolds come to get you? Kobolds painting the bottom of the trap to look like an infinite hole so if you don't fall in it you are like wft they can do *that*? But if you do fall in it it gives the game away about the Kobolds stage powers.
  • Falling Pans - PANS, hard and clattery enough that no-one would want them to fall upon then, but still largely harmless.
  • Slippy floors - leading to glue, webs or very strong tape. (Obviously Kobolds are going to be friends with Giant Spiders, they have the same defence posture)
  • Re-painting walls so that doors and other things seem to be in different places.
  • Hiding an elephant in the house, Banksy-style (I don't know where this is going). Probably hiding a crocodile in the house would be better. Maybe leave a note "tHERES i S AN invISIbcle cROkODIle iN Ur hooSE"
  • Giant Buckets of water ready to wash you somewhere, like down some stairs. Maybe soapy water to make you slippy afterwards.
  • Giant buckets of piss. Emissions always matters of hilarity to children.
  • Blowdarts with frog sweat that make you trip out.
  • Exploding food - both gunpowder primed and also perfect simulacra inflatable food that pops when you bite into it.
  • Stairways and ladders to "nowhere" - tapestries on squeaky rollers on both sides of the stairs and when you think you are climbing up the kobolds just cycle the stairs down and kobolds spinning levers on each side just roll the view while sniggering - also they completely re-engineered the stairs somehow?
  • Stairs-go-flat trap this is turning out a LOT like an Adam West Batman episode. Are Kobolds basically Cesar Romeros Joker?
  • Gas obviously, I suppose they would need to use the very-obvious GREEN gas that billows from a lamp or door knocker shaped like a mouth. Gas has a special role in genre fiction. Almost the classic you-are-caught-but-its-only-the-second-act tool of choice.
  • God I hate thinking of traps.
  • Lift-you-up balloon traps, like a snare but its attached to a weather balloon, bye bye motherfucker!
  • A classic snare is also good though.
  • And that star-wars net trap, which I think is basically a different form of snare.
  • Beds or chairs with hidden springs that tilt over and trap you.
  • Also sofas etc which open up the pillows and suck you down.
  • SLIME - children seem to love it. An inoffensive mucusy but still fundamentally harmless deterrent. But if we are willing to slime children are we not willing to simply label it 'GIANT SNOT'?
  • A cannon loaded only with gunpowder so it turns your face black and blows your hair off. Add some extra weird shit by saying that it can actually blow off parts of your face but they survive and can be recovered later.
  • An x-ray trap that turns your flesh invisible, making you seem like a skeleton, perhaps even a glowing skeleton so everyone thinks you are a ghoul or ghost.
  • Super fast growing vines. They pin you down, grow inside your clothes, even up your nose. Possibly beans that come from a can.
  • BEEEEEES - dropping a beehive on someone is apparently instant hilarity and despite being potentially lethal.
  • Sticking something big and ridiculous on over your head and face, like a massive top hat or large boot. Its glued on so you will need to cut holes to see and eat through.
  • Releasing spiders onto people, biting ants would work better I think.
  • A house-tilting lever that can send invaders spinning across the soapy floor and right out of the window or door.
  • A whole bunch of monkeys stitched into a human-sized human-shaped pillow and forced into human clothes with a mask put on, but if you touch it the stitches unravel and all the monkeys spill out in a bad state.
  • A giant mousetrap that pins you in place.
  • A less-lethal bear-trap that doesn't necessarily break your leg.
  • Covering someone in sticky stuff and then in feathers or something is a classic.
  • By comic-book rules electrocuting people is both fun and harmless but I'm not sure I want to face that court case when kids try it in real life.
  • Slingshots seem like an appropriate Kobold weapon, firing thumb tacks or wads of paper.
  • A shrink ray makes the adventure a whole new deal. Same with a de-dimensionaliser. 
  • Should I be going for comic-book super science and more magical effects or keep it closer to pseudo-real? I feel like the opportunities of magical effects make everything slightly boring and formless..
  • A hypnotising snake or frog? These all seem like variations on the hypno-disk,,
  • Giant hour glass which fills with something or other.
  • Sneezing powder.
  • Itching powder.
  • Walls and doors that spin round on axels, putting you in a bad situation!
  • Freeze rays - have I already used that?
  • A knitted knotting thing that tightens if you struggle against it.
  • Finger trap.


What on earth happened here? If you read through you probably started thinking; "He's just ripping off the old Batman TV series but NOT SO, at least not consciously. I did go to a website for the last handful and start reading through lists of the old Batman traps, but it was only then, with most of the list done, that I realised that I had, either unconsciously, or through parallel thought, actually mimicked a lot of those mechanisms.

Still, some very clear confluences must include; Batman TV Series, Loony Tunes, Home Alone, possibly Funfairs. None of these were deliberate influences and I can't tell if I drew from then accidentally or just thought alongside them.

A difficult polarity the list brings up is the marginal space between realistic physics, unlikely physics, cartoon but still intuitive physics, and surreal or utterly ridiculous reality warping.

I instinctively want to keep the Trap Dogs more within the real and pseudo-real 'Home Alone' space rather than them being Wyle E. Coyote. It feels appropriate. But I don't think I could give up on at least a few of those painted walls or retracting stairs.


Top-level Kobolds can disguise themselves as common objects so perfectly that that’s all you can see. So the final boss or major Kobold villain you encounter at the end might be a shoe, or a rubber tyre...

Kobolds gaining in reality-warping slapstick as they gain in power might be a useful limiter/diegetic expression that lets me use some whacky stuff but still have problems solvable. Like if you want to stop the ACME Company traps you must find 'The Black Boot'!

Another; Kobolds are squatters. Home invaders. While the PCs are out and about adventuring, the Kobolds invade their home and turn it into some Home-Alone shit with the PCs as the invaders. Pleasing elements of this are that it creates a mission of TAKE BACK THE HOUSE, which is intuitively clear, emotionally compelling and tactically coherent. The home base is now a tricksy tactical space and the PCs can use their knowledge of their home to outwit the baddies. Also if you defeat the Kobolds you can re-purpose all the traps for your own designs.


All of these ideas are based around useful play, but what happens if we jam them all together and assume them to be a coherent whole which actually describes a real culture

  • Still seem to be in some sense, cowardly, or at least, craven.
  • Friends with spiders.
  • Obsessed with property.
  • Reactive defence posture.
  • Masters of simulacra and non-magical illusion.
  • Why to they all look like puppies?
  • High level masters have reality-bending disguise powers.
  • Seem to have borderline loony-tunes levels of construction.
  • And acme-levels of resource acquisition.
  • (Possible access to Hammer Space).
  • Use slingshots.
  • Stay out of sight.
  • A bit like batman villains, bugs bunny and the Macster from Home Alone.

A simple answer to the home situation is that they are jealous of not having one.

Jealousy, ressentiment and feelings of weakness explain a lot of their other patterns as well. The hide because they don't want people to see them. Maybe because they are SO CUTE!! and whenever people see them they just pick them up and touch them, pet them, and the Trap-Dogs HATE IT.

Probably they are also fearful, like small dogs are always yapping at everything because everything triggers a threat response. They know they suffer an intense inborn fear response and they HATE that too because it makes them feel weak.

They just want to be feared and respected. Maybe they even have low self-esteem related delusions of grandeur. Obviously its not enough for them to use their crazy powers to build their own house. They want YOUR house, because they need to prove themselves better than YOU. Its more important to take your things than it is simply to have things.

Honestly they seem surprisingly sympathetic monsters. Perhaps near-redeemable monsters and, (christ curse me for writing a moral lesson), a good example for children of toxic low self-esteem.

Feel three to throw ideas and concepts in the comments.....