DIVE DIVE DIVE
Hello, delicious readers. How are your clothes today? Are they dry? Are they, uh, watertight?
Good, good. Anyway, get in the bathysphere, nerds. We're going diving.
When last we left our intrepid blogger, he was deep in the throes of CREATIVE MADNESS, and had promised to start with the creation of the very first ever gobbo playbook, through which we will unlock the doors of creativity to the rest of the world so that they may, in turn, unleash their green, rubbery, terrible creations out into a world that is neither prepared for, not in any way expecting, their assault.
And as you may have guessed from the theme of the post, we're going to be diving deep, dropping like a round, metallic, hollow, goblin-filled metal sphere down into the murky depths of design, by creating the first new set of goblins since 3 If By Trenchcoat, available, along with all my other games, for the ridiculously low price of $1 in THE VAULT: Aqua-gobbos!
First, we gather our inspiration- and boy oh boy does the sea offer us all manner of inspiration. We live on a weird-ass planet, my friends, but it is the oceans from where the truly deep weird rises and squirms, and it is from this rich well of briny goodness that we will pull today to give form and shape to our strange and twisted little goblin progeny. Anglerfish. Blobfish. That one isopod that replaces your tongue with its own segmented creepy crawly body.
Look, there's other games that have done the whole weird underwater angle before, and better than I will be able to in these scattered words and even more scattered game design attempts, but that's ok. The sea is big, and strange, and there's room enough for all of us.
Also, goblins take up very little space, really, if you smoosh 'em just right, so, we can fit a lot of them without taking up too much space in the oceans, yeah?
So, our toes now officially damp with the fecund waters of creation, now we turn to our tools: the quarks of which we spoke so long ago. We'll need to make 3 things: 2 tables of goblin features, and one set of goblin stats.
Ah shit I had a perfect opportunity to title this piece "... and now our Feature presentation", didn't I?
That seals it, then. We've got to talk stats instead.
Now, upon touching this particular topic, we run across something quite interesting, actually- the birthplace of the game.
There's a certain TTRPG in-joke that goes "... you have two stats.", usually from 1-page RPG's like Honey Heist. And that's what I originally wanted to do, I was trying to make a simple 1-page RPG, but almost immediately it got away from me, because of the trenchcoat mechanic, mostly. It just meant I had to add enough extra mechanics and such that there was no way to fit it all in a single page, not even double-sided, and well, my page count has been inflating ever since.
So, as with the games that came before it, you have Two Stats.
That's our first base rule for our toolkit: Two Stats- in the original, of course, those two are Lying, Cheating, and Health. But maybe you're doing your aquatic gobbos instead, and their Two Stats are Swimming, Eating, and Scales.
We'll explain why shortly.
So that's your first step for designing your new and unique gobbos: pick your Two Stats. Of course, the default Lying, Cheating, and Health are, I feel, a real solid pair to start with, as they so deftly define the two ways that a goblin interacts with the world around them. All actions they can, could, and do perform fall under one of those two categories, and having to define which of those two any given action falls under means you have to think like a goblin, act like a goblin, lie and cheat like a goblin.
It's a limitation, but one that unlocks an inner wellspring of goblinity by guiding players to find the goblin within every action.
And so, if you'll be designing your own Two Stats, you have to approach them from that same point of view: this is how our goblins interact with the world, at its most basic and pure level. It is, in a real sense, how they percieve reality: through opportunities to cheat and reasons to lie.
That's fucked up, son.
Are you enjoying this bullshit? You are, aren't you? Hot diggity! Well, did you know you can encourage Dan to do more of whatever the hell this is by joining the Uncivil Union over on ko-fi? It's true! Not only is this a signal to Dan that people want more of this, but you'll also get immediate access to The Vault, where you can pick up free copies of every single game he's written, and exclusive access to the in-progress docs for upcoming games.