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Welcome to Gelatinous Cube! A podcast about creating great encounters in Dungeons and Dragons and other tabletop roleplaying games.

We're Rosie and Adam, siblings and hard working dungeon masters. Every episode we get forensic on an RPG encounter: why it works, where it could - or did - go wrong and what's cool about it. Whether you play narrative or sandbox, OSR or 5e we want to give you useful tools for thinking about your game.

Gelatinous Cube #1 - Transcript

May 26, 2021


[00:00:00] Rosie: hello and welcome to gelatinous cube. This is a show about causing compelling problems in Dungeons and dragons. I'm Rosie, and I'm here with my brother, Adam.

Adam: Hi.

Rosie: Some of you listening will know me and Adam from Diane, which is a podcast about twin peaks, but before we made podcasts, the thing that we did together was play tabletop RPGs.

And we've got very much back into this hobby over locked down, and we're both DM-ing and we fell very deeply into discussion about the ins and outs of game design. So we decided to make a show about.

Adam: Each week, we work with a short prompt for an encounter such as this in is suspicious, or this potion smells disgusting.

One of us will take the role of the dungeon master and they'll come to the table with an encounter they've designed based on the [00:01:00] problem. And we can discuss that and pull it apart and maybe improve.

Rosie: So before we get stuck in with our first prompt, we thought we would introduce ourselves properly.

And why we thought we might do that is to talk a little bit about the games that we're both running and our history with Dungeons and dragons. Tabletop RPGs in general, Adam, you've been doing this much longer than me, so you can start.

Adam: Yeah. I mean, I won't go very long. I've been playing tabletop RPG since I was probably about seven years old.

First time I played with was with our dad, Rosie, probably I think it was basically. Dungeons and dragons, maybe 1982 or 1983. I've been throughout the, I'd say late eighties through, into the nineties. I played a fair bit of RPGs and then stopped in the way that most people do universities and parties and whatever else, beckoned.

And I forgot all about it until we returned to playing. I think it was labyrinth [00:02:00] Lord, maybe. Yeah. Well, we started about five years ago

Rosie: or so it was longer than that. It was, it was about eight years ago.

Adam: Oh, it was it really? And and the sort of inspiration for doing that was, was the old school renascence or OSR scene with its kind of emphasis on kind of personal creativity, rules, hacks just kind of the sheer invention of the community really attracted me.

So I wanted to get back here. Playing RPGs. And actually I thought that well, most of the time when I'd played RPGs, it hadn't been Dungeons and dragons. Dunson dragons is the kind of center of the OSR movement. Kind of drew me in and yeah, it's been on the brain ever since then. Although, although we did sort of stop for a few years before ping up again and now I'm running a game.

Sets in the Dolman wood setting bind aquatic, Nome, who also published old-school essentials, which is the system that I'm running, which is a very [00:03:00] popular OSR basic DND clone. And yeah, it's going great. And this, this podcast really feels in many ways, like an extension of my game, because it's an opportunity for me to talk about what I'm doing in my game.

And maybe as you say, improve on it a bit, what about you, Rosie?

Rosie: I obviously started playing. I'm really amazed to hear that you were. When you were so probably before I was born. Oh

Adam: yeah, yeah. Playing

with our dad. So mental to me. Okay. But yeah, so I played for the first time much, much later eight years ago, when you had that burst of like, right, I want to do this.

You put a team together, Adam, you put a crack crack force together. And I was included in that, but that was the first time I'd ever played to that to my late twenties. And really enjoyed it. That was, that was labyrinth Lord, indeed. And we, I think you were running a version of keep on the borderlands.

Yeah. It was

just a hacked version of it. I'd taken the basics of keeping the borderlands and [00:04:00] did what so many DMS do these days and, and made it mine.

Rosie: Yeah. So that was super, super fun. Anyway, really enjoyed that. And then we did play for several years and then stopped, as you said, because we were making a podcast about twin peaks, which took up a lot of our free time.

And then again, it was you, you were the impetus this year. You were like, Playing again. And I was actually playing in your dorm and would gain for a bit, but then, because I'd already, then I started DM-ing myself. Because I was sort of obviously a lockdown here in the UK has been quite. Long and harsh.

The pandemic hit us very hard over here. And particularly over the winter, it was very difficult. And I had a group of friends who we were doing regular zoom meets with, but zoom is quite boring unless you have something to focus on or it can be, yeah. So when you started talking about playing D and D and I was playing in your game, I very quickly kind of wanted to DM with this group as well.

Anyways, that ended up taking up loads of my [00:05:00] time. So now I'm not in Adam's game anymore, which is helpful because you can talk about your design a little bit behind the scenes. I'm running my own game for the first time. I'm also using old school essentials. And I have it set in the fog book, which is my own invention and.

It does exactly what it says on the tin guys. It's a foggy book. There's a lot of goblins. It's a real shithole. That's about it.

Adam: Yeah, you must show it. It needs to be ran

Rosie: all it needs to be. Yeah. It's extremely slapped together. I am brand new, as I say, I've, I've DMD about 12 times at this stage. So, so all the design stuff is, is new to me. But I've figured, you know, there's lots of people coming to the hobby for the first time right now.

And so lots of people be in the same boat as me. So maybe that'll be interesting.

Adam: Well, you're playing with pretty much all new players. Aren't you? I am,

Rosie: yeah, I'm playing with my boyfriend and a couple of our good friends. We all like the four of us all used to work together and stuff like that.

So we're quite an established [00:06:00] group of people, but we are not established a presence in Dungeons and dragons. My boyfriend's played a little bit before, but other than that yeah the other two have brown. So, so let's yeah. I mean, I'm, I'm getting away with it. I think because of that logic stuff,

Adam: I think that's the feeling we all have is Deanna.

So we get away with it. Oh yeah, yeah, yeah.

Rosie: Right. So that's us, let's get into the cube. I am DM tonight. And our first prompt is this goblin wears lipstick. Here's my encounter.

You near the village at Twilight, suddenly you were set upon by a group of four goblins and there's something strange about them. But before you can think about it, one lunges at you bearing it's horrible teeth. You do notice it teeth in its mouth. Because this goblin wears lipstick.

Adam: So Rosie let's go behind the screen of what's actually going on with this encounter.

[00:07:00] Rosie: Okay. So this is a combat encounter. That's what it's designed as I love combat. So we're not giving the opportunity really for you to negotiate whatsoever. You're going to go straight in roll for initiative. The Goblin's launching itself at you. But what is going on? Why is the goblin wearing lipstick?

This is it. That has been transformed. What is going on here is that there is a city, some distance up the road about a day's travel away. And that city is in the throws of a plague in which people transform into goblin. We can go over the inspiration for this in shortly. I did not come up with this concept myself, but anyway, as it, as it turns out, anyone attacked by a goblin in, as part of this plague is going to turn into a goblin themselves.

If they don't kill that guy. So basically this was a group of people who were fleeing the city and one of them was a noble lady wearing makeup or wearing lipstick. And and she has been [00:08:00] transformed along with her son and two gods and they are attacking the party.

Adam: Right. Okay. So what was the inspiration then?

Why did he go with this?

Rosie: Okay. So yeah, so the idea behind this is. Some people may recognize it. It's a really, really good module. What I'm doing is I'm using the goblin grinder, which is a MacBook module. I was not familiar with mark Borg at all before kind of finding this module basically, but I understand they're sort of, it's been a very big successful property within Dunton.

Adam: Yeah. It's the, the metal theme setting. Isn't it? Right. Well, I mean, I don't know how much it can be metal themed, but certainly metal, metal inspired. Should we say I've not actually read more books myself. I'm well aware of its popularity?

Rosie: Well, I thought this was just such a brilliant brilliant module.

It's by let me get this for second Ripley called well, the government grinder it's you can get it for free on the Mort [00:09:00] bog website and yeah, this is a Module in which there is a city called Galvin Beck and it is in the grip of a plague where yeah, as I say, people are getting transformed into goblins.

I just really liked it as the idea for. And early encounter what I actually ran this, I should say that this is something that's happened in the folk bulk. Now this is, this is part of football history, this particular goblin encounter. Because I liked it as an early level Module or adventure, because I liked the idea of this threat of goblin transformation hanging over people.

Yeah. So it's kind of like dealing with something that's a bit like death, but not death. Yeah. So,

Adam: so it's that element of peril, but without it being, you know,

Rosie: Yes exactly. You can you turn into a goblin who knows what happens at that stage? There are kind of goblin, cures hanging around it is possible to get cured.

So, so yeah, so I really liked it. And I wanted to use that [00:10:00] the encounter that I've just described where you're down the road from the city isn't included in the goblin grinder, this was kind of something I wanted to do. It's a bit of foreshadowing before people got to the scene. The God and grinder, the module itself just sort of kicks off with your potty in the city already.

So, so yeah, so that's, what's going on? Noble lady. She's fleeing. That was another part of the inspiration, I guess, is that the folk bug is a frontier territory. Right. And lots of. It's basically. Yeah, it's a, it's a bug it's really big. It's a shithole it's rubbish, but it has been discovered recently that there's that the mushrooms of the book have medicinal properties.

Of course they do. So people are starting to come into the region because there's money to be made in trading and stuff like that. And some Nobles are setting up in the large ruined city. That's kind of the biggest, the biggest sediment in the, yeah. And I kind of liked the idea that it's that frontier idea when people [00:11:00] go to the frontier, the frontier comes to them, do you


Adam: Yeah. And of course the frontier is you know, it's absolutely bread and butter for RPGs. You know, we talked about how I ran keeping the borderlands earlier as compared in same territory.

Rosie: Yeah. Yeah. What was the borderlands on Cape of borderlands? Was it just between civilized society and like awkward.

Adam: I think I has an idea of it being the borderline between

Do you know what I cannot remember exactly. But I do know that what was beyond there was very perilous, but you never, you didn't go in that direction. You went the other way. I didn't focus on that. Anyway. We were talking about something else, but it

Rosie: is that it is that board land. I, because I was thinking as well, Domine word, which you were playing in at the moment.

He did kind of a border land is kind of a frontier territory because you've got ferry absolutely. Sort of pressing in. Right.

Adam: Yeah, I think of Tolman woods is actually bordering a number of spaces, both ferry, which, because Ferry's big part of the setting, but there's [00:12:00] also this kind of. Animal kingdom within the woods which hasn't been fully fleshed out by the setting details yet, but I've certainly got a clear idea of what it is in my mind.

And there's another element to do with the drone who these mysterious sorcerers, who I can't say too much about in public, but I gain have my own ideas about dream, which does differ a little bit from, I think, what the official setting would want to do. But all of these Factions control their own space and their spaces perhaps deeper than it might at first appear the wood is bigger on the inside than it is on the outside.

Rosie: Yeah. So there was that borderlands idea. There was the sense that yeah, these Nobles have come to the fog BHAG and the fog bog is like in a really come to them. And so we're going to get Nobles transformed into goblins. And the other thing I liked was. Just dressing up, just goblins dressed up as people that's, that's inherently quite funny.

One of the goblins, I [00:13:00] should say, actually the one that was the son of the Nobel lady. Was wearing a sailor suit. And that was of course, and that was great as well because the party actually was so taken with this sailor suit that because they have a dog with them, they actually late during the combat, took the silence off the goblin, put it on the door.

And like, that was the main thing. That was the main thing they were trying to coordinate with one another while I'm trying to run calls. It's just like, right. That God is dead. Can I take off his data suit? How

Adam: long would that take? Yeah, exactly. One of the logistics of dressing in the dress of the dog.

Rosie: Yeah. Well, they did manage to do that. So the dog is wearing a cyber state now permanently. Yeah. Yeah. Oh yeah. No, they haven't. Well,

Adam: oh my companion,

Rosie: Peter, Peter, Peter, the secret boy. Yes. [00:14:00] He's a corgi. He started off as a spoon count, which was something I'd stolen from Darwin wood. But but then he's being turned into a corgi because they all kind of insisted.

That's what he was. Yeah, he's still wearing a sailor suit. He's got a spear welded to him. Like it's just, it's

Adam: ridiculous.

Rosie: He's wearing leather armor and they've liked tied to spirit. They had to, they had to commission the arm all day fucking day. My party is worried about that dog and try and get it better equipment and get it like covered in weapons

Adam: anyway.

Right? Yeah. Creative solutions to problems. That's what I noticed in your notes that you've sort of mentioned Gremlin's too. And I have to say, I mean, I, when I think of goblins in the fog bulb and actually the kind of goblins that I like, I often think of gremlins too. And of course, the thing about gremlins too, is the sheer variety of goblins.

That of gremlins, sorry that [00:15:00] exist. In the movie, they're not simply the kind of slightly. Monstrous killers that they are on the first one, although they do have a bit more personality than that. And gremlins to their personalities are much bigger, much more fleshed out very two dimensional, one dimensional, but but, but, but a much kinder, they stand out much more clearly.

And you know, when, when I picture a goblin wearing lipstick, I picture the, the the rather

Oh, it filmed worldwide. I'm looking for probably not, no. But sexually charged female goblin in gremlins too. Right. And I think that when I thought about the this encounter, you know, when, when you, you, you came up with the prompt, this goblin wears lipstick. That was the first thing that I thought of.

And I thought of maybe Developing it along the lines of you've got a. This female goblin in the mold of this Gremlin's to goblin [00:16:00] is kind of very sexually aggressive and perhaps a bit of a stalker. I quite like. Yeah. I love that. Well, I quite liked the idea that what you could do there is you could have somebody who is being stalked by this goblin.

Who'd be, he escapes from them, but they counted the PCs and threes. Position exposition. This character informs the PCs various things that they must not do to attract this goblin. But then you create a situation where it's a question of, they feel compelled to do those things for that. Goblin is what.

It's how you create a tension whereby it's like, we want to do it and we kind of have to do it. It might be something to do with combat. It might be worrying something. It might be both. But in demonstrating their prowess, at least one of these characters would find this goblin character irresistibly drawn to them.

And they liked the idea that they'd be tremendously difficult to shake this goblin [00:17:00] character. And we just kind of pursued.

Rosie: This is fantastic. So like fatal attraction, but with a goblin.

Adam: So thinking of Ms. Peggy as well. Oh yeah. And I looked at a whole bunch of cards. I looked at TV tropes and it looks at the tropes associated with Ms.

Peggy. And like, one of them was something called something like one punch. And it's like, miss piggy has this thing where she could just take people out. If, if they're getting in the way of her. You know, Cami, if she wants to, she's trying to get to Kermit the frog somebody in her way. She can take them out with one punch, one punch, but I love the idea of got with a mechanic where you could just, you know, basically like, In effectively a spell really where this kind of fatal attraction goblin would also have this capacity to just take people out if they were anyway.

Sorry, this isn't my thing, but but yeah, I saw Grandin's too and it brought all of this into my head.

Rosie: I know, you know, I just [00:18:00] absolutely love all of that. We should actually, we should note we, we were discussing and hashing out goblin. With our friend, Tim, who you play with Adam, and he mentioned and linked us to a fantastic key and Peele sketch on gremlins two, which I would highly highly recommend for anyone who would like to see some examples of different flair that goblins or indeed gremlins might have a good time.


Adam: can put that in the show notes. We'll put

Rosie: that, we'll put that in the show notes, because honestly, I was just howling with laughter. It was like the most, most funny thing I'd seen all week.

Adam: Yeah, so, so what, what did you sort of expect to come out of the encounter? How did you expect it to play out?

Rosie: So this was a combat encounter. A lot of what we do in the fog book is combat and still not very. I feel like this is probably quite common for newish DMS. I kind of, I know how to run combat, because I felt the need to like, get that down. But knowing what else you can do and what else you can run.

[00:19:00] Sometimes I find a bit tricky. So a lot of things do end up being combat. This is one of them. I will say my, my party enjoys combat as well, but again, we're all sort of new, we're all sort of feeling our way. So, you know, combat is a thing where we all know where we stand. And I wanted it to be a fairly easy combat encounter.

Right. Anticipating this being particularly a struggle for them whatsoever, because it's more like the combat is kind of like a clue as to what's going on. Right. It's kind of

Adam: like exposition, isn't it. You kind of using this to clue people into what's actually happening and maybe you know, with the plague and maybe set up that feeling of, of threats, you know that perhaps the players could get transformed into goblin.

Rosie: Yeah, absolutely. Well, I mean, and to be honest, I should have made that more of a possibility because as, as I said, the mechanisms of the plague or that if you as, as written, the goblin grinder is that if a government attacks you and it gets away, essentially, if government attacks you and it doesn't die, [00:20:00] you're going to turn into a goblin.

Wow. It's really, really good. And I didn't give that a chance to actually happen. I think it was another thing where I was slightly nervous or slightly pulling my punches. Yeah. Terrible, terrible habit I have. But again, yeah, fairly common. And I didn't, because that would have been a brilliant motivation to get them to the city.

If one of them it's like being attacked by these weird goblins and the government had gotten away and then their fingers start turning green. You know, that's, that's a really good time then that's because what you

Adam: could do is you can control how long the transformation takes. You don't have to just be like, okay, now you're a goblin.

Now you can be like, if you put it on that slow burn, then suddenly they've got a time lock on and they need to get to that place. Yeah. Compelled to do it.

Rosie: Yeah. That's exciting. And that would have been like much more tense and exciting, but anyway, I didn't really set it up for that. I set up to be a super easy combat.

And and the other thing that I thought would have been fun, actually, [00:21:00] if I wanted to make it harder would have been. Shitloads of goblins, not four, but have it like there's a whole caravan of people streaming out of the city. Yeah. Loads of them turn to goblins. So you've got 25 goblins, 30 goblins.

And I've got that idea more recently. I was watching professor dungeon master talking about how he runs goblins and a huge shout out to professor dungeon master because his videos have been. Incredibly helpful to me. That's, I've read dungeon craft on YouTube. It

Adam: was amazing. Everyone should check it


Rosie: such a class act.

But anyway, he was talking about goblins. It's like this overwhelming thing. What they do is they're like a tide. They don't dislike, you know, a single goblin is not going to be a problem, but goblins are never a single gun. There's loads of them and they climb all over and they pull your hair. Spitting and they're biting and they're like tugging at your ears,

Adam: but I mean, also that would really fit in with the drama that you were trying to convey anyway, with everyone fleeing from the city.

So, so it kind of works because he's goblins, but it also works because it's [00:22:00] telling you the kind of story that you're trying to tell. And


Rosie: it's like a city there's like, you know, because that's, yeah. There's, it's like, you know, he's like a massive fucking people, whereas before they'd just been wandering around in the bulky.

Inspecting the old heart go. So yeah, so that would have been good as well, but now that's not what I set up for. So can I just

Adam: ask, this is a side question, but I just want. How would you manage, how would you manage the mechanic of like fighting a wave of goblins where you to sort of do it again?

Because that's an interesting one.

Rosie: Literally, no idea. Have you ever run, I mean, I've never run anything above like the like six, seven enemies, I think. Yeah. Well, one of the ways

Adam: I think professor dungeon master might do it based on what I've seen of him before is treat the goblins is like one or two hit.

So you hit, you hit them, you hit it dead, you know because what you don't want is to have 30 goblins and suddenly you've got a three hour long combat, which is not fun. You know, we all enjoy combat, but we don't all enjoy long combat you know, [00:23:00] just drag out and it can be tremendously demoralizing, particularly of players are doing badly.

But so that's maybe one way you could do it. You know, the one just treat all of them as like a one hit. Yeah, basically. But I think you'd also want to do something with just that weight of numbers and somehow play that mechanically, you know, a risk of being crushed under this force of goblins. So I'd probably want to figure something like that out, but anyway.

Yeah. Yeah.

Rosie: So someone's almost like if someone's been mobbed than someone else needs to take their turn to get them up and get the goblins off them because otherwise. Yeah. Otherwise they're like prone and they're just like being, being bitten by like 50 Dean goblins at once. Yeah. Yeah. I would love to have done something like that.

It's still the full book is still there and it's still shit loads of goblins there. So it could happen. The other thing that I had happened was the other kind of action I was expecting was searching of the corpses. Luckily the party never let me down in that respect, they searched the absolute hell out of everything they come across.

[00:24:00] And they found a signet ring on the goblin wearing lipstick, which was a signet ring for a petty noble house in the in the fourth book. And a. The sight of Staters I've already said, but also what was the other thing? Oh yeah, I'm a piece of a piece of paper with the name of an in, in the village that they were traveling to.

And I think the idea there was that they could go to that in, because the, the party of noble, the party of late her name was lady smear. That lady smears party. Yeah. They were fleeing, they were fleeing the city. And they were going to go to this village, which has a a small docks on it. And they were going to get the ferry north and they were going to get the hell out of the fog book.

So they were going to stay in this village overnight at the end, essentially. So that was my idea. They could then go to the Inn and talk to the innkeeper there and find out a bit more information about, about the lady and where she was coming from.

Adam: But then we to get the hell out of the [00:25:00] fog.

Rosie: The lady and her party.

Well, yeah, they were not my guys. No, they're not allowed to leave no

Adam: poked for them.

Rosie: I got stuck there forever. I have absolutely no interest in creating lands outside of the folk

Adam: book. No. Why would you, but, okay. So. So no plan of action, survives contact with a party of adventurers. I think that's something we can all agree on.

What haven't you thought of.

Rosie: Yes so well wonderfully, we actually have the example of the fact that I have played this prompt in real life. So I can tell you all the ways it went wrong. They did not see it as a transformation. Why would you well, because it's just that thing, isn't it? Where I think when we're setting up a game behind the scenes, oh my God, this is so clever.

This is so obvious. I've put this together so well. And then, you know, [00:26:00] They're in there. They've had a co in my case, they've had probably a couple of points by this stage. They've been trying to get this sailor suit on the dog. That's thinking about all session. This is now they've raised on Detra. Yeah.

And and they're just. You know, things don't get pieced together in the way that you kind of expect. So what they thought had happened was that some God that the, you know, the noble lady had been on the road with her retinue and her son, and some goblins had attacked them and stolen all their stuff and, and made off with it.

Right. Which is a perfectly logical. They, they hadn't been introduced to the idea of a goblin plague. They didn't know this was possible that people could be transformed into goblins. So yeah, so, so that's exactly what they thought had happened. And it took them a while. You know, there was some other signs, you know, as they got closer to the city as to what was going on, but it took them a while to piece it all together.

So I guess, I don't know what I could have done was make it, [00:27:00] well, I could have. I was thinking I could have had it. So they stumbled on when they first encountered the gobblers, the governors weren't just attacking them. They were doing something. So they were like in mid transformation or something like that, or they had this, they had a woman's scream.

And when they round the corner, it's just goblins. Where's the woman

Adam: may maybe, I mean, the thing is, what you've touched upon is I think a problem that plagues. Pretty pretty much all games is, is things just not being as obvious as you think they are because, because I mean, certainly you, and I think the way we like to play in the book and I would advise anyone to play like it's really is give people clear options, present the world to them clearly, and then allow them to make decisions, roll RPG.

So at least Dungeons and dragons maybe it's a bit different investigative games, like call of. Right. But games like Dungeons and dragons, they, unless you have a very particular kind of party, they often [00:28:00] don't thrive on people having to figure out too many mysteries. No, they thrive on people having fun choices to make and fun things to think about.

And I think very often we don't go far enough to kind of present something as like. The facts of the thing we think, oh, they're going to enjoy figuring this out for themselves. They'll have a conversation about it. No, they were getting the Silas suit. That's the thing. That's the priority, right? Yeah.

Yeah. No, I think, I mean, I can completely see how that happens and I think. Risk doing the same stuff myself, for sure. And I think even an experienced party wouldn't necessarily have made the leap for people who've been transformed into goblins. I could, I've played with lots of people who I think would've completely missed that.

No, I

Rosie: just don't think from the clues that they had and the fact that there was no had given no hint whatsoever previously in the world, this was the thing that could happen. [00:29:00] So I think, yeah, that's completely right. Just say they did start to get it to like put it together later on. But I think it was, it was when someone actually, you know, said, oh, there's a plague and people are transforming into governance.

I think at that stage, they're like, that's what happened to her, right? Yeah. We decide to Sue.

Adam: You would be transforming the dog into a silent. Yeah. That was your

Rosie: main concern. Yes. Peter Peter being able to go to sea. So yeah, so that, that was something I hadn't expected. The other thing that they, they might have done, which I didn't expect which didn't happen, but could happen nowadays very easily, I think is then trying to talk to the cop lens.

Right. Now now early on. If I started combat the party did not tend to try to object in any way. Right? Nowadays they've all got their skills a little bit more. They're all a bit more certain of their characters. Claire, the cleric in my party, Joe, is very [00:30:00] interested in nonviolent solutions to problems and.

He will, he will take his go in combat to try and roll for like a very good charisma check or a prayer or something to try and like chill people out.

Adam: What's that would be like, you look awesome, mate, we're going to stop fighting. No, he will.

Rosie: He will, he will like, he'll really go for it. And he has managed to stop one combat with one person.

He didn't really need to be a combat. They just started on someone who, who they weren't really supposed to start on. And it was ridiculous. And, and Joe managed to calm that one down with like a very good. You know, public religiosity and charm. But yeah, it's like, so, and obviously the, the elephant, my party, he now has a charm spell.

So I think it's more likely nowadays they might try and speak to the goblins and I wouldn't have been set up for that. I just wouldn't know what they would have said. And I guess that's. A good argument for giving your monsters and motivation. So you know what they might say.

Adam: Yeah. And also through that speech, he could have [00:31:00] made it kind of clearer what happens as well.

You know what I mean? You can, there's, there's so many opportunities got to be embedded in that. You know, you could, if you wanted to set them up with a bit of full knowledge about being attacked by goblins or being transformed, you know, you could. Buried a bit of that in there as well. And maybe set up a bit of tension, a bit of anticipatory, worry about what might happen to them.

Rosie: Yeah. Or the goblin, you know, the governor's actually charmed for a second and speak to them as you say, and sets up that tension and then attacks and runs away. So now they're like, yeah. So now they've got the goblin plague and you know, it's a named goblin who gave it to them as well. The little fucker

enemy. So, yeah, that might've been fun as well. But yes, those are the kinds of kinds of action. I hadn't quite prepared for, I

Adam: suppose. Yeah. But that's, but it's just say it was such a new sort of you, you were so new to it. And also that's just not really [00:32:00] how you were thinking about it.

Rosie: No, no. And it's just, yeah, I think this is session.

This was session four. I've now played like run 12 sessions in the folk book. So yeah, it was very, it was very, very early on, so yeah, just sort of feeling my way through.

Adam: All right. So those are your thoughts. You know, where else could you have gone with the concept? I think we've discussed some of this, but you might have some other ideas.

Rosie: No, I mean, I didn't really, I think the main thing I was thinking about was the idea of flare, which we have touched on. What haven't we, the idea that goblins kind of, they, they develop. Kind of what I think of as a sort of pathetic individuation, they're not really individuals, all they have is like a different hat or a different, like this.

One's got a nose ring or like, you know, this one wears pigtails and that's what differentiates them between other goblins. Yeah. So I quite like the [00:33:00] idea I've been thinking this week and we've actually been discussing it on our slack because we just talk about the shit all the time. We've been talking a little bit about how goblins become like goblin Kings and goblin leaders, goblin wizards, et cetera.

And we had loads of ridiculous ideas, which maybe we'll get into at some point. But I had thought as well, early on is that one way that that could be is just whichever God. Gets its hands on the best flair, the other goblins kind of look up to them and think that they're cool. And so, so I was thinking in the fog bug, a goblin that managed to get his hands on some lipstick.

I don't know where the lipstick came from, but that goblin would be like a king. That would be the most fancy thing any of the other Gobbins had ever seen. So, so yeah, so, so the much more basic idea of this goblin wears lipstick that I had was literally just. You go and make the goblin king and the goblin king is wearing lipstick because he found the lipstick and that's where he gets his status.

So he's going to make sure that you really notice it.

[00:34:00] Adam: And I would assume that this lipstick it's like a proper lipstick, isn't it? It's not, it's not like it's not in some kind of wooden bowl. It's not actual like pure bliss. Oh, no,

Rosie: no. It's max factor makeup, makeup of makeup all to this and it's yeah, absolutely.


Adam: hot pink. The idea that this would have kind of spontaneously arrived in the kind of detritus of the, in the, you know, in the mud of the fog bog, you find things surely, you know, things bubble up from, from, you know, beneath whatever it is it's below. And so. Lipstick man lipstick.

Rosie: That's where it comes from.

I mean, did you have any other ideas apart from the sexy Glenn close goblin who by the way is just

Adam: fantastic. And I know that, yeah, I just, I do, I do like that one. I really just love the purity of that image of the goblin wearing, wearing lipstick. And as you say, you know, the, the max [00:35:00] factor, the max factor lips, it has to be that kind.

Yeah. And. And I think that that is, as you say, flare is such a wonderful way of thinking about it, because I was thinking about how the goblin we have in both folklore and in fiction, this idea of the you've you've used the sympathetic individuation. I was thinking about this earlier and I actually used the word pathetic when I was thinking about what the goblin is.

And I was thinking in in I was saying. You know, I was trying to use the word pathetic in a, in a slightly clever away, then we might use it. But, you know, in, in how we might talk about, you know static policy and the idea of things being kind of hollowed out of not, not really being anything to them, that's an internal weakness to them.

And, and this, this idea that the goblin The goblin kind of represents a failure of the world in a way, right? It's like the gut in the goblins world, [00:36:00] everything is a bit holiday. It doesn't really have much intentionality. Everything's sort of flowing this way in that way. And it's a mess and it's a bug and it's stuff, you know, it's a world full of litter and mud.

It's a weld without kind of the pristine forms that human beings like to create. And it suggests that maybe that's how the world actually is because in all these fairy stories, babies are always becoming goblins. You know, the cha the idea of the changeling and the gobbling were very sort of interchangeable ideas.

Aren't they? And that we imagined sort of children has goblins, and these kinds of protein entities are offspring. Have this capacity in them. This hollow capacity, this failed capacity that the goblin somehow exemplifies. And I love the idea that the lipstick comes along and it just grounds everything that little bit, you know, that's what the flare does.

It just makes everything sort of that little bit tighter.

Rosie: Absolutely. Yeah. And something to cling to it is, it is actually we, [00:37:00] our conversation about goblins or just today as we're recording and offline has been quite cool, made me very empathetic towards them. The poor little thoughts, you know, they don't, they don't have a lot in this world.

It's all just mud and rats for days. Rats for breakfast?


Adam: No, occasionally poking a stick in the mud and maybe finding something incredibly lucky.

Rosie: So lucky if they roll, you know, the D 100 and they get a map. Yeah. Yeah. And that 100, maybe there's a little lipstick there waiting for

Adam: them. Cleanness weights, ganglion weights. Of course it does.

Well we do have somewhere else. We can go for for Wayne to this prompts because. Those are all thoughts, but every episode we're going to defer to the primal creative [00:38:00] force that bubbles up from the dungeon, that being the gelatinous cube. So I'm going to have a little spokes around inside the tenax in this cube and just see what he

Rosie: throws up.

What's he got

Adam: for us? What is it for us? Oh, yes. Oh, wow. This is so built out of what we've just been discussing. So I'm just going to do a little screen share because the gelatinous cube has centers. Ooh. Okay. Okay. So I'm going to share the screen and we'll see what the gelatinous cube had to say.

There we go. Oh, wonderful. Okay. So we're looking at a picture of Jared, the goblin kid. Played by David Bowie in the film labyrinths and the scopolamine, whereas lipstick, of course he does. And not just lipstick where it's like, you know, it's not just the max factor for the lips. It's everything. We've got some incredible eyes.

And a lot of hairspray,

Rosie: I think, and, and, and the [00:39:00] browse, my God, his brows have been like seriously worked and failed and stuff. It's really beautiful

Adam: stuff. Okay. So, so obviously the gelatinous cube has tuned into our thoughts and has decided to go to decided to run with them. So talking about gobbling Kings, so.

Delighters keep says, goblin Kings presenters wise, and capricious regions, prosecuting wars with rival monarchs, manifesting teen psychodramas as epic adventures, I guess. That's that great. That's Labron decreeing, this and that, but only when the sensible. The second reasons gaze drifts, the stately sovereign of moments before will offer up his Royal countenance as a hemorrhoid cushion or fall on all fours, like a brain donkey.

There was never a king or a court. Are you joking to treat with these mockeries is a bad idea to accept a quest madness. Yeah. I have to [00:40:00] own up. I have had a little read of this beforehand, and I think the card we talk about, we're talking about gelatinous, keeping a podcast. When we come up with sort of interesting problems with players and what we've got here is the problem, I think, is the kinds of quests or the consequences of going on a quest that is set by a goblin.

Yep. And this cave has been good enough to start writing a D 20 table. And some of this is absolutely excellent. And I think you could do a lot of very fun things with it. So if you roll a one. Quest points quest points unlocked, equals negative experience points. So I think what it's getting at here is that as you progress in your goblin quest, why should he lose it?

we were sort of talking about the idea of kind of the goblin [00:41:00] living is messy world. Well, that's what happens? You go on one of these quests. Okay. So number two, is your princesses in another car? So, I guess he's riffing on Mario there. Yeah. You've killed it. You've killed the final boss, the kind of fiber even goblin away free.

And now the princess is in another castle. So you got girls sweat number three, if you rolled a three gold turns to mini goblins who Nick the PCs. Yeah.

Rosie: Let's say for annoying

Adam: as well. Number four, encounter slowly scale to absurd difficulty levels rooms, full of a hundred or et cetera. Gobbling in the corner with a remote control, I guess, controlling the orcs.

I think there's this theme running through this of the kind of of it all being some kind of goblin put on. Yeah. Yeah. You take these quests. So this one really builds into itself. If you're all a five, all key MPCs are unhelpful and annoying with weird futon accents and wide brimmed hats, and probably goblins dressed up on steel.

Oh, that's

Rosie: wonderful. So they're just [00:42:00] putting on a different show for you. We're playing quests today.

Adam: I love that. Yeah. I love that one. Disasters number six is disasters met by hysterical audience of goblins, briefly bursting from the woodwork, like freakish laugh track, plus two to monster morale or like penalty.

So I guess that's just the way I was using up and encounter. Number seven is occasionally a deranged goblin shows up with it. That's a knighting wall. Well, that'd be like I guess like that character in the Muppet show who would always rock up, but the detonator.

Rosie: That's what the gelatinous cube is thinking

Adam: of.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah. Number eight is grumpy goblin stagehands arrive at unfortunate moments to rearrange the scenery effectively teleporting the party to a random nearby location, et cetera. I think this is all very fun. I mean, but my first thought about it is like, okay, you could, you could.

This stuff could just be annoying, but it could be done in tiny [00:43:00] tingly. But I think what you'd have to do is you've got to stick some parameters on it. Like how do you get out of this bloody quest? Yes. Do you have to complete, I mean, do you have to complete the quest or is there another way and here he has written something about it here.

It says one way to undo this matter. Which unfortunately only works half the time. It's to desist from the quest at which point the goblin king will emerge to commiserate and praise everyone for their efforts and wipe off his makeup to reveal whooping green baboon, which bounds off into the undergrowth.


Rosie: Oh, that's fantastic. I do love the idea of the goblin king. Like when you've like been like art for goodness. Like I definitely am not. I'm trying to get out of this and you manage to Tate and then he just shows up and it's like, okay, well, good show could show the one. Well done blend. Good sport.

Bloody good sport. I'm off.

Yeah. Okay. Well, there we go. So that goblin king wears lipstick as part of a [00:44:00] one entire ethic or kind of theatricality  yes, yes, yes. And it's all just a show. My goodness. I think if that I threw that in my players, in the football, they would actually kill me. But it's a good

Adam: time. Yeah, I think it's, I think you could do something really fun with that.

I think what this really is, is it's a way of building out a campaign idea. I

Rosie: think, I think that's the thing. It's a whole idea. Isn't it? And you definitely want to have like NPCs who are yeah, well, yeah, right.

Sorry. I think they could all be on stilts. I think there has to be something or like sad statue or something like that. That's going to like, let you know what's going on. But yeah, it does seem like a whole, it does seem like an entire entire campaign.

Adam: It's, it's what he's done is he sort of anticipated both ends of it.

He's like, okay, so you've got the kind of goblin, the idea of the goblin king with the makeup and that kind of make the specialness of the lipstick elevating it. But then there's also that idea of this kind of [00:45:00] absolute failure of reality around the goblins. It's like this, this kind of goblin king is just a mockery of the very idea.

Of a king, you know, weeping, baboon character. And as I say, I think you could do something cool with this. I think you could do something really good. Oh, totally.  right. But yeah. I think it's, it's, it's big urban. Oh, you know, the scope of. Well, honed

Rosie: in council. Oh, the gelatinous key was just very ambitious coming straight in with some incredible ambition there from

Adam: stop the

Rosie: cube.

I'm excited to see where they go next.

Adam: We might have to ask the let's keep it calm down a bit. Be

Rosie: like good. You should do one wider neck in gelatinous. But yeah. Wonderful. Okay. So that's goblin is certainly wearing them. That's it from us and our friend, the lipstick wearing goblin. Be sure to check out our show notes where you'll find the full encounter written up in a [00:46:00] system and setting neutral package.

Although, as I say, I do recommend it very much to harmonize with the government grinder by Ripley Caldwell mark Boardman. Thank you very much Ripley. And you will so fine. Of course, the gelatinous cubes, completely balmy and separate thoughts on the prompt. Yeah. Which has a say, I just think need to be written out into, into an entire campaign that was just.

Adam: As we're a new show in a cram niche we'd be really, really grateful if you could spare a minute to rate, review and follow us on your favorite podcatcher and you can give us a shout on the socials we're gelatinous cast on Twitter and Instagram.

Rosie: Yes. Let us know if you have any prompts that you would like us to throw into the cube, what you think of the governance that we've dreamed up, whether any of these goblins that we mentioned will make it into your game.

Adam: And thanks so much for listening. We'll see you next time for some more game nonsense, and we'll be bringing along a very drunk demon. And that's a demon with an AI, not an egg because our mate told us [00:47:00] that's cooler. Anyway, I've been Adam and

Rosie: I've been Rosie,

Adam: Until next time from us and the gelatinous

Rosie: cube, squelchy, squelchy, scorch, let us know what you think about the sign off as well guys.

Cause we're just throwing it out.