If you’re looking for an RPG that’s hilarious, rules light, and simple enough to start playing in less than five minutes, Goblin Quest is the game for you.
Some tabletop RPGs are made for long, serious, plot-driven stories full of character development and opportunities for a GM to flex their linear story telling muscles. Other games are made for silly one-shots where everyone’s character expects to die in Three Stooges style slapstick hilarity with enough time in the night for everyone to try it again. And after a mind blowingly successful Kickstarter campaign, Goblin Quest became another in the ever delightful second category of tabletop role playing games.
The first thing I noticed about Goblin Quest is how much it reminds me of Kobolds Ate My Baby. Which I want to make very clear, is a good thing. Kobolds Ate My Baby has been a long time favorite game of mine., so other games that feel just as fun and ridiculous on their face are always going to be winners in my book. The premise is easy enough, you and all of your friends are Goblins living in a Goblin camp with a life expectancy of something like a week. A good portion of your Goblin life probably revolves around causing general mischief, but sometimes you and your Goblin friends need to take on very special (or very mundane) quests, and that’s where the game’s sweet spot lays. You see, Goblins aren’t terribly good at many things, in fact, they’re generally tragically and fatally inept at most things.
Character creation is fast and straight forward, taking about as much time to flesh out what your Goblin is kind-of-good and very-bat at and drawing in generally what they look like. In fact, the drawing portion of character creation will almost definitely take you the majority of the time you’ll need to make your Goblin no matter how much you phone your drawing in. It’s a fast process. From there the group decides what sort of quest you want to go on, and head out. And if your group isn’t feeling particularly creative or agreeing, the book has the following settings:
- Kobold Quest: Create a machine that will please the Mighty Dragon King.
- My Name Is Inigo Montoya Jr: They killed your father – prepare to die!
- Sean Bean Quest: Play five Sean Beans (in sequence, not in parallel) and attempt to survive all the way to the end of a film.
- The Cthulhu Files: Go irrevocably insane as you uncover secrets man was not meant to know.
- Neither Super, Nor Heroic: Play the caped crusaders that got left out of the comic books.
- Space Interns: The Explore Corporation wishes you luck on your alien diplomatic mission and reminds you not to damage your red jumpsuit.
- Regency Ladies, The Roleplaying Game: Fall in love! Made snide remarks at balls! Refuse proposals! Throw your money around!
Mechanics are almost as simple as character creation and involves just a few d6s. You roll a d6 to take an action and add a second d6 if your Goblin has any relevant tools, skills, or traits. 1 and 2 are failures, 5 and 6 are successes, and 3 and 4s will give you a -1 or +1 to the next roll respectively. There isn’t a GM, so progressing the quest forward is creative and cooperative by nature. Also, Goblins are weak and only have this game’s equivalent of two hit points, so it is likely that your character will trip over their own feet and die or even succeed at a roll and get terribly injured or slap-sticked to death and your party will get to roleplay out how this happens.
The game ends when at least one of the Goblins succeeds in the quest, or more likely, all of the Goblins step on rakes for minor bonks until all of the Goblins are no more. And then honesty, just like how my group usually plays games like this one you’ll start over almost immediately.
If you’d like to check out Goblin Quest for yourself, you can find more information on the official website, here.
Have you played Goblin Quest? What is your favorite kind of Goblin to make? Has your Goblin ever met their end in an especially memorable or hilarious way? Let us know in the comments!