This adventure is NOT part of the Foresite Irregulars storyline, skip to Lost in Sigil to pick up the latest in that chapter.
My granddaughters are 4 and 7 years old and know that their grandfather loves games, and to make things out of paper.
I recently volunteered to run an adventure for them and my son requested an adventure he’d heard about: We Be Goblins – a free-to-download adventure by Paizo. I’d already downloaded it and was eager to prepare it for my girlies and their dad.
The story was way fun (PCs play naughty young goblins instead of noble adult humanoids), mission was simple (go get the fireworks from the old shipwreck in the swamp), and there were only three encounter areas.
But, Pathfinder is WAY too complex a system for 4 year olds, so I looked for an alternative, and found it in Hero Kids by Justin Halliday. Why Hero Kids? The resolution mechanic is simply best-of-6d-dice-pool opposed rolls. No math! Kids Just need to know what the biggest number they rolled is and 4 year olds can do that. Better characters skills or gear means more dice in the pool. That’s it! The hardest part is remembering the ties rule. If you’re interested in how I adapted the module and the changes I made to Hero Kids, read on past the end of the photos.
We Be Goblins
The 4 year old played Chuffy Lickwound – The sneaky-stabby one.
The 7 year old played Rita Bigbad – The girl goblin who likes fighting and hates dogs.
Their dad played Poogh of Zarongel – His hands burn and his wand make’s you feel better.
Mogmurch got in trouble for blowing up the family kitchen, so he didn’t get to go on the adventure…
“You were out of the village playing all day…”
“… you come back to discover that they have torn down the hut of that old crazy goblin everyone called Scribbleface because he wasted all his time learning that yucky readin’ and writin’ stuff. They are burning the bits of his hut at the center of town and are having big party!” [What do you want to do?]
Rita: “I want to find some dogs to chase around…”
As the gang is getting the low-down about the kitchen incident with Mogmurch, a voice booms out: “Chuffy Lickwound, Rita Bigbad, and Poogh of Zarongel – report to the Chief at the bonfire, immediately!”
[The group learns of their quest: To follow a map left by Scribbleface to the outer swamp to a shipwreck there and see if there are any more fireworks there.]
The chief continues: “But first! You mush face one a dare each! Choose one of them here and see if you can beat it – if you can I will lend you some useful stuff for your quest!” [These mini-games taught them the die-pool mechanic.]
Poogh (since he can heal) chose to face the Ear-Biter gauntlet – a very nasty tube of sharp knives and rusty poles!
Though he did lose a chunk of his left hear, Poogh got through in record time and got his prize:
Rita decides to accept the “Dance with Squeely Nord” and climbs into the pit to attempt to ride the ornery pig till the count of 10!
She got a bit banged up trying to grab both the ears and the tail…
but eventually succeeded, receiving:
And Chuffy decided to play “Hide or Get Clubbed” and was tricky – instead of hiding out in the swamp, he hid right behind the chief’s tent!
…and though people got close (and he did get clubbed by ‘accident’) he won:
Chief: “Well done! Tomorrow morning you will leave with the map looking for the fireworks! Bring back all my stuff our you’ll be sorry!”
Leaving on an Adventure
The next morning they leave, but not before Mogmurch says “You know, there’s some scary things out there, like Lotsalegs Eats Goblin Babies Many – and then there is Vorka who will catch you and eat you!”
Rita: “Vorka is just something our daddies made up to scare us to go to bed. I don’t believe in Vorka!” Chuffy and Poogh both agree: “We don’t believe in Vorka!”
Mogmurch: “Well, OK. But watch out for Lotsalegs! I’ve seen her webs, so she’s real!”
About an hour later, they enter a wooded area half-way to the X marking the spot where the fireworks are supposed to be…
Poogh: “Wow! There are a lot of webs, we’ll have to be careful to not get stuck!”
Rita goes one way, Poogh and Chuffy go another…
.. and Poogh and Chuffy get stuck by a giant web shot by Lotsalegs Eats Goblin Babies Many – a giant spider when it appears out of a bush!
And they kill it quickly – though there are some injuries that are cured by Poogh’s wand and potions they got from the Chief.
Rita: “That monster should have a nest with lotsa stuff somewhere!”
Chuffy: “I can use my ring of Climb Real Good to go up the tree and look in the webs up there!”
Yup! Lots of cool loot there:
… the goblins head on to their destination …
The Ship in the Swamp
Poogh: “Why is there a fence around that shipwreck?”
Chuffy: "I see a horse! It looks all sick and hungry. I want to feed it some candy! "
Rita: “And I smell dogs up on that deck! Let me at’m!”
Poogh: “I can use the ladder in the chief’s robe to get over the fence!”
After getting inside the fence, Rita tries running straight to the gangplank at the front of the ship but sees that there is a big wasp nest at the top of it so heads back near the rear of the ship.
Chuffy throws some candy at the front of the deck to draw the dogs away as Poogh is putting the ladder up near the back. Chuffy runs up the ladder, and then straight up to the crows nest, using her Ring of Climb Real Good.
Before Chuffy can really grab any of the cool stuff he finds, Poogh is up the ladder, and the dogs run back to attack. Soon Rita is up the ladder too and everyone is fighting!
After they are done with the dogs, Chuffy recovers the stuff that’s up in the crow’s nest:
Rita: “I smell another dog, a BIG one! Up on the upper deck, near that smokestack! Do you see it from up there Chuffy?”
Chuffy: “Yeth! Let’s go!”
Poogh: “What is all this gross stuff up here? Someone has been cleaning goblin bones!”
Upon hearing giant dog cry its last in the fight, they can hear a voice coming from below decks: “Cuddles? Are they hurting you! NO!”
Chuffy: “Could that be Vorka? No way!”
Poogh: “There’s a trap door right here! Lets go down and find out who it is?”
As they drop through from the upper deck to the cabin the which Vorka, says: “I can’t wait to see what you children will taste like with the bottle of wine I have up in the crow’s nest…”
[Last photo, because: batteries.]
The final battle involves Chuffy shooting fireworks at Vorka, who summons more dogs to fight for her and a Giant Toad eating Chuffy (oh noes!), and Rita cutting him out and Poogh healing him (oh yays!)
Ultimately they defeat her and find:
and they did, and they were.
Adapting We Be Goblins adventure to Hero Kids:
Two things I was concerned about in the themes of the story: Rita’s hate of dogs (my granddaughters love their puppy) and Vorka’s cannibalism. I was more concerned with the dogs than the Hansel-and-Gretel threat Vorka posed.
After introducing the characters, I needed not be concerned – the 7 year old jumped at the chance to play Rita, saying “I love my dog, but I don’t like big dogs!” and she loved the special power to find them at a distance.
You can see from the narrative how we handled the dark aspect of Vorka.
Adapting to Hero Kids was all about simplifying and reducing everything to either the die-pool mechanic or simple single-use tokens. Since I have a large collection of Paizo Gamemastery item cards, I decided to reduce all the loot cards that had an art-back and simple goblin-speak names on the front. Some of those names are from the adventure, some aren’t.
The kids really loved the art-side for getting a sense of what they had and what it looked like. Rita: “Good! I’ve got THIS armor! Since I like to fight…”
I was very concerned even about die-pool additions and wanted to reduce as math of it out of the game as possible, so I converted magic/special weapons to items with 3 dice. Pretty straightforward. But I made one change to Hero Kids to reduce die pool adds and confusion: I didn’t give the characters stats, only item cards and a single signature power.
For the adaptation to Hero Kids (not very deadly, which is good) there was too much loot. You can cut it by half. One upgrade weapon per player, and one cool limited use item per player should be enough.
Using physical tokens for single-use items like the candy and the fireworks worked very well for the 4 year old – she used them whenever she could! (I wish my adult D&D players would use their inventory so well!)
Almost all of the terrain was things I’d built for other sessions – which you can find links to at oldschooldm.com Look through the posts to find a photo featuring the terrain you are interested in and scroll to the bottom where there is a Build NOTES section.
The one exception is Ear Biter, which I made out of a paper towel roll, toothpicks, tape, and paint…
I’m sure you know what happened after the game was over – the kids wanted to play with the terrain…