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Threetoe's Stories, and Analysis

The Adventures of Gornon

By Threetoe

In the capital of Irigoth, Gornon was driven by poverty to steal. He cut coin purses from unsuspecting travelers with a knife he stole from the kitchen of the inn in which he was staying. The capital was huge, and he never robbed locals who could identify him. Then came the day of the food riot. The army had long been at war and provisions sent to them had stretched thin the resources of the city. The peasant farmers outside the city wall had refused to pay the increasing taxes of grain and animals. Many farms had been burned by the city guard. The rabble inside the city, fueled by hunger and blocked by the guard from leaving the slum, set fire to their own homes. With the guard busy containing the riot, Gornon donned a dark cloak one night and snuck into the merchant district. He broke into shop after shop, filling his large bag with gold and valuables. The fires crept closer. The guard had lost control of the mob and wholesale slaughter had begun.

As Gornon fled the market district a guard, clad in chain mail stepped into the street in front of him. "Let's see what you've brought me," said the guard, snatching the bag. Gornon tried to flee, but the guard brought the handle of his sword down on Gornon's skull.

He awoke in a dungeon, puzzled that he was still alive. The guard must have been merciful to the man that made him rich. Torchlight shone through the barred window of his cell and beyond it he could hear the sounds of other looters being tortured. He felt around the stone walls of his cell and found a brick that was loose. He searched the floor for a tool and found a shard of rock. For days he chipped away at the loose brick. Eventually it gave way revealing a dark tunnel. Gornon slipped through the crack.

He found himself in a cavern deep in the ground. Growths of glowing fungus lit his way. After a time he found a stream flowing underground. Shadows moved in the distance. He could hear the croaks and lisps of goblin speech. The goblin dispersed into the darkness. All except one, who boarded a primitive raft and punted across the river toward Gornon with a long pole. Gornon waiting in a dark crack in the rock wall and the goblin stepped from the raft and began picking through the stone. The goblin threw the rocks over his back until he found one to his liking. He was examining it closely when Gornon struck from behind. The goblin tried to draw its blade, but Gornon had an arm around its neck. He violently twisted until the goblin's neck was broken. He seized the jagged goblin knife and plunged it into the goblin's heart to be sure his work was done.

Wiping the gore from his blade off on his thigh, Gornon made his way deeper into the cave. He was wary of more goblins as he crossed the river. He was creeping through a narrow passage when a goblin appeared before him, holding a cudgel. He turned back and was confronted by another goblin wielding a barbed lash. Gornon raised his blade and made to rush the scourge-wielding fiend when he was brought low by a blow to the head.

His eyes cleared to reveal a fire burning outside a cavern entrance. A great cauldron sat upon the fire, filled with boiling stew. A dozen goblins danced around the pot singing. Gornon was lashed to a tree, but the ropes were worn and rotting. The goblins were drunk with blood brew and when one of them made to untie Gornon and throw him in the stew, Gornon lashed out from the loose bindings and boxed him in the face. The goblins were confused, stumbling toward him. He grabbed a spear and stabbed it into the prone goblin's neck. He ran into the night, carrying the spear in one hand and the goblin's corpse in the other. After a day on the run, he found himself in a vast plain. The goblins had robbed him of his clothing, and this goblin tribe wore no clothing themselves. Gornon tore the skin from the back of the goblin corpse with the sharp rock at the end of his spear. He then fashioned a loin cloth from the foul leather.

He wandered the plains and saw smoke rising from a distant village. The people there were dressed in hemp and marveled at the naked warrior and his crude spear. The village guard were dressed in layers of leather armor, valuable in the village since cattle were scarce. They were armed with poorly crafted iron hatchets. The huts in the village were made from grass. Trees were few and far between on the plain, but there were endless seas of grass. The village people gathered around the fire and listened with rapt attention to Gornon's story. Few believed it, but all were entertained. A family agreed to take him in, and he slept in their hut that night. He was clothed and fed. He continued to tell stories of his adventures during the group meetings at the fire. After a few days he told them it was time to go. The headman of the family he was staying with offered him his daughter if he would only stay. That night, after a raucous ceremony in which the whole village got drunk, Gornon bedded his new wife in a hut that had been erected for them.


    • specific designated capitals
    • taxation of peasants to keep up armies and so on, this can make resources scarce, taxes can be on produce and livestock
    • discontent
      • depending on their ability to give and their needs, a peasant might refuse to pay, and they can group together
      • if enough peasants have a common need, there can be riots
      • the civ can retaliate against riots/revolts by burning houses
      • rioters can burn their own assets, guard can contribute to this by fencing them away from actual target areas, failure to contain can lead to further violence on the part of the guard, during the height of these moods, guards can steal from any civilian around
    • uniforms: for soldiers and guards, standardized equipment sets, also includes standard clothing habits, some primitive groups have no clothing
    • crime and punishment
      • can be placed in a dungeon, just as in the dwarf game, or most likely in a room without chains or cages, this involves confiscation of equipment
      • guards can personally confiscate goods from criminals and keep them, this can even increase their "lenience" roll toward this person, preventing murder or incarceration
      • torture of prisoners, sometimes just for kicks
    • item quality: primitive civilizations that live on theft or scavenging will often have old/rotten items
    • trade: value of commodities can depend on local availability, rather than general civilization parameters
    • welcoming customs: societies can be naturally more open or closed to strangers, favorable impressions can help with this, a stranger that is accepted and requires housing could be housed, clothing and food can be provided
    • gifts: people with a favorable impression can give gifts, and also people that want to influence behavior, this can include items, lodging (possibly shared), a slave, or a spouse
    • celebrations
      • groups of creatures can dance and celebrate together when something good is going on, like an impending eating of a player or a wedding.
      • narcotics are often involved
      • there can be a series of events that take place, especially regarding weddings
      • this can involve new buildings or the transfer or property
      • some celebrations take place only at prescribed times and locations, either general "night" or specific "sunset"
      • the raucousness level of the celebration depends on both societal norms directly and indirectly on them via their restrictions on narcotics
    • motivation/drives: if a peasant needs something badly, it will steal, player can do this
    • inter-relations:
      • people can recognize each other, discourages criminal behavior on people you interact with often
      • people form impressions of each other (esp. the player) based on the objects in their inventories and their wounds and health state
        • inv. objects are compared with societal norms
        • these impressions last and might be difficult to alter
    • antics: a bored milling creature could be interested in things like rocks and the small bugs you can find in the ground, rejects can be tossed away, acceptable objects can be examined closely and possibly kept
    • other inventories: swipe items from others, might have to cut them loose
    • sheathed weapons:
      • having weapons out all the time is bad form
        • can make you look suspicious
        • make you tired
        • makes interacting with the environment harder
      • can put items in your "belt", but when rust goes in, scabbards will prevent it
    • object character: aside from improvements, daggers can be "jagged" and so on, use these when the change does not justify greatly changed stats on the item (and hence a new weapon subtype)
    • sullies:
      • blood should cover items as they fight
      • should be able to poison your weapons (code is in, but no interface)
      • cleaning off sullies should be a priority
        • prevents rust and corrosion
        • enhances peoples' good impressions
    • corpse processing:
      • it could keep track of how much of the corpse has been processed, and give flavor to it like "skin from the back"
      • although implements aren't required in dwarf mode, if you do this in adventure mode, you need some kind of implement
    • creation: many things, like leather working, that dwarves can do in a workshop can be done in a primitive fashion by the player, this includes all of the standard rolls and skill increases, this will interact well with the "shoddy items" bloat
    • narcotics: strange evil concoctions for the baddies alcohol effects
    • inn: has a kitchen, many small ambient objects (e.g. knife)
    • districts: in large cities, buildings can be grouped in districts capitals might be composed of multiple connected sites in the same square to facilitate memory usage
    • materials:
      • brick walls: sometimes have loose bricks, especially in older and little-inspected structures, a close inspection is needed to find these, can break away over time with a tool like a rock, this destroys the wall (or creates a small hole in ASCII that small creatures can use)
      • grass: can be used to make primitive structures
    • stealth:
      • cloaks + dark clothing help sneak rolls
      • lighting of the area where the ambusher is influences rolls
      • organized ambushes with creatures in proper locations
    • senses:
      • can monitor events like riots from afar with various cues
      • people shrieking when they are tortured
      • in addition to eye glow, there can be traces of people like shadows in the semi-lit areas, these can provide bits of information (size/pointy ears), but rarely full-race specs
    • lighting:
      • torches on the walls
      • light gen fungus can be placed in some places
    • water traversal: in civilized areas, there must be means to cross any water that breaks up the settled areas this could be a bridge, ferry or rafts (incl. pole push)/canoes
    • chases: running from a site should not be sufficient to escape an organized pursuit even if your foes are not immediately pursuing you, creating some distance will be necessary, since they must remember to hunt you later
    • travel map signs: when you are traveling around, can activate a look button this would tell you what is in the square some things like villages might be hidden until you get closer, but they might be given away by signs like "smoke rising in the distance"
    • non-lethal: directed blows to thought center containing bodyparts to bring a long KO, does not break the part except on a mis-roll scenarios
    • escape from confinement: if you get stuck in a prison, there needs to be a way out or a fast way to pass time a loose dungeon wall can connect to a pre-existing cavern for instance escape can't be a guarantee though
    • preparing you to be eaten: things like pots of boiling water and the details of cooking can be spread throughout the game, involves restraint of the character nearby in some manner
    • speech/sounds: for non-human creatures, certain letters could just be approximations of sounds humans have difficulty producing
    • conversations:
      • you can talk about things that have or haven't happened to you, and peasants can become quite interested, this can lead to passersby stopping, and forming a cluster, these gatherings can be moved by the speaker or a listener to more traditional meeting places like a fire, these alter the original impressions of the player, regardless of the truth or believability of the stories
      • you can announce intentions to groups, such as your travel plans, this can lead to people signing up, or making offerings to entice you to change your plans or to help you out, this system can be generalized to many announcements, the hard part is having the listeners properly interpret and react to the announcement as it relates to their own situation