RPG Blog Carnival – Orcs Must Die! – Tricks and Traps
This month’s RPG Blog Carnival topic is tricks and traps. I couldn’t help thinking of the game Orcs Must Die from Robot Entertainment. Orcs Must Die is essentially a tower defense game, except it combines setting up traps and defenders with shooting orcs in the face with a crossbow. In the game, you play a battlemage defending portals to the rift. At the beginning of the level, you are given a budget with which to buy and set traps. If your hero is slain, or too many baddies get through the portal you lose.
This is not a review of the game (which is pretty fun, and I typically don’t really get in to tower defense games), but got me thinking about a one-shot adventure in which the party would be made up of “monster” races, and defend their dungeon home against DM-run parties of “heroes.” Its made particularly tempting if you had a Dungeons and Dragons Insider account that gives you easy access to monster races in the character builder. The thought of a party made up of a Gnoll, Hobgoblin, Kobold, Bullywug, and a Bugbear just makes me smile. They all have interesting racial powers and stat bonuses just like the regular “hero” races we all know and love. The idea would be to turn the typical dungeon delve on its head, and give the PCs the XP budget, with a short catalog of traps that they could place around the map at will. The DM would have to prepare maybe two or three “parties” of heroes of increasing levels to challenge the dungeon. For an added level of complexity, the PCs could be in charge of a squad of minions of whatever race they chose. The goal would be to defend their home from those pesky heroes and protect their treasure.
In one of the 4e campaigns I’m playing in currently, we had a side-quest in which we all played monster races and got to be the “bad guys” for a night. We sneaked in to our regular party’s hometown and helped a madman escape the prison in which our regular party put him. It was awesome for a few reasons; We all got to be some iconic monsters and try builds and roles that are different from our regular game. It also advanced the plot of our regular campaign, and allowed us an almost cinematic perspective to the other side of the story. In typical evil-party fashion, we all turned on each other at the end, but it was a great way to keep a long-running campaign fresh. At the end of it, I was left wanting more. I think a nice trap budget and a lair to defend would be just the thing. Who wants to dice up some do-gooders?