I have been watching inspirational material on AMC the past few Sundays; Last week it was the Thief of Baghdad, and this week the Errol Flynn Adventures of Robin Hood, but my wife switched to the better swordfights in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.
The nostalgia of Harryhausen era fantasy films have long fueled my games, but there is another movie that has informed my writing, and part of the cultural scene of Northport. I wrote a GURPS based fantasy story for my children that made about ninety pages before going on an extended hiatus that involved a cluster of under age humanoid sports enthusiasts. The sport was Jugger, as presented in the 1989 movie Blood of Heroes, featuring Rutger Hauer and Joan Chen playing a bloodsport in a post apocalyptic world. The violence and the coolness of the game, where an assortment of gladiators armed with polearms, sword and shield, and a twirling chain endeavor to defend their one unarmed player, the Quick as they mount the game trophy – a dog’s skull- on a post. appealed to me as being something that goblinoids would do for fun. It doesn’t hurt that the primary implements (with the exception of the chain, which I rule can be substituted with a battle net, a gusari or a set of bolas) are those I remember seeing adult orcs traditionally depicted as using, for example in this image by David C. Sutherland III from the AD&D Monster Manual.
Right now, in my game, I have started a secondary campaign with level of power suited for 125 point Henchmen from Peter V. DellOrto‘s excellent DF15. Once presented with the background, one of the players immediately took up a Goblin Killer who had experience on the junior league as a “Qwik,” the only member of a team that can score, and also the only member playing unarmed. Naturally, Grimbo has weapon skills, as all of this particular crop of players, including a soldier, an archer and a priest, While DF doesn’t push much toward social engineering skills, I am going to lean on them to use the ones they have, and let the characters grow organically from these templates. They will have dungeon delving, and rivalries that may have their roots in the game, or in more complicated issues.