Thursday, March 24, 2011

There's a Seal! There's a Seal in the Water!

Geraldo is always good for a quote - "There's a man! There's a man in the water!"

This past sunday I took a 3 hour cruise in New York Harbor to go seal spotting Not what you would expect in the waters off of the City That Never Sleeps, but I counted nearly a dozen (the official count was 19 seals spotted). Apparently in the summer months, the same ship also does whale spotting cruises. At $24 bucks a person (at least for the seal spotting) I'm sure to be going again.

All of which got me thinking. In my neighborhood in Queens (one of the boroughs of NYC) i've seen rabbits, wild turkeys, opossums, raccoons... all species that one associates with a less urban environment. All on city streets or yards. Not parks. Not cemeteries.

So why don't we have more kobolds and goblins living in the sewers of major (and not so major) fantasy cities? They'd adapt to the urban environment even better then the wild animals i mention above (although they would also be present). Why search for adventure at low levels, when you can be recruited to keep the goblin population in the sewers in check.

We frequently hear stories of bears causing issues in the suburbs, but what if a young and hungry owlbear was roaming the streets at night going through the refuse? Thats a job for (expendable) adventurers.

edit:  The ArmChair General has a nice post building upon this one.  Check it out here.


  1. Dungeon and in this case urban ecology has always fascinated me. For my games I tend to run more sandbox type in that the goblin or kobold is actively living in their lair not just sitting around behind a door playing dice until the players come in and kill him. This brings up some very good points. How does one create an ecology instead of just a dungeon? I will blog about this.

  2. Oh man - that's a whole campaign in itself - Goblin-Rooters.

    Awesome. I gotta do that.

    - Ark

  3. I used to live up in Spuyten Duyvil (1996-2001) up in the Bronx and was pretty sure I saw a coyote up there. There is a plague in Van Cortlandt Park, if I remember correctly, about coyotes being spotted there for the first time in the fifties?.

  4. @ John, my fiancee lives in Woodlawn, so between the park and the cemetary she swears she's seen 2 or 3 coyotes.

    @Arkhein - this shit made me laugh out loud :)

  5. @John:

    Do you mean a plaque about the first spotting, or is there actually some kind of illness?

  6. Interesting idea. I guess it is related to the common "get down in the sewers and kill those ratmen/skaven" plots.

    On the other hand, with leathal force more common, and armed civilians around, maybe dangerous humanoids get slaughered if they are seen?

  7. I put my players up against a Shambler (the D&D Shambling Mound) in the sewers beneath the city of Kelvin (Karameikos). Lots of fun for all.

  8. @tegeus - Nice! That's a single mob garbage disposal unit ;)


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