“Thank you for coming to meet with me. You are here for one reason: Goblins. Reports indicate that the Licktoad goblins of Brinestump Marsh have grown unusually aggressive. The reason for this uncharacteristic bravery seems clear—the goblins have somehow managed to arm themselves with what appears to be a considerable supply of fireworks. The problem stems not so much from the additional “firepower” these fireworks provide as from the inflated sense of ego and power that the devices have given the goblins—the fireworks have made them dangerously brave.
Several merchant caravans and travelers have been attacked so far, and according to the victims, the damage caused by horses panicking at the sight and sound of exploding pyrotechnics is almost as destructive as the goblin attacks themselves. With the last few attacks resulting in severe injuries to three unfortunate travelers, the problem has escalated from an annoyance to a threat. And since this goblin threat doesn’t hardly impact Magnimar in the slightest, they have neglected to react on the matter.
But I can’t just sit back and wait for the injuries to become deaths, and our guard is spread thin as it is, protecting the road. So this duty falls to you, as I ask you to consider it."
—-Sheriff Belor Hemlock
Hemlock, the Sheriff of Sandpoint, had a small goblin problem. A small problem with fireworks, that is. Asking several acquaintances, he was pointed to two unlikely souls for assistance: Koya and her adopted son, Sandru – a traveling caravan merchant, suggested both a trouble maker from town and an old fighter, Gill, who had signed onto Sandru’s caravan at the last stop. Local word had it that a mysterious pale haired spell-caster had come to town, and the sheriff himself had a promising watchman in mind.
He gathered the four together at the local inn and briefed them, as above, about the issue he was faced with. Without much effort, the four were convinced, though the watchman, Harwin, had misgivings about the trouble maker, who he called “Crook” as a nickname. But, with Hemlock’s assurance, Harwin accepted the group in short order. After a few questions concerning details, the five parted ways and prepared to leave early the next morning.
At sunrise, all four met at the south gate and they headed south through the morning to the sheer cliff overlooking the huge swamp where the Goblins lived. They chose to follow the new fisher’s trail that wound its way down the cliff and to the home of a halfling warden whom Hemlock had pointed the group towards. They greeted the halfling who acted unfriendly and dismissed them in short order, denying them all assistance but the simplest of directions.
Crook, true to his thieving nature, took no time in searching the exterior of the two story house for a way inside. Harwin, neither surprised nor amused, cautioned the thief, and demanded that Crook only return with a map for them. Unfortunately, their attempt to lift the man onto the roof of a shed at the back ended disastrously. Crook fell through the roof into the shed just as the halfling rounded the corner of the house.
He demanded that the party leave immediately, but Crook noticed a strange rippling on the halfling’s face and alerted Harwin. Now advised, the watchman caught the anomaly as well, and he reached helplessly to find an excuse not to leave. Fortunately for him, but less so for Crook, an opportunity presented itself in the form of three small venomous snakes that slithered out of the shed after the rogue, attacking him. Harwin did not miss the halfling’s fearful retreat into the house at the site of them. A strange occurrence, given that the halfling was known to raise snakes himself.
Sure now that this was not truly the halfling, Harwin raced to grab the small deceiver as the caravan guard, Gill, rushed to deal with the snakes and defend Valkris (the “Crook”). He made short work of them using his shield, but Harwin was not so fortunate as the little creature slipped from his firm grasp and escaped into the house. He yelled a single warning, to which there was no response, before taking a few seconds to crush the door under his shoulder. The creature that had been the halfling, a little pale thing with a gaping hole where its face should have been, a tongue slipping in and out, took the chance to attack Harwin, but missed.
The caster, who up to this point had more or less watched carefully, took the moment to simply glare at the creature from behind Harwin, which didn’t seem to do anything. Harwin and Valkris, however, quickly dispatched the foe.
Once dealt with, the party examined the interior of the home, only to have a timid voice from somewhere above them call down. Harwin replied, and down the stairs came the real halfling. He explained that the creature had attacked him, and that he and his snakes together had wounded the creature, but he was forced to flee to a secret room upstairs where he fell unconscious.
In appreciation for their fortuitous arrival and dispatching of the foe, he fed them and acted with much more hospitality than the fake had done. After gathering themselves in preparation, the party moved onward down the old fisher’s path. Once near the Goblin’s village, where the halfling said there were roughly a hundred goblins, Harwin called for everyone to lay low, and sent Valkris forward to investigate.
Valkris came upon the wall of the village to find the front gate smashed open from the inside. Carefully moving forward to peer inside, he saw a pile of burnt goblin corpses in the center of an open area, and no signs of life. He moved into a building on the left, raised on five foot tall stilts like all the rest of the village, and found it bereft of any living creatures. He moved farther into the village to take advantage of the viewpoint presented by the top of a tower, and saw nothing.
Reasonably sure of the village’s abandonment, he returned to the party, and all four of them moved into the village to investigate. Shie (the caster), from the top of another tower, saw a goblin hidden within an unexplored building and warned Harwin. Greedy for information, he leaped into action, yelling to the rest not to kill the goblin. But when he entered the room and moved to pin the goblin before him, he was unpleasantly surprised to find that there were, in fact, three goblins in the room.
He warned the others to their presence as they came in. Gill moved into the room behind Harwin to cover his back while Valkris came up from the other side and entered, startling one of the goblins who immediately attacked him. The melee was rough and unsightly in the confined space, but ultimately one goblin was killed and the other two knocked unconscious.
But unfortunately for the party, they heard the war cries of nine more goblins as they came pouring out of buildings further into the compound. Leaving the two unconscious goblins as they were, Harwin ordered everyone to retreat to the broken front gate, an order which they all unquestioningly obeyed. Gill, Valkris, and Shie quickly arrived at the gate, but Harwin – now able to properly use his lucerne hammer, instead stopped on the opposite side of the pile of corpses, intending to intercept the goblins as they moved to attack.
Gill moved up onto Harwin’s left, stopping any advance on that front by the six goblins faced with him. Unable to hurt him, they were stopped completely. His efficiency with his shield, coupled with magic and wicked glares from Shie at the gate made short work of any goblin that went to meet him in melee. On the right, the other three goblins focused their attack on Harwin. Valkris, from the gate, tried to deal with the goblin farthest to Harwin’s right, but throwing daggers proved ineffective and he eventually moved into the melee as well.
Harwin crushed one goblin in a single blow, and then leaped up to the raised walkway on which three of the goblins were attacking with bows. One against him, and the other two taking advantage of Gill’s limited reach. Once up, he turned and swung his lucerne, mincing one goblin as the corpse crashed through the doorway behind it and into a bloody mess in the room beyond. Below, Gill began piling goblin bodies before him, and Shie prepared a touch spell before moving up to deal with enemies attempting to flank GIll.
On the west side of the field, Valkris was whittling away at the goblin before him, but his inexperience on the battlefield proved to make the vicious creature a challenge. On the walkway, Harwin turned behind him to the archer that had already been focused on him and swung again, this time splattering the creature on the wall behind it. He turned and impaled the last archer on the tip of his lucerne hammer, but the last goblin alive on that side turned and ran. The caster and Gill moved to intercept while Harwin leaped from the walkway and smashed his lucerne into the final goblin. Now in a trance of battle, his grizzly execution of the already wounded goblin splattered its blood and guts all over Valkris, who’s stomach proved unsettled. After losing his lunch, he futilely tried to strike Harwin in outrage.
Gill and the caster chased the goblin to a building in the farthest part of the complex where he banged against a door. When no answer came, he surrendered to Gill. He and the two unconscious goblins were tightly tied up, and the party moved back to the building he had been banging on the door of.
After some deliberation, Valkris moved to check the back of the building where he found a secret door in the wall. He and Harwin moved to that door, where the plan would be for Gill to open the front door and engage any enemies waiting inside. At the sound of fighting, Harwin and Crook would enter the secret door and flank the enemy.
Gill and Shie, together, opened the door after several tries. Inside, they saw four goblins, one of which was clearly the chieftain they had been looking for. Immediately, two goblins moved up to attack the two invaders. At the sound of battle, Harwin moved into the secret door only to find himself in a small room. After a moment, he clearly saw two more secret doors, and chose to take the right one. Inside the room beyond was but a single, old, but ornate and ornamented chest. He left it for now and moved through the door on the opposite side of the room, and into what was clearly the chieftain’s quarters.
Again, he moved straight to the door that lead through the left wall, and directly on the other side was one of the four goblins protecting the chieftain. Immediately, it attempted to attack him, but fumbled its weapon in its shock. As Valkris moved into the chieftain’s room behind Harwin, he ordered the thief to instead backtrack and take the other secret door, which would put the man behind all of the goblins and in range of the chieftain. But when one of the goblins viciously wounded Shie, Harwin panicked and tried to tumble past the goblin at the door so he could attack the goblin that threatened her life.
His attempt was disastrous and he instead fell to the floor with a slam. The thief, however, moving through the other secret door, rushed forward and disposed of the goblin. But the other goblin, engaging Gill, saw the opportunity to strike and just managed to hit the caster, knocking her unconscious. Gill made quick work of the foolish creature, and while the chieftain failed to attack the rogue from behind, instead striking his weapon on the wall next to him and dazing himself, Gill managed to stabilize the caster with emergency first aid.
Harwin, back on his feet and angry, moved into the room and prepared himself for as mighty a blow as he could manage. With a single swing, his lucerne hammer connected with the shocked chieftain’s chest, forcing the small body crashing into the wall behind it, and caving in its rib cage, leaving the creature unconscious and mortally wounded. With the melee ended, the party finished off the chieftain and gathered his head, along with the ears of all the dead goblins.
Gill properly dealt with the heavily wounded caster while Harwin and Valkris interrogated the three surviving goblins before ending their lives and collecting their ears as well.
They explained that a goblin they had exiled for the crime of writing had stashed fireworks he had found in the marsh. When the chieftain had learned of this, he ordered his best warriors out to find more. They returned with more than he could have imagined, including the ornate chest and its contents. But soon, undead attacked the village, killing all but the remaining fifteen goblins. Only thanks to the Chieftain’s wit in realizing they had come for the treasures they had found were the goblins spared. He threw all the treasure onto the ground. The undead gathered it all and left.
The locations of the places where they had gathered the treasure had been shown to them on a map scrawled onto the back of an ornate fan left in the chest. The party, in possession, now, of the map, and well aware of the existence of more treasure at two wrecks and a cave on the far side of the swamp, are faced with a difficult decision: Return to town and finish their bounty; or risk their lives again by heading deeper into the swamp, with the promise of greater treasures?