- Location: Sandpoint
- Date: 23rd to 24th of Rova, 4707 AR
- Characters: Frank, Gwen and Belgaren
- Exp: 560 XP
- One wild boar
- 8 goblins
- Mounts from Foxglove
- 50 gp reward from Foxglove
- Promise for wages for town guard duty
- Aldern Foxglove
- Shalulu Andosana
- Mayor Deverin
A Boar Hunt
The next day, the heroes get a note from Aldern Foxglove to collect their reward for saving his life during the goblin raid. They find him at the Goblin Squash Stables where he invites them on a boar hunt in the Tickwood forest. The players accept and Foxglove rewards them with mounts in addition to gold.
The party heads west over Tanner’s Bridge and along the banks of the Turandarok River. It’s a two mile ride to Tickwood, just north of the upthrust limestone escarpment known as the Devil’s Platter. Despite its ominous name, Tickwood is actually a relatively safe woodland, one well know to be home of plenty of game – no goblin tribes dwell within its boundaries.
Aldern is a charming conversationalist, well-read and with a seemingly endless cache of stories about the high life in Magnimar. He asks lots of questions of the heroes, though. Who are they? Where did they come from? Do they have any harrowing tales of their adventures?
Finally, the party encounters the boar and after a short hunt, they take it down, though not without Foxglove sustaining an injury falling from his horse, something which embarrasses him to no end.
On both the way to and from the hunt, no further goblin or signs of boats can be found.
Grim News from Mosswood.
Shalelu Andosana (CG female elf ranger 2/fighter 1) isn’t quite a bounty hunter, a survivalist, or a mercenary, but a mix of all three. The elven woman passes through town once or twice a season to buy supplies and never remains more than a few days, always staying at the same room at the Rusty Dragon free of charge. Near the end of each visit, she meets with Sheriff Hemlock and Mayor Deverin for a few hours at the garrison to give a report on the state of the hinterlands before she leaves town again, a pouch of gold at her side. Both Hemlock and Deverin value Shalelu’s reports, since they provide a non-biased insight into how the local farmlands are faring and keep the town council abreast of burgeoning dangers in the region.
Shalelu’s visit today to Sandpoint is unexpected—she last passed through town only a month ago and wasn’t expected until the last week of autumn. She dispenses with her visit to the Sandpoint Market and the Rusty Dragon, instead requesting an immediate meeting with Sheriff Hemlock and Mayor Deverin. The unusual meeting and Shalelu’s ragged look combine to make an already jumpy populace suspect that the woman brings news of a new goblin threat.
Sheriff Hemlock sought out the heroes and asks them to join himself, Mayor Deverin, and Shalelu at the town hall, explaining that he’s got some news that might interest them. The meeting takes place in a comfortable office on the second floor of the town hall. Hemlock introduces the heroes to the mayor and she gratefully thanks each of them for the help they provided Sandpoint during the raid.
Hemlock introduces Shalelu as an “unofficial member of Sandpoint’s town guard” (an introduction that causes the elven woman to smirk) and the players to Shalelu as “Sandpoint’s newest crop of heroes.” Hemlock explains that Shalelu has been a thorn in the side of the local goblin tribes for years, and that few in the region know more about them than her. He goes on to recap her report that Sandpoint hasn’t been the only place in the region that’s had goblin troubles. In short, there’s been an increase in goblin-related raids along the Lost Coast Road, particularly in the dale between Nettlewood and Mosswood. Only a day ago, a farm south of Mosswood was burnt to the ground by a group of goblins. Shalelu was thankfully nearby, and while the farm couldn’t be saved, she did rescue the family and drive off the goblins; the family is staying at a nearby farm for now, but the goblin problem is obviously not going away.
At this point, Hemlock cedes the floor to Shalelu, asking her to tell the PCs what she told him.
“Belor’s told me of your work against the goblins—well done. I’ve dedicated the last several years of my life to keeping them from causing too much trouble around these parts, but they’re tenacious and fecund little runts. Like weeds that bite.
“Anyway, there’s five major goblin tribes in the region, and, traditionally, they’re pretty good at keeping each other in line with intertribal squabbles and the like. Yet from what I’ve been able to piece together, members of all five tribes were involved in the raid on Sandpoint. A fair amount of the Mosswood tribe goblins I dealt with yesterday were already pretty beat up, and there was a lot of chatter about the ‘longshanks’ who killed so many of them. Now that I’ve met you, it seems obvious from their descriptions who they were talking about. Seems like you’ve made an impression.
“In any event, the fact that the five tribes are working together disturbs me. Goblin tribes don’t get along unless they’ve got something big planned, and big plans require big bosses. I’m afraid that someone’s moved in on the goblins and organized them. And judging by these recent raids, what they’re organizing seems like bad news for all of us.”
After Shalelu’s speech, Sheriff Hemlock announces that he’s taking a few of his men south to Magnimar to see about securing additional soldiers to station at Sandpoint for a few weeks, at least until the extent of the goblin threat can be determined. While he’s out of town, he’s asked Shalelu to sniff around Shank’s Wood, Devil’s Platter, and other places where goblins live to see if she can discover anything else about what’s going on. He would also like the heroes to maintain a public presence in Sandpoint over the next few days, if they don’t mind. “The locals seem to have taken to you,” he says, “And seeing you around town will do a lot for keeping worries down over the next few days.”
Once the meeting is over, Shalelu asks to join the party for dinner at the Rusty Dragon; she’d like to hear more from them about the Sandpoint raid, and in return she’s got a fair amount of goblin lore she can impart to the PCs.
Ten fun facts about goblins:
- Horse Hate: Goblins excel at riding animals, but they don’t quite get horses. In fact, their hatred of all things horse is matched only by their fear of horses, who tend to step on goblins who get too close.
- Dog Hate: Although goblins raise horrible rat-faced crea- tures called (creatively enough) goblin dogs to use as mounts (and ride wolves or worgs if they can get them—goblins are quick to explain that wolves are NOT dogs), their hatred of plain old dogs nearly matches their hatred of horses. The feeling is mutual. If your dog’s barking at the woodpile for no reason, chances are he smells a frightened goblin hiding in there somewhere.
- Goblins Raid Junkyards: Garbage pits, gutters, sewers… any- where there’s garbage, you can bet goblins are nearby. Goblins are weirdly adept at crafting weapons and armor from refuse, and are fond of killing people with what they throw away.
- Goblins Love to Sing: Unfortunately, as catchy as their lyrics can be, goblin songs tend to be a bit too creepy and disturbing to catch on in polite society.
- They’re Sneaky: An excited or angry goblin is a noisy, chat- tering, toothy menace, but even then, he can drop into an unsettling silence in a heartbeat. This, matched with their diminutive size, makes them unnervingly adept at hiding in places you’d never expect: stacks of firewood, rain barrels, under logs, under chicken coops, in ovens…
- They’re A Little Crazy: The fact that goblins think of things like ovens as good hiding places reveals much about their inability to think plans through to the most likely outcome. That, and they tend to be easily distracted, particularly by shiny things and animals smaller than them that might make good eating.
- They’re Voracious: Given enough supplies, a goblin gen- erally takes nearly a dozen meals a day. Most goblin tribes don’t have enough supplies to accommodate such ravenous appetites, which is why the little menaces are so prone to going on raids.
- They Like Fire: Burning things is one of the great goblin pas- times, although they’re generally pretty careful about lighting fires in their own lairs, especially since goblins tend to live in large tangled thistle patches and sleep in beds of dried leaves and grass. But give a goblin a torch and someone else’s home and you’ve got trouble.
- They Get Stuck Easily: Goblins have wiry frames but wide heads. They live in cramped warrens. Sometimes too cramped.
- Goblins Believe Writing Steals Your Soul: The walls of goblin lairs and the ruins of towns goblins have raided are lit- tered with pictures of their exploits. They never use writing, though. That’s not lucky. Writing steals words out of your head. You can’t get them back.
As Shalelu mentioned earlier, there are five major goblin tribes in the region. The closest to Sandpoint are the Birdcruncher goblins that live in caves along the western edge of the Devil’s Platter, although traditionally these goblins are the least aggressive of the five. To the south are the Licktoad goblins of the Brinestump Marsh, pests that are excellent swimmers. East are the Seven Tooth goblins of Shank’s Wood, goblins who’ve secured a place for themselves by raiding Sandpoint’s junkyard and rebuilding the stolen refuse into armor and weapons. Further east are the Mosswood goblins, likely the largest tribe but one traditionally held back by feuding families within their own ranks. And finally, there are the Thistletop goblins, who live on the Nettlewood coast atop a small island that some say holds a passing resemblance to a decapitated head.
Shalelu notes that goblins generally live short, violent lives. It’s unusual for a single goblin to achieve any real measure of notoriety, but when one does, it’s well-earned. Currently, five goblins enjoy the status of “hero.” Big Gugmut is an unusually muscular and tall goblin from Mosswood who, it is said, had a hobgoblin for a mother and a wild boar for a father. Koruvus was a champion of the Seven Tooth tribe, who was as well known for his short temper as he was for his prized possession—a magic longsword sized for a human that the goblin stubbornly kept as his own (despite the fact that it was too large for him to properly wield). Koruvus vanished several months ago after he supposedly discovered a “secret hideout” in a cave along the cliffs, but the Seven Tooth goblins remain convinced that he’s out there still, a ghost or worse, waiting to murder any goblin who tries to discover his hideout. Vorka is a notorious goblin cannibal who lives in the Brinestump marsh, a “hero” mostly to goblins other than the Licktoad tribe. Ripnugget is the current leader of the Thistletop goblins and controls what the five tribes agree is the best lair. And then there’s Bruthazmus, an infamous bugbear ranger who lives in northern Nettlewood and often visits the five tribes to trade things he’s stolen from caravans for alcohol, news, or magic arrows. Shalelu notes that Bruthazmus has a particular hatred of elves, and that they have fought on several occasions. To date, neither of them has managed to get the upper hand on the other, but Shalelu bitterly vows that she won’t be the first to fall in their private war.
The Missing Bartender
As the conversation dies down, Shalelu agrees to continue to monitor the goblins while the heroes help defend the town. Soon after she leaves, a timid hafling woman, Bethana Corwin, interrupts the group, revealing to them that Ameiko is missing.
Bethana woke earlier this morning to find that Ameiko hadn’t started breakfast for the first time Bethana could remember. Worried, she knocked on Ameiko’s door but didn’t get a response. Against her better judgment, Bethana entered Ameiko’s room to find it empty and the bed un-slept in. Worse, she found a crumpled piece of parchment near the bed—a note from Ameiko’s older brother Tsuto.
I hope this letter finds you well, and with some free time on your hands, because we’ve got something of a problem. It’s to do with father. Seems that he might have had something to do with Sandpoint’s recent troubles with the goblins, and I didn’t want to bring the matter to the authorities because we both know he’d just weasel his way out of it. You’ve got some pull here in town, though. If you can meet me at the Glassworks at midnight tonight, maybe we can figure out how to make sure he faces the punishment he deserves. Knock twice and then three times more and then once more at the delivery entrance and I’ll let you in.
In any case, I don’t have to impress upon you the delicate nature of this request. If news got out, you know these local rubes would assume that you and I were in on the whole thing too, don’t you? They’ve got no honor at all around these parts. I still don’t understand how you can stand to stay here.
Anyway, don’t tell anyone about this. There are other complications as well, ones I’d rather talk to you in person about tonight. Don’t be late.
The heroes then head to the glassworks where, after from reconnaissance, they enter through breaking a window into a storeroom. They discover a stairway, but decide to press forward into the main workshop.
When the heroes enter, the room is a gruesome display of goblin boredom. The bodies of the eight murdered staffers lie in various stages of dismemberment; the goblins have been burning legs and arms in the furnace with glee, and pouring melted glass on the remains in an attempt to duplicate the horrific masterpiece in the center of the room. This would be Lonjiku’s body, propped up in a chair in the central alcove and encased in thick runny sheets of hardened glass.
A battle ensues and the heroes dispatch five goblins and capture three. What happens next is still to be determined.