Friday, March 30, 2012

Wednesday 4 July 1280, Morning (A Momentary Lull and More Blood)

Grimtooth quickly changes tactics, and jumps backward to assume a defensive position, centered in the doorway. He towers menacingly, darkened by the dim torchlight from the room behind him, axe head streaked with blood, and a smoldering defiance in his eye.

Duran and Varros take advantage of the momentary lull and back away from Grimtooth, sheathing melee weapons and readying bows once more.

As these two reposition, the others get a clear view of the hobgoblin in the doorway.

Gaven is the first to react, and without hesitation casts his spear across the short distance with a mighty heave. The weapon flies true, and before Grimtooth can duck, the spear plunges into the humanoid's throat, and the leader of the goblins falls to the floor.

Suddenly all movement in the room has ceased. The barking of the dogs has picked up once more, muffled still through the door far behind and, strangely, seems to echo slightly from the room ahead as well, with a sort of distant, faint, metallic quality. From the room ahead can also be heard sporadic, low, painful groans.

OOC: Actions?

Combat Round 3

Party wins initiative 5-1

Gaven (throws spear at Grimtooth)
d20 = 12 + 2 (short range) = 14 (hit); d6 = 6 (Grimtooth killed)

Thursday, March 29, 2012

4 July 1280, Morning (More Blood Is Shed)

Varros attacks Grimtooth, whose back is turned. But as if the hobgoblin had a sixth sense, he sidesteps and dodges the blow completely. Still, the hobgoblin somehow keeps his focus on Duran. In one swift, fluid motion, he sweeps with his axe, avoiding Duran's parry, and cuts Duran in the arm. Duran, in his own right, tries with all his might to carve into Grimtooth with his own axe and succeeds in dealing a minor wound, scraping the foul humanoid along the ribs.

Garrh thrusts his spear at Gaven, but in his wounded state the goblin is unable to penetrate Gaven's armor. The goblin still has just enough strength left to dodge Gaven's attempt at skewering him. However, a second spear thrust – this time from Stan – is just too much for the goblin to handle, and Stan's spear goes into Garrh's torso clean up to the mercenary's fist.

Oloc, standing ready to assist Stan and Gaven should they need it, holds as he sees the goblin fold and fall.

Realizing he is now alone, Grimtooth quickly changes tactics, and jumps backward to assume a defensive position, centered in the doorway. He clearly does not like being flanked. He towers menacingly, darkened by the dim torchlight from the room behind him, axehead streaked with Duran's blood, and a smoldering defiance in his eye.


OOC: Actions?

Note that Varros is at 3 hp and Duran is at 4 hp. All others are at full hp.

Combat Round 2

Goblins win initiative (5-4; Varros has initiative over Grimtooth for blindside attack [effectively a localized semi-"surprise" attack, mid-fight])

Varros (attacks Grimtooth from behind)
d20 = 8 + 2 (rear attack) = 10 (miss)

Grimtooth (attacks Duran)
d20 = 19 +1 (hit bonus) = 20; d6 = 3 (Duran down to 4 hp)

Garrh (attacks Gaven)
d20 = 8 (miss)

Duran (attacks Grimtooth)
d20 = 20 (hit); d6 = 1 (slight wound)

Gaven (attacks Garrh)
d20 = 10 (miss)

Stan (attacks Garrh)
d20 = 12 + 1 (flank) = 13 (hit); d6 = 6 (Garrh killed)

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Wednesday 4 July 1280, Morning (Fight in the Corridor)

There is a howl of rage as Garrh and Drazz charge toward the doorway, with Grimtooth right on their heels, cursing them for falling into the "pinkskins' trap." The goblins have spears in their hands, and Grimtooth – who is actually a much larger Hobgoblin – wields a hefty two-handed axe.

Realizing that this is no situation for a bow, Duran slings his bow around his back and pulls his hand-axe from his belt. Varros, too, draws his sword.

Oloc hangs back with his daggers at the ready, periodically casting an eye back behind him to see if 'dirtbag' is approaching.

Gaven shouts, "Varros, Duran, stand aside. Stan, set your spear and aim for their chest."

Gaven stands in front of the doorway, with Stan beside him, so that the charging goblins can just enter the room. Both men set their spears for the heart of a goblin.

"For Light and Law!" Gaven battle-cries.

At Gaven's urging, both Varros and Duran swing to the side, sword and axe at the ready to take on any target of opportunity.

Seeing the spears set against him, and snapped back to reality by Grimtooth's cursing, Drazz pulls up near the doorway, next to Grimtooth.

Garrh, however, remains enraged and charges headlong toward Gaven. The goblin successfully ducks Gaven's set spear, but is slightly off balance, just enough to enable the cleric to jump backward, barely dodging a blow that might have skewered him.

As the goblin's momentum carries him forward into the position vacated by Gaven, Stan takes advantage, stepping up to attack the goblin from the flank, piercing the monster's torso, wounding him severely.

At the doorway, Grimtooth takes a mighty swing with his axe at Duran's head, but the archer from Ashwood drops down, and the axe smashes violently, but harmlessly, into the wall above. A shower of stone splinters from the wall falls about Duran's shoulders. Duran attempts a counter swing with his own axe, but Grimtooth brings down the haft of his weapon deflecting it.

Opposite Duran, Varros thrusts his sword quickly through the abdomen of the goblin, Drazz, gravely wounding him. Drazz grabs the wrist of Varros' sword arm in one hand, and thrusts his spear with the other, running Varros through near the shoulder, making a very nasty wound.

Oloc shouts above the din in the goblin tongue for the party's opponents to lay down their arms, for they are wounded and will surely die if they continue the fight.

Hearing Oloc's words, and suddenly feeling the pain of his wound, Drazz lets go of his spear in Varros' shoulder, and staggers as fast as his wound will allow back through the doorway, in a panic. Grimtooth seems too filled with bloodlust to notice and Garrh, despite his wound, seems determined not to abandon his leader.

Red = Duran; Violet = Varros; Green = Gaven; Orange = Oloc; Silver = Stan; Black Circle = Garrh; Black Diamond = Grimtooth; Black Circle with Arrow = Drazz, fleeing.

OOC: Actions?


Round 1:

Goblins win initiative (4-2; Grimtooth was not charging, so acts normally; Drazz pulls up at Grimtooth's cursing so doesn't charge, but loses initiative; Garrh charges home against Gaven, thus giving Gaven initiative over him)

Gaven (spear set receiving Garrh's charge):
d20 = 6 (miss)

Garrh (charging Gaven)
d20 = 16 (miss)

Grimtooth (pulls up just at the doorway; attacks Duran)
d20 = 9 +1 (hit bonus) = 10 (miss)

Stan (Flanking Garrh):
d20 = 17 + 1 (flanking) = 18 (hit); d6 = 2 (Garrh severely wounded)

Duran (attacks Grimtooth)
d20 = 11 (miss)

Varros (attacks Drazz, pulled up near the doorway)
d20 = 20 (hit); d6 = 2 (Drazz serverely wounded)

Drazz (pulls up just at the doorway, losing initiative; attacks Varros)
d20 = 17 (hit); d6 = 4 (Varros down to 3 HP)

Shouts to the remaining enemies to give up their arms (adds 1d6 penalty to goblin morale checks; Drazz flees)

Monday, March 26, 2012

Wednesday 4 July 1280, Morning (The Stand-Off)

"He's bluffing about the dogs," Oloc whispers to the others, although a shadow of doubt creeps into his mind. Maybe there is a back way?

"We're here for the girl." Oloc tries to sound more confident than he really is. "The soldiers above will release your guards when we have the girl. Now show yourself."

Oloc looks at the others and shrugs his shoulders.

"Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha!" comes the voice's cruel laugh. "Is that all? You just want the girl? You're too late – she's already dead!"

Oloc looks at the rest of the party expectantly. "What now? Attack?" He then looks at 'dirtbag' and asks in a low voice. "Do you know if the girl is dead?"

Dirtbag replies: "She was alive when I last saw her. Grimtooth, our leader, took her to a back room where most of the others and I were not allowed to go."

Varros says to the porter: "Ollie, be a good lad and guard that dog door, barricade it, blockade it or lay in front of it. Whatever needs done, you will be safer that way and won't have to witness what happens next."

Ollie is all too happy to back away from such a volatile situation, and does as directed most eagerly. The barking has dropped off considerably during the conversation, and no doubt the somewhat quieter dogs scare him much less than the goblins in the next room.

Varros looks to all and says, "Ready yourselves friends and may the gods be with us!"

As soon as that is done he projects his voice down the hallway in only the way a man trained to yell orders amidst the din of battle can:

"Listen and listen well, we have captured half your strength, they still live as they surrendered quickly when faced with the prospect of Wizard's fire. They have told us all there is to tell, we have come to return the girl or her remains. Goblin heads and ears are not our concern, we are a free company not vermin hunters. I have 15 fighting men and 2 wizards, more than enough to burn, freeze or slice through the remainder of your host 4 times over safely and 15 times over if I am angered. Any one of you who wishes to live through this morn drop your weapons and come forth now and by the word of Varros Blackwater you will be shown mercy. However, if you choose to remain in your dirty hovel pray to your dark gods because today is the day you will meet them! Five minutes hence I will roll the first of your clansmen's heads down this hall and you might explain their death to their face. Another will follow every five minutes until they are exhausted. If that fails to move you, mayhaps you will be more responsive when I do the same to the bitches you love to "mount" so much! Either surrender and receive my mercy or die in a futile fight amongst Wizard's fire. It seems an easy decision even for a goblin, your time begins now!"

The goblins' leader replies: "You talk big, human. You have taken my guards, so I guess you now outnumber us. But I think if you were as strong as you claim, you would come and take us as well, without so much yammering. I do not think you will. I do not think you can. We are quite comfortable in our position. So you might as well go home. Or you can sit in the hall until our raiding band arrives. It's all the same to us."

Varros and Duran creep up to the doorway, one on each side of it, bows at the ready. Stan and Gaven hang back holding the middle, with Oloc just behind with the charmed goblin. Based on Dirtbag's map, Duran and Varros who are closest to the door, judge the goblins' position to be toward the left extremity of the next room, and they signal this to the rest of the party.

Party Member Locations: Red = Duran; Violet = Varros; Green = Gaven; Orange = Oloc; Silver = Stan; Olive = Ollie; Yellow = Dirtbag

"Oloc, ask our friend Dirtbag about this raiding party. Also get the names of the remaining goblins other than Grimtooth and Borrg from him. I have a plan. I'll be back momentarily."

Oloc speaks to the prisoner once more as Varros runs out of the basement to where the dead goblins lay. Gaven accompanies Varros out.

Passing Ollie near the dogs' room, Gaven hands him the sack of goblin steaks: "Be brave Ollie, take the "steaks". In case the dogs get out, drop them and run up the stairs and close and block the hatch until we return."

Once outside, Varros retrieves the head from a goblin, and places it in his bag to avoid scaring Dirtbag. Gaven cuts a few more "steaks" from the dead goblin in case Grimtooth has more dogs. He flat out states to Varros, "I do not plan to let these vermin live unless they yield to the Light."

Varros looks Gaven in the eye, smiles, and says, "Friend, I do not plan to let these vermin live under any circumstances..."

Back in the basement, the stand-off continues. Oloc has questioned Dirtbag further, and found out that only two goblins remain with Grimtooth – Garrh and Drazz. He has also learned that the goblin raiding party for which Dirtbag and the others were scouts numbers at least fifty. With no further need for the goblin at the moment, he is sent to watch the dog room door with Ollie.

Varros and Gaven reassume their positions. Varros tosses the goblin head into the room and has Oloc ask Garrh and Drazz, by name, if they intend to die today for Grimtooth, a leader who clearly values a captured human girl more than his clansmen. He has Oloc say that the party is growing tired of this game and their patience is nearly at an end.

Party Member Locations: Red = Duran; Violet = Varros; Green = Gaven; Orange = Oloc; Silver = Stan; Olive = Ollie; Yellow = Dirtbag; Black Circles = goblins; Black Diamond = Grimtooth

The goblin head thrown in by Varros bounces and rolls on the floor in the next room as Oloc finishes interpreting Varros' words. Then there is a howl of rage as Garrh and Drazz charge toward the doorway, with Grimtooth right on their heels, cursing them for falling into the "pink-skin's trap." The goblins have spears in their hands, and Grimtooth – who is actually a much larger Hobgoblin – wields a hefty two-handed axe.

OOC: Actions?

Duran alone has an angle to shoot at the goblins before they reach the door and melee range. However, he will be able to do this only IF the party wins initiative. If, however, Duran declares shooting as his action and the goblins win initiative, they'll be on him and Varros before Duran can shoot, preventing Duran from attacking at all this round. If Duran declares drawing a melee weapon as his action, he can attack normally in melee (in the party's portion of the turn) regardless of which side wins initiative.

Time Update: It's now about 10:30 in the morning.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Wednesday 4 July 1280, Morning (The Squeaking Hinge)

You hear the loud squealing of unoiled door hinges in the room ahead, to the north.

"Ready your weapons," Oloc whispers. "We're about to have company!" Oloc draws his daggers for throwing.

Duran notches his arrow and tries to maneuver to make sure he has a clear shot as the threat appears.

Gaven straightens his helm and adjusts his shield and readies his spear. He whispers, "Shall we charge or wait?"

"Wait for them," says Varros. "Let Duran get as many clean shots as he can and Oloc can throw. You and I and our friend Stan will clean up the rest."

From where you stand you cannot see far enough into the room ahead to determine who, if anyone is there, and if so, how many.

Five awkward minutes pass. Stan and Ollie start to fidget nervously, troubled by the silence. Then, from the dimly lit room you hear a harsh guttural voice, calling out to you roughly in the common tongue:

"I don't know who you are, or how you got rid of my guards. But you have one chance. Back off and leave this place now. Otherwise I'll feed your entrails to my dogs. The beasts sound pretty hungry to me!"

OOC: Actions?

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Wednesday 4 July 1280, Morning (Cutting the Alarm)

"I'll defer to the rest of you on how exactly to proceed," says Gaven. "I suggest we avoid the dogs to the west and start east since Dirtbag thinks that is where Elsie is held."

Upon looking at Bill, Gaven grimaces in anger and mutters, "Despicable" under his breath. Gaven whispers a short prayer, then says, "we will avenge you son of Light."

Duran whispers "see if Dirtbag can tell us how to disarm or avoid the alarm and then lets move away from these dogs. Unless you think you can crack open the door and throw the goblin steaks in to keep them quiet." Duran keeps his bow at the ready.

"I agree that we leave the dogs alone," the mage adds.

"I will be ready for the inevitable conflict," states Varros while testing his sword's edge with his thumb.

Oloc then turns to 'dirtbag' and asks, "My friend, we need your help in avoiding the trap in the next passageway. Can you quietly and carefully show us how to avoid it or even how to disarm it?"

The goblin quickly explains the alarm to you: "A series of strings criss-cross the next corridor, with bottles and bits of glass hanging from them. Moving any of the strings makes the bottles bang together loudly. It's very difficult to move one without making the others move. But perhaps if you are very careful, you could do it."

You decide your best chance is to work together with Oloc analyzing the criss-cross pattern, and Varros cutting the appropriate strings with the mage's guidance. The others will hold lines and bottles as needed.

You light a torch and hand it to Ollie, and proceed through the partially open door into the corridor. The space is 10' wide, and 30' long from south to north, ending at an open door. Through the door beyond you see very dim, flickering torchlight.

The criss-crossed strings are about mid-way up the corridor, between you and the open door.

Carefully and cautiously, Oloc looks over the network of strings and bottles.

With extreme deliberation, Oloc tells Varros which lines to cut in which order, occasionally directing one of the other members of the group to hold and stabilize a particular bottle, or the end of a line.

It takes about ten minutes, but you finally manage to clear a path through the bottles and strings, without making any significant noise.

The barking of the dogs continues behind you, somewhat more muffled.

Additionally, as you pass through the opening in the strings you hear the loud squealing of unoiled door hinges in the room ahead, to the north.

OOC: Actions?

Oloc's INT check (15)
4d6 = 5 + 5 + 3 + 1 = 14 (pass = 1d6 bonus to Varros' DEX check)

Varros' DEX check (12)
4d6 (-1d6) = 3d6 = 4 + 4 + 1 = 9 (pass)

Monday, March 19, 2012

Wednesday 4 July 1280, Morning (Into the Basement)

"I will not doubt your aim again, Duran and Varros. I may just have you teach teach me how to properly use the bow," Gaven laughs.

Duran claps Varros on the back says: "Well done my friend." Turning to Graven, Duran chuckles and says "yes my friend the bow can be a powerful weapon in the right hands. Although I am sure you can teach me a thing or two about fighting when it is up close and personal."

"What of our friend, 'dirtbag'," Oloc asks. "Should we bring him with or have him remain up here? I am a bit worried that his seeing so many of his comrades fall, may be weakening my charm."

"We need Dirtbag to show us how to disable the alarm," says Gaven.

After some discussion, the group agrees that taking Dirtbag along to point out the alarm is the lesser of two ills.

"I suppose now is as good a time as any to descend," says Gaven taking hold of his shield and a spear, with the steaks wrapped in goblin's clothing in a sack at his belt.

Notching another arrow Duran joins the other in preparation to descending the stairs, while Varros puts his bow away, switching to his sword.

The group takes up a three-man frontage and descends the stair, ready for anything. In the dim light that falls through the open trap door catching motes of dust, you see that the steps give access to a 30' x 30' room.

The smell of death is quite strong here. At the bottom of the stairs you see the remains of Bill Bailey. The leg the goblins cut off to eat topside is not the only part missing. Most of his "meat" is now gone.

There are several old barrels in the room, the wood mostly cracked and gray and barely held together with rusted support bands. Inside them, at the very bottom, you find a blackened mush that is probably all that's left of the last apple crop collected here.

There are doors in the southern portions of the east and west walls. The door to the west is closed. Through this you hear the barking of the dogs, still muffled, but rather louder now that you've come down the stairs. The door to the east is slightly ajar. A quick glance suggests only darkness beyond it.

OOC: Actions?

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Wednesday 4 July 1280, Morning (Borrg)

"Should we not let the gob up?" asks Oloc quickly. "One less to take care of below."

"I think Oloc has a good idea," replies Duran. "I'll have an arrow waiting with his name on it."

"I guess three steaks will have to do." Gaven readies his shield and club. "Should we try to quickly grab and gag him as he comes out so that he can't raise an alarm or escape if you miss your shot?"

"Duran and myself will be able to take him out," says Varros.

"Let the Light guide your shots," replies the cleric.

Oloc affects his voice and says in the goblin tongue: "Hold on you fleabag," He quickly motions for the group to hide around the corner and for Stan to remove the rocks from the trap door.

At Oloc's gruff insult, the goblin below goes into a rage, and Stan only manages to remove the first few rocks when with a ferocious thrust, the goblin heaves the trap door open, so violently that Stan gets knocked off his feet, and the remaining rock or two still holding it down go flying.

This is just as well, since Duran and Varros now have a clear shot at the goblin as he springs up through the trap door. Before the humanoid has the chance to take in what he sees, the two fighters unleash their arrows simultaneously and both hit the goblin square in the chest, killing him instantly.

Gaven, who was ready to spring forward in case the archers missed, still does so, and as he reaches the trap door, he sees that this goblin was alone. No sound seems to come up from below, except a furious barking, muffled, as if coming from behind a closed door.

The rest of you quickly gather round the body of the slain goblin, and notice that he has a bandage around his head, stained with the same greenish-black blood you noted on Bill Barley's dagger. The goblin carries a stout club, and you find 6 gold coins in his pockets.

Off to the side, Dirtbag sits on the ground, unmoving, still trance-like – though you could swear that a single tear is rolling down his cheek.


OOC: Actions?


Surprise Round

d20 = 12+2 = 14 (hit); d6 = 4 (goblin killed)

d20 = 18 +2 = 20 (hit); d6 = 6 (goblin super-killed)


1 Club
6 gp

Friday, March 16, 2012

Wednesday 4 July 1280, Morning (Making Ready to Descend)

The party steps away a short distance from the charmed goblin so that he cannot overhear their words.

"I will cut 6 chunks of goblin meat for a distraction for the dogs," says Gaven. "We don't know if the goblins have reorganized. Once we're ready to descend, I'll toss some steaks down towards the door closest to the dogs room. Did anyone think to bring a mirror?"

"It sounds like we can get down the stairs and make a stand before being attacked," says Duran. "Hopefully the goblin meat will stay the dogs. As long as Varros agrees he and I could be the first two down." Duran then prepares his bow and arrow and awaits the others' decision.

Oloc takes 'Dirtbag' off to the side, out of view of the 'steaks' being carved. He speaks with the goblin in a friendly tone to try and strengthen the charm spell.

Gaven starts the grisly task of cutting chunks of goblin flesh. Ollie has to turn away and struggles not to vomit.

Meanwhile, Varros and Stan keep an eye on the trap door.

As Gaven gets through his third lump of globin-flesh, Varros and Stan hear and see the trapdoor rattle, as if someone is trying to open it. The rocks piled on top prevent the door from opening, however.

Stymied by his first attempt, the would-be opener from below tries again, this time calling out in the goblin tongue. You hear only one voice. The tone sounds angry and annoyed, rather than alarmed in any way. Again, though, the goblin below is unable to throw open the trap door.


OOC: Actions?

Oloc can make out what the goblin below says – mostly a bunch of cursing and goblin swearing, along with a query for Dirtbag and the others as to what they're doing topside and what's going on with the door. I'll assume that Oloc can quickly and quietly communicate the gist to the group through gesture and whisper in a matter of mere seconds.

Also, let me know which marching order you want to adopt should you descend into the basement (two-man front or three-man front). Duran's proposed two-man front with Varros and himself in the lead would look something like this:

Two-Man Frontage
Front Rank: Duran - Varros
Second Rank: Gaven - Stan
Third Rank: Oloc - Ollie

The earlier three-man configuration looked like this:

Three-Man Frontage
Front Rank: Gaven - Stan - Varros
Second Rank: Duran - Ollie - Oloc

The stairs as Dirtbag described them are wide enough to accommodate either configuration.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Wednesday 4 July 1280, Morning (Dirtbag's Map)

"The current odds are not in our favor -- five goblins and guard dogs in a defendable position," says Gaven. "It may be wise to spend a bit of time searching the area. Perhaps there is another entrance to the other basement rooms."

"Either plan works for me, but one way or another we are going to have to go down the trap door and face the goblins" says Duran. "For now I'll volunteer to look around the farmhouse for a possible entrance while you question Dirtbag."

"Let me see if I can get our friend here to give us the lay of the land," replies Oloc, "including where the remaining gobs and dogs are."

Duran adds as he moves away: "If you find out no one is guarding the bottom of the ladder we might be able to get down safely before having to fight otherwise you might as well try and lure some more out."

Varros adds: "I will keep watch on the door while we decide the next course of action."

Oloc asks Dirtbag to sketch out on the ground what the room layout looks like through the trapdoor. He will ask for room and door locations that he knows of, where the remaining gobs are, where the dogs are and are they chained or penned. He will also ask where the girl is being held.

Dirtbag uses the butt end of his axe handle to draw a rough map in the dirt, looking like this:

"The trapdoor leads down stairs here," he says, pointing at the center room on the south edge of the map. "No one is in that room. Then there are doors here, here and here... The dogs are behind a door, but not chained. The alarm is in this hallway. And our guardroom is here." Dirtbag points at each feature as he mentions them. "Only Borrg was left in there when..." he trails off, as if he does not want to remember the ambush. "The girl was taken to a back room," he says pointing vaguely to an area outside of where he sketched. "But I have never been allowed to Grimtooth's rooms." He waves again in the general area north of the rooms he has drawn.

"Ask what the dogs eat and how well fed they are," says Gaven. "Perhaps some goblin meat can be used to distract them once we attack."

Oloc interprets the question.

"They eat meat," he says to Oloc in an almost apologetic tone, looking back toward the campfire where he and the other goblin sentry had been cooking Bill Barley's leg. "Grimtooth doesn't let us feed them too well though."

Duran returns from his search. Unfortunately, he has not found anything that looks like it might be an entrance to the farm house basement.


OOC: Actions?

The time is now just shortly after 9:00 a.m.

Let me know if you still want to do the goblin-steak thing, and I'll include that in the next post (I assumed whether you did that or not would depend on the answers you got in the interrogation).

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Wednesday 4 July 1280, Morning (Contemplating the Trap Door)

"Great job everyone, the Light shines on us this morning," Gaven smiles broadly as he claps Duran on the shoulder. Then Gaven pauses briefly to make a prayer of thanks to the Light.

Varros joins the group and says, "Well done friends." He looks to Duran, "I say we call our wager even friend, that last shot of yours was a thing of beauty and prevented the little beast's escape. If you would accompany me let us go take a look at him?" Varros looks to Ollie, "If you would friend gather the valuables for transport."

Duran smiles at Varros' gesture and thanks him. As they head over to search the goblin Duran says "you weren't such a bad shot yourself, you dropped two in a row back there. Its good to have someone besides myself who appreciates the value of a bow."

Varros checks out the last goblin with Duran watching his back, and collects enough goblin arrows to bring his total to twenty. He also picks up one more short bow, a quiver, a short sword and 4 sp. Varros and Duran then rejoin the party and stay alert to the trapdoor and Dirtbag.

Oloc stands by the trapdoor, focusing his attention to the remaining goblins and how to get them out of the hole.

Gaven approaches and says: "Now to decide what to do about the remaining goblins. I'm guessing they heard the commotion and will fortify their position. We would certainly be at a disadvantage trying to enter through the trapdoor."

Varros asks: "Any suggestions as to how to handle the rest of the tribe?"

Duran asks "If you think the goblins are aware of us do you think we can smoke them out by dropping smoking logs down the trap door? Without harming the girl that is..."

Gaven addresses Oloc: "Can you ask Dirtbag if there is another entrance to the cellar and what kind of supplies, weapons, traps, and such the goblins have?"

Oloc asks Gaven's questions to Dirtbag. The goblin responds that he knows no other entrance. But there are several rooms in the basement – he has not seen the ones in back. The weapons are like those you have seen, along with some guard dogs, which he evidently thinks of as "weapons." The only trap he knows of is the alarm, which you have heard, and which he will show you.

Since there is no evidence of a second entrance, Oloc suggests that he himself call the remaining gobs up. "If you are in agreement, I can manufacture some ruse and affect my voice. We can then attack the goblins as they are in the vulnerable position of climbing out of the trap door."

OOC: Actions?

Goblin short bow (Ollie)
Quiver (Ollie)
10 goblin arrows (Varros)
1 short sword (Ollie)

4 sp

Ollie's Current Encumbrance is currently 78 lbs, for a movement rate of 90' (remember S&W WB allows him to move that twice per ten-minute turn). At 100 lbs his movement rate will drop to 60'.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Wednesday 4 July 1280, Morning (Fleeing Goblin)

After seeing four goblins fall, Gaven smiles and says, "Much better."

Meanwhile the surviving goblin tears his way across the orchard, but the trees are too widely spaced to give him adequate cover.

Not wanting to fall too far behind Varros in their little bet Duran takes careful aim at the fleeing goblin, and as the creature passes through an opening in the rows of trees, releases a shot that strikes the panicked humanoid in the center of the back. The goblin pitches forward and sprawls on the ground, unmoving.

Varros, Oloc, and Gaven all quickly cast an eye on "Dirtbag," to see if the carnage has snapped him out of his charmed trance. The goblin appears charmed still, but he looks deeply saddened at the loss of his comrades. Oloc senses that, though the spell is now holding, it may well be very near its breaking point.

Oloc retrieves the two daggers he tossed, and Gaven picks up one goblin spear and hands it to Stan. He also recovers his own spear and wipes it clean on a dead goblin's tunic. Two of the four goblin arrows Varros shot are reusable, and Duran is able to recover all four of his better crafted arrows (OOC: a fifth is in the last goblin's back 100' away – it may or may not be reusable).

Stan continues to keep watch over the trap door. There seems to be no activity from below so far.

Searching the bodies of the dead goblins in the "kill zone," you find five more bows, five more quivers with a total of 40 goblin arrows, and two short swords. You also find a combined total of 9 sp on the bodies.

There is no movement at all from the last goblin Duran shot, some 100' feet away. He definitely appears dead.

OOC: Actions?

Combat Round 2

Initiative: Goblin wins: 6-2

Goblin: Continues to flee (now medium range)

Duran: d20 = 13 + 1 (med.) = 14 (hit); d6 = 3 (goblin killed)

Items Collected:

1 spear (Stan)
5 bows
5 quivers

40 goblin arrows
two short swords
one axe

9 sp

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Wednesday 4 July 1280, Morning (Fight outside the farm house)

Cursing his bad aim Duran continues to fire at the closest goblin. Yelling over his shoulder to Stan and Gaven he says "One of you go around and block off the trap door while the others stand with me. If you move in to attack the goblins make sure to attack the ones on the edges so I still fire into the middle without hitting you."

Duran releases two more shots, but the goblins are up and moving again, and both shots miss.

"Light, what bad luck!," exclaims Gaven. "Stan, quickly, put stones on top of the trapdoor to keep the other goblins from getting up here!"

Stan rushes to the trapdoor and puts a couple of heavy stones on top of it – no goblins will be getting in or out that way in any hurry.

Varros looses two deadly arrows into the pack of goblins, and this time each finds its mark, dropping both targets in rapid succession.

Oloc tosses two of his daggers. While one goes wild, the other strikes Oloc's intended target in the throat. The goblin's torso swings backward as his legs scurry forward, and he falls, landing on his back.

Gaven moves up into the crumbled doorway through which the goblins exited the building, launching his spear just as the remaining enemy begin to panic over their losses. The spear gores yet another goblin, who goes down in a heap, his hands clutching the protruding weapon's shaft.

The last goblin, seeing there is no retreat back the way he came, turns away and runs as fast as his legs will carry him to the northeast through the orchard.

The charmed goblin stands where he was, his jaw hanging open slightly, uncomprehending.


OOC: Actions?

Combat Round 1:

Initiative: Party wins (2-1)

d20 = 10 + 2 (short) = 12 (miss)
d20 = 3 + 2 (short) = 5 (miss)

d20 = 14 + 2 (short) = 16 (hits goblin 1); d6 = 6 (goblin 1 killed)
d20 = 12 + 2 (short) = 14 (hits goblin 4); d6 = 6 (goblin 4 killed)

d20 = 3 + 1 (medium) = 4 (miss)
d20 = 13+1 (medium) = 14 (hits goblin 5); d6-1 = 2 (goblin 5 killed)

d20 = 16+ 2 (short) = 18 (hits goblin 2); d6 = 6 (goblin 2 killed)

Goblin 3:
Flees to the northeast.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Wednesday 4 July 1280, Morning (Will the ruse work?)

As you wait in your hidden positions, the charmed goblin follows Oloc's command and opens the trap door, descending into the basement. After a moment, from within the basement, you hear what sounds like a loud clinking of glass bottles. Then a door opens and slams shut again.


Two minutes pass.


No goblins.


Two more minutes.




Then the sound of a door opening.

And slamming once more.

More glass clinking.

Then grumbling voices, that by their tone, sound half annoyed, half expectant (OOC: Oloc alone can make out statements to the effect of "This had better be good, Dirtbag!")

You hear the trapdoor close with a bang.

The charmed goblin leads the way, followed by five of his companions out of the building ruins. All five are armed with bows and a variety of one-handed melee weapons. They step into the area you intended as a kill zone, and one of the goblins seems to interrogate "Dirtbag" on the other sentry's absence, but as he does so, Varros' and Duran's first arrows are already in flight.

Unfortunately, the twang of the bows is enough for the goblins to react. Duran's first shot catches only the tunic of the first goblin targeted, and then all the goblins dodge, duck, roll, and flop themselves on the ground and all the arrows miss their targets. "Dirtbag" however, has remained standing, perfectly still, through it all.

The goblins, a bit confused, look from your positions to "Dirtbag" and back again. Suddenly understanding, and growling with rage, they quickly get to their feet.

OOC: Actions?

Surprise Round (ambush, surprise on 1-5; d6 = 3)
Duran: d20 = 10 + 2 (short) = 12 (miss); 6 + 2 (short) = 8 (miss)
Varros: d20 = 8 + 2 (short) = 10 (miss); 3 + 2 (short) = 5 (miss)

Sorry, guys. The dice were definitely unkind there. I'll switch to my translucent blues for you on the next round. :)

Also, just so you have a rough sense of how I handle situations like the ruse where the outcome is not certain, I set probabilities that the plan would succeed beautifully, succeed/fail partially, or fail badly (modified by things you did, like re-equipping the charmed goblin, and Oloc's story, both of which modified the die roll in your favor). I rolled a die, which determined the outcome (success, the ruse worked). Then I set a range of how many goblins your charmed fellow would succeed in bringing out, based on your revised intent to draw out five, and the possibility that your charmed inside man would get that exact number, or fewer, or more. Again I rolled the die, and bingo – five exactly. To determine how many brought their bows, I set a range from zero to five. And again rolled five exactly. 

Sometimes, like your initial ambush of the two sentries, the plan is solid and there are few variables, so I'll simply rule that it succeeds. Other times, if there are "dicey" factors (substantial elements beyond your control), I'll use the dice. When I use the dice, there will always be a chance of success, of failure, and (if applicable) of something in between.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Wednesday 4 July 1280, Morning (The Farmhouse)

Learning of the fate of the two young people during the interrogation, Gaven is not surprised, but still angered after hearing that Bill is dead. It takes all his willpower to keep from braining the goblin with his club then and there. Only the fact that Elsie lives and the goblin is charmed and therefore useful to the Light's cause stays his hand.

The rest of you finish picking up any signs of your own presence, and you hide the body of the dead goblin.

Approaching the farmhouse, you see that, while the outer walls already looked pretty bad, most of the interior walls and much of the roof have crumbled almost entirely. This structure which once consisted of several rooms, now consists of a single large space, with the odd knee-high or waist-high remnant of interior wall still in place. It is not surprising that much of the roof has caved in, and that a good deal of the floor is covered with rubble and old timbers, along with dead branches, dried leaves, a few remains of unserviceable furniture, empty bottles, and other refuse. Some sections of the floor, notably where the wall and ceiling remnants are mostly intact, are still fairly clear of debris. In one of these clear spots, you can see the trap door that leads to the basement, where the goblin has told you Elsie is being held.

Seeing the layout, Varros speaks to the party, "I suggest we use our newly found "friend" here to try to bring out a few of his band at a time under some pretext." Varros shoots the goblin a menacing look, then goes on to say, "Bringing them out a few at a time will weaken their numbers and allow us to use our bows to attack from range." Glancing at Duran he smiles and says, laughingly, "I have not won any archery contests, friend, but I believe I can hit a goblin. Care to wager 5 gold on who can drop more of the beasts?"

Duran chuckles at Varros' bet and says "I'll take you up on that. Although I am not sure how many we can actually lure out. But I'll keep shooting till they stop coming out."

Gaven adds: "I agree with Varros, dealing with 10 at a time will be too much. I will stay back and hidden with Stan and Ollie to cut off any escape." The cleric takes hold of the spear and moves to hide in the most appropriate position.

"I am a bit uncertain if the spell will hold, but I will support the plan," Oloc says.

You quickly give the charmed goblin back his own gear, so that he'll look natural to his comrades below.

Oloc suggests to the goblin to bring out 3-4 of his comrades. "Tell them that you have found something special to eat, but that there is not enough for everyone. If they ask questions, tell them that they must see for themselves. Do not let the others hear." Oloc then moves to the back and takes out his daggers for throwing as a last line of defense.

You quickly survey your positions and the killing ground you've selected, checking one last time that the ambush is set up for maximum effect, before you give the final order to the charmed goblin to set things in motion.

OOC: Actions? Basically, seeing the map, do you wish to adjust the positions at all before sending the goblin down to try and bring 3-4 of the others out? If I've read your instructions right in the previous comments, the set-up should look something like the diagram above. I tried to put Gaven and Stan in a position where they could simultaneously watch the backs of the party or else move to cut off a retreat back into the house and down the trap door (the most likely retreat). From your current positions, you should be completely hidden from any goblins coming out from the time they leave the trap door until they are in the kill zone. Feel free to suggest any alterations you wish, and I'll make them before Oloc gives the goblin the green light. If you have no suggestions for changes, just comment OK (in which case I'll go forward with the next post).

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Wednesday 4 July 1280, Morning (Goblin Interrogation)

Varros moves to the group keeping his eye on the farmhouse, "Well done all."

Gaven looks at the slain goblin and then at the charmed goblin and remarks, "that was easy." Pointing to the bows and arrows, Gaven says to Varros and Stan, "either of you good with a bow?"

Stan declines, but Varros takes the bow and the goblins' twenty arrows from Gaven. "Ollie, gather the rest of any salvageable gear."

The goblin spear appears to be in good condition, so Gaven picks it up for use as a missile. While waiting for Duran and Oloc to approach, Gaven examines the shank and determines that it definitely is human, and male based on size and shape.

Oloc is pleased to see that his spell worked. Turning to Duran he says, "Let me go see if I can speak with this goblin." The mage musters his courage and steps out of the trees, waving at the charmed goblin. He walks calmly but directly, trying to hide his fears that perhaps the spell didn't work.

Duran nods to Oloc as he moves away. He pulls another arrow from his quiver and keeps an eye out for any other threats as well as a watchful eye on the charmed goblin. When Oloc waves him over Duran manages to retrieve one of his fired arrows.

When Duran and Oloc are present, Gaven compliments them, "Nice work, you may have, temporarily, saved us from a larger battle. Let's see what information we can get from this villain."

Duran and Gaven search the goblins for any valuables or clues to who they are and why they are here. Apart from their weapons, the only thing of note the goblins possess is a half a skin of vinegar-like wine, and a combined total of 24 sp.

Oloc then speaks in the goblin tongue to the charmed humanoid. "I am sorry about your friend there. But you see," he adds, pointing to the leg over the fire and trying not to get sick, "That is also a friend of ours. My comrades were sworn to avenge his death with blood. But now the debt is paid."

He then smiles at the goblin. "My name is Oloc and I am your friend now. Will you speak to me and my comrades?"

"Yes," says the goblin in a calm, friendly voice.

The others keep careful watch all around as Oloc interrogates the creature, sometimes posing his own questions, sometimes taking questions from his comrades and interpreting.

"Are there other gobs about? Where and how many?"
"Yes, in the basement of the farmhouse. About ten." He points in the direction of the building.

"How many are on the roads, hills or forests nearby?"
"None now. Only us."

"Who is your master and what is your mission?"
"Grimtooth is our leader. We were told to scout, though not to what purpose."

"Where did you come from? Why does the sun not affect you?"
"From the forest that you call Stagwood. We are wood goblins, different from our underground kin."

"Who is your deity?" The goblin simply stares blankly, as if he does not understand the question. Rephrasing it does not seem to help.

"Why did you attack the boy and girl? Are they still alive?"
"They came upon us here. We could not allow them to tell of our presence. The male is dead. He cut Borrg, and Borrg slew him. The girl was unharmed when last I saw her. She is in the basement with Grimtooth. He keeps her in a back room, though I have not been there."

"Where are the boy's remains?"
"In the basement, just through the trap door."

"Are there any tricks or traps?"
"There is an alarm. I can show you."

"Any tunnels to a lair? Secret doors?"

The sun rises slightly higher above the trees. There is no movement you can see around the farmhouse and orchard.

OOC: Actions?

It is now approximately 8:00 a.m.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Wednesday 4 July 1280, Morning (A Quick Ambush)

To the left Duran and Oloc stand ready – the former to shoot with his bow, the latter to cast his charm spell. Duran quietly pulls the arrow to its full length on the bow and awaits Varros' signal to fire. Oloc is pleasantly surprised that there are only two adversaries, but is convinced that more must be in the area. He tells Duran as much. Now that they are close enough to see the meat roasting over the fire, the young mage almost becomes sick. "Gods, let the girl be ok."

Meanwhile, to the right, Gaven whispers lowly to Varros, "I've never heard of goblins bathing in sunlight, something is very odd here..." Gaven thinks for a moment, "Neither goblin appears wounded, there must be more of them close by. That shank may be human, that does not bode well for the young couple. We may be in for a big battle if we cannot dispatch these two quickly and quietly. I think a lucky arrow shot and the charm spell may allow this, plus possibly gain us some intelligence if we can somehow converse with the fiend. Perhaps we should let Duran kill one and have Oloc try to charm the other so we can question it?"

Varros looks Stan and Gaven in the eye and says, "Let us ready ourselves in case Duran misses or something goes wrong with our plan, we may yet be able to subdue one of these dirty beasts." Varros fixes his gaze back upon the goblins, "At all costs we must not allow either of these creatures to sound a warning, good fortune to you both, companions."

Gaven signals to Oloc to cast his charm spell on one of the goblins. Oloc sees Gaven's gesturing and after a moment he nods in agreement. "Duran, if the rest of you can take care of the one, I can try my charm spell on the other. Then I can speak to it to try and find out what has come of the girl."

Duran indicates to Oloc that he will shoot at the goblin with the spear laying near by. Varros gives the signal and Duran lets loose.

Just as he does, the goblins seem to sense something is wrong. They tense, and start to rise. One of Duran's arrows zips through the air past the first goblin's ear. The second strikes the goblin in the torso, knocking him flat. At the same time Oloc casts a charm spell on the other goblin, whose eyes instantly glaze. His arms drop limp at his sides, then he slowly lowers himself back down to his previous sitting position next to the fire.

Varros, Gaven and Stan quickly charge toward the campfire, but the fight is over before they get there. A quick glance confirms that one goblin is dead and the other charmed. None of you sees any indication of other immediate threats.

There are, however, signs of a path beginning to form between the campfire area and the farmhouse from recent passing back and forth. You also notice that the farm house is actually two conjoined buildings, both ruined, consisting of a house proper at the north end, and what was once probably a barn-like structure at the south end.

OOC: Actions?

Combat Rolls:
Surprise Round
Duran: d20 = 2 + 2 (short range) = 4 (miss), 11 + 2 (short range) = 13 (hit); d6 = 2 (goblin killed)
Oloc: Charm Spell, in range, save d20 = 2 (fail, goblin charmed)
Combat Ends

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Wednesday 4 July 1280, Morning (Two Goblins at a Campfire)

Varros looks at his companions grimly, "This situation appears to to be far more serious than we expected friends. Everything here suggests to me that soon we will be facing combat against an adversary unexpected, not human in fact."

"This is a grim situation indeed," says Gaven. The cleric picks up the ichor-covered dagger and gives it a sniff and then a lick to try to determine what creature this may have come from. The substance is foul-tasting, but it is definitely blood, perhaps from a goblin or an orc. He stows the dagger in his pack.

Sniffing the air Varros whispers to the party, "It is my guess we may be too late to save both the missing townsfolk, however, it seems to me we may be able to surprise their abductors. I have a plan..."

Varros quickly explains to his companions his idea of swinging east to avoid being caught between the farmhouse and any adversary near the fire on the hill, using the cover of the trees to move into position. Duran will shoot and Oloc will cast a spell, if needed, while the others will engage in melee.

Gaven nods at Varro's plan, "I like your idea, we certainly don't want to get stuck between two sets of enemies."

Duran nods his consent and says "I should like to be positioned to the left of the group during the attack so I can take as many shots as possible while the others charge. This way I won't be shooting over and through you as you move. Then after combat is engaged I can pick off any of their archers who are not engaged in hand to hand combat. I also have my axe should the need arise but I much prefer the feel of bow and arrow in my hands."

Oloc listens intently as well. "I will ready my charming spell, but should we be engaged in hostilities, it may prove ineffective. Otherwise, I can throw a dagger with some skill," he adds, drawing a blade from the sheath at his side.

The mage looks over the ground again. "Clearly our young lothario put up a fight and looks to have drawn blood before being wounded himself. I hope the two remain, for the most part, unharmed."

Before moving into position, Gaven looks at Ollie and says: "Lad, can you take the saddle? I would like to return it to Bob Barley as evidence of his horse and ..." Gaven sighs, "possibly his son's demise." Gaven makes the sign of Light over the horse. Ollie picks up the saddle and, with a bit of effort, manages to successfully stow it.

Once Ollie has finished with the saddle, the party climbs the hill cautiously, keeping to the shadows cast by the trees, and moving from trunk to trunk. After serveral minutes of very cautious maneuver, you hear a rough voice speaking ahead of you, and then hear another that laughs harshly.

Finally you arrive at a point where you can clearly see the source of the smoke. Two goblins, with yellow-green skin, are cooking over a small fire. Though you've always heard that goblins don't like the sunlight, these two seem to thoroughly enjoy it, sitting in the light rather than in the shade. They are both armed with bows. In addition, one has an axe in his belt, the other has a spear next to him, leaning against a stump. The shank they are turning over the fire smells both appetizing and somehow sickening at the same time.

For the moment they have not spotted you in the shadow of the trees. One of them adjusts the shank in the forked branches holding it over the fire, and makes a comment to the other, who laughs again with the same harsh sound you heard before.

OOC: Actions?

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Wednesday 4 July 1280, Morning (Dead Horse)

Gaven points over to the horse and quietly says, "I would like to look at the horse. Duran, can you provide cover fire if something comes out to attack?"

"I will escort you and provide support while you search Gaven," says Varros, keen to take a look himself and try to determine the apparent direction the arrows came from.

Duran nods to Gaven and Varros and says "I'll follow you over and watch your backs should anything arise. Also I make no promises but if one of you could bring several of the arrows I may be able to identify what kind of arrows and who may use them. Perhaps they may be of use to me as well."

"Use caution in your approach," offers Oloc. " I will remain here with Stan and Ollie. The mage scans the hilltop for any sign of movement, ready to immediately warn the others if he spies anyone or anything.

Approaching the horse, Gaven, Varros and Duran note no significant smell and no maggots. The blood in the wounds, however, is thoroughly coagulated. Varros counts four arrows embedded in the beast's chest, two in its belly, and two in its side along the ribs, angled as if they entered from in front of the horse. None of the arrows is deep enough to have been fatal. There are several severe gashes from other weapons in the horse's legs, shoulders and hindquarters that likely immobilized the poor creature without killing it right away – perhaps days ago. Whether he ultimately died this past night from shock, dehydration, or some combination of the two is unclear.

There are no bags, but Gaven's examination of the saddle reveals an ornate "B" tooled into the leather. It is easily recognizable as the same symbol you noted earlier on the sign over the door to Barley's stable.

Of the eight arrows in the horse, six of them are damaged, while two could be reused. Varros withdraws them and hands them to Duran. To Duran's trained eye, they appear to be of inferior workmanship. Duran recognizes their make as humanoid, but cannot determine their origin more precisely.

Oloc notes no movement whatsoever on the hilltop, so he and the hirelings move up to rejoin the group near the horse, keeping extremely alert.

A continued inspection of the horse's immediate vicinity shows that the ground all around is trampled. A dagger lies near the horse, stained with what looks like dried blood, only the greenish-black color is wrong. If it is blood, it is neither human nor equine. In addition to the horse's blood, there is a dried, dark red blood trail, smeared in many spots, leading up the hill from the horse, in the direction of the farmhouse.

The grass where the partially smeared blood trail runs is crushed almost flat as if something heavy had been dragged over it. There are multiple sets of foot prints discernible to either side of the trail of blood and flattened grass. Among the sets of foot prints to the right-hand side you see dried drops of the same thick, black-green fluid that stains the blade of the dagger.

The thin wisp of smoke continues to rise, and the scent of cooking meat continues to waft down the hill.

OOC: Actions?

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Wednesday 4 July 1280, Morning (Starting Up the Hill)

As the group approaches its destination, Gaven asks, "Shall we head straight for the farmhouse, or would one of you like to scout about first?" He points to his plate armor, "I would make a less than ideal scout."

Oloc leans on his staff as he looks up the hill. "I won't stop any of you if you wish to scout ahead, but perhaps we should go up as a group. Strength in numbers and all that." Oloc stops by the first tree he encounters which bears several apples ready for plucking, and takes about a half dozen of them, adding them to his pack.

As the mage does so, Duran adjusts his gear on his back and strings his bow. He finishes and as he pulls an arrow from his quiver he says to his companions, "I agree with Oloc we should stick together but there is no reason why we shouldn't ready ourselves for whatever may lie ahead." Then notching his arrow, he readies himself to continue forward towards the farm house.

Varros unsheathes his sword and tests its keen edge with his thumb. "Let us take our time and approach the farmhouse as one. Perhaps we can see inside or find an alternate entry if we search its perimeter methodically." Pausing briefly he goes on to say "I for one have, shall we say, been the victim of an unscrupulous ambush before... Mayhaps we may find some clue as to whether our missing lass has been here as well."

Your small company advances cautiously toward the farmhouse, keeping your senses open for anything out of the ordinary, in particular observing the edge of the orchard looking for prints in the ground, or marks on the trees, or for any trees that look different from the rest.

The trees themselves are in varying states of health. Some, such as the one from which Oloc took some apples, look quite healthy. Others look old and withered, and a few are dead. But nothing you would not expect from a long unattended orchard.

However, as you begin to march further up the hill, you notice three things.

First, you spot the faintest set of hoof prints, leading just to the right of your line of march. At the base of a tree in that direction you spy a dead horse. Squinting at it across the short distance, you can see it is peppered with arrow shafts.

Second, the smell of cooking meat wafts down the hill to you, though you do not recognize what specific type of meat it is.

Third, looking up the hill, over the trees, you see a meager, barely perceptible wisp of smoke rising into the sky. From your current position, you cannot determine who or what is making the smoke. The wisp is thin and pale gray. Your best guess, without a better look, is that it comes from a small campfire, or some burning of similar size.

OOC: Actions?

I didn't address the search for alternate entryways and anything out of the ordinary on the (immediate) farmhouse exterior and property, since you guys have just gotten three situation changers while still near the bottom of the hill. But you will of course get to do so, when you actually approach the house.