Saturday, April 28, 2012

4 July 1280, Afternoon/Evening (Accepting the Captain's Offer)

"You found her! You found my Elsie! I knew you'd bring my Elsie back to me, I just knew it!"

Gaven turns to Mrs. Miggins, "No need to thank us for performing our sworn duty. You should thank Bill Barley for valiantly protecting Elsie."

Mrs. Miggins lets go of her daughter long enough to embrace Gaven and hands him a small pouch containing 5 gems – certainly worth 100 gp each, totaling the promised reward amount.

Gaven thanks Mrs. Miggins, "My share will be donated to the temple, thank you."

Mother and daughter then leave the room, hand in hand.

Gaven approaches Bob Barley with a mournful look, "You have my and the Light's condolences. We wish to return Bill's saddle and dagger to you. He bravely protected Elsie and gravely injured the goblin's Lieutenant. You should be very proud of his actions. We laid him to rest atop Lover's Grove."

Barley nods at Gaven's words. "This saddle belonged to Bill's older brother. He died too some years back. An illness." He sighs. "I thank you for returning his effects. I haven't much to offer you, but you should keep the dagger. You'll likely find more use for it than I."

Gaven replies: "The Light calls for us all at different times and for different reasons. Rest assured, Bill is where he should be."

Duran then goes to Bob Barley and, as is the custom in his village of Ashwood, presents the grieving father with a broken arrow saying "May your son's soul fly true to the world beyond."

At that, Bill's father, controlling his emotions with difficulty, leaves the room as well.

When the door closes the you find yourselves alone with the captain once more.

Oloc is more than happy with the agreement with the Captain, and Duran nods in agreement to the Captain's offer.

"Captain Belloc," says Varros, "your offer is generous and fair, you have my services."

Gaven also says to Belloc, "I agree to your terms, Captain. We know the goblins are from Stagwood, where do you think we should start?"

The captain again draws you near to the wall map. "Given what we do know, the most likely place for them to be is here," he says pointing an area up the Woodfield road, just north of the Coldstream. If they intend to come down to raid the outlying areas around Fairbrook, that's where I think they'd have to be."

OOC: The red hex is the area where the captain thinks the goblins are massing.

"It's an area of mostly open ground, but there are some woods in various locations, as well as small scrub-filled low spots that could hide a host that size. You'll also find the ruins of Blackwell up on a hill in that area, as you, no doubt, already know. But if our goblins are of the forest variety, I suspect you'd be more likely to find them outdoors."

"You also won't be likely to find them on the road, I shouldn't think. We have messengers and merchants that pass up and down the roads, who've reported no contact with a large band. If you start on the road though, you will come in a few hours to a branch east that will take you to an inn by the roadside. Enough locals and travelers stop in there that it could be a good source of information. That might be easier than trying to systematically scour the entire area."

The captain then hands you a smaller version of the map on the wall. It has the main road north marked on it, but unfortunately not the crossing that leads to the inn he mentioned."Take this with you," he says.

Belloc moves to an open window and clicks his tongue loudly against his palate three times. In a moment, a black-feathered raven sweeps into the room and lands on Belloc's desk.  The captain clicks his tongue a few times more, varying the rhythm, and the bird tilts its head as if listening.

"This is Karnak," says the captain. You need do nothing to take care of him. He will keep watch over the inn where you are lodged and will follow you when you leave Fairbrook. As you travel he will fly along with you. Once you have spotted the goblin host, simply click your tongue three times as I just did to call him down to you. Then say to him clearly: 'Karnak, return.' He has been taught to understand that, and will immediately fly back here and lead me and my contingent to the location where you gave the command."

With that, the captain hands you the 50 gold he offered for your information and the 100 gold retainer fee promised for accepting the job, and you take your leave.

Gaven nods to Belloc as the group departs, "Light willing, we shall find the goblins quickly."

Once outside, Varros disposes of the trophies, though he keeps the bag.

You agree that the first course of action is to convert your spoils into coin, and divide it up amongst yourselves. After spending a few hours at the smithy, the general store, and even with Sadie at the Red Tankard (who is thrilled to take the brandy off your hands for 40 gold per bottle), you find yourselves with a total haul of 1024 gp, and 3 sp,* for a single morning's work.

OOC: Actions?

I will specifically need to know if the bow carried by Varros and the spears carried by Gaven and Stan get sold or not – I wasn't sure, hence the asterisk next to the total item value above (and below).

Timewise we're into evening now, just after dinner, but there are still a few hours before dark so let me know anything you want to do or buy in town, and I'll post accordingly if/as appropriate. Also, once you're ready for me to move on to the "departure" post for the recon mission, let me know that too.

Also for the writing materials, let's say 1 gp for the lot (parchment, quill, ink).

Finally here is how the spoils come out...

Coin: 163 gp, 3 sp

Items: 861 gp
(or 888 gp, if bow and 2 spears carried by Varros, Gaven and Stan are sold)

Total Coin (actual coins + item sales): 1024 gp, 3 sp
(or 1051 gp, 3 sp, if weapons carried by Varros, Gaven and Stan are sold)

Total Coin per PC: 256 gp, 8 cp
(262 gp, 8 sp, 3 cp, if weapons carried by Varros, Gaven and Stan are sold

Monster XP: 385 xp / 4 = 97 xp for each PC (you may add this now to your sheets)

Lastly, remember that you may automatically convert any and all gp you spend to xp (I'll trust you to simply put it on your character sheets as you go), and that you may make "large expenditures" as per the house rules at any time (either as you go, or else just save it up for one big spending spree right before leveling up, your choice).


Coin Detail:
13 gp, 3 sp (found on goblins)
50 gp (reward from the captain for information)
100 gp (retainer fee from the captain)

Item Detail (some items, like the club or the apples, have no resale value; other items, such as quivers, are sold as a unit with the arrows they carry):

Bill's Dagger                                 2 gp
1 (2) Goblin short bows               13 gp  (25 if Varros sells the one he carries)
20 Goblin arrows                         2 gp
1 Axe                                          2 gp
(1) Spear (Gaven)                                (1 gp if Gaven sells it)
(1) Spear (Stan)                                   (1 gp if you take it from Stan to sell it)
4 Goblin short bows                     50 gp
40 Goblin arrows                         4 gp
2 Short swords                            8 gp                            
1 Axe                                          2 gp
1 Goblin short bow                      12 gp
10 Goblin arrows                         1 gp
1 Short sword                              4 gp
2 Spears                                      2 gp
1 Large axe                                  4 gp
1 Silver necklace                          30 gp
1 Silver ring with cheap red stone  25 gp
5 Bottles of Brandy                       200 gp (40 each, Sadie is ecstatic to buy them)
5 Small Gems                               500 gp (100 gp per gem, reward from Mrs. Miggins)

Monster XP: 385 xp / 4 = 97 xp for each PC (you may add this now)

Monster Detail:
10 Goblins (100 xp)
1 Hobgoblin (15 xp)
2 Dogs (30 xp)
1 Spider (240 xp)

Thursday, April 26, 2012

As Duran is about to respond to the Captain's request, others speak up asking for more gold.

Varros looks to Captain Belloc and says, "I don't know about my companions, but I find your terms of employment fair, however, I think 100 gold each seems a bit more of a respectable number for the job. Maybe you could consider it payment for services rendered,"

Varros fixes his gaze on the trophy bag for a noticeable moment then returns them to the Captain, "also, the ability to borrow decent horses for our company would only allow us to relate your requested information in a more timely matter."

Oloc is relieved that the goblin threat is taken seriously by the Captain. But when the discussion of joining up as scouts comes up the mage frowns slightly. He had been hoping to explore the ruins soon; visions of magic items and long forgotten spellbooks dominating his thoughts. Still, the offer of gold for simple recon work is enticing.

"I agree with Varros, begging your pardon Captain. I think 100 gold and horses would be more equitable. As you can see, we deliver."

Understanding the need to be well compensated Duran lets the others talk. He does chime in saying "Yes Captain horses would be most useful for our endeavors."

Gaven stands back to let the others negotiate terms. He gathers Bill Barley's saddle and ichor-coated dagger from Ollie. The cleric seems willing to take on the mission whatever the terms.

The captain looks at the haggling members of the party. For a second his eyes narrow, then he grins. "Horses would indeed make the task easier. The guard, unfortunately have no horses, except my own and those of my two lieutenants. Certainly not enough to transport your party."

"That being said," he continues, as if reading Oloc's mind, "I understand that this job may take your attention away from more lucrative pursuits. Let us then say 100 gold up front – that's sum total for the company, mind you, not per man.* And I can raise the spotting bounty to 300, if you find the goblins – again, that's 300 for the company as a whole – with the same 50 for the party just for your trouble if the search is unsuccessful."

"I cannot afford to offer you more than this for a reconnaissance. I have too many other contacts who could do the job for less. But I believe you have talents they do not, and I would prefer that you take on the task. For this reason, I offer you far more than I would offer them."**

"And," he adds, looking at Varros and Oloc, "your point about the trophies is well taken. You do indeed deliver, which is why I want your services. I don't pay for trophies, but let us consider them, in this unique case, as a tangible token of the information you gleaned in their collection. And I'll say that information is worth 50 gold, in itself, whether you accept my job offer or not."

"Would these revised terms meet with your...?"

The captain's question is interrupted as the door bursts open. Mrs. Miggins pushes her way past a guard and rushes into the room. Tears of joy stream down her face and she squeals with delight when she wraps Elsie in her arms. Noticing the party for the first time, she cries out "You found her! You found my Elsie! I knew you'd bring my Elsie back to me, I just knew it!"

A few seconds behind, almost as a footnote to the joyous scene of reunion, Bob Barley enters the room and stands quietly near the wall beside the door. He seems to struggle inwardly, trying to swallow the lump in his throat, and stifle tears of a different sort.

OOC: Actions?

*Just a note, the original offer – in each of its sums – was for the party, not per man. Going per man would be something the captain could never afford: 50 each would be 200 total up front just for taking on the job, and if we were talking 250 each just for spotting the goblins (instead of 250 for the group), we'd be looking at another 1000, coming to a total of 1200 gold, just for a recon.

**Remember the going rate for just a merc like Stan is 5 gp/week. You guys are better than that of course – you just have to decide how much better :)

Also, whether or not you choose to accept the captain's offer, you will of course have the opportunity to sell off the gear and other items you found at the farmhouse, visit the temple, purchase any equipment and/or make other expenditures (except potentially those with a time component, depending on your plans), bank any money, etc., once you're done talking to the captain and the two parents.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

4 July 1280, Afternoon (Meeting Captain Belloc)

Duran and Oloc, not feeling the need to answer for Gaven's actions, allow Gaven to speak for himself.

Gaven, however, explains things to the captain, with Varros adding a word or nod as necessary to support or fill in the story:

"Well met Captain Belloc, I am Gaven, acolyte of Light. I apologize if my action causes you added stress. The guard asked 'why are you bringing the goblin into town?', suggesting that the goblin was unwelcome and would impede our re-entry. I simply rectified the situation, thus fulfilling my oath to the Light," Gaven pauses to bow his head before continuing.

"It's just as well," says Belloc. "Personally I prefer them dead. The mayor claims to have some unusual technique for...intelligence gathering. Frankly I don't see how it can be all that effective – at least not more so than ordinary techniques. But it's not my place to question. I'm a soldier and the subtleties of interrogation are not my area of expertise."

"You would have received no useful information from the runt of the goblin litter anyway," continues Gaven. "While he was able to aid us in surprising the rest of the force, he had no useful intelligence on the goblin's purpose."

Varros shows the captain the trophies as proof that the rest of the scouting force was slain.

Duran lets the others do the talking as he looks around the room. As he looks he tries to see if he can make out anything of importance on the desk or maps of the Captain.

Gaven motions to Oloc, "Oloc's arcane arts are likely better than any method you would have to extract information from the goblin."

Gaven pulls the note found on Grimtooth's body and hands it to Belloc, "This, however, was found on the hobgoblin leading the mission. Oloc translated it to say 'Main force gathering on north bank. Scout enemy positions only. Do not engage or take prisoners. – Bloodfang'."

Oloc, too, then speaks, confirming the translation and stressing the need for the captain to take the goblin threat seriously.

Gaven pauses to allow the information and Oloc's confirmation of the translation to sink in.

The captain nods. "We've been aware of increased goblin activity," he says. "But what you're showing me is more detailed than our current information."

Belloc notices Duran glancing around at the maps (which Duran recognizes as all being of various points around Fairbrook). The captain gestures for Duran, and the rest of you, to join him as he walks to the large wall map and points out areas where other small free companies have picked up goblin activity.

"We've gotten sightings here, along the road to Woodfield, as well as over here, on the route toward Stag Hollow. Small parties, in each case, assumed to be scouts. But your group is the first to bring back concrete intelligence of the goblins' intentions."

"It seems the goblins mobilize under hobgoblins," Gaven adds. "This is very serious indeed. While I cannot speak for my comrades, I offer my services to you, as your goals and mine certainly overlap. I shall also say my comrades wanted to bring the goblin to you and were against my slaying of the goblin, Light forgive them."

On this last point, Varros adds, to the captain, that Gaven is a good sort who perhaps loves the light a bit more than most.

"What's done is done," says the captain. "As I say, for myself, I'd rather see the creature dead. And as for the mayor....I will smooth things over with him."

Gaven finishes by saying, "I hope my explanation is satisfactory, and if so, my duties require me to bring Miss Elsie to her home, to seek out Bill Barley's father to deliver news on his son's demise."

"For this there is no need," responds Belloc. "I sent the guards who brought you to bring the parents here. They should arrive before we finish our business. As for your offer of service..." The captain pauses for a second as he looks over the party as whole.

"If you truly are interested, I've a mind to hire your company as scouts. Your job would simply be to locate the main body of the goblin host, and once they've been spotted, communicate their location to me by raven.* We will of course supply you with a map, and the bird. I believe I can narrow down the area you'd need to cover."

"I would expect you to depart no later than tomorrow dawn. That would give you some time to rest, reequip, and take care of any other pre-departure business."

"Indeed, replies Gaven, "I would like to return with haste to the temple to pray for guidance."

The captain nods. "The pay for the mission is 50 gold up front, so you can purchase any equipment you may need, and another 250 if you successfully locate the goblin host. Even if you fail to find them, you'll be paid 50 gold on your return simply for your trouble."

"And remember, this would be a reconnaissance mission only. My expectation is that you simply locate the enemy, not take on the full raiding contingent in combat. Once we know where the villains are, I can quickly muster a body of men-at-arms able to make short work of 100 goblins. What say you?"

OOC: Actions?

*Ravens in the West Kingdom: Some ravens are found who understand human (and demi-human) speech, and who can communicate simple ideas to those experienced enough to understand them. Not all ravens possess this ability of course. Legend holds that some ancient mage may well have enchanted a coven of ravens in his keeping with intelligence and true speech, and that some measure of these gifts was passed down through their descendants all the way to the present day. This is, of course, not certain. But the fact is that some ravens, although fewer and fewer in number, still possess an ability to communicate with men, elves, dwarves and halflings. It is no doubt of one of these birds that Belloc speaks.  

Saturday, April 21, 2012

4 July 1280, Early Afternoon (The Guard)

The guard in front of you speaks once more. "How came you upon this goblin? And why are you bringing him into town?"

Tired of arguing over Dirtbag, Gaven takes out his club, walks behind the goblin and caves in his skull. Dirtbag crumples to the ground, dead, without a sound.

Varros moves to claim the goblin's ear for the collection, addressing the guard, "Since you seem to prefer your goblins dead, I assume we will be permitted access now?"

The guard is first shocked, then angered: "There'll be none of that here at the gate!" He steps between Varros and the dead goblin's body. Then he looks to Gaven: "Why did you do this? My orders are to inquire upon contact with any potential enemies near the gate, and to bring them back to the captain for interrogation if possible! And as soon as I begin to inquire, you kill him! Now how am I supposed to carry out my orders and bring him back for questioning?"

Gaven says to the guard, "We return from Lover's Grove, where we rescued Elsie Miggins from a scouting band of goblins. We have learned that the goblins are mobilizing somewhere on the north bank of the Coldstream and plan on plundering the nearby farms and villages. Now, please, let us enter to speak with Mayor Adsul about gathering a militia to counter these attacks."

"That's as may be..." begins the guard.

Slightly taken aback by the outburst by Gaven, Duran recovers and also addresses the guard "Sir we are also bringing home one of the villager's children who had gone missing. Please let us pass quickly as we have news for your captain. Where might we find him?"

Oloc, who also was caught completely off-guard by the suddenness of Gaven's action, speaks up as well. The mage is not sorry for the loss of 'dirtbag', but certainly didn't see that coming. He echoes the request for an audience with the authorities. "Every hour could be vital. The outlying farms are in danger of attack at any time."

"Well," says the guard, "I can promise you one thing. You'll definitely speak to the captain. And you can explain to him why I have no live prisoner for him to interrogate."

 The guard motions with his hand and two more guards come out from the tower. The guard doing all the speaking gives them an order: "Take these gentlemen to see the captain."

No one makes any move to disarm or restrain you. But the guards ordered to take you to the captain flank you and motion for you to walk forward into town with them. After a short march along the inside perimeter of the palisade, you pass a long wooden building, with a few guards milling around it, and then immediately thereafter are led into a two-storey stone house, with the emblem of the West Kingdom hung outside beside the front door.

The guards lead you inside, up a flight of stairs, and you are told to wait in a small antechamber before a closed door. One guard remains with you, the other opens the door, enters the next room and closes it behind him. After several minutes, the door opens again and the guard comes out. "The captain will see you."

You enter a medium-sized office. There are several shelves around the room containing books and rolled up parchments, a large map of the surrounding area hanging from one wall, racks supporting weapons and armor, and a large desk, illuminated by the light coming in through two tall windows, at which sits a very fit, authoritative-looking, middle-aged man poring over still more maps and documents spread across his desk. The man wears a tunic bearing the arms of the West Kingdom.

He looks up from his papers and leans back in his chair. "I am captain Belloc," he says. The captain eyes you up and down, taking your measure. "So," he continues. "They tell me you are a band of goblin-slayers. I should very much like to know your story, and why you killed that goblin in front of the north gate. Quite the dramatic display, but one that's made my day a little more difficult. The mayor has given the guard standing orders to bring in any potential enemies for questioning. I suspect I'm the one who will have to answer to him for this."

OOC: Actions?

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

4 July 1280, Early Afternoon (Leaving the Farmhouse)

With the spider dead, the group makes its final deliberation regarding the charmed goblin.

Varros speaks first: "Let us end this. Dirtbag can be presented to the council along with Grimtooth's head and my collection of ears. He's their issue to resolve then and he might bring us a bit of coin to boot. Regardless, we must return to town posthaste."

"I think turning Dirtbag over to the authorities would be the best idea," agrees Duran. However, we cannot have him just walking freely into town with us. We should at least bind him before entering the town even if he is charmed." Duran continues, "As for the dogs we either need to put an end to them or tie them up here as I don't think they will take to kindly with us tying up Dirtbag." With that Duran makes ready to head back to town.

"I see no point in trying to take this mongrel with us," says the cleric, "especially since he will be executed anyway. If Oloc believes that his spell will hold and that Dirtbag will willingly walk to his death, then so be it. Let us make haste back to town." Gaven stays close to Elsie, making sure to stay between her and Dirtbag.

Oloc says: "I think the spell will hold. I will explain to him that it is necessary for his safe conduct into town. Just stand ready should he grow doubtful." Oloc considers the dogs. "Although it seems cruel, I suggest we have the goblin return the dogs to their room. The authorities back in town can decide of they are worth trying to tame."

"Dirtbag poses enough of a risk for my liking," counters Varros and, with that, Varros nocks another arrow and gets within close range of the dogs. Once there he lets fly. "Gaven has enough reservations carting Dirtbag to town let alone two curs."

Before anyone else can react, Varros releases two arrows in rapid succession killing one dog. The other turns and flees into the cover of the orchard. In seconds, the animal is out of sight.

Dirtbag seems to tense slightly at the event, but then relaxes and doesn't seem to have come out of the charm. With Oloc reassuring him, Duran binds the goblin's hands. The party then gathers itself and begins the short trek back to Fairbrook.

Varros stays back slightly, and once the rest of the group have taken Dirtbag far enough down the hill to be out of sight, Varros collects the remaining goblin ears from the pile, sets fire to the corpses and leaves them burning.

Walking in the bright, warm summer sunshine, it is easy to forget the grim task you have just completed, and most of you barely look back -- if at all -- to the rising smoke of the goblin-pire. In the pleasant, clear summer ambiance of the countryside, even Elsie seems less traumatized.

Soon find yourselves approaching the north gate of Fairbrook. From the watch tower there, a guard yells down to you: "Halt!" He quickly descends and accosts you outside the gate. You see an archer upon the wall, looking down on the scene as well.

The guard in front of you speaks once more. "How came you upon this goblin? And why are you bringing him into town?"

OOC: Actions?

It was suggested in an earlier comment that the party might attempt demolition of the house, but since mostly what remains is stone wall remnants and the stone basement, I think it would be nigh impossible to reduce it further (not without special equipment and a team of laborers).

Time Update: It is now 1:00 p.m.

Combat Details:

Round 1: Varros has surprise round.

Varros shoots at dog 1
d20 + 2 (short range) = 14 (hit); d6 = 1 (dog wounded)
d20 + 2 (short range) = 20 (hit); d6 = 5 (dog killed)

Round 2: Dog has initiative (4-1)

Dog flees and is gone.

Monday, April 16, 2012

4 July 1280, Midday (Spider!)

Varros looks to the North when he sees the situation with the dogs, assessing the situation he calmly says, "To arms companions, attack with spear and bow, stay away from the creature, most likely it is poisonous."

Varros readies his bow and lets fly as he says to Oloc, "Give Dirtbag the command to loose the hounds and attack the beast himself," smiling at Gaven he continues, "perhaps our discussion will be proven moot."

"A giant spider!" Oloc shouts. "I hate spiders! Dirtbag, release the dogs and have them attack the thing!"

Varros looks to Elsie then and says, stay behind Duran or I and whatever you do don't allow the creature to get close to you."

Following Varros' lead Duran lets loose arrows from his bow aimed at the beast, doing his best to keep his distance and help protect Elsie and the group.

Gaven says to the others, "Loose your arrows, but don't engage the spider. Let the dogs and spider eradicate each other. If the spider is occupied by the dogs, let us use the opportunity to return to town. The spider just looks for a meal. We have more important tasks at hand."

Gaven turns to Elsie and Ollie, "Stay close to me. If the spider approaches us, start to run back to the road and I will follow as soon as I can."

Both the cleric and the mage position themselves behind the fighters and in front of the non-combatants.

The charmed goblin orders the dogs to attack the spider and they obey, engaging the creature about 60' from the party's location.

The spider and the dogs size each other up and strike tentatively at first, inflicting no damage, as Duran's and Varros' arrows whistle past the dog-and-spider melée. Finally one of the dogs manages to take a nasty bite out of the spider, wounding it.

However, the spider riposts with a lunge at the dog who bit him, catching the poor canine's throat in its fangs. A split-second yelp can be heard which is literally cut off, and the spider flops the dead dog to the ground.

Varros and Duran let fly still more arrows, and this time one of Varros' missiles finds its mark, skewering the spider, who curls up its legs and moves no more.

The dogs snarl and growl a moment longer, then seeing no movement from the spider, they turn and trot back to Dirtbag.


OOC: Varros and Duran are able to recover all their arrows.

It's been suggested we have a vote on what to do with Dirtbag. Shall we do so?

I believe the proposed options were:
     1. Kill him.
     2. Turn him in to the authorities.
     3. Send him back to his people (with a message/warning).
     4. Other?

And apart from that decision, actions?

Combat Details:

Round 1: Spider wins initiative (2-1)

Spider attacks Dog 2
d20 + 2 (hit bonus) = 6 (miss)

Varros shoots at spider
d20 + 1 (med. range) = 12 (miss)
d20 + 1 (med. range) = 9 (miss)

Duran shoots at spider
d20 + 2 (short range) = 5 (miss)
d20 + 2 (short range) = 9 (miss)

Dog 1 attacks spider
d20 + 1 (hit bonus) = 7 (miss)

Dog 2 attacks spider
d20 + 1 (hit bonus) = 14 (hit); d6 = 4

Dog 3 attacks spider
d20 + 1 (hit bonus) = 2 (miss)

Round 2: Spider wins initiative (6-4)

Spider attacks Dog 2
d20 + 2 (hit bonus) = 12 (hit); d6 = 5 (dog is killed)

Varros shoots at spider
d20 + 1 (med. range) = 18 (hits); d6 = 5 (spider killed)

Duran shoots at spider
d20 + 2 (short range) = 6 (miss)

Sunday, April 15, 2012

4 July 1280, Midday (Discussing Dirtbag's Fate)

"Miss Elsie has confirmed my suspicion," says Gaven. "I say we have Dirtbag send off the dogs and then I will carry out his execution. We must get back to Fairbrook as soon as possible to return Miss Elsie and to warn the town. Delay in this deciding the fate of a lowly being of chaos wastes time we do not have."

Varros replies: "I suppose I must agree with Gaven upon hearing the girl's information. However, I am still not totally convinced that execution is the best course. It seems as if the town could be in peril. If they are not equipped to deal with a large number of goblins and hobgoblins they could be at great risk. Perhaps, as was suggested earlier, we could feed him misinformation about the town's defenses, suggesting that there are many skilled militia and adventurers. This might be enough to convince the horde that greener pastures might be found elsewhere. Especially if the tidings come from a lone survivor." Varros looks to Gaven, "I understand your vows friend, however, is the life of one servant of Chaos worth the wrath that his death and that of his ilk might bring upon Fairbrook?"

"I would see dirtbag killed if left up to me however I see the merits of Varros' plan. Either way we need to leave quickly in order to warn the town," says Duran.

You quickly consider your options including what you've seen, and heard said, of Fairbrook's defenses. You realize that that a force of 50 or even 100 goblins could never harm the town by direct assault. The palisade, the guard towers and patrolling archers along the walls would cut down any raiding force that size before they could even attempt a breach.

You realize also, however, that there are numerous tiny hamlets and farms outside the walls who would be vulnerable, as well as merchant caravans ripe for plunder on the roads, agents of the king and the church who could be kidnapped on the highways for ransom. Plus, there may be other ways to raid Fairbrook proper other than by a suicidal, direct frontal assault.

After this rapid assessment of the situation, Oloc suggests taking Dirtbag to the town to turn him in to the authorities along with the information you have about the threatened raid.

Suddenly, the dogs at Dirbag's feet prick up their ears, and jump up, hackles raised, snarling in the direction of the north side of the farmhouse, about eighty feet away from where you stand. As you look in that direction, you're horrified to see several long, furry, grotesquely jointed legs crawl around the corner, supporting a bloated body – about five to six feet long – and a head with eight menacing eyes and dripping fangs.

Blue circle = party location (including Elsie, Stan and Ollie); black "X" = pile of goblin bodies, yellow circle = Dirtbag; brown circle = dogs


OOC: Actions?

(Also, this was simply a random wandering monster check – I'm not trying to send any "message" or cut the conversation short or anything like that. I've been doing periodic checks all along, and this is simply the first one that came up "positive").

Friday, April 13, 2012

Wednesday 4 July 1280, Midday (A Follow-Up Interrogation)

"Alas, now that I see them in the light the dogs appear well nigh useless, hardly the war dogs of my home," he sighs and his eyes cloud for a moment in private thought before he continues, "I propose we attempt to burn and render this farm unusable as a base for further interlopers, perhaps we can start the process and then the town, once we make them aware, can finish the process."

Then drawing his comrades out of earshot of the goblin, Varros says, "We have the one last issue we previously discussed to take care of, if we were to go back to town with our friend, it could prove to be his undoing."

Duran agrees: "If we take dirtbag back to town I do not think it will go well for us and I don't think we can guarantee his safety. We should get what information we can from him and then send him on his way. Then we need to get back to the town and warn them of the impending danger. I am sure they must have a militia or guard to help meet this threat."

"I suggest posing a few more questions about the larger group that seems to be in the area such as their time of return, their goals and how they may react to their losses and then sending him on his way," Varros continues.

"I agree," says Oloc. "Let's see what more we can find out."

Oloc returns to Dirbag's side to question him. He peppers 'dirtbag' with questions regarding the larger group, attempting to glean anything and everything regarding their size, location, intentions, etc. Under Oloc's interrogation, Dirtbag reveals that a "horde" of goblins – also with hobgoblin leaders – was to set out from Stagwood. He does not know how many in the horde, just "a lot," perhaps fifty? a hundred? And he does not know where they were to muster, though when you mention the "north bank," he assumes it must be the north bank of the Coldstream.

Rumor amongst the goblin grunts in the scouting party on their departure from Stagwood was that the horde would be hitting farms and small hamlets, and plundering any merchant caravans they could come across. Scouts were sent toward Woodfield and Stag Hollow as well as Fairbrook. If Bloodfang's missive mentions the "north bank," it probably is the Coldstream being referenced. In which case, there would be no doubt the region around Fairbrook has been selected as the raiders' target.

He doesn't know the planned time of departure of the horde for certain, but they probably would have left Stagwood a few days after the scouting party – just long enough for runners to take messages from the scouting parties to Bloodfang and back. The horde could be at the muster point already. If not, they'll certainly be there soon.

As for their reaction to their losses? The horde is likely to take vengeance on any targets they raid, slaughtering with even greater ferocity and slow cruelty than they normally would as payback.

When the interrogation ends, Oloc returns to the group, away from the goblin, and reports his findings.

Varros looks to Oloc, "I suggest that you make it clear to him why he still lives, and the importance of a life debt."

Gaven then speaks up: "While I know you gave your word, Varros, my honor and duties as an acolyte of Light cannot let Dirtbag go unless he submits to follow the Light. Plus, he played a role in Miss Elsie's capture and unjust imprisonment. He must be tried. Remember, he only obeyed because of Oloc's charm."

Gaven turns to Elsie, "Miss Elsie, did this goblin play a role in the attack on you and Bill? Did he play a role in your imprisonment?"

Elsie looks at the goblin fiercely: "I'm sure of it," she says. "I'm sure they all did. I hate every goblin in the world, and I wish them all dead for what they did."

Meanwhile the dogs seem to have eaten their fill from the corpses and have wandered over next to Dirtbag and curled up for a nap at his feet. Dirtbag, previously distressed by the deaths of his comrades (other than Grimtooth) seems to remain calmly in his charmed trance, as if his grief – or perhaps just his shock – at the loss has past.

OOC: Actions?

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Wednesday 4 July 1280, Midday (The Dogs)

Oloc asks 'dirtbag' to step away for moment and then the mage addresses the rest of the party. "What should we do with the goblin? I can command him to return to his tribe and tell them what happened to this scouting party. Or you could dispatch him quickly and we are rid of him. I am indifferent, although the former course of action may deter any further advance by the humanoids."

"I gave my bond that if Dirtbag performed his tasks he would live." says Varros, "He performed every task we asked under what must have been, let us say, difficult conditions," Varros eyes Oloc, "perhaps he should decide on his own what path he must take, he deserves that much. Perhaps he might even choose to remain with us, he could be useful as he has proven to be capable and clever."

"I am wary of putting to much trust in the goblin," says Oloc. "If he is to be set free, I would propose that we first have him give us information about the dogs as Duran suggests. We can then reconsider the goblin."

Hearing the dog barking coming from below, the mage adds, "I would feel better if we released the dogs, although I am not sure how they will react."

The fighter replies: "Also, since you can see I believe in making use of our assets, perhaps the dogs could use new masters, we do have some steaks for them..."

Duran chimes in: "Let us ask dirtbag to calm the dogs down and see if we can take them for our own or at least see what is in that room. We should not burn the goblin bodies until we are ready to leave in case the rest of the goblins come to investigate."

Gaven offers: "I agree with Varros's and Duran's plan. We may as well make use of Dirtbag while he is still under the spell. However, please make haste, I do not want to loiter here too long. We should get Miss Elsie back soon. I will stay with her above and to keep a look out."

Gaven turns to Elsie, "I only have trail rations, but you are welcome to them. I will pick you some apples as well."

As Stan and Ollie remain with Elsie, Gaven heads off to pick some apples, and Oloc, Varros and Duran look on as Dirtbag moves toward the dogs' room.

The goblin leads on down the stairs, into the entry room, and through the door to the west, which opens into a 10' wide, 20' long corridor, heading west, with a door to the north at the far end. As Dirtbag turns the handle with a rusty squeal, the dogs start growling and barking again.

Once they smell, see and hear the goblin, however, they calm down. They almost cringe as the follow at his heels. The canines look with great distrust at Varros, Duran and Oloc. Then they look to Dirtbag, to the party, and back again. Seeing no sign from their goblin master to attack, they stifle their growls.

Taking a look around the dogs' room, you see that the space measures roughly 20' x 20', with no other exits. Apart from piles of leaves and scraps of cloth that the dogs evidently sleep on, you find no items of interest in the room. Kicking the shallow bed materials around, you see only stone floor beneath and, of course, another drain, just like the others you've noted.

Finding nothing worthwhile, you follow Dirtbag and the dogs up the stairway to the trapdoor. Though the dogs seem to behave themselves, they continue to look darkly at the party members.


When Gaven returns with the apples, and Elsie is finished eating, he asks, "While I know it must have been a horrible ordeal, can you please share with me what happened to you and Bill? We have learned that this band was a scouting party for an army of goblins that plan to attack. Anything you heard or saw could be of great use to us in preventing any more harm by the goblins."

"I know nothing of any goblin army," Elsie begins. The large one did most of the talking that I heard, and he always spoke in his language, so I never understood what he said."

Elsie looks off into the distance, toward Fairbrook. "We came up here a few nights ago, Bill and me. We wanted to... we came up here... to get away from our parents. And it all happened so fast. A shadow moved from behind a tree in front of us, the horse reared. There was a twang, like a bow, several of them, and the horse wailed in pain. Then more dark figures came out of nowhere, and thrust their spears at the horse, and the horse fell. As he did, Bill pulled me clear. We fell hard, but Bill kept us from landing under the horse. Then Bill was on his feet swinging his knife. I think he cut one of them. Though there were too many and... and..."

Elsie starts to cry again but, after a moment, she calms herself and goes on. "They dragged us up the hill. They just left the horse there, still alive, squealing in pain. They took us down to the basement, dumped Bill in a corner, and dragged me off to the room where you found me. They hardly gave me any water, and fed me even less. I don't know what kind of foul red meat it was that they gave me to eat. I couldn't get it down." Elsie stops talking and wipes her eyes with the dirty sleeve of her dress.

As Elsie finishes her story the others come up out of the basement, with the three guard dogs on Dirtbag's heels and Varros, Duran and Oloc right behind. As they emerge into the sunlight, everyone can see just how emaciated the poor beasts really are, ribs bulging through their short hair.

Suddenly, almost in concert, the dogs tear away from Dirtbag and head straight for the pile of goblin corpses, where they tear and rend the dead flesh, swallowing it ravenously as if they haven't eaten in days.

Elsie watches with fascination, and walks closer for a better look. Standing right next to the stack of goblin corpses, she reaches out her hand toward the pile, then hesitates, and lets her hand fall back to her side. But she remains riveted, watching the dogs have at their former masters.


OOC: Actions?

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Wednesday 4 July 1280, Midday (Mopping Up)

Gaven places down his spear and shield and takes off his helmet before slowly approaching Elsie. He speaks in as calm and comforting manner as he can with his arms spread wide, "It is ok Elsie, we have come from Fairbrook to rescue you. I am Gaven, an acolyte of Light, and these are my companions (introduced in turn). We know you came with Bill Barley and were attacked by goblins. Do not worry, we have defeated them all. Please, do not be afraid. Come with us, so we can take you back to your home."

Elsie seems terribly shaken up and cannot stop shivering, but she lifts her eyes to the cleric's face. Gaven says, "Abbot Cuthbert has given me this tonic to give to you. It will help settle your nerves." Gaven hands the tonic to Elsie.

With hands still trembling, it is hard for her to take the vial from him. But with Gaven's help she is able to drink it. Her shaking subsides, and her eyes soften from terror to a more controlled sadness. She still remains silent.

Physically, apart from being dirty and dehydrated, she appears unharmed.

Removing the rest of her bonds, Gaven helps her up, and re-equips himself. He stays close to Elsie in case she needs to be helped along.

Oloc is relieved to find Elsie alive. And with Gaven ensuring her comfort, the mage's attention turns to the clean-up. Speaking to the rest of the party in a soft voice, he says, "Let's bury what remains of Bill. It would be best that Elsie doesn't see what befell him. The goblin corpses can burn."

Oloc sets 'dirtbag' to the task of digging a grave for Bill in a suitable place away from the farmhouse. The goblin heads off at the mage's direction, first grabbing a rusted shovel to use from the tool room, and then moving off to complete the task as instructed.

Varros speaks up: "Gaven seems to have this situation under control. Before we head up lets perform a thorough search of all these rooms and drains. Also, we still have the dogs to deal with. Any ideas?"

"Any chance dirtbag can calm down the dogs or go in and tie them up so we can search the room?" asks Duran.

The group considers this option as a more thorough search of the rooms is executed. The search, unfortunately, gives up nothing of value or interest in the rooms themselves beyond what your initial glances revealed. A careful inspection of Drazz's and Garrh's bodies, however, yields a few more coins – three gold and six silver.

With the search complete, and Elsie silent but on her feet once more, the party moves back toward the basement entrance. While Gaven hangs in the rear helping Elsie, the others drag the goblin bodies out first to pile them for burning, and to be sure that Dirtbag has completed the task of burying Bill's remains. Seeing that the goblin has completed his task satisfactorily, you give a quiet signal to Gaven that it is okay to bring Elsie out.

Having spent days underground, she blinks repeatedly as her eyes adjust, then seems to calm still further as the rays of the noon sun strike her face.

As Elsie spots the nearly completed pile of goblin corpses, Gaven could swear he sees an insane hatred burn in her eyes, but a split-second later, the sadness and fatigue cloud her expression once more.

Dirtbag also looks at the pile of his comrades' corpses, an odd shadow momentarily passing over his otherwise trance-like countenance.

When Varros and Duran heave the last body onto the pile. Elsie turns to Gaven and speaks her first words: "I'm hungry."


OOC: Actions?

Situation Recap:
- It is now noon
- The goblins are piled and ready for burning
- Varros has not yet removed the ears from those that were outside (since Dirtbag was in plain sight; unless you tell me otherwise, I'll assume that Varros will remove ears before the party departs, at some point when Dirtbag cannot see)
- Elsie seems no worse off than would be expected after her experience (she's traumatized, but all things considered...)
- There is no sign of additional goblins anywhere
- The dogs are still locked in their room (Duran has proposed having Dirtbag deal with them in some way).

Friday, April 6, 2012

4 July 1280, Morning (A Dimly Lit Room)

Oloc asks the charmed goblin to remain in the hall. Then turning to the others, "Which door should we try? Most likely they lead to the same place - and hopefully we'll find the girl no worse for wear."

He lights a torch from a wall sconce, keeping a dagger out in his other hand.

Varros addresses the porter: "Let us proceed to the north, Ollie, if you would take special care stowing that brandy, make sure you wrap it in some rags or padding, it's worth nothing to us if it breaks!", Varros smiles and claps Ollie on the back good naturedly, obviously somewhat relieved that the danger seems past.

Ollie gently picks up the unopened bottles of brandy and stows them carefully.

Keeping his bow at the ready Duran says "We should finish searching the rooms to make sure we are safe and definitely find the girl. Why don't we try having two of us each go through a door, letting Ollie give us a verbal signal to open both doors at the same time."

"I agree with Duran," says Gaven. "He and I will take the west room, Varros, Stan, and Oloc can take the north room. Ollie will give the signal."

Gaven readies his spear and shield.

Once all are in position, Ollie gives the signal, and you burst through both doors simultaneously.

The room beyond was lit only by a small, candle, though your torches now cast far more light about the place. The room is the same size as the guard room.

There is a mattress on the floor with a filthy goblin blanket tossed over it. Old and mildewed, the mattress looks like it was dragged down here from the rubbish upstairs. On the floor next to it are several empty bottles with the same label as those you just acquired: "Golden Orchards Fine Brandy." You also note another small drain like the one in the guard room, though the dogs seem quiet now.

Almost hidden in the shadow of the northwest corner, a young girl cringes, barely noticeable, as if trying to make herself smaller, or even invisible if she could. Her hands and feet are bound tightly with coarse rope, and she shivers uncontrollably, almost convulsively. Her long hair is disheveled, and her dress, face, hands and arms are smeared with grime. Apart from the chattering of her teeth, there is no sound in the room.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

4 July 1280, Morning (Looking Around)

"Many thanks Gaven," says Varros

"You are welcome Varros. The Light shines on us this day," answers the cleric.

Oloc says: "I guess the gobs came from the door to the west. Let's hurry and check the door to the north." This time Oloc waits for some 'muscle' before moving on. "On second thought, maybe we should get 'dirtbag' in here. What do you say?" he asks of no one in particular.

"Oloc, why don't you take Dirtbag back down the hall for a moment?" says Varros. Gaven also suggests that Oloc ask Dirtbag how the gobs came under the orders of a hobgob and why he doesn't care that Grimtooth is dead.

Oloc pulls the charmed goblin aside, and turns him away from the wounded Drazz, while Varros moves quickly across the room and dispatches the suffering goblin, showing him a merciful death. Varros also discretely cuts the right ear from each of the two dead goblin underlings here and in the previous corridor, as well as from the head he tossed into the room earlier.

Oloc keeps Dirtbag distracted from Varros' activity by asking Gaven's questions. Dirtbag's face turns to a scowl.

"We goblins often work with our larger cousins," says Dirtbag in reply to the first question. "They are bigger, so they command when we join with them."

In response to the second question he adds. "Grimtooth beat me because I was the smallest. And he named me 'Dirtbag'. When he started to call me that, so did the others. I hate Grimtooth."

Oloc interprets Dirtbag's words as Duran and Gaven scout the two doors.

Readying his bow, Duran looks through the door that is ajar, to the north. Beyond the door is a 30' x 30' room. The light is exceedingly dim, but Duran sees no enemies. To get a better look, the fighter quickly grabs the torch from the wall sconce to illuminate things, and can make out a cider press, as well as several barrels and vats. As best he can determine from the doorway many of the barrels are empty. The ones right next to the doorway where he stands now contain only vinegar. Along the north wall is a set of shelves containing several bottles. Most are broken or empty, but a few are completely intact. Stepping a short way into the room, Duran can see that there are five stoppered and unbroken bottles, each bearing the label "Golden Orchards Fine Brandy – 1243." Duran also spies a closed door in the northern section of the west wall of the room.

Meanwhile, Gaven retrieves his spear (still in good condition), and rapidly searches Grimtooth's body for any clues, including tattoos, or brandings, or emblems of rank or clan. The hobgoblin wears a silver chain around his neck (which you guess to be worth about 30 gp) as well as a silver ring with a cheap red stone (probably worth around 25 gp). In addition, in a pocket within the chief's tunic, Gaven finds the following document:

Gaven asks Stan to overturn the blankets and bedding to search for clues and treasure, "Make sure to use your spear, in case of any nasty surprises," he adds.

Stan finds nothing but filthy goblin rags. "Blimey!" he exclaims, "If we brought any of this garbage back, I'd wager we'd have to pay to have it taken off our hands."

Gaven hands the document he found to Oloc who sees immediately that it is written in goblin. The document says:

"Main force gathering on north bank. Scout enemy positions only. Do not engage or take prisoners. – Bloodfang"

As Oloc translates the missive aloud, Gaven approaches the open west door carefully and closely examines the frame for traps. Finding nothing, he asks Ollie to shed some light with his torch, and carefully looks through the door. Here he sees another 30' x 30' room. A fair number of old tools lean against walls or hang from hooks – pruning implements, spades, wheelbarrows, empty barrels, and the like. All appear quite old, rusted, rotted and entirely unserviceable. Also some sacks of what look like they were once apple seeds, are piled in various parts of the room. The ones near the doorway where Gaven stands appear to contain nothing more than tiny dry, cracked husks, or else rotten clumps of dark mush, depending on the sack and how exposed to water it has been over the years. The cleric, too, sees a closed door, in the norther wall of the tool room.

As the party prepares to make its next move, Varros pulls Grimtooth's body back through the doorway into the corridor and collects the hobgoblin's head – out of Dirtbag's sight, just in case. He then returns to the group, ready to help decide what to do next.


OOC: Actions?

I've noted that Varros will take an ear from each of the goblins previously killed when the party backtracks out. I will assume that he does this discretely without Dirtbag watching.

Time Update: it's now 11:00 a.m.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Wednesday 4 July 1280, Morning (Binding Wounds and Moving Forward)

Seeing his spear strike true, Gaven sighs in relief and and mutters a benediction to the Light.

As he sees Grimtooth fall dead to the floor, the pain from Grimtooth's blow suddenly floods over Duran. Looking to his arm he sees the blood flowing from the open wound.

"Let us tend to your wounds," Gaven says to Duran and Varros.

"Thank you Gaven and well aimed!" says Varros as Gaven helps to bind the two fighters' wounds. Both warriors feel much better afterward.

"That sounds like it could be the girl," says Oloc. "Let's hurry in and secure her safety before any more harm should befall her."

Oloc begins to head toward the room ahead to discover the source of the groaning.

Upon hearing the murmurs from the other room and seeing Oloc head toward the next room, Gaven exclaims,"Hold Oloc. We don't know what dangers await in there. Perhaps we should get Dirtbag and Ollie."

Turning to the others Duran says "I agree we need to proceed with caution but we should tend to the girl as quickly as possible."

Varros calls for Ollie and Dirtbag.

The two dog-door guardians return at Varros' call, and Ollie reports that the door there seems shut quite securely. He thinks there shouldn't be any need for worry, unless there is someone left to open the door for the dogs from inside the room.

Moving back into a standard formation you advance cautiously to the doorway of the next room.

Standing over Grimtooth's dead body, and peering inside, you see a single torch already lit in a rusted sconce in the western part of the north wall. Between this torch and the one Ollie carries, the room is now well illuminated.

A trail of puddled goblin blood leads from the doorway where you now stand across the center of the room, where it suddenly becomes a wide smear, leading to the prone, groaning figure of the goblin Drazz, who is desperately trying with his last reserves of strength to drag himself to the door in the north wall which is slightly ajar.

In the center of the floor you also notice a six-inch, metallic grate covering a drain, and it is from this aperture that the tinny resonance of the dogs' barking can be heard as it begins to subside once more.

Blue bar = party in formation; black diamond = Grimtooth's corpse; black circle (filled) Drazz; hollow circle = 6" drain; green = blood trail

Scattered about the room are several ratty, filthy, blankets, undoubtedly the bedrolls of the goblin scouts. You also see grubby, tattered playing cards scattered across the floor, and one broken bottle.

There are a few other rusted sconces around the room, with half-burnt torch stumps in them. In addition to the partially open door in the north wall, there is also a door in the west wall, which has been swung wide open. Though the torchlight illuminates a rectangle of the floor through the west doorway, you cannot see into the west room beyond that door-shaped patch of light.

OOC: I should add, that from the rear (where I assume him to be) Dirtbag cannot see Drazz's prone figure; also, he seems completely untroubled by Grimtooth's corpse, which he can see.


Wound Binding

d4 = 2 (now at 6 hp)

d4 = 3 (now at 6 hp)