Thursday, November 8, 2012

Iron Rations Part VI

Devon was impressed. Abel's fighting ability had improved a great deal since Apris came into his life. Perhaps it was a boost in morale, or simply the fact that Abel was using his shield to block blows instead of his face. Whatever the reason for Abel's newfound prowess, Devon was glad. It was getting terribly sad to see Abel savaged every time he entered battle.

     Apris the Wondrous, the party's newest member, was quite fond of Abel. She tended to his wounds and marveled at his strong muscles. All of this annoyed Aithne to no end. Aithne, a caustic elven woman from Far Isle, found humans to be irritating in the extreme.

     As she once explained to Devon, "Let us remember that we venture among the humans not out of choice, but out of necessity. We must learn their ways, no matter how base, in order to understand them completely. Their numbers increase every day, meaning that their settlements will soon encroach upon our lands. When that happens, there may be war."

     Even though Devon was also an elf, he often had no idea what the hell Aithne was talking about. Devon liked to travel with humans simply because they had a lust for life and a frantic way of living that fascinated him. It was a huge, amazing world and Devon wanted to know all of it. In the meantime, however, he was getting to know goblins.

     Moments ago, threatening rain clouds had finally released their load, dumping buckets of water upon the party. They sought shelter within an inviting cave, and judging by all the arrows flying at them, the cave also seemed inviting to a band of goblins.

     Abel stepped forward to draw attacks, while Devon, Aithne and Apris unleashed spells. Afterward, Devon and Aithne would fire some arrows of their own. Hopefully, Abel could hold out until then. Below is a description of the cave the adventurers wandered into. Feel free to use and/or modify it for your campaign. The goblins’ stats should be pretty easy to translate into almost any rpg system.

The Goblins’ Lair 
     A small band of goblins, who were on the losing side of a power struggle within their former tribe, have taken up residence in these caves. They survive by raiding hen houses and stealing livestock from local farmsteads.

a) Entrance 
     Six filthy humanoids sit around a fire, sharpening their knives and preparing a spit. The humanoids are about 3’ tall and have skin that is a pale, earthy color. Their red, beady eyes reflect the light of the fire. The creatures yammer to one another in their crude language, while passing a jug back and forth. There is a wide exit at the end of this chamber.

     Six goblins eat, rest and pass their time here. When the party enters, they are building a fire and sharpening their knives so that they can butcher the sheep from area c. if melee erupts, two goblins will fall back to fire arrows, while the other four engage in hand to hand combat. The goblins do not have a sentry so they may be surprised.

     If the invading party appears to be either more numerous and/or powerful looking, the goblins may be inclined to parlay. They will gesture that they do not wish to fight if the intruders simply leave.

Goblins (6): AC 6, Hit Dice 1-1, Hit Points 3, Move 20’, Attacks 1, Damage 1-6 short bow or 1-6 short sword, Morale 7.

b) Leader’s Mate 
     A goblin female, heavy with child, cowers in a corner. Near her is a filthy pile of rags she uses for a bed. Next to the rags, a large rat roasts on the coals within a brazier. There are two exits from this room, both of which appear to be narrow, natural staircases that descend deeper into the earth.

     The goblin isn’t much of a threat and will not enter battle, being more inclined to cower in a corner and hiss at the party. She will, however, scream an alarm to her mate in room d after the party enters the caves. If attacked, she will use a dagger hidden behind her back.

Goblin Female: AC 6, Hit Dice 1-1, Hit Points 3, Move 20’, Attacks 1, Damage 1-4 dagger, Morale 7.

c) Dinner 
     The bones of a large animal litter the floor. Its massive skull now serves as an anchor for a sheep that is tied to it. The sheep bleats in misery as it drags the skull around the room. The skeletal remains are those of a cave bear that succumbed to disease years ago. The sheep was stolen recently by the goblins during one of their raids. 

     There is nothing else of value in this room.

d) Leader’s Chamber 
     There’s little to be seen in this chamber besides a cot, some earthenware jugs and a brazier. A recessed space to the right of the entrance holds a crude shrine to some wicked goblin deity. The jugs are filled with wine stolen by the goblins on yet another one of their forays. A few are empty and in one of those will be found 20 sp and 90 cp. The altar consists of a roughly carved idol and some offerings, including a jug of wine, 1 gold coin and the severed head of what appears to be a young human male. 

     When not leading the other goblins on a raid, the leader will be found here. He passes the time drinking, sleeping or trying to coax his mate into coupling with him. She has been resistant to his advances of late, hence her sleeping in a separate room. Due to his 20’ move rate, it will take the goblin 3 rounds to reach area 1 if a fight erupts.

Goblin Leader: AC 6, Hit Dice 1-1, Hit Points 5, Move 20’, Attacks 1, Damage 1-6 short bow or 1-6 short sword, Morale 7.


  1. Replies
    1. In actual play, the goblins wanted to parley. One PC was amenable to this, wanting to avoid any needless bloodshed. However, his fellow party members drew steel and mayhem ensued. I cannot remember what happened to the sheep.

      I would have loved to have played it out in GURPS, where a goblin's knife could cut deep into the flesh of any man, no matter how great.

    2. Also RuneQuest. There's an excellent set of stats for goblins in Call of Cthulhu's Dreamlands supplement, too.

      I've been thinking about the Dreamlands, not least because a re-read of The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath is coming up in my reading stack. I wonder if it would be possible to sustain a campaign of dreamers, who have nothing but mundane, boring lives (glossed over with minimal comment, perhaps - or once in a great while it might come up in play), but live in their dreams with power and adventure. It would make for a useful device to explain why players might be there or not for a given session, or even new characters showing up out of nowhere or leaving in the middle of an adventure. Hm.

    3. I think that's a great idea. While playing Changeling: The Lost, the dream world was very important in play. Often, due to the nature of the Changelings, they often struggled to tell if they were dreaming or in the real world due to Fae magic, glamour, hallucinations and what not.