Wednesday 26 March 2014

The Goblin Tax (part two)

So, here are entries 7-12 on the 1d12 selection of GOBLIN encounters. These are not meant to be whole adventures, but some of these encounters might become significant events in a sandbox campaign. Or they might be just a little bit of colour to liven up the evening's goblin slaughtering session.

Oh, and I was wrong - these print on two sides of a 6"x4" index card when printed in Calibri at 11 point. If anyone actually wants the them in a printable format I'll see what I can do about putting a .pdf file up somewhere.

EIGHT near naked GOBLINS labour tirelessly, moving at a single, inexorable pace. They are lean and fit, working in total silence. They have lifeless eyes and blank expressions – a result of the dull grey metal headbands that they wear: BANDS OF DOMINATION (7a). The reaction check is not for these goblins, but their master – CHARNUM the MAGIC USER – who hides, wasting away, in the cellar of a cottage a mile away.  

GOBLINS (4) = AC: 7, HD: 1-1, HP: 3, MV: 30’ per round, ATT: 1 tool DAM: 1d4 SV: NM, MR: 12, AL: C, XP: 5

CHARNUM (MU 2) = AC: 9, HD: 2d4*, HP: 4, MV: 10’ per round, ATT: 1 dagger (-2 to hit), DAM: 1d4-2, SV: MU2, MR: 7, AL: C, XP: 25

Charnum has Magic Missile and Charm Person (or Sleep) memorised. Charnum will use the Crown to enslave the party if he uses Sleep. This might not be interesting. They will be slaves of Charnum for the final 3d4 days of his life.

Charnum recently stole the Crown and Bands from his tutor and used Charm Person (or Sleep) to assemble his ‘retinue’, planning to become a mighty wizard. If the reaction roll is favourable, Charnum will attempt to use the goblins to guide the party to his cottage. He is educated and polite, but will plead to be returned to civilization. But not to his tutor. If the reaction roll is hostile, Charnum will reason that the party are bounty hunters, come to reclaim the crown and deliver him to justice. He will use the goblins to keep the party away from the cottage at all costs.

Charnum has 20GP in a box decorated with his family crest, and a spellbook containing Read Magic, Detect Magic, and the above spells. These items can be used to trace Charnum’s origin and the previous owner of the Crown.

Each Crown of Domination is magically connected to 1d8 Bands. Both are made of a permanently warm, dull grey metal. The Bands are thin circlets, while the Crowns are heavy and broad.

The will of those wearing the Crown (‘masters’) immediately displaces that of those wearing the Bands (‘slaves’). Slaves lose one point from INT, WIS, or CHA per day. For each point lost so, masters lose a point from STR, DEX or CON. If INT, WIS, or CHA fall to 0, the slave is permanently without will. No more ability score points are lost by either master or slave. If STR, DEX, or CON reaches 0, the master dies. The Crown cannot be removed except by use of Dispel Magic, which cannot be cast by the wearer. The Bands can be removed by magic or one the death of the ‘master’. A Saving Throw vs. Spells in can be made to avoid the domination of both the Crown and the Bands. Ability points recover slowly, but only after the items are removed.

A small cart rumbles along, piled high with bones and animal pelts. The cart is drawn by FOUR WOLVES. THREE GOBLINS (Gatta, Krun, Lod) ride and walk alongside. They are traders, travelling between petty goblin kingdoms. 

GOBLINS (3) = AC: 6, HD: 1-1, HP: 3, MV: 30’ per round, ATT: 1 short swords DAM: 1d6 SV: NM, MR: 7, AL: C, XP: 5

WOLVES (4) = AC: 7, HD: 2+2, HP: 10, MV: 60’ per round, ATT: 1 bite DAM: 1d6 SV: F1, MR: 8(6), AL: N, XP: 25

The goblins are minded to react positively (a +2 modifier to the reaction check). They are traders after all. If the party receives a favourable reaction, the traders will attempt to bargain with the party. They are especially interested in metal weapons and armour. Abstracted, the party can trade for pelts that will sell in a human settlement for double the value of the objects traded, but at double the encumbrance. Many of the bones are marked with intricate carvings; transcriptions of ‘epic’ poems, jokes, and other aspects of goblin culture – including erotica. These will also sell for double the value of the objects traded, at a one-to-one encumbrance rate, but only to a tiny market of secretive scholars and collectors. If the party receives a hostile reaction, the goblins will see the party as the sort of people who kill goblins and take their treasure. Their wolves make them dangerous opponents. The goblins will take the wolves by the reins and use them to menace the party. If the party do not retreat – or above the growls and shouts offer generous trade terms – the goblins will let slip the wolves.

Goods in the cart; 300gp of pelts, 200gp of carvings and a goblin gambling set worth 10GP (these artefacts of goblin culture will flood the tiny market). Strapped underneath the cart is a small box containing 50GP of silver jewellery. If the party have killed or driven off the wolves, how will they get the goods to market? 

A ‘first level’ adventuring party of FIVE GOBLINS are exploring the same area as the party. The party consists of two ‘Fighters’ (Jagga, Prok), one Shaman (Wratta), one Wicca (Shonk the Magnificent), and one ‘Thief’ (Dirty Agg), together with a decrepit old mule laden with rope, torches, etc.

GOBLINS (‘Fighters’ and ‘Thief’) = AC: 6, HD: 1-1, HP: 5, MV: 30’ per round, ATT: 1 spear DAM: 1d6 SV: NM, MR: 8, AL: C, XP: 5

WRATTA (SHAMAN 1): AC: 6, HD1, HP: 5, MV: 30‘per round, ATT: 1 silver sickle, DAM: 1d4, SV: C1, MR: 8, AL: C. XP: 10

SHONK (WICCA 1): AC: 6, HD1*, HP: 5, MV: 30‘per round, ATT: 1 bone dagger, DAM: 1d4-1, SV: MU1, MR: 8, AL: C. XP: 13

Wratta has no spells, but can command the spirits (Turn Undead as a 1st level Cleric). Shonk knows Light, which he uses to impress (and blind) other goblins. 

The standard behaviour of the PCs should be reflected back at the players. These goblins are adventurers, and the PCs have established what that means. Nevertheless: if the party receives a favourable reaction, the goblins will offer to trade information with the party. They will know details about 1d3 nearby adventure locales. The goblins may be persuaded to temporarily ally with the party if a profitable adventure is proposed. Goblins are unpredictable, and additional reaction rolls should be made mid-adventure. If the party receives a hostile reaction, the goblins will react much as the PCs would to a dangerous monster.

The goblins have 25GP between them, along with poor quality adventuring gear. This gear has a 10% chance of failure in critical situations. They also have a map to an adventure locale with scribbled details (roll twice on the rumour table).

A group of FOUR GOBLINS (Ak, Jud, Brong, Degga) have escaped from a sorcerer. They are a pathetic sight; snivelling, terrified, near naked. They are being harried by THREE of the sorcerer’s SCOUTS (Bran, Krevan, Hart), humans with tattooed faces trained in bushcraft (PCs are surprised on a roll of 1-3 when in the terrain of the type inhabited by the scouts’ tribe, i.e. the terrain in which the initial encounter takes place). These will not be encountered together – once the party has encountered the goblins the next wandering monster rolled will be the scouts.

GOBLINS (4) = AC: 6, HD: 1-1, HP: 2, MV: 30’ per round, ATT: 1 rock, DAM: 1d3, SV: NM, MR: 5, AL: C, XP: 5

SCOUTS (3) = AC: 6, HD: 1, HP: 5, MV: 30’ per round, ATT: 1 short sword or sling, DAM: 1d6 or 1d4, SV: T1, MR: 8, AL: C, XP: 10

There are two reaction rolls here. A favourable reaction from the goblins will see them offer magical treasure (2d3 Potions of Healing in the form of pellets of sweet, thick paste wrapped in leaves) if the party escort the goblins to their tribe (a 2d3 day journey). A hostile reaction from the goblins will see them flee the party, who they presume to be agents of the sorcerer. If the goblins do escape, this will complicate further encounters with goblins in the area as news of the party’s affiliation spreads.

A favourable reaction from the scouts will see the party approached as possible collaborators in the schemes of the sorcerer – initially the capture of the goblins, for which the sorcerer’s agent will reward them with 2d3 Potions of Healing). A hostile reaction will result in the scouts seeing the party – particularly any magic using characters, as better prizes than a band of wretched goblins. The scouts wear silver medallions bearing the symbol of the sorcerer – worth 20GP when melted down – and 5GP a piece.

A GOBLIN (Lottagrob) in shining plate armour sits astride a well groomed DIRE WOLF (Lope), a brightly coloured pennant flying from his spear. A second, smaller GOBLIN (Kip) serves as squire to this ‘knight’, holding a spear shield and two spare spears. Lottagrob was captured by human knights, and before escaping developed a fascination with chivalry.

LOTTAGROB = AC: 3, HD: 2, HP: 10, MV: 30’ per round, ATT: 1 spear or short sword, DAM: 1d6, SV: NM, MR: 8, AL: L, XP: 20

LOPE = AC: 6, HD: 4+1, HP: 18, MV: 50’ per round, ATT: 1 bite DAM: 2d4 SV: F2, MR: 8, AL: N, XP: 125

KIP = AC: 6, HD: 1-1, HP: 2, MV: 30’ per round, ATT: 1 spear, DAM: 1d6, SV: NM, MR: 7, AL: L, XP: 5

Lottagrob will block the party’s path. He will challenge the party member who most resembles a knight to a contest at arms. If the reaction roll is favourable, Lottagrob will challenge his opponent to a non-lethal dual- subdual damage only. If he wins, he will take the loser’s weapon to melt into ‘warrior rings’. He will also claim the loser’s shield, or other item carrying an emblem to keep as a trophy. Throughout, Lottagrob will be polite, and after the contest will offer the party the hospitality of his motley patchwork of a tent. If the reaction roll is negative, Lottagrob will list the crimes of the party (some real, some imagined, some cases of mistaken identity). He will then demand that the party’s champion face trial by combat. If defeated, and his life spared, he will see it as proof that the party is just, and will offer to serve the party until he has paid his debt (one adventure).

He is wearing a finely crafted suit of Halfling-sized armour. Of Elven manufacture, it is worth triple the price of plate, but encumbers only as much as chain. Lottagrob has no money, being of charitable nature.

The party hears a whimpering from the underbrush. The whimpering is silenced. If they listen carefully, they will hear a gruff ‘hush’. THREE GOBLINS are hiding; a female (Nush), a youngling (Vankagh), and an old warrior (Vrang). Vankagh is the spawn the dead king of a local tribe. The new king killed Vankagh’s siblings, but his mother fled with the help of the old king’s champion. They hope that a rival tribe will see fostering a pretender to the ‘throne’ as a source of long term advantage.

NUSH = AC: 6, HD: 1-1, HP: 2, MV: 30’ per round, ATT: 1 knife, DAM: 1d3, SV: NM, MR: 7, AL: C, XP: 5

VRANG = AC: 6, HD: 2, HP: 10, MV: 30’ per round, ATT: 1 sword +1, DAM: 1d8+1, SV: NM, MR: 8, AL: C, XP: 25

GOBLINS (2d4) = AC: 6, HD: 1-1, HP: 4, MV: 30’ per round, ATT: 1 spear, DAM: 1d6, SV: NM, MR: 7, AL: C, XP: 5

With a favourable reaction, Vrang has assumed the party to be of a mercenary bent. He will promise them riches if they can be delivered to the rival tribe. They will be pursued by 2d4 goblins (the next wandering monster encounter). There is a -4 penalty to any reaction roll with the pursuers if the party is with Vankagh. With a hostile reaction, Vrang attempt to frighten the party with COWARD MAKER. The screams of his sword will trigger a wandering monster roll. Regardless of morale rolls, Nush and Vrang will not flee without Vankagh.

Coward Maker is a Sword +1. It is a crude falchion that screams as it is swung. This is part of the regalia of kingship of the tribe, and the new king is as concerned with its return as he is with killing the youngling. Hidden in Vankagh’s swaddling is 100GP of jewellery.     

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for these two articles. I have a feeling they could be popping up in my own campaign in the future.