KOTS Part 8: The Goblin Chieftain’s Lair.
The Hard Core Adventurers Level 1
Tonka with his +1 Healing Brooch.
Around the corner is a rough-hewn table and chairs; close by a pair of goblins, both dressed in leather armour and clutching spears, each with a quiver of javelins on their backs. The pair seems to be deep in conversation, although Jimmy guesses they ought to be keeping an eye out for miscreants like, well... him.
“So Jumbatty say we should eat sausage only.”
The first goblin nods.
“No bun with sausage.”
The first goblin shakes his head.
“Sausage but no bun?”
The first goblin nods again.
“Jumbatty say we should eat much sausage- but no bun.”
It's the second goblin's turn to nod.
Behind Jimmy Gokan hisses, the halfling turns and gestures for the half-orc to remain silent, Jimmy wants to hear more of the goblins’ conversation, he's intrigued.
“And Jumbatty lose weight?”
The first goblin nods- enthusiastically.
“Jumbatty lose plenty weight.” It adds
“And Jumbatty eat plenty sausage?” The second goblin enquires.
“Plenty sausage.” The first concurs.
Jimmy is amazed.
Gokan hisses again.
“Shut up hissing...” Jimmy whispers back.
“He call it sausage no bun diet.”
“Sausage no bun diet.” The second goblin agrees.
Both goblins nod.
Jimmy finds himself nodding too.
Suddenly there's a screaming sound from behind the halfling- Gokan charges...
Gokan smashes both of his axes in to the first goblin warrior, who is caught completely off-guard, still nodding along to his compatriot’s wise words. The goblin staggers back, one arm slashed beyond use, its ribs broken and chest pouring with blood.
Skirmisher Level 1
Gokan’s opening assault- Charge Howling Strike and Furious Assault hits for 30 points of damage, the Goblin has 32 hit points- not good, for the Goblin.
The forlorn creature slips and slithers on its own blood, almost falls.
“Sausage...” The goblin states, and then sprouts a dagger from its chest- Jimmy's vicious dagger.
The goblin is dead before it hits the floor.
“...with no bun”, Jimmy and the remaining goblin state in unison.
Behind the halfling the other adventurers rush forward, closer to the action.
Gokan shakes his head at Jimmy, screams again and rushes at the second goblin, which dodges back- its spear before it, but too late. The half-orc's hand axe smashes through the spear, while Gokan's vanguard battleaxe smashes through the goblin- making an incredible mess of the small humanoid’s skull, almost shattering in to a thousand pieces.
The bloody goblin flops to the floor.
Gokan's second Charge Howling Strike is a Crit for 38 hit points damage- he's a terror that Gokan.
“Goblin come,” Gokan states, and points to a set of thick curtains close-by which block what looks to be an exit to the east. Another set of equally thick curtains blocks a second exit- just to the south of the first.
At the exact same moment the second set of curtains are ripped open, a goblin stands in the opening, a long lit passage beyond the creature, leading to an open door.
Gokan quickly shifts so that he's pointing at the right set of curtains.
The goblin takes in the situation, screams- “Breeyark!” And then rushes forward and spears Hal.
Hal notices movement further down the corridor, there's another goblin down there.
“Kill it!” Jimmy screams, and launches his dagger- the lone goblin cutter dodges the vicious blade- and then for good measure shimmies to avoid Tonka's wild swing.
Minion Skirmisher Level 1
“Breeyark!” The goblin screams again.
And is answered by the noise of charging feet- here come the reinforcements.
The curtains to the northern most passage are ripped down, more goblins; more cutters- the creatures rush in screaming and stabbing. In the midst of the wild melee Tonka suddenly clasps his hand to his chest, the dragonborn falls- a nasty looking crossbow bolt protruding from his armour.
Jimmy blanches and gulps.
Tonka is reduced to -2 hit points, from full. Balgron the Fat's Crossbow attack, a Crit, deals 33 hit points damage. The PCs are shocked and a little terrified- I did say it was going to be hard core didn't I?
Hal is speared again.
Three ghostly hands rush out, aimed at the nearest three goblin cutters. Sigur attempts to clear his colleagues a little space to work in- the dwarven invoker grumbles and mumbles, and... and all three ghostly appendages fail to find their targets.
The dwarf screams and scurries forward, he quickly crouches next to the fallen Tonka and rips the offending crossbow bolt free, which causes a geyser of blood. Sigur slaps the gusher down; bandages ready in hand, he tucks as much wadding as he can find inside the dragonborn's punctured breast plate- including a pair of his old socks, and then slaps Tonka in the face as hard as he can.
“Get up you good for nothing bloody ugly lizard!” Sigur screams.
Tonka opens his eyes.
“Where am I?” The dragonborn asks.
“You're in the bloody way...” Sigur screams back and then pulls the dragonborn out of the fracas.
“Thank the platinum dragon, you saved my...” Tonka starts, but suddenly stops when Sigur, having dragged him out of trouble, duly drops him- THUNK.
The dragonborn grimaces and clutches at the back of his head.
“Get up!” Sigur adds and kicks Tonka for good measure.
A moment later Jimmy, mid-grin, takes an arrow to the chest- Balgron it seems has a friend with him in the corridor, beyond the cutters.
“We must struggle to overcome our foe.” Hal declares, as far as battle-cries go its needs a little work.
“We are struggling...” Jimmy adds.
Hal's greatsword swings, and two of the goblin cutters fall.
A third goblin warrior rushes in to the chamber from the northern passage, sights Gokan with a javelin and throws. The half-orc screams as the missile skewers him piercing his right thigh, he staggers forward but the goblin as swiftly retreats.
Another cutter rushes in; slashes at Gokan- only the sudden appearance of a spectral shield bearing the markings of the platinum dragon prevent the half-orc from taking another hit.
And yet another goblin strides from a side chamber in to the southern passage, an odd looking goblin- wearing only a hooded cloak and a loin cloth, with a battleaxe in one hand. The strange goblin dances and struts on the spot making odd sounds.
Goblin Acolyte of Maglubiyet
Minion Controller Level 1
“Mag-LU-Buy-IT! Mag-LU-Buy-IT! Mag-LU-Buy-IT!” It chants and screams, then punches the air before it with its free hand- twice.
Cinder black fists instantly form with each punch, zoom unerringly towards their targets- the first smashes in to Hal, the second Jimmy, both stagger but manage to stay on their feet. Then, at the same time, the pair realise they are somehow prevented from moving, their feet are rooted to the stone floor.
Hal and Jimmy are both bloodied, as well as being Immobilised.
The goblin acolyte of Maglubiyet capers and dances.
“We're in bad shape...” Sigur whispers, to himself, and looks behind him- at the exit.
Another goblin cutter charges in to the fray, aiming for Gokan- the half-orc is too quick however, and cuts the creature down before it can get close in.
Gokan whirls forward, his axes blazing a path through the goblin crowd, or else... Gokan spins again, and again... the effect is- nothing. In a mad flurry of attacks Gokan fails to connect once, the goblins stand firm, no matter how loud the half-orc howls.
Jimmy can't move, but he can kill- his vicious dagger spirals out, once- thudding in to the closest goblin cutter and sending it flopping down to the cold stone floor. Then again, as soon as the blade reappears in his tiny hands the halfling sends it spinning.
The vicious blade thumps in to the acolyte of Maglubiyet, the creature hops from foot to foot, clearly unhappy.
The opposition artillery reply- not one, but two, crossbow bolts ping and ricochet from the ceiling, missing the adventurers by a good margin, it's difficult to tell who the attacks were aimed at.
Balgron the Fat misses Hal with his Crossbow with a '3', spends an Action Point and rolls... a '2'- some days the dice just hate me, still nice Crit on Tonka earlier.
“Hold the line you bunch of dogs!” Balgron shouts out and scurries back in to the chamber at the end of the corridor.
Goblin Chieftain- Balgron the Fat
Elite Lurker Level 5
Tonka is quickly to his feet, “Bahamut preserve...” he whispers as his wounds heal over, the dragonborn takes a moment to assay the situation. Tonka grins, and then screams- “to the DEATH!”
He charges in to the acolyte, a weak hit but a hit nevertheless... the mad looking goblin however is keen to get away.
Gokan meantime is sliced again, one of the cutters he's facing manages to get through the half-orc's defences.
“If you want something doing...” Sigur grumbles, and yet another trio of ghostly hands suddenly appear and rush to their targets- the nearest goblin cutter falls, and the acolyte of Maglubiyet survives by will alone.
“Come on! Come on you lazy good for nothing fools!” Sigur urges, almost friendly in his admonishment.
An arrow thumps in to the ceiling above Tonka's head, but the dragonborn doesn't care, he continues to slash and hack at the acolyte which blocks and parries with its battleaxe.
Skirmisher Level 1
Hal, still rooted to the spot, forlornly searches for something, anything... the metal man's eyes light up, he snatches a dagger from Jimmy's belt and flings it at the acolyte- a spectacular miss, although very close to taking Tonka out.
Hal shrugs- throwing things is not his forte.
The effect is enough however; the goblin acolyte of Maglubiyet ducks another of Tonka's ill-timed attacks and then scurries off- back in to the chamber at the end of the passage, its master's lair.
Hal and Jimmy are able to move again- the pair grin.
“Come on- we've got them on the run...” Tonka screams back at his colleagues, grinning- then turns back to see a new arrival, a goblin warrior which moments earlier managed to evade Gokan's attack.
The creature launches another javelin, this time at the dragonborn, Tonka staggers as he attempts to rip the missile from his gut, the wound pours with blood. He staggers.
Tonka is back to being bloodied, actually reduced to 7 hit points, after taking 15 hit points damage from the Goblin Warrior’s Javelin attack.
Gokan faces off against the two goblin cutters, the fight is furious and yet, and yet the half-orc is flailing and failing to land a single blow- the goblins have the normally murderous half-orc tied down.
Jimmy rushes forward to support Tonka, throws out his dagger again at the retreating goblin warrior, and again fails to find his target.
Balgron appears in the doorway, aims and...
“Troll turds!” The goblin chief screams and retreats back in to the chamber.
“Bahamut Preserve!” Tonka screams for the last time, and then rushes in to the goblin warrior- longsword and shield to the fore, hoping to smash the creature through the doors and in to the chamber beyond. Somehow the goblin manages to parry and deflect the blow- stopping Tonka in his tracks.
Sigur, thank Erathis, heads over to the northern passage, spies Gokan still fighting for his life, the dwarf mumbles and invokes- duel thunderclaps burst and both of the cutters are sent sprawling.
“Get a bloody move on...” Sigur shouts at Gokan, who looks back and nods, but the dwarf is gone- heading back to the southern passageway- just in time.
“Push forwar...” Sigur starts and then takes an arrow to the chest.
Sigur is bloodied.
“Right, that bloody does it.” The dwarf declares, staggering slightly.
Hal meantime lumbers forward, straight for the goblin warrior- swings hard with his greatsword, not once but twice- the first attack cuts through the goblin's defences, and its right arm. The second decapitates the creature.
“Bahamut!” Tonka observes, and gingerly slaps Hal on the shoulder.
“Affirmative.” Hal concurs, and then is hit by another of the cinder black fists, the metal man rocks on his feet a moment, and then suddenly finds himself once again stuck to the spot.
“It seems I am somehow affixed to this position.” Hal declares. “Perhaps you could render me some assistance...”
Alas Lee, who plays Hal, actually added some words that are unrepeatable even among grown ups- Hal is Immobilised, oh and bloodied again.
But the metal man’s words are lost in Tonka's scream- “Gokan!”
Gokan reacts, and comes rushing forward- not quite knowing where the fight is at, so disorientated and out of sorts is the half-orc that he fails to find any enemies to menace with his axes. He does however end his wandering by flinging the doors to the chamber ahead wide open- and presenting himself as an ideal target to all within.
Jimmy scurries forward too, taking a second to get his breath back en route, he feels better for the moment away from the chaos.
The halfling grins at Gokan, who looks a little confused, and then turns to grin at the enemies ahead of the pair. Jimmy follows the half-orc’s gaze and suddenly looks less impressed.
A second later Gokan stumbles and suddenly hiccups up a great gout of blood, a crossbow bolt protruding from his chest. The half-orc grips tight to the door, which swings open slightly, almost taking him off his feet.
Gokan is bloodied, actually reduced to 3 hit points. It’s going to go to the wire.
The chamber ahead is a simple bedroom, a curtained area to the south, the drapes pulled back to reveal a grinning Balgron the Fat, who swiftly reloads his crossbow, and then steps back.
Tonka steps in to the chamber, flailing wildly with his longsword, all to no great effect. The dragonborn suddenly lurches; shifts his head back- makes some sort of throaty gargling noise and then breathes out a fan of violent blue-white lightning.
The air slowly clears, the goblins within the chamber scour themselves, and then each other, looking for blast marks- the pair emerge completely unscathed.
Back behind the curtain, Balgron giggles- “Kill the fools!” The goblin chief simply states.
Sigur scurries forwards- a good way down the passageway, grumbling and mumbling all the while- another pair of ghostly hands dart forward, and deliver death.
At least to the already staggering acolyte of Maglubiyet whose smoking body thumps on to the cold stone floor. The goblin archer is briefly scorched by the second hand's radiant touch.
Sigur quickly forgets his wounds, and grins- the tide has quite definitely turned.
The goblin archer however is not for giving up, it casts aside its bow- draws its shortsword and slashes and cuts Tonka; the dragonborn staggers, close to unconsciousness again.
Tonka is bloodied, for the third time in this fight.
Hal meanwhile, recharges his batteries and grips his greatsword tight to him- he’s going nowhere for the moment. Even when his feet become free, the metal man is learning caution it seems, or else he’s frightened.
Gokan steps forward, screaming all the while, and swinging his axes in a furious arc. The goblin archer ducks the first blade and parries the second, knocking the half-orc slightly off-balance in the process.
Gokan shakes his head, unsure of exactly what is going wrong...
The goblin meanwhile grins- the half-orc is an easy target, it slashes with its shortsword and at the last moment falls short as Jimmy's vicious dagger tags the creature, the goblin gives ground- opportunity gone.
From the southern section of the chamber comes a massive grinding sound- stone on stone, Tonka can just see, although the curtains that surround the bed slightly obscure his vision. A section of the wall suddenly shifts hard right, disappears from view to reveal another passage, unlit at present...
“He's getting away!” Tonka screams and waves his longsword vaguely in the direction of the newly revealed secret door.
“Hold the line. I shall fetch the dirty demons...” Balgron the Fat shouts and then scurries out of sight.
“He's getting away...” Tonka screams again and slashes hard at the goblin before him, another wound but the creature holds station, although it’s almost spent. Gokan shuffles forward in the confusion, effectively cutting the goblin off from its master.
The goblin archer however is not done, it cuts back- wounding the dragonborn again, Tonka breathes hard- aware that he is almost done for, and has already expended all of his healing powers.
Hal, newly invigorated, charges and smashes in to the creature, slicing through the goblinoid's defence and almost cutting the creature in two, the remains of the goblin flop to the cold stone floor.
The way is clear.
Sigur rushes in...
“Not so fast you dirty fat bloody goblin”, the dwarf wheezes as he struggles forward, bruised and battered. Sigur spies the goblin ahead, down a set of stairs in the secret passage, Balgron is manipulating some mechanism in the stone wall at the end of the corridor.
“Another secret door...” Sigur shouts back, providing a running commentary.
“Come on you lazy arses!” The dwarf adds, helpfully.
Gokan is the first to react, the half-orc grins at Jimmy, “leave him to me brother...” Gokan states, and then rushes off after Balgron. The athletic and agile half-orc takes the stairs in great bounds and... oh, misjudges his last leap and almost slams in to the paved stone floor.
Gokan recovers quickly and half-charges, half-stumbles on- brandishing both of his axes menacingly. Balgron is still hard at work trying to make some unseen mechanism work.
Gokan screams, his howling charge, and Balgron spins around, a short club with a nail in it in the goblin chief's hands.
The nail pierces Gokan's left shoulder.
Balgron wrenches the weapon free of the half-orc. Gokan drops to the floor unconscious.
Gokan is reduced to -10 hit points. He's not had a great run in this encounter- a good 75% of his rolls have been '5' or below, although no critical failures to talk about.
Balgron turns back and thumps the stone wall, which slides open, the goblin darts through the newly revealed opening and screams.
“To me. TO ME! Fight for your lives you...”
Balgron's stirring speech tails off, the excavation chamber is empty, and as silent as the grave.
“Oh sh...” Balgron notes.
But is interrupted by the arrival of Sigur, Jimmy and Hal, the latter at full pace. The metal man smashes in to Balgron his greatsword slicing the goblin- the chief's first wound.
“Fight me!” Hal declares.
Balgron glances behind him- there's no one home.
“Like I have a choice.” The goblin declares, spits on his hands, and adopts a low combat crouch. “Come on then metal-mickey; give it your best shot...”
Gokan's wound bleeds profusely, Tonka is quickly to the half-orc, but not quick enough- the blood spews and spurts, Gokan fades.
Gokan fails a Death Save, continuing a long line of excellent rolls.
“Come on then... All of you!” Balgron screams, and gestures with his club- baiting the assembled adventurers.
The halfling and the dwarf share a look, then a shrug.
Jimmy's dagger flies, a ghostly hand suddenly forms in front of the chanting Sigur- the vicious blade thumps in to Balgron, the radiant hands delivers the slightest of touches.
Balgron bleeds, and burns.
Hal suddenly cuts with his greatsword, having to bend forward and down to do so, however it’s no more than a glancing blow.
Balgron's stick with a nail in it comes up and round and thumps in to the side of Hal's head- nail first, piercing his shiny metal skull.
Hal is bloodied again, actually reduced to 3 hit points.
Hal straightens instantly, Balgron grips tight to his club, which is ripped free from its new home.
“Missed.” Hal declares, as sparks fly from the great rent in the side of the warforged's head.
“Apricots!” Hal declares.
“Apricots! Apricots! Apricots!” The metal man states more certain than ever.
Back at the bottom of the stairs Gokan opens his eyes, Tonka grins at him...
“Is he dead?” Gokan asks.
Tonka stops grinning, just in time to hear Hal's battlecry.
Tonka shakes his head.
Gokan staggers to his feet, grabs up his axes and lurches towards the fracas, meantime Jimmy's vicious dagger comes again and Balgron bleeds some more.
The goblins looks more annoyed than anything.
“Fight me- like warriors, like heroes; or are you too...” The goblin starts, but is interrupted mid-flow.
“Apricots!” Hal screams, and raises his greatsword.
The club with nail comes again, this time an overhand blow- straight in to Hal's face, nail first of course. Balgron wrenches his club free again.
“April... Goat?” Hal declares, and then looks confused.
The metal man has a hole the size of a gold piece in his forehead, sparks crackle and fly from within, there's a burning smell.
“Apres... Coats?” Hal states, savouring the shape of the words, clearly deep in thought.
The metal man suddenly turns and looks back at his fellow adventurers.
“I fear I have suffered some malfunction- I cannot remember how to say Apricots...”
Hal suddenly grins, he just said... and then collapses.
Hal is reduced to -10 hit points.
“Bastard!” Sigur screams.
“For Bahamut!” Tonka shouts.
Balgron gets his wish.
The pair charge in to the goblin, flailing wildly with their weapons, Balgron- grinning all the while, keeps both of his attackers at bay.
Jimmy's dagger spins out again, the halfling is staying well back- out of trouble, alas his aim is way off, he curses.
Gokan moves forward, risking life and limb to get in to the fight, the half-orc shuffles to the front of the queue unscathed, and yet even then his aim is off.
As is Tonka's.
Sigur catches Balgron, the goblin chief, with a wavering hit with his mace, off-balance, and ill-equipped for melee, it's simply not enough.
“Is. That. It?” Balgron punctures his words with expert attacks with his club- Gokan parries the first, Tonka the second, the third alas almost brains Sigur- the dwarf visibly sags.
Sigur is bloodied again, actually reduced to 4 hit points.
“Surrender?” Jimmy asks.
“After I have killed the fat dwarf and the stupid orc I will allow you to surrender little one- you will be my pet.” The goblin chief states.
Jimmy looks confused.
“Oh” Gokan declares, and suddenly juggles his weapons in his hands.
The half-orc smashes his battleaxe around and in to Balgron- decapitating the foul goblin.
The chamber goes silent.
Only the sound of the goblin chief's head still spinning on the spot.
“Oh?” Jimmy asks Gokan.
“I had my axes in the wrong hands.” The half-orc grins.
“Fu…” Jimmy starts.
Encounter #8 Synopsis, PC XP & DM’s thoughts
Encounter #8 The Goblin Chief’s Lair, starring-
Goblin Cutter (Minion Skirmisher 1) x7
Goblin Acolyte of Maglubiyet (Controller 1) x1
Goblin Archer (Skirmisher 1) x1
Goblin Warrior (Skirmisher 1) x3
Goblin Chief- Balgron the Fat (Elite Lurker 5) x1
1075 XP Level 5 Encounter
A change of personnel, as with the other encounters, to make it a bit more interesting, and provide a variety of enemies with different tricks that the PCs have to account for. I also sacrificed a few extra low level bad guys so that I could use the XP to pump up Balgron the Fat to make him badass.
215 XP each for a total of 1309 XP in total (PCs Level 1).
And the PCs run is over, time to settle down and get in an extended rest- Level 2 in the morning.
While I’m not directing the players (well not too much) they seem to be content to do things in stages- first off the Kobolds, second up the Goblins. So in this run, equivalent to a Dungeon Delve style scenario, the guys hacked their way through a trio of low level encounters (3 x Level 2), and then face off against the end of level/delve bad guy for the climax.
The guys loved and hated Balgron equally, when he took Tonka down in one hit there was much wailing and gnashing of teeth. That said when they eventually chased the bad guy down and slew him then the scenes were glorious.
In short, all was forgiven, they loved it.
I am of course deliberately bulking up some of the bad guys to serve as effective end of level/delve bosses. I figure the players should get that we’ve achieved something feeling, a series of small climaxes leading up to the big finale.
Obviously you need to manage the players a little to achieve this, but as long as it doesn’t seem too overt, well… I don’t mind so much. If they had made different choices I would have endeavoured to do something similar, to provide them with meaningful goals which can be celebrated when reached or overcome.
It’s going okay so far, and yes it’s mainly by the book- but I promise things change, in fact very soon…
Last note that run of four encounters took it out of a few of the PCs, a quick look at Healing Surges left at this point, and-
Gokan, Sigur & Hal 5, Jimmy & Tonka 1.
That’s pretty dangerous, maybe even fatal if something bad were to happen, something Hard Core.