For all the action and resolution that went on this meeting, the highlight of it all was the final conversation with Goblinfour - the prisoner we had captured.
He was lawful-evil and I played his alignment pretty straight on. But when it came time to wrapping it up and ha wanted to be let go for working with the party - we had our first major alignment disconnect with this group. It was arraigned with Fergus, Auri, and Ben on one side, with Marcus, Fist'al and Flimflam on the other - on the age old question - let him go vs. kill 'em and move on.
Since it was not during battle and the implied end result was that he would be freed upon completion, the consensus was that killing him would be murder. The two elves were very adamant that goblins, if the roles were reversed, would not hesitate to kill them. It was very touch and go, but the group did settle on letting Goblinfour free to return to his people.
Both sides had merit and this was one of those times where the players actually role-played around the table this entire situation and the aftermath - for over and hour and a half.
Write up follows:
The figures rode down the valley towards the tower and the group’s hidden place inside the ruined smithy. There were 12 of them, human, on horseback. They wore a motley of padded and leather, armed with simple shields and spears. There were also 6 goblins with them, walking and better armed and armored. They were in conversation but at this distance, we could not make out what was being said.
In whispered clips, we decided to wait for them to get closer and tossed about some plans, relying mostly on the opportunity of sleep to even the score against the sheer number of potential foes. Confident with our hiding place and trusting on their own noises and the amount of sun out there, we would not be easily spotted.
As they got closer we were able to pick up the odd name. Dolomys, Vingian. Vingian was a name we had heard before, a goblin of some power who was responsible for Goblinwater. Dolomys seemed to be the human female mounted up with a crossbow. These two were at the back of the pack and seemed to be talking together the most, about the failed uprising in Shakun, some sort of trade that had gone on. As they got to the stables, one of them stopped and asked Dolomys about the tall grasses there. He was told to “forget about it” and just stable the horses.
So the humans filed in one at a time and began stabling their steeds. Across the distance (30’?) we listened in on Dolomys and Vingian talking and held our actions for the time. There was some serious disagreement between the two with Vingian berating Dolomys for the “uprising” and its failed repercussions. It seemed the goblin had veiled contempt for the humans and there was apparently talk about ending their relationship as it was becoming too costly for the goblins to maintain this.
Dolomys wanted to remove the adventuring group, the Marshall, the Captain of the guard, and every other person of authority in Shakun, and Vingian was unhappy with their plans and gave Dolomys an unreasonable request to “get more elves.” While the humans were filing away into the stables, more than half of them in and milling about by this time, the 5 other goblins asked Vingian if it was ok that they go “to the larder” and get something to eat and drink, as well as get out of the dazzling sun. Given the ok, we watched them walk around the outside of the ruined block of buildings, pass our position, and swing south towards the tower. We had to do something now before we lost all sight of our quarry.
Marcus whipped his hand out the side of the smithy and cast Sleep on the 5 goblins before they disappeared around the side of the closest building. Three of them fell over, unconscious. The remaining 2 goblins took sight of what occurred and reacted. The one with the axe put on a burst of speed, almost as fast as a horse can gallop, and took off for the tower. The lone archer crouched lower and blended into the ground.
From across the field Vingian saw what happened, gripped his mace and a black aura surrounded him. Dolomys saw what was happening to her goblin companion and called out to her friends in the stables to “get ready, something’s going on!” as she began cranking back her crossbow. Fist’al was going to take a shot at the running goblin but was stopped (not to give away our position) and instead Flimflam on the crouching goblin – bathing him in purpley/green lights and spoiling his hiding. This had him curse. Initiative rolled – and we were still “hidden”.
Dolomys was calling to her people to “come out!”. Vingian was calling to his fairie fire’d goblin and neither was able to see us. He announced that we must be facing a druid, and called, “Grassman! Ride away from here!” The last rider still on the horse wheeled and rode back to Dolomys and Vingian. Dolomys cast Mirror Image and there were now 5 of her over there. The youths in the stables emerged from all the openings (3 of them) in pairs, and a three count went running for the tower. Meanwhile we continued to stay low and quiet while Vingian was calling for us to come out.
Flimflam made 4 dancing lights appear in the stables, causing the archers outside to pay attention on the stables. Then Marcus took out a sleep scroll and read it. However, the flash of his scroll was noticed by Dolomys, Vingian, and the last mounted spearman near here. The sleep scroll caused another 3 of Dolomys’ people to slump over, asleep. “There, in the smithy!” came the call from Vingian. The lone rider wheeled his horse around, announcing, “I’ll get him!” and rode towards our hiding area, spear at the ready.
Dolomys’ people moved into a better position to take shots on the smithy but didn’t take any due to not actually seeing anyone yet. The single goblin archer ran to the ruined building and braced himself behind the wall. Ben and Mummus moved to the front, spears at the ready, set to receive charge. And it was just in time as the rider hit the building and rode in. He went down under Ben’s spear, torn from the horse, killed immediately. Mummus quipped, “He died a hero.” Fergus grabbed the now riderless horse by the reins and finished off his bless spell.
Amidst the screams of the dying teen, the others aimed at the shadowy interior but held their shots. Vingian cast Command on Flimflam, ordering him to “Emerge”, but our druid made his save. Bolstered now we began shooting out of the smithy, aiming for any figure visible. One arrow was fired at Dolomys and her images but it was blocked by a shield spell. Meanwhile, Marcus whipped out the Wipztar Libram, and read “Devour” – pointing @ Vingian.
The page flamed out of the book and from under the goblin the ground opened and stone teeth came up and “ate” the goblin, bringing him under the ground. Flimflam called out to Demeter and summoned a wolf, sending it to attack Dolomys.
Arrows went flying from both sides, no real shots hitting, although we did manage under the barrage to dismiss one of Dolomy’s images. Dolomys tried to shoot the charging wolf, but it was prancing and leaping so much, her shot went wild, missing. The humans shot into the building, but the goblin did manage to hit Link, our torchbearer, twice – neither doing any real damage.
The wolf tore at Dolomys, managed to make another of the images to pop. Fergus shouted out to “Stop attacking the damned horse!” as he tried to mount the one he was calming down. Hurt, Link hurled the lit torch into the same building with the goblin. The 3 youths who had run to the tower, were coming back, this time with the goblin axeman in tow.
At this point there was a twist of mushrooms appearing around the sleeping goblins and a toadstood ring appeared – along with Vingian! His armor rent, shield a splintered mess, covered in dirt and choking – but he was out and living. Fergus snarled and twisted his horse around in order to charge the now emerged goblin leader.
Arrows flew, bouncing off armor. Dolomys missed the bounding wolf again. Mummus was plugged as he raced towards the combat. Fist’al shot, blunt arrow cracking into one of the youths. Auri hurled her spear, making another image pop – leaving Dolomys and a single mirror image.
The youths and goblins came closer to the smithy. Swords and spears were flashing. Fergus came out of the building, angling to run Vingian down. But he was in front of the goblin archer who peppered the paladin as he rode by. Vingian muttered some spell that was surrounding his weapon arm. Marcus tried to Charm the axe wielding goblin, but the greenskin was able to shake it off.
Flimflam and Whosea raced into the battle, coming up to help Mummus who swung back and forth with the spearman. He was hurt, painfully – down to 3. The half-orc tore into the spearman, bastard sword wild. Whosea grabbed the fighter’s leg while the gnome whacked him about the head. Distant archers shot at the riding Fergus, arrows raining about him.
The goblin axeman charged past the two spearmen, trying to make it to the smithy. Again Dolomys missed the prancing wolf! Crossbow bolt went wild. Mummus was shot at point blank range and splintered his shield, throwing the broken handle aside. Fist’al shot Vingian with a magic arrow, trying to break his concentration. Marcus whipped out his chain rod and hurled the spiraling chain at the charging goblin axeman, enwrapping him in the links. He pulled him to the building, Geld’s helping, while Ben stayed at the ready, spear out. Once the goblin got closer he brought up his axe, ducked under Ben’s spear, and whipped it around – tangling his own axe with Marcus’ shield. They struck the ground and Marcus spiked him right there.
Spears were stabbed. Mummus, growling, slammed over a foot of his bastard sword into the lone spearman, wounding him gravely. Fergus charged on Vingian finally, trident scouring into/through his breastplate. However, the goblin leader swung his mace in a whirling arc, black aura corusculating around his arm and weapon – impacting Fergus. The paladin hid behind the shield as it crumpled, falling away. Fergus continued past.
The wolf assaulted Dolomys and removed the last mirror image before he faded away. Sanford, Whosea, and Flimflam continued to beat the hell out of the fading spearman. At this point Auri finally arrived at Dolomys’ position and her enchanted Scimitar, “Drought”, smashed through the mage’s shield, cutting her wide open and dropping her to 1 hit point.
Arrows flying, more fell about Fergus. Vingian whipped his bracers forward and a toadstood ring appeared in front of the paladin. From within two goblins with spiked tower shields were warding a third – standing there with a rod pointing out. There was a cry of “elfrage!” or something like that, and a blast of thunder sounded. His horse reared up, terrified. Shot and badly hurt, the paladin managed to keep his saddle as they raced away.
Vingian was calling out to his goblins that they were leaving – and to group together. The chain rodded axe goblin was unable to escape and Vingian used his spores to portal his goblins away, calling to Dolomys that “the deal is off! You are useless and on your own!”
Once they are fading away, the fight went out of the rest of Dolomy’s people and they dropped their arms and gave up. We rounded up our foes, trussed who we could and gagged them all. Then we spent some time questioning the goblin where we learned a number of issues. Like the toadstool rings – across the farmland due to some tunneling that was being done to the graveyard. Some sort of worm guided by a “Master of the Beasts” that the goblins use.
Its breath can be poisonous, which explained the many dead bugs and rats around the sites. It also explained some of the collapsed burrows. The goblin had been answering questions for so long that he wanted to know about his freedom. It was here that the group divided – Fergus, Auri, Ben and Link were against killing the goblin (in battle is one thing – not after he’s been captured) while Fist’al Flimflam, and Marcus felt otherwise – the goblin and his kind are evil and if roles were reversed, the courtesy would not be returned. Eventually the decision came down to Marcus (it was his chain holding him in place) who decided to give the goblin his freedom. We equipped him and sent him on his way (2 weeks walking to get back to Du’uk Tsarith).
Dolomys and her people were an easier matter. Her interest in anarchy and taking out the supports of society had no place amongst us and we had her bound and gagged and trussed up. We linked together all the horses (12 of them), loaded them down with our books that we have taken, bound up the 11 living teens and started on the long walk back to Shakun – hoping to make it before midnight.