Food has been getting a little short in the last couple weeks, the rangers seemed to have been getting unlucky, and the town of Ashwick has started dipping into their reserves a little. As such, the Quickwinds decide to have an extra hunt this morning. You, your father, (John?) and your mother (Elsa?), your uncle Sebastian, and your younger cousin Sam make up this party. You’re known as an elite team of hunters who always do very well. Sam is to lead this hunt, (with you helping him along the way) so that he may begin to lead other hunting parties on his own.As usual you’ll head to the river to start off the search and upon arriving you find a far less signs of animals then normal. (You roll an 18 on a perception check). And you notice a group of two legged footprints that are far smaller than a human’s footprints that are no older than 48 hours. However it seems that Sam hasn’t noticed them, and is instead looking at deer tracks which he says are only a couple hours old, but as you walk over, you recognize them as being the same ones you followed (unfruitfully) only yesterday. However as is a custom of hunters is to clear the tracks of a hunt so as to not waste time – you realize you have forgotten to do so. What, if anything do you wish to tell Sam?
I tell Sam that I think they’re closer to a day old because I followed that yesterday. I apologize for not clearing the trail after I had followed it and then pause to give him a chance to continue looking around. If he did not note the peculiar tracks then I point then out because I believe it to be out of the ordinary and it might link to there being fewer signs of wildlife.
Sam teases you a little about how the “best Quickwind” forgot to do something – He is 13 after all. He moves on looking for other tracks, and doesn’t spend more than a second looking at the small humanoid footprints, before moving on. You call him back over, and after a quick examination he says that it must be kids or something, and even if it’s not – it’s definitely not game. Between the slow start, and the bantering the adults come over and Sam points out the tracks – the adults follow the prints closer to the water and exchange some glances. You walk over and recognize that the creatures have taken their shoes off, and left footprints with clawed feet. (rolled a 12 knowledge nature) And you recognize that these are goblin tracks. You can tell that the goblins eventually went North (upstream) – (where as Ashwick is almost directly West). Standing back up, you see the adults looking at you, and Sam is a little farther downstream (South). Your uncle and father begin talking quietly about whether they should go grab intel on the goblins and why they’ve started poaching this close to town, while your uncle would rather have Sam continue his training hunt, as his 14th nameday is only two months away. Your mother walks down towards Sam, not wanting anything of this debate, and you’re left standing there with your father and uncle debating about the possible dangers of taking Sam vs letting the goblins establish a foothold in this area. At this point Sam walks back up, and not having much luck tracking anything, comes back and suggests that they head farther West to the lake. Your father and uncle look to you, whether or not to tell Sam (not only because you could be the deciding vote, but also because they’re only suppose to be back up and Sam/you make all the decisions).
I think that surveying the goblins is an investment that should be made and think that it could definitely be an experience to help Sam dealing with changing plans, so I see no harm in letting him in on the decision. I’m going to say it seems serious enough because it poses a threat to our future hunts so we should allocate at least a little time to surveying the goblins. So ill tell him what’s up and voice those concerns and see what he thinks
When you begin talking, your uncle gives you a little bit of a glare, but you continue on anyway. Sam seems bored at what he assumes is another lecture but as soon as you mention the word goblin, Sam gets noticeably more excited and pay more attention to the tracks. You know that goblins are rather small semi-intelligent creatures who prefer to shoot at things from a distance and attack in large groups – they do use weapons and are somewhat sneaky. As soon as you finish your explanation, and before you can ask him his thoughts – he says “This way guys” and starts heading north. It seems pretty obvious that he wants to hunt some goblins.
I tell Sam to be careful since we are only doing surveillance right now but I continue following him.
Sam briefly looks over his shoulder at you, before going bounding off after the goblin tracks. He pauses every now and then to check for the tracks, but for the most part is keeping a rather fast pace considering the quarry is likely dangerous. You make sure to keep up with him, but at a couple points you notice where the goblins went closer to the water, and assume there are approximately 6 goblins that you are following. The tracks follow the beach perfectly, and after 30 minutes, the river reaches a cliff with a waterfall of approximately 60.’ As you approach a vile smell reaches your nose, which you recognize to be rotting flesh. When coming a little closer, you notice a small mound at the base of the cliff – not too far from where the tracks veer off to the right and into the forest which will become much harder to follow at this point (although very possible for you to follow). Sam makes a disgusted look on his face and stops and looks around at the scene.
I’ll check out the mound and tell Sam to hold up. At this point, things are dangerous enough that I’ll take over.
As you approach the mound, you can tell it is a rotting humanoid body. you cover your nose from the smell – and your eyes nearly begin to water. The urge to vomit is high but you focus hard and manage to get pretty close (18 con save). (17 Perception check) Being a couple feet away, you are aware that this is a bloated medium sized creature that must have been dead for a more than a couple days. If you had to guess you would assume it was a human male, and notice lots of discoloration, and assume that it fell off the cliff. There are quite a few cuts on it that you can assume were from something other than the fall. He is wearing minimal clothing, and no shoes. His wrists and ankles are strongly chafed. Approximately 10 feet behind you, Sam begins to audibly vomit (6 con save). You also notice, that the corpse has a slightly red hue – which is very abnormal for dead creatures.
So I assume he was a prisoner of sorts, are goblins known for that kind of thing?
That is a good assumption – They could take prisoners, however tend not to have much use for prisoners, so it may or may not have been them holding him hostage. You do know that goblins tend to prefer attacking in large groups with arrows before closing, and he seems to have no puncture wounds as if from arrows. All of his wounds seem to be bludgeoning/slashing.
So the goblins are not the only thing in this area it would seem. The only thing around the area were the tracks into forest?
Perhaps. If it was goblins, they would be behaving strangely. Anyway, yes from what you saw so far, you believe goblin tracks are really the only thing around here. The way they went could possibly circle around and get back to the top of the cliff, or just head off into the forest. Also, the corpse could have received the wounds before falling off the cliff so it’s attacker could have left marks at the top of the cliff. You can search the area more if you wish. (btw I’m assuming this is all stuff you noticed so far.) In my mind the time is still just as Sam began barfing.
Ok I pat him on the back and let him know my concerns of it being maybe more than goblins and at we should follow the trail but examine things closer and watch for potential ambushes (don’t walk into obvious scenarios).
You very carefully continue along the trail, matching the path of the cliff. About 10 minutes later, you reach the edge of a small clearing with what appears to be a small cave into the wall of the cliff. The foliage is somewhat dense in this part of the forest. But if you stand on the very edge of the clearing behind the trunk of a tree – you assume that the tracks seem to head into the cave.
Well I’m a bit worried about the clearing and the cave and I suggest that we look around before following the trail any further. We’ll circle around the edge of the clearing, trying not to be seen. (Stealth roll of 13)
About 1/2 way around the clearing, you have a mild view of the cave. You get low to the ground and can see a reasonable distance down the cave (maybe 40 feet) and the back of the cave appears to be lit with daylight, as if they cave is a passage up to the top of the cliff. The cave itself perhaps looks to be intentionally made, it is nearly a perfect circle at a gentle climb upwards. It doesn’t seem to be well maintained as there are multiple rocks of various sizes spaces littering the cave from where parts of the ceiling came down. (You know goblins shouldn’t be capable of something that fancy – and your gut feeling is that it was created by magic. However you don’t know if it was from before or after the breaking).
Is there another way to get up to the top of the cliff besides the cave? Is that normally out of the range that we travel?
At this section of the cliff, it is only 40 feet high, which would be somewhat difficult to scale. You could continue onwards in the same direction you were heading as it is a slight uphill climb and the height of the cliff has been slowly dwindling. However you have no idea how far it might be, if at all (you’re starting to get near a mountain range). This area you’re not overly familiar with as by now you’re probably close to 3 hours away from town in a part of the forest that would be too dense for hunting. The area to the south, is close to a lake is where most of the hunting is done.
I’ll double check that the clearing looks safe before heading closer to the tunnel. I’ll also consult the crew and see if we everybody thinks we should pursue this trail.
The clearing is like a semi-circle with the cliff being the flat part and the tunnel being in the exact center of the cliff. The clearing is maybe 25 ft in radius, and is completely empty. The consensus is that more information on the goblins should be found out. Their opinion is that the tunnel itself looks somewhat safe as it seems to have no forks in the path, however they need to be careful about what might be on top of it.
*Ok, then we proceed carefully up to the cave and examine it as we approach. *
You approach the cave, and looking in, you can see daylight out the top – you estimate that it is approximately 100 feet in length (a 30% incline) However it seems like for the most part only a half dozen or so sets of tracks have travelled through here in the last 2 days (which was the heavy rain). And most goblins work in very large numbers.
Proceed carefully through the cave watching for signs of danger.
Actually hold up, didn’t you tell me how many goblins I was tracking earlier? Wasn’t it like 4, and so now there are half a dozen tracks, so this seems to imply that maybe it isn’t goblins we’ve been tracking. But aren’t these the same tracks from before which were identified as goblins?
These tracks still seem to be the same size as the previous goblin tracks and are the same trail from before. However due to the firmer soil, and fallen leaves, you are unable to confirm that these are goblins. The number only changed from 4 goblins to like 6 goblins – Perhaps you miscounted earlier? Maybe they walk back and forth here more and it seems like more? Maybe there are a couple more that were hanging back here?
Ok, either way it doesn’t look like a large change from earlier. So yeah I’ll proceed up that way.
Everything starts off well, until you’re approximately 1/2 way up the tunnel when you realize the two rock looking things at the top were actually goblins, who fire two arrows at you, at the same time, behind you – you hear a scream in pain as another pair of goblins fire at you from behind. (Of the 4 arrows, two find your uncle Sebastian who was in the rear, and one hits you for 3 points of damage). There are some rock debris which can provide some cover, but other than that you’re stuck in a tunnel.
I say we should work on a retreat, so we should try to get through/kill the goblins at the rear and try to protect Sebastian
Do you try to book it down that way and engage in melee combat? Or do you want to move from rock to rock between volleys? However being attacked from both sides means you can really only stop one side of arrows. (You can also fire back at them, you are hunters after all). Mechanically, I believe you need to reload and shoot, or move and shoot – but this is rp version. You could also just alternate between move/shoot and move/reload and reload/shoot.
I think something along those lines. But yeah, my goal is to stay under cover and use bows when possible to do damage before we get down to the bottom of the tunnel.
You yell to everyone to take cover, and to retreat. Your first arrow critically hits and skewers one of the goblins at the base and he falls down dead. Four arrows come streaming down from above you, and your parents each take an arrow having been unable to find much cover. The lone goblin below manages to hit Sam in the shoulder. You guys start making your way down the tunnel, and everyone has decent cover. But you hear a huge thundering crash is heard from the top of the tunnel as rocks come barreling down, and the screams of the goblins running down after them. (You can assume the goblins caused this rockslide).
The goblin at the bottom moves away from the entrance, as you guys do your best to stay our of the way of the rock-slide. You and Sam huddle behind one of the biggest rocks and are relatively unharmed, but your parents each take a couple rocks. And your uncle takes a nasty rock to the hip and falls down, and tumbles a little bit, before stopping on another rock. The rocks have passed you now, with goblins not that far behind (they’re small sized creatures so move slower than you and much slower than tumbling rocks.) the mouth of the tunnel is now littered with rocks and is considered “rough terrain” which slows movement.
At this point you aren’t too far from the bottom (the tunnel was only around 100 ft to begin with), and everyone is wounded, and Uncle Sebastian is laying on the ground (unconscious or dead). You can either try to fight the goblins – you can run and carry your uncle (but the goblins have a good chance of catching you), or you can run and leave your uncle behind.
The rough terrain will slow both you and the goblins. (It only reduces it to half – so you could get to it and be most of the way through it in one turn). You’re at 9/12, Sam is at like 2/6, and your parents are at 4/11 and 5/10. And 4 goblins at full are charging down at you and would reach you in two turns. Your father yells, “Let’s get out of here” and gives a pained look at his brother-in-law Sebastian.
Am I inclined to believe that they would actually hold him prisoner rather than killing him?
You know that there was a prisoner corpse in the nearby area, in an area traversed by goblins. However it is uncommon for goblins to take prisoners – If they do they must have a special reason.
I guess I’ll start running. Making sure Sam keeps up.
You successfully make it through the debris, and kill the wounded goblin at the base of the cave. You run until you can’t run any more (and end up running not quite in the direction you came.) and collapse to rest for a bit. Sam at this point begins to cry a little, and your parents comfort him best they can. At this point you won’t make it back before nightfall, so you find the biggest tree and sleep up in it’s branches away from night predators. Sam cries himself to sleep, and tomorrow you wake up and start to head back to town, you realize that goblins had been searching the area, so progress is slow. Along the way back you find a deer that almost jumps in your way, and Sam gets to take it down. You take it back to town with you, where you relay the news.