Characters: Alex, Angela, Bjorn, Dagmar, Dagny, Dudek, Elynnia, Fjola, Jarvan, Kethryn, (Ragnar,) (Olaf)
Late in the day on the last day of the month, the party arrives back in Dwarftown and head directly for the Jonas warehouse where the party meets Kethryn and Ragnar. After tending to the horses and unloading the cargo, Jonas invites the party to eat with him and discuss their findings.
Over dinner, the party discusses what they have discovered. Dudek tells Jonas about how they traveled about 3 days south before they were attacked. After the battle they found a note on the goblins that points to the transportation guild as being the way shipment information is being passed on to the goblins.
Elynnia then interjects about how the party traveled back toward Dwarftown and encountered a group of hobgoblins transporting a shipment of magical weapons and armor. With that shipment they found a note detailing that this was just a trial run for the goblin approval. It seems that the goblins are mustering for some battle.
Jarvan comments that the notes were addressed to Groknor. The party thinks Groknor must be some goblin leader involved in both the protection racket and this magical arms purchase.
Fjola notices that the note said that "Next caravan reach yew tree by last moon (the 22nd)" and "Expect first shipment by new moon." The party was attacked on the 22nd and the party met the goblin caravan on the 24th. That means that Groknor must be around 5 days march from where they met the caravan.
Kethryn and Ragnar reveal that they have been taking turns following Valdris and have noticed that he meets with a particular Dwarf named Bantek every evening at the Mud in Your Eye bar. They've noticed that several mornings a week, Bantek leaves town early but always returns before lunch.
The party discusses their options and decides that they have a number of options. They could follow Bantek and see who he is meeting, they could try and overhear the meeting with Bantek and Valdris, or they could ask around about Galwin.
After the discussion, Jonas says, "Well, it is getting late. Why don't you all stay in my guest wing until we settle this mess? I have plenty of rooms if you double up. We can continue our discussions in the morning. Fjola, will you show our guests to their rooms? Good night."
Fjola shows the party to the guest wing of Jonas's house which is connected to the warehouse by a short hallway. This wing runs the length of the warehouse and has rooms on each side of the hallway. Each bedroom contains two single beds, a night stand with pitcher and basin, several pegs on the walls for hanging clothing, armor, weapons, etc.
At one end of the hallway is a common room which has several round tables and chairs. At one end of the room is a bar that has a keg of beer and a cask of mead. There is a door that leads out into the courtyard where there is a well pump, and a privy.
Fjola tells that this space is often used by out-of-town traders who are either bringing raw materials for her father's shop or for buyers who want to examine his goods before they place orders.
The party settles in for the night.
In the middle of the night, all of the party members are jolted awake. As their eyes snap open with the pain, they just make out the shadowy figure of a dwarf drawing his sap back for a second hit. Not armed for battle, they party members scramble to retrieve their weapons hanging nearby.
The party fights valiantly against their attackers. It soon becomes obvious that the attackers had underestimated the party's strength. In just a few exchanges of blows, the party manages to kill their attackers before Jonas and his household can respond to the sounds of battle inside his guesthouse.
After the fight, the party examines the bodies and determines that they are all dwarves but they have no identification or possessions other than the oversized saps they were attacking with. Jonas thinks he has seen some of them around town but does not know their names.
The party quickly discusses their next actions. They determine that it is better hide the bodies and to sneak out of town as soon as they can pack and then wait for Bantek to make his trek and see if they can follow him. Jonas agrees to deal with the bodies and the party quickly packs and leaves town. They head toward Jutland for a few hours and then double back and head east to camp where they can watch the path Bantek takes.
Around 10:00am, Bantek is seen traveling along the road. Almost out of sight, he scurries off the road toward some nearby cliffs and disappears around an outcropping. Just audible from their possession, the call of a bird is heard from the outcropping with an answering call a few seconds later.
The party decides to wait until Bantek leaves before they move in to see where he went. After an hour, Bantek reappears from the outcropping and heads back toward town.
The party then moves up to the outcropping and discovers a narrow path through the rocks to a hidden valley. Sending their most stealthy people ahead, they determine that there is a goblin camp. One large hobgoblin seems to be in charge with several robbed goblins and more hobgoblin soldiers.
The leader seems to be writing a note on a piece of paper (which looks like a difficult task for him). When he finishes with the note, he tears it off and pulls out a strange looking metal device from a belt pouch. He places the scrap of paper in the device and closes it. After pressing the glowing gem on the top, a green light traces the perimeter of the device. The leader then opens the device and the paper is gone. He then closes the device and places it back in the pouch.
After planning their attack and getting into position, the party charges in and takes the goblins by surprise. Arrows fly, swords swing, and spells fly and the party wades into the camp. The robed goblins hamper the party with several spells either blinding party members or incasing them in a cage of magical needles. After a long and at times bloody fight, the party wins the hard fought battle.
The party thinks that the leader of the goblins was Brognar. Searching the camp and the leader, they find 400GP, one blue gem worth another 100GP, and a metal device consisting of two 6"x6" metal plates hinged along one side and with a locking clasp on the opposite side. The plates are covered with runes and the top plate has a large red gem in the center of the plate. The notice that the gem is removable and the blue gem would fit perfectly so they guess to keep it with the device.
The party decides to try and send a fake message to Groknor. Using their captured messages, they create a note instructing Groknor that there a caravan will be at twin rocks by the first quarter moon. Their plan is to hide near the twin rock location where Fjola's caravan was attacked and watch the goblin ambush. They will then follow the ambusher back to the goblin lair. Since they saw a message already sent, they will wait until the next day to send their fake message.
After resting for the remainder of the day, they head south toward the road and camp for the evening.
Around 10:30 in the morning, the party places their fake message in the device, closes the lid, and touches the stone. The stone glows and a green light traces around the edge of the device. After the glow stops, they open the device and the note is gone.
The party then continues traveling toward twin rock without incident.
Reaching the twin rock area, they find the spot where the goblins hide in ambush and then find another spot where they can watch the ambushers. Settling down, they wait the remainder of the day.
Late in the day, the goblins arrive from the south and make their way to the ambush spot.
After several days of waiting, the goblins pack up and head south looking angry. The party sends their stealthiest members to ahead to keep an eye on the goblins while the rest of the party trails behind well out of sight. Late in the day, the goblins leave the road and head for an outcropping about an hour's walk east of the road. The goblins disappear behind a cleft in the rock. After several minutes, the scouts move up to the cleft and discover a cave that leads to a staircase with what feels like a guard somewhere down the stairs. Withdrawing for a planning session, the scouts decide to enter back in and try and deal with the guard. Dudek is able to kill the guard with a well-placed arrow and the party joins the scouts and the travel down the staircase.
The party opens the double doors and enters a long hallway with another set of doors at the end. Quietly they come to the double doors and listen but hear nothing inside. Opening the doors, several party members begin to enter when suddenly 4 bugbears charge at them from the rear. Wanting to avoid a fight in the hallway, the rest of the party enters the room while the rear guard takes on the bugbears.
Soon another hidden door opens and 4 hobgoblin soldiers enter the fray followed by a big hobgoblin who yells out, "Who dares disturb the domain of Groknor. You will not survive this insult!"
A long and bloody battle ensues with the hobgoblins using phalanx formations to beef up their defenses while the bugbears land heavy blows on the party. All through the battle the big hobgoblin keeps taunting the party with yells of "feel my spear" and "how dare you strike me." The party, through a combination of skill, teamwork, and a bit of luck, manages to slowly wear down the attackers. Finally managing to break the hobgoblin formation, the tide of the battle shifts and the party quickly prevails.
The party searches the bodies and clears the chamber. They find two notes [G5, G6], a similar device with a purple stone in it, a blue stone, and 6000GP of coins. They split the coins, and the device is held by Fjola.
New caravan guard return to town
early. Valdris worry they try stop us.
He try kill guards at night but fail.
Guard missing now. Be on lookout.
Next caravan reach yew tree by first
moon. Much gold and gems.
Brognar note is lie. Brognar must be
dead. Send troops as usual - don't tell
them about lie. Set trap for any who
follow troops. Be me. Capture -- don't
kill! I send Karg to question them.
After discussing what to do next, they decide to block the bottom of the stairs and then wait outside to ambush the Goblins as they try to enter the lair. After setting up their ambush, the settle down and rest until the Goblins.
After sleeping outside overnight, they hear the sound of approaching troops heading toward the cave. Soon a party of 9 goblins marches up the path toward the cave entrance. The large hobgoblin leading the group barks out a few commands and several soldiers fall out of rank and take up guard positions as the rest of the troop heads for the cave entrance. The leader barks out another command and the marchers stop and 2 lead bugbears advance toward the cave mouth.
At this point, the party surprises the gobins and a heated battle ensues. Slowly the party wears down the goblin defenses and they begin to fall. Wanting to question the leader, they do not kill the large hobgoblin but instead knock him out. In the end, the final two hobgoblin spear soldiers are killed as they retreat down the stairs to the cave.
The party ties up the leader and searches the bodies. The leader is wearing a chain belt that does not look goblin made and 150GP among the slain goblins.
After much discussion, it is decided that instead of trying to question the leader, the party should just let him wake up and then follow him back to whoever sent him. So they strip the bodies of all weapons, untie the leader and then hide and wait for him to wake up.
After a few hours, the hobgoblin suddenly jerks and sits up. He looks around at the other dead goblins strewn around him. Getting to his feet, he checks and notices that he has been stripped of weapons. Not seeing any other weapons, he quickly moves to a clump of bushes and waits for a few minutes. When no one comes, he sneaks off toward the road doubling back and changing directions numerous times to hid his trail and shake off any followers. He finds a sturdy branch and carries it as a club. It is obvious from his manner that he is unnerved by the circumstance he finds himself in.
All along, Dudek and Dagmar have been following him closely with Elynnia back some distance follow the stealthy them and the remaining party following Elynnia. Every time the hobgoblin settles down for the night, one of the prime followers will travel back to the party and report what has been going on.
Over the next several days, the hobgoblin heads northeast making for the main spine of mountains that separate the Wastes from the eastern lands. The trek leads the party out from the scrub forest into vast grasslands and rolling hills. Several times, the hobgoblin seems to have noticed something amiss and changes directions but eventually he returns to that northeastern path.
After a full week of travel, they party nears one arm of the mountains that juts out from the main mountain spine. The Hobgoblin skirts the northern edge of this arm and then turns south. When the party reaches the place where the hobgoblin turned, they are unprepared for what they find.
They can see the hobgoblin heading directly for an enormous fortress carved from the very mountain. The fortress consists of an outer wall with high towers and parapets that circle the main keep which is carved from the mountain in the shape of a giant goblin head!
Clearly outmatched, the party knows that they have no hope of dealing with this goblin fortress. The only real option is to return and report their findings to their superiors. As they watch, a lone hobgoblin crosses the moat and enters the fortress. Who knows how his superiors will deal with his failure.
The party turns and heads for Dwarftown.
Taking most of a week, they arrive and head for the authorities. Turning over the captured notes and reporting their findings, the authorities quickly round up Valdris and his dwarf thugs. The party members each earn a 100GP bonus from Dwarftown leaders for stopping the Dwarf mob and its protection racket.
Deciding their work is done in Dwarftown, the party turns south and heads back to Jutland.
After reporting to their commander, they each earn 500GP bonus from Jutland leaders for dealing with the goblin threat and making the road safe again.
After some much needed R and R, the party awaits their next assignment.