Session 5 (part 2): Goblins in the Hole
Welcome back to the continuing story of two friends who get into the most interesting situations. This is the latest in a series in which I recount the action in a D&D 5e campaign I am running for my two sons. Their characters are a half-elf ranger named Falconsight and a human monk named Tenzen. We have begun the Lost Mine of Phandelver introductory adventure. When last we left our heroes they had just survived an ambush by a quad of goblins on the way to Phandalin. They reached the town, met some locals, heard the local gossip, and decided to go back to the ambush site to see if they could find the rest of the tribe.
It was late afternoon when they returned to where they had been ambushed. The two dead horses were still there, as well as several scavenger birds. They bypassed the grisly scene and found the one goblin they had shot while it was trying to run away. A quick check of the immediate area revealed a well worn trail heading off to the Northwest. There were several goblin tracks and evidence of two human sized bodies being dragged through the forest.
They carefully followed the trail and managed to bypass two clever traps1 along the way until they came to a clearing in front of a cave entrance out of which a shallow stream flowed. They could see that the tracks they were following led into the cave. While they crouched amidst the brush they heard a pair of voices behind a briar thicket on the right hand side of the little stream. Not wanting to potentially alert whoever was inside the cave they decided to try sneaking past the sentries in the thicket. Those poor gobs were obviously not paying attention and out heroes made it into the cave without incident.2
Once inside the cave they could hear the rushing water from deeper within. Immediately to their right they spotted the entrance to a side chamber. Within this chamber they saw two wolves chained to the rocks behind them. The wolves began, snarling, snapping, and straining at their chains in an attempt to get at the intruders. The pair quickly moved past this chamber and further up into the main cavern along the stream bed. Once they got past the wolves they noticed that it was difficult for anyone to hear the noise they were making due to the sound of rushing water.
A little further along they spotted another side passage on the left-hand side of the stream. It was getting difficult for Tenzen to see at this point, so he held onto Falconsight’s belt as they moved forward. They had to cross through the stream to get to the side passage. On the way there Falconsight spotted a bridge further up stream and 20ft above the floor of the cavern and made out the figure of a single goblin swinging his legs over the side. He and Tenzen crept through the stream and up into the passage.3
This passage rose sharply from the stream bed and was littered with loose rock. The pair of adventurers stumbled once about 15 feet in. No one attacked them right away so they continued forward. Another 10 feet along the passage ended in a “T” with the left hand side leading to a large chamber where they could see a camp fire surrounded by a handful of goblins. To their left they saw a 10 foot high escarpment that ran the length of the chamber and led to a higher section beyond.
Thinking this must be the main group, and thus their reason for coming here, they drew their weapons and charged in. Well, Tenzen charged in. Falconsight hung back and loosed arrows. He hit one goblin square in the noggin and killed him instantly. Before Tenzen could get a good blow in himself they heard a bellowing from the far side of the cavvern, “Stop! Truce! Truce or I keel the hooman!”(I imagine goblins sounding a lot like the Ferengi from Star Trek: The Next Generation.)
A larger goblin stood at the edge of the escarpment that divided this chamber He held an older, battered human male by the collar of his shirt out over the edge of the ledge. Tenzen and Falconsight recognized that this might be whoever had been ambushed and lost their horses. They agreed to talk to the leader. “What do you want of us?” Tenzen asked.
“Yoo keel Klarg! I, Yeemik, will be boss!” the goblin leader shouted back.
“Who is Klarg?”
“Klarg iz beeg tribe boss, now. Yoo keel Klarg. Yeemic be boss.”
“So, if we kill Klarg for you, you will release him?” Tenzen said, pointing at the battered looking man.
“Yesh. Yoo keel Klarg. I geev hooman,” Yeemic said.
“OK. So, where is Klarg?”
“Klarg in boss cave. Past beeg water.” Yeemic pointed down the passage that led to this chamber.
And so, the adventurers agreed to take out the tribe boss in exchange for the human captive. They were directed to take the tunnel down the other arm of the “T” they had come through before. This took them over the bridge they had spotted earlier. Tenzen held a torch now as they decided there was little need for stealth at this point. Still, they startled the goblin who was supposed to be on watch on the bridge. He let out a squeal and ran to the far end. They ran after him and came to a cavern half filled with two large pools of water.
A narrow waterfall fed these pools and the sound of it echoed throughout the cavern. There were four goblins tending these pools. The sentry had alerted them to the heroes’ approach so when they emerged from the tunnel the goblins attacked. Falconsight’s deadly arrows and Tenzen’s lightning quick staff made short work of their foes.4
From there they marched right into the chamber beyond where Klarg, his wolf, and two goblin guards stood ready for them. Klarg was a great hairy brute holding a heavy morning star in one hand. Falconsight recognized him as a bugbear5 – bigger, meaner cousins to the goblins. He spotted the adventurers and bellowed “Who dares challenge Klarg!”
“We do!” Falconsight shouted back and let fly with an arrow. It hit Klarg in an arm and battle commenced. Tenzen clobbered the two goblin guards before they even got a single swing in. Falconsight shot the wolf while Klarg charged. The ranger was able to stay out of range of the deadly looking mace long enough for Tenzen to finish off the wolf and attack Klarg from behind. The two of them worked together to finish off the
To the victor goes the spoils. Having defeated the big, ugly brute they took a look around and took stock of all the crates, sacks, and barrels stacked against the far wall. They were marked with the sign of the Lionshield Coster. Our bright young men rightly deduced that these must be the missing shipment that Linene wanted. They also found a chest with some actual loot, including two healing potions. Woohoo! I believe these were the first healing potions they’d come across in the wild, so to speak. They had commissioned some from the alchemist and been awarded some by Old Bill; but, this was the first time they had found them on an adventure.
Thus rewarded, our heroes lopped off Klarg’s head and presented it to Yeemik. “Klarg is dead,” Tenzen said.
“Ha ha! Good! Now I am boss!” Yeemik said. “Now, yoo want hooman, yes?”
“Yes, release him.”
“Take him then.” Yeemik then tossed the man over the ledge. He barked something at the rest of the goblins and they rushed to attack. A quick skirmish ensued. Falconsight took out Yeemik with a couple well placed arrows. Tenzen lay waste with staff, hands, and feet. Soon there was only one goblin remaining. It dropped its weapon and groveled at the monk’s feet. “No keel I. No keel.” Tenzen stayed his hand and told the goblin to leave here and never return. The ruddy skinned creature scampered away.
With the battle over, they rushed over to tend to the prisoner and were able to stabilize him so he would not die. Falconsight recalled a bit of ranger lore and was able to fashion some healing poultices that they applied to his wounds.6 They knew they needed time for the three of them to recover – the unconscious man from his ordeal and the two friends from their exertions – but they were loathe to stay in the odorous cavern. Instead, they camped in the thicket where the now departed goblin sentries had sat.
And, that’s where we will leave them for now. Tune in next time when we find out just who it is they rescued and what he has to do with all of this anyway.
- Falconsight the ranger rolled really well on his Perception checks. He is definitely in his element. ↩
- They both rolled really high on their Stealth checks. Also, the write up for this encounter says straight up that these gobs “are bored and inattentive;” so, all the characters had to do was exceed their passive perception scores of 9 to get past the sentries. The way this section is written the authors obviously expected the PC’s to use Stealth to surprise and attack the sentries; however, my guys simply wanted to bypass them. ↩
- Another lazy goblin and another pair of good Stealth rolls. For a pair of non-rogues, these guys are doing pretty good with the Stealth checks. ↩
- I don’t think Falconsight has missed a single target since he acquired the magic bow. It’s uncanny. ↩
- Honestly, bugbear is a terrible name for these guys. I know it has real life historical and folkloric roots; but it is still a terrible name. They sound like they should be more closely related to owlbears than goblins. Can we come up with a better name for them? Ur-gobins, Ubergobs, Bogeys, Bogyars? Yeah! Bogyar. I like that one. ↩
- I have given Falconsight the Healing Poultices feature from the so-called Spell-less Ranger outlined in the Modifying Classes Unearthed Arcana back in April 2015. In fact, I have actually given it to him one level early and modified the potency a little. I will give specifics in an upcoming DM’s Workshop article. ↩