What Drives a Goblin?

sukiskyn_forest

Raising his shield, Stephan stepped to help shield Miklos and Feldard from the stones. It was his instinct. Three of the shots loudly impacted the round, wooden shield denting some of the metal-cladding, but a couple of the stones did strik the unarmored Miklos.

Miklos shuffled gratefully behind the proferred shield. Not used to coming under direct attack, the mage’s adrenaline temporarily subdued the pain, and he spoke even more quickly than normal. “Let’s back to the tower! Hasan is right though! I wish we had another means of defending.”

As they made a defensive retreat in the moonlight, Stephan voiced an idea.

“What say we find suitable cover to snipe them when they come? There are many places to hide. There,” he pointed to part of the ruined barn, “Feldard, you could crouch. And there Miklos, and I over there. But are we seen? If they’ve not seen us, we can attack from behind when they are focused on the door. What say you?”

“Secrecy seems to be out of the question,” said the mage. “These goblins have gone up in my estimation! Not only is it night time but that has got to be over 30 yards to the treeline through the cover of the ruin.” They went back behind the ruined doorway a moment later. With only a few pieces of the oak door clinging to metal hinges, there was no barrier to stop any invading goblins. “It is clear they can see well in darkness.” he continued, “It seems the retreat was some sort of feint.”

Hasan raced up to the top of the tower, hoping to get a better look at the positions and numbers of the goblins. He saw nothing new, however, just the pitch black of night forest. He slowly surveyed the area around the encampment and strained to sense anything beyond the ordinary. Nothing seemed amiss.

Miklos thought for a moment. “I wonder…. a trap. I at first thought perhaps that the warriors could pretend a sortie, cover themselves in blood and dust and ‘collapse’ in the hail of sling stones only to spring up in surprise when we have lured them out.”

“The point being to lure them out en mass, and that plan would not work because they wouldn’t be sure of the kills. It is plain that they do not wish to burn the homestead down, they would have done so already, so they are after the contents. I am thinking we could try and make them think we have fled. They come in and provided they all come in—being greedy—we have several advantages. One, we know their numbers, two, we know where they are, three we will have a better idea what they are after. Four, we can attack them where their numbers are of little advantage. If we could lure them into the main hall and hide on the balcony we would have the advantage of height as well. I could block the exit with my web spell. All we need is a nice pile of treasure to lure the in with and a woodland trail to make them think we have fled.”

“Well, thats what I say anyway.” added the mage.

Maruc listened carefully to the mage trying to keep the grin off his face. “Oh Hasan!” he called after the retreating elf. “Miklos has a job for you. I don’t think you’ll like it though.”

The priest thumbed the handle of his flail. “Its a high risk strategy. There could be a hundred of them out there.”

“If there were a hundred of them out there, there would be eighty of them in here right now,” replied the mage larconically.

“Fair enough. It’s high risk, there’s a great danger of death, we are exposing the women and children and we are giving up our only defensive advantage,” he grinned brightly. “Sounds like a plan! Lets do it!”

Miklos turned to Feldard. “Exactly what drives a goblin? I can see by their tactics they are cunning, but are they intelligent? I am rather assuming they are greedy. What I am attempting to do here is use their weaknesses against them and I have a rather unsophisticated view of goblinoids. Being a Dwarf and a traditional enemy your insights could prove vital. Unless of course dwarven-goblinoid enmity is unsophisticated too.”

“The whole plan rather leans certain assumptions about goblinoid psychology. And some of those assumptions, like the clans joining up, are proving shaky.”

“Would fear wield them together?” the mage added.

Feldard considered the plan as suggested so far.. then looked to the mage. “These goblins are not acting like most that I have ever battled. Normally it is greed and natural enmity that lures them to battle. But is almost unheard of to have goblin clans work together. There is more to this raid than mere greed. I suspect a guiding hand in their efforts.”

The dwarf shook his head at the mage suggestion. “Normally fear would only further drive the clans to bickering and fighting amongst themselves to get away… but now … can’t be sure how they’d react.”

“Well then. Shall we be brave souls and bring this to a head?” offered the Mage.

“Aye,” Stephan agreed with the dwarf. “Some hand guides these beasts. And,”nodding to Miklos, “they fear that hand.

“And, I fear….that hand is on the way. That they have not burned more or pressed the attack relentlessly suggests they may be waiting for someone or something to arrive. Perhaps they are here to soften us up only.

“But why?” Turning to Pyotr, “What is it Pyotr? Why do the goblins work together to take Sukiskyn? Should we ask everyone in the household?”

“‘Tis a mystery to me, brother. You are of course welcome to question everyone and even search the grounds to find out if there’s something we may be missing.”

Stephan drank deeply of the water someone handed him. The cool liquid was wonderful but made his head pound for a moment as his blood flow raced to the knot on his head from the slingstone.

“This plan,” Miklos, “would be better if we had a better idea of their numbers. To allow them in like that without knowing…..well, sure, we’d then know but it could be an overwhelming number. Very risky. It’s like grabbing a pot off the fire before first checking to see how hot it be.”

“Well we could ask them, Stephan. But I doubt they can count!” replied Miklos. “Sorry that was foolish of me. No. We don’t know how many of them there are, but we have the advantage. They wouldn’t expect it.”

It was two hours until midnight, and the goblin drums and chanting again emanated from the forest.

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10 Comments

Filed under D&D, Dungeons & Dragons, rpg

10 responses to “What Drives a Goblin?

  1. Miklos -4hp

    Maruc: 10xp+10xp
    Miklos: 10xp+10xp
    Feldard: 10xp+10xp
    Hasan: 10xp+10xp
    Stephan: 10xp+10xp+10xp

    TOTAL:
    Maruc: 17,535/24000
    Miklos: 17,610/20000
    Feldard: 17,645/34000
    Hasan: 16,945/32000
    Stephan: 16,445/32000

  2. Hasan

    Having satisfied himself that Kuzma, Stelios and Matyev remained attentive to their watches, Hasan returned to the main hall. There, he found Miklos engaged in a rambling lecture on goblin psychology and the merits of an elaborate trap. “Miklos, that knock on the head may be a bit worse than it looks. The door is open. We need not hold ourselves out as bait to trap them at this point. We’ll be lucky if we can hold them out. We cannot leave the tower now, at nighttime we’ll be cut to pieces. ‘Til then,” he handed the mage a wet rag and a generous slice of dark bread, “I suggest you find some rest.”

  3. Feldard

    Feldard took the opportunity to grab a bite to eat himself and then let Maruc know that he was going to rest for a couple of hours. “Wake me to relieve your watch if the goblins haven’t attempted an attack by then.”

    Soon enough the resonanting snore competed with the goblins chanting.

  4. Stephan

    Though his stomach ached for food, Stephan found himself compelled to search for a solution. But he hungrily devoured an apple and pull of bread someone handed him.

    “Pyotr, in the seller, is there not a second, deeper cavity for the tubers and such? Could it not serve as a hiding place? At least for some of the women and children?”

    “To be sure, Stephan. But we risk entombing them. I’ve no doubt that these goblins will seek the very depths of this place and with their ability to smell…..I don’t think we can hide. If we could hide someone, it would have to be behind much earth and stone. And that’s why I fear entombing someone. Even if the gobs leave, they may not be able to free themselves.”

    Stephan’s lips pressed hard together. “What of a sturdy line? We could arrow it from the tower and slide to safety in the river or near the boats.”

    Pyotr shook his head. “It’s good to think out loud, brother, but again, I don’t think we could get everyone safely down such a line even if we could secure it in place.”

    He turned to look out at the black night, gloomily lit by moon and goblin fire. Smoke wafted through the windhole. “The burning here has been large. It must be visible for leagues. Surely my good neighbors, the VanKyn or Thominsin will rally to our rescue. I’d do as much for them.”

  5. Miklos

    “Noble Hasan,” Miklos called after the elf, “I’d take more than a stone to adle my brains I hope. But I fear you have missinterpreted my idea. I was going to suggest that the most capable of us lay a trail to mislead the goblins into beliving we have left whilst they were unattentive. They assume they can walk in unopposed. We entrap them and we’ll suggest they surrender or butcher the lot of them.”

    “Whether or not they all come in, dividing their numbers is to our advantage as well. The best form of defense is attack is it not Feldard?”

  6. Maruc

    Maruc nodded to Feldard. He was feeling sore and tired so he took the time to pray to his deity for healing them clambered up to the battlements and tried to enjoy the fresh air filled with Goblin voices…

  7. Maruc

    Maruc will cast Cure on himself as the most injured member of the party. He will then spend some time watching form the battlements before rousing one of the others to take over as he regains hs spells for the next day.

  8. Feldard

    (this is obviously a response to Miklos before Feldard went to sleep)

    Feldard glanced over to the mage considering. “Have you a means to hide the unfortunate person you’d have make this false trail? If you didn’t notice… our leaving the hall was met with a hail of stones.. The goblins have some means of observing our actions from afar. Unless you have learned of some magic to hide one of us or know of another with the skills our departed Nicolai possessed, then I would say your plan is less than well thought out. But yes, the best defense is an unexpected attack.”

  9. Hasan

    “Miklos, I have every confidence in your plan. And I expect we will execute it just as you say. But I don’t think we need an elaborate feint, be it a trail, or treasure, or fallen warriors. Let us just fight the best we are able, knowing that when they penetrate our now thin barrier, the fight will continue. Because I agree with your main point. We will fight better inside the main hall than simply shooting arrows from above. And until that fight is joined, I will watch from above. My main fear is that, if we all fight in this Hall, we will lose vision of what happens beyond it. So I will stay above, even if the melee begins. I will try to let Feldard know if I see others coming, and what archers we have will try to slow them down.” With that, Hasan went to the armoury and pulled out two full quivers of arrows and brought them up to the battlements above. He then went down the bedroom below, and tried to read his spellbook once again. He hoped to memorize web.

  10. Stephan

    His helmet on his knee. Head bowed. Hands massaging his temples, Stephan executed an arresting sigh.

    “You are right, Miklos. We must act. Your plan is all we have for the moment. But I would see the innocents off to Havlav’s glory by my own hand rather than fall yet living into the hands of Gobs!”

    Standing, his helm clanging to the flagstones, “Can you smell them out there! By Hav’ they stink. They must be shatting and pissing in the flames! I would see all their heads cleaved to the ground! The foul beasts!”

    Clearly, Stephan had succumbed to fatigue and worry. He showed the classic signs of a warrior about to face his doom.

    But then he settled himself, stooping to retrieve his helm and tucking it in the crook of his arm against his armor. A strange calm washed over his countenance.

    “We shall stand under the guiding hand of Havlav! These fell creatures shall pay a dear price for their venture.”

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