The next few days, the PC’s use their time to get the camp up and running. They send some hunters out find food and scout the terrain, set some workers to chop down trees and start building houses. Cromweld helps the carpenters drag treetrunks until Teryon points out that he should use his time on something that might yield results, at which point he claims the position of cook. Horst starts gathering stones to build a monestary outside of the camp, but lacks the neccesary skills of masonry. All he manages is a stone ring, which he claims as his territory.
Sr. Harlock, heavily wouded from the battle, spends the next day in the newly opened infirmary, being treated by the doctor Alexandra. Saeyir sees his chance for a one on one with the paladin, and manages to get the doctor to leave them alone for a while. He then casts charm person, making sr. Harlock eager to hear everything he has to say, and spends the better part of an hour explaining how everything that has gone wrong with the expedition is his fault, and his alone. After Saeyir leaves, Edwin is a sobbing, remorseful mess.
Cromweld sets up a kitchen in his portable home, and hires a young boy named Comma to be his assistant cook. During the first collective camp dinner, Horst notice that Commas vest would fit him great. Ge tries to buy the childs clothes for liquor, but chooses his words less than wisely.
Frightened by the reptilian trying to talk him out of his clothes, Comma runs for his life back to his parents, with Horst on his heels. Cromweld runs after them, swatting Horst on his head with his spatula, and in return Horst beats him senseless. Commas frightened parents give Horst one of their sons vests, and he throws them five pieces of silver. Teryon heals Cromweld, gives Horst an earful, and goes back to his meal shaking his head.
On the fifth day, the hunter Ignace comes back with news. He has spotted a group of goblins, who told him to shove off back over the mountains. Sr. Edwin calls for another meeting in the War Tent, and the group decides to send out a scouts to find the goblins camp.
Horst is setting up his makeshift distillery when Teryon and Ignace step into his stone ring. ‘We need you on a scouting mission. Goblins have been spotted to the south’. Teryon is displeased to find the halfling making spirits on his free time, and throws out the ingredients.
Horst agrees to go with Ignace to scout for goblins. ‘You should be a little more discreet around the priest’ the hunter says. ‘If you need a safer production locale, you could use my tent.’
They deduce that the goblin camp must lie near a source of water, and start sneaking along the brook that runs past their own encampment. They turn out to be right, and after a few hours, they find a large mass of tents and fires, with forty-fifty goblins running back and forth. Ignace realizes that the size and number of the tents is disproportionate to the number of goblins in camp, meaning that many of them must be out hunting, gathering or patrolling. They return to camp unseen, after Horst relieves himself in the goblins water supply.
The group gathers in the War Tent to discuss how to deal with the goblin tribe. They have allready destroyed one local civilization, and some suggest that pointing this out to the goblins might make them leave the camp alone. They decide to send their most impressive looking warriors, armor clad, mounted on warhorses and bearing throphies of the earlier battle, to try and threaten the goblins into submission.
Saeyir, Horst and one of the soldiers take a trip back to the wreckage of the orc village, to collect heads from their fallen enemies. On the way, Horst notice someone spying on them through the bushes, and goes off track to find the perpetrator. A small figure, barely bigger than him, retreats back through the forest, but Horst manages to follow it until it stops to hide behind a tree.
Horst circles around the tree, and catches the creature off guard. It looks like a young elf girl, with wooden skin, hair made of leaves and eyes like chestnuts. He falls in love instantly.
The others catch up a few seconds later, and Saeyir tells the soldier to catch her for interrogation. They chase her through the undergrowth until Saeyir pins her down.
The creature don’t speak common very well, and they can’t get much sense out of her. ‘Tie her up, were taking her back to camp.’ Frightened, the creature wriggles itself loose and vanishes into a tree. It leaves behind it’s weapon, a finely crafted bow that seems to have grown rather than being cut into shape.
They return to camp with huge bundles of rotting orc heads, and tell the rest of the group what has transpired. Teryon enlightens them. ‘You just met a dryad. They are fey creatures bound to the trees. If you had succeeded in taking her out of the forest, she would likely have withered and died before we had a chance to interrogate her.’
The group straps on their armor, mounts the finest horses in camp, and set out to scare the marrow from the goblins bones. Sr. Harlock remains with the civilians to guard them, just in case.
They reach the goblin camp, a large cluster of clay huts and skin tents, surrounded by a wall of boulders. The envoy is greeted by ten goblins poking spears at them. An old, white haired goblin approaches, wearing robes and holding a staff riddled with carvings.
Teryon tries to open with a diplomatic statement. ‘Greetings from Cormyr. We come to inform you of our plans to settle the nothern part of the Stonelands, and wish to negotiate a truce with your tribe. Might I ask your name?’
‘Bagnak’ the chief grunts. ‘You are tresspassers here. Crawl back to your cities and well let you live, tall folk.’
‘I was hoping for a little more cooperation. We have allready defeaten one of the tribes of this land, and we can do it again.’
Saeyir throws a bundle of orc heads on the ground before him. ‘We have slaughtered the orcs in the northern woods, every man woman and child. We want you to keep your tribe far away from our terrirories, unless you want the same to happend to you!’
The chief looks unimpressed. ‘We would have butchered the orcs, had you not beat us to it, and we can just as easily deal with your little settlement.’
Saeyir uses charm person on Bagnak, but the spell fails.
‘And don’t you dare trying those kind of tricks on me!’ The chief looks to his men, and says in the language of goblins: ‘On my signal, kill them all.’
Lucky for the PC’s, both Cromweld and Teryon can understand goblin. Cromweld looks at Saeyir with wide eyes and nods his head backwards.
Saeyir uses suggestion on Bagnak, and the spell succeedes. ‘Keep your men back!’
The goblins itch to charge. The chiefs knuckles whiten as he klutches the staff, but he gives no signal.
The envoy turns around and starts riding back. ‘I’m sorry it had to be like this!’ Teryon shouts back at the goblins. ‘You have made your intentions clear! This means war!’
‘See you in hell, you son of a sewer rat!’ Cromweld adds, before the goblins dissapear from sight.
After their momentous failure at intimidation, the camp prepares for attack. The wagons are placed in a circle around the tents, with barricades of wooden logs in between to provide cover for the archers. All the civilians are herded into the one house they have managed to erect, and the soldiers and militia place themselves in a semicircle on the south side of the camp, with a small group to guard on the north. Horst moves his stone ring into the camp.
Nothing happends until nightfall, and they light torches and place them around the perimeter. After many hours of watching, the guards can finally see a large group of humanoids aproaching from the south through the darkness. The goblins bear no light sources of any kind, and are only clearly visible when they enter the dim light from the torches.
A group of about thirty goblins march in the front, cackling and yelling. Behind them comes the chief, riding a massive worg and followed by an honor guard of axe wielding goblins covered in tribal markings.
The first group charges into a hail of arrows, while the elites spread out to the side. The chief dismounts, waves his staff back and forth and screams a few syllables in goblin, and a huge swarm of rats crawl out of the ground and start gnawing at the archers.
Saeyir and a few archers wrestle with rats while the rest desperately try to keep the goblin horde on the other side of the barricade.
On the north side of the camp, Cromweld and two soldiers stand guard when five rats, the size of big dogs, crawl over the barricade and start gnawing at their shins. They slash wildly at them, but they all get bitten before the rats are put down, and Cromwelds wounds gets badly infected.
While the goblin horde gets slaughtered, the chief starts throwing magical fire at the wagons. A particularly small goblin in cloth robes has remained at his side. He looks frightened when the footsoldiers starts to get massacred, and pleads with Bagnak to retreat. The chief smacks him on the side of the head and continiues throwing fire at the camp.
The worg, who seems to have snuck over the barricade on the west, charges the PC’s from the back together with four goblins. They start to froth as they throw themselves into a blind rage before they charge. Another group comes in from the east, meeting sr. Harlock and three purple dragons. The PC’s kill the worg and a few goblins, before another group sneaks up on them.
With the rats dead, Cromweld charge towards the barricade. The goblins in front of the barricade are all dead or fleeing, and the chief starts to look unsure of his chances. The PC’s hold their own, and sr. Harlock takes some heavy blows, but fells a few goblins of his own before climbing over the barricade towards the chief. Cromweld jumps after him. The small robed goblin casts a spell that summons a huge cloud of fog in front of the barricade, and vanish into it.
Sr. Harlock swing his sword towards Bagnak, and cuts off his arm at the shoulder. He screams, but manages to cast entangle, and roots shoot up from the ground and ensnare the soldiers, the paladin and about half the remaining goblins. Cromweld evades the hostile vegetation, rams the chief to the ground and start pounding his head into the grass.
After a while the goblins all lie bleeding, and the chief is unconcious. Saeyir and Horst walk among the fallen and execute everyone still breathing, while Teryon administers healing to everyone who needs it and size up their losses. Four Purple Dragons and two of the militia are dead, and some of the wagons are burning lively. They organize a bucket chain and get the fires put out, and start to carry goblin bodies out of the way.
Cromweld ties up the chief and hangs him from a tall pole, before Teryon talks sense into him. By now, everyone is dead tired, and the whole camp goes to sleep except for a small guard force.
Note: The players repeated failures at diplomacy and intimidation were all decided though rolling of the dice, and may be the biggest blunder i have seen in my brief carreer as a DM.
Note number two: Once again, the goblins were a mix between warriors, rogues and barbarians of different levels led by two druids, instead of the usual lvl.1 warrior from MM.
Note number three: Yes, a lot of the interaction between the PC’s give me headaches. Some of it is just priceless, though.