The Crone and The Halfling’s Homestead
Many distances we travelled in search of Zog’s lost kingdom, must be nearly all the way across Echo Wood.
There’s three of us. There’s me and Bats. We’ve been sent by the chief (although I’m sure the boss female had something to do with it, to remove her competition from the tribe).
Reeda’s in charge. He wears a hat and can read! No wonder they sent him away. He has an awfully dangerous imaginary friend called Slasher that looks like a stinky dog.
Jimbob also has an imaginary friend, a big lizard called Slinker. It can walk on ceilings!
And sometimes Gobbledygook turns up. We often can’t find him. We calls him Gook ‘because he’s got such a stupidly long name. Gook the Spook? He wears black and hits things. Normal goblin, then.
Just before givin’ up, we snucked up on a human tribe settlement called “Thornkeep”. We managed to stay hidden as a nasty female elf was pleading with the humans about somethin’. I think they may have been planning on eating her or her friend. Dull humans did not see us as we snucked about, not even noticing where the thrown stones were coming from.
We saw theres was goblins walking round the place, in full view of the humans! This is unnatural an’ needs investigatin’. We speak to one of the little runts, ‘oose name I didn’t bother to ask. He explained that Great Chief Graalsk was in charge and worked with the humans! Must be a complex scheme by a sneaksy goblin to kill them all. We go to meet the Great Chief.
He’s big. He has a female but I’m sure he can be convinced to change, especially if she meets an unfortunate accident. If a play this with waitin’, I could be the boss female of a tribe that can tell humans what to do! I can’t get him alone now but perhaps proving myself first may be best.
Great Chief Graalsk tells us that one of Zog’s palaces was below the Thornkeep’s chief’s hut on the hill at the centre of their camp. His mate’s cagebrother went in a couple of days ago. He tells us where, and asks us to look out for his brother-in-law. He seems concerned something may happen to him. If he dies in the tunnels, however, this will weaken the boss female and increase my chances of taking over. Accidents can happen.
We head off to the Goblin Bazaar to stock up before following this lead.
Whilst buying food, we hear a wailing coming from an old crone goblin. She looks at least 23 years old! She says her daughter was killed whilst trying to trade with the halflings of Woodbristle Homestead when they set their accursed dogs on her. You just can’t trust those halflings. Following the ancient tradition that you always do what an old crone says when you meet them, from carrying her across a river, carrying her firewood, or kissing her, we decide to get vengeance on her behalf. She offers us some magic gloves as well if we succeed.
We immediately head of on the long and arduous journey to the Woodbristle Homestead.
The homestead is burrowed into a hill that is surrounded by a dense thicket for defence. We can also hear the barking of at least three dogs somewhere inside.
I summons Bats whilst the others enter the lair with their two imaginary friends. Dunno where gook’s gone. Reeda, either being really clever or really stupid, chooses not to wait for dark, the usual goblin play time.
I fly round the homestead on Bats and notice a smoke-hole and two other entrances. Landing to block the chimney with my bedroll, I re-mount and resume patrolling. I feel vulnerable not doing this at night and Bats is also uncomfortable flying in the open in daylight.
A long time passes, but I start to see smoke coming out under the door of one of the furthest entrances. Eventually a door opens and a Halfling comes out with three dogs. All three dogs rush into the same entrance the others goblins went through, whilst I drop an exploding bat on his head. He emerges singed but very much alive. He uses a sling to throw a stone at me as I hit him with another two bombs from above. He uses a potion to heal himself before running into the tunnel after the dogs.
I land and look down the tunnel. The others are fighting the dogs whilst the Halfling (we later learn his name was Divram) stands behind them. I throw another bomb down the corridor at him with splashes of fire hitting the rear two dogs. Another bomb quickly follows. Divram charges towards me, but I take off again on Bats before he gets to me.
Having run out of exploding bats, I shoot at him with my crossbow but miss.
Slasher them comes running out of the burrow and brings Divram to the ground, but being well trained leaves him whole for hanging or curing. Gook runs out soon afterwards and whilst I fly above, Gook proceeds to loot Divram. I suppose he likes the black leather armour and shortsword – should I tell him it’s only soot from my bombs? I can always resize the armour later as Halflings are such a weird shape with very small heads and ears. Divram also had another magic healing potion that disappears into a deep goblin pocket.
I unblock the chimney and we find another four halflings collapsed unconscious in the fire room. We despatch them and hang them in the larder with Divram and the dogs, as well as another two halflings the others apparently encountered inside.
We decided to take over the Homestead as our new home. Piling all the stuff we don’t want in a handcart, we set off for the long journey back to the Goblin Bazaar to sell our loot and collect our reward.
We manage to trade the loot for 108 pieces of gold. Reeda and Jimbob invest in a pair of goblin dogs so we can start training our own guard dogs for our lair. These and the goblinbriar palisade should make for formidable defences.
It turns out the magic gloves offered by the crone are cursed. Should have remembered the end of the stories I have heard.
The “kitchen” will make an excellent laboratory for my studies, and Bats seems quite at home sleeping in the smoke-hole. Even some of the halfling supplies are useful. They also have an abundant fungus garden with tasty mushrooms and ingredients. I’m sure Bats’ guano will be a great fertiliser for them.
(27 gold pieces each and 250xp)