"Well that was exciting. Perhaps, we should see about the Goblin issue. I will go talk Commander Quaine, and see if we can earn some money."
Alma gets his horse ready for the short ride over to the Mithril Rose headquarters. Upon arrival, he ties up his horse entering the building asking for Commander Quaine.
As you enter commander Quaine's office he smiles up at you. "I heard reports about a fight in a tavern last night, though the details were sketchy. I'd guessed that might have been you and your companions, am I correct in that guess?"
"Well, what can I help you with today then Alma? What are your current plans?"
Finding a guard they direct you to the front gates to sign up for the task of hunting down goblins.
A line of rough looking men and women stand in a line outside the guard house, interspersed with youthful and enthusiastic farm boys and girls who have probably never wielded a weapon in their lives. They slowly filing into the building. Inside several guards acting as clerks are taking down names of those looking to enlist, and turning away the youngest of those hoping to make their fortunes.
Upon reaching the front of the line the guardsman looks you up and down briefly. "Pay is two silver per day." With a bit more confidence in his voice than he showed with some of those who proceeded you in the line, "If you slay any goblins bring in an ear for proof. Just the left ear. You will be payed an additional five gold coins per ear. If these conditions are acceptable to you please sign your name here and wait in the next room for further instructions." On the desk in front of him is a quill pen and ink jar. Several sheets of paper with numerous names scrawled upon them sit on the desk awaiting your signature.
Alma nods in confirmation. "Commander, my companions and I would like to assist with the goblin problem. If we can be of service and earn some coin in the process, we will do as you need. I cannot say that we will be staying indefinitely, but we might as well be useful to your city while we can."
I need the following new die rolls.
4 perception rolls from Alma, Irina, and Warren.
Initiative rolls from everyone.
Two spell craft rolls from Irina, Markov, and Warren.
With your names written down the clerk gestures for you to wait in the next room.
The adjoining room is a plain room with a couple of weapon racks along one wall holding various blades and a few spears and halberds. The room is well lit from several open windows letting in what little breeze there is, but it is not enough to cool the room with the large number of people sitting on crude benches or standing along the walls. A door opposite the one you came through leads back outside. A large map of the areas surrounding Coran hangs from one wall behind a makeshift podium. Several city guard stand at each door. The noise level in the room makes normal conversation difficult.
After only a few minutes wait captain Halmes strides into the room to stand the podium. The chatter between mercenaries, friends, and the like quiets. As does the noise from people fidgeting with weapons and other gear. The captain looks weary, probably a combination of both the heat and dealing with mercenaries for the past two days.
"You all know why you are here, so I will get straight to the details. Two days ago a runner came in and reported that a small hamlet had been raided by goblins. Several villagers were slain, and the rest fled or hid. The goblins also burned several fields, and we believe some homes as well, and left with numerous food supplies in tow. Our reports, which are slim at best currently, was that the raid consisted of around 30 goblins, with several goblin dogs."
"There are other settlements in the vicinity of where the raid took place. We do not currently have any information on whether those settlements are safe. We have two goals we are hoping to accomplish. Foremost is to protect the settlements. Secondary to that is to track down the raiders and either slaughter them or push them back so far into the mountains that they are no longer a threat."
"The lot of you will be divided into four different groups. There are already twelve groups heading to various settlements. The current twelve plus two more will be charged with protecting the settlements. These two groups will consist of companies of forty each." She moves to stand at the side of the map and points at several locations indicating hamlets and thorps along the foothills of the Chaggath range. "The other two groups will be formed into scouting parties of twenty each. The scouting parties are to take all necessary precautions and only engage the enemy if they can be assured of preventing any survivors. Otherwise once we have a better handle on the situation some of those providing protection for the settlements will be called out to strike at the goblins in a manner that can assure victory."
"Your commanders in the field will be one of the following. Aleen Relahy, a skilled tracker and ranger will be heading the first scouting group. Kydus Tanar, a paladin of the Mithril Rose will be leading the second scouting group. Sav Dejer and Calid Lyeran will be tasked with protecting the settlements, both are veterans of the goblin war. The entire operation is being overseen by general Cheina Kest." There is somewhat of a stunned surprise from the crowd at the mention of Cheina Kest. "Yes, the same Cheina Kest who faithfully served Duchess Jumai in routing the goblins twenty years ago. Failure to report to your commanders within three days time will result in your name being stricken from the payrolls. We will make your assignments in just a few moments. If anyone has any questions, you may address them to sergeant Denkin." A slightly overweight man in the uniform of the guard steps to the podium. At the same moment one of the clerks from the first room enters with the stack of papers with everyone's names on them and begins speaking quietly with the captain and making notations on the papers.
Immediately someone from the crowd asks, a slight note of derision in his voice, "Why aren't the nobles armsmen taking care of this problem?"
The sergeant responds in an even tone, "It will take nearly a week to rally them in sufficient numbers from their various locations around the kingdom and lands of the nobles. Runners have been sent to this effect, but it was decided we needed to get protection to those living in foothills of the spine immediately."
"I'm glad to hear it paladin. The efforts are being organized by the city guard under the direction of Duchess Jumai and general Kest. Report to the guard at the front gate and let them know of your intent to assist. In addition to whatever duties the guard assigns you I ask that you take particular care in assisting your commanding officer to make sure any mercenaries assigned to your group stay in line. Sometimes having mercenaries around can be as bad leaving a town unprotected."
1d20 + 6 ⇒ (20) + 6 = 26
1d20 + 6 ⇒ (1) + 6 = 7
1d20 + 6 ⇒ (17) + 6 = 23
1d20 + 6 ⇒ (1) + 6 = 7
1d20 + 6 ⇒ (15) + 6 = 21
1d20 + 6 ⇒ (1) + 6 = 7
1d20 + 2 ⇒ (6) + 2 = 8
1d20 + 10 ⇒ (1) + 10 = 11
1d20 + 10 ⇒ (17) + 10 = 27
Irina tries to get to Halmes, simply to offer her a friendly smile, squeeze of the arm, and concerned, "How are you holding up?"
Diplomacy: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (18) + 1 = 19
Captain Halmes returns Irina's smile. "Exhausted, but otherwise well thank you. And after last night how are you doing?"
Sergeant Denkin calls out loudly, "The following will be reporting to Sav Dejere." He begins reading off a list of names.
Captain Halmes continues quietly under the booming voice of the sergeant. "So you've come to kick around some goblins? I have more trust in you than a lot of these louts" she makes a vague gesture taking in the whole of the room. "Unfortunately willing and competent don't always go hand in hand. If you have any particular role you'd like to play, or commander to work with, just say so, I can pull a few strings on this one."
The sergeant begins booming out names to report to Calid Lyeran.
Captain Halmes face clouds just slightly as Alma is ushered into the room as a late arrival. "I was kind of hoping you'd lost that one." she says with a smirk. "Though I heard he stood his ground unflinching last night."
Since no one has a preference, we'll do it randomly :)
Aleen, Kydus, Sav, Calid 1d4 ⇒ 3 = You are assigned to report to Sav Dejer
Captain Halmes excuses herself from socializing with Irina and returns to the pulpit. "You have three days to report to your commanders." Directions are then given out to the various groups about where to meet up with the group commanders. The captain then leaves the room on other business.
As you are getting ready to leave sergeant Denkins comes over to Markov, seemingly at a loss for words or how to approach him. Finally he stutters out, "You look familiar. Have we met before?"
"I suppose your right, but you certainly look familiar." The sergeant departs to attend to other duties.
The first day is spent traveling the main road that leads up into and over the mountains. Other travelers are frequent, and you are often in the vicinity of other mercenaries going to make their fortunes. Boasts of taking on goblin hordes are common from the younger ones.
An hour or so into the second day you turn off the main road and follow the smaller paths and trails that are usually only wide enough for a single wagon, if that. Traffic is sparse, though many of the people living in the small clusters of homes you cross from time to time are friendly enough. The trail slowly winds its way farther and farther up into the foothills of the Chaggath spine.
At last coming to a settlement where five buildings, including a small inn and a blacksmith, make up the central place of gathering for those who live here. A dozen farm houses are scattered south and west of the large cluster of buildings. Men, women and children ranging from modest to poor clothing work in fields and busy themselves with day to day living. Only a few trees dot the landscape, and the prairie grass is sparse and dried out.
Two wagons loaded with supplies rest in the town center as well. And some fifteen or so mercenaries lounge about the wagons or by the inn, seeking shade from the heat of the day.
A hard looking man in a brightly polished breastplate with a short blade swinging from his hip walks up at your arrival. He looks to be in his mid forties. "You here to help with the goblins? Good, good." He offers a warm smile and extends a firm handshake in greeting. "I'm Sav Dejer. We don't have much to work with here for a proper defense, but not much for any goblins to hide behind either, unlike Calid, he's stuck at the edge of the woods. Aleen is out doing some scouting to the north, see if there are any signs of goblins in the area. I expect he will be back in a day or two. Hopefully we will have a nice quiet week or two though."
He focuses on Markov and Irina in turn. "You two don't look like the warrior type, mages perhaps? I can look a person in the eye and understand how good they might be with a blade in hand, but magic is beyond my understanding. Tell me what you are capable of so that I might better make use of your skills should they be needed."
"Certainly, sir. That is very sensible indeed. I possess many tricks of the mind, able to lull foes into slumber or confuse them with illusions, or blind them with a cloud of thick mist. I also possess helpful magic like healing injuries, or turning a man into a giant. Useful for those warriors whose bodies need to get as large as their heads." She glances at Alma, then continues. "I also know how to mix certain arcane components into compounds that explode in balls of fire. Finally, I have a few protective abilities, but they only work on myself. Does that help?"
Sav listens closely as each of you speak. "Hmm, fire could be a bit dangerous in these dry weeds and grass. We can work with that though, clearing out a line around the buildings and farms. I was planning on having some shallow trenches dug anyway. How long can you maintain your illusions for? If we can spot a raiding party before they get here that might be useful to help funnel the enemy to a point where we want them." He scrutinizes Talyn, "Some aerial scouting should provide us a very nice advantage in getting the jump on them as well." He rubs his chin as he thinks, "What about light? More than likely any attack is going to come at night when there ability to see in the dark will give them an advantage."
"I can maintain that illusion for as long as I can concentrate on it. The best use of it would be some sort of terrain feature, since the illusion has neither sound, smell, or heat to it. Also, its size is limited. For example, I could create an illusion of a creature or hill twenty feet to a side and high, but I can't create one here, one there, etc."
"As for light, I can certainly prepare a spell that makes light, either a single torch that can be placed on an object and tossed anywhere, or four torches that have to float close to each other and can only get about a hundred feet away from me. Tell me which you would prefer, and I will prepare it tomorrow morning."
I swapped out charm person for enlarge person, figuring making somebody bigger instead of friendlier would be a better use of resources.
I swapped out charm person for enlarge person, figuring making somebody bigger instead of friendlier would be a better use of resources.
Which is good, cuz my head is naturally huge. It will be nice to have the rest of my body match it from time to time :)
Irina casts Enlarge Ego on Alma...
"A moveable light might be better."
At Warrens words Sav seems a bit suprised, "You don't have the manner or bearing of a paladin. Healing magic is always a welcome addition though."
During the last few hours of the day more mercenaries trickle into the settlement. Sav greets each of them and speaks with them briefly and promises to put everyone to work in the morning.
The following day as Sav has everyone unloading wagons of food supplies, axes, shovels, picks and so forth woman in her twenties comes into the settlement. She is dressed in a camouflage of earthen colors, a long bow strapped across her back and a short sword at her hip. Her skin is dark from spending days outside in the sun. Sav introduces her as Aleen Relahy then asks you all to meet with him and Aleen inside the inn. The build at the far right on the map.
The main floor of the two story inn has been turned into a makeshift war room, a crude map of the area sitting on one table.
"You find anything out there Aleen?"
Her expression is neutral as she speaks, "Lots of signs of goblins all over the area, they shouldn't be this far south of the mountains. As best I can tell there are multiple bands of goblins moving about, at least three groups. I'd guess anywhere between twenty and thirty goblins per group, and a few dogs with each group."
Sav grimaces, "I hope they aren't moving together, or all part of a larger organization. We'll be hard pressed to defend this place against sixty or more goblins if they are."
"Unless we get any more mercenaries in it looks like you have twelve people with you Aleen to do some scouting, and I've got twenty four to defend the village with." He addresses your group, "You four look to have a bit more experience than the other men and women we've got here. I'd like to put each of you in charge of four of the mercenaries each. The most likely place the goblins will attack is this cluster of buildings we are in now. The low rise just to the north will provide them some cover coming into the area. The locals have been ordered to group here each night for safety, so that they aren't scattered across the various farm buildings should an attack come. We will need guards posted throughout the night along the northern edge, and let us pray we don't have cloud cover so we can get the light of the moon to offer some limited visibility. Each of you is to insure one of these buildings is protected He points out the four buildings on the north. I will stay back here with four more men to provide support as needed."
"Aleen, I expect you will be leaving again in a few hours?"
She nods affirmatively.
"Okay, so this morning we are going to start digging trenches and cut down a few trees to builds pickets. Does anyone have any questions or comments before we get to work?"
You are each assigned 4 four mercenaries with the following basic stats
All other stats at 10
Armed with short swords and short bows
All are human
Enlarge spells have no effect on colossal creatures...
"Of all the paths I saw my life taking as a little girl, leading soldiers into battle against goblins somehow escaped my imagination," she confides to the others before squaring her shoulders and heading off to greet her mercenaries.
"Good morning, gentlemen," Irina says to them. "I am Irina. We've been assigned to defend this building as part of the northern front. I see you all have bows. Excellent! My skills are best at range as well, so we shall position ourselves in the roof. Our biggest concern will be goblins climbing or setting fire to the building. While you'll be using bows, I'll be using incindiary devices and sleeping magic. If you see a goblin fall over for no reason, don't shoot it, it's asleep. Won't stay asleep for long, but it'll help break up their lines. I'll be reserving that, however, for goblins that are threatening our position on the roof."
Irina looks about the south side of her assigned building. "I want to see a rope tightly stretched from the roof to a tree or other building on this side. If our position is hopeless, we will use it to slide to safety. If I order a retreat, there is to be no argument, or pointless heroics. I'll be the last 'man' off the roof."
"As for the north side, we'll need trenches and pickets - short walls of sharp stakes pointing outward. Goblins are short, so they don't have to be ten feet tall. We'll leave gaps in the walls - the goblins can funnel themselves rather than forcing them to break the wall down wherever they feel like it. We'll litter those funnel points with stumble holes and trip wires."
And by colossal, Irina means colossally awesome
"I wouldn't worry about that so much Irina, a lot of things escape your imagination." Alma says with a playful smirk. Taking a more serious tone, "Be not afraid: some of us are born great, some achieve greatness and some have greatness thrust upon them. We will all do well."
Irina, i'm not sure which building you were taking, so I will take the far left building. If that is the one you were setting up plans for, I will take adjust my comments and take the 2nd from the left.
Alma moves to his assigned soldiers. [b]"Gentlemen... Imodae has truly blessed you this day, I am Alma of the Mithril Rose, do as I say and your reward will be great. Let us blockade from the southern tip of our building to the forest. We will setup covered pits that are 5 feet deep to the west. They will be 8 feet wide. We will be sharpen branches into spears to put at the bottom of these pits. We will also setup a series of makeshift walls with gaps that are 5 feet wide. We will position two of you on the room, with the other 2 with me. The two with me will fill a gap. While the bowmen pick them apart.
"We will put a rope from the group to climb down on the southside. If you find yourself running in the fields, do not be afraid, for you are already dead and the gods have accepted you. Now is the time that we show our mettle."
At Alma's and Irina's orders soon the men and women they have under their charge are busy digging at the ground, or hauling felled trees and lopping off branches and making sharpened stakes out of them. Sav remains in the inn speaking with Aleen and those assigned to her charge for several hours before she departs with twelve of the mercenaries. Sav then joins in with the work for building what fortifications can be made.
The villagers largely ignore the work going on, most out in the fields tending to their poorly watered crops.
Here is a list of possible options you can take in forming the battlefield more to your liking and how long each will take. This will assume a long 12 hour workday of labor.
Sharpened pickets, 5' area, 2 hours. No more than 40 total picket areas may be created due to limited numbers of trees at hand. Picketed area's will require a full movement action to move 5' through them. These time frames are for each of the 4 groups, so you effectively have 48 hours of time slots to fill doing these tasks.
Digging a trench to make a fire break, 5' area, 30 minutes.
Digging a 10' pit, 5' area, 8 hours. Covering it over with branches and the like would take negligible time, one person will need to make a survival roll to determine how well concealed it is.
Drag branches and other clutter to make a patch of ground count as rough terrain, 5' area, 30 minutes, max of 40 total grid squares (this is in addition to 40 possible pickets, not in place of)
Trip ropes strung between building, negligible time, 500' of rope available.
If you have others things you'd like to try feel free to state what you'd like to do and I'll figure out a time estimate to accomplish it.
For this first day let me know what grid squares to fill with what given the time available. If you could either work this out as a whole or each of you just tend to the defense of your particular building.
e.g, Pickets at F33, F34, F35 (6 hours)
Fire break at C17-C26 (5 hours)
rough terrain H6, H7 (1 hour)
Sav is also expecting a watch rotation of 3 during the nights, with 8 people on watch at any given time, stretching from about 100' off both east and west sides of the visible map, so roughly covering from B(-20) to B80. Again work this out as a group or provide watch duty from within your command.
Walking towards his group, Warren calls out to them. "Goblins like fire, therefore the most important thing to stop them from burning our buildings. I suggest we dig a shallow trench around the east-most building before doing anything else."
Trenching F48-F58 (11/2), G48-L48 (6/2), and G58-M58 (7/2).
Irina directs her men to dig a fire break from J7 to N11 (on the diagonal), and from J7 to M4.
8 5-foot areas, 4 hours.
Pickets I3-4 and I 7-8, 8 hours
Irina then has a trip line strung between the two pickets, and she'd also like to have stumble gaps dug (basically two or three shovelfuls worth each, not a true pit, that she'll have filled with very loose soil, leaves and water) in G 5-6 and H 5-6. I don't know how long such things would take, but I can't imagine very long. She'll do those herself if she has to.
I'll add Irina's preparations to the map tonight. For the stumble traps I'll effectively count them as rough terrain, with a a low DC 10 reflex or fall prone check for the first few creatures to move through it, at a cost of 30 minutes each 5' square.
Or if you prefer, it's not rough terrain, only has the DC 10 reflex and at 15 minutes each, that is you only dig 3-4 small holes in a line rather than filling the entire 5' square with them.
Still need any preparations from Alma and Markov.
Updated map Added missing fire breaks from Irina. Added a pit trap and two picket area's for Alma.
The day is long and hot, a number of the mercenaries grumble and complain about being stuck in the village slaving away under the heat of the sun. At the end of the work day many of them buy an ale or two at the inn. As darkness falls Sav orders everyone out, and either into their tents or on watch as the case may be.
How do you want to organize your watch for the night?
Watch order of Irina, Warren, Markov, Alma? - going to run with that for now.
As for horses available, there are not many. Alma's and Irina's of course. Sav also has a horse. There are also three farm horses, but they are worked a good part of the day in the fields and may be of questionable reliability.
Part of the supplies on the wagons includes two horns. Those are distributed to a person on watch at the east and west sides of the village throughout the night.
During Markov's watch he periodically sends his owl out to scout the nearby countryside. The night passes uneventfully though. In the morning more grumbling from some of the mercenaries greets your ears as you set about preparing additional defenses.
Late morning one of Aleen's scouts returns on a horse with news for Sav. He brings all of you into the inn to hear the report.
The young man reports, speaking slowly and a bit of a slur, "We found signs of a large camp of goblins late yesterday. The estimate is around seventy goblins and dogs. The camp was only a day, maybe two days, old. They look to be moving south and west." The young man points at the map on the wall showing the approximate location of the camp, due north of the settlement, then runs his finger in a line south west. His finger stops in a forested area showing another settlement. "Aleen guesses they will either hit the settlement Calid is at, if they haven't already, or they will pass very close to it."
Sav addresses the young man, "Go and report the same to Calid, cut a bit further south to avoid running into the goblins if you can though."
Sav then addresses the four of you, "Well what think ye? I'd hate to leave this settlement undefended, but if Calid is facing 70 goblins he is going to be hard pressed. We can stay here and hold the line, or we can risk going to Calid's aid, if he needs it. If we take the supply wagons it will take us a full eight hours to reach Calid. If we travel lightly we can cut cross country and make it in perhaps four. Defend here or go to Calid?"
You have 4 hours of work towards further defenses you can apply to this settlement, then decide how you want to react to this new information.
"Hmm, should we say or should we go. If we go, it will help Calid with the 70 or so goblins which will be trouble. But if we stay, Calid and his men may be wiped out, and without strength in numbers, our trouble could be double.
I think we need to take the risk and help Calid. And we need to travel lightly. Perhaps we will be lucky and this settlement will be spared until we have time to come back. What are your thoughts?"
"There is a high risk to this plan of yours. If you are found out you will have seventy howling goblins charging down on you, those are not good odds. If you can find four of these other men and women who are willing to go with you, I will allow it. It make take some convincing though. Shall I round everyone up for you?"
Sav leads everyone out of the inn and calls all of the mercenaries together. In a clear strong voice, "Our scouts have reported a large group of about seventy goblins heading towards Calid's post to the west of here. Warren, Irina, Alma and Markov have offered to lead a strike force against them to attempt to make an attempt to cut down their leaders if they can find an opportunity to do so, or otherwise to help Calid if they are able. I will let them speak for what they are looking for in terms of assistance from the rest of you then we will ask for some volunteers."
Sav then steps back to let you speak to the group. You can hear whispers and mutters among the small crowd, "...seventy goblins!...crazy...could be suicide...seventy ears to split just between a few of us..."
Whichever one of you wants to take the 'stand', go ahead. Also make a diplomacy check, or diplomacy assist to the main speaker.
"Do not fear my friends, Imodae will bless us this day, and we can strike a critical blow against these rodents. We shall go on to the end, we shall fight in hills, we shall fight in our settlements, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our people, whatever the cost may be… we shall never stop until this goblin threat has been defeated!
Who is with me?"