Several merchant caravans and travelers have been attacked so far, and according to the victims, the damage caused by horses panicking at the sight and sound of exploding pyrotechnics is almost as destructive as the goblin attacks themselves. With the last few attacks resulting in severe injuries to three unfortunate travelers, the problem has escalated from an annoyance to a threat. However, as none of the attacks have yet inconvenienced Magnimar (only Sandpointers and other Lost Coasters have been hit so far), the city has been slow to react.
Unwilling to idly sit by and wait for the goblin problem to escalate to actual deaths on the Lost Coast Road in order to attract Magnimar’s attention, Sandpoint’s leaders have put out the call for goblin exterminators.
But after a time of upheaval a few years back involving goblins, giants, and even a dragon, Sandpoint has since returned to being a relatively sleepy town. It doesn’t take long for life to settle down once things return to normal, and with Varisia’s adventurers now more eager to try their luck at finding their fortunes in legendary Xin-Shalast, there simply aren’t a lot of volunteers to fight goblins around. Always running at a lean enrollment, Sandpoint’s city watch can’t afford to send patrols into the trackless expanse of Brinestump, although they have stepped up their presence along the Lost Coast Road itself. The task of wading into the notorious local wetland falls instead to adventurers—be they concerned locals honestly eager to aid the town or greedy mercenaries looking to make relatively easy coin. A few adventurers have already made the attempt, but nothing has been heard of them in the 3 days since they entered Brinestump Marsh, and just last night, another round of colorful explosions burst over the wetlands south of Sandpoint. The goblins are doubtless readying a new attack!
To deal with the goblin threat, Sheriff Belor Hemlock has restored Sandpoint’s old “goblin bounty” after several years of inactivity—it was suspended when a group of eager but too-young adventurers were swept out to sea while in pursuit of goblin ears. The town of Sandpoint will pay 10 gp for every relatively fresh goblin ear delivered to the town hall—with an additional reward of 300 gp for the group who can bring in the head of the Licktoads’ leader, Chief Gutwad.
You each sit in the Rusty Dragon, summoned by either Ameiko or your direct connection to the city. Each of you has been identified as a capable individual, and the goblin menace has become more than the town can bear. Ameiko stands at the table with only the six of you gathered around (plus or minus an animal or two) and addresses you. "Listen, I know you probably have better things to do than run into the Marsh, but we haven't heard from the last group that went, and it will soon come to pass that no one will want to bring a caravan with supplies here for fear of the expense of new horses and new wagons. The city can't survive that, so I'm willing to not only back up the sheriff's generous offer, but also to offer this ring to the one who strikes down the chieftain." She holds out a ring, which doesn't appear much at first glance.
Tall and lithe, the man in Acadamae robes looks skinny but healthy, like a runner. He has strait black hair cascading down to his shoulders, which in combination with his pale skin and dark eyes gives away his Chelaxian heritage. He has a well defined jaw but enough softness about his face to betray his sheltered lifestyle. He sits in his seat on edge, poised like an excited puppy despite the fact they're being asked to go on a potentially deadly mission.
"Ah, how awful! The young wizard says with a touch too much enthusiasm. "Do we know anything else about the goblins, like where they like to make camp or how many there are?" When Ameiko offers the ring he looks on curiously, then reaches out. "May I?" He takes the ring, using his free hand to draw a symbol in the air. "Ickrak'ey arcaniss." His eyes glow a forest green as he begins examining the ring.
Spellcraft: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (10) + 8 = 18
Nodding along as Ameiko explains, the hooded figure in a threadbare travelers cloak, leather armor and a number of knives as well as an odd looking scabbard and sword at his side leans back in his chair, balancing on just two legs precariously. His black hair and brown eyes give him an unremarkable appearance, or would if his Tien nature didn't cause him to stand-out amongst all these Westerner's.
Eyeing the rest of the table, all people he's heard of, "Ameiko, for you, anything, besides whats a little trek through the marshes for some treasure," Looking around the table and then back to Ameiko, "And I mean, I'll do just about anything if I'm paid,"
Olaff listens to what Ameiko has to say with attention... at least as much as he can muster thanks to his pounding headache. Much like the previous nights, Olaff has drunk himself into sleep and the mornings were always painful. Since he was clearly a stranger among the others, he kept a little distance, leaning against he wall. Olaff is a tall and strong man, clearly a seasoned warrior, and obviously of Ulfen descent. His eyes are blue and hair is blond and long, wet at the moment, suggesting that the big man have just shoved his head inside a water barrel. Despite being early, he is wearing his old scale mail with a wolf pelt and his large and round wood shield on his back. Resting in his belt there is a dagger, a throwing axe and a longsword.
"Vell, disagrreing vith ya, lady, I actually have not something betterr to do and to be honest I vas alrready thinking about hunting these goblins... my rrecent 'lifestyle' is drraining my rresources quite a bit." He then looks around, studying the others called by Ameiko. "Vell, if all of ya arre coming, I'd like to know vat arre ya capable of... I do not vant to be disrrespectiful, but a couple of ya arre I bit skinny... I..." Olaff stops himself with his fist covering his mouth and after a heavy breath he continues, clearly having trouble to keep something he had eaten or drank in his stomach. "Sorrry about that, continuing... I am a varrriorr frrom the norrth... a viking as ya call. I've alrready fought many men and even a trroll but neverr a goblin, forr they arre not common in Trrollheim, but I guess they all die the same vay..."
Having said that, he produces a bottle and uncorks it that smells like strong alcohol and takes a sip from it. "Arrgh... still, therre is no betterr rremedy to a hangoverr..."
Ryn thinks quietly to himself, 'well I guess this is why you have been practicing. An actual test of what Sandru has been helping me with would be good.
Ryn starts writing notes then jams his journal in his pack and confidently say, "I will do good goblin fighting Ameiko ."
After hearing the words come out of his mouth he sits down and decides he will follow quietly from now on.
Nikka quietly listens to all the people proudly speaking up.
"Go into the marshes to hunt goblins? Are they crazy??"
She is about to refuse to participate when she realizes something and speaks up
"Excuse me. Do we HAVE to kill the goblins? Shouldn't we at least TRY to negotiate with them first? And, only if that doesn't work, kill them? Even goblins shouldn't just be killed if there is a chance to make peace with them? Right?"
"Surely Leandro won't be foolish enough to volunteer!!"
She sidles over to Leandro and whispers to him
"Hunting goblins? We should let somebody else do that! If they want to talk to them I can maybe help but going hunting? PLEASE don't volunteer"
The player, of course, hopes and expects Leandro to NOT listen to her words and, in fact, hopes that he WILL volunteer :-)
Being one of the skinny boys, Leandro shoots a glance at Olaff, twisting his nose at the questionable manners of the big man. He's wearing layered, colorful clothing in the color of autumn and a blue kapenia.
"I don't know, sis. I dislike violence, but I've never heard of goblins being reasonable. Remember all the problems at the Swallowtail Festival some time ago? They are destructive creatures with little potential for beauty. I think we'd do well protecting the city from them, keeping away those who would pollute the beauty of the world."
And I want to test myself.
He takes a deck of Harrow cards painted in delicate watercolor and passes the first one, the Paladin, to Rikka.
The young wizard finishes his examination of the ring. "Ah, a ring of protection! This will help protect you from attacks." He hands the ring back, reiterating his earlier question to Ameiko. "So do we have any more information about the goblins, like where they might be and how many there are?"
He turns to look at Nikka. "I suppose it wouldn't hurt to give them the chance to surrender, but they're violent little monsters. Everything I've read about them suggests they aren't likely to give up their ways."
Lastly he turns to their ulfen friend with a chuckle. "Your lifestyle looks like mine after exam week is over. A fighter, good! I'm a student of the Acadamae..." He gestures at his robes "...although I focus on transmutation magic, not conjuration..." He gets a concerned look when Olaff pulls out the bottle.
Ryn starts packing up. He thinks to himself, 'I wonder if Vance would let me look at his spellbook at some point. The elves have a long history of arcane training, so it may give me a better understanding of our history.'
"Stop rearranging my bag, please. Spirits always..." Ryn trails off muttering.
"Most of you here know me. My name is Nikka, I'm the daughter of Koya. This is my good friend Jakur. I'm good at talking to people and VERY good at talking to animals. I hate violence but Jakur doesn't mind it all that much. Boys will be boys. Oh, and I have a little bit of nature magic to help us if necessary"
As the round of ale is delivered, Olaff puts away his bottle and grabs one of the mugs, taking a long sip, liking the foam afterwards. "Ahh, this is a specially good ale, even if not as strrong as those I used to drrink back home." Hearing Nikka to formally introduce herself, Olaff judges it is a good thing to do. "Oh yes, the name is Olaff son of Olaff and as destiny decided, ve could be considerred kin, Nikka, forr as it happens my deceased motherr vas Koya's youngerr sisterr."
"Now, about talking to these grreen bastarrds, be my guest cousin, but as farr as I've hearrd, these arre neitherr people norr animals, so perrhaps it vill not vorrk..." He drinks once more from his mug. "And if they do not vant to talk, I'll use my trrusted svorrd to do the negotiations, forr this is vat ve arre being paid to do, being them ugly orr not." He finishes looking at Leandro.
'Polluting the beauty of the world'... for Gorum's sake, this boy's s$#$ must be beautiful and smell of roses, for mines are for sure a 'pollution to the beauty of whatsoever'... He thinks to himself, without voicing it for not to make enemies in a town he just arrived.
He then adresses the self proclaimed wizard. "I'm sorrry but I'm new herre, so this Acadamy of yarrs means s+@$ to me... hoveverr I imagine it is a good thing judging by yarr tone... also I don't underrstand vat ya say about this magic..." He reaches the bottom of his mug and rests it back in the table imagining if some of the others would not drink theirs. "... now, about focus, mine have been drrinking forr the last couple days..."
Ryn just slides his ale over to Olaf and says nothing about it. But does say, "I guess you are cousins than."
Then leans over to Nikka knowing she is usually level headed a less prone to grandstanding.
"Are we actually going to have to kill people? I have only had practice fights. Has everyone else killed before? Are goblins people?
Leandro plays with another card, the Cricket, as he keeps looking at the Ulfen as one would a lion: something fascinating but that you wouldn't want to be close to. "Thanks, Ameiko. You are my cousin too, Olaff, I am Nikka's brother, Leandro. I'm- well, a painter, first and foremost. But I've been practicing fencing since the Unpleasantness, and Sheriff Hemlock says I'm quite good. And no, I've never killed, nor seen true battle. So, what brings an Acadamae student to Sandpoint?"
Watching the color characters that surround the table with Sunishi, chuckling to himself at Nikka's comment and the boisterous nature of our Ulfen guest. "Quite the gang you've assembled Ameiko, well be it more the merrier, if we are hunting goblins I'd rather have a big group! Luckily I know most of you from around the Dragon or town"
Standing up on his chair, balancing it still on two legs, Acrobatics: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (12) + 8 = 20 and bowing deeply, "Friends in case we've never been formally introduced though, I am Sunishi, I assume I'm not from around here, but alas I've lost a fair bit of my memory, but I guess it just wasn't worth remembering! I say we waste no time in starting, the more goblins we kill the more we make!"
He'll slide back into his chair, plopping his boots on the table, leaning back, and eyeing the group.
Wow, the northerner must be from very far north. "Uhh, the Acadamae is the most prestigious wizard's college in Golarion." He turns slightly, facing Leandro as well. He looks like he's holding back pent-up excitement. "The only thing left I'm done with my schooling is my graduation thesis, which I was given permission to study abroad for. I plan to use this opportunity to experience the real adventuring lifestyle! I'll have to go back to Egorian once I'm done so..." He trails off, shrugging. "But hey, goblins are a good start, right? A dangerous menace but something we should be able to handle!" He pauses at the mention of killing. "Uhh no, I guess I haven't." He leans back in thought.
Sunishi brings him out of his head, a smile splitting across his face. "Yes, better to act! Ameiko, do we have a heading?"
Ameiko advises you, in response to your question, "Brinestump Marsh may not be as large as the Mushfens farther to the south, but the swamp is dense and tangled. It’s easy to get lost in the place. No one’s made a really detailed map of Brinestump—there’s been no need, since there’s not much of value within. But if anyone knows his way around in the marsh, it’d be that old eccentric halfling Walthus Proudstump, the self-appointed “warden” of the swamp. A fishing trail leads from the Lost Coast Road directly to Walthus’s shack in the swamp. If you wish to explore the marsh, you could do a lot worse than following that trail to seek out the halfling’s advice." Aside from it being East, that's most of all she mentions.
Following up on Vance's statement Ryn, interjects, "I can think of several very successful Elf and Half-elf adventurers that started by fighting a local menace. This may actually be the perfect way to start your thesis."
Ryn, happy to have said something intelligible continues, "Nice bird!"
He quietly retreats into himself.
"Ooh, the marsh. I haven't been there for awhile. Last time I was there, I made friends with a family of lovely alligators. Hope I see them again. Obviously, I'll have to join you. You all will let me try and talk down animals and even goblins, right?"
To be clear, Vance is human. I'm not sure if you were referring to yourself or Vance there.
"Thanks Ameiko, gathering information so we can go in more intelligently is the best way to start this I think." Vance smiles and reaches to the sleepy bird on his shoulder. "Yes, although she's rather worn out today. I'm sure you'll get to meet her late."
Vance looks at Nikka with a curious expression. "I am loath to attack innocent creatures as well, but I hardly think these creatures constitute as such. I think if we have a distinct combat advantage we can try diplomacy, but in a fight where our lives may be at risk, we go more aggressive. Does that seem reasonable?" he says with a smile.
"The Goblins weren't threats before. We should TRY and convince them. It may save lots of lives, OURS as well as theirs. Maybe we can get some goblins to fight against their chief? Put a new chief in charge, one less ambitious?
I know they're not innocent and we may HAVE to kill them. But at least lets go out there thinking that negotiation with all (or some) of them MAY be a possibility"
"Uh, I seem to have agreed to go help. Oops. Still, can't let my brother and my cousin down, can I?"
As an aside to Olaff
"Nice to meet you, cousin. Welcome to Sandpoint. After this, you should come back and meet mom. She'd love to see you, I'm sure. And you can swap stories of your mother"
Olaff thinks not twice before grabbing the mug that was slid towards him. This time, however, he drinks it more slowly, truly appreciating its flavors.
As all of them present themselves, Olaff could not hold himself from thinking about the current situation of Sandpoint. I wonder how this town still exists... Now I truly understand the reasons some of us raid these lands. This village is being threatened by monsters and the best it can get are these people... a weird elf with no fighting experience, a painter worried about how these goblins are ugly, a bookworm soon to discover the bitter difference between his books and the real word, and this little girl who calls herself a druid and wants to talk to these creatures... Even the druids are different here in the south, for those in the north are actually wise! Only this Sushi seems to have some proper fighting experience...
"Vell, if ya insists in this nonsense, Nikka, fine, ya can trry ONCE. The firrst time ve encounterr one of these goblins I'll stay behind and let ya talk vith it to yarrs hearrts content. If they arre these lovely crreaturres ya thing they arre, forr surre they vill be happy to talk and all this trrouble vill be undone! And once ve come back I vill perrsonally talk to the sherriff and inforrm him to make a parrty forr them the next time instead of hirring adventurrerrs and such..." He drinks from his mug before continuing. "But, lets say they arre not rreally into talking and prrefferr shrrieking and attacking, vell, then I ask ya to stay behind and let me talk to them."
Noticing that perhaps he was a bit too harsh, he tried to calm himself down. "I've alrready talked to yarr motherr, Aunt Koya, the otherr night, son afterr baba Niska died. It appearrs ve vill be not sharring much storries, for my motherr had a fight vith herr motherr ven she vas young and the two had not seen each otherr in yearrs... but this is not imporrtant now, vat is imporrtant is that yarr motherr vould kill me if I let ya get hurrt foolishly..."
"Madam Koya cares for half this town. If your goal is to protect what she cares about you will have your work cut out for you. If your goal is not to not get scolded for screwing up I'm still working on that."
With that Ryn tightens the straps of his armor, fills his waterskin, takes out his compass.
"To the warden's then. Olaff, on the way, you can teach us battle formations to make sure we stay safe."
this little girl who calls herself a druid and wants to talk to these creatures... Even the druids are different here in the south, for those in the north are actually wise! [/i]
Right, my goal in this campaign is to make you eat those thoughts :-) :-)
Btw, loving seeing the internal thought processes :-)
"Vell, I'll trry... I can prromise ya that." Olaff answers to Ryn's request. "Ve Ulfen of Trrollheim learrn how to fight vith a svorrd, shield and spearr ven ve rreach the age of tvenve, and those who teach us arre those varrriorrs too old keep fighting at the Irrriseni borrderr. As ya can see, I'm neitherr of the two, but I believe I still rrememberr the drrills..."
Saying this, Olaff finishes his second mug of ale and rests the empty mug on the table. He then checks if his large and round wooden shield is properly fastened and if his sword is sliding correctly inside its sheath. "Verry vell. If ya arre done talking, I believe it is betterr forr us to leave soonerr than laterr..."
"This Brrinestump Marrsh is rreally differrent than the snow forests, fields and mountains of my home, so I might need some help to see the hazarrds, so Nikka walks close to me." This of course would also ensure that he would keep her under his wing. He then looks to Vance. "Ya go in the middle, forr ya arre the sheep as ve call... the most frragile. Arround ya goes Rryn and Leandrro... just ya three be surre to pay attention to everrything... ya need to stay alive. Vith a painterr, a storrytellerr and an apprrentice wizarrd I fearr ve end up vith an illustrrated book of magical crreaturres." He finally looks at Sunishi. "And ya Sushi, ourr hopping crricket, ya go in the end, taking carre of our rrearr."
"Does anyone speak Goblin, by the way? Otherwise I fear our diplomacy efforts will be short-lived."
As expected, he doesn't trust my skill. But his words are far less offensive than his smell.
Ah yes, the marching order! More than happy to be in the center and protected by bodied on both sides, Vance falls in line. "Well than let us begin, we already have out heading! As for goblin, I speak their tongue. I had been on enough short trips with the nomads that I found it rather useful to pick up the skill. A rather simple language, although their system for insults is complex and colorful. Did you know they have over twenty ways to describe what kind of fart you smell like?"
Bodily humor aside, the group arranges a marching order and prepares to set out for the swamp! Ameiko provides them with rations enough to last them three days, which is more than enough to travel to the marsh, rest a night, and travel back. Anything more will either tax the supplies, leaving you hungry for a day, or require purchase of your own supplies (which is not particularly difficult).
The wetland is a tangle of nettles, reeds, and other swamp plants often supplemented by larger vegetation—cypress, eucalyptus, oak, and willow trees mostly. Movement along trails is at 3/4 speed, while movement through the undergrowth is at 1/4 speed. The aptly named Soggy River is the primary waterway that f lows through Brinestump. The river averages 20 feet deep, while its smaller creeks average 5 feet deep.
Though small on a geographic scale, the marsh is fecund and spooky. Fog often shrouds the place, particularly at dawn and dusk, and animal calls that might be soothing elsewhere take on a strange, almost menacing tone in the dripping wetland.
Map is posted, heading at top of page. Path starting at point labeled "A" is the path if you wish to go to the "Warden's" cottage.
Chuckling at the groups interactions, he'll take one last swig from his mug of ale before nodding at Ameiko, "I guess we're off,"
He'll dust off his cloak, raise the hood before stepping outside. Frowning a bit at Olaf's mention of him, "Its Su-Ni-Shi, but I must say, I'm with Olaff on this one, we can try and be peaceful but I've found violence usually goes a long way with these Goblins, kill a few and the rest sometimes run off,"
Leandro spends some time trying to sketch the swamp plants, but he ceases the attempt as the parchment quickly gets soggy. Instead, he keeps a hand on his rapier, getting ready for ambush.
"I believe the best way to the Proudstump's place is to take the Lost Coast Road. Longer, but less likely to get us lost in the marsh."
Ryn flips his cloak inside out. Changing it from the lush foliage greens to the darker browns of the swamp.
"We have to take the fishing trail to the Warden. I hope the path is not to difficult."
Ryn draws his long spear and uses it as a walking stick so it is always ready.
Nikka and Jokur are obviously both very happy to get out into the wilderness. While others seem somewhat spooked by the fog and animal cries, it is obvious that she is in her element.
"Ah. Black tailed egrets!. I should call out to them and say hello. No, my companions would probably object. Think that I was being too noisy or something. Better keep quiet"
knowledge nature: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (2) + 4 = 6
I just realized I failed to subtract 2 from my know Nature and Survival skills (my archetype loses Nature Sense). Fixed :-(
Olaff leads the way with Nikka's guidance. Until they reach the marshes, Olaff walks a bit more relaxed, knowing that he would be able to spot an ambush or danger many feet ahead of them. His shield is still in his back and his sword inside its sheath, for he was told countless times for only to draw it when he was about to use it. When they finally arrived at the edge of the marshes, however, Olaff drew his heavy shield before addressing the others.
"Attention now, everryone. Ve arre now enterring enemy territorry. Something nasty could jump on us frrom about everry dirrection... keep yarr eyes opened... do not separrate frrom the grroup and do not leave the trrail." He then readied his shield and entered the marshes.
Ryn nervously takes a long deep breath and thinks, pushing the the ghosts away and allowing the experience of his ancestors flow through his muscles.
He steps up beside Olaff, knowing instinctually where he should be as the tip of the spear. His posture is different now. No longer does he look like a bookish ugly half-elf but his purposeful pace and confident stance belies that of a seasons warrior.
'Do what Koya taught you, remember your mother's lessons. If you keep focus you will be fine.'
Vance finds his place in the middle, walking with his quarterstaff as he takes in all the nature around him with a smile. If he wasn't surrounded by an armed party it would seem he was taking a pleasant midsummer stroll.
Getting into his position in the rear of the group, Sunishi'll keep one hand on his sword while another scanning the area, listening for anything that would jump out at the group.
Saying to no in particular, "I've never much liked the swamps. . ."
You make your way along the path. The branches seem to encroach on you. A low-hanging one seems to reach out just to snag on your clothing, trying to trip or snare you.
perception: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (17) + 6 = 23
"Uh, somebody is watching us. From the trees. Humanoid of some type but I didn't get a good look at him. Its gone now"
Watching the flank, keeping his eyes peeled.
Perception: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (3) + 4 = 7
His attention is more focused on the bushes and shrubbery aside the trial than on anything in the trees. "I don't see anything, are you sure it wasn't just a bird, Nikka?"
Perception: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (11) + 3 = 14 +3 in bright light
Tiltha Perception: 1d20 + 14 ⇒ (14) + 14 = 28
Vance is about to respond when the stoic bird on his shoulder suddenly comes to life. "CAWWW!" The bird flaps her wings, much to Vance's concern as he tries to follow her gaze in vain. "Tiltha seems upset as well. Do you think it's the goblins coming to ambush us?"
Perception: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (14) + 4 = 18
"I didn't catch it." Leandro unsheathes a thin steel blade on a brass basket hilt, his eyes darting around as he keeps a low guard. "Best case, it's Proudstump, but I wouldn't bet on it."
"If you mean us no harm, we mean you no harm."
Diplomacy: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (18) + 6 = 24
Ryn is trusting in Nikka's peaceful plan, but the spirits are unhappy.
Hawk familiars have bananas perception and you can make them figments to get another +8
Indeed. Although at the moment, despite having 6 int, Tiltha has no way to communicate what she has seen despite showing distress. So she caws unhappily.