Players did something very unexpected (Burnt Offerings: Thistletop) - Spoilers

Rise of the Runelords

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So I'm running RotRL for a group I've been with for a few years now, and they did something I didn't quiet expect to happen that I could use some advise on how to handle this going forward.

With the use of Illusions, Ghost sounds, really high bluff rolls, and really low goblin sense motive rolls, they managed to convince the goblins that one of them is a goblin fire god. They convinced just about every single goblin other than 2, that they have come to help them. They even convinced them that invaders from earlier that took out gogmurt (because they raised the alarm) were killed by them.

The two goblins I spoke of that didn't believe were killed by the "fire god" with a kinetic fire blast with the gunslinger hidden behind them, shooting his gun at the same time criting them for 4x damage... Because of the loud gunshot and that the gunslinger was out of sight, all the goblins saw was the fire deity smite the unbeliever with fire and a loud bang of noise. They did this twice in two different rooms, one of which being in front of the Warchief.

They convinced every goblin in the dungeon about it, and killed the mercs and nualia. Now they have claimed Thistletop and have an army of goblins to do their bidding. This seems like a lot, and I could use some advice and ideas on where to go with this, how I could use this to my advantage or get rid of the army if it would just cause problems further down in the adventure.

As of the last session, they have not yet left Thistletop.

The Exchange

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I think an army of goblins is pretty cool! I'd probably try to reform them into useful maybe Sandpoint could use a new alchemical laboratory, situated some way from the case of explosions?

I would think that goblins would tend towards alchemy - they might even be able to start exporting their produce to Magnimar.

Or they could become the new goblin chiefs of Thistletop. The thing is that they need to use the goblin's belief in them being a firegod to convince the goblins to reform into productive citizens - otherwise there will still be conflict between Sandpoint and the Thistletop goblins.

Magmimar/Sandpoint would not view goblins very nicely, unless the party can prove that their goblins are well behaved.

I try to think goblins as kids, really.

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I'd think it impossible to make the goblins behave themselves in a long run. As long as they maintain the illusion the goblins will obey out of fear, but if they leave they are going to return to their old ways. The PCs should learn quickly that raiding is a necessity for goblins, most of them have no other way to feed themselves. If the PCs fail to provide them with a source of food and fun, the goblins are going to run away to join other tribes.

Basically, in my opinion, an army of goblins is more trouble than it is worth. You cannot really control them, you can at most point them in some direction and let them do their thing. Which is killing, destruction and creating general mayhem. If you try to suppress those instincts of theirs, they are going to abandon you. Goblins are also prety stupid, and even if you give them a clear rder, without a constant supervision there's a high risk they misinterpret it, forget it, or cause some accident.

You haven't said who your PCs are so it's hard to predict what they may want to do with an army of goblins, but assuming they are heroic characters, you should make them come to a conclusion that managing a goblin tribe isn't something that they would want to do in life.

That being said, with Nualia gone the goblins may be convinced that attacking Sandpoint again is a bad idea, so if the PCs are fine with letting goblins to their old lifestyle of fighting between tribes, they may be able to leave with their disguise intact, and use the goblins later for some purpose. I can barely imagine the chaos that would insue if they decided to lead them to the Foxglove Manor...

Adjoint has a good point. These Goblins are the only ones around and are likely to go back to their goblin ways of fighting other tribes and raiding junk piles.

Your PCs however now have a group they can use for a 1 time buff to make something in the campaign easier, or pull their asses out of a fire. I did this with the Devil in book 3. Party Cleric was unconscious when they meet him, so they worked with him and freed him. I deemed the Devil didn't want to owe anyone anything and saved them from dying to the white dragon in book 5.

Examples hidden below:


Book 2: Goblins would be very useful in setting off all the haunts in foxglove mannor, or in helping clear out the ghouls from the farms, but after all that terror(and fighting goblins that will that have risen as more ghouls) they might abandon their fire god.

Book 3: Taking a troupe of goblins across the country might be hard, but they could be very helpful in assaulting the fort.

Book 4: Goblins vs Giants

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I think this sounds like it could be a lot of fun. Always love to see role play over take brawn. I also love the goblins antics, superstitions, and chaotic nature. My fear from the perspective of a DM running the Adventure Path, would be to ensure it doesnt freight train into a gimmick taking over, or side tracking a campaign to much. As if left unchecked it could break the dynamics of the Adventure path a bit. So I would try to limit this, or kill it, in a way fitting to your group. Perhaps run it as a side campaign, my group used to run a session of We Be Goblins, between each Chapter of Rotrl. Or simply have them come back to visit them ever time they have to return to Sand point.

If they tried to have them tag a long however. I would find ways to have the group become slowly annoyed by having the goblins to close, after all, A Goblins life, is of chaos and curiosity.

- Perhaps a Goblin tries to poison the God, to test if he is truly immortal.
- Tries to cut off a body part and ingest it, to see if they become a god or immortal.
- Set their tent/room on fire while they sleep as it is what a fire god must want.

etc etc..Really anything Goblins might want to test theories on about gods, after they revert back from being awed by a god, to reverting back to their curious mischievous ways.

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I'm not sure I would call the goblins of Thistletop an army - a quick count of all the goblins on the island comes up with 17 warriors (including 5 commando's), 4 goblin wives, Ripnugget and a warchanter. Still it's a dangerous little force pending the circumstances but it's really unlikely to get the pc's very far as they advance in the AP.

1. It's one thing for the pc's to convince the goblins they're gods in the goblin's lair with the use of magic, it's another to persuade the goblins to march off en mass to... Where would they be going again?

2. Certainly not back to Sandpoint. Keep in mind, the goblins have done some pretty horrible things to Sandpoint recently - the initial assault, the horror at the Glassworks, the death of Alergast Barret (in the closet) - so the townsfolk will assume any goblins in tow will be prisoners and might take the law into their own hands, especially if the pc's somehow suggest the goblins are their allies. Violence between the townsfolk and the goblins seems inevitable.

3. The pc's need to keep up the ruse hour by hour and at least day by day. If you are a god, you should be awesome (in a way the goblins would like) every day. So the goblins are going to want to know when they are attacking something - town, other goblins, and when they can kill some horses and dogs, etc.

I'm not really sure this is that big of a deal, pending the pc's intentions. If they're just going to manipulate the goblins out of the way so they can finish exploring the ruins and then depart, then no harm done. Give them xp as if they'd defeated the goblins and move to the next challenge. If on the other hand they want to take some/all of the goblins with them, then tell them they have to make regular intimidate or bluff checks to keep the goblins in line and the more goblins they bring along the higher the DC. And if they fail the check, some/all of the goblins start doing goblin things, like setting dogs, buildings or people on fire, attacking horses or townsfolk, etc. You can remind the players that the way to obtain "low or maintenance-free" followers is with the leadership feat for which none of them currently qualify.

This looks like such an awesome place to mention the Order of the Sewer...

That said, at its most simple, keeping the goblins fed and distracted and eventually taking the Leadership feat should be all that's really needed at this point. The goblins may believe it's a fore god, but they just watched another of their gods (the barghest) get killed, so "God" might not be quite as infallible as they thought - thus they might be more hesitant to go to deadly things that aren't normal for them. That said: they'd make a good goblin-raiding tribe: if they raid other goblin tribes, it could help them eventually integrate into civilization in its own way.

Also, the alchemist thing. :)

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By the way, are there any divine character classes in the party - monk, cleric, druid, oracle, paladin, etc.? Pretending to be a god in order to manipulate creatures into being your minions is something real gods tend to find offensive or blasphemous. Unless, of course, we're talking about a god of trickery or deception...

Even with all my somewhat negative observations, this still sounds like a pretty cool idea for the players to have pulled off. Thinking outside the box on avoiding simply killing everything you meet should be rewarded/encouraged.

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I think you would benefit and enjoy reading The Frostfur Captives. It's a great example of what the party will face while 'leading' a goblin 'army'. I also tend to think it won't be so much a of a power boost for them, even early on. Sandpoint is probably not someplace they could take their army, but I'd say have fun with it and let your players have fun with it.

At the end of the day, they are in an AP about saving the world from a 20th-level wizard with access to ancient magic that ruled with an iron fist thousands of years ago. So, they can either do that, or they can fart around with a goblin army.

Your call.

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I'd try to plug in a side trek that the goblins can help out with. Get some value out of them and show what a ludicrous bunch of psychotic idiots they are whilst killing most of them off in amusing ways.

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My players did something similar with the Birdcruncher refugees in the thistle maze. I made them into a quasi Goblin swarm for ease of play.

Thank you everyone for your sugestions and comments! There are no religious classes in the party so no error there. The arcanist is planning to take leadership and try to civilize them. I will try to show them that it's going to take a lot of work to try and get them to even be somewhat civilized (crazy antics and whatnot - probably killing most of them in the process).

They have not killed the barghest yet, but they will be doing that last part in about 34 minutes as of when I'm typing this. So I'm just waiting to see how they play that last part out. Since they mentioned they were there to stop Nualia, and as the goblins understood it, she was trying to free Malfeshnekor, they are assuming they are just here to stop him from being released...

I like the testing of the diety's power idea, and I'll be using that, as well as noting Sandpoint's utter hatred of them. Thank y'all again!

Shadow Lodge

Our witch has a 'captive' goblin from Thistletop. He and our party alchemist have been teaching him how to handle certain situations (with varying degree of success). The little blighter is basically our treasure room guard now. We're just finihsing Hook Mountain. I'm actually somewhat curious as to what level and class the little blighter is now.

The original party was;
Human Witch
Human Alchemist
Half-Giant Psi-Warrior (effectively a magus with more boost spells than touch)
Halfling Bard

The current party is:
Human Witch
Human Alchemist
Half-Giant Psi-Warrior (effectively a magus with more boost spells than touch)
Suli Paladin of Iomedae
Elf Druid-Rogue

The paladin has some issues with us keeping a pet goblin around, but Pixie Boy keeps his pet under control most of the time. It has been rather decent comic relief at times.

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