Dawn breaks over the Black Peaks and our group makes it’s way up a little track through the woods. It’s a beautiful summer’s morning, the birds sing and morning mist surrounds the hills.
Ahead lies the entrance to the mine and a large hexagonal stone house.
Decisions are made and the party decide to head into the house first. The dwarf miners are not too keen on the idea, they want to head to the mine, but they are assured that the mine will be cleared afterwards.
Being creatures of the night, the gang intend to hit the goblins while they rest and adopt a stealth approach, also at the disapproval of the dwarves who are keen to smash some greenskin skulls.
They approach the house. Werner takes point and gently pushes the front doors. They open. Through the corridor and into the main hallway he can see a goblin, asleep on a chair.
Rowlocks steps forward, “I’ve got this.”
He knocks an arrow into his elven bow and let’s fly. The arrow flies true, shoots directly down the hall and slams into the sleeping goblins chest. He slumps off the chair and onto the floor.
The party start to move into the building, “shhhhhhh!”
Werner turns the handle on the door to his immediate right and slowly pushes it open. It’s a bedroom, reasonably tidy, with a few furniture pieces and some small womans clothes. Everyone quietly shuffles in, gives the place a once over, and decide to move straight through to the door opposite.
The building is hexagonal with a circular central hall, so they figure that they will keep moving anti clockwise round the outer rooms of the ground floor to clear it first. Tactically, Wandy uses his magic lock spell to seal the door behind them to save any surprises from the back.
Still being surprisingly stealthy for a group of four adventurers and five dwarves, they move to the next door. Werner clicks it open.
Standing with her back to Werner is a halfling female who is washing up in what appears to be a miniature kitchen.
“Pssst, Gnoblar, come here.”
Gnoblar surveys the scene, nods to Werner and quietly enters, he calmly heads towards the halfling..
“Shhhhh, we mean no harm, we are here to help!”
The female halfling immediately turns and stands frozen to the spot with a look of surprise. Gnoblar continues to be reassuring and raises his hands to show he isn’t a threat.
She looks fearful, but takes a few steps towards him.
“What are you doing here?” She then sees Werner and the others through the doorway. “What is this?”
Gnoblar continues to calmly explain that they are here to destroy the goblins that have been plaguing Grissenwald. In turn, Dumpling explains that she is Etelka’s cook and she has been left here to take care of the place, but hates the goblins and hates Etelka for leaving her here with them. Shes been too afraid to leave and would love to escape, particularly if the goblins are going to be killed.
She’s very impressed to learn that Gnoblar is a physician and is warming to the party, and she is keen to leave the Black Peaks.
Gnoblar rinses Dumpling for all information he can. He learns the positions of the goblins and general layout of the house. He also learns that Etelka left recently after receiving a letter from a weasely looking man. She also tells him that about this time the wolves roam the nearby forest but they will return to the mine later.
Armed with this new intel, the party now have the edge on the sleeping goblin clan, who are already feeling battered from the failed raid.
They continue round the outside of the building going room to room. Through the dining room and reception area, all of which have been destroyed by the goblins and are covered in filth.
At the last large room, knowing the goblins are sleeping inside, they split into three groups and silently converge on the room through the main hall, store room and reception areas. Four goblins sleep in their dirty beds. Werner, Rowlocks and two of the dwarves tiptoe to stand next to the snoozing green skins.
1, 2, 3 SMASH! All weapons are brought down simultaneously and the sleeping goblins never stood a chance.
Before heading up the brightly lit mirrored staircase, they decide to open the last remaining door which was next to the entrance.
Werner pops it open. Its a disgusting closet that the goblins have used as a toilet. Inside are two bound and gagged humans, a man and a woman, who are frantically writhing around once they see Werner’s face.
The groups top negotiater Gnoblar once more steps in, calmly loosens the gag on the woman and implores her to shhhh.
Shes traumatised and beside herself.
They are captives, kidnapped from the goblins previous raids on the farms. Gnoblar replaces the gag as she cries and resists, he assures them that they will return and rescue them. As a precaution, Wandy steps into the closet, lays his hands on them and quietly puts them to sleep.
The squad make their way up the staircase to the second floor. Werner pushes open the door at the top of the stairs and walks quietly into a wrecked room. Benches and tables lay broken and smashed and there are black smoke stains around the area. The second floor echoes the layout of the first and they all stealthily step in and decide which of the rooms two doors to go through next.
As Wandy walks through the room, purple spores are released from mould under the benches and around the ceiling. He immediately starts to feel his power drain. He quickly runs back out into the corridor and covers his mouth trying his best to be quiet. The others look round, unaffected. Everyone comes back out to the landing.
They try the next door, which is locked, and it has clearly been attacked by the goblins trying to get in, but they have failed and it remains fast. Concluding that there won’t be a threat if the goblins haven’t managed to get it, they move round to the next door.
It was once a nice room which has again been wrecked by the goblins.
The adjoining room, according the Dumplings info, will contain the rest of the sleeping goblins.
She’s correct. In go a couple of the dwarves and Rowlocks and Werner, the goblins remain asleep.
Same as before, weapons are raised and in perfect synchronicity, they fall together, slaying the goblins in their sleep. With his back to the far door, Rowlocks hears a noise from the next room.
They know Gutbag, the leader of the goblins of the Twisted Maw, is in there.
Half the group head back out onto the landing to come in from a different side. After three, they bust open the door to Gutbag’s room.
They are greeted by a comical sight. A large armoured goblin stands on a bed. He wears a long red dress over his armor with a pretty tiara perched on top of his helmet. He gestures wildly towards the adventures muttering as he goes. When nothing happens, he shrugs, draws his sword and charges into combat!
He misses Werner with his attacks as Rowlocks takes a shot with his bow from the far side. There is a dwarf’s severed head stuck on a pole at the end of the bed and the dwarven miners are livid as they try to rush into the room.
Gnoblar pushes past Werner and takes a swing at Gutbag with his sword, but misses. Wandy stays at the door leading to the landing and keeps watch.
Werner swings a powerful axe blow towards Gutbag but he manages to dodge it. Rowlocks drops his bow and heads at Gutbags flank gashing him with his sword.
Things are not looking good for the leader of the Twisted Maw tribe. He’s surrounded and heavily outnumbered and his guards have all been murdered in his sleep. He tries to plead with the party in his broken common tongue but they’re having none of it. He backs away towards the corner slashing into Gnoblar’s right arm as he goes, causing him to wince. The enraged dwarves are trying to push into an attack position in the small room, but it’s difficult to get through.
Werner brings his axe sideways with great speed and it clangs off Gutbags shield. The return blow he is not ready for, and Werner’s axe slices clean through his neck. With an almighty chop, his head and diamond tiara roll across the rug on the floor.
“Raaaagggh, fucking dirty green scum!” the dwarves call out as they lay in a few boots and spit on Gutbag’s decapitated corpse.
They rifle through gutbags stuff taking anything of value. His shield is pretty impressive and Wandy walks over and takes a look. With his new magical sense, he can feel magic flowing round the metal. Under the crude goblin symbol painted on the front, a metal axe can be seen engraved onto the front. The miners confirm that is of dwarven craftsmanship and Werner claims a new shield for his armory.
With the key from Gutbag, they unlock the chest and retrieve all the goblins raid loot, which is quite substantial. Unsatisfied, Werner inspects the empty chest. Theres something else there but he can’t work out what to do. He passes it to Wandy, who, with his superior intelligence, also can’t work it out.
“Give it here,” says Gnoblar, but he can’t figure it out either. Finally, Rowlocks takes a look, turns a rivet at the bottom and a secret compartment pops out. He gives the academics a wink.
Inside is a few bits of jewelry and a ring bearing a red crown.
There’s one room left, the locked one. Happy that the house is goblin free they head back. The combined force of Werner and the dwarves allows them to take the door off and they enter.
It’s a study, complete with stuffed crocodiles and bears. In the corner is a bookcase and Wandy is straight over. He’s overjoyed to find a grimoire containing some new spells for him to study!
In the middle of the room lies a desk. They crack open the locked drawer and find some loot and more importantly, a letter.
This must be the letter that the man brought to Etelka before their departure the other day. In it, it states that Etelka and her companion have headed to the Barren Hills to retrieve ‘that which they seek’. When she gets it, she is to take it straight to Middenheim. Our heroes take the letter and all the loot and make a plan for the remaining goblins that are asleep in the mines. If they hurry, they can dispatch them before the wolves return from the forest.
With little resistance and their newly practised technique for slaying sleeping green skins, the party and the dwarves make short work of the goblins in the mine. The dwarves are happy that the place is empty, although it will need fixing up. Before they leave, Goblar uses some empty perfume bottles to take samples of the purple mould that drained Wandys magic.
The fellowship return to the house, retrieve Dumpling, Hanse and Gurda and collect all they can and begin the trek back down the track towards Grissenwald.
The Goblins of the Twisted Maw clan are slain and the tribe has been eradicated once and for all.
Back at Grissenwald they head straight for the dwarven shanty town to speak with Gorim and drop off the miners.
There is much celebration. Gorim is in debt to the party, much back patting and cheering ensues as the dwarves retell their tale of goblin slaughter. Gorim makes it clear that he owes the adventurers and the adventurers assure him that the mine and the house are all his, and to not worry about the wrath of Etelka, as they will be dealing with her when they get the chance.
“I do hope so, good luck friends,” bellows Gorim as the party of four and Dumpling head towards the town centre.
As they walk, they discuss the prospect of Dumpling coming to work for them as the boats cook. She is into the idea, although she is apprehensive of heading after Etelka, but she is reassured by the guys that she won’t have to see her, so she agrees and the Jolly Nobber has a new chef, which Reni will be pleased about!
Once in town, they are greeted by George and the rest of the watch who have been awaiting their return. The residents of Grissenwald are elated to hear of the goblins demise and everyone heads to the Catfish for some celebratory drinks.
Once inside, the place is packed and everyone is wowed when the heroes regale their tale of bravery and battle and how they slaughtered every last goblin that had been plaguing the town.
Spirits are high, rums all round and, for the first time in a long time, The Catfish is full of cheers and laughter.
Nathaniel, the village elder, thanks the party repeatedly and presents the heroes of Grissenwald with a hamper of all the locally sourced produce, of the finest quality, from the town and neighbouring farms.
Buoyant from praise, and feeling good, the guys wave goodbye to the folk of Grissenwald and make their way back to the Jolly Nobber.
As they approach they can see Reni sat on the deck having a cup of tea with someone. As they get closer, Elvis barks and they realise the stranger is Durak, the dwarf that Gnoblar saved outside the mine.
He greets them warmly and thanks Gnoblar, he owes him his life.
Without his medical expertise he surely would have perished. He explains that he has had enough of Grissenwald and wants to head out into the world, and if the party would have him, he would like to tag along.
Now that Dumpling has joined the crew there is one spare cabin aboard. Certain that he would be an asset, they invite him to join them and he once again thanks Gnoblar and goes to fetch his things.
Rowlocks heads downstairs on the barge to place the goblin loot inside the secret compartment that Werner built below. Whilst down there, Reni comes to see him. She asks if she could place something in the secret stash. Rowlocks wants details and she shows him a golden necklace set with an impressive emerald. He agrees and places it inside, along with the rest of the stuff.
As they prepare the boat for sail, the adventurers discuss their next move. They could head to the Barren Hills as they are hot on Etelkas heels or they could go straight to Middenheim and wait for her there. The conversation lasts for some time with decisions going too and fro. Eventually they decide that, seeing as they are not far behind, and that Werner’s bounty for the ogres head is on the way east out of Kemperbad, they would head to Kemperbad then take the river Stir east towards the Barren Hills.
They set sail back north up the Reik.
It’s a pleasant few days sailing in the summer sun and they encounter a few trade boats on the way. The crew get to know their new members. Dumpling cooks up some wonderful meals using the hamper and Durak does his best to help Rowlocks and Werner man the boat. Reni repairs and cleans the weapons and armor, Wandy and Gnoblar retire to their cabins to study and Elvis suns himself on the deck.
About a day out of Kemperbad, they are boarded by a river patrol boat who are looking for an escaped prisoner. After an initial tetchy few mins, and after they have explained that they are traders who have just sold all their sheep at Grissenwald, the inspection turns to pleasantries and the river patrol warn them of the village of Wittgendorf, which sits in the shadow of castle Wittgenstein, explaining that the village is full of inbreds and is best avoided.
They once again give the foreboding castle a wide birth and sail past to Kemperbad.
Certain not to stop in Kemperbad the hurry past the wharf area. As they do, they see hustle and bustle and people gathered and talking round the wharf. The point of interest seems to be the notices stuck to posts around the area. Rowlocks sails close and Wandy rips one off and hands it to Gnoblar.
He reads it to the group. The emperor has made a royal decree that all mutants should now be accepted into society and their persecution is now punishable by death. The party discuss the implications of these politics as the Jolly Nobber continues past the Kemperbad Wharf.