April 30, 2012

Bizarre Safari: A Traveler's Guide to Goblin Land, Pt.2

Excerpts from a strange travel book left at the Abbey of St. Emmet within Jeff Rients' Wessex campaign "A Surfeit of Lampreys", as written by my character, Vithujin the Elf.

Down and out in Goblinville

When we first arrived this place was much different.  There was no goblin merchant, and the entire village was abandoned.  Just a collection of broken hovels at the bottom of a crater surrounded on all sides by a steep incline.   The looted shacks were either falling apart or burnt to ash; it was a ruined ghost town.  Around the perimeter of this village are eight passages dug into the steep incline at the bottom of the crater.  The portal we came through was one of these.  I know that a few of these lead back to various parts of the dungeons under Dundagel.  Perhaps they all do.

Artwork by Illeander
Turg (our goblin guide) explained to us that many of his kinfolk had been captured as slaves by the brown skinned people with three eyes or killed by purple skinned raiders.  With their numbers dangerously low, the remaining goblins decided to cross the runestone portal and seek safety within the dungeons of Dundagel.  A desperate plan indeed.  Some of the purple raiders pursued them and crossed into our world as well.

That was when we stumbled upon the pack of goblin survivors.  We knew nothing of their plight, of course.  The first words we heard from them were not greetings but the magical mutterings of their shaman.  We all sprang to action.  I threw my spear at the shaman hoping to disrupt his spell.  It not only pierced his right shoulder, but pinned him against the wall as well.  Then I pulled my blade and ran to finish him.  I'm not in the habit of leaving enemy spellcasters alive.  After that I spun around and saw the fight was over.  The scene was carnage, my comrades had cut down all the goblins save one.  That last goblin wisely chose to drop his weapon and surrender to us.  Thus Turg became our prisoner.

Luckily Fred the Dwarf knew the goblin-speak.  We bound Turg's wrists and questioned him, but suspected his words were lies.  It was decided that he should travel with us, so Fred began leading him through the dungeon by a length of rope.

We threatened to kill him if he tried to escape, but we need not have bothered.  He was telling us the truth; the goblin people were utterly wrecked and broken.  I hate to imagine how Turg must have felt that day.  Even if we let him go, where else could he have possibly gone?  At this point, every familiar friend he had ever known was either dead or enslaved.  I think it would have been cruel of us to set him loose.  Without home, hope, or haven; just a poor lost soul, forever floating, like a shadow in the darkness.  He needed our protection, and he knew it.  He was quite content to be our prisoner.  He even told us that we treated him more kindly than the shaman ever had.  For our part we were not quick to trust a goblin, but Turg proved his loyalty to us time and again.  He became a useful ally, and eventually our trusted friend.

Since then we've found and freed many goblin slaves, perhaps 30 in all.  They seem to have accepted Turg as their leader and have returned with him to Goblinville.  They were an instrumental source of unskilled labor as we built our stronghold up on the edge of the crater, looking out over their ruined village.  We invited all of them to live and work within the safety of our walls, but some (like the goblin merchant) have chosen to rebuild their old homes.  I suppose they feel safe enough within the shadow of our keep, and after all the time they spent in captivity the taste of freedom must be sweet indeed.

Bishop Aethelred has begun calling the goblins to mass within his newly built Chapel of the White Queen.  His teachings have made an impression on them.  They're slowly learning to solve their problems using words rather than fists, the importance of telling the truth, and best of all... hygiene.  They've really taken to the morals within Aethelred's teachings.  Their memory of the bible stories are atrocious though, which we elves (Lankii, Sonoma, and I) find highly amusing.  Our new pastime is to ask the goblins what they know about Adam and Eve or Moses just to hear some ridiculous thing come out their mouths.  Sometimes Aethelred informs us that they are actually telling the story correctly, which only makes us laugh even harder.  We mean no offense, honestly, it's all just so... delightful.

Anyhow, the town is growing and looking better all the time.  It seems that the soil in the crater is poor for growing, far too rocky and hard, but no one has gone hungry yet.  Thankfully there is a forest of sorts growing near the crater with fruit and some small creatures.  The elves we led here are trying to learn all they can about the strange new flora and to expand the forest.  Fred and the other dwarves insist we keep the trees the hell away from the walls of the stronghold, which is fine.  There is some debate now raging about planting some trees within the stronghold itself, but I'll keep my nose out of all that.  I'm beginning to worry though about the great family of feral house cats we rescued from below Dundagel and released into these woods.  The cats seem to be doing well since they are quicker than most of the other predators.  The trouble is that according to the goblins, the small lizards of the forest are becoming harder to catch. If the trend continues I suspect they'll begin to hunt for cat instead.  I think they would be eating the cats already if not for their great respect for Aethelred.  His affection for his cat, Billy White-Paw, is quite well known.

Perhaps we should lead some chickens and goats through the portal next.  I'll ask the others to invest a few coins to help prevent a goblin famine.  I'd buy the livestock myself, but I'm essentially bankrupt now after paying for part of the construction of the stronghold and my continuing magical research into creating the Gommagolem.  If successful I'll have made a magical, slightly corpsey automaton infused with the spirit of my dead friend Gomma.  For now I'm just glad that I was able to reanimate his skull; I can't imagine having to lose any of my closest friends.  Eventually, I hope to have him walking about, sleeplessly protecting Goblinville and guarding the portals that we've sealed.  Whenever I command him to answer, he tells me that he is very excited for the opportunity with his usual understated response "If I must".  He's such a card.

April 29, 2012

Bizarre Safari: A Traveler's Guide to Goblin Land, Pt.1

Excerpts from a strange travel book left at the Abbey of St. Emmet within Jeff Rients' Wessex campaign "A Surfeit of Lampreys", as written by my character from the every other Wednesday night tabletop crew. 

Bizarre Safari: A Traveler's Guide to Goblin Land

An Introduction

Good health and long life to all who read herein.  I am Vithujin the Elf, member of the adventuring group called the Silver Shields.  I am a dungeon delver and obviously no great sage, but I'm no simpleton either.  In my youth I spent a few short decades learning the lore of my people, and studying from the arcane texts.  As a resident of the guesthouse at the Abbey of St. Emmet, I've heard countless stories and wild rumors.  Back then, I thought I knew a little something about everything.  Yet, never have I seen reference nor heard any whisper to even hint at the existence of Goblin Land.  Without any clue or warning, I simply stepped into a new world and saw it all with my own eyes.  It is a vast, unknown, and alien realm.  I feel compelled to document this strange and colorful place.

My companions are not too keen for me to share these secrets.  They fear that my words will encourage other explorers to come and exploit the meager resources we've worked so hard to find.  I hope that they forgive me.  While I share their concerns, I know that others will stumble through the portal eventually.  We have made allies among some of the alien peoples living in Goblin Land, and I would hate for others to kill them simply because they look so strange.  We are striving to forge alliances here, and even a single such incident might ruin our reputations and plans.  They aren't all friends, there are dangers here as well.  Some are enemies to be avoided or swiftly killed.  So, I've decided to share with you all that I can about this strange world, hoping that in return you might respect our friends and help us fight the red four-armed bastards who think they own the place.

Whenever I return to see blue skies and familiar stars, I plan to leave a few new pages with the monks at the Abbey of St. Emmet.  I hope they might copy and bind them, making my words available for any who wish to read.  I may well find my end while exploring Goblin Land.  Perhaps these stories at least can be your guide even if I cannot.

Finding the Portal to Goblin Land

With mystery and magic quickly fading from the Earth, my friends and I are working to lead many into a strange new realm. We call it Goblin Land.  We're attempting now to seal all the portals to our old world, save one.  I'm sworn against providing exact directions, so the best I can do for you is share the few lines of cryptic poetry we've left with the remaining elves and dwarves in case they wish to follow.  Seek us out, noble heroes.

In Goblin Land we'll wait for you. So should you wish to go;
You'll make your way to Dundagel, then down the depths below.
No map nor guide knows where we hide.  Will you find where we are? 
Thresh on the Throne of Melting Flesh, you've likely gone too far.
Within a stark plain corridor the portal can be found.
Carved in the wall and eight feet tall; it's open, large, and round.
These silent seeming circle stones are ringed by glyphs and runes.
Does still their builder live beyond, beneath the triple moons?
The path is blocked, the way is shut, so close but yet so far.
A dwarven metal wall keeps safe the goblin made bazaar.
In center stands a sturdy door now double locked and barred.
This tough blockade is smartly made, but entry isn't hard.
You'll find no hinge nor handle for we loathe to be surprised.
So knock and smile and be polite and soon you'll have arrived.
Here lives the goblin merchant, who I'll thank you not to kill.
Beyond his store through the other door, there lies Goblinville.