The party has slain five goblins in the wilderness east of Pine Cove. Talk turns to the next course of action. Elroy Wick thinks group should return to the village and wait for the mysterious interloper to show itself. Magnus believes the group’s mandate is not to identify the watcher in the woods, but to hunt and kill goblins. Goa Finnbjorn and Yorgenson Uberson have no opinion about what to do next.
Corun Dum’man has a sensible idea. The Wizard suggests the party retrace the human tracks they had been following, to where those tracks split off from the bear prints. It seems unwise to remain in this spot, lest goblins return. And it would be midnight before the party would reach Pine Cove were they to strike out for there, leaving no chance of observing the village surroundings at dusk.
The party follows Jorgen back toward the fork in the tracks. The group makes a (Listen DC = 20) check. Goa and Corun succeed; they hear a distant sound of barking animals. They attempt to determine direction. The Rogue has no idea, but the Wizard (Listen = 17) believes the sound to be coming from behind the party. As the noise grows closer and louder, Corun, Yorgenson, and Wick try to discern (Knowledge : Nature = 11, 11, 9) what type of animal is making the sound. They cannot tell.
The party picks up it’s pace, considering its options for defensible positions should wild beasts overtake them. Something is almost certainly tracking them. A sense of panic sets in.
Then come a lucky break. From a change in pitch of the barking (Listen DC = 20), most of the party can tell that the animals are veering off from what sounded like a direct chase.
After a half-hour, the barking has grown considerably fainter. Then it cuts out entirely. By this time Jorgen has led the group back to the place where the bear and human prints parted ways. It is a decent site to camp, and defend if need be. Not long after they are set up, comes dusk and then darkness.
On first watch, spellcasters Yorgenson and Corun again hear baying animals, faintly and then slightly louder. The sound echoes in the forest so they cannot establish a direction or distance.
On second watch, Goa and Magnus initially hear nothing out of the ordinary. Then, midway through their shift, the Halfling Rogue thinks she hears the familiar barking sound again, but this time also the sounds of combat. Goa listens harder. Most unexpectedly, she hears individual animals’ barks silenced one after another, until suddenly there is no sound at all.
On third watch, Armst, Jorgen and Wick hear nothing at all from the dark woods off in every direction.
Morning comes. The group rises from sleep, and the camp is disassembled. Goa believes she knows what direction she heard the combat. The Halfling leads unstealthily (Move Silently = 12) and the party follows behind, at her reduced pace.
This slow meander through the forest drags on for almost three hours. The party tramples over or around low hills as the terrain and foliage allow. Then, the party comes in sight of a clearing. All but Corun succeed on a Spot check.
Through the forest ahead of them, they see a clearing approximately 100 feet in diameter. In this clearing are the dead heaps of three large, furry beasts. These were Worgs. Wandering between the corpses are three goblins. One of the goblins wears a robe. The other two wear chain shirts and wooden shields, carry javelins on their backs and hold morningstars.
Goa eyes them (Sense Motive = 15) and gets an idea that the goblins are trying to determine what happened to the Worgs in this clearing last night.
Magnus doesn’t care much for mysteries. He hefts his Heavy Pick and stomps towards the goblins, entering the clearing. Goa dives headfirst into the bush (Hide = 30) and promptly vanishes.
The party makes a Spot check; Magnus and Yorgenson Uberson notice a fourth goblin sneaking along the treeline at the west side of the clearing.
Magnus charges the goblin soldier on the left and attacks; the goblin blocks with his shield. Corun casts Shield on himself, and moves up towards the clearing. Yorgenson hustles into open ground, and casts Entangle between the sneaky ambush goblin and the goblin soldier on the right. Those two goblins are tangled up and immobile. Elroy Wick moves toward the open ground, beginning a speech (Perform : Oratory = 19) that will Inspire Courage in his allies.
The goblin in the robe casts a spell. Corun and Elroy make the Spellcraft DC check and recognize that the goblin cast Bless. The immobile goblin soldier puts away his morningstar and pulls javelins from his pack. The other goblin soldier hits Magnus.
Somewhere in the shrubbery, Goa is advancing along the eastern edge of the clearing (Move Silently = 12, 16). She notices a sling bullet zip past her face and miss one of her friends, launched from somewhere very close by. The Halfling Rogue is the only one aware of a second ambush goblin, here on this side of the clearing. The group failed a Spot check to notice him.
The entangled ambush goblin on the west side of the clearing hurls a javelin at Corun, and misses. Magnus Power-Attacks his goblin and misses. Wizard Corun casts Light of Lunia. The Druid moves to but doesn’t hit Magnus’s goblin with his heavy mace. Armst strides into the open air of the clearing and squarely tags Magnus’s goblin soldier with an Acid Splash spell. Maintaining his Inspire Courage performance, Wick unslings his crossbow.
The robed goblin notices Armst and casts Fear upon him. Even with his Bard’s inspiring words, the Warmage fails to resist the Fear effect of the spell, but is resilient enough not to be killed by it. Armst is then hit by a javelin.
Goa takes an opportunity to pelt the goblin spellcaster with a sling bullet. The hidden goblin ambusher is no fan of the fine arts; he hits Elroy Wick with a seriously painful sling bullet, very nearly knocking the storyteller unconscious.
Yorgenson Uberson is still directly engaging the goblin soldier on the left; Magnus takes the opportunity to slip into a flanking position behind that goblin. Corun Dum’man fires a ray from Light of Lunia at the immobile goblin soldier on the right. It misses and the Wizard immediately follows up with a second ray. This shot fires wildly, straight up in the air (with a natural 1 confirmed with another natural 1)
The Druid hits his goblin soldier. Warmage Armst launches a Magic Missile at the goblin spellcaster, easily hitting and swiftly killing it. Woozy from his injury, Elroy Wick continues his spoken-word performance as he loads his crossbow. The entangled goblin soldier misses Corun with a javelin.
Goa, formerly hidden, now sees the ambushing goblin rogue near her, also formerly hidden. No professional courtesy extended, she targets him with a successful sling attack.
A sling bullet misses Armst. The party’s melee fighters chip away at the mobile goblin soldier. Corun takes a knee to steady his aim and fires his crossbow at the entangled goblin soldier. The shot goes wide.
Armst misses a goblin with another Acid Splash, but takes a Critical Hit from a javelin thrown by the entangled goblin soldier. The Warmage drops (HP = -3)
This rallies the party. The Halfling Rogue stones and kills her unfriendly goblin rogue neighbour. The Wizard’s next crossbow bolt kills the entangled goblin soldier. Magnus slays the other goblin soldier. The Druid heals the Warmage out of his coma; Yorgenson Uberson receives a sling bullet in the process.
Just up from a short nap, Armst dispatches a Magic Missile against the remaining goblin, the entangled goblin ambusher. Elroy Wick gets a clear shot with his crossbow, and the bolt does maximum damage, killing that last goblin.
The battle is over. Yorgenson Uberson casts Detect Magic and finds two healing potions on the goblin spellcaster. Magnus collects all the javelins he can find, as well as all the Small-sized chain shirts and morningstars. He is very concerned at how well-equipped these goblins were. Goa locates an extremely shiny, though not magical, dagger. As it is Small-sized, the group is happy to see their diminutive Rogue take it as her own.
Regarding the Worgs, Elroy Wick and Yorgenson Uberson employ a little-known feature of the Heal skill, and attempt to determine what killed the Worgs. Their investigative skill tells them only that two of the Worgs died of neat, clean slashing wounds. The third Worg, most curiously, shows no obvious cause of death.
Wizard Corun looks around (Search = 19) and makes a startling discovery. In among the Worg and goblin tracks in this clearing, there are recent footprints of a humanoid – possibly the very same person the party had been following yesterday.
Corun and Elroy consider the distinct possibility that the threatening presence lurking outside Pine Cove is instead a benevolent protector – first having shadowed a bear or Owlbear that came too close to the village, and now killing off a trio of deadly Worgs. In both cases, seeming to act in the best interest of the village and of their party.
This leads them to question who or what the lurker actually is…
(end of the session)