Tuesday, October 1, 2013
The Front Gate
Here's the skinny: fresh from a random encounter with a wyvern (which they survived by sheer luck), this level 2-3 party retreat to a nearby hill to surveil the Cold Hill Warriors—the real reason they were in area to begin with. The Cold Hill Goblins are a successful raiding tribe of hobgoblins leading a great number of lesser goblin folk in soldierly order.
They've done a great deal of damage to the regions around their stronghold, having sponsored a human bandit camp (which the Blades wiped out a while back) as well as conquering smaller goblin and hobgoblin tribes to bring them under a single federated rulership.
The Blades discovered the goblin camp amongst the northern fringes of the Cold Hills: partly positioned atop the spire of stone (all the hills in the region are large spire-like formations of rust red slate and red soil, Haldera is mostly high desert) the tents were immediately struck after the wyvern attack. Exploring the hill in the wake of this, the Blades discovered a cave with a tunnel hewn in the back leading beneath the hill—thus began their assault on one of the main two gates of the Cold Hills Goblins.
It did not go well. At first things were smooth: a large portion of a patrol was slept and the rest quickly slaughtered. However, the noise brought more goblins and hobgoblins up from the deeps. Unlike the normally disunited fighting of kobolds, orcs, or goblins alone, they were organized and well drilled. The Blades repulsed the first attack with a grease spell and some swordwork, barring the way... until the hobgoblins burst through and began to force entry into the room.
This resulted in a route which would have become a slaughter had the wizard Freydun not turned around to torch the leading two hobgoblins with a burning hands and force the rest to hang back while the party made good its escape.
What's the moral of this story? That goblins can hear, and when they hear fighting they respond. That well organized enemies are much more dangerous than loosely organized enemies (if the hobgoblins hadn't been clever and defensively emerged from the tunnel into the forechamber and instead had been bottled up, or hadn't used ranks of deep spears to make the most of their attacks, the PCs would have been able to make a brutal slaughter of the 12-strong unit that, in this case, actually drove them out of the hill) and that plans are better than fly-by-night attacks.
Of course, now that the Blades know some things about the hill they'll likely not return through the Front Gate... and may in fact come back with extra sword-arms, extra firepower, or extra levels. They learned a valuable lesson today: a lesson in caution.