Chapter 2: Into the Goblin Forest
Following a trail into the forest, the party immediately came upon a small group of goblins, which they were able to quickly dispatch. And then another set. And another set. It was clear that this forest was riddled with them. While moving through the forest, they were also able to spot several dead adventurers, most pierced by goblin arrows. Continuing along their chosen path, the party came across a group of dire wolves which were chewing on what appeared to be an adventurer’s corpse. Giving the dire wolves a wide berth, the party turned south in the forest towards the sound of wicked laughter and growling.
Coming closer, the party found a large group of goblins attacking a group of brown bears for fun. The goblins had corralled the bears into a corner when the bears’ fear turned to rage. The party then watched the bears begin to tear the goblins apart and decided to join in. When most of the goblins were dead and beginning to flee, it became clear that the bears were not stopping and may even attack the party themselves. Kerry suggested that maybe they did not need to kill the bears and to allow them to pass. Agreeing, and skewering one last goblin in the way, the party moved to the edges of the path and allowed the bears to charge past.
Moving back up the path and skillfully avoiding the dire wolves from earlier, the party came across another group of bears although they appeared to be sleeping which allowed the party to easily move past. Continuing onward, the party came to a stream, the other side of which contained several goblins and a few hobgoblin which appeared to be leading the group. The creatures spotted the party and howled in rage, ready for the attack. The party engaged the group and battle ensued. During the skirmish, it became apparent that in a nearby clearing, the goblinoids had managed to capture two other individuals who took advantage of the confusion of battle to free themselves and help kill the remaining enemies.
After the battle ended they introduced themselves as Snicker-snack, a strange bird creature known as a Kenku who was adept at sneaking through the shadows, and Rex Hamarswang, a human warrior adept at smashing his enemies and pleased to do so. Snicker-snack explained to the group that he had been recruited by a woman named Gwynn in town to find her son, Jonathan. She had said that he seemed to wander close to the woods and then was captured by goblins. Him and Rex agreed to find the boy and the party agreed to join up with them and assist.
As the party was discussing the matter, they heard what sounded like a child crying out from the east. Heading over to investigate, the party discovered a rocky cave which was the origin of the river. In front of the cave were a few goblin corpses and stuck in between the rocks was apparently a little boy calling for help. The little boy asked the party to help free him from the rocks, saying that he was hiding from the goblins. Not totally willing to trust the boy, the party nevertheless decided to try and help him out. Eogan walked up to the cave and began trying to pull the child out. Immediately, the child screamed and slashed at Eogan with his claws.
At least, that’s what it seemed like – the child didn’t actually have claws, right? At that moment several constrictors appeared from underneath the goblins and behind the nearby bushes. The party managed to slay the snakes and fought the boy who continued to attack them. Upon his death, the child assumed it’s true form – that of a hideous green hag. The party then headed west in search of the actual boy they were looking for. They came across another group of goblins which they were able to handle and then, from above them, heard a mighty roar accompanied by the image of a flying reptilian creature carrying what looked like a large boar in its jaws. Eogan, unable to control his rage against dragons, pursued the beast southwest into the forest.
Unsure of where the dragon was precisely, Eogan charged into the sleeping bears that they had passed earlier and killed them without hesitation. He then heard the beast’s roar from further southwest and continued his pursuit, with the party in tow. On the way to the source, and cutting through a few more groups of goblins and hobgoblins, Frazious stumbled into a group of dire wolves, ready for an easy meal. Eogan charged ahead and interposed himself between the dire wolves and his companion. The tactic was successful, perhaps too successful, as Eogan found himself facing four dire wolves alone with half of the party still catching up. Heroically managing to keep the wolves at bay, he managed to stay alive long enough for reinforcements and the party was able to defeat the dire wolves. After the battle, however, the party saw a trail of blood leading west which seemed to be coming the the dragon’s meal. And so, after recovering, the party headed on.
Moving westward, the party was able to see the dragon, apparently a wyvern, munching on the last of its boar snack. Still consumed by blind rage, Eogan charged in. The battle was over seemingly as soon as it began – the wyvern attempted to take off but was prevented by a perfect shot from Kerry’s bow, striking the wing joint and grounding the wyvern permanently. The rest of the group was able to make quick work of the creature and Eogan was sated… for now.
Having slain the wyvern, the party continued their search for Jonathan into the woods to the south. Along the way, they passed a group of bears fishing at a stream but as they turned westward, they began to hear wicked laughter and howls of some kind of beast south of where they were. Following the sounds, the forest split into two paths – one east, and one west. To the east were hobgoblins and goblins which seemed to be in pursuit of something. The path to the west had sounds of battle and was the origin of the howling they were hearing. After some discussion, it the party decided that they would investigate the western path first.
Turning down the western path in the forest, the party saw a large group of goblins and hobgoblins attacking a cornered manticore. The manticore had taken flight but was injured and had been slinging its spines at its attackers and so it was only 10 feet off of the ground. While the goblins were attacking the manticore, Snicker-snack crept through the bushes and ambushed pond of the rear goblins. The party followed suit and began attacking the hobgoblins and goblins which now faced the choice of the adventurers at their backs or the literal monster in front of them.
The party quickly managed to whittle the creatures down, but were surprised when the manticore began attacking indiscriminately and targeting them as well in an attempt to end any possible threat. The party managed to put the manticore down, however, and began moving back to the eastern path.
Approaching the path, they saw many goblins and hobgoblins actively searching for something. Again, the party was able to position themselves into an ambush against the goblinoids. After a fierce, pitched battle they located a child who was fleeing and hiding from the goblins and hobgoblins. After persuading the boy that they were not, in fact, there to kill him, he introduced himself as Jonathan and informed them that he was taken by the goblins along with several other people but that he managed to get away and had been running. Jonathan explained that if the way was clear, he could make it back home. However, reasoning that this might not be the most responsible thing, the party headed back to Planks with Jonathan to ensure a safe return.
Arriving back to Planks and the Thirsty Pig without incident, the party encountered Gwynn in the tavern who was ecstatic to have her child back. She explained how grateful she was that the party had saved her son and mentioned that her husband had died in the recent fire that burned down their small village but that she would give them his longsword as a token of appreciation. Her and Jonathan then left the tavern. Bianca, the cleric of Pelor which the party had spoken with previously, waved them over and expressed how pleased she was with what they had done and admitted that maybe she was wrong about adventurers. The party then looked over her inventory as they were expecting more need of healing.
They then noticed a well-dressed dwarf in the back of the tavern and headed his way. The dwarf, a merchant named Garin, explained that he and his brother had travelled to Planks to sell some equipment to the adventurers seeking entrance to the temple but that his soft-hearted brother, Arvin, had gone with a couple of fighters in search of the missing people but had not returned in some time. He offered a modest discount on what was left of their wares if the party could bring his brother back unharmed. Despite the fact that the dwarf clearly cared little for the taken villagers but eager for a discount on his overpriced goods, the party agreed and headed back to the forest.