Locket of the Honey Goblins, part one

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Welcome to the first adventure in this new campaign, and my first Dungeon World game. I specifically looked for players who were curious about D&D but had never played role playing games before, and for three of the four players they had no paper-and-dice rpg experience (some computer rpgs). I will introduce the characters and then we’ll start the adventure that emerged from our play.

Wolfric Shadowfear, human cleric of Azure, god of knowledge and hidden things, from the city of Whyteruun. Rook, halfling thief, came by thieving accidentally, being the child of a baker who fell in with bad friends, is also from Whyteruun. Tsafnur the human bard is from city of Arc Umber in the far-off land of Regnad. Chameleon the halfling druid from the Enchanted Forest, far away and thought by most to only be a legend.

Rook runs with a mixed gang of halflings and humans, led by a human who has no known name (but some just call him “Nameless”), who specializes his trade in secrets. Nameless has sent her to recover the locket of an adventurer who ventured to take on the honey goblins and never returned. He has provided instructions:

“The entrance to the lair of the honey goblins is on Old Wraith Road, past the ruined church of T’chalik the Unnerving. It is hidden in the wood off to the left of the road (which is barely more than a deer path, overgrown with brambles), but not hard to find as the goblins go back and forth frequently, wearing a path. You can also find it by the smell, since all of this tribe of goblins reek of rotting flesh.”

“Save yourself an early death and go past the main entrance to their warren. A few hundred paces further down the road you’ll see a low hill rise from the woods on the left. At the top of the hill there is a crack in the stone of the hill large enough to climb down comfortably, especially if you have a knotted rope. Don’t climb down if there is smoke coming out, as this is the improvised chimney of the goblins’ kitchen. If you go around midday the kitchen should be abandoned and the fire out. Wear old clothes (it’s filthy) and try to hold your nose as their kitchen reeks even more than the goblins do.

“Once you are in the kitchen, follow the main passage to a small cave full of pointy rocks. Again, at midday this should be empty of goblins. Take the passage to the left. This should lead you to where the locket is. Bring it back to me for your payment, along with ten percent of whatever else you loot along the way.

“This is a cakewalk, don’t screw it up.”

Rook doesn’t completely trust Nameless or his information (if it were really that easy, he would get it himself), so she invites some friends along for moral support. The party finds the chimney, shimmy’s down the rope they brought, find that the kitchen really does smell unbelievably, blindingly bad (Tsafnur grabs one of the many jars of runny black honey that are scattered around the kitchen) and make it about halfway down the main passage before things start to go sideways.

In the passage are two doors, one well made and the other ramshackle and barely blocking the doorway. Behind the ramshackle one are obviously a dozen or so goblins, snoring loudly. Ahead in the cave of pointy rocks (stalactites and stalagmites), several goblins are spending their free time the way goblins traditionally do: by jumping up and down screaming goblin songs. Apparently the sleeping goblins are very deep sleepers to carry on though this cacophony, and their snores are very loud to be heard over the screaming/singing goblins.

Observing large cracks and crevices all over the caves and passages, some of which appear to have been widened into tiny passages, Chameleon transforms herself into a giant rat to explore past the screaming goblins. She smells many other giant rats nearby, who are bound to be hostile, but gets past the cave without incident. It turns out there are two passages to the left, as well as a passage to the right, one roughly across from the kitchen passage, and of course the one back to where her friends are hiding. She checks out the nearer of the two leftward passages, which slopes downward, quickly getting both steep and very broken and treacherous. She scampers back through the ratholes to rejoin the party and describe what is ahead.

In an attempt to clear the cave, Wolfric uses his holy magic to cause one of the goblins furthest from them to become deathly afraid of a particularly large stalagmite and it runs screaming from the cave. The others, startled and not sure what he was frightened by, also run from the cave, mostly along the far passageway, but some down the rightwards passage.

The party hurry through the cave and start down the sloping passage, but are spotted by a goblin who raises a hue and cry, but none of the goblins are certain yet just what they were spooked by, so they are in no hurry to return to the cave until they have gathered vastly overwhelming numbers, which they begin to do.

The party gets down the passage which turns to rough stairs and then broken fragments of rock along a cliff that are just stairlike enough to keep going. Knowing there was a pack of goblins organizing behind them helped with the going got tough. Getting back up may be a problem, some of the “stairs” are nearly as tall as the halflings.

At the bottom they discover that among the rough, treacherous floor of shattered rocks are a substantial number of bones, mostly goblin by the look of them, but definitely some other humanoids among them. The cave they are now in is roughly 30 paces wide and 20 paces across from the stairs to a curtain wall of wavy flowstone. The curtain wall does not completely reach the floor, and by laying on their bellies the adventurers should be able to squirm under it without trouble. Not seeing any immediate threats on the other side, and hearing the goblins’ shouting come closer, they do go under the wall.

On the other side is a vast cavern, sloping slightly up to their left and slightly down to their right. Their torch does not illuminate any wall or ceiling except the wall they just climbed under. Ahead they can hear running water, and in the distance what could be a waterfall. Sounds echo faintly here, but it is very hard to get a good idea of just how big the space is. The rough ground here is almost entirely covered in bones and bone fragments.

Wanting to put more distance between themselves and the goblins, the party moves straight ahead, and as they walk they see a stream flowing from left to right at the edge of their torchlight. As they approach the stream, some of the bones in front of them move and rise, assembling themselves into three humanoid skeletons with bone spears.

Written on August 17, 2016