Years from now, they will still whisper about what happened that dreadful night. The chaos, the fire, the blood. In hushed voices, they will tell...

The Saga of the Goblin Horde

Since our regular game of Sundered Skies is on vacation-induced hiatus for a few weeks, we decided to gather the available parts of the group and run a one-shot, to enjoy an evening of gaming and keep our Savage Muscles stretched.
Our usual GM is one of the vacationers, so there were two choices left of who would run a game. I quickly withdrew my proposition when +Richard Woolcock  offered to run Saga of the Goblin Horde. We chose from the archetypes he’d published so far, I prayed for inspiration from the Patron Saint of Props, +Karl Keesler , whipped up some pseudo-custom Bennies, made paper flats for our goblins and gangs, and off we went on an adventure! Sadly one player had to cancel due to catching a cold, so Richard ran this for my girlfriend and me.

If you know Richard's work, you know how he has a great way of using existing mechanics in interesting ways. So this tale from the table will focus on both what happened in-game and how it happened mechanics-wise. The adventure ran for about 2 1/2 hours.

We started in the main goblin camp. The chief had received troublesome news. The dastardly humans knew we loved their horses (oooooh, so tasty!), and so they devised a plot to give them an advantage, provide them with mounts, and at the same time rob us of both fun and a great source of meat. One of their druids grew them… rideable vegetables. Of course this could not stand. That druid had to go (preferably into a fire pit).
To choose a worthy champion for this mission, the chief gathered his most trusted goblin band leaders and ran them through a number of trials. Walking a high plank while fellow goblins threw rocks, lifting heavy baskets, and even preparing them for the quest by throwing vegetables at them… these brave goblins were spared nothing.
Richard ran this as a serious of Trait checks, one for each Attribute, with the trial associated to the particular Trait. A simple mechanic solution which came to life through narration (backstabbing, grumbling, cursing, and at times hilarious failure).
Through the power of the Wild Die, Izzy Toecutter and and Maeson Crispyface prevailed in the trials. Grumbling and not letting the other leave their respective sight, they set out together with their bands of underlings to kill a druid. They each had a gang of 4 goblins with them, handled as per usual as Allied Extras. The journey took a few days, brightened up by a few evenings of storytelling around a campfire, where the Interlude rules provided a guide for what tales we told (also, Bennies, yay!).
Reaching the borders of Goblin territory through pouring rain, we encountered a large group of soldiers and knights, guarding a bridge over the river, and for the first time, we got a good look on the druid’s abominations: the knights were mounted on giant horseradishes (at this point we had to take a break for a minute, because my girlfriend couldn’t breathe she was laughing to hard; I already knew the illustration in question).
Our stealthy approach was handled with a Dramatic Task. There were 4 guards on the actual bridge, the rest of the enemies were camped on the human’s side of the river. Each success in the Dramatic Task would allow us to stealthily take out one of the bridge guards, while the fifth success would give us The Drop on the camped group. Izzy Toecutter took the lead for 3 of the 5 rounds, Maeson took 2, and through some nice rolls on Izzy’s part, and a few Bennies on Maeson’s, the bridge guards died very quietly in the rain.
Having the drop on the rest of the guys was huge. We killed all but one of the Knights on horseradishes in our surprise round and got a decent amount of damage on the soldiers, too. The battle was over in 3 rounds, I think. Maeson lost three of his goblins, Izzy came out of the fight without a scratch on her or her people (bloody sneaky ranger types…).
Following the road to the small town the druid resided in, the slightly decimated band of goblins approached quietly again, which didn’t prove too difficult, as the weather had changed from rain to a full blown thunderstorm (I really need to get my hands on one of those “What weather is it?” die Richard brought, that thing is cool!)! The druid was enjoying a night of celebrating his genius in a tavern on the outskirts of the town, a former military barracks.
Not wanting to go from a big fight to a big fight, Richard used the Quick Combat rules to handle this encounter. Izzy and Maeson both rolled exceptionally well (Raises all around!), so the goblins snuck as close as they could manage, and then bum-rushed the party with blades drawn and out for blood! Maeson invited himself to the bar in the turmoil, soaked the whole tavern in spirits and then lit up the night. Izzy sent her men in and took to the shadows, knifing and slicing people from where they never saw it coming. Screaming people, burning people, bleeding people, it was a thing of pure beauty.
In midst of the chaos, the druid made a run for it! The goblins noticed their fleeing target, and since he had a little head-start, they decided to even the odds and chase him via catapult. Did I mention the tavern used to be a barracks? A heavily fortified barracks? Huge walls, built to withstand a small siege? Imagine 6 goblins climbing a tower, climbing into a catapult, clawing at each other while trying to find a good spot to hold onto, and cutting the release rope.
Catching the druid was handled as a Chase. Using the catapult gave the goblin band leaders a +4 bonus on their first Agility roll (chase on foot). Maeson landed fine, but Izzy had some trouble getting the angle right, but that’s nothing the soft cushion of a goblin minion under you won’t solve! Wham, crunch, one less goblin minion, here we go!
Richard brought a deck of cards with suits and numbers and urban locations on them, giving us great directions for the narrative of the scenes. We had a really cool chase through a town in the middle of a thunderstorm. In the end, the druid tried his best, but he couldn’t stand against the might of two goblin band leaders and their underlings. Izzy Toecutter finally cornered the druid in Death Row (an alley famous for a series of gruesome murders - oh how very fitting), and he went down hard, bloody, and screaming, It was lovely. Maeson arrived just after that, took one look at Izzy collecting the trophies she took her name from, and decided it would be much more fun to visit one of those fancy human clubs he had heard about… and burn it to the ground.
Mission accomplished, and a new chapter of the Saga of the Goblin Horde was written to strike terror into the hearts of those feeble humans.

Wow! What a night! Not only does he create magnificent game material, Richard also proved to be a maestro behind the GM screen (figuratively, there was no screen). Great narrative, great pacing in the game, and the adventure was both hilarious and serious in a Goblin way (vegetable mounts! Heresy, I say!).
Clocking in at 2 ½ hours it would be a little short for a Con game, but there’s enough potential in there to make it run a little longer (encounters during the journey, playing the second battle as a full battle).
The girlfriend and I both had a blast and we can’t wait for another opportunity to revisit the Goblin lands.

You can get the Archetypes and updates on Saga of the Goblin Horde in general here:
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