Erntezeit 7th Morning at Gronenborn Farm
Act 1 – tracking goblins
Otto goes to take word of delay of the rest of party back.
The Streissen Men set off with their guide teenager Josef and some rations (most 4 days, Erasmus 2 – provided freely by the grateful Gronenborns) on a clear and sunny day. They traverse the open terrain of the valley and the woods, entering the rougher wooded hills to the south.
After a bit over 3 hours travel, they find the goblin trail in the wooded hills (easy check to see how long it took – no time at all) and follow. Matthias is in the form of a grey wolf ranging ahead. They find signs the goblins camped about an hour on from where they pick up the trail. The goblins likely camped during the day yesterday and moved on at dusk, likely being camped a “night’s travel” somewhere ahead – they seem to be setting a normal pace.
Wolf-Matthias and Harek both search about the camp and confirm 50 or so goblins, perhaps 10-12 wolves and that some goblins were carrying something heavy and they see signs of something stacked in the camp – Harek thinks from the impressions left it’s some sort of simple mechanical object being carried disassembled.
At dusk the trackers camp, having come about 5 miles from where they picked up trail. Their routine watch pattern is followed (Raz, Matthias, Harek, Brun). The night is dark under the trees (it being just after dark of moon as well) but nothing disturbs them. They set off again following the trail – a light rain starting to fall. The goblins are still sticking to the wooded hills and heading more or less west along the south side of the valley.
Erntezeit 8th, woods (-1 rations) the party continues on through the wooded hills. Matthias fails to transform into wolf form, the spell escaping him today [narrative Act only one try].
They pass the headwaters of the stream the Raebel Farm lies on, and Josef is relieved to see the goblins carried on and did not head down it. Another goblin campsite is found and other signs of goblin passage – dung, a dead goblin knifed in the back, a dead goblin with head bashed in, small animals that were mutilated – the sort of things a large group of goblins leave behind.
In early afternoon they find the goblins are leaving the hills, which curve more to the south now, and keeping on a westerly course now through lightly wooded terrain. Josef recounts that there’s nothing close by in this direction – only the northern end of the Trauerwald (a deep old forest some say is haunted though hunters say it’s just wind in trees) and the Hohlhűgel – burial mounds of the ancient wood people that are avoided as haunted (there seems to be a recurring theme in local folklore “place you don’t go” = “haunted”).
Hoping the goblins have lit another fire for their camp, the trackers pick a tall tree that they hope will give a view down over the woods ahead. Brun fails to climb the rain-slicked trunk (Easy 1 misfortune) but Harek manages to find purchase. Looking ahead he does see a faint wisp of smoke – on a line that suggests the goblins are going to pass through, or are heading for the Hohlhűgel.
Plotting whether to try to overtake and get head of goblins or not the trackers realize the goblins have not moved as far as they could through the lighter terrain, which is one reason they have this option – the goblins camped last night just a bit short of the Hohlhűgel.
Pushing themselves just a bit, the trackers follow after but position themselves to the north of the goblin camp (thus between goblins and valley’s farms rather than other way around). They can see the Hohlhűgel, a small region rolling low hills with only a few stunted trees. They set a watch again.
(-2 rations cumulative, at this point Raz is out of food, other Streissen men have 2 days left, Josef has 3 days left)
The night of 8th, Raz doesn’t see anything on his watch. Matthias notes there a bonfire or similar source burning in the hills – the actual source is obscured but he can see the light flickering against hillsides. He also makes out small dark blurs – a band of goblins heading up from their camp into the hills, but only 8-12 (judging by size of dark smudge he is seeing cross the hillside). A bit later he sees a similar dark blur moving into the hills from north of where the trackers are camped – more goblins. Some sort of rendezvous, which the trackers suspected might be happening as they have seen evidence of different goblin tribes cooperating.
On Harek’s watch, Matthias tells him what he has seen and Harek takes over. The wind is picking up and rain is starting to fall harder, in the distance lightning can be seen – a storm is blowing in. Harek sees an unnatural blast of purple energy from the site where the fire flickers and a loud “boom” echoes – waking up his comrades.
It is very early on the night of the 9th (Brun got nearly a full rest, everyone else is a bit short of one, no immediate effect).
Act 2 – what are those goblins up to?
The trackers decide to use the cover of the storm (which makes observing movement in the hills harder) to get closer. Matthias shifts to wolf form successfully and goes a bit ahead as they investigate the site of flames. They pass over the low outer hillocks and see, amidst stunted trees, the central mound on which stand some menhirs – one partly toppled and the platform for the fire and a goblin haranguing the others.
There are three groups of goblins being harangued, each keeping to themselves. The ones the trackers followed, dark robed night goblin ones (the centre goblin appears to be one of these) and a third group. The goblin doing the talking has several larger goblin bodyguards and apparently can reduce troublemakers to a small burnt-out crater with “booming” purple blasts if a reference to recent events is properly understood.
The three groups are each digging and uncovering what turn out to be wagons previously buried under tarps and leaves, and then sorting through (in typical goblin “me first” fashion) the contents – bits of armour in all, crossbows in another, casks of what could be blackpowder in another and clay pots of something else in a third.
The haranguing goblin gets disgusted with trying to make himself understood (apparently each tribe has its own dialect) and resorts to pidgin Reikspiel allowing the watchers to understand (mostly) what he is saying as he lays out “the cunning plan” to burn crops, blow up something “humies” will be sad about, and kill anyone trying to leave valley but let anyone entering come in. [more details than that Players will have to recall – they are free to post to share etc.].
The goblins are still sorting out their allotted goodies as we break – still the same Act to resume in a few weeks.