Monday, May 25, 2015

Happy Jacks RPG Encounter Contest, and the Undead Goblin Necro-Sorcerer

The crew over at Happy Jack's RPG podcast hosted an Encounter Contest - fleshing out an encounter area and denizens in one to two pages.  Of course, I started on an entry, then promptly forgot about it until a couple of days ago... Filled in details and pushed it out tonight.  Pretty pedestrian, but hopefully a few details are interesting enough to be winnowed out for use.  Props to Gavin Norman for his Necromancer magic user class.

Accursed compound of the wood-goblins:

The wood-goblin village crouches in the forest near a muddy creek.  Surrounded by sharpened stakes and a rough palisade, the community has been generally harmless, other than periodic autumn raids on larders and grain stores. However, rumor has it that the goblins have taken to raiding and despoiling nearby overgrown temples and shrines.

The village seems run-down, even by goblin standards. No guards man the gate, and the rough cheval de frise that usually block the entrance are in disarray.

The compound interior is typical goblin fare: huts of thatch and repurposed materials, a small storehouse of stone and wattle, an enclosure with a few sad animals (most likely stolen and awaiting slaughter), and a squat longhouse.

Entering the palisade, the party encounters a number of goblins (1d6+4), many bearing odd dendritic scarring. They cringe and mince in the compound and only offer the most apathetic of challenges. The compound smells of death.

Stomping and screeching out of the longhouse emerges the village chief. Or what used to be the chief. Bound by a soul-tithe to a goblin war-god, the now-undead goblin necro-sorcerer remains in his ab-dead state until an ancient relic coveted by the war-god is once again in the unwashed, clawed hands of the goblins. The necro-sorcerer holds the local tribe in fear and thrall, cowed by his undead powers, and goaded to seek this object of his desires.  He is thoroughly insane...

Babbling and screeching, he commands his tribe and other minions to attack.


HD 5 (d6)/ HP 19, AC 6/13, Atk; Ray of Pain (3/day), Dagger +1; undead resistances, damaged only by magic or silver weapons. The Ray of Pain is the source of the scarring, and any target that does not make their save vs. the spell will be scarred.

Spell list (utilizing the Necromancer spell list):
1st Level
  • Command Dead
  • Darkness
  • Locate Remains
  • Read Magic
2nd Level
  • Detect Magic
  • Resist Turning
3rd Level
  • Fear
He is accompanied by low-level undead under his control.  The undead will consist of either slain goblins, or degraded undead of other humanoid species.
  • 2d4 Skeletons (HD 1-2, AC7/12, atk 1d4 (club)
  • 1d6 Zombies (HD 2-2, AC8/11, atk 1d6 (short sword); special: at 0 HP, zombie bursts into flame, causing 1d6 dmg to any creature within 5' radius).
The goblins did not ask to be commanded by this undead husk who made accursed bargains with ineffable powers in exchange for some half-life. But they are fearful and incapable of resisting. They reluctantly make raids on his behest, desecrating the places of the dead, often accompanied by a few of the sorcerer's undead companions.

If the party closes with the chief and his undead, the normal goblins may choose to take advantage of the situation.

  1. If the party appears weak in the face of the necro-sorcerer and his minions, the normal goblins will halfheartedly attack, hiding or fleeing after one round.
  2. If the party appears matched to the necro-sorcerer and his minions, the goblins will withdraw and watch the battle develop, hedging their bets.
  3. If the party appears strong or gains initiative in the opening stages of the battle, the goblins will aid the party, attacking the sorcerer's undead minions.
The goblins are armed with clubs or long knives (as daggers). 1 in 4 will have an oil bomb (thrown, 1d6 fire damage x2 rounds, 5' radius).

If the party perseveres, the goblins will offer a portion of the chief's hoard and random loot (holding back plenty, of course): 73 gp, 437 sp, 419 cp, Red spinel (90 gp), Coral necklace (80 gp), Lapis lazuli (10 gp), Courtier's outfit (30 gp), Large carpet, moth-eaten (25 gp), Small cage with dead parrot (10 gp), Bag of rare spices (10 gp), Good bottle of wine (5 gp), Carved wooden scroll case (1 gp), Box of wigs (1 gp).

If the party returns to the area more than two days later, they will find the village put to the torch and the goblins gone. A sign carved in rough goblin cuneiform on a barrel stave says, "dead is dead." Nothing of value will remain.

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