We rejoin our heroes as they await the arrival of a guard to help them watch the goblin they captured in the recent scuffle in the cool cellar of The Dog & Duck Inn a couple hours outside of the city of Tammilanti. The party was sent to investigate after complaints of goblin incursions from the owner, “Tipsy” Hypsi Mattila, as a municipal service to earn their freedom. Escorted by an acolyte of the temple of Sjailo, Brother Erno Viranen, the party have learned that the goblins are not random criminals of opportunity, but that they are organized and coordinated by a “big boss”—a creature named Gari Truugsh.
The guard arrives, but is unable to stay. However, he does provide a number of shackles that the team can use to hold their goblin captive. The urgency builds, however, as they know that a fresh watch of goblins are coming soon to take over for those they’ve just defeated. Our team suspect that if the new watch discover their compatriots’ absence, it’s likely the fresh goblins will warn their boss and the opportunity to uncover their plot may be lost. As such, they press on down the cold, earthen goblin tunnel in hopes of intercepting the fresh watch.
A bit of a way down the dark tunnel, the crew comes upon a sort of “base camp” room for the goblins, where Felina—sneaky, tricky cat that she is—first discovered the recently bested watch. As the heroes press into the room, however, a trap is triggered and ensnares Rashida. The noise broadcasted by the trap seems to fall on nearby ears, as a goblin voice is heard to wonder to apparent companions, “What was that?”. The team scrambles to prepare to meet what they find is 3 goblins, whom they manage to subdue after a brief but scrappy scuffle.
Moving on down the tunnel, the group soon find themselves at the mouth of the tunnel and—now more wary of potential goblin tricks—manage to disable a trap there at the entrance. As they survey the exterior terrain, they see 4 more of the villainous creatures; 2 are resting, one is on watch, and the last seems to be talking to an unseen entity around the corner, whom the party deduce must be the “big boss”, Gari Truugsh. This, they have discovered, is the main camp of the gang of goblins that have been harassing the Dog & Duck Inn.
Felina sneaks out of the tunnel to get a better view on a small clifftop nearby, as Rashida strikes out in a bold attempt to deceive Gari—now in view revealed to be a bugbear, the largest of the goblinoids—and discover by subterfuge what his plan may be, while Pip and Erno prepare to answer any signs of aggression in kind. In spite of an impressive performance on the gnome ranger’s part, a perceptive and unusually clever goblin sees through Rashida’s deception and cries a warning, sending an already wary Gari into all-out attack. The battle that ensues is hard-fought and perilous.
As Rashida makes her escape up the cliff to join her feline friend, the cat springs to action, firing from her short bow at Gari and managing to inflict significant injury to the hairy bugaboo. With the ranger and rogue out of reach, the goblins focus their attacks on the barbarian, who’s revealed himself from the cave and is positioned in a way that blocks their advance up to the clifftop. In a particularly nasty blow, the frustrated and wounded Truugsh crushes the Mighty Squeak with power for which the latter’s experience as an entertainer had not prepared him, and Pip’s life is extinguished. However, the might and skill of our adventurers is too much, and Gari is put down by another arrow from Felina’s bow.
With the goblins’ leader defeated, Rashida and Felina together take advantage of the momentary panic to intimidate them into surrender. One goblin is put down where he stood, another surrenders immediately, a third is nearly struck by Rashida’s arrow as he flees and stops in his tracks, and the final frightened enemy manages to escape. Rashida and Felina intimidate and interrogate the captured goblins, but after some little information is revealed, the goblins make a desperate attempt to escape wherein one is killed and the other is yet again subdued.
With all struggle now controlled, attention is turned to various things. Felina keeps the prisoner, Rashida searches the camp, and Erno looks for some way to revive Pip, feeling responsibility as the assigned escort. The team discover a contract kept by Gari and signed with the name “Maximus” which details the intent to destroy the Dog & Duck in and collect on the insurance. More importantly for Erno, however, they also find a war dog the now-defeated goblins had used. The team allow Erno to rush Pip to the temple at Tammilanti to attempt to persuade the temple to revive the heroic expired hobbit luchador.
Arriving at the temple, the acolyte pleads the case for resurrection to the high priest at the temple. The high priest acquiesces, and a resurrection is attempted. By the faith of those at the temple and the fortitude of the halfling on the altar, life is restored to the halfling—but at what cost?
Will the resurrection have any lingering side-effects? Could the seemingly guile-less inn-keeper be the mastermind of this plot? If not, who could this Maximus be? And whoever he is, how will they confront the villain?