Written by: James S.
A Goblin is a mischievous and often troublesome creature commonly found in fantasy tabletop role-playing games. Often described as small, green-skinned humanoids, standing about 3 to 4 feet tall. They possess sharp, pointy ears, beady red or yellow eyes. When encountering Goblins in the gritty setting of the "Slum District" Czepeku battlemap, here's how to set the stage for an engaging encounter:
- Goblins have ‘infiltrated’ a shop in the slums.
- They have concealed themselves (clumsily) around the shop.
- They killed the owner and now use his corpse as a decoy to lure people into the back.
- Another Goblin waits with a rock above the door to the back room, unsubtly stifling a laugh.
- You get the picture. The Goblins find all of this unbearably hilarious.
Goblins. The staple diet of first-level adventurers. Carnivorous, amoral children with knives.
Crude paint obscures the original name of the shop. It now reads ‘FREE MONEY SHOP’ in lumpy brown daubs. A bell’s merry jingle greets the players when they enter. The shopkeeper stands rigid behind the counter, wearing a long, lumpy coat buttoned to the collar. His head lolls to the side, face frozen in surprise, clouded eyes unblinking.
“Valued customer! You want some money?” says a high, raspy voice from the shopkeeper’s chest with barely concealed mirth. “I’m just,” he wobbles precariously, “giving it away!” His hand flops up onto the counter and limply shoves a couple of silver coins toward the players. “There’s more in the back.”
At this, straw baskets, boxes, and urns jitter and wobble. Malicious giggles issue from around the shop, including from a door to the back room. The door to the back room creaks open. A box on the floor displays a collection of worthless coins and trash.
What happens next?
- The players enter the back room. The Goblin above the door will smash its rock onto the first head it sees. Then the rest of them rush the players.
- The players leave. The shopkeeper will offer, “Come back soon!” with a slack wave. The shop explodes into raucous laughter as the door shuts.
- The players question the shopkeeper, asking questions about his health, his clothes, and his wares. His answers will not hold under scrutiny. The Goblins rush the players.
- Impromptu violence from the players will be met with violence. The Goblins rush the players.
If a fight breaks out, surprise the players. Subvert their expectations about just how many Goblins can hide in a single room. Show these Goblins to be the vicious idiots they are. Describe their misshapen faces, their grins, their grimaces, their spindly limbs, and sharp elbows. Less green skin, more grime-and-grease-skin.
Some are armed with knives, others with spears, broken bottles, or rusty nails. Some have only their sharp little teeth. They leap onto the players, trying to drag them to the floor and overwhelm them.
If (or when) more than two or three Goblins die, the rest begin to panic. They scream, scramble, and scarper, jumping through the glass windows, scurrying out the door, or clambering over the counter to hide. Some of them still laugh as they scamper away, delighted, like children being chased by an adult playing ‘monster.’ Except they’re probably covered in blood.
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