You are goblins of the Licktoad tribe, who live deep in Brinestump Marsh, south of the hated man-town called Sandpoint. Yesterday, your tribe discovered that one of your own had been using forbidden arts and was engaged in one of the greatest of taboos—writing things down. In fact, rumor holds that what he was writing was a history of your tribe! Writing is bad mojo, since it can steal words out of your head and thus snatch away your soul. You all branded the goblin’s face with some of his precious words to punish him (he’s known today only as Scribbleface), and then you ran him out of town, took all of his stuff, and burned down his hut.
That’s where things got interesting, because before you all burned down his hut, Chief Gutwad found a weird box within the building. Inside was a lot of fireworks—fireworks that immediately came to use in burning the hut down – and a map. Then, this morning, Gutwad announced that tonight there would be a feast in order to drive out any lingering bad luck from Scribbleface’s poor decisions. But perhaps even more exciting, all of you were invited to meet at Chief Gutwad’s Moot House before the festival.
Chief Gutwad tasks you with an important mission: The map recovered from Scribbleface’s house shows a route through Brinestump Marsh to an old shipwreck, where Scribbleface has indicated there is a cache of more fireworks! Gutwad wants you to GET THOSE FIREWORKS, and bring down anyone who gets in your way! If you fail, he threatens, do not return or he will feed you to Squealy Nord.
But first – the bonfire!
Goblins toil all afternoon to build the bonfire out of branches, sticks, and unburnt timbers taken from the ruins of Scribbleface’s hut. As night falls, a group of four struggling goblins carry Chief Gutwad out to the bonfire, and the chief lights the fire with a Desnan candle. The tribe oohs and aahs as the lucky goblins closest to the firework receive burns to their faces and bodies. A barrel of fermenting cider apples is brought out and most goblins become drunk very quickly. Poor old Vorm and Skolex find they are unable to hold their liquor.
Later in the evening, from the foot of the Teeter Chair, Slorb begins loudly ringing a cowbell until there is silence among the tribe (or as much silence as can be expected among drunk goblins). He announces your epic quest, and challenges you each to a feat of strength, a tradition among the Licktoad tribe.
The first feat of strength is to “dance” with Squealy Nord, the fearsome boar that the tribe keeps in a pit next to the baby cages.
Chacha volunteers and she is placed atop Squealy Nord, who is tethered, then released into the pit from a narrow corral with Chacha clinging onto its back! Unfortunately, she falls right off into the soupy poop of the pig pit. Vorm attempts and fails as well – not a great early showing for the heroes!
The second feat is attempted by Skolex. He eats a bag of bull slugs within a minute with grace and finesse, not even bothering to spit out the slugs’ mildly poisonous slime bladders! He is rewarded with a loan of the Gorge of Gluttons, a mighty dogslicer from the chief’s own private collection, and the tribe’s eternal admiration.
The third feat is Hide or Get Clubbed! Chacho takes off into the marsh and hides, followed by 10 goblins armed with clubs. Chacho’s excellent hiding spot was going to win him the game, until his brother, Chocho, pointed him out to the searchers and started yelling “There he is! There he is! Hit him! Hit him!” The club-wielding goblins happily obliged.
The fourth feat was to face the Rusty Earbiter. Manhead, the village pariah, volunteers to risk his ears in the hollow coil of rusty wires, barrel hoops, bent swords, and thorny branches and vines. After twenty seconds of watching Manhead crawl slowly into the coil, get stuck, and then struggle to free himself, the tribe got bored and walked away, eager for the next feat of strength…
…which was to marry Ugly Walda, the ugliest goblin in the tribe. Walda washes so much, she does not even have fleas, and her teeth are so clean, the shine blinds everyone who sees her unveiled. Chocho volunteers to marry the hideous one, and Slorb efficiently performs the ceremony. Chocho gets nothing for completing this feat, which Chief Gutwad finds uproariously funny.
The final game involves each of the goblin heroes tossing a lit firework between them until it explodes. The winner is declared blessed by Zarongel! Surprisingly, Manhead, freshly escaped from the Rusty Earbiter, is the chosen one. Well, Zarongel works in mysterious ways. Manhead wins a loan of the mystical Ring That Lets You Climb Real Good!
The next morning…
The journey to the fireworks stash, as indicated on the map, is relatively short—a slog not quite a mile-long through the swamp along the creek’s southern bank. The journey takes an hour to make, as the marsh itself is relatively difficult to navigate, with numerous stretches of deep water that must be skirted and thick tangles of stinging nettles.
About a half-hour into your slog, you are attacked!! Like lightning, an awful scuttling of legs and mandibles scrambles out of the tree canopy above and falls upon Skolex. It is Lotslegs Eats Goblin Babies Many, scourge of the Licktoad tribe! Vorm immediately jumped into action, cranking his crossbow, while Chocho began a rousing polka and Chacho curled into a ball on the ground in a drugged stupor, believing himself to be six inches tall and invisible. Between Skolex, Beute, and Vorm, the spider takes enough damage to attempt to flee to its lair, but it is brought down on the run.
Tracking down the spider’s lair proves simple. The lair consists of a deadfall of several old trees, scattered with dozens of bodies. You found a small masterwork light crossbow with 11 bolts, a single pearl (promptly swallowed by Chacha for “safekeeping”), 4 potions, and a wax paper-sealed package. Chocho stomped the package beneath his foot before giving it to Chacha and then poured one of the potions down his brother Chacho’s throat. It is a Potion of Bull’s Strength, and Chacho felt mighty indeed. Chacha unwrapped the wax paper package to find a licorice-flavored taffy; each goblin ate a piece and found their hangovers greatly eased.
You are not bothered again for the rest of your journey, and the location of the site is obvious as you approached – a large wrecked two-masted ship lodged in a shallow pool of swamp water. The soggy swampy “yard” that surrounds the wreck is encircled by a rickety wooden fence and is a morass of mud. As you surveyed the ship and your surroundings, a filthy gray stallion came around the corner from the far side of the ship. Its nostrils widened at the sight of intruders and it sloshes through the mud to attack you.
The horse is dispatched speedily, mainly due to Beute, who began to chow down on the meager horseflesh after the fight. The goblins were having too much fun jumping on, off, and along the wooden fence to pay much attention. However, sudden howls from the deck of the ship reminded you of the task at hand. A vine-choked gangplank with a mossy handrail descended sharply from the ship’s bow to the muddy ground. One handrail is encrusted with a large ball of dried mud, which Vorm recognized as a wasp’s nest. You avoided disturbing the nest by stepping carefully over the vines that grew on the gangplank.
As you gained the main deck, you heard the clattering of claws again wood, and a mangy hound with one blue eye and one brown eye appeared around the corner, straining at the end of a 20-foot-long rusty chain. Another dog answered its growls overhead, although you could hear the clanking of metal – it, too, was likely chained. With a great effort, the dog on the deck with you yanked hard against its chain; there is a a sharp sound as the chain breaks, and it charges at you.
While Vorm tried fruitlessly to distract its pet from feeding on the horse’s corpse, Chacha went into action, planting her musket Sammie between her legs and shuddering in pleasure as Sammie boomed into the dog. Skolex ran up to help her. Manhead attempted to go around the other side of the cabin to flank the hound, but the second dog on the deck above landed heavily on the deck in front of him. Manhead sicced his goblin dog puppy on the cur and attempted to get away from the fighting. Meanwhile, Beute finally ate his fill of the horse and rejoined his “master” Vorm on the deck, both coming to the aid of the cowering Manhead. The two groups defeat the two dogs at nearly the same time!
Now allowed some time to explore the ship, you notice two rickety crow’s nests sitting on the masts. Chacho and Chacha climb up to the crow’s nests and are rewarded for their curiosity with two vials of liquid, three Desnan candles, a masterwork sling and a dozen sling stones, and a half-finished bottle of grog. Meanwhile, Vorm and Manhead are investigating the chimney of the ship’s main cabin, which they plug with Manhead’s blanket. Once they are reunited, they approach the flimsy-looking cabin precariously perched atop the ship’s bow.
Chacha is the brave soul who agrees to open the door, and she is greeted by a face full of fire. Inside the cabin stands a goblin wearing rags and bits of stained cloth over equally patchwork armor. Her mouth is a bit too wide, even by goblin standards, and she files her already sharp teeth into a snaggletooth grin that leaves little doubt as to her preference for tough stringy meat – like goblin flesh. It was Vorka the cannibal, one of the greatest terrors of the swamp!
Chacha positioned herself at the edge of the deck with Sammie between her legs while Vorm readied his crossbow. Chocho began a polka, then thought “better” of it and started trying to kick down the wooden supports holding up the cabin. Manhead ordered his goblin puppy to attack and Chacho began stripping naked, believing himself in danger of being choked to death by his clothes. The battle was going very poorly as Vorka summoned a swarm of bats to attack those on deck while she and her frog companion, Lord Longtung, held the door. It was not until Skolex, hero of the tribe, very bravely swung his way from the roof of the cabin into its interior behind Vorka that the tides began to turn.
Vorm, Chacha, and Skolex all concentrated their efforts on Vorka while the swarm attacked Manhead. Chocho, finding that his efforts did not appear to be damaging the cabin, drank a random potion out of his bag. It made him feel tingly, so he drank another. Manhead succumbed to his wounds and his body was looted, although his goblin puppy tried its best to protect it. Chacho climbed up and down the mast, seemingly unsure of what he was doing. However, between the efforts of the other three, Vorka was destroyed!
Vorka’s cabin was full of treasure, mostly man objects made from exotic woods, bamboo, and paper: there is a bejeweled silver and jade lantern, a dozen masterwork shuriken, an ivory and gold fan, a long hairpin with a red pearl at one end, a wand, and an elixir in a crystal vial shaped like a heart. The most eye-catching object, though, is a lacquered red chest. When you opened it, you found it full of fireworks! Your mission is accomplished!
Searching the cabin thoroughly took about ten minutes, after which the group decided to check on the cabin that they had plugged with Manhead’s blanket earlier. The door was unlocked, and after the smoke had filtered out, they found themselves in a beautifully-decorated chamber. Dead rodents and snakes are hung around from the ceiling, and the walls are splattered with blood. A cauldron bubbles over a fire at the far end of the room, and a bloody burlap sack sits near it. The center of the room contains a long table surrounded by chairs. In each chair sits the bleached white bones of a goblin skeleton. Also in the room is a hulking dog, which appears to have succumbed to smoke inhalation.
Inside the cauldron is a goblin arm and a heart, and a peek in the bag reveals the remains of Scribbleface’s body (recognizable by his heavily scarred face). Yet further proof that writing will only ever bring you bad luck!
The trip back to the tribe’s village is uneventful and you are welcomed back as heroes. There is another bonfire, during which Vorm tells the story of your heroics. Due to his impressive performance, Skolex is given Chief Gutwad’s daughter’s hand in marriage. You are also each given titles and new responsibilities within the tribe. Chacha becomes Boss of Big Fire, Vorm Master of the Pig Pit, Chacho Head Village Watcher, Chocho Stewmaster, and Skolex Overseer of Village Stabbings.