Our players meet each other while working as caravan guards for caravan master, Arlo Bosch, creator and proud owner of the Bosch Battle Wagon, odd, pumpkin shaped wagons designed to repel the most determined foe. Arlo was accompanied by his second in command, the port bellied, dour Harlop, as well as a group of regular caravan guards that have worked with Arlo previously.
The players’ destination is Loudwater, a stop on the way to the North, a place rife with adventure and opportunities to prove oneself or find great treasure.
But a decidedly well made orc wagon trap breaks the lead wagon’s front axle. After some stress filled moments waiting for an attack, a wizened old halfling, Gerrard of Riverslye Homestead, approaches the group. Gerrard is there to help. Explaining in his strong brogue (just don’t call him a leprechaun) that he has the perfect sized cut log to help fix the wagon, if only he could get some help with a little problem of his own.
Arlo suggests the players go, since his regular caravan guards know what to do and they don’t.
The players are taken down winding and confusing paths to Riverslye Homestead, a lovely little halfling village hidden on an off-shoot of the Delimbiyr (also known as the River Shining).
The players are taken to the cramped but well stocked halfling tavern, the Dancing Pony. Given halfling summer mead, the players are told the story of Smiling Bob the bear (‘bar’ when Gerrard says it).
Smiling Bob had become a nuisance to the village several years ago, but a resident of Riverslye, Reed Tenderfoot, an adventurer by trade, faced the massive bear, cutting its face in the process. The bear ran and left the village alone ever since. It took up residence in an abandoned windmill on a nearby hill and everyone lived in peace. Until recently.
The bear was seen in the village, recognizable because of the ear to ear scar along its mouth given to it by Reed, hence the ‘smiling’, running off with one of the locals. A few days later the bear ran off with another halfling. The players arrive a few days after the second abduction.
The players head to the windmill. There they find goblins have inhabited the place. The players quickly realize that none of the speak goblin. After a pitched battle outside the windmill they hear a high pitched scream from the second floor and decide to take a peek inside.
Inside the windmill they see Bob the bear asleep guarded by several goblins. The players engage the goblins, preventing them from waking the bear –which slept through the entire fight.
After the fight the bear finally woke. For a brief moment it appeared like the ranger, Araellia might bond with the animal, perhaps make the ancient, battle scarred animal a companion, but it was not meant to be and Smiling Bob went off into the wilderness never to be seen again.
Heading to the second floor they find the most recent abducted halfling, Punkin. Punkin knows goblin and informs the players that the band of goblins is lead by a ranger named Tarpoo. Tarpoo is part of a larger force led by a shaman known as Sancossug who is living in a dungeon somewhere not too far away.
The players also found evidence of how the goblins trained Smiling Bob. They had several of goblins dress up as halflings (straw wigs and stolen halfling clothing were found) and taunt and anger the bear. According to Punkin, it only took about 5 goblins being eaten to train the bear.
The ranger, Araellia the Relentless escorted Punkin back to Riverslye while the remaining players investigated the area. The ranger returned just in time for the final battle.
And then Tarpoo the goblin ranger arrived on the scene with a small band of goblins, all of them having just been fishing. The players squared off with the goblins and the battle ensued.
The ferocity of the goblins was equally matched by the heroic determination of the players. However, being a first level adventure with several players being new to role-playing games, there was a lot of missing with weapons and general head scratching. Finally, the pcs squared off against Tarpoo, a wily and experienced warrior. The thief, Kierra afflicted the goblin with eyebite while the others attacked en mass, and while Tarpoo gave as good as he got, he finally fell.
One goblin, wearing a pot on its head for armor somehow managed to live. Pot-head, as the players came to call him was allowed to live, to speak of the battle prowess of the players and hopefully intimidate the remaining goblins in their yet-to-be-revealed nearby lair.
The treasure the players found was a bit sparse, but there was a strange box found, a long rectangular box made of superior woods and un-openable.
Returning to the halfing village of Riverslye, the players celebrated like real heroes and put a significant dent in the small inn’s stock of mead and ale. Gerrard the Elder awarded the players with some gold and thanked sincerely.
The players returned to Arlo just as the repairs were being completed to the lead wagon. With a final wave the caravan was off to the town of Loudwater.