Roll20 Report / Ironfang Invasion

mikeawmids

Explorer
Phaendar is a small agricultural town situated on a small hill overlooking the Fangwood forest. Every two months, a large market festival is held in the town square, drawing in merchants and visitors from further afield. Small children run from stall to stall, tugging at their mothers dressed and begging for treats, while broad shoulder farm hands sup ale from pewter tankards and revel in the welcome break from their labours. There are always many fresh faces at the festival, drawn to the town by the promise of a warm reception and good company. On this occasion, the freshest face of all is that belonging to Aeric of Longshadow, a strapping young guardsman assigned to protect a merchant caravan on the road between the two settlements. His chiselled features and shoulder length blond hair attract many lustful glances from the local lasses as Aeric passes through the crowd. Sunlight gleams off the oversized metal shield hung across his muscular back. Walking beside Aerich is a man who could not be more unlike his companion in terms of looks and temperament. Dark haired and swarthy, Grom has the look of a prize fighter who hasn’t won too many prizes. His nose has been broken more times than he can remember and is now more crooked than a Molthuni magistrate. Despite the heat, Grom wears a pair of studded iron gauntlets over his hands and constantly flexes his fingers within the supple leather. The two warriors pass a small stall selling curious devices and artifices. Children approach the stall eagerly, only to be pulled away by their parents when they spot the green-skinned proprietor peeking over the counter top. This is Fang, a goblin tinker who abandoned her tribe deep in the Fangwood due to their needless and malicious cruelty towards… well, everyone and everything, really. She now makes her living selling small toys and contraptions, but finds that few of the big folk are prepared to trade with a goblinoid. She might attract more customers if she sold the alchemical weapons she created for her own protection, but worries that the humans would be just as likely to put these devices to wicked purpose as her own kin.

As dusk descends and the visiting merchants begin to pack away their unsold goods, Aerich, Grom and Fang find themselves seated around the same table at the Taproot Inn. The tavern is heaving and the two human warriors were surprised to find any seats free, yet the other patrons seemed eager to give the goblin girl a wide berth. A human woman with a wooden leg and a tankard in each hand clambers up onto the bar and starts to tell a bawdy tale about a bear and a maiden. The crowd roars with laughter as she delivers the punchline and drinks deeply from her slopping cups.

“Who is that woman?” Aerich asks, after catching the sleeve of a passing server.

“That’s Aubin the Green,” the server answers, pausing to watch the one-legged woman’s drunken capering, “She used to be one of those Chesarno Rangers, but retired when she lost her leg. Don’t underestimate her because of her injury though! She can still outfight and outdrink a bear!”

Suddenly, the room began to shake. The racks of bottles behind the bar began to clatter, softly at first then with increasing volume until several bottles fell away and shattered against the ground. The crowd of revellers cried out in surprise and alarm as the building shook and groaned around them. Somehow, Aubrin the Green managed to maintain her balance atop the ale-slick counter as the mysterious vibrations rattled the walls. Grom found himself being shaken right out of his chair and ended up prone on the taproom floor. The tremors subsided as abruptly as they had started. The folk of Phaendar looked at one another for answers, yet nobody knew what was going on.

The situation deteriorated further as the taproom door burst open and two armoured hobgoblins stood silhouetted against the flames of the burning town. Phaendar was aflame!
 

mikeawmids

Explorer
“Rejoice puny humans! You are now thralls of the Ironfang Legion!” growled the lead hobgoblin, whilst his companion pointed a loaded crossbow into the crowd.

“Bugger that for a bag of squirrels!” Aubrin the Green cried.

“Sergeant, shoot that lippy cripple!”

Twang went the crossbow. Blood blossomed as the metal bolt punched a hole in the ranger’s torso and dislodged her from her perch atop the bar.

“Right!” the hobgoblin ordered, “Everyone form an orderly queue and Sergeant Ripnugget here will assign your new slave names.”

Grom lay on the floor of the taproom, listening to events unfold as spilled wine soaked into his britches. Reaching a decision, he leapt to his feet and faced down the hobgoblin with the crossbow.

“You chose the wrong town, hobnobs!” Grom said heroically, “If you want to get to them, you have to go through me!”

“Sergeant, shoot that man!”

“Oh,” said Grom, “I didn’t realise you’d had a chance to reload.”

Twang went the crossbow. Grom raised his gauntleted fist and deflected the metal bolt! The he smacked the weapon out of the hobgoblin’s hands and head-butted him in the face! The other hobnob cursed in goblin and reached for his sword….

Aeric rose from his chair and swung his shield off his back. Fang leapt onto the table top and produced a strange device from one of her many pockets. It looked like someone had taken a blunderbuss, sawn off the barrel and filled the breach with shiny blue crystals! Aerich scrambled for cover as the goblin tinker discharged her weapon at the hobgoblin officer. Immediately, the temperature in the taproom plummeted several degrees, causing Aerich’s breath to mist before his eyes. With an ominous crackle (like the surface of a frozen lake cracking underfoot), Fang’s gizmo transmuted the alchemical crystals into deadly icicles and fired them at the hobgoblin officer with deadly precision! The hobnob collapsed, his face a pincushion of glassy spikes. Meanwhile, Grom had grappled the hobgoblin sergeant, flipped him over his shoulder and smashed him down onto a small round table! He hobnob groaned feebly but did not rise.

Aerich rolled the grumbling hobnob off the table and moved it to barricade the front door. Almost immediately, someone (or something?!) started throwing themselves against the other side!

“Open this door in the name of the Legion!” cried the hobgoblins trying to get in.

“Quick!” Aerich said loudly, “Let’s lead the civilians out through the back door!”

“Did you hear that?” said the hobgoblins outside, “There’s a back door! Let’s go!”

“Bugger!” Aerich cursed his own big mouth.

Fang ran to the back door and fired her ice gun at the hobnobs as they rounded the corner. They returned fire with their crossbows, but Fang was only grazed. Aerich barrelled out of the inn, lowered his shield and knocked both hobnobs onto their asses. Meanwhile, Grom crouched beside Aubin the Green and (despite a complete lack of healing ability) attempted to tend her wound. This involved tearing a strip of cloth from his cloak, dousing it in cheap alcohol and wrapping it around the ranger’s chest. Aubrin flickered in and out of consciousness during Grom’s ministrations and muttered something about seeking sanctuary in the Fangwood. Draping her over his shoulder, Grom half led / half carried Aubrin out into the smoke and chaos of the burning town.
 

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