Faction Friday: The Desert Goblins

Posted by on April 28, 2017
Goblins from D&D 4E; artist unknown

Goblins from D&D 4E; artist unknown

The Desert Goblins can be used either as a friendly faction that sends the PCs out on a mission, or as a foe that the PCs must overcome. This band of goblins was defeated by a dwarf adventurer, Balrin Darkhollow who decided to lead the group instead of destroy them.

As a friendly faction, a party of unsuccessful dwarf adventurers led by Balrin were attacked by a group of marauding goblins about a year ago. The dwarves did well in the fight, and once half the goblins died, the rest surrendered. In a moment of whimsy, Balrin ordered the goblins to work for the party as hirelings, and to his surprise, the goblins acquiesced. They’ve behaved as more or less faithful servants ever since.

The other dwarves grew increasingly uncomfortable with this arrangement and drifted away from the group, leaving Balrin as the goblins’ sole non-goblin leader. He now leads them in attacks on smaller bands of gnolls, orcs, and other monsters. He’s managed to avoid confrontations with other goblins so far.

Plot hook: The goblins are increasingly difficult to control, but Balrin has learned of a staff of charming in an abandoned temple that has magical traps. His group crosses paths with the PCs, and he approaches them, asking if they’d be willing to retrieve it for him, in exchange for some plunder. This is a good chance for some interesting role-play, as the PCs will probably detect goblins watching them, but the goblins won’t attack. And imagine an approaching dwarf surrounded by a dozen goblin guards!

As a foe faction, the story went about the same way, except that Balrin is a power-hungry dwarf who saw in the goblins the chance to build an army. Any dwarves or goblins who didn’t agree with him quickly met unfortunate ends, and now Balrin commands a serious fighting force through sheer force of will and strength of arms. They’ve been attacking caravans and nearby camps for months now.

Plot hook: The PCs are warned about a dangerous tribe of goblins led by an insane, battle-hungry dwarf. They then find themselves attacked by the Desert Goblins, which retreat after three of their number are killed. The PCs will find the goblins in their mansion.

The following map of the mansion is “The House of Seven Wines” by Dyson Logos. The goblins will not stay in any one given room, and the mansion was abandoned and stripped of valuables long ago, so the map is not keyed. The PCs will simply encounter the goblins in whatever order you find most relevant given their approach. To spice up the encounter, stirges have nested in two rooms of your choice. A back room contains stolen weapons and supplies worth about 500 gp.

'House of Seven Wines' by Dyson Logos

‘House of Seven Wines’ by Dyson Logos

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