Life’s tough for goblins who try to be good. Many of them turn to the merchant life as peddlers and gypsies, turning their natural eye for trinkets into a shrewd judge of value. Still, they take quite a while to earn the locals’ trust.
Enter Gus, a minor half-elf spell-caster who never seemed to find success, leaving behind him disappointed parents, dissatisfied lovers, and frustrated adventurers, until he came upon a tribe of goblins that fell in love with him.
This might have something to do with the crystal necklace he wears, which a certain Rakshasa named Paharu desperately wants to find.
In any event, Gus’s Goblins have expanded from a simple caravan to a small carnival. They roll into a village, half set up booths selling trinkets (particularly noise-makers, fans, and other items useful for an audience), and half put on a show that night. Combining their racial agility with a few spells Gus taught them, they perform some impressive acrobatic stunts, and one old goblin, Sharik, has even proved an immersive story-teller.
As a friendly faction, Gus just wants to do a little good in the world. He procured (read: stole) a mesmerizing crystal from Prahana, then stumbled on a small tribe of orcs. Instead of killing them or running away, he decided to turn them into a positive force in the world. The crystal makes the goblins treat Gus as an ally, and his natural enthusiasm combined with these golbins’ fascination with magic has turned him into the tribe’s leader. And now that the goblins spend every night with full bellies, they’d die for him.
That said, goblins aren’t exactly loved everywhere in the world, so the caravan struggles to find certain essentials, particularly supplies for their performances. A group of adventurers who happen to be in a village at the same time as Gus’s Goblins will likely find themselves approached by a goblin–or even Gus himself–and offer a reward for procuring juggling sticks (or some similar piece of equipment) from a purveyor of such things in a nearby city. Of course, that purveyor will be under attack from thugs when the PCs arrive.
As a foe faction, Gus uses the goblins to hide from Paharu. Gus actually polymorphs into a gaudily-dressed goblin when in public (and during performances, where he acts as ringleader), but his wagon is much larger than the others and sized for his natural dimensions.
The goblins are also less than noble. Every time they travel through a village, something goes missing. It’s rarely big enough to cause a serious fuss, and the goblins are smart enough to target the more senile or junior members of the village, but the average farm family can ill afford to lose any of their possessions.
Worse, Gus is up to something; they’re stealing items that match a pattern, such as components for a powerful spell or parts for a construct. Somebody will eventually notice this and ask the PCs to investigate.
The goblins will fight anyone who attempts to investigate their caravan, but will surrender if they realize they’re about to be killed.