Goblin Island Background
Goblin Island is an unclaimed island in The Western Sea just out of sight of land. Ships used to stop for provisions on the final leg of their journeys eastward but the island has long since become a treacherous place where only the brave or the foolish will tread. Long ago the philosophically minded druid Balantyne chose the island as the location of a grand experiment. He placed a small group of goblin children on the isolated island hoping to determine once and for all if goblins were intrinsically evil, or just a product of their culture.
Balantyne cared for the young goblins until they were able to fend for themselves and then went on to observe them while in the forms of different animals. Unfortunately, Balantyne never got to see the final results of his experiment as one day while observing his charges in the shape of a hawk he was knocked out of a tree and devoured by hungry goblins. Balantyne’s goblins prospered on their secluded island and became largely self-sufficient. They would forage for wild fruits and vegetables and hunt the occasional wild boar using clubs and spears
The goblins became very xenophobic, eagerly attacking anyone who set foot on their island and scavenging anything that washed ashore. Forged metal items such as knives, axes and even coins became symbols of wealth and status due to their rarity. Over time factions arose amongst the goblins over how things should be run. The differences could not be resolved and the once united “children” of Balantyne split into three different tribes that continue to exist to this day.
The Big Rock Tribe lives on the rocky beach on the northern tip of the island. They make their home in the broken hull of a trading ship that was smashed against the rocks during a storm. Big Rock goblins divide the majority of their time between sifting through the surf for things washed ashore or playing games among the rocks and boulders strewn across the beach. Their leader, Chief Shouter, serves as an arbiter of disputes. If two goblins both claim a prize pulled from the sea he listens to both sides but usually rewards ownership to whatever goblin states their case the loudest. If Chief Shouter desires the prize himself he simply howls louder than everyone else until they simply give it to him.
High in the hills of the central portion of Goblin Island resides the Pig Head Tribe. These goblins follow the tenants of a mysterious god they believe speak through the severed head of a wild boar they carry around on a wooden spike. While some might doubt the primitive nature of their worship, there is some greater power at work. The chief of the Pig Head goblins, named Big Stick, does, in fact, wield some level of divine power from his worship. He has directed his tribe to spread the worship of their god to the other goblins which he believes will strengthen his own divine powers.
The remaining goblins belong to the Mud Tree tribe and they live in the low lying salt marshes along the western side of the island. Often flooded at high tide, these goblins live among the roots of mangrove trees in crudely built mud huts. These goblins love nothing more than to wallow in mud and will often sink into it up to their heads. They aren’t simply lying idle though; Mud Tree goblins have mastered the art of stealth and camouflage and are considered the best hunters on the island. Their chief, One Ear, leads hunting parties herself where she is often the one to land the killing blow against a boar or unlucky trespasser.
Though it may be somewhat distant, knowledge of Goblin Island has managed to spread to the wider world. Rumors of an island of vicious and hardy goblins have even reached the hobgoblin kingdom to the far north. The hobgoblins see their island cousins as potential mercenary soldiers in wars of conquest. They’ve sent several representatives to Goblin Island hoping to open up negotiations but none of them have returned. What the hobgoblins don’t realize is that the Goblin Island natives have been isolated for so long they are not aware of the kinship between hobgoblins and goblins. They simply see them as trespassers and attack them as they normally do with everyone. They hobgoblins are growing impatient and are in the process of organizing a larger force to descend upon Goblin Island and bring its inhabitants under their heel
While Balantyne may have had noble intentions when he started his experiment he did not have the unified forces of nature on his side. A mngwa has been called forth by angry nature spirits who see the goblins as despoiling their island. The goblins are woefully unprepared and unequipped to deal with such a threat but that doesn’t stop them from throwing their lives away trying. Since the mngwa hunts and night and leaves bleeding gashes in its prey the goblins have started referring to it as The Night Claw. While the inhabitants of Goblin Island are set in their isolationist ways, they might be willing to change their minds if someone can find a way to rid them of this fearsome beast.
Drag & Drop Encounter (CR 3)
When approaching Goblin Island unaware for the first time most boats land along the rocky beach along the northern tip of the island. Unluckily for most explorers, the goblins of the Big Rock Tribe have had a lot of experience dealing with outsiders. Gangs of at least eight goblins will take full advantage of the rocky terrain and start shooting arrows from behind the partial cover provided by large rocks. If approached within melee range the goblins will make a very noisy strategic retreat. This extra noise alerts the rest of the tribe to the invaders who will provide a big surprise for anyone who tries to approach further up the beach.