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Adventure Hook 005 – A Goblin's Dilemma

I thought an adventure hook featuring a group of creatures would be a fun thing to write, so here it is:



A campsite a few miles from the nearest town, where the party has bedded down for the night.


A small, young, emaciated goblin stumbles into the camp and throws himself on the mercy of the adventurers.


1) The goblin claims that his clan has been stricken by a strange disease that saps their strength and makes them feeble.

2) The goblin claims to have been chosen by the elders of his tribe to search for help for the whole clan.

3) The goblin claims that the party will get a large reward if they help out the clan, which is usually shunned by the more ‘civilized’ races.


The players need to

1) Decide whether or not to help the poor goblin and his tribe

2) The party must go to the tribal hide-out with the goblin and see the sickness and poverty in the clan

3) The party must convince the townsfolk in the nearest town to have pity on the goblins and help them

4) The party must find out what made the goblins sick and stop it from happening again

Things to explore:

1) If the party has a cleric (or a PC trained in Heal), they may go to the goblin hide-out themselves to try and heal the sick.  They will find that they cannot heal the goblins without, at the very least, some healing salves.  They must go to town and purchase them, or find them in the wilderness.

2) They may find that, when in contact with the goblins, one of the party member’s gets sick.  they must convince the town that it would be good to help the goblins so that the ‘civilized’ races do not get sick and die from this strange affliction.

3) You can describe very strange symptoms – weird rashes, short spurts of madness, love of dirt and mud interspersed with an almost compulsive need to be clean… make the disease interesting and increasingly terrible.

4) The party could find that a rival goblin tribe has been accused of tainted the water supply by the original tribe.  It could be on the verge of a goblin civil war – the likes of which hasn’t been seen in this area.  This would be good incentive for the town to help – to avert a horrible wilderness desecration by a bunch of goblins.

5) You could find that one of the townsfolk poisoned the water supply of the goblins for no apparent reason, other than dislike.


There are many opportunities for skill checks in this hook.  Play on the prejudices of the civilized races in the world… show the acute suffering of a tribe of low-intelligence, but generally well behaved and good mannered, unobtrusive goblins.  You can have the party find that the goblins in the area have been trading peacefully with merchants for years.  There could be negotiations, providing the goblins a chance to say why they should be saved and how they can help the town in the future (protection? exotic trade goods? treaties with other creatures?).  This is a good hook to use to explore the actions of a purportedly uncivilized group when they are actually being civilized, and how the civilized groups in town treat the goblins in an uncivilized manner (which is the bad group here?).  You can run it as a moral dilemma.

Okay, there you have it – Adventure Hook 005!  Hope you enjoyed it.  Drop me a comment to let me know what you think!

Want to write a guest Adventure Hook?  Let me know!  Drop me an email at GamerDMSamuel AT yahoo DOT com and we’ll talk.  It will also enter you in my contest and you could win a copy of Martial Power 2!

Until next time, I wish you good gaming!

~DM Samuel


DM Samuel is the Editor-in-Chief here at RPG Musings as well as the podcast editor for The Tome Show. He is also a host of the gaming podcast Play on Target. He plays all manner of role-playing games and boardgames and continues to learn new games all the time (and new things about old games, too). Sam lives in Upstate New York with his wife and their game collection. You can follow him on twitter @DMSamuel.

4 Responses to “Adventure Hook 005 – A Goblin's Dilemma”

  • This is great.
    If you can do 365 of these, you’ll be my hero.
    Keep it up.

  • Thanks newbiedm!

    365 seems daunting, but I figured – go big or go home.

  • I like it but my worry would be that the characters would just take the opportunity to slaughter a helpless foe. Maybe if there were rumors of a similar disease affecting other settlements? So that by finding the cure here, they could help (or make money) by fighting the disease elsewhere as well.

  • Oh yes, absolutely. They could choose to slaughter the innocent. But then they could come down with the disease themselves, and the adventure/quest becomes finding a cure for them, and not for the goblins at that point. Then they might start to think it would have been better to listen to the little guy.

    And yes, I like your rumor idea. It would require previous set up for the rumors to have been heard before the goblin enters the scene, but would work really well. Perhaps the church or a well-known cleric would offer to pay the party money to help find the cure before it became and epidemic.