Friday, February 27, 2009

Stonehell: Hobgoblin Redoubt

The next and final quadrant of Level Two is now available. You can download it here.

It was time to introduce an organized foe to challenge the explorers of Stonehell. Up until now, the adventurers have had to face the standard collection of humanoid threats and undead menaces, mixed with the ubiquitous vermin, that tend to collect in the upper levels of most megadungeon complexes. While they’ve no doubt run into some humanoids and human-like creatures that employ rudimentary tactics to defend their holdings, they’ve yet to encounter a threat that’s organized, disciplined, and takes utmost advantage of the dungeon terrain.

Enter the hobgoblins.

Despite their portrayal in the Monster Manual as having an Asian motif to their weapons and armor, hobgoblins to me have always been more Roman than anything else. They take territory and hold it. They fight in organized groups led by competent military minds and they use the best tactics available to them to overcome less disciplined opponents. My hobgoblins form shield walls, launch volleys of missile fire, and utilize weapons like pole-arms to present the greatest threat to those who challenge them. A party that doesn’t respond with equal acumen is due for a sound defeat on the field of battle.

The hobgoblins of Stonehell are recent arrivals. Having discovered a back door into the second level, they’ve quickly seized a defendable section of the dungeon and added improvements to ensure they have a fortified position from which to launch military excursions. They seek to eventually take control of the entire second level – already scouting out and preparing to engage the lizard men – and move upwards to control as much as level one as possible. If their plan succeeds, they’ll turn Stonehell into a fortress from which to launch attacks on the neighboring towns and villages in an effort to bring the frontier under the iron rule of their race. If the adventurers can’t dislodge them now, while the hobgoblins await further reinforcements, they’re going to have an ongoing challenge in their efforts to explore the dungeon.

Removing this threat isn’t going to be easy. In addition to being well organized, the hobgoblins maintain a number of mountain lions to assist them in battle, as well as having discovered a cunning way to employ a decanter of endless water as a defense weapon. A direct assault on their redoubt is via a very nasty killing field; a place where the party will most likely be cut to pieces as they run through an extremely tight gauntlet to attack.

This section is one that will reward stealth, reconnaissance, and good planning, while punishing those foolish enough to believe they can achieve victory solely on the merits of being the “heroes” of the story. I hope it doesn’t take too many PC deaths for this lesson to sink in.

Viva la Old School!

As an aside, I realize that I’ve had a much busier posting week than I originally predicted. Depending on how much of Level Three I get in the can, and if I finally manage to put one of my submissions to bed over the course of the weekend, I might be taking it easy next week. I’ll have a better idea by Sunday night as to how drained my creative batteries are.


Jeff Rients said...

Excellent! My Andorian-looking four-gendered hobgoblins organize themselves along pseudo-Roman lines.

Unknown said...

I have Hobgoblin Pikemen waiting for the adventurers. :)

Gamer Dude said...

BooYa! This kind of organized resistance always throws a wrench in any adventurer's plans. Thanks again for Stonehell Mike.

Marcus said...

Oh man, I love Stonehell! Last weekend my girlfriend tried to find a way through the first level. Good times! :)

Michael Curtis said...

My Andorian-looking four-gendered hobgoblins organize themselves along pseudo-Roman lines.

I'd forgotten about your unique take on hobgoblins, Jeff. Man, 2D is going to be one weird level in your hands. -grin-

Michael Curtis said...

I have Hobgoblin Pikemen waiting for the adventurers. :)

Only way to keep those pesky adventurers in line - from a distance!

Michael Curtis said...

Thanks again for Stonehell Mike.

Oh man, I love Stonehell!

Thank you both very much. It's been a lot of fun on my end as well. Level 3 looks like it's going to be very interesting. Now that we're getting down in the dungeon proper, I'm more inclined to start including some of my more bizarre ideas.

rredmond said...

This is great is there one spot for me to dl all the quadrants (as a newcomer here) or should I just keep trucking throogh your blog?
Thanks Mike!

rredmond said...

Forgot to check the email f/u comments!

Michael Curtis said...

rredmond: On the right of the main page of the blog there's a category called "Equipment List". Each of the .pdfs is listed there. You'll have to download them one at a time. When you download any of them off of orbitfiles, there's a link on that .pdf's page that goes to "Other Files by this User". That link will take you to my main Orbitfiles page that has all the .pdfs listed there as well.

Hope that helps!

rredmond said...

As it so happens it's right next to your post. Awesome! Thanks!

Anonymous said...

my group will die here.
that being said I would like to put in my two cents on HG.
The orginized military aspect is concistant but I like to think of them as evil boyscouts. Young teens who are evil little s*%#'s. If any one reading this is a middle school teacher you know just how to play my idea of Hobgoblins. As a group they will have very good moral but when seperated can be broken rather easily.
I hope you enjoy this view of the hobgoblin, I know my players will not.