Oh, boy, it's been a long time since we played, and some developments in my life have curtailed a few of my other gaming pursuits. However, we got together on Saturday to play a bit of Hackmaster.
When last we played, we'd just freed a young woman from her pirate captors. Cutting her gag and bonds, we find that she's the daughter of the mayor/innkeeper/store owner back in Salt Haven/View/Flat/whatever (we sort of lost track of what town it actually was). She wasn't so much "kidnapped" as "ran away from home with her now-dead pirate boyfriend". Deciding that it's impractical to boat down to town, we trek back through the dungeon to bring her home to her father. As we're leaving the dungeon, we're stopped by at least a dozen goblins who, in pigin Merchant (and, eventually, some dwarven, which is close to goblin), they demand we leave their home and never come back. We bring girly back to dad, and they promptly throw a screaming hissy fit at each other, which we somewhat manage to cool, or at least get them on shouting terms. Grimwulf offers her hire as his cook, if she doesn't want to stay with dad.
Then begins a very long discussion about bringing tribute to the goblins that I never quite got the reason for. We felt unable to fight the lot of them, I get that, but someone wanted to negotiate with them for some damn fool reason, and decided to give them a chunk of our treasure. The goblins, however, decided that they didn't want our treasure, they just wanted us to leave them alone. Fair enough. Deciding that there wasn't much we could do there, we headed towards the county seat, known as Frandor's Keep, after purchasing a mule from our friendly innkeeper.
Long trip; many days. We mostly walked, encountering pilgrims who told us how horrible the goblin problem was, and encountering nothing ourselves save a derelict gate to nothing, some anomalous tracks of a giant lizard coming from the river (in what amounts to Idaho in March), and miles and miles of miles and miles. We stopped at Kar Mandri, failing to marry off the tag-along village girl to any of the innkeeper's sons, and then headed towards the keep. We were denied entrance, however, as someone had tried to kill the Count, and they were requiring papers to enter the keep proper. We spent some time talking with folks outside the stockade, and adjourned for the evening, our eyes turned towards Quarrytown. described by the guards as "A den of thieves, if you ask me."