With Thanksgiving behind us I was reminded of his story about how my players took a classic goblin cave battle and turned it into a diplomatic expedition of enlightenment, or as I like to call it Goblin Thanksgiving.
As a DM I have learned over the years to never underestimate the creativity of your players. I am an avid believer of the “no but” or the “yes and” methods of DMing. This story was one of my first times having to deal with things going very awry from what I had planned. The session prior, the players had managed to talk their way out of a death sentence in an arena by going on a quest to recover a piece of armour for the king, one of which being in a known goblin hideout.
On the way to the hideout, the players find the remnants of a scuffle with no sign of casualties on either side. There is an overturned caravan on fire and many smaller sized tracks on the ground. As they follow the tracks, they find a group of goblins bickering amongst themselves. The wizard uses comprehend languages and learns that the point of contention is of a “Lady” that is “leading” the goblins as she is stopping them from enjoying their spoils.
The wizard moves into the clearing to speak with them about their issue, claiming to be a very ugly goblin (he is a gnome). Succeeding on his deception roll, conversation begins. The conversation went something like this.
Goblin1: “Who are you?”
Wizard: “I’m Melvin, a very ugly goblin.”
Rolls nat 20
Goblin1: “ Hmm, you sure are ugly!”
Goblin group laughs
Wizard: “What is happening here?”
Goblin1: “The Lady stops us from enjoying our spoils”
Wizard: “That's no good, why are you goblins serving this lady?”
Goblin1: “That's what I have been asking!!!!”
Goblin2: “Be quiet, she has kept us safe!”
Wizard: “We could help you be safe and free!”
Goblin2: “I’m not so sure about that”
Goblin1: “It’s worth a shot...we can pretend we didn’t know if it fails”
Wizard: “Let’s start with keeping you safe...what threatens you?”
Goblin2: “People like you from the big cities!”
Wizard: “Oh that's easy to solve! Hunt less humanoids and focus on animals.”
Wizard: “Hear me out. Once a year you can go out and hunt a humanoid for a huge celebration.”
Goblins: “Why would we only do it once a year?”
Wizard: “We can call it Thanksgiving and let the kingdoms know that it will happen and it will be thrilling!”
Rolls nat 20
As the DM I am laughing and just decide to go with it! And thus Goblin Thanksgiving was born. There is so much I can work with as a DM if I want to go forward with this, and as I use this homebrewed world for all of my campaigns, this piece of lore is now forever etched in Goblin culture.