I’m in the town of Scary and I’m talking to Wilcome Tunnelly, who is doing a shockingly bad job at enticing me to work for him.
“My sister Pansy is a good sort, but she can be rather excitable,” he explains. “When she gets an idea in her head, it stays there, no matter how silly it might be, and before you know it, she’s convinced half the Shire that it’s true.”
“So… your problem is that half the Shire is idiots?”
“No!” he objects, pauses, and then furrows his brow. “Well, maybe. Probably, I guess. But the point is that she thinks…”
Wilcome looks slightly embarrassed, “Well, maybe you’d better just ask her about it yourself.”
So now I have to track down his sister. But let me give you the tour of Scary first.
Scary is, as I mentioned before, a tiny little burgh just a stone’s throw from the real town of Brockenborings. The only thing the town has going for it is the quarry. Nearly everyone in town is connected in some way to the mining operation.
Well, I guess that was the only thing the town did have going for it. A little while ago the quarry was overrun and the workers all fled. See if you can guess what menace came from out of the tunnels:
A. Union representatives
B. Traveling pie salesmen
C. Really bad smell
D. Giant spiders
I’m not going to give away the answer, but I will say if you picked anything other than option D then you’d probably fit right in around here.
The tour complete, I head over to talk to Pansy.
“Hello there! There’s something terrible happening in the Shire and you need to do something before it’s too late!”
“Leave?” I ask hopefully.
The following dialog from Pansy is verbatim from the game. Just so you know.
Pansy explains, “I was walking in the Greenfields, looking for flowers, when I saw a squat little man off in the distance. He was carrying a spear, and believe me when I tell you he was a goblin! All of a sudden he dropped to the ground, and it looked to me like he was reaching into a hole of some kind… a rabbit hole most likely.”
So, Pansy was out looking for flowers in the Greenfields, which is infested with bloodthirsty killer bears. Then somewhere amongst the bears who were trying to kill her she saw one goblin, who was trying to kill a rabbit. This frightened her so much she had to come back here and tell her brother.
“Okay,” I say, taking a deep breath. “So you want me to go and kill the gob-“
“Maybe you ought to go look in those rabbit holes yourself.”
“Do what now?”
She becomes even more agitated, “I don’t know what the goblin was looking for…”
“…but it can’t be good for the Shire!”
My father was not a minstrel, but he was usually full of crap, which is very nearly the same thing. When I was young he bestowed on me the following nugget of advice: Don’t argue with crazy people. I have had many unimportant people send me to do frivolous jobs for insulting amounts of money, but I don’t think I’ve ever sunk quite this low before. But as bad as this is, it’s less painful than trying to talk sense into the goofy bint.
I slaughter my way into the Greenfields, culling the local bear population along the way.
Eventually I find a rabbit hole. Inside is…
Yes, clearly this is an object of doom that could threaten the whole Shire. I shuffle back to Pansy. Hopefully if I show her the rock she’ll calm down.
I hold out my hand and show Pansy my prize. Her eyes go wide and she exclaims, “This is a goblin tooth!”
She continues, “This proves that it was a goblin I saw the other day. And not just any old goblin, but old Golfimbul himself!”
I am dumbfounded. “So you think the goblin you saw was a dead headless goblin?”
“He must be searching all the rabbit holes in the Greenfields for his lost head!”
“Wow. And I thought my quests were a tedious grind. Still, I’m not seeing the problem. Once he gathers enough gravel to build himself a new head we can just knock it off again.”
Undeterred, she instructs me to bring the rock to the watch office in Brockenboring and show it to the local bounders. For reasons I may never understand, I do. This means making the trip between the two towns for the fourth time today. I know I said the towns are close, but they’re starting to feel a little far apart.
Back at the watch office, Bounder Primstone looks at the rock, and asks “Why are you giving me a pointy stone? What? A goblin tooth? Is this a joke?”
“Well, I’m sure this goblin was just a figment of her imagination. Still, I’m a bounder and I can’t very well shirk my duties. I’ll need to investigate this just to make sure.”
“Great!” I drop the stone off on his desk before I turn to leave.
“…so therefore I’m sending you out to meet with a fellow named Halros. He’s one of the big people, but he’s a nice enough sort all the same.”
“So when you say you’re going to investigate, you really mean you’re sending me to investigate?”
“Don’t forget your rock!” he says as I storm out. “You’ll need to show it to Halros!”
And so I go out to talk to the Halros guy.
Wait a second. Human. Green cloak. Hooded. Funny accent. He sort of reminds me of…
Yeah. Like Amdir. Like a Ranger. The guy I met way back at the beginning of my adventure. This guy must be a Ranger as well.
Hm. I wonder whatever happened to Amdir, anyway? Maybe I should look into that.
As I arrive in his camp, Halros greets me, “Welcome fair Hobbit. As you can see, I’ve already encountered Goblins in the Shire.”
“Yeah,” I say as I nod towards the three Goblin corpses arranged neatly around his campfire, “That’s pretty obvious.”
“I have killed them myself,” he adds for no particular reason.
“You’re a Ranger,” I point out. “Aren’t you supposed to kill Goblins? This is like, your job, right?”
“Yes. And as you can see. I have killed three of them. At once. By myself.”
“Not recently, apparently.” I cover my mouth with my sleeve as I draw near. And why are these guys laying around the fire like this? Did you… did you pose them afterward? And how long have they been dead, anyway?”
“I have been sent to guard the borders of the Shire.”
Oh. Here it comes. He’s going to ask me to kill Goblins for him.
He continues, “My kinsmen and I have long done this duty. Although, I do not know what has brought these beasts here in such numbers.”
Any second now.
“I would ask that you seek out their camp to the north and…”
Yeah. There it is.
“…slay ten of them.”
He wants me to kill ten Goblins. It’s not at all clear what he’ll be doing in the meantime, other than basking in the glory of his earlier kills. With any luck, he’ll bury or burn these corpses while I’m gone.
I head north and after the world’s briefest scouting effort I manage to find the secret, hidden, super-clandestine goblin base.
This camp was so well hidden that people refused to even believe that goblins existed in the Shire. It’s about the size of Brockenborings, but there are a few differences between this place and the nearby Hobbit town. Specifically, this town is more populous and the locals aren’t as bloodthirsty towards the nearby bears. The goblin town has an immense red gate to make sure that it can be seen from miles around. For example, from the other side of the Greenfields.
I assault their camp. They are feisty, but not particularly strong. Still, ten is a lot of Goblins and the better part of the afternoon slips by while I pick them off from the edges of their camp.
Are we done? I believe we are. Let’s head back to Halros.
I return, and things have not changed.
So Ray was an awful hunter to come home empty-handed year after year. It was a source of shame for him and an endless amusement for everyone else.
Then came the year when he managed to bag a deer. Maybe he got lucky, or maybe he finally found a deer as stupid as he was. He brought the deer home according to the great traditions of all hunters who don’t own trucks: He strapped it to the roof of his car. Then he drove around town, showing everyone he knew or who would hold still and look at the dead beast lashed to his vehicle.
Apparently he didn’t want to stop showing off his trophy, because he left it on his car the next day when he drove to work. And the day after. Eventually someone called the police on him because his prize was decomposing and the stench was offensive.
I think of Ray whenever I see this ranger living with three dead Goblins.
“So, I killed ten goblins for you.”
“Well done,” Halros says.
“And hey, you killed three more! Nice work!,” I tell him. I’m such a naughty Hobbit.
“No,” he says somewhat nervously, “These are actually the same three goblins.”
“Oh?” I say with feigned surprise. “Well, nice work anyway. I guess.”
I enjoy a long moment of uncomfortable (for him) silence. Eventually Halros speaks up, “You should probably get back to the watch office and tell them about the goblins.”
“I thought you said you didn’t kill any?”
“I mean the ones you killed,” he says, becoming more embarrassed by the minute.
“Oh right! Silly me.” I turn to leave and then stop myself, “I forget. How many did I kill again?”
“Ten,” he says through clenched teeth.
“Right, right. Well, bye now. The four of you guys have fun!”
As I return to town the sun has begun to set.
I head back to town and report the goblin encampment to the bounders.
Bounder Primstone isn’t particularly worked up about the news of a goblin town just beyond his borders. He wants me to go back to Wilcome Tunnelly in Scary and to check and see how things are going at the quarry.
It’s getting late. I should probably do today’s song, but it’s kind of peaceful here and I don’t want to break the mood with my lute. How about a Haiku for Halros instead?
Spring’s goblin hunter
Idle as his own green prey
I do love new shoes
The next morning I check in with Wilcome Tunnelly.
He explains that they were digging in the quarry when they were overrun with spiders. On the way out, one of his men spied an “evil skull.” He wants me to go in and recover it.
Spiders? Skull? Hello? I thought we were working on the goblin problem? Invasion, remember? Focus, people. Focus!
Wilcome warns me, “They quarry is quite overrun. I encourage you to gather some friends before you go in. You’ll need their help!”
But… I don’t have any friends.
Next Time: I don’t have any friends.