As before with my first ready-to-run “Orc Invasion” Beginner Box adventure, this post is intended for Game Masters. If you’re a player, you’ll probably have more fun if you don’t read through the adventure outline below. Players should just share this page with your GM right now with a note like “Hey, you can try running us through this adventure sometime too.”
This adventure is intended for characters of Levels 3 – 4. But feel free to adapt it to fit your Pathfinder game in any way you like!
Green Hag’s Revenge – a Free Adventure for the Pathfinder Beginner Box
Adventure Setup / Background
You could begin this adventure shortly after the events of “Orc Invasion.”
One way to open it would be to set the scene a few days after the party has dealt with the orc warband. Since discovering the chieftain’s invasion plans, the players have alerted the mayor of Sandpoint, and the town militia has sprung into action. They’ve sent out riders to other settlements in the hinterlands, and to the east. They are in the process of reinforcing a series of guard posts along the northern bank of the Foxglove River — south of the Brinestump Marsh (see page 90 of the Pathfinder Beginner Box’s Game Master’s Guide for the full map of the Sandpoint Hinterlands).
The party has just finished escorting a caravan of supplies from Sandpoint down to one of the most important guard posts — the one fortifying the strategic location where the Lost Coast Road crosses the Foxglove River.
The supply train arrived safely and the party is on their way back to Sandpoint to help escort the next caravan of arms & supplies.
Adventure Hook & Suggested Plot + Encounter(s)
On their way north, back to Sandpoint, the party will pass Brinestump Marsh. Just north of the Soggy River. The Lost Coast Road passes close to the marshland.
During their journey, they pass through a heavily wooded area on the edge of the swamp.
- Describe the wild land they’re passing through as more like a bog than a forest.
- The air wafting out of the marsh to the west is cooler than the lands they’ve passed through before, and there’s a nasty smell of decaying plants and stagnant water.
Anyone trained in Knowledge Nature can make a DC 10 skill check while you’re setting the scene. If they succeed, they notice that the birds and other critters which would normally be heard in such a bogland are nowhere to be seen, or heard…leaving the place eerily silent and deserted.
Then, about 40 feet in front of them, they hear a crashing & splashing in the bogland near the road (on the western side, where the marshlands are deepest).
It isn’t the sound of just one creature, it is the sound of perhaps a dozen or more.
The creatures sound like they’re running through the bog toward the road ahead of them.
The party hears screams and frantic splashing from the running creatures — it sounds like they are terrified, and running from something, rather than charging up to attack the party.
The party members can roll a Dungeoneering DC 10 check to identify the creatures that are fleeing through the bog. If they succeed they recognize that they sound like goblins.
After a few moments, the creatures reach the road and the party sees 15 mud-spattered goblins sprint out of the muddy/wooded bogland between 30 and 50 feet ahead of the party’s original position on the road. The goblins do not seem to notice the party at all. Some of the goblins are dropping their weapons and other flimsy gear in order to run even faster.
The items they discard are generally not worth very much. They consist of crude spears and short swords, as well as a few small wooden shields.
One goblin trips and falls, skidding to a stop in the middle of the road. He yells at the goblins who continue to run by (sometimes stepping on him in the process). They ignore him and run on across the road and off into the woods in the direction of Devil’s Platter.
In a few moments, all of the goblins have crossed the road and keep running onward. The goblin that fell and was left behind is trying to catch his breath, as he shouts what the party can only guess must be curses at his fellow goblins who left him behind on the road.
At this point the party can attack, or attempt to capture & question the remaining goblin.
- If they attack, run combat as you normally would, but the goblin has no desire to stand his ground. He will immediately attempt to flee.
- If he is unable to flee, he surrenders.
- If they attempt to capture him, he immediately attempts to flee if/when he notices the party.
- If he is unable to escape, he surrenders.
The party members may have chosen to hide while the goblins were coming. If so, they can continue to hide & sneak up on the goblin in order to capture him, while he regains his breath and prepares to continue to flee (make an opposed skill check — the player’s Stealth check vs the Goblin’s Perception check). Remember to account for the slowed movement and Stealth bonus granted by Swamp Terrain, located on page 41 of the Pathfinder Beginner Box’s Game Master’s Guide.
If they capture the goblin, rather than kill him, he is willing to tell them whatever he knows — just so long as they promise to let him go afterward.
Things the goblin can tell them:
- He and his tribe attempted to move into what they thought was an unoccupied marsh.
- The marsh was not unoccupied. They woke something when they found an old cabin and broke in.
- He doesn’t know what it was, but it was big and green and ugly and had claws that weakened the goblin warriors it hit, so that they could not even run. It seemed to appear out of nowhere & then disappear before they could do anything.
- Succeeding on a DC 20 Dungeoneering check by someone trained in that skill makes that character guess that it may be a Green Hag.
- Characters with Knowledge Local can also make a DC 15 skill check. If they succeed, they remember some old legends about a Green Hag that was said to make its home deep in Brinestump Marsh. The old stories said that if she was ever disturbed, she would take revenge on any who did so — and anyone else who crossed her path as she hunted those who dared to disturb her.
- “And it summoned something huge — something that crushed many warriors… Something that’s coming this way!”
Once the goblin reveals that they were being chased by that “something huge,” there is a deep roar from about 60 feet to the west, in the bogland.
Players with Knowledge Nature or Knowledge Arcana can make a DC 15 check to recognize whatever that creature is. If they succeed, they recognize it as an Earth Elemental (page 66 of the Pathfinder Beginner Box’s Game Master’s Guide).
Party vs. Earth Elemental
- The earth elemental suffers no slowing effects from the swampy terrain.
- The elemental immediately engages the party. There is no “negotiating” with a raging, summoned elemental! It’s after the goblin, but anything else that gets in its way (or acts against it) is also considered an enemy.
- Don’t forget to use his Burrow and Slam abilities to avoid damage, and to burst forth from the ground to attack the players.
The goblin will attempt to flee at the first opportunity. If no player characters are actively watching him during the fight, allow the goblin to make an opposed Stealth check vs the nearest players’ Perception check. If the goblin succeeds, he sneaks off into the woods, in the direction the rest of his tribe went.
After the battle with the earth elemental, if the goblin is still in the players’ custody, he will be willing to lead them to the Hag’s cabin, if they ask him to do so.
If the goblin manages to escape, the players can attempt to catch him, but it will be very difficult if he gets more than a few turns’ head start.
- Remember, swampy terrain slows movement by player characters, and grants a bonus to Stealth checks for the goblin.
However, with a DC 10 Perception check, the players will be able to follow the elemental’s trail to the Hag’s hideout fairly easily — even without the goblin to guide them. The goblins were dropping their weapons and gear for a while. And the earth elemental made no attempt to hide his trail as he smashed the goblins who fell behind.
- Don’t forget to describe the biting flies and mosquitos that harass the players as they go.
- And the eerie silence in the swamp that they noticed before the appearance of the goblins continues. It’s like every living thing between where they are and where they’re headed has fled the area.
When the party travels through the swamp, whoever is first in the marching order should encounter quicksand. See page 41 of the Game Master’s Guide for details on how to detect quicksand, and its effects on characters who fall victim to it.
- The others in the party will likely need to use rope, or tree limbs/vines, etc. to rescue their comrade, if he/she falls in.
Once they reach the Hag’s cabin, describe a scene similar to that pictured to the left.
- A run-down cabin rests on a somewhat dry mound in the swamp.
- It is dark and silent here, except for the sound of their sloshing through the water.
- Not much sunlight makes it through the thick canopy of trees, moss and vines.
- There is smoke coming out of the cabin’s chimney.
Players can attempt to use Stealth with a DC 15 (don’t forget the bonuses granted by the swampy terrain) to approach the Hag’s cabin.
If the player(s) succeed on their Stealth check, they will be able to move closer undetected. Through the open doorway, they will see that the Green Hag is within, muttering to herself & brewing something that smells as foul as goblin stew (which it is!) in a large black kettle hanging over a fire burning in her small hearth.
Her cabin is of bare, mildewed wood, with a mossy bed and various spell components on a table along one wall.
There is also a large chest near the hearth, and some shelves with alchemical ingredients in bottles along one of the other walls.
A Perception DC 10 check by the spying character lets them notice a goblin arm hanging out of the pot as she stirs it. She mumbles “Get back in there…” and pushes it back down into the stew. She also mutters about “Goblins, humans, dwarves and elves… I’m so hungry after such a long sleep. I’ll eat them all!”
Facing the Green Hag
Find the description of the Green Hag on page 73 of the Game Master’s Guide.
- The players may try to surprise her and attack while she is busy cooking.
- They may attempt to negotiate with her (Diplomacy DC 25).
- They could offer to give her some kind of payment, or they could offer up the goblin they found. In return they could ask her to promise to only hunt down the other goblins who were responsible for disturbing her rest. And no other humans, dwarves, elves or other folks should be harmed.
- If they succeed in negotiating, she also demands a lock of hair from one of the party members. This is a big deal — any wizard or other member of the party who is trained in Knowledge Arcana will know (no roll required) that she could invoke all sorts of curses and other horrible things against someone who gives her that lock of hair. But if she keeps her word, is the risk worth it?
- The party could also wait until she has eaten her fill of the goblin stew, and leaves to hunt down the rest of the goblins who disturbed her.
- As soon as she leaves her cabin, the party members must each make opposing checks against her Perception, as she is actively looking for the goblins and is very likely to find their trail too, once she sets out.
If they fight:
- She uses her Invisibility to hide from & attack the players out of nowhere. See page 30 of the Hero’s Handbook for details on how Invisibility works (remember, she casts as a Level 5 Wizard).
- She also uses Disguise Self to look like other members of the party when she approaches players as they’re hiding from her. She attacks them when their guard is down! (She does not play fair…) See page 29 of the Hero’s Handbook for details on how Disguise Self works.
If the party wins the battle and the they search her cabin, the chest by the hearth is booby-trapped with an Electricity Arc trap (see page 39 of the Game Master’s Guide).
Once they open the chest, they find 1,600 gold pieces. And have the player who searches the chest roll once on the “Minor Random Treasure” list on page 30 of the Game Master’s Guide.
With a Perception DC 10 check, the player character also notices that the chest has a false bottom which is concealing another compartment! Have the player roll once on the “Major Random Treasure” list on page 30 of the Game Master’s Guide.
They can also pocket several of the spell components and alchemical ingredients she had accumulated. These items can be sold in the market back in Sandpoint for a total of another 300 gold pieces.
The goblin stew is gross. No one wants that. 😉