The players have now confronted and fought all three major factions of the second level: painted men, necromantic midgets, and troglodytes. So the three have temporarily joined together to provide a united response to the predations of the many adventuring parties drifting down from the first level - they've cut the bridge, and have set up guards on the other side.
There was a lot of pointless argument about what to do with the dogs (which, being muzzled, never actually fight anyways), but finally the guys headed all the way down to the third level. It's about time. It's a terribly inconvenient route, though, and easily sabotaged if somebody decided to cut their ropes...
They immediately headed for an area that I didn't have fully keyed, and the portions that I did have keyed, I had forgotten to print out. Whoops. So I winged it, moved rooms around from their original locations, and otherwise put up a brave front.
They're pretty close to the goblin lair now. Bilbo didn't have to deal with anything like this though:
No. Enc: 1d3 (1d3)
Movement: 90' (30')
Armor Class: 3 (1 versus laser attacks)
Hit Dice: 4
Damage: Hive mind’s powers, or laser pistol
Hoard Class: III (XX)
These specially-bred goblins are created by the hive minds to serve as their representatives to the rest of the world. The emissaries act as if they are the true rulers of the goblin tribes, while the controlling hive mind stays safely hidden away.
In combat, a possessed emissary will typically use the mental powers of its hive mind. 10% of emissaries will also possess a functioning laser pistol.
An emissary appears to be a thin gray humanoid, 7’ tall, with a massive bulbous head, slit-like nostrils and ears, a small thin mouth full of needle-like teeth, and wide jet-black eyes – in other words, an exceptionally tall and large-headed goblin. They dress themselves in silvery robes of synthetic reflective cloth (granting +2 AC bonus versus laser attacks). Even undamaged robes are almost completely worthless, as the smell of goblin is notoriously hard to remove.
Goblin Hive Mind, Lesser
No. Enc: 1 (1)
Armor Class: 9
Hit Dice: 5
Damage: 1d10 mental
Hoard Class: XIX
The lesser goblin hive mind represents the immature stage of the species, usually only a few centuries old. It is a large brain, between 1’ and 3’ in diameter, floating in a glass jar full of bubbling green fluid, with various wires and hoses running between the jar and racks of equipment.
A lesser hive mind will be attended by 4d10 goblins, 1d6 goblin spiders, and 1d3 goblin emissaries. It breeds the more outré goblinoids by injecting the goblin spawn-sacks with a cocktail of alien chemicals.
The lesser hive mind is able to mentally dominate all goblins within 60’. Further, it is able to project itself into a single goblinoid’s mind, and speak using that monster’s mouth. Once the mental link is established, there is no limit to the distance between the possessed goblinoid and its controlling mind. Goblin emissaries are favored for this task, as the hive mind is able to use the rest of its mental powers through such vessels.
The hive mind is able to cast charm person upon goblin hybrids such as elves, dwarves, and halflings (one attempt per day per demi-human), may read their minds via ESP, and may project its thoughts (threats, commands, and other social niceties) directly into its victim’s brain. None of these abilities require a victim to be within line-of-sight – if he is anywhere within 60’ of the mind, he may be attacked in such fashion. A 2’ thickness of stone is sufficient to shield demi-humans from these powers (as are artifacts such as protonium-metal helmets).
Once per turn, it may use telekinesis (as per the spell, cast at 9th level). In combat, the hive mind (or its controlled goblinoid) attacks with a blast of mental energy upon a single target – if the victim fails a save vs. spells, he will take 1d10 points of damage, and begin bleeding from his nose, ears, and eyes. Dwarves, elves, and halflings suffer a -2 penalty to the saving throw.
The goblin races instinctually serve the hive minds, and they will naturally obey them even in the absence of active mind-control – attempts to foment revolution among a mind’s goblin subjects are doomed to ridicule and failure.
A mind whose tank is broken will dehydrate and die within 4 hours.