Rise of the Runelords
Thistletop C18 Caged Horse
"The door to this outbuilding has been nailed shut, and addition al boards have been nailed over these nails. The door itself is cracked and splintered in places. Two dead goblins, their heads crushed in by something heavy, lie in the dirt by the door, their ripening bodies covered with flies."
The door to this outbuilding can be opened with a DC 25 Strength check, or by a DC 15 Disable Device check and 2d4 minutes of work. A DC 20 Heal check can establish that both goblins were slain when a large hoofed animal, likely a horse, stepped on their heads.
The Thistletop goblins have captured horses many times before, bringing them back here for their chieftain to kill during cruel bloodsports in the exercise yard. Yet always before, these captured horses were light riding horses. Locked inside this room is a terrible mistake-a heavy warhorse named Shadowmist, stolen s everal days ago from traveling merchants. The goblins murdered the two caravan guards and one of the two remaining horses (the merchants escaped on horseback to Sandpoint), but Shadowmist proved to be more than a match for the goblins. Through a mixture of luck and false bravado, the goblins managed to knock Shadowmist unconscious while only losing four of their own. They bound up the horse's legs, loaded it into the merchants' wagon, and hauled it back here as a prize for Chief Ripnugget. Though the methods by which they managed to drag the unconscious horse through the thistle maze and across the rope bridge were as ingenious as they were ill- advised and risky, the goblins managed to get the horse here.
Tragedy struck when the excited goblins dumped the horse in the exercise yard, cut its bonds, and poured a potion of cure light wounds into its mouth so that their chief could show off his horse-killing skills on a live horse. Shadowmist immediately leapt up and began racing in circles in the yard. The goblins panicked and fled, shrieking for Chief Ripnugget to kill the creature, but when he tried to do so, the horse proved even tougher than Ripnugget was expecting. The chief took a crushing blow to the arm, breaking it and forcing him to flee. Enraged, he accused the goblins who had caught the horse of trying to assassinate him, then told them to trap the monster in the shed while he figured out what to do with it. Mortified, the goblins managed to lure the horse into the shed (losing three of their number in the process-two outside, one inside), but in the end managed to nail the door shut while Shadowmist stomped and raged inside. None of the bodies hide anything of value.
Ripnugget asked Gogmurt to come "take care of the monster horse," but the druid has refused to help as long as Ripnugget allows Nualia to stay in Thistletop. Enraged at the druid's answer, the equally stubborn goblin chief has decided to let Shadowmist reach the verge of starvation before attempting to kill him again.
Shadowmist is a magnificent creature, yet his days in captivity have begun to take their toll. Slowly starving, the wild- eyed horse can be a great asset for the PCs if they can calm him down with a D C 25 wild empathy or Handle Animal check or magic like charm animal. If the PCs offer Shadowmist food, they gain a +I0 bonus on their checks to calm the horse down.