Last week’s eventful river crossing gave the party a chance to work together for the first time. Overall they worked well as a team. No one died (except the stirges) and the only wounds the party received were inconsequential scrapes and bruises. The party’s success was noted by Malgram, the Ranger in charge of leading Brother Splintershield and the settlers to the ruins of Castle Inverness.
A few hours after the river crossing, Malgram and an as yet unknown female Elf approached the PCs. Malgram introduces the PCs to Faldyra. She is an historian who plans to chronicle the efforts of the settlers as they rebuild on the castle’s ruins. She’s also got a green thumb and wishes to collect various plants, herbs, and roots in the surrounding area.
Malgram asks the PCs if they will accompany Faldyra into the nearby forest and keep an eye on her while she gathers the various plants she seeks. He was impressed by the party’s combat abilities and is sure that they could handle any potential dangers that lurk in the woods (not that he believes there is anything to worry about).
Faldyra, already heading off on her own, waves to the party as she get farther away from the caravan. It’s pretty clear that she’s going whether she’s got chaperones of not. The party quickly catches up to her and agrees to watch out for her well-being.
This week my table had only four players – Belgos (changed from a Drow to a Dragonborn), Brandis, Jarren and a Battlemind. Although there was no healer among the heroes this week, they were confident that they could handle any potential threats on their own.
After venturing into the woods for about 15 minutes, Faldyra eventually found a suitable spot and began digging. While digging for herbs and collecting various plant life, she engages the PCs in casual banter. While digging she uncovers an old blade. Its pristine condition despite being buried indicates that it must have some magical enchantment.
Brandis, the only PC to use a blade of any kind, decided to keep the weapon for himself. Faldyra and Jarren determine that the weapon was a +1 Luck Blade – certainly a lucky find for Brandis.
At this point the week 2 encounter can go in one of three ways – depending upon which route the caravan choose to follow during last week’s encounter. Those who choose the route closer to the forest got either encounter one or two. Those who choose the route closer to the mountain got either encounter two or three. My table chose to go the forest route and ended up with encounter two. The other table at our FLGS chose the mountain route and ended up with encounter three.
A few minutes after discovering the magic blade all the wildlife in the immediate area fell silent. Four goblins sprung out from behind nearby trees demanding that the party hand over their treasure. The party showed great control by not laughing at the goblins. However, they realized that these little buggers meant business and posed a real threat so they immediately engaged them in combat.
Before any of the heroes could attack, a sniper hiding in a tree fired his bow at the Battlemind and scored a hit. The Battlemind shrugged off the marginal damage from the arrow and engaged the closest goblin in melee. Unfortunately, he missed. Then he remembered that he had an action point so he decided to attack again, this time hitting soundly and doing one off of maximum damage.
Belgos was next to act and fired his bow at the nearest goblin and missed. He then moved closer and used his breath weapon (remember, we changed him to Dragonborn). Unfortunately he missed with that attack as well.
And then the goblins went to work. Two moved to flank the Battlemind, both hitting. The combined 21 points of damage more than bloodied him. The pesky goblins are always moving and after hitting the Battlemind, one of them shifted behind Belgos providing a flank for another goblin. This new attacker also hit. The final goblin ran up to engage Brandis but couldn’t penetrate his plate armor.
After all of the goblins finished their attacks they had Belgos, the archer, surrounded. He was going to have a hard time using that bow on his next turn.
Brandis moved to flank with Belgos and scored a solid hit on one of the fresh goblins. Jarren used Arc Lightning to attack two goblins. He hit a fresh one and missed the wounded one.
A couple more goblin snipers emerged from the brambles and fired at Jarren and the Battlemind. Both missed.
The Battlemind, having marked two of the goblins, tried to focus on the one with the most wounds. Unfortunately he missed too. Belgos was in deep trouble. If he fired from his current location he’d take three opportunity attacks, likewise if he moved more than 1 square. However, with one goblin marked by Brandis and the other marked by the Battlemind, he could shift and then hope that those two marked enemies didn’t take their free attack.
He shifted and fired. His gamble paid off, neither goblin took their opportunity attack. Belgos connected with his bow for big damage. His Aspect of he Dancing Serpent allowed him to shift one more square getting him completely out of the danger zone.
Two of the goblins worked together to engage the heavily armored Brandis. Unfortunately they couldn’t hit him. Brandis hacked into the nearest goblin bringing him down to his final few hit points, but not killing him.
Another sniper (the fourth now) emerged from his hiding place in a tree and attacked Jarren. One of the other snipers also targeted Jarren. Two hits on the Mage.
Jarren, like the rest of the party, continued ignoring the archers and focused his attacks on the goblins with swords. He continued using Arc Lightning and like last time he hit one and missed the other. Again hitting the one with more hit points and missing the wounded one horribly.
The two other melee goblins moved to flank Jarren. Both attacked and hit him, bringing him down to 1 hit point.
The Battlemind and Belgos worked together to finally drop one of the goblins. Belgos used his action point to take out one of the archers. When it died from just one hit he knew that the archers had to be minions.
One of the archers targeted the wounded Battlemind, the other the wounded Jarren. Both hit. The Battlemind was down to his final 3 hit points. Jarren was just down, or so we thought. Brandis used his Righteous Shield immediate interrupt to take the damage and Jarren stayed on his feet a little bit longer.
Brandis managed to finally kill the wounded goblin on his turn, but that meant moving away from Jarren. The Battlemind managed to hit and kill another of the wounded goblins. This left one final goblin in the melee and he was at full health. The good news was that he was in Brandis’s Defender Aura.
The goblin saw the soft Jarren near death so he wanted to attack and kill him. If he shifted he’d take automatic damage from the Defender Aura. If he just moved he’d draw an opportunity attack which might not connect. He risked the move. And Brandis hit him bringing him from full to bloodied in one attack. The goblin, angered that his gamble didn’t pay off, attacked Jarren and scored maximum damage, dropping him below 0 hit points.
Jarren’s turn was next in the order so it was time for a death save. He rolled an 8. Strike one. With Jarren down, Faldyra finally joined the combat, using Magic Missile to take out one of the remaining two archers.
Belgos targeted one of the remaining archers and killed it. The Battlemind and Brandis managed to destroy the remaining melee goblin. Jarren rolled another death save. He rolled a 4, strike two. Faldyra fired another Magic Missile and took out the final archer.
With all of the goblins dead, the PCs immediately ran to help their dying ally. The Battlemind decided to assist Belgos. The assist was successful. Brandis tried to stabilize Jarren on his own and failed. Belgos rolled a Heal check and failed to stabilize Jarren. Fortunately this time he rolled a 14 on his death save and didn’t get any better or any worse.
Again Brandis tried to Heal Jarren on his own with no luck. Faldyra successfully assisted, but the Battlemind did not. Again Belgos tried to stabilize his dying ally. He needed an 11 or better. He rolled a 16. Success!
Just for fun we asked Jarren to make another death save. He rolled a 2. If the Heal check had failed Jarren would have been dead-dead in week 2. But fortunately things didn’t end so grimly. The PCs all survived.
Honestly, I was very impressed that they managed to get through the encounter without a healer. If my DM’s attack dice hadn’t rolled 2, 2, 4, and 1 for my four melee goblins in the third round I think the battle might have ended very differently.
I choose to split the goblin attackers into two groups of two. This way the goblins didn’t just overwhelm the PCs when they acted. It worked very well. I also kept the second group of archers hidden until the third round. The PCs didn’t really see them as a threat, but those minions hit with almost every single attack. If Jarren had used Magic Missile instead of Arc Lightning and had targeted the archers, things might have been a lot easier for the PCs.
This was easily one of the most exciting and entertaining encounters I’ve played since D&D Encounters began last year. The PCs really seemed to be in danger at times and no one assumed that things would just work out. They had to act smart and use solid tactics. Sure they could have done things differently but their chosen course of action worked in the end.
I’m looking forward to hearing how other table handed this and the other two encounters. Please share your experienced in the comments below.
As an added bonus this season we’re recording our D&D Encounters experiences and making them available to you as downloadable podcasts courtesy of The Shattered Sea. Listen to the Week 2 Encounter. Bear in mind that these recordings are made in a loud, crowded game store so at time it may be difficult to hear everyone.
Visit the Dungeon’s Master D&D Encounters Archive for all of our ongoing weekly coverage as well as other great D&D Encounters articles and resources.