Session 4 - Alternative Combat

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In reading through session 4, it seems to me that there is a very good possiblility that the adventurers will avoid combat altogether. As a back-up, I am planning fun combat encounter for them. Looking at the Building Combat Encounters section of the DM Guidelines, I've decided that after Barcero and his cronies clear out, a fight between the party and two trolls that have recently claimed the ruins as their own might be a fun encounter to run. Trolls have lots of fun mechanics with their customization options and it will give the PC's something different than the same old Orc/Human encounters. Two of them look like a good challenge for a group of Five 5th level PC's, with an average encounter being around 250 each, (1250 total). Two trolls is 1220. Add in the customization options and it could be fun.
I decided to go another route. I've drawn a small manor house for the PCs to explore. I figure this is a better way to get them where the encounter wants them to be without telegraphing the combat. I'll post my map later tonight after I get home. Others may find it helpful.

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I decided to go another route. I've drawn a small manor house for the PCs to explore. I figure this is a better way to get them where the encounter wants them to be without telegraphing the combat. I'll post my map later tonight after I get home. Others may find it helpful.



That would be awesome, was thinking of something similar but had no time to prep one this week

"Well that encounter was easy....er, guys, why is the DM grinning?" (party members last words)

It's not a party till the screaming starts!

Follow me on Twitter @Vobeskhan or check out my blog http://vobeskhan.wordpress.com/

As promised, here's a link to the map I drew of Sandersal Maner you can use for this encounter.

My intention is to give the players this map as a handout and then let them wander through the ruins. Players have a hard time leaving rooms unchecked so eventually they'll head out back to search the guest house/servant's quarters and the stables.

I left the map unlabelled but starting in the top right and moving clockwise, here's how I see the rooms: kitchen, library/study, tower, hall, drawing room, dining room. Just to be clear the staircase in the middle is at ground level, it goes up and then spirals in both directions. However, as per the descriptive text the second level is destroyed. Behind the stairs is a hallway connecting the Kitchen to the Dining Room.

I borrowed the layout from this map (credit where credit is due).

Visit Dungeon's Master.com – The D&D Resource Blog For DMs and Players.
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Follow me on Twitter @ameron_dm

As promised, here's a link to the map I drew of Sandersal Maner you can use for this encounter.



Great idea Derek! I think I will use this for my session as well and combine it with my Troll encounter. I hope you don't mind if I alter it slightly. I've made some minor adjustments to satisfy my plans. Here's my take:

img543.imageshack.us/img543/5524/qbuk.jp... - Player's Map

img22.imageshack.us/img22/9775/vj20.jpg - DM's Map

I probably won't have time for the Otyugh, and possibly not the Gray Ooze, but it was fun creating it. Also, I'm not completely sure about my hazard DC checks there, so any feedback from anyone on that would be great.
As promised, here's a link to the map I drew of Sandersal Maner you can use for this encounter.



Using Derek's Map (many thanks again for that) and some of Spykes ideas I have modified mine as follows (Rooms from left to right, top to bottom):-

Carriage House / Stable - as adventure.
Servants quarters - ruined, nothing of interest or value.
Well Court - as adventure.
Kitchen - large fireplace/open oven along east wall, 10'square pit in north-east corner with a Gelatinous Cube trapped within it. DC15 Wis to spot/avoid pit.
Hall/Corridor - nothing of interest or value.
Delapidated tower - buried coffer (as adventure) in south-east corner.
Dining Room - large table and several chairs intact, curtains on west wall window move now and then and moaning noise (both caused by wind channeled through holes in wall).
Burned Hall/Foyer - Staircase and tracks as adventure, spiked pit between doors and stairs DC18 Wis to spot, DC15 Dex to avoid spikes (half damage), 2d8 falling/spike damage (piercing).
Library - bookshelf has fallen to hold door closed. DC20 Str to push open, or hack door apart, auto hit, resist bludgeoning/piercing, vulnerable slashing 45HP. possible Magic Item (from chart) hidden within bookcases. Books are too rotten to be of use.
Cloak room - nothing of interest or value.

I'm expecting our Half-orc rogue to try and talk his way out of trouble as usual so unless they fall afoul of the cube this could be a combat free session - not a bad thing to be honest.

"Well that encounter was easy....er, guys, why is the DM grinning?" (party members last words)

It's not a party till the screaming starts!

Follow me on Twitter @Vobeskhan or check out my blog http://vobeskhan.wordpress.com/

As usually the community took a good idea and made it a great idea. After reading the follow-up posts and seeing the revised map I think I may tweak my own map before my session. Great job, folks. Should make for a much more interesting encounter.

Visit Dungeon's Master.com – The D&D Resource Blog For DMs and Players.
http://dungeonsmaster.com
Follow me on Twitter @ameron_dm

I ran the session Monday, but I did something similar. I added a part where if the PC doing the investigating in the ruined manor failed a Dex saving throw in the kitchen, a load of rusted cookware fell out of a cupboard, making a cacaphony that alerted the creatures in the stable. This moved the combat into the courtyard with the well rather getting everything clogged in the stable. It also let Barcero use the cover of the stable to his advantage once combat started. Great suggestions, folks!
I just want to say you guys rock Definitely going to expand this encounter tonight. I think my group would definitely have gained Barcero's trust (if they didn't attack on sight) since they're rather mercenary. This way there'll definitely be some fighting available to them.
One more thing regarding the manor's interior that might be good to keep in mind; I'm going to rule that the terrain inside is all hazardous because the entire second story construction is basically all over the floor. Movement will be halved for my encounter. Also, they will be arriving at night, so light will be a factor as well. All of that makes detecting the pit traps very tough in my opinion.
As promised, here's a link to the map I drew of Sandersal Maner you can use for this encounter.



Great idea Derek! I think I will use this for my session as well and combine it with my Troll encounter. I hope you don't mind if I alter it slightly. I've made some minor adjustments to satisfy my plans. Here's my take:

img543.imageshack.us/img543/5524/qbuk.jp... - Player's Map

img22.imageshack.us/img22/9775/vj20.jpg - DM's Map

I probably won't have time for the Otyugh, and possibly not the Gray Ooze, but it was fun creating it. Also, I'm not completely sure about my hazard DC checks there, so any feedback from anyone on that would be great.



I pretty much ran it using your maps / encounters (no gray ooze though). I think the pit DCs were probably harder than they'd be if they were published but seemed OK to me since I think generally the published stuff is too easy.  Two of the pits claimed victims and it was a 50/50 split on saving vs. the spikes. 

I had 6 level 5 characters and the trolls lasted about 3 rounds.  The otyugh barely 2 rounds. Deadly Strike really cuts through monsters - especially by barbarians with Weapon Mastery.  I did use the Lothesome Limbs options on the trolls but due to my dice being wimps only one arm came off and it was easily killed then burned. 

As I had figured they didn't have to fight Barcero although they accomplished this by a bald-faced lie & bluff rolls - same end result - he's hired them to find Phoedele and more importantly the Staff. Finished the encounter, fights, and exploration in about 2 hours.  Turned out to be a great session.
You know these things never go as planned.
They only triggered onw trap and same result with mine being 50/50 on spikes. 2 PC's fell in one got the spikes.
I opted out of the otyugh for time sake.

I was wrong on their desire to talk their way out of the Barcero fight. One look at the Zombie Protectors and they had no intentions of avoiding combat. Towards the end of combat the wandered too close to the Troll den room so I unleashed one of them into the fray as well. 

Very fun encounter. 
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