The Final Battle
A Goblin and His Hell Hound
That Invisible Touch
What's that Burning Smell?
Down the Hatch
Reaching Cover
Why You Should Never Try to Overrun a Golem
A Disarming Trip
Grab that Otyugh!
Stop that Spellcaster!
See the stats of the PCs used in this column!

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Part Nine: A Goblin and His Hell Hound

In this installment of Gamestoppers, we take a look at the mounted combat rules. Last month, the group defeated a specter that was guarding a large door, but not before it bestowed a large number of negative levels on the party. The group retreated and rested, gaining assistance from a nearby cleric. After returning to the area, the group pried the door open and entered the large chamber they found beyond. It's a huge temple! Unfortunately for them, the noise they made and time they took bashing open the door has given an old nemesis plenty of time to prepare. The goblin high priest Torgulbek and his mount Yarkle are ready to defend their lair ...

DM: Right. The door explodes inward in a shower of splinters and rubble, and Krusk staggers into the huge temple chamber beyond. You catch a glance at the hideous carvings on the pillars supporting the roof and the leering, glowing statue of Maglubiyet looming over an altar in the far end of the room before seeing a familiar face grinning at you from the other end of the chamber. It's the goblin priest you've been chasing! And he's mounted on a hell hound!


PC (Vadania): Finally! About time we caught up with the blighter...


DM: I guess that means it is time to roll initiative.

[Everyone rolls. Lidda gets a 24, Nebin gets a 17, Torgulbek the goblin cleric gets a 14, Vadania gets an 8, and Krusk gets a 7. Since Yarkle is Torgulbek's mount, he goes on the same initiative rank as his rider.]

DM: You're up first, Lidda!

PC (Lidda): Well, the goblin is, what, 80 feet away? That's too far away for a sneak attack. I duck into the room and drink my last potion of invisibility.

DM: All right. Nebin is next.

PC (Nebin): Well, it won't hurt the hell hound, but it should fry the goblin something good. I lob a fireball into the far end of the temple!

DM: All right. The blast of fire momentarily blinds the group, but when your eyes adjust a second later, you can tell that neither the hell hound NOR the goblin seem to have been affected by the fire.

PC (Nebin): WHAT! Crud. Well, I'm gonna duck to the side out of his line of sight.

DM: Right; it's the goblin's turn. He whips out a potion and gulps it down, and he suddenly moves a LOT faster. With a roar, he kicks the hell hound's flanks and runs right at you, Krusk. He's guiding his mount with his knees so he can wield his heavy mace (it takes both hands for him to do so since he's Small), so he needs to make a Ride check against a DC of 5. He can't miss with his +14 modifier to the Ride check. He then barrels down on you, Krusk, and tries to bean you with the mace. [The DM rolls to hit and gets a 14, plus the goblin's +18 attack bonus and +2 from the charge equals a total of 34. He cannot make a full attack since his mount moved more than 5 feet to reach Krusk.] A hit! Since the goblin has the Spirited Charge feat, he does double damage. [Rolls 1d8+8 twice.] He causes 23 points of damage!

PC (Krusk): Wow. Krusk is almost impressed by the puny soon-to-be-dead goblin.

DM: He's not done yet. He also has the Ride-By Attack, so he continues on by you for another 30 feet. You don't get an attack of opportunity on him thanks to the feat. Your turn, Vadania!

PC (Vadania): I step into the room and blast the freak with an ice storm!

DM: Okay, but first, you'll have to penetrate the goblin's spell resistance.

PC (Vadania): Huh? Okay. [Vadania makes a check and gets a result of 20.]

DM: Not good enough. The goblin doesn't seem to be hurt by the spell. His mount, however, is quite affected. Roll up some damage.

[Vadania rolls and gets a result of 6 points of cold damage and 13 points of impact damage. Since the hell hound has the Fire subtype, it takes double damage from cold, for a total of 25 points of damage! This would have been enough to disable the hell hound if it weren't for the aid spell Torgulbek had cast upon it earlier.]

DM: OOF! You didn't hurt the goblin, but you did a number on the hell hound, which yelps in pain as the ice lances into it. Okay, next up is Krusk.

PC (Krusk): Krusk not happy with being menaced by hell hound cavalry. I run up to the hell hound and chop its legs out from under it with my axe!

DM: Okay; you make the 30 feet to the pair with no problem; make your attack!

[Krusk gets a result of 29 on his attack.]

DM: Whoa! Well, normally that would be a solid hit. But the goblin doesn't fancy you mangling his precious mount, so he's going to use his Mounted Combat feat to negate the hit. He needs to make a Ride check against a DC of your attack result of 29. [The DM rolls the die and gets an 18, which modifies up to 32 with the goblin's Ride check modifier of +14.] Whew! That was close. The goblin pulls the hell hound back just in time to avoid your attack.


DM: Your turn again, Lidda!

PC (Lidda): I make a double move action to get a bit closer to the goblin. Don't want to lose my invisibility on anything but a sneak attack!

DM: Right! You're up, Nebin!

PC (Nebin): I cast haste on myself, and then I cast displacement with my hasted action. I'm not going up against that guy without some defenses! Who knows what tricks a goblin with spell resistance might have up his sleeve?

DM: So now it's the goblin's turn. First, he directs the hell hound to attack Krusk. Since the hell hound is trained for battle, he needs to make only a Ride check against DC 10 to fight with his hell hound. The hell hound tries to bite you [DM rolls a die] and misses, but you do take 3 points of fire damage from its breath. [Krusk makes a Reflex save to halve the damage.] Now, the goblin himself takes a swing at you with his weapon. [Since the mount has not moved more than 5 feet, the goblin could have taken a full attack action against Krusk, but he chooses not to do so in case he needs to get away from the barbarian.] He hits for 14 points of damage. Luckily, he wasn't charging and he can't use his Spirited Charge feat as a result. He also reaches down to touch the hell hound and casts a cure critical wounds on it. [The DM rolls 4d8+10 to determine damage healed and gets a 29.] With a flash of red light, all of the monster's wounds vanish!

PC (Krusk): Not for long . . .

DM: Okay; it's your turn Vadania.

PC (Vadania): We have to get that goblin off that monster. I guess I'll hit it with a flame strike. At least half the damage will get through, and it might hurt the goblin, too! [Vadania rolls spell resistance.] Woot! A 34! Better than last time, at least.

DM: Okay; the blast of fire shoots down to hit both of them. Shockingly, the goblin doesn't seem to suffer any damage at all from the spell. The hell hound, of course, is immune to the fire damage, but flame strike deals holy damage as well, so you can go ahead and roll half your damage.

[The DM makes a Reflex save for the hell hound and fails miserably. It takes 18 points of damage from the portion of the flame strike that deals holy damage.]

PC (Krusk): Krusk try to smash hell hound again!

[Krusk rolls and misses with his first attack due to his roll of 1. His second attack, however, succeeds with a result of 24.]

DM: Guess what, Krusk?

PC (Krusk): Stupid gobo uses Mounted Combat against Krusk's attack again?

DM: Yep. Let's see. [The DM rolls a die.] Made the Ride check!

PC (Krusk): ARRRRRGHHH! No more hitting fire dog for Krusk!

DM: Okay. You're up again, Lidda!

PC (Lidda): Great! Looks like the guy is within 30 feet, so I'm gonna take a shot at the hell hound with my bow. I'm still invisible so it'll get the sneak attack damage, right?

DM: Yep.

PC (Lidda): But, it's a new round, and seeing Krusk miss due to some fancy riding . . . crud. Oh well, I'll shoot the goblin instead. [Lidda rolls her two bow attacks and hits once, doing a total of 21 points of damage with the ranged sneak attack to the goblin cleric.]

DM: That got his attention! Your turn, Nebin!

PC (Nebin): Okay, enough with the hell hound. I step into the room and blast it with a magic missile spell.

DM: That should do it. The poor hell hound doesn't have much in the way of defenses there. Roll your damage.

[Nebin rolls and does 13 points of damage.]

DM: BANG! The hell hound yelps one last time and keels over on its side. The goblin curses as he goes down, but he still gets to make a Ride check against DC 15 to make a soft fall. [The DM gets a result of 19.] The goblin falls clear of the saddle just as the hell hound crashes to the ground. Still, he's starting to look a little nervous, what with Krusk standing over him . . .

PC (Nebin): Ha! Not so tough without your hell hound, are you?

As the combat continues, Krusk goes after the goblin and inflicts a lucky critical hit with his axe, doing much damage to Torgulbek. Krusk does enough damage that the priest has become desperate enough to call in reinforcements.

Where to Look: The rules for the Ride skill are given on pages 72-73 of the Player's Handbook. Additional rules for mounted combat appear on page 138.

Be sure to check out Gamestoppers next month when the combat with Torgulbek takes a turn for the worse. The goblin uses his bracelet of friends to call up his monstrous ally, which gives us a chance to see how one of the most complicated and notorious monsters in Dungeons & Dragons works in combat!

Torgulbek: Male goblin Clr10/Rog2; CR 12; Small humanoid (Goblinoid); HD 10d8+10 plus 2d6+2; hp 64; Init +7; Spd 20 ft.; AC 21, touch 15, flat-footed 18; Atk +11/+6 melee (1d8+2, +2 heavy mace); SA rebuke undead 1/day, sneak attack +1d6; SQ traps; AL NE; SV Fort +9, Ref +10, Will +13; Str 10, Dex 17, Con 12, Int 15, Wis 20, Cha 7.

Skills and Feats: Concentration +16, Heal +8, Hide +5, Knowledge (religion) +17, Move Silently +4, Ride (dog) +12, Spellcraft +17; Improved Initiative, Mounted Combat, Ride-By Attack, Skill Focus (Ride [dog]), Spirited Charge.

Cleric Spells Prepared(6/7/6/5/5/4; base DC 15 + spell level): 0 -- cure minor wounds (2), detect magic, guidance, mending, resistance; 1 -- cause fear, command, cure light wounds (2), divine favor**, inflict light wounds*, shield of faith ** (cast on Yarkle); 2 -- aid** (cast on Yarkle), bull's strength**, cure moderate wounds, desecrate*, endurance**, shatter; 3 -- bestow curse, contagion*, cure serious wounds, deeper darkness, dispel magic; 4 -- cure critical wounds, death ward**, poison, spell immunity** (vs. flame strike and fireball -- he knows who's after them and what kind of spells they like to use!), unholy blight*; 5 -- circle of doom*, flame strike, greater command, spell resistance**.

*Domain spell. Deity: Maglubiyet. Domains: Destruction (smite 1/day), Evil (cast evil spells at +1 caster level). **Indicates a spell Torgulbek has cast while the party was bashing in his front door; it took the group 5 rounds to get through the door; the first round was spent drinking his potion of haste followed by his potion of heroism, allowing him to cast two preparatory spells per round. The bonuses granted by these spells are included in the stats below but not in those above.

Possessions: +2 hide armor, +2 heavy mace, potion of heroism (imbibed), 2 potions of haste (one already imbibed), potion of Wisdom (imbibed; 3 points result), 5 potions of cure light wounds, ring of protection +1, periapt of Wisdom +2, bracelet of friends, cloak of resistance +1, amulet of natural armor +1, 23 gp.

Adjusted for potions and spells:

Torgulbek: Male goblin Clr10/Rog2; CR 12; Small humanoid (Goblinoid); HD 10d8+30 plus 2d6+6; hp 88; Init +7; Spd 20 ft.; AC 25, touch 19, flat-footed 22; Atk +18/+13 melee (1d8+8, +2 heavy mace); SA rebuke undead 1/day, sneak attack +1d6; SQ SR 22, traps; AL NE; SV Fort +13, Ref +12, Will +15; Str 14, Dex 17, Con 17, Int 15, Wis 21, Cha 7.

Skills and Feats: Concentration +20, Heal +10, Hide +7, Knowledge (religion) +19, Move Silently +6, Ride (dog) +14, Spellcraft +17; Improved Initiative, Mounted Combat, Ride-By Attack, Skill Focus (Ride (dog)), Spirited Charge.

Cleric Spells Prepared (6/7/6/5/5/4; base DC = 15 + spell level): 0 -- cure minor wounds (2), detect magic, guidance, mending, resistance; 1st -- cause fear, command, cure light wounds (2), inflict light wounds*; 2nd -- bull's strength, cure moderate wounds, desecrate, shatter*; 3rd -- bestow curse, contagion*, cure serious wounds, deeper darkness, dispel magic; 4th -- cure critical wounds, poison, unholy blight*; 5th -- circle of doom*, flame strike, greater command.

*Domain spell. Deity: Maglubiyet. Domains: Destruction (smite 1/day), Evil (cast evil spells at +1 caster level).

Yarkle, Hell Hound: hp 22 (27 with aid spell), see Monster Manual page 118.

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