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Sample Battlefield Encounter

The following encounter can serve either as set pieces or as building blocks for battles. With variations, they can be used over and over again.

Cut Supply Line (4th)

Enemy forces are bringing food and ammunition to support their troops in an upcoming battle. The goods are being transported by a wagon caravan, and the PCs' commander has determined the route the caravan will take -- one that will lead past a thick grove of trees that might make a perfect ambush site.

Character Level: This encounter is designed for characters of 4th level.

Objectives:Primary: Destroy or capture the four caravan wagons.

Secondary: Destroy or rout opposing forces.

Allied Forces: While striking the caravan is a vital mission, the commander can spare only one unit of troops to accompany the PCs. The PCs can choose between a unit of human regulars or human archers, led by a human sniper.

  • 1 human sniper (page 142)
  • 20 human regulars (page 142)

OR

  • 1 human sniper (page 142)
  • 20 human archers (page 142)

Enemy Forces: The caravan consists of four wagons each pulled by four mules (Monster Manual page 276). Each wagon has two goblin drivers (treat as standard goblins; see Monster Manual page 133). The wagons are defended by goblin spear-carriers marching in front and by goblin archers stationed on the wagons (treat both archers and spear-carriers as goblin sneak corporals). A squad of goblin worg-riders patrols the perimeter.

  • 10 goblin worg-riders (page 148; see Monster Manual page 256 for worg)
  • 20 goblin spear-carriers (page 148; replace short sword with spear, 1d6/3)
  • 20 goblin archers (page 148)

Terrain Features: The road winds through light forest. The ambush location is a spot where heavy undergrowth grows to within 30 feet of the road, near the edge of a wide meadow. The roadway is 10 feet wide, with at least 30 feet of clear terrain on either side.

Tactics: The thick undergrowth is a perfect place to hide a small squad of 20 archers or regulars, providing a +5 bonus on Hide checks for such troops or PCs. The goblins will likely not notice the hidden troops, but the worgs might, with their +6 modifiers on Spot checks. Once combat ensues, the goblin spear-carriers will attempt to engage the PC's allies, and the worg-riders will mount a charge. The archers will take potshots as well, but aren't as effective if the fighting moves onto the road in front of the caravan.

Aftermath: Once the goblins have been killed or routed, the wagons are there for the taking, though the mules are difficult to move off the road (DC 25 Handle Animal check). The wagons can be set aflame or otherwise destroyed. If the PCs retreat before defeating the goblins, even if they have destroyed the wagons, the worg-riders give chase for 10 rounds.

Scaling This Encounter: To use this encounter with a party of 2nd-level PCs, remove the worg-riders.

To increase the difficulty for 6th-level characters, replace the goblin spear-carriers with a squad of 5 ogres (Monster Manual page 199). In either case, also change the contents of the caravan to suit the strength of arms defending it.

Excerpts


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