D&D Miniatures
Monster Lair
A Solitaire Scenario
By Steve Winter

Monster Lair is a solitaire scenario for D&D Miniatures. That's right, it's a way to play the skirmish game when no one else is available to play (or you just feel anti-social).

Number of Players: One.

The Monster: Select any one figure to be the monster. Large figures and figures costing 30 points or more work best, but anything can be used. We encourage experimentation.

The Attackers: Your warband is the attacking force, come to destroy the monster. Select any figures you want with a total point cost no higher than the monster's point cost. The only restrictions are that all of them must share an alignment (lawful, chaotic, good, or evil) and no figure can cost more than one-half the cost of the monster, rounded up. For example, CE and CG creatures could be included in the warband. If the monster is a Hill Giant (cost 55 pts), then no figure in your warband can cost more than 28 pts.

Terrain Setup: Randomly select two assembly tiles. Without looking at them, choose one and place it on a corner of the battle grid, then place the other one in the opposite corner. The first one you placed is your assembly tile, and the other is the monster's assembly tile.

Shuffle together all of your terrain tiles, face down, in a stack. Select the top tile without looking at it. Now roll a six-sided die. Place the tile (still face down) on the battle grid so that it's that many movement spaces from the monster's assembly tile. If you rolled a three, for example, then there should be two empty squares between the tiles (a figure positioned on the edge of one tile could move onto the edge of the other with three movement points). A roll of 1 means that the tiles will touch, while a roll of 6 means that they will have five empty spaces between them. Now take the second tile (without looking at it), roll 1d6, and place the tile face down so that it's that far from the second tile and no closer than that to any other tile. Repeat this procedure until you've placed six terrain tiles or until you can't place a tile with the number you rolled. In this scenario, it's OK for tiles to touch other tiles or the outside edges of the grid.

When all the tiles are positioned, flip them over from left to right. However the tiles flip up is how they remain, even if that creates one-space-wide corridors or rooms with no doors. The one exception is if an assembly tile is sealed off with no access to the battle grid. If that happens, fix the problem by 1) rotating the adjacent terrain tile or, if that doesn't work, by 2) shifting the adjacent terrain tile just enough to create a corridor wide enough for the monster to stand in.

Place the monster as close as possible to the center of its assembly tile. Arrange your warband however you like on your assembly tile. Then start the game.

Initiative: Assume that the monster wins initiative and goes first every turn.

Monster Awareness: The first thing to determine, when the monster activates on its turn, is whether it is aware of the intruders' presence.

  1. If the monster has LOS to an intruder, it is aware of their presence. Skip to the next section.

  2. If the monster has no LOS to any intruder, but any of your figures have approached to within 20 movement spaces or less of the monster's location, roll 1d20 for each figure within 20 spaces (count around walls but ignore difficult terrain). If the roll equals or is higher than the distance, then the monster hears, smells, or otherwise senses your approach. Skip to the next section.

Controlling the Monster: The monster follows a simple set of priorities, depending on how aware it is of the enemy's presence.

Unaware: If the monster is not aware of the intruders, then roll 1d20, add the monster's level, and find the result below.

1-14 The monster does nothing.

15+ What was that? The monster takes one normal move action on the most direct path toward the nearest enemy figure. If an enemy comes within LOS, immediately switch to the priorities on the Aware list.

Aware: Once the monster becomes aware of the intruders, its actions are determined by reading down the Aware list. Lower-numbered responses take priority over higher-numbered ones.

  1. If the monster is adjacent to more than one enemy, it attacks the figure with 1) the lowest AC or 2) the lowest current HPs.

  2. If the monster is adjacent to one enemy figure, it attacks that figure.

  3. If the monster is adjacent to no enemy figures but at least one enemy figure is within its melee reach, it attacks that figure.

  4. If the monster is adjacent to no enemy figures but has line-of-sight to an enemy figure, it will use a ranged attack, special ability, or spell in preference to charging or rushing. If it is too far from the enemy to use a ranged attack, special ability, or spell, but it can move into range with its normal move, it will do that and then attack. Use your best judgment when selecting the monster's attack -- which spell, ranged attack, or special ability are you most afraid of? Be honest! That's the one the monster will use. If this attack exhausts the monster's store of ranged attacks, spells, or special abilities, then it will use a move action to get closer to the enemy. If it still has ranged capability, it will use a move action to gain cover.

  5. If the monster can charge an enemy figure, it will do so.

  6. If the monster can reach an enemy figure with a single move action, it will move to attack, selecting the enemy with 1) the lowest AC or 2) the lowest current HPs.

  7. If the monster can't charge and can't reach an enemy figure with a single move action, it will use two move actions to rush with its full movement toward the enemy figure with 1) the lowest AC or 2) the lowest current HPs.

If the Monster Routs: The monster can rout, but it gets to make rally attempts every turn (this is its home, after all). In any event, it rallies immediately upon moving onto its assembly tile. While on its assembly tile, the monster gains the Fearless special ability.

Winning: Victory is straightforward. The intruders win if the monster is slain. They lose if all intruders are destroyed or routed.

Notes: The monsters have a big advantage because they become fearless on their assembly tiles, but you have a big advantage because you control the way the fight develops. If you're patient, you can lure the monster into a poor position and then ambush it.

If you find the battle too easy to win, reduce your warband to 80% of the monster's point value, or restrict your spending on a single figure to just one-third of the monster's cost.

If you lose too often, first try improving your technique (luring the monster off its assembly tile, coordinating your attacks). If that still doesn't work, boost the size of your warband to 120% of the monster's value while still spending no more than half the monster's cost on any single figure.

Finally, this is a solo game, so no one but you cares whether you win or lose. Have fun with your warbands -- design around a theme or use those figures that never come out during tournaments. Each monster presents its own puzzle. You will find that certain warbands have an easy time defeating certain monsters and vice versa. The good news is, there are tons of foes to experiment with.

About the Author

Steve Winter has enjoyed a long and lustrous career in the hobby gaming industry, beginning at TSR in 1981. He is currently a web producer and writer living in Seattle.

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