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The Dragon’s Hostage

Encounter Level 4 (952 XP)

In this encounter the characters are rescuing a girl, Zarra, from a Blue Dragon Wyrmling called Kanethrax, and its Hobgoblin allies. The Dragon and its allies are hiding out in the wreck of a ship with their captive. This encounter assumes that the girl is a drow, this may or may not be a surprise for your players.

As the adventurers approach the area, read:

At last you have found the place the hobgoblins took the girl, Zarra. The wreck lies on its’s side but has a large hole amidship, beside which two hobgoblins stand weapons at the ready.

If the players stated they would approach stealthily: allow the whole party to make a stealth check to avoid alerting the Guards (Passive Perception 11). If the whole party succeeds allow the PCs to plan and observe.

If they fail the stealth check or did not use stealth read:

At the sound of your approach the hobgoblins quickly move inside raising the alarm to your presence, and from inside a beast of some sort roars.

When the adventurers reach the whole in the ship and can see inside read:

The first of you to the hole sees a dirt floor cluttered with barrels and crates that is level with the ground, above it is wooden floor of the original ship, and there a small blue dragon is ready to take flight, as around it hobgoblins prepare for battle. On the floor before the dragon lies a drow girl.

Setup

This encounter includes the following creatures:
2 Hobgoblin Archer (A)
4 Hobgoblin Grunt (G)
1 Hobgoblin Subcommander (S)
1 Blue Dragon Wyrmling (K)

  • The fight starts once the PCs reach the threshold of the ship. Kanethrax wants to show off to the hobgoblins.
  • The guards are Hobgoblin Grunts, and so the PCs may kill them before the main fight is joined however unless the party takes particular care the subcommander and archers will hear the guards bodies falling over when they are killed, so they will not be surprised.
  • If the PCs do kill the Grunts remove the two closest to the entry from the map when the combat starts.
  • For Four PCs Remove a hobgoblin archer.
  • For Six PCs Add a hobgoblin mercenary.

Features of the Area

Illumination: The area is dimly illuminated by the moon overhead.

White Squares: These are impassable areas, the wall of the ship or other such solid terrain.

Wooden Floor: The wooden floor is raised above the rest of the ground. It is 2 squares high, and accessible by the 3 sets of stairs. There is no access to the area underneath the wooden floor.

Victim Tile: Only present if the adventurer’s succeeded on the skill challenge. Shows the position of Zarra.

Crates, Chests and Barrels: Are all difficult terrain, and can be used to gain cover.

Stairs: All the stairs are difficult terrain to go up, and normal terrain to go down.

Ceiling: the ceiling is tilted at odd angles and rises 5 squares above the floor in the center of the room and only 1 square up at the edges.

Tactics

Kanethrax (Blue Dragon Wyrmling) should open with its breath weapon, and then stay at melee until it is bloodied. Then he should retreat and use his blast from range until he is below 1/4 hit points, at which point he should flee, by blasting a hole in the ceiling if necessary. Note that the structure of the wreck means that if the PCs stay inside it he must stay within 5 squares to be able to attack, if the PCs move out from the cover of the wreck he pulls back to 20 squares (maximum range) and continues the assault.
Hobgoblin subcommander works to secure Kanethrax’s flank to prevent the PCs moving around to get at the archers who hang back and pepper the PCs with arrows. If the subcommander and the archers are alive when the Kanethrax retreats to begin using ranged attacks the hobgoblins all go to melee in an effort to keep the PCs away from the it while it finishes them off.

Ending the Encounter

Ideally the PCs will defeat the hobgoblins and drive the dragon off allowing them to rescue Zarra. No aid will arrive to help them in this encounter as they are out in the docks and the Blue Dawn guards have other problems at the moment.

If the PCs flee the Kanethrax and the hobgoblins do not pursue, instead they take Zarra and escape as well, not wanting any one else to interfere with their plans.

If the PCs take a hobgoblin or Kanethrax alive it can be talked into (intimidate, bluff, or diplomacy Hobgoblin DC 10/13, Kanethrax DC 15/18) revealing that their tribe was hired to raid the town by Kanethrax, and an old human called Drathmeron. They were given many different jobs, but capturing Zarra was very important, which is why the Subcommander chose to do that task.

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