On the Forest Trail
Encounter Level 4 (850 xp)
This is a simple bandit attack on a road from one city to another. However the tactics of the monsters can be applied at different tiers as they are mostly dependant on the terrain and having atillery monsters firing from a high position into the combat. Feel free to change the Snipers into 8 minion versions of themselves.
To start the encounter read or paraphrase the following:
The road to Esterlath is one that rumours say has been plagued by bandits for the last few months, and so those who want to travel the road have taken to travelling in groups and hiring brave souls to act as guards.
This is how you find yourself walking down a rutted road in the company of a couple of wagons and a few other like minded individuals who are getting paid to keep the wagons safe.
So it is that when you round a corner of the road and find it blocked with four hooded figures standing before it you are not entirely surprised.
The bandits are all dragonborn, they can all be of a single type, and perhaps you might apply a theme to them as well (refer DMG2) to match with the goals of your campaign. They have secured the road in a position where 10′ high embankments crowd the wagons and give their archers a good field of fire while limiting the movement options available to their prey. All in all a good ambush.
- The two Snipers start hidden.
- For 4 players: Remove a Soldier
- For 6 players: Add a Sniper
Features of the Area
Illumination: The area is brightly lit, except up the embankment where it is dimly lit. As a result creatures on the road or embankment suffer a -2 penalty to attack creatures on top of the mbankment, but creatures on the embankment suffer no penalties to attack onto the road.
Embankment: This 10′ high bank of dirt and stone is relatively easy to climb (DC10). Creatures adjacent to the embankment at its base have cover from creatures more than 2 squares from the top, and superior cover from creatures more than 4 squares from the top that are on the ground, and vice versa.
Wagons: The caravan’s wagons block easy passage back along the road. Characters may wish to try and get the wagons going backwards to get around the corner and have the bandits pursue them. Doing this requires a DC15 nature check, and the wagons move 3 squares each round. It takes 3 rounds to get both wagons around the corner.
Trees: The dark area at the center of the trees is the trunk and impassable terrain that provides cover. The lighter areas around the trunk are difficult terrain due to the leaves and detritus gathered around the trunk.
Shrubs and Rocks: Are difficult terrain.
The Dragonborn work as two groups of three, each group seeking to focus on one enemy at a time. The Snipers use their breath weapon when they can get the maxium number of enemies, the Sellswords and Soldiers save theirs for when they are bloodied.
Ending the Encounter
The encounter ends when the Soldiers and Sellswords are dead if the Snipers are not fighting in melee, otherwise the Snipers also fight to the death. When they are searched the bodies of the dragonborn should reveal a mysterious tattoo, the purpose of which is left to you.