Encounter Level 2 (550xp)
Once the PCs and the villagers had driven off the orcs in Winter’s Reach – Attack on Tralvaile they learn that the daughter of the village’s leader (Chief Caladar Man’Morth in my game) has been captured by the invaders and taken away. Baldwin and Faustine both express concern over this, it is not they note normal for the Durosh’kan to resort to kidnapping. The chief is keen to have his daughter returned, and all are worried that the Durosh’kan will return and destroy the village. Baldwin volunteers to lead the orcs away, but someone else will have to do the job of rescuing the daughter; enter the PCs with their chance to be heroes.
At not stage does Baldwin explain what his plan is, merely being confident that it will work to lure the orcs away, leaving the party to do the main job of rescuing the girl. So he and Faustine set out once the party is ready, but before allowing for an extended rest just yet. They track the orcs and goblins into the forest, a trail that is easy to follow, until the party is near the ruins of Taslatia. There they stop and allow the party to rest. Baldwin explains that the party should wait here, and then after the clamor that will soon erupt settles down they should make their way into the goblin’s lair to rescue the girl.
(For those who are wishing to avoid the cliche of “rescue the princess” there is a reason for this, as the game goes on there will turn out to be a reason for it being a “princess” that needs to be rescued, rather than a prince. So if you change it you will need to adjust things later to accommodate.)
Read Aloud or Paraphrase:
Baldwin and Faustine have been gone for a while, we suddenly a great clamor echoes through the forest, there are shouts and screams, wolves howl, and something else roars, and then there is a crashing sound as if a large company is rushing headlong through the forest. The one consolation is it is not towards you. As the sound fades you begin to make ready to leave when a much closer sound of creatures moving through the forest catches your ear.
Looking up you see goblins and they shout out at having seen you!
- For 4 Players: remove a Goblin Warrior
- For 6 Players: Add a Goblin Sharpshooter.
Features of the Area:
Illumination: In my setting Taslatia is about a day from the village the party starts at, and so this encounter happens in the morning with good lightning. However you can have it happen at night with Dim Lighting as well from the 3/4 full moon.
Dense Trees: These are particularly difficult terrain and cost 3 squares to move through. These are also found across the stream. Creatures in these trees have sufficient concealment to make stealth checks.
Stream: The stream is a couple of feat down, and a few feat deep. It is difficult terrain, and being in it provides cover.
Rocks: Are difficult terrain.
Tree Trunks: Are impassable and can provide superior cover to adjacent creatures.
Tree “Canopy”: Represents the area affected by the tree and its roots, and is difficult terrain.
The goblin sharpshooters attempt to use the trees, either the tree trunks in the middle of the map, or the dense trees on its edges, to hide and launch their attacks from. The other goblins simply run up to the PCs and attack, trying to gain flanks so as to maximise their effectiveness.
Ending the Encounter:
The Goblins realise that the PCs are likely trying to rescue the girl, and they will be “heroes” if they can kill the PCs so they fight to win. However they need to be sure all the PCs have been defeated before they worry about taking heads back to the tribe, so they will not stop to slit the throats of fallen PCs. Also they are still relatively cowardly creatures, and the two sharpshooters are more than willing to flee once they are bloodied or if all their allies are dead. Fleeing goblins run towards Taslatia, leaving the PCs with the choice of running after them to stop them alerting whatever is left there to their presence or taking a rest to be ready for the next encounter.