Sunday, July 20, 2008

Monster in the Closet

This encounter will see some significant changes from its original incarnation, as well as the party's first introduction to an elite monster.

Back in D&D 3.5, a fight against a single monster of the party's level was considered to be an average fight. Of course, usually a single monster simply couldn't keep up with a full party of adventurers. It got to hit one of them, sure, and then the party got to hit back four times. Not the fairest of fights.

4th Edition fixes this by giving the average fight one monster per character. Furthermore, when the party does face off against a single monster, that monster is well-equipped to deal with taking on five enemies at the same time.

Unfortunately for this encounter as designed, goblins simply don't make great solo monsters. Elite, definitely, but they don't have the interesting powers that would allow a solo version to keep a party occupied. So forget the single monster in the closet approach. Gresgurt is still here, but he's simply the bravest of the goblins huddled together under the closet floor. There are now three monsters in the closet.

Begin the PCs in the upper story wherever they choose. It is likely that the encounter is begun when one of them physically checks on the body of Alergast, so place the closest PC one square away from the closet door (right next to the bed), having recoiled from Alergast's mutilated body. This will allow enough room for all three goblins to appear. Put Gresgurt in front. Use the Blackblades' Sneaky ability to help them deal with the cramped quarters of the bedrooms while Gresgurt hacks away at the nearest PC. I suggest the following encounter for a party of five adventurers:

  • 1 Elite Goblin Skullcleaver, Gresgurt (apply the Battle Champion template)
  • 2 Goblin Blackblades
Total: 500 xp (Level 1 Encounter)

Have Sheriff Hemlock dole out 190 gp and a potion of healing to the party when he comes to deal with the aftermath (treasure parcels 7 and 8).


Brian said...


I am very interested in your conversion project. I'm also planning on running RotR later this year, hopefully in 4th edition.

Your work so far has been very good, and I'm looking forward to seeing how it progresses.

That said, I'm concerned that adding two other goblins to this encounter changes the tone significantly. I would be interested to hear how this played out in your game.

Scott said...

Actually, when I ran this for my group I used only a single elite Skullcleaver. The fight was over quickly and without much effort on the part of the PCs. This, coupled with the fact that the number (and magnitude) of encounters needs to be upped dramatically in order for the PCs to level up appropriately, encouraged me to add the extra goblins - something I was considering doing anyway.

I'm not too concerned about the tone changing, here. This encounter serves to show the party that goblins, while occasionally comical, are also terrifying monsters. The image of a trio of goblins cowering under a closet until the boldest of the bunch decides to have a snack consisting of a child's arm should be plenty potent.

If you do run the encounter, let me know how it goes.

Zombie Neighbours said...

It also massively Stretchs suspension of disbelief. The one goblin makes a degree of sense, but three?

Scott said...

I don't think it stretches suspension of disbelief at all. I'd love to hear your reasons for believing that it does, though.

Zombie Neighbours said...

Firstly, the fact that multiple goblins snuck into the house to hide and all choose the same location is frankly silly.

Add to this the reason the goblin stayed in the first place was fear of the dog. A single goblin this would make sense for, but three, would likely egg each other on, to either escape, or act sooner.

Given what we know about the reason the goblin finally makes its move(mind numbing insane hunger), why is it that the goblins didn't fall on each other and use each other for food before risking the wrath of the canine horror outside?

This change fundermentally changes a really cool scene.