Saturday, 15 April 2017

Keep on the Borderlands - The Path of Evil - Session 29b



·        One of the hobgoblins begins to speak “Vat youz…..”
·        Malandir draws down his bow and fires at the goblinoid. The arrow flies true and strikes the monster in the right shoulder. It’s a terrible wound, made all the worse for the additional Sneak Attack and Point Blank Shot damage. The hobgoblin takes 9pts of damage and is badly wounded. Malandir 5ft steps to the east, towards the entrance corridor. 
·        Lucien yells “We need to drop these quickly as we can to prevent them retreating and sounding an alarm in their home raising more.” He quickly retrieves a scroll and Cause Fear and casts it on the north eastern most hobgoblin. It’s a DC15 Will save against the hobgoblins Will save modifier of +1. The monster rolls a 11 and fails his save and is effected for 2 rounds. The hobgoblin whimpers in fear.
·        [DM’s note: So speedy was the action of Malandir and Lucien that they grabbed the initiative and were able to act in a Surprise Round. All other participants, ie the four hobgoblins, the four men at arms, Ragnar, Kord and Talmark are left Flat Footed and cannot participate in the round.]

Monster Initiative: R14 + 2 = 16     Party Initiative: R7 + 0 = 7

·        The hobgoblins are stunned but recover quickly. The hobgoblin affected by the fear spell immediately runs for the north western corner where he continues to cower in fear.
·        The wounded hobgoblin stabs at Kord with his longsword and just misses the cleric.
·        The hobgoblin behind him 5ft steps to the south east and attacks 1-3 Kord, 4-6 Malandir = roll 2 = Kord. He swings his long sword and but misses.
·        The remaining hobgoblin has enough distance to charge either Fremont or Talmark and so he charges 1-3 Fremont, 4-6 Talmark = roll 5 = Talmark. Bursting forth he swings his long sword at the human warrior but misses.

I have to date been a bit haphazard in deciding when the monsters will go for help. To codify it I’ve drafted House Rule #13, shown below. 

HOUSE RULE #13: Going for help. Intelligent monsters will sometimes go for help. Where it is not explicitly noted in the module that the monster will go for help they still may do so. When the monsters have taken 50% casualties, they will make an intelligence test every round and, if they roll their intelligence or less, one of the monsters will go for help and to warn the main tribe of the danger.


·        The north western hobgoblins fear token is reduced from 2 to 1.
·        Lucien yells instructions to the men at arms “Clovis, spear Ragnar if he makes any move to help the enemy. Barret and Per, follow Talmarks lead. Freemont, try to corner that hobgoblin in the north western corner and if he tries to run finish him!”
·        Kord 5ft steps to the south east and casts Burning Hands. It’s a DC12 Reflex Save for ½ damage and the hobgoblins have a Reflex Save modifier of +2. He catches three of the brutes under the flames of Asmodeus and they roll 2, 5 and 17 and take 2pts or 1pt of damage respectively.
·        Malandir 5ft steps back away from the monsters to the south east and fires an arrow at the badly wounded hobgoblin in the middle which he critically hits in the right thigh. With blood spurting from a terrible wound, which has opened an artery, the hobgoblin drops to the ground and bleeds out as it takes 13pts of damage.
·        Talmark swings Felldrac at the hobgoblin to his front but he fails to hit the beast.
·        Fremont 5ft steps to the west to start to corner the feared hobgoblin and to start to flank the wounded hobgoblin that Talmark had just attacked. He stabs at it with his spear but he also misses.
·        Barret 5ft steps to the north west and stabs at the hobgoblin to his front and hits it in the right leg for 6pts of damage.
·        Lucien 5ft steps to the south and casts Murderous Command on the southern most hobgoblin. It’s a DC15 Will Save against the hobgoblins Will Save modifier of +1. The hobgoblin rolls an 8 and fails. Next round it will advance upon and attack one of its own party members.
·        Clovis grows at Ragnar who cowers in fear.
·        Per advances to the north and then the west and gets into contact with the north eastern hobgoblin. He drops his torch along the way so that he can use his shield and spear and he stabs at the wounded monster but he misses it.  


·        The hobgoblins took their first casualty last round and must take a morale test. They roll 6 and easily pass.
·        The north western most hobgoblin continues to grovel in fear.
·        The southern most hobgoblin 5ft steps to the north and he cannot stay his hand as he obeys Luciens command and stabs at his fellow with his longsword. He’s Flanked his brother hobgoblin against Per and hits him in the back for 7pts of damage, killing him.


·        The last remaining fear token is removed from the hobgoblin in the north west corner. He is no longer cowered.
·        Malandir lowers his bow and fires at the hobgoblin in the middle of the room but misses it.
·        Lucien lowers his cross bow and fires at the same hobgoblin and hits it in the left leg for 3pts of damage.
·        Talmark 5ft steps to the west and swings Felldrac at the hobgoblin who had just murdered his fellow but he misses.
·        Fremont 5ft steps to the west and corners the north western hobgoblin. He stabs at it with his spear and hits it in the chest for 7pts of damage.
·        Kord moves 15ft to his west and then the north and swings his heavy mace at the Talmarks hobgoblin but despite having the hobgoblin flanked he misses.
·        Barret 5ft steps to the west and attacks the monster and also misses.
·        Per moves 10ft to the west and south and attacks Talmarks hobgoblin and just misses the brute.
·        Clovis once again growls at Ragnar who lets out a little “Eeep” in response.


·        The hobgoblins must take a morale check for having reached 50% casualties. They roll a 4 on 2d6 and will continue to fight. They need to roll an intelligence test to see if one of them will go for help. They roll a 10 on a d20 against an intelligence of 10 and one of them will go for help. It’s not immediately obvious which is the best candidate so 1-3 the northern most one, 4-6 the southern most one = roll 1 = the northern most hobgoblin.
·        The northern most hobgoblin makes a break to get help. To do so he’ll bypass Fremont and Per, both of which will get an attack of opportunity. Freemont attacks first and stabbing with his spear he hits the monster for 8pts of damage. It slumps to the ground dead before it can reach the door.
·        The last hobgoblin attacks 1=Per, 2=Barret, 3=Talmark, 4=Kord, roll 1 = Per. He swings his long sword at the man at arms and hits him in the left leg for 4pts of damage.


The party surround the last remaining goblin and attack it viscously with bow, crossbow, spear, heavy mace and two handed sword. It doesn’t survive the round.

The party search the bodies of the hobgoblins and recover 4 long swords 10gp and four sets of ears.
They peer through the secret door and see it leads into a long corridor to the west, at least 30ft, which is the extent of their torch light (I haven’t mapped this section yet). 



  1. Asmodeus has genuinely blessed our efforts to date, it would be best I think to beat a hasty retreat from this place. We are unwounded, but our resources run thin, and more powerful adversaries await... Best to get back to a safe place, rest up and make another go on our own terms.

  2. Agreed, we have much to carry and light casualties....perhaps Malandir should scout the secret passage before we leave to have an idea of what is at the other end?

  3. If the secret door is still open, then look inside yes, but venturing out alone? Knowing there are hobgoblins on the other side, 99.99% chance he'll be outnumbered, out-armored and out-weaponed? He'll be about on equal footing vision-wise, and Malandir's got good stealth, but there are too many negatives there.

    I would not want Malandir to chance it, he's proven himself too valuable.

    If the party votes to head back, put Ragnar in the middle of our formation, and when near the outside of the cave, have him point out the other tribes caves. Lucien will ask him, "And Ragnar - what tribe do you fear the most? Is there one warlord or chieftain of all the tribes? Do any of the tribe brag about having pet monsters and how do they describe them?"

    Once everyone is happy with his answer, Malandir can coup him from behind.

  4. Malandir is your PC, though - it is up to you. I can see where his personality would want him to check things out a little more and he'd have confidence in his abilities to stay hidden.

  5. Malandir was thinking more of getting an idea of how long the passage is, what is at the other end, and having a listen. Not venturing through the other side, that would invite a swift end!

  6. Malandir looks down the corridor. It goes 30ft to the west and then he can see no more (ie it goes beyond the extent of his infravision which is 30ft).

    By the way the goblins/hobgoblins etc tend to have infravision of 60ft, double that of the light provided by a torch or the infravision of Malandir.

    The big advantage we have when Malandir sneaks forward isn't so much his infravision but his stealth skills and the fact that he isn't taking a light with him. It gives him a chance to sneak up on the unsuspecting opponents.

  7. Tell us how you are working stealth - because I may be working off assumptions - unless their backs are to him, hobgoblins would see him coming before Mal knew they were even there.

  8. Taking 10 moving forward slowly, I was making the assumption that Malandir gets a perception check, and that is what would keep him out of trouble. But agree, don't want to push it!

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  10. Yep fair question. There are lots of ways to interpret this part of the rules.

    And you are right to ask by the way. The more you know the way I interpret the rules the more that you can plan more effectively.

    So this is the way that I look at it.

    Firstly, for most monsters, such as goblins, orcs or gnolls, I figure that they’re not too disciplined when they are on guard duty and equally they aren’t disciplined in terms of watching for intruders when they are in their main quarters. So they’re not hiding and they are considered to be distracted.

    Secondly, I figure that it’s reasonably difficult to perceive someone in a cave compared to in the open so I apply a -2 modifier per 10ft compared to the normal -1.

    Thirdly I make the simplifying assumption that I make a check the first time either they or Malandir first have a line of sight to the opponent.

    And lastly I only give the monsters one check for their group, using the most perceptive monster of the group (as opposed to rolling 6 times for say 6 monsters).

    Let’s use an example to illustrate.

    Malandir is Taking 10 and he rounds a corner that’s 40ft away from some monsters (goblins). He is now in direct line of sight. They have infravision of 60ft which exceeds 40ft so they check against a base DC of 17 (take 10 + 7 stealth skill, if Malandir were not Taking 10 then I’d roll instead of the base number of 10) + 8 for distance + 5 for being distracted = 30 (see page 102 of the Core Rule Book). Goblins have a Perception modifier of -1 so they need to roll a 31. Basically they won’t see him unless they roll a 20.

    When Malandir gets to 30ft he has a chance to perceive them. The base chance is a 0 for noticing a visible creature (or for that matter for hearing a conversation between a few goblins) + 6 for distance = 6. Malandir has a Perception skill of 6 so anything but a 1 and he will succeed (a natural 1 is always a fail and a natural 20 is always a success).

    Now if Malandir were trying to sneak up on a disciplined foe, such as a hobgoblin guard unit (and hobgoblins are well known for being very disciplined), well that’s a completely different matter. They wouldn’t be distracted and they would also be using their stealth skill. A much, much harder target.

    I should add by the way that I started to apply these more strictly after the first combat when Malandir got 'ninjered' by the goblins in the first encounter. It was the prompt for me to go back and re-read the rules.

  11. Kord addresses the party, "I suggest that we return to the Burg. Whilst we may not have many wounded we've expended most of our spells and we're exhausted. Also we've learned a lot from this expedition and I think it's time to take stock and plan our next attack. And lastly, we've collected a lot of loot. Let's cash it in and get some better equipment."

    And out of character - I think we've probably collected enough xp to go up a level. At least Lucien, Talmark and Kord but maybe Malandir as well. It would be a shame to get TPD'd now. I think I'm going to feel a lot more powerful with most of running around with another half a dozen or so hit points.

  12. Player comment: Malandir agrees to cashing in, he might not level but the loot might pay for improved eqpt, which is all good...and of course there is the chance of random encounters on the way back which might tip him up to 2nd level.

  13. Player comment: Let's get these Men at Arms outfitted better also.

    Spears are OK, but (my opinion) upgrade their armor by one step, toss the shield, get them all Lt Crossbow and Morningstar.

    The net is same AC, gain the ability to range-attack, and gives them both bludgeoning and piercing instead of just piercing in case of enemies that have DR in that area (skeletons for one example.)

    More Player comment: Lucien is taking a dip into Alchemist to widen our options and capabilities, this campaign is not really focused on things his build is geared for. It will come in handy later with cons that Lucien is planning, but for survivability and party flexibility to get there, dipping into Alchemist will help.

    This is really the type of campaign where it pays to be a rogue - you made an excellent choice, Tony, and I am player-jealous.

  14. Ah, thanks, I will provably dip Malandir into ranger or the ranger/rogue hybrid at some point as well in order to broaden his skills and utility. But cant wait to see him get his next two levels as a rogue, a rogue talent and more sneak attack will be cool, not to mention craft poison! Of course I could get really carried away and look at Malandir picking up some arcane casting in time, but for now he will remain the sumple sneaky git he is!

  15. I've got you covered with Craft Poison, it falls under Craft Alchemy. The problem there is time spent crafting to get potent poisons, unless DEW is going to DM fiat some of that.

  16. True, but if Malandir has it as well he can aid another....besides, it just fits with the twisted elven rogue too much yo not have it!