If I could make one picture that sums up D&D for me, this is it. Here’s the moment before initiative is rolled with the Orcs and Goblins in wait and prepared for the Heroes’ arrival. It’s the tense expectation before the dice are rolled and blood is spilled. Will the heroes prevail, or will they become so much goblin chow?
As an encounter for 4e D&D (or any edition, for that matter), it’s a simple enough one to set up:
Orc Ambush, Level 3 Encounter, 800XP
– Difficult Terrain and fallen columns in centre (provides cover for Small creatures)
– False Floor Trap (100XP)
– Goblin Blackblade x2 (100XP ea)
– Orc Raider x2 (150XP ea)
– Orc Eye of Gruumsh x1 (200XP)
This should be a hard fought battle for 1st-3rd level PCs where the key is to push back, and push often. Get some distance between you and the Orcs’n’Goblins through cunning use of Shifting and rely on Close and Ranged attacks. Get up close and personal in Melee and these monsters definitely have the edge. Watch out especially for the Goblin Blackblades using their Sneaky ability to bait-and-switch in an Orc Raider when you least expect it.
As for that arrogant S.O.B. Eye of Gruumsh – good luck! Eye of Wrath alone justifies his presence on the battlefield (a minor at-will fear effect which gives you -4 AC? Ouchy!). Add in Chaos Hammer (which knocks you Prone – this gives the Blackblades Combat Advantage for an additional 1d6 damage) and Swift Arm of Destruction (gives one nearby Orc a free basic melee attack) and this one one Orc you seriously want out of action ASAP. Award bonus XP if the heroes somehow get him into that Pit Trap and keep him there.
Small characters might think it’s best to head behind the fallen pillars for some much needed cover (if they can dislodge the Goblins, that is). That’s when the Orc Raiders will just grin, heft their Handaxes and use their Killer’s Eye to ignore cover penalties.
If the heroes choose to negotiate….. nah. Not gonna happen. Not this time. These Orcs are ready to rumble. We’re way past talking here.
I think that covers all the bases. One encounter, one render. All Dungeons & Dragons.
PS: Check out this post for a special freebie!