A place wherein this Dwarven Cleric can share his love of maps, dice, miniatures, and all things involving gaming and general geekery--not to mention the occasional witty non-gaming observations--whilst escaping from the humdrum existence of his routine Terran existence.

Hail and Well Met, fellow traveler! May my Stronghold provide a place for enlightenment and amusement, and somewhere to keep your dice dry. Enter and rest awhile.

04 July 2016

[Random Booster Encounters] Roadside Ambush (#01)

This series is something experimental, at least for me. The concept: create an encounter based solely on the four miniatures found in any one single random booster. I had originally thought about calling this a Pathfinder project, but then I remembered that Wizards had re-started their random miniature production. They're not the greatest paint jobs in the world, but then...some of the early Pathfinder paint jobs weren't terrific either.

The attached character sheet was also something of an experiment, as it has been somewhere over 35 years since I truly worked with the AD&D First Edition ruleset. Please forgive any errors, and accept them as what they are: an effort to pay tribute to that set of rules. It's also a nod to my OSR friends and readers. [But if you have suggestions regarding the character stats or character sheet—also of my design—please feel free to let me know. I welcome correction; I want to learn.] It was intended to be used on a 4" x 6" card.

The 3.x statblock follows the AD&D character sheet.

So, the project begins... after the break

Roadside Ambush 

This booster is from the Rusty Dragon Inn set and contained the following miniatures:
#11: Dancing Girl (C)
#13: Bugbear Lurker (C)
#16: Dwarf Bard (U)
#26: Draft Horse (U)

This encounter is ideally for a first-level group from 1–4; for 5-8 characters, increase the starting number of bugbears to 2.

The party is traveling through the forested wilderness on an isolated road. They see a column of smoke. Coming over a rise, they spy the source of the smoke: a burning wagon. Some frantic motion is seen, and yells or other sounds of battle further attract their attention.

If they decide not to investigate, but continue to pass by the scene—or if they decide to take their time and investigate the scene carefully first—they find the still-burning remains of a wagon as well as the mutilated corpse of a dwarf. The fire has not yet spread to the surrounding forest. Further investigation of the scene reveals that the bulk of the cargo from the wagon is singed and ruined female clothing. A short distance away from the burning wagon, they will find the corpse of a human woman; rather, pieces of the corpse. A character making a Search check (DC 15) will find tracks leading away from the remains; sufficiently high checks, or a Search check combined with appropriate Knowledge checks, will reveal the tracks to be bugbear tracks. At the DM's discretion, the tracks can also reveal the involvement of 4–6 bugbears. Following those tracks will lead the party through the forest and into clearing. In the midst of the clearing is a rocky grotto, much like the ruins of a large, natural tower. The bugbears are hidden randomly around the grotto. Unless the party was actively attempting to be stealthy, the bugbears are ready and waiting for their arrival, and will receive a surprise round. A horse (heavy) is tied within the grotto.

If the party decides to immediately investigate the smoke and apparent battle, they will arrive to find an unconscious dwarf and an attractive (to humans) human maid. A bugbear is menacing her, and is 10 feet away from her as the party arrives at the scene. Each round, there is a 25% chance (cumulative) that another bugbear will arrive on the scene and enter immediately into combat. The cumulative percentage chance "resets" each time another bugbear appears; this will continue until all 4–6 bugbears [DM's discretion] have arrived at the scene. A horse (heavy) is tied to a nearby tree and is frantic with fear, partially from the fire and partially from the bugbear.

If the party arrives too late, the party will find in the ashes of the wagon and cargo nothing more than scraps of burned and ruined clothing. Pieces of leather cord on the belts of both the woman and the dwarf suggest belt pouches that have been wrenched from the corpse. If the woman is killed in the encounter, the bugbear who does so will pull the pouch from her belt and immediately flee the battle.

If the woman is saved, she will reward the party with a handful of gems from her pouch (3x10 gp, 1x30 gp, 2x50 gp, 2x70 gp) as well as 200 gp in coins. She will also reward the party with three arcane scrolls hidden in the wagon (which will burn with the wagon if she is not saved). The spells on these are as follows: Scroll of Protection from Energy, Electricity; Scroll of Cure Moderate Wounds; Scroll of Burning Hands. [At the DM's discretion, these can be changed to any comparable spells, one each of 1st, 2nd, and 3rd level.] The dwarf, if saved, will also award the party with 100 gp from a total 200 gp cunningly secreted (Search, DC 25) within the hem of his cloak. The dwarf will also recover from the wagon, in the nick of time, his drum. If befriended and engaged in conversation, he will reveal that the drum is a dwarven item: a Drum of Fog.

The woman—Naryal Poula—is a dancer for a traveling troupe of entertainers; the dwarf—Bolar Ironhome—is her friend and bodyguard, as well as a bard apprenticing with the troupe. Because of some recent interpersonal difficulties with other members of the troupe, she had loaded all her belongings and her meager wealth into a wagon and is fleeing for her safety and a new life. Unfortunately, upon stopping to make camp, they were attacked by a band of bugbears who reside in the grotto. The first bugbear has called to his comrades before the party comes over the rise.

Aura faint conjuration; CL 3rd
Slot none; Price 2,000 gp; Weight 1lb.


This drum allows its possessor to raise a thick cloud of heavy fog similar to that of an obscuring mist spell. The fog covers a 10-foot square next to the drum player each round that the user continues to beat the drum; fog clouds travel 10 feet each round in a straight line from the emanation point unless blocked by something substantial such as a wall. The device makes a deep resonating noise, with the note dropping abruptly to a lower register at the end of each beat. The fog dissipates after 3 minutes. A moderate wind 911+ mph) disperses the fog in 4 rounds; a strong wind (21+mph) disperses the fog in 1 round.

Craft Wondrous Item, obscuring mist

XP 600
CN Medium humanoid
Init +2; Senses Darkvision 60'; Listen +4
AC 16, touch 12, flat-footed 14 (Leather)
hp 11
Fort +1, Ref +5, Will +2
Speed 20 ft.
Melee Sword, short +2 (1d10+1/ x3)

Special Attacks +1 attack Orcs, goblinoids; Weapon Familiarity: dwarven; Fascinate 1 creature 
Space 5 ft. Reach 5 ft.
Str 12, Dex 14, Con 13, Int 13, Wis 9, Cha 13
Base Atk +1; Grapple +2
Feats: Armor Proficiency (Light), Shield Proficiency, Weapon Finesse, Weapon Proficiency (Simple)
Skills: Appraise 1, Balance 2, Bluff 6, Concentration 6, Craft (Blacksmith) 3, Decipher Script 3, Diplomacy 3, Disguise 3, Escape Artist 0, Gather Information 1, Listen 4, Perform 6, Sleight of hand 4, Speak Language 2, Swim -3, Tumble 4, Use Magic Device 5 
Languages Dwarven, Common, Orc

Special Abilities: Defensive Training; Greed; Stability; Stonecunning; Bardic Knowledge; Bardic Music; Countersong; Inspire Courage
Concentration 3

1st—(DC 12) cure light wounds, disguise self
0th—(DC 11) dancing lights, detect magic, ghost sound, light, summon instrument (drum)

Leather armor, Short sword, 200 gp.
Horn of fog

Please note: All my NPCs are free for you to use. Please, feel free to use them. All I ask is a note to let me know if, where, when, and how it was used.

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