2007-07-02 Goblins

Yusukami Valley To travel back home!

U-Tzuki, day 23 – Honoo-Youbi (Fire Day) – “Good luck in the afternoon.”

The party leaves Yusukami to travel to Magnolia Inn. With the party are four Onishi samurai and their leader, Toru Hasuke. Due to an embarrassing mistake we called him “Sato” – never trust your player’s notes! Yusukami also sent an honor guard of six samurai.

The stats I’m using for these samurai are the following:

Guards, male human Ftr-1: CR 1; SZ M Human; HD 1d10+2; hp 8; Init +1; Spd 30 ft.; AC 15 (+1 Dex, +4 armor); Atk +4 melee (1d10+3, katana, crit 19-20/×2), or +3 melee (1d8+3, yari, crit ×3), or +2 ranged (1d8+2, daikyu, crit ×3); AL LN; SV Fort +4, Ref +1, Will +1; Str 15 Dex 13 Con 14 Int 10 Wis 12 Cha 8; Prestige 10.

Skills: Ride +4, Animal Handling +4; Armor Check Penalty -2. Feats: Weapon Focus (katana), Quick Draw, Power Attack.

Languages: Common.

Possessions: Katana, yari, daikyu (STR +2), leather do, sun-ate, and kote (AC +4).

No masterwork equipment, but a strength bonus to the composite longbows. Their leader is a Fighter 3 with appropriate stats.

We also had three litters, 24 bearers, and two maids along on the way. Fumiko was hidden in one of the litters, and one of the doors was prepared with a fire trap…

Based on the occasional Email one of my players forwarded, I prepared some woodland encounters. I thought they were going to send a decoy along the road (which leads north into the Tobu valley) and sneak back to Hakone through the dark valley of the Forest King to the west. When the players got here, it turns out that all the other players wanted to take the road.

Luckily I had prepared trap involving goblins and bugbears, and I still had the Rog4/Sor3 assassin who escaped during the bear hunt. So I quickly doubled all the numbers and ran with it.

It worked out fine, even though the battle went very well for the party. Two samurai fell, but were healed before they died. It was a joy to hand over initiative handling and the friendly samurai to one of my players. Suddenly the fight was much more enjoyable for me as a DM.

When the assassin Kitsu No Kikuma struck at last, she used Detect Thought to determine where Fumiko was (I decided that this was foremost on people’s mind as they fought the goblins and bugbears, and thus counted as “surface thoughts”), Spider Climb to climb down from the cliffs, and Invisibility to hide from sight. I allowed all arcane spellcasters (the ones speaking Draconic) a DC 20 Listen check to hear her casting spells, but they didn’t make it. I didn’t allow the others to make a listen check because I decided they were in the midst of melee.

I had also decided that the ambush could be spotted with a Spot DC 30 check (Take 20 + 4 Hide + 2 Altitude + 4 Cover). So eight goblins lay in wait with at least four javelins each to the left and to the right, on a ledge twenty feet high. After having thrown javelins for two rounds, eight more goblins approached from behind and eight bugbears appeared at the front.

It was too easy!

According to the DMG, this should have been an {EL Encounter Level} 8 for the bugbears alone. Then again, the party had eleven first-level samurai at their side, and it has six members instead of the traditional four. Clearly, I need to aim for much higher enounter levels! :)

I also wanted them to find another “Weapon of Legacy” – a sword of light two of my players had designed for the Cle4/Ftr1. Now I’ll need find another way of making that sword available to the players.

The party is more than ready to start with an Asian-themed RedHandOfDoom next Monday.


Challenges overcome:

To be shared with 11 samurai!

XPs gained: