17 October 2020

Twin Rocks Battlemap

This week, instead of posting a map with 8 random/unconnected potential combats, I thought I would write them with a common theme. For this battlemap, you will receive 2 encounters, each scaled for a number of different level groups, and with different enemies depending on the level of your players.

The Map

The map this week is a 30x30 square map, designed to be used as a section along a road. The map itself contains a small wooded area, two large rock formations (connected by a bridge), a campsite, and a road leading between the east and west sides. When designing this map, I wanted to play on a number of different terrain options, including giving players multiple levels of ground, areas of cover/half cover, and a few ways of interacting with the terrain outside of typical combat.

I will discuss the different areas of the map, and how they can be used to their fullest, on the next page.

The Rocks

The central focus of this map are the two rocky formations that make up the main body of the design. Each rock is a different height to the other, and both have a sheer rocky wall up their sides. The intention with these is that they are possible to climb, but not easy.

The leftmost rock (with the ladder up the southeast wall) is the shorter of the two, standing at one 15 ft. high above ground level, whilst the rightmost rock is 25 ft. tall. Both are considered difficult terrain to climb, and require a skill check to do so. Depending on the level of your party, I would recommend setting the DC’s of these skill checks at different difficulties (and will suggest these below, later).Given the height/size of these rocks, it is up to individual DM’s discretion as to whether or not creatures on top of them receive the benefits of half/three-quarters cover from different angles.

The Bridge

The bridge, connecting the two rocks, is another great point of interest in this map. Not only is it the easiest/safest way for a creature to make it between the two, but it is also a brilliant feature in its own right. Say a creature is crossing the bridge, and somebody wants to stop them, what’s to stop them from shaking the bridge, to try and knock them off? (strength or dexterity save against a strength (athletics) check) Or to try and cut the bridge, causing them to fall, but also lose their main method of travelling to/from the big rock. (attack against the bridge’s AC/HP)

The Campsite

On the top of the big rock, there is a campsite. The campsite itself has everything a party would need, including rations, some spare weapons, extra ammo, bedrolls, tents, and a campfire. Not only that, but it’s also above the main ground level, giving anyone up there a good line of sight, as well as the higher ground.

The Road

Running from east to west, all the way through this map, is a dirt road. This road passes underneath the bridge, and between the two rocks. Whilst having no special features of its own, it is a prominent part of the map, and could easily be treated as a major road in any campaign setting, seeing as it is roughly 15 ft. wide for its entire length.

Encounter 1: Enemy Camp

Whilst travelling along the road, the party begin to notice a couple of larger shapes appear on the horizon. As they begin to get closer, they notice that the rock formations they saw seem to have something on them. One of the formations seems to contain a couple of tents, and a wooden rope bridge seems to connect it to the smaller rock. The closer they get, they even begin to make out movement on top of the larger rock. After a loud horn sounds, enemies begin to attack from above, in the hopes of defeating the approaching band of adventurers.

Low Levels (1-3)

Bandits! The camp was occupied by a small group of them, and they seem to have cornered the market in this area, shaking down travellers and merchants who pass under their bridge. As the party approaches, one of the Bandits (basic rules - p162) will fire a bolt from their crossbow in front of the party, demanding they remove any valuables, and leave their weapons on the road, before continuing. Refusing to do so, will cause all of the enemies to become hostile.

The Following Enemies will be on top of the large stone:

1 x Bandit Leader (basic rules - p387)

1 x Thug (basic rules - p164)

1d3+2 x Bandit (basic rules - p162)

Mid/Low Levels (4-6)

A vampire? Out here? Well that was unexpected. Having just awoken from their slumber, a Vampire Spawn (basic rules - p354) and 3 Vampire’s Servants (statblock below) are hungry, and excited to see some fresh blood walking their way. The Vampire Spawn will walk down the side of the rock, whilst the Vampire’s Servants will provide ranged spell support from above.

The Vampire Spawn will, if losing, retreat back to its campsite, and one of the Vampires Servants will willingly let it drink their blood, to restore its health. From then on, it will attempt to use stealth tactics to fight, rather than straight up melee. At this point, the Servants will likely attempt to destroy the bridge, to stop the party making it up to them.

Mid Levels (7-9)

Another adventuring party? Gosh! It turns out that someone is not at all happy with the party. Be it mortal enemy, spurned lover, BBEG or something completely different, someone wants them dead, and has paid for a party of equals to be the ones to do it. Having heard about the journey the party was on, this other group of adventurers decided to set up camp along the route, in the hopes of an ambush.

This other party will do everything they can to defeat the players, but will also try to preserve their own lives. If one or more of them die, the remaining members will make a hasty retreat, and they will focus on keeping one another alive, as well as fighting.

The party will contain the following members:

1 x Dragonborn Fighter (statblock below)

1 x Human Cleric (statblock below)

1 x Half-Elf Ranger (statblock below)

1 x Brown Bear (basic rules - p120)

1 x Tiefling Sorcerer (statblock below)

The Fighter, Cleric and Sorcerer will start this combat on the big stone, at the campsite, but the Ranger and Bear will be hiding in the trees to the north, ready to ambush the party. The Fighter will start the combat by jumping off of the rock, with the sorcerer using their reaction to cast Feather Fall to negate any fall damage taken, and will charge in, ready to battle.

Encounter 2: Party Camp

Looking for a safe place to rest for the evening, especially in such a dangerous part of the countryside, is never easy. Thankfully, the party manage to find what seems to be an old hunting campsite. Two large rock formations, connected by a rope bridge, and only one ladder leading up to it, it’s like the place was purpose built to keep them safe. Seeing nowhere better for a long way, they set up camp, and decide to rest up for the evening.

Some time later, as night begins to descend, the party begins to hear noises from the surrounding bushes/trees. Night upon them, and suddenly feeling quite vulnerable on top of a large rock, they listen to the night, hoping to discern their new adversary...

Low Levels (1-3)

As the party listens closer, it becomes clear that the threat comes from the wilds. A loud chittering noise starts to come from the woods, which is echoed by a number of other (similar) noises from other sides. Two Giant Jumping Spiders (statblock below), one Giant Spider (basic rules - p136), and three Giant Wolf Spiders (basic rules - p137), attracted by the light of the parties campfire (or the sound of the party, if they don’t have a fire), will approach and attack.

Mid/Low Levels (4-6)

Oh bugger. Not a goblin raid? The party are quickly awoken from their slumber (or by whoever is on watch, let’s be honest), as a horn sounds through the woods. A number of sounds can be heard through the trees, and suddenly, the party are aware of a raiding party, made up of goblins and goblinoid creatures, surrounding their rock. One Hobgoblin (basic rules - p140), two Bugbears (basic rules - p120), four Goblins (basic rules - p138), two Worgs (basic rules - p160), two Goblin Archers (statblock below) and one Nilbog (VGTM - p182) approach the campsite from all sides, and begin their assault.

The Goblin Archers will start off the fight, by firing their Flaming Arrows into the campsite, in an attempt to set fire to the tents/flush out the party. Following this, the rest of the party will attack, with the Nilbog preferring to stay at a distance, using its innate spellcasting to cause havoc. Remember; if the Nilbog dies, the spirit simply possesses another goblin on the battlefield, making them a Nilbog instead - use this to really cause havoc.

Mid Levels (7-9)

Two Wyverns (basic rules - p160), suddenly spring from the tree cover, and soar high overhead. As they begin to circle above the parties heads, they let out ear-splitting screeches, and begin to attack. The Wyverns will try to attack from as far away as possible, preferring to swoop down, making attacks with their stingers and biting (each with a 10 ft. reach), to keep out of combat range. The majority of the time, the two Wyverns will swoop down, attack, and then take back to the skys, all whilst keeping out of melee range.

Saving Throws and Skill Check DCs

As discussed earlier, the DCs for the skill checks and saving throws should differ for each level category, my suggested DCs would be:

  • Levels 1-3 - DC 12

  • Levels 4-6 - DC 14

  • Levels 7-9 - DC 16

But bear in mind these are just suggestions.

As for attacking the bridge, I would suggest that it having an AC of 8, 2x(the average party level) HP, immunity to psychic damage, and vulnerability to slashing and fire damages. This just to make it easy enough to destroy (by both the party and enemies) but also still sturdy enough it won’t immediately fall down at the slightest touch.

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