03 October 2020

Waterfall Battlemap

Unlike my usual weekly adventures, this is more of a resource for DM’s, GM’s and everyone else who run games. Instead of a full adventure, this week you will get a square map, designed for anyone to use in their games, and 8 different battle encounter suggestions. Each encounter will be unique from the other 7, and there will be two encounters for each level bracket (1-3, 4-6, 7-9, and 10-12).

The Map

The map for this week's resource is designed to be usable in many different situations. It is a square map (25x25 squares in the gridded version, but if you use the un-gridded, whatever dimensions you wish), built for encounters in a number of different situations. This weeks map is a waterfall scene, on the edge of a woodland/forest, with a sheer cliff and a broken campsite. If your party are travelling between locations, and you want a quick encounter map for; cliffside, woodland, forest edge, campsite, river or road, then this could easily fit into your game.

If you have a battle you would like to run, then this map should be a good fit for the above settings, but if you don’t know what to run, then have a look through the below suggestions. I have included 8 different combat encounters, designed for parties of different levels, to fit the map provided.

Daytime Battlemap

Encounter 1: Water Motes (level 1-3) Easy

The party needs to get from one area to another, but the only river crossing for miles is the bridge at the top of the cliff. As they approach, strange spheres of water rise out of the water, hovering ominously in place until approached. Clearly the work of some powerful sorcerer or druid, 2d2+(2xparty level) Water Motes are defending the crossing from outsiders, and no one can cross without either permission or a fight.

The Water Motes are a favourite monster of mine, as they can prove to be a fun combat for parties of all levels, whilst also adding something new to the game. A few fun mechanics, and a decent damage output for such a low CR creature add up to a fun and memorable combat for your party, as well as for you as a DM! Check out the statblock for these creatures below in the Statblock section, and for more information on how they fight, check out my Water Mote post on my blog.

Encounter 2: Poachers (level 1-3) Average/Hard

As the party are travelling along the road, a deer runs out into their path, followed quickly by an arrow, fired at high speed, narrowly missing both the deer, and one of the party members. A few seconds later, a half elf in leather armour races onto the pathway, arrow nocked, and bow aimed at the party. He demands they tell him where the deer went, and becomes defensive about his “right to hunt”. He quickly talks himself into a corner, and reveals that he does not have a hunting license for these woods, and is doing so illegally. With a quick whistle, two more leather clad humanoids walk out of the treeline, and turn on the party, insisting they cannot be allowed to leave, with their knowledge.

Three Poachers (see statblock in below section) and two Wolves (basic rules - p159), tamed by the poachers, will attack, and will not allow the party to escape without a fight.

Encounter 3: Wolf Pack (level 4-6) Average

Halfway down the road, the party hears a low growling noise coming from the treeline. A few moments later, two sickly looking wolves emerge, and flank the party on either side. Four other Wolves (basic rules - p159) and two Dire Wolves (basic rules - p123) begin to approach from the woods, but seem wary of the two wolves already out. The two Diseased Wolves (statblock below) will attack immediately, whilst the rest of the pack will hold back until the party causes harm to any of the wolves, at which point they will try to protect their own.

The Diseased Wolves are a great way to spice up a simple wolf encounter, as they will make it a lot harder for the party to pass the strength saving throws the Wolves and Dire Wolves will cause them to make with every attack. This could easily prove to be a near deadly encounter, if played right, with a combination of the Strength Sap disease and the wolves Pack Tactics.

Encounter 4: Bugbear Tribe (level 4-6) Average/Hard

One Bugbear Chief (monster manual - p33) and three Bugbears (basic rules - p120), lurking in the forest, spy the party as they travel, and see an opportunity to get some good new gear/food. The Chief steps out in front of the party, demanding they hand over their valuables and food, whilst the three Bugbears sneak up from behind and try to take the party by surprise, hoping to take them out (preferably fatally) quickly.

Encounter 5: Druidic Clan (level 7-9) Average

Halfway along their journey, the party find themselves suddenly surrounded by vines and weeds, grasping to hold them in place. After attempting to struggle free, three figures step out of the woods, and hold spiky/thorny staffs at the ready. One of the figures steps forward, and accuses the party of damaging the forest. As the players look, he has a blank expression in his eyes, and does not seem able to be reasoned with.

Three Druids (basic rules - p398) and one Dryad (basic rules - p304) attack the party, all muttering about how they are “responsible for destroying sacred places”. Despite reasoning from the party, they will not be able to be reached. An intelligence (arcana) check, DC 16, will reveal that they are under the effects of some kind of spell. Every round, on initiative count 20, a new area will become overgrown, as if under the effects of the spell Entangle, when it does so, the previously entangled area will become clear again. The Dryad will attempt to stay as far from combat as possible, and killing it will cause the three Druids to come to their senses, apologise, and try to run away.

Encounter 6: Gorgon Attack (level 7-9) Very Hard

Walking down the road, the party starts to notice scratch marks on a lot of the tree trunks, some even missing whole chunks of wood. As they progress, they hear movement in the trees, and grunting sounds. Finally, A Gorgon (basic rules - p317) bursts out of the trees ahead of them. Distracted by the hulking monstrosity ahead of them, the party are taken aback when a second crash comes from behind them, revealing a second Gorgon flanking them from behind. Clearly enraged, and impossible to reason with, both gorgons attack.

I know two gorgons might seem like overkill, but it’s only a CR 10 encounter. A party of level 7-9 adventurers should be able to cope, as long as they are careful and good with resources.

Encounter 7: Bulette Ambush (level 10-12) Hard

As a party of higher levelled adventurers, not much seems to be a threat. By now, they will have conquered threats from all places, and lived to tell the tale. So what, if anything, on the road between two towns/cities could pose a threat? A low rumbling can be felt by the party as they walk along the dirt road. Unsure of where the tremors are coming from, the party investigates. As they look around, one of the members of their adventuring group takes a step, and the ground gives way underneath them, causing them to fall prone, in a collapsed section of a 9ft. wide tunnel. As they begin to find their feet, a large creature, with rows of sharp teeth bursts out of the ground and attacks.

Two Bulettes (basic rules - p266), a mating pair, have taken up residence in the woods, and are extremely territorial. Any creatures passing through are fair game, and they won’t let up until they are dead. On initiative count 20, every round, a tunnel created by one of the Bulettes collapses in on itself, underneath the weight of one of the party, causing them to make a Dexterity save (DC 17) or be knocked prone (taking 1d6 fall damage). Saving this throw causes the character to avoid taking damage, but they will still find themselves in soft ground, 10-15 feet below the surface (counted as difficult terrain, and also requiring the player to climb out if they want to continue movement).

Encounter 8: Troll Attack (level 10-12) Hard/Deadly

With an earth shattering rumble, the party becomes suddenly aware of the presence of something big. They turn to look through the trees, and see a shadow approaching. They hear, above the booming footsteps, the jangling of chains, and the smell of Troll fills the air. Looking up, they see their adversary, A Stone Giant (basic rules - p313) with two Trolls (basic rules - p156) on chain leashes, is making its way through the trees, and heading towards the nearby town/settlement.

The Stone Giant will attack any creature it sees, and will release the Trolls from their leashes at the first sign of a fight. The trolls will listen to the Giant’s commands, but will attempt to run after the Giant is killed/subdued.

Appendix: Statblocks etc.

Daytime Battlemap (With Grid)

Nighttime Battlemap

Nighttime Battlemap (With Grid)

Evening Battlemap

Evening Battlemap (With Grid)

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