Sunday, August 29, 2021

Rogues Gallery


Bugbears by Reaper Miniatures, 

I painted a bunch of figures since last September , here thes antagonists from a bunch of differentD&D games we ran, its about 50 models,  then I have about 20 Adventurer types, and then a couple dozen figures from the game Zombicide. All in all Im somewhere around 100 figures, which is alot given my
 time constraints and I am not doing any Army Painting. Also have some newish Terrain as well.
All will be revealed as I move back into posting more frequently.  The Bugbears in the opening shot appeared in both our B2 Keep on the Borderlands and T1 Village of Hommlet games..

Ogre by Reaper Minatures

Like wise this Ogre appeared in B2 Keep on the Borderlands and and as Lubash in the Moathouse Dungeon of  T1 Village of Hommlet 

Bloodhoof Minotaur by Reaper Minatures

The Minotaur was a TPK machine in our B2 Keep on the Borderlands game

Owlbear from Otherworld Miniatures

The Classic Owlbear from the inside cover of B2 Keep on the Borderlands, The kids didnt stumble into his Den, 

Goblins by Reaper Minatures

I really started to like these Reaper Goblins and they keep making better and better ones so I just keep painting them.  I gave up on using my Otherworld ones, because the scale on these guys is just way better.  Used, in Lost Mines of Phandelver, Keep on the Borderlands, and my version of village of Hommlet .

Lizardmen by Reaper Minatures

I hope they make more poses of these guys and out of the newer plastic material Reaper is using, I've gotten lots of use of them, Keep of the Borderlands, Village of Hommlet and now Barrowmaze.

Kobolds by Reaper Miniatures

Spent about a week working on all these guys...think I have another 6 still and then there another set I want of new ones Reapers released which would give me about 30....made a brief appearance in my Keep on the Borderlands game.

Giant Frogs and Giant Crocodile by Reaper Miniatures

Swamp Creatures appearing in the Village of Hommlet

Giant Crayfish by Otherworld Miniatures, Green Slime by Reaper Miniatures

Denizens of the Moathouse Dungeon both these guys claimed many of daughters Hirelings and Henchman, ouch a nasty pair.

If you want to read a narrative of retake on the Village of Hommlet as the starting point for Barrowmaze head on over to my Sword and Sorcery Blog, Iron Shadows in the Moon. I'll try to get my painted Adventurers up soon.

Monday, August 9, 2021

Plastic legions update , Iron Shadows in the Moon


Well from my last post you can see where I started messing around with Board games, and that continued sparingly throughout  this year- Gloomhaven, Zombicide, A Touch of Evil, Catan nothing really stuck for us more than an occasional game here and there. Skirmish games like Rangers of Shadow Deep, Frostgrave,  and Fallout: Wasteland Warfare fell by the wayside with the  advent of the introduction of D&D with my kids.  Its pretty much taken over and when we do get to game, we are doing that, any hobby Time I have had is for prepping those games, and it should go without saying- I do a lot of prepping!.   I think I have definitely painted more single figures in the last year than I have since back when I was war gaming on weekly  basis and doing a 2-3 events conventions a year.


While the blog here has been out of commission  technically since last fall,  I still , despite the my time sinkhole,  have a keen interest in the hobby. The change is really how the hobby has just morphed for me in the last decade and a half.  Wargaming easily translates into roleplaying games, to ever think that as a kid when we were pushing  unpainted miniatures around on black and white grid. , I would have the massive amount of painted figures and terrain that I do now, is somewhat unreal , it wasn’t even a gleam in my eye back then.


Needless to say the my kids today take this for granted and have no idea but remain quite impressed as their games come to life on the table top.  While we started out with modern 5e D&D, some of them found the rules a bit complex additionally with my lack of knowledge in the explanation department on said new rules.  I did an experiment and moved us over into a one off with some B/X D&D , which isn’t even my background, ( Im a blue box, the 1st Ed late 70’s guy) but I know it well enough and surprisingly we ended up sticking with it , so here I am in mid 50’s running an 80’s style B/X game with my 14 year old and her friends, and its been really fun. I find the Kids prefer to just be an “Elf” or a “Fighter” or a “Thief” and not a one of 3 strains of elves and then whatever  subclass of your main class, with the extra tracking of abilities , actions, bonus actions etc. (and I will certain be pontificating on the new D&D vs old moving forward as that is quite of modern topic of conversation)


Needless to say, I no longer taking to time to log entire playthru’s  of various skirmish games like I was or writing up the blow by blow to a D&D session both of which incredibly time consuming,  previously I was making an audio recording the session then painstakingly going thru the play back.  And typing out the details. As your can imagine that takes awhile.


Moving forward here, you will see pictures of painted models and terrain and a typical chronicling of the hobby that I have always tried to do here. Now that I am refocused I think its appropriate that I separate my new interests from the old and let the cross over happen where it may. 

If you are an occasional visitor here who wants to check out my models and terrain , look for bunch of it being posted before year end.  IF you are interested in a narratives about OSR D&D games, or essays on classic Fantasy and Science Fiction in Books, Magazines and Comics about characters like Conan, Kull, Fafhrd and the Gray mouser,  or countless others, please come check out  the reinvention of the my hobby over at Iron Shadows in the Moon

Monday, January 4, 2021

Happy New Year, Gloomhaven: Jaws of the Lion , Scenario 1 Roadside Ambush.

Well I've clearly let the blog fall by the wayside since September but I did do a good amount of miniature painting this fall ( and I'll get to posting

those as time permits) and I finished several more D&D sessions with the kids but I have not made the time to write them up or post about them.

Real life has just kept me far too busy to enjoy much of any of my hobbies, and blogging about them is an just extra time sink., One the good thing about these type games is I can write these up as I play them which lets me share the time and keep the record.

It is the 15th year of the Blog, so I am compelled to keep on messing around with my games and see it where it takes me.

Again this year at Christmas, I got a new game as a gift, a suprise again as my kids are getting old enough to know what I like and pay attention to things I am checking out on you tube while we are hanging out. This year I received the very popular and highly rated;

 Gloomhaven: Jaws of the Lion.

Now I know about the big bad Gloomhaven the main game and mega hit from 2017 , but of course never took the plunge, despite the attraction and that its something definitely in my wheelhouse, huge, fiddly games like that without a dedicated group to play are just wasted space and if you know anything about Gloomhaven you know it takes up alot of space.

Jaws of the Lion is nice streamlined intro package into the Gloomhaven world, a stand alone game with 4 characters and 25 missions that looks like it will keep me busy for sometime. Like I have been doing with Rangers of Shadowdeep and Fallout: Wasteland Warfare. I will play it as a solo game and write up the 1st 5 scenarios and see if I like it enough to start building Hirst Arts terrain for it or play its predcessors OR get interest in the upcoming Frosthaven.

Unless you are familiar with the game the following will little sense to you, so here's a brief explanation from a total layman. 

Gloomhaven uses no dice but your play 2 abilities card each round, you total will depreciate until you rest (either long or short) and its refreshed.

Some skills are one use only, and when you rest you must burn (discard) a card for the rest of the scenario in order to retrive the played cards

Card are all rated by speed for initative purpose, lowest being fastest, your fastest card is your initiative each turn

but you may use the either the top section once or bottom section once from each skill cards in any order, once per round

the next round you must draw new cards until your out and you must rest, but you can rest , when your out of health or cards that Character is done for the Scenario.


I am using two of the 4 Characters for this sample playthrough

The Red Guard. a Tiefling-like Tanky fighter with a mean melee attack sometime short ranged attack with Sickle on a chain.

Voidwarden- Human Mage, corrupted by the power of the void (black hole) She is squishy but packs potent buffs in both effects, can grant extra ally attacks , has good healing capabilities, can control enemy, and has some ranged attacks.

Redguard is just couple red tones , wash and a  highlight, the Voidwarden I wanted to make a half and half normal /corrupt, ashy molten....overkill probably.

The Enemy in this scenario are Vermlings who are a goblin-ratman like race so I used Goblins to proxy them here rather then games standees. (the game has great character miniatures, but standees for the monsters) The Vermlings have standard initative of 50 for this scenario.

Scenario 1: Roadside Ambush

The fist mission, stickers are added to board as you advance thru the scenarios to track your progress

Objective is kill all enemies.

Initiative on first hand

Red Guard



Round 1

Redguard   Plays - Shocking Advance, Blinding Sickle

Move 3 spaces (of 4) and put 4 (3 +1) damage on the nearest Vermling

Voidwarden  Plays- Suggestion, Wicked Search

Moves 2 spaces and immoblizes the wounded Vermling, Wicked Search allows

the Red Guard to attack it for 2 damage (4-2!) but it kills it

Vermlings all move 1 space toward the heroes. Vermling 3 moves adjacent the redguard and puts 2 damage on him

Round 2

Redguard  Plays - Desert Night, Twirling Stabs

Uses Desert Night to put 3 damage on Vermling #3, the modifier card is X2, so it 6 damage its dead

He can do nothing with the Twirling Stabs card.

Voidwarden   Plays-  Black Boon, Lure of the Void

Voidwarden heals Redguard back up to full health. I misread the card thinking lure of void gave an ally a range attack but its a normal attack so she does nothing.

Vermlings all move 1 space toward the heroes.

Round 3

Heroes take a Short Rest

Redguard -burns Twirling Stabs

Voidwarden - burns Lure of the Void.

Initiatve remains

14 Redguard

49 Voidwarden

50 Vermlings

Redguard   Plays Shocking Advance, Desert Night

Uses desert night to move 1, and shocking advance to hit for 2 (3-1 mod!) and immoblize

the Vermling boss

Voidwarden  Plays Wicked Scratch, Turn out the lights

Wicked Search- moves 2, and strengthens the Redguard

Turn out the lights puts 3 ranged damage (3+0) on the  Vermling boss.


Boss attacks Redguard, puts 2 damage on him (2+0),Other Vermlings move 1 space

Round 4


Voidwarden 23

Vermlings 50

Redguard 63

I purposely use high initiative cards here to put the Redguard after the Vermlings cards -let see if it works

Voidwarden, Plays  Suggestion, Black Boon

She doesnt move but Muddles the Vermling boss so he fights at disadvantage., she then heals the Redguard back to full.

Vermling Boss, attacks redguard. draws a miss and a +2...he disadvantaged so its a miss, nice!, it worked.

Other Vermlings close in on redguard one is adjacent attacks and does 1 damage (2-1)

Redguard  Plays  Flaming Sickle, Blinding Sickle

Blinding Sickle does 2 damage (2+0) and immobilizes the Vermling boss

Flaming Sickle does 3 (2+1) damage...Killing him.

Round 5

Heroes take Short Rest

Redguard burns Shocking Advance

Voidburns draws black boon, decides to keep it , takes 1 damage and burns Suggestion instead





Redguard  Plays- Shield Spikes, Desert Night

Uses Desert Night to move 2, then even thou I am at advantage, I use an ability that doesnt  allow drawing of  a modifier card. I put 2 damage on EACH remaining  Vermling

Voidwarden Plays -Turn out the lights, Wicked Scratch

uses turn out the lights, to put 2 (3-1) on the Vermling 4..its enough to kill him then Wicked Scratch to move 2 and Strengthen the Redguard (its too back if she was one space close, she could of have the Redguard finish him)

Vermling attacks Redguard for 3 (2+1) damage!

Round 6




Red Guard

Voidwarden  plays Black Boon, Gift of the Void

Voidwarden uses Gift of the Void to let the Redguard attack for 1 damage (2-1 argh) it still lives!

Black Boon has her move 1 behind the Redguard.


Attacks Redguard for 1( 2-1) damage

Redguard  Plays Flaming Sickle for 2 damage (3-1)  and finish his last point of health.

Scenario 1 ends.

Sloppy but I got thru the scenario, abet with the Redguard with half health, there is good synergy between these two figures, 

Now while that was very simple the Game will continue to get more complex over the next 4 scenarios the point being after 5 scenarios you have command of the full rules of the game.

I may add additional characters as we go along, well see how it goes,  

Next up.  "A Hole in the Wall"

Sunday, September 20, 2020

D&D Tactics- Goblin Ambush Part 2 : Cragmaw Hideout.


 Second post of this series where I am going to demo the combat encounters  of the Introductory chapter of  the D&D 5e Adventure, The Lost Mines of Phandelver.  This was run in preparation of my running of the actual RPG session for the game  . That session was played over labor day weekend, this combat simulation was done right after I posted part 1. Like my previous  series for Fallout Wasteland Warfare , I have 5 missions planned, where it goes after that we will see how much I am liking it

 Disclaimer: keep in mind I am running these encounters as a test on “how”  the actual session “might” play out so its one part skirmish game for my own entertainment and  one part DM tries to figure out to apply the new 5e  mechanics to “X” situation. Its in no may meant to replicate a RPG session with 5 live humans. Thanks.

 Pre Game Notes

 The 5 Characters for our combat sim are currently level 2, we are using milestone XP so they move up to level 3 after the next mission which is  The Redbrand Hideout. 

 They are:

Folke Hillsharp  - Human Ranger

Grond Mudrock- Half Orc Fighter

Brother Hammond- Human Cleric

Swift Felhand- Human Rogue

Vatanis Darkwhisper- Tiefling Warlock



Directly after the ambush on the road the Heroes proceed directly after the lone goblin that feld  in order to track it back to the goblin hideout.  They lead the Oxen and Cart deep into the woods until its far enough away from scene of the battle that corpses there which be much more attractive to scavengers than their pack animal.  Between Folke the Ranger and Swift the Rogue, they  had no problem following the tracks on the rough trail and avoiding both Snare and Pit traps sets for unwanted interlopers.  Brother Hammond remarks, “ they really dont want anyone here, this might be more than just goblins”  The trail soon starts to parallel a stream and both shortly lead to a small clearing in the side of large forested hill. The stream flows directly from inside the hill out of the mouth of a cave . Along the side of the stream is a dry path leading into cave. Thick trees and shrubs  are everywhere.

 1. The Cave Mouth

2. Goblin Blind

 Approaching the Cave the heroes take care to be as silent as possible,  there are two goblin guards here and the dont notice the heroes either until the cross the stream at the Cave Entrance...they shout out and initiative is rolled. (I missed the Initative numbers here but they are in order)

 Goblin A shoots  at Folke, Roll  5 -miss

Vatanis Steps across stream eldritch blast  13+5 =18 hit Damage 8+5 = 13 Goblin dies  BOOM

Folke moves over 25 feet and engages the second goblin

Longsword 14+ 3= 17 hit  damage 5+1 =6 

Made short work of these two

Brother Hammond moves over uses his sling, misses

Swift shoots a crossbow bolt, misses

Grond moves over and gives it an unarmed strike. Wanting to not kill him but knock him cold.

14+5...hit. 4 damage – KO’d

Heroes take a short rest in the blind area the goblin sentries where using, tying the goblin up

Folke ranger who speaks goblin (the only one who does) 

Folke asks him the basics of whats inside.  A Folke isnt a very charismatic guy at -1 but I give persuasion check with advantage because Grond is pretty scary and I have roll intimidation and he gets an 18 +1 or a 19

Folke gets Persuasion check with advantage nets a 15  which good enough  for a moderate challenge so I would give the Heroes Some basic info here.

 Hes told over about a dozen goblins, about the Bugbear leader and wolves inside the entrance,

 The entire cave is black the heroes using common sense, rely on the characters with darkvision to lead the way in order to keep the element of surprise going as long as possible .  Any characters without darkvision suffer disadvantage on any attack or skill check that relies on sight.

No Torches-  Grond with his darkvision leading the way..Grond also has a +3 in Animal Handling he’s going to try to get the those wolves to be calm with some of his rations in his pack


3. The Kennel

 Wolves are growling and snapping,  Grond throws some food in there and makes DC 10 Animal Handling Check and rolls a 7=3 for 10 just making it,  Grond pacifies them temporaily long enough to make a quick check of the room , he finds the chimney, not something he wants to climb up. 

5. The Bridge

Goblin on the bridge, sleeping maybe? he never saw the heros,, Grond feeds the wolves his rations in the Kennel 

 Swift the Rogue and Vatanis the Warlock with his Darkvision scout ahead  after Swifts hide stealth is (10+5=15)  and Vatanis is (11+0=11) against  Goblins passive perception 9, the Goblin doesnt see them.

 The Bridge Goblin’s Stealth Check is  (9+6) 15..while he doesnt know they are there

 Swift [perception check rolls a 16  so shes see him shoots her crossbow  and totally misses...

Initiative is rolled

17 Vatanis  

14 Folke 

13 Goblin

9 Grond 

6 Brother H 

4 Swift 


17  Darkvision can see the Goblin about  30 feet away and above him  He fires and Eldritch blast 12+5 =17 hit and 9 damage kills bridge goblin, I’m not sure if Eldtrich Blast makes any noise so I can ‘t judge if the spell or goblin gurp as he died would alert anyone, since there are no other gobin within 50-60 feet of him, running water the wolves making noise, I’d rule no.  Vatanis and Grond also see the Western passage and decide to check it out. 

4. Steep Passage  

Grond decides, (since he can see in the dark) to climb the western passage seeing the ledge about half way up the slope

This is a terrible idea as he is 300 Lbs and the thing collapses as he reaches the mid point , he of course fails the Dex save (6) and tumbles down bloody taking 6 damage...they decide to move on from the Western Passage for now.


 When they reach the bridge 20 feet above them Grond then decides to climb up the slick walls and get few of whats going on around them, glutton for punishment ? probably but with +5 from Athletics due to his great strength he beats the DC 15 check with a 17 and pulls the others up with a rope  and they can see goblins about to the east side of the bridge, so the silently moves along the west passage where smoke from a cooking fire is easily smelled.


Climb up to the bridge

Smelling Smoke heading that way

6. The Goblin Den.


Confident, that they dealing with lowly goblins..the heroes enter the room brazenly looking to fight

initiative is rolled


19 Grond

 Immediately bellows into the roll and attacked nearest Goblin (20- oof..Critical) does 10 damage to the goblin putting it down hard

Grond and Vatanis have already killed two goblins where Yeemik , the leader wants to parley

 17 Goblin  moves and attacks Grond back just missing with a 13 +4 =17.                                                                                                                                                                    

14 Swift uses a “dodge “ on her turn moving past two goblins to the top of the stairs  , she takes 2 attacks of oppurtunity at disadvatage and avoids both as the Goblins roll a ‘2’ and a “7”


14 Vatanis uses his Eldritch Blast hitting the goblin in the center of the room and blowing him to little goblin pieces..with a 14+5 = 19  then a 9+3=  12 damage


14 Goblin bow  shoots at Brother Hammond whos standing in front of him rolling a 10 =4 =14 , ahit on the Cleric  for 5 damage..


12 Yeemik , Goblin Boss   action to grab the wounded prisoner Sildar Hallwinter, and put his knife to his throat and force a parley .

Combat Stops

 Folke Hillsharp the Ranger parleys with the Goblin and they conversation goes

When at Sildar weakened urging,  Folke says “No deals”...and nocks and arrow in his bow...

  Yeemik pushes Sildar over the edge off 10’ ledge and  Sildar drops and hits the rock floor is a silent thud (0 HP)


 Initiative is Rolled

 18 Swift Fires a crossbow bolt at Yeemiks head and hits (11+5)  =16 Hit Damage  (7+3)= 10  damage Ouch

17 Folke   throws down his bow realizing he’s got no safe shot without hitting one of his companions , he moves quickly up the stairs and engages a goblin  with his longsowrd in two hands..(13+3) =16 Hit!  Damage 7 +1 = 8 the goblin is down..

17 Goblin  attacks Grond 13 +4 = 17 vs AC 19 miss!

 Brother H,   tries to save the dying Sildar with a stablize medical check  DC10, Roll 12 + 5 Medicine =17  Success.

12 Yeemik Charges Swift attacking with he’s got left bleeding badly 17+4= 21 Hit  Swift takes 5 damage...

10 Vatanis hit bow goblin 10 +5 \with blast but only 5 damage

9 Goblin killed by Folke

7 Goblin w/bow shoot back at Vatanis  9 +4 =13  Hit  Vatanis takes 5 damage!

4 Grond Follows up the Goblin attacking him with his axe  Roll 11+5 =16 hit damage  5+3=8  damage the goblin falls

Round 2. 

18 Swift shoves her dagger into Yeemiks face ...14+5 = 19 , into his eye socket GoT style the result 3+3 =6 damage finishes him..

Swift our rogue finishes off the Goblin thug with her dagger


The Last wounded Goblin Throws down and surrenders as Folke moves in to finish him.

 Mending Sildars wounds as best the can (as Hammond only has one spell slot available there is little they can do.. the leave him stable by the fire tieing the surrendered goblin up with him and dragging the dead to upper area of the rooms

 Returning to the bridge they slowly cross in darkness with Grond leading the way with Swift right behind him..


 7. Twin Pools Cave


Hearing the roaring waterfall filling the pool  I have all characters make a stealth check against the Goblins Passive perception of 9...and thing less than a 10 and the are spotted

 Swift  = 12

Vantanis 12

Brother Hammond 18

Grond  =4

Folke  = 9

 Grond noisy chainmail gives them away and they are spotted  initative is rolled.


Combat begins

21  Swift    fires her crossbow 19+5 = 24 over Gronds shoulder and it hits it in the head and it falls damage 7 +3 =10  dead,

18 Folke   Shoots at the Gobin across the pond 1+5 miss, fitting I am forgetting it dark and he really can see that far

15 Goblin A  6  Killed by Swift crossbow..

12 Grond    Charges Goblin bowman B...5+5=10 Misses...

8 Goblin B  Goblin tries to flee scary half orc to warn his companions in Klarg’s Cave

 Grond gets an attack of opportunity.. 3+5= 8 Miss

Goblin here ducks and evades running into Klargs Cave

Goblin B scurry's up the stairs into darkness.

6 Brother Hammond  Holds..

 5 Goblin C  shoots and arrow at Grond...7+4 = 12miss

1 Vantanis   From Vantage point on bridge, Darkvision 55 feet away  eldritch blast 11+5= 16 hit... Damage 9+3= 12....gobin is blasted against back wall KIA...


Just silence and the roaring waterfall


8. Klargs Cave.


Klarg and three goblins and his pet wolf, lie in wait to ambush the heroes

 This is bit complicated of set up  for the surprise because the heroes know there are goblins in that cave hiding, they've heard about the bugbear but havent seen it yet. and  might assume they are still dealing with just goblins …so they are just going to charge in and clean house.

Staring into a dark cave and they know the bad guys are in there


I decide I’d roll hide on each of the cave dwellers and check against a perception check  of each hero. I thought about giving  them advantage on the check, but since its unfamiliar and dark, just left as is..

Stealth check

Klarg 17

Goblin A 8

Goblin B 18

Goblin C 15

Wolf 14


The Heroes charge into the dark cave, Grond and Vatanis leading the way looking for goblin with their darkvison

Folke lights torch in his off so they other can see..

Perception Checks

 Grond 15

Vatanis 14

Swift 11

Folke 13

Brother H 11


So Klarg and Goblin B get a surprise attack round 1.

 initiative is rolled.

 21 Swift

17 Vatanis

15 Klarg -Steps out of darkness and clobbers the surprised Grond. Roll 10+4 = 14 a miss..Gronds heavy armor saves him..

 14 Folke

12 Goblin c

11 Goblin A

10 Wolf

6   Brother Hammond

5   Grond

3  Goblin B -Shoots and arrow point blank into Gronds back side.. 12+4 = 16 miss


Round 2

 21 Swift   In the rear of the group shoots into the back corner at Vatanis direction shoots an arrow at a goblin in the back Miss (8)

17 Vatanis  uses his action and a bonus action  to throw a hex on Klarg and tries to follow up with an eldritch blast but misses..

15 Klarg tries to hit Grond again..19 + 4 = 23 a hit…  11 damage puts Grond down to 5 hp…ouch

14 Folke moves in and joins the melee against Klarg with his longsword ..17+3 =20 a hit!.. but only 3 damage to the bugbear..


12 Goblin c Fires a bow and Vatanis  16+4= 20 a hit… Vatanis takes 5 damage, dropping to 7


11 Goblin A moves into melee with Vatanis stabs him with his spear misses (3)


10 Wolf   the wolf does the same coming around 7=4 =11 barely a miss on the warlock.

 6   Brother Hammond Has only one spell slot left and he is saving it for when someone goes down…he engages the wolf right in front of him attacking Vatanis  he attacks with his staff (10+3) a 13 is a hit on the wolf doing 5 damage..

5   Grond  lays into the Bugbear with his  Battle Axe but the Bugbear easily blocks the attack (roll 3)

3  Goblin B  drops back agains the wall and Shoot at Grond in melee and tries to bring him down 15 + 4 =19   a hit and the 5 damage pierces the Half Orcs armor and he falls to the ground with 0 hp

 Round 3

 21 Swift , has a clear shot on Goblin C and takes it hiting the goblin with a(10+5) =15  damage  4+3 =7 just enough to put it down.

17 Vatanis dealing with being attacked by a goblin and the wolf , gives the wolf a smack with his staff 17+3 =20 a hit and 6+1 =7 damage puts the wolf down..

15 Klarg follows up on Folke the Ranger since Grond in down.. 6+4 =10 not enough he misses

 14 Folke Attacks and he hits with 12+3=15 and for 9 damage..the bugbear chief is just angered he has lots of HP left..

 12 Goblin C   Dead  by Swifts Crossbow 

 11 Gobin A attacks Vatanis 15+4 = 19 a hit 5 more damage the Warlock is barely standing.

 10 Wolf  Killed by Vatanis earlier this round

 6 Brother Hammond steps up- and engages the Goblin C with his Staff. But misses (7+3)

 5 Grond - downed by Klarg, makes his first death save and fails..

 3 Goblin B hopes to get lucky shooting Folke but misses (1)


Round 4

 21 Swift get around to get behind anyone and is stuck using her crossbow, she reloads and shoots a Klarg rolls a 17+5 =23 a hit and the 5 damage,  Klarg is now  hurt

17 Vatanis  needs to get this goblin off him and attacks with his Staff.. but just cant connect with a (9)

15 Klarg.. with his wolf dead, and and one goblin down , he's thinking of retreating  can he risk a free strike from the ranger and escape to wolves via the chimney?  He see’s the Warlock is hurt badly, the big half orc is down…, victory lies by taking this ranger more- chance he thinks , attacking Folke in rage looking for blood.. 14+4=18  HIT

Folke is blindsided taking 11 damage but the Ranger still stands with 9 hp left

14 Folke , attacks..14+3= 17 a hit..for 4 damage…Klarg is wavering and will flee if he gets to go again.

12 Goblin C  already dead  by Swifts Crossbow

 11 Gobin A attacks Vatanis  16+4 =20…, 5 damage the Warlock falls at 0 hp the tide is turning !

Center two skull tokens are the fallen Vatanis and Grond, note the next photo.


10 Wolf  Killed by Vatanis in round 3


6 Brother Hammond engaged  Goblin C , he using his bonus action to throw and healing word on Grond he gets a,lucky roll and brings him to his feet with 7 hp , he then smashes his staff in the goblins face..just hitting him with a 12+3=15

But only doing 2 damage


5 Grond  revived by the Cleric brings his axe down on the unspecting Klarg..with 11+5=16 its hit and the shocked Klarg..takes 6 damage with drops him to his knees and 0 hp

Grond popping back up thank to the Clerics "healing word "(best new spell in my opinion) and finishing of the Bugbear.


3 Goblin B  sees Klarg fall and jumps into the Chimney escaping….(he also frees the bound goblin the heroes left out side the cave entrance)


Round 5

 21 Swift moves to the last goblin engages with Brother Hammond drawing her sword she has no intention of letting it surrender the 10+5 =15 attack is a hit and the 5 damage puts the goblin down dying..


Encounter Ends

 Post Game ..


This was fun little scenario, I was hoping to see the bugbear flex his muscle a little more but he didn’t get the rolls..

In the end here the Heroes gather up Sildar Hallwinter , 1 goblin prisoner while two other Goblins escape and will eventually get to Cragmaw Castle and alert the occupants there. The heroes collect a variety of coin for loot including 2 potions of healing and make their way back to their Ox Cart  the road and on to the town of Phandalin.


Heading to Phandalin

The actual session.

 Now I ran this actually session over labor day weekend, I played this right before I ran it. .its just taken me forever to get this write up with the photos done.  The actual RPG session went nothing like this combat encounter ,.in the actual session

The kids, made friends with the Wolves,  did at first avoid the flood trap…and convinced Yeemik that a gem they had was worth  500gp when its was but a bauble (natural 20 persuasion check ) and bought Sildar back….spotted on the way out ,the flood was released. One PC was taken out but quickly healed.  Klarg and his goblins were alerted and chased them out of the Cave, they fought at cave entrance where it was fought to a draw with the characters offering a parley  with  Klarg at 5hp all him goblins dead and, his wolves from the kennel turned against him.  All the PCs badly wounded but standing, Klarg agrees to let them leave, and fight another day, but then Yeemik  and his gang of goblins show up and seeing Klarg weakened with no support , attack  and kill him while the PC’s flee into the forest with Sildar saved and two of the kennel wolves as new pets. 

A second session followed with the Kids PC’s in Phandalin just exploring and meeting people.


Next up.

I am going to run the Redbrand Hideout encounter next with my skirmish crew here and see how that plays out, before we get to it in the actual game, which I have no idea when that will be.



Project info-The Cragmaw Hideout board is made from 5 layers of XPS insulation foam , I used two different hot foam knives to the cut shapes , both being wands of different lengths. I printed the map in a couple different pieces at full scale and cut out the interior and traced the interior for the cutouts, it was assembled after the foams cuts due to the varying elevations, then detailed after it was fully assembled and glue dry. The cavern bits are all Hirst Arts casts and the water effect is old school glue and tissue paper but since its 2020 I used modge podge. paints are all basic craft paints , some  woodland scenics terrain pigment . It is unlikely I will ever use this board again, so if you are interested in buying it please email will probably end up on ebay eventually.

Sunday, August 23, 2020

D&D Tactics -Goblin Arrows Part 1, the Ambush


This is first post of this series where I am going to demo the combat  of the Introductory scene of  the D&D 5e Adventure, The Lost Mines of Phandelver.  This is in preparation of running the RPG session but for purposes of this log, I’m just going to run the combat with some generic characters and models I like,  No idea who the characters will in the  RPG session are yet but I assume similar since we are only using The basic profiles or the pre gens if they wish.  

Pre Game Notes

I’m running 5 characters as that’s what  we will be running in the session and characters are starting off at level 2 because I am going to level  them up as a milestone before  they hit the road. After watching  several good ‘advice” videos on running the game , it seems it still no fun to die in the first 20 mins of the game as a 1st level noob -even all these years later.

I wont  be using a grid, while some of my terrain is constructed with a built in grid, much isnt , I've been doing this long enough that I can accurately measure 1"-5' scale without need of a grid.

 The Characters for our combat sim all are level 2.

 Folke Hillsharp  - Human Ranger

Grond Mudrock- Half Orc Fighter

Brother Hammond- Human Cleric

Swift Felhand- Human Rogue

Vatanis Darkwhisper- Tiefling Warlock


Hired to deliver a wagon full  of supplies to the small mining town of Phandalin. The group’s employer is the dwarf Gundren Rockseeker who with his companion Sildar Hallwinter, rode out ahead of the group  the previous day to arrange for  the sale and delivery  of the goods. About a half day into groups  journey , they stop to  find what appears to be the pairs  horses, dead –  blocking the road.

Goblins- are the bad guys in the scenario, weak and cowardly they are alot tougher for low level characters in 5e because of the action/bonus action mechanic, the can attack, use stealth and hide all in the same turn , so they are not excellent at hit and run tactics.

Set up

Since the Character are level 2, I have increased the difficulty by adding two things”

+2 Goblins to a Total of 6

The goblins automatically all have Surprise on the Heroes the 1st round.

I unfortunately don’t have any dead horse models sans riders so the overturned cart is the scene of the fight while

Combat begins as soon as the PC’s approach either of the clue markers to investigate the dead horses

 About Surprise- The Goblins stealth check is +6 none of Characters passive perception is higher then  14, so for the initial encounter,  I gave them a 14 +6 = 20. Surprise in  5e simply means Characters who are Surprised do not act.


Our Rogue , Swift triggers the Ambush by investigating the saddle bags on one of the dead horses ,

Initiative is rolled

21 Swift Felhand, Rogue

20 Goblin #1 bow

16 Grond Mudrock, Fighter

16 Vantanis Darkwhisper, Warlock

15 Goblin # 2 bow

13 Goblin # 3  

11 Brother Hammond, Cleric

10 Goblin # 4 bow

9 Goblin # 5 bow

7 Folke Hillsharp, Ranger

6 Goblin # 6

 Goblins  # 1 and # 2 are on the hilltop to the upper left of the wreck , they both have bows and will shoot and then hide, they have advantage due to elevation shoot at the closest hero, Grond our Half orc fighter, who is 60 feet away . Grond is going to get +2 to his AC due to “half cover” from the Wagon

 Goblin  # 1  Fires an Arrow with Advantage , (highest of 2 dice)  Roll 8 +4  = 12 vs AC 21 miss

Goblin Hides  Roll 7 +6 = 13

Goblin # 2 Fires an Arrow with Advantage  Roll  17+4 = 21 vs AC 21 hit!

Grond gets hit early and keeps taking the hits, he's the only one thats damaged.

Grond  takes 5 damage.

Goblin then Hides Roll 17 =6 = 23!!

Goblin # 3 charges out some nearby brush  Dashing behind the Cart opposite Swift and Grond,

He will also try to hide under the cart and just out and attack anyone passing by , due to the proximity of the PC’s I give him a disadvantage (lowest of two dice) he rolls a 10 +6 = 16

Goblins # 4 and # 5 are on lower right side on a hillslope

Goblin # 4 has a shot at Swift , I give her half cover due to the trees, so shes AC 16

He shoots Roll 1, Miss

Hides 6 +6 =14

 Goblin #5 takes a Shot at Folke our Ranger, he has a clean line of sight at a 60 foot range

Against  AC 16

Roll 9 + 4= 13 miss!

Hides 10+6 = 16.

Goblins , bad aim..

 Goblin # 6 moves 20  feet  behind a log and starts jumping and down banging on his shield yelling obscenities in Goblin hoping to draw someone toward him so the the Goblin hiding behind the cart can attack,,

End of Round.



(Numbers are Initiative)

21 Swift Felhand, The Rogue she has a dagger, shortsword, light crossbow and leather armor.

goblin #4 is hidden on a 16, she must make a perception check against that at +4 , Roll  20 +4 +24…and spots him easily.

Swift ‘s action is to  shoot her light crossbow and Goblin # 4 who fired at her roll 18+5 =23 , even giving the goblin the same +2 she got as half cover  that is a Hit.. for 8+3= 11 piercing damage,,,that goblin takes in the face and drop dead…1 down.

She then can take a bonus action which is to DASH past Folke the Ranger to heavy cover and engage the Goblins on the big hill

The rogue with the 1st of 2 kills, no backstabbing necessary.


20 Goblin #1 bow

Comes out of Hiding to take another shot at Grond,, 9+4 =13 versus AC 21 with cover.  MISS
he hides again 18+6..=24 !!

16 Grond Mudrock, Grond has a Battle Axe, 3  Javelins, Chainmail and Shield.

Grond has had enough and is going to charge the hill,  his action is too  DASH 60 feet up the hill and right into those two goblin bowman , though they are hidden and he cant see them  even with great spot roll of 18 they are hidden on a 23 and 24

16 Vantanis Darkwhisper  has a staff, dagger and wears studded leather armor.

Has cover from the wagon between himself the hidden archer on the low hill, He sees the Goblin jumping up and down trying to draw attention to itself 80 feet away , he uses his bonus action to cast HEX, and then follows it up with an Eldritch Blast  roll 6 +5 =11, but against AC 17 with cover that’s a miss

15 Goblin # 2 bow

Comes out of hiding and shoot grond almost point blank roll 20+4 = 24 Critical hit! Ooof!

Grond  takes 10 damage from a goblin arrow.

Goblin tries to hide but at disadvantage this time Since Grond is right there..

Roll 2=4= 6…he’s attempt to hide is terrible..all the characters passive perception will see him


13 Goblin # 3   realizing he isn’t going to get anyone to fall for his ruse..DASHs up the hill and into mele with the badly wounded Grond he cant attack he used his full action to engage

Healing Word with a 60ft range is going to be handy.

11 Brother Hammond  Our Cleric who was driving the supply wagon , has a quarterstaff, a sling and wears Ringmail under his robes…he immediately use DASH to head toward Grond who is in trouble with low Health.  He get within 50 feet of Grond and uses his bonus action to cast Healing Word which heals Grond for  5 Hit Points!

10 Goblin # 4 bow  DEAD- Crossbow Shot, Swift. Rnd 2

9 Goblin # 5 bow

Takes and another shot at Folke the Ranger  11+4 =15 vs AC 16 , miss just barely

The goblin moves 30 feet behind the large treeline and hides  7+4= 11..

 7 Folke Hillsharp Move over to the wagon and fires an arrow at the goblin on the hill Roll 7+5=12

It misses.

6 Goblin #6   moves up to the wagon keeping heavy cover

And hides hoping to sneak up on someone next round,  Hides 10+6 = 16.

End of Round




21 Swift Felhand

Her action is try to shoot the terribly hidden Goblin# 2 who hit Grond with the Critical, shes got a clean line of Sight Rolls a 11=5 for 16 vs Ac 15 then rolls 10 damage,

More lucky crossbow sniping from the Rogue., she actually has the "lucky' feat..didnt need it.

Shes got two kills…

20 Goblin #1 bow

Comes out of hiding to engage Grond on the hill as they now flank him on the hilltop and have advantage in their attacks,  Attacking with Advantage the Goblin gets the second critical hit of the game on poor Grond  doing 10 damage, Grond is barely standing at 2 Hp

16 Grond Mudrock

Finally some payback.

Grond Responds with an attack on Goblin # 1 from his battle axe roll 10+5 vs  AC 15  HIT!, 11 Slashing Damage cuts the Goblin down..

16 Vantanis Darkwhisper

Hex and Eldritch Blast = Vaporized Goblin

Vantanis moves up 30 feet  make a perception check and rolls 20..he seems him easily and corresponding Eldritch Blast is a hit with 17+5 for 22!  With this goblin already being Hexed  by Vantanis last round..the extra D6 basically vaporize this goblin with 16 damage!

15 Goblin # 2 bow DEAD- Crossbow Shot, Swift. Rnd 3

13 Goblin # 3   At this point this Goblin would normally try to flee but its engaged with Grond whose barely standing so he attacks 19+ 4= 22 , Grond takes 5 damage and collapses.. Goblin Runs off over the hill and hides  badly with a “6”

11 Brother Hammond

Again the Cleric uses DASH to reach the fallen Grond, and his Bonus action to cast Healing Word again and healing him 5 points again bringing back to 2 Hp

10 Goblin # 4 bow DEAD- Crossbow Shot, Swift. Rnd 2


9 Goblin # 5 bow moves Hides again 22, Flees combat

this was the smart goblin, he ran.

7 Folke Hillsharp  quickly moves 30 feet to get a line of sight on the fleeing  goblin # 3 that put Grond down, since the goblin is fleeing , unhidden and he has clear LOS  I give Folke advantage on the shot, he rolls a 16 +5 for 21 vs AC 15 a Hit, and 8 damage  just puts the goblin down.

Very classic fantasy, shooting the fleeing guy in back as he runs away to warn the hideout, though one still got away

6 Goblin # 6  DEAD- Eldritch Blast, Hex, Vantanis Rnd 3

End of Round.


Combat Ends -Quick Recap

So 3 Full rounds in real time that battle lasted  less than 30 secs, Goblins opened fire via Ambush,  wounding Grond.

Swift Immediately returned fire killing the goblin shot at her and  moves to cover.

Grond Charges the Hill he was ambushed from , splitting the two goblins who were  moving  to melee shaving one follow him to engage while the other was blown to bits by Vantanis

3 goblins on the Hill engage Grond  where he takes two critical hits, he kills one of them, Swift shoots another, Despite Brother Hammond stepping up to support Grond with some Healing  the third Goblin manages to put Grond down but flees when Folke the Ranger puts an arrow into hits fleeing backside from about 80 feet killing him , Brother Hammond heals Grond before he even needs to begin making death saves while  the last goblin in good hiding position flees, and sulks off back to the hideout.

The Ranger then finds the Trail to the Goblin Hideout.

Nominibus Mortuorum

Cragmaw Tribe Goblins.-

#1 DEAD- Battle Axe, Grond, Rnd 3

#2 DEAD- Crossbow Shot, Swift. Rnd 3

#3 DEAD- Shot in the back while fleeing, Longbow, Folke. Rnd 3

#4 DEAD- Crossbow Shot, Swift. Rnd 2

#5 Escaped/ Fled

#6 DEAD- Eldritch Blast, Hex, Vantanis Rnd 3


Final thoughts , smooth and  fast, I was using an online die roller and they sometimes get a bit wonky I rolled 4 or 5 , 20’s in those quick 3 rounds every damage roll I did to a goblin was more than their 7 HP and that’s just luck…I’m going to run the next one with real dice, its lacks some of nuance of the usual skirmish games I play, but that because the GM involvement creates more wiggle room  than these games that are built to be competitive or even semi competitive.

Regardless its great practice for laying out what might happen in encounters in a real D&D games session, I suspect with bunch of rookie kids , I’ll need watch my aggression with the bad guys…

I’ll move on to the Cragmaw Hideout next,  I spent about 20 hours or so building the board , finally finding a use for the foam carving tools I got last Christmas, should be a fun one.

L to R  "The Crew" Grond, Brother Hammond, Folke, Swift, and Vatanis.

 To be continued....... 


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