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.


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