The Forest Ruin

I used this encounter for my new groups first combat lessons. I wanted them (and me) to get a flow for the combat mechanics. As such we did not put effort into talking about why and where or how the players had arrived. Quite simply a combat encounter.

You are completely lost. The rain is pouring down almost horizontally, making it hard to see anything at all. Somehow you stumbled away from the road and ended up walking into a hilly area with a few trees sprinkled around. The rain grows heavier and you really need to seek shelter from the elements or you will catch a cold or worse. It is now starting to get dark as well making it hard to setup a camp. Up ahead on a hill there seems to be the old ruins of a house. As you get closer, you see that it must have been abandoned several years ago. Several walls are crumbling and most of the interior seems shattered and broken.


The ruins appear to be abandoned and they will easily be able to seek shelter inside. Some of the walls have crumbled and makes for easy entry. There are plenty of dry wood from broken tables and shelves inside that can be used to fuel a fire. There is very little of actual value in the ruins.

Perception: A successful perception check will unearth several small footprints inside the ruins. These can be traced to a stone stairwell leading down into the darkness. A character that is a bit experienced with tracking or goblinoids will figure out that these tracks do come from goblins and that they are pretty recent. There is most likely goblins down the stairwell…

Treats: There is an old chest in the southeast corner beneath some rubble. Random item inside.


  1. A weapon of sub-standard quality
  2. A piece of armor barly usable
  3. Supplies – a roll of rope 6 meters (20 feet)
  4. Nothing of value

The Goblin Attack

If the player decides to camp they better setup a watch. A party of goblins will sneak up from the stairwell and attack. If there are no watch, they will be in for a nasty surprise.

Use a perception check to see if they do wake up in before a goblin straddles them with a dagger on the throat… if you are nasty try out the damage to sleeping target, otherwise have something wake them up. Perhaps their mule detected the goblin, or one of them stumbles on the debris.

If they setup a watch, use D4 to determine during which watch they appear. Their numbers should match the player party. In my game of three players I used a 1D6+2 to determine numbers. Use your system’s goblins.. They should be pretty cowardly and aim to swarm a player if possible. When half their numbers are cut down, they will retreat towards the stairwell.

Our session…

In our game our merry band of heroes found the stairwell but decided to camp first and venture down in the morning. They did camp in the southwest room and before setting watch taking the time to create a fire and also create a makeshift barricade towards the other rooms. This gave them the advantage during the night ambush.

The group consisting of a knight, a squire/archer and a healer fared well against the goblins. I played out two waves of goblins and in the second wave the goblins managed to jump the healer and knocked her unconscious. Despite the low light use any penalties – we’ll save that for next encounter.

After the battle they never dared venture down the stairway, waiting for the morning first… also wanting to heal up and rest a little.

I drew up the encounter on grid paper and used Pathfinder Pawns 2D minis to help visualize the combat. This is something new for me as a DM but I think it did wonders. The players were much more keen to flank and maneuver around the enemies than I was used to making combat more fun and creative.

Down the Stairwell

I’ll post the map and encounters for the basement in the next post…



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