I’m planning on doing a ‘training’ encounter for the next session with the kids.
I played through it once to see how it could turn out and what I could realistically teach…
I originally wanted to do a training session with an instructor flat out explaining about flaking, charging and bull rush.
I quickly figured that a dissertation on basic field tactics wasn’t going to fly or be effective – they’ll forget most of it when the situation arise.
So I decided to have the training session ellipsed,
Over the span of a few days, Ralf Crusher, the chief of the village’s guard gives you a few lessons that help you improve your combat tactics.
build the trainer as an NPC,
Crusher, Ralf Crusher, level 1 Warlord
and have the actual training in a « random » encounter while on patrol.
My group has 6 players – which, I’m finding out, is a bit much given that I still handle all of the character sheets.
So I built a 600xp encounter to give a lot of tactical opportunities.
- 2 Goblin Sharpshooters
- 2 Goblin Warriors
- 6 Goblin Cutters (minions)
The setup goes like this: Ralf steps on a trap, which closes on his leg and breaks it. Ralf is out of combat, but can still give « suggestions ».
Goblin Cutters jump out from behind a rock and charge at the players – they aim for the surprised players if at all possible and do their best to flank.
Teaching opportunity: flanking. If minions succeed at flanking the players, Ralph is going to warn them « Don’t let them surround you! Cut them down or push them away! »
Warriors and sharpshooters remain hidden behind rocks, out of view, waiting for their turn.
Warriors will dash away from the players, throwing javelins – they get damage bonus from moving at least 4 squares – and trying to lure the players for the sharpshooters.
Sharpshooters are lying hidden atop some boulders, waiting for the opportunity to snipe at the players. They’re hard to spot and become really visible only once they hit.
Teaching opportunity: interact with the terrain ; get the sharpshooters down from the rocks. If they pull them down, bull rush the rock pile or whatever they can come up with that makes a minimum of sense, the sharpshooters will fall prone.
The combat wasn’t easy and I had to make 1 or 2 DM Calls not to kill the PCs I preferred to leave a PC at a dramatic 1 HP.
Teaching opportunity: healing surges. This one, I think I’ll have to explain beforehand. But Ralf’s tips of ‘get cover, try and catch your breath’ and ‘you can ask Moradin to help your friends who are nearing death’ surely helped.
A few more concepts that I feel should be easily added:
- Opportunity attacks. They occur naturally.
- Choosing proper powers. Ralf will give a shout-out to remind the players that they have other powers. A dramatic ‘split the tree’ turned the tide of the combat during my simulation.
One tactic I didn’t want to tackle, but couldn’t resist was the sneak attack – after all, what’s a rogue without that?
Good things the goblin was stupid when Ralf suggested to Brad : « the sharpshooter’s prone on the floor, Adrielle is its immediate threat – stay hidden and surprise him » – otherwise he would’ve seen it coming.
All in all, an exciting battle, even if my wife thought I was going crazy talking to myself (practicing improvised narration), playing with plastic figurines in the basement.
After this battle, a scout will come by.
Master crusher – w received a report from another group that trouble is brewing at the kobold’s keep. A scout heard that they were planning something big. We think they’re preparing a ritual to bring the dragon back to life…