This is part 2 of a 3 component series covering Act 1 of Lost Mines of Phandelver. Consider discovering Part 1: Before the Goblin Ambush for even more details around setting the scene and also generating bonds for the player characters in your party. Please stay tuned for Part 3 on Cragmaw Hideout!

Because the goblin ambush is frequently the initially combat encounter many type of GMs ever run, it’s vital to have actually a good handle on the rules as they pertain to this particular enrespond to. Because this is an ambush, principles such as energetic vs. passive perception, stealth, and surprise will come right into play. Also, because goblins will be behind trees on an embankment, concepts such as cover and also tough terrain are sure to come into play too. In enhancement to reviewing combat mechanics as they would use to this ambush, we’ll talk about adjusting the encounter if you have actually more than 5 players or fewer than 4. Finally, we’ll briefly talk about whether you have to run this encounter utilizing a map and minis or in theater of the mind.

Active vs. Passive Perception

A character’s passive perception score is 10 plus their perception modifier. Passive perception is what a character notices when they aren’t actively searching for something. For instance, let’s say the Goblins roll a 13 in stealth. This suggests that whoever before has a 13 or over as their passive perception will alert the goblins regardless of whether or not the player deliberately mentioned that they were going to keep their eyes on the thicket extended embankments for a feasible ambush.

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If a savvy player catches on that this component of the road seems choose a prime spot for an ambush, they may say somepoint prefer “I want to look around to watch if anyone is waiting for us behind those thickets” you can then ask them to make a roll. This offers the player a possibility to roll a number greater than their passive perception. If they fail to roll higher than the goblin’s stealth roll of 13 yet their passive perception is still 13, they will certainly still not fail to alert the goblins bereason passive perception supersedes active perception by acting as a floor.

If a party member uses energetic perception effectively, reward that player by informing them that they “alert a silhouette behind among the trees” and ask them what they would prefer to perform. This offers them the possibility to be the hero and also alert the other players that opponents lay in wait. This method, none of the party members will certainly be surprised once you roll initiative.

Before you begin your session, it may be wise to go over the rules about energetic vs. passive perception with your players and also create down each character’s passive perception for your very own referral. It might additionally be helpful to explain a theoretical situation for your players where active vs. passive perception is affiliated (favor noticing traps) so that the players will recognize that they must make active perception duties if they desire to acquire an extra edge in the game.


If the goblins roll a 13 for their stealth, any character that rolled below a 13 for an energetic perception roll and that has a passive perception listed below 13 is surprised. If one party member made an active perception roll and flourished, you can provide them the chance to alert the party that they have actually company.

If a player is surprised, they can’t take any actions or relocate on their turn. It means their rotate is fundamentally skipped on for the first round of combat. Some party members might be surprised, while others might not be. Surpclimb is identified for each player individually, not for the party overall.

Goblin Stealth and Other Tactics

One thing goblins choose to carry out is shoot arrows from a hidden position. In enhancement to the initial stealth roll they make when they lay in wait for the party, they also have actually a bonus activity which enables them them to hide after making an assault. A sneaky GM can have a goblin run to one more tree and hide in the shadows after making their assault.

If the goblin manperiods to make a stealth roll greater than the passive perception of the targain they are attacking, they will have actually advantage (roll 2 dice, pick the highest roll) on their next attack roll. If a character wants to attempt attacking a goblin that is covert (shooting an arrow wright here they witnessed the goblin shoot from, for example) they can make a perception roll to determine if they can see their targain. If their roll and also their passive perception is lower than the goblin’s stealth roll, the player have to make their strike with disbenefit.

For more on Goblin Tactics, I very recommend analysis this terrific short article by Keith Amguy. Following these guidelines will certainly make this goblin enrespond to truly come alive.

Cover and also Difficult Terrain

Be conscious that Goblins will certainly be ducking behind boulders and also trees when they assault the party. When they do this, at leastern fifty percent of their bodies will be blocked by the obstacle. This properly gives them fifty percent cover, which adds +2 to their Armor Class. Because goblins have actually a base armor course of 15, this suggests that players will have to make an strike roll of 17 in order to hit their note. Fighters that can get up close to the Goblins will not need to reckon through the increased AC as they are involved in melee combat.

Because the goblins are on an embankment, we have the right to think about it difficult terrain. This implies that a fighter wanting to cshed the distance between themselves and the Goblins will have to spfinish twice their motion to get up on top of the embankment. I would certainly consider the embankment to be at leastern 5 feet of tough terrain, which suggests gaining on peak of it would certainly price 10 feet of movement. A fighter that is even more than 25 feet amethod from a goblin might not have the ability to reach a goblin on their rotate. They can, but, organize an assault action which triggers once any kind of goblin viewpoints.

Adjusting the Encounter for a Smaller or Larger Party

The Lost Mines of Phandelver Adendeavor is recommended for a party of four to 5 players. How can you readjust your combat encounters so that they aren’t too difficult (if you have actually just 3 players) or also straightforward (if you have actually six)?

One handy tool that I offered a lot when I ran Lost Mines was this Combat Enrespond to Adjustment Device. This should give you a good principle what creatures to run for each enrespond to. The encounter adjustments for the goblin ambush noted listed below are taken straight from the tool.

A Party of Six (Or More?)

For parties through 6 players, think about trying out this combination:

1 Goblin Boss (Monster Manual p. 166) through 22 hit points.2 Goblins with 7 hit points1 Goblin via 8 hit points

You might potentially run your game via 7 players or probably more, but this will regularly bog dvery own your game and make it much less fun. Personally I take into consideration 5 players to be the right number however you’ll learn what you favor as a GM.

A Party of Three (or Fewer)

For a party of 3, try this out

2 goblins with 6 hp1 goblin with 7 hp.

If you only have 2 players at your table, I recommfinish including a sidekick to help balance your combat encounters. A sidekick deserve to either be controlled by you or one of the players (I recommend an extra experienced player). The Dragon of Icespire Peak Essentials Kit takes location in Phandalin and also has some prepared made sidekicks that you deserve to add to your adventure (together with many side pursuits and also magical items). You can likewise roll up a brand-new character as a sidekick or use the Wizards of the Coast UA sidekick rules to develop your own.

Use Kobold Fight Club

If you would choose to be more imaginative through your encounters, you have the right to use Kobold Fight Club to change them.

For instance, if I have a party of 4, kobold fight club tells me that the 4 goblins is a Deadly encounter (DEADLY implies this is no joke. A player could die).

4 Goblins is a “Deadly” encounter for a party of 4 level 1 characters.

Perhaps I’m interested in doing a dragon related campaign and thus I would certainly favor kobolds to goblins for the initial ambush (kobolds are dragon servants). Kobolds are a bit weaker than goblins, so all we must execute is up the variety of kobolds so we can make that a deadly enrespond to also.

7 kobolds is roughly identical to 4 goblins

So it looks prefer we deserve to run the ambush with 7 kobolds if we wanted to. In this example, you deserve to watch the “Adjusted XP” for the kobolds is a bit even more than the 4 goblins. So it’s likely that 7 kobolds will certainly be simply a tiny little harder than the 4 goblins, however not by too a lot. Personally, I’d go on the much easier side for new players and go through 6 kobolds.

Again, I think that it’s better to usage the Combat Adjustment Device mentioned over as brand-new GMs may not be familiar through the kinds of monsters they may have actually at their disposal. Also, as a new GM you’re currently juggling many plates, so it might be better to change the numbers and also the hp of your opponents quite than the type.

Theater of the Mind vs Maps for the Goblin Ambush

The Goblin Ambush can run either in Theater of the Mind or making use of a Map. Theater of the mind have the right to be exciting, immersive, and also requires much less setup than a map (although you may should store added notes to keep track of player and also monster positions). However before, Theater of the Mind have the right to likewise be confusing. Depending on how well you interact the scene, players may not understand exactly how cshed they are to the goblins or if they’d have the ability to attack more than one goblin via their burning hands spell. Many kind of of the problems have the right to be solved by complying with certain guidelines choose those provided in Sly Flourish’s guide on running Theater of the Mind combat, but may need a little of practice as a GM before you gain it ideal. Also, players with aphantasia (incapacity to make psychological visualizations) may have difficulty engaging in the scene, although a visual aid illustration of the establishing and sharing a picture of a goblin from the monster manual deserve to help those with aphantasia.

Maps remove the confusion about distance and selection, but likewise deserve to turn the game right into somepoint less cinematic and also something more like a board game. Players that gain D&D for the tactical aspect will frequently favor maps. And oftentimes all you have to lug immersion back into the game is to define essential scenes. Maps have the right to be straightforward, just a series of outlines attracted in marker on a dry erase fight map. They have the right to also be common virtual with a online tableheight prefer Roll20. Finally, if you want to invest some time and/or money you deserve to obtain a digital screen. The display pictured below prices around $1,000 (both for the case and also the TV) and was developed by Volo’s Workshop on Etsy.

Digital Maps are sophisticated, however execute not necessarily make things more fun. Your players have the right to have as a lot if not even more fun via salt shakers on a table.

If you perform decide to use a map for the Goblin Ambush, all you must carry out is a quick google image search of Goblin Ambush Battlemaps and you need to be collection (Be certain to support creators on Patreon if you can!). If you’re printing the map, you might must execute some wrangling using a photo editor and also excel to acquire it to range. If you’re running this on Roll20 you’ll have to uppack the image and align it to the grid.

See more: Your Referrals Are The Heart Of My Business Valentine, How To Ask For Referrals

Keeping Track of Combat Details: Initiative, Conditions, and Stats

I began composing some tips on how to store track of combat details however it obtained fairly lengthy so I turned it right into its very own post. For more generic advice around running combat, check out “Tokens and also Tables and Stats–Oh My!” Managing Combat in D&D.

What recommendations would certainly you have for running the Goblin Ambush? Feel to leave your principles in the comments!

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