Last week’s encounter was epic, but designed for only ranged players. This one’s a bit more open, and more easily translated to various levels. I like using odd mechanics, the kind that people know about, but are always loathe to use because they don’t understand them and don’t want to look them up and slow down gameplay. But just as magic missile was a little confusing the first couple times, after you’ve tripped, grappled, bullrushed, and attack of opportunitied your way through a session, it becomes second nature.
“Out from the raggedy building comes a staunch human male and three dogs best described as German Shepherds. The man is clad in studded leather armor and bears a whip, the three dogs are growling. You get the feeling it’s lunch time, and you just might be the lunch.”
The Houndmaster (Fighter 1 and 3 Dogs) CR3
Human Fighter 1
Exotic Proficiency: Whip, Combat Expertise, Improved Trip
12HP, 14AC (11 touch, 13 ff), FRW 1 1 0, Grapple +3.
+4 Attack with Whip 1d3+2 Subdual or Trip without Attack of Opportunity.
Dogs: HP 4, 10, 3
AC 15 (14 touch 12 ff) FRW: 4 5 1
Bite +2 1d4+1
The Houndmaster makes Melee Touch Attacks (+4) against individual party members, trying to always stay 10 feet away with the dogs between him and them. If the melee touch hits, he makes a strength check (with a +4 bonus) against the PC’s Dexterity or Strength (whichever is better). If the opposed check goes in the Houndmaster’s favor, the target is now on the ground and prone (-4 melee AC, +4 ranged AC, -4 Melee attacks.) Standing up is a move action that provokes an attack of opportunity. If the Houndmaster makes an attack while being threatened by an adjacent opponent, his whip provokes an attack of opportunity. If the opposed check from the trip goes in favor of the PC target, the PC can attempt another opposed check to try to trip the Houndmaster. This retaliatory trip cannot trigger another trip attempt.
He then orders the dogs to attack the now downed player. With all three dogs threatening the downed player, it will likely provoke three attacks of opportunity when they try to stand up, making this a very potent combo.
I used The Houndmaster and his dogs as part of a camp of bandits in the woods, but the encounter can be easily translated to any number of scenarios. The encounter was designed for a group of 3 2nd level characters, but could easily be a smaller encounter for those of higher level without any adjustment. For characters of level 1, the trip/dog combo may prove too deadly even as a final boss of an adventure.
Critical Misinterpretation is a weekly tabletop role playing blog which is updated every Wednesday at 9am Pacific. As a bonus feature, every Friday, it will provide to you a fresh, new encounter to use in your own tabletop gaming.