This encounter is optimized for a party of four second level characters. Consider upping the number of enemies, or adding a Hobgoblin Captain (see 5E rules for stats and information), if you need a more challenging battle. If this seems too difficult for your players, try exchanging the hobgoblin’s longbows with short-bows, or reducing the number of enemies.
Potential Story Hooks:
A bounty is placed on the camp by some local guard or noble (up to a 100gp reward can be offered).
A bloody survivor of a vicious hobgoblin attack staggers into town pleading for help rescuing their child (the hobgoblins would keep the prisoner in one of their tents alive).
Hobgoblins can be encountered in nearly any environment, but are well known for their militaristic nature and often build fortifications or well-defended keeps. This encounter is designed to be played on Hobgoblin Encampment Map A. This map shows a 30ft diameter ring of stakes that surrounds three large tents, a campfire, and a wooden tower that is 10ft by 10ft and 20ft tall. A 3ft wall around the rim of the tower provides half cover to anyone atop it. Outside of this camp in every direction is 300ft of open ground with scattered boulders (between 5 and 15ft on each side, ranging from 3 to 5ft tall) that provide half cover while standing, three quarters cover while crouching (crouching behind cover is considered a bonus action, while leaving cover is a free action, see our Variant Rules page for more information), or full cover while lying prone. Creatures atop the tower may treat this cover as one step fewer. This means that while standing you receive no cover on attacks from the tower, crouching is half cover, and lying prone is three quarters cover. Similarly, small creatures add one step to their cover, making lying prone and crouching full cover, and standing three quarters cover. Small creatures being shot at from the tower return to the original system. No two boulders are closer than 25ft from one another.
The ring around the camp counts as difficult terrain, and anyone passing through the space it occupies from outside the camp, or that starts their turn there, must make a DC 11 Dexterity (Acrobatics) check or take 1d6 piercing damage and have their speed reduced to 0ft until the start of their next turn. A character with a 10ft running start may attempt to jump the stakes with a DC 10 Strength (Athletics) check, but a failure results in 2d6 damage rather than 1d6 due to the extra speed, otherwise the stakes operate in the same manner. Each 5ft section of the wall has AC 5 and HP 20 and is vulnerable to Slashing and Fire damage. Characters attempting to remove the stakes from the ground will quickly find that clearing a wide enough path to walk through would take at least a minute.
The tower is made of logs tied together with thick rope at the joints. A wooden ladder is built into the side facing the campfire. The building itself has AC 14 and HP 80 with vulnerability to Fire damage, while the rope joints have AC 8 and HP 20 with vulnerability to Slashing and Fire damage. There are four joints (one on each corner) and they are 10ft off the ground. If three of them are severed, or the tower is reduced to 0 HP the tower collapses. Each creature atop the tower takes 2d6 falling damage and falls prone, and each creature beneath the tower must make a Dexterity saving throw (DC 13) or take 3d6 bludgeoning damage and be knocked prone, taking half damage on a successful save. The spaces where the tower once stood are now considered difficult terrain.
A small outpost from a nearby army of hobgoblins has set up an encampment to guard against roving monsters and small bands of determined heroes. This army is of a Lawful Evil bent and any time spent listening to these hobgoblins talk should provide more than enough information for Good-aligned characters to spring into action. (Consider having them talk about the innocent farming community they slaughtered whilst laughing at the gory details, or if your players are younger or are more sensitive to such topics they could have burned down the houses while the people escaped.) Well-armed and in a good position to see any incoming attacks, these hobgoblins have become complacent. Like any labor force lacking managerial oversight, they have become lax in their duties, no longer venturing out to patrol the surrounding area. But they still represent a significant threat to any innocent travelers who come across them, and are still vigilant in their protection of the camp. Read off the following as the players enter the valley:
Nestled within a wide, rocky valley lies a small campsite. A single tower dominates the rudimentary camp, giving the occupants an unparalleled vantage point. A fire glows within a ring of canvas tents, which is further encircled by sharpened wooden stakes. Raucous laughter can be heard echoing over the hills as the camp’s occupants enjoy some kind of meal.
Six basic hobgoblins (see 5E rules for stats and information) make their home here. Generally two are seated atop the tower to keep watch while four remain below playing games of chance or swapping tall tales. Occasionally two will leave to collect firewood or hunt for food, generally once every 1d4 days. The two atop the tower will switch off every six hours, providing an approaching party with Advantage on Stealth checks made to sneak closer to the camp during the changing of the guard. If the party is spotted the hobgoblins will attempt to slay them with longbows before they can reach the camp, giving the party no chance to hail or negotiate with the hobgoblins. If a damage dealing spell of first level or higher is cast at them, the four on the ground will draw their longswords and charge the mage in question. Being soldiers to the core, these foes will fight to their last breath rather than flee or surrender.
The hobgoblins are worth 600 XP, but with their fortifications it is fair to add up to 200 XP at the DM’s discretion for the added difficulty.
|Bonus Difficulty||0xp - 200xp|
|Standard Loot||Map of the surrounding area including points of interest marked in Goblin|
|Optional Loot||Goggles of Night (See 5E Rules for information)|