Out of Reach Encounters

Page 125, in the Adventure Design chapter says;

“There should be one problem that is simply too much for the players to handle: A creature high on the Order of Might; a creature with Nature of 10 or higher; obstacles rated at 6 and up.”

I’m trying to plan my first TB dungeon, and I really like the idea of one encounter being out of reach for the PCs. The trouble I’m having is that it is hard to justify monsters that are that powerful, since most monsters in that range fall into the categories of: giant, dragon, and elder gods. It just doesn’t make sense for the dungeon I’m thinking up to have any of those things. I’m thinking of an abandoned mine, infested with goblins. Any recommendations for a really hard encounter? It can be a non-monster encounter too.

Tell us a little more about the mine and the adventure. You say that a dragon/giant/elder god is too powerful. Why’s that? Why is it that a dragon, say, might not have claimed a section of mine (perhaps a pit mine that connects to the tunnels) for his own? What about the avatar of a goblin god that the priests in the deep chambers are summoning?

I’ll try to get a map made up sometime soon and post it, but here’s my thoughts so far:

It’s an old human mine that ended up running into a dwarven mine. A conflict broke out between the human and dwarven miners, and many people died. Eventually a peace was made, on the condition that both groups abandon those sections of mines. They collapsed the area where the human and dwarven mines converged, allowing the rubble to serve as a funeral cairn for the fallen. The dwarfs in particular were buried with many riches, as is their custom, thus a great cache of treasure may lie beneath the funeral cairn; however, the dwarves placed a stone guardian to protect the site from grave robbers. Many years later, a small clan of goblins moved, into the upper levels of the mines. The spirits of many of the dead miners are becoming restless because of the newcomers; thus, it is not uncommon for the goblins (or an unfortunate adventurer) to encounter undead, if/when they venture to close to the deeper shafts, which hold the cairn.

So the dungeon thus far would include: goblins, hobgoblins, bugbears, various undead, a stone guardian, probably some random vermin (e.g. rats and spiders), some traps laid by the goblins, and probably a flooding hazard within the lowest depths of the mines.

Just not sure where a dragon or elder god fits.

I do like this idea, and I already had something like that in mind. I guess I was just thinking of that more as a lead into a whole new adventure.

I think using an encounter way beyond their ability to conquer is, in fact, a great lead into a whole new adventure.

For first level adventurers, think a monster with Might 5 or higher. You don’t need a dragon, just something that players probably don’t want to try to barrel over. Something like a troll for instance, or a wight.

Even a Giant Spider (Might 4) could serve if you use her well.

In that case I may have way to many difficult encounters in mind.

How about a ghost of some sort? You said the miners’ spirits were growing restless. A ghost could be impervious to attack. To get access the the ghost’s haunt, some other approach is necessary (placating the ghost, destroying something it’s tethered to, etc.).

Emphasis mine. Isn’t something along the lines of a Stone Golem what you are looking for here?


I’m pretty sure there’s even a Might 4 monster called “Stone Guardian” or something like that.

Also, by the book, a large, valuable painting would qualify. Hauling it out would be an Ob7 test, which is very difficult.

Failure: Twist - You totally punch a big hole in it, ruining it.

Alternately: Condition - You spend 10 minutes trying to maneuver it through a doorway but these other morons don’t understand what “left” means. Now you’re all Angry at one another. :slight_smile: