Trees and shrubs surround the party as they travel, imprisoning them in forest walls. The odd chirp or rustling sees the travelers pivoting to respond, their weapons drawn. But, despite their anxiety, nothing attacks. They travel on, slowly growing comfortable with the nearby movement. Darkening skies force them to make camp in a clearing, setting a campfire and jovially discussing the current and past adventures. As they speak, the glint of yellow eyes catches an adventurer’s attention. They are watching from the bushes, a clear intelligence behind them. The warrior moves to draw his sword, only to freeze when dozens of more eyes creep into view.

That’s right, it’s time we covered some creatures. With a number of environment-based encounter lists and guides under our belt, we thought we might try doing the same for specific creature types. The first of these is a combination of our favorite little nightmares: goblins and kobolds. They will both be given ten unique encounters each before we cover how to run them and make them distinct from each other. First up is goblin encounters!

1 – A ruined fort is home to illusion-casting goblin thieves.

The old fort has fallen to dereliction and natural growth, the surrounding forest growing through its walls and gate. It stands as a marker along the road, some distance from the nearest town or occupied outpost. It is in ruins, but it is not abandoned. A clan of goblins has made its home in the structure and uses its location to prey on those that travel nearby. They lure travelers in before summoning an obscuring fog and illusory ghosts. While the distractions work their magic, a smaller band of thieves emerge from tunnels and steal what belongings they can gather. The party is their next target. Have the goblins bitten off more than they can chew?

You might recognize this encounter from our previous article, ‘A Ghost Encounter with a Goblin Twist‘. The dedicated writeup goes into greater detail about how to run each stage of the encounter and how I ran it in my own campaign, but we will do our best to summarize it here. Your general premise for this goblin encounter is having a smaller number of goblins that act intelligently and deceptively. The players have stepped into their lair without knowing.

The first step is to get your players into the fort. There are a number of easy ways to do this. The simplest is for them to discover a bounty for clearing the old fort of ghosts, with reports describing them to be stealing valuable possessions from their victims. Your players might find this odd, which should only help motivate their curiosity. If they encounter the structure along the road, you can go one of two ways. My players are inherently curious, so I placed three goblins along the road, pretending to be a ghostly bride. They vanished and ran to the fort while a spectral voice called for help. If your players are not like mine, consider having the weather take a turn for the worse, possibly from the goblins’ magic. The outpost will be the only nearby shelter, hopefully funneling players into its walls.

Once darkness has fallen and players are beginning to rest, the true goblin encounter will begin. A fog of about four feet depth will fill the area, completely obscuring the ground and alerting the party. Ghosts will then form out of it. Except these specters will not cause or take damage, despite ‘attacking’ the players. Rather, they will act as cover for the goblins hiding under the fog, who will cast distracting, disrupting, and controlling (but not damaging) spells at the party. The clan should also have a network of tunnels burrowed beneath carts and crates for moving around the battlefield unnoticed. Meanwhile, their sage and his two lieutenants will be raiding the party’s packs, horses, and supplies.

The idea of the encounter is for players to realize something is amiss and that they are fighting a diversion. Part two of the goblin encounter begins when they return to their camp and find the sage. At this point, combat stops. Players catch the goblins off-guard, particularly after they’ve seen the party’s combat skills. Have them begin to negotiate and feel free to play them for comedy. Their genius plan just collapsed and they must now scramble to not die to far more powerful opponents. This lets you give back everything they were going to steal so that players don’t feel punished. You can also have the goblin sage offer up a handful of the crystals that he was using: clouded quartz that one can ingest to exhale a fog that creates specters of previous, local events. Who knows what creative uses players might come up with for them!

Shifting Swamp Battle Map
Be sure to check out our previous article for a more in-depth, step-by-step guide for this encounter.

2 – The party meets a goblin deserter who begs them for help escaping his clan’s hunters.

Despite what many might like to believe, not all goblins hold to the violent morals of their clans. One breaks free and deserts, every now and then. This is one of those moments. A single goblin runs from his clan, escaping their camp and fleeing to the human settlements nearby. If he strays too close, he will be killed. If he does not find help, he will be killed. In his desperation, he spots an odd group of individuals who appear strong and capable. They must be what the humans call ‘adventurers’. His only option is to approach them, beg for help, and hope they are kinder than those he is escaping.

This goblin encounter serves as a way to deepen your world’s goblin lore and societies. Rather than framing the clans as homogenous hives of evil, we use a deserter to show that there is individuality within them. Some could even be what we would consider ‘good’. This is a great way to challenge players’ preconceptions and break them out of the game-y mindset of ‘all enemies are bad and should be killed for xp and gold’. It can help them approach this and future situations with a more immersed and critical mindset, which can even give you more freedom for encounters in the future.

The basic idea is that the goblin fled his tribe due to disagreeing with their general operations. It could be a specific direction they have been taking, or simply their propensity for raiding and killing. He will have made it to the nearby town, the residents of which are aware of goblins and the danger they pose. There are two ways for him to meet the party. The simplest is for him to follow them as they leave town, approaching their camp at nightfall. Alternatively, he might sneak into town at night and post a shoddily-written bounty, asking them to meet at the forest’s edge. He could even slip the note directly into their room. Both should hopefully lead to the party meeting the goblin, who they will find injured, exhausted, and desperate, begging them not to attack.

Roadside Forest Tokens Demo
Our Roadside Forest Tokens are just the beginning of our resources for making simple effective. Download them here and be ready for a chase as the hunting party catches up to the players.

In broken Common, the goblin will request that the party escort him to safety. What ‘safety’ specifically means can depend on your world, but a good idea is a main city where he can disappear into the slums or a thieves guild. Or perhaps there is the border to a more accepting nation nearby? These destinations can be far off but should not pull your players a great distance away from their own goals. You want them to accept. Traveling with the goblin will give them time to interact, learning the intricacies of him and his race. He may even develop some combat ability in their time together. In exchange, the goblin can offer his hunting and gathering skills or a treasure he stole during his escape.

Of course, the hunters will catch up with the group at some point. Be creative with the units you use and highlight the strength of goblin forces. They will focus on trackers and light, fast-moving hunters. A bugbear or hobgoblin could lead them, mounted upon an armored worg/dire wolf and with the ability to mark their target. Regular goblins could assist from their own (dire) wolves. Keep in mind how weak these creatures are, individually. They should use ambush or pursuit tactics to fight, taking full advantage of their mounts’ speed and ranged attacks. They are also only after the single goblin. Players will need to prioritize protecting him while dealing with the attackers.

3 – Goblins have been raiding the town cemetery, taking bones to construct a powerful monster.

The small, country town has had a consistent problem with a nearby goblin clan. Hostilities have existed between the two for as long as anyone can remember. Goblins attack every few years before being pushed back and dissuaded by the humans’ counterattack. But this cycle has only embittered their view of their neighbors. Now, they have a new weapon. A necromancer has found their clan and offered to deliver the town to them. The cost is great but the goblins are willing to pay. This has led to the recent grave robbings, in which valuables are left but bodies are taken. The party has been tasked with investigating but quickly discover that the nefarious plan is reaching its climax.

Silent Snowy Cemetery Battle Map – Color
The Silent Snowy Cemetery is the perfectly creepy place to witness goblin graverobbers. You can find it here.

This goblin encounter can work fantastically as either a quick stop in a town or as the first adventure in a campaign. The former situation is as simple as them arriving in a strangely well-defended town and being hired to investigate the old cemetery. Townsfolk would be willing to pay, believing that the goblins are simply trying to insult them by disturbing the graves.

Using this as the introduction to your campaign can build from the usual ‘you all meet in a tavern’ or whichever story you opt for. The difference here is your use of the necromancer. Rather than players defending the town and moving on, the mage is a perfect thread into a larger story. The power they display should motivate players to ask questions. Who are they? Where did they come from? What did they want from the goblins and did they receive it? Make sure to include ways for players to follow these leads and find answers.

The investigation itself should put the players in control. Your job is to understand what is happening, outside of player influence. The goblins are raiding the cemetery each night. They bring protection and move quickly to avoid trouble. The clan’s camp will be a small distance from the cemetery and it should be clear that they are marshaling forces, arming themselves, and are close to being ready. A large ritual area will be set outside of the leader’s tent, with effigies to a dark god and all the stolen bones. Importantly, the camp soldiers and lookouts fill the camp. You can put players on a hidden timer by having the goblins plan to attack the next night. If the party is too slow to find the camp and discover their intentions, the camp will be empty and tracks will lead towards the town.

It should be entirely possible, though difficult, for players to prevent the attack. This would require a coordinated attack or infiltration of the camp. Keep in mind that goblins would have traps and alarms and are gearing up for a fight. If they are rushed, the necromancer may even conduct the ritual early. Once again, success should come down to your players having an intelligent plan (and good rolls).

More likely, the town will be warned of the goblin attack. The town’s history means they will have defenses and weapons, though the party should still have time to add to these as they see fit. You may also include a large suit of armor in the goblin camp to give players an indication of the beast they will face. Ultimately, this could be a minotaur skeleton, a skeletal hill giant, or a bone-based flesh golem, enhanced with metal armor and a weapon. This will allow the goblins to break through the town gate. Meanwhile, archers and assassin goblins will move through the shadows and attack from hiding. You can even have two archers mounted on the skeleton’s shoulders to attack with it. The necromancer can be present if it is a goblin or absent if they are a third party.

4 – A warehouse has been lost to a goblin attack. They are now holed up inside, using the supplies to create traps and reinforcements.

The Kelmoore Trading Company is the foremost importer of furniture and other crafts. Its warehouses sit towards the edge of the city, normally providing them with privacy and security. But they did not account for goblins. The attackers managed to slip past the wall and infiltrate the building, injuring several workers and driving the rest from their stations. They have laid claim to the warehouse. Growing irritated and desperate, the warehouse manager has posted a bounty for adventurers willing to do what the guard won’t and clear out his storehouses. Fortunately for him, the party has just arrived on the scene. They head in and quickly learn what goblins can do with a little magic and some preparation time.

Introducing this goblin encounter is both simple and malleable. Your players can find a posted bounty, hear about it from warehouse workers complaining in a tavern or on the street, or simply stumble past the site as they travel. They will quickly learn that the city guard has deemed it too dangerous to enter, opting to secure the perimeter and wait them out. But the owner will pay for someone to kill them. This gives the party a simple motivation and requires little from you in terms of character planning.

The real meat of the encounter is within the warehouse. It can be a single building or a series of interconnected structures. Start by trying to create a realistic layout, making use of multiple levels for verticality and some smaller rooms (offices, tool stores) to mix it up. Once you’ve planned what the building looked like before the goblins, modify it with their influence. Focus on the kinds of traps they could create in the space, as well as how they could give themselves advantages. Small openings between crates or under obstacles would allow them to move freely while slowing down larger creatures. Tripwires could drop nets or crates on unsuspecting intruders. Boxes and barrels could even be stacked to create sniper nests.

Specifically using a furniture warehouse lets us use one of our favorite creatures: mimics. You can include a goblin with magic or a magical item, able to animate the building’s contents. This lets them set fun, unexpected traps for players while diversifying the encounter with mimics, animated armor, flying swords, and rugs of smothering.

The depth of this encounter comes from the goblins’ motivations. Why are they raiding the warehouse? If you wish to keep it simple, perhaps they were paid to do it by a competitor company. Or maybe they just wanted the contents for themselves but their plan went awry? Or, you can expand further. If the warehouse is a front for black market trades or smugglers, maybe they had recently received a shipment of goblin artifacts. The clan was able to track the thieves to the warehouse but were unable to find their objective. They are willing to leave without violence but their ransom is the return of the artifacts. Players could then resolve it peacefully by confronting the owner and ‘persuading’ him to give them the name of the buyer.

5 – The clan has lost their land to another force and now threatens a human town in their escape.

Distant fire and smoke had alerted the townsfolk to a possible attack. Two days later, the goblins appeared from the trees. There had always been an understanding that neither race should approach the other. The clan moving this close to town, with their women and children in tow, meant something was very wrong. But moving in response could only create hostility or leave the town defenseless. And so, they looked to adventurers who could act as a third party. It is only when the party accepts and speaks with the goblins that they are told the reason: an orc raid on their camp has pushed them out. They are escaping and must put the wellbeing of their people before an unsteady truce with the humans.

Hero Tokens 2, editor
Our Token Editor is not only perfect for creating custom NPC tokens, it also has a section for goblins, orcs, and their pets! Start coloring your own tokens here!

Rather than an ambush or straightforward combat, the purpose of this goblin encounter is to show the character of goblins and their clans. Your players might opt to attack them but it should be clear from their women, children, and workers that this is not a fighting force. This begins with the party either arriving in town during the standoff or the goblins appearing if your players are staying there for some time. Players should learn the context and risk in town guards moving towards the goblin camp, leading to the town offering to pay for the situation’s resolution. Meanwhile, the guards will prepare their defenses.

Speaking with the goblins and their hobgoblin leader will reveal them to be surprisingly similar in mindset to the humans. They do not want to fight but they are desperate and will do what is needed for their people. Tensions are high within the camp. The commander will hesitantly explain the orc attack to the players and that they are not a day away from reaching them again. Without help, his clan will be forced to enter the town and use its defensible position for themselves. “I wish no hostility with the humans. We will do what we must, and so shall they.”

This is where your players enter a difficult situation. Negotiating between the two sides will be tricky and is on a time limit. A truce may be possible but can both races put aside their differences and share the risk? It should be difficult to persuade the two leaders to meet and work together but doing so could have a tangible, lasting reward for both peoples.

Ultimately, the orcs (or whatever other faction/monster you choose!) must be faced. This is where you can show another side to goblins by having your party fight with them, provided the talks went well. As the central negotiators, give them command over organizing whatever troops they could convince. Let them speak with strategists and work out a plan that uses their tactics. There should be too many orcs for the party to face alone, though they may need to face the leader (alongside the goblin/human leaders, if they are present). You can describe the other units in the background without needing to roll for every attack. Try to emphasize the party’s choices, especially showing the results of their negotiation through either losses or victory of those involved.

One of the key story aspects of this goblin encounter is the contrast between goblins and orcs. They are often considered similar or even linked, but that is not necessarily true. Here, we present the goblins as a society and with families. The orcs savagely raid and attack, whereas the hobgoblin leader acts with a sense of honor. He is prepared to attack the town but only to protect his own, and would much rather the orcs be defeated so that they can return to their truce. He may even be more willing than the human leader.

6 – A goblin clan has captured a great beast, constructing a camp on its back. Their movement threatens nearby towns.

Goblins tend to be threats to human towns as their clans move nomadically and raid and scavenge for resources. Fortunately, towns that come under threat tend to be ready to face the soldiers and their leaders. But they were not prepared for this. A clan managed to trap and capture a beast of enormous size, rigging their camp onto its back and attaching mechanisms to control its movement. It now wanders again, the goblinoids directing it to their targets and unleashing hails of arrows and other projectiles from its back. The living war machine is approaching a town and the party must find a way to stop it.

Much like Encounter 3, this goblin encounter adds a unique twist to regular goblin behavior. But rather than simply giving the goblins extra troops in an attack, here you are altering the party’s goals entirely. The creature is clearly being controlled and acting against its own will, and its movement alone could destroy the town. Your party must stop this, hopefully without killing the creature. How they do so is up to their own planning and resourcefulness, so be sure to provide them with many options and be ready to react to their ideas. Emphasize that they are on a time limit and that direct confrontation is ill-advised due to the number of goblins.

One of this encounter’s greatest strengths is its versatility. You can run it in almost any environment simply by choosing a different beast. A turtle or tortoise is an obvious choice for its shell and works both for terrestrial and oceanic settings. A tundra could have them riding a giant mammoth, while desert goblins could have a lizard or even a gargantuan beetle. The beast itself is unlikely to engage in combat, though this is free for you to change. Perhaps the goblins successfully tamed it? Keep in mind that giant beasts also tend to have greater intelligence, giving your players the option of interaction. Should they choose to attack, consider how it would react to each strike on parts of its body rather than simply using a pool of hit points.

This is still a goblin encounter, so we can’t forget the goblins! The size of the beast will determine whether their entire clan and camp can ride it or if they use it as a war machine. Keep in mind that they will aim to protect their people when you determine this. They will need space reserved for archers, ballistae, catapults, and any other weapons they can construct. Likewise, include some ropes for them to repel down should they need to. There should be an obvious leader, a dedicated controller of the beast, as well as a series of ground troops to escort it and protect its legs. This is where you can put heavier martial units, such as ogres. If it is big enough, they may even have archer nests attached to the sides of its legs.

Looking for a little extra inspiration? Read the Colossal Turtle’s associated flavor story here for an idea of how the encounter could play out!

7 – Goblins accept supplies in exchange for protecting a town from suspicious attacks.

The party comes to a small farming town in the countryside, immediately seeing goblins moving through the farmland. They prepare for a confrontation but hesitate when the goblins approach and speak to a worker. They seem to interact without issue. It is not long after entering town that the party comes to understand the situation. The town had come under attack from strange beasts in the night and was unable to defend themselves and their land. Goblins approached not long after, claiming that they too had been attacked. They had triumphed and now offered protection in exchange for food and supplies. But there is something odd about both the goblins and the beasts attacking. How connected are the two events?

This encounter works as a way to play on regular assumptions and reward players for knowledge of goblins while demonstrating their cunning outside of direct combat. The premise is simple: the goblin leader, through either magic or taming of animals, has organized intermittent attacks on the town. After causing enough damage for them to grow desperate, this leader then approached the town and offered them protection, at a cost. The small clan now lives in relative luxury while maintaining a schedule of attacks to ensure the townfolk needs them. They rotate their own troops by sending off ‘hunting parties’ who, in reality, are the attackers.

Now, your players are likely to suspect something is amiss as soon as the encounter begins. Hopefully, this comes from a character understanding of goblins rather than suspicions out of the game. This is okay, as they will still need to uncover and deal with the plot. The first step is to witness an attack. This can come the same night they arrive. Show the townspeople organize and prepare, likely either retreating to their houses or a central meeting place. The goblins will rush into the farmlands to engage the beasts. You can use beasts commonly used by goblins, such as dire wolves. They will be quickly dispatched, as they are tame towards the goblins, who then return and celebrate.

You can make for more suspicious attacks and a more interesting climax by giving the goblins a powerful mage. They could be randomly polymorphing other goblins, who pretend to attack. The fight could take place in tall wheat farms. As the beasts fall, the party notices movement within the grass retreating back to where the beasts came from.

The climax should mostly come down to your party’s (likely very quick) investigation. Revealing the truth to the townsfolk will quickly lead to them driving the goblins out, thought the goblins in town will do everything they can to prevent this from happening. The goblins themselves will be unlikely to attack once exposed, though, due to their small numbers and the players’ presence. But will their anger drive them to retaliate later? If the party finds themselves facing the attackers, the group will enter desperate combat. Their wolves (or a small number of randomly polymorphed goblins!) will assist them, the goblins seeing it as their only choice. This provides players with a riskier option that would grant concrete evidence.

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Poacher’s Crest is just one of our many town maps. It can allow for players to effectively plan their defenses and you can zoom in once combat starts. Get a closer look at the map here and keep reading for more town and city resources…

8 – Goblins have taken a traveling merchant hostage, hoping to use him to infiltrate the city.

Every passing stranger on the road will share a look of polite acknowledgment, friendly greetings, or suspicious glances. Travelers and adventurers, in particular, grow accustomed to these fleeting exchanges. Perhaps that is why the merchant seemed so odd. His face was not wary or inviting. Rather, sweat poured from his forehead and his eyes were locked open. He could not have drawn more attention if he was trying. And that’s because he is trying. His eyes beg for the party to stop and investigate, hoping that they might find the goblins hidden in his cart.

One way to make small groups of goblins more threatening is to put hostages in danger. This doesn’t work as well for selfish or evil parties but can still add an extra layer for most groups. In this case, the encounter centers around quickly dealing with a small, explosive hostage situation. The goblins have attacked the man’s cart and threatened his life and are now stowing away in hopes of infiltrating the next city or town. When he passes the party on the road, his expression will beg for their intervention. But he must be careful, as a crude knife presses against his back.

Need a quick and easy way set of vehicles? Check out our Carts, Carriages, and Wagons, right here.

The encounter is actually very simple, with some ways to make it more… exciting. When playing the first interaction, have the man be almost cartoonishly suspicious, like a child caught stealing from their parents. His expression is all you have to lure players in. He can run from the cart the moment they stop or take notice, taking a dagger attack as he does. Whether he is hit or not, screaming, “goblins!” and pointing at the cart will initiate the fight. The goblins themselves can stay hidden inside until they can get a surprise attack but after that must engage carefully and tactically. Even if a comical number of them pour out they will still flee once they start losing members.

Want to add a little extra spark to the goblin encounter? Have the man be a traveling magic item merchant. His cart contains a multitude of enchanted weapons and utility items and the goblins have made their way into the stock. Each one could have filled their allotment of attuned gear, skyrocketing their regular power. Be sure to use a variety in both item type and effectiveness, and show that the goblins are not accustomed to using them or even understand them. You can limit the number of goblins but make each one strangely powerful in its own way. Just be careful running this encounter for an amoral party, as their first instinct will be to take all the items for themselves. The merchant may offer a discount as a reward, but you likely don’t want players each walking away with a new loadout of magical gear.

9 – A clan has congregated around a planar portal, sacrificing captives to it in exchange for powerful boons.

Some weeks ago, an archeological expedition broke into a new chamber of the ruins they were uncovering. In response to their activity, a rift opened. This drew the attention of a nearby goblin clan, whose mage leader instigated an attack on the explorers. They seized control of the camp and took the survivors as captives. The sage now leads them in the worship of the rift and a voice that speaks from within it. They throw slaves and prisoners through as sacrifices. In exchange, the goblins are changed. They receive powerful alterations to their forms, some growing larger and stronger and others being fusing with animals. And every time a sacrifice is given, the rift opens a fraction more.

Similar to the setup of Encounter 6, this goblin encounter adds a unique flavor to a more general theme. Players are to make their way into a goblin den. It’s a simple premise, enhanced by the rift and its effects. Fortunately, this gives us an easy set of steps to follow in planning the encounter. First is your hook for the players. You might have a heroic party come across the camp itself or an ambushed cart with clear tracks leading away. A goblin hunting party might even attack them, either capturing the players or fleeing back to camp. Even simpler, the attack and subsequent kidnappings could result in a bounty for anyone willing to thwart the goblins.

Next comes the design of the area. Start with the ruin itself, planning the tunnels and chambers of the structure that lead to a final sanctum. They do not need to be expansive as players will be under constant threat and will need some strength left for a final fight. Dedicate rooms to what goblins would need, such as a resting area and a prison for their captives. Expand on the dungeon with goblin-dug tunnels for movement and ambushes. Think about flanking positions, archer sightlines, and tunnels that they can use but larger creatures cannot. Set up alarms and makeshift traps. Lastly, include an external camp in the ransacked tents of the archeology group. The remnants should be clear, with the goblins building over the top.

The last step is your enemy units. Once again, keep in mind your party’s level and how easily they can rest during their delve. The goblins might want them dead but you still need to balance the encounter. Being low on resources can make fights many times more deadly. Position guards in the external camp, with groups of patrols moving through the tunnels. Keep track of their movements rather than them sitting in different rooms and only coming to life when players find them. The final chamber will include the mage and his guards, possibly in the midst of a sacrifice ritual so that players can witness the process.

Sprinkle the enhanced units throughout your guards and patrols. You can be as creative as you like with these. One goblin might have grown into a medium or large creature. Perhaps a bugbear was given the chitin and tail of a scorpion. Other goblins might have ram’s horns or multiple rows of teeth for a vicious bite attack. Why this theme, you might be thinking? When players reach the end, the rift will either open or deliver a final boon to the mage himself. The result of this will be either a manticore or chimera (depending on level). The rift will then close.

This goblin encounter is another great way to lead to or link into further stories. What was beyond the portal? Perhaps it watched the party’s victory and has taken an interest in them. If not, you can feel free to remove the rift altogether and simplify it to an ancient ritual the goblin mage had discovered that required an artifact in the dungeon.

10 – Goblins are attacking the city walls, accomplishing little more than inspiring noise complaints.

The city’s walls tower over regular people, even more so for goblins. But perhaps they deserve some credit for effort and persistence. They attack the walls, attempting to break the stone and even launch troops over. Their vicious, unending assault has carried on for several days and yielded… nothing. The houses nearest the wall have begun to complain about the noise, though, and the wall is slowly being stained by failed catapult attempts. With the problem not being worth diverting guards, adventurers have been offered payment for dealing with the goblins.

We have intentionally avoided humorous goblin encounters in favor of showing how dangerous and effective they can be when used correctly. But we had to include one. This works best in a city with high walls but can be applied in any walled town. Its purpose is to give players an easy but interesting and entertaining encounter with little tension or risk. There is unlikely to be combat, as the goblins’ bluster does not reflect their ability. Players will also be paid for removing the ‘threat’ as a nice bonus.

Feel free to be creative with the goblins’ efforts. They could have set up a catapult, attempting to launch troops over the wall but falling short and sending them to the infirmary instead. An ogre could accompany them, rigged with armor and a perch for a goblin sniper but now uncooperative after not receiving its payment of food. Maybe they have spent days trying to dig under the walls, entirely underestimating how deep they run. Let your players witness these attempts as they approach, but do not clutter the scene with too many. It is better to have two good jokes than to rush through describing five of them.

Ultimately, your players can drive the goblins off either with negotiation or intimidation. It may require a show of force but should not be too difficult. You should try to emphasize that the goblins’ actions do not warrant slaughtering them, though some players might attack without much thought. A hobgoblin or bugbear may be leading them, giving players an obvious conversation partner. Perhaps this leader demands combat with one party member, surrendering and withdrawing once he is beaten. You could even develop the encounter further by having the commander later return with greater abilities and numbers. The encounter may be a joke to players, but not to him, especially if they kill his men. His anger and humiliation could inspire a story that empowers him to become a formidable villain later on.

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We have multiple packs for creating your own towns. Be sure to look through packs 1, 2, and 3!

What’s Next

That marks the end of our goblin-centric encounters. Their distant, reptilian cousins will receive the same treatment soon before we bundle it all up with a combined guide and PDF. In the meantime, have a look through our other encounters and guides for different environments. We’d also love to hear what you thought of these encounters. What other creature types would you like to see us cover?

Want to support my writing efforts while also getting early access to content and cheaper PDFs? Consider visiting my Patreon!

Goblins might have to pillage and steal their resources, but you don’t! Have a look through our gallery and other articles…

About the author

Troy McConnell

Part-time DM and author of 2-Minute Tabletop's encounters, map lore, and characters. Basically, I write about all the campaign ideas that I don't have time to run. All with the assistance of my feline familiar, Wink.

You can support my writing efforts on Patreon.

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Published: January 29, 2020

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