One of my first maps, the Light Woods battle map was the setting for an absolute blood bath. The party rescued a priest from the War Camp at the Abandoned Quarry, but were being pursued. The War Chief and his best warriors were hot on their tails. I expected the party to make it to a nearby farmhouse, but indecision squandered what little head-start they had.
Light Woods Battle Map
The players were in decent shape and had most of their spells, but an open fight would be dangerous. They had two injured NPCs with them and they were outnumbered. An Orc War Chief, Orog, and 6 orcs were hot on their heels.
Suddenly, the Light cleric turns, yells for everyone to keep running and gets ready to buy his friend’s some time. He turns to face the orcs and readies himself for certain death. Unwilling to leave him, the rogue, fighter, and ranger turn to join him. The NPCs still running as fast as they could towards the farmhouse on the next hill.
According to Kobold Fight Club, this would be a deadly fight and this was shaping up to be an epic last stand. I planned to feed them to the party a little at a time at the farmhouse and wasn’t expecting a slugfest in light woods. Grouped tightly the Orc War Chief, his Orog lieutenant, and six orcs crested the hill and barreled towards the level 5 characters.
“I grasp my holy symbol and cast fireball on the center of the group.”
“OK … what’s your Save DC?”
Bunched up in pursuit mode, the fireball caught the majority of the orcs in stride. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 … 6 failures, what the hell?! The player rolled for damage and the person next to them just exploded with a cheer. 36 points of damage! Four of the orcs turned to ash in an instant. Three turns later and the battle was over. It had been a total party kill but in the opposite direction. The light woods were quiet once more.