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DragonBaneDM
2010-03-10, 04:35 PM
In before the concept of Tucker's Hobgoblins, already doing that. :P

The issue I'm having is I have this idea of a battle between a human and hobgoblin army, with the PCs (22nd level) working through the battle on the side of the humans.

At first I was gonna use my large scale combat system I designed for a class, and then I thought "Wait a sec. These kids are here to play DND. Give them DND, bud."

Sooo that leaves me trying to make encounters appropriate for 22nd level characters in an army of hobgoblins. Unfortunately Maglubiyet is too high a level for them. I'm already thinking high level Hobgoblin, Goblin, and Bugbear NPCs, the elite General, Assassin, and Big Guy of this Hobgoblin Empire I've come up with.

What else should I throw in there?

Choco
2010-03-10, 04:41 PM
Don't forget the guard beasties (can be most anything, though keep it consistent with your setting).

Also some high level casters.

Mark Hall
2010-03-10, 04:53 PM
There's 3 basic options I see:

1) Uplevel some regular goblinoid monsters. Given you're talking a 20 level gap, this might be more of a PITA than it is worth.
2) Reskin some high-level humanoid monsters as goblinoids.
3) Create the hobgoblins as NPCs, proceed from there.

I think 3 will turn out easiest.

Yakk
2010-03-10, 05:14 PM
A 5x5 block of hobgoblins with aura 3 can represent 100 hobgoblins (they are actually over a 10x10 area, but the 5x5 is the 'core' of the force).

Using naive XP value for power, 100 run of the mill hobgoblins are worth between 12,500 and 3,800 XP.

A level 22 normal monster is worth ... 4000 XP.

So, an interesting fight can be: (Hobgoblins, Demons and Dragons, oh my!)
5 Hobgoblin armies (500 Hobgoblins, 100 each) -- L 22 soldiers
1 Demon swarm (~15 demons each, 3x3 area with aura 1) -- L 22 Brutes
1 Hezrou (L 22 Brute, Large sized)
1 Elder Shadow Dragon (Level 24 Lurker)
56,000 XP budget

vs:
5 level 22 PCs
7 Human armies (50 Humans each, 350 total, 4x4 aura 2 troops) -- L 20 soldiers
19,600 XP on PCs side.

56,000 - 19,600 = 36400 XP, /5 players = 7280 XP per player, or a level 25 encounter.

The point of this is that the Human side is massively outgunned without the players.

The armies use swarm rules (half damage from melee and ranged attacks, vunerable to burst attacks). Maybe they even 'shatter' when you bloody them (into two smaller units, each with half the remaining HP and about half the damage output).

You can do earlier fights, or even break down a fight like this into multiple pieces.

For the 7 Human armies ... give each PC command over one army, and have two notable NPCs command one army each. Give the armies the PCs don't command some quirk that matches the leader, or even a slight boost.

The Shadow Dragon is, naturally, the power behind the invasion. The Demon Swarm and Hezrou might start out controlled by the Hobgoblins -- maybe two of the units defend the necromancers who control them, and once those units are dropped, the Swarm/Hezrou starts rampaging out of control?

Anyhow, that is how I'd be tempted to do the "grand battle".

I'd also throw in some earlier fights, against Hobgoblin armies with demon helpers, that are less grand-scale.

Easy fight: 3 Armies and 1 Swarm of demons (~ level 21 fight). The idea is to get the players used to the idea that "yes, we can kill 300 Hobgoblins at once".

Medium fight: the PCs manage to sneak through Hobgoblin lines, and strike at a priest who is controlling some demons. (Skill challenge)

1 Hezrou, 1 Circle-of-Summoners (Level 22 Leader, 3x3 unit with an aura 1), 3 Hobgoblin Armies, and a portal that delivers a Swarm of Demons per turn. When the Summoners are killed, the portal delivers one more swarm of demons, then the swarms and the Hezrou go feral.

More armies approach in response to the PCs attack, and they sneak out (skill challenge).

Final Fight: The PCs face down an army of Hobgoblins, Demons and (apparently) a Shadow Dragon in a pass that could bypass the humans defensive line. Reinforcements are coming, but if this force breaks through...

That comes to ... over 1000 Hobgoblins, up to 100 demons, and a Shadow Dragon. All defeated by the PCs in the same day!

Sufficiently epic?

---

At epic tier, I'd strongly advise against taking "mere hobgoblins" or "mere humans" and leveling them up until they are a challenge. Individual Hobgoblins are not a challenge to epic level adventurers.

There might be unique examples, but such beings are less described as Hobgoblins as they are whatever they got their ridiculous power from. Ie, you can have a Hobgoblin lich, but that is a lich that happens to be a Hobgoblin.

The ability to "relevel" monsters in 4e shouldn't mean you should "auto-scale" opposition to the point where the nominal level/tier of the players doesn't matter.

Now, you can have more fun than I did above. A squad of Hobgoblins flying Wyverns makes a decent epic level opponent, for example. Or the same with a ground based squad of Behemoth riders (think LotR, final battle scene, with the oliphants).

Note that the scaling I did above is only one possible scaling (where I use XP as an objective measure of individual toughness). You can use other rates of scaling things.

(Btw, the best part of using this kind of army hack? Describing what happens when a wizard casts an epic-level Thunderweave on an enemy army.)

AslanCross
2010-03-10, 05:30 PM
Goblinoids have always been associated with Worgs. The Monster Manual has the Guulvorg, a sort of super-worg. It's pretty high-level, though I forget if it's epic or not. (It was CR 14 in 3.5; I remember it being Lv 22 or something in 4E)

Asbestos
2010-03-10, 05:50 PM
Goblinoids have always been associated with Worgs. The Monster Manual has the Guulvorg, a sort of super-worg. It's pretty high-level, though I forget if it's epic or not. (It was CR 14 in 3.5; I remember it being Lv 22 or something in 4E)

Only level 16 in 4e.

I imagine Epic Level PCs vs Heroic Tier monsters would be akin to Dr. Manhattan 'fighting' in Vietnam.


I don't know, Yakk, demons don't seem right for these super-lawful worshippers of Bane.

I'd suggest some of the more militaristic dragons and at least one of Bane's aspects. The Centurion from Dragon 372 is 'only' a level 26 Elite. He could be part of a reasonable encounter for your PCs.

AslanCross
2010-03-10, 06:13 PM
Only level 16 in 4e.

I imagine Epic Level PCs vs Heroic Tier monsters would be akin to Dr. Manhattan 'fighting' in Vietnam.

Ah, I see. I'd use devils, then. Lots of them.

Asbestos
2010-03-10, 06:17 PM
Ah, I see. I'd use devils, then. Lots of them.

That works well with this bit from the article on Bane:
"...the devils have always dealt
(a little) more straightforwardly with Baneís followers
than other mortals, and the Iron Generalís worshipers
are more likely than any others (save Asmodeusís own
worshipers) to summon and employ devils."

So yeah, swap out Demons for Devils.

Tiki Snakes
2010-03-10, 07:17 PM
Also, for sheer scale, you could just uplevel some appropriate Hobs and make them level 22 minions. It'd give you a nicely flooded battlefield, and still theoretically work pointswise. Throw in one or two custom epic hobs and you're away.

Also, yes. Devils.

Hal
2010-03-10, 07:28 PM
It might seem odd, but I've kinda thought an interesting method of handling large, large scale battles like that might be to treat it as a skill challenge. Let your players use their skills to mow through endless waves of mooks. It might work awkwardly (I use History . . . to kill enemies!), but I figure at epic levels you can assume that the PCs can mow through common soldiers effortlessly.

An amusing idea I had for it (no idea how well it would work) was to simply use the check result as the number of enemies killed by each player action, and then declare it a success after a certain number has been achieved (or, alternatively, a failure if that number isn't reached after a certain number of rounds).

Tiki Snakes
2010-03-10, 07:33 PM
It might seem odd, but I've kinda thought an interesting method of handling large, large scale battles like that might be to treat it as a skill challenge. Let your players use their skills to mow through endless waves of mooks. It might work awkwardly (I use History . . . to kill enemies!), but I figure at epic levels you can assume that the PCs can mow through common soldiers effortlessly.

An amusing idea I had for it (no idea how well it would work) was to simply use the check result as the number of enemies killed by each player action, and then declare it a success after a certain number has been achieved (or, alternatively, a failure if that number isn't reached after a certain number of rounds).

Perhaps a skill challenge keyed off of straight ability checks would work better? (Perhaps allow really well reasoned and rp'ed suggestions for using a skill once per character, for example a warlord setting up an ambush using a historical and tactical model, or so on).

Colmarr
2010-03-10, 08:09 PM
It might seem odd, but I've kinda thought an interesting method of handling large, large scale battles like that might be to treat it as a skill challenge.

Ditto. If memory serves, one of the examples in Mearls' skill challenge articles was of PCs participating in a battle.

Epic level PCs would mow through heroic tier troops like a John Deere ride-on. The only time you need to or should break out the battlemat is when the bad guys break out their own epic level allies.

Mark Hall
2010-03-10, 08:25 PM
(I use History . . . to kill enemies!)

"You're forgetting that the Arkhosian army faced just this situation at the Battle of Wellspring... a large, unmobilized populace, and only limited resources at the outset of the war... no more than the town guard plus some special units. Since they couldn't abandon the town, and the guard was insufficient to garrison it, they used their special troops in rotation... on the walls, in the field, then rest, then on the walls, in the field, then rest. It allowed them to buy time for the forces out of Fallcrest to move in, and to mobilize the town for defense."

There. I just used history to help defeat the enemies.

Swordgleam
2010-03-10, 09:14 PM
Perhaps a skill challenge keyed off of straight ability checks would work better? (Perhaps allow really well reasoned and rp'ed suggestions for using a skill once per character, for example a warlord setting up an ambush using a historical and tactical model, or so on).

Perhaps a skill challenge interspersed with battles -

"Key reinforcements are coming in from the west pass."
- skill challenge to get to the pass and set up and ambush -
- encounter with high-level enemies in the reinforcements-

DragonBaneDM
2010-03-11, 12:08 AM
Oh wow! I really really like this idea of using the skill challege to go along with it!!!

That's what I'm gonna have them do when they're not up against one of the Gobbo PCs, a ShadowHulk, or a lovely devil encounter I have prepped so far.

The Aspect of Bane is SO the final bosss!!! OOOHHHH Wait a TICK! What level is that Half Elf General Chick of his? She's Epic Tier, and I think she's called The Black General or something.

EDIT: She. Is a Level 22 Elite Soldier. Ah boo. Ah ya!!! :smallbiggrin:

EDIT AGAIN(Darn my ideas!!!): Actually here's an idea. They have to stop her within a certain number of rounds, cause she's just a decoy for some hobgoblin ritualists summoning The Centurion.