View Full Version : DM Help My Group is making an army!

2015-10-24, 10:09 PM
So I'm playing a 4e campaign, Keep on the Shadowfell, and they have convinced a goblin that was in jail (Splug) to join them, which is almost recommended, but then they started "Operation Ratbag" (reference to Shadow of Mordor) and put heads of dead goblins on a spike and convinced other goblins to join him in taking over the boss (Balgron the Fat), which he did, and beheaded Balgron execution style in front of his new followers.

Now this isn't bad, and I'm all for letting the players come up with new ways to complete a challenge, but as you can imagine, having my 6 players, and their 14 new allies against monsters that come up bog down combat. There was a good chunk of one encounter tonight where I was essentially fighting myself, and my players were just sitting around waiting for me to finish.

I don't want them to get bored, so any suggestions on how to keep the game in the hands of the players, and not have NPCs fighting NPCs all night? It seems like they are about to run to the nearest town (Winterhaven) and try to conscript the locals to fight with them to kill the BBEG of the Keep. I really don't want to do everything for them, and them barely getting to fight in between me.

2015-10-24, 10:14 PM
Well, for one thing, how would the town actually fare against Kalaralel? Not really well. There's a reason that the PCs are the ones doing everything. Even the lown lord is only (IIRC) a Level 3 warlord. The farmers and bakers probably won't take kindly to being forced into combat, nor will they like having their guards against wolves and bandits taken away.

What you could do, about the goblins, is have Splug incite a goblin rebellion against the PCs.

Mr Beer
2015-10-25, 04:23 AM
- Take away the allies somehow
- Have the players run the allies in combat
- Have the allies deal with the enemy cannon fodder in fights and hand wave their combat

Lvl 2 Expert
2015-10-25, 04:43 AM
- Have the allies deal with the enemy cannon fodder in fights and hand wave their combat

Something like this. Use some form of mass combat rules or something, or use some sort of table. They're fighting 2 enemies, both from strength category human, roll a D20, 14, one of them was "cure medium wounds" injured. (Which is just an annoying tax on resources, the point is more that you can spring things on the players like "you see one of the goblins going down over there from a massive sword swing. She doesn't get back up. What do you do this next turn?")

The coolest thing would be if your players took care of it though, if they realized this is not fun and found a clever storywise solution for it. Maybe help them a little bit, have some weird secondary objective that needs to be accomplished underground so they can send off the goblins on their own and reunite with their army only for the big boss battle or something?

Don't be afraid to discuss this ooc with them. It's a cool approach to their problems, it just doesn't work too well within the d&d rules.

2015-10-25, 05:48 AM
I don't want them to get bored, so any suggestions on how to keep the game in the hands of the players, and not have NPCs fighting NPCs all night?
As others have said, improvise some mass combat rules. How about rolling a D20, applying some modificators for advantages and disadvantages (superior numbers or weapons), and adding a tick for victory or defeat each combat round. Describe the combat accordingly. If it does not go well, the PCs can still interfere.

2015-10-25, 07:05 AM
My 2 cp:

-During boss fights/dramatic moments, have the NPC allies go off to do some important but less interesting task (Such as mopping up weaker enemies, guarding a prisoner, or setting up a barricade against attacks from behind. basically it's just <insert plausible excuse here> for why they can't go with the PCs.)

-simplify NPC versus NPC combat to an opposed D20. Minions are grouped into Ally minions and Enemy minions for the purpose of this check. Stronger NPCs get individual rolls, as do more powerful enemies. Whichever side got the higher d20 wins that round.
Minions can initiate multiple opposed checks in a single round, unless they are targeting the enemy minions.
All NPCs have a Failure Threshold equal to 1/2 their level or CR (your choice). Minions instead have a threshold equal to the number of minions on that side. This Failure Threshold is the number of rounds that they can lose the opposed roll before going down. (Rounds need not be consecutive.)
Minions facing a powerful NPC lose one of their number if they lose the check.
Cure abilities used on NPCs remove two losses from the target of healing (1 loss for minions).
For the purpose of abilities that activate on "Bloodied" status, lost rounds equal to at least half the Failure Threshold counts as Bloodied.
(minions need not be actual 1hp minions. They simply need to be larger groups of weaker combatants.)

2015-10-25, 01:16 PM
Maybe just have an enemy caster chuck a fireball at the goblins. even at half damage they're probably dead. Though make it fit in, not just some random mage walks up and tries to kill goblins.