Scar Horsebiter: TPK Goblin encounters

TPK encounters are designed to catch players wrong-footed and expose them to the thrill of encounters that could actually threaten them. Many of these encounters involve goblins. For story purposes, I have crafted a backstory to tie these encounters together. You could run them back to back as the central adventure or punctuate another adventure (even a premade adventure path) with the subplot of Scar Horsebiter. Either way, set your party’s best stats in the statistics box (available on all TPK encounter posts) and the encounters will be scaled to challenge the party.

This is a TPK post by Matthew the Evil GM. This encounter is designed to expose players to a risk of a dead character. TPK posts are partly generated and may not be the same the next time you refresh the page. The specifics are generated from your data and a seed. If you want to see changes, give the TPK a shuffle.

Why goblins?

Why goblins? That is a fair question. It is my experience that most gamers see goblins as little more than XP fuel. Little annoying tramps to mow through in the search for gold and glory. I figured it was time that players feared and respect massed goblins as the party threatening menace they are.

Grouped goblins can use Aid Another to bulk up their attack, Combined with flanking bonuses for rushing the party and grapple and disarm moves and the goblins become more than just a pest.

Give them a cunning leader (such as Scar Horsebiter) and they can start using ambushes, sneak attacks, and traps when you least expect them. With the right spells, poisons, and ammo, a surprise attack by goblins can put a serious crimp in the party’s day.

Scar Horsebiter

Scar Horsebiter is a large (by goblin standards) and remarkably well-organised goblin leader. He seems to inspire fierce loyalty in his army. However, typical to his goblinoid nature, he is cowardly but fiendish. Scar is never to be found with his raising parties which means that the players never encounter him directly.

At some point in the party’s adventures, they came to the attention of this goblin warlord. Scar Horsebiter thereafter became obsessed with the party and plots to harm and maybe even kill them. He has been monitoring the party for some time to learn how they act and look for weaknesses.

His raiding parties are large and numerous.  Which means that he could strike any time and anywhere. Maybe the attack is to learn something or maybe to hurt or kill the party. To be honest it is hard to tell.

Tracking Scar Horsebiter

The party will, after a few of these encounters be ready to stop whatever noble quest they are on to go and hunt goblins. While it may be satisfying for the players to think they have tracked the bugger down, he should always have left the night before. However, being a cunning adversary, he will have left some nice traps and ambushes for the party.

If the party is becoming too frustrated with Scar Horsebiter’s antics, you may wish to let them trace his main camp. Scar will, of course, be out doing things but one of his generals and a lot of soldiers will be there to give the party a very nasty fight. Once they have burned down the camp or whatever let them feel that they have won and lay off the goblin attacks for a few sessions. Scar should, however, come back again. Enjoy the players’ howls of frustration when he does.

Party Best Values

Character Stats

STR (0)
DEX (0)
CON (0)
INT (0)
WIS (0)
CHA (0)

Other Stats

Best AC
party size

This TPK encounter is for Pathfinder and other DnD 3.5 rules based games. For other systems some adaption may be needed.

Seed: 1714026677 (shuffle)


  1. Pingback: TPK: Ambush on the road to nowhere • Matthew D Brown

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