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July 24, 2012, 11:07 am

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10 Combat Obstacles


Something to keep your party on their toes.

Most combat in adventures is usually tailored to the specific needs in that adventure. Occaisionally, you just need something to throw at your characters. Here are 10 ideas to get you started.

  1. A group of footpads jump your party, expecting to easily roll them for their coin.
  2. A gang of foreign sailors decide that the characters should be recruited to help man their ship. Thus, the sailors are interested in capturing rather than killing.
  3. The evening is quiet and all is going well in the tavern until a drunken dwarf decides that one of the players has insulted his honour.
  4. The characters enter a fighting ring/arena. As they look competent, they are challenged to test their mettle against the champions of the ring. Large numbers of armed spectators make it clear that this is a challenge that can not be refused.
  5. A sorceress has turned to crime in order to finance an addiction or other habit. She ambushes the characters using her magic to full effect. Passers by run away in fear. Should the city watch be nearby, the mage will use her status to have them arrested for something or other. After all, who would believe the word of a group of adventurers over that of a sorceress?
  6. An arrogant young noble challenges the characters to a dual over some slight, imagined or otherwise. The challenger has friends who are willing to join in should the characters group together, or the challenged character gains the upper hand.
  7. A toll station has been set up by a group of thugs on a bridge that the characters will need to cross. In the case of the characters the thugs have decided that a fair price is everything they are carrying.
  8. A group of city watchmen demands that one of the characters pay a fine for disturbing the peace. If the character pays, the watchmen revise that each character pay that fine. If at any point the characters object, the watchmen attack to take them into custody. Since these men are corrupt, they will not report the characters for fighting back.
  9. A large animal, preferably feral has broken out of the menagerie and is now down the street, directly towards the characters.
  10. A noble or wealthy merchant decides that the characters didn't show him the proper respect he feels he deserves. After they leave he sends a group of his bodyguards after them to teach them a lesson.

"The man who is too captious, walks in the shadow of death, and on the verge of his sepulchre." - Joseph Hamilton, The Duelling Handbook, 1829.

Additional Ideas (3)

((Fine, I will start it. ;) We are a site that is partial to the number 30 after all))

  1. A drunk barbarian thinks that one of the characters has stole his horse. His friends are just as drunk and are backing up his friend's words with metal.

  2. They get their pocket picked but, when the pocket picker gets pinched, his guild is there to claim the purse and the caught pick pocket....with force.

  3. A character's horse steps on a sharp nail in the road and bucks running into a family knocking them to the ground. The father doesn't stop to ask questions or listen to excuses, he attacks immediately. Let's see if they can be gentle with him.

  4. Initially thinking the items were legit, a shop owner buys some of the character's booty. Soon after he finds out it is a forgery/fake/illusion and sends his brute squad after them for "compensation."

  5. A man jumps out of a doorway and knocks the characters off their horse, punches them in the face and is off before the character knows his ups and downs. Soon after some others come out of the building and the chase is on.


2012-07-29 10:36 AM » Link: [6876#82775|text]

  1. A crazed leper is forcefully begging and trying to grab the players cloak to kiss> He seems legitimately sincere in his humbled comments and blissfully unaware that anything is wrong with him> After being treated rudely for a couple minutes he will suddenly turn crazed and lunge with a dagger>

  2. Their drinks have been drugged, but not professionally. They are conscience enough through the drugged haze to realize they are being rolled and robbed. the would be thieves are as inept at fighting as they are with drugs so it isn't that hard to escape...probably.

  3. A branch across the road. A detour through a tight trail with a trip rope. Some obvious signs of artificial camouflage on both sides of the road. Yet nobody is around.

  4. The sound of galloping horses quickly overtake the group. It would be a mini-stampede if it wasn't for the men controlling them. They wield large pikes and menacingly attempt to push the players off the road. If the players resist, it gets Unfortunately for the resisting players, these are the kings men and an even larger entourage plus one each king in a very big hurry.


2012-09-18 02:46 PM » Link: [6876#83313|text]
20. A group of violent vigilantes mistake the players for notorious outlaws and react accordingly
21. A madly babbling man lights a torch and tries to set fire to the nearest flammable building
22. The local mafia has an interest in the PCs and decides to test their strength, wanting either to rob them or perhaps try and recruit them.

2016-01-09 12:16 PM » Link: [6876#95436|text]
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Comments ( 15 )
Commenters gain extra XP from Author votes.

Voted Chaosmark
July 24, 2012, 12:04
Combat isn't the be-all and end-all of gaming, but these are the perfect "you get jumped by X" hooks that you claimed they were. I'd like to see these expanded into a full 30.
July 24, 2012, 12:06
A 30? I hadn't planned on making them into such a large submission.

More of a ready to use, roll a D10 sheet.

If I come up with more I can always add them as ideas. Feel free to contribute.
Voted Cheka Man
July 24, 2012, 20:14
This should be a 30.
Voted Kassy
July 24, 2012, 20:29
While I agree that this could be expanded upon and possibly even made into a 30, I do like the easy to use, grab and go nature of this piece.

July 26, 2012, 13:45
This isn't spectacular by any means and some require more work than simply the rolling of a random die roll. The arena one for instance.

However, I enjoy the idea of random happenings to a group. I had a cut purse try to steal the coin purse of a player who caught him. After some yelling, threats of personal and bodily harm that would scar the young boys psyche, the youth ended up being a hireling of sorts for the player running errands and gaining information and hard to get items of illegal nature.
July 26, 2012, 19:58
It may not be everyone's cup of tea but I'm happy that you took the time to comment regardless.

I didn't realise that there was so much detail expected. I shall try to do better in the future.
Voted Mourngrymn
July 26, 2012, 13:45
Only voted
Voted Strolen
July 29, 2012, 10:37
Good start, but not near enough. ;)
July 29, 2012, 19:05
Thank you for adding some. We may as well get it rolling!
August 2, 2012, 15:19
This is great! can't wait for more.
September 18, 2012, 14:02
June 18, 2014, 14:27
Down with the tyranny of the 30!

Though adding them to existing subs might work as well - for example -
Voted valadaar
June 18, 2014, 14:27
Only voted
Voted Stork
June 20, 2014, 18:38
These are great for a lull in the action, so to speak. Some of these are also a great way of introducing a boss bad guy early in the adventure/campaign.
Voted Moonlake
January 8, 2016, 21:50
A solid list. Strolen's additions are great.

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       By: Cheka Man

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