What to do after a failed encounter and near TPK [spoilers]


Reign of Winter


Spoiler:
My players assaulted the Lodge and things didn't go very well. Ended up fighting most of the bandits in the snow outside the lodge. The dice were rather cruel in both directions; bad guys got a few crits and players had some bad luck, including tripping the crossbow trap after the combat had already started.

I avoided a TPK by giving the bandits some morale problems; it seemed believable to have them flee after being wounded or seeing some of their buddies die. Not-so-loyal henchmen that flee when things get sticky are an easy idea to pull off. If I had had them stick together it would have been a TPK for sure. Some of them fled outside, most of them fled back into the lodge. I had the players overhear Rohkar (who was not part of the outdoor combat) yelling at his incompetent/cowardly bandits for failing to capture or kill all of the PCs as they ran.

The question is, what do I do now? None of the PCs actually died but they are all severely wounded and are fleeing the lodge area now. It seems like the logical thing for Rohkar to do would be to send out a party of bandits to track the PCs, but they need time to recover. Also, once they do recover, how should I handle the lodge? Should the noblewoman still be there? What should change in the meantime?

I might try to give them some random encounters to get them to level 2 before they try the lodge again. Feedback is appreciated.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

First, Rohkar won't heal any of his bandits. He won't reveal his religious affiliation because the bandits WILL abandon him. What he will likely do is take the dead and bring them back as zombies. Those will undoubtedly start patrolling the area. Meanwhile the wounded will hole up and start healing the "natural" way. The party, meanwhile, is only a few hours from town and likely can get healing from the town priest.

Second, you did the right thing by using morale problems with the bandits. What you just did here is make the party (rightly) believe "oh man we're going to die!" and as a result they'll likely be far more careful next time around.

As for the noblewoman? There's one of two things you could consider. If Rohkar doesn't ask the Fey for help (and it's unlikely even given what happened) then he'll still have her on hand. If the Winter Fey step in? Move our hostage to the Gate - there's a pit where prisoners can be kept there.

One last bit: there's a certain half-orc rogue in the lodge as well. If she survived she may decide that Rokhar is a lost cause. So have her seek out the party and offer to ally with them. The end-result is a higher-level rogue helping them as a means of getting out of trouble, Rokhar losing an ally, and the group being in a move viable position.

(BTW, this is why I tend to start groups off at 2nd level. It increases their survivability. Though the group that I'm currently running and am switching to this is more 3rd to 4th level so I'll be increasing opposition levels to compensate. Fortunately it's a very low-magic group so they've primarily levels helping them out.)


He might send out a search party, but it's cold, and snowy. Guys who have enough morale issues arent going to spend alot of time outside looking really hard for people.

Why did the bandit battle happen outside in the snow if the crossbow traps handnt alerted them yet?

Half the bandits are sick, and wouldnt have been outside, so you would have 5 guys to deal with who should have been as hampered int he snow as the PCs.

Im guessing maybe the party didnt have much in the way of ranged capability?

My party hit the lodge fresh in the AM with full spells, not resting before hand could really hurt too, depending on party make up.

What do you have in the party? how many, what classes?


The party includes an arctic druid, a barbarian, a sorcerer and a monk. The druid went ahead to scout. He ended up trying to look in some windows and was seen. The rest of the party was just off the map. The druid had spotted the crossbow trap but hadn't had a chance to tell anyone so when he called for help the party came running and tripped the trap.


KeolinPortara wrote:
The party includes an arctic druid, a barbarian, a sorcerer and a monk. The druid went ahead to scout. He ended up trying to look in some windows and was seen. The rest of the party was just off the map. The druid had spotted the crossbow trap but hadn't had a chance to tell anyone so when he called for help the party came running and tripped the trap.

Hilarious! a Peeking Tom druid!


How is Rohkar only a CR2, when he has 3 levels of Cleric?


It sounds like Tangent101 has the right idea. You could even let Rokhar take his prisoner to the gate and give the group a chance of catching up. (Maybe the lady uses tactics to delay him, like deliberately falling and such. Of course she can leave a trail as well.)

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