designing encounters with mobs

Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion

I have a party of level 6 and I want them to encounter goblins. If I go by the xp chart I need 18 goblins. Yet, only about 3 of them could hit AC20 doing 6 pts of damage, not hardly a threat. I thin I'd need about 60 to get probability of to hit and damage equal to a level equal encounter, say like a woolly rhino.

so, any advice on how many goblins it actually takes to be a level 6 encounter?

and then there is the how many hobgobins would it take or bugbears. I don't want to overwhelm the party but 18 goblins doesn't seem like even a speed bump.

Use the goblin troop: blin/

Use these goblins.

Bestiary gives the organization of goblins:

Organization gang (4–9), warband (10–16 with goblin dog mounts), or tribe (17+ plus 100% noncombatants; 1 sergeant of 3rd level per 20 adults; 1 or 2 lieutenants of 4th or 5th level; 1 leader of 6th–8th level; and 10–40 goblin dogs, wolves, or worgs)

This suggest giving goblin mounts. By CR, a goblin dog counts as three goblins. So for a CR6 encounter, you can have for example 4 goblin riders (goblin+goblin dog) plus 2 extra goblins without mounts, or 3 goblin riders and 6 goblins without mounts

As djdust suggested, you can also give class levels to one or more of the goblins, further reducing the numbers of creatures.

thanks, the goblins have taken over a castle, i was using all kinds of combinations, and wanted one section to be all just regular meat grinder cannon fodder goblins, just was unsure how many to use. i have the monster codex for higher level goblins, hobgoblins and bugbears, thanks again for the input.

There are ways to make even low-CR creatured threatening. Have you heard of Tucker's Kobolds?

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Consider having them do aid another on attacks, 2 of them aiding triples the to-hit of a third.

ooh, ya, aid, sounds good

Flasks of oil (they are pyros), caltrops, flanking, nets or bolas, think of annoying low end weapons and options. Some cheap poisons or alchemist fire for the seargents only, too expensive for the fodder.

alchemist fire sounds good, i wonder if the sargeant would pass them out to the troops.

what if a person got hit by two alchemist fires. would the damage be double or a person on fire is a person on fire with only 1d6 damage?

this is an invasion with tons of goblins, hobgoblins, and bugbears taking the castle, piles of corpses everywhere. i think there would be plenty of ammo of all kinds available to some degree or other. the heroes should win, but should have a fight on their hands.

the party has to take back the castle. there are ways inside that they will have learned so they can sneak in and out at will.

love the caltrops idea along with nets and bolas. nice thinking

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Make some of them fighters, pick point-blank shot and Volley Fire, focus fire and after 1 round, they're getting a +4 to attacks.

Take back a castle from goblins? This sounds like the perfect opportunity for destruction. Does the castle need to be intact after the goblins win the fight? I ask because one goblin making a Str check with a half-dozen of their kinfolk to help them might be able do tear out masonry from a ceiling, jar an archway loose or collapse a floor.

Along with the annoyances and minor damage mentioned above, think about what a team of goblins can do to the structure of the environment. Consider everything in a castle they might be able to weaponize:

Drop a chandelier
Pull a rug out from under a PC
Light a tapestry or painting on fire and throw it at the party
Use a long table as a battering ram
Drag a siege engine into a bigger hallway
Loosen masonry
Drop a portcullis
Pour a cauldron of boiling (insert either damaging or gross liquid here)
Smash whole barrels of lamp oil and light an entire floor on fire
Collapse a wall of corpses to Entangle the party
Stuff a body with alchemist's fire and throw that
Tie ropes around crates of spoiled food/barrels of wine/oil, haul them into the rafters, and drop them on PCs
Tar and feathers
Sap a structural wall
Load a wheelbarrow full of flammables, light it, then tie it to one of those cursed horses and let it run at the party

Some of these, coupled with nets, crossbows, caltrops a couple spellcasters, and a LOT of fire should both threaten the party and wear them down. When at last you feel the party has had their fill of shenanigans and want the big "great hall" fight with 18 goblins versus the party, remember ALL the ways goblins can get bonuses to hit, even at low CRs

Swap 2 Goblin Warrior 1 for 2 Goblin Adept 1 with Bless spells - +1 to hit

Have some of them find Masterwork weapons in the castle's armory - +1 to hit

Get up on tables/benches - +1 to hit from Higher Ground

Aid Another - +2 to hit

Flanking - +2 to hit

Attacking from Surprise - victim denied Dex bonus

Entangled - victim takes -4 to Dex

Dazzled - victim is -1 to attack

Victim on fire - use their Move action to extinguish

You could build whole units of goblins, picking either Teamwork feats or feats meant to keep one goblin going. For example if one goblin swapped their starting feat for Extra Traits and took Fools for Friends and Helpful they are now granting +4 on a successful Aid Another bonus.

Finally, don't overlook the value of archery and ranged attacks. The stock standard Goblin Warrior 1 in the Bestiary has a shortbow. These weapons have a 60' range increment and goblins have no light sensitivity meaning that if you have a space of 120' well lit between the party and the goblins, they can stay put and lob 2 volleys while the party moves up.

Arrows can be dipped in oil and ignited. A row of archers can have an Adept behind them dropping Bless spells or Cat's Grace to add bonuses. This unit, employing Precise Shot as their one Feat and working in tandem with other delaying units on the ground, can seriously ruin the party's day. Alternatively if some form of obstacle keeps the party from advancing on their position a group of dug in goblin archers can just pepper the PCs from 120' and eat the range penalty all day.

Don't be afraid to get weird and destructive with it. They ARE goblins after all!

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