I’m going to try something in my Tales of the Old Margreve game. I’m running remotely, and I keep track of relative positions, but I’m not sure this would work if everybody is looking at the actual tactical map.
The encounter, as written, has ghouls mounted on undead horses, with lichhounds, chasing villagers, when the PCs stumble on to the scene.
What I’m planning on doing is letting the PCs know that the following things are true:
- The whole area is difficult terrain while there is the crowd of villagers (I’ve done this before)
- If the PCs don’t do something to save the fleeing villagers, the majority of them die by the end of round two, and there is no more difficult terrain.
The PCs can help if they do a group check. They have to spend an action to do “something” to help get the villagers to safety to contribute, and the DC is 14 (10 + the CR of the most challenging opponent). Their action can only contribute to helping the villagers (i.e. firing at the ghouls or the hounds can be an action, but it doesn’t do damage, it just angles them away from some villagers).
They can attack or take other actions as normal in the initiative turn, but that won’t contribute to the group check to save the villagers.
The outcomes will be as follows (following the format for group checks in Ghosts of Saltmarsh):
Full Success (Everyone Makes a Successful Check)–The villagers are all safe, and in retreat, they fire a salvo of slings and bows at the attackers. Each attacker makes a DC 10 Dex save or takes 4d10 damage, half if they make their save.
Success (50% or more of the PCs make a Successful Check)–The villagers get away safely.
Failure (Less than 50% of the PCs make a Successful Check)–Half the villagers parish in the retreat.
Complete Failure (every PC fails their check)–All of the villagers die in the encounter, and some of the PCs contacts are no longer available.
I’m interested to see how this works out. As I’m visualizing it, until the end of round two, there are villagers everywhere in range of both the ghouls and PCs, so they don’t need to move to a specific place on the grid to perform any actions, they can just use a standard action to participate in this group check.
I’m also not going to nix any particular skill unless it just really doesn’t make any sense for helping the villagers.
Any thoughts before I unleash this on my players tomorrow night?