Monster Analysis: Bandits (Bromkiln Byway)

The roads of the Dwendalian Empire are not a safe place to travel, and even less so places of rest after dark. Having been confronted by bandits before on the Amber Road, the Mighty Nein were a bit more experienced and prepared for a larger threat on the Bronkiln Byway. It didn’t hurt that they also saw it coming, rather than fall to a decidedly more practiced, less merciful, and rather inhumanoid ambush.

Thanks to @bananacandytho for this art piece!

Ogres

  • First Appearance: 1-01 Arrival at Kraghammer
  • Encounter Appearance: 2-19 The Gentleman's Path
  • Armor Class 11
  • Speed 40 feet
  • Suggested Average, Max HP: 59, 91
    • Ogre 1: 85 damage taken, 13 killing blow by Fjord
    • Ogre 2: 56 damage taken, 23 killing blow by Yasha

Ogres, though considered giants, are not a part of the giant Ordning. They have lower strength, constitution, and wisdom, and stand six or seven feet shorter than the lowliest of the actual giants, the hill giant. Ogres are equally unintelligent and hungry, though they possess a level of greed unseen in the hill giants. Like hill giants, ogres have a ranged attack option, a javelin, and a melee option, a greatclub.

While a goblin may be conveniently snack-sized for an ogre, ogres can happily be recruited for their muscle for goblinoid raiding parties. Given their lack of intelligence, it’s unusual for ogres to give orders and strategize with each other as we saw when the party woke up, but given that the ogre was the first to make a command, it quickly became clear that this is a practiced team of bandits. We also saw evidence of this teamwork when the one ogre decided to avoid hitting Nott, thinking her a part of his team of bandits.

Goblins

  • Encounter Appearance: 2-19 The Gentleman's Path
  • Armor Class 15
  • Speed 30 feet
  • Suggested Average, Max HP: 7, 12
    • Goblin 1: 15 damage taken, 5 killing blow by Caleb
    • Goblin 2: 15 damage taken, 7 killing blow by Nott
    • Goblin 3: 20 damage taken, 20 killing blow by Caleb
    • Goblin 4: Escaped unscathed
    • Goblin 5: 18 damage taken, 18 killing blow by Fjord
    • Goblin 6: 11 damage taken, 11 killing blow by Molly
    • Goblin 7: 12 damage taken, 12 killing blow by Fjord
    • Goblin 8: 17 damage taken, 9 killing blow by Molly

The goblins The Mighty Nein faced are much more in-line with the standard goblin expectation than Nott: nasty, brutish, and short. Goblins typically live in large lairs that are filled to the brim with goblins and traps. They sleep during the day and hunt at night, as demonstrated their late-night raid.

Goblins’ lives are short, so they make the most of them by happily stealing what they can; when they figure they can successfully steal (and kidnap) more, they do. Captured victims are treated terribly (the bullied become the bullies), and victors are played humble to (for as long as a goblin has to). If a goblin knows they’re on the path to destruction, they’ll try to run before they can be killed.

Wolves

Thanks to @HeatherWaite8 for this art piece!

  • Encounter Appearance 2-19 The Gentleman's Path
  • Armor Class 13
  • Speed 40 feet
  • Suggested Average, Max HP: 11, 18
    • Wolf 1: 15 damage taken, 15 killing blow by Jester
    • Wolf 2: 12+ damage taken, Unknown killing blow by Molly
    • Wolf 3: 32 damage taken, 18 killing blow by Molly

The wolves that fought alongside the goblins and orcs were likely from the area, rather than the winter wolves TM9 faced in the Victory Pit that were shipped in from elsewhere. Goblins sometimes use wolves as their steeds, though none seemed to do so in this battle. Like the winter wolves, common wolves also benefit from pack tactics, gaining advantage on their bite attacks from flanking an enemy with an ally.

The Mighty Nein

Looking at just the numbers, seven people versus 13 enemies are not great odds. Had Caleb not been as perceptive as he was, those odds would have been significantly worse.

Thanks to @ningouini for this art piece!

Beau and Caleb first set their sights on the big targets, the ogres. Beau stayed in melee with the first ogre for the entire battle, while Caleb successfully Slowed the second, got hit, played dead, got dragged, and then killed some goblins. While there were significant numbers of goblins to deal with, Fjord focused (heh) on diminishing their numbers before getting the finishing blow on an ogre. Molly likewise struck at whichever goblins he could get into melee range with before cutting down two of the three wolves.

Nott’s ploy convinced some of the attackers that she was on their side, successfully taking their attention off of Caleb, convincing some of the goblins to leave the battle zone, and leaving herself clear from attacks long enough for her party to destroy them. Although Jester was fooled by Modern Literature, she healed Caleb during round 1 (who was already down to less than half of his maximum hit points, because wizards) and cast Sacred Flame and Spiritual Weapon attacks at one of the wolves.

Thanks to @elimnebe for this art piece!

Most notably, Yasha finally had the opportunity to use her fallen aasimar Necrotic Shroud, sprouting terrifying, flightless wings and forcing all creatures within ten feet of her to immediately make a charisma save. Sadly, the only creature was an ogre that succeeded against the low DC of 9, but for the remaining minute that it lasted, she had the choice to deal extra necrotic damage equal to her level once per turn. That's all on top of looking incredibly badass.

Though The Mighty Nein didn’t get much in the way of tangible rewards from the battle (save five bottles of toxin and their lives), the fight against goblins resulted in something far more valuable: a conversation with Nott about her history and her hatred of other goblins.