The Treacherous Trails of Tanglewood (SL-E-001)

Adventure encounter for character levels 3

A forest encounter suitable for 4 PCs at Level 3. Adjust accordingly by adding goblins to harass the characters as they journey through the forest labyrinth.


The encounter occurs in a dense, ancient forest with towering trees, thick underbrush, and dappled sunlight peeking through the canopy. The atmosphere is eerie, with the faint echoes of goblin laughter and the rustling of leaves underfoot.

Encounter Premise:

As the party ventures through the forest, they accidentally stumble into a zone heavily trapped by a clever tribe of goblins. The goblins, notorious for their cunning trap-making, have set this area to capture or deter intruders. The PCs must navigate through the traps while being occasionally harassed by goblin ambushes.

Key Features:

  1. Thick Vines:
    • Snare traps made from tough, vine-like materials that attempt to grapple and hold their prey.
  2. Pit Falls:
    • Covered pits that drop into spiked floors or deep holes.
  3. Tripwires:
    • Low-lying wires that, when triggered, release a barrage of falling rocks or shoot darts coated with paralyzing poison.
  4. False Pathways:
    • Misleading trails that lead to dead ends or hidden trap clusters.
  5. Ambush Points:
    • Elevated or camouflaged spots where goblins might attack from a distance with arrows or thrown explosives.

Goblin Trapmaster (Mini-Boss)

Class: Rogue (Trap Master)

Hit Points: 27 (6d8)

Armor Class: 15 (Leather Armor)

Speed: 30 ft.


  • STR 10
  • DEX 16
  • CON 12
  • INT 14
  • WIS 11
  • CHA 8

Skills: Stealth +6, Investigation +5, Perception +3


  • Multiattack: The Trapmaster makes two attacks with his shortsword or throws two daggers.
  • Shortsword: +5 to hit, reach 5 ft., 1d6+3 piercing damage.
  • Dagger (thrown or melee): +5 to hit, range 20/60 ft., 1d4+3 piercing damage.
  • Set Trap (Recharge 5–6): Sets a quick trap that acts on the next turn, dealing 2d6 piercing damage on a failed DC 14 Dexterity saving throw.

Languages: Common, Goblin

Challenge: 2 (450 XP)

Encounter Dynamics:

  • Skill Challenges: The party will need to make several skill checks (Perception to spot traps, Acrobatics to avoid them, and perhaps even Survival to track or predict goblin movements).
  • Combat Scenarios: Engage with small groups of goblins using hit-and-run tactics, emphasizing their guerrilla warfare style.
  • Environmental Hazards: The dense forest itself provides challenges such as limited visibility, difficult terrain, and natural hazards.

Tips for the DM:

  • Describe each trap vividly to build tension and atmosphere.
  • Allow clever ideas or good skill rolls to bypass or dismantle traps, rewarding smart play.
  • Use the goblins not just as combatants but as part of the environment, adding to the chaos and unpredictability of the encounter.
  • Characters should be pressed to risk going through a trap or being attacked by goblins.
  • Use 4 unique trap designs (pit trap, entanglement trap, rock fall trap, and poison trap) to keep the encounter fresh for the players.
  • Additional pressure can be added by putting a timer on the encounter, but this should only be done for more advanced players.

Map Concept:

A top-down view of the trapped forest area, featuring various trap locations, hidden goblin hideouts, and potential safe paths (which might not always be the safest).