Well, the party had their first Ghost Boar encounter this week and it left them a little shaken. But before we dive into that: Group Stealth Check!
Group Stealth Check: we’re big fans of group checks. Group Checks provide a mechanical framework to represent the party working together to accomplish something. Those who are strong in that skill help those who aren’t (typically, the dice have funny ways of doing things sometimes).
We used a group stealth check to get the party around the group of regular boar in the forest. They elected to pass by. Had it been just individual checks the boar would have heard the party sneaking past. But we were able to weave some narrative reasons for the party’s success. A stumbling member was steadied by another. One made a loud noise, but another character made an animal noise to cover for them… Group Checks; they rock (but don’t use them too much)
So to the Ghost Boar nitty-gritty! Mechanically things get really fun here. There are brambles of a particularly nasty sort that are prolific under the canopy of the Shadow Grove. These brambles are difficult terrain (cutting movement speed by 1/2) Plus require a dex save of 15 OR you take 1d4 piercing damage for every 5′ moved (no damage on a successful save). Plus we’ve created our own snow-shoe rules: snow shoes drop your movement speed by 10′ (instead of 1/2 since snow is difficult terrain). You have a party tromping through the snow, hunting Ghost Boar (normal ghost boar are Large creatures and the Elder Ghost Boar is a Huge creature) that phase through terrain features affording them freedom of movement the party doesn’t have (except the ranger, because UA ranger!).
In the initial attack the party was a little stunned by the damage output of the Ghost Boar- both had hit at the end of a min 20′ charge which ups their damage.
The party actually handled themselves REALLY well in the combat, dividing themselves pretty equally between the two Ghost Boar. Most of the party also made athletics checks to climb 10-15′ up into the surrounding trees (those that didn’t did find themselves on the receiving end of the tusk!)
One thing that made the combat pretty interesting is an optional mechanic we’ve employed for this campaign: Lingering Injuries! On a critical hit you roll a d20 and consulting the chart on page 272 of the DMG the recipient of your hit not only takes damage, they also get a lingering injury! Some of these are pretty brutal (loss of a hand or foot!) but most of them are internal injuries.
Internal injuries require a Con save at the start of your turn, if you fail the pain from your injury is too sever and you’re unable to take any actions on your turn! One of the Boar stacked up a grand total of three internal injuries. Making a ruling on the fly we determined that subsequent internal injuries add an extra point to the DC of your Con save. Unfortunately for the party, the Boar in question rolled VERY well on it’s Con saves and the stack of injuries played little part in the combat.
Really, that’s the good stuff! They killed one, one got away, they decided to run home!
Oh, we do use other optional rules like flanking and at our table we have one hold-over from 4e: “bloodied” when a creature reaches 1/2 hitpoints the DM makes the table aware that the creature is “bloodied”. This provides some measure of combat awareness for the adventurers, they’ve been fighting the thing after all. It’s also a little more tactically useful than, “It looks preeeeeeety beat up…”
Till we roll dice and regale you with the tales of it again! A’ deux