746 Mountain Pass Caravan – Level-2 Encounter

This adventuring supplement is designed for D&D5e. On out Patreon page you can get it in PDF format (see image). The downloads include hi-res images for the maps. And there is a variant PDF version designed for Shadowdark RPG.

“Listen, we can do this the easy way or the hard way. I suggest you pay the toll and leave with both ears. Blades and axes are nasty things…”

Brogar Ironfist

The Southern Pass is a steep canyon. The road that connects Red Leaf and Torren’s Square passes through it before reaching the bridge. This bridge crosses the vale’s river east of the pass due to the harsh weather conditions; the relentless rains overflow the river, making constructions feeble.

Red Leaf authorities are currently busy dealing with the orc invasion that threatens the entire territory. The general commotion served as the perfect excuse for a band of brigands who call themselves ‘The Anvil of Pow­er’. Led by Brogar Ironfist, a formidable dwarf with a steely gaze and a reputation as solid as the mountains, the Anvil of Power took over the Southern Pass and de­mand all travelers or merchants pay a toll, no exceptions. With most authorities busy with the orcs, only a group of kind-hearted, selfless heroes may help solve this.

Adventure Hook

Escort. The heroes are hired by Augustus Finn, a caravan owner in Red Leaf. They must reach Torren’s Square, located beyond the bridge. They must make sure all five carts make it. Augustus does not care how the job is done and cares little about punishing the brigands or bringing them to justice. He only cares about reaching his destination in one piece (400 gp).

Level 2 Encounter

  • Danger. Risky. Check for Random Events in every phase (see below) of this encounter (4-in-6 chance).


This location has no areas to visit. The caravan advances through the mountain pass in the shown order (see map). Brogar plans to bring the caravan to a halt and force them to pay the toll via intimidation.

The Southern Pass is miles long. The heroes ignore where the brigands are. So, in each phase, the characters shall have an opportunity to realize they are about the be ambushed. Reaching phase 4 without any hint of the Anvil of Power’s presence may be lethal for the heroes if they choose a path of violence. They must be smart.

Phase 1 – Arrival

Brogar’s scouts conceal themselves with brown cloaks, trying to blend with the ground. A good bodyguard pays attention at all times (DC 12 Perception). On a success, the heroes spot movement and notice the scouts. This allows for the caravan to prepare and avoid an ambush.

1 Brandon (commoner) is a young, strong man in Augustus’s crew. He asks the heroes for a weapon in case things go sour.
2 Heavy rain hits the entire Red Leaf Vale. This makes the rocky roads muddy and more difficult to travel on. Movement speed for all individuals is reduced by half. Additionally, vision and hearing checks are made with disadvantage.
3 A pair of orcs arrive at the scene. They stand by in case a battle starts. They help Brogar and his men if this occurs.
4 A noble and his bodyguard (knight) catch up with the characters. The valiant armor-clad man helps the heroes.
5 Goblins used to have a small camp in these mountains but the orcs drove them off. Ten goblins come back to retake this posi­tion. They attack Brogar first, knowing he has befriended the orc invaders. But they turn against the heroes after this.
6 The number of people draws the attention of three cockatrices. The beast attacks whichever group attacks it first.

Phase 2 – First Calls

If spotted, the two scouts (thugs) attempt to fall back to a safer position, closer to their teammates. Augustus asks the heroes to keep their positions instead of attacking or chasing the bandits. Still, the heroes have a decent win­dow for a free shot (ranged spell or weapon).

  • Chase. Going after the scouts is a risky choice. Who­ever does this leaves the caravan behind and delves into enemy territory. The two scouts (thugs), aided by one bandit, attempt to overpower the brave intruder and take him as hostage. The prisoner is taken to Brogar Ironfist.
  • Outcome. Sparing the scouts may help the heroes if they attempt a negotiation with Brogar Ironfist and his men. The opposite occurs if the heroes take them down.

Phase 3 – Taking Positions

Regardless of the heroes’ disposition, Brogar’s troops know about their presence and take their positions.

  • Ambush. In case the heroes did not spot the scouts, by the moment they see the rocks blocking the road, it is too late. Brogar’s goons have their crossbows pointed at the caravan from all possible angles. Skirmishers sta­tioned at strategic spots at the tall parts of the ravine, us­ing the sun to blind their opponents below.
  • Outcome. If the heroes are aware of their enemies, proceed to Phase 4. If the characters are ambushed, any negotiation check is made with disadvantage.

Phase 4 – Negotiations or Violence

  • The Upper Hand. Brogar ambushed the unsuspect­ing heroes. He asks them to lay down their weapons, pay the toll of 10 gp per individual, and a 25% tax on what­ever the caravan carries to Torren’s Square. Checks to negotiate (see below) have disadvantage. Choosing vio­lence grants the enemies advantage on initiative checks. No blood needs to be shed; if the heroes accept, they must pay their share while Augustus, fuming with rage, surrenders 70 gp for himself and his six-man crew. The caravan passes safely (see Development).
  • Parley. Both parties meet while aware of each other. The heroes may attempt a negotiation check to ask for a temporary truce, a reduction of the toll payment, or even an alliance (DC 11 to 15 depending on what they ask for). On a fail of 5 or more, Reaction with disadvantage.
  • Encounter. Brogar (thief) is followed by four thugs, one bandit, and six commoners. If Brogar falls in com­bat or more than half of them are down, they surrender.

Phase 5 – Development

Depending on the results of these interactions, Brogar’s men or the heroes remove the debris and proceed with their journey. Will they reach Torren’s Square as body­guard heroes or as a group of knee-bending cowards? Even if he is safe, Augustus refuses to pay the heroes if they agree to pay the toll. If they fought bravely, he shall speak wonders of them to the town’s constable, Ciranna.

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