Majestic Wilderlands – We Shot the Sheriff, and should have paid the price

I could be wrong about this one. But I have a slight feeling, playing with the ForgedAnvil character generator, that our old fight against the Sheriff of Tain should have gone a lot worse for us . . . and had things gone a slight bit differently, might have been a TPK.

Remember the situation – a level 15 sheriff pulled from, Rob says, the gladiator template n the Monster Manual or DMG. He had 110-115HP or so, and three attacks. He routinely seemed to hit us for 35-50 HP per turn (10-17 HP per attack) with a sword. He was not wearing his battle armor, but instead only mail.

After a hard-fought battle, we won.

Should we have?

The Level 15 Champion

Now, I’ll admit I started with a good set of 4d6 keep three: 16, 15, 14, 13, 13, 11. But even had I started with the standard array, things would not have gone well. So, let’s see what this guy really has to offer after spending fifteen levels as a Champion.

Stats and basics

With good rolls like that, and being human, it takes three of the stat advances he gets to get to STR 20, the maximum value. liberally spreading the others in a balanced way through CON and DEX (though for a fighter that expects to wear heavy armor, DEX is mostly good for archery and saves, though that’s no small deal in D&D5). He’s a noble and a sheriff, so I hit CHA and WIS with the 13s and my “dump stat” of 11 is INT. He’s a powerful noble with a lot going for him.

And he’s evil. Lawful Evil, but evil.


STR 20 (+5); DEX 16 (+3); CON 18 (+4); INT 12 (+1); WIS 14 (+2); CHA 14 (+2)

HD: 15; Hit Points: 154.  AC 16 (chainmail)

Saving throws:
STR +10; DEX +3; CON +9; INT +1; WIS +2; CHA +2

Three attacks. 1d20+10 with a long sword for 1d8+5 slashing; 1d20+10 with shortsword 1d6+5 piercing. This is important because of Dual-Weapon fighting style.

Initiative: 1d20+6

Key skills:
Athletics (Grappling): +8
Perception +7
Imtimidation +7
Passive Perception: 22 (tough to sneak up on)


I gave him Observant and Martial Adept, because the Battle Master abilities and maneuvers are cool.

Special Abilities

This is really where things would go downhill for us. 

  • Two-weapon fighting would have given him four attacks, the fourth with an off-hand weapon
  • Dueling would have given him +2 damage per attack if he chose to give up his off-hand weapon
  • 16-25 extra HP thanks to Second Wind
  • Action and bonus action (one time) thanks to Action Surge. 
  • Crit 15% of the time; 2d8+5 slashing (2d8+7 with +2 magic sword) when that happens.
  • Martial Adept Feat with (say) Riposte (on a miss, make a melee attack, if hit, do 1d8+1d6+7 for 9-21 points, or maybe 10-29 on a critical hit); Disarming attack would average a DC 15 save or we’re punching rather than swinging weapons
Parting Shot – The Battle Master 

This guy is bad, but not that bad. Sure, he’s got more HP than the one we fought (effectively about 175 HP) but honestly, with only AC 16 and Keyar, Vognur, and Marcus all being pretty spry fighty-types, the extra 60 HP, that’s only a few extra rounds.
No, the bad news would have been if Rob made him a Battle Master. Sweeping attack to hit extra foes with damage (and if he could hit Marcus at AC 20, he could hit anyone), and Feinting Attack to add superiority dice to damage. It’s not every time, but that could easily be an extra 5-7d10 – call it 6-60 extra damage, enough “extras” to fell Marcus (at the time, and with good rolls, even now). 6d10 averages 33 HP, which was probably 75% of Marcus’ total at the time. And that’s bonus damage. Not to mention being able to make the two guards and two nobles with him more effective through things like Commander’s Strike and Distracting Strike.
As my fellow journeymen pointed out, we’d gotten a lot of luck that fight. Keyar routinely hit twice, and Hunter’s Mark and Collossus Slayer both add up to significant damage more than once per turn, from range. Marcus was no slouch himself, with a decent-enough AC (though vs. 1d20+10, even AC20 is hit 50% of the time!). Leshar, our Lizard Man, was off fighting other foes, IIRC. 
So we may still have won, and perhaps things would have gone exactly as they did. But then again, perhaps not. 

3 thoughts on “Majestic Wilderlands – We Shot the Sheriff, and should have paid the price

  1. The 15 hit dice, CR 5 Gladiator is about as tough as a 7th level Fighter PC. IMC I used it as the template for a Pirate Queen, a 5th level Barbarian PC duelled her to a standstill solo.

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