[RPG] Having goblins hide every turn in Lost Mine of Phandelver


The following contains minor spoilers for LMoP.

I am preparing to DM my first-ever game, which is the published adventure Lost Mine of Phandelver. I'm looking at the very first encounter, the

Goblin ambush on the Triboar Trail.

I will have four players, two of whom have never played a tabletop RPG before, with brand new level-one characters.

Due to the wooded location and

the Goblins' racial feature, it won't be very difficult for a Goblin to make a ranged attack from the woods and then immediately Hide as a bonus action (even if, as the book says, only two of the four Goblins make ranged attacks). My PCs' passive Perception scores will probably all be 12 or 13. If I have the Goblins Hide as a bonus action every chance they get, will that make the encounter too difficult for these four brand-new first-level PCs, some of whom are controlled by first-time players?

Or should I not worry about the encounter being too difficult, because the book says that

if the Goblins are victorious, they just loot the PCs and leave them unconscious?

Best Answer

I wouldn't worry too much.

Especially since the party's defeat only leads to them getting knocked out and looted.

The difficulty of this encounter is going to be very much up to chance. If you roll very well for the Goblin's Hide checks, your PCs may struggle or be defeated, and if you roll poorly, they may get through the encounter easily. Sometimes the dice fall against the players, and that's ok. An early defeat may teach them to strategize a little better and show them that they're not going to win all the time just because they're the "heroes" of the game.

That being said, you can always improvise a little. Let's say your Goblins are up first in initiative and open with a few critical hits on the party (unlikely of course, but possible), or just have gotten the obvious upper hand in the battle. You could decide to roleplay that the Goblins start to feel overconfident after dishing out some major damage and no longer see the need to Hide. Maybe let the players know that the Goblins are laughing wickedly, tossing aside their bows, and moving in for the easy kills with their daggers.

This gives the players a chance to turn things around without having your monsters simply rolling over for them. Remember that monsters like Goblins aren't the brightest. Just because you can think of a strategy that will easily bring them a win doesn't mean that the Goblins are smart enough to come up with it or disciplined enough to carry it out.