Weak enemies. Can they be challenging?
The world of Dungeons and Dragons is truly massive. Adventurers spend years traveling the continents, saving townsfolk, and dreaming of epic battles with dragons. Epic enemies are great, but why can’t we challenge players with weak enemies? Today we’re going to learn how to challenge your players with frogs, giant fire beetles, and goats!
Wait, don’t leave. I promise this is real… Just because a goat has a 0 challenging rating doesn’t mean it can’t be “challenging.” I think…
Pull out your monster manuals, and prepare yourself for the long forgotten Dungeon and Dragon’s weak enemies!
If your players don’t have nightmares about goats we didn’t do our job
So, who are weak enemies?
Take our goat example from before. A goat has a challenge rating (CR) of 0. In other words, your wizard, whose arms clearly show years of gym neglect, could smash this goat into an early grave. If Jimmy the wizard can out muscle the creature then you’re on the right track!
I know what you’re thinking. How could anything Jimmy beats in an arm wrestling competition be a challenge? Jimmy…
The Meek Shall Inherit
Below we have a picture of a cute goat named, Bobby.
Pop quiz! What is stronger than Bobby, the goat? It’s a bit of a trick question, give yourself a moment.
Correct. The answer is two goats, Bobby, and his brother Billy. Now we will extend that logic to an encounter.
Your players travel through a forest towards the Oswalds Farm. As they approach the farm, a herd of goats stares ominously at them from a gated section on the west side of the farm. Now begin to make eerie “baaa” sounds and keep eye contact as they walk past goat herd. One. Two. Three frantic perception rolls come crashing out like boulders from the sky. “What the hell are these goats doing?”. As the players begin to investigate the creepy goats, Mr. Oswald comes rushing out of his cabin screaming what can only be described as a Dark Goat Magic. The eyes of every goat turn dark red with bloodlust. Roll initiative!
Tip: Treat the goats as a swarm and keep rolls to a minimum. Watching a barbarian rip goats apart one by one is fun, but Jimmy the wizard is starting to grow a beard over there.
Honey, I Shrunk the Players
We’ve seen how a herd of bloodthirsty goats can eviscerate your players, but what about just one goat. Remember our super cute goat, Bobby, from before? Now imagine our players inadvertently drank potions that shrunk them to the size of a squirrel. Bobby is looking pretty good now. He’s the size of a dragon by relative comparison. Not so “weak” anymore is he?!
Bobby charges the tank and tramples them to the ground. Next, he rotates his body and delivers a brutal two hooved kick, or better yet, Bobby pummels the ground with hooves forcing your players to resist being knocked on their butts.
Got any ideas for making weak enemies challenging?
Goats and other weak enemies are often overlooked but can provide a unique experience. We’d love to hear your ideas on how to make weak enemies more challenging.
Tell us how you would challenge your players in the comments below!