Saturday, January 27, 2024

A Night on the wall


A Night on the Wall is a pure combat session, where the PC's are defending the wall of a city against a monster attack. This is meant as a replacement for the Gauntlet style game or as a quick and dirty game session that can be run with no preparation. This works well for up to 6 characters of 4th level or less. Much after that it becomes an epic battle fought at the end of a campaign rather than a skirmish fight.

Along with the PC's there will be teams of NPC's, each team will contain 4 Commoners and 1 Militia man. The number of teams on the map will depend on the length of the wall to be defended. There should be roughly 1 NPC for each 10 feet of wall, plus 1 team on the ground to act as medics and 1 team to act as runners and defend the wounded.

Generally speaking an attack will last 20 rounds. If a breach occurs and the light sources cannot be re-lit, chances are good the battle will not go well. If the PC's are able to keep a breach from occurring or re-lighting the light sources quickly, they stand a pretty good chance of making it through the 20 rounds. If the PC's make it 20 rounds without an uninterrupted breach, the monsters will withdraw and go look for an easier sector to attack.


A breach occurs when two or more light sources next to each other are extinguished and monster bands start coming through that area every round instead of every 1d4 rounds from a random direction. The only way to stop a breach is to re-light the light sources.

What the NPC's will do:

  • NPC's who are reduced to 0 HP will die in 4 turns unless taken to the building where they can be stabilized by the one of medical team, each member of the medical team can restore 1 HP per turn. NPC's will return to the fight if they at at least half their HP restored.

  • NPC's will use their ranged attacks and attempt to stay out of reach of any monsters and will only use their melee weapons if a demon comes within Close distance. The NPC's will use their ranged attack on any monster within Near proximity, otherwise they will be scanning their section of the wall for more monsters.

  • When a light source is extinguished, the closest NPC who is not in a fight will attempt to re-light it with a DC 8 Dex roll. If there is no monster in Close proximity, they have advantage on this roll.

  • If the number of NPC's is reduced to half its starting number, any PC or NPC can call for reinforcements. It takes 1d4 rounds for reinforcements to arrive. Reinforcements will generally be 2 fresh teams of 1 Militia man and 4 Commoners.

  • The Militia men will move around the map to assist with attacks coming in other areas, commoners will assist using their ranged attacks on any monster in near range, but will otherwise stay at their posts.


Commoner: AC 10, HP 1, ATK 1 Club (1d4) or 1 Shortbow (far) (1d4), MV near, S +0, D +0, C +0, I +0, W +0, Ch +0, AL L, LV 0.

Militia man: AC 13 (Leather+Shield), HP 5, ATK 1 Shortsword +1 (1d6) or Crossbow (far) +1 (1d6), MV near, S +1, D +1, C +1, I +0, W +0, Ch +0, AL L, LV 1.

What the monsters do:

  • At he beginning of the session, one band of monsters will appear on the map outside the wall from a random direction. Each round thereafter roll 1d4 and on a 1 another band of monsters will appear on the map, approaching from a random direction. If the battle goes 4 consecutive rounds without a monster band appearing, one will appear on the next round.

  • However if at the beginning of a round  two light sources next to each other have been extinguished and have not been re-lit a monster band will automatically approach from that direction.

  • If a monster comes into Close distance of a PC or NPC, the demon will attack, otherwise it will move Near distance in a direction determined by the GM.

  • If a monster comes into Close distance of a light source, they will use their action to extinguish it, this requires a DC 8 Dex roll. If there is no PC or NPC in Close proximity, they have advantage on this roll. If an NPC or PC is also within Close distance, it will extinguish the light first and attack second.

Monster Bands

I use generic monster stat blocks for two reasons, first I can skin them as I please depending on the needs of the setting, and second I did not want the monsters to have special abilities, because this can slow down what is already a long drawn out combat.

To determine what each monster band is, add up the levels of all the PC's in the group and match this number with and equal number of monster levels. Additionally each monster band will have two level 0 monsters for each PC in the group. The 0 level monsters will usually come in first trying to extinguish light sources and kill any commoners near by.

Don't make the monster bands swarms of level 1 monsters. It is bad enough that there are so many NPC's and level 0 monsters, don't slow combat down by adding sixteen level 1 monsters to the attack because there are four 4th level PC's. Read the section "HOW MANY MONSTERS?" on page 193 of the Shadowdark RPG rule book on balancing an encounter.

  • Example 1: For a group of 4 1st level PC's each monster band could contain 4 level 1 monsters and 8 0 level monsters, or 2 level 2 monster, or 1 level 3 and 1 level 1 , or 1 level 8 Monster along withe the 8 level zero monsters.

  • Example 2: A group of four 4th level PC's totaling 16 levels could be facing monster bands made up of two level 8 monsters, and 8 level 0 monsters.

Level 0 Monster: AC 10, HP 1, ATK 1 Claw (1), MV near (Climb), S +0, D +1, C +0, I -3, W +0, Ch +0, AL C, LV 0.

Level I Monster: AC 11, HP 5, ATK 1 Claw +1 (1d4), MV near (Climb), S +1, D +0, C +0, I -2, W +0, Ch +0, AL C, LV 1.

Level II Monster: AC 11, HP 10, ATK 1 Claw +2 (1d6), MV near (Climb), S +2, D +0, C +0, I -2, W +0, Ch +0, AL C, LV 2.

Level III Monster: AC 12, HP 14, ATK 2 Claw +3 (1d6), MV near (Climb), S +3, D +0, C +0, I -2, W +0, Ch +0, AL C, LV 3.

Level IV Monster: AC 12, HP 20, ATK 2 Claw +4 (1d6), MV near (Climb), S +3, D +0, C +0, I -1, W +0, Ch +0, AL C, LV 4.

Level V Monster: AC 13, HP 24, ATK 3 Claw +4 (1d8), MV near (Climb), S +3, D +0, C +0, I -1, W +0, Ch +0, AL C, LV 5.

Level VI Monster: AC 14, HP 29, ATK 3 Claw +5 (1d8), MV near (Climb), S +3, D +0, C +0, I -1, W +0, Ch +0, AL C, LV 6.

Level VII Monster: AC 14, HP 33, ATK 4 Claw +6 (1d8), MV near (Climb), S +4, D +0, C +0, I -1, W +0, Ch +0, AL C, LV 7.

Level VIII Monster: AC 15, HP 37, ATK 4 Claw +7 (1d10), MV near (Climb), S +4, D +0, C +0, I +0, W +0, Ch +0, AL C, LV 8.

Order of the battle:

  • The Monsters go first in every round. When the monsters appear on the map, the PC's and NPC's will have a chance to attack with ranged weapons. Any monsters surviving the first round will make it to the top of the wall at the beginning of the next round and will have both their move and action available to them.

  • PC's go next in order of initiative.

  • NPC's go last in every round.


As is, this can a difficult scenario to survive, especially if a breach occurs and is not fixed quickly or two, perhaps three consecutive attacks occurring from different directions. To make it easier;

  • The monster bands come every 1d6 rounds.

  • Halve the number of Level Zero Monsters with each band.

  • The PC's and Militia men are given 2 Potions of Healing each and they can get 2 more by visiting the medical team.

  • Add an NPC Cleric to the medical team.

  • Reinforcements are doubled and automatically come 2 rounds after the arrival of each monster band.

  • Make the Militia men tougher

  • Give the players a round of notification that a band is coming from a particular direction, so the PC's have a round to move around the map, or perhaps shoot into the darkness at disadvantage.

Zero Level PC's:

  • If this is being used as a replacement for a Gauntlet style game for Zero level characters, generate the PC's as normal.

  • Each player should roll up 4 characters, if a PC dies, the replacement PC will arrive with the next set of reinforcements.

  • In addition to starting gear, the PC's will be given flint and steel, a torch, a club, shortbow and 20 arrows.

  • Monster bands will consist of one Level I monster and a number of Zero Level Monsters equal to the number PC's.

Player Strategy:

  • Keep the light sources lit at all costs.

  • Commoners pop like balloons, Militia men can take a couple of hits from level zero and level I monsters, but they will still soak up a lot of damage in the long run, use that to your advantage.

  • Ranged attacks are your friend, especially on the first round a monster band is approaching the wall and everyone gets a free shot at them.

  • Let the Commoners and Militia men handle the level 0 monsters, while the PC's tackle the big boys.

  • Sometimes allowing a breach to continue is the best way to funnel the monsters into a single direction of attack. Use this strategy wisely.


Shadowdark License. This product is an independent product published under the Shadowdark RPG Third-Party License and is not affiliated with The Arcane Library, LLC. Shadowdark RPG © The Arcane Library, LLC.

License: This adventure is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 License.