Category Archives: Encounters for the Back Pocket

Encounters for the Back Pocket: The Toll-bridge

Encounter type: Social

Suggested number of enemies: Varies

Encounter location: Toll-bridge

Ahead, you can see the toll-bridge. Two spires flank imposing gates situated at either end of the long stone structure. The bridge itself appears inhabited and you can make out small buildings erected along the length of its span. Below, the river rushes on its endless journey to the sea.

As you approach, you can see a large crowd has gathered in front of the nearest gates. Guards stand in front of them, weapons on show, and are preventing travellers from gaining access to the bridge.

Special Rules

The bridge is home to a market town that is currently undergoing a somewhat violent revolution. Many of the traders have grown to resent the Burgmeister’s tyrannical rule and ruthless taxation. The guards are attempting to keep people off the bridge until the fighting ends.

The revolution itself can last as long as you want it to, but the aim of the encounter is to highlight local politics and present the players with a choice; brave the long journey to the next bridge, or try and get onto this one somehow. If they manage to gain access to the market town, they should be encouraged to help resolve the revolution. They may not leave the bridge until the fighting has stopped and an all clear signal is sent to the guards from the Burgmeister’s tower.

The guards in the towers on either side of the gates are armed and alert but their stores will run out eventually.

Many of the houses are occupied, but a fair number are empty and looting hasn’t started yet.

Among the townsfolk, the players might find; the Burgmeister, the leader of the revolutionaries, a cartographer who was trapped on the bridge when the fighting started, a fisherman with access to a hidden dock at the base of one of the bridge supports and the wife of a dead revolutionary who is looking for partners to invest in her business.

Among the crowd, the players might find; a travelling noble looking for help with a problem on their lands, a priest in need of couriers for a holy relic, a pair of entertainers looking for protection, a young maiden who is far more than meets the eye and a hunter fleeing his lycanthropic pursuers.

Suggested Hooks

The party has a contact on the bridge they need to talk to.

The party must cross the bridge before a deadline is reached.

A member of the party has a family member in the crowd.

A member of the party grew up on the bridge and their home is being threatened.

The party has recently been granted land whose profitability depends upon the bridge remaining open.


Encounters for the Back Pocket: The Warehouse

Hi all,

Keeping with the theme of running a table-top gaming site that tries to be entertaining, informative and helpful whilst also giving me things to write about from week to week, here is another ball for me to start juggling.

Rather than geographical locations, this series of articles will be outlining encounters and situations that should be system/setting neutral enough to fit in most games. Obviously some things won’t fit in every game (technology based encounters for example) but in most cases, a bit of re-writing on your part should suffice.

With that out of the way, let’s get this thing started.


Bubbles / Ryan

Encounter type: Combat.

Suggested number of enemies: 2 x player characters (minions of slightly below the abilities of the PCs) and 1 ‘boss’.

Encounter location: Warehouse.

The warehouse is a long, low ceilinged building. Most of it is taken up by a single room, full of shelves and shadows. At the far end, there is what could feasibly be an office or two.

 The main room is dimly lit but you can see movement in the shadows at the far end.

Special Rules

The room is lit by flaming torches (fantasy settings) or poorly maintained light bulbs. Play up the deep shadows by making anything relating to perception more difficult. Have NPCs dart into and out of the shadows, using the darkness and the shelves to hide from the PCs. The shadows work both ways though.

The rows of shelving filling the room are climbable, with about 4 feet of space between the top shelf and the roof. Creative PCs may wish to climb the shelves to get the drop on the NPCs. It is up to you if the shelves are full, what is on them/in boxes, and anything else related to the shelving. The PCs may try to push the shelves over to obstruct movement/destroy things. This should be possible, but it should not be easy. The shelves will fall in ten feet long sections and make a lot noise, enough to attract outside attention.

There are two offices. One contains a small armoury and a bed, the other is the office of the ‘boss’. The ‘boss’ starts this encounter in their office and will leave to join the fight when either the alarm is raised by one of their underlings or the PCs make any loud noises.

Along one wall is a large door, currently closed, and a hoist used for loading and unloading cargo. If you feel like it, this door may be replaced with a trapdoor in the floor to be used with boats pulling up under the warehouse.

Depending on how full the warehouse is, movement may be restricted by boxes and equipment scattered over the floor, and the shelves may be quite close together, allowing only one or two people to walk next to each other. Long sightlines (albeit dark ones) and cramped close quarters combat should be the theme of this encounter.

Suggested Hooks

The party has stumbled onto a smuggling gang who have an item they need.

A contact of the party has been kidnapped and is being held in the warehouse.

Something leads the party to the warehouse where they find someone they thought they could trust selling something personal to them.

The party seeks refuge in a seemingly abandoned warehouse. While they struggle with the toughs inside, the force chasing them gathers its strength outside.

The party have been roped into some shady dealings and are using the warehouse to conduct their business when an outside party enters.