I have a group that is about to run into a small village that has already been repeatedly attacked. The few survivors are nearly exhausted, and can barely go on defending themselves. There will be 2 NPCs who will go down fighting, while there are 4 others who will not fight unless specifically motivated to do so.

What I envision is that upon coming to the village, the group will discover these NPCs holed up in the tavern. The 2 NPCs who will go down fighting will be preparing for battle, while the other four will be cowering in some corners hoping just to not die. Another attack is imminent, and the PCs will have about 5 rounds to choose how to defend the tavern or its surroundings.

I'm hoping to allow the PCs to come up with their own ways to defend the tavern, but I want to have some ideas ready as well. For instance, one hero can spend a round attempting to motivate one of the NPCs to fight along side them, rolling for success. Another can choose to board up windows, rolling for the amount of windows they can board and how well. This way, the PCs can get a chance to quickly prepare for the attack and feel the effects of their choices.

I need some extra ideas of some ways the PCs can attempt to quickly make the tavern defensible.

For a little background, we're doing a D&D 5e game, and we've got a paladin, sorcerer, and barbarian, all 6th level. They will be attacked by crazed creatures that are almost like slightly intelligent animals. These creatures each possess characteristics of multiple animals, as they've been poorly crafted by a necromancer, and they will be attacking in several waves. They will be lead by a more powerful creature, similar to a werewolf. There may also be specters or wraiths involved. All monsters are homebrewed, and do not possess the same stats or characteristics held in the 5e monster manual.

  • 4
    \$\begingroup\$ When you say they have 5 rounds do you literally have 30 seconds in mind, or do you simply mean you want to limit them to a max of 5 discrete actions per character? There is not much that can be done in 30 seconds, but alot can be done in 5 to 10 minutes, and much more in 30 \$\endgroup\$
    – Ringo_St R
    May 10, 2016 at 13:37
  • \$\begingroup\$ Creatures made by Assaracus? \$\endgroup\$
    – Kyle W
    May 10, 2016 at 14:08
  • \$\begingroup\$ Would this question work if rephrased to what mechanical effects are supported for temporary defense in D&D? I.E. what traps could be retrofitted, what would offer advantage or cause disadvantage, how to adjudicate how long a barrier would last? \$\endgroup\$
    – Ringo_St R
    May 10, 2016 at 14:20
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Ringo There's nothing like that nailed down in 5e though, so it's not a helpful direction to nudge the question in. \$\endgroup\$ May 10, 2016 at 15:08

1 Answer 1


Things that immediately occur to me:

  • Erecting physical barriers (boarding over windows, closing and barring window shutters, closing and barring doors (or pile tables, benches, ... inside them))
  • Sending people capable of long-distance combat (assorted spells, archers, ...) upstairs to shoot from windows there (if applicable).
  • If applicable, use various spell-locks on doors (this is a complement to barring/barricading them)
  • (probably not feasible in 5 rounds) Scattering hay bales or similar across the yard, trying to funnel the opposition into narrow(er) columns, making access slower and possibly making them more easily targeted by area effects.
  • Getting water into various vessels, for extinguishing fire
  • Motivate people in the tavern to help in the defence.
  • \$\begingroup\$ About long-distance fight, maybe also use flipped over tables to gain cover, and make them hide after every shot? \$\endgroup\$ May 10, 2016 at 15:44
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Momonga-sama Possibly. I'd still prefer using missiles (magic or not, ehehe) from the top floor and leave the ground floor as locked up as possible. Saves on getting bitten / clawed, even if it lacks some drama. \$\endgroup\$
    – Vatine
    May 10, 2016 at 19:00
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yup, I meant the npc's, sorry. \$\endgroup\$ May 10, 2016 at 19:25

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