Encounter: Rooftop Rumble

Difficulty: medium-hard
Magic: none
Keywords: construct, rooftop
Terrain: urban
Treasure: none, minor

The party finds itself in a twisted maze of narrow alleys strewn with refuse and broken dreams, caverns of stone and mortar between the cramped tenements that fill this impoverished section of the city. Washing lines, laden with drying garments, crisscross between the buildings, obscuring the darkening sky and making the alleys, already gloomy by the light of day, even darker. The buildings, put up quickly and cheaply by the city government in an attempt to house the growing number of homeless and destitute crowding their streets, are roughly the same height and layout – built around a central stairwell that services each of the four stories and leads to the flat-topped roof. It is from the roof of one of these buildings that a cry for help suddenly pierces the deepening shadows.


While adventuring in or around a large urban setting, the PC’s a drawn – by tavern whisperings, rumor, petty thievery, or supernatural means – to this depressed area of the city. Being outsiders, they are greeted with suspicion and fear by the disenfranchised and neglected members of this society. Up till now, the City Watch had all but given up on trying to maintain peace and order in this neighborhood, with beatings and muggings an all-too-common occurrence. A recent rash of mysterious and unsolved murders has the locals living in fear and doing their best to ensure that they see and hear nothing that might draw the attention of the mysterious killer or the authorities determined to get their city back under control.

Wandering the streets, the party hears a scream and a crash emanate from one of the alleys. Upon investigating, they discover the body of a young man who appears to have fallen from one of the buildings into a convergence of the alleys between four buildings. They barely have time to perceive that the worst of the wounds on the body were not caused by the fall when a sharp crack – the splintering of wood – and a cry for help is heard. It would seem that whatever caused this death is preparing to claim another victim.

Should they decide to help, the PC’s much choose – as either individuals or as a party, which building to ascend. The first PC to the top will see the NPC, a young female (race is not important) cowering in fear as a mysterious humanoid advances upon her, the wooden crate behind which she had been hiding shattered to pieces around her. The figure is hard to make out in the darkness, but the blade which seems to extend from its arm clearly reflects what light is available. The sudden appearance of each new interloper seems to disorient the figure for a round before it decides to continue with its mission.

“The curse is real! It’s come to kill us!” The girl, cowering against the low wall the surrounds the rooftop wails and attempts to half run, half crawl (at half speed) her way to the nearest rooftop shed and lock herself inside. It becomes clear to the PC’s that the flimsy wooden structure will provide little more protection from the mysterious figure than did the ruined crate (one round to breach it from any direction).


Save the NPC from being killed by Sentinel 5.


Sentinel 5 is only interested in silencing the NPC. It will ignore the PC’s unless they attempt to attack or physically impede the construct from reaching its intended target. When a PC performs an act of aggression against the Sentinel, it will retaliate with an attack or a push – should they be close to the edge of a roof – and attempt to shift out reach of any PC’s before continuing to move towards the target.

Should the PC’s act in a single formation to block or attack the Sentinel, it will retreat and attempt to flank the party, using terrain for cover and concealment, in an attempt to reach the target.

When a PC attempts to jump to or move across a sloped tile roof, the Sentinel will become aware of the effect such terrain has on the PC’s and attempt to use that to its advantage.

Once the Sentinel has lost 75% of its HP (rounding down), it will disengage and retreat across a series of sloped rooftops, ending the encounter.


The PC’s start out arranged around the body (B) in the alley. They have no idea of the building from which it fell or where the scream originated.

The Sentinel and the NPC do not move until the first PC gets to the top of any of the buildings.

All the interior doors to the buildings are locked, the front doors and stairwells are not locked. Rooftop sheds are not locked.

Environmental Effects

The encounter takes place in the late evening (low light), as Sentinel 5 prefers to strike under cover of darkness, minimizing the chance of being witnessed.

The flat-topped buildings and alleyway are considered normal terrain, while the sloped, tile rooftops are difficult terrain. PC’s can attempt to make running jumps between the buildings. If a character jumps onto a sloped tile rooftop, an Acrobatics check is made to see if they slide down the loose tiles – possibly leading to a dangerous plummet to the alley forty feet below.

Chimneys and assorted rooftop constructs (coops, sheds, etc.) provide cover while smoke from chimneys may provide concealment.

The Sentinel’s movement and vision are not affected by the environment. Additionally, it is resistant (but not immune) to damage taken from magical attacks.

Awards, Findings, & Treasure

If the PC’s succeed in driving off Sentinel 5 and keeping the NPC safe, they will be told the urban legend of ‘The Curse’ – a story about a place called Hidden Vale, forgotten by the outside world that is so secret, once you hear it’s name, you will be killed (This of course marks the PC’s as targets of Sentinel 5 as well). Additionally, if the NPC is separated from the PC’s for the duration of an extended rest, Sentinel 5 will return and finish the job.

Should the PC’s fail to save the NPC, they will come under scrutiny of the local authorities as the cause behind the mysterious deaths related to The Curse.

Click on the image below to download the map for this encounter.

Rooftop Rumble Map

Rooftop Rumble Map

Creative Commons License

Rooftop Rumble by Nevermet Press is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License. Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at http://www.nevermetpress.com/contact.

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