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I've been a DM for a while for 3.5. I've run many NPC characters, however only a small fraction of monsters out of the books (comparatively). Also, I like to use templates liberally as well as advance creatures for legend/bounty purposes. I don't know many who game around where I live or on the net, and most of those I do know I'd rather spring a monster or encounter on them by surprise instead of needing them to playtest it first. Kind of loses a lot of the shock factor, if you know what I mean.

Is there any site or group online that has said "yes we don't mind being crushed by or crushing monsters in arena battles?"

Edit: I'm looking more for people who are willing to play a quick-and-dirty combat for me to measure different monster power. Currently I would prefer people who are willing to play with pregens against a creature I have (I'd supply the pregens) but in the future I'll be expanding that to include people who would rather make their own. Since min/maxing heavily manipulates playtest results I want to avoid somewhere which is exclusively that. In summary, right now I'd like to find people who are willing to help me test these characters against this monster. Barring that, if I can find people who want to use their own characters that would be fine as well.

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When WotC releases a new monster, they have to playtest it because it needs to be balanced against a wide variety of opponents. When you unleash a custom monster, you know exactly what PCs it will be facing, and what they have at their disposal. That information is more relevant than any number of playtests. Plus, you can change its abilities on the fly without anyone but you knowing! –  starwed Sep 5 '12 at 16:34
You are correct, at least on the custom part. I didn't know that about WoTC. When I advanced a megaraptor to the next bigger size, I found that even by giving the party fighting it just the right items it helped them substantially, and so made those items available and subtly recommended before that battle was to take place. –  LitheOhm Sep 9 '12 at 18:11
If you are still interrested, check out this: rpg.stackexchange.com/questions/16791/… –  Vorac Sep 19 '12 at 12:02
@Vorac that doesn't appear to be fruitful for combat playtesting. Each thread I checked in the arena looks to be roleplaying and it requires making an account before I could even search for the term "1d6." It might be worked into such a playtesting environment but it does not appear to be geared toward that. For that matter I could just make my own forum and dicelog server - trying to avoid this. –  LitheOhm Feb 18 '13 at 23:03
You will have to be more descriptive about what you are looking for. Players actively playing the fight while you play the monster, or players doing all the testing for you? With their own characters, or your group's characters? If you are looking for "players who are available to play a fight against one of my monsters, with their own characters from the appropriate level", this might get more difficult. –  Cristol.GdM Feb 19 '13 at 3:41

3 Answers 3

up vote 3 down vote accepted

Giant in the Playground has a play-by-post section, and I’ve seen numerous tests run there. Their homebrew forum is also often quite solid and may be able to help with more customized ideas (and may also be a way of drawing interest to playtests).

The unofficial #giantitp IRC channel also has quite a few players in it, some of whom might quite enjoy a quick and easy combat. Certainly a fair few “casual” games (i.e. games run whenever the DM and a critical mass of players is available, with minimal preparation or explanation) have been quite popular there.

Do note that many of the players in the IRC channel will optimize fairly heavily (relative, at least, to the norms I’ve seen on this site) as a matter of course. They may not be interested in toning that down, either.

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+1 noted, I'll check into that. Thank you for mentioning that they would likely be high optimization and perhaps not willing to tone down, that's pertinent to the edit for my answer I'm about to run. –  LitheOhm Feb 19 '13 at 22:35

You may have luck at Roll20

Roll20.net is a virtual tabletop and has a number of tools that make it effective for running combats in a multitude of systems, including 3.5, 4e, Pathfinder, etc. You can create a campaign and advertise it in the Looking For Group section with details about what you're looking to accomplish and the role the players would have in that goal. Players would then apply to join the campaign and you may just find what you need to test your monsters!

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I like what I've seen of that system so far, so +1 for that. That would be a very good system for running playtests, but how about arranging them? –  LitheOhm Feb 19 '13 at 22:34
I suppose it's the same as attracting volunteers to any event: what value proposition are you offering? Can you convince players they'll have fun playtesting your monsters? I've seen some interest in one-offs and they have a large pathfinder-based guild for testing combat scenarios, as well as lots of other quirky things, though I've yet to see a monster playtest specifically. If you try, I'd love to know if it works out :) –  Soulrift Feb 20 '13 at 2:28

I think a straight combat scenario can be very appealing to people, as long as you make it clear that's whats going to happen from the start. I've reached out to people on Twitter and within the Gamer Assembly (their IRC channel is here) for this very purpose with some success.

I'm afraid I don't know of a group specifically for this.

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More of a comment than an answer. –  mxyzplk Jul 21 '12 at 17:53
Thank you for your reply. I think I might try the IRC chat, am not on Twitter though. Already joined one new site (now two) in the hope of being able to hook up with people who would like to playtest. Eventually the tide may turn :) –  LitheOhm Jul 22 '12 at 5:52

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