Designing challenging and engaging situations in which player characters come into contact (and often conflict with) NPCs, monsters, or other potential opponents.

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2
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1answer
60 views

What kind of Den can I use to design a fair fight against the post-Vault Dragons? [on hold]

So, everybody knows the Dragons are Stronger since Monster's Vault came out. My question is simple. What kind of geographic solution can I use to make my group have a fair fight against a Dragon ...
4
votes
1answer
315 views

How can I use the updated Dragons against my players without absolutely killing all of them?

Dragons in D&D 4e used to be weak, and were easy for my party to defeat. Solos were rarely much of a challenge, or so it was before Monsters Vault showed up with the new/updated Dragons. They are ...
1
vote
0answers
67 views

Pathfinder encounter building checklist [closed]

I have been GMing in pathfinder for a little under a year now and I have recently realized that I have not been taking full advantage of certain aspects of combat encounters such as terrain effects ...
1
vote
1answer
145 views

Encounter Budget in D&D 4e after Essentials

When the first 4e books came out, the encounter building chapter suggested to limit the enemies' level: from party level -2 to party level +4 Has this changed over the years, especially after ...
3
votes
0answers
97 views

How can I balance my Earthdawn encounters?

I am having a great deal of trouble making my encounters challenging, fast and non-stalemate. Added to the problem of exploding dice that can turn the whole fight upside down in a single blow. I have ...
4
votes
3answers
480 views

How should I go about blowing up a bridge?

My players are setting up to defend a village from a (small) invading army and they want to have some form of explosives, most likely would be barrels full of pitch or the like, placed under the ...
9
votes
3answers
200 views

How do I make Puzzle Bosses more interesting than a Knowledge Check or tedious pre-research?

Puzzle bosses — those with hidden weaknesses to discover and exploit — have been a recurring problem no matter the system we use. As a GM, I've never been able to wrap my head around how ...
5
votes
5answers
209 views

How can I run a 5 character adventure with fewer players?

So, looking to run a D&D 4e adventure with some of my friends, but we've only got the four of us — myself and three players. The adventure I want to run, named the Slaying Stone, recommends ...
14
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11answers
5k views

Creating an easily-defeatable dragon

For the group I am GMing I am in need of a blue dragon which should be defeatable by a group of six PCs having levels 3-4. The classes of my PCs are barbarian, bard, cleric, fighter, rogue and witch. ...
2
votes
4answers
292 views

Am I suppose to change the difficulty of my npc as needed

I'm a DM for a 5 PC group. I think we all read the rules correctly and made the characters properly. Yet for some reason, if we're to use the monsters proposed in the player handbook, my PC's would ...
7
votes
3answers
380 views

Is encounter balancing/creation in 5e different to previous editions?

I have been GMing for a group for a few sessions now and I have had a lot of trouble balancing encounters. I go by the rules that it should be the xp the party needs to level as a "balance" and you ...
1
vote
1answer
106 views

In Emerald Spire, is a room or entire floor an encounter, and when should I give out treasure?

This is my first time as a GM, and our second session played, and I need this answered: how big is an encounter? I'm doing the emerald spire and I'm trying to figure out: is the entire level an ...
4
votes
3answers
199 views

What is the CR/XP-Character Level relationship for opponents?

I can't seem to find information in the Monster Manual for how to design an opponent with class levels of an appropriate challenge for my 7th-level party. Perhaps this appears in the DMG? I want to ...
7
votes
2answers
276 views

What do you do with a drunken sailor early in the morning?

Seriously though, I need help creating a drinking contest. One of my player's characters has high Endurance and in one of our previous sessions challenged a tavern half full of bad guys to a drinking ...
9
votes
2answers
1k views

Would a fight against a higher level minion work out well or badly?

I have a level 8 party in a thieves guild/pirate campaign and I was wondering how it would play out if I gave them a high level minion like a level 11 "Ogre Thug" or a level 15 "Grimlock Minion", both ...
5
votes
6answers
527 views

How do I challenge extremely strong 1st and 3rd level characters?

I've got a very strong group: Lvl 3 two weapon ranger noble drow AC: 26 (10 base + 6 from dex + 10 from armour the armour is an artifact with ...
50
votes
16answers
9k views

How do I challenge my PCs who fight every battle like Mongol horse archers?

In my last few game sessions, my players have begun adopting a strategy which is working wonders in the campaign we are playing. In this Planescape campaign, we are on the Outlands, which has a lot of ...
7
votes
3answers
1k views

Why don't players get extra xp for large encounters?

Based on the table Encounter XP Multipliers from the Basic Rules' DM section, Page 57, when you're building encounters in 5E, you include an XP modifier depending on the number of creatures your PCs ...
1
vote
2answers
851 views

How do I build an encounter for level 5 D&D characters? [closed]

I'm running a session tonight and I made a huge magical prison. I have everything ready to drop the players inside (boss fights, puzzles, status conditions on different floors), but I didn't populate ...
4
votes
1answer
434 views

How to have Goblins Spring Out of Barrels

I would like to make an encounter in a storage room which is full of barrels and chests. The room is, seemingly, only guarded by goblin archers. When a PC runs past certain barrels, I would like ...
2
votes
1answer
143 views

How can I improvise battle encounters on the fly? [closed]

As of late, I've been very busy with college now that my schedule forces me to stay pretty much all day long, so I've had to stick with "low prep" games like Savage Worlds, and improvise adventures on ...
10
votes
2answers
3k views

Does the Challenge Rating of a monster assume a party or a single PC?

I'm reading through the new DM D&D Basic Rules, but I'm confused about the challenge rating of a monster. Does the challenge rating assume a single PC or a group of PC's? As a CR3 a challenge for ...
7
votes
2answers
449 views

How can I make non-violent combat alternatives actually fun and interesting? [closed]

Most of my group and I share a trait: We all hate the idea of monsters who can be talked or negotiated with, it kills the scary, dangerous part of a monster; that combined with the fact I suck at ...
8
votes
3answers
588 views

How can I design encounters that appeal more to stealth based characters and are fun for me to run?

I'm currently running a levels 1 to 20 campaign with my friends, and one of them is a Ninja (Pathfinder's class using the Basic Rogue Template). Functionally it's pretty much the same, and the thing ...
4
votes
1answer
159 views

How is treasure determined randomly for CR 21 or higher creatures?

The Magic Item Compendium says Step 1: Roll on Table A-1: Treasure, using the monster's CR to determine which row you will use. (265) Table A-1: Treasure only goes to Challenge Rating 20. The ...
2
votes
3answers
218 views

Advice for making an adventure entirely based on “boss” battles? [closed]

we're currently playing D&D Next using the Basic rules and covnerted Pathfinder monsters covnerted based on the Playtest monster stats. Next session my players (Monk, Ninja (Pathfinder converted ...
4
votes
4answers
202 views

How to stat up and judge the challenge of supernatural NPCs

I'm a fairly new ST, though I've tried my hand at it before. I think I'm doing better this time but I'm realizing that I'm having trouble statting NPCs. I'm not sure how strong to make them in ...
1
vote
1answer
177 views

Any tips for running more action based and less tactical encounters?

I've been using "tactical minis" games for all my games as of now, specifically Savage Worlds and 4E which has been my bread and butter. Just recently we picked up D&D Next Playtest (Oct 2013) to ...
6
votes
6answers
2k views

How to create a hard challenge for my group?

I did let the PCs of the game I am hosting receive too many treasures, so I would like them to lose at least some (or even all) of them. I thought about a simple ambush somewhere in the woods, where ...
3
votes
1answer
181 views

Need a Mental Challenge [closed]

I am running a custom campaign and I have run into an issue. The group got to a quest where the ruler of the country is dying of old age and a has no heir. So someone needs to prove themselves to both ...
2
votes
2answers
253 views

How do you determine the challenge rating of an encounter in 4e?

Recently my players decided to make the game as hard as possible for themselves by planning a jailbreak that will make them fugitives before they complete their mission to spy on the King. To make ...
14
votes
3answers
1k views

Defending a house against demons

I'm a fairly rookie GM and I'm running a campaign in which the characters are going to eventually become a group of professional monster hunters. We are at present low level we are starting off with ...
8
votes
5answers
524 views

How to get the most out of an encounter by combining foes

I am an new GM playing DnD-4E and i am looking for advice on how to compose challenging encounters. I have played with my group ~10 times so far and what i really like is to challenge them. Not a TPK ...
5
votes
3answers
622 views

How to handle some new NPCs who enter a fight in progress?

I am GMing for the second time in my life, and do not know how to handle this situation: There are 5 PCs who walk through this map. In almost every room there are a couple of NPCs who might or might ...
22
votes
9answers
3k views

Way to prevent teleportation

My party (average level 10) just had a pre-boss fight. That was an opportunity for me to make them spend some of their resources, because they thought that was actually the big bad boss fight. So we ...
1
vote
3answers
499 views

How do I make my fights more interesting? [closed]

Sometimes my combats are too boring, just a bunch of dice rolls. I want my fightings to be fast and various. Often is all about "you See the enemy, roll the dice a few Times, go on". This takes too ...
7
votes
5answers
1k views

How do I make an interesting escape from a fire?

So, the last session I tried to make an encounter where my players had to escape from a burning house. Unfortunately, it turned out to be a boring bunch of pass-or-suck checks. How can I make this ...
7
votes
1answer
147 views

Under What Circumstances Do Additional Creatures Add to EL?

Question The Dungeon Master's Guide explains that DMs Do not award XP for creatures that enemies summon or otherwise add to their forces with magic powers. An enemy’s ability to summon or add ...
3
votes
2answers
242 views

What's the best way to DM semi-large battles (~50 guys on each side)?

In one of the campaigns I'm running, the players are about to enter a large fight (~50 vs ~50). This includes around 40 regular units, and 6 Player Characters versus around 45 regular units and 5 ...
3
votes
3answers
356 views

How can I quickly come up with random encounters and puzzles?

I'm DMing my first campaign in D&D 4e using my own setting, and I need to create some random encounters throughout the map surrounding the starting village. I only have a week available between ...
4
votes
3answers
276 views

Designing Puzzles Requiring Halt Undead and Animate Dead

I am currently designing an adventure filled with several puzzles. The point of each puzzle is to get a character to use a power they don't know that they have in order to proceed. For example, for ...
4
votes
2answers
2k views

How do I balance an encounter for my party?

I'm currently DMing some games in the D&D 4e Adventure Series. We started with H1, Keep on the Shadowfell, and we're just about to start H2, Thunderspide labyrinth. I have six players who are all ...
15
votes
7answers
869 views

As a DM, how to save a creature from being killed by players and not be cheap?

If you put a creature you want to use at a later date in an encounter, how could I save that creature near the end of the battle without sounding cheaty. E.g. The evil mage has only 1 hit point left ...
6
votes
2answers
282 views

How do you scale up a premade adventure's difficulty when you have additional PCs?

I am going to be running the D&D 4e Redbox premade adventure and a couple other premade adventures for 5 PCs. However at the beginning of the explanation for the adventures they say it is for a ...
3
votes
3answers
247 views

Battle on Lightning Rail, Movement Rules

The setup: the PCs work their way through a moving lightning rail, fighting off pirates that are attempting to rob the passengers. They get to the cargo hold, fend off their leader, and chase him up ...
6
votes
4answers
277 views

Balancing encounters for faster feat progression

I'm DMing a group right now in Eberron (so I already have to take Action Points into account for encounter design), and my players, who are fairly new, are super intrigued by all of the interesting ...
3
votes
2answers
162 views

Designing challenging combats for Mythic PC

This is related to my earlier question, Superman in Dresden Files. Cliff's notes, my players in DF take the building block powers, and I wanted to know why and what to do about it. That gave me a ...
3
votes
1answer
319 views

How Much XP is an NPC worth?

I'm trying to add an NPC (as explained on pages 186-188 of the DMG) to a DnD 4e encounter, and I'm having trouble finding any information on how much XP to subtract from the XP budget for the ...
10
votes
3answers
2k views

How can I tune encounter difficulty appropriately in D&D Essentials?

Two of my friends and I recently played our very first game of D&D using the Essentials kit. I DM'd, getting them through the Red Box create-your-own character story. It was all good fun, they ...
33
votes
5answers
1k views

How can we make overcoming a language problem interesting?

I am currently involved in a game of Fate Accelerated, and one of our goals is learning the system and experimenting with it. In this game, two characters may have a language barrier to overcome. One ...