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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3answers
683 views

How to make combat more tactical?

How can I help combat be more diverse? I'm a player, but I'm open to suggesting things to my DM. We are a party of 5th-level PCs. What we run into is the classic tactical situation every time: the ...
5
votes
6answers
222 views

How to prevent players from using guns in a particular combat?

I am running an adventure that is based on a Vampire-like universe, set in present-day Venice. It's a homebrew story telling system with just a bit of mechanics (the domains of vampires and k20 roll ...
4
votes
3answers
580 views

My party is struggling in every way!

I am new to Pathfinder, and after playing a few times all my friends voted for me to DM, so I cracked down and spent a week straight reading and learning everything. I started my first campaign ...
7
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5answers
353 views

How to keep the group engaged when the party is split?

I recently pitched a game to my group, to which they were receptive. However they pointed out some problems I would have to solve before the game started. The Pitch The game is set in the ...
8
votes
1answer
113 views

Are there any “linked” creatures that can only be defeated in tandem?

I am planning on building an encounter based on this post about a zombie and a ghost coming from the same body. The idea is the players will have to defeat both the body (the zombie) and then do ...
10
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4answers
491 views

How can I dissuade my players from attacking a deadly foe who isn't meant to be attacked?

I will be taking over as DM of our group in a few weeks. Our party right now has a large number of magic items, and while I don't have a problem balancing that, I would rather replace lesser ones ...
11
votes
1answer
302 views

How to set up a battle with a God?

I have a campaign (D&D 2nd Edition) that has been running on and off for about 22 years (real life). Characters have finally reached super-high levels (some are 30, multi-classes are lower). I'm ...
5
votes
3answers
1k views

How to design combat for an overpowered character in a normal party?

I'm running a Savage Worlds game in a rugged sci-fi genre (think Firefly or Guardians of the Galaxy), and I've got a problem. One of my player characters is wildly over-powered in combat, (multiple ...
2
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3answers
364 views

Is there any tool to calculate the Encounter XP in D&D 5e?

I've seen online tools that make random encounters for you as the donjon's one. What I need is a tool where I can select the party level and the monsters and it will tell me if it's an easy or hard ...
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vote
1answer
153 views

Determining “level” of an NPC for purpose of budgeting encounter XP

Hypothetical party: 1st level human wizard (PC) 3x guard NPC 1x acolyte NPC This is the player's first time, and it's a solo campaign. The first mini-adventure involves recovering the cargo of a ...
2
votes
1answer
73 views

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

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
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1answer
334 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
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0answers
91 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
155 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
1answer
123 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
506 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
239 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
221 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
297 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
538 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
123 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
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4answers
463 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
325 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
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6answers
616 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 ...
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17answers
10k 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 ...
8
votes
3answers
2k 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 ...
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vote
2answers
1k 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
436 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
152 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 ...
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2answers
5k 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
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2answers
489 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 ...
10
votes
5answers
832 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
185 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
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3answers
233 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
333 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
205 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 ...
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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
185 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
304 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
550 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
654 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
4k 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 ...
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3answers
588 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 ...
8
votes
1answer
167 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
249 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
372 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 ...