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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13
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4answers
25k 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 ...
14
votes
4answers
303 views

Should I adjust encounter challenge for PCs with damage immunities?

Recently, two of my PCs became afflicted with lycanthropy (of the wererat variety). According to the Monster Manual, characters with lycanthropy acquire the damage immunities of their respective ...
1
vote
2answers
375 views

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

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 ...
7
votes
2answers
228 views

How do the PCs' magic items factor into challenge ratings?

Everyone knows that a CR 10 monster is meant to be a perfectly balanced challenge for a party of four 10th level PCs. But does that mean it's balanced for a party of four PCs with no magically ...
2
votes
1answer
94 views

How well are low level PCs able to defeat high level NPCs in B/X D&D?

For a Basic/Expert game, I want to populate the campaign area with important and influential NPCs, who are doing their things independent of the player's activities. The goal is to have the players ...
14
votes
3answers
1k views

Do different monsters cooperate? Do I need to justify it when they do?

I'm new to GMing, and am having difficulty with understanding how often different types of monsters interact cooperatively (so to speak). In keeping with trying to give my PC's variety, and to also ...
8
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2answers
355 views

Where can I find online playtesters to test encounters before presenting them to my group?

I'm setting up the end of my campaign and I have 4 "mini-boss" fights (& Final BOSS fight) that I'm trying to make extremely tough but also winnable. I don't want to just slaughter my PCs after ...
7
votes
1answer
153 views

How do I structure an in-game tournament to rank the participating parties of adventurers?

As part of my existing Pathfinder campaign, I want to run an in-game tournament between twelve adventuring parties. The PCs would form one team. The other 11 are NPC teams put forward by NPC nobles. ...
2
votes
1answer
316 views

How would removing tail spikes from a manticore affect its challenge rating?

One creature omitted from the 5th Edition MM is the Dragonne, and I have considered modifying stats for the manticore to create a 5E dragonne. Most of the changes would be cosmetic except for removing ...
2
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0answers
123 views

How do I appropriatly stock this dungeon to make it challenging but not impossible? [closed]

I'm a new DM. I built a dungeon for my players' second set of encounters. They will need to clear it in order to gain knowledge from a Copper Dragon (a passive ally) at the end. We are using ...
5
votes
1answer
169 views

Help me with my battlefield design [closed]

Setup One of my weaknesses as a DM is probably battlefield design. I often forget about this completely, and have to make up a map on the spot when we roll initiative. I try to avoid this before ...
6
votes
2answers
225 views

Is this DnD4E fight level appropriate?

Yesterday we had a DnD4e session to kill the final boss of a, now in total, 4 session dungeon. This fight took us 7 hours (irl). The boss had an AoE ability that would shoot a fireball for 1d100 ...
2
votes
3answers
238 views

Experience point calculation for encounters

I am likely missing something very obvious but I cannot find a reliable way to figure out how much XP to give my players for encounters anywhere, currently I'm using a factor of 5 encounters of a ...
2
votes
2answers
191 views

How to decide if traps in OSR play should be obvious? [closed]

Obvious traps emphasize interaction with the traps, which is often interesting. Hidden traps make unexplored regions of a dungeon far more dangerous and reward careful play and cunning, as players ...
17
votes
9answers
3k views

Should encounters be adjusted to a full-magic party?

I am still a new GM and I am building a session for 3 first-time players. After discussing the game, rules and setting, all of them are interested in playing magic characters (Draconic Sorcerer, Druid ...
9
votes
3answers
283 views

Train chase sequence

In my next session, I want my players to have a chase sequence followed by a battle on board a moving train. They'll be chasing Githyanki, so their mage hand, jump, and misty step spells will all ...
22
votes
3answers
4k views

My PCs are too strong for a published adventure. How can I fix the content so it isn't trivial?

This is my first time DMing a D&D game and I'm learning as I go. I'm running Tyranny of Dragons, and here's my situation: Through a series of lucky events and other phenomena, the party is one ...
3
votes
3answers
254 views

How do I calculate a suitable combat encounter under 5e based on the CR values in the Monster Manual?

In my 3rd ed book, there is a table of CR against the number of monsters a party can fight based on their level. In 5e I cannot find this table. There is some mention of encounters being based on the ...
36
votes
5answers
2k views

How do I make engaging Man vs Wild encounters that aren't excercises in rolling dice?

I like wilderness adventures. My earliest games as a player (in AD&D 2e) featured wilderness adventures, and I really enjoyed them. I try to use them in my games (We're playing Pathfinder right ...
6
votes
2answers
192 views

How much does Petrification Ray modify a monster's CR?

I'm working on a custom monster right now and I want to give it a Petrification Ray, as seen on the Beholder, as an action: Petrification Ray. The targeted creature must make a DC (8+Spellcasting ...
3
votes
2answers
184 views

How to modify a bulette to challenge a level 10 party?

In my campaign, the PCs have been tasked with removing a group of bulettes from a mining claim. I plan on using standard bulettes as a lead-up to a 'boss fight' where I would like a larger (perhaps cr ...
6
votes
1answer
318 views

How do I adjust Part 8 of The Traveller Campaign for more powerful characters?

I've just gotten to Adventure 8 in The Traveller Campaign and I have a problem: the characters are far too powerful for the adventure. The main problem is that The Privateer Fleet that the characters ...
13
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3answers
810 views

Would motivating a Stout Pacifist to join a war be a Compel or Invoke?

Assume the following situation: The player wants to convince an NPC to help them in battle. However, the NPC has the aspect "Stout Pacifist" and would rather avoid being dragged into a war. This ...
21
votes
2answers
553 views

Tarrasque: Rush & Jump Skill Interaction

Background I am having a little trouble wrapping my brain around the Jump skill. I want to plan a battle with my players and the Tarrasque; two of them have the ability to fly - and it does not. I ...
15
votes
5answers
2k views

How can I create reasonably challenging encounters for large groups?

I'm running a 5e campaign that has become quite successful to the point that everyone wants in and I have 6-8 players at my table every other week. It's awesome, but I'm having troubles with creating ...
4
votes
1answer
163 views

Can an animated cannon fire itself?

In Pathfinder I am currently trying to design a few encounters with a supposed ghost ship (actually a Colossal Animated Object) complete with a crew of Haunted Objects (again, Animated Objects), but I ...
14
votes
5answers
990 views

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

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
4answers
1k views

Can players handle Deadly encounters if they don't engage in any other danger?

The DMG suggests that Player Characters are generally going to be able to handle about 6 encounters between long rests; the difficulty comes from the cumulative strain of multiple consecutive ...
5
votes
2answers
250 views

How do I handle the encounter difficulty for a three-sided battle?

I'm running my first real campaign. The idea I have for the first dungeon involves the PCs coming upon two sides already engaged in combat. One side is losing and weaker than the other, though not in ...
5
votes
5answers
296 views

Balancing undead encounters against large party with a cleric

I'm a new DM (and a relatively new player as well) and I'm leading a pretty large (6 players) group of newbies. We've done a few demos and whatnot just to show them the basics of combat, but now we're ...
2
votes
0answers
154 views

Designing a low-level NPC mage [closed]

So, I am working on a dungeon for a small party: (Tweaked) Drow Sorc2 -- good stats and a decent spell selection Human Rgr2 -- has a bit of healing, but more of a tanky/hack-and-slash type so far ...
10
votes
3answers
487 views

How can I avoid making extended/prolonged encounters boring?

I have run this campaign for just over a year. Many encounters later, I have come to one snag; If I run an encounter that lasts for more than a few rounds, I lose all my flair. I just resort to "hit" ...
10
votes
6answers
744 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 ...
17
votes
1answer
489 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
218 views

How do I calculate encounter difficulty for PCs with allied monsters? [duplicate]

I'm currently running a mega dungeon in 5e D&D, and my players have recruited some monsters into their service. I have been building encounters using the dungeon masters guide rules (pg. 81-84), ...
5
votes
1answer
324 views

How do I calculate the CR of a monster that spends their turns healing?

My question is about magic and monster CR. I was building a CR 10 Cleric with capabilities of healing himself and others, but I don't see any rules about calculating CR for a monster that expends his ...
3
votes
3answers
473 views

How to make a low CR villain more dangerous

My PC's in one campaign are currently traveling to their first major town and, unbeknownst to them, there is a Rakshasa, disguised as the town mayor, using the town to feed and kill as he pleases ...
3
votes
1answer
197 views

How can I boost the AC of a ghost dragon?

I am in the process of making a ghost dragon as a challenge for a mythic campaign, with a party of a druid, an alchemist, and a paladin. Applying the ghost template drastically reduces its AC from ...
0
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0answers
34 views

What is an appropriate encounter in Deathwatch [duplicate]

I am wondering how to judge what kind of encounter will be right for my group. I would like to design challenging encounters, but not ones which will be impossible or far too easy. How will I know if ...
4
votes
0answers
92 views

How do you judge the difficulty of an encounter in Strands of Fate?

I recently found Strands of Fate and it looks like a really fun system; so, naturally, I want to run a short campaign in it to try it out. Unfortunately, the book doesn't seem to give any tips for how ...
2
votes
1answer
125 views

How to set up a Castle Siege? [closed]

I am running a war, for my players. They have won a battle pushing their opponent back into a citadel within the cliffs. I am looking for stories, suggestions, or more importantly rules on how to ...
3
votes
2answers
207 views

How to make and set up Army scale battles

I am nearing the climax of a nearly year and a half story, and before the final boss I wanted to have a massive army scale battle. This is a 3.5 game, the armies will be mostly using martial weapons, ...
7
votes
1answer
329 views

How can I make a CR 4 monster based on a player class (e.g. Sorcerer)?

I'd like to create a villain that can take on a party of level 4 characters all by herself. In other words, if she were a standard monster, she would have a Challenge Rating of 4. What's the right ...
4
votes
2answers
338 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 ...
31
votes
10answers
8k 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 ...
9
votes
2answers
1k views

Would an Ettin and Otyugh live in the same area?

According to the 3.5 monster manual - Ettins like to establish their lairs in remote, rocky areas. They dwell in dark, underground caves that stink of decaying food and offal. They tolerate ...
0
votes
1answer
197 views

How do I calculate APL and CR for mythic PCs and enemies?

I'm GMing a Pathfinder campaign and some players have mythic tiers. They seem really powerful to me? As far as I can tell, even adjusting CR for mythic tiers, their power makes the CR system even more ...
4
votes
1answer
282 views

designing encounters for a tournament with set rules

I am running an in-game tournament. The qualifiers are pit fights with the last two standing going through. Hopefully all of the party will qualify so it seems like I'm not doing endless pit fights ...
26
votes
10answers
3k views

Should I scale the difficulty after the party recruits a boss?

A year ago or so, I was DMing a DnD4e campaign in which the leader of the players' party (Sariel) managed to convince a powerful (6 levels higher) adversary (Pieter) to join them temporarily; their ...
2
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0answers
229 views

How do I determine how many encounters a dungeon should contain? [closed]

It's come to the point in our game where the party is going to enter the first major dungeon. They started higher level, around level 8, and we have a variable of 5-8 players. The last 3 coming depend ...