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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9
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3answers
235 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 ...
21
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
205 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 ...
35
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
157 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
165 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
289 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
votes
3answers
796 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 ...
20
votes
2answers
524 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
1k 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
240 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
105 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
916 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
238 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
264 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
125 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
457 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
697 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
476 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
181 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
285 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
382 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
184 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
votes
0answers
31 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 ...
3
votes
0answers
88 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
84 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
189 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
275 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
332 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 ...
28
votes
10answers
7k 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
151 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
187 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 ...
15
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 ...
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
votes
0answers
206 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
890 views

What is the XP budget per encounter for a two-person party?

I have been playing Dungeons and Dragons for a while now as a player. I've recently started up a new game that I am DMing. I am going to run the Kobold Hall adventure for starters. The problem I have ...
6
votes
1answer
145 views

How can I deal faster with enemy actions on large-scale battles?

I returned to Savage Worlds after a while of playing 5th Edition and Anima, and I'm falling in love with the system again. I finally understood how the system goes better with many characters ...
5
votes
1answer
306 views

Pathfinder encounter building checklist

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 ...
13
votes
7answers
2k 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
8answers
1k 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 ...
1
vote
3answers
394 views

Scaling a game for a large group

I have read this Question and while it gave helpful advice it is not the problem I am having. I have 6 players and an observer. They understand they need to have their turns sorted in combat and ...
2
votes
2answers
161 views

How do you alter encounter difficulty in regards to decreased party size?

Encounters are usually written in advance and balanced against the makeup and the abilities of the party. Sometimes though the party makeup when writing such an encounter in advance and when actully ...
7
votes
4answers
3k views

Adjusting Modules for More Players

I am planning on running a D&D 3.5 campaign soon. I underestimated how many of my friends would be interested, and my group of 4 has quickly turned into a group of 6. I have seen various ...
2
votes
1answer
67 views

Different numbers of PCs to the adventure spec

I'm about to start Keep on the Shadowfell with a party of seven friends (beginners) but the adventure spec says the encounters are built for five PCs. Is there a particular method for changing the ...
13
votes
4answers
19k 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 ...
10
votes
4answers
3k 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 ...
8
votes
1answer
394 views

How far below the average CR should I count monsters when determining encounter difficulty?

DMG82 says "When [calculating encounter difficulty multipliers], don't count any monsters whose challenge rating is significantly below the average challenge rating of the other monsters in the ...
4
votes
3answers
382 views

How to Run a Trial Based on Skills? [closed]

So I will be putting my group through a final exam in their knight training. I wanted to have each trial in the exam based off of one of the six Dungeons and Dragons attributes. I figured that ...