Broad term used to describe when the player characters meet with a group of NPCs. They can range from hostile to friendly, randomized to story-driven.

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5answers
1k views

How can I turn the Kobold Hall delve into a full-fledged Adventure? [on hold]

For my first experience as a DM, I'm taking the Kobold Hall adventure included in the first DMG, and repurposing it. The overall idea is to turn it from a 5 encounter delve to a "Level 1 to Level 2 ...
4
votes
1answer
120 views

How to use spot checks in a wilderness encounter?

The wilderness adventures section (DMG pp. 86-95) lists spotting distances for wilderness encounters. I.e. the maximum distance at which a Spot check for detecting the nearby presence of others ...
9
votes
4answers
691 views

Is Lost Mines of Phandelver's Young Green Dragon too much for a group of level 3 characters?

My group of 8 level 3 players are about to run through the Thundertree Ruins and will probably have a hand at fighting the dragon. My question stems from the fact that a single poison breath attack ...
21
votes
5answers
2k views

Non-Combat XP, with combat later

Assume there is a troll guarding a bridge (for all bridges need trolls). Instead of attacking the troll, the party found some intrigue way of bypassing the encounter. I'm happy with it and award them ...
11
votes
3answers
301 views

How do you determine when an animal is Hostile to the PCs?

I'm trying to understand how as a GM to handle encounters with creatures such as wolves, bears, giant rats, etc. Are animals always hostile to the PCs or is there always an element of animal handling ...
21
votes
3answers
2k views

Ogre CR calculation: is it wrong or am I missing something?

My question is about the basic ogre CR calculation in the monster manual, which doesn't make senses to me. I tried to make a concept of an "armored ogre" with chain mail and pikes (AC 16 and 15 (2d10+...
3
votes
0answers
119 views

How do I approach my DM about toning down the game's lethality? [closed]

I am a new D&D player with a group of 4 players with level 4 characters. Every session at least one and sometimes two of the party end up unconscious and close to dying, and at the end of the ...
1
vote
3answers
291 views

In Hoard of the Dragon Queen is the fight with the 4 guard drakes and a major NPC meant to be extremely deadly?

My party just did the encounter in Hoard of the Dragon Queen with the 4 guard drakes and a major NPC. Is this fight meant to be extremely deadly? I'm a player in this campaign, so I don't have access ...
2
votes
1answer
262 views

I'm worried the PCs in my low-magic, low-gold campaign can't keep up with the increasing encounter challenge

I'm running a campaign and at the moment. The world in which they live is low-magic (and so the major way to have magic items is to create them), but also the amount of gold they get after each ...
26
votes
3answers
3k views

Can PCs gain XP from “defeating” an enemy who actually just used Feign Death?

I have a NPC who, when is about to be killed, uses Feign Death just before it is killed. As the point is to trick the players, do they gain XP for its death or not? And if so, the full amount or less?
27
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8answers
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Should the DM allow characters an equal opportunity to flee or avoid an encounter?

Last session I DMed, I killed a player's character. The party wanted to assassinate the main political figure in a town. To inspire general dislike, I made the political figure a racist thug. I run a ...
2
votes
1answer
107 views

How do you calculate experience rewards for defeating NPCs with class levels?

So, We were recently fighting a "monster" wich was using a playable race (no LA) and had levels in druid. How does one calculate exp for this? I was also fighting a vampire, at what stage do you use ...
5
votes
2answers
255 views

Am I running this Hoard of the Dragon Queen fight right? How is it balanced?

There is a fight in Hoard of the Dragon Queen that seems to be especially lethal, and I'm not sure if I'm reading it and running it right. Is it meant to be that lethal? How are they a CR of 1/4 ...
24
votes
3answers
4k views

Can a character gain two levels with the same encounter?

We played with the Deck of Many Things last night and a character drew the card that gives you 50000 XP. The character was 14 and the XP amount was enough for him to gain the next two levels. 15 and ...
14
votes
2answers
1k views

When can I draw my weapon?

I know I'm about to face a bunch of enemies, I have to draw them out first. If I know I'm about to be in a huge battle, can my weapon be drawn before I go in there or do I have to wait until the ...
0
votes
1answer
135 views

How can I make setting up the encounter during play faster? [closed]

While I was DMing, some of the players were getting frustrated with the time it took to get the stats for the enemy NPCs. Having to look at the Monster Manual for the stats of different creatures ...
37
votes
7answers
6k views

My party bypassed a combat encouter. Should they still get XP?

Some thug bandits set up a road block on the main road to extract a toll from passerbys. It was twilight when my party encountered them. They used the Rogue to scout ahead, and they ultimately decided ...
12
votes
3answers
2k views

Is the first encounter of the starter set really “deadly”?

Reading the DMG I'm confused by the encounter difficulty chart. It seems straight forward, but upon really testing it I've found that according to the chart, the very first encounter in Lost Mines of ...
6
votes
1answer
95 views

What happens to spells cast pre-encounter that last till the end of the encounter?

When I know that an encounter will happen in the next few minutes (like I already see/hear the enemies coming), and cast a spell that lasts till the end of the encounter (like Heroic Offense, target ...
10
votes
3answers
502 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" ...
7
votes
1answer
381 views

Are random encounters supposed to supply treasure?

For my purposes, this applies explicitly to running a published adventure like Out of the Abyss, but a general answer would also be useful. When the party has a random encounter with a non-humanoid ...
8
votes
1answer
840 views

What is an appropriate encounter in Deathwatch?

I've been reading through Deathwatch and I've finally gotten a grip on the fact that space marines are seriously tough characters compared to the other games in the Warhammer 40k RPG line. The ...
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 ...
15
votes
7answers
1k views

How should I budget for ally/third party NPCs in 4e combats?

I've done a few combats recently where the PCs and their enemies were not the only participants in the fight. I wasn't sure how to budget XP in this case. In the case of an NPC ally to the PCs, I ...
0
votes
2answers
242 views

How can low-level PCs avoid death at the hands of a far higher-level foe? [closed]

The low-level PCs We are a party of an Oracle 5, a Rogue 5, a Sword Saint Samurai 5, and a Wizard 7. We have a contract on our heads, put there by an ex-party member in retaliation for some party ...
4
votes
2answers
446 views

How can I slightly raise the CR of an NPC?

In Hoard of the Dragon Queen: Episode 1, one of the encounters is a dual between one PC and a named NPC. This encounter is supposed to be quite deadly, a level 1 or 2 PC versus a CR 4 NPC. My ...
47
votes
13answers
3k views

How to communicate to the players that an encounter can be solved also through diplomacy?

When you play D&D, you are not supposed to chat with the enemy during encounters. The system is made for fighting. However, in some circumstances, it would be nice to make the players conscious ...
1
vote
1answer
179 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 ...
17
votes
8answers
678 views

What would clever creatures do to protect their lair?

(This question is for fantasy worlds like in D&D and other such games.) Usually, as the adventuring party goes up in ability, they end up facing stronger and more powerful characters. Let's say ...
16
votes
3answers
625 views

Techniques to improvise and run interesting social and mundane scenes

Last session (I GM Traveller, a hard science fiction rpg) I realized my lack of skills when I found myself willing to spend some minutes in playing a scene involved a 3 years old child causing trouble ...
10
votes
4answers
2k views

How do characters retreat from an encounter?

5e Starter Set spoilers below How do I handle a retreat and/or pursuit in this case? I guess I could keep "shifting" the grid over so they never get to the end of the world so to speak, but how ...
2
votes
1answer
236 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
1answer
688 views

Is throwing other PC's possible? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: How do you rule halfling tossing as a combat action? Hello, one of my fellow players brought upon a good question to me; is possible to throw another PC almost like a ...
10
votes
5answers
1k views

Good source book for wilderness/road encounters?

I'm a GM and like for my players to have several interesting encounters when making long road journeys between cities. I especially enjoy when the party has options of how to deal with what they ...
4
votes
2answers
874 views

What's a good way to deal with Random Encounters inside Dungeons? [closed]

I've been wondering, what's an interesting way to use random encounters while exploring dungeons? We're currently playing D&D Next Playtest and every 10 minutes of dungeon turns or such I make a ...
7
votes
2answers
460 views

What is a good way of managing status effects in medium-size encounters in D&D 3.5?

Recently, my three 6th-level players (Sorcerer, Druid, Barbarian) encountered some 15 orc barbarians. The sorcerer started casting Glitterdust (save or be blinded) and Stinking Cloud (save or be ...
4
votes
3answers
572 views

Do creatures from other planes typically travel into the material plane? [closed]

I'm using Pathfinder and I'm a fairly new GM and I'm running my first campaign in a world I hand crafted. It's a planet in the material plane and has the usual characteristics that a real planet ...
10
votes
1answer
353 views

Should this encounter have been this easy?

While playing through Dawn of Defiance: The Traitor's Gambit, my 3 first-level PCs defeated the first encounter (CR1) within a single round. Are we misreading some rules or are they meant to be this ...
7
votes
3answers
2k views

Frequency of combat encounters in Pathfinder

I'm starting a new self-designed Pathfinder campaign as the DM and I'm unsure how many combat encounters I should plan each session. The characters will start at level 1. The group consists of 4 ...
3
votes
2answers
1k views

Are there D&D random encounter tables where # monsters encountered is dependent upon party size?

For example, say a party of adventurers is journeying through a wilderness region which is known to be patrolled by Orcs and other nasties. A party of 2-3 adventurers would surely attract less ...
7
votes
4answers
910 views

Exactly, what is an encounter?

Ok, I know this may sound really strange but I don't exact understand it. Can an "encounter" just be combat, or also a skill check? For example if I have a conversation with a NPC and I need several ...
4
votes
1answer
224 views

How to add roleplayed investigation in a “search for the items” city quest?

The situations is this: the party has to find three rare starship components in order to make its starship fly. These items are a modified computer part, a military motor piece and a century old motor ...
2
votes
5answers
519 views

How many creatures should face a party of 6 PCs?

I am going to DM for the first time. The group of players is 6 people. I have no clue on how many creatures I should make them face. For example, a group of 2 people would face about 3-5 bugbears but ...
10
votes
5answers
318 views

Is it okay to take power/actions away from PCs to add drama?

In the game I have running right now, one of the PCs have had a run in with a local "gang" of sorts. An encounter between the two is approaching, but I'm struggling to think of the best way to set up ...
11
votes
5answers
12k views

Awarding XP for combat encounters in Dnd 4e

I am a very inexperienced DM. I have here what must be an obvious question, but I can't seem to find any solid clarification. How is XP rewarded after a combat encounter? Is the total monsters' XP ...
2
votes
2answers
338 views

Moldvay D&D First Round in Encounter

I'm confused about how to DM the first round of an encounter using Moldvay's rules, specifically, when is the DM supposed to use the Monster Reaction table on page B24. Say a party encounters a group ...
21
votes
4answers
16k views

What challenge ratings can my party handle?

I play D&D 3.5. I have a party of 6 players and myself as a DM. In my "career" as a DM, I seem to have no to little difficulty with adding monsters and encounters. But I have never understood how ...
14
votes
8answers
828 views

How do I adjudicate the natural tendency for hikers to spread in D&D 4e?

This question inspired by this rather grognardian post over on the Tao of D&D. Functionally, the post asserts: But suggest to a party that they're too far apart to hear one another as they ...
13
votes
5answers
483 views

Help with epic battle

As a core part of the campaign I'm about to start, I want to include a poem detailing the last stand of a valiant paladin against a number of giants. He dies valiantly to save a town the giants were ...
9
votes
2answers
343 views

What are good techniques to adapt module maps to 3D terrain and/or 2D tilesets?

This is slightly related to How to Use Module Maps but instead of being about how to adapt published small maps to 1" scale or using playmats, I'm interested in technique for adapting to pre-published ...