Hot answers tagged

65

AngryDM Says Something About This Once your characters are obviously going to win, end the encounter/fight. That's tough, but I'm going to sum up what he said. (You should still read it, though) You need to figure out what the main question the encounter is trying to answer, and when the answer becomes obvious, end the encounter! Yes, I know AngryDM's ...


63

Spells A fair number of spells prevent teleportation; a wizard will struggle to gain access to some of them, but the skill Use Magic Device and a wand or staff will solve that. The 4th-level Sor/Wiz spell dimensional anchor [abjur] (Player's Handbook 221) for 1 min./level prevents 1 creature from using any extradimensional movement if a ranged touch ...


60

Congratulate your player on solving a problem without fighting. Really. It does not often happen in FRPGs and yet even ancient cultures managed to avoid fighting most of the time. Talk to the group about whether they would like you to craft encounters where not-murdering-everyone was a viable solution. Incidentally this seems very much the way a bard ...


49

I used to play a game that was fun and exciting: you rolled a dice and depending on the result moved up some ladders or slid down some snakes and the first one to the top won, its name escapes me for the moment. It was thrilling and intriguing and then I turned 5 and realized it was no fun at all because I had no agency. My definition of agency is: ...


45

Sometimes a skill-focussed player can bypass entire obstacles with that skill. This is a shining moment for them (which you don't want to step on), but boring for the rest of the group. The general principle I'd follow here is "Yes, but...", useful throughout GMing: Don't say no, but do say what obstacles arise as a result. First, take a look at the ...


38

This question seems fairly opinion based, but I think we can answer this with a basis in psychology. Have a Cookie! You did the right thing by rewarding your players for clever play and non-traditional solutions to problems, especially if this kind of out-of-the-box solution is the kind of thing you want the players to do more of. We have to remember that ...


35

You should scale the encounters to increase the difficulty for your party. The ability to scale encounters to your party is very important when you do not intend on following a campaign to the T. The DMG actually clarifies how to do this for your party on page 82. Where it tells you how to gauge your party's difficulty rating by XP values. Within this ...


34

The key to encounter design is that an encounter (whether it involve combat, riddles, or some other task) has to be interesting to spend time on it. The reason the players will probably enjoy the task of obtaining the wolf's pelt is because it's both fairly broad (one possible option is to find a nearby village and just buy one and that would take seconds of ...


33

The Dragon Needn't Be a True Dragon As Aaron's answer indicates, dragons that have appropriate CRs for the party will be at most Medium. Although that means the dragon could be, potentially, the size of a professional wrestler, for a dragon that's sort of... unimpressive. I suggest the following. Use a creature that could be mistaken for a dragon Were ...


26

I see a lot of insightful comments in the answers here; but, I think that there is a key element that hasn't been explicitly. PCs get angry when something that they like is threatened. Players get annoyed when something that they like is taken away. The best way to engage your players is to threaten something dear to their characters, and give them a ...


26

'Pray I don't alter the deal further' That doesn't seem like even a particularly tough encounter for a group of PCs like you describe, especially if they have above-average gear. Without knowing more about your characters, their skill at tactics, their normal approach to things like ambushes, ambushing, traps, knowledge of enemies, enemies having knowledge ...


25

The situation you describe is often handled by some form or another of mass combat system, that allows you to convert a large number of creatures into a much smaller number of discrete combat units. I'm sure that such mechanics exist for Pathfinder, but I don't have an experience with them in that system. Here's what I would do. Treat the army as an ...


24

They should run away along prepared routes when they're bloodied or the fight being lost in their eyes. Creatures that, rightfully, fear for their lives shouldn't fight "until the last moment." Instead, like most sensible creatures, when the fight becomes a lost cause (when they're bloodied, and/or when 20-30% of the group is down, depending on how loyal ...


22

A possible (and sufficient) motivation is to avoid encouraging players to game the difficulty system for greater experience gain. A player aware of the XP system might be tempted to fight enemies in as large of a group as possible to ensure maximum XP gain. This would result in an over-difficult campaign and less fun for everyone, as the GM would have to do ...


22

It's been a while since I dealt with 3.5, but couldn't enemies armed with missile weapons just ready actions to "shoot them when they come into range"? That's certainly not a "screw you" approach. As a way to mix things up, you could also introduce terrain that makes this strategy less viable (much reduced line of sight, for example.) or NPCs who are ...


22

This is hard to do well, and requires a lot of practice. Some things to think about that I've learned... Switch between the two groups often. Don't spend long periods of time with one of the groups. For longer encounters have both groups running concurrently and switch between them as rapidly as makes sense and you can keep track of. When you do switch, ...


22

Luckily, Pathfinder has rules for this already. It is called the troop monster subtype. It's similar to a swarm, but different and designed for exactly this case, where you pit PCs against large groups of soldier types. (It's separate from their mass combat system, which does not incorporate PCs well). They developed it for their Reign of Winter AP, here'...


22

As the GM I would not worry about it at all. IMO the cardinal sin a DM can do is make the players feel "safe". Don't confuse balance with maintaining a FAIR/consistent world but frequently the two get confused when talking about balanced. Yes a level 18 character should not have to fear a single skeleton but I don't fear a bee or a fire ant but I still am ...


21

Think in terms of how you—as a player, not a DM—might tackle an opponent doing what your players are. There are several things I can think of. Spellcasters with Protection from Arrows and Slow or Grease are good start points. Protection from Arrows removes their attacking options while Slow and Grease, among other spells, are excellent for taking away ...


21

They Are A Pair of Monsters With A Long History Together You can appeal to Dungeon and Dragons tradition for a thematically (historically?) consistent relationship between an Otyugh and an Ettin in the manner you describe. The rules you are working with don't explicitly say one way or the other, as KRyan pointed out in his answer. Citation: Article ...


21

Doing it right The Tarrasque's Jump check is not particularly great as it hasn't bothered to put skill ranks into it, just its Strength modifier of 17. It is even negatively impacted by its slow speed, for a total of +11. If it rushes though, it gains a bonus of ((150-30)/10)*4 = 48 instead of a penalty, a great improvement. The total effective Jump skill ...


21

You have gnolls working with goblins, kobolds, and ogres. Does the party perhaps have a human, elf, dwarf, and gnome? Because that’s exactly the same level of variety. I’m serious, it can help to think of things in those terms: the “bad guys” can be just as cooperative as the “good guys.” There’s nothing wrong with this at all. Best is if there is a good ...


20

Keep on the Shadowfell is balanced for parties of 5 players The default party size for 4e is 5 players, and all the official modules are designed to be an appropriate challenge for a party of 5. This is not to say that the game won't work well with 3 players (my experience has been that it starts having trouble when you have 2 or less players or 8+ players),...


20

None of these happen. They don't make sense or aren't using those mechanics properly, and ultimately, it's going to take a lot more than that to get this guy to join the war. A preliminary dip into basics. Since compels and invokes seem to be getting mishandled here, I'm going to take a brief dip into what they're for and how they work. Compelling ...


20

The problem, basically, is that PC defenses and to-hit values increase every other level, and monster to-hit and defenses increase every level. So if you're L8 party (on average) hits 60% of the time, and gets hit 40% of the time. If you face a L15 minion, your party's going to be hit 75% of the time, and is only going to hit 25% of the time. Your PCs will ...


20

(First, 7 players is a lot, for an adventure designed for four. Consider that excitement during combat may be a matter of spotlight as much as it is risk.) You can do nothing. If you look at the character advancement table (PHB p.15), you see that the first few levels tick by pretty quickly, and looking at classes' advancement tables you see features ...


19

You don't. I feel that one of the great strengths of role playing games is the fact that the players can actually influence the story...so let them. If they manage to kill a character you had plans for, it's ok. The villain is bound to have allies, or minions that could take over. The ghost of the villain might haunt them. And don't forget that this is D&...


19

How about a permanented (or maybe, immovable because it is activated by something too large to move, like an obelisk) Mordenkainen's Magnificent Mansion (PHB p256, Mage's Magnificent Mansion in SRD)? It's a 7th level spell, it is nearly perfectly safe (it can be entered only through ONE portal, which only opens at caster's will). It's a perfect lodge, and if ...


19

Neither and both. Unlike in Previous editions, CR isn't used to directly create combat encounters, instead the XP values of the creatures ( which is tied directly to CR) is used to determine how many creatures can be used in the encounter. Instead, CR tells you the upper maximum difficulty of the monster, assuming a party of 4. One of the reasons why they ...


19

The standard answer to your question is to make the character obviously too powerful to touch. If the players and characters know this is an Ancient Silver Dragon, and know in advance what its breath weapon can do, and still attack like unruly children, then let the Ancient Silver Dragon overpower them with his breath and, while they're paralyzed (conscious ...



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