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1

Asking players to just roll ability checks is a bit boring. Make sure you give them some choices and consequences. Give them a safe path, a risky path with more rewards but greater chance of failure, and a really risky path with more rewards but a chance of knocking them out of the competition. For example, a test of balance. There is an obstacle course of ...


0

It might be possible to combine challenges and assign points for how well they fulfill each one. A certain number of points is necessary to be considered 'successful'. For example: STR+INT: lift a stone onto a platform it is sitting next to. The stone is too heavy to use brute force, but there is a stick and a smaller stone to use a lever and a fulcrum. ...


3

Some things to think about: Does the party have to win all of the challenges? If not, what are the consequences of losing? Are the challenges for one character at a time? Can they help each other? These will help you design the difficulty of the encounter in a way that matches your objectives - if every character MUST succeed in ALL challenges, with no ...


-2

I do not think that there is any solid equation to calculate CR from player level, or vice versa. I ran into this problem when a fight broke out between two of my adventurers, and I did not know how many experience points to give to the winner. By GMNoob's answer, a gladiator (5e Monster Manual Page 346) with a CR of 5 should be the equivalent of a level ...


1

You don't need to know the experience value. Just make the PC level up when you think he has gone through enough adventures. Making complex computations has no added value to the game. Using the PC rules for the NPC can simplify the thing if you really want to compute the xp total. You can also consider that some monsters will be fighting the NPC, some ...


2

To be perfectly honest, I think using the "monster" type NPC stats in a party is probably not supported by the RAW in general. If these were temporary allies who were going to hang around for a session or two, you could easily fudge it, but if they're meant to replace PCs because of a player shortage, you're going to be far better off creating the "stand-in" ...


-1

In 3.5 and other version of DnD, there were cohort XP rules. Given that I haven't found such rules for D&D 5th ed, I think it's time to abstract a tiny bit. Rather then try and calculate the ECL of all of these NPC individually, consider them as a fighting force. You have three guards, offering three attacks per round, and offering tactical options for ...


2

Scale the boss down. Unlike 3.5 and similar systems, 4e doesn't treat level as an objective quality of an NPC: for 4e, level (and the minion/standard/elite/solo ranking system) is a measure of narrative importance. As a game that puts tactical combat front and centre, narrative focus is roughly equivalent to agency in combat. Minions aren't weaker; they're ...


1

Personally I think rewarding the players is an absolute necessity, the first time something like this happens. But there are many ways to do that, I think its fine in this situation to just let them breeze through some content. I however think its important to make sure that they are actually rewarded, if you are following a script, your players might breeze ...


1

In addition to any better advice given in other answers, I could recommend stealing a page from Pokemon and having their new overpowered ally not always use his full power in combat- he might consider certain threats beneath him and not actually exert himself much in every encounter. That's not to say he never does anything cool ever, it just means he may ...


1

Unless the party knows beforehand who they are going to fight, then your players won't be aware of whether you changed the encounters after they recruited this NPC. If it were me, I would make the encounters a little harder, but only a little so that the fights are still easier for the party than I had planned, but still not a total breeze. The level of ...


1

The reaction of rewarding players for being clever is absolutely the right one. They should get a slightly easier ride because of the quick wits of a party member. But also keep this in mind: there are likely other bad guys out there, who may here about Pieter changing sides. This might push up their timelines for the actions they take; maybe they aren't as ...


5

The most important factor in answering this question is, "Did everyone still have fun?" Did the players enjoy blasting through the dungeon? Did having this happen put you in a bind story wise? If everyone still had fun, there is no need to scale anything up, should this happen again. If not, then you may want to consider it. Or you could always weaken ...


5

Scale the difficulty a little bit if it would be too boring otherwise, but don't scale it so much that the players don't feel like total badasses for having recruited an overpowered NPC to their side. It's like getting an invicibility star in Mario, or those flashbacks in FF7 where you have Sephiroth on your side. As @sillyputty says, it's a reward for ...


4

The problem with this specific scenario you've set up is that, even with actual, factual, blight-infected flora and fauna, traditionally the people in the DA universe still wouldn't believe the Wardens. You have to remember that Darkspawn are a constant threat in this universe. Even when there is no Blight happening, Darkspawn constantly are fighting the ...


31

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 ...


0

My initial thought would be to keep everything the same. In my opinion, if you are building a world with a specific set of rule for how things work you shouldn't break those rules when the players circumvent your plans. In essence what I mean is, the denizens of the dungeon Peiter helped clear out, presumably had led lives before the party got there, they ...


4

At the moment you are trying to find equivalent PC levels of NPCs and use this number to find the proper XP budget. Maybe you should try the opposite, more direct way: take the NPCs and calculate their XP budget as if they were a group of enemies, and use this number to create an encounter. Such an encounter should have an approximately 50% chance of winning ...


2

A simple method I use with my players to add some intensity to the mundane is to add a timer. It takes a little tuning, but for something like that, I'd give them 15 minutes to go start to finish on all the tasks they need to get done. They're failures should have some small consequence, but nothing critical. It's really great how intense a small scene can ...


32

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 ...


2

I haven't seen it mentioned yet but there are rules for Mass Combat that could work well for this. These rules contain options for armies of 1 creature up to 2,000 plus. Your players would all form a single army of however many characters there are at the time or form a single army for each character.


2

Long, long ago I handled a similar situation (they got careless while scouting an orc army) and I handled it by assuming the rolls were evenly distributed. 100 orcs shoot, I figure 5 got a 1, 5 got a 2 and so on. The orcs didn't have enough information to pick targets so I distributed them evenly and only rolled for the odd ones. The tactical situation ...


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, ...


10

Don't Prep Plots First of all I will make a patronizing comment that I hope you will not take in a patronizing way (a bit like saying "so offence" before offending someone): If you want to tell stories, write a novel. If you want to participate in a joint story telling experience, play a RPG. Please take the time to read this. Players break your plans ...


24

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 ...


4

Arrow Storm For the archers, treat it as an environmental effect. "Hail of arrows"; characters whose flatfooted AC is 20 or higher are struck by 1d3-1 Small shortbow arrows per turn; FF AC 16-19 struck by 1d3 arrows per turn; FF AC 13-15 struck by 1d4 arrows per turn; FF AC 12 or lower are struck by 1d4+1 arrows per turn. These do normal Small shortbow ...



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