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35

I grapple with this question all the time. I'm not sure this is the best answer, but I try to start by having the enemy negotiate with them. Early in a campaign, I'll have the enemy surrender on reasonable terms. The trick is to implant the idea that negotiating doesn't lead to a worse outcome, and that the "bad guys" may want something the PCs are ...


29

Lead by showing. Have the enemies talk during fights, shouting threats or bantering. Make sure that this is relevant to what's going on (or about to happen) and not just throw-away one-liners: have the enemies snarl angrily and promise painful death to the PC who wounded them, declare revenge for their fallen comrades, shout quick instructions or ...


26

From a 4th Edition perspective, none of this is interesting. You're talking about stuff that happens between the encounters, where the rules are largely silent. Role-play, have fun, whatever -- but don't get stuck on how to handle it with rules. 4th Edition PCs are heroes. They don't have to worry about where to pee. They don't have to worry about how far ...


22

The tendency of hikers to spread (or lack thereof) has a lot to do with WHY they are hiking. Modern recreational hikers tend to spread because they can do so safely, and part of the enjoyment for many is being out of sight of other people; the earshot rule is a matter of safety, but very lax, and in most places people hike, large predators are long since ...


21

If you want to ask your players beforehand if this is okay with them, then do it, but in general, this is a Bad Idea. As a rule, never remove the opportunity for a player to control their character, beyond what the rules already say. I'd go no further than "You see 5 large men appear from the shadows" without giving the players a chance to turn around, roll ...


20

Location. They will live near a water source, and probably near their fields... Neolithic hill forts are fairly common. It's a walled village atop an artificial hill, built on the floodplain. It may also have a cistern and/or a well down through the motte/tel. Walls are likely wood, possibly also dry-fit stone for part of the height. I can tell you from ...


17

This is defined in Pathfinder's Glossary: Encounter An encounter is a short scene in which the PCs are actively doing something. Examples of encounters include a combat with a monster, a social interaction significant to the adventure’s plot, an attempt to disarm a trap, or the discovery of a mystery or clue requiring further investigation. ...


16

Lead by showing. Have the enemies talk during fights, shouting threats or bantering. Make sure that this is relevant to what's going on (or about to happen) and not just throw-away one-liners: have the enemies snarl angrily and promise painful death to the PC who wounded them, declare revenge for their fallen comrades, shout quick ...


16

The world reacts, and people within the world react. With the world reacting, you're looking at first order effects that have two purposes: to signal the presence of an artifact of great power disturbing the natural order to the players to signal that presence to other people Thus, you'll have the artifact animating a bunch of zombies in the night, ...


13

I hear you, but don't forget, this is in their lair. All creatures should be nastier on their home ground, where there are more of them, better organised, prepared, watchful and knowledgable about the territory, than when a couple are encountered in the wild. I want my players to be wary of going into lairs. I want them to go "the scroll says that the rod ...


13

It sounds like you are an experienced DM, who has been successful so far without using the EL/CR rules. That being the case, I don’t think they’ll help you. Monsters’ CRs are often terribly inaccurate. Monster Manual II is particularly egregious, such as the CR 9 Adamantine Horror that has at-will Disjunction. Dragons are under-CRed ...


13

According to the rules, the XP to be given to each player is the sum of the Monsters' XP, divided by the number of players. See the Dungeon Master's Guide page 120, under Earning XP: Characters earn XP for every encounter they overcome. The XP reward for completing an encounter is the sum of the XP values for each monster, NPC, trap or hazard that makes ...


12

There are a few ways to deal with this: Give the players sufficient warning before stumbling upon the main Trogs encampment. Perhaps a patrol, or guard post, will give the players indications a larger lair is ahead. If they happily skip in then, let the dice fall where they may. Remember, earlier editions of D&D are not as forgiving as later ...


12

I'll take a crack at answering the first question. (I'll do it with Pathfinder, since I'm more familiar with it, but it should be about the same for 3.5e). I'd estimate he'd need to be at minimum 12th level to handle that encounter. The easiest way to do that is calculate the CR of the encounter you're proposing. Let's assume you've got 2 of the Giants ...


12

General Rule: a party of 4 characters at level X can be expected to win an encounter of level X using a moderate amount of resources. Three or four of those encounters in one day should exhaust the party. One monster at CR X produces an EL (Encounter Level) of X. Adding a second monster of the same CR usually increases the EL by 2. I usually somewhat ...


11

A lot of this depends on the amount of time you want this to take and how much this would affect the story arc. I did just finish a few year story arc with three such items in a town that needed to be found. I really hate any heavy handedness as a GM, so I like using light touches and foreshadowing when I can get it. Major necromantic items/action near ...


11

Be Reactive If you're just starting as a DM, don't try to adjust things in your first few encounters. Balancing encounters is something that gets a lot easier with experience, and if you get it wrong early you may just wipe the party out by overdoing it. It also depends on how optimized the party is. If the party is full of experienced players playing very ...


10

when you play D&D, you are not supposed to chat with the enemy during encounters. The system is made for fighting. That's your problem, right there. I do not believe this to be true, and it's not the way I run my D&D games. As a result, I don't have this problem. If that's how you run the game, then that'll be the players' expectations, ...


10

One possible answer is to consider resources: a lair of 10 monsters will have different resource requirements (and therefore area requirements) than 100. If the party is facing 100 monsters, significant numbers should be engaged in resource-gathering activities, tilling mushroom fields, hunting cave beasts, etc... Of course, if the party happens on the ...


10

It is highly unlikely a party would stumble on the lair only to be overwhelmed by dozens of troglodytes. Well before they reach the lair there would be signs of inhabitants along with chance encounters with patrols, hunting and gathering groups. There should be plenty of warning for the party to take it slow and careful. Or to avoid the main lair altogether. ...


9

Why restrict yourself to holy monsters? An evil monster could be drawn to the artifact to take control of it (think Crenshinibon and Errtu). You could make things even more interesting and have, as you said, some roving band of clerics coming to destroy the artifact. Meanwhile, a group of demons is on the way to try to steal it. The party gets caught in the ...


9

Most of the advantage people/creatures have when setting up low tech defensive works tends to be environmental/situational. Unless in time of war, generally it's safety first though, and low cost - you don't have a pot of boiling oil or black pudding lying around for someone to trip over. Besides @aramis' great suggestions, I'd tend to say once you get ...


9

While scenes like this can be very cinematic, that can be a detriment after a while. Cinematic is perfect for movies, but in games becomes very old very fast. I'm sure you can think of more than one time you've skipped (or at least wanted to) an especially long cutscene in a video game. This is a game all about player decisions and their effects on the ...


8

Conley seems to be suggesting that you build the world first, populate it with creatures, and ignore scaling the enounter difficulties to the players. That is, if you place a level 20 dragon in a cave, and the players decide to explore said cave at level 5, they're still going to have to deal with that level 20 dragon. This is opposed to the "normal" style, ...


8

As far as the allied NPC is concerned, I think you are correct. The other option is to simply increase the amount of XP by whatever he would take, and then still give them the same XP. For the multi-fight combat, you can set up the scenario to make it less likely the NPCs will all gang up on the PCs. For their experience, you can give them the experience ...


8

Judging Rarity This all depends on your particular campaign, I think. Keep that in mind as you apply these guidelines. Origin 4E gives each creature an origin. Common: natural, spirit Uncommon: elemental, fey, shadow Rare: aberrant, immortal My mental rules for categorizing origins is based on "distance" from the characters' world: Natural is ...


8

How about a Tainted Ooze? It's a level 1 minion, so it won't blow your encounter budget, and it has a slide effect, so you can use it to group up the PCs for the Fire Beetle burst attacks. It also makes sense in a sewer. Rats, of course, are the classic sewer monster. You could also think about frogs -- the Thornskin Frog has a knock prone effect, which ...


8

This depends on a number of things. Do your players like to favor combat over other forms of role-playing? How long are your sessions? Do your players understand the rules well enough to where things are going to move by quickly (sounds like no, in this case)? Do you as a DM mind running a lot/a little/no combat in any given session? This sort of thing is ...


7

Resurrecting a dead question. Yay for necromancy! Broadly speaking, I agree with aramis. The wilderness is scary and will eat you, so people travel in groups and don't tend to spread out. Adventurers, while foolish (they go looking for trouble), are not completely stupid. They probably aren't going to randomly spread out beyond sight and hearing via ...


6

I think laying the groundwork from the beginning is most important. Just about every intelligent monster thats not trying to eat you is going to be willing to take a surrender as opposed to mindlessly attacking. Make sure that every monster that might reasonably try to parley does, even when you fully intend to have the party attack them. If they get used ...



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