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58

The rules as written for this, as taken from the DM DnD Basic Rules version 0.1 say: Typically, XP is awarded for defeating the monster, although the DM may also award XP for neutralizing the threat posed by the monster in some other manner. It doesn't specify how much of the XP you should award, so it is reasonable to interpret it as meaning you may ...


46

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 ...


38

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 ...


33

In an "anything is possible" game, this is fair. In this kind of game, it is necessary for players to actually, truly believe that they can get themselves into so much trouble that they will not have a "final warning" that their PC is about to die, and Death is the most (and often only) effective teacher in this regard.* And fortunately, players always get ...


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 ...


25

As the GM, you have the burden of considering the game, not just the moment. Believing you don't have a choice, as indicated by saying: "...I only did what any city guard would have done given the situation." smacks of "My Guy" syndrome, and is something you need to watch out for, since you're responsible for a lot of "guys". As GM's, we all develop ...


22

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 ...


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

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 ...


20

Mearls wrote an article about Challenge Ratings that actually specifically explains the Ogre's Challenge Rating of 2: http://dnd.wizards.com/articles/features/building-adventures-0 The important bit for your question is: For example, an ogre is worth 450 XP and is a CR 2 threat. A party of five 1st-level characters should expect to face about 500 XP ...


19

Decisions are engaging This is true on every level: encounters (both combat and other wise), dungeons (or other local-level areas), campaigns, and adventures. Descriptions of settings and characters and the environment contribute to immersion and bringing the game to life, yes, but to be engaged with the gameplay your players should be making decisions. ...


18

Involve the players What strikes me as I read both of these situations is that the players seem only tenuously involved in the events that occur. The major action seems to be on your side of the screen, or in the hands of the dice. In any game, this will tend to make players dissatisfied, because there seems to be little reason for the players to actually ...


17

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 ...


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

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, ...


15

If the party bypassed the encounter simply by picking right instead of left, I'd say no XP. If they worked out a tactic to avoid the combat, I'd give them full XP to reward creative thinking.


14

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 ...


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 ...


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

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

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 ...


12

I'm pretty new to this sort of thing as well, and I've had to seriously consider this threat for thundertree (especially considering the damage the dragon can pull off with breath weapons). If you don't want the dragon to follow them, just come up with a good role play reason for that reaction. Dragons are territorial, and maybe he doesn't want the ...


12

Your calculations are correct except that the average of 2 and 1/4 is 1 1/8 which still rounds to 1. However, on p. 237 of the DMG it says: Creating a monster isn't just a number-crunching exercise. The guidelines in this chapter can help you create monsters, but the only way to know whether a monster is fun is to playtest it. After seeing your ...


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

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 ...


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 ...


11

Mobs tend to not be very effective in 3.5 As you noted, the orcs were torn to shreds. The party had powerful, area-affecting debuffs available, and used them. Meanwhile, due to the extreme degree to which the orcs outnumbered the PCs (5:1), we expect that the orcs were commensurately low-level (the CR guidelines would suggest that their numbers alone ...


11

Yes it can be that deadly. I blogged about the initial encounter in detail in this post. The Party Elven Wizard Human Rogue Human Wizard Human Fighter The Fight Four hours outside of Phandelver the party ran into an ambush set by four goblins. The party roll perception rolls. The goblins rolled various 20s for their stealth check. The Goblins got a ...


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, ...



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