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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. ...


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 ...


9

Ecosystems Material plane creatures reproduce normally, how we would imagine - planar creatures, mostly, reproduce by being created - not all, but elementals, angels, demons, devils and the like all do. Most things with the Outsider type reproduce in this manner. Therefore, any Outsider found on the material plane has a reason for being there. Planar ...


6

Declaring Desires: You mentioned your desired solution should be not too long, not too boring, using mostly roleplay or non-combat related interaction, and without too much dice-rolling. Barter Method This suggestion is that you go the route of many famous computer games that are usually referred to as Quest, Adventure, or Point-and-Click. This method ...


6

I've gotten a lot of mileage (har, har) out of Atlas Games' En Route series from their Penumbra line for 3e D&D. There's 3 in the series and they're more than one page each, probably an 8 page mini-adventure each on average. Harder to get but more totally on point is the AD&D Book of Lairs, full of one page (sometimes two, for especially large ...


6

No. I notice you didn't specify edition, but I'm familiar with them all—and none that use random encounters (and tables thereof) tailor their numbers to the size of the party. The editions that include that specific kind of randomness are already aiming to provide a naturalistic experience, where the world is not tailored to the party, and having ...


5

An encounter is a situation. It might be a meeting with the king, a combat against some enemies, a room with a puzzle to solve. Generally, when you as a group start doing a different thing one encounter is over and the next one has started. Usually, encounters are separated from each other by some rest, idling, doing mundane, unopposed activities.


5

An encounter in its simplest terms is anything that could either pass or fail with possible shades of grey in between. It is generally made up of multiple parts (not just one skill check or one hit to an enemy) that are all linked within a timeframe. Basically anytime you could say "Remember that time when..." and can talk for more than a minute, it could ...


5

Swarms You can have 10 regular units be a "swarm", there are some good examples of Goblin, Kobold etc swarms in the monster manuals that you can base the powers on. For added authenticity have a swarm generate a few minions to represent the stragglers when it hits 0 hit points, and maybe let 8 such minions recombine into a new swarm. Feed in a few minions ...


5

I think OP is trying to account more for the fact that a larger group of adventurers reasonably will attract more attention than a smaller group. This isn't a tailoring of difficulty persay, but more of an expression of the amount of "noise" the adventurers make going through hostile territory. In this case I would advocate rolling multiple times on the ...


5

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 ...


4

Do not stop at random, ever. That is the one answer I believe is appropriate. Why do you even want to have a random encounter in a dungeon? To surprise your party? You can do that without resorting to randomness. Interrupting resting by a random attack can also be a good reason, as giving the players an atmosphere of impending danger, when you roll for ...


3

Bigger Monsters Since Tridus covered most of what I wanted to say, the only option I don't believe he included was a bigger singular monster. A large party has a better chance of surviving a more boss-like monster because one crit won't destroy all of their capabilities. With a group of six PCs, you could always try a Wyrmling aged dragon (IE a rogue ...


3

In response to Lechlerfan and the question in his bounty; here are my thought's on the topic, as looking in the DMG 1&2 and the RC do not address this particular scenario (as far as I can find in the sections concerning XP rewards or NPC allies). The books actually don't mention NPC allies that I can find, other than during NPC creation where it says you ...


3

Increasing the number of characters in the party mainly increases the complexity of the fight, not its difficulty. 4e very firmly treats combat as sport. That's the idea behind the XP budget: to present a fair challenge. With that in mind... Option 1: Allies as PCs If the ally is run as a full-on PC, the game operates exactly as intended, with no ...


3

My recommendation is to take a look at the WFRP 2E WFRP GM Pack and Toolkit (PDF $5US, but printable to meet the dead tree criteria). I've used this several times in my campaign for short RP sessions. Samples from the Wilderness Encounters section include: 01-05 Around a bend in the road a travelling tinker trudges into view, his wares clanking on ...


3

It is worth noting, however, that Pathfinder, unlike D&D 4e doesn't have a mechanical impact of "an encounter" as a general rule. (i.e. in 4e your players will have "encounter powers" and will care about "milestones" to recover Action Points - neither apply to Pathfinder) What does matter more for many Pathfinder games, especially as you get to higher ...


2

I introduced my campaign with the players being soldiers mid-battle field. It was pretty cleanly executed and didn't take too long. I pre-rolled what soldiers around the players did in large packs of 20. I listed a fixed amount of damage that pack of 20 did, a fixed chance to hit, and most of the soldiers had the exact same stats. I set aside the rolling ...


2

There's a fan made module for Hârn called 101 encounters which can be used for any setting really. The encounters can really add spice to a campaign. I've only used a few of the encounters in a campaign I ran but it sure was handy.


2

It depends on how common you'd like to make the magical and divine interactions in your setting. Low Interaction In this kind of setting, the divine powers of other Planes don't send entities or servants of their own accord - if they appear, it's because someone else summoned them there. The interesting part to this is that it means summoning is a big ...


2

At First Level, Things Are Swingey Encounters can easily be ended by a couple of good dice rolls from the PCs, or can kill all the PCs outright in an orgy of crits from quite weak enemies. This is fine, as it helps set the theme - at low levels, the PCs can end an encounter with a blaster under the table fired into an unsuspecting bounty hunter's stomach. ...


1

I can think of two possible ideas. Alter the terrain. When the fire beetles come rushing in, have them also create holes in the walls, or ground. And have the tunnel they create become a shortcut to an interesting part of the dungeon, nearby. Create cave ins or blockages. Cheat. If a random encounter doesn't seem fitting to that location, then pick the ...


1

Knowing Conditions As the GM, conditions are going to come up. Having the effects of the conditions memorized will make your job a lot easier. There's not a huge list of them - going over it a few times should be relatively easy to remember. If not, make a cheat sheet, with derived values. A -4 penalty to dex is -2 ac, -2 initiative, and with a bow, -2 ...


1

Of Dice and Dragons, a blog by Scot Newbury, has some really nice ideas for encounters, organized by creature or featured NPC, you happen to need. Most are non-combat. It's worth a look :)


1

Be flexible A good mix is between 2-4 encounters, with a healthy dose of roleplaying and fact gathering to aid the party. The best answer is to adapt to the interests of the group The right number of encounters for any group is a function of the gm, and the average playing groups interest in combat for that particular session. If the players are more ...


1

I may not have an answer as elaborate as the others, but I have done this in my campaign before. What I do is during each encounter I keep track of useful activity between the NPCs and the players, followed by dividing it up and rewarding the players the EXP they deserve (based on activity). For example: If the PCs hit an enemy worth 1000xp 3 times, and ...


1

I like the traditional rule that NPCs gain a fractional of the XP share of a normal PC, since they are ostensibly following the leadership and commands of PCs (either individually or collectively). Thus they learn less from a given encounter. This way they still gain XP and advance in levels, but a little more slowly, and doesn't penalize the PCs quite as ...


1

The way my group has handled allied NPCs is such: They are present and take care of enemies off to the side through the use of DM storytelling (aka the enemies the ally engages exist solely for storytelling purposes and thus do not give experience or alter the encounter in any meaningful way exp wise for the players) but the actual encounter is built for ...



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