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17

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 ...


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 ...


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 ...


10

The adventure actually gives you a great rationale for the dragon staying put in or very near to his tower. Venomfang does not want to give up such a promising lair... (p33). This is basically all you need as a DM to know that the dragon doesn't really want or need to follow your PCs (you really don't even need this much, but it's a good hint). There ...


8

The duel isn't meant to be deadly, it's meant to be impossible. A CR 4 creature would be a deadly encounter for a single level 5 PC. With that in mind, you need to know that your players fight this NPC again towards the end of the 3rd chapter. At that time, they would usually be 4 level 3 PCs, so a CR 4 creature would be a hard encounter. He has other NPCs ...


8

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

Every game has a different focus. If it's supposed to be roleplaying heavy, often those games succeed when both the GM and the players are pushing roleplaying. The players should be asking questions of NPCs, sharing their personal stories, or thoughts, etc. Now, the reason most players might NOT be doing that is they may be stuck on "mission-based" gaming ...


4

Yikes: that's a tall order. Step one might be a conversation with the GM... 1. Recon You have an advantage in that you know who will be trying to collect the bounty. Try to sneak a peek at the cleric's favored tactics, and that of his pirate crew. Knowing the tactics should let you come up with counters (eg., if the cleric prefers offensive magic, ...


4

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. ...


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

Overview These rules have not changed substantially, although it's my experience that a hard fight is much more fun with a lot of equal-level enemies rather than a few Level +4 enemies. Your quote refers to the distinction between monster level and encounter level. As you probably know, an encounter has a level that is used to determine its XP budget. You ...


3

As defined in the Pathfinder SRD: 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. So, unless the whole level of ...


2

Hit Dice The easiest and most painless way to increase the CR of an encounter is to give the creature one or more extra Hit Dice. The creature itself will have the same power, as you aren't boosting its attributes, attack bonuses, etc. It will just be slightly harder to kill it.


2

Especially when improvising social scenes I found it best to have one or at most two NPCs there to interact with. A larger social event (like a party) usually never takes more than two sentences from me because I found them to be bad for gameplay. The reason is that usually only one PC interacts with one NPC when many are there so I basically have to play ...


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 ...


1

I've handled things like this in several ways. Once they reach the edge of the grid or their intent to flee is clear (and unanimous): You take control of the narrative and describe some suitably harrowing escape with the dragon circling and the characters scurrying from cover to cover until it goes away and they flee. Since they wanted to run away in the ...


1

You have two different sub-questions here. Using a battlemat, how mechanically do I handle fleeing off it? The 4e-type answers to that are at What happens when you step off the battle map?, the 5e answer is more "That is why God cursed the battlemat and sent it shrieking from 5th Edition." But if you want a mechanical solution to the scrolling grid ...


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

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

Something you have to look at: How much effort is the creature able to expend on such protections. The best defense is to not fight in the first place--say, a fake lair. The clever monster living in that cave? Remember that big chamber with all the stalactites you passed through to get there? His real lair entrance is up there where it is completely ...


1

I would firstly base what they'd do on their Intelligence -- a low Intelligence creature might not do much beyond simple concealment and crude traps. Plus, some are social creatures -- so a lair's defense might be sheer numbers. However, more intelligent creatures might be pulling of Grimtooth's Traps level defenses on you (some of which could be ...



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