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19

First thing to remember is the definition of terrain in a combat/encounter framework: Terrain is anything that is not a character or monster combatant. Terrain is not just the ground the PCs are standing on. It is the furniture, atmosphere, weather, walls, ceiling, non-combatant plants and creatures, dead-bodies (real dead, not undead), fire, water, ...


11

Nothing, but the webs may shrivel a bit. Spiderwebs, contrary to 3.5's web spell, aren't flammable. (TvTropes, A literature review on google scholar suggests that TvTropes is correct, but there exist no trivially viewable papers on "how to burn spider webs.") On the other hand, this "real" conception of spider-silk may contrast so forcefully with how we ...


11

The most portable terrain type is also the least convertible: papercraft. There are piles and piles of papercraft building, landscape, cave, etc. terrain PDFs out there, but of course whatever's printed on the terrain is what's printed. Personally, I like papercraft because it's quick and you can generate a large amount of terrain quickly relatively ...


11

I think two other comments (here and here) do a good job of answering your questions; I am grappling with the same challenge of late. I want dynamic encounters that test characters beyond just run up and hit the baddie. When tinkering with an encounter I always look at it from the perspective of . . . what other ways can the players use their characters to ...


9

The D&D 4th Edition rules for Overland Speed essentially breaks down to this: 1 unit of speed = 5 mi/day, 0.5 MPH, or 50 ft/min. The D&DI Compendium references PHB page 283, with the following chart: Speed Per Day Per Hour Per Minute 5 25 miles 2½ miles 250 ft. 6 30 miles 3 miles 300 ft. 7 35 miles 3½ ...


8

I remember coming across this very same things years ago when I started running games, I wanted my players to be inherently more creative than the run up & bash method of combat. What I discovered is that players will become creative when they are comfortable enough to be creative. What this means is that you need to show them it is ok to branch out and ...


8

There are specific rules covering drowning in the Dungeon Master's Guide at least for players (but it isn't a far stretch to apply them to monsters), but your DM has called it on the spot that the creature has just perished in the water. If it were a player/NPC/monster that was in some way critical to the story/encounter, then it may have been preferable to ...


7

D&D 4th Edition doesn't appear to define it, and that isn't surprising. Unlike previous editions, 4e doesn't care so much about simulating the world or engaging in that level of detail. It offers much more high-level abstract rules alongside suggestions about how or when to apply them, and the designers weren't interested in going into such a specific ...


7

I'd say that creating a controlled, artificial scenario that accurately demonstrates cross-class character effectiveness is impossible. The reason for this is that a great part of what makes a character (class) powerful is that character's ability to choose his own scenarios. In other words, creating a "fair fight" will ignore characters' ability and ...


6

For some tiles, you may want to do a Google search on heroquest or warhammer for tile. Here's a few links for tiles: http://greywolf.critter.net/tiles.htm http://www.fortunecity.com/underworld/roadrash/317/dungeon/wqdgncrd.html http://www.donjon-esselcay.org/ (in french - click door to open, tiles are in pieces de donjon) ...


5

As others have said, the classes are balanced for different purposes. Were I to do something similar, my first instinct would be to give a varying coliseum. There is also no such thing as a fair fight. Put two fighters in tight a enclosure, arm one wiht a dagger and the other with a polearm. Chances are, the polearm fighter will likely hit first, the ...


5

It ain't pretty, but for quick and dirty 3d terrain nothing I've encountered beats Construx. They're a building toy from the late 80s that never quite got as mainstream as Legos. Anyway the flat panels are almost the right size to line up with a traditional grid if you mark them with a sharpee or line them with thin black tape. Best of all, they can be ...


5

I do not think so. The balance in Pathfinder, which is largely unchanged from 3.5, is very close to non-existent. Really, your basic premise is flawed: it has little to do with terrain. If a Cleric or Wizard knows what to expect, they can manage at the very least to create situations where the odds are, as they say, forever in their favor. A Fighter or ...


5

I found a hot knife and foam board to be handy for making the basic form for buildings. In a campaign I recently ran, it worked quite well for building a ziggurat with a long staircase, and it allows you to cut the 1" squares right into the surface. But it also makes a good terrain base. Add some ground cover, pebbles, rocks, whatever is needed and paint ...


5

Chessex manufactures grid maps that you can draw upon, with water-soluble markers ("overhead" pens). These are available with a variety of pre-printed patterns, so you can get those with hexes, squares, and so on. I personally use a mixture of one of these mats, "dungeon tiles" (tiles of various shapes with terrain pictures on them, plus pre-printed grid ...


5

I'm not sure about papercraft, specifically; but, I've seen a lot of people at conventions transport a variety of model terrain using large plastic buckets or tubs (with lids). I think this would probably work well, as long as you avoid mixing large, heavy items with structures that are very light and fragile. I would sort out the items according to size, ...


4

Things that immediately come to mind: Placing difficult terrain between your melee characters and opposing brutes. This will change tactics (example: in 4e shifting for most characters only moves them 1 square which would be impossible in difficult terrain, I don't know how other systems deal with difficult terrain and movement penalties, but mobile ...


4

Here are a few things I try to do when working with any game props, not just 3D terrain. Try it out before you play. During the game run is no time to be figuring out how things work. Have a dry run to work out any kinks. If you're setting up a map, lay it out beforehand and figure out if you need to make any changes. If you want the fog of war effect, ...


4

I'm sure this won't be the most satisfactory answer, but I would be tempted to approach this problem using my percent dice. Really, the trick is just in picking a suitable "percent chance" that each factor might occur. For example, in response to your points, I came up with something like this: For every 15 feet travelled, roll the percent dice. The ...


3

The answer is DM's discretion. However, Keep on the Shadowfell (H1) describes what to use for beds and tables, at least for that adventure: Beds: Each of the beds on the first level is large enough to accommodate two goblins. A bed provides cover for someone adjacent to it. It costs 2 squares of movement to hop up onto a bed. A character can make a DC ...


3

My mind started running and I realized that it more or less matched the pit trap with variations. Nevertheless, I'll start from the top: Treat it like a special attack with target: 1 person or AoE for save purposes Arbitrary or once/turn Reflex saves at a predetermined DC (20 recommended). If using a map, it can be pre-planned spots; if the sinkhole is ...


3

Alternate Approach is to go at this as a group 2v2 or 3v3 or even 2v3 if the 2 person team has the stronger members. Also, I don't remember the source book but one of the 3.5 splats (I know tag is Pathfinder but the idea fits both systems) mentioned having a fighters arena for your melee characters to duke it out and having a separate "arena" for your ...


3

AcedRunner has a great set of points in his answer. Something I think might be valuable to add is that you may want to create a repeatable process for developing terrain, i.e. some sort of informal classification system. Some possible examples: Surface: flat or sloped (self-explanatory) Consistent or variable (is this a consistently flat or sloping ...


2

Another approach: Re-purpose/Reuse At the end of Reavers of Harkenwold there is an encounter that has a elevated loft: It has roughly the same dimensions as the hut + stairs from the Desert of Athas tile set (but the loft stairs are wider): So - a color photocopy (or scan & print) - some paperboard, cutting, gluestick and some two sided sticky ...


2

A tool you'll want to become familiar with is modeling flock. This link says it will teach you to make it cheaply (looks like a fairly good website in general, too). One technique I've seen used is to take a grape stem (cleaned of grapes), put glue on the bits where the grapes were attached, and roll the whole thing in flock. Shake it off, and you'll end ...


2

Terrain Options Try mixing 2 situational principals of physical effect consequences (Item effects/Ground type. & Body Movement changes) and then, later, subvert it with applied traditional canonical spells. Terrain bonus Reward the players. Build some Useful Personal - Terrain Tables and Large Item uses - supply's (traps, picket lines, lrg. rock ...


2

If you really want to help yourself (from a design perspective) and your players (from a tactics perspective) to use terrain to their advantage, force it upon them. No Weapons: Have the party's weapons temporarily lost/stolen, or pit them against monsters that cannot be harmed by weapons. Slience: Depending on your system, silence can be a good tool to ...


2

If you're doing a race in 4E, I say forget thinking about overland speed altogether. Static numbers are pretty boring, and if each leg of the race is determined by the same number, then the outcome will be essentially predetermined. Instead, run it as a skill challenge of sorts. Only track relative position between the PCs and their competition. For example: ...


2

We use the Dwarven Forge 3D sets for our campaigns and during my time as DM I frequently had to modify or make wholesale changes to the printed maps in order to make the DF pieces work. For most "worked" rooms, only minor modifications were usually needed to make use of the pieces. For instance, the DF doors we have are mostly all 10' wide and most of the ...


1

Since you're open to alternatives, the tool of choice (coming from a wargames background) for non-gridded play areas is a flexible tape measure. If you're already comfortable with playing without a grid, the disadvantages of a tape measure are small and the advantages are significant: Quickly determine both range and line of sight. Minimal disruption of ...



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