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Questions tagged [encounter-design]

Designing challenging and engaging situations in which player characters come into contact (and often conflict with) NPCs, monsters, or other potential opponents.

5
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0answers
498 views

How can I rig a game where dice will always roll poorly? [on hold]

I'm planning an encounter with the owner of a hotel casino who loads his dice, and for this encounter only I want my players to use special dice to roll poorly. If there is no website to purchase ...
0
votes
0answers
44 views

Need some help with the final encounter [closed]

So I'm DMing my first campaign and have a plan for the final battle between the PC's and this massive Bio-Mech created by the ancient gods, but I want to know if anyone knows IF this idea is even ...
1
vote
1answer
162 views

How to create a powerful boss fusion of an artificial dragon and a lich?

I am currently thinking how to build a sheet for a powerful villain in my campaign. This creature was created by an ancient people as a way to control artificial dragons and to kill powerful real ...
58
votes
10answers
11k views

How can I engage players with melee monsters when players keep their distance?

So I am running a campaign as a DM, and one session my players were in a dungeon and spotted a Chuul in a water-filled area. The Chuul stayed deep in the pool, so the characters decided to drain the ...
5
votes
0answers
83 views

Planning a one shot for my group for one of my player's birthday [closed]

So one of my player's birthday is coming up soon and it so happens to fall on the day we usually do our sessions, I was planning on doing a one shot based around her Druid character and all my other ...
9
votes
2answers
620 views

How to make monsters level appropriate during a session?

While running dungeon crawls in D&D 5e, I have found that balancing encounters often takes far more prepwork than the storyline does. It's necessary to account for all the exp players may receive ...
2
votes
1answer
97 views

How should I budget encounter XP for a single PC?

In the photo I've shared, it starts the XP budget for a party of 4 PCs. At 1st level, the budget is 400. For 5 PCs it's 500. And 600 XP for 6 PCs. So I guess it's safe to assume that I can divide the ...
19
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1answer
1k views

What's the difference between XP and adjusted XP?

What's the difference between XP and adjusted XP in D&D 5th edition?
-3
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2answers
334 views

Are 3 wolves too much of a challenge for a single level 8 monk?

I've never DMed before, and would like to ask any experienced DMs if they think 3 (regular) wolves are too much for a level 8 monk. It's a solo "party" with one Way of the Four Elements monk. He has ...
5
votes
1answer
599 views

What is the best number of combat encounters for a 6-player level-3 party in one adventuring day? [closed]

Soon, I'll be hosting a D&D session for six 3rd-level characters, but I was having some difficulty on deciding the amount of encounters. Our sessions typically last 6-8 hours. Everyone has some ...
37
votes
7answers
9k views

How do I deal with a DM that throws encounters at us that are way above the party?

I'm not sure if the question was worded in a coherent way, but I have recently played in a Pathfinder game and a 5e game and both times the DM (same one both times) gave us overpowered encounters. ...
13
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13answers
2k views

How to balance combat encounter for magic user group that suddenly can't cast magic? [closed]

My campaign is set on a low-magic setting, meaning magic is not common. Magic users are generally welcome, although at some places they hate magic users. Most (80%) of my players start off as a magic ...
11
votes
2answers
730 views

Should the DCs for skill checks be higher or lower than saves?

I'm homebrewing a rotten, collapsible staircase. I want there to be a Dex check to climb it, but if they fail the check, they can make a save to avoid falling. Should the check or the save be of a ...
5
votes
7answers
753 views

How to use a werewolf as boss for a party of 4 first levels?

Note: First time DM with first time players, using Basic Rules. Story: I am planning a story which involves wolves and werewolves. 4 PCs would investigate an incident in a forest that caused a NPC's ...
2
votes
1answer
259 views

Is this encounter too difficult/easy for 5 level-5 PCs and an NPC? [closed]

I have used CR calculators to get an idea of the difficulty of this encounter, but I thought the collective knowledge here may provide me with a better answer than I could find myself, as the ...
3
votes
3answers
273 views

How to balance combat with a couple of min/maxed characters in the party?

I have a party of 4 freshly minted level 7s for an upcoming game. 3 of the players have been playing for a while and one person is a relative newcomer to the group. The problem I'm having is that 2 ...
13
votes
6answers
1k views

As a DM, how can I best design a combat encounter in a stealth mission for a fighter?

This happened in a multisession one-shot (a game that only consists of one arc/mission/goal that spans multiple sessions) a while ago. It is advertised as a heist mission, thus generally you'll pick ...
6
votes
4answers
458 views

How many enemies will challenge my party of four 1st-level characters, but not result in certain death?

I was asked to DM for a one-shot with people wanting to try and learn the game. I have created a not-too-complicated world in which they can run around and interact with its inhabitants. The problem ...
2
votes
2answers
240 views

How do you balance this necromancer encounter for a 5th level party? [closed]

I am running a one-shot and have everything ready but the final battle. This details an epic fight where the party (3 players at 5th level) encounter a circular chamber with a rampart and a large ...
5
votes
2answers
158 views

How do I ensure tactical combat is interesting for my large party?

I am writing a custom PbtA hack to reboot an old play-by-post-RPG that I used to run on a lightweight, but overly random original system. The party contains 8-9 players (which worked out before the ...
10
votes
4answers
1k views

Can I use the Monster Stats in the DMG to estimate a party's damage output?

I'm designing an encounter where the party has to hold off hordes of baddies that are trying to break through a set of doors, so designing the encounter really hinges on how much damage per round the ...
8
votes
3answers
553 views

How do players defeat the coin dragon in Gorgoldand's Gauntlet?

There is a one-shot adventure called Gorgoldand's Gauntlet, originally designed to be run with 3.5 rules. The adventure mostly consists of a series of puzzles, traps, and a few encounters. However, ...
13
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4answers
2k views

How much XP does a monster created by Animate Objects add to an encounter?

I am making a boss fight. The boss can cast animate objects, a spell that can animate statues. The spell gives information for, eg., 1 Large Construct: Large - HP: 50, AC: 10, Attack: +6 to hit, ...
0
votes
2answers
171 views

Balancing Different Level PCs in PVP Pathfinder Combat

I have just spent altogether too much time trying to answer a simple question in my arena combat game: Would a level 1 group like to take on a level 4 character, PVP? How many players do you think ...
9
votes
1answer
235 views

How to design a combat encounter for 20 characters? [duplicate]

Over the course of the last 30 month, I GMed ongoing campaigns for three different groups. One of them had to be disbanded due to one problematic player. Another one dissolved because we couldn’t find ...
-1
votes
2answers
1k views

Is a young black dragon enough of a challenge alone for group of five level-5 characters?

I have a 5-member party in D&D 5e (ranger, fighter, sorcerer, rogue and bard) who are all level 5. They will soon be meeting with the "big bad", a young black dragon, in his lair which contains ...
3
votes
0answers
279 views

Is this possibly deadly encounter fair to run? [closed]

The Situation One of my players angered a very dangerous guild of assassins, by killing one of their members, that of course got him a nice bounty for his head. In a attempt to deceive the guild, ...
0
votes
4answers
530 views

How do I stop my players from ganging up on my Monsters? [closed]

For all my D&D scenarios, my players decide to gang up on one or two monsters at a time. Most of the time I have six or more players, all level 12. The reliable party consists of 2 Barbarians, a ...
8
votes
2answers
2k views

Is there a monster that can summon other lesser monsters?

I'm currently designing a 5th edition campaign with an antagonist who's sorta like this sociopathic mix between Jafar and the Joker. He's always got some plan to escape unscathed and has tons of ...
11
votes
5answers
2k views

How to balance encounters for unbalanced parties?

I am running a D&D 5e West Marches style game. We have a pool of around 10 players, who all have one character. This game kills off a character around once every 1.5 months due to the nature and ...
6
votes
2answers
477 views

Is an Adventurers League DM allowed to adjust an encounter to max out the combat XP reward?

I DM an AL group of four. They agree to create new level 1 characters (they are experienced), but ask me to adjust the combat to give maximum possible XP in an adventure, in case they miss out the non-...
7
votes
4answers
1k views

What's a good method of giving a certain monster resistance to ranged attacks made against it?

I'm creating a monster of my own and I ran into this problem. So, the monster is a giant, venomous Starfish, largely inspired by the Crown of Thorns starfish in real life. It's about 20-30 feet in ...
5
votes
2answers
2k views

How many CR 1/4 does it take to challenge a level 3 party?

I'm running my first campaign and I'm confused about the CR of monsters. I started out with five level 2 characters. I have a few encounters that work so far, but theres one I'm confused about. If the ...
14
votes
3answers
307 views

How can I quickly adjust encounters for variable party sizes?

Problem I'm running a campaign with 6 players, but they can't always show up1. That, by itself, would not be a problem, if I knew how many would come with enough time to prepare for it. The thing is: ...
5
votes
2answers
407 views

How do I know if I'm sending too many encounters at the party?

The party is currently 3 level 2 PCs: a fighter, a rogue, and a wizard. They don't work well together, but that's to be expected: all of them are new to role-playing. Soon they'll add another PC—a ...
1
vote
0answers
287 views

How can I make 1v1 (small group) combat more interesting? [closed]

I will be running a DnD 5e Campaign for my girlfriend (+ her pet dog) and possibly her sister as well. Considering it will only be 2 real PCs I feel that combat will be very linear and boring. Most ...
1
vote
0answers
126 views

How do I learn to be a GM? [closed]

I have never played Pathfinder before or D&D. My friends and I started a trial run with various characters that they made and I have been directed into the GMing position. Yet I have no idea what ...
21
votes
5answers
3k views

How can I create encounters that encourage players to use non-Attack actions?

In D&D 5e, the players have lots of actions they can take within combat encounters besides attacking. I'm trying to figure out how to encourage them to use a greater variety of actions, especially ...
3
votes
2answers
698 views

Are Water Weirds too weak for 3 3rd level characters?

I like the idea of having a Water Weird within a small basin guarding a room of an ancient ruin or temple. Am I missing something or is a Water Weird no match for a 3rd level party because it stops ...
3
votes
0answers
105 views

Does the CR of a bone devil include the potential of summoning 2d6 spined devils? [duplicate]

The Bone Devil, when using the Devil Summoning Variant, has the ability to attempt to Summon Devil (1/Day). Having a read through the appropriate page on themonstersknow.com it discusses the idea ...
0
votes
2answers
245 views

How difficult will this set of encounters be?

I'm trying to make a set of encounters for the following party: Rogue, Cleric, Fighter, Sorcerer, Monk - all 3rd Level. I have built three encounters: 1 at Challenge XP 600 (6 Lower Level Minions)...
4
votes
1answer
149 views

Obscurement encounter advice with size differences

I would like to run a 5e encounter in a grassy plains, with tall grass about 3–4ft high. Based on the RAW in the PHB, I am taken to thinking that small creatures (goblins) are effectively under heavy ...
46
votes
16answers
9k views

How can a boss enemy prevent being the most obvious target?

So you built up your last few sessions for that epic encounter with the generic-jerk-boss-that-kills-puppies. Both PCs and the boss are fully prepared for the inevitable combat, with the latter having ...
10
votes
5answers
3k views

How can I make the final boss of the LMOP a memorable and exciting fight for my group?

This post contains spoilers for the Lost Mines of Phandelver. I have been DM'ing a group of six new players through the dnd 5e starter set and they have just entered the eponymous 'Lost Mine' where ...
4
votes
0answers
141 views

How can we further “gamify” pit traps? [closed]

In “old school” computer adventure games like LucasFilm Games’ Secret of Monkey Island and the Infocom series which included games like Zork, the adventures were peppered with objects that used in ...
2
votes
1answer
294 views

How to design a boss fight for a large group without tons of minions?

My players next session will fight against a dragon opponent. The thing I am concerned is having the players gang up on the boss. I don't desire to flood in tons of minions, the ideal fight would be ...
8
votes
1answer
558 views

Why is the XP awarded from an encounter the sum of monster XP values and not Adjusted XP? [closed]

The Dungeon Master's Guide presents guidelines for gauging encounter difficulty based on the Adjusted XP of monsters faced. The Adjusted XP is the sum of the monsters' experience values, modified by a ...
8
votes
1answer
5k views

How to balance an encounter with Challenge Rating zero creatures against PCs?

The Homonculus is described as a Challenge Rating (CR) 0 creature with five hit points and a poison attack that if PCs fail a DC10 CON check by five causes unconsciousness for 1d10 minutes. ...
56
votes
6answers
9k views

How do I keep presenting progressively more challenging encounters to my PCs without making them think that the world is gaining Levels as they are?

So, obviously during first encounters a DM usually makes PCs fight small goblin groups, giant spiders, blink dogs, etc... but how should the DM keep up the challenge for higher level PCs without ...
15
votes
3answers
4k views

How would a party of three level 10 characters fare against a CR 12 archmage?

I am planning a level 10 dungeon crawl where I would like the final encounter to be an archmage. At the moment my party consists of a bard, a ranger, and a fighter with the knight subclass from UA (...