Stack Exchange Network

Stack Exchange network consists of 174 Q&A communities including Stack Overflow, the largest, most trusted online community for developers to learn, share their knowledge, and build their careers.

Visit Stack Exchange

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.

-3
votes
2answers
312 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
514 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
votes
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
704 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
686 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
254 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
261 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 ...
12
votes
6answers
944 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
409 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
221 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
145 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
542 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
votes
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
159 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
224 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
802 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
271 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
487 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
1k 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
436 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
295 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
400 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
235 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
121 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 ...
19
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
580 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
102 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
243 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
147 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
137 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
274 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
483 views

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

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
4k 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 (...
4
votes
2answers
4k views

What level should my players be when they face mind flayers?

I'm running an adventure for 3 level 2 (at this time) players. They've come to a town that is overtaxed and starving, and the government hasn't made a move. It turns out that most of the leaders are ...
20
votes
2answers
9k views

Why are all of the encounters in the Lost Mine of Phandelver campaign Hard or Deadly?

Even with 5 players assumed, the adventure seems quite brutal. Could someone please explain why the Lost Mine of Phandelver campaign has so many deadly encounters? Some examples: The very first ...
6
votes
1answer
562 views

Is this Library-encounter balanced?

I'm about to run a Wizard tower. I really wanted to run a Living Spellbook from Redditor /u/StoneStrix but had to scale it down. Since low level spellcasters are kind of hard to find, I thought an ...
2
votes
0answers
240 views

Can 3 level 20 PCs take on Baphomet? [closed]

For future ideas, I was just wondering if a party of 3 level 20 PCs could take down Baphomet? This would be a 5e campaign using his stats from a published adventure (spoilered below).
1
vote
2answers
419 views

Balancing my boss encounter [closed]

I am planning my first GM story for a group of 7 friends and I am preparing a possible boss encounter as the climax of the story. I could use your help balancing the encounter so that it is deadly, ...
2
votes
0answers
232 views

Will 10 PCs find this homebrew creature a speedbump or a slaughterhouse? [closed]

An upcoming boss fight sees the PC fight a darkfathom (see below), a homebrew creature based on this miniature. The encounter will take place in the darkfathom's underwater lair, a large chamber ...
26
votes
4answers
4k views

How much more dangerous is an encounter with the PCs outnumbered and how do I balance around it?

I want to build an encounter after defeating the "boss" of the dungeon that the PCs are currently in, where the skeletons in the crypts they had previously passed through begin to rise from their ...
5
votes
2answers
733 views

What minions would balance the final Curse of Strahd encounter with this party?

I'm a fairly new DM and have trouble properly balancing combat encounters sometimes. For the final battle in Curse of Strahd, the players have managed to The party consists of a sorcerer, monk, ...