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Questions tagged [encounter-design]

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

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Multilevel party. Balancing encounters

I have a party of heroes at level 10. The party itself is composed of 4 players and in that sense balancing encounters is pretty easy. Recently however they have been joined by another character at ...
Jorge Córdoba's user avatar
4 votes
2 answers
2k views

What level should a party of 10 be in order to defeat a lich?

I'm running a homebrew campaign for a party of 10 players in DnD 5e (bard, druid, rogue x2, paladin x3, warlock, monk, cleric). I'm planning for a lich to be one of the major encounters before they ...
Ashley Cheung's user avatar
13 votes
4 answers
3k views

In Princes of the Apocalypse, is this monster “supposed to” kill a player character?

In Princes of the Apocalypse Ch. 6, has plenty of time and warning to prepare for his encounter with the party, along with the spells to do so: He is also in possession of a powerful magic item, ...
Kerrick's user avatar
  • 4,054
12 votes
6 answers
2k views

How can I make a single level 20 Warlock/Paladin a climactic challenge for a party of 4 level 12 PCs?

So, I know this question seems silly on face because of the level disparity (and I'd even be willing to adjust the character level down if necessary) but what I'm most concerned about are action ...
Tack's user avatar
  • 6,576
1 vote
2 answers
1k views

What is the damage output of an average level 20 character in dnd 5e? [closed]

I would like to know how much an average level 20 character is capable of doing per turn and per ten turns, and how much a level 20 party is capable of doing per turn and per ten turns. I intend on ...
circusbaby23's user avatar
-1 votes
2 answers
234 views

How to fix Orm Shieldbreaker's build? [closed]

Spoilers for Giantslayer book 5: if you suspect you're one of my players, don't read further! Preamble ramble Anvil of Fire, the fifth installment of the Giantslayer original Adventure Path for ...
Zachiel's user avatar
  • 35.3k
5 votes
1 answer
112 views

How should the encounter level calculated for creatures with Summon abilities?

When I write a campaign, I see most people will give an EL for every encounter they write. Basically, it would be equal to the encountered creature if that's an encounter with just one creature. And ...
Terry Windwalker's user avatar
7 votes
1 answer
896 views

How should I adjust CR if the monsters I introduce are fighting each other?

I'm planning a long one-shot, the setting of which is a large island with half of it sectioned off in an area where massive wild beasts roam and battle each other, through which the party must trek. ...
Zibbobz's user avatar
  • 9,680
2 votes
2 answers
625 views

What CR should my party of 9 be facing at level 16? [closed]

My party grew from four players to nine who are all level 16. I have taken over the campaign from the previous DM and need some pointers. I love all my player's dedication but they blew through an ...
willowtree's user avatar
7 votes
1 answer
2k views

At what level for a 4/5-player party would a CR 2-3 monster be considered a "miniboss"?

I'm working on a dungeon and I want to have a solo encounter with a single basilisk in the hallway. It isn't the last monster in the dungeon; that I'm going with a surprise, however it shouldn't be a ...
Quinn's user avatar
  • 181
8 votes
6 answers
1k views

Looking for a DM solution to a Squishy group

I've been playing tabletop RPGs for a while off and on, only a little as a DM, but I get the basics of it. I've convinced some of my immediate and extended family (most of whom are NOT gamers, let ...
Tim S.'s user avatar
  • 199
3 votes
1 answer
211 views

What could attract the attention of hostile creatures? [closed]

So in my game of D&D 4e, the PCs are going to travel through the woods and the swamps, and an idea I have for this section, is that there's a type of creature in there that is more agressive than ...
Kris SciHist's user avatar
3 votes
0 answers
802 views

How do I deal with an Umbral Sight Ranger's enormous advantages in Curse of Strahd? [closed]

I'm playing the module Curse of Strahd. The Tabaxi Ranger with the Umbral Sight ability causes a lot of problems. Fights take place in dark rooms or at night. Almost all undead have darkvision, but ...
Rictavio's user avatar
6 votes
2 answers
374 views

Balancing a combat around the surprised condition

I'm a new DM trying to put encounters together. My players are often either surprised by monsters (eg: mimics) or surprise the monsters (because they stealth into the lair) and I've noticed surpise ...
Jay Lemmon's user avatar
2 votes
2 answers
194 views

How to properly boost monster damage?

So here's the situation: In D&D 4e, I have began to reduce monster's HP by a lot (at least by half or even more than that). The reason for this, is that I realized the combat encounters can take ...
Kris SciHist's user avatar
10 votes
4 answers
2k views

How can I design fun combat encounters for a party traveling down a river on a raft?

So in my adventure, it is possible that my players will travel down a river, on a raft. The river itself is haunted and they will come across enemies. I already have ideas for some specific enemies ...
Kris SciHist's user avatar
2 votes
0 answers
143 views

What spells or abilities would a 17th level cleric use against a horde of demons? [closed]

I don't know much about clerics in 5e. I've got a very powerful cleric and a bunch of soldiers (some decorative, some battle hardened) defending an underground temple from a horde of demons. I'd ...
user2754's user avatar
  • 30.3k
8 votes
3 answers
464 views

How to justify time-sensitive encounters without it seeming convenient?

I'm running an encounter in Cyberpunk Red where the baddies are chainsawing a hole into an immobilized car to kill the driver, and our heroes have to rush in before the bad guys finish drilling! How ...
HFOrangefish's user avatar
  • 1,411
25 votes
9 answers
6k views

I want the most fun for my players but they got angry second session because of combat. Any tips?

So I am a new to D&D but I have researched hours upon hours about it, to the point I know more than probably all my players. They are 7 for now (third level bard, forge cleric, ranger, arcane ...
SupporterUntilPurificationSUP's user avatar
8 votes
2 answers
539 views

Is there a system for determining the difficulty of a combat encounter with a monster is in Call of Cthulhu 7e?

Is there a system to determine how difficult an encounter with a monster or group of monsters is in 7th edition?
user avatar
4 votes
2 answers
2k views

How would resistance to non magical weapons change a creature's challenge rating?

Suppose we took a normal monster - say, perhaps, a lion (CR 1) - and gave it resistance to non-magical slashing, piercing, and blunt damage. How much would this affect the threat to a party? I'm ...
Izzy's user avatar
  • 1,730
8 votes
2 answers
4k views

What's a reasonable Green Hag Coven encounter for a party of 3 level 8 PCs?

Novice DM trying to make my bad guys intimidating. My party is fighting a Hag Coven and I want to make this fight pretty hard without killing anyone hopefully. So three Green Hags (Coven Variant) are ...
JulieLovesHerobrine's user avatar
9 votes
5 answers
3k views

How to calibrate combat encounters for high level play?

The DMG contains recommendations for the XP values of encounters that are supposed to help you create engaging but survivable combat encounters (page 82). They work pretty well for low- and mid-level ...
Nobody the Hobgoblin's user avatar
10 votes
1 answer
736 views

Non-Combat Encounter Rewards - A Homebrew Review

Awarding non-combat encounters with XP consistently for the party level - A homebrew review A frustration I have had for a long time is how D&D claims that there are three pillars to the game, ...
illustro's user avatar
  • 28.1k
8 votes
2 answers
1k views

What printed spells and magic items would be especially useful for an 8th level Wizard to cast or craft to create a fortress?

The scenario is as follows - an 8th level Wizard, Dormouse Bladefist, has a cave mouth he wants to defend at all costs. He has some money and magic materials, and can probably craft some weaker magic ...
user2754's user avatar
  • 30.3k
1 vote
2 answers
2k views

How many ghosts can I use for an ambush?

I'm trying to set up an ambush in a tower where there are ghosts or some creature like them that has the ability to walk through walls. If I had a room 20 feet by 20 feet and a party of 5 Medium-sized ...
Thatguy's user avatar
  • 4,312
32 votes
9 answers
7k views

How to have enemies that use tactics while also making sure that the encounter is fun for all players?

I am currently running a 5e game for a party of 5 players (level 3). I tend to make my enemies use tactics. My encounters involving a large number of low-CR enemies tend to have roles (so a tank, some ...
comedroidrive's user avatar
15 votes
3 answers
3k views

How can I avoid accidentally deadly encounters from monsters that are more deadly than their challenge rating suggests?

Monster Deadliness: In the DMG (p.82) there is guidance about the calculating encounter deadliness. This is entirely based on the XP of the monsters encountered, and each challenge rating (CR) has a ...
Nobody the Hobgoblin's user avatar
6 votes
2 answers
1k views

Can CR be directly lifted from 3.5 to 5e?

I am looking to convert a few modules from 3.5 into 5e and while I am going to change the nature of the creatures encountered I am not 100% sure how. Does 3.5 follow the same kind of encounter and ...
SeriousBri's user avatar
  • 29.9k
4 votes
2 answers
294 views

As GM, how to implement an enemy that erases the PC's memory [closed]

I like the idea of an innocent-looking enemy, or even just a zone, in some dangerous place, that slowly erases the memories of anyone near it, whether randomly or starting from the newest memories. ...
LogicalKip's user avatar
13 votes
1 answer
862 views

How to calculate D&D 5e challenge ratings when party has improvised weapons and no armor

I'm running a game where the players are planning to attend a grand ball. At this ball, the players will not be able to wear their armor with their finery or smuggle in their weapons. The players are ...
CabinetCat's user avatar
  • 1,253
25 votes
15 answers
4k views

What magic items would best make a (corrupt) city guard competitive with Paragon tier heroes?

The Problem Assuming that the guards in and of themselves are not worthy of being Paragon-tier, what magic items would best justify giving them Paragon-tier stats, narratively? I want to convey the ...
Richard Winters's user avatar
9 votes
3 answers
3k views

Is this encounter in the Frozen Sick adventure unbalanced?

In the DND 5e Critical Role source book Explorer's Guide to Wildemount, there is an adventure Frozen Sick. One of the encounters in it seems a little strong to me. (The adventure is also available ...
Chowlett's user avatar
  • 1,961
5 votes
1 answer
749 views

How to calculate Adjusted XP for heterogenous monster groups?

To recap my understanding... The point of Adjusted XP is provide a metric with which to judge the difficulty of a combat, to give your party well-balanced encounters and well-balanced adventuring ...
Brondahl's user avatar
  • 2,379
37 votes
4 answers
9k views

Petrification at low levels

I was considering using a Medusa in my home game against a group of 4th-level characters. With a CR of 6, a Medusa is well within the proper XP range for such a group. However, I'm nervous about using ...
Darth Pseudonym's user avatar
26 votes
5 answers
5k views

How can I give my players more short rests without breaking immersion?

While there are a lot of questions concerning how to give players fewer resources (usually by reducing the frequency of rests), this question is the inverse: I've had issues at my table with the ...
Andrendire's user avatar
  • 11.9k
16 votes
4 answers
12k views

How to handle breath weapon recharge when combat is interrupted?

I have a question about monster abilities that recharge, like a dragon’s breath weapon. Is the ability considered “charged” on the first round of combat, no roll required? If the answer to that is “...
Taliesin's user avatar
  • 283
11 votes
1 answer
513 views

How do asymmetric PC exhaustion levels affect the difficulty of an encounter?

As a DM, I have planned a medium encounter for my party of 5 characters. Before this encounter, as a consequence of some non optimal choices, one of them suffers from 4 exhaustion levels, and there ...
Eddymage's user avatar
  • 30k
24 votes
2 answers
5k views

How do I make a fourth-level Fighter a deadly challenge for a party of four level-ones?

I'm planning an adventure in which the antagonist is a schlubby first-level Rogue who has drawn the Knight card from the Deck of Many Things and is using his new, perfectly obedient fourth-level ...
Tack's user avatar
  • 6,576
4 votes
3 answers
2k views

What can I do to make a Kobold encounter interesting? [closed]

I have painted myself into a bit of a corner here. My party is approaching an encounter with a gang of Kobold thieves who have been stealing from local church groups - they've been tasked by the 'mob ...
Zibbobz's user avatar
  • 9,680
8 votes
5 answers
4k views

Which CR 5-13 monsters can I use against an all-flying party? [closed]

If I run a 5e game for a crow-man party who naturally have all-day flight as part of their basic movement modes, which existing published monsters / encounter types am I left with who have either ...
user2754's user avatar
  • 30.3k
2 votes
2 answers
805 views

How to handle a party's bad choices? [closed]

Not too long ago I started a campaign in Pathfinder 2e, and at a certain point I hinted at an enemy group's location and (superior) strength, while telling the party to go somewhere else and complete ...
Snakehelm's user avatar
  • 2,417
1 vote
0 answers
251 views

Should players know the name of monsters when they are encountered? [duplicate]

This is a question that I frequently ask myself as a DM. I usually play a (home made) rule that you must first succeed on an intelligence check with a DC that varies depending on the knowledge of the ...
Boris's user avatar
  • 489
12 votes
4 answers
3k views

How do you balance encounters between NPCs?

Right now, I’m planning a situation where faction “a” is going to fight faction “b” and the players pick a side, and the side which the players choose is fairly likely to win, in which they have to ...
Ekadh Singh - Reinstate Monica's user avatar
6 votes
1 answer
344 views

How should a GM go about handling a combat encounter against an enemy team of runners?

I have a group that is about to encounter another runner team in combat. They both want to do the same job and are going to be fighting for the package. The two thoughts I had were to make some of ...
Arrowkill's user avatar
  • 631
4 votes
2 answers
458 views

Is the encounter in area 11 of the "Isle of the Abbey" adventure in Ghosts of Saltmarsh overly difficult?

I did the math for the encounter in area 11 in the Isle of the Abbey adventure from Ghosts of Saltmarsh (p. 108), and I came up with an encounter difficulty of 7200 XP. This is way, way more difficult ...
Omortis's user avatar
  • 581
6 votes
2 answers
1k views

How would you challenge a party of 8 players characters without killing them?

I have a party of 8 players, and more continue to join (against my wishes). How would you recommend challenging low-level (4 or lower) players that are in a large group? How do I give everyone a ...
Cat of doom2's user avatar
6 votes
3 answers
608 views

Balancing Encounters around a very proficient Necromancer

In a game I am a part of there is a player who considers themself a necromancer. They are fully specced and invested around the spell "Animate Dead". They are very effective and efficient at ...
Erudaki's user avatar
  • 5,854
3 votes
1 answer
298 views

Am I correctly calculating the difficulty/XP for this encounter for a 15th-level party of 5 PCs?

I am putting together a campaign and have been experimenting with the guidelines for creating encounters and managing difficulty. I've done the math for quite a few encounters at each of the "...
Omortis's user avatar
  • 581
13 votes
2 answers
355 views

How do I recalibrate this encounter from D&D 3.5e's Red Hand of Doom for D&D 5e?

I'm running D&D 3.5e's Red Hand of Doom updated for 5e. So far it has been effortlessly straightforward. I've been keeping the basic combat encounter structures and simply swapping out 3.5e ...
screamline's user avatar
  • 9,050

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