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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.

22
votes
2answers
839 views

Tarrasque: Rush & Jump Skill Interaction

Background I am having a little trouble wrapping my brain around the Jump skill. I want to plan a battle with my players and the Tarrasque; two of them have the ability to fly - and it does not. I ...
28
votes
6answers
18k views

How can I create reasonably challenging encounters for large groups?

I'm running a 5e campaign that has become quite successful to the point that everyone wants in and I have 6-8 players at my table every other week. It's awesome, but I'm having troubles with creating ...
5
votes
2answers
439 views

Can an animated cannon fire itself?

In Pathfinder I am currently trying to design a few encounters with a supposed ghost ship (actually a Colossal Animated Object) complete with a crew of Haunted Objects (again, Animated Objects), but I ...
4
votes
1answer
790 views

How would removing tail spikes from a manticore affect its challenge rating?

One creature omitted from the 5th Edition MM is the Dragonne, and I have considered modifying stats for the manticore to create a 5E dragonne. Most of the changes would be cosmetic except for removing ...
11
votes
4answers
4k views

Can players handle Deadly encounters if they don't engage in any other danger?

The DMG suggests that Player Characters are generally going to be able to handle about 6 encounters between long rests; the difficulty comes from the cumulative strain of multiple consecutive ...
10
votes
5answers
1k views

How do I handle the encounter difficulty for a three-sided battle?

I'm running my first real campaign. The idea I have for the first dungeon involves the PCs coming upon two sides already engaged in combat. One side is losing and weaker than the other, though not in ...
6
votes
6answers
763 views

Balancing undead encounters against large party with a cleric

I'm a new DM (and a relatively new player as well) and I'm leading a pretty large (6 players) group of newbies. We've done a few demos and whatnot just to show them the basics of combat, but now we're ...
2
votes
0answers
1k views

Designing a low-level NPC mage [closed]

So, I am working on a dungeon for a small party: (Tweaked) Drow Sorc2 -- good stats and a decent spell selection Human Rgr2 -- has a bit of healing, but more of a tanky/hack-and-slash type so far ...
3
votes
0answers
805 views

How do I calculate encounter difficulty for PCs with allied monsters? [duplicate]

I'm currently running a mega dungeon in 5e D&D, and my players have recruited some monsters into their service. I have been building encounters using the dungeon masters guide rules (pg. 81-84), ...
5
votes
1answer
1k views

How do I calculate the CR of a monster that spends their turns healing?

My question is about magic and monster CR. I was building a CR 10 Cleric with capabilities of healing himself and others, but I don't see any rules about calculating CR for a monster that expends his ...
4
votes
3answers
3k views

How to make a low CR villain more dangerous

My PC's in one campaign are currently traveling to their first major town and, unbeknownst to them, there is a Rakshasa, disguised as the town mayor, using the town to feed and kill as he pleases ...
0
votes
0answers
37 views

What is an appropriate encounter in Deathwatch [duplicate]

I am wondering how to judge what kind of encounter will be right for my group. I would like to design challenging encounters, but not ones which will be impossible or far too easy. How will I know if ...
3
votes
1answer
266 views

How can I boost the AC of a ghost dragon?

I am in the process of making a ghost dragon as a challenge for a mythic campaign, with a party of a druid, an alchemist, and a paladin. Applying the ghost template drastically reduces its AC from ...
4
votes
1answer
136 views

How do you judge the difficulty of an encounter in Strands of Fate?

I recently found Strands of Fate and it looks like a really fun system; so, naturally, I want to run a short campaign in it to try it out. Unfortunately, the book doesn't seem to give any tips for how ...
3
votes
1answer
1k views

How to set up a Castle Siege? [closed]

I am running a war, for my players. They have won a battle pushing their opponent back into a citadel within the cliffs. I am looking for stories, suggestions, or more importantly rules on how to ...
3
votes
2answers
550 views

How to make and set up Army scale battles

I am nearing the climax of a nearly year and a half story, and before the final boss I wanted to have a massive army scale battle. This is a 3.5 game, the armies will be mostly using martial weapons, ...
11
votes
3answers
631 views

How can I avoid making extended/prolonged encounters boring?

I have run this campaign for just over a year. Many encounters later, I have come to one snag; If I run an encounter that lasts for more than a few rounds, I lose all my flair. I just resort to "hit" ...
10
votes
1answer
2k views

How can I make a CR 4 monster based on a player class (e.g. Sorcerer)?

I'd like to create a villain that can take on a party of level 4 characters all by herself. In other words, if she were a standard monster, she would have a Challenge Rating of 4. What's the right ...
10
votes
2answers
1k views

Would an Ettin and Otyugh live in the same area?

According to the 3.5 monster manual - Ettins like to establish their lairs in remote, rocky areas. They dwell in dark, underground caves that stink of decaying food and offal. They tolerate ...
1
vote
1answer
1k views

How do I calculate APL and CR for mythic PCs and enemies?

I'm GMing a Pathfinder campaign and some players have mythic tiers. They seem really powerful to me? As far as I can tell, even adjusting CR for mythic tiers, their power makes the CR system even more ...
4
votes
1answer
4k views

designing encounters for a tournament with set rules

I am running an in-game tournament. The qualifiers are pit fights with the last two standing going through. Hopefully all of the party will qualify so it seems like I'm not doing endless pit fights ...
19
votes
9answers
7k views

Should encounters be adjusted to a full-magic party?

I am still a new GM and I am building a session for 3 first-time players. After discussing the game, rules and setting, all of them are interested in playing magic characters (Draconic Sorcerer, Druid ...
2
votes
0answers
585 views

How do I determine how many encounters a dungeon should contain? [closed]

It's come to the point in our game where the party is going to enter the first major dungeon. They started higher level, around level 8, and we have a variable of 5-8 players. The last 3 coming depend ...
7
votes
1answer
191 views

How can I deal faster with enemy actions on large-scale battles?

I returned to Savage Worlds after a while of playing 5th Edition and Anima, and I'm falling in love with the system again. I finally understood how the system goes better with many characters ...
3
votes
6answers
6k views

Scaling a game for a large group

I have read How do I run a game for a larger group?, and while it gave helpful advice it is not the problem I am having. I have 6 players and an observer. They understand they need to have their ...
2
votes
2answers
245 views

How do you alter encounter difficulty in regards to decreased party size?

Encounters are usually written in advance and balanced against the makeup and the abilities of the party. Sometimes though the party makeup when writing such an encounter in advance and when actully ...
6
votes
2answers
469 views

How do I adjust Part 8 of The Traveller Campaign for more powerful characters? [closed]

I've just gotten to Adventure 8 in The Traveller Campaign and I have a problem: the characters are far too powerful for the adventure. The main problem is that The Privateer Fleet that the characters ...
2
votes
1answer
81 views

Different numbers of PCs to the adventure spec

I'm about to start Keep on the Shadowfell with a party of seven friends (beginners) but the adventure spec says the encounters are built for five PCs. Is there a particular method for changing the ...
10
votes
2answers
944 views

How far below the average CR should I count monsters when determining encounter difficulty?

DMG82 says "When [calculating encounter difficulty multipliers], don't count any monsters whose challenge rating is significantly below the average challenge rating of the other monsters in the group."...
5
votes
3answers
14k views

How to Run a Trial Based on Skills? [closed]

So I will be putting my group through a final exam in their knight training. I wanted to have each trial in the exam based off of one of the six Dungeons and Dragons attributes. I figured that ...
27
votes
10answers
3k views

Should I scale the difficulty after the party recruits a boss?

A year ago or so, I was DMing a DnD4e campaign in which the leader of the players' party (Sariel) managed to convince a powerful (6 levels higher) adversary (Pieter) to join them temporarily; their ...
5
votes
1answer
103 views

What items can I have my players hunt for to prove the blight is back upon Ferelden?

We're playing a Dragon Age game. I have the framework for a campaign that will take the players all over Ferelden looking for allies and preparing the populace for the blight but I'm stuck on one ...
21
votes
3answers
11k views

If I design a PC for use as an NPC, how much XP should he give when killed?

As part of an early quest, my PCs are likely to face off against a wizard. The problem here is that the stat block for Mage NPCs listed in the Basic Rules has a Challenge Rating of 6, while the PCs ...
13
votes
2answers
2k views

How can I make simple tasks more challenging without involving combat?

I want to delay my players for one session while we wait for the last player to become available. My plan is to send them to a wise old man (aka crazy hermit) for advice, and then to delay them for ...
15
votes
6answers
4k views

How do you handle combat in Pathfinder when there are too many foes to even count?

I have offered to take a turn at running a game for our group. I have a story that I think they will find interesting, mechanics to cope with the fact that some players sometimes just don't show up ...
15
votes
3answers
10k views

How to make combat more tactical?

How can I help combat be more diverse? I'm a player, but I'm open to suggesting things to my DM. We are a party of 5th-level PCs. What we run into is the classic tactical situation every time: the ...
6
votes
6answers
492 views

How to prevent players from using guns in a particular combat?

I am running an adventure that is based on a Vampire-like universe, set in present-day Venice. It's a homebrew story telling system with just a bit of mechanics (the domains of vampires and k20 roll ...
4
votes
2answers
779 views

My party is struggling in every way!

I am new to Pathfinder, and after playing a few times all my friends voted for me to DM, so I cracked down and spent a week straight reading and learning everything. I started my first campaign ...
15
votes
6answers
1k views

How to keep the group engaged when the party is split?

I recently pitched a game to my group, to which they were receptive. However they pointed out some problems I would have to solve before the game started. The Pitch The game is set in the near-...
9
votes
1answer
170 views

Are there any “linked” creatures that can only be defeated in tandem?

I am planning on building an encounter based on this post about a zombie and a ghost coming from the same body. The idea is the players will have to defeat both the body (the zombie) and then do ...
15
votes
5answers
2k views

How can I dissuade my players from attacking a deadly foe who isn't meant to be attacked? [duplicate]

I will be taking over as DM of our group in a few weeks. Our party right now has a large number of magic items, and while I don't have a problem balancing that, I would rather replace lesser ones ...
17
votes
1answer
558 views

How to set up a battle with a God?

I have a campaign (D&D 2nd Edition) that has been running on and off for about 22 years (real life). Characters have finally reached super-high levels (some are 30, multi-classes are lower). I'm ...
6
votes
3answers
3k views

How to design combat for an overpowered character in a normal party?

I'm running a Savage Worlds game in a rugged sci-fi genre (think Firefly or Guardians of the Galaxy), and I've got a problem. One of my player characters is wildly over-powered in combat, (multiple ...
4
votes
3answers
11k views

Is there any tool to calculate the Encounter XP in D&D 5e?

I've seen online tools that make random encounters for you as the donjon's one. What I need is a tool where I can select the party level and the monsters and it will tell me if it's an easy or hard ...
9
votes
3answers
7k views

Modifying Multiple Monster XP Encounter

I'm a new DM and finding it a bit difficult to challenge my group that wants the glorious battles style of game play. When I asked them what they wanted from the campaign, the consensus was that they ...
19
votes
6answers
7k views

Determining “level” of an NPC ally for purpose of budgeting encounter XP

Hypothetical party: 1st level human wizard (PC) 3x guard NPC 1x acolyte NPC This is the player's first time, and it's a solo campaign. The first mini-adventure involves recovering the cargo of a ...
2
votes
1answer
104 views

What kind of Den can I use to design a fair fight against the post-Vault Dragons? [closed]

So, everybody knows the Dragons are Stronger since Monster's Vault came out. My question is simple. What kind of geographic solution can I use to make my group have a fair fight against a Dragon ...
4
votes
1answer
579 views

How can I use the updated Dragons against my players without absolutely killing all of them?

Dragons in D&D 4e used to be weak, and were easy for my party to defeat. Solos were rarely much of a challenge, or so it was before Monsters Vault showed up with the new/updated Dragons. They are ...
6
votes
1answer
1k views

Pathfinder encounter building checklist

I have been GMing in pathfinder for a little under a year now and I have recently realized that I have not been taking full advantage of certain aspects of combat encounters such as terrain effects ...
19
votes
3answers
8k views

Is the first encounter of the starter set really “deadly”?

Reading the DMG I'm confused by the encounter difficulty chart. It seems straight forward, but upon really testing it I've found that according to the chart, the very first encounter in Lost Mines of ...