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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.

3
votes
1answer
503 views

How to plan to avoid combat deaths for NPCs that aren't obvious railroads? [closed]

I am playing a Pathfinder campaign based on the Beginner Box materials. The party were relatively diplomatic in the first adventure and didn't fight and kill the goblin boss King Fatmouth in Black ...
39
votes
5answers
2k views

How can we make overcoming a language problem interesting?

I am currently involved in a game of Fate Accelerated, and one of our goals is learning the system and experimenting with it. In this game, two characters may have a language barrier to overcome. One ...
6
votes
4answers
3k views

How many enemies can one Lvl 1 PC handle?

In the start of my adventure the PCs will not be together. I plan to have all them fight 1-3 encounters alone before finally meeting up. I read in the book about setting encounters but the minimum I ...
39
votes
7answers
4k views

What do you do when a player intimidates your campaign boss to surrender?

So my players recently fought a big bad campaign boss. The (custom made) boss was a kind of solo beserker king, and the encounter difficulty was designed to be fairly moderate until the boss became ...
13
votes
2answers
3k views

My players almost die in my encounters every time. Does this mean my encounters are too hard?

I'm running my first campaign with three friends. This is the first time any of us have done any table-top role-playing. I'm working the party through the H1: Keep on the Shadowfell campaign using ...
11
votes
2answers
1k views

Reducing a monster below CR 1

There are many instances in Pathfinder and other 3.5 based systems when you might need to reduce a monster below 1 or 1/2. For example, if I'm using a CR 1/2 monster from a 3.5 source in Pathfinder, I'...
5
votes
2answers
238 views

How can I gauge the strength of my PCs in Legend?

I've been trying to run Legend on and off lately, and I find myself faced with a frustration. Though I find the Mook rules easy enough to comprehend, I can't seem to create appropriate challenges for ...
8
votes
2answers
607 views

Where can I find online playtesters to test encounters before presenting them to my group?

I'm setting up the end of my campaign and I have 4 "mini-boss" fights (& Final BOSS fight) that I'm trying to make extremely tough but also winnable. I don't want to just slaughter my PCs after ...
3
votes
2answers
1k views

What is the XP budget per encounter for a two-person party?

I have been playing Dungeons and Dragons for a while now as a player. I've recently started up a new game that I am DMing. I am going to run the Kobold Hall adventure for starters. The problem I have ...
4
votes
1answer
186 views

How to factor the xp cost of poison/magic weapons into an encounter

I'd like to design a 4E encounter with some monsters using poisoned weapons, but I am a little unsure of how to factor this into the XP budget. The DMG (pg 50) gives the GP cost and level for various ...
13
votes
5answers
656 views

How can I balance an enemy that my players might encounter at different levels?

My story revolves around 8 angels that my players must defeat. The thing is I want them to look for them in no particular order. How can I balance an enemy easily in advance, since they may encounter ...
9
votes
1answer
181 views

Do I need both DMG1 and 2 to create adventures?

I'm working on my first custom campaign for my players and I am wondering if I should read both DMG1 and 2 or if it's possible to just use DMG2 as a guideline. I have previously run modules out of ...
4
votes
2answers
172 views

Monsters of Encounter Levels below 1 in Legend

In legend, antagonists/monsters/loot-on-legs are made the exact same way as PC's, though less restricted. I have always loved hordes in epic fantasy, but the rules make this hard to portray at lower ...
16
votes
2answers
6k views

Creating solo monsters

One thing I haven't found in 4th edition online is a plethora of solo monsters. The idea of these fights are fascinating! Sadly though, all the products in 4th focus on multiple opponent fights (with ...
15
votes
5answers
912 views

As a GM, what aids could I use to create adventure scenes on the spot?

As a GM, many a time I run into a situation that I know nothing of, am not prepared about, and need something, NOW! Maybe it is a freeform adventure and plot was not prepared, maybe I prepared some ...
5
votes
3answers
473 views

Non-magical wilderness (forest) threats

What are some ways that a group of several agile and fit individuals can be (mortally) threatened in a large forest in the autumn? Temperate climate, realistic setting , low magic - I would prefer to ...
2
votes
1answer
742 views

Encounter templates

A standard encounter for a five man party is determined by the formula n + (2/4) What I don't understand is what I'm supposed to do when the party I'm making the encounter for is level 1. Let's take ...
8
votes
1answer
1k views

How to balance the numbers and equipment of an encounter in Shadowrun 4E?

I'm having trouble creating NPCs for my game, especially regarding their number and their equipment. Their skill level is ok, but these points are problematic. I know that most of the time, the non-...
4
votes
4answers
332 views

How do I estimate puzzle durations?

I'm looking to run an immersive/ARG style LARP and I'm trying to block out the time that I'm estimating players will spend on different tasks. One part of this is going to involve puzzle solving, and ...
7
votes
4answers
7k views

Guidelines for appropriate challenges in a Cyberpunk 2.0.2.0 game

I've owned a copy of the 2nd edition of Cyberpunk (Cyberpunk 2020) for years now but never had the ability or gumption to run a game (same for gurps). Lately though I've been playing and DMing a lot ...
8
votes
3answers
1k views

Do monsters higher or lower level than the PCs play well in combat?

In D&D 4e, an encounter's XP budget suggests one standard monster of the player's level for each party member. Does it work well to spend the XP budget on smaller number of high level opponents, ...
20
votes
4answers
6k views

What encounter features make low CR enemies challenging?

I'm planning an encounter where a mid level party would be assaulted by a a large number of lower level characters. We've all read Tucker's Kobolds, but what makes this kind of encounter actually ...
9
votes
2answers
2k views

How to manage character arguments / conflict?

I'm a new DM and have just started a 4e game as Play by Post. The game has started with one character (Bob) recruiting in a pub and the first response was from another character (Al) wanting to ...
21
votes
4answers
764 views

How to run an encounter where PCs have different observations of the same events?

Some of the discussion in this question got me to thinking about an encounter design that sounded fun but I couldn't figure out an elegant way to pull it off: In some situation where one or more PCs ...
7
votes
4answers
3k views

Adjusting Modules for More Players

I am planning on running a D&D 3.5 campaign soon. I underestimated how many of my friends would be interested, and my group of 4 has quickly turned into a group of 6. I have seen various ...
18
votes
8answers
1k views

My necromancer keeps dying (and can't raise himself)!

Sometimes in the course of running an adventure you will run into an encounter that calls for a summoner to bring on a horde of undead (often minions). I have a simple problem: My summoners die in ...
8
votes
2answers
188 views

Best practices for balancing separate enemies in an encounter?

I'd like to run a game where a Mage has killed a necromancer, who has re-animated himself and is after the mage. The mage himself is evil. The necromancer makes up the majority of the session. The ...
10
votes
2answers
958 views

How do I scale an encounter to a larger party?

I have a group that wound up being larger than I expected for my DnD Campaign. It is Dark Sun and I am keeping things gritty and dangerous. However, since I normally have 7 players, I find that ...
6
votes
2answers
359 views

What should be included in a standard 4E D&D encounter? How would this be written in the adventure?

I'm a big D&D fan, but haven't played in ten years or so. The last time I played, it was AD&D 2nd edition. I am trying to write an adventure for a friend, and I'm sort of confused as to what ...
11
votes
5answers
438 views

How to simulate distraction during battle without actually distracting the players?

Here's my situation. In an encounter I have coming up next week, an epic aerial battle between an Angel and a powerful necromancer rages overhead a group of low-level PC's. Attempting to assist in ...
16
votes
5answers
1k views

How to abstract a trial?

A session I am writing for my gaming group will take the characters through a murder trial. One of the players is the accused, and he and his companions will need to build a case and defend themselves....
17
votes
5answers
7k views

How can I create an introductory D&D encounter intended for teaching the rules?

For my next D&D campaign, I want to introduce the players to the ruleset by having them play through a sample combat encounter. All of them have prior RPG experience, but they haven't played any ...
16
votes
1answer
445 views

How can I balance an encounter with reinforcements?

I've been planning encounters that come in two parts or have reinforcements recently, and it occurs to me that reinforcements don't have the same effect on an encounter as if they were there from the ...
13
votes
7answers
3k views

How do you kidnap a PC?

Here's where my group is currently at: We are reaching the end of a campaign and we are going to be switching GM's. I have been playing a (secretly) evil Psion who has plans to betray the party ...
37
votes
8answers
2k views

What ways are there to anger the PC's without angering the players?

Since I got so many good ideas on my last question, here's part 2: What ways are there to really anger my PC's -- give them that sense of unbridled rage and fury -- without pissing the players off ...
20
votes
9answers
904 views

What ways are there to convey loneliness and betrayal in an encounter?

A little background: I am designing a campaign that largely takes place in the mind of a twisted wizard. The wizard was shunned and exiled from his home due to a physical disfigurement, and after a ...
5
votes
1answer
1k views

Are there any free tools for designing encounters or traps? [closed]

I'm trying to design a module and I was wondering if there were any free or open source encounter or trap designers for D&D 4e Mostly I just like something that lets me fill in the blanks and ...
4
votes
2answers
462 views

How to include equipment level in planning D20 Modern encounters?

Obviously equipment matters a lot in modern combat. A tank crew in a modern tank can almost always defeat men armed with only small arms. The d20 modern system does not take this into account when ...
8
votes
3answers
531 views

How many encounters can you squeeze into a 3 hour slot?

A local game day is coming within the next month and I am planning on running an adventure. The slots are three hours long. Given that time slot I would like to see the players complete the ...
6
votes
3answers
218 views

Scaling for battles when the number of players is unknown?

I play in a D&D 4e game at the local game shop where the number of players who shows up can vary from five to fifteen. Obviously a normal battle for fifteen characters would be overpowering for ...