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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.

16
votes
The "Adventuring Day XP" table might help, at least for a lower bound. DMG 84 has a table titled "Adventuring Day XP" with character levels and "Adjusted XP per day per character". The relevant text …
answered Apr 8 '17 by Icyfire
13
votes
(For what it's worth, I think a party of 5th level adventurers could mop the floor with a single CR9 monster) From what I can tell, the crux of what you're trying to accomplish here is to have a mons …
answered Aug 10 '17 by Icyfire
11
votes
1.4 or 6 waves depending on how you view the battle The DMG says that a hard encounter for 4 8th level characters should be worth 5600 XP. A single wave of 20 zombies is worth 1000 XP, but gets a x4 …
answered Sep 30 '17 by Icyfire
27
votes
Demonstrate it to the PCs The key problem with these complicated mechanics is that it's very difficult to telegraph them to your players. Video games can get away with complicated mechanics because t …
answered Jan 16 '17 by Icyfire
6
votes
It's not so bad. Addressing your specific concerns, the hag doesn't have that many strong spells. Ray of Enfeeblement might throw you for a loop, but the others aren't super powerful. Moreover, she d …
answered Oct 25 '17 by Icyfire
17
votes
Purposeful Undead are active and have blazing eyes, whereas zombies are just dead. The description of a Revenant, a purpose-driven undead, states (MM 259) The revenant reclaims its mortal body an …
answered Sep 2 '17 by Icyfire
14
votes
Reasons why it was easy There are a number of reasons why your encounters were a lot easier than you might have expected. Generally, these reflect deviations from the DMG's encounter guidelines. Pa …
answered Apr 29 '17 by Icyfire
7
votes
Average damage per round is not useful for encounter building The problem with using an average damage output to build an encounter is that damage is highly variable with party composition and with p …
answered Aug 29 '18 by Icyfire
24
votes
I have run this encounter. They will win easily. I have run a very similar encounter, with 4 PCs at level 10 against a single Archmage, with all of her spells pre-cast on herself, as the first part o …
answered Apr 8 '18 by Icyfire