76 votes
Accepted

My party bypassed a combat encounter. Should they still get XP?

The rules as written for this, as taken from the DM DnD Basic Rules version 0.1 say: Typically, XP is awarded for defeating the monster, although the DM may also award XP for neutralizing the ...
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  • 13.8k
58 votes
Accepted

Can PCs gain XP from “defeating” an enemy who actually just used Feign Death?

Yes. Your players should gain the XP for the encounter. From the "Beyond First Level" section of Players Basic: As your character goes on adventures and overcomes challenges, he or she gains ...
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  • 102k
57 votes
Accepted

Can a character gain two levels with the same encounter?

As Ceribia referenced, RAW does not allow this. However, in this case I would consider it for four reasons. First, the Deck of Many Things is an artifact. Artifacts generally give the big flaming ...
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56 votes
Accepted

How can I add encounters in the Lost Mine of Phandelver campaign without giving PCs too much XP?

I'm going to challenge your premise a bit - why not drop XP-based levelling altogether and use milestone levelling instead? In my time as a DM and a player, I've found milestone has a few advantages: ...
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56 votes
Accepted

Is this a deadly encounter?

Carcer and I can independently verify that all your math checks out. That said, take a deep breath. I doubt this question was prompted by your lack of faith in your own math and reading skills, but ...
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48 votes
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Should the DM allow characters an equal opportunity to flee or avoid an encounter?

In an “anything is possible” game, this is fair. In this kind of game, it is necessary for players to actually, truly believe that they can get themselves into so much trouble that they will not have ...
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46 votes
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Is the XP for an encounter split among the party members or not?

Total XP is divided amongst the players participating in the combat The "Experience Points" section of the Dungeon Master's Guide says (p. 260): [...] When adventurers defeat one or more ...
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  • 2,264
46 votes

How can I balance encounters with a party consisting of a sorcerer, monk, rogue, and fighter?

You need do nothing. Having a healer is nice, but it's far less necessary in 5e than it used to be. It's actually pretty difficult for characters to die in this version. A few potions will be a ...
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  • 15.6k
42 votes
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How can I reduce the number of encounters per day without throwing off game balance?

I'm currently running a West Marches style game. I realised before I even began that, if I were to use the standard resting times, I would either have to run an excessive number of random encounters, ...
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  • 8,679
40 votes
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Are there any mechanics to guess CR or learn encounter difficulty in-game?

Yes, and maybe The use of "CR" is an out-of-game term and there really isn't a way to learn that specific value using in game rules. But what you may really be asking about is whether it is possible ...
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  • 122k
39 votes

Remembering to add tracks and signs of wandering monsters

It's always easy to remember the flashiest effects of any roll. Everyone remembers rolling a 20 is a crit, right? Get into the habit of putting signs and tracks everywhere Since you mention your ...
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  • 16.9k
38 votes

Can a character gain two levels with the same encounter?

No PHB p.58: A character can advance only one level at a time. If, for some extraordinary reason, a character's XP reward from a single adventure would be enough to advance two or more levels at ...
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  • 13k
38 votes
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Is this monster in Lost Mines of Phandelver too much for a group of level 3 characters?

If I may indulge in a frame challenge. A group of wandering murderers who, without provocation, attack an intelligent sentient being deserve what they get. This is especially so since, earlier in the ...
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  • 189k
37 votes
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How does the 'five minute adventuring day' affect class balance?

I'll step through each of the classes individually, but first the broad strokes: [Most] Spellcasters will fare much better than everyone else The main check on the power of a Spellcaster is their ...
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  • 50.7k
35 votes
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Ogre CR calculation: is it wrong or am I missing something?

Mearls wrote an article about Challenge Ratings that actually specifically explains the Ogre's Challenge Rating of 2: http://dnd.wizards.com/articles/features/building-adventures-0 The important bit ...
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  • 141k
35 votes
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Non-Combat XP, with combat later

The reason only matters if it matters to you. XP is awarded for challenges overcome. Thus, if the troll presents a challenge both times, then yes, you should likely award XP both times. So lets ...
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  • 102k
33 votes
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Is Glasstaff and the entire Redbrand Hideout supposed to be this easy?

No, you did nothing wrong. There are a few things here that stand out to me regarding the Glassstaff fight on which I can elaborate a bit. Surprise is very powerful Average damage and healing ...
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  • 4,576
32 votes

How do you make an NPC villain to battle high level characters in 5e?

D&D 5e monster and villains are rarely, if ever, built like Characters, and this is actually a very good thing for you. That said, you need a starting point. Start with the Archmage from the NPC ...
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  • 8,192
30 votes
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Should I cram all travel encounters into one day?

You could do away with the dice rolling and just start a 'random' encounter when you feel like it's a good moment, for example, when they just returned from the goblin lair, exhausted and spent. This ...
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  • 904
29 votes

Should the DM allow characters an equal opportunity to flee or avoid an encounter?

As the GM, you have the burden of considering the game, not just the moment. Believing you don't have a choice, as indicated by saying: "...I only did what any city guard would have done given the ...
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  • 6,580
29 votes
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At what level can a party fight a mimic?

At level 2 (on average). From here, CR tells you the upper maximum difficulty of the monster, assuming a party of 4. Since the Mimic has CR2, it's a challenge for a level 2 party. That being ...
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  • 44.3k
28 votes

Is the XP for an encounter split among the party members or not?

Short answer: the total XP of all the bandits is the XP awarded to the whole group, which is then divided among them, so they should get 110 each, yes. Longer answer: it's easy to get distracted by ...
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  • 7,732
27 votes

How to increase difficulty in Dungeon World

Dungeon World puts difficult after the roll, not before. There are two misunderstandings combining when someone wants to start fiddling with the mechanics to make Dungeon World harder (or easier). ...
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26 votes
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What are the options for my restrained and overwhelmed spellcaster NPC?

Your spellcaster could have escaped. Your spellcaster wasn't gagged, so he/she could have cast the second-level Misty Step, which is verbal only (and a bonus action to boot!). This allows the caster ...
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  • 62.5k
25 votes
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Encounter design and XP thresholds

You were just over "1 day's XP budget" (five minute adventure day) In the Basic Rules p. 166/DMG p. 84, there's another table that lays out the estimated "adjusted XP" for an entire adventure day. ...
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24 votes

When can I draw my weapon?

Your weapon can be drawn before you go in. There's nothing to say that you can't walk around holding your weapon, though provision of light and carrying of gear are common reasons to have sheathed ...
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  • 98.8k
23 votes
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Is the first encounter of the starter set really "deadly"?

Yes it can be that deadly. I blogged about the initial encounter in detail in this post. The Party Elven Wizard Human Rogue Human Wizard Human Fighter The Fight Four hours outside of Phandelver ...
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  • 38.8k
23 votes

My party bypassed a combat encounter. Should they still get XP?

If the party bypassed the encounter simply by picking right instead of left, I'd say no XP. If they worked out a tactic to avoid the combat, I'd give them full XP to reward creative thinking.
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  • 355
23 votes
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Can leaving and returning to an encounter make you roll a new initiative?

Encounters are like the Hotel California You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave. Just because you are no longer participating in the encounter for whatever reason doesn't mean ...
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  • 122k

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