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D&D 3E
DM woes 
16th-Nov-2004 04:36 pm
boke1
My PC's are kicking ass. Lucky rolls, good strategies, and they're plowing through very challenging encounters. Maybe I'm taking it too easy on them but on paper the tables are not evenly matched, they should be getting THEIR butts kicked, not vice versa. And I don't want to err in the opposite direction because I know they're getting lucky, the things they're wiping the floor with should really be putting a hurt on them, but they aren't. If I beef it up too much and the fates turn, they're toast. What to do, what to do? I suppose the dice will turn eventually ut these guys are getting too cocky for their own good.
Comments 
16th-Nov-2004 10:12 pm (UTC)
Are the players having fun? If so, why do anything differently? It's good strategies as well as lucky rolls so let them enjoy the fruit of their labor.

It's not the DM's job to punish cockiness due to lucky dice rolls. Let the dice do their own punishing. Just run the game the way you have been. If they continue to use sound strategy and get more lucky rolls, they will succeed. If they don't, they will fail. Maybe one or two characters will die -- which would suck -- but that's the nature of D&D.

16th-Nov-2004 10:17 pm (UTC)
Fair enough. and they do seem to be having a good time. Still. Seems to be coming WAY to easily. A couple of encounters they whipped through, i couldn't believe. And one unforseen event, managed to charm an npc with a wand they found. i had to do some serious scurrying on that encounter, totally didn't anticipate that.
17th-Nov-2004 12:26 am (UTC)
If they're having fun, then you're doing a great job. Don't second guess that. =) When they seem to be getting bored with their success, that's when you change things.

Really, they probably think that they're overcoming impossible odds, too (and aren't they?). That makes them feel like heroes and that is what D&D is all about, no?
16th-Nov-2004 10:17 pm (UTC)
Take a look at the equipment they have, and throw something that they can't deal with at them. If their best weapon is +2, a creature that can only be hit by +3 weapons is going to be powerful.

Use feats to balance out creatures/NPCs. Knockdown and Improved Disarm can really ruin a PCs day.

Add two levels of the "Warrior" NPC class to humanoids. CR only increases by 1, but the creature gains a +2 BAB and 2d8 extra hit dice.

And when in doubt... "improvise". Never let creature or NPC hit point rolls be less than half the maximum (or just max out the hit points). Increase AC by a point or two. Add a template. Give NPCs access to one-shot magic items (like potions)... potions of haste, (bear's) endurance, or other buff spells can really change the balance of power.

BTW, what level are your PCs at, and how many are in the group?
16th-Nov-2004 10:19 pm (UTC)
currently 4th level and there are 5 of them. like the guy above said i probably shouldn't punish them, they are just geting lucky. still... wow man. we're playing tomorrow and i'm considering beefing up my... everything, and seeing how it goes.
16th-Nov-2004 10:27 pm (UTC)
Or... one of the characters could be charmed/dominated. Nothing like having those wonderful rolls used against the party. ;)
16th-Nov-2004 10:28 pm (UTC)
Perhaps have them get cursed? Opposite effect of a "luck" effect, so on occassion they have to roll twice and take the worse. Then design an adventure where they try to break their curse. If the PCs acknowledge that they are rolling really lucky, maybe they'll appreciate the situation. But really depends on the personality of your players.
16th-Nov-2004 10:38 pm (UTC)
funny thing, they're all rolling lucky except the mage. i don't think he's cost a single point of damage for three games now. or better to say, the only rolls i'm making are saves against his spells. last time he hurt anyone was with his staff, smacking them on the head.
17th-Nov-2004 04:14 am (UTC)
Try having your creatures use more intelligent tactics as well. As opposed to beefing up monsters use their natural tendencys. Archers are a real pain in the butt when used properly. Buff spells are good as well. The game I am currently playing in had a similar situation. We were blowing through ranks of monsters with little to no damage. The DM started playing smarter and using a buff or two on the monsters. Let me tell you I was pissed when my Ice Storm had no effect on the gang of goblins pouring through the door but I improvised and had a better time with the encounter. It made me think a little more and improved my enjoyment even though I nearly got my ass kicked.

Lord Skull
17th-Nov-2004 02:03 pm (UTC)
Most of my points are similar to other people's posts. Anyway..

More intelligent enemies - Have them exploit the weaknesses of the party. If the party likes to buff up with spells, have a few targeted Dispel Magic spells cast on them. Too many critical hits? Throw in some undead, constructs, or oozes.

If you think the encounters are close, but the dice are altering the odds, then give your own dice better odds. ;) Fudge a few numbers (but not too many). If the enemy is only a point or two shy of a Will save, let him have it. 10 points, then leave it be. Fudging numbers can also be adding HP to encounters on the fly. That can be an easy way to make the baddies a little tougher.
18th-Nov-2004 07:55 pm (UTC)
I often cheat a bit with encounters that I thought were balanced but end up being too easy.

Primarily I bring in reinforcements. My encounters are often of the boss/henchmen variety... if the party drops the henchmen too easily, I'll just bring in more. Also, throw the henchmen in first, before the boss shows up to the fight... draw those fireballs and holds with the peons.

This can be too cheesy if you do it every time, or make it too obvious. Part of the trick of it is to work them into the encounter smoothly. I often give them warning if I think I'll need them, such as a listen check to hear a group of creatures running closer, or I'll have one henchmen run away at the START of the fight (to get the rest), that way when he returns with however many extras I thought were needed, it will seem planned.

I also never reveal hit points. I record damage dealt publicly, but not total HP. Sometimes, if a bad guy dropped a bit too fast, I'll make the party deal him one last hit (I'll fudge his hp). As long as your group never knows you've done this, what's the difference? Its more fun for them if its a challenge.

And to reiterate what many others have said, make your bad guys smart (when appropriate). Pretend each creature is YOUR character, and fight as if your life were on the line. No more charging at the party.
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