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D&D 3E
I'm running a campaign for the first time and I'm having trouble… 
13th-Feb-2007 06:36 pm
Revolver Ocelot
I'm running a campaign for the first time and I'm having trouble gauging how hard the combat should be. My friends and I only recently got into DnD, but between me and one other guy, we've scoured these books, so we're familiar with the rules pretty well.

We ran a few practice sessions using downloaded adventures, but now I'm setting up the beginning of the true campaign. I'm letting them keep their previous characters, though. I have a druid, fighter and rogue, all 3rd level.

I set up my enemies (3 small animated objects) and ran a test battle. After the battle was over, my druid was down to 12/20 HP, the rogue was at 11/14, the fighter was still at 25/25 and the druid's wolf was 13/18. No magic was used in combat, and I ignored the rogue's sneak attack(I didn't do this on a grid, I just let anyone attack anyone, and I didn't want to have to account for flanking).

This was only the first encounter, and I wanted to have a few more like this throughout the dungeon, plus a miniboss(large animated object) and a boss(3rd level human ranger).

Is this an acceptable level of damage for a setup like this, or are they being hurt too badly, too quickly?

I may not have given all necessary information, because as I said, I'm new at this. If you need any more information or see anything that looks flat out wrong, let me know.
14th-Feb-2007 04:01 am (UTC)
Ruling out strategy and things like magic and sneak attack.. absolutely. On a critical, the fighter could kill an animated object in one blow, likewise with the rogue. The druid has numerous fire spells which could rain havoc on those objects, and healing spells.

If you're worried hide a healing potion or two somewhere obvious.
14th-Feb-2007 04:23 am (UTC)
On a critical, the fighter could kill an animated object in one blow, likewise with the rogue.

Which would be pretty impressive, considering that constructs are immune to criticals.
14th-Feb-2007 04:28 am (UTC)
Sounds fine to me, if you're comfortable with that. Basically set up what you want, and then run your players through it. If they start running out of HP/spells/resources, then they'll stop (or have to think of some other way through the encounter).

Really you're the only one who can judge challenges for your players, based on both their characters' statistics and how all of you play. Figuring out what would make a decent encounter, challenging but not lethal, is a constantly ongoing process. I've been DMing for years and I still haven't figured it out (and I dare any other DM out there to say that his battles are always the challenge level he expected them to be!).
14th-Feb-2007 05:07 am (UTC)
I ACCEPT YOUR DARE GOOD SIjust kidding. I dunno what's going to happen. In the D&D multiverse, God plays with dice.

Encounters are never exact things, especially at levels below 5. A single crit hit or fail can mean the difference between an effortless victory and total obliteration. Looking back on when we started a couple years ago, the two best things you can do right now are:

1) Get a battle grid. There's one in the back of the DMG that we just detached and laminated with a roll of contact paper. Use coins as minis if you want. It's so much more realistic for players to stand on a grid than just using verbal combat, even if it seems like Battle Chess at times. If you don't let them use Sneak Attack or flanking, you're nerfing some characters and hampering their play styles, and it keeps you from familiarizing yourself with it as well.

2) If someone decides to do something unfamiliar like Bull Rush, Charge, or Sunder, get the book out right then and there and look it up. I know that the DMG says to do whatever it takes to keep the action going, but it was a lot more helpful for us in early adventures to get the rules down pat and just have an extra encounter in reserve if things weren't tough enough for the characters. My players probably saw it for the cheap ploy it was at times, but it's made our games now a lot better.

Uhm, I've found this community invaluable for confusing little questions. Folks like highbulp here and colinblackthorn (amongst others) are extremely kind in helping people with them. It's cool to hear you picked up a good game, D&D has brought a lot of my friends together. Welcome.
14th-Feb-2007 05:12 am (UTC)
Thanks for the advice. I do have a battle grid, actually, and it will be used for the actual run. I just chose not to use it for this little test encounter (mostly because it's not mine, it belongs to the other guy in the group who actually has the books).

We whipped out the books pretty often in both of our last sessions. Like I said, this is the beginning of the 'true' campaign. The other sessions existed solely as a means to get ourselves familiar enough to spend more than 75% of the time playing, not reading.

I've been in this community for a few months, just never spoke up until now. I've wanted to play D&D for a very long time but only recently got the chance. I've been a life long video gamer, but I knew enough of D&D to be enthralled with the endless possibilities that standard games eschew in favor of video and audio stimuli. Not saying I'd ever give up my consoles, but this custom content is something I had longed for.
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