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D&D 3E
Adventure writing: encounter editing? 
3rd-Aug-2009 09:52 am
So, I'm working on a campaign that I want to run, but because I'm a) not very good at improv and b) play for a group that likes to run the GM through the ringer ;) I want to plan as much as possible before I start running. This is also because I have wanted to create this campaign for a long time, so I want to make sure it goes well. I'm lucky enough that I know my group pretty well, and I'm making all sorts of notes about what I think/know they will do and ask. That's the easy part. The hard part is knowing the rules like the back of my hand. For that I will likely be coming to you all for help. So, question 1: I have an encounter in mind for the party at 2nd level. Would you be willing to glance at it and let me know if the numbers should be tweaked?

Encounter: The next morning, the party wakes up to the sound of screaming. Listen checks will determine how long the party sleeps and thus what they see when they wake up. (It is assumed that the party member(s) who makes the appropriate listen check will wake the rest of the party.)

DC 20 Listen check: The party wakes up to the first scream and a sound of "Goblins!" being shouted from down the street. When they make it outside the inn, they find a horde of goblins setting fire to a couple of cottages on the edge of town. *Encounter: 6+4 goblins*

DC 10 Listen check: The party wakes up to multiple screams from throughout the town. If they look out the window, they can see some fire, but the inn does not appear to be burning - yet. When they come downstairs, they meet 4 goblins coming inside. *Encounter: 4+6 goblins*

DC 5 Listen check: The party wakes up to find the inn on fire. Their room is fire free for 3 rounds. They can either race down the stairs and take 1d4 fire damage every round that they are in the building, or they can jump out the second story window and take 1d6 damage falling. Once outside, the encounter the goblins. *Encounter: 4+2+4 goblins*

If, by some fluke, no one in the party makes a DC 5 listen check, checks will be made again on rounds 2 and 3. On round 4, the party will waken to find themselves on fire (taking 1d4 points of fire damage). I seriously doubt this will happen, though.

Note: I'm trying to cover all possibilities, but I am counting on someone in the party making either a DC 20 or DC 10 listen check. Oh, and the 6+4, etc, indicates reinforcements to be added in a second wave of enemies.

Are those numbers okay for a party of 8 lvl 2 characters (yes, we have a big group)? Our group tends to be extremely OP, so I don't want to massacre them, but I'm also warry of them massacring my monters. Also, I'm doing this so as to only make 1 listen check. Rather than three checks. Is there anything fundamentally wrong with that tactic?

Thanks for your help, and I'm sure I'll have more questions later!
3rd-Aug-2009 03:03 pm (UTC)
If I'm worried about the PCs being too powerful for an encounter, then I plan to add monsters over the course of the fight as needed. Just play it out like you meant for it to happen. Have some goblins run in, then a few more, then some others, etc.

It works the opposite way too. If an encounter might too hard than I trickle the monsters in until I think I have found the sweet spot. This avoids the TPK, and it avoids the need for some contrived way to let the party survive. If they never saw all the planned monsters, then they don't realize that you nerfed the encounter for them.
3rd-Aug-2009 08:08 pm (UTC)
This sounds like a very good encounter setup. I particularly like the graduated listen check idea. I must find somewhere to use that in my campaign.

As for goblins being too powerful for the party, I would actually worry that the goblins might be too weak. My experience since switching over from 1E to 3E has been that the party tends to wipe up the floor with monsters that used to be pretty tough. Of course the characters won't have their armor on if they are escaping from a burning building (the Player's Handbook has some rules in it somewhere that discuss how long it takes to put on and take off armor).

What is OP? I don't know that abbreviation.
3rd-Aug-2009 08:54 pm (UTC)
Sorry, OP = Over powered.
(Deleted comment)
4th-Aug-2009 07:34 pm (UTC)
It would be the only encounter before a short rest but they'd have several more before they'd get an extended rest.
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