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Do you use overwhelming encounters?

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Anonymous
August 4, 2005 7:52:07 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

I was playing around with making dungeons & encounters by the book.

I found that if you actually use encounters as the DMG suggests:
overwhelming encounters (+5 to +7 EL) 1/20, Hard (+1 to +4) 3/20, Even
10/20, and Easy (-1 to -7) 6/10 like the DMG suggests, your pcs
actually get about half again more experience over the standard 13-14
encounters per level than they need to level. So this means they are
really leveling after about 9 encounters on average. Interestingly if
you just drop the overwhelming encounters off that, you are up to about
13 encounters per level.

I have actually been using by the book in my random encounter
generator, this probably explains why my group levels much faster than
I think they should according to the book.

So the final question is does anyone actually use overwhelming
encounters, or is it just me? And if you were making a dungeon for
general consumption would you?

- Justisaur.
Anonymous
August 4, 2005 8:24:29 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

Werebat wrote:
> Justisaur wrote:
> > I was playing around with making dungeons & encounters by the book.
> >
> > I found that if you actually use encounters as the DMG suggests:
> > overwhelming encounters (+5 to +7 EL) 1/20, Hard (+1 to +4) 3/20, Even
> > 10/20, and Easy (-1 to -7) 6/10 like the DMG suggests, your pcs
> > actually get about half again more experience over the standard 13-14
> > encounters per level than they need to level. So this means they are
> > really leveling after about 9 encounters on average. Interestingly if
> > you just drop the overwhelming encounters off that, you are up to about
> > 13 encounters per level.
> >
> > I have actually been using by the book in my random encounter
> > generator, this probably explains why my group levels much faster than
> > I think they should according to the book.
> >
> > So the final question is does anyone actually use overwhelming
> > encounters, or is it just me? And if you were making a dungeon for
> > general consumption would you?
>
> I use them fairly often (rarely more than +4 though), and often that is
> only on what I might call a "technicality" (LA for an alternate race
> bringing up the EL).
>

+4 is only a hard encounter, not overwhelming. EL = CR on a single
creature, not EL = ECL.

Obviously you do use higher encounters, but maybe not overwhelming. do
you use the easy encounters with any frequency?

Would you expect to see +5 to +7 encounters in a published dungeon, or
one out of 20 anyway? Basically I'm thinking of making my own version
of the World's Largest Dungeon, only as by the book as possible -
obviously smaller since it'd be by the book. Since the book is
contradictory in this instance (13-14 encounters to level, and the
frequency of different hardness encounters do not mesh) I'm trying to
figure out what should give. I'm leaning toward what should give is
the overwhelming encounters, but I'm worried that might make it too
easy.

- Justisaur
Anonymous
August 4, 2005 10:38:17 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

Justisaur wrote:
> I was playing around with making dungeons & encounters by the book.
>
> I found that if you actually use encounters as the DMG suggests:
> overwhelming encounters (+5 to +7 EL) 1/20, Hard (+1 to +4) 3/20, Even
> 10/20, and Easy (-1 to -7) 6/10 like the DMG suggests, your pcs
> actually get about half again more experience over the standard 13-14
> encounters per level than they need to level.

Except that you only get the XP if the "challenge has been overcome".
You're almost certainly going to be avoiding or running from the
overwhelming one so, most probably, no XP for it.

I do use overwhelming encounters myself, but only when it would be pure
stupidity on the PCs part that would lead to a fight. e.g. They're
invited to see the local Lord to discuss something. Theoretically they
could try to kill him whilst they're there but it's obviously not
something that they're meant to do and, more importantly, it would be a
stupid thing for their characters to do. Also, if they tried it they
would almost certainly die in the attempt. So there's the overwhelming
encounter over and done with, with no XP for the PCs.
Related resources
Anonymous
August 4, 2005 11:11:59 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

Justisaur wrote:
> I was playing around with making dungeons & encounters by the book.
>
> I found that if you actually use encounters as the DMG suggests:
> overwhelming encounters (+5 to +7 EL) 1/20, Hard (+1 to +4) 3/20, Even
> 10/20, and Easy (-1 to -7) 6/10 like the DMG suggests, your pcs
> actually get about half again more experience over the standard 13-14
> encounters per level than they need to level. So this means they are
> really leveling after about 9 encounters on average. Interestingly if
> you just drop the overwhelming encounters off that, you are up to about
> 13 encounters per level.
>
> I have actually been using by the book in my random encounter
> generator, this probably explains why my group levels much faster than
> I think they should according to the book.
>
> So the final question is does anyone actually use overwhelming
> encounters, or is it just me? And if you were making a dungeon for
> general consumption would you?

I use them fairly often (rarely more than +4 though), and often that is
only on what I might call a "technicality" (LA for an alternate race
bringing up the EL).

- Ron ^*^
Anonymous
August 5, 2005 4:36:01 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

"Justisaur" <justisaur@gmail.com> wrote in message
news:1123195927.268506.182980@z14g2000cwz.googlegroups.com...

> So the final question is does anyone actually use overwhelming
> encounters, or is it just me?

All the time. My players enjoy the challenge.

> And if you were making a dungeon for
> general consumption would you?

Sure. Make 'em sweat a bit.

--
^v^v^Malachias Invictus^v^v^

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishment the scroll,
I am the Master of my fate:
I am the Captain of my soul.

from _Invictus_, by William Ernest Henley
Anonymous
August 5, 2005 4:49:01 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

Justisaur wrote:
> I was playing around with making dungeons & encounters by the book.
>
> I found that if you actually use encounters as the DMG suggests:
> overwhelming encounters (+5 to +7 EL) 1/20, Hard (+1 to +4) 3/20, Even
> 10/20, and Easy (-1 to -7) 6/10 like the DMG suggests, your pcs
> actually get about half again more experience over the standard 13-14
> encounters per level than they need to level. So this means they are
> really leveling after about 9 encounters on average. Interestingly if
> you just drop the overwhelming encounters off that, you are up to about
> 13 encounters per level.
>
> I have actually been using by the book in my random encounter
> generator, this probably explains why my group levels much faster than
> I think they should according to the book.
>
> So the final question is does anyone actually use overwhelming
> encounters, or is it just me? And if you were making a dungeon for
> general consumption would you?

Er... if your players are regularly winning overwhelming encounters,
you're doing something weird (probably fudging in their favour).
Nothing wrong with that, per se, just don't be surprised if they level
faster.

Laszlo
Anonymous
August 5, 2005 9:53:02 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

Malachias Invictus wrote:
> "Justisaur" <justisaur@gmail.com> wrote in message
> news:1123195927.268506.182980@z14g2000cwz.googlegroups.com...
>
> > So the final question is does anyone actually use overwhelming
> > encounters, or is it just me?
>
> All the time. My players enjoy the challenge.

How do you let your players know that the encounter
is something beyond their league? Do you always make
sure that they have an out? Do you give hints that
the encounter is probably more than they can handle?

I usually let them figure it out once the fight starts...
Anonymous
August 5, 2005 12:04:33 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

Werebat wrote:
> laszlo_spamhole@freemail.hu wrote:
> > Justisaur wrote:
> >
> >>I was playing around with making dungeons & encounters by the book.
> >>
> >>I found that if you actually use encounters as the DMG suggests:
> >>overwhelming encounters (+5 to +7 EL) 1/20, Hard (+1 to +4) 3/20, Even
> >>10/20, and Easy (-1 to -7) 6/10 like the DMG suggests, your pcs
> >>actually get about half again more experience over the standard 13-14
> >>encounters per level than they need to level. So this means they are
> >>really leveling after about 9 encounters on average. Interestingly if
> >>you just drop the overwhelming encounters off that, you are up to about
> >>13 encounters per level.
> >>
> >>I have actually been using by the book in my random encounter
> >>generator, this probably explains why my group levels much faster than
> >>I think they should according to the book.
> >>
> >>So the final question is does anyone actually use overwhelming
> >>encounters, or is it just me? And if you were making a dungeon for
> >>general consumption would you?
> >
> >
> > Er... if your players are regularly winning overwhelming encounters,
> > you're doing something weird (probably fudging in their favour).
>
> Or they have twinked-out characters and/or are good strategists.

Well, colour me skeptical. Unless, by "twinked out", you mean wealth
and items far beyond the suggested amount for their level. At
overwhelming (+5 CR) power disparities, good strategies and good
powergaming just aren't enough to cut it, as a rule.

Laszlo
Anonymous
August 5, 2005 1:21:57 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

IHateLashknife@hotmail.com wrote:

> I do use overwhelming encounters myself, but only when it would be pure
> stupidity on the PCs part that would lead to a fight. e.g. They're
> invited to see the local Lord to discuss something. Theoretically they
> could try to kill him whilst they're there but it's obviously not
> something that they're meant to do and, more importantly, it would be a
> stupid thing for their characters to do. Also, if they tried it they
> would almost certainly die in the attempt. So there's the overwhelming
> encounter over and done with, with no XP for the PCs.

That doesn't qualify as an encounter.

- Justisaur
Anonymous
August 5, 2005 1:22:59 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

laszlo_spamhole@freemail.hu wrote:
> Werebat wrote:
> > laszlo_spamhole@freemail.hu wrote:
> > > Justisaur wrote:
> > >
> > >>I was playing around with making dungeons & encounters by the book.
> > >>
> > >>I found that if you actually use encounters as the DMG suggests:
> > >>overwhelming encounters (+5 to +7 EL) 1/20, Hard (+1 to +4) 3/20, Even
> > >>10/20, and Easy (-1 to -7) 6/10 like the DMG suggests, your pcs
> > >>actually get about half again more experience over the standard 13-14
> > >>encounters per level than they need to level. So this means they are
> > >>really leveling after about 9 encounters on average. Interestingly if
> > >>you just drop the overwhelming encounters off that, you are up to about
> > >>13 encounters per level.
> > >>
> > >>I have actually been using by the book in my random encounter
> > >>generator, this probably explains why my group levels much faster than
> > >>I think they should according to the book.
> > >>
> > >>So the final question is does anyone actually use overwhelming
> > >>encounters, or is it just me? And if you were making a dungeon for
> > >>general consumption would you?
> > >
> > >
> > > Er... if your players are regularly winning overwhelming encounters,
> > > you're doing something weird (probably fudging in their favour).
> >
> > Or they have twinked-out characters and/or are good strategists.
>
> Well, colour me skeptical. Unless, by "twinked out", you mean wealth
> and items far beyond the suggested amount for their level. At
> overwhelming (+5 CR) power disparities, good strategies and good
> powergaming just aren't enough to cut it, as a rule.

I'm with Laszlo here. I use overwhelming encounters, and even if the
PC's win at least one of them looses a level for the raise dead
spell.... So the net EP change can easily be negative.

+5 CR should be able to take the ENTIRE party on, dead fresh, and
win more than half the time. Parties are not always dead fresh
(neither are opponents, but that gives a substantial ad-hoc
adjustment).

The key to these encounters is not to fight. Run, negotiate, get
allies, surrender, do something else, but don't simply stand and
fight.

Most overwhelming foes are smart enough to concentrate on one foe
at a time, and do enough damage to leave that foe dead.

Many have superior mobility and the ability to spot and kill the
wizard first, or area attacks and a real chance of a TPK.

DougL
Anonymous
August 5, 2005 1:34:31 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

laszlo_spamhole@freemail.hu wrote:
> Justisaur wrote:
> > I was playing around with making dungeons & encounters by the book.
> >
> > I found that if you actually use encounters as the DMG suggests:
> > overwhelming encounters (+5 to +7 EL) 1/20, Hard (+1 to +4) 3/20, Even
> > 10/20, and Easy (-1 to -7) 6/10 like the DMG suggests, your pcs
> > actually get about half again more experience over the standard 13-14
> > encounters per level than they need to level. So this means they are
> > really leveling after about 9 encounters on average. Interestingly if
> > you just drop the overwhelming encounters off that, you are up to about
> > 13 encounters per level.
> >
> > I have actually been using by the book in my random encounter
> > generator, this probably explains why my group levels much faster than
> > I think they should according to the book.
> >
> > So the final question is does anyone actually use overwhelming
> > encounters, or is it just me? And if you were making a dungeon for
> > general consumption would you?
>
> Er... if your players are regularly winning overwhelming encounters,
> you're doing something weird (probably fudging in their favour).
> Nothing wrong with that, per se, just don't be surprised if they level
> faster.
>

Regularly being 1/20th of the time... It's true they don't often win
them immediately, but they've always regrouped and won afterward. If
they happen to be prepared in the first place they will often win the
first time. From my last campaign I remember several overwhelming
encounters. #1 a bebilith at low level, PCs ran, got the nobles to
deal with it. Lost one person from poison after they'd got away. #2
Nightcrawler at about 15th lv. The party didn't loose anyone, but they
had to hole up for a day in a mordinkainen's mansion and regain spells
and work out a strategy as it was sitting there waiting for them the
whole time. #3 going to fight a CR23 dragon, it's rider and his army.
Party was 17th. PCs were attacking the dragon, so were prepared. 2nd
round it's SR was overcome and it rolled a 1 against dominate monster.
There were some other ones as well, some Yuan-Ti, 1st time killed all
of the party except one with a blasphemy. When they came back it was
rather pitiful, they hardly took any damage. There were actually a few
even EL encounters that went like this too.

Obviously I don't fudge.

- Justisaur
Anonymous
August 5, 2005 2:03:13 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

DougL wrote:
> laszlo_spamhole@freemail.hu wrote:
> > Werebat wrote:
> > > laszlo_spamhole@freemail.hu wrote:
> > > > Justisaur wrote:
> > > >
> > > >>I was playing around with making dungeons & encounters by the book.
> > > >>
> > > >>I found that if you actually use encounters as the DMG suggests:
> > > >>overwhelming encounters (+5 to +7 EL) 1/20, Hard (+1 to +4) 3/20, Even
> > > >>10/20, and Easy (-1 to -7) 6/10 like the DMG suggests, your pcs
> > > >>actually get about half again more experience over the standard 13-14
> > > >>encounters per level than they need to level. So this means they are
> > > >>really leveling after about 9 encounters on average. Interestingly if
> > > >>you just drop the overwhelming encounters off that, you are up to about
> > > >>13 encounters per level.
> > > >>
> > > >>I have actually been using by the book in my random encounter
> > > >>generator, this probably explains why my group levels much faster than
> > > >>I think they should according to the book.
> > > >>
> > > >>So the final question is does anyone actually use overwhelming
> > > >>encounters, or is it just me? And if you were making a dungeon for
> > > >>general consumption would you?
> > > >
> > > >
> > > > Er... if your players are regularly winning overwhelming encounters,
> > > > you're doing something weird (probably fudging in their favour).
> > >
> > > Or they have twinked-out characters and/or are good strategists.
> >
> > Well, colour me skeptical. Unless, by "twinked out", you mean wealth
> > and items far beyond the suggested amount for their level. At
> > overwhelming (+5 CR) power disparities, good strategies and good
> > powergaming just aren't enough to cut it, as a rule.
>
> I'm with Laszlo here. I use overwhelming encounters, and even if the
> PC's win at least one of them looses a level for the raise dead
> spell.... So the net EP change can easily be negative.
>
> +5 CR should be able to take the ENTIRE party on, dead fresh, and
> win more than half the time. Parties are not always dead fresh
> (neither are opponents, but that gives a substantial ad-hoc
> adjustment).
>
> The key to these encounters is not to fight. Run, negotiate, get
> allies, surrender, do something else, but don't simply stand and
> fight.
>
> Most overwhelming foes are smart enough to concentrate on one foe
> at a time, and do enough damage to leave that foe dead.
>
> Many have superior mobility and the ability to spot and kill the
> wizard first, or area attacks and a real chance of a TPK.
>

As noted in my 1st reply to Lazlo, they don't usually win the first
time, they usually run, a few die but they regroup and come back loaded
for whatever it is, and ALWAYS win so far (o.k. 1 TPK at about 15th lv
on my first 3.0 game, they did have a way of coming back, but the game
broke up at that point). Probably what is affecting the leveling is
the fact in my last campaign I made the level loss from raising only
temporary. In my current campaign it's temporary with a chance of
becoming permanent. If I went back to normal level loss I'd have some
wildly disparate levels, as so far in my current campaign I've got 1
person who's died 3 times, 1 never, and everyone else somewhere
in-between, and the party is only 6th lv. I don't think the disparity
would make it very fun for those who have died. They haven't been
having much luck this time. My last campain only had 1 death by about
7. As a whole the group would indeed have less xp if the level loss
was enforced, but it doesn't seem a great idea to me.

But from the rest of the replies it sounds like people usually use
overwhelming encounters, but only on things they can avoid (and get no
xp for) or negotiate with (possibly no xp, or very little depending on
interpretation). Or in a couple cases do expect them to fight, but a
good portion of the party to die and thereby loose collectively as much
xp as they gain, which would indeed take care of the extra xp problem I
noticed. Not in a graceful maner, but it does do the trick.

So with that in mind I will put in some overwhelming encounters, but
the majority of which can be avoided or negotiated with. Like maybe
"There's a Balor in the room!" (get the pc's heart racing) "There's a
circle of silver dust on the floor though in which it stands. Don't
sneeze!" That's one that can be easily avoided. Tempting things might
be fun too. Like a flaming sword in a construct's hand, only animates
if someone does something to disturb it, etc. And for the negotiatable
ones, say a giant or somesuch guarding something, usually evil, but
this one's neutral, doesn't really want to kill anyone, doesn't like
it's job, so will allow anyone by with nearly any bluff, forged
documents, distraction (yea! entertainment!) or whatnot. Antoher guard
avoidance idea could be something big guarding one entrance to
somewhere, but there are other entrances which are easier, but more
well hidden. Then lastly I can use an overwhelming encounter for the
big ol boss man.

- Justisaur
Anonymous
August 5, 2005 2:12:30 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

tussock wrote:
> In a WLD-like project, I'd just let players move into harder places
> at will. The overwhelming encounters would just happen naturally as they
> run into what should be average-hard encounters at too low level.
> Also, allow the monsters freedom to team up against the new threat
> wherever it's sensable to do so.

This is basically the way the Return to the Temple does it. Do things
right, and it's very survivable. Do things wrong, and you receive a
(hopefully not fatal) lesson in Why Scouting And Divination Magic Can
Be A Good Thing.

Laszlo
Anonymous
August 5, 2005 2:20:08 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

tussock wrote:
> Justisaur wrote:
>
> > So this means they are really leveling after about 9 encounters
>
> You're supposed to run, or lose.
>
>
> > So the final question is does anyone actually use overwhelming
> > encounters, or is it just me? And if you were making a dungeon for
> > general consumption would you?
>
> My dungeons tend to have overwelming encounters by default if the
> PCs let on that they're running around.
> The base adventure might be to fight a scout (to gain intel), a
> guard post, an inner patrol (or sneak past it), and the final guard,
> then sneak out the cleared path again; but if one of the final guard
> gets away and rasies the alarm, there's another five patrols and ten
> guardposts start to track them down soon enough. They *will* gang up,
> and I let the dice fall where they may, if the PCs are silly enough to
> get cornered on the way out.
>

I like the alarm/patrol idea. I wouldn't really call the encounters
ganging up a single normal encounter, but I guess it works out that
way... If you have say 8 standard encounters in an area, and an alarm
gets sounded all of them together is a +6 or overwhelming encounter.
It's still possible they can win, but unlikely, more possible if they
take out any of them before the alarm goes off. I can definitely work
with that.

> In a WLD-like project, I'd just let players move into harder places
> at will. The overwhelming encounters would just happen naturally as they
> run into what should be average-hard encounters at too low level.
> Also, allow the monsters freedom to team up against the new threat
> wherever it's sensable to do so.
>

I usually do that too, part of why my players get into a bit of trouble
now and again. It's an interesting idea, but I'm not sure it's
appropriate in a standard dungeon. It might refreshing though in the
era of video game railroading.

- Justisaur.
Anonymous
August 5, 2005 2:20:40 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

Justisaur wrote:
> As noted in my 1st reply to Lazlo, they don't usually win the first
> time, they usually run, a few die but they regroup and come back loaded
> for whatever it is, and ALWAYS win so far (o.k. 1 TPK at about 15th lv
> on my first 3.0 game, they did have a way of coming back, but the game
> broke up at that point). Probably what is affecting the leveling is
> the fact in my last campaign I made the level loss from raising only
> temporary. In my current campaign it's temporary with a chance of
> becoming permanent. If I went back to normal level loss I'd have some
> wildly disparate levels, as so far in my current campaign I've got 1
> person who's died 3 times, 1 never, and everyone else somewhere
> in-between, and the party is only 6th lv. I don't think the disparity
> would make it very fun for those who have died. They haven't been
> having much luck this time. My last campain only had 1 death by about
> 7. As a whole the group would indeed have less xp if the level loss
> was enforced, but it doesn't seem a great idea to me.

Yep, making the level loss temporary is definitely the reason.

I agree that the disparate levels can be a problem. Usually, if a
player has fallen very far behind, I just suggest that he make a new
character 1 level below the party average.

> But from the rest of the replies it sounds like people usually use
> overwhelming encounters, but only on things they can avoid (and get no
> xp for) or negotiate with (possibly no xp, or very little depending on
> interpretation). Or in a couple cases do expect them to fight, but a
> good portion of the party to die and thereby loose collectively as much
> xp as they gain, which would indeed take care of the extra xp problem I
> noticed. Not in a graceful maner, but it does do the trick.

I don't really use overwhelming encounters except as occasional
narrative devices. It's always obvious to my players that they're not
meant to attack.

> So with that in mind I will put in some overwhelming encounters, but
> the majority of which can be avoided or negotiated with. Like maybe
> "There's a Balor in the room!" (get the pc's heart racing) "There's a
> circle of silver dust on the floor though in which it stands. Don't
> sneeze!" That's one that can be easily avoided.

Yep. Got a fun (and IMO very well deserved) TPK from a very similar
situation a few years back.

http://groups-beta.google.com/group/rec.games.frp.dnd/m...

> Tempting things might
> be fun too. Like a flaming sword in a construct's hand, only animates
> if someone does something to disturb it, etc. And for the negotiatable
> ones, say a giant or somesuch guarding something, usually evil, but
> this one's neutral, doesn't really want to kill anyone, doesn't like
> it's job, so will allow anyone by with nearly any bluff, forged
> documents, distraction (yea! entertainment!) or whatnot. Antoher guard
> avoidance idea could be something big guarding one entrance to
> somewhere, but there are other entrances which are easier, but more
> well hidden. Then lastly I can use an overwhelming encounter for the
> big ol boss man.

My big old boss men tend to be about CR +2 or CR +3. Anything beyond
that carries a very, very real danger of TPK.

Laszlo
Anonymous
August 5, 2005 2:34:52 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

Justisaur wrote:
> tussock wrote:

> > In a WLD-like project, I'd just let players move into harder places
> > at will. The overwhelming encounters would just happen naturally as they
> > run into what should be average-hard encounters at too low level.
> > Also, allow the monsters freedom to team up against the new threat
> > wherever it's sensable to do so.
> >
>
> I usually do that too, part of why my players get into a bit of trouble
> now and again. It's an interesting idea, but I'm not sure it's
> appropriate in a standard dungeon. It might refreshing though in the
> era of video game railroading.

How else do you apply time presure? Not every opponent can be in the
middle of a world destroying/changing ritual at the stage where the
PC's have to attack RIGHT NOW to have any chance to stop it. In fact
more than one of those per campaign pretty well snaps my WSoD.

And if the PC's can teleport home and recover after every fight there
is no real challenge to anything less than CR+4. So you absolutely
need time presure for the basically attritional/reasource and time
limited model of D&D adventuring/combat to work.

The Monsters REACT, either by ganging up, improving defenses, or
leaving with the loot is the obvious tool for applying time presure.
It's what should happen in the game world and it is the only good
reason long term for the time presure you need for a decent D&D
style adventure.

DougL
Anonymous
August 5, 2005 3:01:23 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

laszlo_spamhole@freemail.hu wrote:
> Justisaur wrote:
>
>>I was playing around with making dungeons & encounters by the book.
>>
>>I found that if you actually use encounters as the DMG suggests:
>>overwhelming encounters (+5 to +7 EL) 1/20, Hard (+1 to +4) 3/20, Even
>>10/20, and Easy (-1 to -7) 6/10 like the DMG suggests, your pcs
>>actually get about half again more experience over the standard 13-14
>>encounters per level than they need to level. So this means they are
>>really leveling after about 9 encounters on average. Interestingly if
>>you just drop the overwhelming encounters off that, you are up to about
>>13 encounters per level.
>>
>>I have actually been using by the book in my random encounter
>>generator, this probably explains why my group levels much faster than
>>I think they should according to the book.
>>
>>So the final question is does anyone actually use overwhelming
>>encounters, or is it just me? And if you were making a dungeon for
>>general consumption would you?
>
>
> Er... if your players are regularly winning overwhelming encounters,
> you're doing something weird (probably fudging in their favour).

Or they have twinked-out characters and/or are good strategists.

- Ron ^*^
Anonymous
August 5, 2005 3:58:30 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

On 4 Aug 2005 15:52:07 -0700, "Justisaur" <justisaur@gmail.com> carved
upon a tablet of ether:

> I was playing around with making dungeons & encounters by the book.
>
> I found that if you actually use encounters as the DMG suggests:
> overwhelming encounters (+5 to +7 EL) 1/20, Hard (+1 to +4) 3/20, Even
> 10/20, and Easy (-1 to -7) 6/10 like the DMG suggests, your pcs
> actually get about half again more experience over the standard 13-14
> encounters per level than they need to level. So this means they are
> really leveling after about 9 encounters on average. Interestingly if
> you just drop the overwhelming encounters off that, you are up to about
> 13 encounters per level.

The DMG, IIRC, says that 13-14 standard encounters results in a level.
It does not claim that the characters should level after 13
encounters.

> I have actually been using by the book in my random encounter
> generator, this probably explains why my group levels much faster than
> I think they should according to the book.
>
> So the final question is does anyone actually use overwhelming
> encounters, or is it just me? And if you were making a dungeon for
> general consumption would you?

I do. They make the PC's lives interesting.


--
Rupert Boleyn <rboleyn@paradise.net.nz>
"Just because the truth will set you free doesn't mean the truth itself
should be free."
Anonymous
August 5, 2005 5:19:36 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

Justisaur wrote:
> DougL wrote:
>
>>laszlo_spamhole@freemail.hu wrote:
>>
>>>Werebat wrote:
>>>
>>>>laszlo_spamhole@freemail.hu wrote:
>>>>
>>>>>Justisaur wrote:
>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>>>I was playing around with making dungeons & encounters by the book.
>>>>>>
>>>>>>I found that if you actually use encounters as the DMG suggests:
>>>>>>overwhelming encounters (+5 to +7 EL) 1/20, Hard (+1 to +4) 3/20, Even
>>>>>>10/20, and Easy (-1 to -7) 6/10 like the DMG suggests, your pcs
>>>>>>actually get about half again more experience over the standard 13-14
>>>>>>encounters per level than they need to level. So this means they are
>>>>>>really leveling after about 9 encounters on average. Interestingly if
>>>>>>you just drop the overwhelming encounters off that, you are up to about
>>>>>>13 encounters per level.
>>>>>>
>>>>>>I have actually been using by the book in my random encounter
>>>>>>generator, this probably explains why my group levels much faster than
>>>>>>I think they should according to the book.
>>>>>>
>>>>>>So the final question is does anyone actually use overwhelming
>>>>>>encounters, or is it just me? And if you were making a dungeon for
>>>>>>general consumption would you?
>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>>Er... if your players are regularly winning overwhelming encounters,
>>>>>you're doing something weird (probably fudging in their favour).
>>>>
>>>>Or they have twinked-out characters and/or are good strategists.
>>>
>>>Well, colour me skeptical. Unless, by "twinked out", you mean wealth
>>>and items far beyond the suggested amount for their level. At
>>>overwhelming (+5 CR) power disparities, good strategies and good
>>>powergaming just aren't enough to cut it, as a rule.
>>
>>I'm with Laszlo here. I use overwhelming encounters, and even if the
>>PC's win at least one of them looses a level for the raise dead
>>spell.... So the net EP change can easily be negative.
>>
>>+5 CR should be able to take the ENTIRE party on, dead fresh, and
>>win more than half the time. Parties are not always dead fresh
>>(neither are opponents, but that gives a substantial ad-hoc
>>adjustment).
>>
>>The key to these encounters is not to fight. Run, negotiate, get
>>allies, surrender, do something else, but don't simply stand and
>>fight.
>>
>>Most overwhelming foes are smart enough to concentrate on one foe
>>at a time, and do enough damage to leave that foe dead.
>>
>>Many have superior mobility and the ability to spot and kill the
>>wizard first, or area attacks and a real chance of a TPK.
>>
>
>
> As noted in my 1st reply to Lazlo, they don't usually win the first
> time, they usually run, a few die but they regroup and come back loaded
> for whatever it is, and ALWAYS win so far (o.k. 1 TPK at about 15th lv
> on my first 3.0 game, they did have a way of coming back, but the game
> broke up at that point). Probably what is affecting the leveling is
> the fact in my last campaign I made the level loss from raising only
> temporary. In my current campaign it's temporary with a chance of
> becoming permanent. If I went back to normal level loss I'd have some
> wildly disparate levels, as so far in my current campaign I've got 1
> person who's died 3 times, 1 never, and everyone else somewhere
> in-between, and the party is only 6th lv. I don't think the disparity
> would make it very fun for those who have died. They haven't been
> having much luck this time. My last campain only had 1 death by about
> 7. As a whole the group would indeed have less xp if the level loss
> was enforced, but it doesn't seem a great idea to me.
>
> But from the rest of the replies it sounds like people usually use
> overwhelming encounters, but only on things they can avoid (and get no
> xp for) or negotiate with (possibly no xp, or very little depending on
> interpretation). Or in a couple cases do expect them to fight, but a
> good portion of the party to die and thereby loose collectively as much
> xp as they gain, which would indeed take care of the extra xp problem I
> noticed. Not in a graceful maner, but it does do the trick.
>
> So with that in mind I will put in some overwhelming encounters, but
> the majority of which can be avoided or negotiated with. Like maybe
> "There's a Balor in the room!" (get the pc's heart racing) "There's a
> circle of silver dust on the floor though in which it stands. Don't
> sneeze!" That's one that can be easily avoided. Tempting things might
> be fun too. Like a flaming sword in a construct's hand, only animates
> if someone does something to disturb it, etc. And for the negotiatable
> ones, say a giant or somesuch guarding something, usually evil, but
> this one's neutral, doesn't really want to kill anyone, doesn't like
> it's job, so will allow anyone by with nearly any bluff, forged
> documents, distraction (yea! entertainment!) or whatnot. Antoher guard
> avoidance idea could be something big guarding one entrance to
> somewhere, but there are other entrances which are easier, but more
> well hidden. Then lastly I can use an overwhelming encounter for the
> big ol boss man.

I find that sometimes normal encounters can become overwhelming as a
result of PC actions. For example, they invade the bugbear caverns, and
kill two groups of bugbears before deciding to call it quits and return
to the surface to rest. Two of the bugbear leaders are rangers with
humans as a species enemy. The put together a bugbear posse of half the
warriors from the caves, suit up, and track the PCs back to their camp
to attack them while they sleep.

In these cases I try to think of logical reasons why the Bugbears (for
example) wouldn't put together an overwhelming encounter -- I don't
think I've ever gone beyond +5 CR. Say, they leave half of the warriors
behind on the off chance that this is a trick designed to lure them out
of their lair so the enemy can slip in and wipe out the defenseless
young and take their loot.

Most of the overwhelming encounters I set up aren't intended as such,
they just logically flow from PC actions (another good one is raising a
ruckus with sonic spells and getting the attention of nearby beasties).

- Ron ^*^
Anonymous
August 5, 2005 6:40:36 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

Keith Davies wrote:
> DougL <lampert.doug@gmail.com> wrote:
> > Justisaur wrote:
> >> tussock wrote:
> >
> >> > In a WLD-like project, I'd just let players move into harder places
> >> > at will. The overwhelming encounters would just happen naturally as they
> >> > run into what should be average-hard encounters at too low level.
> >> > Also, allow the monsters freedom to team up against the new threat
> >> > wherever it's sensable to do so.
> >> >
> >>
> >> I usually do that too, part of why my players get into a bit of trouble
> >> now and again. It's an interesting idea, but I'm not sure it's
> >> appropriate in a standard dungeon. It might refreshing though in the
> >> era of video game railroading.
> >
> > How else do you apply time presure? Not every opponent can be in the
> > middle of a world destroying/changing ritual at the stage where the
> > PC's have to attack RIGHT NOW to have any chance to stop it. In fact
> > more than one of those per campaign pretty well snaps my WSoD.
>
> Depends on the setting. It may be quite appropriate that the PCs only
> learn about what happens 'just in time'. It may be that the setting is
> 'dramatically influenced' -- in Faerie it may be that you only *ever*
> get there in the nick of time, in Hollywood you never get to nip it in
> the bud... because they make 'better stories'. If you're playing in
> such settings, it makes *sense* that you get there at the last moment.

It's NOT just in time that wrecks WSoD, it's multiple threats to
the very nature of reality that are defeated only by the actions
of the PCs that wrecks WSoD.

If reality is all that fragile and no one else is defending it
then it already doesn't exist.

Worse the multiple threats MUST come in the correct order for
this to work, if the one that can ONLY be dealt with by the
level 17+ party hits PRIOR to the one that needs a PC party
of at least level 14+ then the whole world is SOL since the
party always meets rougly appropriate threats and always
increases in power they can't possibly face the needs a level
17 threat FOLLOWED by the needs a level 14 party threat.

For that matter once you have defeated a reality threatening
assuming you advance a few levels in dealing with the NEXT
threat then that means that you are now (after two) fighting
foes whose MINOR HENCHMEN are able to destroy reality if not
actively stopped....

It just doesn't work, one world destroying threat per campaign
please.

DougL
Anonymous
August 5, 2005 9:52:49 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

On Fri, 5 Aug 2005 00:36:01 -0700, "Malachias Invictus"
<capt_malachias@hotmail.com> wrote:

>
>"Justisaur" <justisaur@gmail.com> wrote in message
>news:1123195927.268506.182980@z14g2000cwz.googlegroups.com...
>
>> So the final question is does anyone actually use overwhelming
>> encounters, or is it just me?
>
>All the time. My players enjoy the challenge.
>
>> And if you were making a dungeon for
>> general consumption would you?
>
>Sure. Make 'em sweat a bit.

Our new DM is willing and able to use overwhelming or near-whelming
encounters and I, for one, find it refreshing. We have had four
encounters like this so far.

1) NPC bandits, three or four times our numbers with several having
higher levels than the party. With some incredible fat out of the fire
rolling and excellent tactics we won with only one dead character.

2) 12 Vrocks and an NPC on a nightmare. Our party was 4th level. We
ran away until we fell down a hole. They weren't all that interested
in us anyway or we'd be TPK. Obviously this was a story line encounter
to get us in the hole (underdark entrance).

3) Same party same levels. Ambushed by over a dozen drow with sleep
darts. We were completely stripped and beaten. Ransomed by a were-bat
(yes, Ron, shouts out to the were-bats).

4) Same party, 5th level now, but with no magic, alchemy, masterwork
weapons, poor armor, and badly weakened from encounters. We meet a
bunch of bugbears. Run, baby, run.

This kind of play makes a rogue more valuable than just a trap finder
and a back stabber. Having a scout, gathering information and using
divination becomes important. If the party neglects to talk to locals
and find out that Zzzyyxxxkkklllmmuuppptzzzzzz the Blue Dragon
controls the hills to the north, they should have a nasty surprise
when travelling north!
Loup Garou
--

grrr-arghhh...
Anonymous
August 5, 2005 9:52:50 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

Loup-Garou wrote:
> On Fri, 5 Aug 2005 00:36:01 -0700, "Malachias Invictus"
> <capt_malachias@hotmail.com> wrote:
>
>
>>"Justisaur" <justisaur@gmail.com> wrote in message
>>news:1123195927.268506.182980@z14g2000cwz.googlegroups.com...
>>
>>
>>>So the final question is does anyone actually use overwhelming
>>>encounters, or is it just me?
>>
>>All the time. My players enjoy the challenge.
>>
>>
>>>And if you were making a dungeon for
>>>general consumption would you?
>>
>>Sure. Make 'em sweat a bit.
>
>
> Our new DM is willing and able to use overwhelming or near-whelming
> encounters and I, for one, find it refreshing. We have had four
> encounters like this so far.
>
> 1) NPC bandits, three or four times our numbers with several having
> higher levels than the party. With some incredible fat out of the fire
> rolling and excellent tactics we won with only one dead character.
>
> 2) 12 Vrocks and an NPC on a nightmare. Our party was 4th level. We
> ran away until we fell down a hole. They weren't all that interested
> in us anyway or we'd be TPK. Obviously this was a story line encounter
> to get us in the hole (underdark entrance).
>
> 3) Same party same levels. Ambushed by over a dozen drow with sleep
> darts. We were completely stripped and beaten. Ransomed by a were-bat
> (yes, Ron, shouts out to the were-bats).

Don't tell MSB! He thinks they're all EEEEEEVIL!

Oddly enough one of my old 2E campaigns featured the PCs getting
captured by werebats (it wasn't my intention that this would happen). I
posted the player handout from the night after right on this board --
google for "werebat shadowkin" and you'll find it.

- Ron ^*^
Anonymous
August 5, 2005 11:56:17 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

"decalod85" <decalod85@comcast.net> wrote in message
news:1123246382.450027.37000@z14g2000cwz.googlegroups.com...
>
> Malachias Invictus wrote:
>> "Justisaur" <justisaur@gmail.com> wrote in message
>> news:1123195927.268506.182980@z14g2000cwz.googlegroups.com...
>>
>> > So the final question is does anyone actually use overwhelming
>> > encounters, or is it just me?
>>
>> All the time. My players enjoy the challenge.
>
> How do you let your players know that the encounter
> is something beyond their league?

That is what skills are for. My players tend to invest in Knowledge skills,
and I make it worth their while.

> Do you always make sure that they have an out?

No. I *do* make sure that they have the ability to create an out, to avoid
the encounter, or to defeat it, though.

> Do you give hints that the encounter is probably more than they can
> handle?

Usually the encounter does that.

> I usually let them figure it out once the fight starts...

Sometimes, that is what happens. Sometimes, characters die (from hubris or
poor planning/implementation, usually). Interestingly, there is a pattern
of character casualties; certain players' characters die far more often than
others'.

--
^v^v^Malachias Invictus^v^v^

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishment the scroll,
I am the Master of my fate:
I am the Captain of my soul.

from _Invictus_, by William Ernest Henley
Anonymous
August 6, 2005 12:15:43 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

Justisaur <justisaur@gmail.com> wrote:
> I was playing around with making dungeons & encounters by the book.
>
> I found that if you actually use encounters as the DMG suggests:
> overwhelming encounters (+5 to +7 EL) 1/20, Hard (+1 to +4) 3/20, Even
> 10/20, and Easy (-1 to -7) 6/10 like the DMG suggests, your pcs
> actually get about half again more experience over the standard 13-14
> encounters per level than they need to level. So this means they are
> really leveling after about 9 encounters on average. Interestingly if
> you just drop the overwhelming encounters off that, you are up to about
> 13 encounters per level.
>
> I have actually been using by the book in my random encounter
> generator, this probably explains why my group levels much faster than
> I think they should according to the book.
>
> So the final question is does anyone actually use overwhelming
> encounters, or is it just me? And if you were making a dungeon for
> general consumption would you?

Certainly. Knowing when to run is an important skill.

Bradd pointed something out a while ago, though -- if you run into too
many powerful encounters, you advance faster than your gear because you
gain more XP per encounter but the same treasure. This puts you at a
disadvantage.

So, I do use big encounters, and not necessarily as set piece battles
(i.e. not just the boss), and I'll set out some disturbingly powerful
ones (that are best avoided or run from). However, I expect my players
to realize that they won't be able to defeat everything they encounter,
and I tend to keep *most* encounters at more or less expected levels. I
find that if I don't the PCs lag in expected gear (making succeeding
fights even *harder*) and I end up making corrections later (unusually
good rewards, etc.) to bring them back in line.

In short, yes I use big encounters, but the game does tend to work
better if the common encounters are 'level appropriate'.


Keith
--
Keith Davies "Trying to sway him from his current kook-
keith.davies@kjdavies.org rant with facts is like trying to create
keith.davies@gmail.com a vacuum in a room by pushing the air
http://www.kjdavies.org/ out with your hands." -- Matt Frisch
Anonymous
August 6, 2005 12:24:42 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

"Justisaur" <justisaur@gmail.com> wrote in message
news:1123261393.393052.295010@f14g2000cwb.googlegroups.com...
>
> Probably what is affecting the leveling is
> the fact in my last campaign I made the level loss from raising only
> temporary. In my current campaign it's temporary with a chance of
> becoming permanent. If I went back to normal level loss I'd have some
> wildly disparate levels, as so far in my current campaign I've got 1
> person who's died 3 times, 1 never, and everyone else somewhere
> in-between, and the party is only 6th lv. I don't think the disparity
> would make it very fun for those who have died.

With the way experience works in 3.5E, the people who have lost levels catch
up fast enough, in my experience. Then again, I do not allow Raise Dead
(only Resurrection, and I demand special components).

--
^v^v^Malachias Invictus^v^v^

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishment the scroll,
I am the Master of my fate:
I am the Captain of my soul.

from _Invictus_, by William Ernest Henley
Anonymous
August 6, 2005 12:29:25 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

"Werebat" <ranpoirier@cox.net> wrote in message
news:VaNIe.68354$FP2.37726@lakeread03...

> Most of the overwhelming encounters I set up aren't intended as such, they
> just logically flow from PC actions (another good one is raising a ruckus
> with sonic spells and getting the attention of nearby beasties).

At this last DunDraCon, a character in the high-level game I was running did
a 1 mile radius Turn effect on the Plane of Shadow (we were using 1D6/level
"turn damage" rather than a straight turning effect). This resulted in the
attention of 4 Nightwalkers and their Dire Wraith servants, who were
screening the area for a Lich Necromancer who was doing a ritual the PCs
were supposed to stop. It was a rather ugly outcome; 3 characters went down
before the fight was won.

--
^v^v^Malachias Invictus^v^v^

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishment the scroll,
I am the Master of my fate:
I am the Captain of my soul.

from _Invictus_, by William Ernest Henley
Anonymous
August 6, 2005 12:31:27 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

Justisaur <justisaur@gmail.com> wrote:
>
> Would you expect to see +5 to +7 encounters in a published dungeon, or
> one out of 20 anyway?

Hell yes. In fact, *at least*, if it's a dangerous area.


Keith
--
Keith Davies "Trying to sway him from his current kook-
keith.davies@kjdavies.org rant with facts is like trying to create
keith.davies@gmail.com a vacuum in a room by pushing the air
http://www.kjdavies.org/ out with your hands." -- Matt Frisch
Anonymous
August 6, 2005 12:38:06 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

IHateLashknife@hotmail.com <IHateLashknife@hotmail.com> wrote:
> Justisaur wrote:
>> I was playing around with making dungeons & encounters by the book.
>>
>> I found that if you actually use encounters as the DMG suggests:
>> overwhelming encounters (+5 to +7 EL) 1/20, Hard (+1 to +4) 3/20, Even
>> 10/20, and Easy (-1 to -7) 6/10 like the DMG suggests, your pcs
>> actually get about half again more experience over the standard 13-14
>> encounters per level than they need to level.
>
> Except that you only get the XP if the "challenge has been overcome".
> You're almost certainly going to be avoiding or running from the
> overwhelming one so, most probably, no XP for it.

You *can* get XP for 'avoiding' the encounter. It depends on the goal
of the encounter.

If you have to get past a particular creature somehow there are ways you
can do it that might count as 'avoiding' it... that may even be worth
*more* XP than killing it.

.. sneaking past a golem isn't a *big* deal. They tend to be pretty
specific in what they're told to do, so if you know how it can be
fairly easy. Potentially reduced XP.

.. sneaking past a bunch of guard dogs may well be worth more than just
killing them. They could be a no-XP encounter to a medium-high party
(who can probably kill the dogs quickly enough they might not even get
to bark)... but sneaking past them is harder and may be worth XP.
Especially if it means that nobody realizes they have done so.


Keith
--
Keith Davies "Trying to sway him from his current kook-
keith.davies@kjdavies.org rant with facts is like trying to create
keith.davies@gmail.com a vacuum in a room by pushing the air
http://www.kjdavies.org/ out with your hands." -- Matt Frisch
Anonymous
August 6, 2005 12:58:54 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

Werebat <ranpoirier@cox.net> wrote:
>
> I find that sometimes normal encounters can become overwhelming as a
> result of PC actions. For example, they invade the bugbear caverns, and
> kill two groups of bugbears before deciding to call it quits and return
> to the surface to rest. Two of the bugbear leaders are rangers with
> humans as a species enemy. The put together a bugbear posse of half the
> warriors from the caves, suit up, and track the PCs back to their camp
> to attack them while they sleep.
>
> In these cases I try to think of logical reasons why the Bugbears (for
> example) wouldn't put together an overwhelming encounter -- I don't
> think I've ever gone beyond +5 CR. Say, they leave half of the warriors
> behind on the off chance that this is a trick designed to lure them out
> of their lair so the enemy can slip in and wipe out the defenseless
> young and take their loot.


Good reasoning, that. Or have the PCs captured rather than killed.

Or they might have spread out some -- the main body *does* follow the
tracks, others might fan out to look for the rest of the force they
think might slip in.

For that matter, if the PCs think of it, have it work. They leave a
clear trail, then sneak back while the bugbears are out looking for
them. If they're lucky they'll be able to handle whatever's left in the
caverns and be ready in time to deal with the pissed off bugbears coming
*back*.

/steal

This is an interesting possibility, I'll have to see if I can inflict it
on my players sometime.


Keith
--
Keith Davies "Trying to sway him from his current kook-
keith.davies@kjdavies.org rant with facts is like trying to create
keith.davies@gmail.com a vacuum in a room by pushing the air
http://www.kjdavies.org/ out with your hands." -- Matt Frisch
Anonymous
August 6, 2005 1:04:55 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

Justisaur <justisaur@gmail.com> wrote:
> tussock wrote:
>>
>> My dungeons tend to have overwelming encounters by default if the
>> PCs let on that they're running around.
>> The base adventure might be to fight a scout (to gain intel), a
>> guard post, an inner patrol (or sneak past it), and the final guard,
>> then sneak out the cleared path again; but if one of the final guard
>> gets away and rasies the alarm, there's another five patrols and ten
>> guardposts start to track them down soon enough. They *will* gang up,
>> and I let the dice fall where they may, if the PCs are silly enough to
>> get cornered on the way out.
>
> I like the alarm/patrol idea. I wouldn't really call the encounters
> ganging up a single normal encounter, but I guess it works out that
> way... If you have say 8 standard encounters in an area, and an alarm
> gets sounded all of them together is a +6 or overwhelming encounter.
> It's still possible they can win, but unlikely, more possible if they
> take out any of them before the alarm goes off. I can definitely work
> with that.

Mongoose' _Classic Play: Book of Dragons_ has a framework for this that
would be fairly easily adapted, I think.

There are various 'alertness levels' based on the situation. Generally
fairly low (standard alertness, or even slack if nothing's happened in a
while). At this point a single missing patrol might raise concern, or
not ("huh, guess he got et") and it takes something pretty serious to
draw attention to yourself.

As you get closer (there are 'zones' around the lair) alertness goes up
(what happens 20 miles away might be of no concern, something happening
a mile away might be of greater interest... even if they're about the
same thing). As events continue to develop, the alertness goes up as
well (lose a patrol every night, after a few nights people start getting
concerned). Eventually you'll see patrols in force, and the *merest*
screwup will cause all hell to break loose.

.... I may see if I can do an adaption, actually.


Keith
--
Keith Davies "Trying to sway him from his current kook-
keith.davies@kjdavies.org rant with facts is like trying to create
keith.davies@gmail.com a vacuum in a room by pushing the air
http://www.kjdavies.org/ out with your hands." -- Matt Frisch
August 6, 2005 6:49:18 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

On 4 Aug 2005 15:52:07 -0700, "Justisaur" <justisaur@gmail.com> dared
speak in front of ME:

>So the final question is does anyone actually use overwhelming
>encounters, or is it just me?

In general? I tend more towards a world-design style of running. The
overwhelming encounters are out there, and if the players walk into
one... well, that's their bad luck. I do try to let them know what
they're getting into beforehand, though (via in-character methods,
such as appropriate skill checks.)

>And if you were making a dungeon for
>general consumption would you?

Sparingly, and with notes on how to warn the players about what their
characters are walking into.
--
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Anonymous
August 6, 2005 9:03:15 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

Justisaur wrote:

> So this means they are really leveling after about 9 encounters

You're supposed to run, or lose.


> So the final question is does anyone actually use overwhelming
> encounters, or is it just me? And if you were making a dungeon for
> general consumption would you?

My dungeons tend to have overwelming encounters by default if the
PCs let on that they're running around.
The base adventure might be to fight a scout (to gain intel), a
guard post, an inner patrol (or sneak past it), and the final guard,
then sneak out the cleared path again; but if one of the final guard
gets away and rasies the alarm, there's another five patrols and ten
guardposts start to track them down soon enough. They *will* gang up,
and I let the dice fall where they may, if the PCs are silly enough to
get cornered on the way out.

In a WLD-like project, I'd just let players move into harder places
at will. The overwhelming encounters would just happen naturally as they
run into what should be average-hard encounters at too low level.
Also, allow the monsters freedom to team up against the new threat
wherever it's sensable to do so.

--
tussock

Aspie at work, sorry in advance.
Anonymous
August 6, 2005 9:03:16 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

tussock wrote:

> Justisaur wrote:
>
>> So this means they are really leveling after about 9 encounters
>
>
> You're supposed to run, or lose.
>
>
>> So the final question is does anyone actually use overwhelming
>> encounters, or is it just me? And if you were making a dungeon for
>> general consumption would you?
>
>
> My dungeons tend to have overwelming encounters by default if the
> PCs let on that they're running around.
> The base adventure might be to fight a scout (to gain intel), a
> guard post, an inner patrol (or sneak past it), and the final guard,
> then sneak out the cleared path again; but if one of the final guard
> gets away and rasies the alarm, there's another five patrols and ten
> guardposts start to track them down soon enough. They *will* gang up,
> and I let the dice fall where they may, if the PCs are silly enough to
> get cornered on the way out.

There ya go -- this is what I was talking about in my other post. This
is why intelligent enemies are dangerous.

- Ron ^*^
Anonymous
August 6, 2005 11:00:59 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

Keith Davies wrote:
> Damn shame she was a succubus. Converted from AD&D, not the 3e stats
> (the DM was converting an old module on the fly and didn't look it
> up)... she didn't call up a vrock, she managed to call up her boyfriend.
> A balor.

I rather miss that ability. So, how much CR do you think such an
ability would add to a more standard succubus?

- Justisaur
Anonymous
August 6, 2005 1:45:36 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

Keith Davies wrote:
> DougL <lampert.doug@gmail.com> wrote:

> OTOH, set far enough apart (i.e. different parties) it can be workable
> ("At some point in every Great Cycle where the universe is at risk..."),
> but that's quite arguably 'not the same campaign'. Same setting, but
> not the same campaign.

Heck, I can live with the same party 10 or more years later in game
time.
At least one recent campaign of mine we saved the characters for the
"sequel", which would be a separate campaign in the same setting facing
a
bigger and badder universal threat (actually due to one villian who got
away if I ever run it).

But unless the entire campaign more or less centers on a single threat
I
can't see "massively bad things happen if you don't act RIGHT NOW" as a

motivation for most of the action being time limited. NPC's react to
threats OTOH provides a fine reason for almost all adventures to be
time
limited once the PC's initiate their actions.

DougL
Anonymous
August 6, 2005 6:08:55 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

"Justisaur" <justisaur@gmail.com> wrote in message
news:1123336859.703443.19660@f14g2000cwb.googlegroups.com...
>
> Keith Davies wrote:
>> Damn shame she was a succubus. Converted from AD&D, not the 3e stats
>> (the DM was converting an old module on the fly and didn't look it
>> up)... she didn't call up a vrock, she managed to call up her boyfriend.
>> A balor.
>
> I rather miss that ability. So, how much CR do you think such an
> ability would add to a more standard succubus?

Quite a bit. The problem is the percentage chance. It is either a pushover
or a TPK.

--
^v^v^Malachias Invictus^v^v^

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishment the scroll,
I am the Master of my fate:
I am the Captain of my soul.

from _Invictus_, by William Ernest Henley
Anonymous
August 6, 2005 11:53:35 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

On 5 Aug 2005 10:20:40 -0700, laszlo_spamhole@freemail.hu carved upon
a tablet of ether:

> > Tempting things might
> > be fun too. Like a flaming sword in a construct's hand, only animates
> > if someone does something to disturb it, etc. And for the negotiatable
> > ones, say a giant or somesuch guarding something, usually evil, but
> > this one's neutral, doesn't really want to kill anyone, doesn't like
> > it's job, so will allow anyone by with nearly any bluff, forged
> > documents, distraction (yea! entertainment!) or whatnot. Antoher guard
> > avoidance idea could be something big guarding one entrance to
> > somewhere, but there are other entrances which are easier, but more
> > well hidden. Then lastly I can use an overwhelming encounter for the
> > big ol boss man.
>
> My big old boss men tend to be about CR +2 or CR +3. Anything beyond
> that carries a very, very real danger of TPK.

I tend to use boss-monster encounters of EL +3 or +4, with the boss
being CR+2 and 2-3 lieutenants to bring the EL up. I don't
particularly like single really big monsters because they tend to
either go down very quickly, or cause massive slaughter. I'll make an
exception for something like a dragon, though - after making sure it's
well advertised.


--
Rupert Boleyn <rboleyn@paradise.net.nz>
"Just because the truth will set you free doesn't mean the truth itself
should be free."
Anonymous
August 7, 2005 12:16:25 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

Justisaur wrote:
> I was playing around with making dungeons & encounters by the book.
>
> I found that if you actually use encounters as the DMG suggests:
> overwhelming encounters (+5 to +7 EL) 1/20, Hard (+1 to +4) 3/20, Even
> 10/20, and Easy (-1 to -7) 6/10 like the DMG suggests, your pcs
> actually get about half again more experience over the standard 13-14
> encounters per level than they need to level. So this means they are
> really leveling after about 9 encounters on average. Interestingly if
> you just drop the overwhelming encounters off that, you are up to about
> 13 encounters per level.
>
> I have actually been using by the book in my random encounter
> generator, this probably explains why my group levels much faster than
> I think they should according to the book.
>
> So the final question is does anyone actually use overwhelming
> encounters, or is it just me? And if you were making a dungeon for
> general consumption would you?

Are you talking random encounters or planned ones? For REs, I usually
put at
least one on a table I build, just to keep the players from becoming
complacent.
To be fair, I also make sure they have a shot at recognizing and
avoiding this. If they
still want to take on the beholder when they're averaging 7th level
after seeing it from a
distance, well, then, that's their choice...

For planned encounters, I find it's always more satisfying if that one
is at least a couple of
levels higher than the PCs. For some reason my players tend to win
every single encounter
whose EL is the same as their average level, so they only really get
challenged by superior
forces. I've only ever used an overwhelming encounter in a plan, and it
ate the party alive.
When they're working towards a goal, that seems to be unnecessarily
spirt-crushing and so
I avoid it.
Anonymous
August 7, 2005 3:34:15 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

Malachias Invictus <capt_malachias@hotmail.com> wrote:
>
> "Justisaur" <justisaur@gmail.com> wrote in message
> news:1123336859.703443.19660@f14g2000cwb.googlegroups.com...
>>
>> Keith Davies wrote:
>>> Damn shame she was a succubus. Converted from AD&D, not the 3e stats
>>> (the DM was converting an old module on the fly and didn't look it
>>> up)... she didn't call up a vrock, she managed to call up her boyfriend.
>>> A balor.
>>
>> I rather miss that ability. So, how much CR do you think such an
>> ability would add to a more standard succubus?
>
> Quite a bit. The problem is the percentage chance. It is either a
> pushover or a TPK.

According to the Monstrous Compendium, they have a 40% chance of calling
up a balor. I don't remember what it was in 1e; ISTR Ed saying after
the game "there was only a 10% chance of her calling her boyfriend and
it came up" (converted one of the Slavers series of modules, IIRC, so he
would've been using 1e stats, mostly).


Keith
--
Keith Davies "Trying to sway him from his current kook-
keith.davies@kjdavies.org rant with facts is like trying to create
keith.davies@gmail.com a vacuum in a room by pushing the air
http://www.kjdavies.org/ out with your hands." -- Matt Frisch
Anonymous
August 8, 2005 7:50:26 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

On Sat, 06 Aug 2005 23:34:15 GMT, Keith Davies <keith.davies@kjdavies.org>
scribed into the ether:

>Malachias Invictus <capt_malachias@hotmail.com> wrote:
>>
>> "Justisaur" <justisaur@gmail.com> wrote in message
>> news:1123336859.703443.19660@f14g2000cwb.googlegroups.com...
>>>
>>> Keith Davies wrote:
>>>> Damn shame she was a succubus. Converted from AD&D, not the 3e stats
>>>> (the DM was converting an old module on the fly and didn't look it
>>>> up)... she didn't call up a vrock, she managed to call up her boyfriend.
>>>> A balor.
>>>
>>> I rather miss that ability. So, how much CR do you think such an
>>> ability would add to a more standard succubus?
>>
>> Quite a bit. The problem is the percentage chance. It is either a
>> pushover or a TPK.
>
>According to the Monstrous Compendium, they have a 40% chance of calling
>up a balor. I don't remember what it was in 1e

1E Succubus gate:

Type IV (Nalfeshnee): 70%
Type VI (Balor): 25%
Lord/Prince: 5%

60% chance that the gate fails completely and summons nothing.
Anonymous
August 8, 2005 2:03:46 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

Justisaur wrote:
> I found that if you actually use encounters as the DMG suggests:
> overwhelming encounters (+5 to +7 EL) 1/20, Hard (+1 to +4) 3/20, Even
> 10/20, and Easy (-1 to -7) 6/10
>
> So the final question is does anyone actually use overwhelming
> encounters?

That seems just insane. My experience has taught me that "overwhelming"
is not to be used. As a DM every encounter I ran (5 PCs, all base class
types covered plus one multiclass cleric/wizard) was in the Even or Hard
category. Any +3 encounter resulted in deaths and any +4 encounter
resulted in TPK. That lasted for half a dozen sessions. When I was a
player, the DM liked hard encounters so every encounter was +2 to +4.
After two +2 or +3 encounters the party was exhausted. When it came to
+4 we sometimes had to run but usually forced our way through with a
death. Every time he slipped up and gave us a +5 it resulted in near or
total TPK. I would not recommend "overwhelming" encounters be a regular
thing unless they are friendly or meant to be run from (and the monster
doesn't pursue...some of those +5 EL TPKs were because the party could
not escape such a superior foe). Based on the statement that Even
encounters should use 20% of the party's resources (DMG), an
overwhelming encounter of +5 to +7 EL should require, ON AVERAGE, 120%
to 240% of the resources of a typical and properly balanced 4 member
group. So on average, an overwhelming encounter should result in an
almost guaranteed TPK if it comes down to violence. Thus these
encounters must not be meant to devolve to combat.

Alex
Anonymous
August 8, 2005 2:15:03 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

DougL wrote:
> It's NOT just in time that wrecks WSoD, it's multiple threats to
> the very nature of reality that are defeated only by the actions
> of the PCs that wrecks WSoD.
>
> If reality is all that fragile and no one else is defending it
> then it already doesn't exist.
>

One thing that works for me: lower the stakes a little, and the
players often take it more seriously.

If you're running a campaign, "You have to stop BigBad or he
will destroy *the entire universe!*" is often less of a threat
than it sounds like--because you're not likely to go through
with it. The PCs are just about guaranteed to stop it--because
otherwise the campaign is over. Even if you are willing to allow
it to happen, the players will just have you start a new campaign
and they'll roll up new characters.

But lower the stakes a little. "You have to stop BigBad or
he will destroy *your home city!*" The campaign can go on
if you let that happen, though with major changes in tone.
The players won't be entirely sure you won't go through with
it.

In fact, "You have to stop BigBad or he will destroy *that
orphanage you grew up in!*" can be surprisingly effective.
Because you, the DM, will let it happen if the PCs screw up.

I partially get this from comic books: you *know* Galactus isn't
going to eat the Earth, because then Marvel Comics would have
to stop publishing. They *might* kill Cyclops and let him stay
dead, but usually don't. But a storyline where a likeable minor
character is endangered may actually be tenser, because the
writers darn well do sometimes kill off likeable minor characters
and let them stay dead.
Anonymous
August 8, 2005 2:50:46 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

Keith Davies wrote:
> Alex Johnson <compuwiz@psualum.com> wrote:
> > Justisaur wrote:
> >> I found that if you actually use encounters as the DMG suggests:
> >> overwhelming encounters (+5 to +7 EL) 1/20, Hard (+1 to +4) 3/20, Even
> >> 10/20, and Easy (-1 to -7) 6/10
> >>
> >> So the final question is does anyone actually use overwhelming
> >> encounters?
> >
> > That seems just insane. My experience has taught me that "overwhelming"
> > is not to be used. As a DM every encounter I ran (5 PCs, all base class
> > types covered plus one multiclass cleric/wizard) was in the Even or Hard
> > category. Any +3 encounter resulted in deaths and any +4 encounter
> > resulted in TPK.
>
> That's interesting, since EL +4 can be considered 'a fair fight' (a
> four-member PC party is EL $partylevel+4). You should expect deaths and
> potential TPK, but it should be able to go the other way as well.

Except at very low levels a fresh party should win at EL+4. EL+4 would
be four NPC's with elite abilities and PC classes at the same level as
the party, but with only NPC level gear and normally with suboptimal
builds if you use the DMG tables.

For a party that is not close to fresh this is a killer encounter,
for a fresh party it is likely to be a win with some loses.

If the party loses this sort of thing consistently when fresh
then either their tactics or their builds are seriously suboptimal.

Of course EL is not precise, the "mirror party" with NPC gear and
abilities is not the most dangerous possible CR=APL+4 encounter
possible. Single monsters at CR=APL+4 may well be TPK's waiting
to happen, the monster may well be immune to just about everything
the party can do. With open terrain on a clouded over night I
would expect almost any dragon at CR=APL+4 to manage a TPK
without working up a sweat.

> > I would not recommend "overwhelming" encounters be a regular thing
> > unless they are friendly or meant to be run from (and the monster
> > doesn't pursue...some of those +5 EL TPKs were because the party could
> > not escape such a superior foe).
>
> For playability reasons, I agree. Infrequent and/or avoidable.

A third option is ransoms or other ways to lose and survive. Be
careful with this one, PCs often fight to the death (there is no
major downside for the player if the character dies, in D&D land
death often hurts less than the character losing gear), and
players justly hate being railroaded into capture. But if the
setting establishes early that surrender is viable the players may
go along with it.

DougL
Anonymous
August 8, 2005 6:00:38 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

Clawhound wrote:
> DougL wrote:

> > A third option is ransoms or other ways to lose and survive. Be
> > careful with this one, PCs often fight to the death (there is no
> > major downside for the player if the character dies, in D&D land
> > death often hurts less than the character losing gear), and
> > players justly hate being railroaded into capture. But if the
> > setting establishes early that surrender is viable the players may
> > go along with it.

> Most settings don't detail surrender, or the rules of surrender. Thus,
> it is rarely used. Players just don't trust the option. They expect to
> be double-crossed, no matter what.

Right. I have only seen it work when it is built into the setting
from fairly early on. You need to establish that the setting allows
for and has rules for surrender.

But even once this is done you still have the problem that most D&D
PCs have effectively ALL their wealth in the form of gear, so there
is nothing left for ransom or replacement gear. You need PC's with
some sort of social connections or home-base that provides resources
NOT automatically converted to gear but at least partially usable
for ransom payments and repurchase of gear or replacement gear.
(IME this is not hard, but again it needs to be established in
advance.)

If NPC's regularly surrender, with some reasonably justified
expectation of surviving and retaining at least some gear then IME
PC's will also surrender. But it needs to be built into the setting
and PC background.

DougL
Anonymous
August 8, 2005 8:06:54 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

DougL wrote:
> Keith Davies wrote:
>
>>Alex Johnson <compuwiz@psualum.com> wrote:
>>
>>>Justisaur wrote:
>>>
>>>>I found that if you actually use encounters as the DMG suggests:
>>>>overwhelming encounters (+5 to +7 EL) 1/20, Hard (+1 to +4) 3/20, Even
>>>>10/20, and Easy (-1 to -7) 6/10
>>>>
>>>>So the final question is does anyone actually use overwhelming
>>>>encounters?
>>>
>>>That seems just insane. My experience has taught me that "overwhelming"
>>>is not to be used. As a DM every encounter I ran (5 PCs, all base class
>>>types covered plus one multiclass cleric/wizard) was in the Even or Hard
>>>category. Any +3 encounter resulted in deaths and any +4 encounter
>>>resulted in TPK.
>>
>>That's interesting, since EL +4 can be considered 'a fair fight' (a
>>four-member PC party is EL $partylevel+4). You should expect deaths and
>>potential TPK, but it should be able to go the other way as well.
>
>
> Except at very low levels a fresh party should win at EL+4. EL+4 would
> be four NPC's with elite abilities and PC classes at the same level as
> the party, but with only NPC level gear and normally with suboptimal
> builds if you use the DMG tables.
>
> For a party that is not close to fresh this is a killer encounter,
> for a fresh party it is likely to be a win with some loses.
>
> If the party loses this sort of thing consistently when fresh
> then either their tactics or their builds are seriously suboptimal.
>
> Of course EL is not precise, the "mirror party" with NPC gear and
> abilities is not the most dangerous possible CR=APL+4 encounter
> possible. Single monsters at CR=APL+4 may well be TPK's waiting
> to happen, the monster may well be immune to just about everything
> the party can do. With open terrain on a clouded over night I
> would expect almost any dragon at CR=APL+4 to manage a TPK
> without working up a sweat.
>
>
>>>I would not recommend "overwhelming" encounters be a regular thing
>>>unless they are friendly or meant to be run from (and the monster
>>>doesn't pursue...some of those +5 EL TPKs were because the party could
>>>not escape such a superior foe).
>>
>>For playability reasons, I agree. Infrequent and/or avoidable.
>
>
> A third option is ransoms or other ways to lose and survive. Be
> careful with this one, PCs often fight to the death (there is no
> major downside for the player if the character dies, in D&D land
> death often hurts less than the character losing gear), and
> players justly hate being railroaded into capture. But if the
> setting establishes early that surrender is viable the players may
> go along with it.
>
> DougL
>

Most settings don't detail surrender, or the rules of surrender. Thus,
it is rarely used. Players just don't trust the option. They expect to
be double-crossed, no matter what.

CH
Anonymous
August 8, 2005 8:40:55 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

Some Guy <someguy@thedoor.gov> wrote:
>
> For planned encounters, I find it's always more satisfying if that one
> is at least a couple of levels higher than the PCs. For some reason
> my players tend to win every single encounter whose EL is the same as
> their average level,

Of course they do. 'Equivalent EL' is (or can be) a single creature of
the same level as the party. This means the party has a nominal four on
one advantage. They *should* win every one of these, unless they're too
worn down (no spells, expendable items, hit points left).

In fact, they should be able to handle three or four without worry, one
more should leave them about tapped out. According to the book, an
equivalent EL encounter should use about 20-25% of their consumable
resources (which does include hit points; which consumables get used
varies in each fight).


Keith
--
Keith Davies "Trying to sway him from his current kook-
keith.davies@kjdavies.org rant with facts is like trying to create
keith.davies@gmail.com a vacuum in a room by pushing the air
http://www.kjdavies.org/ out with your hands." -- Matt Frisch
Anonymous
August 8, 2005 8:54:13 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

Alex Johnson <compuwiz@psualum.com> wrote:
> Justisaur wrote:
>> I found that if you actually use encounters as the DMG suggests:
>> overwhelming encounters (+5 to +7 EL) 1/20, Hard (+1 to +4) 3/20, Even
>> 10/20, and Easy (-1 to -7) 6/10
>>
>> So the final question is does anyone actually use overwhelming
>> encounters?
>
> That seems just insane. My experience has taught me that "overwhelming"
> is not to be used. As a DM every encounter I ran (5 PCs, all base class
> types covered plus one multiclass cleric/wizard) was in the Even or Hard
> category. Any +3 encounter resulted in deaths and any +4 encounter
> resulted in TPK.

That's interesting, since EL +4 can be considered 'a fair fight' (a
four-member PC party is EL $partylevel+4). You should expect deaths and
potential TPK, but it should be able to go the other way as well.

> I would not recommend "overwhelming" encounters be a regular thing
> unless they are friendly or meant to be run from (and the monster
> doesn't pursue...some of those +5 EL TPKs were because the party could
> not escape such a superior foe).

For playability reasons, I agree. Infrequent and/or avoidable.


Keith
--
Keith Davies "Trying to sway him from his current kook-
keith.davies@kjdavies.org rant with facts is like trying to create
keith.davies@gmail.com a vacuum in a room by pushing the air
http://www.kjdavies.org/ out with your hands." -- Matt Frisch
Anonymous
August 9, 2005 6:51:39 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

Justisaur wrote:
> IHateLashknife@hotmail.com wrote:
>
> > I do use overwhelming encounters myself, but only when it would be pure
> > stupidity on the PCs part that would lead to a fight. e.g. They're
> > invited to see the local Lord to discuss something. Theoretically they
> > could try to kill him whilst they're there but it's obviously not
> > something that they're meant to do and, more importantly, it would be a
> > stupid thing for their characters to do. Also, if they tried it they
> > would almost certainly die in the attempt. So there's the overwhelming
> > encounter over and done with, with no XP for the PCs.
>
> That doesn't qualify as an encounter.

OK, yes you're right, I just meant that the possibility is there for
one if the PCs decide to be stupid that day. That's the closest I
choose to get to that sort of thing.
Anonymous
August 9, 2005 6:55:38 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

> You *can* get XP for 'avoiding' the encounter. It depends on the goal
> of the encounter.

Yep, I should probably have used the word retreating rather than
avoiding.
Anonymous
August 9, 2005 1:20:08 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

Jasin Zujovic wrote:
> In article <1123534838.949798.80650@g44g2000cwa.googlegroups.com>,
> lampert.doug@gmail.com says...

> > But even once this is done you still have the problem that most D&D
> > PCs have effectively ALL their wealth in the form of gear, so there
> > is nothing left for ransom or replacement gear. You need PC's with
> > some sort of social connections or home-base that provides resources
> > NOT automatically converted to gear but at least partially usable
> > for ransom payments and repurchase of gear or replacement gear.
> > (IME this is not hard, but again it needs to be established in
> > advance.)
>
> IME, it's quite hard. If the PCs have resources that can be converted
> into replacement gear in dire need, they just say "The dire need is
> NOW." and do it, instead of waiting to be captured. Which is sound
> reasoning, I think: isn't it better to travel around with a full plate +
> 1, a shield +1 and a sword +1, that with a full plate +1 and a shield +
> 1, knowing that you have enough saved for another full plate +1 and
> shield +1 if you get captured? That +1 sword might very well mean you
> don't get captured...

So, the "wealth" is that Mac the Magnificant owes you for saving
some of his lands. He grants you a holding with a modest income.
The PC's can stick arround and manage the holding and get a
modest income (aka retire), or they can let Mac appoint one of his
stewards to manage it and produce a better income (even with Mac and
his steward taking cuts, they know what they are doing), but the
steward reinvests almost everything.... The PC's CAN'T sell or
morgage the property without Mac's agreement, and that happens
when HE see's it as a dire emergency since it's almost as good as
if he still ownes the property while the PC's are still
adventuring... (and if they retire from adventuring they don't want
to sell). Mac DOESN'T think that an extra +1 to one or two peices of
gear carried by someone else is all that valuable.

In some times and places lords could ALSO levy extra taxes for a
ransom but not for other purposes. AKA income which is ONLY there
if you need it for the specific purpose of a ransom.

If the PC's have a family it's even EASIER, the family will bail them
out if they are in dire need, and will laugh themselves silly at the
claim that needing a +1 sword is dire need.

If the PC's regularly help ANYONE (a church, a city, a country,
whatever) then they have favors they can call in, that will be worth
a shitload more if they really are in dire need than if they are
being whining brats.

If the PC's WANT to be overlords (evil or otherwise) then they
will spend money on display (aka art and gems), they will spend
money on lands, they will spend money on minions and gifts to
possible allies. They will spend money on other luxury goods.
ALL of which is possibly redeamable at a discount in an emergency.

It isn't hard at all. It just requires that the PC's have SOME
connection to SOMETHING or some goal in life other than being
adventurers for its own sake. ONLY wandering thugs with NO social
interactions to speak of can put all their wealth into weapons.
Anyone who did this in the real world would be considered (rightly)
a serious nutcase (in fact even nutcase survivalists and militia
types have only a trivial fraction of their wealth in weapons).

You give the PC's extra wealth in non-liquid forms and even a
trivial reason to leave it in non-liquid forms and they will.

DougL
!