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Adventure design:using encounters the PC’s can not win March 8, 2010

Posted by Devin in 4e, D&D', RPG.
Tags: , , ,

Sometimes its fun to do something out of the norm.  What I’m referring to is an encounter that has very tough monsters. I’m talking around 10 lvl’s higher monsters that just demolish the players. Couple this with an interesting objective and you have a fun encounter, but lets dig a little deeper.

Lets use an example: around when my PC’s where about lvl 11-12 I had them confront a gibbering orb(MM  127). Ya look at the stat block and you’ll know that is some serious business. So clearly the PC’s had no way of defeating the thing, unless YES they had a machine that would send the monster back to the abyss that it came from. Talk about lucky.  So it should be easy right. well the party consists of a dwarvern fighter, tiefling warlord, dragonborn ranger, and human warlock. I believe they gave the machine to the dwarf. So they started running down the map towards the orb all the while they were being zapped by the orb. I believe 2 PC’s dropped to 0hp before they got it there. Although it wasn’t necessarily challenging it did make them remember that they can’t kill everything conventionally.

So lets apply that to your game. These steps can be done in any order

Find a cool monster or challenge you want to showcase.

Figure out an objective other than kill the monster for the PC’s to do. Whether thats escorting someone across a swinging bridge as the dragon flies overhead; or just running away.

Get a cool setting like the bridge or on the top of tower slowly descending to the ground.

Now I’m just getting into basic adventure design though so I better stop.  Keep in mind that the monster could come back when the players are more equipped to deal with it witch would leave you with a nice sense of closure.

Keep on gaming til next time



1. Morgan - March 12, 2010

This sounds like a good idea to me!

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