As a DM, I find the encounters in LFR too easy for the most part. The PCs in my games run from average to seriously min-maxed. I have some questions and concerns about DME, and I'm hoping for some feedback from the larger LFR community.
I am an experienced DM looking for ways to make the encounters more challenging. I am not out to wipe parties or punish players for savvy character creation. If something is too hard, I am perfectly capable of dialing it back. My point here is to provide a challenge, so that the players really feel that their characters have survived an ordeal and earned their rewards.
1. In general, I give Threatening Reach to monsters that have reach. Tonight, after a slot zero of the WitR adventure, we were discussing this and one guy said he would report me for doing this at a con and that it was just too powerful an effect to give to monsters as DME. Now if I can add a level or add a monster, I don't see how adding a power here or there is out of hand. What do you think?
2. I often go over the monsters in LFR mods using the monster generation guides in the DMG and DMG2. This generally results in their defenses going up by one or two. Sometimes I spot clear errors in the monster stat blocks and this has taught me a lot about how monsters are put together. Is this a violation or just pushing the boundaries of DME? I inform players at the beginning of a session that I buff the monsters a bit to provide a more challenging experience.
3. Is it acceptable to switch out two normal creatures for an elite? For example, in Silver Lining there is an Orc Beastmaster with some bugs. The first time I ran the mod for six players with four bugs, per the guidelines and the PCs just slaughtered them. The second time, also with six players, I used two elite bugs instead of four normals. It was a much more satisfying encounter, in my opinion, where the monsters actually had a chance to demonstrate their powers and pose a little bit of a threat.
4. In reading over the RPGA rules, I didn't see anything about punishment for DMs who modify the adventures, but I did notice some rules that might make the pushy, overbearing rules lawyers uncomfortable. =) With a con coming up, should I be worried? Is an event organizer really going to get upset that I gave a monster threatening reach? If so, I think I might be done with LFR.
Thanks for reading such a long post. To me, the whole point is to have fun and create a challenging, yet ultimately satisfying D&D experience. But with a know-it-all rules lawyer in my face saying he would report me for my DME style, I thought I should get some other opinions.