Kinda Easy (and how to keep it fun)

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I'm playing Encounters with several fairly experienced D&D players (the least experienced of us started in Season 1). We've got a great DM and a balanced party, but the result seems a little...easy. So we've resorted to being silly in order to keep the game fun.

My example: while taking ongoing fire damage, my character panicked, ran in a circle around a bad guy and dumped us both with magical ice water. I also rifled through the drawers of the burning house for valuables ("we have to save them money!").

Season 1 turned out to be fairly challenging, even for tactically-savvy players, and I fear this season is a knee-jerk reaction to that. Any advice or good examples on how your group keeps it spicy?
My group has a similar dynamic and has been dealing with it in a similar manner - I really emphasised the idea that Encounters and Essentials was targetted towards new players and that their characters were fresh out of "adventuring boot camp."  My players took their cues from there and it has now devolved into a weekly competition to prove who can do the most stereotypical, "rookie" role-player manuever at the table - and it's been a blast.  From the dwarven fighter's "I HIT IT WITH MY AXE!" solution to everything, to the kelpto theif that has yet to manage a single successful pick-pocket roll,  to the mage's "I shoot the darkness with MY MAGIC MISSILE!", every session has been a hoot.  My typical 'tactical gaming' player has even taken it upon himself to attempt to eschew the rulebook whenever possible and "role-play rather than roll-play" his way into or out of each encounter - incredibly refreshing in and of itself!

All in all everyone seems to be having a really good time playing the game in different light than they're accustomed, and I'd encourage anyone else to try and do the same if they're running with a table full of veteran players that aren't going to be challenged overly with the adventure as is.
Would it help if your DM adjusted difficulty?

For example, your DM could:
  • Add one more monster of a level equal to the encounter's level beyond scaling for a table of 6

  • Add +1 to attacks, +2 for 1-2 key monsters

  • Add monster level to monster damage

  • Add 1-2 levels in HPs to key monsters

Those changes should let them hit more often and harder and let the important ones stick around longer. That should help a fair amount.

If monsters don't last, then you could consider adding +1 to defenses, but that can drag out combats. I would only mess with defenses if the combats are way too short. Missing is less fun than hitting and being hit.

Other things to consider:
  • Add periodic terrain to make the combats harder (but not longer... focus on protecting vulnerable monsters and damaging PCs)

  • Add periodic one-shot damaging traps, such as a deadfall log trap that attacks a lead PC and deals some damage to increase the challenge

  • Add monster theme powers, especially damaging ones (for example, modify a basic monster attack to deal ongoing poison because they carry poisoned blades)

This all depends on how much your DM wants to do a bit of work, but it could help make the challenge a lot more fun.

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