Am I being too harsh

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So I made up an adventure from scratch where most of the Encounters are around 1300-1700 xp the encountering party consists of 5 level 6 players whcich seem to be around right although a little tough.

My question is abount the last encounter:

Ok so they end up in the basement which is an old rundown chapel.
By the Altar are: 2 Duergar Theurge 1 Cleric of Asmodeus and a Duergar Fleshtearer 1300 xp
In One corner are: 3 Drow Warriors and 1 Drow Demonlogist 1250xp
In the other Corner are 3 Trolls 1200 xp

SO it works out at around 3750 xp which is pretty high. That is if they fail to help the earlier trolls which they discover in the keep (the party has oppurtunity to interact with the trolls and work on their side to recover the lost artifact they are looking for) If they have helped the trolls the trolls fight on their side. If not and they attack the trolls then too bad they are on their own.

Am I being too harsh on them as this encounter is pretty tough.

Thanks
Make it so it doesn't matter how harsh you are.

Basically this means giving the PCs an out if things go badly. An escape route trolls can't fit down, for example, or a one-off item that creates a flaming escape tunnel, etc.

It can also mean giving the enemies something better to do than pound the PCs into the ground. Of course, if the enemies kill the PCs, they can do whatever they want, but a reasonable group is only going to want to fight as much as they have to. It's just possible that, even in defeat, the party might do more damage than the enemies can sustain and still accomplish their goal, so they'd rather drive the PCs off, meaning they'd give them a chance to run.

So, give the monsters something to do. Maybe a ritual, or getting to a certain area of the map, or acquiring something, or whatever, so that if they've, say, dropped one PC they won't finish him off because they have work to do.

You can also reverse this and give the PCs some task other than just killing the monsters. A rescue, an assassination, etc. This way, they can focus on that and then getting out, rather than going toe-to-toe with the monsters.

I like that you have the opportunity for the other trolls to help them. Nice touch.

If I have to ask the GM for it, then I don't want it.

Hmm good idea, there is a tunnel which the Drow used to get in to the basement. maybe this is too small for the trolls and flesheater to follow as they would be too busy fighting the drow to get past to you anyway. Just would require some tactical engineering on the parties behalf to get the drow between them and the trolls etc and get away. I like it.

Thank you for the compliment. Hopefully they will see reason and might approach with open conversation (last week the guy who plays a barbarian charged a level 18 Beholder..lol he was only level 4) so maybe they have learnt their lesson about fight first sometimes not being best.

I have the rooms as random thrown on a d6 you get teleported through to each this may make it more interesting or not still to see and might throw in a few extra monsters along the way if they get stuck teleporting around.

Thanks

Scyther
Hmm good idea, there is a tunnel which the Drow used to get in to the basement. maybe this is too small for the trolls and flesheater to follow as they would be too busy fighting the drow to get past to you anyway. Just would require some tactical engineering on the parties behalf to get the drow between them and the trolls etc and get away. I like it.

Thank you for the compliment. Hopefully they will see reason and might approach with open conversation (last week the guy who plays a barbarian charged a level 18 Beholder..lol he was only level 4) so maybe they have learnt their lesson about fight first sometimes not being best.

I have the rooms as random thrown on a d6 you get teleported through to each this may make it more interesting or not still to see and might throw in a few extra monsters along the way if they get stuck teleporting around.

Thanks

Scyther



Just out of curiosity but did the barbarian have any idea it was a lvl 18 beholder?
> Ok so they end up in the basement which is an old rundown chapel.
> By the Altar are: 2 Duergar Theurge 1 Cleric of Asmodeus and a Duergar Fleshtearer 1300 xp
> In One corner are: 3 Drow Warriors and 1 Drow Demonlogist 1250xp
> In the other Corner are 3 Trolls 1200 xp

Is there really a need to have this many enemies? You've got eleven, all standard (or are some of theme elite?), which is going to be burdensome to run no matter which side they're on.

I'd suggest scaling this down to something more like 2 duergar theurges (L5 controller), 2 drow adventurers (L7 skirmisher), and 2 trolls (level 9 brute scaled down to level 6). This will a somewhat-tough encounter but not overwhelming, and if the party has somehow mollified the trolls then one of them can simply be absent, making it a typical encounter.
Ok so in answer to the first, no the barbarian had no idea what a beholder was and didn't want to check or wait for the rest of us. Typical of his playing style. All good though we just have to make it work.

As to scaling a good idea but the essence is if they manage to Ally with the trolls then they aren't even there and if they are then they are all on the same team. Thus making it a bit more manageable for a win.

Ok as to the first few encounters:  They got ripped. Didn't quite realise that Theurges aren't too shabby when used well and they hit in the top 20% as well (first attack for each averaged 19 damaged) so the players had a beating. It kind of exposed their weakness in that they would rather leave someone to die (so far only 2 have dropped below 0) rather than helping (may have to get them to work as a team...) also they tend to juse at wills until it gets desparate and then bring in dailies. After that it occurs to them that encounter powers could be of help..

So maybe I am too harsh.

The random teleport is going well though and the have also tested the d4 will there be someone in htat room when we go back there and that seems ok so far. Will know more next week.

Thanks
Ok so in answer to the first, no the barbarian had no idea what a beholder was and didn't want to check or wait for the rest of us. Typical of his playing style. All good though we just have to make it work.

As to scaling a good idea but the essence is if they manage to Ally with the trolls then they aren't even there and if they are then they are all on the same team. Thus making it a bit more manageable for a win.

Ok as to the first few encounters:  They got ripped. Didn't quite realise that Theurges aren't too shabby when used well and they hit in the top 20% as well (first attack for each averaged 19 damaged) so the players had a beating. It kind of exposed their weakness in that they would rather leave someone to die (so far only 2 have dropped below 0) rather than helping (may have to get them to work as a team...) also they tend to juse at wills until it gets desparate and then bring in dailies. After that it occurs to them that encounter powers could be of help..

So maybe I am too harsh.

The random teleport is going well though and the have also tested the d4 will there be someone in htat room when we go back there and that seems ok so far. Will know more next week.

Thanks


How new are these players to D&D?  If they did not understand the importance of encounter powers, it would seem to indicate to me that they are rather new to the hobby.  As such it would seem too much to expect them to have the meta game knowledge of beholder = TPK at this level (meta game knowledge is generally something to be discouraged rather than incouraged IMO).  Of course hopefully I am not sounding too harsh in this response.

In the beholder encounter, I would suggest that if you would like to put the PCs against a monster 14 levels higher than they are you probably should just have the most likely PC make an imediate passive skill check (DMG pg 26) as soon as they see it, auto suceed start Gandalf scene from LotR in Moria with the approaching Balor "this is a balor(replace with beholder), it is beyond you...RUN!!!"  Too lazy to look up actual quote (sad).  A combat encounter like this isn't even combat, IMO, it's more plot device.  Not that it is bad in and of itself, but it would have to be handled very carefully.  Again, I hope that I am not sounding too harsh.
We have 2 new players, 2 who have played since the late 80's and another 2 that played 3rd edition in varying forms.

As to the Beholder the barbarian was told that he wouldn't stand a chance but sometimes barbarians are hard to get through to. Will update how they go as I think I need more help next time I make an encounter.

Thanks
Have the characters find a nest of Baby beholders   train them up in epic 80's montage style, and set them loose! 

IMO scale it down a bit. Make sure that those who don't know have a chance to learn of the weakness to fire in trolls
If the fight starts not going in the party's favor, have any surviving trolls attack the other monsters. (I'm assuming that the trolls are under the drow/duergar control, probly don't appreciate that)
Don't forget to remind the PC's about the danger of adventuring... even if 4e doesn't like it... it's still ok to kill people. Sometimes it happens.  (I am not suggesting a TPK but a death seems like it would serve this party some good.)
You are Red/Blue!
You are Red/Blue!

So to help the background a little the Duegar and the Drow are two different parties each has been sent by their respective God to find and harness the power of the Sorrows Pearl, an ancient Troll artifact of the Old Gods. Thus the trolls are there to find it and return it to it's rightful place. The trolls will automatically attack anyone that gets in the way so a bit of tactical maneurving and the party could leave the Drow and Duegar to fight it out with the trolls even if they aren't on the same side.

As to killing PCs well they all know that as I have already reduced 2 of the Party to 0 hp (although there are plenty of magical scrolls and rituals in the keep to help) and in the last adventure I ran (Female Werewolf) only 1 out of 5 survived (although one got resurrected by their God for being awesome)