How to check if party is attacked?

10 posts / 0 new
Last post
During the adventure I am starting, the party will be traveling for a few days through assorted wilderness.  I want to set it up where they might have days where nothing attacks them and other days where they are attacked a lot.  

I have several encounters I built, but I would like for the dice to determine if and when.  I am thinking of rolling something once for each x hours of travel.  If it is greater than y, then there is an encounter.  If not, that segment of the trip is uneventful.  Are there some guidelines for this type of thing?

Thanks 
what we use to do was have the players roll a D6 and the GM roll a D6 and if the numbers matched an encounter happened. If you want more encounters you can roll more then one D6 to increase your chances of a match or have all the players roll. Then pick one of the encounters you have prepaired to toss at them. Or you can just decide when an encounter happens.
The encounters occur if and when you want them to.
Rolling is just creating extra hassle for you in the long run.  Just make it part of the story or not.  Or ask the players what they think would be out there and play on their fears/worries/expectations.
Currently working on making a Dex based defender. Check it out here
Show
Need a few pre-generated characters for a one-shot you are running? Want to get a baseline for what an effective build for a class you aren't familiar with? Check out the Pregen thread here If ever you are interested what it sounds like to be at my table check out my blog and podcast here Also, I've recently done an episode on "Refluffing". You can check that out here
Eh, putting a random nature can be fine.  It adds variety and makes you think about how a fight could pop up in such and such location.

Roll a d100, or at least a d20.  Make it say, a five or ten percent chance for a fight every period(march, sleep, resting) and adjust as needed.  Noise can attract predators after all, so the party may not get that short rest they wanted.  Don't do more than 3 or so random fights in a day though.  Unless you are having a lot of things happen each day, it will feel too eventful and time wont be of as much importance.
Eh, putting a random nature can be fine.  It adds variety and makes you think about how a fight could pop up in such and such location.

Roll a d100, or at least a d20.  Make it say, a five or ten percent chance for a fight every period(march, sleep, resting) and adjust as needed.  Noise can attract predators after all, so the party may not get that short rest they wanted.  Don't do more than 3 or so random fights in a day though.  Unless you are having a lot of things happen each day, it will feel too eventful and time wont be of as much importance.

There is nothing wrong with random, but if you already decided beforehand to run a certain amount of encounters and you want a certain pacing, you might as well go the whole way.

Regardless, PoJo72, there are various methods to determine when an encounter takes place. The core mechanic most often used is to determine a segment in time and a dice roll where time of day and whether the PCs travel modify the roll. The duration of the segment and the type of dice can be picked based on how often you want an encounter to take place. For example, you could roll a dice every 4 hours, and pick a d10 with a random encounter happening on a 9 and 10. When the PCs are travelling you add 1 to the roll, when they setup camp and go out of their way to hide the camp the event happens on a 10. When they make a lot of noice, or otherwise draw more attention then normal, add another +1 to the d10 roll. Just realize that whatever dice method you use, you could very well end up with no encounter one day and a lot on the other. Obviously, you can always decide to ignore the dice, but IMO when you roll a dice you need to accept the results. Why otherwise roll the dice? ;) 

Another method that works if you predesigned encounters is to check the number of days the group is going to travel and pick a corresponding dice. For example, the trip is four days long, so you pick a d4. You then roll a d4 for each encounter and that is the day on which the encounter takes place. You then either pick a logical time, or roll 2d12 for the time of the day the encounter takes place. If too many encounters fall on the same day, you can move around a bit.

A third method is to go the skill challenge path. Depending on the environment you let the PCs make skill checks. If they fail, the get an encounter. If they succeed they don't. To make this work though, you need to divide the trip into specific scenes/environments and decide what would make an interesting challenge to overcome. After all, rolling four Nature checks on a row is rather boring. So for example, if the trip takes the PCs through a dense forest, across a river, into a mountain pass and down a steep path to the city below then the forest, river, mountain pass and steep path down would be interesting locations where the PCs have to blaze a trail through the woods, cross the fast flowing river, climb a mountain (face an avelanch) and climb down again. It is my prefered method, but it might very well mean there is no true encounter. I also tend to be really flexible giving the PCs choices beforehand on what path they are going to follow. If I cannot think of interesting things that make sense for the PCs' level (crossing a river at level 2 is a challenge, at level 12 it is not), then for our group the trip should be uneventful. We are story focussed, and we are not overly big fans of spending time on otherwise meaningless encounters.
Another nice way to pace a travel is to write your encounters,challenges that aren't combat,bening event and neutral event on notice cards. Than measure the distance to their destination in cards drawn and not in days or miles.Every day each player can draw one card from your travel deck for free and additional cards when they make a skill check with a increasing difficulty based on cards already drawn. They don't need to draw the cards but than the don't move toward destination.On a failed check they loose a healing surge.This works best if the have a timelimit for reaching their destination or something is chasing them.



Another nice way to pace a travel is to write your encounters,challenges that aren't combat,bening event and neutral event on notice cards. Than measure the distance to their destination in cards drawn and not in days or miles.Every day each player can draw one card from your travel deck for free and additional cards when they make a skill check with a increasing difficulty based on cards already drawn. They don't need to draw the cards but than the don't move toward destination.On a failed check they loose a healing surge.This works best if the have a timelimit for reaching their destination or something is chasing them.



That is actually a decently interesting idea.  I wouldn't use it, but it could be a fun extra addon.  One thing I would try to make sure of is that all the cards werent bad, and that they all had the potential to be interesting developments depending on the card drawn. (So each of them can be more than just a FF wandering monster attack).
Currently working on making a Dex based defender. Check it out here
Show
Need a few pre-generated characters for a one-shot you are running? Want to get a baseline for what an effective build for a class you aren't familiar with? Check out the Pregen thread here If ever you are interested what it sounds like to be at my table check out my blog and podcast here Also, I've recently done an episode on "Refluffing". You can check that out here
Thank you for all the great feedback.  I should have mentioned that we are all new to DnD so part of the random encounter approach was to get some experience with the game mechanics for traveling, resting, fighting, healing, etc... before we get into the actual adventure.   We had played through the red box adventure and are starting the Halls of Undermountain.  We are just doing some stretches if you will.

I like the idea of having some skill checks in there with a river or something.  I think I will put something like that together.

I am going to make some modifications to better account for the party's efforts to stay out of trouble and also put into some non-combat challenges as well.


Thank you again. 
Another nice way to pace a travel is to write your encounters,challenges that aren't combat,bening event and neutral event on notice cards. Than measure the distance to their destination in cards drawn and not in days or miles.Every day each player can draw one card from your travel deck for free and additional cards when they make a skill check with a increasing difficulty based on cards already drawn. They don't need to draw the cards but than the don't move toward destination.On a failed check they loose a healing surge.This works best if the have a timelimit for reaching their destination or something is chasing them.






I like this idea as well. But I would change it slightly. I would make a fixed number of encouters and shuffle them into a deck of blanks. Each 'day' of travel players would pull a card, or a card per player. If you did a card per player, each one might just have a number of creatures on it that the players run into.

Would also have random loot or items, etc.
Sign In to post comments