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No problem. We have bows and horses.


Kingmaker


So last night the level 7 PCs roll up a CR10 Pedula as a wandering monster in the mountains. "Uh oh,", I think, "this could be trouble." I roll up 260 feet as the encounter distance with difficult terrain, everybody makes their spot checks. The battle goes like this:

GM: The ferocious dragon-like creature bellows a challenging roar and charges in your direction....moving 30 feet in the difficult terrain.

PCs: We shoot it with arrows.

GM: Enraged by the damage, the creature continues it's charge....moving another 30 feet.

PCs: We shoot it with arrows.

<repeat>

The Pedula died before getting within 100 feet of the PCs.

I've had similar encounters with any creature that moves at a speed less than the 50' of horses. Shoot it with an arrow, have the horse double-move away, repeat. Trolls, shambling mounds, and other beasties are no match for a PC with a horse and a bow.


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Well, in real life that particular combo did conquer the known world a few times.

In my own game, I definitely modify the CR award based on the situation. Sometimes low CR encounters are way tougher than they should be, sometimes high CRs are pushovers. If I am going to give up fine-grain control of the campaign's XP by rolling random encounters, I need some assurance that the PCs aren't getting huge rewards for tasks that simply aren't challenging.

To be used with caution, of course.

Cheliax

Double moving with your mount imposes a very hefty penalty on ranged attack rolls.


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Pffft, -4 on a double move. That just means it takes a few more rounds and a few more arrows.

Hmm, what's good for the players.. I need a mount that moves faster than 50.

Shadow Lodge

I think the Drakes tend to have fly speed 60 and are usually Large or Huge.


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Ambushes :D
and play the monster smart.
In your case, after the second volley the monster should recognize that it can't reach the "prey", so it will flee... and come back later (maybe during the night/while the players are camping).
Or even worse: once the player encounter a mighty foe (or finished him).

Spoiler:

Can think of a situation when the leave V's tomb, low on spells/health and then the wyverns attack, this will be a very hard fight then.

Qadira

3 people marked this as a favorite.

Here's a novel idea. Make your random encounters less random. You don't have to roll dice every time. Choose the battlefield yourself. If it's too easy on your players, after a while they'll be bored and the game won't be as much fun for anyone.


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Shadowborn wrote:
Here's a novel idea. Make your random encounters less random. You don't have to roll dice every time. Choose the battlefield yourself. If it's too easy on your players, after a while they'll be bored and the game won't be as much fun for anyone.

+1


Monsters that hunt will track and stalk a party, trying to sneak up on it. Other's will set a trap, waiting in hiding for prey. Monsters that fly will strike from the sky. Unless the party is making a special effort to be quite then you can assume the monsters are going to be aware of the party first.

Perception: roll this in secret so there's no meta-awareness of an encounter, or (old Dragon mag tip) have a list of pre-rolled D20 results you can cross off so there's not even a die roll to alert them....

Cheers
Mark


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1. It's unavoidable to metagame. Players know that there is chance of 1-2 encounters in 24h hexploration, so they spam encounters with trump abilities like impromtu sneak attack, higher level spells or lame hun-archery trick.I lower CR by 2 if these particular encounter was only one in 24h.
2. Expand hexploration mechanic. I assumed that tougher terrains, like swamps and mountains are explorable only partially with horses.There are places in hex ( in my game 25%) when unmount is needed.
3. Monsters usually are hunters and know terrain well. Therefore difficult terrain should be against pc, not creatures.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

That particular monster often lives in lakes and rivers. Just have it stay underwater until the PCs are next to the water. The it comes out....

Andoran

Way you played the encounter went exactly to the PCs' strengths : long distance, slow monster, no cover, monster keeps on charging (ie being a target) even after sustaining high damage.

With so many things going their way, it is no surprise that the PCs ate this encounter for breakfast. In fact any other result would have been surprising to say the least.

There are some good threads out there on how to curb the power of archery (DR for example). I advise you go and have a look at them.

Also, since your PCs (and players) do not know what monster will crop up, choose one that will make them sweat. The tables are there to help you, not to become a constraint.


DMFTodd wrote:

So last night the level 7 PCs roll up a CR10 Pedula as a wandering monster in the mountains. "Uh oh,", I think, "this could be trouble." I roll up 260 feet as the encounter distance with difficult terrain, everybody makes their spot checks. The battle goes like this:

This happened with my group, except for the bolded bit. I instead looked at the monster, and said "As you ride over the top of the hill, you see this spiky giant lizard thing in the valley on the other side. It sees you, and charges up the other side. What do you do?" It ended up leading to the first two actual deaths in my campaign that weren't averted with hero points.

Don't just roll up all the details of the encounter - adjust as necessary to make it interesting. Or if you do roll, acknowledge that random circumstances will just heavily favor the PCs: The PCs are stronger than a monster of their CR, so you have to roll high to make something that will challenge them. Then, there's 4-6 of them, and usually only one monster (or sometimes as many as 3!). That's a huge action economy boost for the PCs. Anything which gives them a tactical advantage is multiplied by this action economy boost, but at best things which are a tactical disadvantage just negate that boost - it almost never becomes a detriment.

So by relying on the dice, you got a monster with the threat negated because of the environment. You could also have gotten a monster that was no threat even in a much more dangerous environment. Only if you end up with a good monster and a good environment for it does it even begin to be a challenge.

--------

This is not to be critical of your GMing style - I think it's perfectly valid (so long as your players are happy with it). But you have to accept the outcomes dictated by that style.

I'm horrible at making NPCs interesting. As a consequence, my players tend to forget about them, even the helpful ones on their side. The names roll off them to a chorus of "who?"s, and they'll never poke into the NPCs' lives on their own. I've come to accept this, although it frustrates me.

Similarly, you need to accept that rolling everything for an encounter randomly will almost always give the PCs some advantage they can use. You either need to accept that, or start to interpret to suit yourself.

For example: Rolling the random environment is a good idea (I should copy that - where's the table?) - but why is it difficult terrain? Maybe there's broken boulders all along a slope - and the monster is starting 260 feet above the party. It can duck behind boulders on its way down, keeping the arrows off of it. Or it's 260 feet across a groundhog-infested plateau, where the horses risk breaking a leg with every step, but the monster's larger feet (as with the PCs) make it not have an issue. Or maybe there's a river going from near it to the party, and it can swim up it instead of dealing with the terrain. Describe the terrain to the party first, let them describe how they're traversing it, and only then do they see the monster. Position it so that it's taking advantage of some aspect of that terrain.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

And what about the weather? The sun? A windy day penalizes archery, fog can make it hard to spot anything till its right on top of you...

And one reason many monsters live in dungeons is so the archers won't kill them :)


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It would be a good idea to make a thread to gather a simple ideas of random battlefields, grouped by terrain:hills, mountains, swamps etc.
Also, I always use a random weather generator.Fog, heavy rain, thunderstorm or very cold weather can make encounter more interesting and can counter one-trick pony-players. And, lasy but not least- monster has enough common sense to escape when heavy damaged.


First off, props on using the random encounter distance table. I played Kingmaker under a GM who did NOT use this table, and as a result we loss several party members to trolls and shambling mounds that spawned 20 ft from the caster (in plains).

With this experience, I suggest leaving things mostly the same. Let the PCs reap the reward for being smart enough to outfit themselves with bows and horses. You could adjust the CR by a little to account for the ease.

You could still include a few encounters that have been suggested here (hunt the players, encounters at night), but if they become the norm things become meh. After all, shouldn't the challenging encounters in Kingmaker be the stationary hex ones? Plus, as a player, it's fun to steamroll things every once in a while.


Menelaus wrote:

With this experience, I suggest leaving things mostly the same. Let the PCs reap the reward for being smart enough to outfit themselves with bows and horses. You could adjust the CR by a little to account for the ease.

Down the exp a bit, and savour your "vengeance" when it strikes :)


This page has all of the various terrain types, determining if it's difficult terrain, encounter distance, etc.:
http://paizo.com/pathfinderRPG/prd/environment.html

"we loss several party members to trolls and shambling mounds that spawned 20 ft from the caster" - This. I've alway hated the GMs were every battle started with the PCs and enemies standing toe to toe.

"Don't just roll up all the details of the encounter - adjust as necessary to make it interesting" - Hmmm, maybe, but what's the difference between that and "fudge things to nerf the players"? I'm maybe leaning to the other side of things, if I roll up something that is not going to be interesting, just narrate that the players fill it with arrows and move on.

Or maybe that is what a random encounter is supposed to be? We assume that the players have encountered various monsters that they dealt with one way or another - defeated with arrows, ran away from, spotted in time to hide from, etc. The "random encounter" is something that they have to deal with directly, ie the GM should change things to make it more challenging.


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Get rid of XP. Level up the PCs when it is story appropriate. Best decision I made in Kingmaker.


PsychoticWarrior wrote:
Get rid of XP. Level up the PCs when it is story appropriate. Best decision I made in Kingmaker.

This is really a conversation for another thread, but I recently made a similar decision. I decided to model our game on PFS's XP system - 1 XP for each scenario you complete, 3 XP gets you a level.

For my game, I'm planning on scattering 5-7 xp around what's left of the adventure - some for plot points, some for significant battles, maybe one for general exploration and one for kingdom building. Every 3 get them a level.


Bobson wrote:
PsychoticWarrior wrote:
Get rid of XP. Level up the PCs when it is story appropriate. Best decision I made in Kingmaker.

This is really a conversation for another thread, but I recently made a similar decision. I decided to model our game on PFS's XP system - 1 XP for each scenario you complete, 3 XP gets you a level.

For my game, I'm planning on scattering 5-7 xp around what's left of the adventure - some for plot points, some for significant battles, maybe one for general exploration and one for kingdom building. Every 3 get them a level.

Very neat idea!

With the vastly different (at least ime) tone of KM to a 'regular' D&D adventure path I felt the need to reduce the importance of 'killing things and taking their stuff'. Random encounters still happen but they have changed from 'Oooo XP!!' to 'Crap, now we have a Troll infestation?' or 'CRAAAAAAP! WYVERN!!!' and are dealt with in a, to me, more realistic manner (the PCs killed the trolls and made an ally of the wyvern, btw (a cow every other day does wonders for this) - I know they be crazy!).

In fact it is kind of hard to get the players back into a 'dungeon bashing' mode a lot of the times - I have been concentrating on intrigues around the kingdom (the werewolf is driving them nuts as they just can't seem to get ahead of it - I had him stick around for an extra month as the players were enjoying it so much!).

Anyways to the OPs original problem - I don't see it as much more than just needing to play the monsters a bit smarter. Animals will flee if they are hurt from a distance and can't catch their tormentors. Intelligent monsters should act intelligently - they can see the PCs have horses and bows - why attack them from 300 feet? Better to avoid them until it can get closer (or find some buddies to help) and set up a trap. This is not to say that *every* creature will flee from the PCs or set up ambushes - I fully endorse the idea PCs should get to feel awesome on a regular basis.


Menelaus wrote:

First off, props on using the random encounter distance table. I played Kingmaker under a GM who did NOT use this table, and as a result we loss several party members to trolls and shambling mounds that spawned 20 ft from the caster (in plains).

With this experience, I suggest leaving things mostly the same. Let the PCs reap the reward for being smart enough to outfit themselves with bows and horses. You could adjust the CR by a little to account for the ease.

This. I am weary of GMs who don't allow for the world to be anything but encounters at 30 feet or less. If your party was smart enough to have bows, horses, and open eyes, I fail to see what the problem is. So they won this one easy, IF that bothers you, don't give them as much xp.


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Regarding random encounter distance, I don't use a table, but instead have opposed Perception rolls. The side that rolls better gets to choose distance, depending on terrain: in forest you get an ambush or can hide and wait it over; in hills you get to choose a short distance, a long distance or escape without being seen; in grassland you either get a long distance or can escape (unless some sort of invisibility or burrowing makes an ambush possible).


Hassy wrote:
Regarding random encounter distance, I don't use a table, but instead have opposed Perception rolls. The side that rolls better gets to choose distance, depending on terrain: in forest you get an ambush or can hide and wait it over; in hills you get to choose a short distance, a long distance or escape without being seen; in grassland you either get a long distance or can escape (unless some sort of invisibility or burrowing makes an ambush possible).

Love it!! Although I will not always use it (damned elf with +1000 perception) it might be nice to use...

You see x. What do you do?
>>
You see x. He/she/it seems to be unaware of you. How do you prepare?


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
PsychoticWarrior wrote:
Get rid of XP. Level up the PCs when it is story appropriate. Best decision I made in Kingmaker.

I did this for the last campaign I ran and it worked great! It's nice not to have to worry about how much XP you'll have to award and instead focus on the what you'd like to have happen in the campaign.


ronin wrote:
PsychoticWarrior wrote:
Get rid of XP. Level up the PCs when it is story appropriate. Best decision I made in Kingmaker.
I did this for the last campaign I ran and it worked great! It's nice not to have to worry about how much XP you'll have to award and instead focus on the what you'd like to have happen in the campaign.

I also took a poll to see if the players would be OK with it. Wouldn't do to dump XP if 90% of your players want it! The decision was unanimous to get rid of it.


PsychoticWarrior wrote:
ronin wrote:
PsychoticWarrior wrote:
Get rid of XP. Level up the PCs when it is story appropriate. Best decision I made in Kingmaker.
I did this for the last campaign I ran and it worked great! It's nice not to have to worry about how much XP you'll have to award and instead focus on the what you'd like to have happen in the campaign.
I also took a poll to see if the players would be OK with it. Wouldn't do to dump XP if 90% of your players want it! The decision was unanimous to get rid of it.

+1

Ditto - almost. But I didn't give them a choice. It was a new bunch of
players for me mostly, so I just told them right at the start.
Everyone's been happy with it so far...

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