Making Monsters Tougher


Advice

Grand Lodge

I am running the Dead Suns AP with a large table (6-7 players). In order to compensate for the AP being designed for 4 people, I have upped the DCs on most skill checks and increased the number of monsters where appropriate. The biggest problem is that increasing the number of monsters isn't always appropriate. I have looked at the Templates in Alien Archives to make solo monsters tougher, but all of the templates seems to change the basic nature of the monster. There just does not seem to be an Advanced Template like in Pathfinder. So unless I missed this, what do you recommend for making solo monsters tougher?

Sovereign Court

Maybe just increase their attack, ACs and HP by some amount.


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Page 129 of the Alien Archive - increase the CR of their Array according to the appropriate table.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens Subscriber
The Ragi wrote:
Page 129 of the Alien Archive - increase the CR of their Array according to the appropriate table.

Yep this is what Ive done as I have a very large party as well. (7 players). A word of advice though I would advance the armor ratings and to hit chances at most one CR up and the rest raise up as appropriate. If you raise them as high as would be appropriate to keep the CR type (average, challenging etc) for the party things can get unhitable or smash the PCs a bit harder than necessary. However each party is its own challenge to balance for.


For solo monsters? I'd slightly raise their HP and damage, or try adding actions between turns. For example I had an extra turret that the robot in Dead suns 1 focused on a player as an action, and then fired at that player on a separate initiative.


With lots of players it can get really hard to balance for sure. They have more chances to hit and therefore more likely will smash your monsters faster than they should - more importantly, with higher APL it means the CR overall is lower, and therefore you need to scale the XP down.... the players won't like that since they're already dividing it 6 ways.

I understand many fights in DS aren't easy to add extra monsters too... but I'd go that way anyway. Just tweak the story as needed. Remember, it's aimed (and balanced) for four players... you can't just make the monsters tougher the scaling doesn't work like that unfortunately. Not when you need to increase challenge by 50% or more.

I would try and figure out a way to add several less powerful creatures as enemies. The anklebiters may go down easy, but they still have to go down - causing your players to expend resource and time. At the same time the real enemies in the encounter are still fighting. If you add too many, just handwave it and have them run away - if you add too few and the fight seems to be going way to easy, have a few more show up until the challenge feels about right. Maybe increase their AC by 1 and give them a +1 to hit and a plus CR to damage as well but I'd be very careful going beyond that, especially if the party is still low level (< 6).

You need to be careful not to overwhelm the party, getting wiped is no fun, and at the end of the day, keeping things fun is the GM's one and only responsibility. That said, a challenging fight that was actually a little chancy there at the end when those random cyborg space goblins showed up and started attacking everyone? That's a lot of fun. :)


Kvetchus wrote:


I would try and figure out a way to add several less powerful creatures as enemies.

I agree. The best way to make an encounter more challenging for a larger party is to add monsters or other actions to the encounter. Adding monsters is the easiest thing to do. What big bad doesn't want to have some attack trained pets and/or minions? And many a giant carnivore may have a mate and/or off spring.

Another thing to do is to make the terrain into a monster. Traps, quick sand, exploding fungi, etc. all give those extra party members something to do, if they can help disarm or otherwise circumvent that hazard.


S. J. Digriz wrote:


Another thing to do is to make the terrain into a monster. Traps, quick sand, exploding fungi, etc. all give those extra party members something to do, if they can help disarm or otherwise circumvent that hazard.

Yes, this is a good idea too... traps have a CR and grant XP just like monsters do as well, so it's a nice way to add challenges that isn't just a swarm of adds.


If I need a creature to be a higher CR, I generally just remake it using the process at the end of the book and give it the abilities from that creature.

Shadow Lodge

Just remember that in the later half of book one, it's already almost impossible for the monsters to miss, no matter how many party members there are.

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