Encounter design in the Lost Star


Doomsday Dawn Game Master Feedback


As far as I can understand from the encounter design guidelines in the Bestiary, a group of 4 PCs should be able to deal with 160 XP per adventuring day.

I'm drawing this conclusion based on the description for Extreme encounters, which says "An extreme-threat encounter might be appropriate for a fully rested group of characters that can go all out" - so I suppose that means that Extreme/160 XP is the maximum a group of PCs should be reasonably able to deal with without resting. Which is consistent with previous guidelines that PCs would mostly be able to deal with 4 encounters of their CR/level (40 XP in the new system) per day.

Spoilers for the Lost Star:
The Lost Star encounters go:
A1: Trivial (40 XP)
A2: High (80 XP) --- {A3: Severe (120 XP) + A4: Low (60 XP) - avoidable encounters}
{A6: High (80 XP) - avoidable encounter}
A7/A8/A9: Severe (120 XP)/Trivial (40 XP)/Severe (120 XP) [you could go through these encounters in any order, and the trap is avoidable]
A10: High (80 XP)
A12: Trivial (40 XP)

So, if your party goes straight from the goblins to the centipedes, you'd expect them to get pasted. The quasits are really tough if you have to fight them. If your party avoids the centipedes and the quasits and goes straight to the boss, they'll get pasted.

As far as I can see from the playtest reports, this is exactly what's happening.

My question is, assuming this is correct, does it explain the pattern of TPKs and near-TPKs people have reported in the playtest so far? Conversely, if parties have coped better with the Lost Star encounters than this suggests, should some aspect of the encounter design guidelines be reworked (to e.g. cope with 200 XP per day)?


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

I think I must be doing something wrong, or my players super lucky. But they've gone all the way up past the Quasits without issue.

Second Seekers (Luwazi Elsbo)

Starfinder Superscriber

My party almost died to the sewer ooze, handled the goblins nicely, avoided the optionals in that room, then avoided the quasits too. After that they got sneaky and sent their goblin to scout ahead. They were almost able to avoid the elite gobbos, but someone's armor clanked so they hid around the corner to the skeleton room - but didn't actually go past the threshold so the bones didn't wake up. Then, because they had purified the pool (the rogue turned out to know all about Pharasma) they got past the statue. They were able to sneak up on Drakus and took him out with some difficulty. Then they locked themselves in the room, looted it, and snuck out after they determined that the remaining goblins weren't watching.

So the encounter labeled "trivial" ended up being the most difficult. The encounter they went to great lengths to avoid - the elite goblins - ended up being the most interesting. And the deadly choking sand trap and the evil idol ended up protecting them. My party is all brand new to RPGs, and they were down a player as well. So we did it in one session, nobody died, though they ran out of healing and nearly died a couple times.

I want to build my own dungeon with their encounter building guidelines and see how it feels, but this felt more swingy than I would have liked. At least goblins die easily, but still.


Malk_Content wrote:
I think I must be doing something wrong, or my players super lucky. But they've gone all the way up past the Quasits without issue.

My party has also crushed the dungeon, up through the Quasits so far. Between the Paladin and Cleric, everyone has stayed topped up on health, as well.


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Thebazilly wrote:
Malk_Content wrote:
I think I must be doing something wrong, or my players super lucky. But they've gone all the way up past the Quasits without issue.
My party has also crushed the dungeon, up through the Quasits so far. Between the Paladin and Cleric, everyone has stayed topped up on health, as well.

It might be that I read the guidelines about teaching the basics to mean show restraint. The sewer ooze was spotted before the fight and they killed it before it got initiative. The goblins didn't bottleneck and ranged or be overly flanky. I played them scared, disorganized and fidgety. The centipedes caused the most problem, until the druid realized they couldn't really get through his shield. So far only one healing resource has been needed (a spell) because of the rogue taking a nasty hit of centipede venom.

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