# 12 PC party

I want to design one combat encounter for a party of 12 with a CR of +3 (Epic).

At first I thought if I just took the APL of the PC's party and made the CR of the enemies match up like normal encounters are built, it would look like this:

PCs
1. Fighter 12
2. Cleric 13
3. Barbarian 12
4. Druid 12
5. Bard 12
6. Hill Giant 8 (Fighter 4)
7. Ranger 9
8. Fighter 9
9. Fighter 9
10. Wizard 9
11. Fighter 10
12. Fighter 12

PC APL = 11

So I thought by spending the XP based on a CR 14 encounter would make it an epic combat.

However, I realize the APL/CR math is based on a 4-PC group, not 12, so using the standard build rules for encounters may not work in this case, mainly due to the group being 3 times as big.

So then I thought this "3 times as big" variable must be something I can also use to help form the enemy group. However, I'm not sure what I'd be multiplying by 3!

Then I thought maybe I can just do one to one and ignore the APL/CR aspect, but that doesn't work, either, does it? In essence, I'd just use the LEVELS of the PCs and make 12 enemies that match the levels of the PCs.

What do you guys think?

Quote:
If your group contains six or more players, add one to their average level. If your group contains three or fewer players, subtract one from their average level. For example, if your group consists of six players, two of which are 4th level and four of which are 5th level, their APL is 6th (28 total levels, divided by six players, rounding up, and adding one to the final result).

So, the "six or more players" clause brings your APL to 12, so an epic encounter could be APL+3.

That said, the Challenge Rating rules are a rough guide and not even that great in terms of accuracy of challenge, and also I think the more players beyond six you have the less accurate the CR rules become.

Here's what I would do:

Split the party into two parties
- 13, 12, 12, 9, 9, 9 (APL=11+1 for 12)
- 12, 12, 12, 12, 10, 9 (APL=11+1 for 12)

Design two CR 15 encounters. Mash everything back together for the actual gameplay encounter.

Cross your fingers that this works because I just made all of this up without any experience of a 12-person party and certainly not at this level.

Thanks, I forgot about the clause.

i won't be splitting the party. I'm actually having only 6 players, and they are controlling 2 characters each. It's a fun thing we're doing, and totally willing to go through the slog of combat.

But with the clause showing to APL as 12, and the epic CR being 15, I still don't think designing for CR 15 will match the 12 party members.

The more I think about it, the more it seems to make sense to just match one for one. I mean, in player v. player combat, wouldn't it be fair to pitch a level 10 character vs. a level 10 character?

nogoodscallywag wrote:
i won't be splitting the party. I'm actually having only 6 players, and they are controlling 2 characters each. It's a fun thing we're doing, and totally willing to go through the slog of combat.

Sorry, I didn't actually mean splitting the party in gameplay. Just split the numbers into two groups for encounter design.

OH I SEE!

Hmm that might actually work closest to the spirit of the rules

Aloha.... Did this.

Don't increase the CR of the monsters by picking stronger monsters. Take more monsters.

Otherwise you risk many PC deaths. A few big monsters are either a joke for big groups or absolutely deadly. More often absolutely deadly at these levels.

I played a whole campaign with 12 Players... sometimes more characters than 12. I simply took an encounter for their normal APL and tripled (not doubled) the monsters number. That made up for Team synergies in the group (Prayer and bard song rock or similar buffs, even Bless rock in such combinations).

Andostre wrote:

Here's what I would do:

Split the party into two parties
- 13, 12, 12, 9, 9, 9 (APL=11+1 for 12)
- 12, 12, 12, 12, 10, 9 (APL=11+1 for 12)

Design two CR 15 encounters. Mash everything back together for the actual gameplay encounter.

If you don't design Encounters with many resistances and immunities, three CR15 Encounters would be more fun.

Darklone wrote:
Andostre wrote:

Here's what I would do:

Split the party into two parties
- 13, 12, 12, 9, 9, 9 (APL=11+1 for 12)
- 12, 12, 12, 12, 10, 9 (APL=11+1 for 12)

Design two CR 15 encounters. Mash everything back together for the actual gameplay encounter.

If you don't design Encounters with many resistances and immunities, three CR15 Encounters would be more fun.

I would not be able to resist having differing immunities, and then having the players figure out which ones and adapt their strategy mid-battle.

While I've never ran this many PCs in a game, usually have a 5-6 PC campaigns and have to adjust the AP encounters appropriately. I found a website that seems to help with calculating the difficulties of encounters based upon the NPC/monster CRs.

CR Calculator

Just remember this is guideline. PCs always particularly strong against some encounters and particularly weak against others. For example, my current PCs can absolutely wreak undead, but find elementals particularly difficult to deal with.

Also, remember action economy is going to be an large part of your encounter. 1 enemies vs 12 PCs isn't very strong unless that enemy is overly powerful and extremely difficult to hurt/stop. Though it will add some difficulties for you as the GM, multiple enemies is beneficial for an epic battle.

I've never run this many in Pathfinder but have with D&D 2e and 3.5. For what it's worth I don't use APL as a guide. I just match up adversaries with characters. Or is that APL right there? I dunno.

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I forget where I saw this, but I subscribe to the XP budget philosophy. This is the philosophy behind the CR calculator that ckdragons linked you too, under its "By XP" section. And actually, they link to the google doc where I saw this tip.

So, every monster with a given CR has the same XP value. The CR is set around a 4-person group, so you can work out how much XP per character a given CR monster is worth. Multiply that by the number of characters and that gives you the XP budget of monsters, which you can then fill in.

For example, say you want the equivalent of a CR 14 solo monster encounter for a 4 person group, but you have 12 characters. A CR 14 monster is worth 38400 XP, so 9600 per character in a standard group; your XP budget for your 12-character group is then 9600*12 XP worth of monsters. Now just go through the bestiary and add opponents that total up to roughly the right amount.

As others have noted, more opponents of lower level is better than one opponent of higher level, partially because of action economy and also because, look, 100,000 XP worth of solo boss is a single CR 17 and there's every chance it would one-shot a couple of PCs before going down.

As a shortcut, I would just triple the number of monsters because you have triple the number of characters.

Andostre wrote:
nogoodscallywag wrote:
i won't be splitting the party. I'm actually having only 6 players, and they are controlling 2 characters each. It's a fun thing we're doing, and totally willing to go through the slog of combat.
Sorry, I didn't actually mean splitting the party in gameplay. Just split the numbers into two groups for encounter design.

It is a lot easier to make a group of enemies that can be a threat when there aren't 6 different spell casters spamming aoe spells on the first turn.

I would split it into three groups- maybe you are defending a fortress, and each group defends a different gate. This would allow you to have 2 players per gate (or maybe have them mix up and control characters across different gates- the slog of double chess).

This would allow you to balance things fairly well- you would have three groups of four, so you don't need to go to esoteric XP rules, and you can throw normal monsters (unlike the super rocket party of 12- you would need to throw a ton of dragons with high saves to survive the first turn without getting crippled in some way by various effects).

Why are they all different levels?

doomman47 wrote:
Why are they all different levels?

It's just a fun combat experiment where they made the two they want to play for the encounter.

For a general rule, I want the leader of the baddies to be a bard/fighter, with his "man" a tough barbarian. The rest need to be the leader's basic guards and at least 2 monstrous (trolls) creatures. I also want the leader to be at least level 14.

In case nobody has noticed, it's the Kingmaker battle with Castruccio Irrovetti I'm going for.

Here's one setup against the players, above. I'm using Herolab's encounter builder to set this up, so I am uncertain how the APL/CR is mathed:

1. Bard 12/Fighter 3
2. Barbarian 11
3. Fighter 6
4. Fighter 6
5. Bard 6
6. Bard 6
7. Troll 6 (5 Fighter levels)
8. Troll 6 (5 Fighter levels)

Herolab lists this as CR 16.

Alternatively, here's what I made up using two 15 CR encounters together in order to increase the monsters' numbers mentioned by @Androste.

1. Bard 10/Fighter 4
2. Barbarian 8
---CR 15, above---

1. Bard 7
2. Bard 7
3. Bard 7
4. Bard 7
5. bard 7
6. Bard 7
7. Fighter 7
8. Fighter 7
9. Fighter 7
10. Fighter 7
11. Fighter 7
12. Fighter 7
13. Troll Fighter 3
14. Troll Fighter 3
---CR 15, above---

Finally, using the chart by @CKDragons.

Chart:

Number of Players:
12
Average Level:
11

CR 1/8:
0
CR 1:
0
CR 6:
6

CR 11:
1

CR 16:
0
CR 21:
0
CR 26:
0
CR 1/6:
0
CR 2:
0
CR 7:
0
CR 12:
0
CR 17:
0
CR 22:
0
CR 27:
0
CR 1/4:
0
CR 3:
0
CR 8:
0
CR 13:
0
CR 18:
0
CR 23:
0
CR 28:
0
CR 1/3:
0
CR 4:
0
CR 9:
0
CR 14:
1

CR 19:
0
CR 24:
0
CR 29:
0
CR 1/2:
0
CR 5
0
CR 10
2
CR 15
0
CR 20
0
CR 25
0
CR 30:
0
CR:
16

XP Total:
84800
Individual XP:
7067

Out of these 3 setups, which looks to be the most balanced?

Still doesn't explain why all 12 pcs aren't level 13. The highest level person in the group is level 13 the rest of the party should also be level 13.

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doomman47 wrote:
The highest level person in the group is level 13 the rest of the party should also be level 13.

This certainly isn't a rule. Even just looking at player characters, different groups do it different ways, and even if a group decides that all the PCs in a party will always have the same level, that certainly doesn't mean that any NPCs working with the party will also be at that level.

Dave Justus wrote:
doomman47 wrote:
The highest level person in the group is level 13 the rest of the party should also be level 13.
This certainly isn't a rule. Even just looking at player characters, different groups do it different ways, and even if a group decides that all the PCs in a party will always have the same level, that certainly doesn't mean that any NPCs working with the party will also be at that level.

Well the op has stated its a 12 person PC party so there are 12 pcs not the party and some npcs.

doomman47 wrote:
Dave Justus wrote:
doomman47 wrote:
The highest level person in the group is level 13 the rest of the party should also be level 13.
This certainly isn't a rule. Even just looking at player characters, different groups do it different ways, and even if a group decides that all the PCs in a party will always have the same level, that certainly doesn't mean that any NPCs working with the party will also be at that level.
Well the op has stated its a 12 person PC party so there are 12 pcs not the party and some npcs.

1. Fighter 12

2. Cleric 13
3. Barbarian 12
4. Druid 12
5. Bard 12
6. Hill Giant 8 (Fighter 4)
7. Ranger 9
8. Fighter 9
9. Fighter 9
10. Wizard 9
11. Fighter 10
12. Fighter 12

Bard fighter? Use Skald. Plus some barbarians.

Poor Group.