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Thread: Stalker0's Guide to Anti-Grind
Sunday, 19th April, 2009, 11:43 AM #11
The Great Druid (Lvl 17)
Great article, thanks Stalker! Could I put this together into a nice looking pdf for you? I think with a little editing you should submit this to Dragon!
A couple questions...
Are you suggesting doing away with encounters of higher level than the PCs entirely? For example, the "average adventure" according to the DMG is made up of 8 encounters (L-1, L, L, L, L+1, L+1, L+1, L+3). How would you suggest increasing an encounter's difficulty, more terrain or something else?
Do you think there is a problem with core maths? Your monster & terrain advice implies grind comes from the DM, while your "tactics to avoid grind" implies it's the core math that creates grind.
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Sunday, 19th April, 2009, 11:49 AM #12
Lama (Lvl 13)
Great article, Stalker0!
You kind of got me thinking about a related subject: I wonder if there's a correlation between grind and DMs that discourage powergaming.
Red Hot Swing
"In Inspired Sarlona, nightmares have you!" -Klaus
Sunday, 19th April, 2009, 12:18 PM #13
Sunday, 19th April, 2009, 12:52 PM #14
Excellent article with very sound advice!
A method that I've used a couple of times to throw in fast and dangerous fights is to halve the monsters' hitpoints and increase their damage output by 50% or more. It's "breaking" the core rules, yes, but used in moderation can make for a quick and exciting fight.
Sunday, 19th April, 2009, 04:47 PM #15
Scout (Lvl 6)
Sunday, 19th April, 2009, 05:43 PM #16
Cutpurse (Lvl 5)
An other thing that reduces grind is removing some of the fiddly bits from the monsters. NPC abilities should be few but meaningful.
Bad example: Whether a monster gets +1 to hit if it is bloodied is normally not going to matter, as the monster will only get ~4 more attack rolls after being bloodied and the probability of the +1 changing their outcome is 0.2 At the same time, remembering that +1 is a pain in the neck for the GM. Finally, unless the GM goes out of the way to describe how much more precise the monster becomes, now that it's bloodied, the players are not going to notice a difference.
Good example: The Monster's damage goes from 1d10+5 to 2d10+5 if bloodied. This will be less fiddly to remember, and be noticeable to the players if it kicks in.
Other culprits here are monsters that do extra damage on a crit. IMG, I remove that ability and replace it with a flat +1 to damage.
Sunday, 19th April, 2009, 05:46 PM #17
Acolyte (Lvl 2)
Great Stuff, bookmarked!
Another little thing I might add about Solo Monsters:
These guys are most of the time, big tough monsters. I once had a remade Troll (Giant Troll, Huge Size) and the battle was kinda boring. The Troll had to get up a ramp to destroy a portal into a castle, so that his Gnoll Masters could invade. A well placed Flaming Sphere made that quickly impossible.
Then it struck me: Why should a monster with a size like a tower play by the rules of normal sized human. Our ranger was hiding in a building next to the ramp, thinking himself unreachable. Well, the Troll didn´t think so, toppled the house to build himself a make-shift ramp. My players hesitated a second and were like especially the Ranger of course. The Troll spent an AP to run up next to the mage hiding atop the the ramp. (Trampling the Ranger by the way) and in a second the combat was interesting again.
Conclusion: Sometimes doing the unexpected, especially if for a second looking through the eyes of a huge monster can lead to interesting situation.
Sunday, 19th April, 2009, 06:03 PM #18
Acolyte (Lvl 2)
Fantastic article. I think many would find this far more informative than the chapter in the DM's guide.
This combinded with your Skill Challenge system shows some really top-end design work.
Hear that WoTC? You should hire this guy as a freelancer.
Last edited by Drkfathr1; Sunday, 19th April, 2009 at 06:04 PM. Reason: splenign. :)
Sunday, 19th April, 2009, 07:04 PM #19
Spellbinder (Lvl 16)
Nice stuff. It jibes well with my experiences.
The one trick I'd add is:
Turn a Solo into an Elite - Take a Solo monster 2 (or more) levels below the party. Cut its hit points in half, but otherwise leave it unchanged. Price it as an Elite of its level +2. Add minions & regular monsters to taste.
Cheers, -- N
Sunday, 19th April, 2009, 07:11 PM #20
Lama (Lvl 13)
Overall, an awesome collection of good, sound advice. A few comments.
One point that could do with mentioning, is to avoid using elites and solos that heal too much or have the insubstantial ability. Or god forbid, both.
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