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D&D 5E How do you create your encounters?

When do you create a combat encounter, how do you do it?

  • I use XP Thresholds from the DMG

    Votes: 9 16.7%
  • I use Xanathar's Guidelines

    Votes: 2 3.7%
  • I just wing it

    Votes: 28 51.9%
  • I use/modify encounters from adventures and random tables

    Votes: 1 1.9%
  • Other, please explain in thread

    Votes: 14 25.9%

  • Total voters


Back in previous editions, I used to be a bit of a stickler for balanced encounters. However, since just after 5e came out, I got bored of that. I'll tend to put what makes sense for whatever encounter, but I will occasionally make sure its not too crazy as far as XP goes for my level, unless I have to. I'm blessed with several players that have absolutely incredible luck (and one player who's just...so unlucky), so they usually pull through no matter what I throw at them. If the group bites off more than they can chew, sounds like they better retreat and find a place to hide for a bit; led to a very terrifying session one time, where the group charged a Orcus cult stronghold, and then realization struck: "Oops." They retreated, and some of the bad guys chased until they managed to lose them in the tunnels of this subterranean realm. The main bad guy, though, a pretty high level cleric of Orcus decided, "Hm, I'm going to do something about this. Time to call in reinforcements."

I set a timer on his plan, and started it. The group managed to return in time to see the surviving clerics performing a ritual to summon Lord Soth; the Lord Soth. When the wizard made their Arcana check to figure out what was going, the entire table was silent, until the old-school, incredibly unlucky player went, "The Lord Soth? We're so screwed."

This queued up the remainder of the high stakes fight, and was looking to be down to the wire, until another player managed to get super lucky and severe the leader's arm, making him much less potent (as he was relying on his melee abilities rather than his spell slots of which he had few remaining). I've never seen a party more ready to celebrate when that natural 20 came up.

Its been three years, and they still talk about that session, and the player that managed to swing the fight with the natural 20 gets the hugest, most-shit-eating grin every time she thinks about it.

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