D&D General Should D&D Be "Hard"

Remathilis

Legend
That is reductive to the point of being snark.

So do you only consider it an encounter if a skill check is made or initiative is rolled?
I only consider it an encounter if interacting with it has a reasonable chance of success. A hydra you can only overcome by avoiding might as well be a wall.

Let me turn the question around: does an encounter with a creature that can only be overcome with avoiding warrant XP or not?
 

log in or register to remove this ad

Reynard

Legend
I only consider it an encounter if interacting with it has a reasonable chance of success. A hydra you can only overcome by avoiding might as well be a wall.
I think that is too narrow of a definition. It is an encounter is it has different potential outcomes based on what the PCs choose to do. It is a wall if the ONLY choice is to turn around and therefore, as you say, not an encounter. But if the players have choices, and those choices have consequences, then it is an encounter. And those potential consequences do not need to include "PC victory."
Let me turn the question around: does an encounter with a creature that can only be overcome with avoiding warrant XP or not?
If you are going to award XP for encounters (which is not how or why everyone does it) then you award XP for the "beyond deadly" encounter based on how the PCs interact with it and what consequences they invoke.
 

Remathilis

Legend
I think that is too narrow of a definition. It is an encounter is it has different potential outcomes based on what the PCs choose to do. It is a wall if the ONLY choice is to turn around and therefore, as you say, not an encounter. But if the players have choices, and those choices have consequences, then it is an encounter. And those potential consequences do not need to include "PC victory."

If you are going to award XP for encounters (which is not how or why everyone does it) then you award XP for the "beyond deadly" encounter based on how the PCs interact with it and what consequences they invoke.
If your choices are avoiding or death, you only have a false choice. The nature of the type of challenge being referenced is one where the PCs have no hope of survival if the creature becomes aware of you. If you can't talk to it or circumvent it with spells and skills (within the normal realm of DCs) you still just have a wall. Actually, you have an electric fence; a wall that will kill you if you try anything other than walk away from it. Giving your PCs the option to climb the fence or chop the fence down doesn't negate the fact they will die if they try it.

An encounter you can't interact with under pain of death is a non-encounter.
 

Reynard

Legend
If your choices are avoiding or death, you only have a false choice. The nature of the type of challenge being referenced is one where the PCs have no hope of survival if the creature becomes aware of you. If you can't talk to it or circumvent it with spells and skills (within the normal realm of DCs) you still just have a wall. Actually, you have an electric fence; a wall that will kill you if you try anything other than walk away from it. Giving your PCs the option to climb the fence or chop the fence down doesn't negate the fact they will die if they try it.

An encounter you can't interact with under pain of death is a non-encounter.
I still think you are being to narrow in your definition. D&D is (among other things) a resource management game and an encounter that exists to eat resources to circumvent a potential TPK is still and encounter and still serves a purpose in play. I think you are the only one in the discussion that has suggested that what @Lanefan was talking about was a "wall" where there we no choices except "nope" and death.
 

cbwjm

Seb-wejem
I think the Hydra is an encounter. If it's blocking pathway and would be a beyond deadly encounter to fight (which the PCs may still try to fight) then coming up with a way to bypass it should grant xp. It could be a skill challenge, they might spike its food or water supply weakening it or putting it to sleep, etc. However they bypass it, it was an encounter, just an encounter that could easily wipe the party. It'd be like having to get past Spot guarding the gates of the underworld, essentially an impossible fight, but there might be other ways past.
 

I think you are the only one in the discussion that has suggested that what @Lanefan was talking about was a "wall" where there we no choices except "nope" and death.
@Lanefan didn't specify that death was an automatic outcome of interaction just that it was an automatic outcome of trying to fight it. If you presume that every relatively hostile encounter is one that must be fightable then @Remathilis is not wrong about a hostile encounter that will automatically kill the PCs as being effectively a wall. These are however not talking about the exact same things.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Supporter
If your tabletop D&D campaign had a video game style difficulty slider, what would you set it at? Why?

For my table, playing D&D or anything else, I aim to set my difficulty at "what the players find enjoyable". Sometimes that's very hard, sometimes it is forgiving. I'm flexible.
 

Remathilis

Legend
@Lanefan didn't specify that death was an automatic outcome of interaction just that it was an automatic outcome of trying to fight it. If you presume that every relatively hostile encounter is one that must be fightable then @Remathilis is not wrong about a hostile encounter that will automatically kill the PCs as being effectively a wall. These are however not talking about the exact same things.
I think it's fair to point out that you can categorize encounters under the three pillars: combat, social and exploration. You might be very capable of killing a CR 1/8 Noble, but convincing him to help you might be a very difficult social encounter. You can't fight or talk your way out of a snowstorm; you can only use skills and such to survive it.

So going back to the Hydra: it's given you can't survive combat against it. Can you talk to it? Can you sneak around it or otherwise circumvent it? If yes, what's the difficulty level of those other options. If you can't talk to it (it will ignore you and attack) or circumvent it (it will notice you and attack) you're back to the wall.

Which again defeats the idea of a "beyond deadly" encounter range. You might not survive combat, but there should be a solution in one of the other columns that is applicable. If they are all above deadly, then you have the War Games scenario: the only winning move is not to play.

How about a nice game of chess?
 

Reynard

Legend
So going back to the Hydra: it's given you can't survive combat against it. Can you talk to it? Can you sneak around it or otherwise circumvent it? If yes, what's the difficulty level of those other options. If you can't talk to it (it will ignore you and attack) or circumvent it (it will notice you and attack) you're back to the wall.

Which again defeats the idea of a "beyond deadly" encounter range. You might not survive combat, but there should be a solution in one of the other columns that is applicable. If they are all above deadly, then you have the War Games scenario: the only winning move is not to play.
I'm still not sure how you are making the leap here. "Beyond Deadly" is a way of categorizing the potential outcome of the fight. It doesn't say anything about other potential solutions. For example, you don't adjust the CR of an encounter (which is based entirely upon the relative power of the creature versus the party in combat) because the PCs come up with a clever non-combat solution. "Beyond Deadly" is just a way of saying APL +10 or whatever. it is informative, not prescriptive.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
I don't need the encounter table to tell me an ancient dragon will kill 3rd level PCs. I need the encounter table to tell me if a young dragon fight will. Of course a high challenge monster will usually win (the luck of the dice notwithstanding). Most creatures above a certain threshold do. The encounter creation rules are mostly for a DM to determine if the fight will NOT kill them. If you're a DM who doesn't care about such things, you ignore the challenge rating and daily XP budget and let the PCs know they are as likely to encounter a 16th level challenge as a 6th. You don't need the DMG to give you permission.
You do, however, need (or at least should be able to expect) the DMG to give some ideas how to handle the ancient Dragon vs 3rd-level party encounter should it arise either by your own devising or by random chance.
 

Remove ads

AD6_gamerati_skyscraper

Remove ads

Upcoming Releases

Top