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Roundtable of Doom 7: Scaling Adventures

July Roundtable:

This month’s topic comes to us courtesy of +John Marvin:

“How do you scale encounters for a smaller or larger group than you had planned on. Or than the published adventure planned on? What works, and what does not? Do different systems affect how you scale? And what about fish? They have scales.”

So once again we have a roundtable topic to discuss. The questions are all centered on the same theme, but we are going to go ahead and address each one separately to flesh out the discussion.

How Do You Scale Encounters for Different Sized Groups?

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Game Masters’ Roundtable of Doom #6

So this week we have been invited to participate in a Roundtable of Doom topic with other bloggers and give our 2 credits’ worth on the big question of how tough challenges should be. Other participants will be linked at the bottom of the article. This weeks question:

Many of us probably remember the AD&D days when the DM could roll a black dragon on the random encounter table and end a low-level party’s career. The 3rd and 4th editions of the game led some newer players to believe that every encounter should be defeatable and appropriate to their level and capabilities. However, 5th edition has moved away from this structure.

We see this mirrored in other games as well. At one end of the spectrum is the style and belief that the PCs should be able to overcome any challenge that comes their way, that challenges should be “appropriate”. On the other end of the spectrum is the style and belief that the world should be realistic, that every fight shouldn’t be able to be won, and that one of the requisite skills of the game is knowing when to fight and when to run.

Where do you, as a GM, fall on this spectrum, and why? Should the PCs always be able to win?

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