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View Full Version : Your favorite, funnest or most wickedly cunning 1-3rd level encounter



kirksmithicus
05-01-2009, 05:56 PM
or all of the above.

Well there is only a week left until I run the Disposable Heroes game on May 7th. I had been mulling over four possible encounters in my head for the last week or so. Last night at my regular game session, two of the encounters were almost identical to the encounters that I had been thinking of running. So those are out. Now I'm starting to second guess myself a little. Are the other two encounters going to be interesting and fun enough? So I thought, I'll just come up with something new, well..........unfortunately, the well has run dry. And so, here I am trying to get some inspiration from my fellow gamers. I just need some ideas, the system and edition does not matter.

Arch Lich Thoth-Amon
05-01-2009, 06:07 PM
I love the "Disposable Hero's" title, kirksmithicus. I hinted to it on another thread, but years ago there was an article in Dragon about how to make Kobolds more clever, and therefore more dangerous (no more Kobold fodder). Basically, they used a tunnel where once our heroic hero's were all within said tunned, the door closed behind them and through open slots on the walls started jabbing spears at our 'disposable hero's." It was a wake-up call for the players to not take anything for granted, and therefore encouraged smarter play.

I also have been known to pull some of the "classic" modules off of the shelf and use some of the ideas found within. One example was where our bold hero's walk into a room where they find, to their surprise, a flowing mini river about 3ft deep with canoes anchored next to them. What made the encounter interesting was that the mini river, being about 2.5 feet wide/3 ft deep, was coming out of one wall and going into another at the other side of the room. This mini river had no banks but was magically contained in mid-air. Very cool encouner for a low level adventure. What also made it fun for both player and GM alike was that once the party got into the canoes and entered the opening in the other side of the room, they entered a darkness, and had to hold on for dear life, not knowing where they would exit. This little encounter never ceases to get the attention of the players. Encounter is found in S2: White Plume Mountain.

yukonhorror
05-01-2009, 06:08 PM
Using the trap master (I think that is what he is called) kobold from the dragon mag article (it is still free I believe), I have two kobolds, and like 4 repeatable traps. He has the ability to trigger the traps, so basically it appears to be a fight against two measly kobolds, but the players soon realize, holy cow, there are like a billion booby traps in this room.

Another fun one is to lower the level of a solo monster (like a dragon) and partner him up with a bunch of minions.

Finally, swarms are always fun. I have an encounter with a kobold rat master and like 4 rat swarms.

Hopefully my players aren't reading this.

Arch Lich Thoth-Amon
05-01-2009, 06:11 PM
Yukonhorror is right, nothing like a swarm to scare the bajeebiz(is there an official spelling for this word?) out of some players. Heck, let them realize that a/c plays no role with swarms. Scary, but fun, and a useful lesson for more dangerous encounters down the road.

kirksmithicus
05-02-2009, 01:25 AM
I love the "Disposable Hero's" title, kirksmithicus. I hinted to it on another thread, but years ago there was an article in Dragon about how to make Kobolds more clever, and therefore more dangerous (no more Kobold fodder). Basically, they used a tunnel where once our heroic hero's were all within said tunned, the door closed behind them and through open slots on the walls started jabbing spears at our 'disposable hero's." It was a wake-up call for the players to not take anything for granted, and therefore encouraged smarter play.

Well, I was thinking of giving them the illusion that they had a fighting chance. ;) One of the encounter options is with a bunch of Kobolds. It'll be a mix of previously created encounters. Kind of a "best of" compilation.


Using the trap master (I think that is what he is called) kobold from the dragon mag article (it is still free I believe), I have two kobolds, and like 4 repeatable traps. He has the ability to trigger the traps, so basically it appears to be a fight against two measly kobolds, but the players soon realize, holy cow, there are like a billion booby traps in this room.

Another fun one is to lower the level of a solo monster (like a dragon) and partner him up with a bunch of minions.

Finally, swarms are always fun. I have an encounter with a kobold rat master and like 4 rat swarms.

Hopefully my players aren't reading this.

I have a wicked idea for a trap, but they (traps) count toward the xp total in 4e right? So that might push the encounter a little to far. I was thinking of the swarm thing as well, but with blockers too.

Also there might be some difficult terrain, an obstacle providing cover for the baddies and a dirty trick or two. :laugh:


Yukonhorror is right, nothing like a swarm to scare the bajeebiz(is there an official spelling for this word?) out of some players. Heck, let them realize that a/c plays no role with swarms. Scary, but fun, and a useful lesson for more dangerous encounters down the road.

buh-Jesus? bah-Jesus? Bejeezus? I dunno.

The Kobold encounter is in, I just need to work out two more. I'll give them three options, they choose the manner of their own demise.

Thanks for the suggestions.

yukonhorror
05-02-2009, 10:20 AM
yeah traps do count towards xp. So it is a fair encounter (with only one kobold) in terms of xp.

nijineko
05-02-2009, 12:43 PM
well there was the one time that the party entered a cave only to have a monstrous spider drop down from the ceiling on them. turned out to be the discarded molt-shell of a monstrous spider filled with powder of sneezing and choking. the party reacted predictably to the "successful spot check" and attacked first. i really didn't expect the monk to fail both saves and roll max on the con damage. honestly! ^^

then there was the time that the pit was not filled with spikes, but with whipped cream.... too light to float in, too heavy to breathe, too thick to effectively throw things, like ropes with grappling hooks....

Arch Lich Thoth-Amon
05-02-2009, 12:51 PM
Rope bridge encounters are always a hit. Especially when the party is halfway across it before being attacked with projectile weapons by a horde of baddies. Always a scary experience. But wait, it gets better: After surviving the attack and successfully navigating the rope bridge, our brave disposable heros climbed up on a cut out staircase in the wall above the bridge(they were in the Underdark, after all), dislodged a large boulder allowing it to fall on the rope bridge below, taking all the baddies, and the destroyed rope bridge(no returning the way they came now, but hey, the party of relunctant heros are still alive) down into the abyss. Ahh, good times... good memories.

mrken
05-02-2009, 01:33 PM
A few years back I needed an adventure for a bunch of new players who had never PR'ed before. First group of players to go through, all first level players beat the dungeon. Second group of players to go through all had a bunch of previous ex but with new characters. They all died (well two of them left one character between two traps and went to find their own trap to die behind.

The first encounter was an opening that went down into water. Water was five foot deep and smelled very rancid. Halfling could not swim with all his loot so the half orc carried him on his shoulders, kept him above the water. The wizard and the cleric were a bit short at five foot two and five five. The wizard clung to the fighter and the cleric stayed on her toes. They made it through.

Next was a room with some minotaurs. The cowboys had a fire but put it out when they heard the PC's coming. The PC's smelled the smoke and successfully attacked them.

Leaving the same way they came in the cleric felt a snake brush by her as she investigated a sort of soggy crunching feeling under her foot. She hurried the party out of the water to safety.

The second party missed the magic ring in the water because of the fight with the snake. Snake got away, PC's decided checking the mystery in the water was of lesser importance.

Sneaking up on the Minotaurs was unsuccessful as they were in single file and as one PC stuck his head around the corner a cowboy grabbed him and tossed him in the middle of the room where the big muscled one killed him as the others grabbed the next one as the others ran away. Two down.

Next encounter was two pit traps with a board bridge between them. The wizard and the cleric made it but the fighter fell in. They did manage to go back and rescue him but when they got him up he was afraid of falling again. They left him for the cowboys.

The last two wandered around missing the slits in the walls where the arrows shot out only to go down a dead end hallway. When they went back they found that they were in a stone room with no way out. That was where we ended up. For what ever reason they did not use the dispel magic spell that would remove the wall that they had walked through on their way in. TPK with five experienced players and no deaths with five newbs.

Malruhn
05-02-2009, 06:46 PM
I still like the single-hit-die creature (goblin or kobold) with a stack of torches - and broken bottles of lamp-oil on the ground - and 100% cover - and an attitude.

Lots of threats and ground that is too slippery on which to run...

I've loved that for 29 years, since it was first used against me.

It's just 1d6 worth of damage (as long as you don't fall), and the VERY human fear of becoming a PC Flambe'... oh, that's 1d6 if you WALK through - 1d2 if you RUN. And the PC's are TOLD this... and they still won't do it.