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Thread: Tell me about your encounters!

  1. #1
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    Tell me about your encounters!

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    I'm curious to hear about different encounters you have written as a DM or experienced as a player. As hinted in a different thread, I'm still experimenting with the broad brush of situations and foes, and would be interesting in comparing notes. Here are a couple of mine:

    --The party arrives at a vertical shaft that cut through the cave complex they are exploring, some 150 feet across- open to the sky some 200 feet above, and extending down to one of the great seas of the Underdark many miles below. Rope bridges stretch across the shaft at numerous points, with the bridges being connected by tunnels, stairs, or ledges, forming a vast 3-dimensional maze. Strange clumps of slowly writhing vines could be seen growing everywhere, and small humanoid creatures would occasionally form out of the vines, run giggling to another clump, then discorporate and vanish. Lazily drifting balls of blue-white light can be seen clumped here and there, with lightning arcing between them when they approach one another. Navigating the maze and avoiding the threats is a Skill Challenge: appropriate skills would be Dungeoneering (for typical tunnel layouts), Arcana (the beasties are fey), Nature (predicting the winding of natural caverns), Athletics (to climb between bridges), Acrobatics (to either use the less-safe paths, or quickly traverse the bridges before wandering creatures arrive), etc. Each failure means an extra encounter with the hostile creatures.

    --Exploring a tunnel at the base of the bridges, the party encounters a Gelatinous Cube, sitting innocuously at the line between light and shadow, making it especially hard to see. Once the cube engages (either from being noticed, or being walked into), Saplings (the humanoids mentioned above) form out of the vines on either side of the cube and join in the attack. Note that the cube is simply a dumb mass of mucus, and will attack the Saplings and party indiscriminately, a fact that the party can use to their advantage.

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    Very cool encounters.

    Here's a cool one we played recently (from an unnamed published adventure so as not to be a spoiler):
    We found a group of kobolds in a forest. There was a small stream moving through, plenty of trees for cover, and a small waterfall feeding the stream nearby. The Kobolds had a magic circle next to the stream (+1 attack for anyone attacking from a square in the circle). It turns out the waterfall was an entrance to a kobold lair. When adjacent to the waterfall the kobolds could attack us with thrown javelins from the inside. Inside the kobold lair was more kobolds, with an experienced goblin commander.

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  3. #3
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    I've had quite a few Gnolls make an appearance for my 2nd level PC's. I included Spectre Gnolls (minions and artillery types) once they got into the haunted area of the forest. I used the same stats for the regular gnolls, but they appeared ghostly and hovered a bit for effect. It was enough to keep the PC's busy, and it was perhaps the best D&D session I've ever run (according to ONE of my players).

    I then added a bit of nature to the next encounter.
    After freeing an old loon from a posh solitary prison in the middle of this deep forest, the wacked-out old man ran to the only place he remembered from long ago, only to surprise a couple of bears that readied to take him down. The party came to the rescue and had to deal with the angry bears (elite brutes).

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    I think one of the most memorable in the recent past was a fight against a Ogre Magi with Hobgoblin mercenaries after the parties lit their midden on fire with a few flasks of oil then sealed the "chimney" off with sod and rocks.

    The Hobgoblins were forced out of the underground pit into the hands of the waiting party who were flanked by the Ogre Magi who had been behind them the entire time invisible.

    During the battle they could hears screams and breaking wood and cursing from the Hobgoblins as they escaped from the smoke filled dungeon...

    After they beat the Ogre and Gobbos they went down into the still smoking area and encountered the SUPER pissed off and still on-fire Oytugh who had been residing peacefully in the midden.
    The final death blow came when one of my characters leapt into the still smoldering and burning midden pit to rescue the lord who would be paying them (he had been tentacle grabbed and was about to be eaten).
    The character only had the crowbar she had used to break open another door and leapt in on top with just that as a weapon and killed the beast.
    Pretty cool image really.

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    Mine is from Game Day for the 4ed.

    We entered a room that was dimly lit, just by lanterns. It was a wide room, and had sarcophagi blocking walkways further on. It smelled like oil. After our cleric moved in a bit, two hobgoblins popped out from behind the sarcophagi and readied their bows. I (a rogue with a hand bow) kept trying to shoot and knock over the lanterns, but I kept missing - not good for our hopeless cleric. (poor guy...the dice hated him badly) After a bit of skirmishing, our wizard magic missiled one of the hobgolins in the chest, putting a nice sized burnt hole in his chest. He was still alive, but wasn't too happy, and tried to push over the sarcophagi. Our dwarf fighter pushed back and the hobgoblin gave up and tried to leap over the case, but it broke and he fell in - it was full of oil. I simply grabbed the lantern and bashed it over the oil soaked hobgobling, lighting him and the case on fire. On the other case, our cleric was getting bashed by the other hobgoblin before he finally said "screw it" and tried to jump over, falling in the case full of oil. Luckily a few rounds before we removed the lantern, or he would be burning up, heh. Well the dwarf and I ran around the corridor (after jumping over the flames in the case) and snuck up and pounded the hobgoblin to death. We FINALLY finished the fight when the dwarf got the last blow in. The cleric couldn't hit him.

    That cleric messed up the whole game, and finally, after the game was over, he threw down his dice saying YEAAAAH! and roled a nat 20. We all named it the Epic Cheer.

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    Well allow me to tell you about a game I recently had with Grandore The Giant Killer. Ok so I was in this city where at night EVERYONE had to run for cover because Blood Lords, Vampires, and other creatures of the night came to feast and make there army bigger. So this Wizard gave me this mission to spy on these vampires and give him information. He handed me a Talisman that basically leaves me with an undetectable heartbeat so the vampires won't be able to find me that way.

    However I took this mission one step further. I had the Schall of a Dread Wraith. I basically slipped on the Schall and followed the whole group of blood sucking vampires around acting like one of the guys. There also was a Black Vampire dragon named Vengence... Just picture a black dragon with vampire teeth and large bat wings... And so they leave to head into the castle... I FOLLOWED THEM!

    And I am glad I did too because the King of the city was captured in there and was about to be executed. So me acting like one of them I decided to volunteer for the execution. That is until I turned around and decapitated the Blood Lord that was giving out the orders. After cutting the king free I whipped out an item called A Crystal Of Illumination and fried 65 vampires. Running into another room I shut and locked the door. There was another feasting Vampire and Slayed her with ease. There was a suit of armor statue there and basically I ripped the heart of that vampire out and slipped it into the suit of armor. I also freed 4 16 year old girls that was captured in that room pretty much so pending for execution.

    After I slid that heart of the vampire into the statue I lead this group of civilians down the path that opened. And wanna hear a part that really made me crap my pants? We slipped into this room and hanging upsidedown on the ceiling is VENGENCE!!! He was asleep hanging like a vampire bat and here I am covered in blood. Thank god the DM got a bad dice roll on wheter he wakes up or not because I would have been royally screwed. It's like I said "He must've been in a blood induced Thanksgiving Coma." We ran into another room where there conveniently was a Bone Golem. Oh that was just a blast to fight with 4 girls and an unarmed king on my side. I literally used them to distract the golem while I slayed the beast. And believe me when I say that was no easy task.

    So now I slipped into the last room where a Blood Lord was simply sitting at a table writing out a scroll of some sort. Me disguised as a Dread Wraith came into the room and told the Blood Lord the king needs help. Someone broke into the castle. Well that Lord shot up and ran like hell while I pulled a lever and a pot hole opened into the middle of the city. We climbed up that ladder and ran like hell.

    I can say right now that was one of the riskiest things i've ever done as a player and I am really surprised I didn't get killed.

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    Cool- thanks all.

    Were all of these D&D 4e? Some of the monsters must have been custom if so-

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    yeah my DM encorporates Custom monsters and items. Mainly to keep the game fresh because let's face it if you don't the game gets stale after a while and you start seeing the same stuff over and over.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Grandore The Giant Killer View Post
    yeah my DM encorporates Custom monsters and items. Mainly to keep the game fresh because let's face it if you don't the game gets stale after a while and you start seeing the same stuff over and over.
    Mostly I use custom monsters to keep the book-memorizing players on their toes. Sure they can tell you what the Will defense is for a particular flavor of Azer, but they can't call me on stuff I make up.

    Actually, I have had that happen- one player called me on whether or not a Siren's Charm power should be at-will or encounter. I played along, pretended to look up Siren in the MM, and said, "Yeah, it's at-will."

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    Quote Originally Posted by Grandore The Giant Killer View Post
    Well allow me to tell you about a game I recently had with Grandore The Giant Killer. Ok so I was in this city where at night EVERYONE had to run for cover because Blood Lords, Vampires, and other creatures of the night came to feast and make there army bigger. So this Wizard gave me this mission to spy on these vampires and give him information. He handed me a Talisman that basically leaves me with an undetectable heartbeat so the vampires won't be able to find me that way.

    However I took this mission one step further. I had the Schall of a Dread Wraith. I basically slipped on the Schall and followed the whole group of blood sucking vampires around acting like one of the guys. There also was a Black Vampire dragon named Vengence... Just picture a black dragon with vampire teeth and large bat wings... And so they leave to head into the castle... I FOLLOWED THEM!

    And I am glad I did too because the King of the city was captured in there and was about to be executed. So me acting like one of them I decided to volunteer for the execution. That is until I turned around and decapitated the Blood Lord that was giving out the orders. After cutting the king free I whipped out an item called A Crystal Of Illumination and fried 65 vampires. Running into another room I shut and locked the door. There was another feasting Vampire and Slayed her with ease. There was a suit of armor statue there and basically I ripped the heart of that vampire out and slipped it into the suit of armor. I also freed 4 16 year old girls that was captured in that room pretty much so pending for execution.

    After I slid that heart of the vampire into the statue I lead this group of civilians down the path that opened. And wanna hear a part that really made me crap my pants? We slipped into this room and hanging upsidedown on the ceiling is VENGENCE!!! He was asleep hanging like a vampire bat and here I am covered in blood. Thank god the DM got a bad dice roll on wheter he wakes up or not because I would have been royally screwed. It's like I said "He must've been in a blood induced Thanksgiving Coma." We ran into another room where there conveniently was a Bone Golem. Oh that was just a blast to fight with 4 girls and an unarmed king on my side. I literally used them to distract the golem while I slayed the beast. And believe me when I say that was no easy task.

    So now I slipped into the last room where a Blood Lord was simply sitting at a table writing out a scroll of some sort. Me disguised as a Dread Wraith came into the room and told the Blood Lord the king needs help. Someone broke into the castle. Well that Lord shot up and ran like hell while I pulled a lever and a pot hole opened into the middle of the city. We climbed up that ladder and ran like hell.

    I can say right now that was one of the riskiest things i've ever done as a player and I am really surprised I didn't get killed.

    dude you are a solo god ahaha

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    Had an interesting one a couple weeks ago. We happened upon a group of Kobolds in a clearing, with a shallow stream and a waterfall nearby. After being ambushed twice on roads by Kobolds in the previous week, my party was in no mood for diplomacy, so we ambushed em. We scattered and cleared out the Kobolds pretty quick, using encounter abilities and action points willy-nilly to punish the buggers. Some of them did get away though, running into the waterfall.

    We found out there was an entrance into a cave through the waterfall when suddenly a bunch of javelins came flying out at us. At this point, we made a very stupid choice... rather than pulling back and getting a rest so we could get our encounter abilities back and regroup, we charged the waterfall.

    Fine and dandy initially, the javeliners were pretty weak, but then their buddies came in, including this goblin warrior leader with some really nasty in your face abilities and over a hundred hitpoints (the DM told us later), and a Kobold Wyrmpriest.

    Charging in as we did, the Dragonborn Paladin took a couple rounds to get into combat, since he had strayed farther chasing down minions in the first ambush, so our attack was not well planned. My Warlord ended up having to do defender duty to keep the kobolds from surrounding us, and went down. The late-coming Paladin learned how nasty the goblin was, and also went down. Our ranger couldn't hit a target.

    Fortunately I rolled a 20 on a death saving throw, someone without the heal skill trained was lucky and gave the paladin his healing surge, and the dwarven fighter held off the goblin long enough for the rest of us to surround him. Whew, close one.

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    Great stories, but in a blind taste-test, most of these would pass for 3E encounters. Is anyone noticing a distinct difference between 3E and 4E encounters?
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    I have utilized a ton of different environments and monsters so far to ensure that there is not only variety but challenge in nearly all the encounters. I would say that, so far, my favorite has been the one I sampled below. The encounter went as I had hoped it would, with the players going through the majority of their encounter and daily powers. It made them stop and think about how to proceed, almost cost the wizard her life, and helped to strengthen the bond between them RP wise. It was the epic final to the dungeon they had gone through and completely caught them pants down as they only saw the monsters they had been mowing through, and looked right past the Ochre Jelly.


    Fight for Me:
    Encounter Level 3 (750xp)
    Setup
    As the PCs enter the room they see a Gnome dressed in black robes wearing the hollowed skull of a young dragon. Once the doors open the gnome turns and heads for a ladder that leads out of the tomb and into the city streets above. Several skeletons guard the raised dais where the gnome had been standing. The skeletons have arrows drawn and ready to engage any who enter the room. Atop the dais are two sarcophagi which hold the remains of the gnomish leaders of the city. Oozing from within one of the sarcophagus is an ochre jelly. The bodies of the Duke and Duchess rise from their tombs as skeletons, and behind the tombs their guardians shamble forward as zombies.

    This encounter includes the following creatures:
    8 Decrepit Skeletons
    1 Ochre Jelly (Elite)
    2 Zombies

    As the players enter the room read:
    As you open the doors you hear a curse blurt from atop a massive altar. Standing high above you rests the altar to Duke Fasier and Duchess Yor, former leaders of the city of Servo. The altar is surrounded by a crystal clear moat with small walkways built over the water so one can cross. Four statues in total surround the tombs, each representing a different god. A gnome dressed in black robes and wearing the remains of a baby dragon scampers up a ladder in the rear of the chamber leading from the top of the altar to the surface high above. As his feet disappear from view the scraping sound of stone can be heard from the top of the altar. It is then that you notice that the altar is covered in skeletons that are prepared to attack.

    Tactics:
    Decrepit Skeletons stand on the side of each set of stairs in this room. The minions are to defend the altar at all costs and attack the characters on sight. More skeletons stand at the top of the altar and attack from behind the statues, using the stone creations as cover from ranged attacks. The Ochre Jelly slides from out of one of the sarcophagus and slides to attack the nearest PC. Since the jelly cannot go up stairs the jelly stays at the top of the altar and cannot be attacked with ranged weapons by PCs who stay at the bottom. The minions that rise from the sarcophagus stay crouched and use the stone as cover from attacks. The zombies shamble from behind and make effort to keep the PCs restricted to the stairs as the zombies were commanded to prevent anyone from reaching the ladder.

    Religion Check:
    A character knows the following information with a successful Religion check.
    DC 10: The skeletons in this room each bear the mark of Hade on their skulls.

    Features of the Area:
    Illumination: No light is able to reach this deep into the tombs. Light-Vision and normal vision characters cannot see without a form of illumination.
    1. Casket: The caskets on the altar stand four feet tall and provide cover to those that stand directly behind them or inside of them.
    2. Statues: These statues are inanimate objects that provide cover to any that stand behind them.
    3. Moat: The moat is three feet deep and is difficult terrain. The water is clear and safe to drink thanks to a permanent purification effect on the moat.
    4. Stairs: These stairs are somewhat sharp in angle because of the limited space in the room. The stairs are difficult terrain.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DMMike View Post
    Great stories, but in a blind taste-test, most of these would pass for 3E encounters. Is anyone noticing a distinct difference between 3E and 4E encounters?
    I think we're all pretty tired of comparison threads- Can I take a rain check on that question?

  15. #15
    Arch Lich Thoth-Amon is offline Cursed by the Gods
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    Quote Originally Posted by Valdar View Post
    I think we're all pretty tired of comparison threads- Can I take a rain check on that question?
    I am in complete agreement. We get it already, everyone has their favorite editions.

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