Challenging High Level Players

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teaman
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Challenging High Level Players

Post Sat May 27, 2017 11:36 am

Looking for some sage advice on challenging higher level players. I think I'm getting there by increasing the level of the opponents. I also find just designing humans about on par with the party works.

Your thoughts? How do you push players a bit more, without guaranteeing a TPK. Not that they can't die, but I can kill them anytime if I like. Challenging them, that's what I'm after.
Teaman is the sole proprietor of Sharp Mountain Games at drivethrurpg.com. (Soon he'll be able to purchase the name brand peanut butter!). Come take a look if you have some time.

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entr0py
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Re: Challenging High Level Players

Post Sun May 28, 2017 1:06 pm

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Longman
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Re: Challenging High Level Players

Post Tue Jul 25, 2017 9:24 pm

I think environmental factors are often as useful as tougher monsters.

Really loud noise, so PCs can't talk or cast many spells
Poisoned air, freezing cold or heat, so PCs lose hit points every turn and have to think and act fast
Being on board a slowly sinking ship
Creatures that slowly regenerate, or more are summoned every round
Structures about to collapse
Things that cause madness progressively, or drain magic
Really big creatures about to wake up so that PCs must act in silence
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SmootRK
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Re: Challenging High Level Players

Post Tue Jul 25, 2017 9:54 pm

Interesting combinations of monsters can really complicate encounters for players, not necessarily just minions and BBEG. For instance, young dragon aligns with lair of kobolds that traps the battle space extensively, pepper the area with missile fire, and otherwise complicate a party that thinks that they can simply flank and concentrate attacks on the dragon otherwise.

Goblin lair, mix in a few variants such as Blue Goblins from FG, Norkers (upcoming FG2 - in Workshop forum), Wolf-mounted Elites, and maybe have a couple scream out "Bree Yark" to call in a few Ogre buddies.... all led by leader that is actually a Barghest (demon goblin lycanthrope thing).

Fire Giants that have subjugated some white dragons... hard to choose whether to use fire or frost in your fight, eh?

Take a standard creature/humanoid and give them a few character levels.

Rival Adventuring Party or party of foes from adversarial nation/region (best example from long ago: the party met near end of Slave Lords modules).

And of course the well designed adventure that connects series of encounters that wears down party and/or party resources prior to a major encounter. Nothing like being really low on firepower and healing, and then opening the door the containing the Vampire Lord with were-wolf and flesh-golem minions.

Anyway, a few hints/tips that I have used regularly.
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teaman
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Re: Challenging High Level Players

Post Wed Jul 26, 2017 5:46 am

entr0py wrote:i found this inspiring...
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QoELQ7px9ws
Thanks Entropy. I will look at that later today!
Teaman is the sole proprietor of Sharp Mountain Games at drivethrurpg.com. (Soon he'll be able to purchase the name brand peanut butter!). Come take a look if you have some time.

http://drivethrurpg.com/browse/pub/8418 ... tain-Games
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teaman
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Re: Challenging High Level Players

Post Wed Jul 26, 2017 5:48 am

Longman wrote:I think environmental factors are often as useful as tougher monsters.

Really loud noise, so PCs can't talk or cast many spells
Poisoned air, freezing cold or heat, so PCs lose hit points every turn and have to think and act fast
Being on board a slowly sinking ship
Creatures that slowly regenerate, or more are summoned every round
Structures about to collapse
Things that cause madness progressively, or drain magic
Really big creatures about to wake up so that PCs must act in silence
OOHHH, I like that poisoned air! I can use that for their assault on the dragon aerie. Lotta smoke and brimstone in the area.
Teaman is the sole proprietor of Sharp Mountain Games at drivethrurpg.com. (Soon he'll be able to purchase the name brand peanut butter!). Come take a look if you have some time.

http://drivethrurpg.com/browse/pub/8418 ... tain-Games
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teaman
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Re: Challenging High Level Players

Post Wed Jul 26, 2017 5:49 am

SmootRK wrote:Interesting combinations of monsters can really complicate encounters for players, not necessarily just minions and BBEG. For instance, young dragon aligns with lair of kobolds that traps the battle space extensively, pepper the area with missile fire, and otherwise complicate a party that thinks that they can simply flank and concentrate attacks on the dragon otherwise.

Goblin lair, mix in a few variants such as Blue Goblins from FG, Norkers (upcoming FG2 - in Workshop forum), Wolf-mounted Elites, and maybe have a couple scream out "Bree Yark" to call in a few Ogre buddies.... all led by leader that is actually a Barghest (demon goblin lycanthrope thing).

Fire Giants that have subjugated some white dragons... hard to choose whether to use fire or frost in your fight, eh?

Take a standard creature/humanoid and give them a few character levels.

Rival Adventuring Party or party of foes from adversarial nation/region (best example from long ago: the party met near end of Slave Lords modules).

And of course the well designed adventure that connects series of encounters that wears down party and/or party resources prior to a major encounter. Nothing like being really low on firepower and healing, and then opening the door the containing the Vampire Lord with were-wolf and flesh-golem minions.

Anyway, a few hints/tips that I have used regularly.
Good stuff, I could use a few little kobolds with arrows, but out of reach to harass them quite a bit. My players are going to hate you guys.
Teaman is the sole proprietor of Sharp Mountain Games at drivethrurpg.com. (Soon he'll be able to purchase the name brand peanut butter!). Come take a look if you have some time.

http://drivethrurpg.com/browse/pub/8418 ... tain-Games
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Solomoriah
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Re: Challenging High Level Players

Post Wed Jul 26, 2017 8:07 am

With high-level groups, I try to employ mystery more. Things they can't just kill with sword or spell and move on.
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teaman
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Re: Challenging High Level Players

Post Wed Jul 26, 2017 8:45 am

Solomoriah wrote:With high-level groups, I try to employ mystery more. Things they can't just kill with sword or spell and move on.
Thanks Solo. I need to do that too. Maybe after this current story arc is wrapped up, I need to think about that. More like Batman beating the pavement (and some low-lifes) to get information.
Teaman is the sole proprietor of Sharp Mountain Games at drivethrurpg.com. (Soon he'll be able to purchase the name brand peanut butter!). Come take a look if you have some time.

http://drivethrurpg.com/browse/pub/8418 ... tain-Games
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BardHarlock
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Re: Challenging High Level Players

Post Wed Jul 26, 2017 3:05 pm

Solomoriah wrote:With high-level groups, I try to employ mystery more. Things they can't just kill with sword or spell and move on.
I could stand to hear a little more about this. Is it like finding out the driving force behind the recent monster invasions or a mage flooding the market with alchemical fool's gold?
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