[PnP] How do you balance encounters?

Scott Adams longshotgm at comcast.net
Thu Apr 24 00:50:20 CEST 2014

That works well.
Nice thing about pnp is you can do that with ease.
Richard made it just for that reason.

At 02:55 AM 4/21/2014, you wrote:
>My 2 CP,
>As far as i'm concerned i use another formula for the CDF:
>MEL/2 + CEL/5 + HPV/10 + CL
>+1 per advantagous ability (combat ability, magic items,  resistance,
>immunity etc)
>-1 per disadvantagous ability (low morale, afflictions, prohibition etc)
>Doing the same with player's caracters you can compute the encounter ratio.
>Above 2-1, the combat will be one sided
>-----Message d'origine-----
>De : pnp [mailto:pnp-bounces at list.powersandperils.org] De la part de Scott
>Envoyé : lundi 21 avril 2014 03:29
>À : The Powers and Perils Mailing List
>Objet : Re: [PnP] How do you balance encounters?
>Alex, Paul, David all had good points.
>Balance is serious work.  I believe in balance a a lot.
>But experience is the best judge.  Most GMS go from Grade E to A in my view.
>Grade E newbies are those who are 80% hack and slash and 10% characters and
>10% plot.
>Grade A tend to be the best 70% plot, 10% hack/slash and 20% characters.
>I used to be Grade E in the 80s using CEL as a balance.  But it quickly fell
>through bad times.
>Very few are Grade A+.  Oout of the hundreds I only know of 4-5 GMS that are
>grade A+.
>So it is mostly experience.
>CDF is good bu it can be dangerous.
>A CDF 8 dragon might seem bad but for some characters they are easy.
>Yet a CDF 1 monster that has a ability to kill with a look can be more
>dangerous.  So CDF is not a good factor.
>If I reclal Soul Davias for example are low CDF?  But they are quite
>dangerous to underestimate.
>I tend to look at it case by case basis for pcs.  I have a 8 foot 800 pound
>Bard that can handle likley a army on his own with 70 odd hp.  But he can be
>downed by a simple spell.
>I have a person who uses dual daggers.  I tend to konw she can handle more
>than one person so I figure more than 1 for her. Yet I have a small Faerry
>that is weak somewhat (not fully) but can be understimated by the bad guys
>who cna tke out a hundred bad guys with her bow.
>I also look at the gear.  A person wearing AV7 magic armor  can handle a
>tougher bad guy than one who is weairng no armor.
>I see a person who has magic toys is out balanced by their use so I may
>overwhelm that person so that the toys are useless.
>I don't on purpose design some encounters to be mean.  For example my last
>enocunter I had
>5 human npc males
>2 great apes
>1 unknown magic user (will not reveal here since aprt is looking:)  )
>vs the
>Giant Bard, Shman/Wizard, Dagger Maiden, Faerry so 8 vs 4 more or less.
>The humans are wimps and taken out fast.
>But the apes do damage.
>The unknown bad guy takes out he giant and could've killed him.
>So I balance the giant with a simple few magical words.
>There is no rule of thumb here.
>One must see teh pc as a whole their gear, skills and experience.
>a Newbie player who is doing a fighter with bogus gear and skills is useless
>if he can't figure out how to do tactics in a fight.
>But a overconfident giant who fears nothing cna be taken down without even a
>A gm shouldn't every fight to kill.
>In fact balance it.  3-3 easy ho hum batles.
>This tends to make players cocky.
>Then bam a hard fight.
>Reel them in for their bravado.
>A gm who sends 100 goblins against 10 pcs sees the pcs dead.
>But a SMART player who can wipe them out with a simple XYZ spellcan be a
>great balance.
>In my mind I have a irrational math for balance.
>If I see a player pick up a Sword of Doom and Chainmail of the Gods then I
>see that as a certain factor of points to balance it out.
>So let's say in my mind I have 20 points vs 25 a fair balance.
>But if i see naked pcs with nothing but a few sticks swarmed by a trible of
>goblins then in my mimnd it might be 50 to 10 a unfair balance.
>So I allow outs.  Outs are critical to every encounter.  If your stupid
>enough to need the cup on the altar across the room then go get it.  Just be
>careful of the lava on the floor.  If you need to cross a roof with 200
>archers on teh ground below then you deserve to die playing pin cushion.
>But there is always a out.
>The same lava can be skipped by that vine in the roof if only you can get
>Same roof can be crossed with that tower shield the guard left.
>If you can see a out it is always there.
>For the goblins if you can simply jump off the cliff to th eriver below to
>avoid them then do so.
>Balance is hard to figure out.  But give folks a way out.
>Kobayshu Maru no win things are NOTFun for players.
>   PM 4/19/2014, you wrote:
> >Hi all,
> >
> >how do you manage to balance encounters in P&P?
> >
> >I have a group of four players:
> >
> >Ennon: OCV 2, DCV 4
> >Gunnard: OCV 9, DCV 8
> >Darrel: OCV 3, DCV 5
> >Habbakuk: OCV 6, DCV 5
> >
> >the average hit point value of each character is around 20, except for
> >Gunnard who has 33 HPV.
> >
> >Given this situation, i always have doubts as to which creature
> >(monster) they should face.
> >As you probably remember, Richard Snider at the end of book IV stated
> >that "the situation that evolves in your game must be designed such
> >that:
> >
> >A) they are not automatic victories for your players AND
> >B) they are situations that the party involved can win
> >
> >I always try to stick to this (apparently simple) rule, but it is not
> >so easy, so i would like to know how you are used to managing encounters.
> >
> >I think it is a mistake for the game master to throw monsters at the
> >party that are too strong to beat, but at the same time the player's
> >skills must be put to test, that is why i think that encounters should
> >always be balanced.
> >
> >Now, how to balance them? How to pick the correct monster (one which is
> >as strong as my players are) from the monster list in book III?
> >
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