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Scott Corbeil
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Scott Corbeil

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I made a thing.  It's an encounter math calculator, so I don't have to do it by hand every session, based on level and number of players attending.  Feel free to take and use if you find it helpful, but I recommend making a copy for yourself, as I make no promises that the link will be good forever.

Note that the adjustments for party size are pre-factored into these numbers, so you needn't do any math.  Literally just build an encounter up to the thresholds listed and you are RAW-accurate.  In other words, do not adjust the XP values of individual creatures, as this already adjusts the encounter totals down by the inverse factor when you have > 5 PCs.

Entering number of PCs in the box at the bottom will highlight the columns you want to use and entering their level in the second box at bottom will adjust the math.

This could be improved.  For example, I no longer need three separate columns for each difficulty since I added the level field, but I just added that this morning and haven't had time to simplify it.  But it's helpful, for sure.
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Encounter CalculatorEncounter Math Mobs, Easy, Medium, Hard, Deadly 1 2 3-6 7-10 11-14 15+ Number of PCs, PC Level Table Level, Easy, Medium, Hard, Deadly
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Simplified it now, so there's no need to have multiple columns per difficulty.  Hope it's easily readable.  I'm not a graphic designer :P
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Anyone have tips to share for challenge design with a large-ish party?  I'm running a new-ish 5e campaign and the party is 6 players strong.  I've been designing encounters at the "Hard" level on the Easy-Moderate-Hard-Deadly scale and the PCs have been breezing through them.  We just played what was supposed to be a dramatic climax to one chapter of our storyline Saturday and the Big Bad fight was laughably easy.  

The seemingly naive solution would be to up all the encounters to Deadly, but my concern is that the amount of XP I have to budget for encounters already means that I either throw multiple beaters at them or numerous mooks.  I'm worried that with a party this size, the difference between a walk in the park and a TPK might be razor thin.

If it helps, we have a War Cleric, a Vengeance Paladin, a Shadow Monk, a Moon Druid, a Hunter Ranger, and an Arcane Trickster Rogue, all 6th level as of our next upcoming session.  Those of you who think Moon Druids are OP, I promise you he's not the problem.  He's RPing his character in such a way that he is far from optimal in combat (which is fine by all of us, because the character is great!).
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You can also use diminishing return on the lower CR creatures - maybe they get half of the xp for wading through the horde. Doing this would allow you to double their numbers without doubling the xp.

When I get two seconds of free time I'll find the Dungeon article titled Tristan's Kobolds and post the reference. It basically talks about a devious DM that used kobolds and traps to make such a deadly dungeon layer that his players were terrified to move through it to go back and forth to town.

Great article about using the terrain and the environment to the monsters advantage.

I'd also like to mention the use of poisons, curses, diseases, and drugs. These are all devious and rather challenging obstacles that can make encounters really hard.

I remember running one encounter that my troop hated and all I did was make them fight in waist deep water in complete darkness. Restricted movement and 50% miss chance and suddenly the whole world was against them.
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One of the largest arthropods to have ever lived.  8.5 feet long.  Note that I said "one of the largest"...

Giant millipede monster!
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Scott Corbeil

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I'm looking for some advice.  I have been DMing for a long time now, but while preparing for my current ongoing campaign, I realized that something I've never run myself is a large scale battle.  When I say large scale I mean like two or more armies colliding.  Given the state of my world, it is likely that at some point in this campaign the PCs will be involved in such a battle.  It really depends on the choices they make (I'm really big on their choices impacting or even shaping the world around them), but based on their priorities right now I can see the storm brewing.  They might even be involved in the defense or siege of a major city (or both).

If you've run encounters of this kind before, what advice might you give me?  What I want is to make sure the players feel like they are participating in a major battle, the outcome of which could very well depend on them.  What I don't want is to get really simulationist and run a giant wargame with hundreds of pieces in play.

Some details in case they are important: this is a moderately gritty, low-fantasy world.  Think somewhere in the range of ASoIaF or Skyrim and you're in the ballpark for how much magic/supernatural stuff there is in the world.  So there won't be retinues of mages hurling fireballs or dragon riders or the like.  Also, the players will almost certainly be at least level 8 by the time this happens.  Maybe much higher, but almost definitely not lower.

Thanks!
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The 'Red Hand of Doom' adventure does handle this very well as +Miles Dalton mentions.  Giving the party small-scale (yet important) jobs is a good idea.  In this adventure, for example, the PCs are sent to destroy the only bridge leading into town (which will delay the oncoming army for a while) and also help negotiate for a mercenary force to join the townsfolk.
When I ran 'Red Hand' I used the mass combat rules from the 'D&D Rules Cyclopedia' and they worked really well.  We moved between the larger battle rolls and then moved the spotlight onto smaller battles involving the PCs.  So we'd start with a wide shot of the battle, but then zoom in to where the cleric and the ranger were fighting off a Manticore that was trying to eat fleeing villagers, or to the fighter who was standing back to back with the blacksmith NPC and trying to keep both their spirits up as the town burned around them.  The combination worked really well, let the PCs take the heroics, and also adjudicate the mass battle. 
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Scott Corbeil

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Need a community assist.  I'm 99% certain I saw mention while reading one of the corebooks of the effects of sleeping in armor.  It became important in our game last night and none of us could find it.  Not wanting to waste too much time, we eventually gave up and made a ruling.  Unfortunately, it became important enough that we are still trying to find it today.

Am I hallucinating?  Did I dream that it was mentioned in the books?
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+Brian Barcus, the experience which triggered this conversation was a game in which I am a player, not the DM, so it's not that I was trying to get anyone out of his/her armor.  Our DM was.

On a related note, I started a new campaign yesterday which I am DMing, and I asked the players how they felt about this up front, if only because it had recently been an issue in another game.  They felt like penalties didn't make sense and offered to just tell me what sort of situations warrant removal of armor for their characters, so we can handle it with RP, rather than a stick.  As an example, the guy playing our cleric said he would remove it to sleep in any comfortable environment, like a bed at an inn, but not camping while traveling somewhere potentially dangerous.
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Brace yourself for some serious weird, but this is loaded with Ninth World inspirations...
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Tony M.
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The anomaly wanted nothing more than to outlive his feeble body and return to the stars. He dreamed big and look where it got him. :P My favorite part were the spatial-travelers with camera lenses for "eyes".
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Have him in circles
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Hey guys, I'm thinking about getting back into MtG.  I haven't played seriously since 2009.  I've been to 2 or 3 prereleases since then, but haven't been following the meta or doing tournaments like I used to.  I'm interested in Modern at the moment, because I already have a lot of legal cards and I always liked the formats with larger card pools, like Extended was back when I was still playing.

Any recommendations on a relatively affordable (or better still, cheap!) deck that will perform reasonably in the current meta?  I'm not prepared to commit serious money until I've had an opportunity to play in the meta and understand it well, but I also don't want to roll in with a junk deck and get curb stomped, lol.

Thanks for any advice in advance!

Oh, P.S. any new rules changes I should be aware of?  I was around when they made the infamous "battlefield" changes and removed priority after damage (Mog Fanatic so sad...).  Anything else in the last 5 years?
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Hey Jax, thanks for the advice.  I will definitely look into 8 Rack.  Please keep in mind, though, that when I say I have lots of "old cards" most of them are from the sets that used to be Extended back in 2009, which is now essentially modern.  I have access to many of the money cards from those sets (including 'Goyf).

Thanks for the deck recommendation!  I'll read up on it.  I love hand disruption.
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Is a thrown weapon light ranged or light bladed (for example)?
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Thanks +Ben Meyer!
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Scott Corbeil

Discussion  - 
 
Has anybody seen a good creature stats sheet that you think would be useful for tracking Moon Druid form stats?  I'm picturing in my head something like those Combat Encounter sheets that have space for multiple creature's statistics, but I don't necessarily need initiative tracking or multiple HP boxes per creature.

My aim is to simplify shapeshifting for the druid in my party, who's new-ish to the game.

Thanks in advance!
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Ya I figure it might be easier to use something that is already formatted. All I really do is just copy past an exisitng beast and then change the info around for what I need.
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I've shared some photoshopped character sheets here before, but nothing I've created can compare to this.  My friend and gaming comrade, +Wayland Reid, created this layout, as well as the Order-of-the-Stick-style character art.  I will also link the empty Illustrator (*.ai) file if anybody wants to take a stab at their own.

Note that this is not form-fillable.  You'll need to be passably familiar with vector art software, such as Adobe Illustrator or Inkscape.  Took me about 2 hours to customize, but I love the end result.
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Thanks so much, Scott!
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Scott Corbeil

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Just got off the phone with my FLGS.  I have people signed up for my first Asset Team demo!  :D  I was a bit nervous that because it's the day before Thanksgiving I'd get no interest, but that does not seem to be the case!
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Great success!  We had a ton of fun and I think I found 3 new MCG fans!  The only downside that I have to report is one girl asked me for the name of the adventure (with pen out so she could write it down).  I felt a bit sad when I had to tell her it was an Asset-Team-only adventure that she couldn't buy.  She seemed disappointed at that.
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Hey +Lex Starwalker, you may have solved this yourself by now, but I'm a little over halfway catching up on your show and heard you lamenting the long ring your fans must sit through to leave you a voice mail.  In Google Voice, you can enable a feature called "do not disturb", which will send all callers immediately to voicemail.  Simply go to settings -> 'Calls' tab -> check 'Enable "Do Not Disturb"'

Note that if you actually want to ever answer the phone, this won't work for you :)  Hope it's helpful!
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Thanks Scott. I set that up some time ago, but haven't heard from anyone if it's working out not. People do seldom call the voicemail. 😥
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Have him in circles
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