View Full Version : [3.5] Playing it rough

2010-07-19, 03:04 PM
Ya this about a different campaign setting and rule set than my other thread. I'm running a 3.5 still on the side with just merely two players instead of the 7 players for 4.0. Anyway the point being after looking over 4th and thinking on the difficulty level of my 3.5 campaign I was wondering if the following to you sounds right?

Two players one is playing a Shifter Druid one is playing a Human Cleric. Which I think is a perfect selection for such a small size group. (Also I ran this one time before with another two players which seem to have a much easier time as one player was a Warforge Fighter with DR/2 and AC 20-something which really seems to make a difference at level one).

At one point they run into Horrid Rats (CR1), I made the mistake of placing two instead of one. These things have AC20 with +4 1d6 damage plus 1d6 acid damage plus disease and honestly I have a hard time believing they are even CR1.

Well neither party member had much life left because of previous two encounters, so these two are slashing against the plates of the rats with little to no luck. One mere bite later the cleric goes down. The other player runs for her life. So the rats begin to drag their winnings away to later eat. So here is the Cleric dropping -1, -2, -3. The Shifter comes back and realizes the rats have moved off somewhere else (DM fix for two Horrid Rats). She pulls him out and quickly drags him to somewhere safer to apply healing.

Later same adventure, the Shifter decides she's going to pull an epic launch off the boulders and land behind X bad guy. Well she starts her charge an epic leap attempt, sprains her ankle (fails balance for rough terrain), trips and while still flying through the air in mid tumble is sliced through the mid section (AoO) and is instantly -1 and topples to the ground in a bloody pile (she looks back at her sheet and realizes she has only 4 life at the start of the epic leap a huge mistake considering she has 2 cure light wound spells and three healing potions). So now the Cleric is all like "oh crap". At that point the enemy (which is course being played by me), says surrender item Z or I'll kill the Shifter, Cleric is like "nevar" well shifter dies...with Coup De Grace.

Basically this moment is remember as the Leeroy Jeekins. Of course I end up setting this all straight as well, having a hired adventure come to check on them since they were missing for 3 days for an adventure that was suppose to take 1 day. Along with the unprecedented "hook-up" of True Resurrection on a level 1 adventure.

Also they had a run in with some really bad numbers in another adventure (lets say three 20's in a semi-row can really hurt, especially when your trying to stand up from being prone).

Should I be tweaking, or should I be giving it to them in full force? I indeed already tweak the numbers of enemies/rolls, but for instance don't feel that tweaking because of lack of preparedness lack of bludgeoning vs. undead or failure to check life (Druid Leeroy Jeekins) should be done and the full failure should lay with the party I donno.

On one hand I feel these are some of the most memorable moments on the other hand I feel like they are not quite feeling epic as heroes every time they go down.

So what is your opinion of difficulty in a campaign, should you always allow players get away from a threat of instant death, merely because it is inconvenient to the campaign/player? As described what do you think to rough or is it just right? They are only two players after all and they are going to be challenged. Also to note I use to play Shadowrun and Dark Heresy and I think the concept of how dangerous everything is has creeped into my DM style for D&D.

Ya I donno it seemed like an awesome start to the game where I bull rushed a player off a bridge and had him hanging by the tips of his fingers thousands of feet up in the air.....ya that AC penalty really didn't help in that moment.

2010-07-19, 03:26 PM
I won't address the difficlty per say, but I will speak to having only 2 players.

You need to size up your monsters to see if any of the following are true:

Has save or die abilities
Paralysis/Hold/Sleep abilities are practically save or die in a 2 man team.
Is likely to drop strongest player to 50% HP in 1 round

If any of the above are true then you need to be VERY careful. Consider making it an EL-2 encounter.

Also at 1-3 levels the EL shouldn't exceed the partys CR. In fact with just a 2 may team you should keep the EL at -1 of the parties CR. Think about your 2 man team and a sleep spell. If one fails, it becomes a solo encounter.

At higher levels, with a well optimized group and extra wealth you may beable to ignore some of these suggestions.

2010-07-19, 03:29 PM
If the players are having fun, everything else is just details.

I tend to start off easy and ramp up the difficulty as the players get a feel for their abilities and tactics.

2010-07-19, 03:36 PM
The first few levels are rather rocket-tag like in nature. Don't worry, it quickly fades.