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View Full Version : 4e Encounter design-Meteor Shower

Squark
2011-04-05, 02:26 PM
Technically it's a Siberys Shower, but I digress. I've been struggling to design this encounter, and was wondering if anyone had any ideas.

Here's how I have the storm itself working; The battlefield is divided into 5 sections, sort of like the five on your typical six-sider (the ones with dots, that is). When the Storm goes in the innitiative order, I role a six-sided die. On a roll of 1-5, the corresponding section is attacked. On a role of 6, I make two attacks (and roll twice). Now, I also want to incorporate some sort of scatter idea, but since I don't have access to a scatter die, I'm not sure how to accomplish that. A hit by a clump of shards is a burst 2 attack dealing some damage, with a second, burst 4 attack for less damage as a secondary attack (that also creates difficult terrain), representing turf thrown up from the impact. The storm itself lasts ~5 (I'm not sure exactly how long it should be) rounds, and after the other hazards have finished, the encounter ends.

However I still want to incorporate a few other hazards, and those are giving me real trouble. One hazard I want to incorporate is a stamped of... gazelle or something, but I'm at a loss of how to build such a herd in game. Finally, what else could I use to challenge my players?

Kurald Galain
2011-04-05, 02:43 PM
since I don't have access to a scatter die, I'm not sure how to accomplish that.
That's easy. In the corner of the map, take a 3x3 square area, write 9,10 in the center, and write the numbers 1-8 in the outer squares, clockwise. Then roll 1d10 to scatter.

Erom
2011-04-05, 02:45 PM
For scatter without a scatter die: Mark the sections of the map with Row and Column numbers, then generate a random row x column, bam, there's your impact epicenter each round.

For herds - use the swam rules - they are large creatures that don't occupy squares (so they can be moved through and stood "in") but have an aura that maybe... slides? attacks reflex to knock prone? Combine effects like that to taste.

The rat swarms used in WOTC convention delves have this exact effect - creatures adjacent to the swarm get slid (2 square, I think). In the delves it's used to cause character to stumble into environmental hazards - sounds pretty much like what you're going for here.

evirus
2011-04-05, 03:00 PM
However I still want to incorporate a few other hazards, and those are giving me real trouble. One hazard I want to incorporate is a stamped of... gazelle or something, but I'm at a loss of how to build such a herd in game. Finally, what else could I use to challenge my players?

Is the herd queued on a specific round? As in does it come and them leave the field? If so you can use a swarm. If it is a really like a fixed effect (like a huge stampede heading in one direction all combat), treat it like a river. Something like, slide any cerature entering it 2-3 sq in a specific direction if they enter the "zone". You can add dam/prone if they fail a mod diff skill chalenge
.

Squark
2011-04-05, 03:27 PM
One obstacle appears on round 2 and round 4, whether it's the stamped or another hazard depends on the die roll. I was thinking the herd itself would be, maybe a couple of swarms moving behind each other.

Sipex
2011-04-05, 03:30 PM
I'm a bit confused, is this actually a battle or is the idea for the players simply to survive the storm and hazards?

Oracle_Hunter
2011-04-05, 03:43 PM
Actually, you know what would be an interesting way to resolve the scatter issue? Turn the battlefield into a numbered grid.

Conveniently, it will probably already be a square or rectangle, and every entity will have to be in a given coordinate point at any time.

Implementation:
(1) Number each axis of the battlefield, from 1 to N where N is the number of squares on the axis.

(2) Assign one die to each axis. If an axis is 10 squares long, assign a d10 for that axis.

(3) When it is the storm's turn, roll 1d4 to determine the number of meteor strikes on that turn.

(4) Roll the Axis dice for each strike and use the numbers to determine where a given strike lands. Place a token at that location.

(5) Resolve each strike individually. Stacked or adjacent strikes have additional effects.
So, as an example: let's set this on a 10 x 10 battlemap with a d10 assigned to each axis.

On the Storm's turn, roll 1d4 - it comes up as 3. Take your 2d10 Axis Dice and roll them like a d100: 34, 55, 34. So that's 2 tokens at 3 down, 4 across and 1 token at 5 down, 5 across.

Your 1 token strike at 55 does damage & knock prone Area 1 (and creates Difficult Terrain + Cover in the form of a crater) and does a Fortitude attack to knock prone within a Close Burst 4 from the token.

Your 2 token strike at 34 is going to do more damage. An Area 2 strike that does damage, knocks prone and dazes (plus Difficult Terrain + Cover) and has a Close Burst 6 Fortitude attack to prone from token.

* * * *
Other issues: creating difficult terrain like this is quickly going to fill your field with difficult terrain. Are you OK with that?

evirus
2011-04-05, 07:54 PM
One obstacle appears on round 2 and round 4, whether it's the stamped or another hazard depends on the die roll. I was thinking the herd itself would be, maybe a couple of swarms moving behind each other.

Wait, the hazard would appear on (say) round 2... move and then leave the board by round 3? So the swarm would move, then move again and be off the board?

You'd need to give it significant move (depending on the size of your board) and would need to find someway to foreshadow it.

With all the falling meteors I think I would rather an earthquake instead of a stampede. It affects the board, have a mod/hard skill check to avoid some effects. It can prone, immobilize, restrain, deal damage and can move players/enemies. You can foreshadow with rumbling ground and possibly have a safe zone somehow (like a hovering/magic area). It's also easier to adjudicate then adding another monster since it just applies statuses.

You can also use the earthquake to add another hazard (Gas, Ravines, etc) and change the layout of the board.

mobdrazhar
2011-04-05, 08:11 PM
why not do it as a Hazard with a recharge that hits 1 meteor when it recharges. The grid is honestly the best way to do it as it's random impact zones.

Squark
2011-04-06, 01:35 PM
Wait, the hazard would appear on (say) round 2... move and then leave the board by round 3? So the swarm would move, then move again and be off the board?

You'd need to give it significant move (depending on the size of your board) and would need to find someway to foreshadow it.

With all the falling meteors I think I would rather an earthquake instead of a stampede. It affects the board, have a mod/hard skill check to avoid some effects. It can prone, immobilize, restrain, deal damage and can move players/enemies. You can foreshadow with rumbling ground and possibly have a safe zone somehow (like a hovering/magic area). It's also easier to adjudicate then adding another monster since it just applies statuses.

You can also use the earthquake to add another hazard (Gas, Ravines, etc) and change the layout of the board.

Why would a Shower of crystals (Sorry if you didn't catch me referring to a Siberys Shower) cause an earthquake? But I will have to find a way to make the stampede more engaging... Hmm, perhaps spreading the heard out accros the entire board, and the PC's have to navigate arround them?

I think I'll incorprate some drow to give the PC's some sort of clear enemy, otherwise they'll get frustrated.

mathemagician
2011-04-06, 02:49 PM
Something I've been toying with in my game, to make getting hit by something like this feel less like random punishment, is to let the players spend actions to get bonuses:

For instance, if the shower is making an attack against the characters, you can represent the characters "paying attention" to where the next shard will fall / effect it will have, by spending a minor action. That is, if a player has spent a minor action to pay attention to the storm, he gets a +1 bonus to all defenses against the storm's next attack. A move action might give a +2 bonus. A move and a minor together give a +3. This let's the players feel like they are in more control, and not "this encounter is harder because we have random HP drain"

This works well if they are making athletics / acrobatics / nature checks with their other actions to navigate the stampede, or are using their actions for typical combats.

Can the crystals be "charged" with electricity, or something else? It could make for a very terrifying battlefield if suddenly lightning is arcing between crystals, forming an occasional lightning grid...

evirus
2011-04-06, 03:08 PM
Why would a Shower of crystals (Sorry if you didn't catch me referring to a Siberys Shower) cause an earthquake?

I always assume shards of cyrstals raining from the sky that explode on impact and throws up truff can cause an earthquake :smalltongue:

My worry for you about the stampede is that it is mostly static since it will only move on it's turn. It will be hard to convey the idea that they are being trampled... You could however have different swarms that cover the entre boards edge so it's more like a "wave" then a "line" of animals.

If you stagger them, you may be able to cause your players to dance through them (a la frogger)