View Full Version : Help me spice up an encounter

2013-04-15, 11:39 AM
Hello Playground!

I hope someone here can help with with some ideas, since my workload has left me in a situation where i have our game tomorrow, but i haven't had time to do my normal prep-work.

The situation is as follows, we play a heavily modded version of pathfinder (but thats not too important, since i'm looking for ideas more than rules), where i try to make the encounters feel like big set-piece with lots of stuff to do/avoid other than beat up the enemies. Stuff like flame vents, collapseable terrain or items to pick up in-combat are pretty common.

Tomorrow the group is up against a beefed up Ettin, who is the cause of a number of the regions smaller baddies organizing and now posing a threat to trade through the region. The group will sneak into his camp/lair to fight him.

This is where you come in? i'm all out of ideas on how to make the combat awesome? Where should the heroes fight him and what should happen during the fight, besides them beating on each other?

Thanks for reading!

2013-04-15, 12:24 PM
Here's a list of hazardous/interesting terrain, some of which can add value to an outdoors bandit camp encounter.

Hazardous Terrain:

Poison flour spores, poison flowers. Exploding mushrooms.

Brush, bushes, shrubbery, tall grass, cornfields, and other vegetation. Can provide concealment and difficult terrain.

Water, which may be diseased, piranha-filled, electrified, cursed, or otherwise hazardous. I guess acid pits might fall into this category.

Guard Towers. Enemies shoot/cast from the tower.

Walls, raised platforms.

Mud = difficult terrain. Like if it recently rained.

Traps, arrows, pits.

Icy surfaces.

Wet surfaces.

Chandeliers, vines, ropes (even low-hanging ones). Allow PCs and villains alike to swing on them, Robin Hood style.

Table (stand on for higher-ground bonus), chair, bed.

Burning rubble, furniture and other debris. Can come in the non-burning variety if desired.

Cover, like overturned tables, logs, trees, cacti, large rocks [enemy archers/casters hide behind cover]


Magical Darkness. When regular darkness isn't enough.

Ledges, bridges, rooftops. Fun to push people over or fire from.


2013-04-15, 12:28 PM
Well depends on the location. I could see a fight with the Ettin happening in a cave or old ruins.

If you use a cave, there might be natural formations like stalagmites and stalactites or crystals. sharp and dangerous things for deft or strong PC to use against the enemy.

If in ruins I could see use (or reuse) of old traps. I can't think of anything else off the top of my head for ruins.

For an added twist the PCs could run across other agent(s?) trying to deal with the ettin. the agent would either try to be killing the ettin (team up or distraction?) or recruit him for their own cause. if the agent is trying to recruit the ettin this could lead the PCs on another quest to find this other organization and deal with them (for good or ill).

Hope I could help!

2013-04-15, 12:32 PM
Swarm of monkeys. (I think it's under Primate in the bestiary).

Having read through your post, it may not be exactly what you're looking for, but they're very annoying, and a bit funny.

As a swarm, they distract and nausiate things, but they've got a really good CMB, and they can either steal or disarm as a free action once each round.

2013-04-15, 02:24 PM
Thanks for the replies! I knew i could count on the Playground.

I'll have the PC's fight the Ettin (Korag and Karong) in his cave, after sneaking through a camp of his followers (Orcs, Goblins and Wargs)

The cave will contain large fluorescent mushrooms which give the cave dim light. If you move into (or are knocked, hint hint) a square with one of these they create a cloud of spores which cause confusion. There will also be stalacites which give cover, and an underground river in the back, which can be used to escape if things go sour.

I also really like the idea of having the PC's meet some other monsterous creatures, they can ally with against Korag and Karong. Perhaps some Ogres, who won't be too out of place in Korag and Karong's camp.

2013-04-15, 03:52 PM
Do you have a plan in place to stop the PCs from harvesting mushroom spores, bagging them and throwing them at enemies in the future?

2013-04-15, 04:55 PM
Do you have a plan in place to stop the PCs from harvesting mushroom spores, bagging them and throwing them at enemies in the future?


Seriously, always think about what the players will do with the traps loot and equipment loot you give to their adversaries.

I recall one enthusiastic new GM being appalled when we disarmed the big bad of his awesome sword and killed him with it, then went about breaking the rest of the setting. It was a really, really powerful sword - far too powerful for the PCs to have...

You should always assume the PCs will get their devious hands on anything you put in the scenario and use it as their own.

In the case of your psycho mushrooms, I'd suggest that the spores become inert after a short time - say, ten minutes after harvest.

2013-04-15, 09:43 PM
Do you have a plan in place to stop the PCs from harvesting mushroom spores, bagging them and throwing them at enemies in the future?

At most, an ordinary plant should have something like Sickened, Fatigued, or ability damage. Confusion is much too strong for touching something which simply grows in caves. And plants usually have easy DCs too (11-14 seems reasonable).

2013-04-16, 02:40 AM
Do you have a plan in place to stop the PCs from harvesting mushroom spores, bagging them and throwing them at enemies in the future?

Acually, i've already decided that the players can harvest the mushrooms with a survival or knowledge: nature check. They'll get at most 8 (the number of large mushrooms in the cave), minus however many are used in the combat. The spore cloud themselves only last 2 rounds and have a pretty low DC, so if they think of picking it up, all the more power to them :)