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  1. - Top - End - #1
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    Zeful's Avatar

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    Lightbulb What 4-5 Encounters a day really means...

    I've been looking around some of the disscussion threads and noticed something.

    The DMG recomends 4-5 equal level encounters a day. It also says that they should level up every 13.33 encounters. How ever that averages about a level every 3.25 days, which makes the trip to level twenty take 65 days, a little over two months. Which would be absurd in the grand scheme of things, two months to turn from a poor orphened farmboy with a chip on his shoulder to a hero of such legendary porportions that stories of your exploits move faster than the wind. That's a greater jump than in Star Wars for Luke to go from dispossessed teen to Rebel Jedi warrior.

    How ever what if they weren't talking in game? What if those 4-5 encounters are supposed to be per session? 65 real days for a full campaign to finish up with the players as the 'conquering heros' seems pretty reasonable actually. You still have a lot of time for side quests and stuff but you can clear up a campaign quickly and have a new DM.

    Disscuss.

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    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: What 4-5 Encounters a day really means...

    Except... not, because Vancian spells don't recharge once per session, they recharge once per in-game day.

    Anyway, 4-5 encounters is the usual amount for an awfully action-packed day. Indiana Jones maybe gets one or two of those a movie (read: session or two), but I would bet that he doesn't get in that much trouble every single day of his life...
    Last edited by Inyssius Tor; 2007-11-19 at 02:33 AM.
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    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: What 4-5 Encounters a day really means...

    That assumes that every day you are fighting those 4-5 encounters. Even in a good month an adventurer will probally only be activly adventuring for a week, and most days they will likely only hit 1-2 encounters. The 4-5 is more of an upper limit then anything else, after that number your casters are running out of spells and your fighters are low on hp, and any future battles will start getting really really difficult.
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    GnomePirate

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    Default Re: What 4-5 Encounters a day really means...

    4-5 encounters a day is rubbish anyway. It might be valid in core, but with the power creep from all the supplements out today, a party can probably handle 7-8 encounters a day.
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    Default Re: What 4-5 Encounters a day really means...

    If a party can handle 7-8, they need a DM with some ****s. If they are one-shotting that much, and the casters aren't tired after buffing for 4 separate fights, then the monsters need to get either smarter or tougher, and that is all on the DM.

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    Default Re: What 4-5 Encounters a day really means...

    Quote Originally Posted by Skjaldbakka View Post
    4-5 encounters a day is rubbish anyway. It might be valid in core, but with the power creep from all the supplements out today, a party can probably handle 7-8 encounters a day.
    All the supplements in the world won't matter much if DM refuses to allow them, nerfs them, or everyone's too poor to buy them. I've seen all 3.
    AND that's assuming that the players can make optimum builds, something that doesn't usually happen if at level 5 you find a new thing in a source book.

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    Zeful's Avatar

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    Default Re: What 4-5 Encounters a day really means...

    Quote Originally Posted by Inyssius Tor View Post
    Except... not, because Vancian spells don't recharge once per session, they recharge once per in-game day.

    Anyway, 4-5 encounters is the usual amount for an awfully action-packed day. Indiana Jones maybe gets one or two of those a movie (read: session or two), but I would bet that he doesn't get in that much trouble every single day of his life...
    Which is why I'm saying that it could be 4-5 encounters per session. Because no one is going to get into that much trouble every day. But when you apply that section of the DMG (I don't remember where it was exactly) to per session, suddenly the pacing the book suggests starts making sense.

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    Dwarf in the Playground
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    Default Re: What 4-5 Encounters a day really means...

    Well, the real problem is that an "equal level" encounter is defined as one monster or group of monsters with an EL equal to the party's average level. Maybe that works for a group of newbie players with little-to-no optimization, but for an even moderately optimized group such encounters are usually very, very easy. I mean, really, by that logic a 1st level human rogue is a significant challenge for a group of 4 1st level adventurers (and a great wyrm red or gold dragon is a completely unreasonable challenge for 4 20th level adventurers). I can say with certainty that the former is a pushover, and the latter is difficult, but quite doable.

    If you put players up against encounters 1 or 2 CR above their level, the 4-5 a day thing works out pretty well.
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    Default Re: What 4-5 Encounters a day really means...

    The thing is though, nowhere in the DMG does it explicitly say that a party should be facing 4-5 encounters per day. That idea is, from what I can tell, pure conjecture based on the fact that the DMG defines a "challenging" or ECL appropriate encounter as one that eats up 20% of the party's resources (DMG, page 49). What's more, once you think about it, said conjecture is entirely unreasonable, since if your average adventure group really faced 4-5 groups of monsters per day, then it would mean that a) the kingdom they're in is in serious trouble, b) they'd spend all day hacking things apart and as a consequence would never get anywhere, and c) players would spend the entire game rolling dice.

    Ergo, I call shenenigans.

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    Flumph

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    Default Re: What 4-5 Encounters a day really means...

    Even if they're facing 4-5 encounters in a day, they're not facing them every day. For instance, the party hears about some lizardmen planning to attack the city, and decides to go burn down their swamp fortress.

    1-2 days: Locating maps and provisions
    3 days: Travelling to swamp.
    1 day: Attacking the swamp fortress, which involves 4-5 encounters.
    3 days: Travelling back from swamp
    1-2 weeks: Forging some new armor, researching spells, gathering information about various things, etc.
    1 week: Travelling to other town where next adventure will start.

    That's 4-5 encounters a month ... they just all happened to be on the same day. And while it could certainly go faster than this, it could also go slower.

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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Mike_Lemmer's Avatar

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    Default Re: What 4-5 Encounters a day really means...

    Quote Originally Posted by TheOOB View Post
    Even in a good month an adventurer will probally only be actively adventuring for a week, and most days they will likely only hit 1-2 encounters.
    Not in most of the campaigns I'm in. Downtime, for us, is more valuable than staves.
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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Lizardfolk

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    Default Re: What 4-5 Encounters a day really means...

    Quote Originally Posted by TheOOB View Post
    Even in a good month an adventurer will probally only be activly adventuring for a week, and most days they will likely only hit 1-2 encounters.
    That's definitely the case in the game I'm currently running in. We've yet to have more than 2 encounters per game session (spanning many in-game days), and most have been a single encounter, with a few being no fighting encounters at all.
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    GnomeWizardGuy

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    Default Re: What 4-5 Encounters a day really means...

    Quote Originally Posted by icefractal View Post
    Even if they're facing 4-5 encounters in a day, they're not facing them every day. For instance, the party hears about some lizardmen planning to attack the city, and decides to go burn down their swamp fortress.

    1-2 days: Locating maps and provisions
    3 days: Travelling to swamp.
    1 day: Attacking the swamp fortress, which involves 4-5 encounters.
    3 days: Travelling back from swamp
    1-2 weeks: Forging some new armor, researching spells, gathering information about various things, etc.
    1 week: Travelling to other town where next adventure will start.

    That's 4-5 encounters a month ... they just all happened to be on the same day. And while it could certainly go faster than this, it could also go slower.
    Except the higher you get the faster you can pull together information and transport yourselves to where you want to go. With NPC spellcasting and information consultation (ie players having met a wixard/cleric/bard/Etc..) they can get access to what they need at quite low levels if they just pay for it.

    And even if we say One CR appropriate per day or per week, that's still leveling them up faster than seems appropriate. a couple of years work and you go from clueless to Masterful? Essecially if you have easy access to encouters or are forced into a time sensative secnario.

    Which is why I almost ignore the standerd XP allocation tables and CR mechanics, swap in a system based around long term goal resolutions and roleplaying and you get an incentive towards staying in character and building up in world connections, rather than hack'n'slash
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  14. - Top - End - #14
    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: What 4-5 Encounters a day really means...

    Yes, I've noticed this before. The figure of 4 per day applies to challenging encounters, and it's really a maximum figure unless you (as the DM) are aiming for a TPK. If they're particularly difficult encounters, it should be less than that, and you could fit more easy encounters per day in. But on average, a typical PC should encounter much less than 4 challenging encounters per day, because otherwise the character's level will quickly go through the roof.

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    Default Re: What 4-5 Encounters a day really means...

    Quote Originally Posted by Skjaldbakka View Post
    4-5 encounters a day is rubbish anyway. It might be valid in core, but with the power creep from all the supplements out today, a party can probably handle 7-8 encounters a day.
    4-5 encounters a day is rubbish because it's bad for dramatic pacing and the like. It's only really appropriate to hold people to such a standard for a pure hack 'n' slash.

    Seriously, count the number of times in movies or books where you have the action that heavy *per day.* There's a reason there's not that many.
    Last edited by OneWinged4ngel; 2007-11-20 at 04:35 PM.

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