Building an Encounter
Once you have some monsters, it's time to start a fight. Monsters typically don't act alone, preferring instead to work with monstrous allies to surround and overcome their enemies—unless they're independent solos on a wild, destructive rampage.
This chapter provides some basic guidelines on how to build quickstart encounters with varying types of monster for your players to battle.
The Basic Encounter
Building a basic encounter using quickstart monsters is very simple, requiring three steps:
- Get some Monster Points: Decide how dangerous the encounter should be for your players. The more dangerous your encounter, the more monster points (MP) you'll have to spend on monsters.
- Add monsters: Spend your MP to add monsters to the encounter until you reach the limit.
- Build the monsters: Create your monster profiles as normal with an eye for interesting synergies.
Step 1. Get some Monster Points
First, decide the difficulty of the encounter to see how many monster points (MP) you get to spend.
|Difficulty||Total Monster Points (MP)|
|Easy||Number of players x 0.5|
|Normal||Number of players|
|Hard||Number of players x 1.5|
|Extreme||Number of players x 2|
The GM wants to create a normal encounter for 4 players. As shown in the Encounter Difficulty table, this gives the GM 4 monster points with which to spend on monsters and build their encounter.
Step 2. Add Monsters
Now it's time to start adding monsters to your encounter. Each monster type costs a certain number of monster points—the bigger the threat, the bigger the cost. Keep adding monsters until you've spent all of your MP.
|Solo||1 per player|
Values listed in the Monster Value table assume you're using monsters within -3/+3 levels of the average player character—but this may not always be the case. If your monster is under or over-leveled, adjust its MP cost.
For every 4 levels higher than the players, double the monster's MP cost. For every 4 levels lower, halve it.
The GM wants to create a horde-style normal encounter for 4 players. They add one elite monster worth 2 points, leaving 2 points for assorted minions.
Normally, 2 points can buy 8 minions. By using minions 4 levels lower than the players, however, the GM is able to add 16 minions instead.
Step 3. Build your Monsters
Once you've decided on your encounter monsters, it's time to start building them. Use the normal quickstart rules to help you generate these stat-blocks.
Look for interesting synergies between your monsters based on their type and role—defenders protecting snipers, supporters buffing strikers, controllers enabling lurkers—but try to limit the number of monster roles to three per encounter to avoid overcomplicating things.
Here are some encounter outlines you might use to help construct your own encounters. Each assumes a 4-player party with a budget of 4 monster points to spend—change this to suit your own game as and when needed.
Basic encounters focus on using standard and minion monsters, usually in equal numbers to the players for simple one-on-one battles. Use these to give your players a straightforward combat challenge against a relatively few opponents.
Horde encounters swarm your players with huge numbers of weak minions to overwhelm and overrun them. Use these to pit your players against mobs, hordes, and armies.
Elite encounters feature powerful leaders and champions leading—or supporting—a troupe of other monsters. Use these for your mid-boss encounters or scenes involving named monsters.
Solo encounters put the party against a single, overwhelming monster. Use these for your major bosses and villains, and to capstone an adventure with a climatic boss battle.