Jan 28, 2013

Creating High-Level Adventures

All five of my self-published Labyrinth Lord adventures have been for low-level parties.  I want my next published adventure to be a high-level or mid-level adventure.  What does that mean?  I recently quantified that in a series of posts.  While I've more-or-less settled on my answer, I still aknoweldge that it fails to account for various important factors such as trap complexity, number of monsters encountered, and monster special characteristics among other things.

Doing a little high-level adventure research, I pulled my copy of Queen of the Demonweb Pits off my bookshelf and started compiling the monsters as I read through each room description.  I got thirty or so rooms into this endeavor before I stopped with the following data:

Name/HD/HD Bonus/Number Appearing
trolls/6/0/10
werewolves/4/3/5
cleric/9/0/1
gnoll/2/0/66
minotaur/6/3/3
demon/8/0/4
bugbears/3/1/30
drow/6/0/1
drow/6/0/1
drow/8/0/1
drow/7/0/1
drow/7/0/1
ogres/4/1/20
demons/9/0/4
jackalweres/4/0/4
drow/2/0/6

I wasn't even close to reaching the spider dieties and larger unique monsters, but it was clear that adventure difficulty was more about monster's special abilities and number encountered than Hit Dice.  I mean, good grief, 30 bugbears?  20 ogres?  These are huge numbers and, frankly, a bit of a nightmare for in-game data tracking even if you admit the liklihood that a high-level party will likely defeat them in battle.  The mechanics of such a battle are likely to become too tiresome for my own tastes.

Therefore, I will use high numbers of monsters encountered very sparingly, if at all, in the course of my mid-level adventure.  I currently have nine original monsters brainstormed, and I'm using the low encounter number + high Hit Dice + multiple special abilities method for generated a challenging adventure.  The number of traps will also be exceptionally low.

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Thanks for posting to the Digital Orc! Be sure to pick up a copy of one of my old-school modules available at RPGNow.com!