How to Design an Encounter
Here is how to design Pathfinder encounters! Just keep in mind that CR is a good estimate, but may change according to party makeup.
How to Calculate the Challenge Rating for an Encounter
1. Calculate the Average Party Level, or APL. That is, total the levels of each player character in the plot, then divide the end result by the number of players, and round it to the nearest number (not necessarily down). From here:
- Decrease the APL by 1:
- If the number of players is 3 or fewer
- If circumstances are heavily slated against the player characters
- Increase the APL by 1:
- If there are 5 or more players
- If circumstances play heavily in their favor
2. Determine the challenge you want to present. Tenebrae characters are stronger than average because of their higher point buy, as well as the number of options provided ingame. The following chart has been adjusted to reflect that, although we've provided the standard one for reference. For PrPs and scenes, we assume the average encounter will be around APL+2.
3. Compare this modified APL with the charts, below, to determine your XP Budget. For example, if your modified APL was 6 (don't forget that +2 for Tenebrae!), then you have an "XP Budget" of 2,400. Multiple creatures equal a higher CR.
4. Go monster hunting. To find out how many and which monsters you can use, total the individual XP values of each monster. Then, compare the end result with your "XP Budget" number. Once you're close to your number, you've "filled" the monsters for that encounter.
Don't worry if the value isn't exactly equal--just approximate it the best you can!
If you'd like some general advice on tactics, check out this well-written guide!
Help for GMs
|Tools for GMs|
|I Need Help With...||Look Here|
|Can I really just run a plot?||Yes, anyone may run a plot at any time, without pre-approval. Please make an +event after, though!|
|How can I design an encounter?||Basics of Encounter Design|
|Are there tools to make encounters easier?||Combat Manager|
|Where can I find monsters?||Tenebrae Bestiary|
|Is the a GM chat? Where can I find help?||addcom tpk=TPK|
|What if I want to offer legwork? What IS legwork?||Legwork Mini-Guide for GMs|
|Didn't you run some PrP Workshops?||We did! Check them out here!|
|I want to include dragons!||Dragons are one of a small handful of creatures we set aside in order to keep them unique. They may not be used in PrPs.|
MUX versus Tabletop
Encounters in a MUX tend to take longer due to the nature of the medium. This is one of the reasons we have the 2 encounter limit in PrPs.