Dungeon Master's Guide 5e

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d8 Side Q ue st
Find a specific item rumored to be in the area.
2 Retrieve a stolen item in the villain's possession.
3 Receive information from an NPC in the area.
4 Rescue a captive.
5 Discover the fate of a missing NPC.
6 Slay a specific monster.
7 Discover the nature and origin of a strange
phenomenon in the area.
8 Secure the aid of a character or creature in the area.

Creating Encounters

:::ncounters are the individual scenes in the larger story
of your adventure.
First and foremost, an encounter should be fun for
~he players. Second, it shouldn't be burden for you to
:un. Beyond that, a well-crafted encounter usually has
a straightforward objective as well as some connection
to the overarching story of your campaign, building on
the encounters that precede it while foreshadowing
encounters yet to come.
An encounter has one of three possible outcomes:
!he characters succeed, the characters partly succeed,
or the characters faiL The encounter needs to account
for all three possibilities, and the outcome needs to
have consequences so that the players feel like their
successes and failures matter.

When players don't know what they're supposed to do
in a given encounter, anticipation and excitement can
quickly turn to boredom and frustration. A transparent
objective alleviates the risk of players losing interest.
For example, if the overall story of your adventure
involves a quest to deliver a priceless relic to a remote
monastery, each encounter along the way is an
opportunity to introduce a smaller objective that moves
the quest forward. Encounters during the trip might
see the adventurers accosted by enemies determined
to steal the relic, or by monsters that are constantly
threatening the monastery.
Some players create their own objectives, which is to
be expected and encouraged. It is, after all, as much the
players' campaign as yours. For example, a character
might try to bribe enemies rather than fight t h em ,
or chase after a fleeing enemy to see where it goes.
Players who ignore objectives will have to deal w ith
the consequences, which is anothe r important facet of
encounter design.

: -~-.• ~?=-~ OE ~~ c-:-::T=: s
~~e io owing objectiYes can be u ed a s foundations
for encounte r. Although thes e objectives focus on a
single encounter during an adventure , us ing th e sam e
objective in m ultipl e encounters a llows you to combine
those en counters into a larger obstacle or problem the
adventurers must overcome.
Make Peace. The characters must convince two
opposing groups (or their leaders) to end the conflict
that embroils them. As a complication, the characters
might have enemies on one or both of the opposing
sides, or some other group or individual might be
instigating the conflict to further its own ends.
Protect an NPC or Object. The characters must act
as bodyguards or protect some object in their custody.
As a complication, the NPC under the party's protection
might be cursed, diseased, prone to panic attacks, too
young or too old to fight, or apt to risk the lives of the
adventurers through dubious decisions. The object the
adventurers have sworn to protect might be sentient,
cursed, or difficult to transport.
Retrieve an Object. The adventurers must gain
possession of a specific object in the area of the
encounter, preferably before combat finishes. As a
complication, enemies might desire the object as much
as the adventurers do, forcing both parties to fight for it.
Run a Gauntlet. The adventurers must pass through
a dangerous area. This objective is similar to retrieving
an object insofar as reaching the exit is a higher priority
than killing opponents in the area. A time limit adds a
complication, as does a decision point that might lead
characters astray. Other complications include traps,
hazards, and monsters.
Sneak In. The adventurers need to move through the
encounter area without making their enemies aware
of their presence. Complications might ensue if they
are detected.
Stop a Ritual. The plots of evil cult leaders,
malevolent warlocks, and powerful fiends often involve
rituals that must be foiled. Characters engaged in
stopping a ritual must typically fight their way through
evil minions before attempting to disrupt the ritual's
powerful magic. As a complication, the ritual might
be close to completion when the characters arrive ,
imposing a time limit. Depending on the ritual, its
completion might have immediate consequences as welL
Take Out a Single Target. The villain is surrounded
by minions powerful enough to kill the adventurers.
The characters can flee and hope to confront the villain
another day, or they can try to fight their way through
the minions to take out their target. As a complication,
the minions might be innocent creatures under the
villain's controL Killing the villain means breaking that
control, but the adventurers must endure the minions'
attacks until they do.

When creating a combat encounter, let your imagination
run wild and build something your players will enjoy.
Once you have the details figured out, use this section to
adjust the difficulty of the encounter.

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