What kind of battle do you hope for after hearing 'Monsters Attack!" ?

Tough and dangerous
3 (15.8%)
Tough but safe
5 (26.3%)
Weak but dangerous
3 (15.8%)
Weak and safe
2 (10.5%)
None. Hate random encounters.
6 (31.6%)

Total Members Voted: 18

Author Topic: POLL: Random Encounters  (Read 2408 times)

Offline nologgie

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Re: POLL: Random Encounters
« Reply #15 on: June 08, 2009, 04:53:16 AM »
Excellent points.

  I think we're working from different concepts of what constitutes 'random'.  To me, a random encounter is one which has a chance of occurring in an area if two groups happen to meet. This also implies that they may never meet.
  In a city with patrolled streets, I would expect to encounter patrols occasionally as our paths intersected. (It may not trigger an event, but I'd still consider it a random encounter.) If the patrols were actively searching for me, I'd expect a greater chance for an encounter, but it might still be avoided. I would not expect to meet owlbears and the like, and would consider such an encounter to be ridiculous rather than random.
  On an overland map, each square represents 12 hours of travel.
  On patrolled roads I'd expect patrols, merchants, pilgrims, and occasionally highwaymen. The chance of an encounter could be greater because the traffic in the square was mainly restricted to the road.
  Venturing through trackless wilds carries the chance of meeting just about anything native to the environment. It also carries the chance of not meeting them. Just because you're in the same square doesn't mean you'll come within a mile of each other.
  A 'pick one combat' every 6 steps seems periodic rather than random, but I know it has been fielded under that name. A 1% or 2% chance every step strikes me as more random. You might hit 3 in a row or none at all.
  Also, an encounter need not be a combat. Death Knights offered the possibility of shops, training, and healing in the wilderness via the encounter table.
  I've experimented with encounter chains using quest completion to determine encountered creatures and party strength. If you appear strong, monsters may flee at your approach. Highwaymen may ignore you, continuing their search for drunken merchants, wounded knights, or the legendary gem-stuffed goblins. Perhaps stronger foes will suddenly show an interest.

  I'm curious as to whether anyone likes a set 'pick one combat every 6 steps' scenario.
Some days it just doesn't pay to gnaw through the straps.

Offline Iranon

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Re: POLL: Random Encounters
« Reply #16 on: June 08, 2009, 05:58:36 AM »
I certainly don't... imo, random combats are used quite badly in many of the gold box games, tending to be repetitive, predictable and tactically shallow.

I'm fond of using a quest for a 'local defcon' with events keyed to how much trouble the party caused... along the lines of 'normal' random combat -> fleeing monsters or tougher patrols -> semi-climactic battle with a group sent specifically to wipe out the party-> atmosphere commenting about the wreckage the party left and everyone left bolting their doors.

I'm not too good at merging this with set encounters in a way that feels natural though.

Offline hans

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Re: POLL: Random Encounters
« Reply #17 on: June 08, 2009, 09:33:53 AM »
I suppose it has to do with internal story logic, for me.  Do the random encounters add or detract from a sense of story reality. 

If I'm in a city that's in the process of being overrun in an invasion, I would expect to meet quite a few groups of invaders as I move around.  And if I'm dumb enough to try to rest in the city square, I would expect to be interrupted constantly. 

Offline SaneGino

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Re: POLL: Random Encounters
« Reply #18 on: June 08, 2009, 06:47:10 PM »
T&D all the way  :D
Frua is INDEED great.

Offline Krys Tamar

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Re: POLL: Random Encounters
« Reply #19 on: June 09, 2009, 06:27:35 AM »
I tend to test play alot while designing, so if I'm in a dungeon walking around and getting bored...I'll throw in a random encounter.  Though, traps are alot better for spicing things up.  Overlands...a little bit different.  I tend to make each step a half-days journey or so, but I imagine one would run into *something* before too long out in the wild.  I tend to populate, then try to determine the odds of running into such an encounter.  The odds greatly increase, say, if something is out there actively searching for a party of people to ambush.

Offline Rosestar

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Re: POLL: Random Encounters
« Reply #20 on: June 12, 2009, 05:43:00 PM »
 |sf>As a creator, I avoid 'Monsters attack,' unless it's included in a tongue-and-cheek manner.

As for combat difficulty, it depends on whether the combat is within a wilderness combat area or in a combat dungeon.  With combat dungeons, I tend to make most encounters fairly easy as an excuse to show off combat dungeon art.  After all, you're confined within a tight space.  If you make things too difficult, people use the combat walls to their advantage.

On the other hand, if you're out in the wilderness, you have many more options as a party and tend to have more warning, especially when enemies start a distance away.  Under those situations, I'm more likely to toss in some harder monsters.

However, I rarely use monsters with level-draining effects and I certainly wouldn't consider them for a random encounter.  Medusa monsters would be a reasonable random encounter (as long as the party had plenty of opportunities to buy mirrors).   

Since there isn't an option to have different difficulties depending on the kind of combat arena, I'd have to vote for 'weak and safe.'   Granted, if you're wandering around a Fire Giant's lair, I think most people would expect random encounters of Fire Giants. 
Suzanne M. Ferree