Rory’s Pocket Guide to D&D – Make an Encounter in 5 Minutes

In the spirit of the subject matter, I am going to write this article in about 5 minutes!

Did your Players force an encounter on you out of the blue? Or are you just feeling exceptionally lazy? Then it looks like you need to throw a D&D encounter together in 5 minutes or so! Here’s how:

  1. Choose an EL for the encounter. For something so quick I’d say either go for EL +0 for a throwaway encounter or EL +3 for a somewhat challenging encounter.
  2. Count the number of players you have. That’s how many monsters you are going to use.
  3. Choose a monster manual. Look up monsters based on the EL you choose. So if it’s a level 5 party with 3 players and an EL +3 encounter, you will be selecting 3 level 8 monsters to throw at the players.
  4. Choose SOME mix of monsters. Probably a few soldiers or brutes with a controller, skirmisher, or artillery is a good bet. Since you have virtually no prep time you want no more than 2-3 different types of monsters. If you have some theme in mind, it’s okay if the monsters are a level or two off from the EL you had in mind, though maybe drop a monster if it looks like the fight is getting too hard.
  5. If you want, throw in some minions to spice things up. 4-8 minions are easy to kill and can make the fight more epic with virtually no effort on your part to run!
  6. If your comfortable with it, have some other player be making a map while you do all this, as per your general instructions. If not, throw together a map quickly. Focus mainly on blocking terrain and difficult terrain since that is easy to put down. Fit in ONE piece of special terrain somewhere prominent. This can be as simple as a 10 foot pit or a river of lava that does 10 fire damage whenever someone enters it or starts their turn there.
  7. On your first round or two, spend a little more time than normal looking over the powers and abilities of your monsters to make sure you didn’t miss anything. It sucks to miss an aura that would make the battle more challenging and fun!

2 Responses to “Rory’s Pocket Guide to D&D – Make an Encounter in 5 Minutes”

  1. […] speaking of encounter design, Rory at Blog of Holding shows us how to make a D&D 4e combat encounter in five minutes. Better yet is this YouTube tutorial on on-the-fly encounter design with Monster Builder and […]

  2. […] while ago I gave a guide for designing a combat encounter in about 5 minutes. But what if you can't be bothered to wait that long? What if your players are itching for a fight […]

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