Challenge vs. Slog, Part 2: Contextual Slogging

Yesterday, I talked about mechanical factors that could turn a challenging battle into a boring slog. Today, I’m going to talk about contextual factors; reasons why what’s going on in the game could bring out the slog in an otherwise awesome challenge.
We really can’t see the relevance. One of the things that helps keep a [...]

Challenge vs. Slog, Part 1: Mechanical Factors

There is nothing many game groups like more than a challenging fight. But somewhere in every battle is a point where it goes from a brilliant challenge they’ll be talking about several plot arcs down the road to the worst thing a fight can become: the dreaded slog. The slog might not defeat the characters, [...]

The Perils of Curious Creatures

Yesterday, I talked about the use of curious creatures as a challenge to a character group. But what sorts of threats can such things pose, if they’re not clearly in it for a main-character-sized meal?
It’s too big! Large and enthusiastic things can pose a problem just by existing; even if their entire approach to the [...]

On Curious Creatures as a Character Challenge

I’d been going to write this next week, but then I realized it technically counted for RPG Blog Carnival, so why not add to the list?
When we think of encounters with wild animals in games and fiction, we generally think about ones that consider themselves cornered or ones that are out for something to eat: [...]

Telling the Players A or B

During last week’s discussion of the two general options for presenting a challenge to the PCs, I mentioned one potential problem being the difficulty of getting across to the characters whether they’re dealing with an Option A challenge, in which they should win unless bad luck or stupidity prevents it, or an Option B, in [...]

…and What Exactly Do We Do Now?

I talked yesterday about hitting a game group with situations in which coming up with a way to get their desired result was part of the challenge. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t—but there’s one major element that needs to be in your favor, and that’s the players. If they get into the situation and [...]

So Here’s Your Problem….

In the time I’ve been playing in people’s games, I’ve noticed two overall styles of setting forth challenges in front of the group. One is that standard “this should be difficult but doable except with really bad luck” that seems to be manual standard for recent editions of D&D. The other is one that one [...]