Unearthed Arcana: Encounter Building

For the month of October, the D&D team provides an alternative set of encounter building guidelines.

These guidelines will be of interest to DMs who want to emphasize combat in their games, who want to ensure that a foe isn’t too deadly for a specific group of characters, and who want to understand the relationship between a character’s level and a monster’s challenge rating.

I was expecting an Unearthed Arcana about encounter building for a little while, since Mike Mearls had mentioned he was making some changes on the encounter building system.

The system is divided in five steps:

  1. Assess the Characters
  2. Encounter Size
  3. Determine Numbers and Challenge Ratings
  4. Select Monsters
  5. Add Complications

The most interesting step is the fifth one because it talks about monster personalities and relationships, terrain, traps and random events.

This document can prove to be quite helpful for new DMs that want to create their own encounters and don’t know where to begin. However, more experienced DMs should check it out as well, since it may help them make their own encounter building system better.

And as always, a friendly reminder that the Unearthed Arcana content is considered playtest material and should be treated as such.

You can read the full article here and download the PDF here.

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