No Way Out!

No Way Out!

The tone of any encounter is set by its beginning. 

A genial host who greets your party with enthusiasm sets a completely different tone from one who emerges from the shadows whilst closing the only door out of the room! 

If you want an encounter to be memorable, whether in a positive or negative way, the setting and manner of entrance are worth your time dreaming up.

If you are seeking to throw your party off balance, the unexpected encounter is a good gambit to employ.  The figure sat comfortably at home inside the party's locked lodgings, for example.

Or, a party can invest skill and effort getting past guards and other obstacles to gain entry to a location, only to find someone patiently waiting for them in anticipation.

One of the oldest techniques to impose a disadvantage over guests is an overbearing setting.  Grand architecture, height, conspicuous displays of wealth and military prowess are all part of setting a scene.

Try to include something for multiple senses in your description: eg. scents, sound and lighting.  The encounter is treated as a “reveal” rather than an entrance.

Dramatic entrances can be more mundane in nature.

An NPC being thrown out of a building only to land at the party's feet, for example.

And spellcasters or magical creatures have a whole array of tools to make a dramatic introduction!

Confrontation is, of course, a well-used manner of introduction that works in many settings. There is no rule that says that a “difficult” introduction won't lead to a long and mutually profitable partnership.

Similarly, that genial host might not be the ally that they first seem.

Happy Gaming,

P.S.: Have you introduced an NPC in an unusual way as part of an encounter? Shoot me a reply!

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