Not-So-Random Encounters - Act II

Not-So-Random Encounters - Act II

Creating a key encounter mid-point in an adventure helps orchestrate your adventure.
 
The encounter will offer key information/items the party will need later.  This type of encounter comes after the fact-finding stage and once the party have obtained some basic information regarding their ultimate goal.
 
Here are a few ideas around mid-point encounters:
 
The Hermit:  This type of encounter involves someone who does not encourage social interaction.  They may be difficult to locate and initially reluctant to help.
 
Character quirks and irascibility are hallmarks of a good hermit character. Once on the PC's side, their support is invaluable. Finding them is a sub-plot of its own. Consider using mountainous or wild, remote environments.
 
The Judge: Just because the party has taken on a quest does not mean they are worthy or suited to it! A trial or test may be placed before them in order to secure the necessary support to continue.
 
This can be a good opportunity for the GM to devise tasks tailored to each individual party member. This type of encounter is well suited to an urban environment or large "temple" complex.
 
Quid Pro Quo: There's no such thing as a "Freebie" and if the party needs information or help there is a price.
 
Untraceable currency is, of course, always popular - but sometimes the contact may request something else.  What exactly would your players be prepared to part with to succeed?
 
If they are asked to carry out a task, this can be a good opportunity to face your party with a moral dilemma. Will they act against their consciences or will they stay true to these (but risk failure later on)?
 
If you don't want the side plot to take up too much time, set this encounter close to where the request will be carried out.
 
Misdirection: The GM's delight!  A mid-point encounter where, after much effort, the assistance they receive is out of date, wrong, or outright misleading.
 
If the party is too sure of themselves, this can be a useful experience to teach caution and humility. Setting this encounter close to a challenging journey (forest/maze/dungeon) maintains the flow between encounter and the consequences!
 
The Boss: One option is to face the main antagonist.  Whilst not a decisive encounter, it allows both sides to appraise what they are facing.
 
Initial failure can provide the party with both the drive and insight to regroup and succeed next time.  But beware! You won't want the party short-circuiting the plot by killing the Boss immediately!
 
Place the players at a significant disadvantage, whether numbers, environment or disarmed altogether.
 
Check out Claim the Highground for tips on giving your boss tactical advantage.
 
P.S.: Got a mid-point encounter you'd like to share? Just reply back!
 
Happy Gaming!
-Stolph (Ed)
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