Thread Details: Adventure Threads
Gauging rewards for adventure threads can be challenging: especially trying to decide magic items and gold rewards. As a general rule, here are a few guidelines.
Tiers of Play
DnD can broadly be broken down into the following tiers of play:
- Levels 1-5: Novice
- Levels 6-10: Veteran
- Levels 11-15: Heroic
- Levels 16-20: Epic
The following rewards are based on the assumption of 3 'standard' encounters (CR equal to or less than party level) or 1 'hard' encounter (CR equal to party level +1-2). It is not recommended to throw hard encounters at novice parties as they can very quickly become a party wipe. In the case of a solo encounter add +1 to the 'effective' CR of the encounter because the action economy will rarely favour the PC.
A recommendation is to use a site such as Kobold Fight Club
in order to help match the CR of the enemies chosen to the CR of the party you are taking on an adventure.
- Novice: 500-1000 gold, 1 'common' magic item per 3 standard encounters or 1 'uncommon' magic item per hard encounter.
- Veteran: 1500-3000 gold, 1 'common' or 'uncommon' magic item per 3 standard encounters or 1 'rare' magic item per hard encounter.
- Heroic: 3500-10,000 gold, 1 'rare' magic item per 3 standard encounters or 1 'very rare' magic item per hard encounter.
- Epic: 10,000+ gold, 1 'very rare' magic item per 3 standard encounters. 2 'very rare' magic items per hard encounter.
Broadly speaking 2 magic items of the lower tier of rarity are equivalent to 1 magic item of the next tier.
'Legendary' magic items and artifacts should be considered a special case. These should be the focus of the adventure and not something thrown into the dragon's hoard or similar. Giving out these powerful pieces of equipment should be done with a particular story in mind, and if they are encountered as part of a dragon's hoard, their very existence should spur off other adventures based around them and what they mean to the game world. The only exception to these are 'magic armour' and 'magic weapon' +3 which—being a bit dull—can be considered as 'very rare' items.
Note that these are general guidelines. There is always room for exceptions. For instance, if a DM wants to run a thread and really wants to give out a 'very rare' item to a Veteran or even a Novice character, because it makes sense to the story, there is definitely room for that to happen.
Please approach staff privately to discuss the planned encounters in advance—we'll work with you to make something that works.
Similarly—consumable magic items likes potions and scrolls can be given out much more freely—for reward purposes count 3 consumables as 1 standard item.
Encounters which do not involve combat are tougher to judge than those which do. These will always require a little more analysis by staff in determining the reward, but in general terms:
- In a standard encounter the PCs should have about a 75% chance of success.
- In a hard encounter the PCs should have about a 50% chance of success.
- In a deadly encounter the PCs should have about a 25% chance of success.
The consequences of failure do not have to be death, but should be a significant setback to the PCs goals in some form or fashion—death may also be an acceptable outcome depending on the situation the PCs are in. Similarly, the rewards to the PCs can be equally great, with patronage, favours and magic boons being common rewards for succeeding in these types of encounters.
Skill challenges make a fantastic way to provide an 'encounter' which is not combat-based. There's a lot of different ways these can be run, but this is the format I favour:
- Standard Encounter: Requires 3 successes to pass
- Hard Encounter: Requires 4 successes to pass
- Deadly Encounter: Requires 5 successes to pass
In a 'standard' encounter the PCs should have about a 75% chance of success per roll.
In a 'hard' encounter the PCs should have about a 50% chance of success per roll.
In a 'deadly' encounter the PCs should have about a 25% chance of success per roll.
Each party member chooses a skill of theirs to contribute to the effort at hand. If >50% of the PCs pass the skill check, they succeed. If >50% of the PCs fail the skill check, they fail. PCs can use other aspects of their character sheet (magic items, spells, class abilities etc) to provide themselves or an ally with advantage on the roll.
If the PCs are actively opposed by another group, you can instead run a variant where the enemy are also making skill checks and the first group to obtain 3 more successes than the other will succeed. Be warned, this can take a long time and may not be the most fantastic approach for a play-by-post game!