[RPG] Frequency of combat encounters in Pathfinder


I'm starting a new self-designed Pathfinder campaign as the DM and I'm unsure how many combat encounters I should plan each session.

The characters will start at level 1. The group consists of 4 PCs in a well-balanced group. However, the players are only mildly experienced with playing role-playing games. I plan to have them do some investigating in town and some traps/puzzles in a dungeon in addition to combat. How do I determine how many combat encounters I should run in each session?

Best Answer

This depends on a number of things. Do your players like to favor combat over other forms of role-playing? How long are your sessions? Do your players understand the rules well enough to where things are going to move by quickly (sounds like no, in this case)? Do you as a DM mind running a lot/a little/no combat in any given session? This sort of thing is highly customizable depending on your needs, and is thus unfortunately somewhat unanswerable.

Anyways, my personal recommendation would be to run a quick module or two before your main campaign. This will allow you to understand the sort of preparation a DM typically has for an encounter, as well as learning a couple of tricks here and there with DMing before you start your own campaign, which, in the long run, will be for the good of your story!

More importantly, it allows you to assess your player's desire for and prowess in combat. If it turns out they only make it through one encounter, then want to roleplay or ask questions or drink beer and relax for the rest of the session, you haven't wasted hours of preparation. But if they turn out to be some kind of death dealing blood-for-the-blood-god-skulls-for-the-skull-throne party, you are unlikely to run out of encounters! You don't even have to finish the module, really. Once you are confident in your ability to prepare adequately for your players, you're all good to go. Happy DMing!

Related Topic