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The 4th Pillar: Learning to Let Go

Lots of RPGs in the D&D vein have progression systems based on accumulating XP and balancing systems based on the difficulty of monsters and challenges therein, which grant XP accordingly and keep the wheels of the game turning. Because of this, we often have guidelines on how to create balanced encounters, so players can be challenged accordingly, usually referred to as the encounter budget. The budget typically exists as a few pages of...

The 4th Pillar: Rethinking Encounter Design

The most interesting stories, the ones we share the most over the years and that stick with us longer than any others, are those that defy the odds. That inherent unfairness is what can make for the most satisfying, beautiful, and rewarding experiences possible. If the stories of David and Goliath or Frodo Baggins and the Fellowship were “balanced,” they wouldn’t have nearly the same impact that they do. When it comes to...


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