dnd 5e – How to upscale the death house and still keep it fun?

Due to Reasons™, my intro level to my current run of Curse of Strahd for a new group didn’t involve the Death House, I wrote my own intro-level this time.

I always had a lot of fun running it for other groups, though, so wanted to keep it in the game for a later stage. I’ve already written it in the world in a place that’s pretty likely to be found by the players.

The issue is that I still want to keep it a Death House, which it clearly is at levels 1-3, but I expect the party to find it at the earliest by level 5, probably 6. While it still would not be a breeze, I ran a number of the encounters with likely upscales of their current party and it did not feel deadly at all. I could just up all DCs and make each monster group a bit larger, but I don’t feel like that’s particularly interesting.

Assume my Plan™ survives first contact with the players and they find the House. What is an interesting way to upscale the Death House to party level 5-6? The party will be either 4 or 5 characters, depending on who can make which session, and the group is paranoid enough about dying that they seem to insist on running at least 2 healers at all times.

balance – If an AI is sure it is going to lose, what can it do to make the game fun for the player?

For context i am contributing to a sequential turn based strategy game. I have an idea how to improve it but i feel i need some input to help me evaluate and improve it. We currently have a really dumb AI that just follows a rough set of rules each turn. I’m considering to upgrade it to a basic search based AI to not be guaranteed to win every time i play it.

There are many reason why an AI could be behind the curve. These include that is wasn’t able to grow it’s economy well due to bad luck with map generation, that it’s economy was disrupted early by an enemy raid while the defending army was out of reach, that the starter army was defeated early and resources had to be invested to replace it instead of economic upgrades or more importantly there being a big awesome deciding battle with all units involved and it lost. A search based AI will be able to know when it is obvious that it is growing slower than it should, can’t recover and it is now impossible to win due to runaway success. Such a runaway success is often boring to play especially if it happened 3 times in a row.

Assume there is no meta game where multiple players can gang up on the strongest one. I am open to nudge the game rules in the AIs favor if this happens. However rubber banding can give the player the impression that they are punished for playing well, the AI drags out a game into an almost stalemate or even wins unfairly.

The problem i’m trying to solve is not that the AI is loosing but that the AI rolling over and dying is not fun or interesting.

It is even worse. If the player is sufficiently good he will experience that every time.

In some theories of literature after the conclusion seems forgone and the tension is falling a new small conflict that is relevant enough or something else that justifies further elaboration and excitement.
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My idea is to have a library of endgame scenarios, a handful of which end up with player loosing unless he plays really well, most pose a small challenge that the player is entirely able to deal with and some are a “i role over, just kill me already, please”.

Are you aware of anyone trying something like this before?
If someone tried this in a strategy game or even outside of strategy games before i would like to learn from them.

Can you spot some obvious problems with this idea? I already considered the AI misjudging the impossibility of wining. However i might be to enamored with my idea to spot different problems.

How can i make sure that this still feels fair? It is easy for the AI to get some extra resources however if a player is loosing i am afraid that he would feel cheapened if he got some extra money and units.

How i help the player having fun or at-least variety when they are losing? I really have no ideas for this.

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@BMF – Please mark this as LEGIT

I created a fun way to interact with website visitors!

Hi, fellow business owners!

I used to run an e-commerce store in sunglasses a while back and had mixed feelings about it. I had decent amounts of traffic but literally almost 0% conversion rate compared to the average ~1-2%.

I knew something was off but couldn’t really validate what it was because there was no way for me to ask the website visitors or at least engage them long enough to increase their likelihood of converting to a customer. I eventually shut down the store a while ago but didn’t forget about my experience running it.

A couple of years later now, I built the tool that I was thinking of but didn’t fully realize at that time. I created a live shopping widget that I put on my website to engage with website visitors.

It helps me get a human presence on my website, just like you would have in a real store.

To finish the story, a friend (who comically is also running an e-commerce store in sunglasses but way more successful than me…) is using this to increase his conversions. We are going live later today on our website https://www.tryemcee.com/ to showcase the widget.

Let me know if you have any feedback!


A fun situation that happened to me today.

It was raining yesterday, and after rain, the cold weather striked in, so water on the ground became slippery and non-walkable, that's gonna play the main situation in this story today. I was going back from shopping to my house, and the guy was walking back from shop too. It happened like that: We both fell down, and did the same "OUCH!" sound. We couldn't understand what happened. But we definetly found it funny, so we started laughing at each other for good 5 minutes while laying on ice,…

A fun situation that happened to me today.

What’s a good deep fake video software for fun home videos?

Looking to use existing videos and photos of my son to create fun videos where he supposedly participates.
It’s a surprise so can’t ask him to cooperate.

Games with fun character creation

I play d&d-5e and GURPS, and I know how to play a handful of other games. But in my free time I often like to make character sheets. I am starting to get bored making sheets for the games I know and I am wondering if anyone knows of some games with really fun character creation?

equipment recommendation – What camera is fun to use?

I’m a photographer for the past 15 years, but mostly as a hobby. I take it very seriously and I’m gathering stock photos from all over the world.

I’m using right now a Canon M6 w/ 55-200mm and I want to upgrade my ‘photographer experience’ for something more fun to use with a sharper image.

The reality is that I have a hard time justifying buying a 4k+ camera. In a ideal world, I’d buy a Leica SL2 w/ 90-280.

dnd 5e – What’s behind the widespread negative response to Wild Sorcerers, and how can I ensure they’re fun at my table?

I’m playing my first sorcerer (not first caster in 30 years of playing) and going back to an Irda (have played Wizard of High Sorcerery of course) in a Prime Plane where several Krynn races escaped The Chaos War and Dragon Purge (Dwarves, Minotarus, Irda, Gnomes in two separate caravans). 500+ years have passed since then and we have a some Steam Punk technologies and magic-tech hybrids that will eventually lead to a Starfinder campaign 1000+ years in the future.

Anyway, I was hemming and hawing between Sorcerer Origins, but Wild Magic really seemed like a great fit given the nature of the Graygem (Dragonlance Lore) and the Irda (High Ogres and first people of Krynn). The Wild Magic mechanic was too arbitrary and as cited above, a problem for the DM to arbitrate too much with decisions and randomness.

We’re developing a mechanic that places 90% of the rolling in the player’s hands and most of the decision-making is left out of the DMs hands. They of course can make the arbitrary call that something so powerful or traumatic has occurred that it will unleash a Wild Magic Surge from the Sorcerer, and we’re refining the Overload mechanic of an Entropy Point Level.

Below are initial write-ups. We have not removed any of the abilities, or modified and added a meditative state to lower Entropy Levels (reduce Wild Magic Surge Probability).

Wild Magic: Entropy Points (EPs) and Entropy Level

When affected by magic spells, nearby powerful magic auras, suffering stress (such as damage) having a wild swing in emotion, suffer a penalty to the wild magic roll. This is called the Entropy level. The Wild Magic Entropy modifier roll gets larger as the Entropy level rises.

Example: Wild Magic Sorcerer with Entropy Level 0 is struck by arrow prior to casting a spell on their turn. Entropy Level receives +1 EPs (Entropy. The same sorcerer receives +19 EPs more throughout the adventure and is now at +20 Entropy Level. A third level fireball hits the Sorcerer, and they save for half damage, still alive. However, Entropy Level 20 + 3 EPs (third level spell cast at third level) = 23. Now, when the Sorcerer casts a spell they MUST roll a 1d20 to determine a Wild Magic Surge. However, a roll of 1 through (Entropy Level + 1 – 20 = 4) causes a Wild Magic Surge roll. IE 1 through 4 out of 1d20 causes a Wild Surge.

Surge Overload: Entropy Level has grown above +20 and now can be triggered without casting a spell. Anytime a condition increases Entropy Level, roll a Will saving throw base DC 10 + EPL beyond 20 (27 EPs – 20 = 7) or DC 17. If successful the player may chose to Release the Surge or Repress it. Repressed Surges maintain the new EPL. Released Surges cost no spell points and a Wild Surge is rolled. EPL is reset to 1 plus any environmental EP factors (1 +5 = 6 in direct presence of deity, for example).

Long Rest Meditation: Meditate after a long rest for 30 minutes. Roll an Insight or Arcana Check to gain an initial bonus to your Entropy Point (EPs) pool. DC 10 + Charisma Modifier. The stronger innate Sorcerer attribute (Cha), the more likely Wild Magic is difficult to repress. Successful checks receive negative EPs equivalent to the successful skill check rolled by the Sorcerer.

Short Rest Meditation: Meditate during a short rest for 60 minutes. Use any amount of Hit Dice (HD) available to roll for recovered hit points. Also remove 1d6 EPs per HD used to lower Entropy Level. A negative balance is possible which effectively quells the possibility of a Wild Surge to only 5% chance (1d20 or Tides of Chaos activated) at the DMs discretion. If at full health, any HDs available during a short rest may be used, but will only reduce Entropy Level by 1d6 per HD. No hit points will be gained and those HD will be unavailable for healing until after a Long Rest.

Entropy Points:
+X EP (Total Spell Level X of spell targeting Wild Magic Sorcerer, whether successful or resisted — imbued by the essence of the spell)
+1 EP (Physical Damage)
+2 EP (Spell fails/countered)
+3 EP (Lesser magical aura — Serene glade, conjured storm, archlich nearby, angelic/demonic aura proximity, minor totem or magical relic proximity)
+4 EP (Ally falls unconscious before Sorcerer in battle — must know Ally well, not a hireling, etc)
+5 EP (Incredibly strong magical aura. Demigod, God, Holy Place, Enchanted Location, Legendary Relic/Magical Item)

+10 EP (Ally with strong bond to Sorcerer falls in battle or dies suddenly before them)
+15 EP (?)
+20 EP (?)

Epcot can actually be fun!

Not a big fan of Disney, but really enjoyed our yesterday's trip to Epcot (the pandemic edition). No crowds, no big lines to virtually anywhere. My daughter DEFINITELY loved it. Our favorite was Soarin'. Went for that one twice in a row.

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