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Chapter 2: Building Games / Encounter Design / Dynamic Encounters

Time Pressure

Source GM Core pg. 79
Time pressure adds an extra sense of urgency to any encounter and can be a great way to make an otherwise trivial- or low-threat encounter tactically engaging, satisfying, and memorable. After all, while low- and trivial-threat encounters have an incredibly low chance of defeating the PCs, the opposition can usually hold on long enough to make the PCs spend a few rounds to defeat them unless the PCs expend more resources than they normally would on such foes. Time pressure is often related to a secondary objective in the encounter, though it could be a countdown directly related to the encounter itself. For instance, if the ritual will grant a lich its apotheosis in 4 rounds, the heroes need to defeat the lich before then!