Lords of Xulima - Random Encounters
The Lords of Xulima devs have written a new editorial, which this time is about random encounters.
Random encounters are also a way to auto-balance the difficulty of the adventure. They can allow the player to grind for experience and treasure as much as they want in a nearly unlimited fashion (well, limited only by the player’s patience). In RPGs without random encounters the total experience that a player can earn is often set at a fixed number. In some of those cases, if a player has not made a group that the game designer has deemed ideal for the adventure, then the player has less opportunity to take time to level their characters up to be more useful in the game. Sometimes this is solved for by the game providing many more optional areas, re-spawning areas with enemies like in Might & Magic VI, or more directly, by addressing balancing with other artificial methods like scaling enemies to the player’s level.
The Nature of Encounters
The vast majority of random encounters are with enemies where a battle is automatically triggered, but this does not always need to be the case. The encounter can be with an NPC, like in the villages of Wizardry VII, a messenger, a merchant or any other type of event such as a revealing dream.
Even if the encounters are with enemies, many RPGs give the player options to avoid combat or to use other abilities of the characters in the group. The most common method of avoiding combat is, of course, to flee, but depending on the game players can also try conversation (which rarely works), bribery, or threatening the enemies to scare them away.
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