Do you include Spotlight encounters – those designed to challenge individual characters – in your adventures?
Giving your cleric or thief a chance to shine sounds easy enough, right? You throw undead at the cleric and traps with pointy things that spring out at your thieves. Likewise, wizards need magic to dispel and fighters require opportunities to perform feats of strength.
But, c’mon, that gets a little old after a while, right? Deeper, more involved spotlight encounters require the GM to know the party members in ways not solely defined by their class.
Dig into the character sheets and look for feats, traits, skills and proficiencies that are unique within the party. Keep in mind, especially, areas that overlap. Nothing squashes a spotlight encounter faster than another player who can resolve a situation by coming at it from another direction.
Experience is the best teacher in those situations. Just note when it happens so you can avoid crafting Spotlights that focus on those same things again.
In all likelihood, as characters advance in level, it will be more and more difficult to design Spotlight encounters because of this.
Consider then, this alternative:
Look for ways pairs of characters can meet challenges. Identify character traits that complement one another and try to throw obstacles that incorporate both. It’s actually a great way to encourage cooperation among players, as characters require the support of others to complete tasks.
And well, if that doesn’t work, try again. Remember, you’ve always got the undead and the spiked traps in your back pocket.