Any advice for creating balanced and challenging encounters? Everyone I seem to make seems too easy for my PCs.
Compared to 1st and 2nd edition, I think 3rd edition PCs are overpowered. Early on I watched them make short work of enemies that were much harder in previous editions. Now, I pay more attention to the environment as well as the action card mix of the bad guys. I think it's important to look at each PC, find where he or she excels, then challenge those areas where they are weak. For example, Dwarfs are fierce opponents in close quarters but get them afield and they are easily outmaneuvered. I recently ran a rooftop and alley chase involving Skaven. Some were on the roofs and some were in the back alleys, and they kept changing elevation. The party never got time to "set up" for the fight and the mix of elevation, ranged attacks, and melee attacks proved both fun and challenging. Keep them off balance and have your baddies dictate the terms of the fight.
Thanks for the response.
I generally do not use henchmen as I view it as a little bit inconsistent over a series of battles. I also add extra enemies and include a boss in most fights. If the Pc's kill the boss some of the regular guys run evening the odds somewhat. Funny enough we have had two moments when average joe npc's have wiped the floor with tough as nails combat capable NPCs. One fight a single non enhanced gor fought 2 PC characters, he inflicted 2 crits and knocked out the scale mail/shield and one crit and 6 wounds on a bounty hunter. We assumed he was favoured by Khorne.
Another fight a leather armour mercenary with a club (who had statistics of 3 across the board and 10 woudns) decimated the bounty hunter in close combat (ws3 - 13 wounds). Most recently a housewife shot one of our PC with a blunderbuss, one of his wounds got infected and he died of a disease 6 days later.
Sometimes we GMs get lucky.