How Important Are Balanced Encounters in Your Game Sessions? I ask this, because as someone that runs older / OSR styled games, I generally guestimate or handwave encounter balance. I go by feel, which often means I'm a bit under or a bit over where I want to be. It's an imperfect science with the earlier editions.
3x and 4x have their tables / balance charts so you can balance things out for your party's level - but how accurate are they really? If your party isn't balanced across the four main compass directions of D&D tropes (Fighter / Wizard / Cleric / Thief) you are skewing away from the baseline that the formulas expect. Don't even ask about mixed level parties.
So, is it more important for the individual encounters to be balanced against the party, or should you aim for the adventure as a whole?
Does striving for balance take away the whole "Brave Sir Robin" aspect, so brave that he ran away?
Is running away from encounters more of an "old school" design aspect?
Has "Discretion being the better part of valor" gone by the wayside? Should heroes even need to run?
Heck, is "balance" more important than "challenge"?
Why is it so hard to find a pic of an adventuring party running away? Not very heroic I guess ;)