I want this to happen in a dungeon

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The following tips from myself, the GM Mastery list, subscribers, and a couple of issues will help you liven up routine dungeon adventures and breathe fresh life into dungeon-ruts. A dungeon is any story crucible that suits your genre and the tips below should still be of value—hopefully.

The best way to avoid tedium in any game is to make sure every player has something to do. A great way to manage this is to start a Player Journal. In the journal section, watch your players during games and note exactly when an individual is having a great time. What are they doing?

I want this to happen in a dungeon

What is their character doing? Also note on paper if any of the elements from your theory section work out well so that you have an instant in-game resource if you get stuck for ideas.

I want this to happen in a dungeon

If you make a few theory and journal notes like this for each player, you are guaranteed to build a realistic profile over a short period of time to help you successfully plan for each session. Where do the inhabitants get their food? Trade with a nearby tribe or town?

I want this to happen in a dungeon

Raid other levels of the dungeon? Cannibalize each other? Any of these answers will change the feel of the dungeon as well as the reaction of the inhabitants to invaders. You can come up with more, of course, as well as combine ideas. Why do the inhabitants live here? Protection for themselves? Protecting something else? Driven below ground and forced to remain by something powerful inside or out?

I want this to happen in a dungeon

Again, answers may vary, but it will impact the plot and character of the dungeon. Do any of the PCs have backgrounds you can use to create subplots in the dungeon? This allows a subplot without impacting the main plot of the central adventure and relieves tedium for the dungeon-bored-players involved. One piece of advice I would give: put a timer on it. Tell the PCs they have such and such many days or hours… to get through a certain dungeon area, grab the McGuffin of stupendous power, and get it to the temple of whatzizface before all hell breaks loose.

Related to this tip, time limits, you could have the dungeon slowly becoming more deadly for some reason:. Or, the creature whose poisonous breath is filling up the place could be convinced to move elsewhere, temporarily or permanently. The biggest benefit to your dungeon in this situation is that the players get to perceive things in a fresh new way. What other ways could you dramatically change player perception of your dungeon?

One thing that kills dungeons for me as a player and GM is length. If a crawl goes on and on I get bored and crave a change in play style. A two to four-hour dungeon romp quickens flagging campaign and session pacing and can be squeezed into almost any on- going story thread. You can download I want this to happen in a dungeon whole book of 5 Room Dungeons free here.

A rule of thumb is, the older the dungeon the more difficult room 1 needs to be—else the place would have been discovered and sacked well before the PCs come along. Also, a guardian sets up some early action to capture player interest and energize a session. The PCs are victorious over the challenge of room 1 and are now presented with a trial that cannot be solved with steel. This will keep the problem solvers in your group happy and break the action up a bit for good pacing.

Room 2 can be an independent puzzle, or preferably, one that grants approach to rooms 3 and 4. It should allow for multiple solutions and engage more than just the rogue or wizard in the party. This will tie the adventure together a little tighter, will delight the problem solvers, and can be a back-up for you if the players get stuck.

The purpose of this room is to build tension. The best red herrings allow the PCs a choice between choosing room 3 or room 4 and then issue a penalty to those who choose room 3. Another potential payoff for room 3 is to weaken the PCs to make them more vulnerable for room 4. Perhaps room 3 simply contains a tough combat encounter.

I want this to happen in a dungeon

If this is the case, try to weaken any strengths that would give the PCs an advantage in room 4. For example, if room 4 contains a mummy monster that is quite susceptible to fire, then make room 3 a troll lair another creature often susceptible to fire so the PCs might be I want this to happen in a dungeon to burn off a lot of their fire magic, oil, and other flammable resources.

This would turn a plain old troll battle into a gotcha, and thus a red herring, once the PCs hit room 4 and realize their mistake. This room is The Big Show. Try to make the environment interesting, engage all the PCs, and provide opportunities for PC tactical advantage so thinking players will be rewarded. Room 5 is where your creativity can shine and is often what will make the dungeon different and memorable from all the other crawls in your campaigns. I feel a GM is always better off improving their dungeons by making them smaller because it gives them more planning time for clues, plot hooks, character involvement, twists, etc.

One thing you may want to think about is letting your heroes incite a local town or militia to come help them clear out the evil dungeon denizens. After all, with enough s townspeople can take on the monsters—all they need is a little leadership to overcome their fear. Create a dungeon where the foe is too tough for the PCs to handle by themselves so they must seek allies. A nice twist is if the characters must approach their rivals for assistance! One easy way [to make crawls interesting] is to populate the dungeon with several groups of NPCs that are all competing with each other.

Even within a single tribe of goblins there can be several factions vying for power. The presence of rivals also turn crawls into fun competitions as well. The GM has ultimate power in the game. The GM has infinite resources. The story ends when the main characters die. This method works best if you have a couple players in on the scheme. The presentation of the dream takes the form of a normal session. What is actually happening is one character is experiencing a dream.

When running the dream, ask for player actions like normal. You need not reveal the whole dream before hand. Begin by determining when the dream will occur. At that point in real time the dream begins. In general, for dramatic reasons, you want a session that is going to have a lot of physical confrontations and minimal reasons for character-character or character-NPC interactions. Have the dream occur the night before the assault or perhaps 2 nights before. As long as the players are expecting a very action based session anyways, this will work.

I want this to happen in a dungeon

In fact, be brutal! One caveat, avoid killing the victim within the dream unless it is used as a bridge to another portion of the dream. At this point, the dreamer will know it is a dream. If you use the bridge, change the dream to one more symbolic in nature. You now dictate what the character does and sees and can use this like the other dreams mentioned in the original article by Jonathan Hicks foreshadowing, plot hints, etc. Use these as a trigger for ending the dream for increased shock value.

The dream ends when your objective is achieved. Maybe they need a special weapon to defeat him. Then, within the dream as the overlord lands the killing blow on the dreamer, the dream shifts to one that shows a vision of where the special weapon can be obtained. Be careful about having the players find powerful items or large amounts of treasure within a dream.

They are going to disappear at the end of the dream and this may cause some player disappointment. After the dream is ended, the characters arrive at the cave entrance and find it is identical to the one seen in the dream. Handle experience points or skill points or whatever as if the entire session was composed of real time events.

If the group kills a monster within the dream they get the experience as if they really killed the monster. You may wish to give a bonus to the victim or to the player-helpers. One last thought. You can nest a dream within a dream as well. The inner dream is a traditional symbolic type dream. You can even nest the unaware dreams within each other. But as Jonathan suggested, be sparing with the use of dreams. The key is in the use of the dream. Now imagine waking up from dream 1 and compare that to dream 2.

Again, it all depends on what you want the dream to accomplish. 1 could be a dream where the characters experience a major threat to their nice and cozy home base. You can bring their perceptions about their safety crumbling down within the dream.

It provides a reason for the characters to get together and stay together. It also gives the game a stronger sense of continuity. In my campaign the overarcing plot grew to dominate things, destroying opportunities for anything beyond the primary goal. The distinction is the one between the Lord of the Rings and the X-Files. Again, thanks for the excellent e-zine. It I want this to happen in a dungeon an endless well of assistance to the struggling DM! In regards to dreams…. If DMs wish to explore the world of dreams in a more in-depth way, I highly recommend this book. In regards to poker chips and figs… In my campaign, I have two characters that regularly fly and we started using bottle caps to represent the fact that they are flying.

Another use for the poker chips is to count off rounds of an effect. For example, if a player is held immobile for 5 rounds, you can give them 5 poker chips and each round they turn in one chip until they are gone. Alternately, you can place them under the miniature. In regards to GMs being right… When my group comes to a point where there is a disagreement on game play, we usually open up a brief discussion of the situation and try to come up with a reasonable rule and possibly set a precedent.

For example, if the PCs must escape from the tunnels beneath a volcano that is on the verge of erupting, I will use one hour or whatever in real world time until the volcano erupts. Save my name,and website in this browser for the next time I comment. Leave a Reply: Save my name,and website in this browser for the next time I comment.

I want this to happen in a dungeon I want this to happen in a dungeon

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