Friday, May 4, 2012

Running an Adventure

From D&D Doodle
I love a good Dungeoncrawl.

Basic/Expert is wonderful for getting down to D&D at its most essential. Take five to fifteen minutes whipping up a character, grab a dangled plothook, and step into someplace dangerous full of Things Unknown.

After the sad but probably inevitable passing of Urist Diggerbollox, Darius is handing off the reigns of running the game over to me for a session or two, officially putting the Riders of Lohan into my cruel and whimsical hands. This style of "Round Robin" DMing isn't for everybody but if you're not terribly concerned with architecting some sort of overall plot it's a really dramatically creative to play around with the emergent narrative of a D&D campaign. I've put together a fun little adventure/exploreathon that doesn't really riff in any way with Darius's Catacombs of Garesh but I'm hopeful that the players will throw out some connective elements as it takes place in the same city of Yem.

At this point a dungeon by D&D definition is actually quite usefully vague. To get a little old-schoolist there's this kind of playstyle where instead of having a big story idea with a series of connected encounters you plop characters at the beginning of, you construct a place that is just this clusterfuck of bad guys doing stuff, things that you can screw with (that might screw you), and a bunch of dangling questions, and put the players in front of THAT and just sorta go, "okay, go nuts." You don't know if the players are going to figure everything out right away or get totally stonewalled by something you thought would be obvious or actually turn their own interpretation of what's going on into something hilarious and ingenius and far far better than what you've got in your notes. I love that.

The dungeon I've worked up is SORT of a dungeon, but it's basically just a mess of stuff that's "going on". We'll see how it works out, I can't wait!


  1. There is something deeply gratifying about making a character in less than 10 minutes. The shortness in creation is some sort of deep statement about the fragility of life. I think.

    I like your description of "clusterfuck of bad guys doing stuff". I admit that over the years my own dungeon adventures have gotten way too story oriented and come across as Battlestar Galactica in storyline scope. That is something pure about the old school setting where adventurers and monsters kill each other at any excuse they can find.

  2. I think this is where the B/E lack of good and evil comes in handy. Kobolds may react favorably and help you out while gnomes may want to rip your heart out. Of course, those 2d6 might make story telling hard, if the gnomes were supposed to be helpful and you roll a 2 on reaction :-D