View Full Version : How to build a good homebrew testing dungeon?

2013-08-24, 01:45 AM
So I'm unable to sleep at the moment and I started wondering about this. How would you build a good dungeon to test homebrew in?

My own basic idea is to build an adventure that has a variety of combat and non-combat encounters built for a party of a certain level (say 5), some of these encounters (for example all non-combat ones) would be flagged as "solo" encounters, while others (for example most combat ones) would be flagged as "group" encounters.

Taking one player you'd let them pick 3 out 4 pre-set characters using official classes, each geared towards filling some specific standard party role such as a warmage (tier 4, blasting mage with some battlefield control), a favored soul with a focus on healing spells and buffs (the healbot), a warblade (melee), and um... well skill monkey is the last standard 3.X role but wouldn't work well so figuring out what the fourth would be is a little more difficult (maybe a tier 3 caster? Just for comparison against a tier 3 caster. Or maybe a binder or some such), I might just go with a 2nd melee character because that seems to be the role my parties tend to double up on and well melee likes more melee. Maybe a gish build.

The character would be put through the gauntlet, facing a social situation (can you talk your way past the guard?), a travel based situation (how do you get across X hazard?), some sort of trap based thing (how do you make it through the trapped hallway/door?), and a variety of combat encounters (swarm [subtype], swarm [weak enemies in large numbers], flying, casting with cluttered battlefield, melee, hard melee [EL +2], caster + melee [EL +2], easy battle [EL -2], an ambush, an interesting battlefield) maybe with a rest included between some of the fights. Then they'd be judged based on: what non-combat encounters could they get through? A class doesn't have to overcome all of them to be well built (a warblade doesn't have anything of note for most of the non-combat ones). What combat encounters could they contribute to? What combat encounters did they fail to contribute to? What combat encounters did they completely destroy the enemy in without the rest of the party doing anything constructive?

You'd need a person willing to make multiple characters without knowledge of the adventure, to standardize for optimization level and dungeon knowledge, and either a person willing to run through the same dungeon repetitively or people willing to play characters created by another person. Or scrap the idea of using a single person to standardize optimization and go with each person making their own character.

So are my ideas completely stupid? They might be. If they aren't what would be a good level to try this at (yes multiple levels would be better, but this seems like it'll be quite a bit of work if I really intend to do this so I'd be starting out with a specific level), I'm thinking 6th, 8th, or 10th as a starter (because higher level encounters generally equal substantially more work with the curve increasing significantly with each increase beyond that, while 6th gives 3rd level spells and 2 attacks/round, 8th gives 4th level spells which is the big turning point for casters in my experience [with limited optimization], and 10th is... as high as I'm willing to go for version 0.1) and what would be some good challenges? What non-combat encounter types am I'm woefully lacking (it's late, I can't sleep, my brain is not working well)? What combat encounter types really need to see use? Should it be 3 days worth of combat encounters? Etc.

tl;dr: I'm thinking about building an encounter gauntlet to test homebrew classes with, advice and constructive criticism would be appreciated.

2013-08-24, 03:37 AM
my only suggestion is start with the same game test and work from there.

The same game test does what you want anyways, but it is flavorless-ish.

2013-08-24, 04:14 PM
That was actually the seed for the idea, but it has flaws (solo encounters and single daily encounters are very far removed from what the game is typically like in my experience; not saying that these do not also need to be tested, just that they should not be the primary focus).

But yeah I needed to re-read it because I hadn't looked at it in over a year and it reminded me I need to include an incorporeal encounter.