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Yora
2017-01-18, 10:44 AM
I have run into a problem while working on my sandbox campaign. I have a good number of great ideas for big mid and high level dungeons that the players will discover through their explorations but I really don't have any actual understanding of how you make content that parties can explore when first beginning the campaign.

How large should dungeons be and how many should be prepared in advance? What kind of opposition and obstacles can you throw at the players? (In this case running D&D B/X.)

With dungeons that have an open floorplan and no fixed victory conditions and using the reaction and morale rules of B/X, adjusting creatures to specific character levels and party size isn't much of a necessity (retreat is always an option). But particularly at the start players shouldn't be running into walls when they don't yet have information about other places that they might be able to deal with better. But I don't want it to bee too easy that it becomes busywork to get the characters leveled up for the cool dungeons.

Any advice on this?

SilverLeaf167
2017-01-18, 11:28 AM
One issue (?) at very low levels is that everything, including the PCs, tends to go down in one or two hits. Ergo, to exaggerate a bit, after their first battle on any given day, the PCs are either at full HP and may as well have another fight right away, or absolutely need to recover before doing anything else. The enemies being weak as well means this also extends to spells. Whether this "recovery" means using up their healing spells or leaving the area entirely will vary depending on the situation and party composition.

Low-level parties have less versatility and staying power, and their luck with the dice is more relevant than ever. Even seemingly easy encounters have a good chance of causing trouble by rolls alone. Thus, I'd say it's best to either A] have some very easy encounters leading up to a moderately difficult one (even a slight difference in power gives the enemy a good chance of one-shotting level 1 characters) or B] base the whole dungeon on a single bigger encounter where the players know they can go all-out.

To summarize, short dungeons with either very few or very easy encounters. :smalltongue: It's actually pretty hard to make an encounter "too easy" for very low levels.

If you're asking about plot and detail, there's no reason a simple low-level dungeon can't give clues or even tools for future adventures.

Sorry if I missed the point of your question. What kind of "low levels" are you talking about?

Yora
2017-01-18, 11:37 AM
No, that's about what I was asking.

I'd say low levels would be about 1st to 3rd.

Maglubiyet
2017-01-18, 12:42 PM
Typically, starting areas for low-level adventurers tend to be in or close to towns. Dungeon size should be based on the nature of the "dungeon".

If the adventurers want to cash in on the bounty for giant rat tails, you'll need to make a map of the sewers beneath the city. If a crazed one-eyed goblin shaman and his tribe have scared off a local farmer, then the "dungeon" will be a map of the farmhouse, barn, and grain silo.

Form should follow function.

EDIT: to address these questions:

How large should dungeons be
This is the "form follows function". I don't like building huge elaborate mazes that have no logical reason to exist in the world. I'll map out specific structures with an eye towards what they were used for. A border fortress that garrisoned troops guarding a mountain pass, a wizard's tower built outside the city so he could run experiments without interference, a municipal sewer system that drains into a river, a dwarven citadel that fell to goblin invaders centuries ago. The size is whatever it needed to be to fulfill the function it was built for.

how many should be prepared in advance? -
In a sandbox I usually don't actually map dungeons out until the PC's have decided to explore something. I'll make the city and its inhabitants and then drop hints and clues about more adventurous areas, but they are under no obligation to take the bait. Instead of wasting time on making stuff that they'll never see I focus on what they go after. Maybe I'll make one obvious destination, but not more than that unless I've got lots of time to spare.

What kind of opposition and obstacles can you throw at the players?
Look at the encounter tables for the appropriate level. You can then build the appropriate setting for these creatures to inhabit -- giant rats infest sewers, skeletons are in old tombs, goblins live in rough caves.

Dr paradox
2017-01-18, 08:37 PM
I'm running a sandbox right now, and I think my preference is to have a limited number of VAST dungeon complexes, which are internally gated off both by level and function. There could be a large level, but the players are only here to deal with the three rooms being controlled by the goblin outcasts, or to break into a particular tomb within the larger barrow. Look to the caves of chaos for inspiration. Folks in town can drop rumors and quests that lead to managable chunks you plan, but the players don't need to feel like they're stuck in the kiddie pool.

Even better, you can curve difficulty with information. They can buy a map of the first level or two of the dungeons, get rumors about levels three and four, but further depths need to be properly DISCOVERED.

I also have "lairs," which are the nests of big monsters that hunt in given areas of the map. I let the party see them, or at least evidence of their existence, well before they're ready to fight them, for a sense of scale.

Favor singular encounters for the overworld, really difficult or interesting stuff as opposed to protracted forays into bugbear infested woods.

Endarire
2017-01-19, 12:24 AM
D&D 5E sorta solved this by rapidly leveling characters from level 1 to level 3 or 4 so they could handle greater challenges. For your campaign, consider having short, focused areas - perhaps testing/training grounds - where adventurers are purposely trained.

What others have said about the swinginess of combat, frailty/inflexibility of characters, and being patient with the game still stand.

thirdkingdom
2017-01-19, 09:04 AM
I'm running a sandbox right now, and I think my preference is to have a limited number of VAST dungeon complexes, which are internally gated off both by level and function. There could be a large level, but the players are only here to deal with the three rooms being controlled by the goblin outcasts, or to break into a particular tomb within the larger barrow. Look to the caves of chaos for inspiration. Folks in town can drop rumors and quests that lead to managable chunks you plan, but the players don't need to feel like they're stuck in the kiddie pool.

Even better, you can curve difficulty with information. They can buy a map of the first level or two of the dungeons, get rumors about levels three and four, but further depths need to be properly DISCOVERED.

I also have "lairs," which are the nests of big monsters that hunt in given areas of the map. I let the party see them, or at least evidence of their existence, well before they're ready to fight them, for a sense of scale.

Favor singular encounters for the overworld, really difficult or interesting stuff as opposed to protracted forays into bugbear infested woods.

Yora, I know you're familiar with ACKS, which gives pretty good guidance in Core about establishing both points of interest (i.e. dungeons) and static lairs (i.e. essentially dungeons with one main type of monster).

I roll a bunch of stuff out when I'm placing dungeons in a sandbox. For each dungeon I roll the following:

Number of Rooms (2d6)

2. 1d4 (tend to be lairs)
3. 1d8 (tend to be lairs)
4. 2d6
5. 2d10
6. 3d10
7. 4d10
8. 3d20
9. 4d20
10. 5d20
11. 6d20
12. 50+6d20 (the megadungeon)

Base Starting Level of Dungeon (1d12)

1-4. 1
5-7. 2
8-9. 3
10. 4
11. 5
12. 5+1d6


As you can see, 25% of the dungeons will be appropriate for 1st level adventurers, while slightly more than 2/3 are suitable for low-level parties.

Number of Levels

This determines the number of levels a dungeon has. Note that for these purposes it doesn't necessarily refer to physical levels so much as an increase in difficulty. In other words, a four level dungeon that starts at 1st level as four distinct areas that grow more difficult the farther you get from the main entrance. Typically, there is a direct correspondence between the "level" of the dungeon and the level of difficulty (i.e. the 1st level of a dungeon is appropriate for 1st-2nd level characters, the 2nd level is appropriate for 2nd-3rd level characters, and so forth).

For every ten rooms I assign a 50% chance of having an additional level. Therefore, a dungeon with fifteen rooms has a 50% chance of being comprised of two levels, and a dungeon with twenty rooms has a 50% of being comprised of two levels, with an additional 50% that those two levels are actually three.

For example, let's say I'm generating a dungeon with 25 rooms. I roll two percentile dice. The first result is a 95% and the second is a 43%. That gives me a dungeon with two levels. I next generate a dungeon with 40 rooms, and roll 1d100 four times. The results are 02, 15, 86 and 20. This yields a dungeon with three distinct levels.

Yora
2017-02-09, 09:45 AM
I went back to the drawing board to figure out why my last two attempts at a sandbox hit a wall and I couldn't thing of standard content to hold together the awesome special occasion content. And I think the answer is actually quite simple: Why spend the vast majority of preparation work and play time on mundan content in the first place? Why waste time and energy on filler when I have more than enough ideas to build a world with nothing but exciting special stuff?

I think I ended up in this situation because many people with serious skill and experience advice that "when everything is special, nothing is". To make extraordinary scenes and moments stand out they have to contrast to an established baseline of what is normal. While this is true, giving the players rat quests, wolf attacks, and bandit lairs to earn their way into the magical world of giants and demons is not the answer.

In a setting that aims to be like the real middle ages but with small numbers of sorcerers having dealings with demons in secrets this can work really well. But in fantasy worlds where everyone knows about magic creatures and there are plenty of spellcasters everywhere, it's just not fun to have the players wait until they are strong enough to eventually face them themselves instead of only getting to her about them from NPCs.

What I did now is to take many ideas for dungeon that I had regarded as appropriate for 4th level parties and treat the concepts behind them as thematically appropriate for 1st level characters. Stuff that I wanted to use as "endgame content" at 10th level can be cautiously approached by 4th level parties. If my idea is "giant lair" this does not mean it needs to be populated by a giant chief, two elite giants, eight standard giants, and a bunch of goblin and worg guards. It can be simply one giant and his goblin minions. A party will be able to handle this at a much lower level, especially when they plan an ambush and prepare traps to take down the giant himself, and they still get the enjoyment of having encountered a giant and perhaps slain him. Just because a dungeon is designed around a specific type of creature doesn't mean this creature has to be the primary creature encountered in it. That creature can also be the "final boss" of the dungeon and its presence foreshadowed throughout the whole place.

Of the D&D editions, OD&D, Basic, and AD&D 1st edition do this pretty well as most monsters are not that tough and have few resistances to negate attacks. But from 2nd edition onward, dragons, giants, and demons were made bigger and bigger and became increasingly untouchable by conventional attacks, so characters need more and more levels and special weapons to have any chance of threatening them. In the desire to make them more awesome, they actually became less accessible and you end up with these stupid rat quests. If the wizard isn't of too high a level, you can do wizard towers as 1st level dungeons.

Pugwampy
2017-02-09, 11:33 AM
Dont forget about the hundreds of modules out there to use. You dont have to wing it if you dont want to .



How large should dungeons be

Thats your preference . 1 room lair or a 1000 room metropolis either is fine .


how many should be prepared in advance?

Well that depends on how many encounters you guys play per session ?
Say you have a 6 hour session with 4 encounters assuming you dont care to camp and kill things in the forest . 1 fight per room .


What kind of opposition and obstacles can you throw at the players?

They are level so make it very very easy . Goblins, orcs, skeletons , troglodytes and dire rats are standard bread and butter level one monsters .
Dont forget to roll for locks and traps on doors and chests .

Might i recommend a forest fight ? Players have a tavern and need to walk to the dungeon but there is a forest inbetween and they have to camp out now . Bandits perhaps ?


(retreat is always an option).

Thats a great one . It helps alot and you dont have to worry too much about holding back



But I don't want it to bee too easy that it becomes busywork to get the characters leveled up for the cool dungeons.

I dont get it could you rephrase . Do you want to speed up their level ups or slow it down ?

WbtE
2017-02-10, 08:55 AM
I think the starting dungeon should be practically infinite in size, with perhaps five to eight levels prepared before play starts. (If you can't slot your ideas in as levels or semi-levels, have maps to new locations discovered in the main site.)

As for working out detail, check out D.H. Boggs' Setting up a Proper Dungeon in the latest & Mag (issue 13). The article is focused on 0D&D, but has a great method and includes notes about adjusting the approach when running B/X.

MarkVIIIMarc
2017-02-10, 10:44 AM
My vote, based on your experience, is to NOT make up too much of the Dungeon. Have some general ideas and rooms prepared though.

By drawing it out as they discover it you can make it longer, harder, or easier based on how much fun it seems to be.

I was just fooling about with the following list of bad guys for a slightly higher level party:

Carrion Crawler
Ettercap
Goblin
Goblin Boss
Kobolds!
Mimic
Ankheg
Piercer
Pixies as bad guy prisioners?
Sprites as bad guy prisioners?
Troglodites
Yuan-ti pureblood BBG?
Bats
Swarm of Bats
Giant Bats
Giant Rat
Giant Spider
Giant Wolf Spider
Phase Spider - Difficult
Spider

Now I'd only use some of them. Maybe the Yuan-ti was going to be in charge of the place and importing monsters to make the dungeon less accessible to the people in general?

And you know, there were some mini-versions of the big bad guys in that Monster Manual. Dragons of different ages scale up and down quite a bit in difficulty. There are Wyrmlings, some other creatures too.

Mark Hall
2017-02-10, 11:14 AM
One of my favorite beginning adventures is Keep on the Borderlands, and I think it has a few good design features to consider for a low-level group.

1) Lots of options of what to do. There's the Caves of Chaos, obviously, but there's also the bandits and the lizardmen and the hermit in the hills... lots of options that you can work with.

2) The Caves themselves are several bite-sized dungeons... a few rooms, mostly populated with one kind of enemy, without a lot of inter-connection. If you go in and wipe out the Goblins, they're not going to get the orcs running across the way to help them, or even the hobgoblins from next door, most likely.

3) The town is developed enough to be interesting, meaning that you can have adventures that take place there, without getting into the dungeons at all. Putting it on a hill also opens the possibility of adventures in conveniently large sewer systems.

Yora
2017-02-10, 01:21 PM
Dont forget about the hundreds of modules out there to use. You dont have to wing it if you dont want to.

Any modules and adventures need to fit into the setting of the campaign. And the less generic it is the harder this gets. (I still got four that can be very well adapted, but most aren't good for inexperienced 1st level groups.) Also, most adventures are really bad.


I think the starting dungeon should be practically infinite in size, with perhaps five to eight levels prepared before play starts.

Why is that?

I also find it extremely difficult to have a dungeon make sense and have meaningful content that relates to the setting if it's potentially going on forever.

Pugwampy
2017-02-10, 01:50 PM
Any modules and adventures need to fit into the setting of the campaign. And the less generic it is the harder this gets.

Nobody said you had to follow the mod word for word . Heck you could just hijack the dungeon design . You dont even need to use their monsters or traps .
This is how I treat all modules . They are nothing more than general guidlines .


Making it fit it around your campaign is ezzy peezzy .

Tiktakkat
2017-02-10, 02:13 PM
Nobody said you had to follow the mod word for word . Heck you could just hijack the dungeon design . You dont even need to use their monsters or traps .
This is how I treat all modules . They are nothing more than general guidlines .


Making it fit it around your campaign is ezzy peezzy .

This to the Nth power.
And as it happens, I'm currently using B2 with all the monsters replaced with varieties of kobolds, lizardmen, and troglodytes.

I refluff almost exclusively, since I have negative mapmaking ability but great concept development skills, making those old modules a renewable resource for storylines.

kyoryu
2017-02-10, 04:40 PM
Keep on the Borderlands.

Even if you don't literally use it, it's a great base to use, and a good yardstick to measure against.

WbtE
2017-02-10, 08:41 PM
Why is that?

I also find it extremely difficult to have a dungeon make sense and have meaningful content that relates to the setting if it's potentially going on forever.

An infinite "base site" gives the players a default plan of action. They never need to look to the DM and ask, "What are we going to do this week?" On the contrary, the players ask themselves what they want to do - are they going to keep plugging away at the main site (where?) or head off to investigate leads on sites that might contain desired magic items (which?) or put their new-found wealth to some use (what?). This means that the campaign has continuity of action at the table, rather than just a continuity of ideas in the DM's head.

As for making sense, it's absolutely true that an infinite dungeon doesn't make sense. That's the point. It's somewhere strange and otherworldly. The meaning of exploring it is something to be found, not determined a priori.

Thrudd
2017-02-10, 10:11 PM
An infinite "base site" gives the players a default plan of action. They never need to look to the DM and ask, "What are we going to do this week?" On the contrary, the players ask themselves what they want to do - are they going to keep plugging away at the main site (where?) or head off to investigate leads on sites that might contain desired magic items (which?) or put their new-found wealth to some use (what?). This means that the campaign has continuity of action at the table, rather than just a continuity of ideas in the DM's head.

As for making sense, it's absolutely true that an infinite dungeon doesn't make sense. That's the point. It's somewhere strange and otherworldly. The meaning of exploring it is something to be found, not determined a priori.

Also, the players don't need to and probably shouldn't know the full extent of a dungeon's size. They discover as they go, which means you don't need to decide right away. You start with whatever you start with, a dungeon large enough for a couple sessions at least, and in between sessions you can add a new passage in the area they are about to explore that goes to a whole new complex or into deeper levels that will last a couple more sessions.

You make the dungeon go on as long as it seems appropriate, until they've hit a level where they've outgrown their environment. Maybe that's level 4, maybe it's never. Then give clues to new places farther away. Maybe they start going on longer trips to find farther away dungeons. Maybe they move their base of operations to a new city in an area with more dangerous creatures, on the border of giant territory or whatever. Or maybe they just go deeper and deeper into the underworld of interconnected lairs and caverns.

The rationale for why it's there is up to you, you're the DM. You can decide anything you want. This complaint people seem to have that "old school dungeons don't make sense!" is a problem of imagination (or desire) on part of the DM, not inherent in the idea of such dungeons. If you want to run a dungeon, then you'll think up the explanation for how it fits into your world.

Thrawn4
2017-02-11, 09:46 AM
Some questions spring immediately to my mind:
1. What's stopping you from having some nice quests without a dungeon? The hunt for the local pick-pocket / the acquisiton of the vital but expensive medicine / the assistance of your neighbour's courtship can all be exciting, open, meaningful and with a threat-level of your liking.
Do you want a game with dungeons only?
2. Why are you using a system that according to you is ill-suited for early adventures? I mean you could just homerule that characters start at level 3 because they have a more active live or something. Or you could give every character more health to allow for a wider margin between healthy and death.

Tanarii
2017-02-11, 11:16 AM
The entire point of the default B/X rules is to try to get the wealth out of a dangerous dungeon alive, especially at low levels. That means not fighting often. Negotiate, sneak, and run away. A lot. And when you must fight, scout, retreat, scout again, make a plan to stack the deck so far in your favor your enemies don't have a chance ... then fight.

B2 Caves of Chaos is a good one for this. Just adapt it to your setting. But make sure to keep several opposing factions. The players need to scout and figure out a tribe to get on their side, so they have a local base of operations / safe house, current information, and numbers. If they just try fight their way in blindly they're dead meat. Good training module on proper player skill.

Yora
2017-02-11, 02:15 PM
My current plan, which I think is looking pretty good, is to have the players start in a town as treasure hunters and give three of the players maps to ruins and caves they somehow got their hands on. The three hard rules for character creation and play are that all characters must want to find ancient magic items (for whatever reasons), all characters must want to that as a group, and the group can not walk over the edges of the sandbox map (for now, expansions are possible later).

The maps all point to places that are structured following the tables from the Basic Set, even though they don't immediately look like it. (I always wanted to try how it plays by the book.) In a tower with five stories, all five stories can collectively be Dungeon Level 1 for determining wandering monsters and treasures. One of the maps leads to an adaptation of In Search of the Unknown (single dungeon level); one to an open stairwell that leads deep into the ground (Upper Levels 1, Lower Levels 2, Submerged Levels 3); and one to a ruined fortress that completely blocks a pass leading to a haunted forest (Surface Ruins 1, Underground Ruins 2). In the deeper parts of these places the players can find documents or meet NPCs that provide information that lets them find other places hidden in the wilderness. (I am not a fan of hexcrawling. Blindly running around until you reach a hex with a dungeon in it doesn't sound fun.)

The wilderness has wandering monsters in it, but the tables also include small lairs instead of creatures. These are pretty much three or four room dungeons that the players can enter or not.

I think this all should be very flexible as I can decide to make new maps available whenever I have a new dungeon ready. I can just put it into a treasure chest or the pocket of a killed NPC. If the players clear out a place and I don't have a new one ready to go yet, they can still follow one of the other maps they already have or go back to an old place where they had to retreat from too powerful oposition earlier.
In some dungeons it might even make sense to have the players get clue about secret doors they missed on their last visit that lead to additional dungeon levels. That's a neat idea.

Thrudd
2017-02-11, 02:51 PM
My current plan, which I think is looking pretty good, is to have the players start in a town as treasure hunters and give three of the players maps to ruins and caves they somehow got their hands on. The three hard rules for character creation and play are that all characters must want to find ancient magic items (for whatever reasons), all characters must want to that as a group, and the group can not walk over the edges of the sandbox map (for now, expansions are possible later).

The maps all point to places that are structured following the tables from the Basic Set, even though they don't immediately look like it. (I always wanted to try how it plays by the book.) In a tower with five stories, all five stories can collectively be Dungeon Level 1 for determining wandering monsters and treasures. One of the maps leads to an adaptation of In Search of the Unknown (single dungeon level); one to an open stairwell that leads deep into the ground (Upper Levels 1, Lower Levels 2, Submerged Levels 3); and one to a ruined fortress that completely blocks a pass leading to a haunted forest (Surface Ruins 1, Underground Ruins 2). In the deeper parts of these places the players can find documents or meet NPCs that provide information that lets them find other places hidden in the wilderness. (I am not a fan of hexcrawling. Blindly running around until you reach a hex with a dungeon in it doesn't sound fun.)

The wilderness has wandering monsters in it, but the tables also include small lairs instead of creatures. These are pretty much three or four room dungeons that the players can enter or not.

I think this all should be very flexible as I can decide to make new maps available whenever I have a new dungeon ready. I can just put it into a treasure chest or the pocket of a killed NPC. If the players clear out a place and I don't have a new one ready to go yet, they can still follow one of the other maps they already have or go back to an old place where they had to retreat from too powerful oposition earlier.
In some dungeons it might even make sense to have the players get clue about secret doors they missed on their last visit that lead to additional dungeon levels. That's a neat idea.

Yeah, that's perfect and all you need. You don't even need to tell them "don't go over the edge of the map". They're going to go to the dungeons you tell them about, which presumably are on your map. By the time they're done with what you tell them about, you will have drawn more maps and are ready for them to go elsewhere. As long as they have agreed to the premise of the game, they will seek the dungeons you tell them about, and the map-edge is no concern.

Tanarii
2017-02-11, 03:16 PM
Yeah, sounds like a great start to me too. I like the explicit "you're adventurers in a limited size sandbox" rule. I mean, that's usually just assumed for older versions of D&D, but there's always that one guy that just has to go visit China-analogue ... :smallamused:

Yora
2017-02-11, 03:45 PM
In my experience "you all meet in a tavern" doesn't lead to great teams that strive towards a common goal. Very often such characters have very little in common and you almost always get one or two people who think it would be great to play a character who dislikes cooperating with the rest of the party.
All the best groups I've seen began with the players stating "we are a group of X and we're gonna try to do Y". That mostly happens when an existing group makes new characters, but I've made very good experiences with simply telling new groups "you are X and your goal is to do Y".

The GM deciding what kind of party the PCs will be is no different, and in many cases effectively identical, with the GM picking the setting for the campaign and creating the adventures. It's just not fun if you create a campaign and then the players say that their characters wouldn't go on such adventures. It's easier to say upfront what kind of adventures the campaign will include and players who don't like it simply don't have to sign up for it. (You always also can ask the players of an existing group what kind of campaign they would like to play next, but I've never heard of any reply other than "whatever you'll run is fine".)
And while it should be obvious that all PCs need to be team players, in practice it is not. Players often just think of a character in a vacuum without really thinking it through how playing someone who doesn't want to be in the party would turn out in practice. Simply stating that being invested in the team activities is required of all PCs is usually enough to take care of the whole issue.

kyoryu
2017-02-12, 12:12 PM
In a tower with five stories, all five stories can collectively be Dungeon Level 1 for determining wandering monsters and treasures.

Only problem with towers is that they can quickly turn super-linear, which is kind of death for an old-school game or a sandbox.

Yora
2017-02-12, 12:50 PM
If it's big you can make two stairwells. You can also make collapsed room ceilings, trapdoors with rope ladders, and climbing the ivy on the outer wall. Or portals. There's plenty of options to make it nonlinear.

Mark Hall
2017-02-13, 11:42 AM
Only problem with towers is that they can quickly turn super-linear, which is kind of death for an old-school game or a sandbox.

And it's not necessarily a deathknell for one part to be linear, so long as they have a lot of options along the way. "Well, that tower was relatively straightforward" is fine, so long as they chose the tower out of an array of options, and not all of those options are "Climb until everything below you is dead."

Joe the Rat
2017-02-13, 12:44 PM
If it's big you can make two stairwells. You can also make collapsed room ceilings, trapdoors with rope ladders, and climbing the ivy on the outer wall. Or portals. There's plenty of options to make it nonlinear.

All it takes is a visible opening and an enterprising climber...
(though you can complicate things with something nesting on the roof that gets disturbed by the noise)

kyoryu
2017-02-13, 12:47 PM
Agreed on both parts. It was meant as a "watch for this" not a "THIS IS A TOTALLY TERRIBLE IDEA".

Yora
2017-02-13, 03:55 PM
Someone should write a research piece on the unique conditions of tower dungeons.

Mark Hall
2017-02-14, 12:54 PM
A tower dungeon is one of those places where a thief is wonderfully disruptive. "Ha, ha, ha, I have placed the evil wizard at the top of the tower! They must fight through three levels of horrific monsters to reach him!"

"I climb the side of the tower, then let down a rope for those losers. We're going in the window."

Hawkstar
2017-02-14, 01:07 PM
Do you have the 5e D&D starter set? The town of Phandelin is a great sandbox area - you could strip away/repurpose/reskin that whole adventure and it'll be a nice low-level sandbox. It has a goblin cave (Designed to take characters from level 1 to level 2) that's about 5 rooms big (8 areas of interest), with about a dozen and a half goblins and a bugbear boss spread out through it, with a handful of wolves as well, broken into bite-sized encounters (And justification for a lack of communication between the encounters - lots of natural sound barriers and background noise).

Everyone in the town has problems that need solving with good oldfashioned badguy-smacking.