PDA

View Full Version : Tips for making a dungeoncrawl last longer?



PH7
2017-12-01, 07:36 AM
Hello everyone. I was wondering if anyone had some ideas for making a dungeoncrawl last longer in-game? For roleplaying reasons, their characters need to be in it for at least 15 - 30 minutes and it can't be too challenging that they would turn back to resupply or rest to drastically change their spells. Thing is, I'd like to finish the adventure there in 1 or 2 sessions, so just adding in battles would take too long IRL for maybe a few minutes in-game of fighting.
It's a low (3rd) level party.
They haven't entered yet, so I can still change the setting of the place from typical dungeon to natural cave or something. I was hoping for some mildly challenging obstacles that can be resolved IRL reasonably quickly, but would believable take some time for the PC's.

One obstacle for those who immediately thought of climbing or anything rope-related: One player is a druid with a wolf companion. :smallfrown:

Thanks in advance.

Grod_The_Giant
2017-12-01, 07:44 AM
Physical obstacles are good-- walls that need climbed, chasms that need crossed, flooded passages that need swum through... even just long twisty hallways.
Traps (and secret doors, to a lesser extent) will slow you right down, since searching for anything takes a while. Of course, trap-induced paranoia will also slow your players down, so your mileage may vary.
Puzzles, particularly if you insist the deliberations be in character.
Throw a choice or moral dilemma in and watch your players argue for half an hour. Inform them that the clock is ticking while their characters debate each other.
Roleplaying encounters

Celestia
2017-12-01, 08:28 AM
A puzzle involving weights that works by filling cisterns from the nearby river. There is a single bucket provided.

Koo Rehtorb
2017-12-01, 09:23 AM
Chute traps that dump people into the bottom of the dungeon are great for not letting them leave whenever they want to.

CharonsHelper
2017-12-01, 09:25 AM
Stone doors on a time-lock. (even if they bash through - that's time consuming)

PH7
2017-12-01, 09:49 AM
Stone doors that can't be picked but need to be broken through, yes. Excellent, that's definitely going in, thanks. :smallsmile:

I like the idea of them having to cross a chasm. Any ideas on ideal length and difficulty that doesn't make it impossible for the heavily armoured dwarf?

CharonsHelper
2017-12-01, 09:56 AM
Stone doors that can't be picked but need to be broken through, yes. Excellent, that's definitely going in, thanks. :smallsmile:


Make sure that the noise attracts... things.

(I've read people talking about their players just bashing through walls all the time with adamantine weapons - but that'd be freakin' loud. Unless everyone/thing in the dungeon is stupid - that's bad!)

Jay R
2017-12-01, 12:56 PM
Eighteen empty rooms, on of which has a secret door. In each one, you can tell them, "After ten minutes search, you conclude that there's nothing here."

The treasure is in seven separate locked chests, not one.

"You start walking down the stairs. Fifteen minutes later, you finally emerge in a room with a door." [With the walk back up, that takes up the required thirty minutes.]


One obstacle for those who immediately thought of climbing or anything rope-related: One player is a druid with a wolf companion. :smallfrown:

That's a feature, not a bug. Now the climbing will take longer in-game, as they work out how to get the wolf up or down.

Gravitron5000
2017-12-01, 01:13 PM
That's a feature, not a bug. Now the climbing will take longer in-game, as they work out how to get the wolf up or down.

While keeping the wolf from eating the sheep, and the sheep from eating the cabbages ...

Make the dungeon big. If it takes 10 minutes to walk through a tunnel before the next room you can eat through time without eating through resources. Many old school dungeons would take advantage of this by having many (potentially) empty rooms between rooms of interest.

PH7
2017-12-01, 03:12 PM
Yeah, except I feel like saying "you walk for 15 minutes" feels a little like a cop-out.
Also, who creates rooms with no purpose in mind for them? Think of the biggest building you can, how many rooms in it are kept empty indefinitely? :smallamused:

@ Jay R: As for the 'feature, not a bug' part of the wolf, how would you try and get the wolf up and down, not having access to any impressive magic? I'm genuinely interested and I don't want to be blindsided by my players' suggestions (which I already know would be insane, and funny, and insanely funny)

CharonsHelper
2017-12-01, 03:17 PM
@ Jay R: As for the 'feature, not a bug' part of the wolf, how would you try and get the wolf up and down, not having access to any impressive magic? I'm genuinely interested and I don't want to be blindsided by my players' suggestions (which I already know would be insane, and funny, and insanely funny)

A rope? How complex of a harness depends upon what tools the PCs have and how grumpy about the process you want to make the wolf be.

Backpack with holes in it for feet/head?

Nifft
2017-12-01, 03:51 PM
Slowing down the party:
- difficult terrain
- one-at-a-time rope bridge across a chasm
- Hallway of Mandatory Tip-Toeing
- Golem guardian requires solution to a long-division problem for each PC before allowing passage either way
- boat on circular magical river links two parts of dungeon; takes a fixed amount of time to traverse its course


Wolf movement ideas:
- Cast levitate or spider climb on the wolf.
- Reins of Ascension.
- Fiendish Wings (feathered) graft. Warning: will tend to make the wolf behave like a cat.

Ezeze
2017-12-01, 04:01 PM
Put a bit of writing on the walls. Bonus points if it's in an old, hard-to-translate language that not all of the PCs can speak.

They will stop to read it, and to translate it for the PCs who can't.

Knaight
2017-12-01, 04:42 PM
A rope? How complex of a harness depends upon what tools the PCs have and how grumpy about the process you want to make the wolf be.

If you're any good with fiber crafts you can make a decent netted harness out of a rope, which is another option that immediately comes to mind.

Lord Torath
2017-12-01, 05:44 PM
Yeah, except I feel like saying "you walk for 15 minutes" feels a little like a cop-out.
Also, who creates rooms with no purpose in mind for them? Think of the biggest building you can, how many rooms in it are kept empty indefinitely? :smallamused:

@ Jay R: As for the 'feature, not a bug' part of the wolf, how would you try and get the wolf up and down, not having access to any impressive magic? I'm genuinely interested and I don't want to be blindsided by my players' suggestions (which I already know would be insane, and funny, and insanely funny)Make a "basket" using the rope and a sleeping blanket. Your PCs are prepared, right? Ten-foot poles, iron spikes, pouches of flour, bags of ball-bearings - they've got it all, right? If so, one of them surely brought a bed roll. :smallwink:

PH7
2017-12-01, 06:04 PM
Excellent ideas. Thank you all.

And yes, they all come prepared. The druid originally believed he could live off the land, but has since learned that the weight of a few supplies are worth the saved spell slots for endure elements, etc :smallamused:

Nifft
2017-12-01, 06:07 PM
Make a "basket" using the rope and a sleeping blanket.

Craft (basketweaving) remains totally OP.

Von_Derpington
2017-12-01, 09:08 PM
I like to use traps. Like, they'll step on a pressure plate and even something as simple as a pit appears, and now your players are spending time making checks to get over it, get someone out of it, et cetera. Now, imaging something more complex, like some kind of puzzle trap with a riddle or logic problem. That's going to take them quite a while.

Jay R
2017-12-01, 10:58 PM
@ Jay R: As for the 'feature, not a bug' part of the wolf, how would you try and get the wolf up and down, not having access to any impressive magic? I'm genuinely interested and I don't want to be blindsided by my players' suggestions (which I already know would be insane, and funny, and insanely funny)

My ideas don't matter. I'd build a platform supported by a rope, or have the strongest person carry the wolf, or use Feather Fall, or some such, based on what spells and skills the party had.

The point is that your players' ideas will be insane, and funny, and insanely funny. And they will take up in-game time to enact, even if they can be expressed in a single sentence.

[And you're supposed to be blindsided by your players' suggestions -- you're the DM. You're not supposed to know what happens next.]

PH7
2017-12-02, 05:00 AM
[And you're supposed to be blindsided by your players' suggestions -- you're the DM. You're not supposed to know what happens next.]

Oh, I'm quite aware of that. It's why I keep doing it after all. :smallsmile:

The more I anticipate, the more my plans turn to dust before my eyes and that's always fun.

Edit: just to clarify, I'm not being ironic. As soon as I typed it I realized it might be assumed I was...

weckar
2017-12-04, 04:38 AM
The main question is: Was the 'dungeon' designed to keep people out, or is it more of a circumstantial ruin or the like? In the former case, many empty rooms to dissuade/confuse invaders are not just reasonable - they are expected!

Incorrect
2017-12-04, 06:54 AM
Only combat happens in rounds.
In all other situations, time just flies.

How much time to do a search check of a room? 10 minutes.
Loot the dead enemies? 5 minutes.
Properly dress a wound? 5 minutes
Fiddling with a magic item to determine its use?

30 minutes will easily go by. 15 minutes is totally believable for one combat, the aftermath and checking the room.

weckar
2017-12-04, 09:12 AM
Only combat happens in rounds.
In all other situations, time just flies.

How much time to do a search check of a room? 10 minutes.
Loot the dead enemies? 5 minutes.
Properly dress a wound? 5 minutes
Fiddling with a magic item to determine its use?

30 minutes will easily go by. 15 minutes is totally believable for one combat, the aftermath and checking the room. Makes a good point here. Besides, we all know 6 secs/round is entirely unrealistic - the decision making alone can take minutes.

Jay R
2017-12-04, 10:34 AM
Makes a good point here. Besides, we all know 6 secs/round is entirely unrealistic - the decision making alone can take minutes.

I tell my players that a "round" is not a measure of in-game time. It's a tool for simulating continuous action with discrete events. There might be three furious rounds in a few seconds, or a round could be a minute of staring at each other waiting for somebody to see an opening.

Don't focus on the simulation, focus on the situation being simulated.

shadow_archmagi
2017-12-04, 11:14 AM
Hello everyone. I was wondering if anyone had some ideas for making a dungeoncrawl last longer in-game? For roleplaying reasons, their characters need to be in it for at least 15 - 30 minutes and it can't be too challenging that they would turn back to resupply or rest to drastically change their spells. Thing is, I'd like to finish the adventure there in 1 or 2 sessions, so just adding in battles would take too long IRL for maybe a few minutes in-game of fighting.
It's a low (3rd) level party.
They haven't entered yet, so I can still change the setting of the place from typical dungeon to natural cave or something. I was hoping for some mildly challenging obstacles that can be resolved IRL reasonably quickly, but would believable take some time for the PC's.

One obstacle for those who immediately thought of climbing or anything rope-related: One player is a druid with a wolf companion. :smallfrown:

Thanks in advance.

Puzzle: Door that can only be opened by sunlight. (Possibly part of the puzzle is figuring out that's what it takes; maybe a riddle?) Takes four seconds tabletime for a PC to say "Okay so we get some mirrors and set it up to reflect light in from outside the dungeon" but that's easily a half-hour's work.

Puzzle: The floor of this room is covered in fungus that sprays acid when disturbed. Trying to burn it just creates a big cloud of acid-steam.




Also, who creates rooms with no purpose in mind for them? Think of the biggest building you can, how many rooms in it are kept empty indefinitely? :smallamused:


Well, that depends on whether an empty room is wall to wall bare, or if an empty room is, in fact, merely empty of enemies and treasure. It may also have been heavily re-purposed over time. "Back when this place was built, this would've been a kitchen. You can still see parts of the original ovens incorporated into the goblins' big still over there." or "When the church of Sigmar was in operation, this would have been a cheese storage. In fact, the shelf on the back wall is still standing, and you can see several torso-sized masses of desiccated fungus from where a cheese aged into oblivion."

Mark Hall
2017-12-04, 11:38 AM
In B2, there's a section of minotaur caves that has a maze-like quality and a degree of confusion cast over it... even if you're following good mapping practices, you're going to get lost a bit.

Nifft
2017-12-04, 03:15 PM
In B2, there's a section of minotaur caves that has a maze-like quality and a degree of confusion cast over it... even if you're following good mapping practices, you're going to get lost a bit.

That's just so evil.

I mean, forcing players to make maps is bad enough, but then you suddenly turn on the poor map-making player and laugh mockingly: "Ha ha ha, your map is worthless!"

That poor guy runs from the room crying, and you never play D&D again.

Telonius
2017-12-04, 04:02 PM
Wait a few levels, and this will stop being an issue. (Only half-joking; higher-level combat tends to bog down noticeably).

Jay R
2017-12-04, 04:25 PM
That's just so evil.

I mean, forcing players to make maps is bad enough, ...

I'll bite. Why? I track my PC's equipment, my spell list, my saving throws, by skill levels, my ability bonuses, etc. Why shouldn't I also track his path? Eventually, I'm going to have to decide whether to go right or left. Of course I want to make the best decision I can. I can't imagine exploring a complex of rooms and passages without drawing a map.


... but then you suddenly turn on the poor map-making player and laugh mockingly: "Ha ha ha, your map is worthless!"

No DM I have ever seen has done this. Besides, Every competent DM, and every competent player, knows that there is a wide range of values for the map between "exactly perfect" and "worthless".

And when you're lost in a complex maze, your immediate goal is to get back to a part of it that you have previously mapped. That requires having a mapped section to return to. The map is helpful even if it's both incomplete and imperfect.


That poor guy runs from the room crying, and you never play D&D again.This does not match my experience. When we started, we mapped everything, and the DM had the standard tools to try to get us lost in the dungeon anyway, to increase the tension, challenge, and fun. I never saw anybody "run from the room crying, and ... never play D&D again."

Never.

Did you just make this up, or have you actually seen somebody run from the room crying, and never play D&D again, because his map wasn't perfect?

Mark Hall
2017-12-04, 04:32 PM
That's just so evil.

I mean, forcing players to make maps is bad enough, but then you suddenly turn on the poor map-making player and laugh mockingly: "Ha ha ha, your map is worthless!"

That poor guy runs from the room crying, and you never play D&D again.

In Hackmaster, depending on the Cartography skill of your party, you might not GET to make a map.

Nifft
2017-12-04, 04:34 PM
I'll bite. Why? I track my PC's equipment, my spell list, my saving throws, by skill levels, my ability bonuses, etc. Why shouldn't I also track his path? Eventually, I'm going to have to decide whether to go right or left. Of course I want to make the best decision I can. I can't imagine exploring a complex of rooms and passages without drawing a map. Because the character has massively more information about the environment than the player.

The character sees the rooms and passages through which the PC walks; the player hears a summary.

The DM sees a map. The DM describes the map, maybe making a mistake or two in description, and the player writes down what the DM says -- also maybe making a mistake or two.

These are mistakes purely in media translation. They force the player to constantly double-check with the DM about something which is not the most interesting thing to the players, nor the most interesting thing to the DM. There are four separate sources for transcription errors; or more if any other player is simultaneously talking.

In contrast, the DM revealing the map slowly using a digital tool has no chance of transcription error.


No DM I have ever seen has done this. Besides, Every competent DM, and every competent player, knows that there is a wide range of values for the map between "exactly perfect" and "worthless". Did you miss the part about how the module said that the confusion effect made the player's maps useless?

Your competent DMs presumably never used such a gimmick.

That speaks well of their competence.

Think about that for a sec.


In Hackmaster, depending on the Cartography skill of your party, you might not GET to make a map.

Wow, that's double-evil with fudge ripple.

Jay R
2017-12-04, 05:08 PM
In contrast, the DM revealing the map slowly using a digital tool has no chance of transcription error.

And therefore no chance of playing out the tense, suspense-filled "lost in the ruins" part of the experience.


Did you miss the part about how the module said that the confusion effect made the player's maps useless?

Evidently, yes, I did - and still do. The post I read said that "there's a section of minotaur caves that has a maze-like quality and a degree of confusion cast over it... even if you're following good mapping practices, you're going to get lost a bit."

"[Y]ou're going to get lost a bit" is so very different from "useless" that I thought, and still think, that it's a misreading to turn it into "laugh mockingly: "Ha ha ha, your map is worthless!"


Your competent DMs presumably never used such a gimmick.

That speaks well of their competence.

Think about that for a sec.

That depends on what you mean by "such a gimmick." They never used something that led them to laugh mockingly: "Ha ha ha, your map is worthless!" They never did anything that made my map completely useless. But I have certainly dealt with competent DM's anti-mapping tricks like rotating rooms, oblique angles, shifting walls, and the like. If I were in a section of caves with a maze-like quality and a degree of confusion cast over it, I would try to get out of that area, seeking the part previously mapped. Because the incomplete and imperfect map is still a useful and worthy tool.

Now, back to the question I asked: Did you just make this up, or have you actually seen somebody run from the room crying, and never play D&D again, because his map wasn't perfect?

Nifft
2017-12-04, 05:17 PM
And therefore no chance of playing out the tense, suspense-filled "lost in the ruins" part of the experience. Right, because the DM can't just turn the display off and say, "You're lost."

Oh wait, they can.

In fact, arranging that experience is even easier if you don't require that one player does the mapping.


And therefore no chance of playing out the tense, suspense-filled "lost in the ruins" part of the experience. Evidently, yes, I did - and still do. The post I read said that "there's a section of minotaur caves that has a maze-like quality and a degree of confusion cast over it... even if you're following good mapping practices, you're going to get lost a bit."

"[Y]ou're going to get lost a bit" is so very different from "useless" that I thought, and still think, that it's a misreading to turn it into "laugh mockingly: "Ha ha ha, your map is worthless!"[/quote] I'm putting emphasis on the suckiness of having to do something, and then having your efforts as a player (not a character) declared ineffectual due to a module's dictum.

You're nit-picking my rhetorical expression ("DM might use mocking laughter") because you want to have a go at the central point, but you can't, because the central point is solid.

The central point stands: Requiring a player to map the is a bad thing, and invalidating that effort is even worse.

Tinkerer
2017-12-04, 05:21 PM
The physically impossible map isn't worthless in that case. It shows that either their perceptions or the physical layout of the place are inaccurate. If I were drawing the map in that case I would first show it to the GM. Most will be nice enough to cop to if they described something wrong, or they go "Nah, that looks about right". In which case you know that your characters are in some serious **** and should start trying to find a way out.

Jay R
2017-12-04, 06:07 PM
[COLOR="#0000FF"]You're nit-picking my rhetorical expression ("DM might use mocking laughter") because you want to have a go at the central point, but you can't, because the central point is solid.

No, I am not "nit-picking" it. I am disagreeing with it, because it is both false-to-fact and kind of insulting. Its effect is to equate playing the game differently from you with mocking laughter, sneering at players, and running away in tears. I urge you to withdraw it.


[COLOR="#0000FF"]The central point stands: Requiring a player to map the is a bad thing, and invalidating that effort is even worse.

I disagree wholeheartedly with your "central point". It is semantically equivalent to "Having fun any way other than Nifft's way is a bad thing, and making it more fun with greater challenges is even worse."

But I don't really care about your central point. I don't need your approval to enjoy my games.

So I return to my own central point, which you have continued to ignore: Did you just make this up, or have you actually seen somebody run from the room crying, and never play D&D again, because his map wasn't perfect?

The thing is, you don't have to make up falsehoods about a mocking, sneering DM and a player running out of the room and never playing again, just to defend the way you play. That's the only thing you've done that I disapprove of.

Feel free to play the game your way. Feel free to defend how much fun the game is for you without mapping. Feel free to ask your own DMs to run the game that way.

But please withdraw the made-up statements about people who enjoy different things than you do.

Nifft
2017-12-04, 06:19 PM
No, I am not "nit-picking" it. I am disagreeing with it, because it is both false-to-fact and kind of insulting. False-to-fact?

Are you claiming that no DM has ever laughed mockingly?

I'm going to need you to provide some substantial evidence to back up that rather outrageous claim.

Or you can back the hell off and stop trying to score rhetorical points which have nothing to do with the actual topic. That would work too.


I disagree wholeheartedly with your "central point". It is semantically equivalent to "Having fun any way other than Nifft's way is a bad thing, and making it more fun with greater challenges is even worse."
Nah, it's just my 25+ years of experience.

If you like making maps based on DM description, you go have fun with that.

It's never been more fun for any player with whom I've actually played, and that's been quite a few over the years.

It's certainly not a ~challenge~ in any sense other than court transcription is a challenge -- which is to say: it's difficult, it requires a lot of training to do correctly, and it's so much fun that they have to pay people a significant amount of money to do it.

The payoff for incorrectly mapping is that the PCs behave in very stupid ways:

Player: "We turn left."
DM: "You are now facing a wall."
Player: "I thought that's a corridor."
DM: "Your map must be wrong."
Player: "We look around."
DM: "There's a corridor behind you, and to your right."
Player: "Okay, left was wrong, so we turn right."

The PCs are now walking back the way they came. This is not what even marginally sapient PCs would have done. It's not a ~challenge~, it's just a terrible user interface.

But this is your idea of fun?

You go have that fun.

I want better fun.

Jay R
2017-12-04, 07:52 PM
False-to-fact?

Are you claiming that no DM has ever laughed mockingly?

No, I am not claiming that.

There's a simple test for whether I'm claiming something. If you block-copied my words from my post (without taking them out of important context), then that's what I'm claiming.

But if you typed in in yourself, deliberately using outrageous exaggeration, in words you know I would never use, then no, I am not claiming it.

You just made it up, to pretend I said something that you know I did not say. Just like you made up a story about a mocking DM and a player running out of a room, in order to make something you find personal annoying appear to be objectively horrible.


I'm going to need you to provide some substantial evidence to back up that rather outrageous claim.

Don't be silly. I won't provide evidence to support your made-up outrageous claim - especially when the actual topic between us is that you shouldn't make up outrageous claims.


Or you can back the hell off and stop trying to score rhetorical points which have nothing to do with the actual topic. That would work too.

The actual topic I came in to talk about is the fact that you made up outrageous claims in an insulting manner, and I'd like you to stop. That is the ONLY topic between us.


Nah, it's just my 25+ years of experience.

Well, I've seen different things in my 40+ years of experience, starting in 1975 with original D&D.


If you like making maps based on DM description, you go have fun with that.

It's never been more fun for any player with whom I've actually played, and that's been quite a few over the years.

It's certainly not a ~challenge~ in any sense other than court transcription is a challenge -- which is to say: it's difficult, it requires a lot of training to do correctly, and it's so much fun that they have to pay people a significant amount of money to do it.

The analogy, as described in your words, is simply false. Nobody has to pay me a significant amount of money to map dungeons.

And frankly, I've never had any training in dungeon-mapping. None. I've seen, and taught, classes at gaming conventions, and I've never seen any dungeon mapping training. This is, of course, another outrageous claim.

I also don't find mapping very difficult, but some other people do. So I won't say, "It isn't difficult." That flat statement would be as simplistic and as wrong as your flat statement that it is difficult, and for the same reasons.

The challenge is trying to account for shifting walls and pit traps, and to find our way out of an area we got lost in, using the incomplete map as a tool.


The payoff for incorrectly mapping is that the PCs behave in very stupid ways:

Player: "We turn left."
DM: "You are now facing a wall."
Player: "I thought that's a corridor."
DM: "Your map must be wrong."
Player: "We look around."
DM: "There's a corridor behind you, and to your right."
Player: "Okay, left was wrong, so we turn right."

This is players behaving in a very stupid way.


The PCs are now walking back the way they came. This is not what even marginally sapient PCs would have done. It's not a ~challenge~, it's just a terrible user interface.

That's not a terrible user interface; it's terrible users. I've never had that silly a conversation about a map. I've never had a DM that unhelpful, or players behaving that foolishly.

When mapping, I tend to show the map to the DM as I draw, so he can tell me if I switched right and left, or missed something else that would be obvious to my PC's eyes. And I will often say, "We go back to this corridor (pointing to map) and take it." You're describing players who aren't trying to communicate and a DM who isn't trying to communicate. I don't play that way, and I reject your implication that mapping requires playing that way.


But this is your idea of fun?

This is another outrageous claim you've made up. You invent a fake and unrealistic dialog, and then claimed it was my idea of fun. It's not. Behaving stupidly is not my idea of fun.


You go have that fun.

I will go have the fun of mapping the dungeon, making deductions based on the map, getting lost, trying to find myself by finding something that is on the map, etc. But nothing like the outrageous claim made by the dialog you made up above and then claimed was my kind of fun.


I want better fun.

If I ever can get you to care about the actual issue between us, I will try to get you to start saying, "You go have your kind of fun. I want my kind of fun." The real issue between us is your constant assumption that your kind of fun is better than my kind of fun, rather than merely being what you enjoy.

What I enjoy is not badwrongfun. What you enjoy is not "better fun". And you don't need outrageous claims to defend what you enjoy.

That's our real point of disagreement.

2D8HP
2017-12-04, 11:05 PM
...the DM revealing the map slowly using a digital tool has no chance of transcription error....
:confused:

I've never seen a "digital tool" used the way you described, nor can I imagine how it would work.

What my DM used to do was just cover the parts of a map that our characters couldn't see with paper.

Later he used dry erase mats that had squares on one side (for corridors/halls) and hexes on the other (for caves/wilderness), and he would draw and erase as we went.

If we thought about it and wanted to trace our way back we'd make notes and sketches, but mostly we just kept going.

My characters died a lot (because I just didn't play as smart as the others at the table) but I never felt that the DM was an antagonist, the game was something we did together for fun (and fun it was, I miss those guys and those days).

The first time I thought of the DM (and the other players for that matter) as an antagonist was at a DunDraCon when I was 12 or 13. My character was your basic Conan expy while the other players (all 20 something college students) played Magic Users, I remember the "adventure" as being kind-of "Alice in Wonderland meets Monty Python on LSD" and the insanity of it bugged me greatly much to the amusement of the DM and other players, who seemed to be going out of their way to befuddle me.

Since me and the other teens and pre-teens I usually played with almost never played Magic Users, and I mostly thought of Mages as "bad guys", I was an even more confimed Fighter player after that (I also gained an antipathy toward college students, which I retained until I married one).

PH7
2017-12-05, 12:51 AM
Wow, this one blew up over the weekend. :smalleek:

Look, everyone experiences and enjoys D&D in their own way. No 2 groups are alike (same with 2 DM's).
As for me, I don't need the dungeon to be that big that they really need to make a map (re: like to finish it in 1-2 sessions). I just needed some tips to get them to spend more time trying to get deeper, but then after the time expires (again, story reasons) they'll need to gtfo real quick.

As it stands I'll use the stone door, chasm & pit trap ideas suggested. They'll be able to get a running start to cross the last 2 going out, but not going in. Thank you all for the suggestions.

Peace

Nifft
2017-12-05, 01:09 AM
.
:confused:

I've never seen a "digital tool" used the way you described, nor can I imagine how it would work. One laptop + one projector, easy as pie.

Roll20 also has tools to do this across multiple laptops, and I bet there are other tools.

I'm sure you've seen a picture of this type of thing.

Here's a fancy version: http://www.gamergroup.com/page.roleplaying-game-articles.b.2827.r.1.html

I just used a wall -- no minis, just the map.


What my DM used to do was just cover the parts of a map that our characters couldn't see with paper.

Later he used dry erase mats that had squares on one side (for corridors/halls) and hexes on the other (for caves/wilderness), and he would draw and erase as we went. Both of those are great.

They're more work for the DM than the digital tool way, but they communicate the environment in an acceptable way.

Since the DM is drawing, there's no chance of person-to-person transmission error, and the DM can double-check efficiently by looking at the real (secret) map.

If we thought about it and wanted to trace our way back we'd make notes and sketches, but mostly we just kept going.


The first time I thought of the DM (and the other players for that matter) as an antagonist It's really quite a lot better when the DM is not an antagonist.

Arbane
2017-12-05, 01:23 AM
Maybe the dungeon is (partly) an old mine that broke through into natural cavers (full of monsters, which is why they were abandoned). Lots of excuses for long, branching hallways that don't lead to rooms - they're following ore veins.

Mine shafts, with or without working pulley systems.
Bad air the further down you go.
Flooded areas.
An old map showing the area the PCs are in, with 'storeroom' marked at the far end of that caved-in passage they saw.
And of course, mine carts to ride.

2D8HP
2017-12-05, 07:30 AM
One laptop + one projector, easy as pie.

Roll20 also has tools to do this across multiple laptops, and I bet there are other tools.

I'm sure you've seen a picture of this type of thing.

Here's a fancy version: http://www.gamergroup.com/page.roleplaying-game-articles.b.2827.r.1.html......
Nope, I've never seen the like.

Pretty neat, thanks!

Vogie
2017-12-05, 11:30 AM
Other ideas to use:

Old Traps - They don't work properly, due to being untouched for a while. Someone steps on a stone, hears a click, but nothing happens... yet. It creates a situation where one PC can't move, the others have an unknown amount of time to find and disarm the trap.

Collapsing Dungeons - At a certain point, the way the PCs have entered, and everything they've passed thus far, disappears. It may be a landslide, collapse, fall into an underground river, gratuitous application of lava, et cetera. That effectively doubles the size of the dungeon, as they can't leave the way they came.

West Marches variant - Instead of a series of small dungeons, have the party discover a massive one - one that they themselves can clear. However, people are coming in behind them, building up a zone that will eventually be a town inside portions of the dungeon. This allows a normal one-done dungeon rolls, but also surprise encounters as the town gets attacked, altercations with other adventuring parties, side adventures with backup characters in the same zone, and give them a place that grows with the party that isn't the normal keep or guildhall

CharonsHelper
2017-12-05, 11:32 AM
Another excuse for empty rooms - make the dungeon a winding maze-like affair, but in on specific direction it's mostly cleared out. Until they come upon the corpses of the last adventurers to make the attempt...

Jay R
2017-12-05, 11:51 AM
And don't forget that you don't need to spend player time when you're trying to spend character time.

A refuse-filled room with piles of paper and bags on the floor might take a half hour to an hour for characters to search. But you just need to say, "After an hour of careful searching, you find no more than thirteen copper pieces."

Nifft
2017-12-05, 12:14 PM
.
Nope, I've never seen the like.

Pretty neat, thanks! Map-sharing tools can make the game a lot faster at the table, and for me table-time is precious.

I swear by 'em.


Old Traps - They don't work properly, due to being untouched for a while. Someone steps on a stone, hears a click, but nothing happens... yet. It creates a situation where one PC can't move, the others have an unknown amount of time to find and disarm the trap. Heh, cool.

Or what if the traps get re-set by something the PCs do? So they spend time investigating traps that don't work on the way in, and then they have to actually disarm the traps on the way out -- because the traps are intended to kill intruders, not delay intruders.


A refuse-filled room with piles of paper and bags on the floor might take a half hour to an hour for characters to search. But you just need to say, "After an hour of careful searching, you find no more than thirteen copper pieces." That's actually a pretty decent idea.

Mark Hall
2017-12-05, 01:29 PM
In Hackmaster, depending on the Cartography skill of your party, you might not GET to make a map.



Wow, that's double-evil with fudge ripple.

Better and more immersive, IMO, than getting a minimap that reveals everything... and easier on the DM, so they don't have to contrive ways for hidden passages and the like to remain hidden on a map that may have to include them.

Here's the bit about cartography from Hackmaster Basic (www.kenzerco.com/free_files/hackmaster_basic_free_.pdf)


Cartography
Relevant Ability: Intelligence
Cost: 5 BP
Universal: Yes
Prerequisite: None
Materials/Tools: Yes
If a character has parchment, quills and ink, this skill allows him to create relatively accurate maps. If the PC fails to purchase these items, he cannot map the area. (Remember that parchment is flammable and PCs could easily lose their map in a Fireball.)
Characters unskilled or with Novice mastery of Cartography may not use graph paper when mapping dungeons! Those of Average mastery should also not be allowed to pester the GM with repeated questions - give the dimensions once (if they complain, tell them they had better improve their skill). Finally, if a PC can’t see (e.g., he’s in total darkness), he can’t map.

Mastery Level The character can...
Unskilled: Draw a simple map of interconnected lines (“turned left here, went down a corridor for a while, room here”)
Novice: Draw a rough, simple map
Average: Draw a fairly accurate map
Advanced: Draw a very accurate map
Expert: Create a topographical map while airborne
Master: Figure longitude, map continent-sized mass

Cartography is universal if you're literate, so most parties will have someone who is at least Unskilled. If they spent 5 BP on cartography, they upgrade to at least Novice (01-25 Mastery level), and Average is usually only a couple purchases away (26-50). It's a game that thrives at low levels, with a relatively shallow power curve and a good degree of swinginess. One that seeks to establish verisimilitude (for example: while HP based, you can wind up dropping in pain from the first hit, if it's big enough. It is cheaper to buy unprepared food and prepare it... but you have to be skilled in cooking to do that. Wounds heal individually, instead of as a pool of HP that slowly increases). And one that requires that the players take responsibility for their own maps.

Nifft
2017-12-05, 01:39 PM
Better and more immersive, IMO, than getting a minimap that reveals everything... and easier on the DM, so they don't have to contrive ways for hidden passages and the like to remain hidden on a map that may have to include them.

Here's the bit about cartography from Hackmaster Basic (www.kenzerco.com/free_files/hackmaster_basic_free_.pdf)



Cartography is universal if you're literate, so most parties will have someone who is at least Unskilled. If they spent 5 BP on cartography, they upgrade to at least Novice (01-25 Mastery level), and Average is usually only a couple purchases away (26-50). It's a game that thrives at low levels, with a relatively shallow power curve and a good degree of swinginess. One that seeks to establish verisimilitude (for example: while HP based, you can wind up dropping in pain from the first hit, if it's big enough. It is cheaper to buy unprepared food and prepare it... but you have to be skilled in cooking to do that. Wounds heal individually, instead of as a pool of HP that slowly increases). And one that requires that the players take responsibility for their own maps.

Interesting.

When character ability exceeds player ability -- e.g. " Advanced: Draw a very accurate map" or "Expert: Create a topographical map while airborne", then I assume the DM will be handing out maps.

Mark Hall
2017-12-05, 02:24 PM
Interesting.

When character ability exceeds player ability -- e.g. " Advanced: Draw a very accurate map" or "Expert: Create a topographical map while airborne", then I assume the DM will be handing out maps.

That's how I would do it, yeah. Our basic maps from our AD&D, crawling through Undermountain days really only require an Average level of ability (Advanced if the rest of your group won't shut up so you can hear the room dimensions).

Nifft
2017-12-05, 02:32 PM
That's how I would do it, yeah. Our basic maps from our AD&D, crawling through Undermountain days really only require an Average level of ability (Advanced if the rest of your group won't shut up so you can hear the room dimensions).

On that scale, I assume that the designated mapper has an Average ability.

That's what the maps I hand out (or project) are based around.



Mastery Level The character can...
Unskilled: Draw a simple map of interconnected lines (“turned left here, went down a corridor for a while, room here”)
Novice: Draw a rough, simple map
Average: Draw a fairly accurate map
Advanced: Draw a very accurate map
Expert: Create a topographical map while airborne
Master: Figure longitude, map continent-sized mass


Hmm, now I wonder how this sort of thing would mesh with weird dungeon topologies, like the Serpent Reliquary from Elder Evils.

Pugwampy
2017-12-07, 08:46 AM
Wandering monsters in passages and bugging you when you try to sleep , will slow your dungeon exploration to a snails pace.

I do my best to avoid those encounters even if a mod wants that.