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    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Tips for making a dungeoncrawl last longer?

    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.

    Thanks in advance.
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    Default Re: Tips for making a dungeoncrawl last longer?

    • 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
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    Default Re: Tips for making a dungeoncrawl last longer?

    A puzzle involving weights that works by filling cisterns from the nearby river. There is a single bucket provided.
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    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: Tips for making a dungeoncrawl last longer?

    Chute traps that dump people into the bottom of the dungeon are great for not letting them leave whenever they want to.

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    SolithKnightGuy

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    Default Re: Tips for making a dungeoncrawl last longer?

    Stone doors on a time-lock. (even if they bash through - that's time consuming)

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    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: Tips for making a dungeoncrawl last longer?

    Stone doors that can't be picked but need to be broken through, yes. Excellent, that's definitely going in, thanks.

    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?
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    Default Re: Tips for making a dungeoncrawl last longer?

    Quote Originally Posted by PH7 View Post
    Stone doors that can't be picked but need to be broken through, yes. Excellent, that's definitely going in, thanks.
    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!)

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    Default Re: Tips for making a dungeoncrawl last longer?

    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.]

    Quote Originally Posted by PH7 View Post
    One obstacle for those who immediately thought of climbing or anything rope-related: One player is a druid with a wolf companion.
    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.

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    Dwarf in the Playground
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    Default Re: Tips for making a dungeoncrawl last longer?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jay R View Post
    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.

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    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: Tips for making a dungeoncrawl last longer?

    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?

    @ 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)
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    SolithKnightGuy

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    Default Re: Tips for making a dungeoncrawl last longer?

    Quote Originally Posted by PH7 View Post
    @ 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?

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    Default Re: Tips for making a dungeoncrawl last longer?

    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.

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    Default Re: Tips for making a dungeoncrawl last longer?

    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.
    Last edited by Ezeze; 2017-12-01 at 04:01 PM.
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    Default Re: Tips for making a dungeoncrawl last longer?

    Quote Originally Posted by CharonsHelper View Post
    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.

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    Default Re: Tips for making a dungeoncrawl last longer?

    Quote Originally Posted by PH7 View Post
    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?

    @ 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.
    Thri-Kreen Ranger/Psionicist by me, based off of Rich's A Monster for Every Season

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    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: Tips for making a dungeoncrawl last longer?

    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
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    Default Re: Tips for making a dungeoncrawl last longer?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Torath View Post
    Make a "basket" using the rope and a sleeping blanket.
    Craft (basketweaving) remains totally OP.

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    Default Re: Tips for making a dungeoncrawl last longer?

    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.

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    Default Re: Tips for making a dungeoncrawl last longer?

    Quote Originally Posted by PH7 View Post
    @ 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.]

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    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: Tips for making a dungeoncrawl last longer?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jay R View Post
    [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.

    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...
    Last edited by PH7; 2017-12-02 at 05:04 AM.
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    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: Tips for making a dungeoncrawl last longer?

    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!

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    Default Re: Tips for making a dungeoncrawl last longer?

    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.
    English is my second language, but I will be more than happy to explain myself in Danish.

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    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: Tips for making a dungeoncrawl last longer?

    Quote Originally Posted by Incorrect View Post
    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.

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    Default Re: Tips for making a dungeoncrawl last longer?

    Quote Originally Posted by weckar View Post
    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.

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    Default Re: Tips for making a dungeoncrawl last longer?

    Quote Originally Posted by PH7 View Post
    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.

    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.

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    Quote Originally Posted by PH7 View Post
    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?
    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."
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    Superhero in the Playground Moderator
     
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    Default Re: Tips for making a dungeoncrawl last longer?

    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.
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    Default Re: Tips for making a dungeoncrawl last longer?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Hall View Post
    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.

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    Default Re: Tips for making a dungeoncrawl last longer?

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

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    Default Re: Tips for making a dungeoncrawl last longer?

    Quote Originally Posted by Nifft View Post
    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.

    Quote Originally Posted by Nifft View Post
    ... 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.

    Quote Originally Posted by Nifft View Post
    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?

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    Default Re: Tips for making a dungeoncrawl last longer?

    Quote Originally Posted by Nifft View Post
    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.
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