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Folx
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Re: D&D: Evolving as a DM

Postby Folx » Thu Apr 02, 2009 2:09 pm UTC

And yet, for the same amount of money you can hire a wizard to create an extradimensional space for you, keyed to a certain ritual you do for transportation. So long as you wear the appropriate anti-scrying enchantments while there, you have just created a secure location for your stuff.

Outside of something like a Wish spell or a God getting pissed at you, mind you, but your stronghold in the hills is also vulnerable to those.
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Re: Dungeon Mastering: Dungeoneering

Postby Chen » Thu Apr 02, 2009 7:03 pm UTC

Vaniver wrote:
Goldstein wrote:Now I don't want to change the encounter to prevent him from using it, but I would like to make sure that the whole encounter isn't simply resolved by teleporting over the chasm and grabbing the goods.
Fey Step is a one-way trip (although you can go back if you wait five minutes).


Yeah unless there's some pressing time concern I can't really see why Fey Step doesn't just break this challenge. A magical locked box (say stuck to the ground) would at least necessitate the wizard to come over I guess, though it seems a tad contrived compared to the dead adventurer. Teleporting across also just allows him to carry the rope over with him and toss it back and have someone else anchor it to themselves and crawl on over. Now I suppose if you made the other platform LOWER than the first one he wouldn't necessarilly have LOS to teleport back which would be interesting.

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Re: Dungeon Mastering: Dungeoneering

Postby Goldstein » Thu Apr 02, 2009 7:32 pm UTC

Yeah. I've given it some thought and... Well I didn't come up with anything, but the guy running the Eladrin isn't going to be there when this likely plays out on Saturday, so that's that dealt with.

I guess if the Eladrin Wizard was there and decided to rest for five minutes before he could zip back across, I could just have the corpse get up and push him off the platform :)
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Re: D&D: Evolving as a DM

Postby SecondTalon » Thu Apr 02, 2009 9:22 pm UTC

See, it doesn't matter if "A Wizard did it" explaining (for example) some crossbred creature so long as the rules are internally consistent. "A Wizard Did It" works if your players can roll the requisite knowledge skill or whatever it is to see that, yes, a Wizard in fact did it, and based on your findings the Wizard in question used Bio-transmutation magics to achieve said goal, probably the "Create Offspring" spell (take any two differing gender targets that reproduce via sexual reproduction. Said creatures will immediately mate and, after an averaged gestation period will produce the appropriate number of offspring) or whatever silly explanation you have that X happens and makes sense in this world, even if it clearly violates the laws of Science as we understand them

Of course, that actually works within the suspension of disbelief. Magic exists and does Magical things, as explained by X, Y and Z. While you may not be able to say that predictable results are always produced, you can trace the results back to a cause.

This also works well if you don't do the silly thing some DMs do, where NPC spellslingers have access to wonky, nearly useless spells that the players cannot access because the DM doesn't want to balance "Summon Rose Garden" or whatever.

Screw it. Summon Rose Garden is a level 1 spell that creates difficult terrain that deals 1d2 damage when passing through at normal speed, or 1d4 when running through.
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Re: D&D: Evolving as a DM

Postby Xaddak » Thu Apr 02, 2009 9:43 pm UTC

Heh. That's an awesome couple of new spells, ST.

I got a whole lot of work laid out for my No Interference campaign yesterday. Sometime over the weekend I am going to purchase a folder and other stuff.

How's this for non-evolutionary? I'ma run it is as a 3.5 campaign instead of 4.0!
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Re: D&D: Evolving as a DM

Postby thecommabandit » Thu Apr 02, 2009 9:48 pm UTC

I've been trying to lay the groundwork for a d20 Future campaign with this kind of logical approach to everything in mind. It makes things a lot harder. Especially in a sci-fi setting where you depend a lot less on suspension of disbelief. The hardest thing is trying to justify a group of nobodies (the PCs) having relatively free access to an interstellar spacecraft. The first things I came up with was for one/some of them to be really rich or tied to some haulage company, and if they were tied to a haulage company they can't exactly go wherever they want to. A better idea was sort of a freelancer hauler setup, where wherever it is they're going they take some cargo with them that's valuable to someone the other end so they can cover the cost of the transport. It requires one of them to be quite rich beforehand, but it's believable.

And then there's the dungeon problem. It's even worse in a sci-fi setting. There's no such thing as ancient crypts of arch-mages or caves filled with trolls. It has to be secret corporate operations or a mafia cover organisation or something like that. And it's not like they can even just go in, kill the bad guys, loot the place and leave. In a futuristic society there's news and police. You can't just go around murdering mafia dons or scientists performing illegal and unethical experiments without some sort of repercussions.
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Re: D&D: Evolving as a DM

Postby Yakk » Thu Apr 02, 2009 10:48 pm UTC

Interstellar spaceships might not be that expensive? Say 100 times the per-capita GDP on a reasonably well off nation.

USA has a per-capita GDP around 40k. So that would be 4 million dollars, or ~10 times the price of a "typical" house.

Now imagine if you are in hock. The captain and first officer have a 'kill switch' that goes off if they don't pay their interest: a torc of command. The kill-switch torc also contains the command codes for the ship, and must be mounted on somone's neck.

The ship has both the torc command codes, and modules designed to fail if unpaid.

Mutiny now becomes a crime of credit (and still punishable by death). Hacking the torc and/or the ship is possible, but dangerous. And naturally if you steal the ship you are no longer welcome in policed space.

Now you have a 100,000 credit interest payment due every month. And if you fall behind on interest for more than 3 months, the captain or first officer dies (it is random which one). If you have the torc on two people, every 2 months another officer dies. If on one, every month an officer dies. Continued failure leads to ship shutdown, as does looting of ship capital goods.

Happy trading!
---

You can also go more 'out there' sci fi. What if 'space elves' (you know the trope) give ships to individuals, free and clear.

---

With a 'star gate' like system and travel based off of 'launchers', space travel might be cheaper than even the above. If a space ship consists of weak thrusters, a vacuum-proof crew pod, and some communications gear... You travel around usually by going through star gates. Near star gates, you are moved around by some kind of force technology (possibly gravity, whose control the wormholes in stargates use).

Then anyone can be a tramp ship.

Efficient delta-V is granted by the star gate itself. Possibly they also have 'manoeuvring thrusters' that let you slow down into orbit as you approach a gravity well, and then spiral back out again.

Ships under that model (because they aren't really interstellar space ships) might be as cheap as a house.

---

Another approach might be that space ships are living, intelligent beings. Who like to wander.

It is a habit among this species to pick up crews and offer the crews X years of service in exchange for X years of amusement. Oh, and a copy of there biological codes and a high-resolution brain scan. So they can play with them afterwards.

Your PCs happen to be what a ship picked for its crew. With that good fortune, go make money. Note that the ships don't seem to mind dieing that much, and there are instances of ships dying and later on a ship that claims to be the same ship saying that it was an interesting experience (ie, the ships are backed up, and rebuild themselves if they die).

---

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Re: D&D: Evolving as a DM

Postby headprogrammingczar » Thu Apr 02, 2009 11:49 pm UTC

You could commercialize interstellar travel like an airline industry. As they level, they can afford to travel more often, and the travel itself, being public, makes it a good way to generate encounters and introduce NPCs.
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Re: D&D: Evolving as a DM

Postby Yakk » Fri Apr 03, 2009 12:21 am UTC

headprogrammingczar wrote:You could commercialize interstellar travel like an airline industry. As they level, they can afford to travel more often, and the travel itself, being public, makes it a good way to generate encounters and introduce NPCs.

Ooo -- how about interstellar liners that pick up system-bound ships and drop them off?

You could even add hyperspace to this: the liners stay in hyperspace. Your ship goes to a rendezvous point. You extend your hyperspace hook. The liner drops a tether towards normal space, and picks you up and lifts you into hyperspace.

This allows plot points like "being dropped off in an out of the way system, and having to be back in exactly 1 month for the pick up".

Some military vessels can bootstrap themselves into hyperspace. Others are carried on hyperspace carriers and dropped off.

Initial exploration is done by the liner dropping the exploration probe, then picking it up a number of orbits later. Second-phase exploration involves dropping off a real crew of humans. A black box buoy is also dropped off and the humans relay the information they gather to it, in case they don't make it out...

Random: Liners are 4 dimensional ships. Which is why they cannot drop into 3 space.

This gives players access to an in-system space craft, interstellar travel that provides plot hooks and complications, the possibility of running into bad guys with boot straps (gah!), the possibility of getting their own boot straps (which are a military technology...)

(This is assuming you want them to have a ship)
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Re: D&D: Evolving as a DM

Postby SecondTalon » Fri Apr 03, 2009 1:21 am UTC

thecommabandit wrote:And then there's the dungeon problem. It's even worse in a sci-fi setting. There's no such thing as ancient crypts of arch-mages or caves filled with trolls.
But it's a space sci-fi setting. You have dungeons.

They're called derelict space ships. Word is the Hyper Ion MacGuffin is on the SR Immortal (a Leviathon Class Destroyer) which went missing a few years ago in the Qualzar Asteroid field. Completely off-the-radar missing.

It's turned up in orbit around Shelandar IV, a uninhabitable world. Transponder's dead, we just happened to note it on a routine scan. Go check it out.

BAM.. there's your dungeon.
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Re: D&D: Evolving as a DM

Postby InfamousAnarchist » Fri Apr 03, 2009 1:52 am UTC

SecondTalon wrote:It's turned up in orbit around Shelandar IV, a uninhabitable world. Transponder's dead, we just happened to note it on a routine scan. Go check it out.
BAM.. there's your dungeon.

And it's full of REAVERS erm, two kinds of things. If you prefer a skills challenge, you can fill it with all sorts of security stuff, or fill it with space aliens and stuff to fight. To summarize, what He Who Is The Sexiest of All Talons said.
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Re: D&D: Evolving as a DM

Postby thecommabandit » Fri Apr 03, 2009 4:00 pm UTC

SecondTalon wrote:
thecommabandit wrote:And then there's the dungeon problem. It's even worse in a sci-fi setting. There's no such thing as ancient crypts of arch-mages or caves filled with trolls.
But it's a space sci-fi setting. You have dungeons.

They're called derelict space ships. Word is the Hyper Ion MacGuffin is on the SR Immortal (a Leviathon Class Destroyer) which went missing a few years ago in the Qualzar Asteroid field. Completely off-the-radar missing.

It's turned up in orbit around Shelandar IV, a uninhabitable world. Transponder's dead, we just happened to note it on a routine scan. Go check it out.

BAM.. there's your dungeon.

That is a VERY GOOD IDEA. Thankee.

headprogrammingczar wrote:You could commercialize interstellar travel like an airline industry. As they level, they can afford to travel more often, and the travel itself, being public, makes it a good way to generate encounters and introduce NPCs.

It is commercialised, but think more like ships crossing the Atlantic in the early 1900's. It takes quite a while to get anywhere in the universe, even if you have FTL. It's a good point though, they could start out like that which allows for some good plot hooks and NPCs and if they save enough they could get their own ship. I'd imagine it would be a very satisfying moment for them :P
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Re: D&D: Evolving as a DM

Postby SecondTalon » Fri Apr 03, 2009 5:22 pm UTC

Seriously.. your dungeons are MOBILE.

Your PCs are just traveling along when WHAM.. the dungeon Pirate Destroyer Tak's Revenge locks on a tractor beam and pulls them into the hold to have their parts stripped. Tak is an honorable sort, though, and offers the PCs a lovely piece of shit serviceable pod to get them to the next inhabited world. It's up to the PCs to take it from there.. do they fight their way out of it? Talk their way in to joining the crew? Offer to lure a larger, more profitable ship into Tak's hands in exchange for being left alone?

Make a successful Obscure Knowledge roll to send out a quick distress signal to the colony on Ironguard II, informing Tak's mother as to what Tak's been up to, as you know that Tak always obeys mom and mom most certainly would not approve of the theft of such a nice, clean cut crew's ship?
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Re: D&D: Evolving as a DM

Postby BoomFrog » Wed Apr 08, 2009 1:57 am UTC

Just remember, your PC's WILL try to take over the dungeonderelict leviathan, get it up and running and crew it. You better have a damn good reason why they can't.* Because generally one of the PC's will have a repair skill that rival's god (depending on your system of RPG and Belief).

*Or let them but think they are pulling a fast one on you. PC's love to get 'extra' treasure by 'outsmarting' the DM.
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Re: D&D: Evolving as a DM

Postby Xaddak » Wed Apr 08, 2009 3:17 am UTC

Have them spend twelve sessions looking for a cockpit, engine room, or something, ANYTHING that could be used or rigged to control the ship... only to find out, they were ripped out in order to turn the ship into a deathtrap from which there is no escape?
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Re: D&D: Evolving as a DM

Postby thecommabandit » Wed Apr 08, 2009 10:28 am UTC

I don't think I'd be that mean. Either I'd let them use it if they figured out a way to get it going (in which case it would probably be a piece of junk, being that it was derelict for x years) or I'd find a way to quickly tell them that it's out of commission unless they can somehow get it to a drydock and pay the huge amounts of money necessary to fix it: "The He-3 fusion reactor is burnt out. Looks like the magnetic containment fields failed - it's basically a pile of slag now. It's running on backup power which will last... *typing on a console* ...for eight more days.". Not to mention the fact that if it's a military vessel or a large commercial hauler they'll probably have a very small fraction of even a skeleton crew for it.
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Re: D&D: Evolving as a DM

Postby SecondTalon » Wed Apr 08, 2009 12:34 pm UTC

Commercial Hauler.. they probably would have the crew for it. I mean, it's going to essentially be a giant box with an engine and a control room strapped to it. Minimal weapons, armament..possibly even minimal life support (because, really, why the hell would most cargo need fresh air? Or air at all? Temperature I can understand, at least) so.. yeah, they might be able to salvage a giant cargo ship.

And use it to start their cargo transportation empire. I guess.

A military vessel would need a much larger crew, so it's likely they'll just strip down the valuable components (weapons, shields, scanners) and leave the rest where they found it.

I figure..... why not? Tell them they can salvage enough parts to build one (1) functional Lasermojigger or whatever. They pretty much have to break down every gun on the ship to do it, sure, but they can do it with the appropriate repair skills or weapon building or whatever. Make it part of the phat lewt they should be getting on an adventure of that level.

Either that, or let them take a few, install them, then wonder why they can't fire their guns and have lights and life support at the same time (because they don't have a small army of generators like the military ship, nor space to stick one.)
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Re: D&D: Evolving as a DM

Postby Xaddak » Wed Apr 08, 2009 1:12 pm UTC

That would be a neat trick!

"Fire!"
*lights go out, air stops circulating, controls all go dead*
"Uh... guys... what just-"
*BOOM*
*brief pause*
"Okay, so-"
*everything powers back on*
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Re: D&D: Evolving as a DM

Postby SecondTalon » Wed Apr 08, 2009 1:21 pm UTC

... Boom? What blew up on the ship, as... and I know you know this... there's no way they could possibly hear the destruction of the other ship.

I mean, unless they're firing on a planet or something else with an atmosphere.
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Re: D&D: Evolving as a DM

Postby Xaddak » Wed Apr 08, 2009 1:55 pm UTC

No, but I imagine a big warship cannon attached to a small transport would make a rather large boom for the people onboard the transport. Because it is connected. So sound would travel.

Although I suppose it would depend on the type of cannon being fired.
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Re: D&D: Evolving as a DM

Postby Yakk » Wed Apr 08, 2009 1:59 pm UTC

They where probably firing on a ship. It has an atmosphere.

And when they hit the ship with their gun, the atmosphere will leak out. Which should transmit sound. ;-)

Oh, you meant +that+ kind of 'firing on a planet'.
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Re: D&D: Evolving as a DM

Postby SecondTalon » Wed Apr 08, 2009 2:16 pm UTC

Xaddak wrote:No, but I imagine a big warship cannon attached to a small transport would make a rather large boom for the people onboard the transport. Because it is connected. So sound would travel.

Although I suppose it would depend on the type of cannon being fired.
Ah, I was assuming some sort of energy-based weapon that, while maybe having a *vvvoooooooooooiiippp* noise as it charges up (and kills the other systems), is essentially silent when firing.
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Re: D&D: Evolving as a DM

Postby Xaddak » Thu Apr 09, 2009 2:37 am UTC

So, with the No Interference style being all the rage here, what do we think of this?

The book is geared at making a good RPG game-master into a great one, and making a great game-master into a small god. It teaches the reader everything from applying the Campbellian Monomyth to contact juggling.


Source: http://www.schlockmercenary.com/blog/in ... kman-book/

Sounds like it at least partly runs counter to the No Interference style, although I imagine most of it could be applied.
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Re: D&D: Evolving as a DM

Postby thecommabandit » Sat Apr 11, 2009 7:58 pm UTC

SecondTalon wrote:Seriously.. your dungeons are MOBILE.

Not only that but there are lots of legitimate and believable ways to create hazards in them. I'm writing up an adventure now where the PCs find a cargo ship adrift when they drop out of FTL. Their sensors detect regular high-intensity muon bursts from the hind section of the ship, doing so every few hours. If they board it they'll find that the fusion reactor failed and screwed up the muon injection system (muon-catalysed fusion). The people on the ship who are alive are suffering from severe radiation poisoning from being bombarded with muons all the time. The regular muon bursts mean that they've only got a few hours to haul survivors off the ship/loot the ship for goods/transfer the cargo and receiving co-ordinates before another burst goes off and they all get radiation poisoning too. That's a time-based dungeon, right there. Of course it can be exploited by them just running back to their ship before the muon burst goes off and then going back afterwards, but that's a perfectly reasonable thing to do.

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Re: D&D: Evolving as a DM

Postby Xaddak » Sun Apr 12, 2009 12:19 am UTC

What system is all this space adventure talk going on in? I saw it said "a future d20" system. Is it published, or homebrew?

On a similar note, I have a copy of the Star Wars RPG book. What do you guys think of that system? All this futuristic talk is making me want to run a future-based campaign instead of (or maybe in addition to) a fantasy one.
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Re: D&D: Evolving as a DM

Postby headprogrammingczar » Sun Apr 12, 2009 5:13 pm UTC

thecommabandit wrote:--Lots of sci-fi--
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The other way to explain it is that the control mechanisms in the reactor malfunctioned, putting the reactor into a much higher energy state than normal, and putting high strain on the containment system and releasing other, more exotic particles. If left uncontrolled, the particles will cause extensive structural defects in your hull, making atmospheric reentry impossible without a complete replacement of the hull.
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Re: D&D: Evolving as a DM

Postby thecommabandit » Sun Apr 12, 2009 5:20 pm UTC

Xaddak wrote:What system is all this space adventure talk going on in? I saw it said "a future d20" system. Is it published, or homebrew?

On a similar note, I have a copy of the Star Wars RPG book. What do you guys think of that system? All this futuristic talk is making me want to run a future-based campaign instead of (or maybe in addition to) a fantasy one.

Have you heard of d20 Modern? It's basically an adaptation of the D&D 3.5 rules for adventures in the modern world. Then there's a book called d20 Future which is a sourcebook for that system for sci-fi adventures of all types (whether gritty, Star Wars-esque, mecha-based or even dimension-roaming). The setting I'm using is homebrew but the rules are official.
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Re: D&D: Evolving as a DM

Postby Xaddak » Sun Apr 12, 2009 5:47 pm UTC

Oh, rock on. I'll have to look into that.
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D&D - Help needed

Postby PapaNachos » Wed Apr 22, 2009 6:24 pm UTC

Alright, so I'm going to be running my first campaign over the summer with some of my friends back home and I'm wondering in anyone would be willing to help me out in the planning phase.

I'm trying to get all the advice from more experienced DMs about what I need to do to make the game more fun for my players: Things to do, things not to do, how complex my challenges should be, etc...

I'm also looking for interesting things to put in, such as NPCs/locations/event/whatever else.


As a note: My players aren't very experienced, so I need to careful with some things.

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Re: D&D - Help needed

Postby Stormlock » Wed Apr 22, 2009 7:20 pm UTC

I've been toying with the idea of setting up a world or set of worlds where only particular schools of magic are available. So for example, enchantment and evocation magic are extremely common, while necromancy and divination are so rare that seeing a wizard or finding a magic item that can so much as raise a skeleton or or detect lies would be astonishing miracles, while a fireball is impressive, but not unheard of. Can make a low powered effect extremely interesting/valuable without limiting the campaign to being low magic or low powered.
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PapaNachos
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Re: D&D - Help needed

Postby PapaNachos » Wed Apr 22, 2009 7:33 pm UTC

Awesome, I'll definitely try something like that. Though I would have to decide if my players would have to take it as a restricted school or if I would boost all the spells levels by like 3 or something.

Edit: Thanks for merging this. I tried to find another thread before posting, but didn't see anything.

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Shadic
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Re: D&D - Help needed

Postby Shadic » Thu Apr 23, 2009 5:07 am UTC

PapaNachos wrote:I'm trying to get all the advice from more experienced DMs about what I need to do to make the game more fun for my players: Things to do, things not to do, how complex my challenges should be, etc..
As a note: My players aren't very experienced, so I need to careful with some things.

If you think it's complex, it's too complex. Players are stupid, especially when they're afraid of killing their character outright.

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Sockmonkey
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Re: Dungeon Mastering: Dungeoneering

Postby Sockmonkey » Fri Apr 24, 2009 2:58 am UTC

Want a good challenge that's realistic? Have your party raid a dwarf city or stronghold where all the cealings and doors are dwarf height. :mrgreen:
Honestly, it's the easiest security measure against the larger races but I've never seen it used. Every dwarf structure always has those high vaulted cealings you could fly a plane in.

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Maseiken
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Re: Dungeon Mastering: Dungeoneering

Postby Maseiken » Sat Apr 25, 2009 2:16 am UTC

Sockmonkey wrote:Want a good challenge that's realistic? Have your party raid a dwarf city or stronghold where all the cealings and doors are dwarf height. :mrgreen:
Honestly, it's the easiest security measure against the larger races but I've never seen it used. Every dwarf structure always has those high vaulted cealings you could fly a plane in.

I had an idea for a Dungeon that was a Kobold stronghold. almost the entire thing would be in crawlspace size, with occasional forays into large, open halls, requiring medium-sized characters to merely stoop while fighting the enemy as opposed to remaining prone like the reast of the dungeon.
"GRRRRRRRRRROOOOOOOOWR!!!!"
(Translation: "Objection!")

Maseiken had the ball at the top of the key...

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Sockmonkey
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Re: Dungeon Mastering: Dungeoneering

Postby Sockmonkey » Sat Apr 25, 2009 6:41 am UTC

Shrink spell anyone? :lol: If your party is a group of dwarves it's a great reason for them to be hired over the kingdom's more conventional forces.
Maybe a polymorph into dwarf spell or something too.

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4=5
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Re: Dungeon Mastering: Dungeoneering

Postby 4=5 » Sat Apr 25, 2009 7:21 pm UTC

If they really wanted to keep out larger creatures then the tunnel would probably have an acute turn to the right go straight for a human body length and then turn down 18O under itself. This seems to me like it would be the most claustrophobia inducing setup.

Stormlock
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Re: Dungeon Mastering: Dungeoneering

Postby Stormlock » Sat Apr 25, 2009 8:12 pm UTC

And for good cause. That setup wouldn't be navigable in reverse by a human who had to crawl on his belly to get through. If it dead ended, you're toast.
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Maseiken
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Re: Dungeon Mastering: Dungeoneering

Postby Maseiken » Sun Apr 26, 2009 2:03 am UTC

What can I say, I'm a cruel guy, just look at Paranoia.

But seriously, do you think Kobolds would let things end in a simple dead-end? They'd prolly have a pit-trap that goes down to the "Lair of the Beast" which would make for a good encounter without movement penalties as a nice bit of relief for the PCs.
"GRRRRRRRRRROOOOOOOOWR!!!!"
(Translation: "Objection!")

Maseiken had the ball at the top of the key...

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Sockmonkey
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Re: Dungeon Mastering: Dungeoneering

Postby Sockmonkey » Sun Apr 26, 2009 6:27 am UTC

I've explored storm drains with my friends and I can tell you that while a three foot pipe sounds roomy (it's big enough to turn around in) when you're so far in that you can't see daylight at either end it's the smallest place on earth.

HuzzahHenry
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Re: Dungeon Mastering: Dungeoneering

Postby HuzzahHenry » Tue Apr 28, 2009 4:04 pm UTC

More generally, riddles are always good - especially for newer players as they encourage people to think about their character's abilities, so a character with below average intelligence might be played by a really clever person who gets it right away but can't say for fear of breaking character, and vice-versa. My group's DM set us a riddle which was vital for finding the elemental stones we were searching for. It didn't stop the battle-oriented characters from doing what they did best as we ploughed through some mines, but it gave those who were supposed to be clever but not that useful in a fight a chance to contribute properly to the party.


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