D&D 3.5e, Dungeons & Dragons, Goals

There’s Room for Improvement

After 15 years of running Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) there are still aspects of my game that I need to improve. Let’s talk about those areas real quick.

Dungeons

While it seems like an odd part of the game to have ignored I’ve never actually run a real dungeon. Most of my games have been spent running what the Dungeons & Dragons 3.5 Revision (D&D 3.5e) Dungeon Master’s Guide refereed to as “Dynamic” adventures. I would set up a location for the players, say a town, and then briefly describe the world around them and let them go wherever they wanted and cause all kinds of mayhem. The world was constantly reacting to them and their decisions and they never wanted to go into a dungeon. As a consequence, I never learned to create dungeons nor to run them.

I’m working on fixing that this year.

Riddles

Growing up I always hated riddles. They were often boring as all get out and I hate being bored. So you can imagine my enthusiasm for the riddle trope in D&D. Still, over the last couple of years I’ve read several books where riddles were set out in front of the heroes and it created a really neat mystery for them to solve. I need to learn how to create riddles and make them something fun for the players this year.

Sersa Encounters.

If you’ve been reading me over the past few years on Dyvers then you know my love for the Fourthcore concept pioneered by Sersa Victory. Sersa laid out this idea that when you set up an encounter there needs to be a lot going on. Not only are you players confronted by an enemy that can actively react to their actions, but you also add a trap in that they must defeat in a limited time, or some other complication to make the encounter increasingly difficult. The idea of this sort of dynamic encounter has captured my imagination since I first read about it years ago and I am bound and determined to push it this year.

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2 thoughts on “There’s Room for Improvement”

  1. I’m partial to FourthCore (I actually ran a FourthCore adventure at a convention in 2014), and I like a lot of the ideas put forth by this approach to running 4e.

    Incidentally, those Sersa encounters are perhaps best understood in the context of “set piece” encounters, described in some 3e literature. A set piece is often an otherwise “normal” monster encounter combined with one or more additional components, such as time restrictions, 2+ monster factions, dynamic traps as you mentioned, exotic terrain, or dramatic themes (e.g. “boss” monster, ongoing ritual/event, weather/storm, et cetera).

    I think there’s information about set piece encounters as far back as the AD&D “Dungeon Master’s Design Kit.”

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love Fourthcore and it’s a blast but it does seem to work best as set pieces. I think the ideas and principals are capable of being expanded out but it needs to be used correctly or the game could easily become overwhelming for players and GMs alike.

    Like

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