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My (Hopefully!) Glorious Return to Dungeon Master --- Need Advice
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TOPIC: My (Hopefully!) Glorious Return to Dungeon Master --- Need Advice
My (Hopefully!) Glorious Return to Dungeon Master --- Need Advice 5 Years, 4 Months ago  
Also, one of the things I do when I GM a group of new players is do a Total Party Kill first session to establish my authority as GM. :lol:
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Deluxe room and passage. Ogres den. Short passage. Room and passage. Fantasy Floor. Traps 1. Traps 2. Wicked additions 1+2. Orc war band, Dungeon Accessories, Medieval Furniture. Treasure and Magic Items. DoE set. DoE room set. DoE WA. DoE HS. Cavern set. Cavernous passage. Caverous chasm. ABS 2. R
My (Hopefully!) Glorious Return to Dungeon Master --- Need Advice 5 Years, 4 Months ago  
If you are looking for a way to challenge players without killing characters, transfer the consequences of the trap to someone or something else, or come up with a non-lethal result.

For example, if the players are on their way to rescue the kidnapped princess, have the overlord kidnap the ladies in waiting as well. The party will have to disarm/defeat a deathtrap for each kidnappee on their way to the princess. If they succeed, give them a cookie: the first lady stole a key from the guards, the second lady has a healing potion, the third lady overheard the guards talking about a trap or an ambush, and so on. If they fail, they are little/no worse off, but they feel bad and the princess cries. If the adventure is too easy, make one or more of the ladies attack the party; if it's too hard, give them better cookies (tailored to the problems they are facing).

Challenges might be substituted for locks. Complete the challenge and the door opens. It will help to have multiple doors with unique challenges (so that one challenge isn't the make-or-break point of the whole session), or you might have multiple challenges on a single door that slides open a few inches with each challenge defeated (so they can squeeze through even if they fail half the challenges).

Put a door thirty feet up a wall. The party can try to scale the wall, or they can try to defeat a set of challenges (riddles, locks, traps, whatever). Every time they defeat a challenge, bricks come out of the wall and reduce the difficulty of the climbing roll, or stairs come out of the floor to bring the party a little closer to the door.

Locks, traps, or riddles can be put on vaults containing treasures behind/under unbreakable glass. If the challenge is defeated, the characters open the glass door and get the treasure; if not, the treasure is destroyed or transported away. This is good for parties trespassing in mansions and museums.

Try to come up with ways for players to use those supplementary character skills. If a character has cooking, put the party in a kitchen (whether it makes sense or not) with a pot of unfinished stew on the boil -- the cook can determine what the stew "needs" (terragon?), and when it has been added the next door opens. If a character juggles, put a diagram of a juggling pattern on the wall -- if the juggler can match the pattern, a secret vault opens. If a character has fishing, put a ring or necklace at the bottom of a pool of caustic poison -- the fisherman has to hook the item to pull it up, but only has time for X tries before the string is eaten away. A character with sewing might be able to pull threads that fix a tapestry and disarm a trap. An armorer might repair dented armor on a stand -- when he's done, the empty suit of armor leads the party through the maze safely. More prosaicly, create a circumstance where the character is posing as a cook, or a fisherman, or a tailor, or an armorer, in order to infiltrate a villain's lair or an enemy army -- instead of (or supplemental to) and acting roll, they make a skill roll.

Another thought is to make the physical features of monsters keys for locks or traps or even magic circles. The tail of a rust monster might open a door, the claw of an umber hulk might deactivate a trap, or the blood of a blink dog might activate a teleportation circle. Players have to choose whether to use skills (lockpicking, trap deactivation, or magic) to defeat the challenges, or to fight the monsters they avoided elsewhere in the adventure. (The monsters are, ideally, in rooms or pits that characters can bypass and return to fairly easily.)

Finally, consider matching traps to monsters in such a way that they cancel each other out. For example, if the players can get the minotaur to charge down the hallway, it will set off the traps -- the minotaur will be dead, and the hallway will be safe to walk down. Lure the gelatinous cube to the pit trap, then put a shield on top of it to use like a stepping-stone (simple DEX roll required). Herd the rust monsters into the room with the metal spikes in the floor, then break for lunch.

I don't know if any of that is what you are looking for, Swanton, but I hope at least some of it will help.
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